Shocking child drowning figures shake the nation

Shocking child drowning figures shake the nation


donation, eye care, drowning

A new effort is being made to overcome Viet Nam's record as the country with the highest rate of child deaths from drowning in Southeast Asia.

In fact, the rate is 10 times higher than in other developing countries.

The statistics are reflected in the fact that in 2012, a total of 3,300 children and adolescents drowned throughout the country.

In Ha Noi yesterday, a conference organised by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, World Vision, UNICEF and the HCM Communist Youth Union Central Committee, brought together different agencies and organisations to discuss ways of improving the situation.

"Drowning is the major cause of child fatalities in Viet Nam," said Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), Doan Mau Diep.

On average, nine children and adolescents die from drowning every day.

According to MOLISA, more than 50 per cent of the drowning cases happened in rural areas where children swim in ponds, rivers and seas without supervision.

"Drowning not only causes grief to families, but to the whole of society," said Diep. "Therefore, to overcome the situation, we need the participation of families, sectors and organisations - the whole community."

Diep called for the setting up of warning signs in dangerous places, fencing off ponds and rivers - and covering all wells.

He said swimming lessons and methods of resuscitation and first aid to revive victims should be improved.

He also suggested more swimming clubs be set up and training activities begun during the summer vacation.

"Reducing the rate of child deaths from drowning can be done if we are all determined," said Diep.

Italian doctor performs vital genital operations on four children

Italian doctor Roberto De Castro conducted operations on four children suffering from genital malformations in the central region yesterday.

The surgeon from Bologna will be conducting three days of examinations and surgery for children at Da Nang city's Hospital for Women and Children.

Last year, he conducted examinations on 50 children with genital defects in central provinces and cities, following the genital reconstruction campaign of the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation.

The doctor will conduct operations on children at HCM City's Paediatrics Hospital from Thursday.

Extra buses organised for student exams

Ha Noi Bus Station One Member Co Ltd has planned to add more 510 buses to serve students taking part in the national university entrance examination early next month.

Nguyen Tung Anh, director of the company, said the number of passengers, mostly from northern cities and provinces, was forecast to increase between 60 per cent and 130 per cent during peak time.

Specifically, My Dinh Bus Station will witness an increase of 130 per cent, Giap Bat Bus Station 90 per cent and Gia Lam Bus Station 70 per cent.

"230 buses will be added at Giap Bat Station, 205 at My Dinh Bus Station and 75 at Gia Lam bus station," he added.

The company has asked the stations to prepare spare buses in case more vehicles were required. The stations will be in charge of assuring security and order and controlling violations such as overcharging ticket prices, overloaded buses and drunk driving.

Hanoi ranks 8th in terms of child welfare, rights

A new study released in Hanoi on June 17 by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) ranks Hanoi eighth among 63 provinces and cities for child protection.

This is the first time the MOLISA's Child Care and Protection Department, in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Development Policy Studies, and the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS), has conducted the research.

The top ten provinces and cities in this field are Long An, Ho Chi Minh City, Thai Binh, Thai Nguyen, Danang, Quang Ninh, Hung Yen, Hanoi, Haiphong and Nam Dinh.

The results of the research provide the government and domestic and foreign organisations with information about the implementation of child care, protection and education across Vietnam.

The information is based on five criteria: local care, health care, enforcement, child involvement and child development in intellectual, physical and social spheres.

The research shows that there is no significant difference among provinces and cities in child care, protection and education.

MoLISA Deputy Minister Doan Mau Diep said the research largely depends on data and reports and lacks information from social audit. He urged relevant agencies to build a standard index code as from 2014 and encourage international organsations which are keen on children development in Vietnam to build the code to ensure its validity.

1,500 Vietnamese participate in patriotic photo project

More than 1,500 people from across Vietnam have attended a project to portray the Vietnamese map, resembling the letter "S", amid rising tensions on the East Sea.

The project, named “Vietnamese belief”, was initiated by the photographer Dang Long, and will include more than 10,000 photos. The participants' photos will feature the Vietnamese flag.

The project began in late May, when Long shared, via social networks, his own photo in which he is standing under the national flag. Many of his friends proposed to take similar pictures and Long agreed. The number of the participants has rapidly increased, giving him the idea of holding a larger project.

Long said that at present, when all Vietnamese people are looking towards the East Sea, he would like to show the Vietnamese patriotism through images.

The first difficulty for him was to overcome public doubt amid tensions over the East Sea. A number of people took advantage of real patriotic demonstration for their private gain or other purposes, so many were hesitant to take part at first.

At the beginning, he took a few simple photos of a mother and her child. However, some days later, the parents became reluctant, saying it could possibly place them in danger. So the mother asked Long to remove those photos from the project.

After a short time, when the project became more popular, the parents came to understand the real purpose of the project and agreed to allow theirs to be included.

Long said he has travelled to many provinces and met with many people, including a number of disabled people who were very willing to take part.

Long plans to arrange 10,000 photos in the shape of the Vietnamese map. He is also among five young Vietnamese volunteers who will visit Truong Sa Island soon.

US teachers, students learn about Vietnam

Vice President of the Vietnam-US Association Bui The Giang on June 17 received a 18 - member delegation from the Trinity Upper School in New York, who are keen on learning about Vietnam.

The host briefed the guests on Vietnam’s socio-economic development, while introducing the roles played by the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations and the  

Vietnam-US Association in fostering the friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and foreign nations, including the US.

Giang said he hopes the two countries will work harder to speed up their all-round link in the future, especially in education, economics, trade and humanitarian aid.

Michael Alan Berkowitz, head of the delegation, said the purpose of their visit is to explore the Vietnamese people, nation and culture and the country’s renewal and integration efforts.

He expressed his hope that in the coming time, more activities will be held to further bolster links between the two peoples.

During their stay in Vietnam from June 16-29, apart from participating in a homestay programme in Hanoi, the delegation is scheduled to visit several beauty spots in various places across the nation.-

Work starts on pagoda in Quang Ninh

The Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) on June 17 kick-started the construction of Xa Tac Pagoda in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

The work is constructed inside the Xa Tac temple relic site in Mong Cai city, near the common borderline between Vietnam and China.

Thich Thanh Quyet, head of the Executive Board of the Quang Ninh VBS chapter, said once finished the pagoda will serve as a convenient place for the religious activities of Buddhist followers and local people.

The costs for the construction are covered by social funding.

Technology holds key to growing quality produce

The Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta should increase the use of advanced technologies as well as good agricultural practices (GAP) in fruit and vegetable production to enhance quality and safety, experts told a seminar held in Tien Giang on Monday.

Despite its many achievements, the agricultural sector's development had been unsustainable due to the small scale production and lack of market information, Mai Thanh  

Phung, chief of the National Agriculture Extension Centre's permanent division in the south, said.

"With shrinking arable land and increasing population, the application of new technologies in fruit and vegetable production is a must to raise productivity and quality," he warned.

This would enable the region's fruits and vegetables gain wider acceptance and improve their competitiveness in both domestic and international markets, he told a seminar  organised by the centre, the Tien Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Trade Promotion and Economic Development Joint Stock Company.

Tran Thi Ba of Can Tho University said advanced technologies must be used in all stages of the value chain from production to consumption to add value to fruits and vegetables.

Many new horticultural techniques like the use of netting and mulch for growing fruit and vegetables and seedlings have been developed, but their efficacy is modest compared to their high costs, preventing companies from expanding their use, according to Ba.

Replying to a question about how farmers with their limited resources can adopt new technologies, Ba and Dr Duong Hoa Xo, director of the HCM City Biotechnology Centre, said farmers could invest gradually based on their financial situation.

For instance, they could first invest in drip irrigation and increase the use of bio-products instead of chemical-based pesticides, Xo said.

Viet Nam could learn advanced production technologies from other countries but use locally available inputs to reduce costs, he said.

Phung said that with people becoming increasingly concerned about food safety, farmers should pay more attention to producing safe vegetable by following VietGap standards.

GAP is a collection of practices for on-farm production and post-production processes that safeguards the health of both producers and consumers, reduces environmental pollution, and results in the production of safe and healthy foods as well as products with easily traceable origins.

Phung said agricultural authorities should conduct awareness campaigns among farmers about the importance of the application of GAP and advanced technologies.

Besides, they should raise awareness among consumers about consuming safe products with clear origins, he said.

The Government should strengthen links between farmers and enterprises, with the latter ensuring there are outlets for all GAP-standard produce, the conference heard.

Delegates urged the sector to improve market forecast to grow crops that are in demand and strengthen promotion to diversify export markets for Vietnamese fruits and vegetables.

Nguyen Van Truc, a chilli grower in Cho Gao District's Binh Ninh Commune, said local agencies should help farmers understand new technologies and apprise them about new strains of seeds to enable them to improve efficiency.

The Mekong Delta has 246,000ha under vegetables and 288,000ha under fruits, accounting for 30 per cent and 34.6 per cent of the country's total.

Russian navy ships dock at Cam Rank port

Three ships of the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy, headed by Rear Admiral Dmitriev Vladimir Aleksandrovich, on June 17 docked at Cam Ranh port, central Khanh Hoa province, for logistical and technical services.

During their stay until June 20, the ships with 511 crewmembers will lay flowers at the memorial of soldiers of former Soviet Union and Vietnam who laid down their lives for peace and stability in the region.

Crewmembers will make a courtesy visit to leaders of the Navy’s Zone 4 and have a friendly volleyball match with Vietnamese soldiers, alongside tours of several places in the locality.

KEITI funds water supply system in Can Tho

The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho will cooperate with the Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) in building its clean water supply system.

The information was released by Pham Van Quynh, Director of the Can Tho municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, at a meeting with KEITI’s investors on June 17.

The project, scheduled to be put into operation in March 2015, has a total investment of US$1.5 million, including US$0.5 million from the Republic of Korea Government.

Accordingly, the city will be responsible for calling for tender, providing a detailed engineering design, and completing infrastructure. The project will be handed over to the Korean investors to begin installation in late July.

Covering 10,000 square meters, the plant is designed to supply 2,600 cu.m per day, to residents in three communes of Thanh An, Thanh Thang and Thanh Loi.

Dong Yeob Son, a Korean representative, suggested that the city should use groundwater to ensure better water quality. He also asked Can Tho to ensure timely execution of the project and port procedures of RoK machinery.

Can Tho authorities vowed to create favourable conditions for Korean investors to complete the project as scheduled.

New headquarters for Vietnamese people in Laos

The General Association of Vietnamese people in Laos held a ceremony on June 17 to inaugurate their headquarters in capital Vientiane, Laos.

The function was attended by Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos Nguyen Manh Hung, Chairman of the Laos War Veterans Association, Major-General Somphone Keomisay, other government officials of the two countries, representatives of Vietnamese enterprises and Vietnamese expatriates in Laos.

At the ceremony, acting chairman of the association Nguyen Duy Trung thanked the Vietnamese Party and State, Vietnamese Embassy in Laos and Lao authorities for supporting the association in building the new headquarters.

He vowed to unite all Vietnamese people in Laos to live in harmony with local residents, build a strong community in the country, and contribute to strengthening Vietnam-Laos ties.

Ambassador Nguyen Manh Hung congratulated the Vietnamese community on the new headquarters and expressed his hope that they will continue to abide by Laos’ law, provide mutual assistance in difficulty, and turn their hearts to the homeland.

Vietnam, Cambodia women boost friendship relations

Chairwoman of the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa has praised Cambodia’s achievements in its restoration and development process, in particular the contributions made by women.

At a reception held in Hanoi on June 17 for the Chairwoman of the Cambodian Women for Peace and Development (CWPD) and Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam On,  

Hoa emphasised that since the two associations signed a cooperation agreement in 2013, they have regularly exchanged information, focusing on educating women and the community as a whole, to preserve and develop friendship and cooperative ties between the two countries. A wide range of cooperative activities have been implemented effectively and practically.

Hoa proposed that the two sides continue carrying out the signed agreement over 2013-2017, and called on the Cambodian Government and CWPD to take care of and support Vietnamese women living and working in Cambodia.

For her part, Men Sam On spoke highly of Vietnam’s achievements in recent years and thanked Vietnam for defeating the Pol Pot genocide regime to build Cambodia into a country of peace and stability.

She also appreciated VWU’s assistance in training female Cambodian officials.

She expressed her hope that the traditional ties of solidarity, friendship and comprehensive cooperation will further develop and flourish for mutual benefit, peace and development in the region and wider world.

The VWU held a seminar to share information about women’s activities of each country.

Fishing boat explodes, leaving three missing

Three people remain unaccounted for while three others are hospitalized in serious condition after a fishing boat inexplicably exploded on June 16 about 1 nautical mile offshore from central Binh Thuan province.

The border post of Phu Quy seaport and police from Phu Quy island district said they are still investigating the cause of why the boat, owned by a 44 year-old man named  Ngo Hai, suddenly erupted in flames.

Three injured people from central Ha Tinh province,were provided with emergency services in the island district.

So far, the rescue force has not found the missing people, who were identified as Ngo Thanh Hung, Vo Tam and Phan Van Quyen from Long Hai commune.

Vietnam students create ‘Formula 1’ car with used car parts

It was a rainy afternoon in June in Hanoi when members of the BK LEAD of the Hanoi University of Science and Technology Aerodynamic Institute were finishing their ‘Formula 1’ car for Formula SAE, a design competition organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers International for students around the world.

At the competition – which is scheduled to take place in Japan from September 2 to 6 – the prototype race car is to be evaluated for its potential as a production item. Each student team designs, builds, and tests their prototype cars.

This year, the contest gathers hundreds of participating teams from 120 countries around the world.

The BK LEAD’s car is the result of more than two years of hard work by its creators who have reused old details like suspensions, engines and tires from old cars to save money.

Nguyen Van Thuong, the leader of the car’s manufacturing group, said the cost for the over 300kg car is around VND150 million (US$7,142).

“The main system of the car includes the frame, engine transmission, steering, brake, suspension and tires,” Thuong said. “For a ‘Formula 1’ car, the brake system plays a very important role in helping the vehicle to move at an extremely high speed. For this ‘student formula’ car, the brake system must ensure safety when the vehicle is moving at a high speed. BK LEAD succeeded in creating a system that did just that. As designed, this car can run at a maximum speed of more than 100km per hour.”

The students created the vehicle with the help of generous mentors. Dr. Hoang Thang Binh, who recently finished studying in Japan, introduced the contest to his students.  

He also raised VND10 million to help the group begin the project.

Another man who played an important role in the creation of the car is Tran Van Ty, owner of large cylinder vehicles in Hanoi, who many students call “teacher” although he does not work at a school.

Known as a skillful worker, Ty has shared his experiences with many local aerodynamic students after their classes.

“During the last two years, we visited the shop to learn after school. He has taught us a lot. The theory we learned from school helps us with the designing part while practicing at the shop brought us a lot of knowledge that helped us build our car,” Thuong shared.

Ty allowed Thuong’s group to work on the car in his shop and let them use his equipment.

“Their passion led me to want to help them. Dr. Binh is not rich but still sponsors his students. I have materials and equipment, so why don’t I?” Ty shared. “The youths can learn while I can do what I love. It gives me the chance to live through them. I didn’t have the chance to do what I wanted when I was young. I want to help them pursue their dreams. I can’t give them hundreds of millions of dong per month, but I can help them with VND3-5 million per month.”

The leader of BK LEAD proudly said if they officially attend the competition, this will mark the first time a Vietnamese car has been in the contest in its entire history.

However, he also expressed worries about being able to raise enough money for the team to attend the event.

“Even though the car has been numbered for the contest, we still worry whether the vehicle can really make it to the competition because we have to use our own money as per its regulations. We have asked some enterprises but still haven’t received any response,” Thuong said.

Ha Noi suffers from poor waste collection

Ha Noi residents in many districts have complained about environmental pollution caused by rubbish collection and transport, during recent meetings with National Assembly deputies.

They also said leakage of waste water from trucks that collect rubbish from septic tanks in the city pollute the environment.

Additionally, waste collection points are often overloaded with different types of rubbish. Meanwhile, rubbish is often held at collection points for an entire day before being removed to garbage dumps, spreading offensive odors throughout surrounding areas.

According to figures from the municipal Environmental Police Office, the Nam Son Waste Treatment Complex in suburban Soc Son District receives more than 4,000 tonnes of rubbish each day, transported by nearly 500 trucks, which is five times higher than its capacity.

With such a large amount of rubbish, waste collection trucks are often overloaded and have quickly deteriorated, resulting in waste water and rubbish falling from the trucks and onto roads.

Hoang Thu Phuong, a resident in Bach Khoa Ward, Hai Ba Trung District, said her house was near a waste gathering point and suffered from offensive smells throughout the day.

"Dustbins are overloaded, so many people have to place their rubbish on the pavement next to the dustbins, causing environmental pollution," she said.

"The smell from the waste becomes even worse during the hot weather when the rubbish is gathered there and removed by trucks only once a day in the evening," she added.

"Sometimes, waste water from trucks that transport rubbish to garbage dumps leaks onto roads," she added.

Deputy head of the Ha Noi Police's Environment Police Office Tran Quoc Dung told Suc Khoe va Doi Song (Health and Life) newspaper that many waste collection trucks failed to meet existing standards, leading to the leakage of waste water on roads, a situation that has existed for many years.

Under the current regulations, waste water needed to be carefully collected and waste collection trucks were specially designed with a system of drainage to contain waste water from rubbish.

However, many trucks have deteriorated and the system of drainage has broken down, causing waste water from rubbish to leak onto roads, polluting the environment, he said.

To solve the problem, he suggested waste collection companies provide regular maintenance for their trucks and alter waste collection methods and times so as not to have an impact upon local residents.

Dustbins at waste gathering points should also be carefully covered to not affect the surrounding environment, he added.

Further, environmental police could increase inspections to prevent sub-standard trucks from transporting rubbish on roads, he said.

Binh Duong lists polluting firms

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment of the southern province of Binh Duong has published a list of 3,600 sources of waste discharge sites that pose a high risk of polluting the environment.

The sites were found while monitoring more than 18,000 businesses in the province.

Of the figure, some 328 sources of waste discharge were found to release 50cu.m of waste per day into Dong Nai river and 178 other sites discharged over 100cu.m each day into the Sai Gon river.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People's Committee Tran Van Nam said the survey and publication of waste discharge sites would help agencies to better manage environmental pollution along the rivers.

It was essential to check sources of waste discharges and to develop measures to lessen the environmental impact, he added.

The province was also building a database of facilities that have high risks of causing environmental pollution, in a bid to help manage their discharges, he said.

Many localities have started to carry out surveys on sources of waster discharges, following a master plan on environmental protection for Sai Gon-Dong Nai river basin system.

The Sai Gon-Dong Nai river system runs through 11 localities, including HCM City, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An, Tay Ninh, Lam Dong, Dak Nong, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan.

These localities are seeking to handle 90 to 95 per cent of production facilities that cause environmental pollution and have 100 per cent of newly established production use apply green technology or advanced technology to help reduce environmental pollution by 2020.

They also hope to target all industrial zones that have waste treatment facilities by 2020.

Around 90 to 99 per cent of local citizens in both urban and rural areas in these provinces are expected to have clean water available to them by 2020.

OVs in Germany hit out at illegal Chinese oil rig

Nearly 800 Vietnamese and their German friends on June 14 gathered at downtown Hannover city, the capital of the north-western state of Niedersachsen, to protest against China’s illegal placement of its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981 in Vietnam’s waters.

They held national red flags and banners aloft, shouting “ China must pull its rig out of Vietnam immediately”, “Hoang Sa – Truong Sa belong to Vietnam ” and “ China must respect international law”.

Making their way through thoroughfares, many burst into a popular Vietnamese song “ Noi vong tay lon ” (Circle of unity), with some even voicing their self-composed music pieces to demonstrate that Vietnam loves peace and justice.

They were joined by Germans from states as far as Oldenburg , Magdeburg and Bremen , following on from other peaceful marches in the major cities of Berlin , Frankfurt and Munich.

On the occasion, participants also raised donations in support of coast guards and fishermen at home.

Since early May, China has illegally maintained the rig and a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft in Vietna ’s waters.

Despite Vietna ’s protests, China has expanded its scale of operation and moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 36 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 11 seconds east longitude, which is 60 nautical miles deep inside Vietnam ’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

As of June 14, China kept about 120 vessels of all kinds around its rig, and its fishing vessels, assisted by coastal guard ships, aggressively disrupted regular fishing activities of Vietnamese boats, pushing them 38-40 nautical miles away from the rig.

Pacific Partnership benefits Vietnam’s public health

A group of American engineers has helped fix and upgrade a medical station in the central city of Da Nang.

The activity, in Hoa Quy ward, is one of several undertaken by the group of over 400 crewmembers of the Japanese landing ship Kunisaki, which docked at the city’s Tien Sa Port on June 6 to join the 2014 Pacific Partnership programme.

The support was necessary to help the medical station, which has been downgrading after 25 years of its operation, and improve the quality of healthcare services for local people.

During the programme from June 6-15, American experts also introduced the latest laser treatment technology for burns patients to Da Nang General Hospital, enabling 54 local patients to benefit from the treatment.

Peter Schumaker, Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at the US Naval Medical Centre San Diego, said that the Da Nang hospital is one of the few medical centres in the world to have received the technology. He expressed hope that long-term medical cooperation between the two sides’ doctors will be boosted.

Associate Professor and Doctor Nguyen Nhu Lam, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Burns, said Vietnamese doctors need to learn more from the techniques transferred by their American colleagues to heighten the efficiency of the treatment they offer.

American navy experts and doctors also held symposiums to share their experience with Vietnamese colleagues in a range of fields, including rehabilitation, safe blood transfusion and cardiovascular problems.

The Pacific Partnership, promoted by the United States Navy (USN) in 2004, aims to improve collaboration between the region’s military forces and charitable organisations during disaster relief operations, while providing humanitarian and medical assistance to regional countries.

It has to date offered healthcare services to around 250,000 patients in regional nations and implemented 170 technical projects in 14 Asia-Pacific countries.

Information minister calls for press planning

Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son has stressed the need to introduce press reforms to ensure a stronger news media.

Son told the June 15 episode of the TV programme “People Ask, Minister Answers” that substantial planning is required to reduce the number of media agencies and create a legal framework to ensure that the quantity and quality of the country’s news output are both more effective.

Vietnam now has 838 print newspapers, 67 radio and television networks with nearly 200 audio and visual channels, plus about ten foreign TV channels operating in the country.

Vietnam has also seen strong development of online newspapers, which are becoming a main source of information.

However, the rapid expansion of the press system has raised alarm among many people who feel that the resources and money being poured into the sector are being wasted.

In addition, competition for readers among media outlets has led to a rise in unverified or untrue news reports being published alongside increasingly sensational news and photo stories, leaving readers unsatisfied and badly informed.

Minister Son affirmed that many online newspapers have broken regulations stipulated in Vietnam’s Press Law.

Since 2011, the ministry has punished online papers for publishing errors 62 times, including a fixed-term suspension on two publications, the revoking of press registrations and a ban for editors at fault.

The minister warned against readers taking their news from publications that don’t provide supporting evidence or verification. He said these news outlets infringe the fundamental regulations in press operations.

Last year, the ministry developed a decision on the management of the provision of internet services and online information, which was issued along with the Government’s decree on administrative punishment in press and publication activities.

VNN/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/ND

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