Social News 31/8

Six missing from cargo ship sunk off Hai Phong

Six Vietnamese crew members were reported missing when a cargo ship sank off the coast of the northern city of Hai Phong in the afternoon of August 28.

According to the Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre, the vessel Phu Cuong 0148 carrying 3,000 tonnes of coal sank five nautical miles southeast of Ha Mai Island, near Bach Long Vy Island, at 3:40 pm.

The information was passed on to search and rescue units in Hai Phong, and local authorities and boats operating near the site were deployed to search for the missing persons.

Expressway opens in HCM City

The Viet Nam Expressway Company (VEC) yesterday held a ceremony to open a 20-km section of the 55-km HCM City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay, with Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong attending.

The inaugurated 20-km section running from Ring Road II in District 9 in HCM City to National Highway 51 in Long Thanh District has six lanes, including emergency lanes.

At the ceremony, the deputy minister, who highlighted the effectiveness of the expressway to the southern economic hub, praised the efforts of investors, contractors and consultants in speeding up construction for the project's completion in 2015.

After the ceremony, trucks of over 10 tonnes and container trucks from 20 feet to 40 feet long will be allowed to use the highway.

The expressway allows vehicles to travel at 120km per hour, and at 100km per hour on Long Thanh bridge.

The construction of 55 km of the HCM City- Long Thanh – Dau Giay expressway project began in October 2009, with a total investment of more than VND20.6 trillion (US$981 million) sourced from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

HCM City mitigates risks of falling trees

Chairman of the HCM City People's Committee Le Hoang Quan asked relevant organisations on Thursday to set up rescue teams on streets with many ancient trees.

On Tran Hung Dao Street from District 1 to District 5 and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street from District 1 to District 3, the teams would warn residents about heavy rain, strong winds and whirlwinds.

Recently the city saw heavy rain that knocked down trees, injuring pedestrians. The most serious accident happened on August 17 when a tree fell down on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street in District 1, killing one person, injuring two others and damaging some vehicles.

Bac Kan’s remote areas to be powered

A project to bring electricity to 143 remote hamlets and villages in the northern mountainous province of Bac Kan was kicked off in Khang Ninh commune, Ba Be district on August 28.

It has a total investment of 308 billion VND (14.6 million USD), with 85 percent coming from the central budget and the remaining from the Electricity of Vietnam.

Under the project, the province will construct a 240-km 35kV overhead power line and 96 three-phase power stations with a total capacity of 3,395kVA. More than 280 km of 0.4 kV power line will be built.

Once completed in 2016, the project will provide electricity for nearly 6,000 local households.

The project reflects the attention of the Party, State and Government to the lives of people in Bac Kan mountainous areas, said Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nong Van Chi.

He also called on all parties involved to cooperate effectively to accomplish the project on schedule. As a poor province, Bac Kan is facing numerous challenges in socio-economic development, he said, adding that the project will contribute to the province’s industrialisation and modernisation of agriculture and rural areas as well as improving locals’ living standards.

WB funding to reduce poverty in Central-Central Highlands regions

A project funded by the World Bank (WB), aiming to boost poverty reduction in the Central and Central Highlands regions, was ceremoniously launched in the central province of Quang Ngai on August 29.

Speaking at the event, director of the National Project Coordination Committee Tran Ngoc Hung said the six-year project will be carried out in line with the financial assistance agreement signed between the WB’s International Development Association (IDA) and the Vietnamese Government in April 2014.

Its objective is to improve the livelihoods in low-income communities in 26 districts in the Central Highlands provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai and Kon Tum, and the central provinces of Quang Nam and Quang Ngai, in expectation of benefitting over 540,000 people.

In addition, the project will also provide opportunities for ethnic minority groups in the Central Highlands to break away from poverty by encouraging them to get involved in socio-economic development measures run in their localities.

The project focuses on infrastructure, sustainable economic development, communications and project management.

Vietnam’s National Day celebrated abroad

The Vietnamese embassies in many countries have held ceremonies marking the 69 th anniversary of Vietnam’s National Day (September 2, 1945).

At a reception hosted by the Vietnamese Embassy in India on August 28, the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, Vijay Kumar Singh, suggested both countries work harder to enhance their multi-faceted cooperation, particularly in the fields of the economy, defence and security.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Nguyen Thanh Tan said the two countries will collaborate closely in joint fields of strength, such as tourism, business and citizen exchanges.

The Vietnamese Ambassador to Norway, Le Thi Tuyet Mai, took the occasion to thank Norway for its official development assistance to Vietnam, which is greatly useful for the country’s poverty reduction, socio-economic development and institutional reform programmes.

She said both countries have high hopes for stronger bilateral cooperation in years to come, particularly once the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Agreement Association (EFTA) is completed.

In Japan , a ceremony hosted by the Vietnamese Consulate General in Osaka on August 28 was attended by Osaka Vice Governor Tadakazu Konishi, President of Osaka Prefectural Assembly Kenji Okazawa and Sakai City ’s Mayor Takeyama Osami, among others.

Consul General Tran Duc Binh said the upgrading of bilateral ties to an Extensive Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in Asia during President Truong Tan Sang’s visit to Japan in March this year acts as a foundation for bilateral multi-dimensional cooperation.

Japanese enterprises and friendship organisations in Kansai pledged to continue their support for and cooperation with Vietnam, bringing prosperity to both countries.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau honours over 390 heroic mothers

The authorities of southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province on August 28 presented the title “Vietnamese Heroic Mother” to 393 local women whose husbands and children laid down their lives for the country’s independence.

Among those, only 37 people are alive.

According to Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Van Phuong, in recent years, the local authorities have taken practical actions to look after heroic mothers.

The department will work with the Vietnam Fatherland Front’s local chapter to call for donation from organisations and enterprises operating in the province in order to better care for the mothers in the coming time.

Jetstar runs first emergency evacuation drills using aircraft

Jetstar Pacific is the first airline in Vietnam to practise an emergency evacuation and landing on water using a real airplane at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City, on August 28.

The crew’s ability to evacuate passengers was tested in a simulation of an Airbus A320 cancelling take-off after encountering a problem with accelerating.

Another crew had to show their evacuation skills in a simulated emergency landing on water.

The crews successfully carried out the evacuations, taking 12.59 seconds for the pre-take-off evacuation exercise, completing it under the 15-second standard announced by the US Federation Aviation Administration; and 13.58 minutes for the emergency landing, compared to the FAA maximum of 15 minutes.

The drills were part of efforts undertaken by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to improve aviation safety and review emergency evacuation training.-

BIDV offers scholarships and computers to Laos

The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) on August 28 signed a contract to provide academic scholarships and computers for several ministries of Laos.

During the 2014-2018 period, the bank will provide 50 scholarships for Lao students in three universities in Vietnam and four in Laos, with the aim of improving their knowledge and skills and supporting the country’s construction, development and integration.

These students will also have the chance to work on probation for BIDV, the Lao-Viet Bank, and businesses of the Association of Vietnamese Investors in Laos.

Additionally, BIDV will also give 150 computers to Laos’ Ministries of Defence, Finance and Foreign Affairs to make their work more efficient.

Since 2005, the bank has actively supported social welfare activities in Laos, with focus on education, health, and natural disaster responses, thus contributing to the country’s socio-economic development and the special friendship between the two countries.

Education experts urge career lessons

Vietnam's education experts on August 28 called for more efforts to better prepare students for their respective career choices and entry into the labour market during their years in secondary education.

They gathered at a meeting organised by the National Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children to discuss the national project to reform textbooks and curricula beginning in 2015, which the Ministry of Education and Training is drafting.

A majority of the participants agreed that Vietnamese students were experiencing extreme pressure whenever they were preparing for examinations and remained vague about their career choices and the idea of life-long learning.

Tran Thi Tam Dan, former Chairperson of the NA Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children, said the system should be divided into 10 years for basic education and two years for career orientation.

But Professor Dao Trong Thi, Chairman of the NA Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children, said students should only spend nine years in basic education and after that, either enroll in vocational schools or spend another three years in preparation for university.

Currently, Vietnamese students enroll in elementary school at the age of six from Grades One to Five, then move on to Secondary School from Grades Six to Nine and High School, from Grades 10 to 12.

The participants noted that a majority of students devoted all these years to studying, with the sole purpose of entering university, and have no idea about what to do if they failed to pass the national university entrance examination.

Dan also urged the Ministry of Education and Training to encourage individuals, organisations and the private sector to take part in writing textbooks, a prevalent practice in a number of Western countries.

Professor Nguyen Minh Hac, who was Education Minister from 1987 to 1990, said that if changes were not carefully and immediately done on the current educational system, Vietnam would continue to have thousands of unemployed university graduates, a major concern for a country in desperate need of young talent.

Hac said the pressure for students to enter university was so great that 1.2 million students would compete in entrance examinations every year, with some private universities even trying to lure more students by lowering the required entrance scores to a level deemed as "unacceptable."

He also agreed that the last two years should be used for classifying students who either want to go to universities and colleges or want to immediately enter the labour market.

The system should make sure that after entering the labour market, students could return to school to pursue higher education at any time, Hac added.

"Any reform of our textbooks and curricula must go hand-in-hand with the reform of our teaching and learning methods and a change in this entire society's mindset," Hac stressed.

"Learning is not for examinations. It is meant to improve their lives and that of their families, their communities and the entire society."

Professor Ho Ngoc Dai, a renowned educational psychologist, said the project must receive inputs and suggestions from the children themselves.

"The children of the 21st century are so different, and we cannot force them to study in the same way we or previous generations did," Dai remarked. "We want to make sure that studying and going to school can make the children happy, and they must be at the centre of all the reforms we are seeking."

Dai added that the reform of pedagogical schools was also critical to ensure that teachers would keep pace with and adapt to change.

Malaysian National Day marked in HCM City

Senior Vietnamese and Malaysian officials expressed hopes for a stronger friendship and better cooperation between the two countries for their common prosperity at a ceremony to mark the 57th National Day of Malaysia (August 31) in Ho Chi Minh City.

Chairwoman of the Vietnam–Malaysia Friendship Association in Ho Chi Minh City Nguyen Thi Tuyet Nhung affirmed that Malaysia is Vietnam ’s ninth largest trade partner, with two-way trade hitting 9.1 billion USD in 2013, added that the figure is expected to reach 11 billion USD before 2015.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Consul General in HCM City Shazryll Zahiran said that in the past 40 years, since the two countries set up their diplomatic ties in 1973, the bilateral ties have seen unceasing development in various fields.

The constant exchanges of high-ranking delegations of the two sides, particularly the visits made by several important Malaysian officials during just a short time recently, have proven the significance that Malaysia attaches to the diplomatic relation with Vietnam , he emphasized.

Both officials shared the same belief that with the joint efforts of the two Governments and peoples, the bilateral friendship and cooperation will further thrive.

On the occasion, Zahiran also extended his congratulations to the people of Vietnam over their 69 th National Day (September 2).

Prime Minister Dung sets priorities

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung provided guidance on several key projects and reports at the government’s meeting in Hanoi on August 27-28.

Regarding a draft pilot project on renewing the operational mechanisms of the National Economics University, the Ho Chi Minh University of Economics, the Foreign Trade University and Hanoi University, the government agreed to draw up a resolution, he said.

Besides the right to exercise self-control, the universities are to take responsibility for training, scientific research, equipment, personnel and finance.

Other academic institutions wishing to be granted the same privileges can submit their plans to relevant agencies and have to undergo supervision and inspection.

The government leader also informed participants that the State will provide tuition assistance for poor and underprivileged students.

With reference to a draft project commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Training on updating textbooks, the PM requested the final document to be submitted for consideration soon.

Under the draft scheme, the 12-grade system will remain in place while the ministry will compile a set of sample textbooks. Others will be urged to join the efforts at a later time.

The preliminary report on the application of information technology submitted by the Ministry of Information and Communications ranked 11 ministries and agencies as “rather good”, while three localities as “good” and 51 others as “average”.

The PM gave the green light to the Ministry of Science and Technology to submit its proposal on special mechanisms and policies for the Vietnamese-Korean Institute of Science and Technology for approval.

The government also consented to temporarily halting the implementation of a circular on the import of second-hand machinery and equipment, since some of its terms are not feasible in practice.

In response to concerns over the possible impact of exempting cross-border trade worth under 2 million VND (95 USD) per person per day on smuggling, Dung told concerned agencies to consider dropping the decision.

He also asked ministries and localities to examine the function, mission, organisation, structure and workforce of each administrative agency and public unit.

International cancer workshop held in Hue

Local doctors and nurses and international experts on cancer have gathered in Hue city, central Thua Thien-Hue province, to share experience in diagnosis and treatment and care for patients.

The August 29 workshop, held by Hue General Hospital in collaboration with the American Society of Clinical (ASOC) Oncology, underscored subjects on digestive, breast and gynecological cancer.

Latest therapies, achievements, as well as new medicines in treatment were introduced at the event.

Hue General Hospital is well-known for its achievements in laparoscopic colon surgery, targeted molecular therapy, conserve and aesthetic surgery in breast cancer.

The hospital has opened training courses on laparoscopic colon surgery for doctors from Singapore, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Earlier on August 27-28, a training course on cancer was held for doctors and nurses nationwide with the participation of specialists from Hue General Hospital, the ASOC and the University of Hue Medicine.-

Binh Duong builds new general hospital

The southern province of Binh Duong on August 28 kicked off construction of a 1,500-bed general hospital in Thu Dau Mot city.

The 19-storey new hospital will be built at a total cost of over 2.3 trillion VND (110 million USD). Its construction is expected to be completed within nearly one year.

According to Vice President of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Van Nam, the current 1,000-bed Binh Duong General Hospital , equipped with out-dated machines, is always overloaded and no longer able to effectively provide healthcare services to the booming local population of around 1.8 million.

Therefore, the new hospital, with modern and high-quality equipment, will better serve the increasing demands of local residents, he said.

German certificates granted to 63 Hanoi students

The Embassy of Germany awarded the German language certificate (DSD I) to 63 students of Foreign Language Specialized School and Viet Duc High School in Hanoi on August 29.

The certificate is an important condition for students if they want to apply for a university course in Germany.

The Head of the Culture and Press Department of the German Embassy in Hanoi, Jonas Koll, said that behind the certificate is a German language programme in high schools across the globe, which provides students not only German language but also the philosophy and workmanship of German people.

Under the "Schools: Partners for the Future" (PASCH) initiative supported by Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the number of high schools permitted for German language learning and exams has exceeded 1,000 worldwide.

In Vietnam, a network of 17, PASCH partner schools has been established since 2007, teaching German as a foreign language. Germany courses are all free.

Since 2008, the Foreign Language Specialized School and Viet Duc (Vietnam-Germany) High School have organized exams of German certificates.

From late 2013, with DSD I, students will be granted a visa to attend a pre-departure course in Germany before enrolling at a university.

PM Dung approves 27th IBO organization plan

PM Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a scheme on organizing the 27th International Biology Olympiad (IBO) in Viet Nam in 2016.

The contest is planned to take place in Ha Noi from July 17-26, 2016 with the participation of around 70 delegations from 70 countries and territories.

Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan was appointed to head the National Steering Committee on Organizing IBO 2016.

The organization aims to encourage the study of  biology at schools, detect and train talents in the subject.

The organization will follow IBO’s regulations to the contest hosting country and Viet Nam’s law.

In the 25th IBO in July in Indonesia, Vietnamese students bagged one silver and three bronze medals.

Japan's Smart City Week 2014 attracts 50,000 attendees

The annual Social Innovation 2014 / Smart City Week 2014 International Conference and Exhibition in Japan is set to host some 50,000 participants with 3,000 plus visitors from 80 countries and regions.

Nikkei Business Publications, Inc., organizes the annual event from October 29-31, 2014 at Pacifico Yokohama Hotel and Convention Center in the Minato Mirai area of the city for interested individuals, professionals, academics, experts, and local and national governments.

The event features a dizzying array of programs, conferences and exhibits designed to show how the application of technology in urban settings can help improve the standards of living in communities, boost sustainability and revitalize economies.

Yosuke Mochizuki, Director of Nikkei BP Cleantech Institute which oversees this event within Nikkei Business Publications, said that Smart City itself covers a myriad of issues and challenges for our modern lifestyle.

"Our goal is to outline and share the challenges of growing cities from the social innovation perspective and at the same time, bring business fully into the picture so enterprises can work together with governments and citizens to create a win-win situation for all," Mochizuki said.

Over the past three events, there was significant growth of interest in how Japan grappled with the challenges of pollution, lower birthrates and ageing populations, disaster preparation and handling and how Japan works through these challenges to attain better living environments for citizens across the board.

"We have experts from around the world present on cutting-edge thinking behind city building and we want to convey that, for instance, the social issues faced in Cebu or Madrid can be similar to those faced by Tokyo or Mexico City. The issues might be at different stages or on a smaller or larger scale, but challenges are borderless and we can share so much when we come together to learn how to build a better future for our children via interaction at all levels," Mochizuki added.

Over the past three years, the Smart City Week International Conference and Exhibition has continued growing and is now the world’s largest conference focused on how to develop cities in a kinder, efficient and sustainable manner.

This year, the conference further evolves and doubles in size around the theme of Social Innovation across various sectors. The event will broach visions for society and the role of cities – and other relevant topics such as Disaster Prevention, Infrastructure Renovation, Advanced Healthcare and the Impact of Technology.

About 30 kilometers to the southwest of Tokyo, Yokohama is a port city of about 3.5 million people. It is the largest and most ambitious of the Smart City demonstration projects in Japan.

It won the World Smart Cities Award at the Smart City Expo World Congress 2011 and has been touted as an example of how to take an established city forward on the Smart City path.

Vietnam has enough A/H5N6 vaccines for poultry

The volume of A/H5N6 vaccines for poultry is sufficient for an avian flu outbreak, said the agriculture ministry’s Department of Animal Health following the first cases recently detected in the north.

Dam Xuan Thanh, deputy head of the department, said on the sidelines of a meeting on livestock held in Hanoi Tuesday that clinical symptoms of A/H5N6 flu are similar to those of H5N1. The vaccines for H5N1 (Re-5 strain) and Navet vaccines manufactured by National Veterinary Company (Navetco) can be used to prevent the A/H5N6 virus, he added.

“However, we should not be ignorant and still need to develop vaccines for poultry,” Thanh said.

The department has recently detected the virus in flocks of chicken, ducks and red pheasants in Lang Son Province’s Trang Dinh District, Ha Tinh Province’s Ky Anh District and Lao Cai Province’s Bao Thang District. This virus strain is up to 99% similar to the one killing a man in Sichuan Province, China in May.

According to the department, the outbreak in Lang Son is around five kilometers from the border with China where there is a high possibility of poultry smuggling. Meanwhile, ducks found contracting the virus were raised with mallards.

However, Thanh said the reason for the outbreak in Lao Cai is hard to be identified as red pheasants infected with A/H5N6 were kept in the enclosed farm in over two years and nearby flocks tested negative for the virus.

Thanh added that after the flu occurred, provinces have collected samples of poultry in surrounding areas for analysis and all results were negative.

Besides, the department and the General Department of Preventive Medicine have instructed provinces hit by A/H5N6 to combat the flu, adopt sterilization measures and enhance the monitoring of poultry in high-risk areas, especially in gathering and purchasing points to handle flu outbreaks timely and prevent it from spreading to humans. They are also ordered to tighten supervision of smuggled poultry and poultry products.

The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have coordinated to launch measures to prevent the spread of the A/H5N6 virus from poultry to humans; advise people to reduce exposure to dead or ill poultry as well as their waste, wash hands with soap and antiseptic, eat well-cooked poultry and only use poultry products of clear origins.

Vietnam welcomes around 5.5 million int’l tourists in first eight months

According to the National Statistics Department, the number of international tourists to Vietnam in the first eight months reached around 5.5 million, up 12.2 percent compared to the same period last year.

Tourists visiting Vietnam for travel and recreation reached nearly 3.3 million, while 919,000 arrivals came to Vietnam for business purposes, and 941,000 arrivals arrived in Vietnam to visit relatives.

The country saw a sharp increase in tourist arrivals from countries and territories worldwide over the same period last year, counting from the beginning of this year to date.


falling trees, WB, Jetstar, vaccines