Deforestation declines but usual suspects unchecked

Deforestation declines but usual suspects unchecked

 Illegal deforestation so far this year was slightly lower than for the same period last year.

In October, illegal clearing throughout the nation amounted to about 600ha, about 50 ha less than at the same time last year.

However, the people responsible for protecting the timber have been shown, time and time again, to be almost totally ineffective.

This was announced at a meeting held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Da Nang on Monday, Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper reported.

According to the Forest Protection Department, certain localities, such as Bac Kan, Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Quang Binh, Quang Nam and Son La are hotspots for illegal tree clearing, said deputy head of the Viet Nam Ministry of Forestry, Do Trong Kim.

Poachers illegally cut down low-grade trees to grow others for milling and other purposes.

Kim said there was a shortage of about 3,000 forest rangers, which added to the difficulty of managing and abetting the situation.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ha Cong Tuan, said that unapproved deforestation was done in or around forest areas supervised by local forest-protection and management boards.

The boards have to monitor more two million hectares of the nation's forest land.

"However, most of the boards were incapable of doing this," Tuan said.

The ministry will submit plans to the Government to re-allocate the management of forest lands to fix the situation, he said.

Tuan said the Government also needed to increase the number and quality of forest rangers in the meantime.

Korean firm fined for wastewater discharge

Environmental Police from the Ministry of Public Security have fined Miwon Vietnam VND515 million (US$24,000) for discharging wastewater into the environment.

The Korean company, based in the northern province of Phu Tho, discharged wastewater that exceeds the permitted level by 10 times.

The company, which produces monosodium glutamate, food seasoning and flavouring products, must suspend operations for three months and deal with the pollution within six months.

In April, the provincial People's Committee imposed administrative penalties on the company for the same violation.

Five injured in house fire in HCM City

Five people were seriously injured in a fire at a guesthouse in HCM City's Binh Thanh District yesterday.

The door was locked, so it took firefighters 20 minutes to break inside and rescue the victims, all members of the family renting the house. They are being treated at Cho Ray Hospital.

The case is currently under investigation.

Biological Technology Center conducts 70 researches in 10 years

HCMC Biological Technology Center celebrated the tenth anniversary of its establishment and development on December 2.

Attended the ceremony were Secretary of HCMC Party Committee Le Thanh Hai, Deputy Standing Secretary of HCMC Party Committee Vo Van Thuong and Vice Chairman of HCMC People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem.

Over past ten years,  the center has implemented over 70 science researches in medicine and pharmacy, plants and microbiology field.

There were over 150 staffs in the center, including ten Professors, 39 Masters and dozen of postgraduates. Most of them have  graduated from foreign universities.

Speaking at the ceremony, Deputy Standing Secretary of HCMC Party Committee Vo Van Thuong stressed that although Ho Chi Minh City began investment in the biotechnology field ten years ago, the center achieved the first step in specializing city’s agricultural field, with average growth of six percents, aiming to take the city become the country’s center in the field.

In the upcoming years, the center will focus on upgrading infrastructure and implementing policies to attract talents in the biological technology sector,  Mr. Vo Van Thuong added.

On the occasion, the HCMC People’s Committee handed over national flag and certification for best experts  in the center.

Ministry urges close watch of arrivals from plague endemic areas

Vietnam has not detected any cases of plague in humans since 2003, announced the Ministry of Health (MoH) on December 2.

The first plague case was identified in Nha Trang in 1898.

Vietnam remains at risk of plague invading as plague carriers may enter the country with international arrivals and the transportation of goods and can penetrate and infect rodents and humans.

In November, the World Health Organisation announced a plague epidemic in Madagascar. The country has recorded 119 infected cases, including 40 casualties as of November 16. China also recorded one case of pneumonic plague in Gansu province. In the US, four cases of plague were detected in Adam county, Colorado.

To actively prevent and combat plague, the MoH has directed local health departments to enhance preventive measures against the disease, in addition to conducting annual plague epidemiology in provinces and regions at risk (such as localities with previously recorded plague infected cases).

The ministry urged close monitoring of means of transport by sea, rail, and road at international border crossings and border gates, particularly from countries with plague in circulation in humans and animals.

Centres for medical quarantine were asked to conduct health checks and closely monitor travelers, vehicles and goods imported into Vietnam, while also enhancing hygiene to get rid of rats and fleas on ships and planes.

Preventive medical centres should closely monitor any patients with high fever, swollen lymph nodes, and symptoms of respiratory distress syndrome, especially those returning to Vietnam from the affected areas, for prompt detection and treatment to minimise the risk of spreading plague.

Germany helps Vietnam improve power transmission network

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development will provide a loan package worth EUR200 million to help modernise the electricity transmission network in small and medium-sized cities in Vietnam.

The loan package is the outcome of the visit to Vietnam from November 28 to December 3 made by State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development Dr. Friedrich Kitschelt, with a focus on the Germany-Vietnam co-operation on vocational training, energy and the environment.

Efficient energy use is key in the green growth strategy of Vietnam, said State Secretary Friedrich Kitschelt.

Innovative network technology will help reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions resulting from electricity transmission, while ensuring the supply of electricity at a low cost, contributing significantly to regional economic development and environmental protection, he added.

During his visit, State Secretary Kitschelt witnessed the signing of the loan agreement worth EUR100 million for the improvement of the city grids with the Vietnam Ministry of Finance.

In addition, he also held talks with the Minister of Planning and Investment and Deputy Minister of Finance on policies to promote the private sector and discussed the conditions for economic development in Vietnam in accordance with the National Strategy on Green Growth by 2020 with a vision to 2050.

The German State Secretary also embarked on a fact-finding tour to Bosch Vietnam’s training centre in Long Thanh Industrial Park, in the southern province of Dong Nai.

Ethnic minorities’ literature and arts are indispensable part of Vietnam’s culture

The development of literature and arts from ethnic minority groups, an indispensable part of Vietnam’s literature and arts, reflect the unity of diversity in Vietnam’s culture.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam made the statement at the fifth congress of the Literature and Arts Association of Ethnic Minority Groups for the 2014 – 2019 tenure in Hanoi on December 2.

He also reaffirmed that the Party and State pursue consistent policies on developing mountainous regions and living areas of ethnic minority groups.

He expressed his hope that the association would make further contributions to realising Party and State guidelines and policies on ethnicity, improving the spiritual life of ethnic minorities groups, and consolidating the national great unity bloc.

He urged the association to discover and nurture writers and artists from ethnic minorities while preserving and upholding cultural heritages of the groups.

The congress attracted the participation of over 500 members from 48 cities and provinces across the country.

The congress appointed a 21-member executive committee for the new term, with Nong Quoc Binh reelected as Chairman.

Tet train tickets of some routes sold out

The railway sector on December 1 started to sell train tickets for the coming Lunar New Year, or Tet, via websites but the fares of some routes were quickly sold out.

Ticket buyers told the Daily that they were unable to book tickets for the trains from HCMC to the central provinces of Quang Binh and Nghe An days before the biggest holiday in Vietnam.

Nguyen Bien Cuong said he had to wait at Saigon Railway Station from 5 a.m. on December 1 but could not book a seat on the train to his hometown in Quang Binh Province because all tickets of the HCMC-Quang Binh route had been reserved.

Many passengers could not find tickets for the trains which stop at the stations near their homes. Phan Diem Quynh had to buy a ticket to Hanoi instead of Vinh City in Nghe An as there were no train tickets left for the HCMC-Vinh route.

All tickets for the Tet trains from HCMC to Quang Nam, Ha Tinh and Thanh Hoa provinces on good days had been booked at www.dsvn.vn, www.vetau.com.vn, and www.vietnamrailway.vn.

Dinh Van Sang, deputy general director of Saigon Railway Station, said the number of tickets to small stations is fewer than those to big stations in cities and provinces. After online sale, the Saigon Railway Station will sell tickets on-the-spot to passengers from December 6.

The railway sector also requested passengers who have successfully booked their tickets online to make payments at the designated banks or post offices within 48 hours after bookings otherwise their reserved seats will be canceled.

Passengers can access the websites to book tickets for the trains to destinations of their choice and settle payments by the cards issued by 30 domestic and foreign banks.

Buyers can pay train fares directly at the 205 transaction points at post offices in HCMC and 53 transaction points of Vietnam International Bank (VIB) in the city, Dong Nai and Binh Duong provinces.

Passengers will have to get their tickets at the train stations of departure 30 minutes before trains depart.

Health ministry reassures public of measles-rubella vaccination

The Ministry of Health has encouraged parents to have their children vaccinated against measles and rubella to avoid an outbreak although several cases showed post-vaccination reactions in some localities.

A few days ago, 17 primary students were brought to Ayun Pa General Hospital in Gia Lai Province due to dizziness, nausea and vomiting after the injection.

Earlier, 12 out of 68 students of Binh Thanh Tay Primary School in Quang Ngai Province also had similar symptoms. In HCMC, four students at Binh Tri Dong A Secondary School became dizzy, anxious and fatigue after taking measles and rubella vaccines.

Tran Dac Phu, head of the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health, said his agency has recorded very few cases with dizziness, headache or fainting phenomena during vaccination. He explained this is a chain-reaction of psychological phenomenon due to anxiety, which has been mentioned by the World Health Organization.

According to the General Department of Preventive Medicine, rubella is an acute infectious disease caused by virus, spreading through the respiratory tract via coughing, sneezing or close contact with infected patients.

The disease can develop into a pandemic because of its high infectiousness. High risk groups include children and adolescents. The disease usually begins with initial symptoms such as headache, fatigue, conjunctivitis, mild fever and nasal discharge.

Rubella is particularly dangerous for pregnant women. It can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth. Children of rubella-infected mothers will be exposed to risks of birth defect such as heart disease, deafness, cataracts, retardation or death.

Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia to hold youth conference

A conference on youth cooperation among Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia will be held in Hanoi and northern Quang Ninh province from December 5 to 11.

The conference, which is jointly organised by the Commission for Foreign Relations of the Party Central Committee and the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, will bring together 60 delegates from three countries.

Participants will discuss measures to boost youth cooperation and exchange experience in mobilising young people to play a greater role in socio-economic development and voluntary community activities.

A series of activities including meetings, workshops and tours to historical sites and landscapes will be organised to educate the young delegates on the traditional friendship and solidarity between people of the three nations.-

Vietnam, US share labour safety, sanitation experience

US experts shared their experience in ensuring labour safety and sanitation with their Vietnamese peers at a workshop held by the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) and the US Department of Labour (DoL) in Hanoi on December 4.

Participants agreed that Vietnam has seen positive progress in this work, with bettered laws related to labour safety and sanitation, improved labourers’ health and a harmony between labour relation and others.

MoLISA Deputy Minister Doan Mau Diep said that over the past years, the ministry has maintained close coordination with the International Labour Organisation, Japan , Germany , and the Republic of Korea in the labour field.

It hopes for more cooperation and information sharing with the US , which is one of the world’s leaders in ensuring labour safety and sanitation, he added.

Mark Mittelhausel, DoL representative, stressed the urgent need to ensure labour safety and sanitation as accidents at work can kill up to 60 people per day and nations have to spend 4 percent of their GDP on compensations.

Vietnam and the US are able to collaborate more closely in hot issues related to the work, particularly child labour, he stated.

Participants also called for joint efforts from State agencies, organisations, associations as well as employers and employees themselves in ensuring labour safety and sanitation.

Hanoi benefactors lend hand to HIV/AIDS patients

More than 200 organisations and individuals donated over 3.3 billion VND (157,100 USD) to Hanoi’s support fund for people living with HIV on December 4 as a way to extend their assistance to the target group.

Addressing the fund-raising programme, Vice Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc said the city has recorded 21,000 HIV/AIDS sufferers, including over 5,000 AIDS patients and nearly 4,000 deaths, since the first case was detected 21 years ago.

As many as 535 communes and wards across Hanoi have reported HIV cases with 294 out of every 100,000 people got the virus on average, she said, adding that 87.3 percent of the patients are of working age, which is from 20 to 49.

The capital city has undertaken a number of measures to prevent the transmission of the virus and help HIV-infected people integrate into the community, Ngoc noted, while admitting that the incidence of HIV cases has yet been reduced, and a number of the patients are orphans or people without stable jobs and income.

Since its inception four years ago, Hanoi’s support fund for HIV patients has raised more than 8 billion VND (over 380,900 USD) and run an array of practical activities, including two projects providing care for the target group at a cost of 89,000 USD.

At the event, held in coordination with the Hanoi Radio and Television Station, the organisers presented 14 passbooks to people living with HIV.

Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia join hands to fight disease

Representatives from the health sectors of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia attended a seminar in Da Nang city on December 4 addressing measures to form a joint action programme to prevent the spread of infectious diseases across borders.

Addressing the seminar, the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department Deputy Director Dang Quang Tuan highlighted recent cooperative efforts of preventing the spread of infectious diseases among the health ministries.

Tuan shared experiences between the nations on health quarantine under the bilateral agreement and the International Health Regulations.

Delegates also proposed solutions and plans to cope with contagious diseases, especially Ebola epidemic in the time ahead.

Mr Ngu Duy Nghia from the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) said Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have to face the outbreak of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, avian influenza, measles, plague, hand-foot and-mouth disease. There have been only 27 quarantine stations along a 3,000 km of borderline of the three nations, leading to difficulties to control diseases.

The spread of diseases has been attributed to the expanded exchange among regional nations, urbanisation, globalisation and climate change and public awareness about food safety and hygiene.

Phan Cong Hung from HCM City’s Pasteur Institute said there has not in the past been strong co-ordination among provinces with common borderline to implement health quarantine work at international border gates.

Delegates agreed upon an action plan for infectious disease prevention, especially the Ebola epidemics at border gates. They also proposed the regular exchange of information on the diseases through email, enhanced capacity for health quarantine system and organise periodical meetings to assess the implementation of signed agreements.

US finances child labour prevention project

The Prime Minister has adopted a US-financed project on enhancing the national capacity of preventing and minimizing the use of child labour.

The project will be carried out over 60 months in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong delta An Giang province and other localities by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA).

It provides technical assistance for the examination and revision of laws and policies related to child labour in conformity with Vietnam's international commitments, thus enhancing the capacity of Vietnamese agencies and related organisations in addressing child labour issues.

The project is underway with total investment of US$9.2 million, including US$8 million in non-refundable aid from the US Department of Labour and the remainder is counterpart capital.

Disadvantaged children presented with bicycles, scholarships

As many as 200 underprivileged school children in Ho Chi Minh City were presented with bicycles and scholarships worth US$24,200 from the 2014 “Real Life Journey” programme at a ceremony held in the city on December 4.

Among them, 80 received bicycles while 110 others were awarded with scholarships “Back to School” worth VND3 million (US$140.5) each and ten with scholarships worth VND5 million (US$234) each.

“Real Life Journey” was co-launched by the National Fund for Vietnamese Children and AIA Vietnam Life Insurance Co., Ltd in early 2014 in an effort to raise fund and call on more support from society for disadvantaged children.

The programme has gone throughout 22 cities and provinces across the country, including Hanoi, Hai Phong, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Dak Lak and Can Tho, to deliver 770 bicycles to underprivileged students with a total fund of VND1.3 billion (US$60,900).

According to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, some 200,000 Vietnamese children dropped out school every year mainly because they had to walk to school while the schools were far from their homes.

Information Safety Day 2014

The annual Vietnam Information Safety Day under the theme “Information safety, security and national sovereignty” was held by the Ministry of Information and Communications in Hanoi on December 4.

The event focused on international and national information security issues, including the increasing number of internet attacks targeting the major databases of organizations and enterprises, and personal information.

Addition to the main workshop on information safety, there were two discussions on protecting national information channels and the risk of losing information from handheld devices.

An exhibition featuring advanced information safety technologies attracted a large number of visitors.

Vietnam gains progress in ensuring children’s rights: UNICEF official

Vietnam has achieved considerable progress in ensuring children’s rights since it participated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, said UNICEF Representative in Vietnam Youssouf Abdel-Jelil.

Vietnam was the first country in Asia and the second in the world ratifying the convention one year after it was approved by the UN General Assembly in 1989, Abdel-Jelil addressed a ceremony held by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Hanoi on December 4 to announce the “State of the World’s Children 2014” report.

The country saw a decrease of 75% in the fatality rate among under-five children, and completely eliminated paralysis in 2000 and tetanus in mothers and newborns in 2005 thanks to high vaccination. Almost all children gained access to school.

Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Doan Mau Diep thanked international organisations for their coordination with Vietnamese ministries and agencies in protecting, caring and educating children over the past time.

The report will serve as a tool to help Vietnam understand its position and the results it has gained in implementing children’s rights in comparison with other nations in the region and the world, he added.

He affirmed that his ministry will continue working with others to better policies and laws related to children and improve basic social welfare, particularly child protection services with the focus on poor children and those living in far-flung areas.

Diep also praised ideas and initiatives from children and youths to help ensure children’s rights.

On this occasion, UNICEF highlighted several initiatives Vietnam has carried out to improve the lives of children, including a programme to provide instant nutritious food for malnourished children, day boarding schools for ethnic students, and a programming contest on mobile phones targeting children.

National Action Month on Population launched in Hanoi

On December 4, the Hanoi Health Department launched the National Action Month on Population with a view to promoting communication campaigns on family planning.

In his speech, Department Deputy Director Hoang Duc Hanh highlighted the outstanding achievements in population and family planning work which have contributed to raising per capita income and improving living conditions in the city as well as enhancing gender equality.

The city has met or surpassed all targets for population and family planning in 2013 and 2014. However, unsustainable reduction in birth rate and fluctuating sex ratio at birth remain huge challenges to the capital city, Hanh said.

The city will closely work with relevant agencies to fine-tune its policies on population and family planning while education campaigns will be promoted to raise the public awareness on population in the run up to the Vietnam's  Population Day (December 26).

French language teachers, students receive Valofrase award

Ten teachers who have contributed to developing the French language at high schools in Vietnam received Valofrase awards at a ceremony hosted by the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) and the International Organisation of La Francophonie in Hanoi on December 3.

The awards were also presented to 50 students who earned high scores on Group D3 of literature, mathematics and French language during the 2014 university entrance exam and won prizes at the national academic competitions.

This is the recognition of the efforts by the teachers and students in the teaching and learning of the French language, said MoET Deputy Minister Nguyen Vinh Hien.

The award ceremony was part of the Enhancement of French in Southeast Asia programme (Valofrase), which aims to promote the French language in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. It has been implemented in Vietnam since 2006.

Seminar looks at climate change mitigation

Vietnam is one of countries most negatively affected by climate change, especially in the Mekong Delta region, was the message of speakers at a seminar on December 4 held in Danang.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Thai Lai said in recent years, climate change has adversely impacted both production and living conditions.

However, climate change could also be an opportunity because its effects can be anticipated and mitigation measures implemented which should spur the country’s poverty reduction and sustainable development.

Realizing its threats to national sustainable development, the Government has timely made an overall plan and to cope with climate change. On December 2, 2008, it approved a national target programme to respond to climate change (NTPRCC).

In addition, the Ministry of Science and Technology has worked with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to build and implement scientific and technological programme to serve the NTPRCC in the 2011-2015 period.

After three years of implementation, the programme has put forth a prognosis of the impact of climate change and sea level rise and devised specific and general solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation to ensure sustainable development.

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

Deforestation, HIV/AIDS, child labour, Information Safety Day, UNICEF
 
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