Social News 10/9

Impoverished Central Highlands people receive free medical checkups

A free medical checkup and gift offering programme will come to people in nine impoverished communes in the mountainous district of Kon Plong, the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum from September 11-18.

Entitled “For a better life in Kon Plong”, the programme is a joint effort of the Family Medical Practice Vietnam (FMP) in collaboration with the Israeli Embassy in Vietnam, aiming to improve living conditions for more than 3,500 local households in these communities.

The charity group, which comprises 20 doctors, 30 nurses and 70 care assistants will also guide the locals on basic hygiene practices in daily life. They plan to present the Kon Plong district hospital a new ultrasonic machine and hold information exchanges on public health issues programmes for local medical staffs.

On the occasion, the group will dig two water wells for people in Hieu commune and paint a semi-boarding school in Mang But commune. All students at the school will be gifted school supplies for 2016-2017 school year.

The FMP and the Israeli Embassy also send food, clothes and other daily necessities to the local communities.

Kon Plong is one of the poorest districts in Vietnam with the highest mortality rate and lowest life expectancy in the region. The infant mortality rate in the locality remains high due to home birth and a lack of medical workers.

The district is home to mainly ethnic minorities such as Xe Dang, Mo Nam, Ca Dong and H’Re.

Vietnam may raise retirement age as seniors' health improves

The overall health of retirees has improved and so retirement ages should be raised, Deputy Minister of Labor, Ward Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Trong Dam has said.

“The retirement age may be raised differently for men and women and in various sectors,” he said at the opening of a three-day conference that opened in Hanoi on September 6 to discuss the issue.

Those engaged in heavy and hazardous jobs would continue to retire at the current ages of 60 for men and 55 for women, he added.

NGO HelpAge Asia Pacific’s biennial conference, titled “The Economic Implications of Ageing”, has attracted more than 300 officials and experts from 35 countries and territories.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, chairman of the Vietnam National Committee on Ageing, said the average lifespan in Vietnam has increased to 76.6 from 66 in 1990.

“The number of older people is increasing and will equal that of young people. So the government will discuss solutions to overcome challenges and promote the role of older people.”

According to HelpAge Asia Pacific, the ageing population will lower economic growth in coming decades, partly because of a shrinking and less productive workforce.

Civil society and the private sector need to anticipate changes by adapting policies, services and programs affecting areas such as healthcare, the labor market, pensions, savings and consumption, it said in a statement.

Economic growth should be shared equitably and that growth reduces poverty and vulnerability among ageing societies, it said.

Governments should take key steps to maintain manageable budget trends while honoring a commitment to improve the welfare of older citizens as their numbers increase, it added.

HCM City – new destination for MICE tourism in Southeast Asia

Ho Chi Minh City will become a new destination for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) tourism in Southeast Asia thanks to its dynamic development, especially in transport infrastructure and accommodations.

The remark was made by domestic and foreign travel agencies, investors and experts attending a seminar introducing destinations in the Greater Mekong Sub-region held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Ho Chi Minh City on September 7.

According to Duong Thi Hoang Yen, a representative from the municipal Department of Tourism, Ho Chi Minh City is a place connecting many cities and provinces nationwide as well as 24 major cities in the world, with unique architectures, beautiful landscapes and entertainment centres. It has nearly 120 three to five-star hotels with 14,787 rooms.

Ho Chi Minh City owns a lot of favourable conditions for developing MICE tourism such as good infrastructure, convenient transport and high-quality accommodations, said Gilbert Whelan, CEO of the US’s Riverlege company.

However, participants noted limitations in developing MICE tourism in the city, including traffic congestion at peak hours, environmental pollution and poor services. They suggested the city increase English training for traffic police and volunteers to better support foreign visitors.

Nguyen Quy Phuong, head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism’s Travel Department, affirmed that Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam in general will do their utmost to provide the best conditions for tourists.

Other cities such as Hanoi, Danang and Ha Long will be new destinations for MICE tourism in the future, he added.

Phú Yên warns drivers of traffic black spots

Authorities of central Phú Yên Province have warned drivers of nine “black spots” where road accidents could occur along some national highways passing through the province, following recent inspection.

They include black spots on national highways 25, 29 and 19C, crossing Sơn Hòa, Đồng Xuân, Phú Hòa and Tây Hòa districts, which have recorded a year-on-year increase of three per cent in the number of traffic accidents over the past eight months.

The number of traffic accidents along these highways accounted for 26 per cent of the total figure of the whole province during the period.

The province reported 155 traffic accidents since the beginning of the year, killing 72 people and injuring 150 others, according to the provincial Department of Transport. 

Director of the transport department Nguyễn Thành Trí said these highway sections crossing the province showed signs of deterioration and required urgent upgradation to ensure safety of drivers.

The department proposed that the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam promptly deal with these hot spots by installing more warning signs along roads, upgrading roads, installing speed reduction markings and expanding dangerous turns.

Initially, the department was asked to clear trees and obstacles along the roadsides hindering drivers’ visibility, install warning signs, increase inspection and supervision along these roads.

The transport ministry is considering the department’s plan to tackle these black spots and another 14 areas in the province with high risks of traffic accidents by spending an estimated VNĐ8 billion (US$356,000).

Contemporary dance to enthrall Vietnamese audiences

The sixth edition of the international dance festival “Europe meets Asia in contemporary dance” will take place in Hanoi and HCM City from September 24-27.

According to the Goethe Institute, the organiser, international dancers from Germany, France, Israel, Japan, Austria, and Vietnam will perform contemporary dances in a variety of styles with breathtaking choreography and light and media installations. 

The event promotes contemporary dance in Vietnam , allowing artists to exchange and share experiences. 

"Europe meets Asia in Contemporary Dance" is an initiative of the European Union National Institutes for Culture, a network of European cultural institutes and embassies in Hanoi, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institute in Vietnam, the Vietnam Youth Theater and the HCM city Ballet Symphony Orchestra.-VNA

Vietnam calls for UNDP’s help in ethnic minority-related affairs

Chairman of the National Assembly (NA)’s Ethnic Affairs Council Ha Ngoc Chien has called on the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to support Vietnam in organising training courses for deputies to the NA and all-level People’s Councils in ethnic minority-inhabited areas.

The courses aim to equip the deputies with knowledge and capacity for researching, analysing and assessing policies towards ethnic minority groups, Chien told Louise Chamberlai, UNDP Country Director in Vietnam, in Hanoi on September 6.

At the meeting, the official proposed the UNDP coordinate with his council to evaluate the implementation of the national target programmes on poverty reduction and new-style rural area building, and others on socio-economic development in extremely difficult villages and communes.

He also suggested the 2017-2021 joint strategic plan between the Vietnamese Government and the UN, which is being drafted, pay special attention to ethnic minority people who face numerous difficulties in integration and development.

Host and guest also reviewed outcomes of cooperation between the council and the UNDP over the past time, especially the project on enhancing budget supervision capacity of people-elected agencies in mountainous and ethnic minority-inhabited areas.

Louise Chamberlai noted her hope that the two sides will hold regular meetings and share information about issues of mutual concern in the time ahead.

Project helps enhance meal quality for under-5 children

Mothers having under 2 year-old children in rural areas in the northern mountainous provinces of Thai Nguyen and Bac Giang have benefited from a nutrition communications project launched by the National Institute of Nutrition under the Ministry of Health from April 2014 to March 2017. 

The project, funded by the Safe Water and Nutrition Project (SWAN) under the International Life Science Institute’s Centre for Health Promotion of Japan, has helped enhance capacity for health workers and key leaders at communes in communications on nutrition and food safety. 

It has assisted communal officials in communication activities to popularise sufficient nutrition and safe supplements for children aging between 6-24 months, while providing mothers with knowledge of food safety and nutrition for children. 

Meanwhile, it also worked to change care givers’ practices in making supplementary food for children, contributing to minimising the malnourished ratio among under-five-year-old children. 

According to the National Institute of Nutrition, the project has also offered training courses for the Preventive Medicine Departments in districts and provinces on the topic. 

The project has been expanded to the northern provinces of Ha Nam and Ninh Binh since April this year.-

“Creative France” programme introduced to Vietnam

The programme “Creative France”, which features the dynamism of France’s innovation and economic activity, was introduced to a press conference in Hanoi on September 6. 

The project was announced by the French President in June, 2015, aiming to tap the country’s strength in industry, culture and arts. 

French Ambassador for International Development and CEO of Business France Muriel Penicaud, who is from the French Agency for International Business Development, said France’s cultural diversity is a condition to foster creativity. 

Vice President of Airbus’s International Operations and Public Affairs Bruno du Pradel, for his part, informed the media that Airbus has signed three contracts to sell 40 aircraft worth 6.5 billion USD to three Vietnamese carriers during the French President’s visit from September 5-7. 

Secretary of State for Trade, Crafts and Social Solidarity Economy Martine Pinville also attended the press conference.

9th Full-Moon Festival to be held in Da Nang

The ninth edition of the “Full-Moon Festival – Lightening Vietnamese children’s dreams” will take place on September 11 in the central city of Da Nang and Hoi An ancient city in neighbouring Quang Nam province.

Themed “ship of dreams”, this year’s event aims to nurture Vietnamese children’s love for their homeland, especially sea and islands.

The programme, to be broadcast live on Vietnam Television’s VTV1, is expected to draw 200 children from the central coastal localities of Quang Tri, Thua-Thien-Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai.

Participating kids will have a chance to exchange with each other, visit historical and cultural sites in Da Nang and share stories on their life and dreams. 

Initiated in 2009, the annual programme has come to many provinces and cities nationwide including the northern province of Tuyen Quang, Hanoi, the central province of Nghe An, and the southern cities of Ho Chi Minh and Can Tho.

On the occasion of this year’s full-moon festival, there will be another programme providing cultural and art performances, games, free medical check-ups, gifts and scholarships for children in the northern provinces of Thai Nguyen, Tuyen Quang, Cao Bang, Bac Kan and Ha Giang.

HCM City authorities to fight erosion

The HCM City People’s Committee has instructed districts and relevant departments to urgently draft plans to relocate people living in erosion-prone areas.

They have also been ordered to regularly inspect erosion-prone areas along rivers and canals and demolish construction works that encroach on them and remove other properties placed on protection corridors. 

Some of the most threatened places are in Thanh Đa in Bình Thạnh District, along Ông Tố Canal in District 2, along the Sài Gòn River in Củ Chi District, and near the Tân Thuận Bridge No 1 in District 4.

The People’s Committee has instructed the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to monitor and penalise people illegally mining sand in rivers and canals.

It has tasked the Department of Planning and Investment with securing priority funding for building embankments in eroded areas.

As of July there were 47 such places along rivers and canals, three more than a year earlier.

In Cần Giờ, the threat also comes from the sea.

Of the 47, more than half are considered especially serious, threatening the lives and properties of people living along them and the safety of waterway transport, according to the city Inland Waterway Authority.

The authority has installed warning boards at the eroded areas and worked with local authorities to persuade people to move to safer places.

The city will relocate 1,210 households living near erosion-prone areas along rivers, canals and beaches under a 2016-20 residential zoning plan, according to the People’s Committee.

They will be moved to residential areas, some built specifically to relocate people, mostly in Thủ Đức, Bình Chánh, Nhà Bè and Cần Giờ districts.

Vietnam uses 3,000 test kits to detect dangerous diseases

Vietnam will use 3,000 three-in-one test kits, which are called Trioplex, to speed the diagnosis of Zika virus infections as Zika virus develops complicatedly in some Southeast Asian countries, said Dr. Tran Dac Phu, head of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Phu said that most of Southeast Asian nations reported infection cases of Zika virus disease and the number of infection tends to escalate in some countries especially in Singapore. Though testing of virus’ gene showed that the virus is not as lethal as that in the South America yet medical workers should not ignored.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Health decided to use 3,000 three-in-one test kits to increase medical facilities’ detection. The kits will allow doctors to determine in a single test whether a person is infected with Zika, dengue or chikungunya, the Ministry said.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided Vietnam with the three-in-one laboratory test for mosquito-borne infections. A representative of FDA highly appreciated Vietnam’s quick response to the epidemic and confirmed it would be willing to support Vietnam’s epidemic monitoring system.

Campaign to kill mosquito’s larva launched across country

Vietnamese Ministry of Health yesterday proposed chairpersons of people’s committees across the country to increase prevention against Zika virus disease and dengue fever.

As per the Ministry’s proposal, toactively prevent the two diseases , locality administrations should implement campaigns to kill mosquito and its larva. The campaign calls on households in that areas to adopt a range of mosquito control and prevention measures including changing water in vases and bowls on alternate days, removing water from flower pot plates on alternate days, turning over all water storage containers.

Noticeably, the ministry urged local administrations to find organizations and individuals that do not implement anti-mosquito measure intentionally.

The ministry also ordered medical institutes to closely supervise and early detect infection cases for timely treatment and handling. Additionally, medical facilities must take samples of suspects to send to epidemiology institutes and Pasteur institute for testing.

Furthermore, local governments sprayed chemicals two or three times a week to kill mosquito.

Infirmaries should follow the ministry’s instruction to treat patients and minimize death.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said the country has three infection cases so far and some foreigners are detected to have Zika virus disease after travelling to some nations including the Southeast Asian countries. 

The cases of dengue infection stopped short in recent weeks yet it is rainy season and unpredictable weather are conducive to mosquito breeding to transmit Zika virus disease and dengue; accordingly, the cases of infection will escalate if local administrations don’t implement prevention measures determinedly.

As per the World Health Organization’s announcement, so far 70 nations and territories  have reported the presence of Zika virus disease and 11 nations reported the transmission between people to people. 

Especially, the first case of Zika virus disease in Singapore was announced on August 28 and the country has over 200 cases of infections now.

Vietnam aims for half of communes getting new-style rural status

The national target programme for building new-style rural areas between 2016-2020 sets a goal of having at least 50 percent of communes meeting new-style rural area criteria by 2020.

It also encourages each province and centrally-managed city to have at least one district recognised as the new-style rural district.

To realise the objectives, the Prime Minister has promulgated a plan to realise an emulation movement in response to the programme.

Under the plan, the Central Emulation and Reward Council will select provinces or centrally-run cities; and ministries, agencies, organisations and State-owned economic groups with outstanding performance in building new-style rural areas for rewards.

Provinces or centrally-run cities will select districts meeting new-style rural building criteria, 5 percent of communes obtaining the title and 5 percent of communes recognised as model new-style rural areas in the 2016-2020 period.

Each ministry, agency and organisation will nominate two or three affiliates and one or two individuals with excellent achievements in the movement for rewards. Meanwhile, each province or centrally-run city will introduce two or three outstanding individuals.

According to regulations, communes which attain the title will be granted one billion VND (45,000 USD) worth of welfare facilities while districts will be rewarded the third-class Labour Order and welfare facilities worth 10 billion VND (450,000 USD). 

Provinces which obtain the new-style rural model will receive the first-class Labour Order and 30 billion VND (1.35 million USD) worth of welfare works. 

Outstanding units and individuals will be offered the certificate of merit or even the third-class Labour Order and rewards. 

The programme aims to build new-style rural areas with a view to lifting the material and spiritual living standards of people, developing socio-economic infrastructure, and achieving economic restructuring. 

It also aims to combine agricultural development with that of urban areas and create a democratic, equal and stable rural society with traditional cultural identities. 

The number of criteria completed by communes in the country on average must increase to 15 out of 19 and no commune should have completed less than five criteria. 

Under the programme, necessary facilities like roads, electricity, clean water, schools and medical stations will be developed. 

Total State investment capital for the national target programme is estimated to be at least 193 trillion VND (8.66 billion USD), of which 63 trillion VND will be from the central budget and 130 trillion VND from local budgets.-VNA

Dak Lak to combine coffee-gong culture festivals

The Central Highlands province of Dak Lak will combine its coffee festival with its gong culture festival and introduce the first of this kind in 2017. 

According to the provincial People’s Committee, the combined festival, from March 9-13, 2017, will save time and money while promoting local signature culture and Buon Ma Thuot coffee brand. 

Dak Lak has the largest coffee-growing area in the country with over 200,000 hectares and a total yield of 450,000 tonnes of beans, accounting for around 40 percent of the whole country’s output. The Dak Lak coffee has been exported to over 80 countries and territories. 

The cultural space of gongs, possessed by the locality and the entire Central Highlands, was recognised as an Oral Masterpiece and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005. 

At the moment, the coffee festival takes place in March while the gong culture festival opens in October.

HIV prevention project launched

A new project was launched on September 5 to control HIV among young drug users in Vietnam with funding from Expertise France, a French agency for international technical expertise. 

The project “Saving the Future – Innovative Strategies to Control HIV Infection among Young people who Use Drugs in Vietnam” was proposed and implemented by the Centre for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI). 

The three-year project received funding worth 860,000 EUR (960,900 USD). 

Khuat Thi Hai Oanh, executive director of SCDI, said that the project would start with a study to understand the background of young drug users and their social connections, the effects produced by drugs, and behaviour that might put them at risk of HIV.  

This information would help develop intervention strategies. 

The project will provide funding to community-based organisations to implement intervention programmes effective for young drug users in their locality, she said. 

The project is planned to work with networks of key populations and 20 community-based organisations in eight provinces and cities to reach at least 8,000 young drug users with services to help them avoid HIV infection. 

The eight localities include Hai Phong city, Thai Binh, Quang Ninh and Ninh Binh in the north; the central province of Nghe An; and the southern province of Khanh Hoa as well as Hanoi and HCM City. 

Nghiêm Vu Khai, Deputy President of the Vietnam Union of Sciences and Technology Associations (VUSTA), said, “This is a compliment to a project supported by the Global Fund to address HIV among key populations that is being managed by VUSTA in 15 provinces.” 

Drug use among young people was a concern for the Party, the National Assembly, the Government as well as society as a whole since it affects the economy, society, health and the next generation, he said. 

“We hope that this project, besides preventing HIV infection, contributes to reducing harms associated with drug use and to increase social integration of young people,” he said.

Salbutamol imported for manufacturing medicines: Health official

The recent resumption of salbutamol imports is to meet the demand for production of medicines containing the substance in hospitals nationwide.

Trương Quốc Cường, head of the Việt Nam Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health, gave this information while speaking to the Vietnam Plus online newspaper yesterday.

Earlier, in August, the administration gave the green light to the Central Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company and the Vacopharm Joint Stock Company to import 50kg of salbutamol each to manufacture medicines.

The decision has sparked public concerns because salbutamol was found to be illegally used in animal breeding in late 2015. The use of the substance in breeding has been banned in Việt Nam since a decade. It stimulates growth in animals and makes them lean.

Cường said when it was discovered that the substance was used in animal breeding, the health ministry ordered a suspension of the import of the substance nationwide.

Following several months of cooperation with the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to correct the situation, the health ministry allowed the two companies to import the substance, he said.

According to Cường, drugs containing salbutamol, included in the list of essential medicines of Việt Nam (issued in December 2013) and the 19th WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (issued in April 2015), are widely used worldwide.

Nebulised salbutamol and salbutamol tablets are particularly necessary to treat respiratory diseases, including asthma. Additionally, salbutamol is also used in obstetrics to control the pain of early labor and postpartum uterine involution.

Meanwhile, statistics from the health ministry showed that Việt Nam currently has over five million people suffering from asthma and more than 1.3 million people with chronic lung disease.

To strictly supervise the use of imported salbutamol, the drug administration had sent messages to the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Agriculture asking them to join hands, Cường said.

The two companies permitted to import salbutamol were ordered to periodically report to the health ministry on the quantity of salbutamol being used to produce medicines, he added.

Localities asked to tighten Zika, dengue fever prevention

The Ministry of Health has asked provinces and cities to tighten the prevention of Zika virus and dengue fever nationwide, according to a document released yesterday.

The ministry suggested to localities that they strengthen their campaigns on killing mosquitoes and larva in households and in the community.

Provincial health departments have been requested to tighten supervision for early detection of Zika and dengue fever cases for timely handling of outbreaks.

Hospitals and medical stations are required to prepare facilities and medicine for receiving and treating suspected Zika and dengue fever cases or patients in an effort to minimise fatalities.

Provincial information and communication departments have been asked to disseminate recommendations of the health ministry on mass media to strengthen the community’s awareness on the virus and dengue prevention. 

The move has been made following Singapore’s rapidly increasing cases of the Zika virus in the last few days.

As of noon yesterday, there were 16 new cases, bringing the total number on the island to 258.

According to the World Health Organisation, as of August 28, the virus was found in 70 countries worldwide, including 11 countries where the dangerous virus had infected human beings.

Việt Nam also reported three cases while several foreigners were detected with the virus after travels to some Zika-affected areas, including Việt Nam.

Autumn book fair to highlight digital books

Online books will be the highlight of the Autumn Book Fair scheduled to take place at Thống Nhất Park between September 9 and 13.

The online book area will introduce the most recent online book editions and an online trading forum of publishing houses and distribution units. Free applications for digital books will also be available.

The section for new books will offer a modern reading space with the latest and the best-selling books.

There will also be a section for calligraphy art, café, tea shops and areas for introducing advancements in publishing, information technology and telecommunications.

Several authors will interact with the audience during the fair. Workshops on culture, politics, history, copyright trading and translation will also be held.

Free teaching Math in English for 6-12 year old students

University of Science & Nature in Ho Chi Minh City launched a free online Math studying for students aged 6-12 in a bid to improve their English. 

The university will use learning inventory of KhanAcademic’s website. Accordingly, students need to sign up in the website and they will receive an account to register in classes. 

Each day, students are encouraged to spend 20 minutes for home study courses via Khanviet’s website. They will do exercises under observation and instruction of experienced supervisors.

The online class is totally free.

The program is a part of education project named STEM supported by the US Consulate. 

The course will start on September 9, 2016. Further information at website:

Military land to be used to build metro station

The HCMC government will use more than 2,658 square meters of military land in Tan Binh District for constructing a metro station of Metro Line No. 2 linking Ben Thanh Market in District 1 and Tham Luong in District 12.

The lot near Tan Son Nhat airport is under the management of Vietnam Air Force-Air Defense and Lung Lo Construction Corporation. The city will pay compensation in line with law.

At a meeting with fund providers on the progress of Metro Line No. 2 in March this year, HCMC chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said the city would speed up site clearance to ensure the project would meet the approved schedule.

The metro project has a total length of 11.3 kilometers, including a 9.3-kilometer underground section, a 0.8-kilometer elevated section and a one-kilometer track connected to the 25-hectare Tham Luong depot.

The project was previously planned to cost US$1.37 billion, with US$540 million lent by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), US$313 million by the German Reconstruction Bank (KfW), US$195 million by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the remaining US$326 million from Vietnam’s reciprocal capital.

However, the total investment of the project has been adjusted up to over US$2.07 billion, up US$700 million (51%) compared with the earlier approved cost, excluding spending on preparations and maintenance.

The HCMC Urban Railway Management Board attributed the investment pickup to inflation and appreciation of the U.S. dollar over the Vietnam dong, higher material cost and salaries, and design change of the metro line.

Metro Line No. 2 should have been built from 2010 and put into operation in 2018. However, as the new design will not be approved by the last quarter of this year, the project is expected to be up and running by 2023 or 2024.

Phong said in the fourth quarter of this year that HCMC would approve adjustments to the metro project and has agreed with proposals of lenders to put up tenders and make such adjustments at the same time.

HCMC to ban trucks on roads near TSN airport

The HCMC Department of Transport has said that trucks will be banned from the streets near Tan Son Nhat International Airport from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day starting from September 10 as a measure to ease increasing traffic congestion.

Trucks will not be allowed to travel on the section of Truong Son Street from Huynh Lan Khanh Street to Truong Son Intersection, the section of Pham Van Hai Street from Nguyen Trong Tuyen Street to Hoang Van Thu Street, and the sections of Thang Long and Hau Giang streets from Cong Hoa Street to Truong Son Street.

Vehicle parking will be forbidden on Truong Son Street which connects to Cong Hoa Street from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The department has announced alternative routes for trucks when the ban takes effect.

To facilitate work on the section of Tan Son Nhat-Binh Loi-outer ring road from Truong Son Street to Nguyen Thai Son Street, Hong Ha Street and the street running through Gia Dinh Park leading to Tan Son Nhat airport were turned into one-way streets last Saturday.

Earlier, Dang Tuan Tu, director of Tan Son Nhat International Airport, proposed limiting some types of vehicle on Truong Son Street to cope with worsening traffic gridlock. The reason was that after Pham Van Dong Street was opened to traffic, Truong Son Street became a main route for vehicles to travel from Thu Duc, Go Vap, and Binh Thanh districts to Tan Binh and Tan Phu districts and District 12.

Disbursements for calamity-hit provinces long delayed

A Government-approved assistance package totaling VND2 trillion (US$90 million) should have been disbursed for the drought- and salination-hit Mekong Delta provinces in May and June but has ground to a halt due to poor coordination between relevant agencies.

None of the provinces had got money from the package to solve the consequences of the drought and salinity, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said at the first meeting of the Prime Minister’s working group in Hanoi last week.

The Government Office’s General Department asked why the disbursement had been delayed. Dung explained the ministries of planning-investment and agriculture-rural development have not reached a consensus on the disbursement despite many meetings.

Dung said his ministry wanted VND80 billion (US$3.6 million) of the package to be allocated to each of the calamity-hit provinces to help them urgently dredge reservoirs and widen canals to channel water into rice fields. However, the agriculture ministry wanted to use part of the money for half-done projects in the sector.

Mai Tien Dung, Minister-Chairman of the Government Office, said many coffee and pepper plants were withered due to drought and salinity after the Prime Minister had called for urgently handling the case and simplifying procedures to quickly disburse the VND2-trillion package for affected provinces.

He said the Ministry of Planning and Investment should have reported to the Government as soon as it failed to reach a consensus with the agriculture ministry.

According to the working group, from early January to August 22 the Ministry of Planning and Investment had handled 9,065 out of 36,089 documents received and there were 15 overdue tasks out of 241 tasks assigned for the ministry.

Minister Nguyen Chi Dung explained that many tasks have been behind schedule as the ministry is responsible for managing interdisciplinary tasks and is facing work overload. He said the ministry receives invitations for 30-40 meetings a week.

The Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment reported that a scheme to establish an agency in charge of representing ownerships at State-owned enterprise (SOEs) has been 49 days later than the deadline.

CIEM submitted the scheme to the ministry over one month ago but was recommended to collect more comments of relevant ministries. Only six ministries sent their comments on the scheme.

Minister Nguyen Chi Dung said the establishment of the agency is a sensitive issue and received both consensus and disagreement as it is related to the structure of the Government’s apparatus. The ministry has consulted other ministries but has received no answers.

Minister Mai Tien Dung agreed that the scheme should be weighed carefully.

New facility teaches Vietnamese for young expats in New Zealand

The second facility to teach Vietnamese language in the Wellington Region, New Zealand, has been put into operation recently in an effort to preserve Vietnam’s identities among young expatriates. 

The facility is an initiative of the Vietnamese people association in the Wellington Region which made debut in August. 

At the opening ceremony in Lower Hutt city on September 4, Vietnamese Ambassador to New Zealand Nguyen Viet Dung said the second Vietnamese teaching facility in the Wellington Region, after the first one was set up in 2014, marks the growth of the Vietnamese community in the country. 

He said he hopes that similar classes in New Zealand will be a role model for overseas Vietnamese in other countries. 

Phung Thi Hong My, a voluntary teacher at the new class, said there are a large number of Vietnamese families in Lower Hutt, but they are unable to teach the mother tongue to their children effectively. 

The facility aims to provide favourable conditions for young people and children born in New Zealand since 2000 to develop their Vietnamese language skills, she added.

Vietnam forms proposals to better welfares for ASEAN migrant workers

A national meeting was held in Hanoi on September 9 to prepare for the ninth ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML), slated for this November in Vientiane, Laos. 

The AFML is an annual activity of the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN declaration on the protection and promotion of migrant workers’ rights. From November 9-10, the ninth forum will discuss existing social welfares for ASEAN migrant workers and work towards the mobility of social insurance for the target group. 

At the preparatory meeting, held by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), participants said amid growing integration and globalisation, migrant workers have substantially contributed to economic growth and sustainable development of both their home and host countries. 

Although the ASEAN Economic Community has geared up measures to facilitate the movement of skilled labour, most of regional migrant workers are low-skilled. 

The approaching AFML’s focus on social welfares for migrant workers is necessary and well-timed as many migrant workers in ASEAN haven’t benefited from social welfares. They have no longer enjoyed some of their rights at home and faced unfairness in their host countries. 

It is important to ensure equal access to social welfares between workers in the formal and informal sectors. The implementation of bilateral social welfare agreements to ensure the mobility of social insurance will help migrant workers ensure their rights when working abroad, participants noted. 

The meeting featured five sessions during which representatives of the Government and social organisations looked into activities done to realise the recommendations made at the previous AFMLs. They also suggested proposals for Vietnam to submit at the upcoming forums.

Scholarships given to disadvantage children in Binh Duong

As many as 1,000 children from difficult backgrounds have been given scholarship on the occasion of the Mid-Autumn festival which falls on September 8.

The scholarship granting, the 15th of its kind in the province, is a joint effort of the Binh Duong People’s Committee and the provincial Fund for Children, aiming to bring a joyful mid-autumn festival, while honouring outstanding students who have overcome their difficulties to obtain good results in their study.

The fund presented gift packages worth of 2.3 billion VND (105,000 USD) to needy children in the locality, including scholarships, bicycles and computers, as well as provide assistance for 25 kids under heart surgery.

On the occasion, the fund received three billion VND (136,000 USD) from donors to take care local children in difficult circumstances.

Over the past 19 years, the Fund for Children of Binh Duong has mobilised nearly 60 billion VND (2.7 million USD), provided over 5,500 scholarships, presented 84 computers, over 900 bicycles and more than 47,000 gift packages to disadvantaged children during special occasions such as the Lunar New Year, International Day for Children and the Mid-autumn festival.

The fund also supported several heart, eyes and palate operations for 429 children with congenital deformities.

Hà Tĩnh’s traffic inspectors’ cards revoked

The Ministry of Transport has ordered the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam to revoke the cards of two traffic inspectors in central Hà Tĩnh Province for allegedly taking bribes.

The two inspectors, Võ Văn Tự, 50, and Hồ Văn Thiết, 35, work for the provincial Road Management Division No 2.

On August 24, the provincial police department caught red-handed two inspectors receiving VNĐ5 million (US$224) from Trần Đình Hùng, an employee of the Hà Tĩnh-based Khải Hoàng Investment and Mining Joint Stock Company.

Previously, the inspectors stopped two trucks of the company carrying goods beyond the permitted loading capacity. The inspectors asked Hùng to give them VNĐ5 million ($224) to ignore the violations.

Local police have remanded the two suspects in custody to investigate the case further. 

Human traffickers sent to jail

The People’s Court of the southern province of Đồng Nai yesterday sentenced two people to a total of 33 years in prison for human trafficking and child trafficking.

Lý Cảnh Dzếnh, 44, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for human trafficking and Trương Thị Thùy Linh, 53, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for child trafficking.

According to the indictment of the provincial People’s Procuracy, Dzếnh would visit the northern provinces bordering China to buy clothes for sale in Đồng Nai and HCM City in 2013. During this period, Dzếnh got acquainted with two Vietnamese women, Sáu and Thảo, who lived in China. In mid 2014, Sáu and Thảo asked Dzếnh to provide them with Vietnamese girls. The women took the girls to China, selling them to men who wanted to marry the girls.

Dzếnh was promised VNĐ2 million (US$90) for each successful case, while the family of each girl was to get VNĐ30-35 million ($1,300-1,500).Subsequently, Dzếnh returned to the province’s Định Quán district to ask Linh and another suspect to provide more girls to sell to China.

Between August and October 2014, they cheated and sold six people to China, including a 16-year-old girl.

Dzếnh was defined as the mastermind, while Linh acted as the accomplice.

Further investigation to find more suspects, such as Sáu and Thảo, is ongoing

Vietnamese farmers participate in sustainable-agriculture models

Farmers across the country will benefit from a five-year agreement signed yesterday between the Việt Nam Farmer’s Union and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Under the 2016-20 agreement, farmers would have the opportunity to learn to run sustainable-agriculture models, as well as build connections in the agricultural value chain.

Additionally, officials of the union were targeted to be trained to improve their overall farming skills.

Lại Xuân Môn, head of the union, said the agreement was expected to equip domestic farmers with more knowledge to integrate the agriculture sector into regional and global communities.

Further, Henning Pedersen, director of IFAD, said the fund would continue supporting Việt Nam to develop the agriculture sector in the near future.


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