Thua Thien-Hue integrates tourism into craft villages development
The central province of Thua Thien Hue sees tourism as an important tool to preserve and develop handicraft villages in its villages’ development plan to 2020 with a vision to 2030.
From now to 2020, the plan aims to develop 10 handicraft villages and make them tourist destinations.
Those villages are the Hue bronze moulding village in Hue city, the Phuoc Tich ceramic village and the My Xuyen wooden-carving village in Phong Dien district, the Thanh Thuy conical hat village in Huong Thuy town, the My Lam conical hat village in Phu Vang district, the two Zeng textile villages in A Luoi districts, the Bao La bamboo weaving village in Quang Dien district, the Sinh folk painting village, and the Thanh Tien paper flower village in Phu Vang district.
Thua Thien-Hue has 92 handicraft villages, of which 42 are traditional handicraft ones with a long history.
Phan Ngoc Tho, Standing Vice Chairman of the Thua Thien-Hue People’s Committee, said it is important to revive handicraft villages along with developing tourism and brands.
The move is part of the province’s efforts toward the goal of attracting over five million visitors by 2020, and over seven million by 2030, making it one of the leading tourism destinations of the nation and in the region.
Cultural association of expats promotes Vietnam in Europe
The Huong Sac Vietnam – Au Chau (Vietnam’s charm in Europe) association has been set up by Vietnamese expatriates in France with the aim of preserving Vietnamese traditions and culture among the community in Europe.
According to head of the association Alain Vu Duc Hoang Mi, since it was established on April 16 last year, the non-profit organisation has held various activities to promote Vietnam’s culture, tourism and food in many European countries, including France, the UK, Belgium and the Czech Republic.
The association is currently selecting candidates for a beauty contest for Vietnamese women worldwide, slated for next April in the UK, and preparing to participate in a cultural festival of European ethnic groups.
It also plans to organise annual festivals for Spring, Summer and Autumn.
Counsellor Do Duc Thanh from the Vietnam Embassy in France lauded the association’s plans to work with other organisations to hold cultural events, which has fostered solidarity among Vietnamese expat communities in France and across Europe.
New publications on the history of South Vietnam released
HCM City’s publishing houses have released dozens of new books featuring the history of South Vietnam as part of the city’s cultural activities to celebrate the 42nd anniversary of Reunification Day on April 30.
Tim Trong Di San Van Hoa Phuong Nam (Cultural Heritage of South Vietnam), published by the HCM City Publishing House of Culture and Arts, features new documents on the history and folk literature of the southern provinces from 1900 to 1940.
The work was co-written by Nguyen Dong Trieu and Phan Manh Hung, who both spent several years in collecting and researching documents.
Another book on the South’s history by historian and author Huynh Lua was also released by the HCM City General Publishing House.
The book, Lich Su Khai Pha Vung Dat Nam Bo (History on Reclaiming South Vietnam), features the southern land between the 17th century and the 20th century.
It includes documents and information about the region’s politics, economy and culture in different periods.
New titles include a collection of old books featuring the history of South Vietnam published by the Tre (Youth) Publishing House.
The collection’s 12 books, written in French by members of the Indochina Scientific Research Association, were translated into Vietnamese by a group of translators led by Nguyen Nghi.
The books are about the history and development of Gia Dinh, Ben Tre, Chau Doc and Vinh Long.
Books featuring the South’s culture and lifestyle, written by researchers such as Vuong Hong Sen, Nguyen Dinh Dau and Nguyen Dong Chi, are also available.
Southwest region,Japan prefecture boost ties in environment protection
The Steering Committee of the Southwest Region received representatives from Japan’s Hiroshima Prefecture in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on March 13.
Sato Yoshio, head of the Hiroshima department of commerce, industry and labour, said Hiroshima has strengths in environmental treatment solutions and expects to form connection with Mekong Delta provinces having demand in the field.
The Japanese side proposed coordinating with the committee, Soc Trang province and Can Tho city in organising a business connectivity conference in September this year.
The conference will introduce Hiroshima’s technologies in water purification, seawater desalination, and solid and liquid waste treatment, among others.
Vice Chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee Dao Anh Dung said the treatment of waste water in raising tra fish and waste in pig farms are priorities of his locality.
Urban mud and waste treatment technologies are also needed, he added.
In June this year, a delegation of representatives from the steering committee, Can Tho and Soc Trang authorities will visit environmental treatment facilities in Hiroshima.-
An Giang asked to improve food products for export
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on March 14 met with leaders of An Giang province, a rice bowl of the Mekong Delta and the country, during which he asked the locality to improve the quality and added value of food products for export.
Leaders of the province asked for the PM’s approval on a hi-tech agriculture zone covering 200-300 hectares, a project to enhance connectivity in tra fish farming and to build a pig breeding centre with a capacity of about 650,000 piglets each year.
They also proposed that the PM consider the implementation of a 4.75 trillion VND solar energy project with a capacity of 210MW
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked An Giang to decide key products to be produced at the hi-tech agriculture zone in order to determine a suitable production scale.
He also assigned the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to help the province build connections for tra fish production, while approving the province’s proposal to recognise hi-tech enterprises.
He agreed on the implementation of the solar power project, but said that the project must not harm the environment.
An Giang is one of the four provinces in the Mekong Delta key economic region with high potential for agricultural and tourism development. However, the province’s agricultural sector has faced many difficulties due to climate change and extreme weather.
An Giang has also worked to transform its agricultural sector with a focus on aquaculture, rice and livestock breeding, while developing fruit farms.
Also on March 14, the PM visited the Dinh Thanh Scientific Research Centre in Thoai Son district of An Giang, a rice research institute owned by the Loc Troi Group.
According to MARD Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong, the production model developed by the centre is effective in rice production chains from research, varieties selection to cultivation and selling.
General Director of Loc Troi Group Huynh Van Thon suggested that the Government design strong measures and complete institutions and policies to protect intellectual property rights of rice scientists.
It is also necessary to reform land limitation policies to untie farmers and businesses, he said.
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc lauded the firm’s success in building an organic agricultural production model with high economic value, which is a good way to increase agricultural economic effectiveness.
Hailing the firm’s efforts in transferring agricultural technology to farmers, he expressed hope that the group will popularise its rice products in the Mekong Delta and northern regions.
With about 1,200 agricultural experts, the centre has successfully introduced Hat Ngoc Troi-branded rice, which was recognised as one of the three best rice varieties in the world during a recent rice conference held by The Rice Trader in Malaysia.
Commercial beekeeping - new source of income in Central Highlands
Beekeeping has gone from household business to commercial production with large numbers of beehives in the Central Highlands, providing a greater source of income for local ethnic minority communities.
According to the Steering Committee for Central Highlands, the region is now home to more than half a million beehives.
The hives produce more than 30,000 tonnes of honey a year or approximately 60 percent of the country’s total output, generating annual export revenue of 45 million USD.
Dak Lak province has about 1,500 beekeeping households who keep nearly 200,000 beehives. It ships more than 10,000 tonnes of honey and beeswax each year to dozens of overseas markets, such as the US, Japan, Canada and the Republic of Korea.
Farmer Nguyen Huy Bat in Tan Tien commune, Buon Ma Thuot city of Dak Lak raises 3,000 beehives with about 100 tonnes of honey harvested annually, earning yearly profits of 2 billion VND, not including income from other bee products like royal jelly and flower pollen.
The Central Highlands region possess a large area of industrial plants, for example, 573,400 hectares of coffee, nearly 259,000 hectares of rubber trees, and 70,000 hectares of cashew, not to mention natural forest. This has made the region a great place for bee farming.
However, a lot of work needs to be done for the business to become a sustainable livelihood for local people as there is still a limited source of high quality bee varieties and local queen bees are very vulnerable to diseases and pests.
The Steering Committee for Central Highlands has asked state agencies to help the farmers breed bee varieties to create better quality hybrids.
They should also provide beekeepers with knowledge and training on hi-tech breeding methods, advanced techniques of disease prevention, as well as food safety.
A child is sexually abused every eight hours in Vietnam
Recent statistics have revealed that over 1,000 children across Vietnam are sexually abused on a yearly basis, meaning that one child falls victim every eight hours.
The Gender Based Violence Prevention Network (GBVNet), a network of 15 organizations working on gender and gender-based violence in Vietnam, released an announcement on March 13 to voice their concerns over the alarming increase of child abuse cases in the country.
Over 1,000 children in Vietnam become victims every year, or one child every eight hours, the GBVNet said, quoting statistics of the Ministry of Public Security.
According to Nguyen Van Anh, director of the Center for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender, Family, Women, and Adolescents (CSAGA), many cases of child abuse have not been investigated properly, meaning the culprits have not been sternly punished.
In these scenarios, authorities require proof of any violation, and evidence of molestation is difficult to obtain, Anh said.
Meanwhile, the credibility of statements from young victims is often questioned, resulting in many inconclusive cases.
Dang Hoa Nam, head of the Department of Child Care and Protection under the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, backed the opinion by saying that regulations have not been laid out to aid the investigation of child abuse crimes.
Nam listed the ongoing case in the southern province of Bia Ria-Vung Tau, in which an accusation against a 76-year-old man harassing seven children is yet to be clarified after over six months.
State President Tran Dai Quang has had to give orders personally to expedite the investigation.
According to Nam, child abuse has become more serious in Vietnam and also more complicated as many offenses are committed by the victims’ relatives, step dads, or even birth fathers.
“These cases are just the tip of the iceberg,” the official warned.
Le Minh Tan, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, said that people must be on full alert.
In 2016, nearly 100 children in the southern city were molested, of whom 24 were raped, Tan revealed, adding that young victims are traumatized by the events.
It is necessary to raise awareness for parents and equip children with sufficient knowledge so that they can defend themselves against strangers, the official continued.
Several hotlines have also been established for local citizens to report cases of child abuse to the relevant authorities.
On March 13, the Hanoi Department of Police launched an investigation into the alleged molestation of an eight-year-old girl in Hoang Mai District, following an order by Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh on the morning of the same day.
On January 8, N.T.L., the victim’s mother, discovered her daughter had been sexually harassed, while the young girl claimed that the culprit was C.V.H., who lived in a nearby rented house.
Two months after L.’s accusation, police in Hoang Mai District concluded that there was not enough evidence for them to bring charges.
In another case, police officers in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City, held a press meeting on March 13 to talk about the purported abuse of 7-year-ol N.T.P.N.
N.’s mother discovered a bloodstain near her genitals and later took her to Tu Du Hospital for an examination.
Based on the results, doctors said that N. could have been abused, while the victim stated that she was molested by a man at school.
However, the Thu Duc Education Office later announced that the bleeding had refsulted from N. tripping and falling in her class.
Officers said that the girl’s statements were inconsistent, while her mother claimed that she was afraid to tell the truth at first.
The Ho Chi Minh City Association for Child Rights Protection has offered free-of-charge lawyers to assist N. and her mother during the entire case.
Police arrest 19 crystal meth users at northern Vietnam karaoke bar
Nineteen people from the northern Vietnamese city of Haiphong have been arrested after being caught using crystal meth during a birthday party at a local karaoke bar.
Officers from the municipal Department of Police carried out a surprise raid on The Voice Karaoke Bar, located in Le Chan District, Haiphong, around midnight on March 12, discovering multiple suspects high on crystal meth.
The drug users were caught red-handed in two of the facility’s VIP rooms as well as at the reception desk.
A total of 19 suspects were apprehended while an amount of crystal meth was also confiscated by officers.
Results of a quick examination showed that 13 out of the 19 detainees were under the influence of drugs.
After gathering statements, police decided to hold four of the suspects in custody to facilitate further investigation.
The four people included Van Huu Huong, 46, owner of the karaoke bar, and three party goers, namely Nghiem Hoai Nam, 35, Nguyen Thi Hong Van, 42, and Bui Tan Long, 41.
Among them, Nam had previously served seven years in prison for appropriation of property.
The suspects claimed that they were throwing a birthday party for Van on March 12, with all party goers being her friends.
Huong was in charge of arranging the VIP rooms for the group of customers despite knowing that they were bringing the stimulants in.
The karaoke bar owner even accepted their invitation to use the drugs with them.
Meanwhile, Long admitted that he was the one who brought the illegal products for his friends at the birthday party.
The case is still under investigation, while the other drug users have been transferred to a local rehabilitation center for further examination and sanctioning as per Vietnamese law.
Hanoi to have 359 air quality monitoring stations by 2020
A network of 359 air quality monitoring stations set to be installed by 2020 are expected to help Hanoi better cope with its worsening air pollution.
In addition to Hanoi’s ten existing environmental monitoring stations, as many as 349 more will be set up by 2020, according to a recent plan approved by the city’s administration.
Seven of the stations will run automatically throughout the year, while 352 will be operated regularly to monitor Hanoi’s air at different times of the year.
The ten monitoring stations already in place in the Vietnamese capital are funded by the French government, and have been useful in determining the main cause of the capital’s pollution, which is exhaust fumes from automobiles and motorbikes.
However, the installed stations can only provide indicators for limited areas of Hanoi, while a complete system of 359 stations by 2020 is crucial in improving the city’s capability to cope with its worsening pollution, said Nguyen Duc Chung, chairman of the municipal People’s Committee.
The local Department of Natural Resources and Environment will be responsible for drafting a scheme to improve the city’s competence in environmental monitoring, Chung said.
Last year, an air quality reading by the US Embassy in Hanoi recorded a ‘hazardous’ air quality index on March 1, sparking concerns among citizens, who were worried that pollution in the capital was getting as bad as Beijing.
The Vietnamese capital suffered 282 days of excessive PM2.5 levels in 2016, a recording that measures the amount of fine particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less in the air, according to the air quality guidelines of the World Health Organization.
In December last year, Beijing's city government issued a red alert for severely high levels of air pollution, a result of decades of breakneck economic growth.
Hanoi partners with Microsoft to become a smart city
The city of Hanoi and Microsoft today (Mar. 14) signed an agreement to collaborate on an endeavour to transform the capital into a smart city.
Hanoi has been one of the early technology and e-Governance adopters and the city has selected Microsoft as its partner of choice for process automation and citizen services, said Phan Lan Tu, director of the Hanoi Department of Information and Communication, at the signing ceremony.
With help from Microsoft and its partner ecosystem, the city administration is evaluating technology infrastructure to meet the changing needs of its citizens.
Vietnamese addicts start using drugs as young as 12: survey
A survey on nearly 600 young Vietnamese drug users has found many of them starting to take heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and ecstasy when they were just 12 or 13 years old.
The average age for young people in three of Vietnam’s biggest cities, Hanoi, Haiphong and Ho Chi Minh City, to begin using drugs ranges from 16.4 to 17.3 years old, the Center of Supporting Community and Development Initiatives (SCDI) said at a meeting in Hanoi on March 10, citing its own study.
Some users, like Hanoi-based T.T.A., 19, began to be on drugs when he was only 12 years old.
“A. said he had been using drugs for six years when we first met him,” Nguyen Thuy Linh, an SCDI official, said.
“He knows clearly that his health is bad, but he has never been able to access any service that helps reduce the detrimental effects of addiction.”
The survey, polling 580 young men aged between 16 and 24, was the first-ever large-scale study to be conducted on those young Vietnamese who use heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and ecstasy, according to the center.
It was conducted between December 2016 and February 2017.
Using drugs, most of these young people have a tendency to engage in group sex, which is associated with a high risk of HIV infection.
What is more worrisome is more and more young people are using methamphetamine, or crystal meth, in the false belief that this substance does not cause addiction.
A junkie is nabbed by police after causing public disorder under the influence of meth in Ho Chi MInh City.
Nearly 40% of the respondents admitted to using meth, according to SCDI director Khuat Thi Hai Oanh.
“In one locality, 17% of the respondents said they use crystal meth on a frequent basis, and in Ho Chi Minh City, nearly eight percent confessed they resort to it a few times a day,” Oanh added.
The young are increasingly reliant on crystal meth, the SCDI director said, adding that “34% of the junkies in Ho Chi Minh City said they always enjoy the drug alone” and up to 8.5% of the crystal meth users tend to have group sex.
The survey also found 22% of the drug users surveyed in Ho Chi Minh City to be involved in homosexual interactions and more than 50% to have at least two sexual partners. In both groups, most drug users do not use condoms during intercourse.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the ratio of young people aged from 16 to 24 to be infected with HIV for using drugs is as high as 12%, according to the survey. On the overall scale, 6.3% of the 580 respondents are living with HIV.
Speaking at the Hanoi meeting, Bui Duc Thiem, deputy head of the anti-drug police unit, said crystal meth users have been getting increasingly younger in the last few years, with some starting to take the drug at the age of 15 or 16.
“Most of those users hold a misconception that using crystal meth is cool and that it is not an addictive drug,” Thiem said.
Oanh noted that most of the young drug users in her survey have yet to become much reliant on drugs so they can still be “saved.”
“Most of them are from unhappy families and have problems growing up, so we have to start from their families to be able to ‘save’ them,” Oanh said.
HCM City to relocate banished street food vendors
Ho Chi Minh City has announced plans to organize a street food area from June this year to support poor vendors affected by the sidewalk cleanup campaign, and to preserve its street culture.
District 1 officials said they plan to move street vendors to Nguyen Van Chiem Street near Notre Dame Cathedral, Bach Dang Park along Ton Duc Thang Street and the Saigon River, and then to sidewalks wider than three meters.
District chaiman Tran The Thuan told Phap Luat Ho Chi Minh City (Ho Chi Minh City Law) newspaper that the plan aims to help 500 street vendors who have been plying their trade for years in the area.
“It won’t just be a place of business; it will show the city's special culture,” Thuan said.
He said the district is also advising street vendors of a working age about more stable ways of making a living.
Authorities in District 1 started the "sidewalk revolution" early in February in a bid to reclaim the sidewalks for their original purpose and turn the district into a “Little Singapore”.
They have put up barriers and positioned police to stop motorbikes from driving on sidewalks. They have also towed many cars and destroyed invasive constructions.
The project has been widely applauded by locals, but it has also raised concerns for being too extreme.
Street vendors across District 1 are possibly the unhappiest. Some sandwich vendors have been left in tears as police roll their shops on wheels away, while others have scaled down from a pushcart to a basket so they can make a swift getaway.
Tran Le Thuy Van, who started selling noodles on Mac Dinh Chi five years ago, said the pushcart earned her family around VND250,000 (US$11) every day, until the sidewalk campaign.
Van said local officials recently told her that she will be allowed to resume business at a street food corner, but only for two hours in the morning and two hours around noon.
“We will need more time,” she said, as cited by Phap Luat.
Thuan said the district will be open to all opinions before making a final decision.
Vietnam Airlines launches huge 2017 flight sale
Vietnam Airlines has announced the launch of their ‘Global Sale ‘, slashing the flight prices on popular destinations all over the world.
From March 3-26, 2017, their global flight sale means that travellers can grab themselves a flight to selected destinations in Australia, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Africa and more.
There are over 100 destinations that are on sale. Jet off in style and on the cheap with ticket prices starting as low as US$14 (VND299,000) for domestic and US$39 (VND899,000) round-trip for international fares.
Book by March 26, 2017 and travel by October 31, 2017.
More information can be obtained at https://www.vietnamairlines.com/vi/sites/chao-he-2017or booking offices across the country.