Social News 4/6

Fire destroys 100ha of forest in Soc Son district

A fire broke out in the protected pine forest in Hanoi’s outlying district of Soc Son on June 5, resulting in the destruction of 100 hectares.

No casualties were reported.

According to Chu Phu My, director of Hanoi’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department, the cause of the fire has not been determined, but the extreme hot weather that has lingered over northern provinces in the past week could be the reason.

The fire reportedly started around 1.30pm on Monday in a forest in the district’s Nam Son commune. As the weather was too hot, the flames spread quickly, and a column of smoke could be seen rising more than 100 metres above the forest.

About 2,000 people, including the local police and fire-fighting forces, were mobilised to prevent the fire from spreading, My said, adding that this was the biggest fire ever recorded in this area.

As the fire raged in the pine and acacia forest — inflammable material — and it occurred on the hillside far away from the city, it was difficult to detect.

The fire was brought under control at 3am on June 6.

As many as 20 households living close to the fire were evacuated for safety on June 5, he said.

Bui Xuan Thang, a resident from Nam Son commune’s Hoa Son village, said the fire destroyed over 15ha of the family’s pine tree and acacia forest.

There have been five cases of fire in the Nam Son protective forest since 2002, however, the damage was limited, as it was detected early, he said.

Thang said that at least 10 other households had been affected by the fire.

Also on June 5, a fire occurred in the forest area of Hoang Nong, La Bang and Quan Chu communes of Dai Tu district in the northern province of Thai Nguyen.

About 13ha of protective forest under the management of Tam Dao National Park were reported to be affected by the fire.

Investigations into the incidents are underway.
  
Vietnam, France share experience in running peacekeeping hospital

The Ministries of Defence of Vietnam and France shared experience in operating level-2 field hospitals for United Nations peacekeeping missions at a conference in Hanoi on June 6.

It was the fourth experience exchange between the two sides in UN peacekeeping, with France sharing practices in peacekeeping operations, how to organise a peacekeeping action team and how to operate a level-2 field hospital.

Addressing the event, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Peacekeeping Centre Nguyen Nhu Canh said the conference is important to Vietnam with the country preparing to run the field hospital soon.

It is also part of activities to implement the Vietnam-France technical agreement on defence cooperation in UN peacekeeping operations signed on November 10 last year, he added.

Ho Chi Minh statue inaugurated in Lenin’s birthplace

A statue of late President Ho Chi Minh was unveiled on June 6 in Ulyanovsk city, where Vladimir Ilych Lenin, leader of the Russian October Revolution, was born.

Built in 2015, the 5-metre full-body bronze statue lies within a 2,000 square metre area next to the Ho Chi Minh Boulevard in Zasniazhsky district.

The construction cost was covered by Vietnam, while Russia took care of technical consultancy and sculpting work.

The statue was designed following the model at the Ho Chi Minh Square in the central province of Nghe An – the Vietnamese President’s birthplace.

Speaking at the inauguration event, Ulyanovsk Governor Sergei Morozov said the statue marked a new era in the Nghe An – Ulyanovsk relationship.

Leaders of the two localities share a common desire for bilateral ties development, with priority given to people-to-people diplomacy, he added. 

Standing Vice Secretary of the Nghe An Party's Committee Nguyen Xuan Son said now the Vietnamese community in Russia has another place to honour their president.   
    
Joint work against corruption reviewed

A conference took place in Hanoi on June 7 to review the cooperation in the fight against corruption between the Party Central Committee’s Internal Affairs Commission, the Central Public Security Commission, Party Civil Affairs Committees of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuracy. 

Speaking at the event, Minister of Public Security and Deputy Head of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption Sen. Lieut. Gen. To Lam hailed the concerted efforts among the agencies last year, which he said, contributed to speeding up the investigation and trial of major economic and corruption cases. 

He stressed the need to strictly implement the directions of Party General Secretary and Head of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption Nguyen Phu Trong at its regular meeting on April 17, ensuring the Party’s leadership and directions of the Party Central Committee, Politburo, Secretariat and the steering committee. 

Lam asked the Party Central Committee’s Internal Affairs Commission and agencies to review, amend and supplement Party documents and legal regulations regarding investigation and trial of corruption cases, especially in evaluating losses, valuing and recovering assets. 

This year, the central steering committee decided to establish eight teams to investigate and prosecute serious economic and corruption cases in 20 provinces, he added. 

Agencies concerned were asked to draw lessons from the past to improve the efficiency of the corruption fight. 

Reviewing the work last year, reports said a number of proposals involving anti-corruption mechanisms, policies and laws were raised while shortcomings in State management in socio-economic affairs were promptly fixed. 

Concluding the event, Head of the Party Central Committee’s Internal Affairs Commission Phan Dinh Trac urged for the continued joint work to investigate, prosecute and put on trial serious corruption cases and review tasks assigned by the central steering committee.

Vice President presents gifts to Ca Mau elderly, orphans

Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh visited and offered gifts worth 130 million VND (5,700 USD) to 108 elderly people, orphans, children with disabilities and staff of the social protection centre in the southernmost province of Ca Mau on June 7.

At the centre, the Vice President lauded the province’s efforts to ensure social security and care for policy beneficiary families and families of people who served the nation.

The province provided financial support to build infrastructure at the centre while mobilising resources to organise heath examinations for the needy, she said.

She praised the health care model at the centre and its staff for caring for 50 elderly people and 58 orphans.

She also encouraged the children to better themselves to become good citizens.

On the occasion, she asked authorities to pay further attention to taking care of disadvantaged people.

Over 1,000 artists attend Vietnam International Choir Competition

More than 1,000 artists from 10 countries and territories across the world have participated in the 5th Vietnam International Choir Competition, which opened on June 7 in Hoi An city in the central province of Quang Nam.

The competition, co-held by Germany’s Interkultur organisation and the People’s Committee of Hoi An city, is a part of the 6th Quang Nam Heritage Festival 2017.

The five-day event aims to promote culture, heritage and tourism potential of Quang Nam while introducing unique types of choir performances to the public. It is also a chance for Vietnamese artists to exchange performance experience with international choirs.

Besides the official competition, the artists will also perform in a programme named “International Melody” on June 8-9 in Hoi An ancient city.

Exchange programmes between Hoi An city and art troupes from the Republic of Korea will take place from June 11-12.-

Airy-voice French singer enthralls Da Nang audience

Young French singer-songwriter Joyce Jonathan and her soft, airy but strong voice enthralled Vietnamese audience during a concert at Bien Dong Park in central Da Nang city on June 8.

Joyce Jonathan is an internationally renowned artist, especially in Asia where she performs regularly on the most well-known of stages. She won in the “French Revelation of the Year” category of the 2011 NRJ Music Awards, and the SACE National Union of Authors Composer Award (UNAC) in the same year for her song “Je ne sais pas”.

During the night, Joyce, accompanied by several French talented artists, presented to the local audience her latest album entitled “Une place pour moi” (A place for me).

The 28-year-old musician, who composed her first song at the age of 11, released her first album “Sur mes gardes” in 2010, which was certified platinum after selling 130,000 copies.

In 2013, she was nominated for best female singer and best song for her second album at the NRJ Music Awards.

Cambodian woman sentenced for smuggling gold into VN

The An Giang People’s Court on Tuesday sentenced a 60-year-old Cambodian woman to two years and three months of imprisonment for illegally transporting money and gold via the border.
On March 11, the Tịnh Biên International Gate Customs stopped Vuoch Hea, a resident of Cambodia’s Kirivong District in Takeo Province, as she drove into the country via the border gate without making any declaration.
Customs officials found that she was carrying 100 million Cambodian Riel (US$24,500) in her bag, and 8kg gold, worth around VNĐ7.4 billion ($328,800), hidden on her body. The objects were seized and put into State custody.
Hea confessed to officials that the money she was carrying was meant to pay off debts incurred on purchasing goods at Nhà Bàng Market in Tịnh Biên District and Châu Đốc Market in Châu Đốc City. She also admitted that she was planning to sell the gold and use the money to buy construction materials to take back to Cambodia. 

Japan helps Vietnam in nurse training

The Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs of Vinh Long province held a working session on June 7 with Japanese partners to discuss recruiting local nursing apprentices.

The guests revealed that Japan has high demand for nurses due to the growing elderly population in the country.

According to Kashimoto, head of the IkiiKiKan social welfare centre in Okayama prefecture, Vietnamese students who want to study and work in Japan have to graduate in nursing and speak some Japanese.

When learning and working at nursing homes in Japan, Vietnamese trainees can take Japan’s national nursing examination, which will qualify them to work at nursing facilities in Vietnam.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Lu Quang Ngoi pledged to work with Japanese partners in training and selecting candidates.

He proposed Japanese partners provide equipment for the province’s schools, hospitals and social welfare centres to increase the quality of health care for the elderly and help local students get accustomed to advanced technology.

The Japanese delegation also presented some healthcare equipment for the elderly such as wheelchairs, sphygmomanometers and auto bathtubs.

Six detained in VNĐ200b football betting bust

Police in Hải Phòng, in co-ordination with the high-tech crime investigation department under the Ministry of Public Security, have broken up an online football betting operation worth VNĐ200 billion (US$8.8 million), arresting six people.
According to preliminary information, Đặng Mạnh Thành,38, who lives in Hải Phòng City’s Hồng Bàng District, was the mastermind of the ring.  He offered illicit services on several websites. Nguyễn Xuân Sơn, 62, another local resident, was hired to receive and perform transactions with the gamblers.

Last Saturday, Thanh and Sơn were caught red-handed while conducting betting operations on the 2017 European Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Juventus.
A car, 10 mobile phones, a computer, an Ipad and VNĐ55 million ($2,400) in cash were also seized.
Over 1,000 accounts created by suspects with values totaling over VNĐ200 billion (US$8.8 million) have been located.
Four other people suspected of involvement in the betting ring have also been detained by the police to clarify their role.
Further investigations are underway.

First half of Vietnam’s north-south expressway to displace 2,100 families

At least 2,100 families are going to be relocated and more than 8,000 others will also be affected by ground clearance for the first half of the planned north-south expressway connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the government said.

The government said in a recent report to the legislative National Assembly that around 3,523 hectares (8,705 acres) will need to be cleared to make way for the first half of the north-south expressway in the next three years.

It said compensation and support for the affected families will cost an estimated VND13 trillion (US$573.5 million) from the state budget.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc last month gave the green light to a proposal by the transport ministry to build the 1,372-kilometer (852-mile) expressway.

The entire project is expected to cost more than VND312 trillion and the government has pledged VND55 trillion to help with ground clearance and relocation. The rest of the funds are expected to come from private sources, it said.

Construction is scheduled to start this year and the first phase over 713 kilometers will be completed in 2022, connecting Hanoi with the central tourist town of Hue.

Sources said ground clearance for the second phase of the road will commence at a later date to avoid wasting land.

The expressway will run through 16 cities and provinces, connecting economic centers, industrial zones and seaports.

Vietnam’s state budget is strained at present with revenue falling following cuts to import taxes as part of the country’s commitments to free trade deals. The government estimated public debt at the end of 2016 at 63.7 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

The World Bank has forecast Vietnam’s public debt will rise to 64.4% in 2017 and 64.7% in 2018.

1 killed, 8 injured as bus and van collide in Lam Dong Province

One person was killed and eight others injured after a bus and a van collided yesterday (June 5) in the town of Madagui in Lam Dong Province, reports the Tienphong Online Newspaper.

Vietnamese American Nguyen Thai Bao, 70, was dead when emergency crews arrived on the scene while eight others were transported to local hospitals in serious condition.

The exact circumstances for the accident are not yet known, but investigators said they are continuing their investigation.

2 men hit with major transnational drug trafficking charges

Two men were indicted in a Vietnamese court yesterday (June 5) on multiple charges alleging the duo conspired to create, market and distribute heroin and illegal synthetic drugs.

This indictment is the result of an intensive investigation by law enforcement authorities at the Cau Treo International Border Gate working in concert with local, provincial and other national authorities.

Tran Dinh Loc, 34, from Ha Tinh Province and Trinh Dinh Tri, 50, from Nghe An Province are charged with multiple conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances, including transnational smuggling charges.

At the time of their arrests the two were attempting to cross the border into Vietnam from Laos and had in their possession, roughly 1,500 tablets of methamphetamine, more commonly known as speed, and large undisclosed amounts of heroin.

The bottom line is that these drugs are extremely dangerous and can cause serious health problems or even kill those who ingest them, said law enforcement agents who made the bust.

If convicted, the drug and money laundering conspiracy charges carry severe penalties with decades of prison time for each count and forfeiture of assets and property gained from the illegal activity.

Vietnam ministry slammed for intending to punish outspoken voice on Son Tra Peninsula

Vietnam’s tourism ministry has been criticized for ‘acting outside of its authority’ after issuing, and then quickly withdrawing, a request to have an industry insider punished for his comments on a controversial tourism plan in the central city of Da Nang.

On May 30, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism invited industry insiders to speak at a conference on sustainable tourism in Da Nang, only to demand later that one speaker be punished for his straightforward talk.

In a dispatch issued on June 2, the ministry required that the Da Nang Tourism Association penalize its chairman Huynh Tan Vinh for what it deemed to be “misleading comments” on a controversial tourism plan for Son Tra Peninsula.

However, the ministry was forced to withdraw the dispatch on June 4, following widespread public criticism for abusing its power, given the fact that the Da Nang Tourism Association does not fall under its management.

It has also been argued that the ministry has set a poor precedent, with speaking at a ministry-held scientific conference now associated with trouble in Vietnam.

Local lawyers have said that the tourism ministry has acted beyond its authority and the U-turn it made in releasing and then withdrawing the request is worthy of censure.

A lawyer from the Da Nang Bar Association said the Da Nang Tourism Association is a social entity, not a regulatory body under the management of the tourism ministry. “So the ministry cannot treat the association as a unit under their umbrella,” he said.

The lawyer added that the only proper reaction the ministry can have toward comments and statements made by Vinh at the conference is to “accept or reject it.”

Attorney Pham Van Chung said the tourism ministry has no legal grounds to demand that Vinh be punished for his discourse at the conference.

The Da Nang Tourism Association is overseen by the municipal administration, and “the ministry has gone beyond its authority to give orders to a unit it is not authorized to manage,” Chung added.

Lawyer Bui Quang Nghiem, from the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association, said the ministry can only ask Vinh to justify his statements if it has enough grounds to prove that the association chairman had defamed its reputation or interest.

On June 4, the tourism ministry issued a new dispatch to the Da Nang Tourism Association, asking to withdraw its previous document requesting punishment for Vinh as its content “was improper and misleading.”

The ministry said it accepts full responsibility for the inappropriate dispatch, and pledged to continue listening to feedback on Son Tra Peninsula planning.

The second dispatch was also signed by Deputy Minister Ai.

Ai has demanded that the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism “find the one responsible for preparing the controversial dispatch,” even though it was he who signed the document in the first place.

The zoning in question was approved by the Vietnamese prime minister in November 2016, with the aim of developing a national tourism zone on Son Tra, with a total accommodation capacity of 1,600 rooms by 2030.

Shortly after the plan was announced, the Da Nang Tourism Association petitioned the plan to be adjusted in a way that allowed no more hotel rooms on the peninsula, in a bid to protect its forests and ecosystem.

On May 28, Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam requested a three-month delay on the implementation of the plan to look for “a scientific response” to the petition of the Da Nang Tourism Association.

The May 30 conference was held at the deputy premier’s request.

Formosa to press ahead with factory launch despite recent explosion

Llime kiln dust filter explosion in Formosa Ha Tinh Steel project has very little impact on the preparations for the factory launch, but the giant steel complex has been under strict governmental supervision since the environmental disaster it caused last year.

According to the Ha Tinh People’s Committee, the explosion of a lime kiln dust filter in Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Plant (FHS)  on May 30 occurred due to a broken fabric filter.

The accident occurred one day after the firm piloted its first blast furnace, but the explosion ignited outside the blast furnace area.

“There were no fires, no casualties, and no damage to the environment effects,” said the committee.

Formosa representatives said they shut down the kiln immediately after the incident. The kiln does not have anything to do with the factory’s first blast furnace, which is still operating normally. Rather, the kiln is used to create quicklime (calcium oxide) for use in the steel production process.

According to a Formosa report, they are monitoring wastewater, air-quality, and the surrounding area to ensure that no damage occurred to the environment.

Ha Tinh authorities asked Formosa to fix the problem and check its equipment to ensure a safe test run within 15 days. The trial operation of Formosa’s Ha Tinh plant will also be closely supervised to ensure proper waste treatment.

On May 29, Formosa was authorised to test-run its first blast furnace after it passed inspections.

Local authorities are set to continually monitor the furnace, with the initial results of the trial run available within 24 hours. Additionally, waste samples will also be taken every five minutes.

Formosa expects to produce 1.3-1.6 million tonnes of steel between now and the end of 2017 and its second blast furnace is scheduled to become operational early next year.

In April last year, the nearly $10.5-billion Formosa Ha Tinh Steel plant leaked toxic waste that polluted more than 200 kilometres of Vietnam’s coastline, devastating sea life and local economies dependent on fishing and tourism. Four months later, the Taiwanese company owned up to its mistake, offering a public apology and pledging $500 million as compensation for affected fishermen, households, and organisations.

Local authorities announced that the firm had corrected 52 out of the 53 operational faults that led to the environmental disaster.

In related news, the company is expected to implement a dry coking system by 2019 that will replace the current wet coking system, which is cheaper, but creates more debris.

Drownings climb as Vietnamese schoolchildren enter summer break

As schoolchildren across Vietnam enter the months-long summer break, increasing drownings have been reported among minors in rivers, lakes and even swimming pools.

Vietnamese authorities are sounding the alarm on the old yet recurrent issue of child safety during the summer.

On June 2, eight people, including seven children and a sexagenarian, were reported drowning in two seperate incidents in central Vietnam.

Just before the end of the 2016-2017 academic year, two sisters, one of whom was still in kindergarten, were found dead from drowning in southern Soc Trang City after they had slipped into an irrigation ditch.

A day later, two fifth-graders in the same city drowned while playing in a local river.

In Binh Phuoc Province in southern Vietnam, two cases of drowning also took the lives of five children last month.

Since the beginning of this year, 19 children have been reported dead from drowning in Dak Lak Province in the Central Highlands, while four minors drowned in southern Binh Duong Province in April and May.

Nguyen Thanh Giang, director of the Department of Education and Training in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, said provincial authorities have been active in warning families about the risks of drowning during summer time, though their efforts have yet to yield noticeable results in reducing drownings.

According to Giang, integrating swimming lessons into schools’ curricula has been a challenge due to a serious lack of swimming pools.

To solve the problem, the provincial education department has been calling for the private sector to invest in swimming pools using land provided by local schools.

Similarly, Binh Phuoc Province also reports a high number of drowning cases during the summer because of its geographical characteristics with a complicated system of rivers and lakes.

Before every summer, the Binh Phuoc Department of Education and Training issues letters addressing schools in the province to remind them to take appropriate measures to safeguard students against such incidents.

Meanwhile, in more remote areas such as rural Dak lak Province, swimming lessons are a luxury since schools are more focused on teaching knowledge.

“Children are mostly left to themselves to learn swimming from one another when they play in rivers and lakes, as no schools can afford to offer swimming lessons,” said a teacher in Dak Lak’s Krong Bong District.

Nguyen Trong An, former deputy director general of the Department of Child Care and Protection, said a proposal to introduce swimming as an official item in the national physical education curricula has been advocated for since 2011, to little avail.

This is due to the tremendous costs it would take to make the survival skill compulsory, as not all schools could have access to swimming pools for the plan to be implemented.

Previously, 3,500 children died from drowning in Vietnam every year on average, An said, citing official statistics.

In recent years, the number has dropped to 2,800 annually.

“It has been buzzing me whether this drop is real or not,” An said. “From what I know based on the phone calls I made to local authorities, the number of drownings has not decreased at all.”

Ho Chi Minh City authorities powerless to protect green trees

Green trees in Ho Chi Minh City are continuously falling victim to damage and illegal chopping while authorities are powerless to step-in due to a lack of specific authorization.

With no official punishments issued by local authorities, green trees across the southern metropolis remain under the continual threat of being cut down.

The most recent case involved a group of people damaging several trees planted along Truong Son Street in Tan Binh District in early April.

The gang of seven men were spotted by the team of officers from the Green Environment Construction Company, the contractor charged with caring for the trees in the area, said Vu Van Cuong, chairman of the firm’s Members’ Council.

The individuals fled the scene after officers asked them to present a permit, leaving behind a truck and its driver, C.H.Q.H.

A total of 17 trees along the street had their branches cut.

The case was neglected shortly after H. claimed that he was not associated to the group of men.

“We have submitted a letter to authorities in Tan Binh District to clarify the case and punish those responsible,” said an official from the No.1 Urban Traffic Management Zone, the unit that manages trees in the neighborhood.

Authorities across the city have also discovered a number of trees being damaged, trimmed, or chopped down without permission.

Some trees were also poisoned with chemicals, such as one on Tran Quang Khai Street in District 1, whose leaves are now abnormally withered.

After checking the plant, employees from the Ho Chi Minh City Greenery Parks Company identified the pungent scent of chemicals on its roots.

Following an unsuccessful attempt to rescue the tree, it is now dying and awaiting removal.

A decree in 2013 promulgated that activities that damage tree trunks, such as nailing, shall be accompanied by warnings or fines up to VND500,000 (US$22), while cutting down or removing trees without a permit could carry VND20 million (US$880) to VND30 million (US$1,321) in fines.

According to the municipal Department of Transport, these activities are often carried out secretly, making it hard for authorities to gather sufficient evidence and identify the culprits.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Khac Dung, head of the green tree management office under the transport department, stated that the agency was in charge of protecting the trees but not authorized to impose punishments upon violators.

That authorization belongs to the Department of Construction, Dung said.

According to an official from the construction department, there used to be an inspection team consisting of officers from both agencies.

However, a change of personnel caused the group to disband, Dung continued.

The transport department has proposed the city’s administration re-establish the inspection team or authorize the agency to impose penalties that will better protect green trees across the city.

Eight drown, including seven children, in separate cases in central Vietnam

Eight people, including seven children and a sexagenarian, were reported drowning in two separate incidents in central Vietnam on June 2.

The first case took place in the south-central province of Binh Dinh, involving 68-year-old Van Tan Lanh and two of his grandchildren and their friend.

According to the police report, at around 10:00 am, Lanh asked his grandchildren, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thanh, 14, Nguyen Thi Tuyet Bang, 12, to join him in taking some cows to a nearby pier for the cattle to bath. The young girls’ friend, 8-year-old Tran Anh Tuan, also joined the journey.

At around 11:00 am, the old man’s neighbors swathe cattle returning home on their own.

They thus rushed to the pier searching for the four people and were devastated to find all four bodies of them in the Kut River.

Upon being briefed of the tragedy, Bui Van My, deputy chairman of the provincial Tay Son District administration, has visited families of the victims to pay his condolence.

According to the chairman, during this time of the year, the Kut River normally runs low, and local people often take their cattle to the river to bath.

Even though most of the riverbed is shallow, there are still some deep and dangerous areas, which may have drowned the victims, the chairman further explained.

The second downhearted drowning case on Friday occurred at the C3 Lake in Ia Grai District in the Central Highlands’ Gia Lai Province, with four elementary students losing their lives.

The victims are fifth-grader Nguyen Le Hai Yen, six-year-old Do Ngoc Thuan, fourth-grader Nguyen Thi Hao, and third-grader Tong Thi Quynh Huong, who reportedly came to swim at the lake in the afternoon.

At around 5:30 pm, a local heard one of the victims crying for help and rushed to the scene, only to discover that the four children had drowned.

Police were immediately informed of the tragedy and managed to retrieve all four bodies after one hour, with the help of some local volunteers.

Local officials have paid a visit to families of the four victims and gave each of them VND5 million (US$220) to help with the funeral.

Drowning is one of the main causes of child death in Vietnam, with over 11,000 dead cases every year, according to WHO.

On April 15, nine sixth and eighth graders in the central province of Quang Ngai also drowned while swimming in a local river.

Hanoi revives plan to ban motorbikes in uphill battle against congestion

Hanoi’s lawmakers are expected to make a decision this July about reducing traffic congestion in the city with a motorbike ban in 2030.

The plan, which is now open to public discussion, is to remove all motorbikes from downtown districts from 2030 and restrict the use of the vehicle in areas well served by public transport.

Cars, which now occupy over 40% of the road area in the capital, according to local police, would also be restricted but not as much. They will have to stay away from certain streets for certain hours and days, according to the plan which is expected to be reviewed and passed at a meeting of Hanoi’s lawmakers in early July.

The city also plans to limit vehicles in the downtown areas by charging entrance fees and increasing parking fees.

The motorbike ban idea has been brought up and rehashed several times over the past few years. It has received strong opposition from many experts and residents who argue that the city should build a complete public transport system first. They also said cars are actually to blame for traffic jams, not motorbikes.

Motorbikes are by far the most popular means of transport in Vietnam, even though car use has been booming in large cities in recent years.

The large number of individual vehicles has overwhelmed infrastructure development and has been blamed for increasing air pollution as well.

Officials in Ho Chi Minh City also plan to officially discuss a similar vehicle restriction plan this October.

The southern megacity now has eight million vehicles with 170 new cars and more than 800 motorbikes hitting the road every day, according to police data.

In comparison, figures from Hanoi police late last year showed the city of 7.6 million people has more than five million motorbikes and 550,000 cars. Data showed 4.6% of annual increase in individial vehicles while traffic land in the city has only expanded 0.4% a year.

Buses are the currently the only means of public transport in the city and they are becoming less popular. The city has been pouring money into other projects, including a metro system with elevated and underground lines. It could take years if not decades for the lines to be completed.

Immunisation Week raises awareness of vaccination’s importance

Vaccination is one of the greatest medical success stories that save 2-3 million lives every year, said Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long at a meeting held in the central province of Quang Ngai on June 3 in response to the World Immunisation Week 2017.

Long stressed that over 600 million doses of various vaccines have been given free to Vietnamese women and children under the National Expanded Programme on Immunisation over the past three decades. 

A line-up of new vaccines have put into use, reducing deaths caused by infectious diseases, he underlined, adding that immunisation achievements have made significant contributions to protecting and improving healthcare, particularly for children in Vietnam.

However, the country still faces challenges, like late or insufficient immunisations for children in remote areas, which could spark a return of several contagious diseases, he said.

He took the occasion to call Vietnamese parents to vaccinate their children and medical staff to ensure safe and effective immunisation.

Hospitals need to provide infants with hepatitis B immunisation within their first 24 hours, he added.

A representative from the World Health Organisation in Vietnam lauded achievements of the National Expanded Programme on Immunisation in the past 30 years. 

This year, the immunisation week highlighted the important roles of vaccines on people’s lives and sustainable development goals. Vaccines help change life and enable children develop healthily and have bright future.

The Immunisation Week was initiated in 2011 by the World Health Organisation. Some 180 countries and territories worldwide have joined the event.

To respond to the event, Quang Ngai province committed to promoting the immunisation campaign in the locality. Vaccination will be delivered to over 22,800 pregnant women, over 21,000 women of childbearing age and nearly 23,000 children over 1 year old.

VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VET/VIR


Fire destroys 100ha of forest in Soc Son district, Vietnam, France share experience in running peacekeeping hospital, Ho Chi Minh statue inaugurated in Lenin’s birthplace, Joint work against corruption reviewed
 
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