Social News 17/7

Wild ‘deadly’ mushrooms poison 13 in Son La

Wild ‘deadly’ mushrooms poison 13 in Son La, Deputy PM hails role of Vietnamese community in Singapore, Memorial site inaugurated to commemorate Gac Ma soldiers, War invalids, martyrs’ families remembered on anniversary

The Vietnam News Agency reports that 13 residents of the northern province of Son La remain hospitalized in critical condition after they consumed wild deadly mushrooms on the evening of Friday (July 14).

The victims developed symptoms including abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and dizziness about two hours after consuming the mushrooms at dinner and all were rushed to the emergency room at Son La General Hospital.

All the patients were admitted on the same day where they were treated with fluids and given prescriptions. Among them the youngest person is 7-years-old and the oldest person is 68.

Doctor Luong Bao Chung of Son La General Hospital said people suspected of having mushroom poisoning should seek medical attention immediately and should bring along any available remnant for identification.

He also warned the public that they should not pick wild mushrooms for consumption as it is difficult to distinguish edible mushroom species from inedible ones and some types can be deadly.

Deputy PM hails role of Vietnamese community in Singapore

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh spoke highly of the role of the Vietnamese community in Singapore in connecting the two countries during a visit to the Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore on July 15.

Talking to representatives from the Vietnamese community and staff of the Embassy and Vietnamese representative offices in Singapore, the Deputy PM said he hopes each member of the community will promote solidarity and support each other to contribute to the host country’s prosperity.

He also asked the community to assist with their home country’s development using their knowledge and experience.

The Deputy PM also took this occasion to brief the overseas Vietnamese community on the country’s socio-economic situation, as well as opportunities and challenges it is facing, and the implementation of State’s guidelines and policies, especially in building a constructive and creative government, maintaining political stability, speeding up economic integration, and protecting territorial sovereignty.

Deputy PM Truong Hoa Binh is making an official visit to Singapore from July 13-15 at the invitation of Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

During the three-day visit, Binh held talks with and attended a banquet hosted by Deputy PM Teo Chee Hean, paid courtesy calls to President Tony Tan Keng Yam and PM Lee Hsien Loong, attended a luncheon hosted by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.

Memorial site inaugurated to commemorate Gac Ma soldiers

A memorial site dedicated to 64 naval soldiers killed in the battle to defend Gac Ma island in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago was inaugurated at a ceremony in Cam Hai Dong commune, Cam Lam district of the central province of Khanh Hoa on July 15. 

Addressing the event, Vice President of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) Tran Thanh Hai said the Gac Ma memorial site is a symbol of patriotism, the resilient spirit of the army and people of Vietnam as well as the national solidarity in safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

He expressed deep gratitude to Vietnamese Heroic Mothers, war invalids and families of martyrs and revolutionary contributors.

Construction work on the memorial site started in March 2015. The highlight of the site is a monument featuring the naval soldiers holding hands in an “eternal circle” to safeguard the national flag symbolising the national sovereignty on Gac Ma island. The battle happened on March 14, 1988.

The work was built with money contributed by workers and public servants nationwide through trade union organisations under a programme launched by the VGCL.

On the occasion, the VGCL also received 20 billion VND (880,200 USD) from trade unions across the nation for the second phase construction of the area and a memorial site for Hoang Sa soldiers in Ly Son island of the central province of Quang Ngai.

The VGCL also presented gifts worth 30 million VND (1,320 USD) to 11 families of fallen soldiers.

War invalids, martyrs’ families remembered on anniversary

President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Tran Thanh Man visited and presented gifts to Heroic Mothers and war invalids in the central city of Da Nang on July 15, on the occasion of the 70th War Invalids and Martyrs’ Day (July 27).

Man affirmed that the Party and State always pay attention to caring for families of people who rendered service to the nation, including Heroic Mothers, martyrs and war invalids.

He asked Da Nang city to do more to support the preferential policy beneficiary families, both materially and spiritually.

On the day, Politburo member and Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue led a working delegation to lay wreaths and offer incense at the Road No.9 National Martyrs' Cemetery and Truong Son National Martyrs' Cemetery in the central province of Quang Tri to commemorate people who laid down their lives for the national liberation and reunification.

Defence Minister Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich visited and presented gifts to war invalids and wounded soldiers who are under treatment at the Thuan Thanh sanatorium in northern Bac Ninh province.

On this occasion, the Defence Ministry granted an ambulance, 104 air conditioners, and one desktop cardiograph worth 1.9 billion VND (83,619 USD) to the sanatorium. 

The facility is caring for 96 war invalids who have lost their ability to work.-

Thanh Hoa tightens relations with Laos’ province

The central province of Thanh Hoa will provide 8 million USD during 2017-2020 to help the Lao province of Houaphanh build transport, cultural and educational facilities in order to strengthen the two localities’ close diplomatic and cooperative relations.

Thanh Hoa also pledges to create favourable conditions for the two countries’ people to intensify economic ties and cultural exchanges to build a border line of peace and friendship.

Over the past years, the two provinces have maintained regular visits of all-level delegations. Earlier this year, they signed a cooperation agreement in the socio-economic and security fields during a working visit by Thanh Hoa’s leaders to Houaphanh.

Thanh Hoa has stepped up economic partnership with Houaphanh. At present, 16 local enterprises are exporting their products to the Lao province. Local investors’ operations have also proved effective, contributing to the Lao province’s economic growth.

Last year, the two police forces coordinated in detecting 25 drug smuggling cases involved over 40 people.

They also worked together in the fight against the trading of counterfeit money and weapons, and human trafficking, and in preventing illegal religious activities.

ASEAN +3 Junior Science Odyssey closes

The sixth ASEAN Plus Three Junior Science Odyssey (APT JSO-6) wrapped up in Hanoi on July 14.

The event, held by Vietnam for the first time, is among activities organised to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ASEAN’s establishment and carry out ASEAN’s action programme on science, technology and innovation for 2016-2025.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Quoc Khanh said that the science camp’s achievements will serve as catalyst to encourage gifted students to pursue their passion.

Khanh thanked the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Plus Three Centre for the Gifted in Science (ACGS), the ACGS in the Republic of Korea (RoK) and relevant Vietnamese agencies for their support in organising such a successful event.

This year event drew the participation of 180 students, teachers and observers.

The students competed in physics, chemistry, and biology; and conducted research and cultivated creativity via poster presentations and lab skills assessment while the teachers shared experience in education for the gifted in science and attend a workshop on promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) for students through applications of renewable energy.

The organising board presented 50 awards to the winners, including nine gold, 20 silver and 21 bronze awards.

Odyssey is an annual competition being organised since 2012 for talented students aged between 13 and 15 in the science and technology fields and is aimed at nurturing future scientists and engineers.

Students in Dak Nong discuss ways to prevent child abuses

The Central Highlands province of Dak Nong held a forum on July 14 to discuss measures to prevent violence and abuses against children.

The forum drew nearly 100 students from high and secondary schools representing over 160,000 local children in eight districts and towns in the province.

At the forum, participants raised questions for provincial leaders on urgent issues such as alarming violence at schools, sexual abuse against children, cheat in exams and child marriage.

The children also expressed their wish to live in a safe, healthy and friendly environment, thus helping them develop comprehensively.

Local leaders pledged to increase communications campaigns and tighten management over information, especially through the Internet.

They also stressed the need to increase physical activities for school students, thereby minimizing their use of technological devices.

Provincial leaders also asked local departments, sectors and schools as well as families of children to pay more attention to issues related to children, thus effectively dealing with problems facing children and building a more healthy environment for them.

On the occasion, the People’s Committee of Dak Nong presented 71 gifts to poor students with outstanding academic performances.

Project on improving resilience to climate change adopted

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has adopted a project on improving the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities to climate change-related impacts. 

Funded by the Green Climate Fund via the United Nations Development Programme, the project will be carried out in Hanoi and the northern province of Nam Dinh, the central provinces of Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Ngai, Quang Binh and Quang Nam, and the southernmost province of Ca Mau from 2017 to 2021 at a total cost of more than 41.79 million USD. 

It will improve the resilience of local houses amid climate change impacts, offer support to households in disaster-prone areas, increase coverage and quality of mangrove forests, reduce gas emissions and increase biodiversity. 

A system of information regarding natural disaster and climate risks in support of decision-making and planning will also be launched.

Binh Phuoc eyes hi-tech agricultural cooperation with Japan

The southern province of Binh Phuoc wants to cooperate with Japan in developing hi-tech agriculture, said a local official.

Speaking at a meeting with the Murayama Memorial Japanese Language School (JVPF – Murayama)’s HCM City branch on July 14, Secretary of the provincial Party’s Committee Nguyen Van Loi expressed his hope that the school will serve as a bridge connecting the province with Japanese enterprises in training human resources and sharing experience in developing smart agriculture.

Director of the school’s HCM City branch Vu Quang Luan suggested the province send local students to Japan to learn about hi-technology agriculture, while Japanese farmers share with the locality their hands-on experience in the field.

The school will enhance cooperation in training and connect with relevant organisations to better consume local farmers’ products, Luan said.

Loi urged agencies and sectors to facilitate the flow of Japanese investments into the province, particularly in hi-tech agriculture.

Currently, over 1,000 hectares have been zoned off for hi-tech agriculture in Loc Ninh, Hon Quang districts and Dong Xoai township to lure foreign and domestic investors.

JVPF – Murayama is a Japanese language training centre supported by the Japan-Vietnam Peace and Friendship Promotion Council (JVPF) with former Japanese Prime Minister Murayama as its president.

Work starts on 1.5 trillion VND clean water plant in Bac Giang

Construction on a 1.5 trillion VND (65.21 million USD) clean water plant began in the northern province of Bac Giang on July 14. 

The project is divided into two stages with the first one from 2016-2018 and the second from 2020-2022. The respective capacities will be 19,500 cu.m and 59,000 cu.m per day and night. 

Once operational in late 2018, the DNP-Bac Giang plant will supply water to Lang Giang district, urban areas in the south and southwest of Bac Giang city, Noi Hoang and Huong Gian communes in Yen Dung district, Van Trung commune in Viet Yen district, concentrated industrial zones and clusters and nearby areas. 

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Linh asked the DNP-Bac Giang Company to continue working closely with local authorities to offer site clearance compensation and speed up the progress of the project in line with legal regulations.

Conference seeks ways to prevent child abuse

Improving capacity for officials at local levels in protecting children and strengthening communications to raise children and their families’ awareness of children’s rights and related laws are among effective ways to save children from violence and sexual abuse, heard a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on July 14.

Statistics of the Ministry of Public Security and the UNICEF showed that averagely, about 1,800 serious child violence cases are reported each year, including about 1,000 sexual abuse ones.

Meanwhile, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Procuracy revealed that from 2012-2015, the agency investigated 966 sexual abuse cases, mostly against children, with 826 defendants.

However, participants held that the figures have yet to reflect the real situation, as many child sexual abuse cases were not reported with different reasons.

According to Nguyen Van Tinh, deputy head of the Office for Child Protection and Care under the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, unhealthy entertainment products are part of reasons behind the alarming violations and sexual abuses against children – the most vulnerable group.

Meanwhile, there remain limitations in receiving and handling of child violence and abuse cases, he said.

Nguyen Thanh Huyen, Vice Director of the Criminal Police under the municipal Public Security Department said that most child abuse cases cannot find witnesses, while the victims are not aware of the consequences.

Many victims and their families do not cooperate with authorised agencies, especially in sexual abuse cases, in fear of harm to their reputation, he said.

Dang Hoa Nam, head of the Department for Children Affairs under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, stressed the need for stricter punishments on those committing violations against children and conceal the cases.

Lao alumni in Vietnam meet in Vientiane

Lao alumni who studied at the Vietnam People’s Army schools and academies met at an exchange in Vientiane on July 14. 

Speaking at the event, Lieut. Gen Vilay Lakhamphong, Deputy Defence Minister and Director of the General Political Department of the Lao People’s Army, hailed the significance of the exchange in the context that the two countries’ Parties, governments, armies and people are celebrating the Laos-Vietnam, Vietnam-Laos Year of Solidarity and Friendship, the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (July 18) and the 55th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties (September 5). 

Lakhamphong said the event affords Lao alumni a chance to recall their unforgettable memories in Vietnam, adding that many of them are holding important positions in the Lao People’s Army and the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party.

He stated that the officers and soldiers of the Lao People’s Army will do their best to foster the special solidarity, fighting alliance and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries. 

In his speech, Deputy Director of the General Department of Politics under the Vietnam People’s Army Maj. Gen Le Hien Van attributed the past victories in the national liberation and reunification and the current national development to the valuable and effective support of the Lao Party, State, army and people. 

He expressed hope that the Lao alumni in Vietnam would continue serving as a bridge fostering traditional friendship and comprehensive collaboration between the two armies.

Earlier, similar events were held in the north, south and central of Laos in April, May and June, respectively.

Khanh Hoa invests in water supply for islands, mountainous areas

The south central coastal province of Khanh Hoa plans to invest 477 billion VND (nearly 21 million USD) in building water supply systems, with priority given to islands, coastal and mountainous areas. 

As part of the investment, a water supply system for Tri Nguyen Island in Nha Trang City is under construction at a cost of 40 billion VND. Residents on the island suffer from water shortage in the dry season from March to August every year, when local wells are contaminated by salt water intrusion. 

The Khanh Hoa Water Supply Company has laid a 800m-long water pipe from the mainland to the island and is building other supporting works. About 3,500 residents on the island will benefit from the project.  

Water plants to be built from now to 2020 include a 50 billion VND facility in Van Ninh district and a 40 billion VND plant in Ninh Hoa town.  

As of early July, 94 percent of the rural population in Khanh Hoa have access to hygienic water. The province aims to raise the rate to 100 percent by 2025.

Workshop seeks solutions to child sexual exploitation in tourism

A consultation workshop to evaluate and analyse Vietnam’s legal framework and give feedback to measures to fight child sexual exploitation in tourism and travel, took place in Hanoi on July 14.

The event, jointly organised by the Ministry of Justice, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), offered a chance for participants to understanding more about Vietnam’s legal system in the field. 

Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa, Director of the Ministry’s Department of Criminal and Administrative Law said many countries around the world, including Vietnam, are facing challenges related child sexual abuse in general and child sexual tourism in particular. 

The international integration policy across fields and national policy on tourism development brought both great economic benefits and challenges to Vietnam, including issues concerning the increase of child sexual crime, and child sexual tourism in particular, she said. 

These require the government to have strict legal policies to ensure behaviours related to child sexuality must be strictly handled and prevented as well as Vietnam’s international commitments to protecting and promoting rights of children are implemented, she said.

Christopher Batt from UNODC office in Vietnam said the agency made evaluations on laws in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam-, and built a report “Child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism: a brief analysis of domestic legal frameworks” in the countries. 

Since the report was released, Vietnam and the countries have promoted efforts to reform legal regulations, while making adjustments to criminal laws on child sexual exploitation, he noted. 

A revised report on the work has been drafted to update and analyse new legal frameworks of each country. The report will give specific recommendations on the ongoing legal reform, serving a foundation for the government of the four countries to promote legal reform, thus increasing effectiveness of the fight against crimes related to child sex tourism, Christopher stressed. 

Participants said it is necessary to take comprehensive response solutions in enforcing laws and enhance coordination at national, regional and international levels in the work. 

In Vietnam, laws related to child sex tourism have been approved by the National Assembly, including the 2015 Criminal Code, the 2015 Code of Criminal Procedures and the 2016 Law on Children, which have helped reinforce a legal foundation for implementing the work.

Vietnamese youths and summer of volunteers

The summer youth volunteer campaign 2017 from June 1st to August 31st encourages young people to build new-style rural and civilized urban areas.

Campaign activities aim to promote the pioneering role of youths in socio-economic development and ensuring social security and defense in remote, border, and island areas.

The 2017 summer volunteer campaign focuses on activities like building or upgrading 550 bridges in rural areas; building or repairing 600km of rural roads; teaching science and technology to 60,000 rural youths; constructing 300 houses for social beneficiaries; providing free medical examinations, treatment, and medicine for 50,000 people; and upgrading 1,000 recreation areas for children.

Le Quoc Phong, the first Secretary of the Vietnam Youth Union, says the vanguard spirit and working style of each volunteer are important factors.

“Devotion is the key to volunteer youth movements. The spirit of the volunteers can help youth programs meet society’s expectations and young people’s aspirations,” Phong added.

In response to this year’s theme, Thua Thien-Hue province’s Youth Union has called for the construction of 12 houses of gratitude, startup consultation for 2,000 youths, and free swimming lessons for 500 children. 700 youth union members have participated in land clearance for access roads to playgrounds for children in Hong Tien commune as well as an initiative to provide free medical examinations and treatment.

Tran Gia Cong, Secretary of the provincial Youth Union said “During this year’s campaign, local youths will focus their assistance on: communes which have almost completed the criteria for new-style rural villages; 19 communes with a poverty rate over 25%; 29 extremely disadvantaged communes; and coastal communes. We hope that the youth will uphold their vanguard role, volunteer spirit, talent, and strength to make their native land more prosperous and civilized.”

Summer volunteer activities in Dak Lak province focus on the construction of new-style rural areas and civilized urban residential areas, and programs to show gratitude to Vietnam’s heroic mothers.

Other activities include constructing houses of gratitude for former youth volunteers; providing free medicine to 500 people in Ea Wer commune, and delivering training on preventing child sexual abuse.

Y Trul Nie, a member of Krong Buk commune’s Youth Union in Dak Lak province, said “This is one of the meaningful ways youth union members can devote to helping disadvantaged people. On the upcoming Vietnamese War Invalids and Martyrs’ Day, July 27, we should honor those who rendered great service to Vietnam’s revolution.”

The highlights of this year’s volunteer youth activities in Can Tho City are environmental protection and development of rural infrastructure.

Tran Van Quang, Deputy President of the Students’ Association of Tay Do University, said “This is the third time I have taken part in a summer youth volunteer campaign. I follow a motto: win the heart of the locals while staying with them and win their trust by doing whatever they need. I want to join efforts with the local authorities to develop new-style rural areas, upgrade roads, and visit the martyrs’ cemetery.”

HCM City to restrict but not ban motorbikes by 2030

Following Hanoi and Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City has also come up with a roadmap to limit private vehicles in order to ease traffic congestion.

The proposal, submitted to the transport department on July 15, would have the city focus on developing public transport and gradually restricting private vehicles from downtown streets and areas prone to congestion by 2030.

Under the first phase from now until 2020, Ho Chi Minh City would increase parking fees, restrict parking for motorbikes and impose a toll on vehicles entering the city center. 

The city would also develop its bus network and encourage the use of buses over private vehicles, while continuing to expand pedestrian zones.

After 2020, the city would develop a metro system and a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, while limiting the number of newly-licensed private vehicles. The roadmap would also see the city restrict and eventually ban motorbikes from downtown streets and areas prone to congestion by 2030.

However, Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the Department of Transport affirmed the city would not ban motorbikes by 2030 and the proposed roadmap would only be used as a guideline.

“Only when it's proven that the city's public transport is capable of meeting people's travel demand will we consider banning motorbikes,” Cuong said.

But transport expert Luong Hoai Nam said the plan to develop the city's bus network, and hence the entire proposal, would fail unless the city goes through with the 2030 motorbike ban.

According to Nam, unless the city bans motorbikes, most people will not buy bus tickets, making the bus network unable to grow as it wouldn't be profitable enough to attract investors. Therefore the city's public network would never be able to meet travel demand.

Tran Anh Tuan, another expert, suggested adding a framework for assessing private vehicles' environmental  impact. 

Earlier this month, Hanoi approved a proposal to ban motorbikes from the city center from 2030 to reduce traffic congestion, despite strong opposition from experts and the public.

The capital city will also impose restrictions on cars, but not a blanket ban.

35 solutions proposed to tackle Ho Chi Minh City traffic congestion

As many as 35 different suggestions to tackle traffic congestion in Ho Chi Minh City were put forward at a meeting on Friday, attracting debates and arguments from around 50 local scientists, experts and officials.

The proposed solutions fall into two categories, with 19 strategies aiming to develop and expand the municipal public transportation system, and the other 16 focusing on curbing personal vehicles in the southern metropolis.

The ‘public transportation’ group includes such suggestions as deploying buses that run on eco-friendly fuel, providing more buses that can accommodate wheel-chair users, or adding more 16-seat mini-buses to the city’s fleet. Experts have backed the mini-bus idea, saying this kind of vehicle is more suitable to the small and often over-crowded streets in Ho Chi Minh City.

Other experts also proposed developing lanes exclusively dedicated to buses, instead of having them run on the same lanes with other vehicles.

Another proposition is to build a railway connecting the city’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport with the Long Thanh International Airport in the adjacent Dong Nai Province, which is expected to be completed by 2025.

Ho Chi Minh City authorities are also slated to launch two river bus routes Binh Quoi – Bach Dang, and Bach Dang – Lo Gom, in the near future.

On the other hand, experts also said the root of the problem is personal vehicles, so the solutions should focus on this type of vehicle.

To this end, experts proposed imposing fees on all cars getting in and out of Ho Chi Minh City, or limiting the number of motorbikes and cars which can be registered to run for Uber or Grab, the two app-based taxi services.

Many experts also favored a solution to penalize vehicles which have reached their expiration date and are thus no longer roadworthy.

The city could also earmark money from its budget to buy old or expired motorbikes in order to reduce of the number of unroadworthy motorbikes on the street, Dr. Luong Hoai Nam suggested.

Dr. Pham Xuan Mai, dean of the Transportation Technique Department of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, estimated that the city should have 21,000 buses if it plans to ban motorbikes by 2030.

Given the current fleet of public bus of only 2,000 units, Mai said the municipal government should seek more funding in order to reach that goal.

Du Phuoc Tan, from the Ho Chi Minh City Institute for Development Studies, said each neighborhoods of the city should implement different solutions to curb traffic problem, especially the 37 congestion hotspots that plague the city residents for years.

To ensure that the solutions and suggestions fit the needs of local residents, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport will carry a survey on approximately 30,000 people in the city.

The survey began at the start of July and aims to gather opinions of people across 24 districts with questions centering on various aspects of transport.

Upon receiving results from the poll, experts and scientists will finalize their solutions to better reduce the nightmare traffic in the southern metropolis.

24-year-old man crushed to death by speeding garbage truck

A 24-year-old man died on the spot after a speeding garbage truck rammed into his motorbike in the city of Phan Thiet in Binh Thuan Province on the evening of Friday (July 14), reported Zing Online Newspaper.

The deceased was identified as Nguyen Tan Thanh, 24, a resident of the city of Phan Thiet.

Police said the incident occurred around 10pm. The speeding truck, carrying garbage, hit his motorbike from the left. Thanh was crushed under the truck and died instantly on the spot.

There is no mention made of whether traffic police arrested the driver or sent him for medical tests to ascertain whether he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at that time.

There were conflicting initial reports that may indicate that the truck was being driven in a reckless manner as the driver tried to overtake the motorcycle from the left and was driving too fast for traffic conditions.

New programme promotes social initiatives

The Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion (CSIP) and the Vietnam Club for Management and Start-up on July 14 launched a programme in HCM City dubbed En Xanh (Green Swallow) 2017 to honour social business initiatives.

The programme seeks to promote people and social enterprises who have innovative and sustainable business solutions to solve social and environmental issues.

Organised on a national scale, it aims to be a long-term programme to gather and promote social business initiatives and through them foster a sustainable social initiative eco-system.

Pham Kieu Oanh, CSIP’s founder and director, said over the years Vietnam has faced many environmental and social challenges that required innovative and effective solutions.

Many businesses, organisations and individuals have pioneered community initiatives to address social and environmental issues, but they are usually spontaneous and fragmented, she said, adding that besides, there is no eco-system to support these social initiatives, limiting their spread as well benefit to the community. 

Oanh also noted that environmental and social issues have become complex, requiring the co-operation of all enterprises, social organisations and State agencies.

According to her, the launch of the programme is expected to create a foundation for every initiative, big or small, to spread and bring about more benefits to the community. 

Social enterprises, businesses with initiatives that benefit low-income people, initiatives to address social and environmental issues, start-ups with social initiatives and social organisations are encouraged to join the programme.

Registration will remain open until July 20 and a ceremony to honour outstanding entries will be held on August 19 in Hanoi.

Vietnam Railways unveils new HCM City - Nha Trang route

Vietnam Railways will open a new Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang route on July 15, reports the Vietnam news Agency.

The first train on the route, SNT1, departs Nha Trang at 8:06pm and arrives in Ho Chi Minh City at 4:04am. It has five stops on the route at Nha Trang, Thap Cham, Bien Hoa, Di An and Ho Chi Minh City.

The second train on the route, SNT2, departs Ho Chi Minh City at 8:30pm and arrives in Nha Trang at 5:27am. It has the same five stops as SNT1.

Prices for a one-way ticket run US$12.70-US$22.00 (VND280,000-485,000). Passengers who purchase tickets at least 20 days in advance will receive discounts ranging 20-30%. 

U22 squad quietly confident and ready to go

Coach Hoang Anh Tuan doesn’t plan to lose any sleep as he and the rest of the U22 squad get ready to open their SEA Game bid this August 14 in a tough matchup against Timor Leste.

After Timor Leste they face Cambodia on August 16, Thailand on August 18, Indonesia on August 21, and the Philippines on August 24.

The team will scrimmage and occasionally suit up for fun competition in the Republic of Korea in the final days leading up to kick off the big game before leaving August 11 for Malaysia.

PM commemorates fallen soldiers in Son La

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc offered incense in tribute to fallen heroes and soldiers at the historical memorial site for the Tay Tien Regiment 52 in Moc Chau town in the northern mountainous province of Son La on July 16.

The event was part of the activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the Day of War Invalids and Martyrs (July 27) and the 50th founding anniversary of Vietnam-Laos diplomatic relations.

The Tay Tien Regiment 52 was set up on February 27, 1947. During the French resistance war (1945-1954), Moc Chau was the gathering place of the regiment, from where the soldiers spread out to fight across the northwest and upper Lao fronts, contributing to the victory over the French.

The Tay Tien historical site was inaugurated on August 20, 2016, becoming a centre for historical education and a typical cultural historical work in a master plan for Moc Chau tourism development.

Also on July 16, the PM visited the family of Nguyen Thanh Lam, a veteran in Moc Chau Farm, who is disabled as a result of the toxic Agent Orange/Dioxin sprayed by the US during the wartime.

He later visited a processing and packaging chain at Moc Chau milk factory of the Moc Chau Dairy Cattle Breeding Joint Stock Company whose predecessor was the Military Farm established on April 8, 1958, by soldiers of Regiment 280 (Division 335) after the liberation of the northwest.-

Fallen Vietnamese soldiers in Laos commemorated

Candles were lit at the Vietnam-Laos martyr cemetery in the central province of Nghe An on July 15 to remember more than 11,000 Vietnamese volunteer soldiers who laid down their lives in Laos during wartime.

Speaking at the ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue spoke highly of the two countries' treasured friendship throughout their struggles for national independence in the past.

Vietnamese volunteer soldiers considered Laos as their second homeland and received great affections from local residents, he added.

The Deputy PM noted the event aims at calling for community support for veterans who are having a difficult life after coming back from the war.

On the occasion, Hue presented gifts to heroic mothers and families of people who rendered service to the nation.

As part of the commemoration, there was a talk show where former Vietnamese soldiers in Laos told their stories.

Nationwide blood donation campaign comes to Binh Dinh

More than 1,500 blood donors have taken part in a festival in Quy Nhon city, the central province of Binh Dinh as part of the  Hanh Trinh Do (red journey),  a nationwide annual blood donation drive.

The two-day event concluded on July 16 and collected a total of 1,244 blood units.

During the festival, the Hanh Trinh Do organising board honoured 33 individuals and groups of donors for their outstanding contributions. 

Initiated by the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion in 2013, the red journey is scheduled to travel 28 provinces and cities throughout July this year. It is expected to collect at least 45,000 blood units.

Last year, the drive toured 27 cities and provinces nationwide to provide advice on blood donation and thalassemia – a genetic blood disease – to 500,000 local people and collected 20,790 units of blood.

Since its inception, the campaign has gathered more than 150,000 units of blood.

Wild ‘deadly’ mushrooms poison 13 in Son La, Deputy PM hails role of Vietnamese community in Singapore, Memorial site inaugurated to commemorate Gac Ma soldiers, War invalids, martyrs’ families remembered on anniversary