Social News 3/8

Expert: Cars should be restricted first

Expert: Cars should be restricted first, $852.7 mln approved for health care-population program in 2016-2020, Phone app helps report waterways violations, 5,000 people to take part in fundraising walk for AO victims

It is necessary to reduce the number of cars on the road in Hanoi and HCMC first, instead of motorbikes, according to Khuat Viet Hung, vice chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee.

Hung said at a transport seminar organized by Tuoi Tre newspaper on August 1 that an immediate restriction on private vehicles cannot be a viable solution. Instead, the move should be taken in a gradual manner.

However, he stressed, the development of public transit and the restriction of private vehicles are needed to promote sustainable urban transport.

“Cars, instead of motorbikes, should be restricted first. Otherwise local residents will voice their objections, as cars occupy larger road surfaces than motorbikes do,” he said.

The HCMC government is focusing on construction of eight metro lines, three tramlines and six bus rapid transit routes, according to Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the HCMC Department of Transport.

He said the municipal government aims for public transit to meet 15-20% of commuting demand by 2020.

The local metro system is forecast to replace buses after 2024, as Metro Line No.1 linking Ben Thanh Market in District 1 and Suoi Tien Park in District 9, and Metro Line No.2 connecting the central station near Ben Thanh Market and Tham Luong in District 12 are scheduled for completion by 2020 and 2023 respectively.

Besides, investors are going through necessary procedures to develop Metro Line No.5 from Bay Hien Intersection to Saigon Bridge in phase one.

The director said the department is drawing up a plan to improve public transit services and put private vehicles under control.

The local government should seek to encourage the people to change their habit from using private vehicles to public transit rather than restrict or ban them, said Nguyen Thi Bich Hang, a transport management expert from the HCMC University of Transport.

$852.7 mln approved for health care-population program in 2016-2020

The Prime Minister has approved VND19,380 billion ($852.7 million) for the health care- Population program in the period of 2016-2020. 

The program includes eight contagious disease and common non-communicable illness prevention project; the expanded immunization project; the population and development, food safety project; HIV/AIDS prevention project; safe blood and hematologic disease prevention, and project to keep track on medical media.

The program’s aim is to early detect diseases, to control large outbreaks as well as cut infection and mortality rate of dangerous contagious diseases and restrict rising common uncommunicable rate, illness of students to protect public health.

As per the program, around 20 percent of oral cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer could be early detected in the first stage, ensuring the immunization proportion of 95 percent for kids under the age of one and most of cities and provinces have markets to sell safe food.

The program targets to minimize the dengue infection and death rate under 0.09 by 2020.

Phone app helps report waterways violations

The Vietnam Inland Waterways Administration (VIWA) has launched a free mobile phone application, called Viwa Alert, which allows users to report water traffic law violations.

If a Viwa Alert user witnesses illegal actions at a port or during administrative procedures, they can take photos and send them directly to VIWA.

A VIWA representative said based on reports collected, the body would take suitable solutions to facilitate passengers and service providers.-

Quang Ninh to fund health insurance fee for poor households

Quang Ninh authorities will sponsor households classified in the multidimensional poverty category to obtain health insurance, starting from January 1, 2018.

According to the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and Health Department, most of the beneficiaries are members of ethnic minorities, islanders, families of armed-forces personnel, and those who get social protection. 

The northern province of Quang Ninh currently has 1,814 poor households, of which 462 multidimensional poverty households without health insurance will be funded next year.

By December 31, 2016, 81.7 percent of Vietnam’s population or about 75.9 million people had joined health insurance.

ASEAN students and young professionals in Hanoi for workshop

 Vietnam the sixth-highest source of foreign students in the US

From August 1 to August 4, 80 students and young professionals from the ten ASEAN countries will attend the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Generation: ECommunity! workshop in Hanoi.

Those attending were selected for the prestigious workshop based on their outstanding track record and interest in economic engagement at the community, national, and regional levels. The workshop will feature expert panel discussions, case study challenges, and several relevant site visits, all of which aim to inspire and buttress their ability to contribute to sustainable economic growth in their communities and the ASEAN region.

The YSEALI Project is funded by the US Department of State, with the Kenan Foundation Asia and the Center for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS) partnering to combine their respective strengths to produce a curriculum and agenda that will give participants core knowledge about the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and its impact on trade and development, as well as enhance their leadership and soft skills to enable them to have a greater impact on their home communities.

Speaking to participants during the opening ceremony, the US Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Ted Osius, highlighted that “there are nearly 410 million people under the age of 35 in the ASEAN region. You are the ones who are going to shape policy in your countries and the region in the future, the ones who are going to drive the economy and promote positive change for a more prosperous and inclusive society.”

During the workshop, they will participate in role-playing activities in which they will be challenged to view ASEAN economic questions from the perspective of diverse stakeholders, helping them experience the multiple viewpoints that go into ASEAN policy development.

On the final day, a model ASEAN summit will be held, where participants will demonstrate the content knowledge and skills they developed over the first three days to collaborate with their peers to develop regional policies.

Ms. Phan Kieu Anh, Country Program Manager of Kenan in Vietnam, said “At the YSEALI Generation: ECommunity! workshop our young participants will create a high energy and enthusiastic learning environment, benefiting from leading experts and through exchanging ideas. The workshop will help them define how they can engage with government, business leaders, and community organizations to contribute to economic and social development at the community, national, and ASEAN levels.”

5,000 people to take part in fundraising walk for AO victims

As many as 5,000 people will participate in a fund-raising walk for Agent Orange (AO) victims and disadvantaged disabled people at Đầm Sen Cultural Park in HCM City this Saturday morning (August 5).

Volunteers and members of Việt Nam Red Cross Society (VNRC) as well as local residents will join the 3km-walk to call for social support for providing health care services and improving living conditions for AO victims

The event, which is organised by VNRC’s HCM City chapter, also marks Agent Orange Day which falls on August 10.

Last year, the event raised more than VNĐ 1.3 billion (US$57,300) to help nearly 2,850 AO victims such as granting regular subsidies, scholarships, wheelchairs and vocational training for AO children.

Hanoi enhances ties with Sweden, Norway, Austria

Hanoi is seeking measures to intensify relations with Sweden, Norway and Austria, especially in planning management, transport development and environmental protection.

A delegation from the city led by permanent Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Council Nguyen Ngoc Tuan visited the three European countries from July 21-31.

In Sweden, Tuan talked with Margareta Björk, First Vice Chairwoman of the Stockholm City Council, during which they exchanged experience in issuing planning-related policies, planning management and urban development and protecting the environment.

Stressing Sweden has a lot of experience in housing development and management, Tuan asked the Council to support Hanoi in this field.

In Norway’s Oslo city, the delegation was received by Vice Mayor for Business Development and Public Ownership Geir Lippestad.

Tuan emphasised that Hanoi hopes to boost cooperation with Oslo in planning, transport and environmental protection.

He also suggested the city encourage its businesses to invest in Hanoi, and proposed establishing an information exchange channel to maintain the two sides’ fine relations.

Meanwhile, in Austria, the delegation visited Vienna’s urban and environmental management agencies to learn from their experience.

Strict fines for violators in animal health sector

The highest fine for violations in the animal health sector is VNĐ100 million (US$4,400) for organisations, and VNĐ50 million ($2,200) for individuals, under a new Government decree.

Individuals or organisations that produce veterinary medicines banned in Việt Nam are subject to the fine.

People using these products will be fined VNĐ8-10 million ($350-440).

The decree also includes violations in preventing animal diseases, quarantining animals, slaughter, hygiene, medicine management and veterinary practice.

The lowest fine, VNĐ1-2 million ($40-80), is for deliberately not reporting the death of animals because of infectious diseases to local authorities.

People transporting animals that have died because of infectious diseases, or those who dispose such dead animals into the environment will be fined VNĐ5-6 million ($220-260).

Those transporting living animals infected with dangerous diseases from an affected area without permission will be fined VNĐ15-20 million ($660-880).

Antibiotic resistance in livestock threatens Vietnamese health and livelihood

Improper use of antibiotics in breeding will result in antibiotic resistance and residues in food that causes more potential risks for consumers’ health and livelihood. This was stated at a conference on antibiotic management in Hanoi on August 2.

Hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in collaboration with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, the workshop aims to implement Vietnam’s National Action Plan for management of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance in livestock and aquaculture for the 2017-2020 periods.

With funding from USAID, this plan was developed with technical assistance from FAO to orient agricultural activities and operations of agencies under the MARD, as well as supplement the Ministry of Health's National Action Plan for Drug Resistance during 2013-2020. The plan is expected to contribute to reducing the risk of drug resistance to the community in relation to the use of antibiotics in livestock and aquaculture in Vietnam.

The National Action Plan has specific objectives of reviewing, and implementing regulations regarding policies related to antibiotic resistance and antibiotic use in livestock and aquaculture.

Another objective of this plan is to raise awareness concerning the use of antibiotics and the risk of antibiotic resistance formation for technicians and professionals working in the field of agriculture and food, as well as farmers and consumers; applying good practices in medical examination and treatment, professional practice in animal feed production, and employing the best practices in breeding and aquaculture; monitoring the use of antibiotics, antibiotic residues and antibiotic resistance in livestock and aquaculture along with facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration on antibiotic resistance management.

Speaking at the conference, Deputy Minister of MARD Vu Van Tam stated that the abuse of antibiotics in livestock and aquaculture has also caused serious consequences, such as high antibiotic residues and increasing difficulty in the treatment of some diseases for livestock due to antibiotic resistance. Improper use of antibiotics would also result in antibiotic residues in food that harms consumers.

In addition, the overuse of joint antibiotics for both healthcare and veterinary usage also poses a threat to the emergence of serious drug resistance in Vietnam. Meanwhile, the sanctions and legal corridors in antibiotic management are still inadequate, making the antibiotic abuse more complex.

Against this backdrop, the best implementation of the National Action Plan requires coordination from the MARD and its subordinate units, as well as with the relevant Ministry of Health, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and local People's Committees across the nation, Tam stated.

He also called on for further cooperation and technical and financial support from international organisations, research institutes and the private sector to join efforts to reduce the use of antibiotics and to prevent threats from antibiotic resistance.

Representatives from international organisations highly value Vietnam's efforts in controlling the use of antibiotics for a sustainable agriculture, also as an act of expressing Vietnam's strong commitment to combating antibiotic resistance as made by the World Health Organisation.

Stressing the importance of the launch of the Action Plan, deputy director for USAID Vietnam, Craig Hart, said that enforcement is needed to ensure the plan’s success. Actions need to be based on the best evidence and in accordance with international practice, he added.

As antibiotic resistance is a strategy that the US is also working on, in the coming time, the country commits to provide support to Vietnam in terms of technical capacity in implementing management of antibiotic use in livestock and fisheries, focusing on upgrading laboratories and facilitating residue analysis, stated Craig Hart.

Jong-ha Bae, FAO chief representative in Vietnam, said that antibiotic resistance threatens the health and livelihoods of Vietnamese people, while also threatening the sustainability of agricultural and food production systems.

Farmers, veterinarians and veterinary medicine sellers should share responsibility by using antibiotics in a more responsible manner, whilst finding alternatives to maintain animal health and productivity, such as biosafety improvement and good practices in animal husbandry, suggested Jong-ha Bae.

FAO is actively coordinating with the MARD’ Department of Animal Health to implement a programme on antibiotic residues monitoring and antibiotic resistance in livestock and fisheries in Vietnam, as well as equipping technical equipment for Vietnam in efforts to control the use of antibiotics in the coming time, added Jong-ha Bae.

At the event, the MARD announced that the ministry has banned the use of antibiotic feed for growth purposes since 2018. By 2020, the use of antibiotics for the prevention of animal diseases will also be banned.

The MARD will also work on a list of antibiotics for animals and people while also increasing measures to limit the use of joint antibiotics for animals and humans.

Children in Bac Ninh to benefit from school milk programme

The northern province of Bac Ninh has decided to splash out more than 420 billion VND (18.5 million USD) on a school milk programme for more than 557,000 pre-school and primary pupils during 2017-2020.

Of the total, 210 billion VND (9.25 million USD) will come from the provincial budget, some 105 billion VND (4.62 million USD) by milk supplying businesses and 105 billion VND (4.62 million USD) from parents. Disadvantaged students will receive free milk.

Per the programme, pre-school and primary school students will receive three 180 ml milk bottles per week for nine months.

In the 2017-2018 academic year, some 139,000 local children, including more than 94,000 pre-school children and 44,000 primary students, will benefit from the programme.

The school milk programme was launched nationwide on September 28, 2016. It targets providing all pre-school children and elementary pupils in poor districts with milk by 2020, meeting 90-95 percent of their energy demand and increasing the heights of school boys and girls by 1.5 and 2 centimetres, respectively.

As many as 60 countries worldwide have responded to World School Milk Day launched by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, including Japan, the Republic of Korea, the US, the UK and Thailand.

Đà Nẵng City portal works effectively

The Đà Nẵng City portal received more than 500 questions in the first half of this year, reaching 141 per cent compared with the same period last year, according to the municipal People’s Committee.

The results were announced at a conference on Monday to sum up the portal’s work in the first half of this year and finalise the working plan for the latter half of this year.

Most questions are related to right use of certificates, tax policy, trade register and social insurance.

During the first six months of 2017, the portal published nearly 2,000 stories, of which 152 were translated into English and Japanese. The stories were about the city’s policies and provided information serving the demands of residents and enterprises.

The portal also joined hands with concerned organisations to hold workshops on labour, work safety, housing and property ownership rights.

Speaking at the conference, deputy chairman of Đà Nẵng City People’s Committee Hồ Kỳ Minh asked the city portal and portals of other organisations in the city to continue to develop multimedia functions and implement dialogues between municipal authorities and residents.

Plans to develop the city portal and portal security should be prepared, he said.

Committee mulls Judicial Records Law

The National Assembly’s Committee for Judicial Affairs yesterday continued its sixth plenary session to discuss amendments to Law on Judicial Records.

According to a Government statement, since the law’s implementation, judicial record card issuance has basically met public expectations and solidified judicial record cards’ role in State and social management. 

However, regulations on the database of judicial records have limitations. In particular, the issuance of judicial record card No. 2, issued at the request of individuals who want to know their judicial records, has been abused.

The draft law on judicial records proposes removing regulations related to judicial record card No. 2 issuance to protect the rights, benefits and secrets of individuals.

Nguyễn Công Hồng, deputy head of NA’s Judicial Affairs Committee said that the draft law does assess the impacts of judicial record card removal. In fact, demand for the cards is increasing for visa requests, marriages, settlements, labour export and job applications.

Công said the card removal may harm Vietnamese citizens’ rights.

Many participants proposed keeping judicial record card No.2, adding that there needs to be many judicial record cards at different levels.

NA deputy Nguyễn Bá Sơn said that information technology should be used to improve the judicial record database. The current national database lacks connections among localities.

Lê Thị Nga, the committee’s chairwoman, concluded that the draft law’s compiling committee must produce a comprehensive assessment of the draft law’s impact on citizens, those who leave the country, get married with foreigners and work and study overseas.

She ordered the consideration of removing judicial record card No.2 and proposed adding judicial records for legal entities.

Quan họ performances promote tourism

Quan họ (love duet) singing on boat will be held every Saturday evening in northern Bắc Ninh Province, Nguyễn Tử Quỳnh, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said.

The performances will be staged on two lakes in front of office buildings of the provincial Committee of the Party and People Council at 8pm.

The provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism takes charge of organising the performances, aimed at popularising quan họ not only among local tourists, but also foreigners.

Quan họ is an art form that combines various elements, including music, lyrics and costumes, and features the distinctive culture of people in the region formerly called Kinh Bắc. It was recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2009. 

The singing represents different kinds of relationships -- the relationship between male and female singers as romantic lovers, the relationship between two friendly villages and the relationship between performers and the audience. Each element helps define quan họ, give it life and meaning, and the resulting harmony is so much more than just a beautiful song.

Kon Tum, Lao southern localities enjoy fruitful cooperation

The Central Highlands province of Kon Tum and southern provinces of Laos have enjoyed fruitful partnerships in recent years through Party, State and people-to-people cooperation.

Kon Tum is located in the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle, with four districts and 13 communes along the shared border with Laos.

Since 2012, the province has sent 1,807 officials to southern Lao localities, while receiving 1,005 officials from Attapeu, Sekong, Salavan and Champasak of Laos.

Kon Tum and southern provinces of Laos have also actively implemented cooperation contents of the Development Triangle region that were given during the meeting of the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Joint Coordination Committee in Attapeu and Sekong.

Meanwhile, Kon Tum has used 6.2 billion VND (272,738 USD) from its local budget to support southern Lao localities, while presenting five sets of computers to the Vietnam-Laos Friendship School in Attapeu in 2015. 

Currently, three Kon Tum businesses are investing in Laos with total investment of 327.8 billion VND.

Kon Tum helped train 25 students from Laos in 2011-2014, and currently hosts 50 others.

Also, Lao southern provinces have assisted Kon Tum in searching for and repatriating 31 sets of remains of Vietnamese soldiers who died in Laos during wartime.

In the future, Kon Tum and the four Lao southern localities will strengthen their ties through implementing signed agreements and encouraging businesses of both sides to invest in each other, especially in agro-forestry production and processing. 

They have agreed to upgrade the Bo Y-Phu Cua border gate and work closely in ensuring border security.

30 kilos of heroin found stuffed in pickup truck

Authorities in the northern province of Hoa Binh said they seized 30 kilos of heroin concealed in the body of a pickup truck during a routine traffic stop on Tuesday, August 1.

Police didn’t say what led them to stop the vehicle but when it was pulled over officers suspecting something was amiss pressed on the body and discovered where the female driver, Bui Thi Bich Thuy, 41, had hidden the drugs.

She was arrested on a variety of drug charges related to possession of the illegal narcotics with intent to distribute. Local officials applauded the alert police work and have asked the courts to timely prosecute the case.

Ho Chi Minh City starts building anti-flood reservoir

The construction of a flood control lake has begun in Ho Chi Minh City and is expected to be finished within a week.

Ninety-five percent of the water stored in the reservoir will be used for watering and firefighting missions.

Following a request from Sekisui, the lake will be constructed from cross-wave modules, made of polypropylene with high durability and eco-friendly characteristics.

The flood control lake is aimed at minimizing inundation on Vo Van Ngan Street and other nearby locations, the Steering Center of the Urban Flood Control Program said, adding that it would assist local underground water resources and prevent subsidence.

Tran Vinh Tuyen, vice-chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said that modern technology would be applied in the operation of the regulator to maximize its potential.

If positive results are achieved, similar projects will be implemented in other locations across the city, Tuyen continued.

Culture-Tourism Village delights children with various activities in August

A wide variety of unique cultural activities targeting children are being held throughout this August at the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism, in the Dong Mo tourism area of Son Tay town, Hanoi.

Under the programme, children visiting the village will be provided with an opportunity to learn about the daily life, traditional crafts, cultural practices and signature dishes of Vietnam’s ethnic groups across the country, including the Tay, Muong, Dao, Ta Oi, Co Tu, E De, Khmer and Thai groups.

They will also be invited to take part in folk games, such as Con (cloth ball) throwing, stick pushing, walking on stilts and sack races; or enjoy thrilling circus programmes, as well as competing at a children’s painting contest themed ‘I Love My Village’, which is scheduled on August 5 and 6.

Folk songs and dances, gong performances and concerts of traditional musical instruments will also be staged, to the delight of visitors, during the event.

Popular traditional festivals of the Ta Oi and Co Tu ethnic groups in Thua Thien – Hue province and the Thai ethnic group in Moc Chau district, Son La province will be introduced to visitors on August 13, 19, and 20, respectively.

Notably, children aged between 8 and 15 can register for a free training course on experiencing Buddhist monastic life. During the two-day course, participants will learn about meditation, Buddhist rituals and Buddha’s teachings on humanism and being a well behaved child.

HCM City to fund construction of animal-waste processing facilities

The HCM City People’s Committee has announced its plan to help livestock breeders improve their animal-waste treatment methods in an aim to reduce pollution.

From now to 2020, the city will offer loans to be used to repair or build biogas tanks and to buy biological padding, which is used to decompose animal feces naturally.

Zero-interest loans of no more than VNĐ12 million for a 36-month term will be allowed (US$530) per household, while loans for repair or renovation will be no more than VNĐ6 million ($260) per household, according to the People’s Committee. The loans are for farmers in District 9 and 12 and Thủ Đức District.

Besides the loans, the city will also offer a subsidy of up to 50 per cent of the cost of building biogas tanks (up to VNĐ5 million or $220) and a similar offer for installing biological padding.

Children’s rights organization unveils US$45,000 in education grants

The Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children's Rights today (August 2) announced a new US$45,000 initiative titled ‘Light Up Dreams’ to expand young people’s access to economic opportunity.

With the country’s economy requiring a more skilled workforce, the program is designed to increase dramatically the number of youth who complete education pathways aligned with good-paying, high-demand jobs, said Ninh Thi Hong, vice president of the Association.

Currently, employers are struggling to fill middle-skill jobs in computer technology, nursing, advanced manufacturing and other fields that require technical education and training.

Too few young people are receiving the education or training in high school and beyond that would put them on a track to qualify for these skills-based positions and we believe the opportunity for these jobs should be within every child’s reach.

The ‘Light Up Dreams’ program, said Mr Hong, will present some 1,000 scholarships and 5,000 gifts to children of soldiers who either died or were wounded in battle together with Agent Orange victims and victims of a natural disaster.

Currently 450 scholarships have been designated for youth in the provinces of Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Tien Giang, Hau Giang, Bac Lieu and Tra Vinh, 250 for the province of Ben Tre and the remainder will go to other deserving youth across the country.

Founded in 2008, the Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children's Rights is a social organization connecting like-minded entities, individuals and volunteers to work for the advancement of children’s rights throughout Vietnam.

Connecting Viet Youth 2017 to open in Hanoi

Various activities as part of the Connecting Viet Youth 2017 programme will take place in Hanoi from August 6-9. 

The event will be hosted by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union chapter of the Hanoi municipal Students Association, the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community – Hanoi Hub, the Vietnamese Student Association in the UK, the Volunteer for Education Organisation and Vietnamese students’ associations in the US, Australia, France, the Republic of Korea, Hungary and Singapore. 

Opening the event will be a charity run at Hang Day stadium with more than 300 young people taking part, a music show with DJs and singers and a flash mob. 

A charity programme, including blood donation, music performances and gift-giving to more than 300 child patients being treated at the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, will be launched on August 7. 

The forum “Creativity in industrial era 4.0”, scheduled for August 9, will be attended by Bitexco Chairman Vu Quang Hoi, US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius, 50 leading start-ups in tech and 1,000 Vietnamese young intellectuals working and studying abroad. 

All proceeds will be used for charity, including building a house of gratitude in Muong Mun commune, Tuan Giao district, the northern province of Dien Bien and a new school for poor students costing 261 million VND (11,300 USD) in Tenh Phong commune.

Da Nang-Quang Ngai expressway section opens to traffic

The first 65km road section of the 140km Da Nang – Quang Ngai Expressway in central Vietnam opened to traffic on August 2.

Running from Da Nang city’s Tuy Loan district to Quang Nam province’s Tam Ky city, the four-lane section with two emergency lanes allows vehicles to travel at 120km per hour, reducing travel time between the two localities. It includes a two-way mountain tunnel and 59 bridges.

The Da Nang – Quang Ngai expressway project is part of the national plan to develop networks of expressways by 2020 with a vision to 2030. 

The link, running through Da Nang city, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces, will connect industrial parks in the region and help boost transportation in the East-West Economic Corridor that links Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Viet Nam.

The project has a total investment of 1.64 billion USD, of which 798 million USD was sourced from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and over 590 million USD from the World Bank.

Can Tho: credit programmes help nearly 180,000 poor households

Credits provided by the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies have helped 179,100 households in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho escape from poor and near-poor status over the past 15 years, heard a conference in the city on August 1.

According to the Can Tho branch of the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies, it has launched additional 11 new credit programmes, raising the total ongoing credit programmes in the city to 14, with loans totalling 5,067 billion VND (222.95 million USD), benefiting 498,684 people.

The programmes have also helped create jobs for 270,800 labourers, provide financial assistance for nearly 45,000 students with difficult backgrounds, and build clean water stations and toilets for over 69,200 households.

These programmes have also assisted the building of 2,200 flood shelters for local residents, over 2,900 houses for the poor households, and provided preferential loans for 14,070 households.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Director General of the bank Vo Minh Hiep urged local authorities and the provincial Vietnam Bank for Social Policies branch to strengthen communication work to raise the awareness among locals on the preferential credit programmes while allocating resources for assisting locals and building new style rural areas.

During the occasion, numerous units and individuals were honoured for their outstanding contribution to successful implementation of the credit programmes from 2002 – 2017.

SEA Games winners to receive bonuses

Athletes who achieve high results at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games will receive bonuses from Pha Le Plastics JSC, an official of the Vietnam Sports Administration has announced.

Tran Duc Phan, deputy head of the Vietnam Sports Administration, said that following the sponsorship deal signed in Hanoi on August 2, the best 15 athletes of each sport in the Games will be rewarded. The first gold medallist, the most valuable athlete and the best footballer will also enjoy their bonuses.

Pha Le Company Director Duong Quang Thang promised to recruit family members of awarded athletes to work at their factories based on their working knowledge.

The company expected to continue their sponsorship to athletes in other international sporting event in the future.-VNA

National action plan on antimicrobial use reduction launched

A meeting was held in Hanoi on August 2 to launch Vietnam’s national action plan for the reduction of antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance in livestock production and aquaculture in the 2017-2020 period.

Funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the action plan was built with technical support of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

It aims to review, amend and implement regulations and policies relating to antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial use in animal husbandry and aquaculture, while raising the awareness of antimicrobial use and the risk of antimicrobial resistance infections among farmers, workers in the agricultural and food industries, and consumers.

The action plan looks to promote good practices in medical examination and treatment, animal feed production, animal farming, and aquaculture. It will also supervise antimicrobial use, antibiotic residues, and antimicrobial resistance in livestock production and aquaculture. 

Cooperation in antimicrobial resistance management among sectors is also set to be facilitated under the national action plan.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said the use of antibiotics in livestock production in Vietnam hasn’t been strictly monitored, especially in pig and poultry farming. The inappropriate use of antibiotics will lead to antibiotic resistance and residues in food.

USAID Vietnam Deputy Mission Director Craig Hart said the launch of the action plan is a very important step, but its success depends on the compliance with and enforcement of law when necessary.

FAO representative in Vietnam Jong-ha Bae said antimicrobial resistance threatens the health and livelihoods of Vietnamese people, as well as the sustainability of agriculture, food production and the environment. 

He added farmers, veterinarians, and veterinary medicine sellers should share responsibility by using antibiotics more responsibly, seek alternatives to raise farming productivity, and improve biological safety and practices in animal husbandry.

Lao delegation to fifth theoretical workshop greeted in Kien Giang

Vo Van Thuong, head of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee’s Information and Education Commission, received Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune, head of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee’s Commission for Propaganda and Training, in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang on August 2. 

Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune, who is also President of the Lao National Council for Social Sciences, is in Vietnam to attend the fifth theoretical workshop between the two Parties. 

At the meeting, Thuong expressed his belief that the workshop, together with other activities marking the 55th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties and 40 years of the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, will help boost the special solidarity between the two countries as well as cooperation between the two Parties in a practical and effective manner. 

Host and guest reviewed collaboration between the two commissions over the past time and discussed measures to enhance the affiliation in the time ahead. 

They agreed to closely work with each other in implementing agreements reached by the two countries’ leaders and increase the exchange of information and experience, thus contributing to strengthening the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos. 

The same day, Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune had a working session with Vice Chairman of the CPV Central Committee’s Theoretical Council Phung Huu Phu.

They assessed the implementation of cooperation agreements between the CPV Central Committee’s Theoretical Council and the Lao National Council for Social Sciences during 2013-2017 as well as orientations for their partnership in the next five years.

CLMTV ministers discuss guest workers affairs

Cooperation in education, trade and technology would help Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam control and protect migrant workers, said Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam.

He made the remark at the 2nd Ministerial Conference on Labour Cooperation in these five countries, or the CLMTV, which convened in the central city of Da Nang on August 2. The biennial conference focused on the theme of “Promoting Human Resources Development and Decent Work for Migrant Workers”.

Dam said connected by the Mekong River, the ASEAN member states, with combined population of about 230 million people, have witnessed their partnership expanded continuously. 

He suggested the countries increase the sharing of information on labour affairs and policy changes.

Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dang Ngoc Dung stated guest workers are an important growth momentum for both sending and receiving countries, adding that this is why they need to be protected and provided with stable jobs. 

Participating ministers agreed the management of migrant workers requires consistent approaches and concerted efforts not only within a country but also at the regional and international levels. 

They also highlighted the roles of parties involved, including public officials, lawmakers, researchers and enterprises.

The ministers approved a joint statement on safe labour migration submitted by the CLMTV senior officials following their meeting in Da Nang on August 1. 

The statement stressed cooperation among these countries is in line with international labour standards and the law of each nation, with parties committing to working together in a number of prioritised sectors, including labour training, fair recruitment, and standard labour contract.

Scholarships given to disadvantaged children

As many as 1,000 scholarships and 5,000 gifts are expected to be offered to children from difficult backgrounds under the programme called “Thap sang nhung uoc mo” (To light up dreams) this year.

The scholarships and the gifts are worth at least one million VND (44 USD) and 500,000 VND (22 USD) each, respectively, said the Vietnam Association for Protection of Children's Rights (VAPCR) on August 2.

The programme, the 4th version, aims to encourage and honour outstanding students who have overcome their difficulties to obtain good results in their study, as well as enterprises and donors for their support for the programme.

As scheduled, the VAPCR will present 450 scholarships and 105 presents to disadvantaged children in Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Tien Giang, Hau Giang, Bac Lieu, and Tra Vinh provinces from September 8-30, while handing over scholarships and gifts to 50 others from northern provinces in Hanoi on September 23.

VAPCR Vice President Ninh Thi Hong said the association has mobilised half of the expected scholarships and gifts, expressing her hope that the association will continue receiving support from organisations and individuals to help needy children.

The programme’s main event will be organised in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre on October 1 on the occasion of the Mid-Autumn festival which falls on October 4. As many as 250 scholarships and 30 gifts are will be presented to needy children during the event.

“Thap sang nhung uoc mo” 2017 programme is part of efforts to implement the Law on Children and the Prime Minister’s Decision 2361/QD-TTg approving the child protection programme for 2016-2020; and respond to the action month for children, and the Mid-Autumn festival.

Sympathies to Thailand on flood-triggered property losses

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on August 2 offered sympathies to his Thai counterpart Prayuth Chan-o-cha on heavy property losses caused by storm Sonca-inflicted floods in northeastern provinces of Thailand.

The same day, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh also sent a message of sympathies to Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.

Many areas in the northeast of Thailand were submerged under water after storm Sonca, especially in Sakon Nakhon province where a number of schools, hospitals and airport shut down for days. 

In Nakhon Ratchasima province, at least 229 villages in five districts were flooded, seriously affecting more than 5,000ha of land and tens of thousands of people. More than 6,000 families in Phetchabun province were also affected by floodwater.

Workshop promotes grass-roots units’ access to law

Promoting legal access for communes, wards and towns across the country is crucial for enhancing authorities’ responsibility in creating favourable conditions for local people to approach to legal regulations.

Deputy Minister of Justice Phan Chi Hieu made the remarks at a training workshop jointly held by the Ministry of Justice and the United States Agency for International Development (USAIDS) in Hanoi on August 2.

Helping localities get access to legal regulations is meant to raise awareness of law enforcement among local authorities and people as well as speed up the reform of administrative procedures. It also makes contributions to realising the national target programme for building new-style rural areas in 2016-2020.

According to Phan Hong Nguyen, Deputy Head of the Department of Legal Dissemination and Education, a commune meeting legal access standards should satisfy five criteria: ensuring the enforcement of constitution and regulations, performing administrative procedures within its competence, popularising and educating legal regulations, undertaking conciliation at grass-roots level and assuring democracy at grass-roots level.

At the event, participants underlined that building communes with legal access standards is important to state and social management. They also discussed challenges while carrying out the mission at localities to find out proper settlements.

More 1,000 national flags come to fishermen in Ly Son Island

The confederations of Labour of central Binh Thuan and Quang Ngai provinces presented 1,000 national flags to members of commune-based Fishery Trade Unions in Ly Son Island district, on August 1.

The flags were given to the fishermen in response to a national campaign to support Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes in 2017.

The event aims to motivate local fishermen to continue fishing offshore, affirming the country’s sea and island sovereignty.

In March, some 3,000 national flags were also presented to fishermen of Ly Son island district by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union of the central province of Quang Ngai and Hue University of Education.

Thailand hands over 27 Vietnamese fishermen

After being held for a year, 27 Vietnamese fisherman who were arrested while fishing illegally in Thai waters were handed back to the Vietnam Embassy after successful talks with the local authorities in the Pathum Thani Province, Thailand.

The Vietnamese fishing boats were arrested in mid-July, 2016, by the Thai coast guards. The captain and crew of the fishing boats went on trial for illegal fishing and labour abuse.

Other fishermen were kept temporarily in Songkla Province, for further investigation.

 Nguyen Hai Ngoc, a representative from the Vietnam Embassy, said that since 2016, Thai coast guards have arrested 86 Vietnamese fishermen for illegally fishing on Thai waters.

The 27 fishermen are now in good health and are in contact with their families at home.

The Embassy has completed procedures to send them home next week.

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