Social News 7/8

Landslide kills one in Cao Bang

USAID supports 385,000 women in Southeast Asia, Defense chief to visit U.S. next week, Hundreds of workers rescued from big fire in Bac Ninh, Landslide kills one in Cao Bang

A landslide triggered by prolonged rains over the past days killed a man in Ron Ru village, Tam Kim commune, Nguyen Binh district of the northern mountainous province of Cao Bang on August 6. 

Hoang Sun Chieu, born in 1965, and his wife were on their way home from the field when a mass of soil fell down the mountain, sweeping Chieu down the abyss. Chieu’s wife was lucky to survive. 

Heavy rain has poured down in many northern provinces over the past week, causing flash floods and extensive damages.  

Yen Bai reported five deaths and nine missing cases as of August 5, while 12 people were killed and three other went missing in Son La. 

Losses from damaged houses and infrastructure facilities along with submerged food crop fields amounted to hundreds of billions of VND.

Vietnamese beers join 21st Berlin Beer Festival

Hanoi and Saigon beers joined 2,400 other kinds of beers around the world at the 21st Berlin International Beer Festival in Berlin, Germany from August 4-6. 

The festival attracted over 344 beer manufacturers from 87 countries and territories around the world, including the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, to display their beers on 2.2 km of the Karl-Marx boulevard. 

Visitors also enjoyed traditional food and special products of each renowned beer production area, and art performances.

The event, the world’s biggest beer festival, is expected to welcome 800,000 visitors. 

Hanoi: 3,000 people take walk for AO/Dioxin victims

About 3,000 people in Hanoi took a walk for Agent Orange/Dioxin victims along streets around My Dinh National Stadium on August 6 to mark the 56th anniversary of the Vietnamese Orange Agent Day.

The event, co-held by the National Charity Club (NCC), the Vietnam Association of Young Scientists and Engineers (VAYSE), and Incom Media, aimed to increase local and international awareness of AO/Dioxin in Vietnam and raise funds for the victims. It also supports the quest for justice for affected people and the prevention of use of mass destruction weapons.

According to NCC Chairman Pham Van Toi, dealing with aftermaths of chemical warfare and providing care and support to the affected people are long-term and pressing issues today. About 70 percent of families of AO/Dioxin victims are poor, 22 percent of them have more than 3 victims and 90 percent of affected people are unemployed, he said.

The walk started at the national stadium, going though Le Duc Tho, Ho Tung Mau, Pham Hung and Nguyen Hoang streets with state employees and students in attendance.

The NCC has organised a series of similar events for AO/Dioxin victims, for example, a cycling event in May and August, 2016 with the participation of nearly 1,000 people, and a Gala Concert in August, 2016 at the National Convention Centre. It also presented the victims with more than 100 gift packages, worth around 2 billion VND, last year.

Moscow, Geneva get-togethers celebrate Vietnam-Laos diplomatic ties

The embassies of Vietnam and Laos co-organised friendship get-togethers, featuring musical performances and sports events, in Moscow, Russia and Geneva, Switzerland on August 5 to celebrate the 55th anniversary of their countries’ diplomatic ties (September 5, 1962).

The events also marked the 40th year of the signing of Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (July 18, 1977).

Performers from Vietnam and Laos took the stage with traditional tunes at the get-together at Hanoi-Moscow Complex (Incentra) in the capital of Russia where diplomats from the two embassies and their families gathered. The event also saw exciting table tennis friendly matches between staff at the embassies.

In his remarks at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Nguyen Thanh Son highlighted the long-standing relations between the two nations and how their peoples sacrificed for each other and stuck together through thick and thin during struggles for liberation.

His Lao counterpart Siviengphet Phetvorasack said the 40-year Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation has laid a great foundation for enhancing the two countries’ solidarity and building their bilateral relations and comprehensive cooperation. The ties, hereby, have been deepened and made day-by-day progress, he noted.

The Lao ambassador expressed his thanks to support of the Vietnamese government and people for Laos in fights against imperialism and in national development. He believed that the growing ties would bring prosperity to their people.

In Geneva, Vietnamese and Lao diplomats also gathered to enjoyed friendly sports events and traditional foods from the two nations.

Archives Centre praised for preserving Nguyen dynasty’s woodblocks

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has praised the National Archives Centre IV in Da Lat city for its efforts in preserving the Nguyen dynasty printing woodblocks, which were recogised by UNESCO as a Memory of the World.

Speaking at a working session with the centre on August 6, Deputy PM Binh stressed that the Government always attaches great care to safeguarding and promoting the treasured Vietnamese heritages which have been handed down by our ancestors.

In this spirit, the Government has developed a number of policies and documents directing ministries and sectors to take measures in order to preserve and uphold the heritage’s values, such as the master plan on preserving the Nguyen Dynasty wood blocks, he said.

Currently, 34,619 woodblocks are being preserved in the National Archives Centre IV in Da Lat city. Many of which contain valuable contents affirming Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos.

The deputy PM welcomed the initiatives put forward by the officers and staff at the National Archives Centre IV in organising and storing the Nguyen Dynasty’s royal administrative documents and woodblocks.

He asked the relevant ministries and sectors to organise exhibitions and displays abroad to introduce the values of the Nguyen dynasty’s woodblocks, and other UNESCO-recognised heritages in Vietnam, to our international friends.

Photo exhibition marks ASEAN’s 50th anniversary in Hanoi

As many as 230 photos featuring the landscapes and people of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are being displayed at an exhibition, which opened at the Ly Thai To Square in Hanoi on August 5.

The event, jointly organised by the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the municipal People’s Committee, aimed to mark the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN.

The photos, by 130 artists from the ten ASEAN nations, include 50 on Vietnam and 20 on each of nine other nations. They are selected from over 10,000 entries sent by over 1,200 photographers.

At the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Vuong Duy Bien said, the exhibition presents opportunities for regional photographers, including Vietnamese to exchange and learn from each other.

It is expected to strengthen understanding and solidarity among the nations, contributing to building an ASEAN community of solidarity, dynamism, development, peace and prosperity, he added.

On the occasion, 10 photographers, each from the 10 ASEAN nations, were honoured with an “ASEAN Photo Cup” for their outstanding art works.

The event runs until August 11.

Vietnam’s signature Nem introduced at food festival in Indonesia

The Embassy of Vietnam in Indonesia introduced the country’s signature Nem (spring roll) at the ASEAN cuisine festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, on August 5.

The event, jointly organised by the host country’s Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Foreign Ministry’s Department for ASEAN Cooperation, forms part of activities to mark the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy Director of the Department of Cultural Diplomacy under the Foreign Ministry Nadjamuddin Ramly underlined the significance of cultural cooperation among the ten ASEAN members via efforts and actions to promote solidarity, equality, cooperation and development, with fundamental activities such as the food festival.

The ASEAN nations have rich culture and cuisine, he said, adding that promotion of food identity of each nation is a diplomatic channel.

At the festival, each ASEAN nation introduced one traditional dish. 

The event lured a crowd of tourists visiting Jakarta, who enjoyed ASEAN food free of charge.

Over 5,000 people walk to cheer national team to SEA Games 29

Over 5,000 people joined a walk along Nguyen Hue Street, downtown HCM City, on August 6, delivering their support for the Vietnamese team who will depart for the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia this weekend.

The event was co-held by the Vietnam Olympics Committee and the municipal Department of Culture and Sports. The city’s senior officials and the athlete team of the south also offered flowers at the monument of late President Ho Chi Minh. 

Speaking at the event, Deputy Director of the General Department of Sports Tran Duc Phan said the Vietnamese team to the 29 SEA Games comprises 681 members, including 476 athletes who will compete in 32 out of 38 sports at the games.

Vietnam aims to finish in top 3 with over 60 gold medals, said Phan who will lead the team in Malaysia, adding that the squad is ready to do their best.

At the previous Games, Vietnam ranked third with 73 golds, 53 silvers and 60 bronze.

About 200 athletes of the southern team will join the national delegation in the region’s biggest sports event, competing in 14 sports. They hope to bring home 10-12 gold medals, particularly in sports of their strengths like track and field, swimming, and aerobics.

The 29th SEA Games are scheduled for August 19-31 with 4,888 athletes from the ten ASEAN member countries.

Competition launched to find young talents in traditional art forms

The 2017 national competition for professional stage actors of Tuong (classical drama) and Cheo (traditional opera) was launched on August 5, at Lam Son theatre in Thanh Hoa province.

The contest attracted the participation of 95 young actors, aged below 33 years old, who came from 19 professional ‘tuong’ and ‘cheo’ art troupes from across the country.

The contestants will perform 88 extracts from classical ‘tuong’ and ‘cheo’ plays, which have won the hearts of many generations of Vietnamese people.

The opening day featured performances from the young stage artists from the Military ‘Cheo’ Theatre and the Thanh Hoa provincial ‘Tuong’ art troupe.

The ten-day competition is co-organised by the Department of Performing Arts, under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam Association of State Artists.

The event aims to provide a venue for young actors to showcase their talents and gain experience from their colleagues in order to improve the quality of their performances, thereby meeting the increasing demand of the audience.

It also seeks to discover and nurture young talents in performance arts, while helping managers and leaders of art troupes make thorough evaluation on their staff and work out solutions to enhance human resource training.

Vietnam pledges to promote Investing in Women Initiative

The Government of Vietnam has attached importance to and implemented numerous concrete measures to promote gender equality and women empowerment, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said at a seminar in the Philippines on August 6.

The seminar on Investing in Women Initiative, part of the activities of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM 50), was chaired by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, and attended by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and representatives of female entrepreneurs from Australia, and other ASEAN nations.

Minh welcomed and highly valued the pioneering role of the Government of Australia in promoting gender equality and women empowerment in the region.

Support for the participation and enhancement of women role at micro-, small- & medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) is an effective way to give more power to women in socio-economic development while boosting the sustainable growth and development of MSMEs, contributing to the development of prosperity of nations, Minh affirmed.

The Investing in Women programme is an initiative of the Australian government, worth 46 million AUD. It aims to empower women in socio-economic activities in Asian – Pacific nations.

The programme provides financial assistance for MSMEs, develops legal framework, and establish female entrepreneur’s alliance, thus creating a favourable condition, job opportunities, and enhancing the role and participation of women in socio-economic development.

It also aims to create more education opportunities for girls.

Vietnam Airlines reschedules flights from Japan due to Typhoon Noru

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines rescheduled seven flights from Japan to Vietnam on the morning of August 6 due to Typhoon Noru.

The tropical cyclone, which is approaching southern Japan, has forced the carrier to reorganize flights from Japan’s Fukuoka, Osaka, Nagoya and Narita to Hanoi and HCM City 1 hour – 1 hour 50 minutes later than the booked times.

Other flights on the routes may also be affected by the delays, Vietnam Airlines said.

It advised passengers who plan to fly from/to Japan in the current period to keep updating weather forecast and information on their flights.

The passengers can visit or call the customer service hotline 1900 1100 or booking agencies across the country for more information.

AVC Women’s Championship: Pre-SEA Games warm-up for Vietnam

Vietnam’s women’s volleyball team will be competing in Group C, alongside the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and New Zealand, at the 2017 AVC Asian Championship, scheduled to be held in Manila, the capital of the Philippines from August 9 to 17.

The preliminary round features the participation of 14 teams competing in a round robin tournament of four groups. Group A includes Kazakhstan, Hong Kong (China) and the Philippines, while reigning champions China, Japan and Australia have been drawn in Group B. Group D is made up of Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Iran and Maldives.

The top two finishers of each group in the first round will qualify for the second round, where they will compete in two groups of four to decide the quarterfinal pairs.

Vietnam, coached by Japanese expert Hidehiro Irisawa, will play their Group C opener with Sri Lanka on August 9, before taking on New Zealand and the Republic of Korea on August 10 and 11, respectively.

The championship, organised by the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC), will serve as a useful warm-up for the Vietnamese women’s team prior to their campaign at the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, scheduled between August 19 and 31 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

At the previous competition two years ago, the Vietnamese women ended up in fifth place overall, while China claimed their 13th title by beating the Republic of Korea 3-0 in the final match.

Head of Presidential Office attends Iranian President’s inauguration

A special envoy of President Tran Dai Quang, who is Chairman of the Presidential Office-Minister Dao Viet Trung, joined leaders and officials from 103 countries at the inauguration ceremony of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani from August 5-6.

On the occasion, the Vietnamese official held meetings with Iranian Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour.

The special envoy expressed his belief that under the leadership of Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei and President Rouhani, the Iranian Government and people will reap more achievements during the cause of national construction and development.

Trung said he is certain that the traditional relations and multi-faceted cooperation between Vietnam and Iran will further develop in the coming time.

Meanwhile, the Iranian officials thanked Vietnam for sending a special envoy to President Rouhani’s inauguration ceremony. Commitments of the two countries’ leaders as well as rosy results of the 9th meeting of Iran-Vietnam Joint Committee in July will help the two countries realise the target of 2 billion USD in bilateral trade revenue soon, they said.

The two sides also affirmed to continue cooperation and mutual support at international and regional forums. 

The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister said that it is Iran’s responsibility to support Vietnam at international forums as Vietnam’s policies of independence and peace are in conformity with Iran’s interests.

Thien Nhan’s “Drawing a fairy tale” program

In 2006 newborn Thien Nhan was abandoned by his teenage mother in a deserted park in Quang Nam province for three days. The baby’s right leg and genitals were taken by wild animals.

Tran Mai Anh, a young mother of two living in Hanoi, adopted him when he was two years old. She took him to many doctors in Vietnam and abroad for reconstructive surgery.  

Later a fund called the Thien Nhan and Friends Fund was set up to support disadvantaged and disabled children. Last year the Fund, in collaboration with the Kim Dong Publishing House, created a competition called “Drawing a fairy tale”. This event was so successful that it has been repeated this year throughout Vietnam.

This year’s “Drawing a fairy tale” competition took place in Hanoi in June and in Ho Chi Minh City last week. More than 100 of the wonderful paintings submitted to the competition were auctioned last weekend at the Kim Dong Publishing House in Ho Chi Minh City.

This drawing of a cat was bought by Tran Duy Cuong from Hanoi. Cuong said “I bought this painting because I really like it. It is very artistic. I also want to help disadvantaged and disabled children.”

Nguyen Anh Duy, a 6th grader from Alpha school in Cau Giay dictrict, Hanoi, flew to Ho Chi Minh city to sell his drawing of a cherry flower. Duy entered the competition on the very first day. He said “The cherry flower is very beautiful with its reddish color. 

 It’s my favorite painting. I think this painting is very suitable for this auction. I hope it will be bought for more than the auction price in Hanoi of VND5 million. The money will be donated to disadvantaged children.”

The touching story of brave little Thien Nhan and Mai Anh, his adopted mother, and their efforts to help other disadvantaged children has touched many hearts. 

Mrs. Luong Kim Lien, who attended the auction, said “I love and admire Thien Nhan and his mother. That’s why I’m here today at the auction. I bought a painting of a boy sitting in the middle of a fairy land. 

The painting with no name of a fairy land sky impressed me at first glance. The colors are cinematic. I hope my small contribution will help some disadvantaged and disabled children.”

Mrs. Tran Mai Anh, Thien Nhan’s adopted mother, who manages the Thien Nhan and Friends Fund program, was at the auction. Mai Anh said that the “Drawing a fairy tale” competition is more than a charity program in which children help other children. 

The children plant seeds of generosity and compassion in society. Anh said “The “Drawing a fairy tale” program was the idea of artists from the Kim Dong Publishing House and the Thien Nhan and Friends Fund. 

We encourage children to create paintings that can be sold to support children who need reconstructive surgery like Thien Nhan. This is a very meaningful program which encourages children to help others.”

Over the last six years, Tran Mai Anh and the Thien Nhan and Friends Fund has coordinated with several hospitals in Vietnam to invite doctors from Italy and the US to come to Vietnam and perform free operations for more than 800 handicapped children. 

Money raised by the “Drawing a Fairy Tale” auction will pay for medical examinations and treatment for 250 children by the end of the year. In 2016 the Thien Nhan and Friends Fund raised VND60 million. 

Artist Do Huong, one of the founders of the “Drawing a Fairy Tale” program, said “Even more meaningful than the money these children raise by selling their paintings is their good will and the childhood memories they are creating of what they have been able to do to help others. The children are providing needed reconstructive surgery which can change another child’s life forever.”

The “Drawing a fairy tale” program makes children realize that miracles don’t happen only in fairy tales. Miracles can happen in real life and they can be the ones who make other children’s dreams come true.

Lao Cai-Hanoi train derails entering station

The line remains open, but police are investigating the incident.

A train carrying 100 passengers traveling from Vietnam's northern province of Lao Cai to Hanoi derailed in the early hours of Sunday as it was entering Yen Vien Station on the outskirts of Hanoi at a speed of 15kph, according to Pham Nguyen Chien, head of the security division at Vietnam Railways.

Rescue workers uncoupled the last railcar, the only one to come off the tracks, and relocated passengers so the train could finish its journey, which it did at 6 a.m.

No deaths or injuries were reported, but the derailed wagon was seriously damaged.

The Hanoi-Lao Cai route remains open, but police are investigating the cause of the derailment. 

Vietnam's railways have been largely neglected for years. 

Only 3% of the state budget's infrastructure investment went on railways over the past decade, while roads received nearly 90%.

While other countries in the region have developed thousands of kilometers of electric dual-gauge tracks, 85 percent of the network in Vietnam still runs on the narrow one-meter gauge, a design that has been blamed for regular train crashes.

In 2005, a train flipped in the central city of Hue and killed 11 people. There were three major rail incidents in 2010, and another two in 2011.

In an effort to brighten the picture, the government has approved a plan for various improvements to the network, including speeding up trains from 50-60 kph to 90 kph by 2020 and starting work on a dual gauge track for high-speed trains that will run at 200 kph.

Century-old cathedral consumed by midnight fire in northern Vietnam

A fire gutted a cathedral dating back to the 19th century in northern Vietnam late Saturday night, destroying its interior, with no casualties reported.

According to local police, the fire broke out around 30 minutes to midnight at Trung Lao Cathedral in Truc Ninh District, Nam Dinh Province.

Hundreds of firefighters, police officers and local residents attempted to control the raging fire as it devoured the 129-year-old building.

The fire was not put out until two hours later, after having burnt down almost the entire interior of the catholic cathedral.

Truc Ninh police officers suspect a short circuit to have caused the midnight fire, though further investigation is underway to definitely conclude the cause.

No casualties have been reported as the cathedral was empty at the time of the fire.

According to locals, Trung Lao Cathedral was constructed between 1888 and 1898, and is a place of worship for thousands of Catholics in Truc Ninh District.

The building was a fusion between Gothic and traditional Vietnamese styles of architecture, measuring 50 meters long and 16 meters wide, divided into 11 chambers.

The cathedral’s exterior featured brick walls and tile roofing, while the interior was furnished entirely with wooden columns and beams measuring up to 80 centimeters in diameter.

Art performance marks Vietnam-Laos diplomatic ties

An art performance by Vietnamese artists was held in Vientiane on August 6 to celebrate 55 years of Vietnam-Laos diplomatic ties (September 5, 1962).

The event was attended by Lao Minister of National Defense Chansamone Chanyalath, Head of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party Central Committee’s Commission for Propaganda and Training Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune and representatives from the Lao Ministry of Security, among others.

Director of the Vietnam Military Music and Dance Theatre Tran Xuan Thanh said the programme aims to strengthen bilateral friendship.

The performance praised the beauty of the Vietnamese land and people and the traditional friendship between Vietnam and Laos, which was built by Presidents Ho Chi Minh and Kaysone Phomvihane.

Lao songs performed by Vietnamese artists received warm applause from the audience.

Son La urged to ensure food safety for flood-hit residents

Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Do Ba Ty urged the northern mountainous province of Son La to focus resources on addressing the consequences of floods during a working session with local authorities on August 6.

The province needs to mobilise efforts to support households who lost family members to the floods, search for missing people and ensure food safety for residents, particularly in hardest hit Muong La district, Ty said.

He also asked the locality to evaluate the impacts of climate change, improve forecast work, and minimise damages for residents.

As of August 6, floods took the lives of 10 people and left five others missing in Muong La district. 

The disaster damaged 398 houses, washed away roads, caused blackouts in five communes with 7,600 households and isolated seven communes in the district.

According to the steering board for natural disaster prevention, search and rescue of Son La province, locals and soldiers have been mobilised to help move people made homeless in the floods, to safer places.

The province has provided financial and food aid for families with dead, injured or missing members, and evacuated families, worth more than 3.1 billion VND (136,400 USD). 

The Vietnam Red Cross presented 200 gifts to the victims. So far, Muong La district has received more than 7.5 billion VND (330,000 USD) in aid.-

Ha Tinh province wants to keep iron mine closed

The central province of Ha Tinh has asked the Government not to resume activities of the Thach Khe iron mine, the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia.

The iron exploitation project was approved in 2007 at a cost of 1.59 trillion VND (69.9 million USD) and the relocation of 3,000 households, but suspended in 2011 after local authorities proposed closing the mine over environmental concerns.

Despite the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s rejection last week of a proposal to shut down the mine, Ha Tinh authorities want the suspension of activities to continue.

Duong Tat Thang, Vice Chairman of the province’s People’s Committee, said this would not be a good time to resume iron mining since local residents are still recovering from the mass fish deaths caused last year by the Taiwanese Hung Nghiep Formosa Steel Corporation.

Shortcomings of the iron mining project were revealed during the committee’s recent meetings with scientists, Thang said.

Some legal documents on which the environmental impact report was based have expired, since it was written a long time ago, he added. Insufficient infrastructure has been developed to serve the iron exploitation and no long-term solutions have been offered to support the livelihoods of the affected households.

The project’s investor should conduct extensive studies of waste discharge points by the Thach Dong River and Thach Hai Beach, Thang added.

Environmental monitoring stations should be established on both sides of each waste discharge point to provide overall monitoring of heavy metals, he said.

This is an important issue that should be taken into careful consideration after last year’s environmental catastrophe, he said.

Provincial authorities have requested, in written documents, that the Government clarify the investor’s capital investment, the project’s long-term economic benefits, its exploitation, processing, and marketing techniques, as well as its plans to help workers move to other jobs after it is completed, as well as solutions to protect the local environment, he added.

The failure of education

Failure stories have been heard loudly over the past few days when outstanding students gaining excellent scores at the national high school graduation examinations are denied enrollment in certain top-notch universities. Students are tearful, parents are frustrated, and schools say it is none of their business when gifted students are not admitted and see their future hopes dashed as the academic year is set to begin next month.

The failure stories of numerous students with exceptional exam results have seized the headlines. Never in the local education’s history have talented students been denied opportunities to continue their education after completing high schools with distinction. And it is still no-man’s fault.

A student named VHH in HCMC’s Tan Binh District relates how he achieved high scores at the exam, with 9.6 out of 10 for maths, 9.75 for chemistry, and 10 for biology, or 29.35 for the three subjects in Group B required for those students wanting to study at a medical school. But he fails when applying for the HCMC University of Medicine and Pharmacy.

The reason, as he explains in Nguoi Lao Dong, is that his total score of 29.35 is rounded up to be 29.25, which is also the threshold set by the HCMC University of Medicine and Pharmacy. As the number of applicants with this total score at the school is higher than targeted, the school introduces additional qualification criteria, including an English score of 9, while the student gains only 8.8. If the Ministry of Education had not issued the statute on rounding up scores, the student would have been enrolled.

In a similar case, Nguyen Thi Anh Thu, a student from Dong Nai Province’s Xuan Loc District, with a score of 29.25, also fails an additional qualification criterion when her English score is lower than required, according to Thanh Nien.

Meanwhile, a student named NPH in Hanoi’s Thach That District, with a total rounded score of 29.25, also fails to enroll in Hanoi University of Medicine. This school, different from its peer in HCMC, resorts to an additional qualification criterion that the original score must be at least 29.2. The student fails because he earns only 29.15, according to Lao Dong.

All the three above-mentioned students also complain of what they term as injustice, since many other students from out-of-the-way localities with lower scores are admitted to these two medical schools while they are denied. This is due to a long-established policy introduced by the Ministry of Education to prioritize students from remote localities such as mountainous areas over those in cities by giving them extra marks, which may be up to 5.5, according to Sai Gon Giai Phong. That means a student from such regions with a total original score of 25 or so can still be admitted to these two medical schools.

In fact, universities have no choice but to apply additional qualification criteria because they cannot enroll more students than their capacity. Thanh Nien reports that in the country, there are as many as 1,260 Group B students with a total score of 29.25 upwards in this year’s exam, while the two medical schools in Hanoi and HCMC admit only 800.

But medical schools are not the only ones with exceptionally high thresholds.

The People’s Security Institute sets a threshold of 30.5 marks for female students, while the Fire Fighting College demands a score of 30.25, according to Sai Gon Giai Phong. That is to say those students with exceptional marks of 10 out of 10 for all the three subjects still cannot enter these schools if they are residents in cities without extra marks added to their original scores. “This situation is unprecedented,” says the newspaper.

In numerous other universities, the thresholds this year have also been raised by several marks compared to last year, which is also a reason why many students are not admitted. Days earlier, experts predicted that due to the level of difficulty in this year’s exam is lower than last year, the average threshold can be 1.5 to 2 marks higher. Given the prediction, many students have applied to selective schools.

However, the real threshold is much higher, at up to 6 marks or so at certain universities, and as most schools have enrolled enough students right in the first round, many students with excellent scores no longer have any opportunities to enter a university, and have to wait until next year’s exams.

Nguyen Hai Truong An, a lecturer at the HCMC-based University of Economics and Law, says that many parents and students have come to the school to lodge complaints. “No one including lecturers (at the school) ever think that students with a total score of 26.5 or 27 marks can still fail. Frustrated parents and students cry, but we can only sympathize with them,” he is quoted in Phu Nu.

It has been three years since the Ministry of Education organized a common high school graduation exam, whose results universities can use to enroll their students. However, the level of difficulty in these three exams has never been stable. Two years earlier, the exams were seen as fairly easy, so the scores required by universities were high. Last year, the exams were said to be fairly difficult, so the threshold scores were lowered. And this year’s exams were said to be very easy, which give way to the chaos at universities now.

Nguyen Dinh Do, principal of Thanh Nhan High School, says in Tien Phong that it is illogical when students with incredibly high scores of 29 or 30 still cannot enter university. He suggests that the ministry should introduce exams with difficult and extremely difficult tests so that there are not so many students with maximum scores, making it easier for high-education institutes to enroll students.

The head of the training faculty at a public university says in Phu Nu that the threshold can be raised or lowered, but it is a big problem when students passing exams with distinction are still denied university entry.

Many excellent students must have now been taking the bitter pill when they cannot enter university. In a sense, it is not only their failure. If outstanding students cannot be admitted no matter how high their achievements are, it is also the failure of the country’s education, an education that fails to secure a seat for young talent.

RMIT Vietnam promotes digital tech in education

Within the framework of the digital strategy with a vision towards 2020, RMIT University Vietnam is boosting the application of digital technology in teaching and learning with a view to equipping students with knowledge of modern technology in harmony with the digital age.

In a statement sent to Daily on August 2, RMIT says it has been transforming nearly 20,000 paper textbooks into e-books from the new academic year and encourages students to make the most of online resources with more than 300,000 e-books and 120,000 research papers that they can easily access.

In addition, the university has launched the COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) project, giving a chance for 27 RMIT students majoring in marketing to work on a four-week project via Skype and social media with a group of their peers at the Amsterdam University of Applied Science, Holland.

The university last month put into operation Learning Lab Vietnam, an online learning website aimed to support not only RMIT students but also those from different universities across the country to enhance their academic success. 

After one year of operation, the Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) designed to share RMIT Vietnam’s expertise in digital learning and teaching with Vietnam’s education community has reaped significant benefits.

The center has organized numerous speeches delivered by international experts in online teaching and workshops on the application of digital technology into classes for 240 high-school teachers and those active in the education sector in HCMC and Lam Dong Province.

Launched in May last year on RMIT Vietnam’s campus in HCMC’s District 7, the center is a collaborative venture between RMIT, Vietnam’s government and higher education institutions.

Headquarters of former southern Party committees named national relic site

The headquarters of the former Party committees at civil, political and Party agencies of the Central Bureau for South Vietnam in Chang Riec forest of Tan Bien district, Tay Ninh province, have been recognised as a national historical relic site.

The relic site certificate was presented to the liaison board of the Party committees’ resistance tradition club on August 5.

Nguyen Van Khoi, a representative of the liaison board, said during the war against the US, the Central Bureau for South Vietnam, led by the Party Central Committee to steer revolutionary activities in the south, assigned the Party committees at its civil, political and Party agencies to be in charge of Party building work.

In the spring of 1968, the Party committees called on all Party members and locals to join people and soldiers across the south to wage the General Offensive and Uprising to attack the US puppet government’s headquarters in Saigon, forcing the US to join the Paris conference for peace in Vietnam and then withdraw from southern Vietnam in 1973.

Under the leadership of the Central Bureau for South Vietnam, the Party committees at its civil, political and Party agencies directed preparations for the Ho Chi Minh Campaign, helping liberate the south and reunify the nation on April 30, 1975.

In April 1977, the Party Committees were dissolved as they had fulfilled their tasks, Khoi noted.

In 2014, the resistance tradition club’s liaison board built a centre in commemoration of the Party Committees. The centre is dedicated to more than 10,000 Party members and soldiers of 24 boards and sectors of the central bureau, along with more than 2,000 soldiers who died in the area.

HCMC approves VND1 trillion hospital under BT form

The People’s Committee of HCMC has approved the feasibility report of Saigon General Hospital with the investment capital of VND1.03 trillion (US$45 million).

Investor Bitexco Group will build the BT (Build-Transfer) project at Nguyen Trai-Cong Quynh crossroads, District 1 from 2017-2020.

After being built, the hospital will have 300 sickbeds, modern material infrastructure and hi technologies on a level with hospitals in the Southeast Asia region.

Old Saigon General Hospital locates at 125 Le Loi, Ben Nghe ward, District 1, where the city People’s Committee permitted Bitexco to develop a complex of office buildings and five star hotels in 2007.

In return, Bitexco must set aside one hectare of land in Ma Lang area, Nguyen Cu Trinh Quadrangle, District 1 to build new Saigon General Hospital, more modern than the old one.

Breeders supported to build waste treatment system

Breeders will be eligible for interest rate of zero percent on the loan for waste treatment construction as per the People’s Committee in Ho Chi Minh City’s regulation. 

The city authority has issued the regulation lately that from August 10, breeders in districts 9, 12, Thu Duc and other districts will receive support of loan interest rate when they build or repair waste treatment system and biological pads which are made of sawdust, rice husk, wood chips, and bagasse.

For detailed, an animal farmer can ask for a loan of VND12 million as maximum for waste treatment construction in 36 months.

Zero interest-rate policy aims to reduce environmental pollution in husbandry contributing to the government’s rural plan.

Binh Dinh to excavate ancient Go Cay Me pottery kiln

The Department of Culture and Information of Binh Dinh Province has proposed the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism to grant an approval of excavating an ancient pottery kiln of the Champa culture.

The 400 sq.m site of Cay Me kiln located at Dai Binh Commune, in Nhon My Town, dating back to the era of the Vijaya royal dynasty in the 11th -15th century.

The exvacation aims to learn about ancient tools and ceramic production technology, Binh Dinh pottery products in the Vijaya royal dynasty.

Binh Dinh Museum has found he Cham ethnic group's ancient ceramic ovens along the river bank of Con in 1990, including Go Sanh, Cay Me and Truong Cuu pottery production centers in An Nhon town. Since then, local scientists have co-ordinated with international experts to excavate relic sites.

Tra Vinh: Poor Khmer people get more access to clean water

The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh has allocated more than 13.7 billion VND (602,800 USD) to provide clean water for some 10,500 local households, mostly impoverished Khmer ethnic minority families.

It is part of a project following the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 755/QD-TTg, dated May 20, 2013, on supporting land, production land and water for ethnic minority households in poor communes and villages.

Per the decision, poor households in rural areas or from ethnic minority groups will be given access to clean water supply systems. Those living far from residential areas and unable to obtain access will be provided with water tanks or aided in drilling wells.

Tra Vinh is home to approximately 328,000 Khmer people, 31.5 percent of the province’s population.

Last year, the province spent more than 7 billion VND (308,000 USD) from the State budget to supply clean water to nearly 5,400 poor families in Tra Cu, Tieu Can and Cau Ke districts, including about 3,800 Khmer households. As a result, 56 percent of the rural population in the province now has access to clean water.

USAID supports 385,000 women in Southeast Asia

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is guaranteeing an US$8 million Women’s Livelihood Bond that will provide access to credit, market linkages, and affordable goods and services for an estimated 385,000 Southeast Asian women.

The four-year, 5.65% coupon, structured by Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange, will benefit women in Cambodia, Viet Nam, and the Philippines. The bond is expected to be listed on the Singapore Exchange this month and will be the first social sustainability bond with a dual focus on social and financial returns to be listed on a major stock exchange.

USAID is providing a 50% guarantee of the loan portfolio’s principal to mitigate risk, attract investors and support development.

“USAID is pleased to be backing the Women’s Livelihood Bond with this loan guarantee,” said Todd Sorenson, Deputy Mission Director at USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia in Bangkok. “The bond benefits women living in ASEAN states and was put together by an ASEAN-based company.”

The Women’s Livelihood Bond will provide capital to a group of microfinance institutions and social enterprises that will help low-income women transition from subsistence to sustainable livelihoods and build the women’s resilience to socio-economic stresses. Long-term benefits, in addition to more successful women-owned businesses, include increased participation in the workforce, higher standards of living, and more education and health opportunities for women and children.

Since 1999, USAID – through the Development Credit Authority – has arranged more than US$350 million in credit through 63 guarantees in 13 Asian nations.

USAID’s loan guarantee for the Women’s Livelihood Bond is part of its commitment to the development of the ASEAN region. The United States partners with ASEAN to support economic integration, expand maritime cooperation, cultivate emerging leaders, promote opportunities for women, and address transnational challenges.

Defense chief to visit U.S. next week

General Ngo Xuan Lich, Politburo member, Minister of Defense will pay an official visit to the U.S. from August 7-10 at the invitation of U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

The visit is aimed at enhancing the friendly and trusted relations between the two people and armies and launching contents of defense cooperation reached by the two countries’ high-level leaders.

Gov’t approves draft MoU on establishment of ASEAN-China Center

The Government of Viet Nam has approved the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment of the ASEAN-China Center between the Governments of ASEAN members States and the Government of China.

Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh, on behalf of the Vietnamese Government, is authorized to sign the MoU at the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting in Manila, the Philippines on August 6, 2017.

ASEAN-China dialogue relationship was officially established in 1991 when China was invited to attend the opening ceremony of the 24th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting as the guest of the Malaysian Government in July 1991 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

China officially became a full dialogue partner of ASEAN at the 29th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in July 1996 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

ASEAN and China agreed to strengthen cooperation in 11 priority areas such as agriculture, information technology, human resource development, Mekong Region development, energy, investment, transport, culture, public health, tourism and environment.

Art ceramic exhibition opens in downtown

An art ceramic exhibition featuring art works by 16 artists of the Saigon arts ceramic club opened at the headquarter of the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association at 218A Pasteur Street in District 3.

The event presents to viewers 44 pieces of ceramic in various topics, island and sea, the beauty of young women, flowers and others.

The event held by the Ho Chi Minh City Association of Fine Arts and the Saigon arts ceramic club will run until August 9.

Exhibition honors Vietnamese Heroic Mothers

An exhibition honoring Vietnamese Heroic Mothers opened at the Cu Chi Tunnels historical site in HCM City.

The event presents to viewers more than 200 photos and 105 objects of Vietnamese Heroic Mothers, martyrs’ mothers and heroines of the Vietnam People's Armed Forces.

The display is co-organized by the High Command of Ho Chi Minh City and the Southern Women's Museum in HCM City. It aims to pay tribute to Vietnamese heroic mothers’ contributions to the nation.

The event will run until November 30.

Binh Dinh to excavate ancient Go Cay Me pottery kiln

The Department of Culture and Information of Binh Dinh Province has proposed the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism to grant an approval of excavating an ancient pottery kiln of the Champa culture.

The 400 sq.m site of Cay Me kiln located at Dai Binh Commune, in Nhon My Town, dating back to the era of the Vijaya royal dynasty in the 11th -15th century.

The exvacation aims to learn about ancient tools and ceramic production technology, Binh Dinh pottery products in the Vijaya royal dynasty.

Binh Dinh Museum has found he Cham ethnic group's ancient ceramic ovens along the river bank of Con in 1990, including Go Sanh, Cay Me and Truong Cuu pottery production centers in An Nhon town. Since then, local scientists have co-ordinated with international experts to excavate relic sites.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau province builds preschools for workers’ kids

The People’s Committee in the southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau liaised with the Department of Construction on the construction of preschools, educational facilities for workers’ children in the province two days ago. 

As per the Department of Construction’s report, there are 6,500 kids who are children of workers in nine industrial parks in the province.

It is predicted that by 2020, the number of workers’ children will be 9,500 kids meanwhile public preschools in industrial parks’ premises will be overcrowded.

Consequently, workers have no choice except sending their children to private preschools or illegal daycare with expensive tutor fee and high risk.

Accordingly, the Department of Construction petitioned from now to 2020, the province needs to build 12 schools more nearby industrial parks and after 2020, the number of schools must be 48 to meet demand.

Deputy Chairman of People’s Committee in Ba Ria- Vung Tau province Dang Minh Thong said that in addition to using state budget, the province will call for social contribution for building schools; accordingly, related agencies have to review land fund for the purpose.

HCMC determined to curb rampant construction infringements

At a meeting presided by Deputy chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Tran Vinh Tuyen yesterday, participants discussed measures to curb rampant construction infringements.

At the meeting to review construction management in first seven months, two districts having houses illegally built are districts 9 and Cu Chi.

Deputy head of the district 9 People’s Committee Hoang Minh Tuan Anh said that since the beginning of the year, 63 cases broke construction rules, a year-on-year increase of 51 cases. Violations all are in large wards such as Long Phuoc, Long Truong, Truong Thanh.

A boom of immigrant laborers in the district drive the growth in housing demand. Land price fever is partly from immigrants who buy houses on private agreement, build houses on the zoning for planting trees leading to illegal construction rise.

In Cu Chi District, in first seven months, 209 construction infringements were reported, an increase of 139 cases compared to last year. In addition that immigrants build houses without permits, construction on individual housing in suspended planning areas is also illegal.

Deputy Chairman of the Cu Chi District People’s Committee Nguyen Viet Dung said that 144 violations of construction regulation surged in five communes which are zoned for Tay Bac urban areas and industrial zones.

Speaking at the meeting, Construction Chief Ly Thanh Long said that 1,925 illicit constructions were reported in the city. 686 cases were discovered breaking rules on construction designs in districts 7, 9 and Hoc Mon while 957 houses were built without permits in districts 9, Cu Chi and Can Gio.

Inspectors collected VND20.1 billion ($880,126) from administrative fines. Besides, five inspectors in localities were fired or received warning because they did not fulfill their duties.

Director of the municipal Department of Construction Tran Trong Tuan said that it and local authorities will be determined to give fines to violators, especially big construction project like Thao Dien Saphire in district 2 or break space design in permits.

Deputy Chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen said that to curb rampant construction infringement, government bureaucracy must be eliminated. Local administrations must have effective preventative measures even prosecution to those who take advantage of the legal loophole to get benefit in selling land to poor immigrants.

Mr. Tuyen noted that the Department of Construction should apply technology in management as well as submit the project of online permits to the People’s Committee for approval in August. Later , construction permits will be issued through internet or in paper.

In addition, district administrators must learn Binh Thanh District’s model of supervision of illegal construction which residents will take photo of illegal construction or sidewalk infringement to send to the local authority.

Mr. Tuyen also asked local authorities must take heeds to sidewalk order.

Hundreds of workers rescued from big fire in Bac Ninh

Hundreds of workers were rescued from a fire erupted in Seiyo Company, Que Vo industrial park, the northern province of Bac Ninh yesterday.

Right after knowing the accident, Bac Ninh province’s firefighting police agency sent over ten fire trucks to the scene. Right after igniting, flammable plastic beads caused the fire quickly spread with dense smoke.

Hundreds of stuck workers were rescued with ladder engines. Firemen and workers also removed a large volume of goods out from the fire.

The fire was stamped out at 1 p.m. on the same day without human loss but large property damage.

Authorized agencies are investigating the cause of the fire.

USAID supports 385,000 women in Southeast Asia, Defense chief to visit U.S. next week, Hundreds of workers rescued from big fire in Bac Ninh, Landslide kills one in Cao Bang