Social News In Brief
4 dead from suspected alcohol poisoning, 1 critical

Four persons have died, and one is in critical condition after drinking rice spirit in the central province of Quảng Nam.

The five residents of Nam Giang District bought and drank rice spirit from a grocery store on Tuesday after finishing their field work.

On Wednesday, they had difficulty in breathing and lost consciousness. All were taken to the Nam Giang health centre for emergency treatment. Two died at the centre.

Two others died late on Thursday after being transferred to the Đà Nẵng Hospital.

“The remaining person is being treated at the North Quảng Nam General Hospital and is in a critical condition,” said Lê Quang Vịnh, head of Nam Giang police. 

The district authorities have confiscated the rice spirit for investigation.

Efforts joined to tackle gestational diabetes in VN

4 dead from suspected alcohol poisoning, 1 critical, Efforts joined to tackle gestational diabetes in VN, HCM City health officials to inspect private medical centres, beauty clinics, 9 bodies recovered from Red River

A doctor provides consultation on gestational diabetes mellitus prevention for pregnant women in Hà Nội. — Photo

The Ministry of Health and Abbott signed a project on gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) prevention and management to contribute to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases in Việt Nam.

The project aims to tackle specifically the increasing prevalence of GDM among pregnant Vietnamese women and help prevent its potential consequences.

“The project will contribute to overall improvement of the healthcare system, improve the quality of maternal and child healthcare in Việt Nam and accelerate the national strategy to prevent and control non-communicable diseases,” said Nguyễn Đức Vinh, director of Maternal and Child Health Department.  

“Abbott is proud to support the efforts of the Ministry of Health in the prevention and management of gestational diabetes mellitus initiative as well as the national goal of enhancing the health and well-being of mothers and babies in Việt Nam,” Douglas Kuo, general manager of Abbott Vietnam, said.

GDM affects up to 20 per cent of pregnant women in the country and is on the rise globally. Given the link between GDM during pregnancy, poor pregnancy outcome and future risk of diabetes in both mother and child, a focus on prevention, screening, early diagnosis and managing GDM in pregnancy is needed globally, especially in Việt Nam.

The project will focus on educating the community and patients on lifestyle modification and diet for people with GDM as well as developing national guidelines on prevention and control of GDM. It will also help in enhancing the knowledge and efficiency of healthcare professionals through training and developing a standardised screening and diagnostic programme.

In the first year, there will be pilot screening and diagnostics implemented at six key hospitals, which is expected to bring benefits to 75,000 people and reduce the incidence of GDM in Việt Nam.

HCM City health officials to inspect private medical centres, beauty clinics

Inspectors from the HCM City Department of Health will check the operations of private general clinics and beauty clinics, officials have said.

The number of these clinics mushroomed in recent years to meet the rising public need, Tăng Chí Thượng, deputy director of the department, said.

Many expanded their businesses, he said.

The department would perform quality assessment of the clinics and strengthen inspection starting in May, he told a meeting held on Thursday.

The results of the assessments would be published on the department’s website, he said.

The department has issued quality criteria for both private medical clinics and beauty clinics.

To ensure service quality, they are required to meet some key requirements related to the number of health professionals, infrastructure and equipment, price listing, medical technologies, emergency procedures, infection and contamination control, and waste treatment.

Nguyễn Mạnh Cường, deputy head of the department’s inspection office, said health inspectors checked 264 private medical clinics and 208 beauty clinics last year.

Forty four of the former and 81 of the latter were fined a total of VNĐ2.8 billion (US$122,800) for flouting various regulations, he said.

Four general medical clinics had their licences revoked while two beauty clinics were closed for nine months, he said.  

9 bodies recovered from Red River

The body of the last of nine roustabouts who drowned in the northern province of Lào Cai was recovered on Friday, the province’s border guard police said.

Nine roustabouts drowned in the section of the Red River in the province last Sunday. Five of them were found on Monday, one on Tuesday, and two others on Thursday.

The last victim was found on Friday morning in the section of the river in the province’s Bát Đàn District, said the Lào Cai border guard police.

The bodies of all victims were returned to their families after the autopsy.

The nine were hired by the Bắc Sông Hồng Services and Trading Company Ltd on early Sunday morning to transport goods along the Red River to its Chinese counterpart using iron rafts.

At about 6am, the raft by which they were returning to Việt Nam malfunctioned and stopped in the water on the Chinese side. The labourers jumped into the river, tried to swim back to Việt Nam’s territory and got drowned.

Four of the nine victims were residents of Lào Cai Province, including Châu A Dế, 46, Thầu A Hòa, 26, as well as Tráng Văn Long, 25, and Vàng Văn Thắng, 26.

Three others were residents of the northern province of Lai Châu, which were Thào A Lâu, 28, Thào A Giàng, 16, and Lò Nam Nan, 24.

The remaining two – Giàng A Dơ, 23, and Giàng A Tếnh, 21 – were residents of the northern province of Yên Bái.

Storm-resistant houses built for typhoon victims in Quang Nam

The construction of five storm-resistant houses for poor families in the central city of Quang Nam whose homes were severely damaged by storm Damrey in late 2017 started on March 16.

They are among 80 storm-hit families in the province to be supported in terms of knowledge and necessary resources to repair and build their houses, making them resistant to upcoming storms and floods. 

The project is part of an aid package of the Government of the Republic of Korea to assist poor and near-poor Vietnamese families affected by the typhoon to rebuild their houses. It aims to build 300 houses in the three central provinces of Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen and Quang Nam.

It is jointly carried out by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the General Department of Disaster Prevention and Control under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Vietnam Red Cross as well as the Red Cross Societies and Women’s Unions in the localities. 

Damrey, the 12th storm developed in the East Sea in 2017, hit Vietnam on November 4, affecting more than 4.3 million people and damaging hundreds of thousands of houses. 

Hanoi brimful of vitality spotlighted at photo exhibition

As many as 85 photos reflecting the vitality of the multi-thousand-year-old capital are on display at the “Hanoi trai tim hong” (Hanoi-pink heart) exhibition which opened at the Hanoi Museum on March 16.

The exhibited photos were chosen from 2,000 entries sent by members of the Vietnam Journalists Association’s Photo Journalist Club.

According to President of the club Nguyen The Dung, the jury board decided to present first prize to Duong Hong Mai with the photo “Ha Noi tren duong phat trien” (Hanoi on the path of development). The second prizes went to Pham Van Hoc with the photo “Cua ngo phia Bac Thu do” (the capital’s northern gateway) and Le Huy Long with the photo “Thang hoa” (sublimation).

The exhibition is organised within the framework of the three-day National Press Festival, which runs until March 18.

Measures sought to minimise human-nature conflict

A workshop was held in the southern province of Dong Nai on March 16 to seek ways to reduce conflicts between elephants and people.

The event was jointly organised by the Regional Model Forest Network–Asia and the Vietnam Administration of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Freecha Onprasert, Chairman of the Secretariat of the Regional Model Forest Network–Asia, said the model forest network aims to protect and develop forests in a sustainable manner, thus reducing the conflict between human and nature.

It gathers numerous effective measures for forest management and protection, particularly in monitoring wildlife poaching and illegal forest exploitation.

The model also focuses on creating favourable ecosystems that facilitate the lives of wild animals, thus minimising similar conflicts between elephants and people in Dong Nai province.

By making locals involved in planting and managing forests, the model helps them exploit forests effectively and legally while opening up opportunities for ecotourism development.

According to Vo Van Chanh, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, over the past years, the local authorities have paid attention to forest protection and development, particularly in 1996 when it decided to close the forests.

However, the work has not been sustainable on a total forest area of 200,000 hectares in the province, he noted, adding that conflicts between people and nature, especially elephants, remained.

According to Freecha Onprasert, more than 37 nations in the world have joined his organisation. The Republic of Korea and Vietnam are developing dossiers to be admitted into the Regional Model Forest Network–Asia.

Thanh Hoa targets 42 new-style rural communes in 2018

The north central province of Thanh Hoa has taken a number of specific measures to fulfill its new-style rural area building plan, striving to have an additional 42 communes accomplishing all criteria of the programme in 2018.

The province is making procedures to seek the government’s recognition of Quang Xuong and Dong Son districts as new-style rural areas in the year.

At the same time, it will focus on helping Muong Chanh commune in Muong Lat district complete from three to five criteria, and ensuring that each mountainous district has at least three new-style communes, thus raising the average number of completed criteria in each commune to 16 out of the total 19 criteria.

In order to reach the target, Thanh Hoa will strengthen the apparatus of administrations at all levels to enhance their capacity in directing the implementation of the programme.

Localities across the province will step up communications campaigns on the programme, while adjusting its policy to ensure the efficiency of the work, and giving adequate resources for production development and build new models.

In the 2016-2020 period, districts will complete regional planning to match criteria of the programme. Investment in public works will be managed efficiently to avoid wastefulness.

Tran Duc Nang, deputy chief of the coordination office for new-style rural area building of Thanh Hoa, said that the province has raised over 5,900 billion VND (260 million USD) to upgrade 857km of rural roads, 216km of canals, 85 irrigation works, 1,512 classrooms, 95km transformer stations and 335km low-voltage transmission lines.

In addition, 94 cultural houses, and 11,957 houses for locals have been built. So far, the province has had 241 new-style rural communes, along with 115 communes completing 15-18 criteria.

The national target programme on building new-style rural areas, initiated by the Vietnamese Government in 2010, sets 19 criteria on socio-economic development, politics, and defence, aiming to boost rural regions of Vietnam.     

The list of criteria includes the development of infrastructure, the improvement of production capacity, environmental protection, and the promotion of cultural values.      

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, by February 21, 2018, there were 3,160 communes nationwide recognised as new-style rural areas, 35.4 percent of the total communes.

Floating school built for overseas Vietnamese pupils in Cambodia

The Consulate General of Vietnam in Battambang, Cambodia inaugurated a floating school built for children of overseas Vietnamese living on Tonlé Sap Lake in Pursat province on March 16.

Funded by the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs under Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry, the wooden facility consists of two classrooms which can accommodate about 100 pupils.  

Chairman of the Association of Vietnamese-Cambodians in Pursat Le Hoang said there was no school in the area in the past.

He said with delight that now the Vietnamese expats here can send their children to school and use the facility to hold community activities.

On the occasion, a Vietnamese company presented four tonnes of rice to disadvantaged overseas Vietnamese and Cambodian families in the locality, while staff at the Consulate General of Vietnam in Battambang supported health check-ups at Long Hai Pagoda, a pagoda of the Vietnamese expats in Tonlé Sap.

Int’l Francophone Day marked in Hanoi

Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc highlighted Vietnam’s efforts and practical contributions to the development of the French-speaking community and promoting the French language in the region at a function to mark the International Francophone Day in Hanoi on March 16.

The Vietnamese official praised the community’s achievements in various cooperation fields, contributing to addressing global challenges in terms of security and development.

He underlined the closed-knit relationship between Vietnam and the French-speaking community, saying that Vietnam will continue actively participating in and contributing to the solidarity and cooperation within the community for peace, stability and sustainable development in the world.

The country is willing to serve as a bridge for the strong development of the French language in Asia – Pacific region, Ngoc said.

Adama Ouane, Director of the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF), expressed his delight at the continuously growing relationship between the OIF and Vietnam and spoke highly of Vietnam’s role as a driving force, a pillar and a bridge between the French-speaking community and Asia – Pacific region.

The OIF treasures and continues fostering cooperation with Vietnam, particularly in French teaching, promoting cultural diversity, and implementing the Francophonie Economic Strategy via triangular cooperation, digital technology application, participation in the UN’s peacekeeping force, and climate change adaptation.

During the event, Belgian Ambassador to Vietnam Jehanne Roccas, Chairman of the Group of Francophone Embassies, Delegations and Institutions (GADIF), presented awards to Associate Professor Dr. Trinh Van Minh from the Vietnam National University – Hanoi; and Dr. Tran Thi Nguyen Ny from the Ho Chi Minh City Medicine and Pharmacy University for their outstanding contributions to the development of the French language in Vietnam as well as the cooperation between Vietnam and the OIF.

VNA, VFF join hands in producing TV programme

The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) and the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee on March 16 signed a cooperation agreement to produce and air a television programme entitled “Strength of Great Solidarity” on the VNA’s TV Channel Vnews in the 2018-2021 period.

Addressing the signing ceremony, VFF President Tran Thanh Man noted with pleasure the close coordination between the VNA and VFF over the past years, contributing to popularising the Party and State’s policies and laws among the community, thus strengthening the national solidarity bloc.

The launching of the “Strength of Great Solidarity” programme is expected to help enhance communications on fostering the national solidarity bloc and give more information about the Party and State’s policies and laws as well as VFF plans to the public.

Man proposed that the VNA, especially the Vnews channel, to focus on issues such as the voice of people from all walks of life, outstanding figures in various fields, new-style rural area building and smart city, and activities to support the poor.

For his part, VNA General Director Nguyen Duc Loi said that the VNA is the official organ of the Party and State, providing source news to the domestic press and 40 news agencies around the world, and supplying reference reports and information to Party and State leaders.

With 60 different press products, the VNA’s coverage and capacity meet information demands in all fields, including activities of the VFF, he said.

The general director also suggested that the VFF provide timely and full information for the VNA, especially Vnews channel, to help it produce high quality press products.

According to its 2018 plan, the VNA will produce 2-4 editions for the programme each month with a duration of 15 minutes each.

The VNA currently boasts a network of 63 representative offices nationwide and 30 representative bureaus worldwide.

With more than 60 media products by more than 1,000 reporters and editors out of its 2,400-strong staff, the VNA is now the media office having the largest number of products and forms in the country: bulletins, photos, TV programmes, dailies, weeklies, monthlies, magazines, pictorials, books, e-newspapers and information programmes on mobile platforms.

HCM City strives to improve administrative services

Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Committee has set a target of having more than 80 percent of local residents and organisations satisfied with public administrative services by 2020.

It also aims to achieve an 80 percent satisfaction level for healthcare and educational services by 2020.

The targets are part of the city’s implementation of the National Assembly’s Resolution No 54 on piloting special policies for HCM City.

To help the city develop rapidly and sustainably until 2020, the municipal authorities aim to improve administration in finance, land and human resources.

The People’s Committee said that reform of administrative procedures has been conducted closely in all localities at all levels, with focus on simplifying administrative procedures in land management and construction.

The city has set up a working group headed by the chairman of the People’s Committee to handle procedures regarding investment.

Implementation of one-door and one-stop-shop policies, and registration and return of administrative records through postal services have been carried out.

Attention has also been paid to improving the quality of cadres and officials to achieve efficiency in state management activities.

However, a survey showed that the city failed to meet its targets for administrative reform in the 2016-2020 period.

The level of residents and organisations’ satisfaction with administrative services and public services did not increase significantly. Reforms of administrative procedures still had many shortcomings.

As a result, the People’s Committee will continue to survey citizens’ and enterprises’ satisfaction with public administration to rectify limitations in a timely manner. The city will also increase the use of IT in e-government.

The People’s Committee has suggested that the People’s Council and Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee become more involved in the inspection of and feedback about administrative reform.

Dialogue with young OVs held in Ho Chi Minh City

Young overseas Vietnamese working in Vietnam and their fellows at home engaged in a dialogue in Ho Chi Minh City on March 17 to make connection and share their experience in starting and doing business. 

At the dialogue, held by the Foreign Ministry and its State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, Vice Chairman of the committee Luong Thanh Nghi said the committee will accompany young Vietnamese people abroad to uphold their resources for national construction.  

David Ngo from the US, expert in Ho Chi Minh City’s Saigon Silicon City project, wished that authorities would step up liaison between Vietnamese people at home and abroad in service of the nation. 

Nguyen Hoai Tien from the US said he worked in Vietnam as an expert at a consulting group about sustainable Mekong Delta development in 2012, which enabled him to understand more about the country and decide to live and work in the homeland till now. 

He said national cultural identity needs to be maintained as the core in every work. 

Vo Thanh Dang from Singapore, Director of the InterCharm Training Hub said patriotism prompts him and others to return and contribute to the homeland.

When will Halong become a smart city?

Thailand's AMATA Corporation submitted the documents of the AMATA City Halong project to the government one year ago, but there is still no feedback. Leaders of the corporation await the approval to start the coproration's third project here in Vietnam.

AMATA Corporation intends to pour $1.6 billion into Halong smart city. The project would focus on hi-tech industrial zone (IZ) development, automation, information technology, and especially electronics. The investor would also call for investment in research and development centres, logistics, exhibition centres, and laboratories in Halong.

At a conference on smart city development, Somhatai Panichewa, chief executive officer of AMATA VN Public Company Limited, under AMATA Group from Thailand, said that the project documents have been submitted to the Vietnamese government for approval. The Halong project would be located on an area of 714 hectares in the first phase, and create 300,000 jobs for Vietnamese people as well as make approximately $5 billion in annual revenue.

AMATA is a successful investor in Vietnam, with two major projects in the southeastern province Dong Nai, AMATA City Bien Hoa and AMATA City Long Thanh.

AMATA City Bien Hoa is home to 164 investors from 21 countries and territories with the total registered investment of $2.66 billion and generates 49,000 jobs.

The AMATA City Long Thanh industrial and urban complex covers a total of 1,270ha, 33 per cent of which is for a hi-tech IZ and 67 per cent for an urban community area.

A smart city comprises of smart projects in multiple sectors, such as energy, transport, education, environment, and manufacturing. Smart cities can create high-value products at low costs in accordance to the Industry 4.0 trend.

In Thailand, AMATA has developed three smart cities, inspired by smart cities in developed countries like Yokohama in Japan, Incheon in the Republic of Korea, and Saab AB in Sweden.

Three dead after drinking root-infused alcohol in Vietnam

The police department in Ky Son District, Nghe An Province has opened an investigation into the which plant’s roots were used to infuse flavors into a bottle of alcohol they suspect to have caused three deaths earlier this week.

Ky Son District police also approached the families of deceased victims Moong Van Di, his wife Lo Thi Van, both 40, and his younger brother Moong Van Muoi, 34, on March 13 for further questioning.

The fourth victim, Di’s brother-in-law Lu Van Kham, 25, was transferred from Ky Son General Hospital to Nghe An General Hospital, and was still on life support as of March 13.

According to relatives and locals, Di had gone foraging in a nearby forest three days earlier and found the roots of unknown plants.  He later chopped them up, sun-dried them, and infused them in a bottle of wine.

Van only took one shot before falling into an unconscious state, according to relatives.

Di, meanwhile, was unable to stand after a few shots, indicating the strength of the toxins.

All four victims were rushed to Ky Son Hospital at 3:00 pm on March 12 but three died within 30 minutes of arrival.

The police sealed a 1.5-liter (or 0.4-gallon) plastic bottle containing the reddish brown liquor considered to be the primary cause of intoxication.

The four shot glasses used by the victims and a plastic bag containing 0.5 kilograms of chopped and sun-dried roots were also sealed for investigation.

The chopped roots gave off an unpleasant acrid smell.

Officials believe the roots are extremely toxic, yet have not been able to identify exactly which plant they came from.

An investigation into the species of the infused roots was still ongoing as of March 13.

According to locals, people usually lace their alcohol with roots and other parts of plants found in the forest, believing the infusion will give the beverage medicinal properties.

Many Vietnamese infuse wine with plants and animals, including but not limited to seeded banana, snake, and centipede.

The infused alcohol is considered a folk medicine capable of curing and preventing many diseases.

Intoxication related to infusing unknown substances into alcohol, however, is not uncommon.

Seven residents in Thai Binh Province were hospitalized after drinking wine infused with devil’s trumpets during a house-warming party on October, 2017.

Another seven in Ben Tre Province were hospitalized after drinking a mixture of herb-infused wines in July 2017.

4 dead from suspected alcohol poisoning, 1 critical, Efforts joined to tackle gestational diabetes in VN, HCM City health officials to inspect private medical centres, beauty clinics, 9 bodies recovered from Red River