Last update 11/27/2011 12:00:00 PM (GMT+7)
  

SOCIETY IN BRIEF 27/11
High tide continues to rise in HCMC  

High tide caused flooding of roads in Ho Chi Minh City on Nov 25 and continues to rise, forecast to reach 1.6 meters in Phu An Station and 1.58 meters in Nha Be Station, according to Southern Regional Hydro Meteorological Centre.
 
Many city roads like Luong Dinh Cua Street in District 2, Ngo Tat To and Vo Duy Ninh Streets in Binh Thanh District, Kha Van Can and Ho Ngoc Lam Streets in Binh Tan District were inundated under 30-40 centimetres of water.

High tide is also affecting the lives of city residents and flooding residential areas.

On the same day, the Central Regional Hydro Meteorological Centre said that the cold front will result in heavy rainfall in regions from Thua Thien Hue Province to Quang Ngai Province.

Water levels in rivers of the central region reached above level 1 and 2. Some rivers crossed the level 3 mark as did the Ve River in Quang Ngai Province.

Thousands of households from Thua Thien Hue and Quang Ngai Provinces were inundated under water. Many roads in the mountain districts of Quang Nam Province have been severely damaged in landslides. Local authorities in central regions have been implementing measures to cope with floods.

According to the Central Regional Hydro Meteorological Centre, heavy rains will continue to appear in the above areas on November 25-26 and water levels in rivers are also forecast to rise.
 
Biopsies aid healthy pregnancies

Health professionals have developed an embryo-biopsy procedure for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGP), a progressive step in the country's in vitro fertilization (IVF) efforts, according to a health expert.

Dr Ho Manh Tuong, secretary general of HCM City's Society for Reproductive Medicine, and several colleagues conducted research on this topic, according to a report in Phu Nu (Women) newspaper.

The research won first prize in the annual Achievement Awards held by the HCM City Society for Reproductive Medicine (HOSREM) and Viet Nam Gynaecology and Obstetric Association in HCM City.

These awards honour and recognise obstetricians' excellence in research topics on reproductive health issues, especially infertility.

Tuong worked with Dr Truong Dinh Kiet of HCM City Medicine and Pharmacy University and Dr Dang Quang Vinh of Van Hanh General Hospital.

PGD, which is an assisted-reproductive technology performed on embryos, appears to offer the greatest results for a successful pregnancy, Tuong said.

The technology will help identify genetic defects in embryos that were fertilised in vitro.

PGD benefits the couple who carries a gene that would put their child at risk of having a serious medical condition. By having IVF and PGD, a normal embryo can then transferred to the woman's uterus.

PGD can bring hope to people with inherited genetic disease, or to those who are carriers of chromosomal translocations, which can lead to recurrent miscarriages.

The procedure is especially helpful to women aged 38 or older who are trying to conceive via IVF, or for anyone of any age with repeated IVF failure.

PGD technology was successfully performed for the first time in 1990 in the UK. More than 10,000 children nationwide have been born thanks to the technology.

In Viet Nam, many patients travel to other countries to spend US$20,000-30,000 on testing genetic defects, he said.

The success in developing an embryo-biopsy procedure for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGP) in Viet Nam will be beneficial for these patients.

Moreover, the technology could be applied in the treatment of thalassaemia in Viet Nam.

However, doctors said that the procedures were complicated and that obstetricians must have professional knowledge and advanced skills in order to use the procedure.

Donation made to improve education for Vietnamese-Cambodian children  

During the visit and work session in the Kingdom of Cambodia, representatives of the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association presented 300 million VND to the Vietnamese Cambodian General Assembly in order to contribute to building more schools for overseas Vietnamese children there.   
 
Speaking at the donation ceremony, held at the Headquarters of the Vietnamese Cambodian General Assembly in Phnom Penh, Vu Mao - Chairman of the Vietnam - Cambodia Friendship Association emphasized the need to provide for children of Vietnamese people in Cambodia.

Previously, due to difficult economic conditions, few Vietnamese –Cambodian children went to school. The lack of education was the key barrier during the integration process of generations of Vietnamese children in Cambodian society.

There are now only a few schools of Vietnamese built in Cambodia. Even in the capital of Phnom Penh, Vietnamese children could only learn to 5th grade at two facilities teaching in Vietnamese.

Mr. Vu Mao said that the concerned agencies in Vietnam such as the Ministry of Education and Training, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese (SCOV) should take more responsibility for the education of Vietnamese children in Cambodia.

On the occasion, leaders of Vietnam – Cambodia Friendship Association also gave 100 million VND to Vietnamese – Cambodian General Assembly to aid flood victims. The sum of money is to help Vietnamese families affected by recent flooding in Phnom Penh, Battambang province and Sihanoukville to restore production and stabilize their lives
 
HIV poses a major risk for street youth

Street youth, for whom stable jobs are usually out of reach, are the most vulnerable to HIV infection, a Swedish NGO working with vulnerable children in Viet Nam has said.

There are no official figures on infection rates among street youths in Viet Nam, but Save the Children – the NGO – estimates that more than 30 per cent of them have HIV.

Le Quang Nguyen of Save the Children (Sweden), who has been co-ordinating several programmes to support them, said without identity papers they could not get access to vocational training, healthcare and other social services or even rent a place to live.

Many, including younger street children, are forced into sex work, mostly sex with male clients, to feed themselves.

A recent study carried out by Save the Children that interviewed 600 street youth and found 17 per cent of them injected drugs. Thirty-two per cent were female sex workers, six per cent were male sex workers, and 16 per cent were men who have sex with men.

"Many who can not find stable jobs choose to be sex workers. Most of them cannot make their own decision. Economic reasons force them to do the job," Nguyen said.

Sexual abuse, sex workers being forced to have sex without condoms, handing out sexual favours in exchange for money to indulge in online games and other habits, and other similar practices were reasons for the spread of HIV infections.

Although they are a high-risk group, their official invisibility provides them with no access to health services.

Nguyen estimated the number of street youths in the country aged between 15 and 24 to be around 100,000.

A survey of 406 street youths last September found more than 40 per cent of them engaging in one or more risky practices.

Some live on the streets after migrating from other places for economic opportunities while others leave home due to parental death, divorce, incarceration, and/or abuse.

Besides HIV, pregnancy is another problem among street youth. In the last three years, Nguyen said, he had taken 300 pregnant girls aged between 15 and 24 to hospitals in HCM City.

Aussies give $500,000 for Delta flood relief

The Australian Agency for International Development yesterday announced a donation of A$500,000 (US$498,000) in response to an emergency appeal by the Red Cross for flood relief work in the Mekong Delta.

The Red Cross will provide assistance to 42,000 people who have been affected by the worst flooding in the delta in more than a decade.

Since the end of September, floods in the delta ravaged seven provinces — An Giang, Dong Thap, Long An, Can Tho, Vinh Long, Hau Giang, and Kien Giang – causing severe damage and losses.

According to the Viet Nam Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control, by mid-November the floods had affected 153,744 houses and 1,000 schools, killed 85 people, including 72 children under the age of 16, and destroyed 10,861 hectares of rice.

Third DNA testing centre opens

The Police Anti-Crime Department under the Ministry of Public Security opened a DNA testing centre on Thursday in central Da Nang City to facilitate testing activities in central and Central Highlands provinces.

This is the third centre of its kind in Viet Nam, with the two other located in Ha Noi and HCM City.

The centre cost over VND40 billion (US$2 billion) to develop and covers an area of about 6,000 sq.m. It has modern equipment and facilities imported from the US and the UK.

In addition to serving police investigations, the centre will also provide services to residents and organisations.

It will also collect, analyse and store genetic samples for the national criminal database.

Province closes forest product factories

The Central Highlands province of Dak Lak has closed down six forest product processing factories which operated within or near the forest in Ea Sup and Buon Don districts.

According to the local authority, the presence of these factories within or near the forest had added to the increased number of cases of illegal forest exploitation.

So far this year, there have been 1,700 cases of illegal deforestation in the province, including sales of wood and forest products.

According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, there are currently more than 551 forest product processing factories in the province, but only 51 per cent have operating licences.

Southeastern provinces boost toursim investment

A conference on promoting tourism in southeastern Vietnam was held in Tay Ninh province on November 26.  

Delegates discussed tourism development plans closely linked to the preservation of unique cultural heritage in the region.

Last year, the region received more than 18 million domestic tourists and 3.6 million foreign visitors, earning over VND31,500 billion and accounting for 28 percent of the country's total tourism revenue.

However, there is a huge gap between the two main tourism centres, Ho Chi Minh City and Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, and other provinces in the region such as Tay Ninh, Binh Phuoc, Binh Duong and Dong Nai.

The tourism industry in these provinces has developed erratically and they have not taken action to find their own niche in the market. Services are limited and they are not very competitive. In addition, investment in improving infrastructure, preserving cultural attractions, and upgrading tourism resources does not match the region's potential.

Despite being a convenient gateway to Cambodia and other ASEAN countries, tourism in Tay Ninh is still quite basic.

To boost tourism in the region, participants agreed that these provinces should cooperate with each other to seek out and develop effective, sustainable long-term strategies to create an attractive environment for investment in tourism.

They should also concentrate on upgrading infrastructure, promoting trademarks and developing human resources for tourism.

A number of national tourism destinations in the region, such as Ba Den Mountain, Cat Tien National Park, and the Con Dao islands, also need to be developed.

In addition, the southeastern provinces should offer new routes for tourists that link with other cities and provinces in Vietnam as well as to Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.

Ba Vi opens int’l standard resort

Archi Invest Joint Stock Company inaugurated a new resort by international standards, called Nine Ivory Eco Resort & Country Club in Hanoi’s outlying Ba Vi district on November 24.

Located in Yen Bai commune, it is just 38km away from the city’s My Dinh new urban area and 1.5km from Lang-Hoa Lac highway.   

The resort consists of 70 villas, each covering 300-600sq.m. Besides, nine Nga Voi (elephant ivory) residence buildings sit on top of three hills.

All these buildings were designed by architects from France, Italy and Vietnam.

In the five-star resort, visitors enjoy an easy approach to parks, restaurants, swimming-pools, tennis courts and golf courses.

Biggest food processing complex kicks off in Long An Province  

The Vissan food processing company kicked off construction of a food processing industrial complex in Ben Luc District of Long An Province on November 23.  

The Vissan Food Processing Industrial Complex will cover an area of 22.4 hectares and will be built at a total cost of US$150 million.

Phase-1 of the industrial complex is expected to complete by 2015 and Phase-2 by 2020.

This will be the biggest food processing industrial complex in Vietnam and will be able to supply 60,000 tons of pork; 21,000 tons of beef and buffalo meat; 6,000 tons of chicken.

The fully self-sufficient industrial park will cultivate, process and distribute food items meeting with international food safety and hygiene standards.

Rapidly aging patient suffers from many complicated ailments  

Tran Van Long, director of Hoan My Hospital in the central city of Da Nang said Wednesday that the 27-year-old woman, who had aged overnight, was suffering from many complicated ailments.  
 
27-year-old Nguyen Thi Ngoc Mai from Hoi An Town in Quang Nam Province was diagnosed with chronic autoimmune urticaria, gastritis and protein deficiency.

Doctors said she also suffered side effects of corticoid and traditional medicine that caused protein and calorie deficiency, resulting in sagging wrinkled skin.

Doctors pointed out the reason Mai vomited blood on November 16 was due to chronic autoimmune urticaria and bronchial asthma.

According to Hoan My Hospital, it will take a long time to treat Ngoc Mai as her health is weak and she suffers from many complicated ailments besides a wrinkled skin.

When Mai was just 12 years old, she noticed some red spots on her hand that itched all the time, and later these spots spread all over her body. Her face soon swelled up and then began to wrinkle and sag.
 
Vietnam Airlines offering discount on e-payment of tickets  

Vietnam Airlines will be offering a discount to customers making e-payments for tickets on routes to the ASEAN countries, Northeast Asian countries and to countries in Europe.
 
Passengers can book fares and pay online via the airline website from November 25-27. Online payment of air tickets resulted after a collaboration that includes nine banks, Vietnam Airlines Corporation and the credit card company, Smart-Link.

In addition, customers can avail of the lowest fare rate of VND1.23 million for a return ticket to Bangkok (Thailand), Yangon (Myanmar) and Singapore.

Card holders of Vietinbank, Techcombank, Eximbank and VIB who hold highest e-payment record on the website: http://www.vietnamairlines.com from November 1 to December 31, 2011 will receive a special gift of two return tickets on any flight to an ASEAN country.

Petrol violation fines rise
 
In order to protect consumer interests, the Government will soon increase fines to deter violations in the petroleum trade.

Under Decree 104/2011/ND-CP signed by the Prime Minister, which will come into effect on January 1, 2012, the fine for administrative violations in petroleum trading will be a minimum of VND5 million (US$239) and a maximum of VND70 million.

Fines ranging from VND10 million to VND40 million will be imposed on violators who fail to list their retail prices for petrol and oil products or those who repeatedly adjust retail prices or cut their operating hours without legitimate reasons.

Petrol and oil dealers and general sale agents will be fined VND40 million-VND50 million for cutting sales volumes against previous volumes without legitimate reasons.

Violators who transport, smuggle and exchange petrol and oil via border gates against regulations will be subject to fines of between VND5 million-VND70 million depending on the total value of petrol and oil carried in each incident.

Instances of the misuse of trade, import and export licences will receive fines of between VND20 million-VND30 million. The new penalty rates represent a sharp increase of 3-10 times over the previous rates to deter fraudulent activities at petrol stations which have had a direct impact on consumer interests, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Market Management Department.

The department reported that a growing number of businesses had been violating petroleum trading laws when there were fluctuations in supply and demand and price.

So far this year, market management offices have carried out 2,267 inspections and imposed fines totalling VND529.95 million in 355 cases.
 
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