Social News 7/8

Eureka scientific research awards kick off


Winners of the 19th annual Eureka Scientific Research Students Awards in 2017. — Photo

The 20th annual Eureka Scientific Research Students Awards competition is accepting entries from students of universities, colleges and vocational schools nationwide.

Contestants can submit entries at the Youth Scientific and Technological Promotion Centre at 1 Phạm Ngọc Thạch Street in District 1, or via email and website by September 30.

The awards will be given in 12 fields, including pharmaceutical chemistry technology, biotechnology and biomedical technology, intelligent technology, food technology, education, economy, engineering, agriculture, forestry and fishery, laws, planning, architecture and construction, natural resources and environment, and social affairs and humanities.

The award-winning projects will be announced in November at the HCM City University of Technology and Education.

The Eureka Scientific Research Students Awards competition has been organised since 1999 by the HCM City branch of the Communist Youth Union to encourage scientific research among students.

To celebrate 20 years of the awards, the organisers plan to host a Eureka Scientific Research Student camp in October in HCM City.

The camp is expected to award winners in previous years, along with outstanding students at schools nationwide. 

Legal framework for child care on the internet


Vietnam, with 64 million Internet users (67% of its population), is among Asian countries having the biggest number of Internet users.

A majority of these users are children and teenagers, who are exposed to both benefits and dangers. In addition to close attention from parents and schools, a legal framework is needed to protect children from the risks of the cyber world.

While browsing the Internet, children may encounter unexpected information and people. Their personal information can be hacked. More seriously, children can become victims of swindles, exploitation, harassment, and sex abuse. Online game and smartphone addictions can harm children’s mental and physical health. Parents should teach children how to find and use information on the Internet.

Dang Hoa Nam, Director of the Department for Children of the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs, said, “Parents play a very important role. They should be friends to their children and share information with them. We have to admit that parents often lag behind their children in terms of IT. Parents should learn, share, and spend more time with their children.”

A legal framework on child protection, particularly personal information, is being finalized. The 2016 Law on Children, and a government decree specifying certain articles in the Law on Children, the Law on Information Safety, and the Law on Cyber Security cover basic regulations of child protection on the Internet.  

“Circular 9 of the Ministry of Information and Communication issued in 2017 defines duration, time, and warnings on media unsuitable for children. We need to specify administrative punishments and criminal charges for violators of children’s private information on public media and the Internet,” said Mr Nam.

The Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Information and Communications, and other sectors will work together to build specific laws on child protection.

Nghe An: Nearly VND2 billion lost in fishing boat fire


At 10:10 pm on August 5 the fishing boat No. NA 95959 suddenly caught fire while it was anchored in Quynh Lap Commune, Hoang Mai Town, Nghe An Province.

When the fire occurred , the boat, owned by Le Van Minh with 7 crew members on board, was preparing to go to sea. The fire sparked from the engine room sent a huge column of thick smoke into the air.

A fire engine and 25 firefighters were called in to put out the roaring fire. It took them two hours to get the blaze under control. No casualties were reported.

However, the flames suddenly burst forth at 4:30 am on August 6. It took the firefighting force about 40 minutes to stamp out the fire.

The loss is estimated at over VND2 billion.

HCM City reports 485 work accidents in 7 months


Four hundred and eighty five work accidents took place in Ho Chi Minh City in the first seven months of this year, 223 cases less than the same period last year, according to the municipal Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

The workplace accidents resulted in 493 casualties (226 cases fewer than in the corresponding period last year), including 30 deaths (down 15 cases compared to the same period last year). 

Most of the accidents occurred at the industrial production sector such as footwear, apparel and metal processing. Particularly, 21 out of the 30 fatal accidents took place at the construction sector, killing 21 and severely injuring 2 others.

The work accidents often happened at civil construction projects, particularly building of private houses by private contractors or small construction companies, who failed to follow the work health and safety regulations. In addition, the workers themselves also violated work regulations and did not use personal protective equipment.

Construction of overpass lags behind schedule, causing serious congestion


The construction progress of the An Dương-Nghi Tàm overpass is lagged behind schedule, causing serious congestion. — Photo

The construction of An Dương-Thanh Niên overpass, a key project in Hà Nội, lags behind schedule with many parts incomplete, causing serious traffic congestion for vehicles passing through this route.

The construction of the overpass began last October with a total cost of VNĐ311 billion (US$9.3 million). As planned, the overpass will have seven spans that are 30, 45 and 60 metres long depending on the position. It was expected to be complete by July to reduce traffic congestion in Ba Đình and Tây Hồ districts.

However, on August 5, many parts of the project remain incomplete, and the first span among the seven is still under construction. Pedestrians have been seen walking on the road as the pavement is full of construction materials. Vehicles have been lining up along Nghi Tàm, moving slowly on the three-metre-wide road.

Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, a resident on Nghi Tàm said that the project has seriously impacted the lives of local residents and the traffic flow along the Yên Phụ - Nghi Tàm route. 

Trucks were spraying dirt and stones onto homes and polluting the air. The sewage systems were clogged in rainy weather, causing annoyance to residents, he added.

Ngô Mạnh Tuấn, deputy director of the city’s Department of Transport told that the department has asked the contractors of the project to speed up the construction progress. It has worked with local police to divide lanes to ensure traffic flow during peak hours.

The department would ban all vehicles along Yên Phụ and use other roads to curb traffic congestion.

Đặng Hữu Dũng, chief inspector of Tây Hồ District’s Traffic Inspection Team said the team has divided into two groups to guide vehicles to move in different directions to avoid congestion at peak hours.

Previously, on July 3, Hà Nội People’s Committee has reprimanded and urged the contractors to complete the overpass, which was one month behind schedule.

Chairman of the committee Nguyễn Đức Chung asked the contractors to sign a commitment to complete each part of the project on time. Violations during the construction process will be recorded. 

Former Russian military experts in Vietnam get together


N. Kolesnik, head of the association of former Russian military experts in Vietnam, speaks at the get-together.

Forty-eight Russian military experts, who once worked in Vietnam, gathered at a meeting in Moscow, Russia, on August 5. 

The gathering, the 48th of its kind, was held by the Vietnam Embassy in Russia in collaboration with the Vietnam military attaché office, the Association of Vietnamese and the Association of Vietnamese War Veterans in Russia.

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Chargé d'Affaires to Russia Nguyen Quynh Mai expressed her delight to join the event and meet the former Russian experts, who helped Vietnamese people during the past struggle against the US.

She also read out loud a letter from Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Ngo Duc Manh to N. Kolesnik, head of the association of former Russian military experts in Vietnam. The letter highlighted the appreciation toward the experts’ support for Vietnamese people in the past and today. It stated the Vietnamese people never forget Russian assistance during the country’s most difficult periods.

Vietnamese Military Attaché in Russia Major General Tran Minh Son recalled memories of the fight for national independence and mutual support between Vietnam and the Soviet Union in the past.

August 5, 2018 marked the 48th founding anniversary of the association of former Russian military experts in Vietnam. 

Tens of thousands of Russian experts devoted their youth to help Vietnam regain independence and reunification. In recognition of their great contributions, the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Vietnamese State have conferred many noble orders to the former experts, who continue to work for the Vietnam-Russia friendship at present.

Ben Tre’s long-haired army honoured


National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (third, left) presents the “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces” title to representatives of the Women’s Liberation Association – Long-Haired Army 

Southern Ben Tre province on August 6 received the “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces” title for the Women’s Liberation Association – Long-Haired Army, the name of an all-female armed force during the resistance war against the US.

The ceremony saw the presence of National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh.

Chairwoman Ngan presented the title to representatives of the Women’s Liberation Association – Long-Haired Army. She also congratulated Ben Tre on 50 years since it was bestowed with the title “Heroic in uprising, winning against the US, defeating the puppet regime.”

During the war, Ben Tre was one of the fiercest battlefields, where the US and its puppet regime suppressed and terrorized the revolutionary movement and turned the whole southern region into prisons and concentration camps under the name of “strategic hamlets”.

In the face of such an urgent situation, the 15th session of the second Party Central Committee in January 1959 worked out the policy of rising up to seize power for people. The Party organisation and people of Ben Tre realised the session’s resolution in a creative way and waged the resounding General Uprising in 1960.

The Long-Haired Army was established and developed in this movement. It was one of the key forces in the guerrilla warfare during the fight against the US.

This army initially fought only in the political aspect but then also took part in armed combats. In 1961, the number of female guerrillas in local communes and hamlets surpassed 3,000, accounting for one-ninth of the total female guerrillas across the southern region then.

From Ben Tre, the General Uprising spread across the south. The Long-Haired Army also developed in almost all southern provinces, greatly helping to reverse the revolutionary situation from defending and saving forces to attacking the enemy and gaining victories.

After the General Uprising, the Party organisation and people of Ben Tre closely coordinated with the revolutionary forces in the southern region to defeat the US’s “Limited War” strategy, with the peak being the victory of the General Offensive and Uprising in the Spring of 1968.

With those prominent feats, at the fourth meeting of southern guerrillas, Ben Tre was chosen as one of the three leading provinces in the guerrilla warfare movement. The high command of the liberation army honoured it with the title “Heroic in uprising, winning against the US, defeating the puppet regime.”

Hanoi speeds up construction of symbolic flagpole in Ca Mau Cape

The Hanoi People’s Committee is speeding up the building of the symbolic capital flagpole in Ca Mau Cape, the southern tip of Vietnam.

The authorities expect to complete the construction ahead of the 44th anniversary of the southern liberation and national unification next year (April 30, 1975 - 2019).

The flagpole is estimated to cost more than 138 billion VND (5.91 million USD), funded by the capital city of Hanoi and other sources. It mimics the design of the old Hanoi flagpole and is resistant to storms and saltwater intrusion. The multifunctional facility features spaces for exhibition of historical items and for festive performances.

To date, the project has seen several sections completed and a number of new sections added to the overall construction. 

The Ca Mau People’s Committee has asked the main investor to build a 230m road connecting the flagpole with the Ca Mau Cape tourist area and another linking the T1 road and the canoe port. The total cost of the two roads is estimated at over 13.7 billion VND (587,092 USD).

The flagpole has a great meaning as it affirms sovereignty and reflects close ties between the capital city and the southernmost province of Ca Mau.

Singapore’s experience in building eminent public authorities highlighted


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vu Minh Khuong 

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vu Minh Khuong, a lecturer of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, spoke of the building of eminent public authorities in Singapore while giving a presentation in Hanoi on August 6, which was broadcast at 73 television sites nationwide. 

Khuong described the building of eminent public authorities as an urgent and strategic issue to make a country strong and prosperous. 

Singapore has attracted the best citizens to the Government and seriously looked into issues that need to be addressed, he said, adding that during the process, the country has mobilised external resources and learned from anyone who has knowledge in this field. 

According to the lecturer, Singapore has clear long-term goals and set targets for each period of time. Leaders play the key role while the Government takes the lead in grasping changes. All citizens take responsibility for national development. 

Khuong noted that a sound strategy, an eminent Government and public trust and support are decisive factors to national development. 

During his presentation, Khuong also talked about the building of eminent public authorities in Vietnam. 

The event was organised by the Organisation Commission of the Party Central Committee and the steering board of Project 165 on overseas training for leaders and managers using State budget.

Mai Van Chinh, deputy head of the Organisation Commission and the steering board, said the talk aims to introduce Singapore’s experience in administrative reform and public authority organisation to serve the building of a streamline and effective political system.

Separate lanes opened to fix long queue in Lao Bao – Dansavanh border gate


Long queues of vehicles are reported to have wait for customs clearance at the Lao Bao - Dansavanh border crossing in Quang Tri province for days. (Photo:

Separate lanes have been opened for vehicles travelling through Lao Bao – Dansavanh border crossing that connects the central province of Quang Tri and Laos’ Savannakhet province as long queues of vehicles have remained there for days.

The border gate management centre under the Quang Tri economic zone management board on August 6 reported the provincial People’s Committee on resolving the long queues of trucks transporting goods from Vietnam to Laos and vice versa.

Tropical storm Son Tinh has caused heavy rainfall and flooding in Laos, making the road connecting Vietnam and Laos through Cha Lo (Quang Binh) - Na Phao (Khammouane) border gate submerged. Vehicles had to re-route to reach Laos via the Lao Bao – Dansavanh border gate, resulting in long queues of trucks waiting for customs clearance. 

Since July 28, the border gate has seen a surge in the number of trucks passing through which were 1.5 – 2 times higher than normal and even reached 300 – 350 vehicles in some days. Most of the vehicles were container trucks carrying fruits, electronic goods and pulp from Laos to Vietnam; and woodchips from Vietnam to Laos.

To ease the jam, the authority has decided to open two separate lanes for vehicles from Vietnam to Laos with one exclusively for those transporting woodchips. While for those from Laos to Vietnam, three lanes have been set up with one exclusively for trucks carrying fruits and farm produce.

Vehicles which had arrived in the border gate but are not eligible for customs clearance have been directed to park in other areas near the gate.

At the same time, competent Vietnamese and Lao forces have coordinated in strengthening surveillance so as to ensure security and traffic safety at the border gate.

VFF’s role in fighting corruption, wastefulness discussed


Delegates at the event 

The Standing Board of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee held a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on August 6 to discuss its involvement in the fight against corruption and wastefulness. 

In his opening speech, President of the VFF Central Committee Tran Thanh Man said over the past years, the VFF chapters at all levels have improved the capacity of giving feedback on social issues, contributing to fine-tuning mechanisms and laws on corruption prevention and control. 

They actively joined supervision schemes, focusing on sensitive issues and urged authorities to deal with complaints and denunciations. 

The VFF has built a mechanism and launched a process on receiving and handling letters of complaint regarding corruption, wastefulness, political and moral degradation, “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” behaviors among Party members and officials. 

Secretary of the HCM City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan said corruption and wastefulness acts are found via meetings with constituents, VFF chapters, People’s Councils, the media, letters of complaint and denunciation. 

In late 2017, the municipal Party Committee issued Regulation 1374 on handling information regarding corruption and degradation, which will be periodically reported to Party committees, he said. 

In order to improve the efficiency of the fight against corruption and wastefulness, Nhan suggested that VFF chapters of 63 cities and provinces should introduce at least one relevant case which has been successfully dealt with, which will be collected and featured in a printed book, thereby raising public awareness of the VFF’s role in the field. 

Participants underscored the importance of mass organisations’ supervision role, especially the VFF’s role in representing and protecting legitimate rights and interests of the people, democracy and social feedback. 

To Thi Bich Chau, Chairwoman of HCM City’s Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee, said local VFF units hold exchanges and dialogues with the people and collect public opinions via mailboxes and social public opinion groups. Later, they work with the municipal Party Committee’s Commission for Internal Affairs and Inspection Commission to deal with information provided by the public regarding corruption, political and moral degradation, and violations of the Party regulations and State laws. 

Delegates discussed ways to rally public involvement in the fight and suggested ideas to refine anti-corruption policies and laws.

Hung Yen province to tighten environmental control


Wastewater from some firms has contaminated Hung Yen’s river and canal systems.

The Red River Delta province of Hung Yen has raised the alarm over environmental pollution as many local companies continue to discharge untreated wastewater despite strict punishments by authorities.

After 42 investigations conducted in the first seven months of 2018, the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment has detected many companies discharging wastewater with residual substances exceeding regulatory standards. Although authorities imposed harsh sentences, those companies deliberately committed and repeated violations several times.

According to Tran Dang Anh, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, 26 companies have been found violating regulations on environmental protection. AOCC Vietnam Company and Thuan Phat Packaging Company, for example, were fined more than 400 million VND (17,200 USD) each for illegal waste disposal.

Wastewater samples collected from the sewage discharged by these companies show excessive levels of pollutants including NH4 , Coliform and BOD5.

Phu Sy Nutrition in An Thi district discharged untreated wastewater ten times with levels of Coliform bacteria 80 times higher than regulated.

The wastewater contaminates the province’s river and canal systems, especially the Bac Hung Hai irrigation across districts of Van Lam, My Hao, Van Giang and Yen My. Vast areas of agricultural land in those districts have also been abandoned for a long time as no plants or animals can survive the pollution.

The provincial People’s Committee has tasked the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to collaborate with related agencies to tighten management on companies violating regulations of environmental protection and suspend the operations of companies which commit violations more than once. The lead recycling village of Dong Mai and plastic recycling village of Minh Khai in Van Lam district are also put under control in an effort to restore the environment.

Key housing projects completed to meet growing demands


An array of key housing projects have been completed in the first months of 2018 to meet increasing demands of policy beneficiaries, poor households and low-income earners, according to the Ministry of Construction.

Some 14,420 households who rendered services to the nation have benefited from the housing support programme. Meanwhile, more than 70,216 families out of 268,000 poor households in rural areas have received housing support, accounting for 26.2 percent of the yearly plan.

The Ministry of Construction has joined hands with the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee, and the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union to accelerate and enhance the efficiency of the programme.

Regarding the storm-resistant house scheme in the central region, some 565 billion VND (24.29 million USD) has been splashed out to build shelters for 14,000 out of 23,525 poor families.

To date, the coastal provinces of Nghe An, Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen, and Ninh Thuan, and Da Nang city have been accomplished the storm-proof housing programme. The Prime Minister has allowed the programme to be completed in 2021 for Thanh Hoa, Quang Binh, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, and Quang Ngai provinces, and in 2020 for Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, and Binh Dinh provinces.

Notably, under the flood-proof housing programme, 52,220 among 55,939 households have moved in safe houses in the Mekong Delta region, accounting for 93.4 percent.

In urban areas, 86 social housing projects have been finished, providing 34,700 apartments for low-income earners nationwide.

In addition, 41,000 apartments have been constructed for workers at industrial parks so far.

The Ministry of Construction affirmed that it will join hands with relevant agencies to remove bottlenecks, especially in terms of capital and mechanisms, while urging localities nationwide to fully implement the housing programmes.

Provinces asked to actively cope with low pressure


In Vang Ma Chai commune, Lai Chau province 

Floods and landslides in Phong Tho district of the northern mountainous province of Lai Chau left six dead, six missing and three others injured, according to the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control. 

From August 4-5, heavy rains inundated five houses, 2ha of aquaculture and 2ha of paddy fields in the northern province of Bac Kan, causing estimated losses of nearly 200 million VND (8,600 USD). 

Rainfalls also damaged 97 houses, 30.5ha of rice, 0.3ha of vegetables and aquaculture in the northern province of Lao Cai. The total damage is estimated at roughly 2.6 billion VND. 

A landslide in the northern province of Son La on August 5 also caused traffic congestion. The traffic is expected to be back to normal on August 7.

The committee asked northern mountainous provinces to continue checking areas highly prone to floods and landslides, stay ready with plans to ensure safety for local people and property as well as respond to low pressure. 

They must closely track news warning floods and landslides and promptly report abnormal phenomena to authorities. 

In Hanoi, it urged operating water pumping stations to ensure drainage in the outlying district of Chuong My, prepare for equipment to prevent epidemic outbreaks in affected areas, and ensure clean water supply to local people. 

The provinces of Son La, Hoa Binh and Tuyen Quang were requested to ensure safety when reservoirs flush out floodwater. 

The coastal cities and provinces from Quang Ninh to Khanh Hoa were assigned to closely follow the movement of low pressure in the East Sea to promptly alert captains and owners of vehicles.

Nha Trang seeks to ease beachfront traffic


Traffic jam on Tran Phu Street

Authorities of the central city of Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province, have decided to ban coaches of more than 29 seats from the beachfront road of Tran Phu.

The move is aimed to ease traffic jams caused by big coaches for the street during weekends and holidays. 

Nha Trang has welcomed a large number of foreign tourists, particularly those from China and Russia and the sharp rise in tourist number has caused pressure on the city’s roads, particularly Tran Phu Street where is home to many hotels and services.

At weekends, traffic jams for kilometres often happen on Tran Phu, which is mostly attributed to 45-seater coaches.

The provincial people’s committee has also urged Nha Trang City to tighten control over car parking on Tran Phu Street, particularly at the section crossing between Yersin and Le Thanh Ton streets.

Red Cross launches volunteer quick-reaction team


The Việt Nam Red Cross Society’s Central Committee launched a volunteer quick-reaction team for disaster relief and humanitarian activities. Photo Courtesy of VTV Corp

The Việt Nam Red Cross Society’s Central Committee has launched a volunteer quick-reaction team for disaster relief and humanitarian activities in the country.

The Việt Nam Red Volunteer team includes 50 volunteers trained in first aid and assistance for victims of natural disasters.

The Red Cross is encouraging all provinces and cities to set up their own volunteer teams.

The launch occurred on the occasion of the Volunteer Campaign even held in the Mekong Delta city of Cần Thơ from August 2-4.

The Volunteer Campaign has attracted more than 500 members of the Việt Nam Red Cross Society in Việt Nam and 13 other countries that belong to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Participants attended conferences on healthcare services for the community and climate change, and engaged in competitions on first-aid skills and handling disaster situations, and charity activities for the disadvantaged in Cần Thơ. 

Health ministry checks anti-dengue efforts around country


The Ministry of Health is inspecting preventive methods against dengue fever in 16 provinces and cities that have seen an upward trend of the disease. 

The Ministry of Health is inspecting the preventive efforts in place against dengue fever in 16 provinces and cities where the disease is seeing an upward trend.

According to Đặng Quang Tấn, deputy head of the ministry’s General Department of Preventive Medicine, the incidence of dengue in these provinces and cities has increased in the last three weeks.

In Hà Nội, for instance, the number of cases doubled to 26 on July 23-29 from a week earlier.

Bình Phước Province has reported 1,055 cases this year, an increase of 27 per cent.   

According to Nguyễn Văn Dũng, deputy head of the province’s Preventive Health Centre, the average temperature of 25-30 degrees Celsius there is ideal for mosquitoes, the disease vector, to breed.

Moreover, locals have a habit of using clay pots and plastic barrels to store water, but often not covering or cleaning them, leading to mosquitoes laying eggs in them.

So far this year nearly 35,000 people in the country have been infected with dengue, with one each dying in HCM City and the eight provinces of Khánh Hòa, Bình Dương, Bình Phước, An Giang, Đồng Nai, Bình Định, Trà Vinh, and Cà Mau. 

The ministry has provided insecticides and other materials required to combat the disease to all provinces and cities, especially the 16 where its incidence is increasing.

It has also called on local administrations to strengthen preventive efforts and encourage people to practise hygiene and destroy mosquito larvae regularly.

The preventive medicine department has warned that the only way is to kill mosquitoes and larvae to prevent mosquitoes from biting people since there is no cure for dengue or vaccine.

The ministry has instructed local preventive health officials to keep an eye out to detect signs of outbreaks early.

Hospitals that admit dengue patients should report to preventive health centres so that they can take the initiative to monitor patients’ communities.

Tấn said people with high fever during the day should go to the nearest health facility for timely treatment.

Dengue is a viral disease transmitted by female mosquitoes, mainly of the species Aedes aegypti and, to a lesser extent, Ae. albopictus.

This mosquito also transmits chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika.

Dengue is widespread throughout the tropics, with local variations in risk influenced by rainfall, temperatures and unplanned rapid urbanisation.

In Việt Nam, unlike in the past dengue occurs throughout the year, with large outbreaks occurring during the rainy season.

Smart city control centre opens on Phú Quốc Island


Phú Quốc Island in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang aims to become a smart city by 2020. 

A smart city control centre that opened on Phú Quốc Island on Wednesday will receive residents’complaints and coordinate emergency functions, among other functions.

Phạm Văn Nghiệp, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of Phú Quốc District, said the centre would receive information from citizens, visitors and organisations about theft, security problems and other complaints; improve traffic safety, and co-ordinate emergency responses and other activities.

Việt Nam Post and Telecommunications (VNPT) has helped the island build a safe city solution with mobile apps that help people report incidents (accidents, theft, acts that violate urban security) to management agencies and help the latter respond quickly.

The residents must install the “Safe City” app on their smartphone.

The VNĐ67 billion (US$2.9 million) project, invested in by VNPT under the smart city project for Phú Quốc by 2020, was approved by the Kiên Giang Province People’s Committee in April last year.

The project was based on VNPT’s information communications technology infrastructure and the province’s e-governance system.

Phú Quốc authorities have also completed a public wi-fi system that provides free access in Dương Đông and An Thới towns.

As many as 50 camera monitors also link with the smart city control centre in Phú Quốc Island.

For online management of visitors, VNPT has trained over 90 police officers and workers at 200 guesthouses and hotels on the island.

Hotels no longer need to take guests’ passports to the local police station for registration.

To monitor the environment, VNPT and local authorities have built stations to supervise household wastewater treatment, and air and seawater pollution.

The e-government system links administration from the commune to the provincial level, which helps people and enterprises in the district complete procedures online for licences or business registration.

Phú Quốc in the Mekong Delta, Bắc Vân Phong in central Khánh Hòa Province, and Vân Đồn in northern Quảng Ninh Province are expected to become special administrative-economic units.

Phú Quốc is Việt Nam’s largest island, covering an area of nearly 600 square kilometers with a population of over 100,000. 

Điện Biên children risk lives fishing for wood


Children risk their lives collecting wood after heavy flooding. 

Children living near Nậm Mức stream in Búng Giắt Village in the northern mountainous province of Điện Biên are risking their lives collecting wood from the swiftly-flowing floodwaters.

A Vietnam News Agency reporter observed a group of ten children (the oldest of about 13) took advantage of high water to jump into the stream and catch wood floating by.

Torrential rain over recent weeks has caused landslides and increased water levels in streams and rivers of northern mountainous provinces. One of the children told the reporter that each time it rains heavily, children around the area head to the stream and collect wood to sell.

If they are not quick enough to grab the wood, others will take it. So each time they see a promising log or branch, they swim as hard as they can in the flood water to grab hold of it.

Lò Văn Dôm, a local from the Mường Mươn Commune of Mường Chà District said that parents have warned children about the risk involved but the children have so far ignored their pleas.

In spite of efforts by local authorities to remind residents about the risk of wading into floodwaters, many families are still not aware of protecting themselves and their children.

Last year the province recorded several deaths caused by catching wood and fish in dangerous flood water currents. 

Hai Phong: Modern infrastructure deemed prerequisite for tourism growth


A beach on Khi (Monkey) Island of Cat Ba archipelago in Hai Phong 

After the sea-crossing bridge of Tan Vu – Lach Huyen opened on September 2, 2017, tourist arrivals in Cat Ba island district of northern Hai Phong city surged by 150 percent year on year from then to May 2018.

In the first half of this year, Cat Ba Island welcomed more than 1.5 million visitors. Holidaymakers arrived even in the winter, said Vu Tien Lap – head of the culture, sports and tourism division of Cat Hai district.

This sharp rise was partly attributed to the considerable improvement in local infrastructure, which also saw the opening of Cat Bi International Airport and Ha Noi – Hai Phong Expressway in recent years.

With tourism considered a key economic sector, the city has been working to attract big investors to develop tourism facilities.

At a recent meeting of municipal officials, Secretary of the Hai Phong Party’s Committee Le Van Thanh reiterated the necessity of building infrastructure serving tourism development. 

He noted that the city hopes to attract 7.5 million tourists by 2020. This figure rose from 5.96 million in 2016 to 6.71 million in 2017. It reached 3.41 million between January and June and is expected to hit 7.79 million this year.

Major developers like SunGroup, Vingroup and Flamingo have been building five-star hotels and other tourism facilities in Cat Ba and other places in the city. In 2019, Sungroup plans complete a 5.1km-long cable system from Cat Hai town to Phu Long commune and carry out a tourism project in Cat Ba.

The city sees beautiful landscapes, world-class tourism facilities and modern infrastructure as key to luring vacationers. Meanwhile, ensuring security and safety for tourists and service to their satisfaction will persuade them to return to Hai Phong.

Local tourism has also benefited from the city’s investment attraction policy, which has resulted in a big number of foreign workers arriving. About 2,000 experts have come to build automobile and mobile phone factories in Cat Hai. Many others from Japan, the Republic of Korea, the US and Europe have also stayed here to work on other investment projects.

In its development plans, the tourism sector of Hai Phong hopes to increase coordination with relevant agencies to improve tourism quality. It will also try to attract investors to make the city a key tourism destination of Vietnam.

Farmers pleased as Đồng Nai encourages large-scale fields, co-operatives


A large-scale rice field in Đồng Nai Province’s Trảng Bom District. – Photo

The pooling of fields to create large-scale fields and co-operatives for growing clean produce in Đồng Nai Province has benefited farmers and companies.

While most pepper farmers in the south-eastern province have suffered losses for the past two years because of the sharp decline in prices, more than 750 households growing pepper in Cẩm Mỹ District have earned profits by pooling their lands.

Their Lâm San Agriculture Co-operative in Lâm San Commune exports the spice to the EU.    

Nguyễn Văn Quang, one of the members, said the co-operative guarantees purchase of the entire pepper output at VNĐ10,000 – 20,000 a kilogramme higher than the market price.

Thus, the households do not suffer losses though pepper prices have fallen, he said.

Under the large-scale field model, farmers with contiguous lands grow the same crop using the same techniques and schedules and are instructed by a company or, a co-operative (if they are members).   

Nguyễn Quý Tân, whose land has been part of a large-scale cacao field in Định Quán District’s Gia Canh Commune for three years, said since joining he had not been worried about prices.

The Trọng Đức Cacao Products Limited Company, which helped establish the large-scale field, pays him VNĐ1,000 – 2,000 higher than market prices per kilo, he said.

In the past cacao prices had been volatile and sometimes fell by VNĐ2,000 a kilogramme, he said.  

If the company had not overseen the setting up of the large-scale field, he would cut down his cacao trees to plant other crops, he said.

“After I tied up with the company, I feel secure.”

Huỳnh Thành Vinh, director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the establishment of large-scale fields and co-operatives to grow clean crops yielded positive results.

However, their number in the province was not large, he said.

He attributed this to farmers and companies not achieving benefits, the lack of markets, insufficient support from the authorities, and the small size and scattered nature of farm lands.

Đồng Nai has 18 large-scale fields with a total area of nearly 6,000ha pooled by around 5,000 participating households, according to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The area accounts for 2 per cent of the province’s arable lands.

To ensure sustainable development of agriculture, the province has called on farmers and companies to strengthen their co-operation and simplified access to preferential credit and land policies.

It will also co-operate with other agencies to provide farmers, co-operatives and companies with market information, especially about key local agricultural produce.  

"When authorities do a good job of forecasting the market, companies and co-operatives know precisely about the market’s demand and strengthen collaboration with farmers to set up large-scale fields to grow the crops that are in demand," Vinh said.

The province plans to help managers of co-operatives acquire management skills and participate in trade promotion activities in the country and abroad.

Viet Nam speeds up plastic free ocean initiative


Plastic waste is seen along the coast of Phước Diễm in the central province of Ninh Thuận. 

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Trần Hồng Hà has assigned the Việt Nam Administration of Sea and Islands to take responsibility for managing the plastic waste that is blighting the seas.

The move is part of Việt Nam’s efforts to build regional partnerships to manage plastic waste in Southeast Asia as well as a global mechanism to promote clearing the world’s seas.

The initiative was proposed at the 6th Global Environment Facility (GEF-6) Assembly in Đà Nẵng in June.

The initiative aims to promote co-operation and experience sharing among local and international organisations, and calls for changes to economic growth models with a focus on recycling instead of consumption.

According to the World Economic Forum, about 8 million tonnes of plastic waste was discharged into the oceans every year, while about 3 billion people rely on the oceans to earn a livelihood.

Environment Minister Trần Hồng Hà said that Việt Nam was committed to reducing plastic, and in the long term, working to eliminate the issue all together.

Director general of the sea and islands administration, Tạ Đình Thi, said Việt Nam was one of the world’s 20 worst polluters of plastic waste, releasing 500,000 tonnes per year.

"We are among six countries in the Southeast Asia region that has yet to build a waste management system,” he said.

He added that the country had witnessed the dangers of plastic pollution to the oceans, food chains and marine species. 

Five sentenced to death in major drug trafficking case


The People’s Court of HCM City has handed down the sentence of capital punishment to five defendants involved in the illegal trade and transportation of drugs. 

The People’s Court of HCM City has sentenced to death five defendants involved in the illegal trade and transportation of a large amount of drugs at the end of a four-day trial on Thursday.

Among the defendants sentenced to death is ring leader Nguyễn Văn Phú, born in 1964. In addition to the five, four others in the ring, which smuggled drugs from Cambodia to Việt Nam and from the north to HCM City for sale, were sentenced to life in prison. Another three received sentences ranging from five to 20 years in prison.

The defendants were also ordered to pay fines of VNĐ20-200 million (US$859.39 – 8,593) as an additional punishment, along with paying back the money they got from trafficking. Ring leader Phú must pay back VNĐ340 million ($14,606) from illegal proceeds from drug trafficking. 

On November 16, 2015, the police caught Trần Thanh Cương red handed as he trafficked 15 bricks of heroin weighing 5.2 kg, along with VNĐ50 million and $5,000 in cash. Cương confessed that he bought the drug from Phú. Phú was arrested later along with two bricks of heroin.

During the investigation from January 9-11, 2016, the police arrested more people involved in the drug ring. According to the investigation agency, the traffickers traded over 20 kg of heroin and over 17 kg of synthetic drug. Phú said he bought the heroin at VNĐ210 million per kg and sold it at VNĐ220 million.

From August to November 2015, Phú bought a total of 47 bricks of heroin and sold 45 to Cương. 

A/H5N6 bird flu detected on Hải Phòng farms


Poultry infected with the bird flu A/H5N6 virus are collected and disposed of in Hải Phòng City’s An Dương District. — Photo

More than 10,000 chickens and ducks on two farms in An Dương District, the northern city of Hải Phòng have been infected with the A/H5N6 bird flu virus, Vice Chairman of the district People’s Committee Lê Văn Cường confirmed on Thursday.

The announcement came after samples taken from the dead poultry tested positive for the virus.

Cường said local authorised agencies culled all the infected poultry, sprayed chemicals at the two farms and examined surrounding farms to make timely interventions.

About two weeks ago, over 5,500 chickens and ducks at a farm in the district’s An Hưng Commune suffered from diarrhea and died, even though they were vaccinated already.

On July 27, similar symptoms were found among 4,650 ducks at a farm in An Hồng Commune. After that, Hải Phòng’s Livestock Production and Animal Health Departments took samples for testing.

According to World Health Organisation, the A/H5N6 bird flu virus killed people in China, but there is no evidence to prove it could be transmitted from person to person. The Ministry of Health called on localities to strengthen oversight and detect the virus for timely interventions. The localities were also asked to tighten controls to curb poultry smuggling. 

The Plays Festival to honour late Lưu Quang Vũ playwright

The Việt Nam Youth Theatre will perform a series of plays at the Lưu Quang Vũ’s Plays Festival from August 4 to September 1 in Hà Nội.

The festival will feature Lời Nói Dối Cuối Cùng (The Last Lying Words), Hoa Cúc Xanh Trên Đầm Lầy (Green Daisy on Marsh), Ai Là Thủ Phạm (Who is the Culprit) and Lời Thề Thứ 9 (The Ninth Oath).

The festival commemorates the 30th anniversary of the death of playwright Lưu Quang Vũ, who is regarded as an influential author in the country’s theatrical renewal process.

"The Last Lying Words is one of the most successful plays at the Youth Theatre," said Trương Nhuận, the theatre’s former director.

"The play is Vũ’s message about the truth against the lie. It awakes people to social evils such as achievement-addiction, corruption and authoritarian behaviour by local officials."

The play was written based on Vietnamese folk tales and features a love triangle where deceit and music are the order of the day, with country girl Lụa tricked by deceitful boy Cuội.

The play debuted in 1986, directed by People’s Artist Phạm Thị Thành. During her career she staged more than 200 plays, including 25 by Vũ. "Vũ always gave me his new works to read," said Thành.

The play was named Cuội, Bờm and Lụa at first. After Thành read the script she suggested changing to The Last Lying Words to give the name a broader meaning.

"The plays by Vũ reflect the darker side of society. But he always highlighted human dignity and he always believed in the truth, the fair and the ideal," Thành said.

Vũ was born in the northern province of Phú Thọ, although his father, playwright Lưu Quang Thuận, came from the central province of Quảng Nam.

Vũ served as a soldier in the anti-American War from 1965-70, when his poems began to gain recognition. But it was in the 1980s that he became a celebrated poet, writing about life in the post-war period and during the process of national renewal in the late 1980s.

His dramas, short stories and poems were charactised by their gritty realism and great humanity. He wrote some 50 dramas, most of which criticise the darker side of society, especially corruption and authoritarian behaviour. Many of them earned high literary acclaim.

He was married to fellow poet Xuân Quỳnh, whose poem Sóng (Wave) became standard reading material in secondary schools. The couple died in a car crash in 1988 when travelling from Hải Phòng city back to their home in Hà Nội. Their 12-year-old son was also killed in the accident.

The country’s highest awards, the Hồ Chí Minh Prize in art and literature,  were posthumously given to Vũ in 2000 and Quỳnh in 2017.

The festival will be held at the Youth Theatre, 11 Ngô Thì Nhậm Street. 

Vietnamese rapper Suboi scores another first with 88rising video

Rap queen Suboi has become the first Vietnamese artist to release a music video on 88rising's YouTube channel.

The 28-year-old Vietnamese female rapper premiered her music video for “N-SAO?” (Why?) on the YouTube channel of 88rising, a famous American mass media company that has gained popularity as a musical platform for Asian artists.

This is not the first time that Suboi has appeared on 88rising. She had previously introduced herself to international audiences when she performed “Doi" (Life) live on this channel in November 2016.

The music video for “N-SAO?” is directed by German filmmaker Alexa Karolinski and shot in Saigon. 

The video depicts images of ordinary life in Saigon, from that of lottery ticket sellers to late night workers against the background of street diners to old apartments. 

Suboi dons many interesting outfits from tank tops with baggy pants, floral suits with flip-flops to “street ninjas” dresses usually worn by Vietnamese women as suncoats on hot summer days.

The “N-SAO?” audio had previously premiered on Apple’s Beats 1 radio on July 18, making Suboi the first Vietnamese artist featured on the 24/7 international radio channel.

“N-SAO?”, produced by American producers Zach Golden and Pat McCusker is a bouncy, trap infused banger laced with lyrics that give shout outs to Saigon’s traffic, iced coffee, street vendors and Suboi’s native District 3. With this single, Suboi has presented a more mature and fashionable image to her fans.

Since being introduced to hip-hop music at the age of 14, Suboi has released two studio albums, one extended play and become a prominent act on Vietnam’s rap music scene. 

Often referred to as the “Vietnamese rap queen,” she was featured on Forbes Asia’s “30 Under 30” list in 2017, became the first Vietnamese artist to perform at 2015 SXSW Music Festival in the US and famously rapped for former US president Barack Obama when he visited Vietnam in 2016. She also founded her own company, Suboi Entertainment and has acted in two Vietnamese movies.

“N-SAO?” is available on several domestic and international music platforms, including Zing, Nhaccuatui, Apple Music, Spotify and Google Play.

Vietnam recalls 57 heart drugs with cancer-causing substance

Vietnam's health ministry has recalled 57 types of cardiac medications found to contain a carcinogen made by a Chinese firm.

The Drug Administration of Vietnam said the recalled drugs contained valsartan, a substance produced by a firm in China which was found to have N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which can cause cancer if used over a long period.

It said 32 of the drugs recalled were processed in Vietnam and 25 were imported.

The made-in-Vietnam drugs were produced by 13 companies that imported valsartan from Chinese firm Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

The imported drugs originated in Bangladesh, India, Poland, the Republic of Korea and Spain, but producers in these countries also bought valsartan from the same Chinese producer to make the drugs, the administration said.

In Vietnam, the cardiac medications that contain valsartan are used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure and deal with the aftermath of heart attack.

The administration has issued a list of the 57 drugs that it wants to recall and requested producers and importers across the country to stop selling or using those drugs, and recall them as soon as possible.

It has also assured patients that the recall is unlikely to lead to a shortage of cardiac drugs, because there are currently 39 made-in-Vietnam drug types and 54 imported ones that contain valsartan without the cancer causing substance like the one produced in China.

Valsartan was initially developed by Swiss firm Novart and was sold on the market under the trade name Diovan.

When Novart’s monopoly protection for the drug expired, many brands jumped in to make the drug, including Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical.

The European Medicines Agency and several other countries withdrew medications that contain valsartan produced by Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical in July, confirming that it contained N-nitrosodimethylamine.

Sustainable development associated with gender equality


Ensuring gender equality and narrowing inequality are included in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda, agreed upon by leaders of the 193 UN member states in 2015 aiming to deal with the challenges of comprehensive socio-economic development and assure environmental sustainability and good governance.

These are considered solid guidelines for the Vietnamese business community to embark on their journey at a national level.

According to the UN 2030 Agenda, the Government is responsible for providing guidelines by devising concrete national plans to create a favourable environment for each citizen to learn about the importance of the agenda.

Businesses have played an indispensable role in achieving SDGs. The successful implementation of SDGs will help businesses create a more favourable environment for their operations and conquer the global market. The behaviour of enterprises has been key to the success of each goal through responsible business activities, including the responsibility for ensuring gender equality and reducing inequality.

Recent research by McKinsey has found that companies which embrace gender diversity can perform their activities 15% better than their competitors.

A common report of Intel and Dahlberg has shown that technological companies with at least one female leader have a business value of 13%-16%  higher than those with male leaders.

Furthermore, a survey conducted by First Round Capital has indicated that their investments in companies whose founders are female have reaped 63% better rewards than their investments in firms whose founders are male.

Vietnam has introduced the issue of gender equality in the workplace and consider it as one of the major focuses for the country’s socio-economic progress. Therefore, women have made certain achievements in gender equality, especially in education and health.

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), in 2017 the share of leadership roles occupied by women had risen to 28%, which is higher than the world average of 19% and higher than the average of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations.

The rate at which women are participating in the workforce in Vietnam is relatively high, with up to 72% of the country’s total female population working and accounting for 48.1% of the labour force.

According to the report ‘World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends for Women 2018’ released by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Vietnam is among the nations with the highest rate of women in the workforce and that this greatly contributes to the country’s economic development.

However, female workers face a number of hurdles in their employment and incomes. The report has shown that although female workers make up 48.4% of the total workforce in Vietnam, the rate of employment for women is 9% lower than for men.

At present, about 7.8 million of all female workers are working in unofficial sectors with insalubrious working conditions. The rate of female workers operating in the unofficial sector with substandard conditions makes up 59.6% while this rate is only 31.8% for men.

In another area of disparity, the monthly income for male workers is 10.7% higher than for women (VND5.3 million compared to VND4.7 million).

Director of the ILO Research Department Damian Grimshaw affirmed that challenges and barriers to women’s full and free participation in the workforce will restrict Vietnam’s ability to realise its economic growth roadmap along with social development.

The ILO representative said the UN Agenda 2030 with 17 SDGs including gender equality is obviously a call to businesses to sustain their efforts during the journey of advancing toward a global economy of equity, sustainability and integration.

The fulfillment of SDGs in the 2015-2030 period is needed for Vietnam to realise its aspiration for a new level of prosperity, innovation, equity and democracy by 2035.

The promotion of gender equality in the workplace applies to the use and development of human resources, which will directly impact labour productivity, and the efficiency of enterprises.

By boosting the operational productivity of enterprises, the promotion of gender equality is regarded a strategic investment which delivers sustainable growth and development.