Fort Hood’s Luong becomes first Vietnamese-American general
Fort Hood’s Luong becomes first Vietnamese-American general
Fort Hood Col. Viet Xuan Luong became the first Vietnamese American to be made a general in US history in an August 6 ceremony at Cooper Field at Fort Hood, attracting Austin police and members of the local Vietnamese community.
Members of the Police Department’s office of community liaison accompany more than 100 members of Austin’s Vietnamese-American community to a public ceremony in which Luong is promoted to brigadier general. Organizations involved are the Vietnamese-American Heritage Foundation, Vietnamese-American Community of Austin and the Vietnamese Senior Citizen’s Association.
According to Statement.com, Luong’s family evacuated Vietnam as political refugees during the fall of Saigon in 1975 and emigrated to the US. He is the deputy commander of maneuvers for the 1st Cavalry Division based in Fort Hood.
Binh Nguyen, the Austin police liaison to the Asian community, said Luong’s promotion marks a historical moment for all Vietnamese-Americans. Nguyen is a retired soldier with the US Army who served in the 1st Infantry Division.
“It’s a very proud moment for myself,” Nguyen said. “It’s rare to come across another Vietnamese-American in the Army let alone one so highly ranked.”
246 Vietnamese workers safely back home from Libya
As of August 7, over 246 Vietnamese workers have safely returned home from Libya amid the worsening violence, said Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Le Hai Binh.
At a press briefing in Hanoi on August 7, Binh said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and representative agencies in Libya, Turkey, Egypt and Algeria are closely working with relevant agencies, companies and employers in Libya to examine ways to ensure safety for Vietnamese people.
Binh revealed that the MoFA has sent diplomatic notes to the Filipino Embassy and Thai Embassy in Vietnam, asking them to support evacuating Vietnamese workers out of fighting areas in Libya.
Currently, Vietnamese representative offices in Turkey, Egypt and Algeria are working hand in hand with the three countries’ relevant authorities to help workers transit via these countries before flying home, he said, adding that more flights will be conducted to bring them home soon.
Smuggled elephant tusks seized in HCM City
Suspect goods seized recently by Ho Chi Minh City’s customs are segments of African ivory tusks, the Institute of Tropical Biology has confirmed.
Listed in the World Red Book, African ivory tusks are banned from importing and exporting. Vietnam has forbidden both the trade of elephant tusks and the hunting of elephants for tusks.
Sent from France to Vietnam and declared as sample products, the goods, totally weighing 14.6 kg, worth 3 billion VND (143,000 USD), were captured on August 1 after running through customs check.
They were later sent to the Institute of Tropical Biology under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology for examination.
Further investigation into the case is underway.-
Hanoi: medical fees to increase by 20%
The Hanoi municipal People's Committee has issued Decision No. 30/2014/QĐ-UBND to adjust the prices of 1,349 technical medical services and to supplement medical fees for an additional 135 new services at public facilities in the city.
Accordingly, from August 10, more than 1,300 medical service prices will be increased with an average increase of 20%. The increases will apply to public general hospitals, specialised hospitals, medical treatment centres, maternity homes, and clinics in Hanoi.
In patients undergoing treatment at public medical facilities prior to the effective date of the adjustment will be charged based on the old rates until discharge.
In addition, medical service fees at central hospitals will now be applied at lower-level hospitals too.
Hanoi authorities assigned the city’s Department of Health to co-operate with concerned parties in directing, inspecting and guiding medical facilities to effectively manage and use the additional money collected from medical fees.
Price increases have been applied to over 800 healthcare services in Hanoi since August 2013.
OVs evacuated from Ukraine’s Donetsk city
Most Overseas Vietnamese (OVs) in Ukraine’s Donetsk city have been evacuated to safe areas to avoid the violence and humanitarian catastrophe the Eastern European country faces.
The information was released by Vice Chairman of the OVs Association in Donetsk, Trinh Van Tien.Tien said the Donetsk airport has been destroyed, and a few OVs have remained living in the city to safeguard their houses and other property.
“They are gathering in buildings with underground tunnels to protect themselves from the blasts of artillery and mortar shells,” Tien said.
He reported Ukraine’s government troops are carrying out military operations in three regions – south, north and west– excluding the eastern gate to Russia.
Speaking at an August 4 press briefing, Ukraine National Security and Defence Council spokesperson, Andrey Lysenko, said hat Ukrainian troops are prepared to attack Donbass region where the rebels have taken a stronghold.
Requiem held for Vietnamese, Lao martyrs
A requiem was held in Vientiane on August 6 for Vietnamese and Lao revolutionary martyrs, who sacrificed their life for national independence and the special relations between the two countries.
Buddhist monks, nuns and followers prayed for martyrs’ souls and for the country’s peace and people’s prosperity.
The ceremony was to call on younger generations of Laos and Vietnam to take responsibility to maintain the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
On the occasion, the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV)’s branch in Laos presented VND216 million (US$10,152) to the Lao Buddhist Association’s social welfare activities, bringing the bank’s assistance to the field to VND182 billion (US$8.55 million).
Vietnamese, Lao provinces push for mutual development
The Central Highlands province of Kon Tum and southern Sekong province of Laos have agreed to move their ties forward across the board, especially economics and border security defence.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed in Kon Tum on August 6, both sides will facilitate all-level visits, and propose new areas of cooperation while sharing experience in Party build-up, new rural development and poverty reduction in their border areas.
On trade activity, they will encourage business communities to explore chances in tourism, agriculture and mining via exhibitions.
The two provinces plan to upgrade the Dak Blo – Dak Ba border gate into a major one and ask the Vietnamese government for continuing supply of official development assistance to Laos’ Dak Bar commune, Dak Chung district.
To ensure border security, police, border defence and armed forces will hold regular talks, upgrade and increase the number of border markers planted in their localities.
Kon Tum and Sekong signed memoranda of understanding in 2010 and 2012. The former offered assistance in professional training and crime combat while the latter lent a helping hand in the search and repatriation of remains of Vietnamese experts and volunteer soldiers fallen in Laos.
Sekong also helped Kon Tum connect with the economic corridor linking central Vietnam with north-eastern Thailand via Bo Y international border gate.
More support for Quang Ngai fishermen
The Fishermen Support Fund of central Quang Ngai province has raised over 40 billion VND (1.9 million USD) for its local fishermen after three years of operation.
The fund has provided 25 billion VND (1.1 million USD) to assist 350 fishermen and build houses for families of Agent Orange/Dioxin victims.
It also presented 100 million VND (4,700 USD) to the Vietnamese law enforcement authorities at sea and built two fishing boats worth 14 billion VND (660 million USD) for fishermen.Fund helps grow trees around Dien Bien Phu
A fund has been established, called "One Million Trees for Vietnam", that has gone to plant 40,000 trees around several historical sites at Dien Bien Phu.
These activities are part of a series of projects in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the historical victory at Dien Bien Phu.
The tree-planting programme drew the participation of several high-ranking officials and other well-known figures, including Nguyen Hanh Phuc, member of Central Party Committee and chairman of the National Assembly’s Office, Pham The Bao, an official from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), Bui Thu Huong, Vinamilk’s External Affairs director. Vo Hanh Phuc, daughter of the late General Vo Nguyen Giap, and Miss Vietnam 2010, Ngoc Han.
With the help of local residents and hundreds of local young volunteers, 40,000 green trees were planted on Doc Lap Hill as well as several other historical sites in Dien Bien Province.
Bui Thi Huong said, “The programme's goal is to improve the living environment in this area."
According to Huong, the fund has helped launch similar programmes in 10 other localities across Vietnam so far.Tran Phong, an official from MoNRE’s Vietnam Environment Administration, acted as a member of the managing board.
He said, “The programme is important because it fosters respect and protection of the environment. We hope that the result will be more awareness and creative solutions to living a green lifestyle."
Between 2012 and 2013, the fund helped plant nearly 100,000 trees in 10 cities and provinces nationwide. This year they intend to plant between 120,000 and 150,000 more.
HCM City allows only local products on bus ads
The HCMC government has stressed that only locally-produced goods will be allowed for advertising on buses and that slogans of these products printed in Vietnamese language are allowed on the exterior of buses.
After approving a pilot scheme submitted by the HCMC Department of Transport to put ads on buses in the city, the city government requires that colors of those advertisements must be aesthetically attractive and should not resemble those of traffic signs.
The transport department has been told to complete the pilot project before the end of this month in accordance with regulations and based on the opinions contributed by relevant agencies.
According to the department’s pilot project, advertisements will be placed on 156 buses operating on ten routes in the city. The chosen buses are those which can carry 40-80 passengers.
After one year of test-operation, the agency will review the pilot scheme before deploying the project on all buses in the city in order to reduce state subsidies for commuter bus services.
Trung Luong-My Thuan expressway to get off ground this year
Construction of the 54-kilometer Trung Luong-My Thuan expressway section is scheduled to begin this year after the Ministry of Transport approved the building plan for this project last week.
Cuu Long Corporation for Investment, Development and Project Management of Infrastructure (Cuu Long CIPM), the owner of the project, said the project must be divided into two stages to make it easy to raise investment capital as the whole section requires a hefty VND25 trillion if it is carried out in accordance with the original plan.
In stage 1A, the expressway will be built under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format and have two lanes plus emergency stopping bays.
There are two capital recovery plans. For the first plan, the investor would collect tolls from both HCMC-Trung Luong and Trung Luong-My Thuan sections over a period of around 15 years starting 2019.
Regarding the second plan, the investor would collect tolls from users of the Trung Luong-My Thuan expressway over a period of 20 years starting 2019 plus support from the State for the toll collection right for the HCMC-Trung Luong expressway for a certain period.
In stage 1B, the expressway will be expanded to six lanes using official development assistance (ODA) loans in the second phase.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The has told Cuu Long CIPM and relevant agencies to revise the expressway project design before August 10 in preparation for work to begin on the section. The project owner will also evaluate the financial capability of investors and contractors and report to the Ministry of Transport before August 15.
Earlier, the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) was assigned to invest in Trung Luong-My Thuan expressway project. However, the bank had to return the project after two years, citing difficulties in fund raising. Then, Cuu Long CIPM was picked to replace it.
The Trung Luong-My Thuan section is part of the HCMC-Can Tho Expressway, which is expected to reduce traveling time between HCMC and the Mekong Delta. This expressway has three sections, namely HCMC-Trung Luong, Trung Luong-My Thuan and My Thuan-Can Tho.
The 40-kilometer HCMC-Truong Luong section was opened to traffic in February 2010.
Easier access to loans for low-income civil servants to buy homes
The HCMC Housing Development Fund (HOF) is expected to propose allowing low-income civil servants to borrow more than the current ceiling of VND400 million to buy homes in the coming time, the fund’s chairwoman said.
Dao Thi Huong Lan, who also director of the HCMC Department of Finance, told a ceremony to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the fund last week that HOF has disbursed more than VND610 billion for nearly 2,000 low-income earners in the past decade.
Speaking to the Daily on the sidelines of the event, Lan acknowledged that the amount remains modest, partly because the fund is intended for the civil servants who get wages from the State budget and are permitted to borrow no more than VND400 million and no higher than 70% of the total value of a home they want to buy.
Lan said HOF would soon seek approval from the city government to increase the lending cap after the municipal budget was considered. The city now covers 3% of the annual interest rate of 5.6% for 15-year loans for low-income civil servants to develop housing.
Nguyen Ngoc Thach, director of HOF, said disbursements from the fund have risen significantly. Low-income people took out loans worth a total of VND164 billion last year and the sum is estimated to climb to VND172 billion this year.
Thach said borrowers from the education sector account for 49% of the loans, the health sector for 15% and others for 19%.
The fund has financed many enterprises to build resettlement areas and budget homes for workers. The fund provided VND329 billion for nine housing projects in 2007-2010.
In the past decade, HOF has lent over VND71 billion to more than 4,800 households who are affected by urban upgrade projects in the city and need money to repair their houses.
Department of Finance director Dao Thi Huong Lan said the city has plans to develop 2.7 million square meters of social housing in 2012-2015 as part of a housing development strategy for 2020 with a vision toward 2030 in the city.
Up to 1.3 million square meters of the total area, equivalent to 17,500 apartments, will be set aside for low-income people to buy or rent while 800,000 square meters is used to meet the housing demand of 93,000 workers.
Can Tho aims to bring clean water to 93 percent of rural population
The Mekong Delta City of Can Tho has set a target that 93 percent of the local rural population will have access to hygienic water by the end of this year.
To achieve the goal, the city has invested over 30 billion VND (1.42 million USD) in building a clean water supply system, with a daily capacity of 2,600 cu.m per day, in Vinh Thanh district.
The project will enable 5,500 households in the two communes of Thanh Thang and Thanh Loi as well as Thanh An town to access water meeting the standard of the Ministry of Health.
Eight other water supply stations have also been constructed, serving 5,739 households in seven communes of six districts namely Phong Dien, Vinh Thanh, Thoi Lai, Co Do, Cai Rang and Thot Not.
This forms part of Component 3 in a World Bank-funded project on water supply and rural environmental sanitation in the Mekong Delta region, to be implemented from 2011 to 2016.-
HCM City ordered to hasten progress of urban railway projects
Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai on August 6 inspected the progress of some urban railway lines in Ho Chi Minh City and requested more efforts from the southern hub to carry out the projects.
At the working session with municipal officials, the Deputy PM said the Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien section is the first metro line to be built in Vietnam, yet its progress has fallen behind schedule.
The slow disbursement of Official Development Assistance capital and partnership capital were the main reasons for the delay of some big projects, he noted.
Hai also ordered officials of neighbouring Binh Duong province to clear land for the building of the Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien underground line, which partly traverses its Di An district, by this October at the latest.
The HCM City Management Authority for Urban Railway reported that it has drawn up a plan to establish a State-owned limited liability company which will be in charge of operating the Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien and Ben Thanh – Tham Luong urban railway lines.
The plan will be submitted to the Prime Minister for approval in near future, representatives from the authority said.
The construction of the 19.7km-long Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien line was started in August 2012, and it will begin operation on a trial basis in 2019.
Meanwhile, the 11.3km-long Ben Thanh – Tham Luong line has been built since August 2010 and is scheduled to be completed in 2018.
They are two out of the seven urban railway lines to be opened in HCM City.
Poverty, new rural areas get priority in public investment
The Prime Minister has instructed that only two national target programmes will be carried out in the period from 2016-2020, which are poverty reduction and building new-style rural areas.
In a directive issued on August 5 on planning public investment for the five year period, PM Dung said he made the decision with the aim of avoiding overstretching resources in order to focus capital on the most necessary projects.
He required ministries, sectors and local governments to try and complete halfway projects under other national programmes, and not to propose new ones.
In making plans on investment using capital sourced by the State budget, central and local Government bonds, Official Development Assistance and preferential loans, the PM instructed ministries, sectors and local authorities to take into serious consideration the situation of public investment in the 2011-2015 period and socio-economic development plans for the 2016-2020 at both national, sectoral and local levels.
The public investment plans should also be based on the national strategy on public and foreign debts for 2016-2020 and vision to 2030, the master plan on economic restructure and growth model shift for 2013-2020 as well as approved restructuring plans of sectors and State-owned economic groups and corporations.
The directive made clear that all outstanding debts in capital construction must be settled before December 31, 2014, and no more debts will be allowed to occur as from 2015 in line with the Law on Public Investment.-
Activities mark Day for Agent Orange Victims
A wide range of activities are being held to mark the Day for Agent Orange/Dioxin Victims (August 10) and the 53rd anniversary of the Agent Orange catastrophe in Vietnam.
Chairman of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh said the events aim to raise public awareness on the issue while calling for domestic and foreign assistance and support for the Vietnamese victims as well as the struggle for justice for the Vietnamese victims.
A mobile texting campaign was launched on August 4 to collect money in support of AO victims nationwide. From now to September 30, people can support the campaign by texting DACAM to 1409.
An exchange programme will be held at the Hanoi Opera House on August 9.
An exhibition - themed “Agent Orange – Sense and Justice” is underway in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho from July 25 to August 20.
During the war in Vietnam , the US troops sprayed nearly 80 million litres of herbicides, 61 percent of which was Agent Orange containing 366kg of dioxin.
An estimated 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to the toxic chemical, with over 3 million of them dying or painfully struggling from its serious effects.
Not only Vietnamese but people from many other countries also became victims of this mass-killing chemical.
Former Soviet military experts’ contributions hailed
Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Pham Xuan Son has highlighted former Soviet military experts’ great contributions to Vietnam ’s war against US imperialists.
Son made the praise at an annual meeting with 120 former Soviet military experts who had assisted Vietnam during the war in Moscow on August 5, on the occasion of the 50 th anniversary of the first victory of the Navy and the Air Defence-Air Forces of the Vietnam People’s Army.
He expressed his deep gratitude to the experts, who had helped Vietnam build a modern air force that could firmly safeguard the country from the US invasion.
For their part, the former Russian experts recalled their unforgettable memories of the time when they served in Vietnam and thanked the Vietnamese Government and embassy for their care and support for them.
On August 5, 1964, the US staged the so-called Gulf of Tonkin incident, using it as an excuse to send planes and ships to attack northern Vietnam .
Fighting back, Vietnamese armed forces shot down eight aircraft and arrested the first US pilot Everett Alvarez. They also drove the US destroyer Maddox out of the northern waters.
Vietnam attends regional climate change training programme
As many as 18 lecturers from Vietnam’s Forestry University, Da Lat University and Vinh University are joining those from 13 other universities and institutes in the Asia Pacific region in a training course on climate change held in Malaysia from August 4-8.
The course, organised under the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the ‘Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (USAID LEAF) programme and the United States Forest Service (USFS), is part the nine-course training programme on regional climate change, which began in October 2012.
The programme includes four major modules, namely overview of climate change, measures to ensure environment and society, reduction of emissions in land use planning, and carbon control.
The USAID LEAF programme director, David Ganz, spoke highly of the participation and remarkable contributions of Vietnamese universities to the programme, expressing his hope that they will play a vital role in developing similar training courses in Vietnam in the coming time.
Ass. Prof. Dr. Bui The Doi from the Vietnam Forestry University said 15 lectures of his school have attended courses and workshops on designing curricula on climate change under the programme.
These events help participants get insight into issues relating to climate change as well as improve their skills in teaching and doing scientific research in the field, he added.
Sanitation project benefits Binh Dinh locals
As many as 520 hygienic toilets have been built in the central province of Binh Dinh thanks to a sanitation project funded by the East Meets West non-governmental organisation.
The facilities will be handed over to households living under the poverty line in Tay Son, Phu My and Tuy Phuoc districts, according to the provincial Preventive Medicine Centre.
The project with a budget of 687,510 AUD (649,000 USD) is being carried out between 2013 and 2017 with the aim of supplying clean water for 3,254 families and supporting the construction of toilets meeting the health ministry’s standards on sanitation for 4,250 others.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), over 45 percent of rural families in Vietnam use unhygienic toilets or have none at all. Poor sanitation is blamed for diarrhea and pneumonia which are the main causes of death among children under five.
10,000 ex-inmates jobless, risk backsliding in Ho Chi Minh City: police
About 10,000 former prisoners are now out of work and thus likely to commit crimes again in Ho Chi Minh City, the municipal police have warned.
These are among the 25,000 ex-inmates who were released between 2012 and 2014 after serving their jail terms, Colonel Dinh Thanh Nhan, deputy director of the HCMC Police Department said at a conference on Tuesday.
The 10,000 former prisoners cannot find a job as they are unskilled or beyond the working age, Col. Nhan elaborated.
These people do not have enough money to start their own business either, the deputy director added.
“So they run a high risk of relapsing into crime again,” Colonel Nhan said.
Last year, the relapsing rate was 5.3 percent and it rose to six percent in 2012, Col. Nhan revealed.
Speaking at the conference, Lieutenant General Cao Ngoc Oanh, head of the Police General Department for Justice Assistance and Execution of Criminal Judgments, asked relevant agencies to seek measures to help ex-prisoners land jobs as soon as possible so that they can have a stable life.
Having a job will help ex-inmates re-integrate into society soon, erase their complex about their past, and not relapse into crime, the official said.
At the event, the department hailed 403 former prisoners for making considerable progress in their life.
Of these, 17 have got rich and provided others who are also ex-prisoners with good jobs.
DNA test suggests recovery of Vietnam woman’s body dumped into river last year
DNA testing has shown one of the bodies collected from a river in Hanoi last month is likely the remains of a woman whose corpse was dumped by a doctor into the river following her post-surgery death at a local beauty shop last year, Vietnam’s police announced on Monday.
Test results from the Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Criminal Science indicate that a DNA sample taken from one of several bodies local residents found floating on the Hong (Red) River in the capital city on July 18 matches those of the woman’s mother and daughter, police said.
But police have yet to arrive at any final conclusion on the recovery of the woman’s corpse that has not been found since she died in 2013.
Le Thi Thanh Huyen died post-surgery at the age of 37 at Cat Tuong Beauty Salon after she had an operation there on October 19, 2013.
According to the case file, Huyen came to the salon on that day to have an abdominal liposuction and breast lift surgery.
After being anesthetized, she underwent aesthetic operations performed by Dr. Nguyen Manh Tuong, 41, the owner of the salon, from 12:00 pm until 4:00 pm.
Thirty minutes after the surgery, Huyen had difficulty breathing and started foaming at the mouth. Dr. Tuong gave her an injection and she appeared to recover.
But at 5:45 pm, Huyen’s body suddenly turned blue and her blood pressure could not be measured. Dr. Tuong then put Huyen on a respirator and gave her a cardiotonic but could not save her.
Dr. Tuong and Dao Quang Khanh, a security guard at his salon, carried Huyen’s body in the doctor’s car to Thanh Tri Bridge and threw it into the Hong River.
After investigation, police arrested Dr. Tuong and Khanh on October 22 last year.
Before his arrest, Dr. Tuong worked as a doctor at Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital.
Police also concluded that Khanh had stolen an iPhone 5 from Huyen’s handbag.
Based on Dr. Tuong’s testimonies to investigators, Huyen’s family and competent agencies have spent a lot of time and effort searching for the body.
Police have charged Dr. Tuong with “breaching regulations on medical examination and treatment, drug production, preparations, supply and sale or other medical services” and “interfering with human corpses, graves, and/or remains.”
Meanwhile, Khanh has been indicted for “interfering with human corpses, graves, and/or remains” and “stealing property.”
The Hanoi People’s Court opened a trial for the two defendants on April 14, 2014 but delayed it the same day and returned the case file to the investigation agency for clarification of some professional issues related to the woman’s death.
No court hearing has ever conducted again ever since.
250 kg bomb detonated
A 250kg bomb left over from the war in Ha Tinh Province has been detonated in a controlled explosion on August 5.
The construction management board of Thach Ha District found the bomb during pre-construction digging for a road. The bomb was 1.7 metres long and had a diameter of 35 cm. It was located within one of the key bombing sites of the American War.
Upon learning of the bomb, the Military Command of Ha Tinh Province quickly arrived at the site and blocked off traffic. They also cooperated with municipal authorities to move the bomb to a shooting range in Ngoc Son Commune where it was detonated under controlled conditions.