Over 4,400 households to be relocated next year

HCMC has relocated 10,356 among 15,000 households (69%) living along canals across the city and will need an estimated VND4 trillion to relocate and compensate the remaining households, according to the HCMC Department of Construction.

The relocation of 15,000 households belongs to 26 projects in 14 districts throughout the city.

The remaining 4,428 households will be moved next year in three phases. They are categorized into three groups, with 483 households receiving compensation already, 1,194 households being compensated and over 2,700 others being processed to get compensation.

HCMC currently has around 5,000 unsold apartments and land lots at many projects. Of these, around 1,000 apartments have been converted into budget ones. Therefore, the city has virtually had sufficient housing for relocated households.

However, one problem that has arisen is that relocated households do not want to live far from their old homes.

HCMC vice chairman Nguyen Huu Tin has told the Department of Construction, the Department of Finance and district authorities to consider relocating groups of households to avoid affecting their livelihoods.

llegal sand mining boats seized

As many as 51 boats involved in illegal sand mining have been seized by police in the capital city's Phuc Tho District.

The operation, carried out by 200 policemen from the Ministry of Public Security netted records of illegal sales dating back many years, as well as weapons, indicating the possibility that gangs were protecting the illegal business.

Police said the boats are believed to have been directly mining sand from the river bed or filling their hulls at sand depots set up along the river banks during the night for quite some time.

Based on information provided by local residents, the police also arrested a few suspects believed to be leaders of a gang involved in the illegal mining operations.

High tides submerge Ca Mau’s coastal areas

High tides over the past few days submerged the entire 252km long coastline of the southernmost province of Ca Mau, with some areas under 0.5m of water.

According to Le Van Su, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, high tides came early this year, and at a higher level than normal, which is a clear sign of climate change and rising sea water level. The tides in the province usually peak in the period from December to early March the following year.

Some areas 50km deep inside the mainland are also affected by the tides, including Nam Can town in Nam Can district.

More than 2,000 ha of aquaculture farms and 1,000 ha of food crops and orchards have been damaged by the intrusion of salt water.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Dung said the Prime Minister has approved five programmes aimed at adapting to climate change and coping with rising sea water level in Ca Mau. The programmes will need a total of 5 trillion VND (238 million USD) to implement.

According to the official, the province will give priority to the programme on building a sea dyke along its eastern coastline and upgrade the western dyke system at an investment of 1.3 trillion VND (61.9 million USD).

The western sea dyke system of Ca Mau has been affected by serious landslides caused by heavy rains and strong winds. The 120km-long system stretches through Phu Tan, U Minh and Tran Van Thoi districts in Ca Mau province to Kien Giang province. It plays a significant role in transportation, saltwater intrusion prevention and national security.

Businesses join efforts to minimise child fatality

A community called ZEROworkplace made debut in Ho Chi Minh City on November 10 with an aim of calling upon Vietnamese businesses to support activities minimising child fatality, including the ongoing measles-rubella vaccination campaign.

ZEROworkplace is part of efforts by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to promote the global campaign “Believe in ZERO”, which was launched in Vietnam in October 2013.

At the event, UNICEF Representative in Vietnam Youssouf Abdel-Jelil called for strong cooperation from the business circle to support the current measles-rubella vaccination campaign nationwide.

Deaths by measles and rubella are preventable by vaccination, and the national vaccination campaign needs to access all children, especially those from migrant families and in rural areas, he added.

This campaign is the first activity to receive assistance from ZEROworkplace, which will design online communication documents and organise meetings, arts performances and knowledge competitions to raise business employees’ awareness of the diseases.

Reports show that about 100 Vietnamese children die every day from preventable causes and “Believe in ZERO” is striving to reduce the number to zero.

ZEROworkplace aims to bring the business community towards the goal of ZERO by turning workplace into a platform that employees can access vital information relating to their children.

Pou Yuen Vietnam Ltd Co. and Viet Phu Payment Services Support Joint Stock Company (Mobivi), based in HCM City, are the first members of the community.-

Household utensil, gift fair launched

The 2014 Household Utensil and Gift Fair opened in Hanoi on November 10 with the participation of over 100 businesses.

On the display are foods and beverage, household appliances, apparel, electronic devices, decorations, handicraft items, souvenirs, healthcare products, cosmetics, jewellery, shoes and handbags.

Baking competitions are organised during the event.

The annual fair is to introduce products to local consumers, develop the distribution system and connect producers and consumers.

It also provides a platform for businesses to share experience and seek for partnerships.

The fair will last November 16.

Bac Giang province honours outstanding farmers

The Farmers’ Union in the northern province of Bac Giang held a ceremony on November 10 to honour outstanding farmers in the locality’s three-year emulation campaign on promoting production and reducing poverty.

A total of 132 units, households and individuals were praised for their forward thinking in applying scientific and technical advances to production and business as well as in adapting to the market economy, thus becoming rich themselves and helping others escape from poverty.

They are the best among thousands of the union’s members who are operating more than 116,000 production and business establishments with high economic values, generating incomes from hundreds of millions of dong to billions of dongs each year.

Some of the model farmers are Vu Duy Kiem in Luc Ngan district who grows several types of quality orange and earns around 1.7 billion VND (81,000 USD) a year, and Nguyen Van Duoc from Hiep Hoa district, whose pig farm brings him 1 billion VND (47,600 USD) each year.

Bac Giang province endeavours to improve public administration

The northern province of Bac Giang is committed to improving its Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) in a bid to create a transparent and effective administrative apparatus.

PAPI is a policy tool that measures the administration and governance efficiency of the State administration system in Vietnam’s 63 provinces and cities.

It evaluates six different dimensions of provincial governance and public administration, including citizen’s participation at the local level, transparency, accountability, the control of corruption in the public sector, public administrative procedures, and the provision of public services.

In 2013, the index was compiled based on the responses of 13,892 citizens from all over the country. Bac Giang was ranked last.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Bui Van Hai said Bac Giang aimed to increase its PAPI score to average or higher from 2014 onwards.

A higher PAPI score is important since it improves the interactions between local authorities and citizens, thus consolidating people’s confidence, he added.

To realise these targets, the official ordered relevant committees and departments to seriously implement people-focused measures.

The telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of heads of authorised agencies will be publicised to make it easier for citizens to voice their opinions on the State and local policies and laws. Optimal conditions will also be created to give residents more opportunities to contribute to local socio-economic development plans as well as land, construction and investment management plans, amongst others.

Chairman Hai also demanded the enhancement of corruption control in the public sector, reforming administrative procedures, improving public services, and promoting the accountability of local authorities to citizens.

The People’s Committees at district and communal levels were also requested to organise monthly meetings to update residents on the latest policies and respond to matters of concern. Additionally, officials and public servants at all levels were asked to engage with local residents at least once a month in order to timely receive and deal with people’s opinions.

US training project on cleaner production underway in Vietnam

The US Dow Chemical Company is financing a training project on cleaner production and waste management in Vietnam to help local businesses create environmentally friendly products.

The Vietnam Centre for Environment and Clean Production under the Ministry of Industry and Trade provided technical assistance and sent experts to support the training courses in cities and provinces.

As many as 23 drills were held throughout the country with the participation of 1,551 enterprises, mainly operating in highly-polluting industries such as coal, cement and rubber.

The courses aimed to enhance businesses’ capacity to use natural resources and energy efficiently, recycle material for production, and mitigate their environmental impact.

The courses introduced participants to the application of production methods adapted to their operational scale with little investment costs.

The beneficiaries also learnt about building and managing databases on material production and consumption, as well as renewing and upgrading clean technology.

A number of awareness-raising campaigns were launched to increase businesses’ understanding of the importance of environmental protection and the application of cleaner production techniques to reduce waste and production costs.

Experts advised the Government to promote cleaner production methods amongst the business community, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises; to support initiatives on environmental protection; and develop competent experts in the field.

Further recommendations included adopting policies that encourage businesses to apply environmentally friendly production methods and helping them devise safe solutions to reduce possible risks and damage.

Quang Ninh calls for investment in herbal medicine production

The northern province of Quang Ninh called for investments in the application of science and technology in herbal medicine production during a conference in Ha Long city on November 9.

According to Truong Quoc Cuong, head of the Medical Management Department at the Ministry of Health, more than 4,000 out of Vietnam ’s 12,000 flora species have medicinal properties, making Vietnam a medicinal plant hub in Southeast Asia .

Nearly 60,000 tonnes of herbal medicine is used in Vietnam every year, while the country only has the capacity to produce around 15,600 tonnes and imports the rest from other countries, including China and Singapore , he noted.

Cuong said Vietnam should make full use of its abundance of medicinal plants to boost its pharmaceutical sector.

Deputy Minister of Health Le Quang Cuong said maximising Vietnam ’s advantage in medicinal plants was one of the key components of the national strategy on the development of the pharmaceutical sector until 2020 with a vision to 2030.

The strategy states that by 2020 Vietnam should meet 20 percent of the demand for pharmaceutical materials, and meet 80 percent of the total domestic demand for medicine, with 30 percent of medicine made from medicinal plants, he said.

Currently, Vietnam has to import nearly 90 percent of its materials needed by the medical sector, he noted.

He also pointed out a number of shortcomings in the cultivation and exploitation of medicinal plants in Vietnam , including the unsustainable harvesting of medicinal plant resources, and a lacking application of appropriate science and technology in the production of herbal medicine.

The official said he hoped investors would get involved in the development of medicinal resources, thus providing more high-quality products to the market.

Quang Ninh has long been known for its medicinal plant resources thanks to its favourable natural conditions and expertise in using medicinal plants.

The province sells a large amount of herbal medicine on the domestic market, said Cuong.

At the conference, Quang Ninh announced the establishment of a steering committee for the creation of Yen Tu national garden to preserve and develop medicinal plants. It also granted licences to a number of investors in herbal medicine production.

Quang Ninh acts to improve tourism quality

The northern province of Quang Ninh set up a hotline to receive comments and proposals of domestic and foreign tourists on local tourism products in response to the “Ha Long Smile” programme.

Locals and visitors can contribute their ideas and suggestions via the hotline 0336.282.282 or email hotline@quangninh.gov.vn . The opinions and responses will be published on the provincial portal, according to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Quang Tung.

The local authorities hope the public’s suggestions will help the province come up with proper solutions to improve the quality of tourism products and services..

The “Ha Long Smile” programme was launched on November 1 with the message calling for the smile from the heart of every Quang Ninh citizen, thus turning the province into an ideal destination for tourists as well as for investors.

Ha Long Bay, which spans 1,553km2 and includes 1,969 islands of various sizes, was twice recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and 2000.

In 2011, Ha Long Bay outranked 261 other landscapes from all over the world and was voted one of the seven new natural wonders of the world.

It has recently been listed in the 20 geological wonders of the world by travel guide website Rough Guides.

Water plant project initiated to save polluted river

A project to grow water plants on To Lich River, one of the most polluted rivers in Hanoi, has been started with the hope it could save the ailing ecosystem.

To Lich River is considered by ecologists to be 'dead' because it has been severely polluted by the dumping of thousands of cubic metres of sewage water each day.

Recently, however, dozens of rafts covered with water plants were placed on the river. The rafts are made with pontoons and wood planks, which function to grow the plants. The rafts are anchored with ropes to stop them from floating away during storms or floods.

The roots of the plants on these floating gardens are expected to grow into the river, starting a process which would purify the water.

Not only do the plant rafts clean up the river, they also improve the scenery of the city. The locals said they were happy and optimistic about the project. Bui Thi Trang, a student in Hanoi said, "If this river becomes more clean, this area may have more pedestrians. And maybe the street will smell of flowers instead of the current stench."

Similar projects have been carried out in a number of other polluted rivers and lakes in Hanoi, such as Ngoc Khanh, Van Chuong and Giang Vo, with good results.

Vietnam, Russia to cooperate in healthcare

Nguyen Tat Thanh University in HCMC on November 9 signed a deal with Russia’s Saint-Petersburg  Electrotechnical University to implement a healthcare worker training program and set up a lab to teach Vietnamese students and workers to use medical equipment.

Demand for medical devices in HCMC and the country as a whole is huge, but healthcare workers lack skills and technology is obsolete compared to other regional countries.

Nguyen Tat Thanh annually trains 40-50 technicians at college level for hospitals and health centers.

The city government has allocated land at Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) in District 9 for the university to implement hi-tech health projects, paving the way for it to join hands the Russian educational institution to develop a workforce for the domestic healthcare sector.

Truong Xuan Lieu, former director of the HCMC Department of Health and president of the HCMC Medical Association, said human resources in the sector are limited while medical equipment and technology are outdated though the Government has invested heavily in hospitals and health facilities in the country over the years.

HCM City grants 17 ICT awards

The HCMC Department of Information and Communications on Saturday announced the results of the 6th annual HCMC Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Awards, with 17 awards going to enterprises, organizations and individuals.

According to the organizer, 46 organizations and one person registered for this year’s HCMC ICT awards.

The awards features six categories including enterprises having outstanding software solutions and products, businesses having the most popular hardware, companies providing the best value-added services, those having outstanding IT applications, organizations and individuals making outstanding contributions to the city’s IT development, and the best IT students.

Group 1, which honors enterprises having outstanding software solutions and products, includes Tinh Van Technologies Joint Stock Company for its electronic library software Libol 6.0, FAST Software Company with two awards for Fast Accounting 11, an accounting software for small and medium enterprises and its business management software ERP running on Web-Fast Business Online, MISA Joint Stock Company for its household registration management software (hotich.vn), and Intelligence Software Company for its software for business management and construction execution management Ibom v3.0.

Group 2 comprises the Integrated Circuits Design Research & Education Center of the Vietnam National University HCMC, Smart World Technology Ltd. Co., Saigon Track Joint Stock Company and Viettronics Tan Binh Joint Stock Company for their respective products of container monitoring system CTS-01, smart student card system sCampus, route monitoring device for automotive X200, and VTB desktop and server.

Enterprises providing the best value-added services in group 3 include Sao Bac Dau Technologies Group for its infrastructure services based on cloud computing, NAHI Joint Stock Company with NAHI Kid tablet, and Vietnam Data Communication Company (VDC) for its with digital signature certification service VNPT-CA and electronic billing services VNPT-Invoice.

The group of organizations having outstanding IT applications includes Vietnam Travel and Marketing Transport Joint Stock Company (Vietravel), Petroleum Trading Joint Stock Company (Petechim JSC) and Liksin Industry- Printing- Packaging Corporation.

Awards for organizations and individuals making great contributions to the city’s IT development went to Tran Ha Nam and HPT Vietnam Corporation.

The best IT students of the 6th HCMC ICT Awards are Nguyen Tri Hai from HCMC University of Technology,  Le Yen Thanh, Dam Nguyen Trong Nhan, and Pham Duc Minh from HCMC University of Natural Sciences, and Pham Hoan Long from International University of Vietnam National University - HCMC.

IAEA shares experience in nuclear power infrastructure development

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts are sharing experience in building infrastructure for the development of nuclear power in Vietnam at a seminar in Hanoi from November 10-14.

The seminar aims to review the development of nuclear power infrastructure in Vietnam as recommended by IAEA, identify prioritised fields in the coming time and assist Vietnam in making plans to complete infrastructure for nuclear power development.

Deputy Minister of Science and Technology (MoST) Tran Viet Thanh said the Ministry will support cooperative activities between Vietnam and IAEA in using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

During the five-day seminar, the MoST and IAEA will discuss specific technical issues related to legal framework, nuclear power safety, radiation safety, human resources, effective response to nuclear incidents, radioactive waste and electric grid.

Speaking at the seminar, Park Jong Kyun, Director of the IAEA Division of Nuclear Power, committed that IAEA will continue to share experience and help Vietnam develop infrastructure for safe and secure nuclear power.

After discussing technical matters, the two sides will make a report on the actual development of nuclear power infrastructure in Vietnam and propose cooperative activities to achieve highest results in the coming time.

NGO begins new campaign to eradicate cleft palates

Around 1,000 Vietnamese and foreign volunteers, 5,000 children, and families will take part in a campaign called "the next era of smile" organised at 25 places around the country to mark Operation Smile's 25th anniversary.

The campaign will feature a series of events like screening for cleft palates, research studies, and medical conferences in which leading international medical experts will take part, and fund raising and awareness programmes.

There will be simultaneous cleft and dental screening from November 17 to 21 in the six cities and provinces of Ha Noi, Nghe An, Hue, HCM City, Bac Lieu, and An Giang, with doctors performing surgeries where required.

Operation Smile will also carry out the first ever comprehensive study in 41 provinces of the backlog of children born with facial deformities. Later it will draw up plans to provide free surgeries to eradicate the backlog and set up a system to monitor and track facial deformity rates amongst newborn babies.

The campaign, beginning this month, will go on until January.

Fundraiser in Czech Republic for disadvantaged people

A fundraising event was organised in Prague, the Czech Republic on November 9 to support disadvantaged people living in the European country.

The event marks the first anniversary of the “Mai Am Viet - Sec” (Vietnamese–Czech Home) Association, a charity in the Czech Republic.

Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Dung said the association visits orphanages and elderly care centres in the Czech Republic and in Vietnam on special holidays to give gifts and spend time with them.

The association also set up a group for elderly overseas Vietnamese aged 50 and above to provide mutual support.

After its first year of operation, the association has raised more than VND150 million (US$7,000) to support disadvantaged people. It now has 132 members.

The association also helps promote Vietnamese culture and cuisine in the Czech Republic.

40 outstanding works honoured at Innovative Youth Festival

As many as 40 research works and innovative products were honoured at the Innovative Youth Festival in Ho Chi Minh City on November 9.

Selected from 130 entries sent by 41 provincial and municipal Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCMCYU) chapters, the winners covered a variety of aspects from socio-economy, health and education to security and defence.

Among those were the Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy’s research of Doxophylin used in asthma and COPD treatment, Viettel’s research on development foundation for military information device using SDR technology, and the natural rubber-based electric wire manufacturing project of the Vietnam Rubber Group.

Addressing the honouring ceremony, Nguyen Manh Dung, Permanent Secretary of the HCMCYU Central Committee, said that after ten years of operation, the “Innovative Youth” movement has inspired young people’s creativeness and promoted their great potential for the national industrialisation and modernisation.

The November 8-9 festival, organised by the committee, drew the participation of about 20,000 visitors, mostly students.

Safe walk for children

FedEx–Safe Kids Walk This Way (WTW) program was launched last week as part of the International Walk to School Month celebration in HCMC’s District 9.

Participants in the event were volunteers from FedEx and Safe Kids - Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP), students, schools’ administrators, parents and representatives of the National Traffic Safety Committee, the Ministry of Education and Training, and local governments.

WTW is a road safety advocacy program aimed to increase the public awareness about safer walk for pedestrians in Vietnam. The program specially focuses on children as traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of their injury and death.

As part of the program, PhotoVoice is a photojournalism project aimed at encouraging 11,893 students from 12 secondary schools to take pictures of safe or dangerous road user behaviors and places. The initiative will run from this month to January 2015 with an aim to raise students’ understanding of pedestrian safety.

Other activities are Walk With FedEx, a series of road user workshops that will bring pedestrian safety education and equipment to 20,145 students in 18 primary schools throughout District 9 in HCMC and Safe School Zones where target schools in District 9 will undergo structural changes to improve the pedestrian environment for students.

Dr. Khuat Viet Hung, vice president of the National Traffic Safety Committee, said in a statement that the International Walk to School Month event in HCMC’s District 9 will enhance pedestrian safety education for children. “We are optimistic to see continued improvements in road safety for children in Vietnam,” he said.

Hung stressed that it is critically important for child pedestrians to learn to become safe road users and this is the responsibility of the Government, society, and families.

Inaugurated in Vietnam in 2010, Safe Kids Walk This Way has already reached more than 55,005 students from 70 primary and secondary schools with hands-on safety workshops and teaching sessions throughout the country.

FedEx has also installed a 1,700-square-meter traffic safety park in Dong Nai Province for primary school students as well as donated 3,472 helmets, 19,885 reflective jackets, and 46,446 pedestrian safety books to children.