Blaze engulfs coal selection plant in Quang Ninh


A fire broke out at the Nam Cau Trang coal selection plant in the northern Ha Long city at 22h30 on January 4. The plant belongs to Hon Gai Coal Preparation Company (HGCP).

Initial reports show that the fire started at the waste dumping area where hundreds of tonnes of inflammable materials were stored.

As soon as the fire was discovered, the fire brigade of HGCP was deployed to the scene but their attempts to extinguish the blaze failed as it continued to burn and threatened the nearby electricity substation and gas warehouse.

Later more fire fighters and engines from the Vinacomin Mine Rescue Centre were mobilised and the fire was contained at 23h45.

The fire caused no human casualties and the reason is being investigated.

Bach Long Vi nature reserve taking shape

Prime Minister Dung has approved a project establishing a nature reserve with a total area of more than 27,000 ha, on Bach Long Vi beach.

The project will focus on protecting the ecological system and marine creatures in the area surrounding Bach Long Vi, especially the rare species of animals and plants with a high economic and scientific value.

Dung asked the northern port city of Haiphong to strive to develop infrastructure for the Bach Long Vi nature reserve.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) was also asked to cooperate with Haiphong to step up the dissemination of information and raise public awareness of the nature reserve.

Crane falls down in HCM City


A crane carrying nearly 40 tonnes of steel fell down at 4 am on Saturday at a construction site in District 1.

The accident caused minor damages to the nearby art museum on Le Thi Hong Gam Street. No casualties were reported.

Ministry eyes 1.6m new jobs in 2014

Viet Nam plans to create 1.6 million jobs this year, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs said at a meeting yesterday.

About 1.5 million of these jobs will be created locally, while around 87,000 jobs will be in overseas markets, it added.

The ministry further said that it would also work to raise the number of people participating in the social insurance policy scheme, improve the working conditions, reduce work accidents and labour disputes.

In addition, the ministry plans to reduce the proportion of poor households by 1.7 -2 per cent and the proportion of poor districts by 4 per cent this year.

The current proportion of poor households and poor districts in the country are 7.8 per cent and 39 per cent, respectively, which are slightly lower than the corresponding figures for 2012.

The ministry noted that Viet Nam created 1.54 million jobs during 2013, which represented an increase of 1.5 per cent compared with the previous year.

The final figure was, however, short of the initial target (96 per cent of the target) for job creation in 2013.

Nevertheless, the number of workers sent overseas was higher than targeted by 3,100. The total number of Vietnamese sent for work abroad was more than 88,100 last year.

Central Province gives $1.1m allowance

The central city of Da Nang has granted VND24 billion (US$1.14 million) for retirees, poor workers and sport athletes on the occasion of the lunar New Year.

Each retiree and labourer will receive from VND500,000 to VND1 million, while an athlete will get an allowance of VND300,000 to VND400,000.

Female student killed in house fire

A third-year female student was killed in a fire that broke out in a rented house on Van Phuc Street, Ha Noi's Ba Dinh District, on Thursday morning.

Local residents said the fire started in a room on the second floor and spread rapidly to the rest of the rooms due to the dry weather in the region.

The two-storey house and many of the valuable items inside, such as motorbikes, television sets and computers, were completely destroyed in the blaze.

Pham Van Thinh, chairman of the Lieu Giai Ward, said the house had been illegally built on land that had been scheduled to be cleared.

First international hospital inaugurated in HCM City

Thanh Do General Hospital, the first international-standard medical facility of its kind in the hi-tech Hoa Lam – Shangri La Healthcare Park opened on January 5 in Ho Chi Minh City.

The hospital offers 320 beds and a contingent of over 600 doctors.

In her speech,, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said the Party, State and National Assembly (NA) will continue to encourage investors to construct high-quality medical facilities, helping ease overloads in major cities.

She expressed hope that the hospital will serve as a prestigious destination and meet demands for health check-ups and treatment.

The 37.5 hectare park complex plans to have six hospitals with over 1,700 beds, a nursing college, laboratory, trade and service areas, accommodation for medical staff and patients’ relatives, and a kindergarten.

Construction on tumour and cardiovascular – neurology hospitals with 700 beds will begin this year.

Covering over 2.5 hectares, it has been funded by the Hoa Lam – Shangri La Medical Company, a joint venture between Vietnam’s Hoa Lam firm and Singapore’s Shangri-La

Healthcare Investment Company. The hospital is being run by Singapore’s Parkway Health Group.

Quang Binh police seize firecrackers

Police in the central province of Quang Binh yesterday seized 13 kilos of cloves, eight boxes of firecrackers and four boxes of fireworks after stopping a truck for inspection.

The truck, which had a foreign number plate, was driven by 39-year-old Nguyen Van Giang, who told the police that he was transporting the goods from the Central

Highlands province of Kon Tum to the central province of Nghe An.

As the Tet (Lunar New Year) approaches, the illegal trading and transportation of firecrackers and fireworks could increase, authorities have said. Provincial police seized 3.5 kilos of firecrackers last week.

Provincial police snag illegal sand miners

Waterway police in central Quang Ngai Province punished tens of illegal sand miners along the Tra Khuc River after a week-long inspection revealed several flagrant violations.

"Some people were caught mining sand right at the foot of Truong Xuan bridge and near the river's dyke, affecting the safety of both the bridge and the dyke," said Nguyen Hong Thanh, deputy head of Quang Ngai Province's waterway police office.

Illegal sand mining has been happening in the province for years, according to Thanh, but the problem intensified after floods last November swept a large amount of sand down from the upper reaches of the river.

Local authorities regularly punish illegal sand miners, but they still find ways to circumvent the law, such as by working at night and changing their location frequently, he said.

There is increasing public concern about illegal sand exploitation along the river section running through Son Tinh district, as it causes serious pollution and puts local residents at high risk of soil erosion, Thanh added.

Drug traffickers face trial in Quang Ninh

The People's Court of northeastern Quang Ninh Province started trial yesterday for 89 defendants, including 66 who could face the death penalty, for illegally trafficking over 5,000 cakes of heroin and thousands of ecstasy pills.

According to a verdict issued in November by the provincial People's Procuracy, the 89 defendants belong to four smuggling rings.

The first ring was allegedly led by Sa Van Cau, who was suspected to be hiding in Laos; the second ring was led by Nguyen Hung Dung and Song A Lau, according to the verdict.

The defendants are accused of transporting heroin, methamphetamine and ecstasy pills from neighbouring Laos to Viet Nam and then to China.

The third ring was allegedly headed by a couple, Nguyen Thanh Tuan and Vu Thi Thanh Huyen, and the fourth by Nguyen Thi Hoan and Nguyen Ngoc Doan.

The trial is scheduled to conclude on January 20.

Vietnamese doctors help poor Lao residents

Thirty-two doctors and nurses from the southern province of Dong Nai arrived in Champasak province, Laos, on January 5 to provide free medical check-ups and medicines to 5,000 poor people.

Pham Van Dung, director of Dong Nai-based Thong Nhat Clinical Hospital, said they brought with them medicines to treat chronic illnesses such as heart attack, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

The doctors plan to organise a seminar toassist the local health servicewith preventive medicine, food safety and hygiene, and human resource training.

Dung said Dong Nai will welcome Champasak’s doctors and nurses to its clinic centres to learn about the state-of-the-art technology in medical treatment and share experience.

This is the third time Dong Nai’s doctors have carried out such a mission in Laos.

HCM City needs 40,000 blood units for emergencies

HCM City is encouraging volunteers to donate approximately 40,000 units of blood for emergencies during the upcoming lunar New Year (Tet) festival.

Blood is often in short supply at hospitals over the Tet holiday to handle emergencies as a consequence of rising traffic accidents. Yet, the number of blood donors declines at the peak season.

The HCM City Blood Donation Centre is mobilising donors from 24 districts, state organisations, businesses and individuals, to help ease blood pressure on hospitals in the coming weeks.

The Red Cross of District 3 launched a blood donation on January 4, attracting 300 State officials, employees, and young people who gave nearly 400 units.

Its mobile blood donation car also travelled to schools, hospitals, and churches, gathering 800 more units.

Last year, the district supplied more than 6,000 units of blood to hospitals in the city.

Students win SMBC Global Foundation Scholarships

The Institute of International Education (IIE) has announced 27 Vietnamese students will receive the US$500 SMBC Global Foundation Scholarship in 2014.

Beneficiaries include those from the Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City, the Vietnam National University in Hanoi, the National Economics University in Hanoi, and the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City.

This is the seventh year the SMBC Global Foundation has presented the scholarship totaling US$13,500 to Vietnamese students.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) Capital Markets Inc. established the SMBC Global Foundation in 1994. The foundation has awarded scholarships to students in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

The scholarships provide financial assistance to Vietnamese students studying at the nation’s leading universities.

Vietnam to have 91.3 million people in 2015

The General Department of Population and Family Planning (GDPFP) forecasts Vietnam’s population will number 91.3 million in 2015, below the targeted maximum 93 million.

GDPFP Director Duong Quoc Trong said although disparities in the sex ratio at birth have been narrowed, it still averages 112.6 boys to 100 girls.

In 2014, the population sector will expand its interventions into redressing the problematic sex ratio at birth imbalance, he said.

In a recent interview with the press, GDPFP Deputy Director Le Canh Nhac noted Vietnam’s population is aging at one of the world’s five fastest rates and the country will lack human resources for national development in the coming decades.

He said his organization now encourages couples to have a maximum of two children instead of the old motto of “each couple should have one or two children” to meet the labour demand and slow down population aging.

Vietnam helps Laos build broadcasting station

A January 3 ceremony in the northern Lao northern province of Udomsay inaugurated a TV and radio broadcasting station built with official Vietnamese development assistance funding.

The station’s modern equipment includes a 20KW TV transmitter and a UHF band that can accommodate 18 digital channels.

Pin Parathana, Head of the Lao Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Ministry’s Mass Information Department, thanked the Vietnamese State and people for their valuable support.

The station will improve the radio and television services Lao citizens can access, boost Laos’ development, and consolidate the two countries’ special relationship, he said.

Vietnam among world’s 15 heaviest smokers

Vietnam’s estimated 15 million smokers placed it among the 15 heaviest smoking nations in a 2010 global survey.

More than 47% of Vietnamese aged 15 and above smoke cigarettes.

The remaining 33 million non-smokers are often forced to endure the habit of family members at home, and approximately five million are victims of passive smoking at work.

Medical experts say cigarettes contain 7,000 toxic chemicals, including 70 carcinogens.

World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics reveal around 40,000 Vietnamese people die from tobacco-related diseases every year. It forecasts annual fatalities will reach 70,000 by 2030.

Vietnam issued the Law on Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harms in mid-2013, entering into effect at hospitals, schools, and public places on May 1.

But smoking in public space, even in hospitals, is still rife.

Public health campaigns about the dangers of tobacco are not enough in isolation. Stricter enforcement, more regulations, and designated smoking areas would help encourage the addicted to change their habits.

Swiss-funded project helps Hoa Binh province

A Swiss-funded project to improve public service provision in agriculture and rural development is underway in the northern mountainous province of Hoa Binh.

More than 30,000 local households have benefited from the project under the auspices of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Ky Son district People’s Committee Vice Chairman Bui Dang Minh said under the US$4.06 million project, all areas in the province allowed their residents to get involved in working out the 2014 socio-economic development plan and a Communal Department Fund model was applied in 87 communes thus helping reduce poverty and improving local people’s living standards.

The five-year project (2011-2015) has also provided Hoa Binh with approximately US$940,000 to assist the locality in building infrastructure facilities like roads, ditches and water tanks aiming to boost productivity and reduce locals’ labour.

It has also helped expand the planning work with the involvement of local people and improve public services in agricultural and rural development.

Man shot dead at wedding party as police raid gambling den

A person who was attending a wedding party was shot dead after some plain-clothed policemen raided a gambling den at a local house in Dong Nai province’s Cam My district on Jan. 4.

The victim has been identified as Lao Nguyen Sau, 39, who was present at the wedding and was shot in the nape.

According to Tran Cam Minh, who witnessed the incident and is a relative of the victim, when he and Sau were watching some people gambling after the wedding party was nearing the end, he heard gunshots and shouts from some policemen.

When Minh ran away, he heard that Sau was shot by the police.

“I came back and found blood bleeding from Sau’s forehead. Some policemen nearby said he was shot by a policeman named Bao. Sau died on the way to hospital” – Minh said.

"It is a tradition to gather to sing and gamble after a wedding party", added Minh.

After the incident, autopsy surgeons found a bullet stuck deep in the nape of the victim.

Authorities said five plain-clothed policemen participated in the raid and the victim was shot dead by master sergeant Vu Thanh Bao who is working for Cam My district’s police department.

There is also another police officer who was attacked by the angry mob and had to be hospitalized.

Senior lieutenant colonel Tran Tien Dat, chief office manager of Dong Nai police department, told Tuoi Tre that Bao’s handgun might have been accidentally discharged. Bao has presented himself to his superiors, he added.

“We have asked Cam My police department to make a report on this case. We are verifying and investigating”, said Dat.

Awards honour science projects

Outstanding scientific projects by students from universities across Viet Nam were presented on Saturday at the Viet Nam Young Science Talent Award 2013 in Ha Noi.

The award ceremony, hosted by the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), was also attended by Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan.

This year, more than 302 entries, selected from thousands of scientific projects by students nationwide, competed for the award.

Of these, 10 received first prize, while second prize went to 27 others. Also, 72 third prizes were awarded, as well as 102 consolation prizes.

In addition, students with projects winning first prize will also receive priority when applying for MoET scholarships.

This award is a driving force for students, according to Nguyen Viet Hoan from Da Nang University of Science and Technology, himself a second place prize winner. He suggested that students be patient, learn well and make in-depth studies on scientific issues, as they see that what they have learned becomes more interesting.

During the presentations, the ministry also awarded certificates of merit to lecturers who taught first prize winners and universities with outstanding achievements in organising scientific research programs.

Founded 23 years ago, the award has become one of the nation's most prestigious honours for students.

Bank cashier stole over $1 mln by hiding it in dustbin

A former cashier at BIDV, a giant state-owned bank, managed to steal a total US$1.46 million in 2010-2013, mostly by hiding money in the dustbin on a weekly basis.

Under the pretense of emptying it, she would take the dustbin out of the office at the end of the day and keep the money.

Police in the central Binh Dinh Province have proposed the local prosecutor’s office to indict Ho Thi Thu Huong, a former cashier at a branch of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) on charges of embezzlement.

Huong has been found appropriating VND31 billion ($1.46 million) from the bank, and if convicted, may be sentenced to 20 years in jail, or life imprisonment, or even death, said Nguyen Duc Tri, head of the provincial People’s Procuracy.

According to the case file, Huong, a graduate of the An Nhon Technique High School in the province’s An Nhon Town, was employed by BIDV’s Phu Tai branch as a cashier in 2004.

In the period from early 2010 to January 2013, Huong every week took a sum ranging from VND50 million to VND500 million (up to $24,000) from the branch and put it into a dustbin.

At the end of the working day, Huong pretended to bring the dustbin to empty it, and then took the sum out of the dustbin and hid it in her handbag and left the branch.

With such a trick, Huong pocketed more than VND900 million every month.

When her scam was discovered, she had appropriated more than VND22 billion ($1.04 million) using this method.

In addition, Huong was also alleged to steal another VND9 billion from the bank to give to her brother-in-law Vo Hong Son and two others who were involved in an illegal lottery ring.

Son and these two will be indicted, Tri said.

The acts of irresponsibility of some executives at the branch will be handled and tried in another case, the prosecutor’s office said.

10,000 students participate in Voluntary Spring campaign

Ho Chi Minh City Communist Youth Union January 5 launched its annual voluntary spring campaign.

This year, the campaign starts from January 5 to 9 in five suburban districts, orphanage, special schools for disabled children, and dormitories for students, worker, stations, and markets.

Campaign activities include care for families in the top welfare brackets, Vietnamese heroic mothers, orphans, disabled and needy children, homeless children and elderly

people in social centers, poor patients in medical clinics, soldiers in border  and island areas  and needy students who stay in HCMC on Tet festive season because they can’t afford transport ticket.

Right after the launching ceremony, young volunteers joined in meaningful activities including wrapping 1,000 square-shaped sticky rice cakes and cylindric glutinous rice cakes for centers.

Nguyen Van Ranh, Member of the City Standing Committee, Head of Mass Mobilization Section of the City Party Committee, concerned agency leaders and over 10,000 young communist members attended the ceremony.