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Social News 12/9

 Two Chinese citizens cross the border with $900,000 in cash; Over 1.5 million USD invested in HCM City integrated railways; Denmark helps Mekong Delta province deal with climate change; Australian drug trafficker to spend 15 years in prison

Two Chinese citizens cross the border with $900,000 in cash

According to the Hai Quan (Customs) Newspaper, in late August the customs body of the Xa Mat border gate in the southern province of Tay Ninh detected two Chinese citizens illegally transporting three suitcases and a cardboard box containing VND18.2 billion ($900,000). The cash was scheduled to be brought from Vietnam to Cambodia.

In a dispatch issued on September 5, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc assigned the Ministry of Public Security to investigate the illegal transport of money through the border and report the results to the government in October.

In 2011, the customs officers at Xa Mat border gate also seized a cardboard box with over VND4 billion (over $200,000) that had been illegally transferred from Cambodia to Vietnam.

Over 1.5 million USD invested in HCM City integrated railways

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has approved a US-funded project to implement an integrated signalling and centralised control system for the city’s urban railway network.

The project foresees a total investment of 1.55 million USD, with the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) providing non-refundable financial assistance worth 1.458 million USD for research consultancy.

The remaining funds will be allocated from the city’s budget to cover additional costs, including training and management expenditures.

The project will improve efficiency in managing and operating the urban railway system and connect it to the city’s other public transport systems.

Ho Chi Minh City ’s urban mass rapid transit system consists of seven underground lines and three overground lines, costing an estimated 20 billion USD. Two of the ten lines, including Line 1, connecting Ben Thanh Market and Suoi Tien Park , and Line 2, connecting Ben Thanh Market and Tham Luong, have already secured funding from investors. The other lines still lack financial assistance.

Denmark helps Mekong Delta province deal with climate change

Denmark is willing to share its experiences in climate change adaptation with the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre, a representative of the Danish Embassy said.

Tran Hong Viet made this remark during a workshop in the province on September 10, outlining the 2016-2020 programmes’ focus on developing submerged forests and adaptive cultivation models.

Together with the central province of Quang Nam , Ben Tre is receiving VND140 billion (US$9.3 million) in official development assistance from the Danish Government to carry out climate change resilience projects during the 2010-2015 period.

The northern European country also offered to provide technical assistance and policy advice to address seawater intrusion and sea level rise, Vice Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee Cao Van Trong said.

He said it was important to enhance regional cooperation in coping with the impact of environmental change.

Participants also highlighted local adaptation measures, such as developing salt-resistant rice, implementing agricultural models that combine rice cultivation and shrimp farming, and integrating climate change adaptation into social-economic development, especially in the agricultural and transport sectors.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Ben Tre is one of the provinces most vulnerable to climate change.

Scientists predict that a one-metre rise in sea level could result in 70% of the Mekong Delta being affected by saltwater intrusion. As a result, Vietnam would lose two million hectares of farmland, and many coastal localities would be flooded.

Ben Tre grants “Heroic Mother” title to 405 women

The authorities of the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre awarded the State title “Vietnamese Heroic Mother” to 405 local women on September 10, whose husbands and children sacrificed their lives for the country’s independence.

Of the total, Only 88 title bearers are still alive.

In recent years, local authorities have adopted practical measures to take care of their heroic mothers.

As many as 2,610 women have so far been awarded the noble title in the locality.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Vo Thanh Hao called for more joint efforts and donations from individuals, organisations and enterprises operating in the province to be able to take better care of heroic mothers in the time to come.

Vietnam-Japan youth exchange comes to a close

A youth exchange programme between Vietnam and Japan was concluded on September 10 after a number of joint events.

The programme, organised by the southern province of Binh Phuoc, in collaboration with Lotus University ( Ho Chi Minh City ) and the Asia Association of Education and Exchange, aimed to strengthen sustainable development and facilitate cultural exchange between Vietnam and Japan.

During the five-day event, 18 youth delegates from Japan lived with five Vietnamese families in Dong Xoai town, visited outstanding youth-run farms to learn about effective agricultural models, and met with the province’s Association of Young Entrepreneurs.

Moreover, they participated in a number of recreational activities with local residents, visited the historical site of Ta Thiet, and gave gifts worth 9 million VND (450 USD) to 70 exceptional Vietnamese students from disadvantaged families.

The exchange group also visited Tan Phu Elementary School and Quang Trung High School and introduced students to green technologies.

This year’s Vietnam-Japan youth exchange programme celebrated 41 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries.-

Congress for ethnic minorities opens in Quang Binh

Quang Binh’s provincial authorities have pledged to prioritise funding for the enhancement of ethnic minorities’ socio-economic development, cultures, society, defence and security.

The pledge was made during the 2014-2019 provincial congress for ethnic minorities in the central province of Quang Binh on September 10.

Adressing the congress, Director of Ethnic Minority Department Nguyen Thi Tu called on members of ethnic minorities to improve their livelihoods by actively participating in production and trade.

The local authority also stated that economic growth should go hand-in-hand with environment protection for ethnic minority groups. Access to vocational training opportunities for ethnic minorities should be enhanced, whilst ethnic minorities’ cultures should be taken into consideration.

The central province of Quang Binh is home to many ethnic groups, such as Bru-Van Kieu, Chut, Tho, Muong, and Paco. These ethnic groups live alongside each other.

Vietnam has implemented a number of socio-economic development programmes for ethnic minorities in recent years. In addition to developing infrastructure, the Government has supported local authorities in providing settlement opportunities and farming assistance for ethinic minority groups in the locality.

Agricultural production has increased remarkably for ethnic minorities. Over 200 households now earn approximately 70 million VND per year.

Australian drug trafficker to spend 15 years in prison

Ho Chi Minh City ’s People’s Court sentenced De Santos Kevin William, an Australian national, to 15 years in prison on September 10 for illegally transporting drugs.

According to the indictment, De Santos Kevin William, born in 1963, was found carrying drugs at HCM City ’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport whilst checking in for flight AK1453 to Australia on August 9, 2013.

Airport authorities confiscated two plastic packages containing a suspicious white substance which had been tied around De Santo Kevin William’s legs. Tests showed the two packages contained 885.109g of methamphetamine.

De Santos Kevin William confessed he was a methamphetamine user and had been unable to repay 2,000 AUD he owed a man named Benkovick in July 2013. Benkovick put him in touch with an unknown contact who asked De Santos Kevin William to smuggle drugs to Australia from Vietnam , for which he would receive 2,000 AUD.

On August 3, 2013, De Santos Kevin William arrived in Vietnam and collected the drugs destined for Australia two days later.

Ha Noi takes measures to prevent pink-eye spreading

The Ha Noi Health Department has ordered hospitals and health centres to take prompt steps to prevent the spread of pink-eye disease (conjunctivitis) in the city.

The move comes after a flood of patients at the Central Eye Hospital and Ha Noi Eye Hospital for examination and treatment since early this month.

The Central Eye Hospital said that, on average, it was receiving about 60 to 70 patients per day.

Deputy Director of Ha Noi Eye Hospital, Trinh Bich Ngoc, said the peak period for the disease was from July to October.

The Health Department told hospitals and health centres to instruct people on ways to prevent pink-eye from spreading to friends and relations.

They were also told to focus on pink-eye disease in schools and kindergartens to try and bring the situation under control.

Deputy director of Ha Nam Eye Hospital, Trinh Minh Phuong, said the hospital had set up teams to visit commune health centres.

Each team consists of two doctors and four nurses to show residents what the symptoms were and how to prevent the disease.

The doctors and nurses also instructed local residents how to identify the disease.

The hospital has received about 20 pink-eye patients a day since early this month.

People with pink-eye are advised not to go to crowded places and avoid touching their eyes - and then other people.

Italy opens consulate in HCM City

The Italian Consulate General in HCM City opened yesterday at 93 Nguyen Du Street in District 1.

Italian Ambassador to Viet Nam, Lorenzo Angeloni, attended the ceremony. He spoke at the event, stressing the importance of the consulate's opening as well as the expected signing of a bilateral trade agreement between the two countries in the near future.

He said the Consulate General will help visiting Italian business delegations seek more opportunities in Viet Nam.

The Consulate will also offer easy and quick visa services for Vietnamese citizens and the 400 Italians living and working in HCM City and the surrounding provinces.

Hanoi hosts e-data conference

International experience in the implementation of electronic records and data were shared at a seminar titled "Authenticity of Electronic Records" held in Hanoi on September 10.

The seminar, organized by the Department of State Records and Archives, was part of a two-day annual conference of the Southeast Asia Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (SARBICA).

Presentations and reports by experts from seven countries including Germany, Japan and New Zealand were introduced to around 150 participants at the seminar.

Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Nguyen Duy Thang said that electronic records were playing an increasingly important role in the management of data, but there was always a potential risk of information being modified.

"This seminar has contributed to exchanges between countries to address existing issues regarding electronic records," he said.

Vietnam had developed a fundamental system of law and regulations on the implementation and management of electronic records since 2011, State Records and Archives Department Director General Vu Thi Minh Huong said.

"Our department has submitted a national plan on electronic records and data to the Ministry of Home Affairs, to put theory into action," she added.

Contractors told to fix damage caused by shoddy roadwork

HCM City's Transport Department has told the Power Corporation to clean up dirt and rubble after digging up roads and streets.

The department said that many streets had become a mess during ongoing projects to bury overhead power lines and communications cables or to make repairs to water and sewage pipes.

It added that many contractors failed to clean-up roads or re-pave streets and pavements after digging.

Some also failed to set up barriers, creating risks for drivers and pedestrians.

Deputy Chief Inspector of the department, Nguyen Bat Han, said the Power Corporation had been told to restore roads and pavements back to their original condition after work finished.

Contractors ignoring the requirement would be strictly punished, he said.

The department has proposed the municipal People's Committee ban contractors with multiple violations from bidding for tenders in the city for up to three years.

By the end of the 2015 year, 400km of medium-voltage lines and 500km of low-voltage lines in the city's inner the city's districts 1 and 3 will have been placed underground.

The city hopes to have all power lines and communications cables in 14 other districts buried by 2020.

Lines and cables in administrative areas, commercial centres and new urban areas in the remaining districts would also be buried during the 2016-20 period, he added.

Vinpearl joins endangered species conservation efforts

Vinpearl One-member Ltd. Company, a subsidiary of Vingroup, has joined other organisations in an effort to protect endangered animals, the People’s Committee of central coastal Khanh Hoa province reported.

The company has implemented a number of measures to protect endangered marine species, including sea lions, seals, otters, sharks, and dolphins.

It has also invested in an action plan for the 2014-2017 period, in co-operation with the province’s Institute of Oceanography, to conserve dozens of other marine species in Khanh Hoa, contributing to conducting scientific research and increasing public awareness of marine conservation.

In 2014 alone, the company plans to invest 4.5 billion VND (214,000 USD) in this mission.

Currently, the 3,400 square metre aquarium at Vinpearl Land in Khanh Hoa is home to more than 300 endangered marine species, in a bid to protect and increase biological diversity.

Recently, a number of fish species were released from the facility into Nha Trang Bay.

Deputy PM urges to solve hiccup in implementation of Methadone treatment program

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, who is also Chairman of the National Committee for AIDS, Drug and Prostitution Prevention and Control, has asked related agencies to resolve hiccups along the implementation of anti-AIDS, Drug and Prostitution program.

In a meeting with related ministries and agencies on improving detoxification mission, the Deputy PM confirmed policies and expensed should be tackled in the next time.

The Deputy PM ordered ministries and departments to finish guidance document including decrees and decisions that are instructed detoxification at home, community, in rehabilitation centers; re-education and administrative penalties.

Many localities are reported to have trouble in sending addicts to compulsory drug rehabilitation due to burdensome paperwork and lengthy procedures.

Moreover, ministries of health; finance; labor, invalids and social affairs were asked to issue guidelines on Methadone treatment fee and launch Methadone treatment program throughout the country.

The Methadone treatment program was implemented in the country from April, 2008 in Ho Chi Minh City and the northern city of Hai Phong. It has been multiplied at 92 medical clinics in 32 provinces and cities; however, many participants reported that around 20,000 drug addicted have received Methadone treatment so far.

The program targets to have 80,000 people being treated with Methadone by 2015. Local health authorities said that they are facing difficulties including shortage of Methadone supply and personnel in opening special medical clinics where provide Methadone treatment to drug addicts.

Nguyen Hoang Long, head of the Ministry of Health's HIV/AIDS Prevention Department, said methadone treatment has reached only 34,000 people to date, expressing hope that the health sector will supply enough Methadone for the target of 80,000 for the end of next year.

The Deputy PM ordered the Ministry of Finance should plan to finance for the Methadone treatment program, adding that it will be better instead of calling for social contributions.

More university graduates opt for manual labour

An increasing amount of university graduates are being forced to take jobs that are not in the fields of their majors.

Nguyen Van Nien, from Nam Dinh Province, said that after graduation his school doors opened him to a very difficult job market. The main problem, according to him, was a lack of work experience. He was offered a job at a printing company, but because it had nothing to do with what he studied, he refused. He is currently seeking work elsewhere.

Another recent graduate decided to take a position at Cannon Vietnam. She said that the decision came after a number of other experiences working for private companies with low salaries.

According to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, currently 9.75 million labourers in Vietnam with university degrees are working in industries outside their area of expertise. This number shows no signs of decline.

Manpower conducted a survey showing that there were over 1,000 employees at the Cannon Vietnam factory with university degrees. Some have said, however, that the figure may be higher because many do not want to admit they have studied and taken a relatively low-paying job.

Dinh Thi Hang, from Daiwa, said that most companies involving manual labour recruit high school graduates because they are concerned that university graduates may actively seek other employment.

A representative of one job recruitment centre in Hanoi said that only about one-third new graduates who attend their seminars are able to find a satisfactory job.

Cao Quang Dai, from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs’ General Department of Vocational Training, commented that the fact that these statistics reveal a problem in the Vietnamese education and training sector. He warned that the unemployment rate in the country could rise when Vietnam officially enters the ASEAN Economic Community if the quality of the domestic labour force is not improved.

According to Dai, it is important to increase cooperation between enterprises and vocational training schools.

Sukti Dasgupta, a senior expert at the International Labour Organisation, also pointed out the importance of vocational training, saying that it is important that Vietnam encourages cooperation between the the public and private sectors in order to create a viable workforce that is in concurrence with market demands.

Nguyen Thi Kha, National Assembly deputy of Tra Vinh Province, suggested that the government close universities with high rates of unemployed graduates.

HCM City manholes take lives

After two boys had deadly accidents involving manholes, residents of HCM City have expressed concern over the maintenance of public roads.

It is a common occurrence in urban Vietnam that manholes are left open or inadequately covered. On September 6, following heavy rains, a bus broke down on a street near a poorly-covered manhole. When the driver stopped to make a repair, a child from the bus was swept into one of these holes. His body was found that evening.

After these heavy rains, dozens of manholes on Phan Huy Ich, Au Co and Hong Bang streets have lost their covers. Bui Van Huynh, a motobike taxi driver operating on Phan Huy Ich Street, said the street is often flooded after heavy rains. Sometimes, the water is knee-high and the covers of some manholes can be swept away. He said, "This street has been under repair for nearly a year, most of the manholes and electricity posts are covered up lightly. When it rains, the two-metre-deep holes become threatening to travellers."

There has been public outrage over the situation. One parent commented, "They have been digging up these holes for two months now. There are a lot of children playing around here."

On the same day, a nine-year-old boy was swept into a manhole on 22/12 Street. His body was found three days later one kilometre away. The chairman of Thuan Giao Ward People's Committee said the sewer project of has been invested in by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. He went on to say that the project had been halted because of lack of funds.

However, the deputy head of the department blamed this problem on the large amount of trash in the system, which, he says, would lay blame on the communal authorities.

Future children’s hospital to have helipad

The project to build a new Children’s Hospital in HCMC includes a heliport, according to a report released by the city’s government on evaluating design and total investment capital of the project.

Under the VND5.48-trillion project, aimed at easing the rising overload at Children’s Hospital No.1 and No.2, the forthcoming hospital in the outlying district of Binh Chanh would provide 939 beds with eight levels for inpatient treatment and three levels for diagnosis services. It would also comprise supporting wards such as an area for infectious diseases, a medical waste section, and a wastewater treatment facility, among others.

The HCMC Children’s Hospital project is one of five new hospitals belonging to a master plan on healthcare facilities approved by the Prime Minister to cope with chronic overload at the current hospitals.

Under the zoning plan for HCMC’s medical networks by 2020 with a vision to 2025, the city will construct four hospital zones in the four gateways. These include large-scale hospitals with a combined 8,200 beds in the eastern gateway in Thu Duc and districts 2 and 9, and hospitals with 9,300 beds in total to be constructed to the west in Binh Chanh District.

Similarly, hospitals with 5,000 beds and 9,000 beds will be developed respectively in the south in Nha Be, Can Gio and District 7, and in the north in Cu Chi, Hoc Mon and District 12.

The project owner of these projects is the health department’s Civil Works Construction Investment Management Authority.

Children’s hospital operates 20 liver, kidney transplants in 10 years

Children’s Hospital No. 2 in HCMC has successfully done kidney transplants for a dozen of children and liver transplants for eight others with organs given by living donors since it operated an organ transplant for a child in 2004.  

Ha Manh Tuan, director of Children’s Hospital No. 2, said organ transplant is an urgent need to save many children with end-stage kidney or liver failures in Vietnam. Ten years ago, many children with organ failures were unable to get transplants and died eventually.

Vietnam now has over 90 million people with a birth rate of 16.47 per 1,000 people and there is one with congenital bile duct atrophy in every 15,000 newborn babies. Besides, the country has 96 more children with congenital bile duct atrophy on average each year, with half needing liver transplants.

A study of Children’s Hospital No. 2 indicated diseases relating to hepatobiliary account for 8% of children coming to the hospital for health checkups and treatments. In addition, studies at Children’s Hospital No. 1, Children’s Hospital No. 2 and Cho Ray Hospital showed there were 310 patients of under 19 years old hospitalized between 2001 and 2005 due to diagnosis of end-stage liver failures.

At Children’s Hospital No. 2, the first liver transplant operation was performed in June 14, 2004 and this case was also the first to be carried out on children in the southern region.

The 12th liver transplant was done last Thursday on a one-year-old baby having congenital bile duct atrophy.

Truong Quang Dinh, deputy director of Children’s Hospital No. 2, said there are many children needing organ transplants but it is hard to seek donors, especially those with brain death.

According to experts in organ transplant, while kidney transplants are widely performed on adults before on children, liver transplants see the reverse process.

 

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