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Social News 13/10

19 ‘fake' school health workers fired; Three children drown in Kien Giang lake; Ministry plans to shore up reservoirs; Marijuana smuggled from Laos seized; Heart diseases to attack 20% of Vietnam’s population by 2017

19 ‘fake' school health workers fired

Tuy Phuoc District officials approved a request to fire 19 health workers at local elementary and middle schools who used fake degrees to get the job.

The district's Bureau of Education and Training and Bureau of Interior Affairs made the request after the workers were caught buying fake degrees.

The workers included 44-year-old Pham Thi Xuan Mai and 38-year-old Trinh Thi Ngoc Hau, who earlier this year were sentenced to 12 and 18 years in prison respectively for using and trading fake college degrees.

The two started buying fake college degrees in 2006 and selling them to people in Binh Dinh Province.

Three children drown in Kien Giang lake

Three sixth-grade students drowned in a lake yesterday, according to the Tan Hiep Police Department.

They were reportedly playing near the lake with one other student, who did not go swimming and called for help when he saw his friends drowning. However, the children had drowned by the time rescuers arrived.

The children, Tran Thi Ngoc Kieu, Ly Son Kim and Nguyen Dai Huu, were students at Tan Hiep town's Lower Secondary School.

The lake is two to three metres deep, according to local residents, who said the landowner was filling up the lake with dirt, making swimming there risky.

Rescued pangolin sent to Cuc Phuong Park

A one-year-old Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) has been moved to the northern Ninh Binh Province's Cuc Phuong National Park for further care.

The young pangolin, weighing roughly 900 grams, was rescued on Wednesday from a household in the southern Binh Duong Province's Ben Cat Town, where it was being kept in illegal captivity.

The pangolin is listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as it is extensively hunted for its meat and scales.

JICA helps promote vaccination drive

The Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) has provided health workers with 40,000 T-shirts for promoting the Ministry of Health's nation-wide measles-rubella vaccination campaign.

The campaign has been implementing from mid of September and February 2015, targeting all 23 million children aged from 1 to 14 year old.

The campaign aims to eliminate measles in Viet Nam by 2017 and minimise the number of children born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) due to their mothers' infection of rubella virus during the first three months of pregnancy.

Barren tomato plants inflict heavy losses

Many farmers in northern Hai Duong Province have suffered losses after planting a tomato variety that failed to bear fruits after months.

Vo Van Thanh, a farmers in Ai Quoc Ward, said he had purchased the tomato variety from a local agricultural product shop to plant in his 1,440sq.m plot.

Over a month, the tomato plants grew rapidly to a height of one metre. However, they yielded few fruits.

"The plants are barren. I have to pull them out for another crop," he said.

Nguyen Van Manh, another farmer in the ward, said he had to pull out the tomato plants from his field.

"I can't wait any more. It is fruitless, and has ruined the land," he said.

Manh said he had to borrow money to buy the seed, fertiliser and to lease the land, a total investment of about VND50 million (US$2,350). Now he is facing heavy losses.

He always bought the tomato variety, called F1 Mongal T11, sold by Green Co. Ltd on Nguyen Duy Trinh Street in HCM City. Previous crops with the same variety had yielded good harvests, he said.

Nguyen Duc Thiet, chairman of the ward's Agricultural Services Co-operative, said that there were more than 25 hectares of tomato gardens in the ward, with Ngoc Tri Hamlet having the largest area of 10 hectares.

Linh Quan, Vu Thuong, Dong Thap, Van Xa and Tien Hai are other tomato growing hamlets.

Thiet said this variety had helped farmers earn more than VND200 million ($9,430) per hectare, but this time, the barren plants inflicted losses worth VND5 billion ($235).

In Ngoc Tri Hamlet, for instance, where more than 120 households had planted tomatoes on 10 hectares, each household suffered losses of between VND10 million ($471) and VND3 million ($141) each, he added.

Thiet said the company that owns the varieties had sent a representative to verify losses and promised support worth VND1 million ($47.1) for each farmer, but the farmers did not accept it, saying the compensation was meagre.

Nguyen Van Thang, a farmer in Vu Xa Hamlet, said tomato was the main income earner for many households, and they only bought the variety from one company. Therefore, it must take responsibility for the barren plants and losses suffered.

Nguyen Quang Hoa, a representative of the company, told the Nong thon ngay nay (Countryside Today) newspaper that the company admitted the tomato variety - F1 Mongal T11 – was of low quality.

He said this variety, which had been imported from India, also caused losses for farmers in the northern and central regions.

The company is trying to find out if the seed supplied was genuine, he said.

Hoa also said that the company agreed to supply another tomato variety to affected farmers, but did not give further details of the offer.

Ministry plans to shore up reservoirs

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will strengthen inspections of dams towards strengthening the safety of their reservoirs, a senior official has said.

It will also remind local authorities about measures to achieve this and punish firms that violate safety rules, said Nguyen Van Thuan, head of the ministry's General Department of Geology and Minerals.

He told Vnexpress that after the red sludge spill from a bauxite mining plant in Lam Dong Province, his department has assigned the South Minerals Management Department to visit the site, carry out inspections and propose solutions.

The department has also asked local authorities to carry out measures that will help address problems caused by the spill, although the sludge was said to be non-toxic, and stablilise the lives of local residents.

Referring to responsibility for the spill, Thuan said it was hard to say that the incident occurred because of loose management because pro-longed heavy downpour and slow water drainage from the reservoir also contributed to the breach. He noted that many developed countries have also faced similar problems caused by natural disasters.

Thuan said the department is considering inspecting all enterprises operated in mineral exploitation to curb unexpected accidents.

So far, the department has inspected nearly 300 enterprises in 14 cities and provinces nationwide, he added.

Lam Dong Province's Department of Natural Resources and Environment has reported that about 5,000 cubic metres of red sludge spilled into the Cai Bang Lake. The substance has not damaged people and crops, the report claims.

This is the second sludge spill this year. On September 30, the reservoir of an iron mining operation in the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai broke, pouring a huge amount of sludge downstream. It damaged resident's property, but no casualties were reported.

Marijuana smuggled from Laos seized

Lao Bao border gate officers in the central province of Quang Tri yesterday seized marijuana on a bus from Laos en route to Viet Nam.

Vo Trong Phuong, 35, from Thua Thien – Hue Province, admitted he bought the marijuana from Laos and was bringing the 1.9 kg package back to his hometown.

The case is under further investigation.

Seminar discusses intellectual property

Vietnamese businesses have not paid sufficient attention to protecting their intellectual assets and confidential business information, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Speaking at a seminar on "Intellectual Asset Management and Various Management Tools" held in HCM City last Friday, deputy minister Tran Van Tung said asset protection was essential to maintain business competitiveness.

The ministry and other government agencies have organised training programmes to help firms protect their intellectual property.

HCM City pioneered intellectual asset management in the country, seeking to enhance the quality of human resources in the city from 2011 to 2020.

As of September, more than 400 participants have attended the training programme in HCM City, with 120 completing a degree for intellectual asset management.

Saigon University was the first to offer courses on intellectual asset management, said Dao Xuan Vinh of the university.

However, students did not have many opportunities to practise, he said.

In a cooperative programme between the Viet Nam National University HCM City and HCM City, the former asked the city government to support two similar training programmes.

The training programmes began this month, serving more than 60 lecturers, researchers and staff at the university.

Tung said the ministry would work with other agencies to expand training courses on intellectual asset management to more areas.

The seminar was jointly organised by the Viet Nam Intellectual Property Research Institute and National Agency for Southern Affairs under the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the HCM City Department of Science and Technology.

Dak Nong's future lies in hi-tech farming

Vast farming land in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong would mesh well with socio-economic conditions and high-tech agricultural production, according to the Vietnam Economic Review.

If utilised, the land could greatly increase farm profits, the publication said. Dak Nong wants to use more advanced technology for farming to ensure food security and maintain high environmental sanitation standards. It has already begun seeking investors to help expand the idea.

Dak Nong also hopes to build on an already burgeoning agriculture market. Between 2005 and 2010, the value of the province's agricultural production grew 7.5 per cent per year. By 2012 the sector's total productivity passed VND5 trillion (US$238 million), more than half the province's GDP.

Production value per hectare of cultivated land nearly quadrupled between 2012 and 2013, rising from VND15.9 million ($757) to VND60 million ($2,857).

Dak Nong has already begun planning a 120ha high-tech agricultural zone to develop new methods and implement research projects. The province also hopes to attract scientists and businesses to transfer the latest science and technology to farms in the area.

It has also started offering businesses land and tax incentives to invest in slaughterhouses that use the latest equipment.

In the future, Dak Nong plans to call on more businesses to build seed and animal breeding centres, aquatic breeding centres and dairy farms.

Farmers have already made progress, utilising different methods for farms across the province. Passion fruit is being grown in Dak R'Lap, Tuy Duc, Dak Song and Dak Glong districts; seedless lemons in Dak R'Lap and Tuy Duc districts; and Japanese sweet potatoes in Tuy Duc and Dak Song districts.

Farmers also came up with the idea of growing cocoa in cashew gardens in Dak R'Lap district, palm oil trees in Dak Glong district and green asparagus in Tuy Duc District. They also now farm citrus fruit in Gia Nghia town, Dak Mil and Dak Glong.

Several major crops have seen exceptional growth in output. Coffee production rose from 1.5 tonnes per hectare to 2.3 tonnes per hectare in 2013. Corn increased from five tonnes per hectare to seven tonnes, and rice from four to five tonnes per hectare tosix tonnes per hectare.

Efforts have also been made to ensure sustainable development of cocoa, pepper and coffee production following 4C UTZ-certified processes, which are sustainable agriculture standards.

High-tech agricultural areas have been built across the province. Attention has been paid to following Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) standards, and ensuring use of the best pest prevention and environmental protection models.

President attends memorial service for martyrs in Dong Nai

President Truong Tan Sang on October 12 attended a memorial service dedicated to 36 soldiers who died in Long Khanh town, the southern province of Dong Nai , during the US war.

The soldiers, belonging to Regiments 95 and 5 of the Infantry Division 5, laid down their lives during an attack on the US troops’ Hoang Dieu military base in the early morning of May 18, 1969.

Prior to 1975, Long Khanh was the US troops’ key outpost housing important bases like the Hoang Dieu site.

The remains of these brave soldiers were found in a mass grave 200m from the base on September 13 this year.

Following the memorial service, the remains were laid to rest in the Long Khanh Martyrs’ Cemetery.

Project launched to prevent school-related violence

Plan, a non-governmental organisation, has launched a project in Hanoi with an aim of building the gender responsive school model to end school-related gender-based violence.

The project, launched at the Thach That High School on October 11, will be piloted at 20 junior and senior high schools across 16 districts in the city, drawing the participation of about 30,000 students, 500 teachers and 45,000 parents.

Le Quynh Lan, Plan Vietnam manager for Hanoi, said the project is carried out at a cost of 21 billion VND (1 million USD) partly funded by the organisation and the United Nations’ Trust Fund.

The initiative, the first of its kind in Hanoi, not only equips students with knowledge and skills to deal with gender-based violence but also raises the awareness of teachers, parents and students of gender equality, she noted.

A document on its implementation was inked between Plan and the Hanoi Department of Education and Training on June 12 this year.

Work starts on construction of bypass in Ha Nam

Work began on October 12 on the construction of a bypass in Phu Ly city, northern Ha Nam province - a section of National Highway 1A that was set as one of the national key infrastructure projects.

Present at the event, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai highlighted a concerted effort by the transport sector in refining the national transport infrastructure, which will be supported by the Phu Ly bypass as the last of its kind.

He hailed the Ministry of Transport for actively mobilising sufficient capital from all possible sources for the fining transport infrastructural system.

The Phu Ly bypass project has a total investment of over 2.04 trillion VND (97.5 million USD) to undertake the form of BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer).

When completed by 2016, it is hoped to help reduce traffic congestion on the current National Highway 1A and form a smooth transport and economic connection between Ha Nam and its neighbours.

The Phu Ly bypass is 23.3 km long. It is designed to have four lanes for motorized vehicles, with a standard speed of 80km per hour.-

Vietnamese lawyers suffer in comparison

Domestic lawyers and law firms are less effective than those from many other countries, according to a report presented to a conference held by the Ministry of Justice in Ho Chi Minh City on October 10.

The conference addressed the implementation of the revised Law on Lawyers and the strategy to develop the profession by 2020.

According to the ministry's General Department of Judicial Assistance, by mid-September this year, 11,285 lawyers had been granted work licences. There were also 3,408 law firms in the country.

So far this year, the lawyers have handled more than 70,000 cases and produced a total income of 70 billion VND (3.3 million USD). Meanwhile, 400 foreign lawyers and 67 foreign law firms have handled 4,000 cases with a total income of 700 billion VND (33.3 million USD).

This shows that foreign law firms are operating more effectively, according to the department.

The conference also noted the large gap in the distribution of lawyers in Vietnam. Most work in Hanoi and HCM City and there are few in rural areas.

It was reported that many localities did not even have three legal people to set up a local bar association.

Participants at the conference agreed that many bar associations did not have the funds to operate, and some lawyers lacked professional or foreign language skills.

They urged the Vietnam Bar Federation to cooperate with the Ministry of Justice to establish a training centre for lawyers in international economic integration.

The Government wants to achieve a rate of one lawyer for every 4,500 people. At the moment, the rate is one lawyer for every 14,000 people, much lower than in regional countries such as Thailand (1/1,526), Singapore (1/1,000) and Japan (1/4,546).

By 2020, the country is expected to have 30 law firms, each with 50 to 100 lawyers.

Scholarships come to disadvantaged students in Mekong Delta

As many as 217 disadvantaged students from 12 localities in the Mekong Delta region (except for Tien Giang) have received scholarships worth a total of 1.85 billion VND (86,000 USD) for their outstanding performance during the recent university and college entrance exams.

The scholarships were presented at a live-broadcast ceremony in Can Tho city on October 10. The presentation was part of the 384 th “For Tomorrow Development” Programme run by Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper, which aims to enable local young people to pursue better education.

Addressing the ceremony, Pham Cong Thanh, a representative from the newspaper, praised the needy students’ efforts in overcoming difficulties and passing the exams with high scores.

He hoped that the scholarships will assist them in studying and following their future dreams.

On October 11, the Vo Van Khanh Scholarship Fund under the Vietnamese Fatherland Front awarded scholarships worth 350 million VND (16,254 USD) in total to 145 poor students with outstanding academic performance in Ben Tre province.

Agriculture and Craft Village Fair to be held in Hanoi

Around 180 businesses and establishments from all cities and provinces have registered to showcase their products at the Hanoi Agricultural and Craft Village Fair slated for October 24-27, the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced on October 10.

The fair is a key trade promotion activity of the capital city, aiming to turn the spotlight on Hanoi’s agricultural and craft products and at the same time serve as a bridge between farmers, businesses and consumers.

Besides several workshops and an award ceremony, a programme named “Farmer Bridge” will be held at the fair for scientists, managers, trade businesses and farmers to discuss the trading of farm produce.-V

Ly Son Islanders enjoy reliable supply of electricity

The official operation of the national grid system on Ly Son Island in central Quang Ngai province in September finally met the generation-spanning expectations of islanders and opened an opportunity for making a great breakthrough in the island district’s socioeconomic development, the Vietnam Economic News reported.

The island district has a very important strategic position in terms of national defence, security and economic development. It is not only a key outpost in the eastern belt of the country but also a gateway of the key economic zone in the central region. Therefore, the Party and State are much interested in infrastructure investment for the island district, including the power system.

Deputy Director of the Central Power Corporation Nguyen Thanh said previously, the local islanders only used power from diesel generators for 5-6 hours a day, from 5pm to 11pm. The electricity price was dozens of times higher than that one in the mainland. Activities in agriculture production, storing and processing of seafood relied on generators.

The power supply project for Ly Son island district by underground cables was approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade on October 14, 2013, with total investment of 678 billion VND, including 8.7km of middle voltage transmission lines in Binh Son district and 26.2km of 22kV undersea cables.

After nearly four months preparing all the necessary conditions, works started on February 24, 2014 including construction of the transmission lines in the air through Binh Son and Ly Son Island. On August 26 undersea cables were laid and after 14 days they were pulled to the island. On September 28, the project was completed and officially put into operation.

Ly Son island district’s Party Committee Secretary Nguyen Thanh said Ly Son's two islands have an area of about 10.4sq.m and are home to 22,000 islanders who earn their livings by catching seafood around Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos and growing garlic and onions.

In the district’s GDP structure, fish-breeding and agriculture account for a big proportion while the revenues from trade, tourism and services are not much, partly due to the lack of power.

In the first nine months of this year, the island district attracted around 18,000 tourists, equivalent to the district's tourist numbers in 2013.-

National measles-rubella vaccination campaign launched

A national campaign on measles-rubella vaccination was launched in Hanoi on October 11 in the presence of Vice State President Nguyen Thi Doan.

The drive forms part of an expanded immunisation programme that has been carried out in Vietnam for nearly three decades.

Speaking at the function, the Vice President stressed that the Party and State have paid due attention to taking care of children over the past time through an array of activities.

The most worthy of note is the free expanded immuisation programme, which aims to prevent infectious diseases threatening children’s health and life, she said.

According to the official, with the support of international organisations, the programme has proven its effectiveness in reducing the rates of disease infections and mortalities among children.

Vietnam has become one of the countries that are able to produce 10 out of 12 vaccines used in the programme.

Vice President Doan called on socio-political organisations and the public, especially families of children aged from 1-14, to warmly respond to the campaign.

She also asked the health ministry to ensure the quality and safety of the campaign while partnering with the Ministry of Education and Training to popularise it at schools.

At the launching ceremony, Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, Chief Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Vietnam , hailed the Vietnamese Government’s efforts and commitments to investing in vaccination in general and the measles-rubella vaccination campaign in particular.

He suggested the county make the expanded immunisation programme a top priority in the list basic medical interventions, saying all children in the country must benefit from it.

The campaign has been implemented from September 2014 to February 2015, targeting about 23 million children between the ages of 1-14 throughout the nation.

Earlier, the drive was piloted in the northern province of Phu Tho, the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, the central province of Thua Thien – Hue and the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.

As many as 757,000 children in 23 cities and provinces across the country have so far received measles-rubella shots.

Heart disease on the rise in Vietnam: conference

Vietnam has seen an alarming increase of hypertension and heart disease following its rapid socio-economic development in recent decades.

At the opening ceremony of the 14 th National Congress of Cardiology in central Da Nang city on October 12, Pham Gia Khai, President of the Vietnam National Heart Association, noted that about 25 percent of the Vietnamese population aged more than 25 years suffered from hypertension and heart disease.

He also said the number of people suffering from cardiopathy and hypertension increased from 11.5 percent of the population in 1992 to 24.1 percent in 2008, but the figure kept rising while the number of cardiology hospitals and heart surgeons had yet to match patients’ demand.

About 2,000 experts, practitioners and surgeons, including those from the US, France, Japan, China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, and Cambodia are taking part in the biennial event.

About 1,000 reports and researches on hypertension and heart disease, as well as up-to-date technology in heart disease and cardiovascular therapeutics, were presented.

According to General Secretary of the Vietnam National Heart Association Pham Manh Hung, about 20 percent of the country’s population is expected to suffer from cardiovascular diseases and hypertension by 2017 if current trends remain the same.

He attributed the increase to rampant feasts and overconsumption of fatty food and alcoholic drinks.

He also pointed to such challenges as the lack of understanding of basic cardiovascular health and hypertension in communities and deficient funding for successful preventive programmes.

The three-day congress also include free heart and hypertension check-ups for Co Tu ethnic minorities in Da Nang, a mass walkathon for a healthy cardiology community and online heart surgery at Da Nang General Hospital.

More fat kids a national concern

The obesity rate has swelled, especially among children under five, National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) Deputy Director Le Bach Mai said on October 10.

The number of children under five who are overweight or obese reached 6.3 percent in 2013, an increase of nine times compared to 2000, according to NIN. In Ho Chi Minh City , this percentage was more than 11 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of overweight and obese adults doubled from 6.6 percent in 2005 to 13 percent in 2013.

Poor nutrition was the main cause for the increasing obesity rate, as well as the rapid increase of non-transmitted diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes, Mai said, adding that those preferring soft drinks were 3.2 times more likely to be overweight or obese.

Vietnam has nearly five million diabetes patients; the diabetes rate of people aged between 20-79 increased from 1.2 percent in 1990 to 5.8 percent in 2013, according to the health ministry.

Eating less sugar and salt will help prevent obesity as well as these corresponding diseases, Mai said.

The NIN will organise a nationwide nutrition week from October 16-23. The annual event aims to raise awareness about preventing malnutrition through the improvement of daily family meals. During the week, the institute will collaborate with localities to promote knowledge on gardening and husbandry as well as daily nutrition among families, especially in mountainous, remote and natural disaster-prone areas.

A communications campaign will encourage people to eat more nutritious food, teach food safety and hygiene habits and confront children's malnutrition and obesity prevention issues.

OVs encouraged to use Vietnamese goods

Vietnam’s diplomatic missions are encouraging overseas Vietnamese in 109 countries and territories to use Vietnamese goods, said Le Ba Trinh, deputy head of the Government’s “Vietnamese prioritize using Vietnamese goods” campaign steering committee.

They are co-ordinating with domestic enterprises who take part in overseas fairs and exhibitions on Vietnamese goods to promote Vietnamese goods, people and culture to the world.

Currently, many businesses owned by overseas Vietnamese are selling Vietnamese goods to the Vietnamese community and local people.

Deputy Foreign Minister Vu Hong Nam said that the financial situation of some overseas Vietnamese communities should be taken into account to help them access Vietnamese goods.

Sales promotion should be fast-tracked to boost the consumption of Vietnamese goods, noted Nam.

Heart diseases to attack 20% of Vietnam’s population by 2017

Twenty percent of Vietnam’s population might contract cardiovascular diseases by 2017, particularly younger people.

The forecast was made by the Vietnam National Heart Association (VNHA) in a conference held in Danang central city on October 12.

The conference draws the participation of 2,000 representatives of ministries, agencies, localities, and 60 pharmaceutical firms and 100 leading medical doctors, professors and experts from Vietnam and the world.

According to the World Health Organization, heart diseases are now a burden to the world society with a high death rate of 17.5 million every year.

Participants listened to nearly 100 papers presented by leading international and Vietnamese experts with information on heart diseases and new medical treatments.

Dr. Pham Manh Hung, General Secretary of the VNHA said currently 25% of people over 25 years old in Vietnam have hypertension while many fail to take good care of their health.

HCMC youth festival attracts 6,000 young people

A youth festival was held in Ho Chi Minh City on October 12 to celebrate the 58th founding anniversary of the Vietnam Youth Federation (October 15).

It was participated by 6,000 youths.

The festival began in Tao Dan public park with skill contests such as class management, semaphore and skill clubs.

In Gia Dinh park, games, traditional music show, street arts and modern dance drew the participation of a large number of young people.

Meanwhile, voluntary work for the community was held in Hoang Van Thu park. Here the youths were involved in blood donation, park cleaning, and offering free haircut and 500 free meals to the poor.

Vietnamese language course held for Korean students

A Vietnamese language course started in Hanoi October 11 for 93 Korean students.

The students are expected to comprehend the Vietnamese language, history and culture after graduation.

The event, as part of the global young business manager project in 2014-2015 academic year is co-organized by Hanoi University of Culture and RoK’s Daewoosky Institute. Project director Kim Joon Ki hoped that 93 Korean students would try their best to successfully complete the nine-month course.

Vietnam and the RoK have many similarities in culture and history. It’s necessary to develop bilateral friendship and cooperation through culture, education, and tourism exchanges, he stressed.





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