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Social News 16/9

Three foreigners arrested over credit card fraud; Maritime search, rescue drill conducted in Saigon–Vung Tau Channel; Russia to woo Vietnamese students; Vietnam-bright spot in SEA fight against HIV/AIDS; Human Development Index slows down

Drug patients return after fleeing rehab



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The rehab center.



Nearly 30 of the more than 300 voluntary drug patients who fled from a voluntary rehabilitation centre in Hai Phong on Sunday have returned.

The northern port city's People's Committee said when the addicts left the centre in Thuy Nguyen District, police took steps to ensure there was no social disorder.

They urged agencies, sectors and families of the patients to encourage them to return.

Director of the centre Nguyen Quang Toan said patients were voluntary and were free to come and go. This was why the centre has no fence, he said.

He added that the patients disappeared following a recent decision to increase the detoxification period from two to four years.

He said the centre had left its doors gate open to welcome the addicts back.

Parents of some addicts said they would take the addicts back to the centre in the next few days, Toan said.

The centre was established in 1996 and is providing treatment for more than 900 drug addicts.

Three foreigners arrested over credit card fraud

Spanish police have recently arrested three Bulgarian nationals for forging credit cards to withdraw approximately 40,000 Euros from ATMs in Vietnam and hacking data from 300 credit cards at ATMs in Pamplona.

More than 40 cardholders discovered their money had been withdrawn during June-August period although they were not present in Vietnam at that time.

At the hideout, police seized a luxury car, seven small cameras, a list of all credit card owners, different ATM spare parts, two laptops, materials for producing device and memory cards and ten hard disk drives.

Police found that they installed small cameras to secretly film credit data at ATMs in Pamplona. After stealing the PIN numbers of card information, they would transfer the information to their accomplices in Vietnam to make counterfeit cards.

Two members of this ring are believed to have come back Bulgaria to buy equipment for making fake cards. This criminal group is destined to expand its activities in Barcelona, Navarre, Aragon and Catalonia, then move to Germany for continued operations.

Maritime search, rescue drill conducted in Saigon–Vung Tau Channel

The Vietnam Maritime Administration carried out a search and rescue exercise in the Saigon–Vung Tau channel between Dong Nai port and Ho Chi Minh City on September 15.

Nguyen Nhat, Director of the Vietnam Maritime Administration, said the drill was to establish a search and rescue system for port waters, particularly with regard to receiving and processing of information, which enables the Port Authority to effectively fulfill its duty to run search and rescue operations and coordinate between all relevant authorities.

The exercise was based on the scenario of strong southwestern wind, accompanied by big waves, during which a dry cargo ship weighing 2,500 tonnes was traversing the channel from Ho Chi Minh City to Dong Nai, while a ferry boat with 50 passengers was coming from the opposite direction. Upon entering the Ben Nghe Phu Huu port, the ferry boat lost control and collided with the cargo ship.

Consequently, the ferryboat capsized and the passengers jumped overboard, whilst the cargo ship went up in flames and spilled oil into the sea.

The Ho Chi Minh Port Authority collaborated effectively and promptly with all the relevant units, receiving and processing the necessary information to conduct search and rescue operations at the accident scene, including taking people out of the water, evacuating passengers from the ships, extinguishing the fire and cleaning up the oil spill.

The drill was completed in two hours.

According to the Vietnam Maritime Administration, the maritime search and rescue division has to deal with 200-250 cases every year, including foreign and domestic accidents and incidents at sea, thus asserting Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty and prestige as well as building a safety, reliable investment environment in sea-based economic activities.

Conference highlights role of national unity

The significance of national unity and upholding its strength were discussed during a conference held in Hanoi on September 15.

Co-organised by Nhan Dan (People) newspaper and the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF), the event clarified the role and strength of national unity for the revolutionary cause of the Party and the Nation, especially for national industrialisation and modernisation, international integration and national sovereignty.

National unity is a crucial prerequisite for national development, making Vietnam a modern and industrialised nation, participants said.

According to Tran Hau, member of the VFF Central Committee, Party congresses have acknowledged the important role the Front and mass organisations play in encouraging citizens from all walks of life to become involved in economic and social management.

To reinforce and promote national unity, the Party has outlined specific policies that aim at the expansion and diversification of measures to involve more individuals in the work of the VFF and mass organisations, as well as the improvement of operational procedures, he added.

During the event, VFF shared and analysed its experience in national and religious unity with a view to stabilising and developing the country.

Russia to woo Vietnamese students

Presidents of leading Russian universities are visiting Vietnam from September 14-19 to work on a project to attract more Vietnamese students to Russia.

A number of activities will be held under the project, including establishing direct contact between Russian and Vietnamese universities, aiming to attract more young Vietnamese citizens to study in Russia.

Introducing the Russian delegation’s itinerary in Vietnam, Shafinskaya Natalia, chief advisor for the Centre for Russian Culture and Science, said on September 15 Russian university representatives are to hold working sessions with the Ministry of Education and Training, several institutions and high schools in Hanoi.

The Russian representatives are reviewing their educational services and discussing future cooperation opportunities with their counterparts from Vietnam.

Most notably, they are sharing thoughts on organising a series of scientific research cooperation projects among Russian and Vietnamese universities.

They are to visit some historical relics in Vietnam to learn about the country’s traditional and culture.

PM urges universities to foster good morality and lifestyle

Vietnam National University, Hanoi and other universities throughout the nation should pay particular attention to nurturing the social and moral values of students as an integral part of the education process.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung made the appeal at a ceremony in Hanoi on September 15 marking the beginning of the new academic year of Vietnam National University, Hanoi.

In his opening speech, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung emphasized the overriding mission of Vietnam National University is to train high quality human resources and nurture talent to facilitate development ofa knowledge-based economy.

The PM affirmed the Vietnamese Party and State give top priority to developing education, especially high quality human resources in tandem with the development of science and technology.

He said the 2014-2015 academic year is of great significance for carrying out the Party Central Committee’s resolution on comprehensive educational reforms to meet the requirements of the country moving to a more industrial and modern society.

He urged improving training programs and curricula, teaching methods and examination system to meet the demand for comprehensive international integration.

Drastic measures should be put in place to develop a staff of lecturers and managers with good political morality and lifestyle towards an advanced education in accordance with the highest of international standards, Dung said

The Government asked the University to co-ordinate with the Ministry of Construction to speed up the implementation of a project to move two–three member colleges to new locations in the next five years and put the Vietnam-Japan University into operation soon.

Savanakhet-Lao Bao high speed rail project taking shape

Laos and Malaysia recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to conduct preliminary surveys for the US$5 billion Savanakhet-Lao Bao high speed rail project connecting Laos and Vietnam.

The unprecedented high-speed railway is designed to span 220 kilometres, running from the Lao central province of Savannakhet to the Lao Bao border gate of Vietnam.

The agreement to construct the project was signed on the occasion of the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in 2012 with funding provided by Malaysia’s Giant Consolidate Limited Group.

The railway, part of the Southeast Asian railway network, is expected to significantly contribute to economic development and trade between the two countries as well as the ASEAN region.

Mathematical achievements enhance Vietnam’s int’l profile

The outstanding results achieved by Vietnamese students at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) provide a solid foundation for the country to build mathematical development programs in the future.

Politburo member and President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan was speaking at a ceremony honouring 40 years of Vietnam’s participation in the IMO (1974-2014) hosted by the Ministry of Education and Training and the Vietnam Mathematical Society in Hanoi on September 14.

Vietnam first sent a delegation to attend the 16th IMO for high school students in the German Democratic Republic in 1974. Since then, it has 38 times attended such an event of this kind with the participation of 228 students who grabbed 213 medals, including 52 gold, 94 silver and 67 bronze medals.

Additionally, Le Ba Khanh Trinh won 3 honourary certificates and 1 special prize in 1979.

Among the winners, nine students twice won gold medals and 6 achieved highest scores. During the past 40 years, Vietnam has been listed among the nations with greatest accomplishments and highest ranking in 1999 and 2007. In terms of the number of gold medals, Vietnam recorded the highest achievement with 4 gold medals and 2 silver medals in 2004.

 “The achievements made by the Vietnamese delegation at the IMO have encouraged students nationwide to excel in their studies in other subjects. Vietnam’s accomplishments have affirmed its international mathematical position, serving as the core of talent cultivation towards the establishment of an institute for advanced mathematics study.” VFF President Nhan said.

Southern border gates scan for Ebola

Although few foreigners enter Vietnam's southern provinces by land or water, body temperature scans are being used at border gates to test for the deadly Ebola virus and other infections.

All those who arrive through the Song Tien gate on the Cambodian border in An Giang province must walk through temperature scans, just as they now do at international airport terminals.

However, Vietnamese and Cambodian citizens who live near the border and who have IDs with a seal proving their place of residence are allowed to cross the border freely.

However, if Ebola is reported in Southeast Asia, everyone will be required to be scanned.

Between September and November, the Song Tien gate, which links Cambodia both by road and river, received only about 100 tourists.

Nguyen Van Dong, deputy head of the International Health Quarantine Department at Song Tien, said eight officials were coordinating customs people, border guards and tourism officials to prevent any virus spreading.

Besides speaking with his counterparts in neighbouring Dong Thap and Kien Giang provinces, which both border Cambodia, Dong has weekly talks with officials in Cambodia to keep abreast of news on Ebola.

"No African citizens have passed through the gate. If one traveller is found with the virus, we will isolate the entire group," Dong said, adding that all of the medical equipment and quarantine rooms were ready.

Dong said Vietnamese officials were paying close attention as Cambodia's health quarantine system was rather weak. He said staff were well prepared for emergencies and had attended regular training courses.

"We are confident that we can prevent the virus from spreading to the province, even if it is found in neighbouring countries. Our system was set up a long time ago to prevent the entry of people with swine flu, bird flu and SARS," he said.

At Tinh Bien, another international border gate in An Giang, an infrared body temperature screening system, is also being used.

However, according to Nguyen Hoang Dong, deputy head of International Health Quarantine department at the Tinh Bien border, more than 1,000 Vietnamese and Cambodians cross the border every day.

Like at Song Tien, instructions on how to detect and prevent the spread of the virus are posted on walls.

An Giang has two border gates where temperature measuring machines have been installed.

Tran Vinh Phuoc, director of the An Giang Province's International Health Quarantine Centre, said health inspections had been tightened recently.

If a traveller has an unusual body temperature, he or she will go through a health check and quarantine procedure.

In Tay Ninh province, officials from Moc Bai and Xa Mat border gates are performing similar tasks.

People arriving through the border gates are generally required to provide home and work addresses, or the name of their hotel and phone number.

They are also told to contact the nearest health care centre if they develop sudden fever, sore throat, headache, muscle pain, intense weakness, vomiting or other symptoms.

If a person arrives at a border gate with high temperature, they will be quarantined before being screened again asked to fill out a health declaration form.

If they are suspected of carrying the Ebola virus, a blood sample will be taken to HCM City's Pasteur Institute for testing.

Do Hong Son, deputy head of the provincial Tay Ninh General Hospital, said the Department of Health had also opened training courses on Ebola for the province's health staff.

The hospital is in charge of checking prevention procedures at the district's health centres, Son said, adding that medical material and equipment as well as a quarantine area for infected patients were available.

However, he said he was concerned about the hospital's shortage of doctors and funds for buying protective gear.

So far Vietnam has had no reported Ebola virus cases.

Project MORE helps Vietnam overcome war aftermath

Vietnam is trying its best to overcome the consequences of post-war bombs and mines, for a peaceful life of its people – and actively supports Project MORE and its goal to form a generation of people free from misery.

The statement was made by Guy Rhodes, Head of Operations at the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) at a workshop on Project MORE held in Hanoi on September 12.

Project MORE is the result of cooperation of 15 countries in Europe and Asia. It supports policy makers in nations contaminated by war to overcome the devastating environmental impacts, particularly in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

A representative of the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC) said the way of recovering from the effects of war in Vietnam has many similarities with regional countries and encouraged European countries to engage in the project.

Project MORE is a channel to connect experts, technical staffs, managers and policy makers for mine action cooperation, the representative stressed.

Vietnam highly appreciates the great significance of Project More and is willing to support and cooperate with other countries to carry it out successfully.

Vietnam-bright spot in SEA fight against HIV/AIDS

Over 800 delegates assembled on September 12 at a national scientific conference on HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases in Can Tho City.  

Organisers of the conference received over 114 submissions out of which 55 were selected for presentation at the colloquium.  The chosen reports focused new infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS and paediatrics.

Dr. Pham Manh Hung, President of the Vietnam General Medical Association, said over the recent past, the fight against HIV/AIDS in Vietnam has made remarkable achievements.

With the lowest rate of HIV infections in Southeast Asia, Vietnam has become a bright spot in the battle against HIV/AIDS, which has not gone unnoticed by the international community, he noted.

National Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases Director Nguyen Van Kinh in turn said new infectious diseases around the globe are on the upswing, particularly noting the Ebola epidemic in African countries.

As of September 5, 2014, 3,944 cases of Ebola have been reported, including 2,097 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Additionally, the world is facing a respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) epidemic in the Middle East. Kinh pointed out that Vietnam is currently wrangling with dengue fever, measles, and hand-foot-mouth disease, which are on the rise, raising many challenges for Vietnam’s health sector.

The health sector in recent times has worked painstakingly to control infectious diseases, Kinh said.

Tra Vinh launches waste water treatment project

Construction of a sewerage system using the German Government’s Official Development Assistance started in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh on September 15.

The system forms part of the waste water treatment project that costs more than 17 million EUR, including 12 million EUR from the German Government’s preferential loan.

The project will address flooding that frequently occurs in Tra Vinh city during the rainy season by upgrading existing sewerages and building a waste water treatment system. The project is to be implemented from 2015 to 2018.

Tien Giang fishing boats equipped with satellite devices

A French-funded project has helped the Mekong Delta province Tien Giang install devices using satellite technology on 83 local deep sea fishing boats, Nguyen Trong Tuy, head of the province’s Division of Fisheries and Aquaculture, said.

The satellite positioning machines, worth VND135 million (nearly US$6,430) each, were installed on fishing vessels in Go Cong Dong district, My Tho city, and Go Cong, Tan Phu Dong and Tan Phuoc townships.

Additionally, fishermen were trained on equipment usage and maintenance.

Tuy said the devices helped local authorities update fishermen on weather conditions and locate the boats exactly in case of emergencies.

The division will ask the provincial People’s Committee to equip ten more vessels with the global positioning devices, he added.

Tien Giang currently has approximately 1,400 fishing boats with a total engine power of 290,848 CV.

The installation of global positioning technology is part of an international cooperation project on monitoring fishing boats, fishing grounds and aquaculture resources using satellite technology, also known as Movimar. The project is being implemented in 28 coastal provinces and cities of Vietnam to guarantee safe and productive fishing operations.

In 2009, the French Government signed an agreement with Vietnam to provide 13.9 million EUR for the project, which runs from 2010 to 2014.

The satellite positioning system has two components – the machines installed on the boats and an onshore monitoring system. The equipment on the boats will automatically transfer the coordinates and times of the boats’ positions to the monitoring centre every two hours.

ASEAN health ministers to gather in Hanoi for talks

Health delegates from ASEAN region, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) will meet in Hanoi from September 15-19 to discuss pressing regional health matters at the 12th ASEAN Health Minister Meeting.

The event, with the theme "Better health care for the ASEAN Community," will focus the discussion on several salient topics including improvement of primary health care with the goal of universal health coverage, non-communicable disease prevention, and multi-sectoral co-operation in the prevention of newly emerging infectious diseases.

"The event will be a chance for ASEAN members to discuss health policies and share their experience with an aim to build a healthy community in the region in the coming years," said Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long at a press conference on September 11.

"The event also aims to improve peoples' health in the region by sharing our experiences in tackling pressing health issues and thereby improving co-operation with partner countries, like China, RoK, and Japan," said Long.

At the event, the ministry of health will speak about its achievements in health care and preventative policy. Long specifically mentioned the results from the successful implementation of the Millennium Development Goals like reducing maternal and infant (0-5yrs) fatality rates.

Hosted by the Ministry of Health of Vietnam for the first time, the meeting will also include four side events focusing on a range of topics such as universal health coverage by focusing on health insurance in the informal sector, emerging infectious diseases prevention and control, policy response to ageing populations, and advocacy for sustainable financing of the HIV/AIDS response in ASEAN member countries.

Quang Ngai increases afforestation efforts

The central coastal province of Quang Ngai has implemented an afforestation project with non-refundable aid from the foreign ministries of Finland and the Netherlands.

The project has a total funding of 42,750 EUR, including 40,050 EUR coming from the Finnish and Dutch foreign ministries.

It will be implemented at Son Tinh and Nghia Hanh districts and will be managed by the Quang Ngai Cooperative Alliance.

The province’s forests are rich in terms of valuable woods that could be used to manufacture products serving domestic consumption and export.

Renovated Ho Chi Minh square opens in Madagascar

A memorial site and bronze bust of the late President were inaugurated at Ho Chi Minh square in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, on September 11 after six months of renovation.

The statue, placed in one of the city’s three squares named after revolutionary leaders, is mounted on a marble dais and stands 3.4m in height. A plaque is attached below, with President Ho Chi Minh’s quote “Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom” in Vietnamese, French and local languages.

On July 5, 1911, President Ho Chi Minh left Saigon’s Nha Rong harbour and boarded the Latouche Treville Admiral on his journey for national liberation.

After witnessing wide-spread suffering in Madagascar under colonial rule, he moved to France and together with Madagascan revolutionaries Jean Ralaimongo and Samuel Stephanie published the Le Paria newspaper which called for a revolution in all the colonies, Ambassador to Mozambique and Madagascar Nguyen Van Trung recalled at the inaugural.

President Ho Chi Minh established and fostered the friendship between Vietnam and Madagascar, he said.

The city’s Mayor Ny Hasina Andriamanjoto said Madagascar felt honoured to have been chosen to erect the statue of the revered President.

He also gave an overview of the Vietnamese leader’s life and career, and called upon the young generations to live by his example.

The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Kolo Christophe, Deputy Prime Minister Rakotovao Rivo and 200 representatives from local ministries and agencies.

Vietnam to host ASEAN Journalists General Assembly

The Confederation of ASEAN Journalists (CAJ) executive board members convened in Hanoi on September 12 to adopt a decision for the Vietnam Journalists Association (VJA) to host the 18th CAJ General Assembly next year.

VJA Chairman will hold the position as CAJ Chairman for a two-year term.

Additionally (CAJ) executive board members also approved the establishment of a CAJ journalism training committee headed by VJA Vice Chairman Ha Minh Hue.

Attendees at the meeting reviewed the implementation of CAJ cooperation programs in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Manila (Philippines) in 2013 as well as cooperation between the CAJ and the ASEAN Secretariat and discussed issues related to the ASEAN region.

In his speech, VJA Chairman Thuan Huu said the meeting took place in the context that the ASEAN is facing threats to regional peace, stability, security, and maritime safety and freedom which is a common interest of ASEAN, the region and the world as a whole.

However, the situation is showing some positive signs as the regional economy is bouncing back. To reach the goal of shaping a united ASEAN community by the end of 2015, the regional press circle should cooperate more closely to boost the development of each country as a contribution to building a peaceful, united and stable ASEAN.

He also reiterated his association’s willingness to contribute more to CAJ to enhance the press’ role in expanding the ASEAN community.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan also briefed the participants on the media situation in Vietnam and the government policy for the press

The Vietnamese association joined the CAJ which was set up in 1975, when Vietnam became an ASEAN member in July 1995.

Since its admission to the CAJ, the friendship and cooperation between the VJA and the CAJ has seen positive developments, significantly contributing to bilateral and multilateral activities between organization members.

Two sentenced to death for drug trafficking

The People’s Court of central Thanh Hoa province issued death penalty sentences to two defendants on trial on September 11 for their involvement in a major drug trafficking case uncovered by local police last year.

The defendants are Nguyen Huu Bang, 35, from the central province of Ha Tinh, and Nguyen Ngoc Hung, 45, from Thanh Hoa province.

Additionally, Bang’s spouse Le Thi At received a life sentence. Hung’s wife Phan Thi Vi was sentenced to 20 years in prison, as was another accomplice, Van Thi Nga.

The defendants were indicted for illegally transporting 54,000 synthetic pills, weighing over 5kg, from Laos to Vietnam.

Human Development Index slows down

In Vietnam, the average annual growth rate in the Human Development Index has declined gradually from 1.7% in the years before 2000 to just 0.96% in recent years.

Last year, Vietnam ranked 121st out of 187 countries and territories which are in the “medium” category of human development.

The figure was released at a ceremony in Hanoi on September 11 to announce the global Human Development Report (HDR).

Entitled “Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience”, the report provides a fresh perspective on vulnerability and proposes ways to strengthen resilience.

At the ceremony, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Coordinator Pratibha Mehta pointed out risks to vulnerabilities in Vietnam, noting that Vietnam is in the international economic integration process with average middle income, so human development policies must be in line with poverty reduction policies.

Nguyen Xuan Thang, President of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS), said the HDR stresses the need for the nation to be adaptable in confronting vulnerabilities.

Thang added the global HDR 2014 is an important source for the VASS to work with UNDP to complete Vietnam HDR 2014.

Vietnam should devise policies to facilitate human development related to insurance, social welfare and employment, Thang emphasised.

 

VNN/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/ND

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