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Social News 2/10

 Dong Nai rioters imprisoned for disturbing peace; Nine injured in lorry accident; France helps Vietnam cope with climate change; Last Twin Otter aircraft to land in October; Unemployment rate rising in urban areas

Dong Nai rioters imprisoned for disturbing peace

The People’s Court of Nhon Trach district in the southern province of Dong Nai sentenced 15 men to 9-14 months in prison on September 29 for “causing social disturbances” in Nhon Trach Industrial Park.

The accused include Nguyen Van Tri, 24 from Khanh Hoa province; Tran Ngoc Tha, 17 (Binh Dinh); Le Van Sang, 24 (An Giang); Dinh Tuan Vu, 31 (Hau Giang); Vien Van Man, 24 (Bac Giang); Le Van Dung, 19 (Phu Yen); Vu Viet Dinh, 29 (Binh Thuan); Du Quoc Ky, 22 (Ca Mau); Nguyen Huu Duc, 21 (Can Tho); Vo Ngoc Ba, 39 (Ho Chi Minh City), Danh Dung, 19 (Kien Giang); Bui Tan Vu, 23 (Dong Thap); Hoang Minh Khai, 19 (Bac Lieu); Ly Huu Trong, 26 (Ca Mau) and Tran Van Khanh, 26 (Thanh Hoa).

According to the verdict of the local People’s Procuracy, on May 13 the defendants took advantage of a protest against China’s illegal placement of an oil rig in Vietnam’s waters to vandalise the property of businesses operating in the park, where they were immediately arrested by police.

During the trial, the defendants confessed their crimes and showed remorse.

Tran Van Khanh and Tran Ngoc Tha were sentenced to 14 months and 9 months, respectively, while Vu Viet Dinh and Vo Ba Ngoc were granted 10-month sentences. The rest were sentenced to 12 months in prison.-

Nine injured in lorry accident

Nine people were injured when a lorry losing its control and crashed into two houses yesterday evening in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai.

The two houses, which are in Bao Thang District's Tang Loong Town, collapsed.

Witnesses at the scene said that the lorry running at high speech, allegedly due to a broken brake, and crashed into another lorry, two motorbikes and then the two houses.

Five serious victims were taken to the Lao Cai Hospital whereas the remaining four with light injuries were under supervision at the Tang Loong Town Medical Station.

Child dies in Bao Yen flash floods

Heavy rain caused flash floods in the north-eastern districts of Lao Cai Province, killing a child in Nghia Do Commune in Bao Yen District.

In the same commune, at least two houses were washed away by floodwaters and a landslide. Several cattle were also killed in thunderstorms in Tan Tien Commune.

Traffic was suspended for many hours in Van Ban District due to the floods.

Last night, the local authorities asked the concerned authorities to evacuate residents and provide them shelter.

France helps Vietnam cope with climate change

The French Agency for Development (AFD) on September 30 signed a credit agreement in Hanoi providing EUR20 million in preferential loans in support of a continuing programme to develop a long-term governmental climate change adaptation strategy for Vietnam.

The fourth preferential loan of the Support Programme to Respond to Climate Change (SP-RCC) has lifted AFD’s total pledged capital for Vietnam to EUR 80 million.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, French Ambassador to Vietnam Jean-Noel Poirier affirmed the French government places a high priority on co-operation with Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations to effectively cope with climate change.

Ambassador Poirier said since the programme first began in 2009, the programme has proven highly effective, adding that his nation will continue assisting Vietnam in climate change adaptation in the time ahead.

Vietnamese, Cuban news agencies enhance information exchange

Vietnam News Agency (VNA) General Director Nguyen Duc Loi held talks in Hanoi on September 30 with a visiting delegation from the Prensa Latina (PL) News Agency of Cuba led by its President Luis Enrique Gonzalez Acosta.

General Director Nguyen Duc Loi thanked the PL for its cooperation, support and assistance for the VNA representative office in Havana over the past time, especially the provision of its daily bulletins as well as official and important information sources.

The PL has annually sent its experts to help the VNA’s Department for Foreign News Services improve its Spanish bulletin and train sub-editors, he said.

Emphasising the effective collaboration between the two national news agencies, President Luis Enrique Gonzalez Acosta expressed his wish that the two sides increase meetings and exchanges to improve their cooperation in the coming time.

On the same day, the PL delegation was received by Vice Standing Chairman of the Vietnam Journalists Association Ha Minh Hue, who said he hopes the journalists associations of Vietnam and Cuba will soon sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in press activities while increasing the exchange of delegations to strengthen mutual understanding.

BIDV grants scholarships to 44 Cambodian students

The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) in Phnom Penh on September 30 provided scholarships for 44 Cambodian finance and banking students in Vietnam and Cambodia for the 2014-2015 academic year.  

The scholarships are pursuant to an agreement between BIDV and Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.

Yok Nguy, Secretary of State of Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, expressed his sincere appreciation to BIDV for its contributions to support social welfare in Cambodia, helping to strengthen the traditional ties of friendship between the two countries.

In 2014-2015 academic year, 55 Cambodia students studying in Cambodia and study in Vietnam have received scholarships from BIDV worth total of US$375,000.

Peru essay contest winners announced

Duong Quoc Trung, a student from British University Vietnam – Hanoi, won first place at an awards ceremony held on September 30 for an essay contest organized by the Peruvian Embassy.

Tran Thi Hoai Phuong a student from Hanoi University took second place and Hoang Trung Nghia, a teacher at the University of Economics and Law in Ho Chi Minh City came in third.

The contest was open to all Vietnamese citizens residing in Vietnam, especially students, who submitted a piece between 3,000-5,000 words in Spanish or English prior to August 22.

The pieces were evaluated based on the writer’s understanding of Peru, creativity, language skills and writing capabilities.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chargé d’Affairs of the Peruvian Embassy Luis Tsuboyama said the writing contest was an opportunity to promote Peruvian culture to Vietnamese people and further cement ties between the two countries.

Celebrating 40 years of Vietnam-Germany diplomatic relations

The German Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City unveiled at a press conference on September 30 a wide array of activities on the agenda in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Vietnam-Germany diplomatic relations.

From now until December 2015, an Oktoberfest beer festival, German/Bavarian band and orchestra concerts, and ballet performances are just a few of the many planned events for HCMC and the surrounding area.

In 2015, the two sides will co-organize exhibitions on lacquer paintings, electronic music performances and German Film Festival in HCMC.

German Consul General in HCMC Hans – Dieter Stell also said it was his distinct pleasure to announce a US$80 million 25-storey German House will soon kick off construction.

Other joint projects resulting from the strategic partnership between the two countries that will get off the ground by 2016 include a metro project and a Vietnam-Germany University expansion project in Binh Duong, Stell noted.

Vietnam-German diplomatic relations were established on September 23, 1975.

There are now 300 German firms operating in southern Vietnam and the two-way trade volume between Vietnam and Germany has climbed to over 7.4 billion euros, he added.

Last Twin Otter aircraft to land in October

Viking Air Limited will deliver the sixth and final DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft on order by Vietnam at Cam Ranh international airport in early October.

The aircraft, coded MSN 887 VNT-773 (N900VK/C-GVAT), has the capability to land on short runways, soft grounds (grassy, soil or sand), as well as on water.

In May 2010, the Vietnam Navy signed a contract with the private aircraft manufacturer for six DHC-6 Twin Otter 400 series aircraft, which are designed for maximum speeds of 314 kph and have a flight range of 1,832 kilometres, powered by two high performance engines.

The receipt of the amphibious aircraft marks a new milestone enhancing Vietnam’s ability to patrol, monitor, and protect its waters.

Vietnamese pilots have trained in Canada to take control of the new aircraft.

Belgium to grant 30 scholarships to Vietnamese professionals

Belgium will present 30 full scholarships to young Vietnamese professionals within the framework of its Indicative Cooperation Programme with Vietnam for the period of 2011-2015 with the aim of supporting the country’s socio-economic development.

The Belgian Bilateral Scholarships enable young officials to pursue Master studies in Belgium and gain new expertise for the benefit of their country.

Deadline for submission of applications is December 30.

Candidates living in all provinces and regions across Vietnam, from public institutions, civil societies, non-governmental organisations and the private sectors are encouraged to apply.

For further information, candidates can access the website

Unemployment rate rising in urban areas

The unemployment rate among young people aged between 15 and 24 saw a sharp increase of 6.31% in the first nine months of 2014, three times higher than the country’s average figure (2.12%), according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The GSO reported that about 3.51% of workers in urban areas were unemployed in the nine-month period, while the rate in rural areas was 1.56%.

There’s a widening gap in unemployment among young people in urban (11.71%) and rural areas (4.1%). The non-State and foreign-invested businesses experienced a slight increase in employment, from 4.2% in January to 5.6% in September.

While the number of employed workers in the mining industry decreased by 3.6%, businesses operating in the fields of processing, manufacturing, waste treatment, and electricity distribution generated more jobs (up 2.6-4.8%).

The northern province of Thai Nguyen led the country in employment generation (up 79.7%), followed by Nghe An province in the central region (up 45.5%), and Hau Giang province in the Mekong Delta (up 25.6%).

The GSO estimated that Vietnam currently has 54.4 million people of working age, about 51.6% of them are men and 48.4% are women.

UK Education Exhibition to open in Vietnam

The UK Education Exhibition 2014 will see the largest ever number of participating institutions - 73 UK universities, colleges and schools.

Organised by the British Council Vietnam, the exhibition will hit Melia Hotel in Hanoi, Intercontinental Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City and Grand Mercure Hotel in Danang on October 11, 12 and 14, respectively.

Vietnamese parents and students will find information on diverse pathways to university, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, alongside information about 99 scholarship programmes.

A focus on skills will be the highlight of this year’s exhibition. “Living Books” or Vietnamese alumni will be invited to share with future UK-bound students their valued experience in building a successful career, starting with the right choice of what to study from undergraduate levels.

These alumni are those who have landed jobs with global or local organisations in Vietnam and honed a great deal of professional experience in such areas as business, communications, and engineering, amongst others.

Participants can meet them in person or listen to a staged talk themed “Skills for a GREAT Career,” where the “living books” are joined by a human resource expert.

Apart from this, other workshops will introduce to prospective students a world of study options in the UK, the process to apply for a student visa and tips to achieve a high score in IELTS. Every participant will receive the latest edition of the Education UK Guide Book.

About 180 lucky participants will have a chance to register for the free IELTS mock tests in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, which include the Reading and Listening modules.

Canada Education Week in Vietnam

Around 70 Canadian institutions will participate in the 6th Annual Canadian Education Week in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from October 5-11.

Highlights of the week will be education fairs due to take place at the Melia Hotel in Hanoi on October 5 and at the Intercontinental Asiana Saigon Hotel in HCM City on October 11.

Students and families are encouraged to take this opportunity to meet directly with Canadian institutions’ representatives, learn about Canada’s education system and study options available, visa application process, and work opportunities after graduation.

This year’s event will see the participation of Canada’s leading universities, including the University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Victoria, University of Manitoba, University of Saskatchewan, Concordia University, University of New Brunswick, Laurentian University, University of Guelph, and York University.

A special seminar on applying for student visas will be led by a Canadian immigration official, aimed at providing the public with transparent and clear guidance on this topic of concern.

Central Highlands improves healthcare

All Central Highlands communes have medical stations providing basic healthcare services, according to the Central Highlands Steering Committee.

As a result, more pregnant women are visiting the medical stations for examinations and progress has been made in treating common diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, goiter and cholera.

The number of medical staff at commune-level infirmaries is now 18,325, approximately 3.5 times higher than in 2001. All the medical stations have paediatric nurses and midwives and over 81 per cent have doctors. All provinces provide community-based healthcare training for traditional midwives.

As a result, 30 per cent of commune-level medical stations in the region meet the national standards for healthcare. That percentage in Dak Lak Province is 45 per cent.

Local authorities urged the Government, relevant ministries and agencies to increase investment to repair and upgrade medical stations and train and recruit medical staff.

The Central Highlands region comprises Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Lam Dong, Gia Lai and Kon Tum. These provinces are home to over 5.4 million people, 25.7 per cent of whom belong to ethnic minority groups.

PM urges efforts to spur growth

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said yesterday that drastic measures are needed to deal with aggregate demand, spur production and ensure social protection.

Addressing the concluding session of a regular cabinet meeting, he identified several problems, including slow disbursement of investment capital, budget imbalances, and several uncompetitive sectors, that needed to be addressed so that the national growth target of 5.8 per cent can be met.

Dung called upon relevant agencies to implement urgent and comprehensive measures to attract more investment into the industrial, agricultural, services, and tourism sectors, particularly rural areas.

Investment in infrastructure development should also be given priority, he said.

The PM also called for greater efforts to increase the export of Vietnamese goods to potential markets.

Highlighting the fact that Viet Nam's labour productivity of 61 percent is only average among ASEAN members, and just slightly ahead of Myanmar and Cambodia, he asked the National Council for Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Improvement as well as other agencies to study the problem and find solutions.

He also called for more efforts to meet the target of creating 1.6 million new jobs. So far, 1.5 million people have secured jobs this year, promoting sustainable poverty reduction, he said, urging stronger focus on healthcare and education.

The PM said Viet Nam must push tor reforms to reduce hospital overload and prevent diseases. He noted that an alarming number of poor Vietnamese suffer from tuberculosis and called on concerned authorities to increase awareness and knowledge of ways to fight such diseases.

At a press meeting held yesterday, Head of the Government Office Nguyen Van Nen said that if it happens, the easing of restrictions on selling weapons to Viet Nam would have a positive impact on relations between Viet Nam and the US, showing increased trust between the two countries.

Responding to questions on the crack found on the recently-opened Noi Bai-Lao Cai Highway, Nen said the public should wait for an official study and conclusion before jumping to conclusions of "irresponsible error."

He said the Transport Ministry had been assigned to inspect repair work currently undertaken by subcontractors.

HCM City suspends plan to rebuild market

A plan to rebuild a traditional market in HCM City's Tan Binh District has been suspended following protests by shop owners about the compensation rate.

Le Son, deputy chairman of Tan Binh District's People's Committee, said on Monday, that the plan called for clearing the traditional 22,000-square-metre Tan Binh Market and replacing it with a modern six-storey structure and 17-floor trade centre.

He said despite efforts made by the District Committee to hold negotiations between the shop owners and the authorities, many traders had gathered in front of the Committee's office to protest the decision, which was announced over a week ago.

Le Ngoc Dao, deputy director of the city's Industry and Trade Department, said the city authorities had succeeded in moving many traditional markets thanks to public relations activities.

She added that it had been difficult to relocate the traders because of unfair compensation rates, unsound policies and disagreement between the authorities and traders on how to relocate shop owners and move the market.

Construction costs are estimated at VND4 trillion (US$190 million), which will come from the Tan Binh Phu Trading, Service and Real Estate Company, a joint-venture between the Tan Binh District Public Service Co. and Tan Quang Co. Ltd.

Son told the media at the meeting in early September that the 2,956 traders in the traditional market would be allotted 3,336 kiosks.

Two temporary markets were scheduled to be built at the site at a cost of VND272 billion (nearly US$13 million). The traders would remain there until the new buildings are completed.

Ensuring food safety proves difficult for City officials

Most people in HCM City were worried about food safety, Doan Thi Thanh Xuan, chairwoman of the Ex-Youth Volunteers Association, told a workshop on food safety and hygiene in the city yesterday.

District and commune authorities should take the initiative for measures to ensure food safety, she said, adding that they should not wait for instructions.

Le Thai Hoa, head of the city Food Safety and Hygiene Division, said his and other relevant agencies monitor food brought from other provinces and cities and sold in wholesale markets and other places.

Safe food chains where the quality of essential items was controlled from the farm to the sales point have been set up, he said.

Yet unsafe foods continue to be sold around the city, he admitted, adding that since 80 per cent of all food is brought in from other provinces and cities, the number is too large for fool-proof control.

He also blamed the mushrooming of illegal markets for the difficulty in ensuring food safety and hygiene.

Other violations like adding excessive food additives and using those not allowed by the Ministry of Health are also rampant in the city.

The risk of food poisoning from street foods was high, Hoa said, pointing out that there were more than 16,443 street food stalls in the city but communes and wards did not have officials exclusively to monitor food safety and hygiene.

This year city authorities checked 12,050 food stalls and found 57 per cent of them violating safety and hygiene regulations, slapping fines of VND31.6 million (US$1,504), according to a report by the city Steering Board on Food Safety. Forty of them were also shut down.

Food manufacturers, especially small ones, did not realise they were responsible for their consumers' health, Hoa said.

But many poor people could not afford to buy foods with clear origins, he said.

He said that his division planned to step up inspection and oversight of food and propagate information about food safety.

More officials would be recruited at ward and district levels to oversee food safety, he said.

Foreign Trade University students get summer school certificates

Economics and business students can consider journalism as their new career in which they can utilise both their knowledge of economics and journalistic skills.

The idea was stressed at the ceremony to award certificates of the Summer School: "Investing in your future" organised by Germany's Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and Viet Nam's Foreign Trade University (FTU) yesterday.

At the ceremony, KAS and FTU awarded certificates to 20 FTU students who have successfully completed the summer school and displayed their potential to become economics journalists.

Country Representative of KAS in Viet Nam Rabea Bauer said, "The programme aimed to strengthen public communication skills and provide intensive training in economics and journalism to students of economics."

During the programme, the students learned about the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and of the need to foster regional integration through media and economics, she added.

The idea of integration was presented in the context that Viet Nam has risen as a potential market for giant corporations from other ASEAN member countries, which will offer employment opportunities for the future Vietnamese labour force.

FTU students also had the chance to improve their economics, business and journalistic knowledge and skills during a study tour to Bangkok.

They had discussions and talks on journalism with representatives from the media in Viet Nam and Thailand and experienced a competitive working environment with representatives from large ASEAN corporations, the Country Representative added.

Project Manager of KAS Viet Nam Dang Tuan Vu said, "The decisive criterion to admit a student into the programme is the motivation letter which proves his motivation and inspiration to become a journalist."

Other selection criteria, including GPA, English skills and social engagement, are only reference points to evaluate the competence of a student, Vu added.

Breast cancer diagnoses often come too late to help patients

As much as 70 per cent of breast cancer patients are diagnosed when they are already in the final stages of the disease, said Deputy Minister of Health, Nguyen Thi Xuyen at a recent breast cancer prevention event in Ha Noi.

The event was organised by the Supportive Fund for Cancer Patients-Bright Future Fund, an establishment under the Ministry of Health. The 5,000 person gathering aimed to raise public awareness about breast cancer, the number one form of cancer afflicting women in Viet Nam.

Latest statistics from the Ministry of Health showed that about 15,000 new breast cancer cases are diagnosed annually in the country.

"Patients diagnosed with breast cancer often came to the hospital late, and that made the treatment result less effective," said Xuyen.

Breast cancer is highly treatable if detected early. In developed countries, about 80 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer survive due largely to early detection.

"If patients get treated at late stages, stage 3 and 4, the survival rate ranges from 40 per cent to less than 10 per cent," said Le Hong Quang, Vice Head of the Breast Surgery Department at the Viet Nam National Cancer Hospital.

Quang said that there are three principal reasons for the high rate of late diagnoses, one of them being lack of self-examination and detection.

Financial difficulty was another cause, as poor patients feared that going to a hospital would be too costly. Only once they could not stand the pain anymore, in the later stages of the disease, did they go to see a doctor.

Lastly, lack of proper knowledge about cancers in general also worsens the situation. "Some women tend to give up and hide their sickness because they think that cancers are incurable," said Quang.

Breast cancer is the fifth most fatal cancer in the world, each year claiming about 521,000 lives.

Seminar discusses greenhouse gas reduction in agriculture

The reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission in agriculture was the topic of a seminar in Hanoi on September 29 which was jointly held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

MARD Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh emphasised that it is important to come up with solutions to mitigating CO2 emission in agriculture which produces approximately 43 percent of the nation’s GHG emissions.

He said the MARD has set up a working group in charge of pushing Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) to reduce GHG emission in agriculture.

The group is working in the framework of the three-year project entitled “Enhancing NAMA readiness: building capacity in integrated food and energy systems in Vietnam towards in agriculture” which was launched in March this year.

The UN One Plan, the joint framework between the United Nations and the Vietnamese Government, will provide 700,000 USD to the project while the remaining will be funded by the Vietnamese government.

The project will organise training courses for policy makers and experts in the sector on developing NAMA plans.

A FAO representative laid stress on stronger coordination between sectors and strong will of managers for achieving the goal of reducing GHG emissions.

The agriculture sector aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 5.7 million tonnes by 2020, approximately 10 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.-

Free measles vaccination: no negative side effects reported

As many as 43,000 children aged 1-14 have received free measles-rubella vaccinations, with no post-vaccination side effects recorded so far.

Prof. Dr Nguyen Tran Hien, Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology told a media conference in Hanoi on September 30 giving an update on the campaign, run by the Ministry of Health from September 2014 to February 2015.

Children in Thanh Son district in northern Phu Tho province, Phu Vang district in central Thua-Thien-Hue province, Cu Kuin district in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, and Vung Tau city in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province benefited from the vaccination drive.

Safety was ensured throughout the vaccination process, from the initial consultation, check-ups and injection to post-vaccination monitoring, Hien said.

The three-phase campaign is expected to benefit 23 million children aged 1-14, increasing the vaccination rate for children of this age group to 95 percent.

A measles epidemic erupted in Vietnam in the first quarter of 2014, with outbreaks reported in 61 out of 63 cities and provinces.

As many as 5,031 cases of measles were recorded in the country during the first half of 2014. Vaccination was proven to be the most effective response to the outbreak, bringing the disease under control in May.-




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