Bridge wiped away, hamlet isolated

The Chu Va 6 Bridge was wiped away on Sunday by floodwaters, turning Chu Va 6 hamlet into an island.

The hamlet is located in Son Binh Commune, Tam Duong District, Lai Chau Province.

Bui Quang Vinh, deputy chairman of Tam Duong District People's Committee, said a delegation was sent to the site and officials were building a temporary bridge.

The bridge, which cost more than VND100 million (US$ 4,500), was built to connect Chu Va 6 and Chu Va 8 hamlets following the collapse of the original Chu Va 6 Bridge, which killed eight people in February.

Nobel laureate Louis Ignarro comes to Vietnam


American pharmacologist Louis J.Ignarro, who was co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, attended a seminar on Nitric Oxide’s role in cardiovascular treatment, held in HCM City on April 27.

He delivered a keynote speech at the event that attracted more than 300 medical experts, doctors and leading pharmacists in cardiovascular disease.  

Louis J.Ignarro is professor of pharmacology at the UCLA School of Medicine's department of molecular and medical pharmacology in Los Angeles.

Over the past 50 years Ignarro has made a substantial contribution to healthcare development, especially in treating cardiovascular illnesses such as idiopathic hypertension, stroke, coronary artery disease, and vascular complications of diabetes.

He was the first Nobel laureate in medicine travelling to Vietnam.

Three students drown in dam reservoir

Three students drowned on Saturday in a dam in Loc Thanh Commune, Loc Ninh District, Binh Phuoc Province.

According to police reports, the seventh-graders were playing in two canoes, which were suddenly submerged. Rescuers could not come in time.

One dead as scaffold falls in Quang Ninh

One worker died and another was injured when a scaffold collapsed during preparations for the Ha Long Carnival.

Around 10,000 people are expected to attend the eighth annual carnival, which is usually held during the Reunification Day and Labour Day holiday (April 30-May 1).

33 provinces report no new measles cases

The Ministry of Health on April 27 reported that no new measles cases have arisen in 33 provinces for the past few days, while new cases are on the decline nationwide.

The Central Pediatrics Hospital, Bach Mai Hospital and the Central Tropical Diseases Hospital reported no new deaths they attribute to complications from measles on the same day.

However, children, who are under nine months old are easily susceptible to contracting the virus, especially if they have not been inoculated with the measles vaccine.

According to the Ministry of Health, 32 new measles cases were detected on April 27, bringing the total recorded infected cases to 3,716 since the beginning of the year.

The expanded vaccination against measles campaign has been undertaken across the country, helping raise the immunization rate among children to 78% (April 27 statistics).

The ministry also said measles vaccination will be compulsory for children under 10 years old in 11 provinces and cities that have a high incidence of infections, including Hanoi and HCM City.

Children aged 2-10 that have not received two shots as required will be subject to free vaccination from May to July 2014.

The ministry has warned measles is likely to break out again during the upcoming five-day holiday, beginning on April 30, if preventive measures are not fully observed.

People showing pneumonia or measles symptoms such as high temperatures, coughing, and breathing difficulty are advised not to go on a holiday or go to entertainment centres.

Unvaccinated children are required to maintain personel hygiene and not to travel to recreational centres.

Southern region faces power shortage

The southern region is facing the threat of a power shortage during the dry season as construction of power plants is behind schedule.

The demand by the region between March and June will increase by 15% against recent figures, according to the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN).

The south has to rely on supply from the central and northern regions.

The power transmission lines in provinces like Binh Duong, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Dong Nai and Long An are overloaded.

Meanwhile, construction has been slow on many 220 kV power lines and transmission stations such as Nhon Trach, Phu My 2, Vung Tau, My Xuan, Tay Ninh, Ham Tan and Duc Hoa.

In recent years, the demand for electricity for the aquaculture and fruit cultivation sectors has increased significantly.

The consumption of power in the delta's coastal provinces of Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau in 2012, for example, rose by 50% against 2011. In 2013, it increased by 49.6% against 2012.

The investment in new power projects cannot keep up with demand, according to the EVN.

To ensure supply, the group has told the Southern Power Corporation to work with provinces to find capital to invest in power line projects that serve businesses' production.

Companies and local residents have also been asked to use power efficiently.

Last month, the corporation put into operation Turbine 1 of Vinh Tan 2 Thermopower Plant and Turbine 2 of Haiphong 2 Thermopower Plant.

It also put into use 48 projects with 500kV, 220kV and 110kV transmission lines that have a total length of 705 km.

The EVN has also asked the National Power Transmission Corporation to ensure the operation of a high-voltage transmission line system and complete construction on key power projects by the end of this month.

The EVN also said that it had been operating gas-fuelled turbines at full capacity.

Several hydropower plants, including Dong Nai and Thac Mo, would soon have enough flood water for operation.

Australian-funded project benefits orphans in Hanoi

Orphan and HIV/AIDS children under care at Hanoi’s Bo De pagoda now have clean water for daily use, as well as accessing a modern library, thanks to an Australian-funded project.

With a total capital of VND389 million (US$18,200) funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and donations from Hanoi-based organizations, the project equips the pagoda with a well-water filter system, furniture, computers and learning tools for its library.

The project will help the children have good health and the best learning conditions, facilitating their integration into the community.

Bo De pagoda is taking care of 260 orphans, including more than 10 HIV-infected children.

Vietnam-Laos border marker planting under review

The 14th meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Working Group on Border Marker Planting is taking place in Vientiane from April 23-28.

Both sides reviewed the remaining work of the project to expand and upgrade the border marker system along the shared boundary and devised concrete solutions to complete the work within this year.

They continued to examine topographic maps at a scale of 1/10.000 for 16 border gates for completed take over in the time ahead.

The two sides  also discussed a new draft agreement on regulations on management of Vietnam-Laos border as well as activities to inaugurate and upgrade La Lay into an international border gate in the future.

Danang enhances int’l technological application

More than 100 professors and researchers from Vietnam and all over the world gathered at an international conference on computing, management and communications (ComManTel2014) in Danang city on April 27.

The event was co-organised by Duy Tan University and the US’ Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Phung Tan Viet, Vice Chairman of Danang municipal People’s Committee highlighted the event’s importance in expanding cooperation, exchanging information among cities and universities around the world, helping fulfill the city’s goals of training and developing high quality human resources.

During the event, delegates shared information on the latest researches such as wireless telecommunications, video images transmission, robots, telecomunications networks and wireless sensors.

Reports from the University of Queen Canada, Blekinge Intitute of Technology, Sweden, University of Winona, the US and the University of Queen Belfast from the UK were delivered at the event. After the conference, the IEEE will publish the selected reports in various prestigious magazines.

The event also offered an opportunity for those with concerns to approach strategic researches in the field of computing, management and telecoms and other related issues.

Sugar company fined for polluting environment

Authorities of the central province of Thanh Hoa have imposed a fine of VND700 million (US$33,300) on a sugar production company for polluting the environment.

The Viet Nam-Taiwan Sugar Company in Thach Thanh District was discharging untreated wastewater into a canal and contaminated smoke into the air.

Test results from the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment showed that the company released untreated wastewater into a nearby canal running through the San village.

The test also revealed the company discharged contaminated smoke into the air to the extent of nearly 27,000cu.m of smoke per hour.

Test revealed that the smoke contained Carbon Monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas, at 3.64 times higher concentration than the allowed level.

Many local people complained that wastewater discharged from the company affected their living and business conditions.

However, at a working session with the local residents and authorities last Thursday, the company's Deputy Director General, Tran Khanh Duong, continued to deny that his company caused environmental pollution.

Apart from the administrative fine, the provincial authorities also asked the company to put in place measures to deal with the pollution within 40 days.

"If the company failed to tackle the pollution, the district authorities will propose to the provincial People's Committee to suspend the company's operation," Chairman of the district's People's Committee Le Van Trinh told Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper.

Fatherland Front works with Red Cross

The Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) will work with the Vietnam Red Cross on a humanitarian cooperation programme, its leader Nguyen Thien Nhan confirmed during his working session with the Red Cross in Hanoi on April 26.

The VFF will begin working on the programme in June, confirmed Nhan, who is both President of the Front and a Politburo member.

In 2014, the Red Cross will establish more chapters in remote, rural and island areas and enhance the efficiency of its humanitarian activities, Chairman of the Vietnam Red Cross Nguyen Hai Duong said.

He proposed that the State designate May as a month for humanitarian activities to encourage the public to perform good deeds for underprivileged people.

President Nhan commended the organisation on its proactive approach in supporting poor and disaster-hit people in 2013.

The Red Cross has been playing an active part in realising social welfare policies across the country, he said.

The Front will encourage its members to take part in Red Cross-initiated activities to mitigate natural disaster consequences, Nhan pledged.

KOTRA presents 5,000 story books to children

The Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) has presented 5,000 story books for kids to Vietnam, aiming to help the children learn more about culture and history of the two countries.

The books feature some legends of the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Vietnam, including the one on Lac Long Quan and Au Co – the legendary creators of the Vietnamese people, and the story about Hoan Kiem Lake.

The gifts, received by the Ministry of Education and Training, the People’s Committees of the northern provinces of Hai Duong and Vinh Phuc, will be delivered to local kindergartens and primary schools in the coming time.

General Director of the KOTRA Hanoi Korea Business Center (KBC) Lee Kyu-seon said the story book project helps enhance the cultural exchanges between the two countries as well as further tighten the bilateral ties in general.

The move is part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities the RoK side has been carrying out in the country.

In 2012, a programme highlighting contributions of the RoK companies to CSR activities in Vinh Phuc received US$125,000 donated by 11 RoK-invested businesses operating in the province and Hanoi.

Last year, RoK companies presented several social facilities valued US$204,000 total to Hai Duong province.

Vigilance for measles must be maintained

Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Pham Quang Nghi has urged the city’s doctors and nurses to maintain their constant vigilance for measles despite a decline in its new cases, describing the work a fight.

Visiting the Dong Da General Hospital and the Central Pediatrics Hospital to inquire into their measles control on April 26, Nghi pledged that Hanoi will do everything it can to “fight” against the outbreak to the last.

Thirty-seven cases of measles and two fatalities were recorded in 25 out of the country’s 63 provinces and cities on the day, said the Health Ministry’s Preventive Health Department.

The Central Pediatrics Hospital is treating 230 patients, including 20 admitted on the day. Meanwhile, the Central Hospital of Tropical Diseases is taking care of 79 patients of measles, of whom 12 were taken to during the day.

According to the department, vaccination coverage across the country is on the rise, reaching 76.2 percent by the day.

Four provinces having measles vaccination coverage below 50 percent are in the Mekong delta region, namely An Giang, Tien Giang, Bac Lieu and Long An.

Health experts continue to fan out to examine preventive measures in Hanoi, the Mekong delta city of Can Tho, central Thanh Hoa province, central coastal Khanh Hoa province, central Da Nang city and northern Thai Binh province.

In the meantime, the Health Ministry is working on a plan on giving supplementary measles shots for children aged from two to ten in localities recording a high number of infections.

It is also intensifying the publicity of preventive measures in society.

Ho Chi Minh City ups fight against drugs trafficking

Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Le Thanh Hai has asked forces to intensify measures against the trafficking of drugs into the country through the city’s airports and ports.

Police raid on drugs hotspots should be staged regularly, Hai said, stressing that the fight against drugs is a regular, urgent, continuous and long-term task.

He made the remarks at an April 26 conference reviewing five years of implementing the Politburo’s decree on strengthening the leadership in drug prevention and control.

At the event, Minister of Public Security General Tran Dai Quang, said that municipal authorities should strictly follow resolutions and policies of the Party, the National Assembly, and the Government on drug prevention and control in order to make the fight successful.

The Minister, who is also standing deputy head of the steering committee for crime and social evil prevention, also asked the city to speed up the publicity of the work and increase the capacity of relevant agencies.

City forces have brought to light 8,034 cases relating to the illegal use and smuggling of drugs over the past five years. These cases involved the arrest of 16,140 offenders and the seizure 123 kg of heroin.

Vietnamese makes Forbes most powerful women list

The 2014 Forbes Power Businesswomen list cites Rita Nguyen, a Vietnamese-Canadian, as having risen to the top of her profession and one of the top 12 most powerful women in Asia.

Rita Nguyen a young 37-year-old entrepreneur is the co-founder and CEO of Squar, a Burmese-language social network.

Born in Ben Tre province, Rita Nguyen moved to Canada with her family when she was a young child.

After graduating from the university, she worked in the field of information technology at Electronic Arts (EA) company in the US for 5 years, contributing greatly to EA’s success as a world top 10 social network long before Facebook or Twitter made their appearance in the marketplace.

She returned to Vietnam in 2010 before relocating to Myanmar last June to launch a startup social media venture Squar with initial capital of US$145,000. It targets to attract 1.5 million members by 2014.

Rita Nguyen said that Myanmar currently has 1,000 internet cafés serving a total population of 50 million. She expects there will be approximately 30% smartphone users and 80% mobile phone users by the end of 2015.

Despite the huge popularity of Facebook, Rita Nguyen is adamant that Squar will find its own niche, tapping into the same market as Facebook.

Prague promotes Vietnamese culture

Vietnam Culture Day opened in Prague on April 26 as part of an exhibition showcasing Vietnamese art to the Czech Republic.

The event aims to introduce visitors to traditional Vietnamese customs and the cultural activities of the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic.

After the opening speech by the Director of the Collection of Asian Arts, Markéta Hanová, Vietnamese ambassador to the Czech Republic Truong Manh Son thanked the national collector of Prague for her initiative to organise the event.

Son emphasised that the significant cultural event has contributed to developing traditional friendship and all-around cooperation between the two nations.

He said that the two-week long event helped the Vietnamese community integrate further into the resident country, adding that the Vietnamese embassy plans to organise more activities, in Vietnam Culture Year in the Czech Republic in 2015 to coincide with the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Mangrove forest protects residents

Hundreds of local households near the Ru Cha mangrove forest in central Thua Thien Hue Province's Huong Phong Commune have benefited since 2012 from a two-year project to plant about 23,000 mangrove trees.

Ru Cha is a mangrove forest located along the Tam Giang lagoon in the province's Huong Phong Commune.

It is also a protection forest, home to different types of aquatic species, a breeding ground for migratory birds and a potential destination for ecological tourism.

The project, which is aimed at raising awareness of the local authorities and residents of mangrove forest and also conserving biodiversity in the lagoon areas, was jointly sponsored and implemented by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Microsoft.

It was designed to help the area and its residents adapt to climate change by following measures such as protecting transport roads and dykes, and building environmentally-friendly aquaculture ponds, the WWF said.

Dang Duy Manh, a local farmer living in the Huong Phong Commune, said that every year during rainy season, the dykes and other infrastructure systems were damaged by storms.

He had to spend a lot of money to reinforce dykes to protect his aquaculture pond, he said.

"Since about 1,000 mangrove trees were planted around my aquaculture ponds over the past two years under the project, I saved hundreds of millions of dong each year," he added.

Pham Ngoc Dung, head of the Economics Office of the provincial People's Council, said that the mangrove area of Ru Cha was known as an important breeding ground for aquatic organism and a barrier against storms.

However, this area had been seriously reduced in recent years, and was estimated to be only 4.65 ha, he said.

The project, aimed at increasing the forested mangrove area up to 20 ha, had a positive effect on the surrounding environment and yielded economic benefits, he said.

According to the WWF, the reduction of the Ru Cha area has led to a decline in biodiversity, degradation of aquatic resources and fewer migratory birds.

The decline has also made the region more vulnerable to damaging impacts of climate change because the land here is in the low terrain and located near the Thuan An estuary and Tam Giang lagoon.

Every year, during floods season, sea water intrudes into this land, causing erosion, bringing down houses and damaging crops and aquaculture ponds.

Van Ngoc Thinh, WWF Viet Nam Country Director, said that the WWF and Microsoft shared a vision to reduce vulnerabilities and build resilience to counter the impacts of climate change in Viet Nam.

"We believe that this partnership is an excellent example of how business can step up and help support national efforts in addressing challenges in an area," he said.

Old hydrofoils may be scrapped

The Transport Ministry has asked Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to continue the suspension of hydrofoils between HCM City and the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau to ensure passenger safety.

The move was made after safety inspections between February 27 and March 22 revealed a total of 258 faults on eight of the 10 vessels. This included technical faults in the cockpits, cabins and engines.

Minister Dinh La Thang said the faults posed a high risk of accidents, including fires, due to shortcomings in the vessels' engine and power systems.

He said the problems could only be temporarily fixed as most of the vessels had been operating for more than 20 years and had been repaired many times.

In January this year, a hydrofoil burst into flames while carrying 85 passengers from HCM City to Ba Ria-Vung Tau province. No casualties occurred but the vessel's cabin and engine room were destroyed.

HCM City authorities later suspended operation of all hydrofoils in the city until checks were made.

Thang proposed the Government issue a decree banning the use of high-speed tourist vessels after 20 years' use.

In an earlier move to ensure passenger safety, the transport ministry has also suspended the operation of all hydrofoils operating on one motor.

Immunisation week seeks to allay vaccination fears

The Ministry of Health launched the second World Immunisation Week (April 24-30), an initiative of World Health Organisation, at a ceremony in Thai Binh Province on Saturday.

Tran Dac Phu, director of the ministry's Preventive Medicine Department, called for stronger commitment and active involvement of the whole political system, leadership of provinces and cities as well as the larger community in ensuring success of the National Expanded Immunisation Programme (EPI).

He said all localities should improve their communication towards strengthening parents' belief in immunisation and thus increase the rate of vaccinations in the country.

Health experts said at the meeting that some adverse reactions relating to hepatitis B vaccine had worried parents and decreased the vaccination rate. On the other hand, the decrease in vaccination rate had been blamed for the recent occurrence of measles outbreaks in many localities, they noted.

The Immunisation Week aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. It also aims to raise public awareness of the importance of vaccinations for shielding children from diseases during the first stage of their lives.

During this week, people will be provided with information about vaccines available to protect them against diseases, encouraged to check their own vaccination status and that of their family members and how to get vaccines they need from their local health practitioner.

Viet Nam has been recognised as a polio-free and tetanus-free country since 2000 and 2005, respectively. The country hopes to eliminate measles by 2017.

According to the WHO, immunisation prevents an estimated 2-3 million deaths every year, but one in five children still misses out on this safeguard.

Da Nang hosts international computing conference

More than 100 professors and researchers from 17 countries worldwide on April 27 gathered at the second International Conference on Computing, Management and Telecommunications (ComManTel 2014) in the central city of Da Nang.

The event, to last until April 29, is being co-organised by Da Nang-based Duy Tan University and the US’ Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

A total of 53 reports will be presented at the conference, focusing on new and applicable research projects such as wireless telecommunications, robots, sensor networks and cloud computing applications.

Many of the authors come from world-renowned universities such as Queen’s University (Canada), Blekinge Institute of Technology (Sweden), Winona State University (the US) and Queen’s University Belfast (the UK).

Addressing the event, Vice Chairman of the Da Nang municipal People’s Committee Phung Tan Viet, said the conference helps expand cooperation and information exchange between cities and universities across the world.

The conference also significantly contributes to Da Nang city’s high-quality human resources development, he said.