SOCIETY IN BRIEF 19/3
Vietnam, Laos cooperate in labour management
A delegation from the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) held a working session with officials from the Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in Vientiane on March 18.
The delegation, led by MOLISA Deputy Minister Nguyen Thanh Hoa, shared experience in improving guest worker management and protecting the rights and interests of all labourers.
The two sides discussed measures to facilitate the signing of the Vietnam-Lao Labour Cooperation Agreement which was reached in principle at a meeting last year to deal with labour-related issues in both countries.
They also compared notes on short and long-term training courses for officers from the two ministries, and preparations for the building of a national plastic surgery centre in Vientiane.
Five family members burnt in fire
Five members of one family in the northern port city of Hai Phong suffered burns in a fire at a commune last night.
The victims: Tran Dinh Hiep, 28, his wife Nguyen Thi Luyen, 29, and daughters Tran Thi Ngoc, 5 and Tran Thi Huyen, 4 are in serious condition in hospital. Hiep's father, who has light burns, was discharged from hospital.
Luyen's relatives said that after receiving Hiep's phone call for help, they rushed to the scene and saw the two girls lying by a pond near their house with serious burns. They immediately took the victims to hospital.
Police are investigating the cause of the fire at the Hong Thai Commune in An Duong District.
Human traffickers arrested in Lai Chau
They have been identified by local police as Ho Van Son, 23, and Vang Van Toan, 24, from Phong Tho district of northern Lai Chau province.
They were arrested on March 18 while attempting to take a 17-year-old girl named Vang Thi May through the Ma Lu Thang border gate to sell to two Chinese men for RMB5,000.
Earlier on March 15, local police discovered another human trafficking case involving Cheo Sai Son, 19, and Phan Lao Mo, 20, also from the same district.
According to preliminary investigations, Son and Mo were accused of illegally trafficking an eight-year-old girl named Phung San May across the border to sell for RMB5,000.
Ha Noi to restore craft villages as extinction threatens
Ha Noi will restore 21 of its craft villages which are at risk of being lost from the impacts of socio-economic development, according to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade.
From now until 2020, the capital will preserve and restore 10 craft villages including Dong My (lacquerwear), Van Canh (poonah paper), Phu Son (pottery), Ngu Xa (bronze casting), and La Khe (silk weaving).
Eleven other craft villages will be restored in the following years.
Ha Noi boasts the largest number of craft villages in the country. According to the department, the city now has 1,264 craft villages, attracting nearly 1 million workers.
However, Ha Noi's traditional craft villages have been declining because the younger generations are not well-trained, leading to lower quality of products. In addition, there are fewer people who want to learn and spend a lifetime in traditional crafts.
To maintain their operations, many of the villages have expanded their production to new fields to meet market demand.
Avian flu no longer found in 2 provinces
Two communes in the southern province of Tay Ninh, Binh Minh and Ben Cau, have seen no new cases of avian flu for three weeks.
Provincial authorities are taking measures to contain the epidemic in the two remaining communes, Long Giang and Loi Thuan.
According to Nguyen Van May, head of the provincial animal health department, 12,700 local houses, 24 abattoirs, 60 markets and 65 public places have been sterilised.
Japan funds healthcare, job training projects
Japan will help the northern mountain province of Hoa Binh improve the quality of its healthcare system with a non-refundable aid worth 600 million JPY (about US$6.3 million).
A diplomatic note on the aid was signed in Hanoi on March 18 between Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Tanizaki Yasuaki and Chairman of the Hoa Binh provincial People’s Committee Bui Van Tinh.
The sum will aid the supply of made-in-Japan medical equipment, including X-ray machines, computed tomography (CT) scans and surgical tables for hospitals in the province.
The same day, another diplomatic note on a 200 million JPY (US$2.1 million) non-refundable aid to assist central Quang Nam province to in better vocational training was inked by the Japanese Ambassador and Vice Chairman of the Quang Nam provincial People’s Committee Dinh Van Thu.
Accordingly, machinery, produced by Japanese small and medium enterprises, will be provided as training materials for the province’s North Quang Nam Vocational Training school to serve its teaching of wielding and construction techniques.
The project is expected to boost human resources training, contributing to the economic development of the central provinces.
Addressing the signing ceremonies, Japanese Ambassador Yasuaki said he hopes the two projects will contribute to deepening the Vietnam-Japan strategic partnership in a wide range of fields, including health care and human resources training.
Drought, food shortage affects 34,000 in Central Highlands
Nearly 34,000 people in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai were facing food shortages as a result of prolonged drought, according to the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.
The provincial People's Committee has earmarked VND6.3 billion (US$300,000) to buy more than 483 tonnes of rice to support local people.
The committee has decided to provide crop varieties worth VND3.7 billion ($176,000) to help local farmers resume production following damage caused by the drought to the 2012 crop.
The drought, which has lasted for months, has also affected more than 5,000 hectares of trees in the province.
The hot weather has dried up the provincial system of lakes, rivers, springs and reservoirs, posing a high risk of severe drought for the province if there is no rain.
The drought has also led to water shortages for irrigation in some areas. Local farmers in Ia Grai and Duc Co districts and Pleiku City are struggling to irrigate around 8,500ha of coffee and pepper.
Head of the Hydro-meteorological Forecast Station for the Central Highlands region Pham Vu Tuan said the drought was expected to last until mid April this year.
"Although there were unseasonable rains early this year, they had little effect," he said.
The next rains were forecast in May, he added.
Drought caused an estimated loss of almost VND55 billion ($2.6 million) for Gia Lai during the 2012 crop.
The Ministry of Finance has provided VND3.2 billion ($152,000) in aid to support local farmers resume production.
Club provides disabled people with prosthetics
John Bernadin and members of the California-based Rotary Club brought 360 prosthetic hands to disabled people in Viet Nam.
During a two-week trip to the country in collaboration with Caritas Da Nang, the club made a one-day stop at the Da Nang-based Fortis-Hoan My hospital yesterday to provide 70 prosthetic hands free to those in need.
Similar donations will also go to the provinces of Quang Binh, Thanh Hoa, Ha Noi and Nam Dinh.
The club has donated over 2,000 prosthetic hands to disabled people in Viet Nam since 2005.
Vietnam, Germany tackle skills shortage
A cooperation agreement was inked between Vietnamese and German ministries in Hanoi on March 18, aimed at addressing the current shortage of skilled workers in Vietnam.
Present at the signing ceremony were representatives from the two sides, including Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Education and Training Tran Quang Quy, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Tran Ngoc Phi, and German Ambassador to Vietnam Jutta Frasch.
Under the agreement, schools and businesses at ministerial and State levels, German organisations in Vietnam encompassing German International Cooperation (GIZ), Business Association, delegations of Industry and Commerce, and embassy will work closely with the two Vietnamese ministries in human resource training.
Accordingly, the German side will provide internships for Vietnamese students as well as information on employer job requirements to help Vietnamese schools map out appropriate training plans, therefore contributing to generating more graduate jobs.
Vietnam’s rate of trained workers has continued to grow, from 16 percent in 2000 to 40 percent in 2010. However, the number of those workers who meet job requirements is still low and in need of improvement.
Houses damaged in mine explosion
No injuries were reported when a mine exploded in Cao Xanh Ward, Ha Long City, northern Quang Ninh Province on Sunday afternoon.
However, the explosion caused dozens of houses lost roofs and suffered broken windows and walls.
According to witness Pham Van Huy, the mine was left by people who illegally exploited coal in the area. The case is currently under investigation.
Phu Quoc forests on high alert for fire
Nearly 36,500 hectares of forests in the southern province of Kien Giang's Phu Quoc Island District were put at the fifth alert level for forest fires.
A forest protection force of 1,100 people has been set up to prevent and control any blazes, said Huynh Long Hai, head of the district forest rangers unit.
Phu Quoc Island has 29,596 hectares of special-use forest and over 7,000 hectares of protected forest.