Vietnamese community in Sri Lanka holds first congress

The Vietnamese community in Sri Lanka has held its first congress and elected a liaison committee to enhance mutual assistance among the community.

Addressing the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Ton Sinh Thanh spoke highly of the Vietnamese community’s contributions to the country, especially since Vietnam re-opened its embassy in Colombo in April 2011.

According to Thanh, Vietnam - Sri Lanka relations have grown well, especially in economics with two-way trade reaching nearly US$150 million, a year-on-year increase of 40 percent.

He said the congress is an important event that will help promote and strengthen the traditional friendship between the two countries.

More than 1,000 expired cosmetic products seized

The Ha Noi Market Watch yesterday, Dec 24, seized more than 1,000 beauty products which had passed their expiry date in 2008.

All products were being stored at the Trade Service And Transport J.S.C, based at 20 Mac Thi Buoi in Hai Ba Trung District's Vinh Tuy Ward.

These products included boxes of face cream, nail polish, shampoo, hair dye and glue from brands including Top Brass, Revlon and Flex.

Inspectors also searched a connected warehouse and discovered many other containers of cosmetics without sufficient legal documentation and proof of origin.

Nguyen Thu Oanh, director of the Thanh Bac Fashion Limited Company, based at 342 Nghi Tam in Tay Ho District's Quang An, said that her business owned the cosmetics and had rented the warehouse to store them since 2008. She said the company had been planning to destroy their expired products, but at the time of the inspection she did not show authorities the necessary paper work.

Three die in Quang Binh boat accident

The bodies of three victims of a boat accident on the Gianh River in the central province of Quang Binh were found at 7.30am this morning, local authorities have confirmed.

The accident happened last night near Con Kec Village in Quang Trach District's Quang Thuan Commune. The wooden boat, which was carrying nine passengers, capsized while approaching the riverbank. Two passengers swam safely ashore, while four were rescued by local people.

The bodies of the dead are being taken to the victims' families.

Works gets started on Ba Ria bypass

Provincial authorities in Ba Ria-Vung Tau broke ground yesterday morning for the construction of a 12km bypass on National Highway No. 56.

The road will connect National Highway No 56 in Ba Ria City's Hoa Long Commune with National Highway No 51 in Tan Hai Commune of Tan Thanh District in Dong Nai Province, avoiding Ba Ria City.

Construction of the four-lane bypass will cost VND1.167 trillion (over US$56 million) and will be completed in three years.

Vu Ngoc Thao, Director of the Ba Ria - Vung Tau Department of Transport, said when completed, the bypass will significantly reduce the distance that goods and materials from industrial parks and ports along Thi Vai River in Tan Thanh have to travel to reach National Highway No 1 and Bien Hoa - Vung Tau Highway.

It will also shorten the distance from industrial parks and ports in Ba Ria-Vung Tau to the Southern Focal Economic Zone, the Southern Central Region and the Central Highlands provinces.

The National Highway No 56 which runs from Ba Ria City to Long Khanh in Dong Nai Province, is over 50 km long.

Urban areas need bespoke planning

The country needs to develop distinct governance models for urban and rural areas because it is crucial for the nation's development, experts said at a conference yesterday.

Organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the conference gathered experts and officials of various sectors from 32 cities and provinces in the southern region.

The national steering committee tasked with developing the governance model said in a report tabled at the conference that after more than 25 years of renovation and international integration, it was necessary to have separate management models for urban and rural areas.

It said swift urbanization has lead to many differences between urban and rural areas, but the same governance model was still being applied to both.

Hence there was a need to have a governance model with organizations, functions, responsibilities and mechanisms that are suitable to urban areas, the committee said.

The urban governance model should have a streamlined structure and clear functions and responsibilities for each agency. Agency leaders should have sound managerial skills, the report said.

It should also ensure leadership of the Party and the State while promoting decentralization and administrative autonomy for State-managed cities.

The report also said that the overall aim must be to ensure optimum exploitation of strengths and potentials of each city, promoting local as well as national development.

Speaking at the conference, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Nguyen Duy Thang, said proposed models should be selected based on general guidelines issued by the State and Party. He said they should also match the needs of each locality.

Oil tanker runs aground off VN

Vietnamese rescuers yesterday tried to reach a Malaysian oil tanker that ran aground just 300 metres off the Thua Thien - Hue coast to rescue five sailors.

According to provincial officials, the 3,000-tonne Onnekas One was being towed to China's Hainan for repairs by Singaporean vessel Sebang T7 when strong winds began to buffet on Sunday.

The Singapore ship had to cut the tow cable, and the Onnekas One began to drift towards the province's Quang Dien District. It ran aground there.

Strong winds and rough seas are hampering the rescue team.

The rescuers have tried to shoot cables to the vessel but in vain. They have now decided to wait for calmer waters and use fishing boats to reach the vessel.

The identities of the five sailors are not known yet.

Meanwhile, three seamen in the southern province of Soc Trang rescued a foreign yacht on Saturday, which was drifting in the Soc Trang Sea over 20 nautical miles off the My Thanh Seaport.

Kenneth Putney, an American who works for a company in the Philippines, was the only man on the Ocean - 140471 yacht. He said the yacht left the Philippines for Thailand and was tugged by another boat.

On the way, the yacht was hit with raw sea and strong waves, causing the rope to break and the yacht had drifted on the sea since December 15. When it was discovered, the yacht had ran out of fuel and Putney was exhausted.

Putney is now in a stable condition and the provincial Border Guards Command has contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to inform the Philippines Embassy of the case.

Donor shortage leaves many waiting for kidney transplants

An estimated 8,000 patients need kidney transplant operations in Viet Nam each year, according to the health ministry.

However, there are so few organ donors so that doctors can only operate on 10 per cent of the kidney patients, officials said at a workshop held on Thursday.

Vietnamese surgeons were marking the fifth anniversary of the first successful liver transplant on an adult in their country.

Traffic accident victims represent a valuable potential source of organs for transplants, said Nguyen Tien Quyet, director of the Ha Noi-based Viet Duc hospital.

The hospital sees between 800-1,000 fatalities each year from traumatic brain injuries, mainly from traffic accidents, he revealed.

However, the number of people volunteering to donate organs from brain-dead family members remains limited. Most Vietnamese transplant patients have received organs from living donors.

Viet Nam passed a law on organ donation in 2006, under which Vietnamese citizens aged 18 and older have the right to donate their tissue or organs.

Viet Nam's first kidney transplant was successfully conducted in 1992. Today, 12 hospitals in Viet Nam conduct kidney transplant operations.

Cops cage huge haul of trafficked chickens

Some 11,000 trafficked chickens were seized in the northern Bac Giang Province's Dinh Ke Commune on Sunday.

The alleged trafficker, Hoang Trong Xuan, from Lang Son Province, was arrested by the local authorities while carrying foreign chicken breeds without quarantine certificates. Some of the poultry had already died.

Xuan was fined, while the surviving chickens were also culled.

Soldier and policeman impersonator seized

Ha Dong District's Police arrested Nguyen Van Hoa, 28, from Ung Hoa District on Sunday for allegedly attempting to disguise himself as a soldier and policeman to carry out fraud.

Local man, Bui Van Khai claims Hoa used the ruse to defraud him out of VND830 million (US$40,000).

The case started last February when Hoa impersonated a military officer of High Command of Border Guards and promised to help Khai's son get a job at Military Hospital 103 or 108 in return for VND250 million ($12,000).

Hoa also received a further VND580 million ($27,800) for making the same promises for Khai's two daughters.

Hoa spent the entire amount without fulfilling his false promises.

Hai Phong school wins ‘battle of wits'

The Nguyen Du Elementary School in Hai Phong City has won the latest edition of the Bup mang xinh toan quoc (National Pretty Bamboo Shoot) competition and a prize money of VND50 million.

The seven-week competition aims to help elementary school students develop critical thinking skills.

The competition organised by the Ministry of Education and Training in collaboration with the Central Team Council and FrieslandCampina Viet Nam's Dutch Lady brand attracted more than 150,000 pupils from 3,143 schools nationwide.

Quang Binh fishermen rescue stranded whale

Fishermen in central Quang Binh Province's Duc Trach Commune discovered two whales stranded in the coastal area of Duc Trach beach over the weekend.

Ho Dang Bay, a fisherman in the commune, said he found a whale measuring 1.2metres long and weighing 20kg swimming ashore as he anchored his boat last Saturday night.

Bay and other fishermen tried to rescue the whale 15 times, but it continually swam back to shore, he said. The whale has now been taken to a man-made lake to be cared of by wildlife experts.

One day later, another whale measuring about 1.5 metres in length and 25kg in weight drifted ashore. But it was already dead.