VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

Teen thief group arrested in Danang

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

Danang authorities on October 28 arrested a group of thieves that have targeted foreign tourists on the beach.

Four of the thieves are teenagers, with the youngest 15 years old and the oldest 17. All of them dropped out of school and ran away from home and live by stealing.

On October 25, the group set its sight on Chinese tourists Yang Yuanhua when he was on My Khe beach. After Yang left his backpack on the beach to swim, the group ran and stole his backpack which included money and personal papers.

Local security were monitoring them and they were caught red-handed. They were chased and three were arrested on Morrison Street, the other was arrested on Pham Van Dong Street.

The group admitted to the police that they had also broken into three cars to steal money, mobile phones and other valuable items before.

Vietnam promotes tourism in Russia

Nguyen Thi Kim Phuong, President of the Vietnamese Cultural Centre in Montreal, said through the event, her centre wants to promote the Vietnamese language, history and culture to Canadian tourists.

The show brought together representatives from 100 countries worldwide. Within the framework of the event, there were about 400 workshops with the participation of 100 leading experts in the tourism sector./.

Bac Kan promotes seedless persimmon

The Dong Loi co-op focuses on growing and promoting seedless persimmon. During the 2018 harvest, the co-op purchased and sold over 100 tonnes of the fruit. Aiming to bring the fruit to a larger consumer base, the co-op has created traceability stamps for its products.

Persimmon trees in Bac Kan are mainly found in the districts of Cho Don, Ba Be and Ngan Son. Ba Be has 200ha of seedless persimmons. Since 2015, the district has planted an additional 50ha each year, aiming to have 500ha by 2020.

Despite the high quality, Bac Kan's seedless persimmons are not yet available in major supermarkets or commercial centers. Developing a brand for Bac Kan's seedless persimmons is an urgent need that should be dealt with by relevant agencies soon./.

Water prices set to rise in HCMC

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

A view of Thu Duc Water Plant. Retail water prices in HCMC will edge up from the current VND5,300 per cubic meter to VND5,600 for household users starting November 15

Retail water prices in HCMC will edge up from the current VND5,300 per cubic meter to VND5,600 for household users starting November 15, in compliance with Decision 25/2019 issued on October 24.

Under the decision, water prices will be adjusted up each year over the 2019-2022 period.

Of note, water prices will increase by 5.66% this year against the current price, from VND5,300 per cubic meter to VND5,600 per cubic meter. As for near-poor and poor households, water prices will remain unchanged at VND5,300 per cubic meter.

In 2020, retail water prices are to increase to VND6,000 per cubic meter for household users, while the price at VND5,600 will be applied to near-poor and poor households.

The prices will be raised to VND6,300 and VND6,700 per cubic meter in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

The prices exclude value added tax and will be applied to the water consumption limit at four cubic meters per person per month, according to the decision.

The water consumption volume is determined based upon the number of people registered in household registration books. Each person is allowed to register for a water meter.

If many households use a single water meter, the water use limit will be calculated for the owner of the water meter.

As for students and house lessees who are not registered as permanent residents in HCMC, the limit will be determined based upon temporary residence cards and residential lease agreements verified by the authorities.

First Vietnamese public school recognised as member of Cambridge International

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

Chu Van An High School in Hanoi has been officially recognised as a member of the Cambridge Assessment International Education. The event marked an important milestone in promoting international cooperation on education as well as opening up opportunities to access international education programme for Vietnamese students.

On October 25, a ceremony to attach the Cambridge International VN 283 code plate to Chu Van An High School took place at the school campus with the presence of a large number of students who are studying the dual diploma programme.

Chu Van An High School is the first public school to implement a pilot project initiated by the Hanoi municipal People’s Committee on providing a dual degree programme of both a Vietnamese national high school diploma and a Cambridge International A-level.

Established in 1908, Chu Van An High School Hanoi is one of the oldest secondary education institutions in Vietnam. It is one of the top three national high schools in the country and is highly selective in its admissions.

During more than a century since Chu Van An High School was established, it has remained as one of the top education providers of the country with high numbers from students who pass high school and university entrance exams and go on to study abroad.

Vietnam Creative Hubs Initiative launched

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

Vietnam Creative Hubs Initiative – ViCHI was launched by the Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and British Council Vietnam at a ceremony held in Hanoi on October 26.

With the message, “Foundation-Connectivity –Promotion,” ViCHI aims to rapidly and sustainably develop creative spaces which will share information and ideas and cooperate to host quality events and programmes.

ViCHI is intended to be the voice on behalf of the Vietnamese creative community through annual activities such as training, symposiums, conferences and other important events on the regional and international scale.

Founded in 2018, Vietnam Creative Hubs Initiative was built up from the idea of spreading the inspiration and passion among art and culture community and bring creative people, organizations come together to share their best practices and build on advocacy.

Speaking at the event, Nguyen Anh Tuan, representative of Heritage Space, affirmed that it is necessary to create social resources and policies for creative hubs, support the development of spiritual life from the foundations and connections to develop symbiotic relationships in the country.

Sharing the book "Creating Hanoi's creative cultural space" introduced at the event, Le Thi Phuong, the Commission for Communications and Education of the Hanoi Party Committee, said the book spoke about the formation of the creative space’s contributions in recent times.

When researching and writing the book, according to statistics, the number of creative spaces was 62 but now we realize that the speed of development is very strong, up to 115 spaces. It can be said that young people’s enthusiasm and desire are contributing to the society with beauty and new ideas, she added.

Hanoi – Vietnam leaves imprints at Frankfurt International Book Fair 2019

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

Vietnam’s booth with the theme “Hanoi- City for Peace” is the largest-ever booth since the country has participated the book fair.

Hanoi – Vietnam’s booth continued impressing visitors at one of the most significant publishing event in the world – the Frankfurt International Book Fair 2019 beginning from mid-October.

The 71st holding of the book fair held at the Exhibition Center of Messe Frankfurt, Germany welcomed over 300,000 visitors, 5.5 % more than the last one held in 2018. The event marked the participation of nearly 7,500 exhibitors from 104 countries and territories with several activities, panels, and talkshows on social media.

Hanoi – Vietnam’s booth with the theme “Hanoi- City for Peace” was located on an area of 140 square meters sharing the same quarter with those of other ASEAN countries.

This is the largest-ever booth of Vietnam in the country’s history of participation at the Frankfurt International Book Fair, which was set up according to the unique designation of Thang Long – Hanoi.

During the book fair, a representative of Hanoi signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Frankfurt International Book Fair’s President Juergen Boos on promoting cooperation between the two sides in the fields of publishing, copyrights, expert training, international book fair holding and translating books from Vietnamese to German and vice-versa.

Hanoi will also coordinate with relevant agencies to promote the goal of making Vietnam an Honorary Guest at the Frankfurt International Book Fair.

Besides, there were several activities taken place at the Hanoi-Vietnam booth that drew the attention of international friends including exhibition, book launching, copyright exchanging and promoting tourism in combination with Hanoi – Vietnam’s culture and cuisine introduction.

Vegan food festival to be held in Hanoi

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

A vegan food festival will take place at Thong Nhat Park in Hanoi from November 1 to 3, accommodating over 100 booths with nearly 1,000 vegan dishes, according to the Government’s news site.

Restaurants, chefs, environmentalists and businesses will introduce a range of vegan dishes from different regions of the country that are cooked in a creative way, organic products, environmentally friendly goods, and environmental solutions and services.

The festival also offers an opportunity for visitors to relax, enjoy nature and music performances that show humans’ love for nature, contemplate artistic works, have fun with family, or learn more about the vegan lifestyle.

The three-day event is open to public, expecting to attract some 30,000 visitors.

Ancient city seeks ways to improve tourism quality

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

Visitors at a restaurant in Hoi An

The ancient city of Hoi An is being challenged by mass tourism, traffic congestion, underdeveloped waste management, vendors, street food quality and poor design and operation of homestays that have badly impacted the UNESCO-recognised World Heritage Site.

Noise and dust pollution, unfair competition among tourism services and harassment have all been recorded in recent years.

Owners of centuries-built houses had leased them out, leaving a spiritual void in the city for generations of its people.

These problems were recently discussed and raised by managers of hotels, resorts, restaurants, travel agencies, the local administration, architects and cultural researchers at a meeting on how to improve the quality of tourism services in Hoi An.

Vice Chairman of the Quang Nam Tourism Association Vo Phung said the Old Quarter covering just 1sq.km hosted at least 10,000 visitors each day, creating pressure on vulnerable infrastructure, architecture, the environment and traffic.

The gentle lifestyle of the old streets had been replaced by noisy vehicles, annoying vendors and street food carts, Phung said.

Deputy Director of Hoi An’s Information and Culture Centre Nguyen Phuong Dong said the Old Quarter had become overloaded over the past 20 years since it was recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

“Although we charge locals 80,000 VND and foreigners 120,000 VND to enter, the Old Quarter still hosts from 10,000 to 13,000 visitors each day, which is three times more than it can take,” Dong said.

“At least 8,000 visitors flock into city from 3pm to 9pm, and it’s chaos. Sometimes, it's difficult for local residents and tourists to move comfortably in the pedestrian area,” he said.

Luu Van Anh, a restaurant owner in Hoi An, suggested new night performances and art spaces should be built on An Bang Beach, Tra Que Village or Phan Boi Chau Street to create more options for visitors in the evening.

“There are no more options for tourists at night. The city could host nighttime entertainment, markets and art performances to ease congestion in the Old Quarter,” he suggested.

“More pedestrian bridges should be built over the Hoai River because An Hoi Bridge gets really busy at night. Street art plans for Phan Boi Chau – outside the Old Quarter – have yet to be realised, along with activities or events at night. Shops often close at 8pm, except restaurants, cafés and spas,” Anh said.

Tran Thanh Chau, from Silk Sense Resort and Spa, said a tourism database should be developed to identify different classes of tourists before proposing a solution for the overloading.

He said the city could offer a 50 percent discount for entrance tickets between 8am and 2pm, which would help reduce numbers during rush-hour (from 3pm to 10pm).

Tran Tan Van, Chairman of the Vietnam Architects Association, warned that ancient architecture in Hoi An would be damaged due to redecoration or redesign.

“The architecture is a priceless heritage for Hoi An's people,” he said.

“More shopping centres and entertainment spaces, art stages, fashion stores, a night market and pedestrian streets should be created to reduce congestion,” he added.

Van said the city should move its administrative centre and stage agency buildings to outside the Old Quarter to reserve more space for tourists.

Tran Thi Ngoc Dung, from the city’s Information and Culture Centre, said 302 homestays had been established in the city with a total of 1,100 rooms.

“Homestay services have been booming, from six places with 31 rooms to 302 with 1,187 rooms in 2018, creating 1,000 jobs and revenue of 13.7 billion VND,” Dung said.

“Homestays now look like two-star hotels thanks to a decor makeover, but they're still lacking cultural activities,” she said.

“Tourists need to join in community activities such as going to the market, cooking or even going to a family wedding or party.”

Pham My, a tour operator, said most homestays in Hoi An focused on room service rather than community-based lifestyle and cultural exchanges.

“It’s false in terms of design and architecture. Rural houses in Hoi An's suburban areas must be restored to what they were in the past,” My explained.

“Street food is also poor and takes up space. Vendors badger tourists to buy fruit, tofu and toys,” he said.

My added that eye-catching souvenirs were rare in Hoi An, only clay toys, lanterns and poorly designed carpentry could be found.

He said local residents should be educated about environmental protection, waste management and recycling, and food safety.

Phan Xuan Anh, a tour operator at Saigontourist, said the environment needed cleaning up in Cam Thanh commune and An Bang Beach.

He suggested homestay owners should improve their English and knowledge of history and culture to offer support for tourists during their stay.

Hoi An releases 33,500 tonnes of rubbish each year, but there is no standard waste processing plant in the city.

The city welcomed 1.7 million tourists in the first nine months of the year, of which 1.4 million were foreigners, earning 198 billion VND (8.6 million USD), a 28 percent jump from the same period last year./.

Electroacupuncture combined with hydro-acupuncture is an effective pain treatment

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

A patient is treated with electroacupuncture at a hospital in HCM City.

Electroacupuncture and hydro-acupuncture should be used by hospitals as a combination of modern and traditional therapy to treat pain caused by disease, according to the National Hospital of Acupuncture.

Speaking at a conference held on Saturday in HCM City, Prof Dr Nghiêm Hữu Thành, chairman of the scientific council at the hospital, said: “These therapies’ techniques are simple and safe to do. They help save treatment costs.”

According to Thành, chronic pain limits movement and affects patients’ lives at different levels.

“Control of pain, which helps patients' quality of life, is a main goal of treatment,” he added.

Many therapies such as painkillers, massage, acupuncture, surgery and physical rehabilitation treat pain, he said.

Local and international studies have shown the efficiency of electroacupuncture and hydro-acupuncture for pain caused by lumbar degenerative disc disease, peptic ulcers and nasopharyngeal cancer, among others.

The combination of the two therapies of electroacupuncture and hydro-acupuncture is recommended, Thành said.

Thành said that nearly 1,200 patients with these diseases at the hospital and 103 Hospital benefited from a trial treatment by using either electroacupuncture or hydro-acupuncture, or a combination of both.

The trial was carried out between February 2009 and August 2010.

The National Hospital of Acupuncture and traditional medicine hospitals in many provinces have combined electroacupuncture and hydro-acupuncture to treat stroke, sciatica, drug addiction and other disorders, he said.

Nguyễn Hoài Nam, HCM City Department of Health’s deputy head, said that 30,000 patients have been treated with both traditional and modern medicine methods.

Many general hospitals in provinces and districts have set up a division for traditional medicine to enhance modern medical treatment. More than 81 per cent of the country’s commune-based health stations are providing traditional therapies, Nam said.

Việt Nam's traditional medicine sector has developed well since 1978, he said, adding that the country has plentiful sources of herbs.

The co-operation between traditional and modern medicine sectors has helped address chronic diseases which will be a challenge as the country faces a rapidly aging population, he said.

The conference on combined use of traditional and modern medicines in disease treatments relating to pain, bones and joints was held by the HCM City Traditional Medicine Institute in co-operation with the National Hospital of Acupuncture in Hà Nội, and the HCM City Oriental Traditional Medicine Association.

It attracted experts and doctors from 19 southern provinces and five Central Highlands provinces. They received information about the latest professional knowledge and techniques used in high-quality traditional medicine.

Twelve Vietnamese startups to compete in regional awards

Twelve Vietnamese startups will compete in the regional finals of the ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards (RBSA) in Malaysia in January 2020, according to the organisers.

The Vietnamese startups will have to overcome competitors from other ASEAN member countries to win berthsin the global competition slated for December 2020 in China.

The startups won a national competition to qualify. They include Up GEN competing in the category for Best Co-working Space; Chatbot Vietnam in the Best E-Commerce and Supply Chain Startup category; and EyeQ Tech in the Best AI/Machine Learning Startup category.

Organised by the New Entrepreneurs Foundation, the annual RBSA celebrates the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Southeast Asian startup ecosystem.

The awards reward innovation, excellence, and best practice in startups across the region. They also recognise the excitement, risk and hard-work involved in developing a startup and the influence each person has on driving the success of their company./.

Youngsters take part in start-up festival in Da Nang

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

A student and his creative model displayed at the festival.

Nearly 1,000 young people took part in the “Connecting creative ideas – Start-up” festival in the central city of Da Nang on October 27.

The festival was organised by the municipal Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union and the Department of Science and Technology.

Participants took part in a fair and exhibition to display products and models that stemmed from creative ideas.

Nguyen Manh Dung, Deputy Secretary of the city’s Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, said the festival was a good occasion to exchange ideas.

It was also a chance to connect talents in the science and technology sector with enterprises.

Dung said he hoped the start-up campaign would be expanded to help young people contribute to the country's development./.

 

Commercialization of farm produce in Mekong Delta


The majority of the Mekong Delta region’s farm produce does not meet the requirements of agriculture production. Only 20% hits VietGAP standards, and the number is significantly lower when it comes to GlobalGAP standards.

This is a direct result of small-scale and scattered agriculture production and farmers not taking into account quality or stable output. The competitiveness of Vietnam agriculture produce is low and hits obstacles in foreign markets.

More export markets are placing technical barriers. China, for example, is now strictly controlling its imports. If we do not change the current mindset and production procedures, agricultural produce will end up stuck at the border gate.

Experts said the commercialization of agricultural products that meet international standards should be mandatory for the Mekong Delta’s agricultural sector. Currently, some localities have implemented and supervised the implementation of quality management systems, and small farms are being organised into groups and cooperatives to meet national and international standards./. 

Thai ethnic rituals enacted at culture festival

‘Kin Pang Mot’ is an essential part of the Kin Pang Then festival, and has been recognised as a national intangible cultural heritage. The ritual involves praying for peace and prosperity for ethnic Thai people.

It is performed by the White Thai people in Muong Lay town, Dien Bien district.

‘Tang Cau’ is a ritual closely connected with Thai women’s beautiful long hair. As a tradition, when a Thai woman gets married, her hair will be tied up high above her head, and she will keep that hairstyle for the rest of her life.

The ‘Set Booc May’ festival is held to express the Thai people’s gratitude to their ancestors, who came up with the embroidery and needlework crafts and taught generations of people. Through the festival, a typical day in the life of Thai ethnic people is reenacted through rituals.

Thai people in Muong So commune, Phong Tho district, Lai Chau provine are renowned for the ‘Kin lau khau mau’ festival, which is also known as the ‘Young rice festival’. The festival is held annually to pray for favourable weather and bumper crops.

Despite being scattered across the country, Thai people in Vietnam still share a lot of traditions and customs. Through reenactments of these festivals, Thai people have proven their determination to preserve traditional values amid modern life./.

Hanoi cherry blossom festival to be held in March

The 2020 edition will include many activities bearing both Vietnamese and Japanese identities. Visitors will have a chance to enjoy the beauty of the Japanese typical flower and try their hands on the country’s tea ceremony, kimono traditional dress, calligraphy, photos of festivals and landscapes, along with technology applications in service of the daily life.

Besides, there will be many performances of Japanese arts like yosokoi dance, kimono shows and karate martial arts. They will be held along with Vietnamese traditional arts.

The annual event is expected to help popularise the image, culture, country and people of Japan to the people of Hanoi./.

Asparagus farming enriches Cham ethnic people

Tu Van Hay’s family has a 2,900 sqm vegetable farm. In 2017, Hay started growing asparagus on nearly 1,000 sqm of his land, and since then his family’s income has vastly improved.

There are now 62 Cham ethnic farmers growing asparagus in the locality. On average, the local cooperative buys more than 500 kg of asparagus per day from the farmers.

According to experts, the hot, dry climate and sandy soil in NinhThuan is perfect for growing green asparagus.

Asparagus has been recognised as one of the 12 products Ninh Thuan is focusing on, and the province will continue to support and expand asparagus farms with high technology, diverse products and the application of electronic stamp codes for traceability./.

Musician takes the lead at concert

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

Nguyễn Vĩnh Tiến (centre) at the press conference in Hà Nội. Photo nguoihanoi.com.vn

Nguyễn Vĩnh Tiến will tell his story of becoming a musician at a concert in Hà Nội on Saturday.

The concert marks the first time Tiến has taken the leading role on the stage. Previously an architect, he made a name in music in 2005 when his songs Bà Tôi (My Grandmother) and Giọt Sương Bay Lên (Dew Drops Fly) won at the Bài Hát Việt (Vietnamese Song) awards.

His songs combine folklore and pop music, becoming hits at that time. With another two musicians, Lê Minh Sơn and Giáng Son, Tiến is regarded as creating a new style in the artform.

The concert, entitled Tiền Duyên (Predestined Love), will feature 24 songs by A-list singers such as Thanh Lam, Mỹ Linh and Ngọc Khuê.

"I don't have chance to sing his music much," said Lam. "However, I have my own way of feeling his music and I hope I will make the songs distinctive at the concert."

Lam will sing two songs entitled Kiều and Đạm Tiên, which are the latest songs by Tiến.

"I decided to organise the concert two months ago," Tiến said at a press conference held recently in Hà Nội.

"I was recently promoted as a chief architect, so I think as I get older and experienced I should have a concert for myself. It will be an overview of my music path."

The highlight of the concert will be Cắt Tiền Duyên (Giving up Predestined Love). The song was inspired by an experience when he was 20 years old.

At that time, he had a dream for three consecutive nights. In the dream, he met and fell in love with a girl.

After that he was exhausted and sick. His mother was worried and conducted a ceremony to pray for his good health. According to Vietnamese folklore, the ritual would help a person give up on predestined love.

"I was obsessed with the dream," said Tiến. "I think that the ups and downs in my marriage were due to predestined love."

At the concert, the singers will be accompanied by an orchestra with western and traditional instruments such as violin, viola, cello, bamboo flute, tranh (16-chord zither) and nhị (two-chord fiddle).

During the two-hour concert, the audience will enjoy about 24 songs, including Bà Tôi. The song will have a new arrangement by musician Trần Đức Minh.

Born in the northern province of Phú Thọ, the beauty of the area with green palm trees and tea hills are embedded in his memory.

Before turning to music, he was a writer. He was the leader of a poetry group including talents Đỗ Hoàng Diệu, Phạm Tường Vân and Vũ Duy Hưng.

He has won literature awards, including the Short Story Award by Văn Nghệ Trẻ (Young Literatture and Arts) newspaper, Best Poem Award by HCM Literature and Arts newspaper and Short Story Award by Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

"Skilled writing enables him to write beautiful lyrics," said established musician Lê Minh Sơn. "His songs are poetic, with rich imagery, which easily touches the hearts of listeners."

The concert will also include songs that the musician wrote during periods of depression.

"Depression is a problem in modern society," said Tiến. "Many people, including me, cannot escape from depression. My new baby girl in 2017 helped me to recover."

He has held concerts in France and Poland in 2012 and 2013.

The concert will begin at 7.30pm at Hà Nội Opera House. Tickets and information are available at 082 6146888.

Arts exhibition reviews memories of revolutionary era

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

Visitors view artworks at an exhibition on the armed forces and the revolutionary war of Việt Nam at the HCM City Fine Arts Museum. Photo courtesy of the organiser

An exhibition on the revolutionary war and the armed forces of Việt Nam, featuring the people’s hopes for peace, has opened at the HCM City Fine Arts Museum.

The Việt Nam Military History Museum organised the exhibition to mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Army of Việt Nam on December 22.

It showcases 118 paintings and 30 sculptures created by 142 artists nationwide, selected among 491 works sent to the museum during a creative art campaign from 2014-2019.

The works use a variety of materials, including oil, acrylic, watercolour, silk, lacquer, copper, zinc and mixed media.

Highlighted works feature soldiers and residents during the resistance wars that liberated the country.

On display are works that send messages about soldiers and people’s patriotism and solidarity, as well as the love they have for each other and their hope for peace.

The exhibit also focuses on the development of the People’s Army of Việt Nam, and the cause of building and protecting the country.

The organisers have praised prominent works like the silk painting Đường vào chiến dịch (Way to Revolutionary Campaign) by Nguyễn Đăng Khoát of HCM City, Tuổi hai mươi (Soldiers in Twenties), an oil painting by Ngân Chài of Hà Nội, and a metal sculpture Thành cổ Quảng Trị (Ancient Citadel of Quảng Trị) by Nguyễn Tân of Đắk Lắk.

The exhibition will close on October 30. The Fine Arts Museum is at 97A Phó Đức Chính Street in District 1.

Ly Son seeks ways to better promote onions

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

Onion harvest on Ly Son Island

Farmers on Ly Son District are having big crops this year but prices fell due to over-supply.

Farmers on Ly Son Island have had a good onion harvest. Nguyen Thi Mai from An Vinh Commune said because of unfavourable weather, they lost VND40m (USD1,700) in two previous harvest.

"This year, I invested VND60m and harvested nearly five tonnes of onions," she said.

However, their profits may not be as high as expected. The onion prices from Ly Son used to stay at VND40,000 per kilo but sharply dropped to VND25,000. The prices were high when the supply was low but as the harvest season arrived, prices quickly dropped.

"All farmers on Ly Son have had a good harvest and everyone is really happy. The prices are now low. We still have profits but not much," Vo Xuan Quang said.

This year, Ly Son farmers planted nearly 200 hectares of onions, accounting for 50% of the island's agricultural land. Compared to previous years, this crop has had good weather and fewer diseases. About 2,000 tonnes of onions have been harvested on Ly Son.

The most difficult challenge for the farmers is how to find outlets for their produce. Traders often use this excuse to bargain down prices. Ly Son authorities said they were planning to set up a production link to help the farmers.

RMIT introduces first flight simulator in Vietnam

RMIT University has announced it will introduce a state-of-the-art flight simulator to its Vietnam campus.

The flight simulator will improve the quality of aviation training in Vietnam for local students.

The announcement was witnessed by the Premier of the state of Victoria in Australia, Mr. Daniel Andrews, during his visit to Vietnam on October 20 and 21.

The Reconfigurable Flight Training Device will be the first of its kind in Vietnam, showcasing the latest in-flight training simulation technology currently in use at RMIT’s flight training campuses in Victoria.

RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Mr. Martin Bean was thrilled to announce the investment in Vietnam.

“RMIT is proud to be a leader in Australian pilot training, aviation, and aerospace engineering,” he said. “This investment in Vietnam reflects RMIT’s commitment to providing the necessary skills training for Vietnam and supporting the region’s rapidly changing workforce needs.”

Mr. Andrews reflected on the partnership and Victoria’s thriving relationship with Vietnam in aviation and education.

“RMIT is a leader in aviation training in Victoria and it’s terrific to see our local university leverage their strengths, technology and investment in Vietnam to help connect us,” he said.

The investment will allow student pilots in Vietnam to practice in simulated versions of aircraft before commencing practical training in Australia.

The flight simulator will be available for use in aviation training programs from next year.

The university last month formed a strategic partnership with the Sovico Group and the Vietjet JSC to improve the quality of Vietnam’s workforce in aviation, management, and engineering.

Don’t count on administrative measures to fight traffic congestion

Hanoi City’s Department of Transport is seeking feedback on its plan to gradually restrict motorbike traffic in 12 inner-city and five outlying districts, with an ambitious aim to completely ban motorbikes in the city by 2030. Such a scheme has been on and off for years. In a working session with the city’s Party leadership in March, Vu Van Vien, director of the city’s Transport Department, asserted that his agency was working with a traffic research institute to map out the scheme for completely banning motorbikes with the motto “the sooner the better.”

To prepare for the scheme, numerous measures are being discussed, including the extreme of imposing an all-out ban on new motorbike registrations in the city, which is deemed as unconstitutional since it infringes on the people’s right to own or acquire assets. The failure years ago of HCMC in banning each resident from having two bikes is still fresh in the city residents’ mind, as the rule was later scrapped for being unconstitutional.

Reducing motorbike traffic in the city, needless to say, is a desirable one as it will help ease traffic congestion on one hand and better protect the environment on the other. However, this administrative measure, no matter how tough it may be, can hardly pay off and is not the right approach to settle traffic woes in major cities like Hanoi and HCMC. The right solution should be to pinpoint the root causes of traffic congestion, and then employ technical and economic methods to address the problem.

Experts have pointed out that the combined area of land for road traffic in Hanoi accounts for only 9% of the total, while the proportion for a city of eight million residents like Hanoi should be over 20%. In addition, public transport currently meets only 10% of the demand, too low to be able to replace private vehicles in years if not decades.

The traffic pressure is also increasing as more high-rise residential blocks are springing up in the inner-city districts, alongside the rapid development of more commercial centers there. Another aspect that aggravates traffic density in the city is the rising popularity of ride-hailing motorbike service, with tens of thousands of drivers plying the street daily.

The right approach, therefore, should be to resort to technical and economic solutions, such as widening streets, enhancing the capacity of public transport, especially mass rapid transit, and restrict the development of new residential and commercial quarters in the city among others.

An outright ban on motorbikes in the capital city will not work as long as public transport still fails to meet the minimum demand. Without motorcycles, residents will have no option but to acquire cars for their daily commuting, and the traffic situation would certainly worsen.

Bringing light of hopes to sight-impaired people

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

Kids with sight impairment enjoy themselves at a water playground during a trip under "Lighting Hopes" program, annually organized by Saigontourist Travel Service Company - PHOTO: COURTESY OF SAIGONTOURIST

To most people, taking a tour to someplace may not be a big issue. Meanwhile, for the sight-impaired, especially children, packing up and hitting the road seem to only happen in their dreams, as there are not tours designed for such a special group of customers. At Saigontourist Travel Service Company, there are kind-hearted people ready to roll up their sleeves to cater to underprivilleged children, especially the sight-impaired ones.

The charity program “Thap sang niem tin” (Lighting Hopes) has been launched by Saigontourist Travel Service Company for many long years, with an aim to bring joy to the unfortunate children, and to make their dreams come true.

Ten days ago, such a tour under the company’s annual charity program was organized successfully. As many as 145 tour guides and volunteers of the program had little sleep as they had to wake up at midnight, making preparations and starting rides to pick up children at multiple schools and shelters for children with sight impairment, such as Nguyen Dinh Chieu School for the Blind, Huynh De Nhu Nghia school, Thien An Shelter, Nhat Hong Shelter, Bung Sang School, and the School for Sightless Adolescents and Orphans in HCMC among others.

In previous years, the children usually joined beach trips to Ho Coc or Vung Tau City in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. This year’s destination has been changed. More than 500 sight-impaired students and their teachers enjoyed themselves at Dai Nam Tourist Complex in the neighboring province of Binh Duong.

First launched in 2004, “Lighting Hopes” has been the biggest annual community program of Saigontourist Travel Service Company, a member of Saigontourist Holding Company, with many activities, including beach trips, donation of scholarships, travel audiobooks, stationery and stuff for daily activities to the sight-impaired students. Also, the HCMC-based tour operator has presented facilities to their schools and shelters.

“People with visual impairment have a strong desire for learning about and experiencing the surrounding nature, particularly traveling to discover the life outside their accommodations, but they have few chances to make it. Therefore, we decided to roll out the “Lighting Hopes” as a way to bring more travelling opportunities to the students,” said Tran Quoc Bao, vice general director of Saigontourist.

After 16 years of the launch, the annual trip not only delights the students but also is a festive day for the schools and shelters to meet each other. For employees of the tour firm, this is an occasion for them to connect and gain deeper insight into the life of partially-sighted people, Bao said.

The “Lighting Hopes” initially was available at HCMC-based schools and shelters for sight-impaired kids, but now the organizer has expanded it to southern provinces of Dong Nai, Binh Duong, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

With the companion of thousands of volunteers and Saigontourist tour guides, 16 trips of the “Lighting Hopes” program have been joined by over 8,000 disadvantaged kids.

It is also noted that the event has sowed the seeds of love among the kids and participants, nurturing the “Sharing is caring” spirit in them. There are some students who joined the event when they were still two-year-old kids, and have now grown up and continued to join the trips to take care of other kids. And there are lots of tour guides who have spent their weekends catering to the kids for many consecutive years. They are now professionals in serving such little tourists.

Throughout each trip, the tour guides have to be patient storytellers, should be as detailed as possible when describing surrounding scenes so that the kids can feel the world around them like normal people, aside from playing with and taking care of them while they are dining.

Some people have been moved to tears many times as they witness the sight-impaired kids playing during the trips, hear them singing, or see them dancing happily.

“How amazing these little kids are! They are still full of energy and optimism despite the impaired vision,” says a volunteer. The program has changed people’s awareness on how to bring happiness to this vulnerable group. Apart from offering shelters, foods and schools for them, more people should reach out to them, playing, experiencing with and walking them toward the path being lightened by love, says the volunteer.

The journey “Lighting Hopes” is still taking place annually, bringing the light of hopes and the fire of love to unfortunate children who can no longer see the sunshine so that they can explore the world and have their dreams come true.

Interior design week to open in HCMC

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

Dante Brandi, Consul General of Italy in HCMC, speaks at a press conference on VMARK Interior Design Week 2020 in HCMC last week

The VDAS Design Association will organize an interior design week in HCMC in March, 2020, the organizer announced last week.

The VMARK Interior Design Week 2020 is to be organized in coordination with the Italian Consulate General in HCMC and the International Design Associations, and is expected to attract more than 5,000 guests and experts.

The event aims to promote the development of Vietnam’s design industry, honor innovative inventions, and connect partners of other industries related to interior and product designs.

With the theme “Smart Space Drives Innovation”, the VMARK Interior Design Week 2020 honors groundbreaking innovations, new ideas, and application of solutions. The event will display the most innovative products with intelligent and creative designs, as well as smart design solutions.

The week will also feature an international design summit and interior design awards that encourage creative innovations from professional designers of the interior design industry.

Last year’s event attracted thousands of visitors, 20 speakers, and more than 50 furniture brands.

Cement group supports human development via scholarship program

Students receive SCG scholarships in HCMC on October 27

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES OCTOBER 29

Siam Cement Group (SCG) on October 27 announced the latest SCG Sharing The Dream Scholarship program, the continuous effort of its 12-year journey to set a foundation for human resource development in Vietnam.

This year’s program will upscale to nine provinces and cities across the country, giving 290 scholarships worth VND1.9 billion (about US$82,000) in total value and training opportunities for necessary soft skills improvement.

This expanded program will enable SCG to support students in pursuing their passions, aiming to provide a strong springboard for Vietnam to grow sustainably in the future.

The SCG Sharing The Dream Scholarship 2019 will be rolled out in HCMC, Long An, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Quang Binh, Thai Binh, Nghe An and Hai Duong, with a mix of scholarships ranging from high school to university.

“Each student has a unique dream which should be cherished and encouraged. That’s the reason why we keep adjusting the scholarship to provide better support to the students across the country to help them achieve the dream through education. We strongly believe that in that way, a variety of contributions will make Vietnam better,” said Chaowalit Treejak, director of TPC VINA Co. Ltd,. a member of SCG.

SCG Sharing The Dream Scholarship is one of SCG’s continuous commitments to support human resource development in Vietnam via education. In the past 12 years, the program has fulfilled dreams of more than 4,000 students nationwide.

 
 
 
 
 
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