Social News 11/1

Binh Duong Buddhism makes significant contributions

The Vietnam Buddhist Sangha’s chapter in the southern province of Binh Duong has made significant contributions to Buddhist work as well as to ensuring social security over the past five years.

Most Venerable Thich Minh Luc, general secretary of the executive board of the chapter, made the remark at the 9th congress of the chapter for the 2017-2022 tenure.

He said during the 2012-2017 tenure, the executive board proposed the provincial People’s Committee approving the building of 20 new pagodas and the upgrading of 64 existing ones. 

It created favourable conditions for monks and nuns to pursue education and participate in the province’s major events.

The board also paid much attention to charity activities like presenting gifts to poor people, flood victims and Vietnamese heroic mothers and granting scholarships to students in remote areas.

Delegates at the congress agreed on orientations and tasks set for the 2017-2022 tenure, focusing on raising responsibility and promoting brainpower, discipline and harmony.

The congress elected the chapter’s 57-member executive board for the new term, headed by superior monk Thich Hue Thong.

Vietnamese in Canada welcome traditional Lunar New Year


Hundreds of Vietnamese living in Canada attended an art programme welcoming the traditional Lunar New Year (Tet) in Toronto city on January 8.

The programme, the first of its kind, was co-organised by the Vietnamese Embassy in Canada and the Canada-Vietnam Society with the assistance from the State Committee on Overseas Vietnamese Affairs and the Toronto government.

It featured performances by artists from Vietnam’s Tuoi tre (Youth) Theatre.

According to Vietnamese Ambassador to Canada Nguyen Duc Hoa, the programme not only enriches the spiritual and cultural life of Vietnamese expatriates at the time of Tet but also boosts the Vietnam-Canada relationship.

Canadian MP Michael Levitt, who participated in the event, said the Vietnamese community has made significant contributions to Canada and the relationship between the two countries.

Business community praised for supporting dioxin victims

Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh had a meeting with representatives from the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin (VAVA) and 120 businesses which support victims in Hanoi on January 9.

The official acknowledged practical contributions of the VAVA and enterprise community to people who bear one of the worst consequences of the past war.

Thanks to the VAVA efforts to raise funds for those victims, support has come from across Vietnam and abroad, Thinh said.

She said she expects that the State’s open policies will help the business community develop strongly in the future, reaching at least one million by 2020.

She also expressed her confidence in the firms’ active participation in humanitarian activities.    

From 1961 to 1971, American troops sprayed more than 80 million litres of herbicides — 44 million litres of which were AO, containing nearly 370kg of dioxin — on southern Vietnam.    

As a result, about 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to the toxic chemical. Many of the victims have died, while millions of their descendants are living with deformities and diseases as a direct result of the AO/dioxin effects.

WB holds consultation on national cooperation strategy

The Ministry of Planning and Investment and the World Bank (WB) on January 9 organised a consultation on the national cooperation strategy for the 2017-2021 period in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.

The conference drew the participation of representatives from provinces and cities, institutes and universities in the Mekong Delta region.

Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam, said the national cooperation strategy between Vietnam and the WB in the next five years is a new and important one with priority given to climate change response.

He said the WB would support the development of Vietnam, including the Mekong Delta region, affirming that WB commitments to Vietnam will remain unchanged.

According to him, from January 1, 2018, Vietnam would be no longer get access to preferential loans from the International Development Association but only capital from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), requiring the country to use capital effectively.

Nguyen Van Sanh, head of the Mekong Delta Research Institute under the University of Can Tho, said the Mekong Delta has been facing many big challenges like dependence on rice, water security and natural resources management.

In that context, the region needs support in regional connectivity, water management and livelihoods, logistics and transport infrastructure development, he noted.

Vo Thi Hong Anh, Vice Chairman of the Can Tho city People’s Committee, said many provinces in the Mekong Delta have potential to develop renewable energy such as wind and solar power.

However, if there is not an overall plan, it is very difficult to develop such energies, she said, suggesting the WB support the making of the plan.

Pham Thanh Tao, deputy director of the Vinh Long Department of Natural Resources and Environment, recommended the WB assist the region in building a land database, which would help solve many issues like water management and environmental pollution.

The strategy will be submitted to the leaders of the WB in five months.-

Ginger farmers look set for a miserable Tết

Farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta face financial hurdles in the upcoming new year, with the price of ginger dropping to an unprecedented low.

The ginger rate the merchants had to offer this year reached only VNĐ3,000 (13 US cents) a kilogram, half the price last year. This marked the second year the ginger prices falling sharply after a couple of years earlier farmers got to make quite a living from growing the plant. On the eve of the Tết (Lunar New Year) season in 2015, gingers were sold at around VNĐ50,000 (around $2) for a kilogram.

Trí Lực Commune has the biggest ginger field in Thới Bình District in the southernmost province of Cà Mau. Some 35 out of 40ha of ginger in the whole district lies in the commune, which has seen a fivefold decrease of ginger fields from 200ha in 2015 due to falling prices.

A Trí Lực resident Nguyễn Văn Nhật told Nông thôn Ngày nay (Countryside Today) newspaper yesterday that the selling price of VNĐ3,000 did not cover the cost of hiring people to harvest the ginger roots.

“Deducting the average hiring cost of about VNĐ1,000 for a kilogram of ginger, we only earn some VNĐ2,000 a kilogram,” he said.

“I sold just seven tonnes of ginger, and suffered a loss of nearly VNĐ40 million.”   

The ginger cultivated specifically for Tết holiday was ready to be harvested, but many farmers were hesitant to sell up due to the record low rate.

Farmer Bùi Văn Lớn was among them. His family had about 1,300 sq. m of ginger which produced about 30 tonnes of ginger this year.

“I will lose at least VNĐ30 million if I sell the ginger now at this price,” he said.

“I will just store (the ginger) and wait till the price goes up.”

Another farmer, Nguyễn Văn Tranh living in Phụng Hiệp District in Hậu Giang Province faced a similar problem.

“Never before has the ginger price been this low,” Tranh said.                                     

“I still have about 150 sq. m of gingers ready to be harvested but I will wait for higher prices. If I sell it now, I will only earn some VNĐ1.5 million, while the hiring cost for ginger harvesters is nearly VNĐ1 million alone.”

The falling price of ginger this year only added to the misery of the farmers as a lot of ginger fields were damaged by diseases triggered by a prolonged rainy season.

Phụng Hiệp District Agriculture and Rural Development Division Vice Head Nguyễn Thế Tự said that the long rainy season created favourable conditions for bacteria to harm the ginger plants. Many ginger fields were destroyed by the diseases, harming production in the district, he said.

Phụng Hiệp resident Phạm Thị Bé Sáu said that nearly 3,000 sq. m of ginger her family cultivated had been infected with diseases.

Her family only managed to save about 200-300 kg of gingers, a poor harvest compared to 37 tonnes from the same field last year.

“We gave up. We will not harvest anything with such low production and such a low price,” she said.

“We would lose about VNĐ80 million,” she said. “Ginger farmers just won’t have Tết this year.” 

Traffic chaos on Hà Nội-Lào Cai highway


The number of traffic safety violations on the country’s longest highway, Hà Nội-Lào Cai, has been increasing after being in use for two years, traffic police and authortiy official have said.

Col Phạm Văn Hòa of Traffic Police Department said the number of traffic violations of passenger cars is rising.

After more than two years of operation, many accidents have occurred on the highway due to drivers ignoring traffic regulations for picking up and dropping off passengers, Hòa was quoted by Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper yesterday.

The latest accident happened on January 3. One person was killed when his four-seater car crashed into a tractor going the opposite direction.

Along the 265km-long highway running through five provinces, hundreds of barriers have been broken by locals,  Tiền Phong reported.

People destroy barriers to cross the highway or to stand on the roadside to wait for buses, with the practice especially common in densely populated areas along the highway in provinces of Lào Cai, Yên Bái and Phú Thọ.

In Lào Cai Province’s Bảo Thắng District, dozens of people often stand on roadsides during rush hours to catch coaches to Hà Nội and surrounding provinces.

Car drivers have also ignored traffic regulations by using many road sections to pick up and drop off passengers. These violations cause danger to other vehicles on the road.

Vũ Đạt, a local resident said that he often stands on the highway to wait for a bus to Hà Nội.

“I know the danger and that it is a traffic violation but the station is too far to walk to. I have to spend more time and money to rent a xe ôm  (motorbike taxi) to get to the station which is about 10km from my house,” he told the newspaper.

Many locals stand near the highway’s fence to wait for cars, Đạt added.

On the section in Yên Bái Province, dozens of xe ôm block part of the road waiting for clients.

In Vĩnh Phúc, Phú Thọ and Yên Bái provinces, locals use the highway’s corridor to let animals graze and plant crops, the newspaper said.

Talking to the media, many drivers using the expressway said it was difficult to travel on the road, as the speed is limited to 40km per hour because there are construction sites along the highway, part of a project to expand the highway from two to four lanes.

The low speed makes many drivers impatient and prompts them to use the wrong lane, increasing the likelihood of collisions, drivers said.

Bùi Đình Tuấn, director of the management board of the expressway, said the accidents did not happened on the construction sites but the limited speed on the highway causes difficulties for road users. Traffic police have strengthened patrols on the highway, but the violations continue to occur.

The police and other traffic security forces can’t stop the violations because the road spans five provinces, said Hòa.

There were difficulties in stopping coaches picking up and dropping passengers off on the highway because there are only five rest stops along the entire route.

Hòa added that there are several cameras on the road to monitor vehicles but car drivers ignore them and pick up and drop off passengers at sections without cameras or police.

Cà Mau fishermen, navy police save sinking vessel

Nine fishermen were rescued by locals and the navy police after their ship sank off the southern province of Cà Mau on Sunday morning.

The fishermen were found drifting in the sea 30 nautical miles from Hòn Khoai Island, Cà Mau Province’s Coast Guard reported.

The navy police received information about captain Nguyễn Xuân Hoàng’s fishing vessel BTH 96472TS which departed from southern Bình Thuận Province and was damaged by the strong waves and high winds.

All nine fishermen were holding on to buoys and plastic containers while floating in the sea, a navy official said.

The fishermen were fortunate that an unnamed local fishing vessel from Cà Mau Province found their stranded ship and immediately approached the accident site, followed by a Coast Guard ship that arrived in time and rescued the fishermen.

Captain Hoàng said sailors on the fishing vessel that rescued them were very kind. On hearing some men were drifting in the sea, they sped to save them. “I only overheard names of some of the rescuers. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for saving us.”

Presently, all the fishermen are in good health and waiting on Hòn Chuối Island of Trần Văn Thòi District, Cà Mau Province, until they return to the shore.

Drivers use small roads to avoid tolls

Some provincial roads in northern Bắc Ninh Province are being overused as drivers prefer using them instead of the Hà Nội-Bắc Giang Expressway to avoid the toll station.

Cars and trucks usually run on part of the Hà Nội-Bắc Giang Expressway and then turn into Phù Đổng Road in Phù Đổng Commune in Hà Nội’s Gia Lâm District.

They go along a dyke leading to Chạc Bridge and through Sóc Hamlet – a residential area in Phù Chẩn Commune, Từ Sơn District of Bắc Ninh Province.

After reaching Việt Nam-Singpaore Industrial Park, the vehicles either return to the Hà Nôi-Bắc Ninh Expressway or cross Đại Đình flyover to go to the centre of Từ Sơn Town.

By following these routes, drivers avoid the toll station on the expressway.

As a result, hundreds of cars and trucks were travelling on the provincial roads or smaller ones in residential areas, which threatened local roads safety, the Giao thông (Transport) newspaper reported.

Although trucks with load of 10 tonnes or higher are banned from travelling on the route from Phù Đổng Road to Chạc Bridge, heavy trucks often flout the rule, causing traffic jams.

A local told the newspaper that the roads had gotten damaged, making difficult for locals to travel.

On dry days, they were choked by dirt whilst on rainy days, the roads were muddy and slippery and at night, the noise made by running vehicles kept residents awake, she said.

Nguyễn Ngọc Thái, office manager of Bắc Ninh Province’s Road Safety Committee said drivers would inform each other about the alternative routes, which helped them to avoid paying toll along the highway.

“More and more drivers are becoming aware of these routes, meaning that small roads in residential areas are witnessing higher traffic pressure,” he said.

Trần Xuân Tình, chairman of Phù Đồng Commune People’s Committee, said in the last seven months, the commune saw 13 serious traffic accidents, while previously, just four or five traffic accidents were reported in one year.

He said roads in the commune were damaged, large potholes had appeared and five electric poles had collapsed after being hit by vehicles, which threatened the safety of travellers.

During rush hour, local police directed the traffic flow and restricted heavy trucks from entering the commune roads, Tĩnh said, adding that commune police failed to deter truck drivers because the police were not empowered to fine the drivers.

Popular children’s poems revisited

A new illustrated version of a popular 1968 children’s poetry book, entitled Góc Sân Và Khoảng Trời (The Yard Corner and Sky Interval), will be released in Hà Nội on January 16.

The book by Trần Đăng Khoa comprises about 60 poems, divided into five short volumes: Khi Mẹ Vắng Nhà (When Mother Is Away from Home); Trăng Sáng Sân Nhà Em (The Moon Shines on My House); Mang Biển Về Quê (Bringing the Sea to the Coutryside.);  Hạt Gạo Làng Ta (Rice Seed in Our Village) and Con Bướm Vàng (Yellow Butterfly). 

The book was illustrated by five young artist teams, including Wazza Pink and NHO.A; Vườn Studio; Phạm Quang Phúc; Killien Huynh and Phùng Nguyên Quang and Nho Huy. 

Wazza Pink and NHO.A won the Grand Prize of the Samsung Kids Time Award competition held early last year in Singapore; Killien Huynh and Phùng Nguyên Quang took first prize at The Scholastic Picture Book Award – a joint initiative of the National Book Development Council of Singapore and Scholastic Asia. 

“We encourage all the artists to express their feelings as they read the poems. It is neccessary before they begin to illustrate them,” said Nguyễn Quang Vinh from the Huy Hoàng Book House. “All the artists were born in the 1990s. We chose them because of their new and fresh feelings about popular poetry.”

The artists’ perspective is also shaped by the fact that they did not experience rural life in times of war, which some of the poems describe.

“Sometimes we cannot imagine exactly what the poet describes,” said artist Nành from Vườn Studio team. “We have to draw daily life in the north, which we have never seen.”

“It is very surprising for me. I’m very happy to see beautiful illustrations by young artists,” said poet Khoa. “Each illustration is an independent artwork blowing a new breath into my poems. I don’t know whether their paintings illustrate my work or my poems illustrate  the paintings”.

“I like two illustrations for poems entitled Nửa Đêm Tỉnh Giấc (Awakening at Midnight) and Trăng Sáng Sân Nhà Em (Moon Shines over My Yard) the most. They are creative and vivid. The book is very beautiful with poems printed on the paintings,” said the poet. 

Poet Khoa is a phenomenon of Việt Nam’s contemporary poetry. Born in 1958, he was known as a child prodigy. Góc Sân Và Khoảng Trời is his first collection of poems and was printed when he was ten years old. Vietnamese people born in the 1960s and early 1970s learned his poems by heart. 

This is not first illustration of the poems of Góc Sân Và Khoảng Trời. In 2011, about ten poems were selected along with other poems by Khoa in a bilingual Vietnamese-French book was illusatrated by French artist Dominique De Miscault for publication in France.

The poet is currently working for Voice of Vietnam (VOV) as director of VOV Television. His books, such as Chân Dung Và Đối Thoại (Portrait and Dialogue) and Đảo Chìm (Submerged Island) have a following of different generations. 

Poet Khoa was awarded the State Prize in Literature and Arts in 2001. 

Island district looks to boost tourism

Local authorities of the Phú Quý Island District, in the central province of Bình Thuận, have spared no effort in promoting local tourism.

The locality has concentrated on developing its sea tourism products, which aim to provide green and sustainable tourism.

The district has invested in sea route infrastructure, widening existing local roads, building a dyke system along the sea line, and developing wind-based electricity generation.

“Since early 2016, local tourism has scored significant achievements, especially when the district received electricity from inland,” said Tạ Minh Nhật, chairman of Phú Quý Island District, “More than 7,000 tourists came to the island last year.”

Nhật also appreciated efforts by local agencies in promoting the image of the island to tourists throughout the country.

There are five ship routes transporting tourists to and from the island, which helped carry more than 100,000 visitors to the island and return inland, a 58 per cent increase against the same period in the previous year.

Nhật said this year, the localities would further promote tourism and co-ordinate with more tourism companies inland.

“Environmental hygiene will be a priority, while eco-tourism products like sea fishing will be used more effectively,” Nhật said, “We aim to establish a tourism destination based around Safety, Friendliness and Quality.”

Local leaders have drafted a tourism plan with vision to 2020, in which the localities will call on investment for setting up a team of express ships, infrastructure at the local airport, ship docks, restaurants and hotels as well as diversified tourism products.

There are five tourism sites on the island, namely Doi Dừa Beach, Bãi Nhỏ-Gành Hang Tourism Site, Mộ Thầy Tourism Site, Triều Dương Bay Tourism Site and Tranh Islet Tourism Site.

By the end of last year, there were 20 hostels and guess houses in the district, offering 100 rooms meeting tourism standard to tourists.

Phú Quý District comprises a total of ten islands, with Phú Quý Island being the largest.

The island’s area measures 16.5sq.km and is located 120km southeast of Phan Thiết City.

There are many pristine beaches on the island.

The highest point on the island is 106m high. The north of the island is rocky, while the south consists mostly of sandy beaches. 

HCMC saves VND5.16 trillion worth of electricity

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HCMC has saved some 2.75 billion kWh of electric power worth around VND5.16 trillion (US$229 million) since 2011, said Nguyen Phuong Dong, deputy director of the Department of Industry and Trade.Speaking at a review conference on power saving in HCMC last Friday, he said the city consumed around 21.7 billion kWh of power last year, with 40% of it going to household users.

“The demand for electricity is expected to grow 7.76-10% annually in the coming years. Therefore, energy savings by household and corporate consumers will help a lot,” he said.

Statistics of HCMC Power Corporation (EVN HCMC) showed nearly 522,000 households took part in the firm’s electricity saving scheme, with over 340 million kWh worth VND640 billion (US$28.4 million) saved last year, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 190,000 tons.

The city’s electricity sector has granted VND300,000-500,000 (US$13.3-22.2) to each of around 15,700 energy saving households. EVN HCMC said the total money for this purpose would rise to some VND5 billion this year.

Thua Thien – Hue targets over 3.5 million visitors in 2017

The central province of Thua Thien – Hue aims to attract 3.7 million visitors and earn 3.8 trillion VND (168.45 million USD) from tourism in 2017, up 15 percent against last year.

To reach the targets, the locality plans to continue implementing infrastructure construction projects, including roads connecting 1A Highway to Bach Ma National Park, and operate tours along the Huong River.

The province will increase the frequency of flights to Hue and open new flights to Singapore and major domestic tourism markets.

It will focus on tourism promotion in big cities such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Nha Trang and Da Nang as well as improve the provincial tourism website.

The locality will also coordinate with other travel firms to provide information and promote local tourism.

In 2016, Thua Thien – Hue welcomed 3.28 million visitors, including over 1 million international travellers and earned more than 3.2 trillion VND (141.85 million USD).

The ancient imperial city of Hue, a World Cultural Heritage site, attracted 2.5 million visitors with ticket proceeds reaching more than 260 billion VND (11.5 million USD) in 2016, making up131 percent of the yearly plan.

In 2016, a total of 36 cruise liners, including the Bahamas luxury ship Ovation of the Seas, docked at the provincial Chan May Port, carrying more than 87,000 foreign tourists and crew members in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 8,500 tourists. 

Seminar discusses risks in international trade

A seminar took place in Ho Chi Minh City on January 7 to discuss risks in international trade and foreign debt recovery following the recent fraud faced by several seafood exporters. 

Three weeks ago, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) issued a warning to its members against fraud in seafood export. Specifically, a number of seafood exporters lost hundreds of thousands USD worth of goods to ECHOPACK INC, represented by a person named Jason Brown, residing in Quebec, Canada. 

ECHOPACK alledgedly deceived domestic exporters when it used two different signatures on a contract signed between the two sides to open a letter of credit (L/C), which included a clause that the signature on the contract sent to General Equity bank must match the one in the payment documents. 

Though General Equity Bank knew that the documents were invalid, it allowed ECHOPACK to receive the goods. Finally, it refused payment to Vietnamese exporters, reasoning that the L/C was invalid. 

At the event, VASEP Vice Secretary Nguyen Hoai Nam warned that amid extensive global integration, such incidents may occur often unless enterprises are equipped with necessary knowledge and experience in transactions. 

According to experts, the biggest risk faced by Vietnamese businesses involves credit, which puts them in difficult situations to reclaim debt or makes them face fraud. 

Keith Stillings, Chief Executive Officer of the US’s Assurance Global Financial, said Vietnamese exporters lost nearly 8 billion USD to foreign partners in 2015 alone due to swindles. 

Lawyer Ngo Khac Le from the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre attributed the incidents to loose contracts and limited information about partners. 

He advised domestic firms to work closely with trade associations, consultants and embassies to screen partners, and be cautious of bargain offers. 

Experts suggested thoroughly examining the track record of partners and contract terms before reaching any deal.

Thua Thien-Hue: over 88 mln USD for technical infrastructure

Authorities of the central province of Thua Thien-Hue will spend 2 trillion VND (around 88.6 million USD) on technical infrastructure in 2017, towards satisfying local socio-economic development requirements. 

The local administration will work with relevant agencies to accelerate the progress of key investment projects, especially in transport, such as a road to Phu Bai international airport and a route from National Road 1A to Bach Ma National Park. 

Water supply and wastewater treatment projects in industrial parks (IP) will continue to be implemented, using official development assistance and loans from the Asia Development Bank. 

Attention will be paid to ensuring the quality of water environment improvement projects in Hue city, building a power system serving infrastructure construction in the Phong Dien-Viglacera IP, investing in developing infrastructure and social housing for workers in Phu Da and Quang Vinh IPs. 

The province now boasts seven IPs with a total area of over 2,700 ha. These have attracted 137 investment projects worth 63 trillion VND (2.73 billion USD), including 92 foreign-invested projects with total registered capital of 2.65 billion USD.

In 2016, foreign direct investment firms operating in the locality raked in 650 million USD in revenue, up 18 percent year-on-year, contributing 1.5 trillion VND (66.4 million USD) to the local budget and providing jobs for 17,500 labourers. 

Thua Thien-Hue ranks 25th nationwide in attracting foreign investment and is one of the most attractive destinations for foreign investors in the central region.

Last year, local authorities granted investment licenses to nine new projects and approved capital addition to two others.

Children receive free heart checkups

The organising panel of the “Operation Healthy Heart” programme recently held free heart checkups for children across Vietnam. 

Children in the northern province of Nam Dinh on January 6-7 received free heart checkups and consultation which were held by the provincial Children’s hopital, the Vietnam National Hospital of Paediatrics and military-run telecom company Viettel.

A total of 100 out of 870 tested children required operations while many detected to have respiratory issues, anaemia or were malnourished.

Those with symptoms of heart disease will be treated for six months and those with congenital heart disease will be offered free operations at the Vietnam National Hospital of Paediatrics.

The programme, in collaboration with the children’s hospital of the southern province of Binh Duong, organised a free checkup activity for children under 16 from January 7-8 in the locality.

About 3,000 kids registered for the checkup on the first day.

The programme aimed to detect heart disease early and provide children with prompt treatment, said Vo Ngoc Quang, Deputy Director of Viettel Binh Duong, a sponsor of the scheme.

Launched in October 2008, the Operation Healthy Heart programme has provided more than 3,440 children suffering from heart defects nationwide with access to life-saving operations.

Jetstar Pacific offers cheap local, int’l flights to mark its new route

Low-cost airline Jetstar Pacific is offering a promotional program on some local and international routes to mark its new route linking Hanoi and Pleiku city in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai starting on January 6. 

The budget carrier offers low cost one-way tickets starting from VND37,000, excluding taxes and fees on January 6-8. The special price will be applied for flights departing from  January 10- March 31.

The new service on the Hanoi-Pleiku route will be operational on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, using 180-seat Airbus 320.

Flights from Hanoi are scheduled to take off at 6:10 am, while the return flights depart at 8:25 am. Flight time from Hanoi -Pleiku is 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Jetstar Pacific has operated local domestic flights connecting Vietnam’s main airports in HCMC, Hanoi, Danang, Vinh, Hai Phong, Hue, Buon Ma Thuot, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc Island, and international routes from HCMC to Singapore and Thailand.

The carrier announced it would buy 10 A320 CE0 Sharklet aircrafts from the European aerospace giant Airbus as part of its expansion plan between 2016 and 2020. The order will be delivered in 2017.

Dong Thap tourism week features various activities

A wide variety of unique activities are being held at the 2017 Dong Thap Province Tourism Week which officially opened in the city of Sa Dec on January 7.

The activities are taking place in three major places: Sa Dec Park, Sa Dec Flower Village and Sa Dec Rice Powder Village until January 14.

In Sa Dec Park, visitors have the chance to join the street festival after the opening ceremony yesterday, to learn more about the beauty of the local land and people through an artistic exhibition and to enjoy traditional cuisine in the southern province of Dong Thap.

Notably, a special space will be used for travel companies to introduce and sell tours to numeorus destinations in the province.

In addition, numerous cultural and arts activities are being held during the week, including a festival honouring don ca tai tu (a traditional form of musical art from the south), a festival for hip hop dance bands in Sa Dec and reproductions of folk games.

At Sa Dec Flower Park, visitors can enjoy an over 780-hectare field of blooming flowers; while learning how to make many kinds of cake from rice powder and visiting Sa Dec Rice Powder Village.

On the occasion of the event, seminars on “promoting trade and investment in Sa Dec,” “tourism development in Dong Thap Province” and “potential and development plans for products made from rice” will also be held.

At the event, a 12-metre flower display in Sa Dec Park, which was made from 2,500 baskets of fresh flowers, set a new national record.

Vietnamese contemporary photos exhibited in India

An exhibition of contemporary Vietnamese photography opened on January 5 at the Indira Gandhi National Centre in New Delhi, India. 

It is the first among activities held by the Vietnamese Embassy in India and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in 2017 to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties (January 7, 1972 – January 7, 2017) and 10 years of their strategic partnership (2007-2017). 

The exhibition displays 45 artworks and 45 photographs by 20 Vietnamese artists, featuring the beauty, culture and people of Vietnam. 

The event and other activities in India will boost cultural relations between the two nations, one of five pillars in the partnership between Vietnam and India, said Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh at the opening ceremony. 

The exhibition runs from January 5-10.

Needy people ensured warm Tet holiday

Taking care of people, especially the needy and vulnerable, during the Lunar New Year (Tet), is the responsibility of all-level Party Committees and local authorities, an official has said.

In November 2016, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs directed localities to use local budgets to support needy households during Tet, Deputy Minister Nguyen Trong Dam told the press in Hanoi on January 5.

He revealed that 40 provinces had submitted Tet preparation plans for needy people, noting that natural disasters, including long-lasting floods, harmed agricultural production, especially in the central and Central Highlands regions.

The official said 67,000 tonnes of rice have been provided for people affected by saltwater intrusion and marine environmental incident in the central region.

Nearly 431 billion VND (19 million USD) will be used to assist people with significant contributions to the national revolutionary cause.

The Vietnam General Confederation of Labour will encourage businesses to give Tet bonus to workers and facilitate their travelling, Dam said.

The Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee promulgated a plan to ensure a warm Tet for low-income households, especially in remote, border, island and natural disaster prone areas.

The Committee will present more than 6,000 gift packages worth 3.5 billion VND (154,315 USD) to support poor families and centres taking care of orphans and the disabled.

4,500 gifts worth nearly 2.3 billion VND (101,407 USD) will also be presented to impoverished families in the northern, central, southwestern and Central Highlands regions./.

Natural disasters across Vietnam left over 250 dead in 2016

Medicine University opens new facilities in Can Tho

The Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy in the Mekong Delta inaugurated new facilities on January 7 after five years of construction.

The new facilities of Public Health, Medical Technology, Medicine and Dentistry Departments were built on an area of 1.65ha, costing 164 billion VND (7.2 million USD).

Prof. Pham Van Linh, Rector of the University said that with new facilities, the university is able to train more health workers in the Mekong Delta, in line with the plan to develop the university in 2020 and with a view to 2030.

The next phase of the construction will be started in 2017, including a hospital with 450 beds.

The Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy was established in 2002, aiming to meet the increasing demand for health workers in the Mekong Delta.-

VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNE

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