Social News 12/8

Mekong Delta to accelerate transport infrastructure development


The Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region and the Ministry of Transport agreed to submit to the government the transport development plan for the region until 2020 with a vision to 2030. 

Under the plan, the region will have 83 new projects with an investment of 125.3 trillion VND (5.6 billion USD); of which, there are 45 road projects with a combined capital of 90.3 billion VND (4 billion USD). 

The plan also envisions four projects in aviation worth some 5.2 trillion VND (232 million USD), 22 others in maritime transport with an estimated investment of 18 trillion VND (807 million USD) and 14 in inland waterway valued at 11,8 trillion VND (530 million USD). 

The committee said besides completing projects under implementation, priority will be given to key projects to boost linkage in the region. 

According to Tran Huu Hiep, a permanent member of the committee, despite having a dense network of rivers and canals, inland waterway transport in the Mekong Delta has not developed as it should have, failing to help enterprises cut costs and boost competitiveness. 

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat said the ministry has assigned two units to work on developing the logistics system in the region and the World Bank has committed to an initial investment of 3.5 million USD in the region’s logistics sector.

Karaoke kindness leads to a damaged car

Do you like karaoke? If yes, you should be careful when visiting a karaoke bar in Mỹ Tho City of the Mekong Delta province of Tiền Giang, particularly when you get there by a muddy car.

On Monday, Dương Trung Hiếu, director of a company in southern Long An Province, went to a karaoke shop in Hùng Vương District in his own car to sing with his friends. His car was very muddy as he had just returned from a field trip to a forest.

After leaving the shop, Hiếu was very surprised to see his car being cleaned, but then surprise quickly turned into shock when he looked closely at his vehicle. The car’s doors and windscreen were covered in scratches.

Standing next to the car were two muscular security guards from the shop. They smiled and eagerly told him that they had used dry cloths to clean his car after finding it too dirty. They further said that because the spots on the car were difficult to clean, they had spent extra great effort to remove them.

Hiếu tried to be as much polite as possible by saying thank you to the security guards and took the car to a garage to repair the damage.

Kindness is necessary, but it can cause more harm than good if not used in the right place at the right time. There is a saying that says kindness plus a lack of knowledge can cause damage. –

11,645 Vietnamese people work abroad in July

As many as 11,645 workers were sent to work overseas in July, including 4,154 female workers, according to labour export businesses.

11,645 vietnamese people work abroad in july hinh 0 65,775 workers, including 23,946 female workers, were dispatched to work abroad during the first seven months of this year, meeting 65.78% of this year’s plan and equal to 95.99% of the figure recorded last year.

Major labour export markets are North-east Asia with Taiwan retaining the top place with 6,040 workers, trailed by Japan (3,533), the Republic of Korea (1,105), Saudi Arabia (269), and Malaysia (79).

Hanoi to limit construction violations

Hà Nội has 1,600 construction inspectors working from municipal level to ward and commune levels, but construction experts said violations in the field were still common.

In a recent conference reviewing urban public order, Secretary of the Hà Nội Party Committee Hoàng Trung Hải said that construction violations in Hà Nội were serious as they were seen every day and everywhere.

Hải said that several construction inspectors were found to have helped violators.

The municipal Department of Construction must manage and strictly punish inspectors working with violators, he said.

Hải asked the Hà Nội People’s Committee to propose management methods to the municipal Party Committee soon.

Following Hải’s request, the Hà Nội People’s Committee asked district people’s committees to directly oversee construction inspectors in their localities. The oversight will start at the beginning of next month.

The Hà Nội Department of Construction is completing procedures so that district authorities can arrange inspector forces before the end of this month.

Võ Nguyên Phong, deputy director of the Hà Nội Department of Construction, told the Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper that the arrangement would help inspectors work more effectively.

Organisations’ and individuals’ responsibility in managing construction would be clarified, he said.

Under the new arrangement, the Hà Nội Department of Construction would give guidance and manage salary and personnel.

Districts people’s committees would manage and assign construction inspectors duties.

In another development, by the end of last month, Hoàn Kiếm District meted out punishment in more than 10 cases of construction violations in Trần Hưng Đạo, Lý Thái Tổ, Tràng Tiền and Hàng Khay wards.

The district people’s committee also asked the Hoàn Kiếm Inspection Department to check the responsibility of chairmen of the wards people’s committees in the cases.

Unsafe high-rise dangers for children

Poor safety in high-rise buildings in big cities are a danger to residents living there, particularly children.

Several tragic accidents in high-rise apartments have been reported recently due to poor safety measure for windows and balconies.

The latest accident was the death of six-year-old boy in Hà Nội last month, Lao Động (Labour) newspaper reported.

The boy was reportedly home alone die after falling from the eleventh floor of a building in Linh Đàm urban area in Hoàng Mai district.

Earlier, a child aged six in Long Biên District’s Việt Hưng urban area died after falling from a sixth floor balcony.

According to the newspaper’s survey, balcony and window designs in some buildings in Hà Nội such as Linh Đàm, Trung Hòa-Nhân Chính or Nam Trung Yên are still unsafe.

Many of the high-rise apartments were designed without window bars.

In some buildings, the distance between safety bars was too large and easy for children to climb.

According to Ministry of Construction design standards, bars are needed in apartments from the ninth floor upward and must be at least 1.4m in height.

Dr Phạm Sỹ Liêm, vice chairman of Việt Nam Construction Federation, said poor safety in high-rise apartments’ railings and balconies was due to design error.

According to him, railings in high buildings must be at least 1.2m tall.

Balconies must be designed with vertical bars to prevent children climbing up easily, he said.

Trần Ngọc Mai, a Hanoian mother, said her husband made iron cages around the balcony to prevent their boy climbing.

Col Nguyễn Ngọc Châu, head of Hà Nội Fighting Police No 8 also said that the main cause of accidents in high-rise buildings was poor design.

Railings and balconies were not high enough, leading to tragedies, he said.

Civil society organisations held back by biased regulations: activists

Activists yesterday called the legal framework on association unfair and biased towards public society organisations (PSOs), while creating barriers to the operations of civil organisations.

Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Corporate Directors Hàn Mạnh Tiến said at an annual conference on civil society organisations (CSOs) held by the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations yesterday that the Government was spending a huge budget on society organisations, yet a disproportionate amount went to PSOs only.

Việt Nam had at least 52,565 associations as of December 2014, according to a Government report, of which the six biggest are PSOs that rest at the top of the country’s society organisation pyramid.

They include the Vietnam Fatherland Front, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour, the Vietnam Women’s Union, the Vietnam Youth Federation together with the Vietnam Farmers’ Association and the Vietnam War Veterans Association.

Standing next in line are some 9,028 specialised organisations at central and local levels representing particular careers and also put under the Party’s control. Those specialised associations are allowed to set up and manage local non-governmental organisations.

“The expenses to run the whole PSO system ranged from VNĐ45.6-68.1 trillion (US$2.05-3.06 billion) annually, equal to about 1 to 1.7 per cent of GDP,” Tiến said.

Head of the Institute for Policy Studies, Law and Development Hoàng Ngọc Giao said that the PSOs managed to receive full support from the Government, from infrastructure, personnel to spending budgets, which the CSOs have never had.

A recent survey of the Information Centre on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO-IC) on the difficulties its 86 members faced during operations showed that about 73 per cent of the CSOs struggled to find financial sponsors for their projects while nearly 55 per cent said they lacked adequate infrastructure.

CSOs also found it hard to look for funding from outside of Việt Nam.

“Financial aid from international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) was especially important to the development of civil society,” said Tiến.

“They provided US$102 million in 2003 and up to $300 million in 2013 with the number of projects increased to 28,000.”

Yet the hesitation of local authorities in approving aid from INGOs was believed to be one of the main obstacles blocking the money flow to CSOs.

NGO-IC Director Đỗ Thị Vân urged the Government for equal encouragement to both PSOs and CSOs, and a final call on the Law on Association that has been on and off the table since 1993.

So far Việt Nam has not had a specific law on association but relied on multiple legal documents to regulate the establishment of society organisations and their activities.

WB helps Mekong improve transport

All four packages of the World Bank-funded Mekong Delta Transport Infrastructure Development Project, also known as WB5, have been completed.

WB5 helped improve road and waterway traffic and reduce congestion on main roads and waterways, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyễn Nhật, who attended a conference yesterday in Cần Thơ to review the project, said.

The work began in 2008, linking HCM City with the delta’s 13 provinces and city at a cost of US$555 million, which included $360 million in IDA loans from the bank, a $45 million GOA grant from Australia, and $150 million from the Government.

Lê Huy Thăng, general director of the Ministry of Transport’s Management Board for Waterway Projects, said WB5 met the target of reducing transportation costs and eased travel between the delta and HCM City.

It helped improve the condition of waterways used for transport and improved transport facilities in remote areas where ethnic minorities live, he said. The financial support provided by the World Bank and Australia was used effectively, contributing to socio-economic development in the area, he said.

The project’s four packages were Package A to upgrade National Highways 53, 54, 91 and build Láng Sắt ferry station on National Highway 53, which was executed by the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam.

Package B, executed by the Việt Nam  Inland Waterways Administration (VIWA), expanded waterway corridors in the north of the region running through Đồng Tháp Mười and Long Xuyên and coastal corridors in the south.

Package C, implemented by local authorities, upgraded provincial roads and local waterways.

Package D by VIWA supported the ministry and local agencies in terms of technology.

Czech newspaper commends Vietnam’s reform achievements

Parlamentnilisty.cz, an e-newspaper of the Czech Republic, has recently run an article praising the achievements Vietnam has recorded over the past 30 years of reform.

The article, titled: “Achievements of 30-year reform in Vietnam,” said the Southeast Asian nation had fallen into a socio-economic crisis for a decade before it started the reform policy.

The situation began to be handled at the sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam in 1986, which, the article said, played an important role in Vietnam’s development as it oriented new ways of thinking in economic development and introduced a new legal system with improved regulations that met international standards.

The political reform was carried out in accordance with the economic growth level, the article said, stressing new directions that focused on stable and high economic growth, and people’s better living standards.

Vietnam is one of the few countries that have successfully conducted reform and maintained their economic growth at a stable and continuous pace, according to the article.

It cited the country’s annual GDP growth of around 7 percent during the 30-year period, and 7.4 percent in the last decade.

Mentioning Vietnam’s social development and poverty reduction, the article said more than one third of the country’s total social investments was allocated to the tasks of poverty alleviation, human resources development, education, science and technology, health, culture and other similar targets.

The newspaper quoted the UN’s assessments as saying that Vietnam is one of the countries worldwide that have taken the lead in the fight against poverty and met the requirements of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The poverty rate in Vietnam reached 58 percent before the effectuation of the reform policy, but now drops to 9 percent, it noted.

The article also commended Vietnam’s fruitful achievements in foreign affairs, saying the country has established diplomatic relations with nearly 180 countries and trade ties with more than 160 countries and territories across the world.

Currently, Vietnam is an active member of many regional and international organisations and forums like the UN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, it said.

The article concluded that such achievements have proven Vietnam’s sound decision to follow the path of reform, which has created a firm socio-economic foundation for the country to continue pursuing socialism.

Trade unions must double legal aid for women migrant workers

Legal assistance for women migrant workers must be enhanced and part of trade unions’ focus, Vice President of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) Nguyen Thi Thu Hong has said. 

She said the VGCL will take more measures to care for women workers in general, and female migrants workers in particular in the time ahead. 

A number of legal aid models have proved effective, she said, highlighting the mobile legal assistance service in Hanoi, the distribution of legal leaflets in Binh Duong province, and the provision of advice about collective labour agreements in Vinh Phuc province. 

Trade unions nationwide have established 19 centres, 42 offices and 15 groups on legal aid in all 63 provinces and cities. 

Vietnam currently houses 282 industrial parks and 55 industrial clusters which will strongly increase in the next few years as the country’s population is forecast to reach 100 million by 2020, Hong added. 

Meanwhile, Vietnam is strongly developing its economy with foreign investment set to thrive thanks to the enforcement of free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

The migration from rural areas to cities and industrial parks will soar, mostly among young women aged between 15 – 25 who want to seek a higher income than in their rural hometown, she said. 

Hong noted women migrant workers are the most vulnerable group as they lack knowledge about their rights and benefits and labour-related laws, not to mention other difficulties such as quota fulfillment pressure, poor nutrition and insufficient income.

Procuracy urged to continue enhancing socialist legislation

The Supreme People’s Procuracy needs to continue to effectively implement the policies of the Party and State regarding the judiciary field, enhance socialist legislation, ensure law enforcement and uphold the rule of law, President Tran Dai Quang has said.

Talking to the agency’s key officials in Hanoi on August 9, the President, who is also head of the Central Steering Committee for Judicial Reform, asked the sector to pay special attention to bettering the draft Law on amendments and supplements to some articles of the Penal Code 2015 and related bills.

Judiciary sectors, including the Supreme People’s Procuracy, ought to make greater efforts to combat corruption in the spirit of “no prohibited areas”, he said, stressing the need to recover appropriated assets.

President Quang also hailed the sector’s efforts in performing its assigned duties, saying they contributed to making judicial activities more effective.

In recent time, the role and responsibility of prosecutors have been enhanced while the time and quality of handling cases and the litigation skills of procurators have improved.

Over the last seven months, the sector’s supervision of the settlement of crime denouncements was implemented seriously and effectively. The sector completed all the four professional standards in accordance with Resolution No. 37/2012/QH13 of the National Assembly.

Activities done by investigation agencies under the Supreme People’s Procuracy were more and more effective, with 25 cases, including 19 relating to corruption, being prosecuted during the period.

The sector has taken many measures to improve the quality and litigation skills of prosecutors at court.-A

Prime Minister tours Quang Ngai province

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has suggested the central province of Quang Ngai to outstandingly carry forward its economic model propelled by agriculture and processing industry. 

At a meeting with key provincial leaders on August 9, the Government leader underscored the need for Quang Ngai to develop its services in accordance with market rules. 

It is a must for the province to review the policies and measures in place order to accomplish its socio-economic targets set for 2016, while completing its planning scheme, especially for transport infrastructure, he said. 

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the province should continue to give due attention to forestry and fishery despite their moderate contributions to the local GDP. 

In term of investment, Quang Ngai should target projects that can benefit the people, the leader noted, urging the locality to pay more heed to restructuring, afforestation, social welfare. 

While highlighting the province’s strength in maritime economy and industrial parks, as well as its achievements in economic shifting, the PM pointed out an array of limitations in the locality, particularly in agriculture, rural area building and poverty reduction. 

Quang Ngai’s economy depends largely on the performance of Dung Quat Oil Refinery, which contributes to 82 percent of local GDP, provincial officials reported. 

Notably, Ly Son – the province’s only island district – has posted stable socio-economic development with ensured defence and security. Its economy grows by over 16 percent every year with agriculture and aquaculture as major stakeholders. 

The district is also promoting tourism, a potential industry there. 

At the working session, officials from some ministries said though Quang Ngai boasts a number of industrial parks, it still relies on agriculture and Dung Quat Oil Refinery. 

They said the province should make active moves to prevent oil price vagaries that can affect the refinery’s performance and, as a result, influence local residents’ income.

On this occasion, the Government leader visited the Dung Quat Oil Refinery – a national work of economic, political and security significance. The facility has a total investment of over 3 billion USD. 

In the first seven months of this year, the plant produced 3.99 million tonnes of oil products and contributed 6.9 trillion VND (310.5 million USD) to the State budget. 

PM Phuc expressed his hope that the plant will reap more successes and soundly contribute to the implementation of the nation’s socio-economic development tasks in 2016 and the following years. 

He also visited container-based houses piloted by the H.E.L.P social joint stock company. The houses will be used to serve ethnic students in mountainous districts in the province.

Vietnamese youths in Europe to join Paris festival

The second festival for Vietnamese youths and students in Europe will be held in Choisy-le-Roi, an outskirt city of Paris, on August 27-28, according to the Association of Vietnamese Students in France (UEVF).

The UEVF said at a press briefing on August 8 that the associations of Vietnamese students from Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and France have affirmed their participation in this year’s festival, which is named LUMOS.

Addressing the event, Ambassador to France Nguyen Ngoc Son appreciated the objective of the festival, which, as he described, is a useful and interesting playground for Vietnamese youths studying and working in Europe.

The festival also offers an opportunity for the young Vietnamese people abroad to promote the land, people and culture of Vietnam to French and international friends while instilling patriotism into them, he said.

Regarding the venue of the festival, Choise-le-Roi city, the ambassador said that the city hosted the Vietnamese who engaged in negotiations of the Paris Agreement from March 15, 1968 to January 27, 1973.

The city has set up the pair relationship with Hanoi’s Dong Da district, he added.

UEVF Vice President Nguyen Minh Duc said with the slogan “Shine as you are,” the festival aims to encourage creativeness among the youths.

Apart from artistic and music programmes, the festival will feature a workshop in the East Sea.

Vietstock 2016 looks to increase food safety

Vietnam’s Premier International Feed, Livestock and Meat Industry Expo (Vietstock 2016) will take place in Ho Chi Minh City on October 19-21 with a view to increasing food safety and quality in animal husbandry.

The Department of Livestock Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and UBM Asia Limited – the largest trade show organiser in Asia held a press conference in Hanoi on August 9 to introduce the event.

The biennial event is expected to draw over 300 businesses from 30 countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, the US, France, the UK, Germany and Canada to get updated on the latest technologies and inventions in the field and forge cooperation and connectivity.

CEO of UBM Asia M.Gandhi said the increasing scale of the expo shows international companies’ interest in the Vietnamese livestock market, which boasts strong development potential in the future.

The organising board will grant the 7 th Vietstock award to organisations which have active contributions to the development of the Vietnamese animal husbandry. New prizes will be presented to the aquatic breeding sector.

The reward ceremony will be held at the opening event on October 19.

Vietstock 2016 will also include workshops on improving livestock productivity, nutrition in animal feed, and farm management, alongside “business connectivity” events enabling domestic and foreign enterprises to seek partnerships.

Campaign calls on action for green urban environment

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha has approved the “Clean up the World” campaign for 2016 with the message of taking action for a green and sustainable urban environment. 

The campaign, initiated by Australia in 1993, has been organised in the third week of September annually with the participation of more than 130 nations. 

Vietnam has responded to the event since 1994, with numerous practical and effective activities. 

Vietnam’s participation in the campaign shows its commitment to the globe’s efforts to protect the environment and cope with climate change. 

The central coastal province of Quang Nam was assigned to host a national event in response to this year’s campaign as the locality has made progresses in natural resources and environmental management and protection, climate change adaptation, sustainable development, and in tapping tourism potential.

HCM City kicks off innovation contest for youth

The Centre for Science and Technology Development for Youth has kicked off the Contest on Youth Innovation Ideas 2016 for young Vietnamese aged 6 to 35 at home and abroad.

The contest, with the theme Urban Planning and Development, aims to promote innovation and scientific research among youth. It seeks initiatives and practical solutions that can be used to develop a modern, civilised city.

Innovative ideas for this year’s contest should be focused on rehabilitation of the city’s five main canals, including Tàu Hủ-Bến Nghé, Đôi-Tẻ, Tân Hóa-Lò Gốm, Nhiêu Lộc-Thị Nghè, Tham Lương-Bến Cát canals.

The contest encourages submission of initiatives and solutions on the resettlement of households living along canals and rivers as well as ways to reduce traffic congestion, flooding and pollution.

Entries will be accepted until September 20 at the Centre for Science and Technology Development for Youth in HCM City’s District 1.

Online submissions can be sent to the website khoahoctre.com.vn. 

New TV show stars young theatre actors

A TV show on Vĩnh Long Television’s THVL1 channel featuring young theatre actors is attracting audiences in the Mekong River Delta region.

The Sao Nối Ngôi (Young Stars) show, produced by Vĩnh Long Television, showcases performances of vọng cổ (nostalgic tunes), cải lương (reformed opera) and tuồng or hát bội (classical drama), traditional genres of theatre in the southern and central regions. 

People’s Artist Bạch Tuyết, teacher of many cải lương stars, said: “Our programme invited children of well-known actors because we wanted to encourage young faces to keep their family’s artistic tradition and develop their career.”  

“I love to see veteran actors and their children perform together in Sao Nối Ngôi. I believe that our theatre should be transferred from older generations to younger ones,” she said.

Linh Tý, oldest son of cải lương stars Linh Tâm and Cẩm Thu, said: “Working besides my parents has been my biggest wish for more than 10 years. My parents gave me my first lessons on stage. They helped develop my art in a professional way.”

Tý began his career when he was seven years old. He has performed in more than 70 plays and hundreds of TV shows and videos.

“Performing in Sao Nối Ngôi is a chance for us to participate show our love for theatre,” said the 26-year-old actor. 

Last week, Tý and his parents have performed in Bài Ca Tìm Mẹ (Song of Mother) a cải lương play featuring social problems, written by Tý’s grandfather, Trương Vũ.

“I’m a fan of Tý’s parents, who were big stars on stage in the 1990s. I’m very happy to see two generations in a family perform together on TV. I believe their art will stay alive,” said Nguyễn Thị Bé, a resident of Cần Thơ City.

Theatre director Châu Ngọc Ẩn, the show’s art director, said: “Our show attracted 15 young performers, who were all given training in singing, dance and music taught by their parents.”  

“We plan to work with radio and TV stations in the region to offer shows for these young performers. For kids who have a talent, we will send them to study at art schools in HCM City and Cần Thơ.”

The programme’s next show will feature a series of vọng cổ songs and extracts from famous tuồng plays, such as Huyền Trân Công Chúa (Princess Huyền Trân) and Trần Quốc Toản (Young Hero Trần Quốc Toản).  

The show will include child actors Hồng Nhung, Bình Tinh and Thiêng Ngân, all of whom were trained by their parents, including veteran artists Kim Tử Long, Duy Phương, Lê Giang and Vũ Linh

The show airs every Tuesday.

Children’s festival shines spotlight on tài tử music

Four golden prizes were awarded to young finalists at the 1st Tài Tử Music Festival for Children, called Búp Sen Vàng (Golden Lotus), which ended last Sunday at HCM City’s District 5 Cultural Centre.   

The finalists, aged 10-13, performed songs and instrumental pieces before 1,000 people.

The youngest winner, Nguyễn Ngọc Tâm, 9, with her strong voice and performance skills, performed Niềm Vui Đến Trường (Joy in School), a song praising the country, schools and teachers.

Twelve-year-olds Nguyễn Như Cường and Nguyễn Nguyệt Thu received a gold medal for their playing of the đàn kìm, a two-stringed guitar and đàn bầu (monochord).  

Nguyễn Hồng Bảo Ngọc, 13, impressed audiences singing Chú Lính Trường Sa (Soldiers in Trường Sa), a song featuring the beauty of Trường Sa (Spratly Islands) and its soldiers.

A special prize was presented to the youngest contestant, four-year-old Đào Minh Triết of the District 8 Cultural House.

The festival attracted more than 100 children under 15 years old from 26 cultural houses and centres around the city.

The young participants competed in four categories of solo, duo, trio and group during the three-day event. 

“Our festival aims to seek and help new young talents in tài tử develop their career. We will organise the festival every two years,” said Nguyễn Văn Minh, deputy director of the city’s Department of Culture and Sports, a member of the festival’s organising board.

Earlier this year, the department also organised a music writing contest to create songs and tài tử pieces for children.  

The 20 best works have been published and recorded on CDs for distribution in local primary schools and cultural houses for children.

Tài tử music is considered the prototype for vọng cổ (traditional tunes) and cải lương (reformed opera) of southern Việt Nam. It is a part of the region’s traditional music that began 100 years ago.

In 2013, the music was recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by  UNESCO.

Preserving ethnic cultures

The Government has approved a project to preserve and promote the literature and art of ethnic minorities.

As part of the project, surveys and studies will be conducted to develop a database of the literature and art of all ethnic minority groups. Some 1,500 of more than 2,500 collected ethnic works and research projects will be compiled and published in print and electronically. Documentaries and 3D books will be developed, each featuring the cultural identities, livelihoods and development of all 54 ethnic groups across the nation. 

The database will be available in Vietnamese and other languages on the project’s website.

The project aims to promote Party and State policies on ethnicity, as well as the cultural heritage of all ethnic minority communities to international friends. It also hopes to enrich the cultural identities of Việt Nam and consolidate national solidarity and patriotism among ethnic groups,  in the process of promoting industrialization, modernization and international integration.

Rice-shrimp farming: an effective and sustainable production model

In the last five years, the dual rice-shrimp farming systems has grown in many Mekong Delta provinces from tens of thousands of hectares in 2005 to 160,000 ha in 2011 and is likely to reach 200,000 ha by 2020.

The model has proven effective and sustainable.

The Mekong Delta has many advantages for developing rice-shrimp farming, which is more environmentally friendly than other models due to easy application of advanced management methods, less use of chemicals, and conformity to good agricultural practices (GAP).

In addition to the key products, which are rice and shrimp, other crops and aquatic products can be alternately farmed under the model, which has profits of up to 30% higher than shrimp or rice farming alone. 

Hoi Van Thu, a farmer from Phong Tan commune in Bac Lieu province, has cultivated rice and raised shrimps simultaneously.

He said, “In the last five years, regulating saline zones and fresh zones in my locality hasn’t been stable. Much salt intrusion has made it impossible for rice to be sowed in the fields. That’s why the rice-shrimp farming model has increased economic efficiency”.

Rice cultivation in shrimp raising areas is a way to remove salt from the rice fields during the rainy season, limit salt intrusion, and prolong the life-span of land use.

Ca Mau and Bac Lieu are among the Mekong provinces with large rice-shrimp farms, master-planning and development directions until 2020, and solutions for developing the model sustainably.

Soc Trang has master-planned rice-growing areas on shrimp farms that produce Ngoc Dong brand fragrant rice in accordance with GlobalGAP standards.

Tra Vinh, which is famous for rice-shrimp farming on Long Hoa island in the middle of the Tien River, has successfully established organic rice cultivation areas for high-end export markets.

Dr Tran Van Khoi, Director of the National Agricultural Promotion Center, says the rice-shrimp farming model now typifies Mekong Delta coastal areas.

“First, provinces have done regional master-planning in line with detailed directions from the government and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for each province,” he said. 

“Second, with the available resources, provinces should focus on the transfer of technology, especially training to improve farmers’ production skills so that the model can develop sustainably. Third, we need to encourage farmers to promote product brand,” Mr Khoi said.

The rice-shrimp production scale in the Mekong Delta could reach 200,000 ha, contributing about 800,000 tons of rice a year. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development plans to develop an irrigation system for the model.

National Discovery Museum Institute holds discussion on promoting a learning society

The National Discovery Museum Institute has invited experts from ASEAN nations to share knowledge on HR development and increasing the role of museums in society.

Director of the National Discovery Museum Institute Rames Promyen said the need to develop human resources in Thailand’s 5,000 museums and learning centers, coupled with the agenda of creating a learning society, has prompted the institute to host the ASEAN forum. 

Discussions include the use of digital technology in museum presentations and encouraging community participation to develop learning centers. The event is taking place from August 2nd – 3rd. Those interested in participating in the event can call 02-225-2777.

President: agencies must fight corruption

The Supreme People’s Procuracy must continue to effectively implement the policies of the Party and State, enhance socialist legislation, ensure law enforcement and uphold the rule of law, President Trần Đại Quang said yesterday.

Speaking with the agency’s key officials in Hà Nội, the President, who is also head of the Central Steering Committee for Judicial Reform, asked them to pay special attention to bettering the draft law on amendments and supplements to some articles of the Penal Code 2015 and related bills.

Judiciary sectors, including the Supreme People’s Procuracy, ought to make greater efforts to combat corruption in the spirit of “no prohibited areas”, he said, stressing the need to recover appropriated assets.

President Quang also hailed the sector’s efforts in performing its assigned duties, saying they contributed to making judicial activities more effective.

The role and responsibility of prosecutors have been enhanced, while the time and quality of handling cases and the litigation skills of procurators have improved.

Activities by investigation agencies under the Supreme People’s Procuracy were more and more effective, with 25 cases, including 19 relating to corruption, being prosecuted.

Vietnamese jailed for trafficking woman into China brothel

A court in Hanoi on August 9 sentenced a man to seven years in prison for human trafficking after his victim escaped a brothel in China and reported the case to the police.

Investigators said Tang Dinh Loc, 35, had promised the 38-year-old woman to help her find a job at a shop in Lao Cai Province near China.

After winning her trust, he then brought her to a sex ring organizer in Lao Cai in February 2015 and got paid VND2 million, or less than US$100. 

The woman was then taken across the border and forced to work in a brothel, serving around ten clients each day.

The victim managed to escape several days later and received help from Chinese police. She then returned to Vietnam.

Loc was arrested last January.

Human trafficking has been on the rise in Vietnam in recent year with more reports of women and children, almost always from poor areas, being trafficked into slave labor and prostitution in neighboring countries.

A report from the Ministry of Public Security last month showed that nearly 4,500 victims were rescued in the last five years. The number of trafficking cases busted by the police during the period increased nearly 12% from the previous five years to 2,200.

Saigon Railways offering up to 50% off train tickets

Saigon Railways is offering a 50% discount to passengers who buy train tickets at least 60 days prior to departure, in a bid to boost post-summer sales, the railway operator has said.

Passengers who buy tickets from 30 to 59 days prior to departure dates will receive a 30% discount, the railway company added.

The promotion is applicable to the following trains; SE3, SE4, SE7, SE8, SE21, SE22, TN1, and TN2, with a travel period between September 10 and December 31.

Ticket refund or change is acceptable at least 72 hours prior to departure, Saigon Railways said.

The railway company announced that passengers will be entitled to a 20 percent discount when buying tickets to board SE3, SE4, SE7, SE8, SE21, SE22, TN1, TN2, SE25, SE26, SNT1, SNT2, SPT1, SPT2, N11, N12, SNT9, and SNT6, from August 15 onwards.

The railway operator also said that four pairs of trains, including TN1-TN2, SE 25-SE 26, SNT1-SNT2, and SPT1-SPT2, will stop at Di An Station in the southern province of Binh Duong to carry passengers.

HCMC hires foreign consultants for metro projects

Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong has approved of the city Urban Railway Management Board’s hiring foreign consultants for metro line projects, announced the board yesterday afternoon.

The board is responsible for coordinating with relevant agencies to choose eligible and qualified consultants, the committee asked.

In addition, the board has been required to work with relevant agencies to study and propose a preferential wage mechanism on luring and keeping human resources of high-level professional and technical qualifications to manage and run urban railway projects.

Deadline for the board to submit the mechanism to the people’s committee is in the fourth quarter this year.

The committee prompted the board to urgently report difficulties and problems beyond its competence and put forward solutions to speed up metro projects, outline control and supervision measures over the progress of each item in the first metro route Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien and the entire project.

It agreed with the board’s proposal to auction bidding packages to speed up the second metro line project that has been adjusted. Contracts with bid winners will only be signed when the project’s adjustments have been approved by authorized agencies.

Because the second metro line has been behind schedule, HCMC urged the board to positively and proactively coordinate with ministries, agencies and investors to timely solve the real problems. Anything falling out of the board’s jurisdiction must be immediately reported to the city people’s committee.

They should also strengthen preparation works for the remaining metro projects.

The committee has assigned the Department of Planning and Investment to ask the Prime Minister to choose Toshin Development Ltd as investor of Ben Thanh underground trading center.

Over 54 billion to preserve ethnic minority culture

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has approved a project worth over VND 54 billion to preserve and promote the culture of ethnic minorities during the 2016-2020 period.

The project targets the 53 ethnic minorities in Ha Giang, Bac Kan, Lang Son, Lao Cai, Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Son La, Yen Bai, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Binh Dinh, Kon Tum, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, An Giang and Soc Trang provincies, especially ethnic minority groups with fewer than 1,000 members or fewer than 5,000 members in the provinces.

After finishing the project, the plan is expected to build 15 economic development models associated with sustainable tourism development; preserve and promote 20 traditional crafts, 20 festivals; 15 folk games; 30 art groups; ten display houses; build from 200 to 500 tourism cultural products; organise 20 training courses on tourism skills for ethnic people; open five tours and five cultural events which will attract from 5,000 to 1 million visitors per destination each year.

The project aims to promote Party and State policies on ethnic minorities, as well as promote the cultural heritage of all ethnic minority communities to international friends.

It also hopes to enrich the cultural identities of Vietnam and consolidate national solidarity and patriotism among ethnic groups, in the process of promoting industrialization, modernization and international integration.

Nghe An Fujian cypress forest ravaged by illegal loggers

A large amount of Fujian cypress trees in a forest in the central province of Nghe An have been illegally logged, but the local authorities surprisingly claim not to know anything about the case.

Illegal loggers have cut down dozens of Fujian cypress trees in Hanh Dich Commune, part of the Pu Hoat Nature Reserve in Que Phong District.

The problem has become more serious in the area adjacent to Laos.  

With the support of a local resident, reporters from the VietnamNet online newspaper investigated the site early August and heard sawmills in use and trees falling.

On the mountain top there are obvious signs of Fujian cypress trees having been cut down. Big trees were divided into pieces for being transported easily. Cans of petrol used for the saws were also found besides the pieces of timber.

Most of the Fujian cypress trees in this forest have been logged.

According to local residents, the illegal loggers are people who live near the forest. They receive orders from traders at around VND7 million (USD333.3) per cubic metre of Fujian cypress timber.

During the two-hour trip, the reporters saw many groups of people carrying pieces of Fujian cypress timber to the foot of the mountain.  

Big trees were divided into pieces for being transported easily.

However, authorities of Que Phong District claim to know nothing about the rampantly illegal logging at the local Pu Hoat Nature Reserve until the article about the situation was published on VietnamNet recently.

Chairman of the district people’s committee Le Van Giap said that he was really surprised at the illegal logging at Pu Hoat Nature Reserve mentioned in the article. Every week, he received a report from the local forest management board which claimed there were no problems.

Giap added that the district had set up a taskforce to investigate into the case.

Authorities of the central province of Quang Nam are also investigating illegal logging of a large amount of Fujian cypress in the border area adjacent to Laos. The logging may be related to a major illegal wood trading ring which has the support of customs and border guard forces in border areas.

Fujian cypress is a threatened species in Vietnam, where it is considered valuable due to its aroma and exceptional weight. It is used to make art work, furniture, and charcoal.

Hundreds protest over non-payment of drought compensation

Hundreds of households in the Ia Hlop Commune, Chu Sa District, Gia Lai Province, gathered at the communal headquarters on August 8 and 9 to demand an explanation as to why they have not been given drought compensation. 

Tran Quoc Cuong, a local in Village 2, said he had three hectares of coffee beans and lost two hectares in the drought. Despite a government directive to support and provide compensation for the losses, he hasn’t received anything. Many other households said they didn’t even know that such directive exists.

Farmers also said they hadn’t received support money to dig wells and ponds. Only the relatives and acquaintances of the village’s heads and commune’s leaders were given the money.

According to the locals, the money to help people dig wells and ponds was given to an official in the irrigation office who is from another district, Chu Puh. 20 out of 55 households that have been given the money are relatives of local officials and the rest of those listed to receive the payments were fake. 400 households that should have been given the money didn’t even know the payments existed. 

Ia Hlop Commune’s chairman Le Sy Quy said in the list he received, there were 753 affected households and 514 hectares of coffee beans and black pepper for the winter-spring crop were damaged. The government would provide VND4m (USD181) per hectare for farmers who had lost all of their crops and VND2m per hectare for who had 30 to 70% of their crops damaged.

He claimed reports from his subordinates showed that the money had been given to the right people. The work is still being carried out so Sor Village as well as villages 1 and 2 haven’t yet been compensated.

Talking about why people weren’t given support money to dig wells, Quy said the officials didn’t publicise the information widely enough. The lists were created by the village heads so lots of households didn’t know that they had to register with their village heads. He blamed the village officials and even the public themselves for not going to village meetings and reporting their damages to village heads.

Vice head of Chu Se District Nguyen Huu Tam said they had established two inspection teams to review the situation and provide compensation.

Chu Se District is allocated VND7bn (USD318,000). Similar incidents have also been reported in many other communes.

No more 100% agri-insurance support for poor households

Poverty-stricken farming households must share a certain percentage of agricultural insurance premiums in the coming time, instead of receiving full support from the State as at present, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Speaking at a conference on a pilot insurance scheme for aquaculture products held in Can Tho City last Friday, Tran Thanh Nam, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the State would not provide 100% support for agricultural insurance premiums for poor farmers. This means the ratio would be revised down.

Nam said the agriculture ministry and the Ministry of Finance are working with relevant authorities over the issue and will send the Government a new scheme on agricultural insurance.

Phung Ngoc Khanh, head of the Insurance Management and Supervision Department under the Ministry of Finance, said poor households should share a certain percentage of agricultural insurance.

Nam said agricultural insurance would be based on a voluntary basis and focused on crops, livestock and aquaculture.

The Prime Minister issued Decision No. 315/QD-TTg on March 1, 2011 on a pilot agricultural insurance program in 2011-2013, which offers full insurance help for poor households and 90% of insurance premiums for near-poor households.

The pilot program has attracted hundreds of thousands of farmers, with 236,396 households insured for rice cultivation, 76.5% of them poor and 16.8% near-poor; 60,133 households insured for livestock farming, 84.1% of them poor and 9.8% near-poor; and 7,487 households insured for aquaculture, 27.4% of them poor, and 4% near-poor.

Compensation payouts for the above insured groups amounted to VND17.4 billion (US$780,000), VND19.5 billion (US$874,000) and VND675.9 billion (US$30.3 million), respectively.

HCMC to renovate half of aging tenements towards 2021

The government of HCMC will rebuild around half of the deteriorating tenements across the city towards 2021, vice chairman of the city Le Van Khoa told a question-and-answer session of the HCMC People’s Council last Friday.

The city’s urban rehabilitation plan will reconstruct and renovate deteriorating tenements. There are 474 aging apartment blocks needing renovation and reconstruction.

Assessments of these housing blocks could be finished this year. The Prime Minister has permitted the city to offer no-bid contracts for investors interested, Khoa said of the plan to deal with the old tenements.

Regarding the apartments which have been used as collateral for bank loans by investors, Khoa said the city government would protect the legitimate rights of home buyers.

The city has recently named 77 property projects which have been mortgaged, he said, adding it is still working towards increasing transparency on this market to protect the rights of home buyers and investors.

The HCMC Real Estate Association (HoREA) earlier said the re-building of old tenements and houses along canals in HCMC was being slow due to problems with selection of investors and planning.

Of the 474 tenement blocks which should be renovated and reconstructed, a majority were built in the 1960s and 106 are in dangerous conditions.

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

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