Social News 6/11

Da Nang industrial parks lack childcare facilities

A shortage of kindergartens for the children of migrant labourers in Đà Nẵng City-based industrial zones has put pressure on workers and authorities.

Lữ Thị Kim Hoa, head of the Education Office in Liên Chiểu District said that the supply of kindergartens in the city fell short of demand from workers in industrial zones.

Meanwhile, licensed public and private kindergartens in nearby residential areas are overloaded, forcing many workers to send their children to unlicensed childcare facilities, she said.

The district has only 36 licensed public and private kindergartens and more than 210 unlicensed childcare facilities.

There are over 70,000 workers in the city’s industrial zones, more than 30,000 of which worked in Hoà Khánh industrial zone alone, about 60 per cent of whom are female.

Many facilities could not meet necessary safety and health requirements.

In the past, managing childcare faciltities was the responsibility of local authorities, Hoa said.

However, the office still advises localities to manage and control unlicensed kindergartens to avoid risks to children, she said.

Đức Thắng, a worker in Hòa Khánh industrial zone’s Việt Mỹ Steel Production Joint Stock Company, told Lao Động (Labour) newspaper that he spent months looking for a babysitter for his nine-month-old son.

He asked his friends for help finding a day-care centre on social networks.

“I have to trust their advice. But it’s hard to know the real quality of unlicensed centres,” Thắng said.

Another worker said that she sent her daughter to a babysitter and was satisfied with the care for the first two years.

But then the quality dropped sharply when the centre accepted more children, she said.

She then had to ask her parents to take care of her child, the worker said.

The newspaper reported that city authorities recently approved a project by a US foundation to build a care centre and kindergarten for needy children.

The centre, One Sky Đà Nẵng, will be constructed at Liên Chiểu District Hòa Khánh Bắc Ward.

The project is expected to feature office buildings, multipurpose rooms, security areas, classrooms, and a playground for children from six to thirty-six months.

Sponsored by Half the Sky Foundation with a budget of VNĐ75.9 billion (US$3.4 million), the centre is intended to take care of children of workers at the Hòa Khánh Industrial Park.

The centre will be built between 2016 and 2019.

However, according to the newspaper’s research, only 250 children will be cared for over three consecutive years.

With this limited number, it will not meet the huge demand of workers in the industrial zone.

Hoa explained that this choice was based on international standards with high quality of care and teaching.

“About 250 children of needy families in Hòa Khánh Industrial Park will be chosen for caring at the centre under the foundation’s standard,” she said.

To meet demand and ensure the children’s safety, health and proper development, the city’s construction department is studying a plan to convert dormitories for students in the west of the city to worker accommodation complexes, with kindergartens, Nguyễn Văn Nam, deputy director said.

The department has assigned the planning institute to research the plan and report to city authorities and the Government, he said.

It has also co-ordinated with relevant agencies to study a project for all the industrial parks in the city, Nam added. 

Platform consults on sustainable use of natural capital

How to improve the quality of natural capital is a challenge and also a target that Viet Nam is aiming for to ensure rapid and sustainable development.

This was stated by Nguyễn Thế Chinh, director general of the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment (ISPONRE) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, at a workshop in Hà Nội yesterday.

“The solution is to make use of Việt Nam’s assets, learn from international experience and combine the development of science, technology and capital sources, including natural capital,” he said.

The consultant workshop gathered experts and officials from related agencies, institutes and universities to discuss how to operate the Natural Capital Platform in Việt Nam effectively. 

Natural capital, defined as the net value of a country or region’s natural assets, includes geological features, soil, air, water and all living things. It is generally considered to comprise three principal categories, namely natural resource stocks, land and eco-systems. 

Natural Capital Platform in Việt Nam is a non-profit and non-political organisation. Its aim is to enhance the knowledge base and ensure well-coordinated efforts that will raise awareness of the importance of natural capital considerations among relevant stakeholders to integrate it into planning, budgeting and accounting for sustainable development in Việt Nam.

It welcomes the participation of all interested parties — government policies makers, technical staff, relevant development partners and non-governmental organisations, as well as civil society and private sector. 

ISPONRE, which founded the platform, also takes the lead and coordinates with national and international platforms. The foreign partners include UNDP, Asian Development Bank and German Agency for International Cooperation.

According to Chinh after 30 years of đổi mới (reform), Việt Nam has made remarkable achievements. The country’s growth depends primarily on existing natural resources. This has led to environmental pollution, reduction in natural resources and affected the quality of eco-systems, threatening economic development.

The gathering agreed that using natural capital effectively is extremely important to help Việt Nam reach Sustainable Development Goals and implement multilateral environmental agreements, including the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Đào Xuân Lai, UNDP representative, said “We should begin from a scientific foundation. It means we should call for participation and support from scientific institutes and organisations at the beginning of the platform’s establishment.”

Associate Prof Dr Đặng Huy Huỳnh, former executive committee deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment, suggested that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment or Ministry of Planning and Investment be the supporting unit in terms of policies for the platform.

“We should also take into consideration the participation of the community, for example, of 54 ethnic groups in Việt Nam, in discovering and protecting natural capital as they know the country’s natural resources very well,” he said.

According to ISPONRE, the next steps of the platform are to set up a technical working group, including experts, leading managers working in the natural capital sector in Viet Nam and a coordination committee to propose a list of priority policy briefs for collaborative efforts.

HIV response must cover women

With women facing increased risks of HIV infection, experts are calling for greater emphasis on addressing the needs of women and girls in the national HIV response.

Speaking yesterday at a Hà Nội workshop on the importance of mainstreaming gender into HIV work, Shoko Ishikawa, UN Women Country Representative said women and girls living with HIV “now face extraordinary, and often intersecting, forms of discrimination. Many face losing their home, custody of their children and property and inheritance rights.”

Women who engaged in sex work also suffer high levels of discrimination, she said.

In 2014 an estimated 240,000 adults were living with HIV in Việt Nam. Although the number of new infections had remained high at 14,000 a year, the proportion of infected women increased from one in four in 2007 to one in three by 2014. More than half of women living with HIV reported their only possible exposure to HIV being through a husband or long-term sex partner who had engaged in high-risk behaviour, according to the Việt Nam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC).

VAAC deputy general director Phạm Đức Mạnh said there is “limited awareness and legal and policy framework which focus on women and girls living with HIV at the moment.”

“Only very few existing indicators are women-focused, and the review system focuses on quantitative data and case studies, which provide quite limited insights into the response of women, and more generally, the quality and effectiveness of the programme. Together with the lack of gender knowledge, these are becoming major barriers to an effective national response to HIV,” he said.

In Việt Nam, sexual transmission is the most common means of transmission of HIV. Half of all people who were infected with HIV in 2014 were infected sexually compared to one in 10 in 2000. But only 40 per cent of young women have accurate knowledge about preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, according to the VAAC.

The VAAC is now revising the HIV National Work Plan 2016-20 and preparing 2017 work plans.

Turtle laying her eggs? Privacy, please!

Curiosity is not always good. Sometimes it causes annoyance for those you are curious about.

This is so true for creatures that need privacy, like sea turtles.

A sea turtle was seen crawling onto Mũi Cồn Beach in central Quy Nhơn City’s Nhơn Hải Commune late one night. It travelled nearly 200 metres from the water to find a safe place to lay eggs.  

Sea turtles usually come ashore to lay eggs only after dark and after the tide has risen. They find empty and tranquil beaches without lights or noise to work in privacy.

Unluckily, the mother-to-be had a very bad experience that night.

Local residents followed her footprints in the sand, armed with curiousity, excitement and smart phones. They had rarely seen any turtles on the beach in recent years, and watching an endangered species laying eggs was such an amazing experience.

They quickly approached the place where the large turtle was digging a hole in which to lay her eggs.

Poor turtle! She was surrounded by the lights of many cameras and by the noise of cheering human beings. The mother turtle seemed quite ashamed or annoyed, and she just filled up the hole and returned to the sea without laying any eggs.   

Meanwhile, the crowd got nothing but images of a sea turtle laying motionless for nearly three hours before returning to the sea, leaving no eggs.

Just boycott ’cussing noodle’ shops

A noodle shop in Hà Nội is famous for yelling and cursing its customers.

A recent episode of a CNN food show showed the shop owner, a middle-aged lady, as being very free and frank in the way she communicates with her customers.  

The so-called ‘cussing noodles’, named by world-renowned chef Anthony Bourdain, captured public curiosity after being aired. Many locals and foreigners rushed to try the dish, doubling the owner’s income.

Although the woman promised local media she would try to control her hot temper, she could not keep her promise. On Facebook and social networks, many asked to be paid a fee by those who insult and curse others.

A lawyer from the Hà Nội Lawyers Association assessed that the shop owner could be fined between VNĐ100,000-300,000 for insulting and humiliating others’ dignity – and said she should be strictly fined for such acts.

Come on! It’s not worth spending time and human resources for such cases. Just stop entering the shop, stop eating the ‘cussing noodles’, and stop talking about them. That’s the heaviest penalty she could possibly pay.

HCM City’s latest play to join int’l experimental theater festival in Hanoi

An experimental play named Giac Mo (The Dream) scripted by Nguyen Dinh Thi and directed by Thai Kim Tung which was launched last week in HCMC would join the International Experimental Theatre Festival in Hanoi in November.

The Dream tells a story about a soldier in a battlefield who is badly injured and falls into a coma. In the half-alive situation, he has a conversation with the Death who asks him to leave but he wishes to keep his life.

During this dialogue, the Death allows the soldier to meet powerful characters in the history like Emperor Qin Shi Huang and Queen Cleopatra. These two people were seeking for longevity’s medicine but all died like ordinary people. Later, the soldier learns a truth that the death in wartime is a certain thing no matter how regrettable he is. Director Thai Kim Tung has used many new methods to make the play different from normal drama. The Dream is a combination of contemporary dance, cai luong (southern opera) and poetry. The use of sounds, lighting systems and costumes has made The Dream a strange yet special story to spectators via lively performances of veteran actor Trung Dung (the spirit of the soldier), Le Vinh (the soldier), Bach Long (the Death), and Meritorious Artist My Uyen (the voice of the homeland) and young actors of the 5B Vo Van Tan Theater.

The International Experimental Theatre Festival will take place from November 15 to 30 in Hanoi, featuring 17 plays by ten teams in the world. All the works will have English subtitles on a LED screen. The festival’s purposes are to bring more chances for local and international artists to exchange and improve their knowledge and experience.

Mien Tay Coach Station to move to Binh Chanh Dist

HCMC will move the Mien Tay Coach Station in Binh Tan District to a 20-hectare location in Binh Chanh District.

The city government last week assigned Tan Thuan Industrial Promotion Co Ltd to work with Phu My Hung Corporation to transfer half of a 40-hectare area for public projects in Binh Chanh to Saigon Transportation Mechanical Corporation (SAMCO).

SAMCO will develop the area into a new Mien Tay Coach Station in a plan which the city has approved.

Tan Thuan Industrial Promotion will coordinate with Binh Chanh authorities to clear the site and compensate organizations and individuals affected by the 20-hectare coach station project, as well as a 4.4-hectare area used for expanding National Highway 1A.

SAMCO will bear all the cost of site clearance and compensation.

The new coach station is expected to serve 50,000 passengers with 2,500 trips departing a day.

WWF urges wildlife protection and changes to energy, food systems

Global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles may decline by two-thirds by 2020, all within a 50-year period, including iconic species in the Greater Mekong region, such as the Irrawaddy dolphin and tiger, according to the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature’s Living Planet Report 2016 on Monday.

WWF’s report shows how people are overpowering the planet for the first time in Earth’s history. Wildlife species already declined by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012, the most recent year with available data.

The authors of the report recommend a series of changes in the way society views wildlife, food and energy to reverse the trends.

“Globally, wildlife is disappearing at an alarming rate, and here in the Greater Mekong we are seeing those trends accelerate,” said Stuart Chapman, WWF Greater Mekong Regional Representative.

“Biodiversity is the foundation of healthy forests, rivers and oceans and we are paving the way for ecosystem collapse, along with clean air, water, food and climate services that they provide us.”

Fortunately, there are solutions. In the Greater Mekong, that includes increased enforcement against poaching and illegal logging, trans-boundary cooperation on illegal wildlife trade and landscape protection.

And 2020 holds great promise. In that year, commitments made under the Paris climate deal will kick in, and the first environmental actions under the globe’s new sustainable development plan are due.

If implemented, these measures, along with meeting international biodiversity targets set for 2020, can help achieve the reforms needed in the world’s food and energy systems to protect wildlife across the globe.

The WWF report uses the Living Planet Index, provided by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), to monitor trends in wildlife abundance. This index reports how wildlife populations have changed in size, rather than the specific number of animals that have been lost or gained.

The top threats to species identified in the report are directly linked to human activities, including habitat loss, degradation and overexploitation of wildlife.

The report’s findings provide additional evidence that the planet is entering completely unchartered territory in its history in which humanity is shaping changes on Earth, including a possible sixth mass extinction.

Researchers are already calling this period the Anthropocene.

Understanding why we are moving into this new epoch enables us to identify solutions for restoring the ecosystems we depend upon.

According to the report, food production to meet the complex demands of an expanding human population is leading the race in the destruction of habitats and overexploitation of wildlife.

Agriculture occupies about one-third of the Earth’s total land area and accounts for almost 70 per cent of water use.

The Living Planet Report 2016 outlines solutions to reform the way we produce and consume food to help ensure that the world is well fed in a sustainable way.

The report also focuses on the fundamental changes required in the global energy and finance systems to meet the sustainability needs of future generations

“Living Planet Report 2016: Risk and Resilience in a New Era” is the 11th edition of WWF’s biennial flagship publication. The report tracks more than 14,000 vertebrate populations of over 3,700 species from 1970 to 2012.

Veteran artist’s photo exhibition features old-time celebs

Veteran artist Dinh Tien Mau has opened a photo exhibition featuring numerous old-time celebrities of Saigon on Nguyen Van Binh book street in downtown HCMC.

The photos remind viewers of the glorious days before 1975 of many beautiful Saigon lasses, including Diem Thuy, Ha Thanh, Thanh Nga, Thai Thanh, Kieu Chinh, Kim Cuong and Tham Thuy Hang. The exhibition is among a series of events about the old Saigon, which are being held by Phuong Nam Cultural Corp. (PNC) every two months, starting from now until the end of 2017.

At the event, photographer Dinh Tien Mau, the owner of the old Vien Kinh photo studio in Saigon, shared his experience in photography and his memories of the celebrated models he worked with prior to 1975, when southern Vietnam was liberated.

Dinh Tien Mau, who was born in the northern province of Ha Dong (now part of Hanoi) in 1935, moved to Saigon to work as a photographer. Mau started his career when he was 13 and opened his own studio in 1958 at the age of 23.

Vien Kinh Studio, which was opened in 1963 at 277 Phan Dinh Phung Street (now Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street in HCMC’s District 3), was a popular venue for celebrities to have their portraits taken for albums, and newspaper/magazine covers.

After 1975, Mau still pursued photography and worked for Khan Quang Do and Tuoi Tre newspapers.

Works by Dinh Tien Mau can be found in a series of books about Saigon, especially the book collection “Saigon, stories of a city” which was launched by Pham Cong Luan three years ago.

HCMC tasked with higher budget collection in 2017

The budget collection burden will grow heavier for HCMC next year as it has been assigned to collect a total of VND347.8 trillion (US$15.6 billion), far higher than in 2016, heard a meeting on the city’s social-economic performance last Friday. 

Phan Thi Thang, director of the municipal Department of Finance, told the meeting that according to a Government plan submitted to the Nation Assembly, HCMC’s budget collections must exceed  VND347.8 trillion next year, VND49.5 trillion higher than the 2016 figure.

Budget revenues from domestic sources in 2017 will rise to around VND226.5 trillion from an estimated VND177.6 trillion this year. Thang said the city’s budget expenditures are estimated to reach VND60.71 trillion this year but fall to VND60.37 trillion next year.

She added the city would have to collect more but spend less next year. According to the Government plan, the city can retain a mere 18% of its annual shared revenues in the next five years. But the city has proposed the Government allow it to keep 21%.

According to data of the HCMC Department of Planning and Investment, the seven breakthrough programs in the city would need a combined VND471 trillion in the coming years. The city will need to spend VND96 trillion a year.

If the city retains 23%, its spending on the seven programs would be VND77 trillion a year on average. If it is 18%, the city would face a serious lack of finances for these programs.

Speaking at a meeting on budget matters last week, Vo Van Hoan, chief of the HCMC government office, suggested the projects under the seven breakthrough programs should be reconsidered and some of them might be transferred to the private sector.

HCMC Vice Chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen told the Department of Planning and Investment to take a look back at funding sources and make necessary adjustments to make sure each dong spent could help attract 15 dong from the private sector versus the current ratio of 1:14.

According to a city government report, budget collections amounted to VND249.59 trillion in January-October, meeting 83.67% of the 2016 estimate and rising 10.38% from a year earlier. Of this, revenues from domestic sources went up 18.78% year-on-year, crude oil down 58.5% and import-export taxes up 9.25%.

Meanwhile, its budget expenditures totaled VND40.6 trillion in the ten-month period, representing 63.64% of the estimate and climbing 2.4% year-on-year. Spending on investment projects rose 6.58% from a year earlier and regular expenditures inched up 4.92%.

Illegal quarry exploitation boom in Tây Nguyên Province

Large-scale Illegal quarry exploitation has been taking place for months in Đắk Nia Commune in Gia Nghĩa Township of the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province of Đắk Nông.

Quarry men have used high-capacity machines to process rocks for construction material. The exploitation has led to terrible noise and air pollution in the residential areas nearby. Moreover, trucks carrying rocks run night and day, damaging the roads.

Notably, the illegal quarry exploitation has been ignored by the local authority.

Hoàng Văn Tẻn, head of Đắk Tân Hamlet, said quarry exploitation has been taking place for months.

“Quarry exploitation has seriously affected the lives of the locals here”, Tẻn said.

“The road from the mines to the commune was terribly damaged by the trucks that run night and day”, he said.

Security in the area has also been unstable because most of the quarry men were from other provinces, therefore it was difficult to conduct their personal identification.

Đồng Quang Huy, head of Đắk Nia Commune, said, so far, he and the local government did not know who the quarry men are, where they are from and who owned the quarry mines.

According to Huy, land in the area was allocated to the Nam Tây Nguyên Company to build a tourism complex.

However, Nguyễn Văn Trân, the company’s director, said the licence for the project of building the tourism complex was revoked a year ago. 

Huy said the commune had reported the situation to the district authority and the police, but whenever the police visited the area nobody was there. 

The commune appears powerless to resolve the situation.

Hà Tĩnh starts getting Formosa compensation

People from Hà Tĩnh Province’s Lộc Hà District, one of the worst affected by the marine environment disaster earlier this year, started getting compensation on Sunday.

The district’s compensation package is around VNĐ 270 billion (US$ 9.3 million).

The district government had approved the compensation package for damages as a result of a toxic spill caused by Hưng Nghiệp Formasa-Hà Tĩnh Steel Company.

Lộc Hà is the first district in Hà Tĩnh Province to have started handing out compensation to affected people as part of the US$500 million package that Formosa has pledged.

Around 5,000 workers in the district have been directly affected by the pollution, while another 744 have been indirectly hit.

Thịnh Lộc and Thạch Mỹ communes in the district will be the first to receive compensation, to the tune of VNĐ 20 billion (US$ 896,000). On Sunday, 15 vessel owners and 15 workers in Quang Trung Village, Thịnh Lộc Commune, got compensation worth VNĐ 1.5 billion (US$ 67,200).

Payment will continue to be handed out to people in Lộc Hà District in the following days. Hà Tĩnh’s provincial Party’s Committee secretary, Lê Đình Sơn, and vice-chairman of the People’s Committee, Đặng Ngọc Sơn, are overseeing the payment.

“I hope people will overcome their difficulties and continue to use the ocean. It’s essential that people use their compensation appropriately. The management board in charge of compensation payment must make the process as easy as possible for those affected. It must check carefully and hand over aid to the right people,” Sơn said.

Hà Tĩnh People’s Committee announced that on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hoà Bình will attend and oversee the payment sessions in Thạch Kim Commune, Lộc Hà District. Later in the day, he will meet with representatives of people’s committees from the four provinces affected by the spill.

As per the latest inventory (October 9), in Hà Tĩnh, around 7,000 fishing vessels, 2,260 hectares of ponds, lakes and tidal flats, 31,700 cubic metres of cage farming, 127 hectares of salt fields plus nearly 48,000 workers and fishermen have been affected by the toxic spill. Aquaculture products left in the storage stands at nearly 1,800 tonnes.

The total damage to Hà Tĩnh is estimated at VNĐ 2 trillion (US$ 89.6 million), of which VNĐ 1.,98 trillion is direct loss.

Vietnam may allow conjugal visits to make prisons more humane

In a move to make Vietnamese prisons more humane, the Ministry of Public Security is drafting a rule allowing inmates to meet their spouses in private rooms.

The proposed rule, recently made public by the government, will reward prisoners who have complied with regulations or make contributions with conjugal visits of 24 hours.

Details are sketchy at this point. It’s unclear if the rule will even apply to death row inmates or how often prisoners with good behavior can see their partners.

Under one of the proposed conditions, female prisoners eligible for conjugal visits will have to use contraception and sign a commitment promising that they will not get pregnant.

This can open up many more questions, but the government clearly wants to make sure that female prisoners can serve their sentences with no pregnancy involved.

Vietnamese authorities may be more cautious about pregnancy in prisons now, after a drug trafficking convict in the northern province of Quang Ninh escaped death penalty after getting pregnant last year. The 42-year-old woman reportedly managed to successfully insemminate herself with seamen bought from a co-inmate.

In Vietnam babies born in prisons will be either sent home to relatives or raised in on-site nurseries. Children from three years old, however, are not allowed to be raised in prisons.

Tran The Quan, deputy director of the Legislation Department at the Ministry of Public Security, told local media that female prisoners who violate their commitment of not getting pregnant will be punished, without providing specifics.

Commenting on the proposed rule in general, he said allowing conjugal visits is a humane and appropriate policy.

“I have discussed it with foreign colleagues and they hailed such a move as an improvement for Vietnam’s legal system,” Quan said, as cited by Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh City Law)newspaper.

Quan said family reunions will have psychological benefits and give inmates motivation.

In a rare example, a prison in the northern province of Bac Giang has for several years allowed visits between male prisoners and their wives and children. The prison places condoms and drinks in each reunion room.

Vietnam insurer to pay US$3.5mn compensation for crashed military chopper

PVI Holdings, the insurance arm of state-run oil and gas giant PetroVietnam, will pay US$3.5 million in compensation for the damages of the Airbus EC 130 T2 helicopter that crashed during a training flight last week.

The said sum covers only the fuselage of the crashed chopper, as the insurer is still completing compensation procedures for the three pilots killed in the October 18 crash, according to a PVI representative.

The EC 130T2 chopper coded VN-8632 disappeared off radar screens some 15 minutes into a training flight near Dinh Mountain in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

The chopper was later confirmed crashed, with the wreckage as well as the bodies of an instructor and two trainee pilots found after a day of search.

Shortly after the crash, PVI had given each family of the deceased pilots a temporary sum of VND500 million (US$22,321), according to the insurer’s representative.

The crashed EC 130T2 chopper was manufactured in France in 2014 and was of versatile use, from military to tourism purposes.

The helicopter is among the flying fleet of the Vietnam Helicopter Corporation.

PVI has confirmed it is the main insurer for the entire Vietnam Helicopter Corporation fleet since 2009, covering damages related to the aircraft fuselages, pilots and aircrew.

HCM City, Japan’s Nagasaki to increase student exchanges

Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Huynh Cach Mang has expressed support of a proposal for more student exchange programmes by Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture.

The official affirmed the support during his meeting on October 28 with Takushima Toshio, President of the Industry and Trade Association of Nagasaki, who is on a working visit to the city. 

Mang said he will assigned relevant agencies to coordinate with Nagasaki partners to carry out the proposal, adding that he hopes the association to help engage Vietnamese students in Nagasaki in promoting the relationship between the two localities. 

Meanwhile, Takushima Toshio said 12,000 members of the association want to promote cooperation with Vietnam across the fields, firstly in bringing HCM City’s students to Nagasaki for study and vice versa to boost friendship and understanding among their young people. 

According to him, every year, Nagasaki organizes trips to Vietnam for around 1,000 students and is ready to create favourable conditions for HCM City students to study in Nagasaki. 

Of 26,000 Vietnamese students in Japan, around 1,300 are studying in Nagasaki.

PM okays reservoir construction in Long An province

The Prime Minister has approved the more than 490 billion VND (22.05 million USD) plan of funding for the Mekong Delta province of Long An to build a reservoir to supply water for daily life and agricultural activities.

Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Van Hoang on October 28 said the project aims to tackle the effects of drought and climate change in the locality.

Of the investment, the central budget will cover 390 billion VND (17.55 million USD) while local funds will provide more than 100 billion VND (4.5 million USD) as compensation for land clearance and resettlement.

The reservoir, which will cover 100 hectares in Thanh Hoa district with a capacity of over 4.5 million cubic meters of water, is expected to be put into operation in early 2018.

Once completed, it will provide fresh water to 16,000 hectares for rice cultivation and seafood breeding and supply water to nearly 65,000 people.

The project is also hoped to regulate water in rainy and dry seasons, ensure water security and conserve mangrove forests.

Vietnam may allow conjugal visits to make prisons more humane

In a move to make Vietnamese prisons more humane, the Ministry of Public Security is drafting a rule allowing inmates to meet their spouses in private rooms.

The proposed rule, recently made public by the government, will reward prisoners who have complied with regulations or make contributions with conjugal visits of 24 hours.

Details are sketchy at this point. It’s unclear if the rule will even apply to death row inmates or how often prisoners with good behavior can see their partners.

Under one of the proposed conditions, female prisoners eligible for conjugal visits will have to use contraception and sign a commitment promising that they will not get pregnant.

This can open up many more questions, but the government clearly wants to make sure that female prisoners can serve their sentences with no pregnancy involved.

Vietnamese authorities may be more cautious about pregnancy in prisons now, after a drug trafficking convict in the northern province of Quang Ninh escaped death penalty after getting pregnant last year. The 42-year-old woman reportedly managed to successfully insemminate herself with seamen bought from a co-inmate.

In Vietnam babies born in prisons will be either sent home to relatives or raised in on-site nurseries. Children from three years old, however, are not allowed to be raised in prisons.

Tran The Quan, deputy director of the Legislation Department at the Ministry of Public Security, told local media that female prisoners who violate their commitment of not getting pregnant will be punished, without providing specifics.

Commenting on the proposed rule in general, he said allowing conjugal visits is a humane and appropriate policy.

“I have discussed it with foreign colleagues and they hailed such a move as an improvement for Vietnam’s legal system,” Quan said, as cited by Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh City Law)newspaper.

Quan said family reunions will have psychological benefits and give inmates motivation.

In a rare example, a prison in the northern province of Bac Giang has for several years allowed visits between male prisoners and their wives and children. The prison places condoms and drinks in each reunion room.

Interesting Indian films on show in Hanoi

Five Indian films will premier at the fourth Hanoi International Film Festival 2016 slated for November 1-5.

The festival will give Hanoians a chance to watch new Indian films – Cinemawala, In greed we trust, Interrogation, Sohra Bride and The Quest, which are produced in 2015 and 2016 with themes of life and society.

With roughly 1,000 films in different categories produced each year, the numbers of films made by the Indian movie industry is even higher than those from Hollywood, which is recognized as a world centre for the film industry.

Novotel Phu Quoc Resort gets five-star certification

The Novotel Phu Quoc Resort has announced that the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) had recognized the facilities and services of the resort on Phu Quoc Island off Kien Giang Province as meeting five-star standards.

Novotel Phu Quoc was the first internationally managed property on the island to receive this accolade. VNAT sets rigorous standards for its star ratings, with five stars denoting the highest possible standards of physical facilities, service quality, and ability to meet diverse demands.

Lee Pearce, the resort’s general manager, said Phu Quoc is a destination with boundless potential and limitless opportunities. As the only international five-star resort on the island, the Novotel is positioned to capture an emerging, upscale segment of the island’s tourism market.

“We are confident that the investment of CEO Group, the resort’s owner, will pay dividends as the island continues to grow. Indeed, as the nearby airport continues to increase uplift, both domestically and with the addition of new international flights, the prospect for our resort to be at the center of the emergence of this destination is tremendous,” Pearce noted.

With total investment capital of nearly VND5 trillion, the resort has 366 rooms and beach-front villas, two swimming pools, two restaurants, two bars, a gym, a spa, a kid’s club and a 60,000 square meter landscaped garden.

Novotel Phu Quoc, which has been operational since early this year, is situated on Truong (long) Beach and is 15 minutes away from Phu Quoc International Airport.

Hue museum to reopen Champa collection this November

Another chance to take a look at the civilization.

A section focusing on the Cham culture within the Museum of Royal Antiquities in Hue will be reopened to all visitors on November 23 after more than seven decades.

The collection, available to only researchers at the moment, features more than 30 artifacts discovered in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue and nearby regions by scholars at the French School of the Far East.

It is believed to be one of the most complete collection on the Champa culture, which flourished between 3,000 and 1,800 years ago along the central coast.

The Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities opened 1923, originally named after Khai Dinh, the 12th emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty.

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

Leave a Reply