Frost expected again in the north
Several mountainous localities are expected to be covered in frost in the coming days as a strong cold spell is striking the northern region.
The cold front is moving towards the northern delta, causing temperatures to drop to 10-12 degrees Celsius at night.
Snow brought the traffic to a standstill in Lao Cai province in December 2013
It will also bring strong winds and rains to the northern region. Highlanders will feel damp chill as of February 19, as night temperatures are forecast to plummet to 3-5 degrees Celsius.
The cold spell will last till the end of the week, according to the National Hydro-meteorological Forecasting Centre.
Road users, especially car drivers, are warned about traffic accidents on provincial and national roads in the north-western region as towns and districts are shrouded in a thick blanket of fog.
New urban authority model designed for HCM City
A pilot project to better the operation of the Ho Chi Minh City authorities has been built, towards facilitating the city to fully tap its potential and resources to promote its socio-economic development in the future.
The contents of the project were discussed at a meeting in the city on February 17, co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the municipal Party Committee Secretary Le Thanh Hai.
This is the last official meeting to give opinions on the project, which is scheduled to be presented to the Political Bureau by the Government on March 13 before submitting to the National Assembly for approval.
Deputy Minister Phuc asked participants to seriously contribute their ideas to perfecting the project.
At the meeting, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Hoang Quan spoke of the achievements reaped by the city in its socio-economic and cultural development in recent time.
He said cities across the country meet great issues, which inhibit them from optimising their potential and resources to promote their development.
It is necessary to research and build appropriate urban authority models to meet the demands of development, thus fostering administrative reform in the country, he added.-
Government earmarks US$15.5 million to develop rice cultivation land
More than VND 329 billion (US$15.5 million) is to be allocated from the 2013 central budget to help 19 localities to protect and develop their land for rice cultivation.
The expenditure is made according to Government Decision No 256 ND-CP, signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on February 14, which was issued in response to Government Decree No 42 issued in 2012 to support rice farmers.
Localities benefiting from the decision include Lang Son, Bac Giang, Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Hung Yen, Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa, Quang Binh, Thua Thien – Hue, Quang Nam, BInh Thuan, Gia Lai, Lam Dong, Dong Nai, Tien Giang and Can Tho.
The Government assigned the Ministry of Finance the task of managing the allocation and use of the money.
Korean agency to help Viet Nam combat crime
A Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) official has pledged to strengthen efforts to work with the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security in the fight against cross-border crimes.
Kim Sik Hyun, Deputy Resident Representative of KOICA Viet Nam, made the commitment at a meeting with Sen. Lieut. Gen. Dang Van Hieu, Permanent Deputy Minister of Public Security, yesterday.
He said the move aims to maintain security and order in each country along with actively contributing to the strategic partnership between the two sides.
In reply, Hieu stated that the Vietnamese ministry highly valued the efforts and contributions made by the KOICA to organise training courses on crime prevention and fighting for the Vietnamese police.
He voiced his hope that the agency will continue its co-ordination efforts with the relevant agencies of the Republic of Korea (RoK) to design more training courses on ways to combat crime, entrance-exit procedures and transport management, as well as a Korean language course for Vietnamese officers.
Hieu underlined the need for the two sides to accelerate the implementation of a project to build a library at the People’s Police Academy and to work on more projects.
He confirmed that the Vietnamese ministry will partner with the RoK’s agencies to properly implement the signed agreements in order to ensure the legitimate rights of RoK residents in Viet Nam and to assist investors from the country.
Two killed in coach-truck collision
Two people died and 14 others were injured yesterday when a coach crashed into a truck on a National Highway 1A section that runs through the central province of Nghe An.
The injured were taken to four hospitals in the province for emergency aid.
The accident, which is being investigated, brought traffic on the highway to a standstill.
4.2kg of African elephant tusks seized
The Customs Department in HCM City said on Sunday that they have confiscated 4.2 kilos of African elephant tusks worth VND2 billion (US$95,000).
Delivered from France, the tusks were found hidden in a package declared as clothes.
Trading or purchase of tusks is banned in Viet Nam under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Smuggled toys seized in HCM City
Customs officers in HCM City said on Sunday that they have seized 23 tonnes of made-in-China children’s toys that were being smuggled into the country.
They said an inspection of two containers found 37,000 toys without any legal documents. The case is being investigated further.
Localities continue efforts against bird flu
The southern province of Tay Ninh on February 17 announced an outbreak of A/H5N1 avian influenza in its Cambodia-bordering district of Chau Thanh.
In a bid to hinder the disease from spreading, the province has banned all activities regarding poultry trading and transportation in the district.
With the new outbreak, bird flu has so far hit Hoa Hoi and Tri Binh communes in ChauThanh district and An Thanh commune in Ben Cau district, with the number of culled birds totalling 8,869.
Facing the complicated development of the flu, other provinces across the country are also promptly taking measures against the disease.
The southern province of Bac Lieu is stepping up its anti-bird flu efforts after two disease hotbeds were found in Hong Dan and Phuoc Long districts.
Closer inspection of transportation, trading and killing of poultry as well as vaccination and disinfection work at disease hotbeds, markets and abattoirs have taken place.
The province has also accelerated awareness-raising work, calling its population to join hands in the fight against the disease.
Phu Yen and Quang Nam provinces in the central region are also gathering all human resources for the uphill struggle.
In January, bird flu reoccurred in Duy Trinh and DuyChau communes in DuyXuyen district, Quang Nam province, forcing 8,500 ducks to be culled immediately.
Meanwhile, the northern province of BacNinh has declared that it was free from bird flu.
Accordingly, since February 13, all poultry-related activities in Dong Phong, Phu Lam and Tam Son communes and Hap Linh ward have been conducted as normal.
Between January 2 and 9 this year, A/H5N1 bird flu struck the localities, forcing nearly 10,000 birds to be culled.
The provincial People’s Committee has injected VND3.3 billion (US$155,000) in purchasing two million doses of vaccine and 8,000 litres of chemicals in a bid to stop the spread of the disease.
A/H5N1 has so far this year killed two persons in the southern provinces of BinhPhuoc and Dong Thap.
VN joins ‘hot carrier diode’ club
Vietnamese scientists and technicians have mastered the technology to produce Schottky diodes – a device widely used in electric appliances.
The Schottky diode, named after German physician Walter H. Schottky, is widely known as a ‘hot carrier diode’ with a fast switching action.
The research and development (R&D) centre in HCM City’s High Tech Park announced they had recently developed the capacity to manufacture the device for commercial purposes.
The first shipment of locally-made Schottky diodes will exported to Hong Kong this year, with the first order coming from the Hong Kong Electrical Equipment Company.
Dr. Duong Minh Tam, vice head of the HCM City High Tech Park management board, said the pilot programme for the diode was launched early last year, with Hong Kong University sending experts to the HCM City-based centre to oversee the development of the technology.
The delegation of company and university experts visited the facility to observe production of the semiconductors and verify the units being made were in accordance with international standards.
Tam said the Schottky diodes would be used as part of a bridge rectifier or as a freewheeling diode to protect electrical motors and transformers, adding that many developed countries such as Japan, South Korea and the US had skipped the production of semiconductors to produce chips.
The was still a significant demand in the electronics industry for semiconductors, said Tam.
The global market for the diodes is worth around US$5 billion annually, according to Tam. Viet Nam is expected to capture between two to five per cent of the market during the next five years.
Vietnam boosts cooperation with Korean agency
Vietnam hopes the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) will work closely with relevant Korean agencies to provide training courses for Vietnamese public security personnel.
Deputy Minister of Public Security Dang Van Hieu made the statement at a February 17 reception in Hanoi for Kim Sik Hyun, Deputy Resident Representative of KOICA Vietnam.
Deputy Minister Hieu said that the courses will focus on the prevention and control of international crime, crimes using high technology, drug prevention and control, criminal techniques, migration management, traffic operation, and the improvement in teaching the Korean language.
Hieu stated that the Vietnamese ministry spoke highly of the efforts and contributions made by the KOICA to organise training courses on crime prevention and fighting for Vietnamese police.
The cooperation aims to maintain security and order in each country, actively contributing to the strategic partnership between the two sides, he said.
Hieu underlined the need to accelerate the implementation of a project to build a library at the People’s Police Academy and cooperate on more projects.
He confirmed that the Vietnamese ministry will partner with the Korean relevant agencies to properly implement the signed agreements aiming to ensure the legitimate rights of Korean residents in Vietnam and help investors from the country.
In reply, the KOICA official pledged greater efforts to work with the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security in the fight against trans-national crimes to ensure security and order.
Smart TV Alliance convenes in Vietnam
An annual conference of Smart TV Alliance (STA) was held in F-Ville, Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park from February 17-20.
Attendee included representatives from the world’s leading electronics groups namely Toshiba, LG, Phillip, Panasonic, and Vestel and leaders from FPT and FPT Software.
This is the first time the conference has been organised by STA in Vietnam and STA members will focus on discussing the alliance’s development objectives and technological development strategy.
In February 2013, FTA Software officially became an STA member and this is the first time FTA Software has joined discussions relating to important issues and policies of the alliance.
Nguyen Thanh Lam, general director of FPT Software expressed his hope that STA will see the market’s potential and acknowledge the capabilities young Vietnamese programmers’ to develop application stores for Smart TV.
FTA Software is expected to put forth initiatives to organise a competition to write an application for Smart TV in Vietnam and seek young homegrown talent and “Made in Vietnam” innovative applications for Smart TV’s trademarks.
The initiative will provide opportunities for engineers and programmers to develop applications for Smart TV, a new and interesting global technological advancement.
Oxfam-funded project helps ethnic women in Lao Cai
A livestock breeding project to economically empower ethnic minority women in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai has proved effective, helping hundreds of households in the locality escape from poverty.
Funded by Oxfam – a non-governmental organisation from the United Kingdom – the breeding project developed a stock of 150 breeding pigs into 430 pigs with healthy weights and good resistance to diseases.
Carried out in MuongKhuong district from October 2012, the project attracted the participation of 366 ethnic minority women in 14 groups. It delivered 150 female and male pigs to the groups to assist poor households in developing their families’ economy.
When a sow has new-born pigs, the households will give back a healthy piglet to their group to give to other people in the group.
Apart from being provided with pigs, group members also took part in training courses to study methods of effective cattle-breeding as well as ways to use veterinary medicine and manage home economics.
According to Ninh Quy Tao, Deputy Director of the provincial agriculture encouragement centre, by 2015, the project is expected to help more than 1,000 women, mostly from the H’Mong, Dao, Nung and Day groups in Bat Xat and MuongKhuong districts improve household incomes.
Through capacity building for ethnic minority women in market-oriented production and market negotiation skills, the project is also expected to create resources that will strongly support ethnic women to claim an equal status with the men in their community.
Work begins on Thanh Hoa low-income housing project
The Housing and Urban Development Corporation in collaboration with the northern Thanh Hoa Province People’s Committee began a housing project for low-income families yesterday.
The project will comprise 400 apartments and will be located in the south of the city. Costing nearly VND200 billion (US$9.5 million), the project includes a 11-storey building with an area of nearly 3,000 square meters.
The area of the apartments ranges from 50.5 to 60.5 square metres, and each will be sold at an estimated price of VND500-600 million ($24,000-29,000).
The project is scheduled to be completed in June 2015.
Central Highlands nurture irrigation network
Provinces in the Central Highlands plan to create 948 more irrigation sites by 2020, to water at least 80 percent of cultivated land in the region, according to the Tay Nguyen Steering Committee.
The existing irrigation network can only ensure water for 71 percent of cultivated land, equivalent to nearly 1.9 million hectares, including more than 560,000ha of coffee.
The flow of water has helped change the cultivating practices of local farmers, allowing them to grow two rice crops a year, at the same time at least doubling rice and coffee productivity compared to areas which have access only to rain water.
Farmers harvest between 4.8 to 5 tonnes of rice and 2.8 to 4 tonnes of coffee beans per hectare each year in areas around irrigation systems, while in other areas the output is only 1-1.5 tonnes for rice and 0.5-0.8 tonnes for coffee.
However, many reservoirs and pumping stations, particularly those in remote areas, have degraded and been in dire need of upgrading.
Local provinces also plan to upgrade 589 existing irrigation points in the next six years.
The Central Highlands, also known collectively as Tay Nguyen, contain the provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Lam Dong. Situated at an average altitude of 500m, the region’s soil is mostly basalt ic, suitable for planting coffee tree s, rubber , pepper and other industrial crops, with coffee the most important product.-
Steps taken to prevent forest fires in Kien Giang
Phu Quoc island district of the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is taking all necessary measures to prevent forest fires as the dry season is nearing.
Pham Quang Binh, Director of Phu Quoc National Park, said 31,500 out of 37,000 hectares of the island’s forest are within the park. More than 60 hectares of forest on Phu Quoc are at high risk of fire.
The park’s management board has summoned forces with all necessary equipment to ready for any fire. They have also set up around-the-clock monitoring stands at high-risk spots and conducted regular patrols, he said.
Forest management units have also worked with local authorities to popularise fire prevention in the public.
Phu Quoc National Park is a part of the Kien Giang biosphere reserve, which was recognised as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2006. The park is covered with lush green foliage and tropical flowers, and boasts the natural resources of both jungle and sea. It is home to 929 plant species, of which 42 are listed in the Vietnamese and world red books of endangered species.
In the dry season of 2013, the island district witnessed 19 wildfires, destroying over 91 hectares of forest. The fires were attributable to the burning of land for cultivation by local residents.
At present, nine provinces nationwide have been alerted of forest fire risks, namely Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, Gia Lai, Khanh Hoa, Kon Tum, Lam Dong, Tay Ninh and Son La.-
Vietnam to observe World Water Day 2014 in Lai Chau
A national meeting held for World Water Day 2014 is scheduled to take place on March 21, 2014 in Lai Chau city, situated at the riverhead of the Hong (Red) River valley.
This year’s event, themed ‘Water and Energy’, aims to raise public awareness of the close relationship between these two elements and seek managerial measures to ensure economic growth in line with sustainable exploitation of water resources and efficient use of energy towards a green economy.
Besides the meeting, a series of activities are planned such as a photo exhibition titled ‘Water, people and life’ and an art performance called ‘River and singing’ for World Water Day 2014 in Lai Chau.
World Water Day is held annually on March 22 in a bid to communicate the importance of water resources and to encourage the development of policies for the sustainable management of water resources, particularly freshwater sources.
Ministry acts to protect researchers and environment
The Ministry of Science and Technology (MST) has proposed to verify large-scaled projects besides the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) to ensure environmental safety.
During a television show called “People ask, ministers answer,” aired on February 16, Minister Nguyen Quan was asked about water pollution in both rural areas and cities. This is suspected to be one of the reasons cancer rates in Vietnam are high and on the rise. The responsibility of the MST was questioned, especially whether it collaborates with other agencies such as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Quan answered, “Even though the Prime Minister assigned the job to build a system for environmental protection to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, we were still asked to participate and contribute our opinions. When designing and drafting laws concerning the sciences and technology, the National Assembly gave us some responsibility in assessing the environmental impacts of big projects, including FDI projects. We hope the water pollution problem will decrease in near future.”
He went on to say that the MST has a responsibility to support other agencies, individuals and organisations on environmental research. Recently, they provided support for Hanoi National University, whose research on removal of arsenic and manganese in underground water was published.
The ministry also gave support to Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology in a project to deal with dioxin contaminated land. Quan said the project is being implemented on a large-scale, and hopes that they will be able to remove all dioxin from Vietnam.
“The local departments of science and technology must also take responsibility. If an individual has a good idea and solid research they should be provided support in seeing their ideas through with full intellectual property rights,” Quan said.
Vietnamese black market for human organs
Despite it being illegal, the trade of human organs seems to be a difficult problem for law enforcement to tackle, given rising demand and prices.
Under the current regulations, organ donors must meet several conditions, including age and health requirements. Any sales of organs is strictly prohibited.
These requirements has in part lead to an imbalance between supply and demand, and as a result, the illegal sales of organs has thrived.
Nguyen Thanh Tam, 31, from the northern province of Vinh Phuc, suffers from serious kidney failure. Doctors said that he needs a transplant to survive, but it has been a struggle for him to find a suitable donor. Both his parents offered, but being over 70 they were told they were too old. Two other relatives also volunteered, but Tam refused out of fear that it may affect their health later.
Since, his family has registered at several hospitals to find a donated kidney, but so far they have had no response. One day, however, his brother met a “strange man” outside the hospital who offered to sell his kidney. A meeting was set up, and the transplant only thwarted because the family were too afraid to sign the proper documents.
Many other people have fallen into the same situation like Tam’s due to the lack of available donated organs.
There are many desperate people in situations similar to Tam’s. While some 6,000 patients need kidney, 1,500 need liver and thousands of people need other organ transplants according to statistics from the health sector, there are very few donors. Many patients turn to the black market as a last option.
In order to get around the laws, the donor claims to be doing it voluntarily and out of charity, while in fact he or she is being paid. Van, 38, from Hanoi, used this method. They were contacted by a man who said a kidney could be provided at a price of VND200 million (USD9,462).
That man introduced Van to the donor and navigated them the process and the transplant was successful.
“At first, I thought that he was a relative of the donor. However, after some negotiation about the prices and conditions, I knew he was just a middleman. The transplant was successful and I’m really happy,” Van said.
Yet, even though such transactions may mean a new lease on life for those who can afford to pay, it also sheds light on the lack of effective enforcement of law and medical medical ethics as well as an economic disparity that creates victims out of people in such economic difficulties that they are willing to undergo life-threatening surgery for cash.
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