Saltwater intrusion threatens southern region
Widespread saltwater intrusion is forecast to hit areas along rivers such as Dong Dien, Vam Co Tay, Vam Co Dong, Cua Tieu, Co Chien and Hau in the southern region this week.
The Southern Regional Hydro-meteorological Center predicted the level of seawater in a number of rivers in HCMC, Long An, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh and Soc Trang will reach its highest during the first days of the week and then remain higher than the same period last year in these localities.
Salinity rose significantly last week in the Hau River with a maximum of 20.8 grams per liter, followed by the Dong Dien River with 14 grams a liter, the Co Chien River with 11.1 grams a liter, the Ham Luong River with 9.4 grams a liter and the Cua Tieu River with over 5.3 grams a liter.
According to the center, rainfalls in the southern region during the first months of this year will be lower than the average of many years. The rainy season is likely to start later than usual, probably from mid-May.
Seawater intrusion is predicted to spread while salinity at estuaries is likely to be higher in this year’s dry season due to weak water flows to the Mekong Delta. Particularly, salinity will make its way 45-60 kilometers upstream Tien and Hau rivers.
The center called for residents in the localities to prepare to cope with drought, a lack of water and saltwater intrusion as the climate is turning bad.
Four seals forgers nabbed in Binh Duong
Police in the southern province of Binh Duong have arrested four men for allegedly making more than 5,800 fake State agency seals for producing degrees and documents.
The men are Nguyen Hong Van, 40, from Binh Duong; Le Ba Tong, 45, from Binh Duong; Vu Duc Hai, 40, from the central province of Thanh Hoa; and Ma Thanh Van, 37, from the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre.
Police said they discovered the ring making Bachelor’s degrees, foreign-language and information-technology certificates and driving licences in the province’s Di An commune. Each fake certificate was sold for between VND200,000 – 1 million (US$9.5-46).
The case is under investigation.
Pertussis outbreak detected in Ha Noi
Several children in Ha Noi have been diagnosed with pertussis, even as the peak season of the disease approaches.
At least eight children are being treated for pertussis at the National Hospital of Pediatrics, while Bach Mai Hospital reported that a number of children are suspected to have the disease.
The health records indicated that these children had not yet received the pertussis vaccination.
Pertussis is a highly infectious respiratory infection that causes an estimated 195,000 child deaths per year, according to the World Health Organisation.
Whooping cough breaks out in Ha Noi
Several children in Ha Noi have been taken to hospital in a critical condition after contracting whooping cough (pertussis), a highly infectious respiratory infection.
At least three out of eight children being treated at the National Hospital of Paediatrics arrived at the hospital suffering from respiratory failure.
They included a two-month-old infant and two young girls aged two and three. All were given ventilator treatment.
Several young children suspected of having the ailment were also taken to Bach Mai Hospital recent weeks. They also suffered from respiratory failure involving serious coughing and pneumonia.
Le Hong Hanh, Deputy Head of the Respiratory Department at the National Hospital of Paediatrics, said that the preliminary symptoms of whooping cough were like those of normal flu. This led many parents to treat their children themselves.
“Many families bought flu medicine for their children only to find their condition got worse and worse,” Hanh said.
Health records of those infected showed that they had not received a whooping cough vaccination.
Tran Dac Phu, Director of the Preventive Medicine Department under the Ministry of Health, said children who were not vaccinated were much more likely to become infected.
He advised parents to give the children a full pertussis vaccination and avoid contacts between the youngsters and individuals suspected of carrying the disease.
Whooping cough occurs mainly in infants and young children. It causes an estimated 195,000 child deaths around the world each year, according to the World Health Organisation.
Binh Duong faces Rubella outbreak
The cause of a Rubella virus outbreak sweeping Binh Duong province has not as yet been determined, but initial suspicions point to crowded living conditions, poor hygiene and lack of immunisation.
The Department of Preventive Medicine said on January 26 that since the beginning of the year, the My Phuoc industrial zone in Binh Duong had recorded the highest number of new cases, 29, with another 109 suspected, making it the worst affected province in the country.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes Rubella as a highly contagious viral disease affecting mostly children, and that it can be effectively prevented by immunization.
Swollen lymph glands behind the ears and in the neck are the most characteristic clinical feature. A rash also develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreads over the body.
Rubella and related measles viruses cause the death of hundreds of thousands of children throughout the world annually.
However, the WHO said on its website that most people recover in two to three weeks, however, particularly in malnourished children and people with reduced immunity, measles can cause serious complications including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea, ear infection and pneumonia.
From September 2014, the Ministry of Health has carried out a campaign to vaccinate 24 million children aged 1 to 14 across the country, free of charge, in 63 provinces. So far 17 million children have been vaccinated.
The Department of Preventive Medicine has issued a strong warning to prevent contracting the rubella virus by obtaining a vaccination and prevent its transmission by isolating patients who have contracted it and practicing good hygiene.
Project aims to plant more forests in coastal areas
The Prime Minister has approved a project to expand coastal forest coverage, to 19.5 percent by 2020 from the current rate of 16.9 percent, in an effort to respond to climate change.
The project, starting 2015, will aim for the growing of additional 46,058 hectares of forests for an ultimate area of 356,753 hectares by 2020.
The move is expected to deal with sea level rise while provide a protective shield for the sea dyke system, infrastructure and biodiversity, contributing to boosting socio-economic development and ensuring defence and security.
Five major solutions were defined to facilitate the implementation, ranging from land use, investment, science and technology, to communications and policy.
Coastal land lying within the dyke protection corridor that had been illegally occupied and used by individuals and organisations will be reclaimed for afforestation.
Forest protection will be jointly done by households and the community, according to the project.
Flower sellers expecting Tet sales growth
Gardeners in southern provinces and HCM City’s suburban districts of 12, Thu Duc and Go Vap are hoping that their hard work will pay off for the coming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.
“This year, I expect to sell 400 ochna blossom trees and several hundred flowers and plants of different kinds, like traditional Vietnamese flowers such as daisies, carnations and roses,” said Pham Tan Loi, owner of a 1,200sq.m-farm in District 12 of HCM City.
“Traditional flowers seem to be increasingly favoured over more foreign hybrids. I hope to sell a pot for VND25,000 (US$1.2) to VND40,000, about 15 per cent higher than last year’s price,” he said.
For Tet, Loi and his colleagues have invested several million dong in new seeds and other items.
Florist Hoang Van Thang of Thu Duc District said:” My farm offers 1,500 ochna blossom trees at prices raging from VND2 million (nearly $100) to VND5 million per tree. Some old bonsai trees sell for VND300 million and are sold to customers from Ha Noi.”
“Because of good weather, the ochna tree flowers will open in time for Tet. I hope God will bless our farmers,” he said.
Last season, Thang lost several hundred trees caused by floods and broken dykes.
Ochna growers in Thu Duc and Hoc Mon said ochna flower prices will increase by about 10 per cent compared to last year.
Farmers in provinces of Tien Giang and Ben Tre provinces have shown greater interest in growing foreign hybrids such as tulips and lilies.
Tam Hung, who owns a farm in Tien Giang’s Cho Gao District, said he has cultivated more than 1,000 pots of different foreign hybrids and expects to sell them at about VND30,000 ($1.4)-50,000 per pot.
“We hope to attract people in HCM City who prefer quality and exotic flowers, even if they are expensive,” he said.
In Ben Tre Province, farmers will offer hundreds of thousands of traditional daisies and sunflowers, and quat (kumquat) trees.
“I plan to sell 400 kumquat trees at VND1 million for a quality tree and 300 daisy pots at VND20,000 per pot. I will not be sure about my profit until the last day,” said Nguyen Minh Luan , a farmer in Ben Tre’s Cho Lach District, who often delivers his flowers on a boat in the city’s Ben Binh Dong in District 8.
More than 120 flower fairs around HCM City are expected to attract hundreds of local and provincial florists and hundreds of thousands of residents.
The city has worked to design Ham Nghi Street in District 1 as the “Flower Street”, where millions of flowers from all over the country will be assembled to depict an overall theme chosen every year.
Elevator accidents scare apartment residents in Vietnam
Elevators can cause deaths in Vietnam thanks to technical problems, mostly in apartment buildings.
They also create injuries, leave people stuck inside, and other inconveniences due to low quality or inadequate maintenance.
Residents say they have been living in anxiety but cannot help using the machines because of the height of their buildings.
Many have reported that they often get clamped by the doors of elevators and stuck inside the machines halfway up or down.
Some have even fallen to the ground since they enter elevators with open doors but without a floor inside.
On average, an elevator is supposed to work for 20 years, but the machines in apartments in Vietnam often function for just a few years.
“My apartment has two lifts but one was left unused long ago and the other has kept on ‘torturing’ residents thanks to its vibrations and cracking noise when in use,” said a female resident of the resettlement building G9 Xuan Dinh in Dong Tao Ward of Bac Tu Liem District in Hanoi.
“Mechanics said there are problems with the ball-bearings which create the sound.”
The Den Lu apartment buildings in Hoang Van Thu Ward of the capital’s Hoang Mai District has been open for ten years, but the lift of block G has been ‘dead’ for two years.
Other elevators at Den Lu have rusty floors and ceilings and the holes are getting wider.
Most of them have no battery in case the electricity goes out, so many have been locked inside with great worry for over an hour, said Dang Thuy Hang, 42, a resident of Den Lu.
Their emergency phones and alarms become useless during electricity blackouts.
“When it rains heavily, water leaks into the lifts. The water will overflow when it stops at a certain floor.
“We local residents dare not use it for fear of electric shock,” Hang added.
Le Thi Dan, head of the residential quarter, said that Den Lu has four lifts and they only worked well during the first two years.
“Recently, no mechanics have come to maintain the machines,” she said. “A person may be quickly clamped by the doors of a lift because it has a technical problem and runs too fast.”
Similar situations exist in other resettlement apartments.
Giang Van Phuc, 68, who lives in the N5C building of the Trung Hoa – Nhan Chinh resettlement apartment building in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi said his ill wife has been ‘locked’ at home since the lift does not work and she cannot use the stairs.
The Hanoi Housing Management and Development Company, which is in charge of managing buildings for resettlement, said it manages 204 elevators in the capital city, 33 of which have been left unused.
Residents of building N5A at Trung Hoa – Nhan Chinh have ‘boycotted’ their lifts since last year after a guard was killed last June by a lift, said Le Hung, 62.
“We reported the problem to the Hanoi Housing Management and Development Company but they didn’t repair it and the fatal accident happened,” he said.
A lift must undergo technical maintenance at least every two months, said Nguyen Hong Thai, vice director of the lift-producing company ThyssenKrupp Vietnam.
Bui Quoc Dung, an official of the Hanoi Housing Management and Development Company, said the repair and maintenance of the lifts at the firm’s apartment buildings must be approved by the People’s Committee of Hanoi.
Then the committee will direct the finance department to provide money for the company to do the repair and maintenance work, so waiting is the only thing his firm can do now.
Tet coach fares to go up 20-60%
Coach operators will be allowed to increase fares by 20-60% for the trips departing from HCMC several days before the Lunar New Year holiday (Tet), according to the city’s Department of Transport.
As most passengers buy tickets for the trips from HCMC to their hometowns before Tet, transport enterprises can increase ticket prices to offset losses from their return trips whose seating occupancy is often very low, Pham Dinh Duc, head of the Road Transport Management Division of the department, told a meeting with coach operators in the city last week.
But the Tet fares are 7-20% lower than last Tet as a result of sharp decreases in fuel prices this year.
Apart from passenger coaches registered for operation at stations in the city, transport firms can rent more vehicles to meet surging pre-Tet travel demand.
The department also pledged to arrange sufficient vehicles for all people wishing to return home for family reunion one day before the biggest holiday of the country, which begins on February 19.
After sharp fuel prices last Wednesday, with RON92 petrol down by VND1,900 per liter to VND15,670 per liter, many transport firms in HCMC said they could not revise down fares further as they had already made price adjustments during the New Year holiday.
Hoang Duy Kha, chairman of Dong Bac Transport Cooperative, which operates coaches on the routes connecting HCMC with the southeastern provinces, central and Central Highlands regions, said member enterprises of the cooperative have reduced their fares by 10% following the fuel price cuts last year and this.
Tran Thanh Bao, head of the operation office of Thien Phu Transport Service Trading Company Limited, which provides coach services between HCMC and Vung Tau City, said the firm has lowered ticket prices by 10% but is considering further reductions to attract customers.
Nguyen Quoc Chien, head of the pricing division under the city’s Department of Finance, calculated that as fuel prices have gone down by 32%, taxi fares should drop by at least 8.4% while coach fares for fixed routes should fall by 11%.
But Chien noted that it is difficult for transport firms to slash their fares in proportion to fuel price reductions because fuel is just one of the many factors used to set transport fees.
According to the finance department, 32 out of the 55 operators of coaches on fixed routes and under the city’s management have cut prices twice in the range of 7%-22%, while taxi firms have lowered fares two times with each down by VND500-1,000 (4.6 U.S. cents) per kilometer.
The department has requested transport firms to register their new fares before January 31 after the fuel price falls last Wednesday, Chien said.
“After the fuel prices were cut on Wednesday, I think taxi fares should go down by an additional VND500 per kilometer while coach fares for fixed routes should fall by 10-15% if the operators did not make adjustments previously,” Chien said.
According to the authority of Mien Tay Coach Station, 110 out of 130 transport firms active at the station have lowered their ticket prices and some have cut their fares twice. Some 20 firms that have kept their fares unchanged said they did not raise their ticket prices when fuel prices rose.
At Mien Dong Coach Station, 115 out of 214 coach operators now offer lower fares.
PM approves financial mechanism for grid project
The Prime Minister has approved a financial mechanism for a project to expand electricity grids in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City through loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund (AIF).
Under the mechanism, the Government will sign a deal with the ADB and the AIF to receive a loan of 272.70 million USD, which will then be re-loaned to the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) Hanoi and the EVN HCM City under similar conditions and terms but with additional expenses.
The EVN Hanoi and EVN HCM City are responsible to provide corresponding capital.
The national EVN will be responsible for the debts in the event the EVN Hanoi or EVN HCM City fault on their loans.
Vietnamese community-related work in Ukraine reviewed
The Vietnamese Embassy in Ukraine hosted a get-together with representatives from the Vietnamese community in the Eastern European country on January 26 to review their coordination in overseas Vietnamese-related work.
Addressing the event, Ambassador to Ukraine and Moldova Nguyen Minh Tri praised efforts made by the Vietnamese community to overcome difficulties and their close coordination with the embassy and relevant agencies in the homeland to ensure safety for Vietnamese citizens in the context of unstable situation in Ukraine.
The community took opportune measures to support families of Vietnamese people in Ukraine’s eastern region and actively responded to sovereignty safeguarding activities at home, he said.
The ambassador asked the Vietnamese community to work closely with the embassy to organise activities marking Vietnam’s major anniversaries in 2015.
The participants were briefed on Vietnam’s achievements in 2014 and updated with developments in Ukraine.
Representatives of the Vietnamese communities in Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, Kherson and Nicolaiev cities hailed the embassy’s support for them last year, proposing measures to ensure security as well as their business activities in the Eastern European country.
On the occasion, the embassy presented certificates of merits to organisations and individuals in recognition of their contributions to the community work in 2014.
Revised State budget law should entail gender equality
Experts suggested integrating gender equality into the development and enforcement of the revised Law on State Budget at a forum held in Hanoi on January 27.
They said the 2013 Constitution and the 2006 Law on Gender Equality both stipulated bringing gender-responsive budgeting into the amended law.
Financial resources, from the State budget and otherwise, are essential to promoting the equal rights of women and children, they added.
A clear gender budget with specific principles will help promote gender equality activities in Vietnam and ensure effective implementation of the national strategy and programme on gender equity.
The National Assembly Committee for Financial and Budgetary Affairs is studying the application of successful international practices in the realm, said deputy head Dinh Van Nha.
He described gender equality as the foundation to building budget estimates and defining spending demands on the field.
The draft Law on State Budget should be adjusted in the spirit of the 2013 Constitution and supplemental contents which highlight the necessity of human and financial resources to enact gender equality measures.
Experts also recommended building a monitoring mechanism to ensure the State budget is managed in a transparent, public and equitable fashion.
They suggested increasing the involvement of residents at the local level in the development, allocation and examination of the local budget while raising gender equality awareness among officials.
The draft law should also be constructed and implemented on the basis of human rights and commitments to promoting gender equality, as opposed to “priority” mechanisms, they commented.-
Long An women honoured as Heroic Mothers
Local authorities in the Mekong Delta province of Long An presented the state title of Vietnamese Heroic Mother to 169 late mothers for their sacrifices in the cause of national independence in Tan Thanh district and Tan An City on January 27.
The recognition was on the occasion of the 85 th anniversary of the founding of the Vietnam Communist Party on February 3.
The Party, State and entire nation have always respected and honoured those who have made valuable contributions to the home land, said Deputy Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Hoang Van Lien at the ceremony.
Local authorities will do their utmost to help the mothers’ and martyrs’ families maximise their benefits from social welfare policies, he added.
Historically, the province has granted the title to 838 mothers, 42 of whom are still alive.
Across the country, more than 59,000 women have been recognised as Heroic Mothers.
Hanoi, HCM City remember Holocaust victims
A series of activities began in Hanoi on January 27 in honour of the International Holocaust Memorial Day, marking the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschmitz-Birkenau in Poland.
Addressing the ceremony, United Nations Resident Coordinator Pratibha Mehta said the UN adopted a resolution in 2005 to designate January 27 as the International Holocaust Memorial Day in memory of the Jews who lost their lives to anti-Semitism violence.
Israeli Ambassador to Vietnam Eilon Shahar said remembering Holocaust victims has become an annual event at the Israeli embassy in Vietnam. She expressed hope that Vietnam will sympathise with Holocaust victims and proactively work to prevent any future instances of genocide.
Commemorative activities will take place at the Hanoi University of Social Sciences and Humanities, the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, and the Ho Chi Minh City Pedagogy University.-
Remains of Vietnamese soldiers repatriated from Cambodia
A ceremony was held at the Binh Hiep International Border Gate in southern Long An province’s Kien Tuong town on January 27 to receive the remains of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers who died in Cambodian battlefields during the wartime.
The event was attended by representatives from the Military Zone 7, the Long An provincial People’s Committee and Cambodia’s S’Vay Rieng province.
The 20 sets of remains, including one identified, were collected by the search team K73 of Long An province’s Military Command during the first phase of the 2014-2015 dry season.
The figure raised the total sets of remains of Vietnamese soldiers gathered by the team between 2001 and 2015 to 2,028, with 158 being identified.
In the coming time, the province will increase the search for, gathering and repatriation of the remains of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts who laid down their lives in Cambodia based on sources provided by both countries’ organisations and individuals.
Improved access to medical services in the Central Highlands
The Ministry of Health launched Phase II of a project to improve healthcare access in the Central Highlands for a number of ethnic minority groups on January 26.
The project’s second phase has a total investment of 76.6 million USD, including a 70 million USD loan from the Asian Development Bank, and will be implemented through 2019 across five provinces: Dak Lak, Kon Tum, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, and Lam Dong.
The project is working to strengthen primary healthcare at the communal level, improving the quality of and access to medical services at hospitals and enhancing hospital management capacity.
At the launching ceremony in the Cu Ne commune of Dak Lak’s Krong Buk district, Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands Tran Dai Quang expressed his appreciation for the Ministry of Health’s efforts, which have facilitated locals’ access to high-quality medical services.
Quang, who is also the Minister of Public Security, asked the health sector and local authorities to use domestic and foreign sources of funding more effectively to expand the grassroots medical system. He also recommended sending medical staff to disadvantaged areas.
Following the ceremony, they broke ground on the construction of a 100-bed general hospital in Krong Buk district. The hospital, built across three hectares of land at a total cost of more than 141 billion VND (6.7 million USD), is scheduled to be operational in early 2016.
The Central Highlands, covering a total area of over 54,641 square kilometres, is home to more than 5.46 million people; ethnic minorities account for 45 percent of the region’s population.
Poor residents in Highlands region given free health insurance cards
As a part of healthcare program for residents in the Highlands provinces, the Ministry of Health and Vietnam Social Insurance Agency and Vietnam Women Central Union January 26 granted more than 10,000 health insurance cards to families whose economic condition is nearly poverty line.
Of which, 3,521; 3,521 and 3,542 free cards were given to residents in Dak Lak, Kon Tum and Dak Nong provinces respectively. All cards are worth nearly VND 2 billion (US$93,786) taken from the fund to support women health condition in the country.
At the meeting to give free insurance cards, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said that the donation aimed to take care of health condition of disadvantaged households whose economic condition is nearly poverty line to escape poverty due to illness.
Ms. Tien said that by 2014, the country has had around 64. 12 million insurance participants, an increase of 2.36 million or a surge of 3.82 percent compared to 2013. Almost poor people, ethnic minority people in disadvantaged districts , children below 6 year old and those in serving the cause of the nation’s revolution were granted free health insurance cards.
New insurance law helps more people
New social insurance law includes further helpful points to people, said the Ministry of labor, Invalids and Social Affairds and Vietnam Social Insurance Agency said at a press conference in Hanoi on January 26.
The new law will take effect on January, 2016. It adds that those who have one year labor contract must participate in social insurance and people at all age may buy insurance. It also regulates that people will buy insurance in longer time to enjoy pension of 75 percent.
Students gear up for start-up contest
Envison Recruit in conjunction with the accounting faculty of RMIT University will hold a start-up contest for local students with a grand prize for the winner to take part in Echelon, Asia’s largest tech conference, in June in Singapore.
The contest is open for individuals and groups and registrations at http://ift.tt/18whKvq are open until February 17.
After registrations, the organizers will ask contestants to submit two essays in English by February 28 while groups will have to send in a Power Point presentation of no more than 10 slides. Submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The organizers will announce the contestants and teams chosen for the qualification round on March 17.
The best five contestants will be able to join the two-day Echelon 2015 conference where they have the opportunity to meet with over 60 international start-up companies and 50 veteran investors and business owners.
Đăng ký: VietNam News