Honouring President of SOS Children Villages International
Addressing a December 24 ceremony in Hanoi,Phong outlined Kaul’s valuable contributions to humanitarian and development activities in Vietnam.
Kaul happily accepted the VUFO’s honour and thanked the relevant Vietnamese agencies for their proactive support and cooperation.
He expressed his optimism regarding the success of future efforts on behalf of disadvantaged Vietnamese children.
From 1988 to 2012, Kaul devoted himself to the construction of SOS Children Villages for Vietnamese orphans facing difficult circumstances.
He has also helped promote international aid donations to Vietnam with nearly 60 projects organized in16 provinces and cities.
His prestige as a coordinator undoubtedly encouraged a variety of charity activities that successfully raised hundreds of million of dollars.
HCM City to strengthen flood, landslide controls
Thirty-four dike development projects using uPVC plastic piles will get off the ground in HCMC next year, thus helping the city better control worsening floods and landslides along Saigon, Rach Tra and Cho Dem rivers.
Speaking to the Daily on Thursday at Saigon Industry Corporation’s (CNS) groundbreaking ceremony of a pilot dike construction project using uPVC piles to prevent landslides in District 12′s Thanh Xuan Ward, CNS general director Nguyen Van Tho said that after piloting three dikes, CNS would start work on 34 other similar projects to control landslides and floods in Thu Duc, Binh Thanh, Cu Chi and District 12.
These projects have a combined length of nearly 60 kilometers and need a total of nearly VND600 billion. According to Tho, those projects are already two years behind schedule.
The dike using uPVC plastic piles in Thanh Xuan Ward is some 280 meters long and costs nearly VND5.7 billion. These piles have a lifespan of over 50 years.
Earlier, CNS piloted two other similar dikes in Thu Duc District.
HCMC vice chairman Le Thanh Liem said river water levels in HCMC had increased by nearly 20 centimeters in the past 12 years and that rainfalls had gone up by around 400 millimeters in the past three years.
The city currently has around 1,600 kilometers of dike and embankment. Many embankments are made of soil, so they easily collapse due to landslides and high tides, flooding residential areas.
On June 30, CNS put into operation a plant producing uPVC piles in the outlying district of Cu Chi. The VND300-billion facility can produce 550 kilograms of pile an hour for flood and landslide control projects in HCMC and the Mekong Delta.
Ministry orders schools against use of illicit computer program
The Ministry of Education and Training on December 24 ordered all educational facilities across the country not to use a computer program which includes China’s unlawful nine-dash line.
On the same day, the Ministry of Education and Training sent a dispatch to education departments and universities nationwide to cease using the illegal computer program in teaching informatics.
The Vietnam Education Publishing House has re-edited the computer textbook for teaching informatics to junior students and the lesson ‘Study of World Geography’ without the illegal computer software program Earth Explorer.
Ha Noi stops digging of pavements on Tet
Ha Noi’s department of transport has stopped digging up pavements and roads in the capital city for a month, ahead of the lunar New Year Festival on January 31.
Specifically, none of the new projects for the repair of pavements and roads will be implemented between January 15 and February 15. All ongoing projects will be forced to complete their work before January 15 to make sure that the pavements and roads are clean for the people on Tet.
Electric leak blamed for deadly blaze
An electrical leakage is said to be responsible for a deadly fire which killed five people in southern Dong Nai Province’s Bien Hoa City on Sunday evening, according to Director of the province’s Fire Prevention and Fighting Police Department Colonel Vo Van Sang.
Sang added that the blaze broke out at a two-storey house on Phan Dinh Phung Street storing flammable rubber materials to make saddles. The fire started at around 7.00pm quickly engulfed the property.
Eight people were present at the house at the time of the blaze. Three were able to escape the house, according to local police.
Pipeline problems cut off water access
Thousands of households in the capital lack water due to poorly constructed pipelines.
The underground pipeline supplying water from the Da River in Hoa Binh Province to Ha Noi broke four times in the past two years, forcing about 70,000 households to go without water for at least two days at a time.
Last week, part of the pipeline system burst in Thach That District, following a break in Quoc Oai District last month.
The incidents occurred because the pipe was too close to the highway, according to the Clean Water Investment and Construction Corporation.
But Nguyen Sy Trung, chief engineer of the Institute of Transport Science and Technology’s project on enlargement and completion of Lang-Hoa Lac Highway, said to Tien phong (Vaguards) that the pipes were installed on weak ground, so they broke easily.
“The pipes were installed 12.5 metres from the highway and four to six metres underground, so they can’t be affected by the road-bed,” he said.
Trung believed the shaking caused by vehicles on the highway did not affect the pipe system. Rather, he said, they broke due to the weak ground and the fact that they were made of composite, which could not bear direct impact.
He said he had repeatedly warned the investors and contractors about the weak ground before the pipeline system was built, but they ignored it and continued installing the pipes.
Representative of the Clean Water Investment and Construction Corporation admitted the error, saying that a second pipeline must be installed parallel with the current pipeline to assure water supply for local people.
Trung estimated that the construction could cost up to VND3 trillion (US$141 million), which would take time for the company to mobilise.
Vietnam targets universal health insurance
Vietnam is actively realising its target of expanding health insurance network to cover the whole population thanks to the balance of national social insurance fund, Deputy Health Minister Pham Le Tuan has said.
More than two-thirds of the people nationwide have engaged in the social insurance so far this year as a result of the Law on Health Insurance and the Political Bureau’s Resolution No.21-NQ/TW on strengthening the Party’s leadership over social and medical insurance until 2020, he noted.
Speaking at the December 23 conference in Ho Chi Minh City, he said that the country aims to extend health insurance coverage to 80 percent of its total population by 2020, utilise effectively the social and medical insurance funds in the long run, and build a modern system for the field.
Participants suggested encouraging people to apply for voluntary health insurance, adjusting the price of healthcare services, and shifting from individual to family health insurance.
The Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs should also set specific regulations and criteria on the average living standards for local agriculture, fisheries and forestry labourers so that they can become eligible to enjoy the 30 percent subsidy of health insurance premium supported by the State, they said.-
Ministries join hands on school health care
Many schools in the capital are struggling to overcome skills and infrastructure shortages to deliver quality student health care.
Student health problems are a headache especially for private kindergartens, according to a Vietnam News Agency correspondent.
The Hoa Hong Private Kindergarten in Cau Giay District, which has been operating for two years, does not have a room dedicated for health purposes. Sick students or those injured in accidents, are attended to by teachers administering basic medicines and liaising with parents.
Deputy director of the Long Bien District Department of Education and Training Hoang Kim Phuong said few private kindergartens in her district had health rooms or simple health equipment.
“We ask the wards’ health centres in the district to support these schools, however, it will still be dangerous if students have serious illness,” she said.
Nguyen Thuy Thuan, principal of the Trung Hoa Kindergarten in Cau Giay District said some schools asked veteran teachers to act as medical workers while specialised medical workers were needed in kindergartens to administer treatments.
Nguyen Minh Hai, an expert of the city’s Department of Health, said the quality of school medical staff was still low.
Most were physicians and nurses, and only some foreign-invested schools had doctors, said Hai.
Hai also alleged that several school medical workers did not understand their responsibilities, adding that many thought their duty was only to take care of sick students. In reality their positions also encompassed the responsibility to inspect classroom lights, school hygiene and kitchens and advise the school management board on how to ensure healthy students.
Until now the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Training has had no rules in place on ensuring the qualifications of school medical staff. It is also believed that the salary and allowance for medical workers was so low it was difficult for schools to attract qualified professionals to schools, said Hai.
Aside from schools, district health centres are also feeling the pinch from the doctors shortage. But more importantly, school doctors have been so overwhelmed with immediate health related problems that they have been unable to fulfill outside duties.
In a bid to improve the status quo, the municipal health sector is looking to partner with the Department of Education and Training to hold training classes for school medical workers.
“The department will also issue documents asking private kindergartens to join with local health centres to conduct student health care procedures,” said Hai.
Education on the care of children will also be expanded to include teachers, students and parents.
The city health sector will trial a pilot model in optical and dental diseases and assign specialist medical workers to take part in training courses and conferences to share knowledge and raise awareness.
The health and education sectors will also be working to strengthen their inspection of school health care including food safety, dental care, optical care and first aid capabilities.
Associate professor Nguyen Dac Phu, director of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Preventive Medicines, said the ministry would issue regulations on school medical worker qualifications.
The regulation will require agreement from the relevant bodies.
Ha Noi has more than 2,300 schools ranging from kindergartens to continuing education centres with more than 1.3 million students. More than 1,700 schools, or 73 per cent are reported to have health rooms.
Campaign promotes traditional values
A HCM City campaign that began last Saturday encourages young people to share household work with their mothers during Tet (Lunar New Year).
The campaign, which seeks to promote the traditional values associated with Tet, has instructed more than 200 young people to arrange mam ngu qua (the tray of five fruits) and clean and decorate their houses to welcome the festival.
Cards with promises by young people to share household work with their mothers will be hung on apricot trees at Co.op mart outlets around the country.
The campaign will run until mid-January.
Over 4.7 million euro for climate change adaptation
The HCM City People’s Committee has approved a climate change mitigation and clean water supply project worth more than 4.7 million euro (over VND134 billion).
Vitens Evides International (VEI) provided the majority of investment in non-refundable aid, with the remainder contributed by the Sai Gon Water Supply Corporation (Sawaco).
The project, running from December 2013 to March 2017, aims to help HCM City improve its capacity to cope with climate change’s challenges and ensure sustainable clean water supplies for local residents.
It will evaluate the quality of water in the Sai Gon and Dong Nai Rivers as well as upgrade Tan Hiep Water Plant to improve the safe water supply systems serving HCM City.
About 10,000 of the city’s poor households are expected to benefit from the project.
Over 5 million rural workers employed in five years
Vietnam has generated jobs for more than 5 million rural labourers in the past five years, reducing the annual poverty rate by 2% since 2008.
The plan was unveiled at a conference in Hanoi on December 25 to review the five-year (2008-2013) implementation of the the Party Central Committee’s (10th tenure) Resolution 7 on agriculture, farmers and rural development.
In the reviewed period, the spiritual and material lives of local farmers improved considerably, while security and social order in rural areas were ensured. New cooperative models proved the effectiveness of expanding rice cultivation on more than 100,000 hectare in 43 provinces.
At the conference, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, who is also head of the steering committee for the five-year implementation of the Resolution 7, spoke hihgly of impressive achievements in various fields.
As a result, the agricultural sector is now focused more on upgrading the rural infrastrucutre, applying advanced technologies, and improving living standards for rural people, especailly those in far-flung areas than before, he said.
The NA Chairman also pointed out some shortcomings that need to be addressed, specially in disadvantaged areas.
JICA funds two transport projects
The Ministry of Finance and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have signed two 2013-14 fiscal year loan agreements providing US$447 million in funding to transport projects in Vietnam.
The agreements, signed on December 24, secured financing for the construction of the Mai Dich-Nam Thang Long section of Hanoi’s belt road No. 3, and the construction of Terminal No.2 at Noi Bai International Airport.
The loan agreements demonstrate the friendship, solidarity, and strategic cooperation uniting the Vietnamese and Japanese states and governments, recently reinforced by both nations celebrating the 40th anniversary of their relationship.
This is the 21st consecutive year the Japanese Government has provided Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Vietnam. Its ODA commitments now total US$21 billion.
The projects Japanese funding has enabled are crucial to Vietnam’s socio-economic development and industrialisation, ranging from power plant construction and bridge infrastructure, to the most recent highway and Tan Son Nhat Airport terminal upgrades.
Japanese language courses for Quang Ninh workforce
The Japan Cultural Exchange Centre in Vietnam will help teach Japanese language for the high-quality workforce in the northern Quang Ninh province.
This is part of a one-year project (2014-2015) which will provide Japanese language courses for human resources working in technology, energy and the environment.
Each course will consist of 20-25 people and last 12 months. Once completed, trainees will be able to teach Japanese to others when necessary.
Over the past years, Japanese experts and teachers have helped Vietnam compile teaching programmes and textbooks while supporting their Vietnamese colleagues in professional skills.
Quang Ninh is working to build an attractive environment for Japanese investors to lure more investment from the country.
The province has dispatched many delegations to Japan to learn experience in building economic and industrial zones, hi-tech areas and boosting tourism development, while maintaining relations with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) to seek more Japanese partners.
Digital television logo design contest launched
The Ministry of Information and Communications on December 24 launched a logo design contest for digital television in Vietnam.
The winning design will be used as the official logo for television promotion activities both inside and outside the country within the framework of a project on the digitalisation of terrestrial television broadcasting and transmission between now and 2020.
Deputy Minister Le Nam Thang said the project, approved by the Prime Minister in 2011, aims to expand the coverage of the digital terrestrial television, provide high-quality television services, develop the broadcasting and transmission market, and facilitate the reorganisation and restructuring of radio and television stations in a professional way.
All Vietnamese at home and abroad can take part in the contest, which will last until January 23.
Entries can be sent to the Organising Board, the Information Centre under the Ministry of Information and Communications, 18 Nguyen Du Str., Hanoi.
VAVA asked to redouble efforts in struggle for justice
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has issued a call to action at the third Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin (VAVA) conference in Hanoi on December 24, urging the organisation to step up its struggles for justice.
Deputy PM Dam spoke to an audience including former Vice President and VAVA Honorary President Nguyen Thi Binh, officials from a range of international organisations, and more than 300 delegates representing in excess of 300,000 AO/Dioxin victims.
The new 2013-2018 VAVA term extends its dual mission to assist and support AO/Dioxin victims and to fight for justice on their behalf.
The more than 300,000 VAVA members are distributed over group chapters in 59 Vietnamese cities and provinces. It has raised nearly VND650 billion from foreign and domestic sources to fund housing projects for victims, rehabilitation centre construction, employment generation, and disaster relief.
Deputy PM Dam applauded the association’s decade of achievement and commended its members on embracing their social responsibility with their tireless efforts on behalf of AO victims.
The Party and State always acknowledges Vietnamese war victims and stands side by side with them in the struggle for justice, Dam noted.
Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh was re-elected VAVA Chairman for the 2013-2018 term.
Localities urged to prepare against bird flu
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat has ordered localities and agencies nationwide to intensify the fight against avian influenza H5N, H7N9 and H10N8.
Provincial and municipal People’s Committees must immediately set up working groups to supervise the prevention and combat against the epidemic, focusing on high-risk groups.
They are also requested to keep a close watch on the disease to promptly stamp out outbreaks, and establish check points to clamp down illegal poultry transport.
In border provinces, quarantine must be intensified, and no unchecked poultry and poultry products are allowed to be transported through the border.
At the same time, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) ordered its Animal Health Department to collect disease samples, and provide effective vaccination guidelines.
Livestock Husbandry Department and National Agricultural Extension Centre have instructed poultry farmers and traders on hygiene, sterilisation, and safe breeding models to minimise the bird flu risks.
According to the ministry, numerous cold spells in the coming time will impact poultry’s disease resistance while poultry products trafficking will also increase.
As many as 140 people in China have so far this year contracted the H7N9 virus, including 47 fatalities. H10N8 virus also killed one in Jiangxi province.
To date, no avian influenza H7N9 and H10N8 cases have been recorded in Vietnam, but there is a high risk of bird flu epidemic in the country, particularly in northern border provinces and cities such as Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Ha Nam, Hanoi and Hai Phong.
First Mekong Delta new rural area recognised
Dai Thanh commune in Hau Giang province has become the first in the Mekong delta region qualified as a new-style rural area.
A decision to this effect issued by the Central Steering Committee for the National Target Programme on building new rural areas was handed over to the commune’s authorities at a December 24 ceremony in the locality.
On the occasion, 55 individuals and collectives were honoured with certificates of merit for their contributions to the campaign.
In the foreseeable future, Hau Giang will roll out the drive in 10 model communes following Dai Thanh’s success, with a focus given to improving local livelihoods.
Early next year, Vi Thanh and Tan Tien communes are expected to meet 19 criteria for status as new countryside areas.
The National Target Programme on building new-style rural areas has been undertaken nationwide and rallied the active participation of the people.
The program sets 19 national criteria, aiming to create breakthroughs in agriculture, farmers and the countryside.
Building infrastructure, improving production capacity, building public works, protecting landscape and environment, and promote local traditions and cultural identities are among new criteria on building new rural areas initiated by the government since 2010.
Many localities have built modern infrastructure and promoted mass production. People’s living conditions have been improved remarkably as a result of the campaign.
Quang Ninh, Guangxi combat cross-border smuggling
Officials from the China-bordering province of Quang Ninh and China’s Guangxi province have sought to combat cross-border smuggling to create a healthy environment for investment and trade in their border-gate areas.
At their talks in China’s Nanning city on December 24 on the sidelines of the sixth meeting of the two countries’ joint-working committee, they agreed to intensify the sharing of information and coordination to make the fight against smuggling highly efficient.
Greater efforts against smuggling and fake goods are being made in border localities across Vietnam, especially when the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival, the country’s biggest festive time of the year, is approaching.
The northeastern coastal province of Quang Ninh, contiguous to Red River Delta provinces and the Gulf of Tonkin to the east, has a long common borderline of 132.8 km with Dongxing city and Fangcheng county in the Chinese province of Guangxi, creating a system of bustling border gates including Mong Cai, Bac Phong Sinh and Hoanh Mo.
Located in a strategic position in terms of politics, business, and military, the province can connect with Hai Phong city to establish an international seaport cluster, with Hanoi and other localities to create a regional transit route to ship Vietnamese commodities to international markets, especially the Northeast and Southeast Asian regions.
The locality is also part of the “two corridors, one belt” economic cooperation between Vietnam and China, the Pan-Tonkin Gulf economic cooperation, the bridge between ASEAN and China and the Nanning-Singapore Economic Corridor.
The province has seen an average GDP growth rate of over 10 percent for the last 20 years and its GDP per capita is 2,910 USD, a 1.7-fold increase against that of the national average in 2012.
Resort city builds sports complex
The Central Highland province of Lam Dong on December 24 commenced the construction of a sports complex, including a 20,000-seat football stadium.
Covering nearly 31 hectares, the 200-billion-VND (9.4 million USD) project is expected to be completed by 2017 as part of the provincial sports and culture centre in Da Lat city.
It also includes a cultural park, an amusement park, and a national sports training centre.
Vietnam seeks to develop workforce for development
A workshop to look for measures for developing high quality human resources to serve industrialisation and modernisation.
The function looked into the advantages of the “gold population” period for Vietnam so as to work out specific measures for each sector and field.
Vuong Dinh Hue, head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Economics said Vietnam entered the period with many advantages and potential.
It is necessary to make the most of the advantages to prepare a high-quality labour force for the future as the population reached 90 million on November 1, he said.
Participants said that to fully tap the advantages, Vietnam needs to work out policies and measures to use the labour force effectively.
The country should also focus on training skills for labourers, while strengthening investment, creating more jobs and intensifying labour export, they added.
Save the Children helps poor families in Quang Binh
More than 840 million VND (39,500 USD) were given to poor households in Bo Trach district, central Quang Binh province by the Save the Children in Vietnam on December 24.
The money will help locals in Phuc Trach and Son Trach communes repair their houses which were severely damaged by super-typhoon Wutip in late September.
On December 23, the organisation provided 827 million VND for disaster-hit households in Quang Phuong and Quang Long communes in Quang Trach district.
It is also providing clothes to 718 local students.
This is part of a 130,000 USD programme by the organisation to help Quang Binh families affected by the storm. The programme hopes to benefit about 1,200 households, including 2,400 children in the province.
Country Director Gunnar Andersen said that in the time ahead Save the Children will continue calling for more support to help locals overcome consequences by disasters.
Can Tho improves access to clean water for poor households
The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho is building several water supply works to help 95 percent of poor local households access clean water by 2020.
According to the municipal Centre for Clean Water and Environmental Sanitation for Rural Areas, a project to construct a 2,600 cu.m per day supply system is underway in the city.
The project, scheduled to be completed in 2014, has a total investment of 1.6 million USD, including 0.5 million USD from the Republic of Korea Government .
It is expected to provide clean water to 5,500 households in Vinh Thanh district.
Additionally, the city has been building eight water supply stations, each with capacity ranging between 15 and 40 cu.m per hour.
The stations are expected to benefit more than 5,700 households in the districts of Phong Dien, Vinh Binh, Thoi Lai, Co Do, Cai Rang and Thot Not.
Also, a 5,000 EUR project funded by the France-Vietnam Friendship Association will come into operation early next year.
Under the project, 170 poor households and those of Agent Orange victims will be assisted in accessing clean water.
Can Tho plans to build more than 180 water supply stations with a total capacity of 112,000 cu.m per day and install 2,800 km of pipes between now and 2020.
Vietnam, Cambodia expand cross-border transportation
Vietnam and Cambodia have adjusted a protocol on their Land Transportation Agreement to increase the number of commercial vehicles allowed to travel between the two countries by 100 every year.
The adjustment, made during bilateral talks on land transportation on December 24 in Ho Chi Minh City, also aims at unlimited number of the vehicles in the future.
At the talks, the two sides agreed to continue reviewing the transportation of passengers and listing enterprises, vehicles and transportation forms for better management.
They also pledged to revoke licences of vehicles violating the agreement and the protocol. Besides, they will simplify procedures for cross-border transportation.
Vietnam and Cambodia will boost their coordination with Laos to launch a tripartite memorandum of understanding on land transportation.
Speaking at the talks, Nguyen Van Quyen, deputy head of the Vietnam Road Transportation Administration, said that during the past years, the number of Vietnam’s commercial vehicles crossing the border reached 500, meeting the increasing demand of passenger and goods transportation of both countries and helping consolidate bilateral friendship.
Chan Dara, head of the Cambodian Transportation Department, said the agreement has made significant contributions to the transportation of goods between the two countries.
However, he also pointed out some problems arising during the implementation of the agreement, including those faced by enterprises in establishing their branches.
According to the Vietnam Road Transportation Administration, in 2012, Vietnam granted 903 licences for non-commercial vehicles crossing the Vietnam-Cambodia border. As of December 15, Vietnam licenced 500 vehicles transporting goods and passengers between the two countries.
The Vietnam-Cambodia Land Transportation Agreement was signed in 1998.
HCM City works to ensure happy Tet for poor people
The Ho Chi Minh City authorities have set specific plans to ensure a happy Tet (Lunar New Year) Festival for beneficiaries of social welfares, poor households, and workers at industrial parks.
Vice Chairman of the city’s Labour Federation Nguyen Van Khai said the organisation will not only support workers at industrial and export processing zones but also those working in businesses in districts.
It will hold programmes for workers with difficulties to welcome the traditional festival and present 1,500 gifts to those who have to stay in the city during Tet, he said.
The federation will strengthen supervision on businesses’ implementation of salary and bonus policies for workers, he added.
Meanwhile, the HCM City chapter of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union has spared no efforts to mobilise donations from organisations and individuals to buy 3,500 tickets for workers to return home for Tet and 1,800 gifts to young labourers.
The city’s Student Support Centre has implemented a programme to give 2,000 bus tickets to poor students and those with their families suffering serious damage caused by flooding.
The HCM City Fatherland Front Committee also strives to mobilise over 4.6 billion VND for activities to help local people, especially the elderly and ethnic minorities, enjoy a happy Lunar New Year.