Social News 13/3

Hanoi"s Turtle Tower to join Ireland"s Global Greening initiative


The Turtle Tower at the Hoan Kiem Lake will go green to celebrate Ireland"s National Day as part of the Tourism Ireland"s annual Global Greening initiative.

The Irish Embassy in Hanoi has announced that the Turtle Tower in Hanoi will join with 300 iconic landmarks of 32 countries world-wide to lit up green on the St Patrick’s Day this year.

The initiative, which celebrates the island of Ireland and St Patrick, first began in 2010 in Sydney and Auckland and has gone strength to attract more and more sites each year since then. 

After the ceremony, many cultural activities introducing Irish folk music and dances will be organised to boost the cooperation development between Ireland and Vietnam, the embassy said.

Three children drown in Gia Lai, bodies found

Authorities of Krông Pa District in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai found the bodies of three children on Sunday who had gone missing last Friday.

The children went swimming at Ba River in the lowland area of Đắk Srông hydropower plants 3A and 3B.

Local authorities mobilised all available forces to search for the children after they were reported missing.

The bodies were found at some 500m, 1km and 3km from where the victims swam, said the local authorities.

The children were students of Lê Quý Đôn Secondary School in Ia Rsươm Commune.

Representatives of the People’s Committees of Krông Pa District and Ia Rsươm Commune visited the victims’ families and provided financial support worth VNĐ4 million (US$177) to each family.

Province budget to pay for workers’ social insurance

The People’s Committee of southern Đồng Nai Province on Sunday decided to spend VNĐ1.4 billion (US$61,500) from its budget to pay for the social insurance of workers of a garment company. 

The director of KL Texwell Vina has fled to South Korea.

Nguyễn Hòa Hiệp, vice chairwoman of the committee, said the payment aimed to make the workers eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

KL Texwell Vina is a fully owned South Korean company. It registered with Vietnamese authorities in December 2015 with a charter capital of VNĐ100 billion ($4.4 billion) and hired 1,928 employees.

Aside from the late payment of salary, the company has also reportedly failed to pay social insurance to its employees since August last year, which amounts to more than VNĐ17.5 billion ($771,700).

Last month, the People’s Committee of Đồng Nai Province decided to use VNĐ7 billion from its own budget to pay for the salary of 2,000 workers so that they could use the money to go home for Tết (Vietnamese Lunar New Year).

On February 12, each worker received 50 per cent of their January salary that KL Texwell Vina owed. They also received another VNĐ600,000 ($26.4) as support from the Việt Nam General Labour Confederation, the provincial labour confederation and the Fatherland Front Committee.

On February 26, the workers resumed work after the Tết holidays, but the company director reportedly did not return.

Many workers, especially pregnant employees, became worried as they were unable to get social insurance benefits since the company did not pay social insurance to the insurance agency.

Last week, a dialogue was held between a working group of the People’s Committee and hundreds of workers of the company to arrive at solutions to their problems.

Nguyễn Thị Như Ý, vice chairwoman of Đồng Nai Province’s Federation of Labour, said the workers of KL Texwell Vina were facing a lot of difficulties.

She said the federation was keeping a count of the number of pregnant and old workers and was trying to convince enterprises in the province to take them in. So far, 15 enterprises have agreed to employ the workers with a stable income, she said.

Earlier too, the working group had visited the company to solve the problems of the employees.

The group asked the workers to compile designation letters and gave advice on how to terminate labour contracts and close social insurance books.

The Trade Union Legal Consultancy Centre, under the Đồng Nai Province’s Labour Federation, has initiated proceedings to file lawsuits against KL Texwell Vina so that its machinery and other assets could be sold off to pay for the workers’ salaries and bonuses. 

HCM City general hospitals to be improved

The HCM City People’s Committee is carrying out the final steps of a pre-feasibility study report on construction of new general hospitals in Củ Chi, Hóc Môn and Thủ Đức districts before submitting it to the People’s Council for approval.

The HCM City People’s Committee instructed the city’s Department of Planning and Investment to complete the report.

Also in an attempt of improving infrastructure facilities for the city’s healthcare sector, the city has planned to put into operation a pediatrics hospital in March and a Tumor Hospital in December. 

According to Associate Professor Tăng Chí Thượnng, deputy director of the city’s Department of Health, in 2018 the health sector has set targets of having 18 doctors and 42 beds per 10,000 people and having all commune health stations that meet the national health criteria and have doctors in order to improve the quality of medical services.

According to the Department of Health, HCM City accounted for 26 per cent of the country’s medical services. Those new projects are expected to ease the overcrowding situation in hospitals and improve the quality of healthcare services as well. 

“Red Spring” festival collects 10,200 blood units

As of March 11, the 11th Xuan Hong (Red Spring) festival collected more than 10,200 units of blood from donors in Hanoi.

During the three-day festival from March 9-11, the event lured 11,000 participants, of whom 8,500 registered to donate more than 7,000 blood units at the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT).

Previously, the NIHBT collected over 3,400 blood units at 17 locations across Hanoi from March 3-7 as part of the festival.

Donors were also introduced to the blood treating process at the institute. The festival this year also attracted relatives of patients at the institute.

Luu Viet Hoang and his wife, Phan Thuy Bich, residing in Ha Dong district were among the donors. Bich expressed her excitement to join the event, saying that she and her husband took their daughter (six years old now) with them every time they donated blood, so that she could understand the meaning of the charity event.

Xuan Hong festival is the year’s largest blood donation event, launched by the NIHBT in 2008, and conducted nationwide in 2010.

The movement has contributed to ensuring blood supply while raising public awareness of blood donations.

Over the past 11 years, more than 70,500 units have been donated.

One Vietnamese player left in leading group of HDBank chess tourney

Tran Tuan Minh is now the only Vietnamese player in the leading group of the HDBank Cup International Open Chess tournament, which is underway in Hanoi.

On March 11, Tran Tuan Minh defeated Vo Thanh Ninh, another Vietnamese, to win all his first three matches and rank second after Argentina’s Alan Pichot.

The leading group currently comprises six players with three points each.

The three Vietnamese players who were in the leading group after the second match, Nguyen Anh Khoi, Tran Minh Thang and Lu Chan Hung, did not win their third matches. Khoi and Thang lost while Hung drew.

Le Quang Liem of Vietnam also scored a victory in the third match and retained his position in the second group, which consists of the players with 2.5 points.

The fourth and fifth matches of the tournament will take place on March 12.

After seven editions in Ho Chi Minh City, this is the first time the HDBank Cup International Open Chess tournament has been held in Hanoi. It is the biggest professional chess tourney in Vietnam and Southeast Asia and a competition in the World Chess Federation’s system.  

The event, scheduled to last through March 15, attracted about 270 players from 21 countries and territories. It offers a total of 55,000 USD in prizes, an increase of about 20 percent compared to last year.-

Ministry raises new-style rural area building goal to 39 percent

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has raised the target of new-style rural area ratio among communes nationwide to 39 percent in 2018 from the 37 percent it set earlier this year.

To achieve the target, the ministry has proposed several measures, such as strengthening communications on new-style rural area building programme and encouraging the engagement of businesses and entrepreneurs in agriculture and rural development.

It will review and complete mechanisms and policies related to the programme, while guiding localities in implementing projects of the programme, including the project to build pilot models of new-style rural area in 2018-2020, and another to assist the poorest communes in the work and sustainable poverty reduction.

At the same time, the ministry will support value chain production, especially for safe and green agriculture. 

The One Commune-One Product project will be sped up, while the effectiveness of co-operatives as well as quality of vocational training for rural labourers will be enhanced.

Meanwhile, each locality should choose criteria that suit them to focus on. Poor localities should concentrate on improving essential infrastructure.

According to the ministry, as of February 21, there were 3,160 communes recognised as new-style rural areas, 35.4 percent of total communes. At the same time, 113 communes have completed less than five criteria.

As many as, 46 districts in 24 centrally-run cities and provinces have fulfilled all criteria of the programme, three districts higher than 2017.

Quang Tri: 12 sets of war martyrs’ remains collected

Twelve sets of war martyrs’ remains were collected from the bank of Thach Han river in the central province of Quang Tri from March 9-13, according to the provincial Military Command.

According to veterans and locals, the search area, located in Tan My hamlet, Hai Le commune, Quang Tri township used to be a field medical station for troops having fought in Quang Tri Ancient Citadel. 

On March 9, a search team under the provincial Military Command in collaboration with the Quang Tri township Military Command found two sets of martyrs’ remains, seven on March 10 and three on March 11, at the depth of 5-7 metres. The 12 sets were transferred to the martyrs cemetery in Hai Le commune for funeral services and burial.

Colonel Nguyen Hoai Phuong, Head of the Quang Tri province Military Command said his units will expand the search area while sending samples for tests to identify the martyrs.

Previously in January, 40 sets of martyrs’ remains were found in Tan My hamlet, also in Hai Le commune. They were believed to be soldiers of Divisions 304, 312, 308 and 325, who died during the war against the US troops between 1971 and 1972.

Training course for French teachers opens in HCM City

The French Embassy in Vietnam and the International Centre for Pedagogical Studies (CIEP) under the French Ministry of Education coordinated with the Ho Chi Minh City University of Pedagogy on March 12 opened a training course for French-language teachers in the Asia-Pacific region.

The course is designed for French teachers at schools and cultural centres from 12 countries in Asia-Pacific including Vietnam, Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia.

Running until March 16, the course will provide necessary professional knowledge and skills for the trainees.

French Consul General in HCM City Vincent Floreani said this is the first time the course has been held in Vietnam as part of the activities celebrating the 45th founding anniversary of Vietnam-France diplomatic ties in 2018.

The programme will make active contributions to improving the quality of French language teaching in the Asian-Pacific nations, he added.

Over the past time, Vietnam has proved as an active member in implementing cooperation programmes and strategies of the Francophone community to promote multilingualism, protection and preservation of cultural identity in the context of globalisation.

Recently, Vietnam was elected as Chair of the Group of Francophone Ambassadors (GAF) in Switzerland in 2018 during the 8th meeting of the group in Bern. The GAF groups more than 60 ambassadors from embassies of countries in Bern and permanent missions to the United Nations in Geneva who are members or observers of the International Organisation of Francophone (OIF).

Sustainable tourism development in heritage sites talked in Hanoi

Sustainable tourism development in the world natural heritage sites was the focus of discussion at a talk with the media in Hanoi on March 12.

The event formed part of activities in the framework of the Ha Long Bay – Cat Ba Alliance (HLCBA) Initiative, launched by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Addressing the event, IUCN Acting Country Director in Vietnam Jake Brunner said tourism development has helped preserve and promote the cultural heritage values and natural resources, thus contributing significantly to the nation’s economic development.

However, the overdevelopment of tourism in several coastal provinces results in numerous negative impacts, particularly in the nearby and buffer zones of nature reserves and world heritage sites, he added.

In the context, the event presented an opportunity for journalists to talk with managers, experts, and international organisations about impacts of tourism development on the environment and the ecosystem in the Ha Long – Cat Ba site in particular, as well as seek measures for sustainable tourism development in the area.

During the event, journalists discussed in groups on issues related to tourism development in Vietnam’s heritage sites, covering planning on infrastructure and services; treatment of wastewater of cruise ships; and preserving species and biodiversity.

Experts and representatives from international organisations highlighted the initiatives and experience in sustainable tourism of Vietnam and other nations.

They also proposed solutions to sustainable tourism development in the natural heritage sites, with focus on developing vision and action plans for the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, thus enhancing the public awareness of the environment situation and improving the water quality in Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba archipelago.

The Politburo"s Resolution No. 08-NQ/TW dated January 16, 2017 defined tourism as a spearhead economic sector, targeting 17-20 million international visitors and 80 domestic ones by 2020.

In 2016, Vietnam welcomed 10 million foreign tourists and served 62 million domestic holidaymakers.

Low income earners face difficulties in house purchase

People with low-incomes are now confronting a crisis as the preferential loan package of 30 trillion VND (1.3 billion USD) for affordable home purchases ended in 2016, with no workable alternative currently on offer.

In April 2017, the National Assembly Standing Committee granted the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) 2 trillion VND (88 million USD) to implement the housing assistance programme for those who have contributed to the revolutionary cause. However, both home seekers and enterprises were unable to access the preferential loans.

Hoang Nhat in Tan Binh district, HCM City, had to get a commercial loan with interest of 8 percent per year when he bought a social house in Binh Tan district. The bank will cover 2 percent of the interest for the first two years, but rates could rise after that.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi Lan in Binh Thanh district is still waiting for a preferential loan as she needs about 500 million VND (22,000 USD) to purchase a house.

“I would rather wait than take a commercial loan because its interest rate may rise too high,” she said.

Truong Anh Tuan, chairman of Hoang Quan Cooperation, said that the lack of preferential loan packages for social home purchases halted their 22 projects of constructing affordable homes. To raise market demand, enterprises have to offer clients interest rate subsidies.

A representative of Nam Long Investment Holding Company said that in 2018, only 500 billion VND (22 million USD) was funded for VBSP to support affordable home purchasers with low interest rates. Meanwhile, enterprises cannot enjoy the capital.

Dao Anh Tuan, head of the Student Credit Department under VBSP, said that the Governmental decree issued in 2015 assigned the bank to implement the social housing policy. However, as of 2017, there had been no capital allocated. Capital of 500 billion VND funded by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) this year is expected to be lended at the interest rate of 4.8 percent a year, according to Tuan.

Borrowers include those who have contributed to the revolutionary cause, poor and near-poor households, low-income workers and State employees.

On the other hand, Nguyen Quoc Hung, head of the Department of Credit under SBV, said that only 500 billion VND out of the preferential loan package of 2 trillion VND would be disbursed in the near future. The rest will be gradually paid out by 2020.

According to him, the previous package of 30 trillion VND has received 7 trillion VND (307 million USD) of repayment so far.

Nguyen Trong Ninh, head of the Department of Housing and Realty Market Management under the Ministry of Construction, suggested that the SBV fund commercial banks with the preferential capital for social housing as enterprises cannot access loans offered by SBV.

The only way to help enterprises address financial difficulties is to provide an interest subsidy on loans provided by credit institutions, he said.

Lee wins fifth stage, Mai still in lead

Lee Eun-hee of the South Korean Samyang crew won the fifth stage of the International Women’s Cycling Bình Dương Television Tournament, the Biwase Cup, yesterday.

Lee completed 120kms from Nha Trang City of Khánh Hòa Province to Phan Rang City of Ninh Thuận Province in 3hrs 25.55mins.

She was followed by teammate Kim Youri and Nguyễn Thị Thi of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang.

Đinh Thị Như Quỳnh of Biwase Bình Dương grabbed the polka dot jersey for the Queen of the Mountain with 59 points. She was first to reach the Prenn Pass near Đà Lạt in the third stage and was in the top group at the passes of Cù Hinh, Chúa Mountain and Quỳnh. There is no pass in the rest of the tournament.

Nguyễn Thị Thu Mai of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang maintains the lead after five stages with a total time of 12.58.54.

In the team ranking, Biwase Bình Dương is on top. Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang and the team from the Netherlands are close behind.

The sixth stage today is 115km from Phan Rang to Phan Thiết City of Bình Thuận Province.

Cao Bang, China’s Chongzoa city promote labour management cooperation

The Employment Service Centres of the northern province of Cao Bang and the bordering Chongzoa city in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China have signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in cross-border labour management, recruitment and supply.

Under the MoU, which was inked following talks between officials of the two centres in Cao Bang on March 12, the two sides will share information and regulations on labour contracts regularly.

The Cao Bang Employment Service Centre will coordinate with the Labour-Invalids and Social Affairs of districts across the province to recruit and supply labour for Chongzoa city.

Meanwhile, the Employment Service Centre of Chongzoa city will direct local enterprises and employers to process entry, health checkups, work permits and temporary residency procedures for labourers from Cao Bang, while guiding employers and labourers to sign contracts and buy insurance for labourers.

The talks were part of activities to concretise the minutes of talks between Cao Bang Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the Department of Human Resources and Social Security of Chongzoa city on January 24, 2018 in Chongzoa city on cross-border labour management.

More than 2,500 poor people in Quang Tri get free medical checkups

More than 2,500 poor people in the central province of Quang Tri on March 12 received free medical checkups, medicine and gifts from the Project Vietnam Foundation organisation of the American Academy of Paediatrics.

A 70-member delegation of the organisation provided checkups and medicine for disadvantaged people in Hai An and Hai Khe communes of Hai Lang district, Cam Tuyen commune of Cam Lo district and Ba Long of Da Krong district.

Local residents also received counselling on how to prevent and treat various diseases.

This is the second time Project Vietnam Foundation has provided free checkups and medicine to people in Quang Tri province, and the 22nd time across Vietnam since 1996. 

Ministry provides training to improve hospital management

The Vietnam Administration of Medical Services under the Ministry of Health (MoH) opened a training course on hospital management in Hanoi on March 12 to help improve health care services and patients’ satisfaction.

The five-day course will train nearly 60 leaders of major hospitals nationwide.

MoH Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said in the past, the health sector just focused on specialised training while neglecting hospital management. The appointment of those with only specialised skills to managerial posts has led to the mismanagement of State-owned hospitals.

As public hospitals today must be financially autonomous, their leaders need training in management skills covering medical services quality, manpower, financial affairs and equipment.

She added hospital management needs to ensure patients are satisfied with medical services quality, reception and hospital fee transparency. Her ministry will associate the hospital quality and patients’ satisfaction with medical service prices, thus encouraging hospitals to improve.

The MoH will grant autonomy to more public non-business institutes and consider managing hospitals as social businesses, Tien said.

Director of the Vietnam Administration of Medical Services Luong Ngoc Khue said the health sector is facing challenges in reforming financial mechanisms and hospital quality. If hospital leaders only rely on their specialised capacity, it will be hard for their hospitals to attract patients and keep medical staff.

As of the end of 2017, Vietnam had 38 hospitals at the central level, 492 at the provincial level, 645 at the district level, 31 hospitals of sectors and 10,700 medical stations. There were also 207 private hospitals and about 30,000 private clinics nationwide.

Hanoi joins hands for Truong Sa Fund

A fundraiser was held on March 12 by the Hanoi National Assembly Deputies delegation and the Office of the municipal People’s Council in response to a call from the city’s Fatherland Front Committee.

The event was attended by Vice Secretary of the municipal Party Committee and Chairwoman of the People’s Council Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, Vice Chairpersons of the People’s Council Nguyen Ngoc Tuan and Phung Thi Hong Ha, vice head of the delegation Bui Huyen Mai and staff of the two agencies.

Workers at the two agencies donated a minimum of a day’s wage each to the “Vi Truong Sa than yeu” (For beloved Truong Sa) fund to support soldiers and residents on Truong Sa (Spratly) island district and DK1 Platform via the city’s working delegation trip in April.

The same day, the Hanoi chapter of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union raised 70 million VND (more than 3,000 USD) for the fund.

In recent times, chapters of the municipal Youth Union have encouraged their members to respond to the movement.

A day earlier, a book of photos, taken by photographer and journalist Nguyen My Tra, featuring the nature and people of Truong Sa archipelago was released in Hanoi.  

Entitled Truong Sa – Here We Come, the book in Vietnamese and English contains stories of the magnificent Truong Sa made of coral reefs, whirlwinds, hot sands, salty seas and the bitter taste of the blood shed by generations of Vietnamese defending the sacred seas and skies of the country.

WB to help Vietnam in public transport development, drainage planning

The World Bank (WB) wants to further its help for Vietnam in public transport development and drainage planning by 2030 with a vision towards 2050, said Ousmane Dione, WB Country Director in Vietnam. 

He told Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung during their meeting on March 12 that the bank has mobilised 550,000 USD to provide technical support for Hanoi, helping the city assess the efficiency of its public transport system. 

A WB group will have a working session with representatives of Hanoi on this issue in the time to come, he said. 

He stressed that environmental management is significant to Hanoi’s socio-economic development as the capital city has to face environmental pollution, especially air and water pollution as a result of its fast development. 

Highlighting the WB’s support for Hanoi in air quality management, he said that the bank will assist the city in upgrading rivers, lakes and canals, devising anti-flooding schemes and improving the drainage system. 

In reply, Chung said in 2017, Hanoi upgraded and dredged 83 out of 124 lakes in the city, and partnered with German companies in handling water pollution. 

He called for the WB’s financial support in treating waste water treatment in major rivers in the locality.-

Ministry asks for growth scenario building in 2018

The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MoPI) has asked other ministries, sectors and localities to soon complete outlines of growth scenarios for each quarter of 2018. 

In a document sent to ministries, sectors and localities, the MoPI requested that the scenarios should include estimated assessment of socio-economic performance in the first quarter, along with quarterly targets and solutions, towards fulfilling the yearly socio-economic development goals and State budget estimates for 2018. 

Ministries, ministry-level agencies, Government agencies, State-run companies and local administrations were requested to provide updates on the production and business activities and development of sectors and fields they were responsible for in 2017, and give forecasts for the first quarter of 2018. 

They all will also work to set targets related to production and business plans and development of industries in each quarter of 2018, based on the Government’s Resolution 01-NQ/CP and the Prime Minister’s Decision 01/QD-TTg. The resolution and decision detailed socio-economic development targets and plans in 2018, specific production and business goals for main products, sectors and fields in 2018, along with tasks and measures towards realising the goals

The document requested that ministries, sectors and localities will prepare the above-mentioned contents, as well as relevant information and data and send them to the MoPI  for consideration and submission to the Government.