Measures to reduce gender imbalance
A project has recently been proposed for the 2013-2020 period with various policies, including supporting families with only daughters, as part of efforts to reduce gender imbalance in Vietnam.
The project, designed by the General Office for Population and Family Planning under the Ministry of Health, aims to improve gender imbalance through three key measures.
They include solutions to educate people and reduce male chauvinism, stop parents choosing the gender of their baby and give extra support to couples only having daughters.
Accordingly, couples that have only daughters will receive financial support. As the children mature they will enjoy preferential health insurance and education fees, better training and job opportunities, and special access to bank loans.
In Vietnam, 1.4 to 1.5 million children are born every year. The country’s gender ratio at birth remains high, at 112.3 boys per 100 girls due to old beliefs of having at least a son. If the situation is not improved, Vietnam is likely to lack 2.3 to 4.3 million women by 2050.
A falling female population could result in a marriage crisis, and lead to more victims of trafficking, prostitution and higher numbers of overseas brides.
Nguyen Van Tan, Deputy Head of the General Office for Population and Family Planning, concerned that the project could be more effective in rural and poor areas than in cities and other polices need to be designed for urban families.
To resolve the problem, Tan said, the efforts of not only the Population and Family Planning Department but the entire political system are needed.
It is necessary to launch a mass movement to promote the value of gender equality and reduce gender imbalance, he added.
ASEAN praises Vietnam’s vocational training
A ceremony was held in Hanoi on March 23 to honour the winners of the 2012 ASEAN Skill Competition hosted by Indonesia.
Vietnam took home a total of 16 medals, including five golds, six silvers, and five bronzes, as well as 11 certificates of excellency, ranking second in the medal tally behind host Indonesia.
Addressing the awards ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan praised the outstanding achievements of the Vietnamese winners, saying this affirms the important role of Vietnam’s vocational training sector in Southeast Asia.
The success in the 2012 competition will promote vocational training in Vietnam and honour outstanding workers at a time when Vietnam is facing a shortage of skilled labour, Nhan said.
He emphasized that the Vietnamese awardees at the 9th ASEAN Skill Competition presented a positive image of vocational training in the country and Vietnam’s status in the region.
The Deputy PM spoke highly of the teachers, trainers and experts who contributed to vocational training in order to provide skilled workers for Vietnam during its international integration process.
He asked the Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs to continue developing the 2011-2020 vocational training strategy and called for more resources to support Vietnam’s participation in regional and international competitions.
Vietnam is now preparing to participate in the 42nd World Skills Contest in Germany this July.
The 10th ASEAN Skill Competition will be hosted by Vietnam in 2014.
Highway 1A expansion to take two years
The expansion of National Highway No 1 in the central province of Quang Nam started yesterday and is expected to be completed in two years.
Considered the most important highway in Viet Nam, National Highway No 1 runs through half of the provinces and cities in the country, linking Ha Noi, Da Nang, HCM City and Can Tho.
The 40km expansion will run through the central province of Quang Nam. Over VND1.6 trillion (US$80 million) will be poured into the work.
Attending the ground-breaking ceremony yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that the expansion would help reduce traffic accidents and boost socio-economic development in the province and the central region as a whole.
He urged the project’s investor – the Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No.5 (Cienco 5) – and constructors to ensure quality. Local authorities have been asked to deal with land clearance, compensation and resettlement for people in affected areas.
Low-income housing for Thai Binh
The Damsan Textile Joint Stock Company in northern Thai Binh Province will develop the first local housing project for low-income earners, which is expected to provide 274 houses and apartments by 2015.
The project is worth over VND200 billion ($9.4 million) and will develop an area of over 4600 sq.m in Thai Binh City’s Tran Hung Dao Street.
Director of the provincial Construction Department Pham Cong Thanh said that the site was chosen for development, with the help of the private sector, to save land and ensure an increase in demand for industrial zone workers.
Rice to be handed out to poor households
Nearly 1,500 tonnes of rice from the national reserve will be distributed to poor households in northern mountainous Lang Son and Dien Bien provinces while they are between crops.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung ordered Dien Bien and Lang Son would receive 1,051 and 320 tonnes of rice respectively. There are an estimated 13,000 poor households in Dien Bien and 3,000 in Lang Son.
Local authorities would distribute the rice.
In January, the Vietnamese Government provided 19,000 tonnes of rice to 12 provinces to support the poor during the Lunar New Year and between crops.
Businesses join corruption fight
Business community and public officials have learnt how to combat corruption in a more efficient manner at a recent workshop in Haiphong.
The workshop was co-organised by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the World Bank (WB) on March 23.
A WB report warned that corruption in Vietnam still remains serious, saying that 45 percent of surveyed public officials witnessed corrupt acts, and 44 percent of enterprises and 28 percent of citizens made unofficial payments. As much as 75 percent of the surveyed people said corruption was a serious matter.
In its report to the workshop, the Government Inspectorate of Vietnam pointed out that light punishments given to corrupt people is one of the reasons behind the prevalence of corruption.
To make the fight against corruption more efficient, the inspectorate suggested stipulating a law on access to information, building a competent public service trusted by those who report on corruption, establishing a corruption monitoring system, and raising people’s awareness of the issue.
WB experts presented their own solutions, including increasing transparency and publicity, continuing administrative reform, and eliminating interest contradiction in handling corrupt cases.
Enterprises donate $4.7m for sea dykes
Over VND100 billion (US$4.7million) have been donated to enable the construction of local sea dykes and repair of essential roads in northeastern Quang Ninh Province.
The sum, equal to 60 per cent the required investment, were contributed by tens of enterprises in Cam Pha City.
This is the largest private sector contribution to a public infrastructure project in the city.
The project will improve sea dyke system and roads from Tai Xa Ferry Station to Van Don 1 Bridge, which is expected to reduce traffic pressure on the route to Cua Ong Temple, a popular historical site that attracts thousands of pilgrims on spiritual days.
Viet Nam-Russia education bond
The HCM City University of Education on Friday launched its Viet Nam-Russia Friendship group to strengthen education cooperation between the two countries.
The group will help enhance and consolidate relations in many fields, including politics, economy and education.
Water supply to capital disrupted
A rupture in the water mains on the Thang Long Highway running from Da River to Ha Noi on Saturday led to water shortages for more than 70,000 households in the city’s six districts.
Repair work is expected to finish tonight to recover water supplies for the districts of Thanh Xuan, Hoang Mai, Cau Giay, Tu Liem, Thanh Tri and Dong Da.
Nguyen Anh Viet, director of the Viet Nam Water Company (Viwaco), said the subsidence of the highway coupled with high water pressure had possibly resulted in the problem.
The company had sent 30 workers to fix the pipeline and diverted water from the spare station to partially meet demands of affected households, he said.
Residents have also been advised to conserve water.
According to the company, this was the second time the pipeline has broken since it opened in 2007.
The previous incident in February 2012 left 40,000 households without water.
Kids needing special care to get more help
As many as 123 children with special needs have been adopted by foreigners over the past two years under a pilot programme to find families for the kids.
However, the figure is small compared with the 1,088 children with special needs being raised at childcare centres in four pilot localities of Ha Noi, HCM City, central Da Nang City and southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.
Deputy Home Affairs Minister Dinh Trung Tung told a workshop held here yesterday to review the programme that it has achieved certain results and has special meaning in the context of important changes in Viet Nam’s adoption regulations.
A representative from the HCM City Department of Justice said the programme has brought practical results in caring for and protecting children with special needs, disabilities and life-threatening diseases living at childcare centres.
“They have been adopted by foreigners and now receive better care and treatment,” he added.
For its part, the Ha Noi Justice Department spoke of difficulties facing childcare centres in providing care and treatment, such as limited facilities and financial resources while the number of children at the centres keeps increasing.
The programme has been implemented in line with the Law on Adoption. It was launched by the Justice Ministry in co-ordination with UNICEF in 2011.
Vietnam responds to Earth Hour 2013
Many localities across the country turned off their lights on the evening of March 23 to celebrate Earth Hour 2013 and join efforts to combat climate change.
At 20.30pm the climate change awareness campaign saw major tourist destinations in downtown Hanoi such as August Revolution Square, Trang Tien Plaza, and Ngoc Son Temple black out for an hour.
Thousands of local residents and students gathered around Hoan Kiem (Restored Sword) lake and in front of the Hanoi Opera House, holding self-luminous (OLED) lamps in response to the campaign.
Nguyen Thi Thuy, an Electricity University student, said she has supported the campaign to make the plant greener and more beautiful.
“This is the second time I have taken part in the event,” said Thuy. “I hope more similar activities will be held all the year round to save more energy.”
Nguyen Quang Tu, a student from Commerce University, said, “Our students can respond to the campaign by turning off our motorbikes when the red light is on to save petrol and protect the environment.”
At the same time, major public places and iconic buildings in HCM City switched off their lights for an hour.
Hundreds of volunteers converged on the Municipal Youth Cultural House to take part in Earth Hour campaign activities, including flashmob dancing and finger printing, showing their commitment to environmental protection.
Earth Hour, launched by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in 2007, is observed on the third Saturday of March every year from 20.30 to 21.30pm. It has been responded by 150 countries and territories worldwide.
This year Vietnam hopes to save 700,000 kWhs (equivalent to around VND1 billion) from this campaign.
Three arrested for drug production
Three people were caught producing a huge amount of illegal drugs in HCM City’s Go Vap District after an explosion occurred inside their rented house on Wednesday.
Local police confiscated an enormous quantity of heroin products in the house, including a one cake of heroin, two bags of heroin powder, a piece of pure heroin and nearly four kilos of synthetic drugs.
Police also found an electric stove and glass pot along with alcohol, acid and other materials used to produce drugs.
According to the city investigation agency, the criminals produced three batches of heroin, which were sold to a person in HCM City at the price of VND200 million (US$9,000) per kilo.
300,000 veterans receive health care
Some 300,000 people in Ha Noi who had made contributions to the national revolution have received health care at home and nursing centres in the last 20 years, according to the Ha Noi Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.
At a conference on Thursday to review the nursing programmes, department representatives said that there are five nursing homes in the city dedicated to serving war invalids, heroic mothers and others who contributed to the revolutionary war.
Int’l company plans biomass production in Vietnam
Innovative Engineering Ventures (IEV) on March 22 said it will enter the renewable energy business through biomass production in Vietnam, as part of its efforts to explore opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.
“The company plans to construct its first plant to manufacture pellet forms of rice-husk biomass in the middle of the Mekong Delta, the Rice Bowl of Southern Vietnam”, according to a press release issued by IEV in Singapore.
The company hopes to achieve first pellet-production in the first half of 2014. It is currently in the process of finalising its plans in Vietnam and obtaining tenders for the construction of the plant.
IEV, listed on the Singapore Exchange since 2011, offers a range of integrated engineering solutions and has operations in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
“Biomass is a renewable source of energy that is expected to be more economical than fossil fuel and its worldwide demand has been increasing significantly,” said IEV President and CEO Christopher Do.
He added that the entry into renewable energy will allow IEV to explore the vast opportunities in this sector, not only limiting to biomass but also through other renewable resources in the Asia Pacific region.
Germany supports Vietnam’s vocational training
The German Reconstruction Bank will provide financial and technical support for Vietnam’s vocational schools under a programme launched in Ninh Thuan Province on March 21-22.
Beneficiaries include Viet Bac–Vinacomin vocational training school and four others in the provinces of An Giang, Long An, Ninh Thuan and Bac Ninh.
The project is part of the two Governments’ vocational training cooperation.
Accordingly, the German side will offer EUR12.5 million to help the Vietnamese schools upgrade teaching equipment.
At the same time, the schools will receive EUR3.3 million to improve teachers’ capacity in operating the equipment granted by the German Government.