Two-year imprisonment kept for blogger infringing State interest
The appeal court of the Supreme People’s Court, during its hearing in central Da Nang city on June 26, rejected the appeal lodged by blogger Truong Duy Nhat and upheld his two-year imprisonment sentence for the charge of “abusing freedoms to infringe upon interests of the State, legitimate rights and interests of organisations and/or citizens.”
The charges are stipulated under Clause 2, Article 258 of the Penal Code.
According to the indictment issue at his initial trial on March 4, Nhat, 50, a resident of Da Nang’s Hai Chau District, had published a number of articles written by himself and others on his blog, between 2009 and May 25, 2013.
Twelve of the items reportedly contained untruthful information that distorted the Party and State’s guidelines, policies and laws.
The indictment said the articles had offered a one-sided perspective, causing public concern and undermining the public trust in the leadership of the Party and State.
The articles attracted more than 34,000 views and received 483 comments.
Nhat was found to have persisted in publishing the articles, despite repeated requests to stop the offences.
Two people buried as stone pit collapses
Two people were buried along with an excavator when a stone pit collapsed on Wednesday in Thu Cuc Commune, Tan Son District, in the northern province of Phu Tho.
The two victims were identified as Ha Van Dien, 30, and Vi Tien Luan, 29.
The local authorities are searching for them. However, the rescue efforts are being hampered because the large amount of gravely soil at the site is posing a danger. The stone pit is managed by the Tran Phu Company Ltd.
The reasons for the collapse of the stone pit are being investigated.
HCM City needs more skilled workers
Demand for experienced, professionally skilled candidates has risen in the HCM City job market, while the need for manual labour jobs has declined, the city’s Human Resource Forecast and Labour Market Information Centre has reported.
Since early this year, jobs like accountancy, trading, marketing, sales, public relations, human resources, administrative tasks, information technology, transport, logistics and import-export have attracted candidates who wanted to change jobs. Nearly 82 per cent of them had experience.
Labour demand has remained stable, with growth of only 0.75 per cent in the second quarter, compared with the first quarter, the centre said.
“This means that enterprises have focused on retaining human resources,” according to Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times), which quoted the centre’s report.
Recruitment demand has increased for professional and technical skills rather than for manual workers.
Demand for manual labourers accounted for 35 per cent of the total, a drop of 22 per cent compared with the same period last year.
The reports also revealed that processing and production enterprises, which have the biggest number of manual workers, have retained their existing workforce.
Demand for manual labourers in the first six months of this year dropped 13.5 per cent year-on-year.
In addition, demand for workers who have primary vocational training certificates was 8.5 per cent of the total demand, a growth of 1.5 times compared with the same period last year.
The demand for university graduates was 15 per cent of the total.
Job growth in the finance and banking sector fell by nearly one-fifth, and only 40 per cent of the jobs were for official (managerial) positions.
The need for technical workers in the electronics and electricity sectors remained high, while demand for human resources staff was 30 per cent of the total.
Demand for professional and technical skilled workers is expected to increase in the last six months of this year and in 2015 when the country officially integrates with the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) labour market, in which workers from member countries will be allowed to take jobs in other ASEAN member markets.
The centre predicts that, to the end of this year, the city will need 150,000 employees, of which 40,000 will be seasonal.
Recruitment demand will focus on trading, services, garments and textiles, shoe making, tourism, consultancy – insurance, real estate and mechanics.
Of the total demand, manual workers will comprise 36.5 per cent; labourers with vocational certificates, 22.5 per cent; and university graduates, 12.5 per cent.
For the rest of the year, more graduates, students and workers who have lost their jobs will be looking for jobs, an increase of 10 per cent over the first six months of the year.
However, employees will not be jumping from job to job as much as they have in the past, as they prefer to have a stable job.
Asbestos use in construction a labour hazard: experts
The use of asbestos in construction should be stopped as it poses serious health risks to workers, said experts at a conference in Ha Noi yesterday.
The conference, which was hosted by the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations, heard a World Health Organisation (WHO) report claimed that exposure to asbestos, a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used in construction, can cause serious illnesses including lung cancer and asbestosis.
WHO has warned that an average of 1.25 million of workers worldwide die each year due to direct exposure to asbestos and more than 107,000 deaths each year are caused by illnesses related to asbestos.
So far, 54 countries have banned the use of asbestos, and experts said those still using the material, are mostly traditional producers of asbestos and developing countries.
In Viet Nam, according to Dr Luong Mai Anh, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Health’s Environment Management Department, asbestosis (a disease of the lungs caused by inhaling fibres of asbestos) has been recognised as an occupational disease eligible for compensation since 1976. However, until 2013, only three persons had been compensated.
According to Mai Anh’s study, Viet Nam is among the world’s 10 largest users of asbestos with a consumption of about 60,000 tonnes every year.
Dr Le Van Trinh, Vice Chairman of the Viet Nam Labour Safety Science and Technology Association said that asbestos should be removed in both production and civil use, and it was not impossible to ban the material in Viet Nam.
He said that the technology of producing non-asbestos roofing sheets at a price 10-15 per cent higher than those made from asbestos is now available, and mass production of such products could help reduce costs.
According to the Ministry of Health’s research, not only workers who are regularly exposed to asbestos at work, but also people living near an area where asbestos is exploited, or those living under a roof made from asbestos can be affected.
Appeals court hears plea in insurance theft case
An appeals court yesterday began hearing leniency pleas made by a former insurance advisor and 13 accomplices found guilty in a huge swindling case.
At the first hearing held in October 2013, the Quang Ninh Court of First Instance had sentenced Bui Thi Thu Hang to life in prison, while her accomplices receivedjail terms ranging from three to 13 years.
They were found guilty of stealing VND 230 billion (US$10.9 million).
Hang was ordered to return VND211 billion (more than 10.04 million) that she had taken from clients.
According to the indictment, Hang created false receipts and applications for various types of VIP insurance packages to sell to customers.
A representative from the Prudential Life Insurance Company Viet Nam told the court that Hang and her accomplices misused the company’s title and created forged documents and stamps to deceive clients.
The court had also ordered other defendants to repay hundreds of millions of dong each.
The hearing is scheduled to end today.
Three Vietnamese cited in World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds
Three Vietnamese scientists – Dam Thanh Son, Nguyen Son Binh and Nguyen Xuan Hung – have been listed in the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014 by Thomson Reuters.
Professor Dam Thanh Son currently teaches physics at the University of Chicago (USA). Prof. Dr. Nguyen Son Binh is a member of the chemistry faculty at Northwestern University (USA) and Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Hung is a professor at Ho Chi Minh City’s University of Natural Sciences.
They are listed among the 3,000 most influential scientists in the world by Thomson Reuters.
Thomson Reuters is a leading organization in the world specializing in monitoring and releasing information on experts globally.
Conference seeks to improve resource management in Asia
Domestic and foreign experts discussed ways to increase the effectiveness of resource use and management at a regional workshop hosted by the central city of Danang on June 25-26.
The event is part of the ongoing Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: Urban Nexus project implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) with financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Participants reviewed the progress of realising urban nexus initiatives in participating cities and the sharing of experience in the field. They also mentioned the importance of State management to the urban nexus and discussed next steps of the project.
Participating in the project, Danang has been assisted by GIZ experts in improving the capacity of treating wastewater and managing urban agriculture.
The city’s representatives voiced hope that Asian cities will further enhance advanced technology transfer and sharing of management experiment to heighten the efficiency of managing and using resources towards a sustainable Asia.
Many said the Pacific-Asia region faces rapid urbanisation which causes serious impact on the resources, especially water, energy and food.
The majority of regional cities are managing separately their sectors, which makes them unable to optimise collaboration.
Ten cities in six Asian countries, including China, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, benefit from the project which will be implemented until December 2015.
5,100 tonnes of metal ore and coal seized
Coastal Quang Ninh Province’s Customs Department announced that on Tuesday, they seized two ships transporting about 5,100 tonnes metal ore and coal worth VND5.1 billion (US$242,000).
The ships HP-3555 carrying about 2,300 tonnes of coal and HP-3632 carrying 2,800 tonnes of metal ore, were found in the sea near the province’s Van Don District. The sailors manning the boat failed to show any documents proving the origin of the ore and coal.
The case is under further investigation.
Lam Dong religious followers active in caring for the poor
Religious followers who account for 60% of the population of the Central Highland province of Lam Dong have got involved in practical deeds in the past years to help the poor and underprivileged.
Since 2009, local Buddhists have raised more than VND30 billion (US$1.4 million) to give free eye surgeries, build philanthropic houses and upgrade traffic infrastructure in remote areas.
They have also engaged in communication drives to raise public awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention, erase discrimination, and assist the patients.
During the period, Catholic people have spent over VND6.7 billion (US$319,000) on helping disaster victims and raising the funds for the poor, children and Agent Orange victims.
They also aided ethnic minority people’s effort to escape from poverty and access clean water.
At the same time, Protestant priests and believers have given hundreds of millions of VND to charitable funds and HIV/AIDS prevention programmes, while those of Cao Dai sect have spent VND1.4 billion (US$66,700) on similar activities.
Lam Dong has a population of more than 1.2 million, 22% of them of ethnic minority groups.
Five men burnt by boiling steel
Five workers in a steel recycling workshop in central Nghe An Province suffered serious burns yesterday, when a pan with boiling liquid steel overturned and fell on them.
The accident occurred at the workshop in Van Tien Commune, Nam Dan District.
Vice Chairman of the commune People’s Committee, Nguyen Hong Hai, said a worker allegedly pressed the wrong control button, causing the pan to overturn and the boiling liquid to fall on the cold water below, spraying the people working around.
Three victims are in the district hospital while the two others were transferred to Ha Noi to treat more serious burns.
Luxembourg funds healthcare centres in northern provinces
The Health Department of northern mountainous Cao Bang province and the Luxembourg Agency for Development Cooperation on June 25 inaugurated a new health centre in the Dam Thuy commune, Trung Khanh district.
The centre, spread over an area of 950 sq.ms, was built with an investment of more than VND2.2 billion (US$104,000), from Luxembourg’s development grant.
It is expected to provide better healthcare to about 5,000 people, mostly from the Tay ethnic group in the commune.
The healthcare centre is part of Luxembourg’s support to the healthcare policy for the poor in the northern provinces of Cao Bang and Bac Kan.
Under the project, the construction of other 11 healthcare centres, worth VND26.8 billion (US$1.25 million), is scheduled to finish next month in the two provinces.
Crackdown on container truck fraud
The Ministry of Transport will set up eight inspection teams to crack down on container trucks using oversized cargo tankers to carry excessive loads around the country.
These teams will focus on heavy container trucks that operate at mines and quarries, traffic construction projects and ports. Overloaded trucks on national highways will also be targeted.
Nguyen Xuan Cuong, deputy head of the ministry’s Viet Nam Road Administration, said that many container trucks had illegally expanded their containers to carry more cargo than their capacity.
During recent registrations, inspectors found that drivers used the original containers to register their vehicles, and then switched to larger ones .
This had caused difficulties for registration inspectors trying to get the trucks off the road, he said.
Cuong said authorities should issue stricter penalties for vehicles that violated the law and damaged roads and bridges, causing traffic accidents and unhealthy competition among transport businesses.
“For first time offenders, authorities should seize stamps and certificates of registration until the oversized containers ar converted back to their original size. Drivers will also have their licences revoked if they are caught a second time,” he said.
The administration has asked transport departments to set up permanent teams to crackdown on offenders.
The administration will also co-ordinate with the Viet Nam Register Department, ministry inspectors and local transport authorities to organise inspections of container trucks.
Statistics from the Viet Nam Register Department showed that more than 61,170 container trucks operate nationwide, 75 per cent of which have been expanded to carry more cargo. Some have even been modified to carry three times more cargo than they are supposed to.
Central Highlands steps up religious policy popularisation
Leading officials from the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands on June 26 worked with authorities from the region and southern Binh Phuoc province to step up the populiration of State regulations on belief and religions, especially among ethnic minority people.
The session, held in Buon Ma Thuot city of Dak Lak province on June 26, heard that in recent years, some extremists have incited over 4,000 locals in the regional localities to join heresies.
However, local authorities have managed to deal with the phenomenon.
Officials have intensified the State management work on religions and created all favourable conditions for followers and dignitaries to practice their folk belief.
The Central Highlands, in particular, counts over 2 million followers, accounting for 36 percent of the total population, with nearly 500,000 from ethnic minority groups.
Vietnam is home to many religions and beliefs, mainly Buddhism, with 6.8 million followers, Catholicism (5.7 million), Hoa Hao (1.4 million), Cao Dai (808,000), Protestantism (734,000), Islam (73,000), and Brahmanism (56,000).
Up to 98 percent of Vietnamese families practise some kind of worship at home.-
Underprivileged kids get swimming lessons
The Central Highlands province’s Buon Ma Thuot City has launched a month’s free swimming course for nearly 300 underprivileged children.
The one-month course, to end on July 26, will provide basic skills to primary school children in the province to save them from drowning.
It is part of the national programme on drowning prevention for children.
According to the Provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, 60 children had drowned between 2010 and 2013.
Tay Ninh strives for new rural development
New asphalted roads, cemented lanes, schools, and healthcare centres have breathed new lives into 25 communes in southern Tay Ninh province that have been selected for implementing a national rural development programme. A report by radio The Voice of Vietnam (VOV).
As well as upgraded infrastructure, the local people there are enjoying much better living standards thanks to joint efforts of the local authorities and people in making use of every possible resource for local community development.
In 2014 alone, a total of 30 million USD from the state budget and contributions from local businesses and people has been invested in nine targeted communes of the national new rural development programme in Tay Ninh. One of these communes, Thach Dong received an investment of up to 5 million USD, mainly to upgrade the local infrastructure.
Up to now, nearly 100 percent of households in Thach Dong have been connected to the national electricity grid. Roads, schools, healthcare centres, cultural houses, and other public works have been built or upgraded.
People’s living conditions there have been improved. The commune now has only 35 poor households, accounting for 1.6 percent of the total local households, and is doing its best to become the first in the province to achieve all 19 criteria of the national rural development programme.
Pham Vu Tung, Chairman of Thach Dong communal People’s Committee, said the commune has achieved 11 out of the 19 criteria of the national programme of new rural development.
“It’s possible for us to complete all the 19 criteria by the end of this year thanks to a high consensus among the local authorities and people to achieve the programme’s set targets,” Tung affirmed.
People in Tay Ninh have invented a number of new models of effective husbandry while applying advanced technology in planting sugarcanes and cassava for higher productivity.
Ta Hoang Thanh in Phuoc Ninh commune in Duong Minh Chau district, owns a 2 ha farm where he raises pigs and fish, and has planted some crops. His farm earns him an annual revenue of 150,000 USD. His farming model is being widely applied in his community.
As part of implementing the national new rural development programme, Tay Ninh has carried out a project to provide vocational training for rural labourers. Around 360 classes have been organised across the province to train 11,000 local people.
This year, Tay Ninh province has invested 350,000 USD in vocational training for 5,000 local rural labourers. It aims to have 20 percent of its communes completing the national rural development programme by next year.-
Health sector to expand coverage of medical insurance
The health sector will focus on improving the quality of medical services and benefits for insured patients.
These would be part of the efforts to increase the country’s health insurance coverage to 75 per cent by 2015 and 80 per cent by 2020.
Speaking at a meeting yesterday to mark the Viet Nam Health Insurance Day which falls on July 1, health minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said that positive changes in the revised health insurance law that was adopted by the National Assembly on June 13, would be important steps to achieve the goal of health insurance for all.
“Changing from voluntary to compulsory payments would help in handling the shortcomings in the current health insurance policies and in increasing the health insurance coverage of the population,” said Tien.
The insured patient’s benefits would be improved by efforts to simplify the health insurance procedures and by upgrading the examination and treatment services, especially for the poor, ethnic and minority people or those living on islands and in difficult areas, according to the minister.
Tien said that the country still faces many challenges such as access to medical services and the quality of examination and treatment, which need to be resolved for meeting the increasing demand for healthcare. More than 30 per cent of the population is not covered by medical insurance and the inadequate awareness of people regarding health insurance laws and regulations were also problems in achieving universal health insurance coverage.
The health ministry statistics shows that the number of medically insured people increased by 15 million after five years of implementation of the health insurance law. The country had 61.7 million medically insured people, totaling nearly 70 per cent of the country’s population by end of 2013.
The health insurance fund has paid more than VND42 trillion or US$2 billion for examination and treatment during 131 million visits by insured patients in 2013, compared to more than VND19 trillion or $900 million during 102 million visits by insured patients in 2010.
Vietnam awards first Ph.D degree in in’t relations to foreigner
Park Noh Wan, envoy and Consul General of the Republic of Korea Embassy in Vietnam, has become the first foreigner to graduate with a doctoral degree in Vietnam.
Ph.D Park received his doctorate in international relations from the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV) at a ceremony in Hanoi on June 25.
Addressing the awards ceremony, DAV President Dang Dinh Quy congratulated Park on his success and highly appreciated the practicality of his research project entitled “Vietnam-RoK Strategic Co-operation Partnership and the prospects for change in the context of global governance in the 21st Century”.
Quy emphasised that Park’s doctoral thesis significantly contributes to boosting bilateral cooperation ties between the Republic of Korea and Vietnam.
Duong Chi Dung gets paid during two-year imprisonment
The former chairman of Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) received his salary from the company during the two-year imprisonment before he was sentenced to death.
According to a representative of the Ministry of Transport, during the period between his arrest in September 2012 and his sentencing, Dung had still been collecting his pay. His monthly salary was more than VND5 million.
The salary was in line with the government’s regulation, which say that suspended officials could still collect half their pay if they are suspended, pending investigation.
Recently, the Ministry of Transport decided to officially fire Duong Chi Dung after the court announced his death sentence.
Minister of Transport, Dinh La Thang, commented that the ministry’s decision for dismissal was too cautious, going so far as to say it was a bit “ridiculous”.
National Assembly Deputy, Nguyen Sy Cuong, former Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said that there are still no clear regulations about when to dismiss an official who is accused of violations, causing agencies to wait for the court’s final verdict.
Cuong, however, said that the case of Dung, who fled abroad and arrested, was grounds for immediate dismissal.
HCM City goes with integrated international education curriculum
HCM City will pilot an integrated international education programme before wider application at the city level, said one official.
Le Hong Son, Director of the municipal Department of Education and Training, said, “We’ve held discussions with the British Department of Education concerning the creation of an integrated education programme. These talks have been ongoing since December 2011. It’s time for us to start piloting the programme after a three-year preparation period.”
According to Son, the new programme has been designed to be in line with Vietnamese culture while still ensuring international standards.
“We’ll allow primary and secondary schools in the city to register for the integrated programme, along with carefully preparing the content, documents and teaching staff for the pilot project,” he noted.
Concerning the teaching staff, he said that they planned to intensify teacher training to make sure that by 2020 half of the city’s teaching staff takeing part in the programme would be Vietnamese. At present, they will employ native speaking teachers to carry out the programme.
The British Department of Education would provide support for diplomas, certifications and other document issues. Tuition fees are estimated to be the same as the Cambridge programme, and are expected to be reduced once more Vietnamese teachers are hired.
Regarding the cooperation halt between CIE Cambridge and EMG Education, he said that all students who have pursued the CIE Cambridge programme in HCM City would be able to continue their studies and would receive their certificates until 2018. Those who want to switch to the integrated programme would also receive support.
“We’ve requested CIE to provide an integrated programme in HCM City but they refused, insisting on maintaining their copyrighted curriculum, which we consider too strict and conducive to Vietnamese students,” he added.
VND300 billion for building suspension bridges
Hundred Eighty six suspension bridges across the country will be constructed by Ministry of Transport, worth VND300 billion (US$ 14,097).
The Ministry of Transport has finished design of suspension bridges and it is planned to be completed within nine months.
12 bridges will be built in the northern provinces of Bac Kan and Yen Bai first and ministry of stransport said that 12 bridges’ construction will be completed before July 15, 2014.
The construction of bridges across rivers in Khe Cam Village in An Luong of Yen Bai Province and Cho Moi Bridge in Cho Moi Town of Bac Kan will start end of June this year.
The country has currently 2,335 operational suspension bridges. 1,421 of them are in good repair, 638 others need to fix and the remaining are in poor repairs. 128 bridges are out of service as they are described as ‘waiting to collapse’, said ministry.