Full speed ahead on highway expansion
The Ministry of Transport and the People’s Committees of central Binh Dinh and Phu Yen provinces began construction to expand Highway 1A through their provinces yesterday, Marxh 31.
The upgraded roads, which include six major intersections, extend more than 40km and generally follow grade-III road standards which will allow speeds of up to 80km per hour. Cu Mong Pass is designed for vehicles traveling about 40-60km per hour.
The project has a total investment of VND2 trillion (US$98 million) and will be completed in December 2015.
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the groundbreaking ceremony, where he asked the owner and contractor of the project to ensure traffic order and safety and reduce traffic accidents.
World Bank approves grant for fisheries management
The World Bank on Friday approved an additional grant of US$6.5 million to Viet Nam for an ongoing project to improve sustainable management of coastal fisheries.
Fishermen build a ship at the total investment of VND1.8 billion (US$86,400) in central Binh Dinh Province’s Quy Nhon Town. The province is one of the beneficiaries of the Coastal Resources for Sustainable Development project aiming to promote sustainable management of coastal fisheries.
The Coastal Resources for Sustainable Development project (CRSD), with a $100 million grant from the World Bank in May 2012, has four components: strengthening of institutional capacity for sustainable fisheries management; good practices for sustainable aquaculture; sustainable management of near-shore capture fisheries; and project management, monitoring, and evaluation.
It is being implemented in the eight provinces of Ca Mau, Soc Trang, Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen, Binh Dinh, Ha Tinh, Nghe An, and Thanh Hoa.
The additional grant will be used to finance parts of inter-sectoral planning for coastal areas and co-management of near-shore capture fisheries.
It will provide direct support to around 140 poor fishing communities in the provinces in drawing up and implementing co-management plans for coastal fisheries, which will contribute to the objective of improving the sustainable management of coastal fisheries.
The grant comes from the Global Environment Facility, a trust fund managed by the World Bank to help address six critical environmental focal areas: bio-diversity, climate change, international waters, ozone depletion, land degradation, and persistent organic pollutants.
NZ supports Vietnam’s dam safety research
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has approved a project to study the dam safety in Vietnam with US$1.75 million funding from New Zealand.
The US$1.769 million project, to be implemented in Hanoi and Nghe An until April, 2015, aims to study and develop a model for managing the risk of broken dams to minimise the cost of damages.
It also helps transfer technical knowhow and improve human resource capacity within the framework of the ASEAN-Dam Risk Management (ASEAN-DRM) project in the ASEAN Roadmap to national restoration after natural disasters in the 2009-2015 period, especially the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response.
New Zealand expects to learn new experience from this project in Vietnam-one of the five countries in the world which are most vulnerable to climate change.
Cement company chairman prosecuted for abusing power
Vu Duy Chanh, chairman of Ha Giang Cement JS Company’s management board was prosecuted today for abusing his power of company assets worth at least VND7.2 billion (US$344,000).
Police investigations following reports dating back to September show Chanh signed contracts to buy two stone grinding machines without the company’s management board approval and used the contracts as security for bank loans.
One of the contracts was reportedly falsified to buy a fictitious machine while Chanh illegally used and sold the secondary machine at a diminished price.
Hail storms leave trail of destruction
Hail swept through the northern mountainous provinces over the last few days, killing one, injuring 43 and battering thousands of homes.
The initial loss estimated was VND270 billion ($12.8 million).
Lao Cai province was hit hardest, with five out of 9 districts destroyed by record-breaking hailstones measuring up to 14 centimetres – the largest ever recorded. Thousands of families were temporarily homeless.
One person was reported dead and more than 10,000 houses were badly damaged.
The Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung instructed provincial leaders to focus on relief efforts on Saturday, such as providing treatment for the injured and repairing the damaged houses.
He also asked the local authorities to monitor the price of essential commodities such as foodstuffs and construction materials to prevent prices from escalating.
On Tuesday night, hail swept through 27 communes in Cao Bang province, leaving two people injured, blowing off roofs of more than 1,100 houses and affecting about 1,300 hectares of vegetables.
The following day in Ha Giang, hail injured four people, demolished three homes and destroyed crops. The losses were estimated to total VND5 billion ($240,000).
This type of extreme weather was dangerous and unpredictable, said meteorological experts.
While it could happen anywhere, the northern mountainous provinces were the most vulnerable.
As of now, it was impossible to make accurate predictions of when hailstones would arrive.
These extreme weather events are expected to continue through May.
Da Nang hospital gains top technology
The Heart to Heart Foundation donated Philips Digital Subtraction Angiography (DSA) – the latest technique for diagnosing cardiovascular diseases – to Da Nang General Hospital yesterday.
DSA is used in interventional radiology to clearly visualise blood vessels in a bony or dense soft tissue environment.
Director of the Da Nang Hospital Tran Ngoc Thanh said the new technique “enabled clinicians to make more accurate diagnoses, improving treatment.”
The hospital receives around 1,600 patients each day.
In Viet Nam, 40 per cent of the population dies from cardiovascular disease each year.
AO victims to receive wheelchairs from charity
The Western Australian Wheelchairs for Kids charity organisation will present 160 wheelchairs to children suffering from the effects of Agent Orange (AO) in Viet Nam.
The announcement was made during a recent visit by the Vietnamese Consul General in Perth, Le Viet Duyen, to the Rotary Club of Scarborough, Western Australia, which manages the charity.
The wheelchairs are scheduled to arrive in Viet Nam this September.
Wheelchairs for Kids was established in 1998 and has provided around 22,000 wheelchairs to poor and disabled children in more than 60 countries around the world, including more than 5,000 Vietnamese children.
Fatherland Front to target crime
The Viet Nam Fatherland Front started on Friday a project to enhance communications and educational activities within the Anti-Crime National Target Programme for 2012-15.
The project was crucial to the battle against crime and would be implemented from central to local levels to raise public awareness of and compliance with the law, said Lieutenant General Tran Viet Tan, Deputy Minister of Public Security
The project aims to strengthen the supervisory and management capacities of the Fatherland Front’s staff and help police fight crime.
The new communications activities are intended to increase co-operation between the anti-crime State agencies and the Fatherland Front, improve public security and reduce crime.
Over the past years, the Fatherland Front and its member organisations have gotten more people involved in anti-crime activities and helped rehabilitate criminals.
During the 2006-10 period, they successfully encouraged many people to become whistle-blowers and rehabilitated over 208,000 criminals.
Disadvantaged fishermen get support
The central province of Quang Nam’s Trade Union donated over VND1.5 billion (US$714,000) to 12 underprivileged fishermen on Thursday in the districts of Duy Xuyen, Thang Binh and Nui Thanh.
The funds came from the Golden Heart Fund and the Sentimental Net Programme to give assistance to fishermen who suffered from natural disasters.
A Fishermen’s Support Fund was also set up in the province at the beginning of the year and will receive a minimum of VND1 billion from the local people’s committee.
Thu Duc flyover is slowly sinking
Inspections have found that parts of the steel flyover at the Thu Duc intersection in HCM City are subsiding.
Sink lines of 10-15cm have appeared over the past week in the middle of the flyover.
The road surface at either end of the bridge has also fallen slightly.
The Thang Long Construction Corporation, the bridge developer, were studying the bridge to find a suitable solution, said the company’s deputy director Le Ngoc Ban.
The Thu Duc steel flyover was opened at the beginning of the year with the aim of tackling congestion in the city.
Work on new hydro-power plant to stop
The Central Highlands province of Kon Tum has recently decided to stop the construction of Dak Mek 3 hydro-power plant following a dam collapse which led to the death of a driver last year.
Hong Phat Dak Mek Hydro-power Company, the plant’s investor, has been told to hand over all related documents to the provincial police for further investigation.
The company will also have to clear the site before the rainy season.
Three firms in charge of design consultancy, construction and supervision will also be fined.
Three students drown in Quang Tri
Three students have drown whilst swimming at the Cua Viet Beach in the central province of Quang Tri’s Gio Linh District on Saturday.
The bodies of the deceased, who were all students aged 16-20 from the Dong Ha High School of the same province, were found over two days after the incident.
The victims of the tragedy were identified as Nguyen Anh Tuan, 20, Hoang Van Tien Hiep, 18 and Le Quang Thinh, 16.
Yen Bai families get loans from ADB
Some 2,800 households in the northern mountain Yen Bai Province will receive support after their land was revoked for a public project.
It is the construction of the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Highway under a programme implemented by the Viet Nam Expressway Corporation and the Asian Development Bank.
ADB will offer loans to those that lost 10 per cent of agriculture land or more to buy equipment and tools so they can switch to alternative jobs.
Laos, Vietnam boost youth exchanges
The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union will launch more activities with the Lao People’s Revolutionary Youth Union to strengthen the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between two nations.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed at a March 28-30 conference in Nha Trang on the central coast of Vietnam in Khanh Hoa province, during a gathering of young people from border and twin provinces in the two countries.
The two sides also agreed to encourage and create favorable conditions for provincial and municipal Youth Unions, especially those in border provinces, to strengthen direct cooperation while also contributing to protecting their mutual border.
The conference praised the outcomes of cooperation between the two countries’ young people during the Vietnam-Laos Solidarity and Friendship Year 2012.
Last year, Lao and Vietnamese youth participated in a host of activities including exchanging delegations, promoting cooperation in training Youth Union officials, organizing voluntary programmes and building the Vietnam-Laos Border Youth Friendship Village.
CRS Awards presented to 14 businesses
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) presented the 2012 Corporate Social Responsibility Award 2012 (CSR Award) to 41 businesses on March 30.
Nguyen Quang Vinh, VCCI Director of the Business Office for Sustainable Development, said the awards recognize the contributions made by businesses to improving working conditions, protecting workers’ rights, and applying cutting edge and environmentally friendly technology in their production activities.
These awards show that businesses are aware of the importance of ensuring their sustainable social development goals, he added.
Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), Pham Minh Huan, said the award has gained great prestige and has encouraged businesses to become more deeply involved in the community, which has gradually become a widespread movement.
VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc stressed that his chamber will support businesses to become more socially aware through various activities, including disseminating information, training human resources and orienting businesses to protect the environment.
MoLISA, UNICEF talk children abandonment
The Ministry of Labour, War Invalid and Social Affairs (MoLISA) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in Vietnam jointly held a conference in Hanoi on March 29 discussing the root cause behind child abandonment in Vietnam.
Participants named poverty, health-related matters, unwanted pregnancy, social isolation and gender inequality as major reasons that have forced many people to give up their right to raise their offspring.
According to Le Thi Hong Loan, Chief of the United Nations Children Protection Programme in Vietnam, the number of abandoned children in the country tends to rise.
She suggested providing supporting and counseling services to trace possible signs of children being abandoned by poor families and increase support for these disadvantaged families.
Nguyen Hai Huu, Head of the Department for Children Protection and Care added that the current policies designed to support poor families are ineffective, pushing many of these families to abandon their child-raising right.
UNICEF Deputy Chief Representative in Vietnam Jesper Moller affirmed that his fund will work with Vietnam to improve the protection and care of children and developing policies to assist disadvantaged kids and abandoned children.