Fire destroys forest in Gia Lai
Fire is devastating the Bac Bien Ho protective pine forest in Phu Hoa Town, Chu Pah District in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai.
Fire is devastating the Bac Bien Ho protective pine forest in Phu Hoa Town, Chu Pah District in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai.—Photo:baogialai.com.vn
Flames broke out at 2pm yesterday; Feb 19, already, more than 100ha have been destroyed, according to the district people’s committee.
More than 250 people including police, forest managers and militiamen have been assigned to put out the fire. However, the task is tough as the burnt area is on a high hill that is hard to reach.
The weather – hot and dry, with strong winds – presents yet another obstacle.
The forest was severely damaged by fire in 2010 but has since been re-planted and recovered.
Germany further assists Vietnam in bomb and mine clearance
Germany will provide Vietnam with US$1.3 million to clean up mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the central provinces of Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Binh this year, according to the German embassy in Hanoi.
The Solidarity Service International (SODI), a German non-governmental organization, has co-ordinated with the Vietnamese Military and local authorities to implement the charity projects on bomb and mine clearance in Vietnam.
Over the years, SODI groups have discovered 19,275 explosive devices in Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue provinces. In 2012, the organization helped clean up landmines on nearly 275 hectares of land which will be used for agricultural production, resettlement and infrastructure construction.
This is the 15th year the German Foreign Office has helped Vietnam resolve the consequences of war, contributing to improving living conditions in the central region. Since 1998, the German Foreign Office has provided US$13.7 million for bomb and mine clearance projects in the region.
BMGF, UNICEF finance rural area IT project
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will provide US$500,000 for central Da Nang city to bring information technology (IT) to its rural areas in 2013.
The city’s Department of Information and Communications is coordinating with relevant agencies to promptly complete related procedures to receive the sum and implement the project.
Pham Kim Son, Director of the Department, said the project will focus on HoaVang district and combine with other IT programmes on building new rural areas.
Earlier, the BMGF financed a pilot project to improve computer use skills and Internet access in Vietnam with a total sum of US$50.6 million.
BMGF is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates. The foundation aims to enhance health care and reduce extreme poverty globally.
State bans use of public vehicles to attend festivals
State employees and agencies are banned from using public vehicles to go to festivals and organising festival visits during working hours.
The ban was made following a push by the Ha Noi People’s Committee to speed up the implementation of administrative rules at State agencies, as noted in a document signed by the committee’s chairman Nguyen The Thao last Saturday.
In the document, Thao asked directors of departments and chairmen of district and ward People’s Committees to supervise working discipline and implementation of administrative rules to ensure public services are carried out in a timely manner.
The Department of Industry and Trade, the Department of Finance and district and ward People’s Committees were also requested to ensure supply of goods and stable prices after the Tet (Lunar New Year) festival.
Thao assigned the city police and the Department of Transport to supervise coaches and strictly fine violations for speeding and overloaded buses.
Mobile police will be allotted to main roads, leisure centres and festival places to ensure traffic safety. People causing public disorder or engaged in scams will be punished according to the law.
The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism was asked to set up inspection teams to check services at festivals including restaurants and vehicle parking places.
USAID awards Danang dioxin remediation contract to TerraTherm Inc
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) revealed in a February 19 announcement it has signed a contract with TerraTherm Inc to conduct thermal dioxin remediation Vietnam’s Danang Airport.
TerraTherm’s remediation technology plays a vital role in the US-funded project’s efforts to address Danang Airport’s dioxin contamination in areas used for storing and handling Agent Orange during the US-Vietnam War.
USAID is closely coordinating with the Government of Vietnam and other contractors to implement this ongoing project through to 2016.
USAID deemed TerraTherm’s In-Pile Thermal Desorption® (IPTD®) technology was most appropriate for treating approximately 73,000 cubic meters (95,000 cubic yards) of soil and sediment at Danang Airport.
The IPTD® approach incorporates placing contaminated soil and sediment within a covered, fully insulated above-ground treatment pile structure before destroying the dioxin by subjecting the soil to long term heat exposure.
The success of similarly sized US projects has demonstrated the technology can safely and effectively treat soil to the required Vietnamese standards.
TerraTherm is working with Krüger/VWS-VN to implement the project.
Computerised civil service exams urged
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has instructed all ministries and provincial departments to implement computer-based tests for the process of recruiting public servants.
The move is one element of reforms approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in October last year with the aim of making the application system fairer, more transparent and more effective in choosing the best candidates.
Phuc requested that the Ministry of Home Affairs issue regulations and guidance allowing ministries and other State-run agencies to adopt the plan. It is targeted that 70 per cent will have the new system in place by 2015.
The tests will be used to select personnel at all levels, including senior management, and will also be used later to assess performance of staff throughout their employment.
The home affairs ministry became the first Government department to utilise computer-based testing when more than 300 applicants took an exam at the beginning of January in the hope of becoming one the ministry’s 52 new public servants.
Deputy Minister Tran Anh Tuan said that the reform was being implemented to improve the quality of public servants at every level in the country.
The PM formed a central steering committee to promote the restructure, with home affairs minister Nguyen Thai Binh being appointed Chair.
Hundreds of coaches violate traffic laws
Over 200 coaches running through the central province of Quang Binh were fined for violating traffic laws, the local police announced on Monday.
These violations include carrying too many passengers, exceeding the speed limit and drink driving.
According to lieutenant-colonel Bui Quang Thanh, head of the provincial Traffic Police Department, coaches would no longer be allowed to pass through the province if they carried more passengers than legally permitted.
Breastfeeding helps save children’s lives
By exclusively breastfeeding infants for the first six months of their lives, mothers could prevent over 4,000 Vietnamese children from dying each year, according to a report released on Monday by Save the Children.
The report also stated that 22 per cent of all newborn deaths – which account for about half of child deaths in Viet Nam – could be prevented if infants were breastfed within their first hour of life.
“That’s the power of the first hour. Infants are in their most fragile state during that time and breast milk serves as a child’s first vaccine,” said Pham Sinh Huy, country director of Save the Children in Viet Nam. “Breastfeeding is the most effective way to prevent the diseases and malnutrition that can cause child deaths.”
At least 30 per cent of the children in Viet Nam suffer from stunted growth, which breastfeeding can help prevent. Yet less than one-fifth of Vietnamese children are breastfed exclusively.
“In order to encourage mothers to breastfeed exclusively, they need to be informed about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding. Baby-friendly hospitals are a great way to ensure that the doctors and nurses are advising them correctly,” said Huy.
The Vietnamese government has supported a baby-friendly hospital initiative for the past two decades, but in 2008, only 59 of the country’s 12,146 hospitals were certified baby-friendly.
Many cited reasons such as inadequate financial support and a lack of incentives for participation.
In 2012, the government also passed legislation to provide mothers with six months of maternity leave.
Government supports rice stockpiling
The prime minister has approved a plan to buy one million tonnes of winter-spring rice between February 20 and March 31 for temporary stock in the Mekong Delta region.
The Government will cover 100 percent of interest rates for loans businesses take out from banks to buy rice for reserves in a three-month term, from February 20 to May 20.
The Government has asked the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) to instruct food enterprises to purchase rice in accordance with market prices.
The Ministry of Finance and State Bank of Vietnam will provide capital for the sales.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) will cooperate with the VFA, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), and provincial and municipal People’s Committees in the Mekong Delta to develop mechanisms for inspection and management of the rice sales for temporary stock.
New family-doctor programme planned
About 130 family-doctor clinics will be set up over the next three years in Hanoi, HCM City, Can Tho, Haiphong and the provinces of Thai Nguyen, Thua Thien-Hue, Khanh Hoa and Tien Giang.
Under the Ministry of Health’s family-doctor project, Hanoi and HCM City each will have 20-30 such clinics, and the remaining provinces 5-10 each by 2015.
The ministry plans to expand the model project nationwide after 2015.
Each family-doctor clinic will provide primary health care for up to 500 people and offer treatment for common diseases and ailments, rehabilitation services, and referrals to other hospitals.
Tran Quy Tuong, deputy head of the ministry’s Health Examination and Treatment Management Department, said the country now has about 500 trained family doctors at grassroots hospitals.
However, most of them do not work as family doctors.
Some family-doctor clinics operate in Hanoi, HCM City, Haiphong, Danang, Thua Thien-Hue and Khanh Hoa, but they do not offer the full services that such clinics typically offer.
Central region firshermen reel in bigger earnings
Hundreds of fishing boats in central provinces each hauled in a wealth of dong in the first weeks of February by making use of favourable weather conditions and modern tools to boost offshore fishing.
Nearly 200 fishing boats in Ha Tinh Province’s Cam Xuyen District earned benefits of about VND320 million (US$15,238) each with each boat boasting a capacity of up to 90 V.
Firshermen in Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen provinces reaped even larger bounties of fish.
Nguyen Thanh Hai, an official of Quang Ngai Province’s Hoai Nhon District’s Aquaculture Resource Protection Department said nearly 800 fishing boats of the district went offshore to catch tuna during Tet.
Each caught more than 3 tonnes of the fish, he added.
Le Nam Hai, a fisherman in Quang Ngai Province’s Binh Son District said his fishing boat caught a huge number of fish in Hoang Sa fishing waters. He brought home more than VND600 million ($28,570) from his fruitful journey.
Tran Phuong, a fisherman in Quang Nam Province’s Nui Thanh District, said his 10-member boat earned at least VND500 million ($23,800) after more than two weeks offshore.
Meanwhile, Tran Van Hung, head of the district’s Agriculture Department said fishermen in the district last year caught 31,540 tonnes of fish in total, exceeding targets by 125 per cent.
Hung expected earnings for this year to be much higher after the impressive yields from this first fishing foray.
According to fishermen, the period before and after this Tet brought highly favourable weather conditions. Thus, herds of fish, especially tuna and cod fish, gathered in the country’s offshore fishing grounds.
Meanwhile, each fishing boat caught an average of just under 1.5 tonnes of fish in the same period last year.
Nguyen Giup, chairman of Quang Nam Province’s Nui Thanh District’s People’s Committee said fishermen had also received financial support to improve the capacity of their fishing boats and tools, as well as fuel assistance.
So, more and more boats are capable of going offshore for longer, to reap larger hauls, he said.