16 injured in head-on bus/truck crash
Sixteen people were injured when a bus and truck collided head-on in the Central Highlands Dak Nong Province’s Dak R’Lap District at 5.30pm yesterday, March 25.
The truck driver suffered multiple fractures to both legs and is in a critical condition in Ho Chi Minh City’s Cho Ray Hospital. The others were taken to the province hospital where their condition has been reported as stable.
Sixteen people were injured when a bus and truck collided head-on
in the Central Highlands Dak Nong Province’s Dak R’Lap District at 5.30pm yesterday.
The bus was being driven on National Road 14 by Nguyen Van Phi, 41, when he lost control of the vehicle while going down a slope and crashed into the truck at high speed, according to initial investigations.
Traffic was held up for two and a-half hours and formed tailbacks 3km long on each side of the accident site as police struggled to separate the badly damaged vehicles. The road was finally reopened at 8pm.
RoK: guest workers to benefit by returning home
Viet Nam and South Korea (RoK) have introduced a number of preferential policies to encourage Vietnamese guest workers to return home on schedule when their labour contracts end.
The policies, including permission to return to work in Korea later and free vocational training to upgrade skills, were introduced on Sunday at a meeting held for Vietnamese guest workers working in Incheon city and surrounding areas.
Le Manh Hung, Deputy Director of the Overseas Labour Centre under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, spoke at the meeting about problems that had affected the programme to send Vietnamese workers to the Republic of Korea under the Employment Permit System (EPS).
He said Viet Nam was no longer among the top 15 nations sending workers to Korea because many Vietnamese workers failed to go home at the end of their working contracts.
In 2012, only 8,000 out of 17,500 Vietnamese workers returned home as scheduled after their contracts ended.
The rate of overstaying among Vietnamese workers has exceeded 50 per cent over several years, compared to the average of 20 per cent among workers from other countries, Hung said.
He also said the RoK’s temporary suspension of its MoU with Viet Nam had negatively impacted Vietnamese workers hoping to gain employment in the East Asian country.
At present, almost 700 workers in poor districts have passed Korean language tests but cannot register for recruitment. The applications of more than 10,000 other Vietnamese workers as well as Korean language tests for potential guest workers have been suspended, he said.
Hung informed the workers that the RoK Government has issued several incentives to foreign guest workers, most important of which is permitting those who return home on schedule to work again in Korea after a few months.
Furthermore, the Vietnamese and RoK Governments will provide free vocational training to former guest workers and introduce them to RoK companies operating in Viet Nam, he said.
A representative from the RoK Human Resource Development (HRD) said at the meeting that from February 2012, foreign workers who return home on time at the end of their contracts can receive permission to get another job in the RoK three to six months later.
Traffic order needed to reduce road death toll
More than 5,600 traffic accidents occurred in the first two months of this year, killing nearly 2,000 people and injuring almost 5,800 others.
This was announced at a national online conference on traffic safety in Hanoi on March 25.
The number of deaths increased by 300 compared to the same period last year, despite the fall in the number of accidents.
The conference, attended by permanent member of the Party Central Committee Secretariat Le Hong Anh, discussed the adoption of a decree on strictly implementing the task of ensuring traffic safety and order.
Participants admitted that traffic violations and road accidents had caused great losses to both people and property.
Traffic congestion has remained a daily occurrence across the whole nation, affecting the sustainability of socio-economic and cultural developments and tarnishing the country’s image.
Speaking at the conference, Anh said measures to ensure traffic order are not strong enough while infrastructure construction is not keeping pace with the increasing number of vehicles on the roads.
Information dissemination work is weak and many road users are not aware of traffic rules, he added.
Anh said ministries and agencies should diversify publicity campaigns to raise public awareness of traffic rules while focusing on upgrading infrastructure facilities.
It is urgent finalize legal documents about traffic safety and order and clearly define the responsibilities and duties of road users.
Strengthening transport links by road, waterway and railway are also essential to help ease the flow of traffic, he said.
Focus to be directed on emerging diseases
The preventive medicine sector aims to control and eliminate newly emerging diseases in 2013, said deputy health minister Nguyen Thanh Long at a conference in Ha Noi yesterday, March 25.
Viet Nam has recently reported a number of new transmitted diseases such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), avian influenza H5N1 and swine flu H1N1, acute diarrhoea, foot-hand-mouth (FHM) and dengue fever, said a health official.
Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology Nguyen Tran Hien said that to fight such diseases, relevant authorities will focus on detecting diseases early and implementing more prevention efforts.
Hien attributed the new diseases to climate change, increases in population and fast urbanisation, drug resistance, poor personal hygiene and a lack of appropriate food safety practices.
Fatality and injury rates due to non-transmitted diseases have climbed up, as for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, heart, cancer and mental diseases, Hien added.
Hien suggested that the health sector strengthen the disease control system nation-wide.
Continuing to expand immunisation programmes as well as the availability of laboratories and testing units nation-wide would also help prevent future pandemics, he stressed.
According to the Ministry of Health, the sector has achieved remarkable results in disease prevention and control as evidenced by the lack of recent pandemics.
Lao border guards make huge drug bust
Central Quang Tri Province’s border guards, working with Lao police, arrested three Lao people for illegally smuggling 13,200 synthetic drug tablets through the Lao Bao International Border Gate on Sunday.
The smugglers, who came from Laos’ Savannakhet Province and ranged in age from 20 to 41, were caught selling drugs near the border gate.
The police confiscated the drugs along with a car and 50 million kip (US$6,000).
The traffickers confessed that they had bought the drugs in Savannakhet Province and planned to collaborate with Vietnamese people to sell them in Viet Nam.
The case is still under investigation.
Educator urges more arts classes at school
Arts play a significant role in education by improving academic success and attendance at school, a British educator told a conference themed “Leading Generation for Creativity” in HCM City.
Paul Collard, chief executive of Britain’s Creativity, Culture and Education organisation, said that drawing, for example, helped to develop the observation capacity of children and young people.
Art activities and more creative teaching methodologies can help students become more creative, independent, confident and interested in learning.
Traditional teaching methods in many countries, including Viet Nam, are often boring and demotivating, according to Collard.
Under these methods, learners are not stimulated to be creative, and lose confidence and interest.
For example, studies show that countries with higher math scores on the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), an international comparative survey of 15-year-olds, have fewer people who are confident in their entrepreneurial capability.
These studies also show that countries with higher science scores on PISA have the highest rate of youth suicide. Collard urged educators to use more creative teaching methodologies that could lead to both high-test scores and independently motivated students.
The conference was organised by Thai Ha Books in co-operation with the city’s Creative Art, a centre for children aged 4 to 14.
It attracted more than 300 parents, teachers and principals of primary and secondary schools in HCM City.
Hospitals urged to ensure space for all patients
Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien has asked hospital directors nationwide to upgrade facilities in order to ease patient overload and the sharing of hospital beds.
Speaking at a conference held yesterday in HCM City, Tien said that Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung had approved a national plan that calls for “one patient, one bed” by 2015.
Tien said that oncology, cardiology, obstetrics and paediatrics wards at key hospitals in HCM City and Ha Noi would be given top priority.
Some patients have to wait four hours for an appointment, according to Tien.
The national plan calls for one doctor to examine no more than 50 patients each day by 2015, and no more than 35 a day by 2020.
Last year, 12,711 more beds were put into use at hospitals nationwide. Of them, the number of beds for central hospitals increased 6.6 per cent.
However, patient overload at central hospitals and specialised ones in large cities like HCM City and Ha Noi last year was still high.
Demand rose last year for health exams and treatment at central hospitals and specialised ones in HCM City and Ha Noi, Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Ministry of Health’s Treatment and Examination Management Department, said.
The total number of patients visiting hospitals for health exams and treatment last year rose to nearly 132 million, an increase of 6.8 per cent compared to 2011, according to reports from 1,086 hospitals nationwide.
In addition, 11 million people were brought to hospitals for multiple-day treatments last year, an increase of 6 per cent against 2011.
According to the World Health Organisation, bed occupation rate should not exceed 85 per cent in order to ensure the effectiveness and quality of health care.
However, the bed occupation rate central hospitals in Viet Nam last year was 112.5 per cent.
At the conference, the ministry announced that more projects had been launched, including the training of medical staff in the areas of TB, leprosy, mental disorders, forensic medicine and surgery.
Khue said that 50 provinces and cities had made a commitment to set up satellite hospitals in their localities.
National highway upgrade in Nghe An
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on March 26 attended the ground-breaking ceremony of the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) project to expand the National Highway 1A running from Nghi Son to Cau Giat districts in central Nghe An province.
The 34km road expansion will cost VND3.627 trillion sourced from Civil Engineering Construction Corperations No.4 and No. 319 belonging to the Ministry of National Defense.
He praised both central and local agencies in mobilizing social resources to improve traffic facilities.
The PM called for greater efforts to accelerate ground clearance in due time.
Police who transported wood get month off
Two police officers in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang were suspended from work for 30 days for illegally transporting wood last week.
Local police found two cars carrying ten trunks of rare nghien trees in Phu Linh Commune last Wednesday.
One of the cars was driven by the two provincial police officers while the other was driven by a kindergarten teacher.
None could submit documents to the police demonstrating their legal right to transport the wood.
$10 million to protect critical ecosystems
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund has committed to provide another US$10 million in grants to address the environmental crisis engulfing mainland Southeast Asia.
The biodiversity fund was launched in 2008. During the first phase, $10 million was invested in efforts to conserve the critical ecosystems in the Indo-Burma Hotspot, which includes the Irrawaddy, Thanlwin (Salween), Chao Phraya, Red, Pearl and Mekong Rivers and Tonle Sap Lake system.
The funding strategy was developed by hundreds of conservationists and researchers from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam.
Int’l conference on sustainable built environment
An international conference themed “Sustainable Built Environment For Now and the Future” opened in Hanoi on March 26 as part of activities to mark 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the UK.
The two-day event has drawn 200 scholars, entrepreneurs, researchers, representatives from businesses and associations from Vietnam, the UK, the US, Holland, Italy, the Czech Republic and Malaysia to share the latest knowledge of sustainable built environment and establish cooperative relations.
Addressing the seminar, deputy minister of Construction Nguyen Thanh Nghi and UK ambassador to Vietnam Antony Stokes agreed on the need to create and maintain a sustainable built environment for now and the future. Nghi said this is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Government of Vietnam has approved an action plan to prevent construction projects from causing environmental problems and posing challenges for the country.
Angela Brady, the UK’s Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) said she is willing to share experience in research and cooperation with Vietnam in sustainable construction work.
The event was co-organised by British Council Vietnam, UK Trade Investment (UKTI) and National University of Civil Engineering.
HCM City plans expansion to coast
A master plan has been drawn to expand HCM City to its coastal area with calls for construction of a dyke system, river transport system, seaports and roads.
As part of the plan, the city has invested in the Hiep Phuoc Port Urban in Nha Be District with an area of 4,000 hectares.
Dao Anh Kiet, director of the municipal Natural Resource and Environment Department, said this plan would allow the city to widen spaces for urban development and permit more big ships to dock in the city.
However, there could be problems, especially with the dyke systems, which may make flooding worse, according to Kiet.
Assistant professor and Dr. Ho Phi Long, director of the National University – HCM City’s Water Centre and Climate Change, said that he was concerned about financial limits, poor technology, the legal system and the public’s lack of awareness of climate change issues.
The city’s strategy to move toward the sea focuses on only seaports while the goal includes many other factors, he noted.
“What is the best economic model for moving toward the sea?” said Nguyen Dinh Hung, deputy director of the municipal Planning and Architecture Department.
Assistant Professor Nguyen Trong Hoa, head of the city’s Research and Development Institute, said the master plan must ensure green space, flood drainage and sunken areas that would collect water and help reduce flooding downtown.
Kiet said the city would pay attention to six main development trends related to land and water conditions. It would build water preservation areas, reduce saline invasion, and define and protect weak areas as well as protect land around rivers.
HCM City has many similarities to Rotterdam in Holland, according to Enrico Moens, head of a Holland partner consultancy team.
“Many years ago Rotterdam had to move its seaport system from the mainland to the sea to further develop its economy,” he said recently at a conference held in the city on climate change.