Self combusting furniture leaves authorities in Nghe An Province puzzled
Local authorities and scientists in the central province of Nghe An visited a residential property in Tan Ky District yesterda, April 3, to determine the cause of apparent self combustion among several pieces of household furniture.
The items, found to have burst into flames last week, were reported to be located in different rooms of the house, according to the owner Nguyen Hoai Thanh.
The initial investigation found nothing abnormal with the items, but spontaneous combustion is said to be rare amongst household furniture. Samples of the burnt items were collected for analysis.
Even though local authorities have not yet finalised the investigation, they affirmed that the occurrence was not to be classified as a mysterious phenomenon.
Local residents are called to remain calm.
HCM City to raise $3.8m for Fund for the Poor
HCM City this year plans to raise VND80 billion (US$3.8 million) for the Fund for the Poor, according to the Viet Nam Fatherland Front in HCM City.
A doctor provides a health check-up for poor people in Phuoc Thach Commune, Cu Chi District of HCM City. The city plans to raise US$3.8 million for the Fund for the Poor in 2013.
Money from the fund is used to build and upgrade houses, provide scholarships, buy health insurance and provide loans to the poor so they can start small businesses.
Last year, the fund raised VND127 billion ($6 million), exceeding the target of VND80 billion.
Of this amount, VND118 billion ($5.6 million) was spent for poor families, war invalids or war martyrs’ families.
The poverty line in inner-city districts is a maximum annual income of VND12 million ($571) per capita, and in outlying districts, VND10 million ($476).
Last year, the number of people in the city classified as poor fell by 3.78 per cent to 2.12 per cent.
The city aims this year to reduce the poverty rate to under 2 per cent.
City authorities on Monday announced that District 6 no longer had any families living under the poverty line. It is the first district to have such a distinction.
This year, the city aims to have four more districts without any poor families.
Last year, the city also spent a total of VND 2.8billion ($133,133) to build bridges in neighbouring provinces and support heroic mothers.
Huge heroin haul uncovered in Hoa Binh
The Ha Noi Police seized a huge quantity of drugs in northern Hoa Binh Province’s Cao Phong District yesterday morning.
A woman and four men aged from 25 to 41 were found with 20 cakes of heroin, 1,000 synthetic drug tablets and 1kg of methamphetamines.
The woman was killed in action and the other two were injured after the traffickers used weapons to resist the officers.
The traffickers were held in custody for further investigation.
Workshop discusses HFMD treatment
Experts from Japan, the US, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam shared experience in treating hand-foot and mouth disease (HFMD) at a workshop in Hanoi on April 4.
Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said that HFMD is one of the new, emerging diseases in the Asia-Pacific region, including Vietnam, and the increasing number of infections has lead to an overload at central and local paediatrics hospitals.
The workshop offers a chance for regional countries to strengthen cooperation in research and prevention of the disease, said Long.
HFMD has been detected in many countries, with a high incidence found in several developed economies in recent times.
Nearly 172,000 Vietnamese people have contracted the disease since the first case was confirmed in HCM City in 2003. Forty-nine of them died, according to the Preventive Medicine Department under the Ministry of Health.
More than 14,000 HFMD cases, including four deaths, have been detected since the beginning of this year alone, raising public concern about the quick spread of the disease among communities.
HFMD is caused by intestinal viruses of the picornaviridae family and one person can be infected with several strains of intestinal viruses. Scientists have yet to develop vaccines or effective remedies against the disease.
Health Ministry to inspect industrial zone food safety
The Ministry of Health will carry out a one-month inspection of food safety and hygiene in 24 cities and provinces starting April 15, focusing mainly on public kitchens in industrial areas.
The Administration for Food Safety and Hygiene yesterday announced that the inspection is aimed at preventing and dealing not only with violations in food safety and hygiene, but also with food poisoning and food-transmitted diseases.
The inspection, divided into eight interdisciplinary missions, falls under this year’s “action month for food safety and hygiene.”
‘The inspection would focus on food hygiene conditions, including food processing equipment, food origins, food quality records, food labels, food advertising documents and food safety and hygiene certificates,’ the department’s Deputy Director Nguyen Thanh Phong said.
“Any violations found would be handled strictly by current regulations to ensure that no low-quality food products are circulated in the market and no violated food processing establishments and businesses are allowed to operate unless the violation was fixed,” he said.
Phong said the development of industrial zones has led to the establishment of canteens that serve food for thousands of workers and food hygiene and safety risk would threaten the workers’ health.
Throughout HCM City more than 3,660 people have been reported to have suffered from food poisoning.
The HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority reported that the number of food poisoning cases in these zones has dropped by 50 per cent over the past three months in comparison to the same period last year.
The authority is managing 1,051 businesses with 275,000 workers.
Power demand up 12 pct in dry season
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has projected that the country’s total power demand in the peak dry month of April would increase nearly 12 percent over the same period last year, exceeding 11 billion kWh.
The MoIT has also affirmed that the national power system will meet this month’s demand.
According to the Vietnam Electricity Corporation (EVN), three new turbines in Khe Bo, Hua Na and Nam Chien hydropower plants with a total capacity of 240MW will become operational in late April.
However, it raised difficulties in power supply in the coming months in southern areas, where scorching heat is taking water of reservoirs in service of hydropower plants.
In the first quarter of this year, the country’s total commercial power was nearly 25.9 billion kWh, a year-on-year rise of 10.81 percent.
The total generated and imported power was 30 billion kWh, an increase of 10.45 percent, said EVN.
It called on everyone, especially those in the south, to use energy efficiency devices and apply measures to save power in the wake of drought-driven water shortages for power generation in some localities.
Health plan worries about disease risks from animals
“We need to ensure that wildlife health is well integrated into our overall One Health approach and related mechanisms,” said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat.
A rapidly increasing population and growing livestock and aquaculture industries have made Viet Nam particularly vulnerable to avian influenza and other zoonotic diseases.
During a national conference yesterday, Phat said his ministry and the Health Ministry would issue a joint circular to formalise and strengthen cooperation on these key health issues.
US Ambassador David Shear pointed out that the One-Health approach was more than simply responding to a disease outbreak.
One Health acknowledges, for example, that a common virus in animals could turn into a catastrophic public health threat, he said.
Steps must be taken to link sectors and develop a proactive means of identifying diseases and looking for emerging threats or diseases that can move between humans and animals, Shear stressed.
UN Resident Coordinator Pratibha Mehta, another participant in the conference, reaffirmed continued support for Viet Nam in combating infectious diseases in the broader context of health protection, sustainable agriculture, socio-economic development and sustainability.
Viet Nam is one of the countries most threatened by the highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) panzootic. This strain continues to circulate in poultry with sporadic crosses in humans. Viet Nam saw 119 confirmed human cases (59 fatal) as of March 2011.
Vietnam needs assistance against communicable diseases
Vietnam hopes to receive effective assistance from its partners and international organisations to combat new, emerging communicable diseases.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat expressed his hope at a national conference in Hanoi on April 3 to plan a national-level One Health Initiative against communicable diseases.
He stressed that the key factor in prevention is to identify the causes of emerging communicable diseases, then to call for the engagement of parties concerned in stamping out the diseases.
UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Pratibha Mehta noted that communicable diseases such as SARS, avian influenza and HIV/AIDS not only pose risks to human health, but also to trade, tourism and economic growth.
There has been a significant increase in the emergence of communicable diseases and the Southeast Asian region is considered as one of the key hot spots, she added.
Delegates agreed that One Health Initiative will help doctors and practioners make forecast and identify new, emerging diseases to come up with timely and effective remedies.
It’s now necessary to build a national roadmap and strengthen cooperation among nations, they said.
The conference also examined the next steps required and a framework to assist the Vietnamese Government to draw up a national roadmap and action plan of its One Health Initiative.
The event brought together representatives from the United Nations (UN) Vietnam Office and non-governmental organisations, along with domestic and foreign experts in the fields of veterinary science and health care.
Lam Dong to upgrade provincial road
An investment of VND943.3 billion (nearly US$45 million) will be earmarked to upgrade the provincial road No 725 that links Da Lat with Lam Ha and Di Linh districts in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.
The project, which has been approved by the Lam Dong People’s Committee, aims to upgrade Ta Nung Pass in Da Lat City and Cam Ly Thuong and Thac Voi bridges in Lam Ha districts.
It will also build a new section of Road 725 from Tan Thanh Commune in Lam Ha District to Tan Lam Commune in Di Linh District.
Construction of the provincial Road No 725, the most important road in the province, is scheduled to be completed in 2015.
The section from Da Lat to Nam Ban Commune in Lam Ha District is one of the tourist destinations favoured by visitors to Lam Dong Province, especially foreign tourists.
This section of Provincial Road No 725 has famous tourist attractions such as Voi Waterfall, the Cricket Breeding Farm, Cuong Hoan Silk Weaving Factory and the K’ Ho ethnic minority village.
The upgraded road is expected to significantly contribute to socio-economic development of the province.
Man arrested for smuggling explosives
The border force in the central province of Quang Tri arrested a local resident for illegally transporting explosives on Monday.
The smuggler, from Gio Linh District, was caught carrying 170kg of industrial explosives, 1,500 detonators, a large supply fuses and 11 blasting charges from the sea to land.
An initial investigation revealed that the smuggler was hired to carry the products from a fishing boat from northern central Thanh Hoa Province, which was offshore from the Cua Viet Port at that time.
Experts discuss burns treatment
Nearly 500 leading experts from the Asia and Pacific region shared their skills and expertise at the ninth regional Burn Congress in Ha Noi yesterday, April 3.
“The congress will be a good change for countries to exchange skills and experience and minimise the gap in the treatment of burns in the region,” said Major-General Le Nam, director of the Le Huu Trac Burns Hospital at the opening ceremony.
“The health sector still faces a lot of challenges caring for the victims of burns and preventing infection, especially with the increase of antibiotic resistant bacteria and low effectiveness of traditional medicine for treating burns,” added Nam.
At the three-day event, participants will focus on issues relating to first aid for burns victims; rehabilitation and reconstructive surgery; patient care in the first 48 hours; and contamination prevention.
Viet Nam has achieved remarkable results in the treatment of burns by applying advanced techniques.
The hospital provides emergency aid and treatment for thousands of patients each year, and has reduced the fatality rate from burns to 1.5 per cent.
Many patients with burns covering up to 90 per cent of their body area and 55 per cent body depth have been successfully treated at the hospital, it was reported at the event.
Men prosecuted over border murder
Police in central Quang Tri province will prosecute two men who were allegedly involved in the murder of five local villagers when they were collecting valuable scented wood near the border between Viet Nam and Laos.
The murders happened on March 23 in the border area between Quang Binh and Quang Tri Provinces in Viet Nam and Savannakhet Province in Laos.
The two suspects were charged with kidnapping, appropriating assets, robbery, illegally using military weapons and murder, according to local police.
They initially confessed that they had kidnapped the five villagers to demand a ransom of VND15 million (US$714) each and decided to kill the hostages when no ransom was paid.
Local police are searching for a Lao man believed to have colluded with the Vietnamese suspects.