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Formosa steel plant in Vietnam restarts after toxic spill
Formosa steel factory is seen in Vietnam's central Ha Tinh province March 31, 2017.
REUTERS/TUOI TRE NEWS
Seven die after renal dialysis in northern Vietnam
The renal replacement therapy unit at Hoa Binh General Hospital in Hoa Binh Province, northern Vietnam.
The patients were all diagnosed with chronic kidney diseases and were receiving regular renal dialysis at Hoa Binh General Hospital in Hoa Binh Province.
Dialysis is the process of artificially removing waste and excess water from blood in people who have lost their kidney function.
According to the hospital’s leaders, the patients began their therapy at around 7:00 am on Monday in the hospital’s renal replacement therapy unit.
Two hours in, they began to show signs of anaphylaxis and were immediately cut off from the dialysis machine for emergency resuscitation.
Unfortunately, the procedure was unsuccessful and the first patient died at around 9:30 am. By late Monday night, seven patients had also drawn their last breath.
A press conference chaired by the People's Committee of Hoa Binh Province to update patients’ conditions, May 30, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
According to Dr. Truong Quy Duong, director of Hoa Binh Province General Hospital, all drugs and chemicals used during the dialysis have been sealed off for investigation.
The hospital’s renal replacement therapy unit has been suspended from operation until the investigation is complete.
According to Dr. Nguyen Huu Dung, head of Bach Mai Hospital’s renal replacement therapy unit in Hanoi, ten of the 11 surviving patients have been transferred to it for further treatment.
As of Tuesday morning, their condition had stabilized.
The eleventh patient, due to the severity of his condition, remains in intensive care at Hoa Binh General Hospital, Dung said.
Hanoi’s Department of Health has also taken over the care of more than 100 patients who require regular dialysis at Hoa Binh General Hospital.
Affected patients will receive their therapy at hospitals across Hanoi until the renal replacement therapy unit at Hoa Binh General Hospital can be reopened, Dung said.
“Deaths from anaphylaxis during dialysis have been recorded in medical literature,” Dung said. "But this is the most serious case ever recorded in Vietnam.”
A special unit from the Ministry of Public Security has been mobilized to investigate the incident, according to Lieutenant General Tran Van Ve, acting chief of the ministry’s General Department of Crime Prevention.
“We can’t make a comment at the moment as we are still waiting for test results from our colleagues in the health department,” Ve said. “We will be working with the relevant authorities to reach a conclusion as soon as possible.”
TUOI TRE NEWS
VN ups fight against domestic violence
VĨNH PHÚC - Domestic violence in Việt Nam has damaged the spirit, economy, productivity, honour, dignity and lives of many individuals, Vice President Đặng Thị Ngọc Thịnh said.
In her remarks assessing the social evil’s lasting consequences, the vice president launched National Action Month on Domestic Violence Prevention, held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Vĩnh Phúc Province yesterday.
The vice president added that domestic violence makes family happiness unsustainable.
Over the years, the Party and State of Việt Nam have always paid deep attention to the protection of human rights as well as the safety of individuals in the family and society, she said.
In order to prevent domestic violence, the vice president requested the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and concerned agencies at all levels to promote moral education in the family.
“It is necessary to invest more resources in activities that combat domestic violence. We must research and implement new, practical and effective activities,” said the vice president.
Communication agencies also need to promote their role and actively report on domestic violence prevention to raise people’s awareness.
From 2012 to 2016, more than 127,250 cases of domestic violence occurred in the country. Nearly 80 per cent of annual divorce cases are caused by domestic violence.
Children who grow up in these troubled families are the ones to bear the brunt of violence, according to studies. Their learning is severely impaired, and they tend to resort to violence to ‘solve’ conflicts with schoolmates and friends, read reports from localities.
Public security data also show that domestic violence contributes to the increase of crimes.
The country currently has nearly 7,000 centres to provide support for domestic violence victims and thousands of clubs working to prevent and curb the violence.
During the action month, a series of activities will be organised to improve public awareness in the fight against domestic violence and raise the responsibility of departments, agencies and public mechanisms that protect women and children. Lastly, the government will commend outstanding individuals and organisations throughout the cause. - VNS
6.7 percent GDP growth rate challenge for Vietnam: economists
To obtain a 6.7 percent GDP growth rate in 2017, Vietnam needs to change its economic structure, experts say.
As the GDP growth rate was low, at 5.1 percent, in the first quarter of the year, Vietnam will have to speed up in the remaining months of the year.
To reach the 6.7 percent GDP growth rate as the government wants, the growth must be over 7 percent in the last three quarters. Many economists say the mission is impossible.
The sharpest decline in industrial growth in past six years
Vu Thanh Tu Anh, research director of Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP) pointed out that Vietnam’s GDP growth is too dependent on foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs).
FIEs makes up two-thirds of Vietnam’s total export turnover and 40 percent of Vietnam’s total industrial production value.
The economic growth in the first quarter slowed down to 5.1 percent from 5.5 percent in the same period of last year.
This is attributed to the low growth rate of 4.2 percent in the industry & construction sector (the figure was 6.7 percent in the last year’s same period).
Industrial production grew by only 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2017, the sharpest decline in the last six years, attributed to a sharp decrease of 10 percent in the mining sector.
There was also a 10.7 percent decline in phone and phone component exports (it increased by 14.2 percent in the same period oast year).
Samsung Vietnam saw export turnover fall because of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 scandal. As its exports bring 20 percent of total export turnover, its problems affected Vietnam’s exports.
Also because of Samsung Vietnam’s exports decrease, Vietnam’s trade deficit decreased by 4.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, higher than the fall of 1.49 percent in the first quarter of 2016.
The global economy is warming up. IMF believes that the world economy will grow by 3.7 percent this year. As for Vietnam, IMF has predicted a growth rate of 6.5 percent, lower than the target of 6.7 percent set by the Vietnamese government.
Anh believes that the 6.7 percent growth rate is an impossible mission. If Vietnam still insists on the high growth rate, it would have to pump more money into the economy and sell more oil. A bigger money supply would lead to high inflation.
HSBC, in its latest report, said all economic indicators of Vietnam remain positive while the country continues to maintain a steady inflow of foreign direct investment.
M. Ha, VNN
It's now illegal for Vietnamese parents to post children’s photos online
Vietnam’s new Law on children takes effect on June 1, stipulating that children have irrefutable rights over their privacy, and that anyone who publicizes their information without their consent is breaking the law.
The protection of the privacy of children consists of their personal information, medical records, photos, personal identification and school records.
It will now be a breach of the law by parents or guardians to reveal such information without the consent of children aged seven or above.
“Parents may breach the law by posting photos and the intimate information of their own children on Facebook or other online platforms,” lawyer Nguyen Duc Lam, director of a legal center in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City, confirmed.
With the law introduced by local media prior to taking effect, Vietnamese parents are concerned that they will no longer be able to share cute photos of their children on social media.
However, Dang Hoa Nam, head of Vietnam’s child protection department, confirmed that this was a misconception.
“The law only covers information that is deemed confidential to children aged seven and above,” Nam told the Law newspaper.
“This means photos of children having fun during a family trip can still be shared online.”
However, it does remain unclear how the law will be enforced. A similar rule in France suggests that grown-up children may sue their parents for publishing photos of them when they were younger.
TUOI TRE NEWS
Social News 31/5
HCM City boosts cooperation with RoK’s province
The Republic of Korea (RoK)’s Gyeongsangbuk province opened its representative office in Vietnam’s southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City on May 30 to promote the bilateral comprehensive relations.
Deputy governor of the RoK province Kim Jang-joo said the establishment of the office in HCM City will make active contributions to increasing economic and cultural exchanges between Vietnam and the RoK in general and between the two localities in particular.
HCM City and Gyeongsangbuk have carried out a number of cooperation activities in politics, economy, culture, and education in recent years.
In 2016, the two sides signed an agreement on co-organising the HCM City-Gyeongju world cultural festival 2017, featuring a range of traditional and modern Korean cultural activities.
Gyeongsangbuk authorities affirmed to work with HCM City to successfully hold the event, which is expected to become a new economic festival where all are partners.
Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Huynh Cach Mang said the launch of the Gyeongsangbuk’s representative office in the city is an important highlight in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Vietnam-RoK diplomatic ties.
This will help reinforce the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership as well as the sound relations between HCM City and other Korean localities, he added.
The office is hoped to serve as a bridge for expanding the cultural and economic collaboration between the two localities, he said.
The HCM City-Gyeongju world cultural festival 2017 is scheduled to take place in HCM City in November, featuring the prosperity of the Asian community via cultural exchanges.
As the largest national-level cultural programme of the RoK held abroad in 2017, the festival will include traditional Korean culture and art performances as well as exhibitions of high-quality products of the RoK and participating countries.
Orbis flying hospital launches ophthalmic training in Binh Dinh
The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital on May 30 began a training course for medical staff of the General Hospital and Eye Hospital of central Binh Dinh province.
Running until June 9, the training course is part of a cooperation programme between Orbis International and Binh Dinh, with a view to turning the province into an eye disease treatment centre of the south central and Central Highlands regions, whose the blindness rates stand at 5.5 and 3.1 percent, respectively.
According to Orbis Global Medical Director Jonathan Lord, the ophthalmic course focuses on hand-on practices from basic to advanced levels regarding the prevention and treatment of eye diseases.
The training course is tailored for local ophthalmologists, nurses, anaesthesiologists, biomedical engineers and technicians through lectures, case discussions, observation, workshops and symposiums.
Orbis will also train the Binh Dinh General Hospital’s medical staff screening retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) – a disease in premature babies that can lead to permanent blindness and is on the rise in middle-income countries like Vietnam.
The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital is the world's only airborne ophthalmic surgical and training facility, which Orbis uses to support developing countries in preventing blindness and protecting people’s eyesight.
In Vietnam, Orbis has implemented long-term projects since 2000. It helped form paediatric eye care centres in Hanoi, Hue, Da Nang, Can Tho and Binh Dinh.
Judicial reform committee reviews operation
The Central Steering Committee on Judicial Reform convened the third meeting in Hanoi on May 30 to discuss a draft report on the organisation and operation model of the committee so far and in the future.
Addressing the event, President Tran Dai Quang, head of the committee, stressed that judicial reform is a significant work in the Party and State’s policy on building a socialist rule-of-law state in Vietnam.
He pointed to a number of lessons withdrawn from the implementation process, including the need for the proper recognition of the goal, viewpoint, orientation and task in the work as well as close coordination.
Judicial reform should be conducted in parallel with the renovation of the political system, legislative and administrative reform, he said, emphasising the significance of a suitable roadmap, specific plans matching the country’s socio-economic development, the unity in direction and strong judicial human resources.
Since 2002, the committee has showed good performance in advising the Politburo on measures to realise major policies and orientations of the Party in judicial reform as well as Resolution 49-NQ/TW on judicial reform strategy to 2020, noted the President.
At the same time, the committee also directed the amendments, supplements and completion of legal framework on the organisation of judicial agencies, while contributing to developing personnel for the sector.
President Tran Dai Quang said that in the future, the committee will continue focusing on giving consultations to the Politburo on leading, directing and monitoring the implementation of the Party’s policies on judicial reform and judicial reform strategy to 2020.
He clarified that the committee will inspect the judicial reform process of all cities, provinces as well as agencies of the judicial system at provincial level from the third quarter of 2017 to November 30, 2017.
A working group for the inspection will gather representatives from the Supreme People’s Court, the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Internal Affairs, the Office of the Central Steering Committee for Judicial Reform, he added.
Vietnam steps up Lao National Assembly building project
A ground-breaking ceremony for a building of the Lao parliament, a gift from Vietnam to Laos, will be held on July 18, 2017, which is also the day the two countries signed the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in 1977.
The information was unveiled by an inter-sectoral delegation of the Vietnamese Government which is in Laos to prepare for the construction of the building while they met Chairwoman of the Lao National Assembly Pany Yathotou.
Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Construction Le Quang Hung said the project, a gift from the Party, Government and people of Vietnam, is very important and attracts great attention from the Vietnamese Party and Government. The Government assigned the Ministry of Construction as the investor and Army Corps 11 of the Defence Ministry as the constructor.
He said the headquarters is set to be put into trial operation in the first quarter of 2020 and officially handed over to Laos in the fourth quarter of the year.
He pledged the Vietnamese side will coordinate with Laos to soon finalise the design and construct the house as scheduled so that the building will deserve a symbol of the two countries’ special solidarity and friendship as expected by their leaders and peoples.
Chairwoman Yathotou said the delegation’s visit to discuss and survey the construction site illustrates the Vietnamese Party, State and Government’s great attention to the project.
She stressed that the building is not only meaningful in terms of politics but also a symbol of the special Laos-Vietnam relationship for future generations.
She asked both sides to work closely to be unanimous in every issue to ensure the project’s schedule and quality.
In an official visit to Laos by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in November 2016, the Party, State and people of Vietnam decided to present their Lao counterpart with a parliament building worth 100 million USD in That Luang Square of Vientiane capital.
Harmonious tourism, environment protection urged in Son Tra Peninsula
The development of tourism in Son Tra Peninsula of central Da Nang city must be in harmony with environmental and biodiversity protection and sustainable development, according to many participants in a seminar in Hanoi on May 30.
The seminar, which sought sustainable tourism development in the Son Tra national tourism site, drew representatives of many ministries, sectors and the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA), and specialists in environment, construction and tourism.
Deputy Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Huynh Vinh Ai said in the strategy for and master plan on Vietnam’s tourism development until 2020, Son Tra Peninsula is named one of the 47 potential places to be developed into national tourism sites.
A master plan for developing the Son Tra national tourism site was publicised in early 2017 by the ministry and Da Nang city.
However, the Da Nang Tourism Association and some relevant organisations and agencies asked the Prime Minister to review this plan in fear that it might influence biodiversity preservation and security-defence. They also called for maintaining the status quo of Son Tra without any new accommodation facilities allowed to be built, he noted.
The issue is complex and controversial and requires thorough consideration, particularly when it comes to the handling of the projects that were already approved on the site, Ai added.
VITA Vice Chairman Vu The Binh said strict regulations, especially those on the environment, must be issued to ensure the sustainable development of tourism. He asked all the licensed projects to be reviewed so as to make appropriate adjustments.
“We should not be too persistent in keeping the status quo of Son Tra but make harmonious development and construction so that (Son Tra) deserves the status of a national tourism site,” he noted.
He added close supervision is needed for stages of a project, to ensure it won’t affect the environment. Any investors who violate environmental protection rules must be stringently handled and their projects must be stopped.
Deputy Minister Ai said Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam recently ordered a three-month suspension of the implementation of the master plan for developing the Son Tra national tourism site so that Da Nang can settle related requests.
Another seminar on the issue will be held in Da Nang to collect opinions of experts and officials.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and the Da Nang People’s Committee will review the adjustment of the number of accommodation rooms in Son Tra. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will work on data about local forests and biodiversity preservation, Ai noted.
Top military officer receives Myanmar army delegation
Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army Lt. Gen. Pham Hong Huong welcomed a delegation of the Directorate of Signals of Myanmar army in Hanoi on May 30.
Lt. Gen. Pham Hong Huong underlined the importance of communication to the armed forces’ operation and affirmed that Vietnam intends to promote international cooperation in the field.
The Deputy Chief of the General Staff appreciated the collaboration between the armies of Vietnam and Myanmar in the past time on the basis of the agreement on defence cooperation signed in 2011. The two sides have exchanged delegations, supported each other at multi-lateral forums and helped each other in language training.
Head of the Myanmar delegation, Director of the Directorate of Signals Maj. Gen. Thaw Lwin expressed his hope that the armies of the two countries will strengthen their partnership, particularly in the field of military communication.
Fatherland Front urges environment protection
The Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) will join hands with State environmental agencies to organise activities to promote environment protection, the front’s leader said at a meeting held Hanoi on May 30 in response to the World Environment Day (June 5).
Speaking at the event, Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Le Ba Trinh stated that the World Environment Day 2017, themed “Connecting People to Nature”, encourages people to get outdoors and into nature to appreciate its beauty and its importance and take forward the call to protect the Earth.
Grassroots VFF chapters will engage in activities to popularise law and regulations on the environment in order to enhance public supervising and consulting capacity in the field. Advanced models on protecting natural resources and the environment will be introduced to the public to encourage the community to get involved in the work.
A national month of action for environment protection will be launched by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam Women’s Union and Ba Ria-Vung Tau People’s Committee in Ba Ria-Vung Tau city on June 4.
Vietnam Airlines not affected in British Airways incident
The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines said that its flights and check-in system in the UK were not affected by a massive global IT failure of British Airways.
Accordingly, all flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to London, the UK have been operated normally.
The incident caused delays and cancellations of many flights from the two largest UK airports of Heathrow and Gatwick from May 27-29.
Meanwhile, on May 29, a severe storm landed in Moscow, Russia. There was no flight of Vietnam Airlines from/to Moscow on that day, the carrier said.
Japan’s Democratic Party talks labour with Vietnam confederation
Representatives of Japan’s Democratic Party and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) discussed labour issues during a working session on May 30, Lao dong (Labour) daily reported.
VGCL Vice President Mai Duc Chinh informed the Japanese guests about the business situation and industrial relations at Japanese enterprises in Vietnam, along with working conditions, income and aspirations of Vietnamese workers at the companies.
He also briefed them about Vietnam’s interns and students in Japan, the VGCL’s viewpoint on the increase of regional-based minimum wage, and the job-seeking efforts of interns after they returned from Japan.
Representatives of the Democratic Party, led by Deputy Secretary-General Yukio Edano – a member of Japan’s House of Representatives, shared information about their country’s labour laws, including on foreign interns in Japan.
The Democratic Party is the second biggest party in Japan, after the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. Its delegation’s working visit to Vietnam from May 28-31 is part of an agreement between the Democratic Party and the Communist Party of Vietnam.
Int’l community hails Vietnam’s contributions to UN
International friends at a ceremony to mark Vietnam’s 40 years of joining the United Nations have acknowledged the country’s active contributions to the organization and its responsibility for the international community.
Talking with Vietnam News Agency on the sidelines of the anniversary, almost guests agreed that Vietnam’s contributions have constituted the country a reliable and responsible friend and partner of the international community.
Participants heard that Vietnam, as a member of the UN, always strives to well perform its responsibility, as well as proactively take practical initiatives. It has been recognised as one of the countries leading in realising millennium development goals (MDGs) set by the UN.
According to President of the friendship association of international organisations in New York, Kenneth G. Welborn, Vietnam made active contributions to the UN in many fields, especially its initiatives to promote peace in the world, and efforts to implement sustainable development goals.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the UN said Vietnam is a model for other UN member nations to learn from its experience, especially in social development, education, food security, anti-racial discrimination.
Vietnam’s national liberation efforts and democracy building inspired the Republic of South Africa, he noted.
At the event, participants from Southeast Asian nations highlighted Vietnam’s contributions to the UN in the position as an ASEAN member nation. Regional diplomats said Vietnam regularly represents the bloc at UN forums on issues relating to peace, stability and cooperation in the Southeast Asian region.
President of the Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development, Sally Kader, said as a member of the UN and a country rising from the war, Vietnam made amazing achievements.
Vietnam has been truly an example to all countries worldwide, helping them realise the importance of promoting cooperation for development regardless of what happened in the past, she stressed.
Vietnam, US enhance comprehensive partnership
The activities during the Pacific Partnership 2017 (PP17) were examples of the development of a comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and the US, according to US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius.
The 10-day programme wrapped up in the south central coastal province of Khanh Hoa on May 30.
Osius said PP17 members worked with Khanh Hoa agencies to improve the ability of local medical staff, enhance capacity for humanitarian assistance and climate change adaptation and expand cooperation in the region.
This year marks the fourth consecutive year Vietnam has hosted the event.
Vietnam and the US established diplomatic ties in July 1995, and later set up a comprehensive partnership in July 2013.
Over the years, the US has become one of the leading trade partners of Vietnam.Bilateral trade has grown by about 20 percent each year. Despite a trade deficit with Vietnam, the US has enjoyed rapid export growth rate of 77 percent annually, four times higher than the growth of Vietnam’s shipments to the US.
With 815 projects with total registered capital of 10.07 billion USD, the US ranks eighth among 112 countries and territories investing in the Southeast Asian nation.
In March 2017, the two countries restarted meetings of the Council on Bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.
Both sides have also intensified cooperation in other fields such as security, defence, science, technology, information technology, bio-technology, oceanography and space technology.
Vietnam international visitor figures down for May
Following month-to-month reports in 2017 in which the travel trade showed steady, increases in the number of international visitors for January-April, the numbers took a dramatic dive in May.
According to data provided by the General Statistics Office, the number of international arrivals dropped significantly by 9% tallying in at 972,000 for May, the first month this year the numbers fell below one million.
There were 1.2 million more inbound travellers this year through May versus the same period in 2016 for a cumulative total of 5.2 million, according to the GSO, substantially all of which is attributable to a surge in the number of Chinese visitors.
Hanoi police seize 7,500 meth pills during drug bust
Hanoi police were showing off the fruits of their labour on May 30, in the form of a big drug seizure.
Police officials said officers raided a residence last week and seized about 7,500 methamphetamine tablets, worth more than $15,000.
Officers also seized an undisclosed amount of cash and other drug paraphernalia.
The Hanoi police said the department is making progress in the ongoing battle against serious drugs into the capital city.
Pham Van Hung, a resident of Binh Phuoc now faces charges of possession illegal narcotic substances with intent to traffic and possession of property obtained by crime, said police officials.
Chinese passengers accuse Vietnam's customs officers of soliciting bribes: report
Police at Cam Ranh International Airport in central Vietnam are following up on allegations made by three Chinese passengers who claimed that customs officers at the airport had tried to extort money from them.
The passengers said the incident took place while they were finishing procedures to board a flight back to China from Khanh Hoa Province on the May 29 night, the official paper of the province reported May 30.
However, camera footage captured at the airport tells another story, a senior police officer was quoted as saying in the report.
In the video, the Chinese family was with customs officers for just 12 seconds before they suddenly turned around and walked away, later accusing the officers of corruption, he said.
The reported cited the police as saying that the group refused to cooperate with customs officials, and the incident caused them to miss their direct flight to China.
Airport authorities arranged for them to take the next flight to China on early Tuesday morning, but they insisted on staying in Vietnam saying that they will only talk with the Chinese Consulate-General in the country, according to the report.
Cam Ranh Airport police said they would make arrangements for the group to talk with the consulate via phone, and that they have already reported the incident to higher authorities.
The airport has been a hub of Chinese passengers in recent years, from where they would travel to the popular resort town of Nha Trang.
At present, there are between seven and 10 flights between China and Khanh Hoa Province per day. Each flight can carry between 150 and 180 passengers.
Last year, a security guard at the airport was fined US$450 for punching a Chinese passenger in the back after this man shouted in anger for waiting too long for his flight, which was delayed due to air traffic issues.
More than 284,000 Chinese visitors arrived in Khanh Hoa in the first three months this year, an increase of 260 percent against the same period last year, official data of Khanh Hoa showed.
Hanoi plans four-month cleanup operation to revive legendary lake
The emerald waters that enchant locals and visitors are slowly fading as Hoan Kiem Lake suffocates.
The state-owned Hanoi Sewerage and Drainage Limited Company is assessing the environmental impacts of a project to clean up Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of the capital. If approved, the 120-day operation to save the iconic lake would start in late July or early August.
Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as Returned Sword Lake, is severely polluted and has lost its ability to clean itself, said Vo Tien Hung, the company's director.
The quality of the lake's water is declining with a high algae density and a high pH level. The concentration of suspended sediment is above the permitted levels in all five locations where it is monitored, while the concentration of organic pollutants is twice the normal standard. In some places the water has even lost its iconic green color.
Another source of the pollution is the thick layer of mud at the bottom of the lake, according to Hung. In some places, the mud is over 1-meter thick, lowering the water level to only 0.5-0.8 meters. The project would therefore include dredging in addition to water treatment.
“While dredging, we need to preserve the lake's green algae so we have asked scientists to collect the algae so we can put it back later,” said Hung.
Hoan Kiem Lake is one of Vietnam's national heritage sites and a top tourist destination with great historical value, so the cleanup project will need approval from the culture ministry before it can go ahead.
A recent study by the Institute for Environmental Science and Development found that all of Hanoi’s urban lakes and waterways are heavily polluted.
Last October, 200 tons of fish washed up dead due to pollution in West Lake, the city's largest body of water.
37 Nghe An fishermen rescued from sea
Thirty-seven fishermen have been rescued from sea by the central Nghệ An Province’s navy police force and other fishermen in the past few days.
On Monday, Quỳnh Thuận District’s border guards, in co-ordination with the navy police, brought 19 fishermen from fishing vessel NA95688TS to shore after they were rescued from sea.
The latest incident took place around 6pm on Sunday, when the fishing vessel owned by Bùi Ngọc Kiên, a resident of Nghệ An Province’s Quỳnh Lưu District, broke down suddenly in sea and started drifting away.
The fishermen on board sent out an emergency signal following which the navy police received an order from the Command to go on a rescue operation. The navy police ship caught up with the drifting vessel a few hours later, around 00.30am on Monday.
Earlier, on the afternoon of May 21, a local fishing vessel, captained by Nguyễn Bá Thảo, a resident of Quỳnh Lưu District, with 17 other seamen, broke down and went adrift in sea.
On receiving their distress signal, two fishing vessels owned by local fishermen that were close by caught up with the drifting vessel.
After two days the broken down vessel was brought to safety at Lạch Quèn Port.
HCM City wants to raise rail section above ground
The HCM City People’s Committee has sought clearance from the Ministry of Transport to invest in new transport works to smoothen traffic on its roads.
It plans to raise above ground the section of rail from Sài Gòn Railway Station to Bình Triệu Station in Bình Thạnh District and build a new rail route from Thủ Thiêm New Urban Area in District 2 to Long Thành International Airport in neighbouring Đồng Nai Province.
The section between Bình Triệu and Sài Gòn Railway Station, around 9.5km long, intersects many roads, creating traffic jams whenever a train passes since level crossing gates have to be shut.
These are also scenes of frequent accidents.
The city also wants to move the inland container depot system from inside the city to along the Đồng Nai River.
Free cooking school opens in Hà Nội
A free cooking school has opened at Artemis building, No 3 Lê Trọng Tấn Street, Thanh Xuân District in Hà Nội.
“The Ajinomoto Cooking Studio has been opened to encourage people’s passion for cooking, through which one can enhance the nutritional intake and health of one’s family and stay happy,” said Hiroharu Motohashi, general director of the centre.
The dishes cooked at the centre have been newly designed, and are divided into four groups: dishes for people who love cooking; dishes for mothers with small babies (under five years); dishes for couples (newly weds and nearly weds); and dishes for families with children from 6 to 11 years.
All cooking ingredients will be supplied by the centre, and each class will have a maximum of 12 to 14 students.
The centre is calling for registrations for various courses to be held in June and July. For details, call 04 3 640 6688.
National dance sport event to kick off
The 2017 National Junior Dance Sport Championships and Open Dance Sport Cup will take place on June 3-4 at the Trịnh Hoài Đức Gymnasium in Hà Nội.
The tournament will feature 540 dancers from 52 teams nationwide.
International-level dancers such as Nguyễn Tuấn Đạt and Phan Nguyễn Quỳnh Hương (standard), Hoàng Đức Tuấn and Đặng Thu Hương (Latin) will take part in the event.
The event is held by the Việt Nam Sports Federation and the National Sports Administration.
Vinschool to host World Scholar's Cup 2017
More than 3,000 top-performing students from over 60 countries in Asia and Europe will participate in the global round of the World Scholar's Cup 2017 in Hà Nội next month.
The competition, which will last from June 26, 2017 to July 1, 2017, will be organised at the Việt Nam National Convention Centre.
The World Scholar's Cup has been held annually since 2006 and is considered “a celebration of the joy of learning,” created for students worldwide, aiming to enrich students with knowledge in the fields of politics, society, science, technology, history, literature, music and arts, as well as motivate them to discover new strengths and practise their English-speaking skills.
The contest has four parts: The Bowl (choosing the right answers); The Challenge (multiple-choice); Collaborative Writing (essay writing) and Debate. Participants have to go through three rounds at the regional level and mini-global rounds that take place around the world throughout the year. The global round is usually held at the end of June, and the Tournament of Champion is held at Yale University in the United States in November.
Themed 'An Unlikely World', this year, the global round of the contest will be hosted by Việt Nam-based Vinschool for the first time in Hà Nội by Vinschool, which is now one of the region's top-performing schools with 17 championships and 30 teams taking part in the global round. Two mini-global rounds will be held in Athens in Greece and Cape Town in South Africa.
Nguyễn Minh Diệp and Nguyễn Vũ Huyền Trang (right-to-left), the -two Vinschool students who won individual gold medal in the Tournament of Champion held in Yale University in 2016. They are taking pictures with Daniel Berdichevsky, the founder and initiator of the competition.
"Vinschool became the exclusive partner in Việt Nam of the World Scholar's Cup, as we have the common goal of equipping students with a comprehensive knowledge base, focussing on developing their English proficiency and stimulating their learning passion. Vinschool is also the only school in Hà Nội to meet the facility requirements for the contest," said Daniel Berdichevsky, founder and initiator of the contest.
In 2016, two students from Vinschool won the gold medal, a personal achievement in the Tournament of Champion.
Australian Federal Police holds workshops with Vietnamese counterparts
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has worked with Australia's Attorney General's Department (AGD) and Vietnamese law enforcement officials over the past week, convening a series of workshops in Vietnam on extradition, informal cooperation, and “MLAT”, the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between both countries.
Representatives from AGD and Vietnam's Public Security Ministry and Supreme People’s Procuracy attended “International Cooperation Workshops” in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Hai Phong, where proceeds of crime cases, among other matters, were reviewed.
In Hanoi, AFP Coordinator, Criminal Assets Litigation Melbourne, Mr. Andrew Hanger, shared his law enforcement experience with the Supreme People’s Procuracy.
Overall, the workshops were received well by participants, who reinforced their knowledge on the important formal and informal processes between Australia and Vietnam in relation to criminal matters.
AGD Assistant Secretary Mr. Stephen Bouwhuis said the workshops build on recent cooperation between Australia and Vietnam and focused on international crime cooperation to combat money laundering and recover proceeds of crime.
“We had the opportunity to learn from one another and to further strengthen links between our agencies, thereby increasing our ability to effectively cooperate to combat transnational crime,” he said.
Next on the AFP’s agenda is the 43rd Asia Region Law Enforcement Management Program (ARLEMP) meeting from June 5-23 in Ho Chi Minh City. It will focus on human trafficking and people smuggling, bringing together Vietnamese police officers from relevant agencies. Two police officers from Laos and Cambodia have also been invited to attend. The major focus will be on developing leadership skills, sharing experiences and developing peer-to-peer networks to assist the fight against human trafficking and people smuggling in the region.
Free film screening for children launched
The Goethe Institute in Ho Chi Minh City and Kim Dong Publishing House will jointly organize a film screening of the Frog Prince based on the famous Brothers Grimm fairy tales in June 1.
The screening is part of cultural program being held to celebrate International Children Day (June 1). It will take place at 9am at Kim Dong Book Center (248 Cong Quynh Street, District 1, HCMC).
The organizers offer free entrance tickets.
Book festival for children in suburb districts opens
The 2017 “Books for Children in Suburban Areas” festival opened at the Cultural Center in the suburban district of Hoc Mon in Ho Chi Minh City on May 30.
This year’s event will be organized in Hoc Mon District from May 30-June 4; and in Cu Chi District on June 7-11.
Launched in 2005, the book festival for children in suburb districts has become a annual large-scale book fair, offering more than 30,000 copies in various fields, such as comics, literature, text and reference books and others.
Readers will enjoy 10-50 percent discounts on books and stationery.
The book show’s organizer, HCM City Books Distribution Co (Fahasa) will have also activities supporting disadvantaged students at 19 bookstores in cities and provinces nationwide.
Project boosts local engagement for Ha Long Bay’s sustainable development
A project promoting local engagement for sustainable development of Ha Long Bay has borne fruit after three years of implementation, heard a meeting in northern Quang Ninh province on May 30.
The event reviewing the Ha Long – Cat Ba Alliance: Local Engagement for Sustainable Development project was held by the Quang Ninh provincial People’s Committee and the Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development (MCD).
MCD Director Nguyen Thu Hue said Ha Long – Cat Ba Alliance is a public-private cooperation initiative funded by the US. The project aims to build a partnership between the Government, businesses and local authorities to promote the conservation and protection of Ha Long Bay and nearby Cat Ba archipelago of Hai Phong city, thus ensuring sustainable development.
Beginning in 2014, the project has supported the aquaculture association in Ha Long Bay with heritage preservation activities while building sustainable aquaculture. It has also stepped up communications to encourage inter-sectoral cooperation and relevant parties’ participation, and enhanced their capacity in project implementation and supervision, she added.
Vice Chairman of the Quang Ninh provincial People’s Committee Dang Huy Hau, head of the project coordinating board, said the conservation and sustainable development of Ha Long Bay is a continuous, long-term process that requires multilateral cooperation.
This type of cooperation will ensure better decision making since it gathers multiple viewpoints, builds trust through respecting each member’s contribution, ensures benefits for all sides and forms partnerships to create unanimity among them.
It will create a foundation for improved management of natural heritage sites like Ha Long Bay, he added.
Ha Long Bay was recognised as a world natural heritage site by UNESCO in 1994 (for landscape values) and 2000 (for geological and geomorphological values). Quang Ninh is preparing to submit a dossier to UNESCO to seek a third recognition of Ha Long Bay, associated with Cat Ba, as a world natural heritage site in terms of archeological values.
HCMC proposes social houses for teachers in distant areas
People’s Committee in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Chanh District proposed to provide social houses for teachers in distant communes to attract more teachers to work in these areas.
In a meeting with the municipal People’s Committee yesterday on the education policies, People’s Committee voiced the proposal.
Because the district is in the city’s gate with many industrial parks to attract immigrants from corners of the country; the number of students increase 8,500 a year; consequently, there is not enough schools for all of them.
The district is building eight facilities for the new academic year including five preschools to meet increased demand of workers in Le Minh Xuan Industrial Park and locals.
For the school year 2016-2017, the district recruited additional 414 teachers yet it just meets half of demand. There is a lack of teachers of music, drawing, English in distant communes Le Minh Xuan, Pham Van Hai. To solve the matter, local authorities proposed to give social houses to teachers in disadvantaged communes.
Festival for children with disabilities held in HCM City
The 21st festival for children with disabilities was held on May 31 at the Culture and Labour Palace of Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate the International Children’s Day.
Over 580 children from 16 schools for children with disabilities in Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong delta Can Tho city as well as the provinces of Dong Nai, An Giang and Ba Ria-Vung Tau participated in the event.
The festival created a playground for children with disabilities to attend various activities from sports, art performances to games challenges, helping enhance their life-skills and community integration.
An art performance took place under the programme to raise fund for disadvantaged children.
On June 1 evening, a programme, which introduces a project supporting surgery for children with cleft palate, will be held at the same venue.
Social News 1/6
Vietnam to raise monthly minimum wage
The monthly basic minimum wage for civil servants, public employeesState workers will be increased additional 90,000 VND and rises up to 1.3 million VND from July 1.
According to Circular 02/2017 by the Ministry of Interior, monthly salaries for civil servants, public employees and personnel in the armed force will be calculated on the basis of the monthly minimum wage of 1.3 million VND instead of the current monthly minimum pay of 1.21 million VND.
The Ministry of Interior also stated that agencies, units and public organizations within the State apparatus should use the approved budget estimates appropriately and their additional financial resources to balance their wage bill and make up the excesses.
Besides, the State will use the savings of 10% from regular government spending or 50% of the increase in revenues of cities and provinces to finance the project.
40 meter crack appears in Nha Be district
A 40 meter crack appeared in a cement concrete road along Rach Tom River, Nhon Duc commune, Nha Be district, Ho Chi Minh City, reported the city Transport Department yesterday.
The road could be sunk into the river anytime.
The HCMC Transport Department suggested the People’s committees of Nhon Duc commune and Nha Be district to actively collaborate with relevant agencies in moving property and arranging new residental places for affected households, placed barriers and warning signs for the damaged zones.
On the same day, a 30 meter river bank landslide suddenly occurred in the area of Thanh Tung market, Thanh Tung commune, Dam Doi district, Ca Mau province. The landslide swallowed five houses into the river.
The local people quickly moved their properties out of the damaged areas.
13.24 million people join social insurance in Vietnam
Vietnam’s number of social insurance holders reached 13.24 million as of April 30, said Deputy Director General of Vietnam Social Insurance Pham Luong Son.
About 76.2 million health insurance cards were issued in the period, Son added.
Vietnam aims to have 50 percent of the labour force covered by social insurance by 2020.-
Labor ministry posts lowest reform index
The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs gets a lower score in the 2016 Public Administrative Reform Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators (PAR Index), with a reform completion ratio of just 71.9%, while the State Bank of Vietnam takes top spot at 92.68%, the Ministry of Home Affairs said on May 30.
The results were announced at an online seminar chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh on May 30 with all ministries and localities. The seminar was called to review administrative reform in this year’s first half.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said it had made the 2016 administrative reform report after conducting sociological surveys, and the report had also been approved by an appraisal council.
The 2016 PAR Index categorizes ministries into two groups, with one having met over 80% of reform completion criteria and the other under 80%.
The first group comprises the State Bank of Vietnam, the Finance Ministry, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
The second group includes those ministries with a reform completion ratio of between 70% and below 80%. These are the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the
Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs, the Government Inspectorate, and the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.
The average performance for all the 19 ministries and equivalent bodies is 80.94%, according to the report.
Regarding the PAR Index for localities, Danang takes the lead with a reform completion ratio of 90.32%, while Hau Giang is at the bottom, at just 62.55%. The average performance for all the localities is 74.64%.
Can Tho and Japan’s Hyōgo in cooperation deal
Vietnam’s Can Tho City and Japan’s Hyōgo Prefecture on May 30 struck a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation as part of Can Tho’s investment promotion tour to Japan, led by city chairman Vo Thanh Thong.
Ho Thi Thanh Bach, deputy director of the Department of Foreign Affairs, told the Daily by phone on May 30 that Hyōgo Prefecture is the first Japanese locality with which Can Tho had signed an MOU.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by former Vietnamese State President Truong Tan Sang and Hyōgo governor Toshizo Ido.
The two sides are committed to promoting growth towards mutual prosperity and stepping up cooperation between Hyōgo and southern Vietnam, she noted. Therefore, Can Tho will facilitate investment activity of the Japanese side, especially in hi-tech and supporting industries, logistics and agriculture.
Can Tho and Hyōgo will try to promote cooperation in multiple fields like tourism, trade and manpower training as well.
Toshizo Ido said at the MOU signing ceremony that Hyōgo and Japan as a whole attached importance to cooperation with Can Tho and elsewhere in Vietnam. Hyōgo will find ways to smooth cooperation in Can Tho between the two sides.
Can Tho chairman Vo Thanh Thong said that as the center of the Mekong Delta, the city holds high growth potential, and that the city will make the most of the MOU signed with Hyōgo.
2 women arrested for transporting 1,400 synthetic drug pills
Lu Thi Vuong (41) and Lung Thi Doi (16), residing in Ban Seo commune, Muong Khuong district, Lao Cai province were arrested while illegally transporting 1,390 synthetic drug pills in Lang Son province.
At 8.40 on May 29, in Dong Dang town, Cao Loc district, Lang Son province, the task force squad of the Lang Son Provincial Border Guard in coordination with the Huu Nghi International Border Guard Station and the Na Hinh Border Guard Station detected and broke down the drug-transporting line.
The two suspects declared that the drug pills was purchased in Son La province at 40 million VND and was transported to Lang Son. They were planning to sell the drugs to a Chinese citizen named A Co (unknown address).
Relevant agencies are expanding the investigation into the case.
Border liaison offices work to fight against transnational crime
A three-day National Border Liaison Office (BLO) Consultation began in the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau on May 31.
The function is discussing measures to counter transnational organised crime as part of the Partnership against Transnational-crime through Regional Organized Law-enforcement (PATROL). The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has implemented the initiative in Vietnam and neighbouring countries since 2010.
According to Le Tan Tao, Deputy General Director of the General Department of Police, thanks to the PATROL, Vietnam has significantly extended international cooperation and information exchange on drug/human/animal trafficking, environmental crime and illegal immigration via the BLO system.
A total of 16 BLOs are operating in 11 provinces, namely An Giang, Tay Ninh, Quang Tri, Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Dien Bien, Son La, Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Lang Son, and Quang Ninh.
Based on the reaped positive outcomes, some localities have increased members for their offices in a bid to boost performance.
Participating representatives of BLOs nationwide stressed the need to improve the BLO model in Vietnam and increase communications among BLOs.
They asked the UNODC to supplement equipment, such as drug quick-test kits and thermal binoculars, and to open more training courses on foreign languages and occupational skills.
Since the beginning of 2016, liaison among BLOs has helped relevant agencies detect 1,230 drug smuggling cases and 74 cases of illegal trade of wildlife animals and forestry products.
Health Minister requests promptly clarifying medical incident’s cause
Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien has asked the Health Department of northern Hoa Binh province to clarify the cause of a recent medical incident that killed seven kidney patients on May 29.
She made the request during a working session with the provincial authorities and medical staff of the provincial General Hospital in Hoa Binh on May 31.
Director of the hospital Truong Quy Duong said the hospital has provided enough samples for the provincial public security forces as requested.
Together with the provincial Health Department, it has also established a specialised board with the participation of experts from the Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital to make clear the cause.
Deputy Director of the provincial Public Security Pham Van Su affirmed that the police are doing their best to promptly clarify the cause.
Earlier, Health Minister Tien and leaders of the provincial People’s Committee and the Health Department visited families of the dead and living patients undergoing treatment in the hospital.
Medical staff said victims are recovering well.
Also on May 31, the Vietnam Red Cross (VRC) presented a total of 86.5 million VND (3,760 USD) to families of the dead and living patients.
Seven patients died on May 29 with suspected anaphylactic shock while receiving treatment at the General Hospital of Hoa Binh province.
Once the deaths were reported, the provincial General Hospital turned off its dialysis machines and transferred the 11 living patients to Hoa Binh city’s General Hospital and Hanoi-based Bach Mai hospital for emergency treatment.
Four doctors from Bach Mai hospital also went to the province to deliver assistance.
French art exhibition raises funds for disabled children
All proceeds from the sale of works by artists this coming June 9-13 at the Nha Trang-Khanh Hoa Sea Festival 2017 will go towards the support of disabled Vietnamese children.
The event, sponsored by the Appel Lorient Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, will stage at the Gallery 01 Museum in the province of Khanh Hoa.
The artists include Gilles Mével, Christian Halna of Fretay, Michel Chambon, Eric Le Pape, Magalie Bucher, Valérie Jayat, Isabelle Courtiau, Philippe Gentils, Virginie Cottin, Cécile Veilhan and Doan Minh Ngoc.
In July, the exhibition will stage in Ho Chi Minh City at the Museum of Fine Arts.
Deep-sea fishing vessel launches in Đà Nẵng
Fisherman Nguyễn Thân of Đà Nẵng’s Sơn Trà District launched a logistics trawler for deep-sea fishing trips off Hoàng Sa Island after seven months of construction in a ceremony on Wednesday.
The wooden ship with 910CV capacity was built for VNĐ5 billion (US$221,000), of which VNĐ800 million ($35,000) was from the city’s budget.
The ship, measuring 21 metres by 6.3 metres, was designed to accomodate a 12-member crew.
The boat was built at the Đà Nẵng-based Sea Technology Company’s shipyard.
The central city plans to develop a fleet of 400 trawlers by 2020, most equipped with global positioning and fish-detection systems.
Top amateur footballers to compete in capital
The first-class football tournament for amateur footballers, Saigon Special Cup, is scheduled to kick off every Sunday from June 4 to August 20 in Hà Nội, the event’s organising board announced yesterday.
The tournament will attract the participation of 12 teams competing in a round robin. The best two teams will earn the right to play in the Saigon Special Premier League (HPL).
The winner will get the award of VNĐ50million (US$2,170).
At the event last year, thousands of fans supported their teams at the sport centre of the Ministry of Public Security in Hà Nội.
Phong Phú Hà Nam lead at national event
Phong Phú Hà Nam jumped to the top of the National Women’s Football Championship after the seventh round match yesterday in HCM City.
Phong Phú Hà Nam defeated HCM City 2 1-0 with the only goal by Nguyễn Thị Nguyệt who converted her teammate Phạm Thị Tươi’s smart pass for an irresistible finish in the 29th minute.
The fifth win pushed Phong Phú Hà Nam to No 1 spot with 16 points.
HCM City 2 maintained the second position from the bottom with three points.
In the later game of the day, TNG Thái Nguyên won 4-1 over Sơn La. However, the result did not change their ranking. Thái Nguyên are at fifth and Sơn La at sixth.
The rest of the matches in the round will be held today.
HCM City 1 may take their top seat back in case of beating bottom-placed Hà Nội 2. Earlier, Hà Nội 1 will meet Việt Nam Coal and Minerals.
Singing contest for journalists celebrates Revolutionary Journalism Day
A singing contest for journalists will be launched in HCM City this month to celebrate the 92nd anniversary of the Vietnam Revolutionary Journalism Day.
The contest, organised by the HCM City Journalists Association and HCM City Television (HTV), will offer journalists a chance to demonstrate their talents and exchange information about their career experiences.
Thirteen journalism agencies in HCM City and the provinces of Bến Tre, Long An and Tiền Giang will compete in the event on June 5 and 6 at the HTV Theatre.
The contestants will present 28 performances of different music genres, including contemporary folk, pop, symphony and vọng cổ (nostalgia).
The jury will select the 12 best performances for the finale, which will be held on June 12.
The organisers will grant 12 awards with total cash prize of VNĐ200 million (US$8,800).
All three shows will be broadcast live on HTV channels and provincial television channels.
State asked to apologise to wrongfully convicted
The State needs to take responsibility and apologise to people who were wrongfully sentenced, National Assembly deputies said yesterday.
At a session to discuss the draft amended Law on State’s responsibility on Compensation, Nguyen Khac Dinh, vice chairman of the NA Law Committee, presented the report of the NA Standing Committee on amending the draft law.
Dinh said there some believe the State needs to compensate and apologise to those who are wrongfully convicted, but the Standing Committee thought differently.
“The right to protect one’s reputation includes the right to deny information that does harm to their reputation and the right to ask for a public apology and compensation. But if the Law requires the State to apologise without a request, this take the matter out of the hands of the wrongfully convicted,” Dinh said.
He added that the Standing Committee asked the drafters of the law to add a requirement for the agency in charge of compensating the wrongfully convicted to clarify if they want a public apology.
Deputy Nguyen Thi Thuy from Bac Kan, said that the apologies must be compulsory.
“It’s not a matter of someone’s reputation being damaged by information, but being damaged by an agency. So protecting the pride of the wrongfully convicted must be the responsibility of the State and not a simple civic matter,” Thuy said.
Deputy Luu Binh Nhuong from Ben Tre Province, agreed, saying that a “request for an apology was not necessary”.
“We’re building a State that works for the people, we have to be fair with the people. We can’t do something right only when the people ask for it,” he said.
Regarding compensation for families of the wrongfully convicted who have died, deputies agreed that compensation should only be given to the closest heir/next of kin.
“This is feasible and rational – we can’t compensate every relative of the wrongfully convicted if they die, it would be very complicated,” deputy Dao Tu Hoa from Ha Noi said.
However, deputy Bui Van Xuyen from Thai Binh Province, said the amount stipulated in the draft amended law was too high. The draft law stipulated that compensation to the closest heirs/next of kin of the wrongfully convicted die is equal to 360 months of basic salary. Xuyen asked for an explanation as to why this rate was chosen.
On compensation rate, many deputies said the specific calculation of the compensation should be included in the Law, because current regulations do not mention it specifically.
Vietnamese and foreign individuals and organisations lawfully in Viet Nam that suffer material or mental sufferings caused by the State are entitled to compensation under the Law on State Compensation Liability.
According to a Justice Ministry report, the law contains legal provisions on compensation for damage caused by the State, putting an end to the current parallel existence of two legal mechanisms on damage compensation in administrative management and criminal proceedings.
The law provides for state compensation liability in administrative management, legal proceedings and judgment enforcement.
Draft Programme for building laws, ordinaces in 2018
Discussing about the programme on building laws, many deputies agreed it that has made positive changes. Documents on implementation had become more relevant. However, the implementation of the programme still had shortcomings. The quality of preparation for some projects is still lacking.
On the same day, deputies discussed the draft programme for building laws, ordinances in 2018 and the draft programme on supervision activities of the National Assembly in 2018. Deputies agreed that from 2018 onwards, no more than three projects will be assigned to a drafting agency or appraisal body, except in special cases.
They also agree to reduce the number of projects included in the programme of the year-end session to devote time to the National Assembly to consider socio-economic and state budget contents and amendments and additions to new laws that are promulgated or recently enforced.
Projects that are not up snuff or fail to submit records in time should be withdrawn from the programme or drafters should request a delay in submission to continue their preparation.
Vietnam to have more airlines
Several companies have announced plans to set up new airlines in Vietnam.
Vietnam Airlines and Viejet Air hold most of the market share in Vietnam
On May 31, the FLC Group announced that they will set up Viet Bamboo Airlines with VND700bn (USD31m) in charter capital. Viet Bamboo Airlines will also invest in the real estate and other sectors. The capital is just enough to allow FLC Group to join both local and international transportation markets with 10 planes. The money will be frozen to prove the investor's financial capacity.
As of now, three firms have announced their plans to establish and expand new airlines are Viet Bamboo Airlines, Vietstar Airlines and a joint-venture carrier by Malaysian AirAsia Group and Hai Au Aviation JSC.
Vo Huy Cuong, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Civil Aviation Administration, said he hadn't received registration documents from FLC Group or Hai Au Aviation JSC and AirAsia Group. Vietstar Airlines’ registration has been halted while the government tries to deal with overloading at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport.
Cuong said they would receive and check the documents before submitting to the Ministry of Transport. However, if the airlines will also operate at Tan Son Nhat Airport, the investors are warned that they won't be given permit before the new airport planning is completed.
Hai Au Aviation JSC first started their seaplane services in Ha Long Bay in 2014. The company's representative said they were completing legal procedures in order to establish an airline. They will submit the documents in the next two months for 2018’s operations.
"Our plan is related to Tan Son Nhat Airport's expansion so it won't be affected, unlike other projects," he said.
According to Hai Au Aviation JSC, they will open completely new routes. In the first phase, they will invest in routes from Hanoi and Danang to other Asian countries.
Meanwhile, Vietstar Airlines has decided to cut half of its fleet from 23 to 10 planes to suit Tan Son Nhat Airport's capacity so that they can begin operations in 2018.
Many private firms asked to set up new airlines between 2005-2010. But due to lack of financial capacity, they suffered losses and went bankrupt such as the Indochine Airlines and Air Mekong. Vietjet Air was given a permit in 2007 but had to wait until 2011 before officially entering operation.
The situation is different now as the average growth of the South East Asian aviation market is over 16%. The growth of the local market could reach 30%. Vietnam has a prime position and can allow narrow-body aircraft to go to most major cities in North Asia, South East Asia and India within five hours.
The number of passengers in Vietnam is low, yet the demand is still higher than the supply. Vietnam has seven licensed airlines but only four have public transport services. Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air top the list with over 40% of market share.
Buyer beaten for returning bottle of juice in Vietnam’s Da Lat
Bang Nhu Delicacy Store on Phu Dong Thien Vuong Street in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province.
The victim suffered from flesh injuries and was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Tran Ngoc Bich, 44, was driving her niece around Da Lat on Wednesday when a man on a motorbike approached the pair and invited them to a local mulberry garden where he said they could buy freshly picked mulberries for VND20,000 (US$0.88) per kilogram
Interested in the offer, Bich followed the man to Bang Nhu Delicacy Store at number 270 Phu Dong Thien Vuong Street, where fruit jams, preserves, and juice are sold.
Here Bich was told that she would only be given directions to the mulberry garden on the condition that she bought something from the store.
Left with no choice, Bich bought a bottle of mulberry juice for VND100,000 ($4.41) and was led to the mulberry garden as promised.
However, the gullible tourist was shocked when she was told that the price per kilogram of fresh mulberries at the garden was actually VND150,000-180,000 ($6.61-7.93), far more expensive than the VND20,000 the man had advertised.
Finding the price unacceptable, Bich returned to the store where she bought the mulberry juice and asked to be refunded for the product she had been tricked into buying.
After store employees refused to comply, Bich demanded she speak to the owner.
According to Bich’s statement at the local police station, the store owner arrived shortly afterwards on a motorbike, accompanied by a woman, supposedly his wife.
Together with their employees, the couple came at Bich, cussing and beating her violently until she hit her head on a nearby car and passed out.
Bich was taken to the hospital after the ordeal where doctors said she suffered from flesh injuries on her hands and head.
At the police station, the store owner Luong The Vinh, 32, admitted to the beating, though he maintained that Bich’s hand and head injuries had been caused by her falling by herself.
According to Vinh, his actions were instigated by Bich slapping his wife and raising her voice while pointing her finger offensively at the store banner.
Mai Anh Dao and Phu Dong Thien Vuong streets, near the popular attraction (Valley of Love), in Da Lat City are filled with delicacy stores where ‘brokers’ are often hired to trick tourists into buying products with the promise of visiting mulberry gardens.
The administration of Lam Dong Province has attempted to rectify the activity multiple times without much success.
TUOI TRE NEWS
Sand mining destroying rivers in Central Highlands, causing landslides
Uncontrolled rampant sand exploitation is seriously affecting Krong Ana and Krong No, two large rivers in the Central Highlands.
The river current has changed and hundreds of hectares of land have been lost.
Krong Ana (mother river) and Krong No (father river) are important to the economic and cultural life of the people in Dak Lak and Dak Nong. But they are in danger.
The Krong No river section which runs across Krong No district in Dak Nong province, has been a ‘hot spot’ of illegal sand exploitation for many years.
The district’s authorities believe that uncontrolled sand exploitation is the major cause of the landslide of 60 hectares of agricultural land.
Bui Duc Han in Buon Choah commune complained that his family has lost two hectares of land and had to evacuate four times because the land has been gradually drifting into the river.
Ho Doan in Dak Nang commune has 2.5 hectares of coffee trees on Krong No riverside, a part of which has drifted into the river. Hundreds of other households in Krong No district have also been affected.
“Just on a short river section of 5 kilometers, 4-5 enterprises are exploiting sand. It is the reason behind the landslide,” Doan said, adding that though the reason is obvious, the problem still cannot be settled.
The sand overexploitation has also led to the same problems with Krong Ana in Krong Bong and Lak districts of Dak Lak province.
In Krong Bong, the report of district authorities showed that the landslide has occurred in nine communes. The landslide is especially serious in the commune of Yang Reh with 48,994 square meters affected, Cu Kty (18,408 square meters) and Hoa Tan (1,680 square meters).
As the local authorities turn a deaf ear to the complaints, local people have to act to protect the rivers and their land.
Sam Tuan Anh in Dak Lieng commune of Lak district said he fought a sand miner who refused to stop mining and is being investigated.
A man in Mlieng hamlet said the vessels that suck sand from the riverbed appear at 3-4 pm every day. “Local people and sand miners have fought each other several times. They (sand miners) said they have licenses to exploit sand,” he said.
Nguyen Van Thiem from the Dak Lak provincial Department of Natural Resources and the Environment confirmed that the provincial authorities have granted sand exploitation licenses to 16 enterprises, which mine sand from 6-18 hours every day.
Thien Nhien, VNN
235kg of ecstasy, meth seized as Vietnam’s largest drug ring busted
Tran Ngoc Hieu at a police station in Ho Chi Minh City.
Officers from the Binh Thanh District police unit, in coordination with relevant agencies, busted an illegal drug ring led by 36-year-old Tran Ngoc Hieu, a.k.a. Van Kinh Duong) on Thursday evening.
A total of 15 suspects were arrested, and more than 200 kilograms of ecstasy, 25 kilograms of crystal meth, over VND10 billion (US$440,359) in cash, seven automobiles, and other equipment and materials were confiscated.
The cartel is the largest operation of its kind in the Southeast Asian country, according to the Ho Chi Minh City police department.
According to the case file, officers discovered a new type of ecstasy being sold locally in March 2016.
An investigation later identified the drug dealer as Nguyen Van Son, a 34-year-old operating out of a hotel in Binh Thanh.
In May 2016, a more thorough investigation was opened which uncovered that Son was merely a member of a much larger ring led by Tran Ngoc Hieu, originally from Hanoi and a current resident of District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Hieu refrained from taking a part direct part in any of the ring’s activities, officers stated, adding that he managed the entire organization through social media and a round-the-clock surveillance camera system.
The cartel’s factory was not situated in a fixed location and was often moved between Ho Chi Minh City, the southern province of Dong Nai, or the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, after producing each batch of stimulant.
The warehouse that provided ingredients for production was located far away from the factories.
Ring members were directed to dump manufacturing waste in remote areas of different provinces and cities to hide their tracks.
Transporting the drug was typically carried out by a group of two or three cars, one of which traveled ahead to scout the road while the narcotics were stored in the other vehicles.
. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Hieu entrusted his 43-year-old cousin, Nguyen Ba Thanh, with the purchase of chemicals and other ingredients and their transport by truck from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.
Meanwhile, another cousin, 49-year-old Nguyen Duc Ky Nam used his engineering and chemistry background to manage the production phase of the operation.
All activities in each factory were closely monitored by Hieu via CCTV.
The raw products were transported by Le Van Mang, 30, to houses and villas in Ho Chi Minh City for cleaning and drying before passing to Pham Bao Quan, 34, for packaging in one kilogram coffee bags.
The finished products were then brought to Hieu’s house to be stored before distribution.
Nguyen Thu Huyen, 29, managed customer transactions in Ho Chi Minh City, while Le Huong Giang, 29, dealt with clients in northern Vietnam.
Nguyen Dac Huy, 29, was tasked with product delivery and is unaware of other details regarding the ring’s operation.
Since beginning operations in early 2016, the ring has produced four batches of ecstasy weighing nearly 300 kilograms.
everal suspects, including Tran Ngoc Hieu, were captured in the second phase of investigation. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Officers carried out the investigation for nearly a year, separating the mission into two phases to trace the cartel’s tracks and arrest the ring members.
The first phase took place from May to December 2016, during which law enforcement busted Son’s operation.
At around 11:30 pm on December 17, Son was caught red-handed carrying 100 ecstasy pills in his car.
Officers also apprehended other accomplices without Hieu knowing.
The second phase ran between December 2016 and April 2017 seeking to hunt down Hieu and the rest of the gang.
On April 6, Quan was nabbed for transporting the products to District 7.
Hieu was also captured on the same day after arriving at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City.
Officers then carried out a raid on 13 locations, including factories and houses of other ring members in Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, Khanh Hoa, and Hanoi.
Hieu’s record includes six years in prison in 2008 for storing drugs.
He assumed the name Tran Ngoc Hieu after escaping from prison and starting his own drug ring.
Evidence confiscated by police officers. Photo: Binh Thanh District Police Department
TUOI TRE NEWS
Finance Ministry: Public debt to reach record high in 2017
Vietnam’s public debt will reach a record high during the 2017-2018 period before gradually falling in subsequent years, Mr. Nguyen Trong Nghia, Head of the Planning and Risk Management Department of the Debt Management and External Finance Agency at the Ministry of Finance told a meeting in Hanoi on May 31.
“Assuming the country’s GDP growth rate is around 6.7 or 7 per cent this year, public debt will reach 64.8 per cent of GDP,” he said. “The amount will remain as high as 64.7 per cent in 2018 before falling to 63.7 per cent by 2020.”
“The finance ministry and the government will adopt solutions to restructure the State budget, ensuring public debt never surpasses the 65 per cent ceiling set by the National Assembly,” he noted, adding that the exact figure will change based on economic growth every year.
Vietnam will also not be able to borrow official development assistance (ODA) at preferential interest rates and terms come July.
Under a new scheme, the country will pay higher interest rates on loans with shorter repayment terms, Ms. Nguyen Xuan Thao, Deputy Head of the ministry’s Debt Management Agency told the gathering.
“Since Vietnam officially became a middle-income country in 2010, many donors have significantly reduced their preferential treatment for loans to the country,” she explained.
Figures from the Debt Management and External Finance Agency show that 98 per cent of Vietnam’s foreign loans in recent years were in the form of ODA with preferential conditions. Interest rates averaged only 1 to 1.5 per cent per annum.
Vietnam should expect to pay more, and repay faster, for loans from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and Japan - its three biggest donors - from July. The agency revealed last year that new interest rates could rise by 2 to 3.5 per cent per annum while the terms could be halved.
Vietnam’s foreign debt leaped 6.5-fold between 2001 and 2015, mainly due to weaknesses in managing and using loans.
Some debtors with government-guaranteed loans also lost their repayment capacity, passing on the burden to the government.
At end-2016, Vietnam’s public debt stood at 63.7 per cent of GDP, up from 62.2 per cent in 2015 and 50.1 per cent in 2011, while government debt and foreign debt stood at 52.6 per cent and 44.3 per cent of GDP, respectively.
The World Bank has forecast that Vietnam’s public debt will climb to 64.4 per cent this year and 64.7 per cent in 2018.
The mounting debt will impose a steadily increasing burden on Vietnam’s economy and make it ever harder to cut the budget deficit, the bank said in a report released last year.
Under Vietnamese legislation, public debt includes government debt, foreign debt, government guarantees, and debts owed by local governments, while debts of by the central bank, State-owned enterprises, and other State-run entities are excluded from the tally.
VN Economic Times
Bottlenecks in rice production chain affecting market share
Vietnam’s rice production is meeting difficulties because of two bottlenecks at the ends of the production chain, leading to a decline in market share.
According to IPSARD, the first bottleneck is related to supply. Two-thirds of the rice surplus is in the hands of 20 percent of the biggest farmers – producers with an average cultivated area of 2.74 hectares.
Of 9 million households that grow rice, rice productivity from the biggest 300,000 households accounts for the large proportion of rice exports.
The ‘bulge’ in the rice value chain is processing. While rice cultivation depends on a number of large households, the processing is carried out at over 300,000 factories, most of which are small scale.
There are only 1,000 processing factories in Thailand.
The second bottleneck lies at the end of the chain – exports. There are only about 100 exporters, and only 22 exporters have licenses to export rice to China.
A report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) shows that Vietnam’s rice exports in 2016 decreased by 27 percent in quantity and 23 percent in value compared to 2015, the lowest 8-year level.
The rice exports to China, Vietnam’s largest export market, have also decreased. The exports to choosy markets, including the EU, the Middle East and Sub-Sahara, account for only a few percent of total exports.
Rice demand to recover?
According to Sergio Araujo from FAO Rome, the challenges for Vietnam are that it needs to shift from low-cost to high-end rice and to distinguish between Vietnam’s rice and rice from other countries.
In fact, the competition in the high-end rice market segment is very stiff. Thailand has increased its high-end rice standards and set up a research institute for added value in the rice sector. India is focusing on improving technical standards for basmati rice and making efforts to increase the production of organic rice.
The demand for rice is on the decrease as people want products richer in protein such as meat, seafood, eggs and milk.
Meanwhile, according to Pham Kim Dung from IPSARD, Vietnam’s loyal markets are now applying necessary measures to ensure food security.
However, according to WB and IMF, the rice price still is moving up in the short term because of increased demand for storing rice.
Malaysia has decided to increase the import volume to 950,000 tons. Bangladesh has announced it would import 600,000 tons, considering supply from Vietnam.
Kim Chi, VNN
Bus driver suspended for mounting pavement in Ho Chi Minh City
The bus’s license plate, 51B-225.01, is clearly visible in the 25-second footage
Nguyen Van Quan, an employee of the SATRANCO bus company, was identified as the driver in the video that went viral on the Internet on Friday, Tran Chi Trung, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Public Passenger Transport Management and Operation Center, confirmed.
Quan was suspended from job right in the afternoon the same day for violating traffic law and posing danger to passersby.
The bus operation center is working with the traffic police unit in Ben Thanh Ward, District 1 to decide the civil fine for Quan.
According to the25-second footage, Quan drove his No. 38 bus to mount the pavement of Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in District 1 in an apparent bid to avoid heavy traffic.
The bus’s license plate, 51B-225.01, is clearly visible in the video.
The reckless act of the driver has sparked outrage and concerns over the danger to pedestrians, especially during the rush hours.
TUOI TRE NEWS
Hanoi beer loses in home market despite brief fame from Obama dinner
Bia Hanoi, or Hanoi beer, a long lasting beer brand well known to Hanoians, which was served at former US President Obama’s dinner during his visit to Vietnam in 2016, cannot hold the upper hand over its rivals.
Hanoians favor Hanoi beer, Sai Gon beer and Heineken. There are no official statistics about the consumption of beer products, but analysts are sure the three brands dominate the Hanoi market.
Hanoi Beer Alcohol and Beverage Corp (Habeco) has the Hanoi Beer brand and is located in Hanoi.
Analysts said that the images of Obama drinking Hanoi beer, which appeared in all local newspapers and international mass media, would help Habeco prosper.
But Hanoi Beer has lost a large part of the market to its rivals.
After Obama had dinner at Huong Lien bun cha Shop and drank Bia Ha Noi on May 23, the first day of his visit to Vietnam, both brands appeared many times on mass media. Bia Ha Noi was even mentioned in Obama’s speech the next morning.
However, while Huong Lien bun cha Shop’s business has been thriving since then, Bia Ha Noi is less lucky.
Many grocery stores and street shops in Hanoi say that youth now prefer Saigon Special of Sabeco, a brewery headquartered in HCMC. The main customers of Hanoi Beer are aged 50 and more.
“Hanoi beer now is just for older people,” said Do Hoang Yen, the owner of a grocery store on Khuong Trung street.
The owner of H.B Shop on Truong Dinh street said five to six years ago, Hanoi beer once dominated the Hanoi market and there was no rival in the bottled beer market.
“The sales of Sabeco’s products are far higher than Habeco’s,” he said. “We can sell only one Habeco product for every two Sabeco products sold.”
At large supermarkets, people have begun buying beer in large quantities as the summer has come in Hanoi. And Sabeco’s products are favored.
Xuan Truong, from Bac Tu Liem district, said he prefers Saigon Beer because it is tastier with a strong flavor, while Hanoi Beer tastes flat.
However, a branding expert said that tastes are always different. He believes that the problem lies in the marketing strategy.
While Sabeco offers a wide range of products with different price levels, targeting different groups of customers, Hanoi Beer has stayed the same for many years and cannot attract young people.
Chi Mai, VNN
Private sector the key driver of Vietnam’s growth
John Hawksworth, chief economist for PriceWaterhouseCoopers in the UK (PwC UK), recently came to Vietnam to attend an APEC-related meeting as speaker. The Saigon Times Daily spoke with him about his views on Vietnamese and global economies.
The APEC 2017 theme is “creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future.” What will be the dynamism guiding the global economy in the coming years?
Firstly, I have to say that the fastest growth among nations could be seen in emerging markets, particularly in Asia. China, though slowing down, is still growing at about 6% while India’s growth is more than 7%. The ASEAN economies may be growing at 5% or 6% on average. So I think that it is really Asia which is the major driver of global growth, and this driver will continue for quite some time.
In terms of factors driving the growth, the first to be mentioned is technological change. We are seeing rapid technological changes, particularly in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics,… and these areas are boosting productivity growth. However, some of them are not measured properly and captured in the GDP. So the official GDP numbers might understate the true growth rate. A lot of things on the Internet are free or nearly free. They are not entered in the GDP but countries still enjoy many economic benefits from them.
Besides technology, there will be quite a lot of other investments. You can see that in the Chinese proposal for the “One Belt, One Road” program for example. There is a huge need for infrastructure investment across Europe and Asia. Initiatives like “One Belt, One Road” are likely to see many trillions of U.S. dollars in investment over the next 10 or 15 years. There have been estimates of global infrastructure investment totaling about US$30 trillion between now and 2030.
The combination of technology and investment will be key drivers of global growth, supported in particular by the growth of the Asian emerging economies.
In PwC’s report “The Long View: how will the global economic order change by 2050?” which you authored, Vietnam is forecast to enjoy some of the fastest growth rates and become the 20th largest economy by 2050. What’s the basis for PwC’s projection?
As you can see, it is not possible to make precise forecasts until 2050. These are only projections of the potential growth if a range of proper policies are followed.
For Vietnam, there are a number of factors to be considered. Vietnam still has a relatively young population. Compared to other countries, China for example, you still have further years for the working population to contribute to your growth.
A more important fact is that at the moment, a large amount of the population in Vietnam is still working in agriculture. Nearly half of the employment is in this area, which is considered having low productivity. As employment shifts from agriculture to manufacturing and services where productivity is much higher, that should boost overall productivity and growth in Vietnam.
That movement could be seen in the UK, U.S. and other developed countries. In the past, most people in these nations worked in agriculture, but now only a few percent of the labor force is still working there. It is a natural process of development that people move to higher productivity areas and to the cities. I think Vietnam still has a lot of room for that process to play an important role in your economic growth.
Obviously, this process does require continuous investment. This means continuing to invest in infrastructure, roads, railways, telecoms, digital networks, etc. but also investment in people. Vietnam has had a very good record for education compared to other middle-income countries. To be further developed, Vietnam should retrain people because of the rapid changes of technology and automation. You know, computers will take some jobs and people may be not working in one job for their whole life. They have to be retrained for several times so that they can be quite flexible in their careers and adapt to the technological advances.
Besides these investments, some other reforms should be done, especially in state-owned enterprises and building the private sector, which will be the key driver of not only economic growth but also employment growth.
With all the investment and reforms in mind, the potential growth in Vietnam could be certainly achieved.
Policymakers want to steer Vietnam towards becoming an industrialized economy. However, experts say Vietnam’s strength lies in agriculture and the country should continue making use of agricultural development. So what’s Vietnam’s real competitive advantage?
In the longer term, you would expect more people moving from rural and agricultural areas to manufacturing, and eventually to services. Ultimately, you would want to become not just an industrialized economy but a knowledge-based economy because that is probably where most of the jobs are in the future.
But I think there may be some areas where Vietnam has a competitive advantage in agriculture. For reasons of food security, Vietnam should continue to produce products like rice and other crops. But I think that the key to development is to make agriculture more productive and efficient. Over time, you could increase investment in modern agricultural techniques and bigger farms, so that you can reduce the number of people in the agriculture and free them up to move into more productive areas elsewhere. I’m not saying that you should stop agriculture completely but I think in the long run, agriculture will be a smaller share in the economy.
You’ve also researched Brexit’s global impacts. How will Brexit impact Vietnam in particular?
I don’t think there will be a big, direct impact of Brexit in Vietnam. The main impact will be on the UK and some other European countries like Ireland, Germany, France and so on.
I do think that looking forward, the UK will need to look for new trading partners outside Europe. So the UK will need to make more efforts to do trade deals and increase trade investment with fast growing Asian economies, including Vietnam. That could open up the door for more productive trade and investment relationships between the UK and Vietnam or ASEAN in general.
We’ve seen growing uncertainty in global trade policies and a return of protectionism. This trend of global protectionism is spearheaded by the Donald Trump administration. How should Vietnam deal with this global trend?
That is certainly a concern. We identify the move towards protectionism as a risk factor for the world economy and for Vietnam as well. But on the more positive side, I think there is still quite a lot of room for trade deals, maybe not global trade deals where progress has been slow, but rather regional trade deals. We’ve seen the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community, and trade deals between ASEAN and China and other countries. I don’t think there is an increase of protectionism within Asia. In fact looking at Asia, I see some progress in free trade has been made.
Obviously, it’s disappointing that the United States decided not to go ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Maybe that deal can go ahead without the U.S. It may not bring quite such big benefits since the U.S. is such a big market. But at the moment, if the U.S. does not want to join then other economies involved could go ahead anyway. In the future, the U.S. might negotiate other trade deals with ASEAN or Vietnam instead.
What is the biggest risk to the global economy in the next couple of years?
I think there are some concerns about geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, North Korea and so on. If these tensions are to escalate, that would be worrying.
Secondly, there are concerns about a new financial crisis associated with the high level of debt in China. If that debt level leads to some problems in China then they could spread to elsewhere, too. Also, I think the rise in the U.S. interest rate is another risk as there are some emerging economies that borrow a lot of money in dollars. These economies might face some financial stresses. I personally do not expect those things to happen but there are some downside risk factors nonetheless.
Industry Ministry admits failure in developing auto industry. So what's next?
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) has admitted that the plan to develop an automobile industry of Vietnam has failed, but it still insists on protecting domestic assembling enterprises which work for foreign invested enterprises.
MOIT said the car selling price is twice as much as the price in other regional countries, while the locally made content ratio is still lower than the targeted level.
The localization ratio, according to Nguyen Khac Trai from the Hanoi University of Technology, is just 5-7 percent.
Tran Huu Nhan from the HCMC University of Technology believes the reason behind the failure of the automobile industry development was inconsistent policy.
When developing automobile industry, state agencies needed to calculate the output and foresee market consumption. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese market is small with many product lines.
“Our policies cannot settle the problems to the every root,” he said. “Vietnam needs to have new thinking in developing the automobile industry.”
Vietnam should not try to undertake all steps of the automobile manufacturing process. It would be better to focus on certain links in the process.
“Instead of trying to create a product bearing Vietnamese brand, Vietnam should only get involved in some links of the value chain,” he said. “If Vietnam still insists on making cars from A to Z, it will never catch up with developed countries."
While many analysts criticize foreign-invested automobile enterprises for breaking commitments on gradually increasing the localization ratios and helping develop the Vietnam’s automobile industry, MOIT still intends to continue giving investment incentives to enterprises.
At a meeting with automobile enterprises in February 2017, MOIT put forward three solutions to develop the automobile industry in the time to come.
First, creating a market for domestic automobile manufacturers and protecting the market in a reasonable way. Second, supporting manufacturers to cut production costs and improve competitiveness. Third, developing supporting industries.
Nhan commented that protecting and giving incentives to domestic automobile manufacturers is not a good choice for now.
Elaborating on this, he said though the policies may benefit enterprises, no breakthrough would be made in the automobile industry if the products are not welcomed.
“The policies on local production protection and enterprise support are not likely to bring high efficiency to the industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Trai from the Hanoi University of Technology, said only when the economy develops with better human resources will the automobile industry develop.
“In the current conditions of Vietnam, we cannot have an automobile industry. I think it will only form in 20 years,” he said.
Thanh Mai, VNN
Uber, Grab conquer airport taxi market
Uber and Grab have begun providing taxi services at airports, the market that traditional taxi firms typically have dominated.
Uber launched a service package at the flat price of VND150,000 to carry passengers from any location in the inner city of Hanoi. In HCM City, Grab sometimes has a promotional fee of VND20,000 for trips to the airport.
“You will have to pay VND130,000 for every trip to the airport with traditional taxi service, while it’ll take you VND70,000 to go with Grab, and sometimes the fee is just VND20,000 when Grab runs sale promotion campaign,” Tin, a passenger said.
Uber, Grab cars flood airports
Quang Huy in Cau Giay district, Hanoi said the service fee of VND150,000 set by Uber is ‘very reasonable’ which is much lower than the fee of VND200,000-250,000 he has to pay to traditional taxis.
“I wonder if Uber gives any support to taxi drivers, so they can charge so little. However, as a customer, I really like this. And Uber’s services are acceptable,” he said.
However, some passengers complained that it is difficult to catch Uber taxis. Uber drivers tend to refuse to serve passengers, saying that the VND150,000 service fee set by Uber is too low, which cannot bring profit to them.
Uber drivers confirmed that they won’t serve passengers at the service fees set by Uber.
Hieu, a driver, said with the fee, drivers pocket VND40,000-50,000 for every trip to the airport after paying for fuel and other expenses. He would rather serve passengers within the city to get more profit.
Reporters also tried to hail Uber taxis and all drivers refused to serve when asked to go to Noi Bai Airport.
Airport taxi firms complain about income
Traditional taxi drivers complained that their income has become unstable, though it is now the high season: children are finishing their academic year and people are beginning to travel.
Quang Truong from Bac Ninh province, an airport taxi driver, said the appearance of Uber and Grab has badly affected his job. He could serve 10 trips a day on the Hanoi – Noi Bai route, but the number has been cut by half.
However, Truong doesn’t think Uber and Grab drivers have better income.
“More taxis in the market means higher competition and lower income,” he said.
Chi Mai, VNN
Asia has crucial role to play in globalisation: PM Phuc
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc yesterday emphasised the key role of Asia in globalisation, naming three key measures for the region to tackle major challenges.
He made the statement while delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of the 23rd International Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo.
"History shows that whether we support or oppose globalisation, it remains an inevitable trend," PM Phuc said.
"It is not merely an economic process but also reflects the desire of humankind to reach further, pursue well-being and conquer challenges."
The three measures that he mentioned include maintaining a peaceful and stable environment in the context of structural changes in the region, boosting green, sustainable and inclusive economic growth and optimising resources and promoting the role of international institutions.
He emphasised that while vision will decide modes of thinking, methods of action and co-operation among nations will build a peaceful and prosperous Asia. He detailed Viet Nam’s achievements during the 30-year renewal period, affirming the country’s determination to build an incorruptible Government that serves people and businesses.
He told participants that Viet Nam will strive to create development opportunities through strengthening international integration and participating in global management structures, create a favourable environment for the private sector, balance economic growth policies and effective management of resources and increase the quality of human resources for the industrial revolution 4.0.
The PM also lauded the contributions made by Japan to socio-economic development and poverty reduction in many Asian countries, as well as the partnership between Viet Nam and Japan.
During his dialogue with participants, he discussed the role of the ASEAN Economic Community, environmental pollution challenges in Viet Nam, the country’s development and the country’s involvement in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.
He said Viet Nam has free trade agreements with 12 nations and is currently negotiating four others.
He emphasised that the country would continue working with the 11 remaining countries to implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major regional trade deal from which the US recently withdrew.
He said that Viet Nam has a sustainable development strategy, with environmental protection a top priority.
As a country seriously affected by climate change, Viet Nam will work with other countries to implement commitments made in the Paris agreement, of which Viet Nam is a signatory, he said.
The International Conference on the Future of Asia is an annual event held by Nikkei – one of the biggest communications groups in the region.
Under the theme “Globalism at a crossroads – Asia’s next move”, this year’s event focuses on factors affecting the future of Asia, including protectionism and populism, relations among major nations and world order change and the development of ASEAN, China, and South Africa.
Viet Nam- Japan ties
Viet Nam treasures its partnership with Japan, considering it a priority in the country’s foreign relations, stated Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
He made the remark at a meeting with Tadamori Oshima, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Japan, in Tokyo yesterday.
Phuc expressed his delight at the growth of the Viet Nam – Japan intensive strategic partnership and close co-operation between the two parliaments.
Lauding Tadamori Oshima’s visit to Viet Nam in late May, he asked the Japanese House of Representatives to increase exchanges with the Viet Nam National Assembly in making laws and promoting their friendship parliamentary groups in boosting bilateral ties.
He suggested the two bodies work together at regional and international forums, including the 2018 Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum hosted by Viet Nam.
The PM requested the Japanese lower house to back Viet Nam and ASEAN’s stance on the East Sea issue.
He also suggested the body support the Japanese Government’s official development assistance for Viet Nam to develop infrastructure projects, improve workforce quality and tackle climate change.
Tadamori Oshima said he values Japan’s co-operation with Viet Nam and wants to support the relationship.
He agreed to boost mutual trust and understanding through exchanges between committees and young parliamentarians.
He stressed that the House of Representatives of Japan and Japan–Viet Nam Friendship Parliamentary Group are willing to work with the Vietnamese side in the celebration of 45-years of relations between the two countries.
International Medical Development JSC of Viet Nam’s TH Group will work with Japan’s International Total Engineering Corporation (ITEC) to build a high-tech health care complex in Ha Noi.
A memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed in Tokyo yesterday during Prime Minister Phuc’s ongoing visit to Japan.
Established in 1981, ITEC is the first health service management consulting firm in Japan which aims to tackle the drastic changes taking place in Japanese healthcare.
ITEC President Johtaro Seki said the group will help its Vietnamese partner access cutting-edge medical solutions, adding that the complex is designed to become a five-star general hospital with leading doctors from countries with developed medicine and nurses trained in Japan.
TH Group Chairwoman Thai Huong said the 40-ha complex will offer medical prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services.
The Vietnamese and Japanese health sectors have signed a number of co-operation agreements on universal health coverage, new communicable disease prevention, human resources development and health equipment, among others.
Under the Viet Nam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, since 2012, Japan has helped train many Vietnamese nurses.