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  • 07/31/17--02:47: Article 2
  • Social News 31/7

    New Quang Nam road to reduce drowning deaths, travel time

     New Quang Nam road to reduce drowning deaths, travel time, 17 crew rescued from disabled fishing boat, Vietnam-Laos friendship exchange held in UK, Bookcase project seeks to inspire reading
    To reduce travelling time as well as accidents while crossing two local rivers, Quảng Nam Province will build a road connecting National Highway No 1A with Tam Tiến Commune in Núi Thành District. 

    An aqueduct on Tam Kỳ River, Núi Thành District, Quảng Nam Province. The province plans to build a proper bridge to connect rural communes in the district.

    Đặng Bá Dự, head of the central province’s Project Management Board, said the 5.3km road, including three bridges spanning the Tam Kỳ and Trường Giang rivers, will cost VNĐ330 billion (US$14.6 million).

    He said the project, which has just got approval from local authorities, has already allocated VNĐ77 billion, a third of the total investment, to build the 360m Máng Bridge, a crucial link between Tam Tiến and Tam Xuân communes.

    Dự said many people have fallen into the river and more than 20 local residents have drowned while crossing the narrow 0.8m wide, 200m aqueduct on the Tam Ky River.

    The new road, set to open in 2020, will also help boost tourism links between Đà Nẵng, Hội An, the coastal Tam Thanh Commune and Tam Hải Island in Núi Thành District.

    Last year, the province opened the four-lane Giao Thủy Bridge linking the mountainous districts of Nông Sơn and Quế Sơn, as well as Duy Xuyên District in Quảng Nam and Đà Nẵng City.

    The province also plans to build a railway flyover at its busiest crossroad on National Highway No 1A in Núi Thành District later this year.

    Quảng Nam has of late approved several key traffic routes connecting strategic economic zones, sea and air ports in the province, as well as the provinces of Quảng Ngãi and Kon Tum.

    17 crew rescued from disabled fishing boat

    17 crew members of a fishing boat that encountered bad weather and technical difficulties off the coast of Nghệ An Province were rescued Saturday and taken to Cửa Lò port.

    The input shaft of the boat’s engine broke during stormy weather when the vessel was about 65 nautical miles southeast of Hòn Ngư Island.

    The boat was also running out of food and fresh water and crew members were in a panic, according to the Việt Nam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre, which carried out the rescue mission. 

    Vietnam-Laos friendship exchange held in UK

    A Vietnam-Laos friendship exchange was held in the UK on July 28 by the Embassies of Vietnam and Laos in the host country.

    Speaking at the event, Vietnam’s Ambassador to the UK Nguyen Van Thao said that the development of bilateral relations over the past 55 years has manifested the two countries’ special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation.

    Each stride made by the two nations today has had positive contributions of each side, thus helping tighten the bilateral partnership.

    Lao Ambassador Sayakane Sisouvong recalled milestones in the Vietnam-Laos relations in the past more than seven decades since the Communist Party of Indochina was founded.

    At the programme, the two embassies’ staff took part in sports games and art performances, and enjoyed the two countries’ traditional cuisine.

    Bookcase project seeks to inspire reading

    Some 2,000 bookcases will be delivered this year to classrooms in rural and mountainous areas in the central province of Thanh Hóa to help improve the reading habits of students.

    The books and bookcases are part of the Lam Sơn Bookcase (Tủ sách Lam Sơn) project.

    Phạm Thế Khanh, president of the Việt Nam Library Association, said that in Thanh Hóa Province, the budget to provide additional books at thousands of public libraries and schools remains limited.

    Until 2020, the project aims to build 9,952 bookcases valued at VNĐ24.9 billion (US$1.08 million) for 724 primary schools. The books are expected to inspire reading habits.

    The Lam Sơn bookcase project was kicked off in October 2016 with donations by people from Thanh Hóa Province and other individuals and organizations nationwide.

    The project has so far presented 403 bookcases to schools in Tĩnh Gia, Hoằng Hóa, Đông Sơn districts of Thanh Hóa Province. 

    The booming turmeric economy of Gio An Commune

    The turmeric growing area of Gio An Commune in the central province of Quảng Trị is a vast area with lush green plants and rich red-brown soil.

    Located in the commune’s An Hướng Village, the approximately 100ha area is in fact a rubber plantation that has been leased to local residents to grow short-day plants - those requiring long hours of darkness - while waiting for the rubber trees they planted to grow.

    Yams, cassavas, peppers and a variety of short-day plants have been cultivated here. Turmeric, a plant used as a dye and spice, is among the most profitable that have helped improve the income of local households.

    Farmer Lê Thị Thanh Nhàn, 51, has some 2ha of land. She started growing turmeric at the beginning of last year, and by January this year she was able to harvest an average of 100 tonnes of fresh turmeric. Selling them at VNĐ1 million (US$44) per tonne, Nhàn earned VNĐ100 million ($44,000) for a year’s work.

    “If I wait until the turmeric season has passed and no one else is selling it, I can sell it at one and a half times the price,” she said. “But as an annual plant, turmeric is at its best quality when harvested one year after the seeds are cultivated.”

    The best time to grow turmeric is between March and April, Nhàn said. It is easily planted, does not require great care, and sprouts after some three months if the weather is favourable, she added.

    “It can grow in any type of weather and does not require regular watering. Only natural rains and occasional grass removals are enough,” Nhàn said. “Growing turmeric is definitely less laborious than growing rubber, which required us getting up at 1-2am to tap rubber latex.”

    Apart from selling fresh turmeric, Gio An residents also produce and sell turmeric powder. Farmer Lâm Thị Hoa, a skilled turmeric powder processor in the commune, said it takes 10kg of fresh turmeric to produce one kilogram of turmeric powder.

    At a price of VNĐ450-500,000 ($20-22) per kilogram of powder, selling turmeric powder is more profitable than selling the fresh plant, she said.

    Producing turmeric powder requires a lot of work, according to Hoa. Fresh turmeric has to be washed and peeled carefully after being harvested, then put in a crusher, then in a centrifugal machine to squeeze water out.

    A manual sedimentation technique will then be used to separate oil from the turmeric residue, which will result in original turmeric starch. This wet starch will then be dried with infrared lamps and ultraviolet ray to kill viruses and bacteria, then dried again with specialised dryers.

    The drying process finishes ends when the moisture content of the starch reaches 1-2 per cent. The powder is then either packaged or vacuum packed, depending on customers’ preferences.

    “This meticulous drying process will reduce the strong turmeric smell that might be unpleasant to some people. The smell will still linger on the powder, but very lightly,” Hoa said.

    The residents’ effort to grow turmeric has been supported by local authorities. Lê Phước Hiếu, vice chairman of the Gio An People’s Committee, said that turmeric had been prioritised as the commune’s new direction for economic development.

    “Some 200 households were growing the plant in a total of some 65ha of land in 2016, and we are planning to increase it to 95ha by the end of this year,” he said. “Last year the farmers earned an average of VNĐ9-12 billion ($396,000-528,000) from selling fresh turmeric and turmeric powder, 60 per cent of which is profit,” Hiếu added.

    “Planning short-day plants, especially turmeric, has helped reduce the commune’s poverty rate to below 5 per cent in recent years,” he said.

    Since the majority of turmeric growers process fresh turmeric manually by themselves, the authorities have encouraged five households to join in establishing a 150sq.m manufacturing unit with professional plant processing equipment, according to Hiếu.

    “We are trying to have a stable amount of output and developing a brand for local agricultural producing and processing, specialising in not only turmeric but also pepper, cassava and other short-day plants,” he said.

    “It is hard to persuade all farmers to join in at this stage because it costs money to get the necessary certificates and verification, but this is something we have to do if we want our products to go far and reach big cities,” he said.

    Son La, Lao provinces seek to enhance education cooperation

    Vietnam’s northwestern province of Son La and northern provinces of Laos held a conference in Son La on July 30 to discuss measures to intensify their cooperation in personnel training.

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee of Son La Pham Van Thuy said that the province is currently hosting more than 1,000 Lao students from northern Lao provinces.

    Son La has offered support to the students, including assistance in dormitory with study equipment and good living conditions, he said, adding that the Lao students have quickly integrated into local society and show good performances.

    Meanwhile, representatives of the Lao localities pointed out some difficulties facing Lao students, including those in choosing majors and Vietnamese language.

    Chomsilath Thanapan, Vice Governor of Bokeo province, proposed Son La’s  training establishments specify their training programmes and inform the Lao side through its Department of Foreign Affairs, while enhancing the quality of Vietnamese language teaching for Laos students.

    Hoang Tien Duc, Director of the Son La Department of Education and Training, said that Son La will continue building its training plans with priority on areas of Lao northern localities’ demand.

    At the conference, the two sides also drew lessons in the field and put forth solutions to enhance the effectiveness of their cooperation in the future.

    Within the event, a ceremony was held to present Friendship Orders of the Lao President to the People’s Committee, the Military Command, and the Public Security Department of Son La, in recognistion of their great contributions to developing the special solidarity and friendship between Son La and northern Lao localities.

    Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association of Hanoi holds fourth congress

    The Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association of Hanoi held its fourth congress in Hanoi on July 30 to discuss plans for 2017-2022.

    The association will continue implementing activities to celebrate Vietnam-Laos friendship and solidarity year, the 55th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties and 40 years since signing the Vietnam-Laos Treaty on Amity and Cooperation.

    It will also strengthen coordination with the Lao Embassy in Vietnam to explore the culture and customs of Laos.

    The congress also elected a new executive board of 35 members, with Secretary of Hanoi Youth Union Nguyen Van Thang re-elected as Chairman of the association for 2017-2022.

    Locals in Dien Bien’s border commune receive free health care

    More than 50 poor people in the northern province of Dien Bien’s border commune of Thanh Yen received free health check-ups, treatment and oriental medicine via a programme on July 30.

    The programme was launched by the Steering Committee for humanitarian health service campaign of Dien Bien, the Red Cross Society of Dien Bien and the Oriental Medicine Association of Dien Bien Phu city.

    The majority of beneficiaries had problems related to bone and joint, digestion and cardiovascular issues.

    Doctor Vuong Van Hoc from Thanh Yen commune, Dien Bien district said this is part of a larger programme to care for locals in Dien Bien province in 2017.

    About 15 percent of people in Thanh Yen commune, which borders Laos, are poor, and are mostly ethnics of the Thai and Mong minorities, with poor access to healthcare. 

    Vietnam attends ASEAN’s Family Day in France

    Representatives of the Vietnamese Embassy in France attended the ASEAN Family day in Croissy-sur-Seine city,  held by embassies of the ASEAN member states on July 29.

    The event featured entertainment and sport activities, with officials, staff and families of the embassies and French friends attending.

    Vietnamese Ambassador to France Nguyen Ngoc Son said that Vietnam made significant contributions to organising the event, with standout cultural cuisines introduced at the event, he noted.

    Vietnamese spring rolls, steamed glutinous rice with minced meat rolls and fried shrimp were enjoyed by international friends, he added.

    At the opening ceremony, Cambodian Ambassador to France Chem Widhya said that the festival aimed to promote friendship among ASEAN nations and coordination among foreign affair representatives in the European country.

    Meanwhile, Mayor of Crossy-sur-Seine Jean Roger Davin expressed his delight to welcome guests from ASEAN.

    Cyclists pedal to raise fund for AO victims

    More than 200 cyclists raced in the first Da Nang Cycling Open-Asanzo Cup in the central city of Da Nang to raise funds for victims of Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin on July 30. 

    The event, co-organised by the Da Nang Association of AO Victims and Asanzo Group, aims to mark the 56th anniversary of AO/dioxin Victims Day (August 10) and the 70th anniversary of War Invalids and Martyrs Day (July 27).

    Nguyen Thi Hien, Chairwoman of the Da Nang Association of AO Victims, said the race aims to call for support of individuals and organisations for AO victims while encouraging people to do physical exercise to improve their health. 

    Da Nang has more than 5,000 AO victims and 1,400 children affected by the toxic chemical, she said. 

    Since its inception, the association has mobilised nearly 100 billion VND (4.4 million USD) to build houses, present wheelchairs and provide business capital to AO victims, according to Hien.  

    On this occasion, the orgnisation board presented 15 gifts, each worth 1 million VND (44 USD), to Vietnamese Heroic Mothers and AO victims in Da Nang, and mobilsied 1 billion VND (44,000 USD) in support of AO victims.

    Phương wins Junior Becamex Cup

    Nguyễn Văn Phương grabbed his second title in 10 days by winning the boys’ single event at the International Tennis Federation Junior Becamex Cup in Bình Dương Province yesterday.

    No 5 seed Phương of the hosts beat his Chinese rival No 7 seed Zeng Zicheng 6-1, 6-1 in the final.

    Last week, he won the ITF Junior Circuit-HCM City trophy beating Yuan Zihao of China.

    In the boys’ doubles final of the Becamex Cup, Phương and his partner Huỳnh Minh Thịnh finished second, losing 6-3, 3-6, 8-10 to No 1 pair Lo Yi Jui of Chinese Taipei and Lu Pengyiu of China.

    The girls’ singles title went to Riho Yuasa of Japan, who came from behind to beat Rania Azziz of France 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

    Chinese Taipei’s Huang Hsuan and Jhang Ke Syuan defeated Nanami Saito and Riho Yuasa of Japan 7-6 (5), 6-1 to win the girls’ doubles title.

    High-tech applied to growing vegetables on Truong Sa Islands

    Dang Ngoc Vu, who used to be a soldier on the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago and is now a college student, knows the difficulties faced by Truong Sa residents.

    So when he returned to the mainland to continue his studies, he immediately began a project called "Vegetable gardens for islands" to improve the lives of islanders and soldiers stationed there. 

    Dang Ngoc Vu was stationed on Truong Sa Archipelago in 2013. During that time the islands often faced imminent combat and entire areas, including vegetable gardens, had to be leveled.

    In their shelter-pits, the soldiers lived on canned food, bean sprouts, and young leaves. Vu and his comrades longed for chilies, eggplants, and vegetables to enliven their diets.

    Vu says he nurtured a plan to one day build a modern vegetable garden for his mates, adding: “There was a serious shortage of vegetables that caused many of my comrades to be hospitalized. I became determined to do something for the islands, to at least make a vegetable garden for the soldiers.”

    In February, 2015, Vu returned to the mainland to study at the Ho Chi Minh City Industry and Trade College. He and members of the school's Science and Technology Club began to research and design models for high-tech "Vegetable gardens for islands".

    A pilot project on Tho Chu Island in Kien Giang Province, said Vu, takes advantage of local natural light and modern hydroponic technology to maximize vegetable yields while conserving energy, water, and human effort. The system will save the army and islanders thousands of US dollars annually in vegetable costs.

    An advocate of safe agriculture, Doan Thanh Phong of Phu Nhuan district, Ho Chi Minh City, has a particular interest in Vu’s project. 

    Phong says applying advanced cultivation techniques like this will have a big impact on remote islands.

    "Vegetable gardens for islands’ is a great project because it is adaptable and improves the lives of soldiers and other residents of islands whose natural conditions are harsh,” Phong explains.

    The model was praised for its feasibility and humanity by a program to mobilize ideas for green islands jointly organized by the Vietnam Students Association in Ho Chi Minh City and the Youth Science and Technology Development Center.

    The project was selected in August for a pilot investment on Tho Chu Island. With an initial investment of US$1,800, Vu will make his dream of a vegetable garden a reality on an area of 50 square meters.

    Lam Dinh Thang, President of the Vietnam Students Association in Ho Chi Minh City said, “The project’s author has proven his deep understanding of the practical situation on the islands and of hydroponic cultivation in the very harsh conditions of Tho Chu Island. We have decided to invest in the project because we find it highly feasible.”

    Vu says he will now try to raise money to replicate the model on other islands.

    Farmers encouraged to plant genetically modified maize to rise product

    The Department of Plant Protection encouraged farmers to plant new strain of genetically modified (GM) maize to increase productivity.

    According to the Department, lately, farmers have planted over one million hectare of maize a year producing 4.6 million tons a hectare.

    Annually, the country has spent a big sum buying maize for processing animal feed for domestic demand. For instance, last year, Vietnam imported 8.3 million tons of maize.

    The Ministry said that the planting area will be maintained the same yet the Ministry encouraged farmers to use new strains, new cultivation and machines in planting.

    The new strain help resisting insect and unfavorable factors as well as improveproductivity and quality.

    New strain of GM maize proved a success when it was used in 2015; productivity was increased and farmers’ revenue was raised.

    In 2016, new strain maize was planted in 10 percent of the country’s growing area.

    As per the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA)’s report, the country is one of nations of most maize consumption in the world with growth rate of 12 percent.

    PM asks Hanoi authorities to probe confectionery fire

    The Prime Minister ordered People’s Committee in Hanoi to probe a fire at a confectionery facility which killed eight people. 

    The government office sent the PM’s directive on the flame asking Hanoi’s authorities to visit and give support to victims in hospitals and relatives of dead workers.

    In addition, Hanoi’s leaders must liaise with the Ministry of Public Security to investigate the cause of the fire and report to the PM.

    The fire broke out at a confectionery facility in Hanoi’s Hoai Duc District on July 29 killing 8 people and injuring 2 others.

    Countryside men honored for doing business well

    The Youth Communist Union in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday organized a ceremony to honor 17 young men in rural districts who do business well. 

    One of countryside men honored in the ceremony is Bui Minh Thang hailing from HCMC’s Cu Chi District who applied technology in planting mushroom.

    Thang invested in automatic mushroom sprayer machine, room climate control machine, and other machine in his 700 meter square farm. He earn VND350 million per month.

    His farm offers employment for 10 local men with earning of VND5 – 6 million each a month.

    Nguyen Ngoc Thu in Binh Chanh District was honored at the ceremony as he creates jobs for 30 local laborers in his apricot blossom – coconut farm. He makes earning of VND600 million a month with profit of VND250 million ($11,000)


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  • 07/31/17--02:57: Article 1
  • PM: Private enterprises strive to contribute 50-60 pct of GDP

    Private enterprises should continuously reform and increase competitiveness to contribute 50-60 percent of the national gross domestic product GDP), Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said while addressing the second Vietnam Private Sector Forum held in Hanoi on July 31. 

    PM: Private enterprises strive to contribute 50-60 pct of GDP, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news 
    At the second Vietnam Private Sector Forum 

    He reiterated the target of building a facilitating Government which accompanies businesses, and protects all legitimate rights and interests of investors, in accordance with principles of the World Trade Organisation, bilateral agreements and the Government’s commitments.

    The PM suggested focusing on the fields of global demand, such as agriculture, food, consumer products, and tourism instead of just concentrating on serving domestic companies as suppliers or subcontractors with low added value.

    It is necessary to expand international cooperation in trade, technological transfer, production and sales of products to the overseas markets, he recommended. 

    The Government pledges to create a transparent, safe and friendly business environment as well as create all favourable conditions for businesses, especially private and small-and medium-sized ones and startups to develop, he affirmed.

    He asked ministries and relevant departments to hold periodical dialogues with businesses to promptly remove their bottlenecks.

    The PM directed localities to prepare all necessary conditions such as land and particular policies to enable investors to do long-term business.

    He hoped private enterprises will embrace links and anticipate risks and difficulties to promote innovation and actively engage in international integration.

    The second Vietnam Private Sector Forum was organised by the Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs' Association and the Mekong Business Initiative.

    A survey launched before the forum opened indicates that 65 percent of businesses questioned expressed their hope for a government of action.

    The year 2016 marks a great stride for the private sector with the establishment of 110,000 businesses.

    According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, in the first seven months of 2017, the country had more 72,953 new firms with a total registered capital of 690.7 trillion VND (30.39 billion USD), a respective year-on-year rise of 13.8 percent and 39 percent.

    Since 2010, the private sector has contributed over 43 percent of the GDP. The proportion of the State economic and foreign direct investment (FDI) sectors is 28.9 percent and 18 percent, respectively.


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  • 07/31/17--03:11: Article 0
  • Online sellers on Facebook asked to declare income

    More than 900 Facebook account holders identified by the HCM City Taxation Agency as online traders have declared tax, while 11,000 account holders have not done so, after receiving a message from the taxation body, according to Le Thi Thu Huong, deputy head of the HCM City Taxation Agency.

     vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, Facebooker, GDT, online sale

    Ho Kim Trung, 32, in district 5, HCM City, has been trading watches, glasses and handbags on Facebook for years. Previously, he displayed products he had on the fanpage called hangxachtayxxx and quoted prices.

    Trung said he earned no less than VND120 million a month. However, he decided to change the mode of business in the last month to avoid tax collectors.

    “If someone wants to buy products, he can call my number on the fanpage. Goods will be delivered to buyers and cash will be paid on delivery,” he said.

    Thu Ha, a Facebooker in Go Vap district, who has been selling clothes on Facebook for the last two years, said: “I know my online shop is quite well known and it is being eyed by the taxation body. Therefore, I have closed the shop.”

    More than 900 Facebook account holders identified by the HCM City Taxation Agency as online traders have declared tax, while 11,000 account holders have not done so, after receiving a message from the taxation body

    However, she understands that this must not be the long-term solution.

    She plans to reduce the number of products on Facebook, but instead will share information about products on Viber and Zalo and online chatting.

    Ha’s customers can access many different fanpages Ha has set up.

    “Setting up more fanpages and selling goods via Zalo and Viber will take more time, but the taxation bodies won’t track down the host fanpage,” she explained.

    According to Do Vo Thang, director of Athena, a network security firm, online traders have many ways to evade tax.

    The HCM City Taxation Agency only tries to collect tax from Facebook account holders in the city, so many account holders show addresses in other provinces and cities and leave telephone addresses for contacts.

    Under current laws, small and home-based business owners who use the Facebook platform to sell products and have revenue of more than VND100 million (US$4,500) per year will be taxed at five percent.

    However, it is difficult for taxation bodies to assess the real revenue of online sellers because of tricks played by the sellers.

    If sellers collect cash instead of accepting payments via cards, or set up many fanpages to ‘disperse’ revenue, taxation bodies can't identify the exact revenue.

    M. Ha, VNN

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  • 08/01/17--03:02: Article 2
  • Social News 1/8

    Youth colour obstacle rush in Hanoi promises to be loads of fun

     Youth colour obstacle rush in Hanoi promises to be loads of fun, Kon Tum border guards seize over 10,000 synthetic pills, 1 person dies after brakes fail on car in northern Vietnam, Footwear factory in HCM City catches fire

    Approximately 3,000 young runners are expected to turn out for this year’s annual charity colour obstacle run on August 6 at the Hang Day Stadium in Hanoi, which promises to be bigger, better, louder and more colourful than ever.

    Unlike a typical run there will also be loads of obstacles to manoeuvre around on the course including such things as car tires, ropes, water balls, and coloured powder, say the organizers.

    All proceeds will be used to support children suffering from cancer and those at the National Institute of Haematology of Blood Transfusion as well as to build schools for remote communities in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien.

    The annual run is part of the Connecting Vietnam Youth project founded by Global Shapers Community - Hanoi Hub in collaboration with the Vietnamese Student Associations in the UK, US, Australia, France, the Republic of Korea, Hungary, Singapore and Veoxbridge.

    Kon Tum border guards seize over 10,000 synthetic pills

    Border guards in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum have arrested a Lao man on July 31 for trafficking in over 10,000 tablets of synthetic drugs.

    Theo Ef, 49, from Thaphabath District, Borikhamxay Province, Laos was caught red-handed at 5.30pm at Iec village, Bo Y commune, Ngoc Hoi district, Kon Tum province when he was transporting 10,020 tablets of synthetic drugs.

    The border guards also detected many sharp knives and other weapons while searching his car.

    All legal procedures are being completed to, together with evidence, be handed over to relevant agencies for further investigations. This is the largest amount of drugs that has been seized in recent years in the Central Highlands region.

    1 person dies after brakes fail on car in northern Vietnam

    A 29-year old man was pinned against the roadway, killing him, after the brakes on a car failed, reported the Zing online newspaper.

    The crash happened on National Highway 1A in the district of Quang Xuong in Thanh Hoa Province shortly before 10:45am on Monday, July 31.

    According to police officials, the driver of the car, Nguyen Bac Ha, 59, from the district of Dong Da in Hanoi crashed into a rickshaw and three people after its brakes failed.

    Bui Van Duong, 29, died at the scene, while Bui Thi Tra My, 19, and Bui Van Nghia, 41, were rushed to the Thanh Hoa General Hospital.

    The driver did not suffer any injuries.

    Alcohol appears to not be a factor in this crash.

    No other information was immediately available.

    Ben Tre: Company fined for violating regulations on environmental protection

    The Bến Tre People’s Committee has fined a company in Bến Tre City more than VNĐ350 million (US$15,400) for violations related to environmental and water protection.

    The Trung Nhạc Co Ltd was fined more than VNĐ350 million (US$15,400) for violations related to environmental and water protection.

    The information was released by Nguyễn Văn Chinh, director of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

    The People’s Committee also asked Trung Nhạc Co Ltd in Sơn Đông Commune to strictly implement waste water treatment based on its commitment.

    Earlier, from January 20 to February 21 this year, the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment conducted an inspection at the company on environment protection, water and land use and management.

    The inspection showed that the company had several faults, including not conducting regulations related to environmental protection, discharging waste water exceeding regulated level by five times and repeating its violations five times despite penalties from the department. 

    The company processes fruits and vegetables, manufactures products from coconuts and sells agricultural material. The company started operations in January 15, 2013, with capacity of 40-50 tonnes of raw coconuts per month, equaling 480-600 tonnes per year.

    The company submitted a detailed proposal on environment protection to the provincial authority in 2015 to get approval for raising its capacity to 800 tonnes per year. However, the proposal was not approved by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, because even with a capacity of 600 tonnes per year, the company did not comply with regulations related to environmental protection and regularly discharged untreated waste water into the environment.

    Specific support needed for disadvantaged labourers

     Youth colour obstacle rush in Hanoi promises to be loads of fun, Kon Tum border guards seize over 10,000 synthetic pills, 1 person dies after brakes fail on car in northern Vietnam, Footwear factory in HCM City catches fire

    Policies that aim to support disadvantaged labourers should cater to each type of labourer in society, experts have said.

    Some 13 million disadvantaged labourers were recorded in the country until the end of last year, accounting for 25 per cent of the total labour force, according to the Institute of Workers and Trade Union.

    Out of those 13 million, some 4.2 million are labourers with disabilities, 6.5 million are poor and one million are migrant workers. Some 180,000 have HIV/AIDS and 190,000 others are drug addicts and sex workers.

    Eighty per cent of disadvantaged labourers in Việt Nam reside in rural areas, with low education levels and no vocational training. Some 21.8 per cent are illiterate and 40 per cent have never had a job, Dr Vũ Minh Tiến, vice director of the union, said.

    “Without stable jobs, income and business capital, their lives are approaching a dead-end,” he said at a conference on policy recommendations to ensure the livelihoods of disadvantaged labourers in the 2015-30 period and beyond on Monday in HCM City.

    Despite the State’s loan support policies, there were no markets for the products produced by these disadvantaged labourers, hence they got stuck in the vicious circle of debt, unemployment and poverty, Võ Văn Tấn, chairman of the labour federation of the city’s Cần Giờ District, said.

    The migrant workers were having trouble with household registration policies, lecturer Vũ Văn Hiệu from Tôn Đức Thắng University said.

    “The household registration book should not be used as a tool to classify citizens, discriminating against migrant workers and preventing them from approaching job opportunities and basic social services,” he said.

    The vulnerability of disadvantaged labourers should be the central point of policies that aim to support and sustain their livelihoods, according to experts.

    Occupations provided for these labourers should be recoverable from occurrences, not dependent on outside support, and able to yield sustainable productivity and long-term benefits, they said.

    Efforts made to supply power to southern island communes

    The Electricity of Vietnam’s Southern Power Corporation (EVN SPC) has conducting a number of projects to provide power services to island communes in the southern region. 

    EVN SPC is working with Sun Group in implementing a project to connect Hon Thom commune in Phu Quoc district in Kien Giang province with a total investment of 283 billion VND (12.45 million USD). 

    The project will build 9.27km underwater cable and 22kV transmission line to provide power for 97 households in Hon Roi and about 1,000 others in Hon Thom island commune, which is expected to complete in late 2017.

    At the same time, EVN SPC is carrying out another project in Kien Giang’s island communes with a total investment of 1.35 trillion VND (59.4 million USD), which is scheduled to complete by 2020.

    Meanwhile, the second 220kV Kien Binh-Phu Quoc transmission line in Kien Giang is scheduled to be launched this year. The 73km line has total investment of about 2.43 trillion VND (106.92 million USD).

    The EVN SPC is also reviewing the power network in Kien Giang, aiming to ensure safe and stable power supply to Phu Quoc in 2018 at a cost of 250 billion VND (11 million USD).

    Last year, the firm finished two project bringing electricity to 1,956 households in Lai Son island commune and over 500 households in Hon Nghe island commune of Kien Giang province.

    Earlier this year, the firm also put into operation a power supply project in Son Hai island commune of Kien Giang to serve 560 households.

    Traffic congestion around Tan Son Nhat airport hard to solve

    Traffic congestion in the area around Tan Son Nhat International Airport will be hard to solve overnight as the number of passengers going through the airport this year is estimated at 36 million, far exceeding the airport’s capacity, said Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the HCMC Department of Transport.

    At a conference on HCMC’s social and economic performance on Friday, Cuong said the airport has a designed capacity of 25 million passengers and one million tons of cargo until 2020, but that capacity is far outpaced by the current demand. He said the city has plans to invest in 22 projects to upgrade traffic infrastructure around the airport.

    “Some of the projects have been put into service but traffic congestion in the airport area remains grave. Therefore, the city should speed up the construction of the remaining projects, both inside and outside the airport,” he said.

    On the morning of July 28, a heavy traffic snarl occurred on the roads leading to the airport, including Cong Hoa, Truong Son and Tran Quoc Hoan streets as well as Lang Cha Ca intersection and Hoang Hoa Tham overpass. From 9 a.m., thousands of vehicles could hardly move from and to the airport although traffic police were there to help guide and redirect traffic.

    Footwear factory in HCM City catches fire

    A fire continues to rage at a footwear production company in HCM City early this morning, August 1.

    At around 4 am this morning, the fire started at Tuan Thong Footwear Company at Vinh Loc B, Binh Chanh District.   

    At 9 am the fire seemed to have been nearly curbed, but suddenly spread to an underground oil tank, causing the blames to become more violent.

    Many fire engines and more than 100 fire fighters have been sent to the site, but to date, the fire has not yet been dowsed. It continues to threaten dozens of neighbouring households.   

    Colonel Le Tan Buu, Director of the HCM City’s Fire Prevention and Control Police was on site to monitor the situation.

    Under the instruction of Vice Chairman of the municipal People's Committee Le Thanh Liem, more than 10 nearby households have been moved to avoid the possible dangers caused by the fire.   

    More than 10 nearby households have been moved to avoid the possible dangers caused by the fire.

    The cause of the incident has not yet been identified.

    Some days ago, fire also destroyed a confectionery facility in Hanoi’s outlying district of Hoai Duc on Saturday morning, killing eight and seriously injuring two.

    A worker of the company Kieu Tien Vinh was detained after being blamed for setting fire to a styrofoam ceiling while he was welding, resulting in the fire.

    Tay Ninh looks to develop sustainable tourism industry

    The People’s Committee of southwestern Tay Ninh province held an international seminar on July 31 to introduce its tourism potential, advantages, and development prospects.

    Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Pham Van Tan told participants that located within the southern key economic zone, Tay Ninh shares a 240-km border line with three provinces of Cambodia. It is home to a series of tourist destinations, including Ba Den mountain,  Dau Tieng lake, Cao Dai Holy See, and Lo Go-Xa Mat National Park.

    Tay Ninh has defined tourism as an important economic sector, which has accounted for about 2.75 percent of its gross regional domestic product in recent years, he said.

    However, the industry has yet to fully tap its potential, Tan added, citing a number of reasons, including the lack of a long-term strategy, infrastructure facilities and appealing tourism products.

    Dr. Nguyen The Du from the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management talked about shortcomings of tourism services in Tay Ninh.

    According to him, local tourism infrastructure facilities, such as hotels and restaurants, remain inexpensive and cater mainly to residents and irregular visitors, while travel agencies lack capacity to offer professional services.

    Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association Nguyen Huu Tho made suggestions for the development of the local tourism sector, which include building a green Tay Ninh city, teaching English for young people, and preserving the Cao Dai Holy See.

    Huynh Vinh Ai, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, recommended the province to seek consultancy from domestic and international experts to design a sustainable tourism development plan.

    Free wifi provided to workers in industrial, export processing parks

    Employees in industrial parks and export processing zones in Ho Chi Minh City can access wifi as companies roll out nearly 1,000 free Wi-Fi in these places. 

    In the worker dormitory of Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone in District 7, Wifi operators yesterday began running free wifi in workers’ condos with a bid to help reducing daily activity cost for workers and easily surfing internet to broadening their knowledge and entertain.

    War Invalids and Martyrs Day marked in Germany

    A ceremony was held in Cottbus city of Germany on July 30 to mark the 70th anniversary of the War Invalids and Martyrs Day (July 27). 

    The event, organised by the Tan Trao Society and veterans, families of war invalids and martyrs in Cottbus city and neighbouring regions, was attended by Vietnamese Ambassador to Germany Doan Xuan Hung, Vietnamese Defence Attaché Trinh Quoc Viet and the embassy’s staff.

    Addressing the event, Nguyen The Hung, head of the organising board, said that war invalids and family member of fallen combatants, including those in Germany, have set good samples in the cause of national construction and development in the peaceful time.

    He expressed his hope that the ceremony, together with other activities, would help young generations better understand and remember the sacrifices of heroic martyrs and wounded veterans.

    Over the past years, the society has mobilised resources to build houses of gratitude for disadvantaged families at home, Hung said. 

    Ambassador Dao Xuan Hung called on the overseas Vietnamese community to provide practical support for needy families of fallen combatants and war invalids in Germany, and expressed his hope that they would unite with each other to contribute to the development of the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Germany.

    During the event, a number of wounded veterans and families of fallen soldiers were honoured with insignias by the society.

    Previously, a similar ceremony was co-organised by the Embassy and the Vietnamese War Veterans’ Club in Berlin-Brandenburg at Dong Xuan Trade Centre in Berlin to mark the occasion.

    Da Nang: More transformer station serving APEC operational

    The Ngu Hanh Son 110kV transformer station in Da Nang was put into operation on July 31 to ensure sufficient power supply the APEC Leaders’ Meeting and related events to be held in the central city in November.

    The station, the eighth and last of its kind to serve APEC meetings in the city, is located in Khai Tay 2 hamlet, Hoa Quy ward, Ngu Hanh Son district. The automated station has a capacity of transformer up to 80 MVA.

    It is expected to ensure safe, continuous, and stable electricity supply for socio-economic development in Ngu Hanh Son district, while assuring adequate power for coastal resorts, FPT urban area, buildings and Da Nang University.

    In order to better serve APEC meetings, the Da Nang Power Company will complete 22kV works. Continuous power supply will be ensured for the entire city from October 25 through November 15.

    Workshop discusses sustainable energy development

    Coal-fueled electricity plants have still failed to meet power demand in Vietnam, which is forecast to grow 10 percent annually during the 2010-2030 period.

    Experts shared the view at a workshop themed “Sustainable energy development - Technology perspective” in Hanoi on July 31.

    Currently, many coal-fired power plants in Vietnam have yet to reach its maximum capacity, while others have operated for nearly half a century with outdated technologies.

    Tran Dinh Sinh, Vice Director of the Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID), suggested that once new plants are built to replace old ones, they should use advanced technologies to reduce environmental pollution.

    In addition, Vietnam should pay due attention to efficient management, development and exploitation of energy sources, he added.

    The country expects to generate 265 billion kWh of electricity in 2020 and 572 billion kWh in 2030, thus the development of new power sources and renewable energy are a must apart from thermal power.

    To Quoc Tru, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Energy Science Council, proposed increasing the production of renewable energy to limit the use of coal-fired power.

    Participants said sustainable energy development is common trend on the globe. Thereby, they recommended the issuance of regulations that force investors to use advanced technologies to reduce environmental pollution.

    Cambodian leaders receive Vietnamese delegation

    Cambodian leaders have received a delegation of former voluntary soldiers, experts and policy beneficiary families led by President of the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association (VCFA) Vu Mao, who is in Cambodia from July 28 – August 3 at the invitation of the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Association (CVFA). 

    At a reception on July 29, President of the Senate of Cambodia Samdech Say Chhum affirmed that Cambodia and its people always bear in mind support by Vietnamese officials, experts and voluntary soldiers in toppling the Pol Pot genocide regime and fueling development in the country at present. 

    He spoke highly of the VCFA’s contributions to raising young generations’ awareness about the bilateral friendship and solidarity and how to promote such relationship in the future. 

    Vietnam is helping Cambodia train thousands of students, which provides an important workforce source for Cambodia’s future development, he said. 

    Meeting the delegation on July 31 morning, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and CVFA President Men Sam An wished that the VCFA would serve as a bridge linking the two peoples, particularly young generations together, in order to further foster bilateral traditional friendship. 

    Vu Mao briefed the hosts about the VCFA’s activities over the past years, adding that the association is launching the campaign “Nurturing Friendship” among Cambodian students in Vietnam. 

    He said former Vietnamese voluntary soldiers, experts and policy beneficiary families always look forward to returning to Cambodia and are delighted to witness positive changes in the country. 

    The delegation is scheduled to offer incense and lay a wreath at the Vietnam-Cambodian Friendship Monument in Phnom Penh, meet Great Supreme Patriarchs Tep Vong and Bour Kry, and visit several tourist attractions in the capital city.

    Ho Chi Minh City develops social housing

    Ho Chi Minh City aims to build about 20,000 social houses, 35,000 concentrated residential places for workers at industrial parks and 10,000 others for students during 2016-2020. 

    To that end, the city will classify subjects to social housing, targeting revolutionary contributors, low-income earners, the poor, those near the poverty line, workers in and outside industrial and processing zones, and officials, according to Tran Vinh Tuyen, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee.

    The houses will be built in different areas to serve different purposes and sold at prices ranging from 300 million VND (13,200 USD) to about 1 billion VND (44,000 USD), he said. 

    At the same time, the locality will adjust the State budget for social housing, accelerate administrative reform to make it easier for relevant investment procedures, and publicise the list of eligible social housing projects. 

    The national housing development strategy targets 12.5 million sq.m of social and affordable housing by 2020.

    Contest teaches kids skills against sexual abuse

    Inmates aged between 10 and 20 living in HCM City’s shelters and disadvantaged children taking part in welfare projects were taught how to protect themselves from sexual abuse in a contest held on Sunday.

    The contestants performed plays, songs, and fashion shows on the topic of protecting children.

    The most impressive play was staged by children from Hoa Hồng Nhỏ Shelter in District 7.

    It was about a woman who borrowed money to gamble. After running up large loans, she tries to force both her two daughters, one a child, to have sex with lenders.

    The older sister refuses to accept this and the two complain to the police.

    The play’s message is that when anyone faces a risk of sexual abuse, they should not hesitate to report to the authorities.

    Sexual harassment on public transport and ways for children to protect themselves was highlighted through the plays in the contest.

    The contest also told the children about their rights under the new Law on Children, which came into effect in June.

    A 15-year-old boy who takes part in the HCM City Child Welfare Association’s Tre Xanh project -- whose beneficiaries are orphans and people whose parents are in prison -- said in real life he often faced the situations highlighted in the plays.

    The contest had taught him how to recognise and avoid the threat of sexual abuse, he said.

    Lương Thị Thuận, chairwoman of the HCM City Child Welfare Association, said: “Relevant agencies are paying close attention to helping children protect themselves from abuse. The whole community is joining hands for this task, but it is important for children to know how to protect themselves."

    The contest was held in co-operation with Dynamo International-Street Workers Network.

    New State budget rules start today

    Starting today, establishments that draw funds from the State budget will have to publicise their budget estimates and balance every quarter under a new Circular of the Ministry of Finance.

    Establishments can publicise the information at meetings, post the information at their headquarters or issue publications on their budget estimates and balance.

    Budget-related information can also be publicized through the media or on company websites.  

    Relevant ministries, agencies and People’s Committees at all levels are responsible to examine the publication of State budget estimate and balance of establishments within their jurisdiction.

    Violators will be punished in line with current regulations.

    The publication of information must be done no later than 15 days after the end of the quarter and the six-month period.

    In another regulation that kicks in August 15, the Electricity of Việt Nam will be allowed to adjust the average electricity retail price every six month under a decision issued by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc. The price change must be done transparently, publicly and within the price framework regulated by the Prime Minister.

    If the electricity price is increased 10 per cent higher than the current rate or affects the macro-economy, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will co-ordinate with the Ministry of Finance to inspect and review the price adjustment to submit to the PM for consideration.

    Also from August 15, monthly pensions, social insurance allowances and social allowances will increase by 7.44 per cent for eight groups, including public officials, workers, soldiers, police and those receiving pensions for occupational accidents and diseases.

    Malaysian fisherman sent home

    The Border Guard High Command of the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung tau on August 1 handed over a Malaysian fisherman, who was in distressed in Vietnam’s waters, to the Malaysian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.

    Suhaimi Bin Muhamad, born in 1976, was rescued on July 23 by fishing boat coded BV 96868 TS when he was drifting at sea in bad health condition. 

    He was then taken ashore by a rescue ship of the Maritime Rescue Centre Zone 3 before being handed over to the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Border Guard High Command.

    Zahirudin Abd Wahid, Vice Consul General of Malaysia in Ho Chi Minh City, thanked the Vietnamese side for rescuing and caring for the Malaysian national.-

    Children prove talent combining mathematics and fine art

    The most creative children were awarded in the final round of the contest titled “Critical thinking through painting 2017”, which was held on Sunday at the Việt Nam University of Fine Arts in Hà Nội.

    The contest was organised by Mathnasium Vietnam, a centre that aims to introduce children to new and creative methods in learning mathematics.

    In the final round of the contest, children had to draw paintings which include a circle, square, rectangle, logenze, trapezium and other shapes.

    The first, second and third prize went to children whose paintings have the most original idea, the most interesting style and the most variation in colours.

    Eleven-year-old Lê Phương Thảo from Hà Nội won first prize for her painting with the most original idea.

    This final round attracted the participation of 200 candidates aged 5-15, from Hà Nội, Hưng Yên, Hải Phòng and Đà Nẵng, out of 2,000 contestants participating since the eliminator round in mid July.

    Besides this, there were 10 consolation prizes for creative drawings and 10 hope prizes for the drawings that were the most amusing.

    Organisers said the contest aims to affirm that mathematics is not so “dry”, and that it can even be very “artistic”. Through the contest, children can develop different skills including creation and logical thinking that are important for their success in the future. It can help children be more confident, more creative and continue to apply to logical thinking in mathematics as well as in arts and in life.

    This is the second year Mathnasium Vietnam has organised this contest for children in the north of Việt Nam. In the first edition of this contest in 2016, thousands of children competed in different rounds.

    The contest is highly appreciated by parents because it created an interesting playground for children.

    “I thought that my daughter didn’t want to learn mathematics because this subject is difficult. But through the contest, I found that mathematics has high practicality, not only in life but also in the arts, in particular in painting,” Vân Anh, a mother of a girl who participated in the contest, said.

    “While participating in this contest, my daughter could paint her dreams in vibrant colours. I hope that the contest will be organised in the coming years, so the children can prove their talent in painting and in learning mathematics.”

    The total value of the awards at the contest goes up to VNĐ100 million (US$4,400). Mathnasium Vietnam began operating in HCM City in March 2011. Mathnasium currently has 34 centres in the country with 10,000 students studying. Mathnasium first appeared in the United States and was developed by mathematics professor Larry Martinek.

    Photo exhibition on Vietnam-Laos relations opens in Xiang Khouang

    A photo exhibition highlighting the fine relations between Vietnam and Laos and between Ho Chi Minh City and Xiang Khouang province opened on July 31 in the Lao province.

    Speaking at the event, Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Huynh Cach Mang said that the bilateral friendship was founded by late Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh and his Lao counterpart Kaysone Phomvihane and has been nurtured by generations of Party and State leaders and peoples.

    The relations are a precious asset and an important factor for each country’s revolutionary triumph and development, he affirmed.

    The official, who is also President of the Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association’s Ho Chi Minh City chapter, said that the exhibition and the launch of a children’s reading room at the library of the Xiang Khouang province are gifts from the city to Xiang Khouang, thus helping the two peoples understand more about the close relationship between the two countries.

    The library of the Xiang Khouang province was a gift from former Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and was constructed by Ho Chi Minh City and the Lao province.

    Over 5,000 people to walk for AO victims, disabled people

    More than 5,000 people are expected to join a charity walk at Dam Sen park in Ho Chi Minh City on the morning of August 5.

    The event is organised by the municipal Red Cross in support of agent orange (AO)/dioxin victims and disabled people.

    Last year, a similar walk helped the organisation raise more than 1.3 billion VND (57,200 USD) to aid about 2,800 AO/dioxin victims and provide nearly 750 million VND (33,000 USD) worth of wheelchairs for the disabled.

    US National Defence University delegation visits Vietnam

    Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Phuong Nam, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA), hosted a reception in Hanoi on July 31 for a delegation from the US National Defence University (NDU). 

    At the meeting, Nam expressed his hope that through this trip, the US officers will learn about Vietnam and the VPA, thus contributing to cooperation between Vietnam and the US as well as between the two armies. 

    General Gregory S.Martin, a senior lecture of NDU’s Capstone Course, who is also head of the delegation, said the visit is an important part of the Capstone Course’s curricular, helping the members to learn more about the regional situation and Vietnam’s concerns and priorities. 

    At the meeting, Nam answered the US officers’ questions regarding the regional situation, Vietnam’s foreign and defence policies and potential for defence cooperation between the two countries.

    Austria – the fifth largest trade partner of Vietnam in the EU

    Austria is 5th largest trade partners of Vietnam from the EU, with a trade value of US$3 billion last year and US$1.5 billion in the first half of this year, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    austria – the fifth largest trade partner of vietnam in the eu hinh 0 During the first half of this year, Vietnam’s imports from Austria were worth US$192.7 million, while exports reached US$1.3 billion.

    Telephones and components ranked first among major export products to Austria with US$1.1 billion, accounting for 81.5% of total export value and up 16.32% compared to the same period last year. Machines, equipment and tools came second among export items, however they saw a high growth of 73.03% to US$20 million, followed by garments at US$19.9 million (up 32.64%).

    It is noteworthy that ceramic goods were new among products that shipped to the European country in this period.

    In general, most export products to the market in the first half of this year enjoyed a positive growth (66.6%), and only 33.3% suffered a decline, of which, wood and timber products saw the deepest fall at 31.12%. 

    Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City battle dengue fever

    Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are in a battle against a dengue fever epidemic that has already affected tens of thousands of people across the country.

    Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are in a battle against a dengue fever epidemic that has already affected tens of thousands of people across the country.

    Despite a large number of patients, experts have warned that the mosquito-borne disease has yet to enter its peak season.

    Over 5,000 cases have been recorded in Hanoi, two of which have been fatal.

    Several districts in the capital have seen a ten-fold increase of patients compared to the same period of last year.

    According to Nguyen Van Kinh, director of the Hanoi-based National Hospital of Tropical Diseases, over 250 people are admitted to the infirmary for dengue fever on a daily basis.

    “We have added 1,000 beds and 280 doctors and nurses to provide treatment for patients suffering the disease,” Kinh said.

    The Hanoi Center for Preventive Medicine under the municipal Department of Health has sent employees to spray mosquito repellent at locations at high risk.

    In Ho Chi Minh City, major clinics including Children’s Hospitals 1 and 2, and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases are close to being overloaded by the large number of patients from the metropolis as well as other southern provinces.

    About 11,195 cases have been recorded in the southern hub as of July 29, up by 24%, the municipal Department of Health reported, adding that four people have been killed by the disease this year.

    Families have taken all types of measures to prevent mosquitoes from reproducing as a way of protecting themselves against the illness.

    Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City battle dengue fever

    Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are in a battle against a dengue fever epidemic that has already affected tens of thousands of people across the country.

    Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are in a battle against a dengue fever epidemic that has already affected tens of thousands of people across the country.

    Despite a large number of patients, experts have warned that the mosquito-borne disease has yet to enter its peak season.

    Over 5,000 cases have been recorded in Hanoi, two of which have been fatal.

    Several districts in the capital have seen a ten-fold increase of patients compared to the same period of last year.

    According to Nguyen Van Kinh, director of the Hanoi-based National Hospital of Tropical Diseases, over 250 people are admitted to the infirmary for dengue fever on a daily basis.

    “We have added 1,000 beds and 280 doctors and nurses to provide treatment for patients suffering the disease,” Kinh said.

    The Hanoi Center for Preventive Medicine under the municipal Department of Health has sent employees to spray mosquito repellent at locations at high risk.

    In Ho Chi Minh City, major clinics including Children’s Hospitals 1 and 2, and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases are close to being overloaded by the large number of patients from the metropolis as well as other southern provinces.

    About 11,195 cases have been recorded in the southern hub as of July 29, up by 24%, the municipal Department of Health reported, adding that four people have been killed by the disease this year.

    Families have taken all types of measures to prevent mosquitoes from reproducing as a way of protecting themselves against the illness.

    Lotus design for Hanoi's new largest theater not everyone's cup of tea

    Hanoi has revealed the design for its largest theater – a six-story building with six giant lotus flowers rising up from a lake.

    In a country where more than half of the population is online most of the day, the project has once again started a lot of chatter.

    A common theme seems to be people asking if the spending is necessary, or if the money should be used for schools, hospitals and roads.

    But this time, there’s a new debate that can be summed up in one word: “Again?”

    The public appears to have had enough of lotus-inspired constructions.

    The transport ministry has also chosen a lotus-themed design for Long Thanh Airport, a multi-billion dollar international airport in the southern province of Dong Nai that will be the largest in Vietnam.

    Ho Chi Minh City’s tallest skyscraper, Bitexco, also bears the image of a lotus bud.

    And that's just to name but a few.

    Members of the public say that the image is being “abused” and is getting “boring”, adding that designs that copy a real object are uncreative and dated.

    Experts are also objecting to the latest idea.

    Tran Nhat Khoi, a university lecturer in Hanoi, said designs are often based around a traditional icon, but "it does not have to be a lotus every time,” he told Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper.

    His colleague Khuat Tan Hung said the designers are applying a biomimetic design, which is not a good idea.

    He said a successful design should be inspirational, like the Sydney Opera House.

    The theater in Cau Giay District, originally named "Lotus", will cover four hectares (10 acres). The main audotorium is designed to hold 2,000 people, while the entire building will be able to host 25,000 guests.

    Officials said construction is expected to be completed next year. The estimated cost has not been revealed.

    The city hopes that the theater, together with four horse race track which will be started later this year, will bring in more tourists.

    Hanoi aims to attract 4.3 million foreign visitors this year, up 7.5% from 2016.

    Policies needed to ensure sustainable livelihoods for disadvantaged group

    Policies to ensure sustainable livelihoods for disadvantaged labourers must be resilient and not depend on outside support, heard a conference held by the Institute for Workers and Trade Unions in Ho Chi Minh City on July 31.

    According to Vu Minh Tien, Deputy Director of the Institute for Workers and Trade Unions, disadvantaged workers, who find it difficult to secure stable jobs, account for 25 percent of total labourers in the country. 

    By the end of 2016, there were 13 million disadvantaged labourers, including 4.2 million people with disabilities, 6.5 million impoverished labourers, 1 million migrant workers, 180,000 labourers with HIV/AIDS and 190,000 drug addicts and prostitutes. Eighty percent of them live in rural areas and have received little education or vocational training.

    Although disadvantaged labourers in rural areas can access state loans, they were still trapped in poverty, said Vo Van Tan, Chairman of Can Gio district’s trade union.

    Vu Van Hieu, lecturer from Ton Duc Thang University, stressed that residence registration rules have been a barrier to migrant workers. They should not be used to distinguish between local people and migrants, which hampers migrant labourers’ access to job opportunities and other social services, he added.

    For her part, Le Thi Nhung, lecturer of the University of Labour and Social Affairs, underlined that capacity, health, competence and public discrimination hampered disabled workers from finding work.


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  • 08/01/17--03:16: Article 1
  • Ministry urges Thach Khe Iron Mine termination

    The Ministry of Planning and Investment has warned about severe environmental risks and has urged the government to immediately scrap the Thach Khe Iron Mine Project in Ha Tinh Province. 

     Ministry urges Thach Khe Iron Mine termination, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news
    Thach Khe project is suspended in 2011. 

    Thach Khe Iron Mine Project covers 3,877 hectares was approved in 2007. The Thach Khe Iron JSC was then set up with VND2.40trn (USD105m) charter capital. However, the project was largely inactive and work was suspended in 2011.

    The Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industrial Group proposed to continue the project and had the approval from the Ministry of Industry and Trade. However, the authorities in Ha Tinh Province proposed to close the mine over environmental concerns. The prime minister then asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to review the project.

    After various meetings, the Ministry of Planning and Investment suggested stopping the iron mine project and another steel billet manufacturing project with a capacity of 2 million billets per year there.

    According to the ministry, the Thach Khe Iron JSC still doesn't have the required finance even though they had lowered the total investment twice in three years. The approved investment was VND14.50trn (USD616m) in 2014 but it was reduced to VND13trn in 2016 and VND12.20trn in 2017.

    These approved total investments still failed to take into account all of the costs. The lack of long-term outlets was also in question. Only the Hoa Phat Company agreed to buy 3 million tonnes of iron per year during the 2017-2021 period.

    In addition, there are various concerns about the adverse environmental impact on the surroundings and local lives.

    "The project has not been approved by the provincial people's council, people's committee, and the NA deputies in Ha Tinh Province," the Ministry of Planning and Investment wrote in their report.

    As of November 2016, Thach Khe Iron JSC poured a total of VND1.60trn (USD70m) into the project. If suspension continues, they will lose the chance to recoup the investment and the facility and equipment will be wasted.

    About 3,000 households, especially those who had to move out and haven't been offered resettlement, will lose faith in the government if there is no clear decision on the project.

    The ministry proposed to shut down the project and set up a team including local authorities, Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industrial Group and Thach Khe Iron JSC to review and find solutions for the land, facilities and mining equipment.


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  • 08/01/17--03:34: Article 0

    Bosch to pump extra $47m in Dong Nai

    Bosch to pump extra $47m in Dong Nai, Australia partially ends probe against VN’s galvanised steel, QTSC spurs smart city model, Taxation authority suggests revoking business license over tax debts 

    Bosch Group will pump an extra US$47 million into its manufacturing plant in the southern province of Dong Nai, adding to the capital already invested by the group over the past few years.

    In 2015 and 2016, Bosch poured $23 million and $22 million, respectively, into the plant. The increase in investment is aimed at meeting the demand for the automotive belt in the Southeast Asian and Asian markets, reported.

    Bosch is one of the world’s leading global suppliers of technology and services, headquartered in Germany.

    Last year, Bosch Vietnam’s domestic sales revenue stood at $98.9 million, a year-on-year increase of 40 per cent.

    Vo Quang Hue, managing director of Bosch Vietnam Company Ltd, said as Viet Nam accelerates the industrialisation and urbanisation process, it is aiming for a smart economy. These trends provide an opportunity for Bosch to diversify its products, especially in connectivity solutions for a smart city and Industry 4.0, he added. 

    Australia partially ends probe against VN’s galvanised steel     

    Australia’s Anti-Dumping Commission (ADC) has announced a partial rescission of its anti-dumping, anti-subsidy investigation on Vietnamese zinc-coated (galvanised) steel.

    The ADC, under Australia’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, has also been investigating zinc-coated steel imported from India and Malaysia. However, only the probe on Viet Nam’s steel has been terminated partially.

    Viet Nam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) said the ADC concluded that Vietnamese galvanised steel producers and exporters received countervailable subsidies from the government during the investigation period, but the subsidies were at negligible level. Therefore, the ADC has decided to terminate the anti-subsidy probe on all Vietnamese galvanised steel producers and exporters.

    The ADC will not recommend any subsidies for Viet Nam in its final report to the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.

    Also, Australian investigators found that the dumping range of two of the three Vietnamese exporters was even lower than the minimal level. As a result, the ADC has terminated investigation into these two companies.

    To arrive at the decision, the MoIT said, the ADC took into account complaints from the concerned parties, the statement of essential facts (SEF), comments relating to the SEF, and information it gathered from the investigation process.

    Parties can seek a review of the decision by lodging an application with the Anti-Dumping Review Panel within 30 days of publication of the notice. 

    Vietnam presses on with trade promotion in Italy

    A trade promotion programme is underway in Bologna and Rome cities from July 23-26, aiming to boost Vietnamese exports to Italy’s distribution network via the Coop Italia and Conad supermarket chains.

    The programme is organised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the trade office of the Vietnamese Embassy in Italy, authorities of Emilia-Romagna and Lazio regions, the federation of Italian cooperatives LegaCoop, the system of Italian consumer cooperatives Coop Italia and the Agro-Food Centre of Rome (CAR).

    In Bologna, the business delegation of Vietnam, led by Director of the MoIT’s European markets department Dang Hoang Hai, met with the Emilia-Romagna region’s chamber of commerce and Coop Italia.

    Secretary General of the region’s commerce chamber Claudio Pasini lauded the development potential of Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam. 

    He said Vietnam is a strongly growing economy that attracts many foreign investors, including those from Emilia-Romagna. Relations between Vietnam and Italy have been enhanced over the past decade, spurring bilateral trade.

    Vietnamese goods have increased in both quantity and quality in recent years, he said, adding that the country also has a young skilled workforce. These factors have helped Vietnam to success in Europe and the world.

    Pasini noted the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement is expected to take effect in 2018, which will facilitate bilateral economic and trade ties. The Emilia-Romagna region has set up a representative office in Vietnam’s southern province of Binh Duong. Its exports to the country reached 179.5 million USD in 2016 and are expected to grow rapidly.

    For his part, Director of the European markets department Dang Hoang Hai said this is the second time the MoIT has held a trade promotion programme in Italy. The activity is held within the framework of the two countries’ joint committee and the plan to boost Vietnamese firms’ direct participation in foreign distribution networks by 2020.

    During their trip to Italy, the Vietnamese delegation visited CAR, the biggest centre for agricultural food distribution in Rome and central Italy. The centre is also one of Europe’s most important distribution hubs.

    In 2016, trade between Vietnam and Italy surpassed 4.68 billion USD, up 8 percent from 2015, including 3.27 billion USD of Vietnam’s exports.-

    QTSC spurs smart city model

    Ho Chi Minh City-based Quang Trung Software City has recently launched a bike share scheme, one of various pilot models under its Smart City project. 

    Accordingly, the bikes under the share scheme will be distributed at fixed spots across the park of Quang Trung Software City (QTSC). The users will use their customer cards (provided by QTSC) to pick up the bikes and then return the vehicles at spots placed around the park.

    According to plans, four stations will be placed around the QTSC area by the end of July 2017.

    Lam Nguyen Hai Long, general director of QTSC said, “After finishing the trial period, we will review the process and work on a detailed plan to submit to the city leaders with a view to replicate the model in many other areas in the city.”

    Besides bike sharing, QTSC is deploying a raft of IT projects to boost management efficiency, such as face search, car detector, helpdesk, smart building or operations management systems (OMS).

    Long shared, “The extensive deployment of the applications will lay the groundwork to turning QTSC into a world-class software city in the not-so-distant future.”

    QTSC is known as a pioneer software city model in Vietnam. Its scope, however, still remains modest when compared to Southeast Asia and Asia.

    To outline a well-conceived long-haul development strategy, earlier this year QTSC teamed up with KPMG, a world-leading professional services firm, to make a comprehensive assessment of its operations as well as its position compared to other hi-tech parks in Asia.

    According to survey results, QTSC ranked the fourth in scale, operational efficiency of firms based in the software city, foreign direct investment attraction, business scope, and human resources qualification.

    Based on the survey and study results, KPMG has advised QTSC leaders to raise capital from domestic and external sources under the public private partnership (PPP) model, as well as attract and support private firms to provide utility services, such as food and beverage, entertainment, and healthcare for workers in the park, and apply advanced IT solutions to build up QTSC as a smart city miniature. 

    Taxation authority suggests revoking business license over tax debts

    The Department of Taxation in Ho Chi Minh City suggested revoking business license of enterprises which owe tax.

    As per the Department’s report, 209 firms owe VND2,118 billion ($93.1 million) over tax. Of these firms, realty enterprises owe a giant debt. Because the Department of Taxation  had applied some measures to collect tax yet its efforts were unrewarded, it has to suggest revocation of license as final choice.

    12 enterprises owed VND500 billion in the first quarter of 2017. They are Viet Hai freight forwarding and property company at 118 Huynh Tan Phat in District 7 which owes VND159 billion; Hong Quang Construction and Realty Company at 007-008 Hoang Dieu Apartment in District 4 which owes VND100 billion.

    Before, the Department of Taxation publicized 182 companies which owed tax debt. The Department asked authority to ban these companies’ managers from leaving the country.

    As of the middle of the year, the Department has collected nearly VND10 trillion.

    Equitized businesses face penalty for not listing on stock market

    The State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC) has sent a document requiring businesses after equitization to list on the stock market as many have not abided by the regulation so far.

    They will face a penalty of up to VND300-400 million according to Decree 145/2016 of the Government for continuing the share listing delay.

    According to SSI, the sanction will urge enterprises to start share trading, increase supply for the stock market, boost them to operate transparently and protect legitimate rights and benefits of investors.

    In April, the Government publicized the names of 578 businesses who have not listed on the stock market after equitization. Two months later, the Ministry of Finance reviewed the situation and found the number increase by 12 companies to total 730.

    The ministry said that the list of these 730 companies will be publicly posted on the Government Portal and the ministry’s website.

    Explaining the listing delay, companies said that they had not met norms to list on the stock market. Some said that they were doing relevant procedures.

    Still, investors believed that they are afraid of information transparency.

    Vietnam Export Forum 2017 to take place in August

    Vietnam Export Forum 2017 will be organized on August 8, expected to attract 400 delegates from ministries, agencies and leading businesses in HCMC and provinces, announced HCMC Investment and Trade Promotion Centre yesterday.

    Delegate will discuss global and regional markets after the US’s withdrawal from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), challenges and opportunities for Vietnamese businesses to attend global supply chains. In addition, they will analyze quality and competitiveness improvement of Vietnamese products. Domestic business associations will share risk management modes in exports.

    The forum will also connect Vietnamese enterprises with Indonesian, Malaysian, South Korean and Japanese firms, supply newly updated information about export markets and solutions to improve the competitiveness of export companies in key markets.

    From that, businesses can estimate, adjust and improve their management and production process as well as product quality to meet technical requirements and trade barriers in countries and participate in global supply chains.

    Firms fret over wage hike, social insurance

    Employers have expressed their concerns over the rising minimum wage and the social insurance policy.

    The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs held two dialogues with Vietnamese enterprises and the Korea Chamber of Business in Vietnam (Korcham) on labor policy last Friday.

    Than Duc Viet, deputy director general of Garco 10 Corporation, said his company has 1,200 employees, so it is under huge pressure from wage and social insurance payments. Therefore, he proposed the ministry not increase the minimum wage and delay social insurance payment based on actual incomes that will take effect next year.

    The rise spike in the minimum wage is reasonable as it will improve living conditions for workers. However, enterprises may not afford to pay their staff, given annual minimum wage increases, he said.

    He stressed enterprises may lose appetite for expanding their investments, as high wages for workers will hurt their competitiveness with other regional players. A wage hike is unlikely to enhance the productivity of their employees.

    Vu Thi Ha, who is in charge of salary and labor policies at Drilling Mud Corporation, said raising the minimum wages also entails increasing the salary fund and social insurance payments for laborers. This may make companies, especially those facing financial difficulties, unable to pay their staff. Besides, their staff may suffer negative effects like higher living expenses and social insurance payments.

    As of June 2017, South Korea had injected US$54.5 billion into Vietnam, thereby becoming the largest investor. Korean enterprises have created jobs for more than one million local residents, partly boosting the South East Asian nation’s export turnover, according to Korcham president Ryu Hang Ha.

    Besides, Korean firms are having difficulty with the uncertain prospect of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, and rising payrolls. Notably, foreign workers are obliged to contribute social insurance in Vietnam early next year.

    They wondered why Korean workers who have paid their social insurance in South Korea must make other payments in Vietnam despite inadequate healthcare infrastructure and skills.

    Doan Mau Diep, Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said some associations suggested not increasing the minimum wage next year, but the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor pushed for a wage hike to meet basic needs of workers.

    The National Wage Council will consider whether to delay the minimum wage hike or not. However, improving minimum living standards for employees, and ensuring wage payment abilities of employers are taken into careful account to be in line with labor productivity and consumer price index hikes, said Deputy Minister Diep.

    In regard to compulsory social insurance payments for foreign workers, he explained the Constitution requires all employees to enjoy social security benefits, and the Government does not discriminate between domestic and foreign workers.

    Besides, this is regarded as a viable solution to protect domestic workers. “The cost of recruiting local workers will be higher than foreign counterparts if they are compelled to pay social insurance,” he noted.

    Investors can apply for outbound tour operating licenses online

    Businesses can get licenses online to organize outbound tours, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

    Nguyen Quy Phuong, head of the Travel Department at VNAT, said VNAT is issuing and renewing licenses online for those operating outbound tours.

    The department will launch online licensing pretty soon, Phuong told the Daily on the sidelines of a meeting on the restructuring of the tourism sector last Friday.

    To operate inbound tours in accordance with the 2017 Law on Tourism, tour operators must be set up under the Enterprise Law and place deposits at banks, and their leaders must have intermediate-level certificates or diplomas on tourism. The same requirements also apply to operators of outbound tours but their directors must hold college diplomas or above.

    There are now 1,500 entities nationwide offering outbound tours, according to data from VNAT.

    Freight exchange platforms on the rise

    Transport companies have embraced freight exchange platforms as a new business model to obtain orders, Tuoi Tre newspaper reports.

    A company in HCMC said it just spent VND3.2 million rather than VND5 million transporting building materials from HCMC to Binh Phuoc Province thanks to the Vinatrucking Freight Exchange Platform.

    Vinatrucking general director Ta Cong Thuan said that the platform helps match those wanting to have goods delivered and trucking firms through its website.

    Goods owners can save costs as there are more service providers to choose from while trucking firms can maximize the efficiency of their truck operations, thus cutting the number of trucks on the road.

    Many other freight exchange platforms  such as Aleka and sanvanchuyen have been launched. Aleka CEO Le Minh Tu said the company also offers passenger transport services. Car owners are required to provide vehicle information and the platform will quote appropriate prices for each car so that customers can compare prices.

    However, transport exchange platforms have faced difficulties to attract customers. Lam Dai Vinh, director of Lam Vinh Transport Co Ltd, said the company has withdrawn from the Vinatrucking exchange platform.

    The platform focuses on long and two-way trips from the south to the north but ignores short routes such as between HCMC and Binh Duong Province.

    Thuan said more than 1,000 enterprises have put their names down to join in the first transport exchange. However, Vinatrucking has not been performing as well as expected. In addition, it is still new. Cargo and truck owners have yet to have mutual trust.

    Bui Van Quan, chairman of the HCMC Transport Association, said the exchange platform helped reduce vehicles on the road, save fuel costs and alleviate environmental pollution. Enterprises need time to adapt.

    Pham Sanh, a traffic expert, said opaque transport fees and the lack of enterprises with a good reputation have impeded operations of these transport exchange platforms.

    A traffic expert said 60-70% of trucks would return empty after they complete a single trip, so to compensate for that, trucking firms would charge higher fees. A freight exchange platform can help deal with that by making sure trucks will have cargo on both directions and this can cut transport costs by 30-40%.

    Just one inspection/year at hotels

    Authorities will carry out no more than one inspection into hotels across the country each year, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

    The ministry asked city and provincial tourism departments to coordinate with city and provincial leaders to give guidance for implementation of the new regulation.

    The ministry assigned tourism departments to prepare plans to avoid carrying out overlapping inspections. Snap checks must be performed in line with the law and Directive 20 of the Prime Minister which bans authorities from inspecting enterprises more than once a year.

    Hotels are fed up with so many inspections which often overlap one another and are lengthy.

    At a conference on tourism development in HCMC early this year, the general manager of a five-star hotel said his hotel coped with 13 inspections last year. He said the number of inspections should be drastically slashed to help businesses save time and cost.

    According to data of the National Administration of Tourism, Vietnam has more than 20,000 hotels with 400,000 guest rooms. The average annual growth was 9% last year with four and five-star hotels posting respective growth of 14% and 16%.

    Deposit agreements need to be properly managed

    Agreements in which property developers use to sell their products should be properly managed to guarantee the rights of the parties concerned: the investor, the homebuyer and the bank.

    Placing a deposit is a commitment to a deal between the investor and the customer despite a lack of necessary documents for sale of future housing.

    As investors meet regulatory conditions to put their housing products on sale, their customers will pay the agreed-on price when placing a deposit. Otherwise, the buyer will lose their deposit as some cases have occurred.

    Nguyen Tran Nam, chairman of the Vietnam Real Estate Association, said this home sale method is intended to satisfy the needs of homebuyers who want to have their own apartments as soon as possible.

    Nam said property developers can sell their products after they have completed procedures, secured land ownership, paid land tax, and obtained construction and sale licenses, among others. Such an agreement between the seller and the buyer is governed by the Civil Code.

    The customer has to place a deposit for a particular product on a first-come, first served basis in line with international practices. This deposit agreement is in line with prevailing laws as well. The bank that enters into such a contract must comply with the banking regulations, said Can Van Luc, deputy general director of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).

    Financial expert Vu Dinh Anh said this kind of agreement is actually a real estate derivative which is not prohibited by law.

    Pham Thanh Hung, deputy chairman of Cen Invest, said such agreement helps property developers assess the commercial viability of their projects.

    Deposited money is kept in escrow accounts, so property developers cannot use it for other purposes. This business practice helps developers actively map out business plans, make business projections, and build pricing strategies, Hung noted.

    Meanwhile, Nam said, the Government should cap the size of a deposit at 10-20% of a home’s value. The contract should be designed in a way that protects the rights of the homebuyer.

    Value of M&A deals forecast to reach US$5 billion this year

    Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transactions in Vietnam are forecast to reach about US$5 billion this year, down from US$5.8 billion in 2016 and US$5.2 billion in 2015, said Le Trong Minh, editor-in-chief of Dau Tu newspaper.

    At a press conference held in Hanoi on July 20 to announce the upcoming Vietnam M&A Forum 2017, Minh said M&A transactions are facing numerous difficulties. Enterprises and the Government should find ways to increase both the quality and the number of deals.

    According to an assessment of forum organizers, in 2016 and the first haft of 2017, the equitization of State-owned enterprises was not as good as expected.

    In 2016, only 52 State enterprises went public, representing only 25% of the 2015 figure, and the number was 20 in the first six months of this year, or 76% of the same period last year.

    According to a report by the Government, 96.3% of State enterprises have been equitized but only 8% of the State holdings have been offered to the public.

    In 2016, retail was among the key sectors of M&A deals, accounting for 38.46% of total value. A notable deal took place in early May 2016, when Central Group from Thailand acquired the Big C supermarket chain from Casino Group at US$1.05 billion.

    Earlier, another Thai group, TCC Holdings, spent US$800 million taking over Cash & Carry businesses in Vietnam from German retail group METRO.

    In 2014-2018, M&A transactions in Vietnam may hit US$20 billion, Minh added.

    M&A has helped diversify capital mobilization channels in Vietnam and boost economic restructuring and equitization of State-owned enterprises. In addition, corporate governance and the competitiveness of many local enterprises have improved thanks to M&A deals.

    Vietnam M&A Forum 2017 will be held by Dau Tu newspaper on August 10 at GEM Center in HCMC. The forum will feature a specialized conference on M&A activities, a ceremony to honor the best M&A deals of 2016-2017 and a training workshop on M&A strategy.

    Ben Tre Province to develop seven wind power projects

    The government of Ben Tre Province at an investment promotion conference on July 20 gave approval in principle to 30 large-scale projects, including seven wind power projects with total pledged capital of around US$900 million.

    Among the seven investors, Ben Tre Renewable Energy JSC will invest over VND6.5 trillion in a wind power plant with a designed capacity of 110 MW in Ba Tri District, and Power Generation Corporation 1 will develop a 230-MW plant worth more than VND3.4 trillion in Thanh Phu District.

    Western Green Energy Investment Co Ltd will implement a 70-MW wind park project worth around VND2.9 trillion, while Mekong Wind Power JSC, VPL Energy JSC, and Thien Phu Energy JSC will set up three wind power projects with a combined capacity of 115 MW worth about VND3.5 trillion.

    Besides, a joint venture between Asia Petroleum Energy JSC and South Korea’s Doarm Engineering Co Ltd will inject US$180 million into an 80.5-MW power plant in the rural district of Binh Dai.

    The local government also approved 23 other projects worth around US$197 million in fields such as food processing, infrastructure for industrial parks, coconut processing, fertilizer, and textile-garment.

    Ben Tre has so far this year attracted 37 domestic projects with registered capital of VND20.6 trillion (US$908 million), and three foreign direct investment (FDI) projects capitalized at US$217 million, according to the provincial Department of Planning and Investment.

    The local government at the conference on July 20 also struck memorandums of understanding with four investors who will carry out some projects with total capital of around VND10 trillion (US$440 million).

    Truong Hai Auto JSC pledged to offer VND6 trillion in partnership with Ben Tre Province. Meanwhile, ATM Development Construction Investment JSC plans to spend around VND2 trillion on projects aimed at developing economic and social infrastructure, and conserving the biodiversity of a local forest in Thanh Phu District.

    Masan Group is committed to injecting VND1.5 trillion into a food processing plant and a hi-tech breeding farm while Tay Bac Construction Investment JSC intends to invest VND470 billion in an urban project and the new Ba Mu market.

    Dao Minh Phu, deputy governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, said some banks have promised to lend about VND1.56 trillion to 10 projects in the province.

    HCMC wastewater treatment sector expected to draw investors

    Many investors are expected to pour capital into the wastewater treatment sector in HCMC as the municipal government is working on incentives for enterprises in this sector.

    The city plans to develop 11 wastewater treatment facilities with a total capacity of nearly 1.9 million cubic meters a day by 2020 and more than three million cubic meters by 2030 to treat household wastewater in the city.

    However, only Binh Hung and Binh Hung Hoa plants have been built with a respective daily capacity of 141,000 and 30,000 cubic meters.

    But the landscape is expected to change.

    A consortium comprising Lotte E&C, Huvis Water and Honor Shine Global has proposed investing in wastewater treatment facilities in the city with a combined capacity of more than 650,000 cubic meters a day. The investors plan to integrate three current plants of Tan Hoa-Lo Gom, Saigon West and Binh Tan into a new wastewater treatment system.

    The project to be developed under the form of build-lease-transfer (BLT) would require about US$350 million in the first phase and US$132 million in the second phase. The first phase is expected for completion by 2020 with a treatment capacity of 450,000 cubic meters.

    An environment expert on July 20 told the Daily that foreign enterprises at the moment are not willing to invest in wastewater treatment due to risks of capital recovery. Therefore, the city authorities should have clear pricing policy for wastewater drainage and treatment services.

    According to Decree No. 80/2014/ND-CP on wastewater drainage and treatment, polluters must pay for pollution treatment and the income from wastewater drainage and treatment services must step by step cover the cost of drainage services.

    On Tuesday, the city government issued a plan aimed at wooing private investors into the city’s wastewater treatment sector in 2017-2020. Accordingly, the city will renew its policies and mechanisms to encourage individuals and organizations to protect the environment by collecting, reusing, recycling and treating waste.

    The city will also launch an appropriate roadmap to revise up environmental protection fees for household wastewater treatment services.

    A representative of the Steering Center for the Urban Flood Control Program told the Daily that the center is drawing up a draft plan on charges for wastewater services and will send it to the city government this year.

    The charges will depend on the amount of household wastewater but specific charges remain unknown.

    Environment experts said that if capital recovery is ensured, enterprises would invest in the sector and the plan to build seven wastewater treatment plants with a total capacity of 1.6 million cubic meters a day by 2020 can be implemented.

    First wholly Singapore-owned bank to operate in Vietnam

    The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) on July 19 gave approval in principle to United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) to open the first 100% Singapore-owned bank in the country.

    The central bank also approved UOB Vietnam’s board members, supervisors and general director.

    UOB has to complete procedures according to the SBV's regulations and guidance to be considered and granted a license for formal incorporation and operation in Vietnam. 

    In addition, the central bank permitted UOB Vietnam to set up a branch based on the HCMC branch of UOB right after being granted the license.

    UOB on July 20 said that the wholly foreign-owned bank in Vietnam will help UOB support Vietnamese enterprises and consumers as well as its regional clients investing in Vietnam. The bank will also help many Vietnamese companies with business expansion through business advisory services and financial solutions such as cash management and project financing.

    The Singaporean bank plans to extend its branch network beyond HCMC and considers a branch in Hanoi City.

    UOB has facilitated more than US$3 billion of foreign direct investment from Asia into Vietnam since 2013. UOB’s regional clients have invested in industries such as construction, real estate, manufacturing and fast-moving consumer goods.

    According to the central bank, eight wholly foreign-owned banks had been established and operated in Vietnam as of the end of 2016 including ANZ, HSBC, Hong Leong Vietnam, Shinhan Vietnam, Standard Chartered Vietnam, Public Bank Vietnam, CIMB Vietnam and Woori Vietnam.

    Customs clearance for HCMC importers allowed at ICDs

    Importers of goods subject to customs procedures at the port of entry have been given the green light to complete their customs clearance at inland container depots (ICD) of Phuoc Long Port Co Ltd, according to the latest dispatch of the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

    The department said local enterprises that have goods under Article 1 of Decision No.15/2017/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister on the list of imported goods required to follow customs procedures at the port of entry is now allowed to transport their products from border gates to destination ports stated on bills of lading in order to go through customs if the port is a seaport or airport.

    Importers are also allowed to do the same if their goods have destination ports to be inland waterway ports, and inland container depots of Phuoc Long.

    The dispatch’s detailed instruction is expected to help reduce the amount of goods which has been congested at ports since early this month.

    This problem occurred when customs officers at Cai Mep, Cat Lai and Hiep Phuoc ports cited Decision No.15 and the department’s Official Letter No.4284 as a reason to disallow importers to transfer their goods to ICDs.

    The situation has had adverse effects on local firms. Notably, this regulation is not in line with other legal regulations and international practices.

    Therefore, the HCMC Department of Customs sent two official letters to the General Department of Customs asking for a way out.

    Phuoc Long’s ICDs such as Phuoc Long I, Phuoc Long III, Transimex, Tanamexco, Phuc Long and Sotrans which are under the supervision of the Saigon Port Border Customs Sub-department Region IV have been permitted to carry out customs procedures so far.

    Hanoi-Chungcheong air route to be launched this year

    Flights connecting Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi to South Korea’s Chungcheong will be launched at the end of this year with five weekly services to further boost tourism cooperation between the two countries.

    Kim Eyeong Ho, head of the Tourism Division under the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Sejong, a city in Chungcheong region, said relevant agencies in the region are joining forces to launch flights in November or December this year. The opening of the new air service will help bring more Vietnamese tourists to a new Korean destination beside familiar ones such as Seoul, Busan and Jeju Island.

    The name of the carrier operating the flights remains undisclosed.

    HCMC-Chungcheong flights can start next year if five flights a week from Hanoi go well, Kim Eyeong Ho told the Daily on the sidelines of the Chungcheong tourism introduction ceremony in HCMC on Wednesday. Vietnamese travel companies offering tours to Chungcheong will enjoy preferential policies.

    Jung Chang Wook, a KTO representative in Vietnam, said South Korea highly valued the development of the Vietnamese market with more than 50% growth last year.

    Chungcheong includes Deajeon City famous for tourism, science and medical treatment, Sejong City considered the second capital of South Korea with many government agencies headquartered there, Chungcheongbuk-do Province with attractive resorts, and Chungcheongnam-do Province with the ancient citadel of Gongju Gongsanseong recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage site of the world.

    Last year, over 251,000 Vietnamese visited South Korea, up 54.5% versus 2015, and the number was nearly 178,000 by July 9, a year-on-year increase of 29.8%.

    Dung Quat oil refinery works on expansion project

    The State-owned Binh Son Refinery and Petrochemical Company Limited (BSR) has completed the overall plan for the upgrade and expansion of the Dung Quat Oil Refinery.

    Tran Ngoc Nguyen, CEO of BSR, said the expansion project will cost more than 1.8 billion USD, of which equity capital and loan capital will account for at least 30 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

    BSR plans to borrow some 1.26 billion USD, Nguyen said, adding that the estimated loan amount is in line with the Prime Minister’s decision on granting approval.

    Under the project, BSR will set up and put into operation some additional technology workshops for the processing of crude oil with higher sulfur content, such as Murban, ESPO and Arab Light, increasing the stable supply of petroleum products in accordance with the Euro 5 standard. 

    Crude oil supply of the refinery will also be significantly increased, thus helping it become less dependent on crude oil supply from the Bach Ho (White Tiger) oil field.

    Expansion work is expected to be completed by 2021, following which Dung Quat Oil Refinery will have capacity to refine 8.5 tonnes of crude oil per year.

    Manufacturing, processing industry lures FDI

    Vietnam’s manufacturing and processing industry attracted 12,075 foreign-invested projects with a total registered capital of 180.68 billion USD as of late June, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI)’s Overseas Investment Agency. 

    Economists attributed the figures to Vietnam’s abundant workforce and several incentives for investors. 

    At the Vietnam Business Forum recently held in Hanoi, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue reiterated the Vietnamese government’s policy of considering the foreign-invested sector an extremely important part of the Vietnamese economy. 

    Head of the MPI’s Central Institute of Economic Management Nguyen Dinh Cung said foreign direct investment (FDI) flowing into manufacturing and processing industry is a positive sign, helping Vietnamese firms access advanced technology. 

    Vietnam is in the period of golden population with over 6.3 million people of working age, giving the sector an edge to attract FDI.

    Southern Power Corporation develops key electricity projects

    The Southern Power Corporation under the Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVNSPC) is planning to build 53 more 110 kV power projects in southern provinces and cities, bringing the total number of works in 2017 to 79.

    In July, the company started construction of eight electricity projects and connected 10 others with the national grid.

    The EVNSPC is speeding up the second phase of a project to bring power to households without electricity. More than 6,100 families of the Khmer ethnic minority group in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang will benefit from the project. Nearly 9,000 households have had access to power in the first phase.

    Meanwhile, a project designed to supply electricity for rural areas has been  completed in Hau Giang and Ca Mau provinces with thousands of locals having electricity.

    Regarding the third development policy loan (DPL3) project, funded by the World Bank, the company has operated four power facilities to support shrimp farming in Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang and Tra Vinh and one power facility for artificial lighting for dragon fruits in Long An province. 

    Under the project, 695 kilometres of medium-voltage line, 609 kilometres of low-voltage line and transformation stations with total capacity of 115.8 MVA will be constructed.

    The company is carrying out the fourth development policy loan (DPL4) project to improve power system with total investment of over 10 trillion VND (439.9 million USD). Components of the projects are the second circuit of the 220kV transmission line for Phu Quoc island district, 11 110kV power grid facilities, seven power transformation stations with total capacity of 372 MVA and 37 sub projects to upgrade medium-voltage grid, enhancing sufficient power for urban areas.

    Other power transmission line development project of the company comprises the construction of Can Duoc and Sa Dec 220kV stations, 13 sub power grid projects and three electricity distribution facilities. 

    Compensation for ground clearance, slow progress of investment procedure approval, shortage of capital and slow disbursement of official assistance development (ODA) are main challenges of the company when carrying out power projects. They will have critical impacts on power supplying for southern provinces by 2020, particularly key localities like Binh Duong, Long An, Dong Nai, Tay Ninh and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

    VIB opens new branches nation-wide

    Vietnam International Bank (VIB) has opened three new branches in the cities of Huế and Cần Thơ and the Bình Dương Province to expand its business operations nation-wide.

    The additional branches are eligible to undertake a variety of financial and banking activities, such as capital mobilisation, lending, payment and others, the bank said in its statement.

    On the occasion, the bank has launched a gratitude programme in which hundreds of gifts will be offered to customers who make transactions at the new branches.

    Earlier, VIB also opened more branches to meet customers’ increasing demand for financial services in localities such as Hạ Long City, Thái Bình and Vĩnh Phúc provinces.

    Over the past six months this year, the bank’s total assets witnessed a year-on-year increase of 10 per cent to VNĐ115 trillion (over US$5 billion).

    Its credit balance reached VNĐ75.68 trillion during the period, up 15.7 per cent year-on-year, including a lending balance of VNĐ69.2 trillion.

    Most of the credit growth was contributed by personal loans, which went up by more than 30 per cent, compared with the end of 2016, clearly demonstrating the bank’s intention to focus on the retail segment, VIB said, adding that deposits also saw a yearly growth of 15 per cent.

    From January to June, the bank’s pre-tax profit topped VNĐ380 billion, surging 25 per cent, compared with the same period in 2016, or accounting for 51 per cent of its yearly plan. 

    Agribank branch top leaders prosecuted for causing losses

    The Ministry of Public Security’s Police Investigation Agency on Monday announced they had completed their investigation into the fraud and irresponsible actions related to lending at the Central Sài Gòn branch of Agribank (Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development).

    The police recommended criminal charges against nine suspects, including former branch directors Phạm Thị Mai Toan and Phí Thị Ong, former branch vice director Đỗ Thị Yến, bank officers and directors of companies that falsified documents to get loans from the bank.

    According to the police investigation, American national Hoàng Tiến Dzũng founded six companies based in HCM City and hired people to work as company directors to borrow money from the bank.

    The companies reportedly failed to pay the bank interest.

    Subsequently, in November, 2009, Dzũng falsified a project to get a loan of VNĐ90 billion (US$4 million) to help the six companies pay interest. Fake documents were submitted to the bank, claiming that one of the six companies – Á Châu Company – had earned profits, while in fact, the company had incurred losses. Despite knowing the truth, Toan still approved the loan. 

    Earlier, in April 2009, the Central Sài Gòn branch offered a loan of VNĐ75 billion ($3.3 million) to ADN Company, whose director is Hoàng Văn Cường. Cường also falsified documents that claimed the company needed investment for a rubber tree growing project in southern Bình Thuận Province.

    Former branch director Phí Thị Ong signed papers authorising the loan although she was aware that Cường’s company was unqualified for it. 

    At present, Hoàng Tiến Dzũng has escaped from Việt Nam and police have issued a wanted notice for him.

    Chinese trade fair set for Hanoi in August

    More than 100 companies from the Chinese province of Zhejiang are set to come together to showcase their textile expertise at a trade fair in the capital city of Hanoi this August, reports the Vietnam News Agency.

    This year’s 6th edition, regarded as an important international platform for textiles, consumer electronics and home furnishings, will open its doors daily August 3-5 at the International Centre for Exhibition located at 91 Tran Hung Dao Street.

    The event, said Trinh Xuan Tuan of Vinexad, the organizer, will serve as a barometer for the upcoming year, spotlighting contemporary trends and innovations in interior textiles, home furnishings, household textiles and a range of allied services.

    Last year’s event closed with the signing of US$24 million of contracts, solidifying its status as a major exhibition for boosting trade and investment between the Chinese and Vietnamese business communities.

    Vietnam leatherworkers, shoemakers look to EU for salvation

    Vietnamese leatherworkers and shoemakers are generally upbeat about the prospects for enhanced trade brought about by a soon to be European-Vietnam free trade agreement, says the Vietnam Leather, Footwear, and Handbags Association.

    Speaking with local media, Diep Thanh Kiet, vice chair of the Association, told local media earlier this year that the elimination of tariffs on the country’s exports to the EU could provide a tremendous boon to sales and earnings in the EU market over the next decade.

    Vietnam and the EU are tentatively on track to ratify the wide-ranging free trade pact, more commonly referred to by the acronym EVFTA and see it come into force by early 2018, Mr Kiet noted.

    However, it could take longer for ratification as the consequenceof a ruling that requires each individual county in the EU to ratify the agreement separately, which results in a more time-consuming process than he had desired.

    For Vietnam, the EVFTA takes on added importance following the demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was a monumental free-trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim nations,following the withdraw by the US earlier this year.

    Vietnam was set to be one of the TPP pact’s biggest beneficiaries, he acknowledged.

    But getting ready for enactment of the EVFTA is not without its problems as product quality will need to be upgraded, he added.  This means Vietnameseleatherworkers and shoemakers will need to up their game and provide quality products on a timely, consistent and economical basis to be successful.

    That in turn takes money to retool and cash local businesses don’t have.

    So, it’s a bit of a catch 22.

    The leather and footwear segments are currently on an unsustainable path producing massive quantities of product as low prices with very little earnings left over to show for all their effort.

    The low earnings don’t leave enough after paying all the bills to retool and plough back into updating with the modern equipment and technologies needed to streamline operations, cut excessive direct and overhead costs to right the ship and put the segments on the path to prosperity and sustainability.

    So first and foremost, the leather and footwear segments must find avenues to raise sorely needed equity capital and that’s the real bottom line.

    According to a report by the General Department of Vietnam Customs, total gross exports of footwear to the EU for the five months leading up to June 2017 tallied in at US$1.76 billion, making it the country’s second largest sales market.

    Meanwhile, for the same time frame, sales of leather handbags, suitcases and briefcases in the EU market registered just US$365 million.

    The profit on these sales figures is negligible and for purposes of explanation only— a 5% profitability ratio would equate to less than US$20 million earnings nationwide on the total sales of leather handbags, suitcases and briefcases for the 5-month period.

    But if one looks on the bright side,these small numbers highlight the significant potential for leatherworkers and shoemakers in the EU market and why it represents their salvation, if they can retool and get on the right path to increased prosperity.

    Aluminium exports reach US$50 million

    The Dak Nong Aluminum Company has exported over 140,000 tons of aluminum and 24,000 tons of hydrate amounting to US$50 million this year.

    Dak Nong Company, part of the Vietnam National Coal - Mineral Industries Group, produced over 242,000 tons of convert aluminum in that period.

    Its aluminum products are mainly exported to the Republic of Korea and Japan.

    The Dak Nong Aluminum Company, situated in the Nhan Co Industrial Zone of the DakR’Lap District, Dak Nong Province, began a trial operation in November 2016 and will start operating officially this August.

    US property purchases on shaky legal grounds

    According to experts, the estimated US$3 billion spent by Vietnamese people to purchase US residential property could have been transferred largely through illegitimate ways.

    The “Profile of International Activity in US Residential Real Estate” report by the US National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that between April 2016 and March 2017, Vietnamese people spent up to US$3 billion buying residential property in the US.

    Currently, money for buying real estate cannot be transferred through normal banking channels, which begs the question: how did these Vietnamese buyers transfer money abroad to buy real estate?

    According to Vietnam’s Law on Foreign Exchange Management of 2005 (amended in 2013), Vietnamese people can only transfer money overseas under prescribed circumstances, such as carrying a maximum of US$5,000 or equivalent when going through border checkpoints. 

    Additionally, Vietnamese people can transfer money overseas through banking, to pay for tuition or medical expenses, though the amount is usually quite small.

    Nguyen Hung, CEO of TPBank, was quoted as saying on that money transferred overseas to purchase property may go through illegitimate channels, as banks only accept legal transactions and the amount is not so large usually .

    “Maybe they transferred money through other means and not through banks. The State Bank of Vietnam will surely make moves to control outgoing flows of foreign currency,” said Hung.

    From a financial perspective, Dr Nguyen Tri Hieu commented that there are many illegitimate ways Vietnamese could have transferred money overseas to buy property, such as through friends and families, but this is unlikely, since the Law on Foreign Exchange Management only allows carrying up to US$5,000 when travelling abroad.

    Alternatively, they can disguise it as legal transactions, like tuition or medical expenses, but the transferrable amount is not much and it might take years to collect enough money to pay for a house. As such, this method also seems unlikely.

    Surprised by the amount of money Vietnamese people have spent on real estate in the US, the director of a real estate firm in Hanoi said that US$3 billion is a considerable amount which would greatly benefit the economy if used in business. 

    When using this amount on US properties, not only does it not benefit the economy, but it also causes losses of foreign currency in the country.

    “I was quite concerned when I heard that Vietnam is one of the top residential property buyers in the US,” he said.

    The US real estate market is on the rise, but whatever method Vietnamese people are using to buy US residential property, they still face a considerable amount of risks, according to experts. These include legal, ownership, and market risks.

    “Even if the money is not delivered in the US, Vietnamese people cannot be sure, regardless of whether or not a contract was involved. Since this is considered money laundering, the buyer or investor does not have grounds to sue,” Dr Hieu warned.


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  • 08/02/17--01:59: Article 6
  • Deputy minister resigns after accusation of corruption

    Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa officially submitted her resignation letter on August 1 after she became marred in corruption allegations.

    Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa

    Thoa still worked on July 30 and 31 at the Ministry of Industry and Trade but took a day off on August 1 and submitted the letter that night. As Thoa was the party secretary and director of Dien Quang Lamp Company, the resignation will be decided by the Secretariat of the Central Committee.

    Another deputy minister has taken over her work. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is waiting for directives from the Central Inspection Commission to deal with violations.

    On July 31, the Central Inspection Commission also proposed sacking Thoa from her current positions after its 16th meeting session in Hanoi to discuss a number of violating officials.

    During the previous session, the Central Inspection Commission announced that Thoa had broken the law. She approved the appointment of former PetroVietnam Construction JSC chairman and former provincial leader Trinh Xuan Thanh, who was wanted for corruption and turned himself in on July 31, according to the police.

    Thoa violated regulations on business equitisation and procedures and wrongly handled VND6.7 billion (USD298,000) exemption of bank loan interest while she was the party secretary and director of Dien Quang Lamp Company, from January 2004 to May 2010.

    She also violated regulations on land management in a joint investment between Dien Quang Company with Vietnam Investment Construction Trade JSC in HCM City as the land owner and relevant authorities hadn't approved. Thoa bought shares exceeding the allowed levels and violated Dien Quang Company’s regulations on share transfer.

    She is accused of omitting and lying in the assets declaration.

    It is estimated that Thoa has lost USD18m as Dien Quang Company shares plummeted. Thoa is holding 5% of Dien Quang Company shares and her family holds nearly 35% of the charter capital.

    Thoa's brother is the company's chairman cum general director. Two of her daughters work at the company. One is a member of director boards and deputy director and another daughter is the project director.

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  • 08/02/17--02:05: Article 5
  • Vietnam arrests ex-Sacombank executives in $288mn bank loss case

    Former Sacombank deputy chairman Tram Be and ex-CEO Phan Huy Khang have been given four-month custodial sentences

    Vietnam arrests ex-Sacombank executives in $288mn bank loss case
    Tuoi Tre's file photo of Tram Be

    Two former Sacombank executives have been arrested and placed in custody for their involvement in a massive bank fraud that caused damages worth nearly US$289 million, police said on Tuesday.

    Former Sacombank deputy chairman Tram Be and ex-CEO Phan Huy Khang were given four-month custodial sentences on charges of “deliberately acting against the state's regulations on economic management, with serious consequences,” according to officers.

    Vietnam arrests ex-Sacombank executives in $288mn bank loss case
    Tram Be listens to his arrest warrant in this photo provided by the police.

    Sacombank, fully known as Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank, is one of Vietnam’s biggest lenders by assets.

    Be, 58, is also a former chairman of Sacombank’s credit council, and Khang, 44, an ex-member of the council.

    In February, Be, one of Vietnam’s most well-known banking moguls, and his son Tram Khai Hoa officially had their membership of the board of directors at Sacombank terminated.

    On Tuesday night, Be and Khang were taken by police to board a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi as part of their investigation.

    Vietnam arrests ex-Sacombank executives in $288mn bank loss case
    Phan Huy Khang listens to his arrest warrant in this photo provided by the police.

    Also on Tuesday, police launched criminal proceedings against 22 other individuals, on charges of “deliberately acting against the state's regulations on economic management, with serious consequences”. An arrest warrant was issued for 14 of these people.

    Be, Khang and their accomplices have broken the law at four different banks, resulting in total financial losses of VND6.6 trillion (US$288.4 million), the police said.

    The banks in question are the Vietnam Construction Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VNCB), Tien Phong Bank (TPBank), Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) and Sacombank itself.

    Financial damage at the VNCB alone is estimated at more than VND9 trillion ($401.79 million), with its ex-chairman Pham Cong Danh sentenced to 30 years behind bars for his role in the case.

    Besides Danh, 26 other defendants, including three former VNCB executives also received custodial sentences of up to 22 years in September 2016.

    By Tuoi Tre News 

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  • 08/02/17--02:22: Article 4
  • Social News 2/8

    Phan Thiet Airport to lengthen runway

    Phan Thiet Airport to lengthen runway, Tien Giang collects toll fees on new bypass, Japanese tourists plant mangroves in Can Gio, Vietnam responds to World Breastfeeding Week 2017 

    The runway of Phan Thiet Airport in the south-central province of Binh Thuan will be lengthened from 2,400 to 3,050 meters to ensure sustainable development and enhance the effectiveness of the airport which is still under construction.

    The Transport Department of Binh Thuan Province said the central Government has approved a scheme to upgrade the airport from level 4C to 4E.

    Currently, relevant agencies are making preparations for the upgrade such as completing design work and investment procedures.

    The Transport Department said site clearance for the airport project, whose construction began nearly three years ago, has not been completed, as a company has not handed over 98.58 hectares of land to implement the project due to an ongoing compensation dispute. Site clearance is expected for completion next month.

    Roads leading to the airport will be also built at the end of the year.

    The construction of Phan Thiet Airport was commenced in January 2015 on a total area of 543 hectares including a 150-hectare area for the air force, a 145.6-hectare civil aviation area and a 247.4-hectare shared area. Up to 48 households and six organizations were asked for relocation.

    The airport was planned to be used for both civil and military flights. It was initially designed to handle 500,000 passengers by 2020 using ATR 72, F70 and other small aircraft, and one million passengers by 2030 using A320 and A321 airplanes.

    The two-phase project includes a 2,400-meter-long runway on a 360-hectare area and a 5,000-square-meter terminal to serve 500,000 passengers and 10,000 tons of cargo a year.

    However, air carriers have replaced small planes with bigger ones due to the rapid development of the market, so the airport needs upgrading to receive medium and large planes such as Airbus A320s and A321s.

    Phan Thiet Airport was expected to be opened in 2017. However, the project is falling behind schedule after three years of construction.

    In a related development, Dien Bien Airport in the north is also having its design adjusted. In February, the Ministry of Transport assigned the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to adjust the plan for the airport in 2017-2020 with a vision towards 2030.

    Under the plan, Dien Bien Airport will be upgraded to accommodate A320 and A321 aircraft.

    Tien Giang collects toll fees on new bypass

    National Highway No.1 Tien Giang Investment Co Ltd begins on August 1 to collect toll fees on a new bypass around the town of Cai Lay in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, said Huynh Van Nguyen, director of Tien Giang Province’s Transport Department.

    The toll station which is located at KM 1999+300 is scheduled to collect fees within six years and four months, starting from on August 1.

    The toll for vehicles of fewer than 12 seats, trucks of less than two tons, and commuter buses is VND35,000 per trip. The monthly toll is VND1.05 million, and the quarterly toll is around VND2.8 million.

    The tolls for vehicles of 12-30 seats and trucks of 2-4 tons are VND50,000 per trip, VND1.5 million per month and VND4.05 million per quarter.

    The tolls stand at VND60,000 per trip, VND1.8 million per month and VND4.8 million per quarter for vehicles of 31 seats and more, and trucks of 4-10 tons. Trucks of 10-18 tons and 20-foot semi-trailers pay VND100,000 per trip, VND3 million per month and VND8.1 million per quarter.

    Especially, trucks weighing over 18 tons, or carrying a 40-foot container are charged at VND180,000 per trip, VND5.4 million per month and about VND14.6 million per quarter.

    The bypass project includes a 12-kilometer section around the Cai Lay Town, and an improved section of National Highway 1 spanning 26 kilometers across Tien Giang Province.

    The VND1.4-trillion project, which got off the ground under the build-operate-transfer format in 2014, was developed by a joint venture between Bac Ai Construction Investment Consultation JSC and Transport Construction and Investment Trading JSC No.1.

    Japanese tourists plant mangroves in Can Gio

    A group of employees of Japan’s Fuji Film Holdings Corporation on July 31 traveled to the coastal district of Can Gio in HCMC to plant mangroves as part of a tour program combined with community activity.

    Arranged by Fiditour, one of the leading tour operators in the city, the four-day tour program started on Sunday. Apart from mangrove planting, the group will tour popular places of interest in the outlying district and the city center.

    Nao Ogata, a 27-year-old staff member of the company, said the tour could help her learn more about the ecosystem, war consequences and the importance of planting trees to increase green coverage of the locality.

    Tran The Dung, deputy general director of Fiditour, said the number of foreign tourists joining such volunteer tours at the company has grown around 15% a year. Most of these tourists come from major source markets like Singapore, Japan and Australia.

    Dung expects more foreign companies would choose Vietnam as a destination for tours combined with community activity.

    Ninh Thuan: charity programme saves 400 children with heart diseases

    The Association for Sponsorship of Poor Patients of Ninh Thuan Province has supported 401 children with congenital heart diseases over the past nine years.

    The figure was released by president of the association Hoang Thi Ut Lan at a conference to review the surgery programme for local children with congenital heart diseases from 2008 – 2017 on August 1.

    The operations, 393 conducted domestically and eight in the Republic of Korea, cost a total 29.5 billion VND (1.3 million USD).

    Addressing the event, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Van Binh called on organisations, units and individuals from the province and other localities to aid poor and needy patients, particularly children with congenital heart diseases.

    On the occasion, more than 1.3 billion VND (57,200 USD) was raised to help more needy child patients.

    Nine units and six individuals were honoured during the event for their contributions to the charity work.

    The association also presented 20 scholarships and some 200 gifts to needy children.

    Tay Ninh, Cambodian military strengthen coordination

    The Military High Command of southern Tay Ninh province and the Military Sub-regions of Cambodia’s Svay Rieng, Tbong Khmun, Oddar Meancheay and Prey Vieng provinces held a conference in Svay Rieng on August 1 to discuss cooperation for the rest of 2017.

    Since the beginning of this year, the sides have coordinated in sharing information and solving seven cases of border security violations.

    Together with cultural and sport exchange activities, Tay Ninh’s Military High Command provided 1.4 billion VND (61,600 USD) for the military sub-regions to improve infrastructure, while the Cambodian side helped search for and repatriate the remains of 674 Vietnamese soldiers who died in the country.

    At the conference, participants discussed measures to tighten ties, with a focus on making plans, intensifying information sharing to prevent crime and coordinating in protecting border markers and in border demarcation.

    ASEAN youths work for regional economic progress

    Representatives from the Vietnamese Government, the US Embassy and various ASEAN nations came together on August 1 and addressed the importance of a growing ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and Vietnam–US trade relations.

    At the opening ceremony of the 2017 Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) in Hanoi, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thi Nghia welcomed Ambassadors to Vietnam and 80 young delegates from ASEAN countries, saying it was an excellent occasion to remind all of the opportunities that AEC provides its members, and to overcome economic development challenges.

    Nghia also expressed hope that ASEAN youths would learn more about AEC and contribute to its growth.

    US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius remarked that the US was interested in the success of ASEAN and the AEC, as it is one of the leading investors in this region. He also said the US was committed to creating the most favourable conditions for the region and its youth to develop.

    Through discussions and panel talks, the event aimed to spread better understanding and share experience in balancing economic growth with sustainable development.

    According the ASEAN Secretariat’s data, ASEAN is the sixth largest economy in the world with 630 million people and nearly 2.6 trillion USD in gross domestic production at the end of 2016.

    Nghia suggested that "education is a leading solution in terms of both efficiency and sustainability in order to face rising socio-economic, environmental and non-traditional security challenges in the region". 

    She went on to list the eight ASEAN millennium development goals, including eradicating poverty, advocating education, gender equality, health, environment and global partnerships.

    Spanning four days from August 1 to August 4, the fourth annual YSEALI focuses on the AEC, the future for ASEAN economic cooperation and policy initiation. The event gathered outstanding youths from all countries in the region in a bid to enhance leadership and connection.

    Vietnam responds to World Breastfeeding Week 2017

    The Vietnam National Institute of Nutrition, the Alive and Thrive project and the Hanoi University of Technology launched an online training programme on child care to respond to the World Breastfeeding Week 2017 that runs from August 1-7.

    The 48-hour programme aims to strengthen the capacity of healthcare staff on supporting mothers in breastfeeding and weaning.

    This year, World Breastfeeding Week is themed “Sustainable Breastfeeding Together,” highlighting the significance of cooperation among governments, non-government organisations, research institutes, development partners and the private sector in promoting policies to increase the number of breastfed children.

    According to Le Danh Tuyen, Director of the Vietnam National Institute of Nutrition, breastfeeding is not just the job of the mother, as it requires support from many parties, including healthcare staff, family members, employers and policy-makers.

    He stressed that the institute is willing to work with all partners to create a favourable environment for the health of women and children.

    Research shows that breastfeeding significantly contributes to strengthening maternal and child health, while promoting economic growth. According to Lancet magazine, breastfeeding helps reduce healthcare costs and builds a stronger labour force.

    A report from UNICEF and the Alive and Thrive project said that optimal breastfeeding can save 23.36 million USD in spending for hospitals in Vietnam.

    New research also said that in Vietnam, increasing breastfeeding could save the lives of more than 2,000 children each year and contribute to reducing fatality among under-five children.

    Minh, Trâm win national blitz chess championship

    Lê Tuấn Minh of Bình Dương won the blitz chess event at the National Chess Team Championship in HCM City yesterday.

    Minh bagged eight points after nine rounds to take first place. Nguyễn Anh Khôi and Phạm Chương of HCM City were the runners-up with 7.5 and seven points.

    On the women’s side, Hoàng Thị Bảo Trâm of HCM City defeated more than 100 players to triumph with 8.5 points, followed by Nguyễn Thị Mai Hưng and Võ Thị Kim Phụng of Bắc Giang with 7.5 points each.

    Earlier, Trâm also won the women’s rapid chess category, while Tô Nhật Minh of Hà Nội won the men’s title.

    Following this tournament, the National Junior Chess Tournament is scheduled to be held in the northern port city of Hải Phòng on August 10-18. 

    Quang Tri: Turtle at risk of extinction released into wild

    The Con Co Island Marine Protected Area in the central province of Quang Tri and a local fisherman released an endangered green turtle into the sea on August 1.

    Tran Van Long, a fisherman in Cua Tung town, found the 70-kilogramme sea turtle stuck in his net while fishing in waters off Vinh Linh commune. The turtle is aged 35-40 and is one metre long. 

    Identified as a rare species, the turtle was tagged and released to the sea off Cua Tung town.

    This is the eighth species rescued by the management board of the  Con Co Island Marine Protected Area so far this year.

    New TV show aims to give fresh perspective on gender role

    A new TV programme offering a different view on gender roles is scheduled to make its debut this Sunday at 9pm on VTV2.

    “Cooking is easy” will feature Vietnamese husbands and boyfriends, with the guidance of a professional cook, attempting to prepare a meal for their loved ones.

    The show’s producers hope it will also help strengthen bonds between family members and encourage Vietnamese men to enter the kitchen and cook for the family, a task that is almost exclusively taken up by females in Việt Nam. 

    The show will provide homemakers with information on how to select the best ingredients, how to thoroughly purify and safely prepare family meals. It will also feature Western style dining etiquette and a basic introduction to wine selection and tasting.

    Regular couples as well as several celebrities are to make appearances on the show. The show’s producer, Truong Thanh Communication Company, said it had plans to produce up to 52 episodes or one for each week during the first year.

    Bắc Kạn cultural fest celebrates unity

    The Bắc Kạn cultural village festival 2017 has been held at the provincial cultural centre.  

    The two-day festival, which ends today, is organised by the province’s steering committee and themed “all citizens unite to build a cultural life”.

    It aims to popularise the state policy on creating a space for all quintessential cultural villages in the area. It will give groups a chance to meet, exchange and study each other’s experiences, allowing them to honour the outstanding faces in the movement; consolidate the achievements, and develop the culture and theVietnamese people.

    “The main content of the festival include the introduction of specific cultural beauties and outstanding faces and families of the villages, praising the reservation and promotion of typical cultural values of the country and the preclusion of social evils, superstition and unsound customs, as well as building the new countryside,” said Đinh Quang Tuyên, chairman of Bắc Kạn city’s people committee.

    Eight outstanding hamlets and villages are attending the festival. 

    Specific support needed for disadvantaged labourers

    Policies that aim to support disadvantaged labourers should cater to each type of labourer in society, experts have said.

    Some 13 million disadvantaged labourers were recorded in the country until the end of last year, accounting for 25 per cent of the total labour force, according to the Institute of Workers and Trade Union.

    Out of those 13 million, some 4.2 million are labourers with disabilities, 6.5 million are poor and one million are migrant workers. Some 180,000 have HIV/AIDS and 190,000 others are drug addicts and sex workers.

    Eighty per cent of disadvantaged labourers in Việt Nam reside in rural areas, with low education levels and no vocational training. Some 21.8 per cent are illiterate and 40 per cent have never had a job, Dr Vũ Minh Tiến, vice director of the union, said.

    “Without stable jobs, income and business capital, their lives are approaching a dead-end,” he said at a conference on policy recommendations to ensure the livelihoods of disadvantaged labourers in the 2015-30 period and beyond on Monday in HCM City.

    Despite the State’s loan support policies, there were no markets for the products produced by these disadvantaged labourers, hence they got stuck in the vicious circle of debt, unemployment and poverty, Võ Văn Tấn, chairman of the labour federation of the city’s Cần Giờ District, said.

    The migrant workers were having trouble with household registration policies, lecturer Vũ Văn Hiệu from Tôn Đức Thắng University said.

    “The household registration book should not be used as a tool to classify citizens, discriminating against migrant workers and preventing them from approaching job opportunities and basic social services,” he said.

    The vulnerability of disadvantaged labourers should be the central point of policies that aim to support and sustain their livelihoods, according to experts.

    Occupations provided for these labourers should be recoverable from occurrences, not dependent on outside support, and able to yield sustainable productivity and long-term benefits, they said.

    Court hands out tough sentences to heroin traffickers

    The Hà Nội People’s Court on Monday handed the death penalty to one drug trafficker and a life sentence to another in two cases.

    In the first case, the accused, Phan Văn Hùng, 36, a resident of the northern mountainous province of Lạng Sơn, received the death sentence for illegally trading heroin.

    On December 29, 2016, the Hà Đông District Police in Hà Nội caught Hùng transporting around 1.7kg of heroin in two nylon bags in a five-seater car. The police also seized two more nylon bags containing around 1.8kg of methamphetamine.

    Hùng confessed that he had been hired by a Chinese man to transport five bags of heroin and methamphetamine from Lạng Sơn Province to the northern Bắc Giang Province and Hà Nội, for which he would be paid VNĐ10 million (US$400) per bag. Before being caught, Hùng had delivered one bag with 900g of heroin to a man in Bắc Giang.

    In the second case, the court sentenced Chu Văn Phi, 46, a resident of Hà Nội’s Ba Vì District, to life, and Nguyễn Quang Ước, 33, a resident of Hà Nội’s Đống Đa District, to 18 years’ imprisonment for transporting heroin.

    On October 15, 2016, the Hà Nội Police caught Ước with around 145g of ketamine while he was driving his motorbike in Hai Bà Trưng District’s Minh Khai Ward.

    Ước revealed that while he was serving his earlier prison sentence, he became friends with Phi, who asked him to deliver the ketamine to an acquaintance.

    The police conducted a search of Phi’s house and confiscated another 1.1kg of heroin.

    Two companies stopped from exploiting sand from river

    The Hòa Bình People’s Committee on Monday temporarily stopped two companies from exploiting sand and gravel from the Đà River in Kỳ Sơn District.

    The two companies are Sahara Mineral Exploitation Joint-stock Company and Hùng Yến Co Ltd.

    The People’s Committee also asked the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment to join hands with concerned organisations to prepare documents about the two companies’ violations in mineral exploitation, check the quantity of sand and gravel being exploited by the two companies and monitor the situation on the ground to consider letting the companies restart their activities.

    Inspectors should patrol Hợp Thành and Hợp Thịnh communes in Kỳ Sơn District in the morning and at night to receive reports from residents and ensure timely action against violations by organisations and individuals exploiting and transporting sand and gravel from the Đà River.

    Earlier, last Wednesday, Nguyễn Văn Quang, chairman of Hòa Bình People’s Committee, met residents of Hợp Thịnh and Hợp Thành communes to resolve problems related to sand and gravel exploitation by the two companies.

    During the meeting, many residents asked the committee to withdraw licences for sand exploitation by the two companies following their violations.

    Repair fishing vessels post-haste: Deputy PM

    Repairing newly-built substandard offshore fishing vessels is a matter of great economic, political and social significance that should be done immediately, Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng said yesterday.

    Speaking at a conference held in Hà Nội to review implementation of the 2014 Government decree on development of the fisheries sector, the Deputy PM asked central and local leaders to focus on removing its limitations.

    The Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD) should review the fishing vessel registration process to ensure the ships are in good condition. Supervision of the shipbuilding process and the people involved should be stepped up, he said.

    He also wanted commercial banks to untangle loan procedures for fishermen.

    “Disciplinary action should be taken against individuals and organisations involved in the faulty implementation of the decree,” he said.

    The Deputy PM also called for changes to the decree that should be made public within the fourth quarter of this year and go into effect at the beginning of next year.

    Evaluating overall implementation of the decree in recent years, Deputy PM Dũng said it was a groundbreaking, comprehensive policy that served the needs of fishermen and contributed to the development of the country’s marine economy.

    Under Decree 67 (dated July 7, 2014), ship owners building steel or ships with new material (other than wood) with engine capacities between 400CV and 800CV can borrow up to 90 per cent of the total cost at the interest rate of 7 per cent per year.

    Reports from localities show that under the Decree, ship owners in 27 of 28 coastal provinces and cities had borrowed money to build and/or renovate 1,948 – or 85 per cent – of the total 2,284 fishing ships.

    As of July 31, some 760 vessels had been pressed into service. Of these 460 were newly-built (301 steel-clad ships, 53 composite and 407 wooden) and 105 others renovated.

    Earlier in May, some 40 ships built in the central provinces of Bình Định, Phú Yên, Thanh Hóa and Quảng Nam were reported to be in bad condition, their shells rusty, machines broken and equipment malfunctioning.

    Repairs of these vessels are expected to be completed by the end of next month.

    Deputy Agricultural Minister Vũ Văn Tám said there were shortcomings in the selection of shipbuilding companies, design consultation and construction supervision, since it was the first time fishermen were taking part in building steel-ships.

    This time, MARD would oversee the repairs and bring the vessels back into operation as soon as possible, he said. He asked fishermen to conduct periodical renovations and repairs.

    Tám also highlighted high interest rate on loans as a drawback of Decree 67. “Its loan mechanism is unsuitable for fishermen, and there is no risk management mechanism for commercial banks, which discourages fishermen from borrowing money and banks from providing loans,” he said. 

    VN, neighbours discuss migrant work

    Ensuring social security, knowledge and stable incomes for workers is a top priority for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Việt Nam, Deputy Minister of  Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Doãn Mậu Diệp, said yesterday.

    He spoke at the opening of a Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) from these countries in central Đà Nẵng City.

    He said the meeting of the so-called CLMTV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Việt Nam) forum played an important role in the context of the rising number of migrant workers in the five countries.

    “The co-operation among CLMTV nations has achieved sustainable prosperity goals and boosted integration and economic connections. Migrant workers make considerable contributions to countries’ economic growth and sustainable development, but it also presents challenges for nations in dealing with human resources management and training, as well as related problems,” Diệp said.

    Việt Nam hopes representatives of the relevant countries, the International Labour Organisation and the International Organisation of Migration will discuss and review achievements in vocational training, prevention of human trafficking and illegal migrant labour, as well as legal support and worker protection.

    Diệp said the meeting would be an opportunity to focus on migrant worker safety and related challenges ahead of the Ministerial Declaration at today’s CLMTV Ministers Meeting.

    Acording to Dr Nguyễn Hổng Minh from Việt Nam’s General Department of Vocational Training Việt Nam has 53 million employees, 22 per cent of them are trained workers with diplomas or certificates.

    But the rate of skilled workers with vocational training is only 38.5 per cent, considered low. According to a report issued last year, the country had nearly 2,000 vocational training centres in which 2.2 million students were enrolled.

    Participants also joined discussions on promotion of legal cross-border employment and bilateral agreements, addressing the root causes of irregular migration and unprotected migrant workers.

    Participants agreed on the need to raise awareness of their people of safe labour immigration, rights, benefits, responsibilities and obligations. Migrant workers should undergo courses on employment contracts, language, culture, discipline, and laws in destination countries. 

    Judicial Affairs Committee starts 6th plenary session

    Yesterday in HCM City, the National Assembly’s Judicial Affairs Committee opened its 6th plenary session (lasting 2 days) to discuss reports and proposals from directors of Supreme People’s Procuracies, Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court, and amendments to the Judicial Records Act.

    On the first working day, the committee reviewed a proposal by the head of the People’s Procuracy on a job scheme in the Procuracy branch – which would include 226 positions at all levels, with a total of at least 17,516 employees on the state payroll (10.4 per cent higher than the current number of 15,860).

    The assessment council of the committee said that the necessity for increased employment must be studied further, and the proposed scheme would be submitted to the National Assembly’s Standing Committee for feedback, as the Party is advocating for streamlined civil service.

    Also, the committee discussed a proposal by the Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court in which regulations on dress code – including materials and forms for the black robe, and ornamental linings indicating ranks/seniority – of the judges of People’s Courts are put forth.

    Lê Thị Nga, Chairwoman of the committee, basically concurred with the proposal, saying that a court dress protocol for judges is a necessity and in line with international practices as “the presiding judges act on behalf of the State, serving justice.”

    Previously, on June 13, 2016, the NA issued Resolution 1214 on piloting the dress code, and the People’s Supreme Court has implemented the regulations in some provinces and cities, and high satisfaction was reported.

    This time, the Judicial Committee unanimously agreed to submit the bill to the NA’s Standing Committee for review and passing, in which the new uniform requirement will be enforced starting from the beginning of 2018, 2 black robes will be issued for each judge for each of their five-year terms.

    Golf tournament connects Vietnamese in Europe

    Golfers from 11 European countries and Vietnam recently teed off at Sweden Open 2017 at the 45-hole Barsebäck Golf & Country Club, considered one of Europe's most beautiful and best golf facilities.

    It is part of the Golf Championship of the European Vietnamese Golf Association.

    Golfer Nguyen Gia Bao from Russia said the Vietnamese community in Europe is united through the golf tournament, which started about eight years ago.

    This golf tournament is big and helps Vietnamese expatriates become closer to each other. 

    PM approves national health target programme

    Vietnam aims to curb the annual ratio of infections and fatalities due to dengue below 0.09 percent by 2020 and early detect oral, breast, cervical and colorectal cancer in nearly 20 percent of people.

    More than 95 percent of under one-year-old children will be fully vaccinated while all centrally-run cities and provinces will have markets ensuring food safety.

    These were mentioned in the Prime Minister’s approved national target programme on healthcare and population for 2016-2020. 

    The programme will be carried out in provinces and cities nationwide at a total expense of 19.38 trillion VND (852.72 million USD).

    It comprises eight sub-projects on preventing communicable diseases and common incommunicable ones, expanded vaccination, population and development, food safety and HIV/AIDS prevention.

    The programme also aims to prevent haematological diseases, as well as provide healthcare services for army and people in sea, island, border areas and key security defence regions, while evaluating healthcare communications.

    PM approves dissemination about global integration events

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has recently approved a plan to promote dissemination work on global integration events in 2017-2020. 

    The plan aims to popularise images of Vietnam, its culture and people at home and abroad, contributing to improving Vietnam’s stature in the international arena. 

    It targets ministries, ministry-level agencies and those from the central to local level, socio-political-economic organisations, businesses, foreign entities operating in Vietnam, researchers, students, workers, citizens from ASEAN member states, Vietnam’s strategic partners and countries that signed free trade agreements with Vietnam. 

    The work will focus on the Party’s policies and guidelines, State laws on global integration, Vietnam’s achievements in politics, national defence-security, socio-economy, education-training, science-technology, bilateral and multilateral cooperation with countries and international organisations. 

    Information will be regularly disseminated via mass media such as Vietnam News Agency, Vietnam Television, Radio the Voice of Vietnam, Nhan dan newspaper, grassroots media and prestigious news websites.

    Between now and 2020, Vietnam will assume a number of positions such as host of APEC Year 2017, ASEAN Chair in 2020 and bid for non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council for 2020-2021. The country is due to deliver on international commitments regarding entry to the World Trade Organisation by 2018 and embark on several free trade agreements.

    Exhibition on Cham culture in An Giang, Ninh Thuan opens

    An exhibition themed “Cham culture in An Giang and Ninh Thuan provinces” kicked off in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang on August 1.

    The event was held in the lead up to the 72nd anniversary of the August Revolution and National Day (Sept. 2).

    As many as 131 photos and nearly 250 exhibits are on display, including ancient tools, Bau Truc pottery products, My Nghiep woven products, traditional music instruments and costumes of Cham people in Ninh Thuan province, among others.

    The event aimed to introduce the unique culture of the Cham ethnic minority group in An Giang and Ninh Thuan provinces.

    The exhibition runs until September 29 at the An Giang Museum.

    Int’l conference promotes sea-island tourism development

    Tapping huge potential of sea and island tourism coupled with preserving natural landscapes was discussed at an international conference jointly held by Ton Duc Thang University and the National Penghu University of Science and Technology, Taiwan (China) on August 1.

    The event drew the participation of over 40 researchers, lecturers as well as tourism students from Australia, Austria, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, the UK and the US.

    Experience in sea tourism model development as well as education activities on environmental protection were shared at the conference. Some researchers also analysed impacts of tourism development on the socio-economy and local livelihoods while highlighting public efforts to develop tourism sustainably.

    Speaking at the event, Tran Trong Dao, Vice Rector of Ton Duc Thang University, underlined that Vietnam boasts huge potential for sea tourism development, however, unprofessional investment in human resources and shortage of highly-competitive tourism products have hampered the development.

    Meanwhile, Chun-Chieh Hu from the National Penghu University of Science and Technology said that sea tourism development strategies are built based on scientific research evaluating the influence of technology on natural environment and local residents.

    Other participants also agreed that enhancing quality of high-ranking tourism managers plays a key role in developing sea-island tourism in line with global trend.-

    Lao national arrested for smuggling 10,000 drug pills into Vietnam

    A 49-year-old Lao national was arrested in Ngoc Hoi district, the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum on July 31 for allegedly attempting to smuggle over 10,000 drug pills into Vietnam.

    Thao Ef from Laos’ Bolikhamxay province was caught red-handed transporting 10,020 methamphetamine pills by anti-drug police and border guards at Iec hamlet of Bo Y commune which shares the border with Laos.

    The authorities also discovered him possessing many knives of different sizes and other types of weapons which were used to resist arrest.

    ASEAN Cultural Day opens in Vinh Phuc

    ASEAN Cultural Day took place in the northern province of Vinh Phuc on August 1 to celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of the bloc with the participation of representatives from the embassies of the ASEAN member countries in Vietnam.

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Vu Viet Van said the event offers participants a chance to learn more about special cultural values of the ASEAN member states, and hoped that it will also foster friendship and economic and cultural exchanges between Vinh Phuc and the ASEAN nations as well as build the ASEAN Community of peace, prosperity and sustainability. 

    Speaking at the event, Indonesia’s Ambassador to Vietnam Ibnu Hadi said in recent years, Vinh Phuc has become an attractive destination for foreign investors from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. 

    Indonesia is now among top 20 investors in Vietnam, with Japfa Comfeed Vietnam being one of the 500 largest enterprises in the country. 

    The province currently records 27 projects by ASEAN investors with a total registered capital of over 500 million USD. 

    In education - training, Vinh Phuc has assisted Laos in training hundreds of tertiary and post-tertiary students. 

    Meanwhile, Singapore and the Philippines have helped Vinh Phuc train hundreds of English teachers under the government’s project on teaching and studying foreign languages in the national education system for the 2008-2020 period. 

    During the event, a music exchange between the  ASEAN member states and an exhibition themed “ASEAN – Peace and Development” were organised.


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  • 08/02/17--02:39: Article 3
  • SOE restructuring must be more efficient: experts

    HÀ NỘI – The restructuring of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) needs to be done more efficiently so that they become engines that boost economic growth, experts said.
    SOE restructuring must be more efficient: experts

    The SOE restructuring process is being implemented very slowly and poorly, according to the report on strengthening state-owned enterprises in the 2016-2020 period (facts and effects), released by the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM).

    From 2016 to May 2017, only five SOEs were equitised, while the assets of 38 SOEs were evaluated but they did not receive approval for equitisation. Another 107 SOEs are in the evaluation process. Till date, equitisation has been slow and the quality of equitisation activities has not improved. 

    Selling state-owned shares continues to be difficult, the report says. The reasons are that the policy for selling shares has not changed, and many of the regulations are not grounded in reality. As a result, state-owned shares have not attracted investors outside of enterprises.

    The report also pointed out that during the 2011-15 period, eight SOEs were declared bankrupt, but from 2016 till date, only one SOE has been declared bankrupt. This is a low figure when the huge losses incurred by SOEs are taken into account.

    "The primary reason for this low bankruptcy rate is that the managers and employees of SOEs facing losses do not want them to be declared bankrupt," said Phạm Đức Trung, head of CIEM’s corporate development and reform department. 

    The other reasons for low equitisation rate are poor fiscal discipline and weak corporate management.

    Also, SOEs have received a lot of aid when they encountered difficulties, so they have not prioritised their own restructuring. Enterprises that are making losses and have inefficient investment projects have not been dealt with thoroughly and in accordance with prescribed rules.

    CIEM director Nguyễn Đình Cung said that if the restructuring of SOEs was accelerated, hundreds of trillions of US dollars in capital would get pumped into the economy, creating a new growth engine that could help even exceed targets. However, if there was no strong will to restructure SOEs, it would be difficult to achieve the GDP growth target of 6-7 per cent for 2017.

    State assets, including SOEs, must be used more efficiently, instead of trying to boost the economy by increasing the exploitation of crude oil and coal, and mineral exports, Cung advised.

    Việt Nam’s restructuring plan for SOEs by 2020 will focus on the restructuring of the industries and management. Around 240 SOEs are scheduled to be restructured by 2020. Of this, 103 state-owned and local state-owned enterprises will remain with the state, while it will continue to hold controlling shares in 31 SOEs. The state will also hold less than 50 per cent of the capital in 106 SOEs.

    Cung said currently the biggest problem for SOEs was the lack of a supervision model. 

    Many economists have said that it is urgent to restructure state-owned assets to collect the maximum state-owned capital from equitisation and continue improving the efficiency of corporate management and operations.

    Trần Tiến Cường, head of the team compiling the report, said the process of equitising SOEs must be more efficient, and especially large enterprises at the risk of collapse must be handled carefully. The government has to strengthen the direction and perfect the mechanisms and regulations related to the rights and obligations of related parties in the restructuring process, focusing on equitisation activities.

    Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Đặng Huy Đông said that it was necessary to improve the management and supervision of SOEs, to increase transparency of information on their operations, and to enhance the inspection and supervision of the operations of state-owned economic groups and corporations.

    In addition, the heads of ministries, localities, state economic groups and corporations should take more responsibility in implementing the restructuring and equitisation plans, Đông said, adding that the government must take strict action against business leaders who don’t efficiently restructure and manage the SOEs. - VNS

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  • 08/02/17--02:58: Article 2
  • The wary balance of the market-based economy

    Although Vietnam’s business community has been the backbone of the country’s market-based economy over the past decades, it has experienced its share of ups and downs.

    Professor Nguyen Mai, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises, provides a look back over the years, with an eye towards the future.

     Vietnam’s 30-year transition from a concentrated and subsidised economy to a market-based one has resulted in remarkable changes in the development of the country’s enterprises.

    The economy used to rely on state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and agricultural and small-scale co-operatives.

    However, over the past three decades it has become characterised by the increasing development of private enterprises, whose numbers now come to over 620,000, including over 20,000 foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs). Many SOEs have been equitised, and the wholly-owned SOEs are almost all major ones.

    The resolution of the 12th Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee’s (CPVCC) fifth plenary meeting stated, “Market factors and types of markets have been formed in a more synchronous manner, and they have become increasingly linked with the regional and global markets. Almost all goods and services have been traded under the market mechanism. The investment and business climate has improved more significantly; the right to freedom in doing business and equally competing among enterprises in economic sectors has been better ensured.”

    However, the resolution also underscored limitations: “The operational effectiveness of economic entities and types of enterprises in the economy remain limited. There remains inequality among economic entities in approaching some social resources. Administrative reform remains slow. The investment and business climate has yet to become completely stable and transparent. The right to freedom in conducting business has yet to be fully respected. The right to ownership of assets has yet to be guaranteed.”

    Overcoming these abovementioned weaknesses will create new momentum for the development of enterprises in Vietnam.

    30 years after the Doi moi reforms, Vietnam’s economy is still taking shape, Photo: Le Toan

    Role of policies

    In the past, most people underestimated the private economic sector and overvalued the state-owned economic sector. Currently, however, many doubt the efficiency of the latter, saying that it operates inefficiently and that the former is serving as the engine of the country’s development.

    But these inefficiencies stem mostly from unsound policies which have impeded the sector’s operation.

    SOEs such as Vinashin and Vinalines have become examples of wastefulness, corruption, and inefficiency. Other SOEs like Viettel and Vinamilk have grown into national brand names.

    At the same time, private firms as Vingroup and Sungroup have been active in many sectors and won consumers’ trust. However, the success of other firms has come second to their ownerships’ conflicted interests, badly impacting the formulation of government policies and the implementation of public investment projects.

    Thus enterprises’ importance should not be assessed based on their ownership ratios, but on the following criteria:

    - Socio-economic efficiency: Excluding some public enterprises and non-profit social concerns, the majority of enterprises pursue profit as their prime purpose. Profit has prompted enterprises to renew themselves and improve their competitiveness, and accumulate capital for development.

    The country is now in critical need of large-scale enterprises, which can make bigger contributions to the socio-economic development of localities and the country as a whole.

    - Market mechanism: Enterprises must be able to perform in a favourable ecosystem and freely compete in a stable, open, and transparent legal framework. They must be equally treated in access to the market, investments and business opportunities, loans, and other financial resources.

    The state conducts management in a manner to facilitate enterprises’ performance, and interferes with the market when necessary in order to shun monopolies and unhealthy competition, which can distort market relations.

    These two criteria can lay a foundation to create a system to assess the socio-economic effectiveness of all types of enterprises.

    Accordingly, the state will make policies for developing enterprises in service of the country’s socio-economic development.

    Need for equality

    Equality in access to resources based on socio-economic efficiency, not equity ownership and enterprise size, is key to the usage of resources, which are always limited, for projects and other things favourable to national development.

    Currently, access to land, public investment capital, bank loans, and investment funds is not equal and fair among enterprises. Specifically:

    - In terms of access to land, according to the Vietnam Chamber of Industry and Commerce, “in 2016, enterprises claimed that the land usage situation became more volatile than ever… Risk in land withdrawal has reached a record level.”

    While some big enterprises have been given large land areas and delayed their projects intended for the land without being punished, many small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have faced difficulties in acquiring small-sized land plots.

    - SMEs have been finding it difficult to access financial sources, and have missed many investment and business opportunities, while many SOEs are wasting huge amounts of capital sourced from state coffers.

    - Though some commercial banks have offered credit packages to SMEs, only 25-30 per cent of the packages’ value has been given to these enterprises annually, because of various difficulties, especially property-related mortgages.

    - SMEs are also finding it difficult to access the state’s support funds due to legal barriers. Over the past few years, the government has established some support funds on technological renovation and SME support, while many localities have also had incentives for SMEs.

    However, according to experts, such funds and incentives have proven not to be feasible to SMEs due to inconsistent regulations between the funds and related laws.

    Removing difficulties for enterprises to be really equal in access to resources would necessitate amendments, supplementations, and perfection of the market-based economic institution. Highly-motivated officials are willing to push for these efforts and support to enterprises would be needed to make it a reality.

    Development of FDI

    The state has already had its own policies to develop each type of enterprises, like SOEs, non-state-owned enterprises, and FIEs.

    The equitisation of SOEs and improvement of SOEs’ operational effectiveness have been conducted over the past two decades-plus, and they are now at the final stage for shaping the state economic sector in the market-based economy.

    Regarding privately-owned enterprises, the resolution of the fifth plenary meeting of the 12th CPVCC also declared, “The private economic sector serves as an important driving force for economic development. The state economic sector, the collective economic sector, and the private economic sector are key to the development of the independent and self-reliant economy.”

    The resolution has set out a system of ideas and solutions to the development of the private economic sector in a bid to create about two million private enterprises, which will be able to generate 60-65 per cent of GDP by 2030.     

    This year marks 30 years since the National Assembly enacted the Law on Foreign Direct Investment on July 29, 1987. This being the case, it seems an appropriate time to review the achievements made by foreign direct investment (FDI), as well as its limitations.

    During this 30-year period, FDI has steadily grown – though it declined in the periods of 1997-2004 and 2008-2011, when the world’s economy was faced with economic crises.

    But overall, FDI has served as a strong impetus of the economy. It currently accounts for 20 per cent of total development investment capital, and creates 20 per cent of GDP, about 50 per cent of industrial output, 72 per cent of total export turnover, and almost four million direct jobs and millions of secondary market jobs.

    However, many FDI projects have also raised concerns over environmental pollution, transfer pricing, tax evasion, and labour disputes.

    Given the country’s shift to a new development stage and the world’s investment situation becoming more favourable to Vietnam, the government needs a new, effective, and sustainable FDI attraction scheme, which will help the country receive high technologies and services induced by the Industry 4.0 revolution.

    An issue of no less importance is to establish links between FIEs – especially multinational groups – with local enterprises, so that Vietnam’s enterprises can join the global value chain more effectively in the sectors its FIEs operate in.

    This would help the country gradually create a stronger brand name domestically and globally, and enable the FDI sector to have a bigger spillover effect across the economy.


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  • 08/02/17--03:12: Article 1
  • Domestic air carriers post huge profits in H1

    Domestic airlines posted huge revenues and profits in the first half of 2017 following a 19.5% year-on-year growth of the aviation market with the number of air passengers reaching 30.3 million, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV).

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    There are currently 63 foreign airlines from 25 countries and territories operating international flights to and from Vietnam.

    On the domestic market, four domestic airlines namely Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Jetstar Pacific Airlines and VASCO are operating 52 domestic air routes connecting Hanoi, Danang and HCMC with 18 local airports. Local and foreign carriers also have conducted chartered flights to Can Tho, Dalat and Vinh among others.

    Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air, two domestic largest airlines, both posted huge revenues and profits in the year’s first half.

    Vietjet’s business report for the first six months of 2017 released last week shows that both revenue and profit of the airline far exceeded the plan.

    In particular, Vietjet posted revenue of over VND10.7 trillion (nearly US$472 million), up 45.1% compared to the same period last year, and reaching 108% of the six-month plan. Its pre-tax profit amounted to nearly VND1.1 trillion, up 46% year-on-year.

    Vietjet is operating 73 domestic and international air routes. The number of people flying with Vietjet in January-June totaled 8.27 million, a rise of 22.4% year-on-year.

    Meanwhile, the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines served nearly 10.3 million air passengers in the first six months of 2017, increasing by 6% compared to the same period last year.

    The airline’s revenue totaled nearly VND43 trillion, up 18% year-on-year, and pre-tax profit was estimated at VND830 billion, 51% of the year’s plan.

    As of mid-2017, Vietnam Airlines had a fleet of 11 Boeing 787-9 and seven A350 aircraft.

    The growth of the domestic aviation market is forecast to slow down in the coming time but double-digit growth will be achievable.

    However, the business performance of the airlines may be affected when the country’s biggest airports, Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat, are partially closed for repair and upgrade by the end of this year.


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  • 08/02/17--03:34: Article 0
  • How can Vietnamese transfer USD abroad to pay for house purchases?

    Experts believe that no less than $8-9 billion flows out of Vietnam every year through different channels, despite Vietnam’s tight forex policy.

     vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, NAR, real estate market, MOC

    A report from NAR (National Association of Realtors) showed that in the last fiscal year, from April 2016 to March 2017, foreigners spent $153 billion to buy 284,455 real estate products in the US.

    Of this amount, $3.06 billion, or 2 percent, was spent by Vietnamese. Since 2007, Vietnamese have been among the biggest realty buyers in the country, accounting for 1 percent, except in 2009 and 2012.

    Of this amount, $3.06 billion, or 2 percent, was spent by Vietnamese. Since 2007, Vietnamese have been among the biggest realty buyers in the country, accounting for 1 percent, except in 2009 and 2012.

    The information has stirred up the public. The question is not why Vietnamese are so rich to be able to buy houses in the US, but how they can transfer money abroad to make payment for house purchases.

    Under the current regulations, individuals when traveling abroad must not bring more than $5,000.

    Nguyen Tri Hieu, a banking expert, said on Tuoi Tre that SBV keeps strict control over the remittances abroad, while individuals only can remit money to pay for legitimate services such as study and healthcare.

    To be able to buy houses in the US and remit money via banks, citizens have to make investments or set up businesses in the US. However, the number of these investors is modest. Therefore, Hieu thinks the money has been transferred through unofficial channels.

    Dung, a woman in HCMC who has bought a house in Houston, Texas, when interviewed by Thanh Nien about how to transfer money abroad, said she did this through different channels. The majority of the amount of money was transferred through intermediary services with the fee of 1 percent.

    She had to give money to service providers in Vietnam in advance and her partner will receive the money after 3-4 days. The service is a referral from her friends. Dung said there are many such money transfer rings.

    “The money may be exchanged with kieu hoi remitters from the US, or with travelers and businesspeople who come to Vietnam,” she said.

    Meanwhile, a HCMC-based company which gives consultancy on buying houses in the US said the company has a partner which provides kieu hoi services with branches in many countries, including the US. An executive of the company affirmed that the remittance of millions of dollars can be implemented through the company very quickly.

    Besides, money can also be transferred under the mode of export contracts signed between Vietnamese and US companies. The fee for the service is 2-3 percent.

    Le Hoang Chau from the Vietnam Real Estate Association said if the figure released by NAR is true, this means there are loopholes in forex management.


    Luong Bang, VNN

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  • 08/03/17--01:34: Article 0
  • South Korean investors ‘play big’ in Vietnam’s finance & banking market

    Vietnamese bankers have been warned that they should beware of not only well-known banks from Japan, UK, Singapore and the US, but rivals from South Korea as well.

    vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, South Korean FDI, FIA, MPI 

    Korea Development Bank (KDB) in mid-April signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement with Vietnam’s BIDV.

    Of equitized banks, BIDV now has the highest state’s ownership ratio, over 95 percent, which also means that the there is still room for foreign investors in the bank – 30 percent as stipulated by law.

    Vietnamese bankers have been warned that they should beware of not only well-known banks from Japan, UK, Singapore and the US, but rivals from South Korea as well.

    Since BIDV began listing its shares in 2014, the bank’s managers said it was looking for foreign partners and considering selling 25-30 percent of capital.

    BIDV’s CEO Phan Duc Tu recently confirmed that the bank wants to find foreign strategic partners. The biggest problem for the bank is that while it cannot sell stakes at prices lower than the market, investors want discount rates when buying a stake in large lots.

    Besides the South Korean partner, BIDV has one more partner, from Japan. Analysts commented that they may become strategic partners of the bank with the biggest total assets in Vietnam.

    Recently, Daegu, another large South Korean bank, signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement with Vietnam’s OCB, a joint stock bank.

    In South Korea, Daegu now holds 50 percent of the market share for providing loans to SMEs. According to OCB’s CEO Nguyen Dinh Tung, OCB hopes Daegu would give support to OCB in many different fields, from remittances, international payments to product and SME client development.

    In 2008, Shinhan became one of the first five 100 percent foreign owned banks licensed in Vietnam. In late 2011, to confirm its commitments to make long-term investment in Vietnam, Shinhan bought a 50 percent stake of Shinhan Vina, a 50/50 joint venture between Shinhan and Vietnam’s Vietcombank, and changed its name to Shinhan Vietnam.

    The name of the bank was mentioned recently after it outstripped four rivals to acquire ANZ Vietnam’s retail banking division. Sources said the division is very ‘lucrative’ and the South Korean bank paid a higher amount to get it.

    In early August 2016, Woori Bank, another bank from South Korea, got a license to open a 100 percent foreign owned bank in Vietnam.

    Analysts said that the moves all show great interest of South Korean bankers in the Vietnamese finance & banking market and their plans to ‘play big’ here.

    Shinhan Vietnam’s CEO, speaking to the Korean press, said the bank hopes to become the sixth largest bank in credit card in Vietnam and is targeting the third position in the next two to three  years.

    Nam Hai, VNN

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  • 08/05/17--07:05: Article 1
  • Commercial banks propose SBV to set higher credit growth limit

    From early 2017 till now, many commercial banks have almost reached the lending growth cap set by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and are now requesting SBV to set a higher credit growth limit to ensure more room for lending. 

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    Running out of lending room

    In the first half of 2017, Vietnam International Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VIB) has almost reached the lending growth cap of 16 per cent. Its outstanding credit balance was nearly VND75.7 trillion ($3.3 billion), an equivalent credit growth rate of 15.7 per cent. 

    Most of VIB’s credit growth derives from retail loans, which rose more than 30 per cent compared to the end of 2016. Thus, while the cap for VIB was 16 per cent for the whole year, VIB’s credit growth has been 15.7 per cent in the first half.

    Han Ngoc Vu, general director of VIB, said that the bank proposed SBV to raise the credit growth limit. If the proposal is approved, VIB will have more room for lending, especially at the end of the year when the demand for borrowing usually increases.

    After the first six months of 2017, Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank)’s credit growth rate was 12 per cent, increasing from VND144 trillion ($6.3 billion) at the end of 2016 to VND162 trillion ($7.1 billion) at the end of June 2017.

    Thus, in the second half of 2017, VPBank has only 4 per cent room for lending, while this period often sees an increasing demand for borrowing. At the end of the year people usually have higher demand for shopping and this is a chance for banks to expand market share in the credit sector and boost profit.

    VPBank earned a consolidated pre-tax profit of nearly VND3.3 trillion ($145.2 million) in the first half of 2017 thanks to its credit growth. This profit exceeded the target for the first half by 10 per cent and is equivalent to an increase of 107 per cent compared to the same period last year.

    Meanwhile, Do Minh Toan, general director of Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB), said that in the first half, ACB had reached nearly a half of the maximum credit growth rate and it is proposing SBV to extend its room for lending.

    To extend or not to extend?

    As the credit growth rate increased significantly in the first half, there have been concerns over credit growth spinning out of control. In previous years, banks’ credit growth significantly increased at the end of the year, instead of in the first half. With the current growth rate, credit growth may far exceed the target of 18-20 per cent initially set by SBV.

    However, according to some banks, at early 2017, SBV set the credit growth rate of 15-16 per cent instead of the 18 per cent in previous years. The reason is that SBV wanted to control the credit rate at the beginning of the year to control the money supply and stabilise inflation.

    From now till the end of 2017, if the macro-economy is getting better with a more stable inflation, SBV may set a higher lending growth cap for banks.

    Meanwhile, according to Pham Hong Hai, general director of HSBC Bank (Vietnam) Ltd. (HSBC Vietnam), the credit growth rate of 16 per cent set at the beginning of the year may mean that SBV is reluctant to go for the usual 18 per cent.

    Dr. Bui Quang Tin from the Business Administration Faculty of Banking University of Ho Chi Minh City agreed that the current credit growth rate is appropriate to the targets and orientations of SBV.

    Also, he added that during the rest of 2017, SBV will keep controlling the credit growth of the whole banking system to ensure safety and efficiency. However, SBV will have to implement some adjustments to reach the targets set by the National Assembly and the government in 2017.

    - As of June 30, 2017, total credit growth was up 9.06 per cent in comparison with the corresponding period last year. Nevertheless, this growth does not affect the interest rate.

    - SBV Governor Le Minh Hung said that most loans were for manufacturing and business.


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  • 08/05/17--07:17: Article 0
  • Foreign shareholders in Vietnamese firms raking in the profits

    Thai, Japanese and Danish investors are earning trillions of dong from the shares of profitable Vietnamese enterprises they are holding.

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    Vinamilk, the nation’s leading dairy producer, has announced an advance on the 2017 dividend payment of 20 percent, or VND2,000 per share. With the decision, Vinamilk’s big shareholders will pocket big money.

    F&N Dairy Investments, belonging to Singapore F&N where Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi holds the controlling stakes will receive VND460 billion. This is the biggest foreign shareholder in Vinamilk with 16 percent of charter capital. Meanwhile, the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) will receive VND1.1 trillion.

    Thai, Japanese and Danish investors are earning trillions of dong from the shares of profitable Vietnamese enterprises they are holding.

    Beginning investing in Vinamilk in 2005, F&N Dairy Investments in late 2016, together with F&N Bev Manufacturing, spent $500 million to buy 60 percent of the shares offered by SCIC in a plan to divest state capital from Vinamilk.

    Petrolimex Vietnam, which is now controlling 60 percent of the petrleum distribution market, has also announced the payment of VND3,224 per share in dividends. MOIT, the biggest shareholder, will pocket the majority of the dividends.

    However, the public’s attention has been drawn to a foreign shareholder in Petrolimex - JX Nippon Oil & Energy (JX). The Japanese giant in 2016 spent VND4 trillion to acquire 8 percent of capital and become the strategic shareholder of Petrolimex. It’s clear that JX has made a fat profit as Petrolimex share price has increased by 50 percent this year.

    Dozens of foreign investors, individual and institutional, have also reaped fruit as ACV shares of the Airports Corporation of Vietnam have increased by four times in price, from VND14,000 per share in late 2015 when ACV held its IPO to VND50,000.

    Vietcombank and VietinBank have fixed the plan to pay a dividend of 7 percent in cash. Mizuho, a Japanese bank, with 15 percent of Vietcombank shares, is the strategic shareholder of the bank. In late 2011, Mizuho spent VND11.8 trillion, or $567 million, to acquire the shares.

    The huge dividends and the satisfactory business performance of Vietnamese enterprises have prompted foreign investors to hunt for shares of profitable companies.

    Foreign investors continue to seek Vinamilk shares despite five to six failures this year.

    On July 25, the public was stirred up by the news that foreign investors had collected 25 percent of PGD shares, worth VND1.3 trilion.

    The investors paid VND56,600 per share to collect 22.4 million shares of the gas company, a price much higher than the market price of VND50,800 per share.

    The recent announcement by MOIT that it would complete the divestment within 2017 has caused Sabeco’s and Habeco’s share prices to skyrocket. These are shares that foreign investors, including Carlsberg, which now holds a 17 percent stake in Habeco, are interested in.

    M. Ha, VNN

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  • 08/06/17--01:51: Article 1
  • Only 15 foreigners, Viet Kieu own houses in Ho Chi Minh City

    Vague regulations on foreign property ownership continue to put off non-resident homebuyers

    ​Only 15 foreigners, Viet Kieu own houses in Ho Chi Minh City
    Foreigners look for an apartment in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    Only 15 foreigners and Viet Kieu (overseas Vietnamese) were granted certificates of house ownership in Ho Chi Minh City as of May 15, according to statistics from the municipal Department of Construction.

    The reality is in stark contrast with a government decree and new housing laws enacted in 2015, which relaxed requirements for foreigners to own properties in Vietnam.

    Tran Vinh Tuyen, deputy chairman of Ho Chi Minh City, recently issued a dispatch to the city’s departments, police and military command demanding that the bodies work toward further facilitating the issuance of house ownership certificates to foreign individuals and organizations.

    The dispatch rapped the relevant bodies for their inertia in implementing a previous directive from the municipal administration, in which it requested the urgent determination of zones off-limits to foreigners due to national defense and security reasons.

    The lack of clear guidelines on the restricted areas had slowed the processing of house ownership applications by foreigners in the city, the dispatch noted.

    “The Department of Construction must take responsibility for this delay as the body is in charge of coordinating the determination of national defense and security zones,” the deputy chairman said.

    “In most cases, foreigners who apply for house ownership are looking for long-term settlement rather than making a profit from re-selling their property,” said Hoang Manh Thang, head of a notary office in Ho Chi Minh City. “However, they often change their minds upon learning that they would have to wait for a conclusion on which areas were off-limits to foreigners.”

    According to statistics provided by the municipal Department of Construction, only 15 foreigners and Vietnamese living abroad were granted certificates of house ownership in Ho Chi Minh City as of May 15.

    Deputy chairman Tuyen has urged relevant authorities to speed up their determination of restricted zones in the city as well as publish a complete list of realty projects that foreigners are not allowed to own.

    In 2015, a government decree and new housing laws came into effect, granting foreign organizations and individuals the right to own at most 30 percent of the apartments in a condo building.

    For individual properties in an area with a population equivalent to that in a ward-level administrative unit, foreigners are permitted to own a maximum of 250 houses under 50-year leases.

    After the 50-year period, foreign individuals can extend the ownership once, but not for more than 50 years.

    The old law permitted them to own only one piece of property for a maximum time frame of 50 years.

    Zones considered sensitive to national defense and security are off-limits to foreign buyers.

    By Tuoi Tre News 

    0 0
  • 08/06/17--02:06: Article 0
  • BSR wants guaranteed loan for oil refinery upgrade

    Binh Son Refining & Petrochemical (BSR) is seeking a $1.26 billion government-guaranteed loan out of the total $1.8 billion needed to upgrade the Dung Quat Oil Refinery. 

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    In a report about submitted by BSR to MOIT in April 2017, the Dung Quat Oil refinery will be expanded to increase capacity from 6.5 million tons of crude oil to 8.5 million tons and be able to refine all kinds of crude oil, not only the oil at White Tiger, so that petrol products can be upgraded from Euro 2 standard to Euro 5 by 2021.

    The total investment capital for the second phase of the Dung Quat Oil Refinery is $1.813 billion, of which 30 percent will be stockholder equity. The company will have to borrow 70 percent of capital needed.

    The total investment capital for the second phase of the Dung Quat Oil Refinery is $1.813 billion, of which 30 percent will be stockholder equity. The company will have to borrow 70 percent of capital needed.

    Tran Ngoc Nguyen, CEO of BSR, on July 18 told the local press that BSR wants the government to act as the guarantee for the loan with the lowest possible cost and longest possible term, especially from ECA (export credit agency).

    Nguyen said in 2016, BSR once asked for the guarantee for a loan and it has been waiting for the government to check the projects it would provide guarantees for in 2017.

    “The project on upgrading and expanding the oil refinery is an effective investment project. It will satisfy the requirements of Euro 5 standards and bring long-term benefits,” Nguyen said about the feasibility of the project.

    BSR affirmed that the oil refinery has been running effectively with post-tax profit of VND4.492 trillion in 2016 and the ROE of 14 percent.

    Therefore, BSR will focus on deep petrochemical processing which produces a higher profit margin than an oil refinery.

    However, analysts warned that it would be not easy to seek the guarantee for such a huge loan of over $1 billion.

    The government has approved the medium-term debt management program in 2016-2018 in accordance with the NA’s Resolution 25/2016, under which the government has committed to cut the government’s guarantee for loans.

    Under the debt management program, the government has stopped providing new guarantees for domestic and foreign loans, while it is checking priority projects to build up the guarantee granting program for 2016-2020 to ensure the debts are within the safety line.

    In mid-2016, MOF requested the government to carefully consider the guarantee for foreign loans. If the national oil & gas group PetroVietnam or Electricity of Vietnam ask for a guarantee for big loans, the government needs to report to the National Assembly for approval.

    As such, the BSR’s loan of over $1 billion will need ratification from the National Assembly.

    Chi Mai, VNN

    0 0
  • 08/07/17--02:51: Article 2
  • Social News 7/8

    Landslide kills one in Cao Bang

    USAID supports 385,000 women in Southeast Asia, Defense chief to visit U.S. next week, Hundreds of workers rescued from big fire in Bac Ninh, Landslide kills one in Cao Bang 

    A landslide triggered by prolonged rains over the past days killed a man in Ron Ru village, Tam Kim commune, Nguyen Binh district of the northern mountainous province of Cao Bang on August 6. 

    Hoang Sun Chieu, born in 1965, and his wife were on their way home from the field when a mass of soil fell down the mountain, sweeping Chieu down the abyss. Chieu’s wife was lucky to survive. 

    Heavy rain has poured down in many northern provinces over the past week, causing flash floods and extensive damages.  

    Yen Bai reported five deaths and nine missing cases as of August 5, while 12 people were killed and three other went missing in Son La. 

    Losses from damaged houses and infrastructure facilities along with submerged food crop fields amounted to hundreds of billions of VND.

    Vietnamese beers join 21st Berlin Beer Festival

    Hanoi and Saigon beers joined 2,400 other kinds of beers around the world at the 21st Berlin International Beer Festival in Berlin, Germany from August 4-6. 

    The festival attracted over 344 beer manufacturers from 87 countries and territories around the world, including the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, to display their beers on 2.2 km of the Karl-Marx boulevard. 

    Visitors also enjoyed traditional food and special products of each renowned beer production area, and art performances.

    The event, the world’s biggest beer festival, is expected to welcome 800,000 visitors. 

    Hanoi: 3,000 people take walk for AO/Dioxin victims

    About 3,000 people in Hanoi took a walk for Agent Orange/Dioxin victims along streets around My Dinh National Stadium on August 6 to mark the 56th anniversary of the Vietnamese Orange Agent Day.

    The event, co-held by the National Charity Club (NCC), the Vietnam Association of Young Scientists and Engineers (VAYSE), and Incom Media, aimed to increase local and international awareness of AO/Dioxin in Vietnam and raise funds for the victims. It also supports the quest for justice for affected people and the prevention of use of mass destruction weapons.

    According to NCC Chairman Pham Van Toi, dealing with aftermaths of chemical warfare and providing care and support to the affected people are long-term and pressing issues today. About 70 percent of families of AO/Dioxin victims are poor, 22 percent of them have more than 3 victims and 90 percent of affected people are unemployed, he said.

    The walk started at the national stadium, going though Le Duc Tho, Ho Tung Mau, Pham Hung and Nguyen Hoang streets with state employees and students in attendance.

    The NCC has organised a series of similar events for AO/Dioxin victims, for example, a cycling event in May and August, 2016 with the participation of nearly 1,000 people, and a Gala Concert in August, 2016 at the National Convention Centre. It also presented the victims with more than 100 gift packages, worth around 2 billion VND, last year.

    Moscow, Geneva get-togethers celebrate Vietnam-Laos diplomatic ties

    The embassies of Vietnam and Laos co-organised friendship get-togethers, featuring musical performances and sports events, in Moscow, Russia and Geneva, Switzerland on August 5 to celebrate the 55th anniversary of their countries’ diplomatic ties (September 5, 1962).

    The events also marked the 40th year of the signing of Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (July 18, 1977).

    Performers from Vietnam and Laos took the stage with traditional tunes at the get-together at Hanoi-Moscow Complex (Incentra) in the capital of Russia where diplomats from the two embassies and their families gathered. The event also saw exciting table tennis friendly matches between staff at the embassies.

    In his remarks at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Nguyen Thanh Son highlighted the long-standing relations between the two nations and how their peoples sacrificed for each other and stuck together through thick and thin during struggles for liberation.

    His Lao counterpart Siviengphet Phetvorasack said the 40-year Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation has laid a great foundation for enhancing the two countries’ solidarity and building their bilateral relations and comprehensive cooperation. The ties, hereby, have been deepened and made day-by-day progress, he noted.

    The Lao ambassador expressed his thanks to support of the Vietnamese government and people for Laos in fights against imperialism and in national development. He believed that the growing ties would bring prosperity to their people.

    In Geneva, Vietnamese and Lao diplomats also gathered to enjoyed friendly sports events and traditional foods from the two nations.

    Archives Centre praised for preserving Nguyen dynasty’s woodblocks

    Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has praised the National Archives Centre IV in Da Lat city for its efforts in preserving the Nguyen dynasty printing woodblocks, which were recogised by UNESCO as a Memory of the World.

    Speaking at a working session with the centre on August 6, Deputy PM Binh stressed that the Government always attaches great care to safeguarding and promoting the treasured Vietnamese heritages which have been handed down by our ancestors.

    In this spirit, the Government has developed a number of policies and documents directing ministries and sectors to take measures in order to preserve and uphold the heritage’s values, such as the master plan on preserving the Nguyen Dynasty wood blocks, he said.

    Currently, 34,619 woodblocks are being preserved in the National Archives Centre IV in Da Lat city. Many of which contain valuable contents affirming Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos.

    The deputy PM welcomed the initiatives put forward by the officers and staff at the National Archives Centre IV in organising and storing the Nguyen Dynasty’s royal administrative documents and woodblocks.

    He asked the relevant ministries and sectors to organise exhibitions and displays abroad to introduce the values of the Nguyen dynasty’s woodblocks, and other UNESCO-recognised heritages in Vietnam, to our international friends.

    Photo exhibition marks ASEAN’s 50th anniversary in Hanoi

    As many as 230 photos featuring the landscapes and people of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are being displayed at an exhibition, which opened at the Ly Thai To Square in Hanoi on August 5.

    The event, jointly organised by the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the municipal People’s Committee, aimed to mark the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN.

    The photos, by 130 artists from the ten ASEAN nations, include 50 on Vietnam and 20 on each of nine other nations. They are selected from over 10,000 entries sent by over 1,200 photographers.

    At the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Vuong Duy Bien said, the exhibition presents opportunities for regional photographers, including Vietnamese to exchange and learn from each other.

    It is expected to strengthen understanding and solidarity among the nations, contributing to building an ASEAN community of solidarity, dynamism, development, peace and prosperity, he added.

    On the occasion, 10 photographers, each from the 10 ASEAN nations, were honoured with an “ASEAN Photo Cup” for their outstanding art works.

    The event runs until August 11.

    Vietnam’s signature Nem introduced at food festival in Indonesia

    The Embassy of Vietnam in Indonesia introduced the country’s signature Nem (spring roll) at the ASEAN cuisine festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, on August 5.

    The event, jointly organised by the host country’s Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Foreign Ministry’s Department for ASEAN Cooperation, forms part of activities to mark the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

    Addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy Director of the Department of Cultural Diplomacy under the Foreign Ministry Nadjamuddin Ramly underlined the significance of cultural cooperation among the ten ASEAN members via efforts and actions to promote solidarity, equality, cooperation and development, with fundamental activities such as the food festival.

    The ASEAN nations have rich culture and cuisine, he said, adding that promotion of food identity of each nation is a diplomatic channel.

    At the festival, each ASEAN nation introduced one traditional dish. 

    The event lured a crowd of tourists visiting Jakarta, who enjoyed ASEAN food free of charge.

    Over 5,000 people walk to cheer national team to SEA Games 29

    Over 5,000 people joined a walk along Nguyen Hue Street, downtown HCM City, on August 6, delivering their support for the Vietnamese team who will depart for the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia this weekend.

    The event was co-held by the Vietnam Olympics Committee and the municipal Department of Culture and Sports. The city’s senior officials and the athlete team of the south also offered flowers at the monument of late President Ho Chi Minh. 

    Speaking at the event, Deputy Director of the General Department of Sports Tran Duc Phan said the Vietnamese team to the 29 SEA Games comprises 681 members, including 476 athletes who will compete in 32 out of 38 sports at the games.

    Vietnam aims to finish in top 3 with over 60 gold medals, said Phan who will lead the team in Malaysia, adding that the squad is ready to do their best.

    At the previous Games, Vietnam ranked third with 73 golds, 53 silvers and 60 bronze.

    About 200 athletes of the southern team will join the national delegation in the region’s biggest sports event, competing in 14 sports. They hope to bring home 10-12 gold medals, particularly in sports of their strengths like track and field, swimming, and aerobics.

    The 29th SEA Games are scheduled for August 19-31 with 4,888 athletes from the ten ASEAN member countries.

    Competition launched to find young talents in traditional art forms

    The 2017 national competition for professional stage actors of Tuong (classical drama) and Cheo (traditional opera) was launched on August 5, at Lam Son theatre in Thanh Hoa province.

    The contest attracted the participation of 95 young actors, aged below 33 years old, who came from 19 professional ‘tuong’ and ‘cheo’ art troupes from across the country.

    The contestants will perform 88 extracts from classical ‘tuong’ and ‘cheo’ plays, which have won the hearts of many generations of Vietnamese people.

    The opening day featured performances from the young stage artists from the Military ‘Cheo’ Theatre and the Thanh Hoa provincial ‘Tuong’ art troupe.

    The ten-day competition is co-organised by the Department of Performing Arts, under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam Association of State Artists.

    The event aims to provide a venue for young actors to showcase their talents and gain experience from their colleagues in order to improve the quality of their performances, thereby meeting the increasing demand of the audience.

    It also seeks to discover and nurture young talents in performance arts, while helping managers and leaders of art troupes make thorough evaluation on their staff and work out solutions to enhance human resource training.

    Vietnam pledges to promote Investing in Women Initiative

    The Government of Vietnam has attached importance to and implemented numerous concrete measures to promote gender equality and women empowerment, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said at a seminar in the Philippines on August 6.

    The seminar on Investing in Women Initiative, part of the activities of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM 50), was chaired by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, and attended by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and representatives of female entrepreneurs from Australia, and other ASEAN nations.

    Minh welcomed and highly valued the pioneering role of the Government of Australia in promoting gender equality and women empowerment in the region.

    Support for the participation and enhancement of women role at micro-, small- & medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) is an effective way to give more power to women in socio-economic development while boosting the sustainable growth and development of MSMEs, contributing to the development of prosperity of nations, Minh affirmed.

    The Investing in Women programme is an initiative of the Australian government, worth 46 million AUD. It aims to empower women in socio-economic activities in Asian – Pacific nations.

    The programme provides financial assistance for MSMEs, develops legal framework, and establish female entrepreneur’s alliance, thus creating a favourable condition, job opportunities, and enhancing the role and participation of women in socio-economic development.

    It also aims to create more education opportunities for girls.

    Vietnam Airlines reschedules flights from Japan due to Typhoon Noru

    National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines rescheduled seven flights from Japan to Vietnam on the morning of August 6 due to Typhoon Noru.

    The tropical cyclone, which is approaching southern Japan, has forced the carrier to reorganize flights from Japan’s Fukuoka, Osaka, Nagoya and Narita to Hanoi and HCM City 1 hour – 1 hour 50 minutes later than the booked times.

    Other flights on the routes may also be affected by the delays, Vietnam Airlines said.

    It advised passengers who plan to fly from/to Japan in the current period to keep updating weather forecast and information on their flights.

    The passengers can visit or call the customer service hotline 1900 1100 or booking agencies across the country for more information.

    AVC Women’s Championship: Pre-SEA Games warm-up for Vietnam

    Vietnam’s women’s volleyball team will be competing in Group C, alongside the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and New Zealand, at the 2017 AVC Asian Championship, scheduled to be held in Manila, the capital of the Philippines from August 9 to 17.

    The preliminary round features the participation of 14 teams competing in a round robin tournament of four groups. Group A includes Kazakhstan, Hong Kong (China) and the Philippines, while reigning champions China, Japan and Australia have been drawn in Group B. Group D is made up of Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Iran and Maldives.

    The top two finishers of each group in the first round will qualify for the second round, where they will compete in two groups of four to decide the quarterfinal pairs.

    Vietnam, coached by Japanese expert Hidehiro Irisawa, will play their Group C opener with Sri Lanka on August 9, before taking on New Zealand and the Republic of Korea on August 10 and 11, respectively.

    The championship, organised by the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC), will serve as a useful warm-up for the Vietnamese women’s team prior to their campaign at the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, scheduled between August 19 and 31 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    At the previous competition two years ago, the Vietnamese women ended up in fifth place overall, while China claimed their 13th title by beating the Republic of Korea 3-0 in the final match.

    Head of Presidential Office attends Iranian President’s inauguration

    A special envoy of President Tran Dai Quang, who is Chairman of the Presidential Office-Minister Dao Viet Trung, joined leaders and officials from 103 countries at the inauguration ceremony of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani from August 5-6.

    On the occasion, the Vietnamese official held meetings with Iranian Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour.

    The special envoy expressed his belief that under the leadership of Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei and President Rouhani, the Iranian Government and people will reap more achievements during the cause of national construction and development.

    Trung said he is certain that the traditional relations and multi-faceted cooperation between Vietnam and Iran will further develop in the coming time.

    Meanwhile, the Iranian officials thanked Vietnam for sending a special envoy to President Rouhani’s inauguration ceremony. Commitments of the two countries’ leaders as well as rosy results of the 9th meeting of Iran-Vietnam Joint Committee in July will help the two countries realise the target of 2 billion USD in bilateral trade revenue soon, they said.

    The two sides also affirmed to continue cooperation and mutual support at international and regional forums. 

    The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister said that it is Iran’s responsibility to support Vietnam at international forums as Vietnam’s policies of independence and peace are in conformity with Iran’s interests.

    Thien Nhan’s “Drawing a fairy tale” program

    In 2006 newborn Thien Nhan was abandoned by his teenage mother in a deserted park in Quang Nam province for three days. The baby’s right leg and genitals were taken by wild animals.

    Tran Mai Anh, a young mother of two living in Hanoi, adopted him when he was two years old. She took him to many doctors in Vietnam and abroad for reconstructive surgery.  

    Later a fund called the Thien Nhan and Friends Fund was set up to support disadvantaged and disabled children. Last year the Fund, in collaboration with the Kim Dong Publishing House, created a competition called “Drawing a fairy tale”. This event was so successful that it has been repeated this year throughout Vietnam.

    This year’s “Drawing a fairy tale” competition took place in Hanoi in June and in Ho Chi Minh City last week. More than 100 of the wonderful paintings submitted to the competition were auctioned last weekend at the Kim Dong Publishing House in Ho Chi Minh City.

    This drawing of a cat was bought by Tran Duy Cuong from Hanoi. Cuong said “I bought this painting because I really like it. It is very artistic. I also want to help disadvantaged and disabled children.”

    Nguyen Anh Duy, a 6th grader from Alpha school in Cau Giay dictrict, Hanoi, flew to Ho Chi Minh city to sell his drawing of a cherry flower. Duy entered the competition on the very first day. He said “The cherry flower is very beautiful with its reddish color. 

     It’s my favorite painting. I think this painting is very suitable for this auction. I hope it will be bought for more than the auction price in Hanoi of VND5 million. The money will be donated to disadvantaged children.”

    The touching story of brave little Thien Nhan and Mai Anh, his adopted mother, and their efforts to help other disadvantaged children has touched many hearts. 

    Mrs. Luong Kim Lien, who attended the auction, said “I love and admire Thien Nhan and his mother. That’s why I’m here today at the auction. I bought a painting of a boy sitting in the middle of a fairy land. 

    The painting with no name of a fairy land sky impressed me at first glance. The colors are cinematic. I hope my small contribution will help some disadvantaged and disabled children.”

    Mrs. Tran Mai Anh, Thien Nhan’s adopted mother, who manages the Thien Nhan and Friends Fund program, was at the auction. Mai Anh said that the “Drawing a fairy tale” competition is more than a charity program in which children help other children. 

    The children plant seeds of generosity and compassion in society. Anh said “The “Drawing a fairy tale” program was the idea of artists from the Kim Dong Publishing House and the Thien Nhan and Friends Fund. 

    We encourage children to create paintings that can be sold to support children who need reconstructive surgery like Thien Nhan. This is a very meaningful program which encourages children to help others.”

    Over the last six years, Tran Mai Anh and the Thien Nhan and Friends Fund has coordinated with several hospitals in Vietnam to invite doctors from Italy and the US to come to Vietnam and perform free operations for more than 800 handicapped children. 

    Money raised by the “Drawing a Fairy Tale” auction will pay for medical examinations and treatment for 250 children by the end of the year. In 2016 the Thien Nhan and Friends Fund raised VND60 million. 

    Artist Do Huong, one of the founders of the “Drawing a Fairy Tale” program, said “Even more meaningful than the money these children raise by selling their paintings is their good will and the childhood memories they are creating of what they have been able to do to help others. The children are providing needed reconstructive surgery which can change another child’s life forever.”

    The “Drawing a fairy tale” program makes children realize that miracles don’t happen only in fairy tales. Miracles can happen in real life and they can be the ones who make other children’s dreams come true.

    Lao Cai-Hanoi train derails entering station

    The line remains open, but police are investigating the incident.

    A train carrying 100 passengers traveling from Vietnam's northern province of Lao Cai to Hanoi derailed in the early hours of Sunday as it was entering Yen Vien Station on the outskirts of Hanoi at a speed of 15kph, according to Pham Nguyen Chien, head of the security division at Vietnam Railways.

    Rescue workers uncoupled the last railcar, the only one to come off the tracks, and relocated passengers so the train could finish its journey, which it did at 6 a.m.

    No deaths or injuries were reported, but the derailed wagon was seriously damaged.

    The Hanoi-Lao Cai route remains open, but police are investigating the cause of the derailment. 

    Vietnam's railways have been largely neglected for years. 

    Only 3% of the state budget's infrastructure investment went on railways over the past decade, while roads received nearly 90%.

    While other countries in the region have developed thousands of kilometers of electric dual-gauge tracks, 85 percent of the network in Vietnam still runs on the narrow one-meter gauge, a design that has been blamed for regular train crashes.

    In 2005, a train flipped in the central city of Hue and killed 11 people. There were three major rail incidents in 2010, and another two in 2011.

    In an effort to brighten the picture, the government has approved a plan for various improvements to the network, including speeding up trains from 50-60 kph to 90 kph by 2020 and starting work on a dual gauge track for high-speed trains that will run at 200 kph.

    Century-old cathedral consumed by midnight fire in northern Vietnam

    A fire gutted a cathedral dating back to the 19th century in northern Vietnam late Saturday night, destroying its interior, with no casualties reported.

    According to local police, the fire broke out around 30 minutes to midnight at Trung Lao Cathedral in Truc Ninh District, Nam Dinh Province.

    Hundreds of firefighters, police officers and local residents attempted to control the raging fire as it devoured the 129-year-old building.

    The fire was not put out until two hours later, after having burnt down almost the entire interior of the catholic cathedral.

    Truc Ninh police officers suspect a short circuit to have caused the midnight fire, though further investigation is underway to definitely conclude the cause.

    No casualties have been reported as the cathedral was empty at the time of the fire.

    According to locals, Trung Lao Cathedral was constructed between 1888 and 1898, and is a place of worship for thousands of Catholics in Truc Ninh District.

    The building was a fusion between Gothic and traditional Vietnamese styles of architecture, measuring 50 meters long and 16 meters wide, divided into 11 chambers.

    The cathedral’s exterior featured brick walls and tile roofing, while the interior was furnished entirely with wooden columns and beams measuring up to 80 centimeters in diameter.

    Art performance marks Vietnam-Laos diplomatic ties

    An art performance by Vietnamese artists was held in Vientiane on August 6 to celebrate 55 years of Vietnam-Laos diplomatic ties (September 5, 1962).

    The event was attended by Lao Minister of National Defense Chansamone Chanyalath, Head of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party Central Committee’s Commission for Propaganda and Training Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune and representatives from the Lao Ministry of Security, among others.

    Director of the Vietnam Military Music and Dance Theatre Tran Xuan Thanh said the programme aims to strengthen bilateral friendship.

    The performance praised the beauty of the Vietnamese land and people and the traditional friendship between Vietnam and Laos, which was built by Presidents Ho Chi Minh and Kaysone Phomvihane.

    Lao songs performed by Vietnamese artists received warm applause from the audience.

    Son La urged to ensure food safety for flood-hit residents

    Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Do Ba Ty urged the northern mountainous province of Son La to focus resources on addressing the consequences of floods during a working session with local authorities on August 6.

    The province needs to mobilise efforts to support households who lost family members to the floods, search for missing people and ensure food safety for residents, particularly in hardest hit Muong La district, Ty said.

    He also asked the locality to evaluate the impacts of climate change, improve forecast work, and minimise damages for residents.

    As of August 6, floods took the lives of 10 people and left five others missing in Muong La district. 

    The disaster damaged 398 houses, washed away roads, caused blackouts in five communes with 7,600 households and isolated seven communes in the district.

    According to the steering board for natural disaster prevention, search and rescue of Son La province, locals and soldiers have been mobilised to help move people made homeless in the floods, to safer places.

    The province has provided financial and food aid for families with dead, injured or missing members, and evacuated families, worth more than 3.1 billion VND (136,400 USD). 

    The Vietnam Red Cross presented 200 gifts to the victims. So far, Muong La district has received more than 7.5 billion VND (330,000 USD) in aid.-

    Ha Tinh province wants to keep iron mine closed

    The central province of Ha Tinh has asked the Government not to resume activities of the Thach Khe iron mine, the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia.

    The iron exploitation project was approved in 2007 at a cost of 1.59 trillion VND (69.9 million USD) and the relocation of 3,000 households, but suspended in 2011 after local authorities proposed closing the mine over environmental concerns.

    Despite the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s rejection last week of a proposal to shut down the mine, Ha Tinh authorities want the suspension of activities to continue.

    Duong Tat Thang, Vice Chairman of the province’s People’s Committee, said this would not be a good time to resume iron mining since local residents are still recovering from the mass fish deaths caused last year by the Taiwanese Hung Nghiep Formosa Steel Corporation.

    Shortcomings of the iron mining project were revealed during the committee’s recent meetings with scientists, Thang said.

    Some legal documents on which the environmental impact report was based have expired, since it was written a long time ago, he added. Insufficient infrastructure has been developed to serve the iron exploitation and no long-term solutions have been offered to support the livelihoods of the affected households.

    The project’s investor should conduct extensive studies of waste discharge points by the Thach Dong River and Thach Hai Beach, Thang added.

    Environmental monitoring stations should be established on both sides of each waste discharge point to provide overall monitoring of heavy metals, he said.

    This is an important issue that should be taken into careful consideration after last year’s environmental catastrophe, he said.

    Provincial authorities have requested, in written documents, that the Government clarify the investor’s capital investment, the project’s long-term economic benefits, its exploitation, processing, and marketing techniques, as well as its plans to help workers move to other jobs after it is completed, as well as solutions to protect the local environment, he added.

    The failure of education

    Failure stories have been heard loudly over the past few days when outstanding students gaining excellent scores at the national high school graduation examinations are denied enrollment in certain top-notch universities. Students are tearful, parents are frustrated, and schools say it is none of their business when gifted students are not admitted and see their future hopes dashed as the academic year is set to begin next month.

    The failure stories of numerous students with exceptional exam results have seized the headlines. Never in the local education’s history have talented students been denied opportunities to continue their education after completing high schools with distinction. And it is still no-man’s fault.

    A student named VHH in HCMC’s Tan Binh District relates how he achieved high scores at the exam, with 9.6 out of 10 for maths, 9.75 for chemistry, and 10 for biology, or 29.35 for the three subjects in Group B required for those students wanting to study at a medical school. But he fails when applying for the HCMC University of Medicine and Pharmacy.

    The reason, as he explains in Nguoi Lao Dong, is that his total score of 29.35 is rounded up to be 29.25, which is also the threshold set by the HCMC University of Medicine and Pharmacy. As the number of applicants with this total score at the school is higher than targeted, the school introduces additional qualification criteria, including an English score of 9, while the student gains only 8.8. If the Ministry of Education had not issued the statute on rounding up scores, the student would have been enrolled.

    In a similar case, Nguyen Thi Anh Thu, a student from Dong Nai Province’s Xuan Loc District, with a score of 29.25, also fails an additional qualification criterion when her English score is lower than required, according to Thanh Nien.

    Meanwhile, a student named NPH in Hanoi’s Thach That District, with a total rounded score of 29.25, also fails to enroll in Hanoi University of Medicine. This school, different from its peer in HCMC, resorts to an additional qualification criterion that the original score must be at least 29.2. The student fails because he earns only 29.15, according to Lao Dong.

    All the three above-mentioned students also complain of what they term as injustice, since many other students from out-of-the-way localities with lower scores are admitted to these two medical schools while they are denied. This is due to a long-established policy introduced by the Ministry of Education to prioritize students from remote localities such as mountainous areas over those in cities by giving them extra marks, which may be up to 5.5, according to Sai Gon Giai Phong. That means a student from such regions with a total original score of 25 or so can still be admitted to these two medical schools.

    In fact, universities have no choice but to apply additional qualification criteria because they cannot enroll more students than their capacity. Thanh Nien reports that in the country, there are as many as 1,260 Group B students with a total score of 29.25 upwards in this year’s exam, while the two medical schools in Hanoi and HCMC admit only 800.

    But medical schools are not the only ones with exceptionally high thresholds.

    The People’s Security Institute sets a threshold of 30.5 marks for female students, while the Fire Fighting College demands a score of 30.25, according to Sai Gon Giai Phong. That is to say those students with exceptional marks of 10 out of 10 for all the three subjects still cannot enter these schools if they are residents in cities without extra marks added to their original scores. “This situation is unprecedented,” says the newspaper.

    In numerous other universities, the thresholds this year have also been raised by several marks compared to last year, which is also a reason why many students are not admitted. Days earlier, experts predicted that due to the level of difficulty in this year’s exam is lower than last year, the average threshold can be 1.5 to 2 marks higher. Given the prediction, many students have applied to selective schools.

    However, the real threshold is much higher, at up to 6 marks or so at certain universities, and as most schools have enrolled enough students right in the first round, many students with excellent scores no longer have any opportunities to enter a university, and have to wait until next year’s exams.

    Nguyen Hai Truong An, a lecturer at the HCMC-based University of Economics and Law, says that many parents and students have come to the school to lodge complaints. “No one including lecturers (at the school) ever think that students with a total score of 26.5 or 27 marks can still fail. Frustrated parents and students cry, but we can only sympathize with them,” he is quoted in Phu Nu.

    It has been three years since the Ministry of Education organized a common high school graduation exam, whose results universities can use to enroll their students. However, the level of difficulty in these three exams has never been stable. Two years earlier, the exams were seen as fairly easy, so the scores required by universities were high. Last year, the exams were said to be fairly difficult, so the threshold scores were lowered. And this year’s exams were said to be very easy, which give way to the chaos at universities now.

    Nguyen Dinh Do, principal of Thanh Nhan High School, says in Tien Phong that it is illogical when students with incredibly high scores of 29 or 30 still cannot enter university. He suggests that the ministry should introduce exams with difficult and extremely difficult tests so that there are not so many students with maximum scores, making it easier for high-education institutes to enroll students.

    The head of the training faculty at a public university says in Phu Nu that the threshold can be raised or lowered, but it is a big problem when students passing exams with distinction are still denied university entry.

    Many excellent students must have now been taking the bitter pill when they cannot enter university. In a sense, it is not only their failure. If outstanding students cannot be admitted no matter how high their achievements are, it is also the failure of the country’s education, an education that fails to secure a seat for young talent.

    RMIT Vietnam promotes digital tech in education

    Within the framework of the digital strategy with a vision towards 2020, RMIT University Vietnam is boosting the application of digital technology in teaching and learning with a view to equipping students with knowledge of modern technology in harmony with the digital age.

    In a statement sent to Daily on August 2, RMIT says it has been transforming nearly 20,000 paper textbooks into e-books from the new academic year and encourages students to make the most of online resources with more than 300,000 e-books and 120,000 research papers that they can easily access.

    In addition, the university has launched the COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) project, giving a chance for 27 RMIT students majoring in marketing to work on a four-week project via Skype and social media with a group of their peers at the Amsterdam University of Applied Science, Holland.

    The university last month put into operation Learning Lab Vietnam, an online learning website aimed to support not only RMIT students but also those from different universities across the country to enhance their academic success. 

    After one year of operation, the Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) designed to share RMIT Vietnam’s expertise in digital learning and teaching with Vietnam’s education community has reaped significant benefits.

    The center has organized numerous speeches delivered by international experts in online teaching and workshops on the application of digital technology into classes for 240 high-school teachers and those active in the education sector in HCMC and Lam Dong Province.

    Launched in May last year on RMIT Vietnam’s campus in HCMC’s District 7, the center is a collaborative venture between RMIT, Vietnam’s government and higher education institutions.

    Headquarters of former southern Party committees named national relic site

    The headquarters of the former Party committees at civil, political and Party agencies of the Central Bureau for South Vietnam in Chang Riec forest of Tan Bien district, Tay Ninh province, have been recognised as a national historical relic site.

    The relic site certificate was presented to the liaison board of the Party committees’ resistance tradition club on August 5.

    Nguyen Van Khoi, a representative of the liaison board, said during the war against the US, the Central Bureau for South Vietnam, led by the Party Central Committee to steer revolutionary activities in the south, assigned the Party committees at its civil, political and Party agencies to be in charge of Party building work.

    In the spring of 1968, the Party committees called on all Party members and locals to join people and soldiers across the south to wage the General Offensive and Uprising to attack the US puppet government’s headquarters in Saigon, forcing the US to join the Paris conference for peace in Vietnam and then withdraw from southern Vietnam in 1973.

    Under the leadership of the Central Bureau for South Vietnam, the Party committees at its civil, political and Party agencies directed preparations for the Ho Chi Minh Campaign, helping liberate the south and reunify the nation on April 30, 1975.

    In April 1977, the Party Committees were dissolved as they had fulfilled their tasks, Khoi noted.

    In 2014, the resistance tradition club’s liaison board built a centre in commemoration of the Party Committees. The centre is dedicated to more than 10,000 Party members and soldiers of 24 boards and sectors of the central bureau, along with more than 2,000 soldiers who died in the area.

    HCMC approves VND1 trillion hospital under BT form

    The People’s Committee of HCMC has approved the feasibility report of Saigon General Hospital with the investment capital of VND1.03 trillion (US$45 million).

    Investor Bitexco Group will build the BT (Build-Transfer) project at Nguyen Trai-Cong Quynh crossroads, District 1 from 2017-2020.

    After being built, the hospital will have 300 sickbeds, modern material infrastructure and hi technologies on a level with hospitals in the Southeast Asia region.

    Old Saigon General Hospital locates at 125 Le Loi, Ben Nghe ward, District 1, where the city People’s Committee permitted Bitexco to develop a complex of office buildings and five star hotels in 2007.

    In return, Bitexco must set aside one hectare of land in Ma Lang area, Nguyen Cu Trinh Quadrangle, District 1 to build new Saigon General Hospital, more modern than the old one.

    Breeders supported to build waste treatment system

    Breeders will be eligible for interest rate of zero percent on the loan for waste treatment construction as per the People’s Committee in Ho Chi Minh City’s regulation. 

    The city authority has issued the regulation lately that from August 10, breeders in districts 9, 12, Thu Duc and other districts will receive support of loan interest rate when they build or repair waste treatment system and biological pads which are made of sawdust, rice husk, wood chips, and bagasse.

    For detailed, an animal farmer can ask for a loan of VND12 million as maximum for waste treatment construction in 36 months.

    Zero interest-rate policy aims to reduce environmental pollution in husbandry contributing to the government’s rural plan.

    Binh Dinh to excavate ancient Go Cay Me pottery kiln

    The Department of Culture and Information of Binh Dinh Province has proposed the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism to grant an approval of excavating an ancient pottery kiln of the Champa culture.

    The 400 sq.m site of Cay Me kiln located at Dai Binh Commune, in Nhon My Town, dating back to the era of the Vijaya royal dynasty in the 11th -15th century.

    The exvacation aims to learn about ancient tools and ceramic production technology, Binh Dinh pottery products in the Vijaya royal dynasty.

    Binh Dinh Museum has found he Cham ethnic group's ancient ceramic ovens along the river bank of Con in 1990, including Go Sanh, Cay Me and Truong Cuu pottery production centers in An Nhon town. Since then, local scientists have co-ordinated with international experts to excavate relic sites.

    Tra Vinh: Poor Khmer people get more access to clean water

    The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh has allocated more than 13.7 billion VND (602,800 USD) to provide clean water for some 10,500 local households, mostly impoverished Khmer ethnic minority families.

    It is part of a project following the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 755/QD-TTg, dated May 20, 2013, on supporting land, production land and water for ethnic minority households in poor communes and villages.

    Per the decision, poor households in rural areas or from ethnic minority groups will be given access to clean water supply systems. Those living far from residential areas and unable to obtain access will be provided with water tanks or aided in drilling wells.

    Tra Vinh is home to approximately 328,000 Khmer people, 31.5 percent of the province’s population.

    Last year, the province spent more than 7 billion VND (308,000 USD) from the State budget to supply clean water to nearly 5,400 poor families in Tra Cu, Tieu Can and Cau Ke districts, including about 3,800 Khmer households. As a result, 56 percent of the rural population in the province now has access to clean water.

    USAID supports 385,000 women in Southeast Asia

    The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is guaranteeing an US$8 million Women’s Livelihood Bond that will provide access to credit, market linkages, and affordable goods and services for an estimated 385,000 Southeast Asian women.

    The four-year, 5.65% coupon, structured by Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange, will benefit women in Cambodia, Viet Nam, and the Philippines. The bond is expected to be listed on the Singapore Exchange this month and will be the first social sustainability bond with a dual focus on social and financial returns to be listed on a major stock exchange.

    USAID is providing a 50% guarantee of the loan portfolio’s principal to mitigate risk, attract investors and support development.

    “USAID is pleased to be backing the Women’s Livelihood Bond with this loan guarantee,” said Todd Sorenson, Deputy Mission Director at USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia in Bangkok. “The bond benefits women living in ASEAN states and was put together by an ASEAN-based company.”

    The Women’s Livelihood Bond will provide capital to a group of microfinance institutions and social enterprises that will help low-income women transition from subsistence to sustainable livelihoods and build the women’s resilience to socio-economic stresses. Long-term benefits, in addition to more successful women-owned businesses, include increased participation in the workforce, higher standards of living, and more education and health opportunities for women and children.

    Since 1999, USAID – through the Development Credit Authority – has arranged more than US$350 million in credit through 63 guarantees in 13 Asian nations.

    USAID’s loan guarantee for the Women’s Livelihood Bond is part of its commitment to the development of the ASEAN region. The United States partners with ASEAN to support economic integration, expand maritime cooperation, cultivate emerging leaders, promote opportunities for women, and address transnational challenges.

    Defense chief to visit U.S. next week

    General Ngo Xuan Lich, Politburo member, Minister of Defense will pay an official visit to the U.S. from August 7-10 at the invitation of U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

    The visit is aimed at enhancing the friendly and trusted relations between the two people and armies and launching contents of defense cooperation reached by the two countries’ high-level leaders.

    Gov’t approves draft MoU on establishment of ASEAN-China Center

    The Government of Viet Nam has approved the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment of the ASEAN-China Center between the Governments of ASEAN members States and the Government of China.

    Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh, on behalf of the Vietnamese Government, is authorized to sign the MoU at the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting in Manila, the Philippines on August 6, 2017.

    ASEAN-China dialogue relationship was officially established in 1991 when China was invited to attend the opening ceremony of the 24th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting as the guest of the Malaysian Government in July 1991 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    China officially became a full dialogue partner of ASEAN at the 29th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in July 1996 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

    ASEAN and China agreed to strengthen cooperation in 11 priority areas such as agriculture, information technology, human resource development, Mekong Region development, energy, investment, transport, culture, public health, tourism and environment.

    Art ceramic exhibition opens in downtown

    An art ceramic exhibition featuring art works by 16 artists of the Saigon arts ceramic club opened at the headquarter of the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association at 218A Pasteur Street in District 3.

    The event presents to viewers 44 pieces of ceramic in various topics, island and sea, the beauty of young women, flowers and others.

    The event held by the Ho Chi Minh City Association of Fine Arts and the Saigon arts ceramic club will run until August 9.

    Exhibition honors Vietnamese Heroic Mothers

    An exhibition honoring Vietnamese Heroic Mothers opened at the Cu Chi Tunnels historical site in HCM City.

    The event presents to viewers more than 200 photos and 105 objects of Vietnamese Heroic Mothers, martyrs’ mothers and heroines of the Vietnam People's Armed Forces.

    The display is co-organized by the High Command of Ho Chi Minh City and the Southern Women's Museum in HCM City. It aims to pay tribute to Vietnamese heroic mothers’ contributions to the nation.

    The event will run until November 30.

    Binh Dinh to excavate ancient Go Cay Me pottery kiln

    The Department of Culture and Information of Binh Dinh Province has proposed the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism to grant an approval of excavating an ancient pottery kiln of the Champa culture.

    The 400 sq.m site of Cay Me kiln located at Dai Binh Commune, in Nhon My Town, dating back to the era of the Vijaya royal dynasty in the 11th -15th century.

    The exvacation aims to learn about ancient tools and ceramic production technology, Binh Dinh pottery products in the Vijaya royal dynasty.

    Binh Dinh Museum has found he Cham ethnic group's ancient ceramic ovens along the river bank of Con in 1990, including Go Sanh, Cay Me and Truong Cuu pottery production centers in An Nhon town. Since then, local scientists have co-ordinated with international experts to excavate relic sites.

    Ba Ria-Vung Tau province builds preschools for workers’ kids

    The People’s Committee in the southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau liaised with the Department of Construction on the construction of preschools, educational facilities for workers’ children in the province two days ago. 

    As per the Department of Construction’s report, there are 6,500 kids who are children of workers in nine industrial parks in the province.

    It is predicted that by 2020, the number of workers’ children will be 9,500 kids meanwhile public preschools in industrial parks’ premises will be overcrowded.

    Consequently, workers have no choice except sending their children to private preschools or illegal daycare with expensive tutor fee and high risk.

    Accordingly, the Department of Construction petitioned from now to 2020, the province needs to build 12 schools more nearby industrial parks and after 2020, the number of schools must be 48 to meet demand.

    Deputy Chairman of People’s Committee in Ba Ria- Vung Tau province Dang Minh Thong said that in addition to using state budget, the province will call for social contribution for building schools; accordingly, related agencies have to review land fund for the purpose.

    HCMC determined to curb rampant construction infringements

    At a meeting presided by Deputy chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Tran Vinh Tuyen yesterday, participants discussed measures to curb rampant construction infringements.

    At the meeting to review construction management in first seven months, two districts having houses illegally built are districts 9 and Cu Chi.

    Deputy head of the district 9 People’s Committee Hoang Minh Tuan Anh said that since the beginning of the year, 63 cases broke construction rules, a year-on-year increase of 51 cases. Violations all are in large wards such as Long Phuoc, Long Truong, Truong Thanh.

    A boom of immigrant laborers in the district drive the growth in housing demand. Land price fever is partly from immigrants who buy houses on private agreement, build houses on the zoning for planting trees leading to illegal construction rise.

    In Cu Chi District, in first seven months, 209 construction infringements were reported, an increase of 139 cases compared to last year. In addition that immigrants build houses without permits, construction on individual housing in suspended planning areas is also illegal.

    Deputy Chairman of the Cu Chi District People’s Committee Nguyen Viet Dung said that 144 violations of construction regulation surged in five communes which are zoned for Tay Bac urban areas and industrial zones.

    Speaking at the meeting, Construction Chief Ly Thanh Long said that 1,925 illicit constructions were reported in the city. 686 cases were discovered breaking rules on construction designs in districts 7, 9 and Hoc Mon while 957 houses were built without permits in districts 9, Cu Chi and Can Gio.

    Inspectors collected VND20.1 billion ($880,126) from administrative fines. Besides, five inspectors in localities were fired or received warning because they did not fulfill their duties.

    Director of the municipal Department of Construction Tran Trong Tuan said that it and local authorities will be determined to give fines to violators, especially big construction project like Thao Dien Saphire in district 2 or break space design in permits.

    Deputy Chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen said that to curb rampant construction infringement, government bureaucracy must be eliminated. Local administrations must have effective preventative measures even prosecution to those who take advantage of the legal loophole to get benefit in selling land to poor immigrants.

    Mr. Tuyen noted that the Department of Construction should apply technology in management as well as submit the project of online permits to the People’s Committee for approval in August. Later , construction permits will be issued through internet or in paper.

    In addition, district administrators must learn Binh Thanh District’s model of supervision of illegal construction which residents will take photo of illegal construction or sidewalk infringement to send to the local authority.

    Mr. Tuyen also asked local authorities must take heeds to sidewalk order.

    Hundreds of workers rescued from big fire in Bac Ninh

    Hundreds of workers were rescued from a fire erupted in Seiyo Company, Que Vo industrial park, the northern province of Bac Ninh yesterday.

    Right after knowing the accident, Bac Ninh province’s firefighting police agency sent over ten fire trucks to the scene. Right after igniting, flammable plastic beads caused the fire quickly spread with dense smoke.

    Hundreds of stuck workers were rescued with ladder engines. Firemen and workers also removed a large volume of goods out from the fire.

    The fire was stamped out at 1 p.m. on the same day without human loss but large property damage.

    Authorized agencies are investigating the cause of the fire.


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  • 08/07/17--02:59: Article 1
  •  Singapore property moguls move in

    The first half of 2017 has seen increased interest from Singaporean real estate firms in the Vietnamese market, with Sembcorp, CapitaLand, Mapletree, and Keppel Land among the biggest movers and shakers.

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    Apart from greenfield investments, Singaporean developers are now actively expanding their portfolios through mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

    A wave of M&A

    Singaporean investors are focusing on M&A in Ho Chi Minh City. Outstanding deals are the Duxton Hotel Saigon, Empire City, Somerset Vista, Saigon Centre, and the Kumho Asiana Plaza.

    According to Leong Boon Hoe, CEO of CBRE Singapore, Singaporean investors are seeking new opportunities to diversify their portfolios, often after having already invested in previous emerging markets like Thailand or Bali.

    After the laws regarding housing and real estate were changed for foreigners in July 2015, foreign real estate investment has become much more transparent.

    “Owning property in Vietnam is a new trend among Singaporeans. In the ASEAN region, Vietnam is one of the more attractive nations for foreign investment into the property market,” Hoe said.

    Keppel Land in March this year acquired from its Vietnamese partner, Southern Waterborne Transport Corporation, an additional 16 per cent stake in Keppel Land WATCO I to V – the joint venture entities for Saigon Centre. Keppel Land has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Vietnam’s State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) to collaborate on other investment opportunities in the country.

    Keppel Land is one of the pioneer foreign real estate investors in Vietnam, and now holds a diverse portfolio of properties in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, and Vung Tau – including Grade A offices, residential properties, waterfront homes, retail centres, integrated townships, and award-winning serviced residences.

    So far, Keppel Land has 20 licensed projects across Vietnam and more than 25,000 homes in the construction pipeline. To date, the firm has a total registered capital of about $2 billion in Vietnam.

    Meanwhile, another Singaporean real estate developer, CapitaLand – which has developed more than 9,000 units in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City – in earlier this year announced a new commercial fund to acquire more residential development sites. The firm established a $500 million fund to invest in secured seed commercial properties, mainly in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

    CapitaLand has recently been involved in two projects in Vietnam. The firm acquired twin 20 per cent stakes in Thien Duc Trading Construction and Twin Peak Development and Riverview, to the tune of $17.9 million and $51.9 million, respectively.

    According to Chen Lian Pang, CEO of CapitaLand Vietnam, Vietnam’s strong growth outlook and positive market sentiment means the company is committed to long-term development here.

    CapitaLand recently confirmed its plan to expand its business in Vietnam, announcing it was looking to increase its S$2.1 billion ($1.55 billion) multi-asset class presence in Vietnam, possibly including Raffles City - a CapitaLand’s flagship brand of integrated developments located in city centres with excellent connectivity to key transport nodes.

    Mapletree in June last year paid $215 million to acquire Kumho Asiana Plaza from Kumho Industrial and Asiana Airlines. According to Hiew Yoon Khong, Group CEO for Mapletree, Vietnam presents a big opportunity for Mapletree.

    “We will continue seeking other investment opportunities in completed assets which have quick returns in big cities. We are also interested in undeveloped plots to build offices for lease, retail centres, residences, serviced apartments, and mixed-used projects that we can develop by ourselves or through co-operation with other local developers,” Khong said.

    Singaporean investors note that the high-end real estate market in Vietnam has outstanding advantages in terms of development potential, as well as attractive prices compared to neighbouring countries. The beachfront real estate segment possesses many of the resort features and high profitability that investors look for in emerging markets.

    Jacobus Hemels, representative from Alphanam Real Estate – the developer of Luxury Apartment Danang – said that Singaporean investors are well-versed in emerging markets, and they are on the lookout for the next property hotspot.

    Lion City roars in

    Lion City, a Singapore giant, is also growing its presence in Vietnam, with a total of around $1.85 billion invested in commercial properties in Vietnam’s major cities.

    Mapletree is also investing more than $1 billion in a range of new projects in Ho Chi Minh City, including the Oakwood Residence Saigon and the RichLane Residence in District 7.

    The Vietnamese property market has become so hot that Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP), a developer specialising in industrial parks, has recently begun to delve into the township and residential segment.

    John Lim HM, head of commercial and residential at VSIP, said that Vietnam is a land of immense growth potential. “As Vietnam grows, the community needs to evolve,” he said. “This is why VSIP has transformed our core offerings from standalone industrial parks to integrated township and industrial park models. It enables us to bring comprehensive solutions for living, work, and play, and also to apply urban planning best practices in Vietnam.

    “We believe that successful implementation rests on a strong master plan that is backed by robust urban infrastructure and integrates utilities and facilities for enhanced living.”


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