SOCIETY IN BRIEF 25/3

Published: 24/03/2011 05:00

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Bird flu control
programme to cost US$25 million

The Prime Minister has approved allocation of an additional
US$25 million to the Vietnam Avian and Human Influenza Control and Preparedness
Project.

The World Bank’s International Development Association will
provide US$10 million, the multi-donor Avian and Human Influenza Facility,
US$13 million, and the Government, US$2 million in counterpart funding.

The Prime Minister ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and
Rural Development and the Ministry of Health to monitor the project’s progress
and effectiveness.

City to face 2 mil
kWh power shortage next quarter

Ho Chi Minh City
will face a power shortfall of up to 2 million kWh per day in the second
quarter, but it can be made up by thrifty usage, an energy expert has said.

Daily supply from the Electricity of Vietnam Group is
expected to be 46.8 million-53 million kWh, the Department of Industry and
Trade said.

It has urged manufacturing companies to schedule their
operations for off-peak hours and to install generators.

Huynh Kim Tuoc, director of the HCM City Energy Conservation
Center, said it is not
difficult to bridge the gap if all households and commercial and administrative
agencies conserve electricity.

If 1.8 million households do not use air-conditioners for
just 30 minutes a day, they will save 900,000 kWh, he said.

If factories, which use 5.2 billion kWh a year, can reduce
power use by just 5 percent, they will save 800,000 kWh a day, he said.

Office buildings and 2,800 government agencies in the City
can save another 100,000 kWh by reducing consumption by 10 percent, he added.

Supermarkets launch
big promotional program

Most supermarkets in Ho
Chi Minh City are offering large promotional discounts
on many essential goods, aimed at stimulating the domestic consumption
demand.

Big C supermarket is offering a discount of 5-50 percent on
500 items like essential goods and food items from March 23 to April 3. 100
percent of all products on discount at the Big C are “Made in Vietnam” products.

Duong Thi Quynh Trang, foreign affairs director of Big C,
said that until now prices of products are maintaining a stable prize due to a
large reserve of products.

On March 24, Lotte Mart supermarket is also offering a
discount of 5-40 percent on many essential products such as vegetable, fruits
and cosmetics. Specifically, price of tomatoes has been reduced from VND7, 500
per kilogram to VND4, 900 per kilogram and the price of chicken has been
reduced from VND83, 000 per kilogram to VND73, 600 per kilogram.

Co.op Mart’s promotional program includes discount on
hundreds of items such as clothes, electronic goods and packaged and fresh
foods.

Vietnam continues to aid Japanese quake victims

Organisations and individuals across the country, in response
to the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee’s appeal, continue to raise
funds for the disaster victims in Japan.

The Tien Giang Union of Friendship Organisations and the
provincial Red Cross in co-ordination with the provincial Party Committee and
the People’s Council collected VND 50 million (US$ 2,400) on March 21.

As of March 22, the Government Office of Vietnam has donated
VND 189 million (US$ 9,000), Bao Bong Da (Football Newspaper) has collected VND
100 million (US$ 4,700) and the Quang Nam province Red Cross has added to the
support with VND 770 million (US$ 36,900). In addition, the staff of the Truth
National Political Publishing House donated at least a day’s wages and the Academy of Journalism and Communication also
organised donations to support Japanese victims of the recent earthquake and
tsunami.

Union opens for people with disabilities

The Union for Disabled People’s Associations will make its
debut on March 26 in Hanoi
to help people with disabilities further integrate into the community and
become engaged in mainstream activities.

Addressing the press briefing on March 22, provisional
Deputy President Nguyen Ngoc Lam said the union will also create favourable
conditions for communities and disabled people to help each other in daily
life.

Together with making contributions, building and boosting
the implementation of the State’s regulations on disabilities and the
international convention on the rights of people with disabilities, the union
will also represent Vietnamese disabled people in international organisations
and will attend international co-operation conferences regarding disabled
people.

According to the National Co-ordinating Council for
Disabilities under the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, Vietnam is home
to 6.7 million disabled people, accounting for 7.8% of the population.

In recent years, both Party and State have issued many
policies and implemented support programmes for disabled people, many of whom
have tried their best to live independently.

To date, 30 cities and provinces nationwide have set up
associations for people with disabilities.

Da
Nang
wants ‘China Beach’
signs dismantled

The Da Nang people’s
committee wants relevant agencies to instruct foreign tourism companies to stop
using the term “China
Beach” to refer to the
city’s Non Nuoc beach.

It wants the term removed from their websites and all
printed matter.

Da Nang
authorities also urged Vietnamese tourism businesses to remove the term from
their websites and destroy brochures and other printed matter having the words.

They also warned that companies using incorrect information
to refer to geographical locations in the city will be severely penalized.

Man confesses to
slitting wife’s throat

The 40-year-old Nguyen Phu hailing from Binh Thuan central
province’s Ham Tan district, who has been accused of slitting his wife’s
throat, gave himself up to police today (March 24).

According to senior lieutenant colonel Nguyen Van Tien,
police are detaining him for attempted murder and are waiting for indictment
from prosecutors.

According to initial testimony, Phu had a feeling that he
had been abandoned after his wife Nguyen Thi My Loc found out he had a fatal
illness.

On the afternoon of March 18, Phu had a heated argument with
Loc. During the quarrel, he cut his wife’s throat with a knife and then
committed suicide but failed.

This morning, doctors in Binh Thuan general hospital said
that his wife has been out of danger and was sent to Ho Chi Minh City-based
hospital for further treatment.

Fraudulent city gas
stations come under scanner

The Ho Chi Minh
City agency in charge of ensuring the accuracy of
weights and measures has called on relevant agencies to make surprise checks of
gas stations that Tuoi Tre recently caught cheating.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Nga, head of the Metrology and Quality
Management Division of the city Sub-department of Standardization, Metrology
and Quality Control, said some employees at those stations had committed fraud
and their employers must bear responsibility for their conduct.

But she also advised consumers to be more attentive when
having their motorbikes filled up.

If they any suspicions, consumers should report to her
agency, the Inspectorate of the Department of Science and Technology, or the
Market Management Sub-department, she added.

Dr Nguyen Mong Hung, chairman of the HCMC Consumer
Protection Association, said petrol stations should issue invoices to customers
for purchase of gas since they now have no evidence for their complaint if they
are cheated.

He also demanded severe penalties for gas stations that
cheat consumers, including suspensions for repeat offenders.

Gas station owns up
liability for attendants’ fraud

After Tuoi Tre caught a gas station in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 6 shortchanging
customers a few days ago and published photographs, the company which owns the
station has owned up responsibility.

Trinh Viet Trung, general director of the HCM City General
Materials Joint Stock Company, told Tuoi Tre: “We have conducted an inquiry and
suspended the two employees involved in the cheating. The station is run by the
Electrical Material Chemical
Center, [our] affiliate,
but [we] take responsibility for the fraud.

“The company will settle all complaints by consumers over the
cheating,” he promised.

Tuoi Tre caught the attendants in the act of manipulating
the fuel pump at the Saigon Petro station at 751 Hong Bang Street, District 6.

While one was filling gas for a customer, the other moved to
the pump and clicked a button to increase the amount indicated on the meter.

Tuoi Tre also discovered that this trick had been used for
three months.

Trung even thanked Tuoi Tre, saying, “If Tuoi Tre had not
blown the lid, the fraud might have spread to other gas stations.”

“We are rechecking all the operations of the station to find
out how they could pocket the money. For the time being, we can only say that
the fraud was done by a few individuals.

When asked about compensation to consumers who were
shortchanged he said: “The issue here is to determine how much the loss was.”

He assured that not only the employees who committed the
fraud but also those who had the responsibility to prevent such acts would also
be penalized.

The company is determining how much money they had pocketed,
he said.

“The results of investigation will be available in two or
three days and the disciplinary council will announce the punishments.”

Ministry announces
subjects for graduation exam

The Ministry of Education and Training has just announced
six subjects in which high school students must take for graduation exams on
June 2, 3, and 4.

For full time students, the six includes math, literature,
geography, foreign languages, physics, and biology with the last three using
the multiple choice assessment form.

High school students will take a test on one of the
following languages depending on their curricula: English, Russian, French,
Chinese, German, and Japanese. Candidates can also take history as a
replacement if they do not follow the mainstream curriculum or come from areas
with poor learning conditions.

For students taking part time mode, history will replace
foreign languages, and physics and biology will use the multiple choice testing
form.

It comes to students and parents as a surprise that this is
the third consecutive year geography has been chosen.

1 dead, 7 wounded in
Khanh Hoa car crash

One person died and 7 others injured after two buses crashed
into each other on National
Highway 1A in Khanh Hoa central province’s Van
Ninh district today.

According to police, prior to the incident, bus with number
plate 43H-4262 driven by Tran Phuoc Tung, 39, was heading north while bus
53N-4555 by Nguyen Van Tien, 34, was traveling in the opposite direction.

Assistant driver Truong Theo, who hails from Binh Thuan
central province’s Ham Tuan district - on bus 53N-4555 died later in hospital.

Meanwhile 7 other passengers were injured including 5 in
critical condition.

The fronts of two buses were badly damaged. Police are
investigating the cause of the accident.

Farmers could sue
sugar polluter: official

Quang Ngai Sugar Joint Stock Company must compensate farmers
for damage caused by its plant that discharged untreated harmful waste into the
Tra Khuc River
last year. Otherwise, it will face a lawsuit.

Nguyen The Nhan, deputy chairman of central Quang Ngai
Province Farmers Association, made the statement yesterday after meeting with
relevant agencies to discuss measures to demand the company pay compensation to
local farmers.

The Association is making statistics and collecting evidence
of the actual damage to help affected farmers to take legal action against the
polluter in accordance to prevailing regulations, Mr. Nhan said.

“After completing preparation for a possible lawsuit, the
Association will propose the provincial authorities to hold a meeting with the
company to discuss compensation for affected households. If the meeting fails
to reach a mutual consent on compensation, we will sue the company,” he said.

In May last year, the company’s alcohol and liquor plant
released untreated toxic wastewater into the river, causing mass death to
ducks, shrimps and other aquatic animals bred by farmers in the downstream area
of the river, in Son Tinh District, Quang
Ngai City.

On September 22, 2010, the Quang Ngai Province People’s
Committee gave the plant a fine of VND150 million (US$7,200) for polluting the
river. It also decided to retroactively collect from the plant a total
environmental protection fee of VND270 million ($12,950).

From May 2009 to April 4, 2010, the plant discharged 20,575
cubic meters of untreated wastewater to the river, the authorities said.

In December 2010, the company shut down the plant.

The total damage caused by the plant to local farmers’
aquaculture and fishing operations is estimated at nearly VND4 billion
($192,000), according to the Association.

In August last year, the provincial People’s Committee
issued a document asking the company to coordinate with the Association and
other agencies to reach an agreement with affected farmers on compensation.

However, the company has since taken no action to resolve
the pollution problems.

Sex education
urgently needed, says reader

Vietnam
should make sex education part of the school curriculum, reader Dang Le has
written in to say.

School students had a real need to know about their
physiology. A survey found that 60 percent of them wanted to explore sex and
gender matters.

But for knowledge of sex they depended on sources like
newspapers, books, the Internet, films, and others which were often inaccurate.

Though sex education was currently part of the science
curriculum for fifth-graders, it was taught ineffectively and learning was by
rote.

Sex education, once taught properly, would not only help
school students understand clearly their biological status but also point them
in the direction of dignity, friendship, love, and moral standards.

Parents played a very important role in educating their
children on sex and gender issues, and this should serve as a stepping stone
for schools to teach their students since the subject was still taboo in this
conservative country.

In Vietnamese culture it may be hard to talk openly about
sex in class, but it was an urgent need.

Police deny burned
journalist’s wife mentally ill

Police in Long An province have denied rumors that Tran Thuy
Lieu, who confessed to torching her journalist husband Le Hoang Hung to death
in a shocking case earlier this year, has become mentally ill.

Their statement Tuesday came in the wake of rumors that were
swirling that Lieu had lost her mind after turning herself in to the police.

Curious people even showed up at the provincial hospital
looking for her since it was also rumored that she was being treated there.

Police are continuing their investigation and there is
mounting suspicion that the murder may have involved more people and not just
Lieu as she claimed.

In a recent development, Nguyen Van Tam, former head of a
market management team in Long An Province, who allegedly had an illicit
relationship with Lieu for several years, was questioned and reprimanded by his
employers.

He admitted to gambling in Cambodia, but denied his affair
with Lieu.

Tam could be expelled from the Communist Party.

Bank signs up for
city’s battle against nail ‘traps’

Eximbank will donate $12,000 to Ho Chi Minh City’s war on nail “traps,” the
scattering of nails on streets by mechanics to cause flat tires so that they
can make money by fixing them or selling new tires.

The amount is part of VND2.4 billion ($115,200) the bank has
earmarked for 10 social programs it has jointly launched with the local Ho Chi
Minh Communist Youth Union.

The $12,000 grant will be used to fund a volunteers group
that has been patrolling streets since last month.

It is assigned to attract nails on 50 streets in Districts
2, 9 and 12, and Thu Duc, detect instances of nail scattering, and report to
authorities.

On March 16, during a patrol on Nguyen Van Ba Street, Thu Duc District,
police officers caught Phung Anh Tuan, 33, a suspect, with nails apparently
ready to be scattered.

Tuan, 33, from the northern Ninh Binh Province, is a bike repairman living in
Thu Duc.

On searching his house, the police found large quantities of
sharp metal objects and nails as well as a repair tools.

Tuan confessed to the police he had scattered nails on some
streets in the area.

HCMC Mercedes car
salesman dupes buyer

A woman who was buying a Mercedes car from a Ho Chi Minh City dealer
may have been ripped off by an employee who pocketed the money she paid for the
vehicle.

In April 2010 the woman, who wished to be known only as
D.T.T.N., went to Hang Xanh Automobile Service Joint Stock Company (Haxaco) on Dien Bien Phu Street,
Binh Thanh District, to buy a Mercedes C250 that cost US$64,900.

N paid the registration and some other fees equaling $8,390
and signed a contract which already had the signature of the company’s director
and the company seal.

The paperwork was done by an employee named Dang Quang Vinh.

Then she paid around $9,400 over several occasions in the
next few days to Vinh and each time received a handwritten receipt from him.

One day she went to the company to pay VND300 million
($14,400) and received a proper receipt for it.

She then paid another $28,600 at the office and this time
Vinh again gave her a handwritten receipt.

With the money almost fully paid, Vinh promised to take her
to the relevant police office for the registration and delivery, but kept
dithering on one pretext or the other.

When N finally complained to the company about the late
delivery, she was told she had paid only VND300 million and delivery could not
be made.

It became apparent to her Vinh had pocketed all the payments
she had made.

She could not contact Vinh and came to know he had been
dismissed by Haxaco for absenting himself from work.

The company refused to deliver the car and suggested that
she report the case to the police.

A Haxaco representative said the police are investigating
the case and the company is waiting for their report.

After receiving her complaint, the police have repeatedly
called in both N and Vinh but Vinh has failed to turn up.

N said: “Haxaco did not instruct us to pay the money to its
accounting department and not sales staff.”

Nguyen Minh Thuan, a HCMC lawyer, said under Article 622 of
the Civil Code “individuals, legal persons, and other entities must pay for
losses caused by their employees or trainees.”

Considering all details of the case, Haxaco is obliged to
deliver the car to N, he said.

Long arm of the law catches up with fake drug maker

A former business executive who was wanted by the police and
was in hiding for more than a year for producing and selling fake drugs was
arrested in Ho Chi Minh City
yesterday.

Huynh Ngoc Quang, 29, former director of the Vietnam-France
Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company, had reportedly been hiding in Rach Gia town
in Kien Giang Province since he fled there in January 2010.

Earlier, in 2009, Minh was making fake medicines and selling
them in nearly 20 places.

He employed dozens of people to buy genuine, locally made
drugs, bought packaging used for imported drugs and packed the drugs in them.

In January 2010 the police caught one of them delivering
some of the fake stuff to a customer in District 10.

Based on his testimony, they raided 10 premises in several
districts where the fakes were made and stored.

They arrested 14 people and seized 30 packages of fake
medicines.

Quang, however, eluded arrest and fled to Rach Gia.

Online dialogue
boosts student solidarity

“Overseas Vietnamese students in the Year of Students 2011”
was the theme of an online dialogue aimed at connecting Vietnamese students
worldwide.

The exchange, held on March 22, was jointly organised by
Vietnamese Students’ Association (VSA) and Sinh vien Vietnam (Vietnamese Students)
newspaper, with officers in charge of youth affairs and education as guests.

During the exchange, which lasted for more than three hours,
students raised numerous questions regarding youth union work and activities in
the Year of Students.

Especially, students who desire to work in their home
country after graduation received satisfactory explanations from Vietnamese
officers when raising concerns over the country’s policies and procedures for
returnees.

Vietnam
’s solutions to support students in Japan , who have had to suspend
their studies due to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, were also a topic of
the exchange.

Nigerian sentenced to
death in Vietnam
over drugs

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court Tuesday sentenced
Michael Ikenna Nduanya, a 34-year-old Nigerian, to death and his wife Nguyen
Thi Hai Anh, a 27-year-old Vietnamese from Dak Lak Province, to life
imprisonment after the couple were caught red-handed ‘illegally transporting
drugs.’

According to the indictment by the Supreme People’s
Procuracy, a friend living in India
offered in 2008 to pay Michael Ikenna Nduanya US$1,000 each time to transport
drugs. Nduanya turned the friend down, as he knew Vietnam severely cracks down on
illegal transportation of drugs.

Knowing Nduanya had a roommate, the friend then succeeded in
persuading the two to join the affairs. The roommates would accordingly take
over drugs transported from India
to Vietnam’s neighboring Cambodia and carry them to Ho
Chi Minh City and then Hanoi where
another person would transfer the dope to China.

In early December 2009, Nduanya asked his wife to collect
around 1 kilogram of heroin from the friend in Cambodia after his roommate had
been earlier arrested by Cambodian police on their way to the neighboring
country to take the heroin.

Hai Anh, his wife, caught a bus from Ho
Chi Minh City to Cambodia
to get the drugs and took them back to hide in her bedroom. She was then
captured at Mien Dong coach station in the southern hub with the heroin divided
into separate smaller amounts found in her shoes, purse, and handbag on her way
to Hanoi.

All Vietnamese
trainees in Japan
work normally

All Vietnamese trainees in Japan
are working normally in safe places and away from the Fukushima nuclear power plant No. 1.

The Department for Management of Overseas Workers under the
Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) on Mar. 21 quoted
report from the Board for Management of Vietnamese Workers in Japan, saying
that the Vietnamese trainees are following the Japanese Government’s guidance
to cope with the situation.

After the Mar. 11 quake and tsunami in Japan, the Board for Management of Vietnamese
Workers in Japan
coordinated with Vietnamese and Japanese relevant agencies and moved Vietnamese
trainees working in areas near the nuclear power plant to safe places from Mar.
14.

Seventeen Vietnamese trainees were brought to Tokyo on Mar. 15 by the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan. Nine of
them returned to Vietnam
as their contracts had expired. Eight others are living at Nissin Kutsu shrine
in Tokyo
downtown and expect to return to work when the situation is stable. Other
trainees were moved to the second establishment of their companies or to safe
places.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), up to Mar. 20, the situation of Fukushima nuclear power
plant No. 1 saw positive changes and was under control.

Source: SGGP, VNS

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