Published: 02/06/2011 05:00



Cities need to set up cooking safety committees

Major cities, including HCM City, should set up a food safety committee that would be responsible for managing product quality, an expert has recommended.

The establishment of a committee to coordinate these activities would prevent waste of money as well as human resources, and the dodging of responsibility that occurs under the current management, which is spread across several agencies, according to Prof. Chu Pham Ngoc Son, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Association.

Speaking at a meeting on Tuesday of the HCM City Fatherland Front Committee, Son said there was also a need to expand testing systems to institutes, universities and individual testing sites if they were able to satisfy regulations on testing quality.

The foodstuff safety and hygiene problems would lessen in severity if there were comprehensive measures implemented at the management, production and consumer levels.

Son said foodstuff processing at production facilities had become sophisticated in their techniques, making it difficult for authorities to detect any irregularities.

Moreover, loose control on imported products has weakened the management of foodstuff safety and hygiene. Also, a lack of inspection teams has contributed to the current situation.

Pham Kim Phuong, director of the Department of Science and Technology’s Analysis and Testing Service Centre, said there was a need to inspect animal feed because consumers had raised concerns about growth hormones included in bran products.

Son said the problem had become alarming as some producers were intentionally using preservatives or substances that add flavour or colour during foodstuff processing.

According to the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations’ latest figures, the city has met 20 per cent of local consumers’ and production facilities’ foodstuff demands.

Eighty per cent of foodstuff is imported from neighbouring provinces or foreign countries and has high safety risks because the sources of foodstuff are not under control by the relevant agencies.

At large wholesale markets, such as Binh Dien in District 8, Thu Duc and Hoc Mon, about 1,000 tonnes of vegetables are transported from other provinces. The volume is expected to double by the year-end.

Safety risks exist also for vegetables but also for fresh foodstuff.

Orbis, charity fund eye care centre for infants

An intensive care unit to treat retinopathy in premature babies was opened at the National Hospital of Obstetrics in Ha Noi on Tuesday.

The unit, which was paid for by Ha Noi-based Orbis South East Asia and the Thien Y Charity Fund, is one of three specialist eye examination and treatment centres in the city.

Retinopathy can potentially lead to blindness. It typically occurs in premature (under 32 weeks of gestation) babies who are underweight (less than 2,000 grammes). Without treatment within two weeks of being born, the disease usually leads to complete blindness.

On average, the consumption demand for animal products is about 650-700 tonnes per day, equivalent to 460 buffaloes and cows, 8,000 pigs and 35,000 poultry, but the city has only satisfied 15-20 per cent of that amount.

About 46,800 foodstuff trade and production facilities are located in 24 districts, according to Health Department figures.

Last year, 700 people in HCM City were hospitalised in a total of 13 food-poisoning cases.

Harmful drink additive seized

Officials from the Viet Nam Food Administration yesterday impounded a consignment of drink additive thought to be harmful to health.

Chan Huang Ming, director of New Choice Foods Company in southern Binh Duong Province’s Ben Cat District, admitted to importing di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) from Triko Foods Co Ltd in Taiwan.

All of the company’s products were sealed off, and the company was asked to take back its products which are on sale on the market. Earlier DEHP was detected in some soft drink samples in Taiwan.

To Minh Huong, a lecturer of the Ha Noi National University’s chemistry department, said DEHP was a kind of slimy liquid with no colour. It can dissolve in oil but not in water.

The substance has been used mainly for making polyviny chloride (PVC) soft and pliable. When used in processing soft drink, it creates precipitation and viscidity for fruit juice and agar.

DEHP could affect male fertility and female puberty, she said.

The administration has sought more information from the Global Food Safety Network and would warn domestic food manufacturers, said director of the Viet Nam Food Administration Nguyen Cong Khan.

The Ministry of Health on Tuesday set up inspection teams in all cities and provinces across the country. The team will focus their inspection on big cities where consume a great quantity of the product. Officials would also check food and soft drinks, especially those imported from Taiwan, and take samples for tests, he said.

Meanwhile, the HCM City Department of Food Safety and Hygiene took 13 food, soft drink and milk samples from markets, supermarkets and companies in the city for testing.

According to statistics of Sai Gon Customs Department Region 1, many soft drinks and fruit juices were imported from Taiwan since the beginning of this year.

Deputy director of the department Nguyen Thi Huynh Mai said the department would join hands with health, industrial and trade departments and the city police to check all food processing and trading enterprises in the city.

Alternative household water supply suggested

Experts have recommended that the Tri An and Dau Tieng reservoirs on the Dong Nai River should be used as the new household water supply in addition to the Sai Gon River, which has become more polluted.

According to a recent survey conducted by the HCM City Environmental Protection Department, only 109 out of 269 companies in the city have wastewater treatment systems.

Thousands of companies as well as households in Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces located near upstream Sai Gon River are discharging untreated wastewater into the river every day, worsening pollution.

In addition, the Sai Gon River has recently become more saline.

In the dry season from 2010 to 2011, salt intrusion on at least five occasions has suspended the operation of certain water treatment plants, including Tan Hiep water supply plant, local authorities have said.

The Tan Hiep water supply plant has had to ask Dau Tieng Irrigation Company to discharge the water in order to ease salt intrusion.

Le Huy Ba, head of the Institution of Science and Technology and Environment Management under the HCM City-based Industry University, said the Sai Gon River was seriously polluted and heavily salinated, and not a safe water supply for residents.

To cope with the issue, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dao Xuan Hoc, has recommended that the city use water resources of Tri An and Dau Tieng reservoirs from the Dong Nai River.

According to a plan to develop HCM City until 2025, the city will use water resources from Dau Tieng and Tri An reservoirs by 2015.

Under the plan, the current Tan Hiep water supply plant in HCM City, with a capacity of 300,000 cubic metres per day, should be moved to Dau Tieng reservoir in Dong Nai Province.

Meanwhile, the Sai Gon Dau Tieng Water Supply Joint-Stock Company has drafted a project proposal to exploit Dau Tieng reservoir for water supply.

Under the proposal, the company will build two pipes, with a diameter of 2 metres and length of 60 kilometres, with a capacity of 1.2 million cu.m per day, to transfer the water from Dau Tieng Reservoir to Kenh Dong and Tan Hiep water supply plants.

It also plans to build a clean water treatment plant with a capacity of 600,000 cu.m per day.

Total investment of the project is estimated to reach VND7.5 trillion (US$365 million).

Khong Anh Dung, director of Sai Gon Dau Tieng Water Supply Joint-Stock Company, said his company had submitted the project proposal to the HCM City People’s Committee and relevant ministries.

However, the company has yet to receive approval from the Government.

If approved, it would take at least three years to complete the project, an official from the company said.

Ministry announces energy efficiency competitions

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has announced two national contests for effective energy management in buildings and by industries and a media award for energy efficiency.

The Competition for Energy Efficient Buildings is divided into three categories — new and existing buildings, tropical buildings, and retrofitted buildings.

Tropical buildings refer to those with only 50 per cent or less of its gross floor area having air-conditioning, gross floor area of more than 500 square metres and that are 15 years old or less.

The first prize is worth VND5 million in each of them, while the second and third prizes are worth VND4 million and VND3 million.

The Energy Management in Buildings and Industries Competition is open to all buildings and industrial facilities that have operated for at least two years and consume at least 1 million kWh of power a year in case of buildings and 2 million kWh in case of industrial facilities.

The first prize in each of the two categories is worth VND3 million while there will also be a prize worth VND3 million for innovative energy management.

Buildings and industries account for half of the country’s total energy consumption, Phuong Hoang Kim, deputy head of the ministry’s Science and Technology Department, said.

Effective energy management in buildings and industries, which could save 20-35 per cent of power, helps them cut costs and aids the nation’s energy security, he added.

Journalists can participate in the media award for energy efficiency by sending in written, pictorial, audio, and other electronic entries related to energy and energy efficiency.

The annual competitions are organised by the ministry’s Energy Conservation Office along with the HCM City Energy Conservation Centre and Ha Noi Energy Conservation Centre to promote energy efficiency.

$26 mln grant agreed for Mekong major bridges, road

The Asian Development Bank said Wednesday that it approved a US$26 million technical assistance grant financed by the Australian Government for construction of two major bridges and a connecting road in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.

The technical assistance is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to provide a A$160 million (US$171 million) grant to the Vietnamese Government over five years for the bridge and road project, as announced by Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard during her official visit to Vietnam in October 2010.

This A$160 million investment represented the largest single Australian aid activity in Southeast Asia, the Australian Embassy Hanoi said while announcing the financing last October.

The project will build two large cable-stayed bridges and a 25-kilometer road connecting them. Each bridge is two km long, with a six-lane roadway 40 meters above the Mekong River.

The two bridges in Dong Thap Province are named Cao Lanh and Vam Cong, like the names of the two towns.

Australia’s grant contribution will help finance the engineering, design and construction supervision of the project, as well as provide a major contribution to the cost of building the Cao Lanh Bridge.

Meanwhile, the construction of the Vam Cong Bridge is supported by the Government of the Republic of Korea through a US$200 million loan agreement signed with the Vietnamese Government.

It is a co-financing effort on the part of the official development partners to Vietnam for this flagship project that is estimated to cost up to US$750 million.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport is the executing agency for the US$26 million technical assistance grant approved by the Asian Development Bank.

It is expected that the engineering designs and bidding process will be completed within 2012 and construction will start in 2013. The bridges and connecting road are expected to open for public use in 2017.

Once built, the bridges and road will benefit about 170,000 users per day and five million residents of An Giang, Can Tho, and Dong Thap provinces, according to the Australian Embassy.

The bridges and road will also improve transport services across and within the Mekong Delta region by connecting Ho Chi Minh City with other parts of the delta region Australia will invest over five years in a major road transport project in the Mekong Delta – Vietnam’s southern food bowl.

In 2000, the My Thuan Bridge over the Tien River in the delta, also built with Australian funding, opened to traffic, connecting Tien Giang and Vinh Long provinces and replacing My Thuan ferry services. The bridge now carries more than 5 million vehicles per year.

Career centers redundant in HCMC

Career training centers in the various districts of Ho Chi Minh City are presently facing a shortfall of students and many are now letting out their space to cover expenses.

A staff member from the Career Training Center in District 6 said that earlier years saw over 700 students registering for training courses. However, this year the number has dwindled to only 400.

Nguyen Van Bay, deputy director of the center says the numbers of students enrolling has reduced by 15-17 percent each year.

Mr. Bay said that one of the reasons for this was the competition from private job training centers, which are attracting the young students. Besides, vocational schools, colleges and even universities offer short-term job training courses.

At the Career Training Center in District 11, most equipment and machinery was out-dated. At the motorcycle repair class, there are only old motorcycles for practice, while at the information technology class all computers have low configuration and out-dated software. Several classrooms at the center are now rented to a nearby college.

The director of another establishment said most of the centers were short of equipment and machinery or with inadequate facilities.

Representatives from several centers said that their main income came from exams held for people trying to get a motorcycle-driving license or by renting their space.

Nguyen Van Bay, deputy director of the Career Training Center in District 6 said that centers operating ineffectively should merge with each other to avoid waste.

Relevant authorities should create advantageous conditions for centers to coordinate with businesses to train and supply workers for industrial zones and export processing zones.

Nguyen Thanh Hiep from the HCMC Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs says the most important thing is that the centers themselves should be proactive to reform and seek ways to develop instead of depending on State budgets.

Bringing light to nearly 6,000 poor people

Since 2008, the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology (VNIO) has performed free eye surgery for nearly 6,000 poor people across the country.

From June 3-15, the VNIO’s mobile eye surgeons will offer free eye surgery to 200 poor people in Hai Hau district, Nam Dinh province and 100 others in Bac Giang province with funding from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In the first six months of this year they have performed eye surgery for 800 poor people in Vinh Phuc, Lang Son, Ha Nam, and Yen Bai provinces and others living in Lao province of Bolikhamxay with funding from the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, An Vien Company and the Asia for blindness prevention (AFBP).

VNIO has encouraged benefactors, businesses and international organizations to raise funds for poor people in remote and mountainous areas to undergo eye surgery.

New facility for Can Tho Children’s Hospital

The Can Tho provincial People’s Committee held a groundbreaking ceremony on June 1 to build Can Tho Children’s Hospital into the most modern hospital in the Mekong Delta region, with nine floors, 500 patient beds and various wards.

Covering an area of over 40,000 square metres, the new hospital is expected to be completed by 2015 at an estimated cost of VND921 billion, to provide health care for children in Can Tho city and Mekong Delta provinces and act as a training facility for students from medical universities and colleges in the region.

Director of Can Tho Children’s Hospital Le Hoang Son said the old hospital, established in 1979 with only 250 beds, is overloaded, thus the new hospital with modern infrastructure and equipment will meet the health care needs for children in the city as well as the Mekong Delta region.

UNICEF helps maintain education in disasters

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) will join with two local agencies in improving the educational sector’s capacity in the next two years to help it ensure quality education for children in case of natural disasters.

Under a tripartite agreement for the 2011-13 period signed in Hanoi on June 1, the Ministry of Education and Training will integrate education on disaster risk reduction into the Government’s 10-year strategy, as well as into the educational sector’s annual and five-year plans. The ministry will also help local administrations prepare programmes on education during emergency situations as part of the plans on natural disaster control, and education on emergency responses.

For its part, UNICEF will help the ministry raise funds and improve managerial staff capacity in preparing for, coping with and overcoming natural disasters, in order to ensure education during emergencies.

The Save the Children Vietnam will be responsible for maintaining connections with international organisations and networks, to share experiences and disseminate good examples in education about emergencies. The domestic non-profit organisation will also join the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) in providing material and equipment for emergency education.

MoET Deputy Minister Tran Quang Quy said to cope with natural disasters, every school should become a “citadel” to protect children and other members of the community.

“Children have therefore to be educated in environmental protection, current climate change problems and measures to cope with climate change impacts to protect themselves,” said the senior educational manager.

He added that school children should also be equipped with skills to help victims and parents just in case.

Both UNICEF Resident Reprsentative Lotta Sylwander and Save the Children Vietnam Director Pham Sinh Huy pledged strong assistance to MoET in this scheme to mitigate school shutdowns caused by natural disasters.

BIDV assists Muong Nhe district development

The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) has allocated 25 billion VND to Muong Nhe district in the northwestern province of Dien Bien to help it ensure social security for its local people.

The sum is sourced from the VND30 billion assistance the bank has committed to Dien Bien province for the building of 1,500 houses for the poor and 100 day-boarding class rooms for children in two years (2011-2012).

Of the amount, more than VND4.3 billion will go to Nam Ke commune to build houses for 332 households and ten day-boarding class rooms, each worth VND100 million.

The bank, at the same time, has handed over 620 gifts valued at VND500 million to households in Nam Ke commune.

Conference discusses human resource training

A national conference was held in Ba Ria Vung Tau on May 31 to review the implementation of the Prime Minister’s decision 137 on training human resource for international integration.

From 2003 up to now, relevant ministries, agencies and localities have trained 1,500 managers, 135,000 civil servants and representatives from businesses, 60,000 judicial workers and more than 6 million lecturers, students from universities, colleges and vocational training centres and 600,000 guest workers.

Nguyen Tien Dinh, deputy minister of home affairs said that it requires co-ordinated efforts with other nations and international organizations to promote the training of human resource for international integration.

On the occasion, the conference granted certificates of merit to 20 collectives and 20 individuals who have gained outstanding achievements in training human resources for international integration.

Gold mine collapse kills 1, injures another

An illegal gold mine in the northern Quang Tri Province suddenly collapsed yesterday morning, killing one digger and injuring another.

The dead person has been identified as Ho Van Tho, 16, of Hong Thuy commune, A Luoi District, Thua Thien-Hue city Province.

Ho Van My, also 16, of Vuc Leng hamlet in the local district has been admitted to the Hue Central Hospital in a critical condition.

The two were among 10 miners digging a pit in A Ho valley, Dakrong District. The others escaped before the mine collapse.

Lieutenant Colonel Ho Si Nhung, deputy head of the district police, said the pit was too deep and had its wall weakened by groundwater, causing it to collapse.

Illegal gold mining is rampant in the area, the police said, and this is the seventh accident since 2009. The earlier collapses saw seven people being killed or seriously injured.

Two traffic accidents kill three teachers

Just one day before high school graduation exam, two accidents happened in Binh Dinh and Ha Tinh province, killing three teachers.

At 3.30pm today, a traffic accident killed one teacher and injured another in Tran Hung Dao and Tran Quoc Toan crossroad, in Dong Da district, Quy Nhon city in the coastal province of Binh Dinh.

According to witnesses, the truck owned by Trang Hiep Thanh Limited Company driven by Le Van Chay collided with the bike running in the same direction . The truck driver could not control the speed and ran over the bike of the two teachers Nguyen Viet Thang and Le Van Nam, who were on the way home after attending a meeting for protoctors. Thang was killed and Nam was injured.

Also today in the central province of Ha Tinh, two teachers Hoang Tan Dan and Nguyen Van Hung from Son Ha junior-high school were killed on the way to take exam schedule in Le Quang Chi junior-high school, according to Nguyen Khac Hao, head of Ha Tinh Department of Education and Training.

The district police confirmed that the two teachers were riding when they were crashed by a truck and died immediacy.

Officials in education field in Ha Tinh province came to visit and consoled their families. They also assigned replacements for the upcoming graduation exams in Le Quang Chi junior-high school.

Suspected DEHP-contained additives found in Binh Duong

An inspection team of the Department of Food Safety and Hygiene under the health ministry has found a shipment of suspected DEHP-contained additives at a food company in southern Binh Duong Province bordering on HCMC.

The team, led by the department’s deputy director Nguyen Hung Long, has sealed the shipment and asked New Choice Foods Co to withdraw all products using the materials extracted from the shipment in the domestic market.

The inspection has been launched at the company located in Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park 2 after it imported the shipment from Triko Food Co in Taiwan.

The 2nd inspection team from the ministry Tuesday took samples of products at a beverage company in Hanoi to send to the national institute for testing food safety and hygiene to test for trace of DEHP.

Container truck bursts into flame in HCMC

A container truck parked on Le Thi Rieng Street of District 12 suddenly burst into flame this morning. Luckily, no human casualty was reported.

Huynh Van Dung, who claimed to eyewitness the whole fire, said the flame erupted from the container’s cabin when three people left it at 10a.m.

“I was trying to extinguish the fire with a water pump, but had to leave as the vehicle exploded,” he said.

None of the locals could get close to the container as the flame got fiercer, emitting a high pillar of smoke and many explosions, he said.

20 fire fighters of District 12 eventually managed to put out the fire after half an hour.

The truck’s cabin was totally damaged.

Driver Nguyen Huu Tiet, 51, hailing from Quang Ngai, said there were no goods inside the container.

He said the fire might have been caused by an electrical problem.

The loss was estimated at nearly VND1 billion (US$50,000).

Headless body found on HCMC river

A decomposing headless corpse was found inside a bag floating on Tan Phong canal in district 7, Ho Chi Minh City Tuesday afternoon. The corpse also missed an entire trunk from the hip up.

Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported a group of young local people flocked to the canal to swim and found a pink floating bag. When they pulled it towards the riverbank, they discovered the rotten corpse inside.

After being informed, local police arrived on the scene.

Investigation found that the deceased is a man, whose body was cut into three parts.

There is a tattoo of a girl on his right leg and a tattoo of a horn on his left.

Police are investigating.

5 arrested for setting up US$131,000 fake robbery

Can Tho City police arrested a jewelry shop attendant Tuesday and four others after they created a false robbery scene to get away with stealing VND2.7 billion ($131,000) from the shop.

On Monday, the Le Phat Jewelry Shop in Ninh Kieu District assigned 29-year-old Le Thanh Hoang, from Hau Giang province, to deliver 45 taels (54 ounces) of gold to a customer in An Giang province.

The customer gave Hoang VND2.7 billion ($131,000), which he was supposed to return to the shop.

After receiving the payment, Hoang asked four friends to help him set up a false robbery to steal the money.

He then informed the shop and the Can Tho city police that someone had robbed him of the money at the cemetery in the city’s O Mon District.

After carefully examining the scene, which was falsely arranged by Hoang and his friends, the police questioned Hoang who admitted to setting up the “robbery.”

Hoang told police he wanted the money to pay off his large debts.

The police detained the five and charged them with deceiving in order to appropriate assets.

About VND1.4 billion ($68,000) of the money has been recovered, police said.

Air passenger charged for hiding 306 diamonds

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Procuracy has completed an indictment against Luu Chi Hung, who brought 306 diamonds from Hong Kong into Vietnam without reporting to customs last year.

Hung was charged with “cross-border trafficking of goods”.

Total value of the diamonds is estimated at VND7.3 billion (US$354,700).

The agency has transferred the case file to the city People’s Court to open a trial for him.

Hung, who has Vietnamese citizenship, arrived in Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport on January 17, 2010.

While Hung was carrying out immigration procedures, customs officers found him suspicious.

Luu Chi Hung and the exhibits, including 306 diamonds packed in 10 small plastic bags and some other jewelry items

They asked Hung to come into a room for body checks and discovered 10 bags of jewelry looking like diamonds hidden around his waist.

Tests made later confirmed all the jewelry was diamond.

Apart from the diamonds, Hung also hid 10 bracelets, 2 necklaces, and an earring in a cigarette box.

Hung has since then detained for investigation.

Vietnamese journalist charged with extortion

Prosecutors on Tuesday charged a former deputy managing editor of the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper for extortion after he used a news report to blackmail a cement company.

According to police, 41-year-old Phan Ha Binh, whose pen name was Ha Phan, used a news report about a failing project of the Saigon-Tan Ky Cement Joint Stock Company to blackmail the company.

Binh wrote and published an article about the project, which, according to Binh’s first article, was a building site in Nghe An province that had been idle for about four months because the company could not find investors.

Police said Binh repeatedly demanded money from the company or he would write more stories about it. Under Vietnamese law, a company’s investment license can be revoked if a project does not show enough progress.

Last October a company representative gave him VND220 million (US$10,700) at a restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, but the police had been informed about the transaction and arrested him there.

“He has blackmailed companies many times,” said Lieutenant General Trinh Luong Hy, head of the security investigation agency that arrested Binh. “There is a limit for everything … so the company reported him to us.”

Binh will face a sentence between seven and 15 years in prison if convicted.

Tien Phong regularly runs investigative stories and is one of the country’s best-selling newspapers.

Traffic officer stabbed in Hanoi

An unidentified man stabbed an on-duty traffic police officer in Hanoi twice in the back Tuesday morning as he was ticketing a motorist.

At 9 a.m., Sergeant Major Nguyen Anh Tuan stopped a woman for violating traffic laws when two men on a motorbike stopped 20 meters away from him.

An eyewitness said he saw one of the men, who was wearing a facemask, rush at Tuan and stab him in his shoulder with a knife.

The two men immediately fled after injuring the officer, he said.

Lieutenant Colonel Pham Cong Dung, who was on duty with Tuan when he was attacked, said he was handling another offense away from Tuan and was too far away to intervene.

“The man moved so quickly that Tuan could not react fast enough,” he said.

Tuan is in stable condition at Police Hospital 19.8.

Dong Da District police are investigating the incident and searching for the men.

Murder charges against ranger dropped

The Dak Lak Province People’s Procuracy has dropped its murder charges against a local ranger who shot dead an illegal logger in a national park last year.

On July 14, 2010, Dak Lak province police charged Thanh with murder due to excessive self-defense when he shot an illegal logger who tried to attack him with a large blade.

The provincial People’s Court opened the trial on April 18, but it was delayed due to the absence of crucial witnesses.

After the case was filed, Yok Don National Park, the provincial People’s Committee, the Forestry General Department, and the Agriculture and Rural Development asked the provincial People’s Procuracy to drop the charges, said Tran Dinh Son, head of the Procuracy.

The Procuracy reviewed the case and agreed to drop all charges against Thanh, since he had no previous convictions, made a sincere declaration of guilt, showed repentance for his offense, and has taken measures to mitigate the sufferings of the victim’s family, Son said.

The agency also said it took into consideration that the victim’s family did not hold Thanh accountable.

On April 13, 2010, Thanh and other rangers at Yok Don National Park caught five local men, Dinh Van Bang, Do Minh Khue, Do Trung Hieu, Nguyen Thanh Hung and Vo Thanh Tra, illegally taking lumber from the park.

Khue and Bang then used a wooden baton and a large blade in an attempt to attack the rangers.

Thanh reportedly fired a warning shot, but Bang continued to rush toward them with the blade.

Thanh shot and killed him and Khue was arrested.

Khue was charged with acting unlawfully against law enforcement officers.

Free swimming school for kids in Hoi An

There is no one in Hoi An City in Quang Nam Province who doesn’t know Joanne Stewart’s freeswimming school for kids.

When she first came to Hoi An three years ago, Ms Stewart found out the shocking drowning rates of local children and thus she started her own swimming school. Despite starting with only two teachers and 300 students, her school has now expanded to 15 teachers and more than 1500 students.

Children who join her swimming school will be provided with full swimming equipment and have 20 swimming lessons.

When asked about Ms Stewart’s swimming school, Nguyen Duc Thanh from the Office of Education of Hoi An, said: “Without Joanne, we would face a lot of difficulties operating a swimming school because there are many other factors involved.

“We are currently trying to rent swimming pools for swimming classes from local businesses but have been declined. If both sides can find a way to compromise, this action will receive huge support from the community and we can expand.”

Children’s safety is of paramount importance in Hoi An and many organizations have started to help out and sponsor swimming lessons.

The Palm Garden Resort, Hoi An has always supported Swim Vietnam

organization. Recently, the Montgomerie Links in Danang City held a charity golf tournament Swing to Swim, with the money being given to the drowning prevention program in Vietnam. The Furama Resort Danang has also started operating SwimSafe, a free swimming program for children in the Southeast Asia area.

Indebted Party official faces dismissal

The Ca Mau Province Communist Party Unit will take action against a local senior party official for her personal financial decisions.

Last week, Nguyen Thi Kim Lien, Deputy Director of the Ca Mau Province Education and Training Department, admitted to several breaches of conduct during an official meeting.

According to party officials, Lien admitted to borrowing large sums of money from loan sharks and ignoring official regulations.

All Party members voted to dismiss Lien from the Party and her department.

“She had left her office for days without permission, and missed a political training course,” said Thai Van Long, Director of the Ca Mau Education and Training Department.

Lien used to serve as the vice principal of the Dam Doi High School.

Last year, she was elected to be a member of the provincial Party Committee and assigned to the role of deputy director of the Ca Mau Education and Training Department.

Lien’s wrongdoing were discovered in late April when ten creditors showed up to her house demanding payment for money she had borrowed.

In addition, the Cau Mau branch of Sacombank provided the department with information about Lien’s outstanding debts.

According to an investigation conducted by Provincial Inspection Commission, Lien owes VND1.8 billion to more than 20 different people.

She claimed to have borrowed money to pay for a house she bought from Hoang Tam Property Trading Company a year ago.

Vietnamese-American female student missing in US

A missing nursing student’s family is offering $20,000 for information about her whereabouts after she disappeared Friday at a northern California hospital.

Michelle Hoang Thi Le was last spotted about 7 p.m. Friday going to her car in the parking garage at the Kaiser Permanente Hayward Medical Center. She is enrolled at the Hayward campus of Samuel Merritt University.

The 26-year-old beauty told friends she was going to drive to Reno with a friend after class that night, authorities said. Her friend never heard from her, and Le’s vehicle was later found a few blocks from the hospital.

Le had a cell phone with her when she left class, but it was not found in the car.

“We haven’t found anything at all that leads us [in] one direction or another, that tells us this is a foul play incident or anything,” Lt. Roger Keener of the Hayward Police Department told KGO 7 News in San Francisco.

Le is halfway through Merritt’s 12-month accelerated program.

Her family said Monday they collected $20,000 as a reward for her return.

“It’s really hard not to assume the worst, but we’re trying,” the woman’s brother, Michael, told reporters. “That’s the hardest thing, staying positive.”

“The entire Samuel Merritt University community is deeply concerned about the disappearance of our nursing student Michelle Le,” school spokeswoman Elizabeth Valente told ABC News.

“She’s an intelligent, beautiful, polite person who is very excited about her career of becoming a nurse,” Valente said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “She wants to help people.”

Anyone with information about Le’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Hayward Police Department at (510) 293-7000.

Hanoi tourist boats violate water traffic laws

Nearly 300 tourist and amphibious duck boats in Hanoi are violating water traffic regulations due to their lack of business licenses, lifebuoys and fire extinguishers as well as drivers operating without licenses, said Tran Dang Hai, the deputy chief inspector of the Hanoi Department of Transportation.

He has also warned that many accidents could happen on West Lake, a tourist destination where at least 10 tourist boats and more than 100 ducks boats regularly violate water traffic regulations.

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