Published: 25/04/2011 05:00



No additive found in Vietnam can turn pork into beef

The Department of Food Hygiene and Safety announced on April 23 that it had not discovered any additive in the market that could turn pork into beef.

After hearing of China’s scandalous additives that can turn pork into beef, the department conducted an inspection in some cities and provinces nationwide such as Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.

A representative from the department conceded that currently many kinds of additives were selling in the bigger markets in Hanoi like Dong Xuan, Hang Be, Thanh Cong and Nghia Do. However, additives can only provide flavour and colour to pork but cannot change the texture and taste of pork.

At Dong Xuan, Hanoi’s biggest wholesale market on Hang Buom Street, customers can buy any additive easily, including the Chinese additive that “can help you cook your beef better”.

The most worrisome is that most additives have no clear manufacturing origin label identifying its brand or the ingredients in it. They have been selling in markets for many years, the representative added. Besides, some labels on imported additives are in English or Chinese, so customers find it difficult to read.

HCMC not to raise tuition fees

The Director of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training (DOET) affirmed that the school tuition fees would not increase in public institutes and would remain stable in private institutes in the academic year 2011-2012.

Speaking at a press conference in the city on April 22, Huynh Cong Minh, the director of DOET, said that the education sector would make all efforts to provide enough classes and reduce overcrowding of classes.

The city has constructed two more high schools in district 6 and Binh Tan district. The numbers of students in a class in first grade are 40 and in the sixth grade, there are 45. However, many immigrants to the city are causing extra pressure on the education sector; for instance, the number of six year olds entering school in 2009 was 97, 872 but in 2011 they have increased to 102,119.

Talking to Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper, Huynh Cong MInh said the authorities would encourage private institutes not to hike school tuition fees. Parents should also be selective of schools and send their children to schools that offer reasonable fee levels that suit their financial condition as well as the education quality they wish their child to acquire.

One killed as bicycle crushed by train

A train numbered HBN1-722 heading south crashed into a bicycle in Ninh Phong Ward, in the northern province of Ninh Binh early Monday, killing one and severely injuring the other.

The victims were identified as 16-year-old Dang Van Minh and Dang Thi Bien from Phuc Trung Street, Ninh Phuc Commune.

Minh died immediately. Bien was rushed to a nearby hospital. Doctors said her brain had been damaged.

Local residents said they often witness collisions between trains and other vehicles in the area because of a narrow field of vision and lack of warning lights.

The police are further investigating.

Construction official in the dock for $24,000 bribe

The former head of a corporation run by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has been prosecuted for taking a bribe of VND500 million (US$24,000) last year.

Tran Duc Mau, 53, who used to be director of the Irrigation Construction Corporation No 4, is charged with “abusing power and position to appropriate assets.”

His agency was the general contractor for the Song Tranh II Hydropower Project in the central Quang Nam Province.

In 2007 Mau signed a contract to buy materials from Song Da Cao Cuong Joint Stock Company.

The company hired Hai Phong City-based Cat Phu Supplies Trading Company to transport materials to the project site and collect payment.

But Mau demanded VND500 million from Cat Phu to approve the materials and make payment.

Tran Van Luan, Cat Phu’s director, agreed to pay but reported the case to the Anti-Corruption Investigation Department.

In his complaint, Luan accused Mau of causing difficulties over delivery, unreasonably delaying payments, and repeatedly demanding bribes.

On October 8, 2010, anti-corruption officials caught Mau receiving the money from Luan at Cong Doan Hotel in Hanoi.

Mau was arrested and the officials found many envelopes in his suitcase, four of them with money.

Downpours may hit South again this week

The southern region may see thunderstorms and downpours this week, according to the Southern Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Center.

Ho Chi Minh City and several southeastern provinces have been sweltering with temperatures of up to 37 degrees Celsius since this week started.

But the southern forecasting center says later this week, heavy rains may hit the south.

Northeastern winds accompanied by high tides are expected to increase salty levels of rivers in the Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City.

4,000 test-tube babies born over decade at hospital

Tu Du Hospital, Vietnam’s in vitro fertilization (IVF) pioneer, has given birth to 4,000 babies by this means for over 13 years, the hospital said yesterday.

Dr. Hoang Thi Diem Tuyet, deputy director of Tu Du released the statistics at the 14th anniversary of the hospital’s Unit of Reproduction Assistant.

With the best IVF treatment in Vietnam, Tu Du has constantly updated its technology and been able to achieve a success rate up to 40 percent, which is equal to the world’s success rate.

According to the Ministry of Health, 7-10 percent of Vietnam’s population is infertile, increasing the demand for IVF.

To date, 13 IVF centers have been established countrywide and have so far given birth to 9,000 babies.

Military doctors treat fisherman at sea

Military doctors on Song Tu Tay Island in the Truong Sa Island District in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa on April 22 treated Nguyen Quoc Hung, a fisherman who felt seriously sick onboard.

Upon receiving an emergency signal from a fishing board numbered PY-92044TS, border soldiers from Song Tu Tay Island brought Hung, who is 39 years old, onshore and gave him first aid.

Hung was able to return to his ship later that day.

Vietnam extends stay for foreign NGO

Vietnam has extended the operational time for Atlantic Philanthropies (AP), a non-government organization working in healthcare in Vietnam.

Chairman of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO) and Permanent Member of the Committee for Foreign Non-Government Organization Affairs Vu Xuan Hong handed over the three-year extension permit to AP on April 22.

Beginning its activities in Vietnam in 2003, AP has actively helped Vietnam build healthcare infrastructure by providing local hospitals and universities with equipment, facilities and training.

It has also financed Agent Orange/Dioxin researches in the country.

AP is a foreign NGO that gives the greatest amount of aid (over US$30million every year) to Vietnam.

VN discusses marriage law to protect women

For the sake of Vietnamese women, the Ministries of Public Security, Justice, and Foreign Affairs must work together to perfect the laws that govern marriage with foreigners, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan said at a national conference Friday.

According to the Ministry of Justice’s statistics released at the meeting held in Can Tho City to discuss alien marriage laws, from 1995 to 2010, 294,000 Vietnamese citizens married foreigners or overseas Vietnamese from 50 countries and territories.

Of these, 65,000 were Vietnamese women who married Taiwanese and South Korean men and renounced their Vietnamese citizenship.

Many Vietnamese women married foreigners for economic reasons rather than with a view toward building a happy martial life, the ministry said.

Thus, a lot of young girls agreed to marry foreigners who were much older or even suffered from illnesses or disabilities, according to Dinh Trung Tung, Deputy Minister of Justice.

Tung said of these girls, quite a few were abused by their husbands or members of their husbands’ families.

However, officials at the meeting said the existing marriage laws in Vietnam hadn’t been able to cope with this growing phenomenon.

For instance, according to Major General Do Kim Tuyen, deputy head of the General Department of Crime Prevention and Control under the justice ministry, there is at present no criminal law to govern illegal marriage brokerage.

Tuyen said only administrative penalties were applied to illegal brokers and fines were too low to discourage further violations.

Tuyen said the Ministry of Justice should propose applying criminal charges to those engaged in illegal marriage brokerage related to foreigners.

Deputy Minister of Justice Tung said the ministry was indeed drafting new decrees about marriage with foreigners.

He said the ministry would also verify all marital status certificates granted by local people’s committees to Vietnamese citizens who married foreigners to ensure there was no violation.

Deputy Prime Minister Nhan said what authorities could also do was to help women who want to marry foreigners know about Vietnamese laws and regulations governing alien marriage, their potential husbands’ health and family situation, as well as the cultures and languages of these men before embarking on the journey.

Schoolgirl attackers got 21 years in prison

The Hoa Thanh District People’s Court in the southern province of Tay Ninh on April 23 gave a total 21 years in prison to 4 men who were found slashing 12 schoolgirls on the thighs or butts last month.

The gang’s leader, 28-year-old Nguyen Thanh Tai was sentenced to 10 years in prison; Pham Thanh Duy got 6 years; Vo Le Hoang Ngu received 4 years and 6 months, and Phan Ca Li was given 1 year and 3 months.

The court also ordered the guilty to pay a total of VND72.6 million (US$3,480) to the schoolgirls for the injuries they caused.

According to the charges of the local Procuracy, the gang committed 19 slashing cases in Hoa Thanh District and Tay Ninh Town from March 7 to 18.

Their first victim was D. Q., a 12th grader, who was riding to Tay Ninh High School on her electric bicycle on March 7.

When Q. got to Nguyen Chi Thanh Street, just a short distance from the school, two young men riding a scooter approached her from behind.

To Q.’s astonishment, the guy sitting behind the driver slashed her on her left thigh with a small knife.

The slash, about 10 cm long, torn her white trousers and caused bleeding.

The charges said after this and other attacks, female students citywide were too afraid to go to school alone.

Prior to the trial, the four defendants confessed to the investigators that they attacked the girls because they wanted to seek “strong feelings” and liked the idea of hurting and shaming the girls.

Tai also said his initial motivation was love. He fell in love with a schoolgirl and wished to take her to school and pick her up after class everyday.

He then asked Duy, Ngu and Li to join him in assaulting other girls as a way to scare his girl so that she would agree to let him escort her.

According to the Procuracy, in 2009, Tai already received a 12-year suspense sentence for illegally detaining others, deliberately damaging property, and deliberately injuring others.

Ten years ago, Ngu was also sentenced to 12 years in prison by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court for murder.

He was released in August 2010.

Glass crack forces plane to land

Vietnam Airlines’ VN1118 aircraft, which was flying from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi yesterday, made an emergency landing at Da Nang Airport after a crack was found on its cabin glass.

The plane took off at 9:20 a.m. from Ho Chi Minh City and was expected to arrive in Hanoi two hours later.

However, after 40 minutes of flying, a pilot detected a crack on the glass of the cabin.

The chief plot decided to land in Da Nang City for repair, which was carried out at the airport.

Vietnam Airlines schedule another flight to take the passengers to Hanoi later in the evening.

Nha Trang hotel catches fire, guests saved

No one was hurt when a fire broke out at the 15-storey Asia Paradise Hotel in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province at 7pm yesterday.

71 guests were staying at the hotel when the fire broke out in the basement.

The municipal firefighters had to break some glass doors of the hotel in their effort to extinguish the fire.

Police and health workers arrived in time to take all of the guests to safety.

The fire was put out after two hours.

Colonel Dang Van Manh, deputy head of the Khanh Hoa Province Police Department said the police are investigating the case.

$1 mln loss after lighter company fire

A huge fire accompanied by several blasts Friday night broke out at Ho Chi Minh City-based Hang Phong Lighter Ltd. Company in Tan Tao industrial zone, burning down all products and equipment into ash.

Fortunately no human casualty have been reported, but the fire has caused an estimated loss of VND20 billion (US$1 million), VnExpress newswire reported.

According to workers, the blaze was triggered by a spark from the lighter manufacturing area at 6:30 p.m. The fire quickly spread to other places in the company.

The 2.000-square-meter company was destroyed in the fire.

Dozens of firefighters were mobilized to the site to put down the blaze.

Due to the limited source of water, the firefighters had to use water from ponds and lakes nearby to struggle with the fire.

By 8:30 p.m. the same day, the fire was put under control.

Workers’ carelessness in setting the fire of the lighters caused the incident, police said.

Vietnam to provide ’flying doctor’ services

Vietnam will provide flying doctor services using helicopters as the medium of transportation for patients living in rural and remote areas, says Prof. Dr. Nguyen Huu Duc, vice director of the Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNUH).

The services will be supplied by a hospital under VNUH’s recently established Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy that is going to be built at a cost of US$200 million, he adds.

The 1,000-bed infirmary will be constructed on a 33-hectare site in Hoa Lac area, 30 kilometers west of the capital, where a 1,000-hectare university township is being planned.

A 1/2,000 scale master plan for the VNUH new headquarters was approved last month by the Ministry of Construction.

It will be the largest university township in the north and be able to enroll as many as 100,000 students by 2050.

The complex will have such facilities as a main building, a central library, a cultural house, campuses of member universities, dormitories that can accommodate 60,000 students, and research institutes.

It will also have hotels, sport grounds, parks, waterscape, greenery, and other public components.

Nigerian gets dead sentence for drug smuggling

Nigeria’s Nnaji David Ete, 33, the ringleader of a drug smuggling gang, was handed a dead sentence by Ho Chi Minh City court Friday.

Ete together with six accomplices admitted to smuggle more than 11kgs of heroin in a cross-border ring.

His wife Phan Thi Thanh Le, 31, and Doan Minh Chau, 32, got life sentence in prison for the same crime.

The court also sentenced four foreigners involved in the case 15 to 20 years in jail.

They are Chukwuma Obi Remy, 40, Okapor Peter Chuma, 35, Nnamdi Aghaji, 33 from Nigeria and Regina Whing Wiri, 32, from Zimbabwe.

National aviation agency to handle passenger’s complaint

The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) has assigned its Inspectorate to handle the case in which passenger Le Minh Khuong complained he was beaten and humiliated during his 18 April flight.

Lai Xuan Thanh, deputy head of CAAV, told Tuoi Tre that the case comes within the jurisdiction of the Central Region Airports Authority, but since the problem has attracted broad attention from the public, CAAV has transferred the case to the agency’s Inspectorate.

According to initial assessments, Khuong might have committed an administrative violation, that is, causing public disorder on an air flight, Thanh said.

However, the Inspectorate will re-examine all information and evidence related to the case before reaching a conclusion.

The Central Region Airports Authority has reported the case to CCAV, but its reports have yet to include the testimonies of some witnesses, Thanh said.

To reach a fair and accurate conclusion on the case, the consideration and assessment of witnesses’ testimonies are very important, he said.

The conclusion must not be based on the reports of the crew or the airlines alone, but must also consider the witnesses’ statements, he added.

When asked about Vietnam Airlines’ announcement that it will ban Khuong from taking any of its flights in the future, Thanh said refusal to transport passengers is stipulated in the transportation statutes of the firm. Such ban, however, must be in accordance with the regulations.

The trouble occurred during the VNA1169 fight from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City on April 18.

Due to bad weather in HCMC, the plane had to make an unscheduled stop in Da Nang City, where Khuong and his father asked to leave the aircraft.

Chief pilot Ivanov and chief of the cabin crew Trinh Thi Hoa denied their request, explaining that this would further delay the takeoff.

When the plane prepared to leave Da Nang, Khuong allegedly began to shout and refused to return to his seat in economy class. Eileen Tan, a passenger in business-class seat 1C, said he had occupied her seat.

For safety, the crew decided to return to the terminal and report the case to the airport’s security.

Four officers later boarded the plane and asked Khuong to get off. When he refused, they forcibly removed him from the plane.

But they did not assault him, Tu Van Suu of Da Nang Airport Security Services Company said in a statement.

In a report, airport authorities said Khuong shouted, caused disorder and failed to comply with flight security regulations.

Lawyer Tran Thu Nam, head of the Tin Viet Law Firm, told Nguoi Lao Dong that his client, Le Minh Khuong, only wanted the incident on April 18 be clarified.

Khuong did not wish to sue because he did not have time, Nam said. “Khuong only wishes to establish what is right and what is wrong. If Vietnam Airlines staffs are wrong, they must apologize.”

Yesterday, lawyer Nam told Tuoi Tre that he would work with some witnesses today before delivering an official statement on the case to the VNA and relevant agencies.

Hau Giang rejects rumor of fish-related cancer

The Irrigation Department of the southern Hau Giang Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development disclaimed rumors that eating square-head anabas causes cancer.

Ngo Quoc Phuc, head of the Irrigation Department, yesterday rejected the rumors which have been spreading and causing great concern among the public in the province for several days, affecting the trade and consumption of the fish.

It is not the first time such rumors spread, Phuc said.

Before the last Tet (lunar New Year), the same rumors appeared in the province, causing the fish price to drop for a long time before it could rebound recently, he said.

The morphology and mutation of the mitochondrial DNA of square-head anabas and those of normal anabas are 99 percent identical to each other, Phuc said, citing the Aquaculture Research Institute’s analysis results.

It is totally groundless to say that eating square-head anabas can cause cancer, he confirmed.

Currently, the total area for breeding square-head anabas in Hau Giang is more than 220 hectares, he added.

Vietnam’s central island reduced in size

The island district Ly Son of Vietnam’s central province Quang NgaiThe island district Ly Son of the central province Quang Ngai has become smaller as it has lost over 400 hectares in the last 35 years due to soil erosion.

The situation is caused by high sea waves and sand exploitation along coastal beaches, said the district’s department for infrastructure and rural development Nguyen Van Le.

In 1975, total area of the island, which is 28km away from the main land, was measured at 1,400 hectares but it has shrunk to only 997 hectares now, according to the official.

It badly affects life of 20,000 farmers on the island which is famous for its garlic products.

To correct the happenings, local authority is planning to build stone embankments and cultivate big trees to keep soil from further eroding.

The exploitation of sand at the sea bed around the island has been strictly banned recently.

Lao trafficker arrested, 20,000 drug pills seized

Vietnamese police have arrested two Lao traffickers after catching them attempting to transport 20,000 synthetic drug pills from Laos into Vietnam.

After nearly two months of investigation, the Quang Tri anti-drug police yesterday afternoon caught two men of Lao nationality trafficking about 20,000 WY synthetic drug pills through the Lao Bao border gate in Huong Hoa district, Quang Tri province in central Vietnam.

The arrested are Thao Van, 25, residing at Lao’s capital of Vientiane; and Thao Sai, 30, from Udomsay province, said Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Thuan Hoa, head of the Anti-Drug Crime Department of the Quang Tri Province’s Border Guard.

The traffickers confessed that they bought the drugs in Vientiane and then transported them by a car along the Trans-Asia Road to the Lao Bao border gate before bringing them into Vietnam.

The anti-drug forces of Quang Tri and Savannakhet are working together to track down other members of the transnational drug ring.

China’s pork-to-beef technology on sale in Vietnam

China’s scandalous additives that can turn pork to beef can now be found everywhere in the country’s northern markets.

At Dong Xuan, Hanoi’s biggest wholesale market on Hang Buom Street, many shop owners are now offering Chinese additives that “can help you cook your beef better.”

“If you want your pork to smell and look just like beef, a little bit of this can do the job,” C.T.L, the owner of a spice shop in Dong Xuan, said as she was showing us a pack of ivory powder.

C.T.L declared the powder, which didn’t have any label identifying its origin or ingredients, was “made in Vietnam.”

This powder is also available at many other shops.

Costing VND500,000 (US$24) per kg, this beef powder is more expensive than another type of beef additives, beef stock, which is also being widely sold here.

Having yellow color and an unpleasant smell, a liter of this beef extract fetches only VND400,000 (US$19.3) and is sold in a can that is not labeled either.

Offering the same beef extract at a slightly lower, H.A, the owner of another shop in Dong Xuan said prices of these beef additives vary day by day, depending on prices in China.

“Our frequent customers are pho restaurants,” L.N, an assistant at another shop said.

She said pho (Vietnamese noodle) shops often use beef powder to season their broth.

Nguyen Cong Khan, a cooking safety official at the Ministry of Health said additives can give pork beef’s flavor and color, but can’t change pork’s texture and taste.

He said the ministry had received reports about the smuggling of these additives into Vietnam. “We are planning to carry out an inspection in Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh,” Khan assured.

Bomb defused in Ha Tinh

Authorities of Can Loc District in the central province of Ha Tinh successfully defused a bomb that weighs 56 kg yesterday.

The bomb, an aerial antipersonnel bomb that scatters shrapnel over a wide area upon explosion, was discovered Wednesday by local residents in Dong Loc Commune as they were digging.

After being informed, the district authorities coordinated with the provincial Military Command to prepare a plan to defuse the bomb, Dang Tran Phong, deputy chairman of the district’s People’s Committee said.

Located 80 cm under the ground, the bomb was 1.8 m in length and 30 cm in diameter.

The provincial Military Command said the bomb must have been left there during the Vietnam War (1954-1975).

Source: Tuoi Tre/VNA/SGGP

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