Published: 01/06/2011 05:00



No chemicals found in
products: VFA

The Vietnam Food Safety Administration (VFA) of the Ministry
of Health has verified that no imported products, listed on Taiwan’s
warning list, which contained carcinogenic chemical DEHP, were being sold in
the market.

Department of Health released its warning list on May 26, in which a toxic
industrial material DEHP, found in Taiwan cooking additive
“cloud-agent”, commonly used in fruit jelly, yogurt mix powder,
juices and other drinks to keep emulsions well dispersed, was in use in certain
consumer products.

DEHP intake for a long period could cause cancer and have a
harmful impact on the reproductive system.

VFA was able to gather information via the internet three
days before the official release of the warning by Taiwan. The administration
immediately swung into action to stop imported beverages and additives from Taiwan.

VFA confirmed that until May 28 no products from Taiwan’s
warning list of bottled drinks, ‘cloud-agent’ additives or the blacklisted Jin
Zhuan were selling in the Vietnamese market. Timely action by VFA helped
protect consumers’ health.

Project 1816 benefits

More than 4.5 million people across the country have
benefited from Project 1816, which is providing access to hundreds of doctors
and medical workers in hospitals and medical centers in rural provinces and

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan presided over a
congress held on May 30 by the Ministry of Health, to review Project 1816 for
the period 2008-2010.

The project target is to help residents of rural areas to
have access to hi-tech medical services and improved examination and treatment
facilities in distant regions. It also helps reduce the pressure on central

For instance, district Tay Giang is a poor border district
of the central province of Quang Nam and has no hospital at all. Tay
Giang residents have to ford streams and cross-forests to reach a hospital in
the province.

Since the project began, Hospital C in Da Nang province has sent medical workers to
transfer techniques and provide equipment and ambulances. Thanks to the
project, people in Tay Giang do not need to go far for treatment.

Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Health Examination and
Treatment Department under Ministry of Health, said around 9,000 medical
workers from large hospitals took turns to train their country counterparts
across the country. Central hospital medics have provided examination and
treatment to more than 4.5 million patients, conducted over 1,600 operations
and saved hundreds of seriously ill people.

Moreover, they organized some 2,000 training and refresher
courses for 52,000 district medical workers and transferred techniques to more
than 25,000 workers.

Mr. Nhan applauded the ministry’s initiative in
implementation of the project, saying that this proved effective in helping the
rural regions.

However, the project still had some shortcomings. The
district hospitals lacked equipment, testing laboratories and skilled doctors.

Mr. Nhan directed the ministry to have clear targets such as
making lists of hospitals’ demands. He emphasized that the sector should build
development strategies for the next 10 years as well as transfer techniques
along with training of more personnel.

The implementation of project 1816 has contributed towards
social and healthcare needs. Through the project, people in disadvantaged areas
as well as the poor and ethnic minorities are able to access hi-tech medical
services at low costs.

WB signs $620 mln
funding for Vietnam’s

State Bank and the World Bank signed Tuesday one loan and four credits totaling
US$620 million in support of the country’s development efforts.

The funding will be used to finance five operations, namely
Hospital Waste Management Support Project (US$150 million), Hai Phong Urban
Transport Project (US$175 million), the third operation for Program 135 – 2
(US$50 million), additional financing for the Second Transmission and
Distribution Project (US$180 million) and Coastal Cities Environmental
Sanitation Project (US$65 million).

“Vietnam’s ten-year Socio Economic Development Strategy
2011-2020 recognizes that the country faces challenges in institutional
reforms, as well as huge infrastructure gap and constraints to environmental
sustainability,” Victoria Kwakwa, Country Director for the World Bank in
Vietnam, said in a statement on the signings.

Vietnam’s State Bank Governor Nguyen Van Giau (R) shakes
hands with World Bank Country Director for Vietnam Victoria Kwakwa during the
signing ceremony in Hanoi on May 31, 2011 (Photo: Vietnam News Agency)

Ms. Kwakwa added in Tuesday’s announcement, “The loan and
credits signed today are expected to help with necessary infrastructure
development, provide support to Government to modernize its approach to
infrastructure development and management, address important environmental
challenges, and recognizing the government’s reforms in pro-poor policies.”

The signings include a loan of US$180 million from the IBRD,
the World Bank’s lending arm for middle-income country, to scale up and
reinforce the country’s electricity transmission system.

The International Development Association, the WB part that
helps the world’s poorest countries, provides the four other credits.

The WB said a sum of US$65 million as additional financing
for the Coastal Cities Environmental Sanitation Project would provide better
sanitations for over 600,000 people in the coastal cities of Dong Hoi, Quy Nhon
and Nha Trang. The investment will improve overall quality of life and ensure
the sustainability of the tourism economic base of these cities.

The project is expected to achieve these goals through
improved drainage, wastewater collection and treatment, solid waste management,
small loans for household sanitation improvements and capacity building initiatives
including Healthy City Partnerships, the lender added.

The goal of the Hai Phong Urban Transport Project is to
improve urban accessibility and strengthen capacity for urban transport
management and planning in Hai
Phong City
in the north, according to the WB.

The project is expected to reduce travel time for local road
users in arterial corridors, and increase the reliability and frequency of bus
services. IDA will invest US$175 million in this project, said the WB.

The US$50 million credit for Program 135 – Phase 2 is the
last in a series of three policy operations which has contributed to successful
reforms implemented by the Government under its “Program for Socio-Economic
Development in Communes Facing Extreme Hardship in Ethnic Minority and Mountainous
Areas”, popularly known as P135-2.

The final credit will support remaining policy reforms to
strengthen implementation, particularly at sub-national levels, as well as
enhance the sustainability of the reforms, according to the WB.

As for the final of the five signings, the WB said the
successful implementation of the Hospital Waste Management Support Project
would strengthen health care waste management policies nationwide and support
at least 150 central and provincial hospitals in providing better environment
for their communities as well as improved infection control and occupational
safety to patients, doctors and health workers.

IDA will fund US$150 million for this project, said the WB.

ACCA shows the
accountancy way with scholarships

The Vietnam
arm of the British Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) held
an information session on ACCA’s Foundations in Accountancy program and
professionalism in Ho Chi Minh City

Phan Dinh Phung Indoor Stadium in District 3 was packed with
higher education and high school students who came to get insight into the
global body for professional accountants.

Students join the ACCA information session event at Phan
Dinh Phung Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City
on May 29, 2011 (Photo: Minh Tuong)

Foundations in Accountancy consists of a suite of awards,
including certificates, diplomas and a Certified Accounting Technician (CAT)
Qualification, said Ms. Le Thi Hong Len, country head of ACCA Vietnam.

The flexible awards focus on the core skills of financial
accounting and management accounting, and the wider role of the accountant in
business at higher levels, according to her.

For students, it provides flexible entry points with
certification awarded at each level, allowing students to develop their
education and skills, making them an attractive and relevant choice for
employers, said the ACCA country head.

She said even a high school student, not a higher education
one, can register for Foundations in Accountancy. The first 200 students
putting their names down for FIA since the information session will take a
scholarship valued at VND1.2 (US$60) each.

Certified Accounting Technician, or CAT, is a lower level
certificate in order to build the foundation for ACCA, thus also called mini
ACCA. It requires the students not only to pass the tests but also to
demonstrate work experience. In addition to completion of all test subjects,
the students have to acquire at least one year of practical experience in
accounting and auditing before being granted the CAT certificate.

The country head said ACCA worldwide currently has 147,000
members and 424,000 students across 170 countries, including some 450 members
in Vietnam.
ACCA members are widely recognized in the world.

Ms. Len added that ACCA officially opened its representative
office in Ho Chi Minh City in 2002, and another
representative office in Hanoi
two years later.

Personal hygiene can
prevent spread of disease: DOH

Although medical experts have issued warnings on personal
hygiene to prevent transmission of disease during the highly conducive rainy
season, awareness amongst communities is still very low.

Dr. Truong Giang, deputy head of the Ho Chi Minh City
Department of Health (DOH) said the number of hand-foot-mouth cases in children
have increased as the virus strain has changed into a lethal form due to poor
preventive care in communities. The disease has killed 11 children so far this

Health inspectors have found that pre-schools do not
strictly follow hygiene guidelines such as disinfecting floors and toys.

Moreover, parents show a lax attitude towards disease. This
has led to 70 percent of children contracting hand-foot-mouth disease in their
homes. Parents do not imbibe the habit of frequent washing of hands, especially
before meals and after toilet.

The rainy season has started in Vietnam. Rainwater leaves stagnant
puddles, which are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Health inspectors
have conducted surveys in some areas like the Thanh Da Peninsula, Dinh Bo Linh
Bridge in Binh Thanh district, Phu Lam pier, Hiep Binh Chanh in Thu Duc
district and in Nha Be district. Inhabitants in these districts have very
subjective attitudes, saying that it was a waste of time to clear out bushes
and clean ponds as disease happened by chance or bad luck.

Hand-foot-mouth disease has killed 11 children so far while
15 toddlers are in serious condition from resulting complications. DOH
statistics show some 300 children contracted the dangerous disease and around
500 babies were admitted in hospital this month.

Medical workers fret about the outbreak of some dangerous
diseases like dengue fever and chicken pox as soon as the rainy season arrives.
Dengue fever and chickenpox cases have increased lately. In April this year,
there were 422 cases of dengue fever and 65 cases of chickenpox while there
were 232 cases of dengue fever and 31 cases of chickenpox in the same period
last year.

Dr. Nguyen Dac Tho said there is no vaccine for dengue
fever, hand-foot-mouth disease or diarrhea but people can prevent these
diseases from recurring by maintaining personal hygiene, keeping their
environment clean and eating well-cooked food.

Lives of ethnic
people improve

Ly Van Cuong’s stilt house in northern Cao Bang Province’s Ha Quang District looks
similar to other traditional houses inhabited by people from the Nung ethnic
group except for the cement cooking stove inside and a water tap outside.

Cuong said his family shares the tap system with four other
households. It cost them about VND50 million (US$ 2,400) to install last year.

“Thanks to the taps, 26 households now have access to
clean water in our hamlet instead of travelling 2-3km everyday to fetch
water,” he said.

Cuong’s sister Ly Thi Mai, 50, said that children were the
happiest with the new tap because they enjoy taking baths. Women like the tap
because it made their work day easier.

“People in highland areas like ours, mostly women,
usually have to walk in search of wood and water,” she said, adding that
the combination of farming and searching for wood and water was very

“Now we don’t have to travel to seek wood for cooking
and heating as much as we used to,” she said proudly. “Our new
cooking stove burns less firewood.”

Cuong said that he and other residents were able to build
the facilities in the last five years with support from a foreign organisation
and the local authority.

“They [ the supporters] created a model to teach us how
to build the stove and gave us steel to make the frame. We collected bricks and
cement to complete it,” Cuong said.

Dinh Van Lam, chairman of the commune People’s Committee
said the hamlet had faced a water shortage for years.

Under a project by the Swiss Agency for Development and
Co-operation, also known as Helvetas, four clean water systems worth VND 200
million ($9,500) were built in the last four years, providing tap water for
about 120 local households.

In addition, about 10 households in the commune benefited
from a new type of cooking stove. The number has been growing as many other
households want to construct a new stove.

Each stove cost about VND500,000 ($24), which Lam said was
not much and helped reduce firewood consumption and forest degradation.

Lam added that local residents also had the opportunity to
improve their farming skills through Helvetas’ Farmers Field
School programme, in
which experts and agriculture officers provided instruction and demonstrated
techniques in the farmers’ fields so they could witness the skills first hand.

One member of every family attended classes on growing corn,
raising pigs and making feed for cattle.

Cuong said the classes helped farmers to master the skills
more easily, resulting in higher production.

Ban Keo Commune, about 60km away from Cao Bang Town, is still poor with two- thirds of
its 240 households living in poverty. The average personal income is VND 1
million ($47) per month.

It is one of 24 communes in the province’s eight districts
that benefited from the Swiss organisation’s project.

The Community-based Governance-Extension-Market Project
launched five years ago aimed at helping highland ethic minority groups better
exercise their right to participate in policy making, administrative reform and
agriculture extension. It also gave them more understanding about the market.

The project disbursed $2 million in total, 40 per cent more
than initially approved.

Programme director of Helvetas Viet Nam Daniel Valenghi said
the project was sustainable because the local contribution in many of the
project activities was quite high, from 30 to 70 per cent, which created
community ownership and thus they were more responsible in the management and
protection of the facilities.

“We give them things they don’t have, such as
technology, a portion of the money they need or building materials. We try to
mobilise their contribution as much as possible and take advantage of what they
already have,” he said.

“Local residents and authorities participated in the
early stages and we listened to their needs and designed suitable models for
particular localities,” he said.

Helvetas recently helped to establish a local
non-governmental organisation in the province called Cao Bang Development
Centre (DECEN) which is run by Vietnamese people.

DECEN will work independently in the next four years and
mobilise funds to carry out activities for the development of local
communities, including ethnic minority groups.

$2.3m gender equality
plan gets under way

Paz y Desarrollo (PyD), a Spanish international
non-governmental organisation for peace and development, yesterday kicked off a
programme to promote gender equality in political participation.

The programme was announced at a workshop in the central
city of Da Nang
in the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and
Social Affairs.

Over the course of four years, the Spanish Agency for
International Development Co-operation will sponsor the project locally with
about 1.58 million euros (US$2.28 million), in a total package worth 7 million
euros ($10.09 million) to be divided out to four other countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia,
the Philippines
and Timor Leste.

“The programme aims to boost the recognition of
political rights and civil roles of women in the region by supporting
initiatives that help strengthen management based on gender equality,”
said Hoang Bich Ha, a project co-ordinator.

She pointed out three specific targets: creating regional
and national forums to help intensify women’s contributions to the political
arena and the community; involving women in working agendas; and enhancing the
civil rights of women, especially among women with a low social status.

Ha said fostering gender equality in political participation
was considered an important issue under the United Nations Millennium
Development Goals and human development programmes.

A UN human development report in 1995 stipulated that a
country was considered to reach the goal of gender equality when the female
ratio among its national-level leaders reached 30 per cent.

“To date, the ratio of women in Viet Nam’s
political system had remained relatively low,” said Ha. In the last
five-year tenure, the ratio was 25.7 per cent in the National Assembly, 22 per
cent in People’s Councils, and below 10 per cent in People’s Committees.

The PyD project would assist 150 female deputies in the
newly elected National Assembly, 200 female civil servants in Government
agencies and 150 female students in Da Nang
City and Quang Nam Province, she said.

When asked about programme success factors, Carmen Rodriguez,
chief representative of PyD in its Ha Noi office, said: “The involvement
of men is important; gender equality is a common objective that men and women
need to work together to reach.”

“It’s because the empowerment of women will benefit not
only the women but also the men, the whole society and our children in the
future,” she said.

WHO calls for strict
controls on tobacco

More than 200,000 premature deaths could be avoided in the
next 30 years if key tobacco control measures under the Framework Convention on
Tobacco Control (FCTC) were fully implemented in Viet Nam.

World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in Viet Nam
Graham Harrison made the comment at a meeting held yesterday in Ha Noi to mark
World No Tobacco Day (May 31).

“WHO is delighted to see that a draft tobacco control
law will soon be brought to hearing by the National Assembly. We look forward
to seeing a strong tobacco control law issued by the National Assembly to fully
implement the FCTC,” said Harrison. This
year WHO has called on all nations to strictly implement the tobacco prevention
measures they committed to in the FCTC.

The WHO recommends a set of six tobacco control measures
under the FCTC framework including: monitoring tobacco use, protecting people
from second-hand smoke, offering help to quit smoking, warnings about the
dangers of tobacco use, enforcing the ban on tobacco advertising, promotions
and sponsorship, and raising the tobacco tax.

Vice Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen urged ministries,
sectors, organisations, individuals and the community to make greater efforts
to prevent the use of tobacco in order to “minimise losses for all people,
families and the whole society.”

He said the ministry would submit the draft Law on Tobacco
Control to the National Assembly for approval in May 2012.

According to the health ministry, nearly 48 per cent of all
males in the country used tobacco in 2010, a decrease of 9 per cent over the
past ten years. The rate among females was 1.4 per cent. Each year, 40,000
people die from tobacco related diseases. Smoking annually causes more than 5.4
millions deaths globally among active smokers and more than 600,000 second-hand
smoking deaths.

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

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.

Vietnam responds to World No Tobacco Day

The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization
(WHO) held a meeting on May 31 to mark World No Tobacco Day (May 31), and No
Smoke Week (May 21-31) in Hanoi.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen said these
activities aimed to involve a wide range of communities and policymakers in the
fight against tobacco.

On this year’s World No Tobacco Day themed ‘implementing the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’, the WHO has called on nations to
take strict, effective measures against the negative consequences of tobacco as
pledged by signing nations.

The WHO convention is the first of its kind for world
community health and also gathered the highest number of countries to support
the convention in the shortest time. Vietnam was among the first nations
to ratify the convention.

Addressing the ceremony, Graham Harrison, acting
representative of WHO Vietnam, said smoking caused 100 million fatalities in
the 20th century. If no timely action is taken, this death toll could reach one
billion in the 21st century.

More than 40,000 people die of tobacco-related diseases in Vietnam every
year. Without effective measures to curb smoking, this figure will surge to
70,000 in 2030.

Vietnam to become first country using HIV
Treatment 2.0

will become the first country in the world to use Treatment 2.0 which is aimed
at reducing AIDS-related death toll drastically.

Treatment 2.0, initiated by the World Health Organization
(WHO) and the Joint United Nation Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), includes the
development of a better combination treatment regimens, cheaper and simplified
diagnostic tools, and a low-cost community-led approach to delivery.

Talking about the new treatment, Bui Duc Duong, Deputy
Director General of the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control under the
Ministry of Health (MoH), emphasized that it is an integrated strategy, with a
long-term objectives to reduce newly-infected cases, AIDS-related mortalities,
as well as stigma and discrimination.

Under the treatment, people can have earlier access to
diagnostic, treatment and healthcare services.

According to Duong, the pilot programme will be implemented
in the third quarter of 2011 in Dien Bien province and Can Tho city. In order
to provide people with easy access to related services, the MoH is making
necessary preparations for the programme.

70 percent of the 51,000 people are treated with antiviral
drugs (ARV) have late access to diagnosis and treatment, which often increase
the treatment costs.

Therefore, he said, Treatment 2.0 will be available to
people at communal and ward medical stations.

Two suspects arrested
after party boat accident

The Police Investigation Agency in the southern province of Binh Duong
on May 31 arrested two persons for their involvement in a Saigon
river boat accident, which claimed 16 lives on the night of May 20.

Nguyen Van Duc, 24, and Lao Van Quang, 28, are being held in

Duc was arrested on charges of violating regulations on
controlling means of waterway traffic and causing serious consequences in line
with Article 212 of the Penal Code.

Duc, who had no licence for being in charge of a vessel,
allegedly piloted boat 72K BD 0943, managed by the local Din Ky Tourism
Company, carrying at least 26 people in a birthday party when the tragedy
happened on the evening of May 20, due to strong wind accompanied by heavy
rain. The tragedy claimed 16 lives, including four Chinese.

Quang was arrested on charges of assigning an unqualified
person to control a means of waterway traffic, in line with Article 215 of the
Penal Code.

Quang, as the manager of Din Ky Tourism Company, allegedly assigned
Duc, who was a waiter on tourism boats and had no marine vessel licence, to
drive boat 72K BD 0943.

Foreign organizations
assist Hanoi
disadvantaged students

The Hanoi Relief Association for Disabled Children will
receive US$50,000 from the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation of Australia to
help improve living conditions and study environment for disabled and
disadvantaged students in Hanoi.

The money will be used to pay for periodic health care,
school fees, training courses on living skill and psychology, entertainment
activities on holidays and Tet festival, according to the Hanoi People’s

The same day, the Hanoi City People’s Committee decided to
provide more than VND270 million in aid from Samaritan’s Purse of the US for
Nguyen Van To Continuing Education Centre.

The money will be poured into a 12-month project to open
more classes for disadvantaged students in Phuc Tan ward, Hoan Kiem district
and provide them with scholarships, uniforms and health insurance cards.

New clade of H5N1
virus found

The Veterinary Department under the Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development has reported on the action mechanism of clade 2.3.2 avian
influenza virus (H5N1) in northern

The experiments with the new virus clade showed that 100
percent of tested chickens died in three days and 20 percent of tested ducks
died within seven days. Considering the severe effects that the virus has on
chickens, the Government agreed to postpone vaccination against the avian
influenza H5N1 due to the fact that the vaccine does not work against the new
type of virus.

The Veterinary Department is seeking the suitable vaccine
against the virus and will issue detailed instructions to northern provinces.

Spain helps advance women in politics

has become one of the five countries to benefit from a Spanish-funded programme
aimed at enhancing gender equality in politics, which began in the central city
of Danang on May 31.

The programme, launched by the Spanish-based Peace and
Development organization (PyD), also targets Bangladesh,
Cambodia , the Philippines and East Timor

It will raise women’s political role and citizen
responsibility through management initiatives at both national and regional
levels on the basis of gender equality, creating forums to exchange and analyse
methods to increasingly engage women in politics and community regardless of
ethnic minority, age, social class, religion and language.

In Vietnam,
the project will be carried out in Hanoi,
Danang, Quang Nam
and other localities between 2010 and 2014 with a total investment of 1.5
million EUR, sourced from the Spanish Agency for International Development
Cooperation (AECID).

The Departments of Home Affairs and Women’s Unions in Danang
and Quang Nam
will be involved in the projects as partners.

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.

One missing after
fishing boat hit at sea

One person is missing after a fishing boat from the central Quang Binh
Province with six
fishermen on board was hit and sunk by an unidentified boat yesterday.

The five others were rescued.

The vessel was operating 97 nautical miles off the island of Con
Co in northern Quang
Tri Province
when the incident occurred.

The unidentified boat fled, leaving the fishing boat
foundering and its crew in the water.

A fishing boat from the central city of Da Nang, which was operating nearby, managed
to rescue the five fishermen.

Together with another boat it also searched for the missing
man before contacting the Zone II Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination
Center for help.

Ho Chi Minh City tanker hits 4 motorbikes

A tanker crashed into four motorbikes at a traffic light on Hoang Van Thu Street
in Ho Chi Minh City
Tuesday night severely injuring a woman and causing minor injuries to several

Eyewitnesses said when many motorists had stopped at a red
light at the Phu Nhuan intersection not far from the Tuoi Tre office when the
giant truck encroached on the lane meant for two-wheeled vehicles.

The road was blocked for an hour.

The police said the truck’s brakes may have failed.

Lamppost power leak
kills girl, 10, in An Giang

Ten-year-old Nguyen Tran Ngoc Thao was electrocuted in Tan
Chau town, An Giang Province, when she stepped in a puddle on a bridge on the
night of May 26.

Local health staff gave Thao first aid and took her to a
nearby hospital but she reportedly died on the way there.

Nguyen Van Len, chairman of the town people’s committee,
immediately called on the police to investigate.

It turned out that electric cables from one of the
streetlights on Phu
Vinh Bridge
were torn and had leaked on to the lamppost and to the rainwater puddle below.

The wires inside had not been properly insulated,
investigators said.

The bridge’s lighting system is installed and managed by the
Tan Chau Electricity Branch of the An Giang Province Electricity Company.

Thao was a fourth grade student in the town’s Long Thanh
Primary School.

After being informed of the accident, the electricity agency
cut off power to the bridge.

Len told Tuoi Tre that the criminal technicians at the
provincial Police Department was investigating the cause of the leak.

The people’s committee would punish individuals or agencies
responsible, he promised.

He had urged relevant agencies to also check the entire town
power supply system, he added.

12th-grade student
farewell party turns into battle

Five out of over 40 students of Nam Ky Khoi Nghia high
school in HCMC were hospitalized Monday after being assaulted by the security
guards of the Lotte
Mart Trade
Center in the Everrich
building at 940 Le Đai Hanh Street,
Ward 15, District 11, where they held a farewell party before graduation.

The injured students — Tran Hoang An, Nguyen Quoc Vinh, Vo
Thi Kim Hien, Lam Chi Vinh and Nguyen Van Truong, were taken to Trung Vuong
Hospital, all are all from class 12A11 of Nam Ky Khoi Nghia high school.

Tran Thi Kim Dung, the home-room teacher of the class, said
she held a farewell party at Lotte Mart for the students on Monday, 3 days
before their graduation examination.

She had rented the entire fifth floor of Lotte Mart for 41
students to attend the party.

Dung said she had to leave the party early, but received a
phone call about her students being assaulted at 7:30p.m.

Nguyen Trung Hieu Nghia, one of the participants, said the
students were shouting some slogans on the escalator when they were going down
after the party when they were reminded by the security guards not to make any
loud noise.

When the students, who still kept shouting loudly, reached
the 3rd floor, the escalator stopped and they met a group of 20 security guards
armed with clubs and electric rods.

As the guards shouted and hurled insults at them, the
students reacted angrily but had to flee as the guards came charging at them.

Some students were caught and severely beaten even when they
got to the parking lot in the basement. Some others were also injured badly by
the guards.

The guards only stopped beating when the police of Ward 15
arrived. Two of the guards and some students were taken to the police station
for a statement, while the injured were immediately rushed to the hospital.

Tran Dinh Xuan, security director of The Everrich, confirmed
the incident.

The police are investigating.

Two suspects arrested
after party boat accident

The Police Investigation Agency of the southern province of Binh Duong
on May 31 arrested two persons for their involvement in a Saigon
river boat accident, which claimed 16 lives on the night of May 20.

Nguyen Van Duc, 24, and Lao Van Quang, 28, are being held in
custody pending investigation of the accident.

Duc was arrested on charges of violating regulations on
controlling means of waterway traffic and causing serious consequences in line
with the Article 212 of the Penal Code.

Duc, who had no licence for being in charge of a vessel,
allegedly piloted boat 72K BD 0943, managed by the local Din Ky Tourism
Company, carrying at least 26 people in a birthday party when the tragedy happened
on the evening of May 20, due to strong wind accompanied by heavy rain. The
tragedy claimed 16 lives, including four Chinese.

Quang was arrested on charges of assigning an unqualified
person to control a means of waterway traffic, in line with Article 215 of the
Penal Code.

Quang, as the manager of the Din Ky Tourism Company,
allegedly assigned Duc, who was a waiter on tourism boats and had no marine
vessel licence, to drive boat 72K BD 0943.

Meeting marks No
Tobacco Day

The Health Ministry was expected to submit a draft law on
tobacco control to the National Assembly by May next year, in an effort to
improve the life expectancy of male smokers, who had the dubious distinction of
the highest smoking rate among males worldwide.

Deputy Minister Nguyen Thi Xuyen announced the scheme at a
meeting in Hanoi
on May 31 in response to World No Tobacco Day, which this year focused on the
World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Xuyen warned that tobacco-borne diseases had reached
disastrous levels for not only the nation but also the entire human race.

“ Vietnam
is one of the 15 nations hit by the world’s highest rates of male smokers
although it was among the earliest in the world to ratify the WHO Framework
Convention on Tobacco Control,” said the senior health expert.

She called on responsible agencies and the entire community
to join hands in fulfilling the Government’s commitments to the WHO in
ratifying the relevant convention.

“Only by implementing the convention can we help reduce harm
caused by smoking and secondhand smoking to each and every individual, family
and the entire society,” she said.

Statistics showed that Vietnam suffered over 40,000
tobacco-borne deaths every year, with fatalities to hit 70,000 by 2030 unless
firm measures were taken immediately.

A survey in 2010 revealed that up to 47.4 percent of male
adults were smokers.

The WHO acting representative in Vietnam , Graham Harison, said at
the meeting that smoking was one of biggest human killers in the world and that
the WHO convention on tobacco control had proved to be the strongest tool to
curb the smoking disaster.

WHO called on nations to ensure that they were committed to
taking firm measures for a tobacco-free environment. Taxes levied on tobacco
and cigarettes should be increased while cigarette boxes should be printed with
images warning of harm to human health. Advertising, promotion campaigns and
sponsorships by cigarette makers should be totally banned, according to the
convention. It also spelled out the necessity for nations to establish a
sustainable fund for tobacco control.

Wanted banker gives
himself up to police

After hiding for days, the former Mekong Housing Development
Bank (MHB) official who disappeared with VND20 billion (US$975,000) he acquired
through a Ponzi scheme surrendered to police Sunday night.

Nguyen Huu Quang, a 35-year-old Cao Lanh city native, is
charged with violating regulations on lending at credit institutions and is
banned from leaving the country.

He reportedly borrowed money and promised to pay interest
rates of 3 to 5 percent a day, even 6 percent in some cases. Many people were
enticed by the offer and lent their money, investigators said.

“Initially, Quang paid the principal and interest to us
fully and in time. So we trusted him and continued to hand our money to him,”
said Nguyen Thi B., a trader in Lap Vo District.

Fourteen people have complained to the Dong Thap police
saying they are owed a combined VND18 billion (US$875,000).

Quang told police on Sunday that he has failed to pay the
loans back and owes a total debt of VND20 billion (US$975,000).

He said he took out loans three to four years ago to pay for
medical expenses for his father and had to borrow more money at extremely high
interest rates to repay the loans.

Quang had been the director of MHB’s Lap Vo District
transaction office before he was replaced by Pham Thien Hai after he fled with
the money.

Tran Van Khang, chief of the Lap Vo District People’s
Committee Office, said the police are investigating and would confirm how much
money Quang actually owes.

Hydrofoil ran aground
in Vung Tau

A hydrofoil of the Greenlines Company in HCMC with 50
passengers on board heading to Vung Tau yesterday ran aground on a sand and mud
bank on the Dinh river in Vung Tau and was stuck there for more than 3 hours.

Le Huy Thao, CEO of Greenlines, said the hydrofoil had to
operate at a slow speed due to the heavy downpour and was thus stranded in the
muddy sand in the Dinh river.

“The bad weather prevented us from using the motorboat to
take the passengers ashore,” he said. “But we managed to send two of our
hydrofoils to the scene to rescue the passengers.”

All the passengers were taken ashore at 10 pm.

Greenlines said the company will officially apologize and
compensate each of the passengers with a new ticket.

Court rejects
fertilizer thieves’ mercy plea

The Supreme People’s Court of Appeal in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday rejected an appeal
for reduced sentences by three people convicted for stealing fertilizers being
delivered to a warehouse in Long An Province.

It confirmed the eight-year sentence given to Nguyen Van
Tong, the captain of the ship transporting the fertilizers to the warehouse,
and 10-year term given to Nguyen The Nam, the storekeeper of the warehouse.

Cu Van Nam, a security guard at the warehouse, got a year.

The Long An Province People’s Court had handed down the
sentences to the three appellants.

In January 2010 the province-based Song Thuong Company sent
a consignment of 1,280 tons of potassium fertilizer to the Nam Sao Fertilizer
Plant by Tong’s vessel.

En route however Tong sold 50 tons for more than VND450
million (US$22,000).

Nam Sao storekeeper The Nam certified falsely that Tong had
delivered all 1,280 tons. Van Nam
too signed the report.

Tong gave VND300 million to The Nam and VND10 million to Van


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