In Vietnam, public schools to hike tuitions by 10 pct a year

Students pay tuitions at a university in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dao Ngoc Thach Tuitions at public universities will rise by around 10 percent annually for the next five years, according to a decree recently issued by the government. Students will pay VND610,000-880,000 (US$26.8-38.7) a month starting in December this year, and VND980,000-1.43 million ($43.1-62.8) by 2020-21. In Vietnam the school year lasts 10 months, and tuitions vary by course, with medicine being the most expensive. The government caps tuitions at public universities that have financial autonomy at VND1.75-4.4 million ($76.9-193.5) a month this year. The caps will remain unchanged next year, before increasing by around 5 percent in 2018-20 and around 10 percent in 2020-21. … [Read more...]

Angry mob kills 2 dog thieves in central Vietnam

The crime scene where two dog thieves were beaten to death in Dak Lak Province on October 6, 2015. Photo credit: Nguoi Lao Dong The Dak Lak police are trying to find the people involved after two alleged dog thieves were lynched by an angry mob early Tuesday. The incident took place at around 2 a.m. on October 6 when residents in a locality in Buon Ma Thuot town found four suspected dog thieves fleeing on two motorbikes. After driving for a kilometer, one of the motorbikes crashed and the duo were immediately thrashed by the chasers. One of them died on the spot while the other died on the way to hospital, local media reported without identifying them. Their motorbike was burned. Dinh Si Thao, a local official, said people found slingshots and chili powder in the duo’s bag. The police have handed over their bodies to their families. Nguyen Thai Dung of the Dak Lak Traffic Police Department said many dog thieves are willing to attack chasers, including police officers. In … [Read more...]

Nigerian arrested in southern Vietnam for sex with minor

Police in Binh Duong Province in southern Vietnam on Tuesday arrested a 35-year-old Nigerian man suspected of having sex with a minor. Investigation found Ewuzie Emeka Emmanuel asked a 15-year-old Vietnamese girl in his neighborhood to come into his room on October 3. He flirted with her and asked for her phone number. He texted her later that day, asking her to come to his room, where he had sex with her, investigators said. After the girl came home, her mother found out and reported the case to the police. Emmanuel came to Vietnam in 2008 and is working for a company in the neighboring Ho Chi Minh City. Under Vietnam’s Penal Code, one can be sentenced to 15 years in jail for having sex with one between 13 and 16 years old. The sentence can be longer if the action causes pregnancy or significant health damage. … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s central bank eases control over acquired banks: report

GP.Bank is one of three partly private commercial banks taken over by the central bank early this year. File photo The State Bank of Vietnam has started loosening its control over three banks which it took over early this year, saying the banks have become stronger, local media reported on Tuesday. Nguyen Huu Nghia, chief inspector of the central bank, was quoted as saying at a conference on Monday that CBBank, GP.Bank and OceanBank have been doing well. The banks have managed to set aside reserves totaling VND11 trillion (US$483.8 million), meaning that they are now able to make payments and expand their business, he said. The banks, which were all partly private before the takeovers, were acquired at zero dong between March and July, as their equity went below zero. One of the first steps reflecting the central bank's loosened control is that the banks have been allowed to increase their lending in certain sectors which are deemed "safe," news website VnEconomy reported. The … [Read more...]

Vietnam seeks to criminalize truck overloading

Inspectors weigh a truck on Nguyen Van Linh Street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh Vietnam is planning a crackdown on truck overloading, an age old problem that officials say has to be solved with stronger legal measures, including criminal prosecutions. Overloading vehicles should be considered a crime when the loads are 2.5 times heavier than the permitted weight, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a recent conference on traffic safety. "Relevant agencies have to propose criminal penalties against overloading, which is an act that damages national property," he said. Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang said overweight trucks have become a complicated problem, particularly in provinces with mining activities and near the border with China and Laos. "In many provinces like Ninh Binh, Ha Nam, Dong Nai and Binh Duong, overweight trucks near mineral mines, construction sites, ports and economic zones have not been handled properly," Thang said. Immunity … [Read more...]

Southern Vietnam province axes 37 foreign projects: report

Nhon Trach Economic Zone in the southern province of Dong Nai. File photo One of Vietnam's top destinations for foreign investment, the southern province of Dong Nai has scrapped 37 projects worth over US$50.3 million this year, news website Bao Dau Tu reported on Tuesday. A majority of the projects were abandoned by their investors, the province's Department of Planning and Investment was quoted as saying. The rest were either delayed for more than a year, or canceled by the investors, the department said. Dong Nai authorities have licensed 1,517 foreign-invested projects with a combined capital totaling nearly $27.77 billion. However, 23.5 percent of the projects have been canceled, either by their investors or by the province. Dong Nai recorded the third highest foreign direct investment inflow in the January-September period. A total of $1.6 billion was registered with local authorities, accounting for 9.36 percent of the country's total FDI pledges. … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s central bank approves $1.31bln loan for state budget, despite concerns

An employee counts Vietnamese dong banknotes for an arranged photograph inside a bank in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Bloomberg The State Bank of Vietnam has decided to offer the Ministry of Finance a VND30 trillion (US$1.31 billion) loan as budget shortfalls have become an issue amid weak bond sales. Dao Xuan Tue, deputy chief of the Department of State Budget under the finance ministry, confirmed about the borrowing at the ministry's quarterly press conference on Friday, local media reported. The shot-term loan is meant to help the ministry solve issues related to the state budget's liquidity, and it will be paid off by the end of the year, he said. Vietnam's state revenues were estimated at VND683 trillion ($29.9 billion) in the January-September period, up 7 percent from the same period last year, the ministry reported. The increase was partly due to higher tax collections. Earnings from crude oil exports dropped by nearly 35 percent after global oil prices plummeted, it … [Read more...]

Vietnam cries fowl as U.S. chicken suit shows TPP flip side

Vietnamese chicken farmers plan to file a rare anti-dumping lawsuit accusing U.S. producers of selling poultry below cost, highlighting the challenges facing the Communist nation as the historic Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is set to opens its markets. The first-of-its-kind complaint, to be filed next month with the Vietnam Competition Authority, will seek tariffs against imported dark-meat chicken that American consumers typically avoid. Vietnam’s Southeastern Livestock Association asserts the poultry is sold at prices lower than those in the U.S. Vietnam stands to be the biggest beneficiary of the 12-nation TPP accord, which will boost exports with tariff reductions on a range of products, including shoes, seafood and clothes. The chicken flap highlights how some Vietnamese sectors will experience painful lessons in global trade as businesses face strong foreign competition on their turf. "The low-cost imported chicken from the U.S. is demonstrating to Vietnam the … [Read more...]

Kunduz air strike decision made within U.S. chain of command: general

U.S. General John Campbell, commander of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), speaks during a ceremony to commemorate Memorial Day in Kabul, May 25, 2015. Photo:Reuters/Omar Sobhani/Files The decision to carry out a deadly air strike that hit a hospital in the Afghan provincial capital of Kunduz was made within the U.S. chain of command, the American commander of international forces in Afghanistan told lawmakers on Tuesday. On Saturday, an Afghan hospital run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), was hit by an air strike that killed 22 people. MSF officials have demanded an independent investigation into the incident and called it a "war crime." U.S. forces provided close air support to Afghan forces engaged in a fight with Taliban militants in Kunduz on Saturday at their request, U.S. Army General John Campbell said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. "To be clear, the decision to provide aerial … [Read more...]

Vietnam beats Myanmar 1-0 to advance to AFC U-19 Championship finals

Vietnam's Trong Dai misses a penalty in a AFC U-19 Championship qualifying match against Myanmar on October 6, 2015. Although a draw would be enough to secure a ticket to the 2016 AFC U-19 Championships, Vietnam still defeated host Myanmar 1-0 on Tuesday and almost scored another goal with a penalty. Vietnam players pressured on Myanmar goalkeeper Sann Sat right from the beginning of the match at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon. The match’s only goal was scored by Duc Chinh in the 20th minute, after he passed several Myanmar defenders to get a pass from Trong Hoa. Myanmar rushed for counterattacks but faced tough defense by Vietnam in the rest time of the first half. In the 51st minute, Vietnam got a penalty after a foul by Myanmar goalkeeper Sann Sat against Lam Thuan. Trong Dai missed the penalty after the ball hit the bar and bounced out. A win over Myanmar proved Vietnam’s Coach Hoang Anh Tuan’s claims before the match. "Vietnam still top the Group with a … [Read more...]

U.S. charges ex-U.N. General Assembly president, 5 others for corruption

John W. Ashe, former President of the United Nations General Assembly, in shown in this file photo taken in New Delhi on March 21, 2014. Photo credit: AFP/Getty U.S. authorities arrested a former president of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday for engaging in a wide-ranging corruption scheme involving a billionaire Macau real estate developer and four other defendants. John Ashe, the U.N. ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda who was president in 2013, was accused in a complaint filed in New York of taking more than $500,000 of bribes from Ng Lap Seng, who wanted to build a multibillion-dollar U.N.-sponsored conference center in Macau. In exchange, Ashe told the U.N. secretary general that the center needed to be built, the complaint said. It followed the arrests of Ng and his assistant, Jeff Yin, last month on separate charges. The complaint also charged Francis Lorenzo, who had been a deputy U.N. ambassador from the Dominican Republic; Shiwei Yan, chief executive … [Read more...]

NATO rejects Russia explanation on Turkish air space

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) and armed forces Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov observe troops in action during a training exercise at the Donguz testing range in Orenburg region, Russia, September 19, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti NATO on Tuesday rejected Moscow's explanation that its warplanes violated the air space of alliance member Turkey at the weekend by mistake and said Russia was sending more ground troops to Syria and building up its naval presence. With Russia extending its air strikes to include the ancient city of Palmyra, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he was losing patience with Russian violations of his country's air space. "An attack on Turkey means an attack on NATO," Erdogan warned at a Brussels news conference. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance had reports of a substantial Russian military build-up in Syria, including ground troops and ships in the eastern … [Read more...]

El Nino could spark large-scale dengue fever epidemic

Insecticide fumes cover a neighborhood in New Delhi as sanitation workers spray the area in an effort to control mosquitoes that spread dengue fever in the Indian capital on October 2, 2015. Photo: AFP/Anna Zieminski The weather phenomenon known as El Nino could lead to an epidemic of dengue fever cases in Southeast Asia, international researchers said Monday. Cases of dengue fever have been shown to rise along with the ocean warming trend, which occurs some years but not others. The current El Nino, which has already begun and is forecast to last into next year, is expected to be among the most intense in 20 years, researchers say. "Large dengue epidemics occur unexpectedly, which can overburden the health care systems," said lead author Willem van Panhuis, assistant professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. "Our analysis shows that elevated temperatures can create the ideal circumstance for large-scale dengue epidemics to spread … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s labor unions press on with campaign for higher wage increase

Current minimum wage only coves 75 percent of workers' basic demands, according to the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor. Photo: Diep Duc Minh Labor unions on Monday urged the government to raise the minimum wage for workers next year by 14.4 percent, saying the increase proposed by the National Wage Council is low. A statement from the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor said the economy has improved with steady growth, so it’s "unreasonable" for the minimum wage increase to be smaller than the one seen earlier this year, which was 14.8 percent. Minimum wage is used by businesses to calculate salaries for their workers, by multiplying the basic amount by a coefficient assigned to each worker based on their skills and experience. The wage now ranges between VND2.15-3.1 million (US$96-138), which according to the labor unions only covers 75 percent of the workers’ basic demands. The National Wage Council, which comprises 15 members representing the national … [Read more...]

Severe bed shortage sends Saigon child patients to hospital hallway

Sick children and their families in the hallway of the Children's Hospital No.1 in Ho Chi Minh City in early October. Photo: Luong Ngoc Children patients in Ho Chi Minh are not just sharing beds. They are sleeping under the beds, in the hallway or just wherever their parents can find enough space for a hammock or a small mattress. The outbreaks of multiple diseases are resulting in the biggest crowds of the decade in many pediatric hospitals in the city. Children’s Hospital No.1 and No.2, the leading ones in the city, have received a heavy flow of patients since the beginning of October. The latter is having more than 7,000 children brought in for examinations every day and more than 2,000 inpatients. Doctor Ngo Ngoc Quang Minh of Children’s Hospital No.1 said that it has never experienced such a "sudden" increase in patients for more than ten years. The hospital, which has 1,400 beds, is having 2,100 inpatients on a daily basis, far from the highest number of around … [Read more...]

Smog begins to blanket Saigon as air pollution soars

The view of Nguyen Tan Thanh Street in District 4 is obscured in the morning of October 6, 2015. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre/Tien Long Smog has been spotted at many places across Ho Chi Minh City in recent mornings and a weather expert says worsening air pollution is to blame. The thick blanket of smoke and fog was most noticeable in Districts 1, 2, 4, 9 and Binh Thanh, where drivers on several streets said they had difficulties seeing vehicles in front of them and had to keep honking. A xe om motorbike taxi driver in District 1 told Tuoi Tre newspaper that he first saw some smog on Monday, but it became thicker on Tuesday morning and refused to clear until after 10 a.m. Owner of a coffee shop in Binh Thanh District said the smog on Tuesday morning was so thick she could not see people from ten meters away. "It looks like Da Lat," she said, referring to Vietnam’s Central Highlands town known as Little Paris where it is almost always cool and foggy. Health risks But experts said … [Read more...]

Japanese, Canadian win Nobel Physics Prize

The portraits of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2015 Takaaki Kajita (L) and Arthur B McDonald are displayed on a screen during a press conference of the Nobel Committee to announce the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics on October 6, 2015 at the Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand Takaaki Kajita of Japan and Arthur McDonald of Canada were awarded the Nobel Physics Prize on Tuesday for resolving a mystery about neutrinos, a fundamental but enigmatic particle. The pair were honored for work that helped determine that neutrinos have mass, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said. "The discovery has changed our understanding of the innermost workings of matter and can prove crucial to our view of the Universe," it said. The findings, it added, threw down a challenge to the so-called Standard Model -- the conceptual model of the particles and forces of the cosmos. Neutrinos are lightweight neutral particles that are … [Read more...]

3 babysitters arrested for mistreatment of toddler at central Vietnam nursery

A photo provided by the parents of a 14-month-old boy showed that he was mistreated by his babysitters a nursery in Quang Binh Province Authorities in central Vietnam have shut down an illegal daycare center after a couple witnessed three babysitters tying up their 14-month-old son and stuffing rags into his mouth. Local media reported that the three babysitters at Son Ca Nursery, aged between 20 and 22, admitted to the mistreatment at a police station in Quang Binh Province on Tuesday morning. Le Thi Hoai Linh told police that she and her two colleagues only tried to "help him sleep," claiming that they had not beaten or injured the child. The three have been detained. Dinh Thi Thuy Hang, mother of the boy, said she had sent her son to the nursery for five days. Hang became suspicious after discovering bruises on his body. She said in recent days he cried a lot and woke up several times at night. On Monday morning, she checked the class camera and found that one of the … [Read more...]

MOBO Awards winner Zara McFarlane to perform in HCMC this weekend

Zara McFarlane, winner of Music of Black Origin Awards, will perform in Ho Chi Minh City on October 11. Photo credit: British Council MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards winner Zara McFarlane will perform at Sen Hong outdoor stage at the September 23 Park in downtown Ho Chi Minh City on October 11, according to the British Council Vietnam. Singer Thao Trang, known for her powerful voice and strong on-stage personality, and Bich Ngoc, the emerging talent discovered by Vietnam Idol 2015, will also perform in the event scheduled at 8 p.m. with free entrance. Zara, born in Dagenham in the UK, is uniquely engaging, deftly combining the intricacies of jazz with a deep soulfulness, melding multiple influences from reggae to pop, folk and blues. Her debut album, 2011’s Until Tomorrow, was garlanded with rave reviews and a MOBO award nomination, and heralded a major new talent in the world of British jazz. It was commended by the Daily Telegraph as "the most interesting jazz singer … [Read more...]

Victim says police lie in report of her attack at traffic checkpoint

A still photo taken from a video which shows police officer Vo Chi Cong and his "assistant" Pham Minh Tri during a quarrel between them and a woman on September 4, 2015. A woman who was attacked by a civilian in front of traffic police officers in southern Vietnam last month has said that a new police report of the incident fabricated some key details, including false claims that she tried to bribe them. Police in Dong Nai Province on Sunday said in their report that Pham Minh Tri, a local milk salesman, was brought in to help them carry out some tasks at a checkpoint, including writing down plate numbers of speeding vehicles. They admitted that Tri attacked Do Vu Hoang Anh and hit her face while she was arguing with a police officer. While no officer was held directly responsible for the attack, officer Vo Chi Cong was rebuked for asking a civilian to conduct official tasks, the report said. Anh, the victim, told Thanh Nien the police report made up key details about what had … [Read more...]