Social News 28/2

Route connecting Ky Sa Port and Ly Son Island opened The Ministry of Transport announced its plan to open a mixed river-sea route connecting the Ky Sa port and Ly Son Island in central Quang Ngai province on February 26. Vessels operating on the route must be river-sea compatible ships (VR-SB) under the National Technical Regulation on the Rule of Inland-Waterway Ships Classification and Construction. In addition, vessel crew members are required to have professional competence qualifications. Ly Son district lies 18 nautical miles off the Vietnamese coast and covers an area of 10km2. It includes three communes: An Hai, An Vinh and An Binh. The island district has a population of approximately 2,100. The majority of residents earn a living from fishing and farming garlics and spring onions. Ly Son is striving to become a maritime economic centre by 2025, with a focus on tourism and aquaculture. Archaeologists found relics of Sa Huynh culture on the island dating back to 3,000 … [Read more...]

Transport minister fires entire project management unit for tardy progress

The Vietnamese Transport Minister has decided to replace the entire management project unit that is in charge of road upgrade projects in south-central Vietnam after finding it should be held responsible for the projects’ tardy progress. Minister Dinh La Thang made the decision at a meeting of his ministry in Hanoi on Tuesday. Accordingly, the entire project management unit (PMU2) that is in charge of projects to upgrade and expand the National Highway 1 sections that run through Binh Dinh and Phu Yen provinces in south central Vietnam will be replaced with the PMU for the Ho Chi Minh Road project. The replacement came after Minister Thang took a trip to oversee the project, which will enlarge the national highway through Binh Dinh, on February 21. At the above meeting, Thang said the PMU2 failed to maintain control over the projects under its authority, while the projects’ contractors showed poor performance and the investors exposed weak capabilities. The … [Read more...]

Condition of corruption fighter Nguyen Ba Thanh has improved: experts

The overall health condition of Nguyen Ba Thanh, head of Vietnam's Party Central Committee’s Commission for Internal Affairs, who recently returned home after treatment in the U.S. for myelodysplastic syndrome, has improved after three weeks of care in the central city of Da Nang. >> Vietnam to treat corruption fighter Nguyen Ba Thanh with modern and traditional medicines Medical experts who are treating Thanh issued the information on Thursday, adding that the official can walk, talk and eat porridge. Thanh was hospitalized at Da Nang Hospital on January 9, when he returned to Vietnam after over four months of treatment in the U.S., where he underwent chemotherapy for his illness. Myelodysplastic syndrome is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells and there are abnormal (blast) cells in the blood and/or bone marrow, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The team of health experts who are treating Thanh … [Read more...]

Why couldn’t Lee Nguyen have high-flying career in Vietnam as in MLS?

Lee Nguyen is now grabbing the attention of the media in Vietnam, where his short-lived journey had an unhappy ending, following his hogging the limelight in Major League Soccer (MLS) with his Player of the Month award. The New England Revolution midfielder took home the Etihad Airways MLS Player of the Month award for October - the final month of the season - after having a league-high nine game-winning goals this year, according to the MLS website. The 2014 MLS regular season, running from March, ended on Sunday. Ten teams will compete in the postseason MLS Cup Playoffs in November and December, culminating in the championship game, the MLS Cup. The 28-year-old, who holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Vietnam, netted five goals last month alone, and a total of 18 during the season, which is fourth most in the MLS and the most ever by a pure midfielder in the U.S.'s highest-level football (soccer) league. The award is the icing on the cake as Nguyen has been called up by … [Read more...]

Security warnings calm tourists rather than scare: HCMC cop

A youth volunteer gives directions outside the Nortre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Trung Hieu Ho Chi Minh City police have had to stop passing out leaflets warning foreign visitors of robberies, rip-offs and taxi scams due to complaints from tour companies. Some people, including sources from the media, hailed the warnings as proactive; others said they painted Vietnam as a dangerous country. The leaflet, "A few travel reminders for a hassle-free trip," was created (in both English and Vietnamese) through an initiative of the Ho Chi Minh City Police amid rising street crime. They have only been distributed on a trial basis in Pham Ngu Lao Ward -- the area frequently referred to as the "backpacker area" in the city's District 1. Lt. Col Nguyen Van Phuoc, the ward police chief, said the leaflets are designed simply to keep tourists alert. "If we don't want [to distribute the flyers] and leave tourists to be robbed and ripped off, the blame is on us," Phuoc said. Last … [Read more...]

Proposed ban on late liquor sale sparks controversy among expats in Vietnam

There is debate brewing among expats in Vietnam over the recent proposed prohibition on the sale of liquor between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am the following day. >> No beer after 10pm in Vietnam? Ben Robinson from the UK is skeptical about the health effects brought about by the possible prohibition. "The health effects of closing at 10:00 pm will be bad because it makes people drink more during the evening, then leave the bars drunk at the same time," said Ben, adding that: "It might also cause violence and major problems for police." According to the British expat, the UK government used to implement a law that prohibited pubs and bars from selling alcohol after 11:00 pm. However, the ban was not effective and the government changed the law a few years ago to allow bars and pubs to be open 24 hours a day. The new law still remains controversial due to the perceived increase in potential for binge drinking and the effects the change will have on social dynamics. However, the new … [Read more...]

Two Vietnam policemen suspended for shooting fleeing suspect

Ninh Thuan police have suspended two crime-branch police officers for shooting at a suspected motorbike thief while patrolling the south central province on June 17. Colonel Huynh Cam, chief of the Thuan Nam District Police, told Thanh Nien News that he had asked the two involved officers to file reports on the shooting. He declined to name them. Doctors at the Ninh Thuan General Hospital said Wednesday that the suspected robber To Trung, 25, is no longer in critical condition following the successful removal of a copper bullet from his body. The bullet entered Trung's body through the left side of his abdomen, piecing through his pancreas, stomach and intestines. According to one of Trung's family members, who asked to remain anonymous, the incident took place at around 7 p.m. on June 17 while Trung and two friends were driving their motorbikes from Ninh Phuoc to Thuan Nam District. Because Trung's headlight was broken, he was driving slowly behind his friend. Upon reaching … [Read more...]

Vietnam province under fire for waste on intn’l music festival

Organizers of the traditional don ca tai tu music festival present awards to winners of a photo contest in front of the 61-feet model of a traditional instrument "Cong tu Bac Lieu" was a term applied to the children of rich landlords who enjoyed lavish lifestyles in southern Vietnam during the colonial period. It is said that one even showed off his wealth by boiling eggs over a fire built out of bank notes. The term has been recently resurrected in newspaper editorials condemning wasteful spending on last month's festival dedicated to traditional don ca tai tu music genre (April 24-29). According to incomplete reports from the project management units and festival organizers, officials spent VND2 trillion (US$94.86 million) on over 20 construction projects for the event, in addition to its organizing fees, Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh Citty Law) newspaper reported on May 6. The next day, Bac Lieu authorities held a press conference, saying that not all the … [Read more...]

Lunch Beat shakes up Ho Chi Minh City ‘work-day heroes’

Hundreds of Vietnamese workers gathered at the office of IKEA Trading Ltd. in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday (May 6) for Lunch Beat. Participants ate sandwiches and danced away the lunch hour during the event organized by the Swedish Embassy in Vietnam. Lunch Beat began in Sweden in 2010 as a way for strangers to eat together and have fun together during their one-hour break. The first gathering was held in an underground garage in Stockholm. During the autumn of 2010, the movement continued to grow and spread to new locations. More regular events were arranged during the spring of 2011 and the first-ever Lunch Beat held outside Stockholm took place in Malmö. This year, movement that began in a Swedish garage has become a global lunchtime clubbing phenomenon with events in over 90 cities all over the world. During the May 6 event, "Work-Day Heroes" all around the world were invited to eat and dance together in the middle of the day. Lunch … [Read more...]

In Vietnam, proposed on-the-street traffic fines spark corruption fears

The Ministry of Public Security wants traffic police to collect fines on the street but experts say it will worsen corruption Police issue a ticket to a driver in downtown Hanoi. The Ministry of Public Security wants traffic police to collect fines on the spot instead of having them paid later to the Treasury as per current regulations. Photo by Ngoc Thang Nguyen Van Luc took a bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Dong Thap Province and stayed there for two days last December to complete all procedures necessary to get his driver's license back from local traffic police. The driver had been caught speeding in the Mekong Delta province and traffic police told him to return a week later to pay a fine of VND700,000 (US$34) to the Treasury, show them the invoice and take back his driver's license. "I spent a total of VND2 million, apart from the fines, for the trip just to pay the fine," he said. "Moreover, I had to stop working those two days." In a move aiming to curb … [Read more...]

Vietnam looks to end gridlock with public bicycles

But better public transit also needed to solve congestion problems, experts say Foreign tourists riding bicycles through Hoi An Town in the central province of Quang Nam. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has instructed big cities to provide public bicycle services in city centers as a step towards limiting personal vehicles and avoid severe traffic jams. Photo by Diep Duc Minh Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has instructed major cities to supply public bicycle services and reduce the number of personal vehicles clogging commercial centers after a number of proposals have been deemed infeasible. According to an instruction issued on January 27, Dung ordered authorities in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Da Nang and Can Tho to facilitate transport infrastructure projects and strictly monitor the growth of personal vehicles. The cities must now draft plans to limit the use of personal vehicles and encourage residents to use public transport systems. All plans must be implemented by … [Read more...]

Press Digest (December 2 to 5)

These are some of the leading stories in the Vietnamese press from December 2 to 5 DECEMBER 2 TUOI TRE - Many Vietnamese firms receive complaints about fake products made in and smuggled from China which look like the real deal but are of low quality. Experts call for more effective monitoring of borders and better coordination among agencies to prevent this.  - The 2nd biennial International Piano Festival began Monday and will go on until Saturday at the HCMC Conservatory of Music, featuring American, French, Russian, Singaporean, and Vietnamese artists. PHAP LUAT THANH PHO HO CHI MINH - Police in HCMC's District 8 are looking for Vu Thi Bich Van, 34, as they investigate the death of a 13-month-old boy. After she babysat the child for four days, he had severe brain trauma and died last Sunday following two and a half weeks of treatment.  DECEMBER 3 TUOI TRE - Power monopoly Electricity of Vietnam reported revenues of nearly VND157 trillion (over US$7.4 billion) in the … [Read more...]

Press Digest (November 25 to 28)

These are some of the leading stories in the Vietnamese press from November 25 to 28 NOVEMBER 25 TUOI TRE - Students from Nguyen Binh Khiem Elementary School in Ho Chi Minh City won in the elementary category of an annual children's robotics contest held in the Philippines last Saturday. NGUOI LAO DONG  - The Ministry of Transport has sought approval for a plan to limit personal vehicles on certain streets and during certain hours in major cities like Hanoi and HCMC from next year in a bid to reduce congestion. NOVEMBER 26 TUOI TRE - Former Miss Sport Tran Thi Quynh Monday apologized to the government and people for wearing a sash with the country's name spelled as "Vietnem" in the final of the 2013 Mrs. World pageant in China last Saturday. Event chairman David Marmel and chief organizer of this year's competition, Kaman Cheng, had apologized a day earlier.  - The historic town of Hoi An and Da Nang in central Vietnam Tuesday received the 2013 Asian Townscape Award from … [Read more...]

Press Digest (November 18-21)

These are some of the leading stories in the Vietnamese press from November 18-21 NOVEMBER 18 TUOI TRE - The installation of the Southeast Asia's longest undersea power cable started in the Mekong Delta Province of Kien Giang Sunday. The 55.8-km 110kV cable, which will run from Ha Tien town to Phu Quoc Island, is set to become operational in late January and provide cheaper and more stable electricity to the island. It is Vietnam's first undersea power cable. TIEN PHONG - The Ministry of Education and Training Sunday honored 160 of more than one million teachers nationwide for their efforts and achievements on the occasion of Vietnamese Teachers' Day on November 20. PHAP LUAT THANH PHO HO CHI MINH - Police in Ho Chi Minh City arrested Ho Ngoc Nho, 18, for allegedly torturing and killing her neighbors' only child. She had been babysitting the child for four months and allegedly killed the 18-month-old boy on Saturday when she couldn't stop him from crying. - More than 1,000 … [Read more...]

More robberies threaten safety in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City

A police official has been suspended for alleged connections with a criminal gang in HCMC; Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc calls for closer supervision of local police to prevent similar cases. Ho Chi Minh City traffic and mobile police forces during a campaign to tackle crime in the city's downtown area. Photo by Dam Huy Vu Truong Chinh was waiting at a red light on Ho Chi Minh City's Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Street when two robbers on a motorbike snatched VND50 million (US$2,370) from his pocket. He chased after them and managed to take the money from the robber's hand, but it dropped on the ground. Many people stopped to pick the money while Chinh continued to chase after the two robbers. Khanh Le, a passer-by who helped Chinh in an attempt to catch the robbers, soon realized that many people who picked the money were actually the robbers' accomplices. "After I blocked them with my bike, the two robbers crashed but I was immediately hit by another one, who took the money," … [Read more...]

Press Digest (October 21-24)

These are some of the leading stories in the Vietnamese press from October 21-24 October 21 TUOI TRE - Le Thi Nga, deputy chairwoman of the National Assembly's Justice Committee, said corruption at many state-owned economic groups and state corporations raises questions about responsibilities of both managerial cadre who commit violations and relevant government agencies which oversee their operations. NGUOI LAO DONG - Authorities have busted dozens of cases of illegal trafficking of rhino horns and elephant tusks into Vietnam in recent years.  They have confiscated more than 100 kilograms of rhino horns and thousands of kilograms of elephant tusks. PHAP LUAT THANH PHO HO CHI MINH - The Ho Chi Minh City International University's Department of Biomedical Engineering has made and tested a device that will help patients check their blood pressure, cardiovascular and respiratory health at home and send the indices to doctors through a digital network. This will enable doctors to … [Read more...]

Press Digest (September 30-October 3)

--SEPTEMBER 30-- NGUOI LAO DONG

- The Ministry of Industry and Trade is inspecting hydropower plants throughout the country, following an order by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Since 2006, more than 50,000 hectares (124,000 acres) of forest land have been converted into land for hydropower plants, but investors have only returned around 1,000 hectares. TIEN PHONG - Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told a monthly government meeting last Sunday that government agencies must continue to strive to stabilize the macro economy, control inflation, and help enterprises overcome difficulties in a bid to keep economic growth around the country's 5.4 percent target. SAI GON TIEP THI - Vu Duc Dam, head of the government office, said Sunday that the government will ask the National Assembly, Vietnam's legislature, to increase the current budget deficit cap of 4.8 to 5.3 percent to use the extra funds for investment. --OCTOBER 1-- TUOI TRE - Damages from Typhoon Wutip broke Vietnam's 500kV electricity grid at two sections in … [Read more...]

Thanh Nien reporter arrested for money extortion

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Police from the Ministry of Public Security in conjunction with their counterparts in southern Dong Nai province have detained a correspondent of Thanh Nien (Young People) Daily Newspaper for his illegal acts of self-interest while on active services. >> Reporter charged for taking bribe from bar owner >>Reporter arrested for allegedly taking bribe The correspondent, Nguyen Kim Cuong, was arrested at about 6:30 PM Wednesday at his home in Quarter 5, Tan Bien Ward, Bien Hoa City, Dong Nai Province, on charges of abusing positions to influence other persons for personal profits. Cuong is a reporter managed by the newspaper's Southeastern Representative Office in Dong Nai. Early on the morning of Wednesday, the provincial Investigation Police Agency summoned Cuong to their office for questioning before escorting him to his house. After searching his house to collect documents or materials necessary for investigation, police escorted him to his office on Vo Thi Sau … [Read more...]

Young soldiers questioned over monkey torture photos

An army unit based in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai on Thursday questioned a soldier who posted photos of the torturing and slaughtering of two endangered monkeys on his Facebook page. A photo taken from the Facebook page of Quang Nguyen Van shows two men putting a cigarette in the mouth of a gray-shanked douc langur. The one on the left is in an army uniform, and it is unclear if the monkey is alive at this pont Nguyen Van Quang, a 20-year-old soldier of the Army Corps No.3 under the Central Highlands Corps, was summoned along with several other soldiers involved in the case. On July 16, Quang uploaded 12 photos showing himself and other young men, some in army uniforms, sticking cigarettes in the mouths of an endangered monkey - seemingly already dead -- and doing other bizarre things on Facebook. In some of the photos the men have another monkey tied with rope. It is alive and it is not clear what they did with it. Then there are photos of the men dunking one of … [Read more...]

Newspaper rep office head caught taking bribe

Police in central Nghe An Province have detained the chief representative of Kinh Te Nong Thon (Rural Economy) Newspaper in Nghe An-Ha Tinh provinces after catching him receiving a bribe from a company. >> Reporter charged for taking bribe from bar owner >> Reporter arrested for allegedly taking bribe The detainee is Van Thanh, a 33-year-old reporter, who was arrested on Monday at Vinh Airport in Nghe An Province while waiting for a flight to Ho Chi Minh City to attend a meeting. Thanh was caught receiving VND20 million (US$960) from a staff member of Hanoi-based Vinland Investment and Construction Joint Stock Company, which built a road to link Thanh Chuong and Do Luong Districts in Nghe An about a year ago. Van Thanh was alleged to have written several recent articles related to the quality of the road, and after his first article was published in the newspaper, he advised the company in question to be "reasonable," or else it would suffer from his following articles. … [Read more...]