Northern mountainous region suffers water shortage

Provinces in the northern mountain regions including Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Lang Son, Yen Bai and Hoa Binh are experiencing severe water shortages. This man has to travel tens of kilometers to take water from a public water tank for his family (Photo: SGGP) Muong Khuong District in Lao Cai Province is experiencing the worst drought. Local residents living in the limestone geography must carry water 10 kilometers in Din Chin and Ta Gia Khau Commune. It takes the whole day to get 20 liters at public water tanks or rivulets in the mountain. The two communes have only 3-4 rivulets which run very slowly, said Sung A Tra. Over 1,000 residents experience water shortage and losing 500 hectares of corn grounds. Residents enter the forest in search for water sources from March to May every year in Bat Xat, Muong Khuong, Si Ma Cai and Bac Ha District, said the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Lao Cai Province. Besides cold snaps, local … [Read more...]

Social News Headlines 21/3

Ha Noi blogger to spend 15 months in jail for slander Ha Noi blogger Pham Viet Dao has been sentenced to 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to abusing his rights to freedom and democracy. The court ruled that his actions had infringed upon State interests, rights and legitimate interests of organisations or citizens under Article 258 of the Penal Code. The jail term will starts from the date he was detained on June 13, 2013, the court ruled. The indictment read that Dao, 62, residing in Buoi ward, Tay Ho district, authored three blogs -Phamvietdao3.blogspot.com, Phamvietdao4.blogspot.com and Chientranhtrungviet.blogspot.com - on which he posted 91 articles slandering the Party and State. At the yesterday's trial in the capital city, Dao admitted his guilt, saying his actions were a result of a lack of awareness of the law. He promised not to repeat his actions. Dao has 15 days to appeal the verdict. 200kg of black coral seized in Quang … [Read more...]

DPM asks for enhanced regional connection against droughts, sea-water intrusion

VGP – Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung asked ministries, agencies and localities in the Mekong Delta to closely follow weather happenings and strengthen regional connections to cope with consequences caused by droughts and sea-water intrusion in the future. Photo:VGP/Xuan Tuyen The Deputy PM made that statement at a meeting in response to droughts and sea-water intrusion in the Mekong Delta in SocTrang Province on April 28. He highlighted the priority of ensuring local people’s lives and assisting them stabilize their lives as well as asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) to direct functional agencies to provide information about water resources and sea-water intrusion developments. Localities need to strengthen cooperation and connection in response to droughts and sea-water intrusion to exploit natural resources effectively, he affirmed. He required relevant ministries and agencies to adjust new planning projects, including the ones in the … [Read more...]

No sign of mercury pollution in Hanoi: Environment Ministry

Reports of mercury pollution in the air in Hanoi, which could pose serious health risks, were inaccurate and caused public panic, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment announced on Tuesday, April 2016. There was no evidence to conclude mercury was in the air in the city, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment announced on Tuesday, April 2016.— Photo kinhtedothi.vn Hoang Duong Tung, deputy director of the ministry’s Environment Department said that department tests recently detected mercury in a rainwater sample collected in a station in Long Bien District’s Nguyen Van Cu Street. However, he said, it was an initial result. The department needed to do further studies. There was no evidence to conclude mercury was in the air in the city, he said. Currently, Vietnam does not have equipment to test mercury in the air. Tung said observation and analysis of mercury was not simple. The department worked with international agencies to analyse … [Read more...]

Vietnam holds ten-minute meeting on mass fish deaths; no cause confirmed

A long-awaited media meeting hoped to reveal the cause of the fish deaths in several central Vietnamese provinces on Wednesday eventually angered the public as it lasted only ten minutes and no satisfying answers were released. Reporters had to wait for hours to attend the meeting, chaired by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, only to listen to a deputy minister reading a press release, while having no opportunity to enquire any questions. The conference, expected to reveal the cause of fish deaths in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien-Hue, started at 7:50 pm after a hours-long delay, and ended at 8:00 pm. During the event, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan listed two possible reasons behind the mass fish deaths. The first potential cause is the toxic chemicals released by human activities carried out along the coast and on the sea, according to the deputy minister. The second cause arises from an unusual … [Read more...]

Ministry alleges Formosa not responsible for mass fish deaths

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment claims that there was insufficient evidence that Formosa and other plants in the Vung Ang Economic Zones in Ha Tinh Province were responsible for the mass fish deaths along the central coast. The announcement was made at a press conference held late yesterday evening after the five-hour closed door meeting between seven ministries, experts and representatives of four central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue in Hanoi. The press conference only consisted of a statement made by Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan who then left without responding to questions from any of the nearly 200 reporters present. Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan chaired the press meeting on April 27 evening to report on the cause of the mass fish deaths along the central coast. The report claimed that mystery toxic substances discharged at sea – the source of … [Read more...]

Vietnam, Laos sign coal exploitation contract

Vientiane, April 27 (VNA) – Vietnam and Laos signed a contract to survey and tap coal in Xam Neua, in the Lao province of Houaphan on April 27. The contract was signed between the Lao government and Long Van Company of Vietnam. Attending the event was Lao Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Sisou Phanthong, head of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Department of Geology and Mineral Resources Khampha Phommakaysone, and Charge d’Affaires of Vietnam in Laos Hoang Xuan Hai. Following an initial survey of 600 hectares out of a total of 15,000ha, the Long Van company has found a reserve of nearly 60 million tonnes of coal in Xam Neua. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Director of Long Van company Pham Ngoc Long pledged to ensure the project’s efficiency in tandem with environment protection, as well as generating more local jobs, which will contribute to furthering the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive … [Read more...]

Press digest – April 27

VN values ties with Guangxi: Party chief The Party, State and people of Viet Nam attach importance to strengthening the neighborly friendship and comprehensive cooperation with Chinese counterparts, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong said on April 27. Talking to Secretary of the Party Committee of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China, Peng Qinghua during a reception in Ha Noi, the Party General Secretary also laid stress on Guangxi’s significant role in Viet Nam – China ties. PM welcomes China’s Guizhou party secretary The Vietnamese Government always treasures and encourages ministries and provinces to step up cooperation with China’s localities, highlighted PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc during a reception for Secretary of the Guizhou Provincial Party Committee Chen Min’er on April 27. Viet Nam persistently pursues a foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, multi-lateralization and diversification of relations, while attaching much … [Read more...]

Long Van Company to tap coal in Laos

Lao Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Sisou Phanthong (right) and Director of Long Vân Company Pham Ngọc Long (left) at the contract-signing ceremony. - Photo VNA HA NOI (Biz Hub) - Viet Nam and Laos signed a contract on April 28 to allow a Vietnamese company to survey and tap coal in Xam Nuea city, Houaphan Province, in Laos. The contract was signed between the Lao government and Long Van Company of Viet Nam. Attending the event were Lao Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Sisou Phanthong, head of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment's Department of Geology and Mineral Resources Khampha Phommakaysone and Envoy at the Vietnamese Embassy in Laos Hoang Xuan Hai. Following an initial survey of 600ha out of a total of 15,000ha, the Long Van Company has found a reserve of nearly 60 million tonnes of coal in Xam Neua. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Director of Long Van Company Pham Ngoc Long pledged to ensure the project's efficiency in tandem with … [Read more...]

Preliminary causes on mass fish deaths released

VGP – The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on April 27 organized a press conference to release preliminary causes leading to mysterious mass fish deaths along the central coast that sparked grave concerns among local people. The press conference was held after hours of meeting by relevant ministries, localities, and scientists. Speaking in front of hundreds of reporters, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan said the incident is "extremely serious". He said that the mass fish deaths may be blamed for waste water discharges and red tide. However, they are not the "final conclusions", stated the Deputy Minister, adding that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment may invite international scientists to investigate the case. The relevant localities will issue recommendations for maritime tourism activities, according to Nhan. The press conference closed at 8:2PM. It means more works will be done. In response to the case, … [Read more...]

‘Mercury found floating in Hanoi’s air’ a misquote: environment deputy

A deputy of Vietnam’s environmental administration confirmed on Tuesday that there was no evidence of mercury pollution in Hanoi, following public confusion over an earlier news article claiming otherwise. Hoang Duong Tung, deputy general director at the Vietnam Environmental Administration under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, denied yesterday morning having said that mercury had been found floating in the air above the capital city. Earlier, a local newswire had cited Tung as saying monitoring equipment had recorded levels of mercury in the air over the locality. According to Tung, the news was inaccurate and was a misunderstanding of what he had intended to say. After receiving observational information from the U.S. Embassy about particle pollution in Hanoi, Tung explained, he had said that mercury pollution was an emerging problem that the world and Vietnam were at risk of exposure to. "I confirm that no observation result has found mercury … [Read more...]

Media shunned as closed meeting discusses fish death scandal

The ministries of Health, Industry and Trade, Sciences and Technology and Agriculture and Rural Development met in a closed door meeting at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Hanoi to discuss the cause of the mass fish deaths along the coast of four central provinces. The media had been expecting a public press conference to publicise the finding of an investigation into what had caused the deaths but instead they found officials would meet in a closed room. Reporters waited for the meeting at the headquarter of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Hanoi on April 27 afternoon Natural Resources and Environment Deputy Minister Vo Tuan Nhan told Dan Tri that they would merely inform the media of the findings tomorrow morning, April 28. "We’ll work with experts and representatives from various ministries and the four central provinces and report our findings to the prime minister," Nhan said. Formosa PR head sacked In other developments in … [Read more...]

Taiwanese firm axes executive over flagrant statement about mass fish deaths in Vietnam

The executive of the subsidiary of Taiwan’s Formosa company in the north-central Vietnamese province of Ha Tinh, who made a bold remark about a trade-off between marine life and the steel industry that has met with strong criticism from the public since Monday, has just been sacked. Chou Chun Fan, head of the Hanoi office of the Formosa subsidiary, confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that he had been fired by the company on Wednesday. Chou said on the phone that his dismissal stemmed from his making a shocking statement that triggered fierce opposition from Vietnamese citizens, adding that he deserved the axe. "I have to take responsibility for my action. I hope that Vietnamese people will excuse me for my statement. Once again, I sincerely apologize to you," Chou said. He was scheduled to arrive in Hanoi on Wednesday afternoon to prepare for his flight back to Taiwan, according to Chou. Formosa has been under fire from the public following Chou’s remark … [Read more...]

Lower greenhouse gas emission project gets approval

The Prime Minister has approved a technical assistance project on "mainstreaming climate change mitigation into national infrastructure in the areas of energy and transport," under the framework of the Clean Technology Fund (CTF). Trees planted in Binh Duong New City in Binh Duong province. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) - funded project aims at providing assistance to relevant bodies to effectively implement measures to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in energy and transport. The project’s activities include developing and strengthening measuring, reporting and verification systems (MRVs) for CTF projects, preparing and implementing transport and energy sector mitigation guidelines, and enhancing and coordinating agencies’ capacity in climate change mitigation. The project will be implemented in three years after approval. It has a total cost of 1,052,000 million USD, 952,000 USD of which comes from non-refundable official development assistance (ODA), with … [Read more...]

Fishermen in areas with mass fish death to get support

VGP – PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has tasked the local authorities of central provinces to propose necessary assistance for fishermen who are facing huge losses due to the recent mass fish deaths. Illustration photo Accordingly, the People’s Committees of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue were assigned to review and total up the number of damaged households and suggest supportive measures for the victims to early stabilize their lives. Following the recent finding tour of Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung to Ky Ha Commune, Ky Anh Town of the central province of Ha Tinh right after the mysterious mass fish deaths along the central coast, PM Phuc requested that supportive measures must focus on policy beneficiaries, poor households, and heavily-affected victims. He also noted the importance of preventing hunger due to standstill in fishing activities. The Government leader asked the Ministries of Science and Technology, Public Security, National Defense, Industry … [Read more...]

Project on greenhouse gas emission reduction passed

VGP – The PM has aprroved a technical assistance project on combination of greenhouse gas reduction and national infrastructure, energy and transport within the framework of the Clean Technology Fund (CTF). The Asian Development Bank-funded project targets to mitigate greenhouse emission in energy and transport areas. It consist of three components including (i) monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas emissions for CTF projects; (ii) building guidelines on greenhouse gas emission in transport and energy areas; (iii) strengthening implementation competence of MRV and regulating relevant projects on the two aspects. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the State Bank of Viet Nam were assigned to realize the over US$ 1 million project./. By Khanh Phuong … [Read more...]

Taiwanese firm apologizes for official’s callous remarks on mass fish deaths

Formosa representatives apologize for a company official's shocking remarks related to the recent environmental disaster in Vietnam at the press conference on April 26, 2016. Photo: Nguyen Dung A Taiwanese steel company Tuesday afternoon apologized for what has been panned as a callous statement by one of its top executives about an ongoing environmental disaster in central Vietnam that has resulted in mass fish deaths. Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Company (FHS), went into damage control mode, organizing a press conference to apologize, as public outrage mounted in response to a statement by Chu Xuan Pham, chief of its representative office in Hanoi. Pham had told reporters who asked if Formosa had installed an undersea pipe to discharge wastewater directly into the sea in Ha Tinh Province: "I admit that the discharge of wastewater will affect the environment to some extent, and it is obvious that the sea will have less fish. "But before we built the plant, we got permission … [Read more...]

Press digest – April 25

PM pledges to back enterprises PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc on April 25 in Ha Noi presided over the first meeting with ministerial and sectorial leaders seeking to remove obstacles arising in the enforcement of the Laws on Enterprises and Investment. Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung reported that the two laws came into effect on July 1, 2015 and churned out initial outcomes. Under the new laws, the time required for fresh business registration has been slashed to 2.9 days while time required for adjustment of business license took 2.7 days. Hence, enterprises saved half a million days. PM appreciates VN-Laos coordination at multilateral forums PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc spoke highly of the close coordination between Viet Nam and Laos at multi-lateral forums amid current complicated changes in the region and the world while meeting with Lao Party leader and President Bounnhang Vorachith on Monday. Regarding the bilateral ties, PM Phuc expressed his pleasure at the fine … [Read more...]

Mass fish death likely due to toxic contamination

Hanoi, April 25 (VNA) – The recent mass fish death in the central coastal region is likely due to the contamination of biological or chemical toxins at high levels, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on April 25. The incident was discovered in Ky Anh township, Ha Tinh province on April 6, then spread to Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue. The ministry asked affected localities to promptly collect the dead fish and banned using dead fish as food or animal feed. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also requested the localities to review and list affected households, and provide them with timely support. The ministries of Science and Technology, Public Security, National Defence, Industry and Trade, Public Health, and the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology will liaise with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the MARD to determine the incident’s cause and report to the PM. The ministries of Planning and … [Read more...]

Searching for the culprit of mass dying of fish in central Vietnam

Investigations are underway to find the culprit behind the mass dying of fishstock in sea and coastal fish farms in the central parts of Vietnam, from Ha Tinh to Thua Thien-Hue since April 6. Taiwan’s Formosa Group, whose $10.5 billion steel and port complex in Ha Tinh province’s Vung Ang economic zone (EZ) discharges treated wastewater into the sea, was the first company to give statement regarding allegations of polluting the sea and causing the mass dying of fish. "We have to choose. Fish farms or a modern steel factory," said Chu Xuan Pham, public relations director of Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Ltd., the operator of Formosa Ha Tinh steel and port complex, with an aggressive attitude, in an interview with VTCNews. This was Pham’s answer to the following question by the reporter: "Local fishermen said before Formosa built the wastewater treatment system they caught a lot of fish and shrimp, but now nothing lives around the wastewater discharge … [Read more...]