Four years after her suspension from Party membership was imposed, and twenty days after the ‘slush fund’ case against her was dismissed, former leader of Song Hau Farm in Can Tho City, Tran Ngoc Suong, has her Party suspension removed. More Australia scholarships go to Vietnam
The Can Tho City Party Committee announced the reversal of Suong’s Party membership suspension yesterday, Feb 9, after the decision was made on February 1, 2012. As a result, Suong will resume her activities as a Party member of the Song Hau Farm Party Committee.
| Tran Ngoc Suong at a ceremony held in 1999 to confer the Labor Hero title on her. (Photo: Tuoi Tre) |
On January 19, the Can Tho City People’s Procuracy announced that the proceedings against Suong for allegedly “setting up an illegal fund” were dismissed.
Considering the historical circumstances of the fund’s establishment and the extenuating circumstances, including the contributions of Tran Ngoc Suong, nicknamed Ba Suong, and her family to Can Tho City, she has been exempted from criminal prosecution under Vietnam’s Penal Code, the prosecutor’s office said.
On April 14, 2008, Suong's Party membership was suspended and four months later she was sentenced to eight years in prison for running a “slush fund” at the farm worth VND10.1 billion (US$483,000).
The 63-year-old was also ordered to pay VND4.3 billion in restitution to the government, with the Can Tho City People’s Court concluding that she had ordered her employees to misuse the off-the-books fund during her tenure as director from 2001 to 2007.
She then appealed saying the fund was actually a welfare fund for the collective, used to help members in financial need. The appellate court rejected her appeal in November 2009 after which Suong brought her case to the Supreme People’s Court.
The Song Hau farm was once viewed as a successful model for agricultural development. Suong herself won the Asia Pacific Impressive Woman Award in 2002 and Vietnam’s Labour Hero award in 1999.
As many as 250 scholarships from the Australian Agency for International Development will be granted to Vietnamese citizens to take their postgraduate courses in Australia next year.
The Australian Development scholarships aim to increase their management skills so that they can contribute more to the country’s development.
Leading academics, central and local government officials and people engaged in development issues, especially those from disadvantaged and ethnic minorities-inhabited areas are eligible for such scholarships.
The successful applicants will join a well-established network of 4,000 Vietnamese alumni who have studied in Australia through Australian Government scholarships over the last 30 years, including well-known academics and business leaders. HCMC-Trung Luong expressway users to pay fee
Travelers on the 61,9-km Ho Chi Minh City-Trung Luong expressway, which has been put in use since the beginning of February 2010 to link Ho Chi Minh City and Long An and Tien Giang provinces, will have to pay traffic fee as of February 25, 2012. Vietnamese guest workers back to Libya
The fee will be collected by the State-owned Cuu Long Transport Infrastructure Management, Investment and Development Corporation, under a decision of the Ministry of Transport.
According to Circular 14 issued by the Finance Ministry, the fees for using the entire length of the expressway range from VND10,000 to VND320,000 (US$0.48-15.3), depending on the vehicles’ types and loading capacities.
Specifically, for under-12-seat cars and under-2-ton trucks and bus, the fees vary between VND10,000 to VND40,000.
For 12-30 seat vehicles and 2-4 ton trucks, the rates range between VND15,000 and VND60,000; and for 4-10 ton trucks and vehicles with 31 seats or higher, the rates are from VND22,000 to VND88,000.
For 10-18 ton trucks and 20’’container trucks, the fees will be VND40,000 and VND160,000 respectively; and for trucks with 18 tons or higher and 40’’ container trucks, the respective fees are VND80,000 and VND320,000.
Meanwhile, the fee for vehicles that use only part of the expressway and leave it via one of its four exits, Cho Dem, Ben Luc, Tan An, and Than Cuu Nghia, the fee rates will be calculated based on the unit price per kilometer, ranging from VND1,000 to VND8,000 per kilometer, depending on the vehicles’ types and loading capacities.
Under the Circular, 93 percent of the fee revenue will be deposited in the State budget and the rest will be used to cover expenses related to fee collection activities.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has allowed the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MoLISA) to send back a number of guest workers to Libya on a trial basis.
The ministry was assigned to sign labour contracts with reliable partners and work closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant agencies in this connection.
The MoLISA said guest workers from many countries have returned to Libya.
It has been informed by several businesses that their partners wish to recruit Vietnamese workers for a number of projects in Libya.
Dong Nai reports first meningococcal case
An eight-month old baby boy in Bien Hoa City has meningococcal disease, the Dong Nai's public health department confirmed yesterday.
This is first meningococcal patient there this year. The boy was sent to the Dong Nai Pediatric Hospital on February 5 with a high temperature, vomiting and diarrhea. The patient was quarantined and received intensive treatment and now is in good development.
The department also carried out medical tests for the baby boy's eight family members and relatives who had come into close contact with him. Four tested positive for meningococcal bacteria. All eight continue to be under the supervision.
Dong Nai's Preventive Medicine Department was also asked to sterilise the areas around the patient's living place. HCMC considers ending office hours at 4 pm
Civil servants in Ho Chi Minh City may work from 7:30 am to 4 pm and students may start their class at 7 am and leave schools at 4:45 pm, according to a proposed adjustment plan by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs to ease traffic congestion.
The department is collecting opinions from other relevant agencies about the plan to apply new working hours to state office workers and students in the city.
Under the plan, state agencies and state-owned enterprises will begin work (at 7 or 8 am) earlier than their current work schedule and end it sooner (at 4 pm or 4:30 pm or 5 pm).
This new schedule will help reduce traffic on the streets at 5 pm everyday and thereby ease traffic jams. It will also facilitate civil servants in picking up their children from schools, the department said.
Meanwhile, primary school students of afternoon classes and high school students will start and end school 15 minutes later.
This proposed staggering of work and school hours for civil servants and students can be modified by local authorities to make it best fit the actual conditions of each district, the department said.
Social insurance debt hits $187mil
The total social and medical insurance debt for 2011 was about VND3.9 trillion (about US$187 million), an increase of more than 33 per cent over 2010, according to Le Bach Hong, director of the Viet Nam Social Insurance Agency on Tuesday.
Hong also said localities were slow in suing enterprises with social-insurance debts. Only 21 localities did so last year.
The total number of social and medical insurance users in 2011 reached more than 57 million, nearly 9 per cent higher than the previous year. The industry collected nearly VND97 trillion ($4.6 billion) in 2011, up 20.3 per cent than 2010, according to the agency.
Blaze destroyed P&G company in Binh Duong
Fire fighters this morning finished putting out a blaze at a Procter and Gamble (P&G) Viet Nam building, after an eight-hour struggle in southern Binh Duong Province's Thuan An District.
Initial investigation results show the blaze began at 6pm yesterday, destroying 2,500 sq.m of the company's workshop.
Fortunately, no injuries was reported and the cause of the fire and total damages are still unknown.
A total of 12 fire engines and 100 fire fighters were sent to control the blaze.
The property saved from the blaze is estimated to be worth about VND50 billion (US$2.4 million).
The 100 per cent foreign-capital company specialises in producing soap powder and cosmetics.