Police in Ho Chi Minh City have detained more than 100 people in Thu Duc and Go Vap Districts for betting on football matches within the ongoing UEFA Euro 2012 tournament.
Police in Thu Duc District raided a café in Hiep Binh Chanh Ward on June 14, and caught a crowd of people gathering there to bet on the Netherlands – Germany match that was being broadcast live.
The police detained about 60 people, five motorbikes, more than 10 mobile phones, and VND60 million (US$28,400) in cash. They escorted all the gamblers to their office.
The organizers of the betting ring were later identified as 26-year-old Nguyen Duy Dong, of Hai Duong Province, the café’s owner; and Dinh Nhat Anh, 28, of Ninh Binh Province, who was Dong’s domestic help.
The police are questioning and classifying the bettors, who include even workers and students.
Earlier, in another raid at Hoi Ngo café in Ward 7, Go Vap District, the police caught more than 40 people betting on the Portugal – Denmark match.
The betting was organized by Le My Linh, 39, of Binh Thanh District. Minh confessed that he had set up the betting system in February.
The same day, the police arrested more people at another café in Go Vap’s Ward 7, with the betting organizer being Tu Duc Hop, 45, a native of Hanoi.
In Vietnam, football betting of any type is illegal.
Get-together for Vietnamese intellectuals in Japan
Vietnamese intellectuals who reside and work in Japan met in Tokyo on June 16, seeking to increase cooperation in scientific and technological transfer between the two countries.
Addressing the event, Vietnamese ambassador to Japan Doan Xuan Hung stressed that the Vietnamese Party and State define national industrialisation and modernisation an important political task to develop national economy.
To meet this task, the Party and State pay special attention to attracting foreign investment and absorbing global advanced technology to speed up national industrialisation and modernisation, said Hung.
He encouraged the Vietnamese experts to promote the dissemination and transfer of the state-of-the-art technology to Vietnam to serve national development.
Vu Ngoc Minh, first secretary in charge of science and technology of the embassy, spoke of sci-tech cooperation between Vietnam and Japan, and incentives to attract intellectuals from Japan, with a special focus on human resource training.
Prof. Tran Van Tho, a lecturer at Waseda University, said endowed with abundant natural and human resources as well as great development potential, Vietnam is able to cooperate with Japan in sci-tech transfer in various areas.
He noted that despite being a big investor in Vietnam, total Japanese investment has yet to match this country’s economic power. He suggested that the Southeast Asian economy improve its investment environment and attraction to woo additional capital and technology from Japan.
Dr Ho Tu Bao, who is working for the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, recommended that Vietnam should offer better working conditions to attract intellectuals overseas, including those from Japan.
He also underlined the need to strengthen cooperation between universities and research institutes of the two countries to train qualified human resources for the country’s future development objectives.
Other lecturers and young experts who are working at Japanese universities, research institutes and economic groups proposed establishing direct mechanisms for cooperation between Vietnamese and Japanese small- and medium-sized enterprises under the auspices of the two governments.
Urbanization rate set at 38 percent by 2015
The Ministry of Construction has submitted to the Government a draft program for developing urban areas across the country until 2020.
The program aims to enhance the regional and international competitiveness of Vietnam’s urban centres, build technical and social infrastructure, and create a good urban environment for residents, said Deputy Minister of Construction Nguyen Thanh Nghi.
According to the program, urban development will be closely linked to coastal economic zones and border gates to facilitate international integration and urban tourism. Assistance will be given to the development of urban areas in mountainous and border regions while coastal urban centres will receive help in coping with global climate change.
The program sets a target to raise the country’s urbanization rate to 38 percent, with 870 urban centres taking shape by 2015. These centres will include two special ones, 211 ranked from type 1 to 3, and 657 ranked type 4. Among them will be 132 new urban centres. The urbanization rate for 2020 will be 45 percent, with 940 urban centres.
The first steps towards achieving these goals are completing the relevant mechanisms, raising awareness, and training human resources. The Ministry of Construction also proposes mobilizing various sources of financing to make the program feasible.
In addition, it is essential to encourage investment in proper drainage, water treatment, environmental improvement, and lighting, as well as green spaces, trees, parks, new urban areas and residential complexes. Many mechanisms for such investment are available including BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer), BTO (Build-Transfer-Operate), BT (Build-Transfer), and PPP (public-private partnership) models.
Millions of dollars invested in upgrading Can Tho city
The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho is investing more than US$90 million to upgrade its urban areas. Of that amount, $69.9 million is sourced from the World Bank and the remainder from the Vietnamese Government.
The project aims to upgrade infrastructure in low-income residential areas, improve electricity, lighting, and drainage systems in four districts, install pipes to supply clean water, upgrade five main roads, improve lakes, and build resettlement areas, along with a number of schools, clinics, and markets.
It will be carried out in two phases, from 2012-2014 and from 2015-2017.
Once completed, the project will directly benefit 45,000 people and improve the lives of 470,000 others.
This project is part of a larger one to upgrade six cites in the Mekong Delta, namely Can Tho, My Tho, Ca Mau, Cao Lanh, Rach Gia, and Tra Vinh.
The larger project will help improve living conditions of 150,097 poor people and indirectly benefit more than 1.8 million.
On May 14, the Vietnamese Government and the World Bank signed an agreement worth over US$392 million to fund the project.
The first major project to upgrade urban areas in Vietnam was implemented in Ho Chi Minh City Nam Dinh, Haiphong, and Can Tho from 2007, benefiting more than 2.2 million people.
11 Vietnamese women cheated in Macau
A Macau woman cheated 11 Vietnamese jobseekers out of 110,000 MOP (Macanese currency) and gambled it away in a local casino.
The unemployed woman, aged 42 and surnamed Wong, approached a Vietnamese woman in early June and claimed to have numerous vacancies at local hotels, according to police.
The Vietnamese jobseeker told ten of her fellow countrywomen of the information, and each of them paid 10,000 MOP to the scammer in exchange for the jobs as well as resident permits for foreign workers.
On June 11, the jobseekers were told by the fraudster to gather at the immigration office near Pac On, Macau, to apply for the work permits, and they reported the case to the police after waiting in vain for the ‘middleman’ to show up.
The same day, another Vietnamese immigrant told the victims that the scammer was going to meet another foreign jobseeker in Senado Square.
Based on this information, the police successfully located and arrested the suspect in the place where many workers from Southeast Asian countries gather.
Wong told the police that all the money has been lost to casinos.
Macanese police warned jobseekers to exercise prudence and not to trust strangers easily.
Mekong Delta provinces gear up to face flood season
Provinces in the Mekong Delta are taking steps and implementing measures to deal with flooding in the coming months, and minimise loss of human lives and property.
In Dong Thap Province, more than 100 landslide-prone spots along the Tien and Hau Rivers threaten hundreds of households living in the vicinity. So far, 540 households have been moved from danger zones to safer flood-proof residential camps. However, more than 1,200 households are still to be temporarily relocated to safer areas before flooding occurs.
Unfortunately, a few districts like Thanh Binh and Hong Ngu Districts in Dong Thap Province have already run out of funds to safeguard their residents.
To tackle the coming flood season, authorities in the province have asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Finance to provide VND330 billion to build new shelters for residents and support them with necessary commodities during the flooding season.
An Giang Province is spending VND160 billion to reinforce the old dyke system and build new ones; upgrade sluice gates and pumping stations; dredge canals; and stock fuel to pump water from 125,000 hectares under rice cultivation, in case of excessive flooding.
The province has asked the government to provide an additional VND300 billion to build and fortify its dyke systems to protect people’s lives and property.
Huynh Thanh Huu, head of the department of Rural Development in Hau Giang Province, said that the province plans to relocate 179 households from Phung Hiep and Chau Thanh Districts to safer and higher ground before the flood season this year.
There are currently 1,500 households living in danger zones who need to be moved to safer areas, said Huu.
WHO highlights Vietnam’s progress in blood donation
The WHO has highlighted the crucial improvements Vietnam has made to encourage more people to donate blood across the country.
Vietnam has increased the volume of blood it raises by voluntary donations from 30 percent to 90 percent of the total needed to service the country’s healthcare establishments. Over the last decade, total blood donations rose from 268,394 units to 776,420 units.
On the occasion of World Blood Donors Day (June 14), the WHO appealed to people across the world to donate more blood on a regular basis.
The WHO launched the World Blood Donors Day in the hope that more countries will meet their domestic demands for blood. Currently, 62 countries are self sufficient in blood supplies.
Nearly 470,000 people die in developing countries each year due to blood shortages.
The WHO emphasised that the demand for blood has increased rapidly in every country, so more regular donors are needed to save lives.
Final Workshop raises ethnic people’s awareness of HIV/AIDS
Nearly 29,000 people have directly and indirectly benefited from the Final Workshop project funded by the French Development Agency (AFD) and the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights.
The figure was announced at a conference in Quang Tri province on June 15 that reviewed the success of the recent HIV/AIDS prevention programme among ethnic minority people in Vietnam’s Quang Tri province and Laos’ Savannakhet province.
The project, which educated ethnic minority people on voluntary HIV testing and behavioural change, has been carried out from August 2008 to June 2012 in 16 communes in Dakrong and Huong Hoa districts in Quang Tri and eight communes in Sepon district, Savannakhet.
Final Workshop has provided loans worth VND280 million to 86 percent of the project’s beneficiaries, built a club for HIV carriers and organised a series of activities to disseminate information about HIV/AIDS prevention.
Participants at the conference praised the project’s success and drew upon personal experiences during the implementation process.
The project, which has helped communities feel more comfortable about HIV testing, has significantly reduced the spread of HIV/AIDS among ethnic minority people aged 12-49 living along Road No9 in Vietnam and Laos.
Lao and Vietnamese universities boost cooperation
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on training cooperation was signed by the National University of Laos (NUOL) and the Foreign Trade University of Vietnam (FTUV) in Hanoi on June 15.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the NUOL Vice Rector said shared training services between the two universities had proved effective over the past years and the new partnership agreement will help increase closer cooperation.
FTUV Rector Hoang Van Chau said that the two institutions will enjoy multifaceted cooperation, adding that Lao students will be given priority to study at the FTU in the future.
Under the MoU, both sides will share professional experiences, in addition to personnel and courses. Post-graduate training courses will be organized at NUOL, Vietnamese teachers will sent to Laos to teach, and Lao students will be given the opportunity to study at FTUV. Lao students may also be accelerated into FTU young talent programme.
Based in Hanoi, FTUV is one of the most in-demand universities in Vietnam and has produced many diplomats, politicians and leaders in finance, marketing and management, whereas the NUOL is the leading university in Vientiane.
Japan funds climate change adaptation in Mekong Delta
Seven provinces in the Mekong Delta have received US$2.08 million from the Japanese government to support initiatives that tackle climate change.
The one-year project aims to research and implement climate change adaptation solutions for agricultural and rural development in the coastal areas of the Mekong Delta.
It plans to address issues such as salt water intrusion, coastal erosion, and a shortage of fresh water for business production and domestic use.
Top priority will be given to building saltwater resistant areas, changing crop timetables, and reinforcing sea bank systems to control seawater intrusion and reduce water loss.
The Government of Vietnam has approved a national target program on climate change adaptation in the Mekong Delta worth VND1,965 billion.
Dien Bien Phu declares bird flu outbreak
The northern province of Dien Bien has declared an epidemic of the H5N1 avian flu in Nam Thanh ward, Dien Bien Phu City.
Since May 21, bird flu has been detected in Thanh Yen and Noong Luong villages in Dien Bien district and Nam Thanh ward in Dien Bien Phu City.
Local authorities in Nam Thanh ward have killed nearly 7,000 birds and implemented a series of measures to prevent the disease from spreading, including a ban on the transportation, processing, selling and handling of sick poultry. Strict control on the slaughtering, trading and transporting of poultry products has also been introduced.
Since the beginning of the year, farmers in Dien Bien Phu City have suffered from a number of difficulties caused by consecutive outbreaks of epidemics.
The province has directed its Department of Finance in coordination with the agriculture and rural development sector to support those farmers whose poultry have been killed.
Blue-ear pig disease outbreak in Dong Nai
The southern province of Dong Nai announced on June 15 that blue-ear pig disease has broken out in Hieu Liem village and Vinh An town in Vinh Cuu district.
Hoang Son Hai, head of the provincial Department of Animal Health said that over the past week more than 600 pigs have been infected with the disease, which has resulted in the death of over 200 pigs. The remaining pigs have been isolated, vaccinated and are under strict controls.
The department is coordinating with local authorities to carry out preventive measures, including sterilising farms and the surrounding areas, and setting up check points to monitor the transportation of livestock.
Hai added that the vaccination on the pigs in the area will be completed in the next three days.
Kon Tum teachers benefit from US-funded project
More than 250 teachers in the Central Highland province of Kon Tum have completed an intensive training programme focused on the special needs of disabled and ethnic students as part of a US-funded project.
At a ceremony held on June 14 in Kon Tum, the teachers received certificates in recognition of their improved skills in art, linguistics, mathematics, nutrition, and crafting teaching aids.
The US$4.2 million project, which is implemented in three years, has refurbished 25 kindergartens, completed age-appropriate furnishings and developed materials for local education authorities in Kon Tum. It will benefit more than 1,800 children aged between three and five.
"This has been a joint effort with the provincial government and people of Kon Tum to help improve education and care for disadvantaged children, especially those with disabilities," said USAID mission director Francis Donovan.
More than 1,000 women in 25 communes have been equipped with knowledge and skills related to early childhood care, which has also enabled them to earn enough money to keep their own children in school.
AIT moves forward with PM-UM in Vietnam
The School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD), Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and the University of Architecture of HCM City, will launch a new AIT International Professional Master’s Programme in Urban Management (PM-UM programme) in Vietnam in September.
The PM-UM programme aims to promote sustainable development by drawing on and integrating theories and perspectives from the disciplines of urban planning; urban and regional development; economic development; and public policy and management into a distinctive framework of problem issues and questions concerning the urban environment in a developing country context.
The programme responds to the need for more highly qualified urban management professionals across Vietnam. Rapid urbanisation in Vietnam has increased pressure on government authorities to improve urban planning for the welfare of city-dwellers, with cities such as Hanoi, Danang, Can Tho, and Ho Chi Minh growing at rapid pace.
The programme was introduced at a seminar on “International Education for Urban Management Professionals in Vietnam” held at the University of Architecture, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam last month.
“Professionals in Vietnam will gain expertise on integrated approaches in urban management based on knowledge and applications, as well as from analysis of emerging issues such as disaster, climate change, and risk management in different countries and regions,” said Assoc. Prof. Vilas Nitivattananon, Coordinator of Urban Environmental Management field of study, AIT, and the PM-UM Programme, who presented the program’s curriculum and plan at the seminar.
AIT’s association with Vietnam is deep-rooted, and the Institute was conferred the “2006 Friendship Order” by the Government of Vietnam for contributing toward human resource development in the country.
AIT has produced 2,741 alumni from Vietnam and trained 15,000 Vietnamese nationals in various short-term training courses.
HCMC to use $18 mln water pump to ease flooding
Ho Chi Minh City authorities will put into operation a huge water pumping station to ease the frequent flooding in several districts, the Management Board of the city Environmental Hygiene Project said.
After 9 years of construction at a cost of US$18 million, the station will be completed in July with a capacity of 64,000 cubic meters per hour, the Board said.
Located on Nguyen Huu Canh Street in Binh Thanh District, the station will help prevent the flooding caused by heavy rains or high tides in seven districts, including Districts 1, 3 and 10 and Phu Nhuan, Binh Thanh, Tan Binh and Go Vap Districts.
Under the project, rainwater and wastewater from households will flow into the 70-km sewer system along 69 streets in these districts before entering a pipeline, which is 8.9 km long and 3 meters wide, to be transmitted to the station, where 12 huge pumps will discharge them to the Saigon River.
The station is equipped with advanced facilities to treat the wastewater before discharging it to the river, contributing to environmental protection, the Board said.
In case a heavy downpour that exceeds the handling capacity of the station, the excessive rainwater amount will be transmitted to 35 discharging wells that will bring it to the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe canal.
After the station is put in use, all the sewers that currently discharge household wastewater into the canal will be sealed up. That means the canal will receive rainwater and water from the Saigon River only, making itself cleaner than present.
The cost of operating the station is estimated at about $1 million per year, the Board said.
US scientists back reparation for Vietnamese AO victims
The Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign will continue its efforts to claim compensation for AO victims in Vietnam, said Susan Marina Schnall, the co-chairperson of the campaign.
Schnall, who leads a visiting delegation of the Public Health Science Committee under VAORRC, made her statement at a meeting with the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) on Friday.
She said VAORRC would continue to request the US Government to provide comprehensive support to AO victims, clean up AO-infected areas in Vietnam, and force US chemical companies, which provided defoliants to US army for use in the Vietnam War before 1975, to pay damages to AO victims.
Nguyen Van Rinh, VAVA chairman, expressed his hope that US scientists would voice their political opinions about the AO-induced congenital anomalies that occurred to people of the second, third and fourth generations in Vietnam.
American scientists should also help accelerate the passing of the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2011 (H.R. 2634) by the US Congress, Rinh said.
Earlier, at a meeting with the delegation on June 8, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan suggested US scientists conduct deeper research to establish concrete data that can form a basis for asking for assistance in environmental detoxification and rehabilitation treatment for Agent Orange victims in Vietnam.
Millions of Vietnamese people were exposed to the Agent Orange sprayed by the US troop during the war and the toxic chemical continues to affect younger generations of the victims, Nhan told the delegation.