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Scores evacuate as fire erupts at Hanoi apartment building

Hundreds of residents, including old people and children, fled their homes Sunday morning when a fire broke out at an apartment of a 34-story building in Hanoi.

Witnesses said smoke belched out from the apartment on the 12th floor of the 34T apartment building located in Trung Hoa-Nhan Chinh residential area without the residents’ knowledge, as the fire alarm system did not work at the time.

The residents living at the property began to disperse only when passers-by and its security forces shouted to them with a loudspeaker.

Photo: VNN
Hanoi firefighing police immediately arrived at the building, and subdued the fire within several tens of minutes.

The fire was suspected to be caused by a short circuit in the air-conditioner which was put at the apartment’s balcony.

No casualties have been reported up to now.

Two other fires also broke out at this building in January and October of 2010.

Put into operation in 2007, 34T is considered an iconic building of Trung Hoa-Nhan Chinh, one of the most modern townships in the capital.

In December last year, dozens were injured after a massive fire hit the 33-story twin towers of the EVN Center for Telecommunications Information Management in Hanoi.

Pipeline firm staff help kindergarten

Around 100 young staff of the Nam Con Son Gas Pipeline company spent last Saturday setting up a library and an outdoor game zone for the Nam Con Son Kindergarten in the southern-coastal province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau.

The also painted the kindergarten located in An Ngai commune, Long Dien District.

Over 650 books for children, bookshelves, tables and other equipment costing VND90 million ($4,300) were provided to the kindergarten.

The staff also planted trees and installed dustbins.

Activists respond to Earth Hour campaign

A ceremony was held in Hanoi on March 25 as part of the 2012 Earth Hour campaign to raise public awareness of energy saving and environmental protection.

The event was organised by the Vietnam 350 Club, sponsored by the British Council in Vietnam, the Green Generation Network and the Living and Learning Centre for Environment and Community. It attracted young people and environmental activitists.

Hoang Duc Minh, a member of Vietnam 350 Club, emphasized that the event responds to Earth Hour 2012, which provides an opportunity for young people to join hands and take action to combat climate change for a cleaner environment for the next generation.

Earth Hour is an initiative of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that began in 2007, aiming to call on individuals, businesses and governments to turn off lights for one hour to demonstrate their interest in fighting climate change and promoting sustainability for a better environment.

Last year, 128 nations around the world volunteered to become involved in the programme. This year, Earth Hour will take place on Saturday, March 31, from 8:30pm to 9:30pm.

6 severely injured as kite makes car driver jump

Six people sustained serious multiple injuries in a car-hit-motorbike accident triggered Sunday afternoon by a paper kite in the southern province of Dong Nai.

Eyewitnesses said that a speeding Lexus car, later identified as the property of a local construction company, suddenly rear-ended around 10 motorbikes which were idling at the stoplights at the intersection of Phan Trung and Nguyen Ai Quoc Streets in Bien Hoa City – the provincial capital.

They added the kite and all of its threads suddenly became stuck in the car’s windshield wipers, which thus made the driver jump and unconsciously speed it up, when the vehicle was traveling towards the intersection.

Five of the motorbikes flew away after the crash, and at least 6 were badly injured.

Fortunately, no casualties have been reported since they were admitted to a local hospital.

The car driver immediately fled the scene after the collision.

Bank builds school as gift to Laos

Construction of a school, which is a gift from the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam, began in Donsavan village in the southern Lao province of Savannakhet last Friday.

The school of 12 classrooms is on 11,600sq m of land.

The project is estimated to cost around US$1.1 million and is expected to be completed to mark the Viet Nam-Laos Solidarity and Friendship Year this year.

2 dead, 13 injured in road crash

A fatal road accident in which a van slammed into a parked truck on National Highway 1A based in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Tan District at 3am today, claimed the lives of two passengers and injured 13 others.

“I had parked my truck on the right hand side of the road due to gearbox failures. Afterwards, I hung a hammock on the side of the truck to catch some sleep to wait for tomorrow when I could fix the vehicle,

When I was sleeping, I was awakened by a powerful impact from behind. After that, I found a Ford Transit van had slammed into the back of my vehicle. Many people trapped inside the van cried a lot due to the acute pain they were suffering,” the truck driver recalled.

The victims were pulled out of the badly deformed van and were rushed to a local hospital for emergency care.

A witness said there were 15 people on board the van. Of them, two were dead, three in critical condition, and the rest suffered slight injuries.

Nguyen Van Menh, a 52-year-old survivor, recalled: “The van traveled at night so I snatched some sleep. I became unconsoncious after the collision. Someone took me to the roadside. When I opened my eyes, I even forgot my name. What’s a fearful accident!”

According to a source, the van had traveled from Tieu Can district in the southern province of Tra Vinh to Ho Chi Minh City where the van met with the deadly accident.

Two perished victims were identified as Le Minh Tho, 33, and Nguyen Ut Nho, 44, both of them hailing from Tra Vinh.

Air conditioner fire in apartment tower

A fire broke in an apartment on the 12th floor of 34-storey building, the highest in Ha Noi's Trung Hoa Nhan Chinh new urban area.

Four fire engines from the city's Fire fighting and Prevention Police attended the blaze, evacuated residents in the building and put the fire out within an hour. Initial investigations showed that the fire might have been caused by an electricity fault in an air conditioner on the apartment's balcony.

The case is under investigation.

Trung Hoa Nhan Chinh is one of the biggest new urban areas in Ha Noi.

Young woman in Binh Duong hit by train

18-year old Cao Thi Hao was walking to work and listening to music on her way to work last Friday when she was hit by a train in Binh Duong province.

According to some witnesses, Hao, who comes from Nghe An Province, walked from her rented house to her company located in the Binh Duong Industrial Zone at 7 am last Friday.

She walked across the track when the SE8 train was approaching.

Although some people around shouted and called out to her, Hao couldn’t hear them as she was listening to music.

She was hit and became unconscious immediately.

Hao was taken to Binh Duong’s Military Zone 4 Hospital and later to Cho Ray Hospital in HCMC.

According to her family, she was to get married soon when the accident happened.

Bac Ninh teens lured to use addictive substance

Parents in Bac Ninh Province are very worried after knowing at least 23 students from four schools, some as young as 13, have been lured to use a kind of addictive substance that might be ecstasy.

Hoang Cong Huan, head of the police department of Pho Moi Town, told Tuoi Tre, “I have directly questioned the students who have been reported to inhale addictive substances.”

“The problem was discovered by their parents, who then took the kids, between 13 to 17 years old, to us. However, we could not yet collect anything for evidence from the students,” he said.

Of these teens, 20 are from Pho Moi Junior High School, with the rest from 3 other schools, including a primary one.

Their parents have kept them away from school for several days and have taken them to health centers for urine tests to trace signs of addictive agents.

Nguyen Khac Thuong, head of Dinh hamlet, said, “After finding that many children often gathered suspiciously in some places, we followed them up and then caught them inhaling a kind of powder. We later made a list of the 23 students and reported them to police.”

Four of the children confessed they had bought the addictive substance and asked the others to try it. One of the four said he once bought ecstasy for VND200,000 (US$9.6) per tablet.

Some of the children said they had tried the powder for up to 10 times, while some others said they had inhaled it 2-3 times.

Nguyen Van H., whose son Nguyen Van D, an 8th grader who is among the victims, told Tuoi Tre, “My son inhaled the powder three times and a classmate of his had given it to him.”

Nguyen Thi Lan, vice headmaster of the Pho Moi Junior High School, said police had worked with the school’s management and had made urine tests on several suspected students.

Vu Thi Thuy, vice headmaster of the Pho Moi Primary School, expressed shock and said she had directed all head teachers to strengthen control over their students to detect any signs of abnormality.

80% of complaints involve land management

Eighty percent of complaints from people against authorities in 18 provinces and cities in the central region of Vietnam in the past four years involved land management, according to the Government Inspectorate of Vietnam.

The agency announced the news at yesterday’s meeting in Buon Ma Thuot City of Dak Lak Province to review the reception of and solutions for the complaints in the period from 2008-2011 in the region.

The complaints revolve around disagreements in land clearance for projects including afforestation, rubber tree planting, and the construction of urban and economic centers, hydroelectricity power plants and national defense projects.

Other topics of receiving negative feedback include embezzlement, abuse of power by state officials, mismanagement in land, finance, and infrastructure construction, social policies, favoritism and untimely response by state officials.

Many complaints involving large groups of people have also started in the central region, said the Inspectorate.

In the past four years, the two reception offices of the Central Party Committee in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have received 9,500 people coming to lodge complaints against 2,255 cases. In other provinces, the numbers were 218,444 complainants against 87,877 cases.

Education official honoured in France

Former Rector of Nantes University, Prof. Francois Resche has presented an Honourary Doctorate Causa Certificate to Prof. Bui Van Ga, Deputy Minister of Education and Training, for his outstanding achievements in scientific research and contributions to the development of Vietnam-France education cooperation.

The honour was given on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Nantes University in the west of France.

At the presentation ceremony, Prof. Francois Resche, who is also the Professor Emeritus, spoke highly of the contribution that Prof. Ga, who also works as the rector of Da Nang University, has made to the cooperation between his university and Nantes University.

He praised Ga’s efforts in upgrading Da Nang University to an international standard university, and in encouraging the study and research of French language in Vietnam.

Prof. Francois Resche was granted an honourary doctorate by Hanoi Medical University for his efforts in boosting cooperation between Vietnam’s and France’s medical universities.

Also receiving honourary doctorate certificates on this occasion were Yvon Fontaine from Canada and Ibrahima Thioub from Senegal.

Disabled children benefit from schooling

The Global Community Service Foundation (GCSF), a US non-governmental organisation on March 22 inaugurated the second branch of the Quang Tri school for disabled children at the Kids First Village in Dong Ha city of central Quang Tri province.

Implemented from May 2011, at a total cost of US$300,000 coming from London Carter Schmitt Memorial Fund, the new facility consists of different areas such as classrooms, dormitories, toilet and kitchen areas, libraries.

It is designed to accommodate up to 70 vision-impaired children, providing them with comfortable study and living quarters.

The opening of this new education facility is a meaningful activity, contributing to creating a better environment for children with disabilities in the province.


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