A blaze destroyed over 3,000sq.m of a shoe company's workshop yesterday morning in northern Ninh Binh Province.
The blaze was completely extinguished after a three-hour effort from local fire-fighters. The extent of damages and the cause of the blaze remain unknown.
Fortunately, no human losses were reported because the blaze occurred on the weekend, said Pham Duc Hoa, director of the company.
Local police continue investigating the case.
Poor records tie up land rights
Applications for land-use rights in Ha Noi are being delayed by difficulties in accurately tracking the history of land use for individual plots, according to speakers at a municipal People's Committee meeting on Thursday.
Vague records on past land use and the lack of an effective way to resolve land disputes have resulted in far fewer land-use rights certificates being issued than planned.
According to the city's Natural Resources and Environment Department, in the first six months of this year, about 29,000 certificates were granted, accounting for only 15.6 per cent of the planned number.
At present, about 112,000 other applications for land-use rights are still being held up due to a lack of legal documents or a lack of action by higher level authorities responsible for solving complicated cases.
Vice chairman of Thanh Xuan District People's Committee Dang Hong Thai said that verifying data on land use history was a crucial but time-consuming process.
For example, records may be contradictory. In an application for land-use rights and a certificate on ownership of assets on the land, a house is reported to be one storey but is in fact a 4-storey house.
In another case, an apartment with an allocated area of 18-24sq.m had a listed area of up to hundred sq. metres in the application submitted by its owner.
Granting of certificates for apartment owners in some urban areas has already become an overly slow process as some investors did not complete their financial obligations, such as paying land-use tax.
Vice chairman of the municipal People's Committee Vu Hong Khanh asked relevant departments and agencies to review the land and housing situation in the city and divide problems into detail categories to help find better solutions.
By 2013, the city aims to have granted land-use rights certificates and housing ownership certificates for all eligible applicants.
Those whose applications have yet to meet legal procedure should be told what documents are needed to complete the application, Khanh said.
Violators including investors who did not fulfil their obligations must be punished strictly to ensure house buyers' rights.
He emphasised that the issuance of the certificates was important to land users and house owners as well as for land management, and thus the issuance process must be carried out in a timely manner.
Responding to concern about the phenomenon that State employees working in this field delayed granting certificates and caused trouble for residents, Khanh said that the city would give strict punishment to such violators.
So far, Ha Noi has granted over 1.05 million land-use rights certificates, accounting for 94.6 per cent of all legal applications.
Private bailiffs still under trial
A pilot project to set up private bailiff services in HCM City has gained some positive results over the last two years, but several bottlenecks have stymied their development, officials say.
Addressing a review meeting last Friday, Nguyen Van Dua, standing deputy secretary of the HCM City Party Committee, expressed his appreciation for the project's achievements in expediting execution of civil verdicts.
Since May 21, 2010, HCM City has had eight private bailiff offices with 33 bailiffs and 69 staff members.
The major duties of a bailiff include verifying conditions for enforcing civil verdicts, serving all claims, summons or orders from the Court to the defendants, and executing civil enforcement warrants unless otherwise ordered by the Court.
Pham Thi Thanh Loan, deputy head of the HCM City Civil Verdicts Execution Department, said private bailiffs had helped reduce working pressures on judicial officers, limit stagnation in enforcement of civil verdicts, expedite the settling of civil disputes and reduce numerous repetition of claims.
The private bailiff offices had contributed to improved protection of people's legitimate interests as well as the functioning of judicial agencies, she said.
However, other speakers at the meeting noted that this being the first stage, the court and other judicial agencies were not confident about the capacity of private bailiff offices, so they had limited work given to the offices in order to test their capability.
Furthermore, the laws in certain fields, including tax management, property and credit activities were not consistent with those governing private bailiffs, causing problems, they said.
Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong said legislation passed by the National Assembly on private bailiffs to date were neither sufficient nor complete.
Private bailiffs were yet to meet the demands of society, he said, adding that his ministry was trying to solve several problems toward improving services provided by private bailiffs.
Other localities in the country, including Da Nang City, Dong Nai and Binh Duong provinces, are now asking the Government for permission to introduce private bailiff services, he noted.
The Ministry of Justice would ask the National Assembly at an upcoming meeting to further expand the model of private bailiffs and issue more comprehensive laws detailing their rights and responsibilities, Cuong said.
HCM City is the first locality in the country allowed by the Government to set up private bailiff services under a decision issued in 2009.
HCM City marks 51st anniversary of AO/Dioxin Disaster
More than 500 people representing over 20,000 Agent Orange (AO)/Dioxin victims in Ho Chi Minh City gathered at a meeting on August 5 to mark the 51st anniversary of the AO/Dioxin Disaster in Vietnam.
51 years ago, on August 10, 1961, the US army first sprayed dioxin chemicals in Ngoc Hoi district, Kon Tum province, starting the largest chemical warfare campaign in the history of humankind. During the decade following, dioxin chemicals were sprayed over three-quarters of Vietnam, directly affecting three millions of Vietnamese people while hundreds have been exposed to the toxic chemicals.
Tens of thousands of children have since been born with congenital malformation, with serious implications for the broader community.
HCM City now has more than 20,000 AO Dioxin victims, of which nearly 4,400 receive a monthly allocation from the municipal Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, and the remaining depend mainly on the public’s support.
The President of the City’s AO Dioxin Association, Tran Ngoc Tho, said his association plans to build an ‘Orange Village’ at a cost of more than VND100 billion later this year, offering treatment and training to AO victims. . It also presented scholarships to 112
AO victims worth VND1 million each.
Major-general Tho said that the association continues to file new lawsuits as Vietnamese AO victims are facing numerous difficulties and needing on-going assistance.
Medical team to treat poor in Laos
A team of 30 doctors and nurses from southern Dong Nai province departed yesterday, Aug 5, to provide free medical check-ups and treatment to poor people in Laos' Champas-sak province.
The team will present VND200 million (US$9,600) to Champassak province's fund for the poor.
During the week-long working trip, the doctors and nurses will treat between 3,000-5,000 Laotians, according to Pham Van Dung, head of the team and director of Thong Nhat General Hospital in the province.
In addition to medical check-ups and treatment, they will provide consultations for Champassak on mobilising social investment in the health sector.
The province first sent 14 doctors and medical staff to the province in August 2011 for charity purposes, offering free medical treatment to about 1,500 residents and medicine to 2,000 at the time.
Tiny tots learn about school sanitation
Two hundred primary school students in HCM City's Cu Chi District learnt about sanitation in their school and environmental protection at an educational event last Thursday.
"It's Your Earth" taught students of Cu Chi 2 Primary School about basic environmental issues, held a painting contest related to the environment, and got them to plant trees.
The best painting ideas will be used to create puzzles for students, and plants they planted in recycled plastic pots will be displayed in their classrooms this year.
US NGO presents scholarships to students in Mekong Delta
The Pacific Links Foundation, a non-governmental organisation of the US, on August 4 handed over scholarships to 376 female students in the three Mekong Delta provinces of An Giang, Dong Thap and Kien Giang.
The scholarships are part of the An Giang-Dong Thap Alliance for the Prevention of Trafficking (ADAPT) programme run by the US organisation in the three provinces for a period of seven years.
ADAPT seeks to prevent the trafficking of young girls and women by enhancing their educational attainment and improving their vocational choices.
Since 2005, the organisation has granted nearly 3,740 scholarships to 779 female students at junior and senior high schools in the three localities.
Water pumping stations out of service
Many water supply stations in Ha Noi are sitting idle while some areas of the city lack sufficient supplies of clean water.
At the end of last year, 13 of the city's 104 water supply stations were inoperable, said Ha Noi Centre for Clean Water and Rural Environmental Hygiene Deputy Director Ly Danh Son.
The stations, built with State and local funds as well as contributions from residents at a cost of about VND6-7 billion (US$280-330,000) each, sit uncompleted, since the municipal government lacks the taxing or budgeting authority to finish them, Son said.
Some of the stations went over budget because construction was improperly managed and, by sitting idle, many were now in downgraded condition, including stations in Gia Lam, Chuong My, Dong Anh and My Duc districts.
Tran Ngoc Thuan, a resident of Tu Liem District's Trung Van Commune, lamented that the water supplying station in his village was built in 2000 but he has yet to receive water from it.
"Most households drill wells about 90m deep, but the water still has a lot of dregs," Thuan said.
Trung Van Commune People's Committee Vice Chairman Nguyen Tung Lam said that the station was only completed in 2009 and was being managed and operated by the Quyet Tien Co-operative. After two months of pilot operation, the station was then closed, he said.
The head of the Quyet Tien Co-operative, Nguyen Thi Len, said that the station's pipe system was made from zinc and buried underground and had become degraded from lack of use. Some parts of main pipeline were also damaged by work on the village's roads, she added.
The co-operative has proposed that district authorities merge the station's pipe system with the Da River system built by the Vinaconex 3 Project and replace all the pipes with polymer pipes.
Local authorities remain unsure when Trung Van Village would be able to access clean water.
Son said, meanwhile, that the centre would co-operate with districts' People's Committees to re-inspect all inoperative water supplying stations and identify in detailed reasons why they were out of service.
The centre would propose measures to district and municipal People's Committees to complete them, he said.
Stock firm leaders held for appropriating $2.7mil
Police in Hanoi have arrested the chairman of Hanoi-based SME Securities Corporation (SMES) and his deputy for appropriating US$2.73 million from an insurance company.
Phan Huy Chi, 37, SMES chairman and general director, and Pham Minh Tuan, 38, SMES vice chairman, were arrested on Thursday and would be prosecuted for swindling to appropriate assets.
The police searched the men’s homes and offices the same day.
The two men have been found signing two bogus contracts worth VND366 billion and after their tricks were uncovered, they failed to repay VND57 billion ($2.73 million) to the victim.
According to investigators, in April 2010, Petrovietnam Insurance Company (PVI) signed with SMES and a man, Huynh Ngoc Anh, a tripartite contract on securities investment cooperation, worth more than VND168 billion (US$8.06 million).
SMES was responsible for controlling and selling securities under the contract at PVI’s requests and for informing PVI about contract-related activities carried out by Anh.
Later in the month, PVI signed another tripartite contract, also on securities investment cooperation, with SMES and Hoan Kiem District-based Anh Consulting Joint Stock Company.
The contract was valued at VND198 billion, which was contributed at a rate of 60:40 by the consulting company and PVI respectively.
Like in the first tri-partite contract, PVI would enjoy a profit rate of 13 percent and SMES had the same responsibilities.
As required in the two contracts, PVI later transferred VND108 billion as its capital contribution to SMES’s account.
However, PVI later discovered that Mr. Anh was not a stock investor and had not engaged in any securities transactions.
PVI found Anh’s signature on the contract and other relevant documents was fake.
PVI also found the consulting company was actual an affiliate of SMES, which had created the two bogus contracts to swindle PVI.
After PVI’s discoveries, SMES returned to the victim about VND65 billion in April 2011 and has since failed to repay the remaining VND57 billion.
Three die in truck, motorbike accident
Three people died and two others were injured after a crash between a container truck and two motorbikes on a stretch of National Highway No 1A in northern Bac Giang Province.
Trieu Duc Thao, 31, of Hung Yen Province, presented himself at the city's police department after the accident happened in Bac Giang City on Saturday around midnight.
The injured have been treated in a local hospital. The case is under investigation.
Crew members rescued after fishing boat accident
A fishing vessel captained by Nguyen Cu with three fishermen on board was reported to have been in an accident at sea on August 4.
A cargo ship crashed into the vessel, coded QNa 02351, as it was heading from Cua Sot beach in the central province of Ha Tinh, throwing,Captain Nguyen Cu and all three crew members into the sea.
Soon afterwards, rescue ships from the navy and the Ha Tinh provincial border guards were sent to rescue the victims.
All three fishermen, Nguyen Doi, Tran Dinh Trung and Nguyen Vinh Son, were rescued but 45 year old Captain Nguyen Cu still remains missing.
Local authorities provided assistance and free medical services to the victims.
Rescue teams are currently calling for help from nearby ships to look for Captain Cu.