The first among 17 Xpert MTB/RIF diagnostic systems and 12,000 cartridges have been handed over to the National Tuberculosis Programme yesterday, Feb 6, thanks to a US$4million project, called CARE 1, funded by the United States Agency for International Development and the KNVC TB Foundation.
The facilities will help strengthen diagnosis and raise the quality of treatment for TB and multi-drug resistant TB in Viet Nam, especially people living with HIV and children.
According to the World Health Organisation, Viet Nam ranks 12th and is one of 22 countries with high TB burden in the world. Annually, 180,000 Vietnamese people are infected with TB, of whom 95,000-100,000 people have been detected and put into treatment. Gratis language classes at city pagoda
“I find it very effective to study at this pagoda as the teachers are so enthusiastic even though the classes are free of charge,” said Kim Anh, a Ho Chi Minh City college student, after five months of learning foreign languages at La (Leave) Pagoda, located in Go Vap District. She is among 600 frequent learners, including young Vietnamese people and poor students, who have come to this pagoda for complimentary foreign language courses throughout the last two years.
| This photo shows a gathering at La (Leave) Pagoda situated in HCMC's Go Vap District which was thrown to farewell exiting teachers.(Photo: Tien Phong) |
A Tien Phong newspaper correspondent visited this ‘school’ on a recent Saturday morning and was really impressed, and entertained, by the learning environment there: teachers and students were passionately engaging in the lessons in an exciting atmosphere, unlike the intense and noisy vibes at other language centers in the city.
La abbot Thich Nhuan Tam said that he founded these classes back in 2010, which at first taught English, Chinese, and Japanese. French and German have been recently added to the curriculum to meet learners’ growing demand, he added.
“The teachers, who are expatriates or kind and competent Vietnamese people working at local colleges, research institutes, and cultural centers, are either teaching for free or asking for little pay.”
The monk said he has so far resorted to offertories and money obtained from selling feng shui stones to fund the classes, of which there are 17 in total, open from 7:30 to 21:00 every day.
“As hard as it is to maintain the classes, I feel truly happy and relieved seeing the learners listen attentively to their teachers and wholeheartedly participate in their lessons every time I visit them,” Tam said.
The pagoda is going on with the construction of two new well-equipped classrooms thanks to individual donations, the abbot told the newspaper.
It is now heading towards future cooperation with the city Department of Education and Training to confer official certificates on the learners.
Ha Noi okays road upgrade, expansion
The Ha Noi People's Committee has approved a project to upgrade and expand Belt Road 3, which links Mai Dich Street in Cau Giay District to Noi Bai International Airport.
The project will cost about VND2.4 trillion (US$115.2 million), lengthen the belt road by more than 3km and widen it by about 68 metres along Mai Dich Street. New pavements, flyovers and other traffic infrastructure at Hoang Quoc Viet and Co Nhue intersections will also be built.
The project, which was invested by Lilama Urban Development Company, is expected to be completed within two years.
HCM City's ageing bridges ‘a threat'
Almost 80 per cent of HCM City's bridges are thought to be too old or weak or both, posing a constant threat to users.
There are 1,015 bridges, and 786 of them are weak or have a capacity of less than 30 tonnes.
The municipal Department of Transport manages 375 bridges of which almost 150 belong to the feeble category, while the other 640 are managed at the district level.
Most of the old bridges were built before the start of economic development and urbanisation, and thus were meant to serve rural traffic and traditional vehicles.
Eight rescued after ship sinks
The Dai Duong 125 sank last night after a collision with another ship off the coast of the northern province of Thanh Hoa. Eight sailors have been rescued, according to the Viet Nam Broadcasting System.
It was reported that the 994DWT Dai Duong 125, carrying 900 tonnes of coal, crashed into the Ap Bac 3 travelling in the opposite direction on its way from Quang Ninh to Nghe An. The Dai Duong 125 sank immediately and its crew were rescued by the Ap Bac 03. No deaths or injuries were reported.
Authorities are investigating the incident.
Forest fires pose risk to twelve localities
Twelve localities have been warned of a high-level forest fire risks due to prolonged dry weather across the country, according to the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry.
Fire risks have reached the highest level – Level 5 – in eight provinces, including Binh Phuoc, Binh Thuan, Dong Nai, Gia Lai, Ha Nam, Nghe An and Ninh Binh.
The weather bureau has also forecast that a cold spell would hit the northern region today. VOV strengthens ties with ABU
A delegation from the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) led by Director of ABU Programme Department Takeshi Doki visited Radio the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) in Hanoi on February 6.
At a reception, VOV Deputy General Director Vu Hai highlighted VOV’s achievements in recent times with 6 channels targeted towards large numbers of audience at home and abroad. VOV has launched a website for overseas service channel at Vovworld.vn in 11 languages. VOV Television Channel is a new channel that covers all provinces and cities nationwide. VOV Online and VOV print newspaper are also much appreciated by readers.
Hai said VOV wants to take part in training, consultant and cooperation programmes conducted by ABU, exchange information and cooperate with ABU members in programme production.
VOV considers hosting some ABU important events and sending its experts to work for the ABU Secretariat, Hai added.
Director Doki praised VOV’s achievements in recent times and its active contributions to ABU activities. He expressed his hope that VOV, ABU and its members will further strengthen cooperative ties in broadcasting and multimedia.
The ABU delegation visited VOVTV, VOV Traffic and some other editorial departments to exchange experience with Vietnamese reporters and editors. Seminar promotes Vietnam-Japan nuclear power cooperation
A seminar on Vietnam-Japan cooperation was held in Hanoi on February 6 by the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO) and Japan’s Association for Communication and Transcultural Study (ACT).
In his opening speech, VUFO Chairman Vu Xuan Hong said that the event represents an important landmark in the relationship between the VUFO and ACT based on the 2011 cooperation agreement to help promote international cooperation in the Asia Pacific region.
Japanese ambassador to Vietnam Tanizaki Yasuaki said he is happy to see positive developments in cooperative relations between the two countries, adding that both sides need to implement specific activities to effectively realize the signed agreements.
The seminar focused on major issues including nuclear energy and nuclear power safety policies in Japan, sharing experiences in nuclear power, and establishing policies for areas adjacent to nuclear power plants.
Delegates also discussed issues related to Japan-Vietnam cooperation in information and communication technology and transport infrastructure.
Over the past few years, Japan has assisted Vietnam in developing human resources for studying nuclear power technology and building and operating nuclear power plants.
Professor Hirose Kenkichi of Japan’s International Training Centre at Tokai University said while it is developing nuclear power technology, Vietnam needs to clarify the authority of nuclear safety agencies, and relevant agencies should provide technical specifications and assistance for safety control, research and troubleshooting. Cyclo race for charity to come back next month
The Saigon Cyclo Challenge 2012 will take place in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7 on March 10 to raise funds for children, charity and the community.
As the only cyclo race in the world in the past ten years, the 2012 event will have ten corporate teams joining the three-wheel cyclo race around The Crescent in Phu My Hung urban center.
A maximum of ten teams represent their companies who are named the 10 Gold sponsors of the event whose organizer -- Saigon Children’s Charity -- expects to receive a package cost of US$5,000, with more than 90 percent of this going straight to the child support programs of SCC.
Companies’ participants will have a chance to engage in some healthy, team-building competition.
Those interested in contributing to this charity event can access www.saigonchildren.com/events.aspx to discuss involvement in the 2012 Saigon Cyclo Challenge.
The race will take place from 8:30am – 11:30am.
Phu Yen police smashes reactionary plot
The police force of the central coastal province of Phu Yen has smashed a plot by a reactionary political organization called “Hoi dong cong luat cong an Bia Son”.
At a press briefing in Phu Yen province on February 6, Major General Pham Van Hoa, Director of the Phu Yen Provincial Police, announced preliminary results of the case on “abusing democratic freedom to infringe upon the interests of the State and legitimate rights and interests of organisations and citizens”.
The reactionary organisation was founded in 1975 under the name “An dan dai dao” by Phan Van Thu, a reactionary element. Thu, born in 1948 in An Thach commune, Tuy An district, Phu Yen province, had been arrested and brought to re-education camps for many times.
From 2004 to 2011, Thu (also called Tran Cong) came to the Da Bia eco-tourist site (also known as the Hoang Long eco-tourist site in Dong Hoa district, Phu Yen province) to secretly develop the reactionary political organisation in some cities and provinces nationwide with more than 300 participants, including overseas Vietnamese.
This organisation operated under the mode of "non-violence" with the aim of overthrowing the people's administration.
Phu Yen Provincial Police set up special mission C611 that made a raid on the organisation’s den on early February 5, smashing the establishment’s central apparatus and capturing ringleader Tran Cong and five others.
The five arrestees included Le Duy Loc, who was born in 1956 in Ninh Thuan province and in charge of science and education work in the organisation; Vo Thanh Le, born 1955 in Xuan Long commune, Dong Xuan district, Phu Yen province and in charge of internal affairs; Le Phuc, born 1951 in Phan Rang, Ninh Thuan province, and in charge of organisational affairs; Le Duc Dong, born in 1983 in Phu Vang district, Thua Thien-Hue province and in charge of protection affairs; and Le Trong Cu, born in 1966 in Hoa Tri commune, Phu Hoa district, Phu Yen province and he was Tran Cong’s driver and bodyguard.
The police continued to arrested three others involved on February 6.
In addition, the police seized hundreds of documents on the organisation’s action platform; 19 detonators, 10 walkie-talkies, a binoculars, two laptops, a camera, a movie camera, over US$12,000 and nearly VND190 million (about $9,000). Bird flu reoccurrence likely to spread, agency warns
The Health Ministry’s Preventive Health Department yesterday called on the authorities of Soc Trang, Can Tho and Kien Giang provinces to tighten control over H5N1 avian flu outbreaks to prevent a possible spread of the disease, which has killed two people.
After about 20 months with no cases of humans contracting the H5N1 virus reported, two fatalities caused by bird flu have been recorded, including an 18-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman in the Mekong Delta provinces of Kien Giang and Soc Trang.
Meanwhile, another patient is suspected of having contracted the disease in Can Tho, also in the region.
Soc Trang has become the third province in Vietnam to report H5N1 flu outbreaks this year, after Thanh Hoa and Quang Tri provinces, the Department of Animal Health reported.
About 90 chickens in Soc Trang’s My Xuyen District have become ill or have died, and 310 more were destroyed to control the spread of the virus, the department said, adding that it has provided two million doses of the bird flu vaccine to the province in order to curb the recurrence from spreading.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, several other provinces, including Thai Nguyen, Bac Lieu, Hanoi, and Nghe An, have recorded deaths among their poultry suspected of contracting the fatal virus.
On February 3, Thanh Hoa and Quang Tri, both located on Vietnam's north central coast, reported bird flu outbreaks that killed about 200 birds and sickened nearly 1,600. Officials culled more than 3,400 poultry stock in attempts to stamp out the virus.
The ministry, which said the bird flu reoccurrence might spread widely, has ordered veterinary departments in all the affected localities to strengthen their control over H5N1 avian flu outbreaks to constrain its spread.
Health experts also warned there is a high likelihood the disease will spread widely in the near future because the H5N1 virus in northern Vietnam has mutated and effective vaccines are not yet available.
Nguyen Van Binh, head of the Preventive Health Department, warned that the H5N1 is very dangerous, since the mortality rate among human H5N1 infections may be 100 percent, despite patients being treated with antiviral medicines.
The H5N1 virus – unlike seasonal influenza viruses – targets human pulmonary endothelium cells, where it induces the inflammation often associated with H5N1 -induced acute respiratory distress syndrome.