The Cao Dai Bach Y sect held its 2012-17 congress at Ngoc Kinh Church in the southern province of Kien Giang on Wednesday.
Over 250 delegates representing 14 parishes attended the congress in Chau Thanh District.
The congress elected Principal Archbishop Tran Van Huynh as head of its Cao Dai Bach Y standing committee.
In the previous term, Cao Dai Bach Y dignitaries and followers have strictly abided by State laws and policies and studied the ethical example of President Ho Chi Minh while practising their religion.
Followers have also donated rice, clothing, and medical treatment to the poor worth almost VND2.2 billion (US$105,000), as well as built bridges, roads and houses worth VND8.1 billion ($386,000).
The sect plans to continue to promote religious unity, implement State laws and policies to combat social evils and superstition, and participate in charitable and social activities.
Korean language tests open to labourers
Korean language exams are being held in Me Linh District for Vietnamese labourers chosen to work in South Korea.
The tests, being held by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs' Overseas Labourers and Workers Centre, will conclude on March 13.
Workers born between February 21,1972 and February 20,1994 are eligible for the tests.
Successful candidates will work in the South Korean fishing industry.
More than 4,000 Vietnamese workers have been selected by South Koreans in the past two months. Youth released in rape case arrested again
One of the three young men who were sentenced for rape and robbery in 2002 but were released last year after the Supreme People’s Procuracy found them not guilty has been handcuffed and taken back to prison under a ruling by the Supreme People’s Court.
Police in Hanoi yesterday executed the arrest warrants on Nguyen Dinh Loi, Nguyen Dinh Tinh and Nguyen Dinh Kien, of Yen Nghia District, Ha Dong Province, at their home, but only Loi was detained.
The police could not find Kien at his home and failed to meet Tinh, an AIDS patient, whose house was locked when police officers arrived.
Nguyen Thi Hung, Loi’s mother, said police officers came to her house at 9 am, read the warrant to Loi and then escorted him out immediately. The arrest took place in just a few minutes, leaving her little time to pack a few necessary items for Loi to take along with him.
Earlier, on February 2, the police served the warrants to the three young men, but only Tinh agreed to sign to acknowledge receipt.
According to the case file, a rape and robbery case occurred in Yen Nghia on October 24, 2000. The police, whose only clue to the crime was the shirt left behind at the scene, launched an investigation and tracked down the three young men.
In January 2002, the Ha Tay Province People’s Court [Yen Nghia was still a part of Ha Tay at the time] sentenced Loi, Tinh and Kien to 16, 14, and 11 years in prison, respectively.
The men appealed the decision but the sentences of the first instance court were upheld in the appeal hearing held three months later. The youths were subsequently jailed while their families filed petitions to various competent agencies to have the verdicts overruled.
In early 2010, the Supreme People’s Procuracy issued a protest against the verdicts, announcing that the three had not committed rape and robbery and requesting that the case be reconsidered. WB provides additional aid to rural transport project
Thanks to the protest, the three young men were temporarily released in early February 2010.
On December 7, 2011, the re-consideration hearing was opened and the judge panel of the Supreme People’s Court rejected the protest by the Supreme People’s Procurary and ruled that the three convicted persons had to continue serving their unfinished sentences.
On January 12, 2012, the court issued a decision asking the three youths to present themselves to the police within seven days of receipt of the decision to continue the remaining terms of their sentences, or they would be escorted by police to prison.
The World Bank will funnel an additional US$97 million into a rural transport project to reduce travel cost and increase market accessibility for five million people in 32 provinces across Vietnam.
A document to this effect was signed in Hanoi on March 9 between representatives from the State Bank of Vietnam and the World Bank.
The sum will be sourced from the International Development Association - the World Bank’s funding resource for low income countries.
The Additional Financing for the Third Rural Transport Project aims to increase the number of communities connected to new and improved roads all year round.
It will help improve the rural road conditions through better management and maintenance of the network and enhance the institutional effectiveness to plan, implement and maintain improvements in the rural transport.
According to a press release of the World Bank, the Third Rural Transport Project has rehabilitated an approximately 2,100km of roads, and completed the maintenance of approximately 13,000km of district roads and bridges.
The improved transport system is expected to benefit up to 5 million people in all 32 participating provinces in central and northern Vietnam, including 14 provinces in the mountainous areas.
Thanks to heavy investments, Vietnam’s road network has expanded rapidly, from 225,000km in 1999 to 256,000km in 2009. It now includes 196,404km of rural roads and serves around 75 percent of the entire national population and 90 percent of the nation’s poor who live in rural areas.
However, the general quality of the rural roads in Vietnam is poor. Only about 30 percent of roads have been paved, while most district and commune roads remain gravel or unpaved. Moreover, the budget allocated for maintenance only meets 25 percent of the need.
Lao drug smugglers caught red handed
Two Lao men were captured by Quang Tri Province Border Guard Command in A Doi Commune, Huong Hoa District, in central Quang Tri Province on Wednesday for transporting illegal drugs from Laos to Viet Nam.
The two men, who come from Samuoi District in the Salavan Province of Laos, were nabbed as they were allegedly transporting the drugs by motorbike.
Police confiscated their motorbike, mobile phones, documents and 4,300 tablets of amphetamine-type stimulants.
The men, a father and his son, are alleged to have traded in amphetamine-type stimulants in Laos for years and recently attempted to find Vietnamese accomplices in Huong Hoa District to carry drugs to Viet Nam. Urgent measures to prevent forest fires
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has issued an order asking ministries, industries and localities to take drastic measures to prevent forest fires.
Early this month, 12 localities were warned of serious forest fire risks due to prolonged dry weather nationwide.
The highest-level alert was announced in eight provinces, including Binh Phuoc, Binh Thuan, Dong Nai, Gia Lai, Ha Nam, Nghe An and Ninh Binh.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) and the National Steering Committee on Forest Protection and Development have been assigned to cooperate with local People's Committees in order to ensure safety in high-risk provinces and cities.
Forest ranger teams have been directed to tighten their inspections and to curb illegal logging and unwise agricultural practices including burning terraced fields.
The PM also required localities to prepare fire-fighting teams, materials and equipment to cope with a forest fire in case of a blaze.
Local authorities will have to take responsibility if a heavy forest fire occurs.
The most recent forest fire began on March 2 and raged for five days in northern Lao Cai province's Hoang Lien National Park, destroying nearly 100ha of forest, according to reports by the provincial Steering Committee for Forest Fire Control.
The fire not only had a negative impact on the surrounding environment but also affected tourism in the region.
The steering committee has attempted to identify the cause of the fire and co-operate with the management board of Hoang Lien National Park to restore the green, clean and beautiful landscape.
The North-west Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Centre has warned that weather conditions are still unpredictable, since dry weather is forecast to last through the next few days. Therefore, not only Sa Pa District but also Van Ban, Bat Xat and Bao Thang districts need to stay vigilant against forest fires.
It is estimated that around 200 forest fires occurred nationwide last year, destroying over 2,000ha of forest. Khmer people to have more access to electricity
The Southern Power Cooperation (SPC) will accelerate works to complete a project supplying power to more than 10,000 mostly Khmer households in the southern provinces of Soc Trang and Tra Vinh in mid-April, SPC Vice Director Pham Ngoc Le has said.
Once completed, the project is expected to provide power to 90 percent of households in Soc Trang and 92 percent in Tra Vinh.
The current average annual power consumption rate of Khmer society is about 65-75 KWh per person, equivalent to 10-11 percent of the nationwide average. Mekong wetlands receive better protection
SPC and electricity companies in the two provinces have closely coordinated with local governments, contractors and construction agencies to tackle all difficulties during the implementation process, ensuring the project’s progress.
The project started from July 2011 with a total investment of VND533.4 billion, of which 85 percent was contributed by the Government. It is expected to be finished before April 13, just prior to the traditional holiday of the Khmer people, the Chol Chnam Thmay.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has provided US$340,000 to a project to protect the habitat of aquatic creatures in the Lang Sen (lotus village) Wetlands Reserve in the Mekong Delta province of Long An.
According to Dr. Le Phat Quoi from the Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources at HCM City’s National University, the project, which will run until the end of 2014, aims to protect and restore the aquatic ecosystem, particularly species of fish native to the Mekong River such as the giant barb and the giant Mekong catfish.
It will help local communities become more resilient to climate change by putting an end to the uncontrolled and destructive use of wetlands in the region, Quoi said.
Another overseas agency has also committed more than US$100,000 to protect the wetlands reserve.