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Archive for October 26th, 2009|Daily archive page

Cruising downstream

In Vietnam Landscapes on October 26, 2009 at 4:04 pm




Cruising downstream


QĐND – Monday, October 26, 2009, 20:44 (GMT+7)

Sailing down the Da River in Hoa Binh province is a wonderful way to relax for a couple of days.


On a Sunday morning my friend and I drove towards Hoa Binh on a surprisingly quite highway. We headed straight for the Hoa Binh Power Plant and Reservoir, a massive project built from 1988 to 1994, where we planned to hire a boat and sail about for the day.


The enormous dam is built on the Da River, one of the chief tributaries that runs out of the mighty Red River, which flows for 910km form Yunnan in southwestern China into Vietnam through Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Son La, Hoa Binh and Phu Tho provinces.


The river’s valleys rich in minerals and possess ecosystems with a wealth of flora, fauna and wildlife. The reservoir led to the transformation of the local countryside as the rising waters turned hilltops into islands.


The reservoir has a “tourist wharf” called Bich Ha though I was advised to head for Bai San Pier instead. There is no obvious jetty here but you can hire a small boat. The owners will also cook for you on board for a reasonable price. 


Once we found a willing guide, we set off down the river to Thanh Nhan village in the Da Bac district of Hoa Binh province, where a small community of Dao people live. The boat left us at a pier from where it’s a steep 4km uphill walk to the village.


We had the option of staying overnight in the village or on the boat. We decide on the latter and set off with our small backpacks. The hill tribe still maintains its traditional customs and clothing and the villagers are very hospitable and friendly.


We found a house to stay in and were immediately invited to eat some salted pork and drink some herbal liquor (ruou). The meat was rather tough but the ruou was excellent.


The locals have clearly learned how to cater for tourists. We are offered fried eggs and French fries. The houses are well kept and a dream for fussy travelers. The mattresses and sheets are clean and we were supplied with mosquito nets.


There is also reliable electricity – I guess we were in the right part of the country. There was even a Western-style toilet.


We slept well and rose early in the morning to check out the market by the river after buying a couple of beautiful Dao-style brocades, which were rather expensive but wonderfully embroidered. 


Down by our boat, people were busy trading. Chickens and pigs were being counted and lined up. Nearby someone was ominously boiling water and the local traders were holler out their prices and haggling. On land, there were food stalls selling pho and ice cream.


Scores of H’Mong people arrived from the villages up the mountain. It is the first time I saw members of the Mong Lenh hill tribe with their wonderful yellow embroidered dresses and long hair which they roll up over their head.


The Mong Lenh were there to sell corn, manioc, chicken and piglets, and buy colour thread, fabrics, dresses, household appliances and tools.


We headed down to the Chieng Hoa district of Son La province, where there are still some Thai villages connected by suspension bridges. The river there is narrow and calm and the Thai women go down to bathe there in the late afternoon.


We anchored at Chieng Hoa pier and set foot on land again. We could hear birds and monkeys in the distance. With our stomachs rumbling we were handed a bamboo fishing-rod. We had to fish for our supper.


Over an hour, we reeled many fish, which we wrapped in banana leaves and grilled over an open fire. With a bottle of ruou from the Dao village, we enjoyed a delicious dinner under the moonlight.


With its grottoes, caves and forests to explore, and clean springs to swim, there is a lot to do along the Da River. But, we were happy merely sitting in the moonlight.


Source: VOV/Vietnam Pictorial


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Weak scientific research generates marginal income

In Social life on October 26, 2009 at 4:04 pm




Weak scientific research generates marginal income


QĐND – Monday, October 26, 2009, 20:44 (GMT+7)

The income universities receive from scientific research and technology deals account for only 3.92 percent of the total financial resources of universities.


Associate Professor Dr Ta Duc Thinh from the Ministry of Education and Training’s Science and Technology Department observed that the ratio of income from scientific research and technology transfers with the total investment in scientific research between 2006-2008 was 1,784,386 million dong/1,200,485 million dong.  


Polytechnical universities (Hanoi University of Mining and Geology, Hanoi University of Technology, Civil Engineering University, Hanoi and Dalat Industry University) led in earning money from technology transfers with a ratio of 77.28 percent. Economics universities (Trade University, University of Foreign Trade) had the lowest ratios, even with large budgets for scientific research. Scientific research income came primarily from international cooperation instead. 


The low efficiency of scientific research has been attributed to the “weak force” of leading scientists, inadequate facilities and impractical research projects. 


Questions have been raised about how universities can increase income from scientific research. 


Dr. Dao Van Dong from the Hanoi University of Transportation, explained that universities face great obstacles in obtaining financial support. Projects often cannot meet production utilization requirements and therefore, Dong stated, it is necessary to provide good scientific ideas and skilled researchers. 


Dr Ha Thanh Toan, Deputy President of Can Tho University, revealed that, in the context of present economic difficulties, the university had to mobilize financial support from various sources, including cooperation with businesses and international groups. 


Toan claimed that universities always choose reasonable scientific research projects that are useful for local utilization.


Source: VietNamNet/NLD


 


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Car fees curb traffic in HCM City center

In policies on October 26, 2009 at 4:02 pm




Car fees curb traffic in HCM City center


QĐND – Monday, October 26, 2009, 20:44 (GMT+7)

City authorities have allowed the Tien Phong Technology JS company to research and install an automatic car fee collection system in the city center to curb traffic jams.


With over 400,000 cars at present and around 100 new cars daily, HCM City hopes to limit the number of cars by charging fees. 


In late July 2009, the city proposed a car fee collection system based on the principle that the more traffic jams, the more fees car owners have to pay. 


In October 2008, the city suggested a fee of 10 million dong a year per car, but the Finance Ministry rejected this idea as unfeasible. 


Traffic jams are now a big problem in HCM City. In the January-September period, the city recorded 61 big traffic jams of over 30 minutes long. There were up to 12 traffic jams of 4-9 hours long. 


HCM City’s chairman Le Hoang Quan said that the traffic jams affect the city’s development negatively.  


“The city has nearly 4.2 million vehicles, not mentioning vehicles coming from other provinces,” Quan noted.” “The growth of new vehicles is 10 percent in the first nine months of 2009. While HCM City accounts for 5 percent of the country’s road area, its vehicles account for one third of the country’s total.” 


Collecting fees from cars that enter the city’s hub is considered a measure to reduce the number of cars. This plan will be implemented on a six month trial basis. 


Besides fees, HCM City has worked out a short-term plan of seven other measures, which are not new, to deal with traffic problems. 


Source: VietNamNet/VNE 


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Website to be launched to connect NA deputies and the public

In Politics-Society on October 26, 2009 at 4:02 pm




Website to be launched to connect NA deputies and the public


QĐND – Monday, October 26, 2009, 20:44 (GMT+7)

PANO – A website to connect the National Assembly deputies and the public is to be built with the support of leaders of the Vietnam National Assembly, said the British Embassy in Hanoi today.


At a signing ceremony in Hanoi today, the Office of the National Assembly of Viet Nam, The Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Hanoi and Thumbsize Ltd announced an initiative aimed at creating and piloting an online engagement website between NA deputies and the public.


This website is built under the technical support of Thumbsize Ltd, owner of Yoosk.com which has been piloted in the UK with the purpose of connecting public figures with British citizens.


The website is expected to be launched by early 2010 and will connect NA deputies with the public online for the first time.


Via this website, the public is encouraged to discuss and post questions to the deputies of the highest representative bodies in Vietnam on the issues that interest them.


Dr. Nguyen Si Dung, Vice Chair of Vietnamese National Assembly Office, stressed that “The website will enable the participation of Vietnamese citizen in legislation, and, at the same time, strengthen the relationship between elected deputies and the public which is in line with the policies of the Vietnam Government”.


Meanwhile, the British Ambassador to Vietnam, Mark Kent, said “The project introduces a new way of engaging with the Vietnamese public using participative media.”


“I hope this project will serve the interest of both National Assembly deputies and Vietnamese voters and will play an active role in improving the UK-Vietnam friendship relations,” he added.


Lord Davidson of Glen Clova, Advocate General for Scotland, visiting Hanoi to further enhance legal and judicial links between the UK and Vietnam, also welcomed the project:  “I am delighted to see first-hand the close ties that have been developed between the Vietnamese National Assembly and the UK through this project.”


“The Yoosk website is a great example of our ongoing commitment to work together on innovative projects based on the transfer of creativity, expertise and knowledge between the UK and Vietnam,” he said.


This is a pilot project lasting 6 months, starting from October 2009, with a total budget of £30,000. At the end of the pilot, the website will be owned, operated and managed by the Vietnamese National Assembly Office to serve for Vietnamese National Assembly activities.


Ngoc Hung


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Capital city to get four waste-treatment centres

In Politics-Society on October 26, 2009 at 4:01 pm




Capital city to get four waste-treatment centres


QĐND – Monday, October 26, 2009, 20:44 (GMT+7)

The capital’s 19 suburban districts will all have access to rubbish dumps by 2015.


Hanoi’s Rural Environment Hygiene and Safe Water Centre on October 24 announced a plan to build four new waste treatment centres in the districts of Soc Son, Chuong My and Phu Xuyen for the city’s suburban areas.


The suburban districts will also have waste dumping sites.


On average, more than 5,500 tonnes of domestic waste is discharged by the city’s citizens every day. However, nearly 70 percent of the city’s communes do not have any dumping areas or waste treatment centres, according to statistics from the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment.


Lai Hong Khanh, head of the city’s Popularisation and Education Committee, said that the relevant authorities had agreed that in addition to setting up more dumping areas and waste treatment centres, it was necessary to apply strict punishment for dumping rubbish in unauthorised areas.


The city already has fine levels established of 100,000-300,000 VND (5.5-16.7 USD) for households discovered depositing or discharging rubbish in the wrong place, and a fine of 5-10 million VND (277-555 USD) can be assessed for those scattering waste while transporting it.


Khanh said that strict punishments and increasing the awareness of citizens are necessary to increase environmental protection.


Source: VNA


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