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Archive for August 10th, 2008|Daily archive page

NA talks on introducing Hague rules on adoption

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2008 at 5:24 pm

HA NOI — National Assembly Standing Committee members discussed Viet Nam’s legal issues in joining the Hague Convention on inter-country adoption yesterday.


In 1993, 64 countries, including Viet Nam, approved the convention. The number of countries participating to the convention has now increased to 75.


Chairman of the NA’s Law Committee Nguyen Van Thuan asked deputies to identify why, from 1994 until now, the Government had not asked the National Assembly to ratify the convention.


Deputy Minister of Justice Hoang The Lien answered that, at that time, Viet Nam’s regulations on adopting children were different compared to regulations of the convention.


Also, Viet Nam still did not have a specific agency to manage international adoption.


Therefore, the Ministry of Justice had not asked the Government to ratify the convention.


The ministry suggested that the country establish a specific office to implement the convention, which would be responsible to the State for protecting children given up for adoption in foreign countries.


In 2003, Viet Nam established the Department for Inter-country Adoption under the Ministry of Justice. Viet Nam has also signed co-operation agreements on adoption with 10 countries since 2000..


Chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs, Truong Thi Mai, asked why Viet Nam did not regulate the establishment of charity and non-profitable organisations dealing with adoption.


Deputy Minister Lien replied that the Government would allow the Ministry of Justice to co-ordinate with other ministries to consider the permission of charity and non-profitable organisations dealing with adoption in Viet Nam.


Most National Assembly deputies said that participation in the Hague Convention would create an international, multilateral legal corridor that would be stable in the long-term to protect children given up for adoption abroad, and boost co-operation with othersignatory countries.


Health insurance


Many members of the National Assembly Standing Committee also expressed concern about definitions that were too broad under the draft Health Insurance Law.


Le Quang Binh, head of the National Assembly Committee on National Defence and Security, and Nguyen Van Thuan, head of the Law Committee, agreed that regulations on health insurance should clarify groups of beneficiaries to ensure that people could not hold two or three health insurance cards at once.


Some other members said that the law should include “households near the poverty level” for groups receiving 100 per cent health insurance subsidies by the State.


Instead, they suggested that the group be clarified as “people of poor households, of ethnic minority origins, who live in difficult and extremely difficult areas.”


All members agreed with the regulation that patients and their employers should jointly pay for health care fees to reduce unnecessary fees and avoid the present problem of abusing health insurance.


Thuan suggested the law should clarify the specific formulas of join-payment to ensure fairness and equality between patients and State management agencies.


He said that patients themselves could not control check-up and treatment fees. Only the joint-efforts of patients and their employers could help save the budget, he said.


According to Phung Quoc Hien, head of the NA Committee on Finance and Budget, a flat-rate maximum premium of 6 per cent of a person’s salary was not adequate. The law should define premiums proportional to salary levels instead.


He further said that many offices do not clarify employee salary levels, only monthly income, which was difficult to apply to premiums.


The law should define clearly the premium levels that people have to pay, he said.


Some members also asked the State to support farmers in buying health insurance. The law should also clarify that farmers with average living standards would receive 30 per cent of the premium from the State.


Concerning auditing the health insurance fund, some members suggested that the State audit the fund at least once a year instead of once every three years.


All members agreed with the Government’s report that health insurance was the only form of social insurance offered by the State which was not for profit. —

NA group discusses draft high-tech law

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2008 at 5:24 pm

HA NOI — The National Assembly Standing Committee discussed the draft High-Tech Law at the last session of the 10th meeting of the Standing Committee yesterday.


Most participants said they were worried that the draft law did not clearly identify mechanism and sources for investment, especially financial resource to assure investment in high-tech fields.


The draft law regulates that high-tech fields given priority would be: information technology, bio-technology, new material technology and automation technology.


According to the draft law, the Government has the right to regulate other high-tech fields that require investment if the Government consider these fields as necessary for socio-economic development.


Head of the NA’s Law Committee, Nguyen Van Thuan, said further work on the law was needed.


He said other countries had already developed many of the fields given priority under the draft law, such as new material technology, making it redundant for Viet Nam to invest in studying these field now.


“If we still want to invest in these areas, we need to clearly identify what should be done, and what kinds of products we are able to make. As our financial resources are limited, we should focus on specific areas, rather than invest in too many. Policy-making agencies and management offices should also forecast what we will have in the future,” he said.


NA Deputy Chairman Uong Chu Luu said this draft law was a tough one, as only a few countries have a similar High-Tech Law.


He said it was necessary to have a National High-Tech Programme to be able to identify where to focus investment.


Agreeing with this point, NA Deputy Chairman Nguyen Duc Kien said that science and technology had specific characteristics, so the State should have specific policies and mechanisms to develop the areas rapidly.


Head of the National Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children Dao Trong Thi, also said that these developing areas needed to have new policies to further develop.


Ending the session, NA Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong asked the draft law compiling board to continue its work based on the opinions expressed by the Standing Committee.


The draft High-Tech Law has six chapters and 34 articles. It will be presented to the NA next month to collect opinions from delegates.


Civil judgement


On Monday afternoon, the Standing Committee had discussed the Law on Civil Judgement Execution.


Participants focused on the ‘socialisation’ of civil judgement execution, essentially allowing private enterprises to execute sentences such as retrieving property. They further discussed how to implement civil judgements, and how to nominate executors.


Tran The Vuong, head of the NA’s Ombudsmen, said it was necessary to identify where to socialise civil judgement execution. Different than other countries, Viet Nam considers civil judgement execution to fall under State jurisdiction, and the draft law affirms that civil judgement execution is part of State justice.


He said it was not necessary to socialise civil judgement execution, but only to socialise some specific elements of civil judgement execution.


Head of the NA’s Law Committee Nguyen Van Thuan agreed with the policy to socialise civil judgement execution, a policy affirmed in the Party’s Resolutions. He noted that only some matters of civil judgement execution could be socialised.


Ha Van Hien, head of the NA’s Economic Committee, said the draft law still did not clearly identify what should be socialised.


“If ‘socialisation’ means to allow individuals to participate in civil judgement execution, this will not be OK,” he said.


He pointed to some examples where private collection agencies had resorted to the “law of the jungle” to collect debts before being caught and prosecuted. Hien said examples like these show why civil judgement execution should not be socialised. —

Police grab man for alleged fraud

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2008 at 5:23 pm

HA NOI — Ha Noi’s Investigating Police Unit has arrested Nguyen Kieu Hung, 36, for alleged fraud and appropriating US$736,000 from a Singaporean company.


According to initial investigation, Hung, director of An Hung Handicraft Import-Export and Construction Company, signed a contract to supply coal to Singaporean company Enpress Trade Company Ltd with Helen Leong, director of the company even though his company was incapable of implementing the contract.


The contract stated that An Hung Company would sell 150,000 tonnes of coal per month in a year’s time. Within two months, from December 2007 to January 2008, Hung received a total $736,000 from Enpress Trade Company but he failed to deliver.


Enpress Trade Company’s leaders repeatedly asked Hung for either a refund or the promised coal, but received neither.


According to Quang Ninh Province’s People’s Committee and Viet Nam Coal and Minerals Corporation, An Hung Company isn’t even licensed to exploit, process and export coal.


In addition, the capital’s investigating police unit also received a letter from Nguyen Canh Tuan, director of Hoang Tra Company in Ha Noi, accusing Hung of fraudulence and appropriating 10 lorries from the company, worth VND7 billion ($411,000).


Allegedly, Hung agreed with Hoang Tra Company to pay for the lorries within seven days and took copies of registration papers of seven lorries to Viet Nam Industrial Production Company hoping to sell them for VND5 billion ($294,000).


Under investigation, Hung transferred five lorries and some money back to Hoang Tra Company but on 30 May, 2008, the investigating police unit claimed Hung still owed VND2.7 billion ($150,000) to Hoang Tra Company.


The investigation is ongoing.


An Hung Handicraft and Import-Export Company was established in 2005 and is located in Nui Truc Street of the capital’s Ba Dinh District. The company could not be reached yesterday for comments. —

Police net illegal wild-animal smugglers in northern province

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2008 at 5:22 pm

HA NOI — Police uncovered one of the largest wild animal trading rings in the country, finding over 2,600 snakes and tortoises, in the northern province of Quang Ninh.


The anti-smuggling department, with environmental police from the Ministry of Public Security, seized a lorry driven by Tran Chau Lan from Nha Trang, in the central province of Khanh Hoa on Friday.


Lan was carrying a number of wild animals to export through Mong Cai international border gate.


The forces escorted the lorry, with 2,100 snakes and 524 tortoises, from Quang Ninh to Ha Noi on Saturday.


The forestry department classified the animals and identified some as belonging to the precious 2B group, based on the Vietnamese Government’s Red List, which bans them from being traded.


All of the animals have been transferred to the Soc Son Wild Animal Rescue Centre in Ha Noi.


According to the initial investigation, the cargo was worth US$70,000 and belonged to the Mong Cai Investment and Development Joint Stock Company. Relevant authorities are continuing the investigation. —

Planning a decade of strong development

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2008 at 5:21 pm

HA NOI — The Government yesterday signed a US$2 million deal with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to help draft a Socio-Economic Development Strategy (SEDS) for the next decade.


The project will formulate an SEDS for 2010-20 by assisting the Development Strategy Institute of the Ministry of Planning and Investment in conducting necessary research and gaining international experience. It will run until December 2010.


This is the second time the UNDP has supported the country in building national socio-economic policies. Previously the UNDP offered support for the phase 2001-10.


While the previous project helped with research and consultation under strong Government leadership, the new initiative will develop the effectiveness of such measures.


The strategy will convert broad socio-economic development plans into specific action programmes and activities and aims to fulfil the SEDS goal of “fairer distribution of benefits through integration into the world economy”.


UNDP deputy country director Christophe Bahuet said that there were several challenges Viet Nam needed to overcome to reach middle income status by 2010 and to transform from an agrarian to an industrialised and modernised economy.


“Such challenges include maintaining high economic growth, managing inequality and providing social welfare to every citizen. Ensuring democracy and access to citizen’s rights, protecting the environment and coping with climate change to ensure stable development are also of great importance,” he said.


He added that the UNDP’s view was that an open process would allow Viet Nam Government access to a wide variety of views to help it best outline strategic options.


“Through this project, UNDP hopes to facilitate Viet Nam’s access to quality international expertise, experience and practices needed for SEDS development,” he said.


President of the Development Strategy Institute Ngo Doan Vinh praised UNDP’s support.


“It is a difficult task to formulate a national development strategy that meets people’s expectations, especially when Viet Nam does not have much experience in this area,” said Vinh.


“We want the development strategy for the next decade to be of high quality with useful, innovative ideas. This project will give the country’s decision makers a chance to observe and learn from international experience,” he said.


Learning from the project on Viet Nam’s Socio-Economic Development Strategy for 2001-10, participants in the process are looking to avoid former problems.


“The project VIE/99/002 would have had better results if more efforts had been made at sharing international experience and knowledge,” said Ngo Doan Vinh.


“This time, MPI has used our website to publicly call on more international experts to contribute,” he said.—

Illegal toxins discovered in Italian scrap metal shipment

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2008 at 5:20 pm

DA NANG CITY — Banned toxic substances have been found in 18 containers of metal scrap imported from Italy, according to officials.


The 434 tonnes of metal scrap arrived at Tien Sa Port on July 7, said the Da Nang Zone 2 Custom Agency of the municipal Customs Department.


During a routine inspection, customs officials discovered a smelly black liquid leaking from three containers and then later found the same substance in another 18 containers.


The toxic substances in the containers were identified as mercury and arsenic, which are both under an import ban because of their harmful effects to human health and the environment, according to Tran Dinh Chien, deputy director of the Zone 2 Centre of Standards, Measurement and Quality.


The 20-foot-long containers were imported by the Thanh Loi Steel Stock Company, which is located at No.10 Hoa Khanh Industrial Park in Da Nang.


The company said it had imported the metal scrap to recycle for industrial production.


The total value of the imports is estimated at US$234,414.


Tar, nylon bags and a small amount of silk were also reportedly found inside the containers.


Phan Van Thuoc, chief of Da Nang’s environmental police, said a thorough investigation was underway to determine who was responsible for shipping the banned substances and other items in the 18 containers.—

Director nabbed for embezzlement

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2008 at 5:19 pm

DA NANG — Da Nang City’s police on Wednesday arrested Nguyen Huynh Thi My Ngoc on charges of embezzlement of VND130 billion (US$7.8 million).


The 41-year-old company director is now under investigation for the next four months on charges that she has swindled large amounts of money from people.


According to initial investigations, Ngoc, born in the southern province of Kien Giang, had allegedly borrowed money from people in Da Nang last year.


She then travelled to the US last June and took all the money with her. She then returned to the city and was summoned by the police.


Though Ngoc was accused of borrowing a sum of more than VND130 billion ($7.8 million), she told the police she borrowed less than VND50 billion ($2.9million) and was willing to repay the debt.


To complicate matters, Ngoc’s relatives started to spread the rumour that they would only repay her debts to those who had not denounced her to the police.


The total debt reported to the police did not include the undocumented loans of tens of billions of dong that Ngoc had borrowed. Many of the people loaned her the money without asking for any documentation because they trusted her husband who is a doctor.


Ngoc’s company often traded and rented out cars. Last year, she also dabbled in some real estate trading.


A local newspaper reported that Ngoc raised money by offering high interest rate loans which she then used to invest in real estate and imported cars but found herself bankrupt when the markets suffered setbacks. —

New Customs laws protect IP

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2008 at 5:18 pm

New Customs laws protect IP


By Chris Vale and Hieu Nguyen of Rouse Legal (HCM City Branch) WWW.IPRIGHTS.COM


Viet Nam has nearly 60 border gates along its borders with China, Laos and Cambodia – and its sea ports provide access for goods from all around the world.


This means there are many access points into Viet Nam for counterfeit goods and those that infringe copyright. Once inside the country, they must be dealt with by authorities such as the Market Management Bureau(MMB), the police or the courts and this is a heavy burden.


It is far easier to block goods at the borders. Therefore effective Customs control is vital in the prevention of illegal goods flooding into Viet Nam.


While Viet Nam’s Intellectual Property (IP) law has been strengthened in the last few years, until March this year, there was no effective Customs monitoring procedure for it.


Then the Customs Office issued Decision No. 916/QD-TCHQ introducing detailed procedures for monitoring imports and exports. This decision will revitalise border-control procedures. This is great news for intellectual property protection in Viet Nam.


This article reviews how the Customs monitoring procedure operates and proposes some recommendations to holders of intellectual property rights.


Monitoring procedures


In theory, Customs have the power to detain goods infringing any type of intellectual property rights. In practice, however, the Customs monitoring procedure appears to be more suited to detaining counterfeit goods bearing infringing marks only, rather than goods infringing, for example, patent rights. Rights holders who wish to enlist the assistance of Customs must submit a Customs-monitoring application to the provincial Customs office in the region in which it suspects infringing goods are crossing the border.


Where the rights holders suspect borders are being targeted in two or more provinces, they may lodge a single request with the Central Customs’ Anti-Smuggling and Investigation Bureau designating the relevant regions.


The formalities behind lodging a Customs-monitoring application are straightforward. A rights holder must complete an application form and enclose evidence of the holder’s entitlement to intellectual property rights (e.g. trade-mark certificate) as well as guidance on identifying infringing goods.


Customs has one month in which to process the application. Once accepted, the Customs-monitoring application will remain in place for one year from the application date. The application may be renewed annually (by submitting a new application form) for as long as the intellectual-property-rights remain valid. The application may be amended or updated at any time.


Suspension of Customs


On detecting suspected infringing goods, Customs will hold the consignment and immediately notify the rights holder.


The rights holder then has three days in which to request Customs to detain the consignment. A bond must be paid as security in the event that the goods have been wrongly seized and the importer/exporter requires compensation.


Once a bond has been lodged, the consignment will be detained for a 10 day period (extendible for a further 10 days), during which the rights holder must provide evidence that the goods are in fact infringing. The rights holder must also co-operate with Customs in support of any administrative action, or where appropriate, initiate civil court proceedings.


Customs measures do not apply to goods in transit through Viet Nam or goods temporary imported into Viet Nam for re-export.


Recommendation


The large number of border gates throughout Viet Nam, make it imperative to have effective Customs procedures.


While it is possible for rights holders to have a Customs-monitoring application in place at every border gate, this may prove a strain on resources. There are, however, a number of steps that rights holders can take to make best use of this procedure.


First, identify and target the main routes through which infringing goods are entering Viet Nam. Second, work together as much as possible with the relevant Customs offices, sharing intelligence on the source of infringing goods, known infringers and their shipping routes; and third, educate Customs on how to spot and identify infringing goods.


The introduction of the decision is of great benefit to rights holders looking to enforce their rights. These benefits will be magnified even more when Central Customs create a central computerised database allowing officers to cross-check suspected infringing consignments.

Militiamen stand trial for assault

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2008 at 5:18 pm

HCM CITY — Five militiamen accused of injuring four students at Tran Phu Secondary school last November were tried yesterday in the People’s Court of District 10 in HCM City.


The five militiamen are Huynh Tuan Anh, who was vice head of the Military Steering Board of Ward 15 in District 10, Vo Anh Hoang, Nguyen Phuoc Thanh, Le Thai Quoc Trung and Le Ngoc Tam.


In 2001, the managing board of Tran Phu Secondary school signed a contract with the Military Steering Board of Ward 15 to control school security in response to periodic outbreaks of violence at the school.


In October 2007, Nguyen Dinh Hoc, principal of the school asked the Military Steering Board to intervene when he received letters of complaint from parents that students at the school were assaulting other students.


On November 12, Huynh Tuan Anh together with the four other militiamen, asked four students of the school, Mohamad Zamath, who is of Malaysian origin, Nguyen Dang Khoa, Lam Ky Quang and Nguyen Thanh Nam, all aged 14, to come to the Military Steering Board’s office for interrogation.


According to the indictment of the People’s Procuracy of Ward 10, during the interrogation, the four militiamen intentionally beat and assaulted the students using handcuffs and electric rods.


The assault resulted in injuries to three students. Mohamad Zamath sustained trauma to the chest, lungs, arms and legs.


On November 16, the militiamen were arrested.


In March 2008, District 10 police transferred the documents to the People’s Procuracy for prosecution.


Nguyen Dinh Hoc, principal of the school, was not tried but has been on forced suspension from the Education and Training Department of District 10.


Anh receives the most serious sentencing of the five violators. He stands to serve four years and nine months in prison, Hoang, Thanh and Trung, four years and Tam, three years.


The accused men were forced to compensate Quang’s and Zamath’s families for damages at a cost of VND5 million (US$299) and VND5.9 million ($353), respectively. —

Vice State President backs Sudan efforts toward peace

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2008 at 5:17 pm

HA NOIVice State President Nguen Thi Doan yesterday reiterated Viet Nam’s stand to respect nations’ right to self-determination, saying Sudan’s fate must be decided by its people.


Doan made the statement during her meeting with Sudanese Minister of Economics and Finance Award Ahmed Eljjar, who is on a visit to Viet Nam.


She said that she highly valued the African country’s efforts to seek political and peaceful solutions to the Darfur crisis.


“Viet Nam strongly supports Sudan’s efforts to work for peace and democracy,” she said.


In regard to bilateral relations, Doan recognised progress made in economic co-operation, especially with agriculture, trade and petroleum.


“However, trade revenues between the two countries remain modest and do not yet meet the two country’s potential,” she concluded.


Minister Award Ahmed Eljjar expressed thanks to the Vietnamese Government for its unswerving support in all fields, calling Viet Nam a traditional friend.


Eljjar said “The Sudanese people always aim for peace and look forward to receiving support from the international community, including Viet Nam.” —