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Archive for August 13th, 2008|Daily archive page

‘Go Green’ club pushes pupils to tackle pollution

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2008 at 5:57 pm

HA NOI — Toyota Motors Viet Nam (TMV) is pushing students to “Go Green” with a new club of the same name launched on Sunday in Ha Noi.

Dang Phan Thu Huong, TMV deputy general director, said at the opening ceremony that the club aims to raise awareness of the community towards environmental protection and mobilise people into gradually changing their behaviour. “With the Go Green programme, TMV once again would like to affirm our commitment to sustainable development in Viet Nam,” said Huong.

“Apart from making great strides towards building a green cycle, from production of components to assembly, sales, and customer services, we also wish to work with organisations in carrying out the most comprehensive environmental programme,” she added.

She stressed that the club hopes to directly implement and support other environmental activities which focus on minimising and halting damage to the environment in Viet Nam, as well as offer support and aid to individuals and organisations affected by environmental damage.

In their action plan running from this month to June 2009, club members will advertise their activities to students, and encourage them to join in on environmental protection.

“In our Paper Bag Campaign, the club will launch a movement to collect waste paper at offices and recycle them, starting at Toyota Viet Nam’s offices and then others,” said the head of the club, Nguyen Thi Thanh Hai.

According to Hai, other plans include setting up a music band, a campaign to clean the streets of the Old Quarter in Ha Noi, fact finding tours to a number of factories to see how these factories treat waste, and tours for club members to tourist sites and rural areas to see how these sites deal with waste.

The Go Green programme will be implemented through three modules including activities, education and community programmes.

Go Green, the new environmental protection programme, was launched last month by TMV in conjunction with the Viet Nam Environmental Protection Agency (VEPA) and the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET).

Hundreds of students from colleges and universities, as well as secondary schools in major cities like Ha Noi and HCM City, have already pledged support.

Professor Dr Nguyen Lan Dung, president of the Viet Nam Biology Association, is helping to advise the club.

The club has an advisory board of technical consultants who will ensure the implementation of activities. The club will also offer a resourceful forum for “green on-line users” who can discuss and exchange ideas on environmental protection. —

VN masters draw, drop down

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2008 at 5:55 pm

HA NOI — Both representatives of Viet Nam drew in the World Junior Chess Championship’s ninth round on Monday, bringing them both down in ranking.

The ninth seed of the tournament Grand Master (GM) Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (Elo 2,579) tied unexpectedly with International Master (IM) Hrant Melkumyan (Elo 2,507) from Armenia while GM Le Quang Liem (Elo 2,577) drew with Indian IM Arun Prasad Subramanian (Elo 2,492).

Son now has six points and ranks 11th, one spot lower than the day before.

The draw has worse consequences for Liem, with 5.5 points, shooting him down three spots from 20th to 23th. It was an upset for the master who was seeded No 10 and considered a potential title candidate.

In the next round, Son will play Chinese GM Wen Yang whose Elo rating is 2,487 and Liem will face the Turkish master Atakan Sirin (Elo 2,107).

Both rivals are considered weaker than the Vietnamese representatives, with lower Elo ratings.

As for the rest of the international crowd, the youngsters’ fighting spirits carried on and the top spot changed hands again.

GM Maxim Rodshtein (Elo 2,605) of Israel crowned his comeback with a victory over one of the joint leaders GM Chao Li (Elo 2,590) from China.

However, the new sole leader is German IM Arik Braun who scored a vital win against Chinese Women GM Hou Yifan (Elo 2,557) with white pieces.

England’s GM David Howell, the player with the longest and most thrilling games, faced GM Ivan Popov (Elo 2,549) at the other side of the table and defeated him.

Braun now leads with 7.5 points followed by Howell with seven. Fourth to seventh places went to Li, GM Eltaj Safarli (Elo 2,527) of Azerbaijan and Filipino GM Wesley So (Elo 2,577) respectively.

On the girls’ side, Indian IM Dronavalli Harika (Elo 2,461) drew with her fellow patriot Women IM Swaminathan Soumya (Elo 2,293) to defend her lead with 7.5 points.

WGM Mariya Muzychuk (Elo 2,413) of Ukraine drew with Women FIDE Master (WFM) Guliskan Nakhbayeva (Elo 2,170) from Kazakhstan. Muzychuk follows Harika at seven points together with WIM Miranda Mikadze (Elo 2,258) of Georgia who defeated Russian WFM Zoja Severiukhina (Elo 2,300) to share second and third places.

The world tournament, which kicked off on August 2 and will close this Saturday, has drawn the participation of 195 masters from 60 countries.

The championships are under the auspices of FIDE and the organisation of the Turkish Chess Federation and Sehitkamil Municipality.

The winner of each group will be the player with the most points after the 13-round-robin format. —

Thiet lifts her way to fifth place

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Don’t mess with her: Weightlifter Nguyen Thi Thiet competes in the women’s 63kg final during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games yesterday. She came fifth place overall. — AFP/VNA Photo

HA NOI — Nguyen Thi Thiet fulfilled her Olympic ambition in Beijing yesterday of lifting a total of 225kg – 20kg more than she lifted at her debut Olympics in Athens – to come fifth in the women’s 63kg category.

The Southeast Asian (SEA) Games champion finished one place higher than she did four years ago.

Thiet, who won a gold in the SEA Games in Thailand last December, successfully lifted 100kg in the snatch event after two attempts and 125kg in the clean and jerk on her second lift to finish 15kg behind gold medallist Pak Hyon Suk of North Korea.

Thiet attempted to raise her overall total by snatching 102kg but failed on the third attempt. In the clean and jerk, Thiet failed at 127kg.

Pak, 23, the world number three, succeeded in her third attempt to lift 135kg in the clean and jerk to overtake Irina Nekrassova of Kazakhstan, who finished second just one kilo behind.

Her total was also just 1kg off the Olympic record set in Sydney in 2000 by China’s Chen Xiaomin.

Lu Ying-Chi of Chinese Taipei won the bronze with a 231kg total.

Pak’s path to gold was helped by the absence of Chinese world champion Liu Haixia and the early elimination of Russian favourite Svetlana Tsarukaeva.

The Russian failed to progress past the snatch section of the contest, crying and banging her head on the wall as she left the stage.

Christine Girard of Canada came fourth, 3kg above Thiet.

South Korea’s Kim Sook-yung lifted the same overal total as Thiet but finished in sixth because of her greater body weight.

Thiet, together with Hoang Anh Tuan who won Viet Nam’s second ever Olympic silver on Monday, won wild-card places to Beijing.

Shooting stars

Earlier yesterday, Viet Nam’s top marksman Nguyen Manh Tuong, who is the oldest athlete in the Vietnamese Olympic team, could not outdo his performance in the 10m air pistol on Sunday, finishing 38th out of 45 in the 50m pistol.

The five-time SEA Games gold medallist, the first Vietnamese marksman to compete at the Olympics, scored 543 points, finishing 117.4 points off the winner, Jin Jong-oh of South Korea.

In the Southeast Asian region, Tuong is well-known for his achievements over the past decade but he has yet to make his mark on the world stage.

He said the World Shooting Federation’s invitation to compete in the 2008 Olympic Games had come as a complete shock to him.

“He won’t be surprised if he is brushed aside in the qualifying round,” said coach Nguyen Thi Nhung.

“The Olympic competition is too difficult for us. It is on another level,” he said before accompanying Tuong to Beijing.

Tuong failed to go further in the 10m air pistol on Sunday when he came 34th out of 48. His favourite event, the centre-fire pistol, is not featured in the Games.

In Athens, the 48-year-old finished 41st out of 47 in the 10m 60-shot air pistol event.

Meanwhile, Jong-Oh survived a last-minute scare to win the title in a thrilling final yesterday.

Jin ended just 0.2 points ahead of second-placed North Korean Kim Jong-Su to grab his second medal of the Beijing Olympics after winning the silver in the 10m event last Saturday.

World champion Tan Zongliang of China was forced to settle for the bronze despite starting the 10-shot final with a seemingly comfortable two-point lead over his rivals.

Jin, the silver-medallist in Athens four years ago, scored just 8.2 with his final shot against Kim’s 10.5, but had done just enough to clinch gold.

Jin ended the tense final with 660.4 points – 0.2 points ahead of Kim.

Local favourite Tan, who competed in three previous Olympics without success, could manage only 659.5 after failing to hit the 10-point mark in seven of his 10 shots in the final.

Tan, who retires after this year’s Olympics, conceded that his poor 7.9 score in the final had sealed his fate.

“I think I was in a bit of a hurry at the start, but later I settled down,” said Tan, who won the world championships in Croatia in 2006.

“I know it is a bit embarrassing that I have got only a bronze, but at least I have finally won an Olympic medal before ending my career.”

Jin, a member of the South Korean armed forces, said he was delighted and relieved to win.

“I don’t know what happened, but when I looked back and saw a few smiling faces, I realised I had done it,” he said.

“I went in with a lot of confidence because I had come second in Athens, but I still had to shoot my best. It was a close call, but at least it went in my favour.”

Defending champion Mikhail Nestruev of Russia failed to reach the final, managing just 552 in the qualification rounds to finish 24th.

Of the seven shooting golds won so far, China and the Czech Republic have won two each while India, Finland and South Korea share the remaining three. — VNS/AFP

Military Zone 4 dreams of V-League

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2008 at 5:54 pm

HA NOI — Edging out Dong Thap Rubber 1-0 on away turf last Sunday, Military Zone 4 took top place in the National First Division Championship, raising their hopes of jumping to the top-flight V-League next year.

The central Nghe An-based Military team lead the First Division with 50 points, three points ahead of runners-up T&T Ha Noi, with two games left in the championship.

The team have almost secured a berth in the V-League and they need only defeat An Giang at home turf this Sunday to celebrate for their ascent into the premiership. Last Sunday’s win was a decisive victory for the team as their target was simply to reach the top five.

This time last year, the team, who were languishing at the bottom of the First Division, got a lift when Sara Group signed a sponsorship deal with the club. The team have been playing out of their own coffers this year while most other teams are sponsored by businesses.

Military Zone 4, who are owned by Military Zone 4 Command, received a cash boost of several hundred million dong this year, but the relatively small sum – compared to clubs with corporate sponsorship – though it meant the players made less money, hasn’t stopped them from battling their way to the top.

The players fought all out to win five games in a row and dethrone T&T Ha Noi from top place in the last three weeks.

The military team have hired foreign players, making it the third army team to do so after The Cong of the V-League and Military Zone 5 of the First Division. Currently, Lazaro De Souza, Suliman Abdullahi and Aminu Awwalu make up the team’s best trio.

Military Zone 4 team coach Vu Quang Bao attributes the success to offensive style and the drive to win among the players – who are mostly young soldiers.

Lazaro, the team’s major striker, has scored 13 of 47 goals for the team after 24 games at the championship.

Fans of Military Zone 4, who were promoted into the First Division last year, expect to light flares at home on Sunday if the team defeat An Giang. If they fail to win, the squad has another chance in the final game against T&T Ha Noi next Sunday. —

Nation begins fund raising for victims of storm Kammuri

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh and other officials from the Party Central Committee’s Office contribute for charity to support people in northern mountainous provinces-hit by severe floods. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Xuan Tuan

HA NOI — Communist Party of Viet Nam General Secretary Nong Duc Manh was the first member of the Party Central Committee Office yesterday to donate part of his salary to flood victims in the northern mountainous provinces.

Committee members have now donated over VND100 million.

Among the donors were former CPV General Secretaries Do Muoi and Le Kha Phieu, and Truong Tan Sang, Permanent Member of the CPV Secretariat.

Fund-raising activities for the flood victims have spread the length and breadth of the country.

The southern province of Tien Giang has sent VND300 million in relief aid to the three hardest-hit provinces of Lao Cai, Yen Bai and Phu Tho.

The central coastal province of Thanh Hoa followed suit with a donation of VND50 million to each of the three provinces, while the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong donated VND350 million to four provinces, including the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang.

Vietsovpetro joint venture employees have also raised VND600 million in relief aid.

And the devastated provinces are not sitting idly by either.

Businesses and individuals in Yen Bai Province have donated VND573 million to residents in flooded areas, while Phu Tho Province disbursed VND2.5 billion from its budget to help victims get back on their feet.

In addition, the provincial Fatherland Front has received VND50 million in relief aid from provincial leaders and other donors.

The Viet Nam Oil and Gas Group (PVN) has sent VND3.6 billion in aid to flood victims. The money was deducted from the charity fund to which the staff had contributed their overtime payments.

PM musters forces

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday ordered leaders of flood-hit Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Phu Tho provinces to ensure victims had sufficient food, security, and healthcare.

He asked local authorities to assess the financial cost of the flooding, while ensuring that food prices remained stable in the region.

Dung said that repairing health clinics, irrigation systems, electricity supplies, schools and other infrastructure should be a top priority.

He also said affected provinces should revise their natural disaster prevention plans to minimise the future effects of storms and flooding.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will be responsible for supplying replacement rice and seeds to farmers.

The ministries of Health; Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs; Education and Training must support these provinces in the rebuilding of social services, the Prime Minister said.

Japan condoles

Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura yesterday extended his condolences to the flood victims.

In a message addressed to Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem, Komura wrote: “I’m deeply grieved to know that many Vietnamese people suffered losses due to floods over the past days in the country. I would like to extend my deep condolences to families whose relatives were killed and hope the injured will soon recover.” —

Bus fares not to rise until year end

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Transport firms look at managing new routes in expanded Ha Noi.

A bus from the Ha Noi Transport and Public Work Services Company stops at Cau Giay station. Transport companies pledged not to raise fares until the end of the year. — VNA/VNS Photo Bui Tuong

HA NOI — Public transport enterprises promised to keep fares stable until the end of the year, at a recent conference held by the Ha Noi Transport Department.

Representatives gathered at the conference to discuss measures to stabilise fees to help reduce inflation and manage transportation in the expanded Ha Noi.

After amalgamation, the city will have 12 bus stations and 72 transport enterprises. There will be 464 passenger transport routes from the city to cities and provinces all over the country, with a total of 1,547 inter-provincial buses.

Ho Quang Dung, an official of the Joint-Stock Transport Company No 14, said that the current petrol price increase had forced his company to raise bus fares by 12 per cent for routes in the plains and by 17 per cent for mountainous routes.

To keep prices stable, the company would continue to curb expenses and adjust fares accordingly, he said.

According to the chairman of the Executive Council of Ha Noi Transport Co-operatives Alliance, Bui Danh Lien, in addition to petrol price increases, transport enterprises are also suffering from other price hikes.

“In addition to service fees, drivers at the bus stations have to pay other fees set by the stations’ staff. We have reported this problem to authorities who manage the bus stations but nothing has been done,” said Lien.

The Ha Noi Bus Station Management Company now manages three large bus stations Giap Bat, My Dinh and Nuoc Ngam, which account for 70 per cent of buses and passengers who get in and out of the capital city. To date, the company only received proposals to increase ticket prices on 25 routes of a total 250, with enterprises proposing to raise prices from 6 to 13.5 per cent.

Nguyen Huy Quang, the company director, said that to stabilise inter-provincial bus ticket prices, the company had asked transport enterprises to register transport fees. If the company found enterprises increasing prices by more than 14 per cent, it would ask the enterprise to reduce the price. If the enterprise refused, the company would report the case to authorities.

The company said it would install TV monitors at bus stations to inform ticket prices to passengers. The company would also ask enterprises to list prices on the sides of buses for passengers, he said.

If any driver was found selling tickets at a higher price, he would be suspended, Quang said.

Nguyen Hoang Linh, deputy director of the Ha Noi Transport Department, said the department had just received requests to increase price at five of a total 72 passenger transport enterprises.

“They reported to us that they would raise the transport fee by 10 per cent,” he said.

To stabilise the prices, the department only allows enterprises to change transport fees when State management offices agree.

The department also asked its inspectors to co-ordinate with the city’s public security force and Department of Finance to strengthen their supervision of transport fees and service fees at bus stations, and strictly fine any cases of unreasonable increases.

Meanwhile HCM City will give a total supplementary subsidy of VND33.2 billion (about US$2 million) to local bus companies following a decision not to increase bus fares.

The deputy chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, Nguyen Thanh Tai, said the subsidy would help bus companies cope with the recent price hikes in petrol.

Bus companies will receive a monthly subsidy, with 50 per cent of the subsidy handed out on the first day of the month.

The city Department of Finance is also considering another subsidy plan that would offer VND4.8 billion (US$300,000) to bus companies that transport workers between HCM City and some neighbouring provinces.

Since the petrol price hike on July 21, the city has paid an extra VND202.7 million ($12,300) daily for its 114 public transport routes, according to the municipal Public Transport Management Centre. —

Party Secretariat demotes official

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2008 at 5:51 pm

HA NOI — The Party Secretariat yesterday demoted senior Party official Nguyen Viet Tien for his failure to properly supervise Project Management Unit 18.

The Secretariat also asked Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to sack Tien from his position as Transport Deputy Minister.

According to the commission, Tien’s failure to properly manage PMU18 when he was the ministry’s Party chief resulted in others committing serious wrongdoings. —

Tourists airlifted out of flooded Lao Cai

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2008 at 5:50 pm

LAO CAI — More than 200 people, most of them foreign tourists, have escaped flash flood-stricken Lao Cai Province by helicopter, said an official from an air taxi service company.

Pham Thi Nga of the Ha Noi-based Northern Air Service Co. said the company had dispatched 15 flights from the stadium in Lao Cao Province to Ha Noi’s Gia Lam Airport over the last two days.

Nga, head of the carrier’s Commercial Department, said ten flights, each carrying 14 passengers, took off on Monday, with five more added on Tuesday.

Operating at the behest of local tour operators and embassies in Viet Nam, the flights rescued more than 200 people, most of them foreign tourists, said Nga.

She added additional flights would leave on Wednesday after railway link between Lao Cai and Ha Noi was re-established.

According to provincial tourism authorities, 200 Vietnamese and 300 foreign tourists have been stranded in Sa Pa since August 8.

Tour operators, including Saigontourist, Ben Thanh Tourist and Asian Trails, reported having customers still stuck there on Tuesday.

HCM City-based tour operator Asian Trails sent two chartered flights operated by Northern Air Service Co. to airlift 30 foreigners from Sa Pa to Ha Noi on Monday.

“Chartering a helicopter was the best way since train and road transport couldn’t resume in a few days,” Bui Viet Thuy Tien, Asian Trails’ director, told Viet Nam News on Tuesday.

Tien said all the company’s 33 guests and employees there have been brought back safely to Ha Noi, with no injuries reported.

However, the unexpectedly long sojourn in Sa Pa means they missed out on some of the planned activities in their packaged tour of Viet Nam and Cambodia.

Each passenger was charged US$800 for the airlift, but will get a refund from insurance companies when they return home.

Twenty French tourists on a Saigontourist Travel Service tour to Sa Pa were airlifted to Ha Noi on Tuesday afternoon , said company director Vo Anh Tai. —

Eleven charged with illegal logging in Khe Dien forest

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2008 at 5:49 pm

QUANG NAM — Eleven people are being charged for destroying the Khe Dien forest in Que Son District in the central province of Quang Nam, after provincial police investigations.

These people stand accused of co-operating to exploit illegally 670cu.m of timber from the Khe Dien forest.

The group includes state officials Ho Tan Son, vice chairman of the provincial party committee’s organisation board and former director of the Agriculture Department; Nguyen Xuan Thanh, former vice chairman of Que Son District’s People’s Committee; and Tran Hai Ha, former vice director of the forestry branch.

These people are accused of intentionally causing damage and violating regulations on forest protection.

The director of Ngoc Son company, Le Van Ngoc, is being prosecuted for violating regulations on forest protection and cheating.

Quang Nam police have completed their investigations and transferred the file to the provincial people’s procuracy.

To build the Khe Dien hydroelectricity plant in 2005, Quang Nam’s People’s Committee signed a decision to withdraw from more than 4.6 million sq.m of forest area in Que Phuoc, Que Ninh and Que Trung Communes of Que Son District.

The Committee also allowed Que Son district’s People’s Committee to exploit 12,717cu.m of timber from the designated forest area.

The Que Son’s People’s Committee then signed a contract with Ngoc Son company to exploit the timber. However, the company violated regulations by over exploiting and destroying the Khe Dien forest.

In March 2007, the provincial People Committee halted the timber exploitation and started the investigation. —

120 poor students receive IT scholarships

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2008 at 5:48 pm

HANOI — One hundred and twenty poor and disabled students will get information technology scholarships sponsored by UK-based Prudential Insurance Corporation’s Prudence Fund.

Each scholarship is worth US$2,400. These students, who graduated from high school with good grades but lack the finance to continue their studies at university, will be trained at Aptech Viet Nam for two years.

“Human resources in information technology is in need in Viet Nam at this moment so Prudence Fund decided to help students get trained in this field,” said Nguyen Van Hao, deputy general director of Prudential Viet Nam.

The applicants for these scholarships must pass an exam of mathematics and English, and an interview.

The 35 first IT scholarships will be granted to students in Ha Noi, Hai Phong and Thanh Hoa Province.

Scholarships like this will help realise poor and disabled students’ wishes, said Nguyen Dac Vinh, the secretary of Viet Nam Youth Union’s Central Committee.

After finishing the two-year training programme, these students will have permanent jobs in FPT corporation or other companies. —