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Archive for September 10th, 2008|Daily archive page

Capital tackles climate change

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2008 at 4:57 pm

HA NOI — The role and capacity of organisations in Viet Nam to respond to climate change will be discussed at a national workshop tomorrow in Ha Noi.

While climate change is a global issue, it is particularly urgent to Viet Nam, according to the United Nations, which stated that Viet Nam is one of five countries projected to suffer the heaviest effects of climate change.

The workshop aims to raise awareness and exchange views on the role of organisations in dealing with the challenges of climate change. It will also introduce and debate an initiative to form a Viet Nam Network for Civil Society and Climate Change and acknowledge the valuable contribution of a number of organisations and people to the cause of combating climate change. In addition, a forum will be launched to exchange information on climate change, its impact on Viet Nam, and related government policies and programmes and practical experience related to this issue.

“Climate change is becoming a burning issue in Viet Nam. Besides international assistance, only the Vietnamese people can resolve climate change issues in the country. We need to increase our power to address such issues internally,” said Nguyen Huu Ninh, director of the Centre for Environment Research Education and Development (CERED) and one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in global climate change research.

The workshop is a joint effort among organisations in all sectors that are actively working to respond to the impact of climate change. Partner organisations will include the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), the Centre for Marine Life Conservation and Community Development (MCD), CERED, and the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD).

“In the role of co-ordinating members’ activities, VUSTA sees the importance of creating a common forum to exchange information and collaborate more efficiently, and to enhance awareness of the members and promote them to integrate climate change issues into their activities, as well as to connect the member organisations with other stakeholders such as the National Assembly, government agencies, people’s organisations, international organisations and donors, to deal with the issues on a national scale,” stated Nguyen Manh Cuong, acting director of VUSTA international relations department.

Being a non-governmental organisation operating in the field of marine conservation and community development, MCD sees the need to actively participate in the cause of combating climate change.

“From the standpoint of an organisation that works directly with the coastal communities who are most vulnerable to and heavily impacted by climate change, MCD desires to support the coastal communities to understand the climate change issues in their areas, to approach and apply suitable climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. Such support would be more practical and more effective if undertaken in a common effort of the Vietnamese organisations and individuals. Therefore, we totally support the initiative of setting up a civil society network in Viet Nam that has together the hands to address climate change challenges,” said Ho Thi Yen Thu, deputy director of MCD.

With the participation of approximately 60 delegates including national and international non-governmental organisation representatives, scientists, entrepreneurs, governmental agencies, and donors, this workshop will begin a common forum of organisations to act more effectively in response to climate change in Viet Nam. —

VN swimmer fails to splash at Beijing Paralympics event

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2008 at 4:55 pm

I’ll be needing a spotter: Weightlifter Le Van Cong (men’s under 48kg) was unable to finish his lift yesterday after three attempts. — VNA/VNS Photo Quoc Khanh

HA NOI — Vietnamese swimmer Nguyen Quang Vuong disappointed fans as he failed to qualify for the men’s 100m breaststroke finals at the National Aquatics Centre yesterday.

Vuong completed his heat in one minute 23.46 seconds, and came in fifth out of seven athletes.

Weightlifter Le Van Cong (men’s under 48kg) was unable to finish his lift yesterday after three attempts; Nigerian Ruel Ishaku placed first in the category with a total lift of 167.5kg.

Nguyen Thi Hai finished 12 out of 14 in the women’s shot-put yesterday.

She tried her best and achieved a 7.6m throw after three attempts.

Wheelchair racer Nguyen Thi Thanh Thao managed 1:08.75 in the women’s 400m, but it was not enough to qualify her for the final race.

Vietnamese athletes continue their competition today with Chau Hoang Tuyet Loan contesting in the women’s 48kg weightlifting, and Dinh Thi Nga will be lifting in the women’s 52kg.

Viet Nam sent nine athletes to compete in athletics, swimming, weightlifting and judo at the Summer Beijing Paralympics.

About 4,000 athletes from 150 nations will be competing in 20 events at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, which will continue until next Wednesday. —

VN kick off first training session

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2008 at 4:54 pm

First huddle: The national football team undergo their first training session of the new season in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai on Monday. — VNS Photo Quang Minh

HA NOI — The first national football training session of the year was held in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai on Monday in preparation for the upcoming ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Championship.

The AFF Suzuki Cup will be co-hosted by Thailand and Indonesia this December.

As scheduled, the team will refresh with a new round of strength and fitness training after the completion of their gruelling six-month national football season last month.

The team will train at the Ham Rong Sport Centre and will also benefit from the well-equipped training facilities of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Company, which owns V-League team Hoang Anh Gia Lai.

“I chose the centre because it has the best training conditions for players. The quiet atmosphere and fresh weather in the central highlands will help players concentrate on their training and play,” said coach Henrique Calisto.

“The team will stay here for one week before flying to HCM City where we will face tough competition in a friendly international scrimmage tournament.”

It is expected that this friendly tournament will see the Olympic teams from Trinidad &Tobago and Turkmenistan, as well as student team from South Korea and Myanmar.

Last month the Portuguese coach called up 27 players, and will select his team before December’s regional tournament.

Calisto has not tasted victory for three games, losing to China, Indonesia, and Brazil in quick succession. He has three months to pull his team together before the AFF Cup. —

Repatriated trafficking victims need more support

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2008 at 4:53 pm

HA NOI — Those repatriating human-trafficking victims into the community should pay more attention to their wishes, a conference on human trafficking was told here yesterday.

The conference, co-organised by the Executive Office of the National Committee to Combat Trafficking (Office 130) and the Asia Foundation, aims to strengthen anti-human trafficking programmes in Viet Nam and enhance their effectiveness.

According to Paul Buckley, a representative from the United Nations Inter-Agency Project (UNIAP) on human trafficking in the Greater Mekong sub-region, support for victims was often victim-focused, but not victim-centred.

“What we should really do is put victims in the centre and ask them what they want,” said Buckley.

According to this approach, repatriation assistance should be to support victims’ wishes, not to push the ideas of supportive organisations and bodies.

Do Thi Thanh Mai, from UNIAP, said organisations must consider victims’ opinions and create favourable conditions for them to return to society.

“Repatriation assistance projects often have a set module that victims are supposed to follow once they are rescued,” said Mai.

“It is necessary to ask if victims want to go temporary shelters, return home – or if they want to pursue action against traffickers,” she said.

The conference also discussed difficulties in dealing with human traffickers and the possibility of supplementing existing laws.

Viet Nam was working hard on signing mutual legal assistance treaties on human trafficking with neighbouring and regional countries, said Nguyen Quoc Nhat, deputy police director of Social Order Related Crimes in the Ministry of Public Security.

Cross-border trafficking in humans has become a serious problem, but Viet Nam to date has only signed bilateral treaties on fighting the problem with Thailand and Cambodia.

However, trafficking cases from Viet Nam to China accounted for about 65 per cent of the total cases, said Nhat.

“This means there are often difficulties for agencies in co-ordinating the exchange of information, arresting criminals and rescuing victims,” he added.

This is why he strongly supports co-operation with neighbouring countries and international organisations to create a strong force to fight the problem more effectively.

Shortcomings in the dissemination of information was one of the reasons the situation was troublesome, according to Le Van Chuong, head of the Office 130.

Many participants at the conference agreed. “Information dissemination is still weak, especially in remote areas,” said Nguyen Dinh Long, head of the Border Police Department in Lao Cai Province.

“While ethnic women and children are vulnerable groups, communication campaigns often do not help them understand the issue,” said Long.

He said campaigns must be more effective , since prevention was better than cure.

According to statistics from Office 130, from 2005 to June 2008, about 2,800 women and children were sold to traffickers.

In the first six months of this year alone, nearly 430 Vietnamese women and children were victims. —

Fishermen yet to receive Gov’t aid

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2008 at 4:52 pm

HA NOI — Only about 10 per cent of fishermen have received compensation to help them cope with oil-price rises this year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

However, MARD’s Fishery Resource Exploitation and Protection Department director Chu Tien Vinh said a large amount of money would be disbursed by the end of October as many localities had recently started programmes or completed form-filling procedures.

The total scheduled budget for oil compensation in 28 coastal cities and provinces is VND1,612 billion (US$100.75 million).

The department said 21 out of the 28 cities and provinces had started to implement State compensation projects since they were approved in March after the price of petrol first rose in February.

Some officials said the slow implementation was caused by complicated paperwork. This meant that documents to prove eligibility were often left uncompleted, they said.

But irresponsible local authorities were also to blame, according to the department. Seven cities and provinces included in the programme have yet to take the first steps to initiate it, such as providing a full list of fishermen in-need, scheduling budgets for approval and balancing funds.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung decided to increase oil compensation for fishermen again in July following a higher-than-ever rise in petrol of VND4,500 per litre announced by the Ministry of Finance.

Financial support for each voyage ranges from VND4 million ($250) to VND10 million ($620), depending on the size of fishing boat motors.

Each vessel can only receive a maximum of five payments a year.

To be eligible for support, fishermen are bound by several conditions. This includes registering their vessels, buying insurance for crew members, obtaining licences for fishing – and being legal permanent residents in Viet Nam. —

Child adoption law needs tightening

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2008 at 4:52 pm

HA NOI — Gaps in Viet Nam’s regulations on child adoption has turned the issue from a humanitarian one, to a cash cow for some who take advantage of these cracks in the system to profit from children trafficking which makes a law on adoption is necessary.

According to statistics supplied by the Department of International Child Adoption of the Ministry of Justice, Viet Nam has one of the highest numbers of international child adoption.

But the recent case of two humanitarian centres in Nam Dinh Province – which forged documents for over 300 children to be taken abroad for adoption – has revealed the country’s weakness in adoption policies.

“Unfortunately, regulations on adoption are not carried out in a strict manner in some localities. Forgery is a natural by-product of such a situation,” said Vu Duc Long, head of the Department of International Child Adoption.

“Documents such as birth certificates, or reports on abandonment can be faked. Control on this is loose and many profit from this,” said Long.

Financial support for adoption agencies was considerable, and the fact was, money corrupts, Long added. Procedures to find children’s birth parents are often meglected.

The Department is making plans to carry out regular checks with adoption agencies on humanitarian support. Control on these agencies will also be tightened.

It is also expected that a Law on Child Adoption will be issued by the end of 2011 to deal with these shortcomings. —

Gen Hoang Minh Thao dies peacefully at home aged 86

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Ha Noi — Sen Lt Gen Hoang Minh Thao passed away at his home on Monday. He was 86.

Thao was the commander of the Tay Nguyen (Central Highland) military campaign that triggered the fall of the Sai Gon regime in South Viet Nam in 1975.

After the reunification of the country, Thao took part in the training of many generations of military commanders. He is the author of various valuable works on Vietnamese military strategies, art and history.

Thao was honoured with the Ho Chi Minh Order and Ho Chi Minh Award for his contributions to the revolution in Viet Nam

A funeral service for Thao will be held at the National Funeral Hall, No 5 Tran Thanh Tong Street, Ha Noi, on Thursday. He will be buried in Mai Dich Cemetery in Ha Noi .—

Health services urged to boost standards, capacity

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Mothers register to get Vitamin A supplements for their children in Ba Dinh District, Ha Noi. The municipal health authority has opened more than 1,000 stations where parents of children aged 6 to 36 months can get free vitamin tablets. — VNA/VNS Photo Huu Oai

HA NOI — Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan said the Government required the health sector to improve treatment capacity, especially for check-ups and healthcare for ethnic minorities in remote areas.

Nhan was speaking at a meeting with Health Ministry leaders in Ha Noi yesterday.

He said the ministry should build mechanisms for health centres similar to those for hospitals, and stabilise the price of pharmaceuticals before the end of the year. Ensuring patients rights was also a top priority, he said.

Nhan said the ministry should focus on food hygiene and safety, strengthening information systems and building a warning and response system.

According to a report from the Health Ministry, there are more than 13,000 State-owned health centres carrying out national health programmes, particularly in areas where there are poor and ethnic minority people.

The report claimed the ministry had done well in preventing major epidemics.

The report said that the private health system had also become stronger, helping to reduce waits at overloaded public hospitals and improving service quality through healthy competition.

However, the sector faced some problems, including outbreaks of infectious diseases that had been controlled but still remained a threat.

In the remaining months of the year, the ministry plans to implement measures to keep population growth in check, and has set a goal to reduce the birth rate by 0.3 per 1000 population – or an overall population growth rate of 1.25 per cent.

The ministry also asked the Government to budget a further VND21 billion to enable healthcare workers to work on a rotational basis between localities.

The ministry proposed the Government approve a project to renovate operational and financial mechanisms next year, including revising salaries and the cost of healthcare services.

It asked the Government to arrange VND1.2 trillion (US$72.7 million) from the State budget to upgrade infrastructure and facilities for healthcare centres. Priority should be given to district preventive healthcare centres, provincial general hospitals and herbal medicine hospitals.

As much as VND9.75 trillion ($591 million) is expected to be raised by issuing Government bonds in 2009. The Government plans to invest the money in hospitals in poor and mountainous provinces. —

Healthcare expo opens in HCM City

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2008 at 4:50 pm

HCM CITY — Pharmed&Healthcare Viet Nam 2008, an international expo on pharmaceuticals and healthcare, opens today at the HCM City International Exhibition and Convention Center (HIECC) with over 200 exhibitors from inside and outside Viet Nam.

Foreign companies expected at the expo come from over 20 countries and territories including Australia, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Japan and South Korea.

On display at more than 300 stalls at the convention center will be pharmaceutical-chemical materials, drugs, equipment and machinery for producing drugs, packaging, equipment for labs as well as medical treatment equipment.

During the four-day event, there will also be a seminar about Viet Nam’s policies on investment in producing and trading pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and healthcare. —

Gynaecological problems affect 90% of wives: study

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Medical workers take care of women in Nha Trang City in the central province of Khanh Hoa. Gynaecological problems affect nearly 90 per cent of married women throughout the country. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc

HA NOI — Gynaecological problems affect nearly 90 per cent of married women, according to a recent report by Bach Mai Hospital’s Centre of Pathology and Cytopathology.

The study included 70,000 women from 300 communities throughout the country.

According to To Minh Huong, deputy director of Ha Noi Gynaecology Hospital, many of the gynaecological problems result from improper feminine hygiene.

The problems do not only bother women in daily life but also lead to ovaries blockade and infertility.

Many rural women still use plain cotton fabric as sanitary napkins, which they wash and reuse many times, she said. Cotton must be washed and dried thoroughly to avoid the growth of fungi.

Improper washing can cause the spread of bacteria from the anus to the vagina, which may cause infection. Women should avoid washing too deeply inside, which harms the natural acid environment that the body secretes to prevent bacteria growth.

Gynaecologists have also warned women against the habit of using a table salt solution to wash their vulva, as sodium carbonate is a healthier option for personal cleansing. “Boiled tea leaves water is also a good option for cleaning the area,” Huong said.

Another concern is that many women get the diseases from their husbands, who have contracted the diseases from other partners.

“When women suffer from gynaecological problems they should tell their husbands to co-ordinate treatment for the diseases at the same time,” she said.

“Though women treat fungi inside their body, it can remain in areas that are not cleaned, including linens, the wash basin and underwear.” Husbands must also be treated so that the infection is not passed back to the woman.

Pho Duc Nhuan, from Central Gynaecology Hospital, said that many vaginitis problems are hard to treat.

To prevent gynaecological diseases women should use good sanitary napkins, take care to wear looser underwear made of natural fibres, and follow a healthy cleansing routine. —