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Archive for October, 2008|Monthly archive page

Call for Viet Kieu to aid homeland

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2008 at 11:28 am

MONTREAL — Vice State President Nguyen Thi Doan yesterday urged Vietnamese expatriates in Canada to help boost trade and investment relations between the two countries.

The vice president, who was in Canada to attend the 12th Francophone Summit, told her guests, including Montreal-based entrepreneurs, that the Party and the State always tried to create favourable conditions for overseas Vietnamese to return home and contribute to national construction and development.

Doan praised the overseas Vietnamese community for their contributions to the Viet Nam-Canada co-operative ties as well as socio-economic development in the two countries.

Viet Nam and Canada ties had grown recently but business co-operation had failed to match its potential, Doan said. Vietnamese people, especially entrepreneurs, should help promote trade and investment, and bring Canadian businesses to Viet Nam.

Vietnamese expatriates at the meeting said they wanted to help boost national construction and development and act as a link to enhance friendly ties between the two countries.

Also yesterday, Doan visited the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations and delivered a speech on Viet Nam’s foreign policies and investment and business opportunities in the country.

Earlier in the day, she received former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and representatives from industrial group Bombardier. — VNA/

Minh Ly sect receives legal status

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2008 at 11:28 am

HCM CITY — The Minh Ly Dao – Tam Tong Mieu (Minh Ly sect under the Three-Religion Temple) has received official permission to practise their religious rites.

Head of the Governmental Commission for Religious Affairs, Nguyen The Doanh, presented the legal status certificate at his office headquarters in HCM City yesterday.

The religion’s chief prelate said at the ceremony that the entire Minh Ly religion, from clerics to followers, were very grateful to the Government and relevant agencies for recognising their belief.

He also pledged to enhance religious practice in accordance with the sect’s principles and national law.
The Minh Ly sect had made considerable contributions to humanitarian and charitable movements and promoted a spirit of leniency, happiness and development, Doanh said.

He called on clerics and followers of the Minh Ly Dao religion to help in the cause of national development.

Founded 85 years ago, Minh Ly Dao-Tam Tong Mieu now boasts some 1,000 followers. It has one temple in HCM City, and one each in the southern provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Long An.
The religion combines the faiths of three major Oriental religions dedicated to Budda, Fairies and Saints. — VNA/

VN hosts ASEAN heart conference

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2008 at 11:27 am

HA NOI — The Viet Nam Heart Association, together with counterparts from member states of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) will hold the 17th ASEAN Congress of Cardiology, which starts here today.

The event, the first ASEAN cardiology conference hosted by Viet Nam, will run until Tuesday.

It has brought together specialist knowledge to better combat cardio-vascular disease in Asia.

“People across vast areas, from beyond national borders, have come together to unite efforts in tackling the growing challenge of cardiovascular disease and fight this fatal disease,” said Pham Gia Khai, president of the Viet Nam Heart Association and chairman of the Organising Board of the congress.

“In recent years, Viet Nam has seen an emergence of cardio-vascular disease, including high blood pressure, stroke, and coronary heart disease,” said Pham Manh Hung, general secretary of the Viet Nam Heart Association.

“Through this congress we hope to gain more experience to better treat patients,” said Hung.

During the event, 300 delegates from 30 countries will report on clinical and preventive cardiology.

Foreign doctors will describe interventional cardiology treatment procedures of 14 congenital and non-congenital heart disease patients from Bach Mai Hospital to the congress.

“Interventional cardiology has developed significantly as a treatment, and Viet Nam is happy to contribute as a new comer,” said Khai.

The congress also creates the chance for young researchers from Asian countries to discuss specialist topics, knowledge and skills.

On the second day, a free consultation for heart patients will be organised by Wu Dar Ching, cardiology expert from Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital. More than 1,500 domestic doctors and 800 foreign representatives will take part in the event.

Heart disease is the second biggest killer in the world, and the WHO estimates that 17 million people die annually of heart disease globally. Treatment expenses reach hundreds of billions of dollars each year. Viet Nam officially became a permanent member of ASEAN Federation of Cardiology in 2004. —

Workers’ rights can sharpen businesses’ competitive edge

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2008 at 11:27 am

HA NOI — Stronger involvement by the labour union could help boost the social responsibility of businesses, a workshop was told here yesterday.

The workshop was organised by the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) and the German Labour Union.

Delegates agreed that during the globalisation process, each business needed to improve its competitive edge by improving the working environment and protecting workers’ rights and interests.

“Exercising social responsibility helps the sustainable development of business,” said deputy chairwoman of VGCL Nguyen Thi Thu Hong.

She said the concept of corporate social responsibility was still unpopular in Viet Nam and more research into it was necessary for businesses and also for State agencies.

Hong said a common approach was needed to the adoption of labour regulations as well as to international laws and practices.

VGCL deputy chairman Mai Duc Chinh said that corporate social responsibility would not only help improve competitiveness, but also the working environment and labour relationship.

However, he said, there were still shortcomings in the application of corporate social responsibility because of a lack of information and personnel as well as poor management during the integration process.

Dieter Eich, director of education and training with the German Labour Union said that in Viet Nam, social responsibility received little attention from businesses, particularly small businesses.

He said small and medium-sized businesses found that social responsibility was also hindered by lack of finance.

“To improve the situation, it is necessary for labour unions to stand side by side with businesses and urge them to build sustainable investment policies and closer ties with workers,” he said.

Delegates said there was a need to increase the dissemination of information among businesses and labourers – and for better co-operation between the State and labour unions.

In a recent decree, the Government said that those who bought State-owned businesses had to use the same number of workers and implement State policies for them. —

Schools face health care worker crisis

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2008 at 11:26 am

DA NANG — Schools in Da Nang central city are facing a shortage of health-care workers to treat accidents.

Nguyen Hien senior secondary school has no medical room or medical attendant.

This year, seven students suffering from bellyache and fainting were treated by an amateur health worker, Nguyen Thi Tuong Kha.

Kha, a member of the office staff, was placed in charge of all medical treatment for students and teachers.

School principal, Pham Uc, said the school’s 2,300 students needed professional health care.

According to the chairwoman of Da Nang City’s Environmental and Schooling Health Department, Phan Thi Hoa, nearly 7,000 students throughout the city needed treatment during the 2007-2008 school year.

Most were for headaches (1,122 cases), followed by fainting (951), diarrhoea (422), and injuries (370).

Neary 200 students were sent to hospital for treatment.

Health officials said the shortage of school medical workers during the last few years was becoming a big concern for parents.

This school year, Nguyen Ba Phat high school in Hoa Vang District had no health worker – or a medical centre – to take care of the health of its 1,000 students.

To solve the problem, a professional health worker from a neighbouring school was asked to do two jobs. This means she works three days a week at each school.

She has been given little medical equipment and has to work out of the school deputy principal’s office.

School principal Nguyen Quang Han said the management board had petitioned the district’s Education and Training Office for a professional worker.

“However, no one has come here,” he said.

A Government regulation on schooling hygiene says schools must have medical rooms with equipment and medicine and be guided by local health-care staff.

Da Nang City’s Preventative Medical Centre also reports that only 20 of 142 kindergartens in the city have medical rooms, while most schools do.

However, Phan Thi Hoa said the skills of medical workers at schools were lacking. The schools are petitioning the education sector to increase funding for medicines and to employ professional medical staff.

They are also pushing for regular student check-up programmes.

Huynh Van Hoa, director of the city’s Education and Training Department, said to help solve the problem, the education sector would retrain unqualified medical workers. —

Country’s exported labour needs better skills

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2008 at 11:26 am

HCM CITY — The Viet Nam Labour Export Association (VLEA) has said Vietnamese labour export companies must find ways to improve the quality of the country’s exported labour to meet the demands of overseas markets paying the highest wages.

For example, workers headed to the US can earn a minimum wage of US$8-10 per hour, depending on the state, while those going to Australia can expect to earn $30,000 per year.

Workers’ qualifications must meet the requirements of professional skill, foreign language ability and a sense of discipline needed in high quality markets, according to Nguyen Luong Trao, VLEA chairman.

The number of such jobs is limited as only the most highly skilled workers are needed in the most demanding job markets.

The number of Vietnamese workers to Slovakia and the Czech Republic is only 300 and 1,300, respectively, because more qualified workers could not be found.

North European countries like the Netherlands or Denmark, considered markets offering high incomes, have a high demand for skilled labour as well as strict visa requirements.

VLEA was revamping its labour training programmes to improve worker quality before sending them abroad to increase export of skilled workers, said Trao.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) is investing in restructuring the vocational training network to improve labour quality and meet the demands of various markets.

MOLISA is also experimenting with training labour export resources in accordance with the order of high quality markets.

According to MOLISA’s Overseas Labour Management Department, Viet Nam sent 65,013 workers abroad to 34 overseas markets in the past nine months, fulfilling 76.5 per cent of the annual target.

Eleven traditional markets, such as South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Macau and some countries in the Middle East, employed 671,701 workers.

The department also wants to increase labour exports to 90,000 by 2009, and 100,000 by 2010.

Malaysia remains an optimal market for Vietnamese workers, so local businesses should seek out partners to help workers find jobs and stable incomes there, said Trao.

The cultivation of potential export labour markets would prove to be fundamental in increasing the proportion of Viet Nam’s high-skilled workers, he said. —

Rural women need more training

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2008 at 11:25 am

There are plans to upgrade skills for 50,000 women labourers each year.

A salt worker cleans her equipment in Nam Dinh Province. Poor education makes it difficult for female labourers to find stable jobs with good incomes. — VNS Photo Viet Thanh

HCM CITY — Rural female labourers need greater access to education and vocational training so they can get stable jobs and reduce poverty in their households, experts say.

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs says more than 50 per cent of the 1 million labourers from rural areas entering the job market every year are women.

The Government needs to ensure opportunities for women to improve their education apart from supporting them with loans for production and trade in their their localities.

This is an important step in improving their knowledge and skills, which in turn will help them find stable jobs and improve their living standards.

Ministry officials say most rural female labourers have poor education levels and few job skills primarily because of the prevalent attitude among parents in rural areas that daughters do not need to have high educational qualifications.

The predominant opinion is that women only need to learn how to read and write, while sons should take advantage of higher education.

Without education and skills, many female labourers unable to find stable jobs in their localities go to big cities in search of manual work.

The ministry estimates that HCM City and Ha Noi alone now have 1 million and 400,000 migrant labourers respectively, more than half of them women.

The Viet Nam Institute of Sociology reports that 20-30 per cent of rural youth travel to big cities looking for work as manual labourers.

Leu Vu Dieu, director of the vocational training and employment centre for farmers under the Viet Nam Farmers’ Association, says the work of providing job skills for rural labourers must be combined with creating jobs for them in the localities itself.

Vocational training courses for rural labourers must correspond to business activities in their localities so that they can find jobs after attending training courses, Dieu explains.

Modern job skills

The Viet Nam Women’s Union (VWU) plans to provide job skills for 50,000 female labourers each year beginning in 2009.

Priority will be given to female labourers in rural areas, middle-aged and ethnic minority women, and women with disabilities.

The VWU will also work with enterprises and organisations in selecting the skills that need to be provided to rural female labourers. The plan aims to provide vocational training for 21 per cent of the nation’s female labour force by 2010. The ratio of trained women labourers in the workforce will be raised by three percent each year from then on.

The VWU has over the past five years provided vocational training to over 840,000 female labourers and created jobs for 670,000.

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has targeted the provision of job skills for 1 million labourers in rural areas next year.

The country has targeted to become an industrialised country by 2020, so there will be 2 million labourers who will shift to non-agricultural sectors by then, and they need to be provided with necessary skills in the new environment, the ministry says.

Nguyen Quoc Cuong, chairman of the Viet Nam Farmers’ Association, feels that in order to provide vocational training for rural labourers, all the 63 provinces and cities in the country should have one vocational training centre for farmers by 2013. —

Duong Lam Commune a ‘sleeping beauty’

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2008 at 11:25 am

A view of a festival called “Fishing on Tich Giang River” in Duong Lam ancient village in Son Tay Township of Ha Noi. Such activities should help attract more visitors to the village. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Duc

HA NOI — Duong Lam Commune in Son Tay Township of Ha Noi is not well known as a tourist destination, despite having hundreds of well preserved ancient houses and 16 historic relics – of which seven are recognised as national historic monuments.

Duong Lam Commune was having trouble attracting tourists because of poor promotion and lack of services, said Pham Hung Son, head of the Management Board of Duong Lam Ancient Village.

The commune is home to over 900 old houses, 57 of which are more than 200 years old. But it is still a “sleeping beauty”, according to Son.

The board has organised training courses on tourism services, instructing 10 tourist guides and 10 owners of ancient houses on how to communicate with tourists. However, these tourist guides only accompany groups of tourists, while those who travel alone have no guide.

Residents say they also lack the skills needed to run a tourist enterprise successfully.

“Many visitors complain that when they visit ancient houses, the owners ask them to give money for the ancestral altar,” said Son.

Ha Nguyen Huyen, owner of a 200-year-old house in Duong Lam Village, said that many residents of the village still do not know how to do business properly.

“Local authorities keep encouraging us to foster tourism in the village, but we have never been in the industry before. We cannot do it without instructions and training,” said Huyen.

Son said that the number of visitors to the village has been decreasing recently. Last year, the average number of visitors to the commune every day was about 300 people, but now it is only about 40 people per day.

“Although the board has boosted advertising activities and co-operation with tourism companies, the situation has not improved,” said Son.

Meanwhile, Hoi An City in Quang Nam Province – considered one of the top destinations in Viet Nam and also a preserved ancient town – regularly attracts 800 visitors a day, according to statistics supplied by the Department of Trade and Commerce in the city.

Besides various tourism services and activities, residents of the city are encouraged to attract visitors with their hospitality.

“Visitors can come and have a look in our stores, even if they don’t buy anything they will receive a friendly and warm attitude from us,” said Nguyen Thu Thuy, owner of a fabric shop in Hoi An City.

Nguyen Van Lanh, head of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Hoi An City, said that the city’s tourism sector was fully aware that fostering tourism is based on human factors.

“Since 1993 the city has waged campaigns to encourage residents, especially those involved in the tourism sector, to develop a civilised attitude as an important skill toward attracting visitors,” said Lanh.

The Duong Lam Village management board has so far failed to encourage local residents to embrace such a scheme.

“We can still make ends meet whether tourism is developed or not,” said Huyen.

In February, the board started selling tickets to visitors to Duong Lam, which, according to Son, was to finance the preservation and restoration of ancient houses in the village. But, owners say, they have yet to receive a cent.

“The management board promised that owners of ancient houses would receive part of the profits, but until now we have received nothing,” said Huyen.

Every day, families in the village who own ancient homes have to prepapre drinks and clean their houses to welcome tourists. But they have not yet been paid.

“In the long term, we residents cannot continue this without being paid. Authorities should consider us if they want to develop tourism in the area,” Huyen said. —

Nation’s outstanding women receive national recognition

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2008 at 11:24 am

HA NOI — Three female collectives and eight individuals were awarded the Viet Nam Women’s Prize 2008 – one of the country’s largest prizes for women, at a ceremony held in Ha Noi on Saturday on the occasion of the 78th founding anniversary of the Viet Nam Women’s Union.

At the award ceremony, certificates of merit were also presented to outstanding girl students, who ranked first at the recent university entrance examination, and those who made great contributions to the movement to help underprivileged women.

The three female units receiving the Viet Nam Women’s Prize 2008 come from the Centre for Hue Historical Relics Preservation, the HCM City Economics University, and the Police General Department.

The Viet Nam Women’s Prize Fund has so far awarded 19 collectives and 34 individuals, timely encouraging women’s initiatives and contributions to national development.

Addressing the ceremony, Truong Tan Sang, Politburo member and permanent member of the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee, highlighted Vietnamese women’s noble characters, which, he said, have been strongly promoted.

He praised women’s unity and active contributions to the country’s development in their capacity as leaders, managers, researchers and entrepreneurs.

The Party and State have always appreciated women’s great efforts and contributions to building happy families and nation, Sang said.

He also hailed the Viet Nam Women’s Union Central Committee for launching the movement to help underprivileged women, saying that humanitarian acts in the movement upheld the nation’s fine tradition of mutual assistance. —

NA brings forward draft laws on Biodiversity, High-Tech

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2008 at 11:24 am

HA NOI — The National Assembly discussed the draft Law on Biodiversity and another draft of the High-Tech Law on Saturday.

Most of the deputies said that the Law on Bio-diversity was necessary to preserve and develop bio-diversity, and identify the rights and duties of organisations, families and individuals.

Nguyen Dinh Quyen from Ha Noi said the draft law only regulates the responsibilities of organisations, households and individuals in the country, as well as overseas Vietnamese, foreign organisations and individuals relevant in preserving and developing bio-diversity in Viet Nam.

It did not refer to the responsibilities of the State. He said it was necessary to identify the State’s responsibilities first, then those of organisations and individuals.

Ha Thanh Toan from Can Tho City said the draft should be more specific to direct People’s Committees of communes to complete their tasks.

Ngo Van Minh from Quang Nam Province said it was necessary to make the terms of the document concrete, so that it would be implemented quickly.

Hoang Van Loi from Bac Giang Province said that many cases of wild animal trafficking were taking place with help by staff of preservation areas, and that the law needed to address this problem.

High-Tech Law

Regarding the draft High-Tech Law, most NA delegates said they agreed with it, and that it could be submitted for approval during this NA session.

They discussed some of the draft’s content including the State policy, development of human resources in relevant fields, application and development, and priority policies.

They said the State’s policies should affirm the key role of high-tech in building the country’s science and technology capability.

Nguyen Thi Mai from Ninh Thuan Province, Nguyen Minh Thuyet from Lang Son Province and some other delegates said that the draft still did not identify goals, tasks, specific measures, and responsibility of the State, organisations and individuals in developing technologies.

Mai said the draft law should establish priority policies to attract overseas Vietnamese to develop high-tech fields.

Today, the NA will continue to discuss the draft Law on Civil Servants, and the draft Law on Road Traffic. —