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Archive for December 21st, 2009|Daily archive page

Cold snap kills over 200 cattle

In Vietnam Weather on December 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm








Some 200 cattle die in the cold front sweeping the north and central Vietnam (Photo: Hai Son)

A cold front in the north and central regions is forecast to last two more days, said the national weather bureau on December 20.


The four-day cold front with temperatures from 11-15 degrees Celsius has driven most people indoors. Some mountainous areas have seen temperatures as low as six degrees Celsius.


The cold snap has killed some 200 cattle, of which 140 were calves and young buffaloes, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.


Most of the animals were reported to have died in the mountainous northern province of Ha Giang, Lao Cai and Yen Bai.


More cattle and poultry were also reported to have died from the cold in the central provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Quang Binh. 


The ministry urged residents to make fires to keep cattle warm, feed them well, and not allow them to roam free. Vegetables and crops have also been hard-hit by the cold weather, according to the ministry.


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Hospital overcrowding jeopardizes lives

In Vietnam Health on December 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Vietnamese citizens say they are weary of long line-ups and treatment delays at the country’s hospitals. In many healthcare centers, patients are forced to share a bed with two or three other people and face postponement of urgently needed care.


Hospital managers say that overcrowded medical clinics puts patients at risk, but feel they are helpless to change the situation.








Parents and their children resort to resting on cots along the overcrowded corridors at Children Hospital II in Ho Chi Minh City ( Photo: SGGP)

Sixty-three-year-old patient Ms. Dang Huu Vinh said she had been badly bitten by mosquitoes while sleeping on a cot outside a room in the General Division of Phu Nhuan Hospital.


She needed to be hospitalized for high blood pressure but there were no more beds available in the department. She had no choice but to sleep in the hallway at night.


Hundreds of critically ill patients wait their turn to see doctors at the Phu Nhuan Hospital. Ms. Tran Thi Thuy said she had to take a number and wait three hours to a see doctor.


Patients at HCMC’s Binh Thanh hospital, meanwhile, regularly wait similar periods to receive X-rays, tests and pharmaceuticals.


In the wake of new health insurance laws stipulating that people must seek medical treatment at their local infirmaries, small clinics are under high pressure. In addition, due to a severe shortage of facilities, personnel and equipment, most clinics cannot cope with the pressure.
 
Now that several of HCMC’s district medical centers have been upgraded to hospitals, they receive about 300-500 most days and up to 1,000 patients on Mondays and Tuesdays.  In the upgraded central hospitals, the number of patients has swelled twofold. 


The situation is worst at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City where patients can wait up to two days for critical surgery. The delays are alarming but unavoidable due to the sheer volume of patients.


Cho Ray has increased its number of beds from 1,300 to 1,800, yet it can still only meet 50 percent of checkup and treatment demand. It is not uncommon to see the ill and their relatives sleeping on makeshift mattresses in all nooks and crannies of the hospital as they wait for treatment.


The Ho Chi Minh City-based Tumor Hospital has had to resort to lining the corridors with rows of beds and converting all rooms into treatment areas. It has recently seen an influx of around 1,700 in-patients and 8,000 outpatients a week.


The Trauma and Orthopedics Hospital, Children Hospital I, People Hospital 115 and other public hospitals face similar situations.


Dr. Le Hoang Minh, director of the Tumor Hospital in the city’s Binh Thanh District, said; “When hospitals operate at full or overloaded capacity, serious problems can arise. The treatment quality and the supply of valuable resources, like beds and staff time shrink.”


Hospital overcrowding is also a safety issue, he said, when patients experience long delays in care, it can lead to increased treatment charges.


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Dak Lak pays tribute to elephant hunters

In Vietnam Culture on December 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm

The Central Highlands province of Dak Lak December 19 paid homage to the practice of elephant hunting by local ethnic people in Krong Ana Commune, Buon Don District.








A performance of hunting elephants during Dak Lak Province’s tourism and culture week December 16-20 (Photo: SGGP)

The event was part of the Buon Ma Thuot-Dak Lak Culture and Tourism Week, hosted by the province from December 16-20.


Tourists and locals watched December 19 as 31 hunters rode 15 tamed elephants to catch a wild elephant.


The father of elephant hunting is N’Thu K’Nul from Laos, who was born in 1928.


He was also the founder of Ban Don, a famous area of Buon Don District with a long tradition of hunting and taming elephants.


He captured hundreds of elephants including a rare white elephant, which he presented to Thai royalty in 1861.


The King of Thailand at the time conferred him the title of “Khunjunob,” meaning “elephant hunting king.”

Related article:
Highlands tourism week celebrates elephants


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Tien Giang prepares over 700,000 flower pots

In Vietnam Culture on December 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm

My Tho flower village in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang has prepared 700,000 flower pots for the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday in February.








A farmer in My Tho town, Tien Giang Province waters his daisy plants (Photo: SGGP)

The number is 110,000 higher than last year.


The My Tho flower village is located in wards 8 and 9 and two suburban communes of My Phong and Tan My Chanh in My Tho town.


Besides traditional flowers like chrysanthemums, marigolds and apricot blossoms, farmers have also prepared other types of flowers like hyacinths and hydrangeas.


In My Tho town alone, around 50 households have hired more than 60 hectares of land to grow flowers for Tet.


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Children’s book, medical text win gold at Vietnam Book Awards

In Vietnam Culture on December 21, 2009 at 4:05 pm

A children’s story by Nguyen Nhat Anh titled Cho toi xin mot ve di tuoi tho (Give Me a Ticket to Childhood), and a medical text by Pham Nguyen Vinh titled Pathology of Cardiovascular Diseases, have won gold prizes at the Vietnam Book Awards 2009.








Children story titled Cho toi xin mot ve di tuoi tho (Give me a ticket to childhood) by Nguyen Nhat Anh

Mr. Anh’s book was published by the Youth Publishing House while Vinh’s text was published by the Medical Publishing House.


Three gold prizes for well-printed books also went to publishing houses including the Art Publishing House for Vietnamese Graphic Artists Awarded Ho Chi Minh Prize, the Kim Dong Publishing House for Folk Songs and Proverbs in Photos, and the Phuong Dong Publishing House for Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
 
An ambitious book titled Tong tap nghin nam van hien Thang Long (The Thousand Year Thang Long Collection) of the Culture and Information Publishing House took home the Special Prize.


The organization board of the annual event, the Vietnam Publishing Association, chose to award 38 outstanding authors and 36 books printed by 34 publishing houses in the country.


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Tickets for sci-fi blockbuster “Avatar” sell out

In Vietnam Culture on December 21, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Tickets for the 3D version of the science fiction film ”Avatar” written and directed by James Cameron were fully booked for the premiere in Vietnam on December 18, said ticket office staff at Megastar cinemas in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.








                   A scene in the “Avatar”

Costing VND80,000-100,000 (US$4-6), the 3D tickets have sold out for screenings in Vietnam from now until December 29. Cinemas now have tickets left for 2D showings only.


Megastar Cineplex says it hopes to earn US$1 million from box office sales nationwide.


The film produced by Lightstorm Entertainment and distributed by 20th Century Fox cost US$250 million to make.


“Avatar” is Oscar-winning director Cameron’s first dramatic feature since the record-breaking “Titanic” back in 1997. The new film is a science-fiction fantasy set on a verdant planet called Pandora and follows the adventures of a US Marine played by Sam Worthington.

The famously perfectionist director first came up with the concept for “Avatar” 14 years ago but decided not to make the film until technology was advanced enough to enable with his vision.

At once stunning and rousing, the picture is regarded as the most ambitious 3D film ever to appeal to a worldwide audience.


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Nghe An singer wins music contest

In Vietnam Culture on December 21, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Bui Le Man of Nghe An Province won the first prize in the “Folk songs” category at the Sao Mai Diem Hen (Morning Star Rendezvous) music contest on December 20. The event took place at Sao Mai Theater in Tuy Hoa City, the central province of Phu Yen.








                                Bui Le Man (photo:TTO)

Ms. Man also took home the “Most Favorite Singer” award chosen by the audience.


Le Xuan Hao of the northern province of Thai Binh won the first prize in the “Chamber music” category. Two second-place honors went to Nguyen Trung Nhat of Ho Chi Minh City and Tran Thi Hong Nhung of the northern province of Bac Ninh.


In the “Pop music” category, Ha Thi Hoai Thu of the northern province of Quang Ninh took first place. Two second-place awards were given to Le Thi My Nhu of Phu Yen Province and Luong Viet Quang of HCMC.


Established in 2004, the Sao Mai Diem Hen music contest organized by Viet Nam Television is regarded as one of the most prestigious national music contests. It is an occasion for young singers to demonstrate their talent in the fields of folk-song, opera, pop, and rock.


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Highlands tourism, culture week wraps up

In Vietnam Culture on December 21, 2009 at 4:04 pm

The weeklong “Legend of the Central Highlands Elephant” tourism and culture festival ended December 20 in Buon Ma Thuot City Square in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.








The closing ceremony of tourism and culture week is held in Buon Ma Thuot City, Dak Lak Province on December 20.

The closing ceremony of the festival featured songs praising the vital and imposing Highlands area, Buon Ma Thuot‘s achievements, the region’s tourism potential, and its socio-economic development.

The ceremony also expressed hope that the city will become an economic and cultural hub of the Highlands.


On stage were hundreds of artists and gong troupes of ethnic minorities including the Ede, Gia Rai, and M’nong among others.


The week featured a series of cultural activities including a photo exhibition, fire festival, street fair, wood carving contest, food and trade fair, and folk games and music.


Highlights of the event were sports activities such as swimming, racing and hunting with 20 elephants in Buon Don District.


The tourism and culture week also aimed to raise awareness of the importance of preserving cultural values and festivals of ethnic groups in the Highlands area. In particular, its long-standing gong tradition has been recognized by UNESCO as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.


Related article:

Food, fun and elephants at Highlands culture fest
Highlands tourism week celebrates elephants


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S.Korea mulls providing more aid to N.Korea

In World on December 21, 2009 at 4:04 pm

SEOUL, Dec 21, 2009 (AFP) – South Korea said Monday it may provide more aid to impoverished North Korea following last week’s shipment of swine flu medication, in a new sign of cross-border reconciliation.


“We are considering funding assistance projects by several international organisations for North Korean infants and children,” unification ministry spokesman Chun Hae-Sung told a briefing.


The spokesman did not elaborate, saying the issue is still being reviewed.


Seoul’s Yonhap news agency, citing a government source, said the aid worth billions of won (millions of dollars) would be channeled through the United Nations Children’s Fund and other bodies.


South Korea on Friday shipped Tamiflu and Relenza worth 15 million dollars — enough to treat 500,000 people — to North Korea in the first direct government aid for nearly two years.


The shipment followed North Korea’s report of nine cases of the (A)H1N1 virus, amid fears that the disease may spread fast because of poor health conditions and malnutrition.


It was the first direct aid to Pyongyang from Seoul’s conservative government since it took office in February 2008. President Lee Myung-Bak linked major assistance to progress in nuclear disarmament, a stance which enraged the communist North.


North Korea in recent months has been trying to improve relations with South Korea and its ally the United States.


US envoy Stephen Bosworth visited Pyongyang earlier this month for talks aimed at bringing it back to nuclear disarmament negotiations.


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France’s Safran to sign major deal to equip Chinese jet

In World on December 21, 2009 at 4:04 pm









BEIJING, Dec 21, 2009 (AFP) – French aerospace and defence industries group Safran on Monday will sign a five-billion-dollar contract to provide engines for China’s first large passenger jet, chief executive Jean-Paul Herteman said.


The C919 — built by state-linked Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) and due to be ready for service in about 2016, according to state media — is seen as a future competitor to the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737.


“This is a significant contract — the launch of a new aircraft only happens once every 10 or 15 years,” Herteman told reporters.


The contract was due to be signed later Monday during an official visit to China by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.


The C919 — which would have a maximum of 190 seats — will be equipped with Leap X engines, the latest developed by Safran in concert with its joint venture partner, US conglomerate General Electric.


The French group and the US giant, which operate as CFM International, have been partners since 1974, and count Airbus and Boeing among their clients.


The joint venture will also provide nacelles — the covers housing the engines — for the C919


Herteman said the value of the contract over 30 years could total 15 billion dollars. The deal would create 8,000-10,000 direct jobs in France, and three to four times that number for various subcontractors.


The partners are looking into the viability of establishing an assembly line facility in China, he said.


“The Chinese market will represent 20 percent of the global aviation market in the next 20 years,” Herteman said.


COMAC was set up last year, tasked with developing a large aircraft that could compete with planes produced by industry leaders Airbus and Boeing, thus making China a player on the global stage.


Chinese media reports have estimated that the country’s airlines will need a total of 1,600 new passenger jets by 2020 and 3,000 by 2050.


COMAC already markets the ARJ21, China’s first 90-seat regional jet.


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