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Archive for March 13th, 2010|Daily archive page

A low cost tour? You can have it, but there are conditions…

In Vietnam Travel on March 13, 2010 at 4:40 am

A low cost tour? You can have it, but there are conditions…

QĐND – Friday, March 12, 2010, 20:27 (GMT+7)

There are many opportunities to enjoy attractive trips within Vietnam these days.  Travel firms offer a lot of low cost tours under tourism promotion programmes, but they come with strings attached.

Trip packages multiply

Discounted air tickets have been sold since March 1, 2010, competition that has helped create favourable conditions for travel firms to sell tours.

It is now the high season for domestic travel because people have the habit of attending spring festivals. The director of a travel firm in the north told VietNamNet that at the Yen Tu and Huong Pagodas, he heard a lot of people speaking with a southern accent.   

In fact, sensing substantial new demand for discount packages, travel firms in the north are scurrying to collect travelers and prepare more tour offerings. However, most of them say that they cannot organize low cost tours right in this month because of the limited time. It takes from one week to 15 days to confirm seats on flights alone. Tran Thanh Cong, Deputy Director of Hanoitourist, said that he will only be able to start providing low cost tours in early April at the soonest.

The He Tre Travel Firm, however, rolled out its first tours of the Lunar New Year by organizing tours for two groups of 15-18 people who travelled from HCM City to Hanoi and then to Ha Long Bay, Trang An and Sa Pa. On March 25, other lucky travelers could buy low cost tours from Hanoi to the Mekong Delta from the Vietnam Tourism and Sports Company.

The discounted tours are very attractive.  In-country travellers can now visit attractive destinations like Da Lat, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, the Mekong Delta, Da Nang, Hoi An, Sa Pa and Ha Long Bay for 25, 40 even 50 percent less than before.

Talking with VietNamNet, most travel firms said they hope for big growth in the number of domestic travelers in 2010.  Hanoitourist is planning to serve a thirty percent increase in demand. In the south, twenty travel firms have signed up as members of the “Domestic Travel Promotion Group,” which aim to sell 20,000 tour packages featuring low cost air fare, or forty percent more than in 2009.

A deputy group leader, Tran The Dung, said that the team is going to visit hotels, restaurants, attractions and entertainment places and bus companies in fifteen key cities and provinces, calling on them to agree to twenty to forty percent service fee reductions in order to lure more tourists.

Strict conditions

Travel firms all said that because the foundation of the the low cost tour packages is low cost air tickets, travelers must accept very strict conditions to take the tours.

For example, at Hanoitourist, clients need to provide the exact names of travelers 15 days in advance.  Tickets are issued 10 days before the departure time. Travelers must deposit of 50 percent of the tour value as soon as their seats are confirmed by the travel firm. Travel agents cannot cancel or change the flights if tickets are issued already.

Some other travel firms only quote the fees of the tours excluding airfare. Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh, Deputy Director of Vietnamtourism in Hanoi, explained that the total tour fee will be flexible depending on the airfare, which is decided by the time of booking. This means that if travelers book tours well in advance, they will be able to have cheap tours, while if they book tours just a few days before the departure time, they will have to accept higher prices.

Besides air carriers, Vietnam Rail has also joined the tourism promotion programme, announcing reductions of twenty to fifty percent on railway tickets for passengers between HCM City and Hue or Quy Nhon from March 15 to April 20 and from May 4 to May 31.  The fifty percent reduction is for passengers using the SH1 and SH2 trains (HCM City – Hue – HCM City) and AQN1 and AQN2 (HCM City – Quy Nhon – HCM City).

Source: VietnamNet

Source: QDND

Probe ordered for foreign investment in forestry and fishery

In Vietnam Economy on March 13, 2010 at 4:40 am

Probe ordered for foreign investment in forestry and fishery

QĐND – Friday, March 12, 2010, 20:27 (GMT+7)

PM Dung has instructed provincial People’s Committees not to issue new investment licences or sign land rent contracts with foreign investors before the mission has completed its task.  

Foreign-invested forestry and aqua culture projects have helped create jobs and increase worker income.

But several aqua cultural projects had failed to meet their approved schedule and had their licences revoked, the PM said.

Figures posted on the Government web site show that ten provinces have licensed foreign investors to grow forest on 305,353 ha.

Rented land accounted for 15,664ha while land allotted to joint venture between Vietnamese organisations, households and individuals and foreign investors totalled 18,160ha.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Eateries, housing encroach on railway easements

In Social life on March 13, 2010 at 4:39 am

Eateries, housing encroach on railway easements

QĐND – Friday, March 12, 2010, 20:27 (GMT+7)

The numerous houses, cafes, liquor stalls and other small businesses that litter both sides of railway easements are a major cause of traffic accidents and should be removed, warns Hanoi – Hai Phong Railway Management Company deputy director Nguyen Hoai Trung.

Much of the 120-km major railway tracks the company managed had been seriously encroached, especially in the city, he said.

The railway corridors in Dinh Cong, Kham Thien, Nha Dau and Phung Hung streets, Hanoi, as well as Nhu Quynh village, Hung Yen province, were usually covered with rubbish that obstructed the traffic.

Informing people about the danger would be a “must” for his company this year, he said.

Vietnam Railway Corporation surveys show suburban violations are the most serious danger.

For example, residents have illegally built 40 of 43 crossings of 2-km railway in the Co Nhue commune, Tu Liem district for temporary markets and traffic accidents are regularly occur there.

The survey reveals encroachment at 12,000 locations in 33 cities and provinces – 4,200 in Hanoi, Hai Phong and HCM City.

Road and Railway Traffic Police representative Dam Xuan Bo said encroachment into the corridors blocked people’s sight and caused railway accidents.

His department’s statistics showed that an average of about 150 railway accidents that cause tens of deaths and injuries were reported each month.

The statistics also reveal that signals were ignored in almost 80 percent of the accidents and 10 percent were the result of people walking, squatting or lying on the railway.

The other 10 percent were the result of people intentionally ducking under traffic barriers.

But Vietnam Railways figures reveal that 99 percent of accidents occur at illegal and unprotected barrier-less crossings.

These include Giap Bat-Van Dien-Thuong Tin in Hanoi ; My Ly-Quan Thanh-Ca Rom in the central province of Khanh Hoa and Bien Hoa-Ho Nai in the southern province of Dong Nai.

For example, 16 deaths in 13 accidents were reported from the 500m Van Dien-Thuong Tin railway track where 166 illegal railroad crossings were built in the past two years.

Vietnam Railways safety director Pham Van Binh said residents demolished special-built safety walls and built their own crossings, for easier access.

Vietnam Railways inspectors together with road and railway traffic police and other agencies have started a campaign to deal with the suburban encroachments.

Vietnam Railways Inspector Uong Dinh Hung said local officials had played an important part in identifying the violators and suggesting proper, stiff punishments.

Local officials would assess household encroachments and those without house ownership or land-use certificates would face fines in accordance with government regulations of between 3 million and 20 million VND, about 147-1,052 USD.

Measures to have legal documents clear the corridors would follow.

The hazardous Tia Market in Thuong Tin District, Thanh Tri District, Giai Phong, Phung Hung, Kham Thien streets, central Hanoi, and illegal crossings in the Phuong Liet and Trung Phung wards of Dong Da District as well as the Hanoi- Ngoc Hoi line would also be cleared.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Spectacular silk flowers add colour to fish street

In Social life on March 13, 2010 at 4:39 am

Spectacular silk flowers add colour to fish street

QĐND – Friday, March 12, 2010, 20:28 (GMT+7)

It has been nearly 50 years since Nguyen Mai Hanh cut her first petals, bent her first stems and painted her first fabrics. Now she’s one of the country’s most illustrious artisans.

While wafts of frying fish and dill are what lure most people to Cha Ca Street, downtown Ha Noi, others are drawn simply by the colours. The house at number 5 is full of them: they carpet the floor, climb the walls and hang from the ceiling.

The delicate, larger-than-life silk flowers that inhabit the house are made by the hands of 59-year-old Hanh, also known as the “uncrowned queen of silk flowers”.

Virtually any time of day finds Hanh immersed in a bed of petals, leaves and stems, surrounded by a gaggle of teenage girl apprentices.

Hanh who was born and educated in a well-to-do family, was convinced to pursue a “feminine occupation”. She tried her hand at drawing. But her teacher advised her against pursuing a career in fine art, saying there were already too many trying to make it as painters. What the country needed, he said, were craftswomen.

Hanh took his advice, and began learning the trade that her mother, Doan Thi Thai, had practised for years.

Hanh’s was wounded in a US bombing raid on Ha Noi. During the time she lay on bed for treatment, Thai taught her to make her first petals.

“Since then, I became fascinated by silk flowers,” Hanh says.

She worked hard learning to create silk flowers, unearthing a natural talent for the work. By 1986, the Government had recognised her as an official Silk Flower Craftswoman at the age 35.

Today, Hanh is known throughout Viet Nam, and her work is coveted by tourists, locals and hotels and restaurants here and abroad.

While silk flowers are produced more cheaply in factories in China and Japan, what sets Hanh’s apart is her use of fine materials – silks and satins from Van Phuc Village, on the outskirts Ha Noi – and original designs. And every centimetre, from the stem to the petal, is hand-made.

“Many others base their designs on silk flower catalogues,” Hanh said. “I usually use real flowers as models. The trick is not to make fake flowers look too beautiful.”

“I want them to mimic nature, so I create ragged edges and faded colours, the way they might appear if they had actually come out of the ground.”

But no matter how life-like the blooms are, one factor will always distinguish them from the original: Hanh guarantees her flowers will continue to look freshly plucked for 10 to 15 years, even if they are washed regularly.

And Hanh’s fame just can’t seem to stop growing. She is proud of opportunities to bring silk flowers and teach the trade in France, Russia, Japan, Thailand, Singapore and South Korea.

Once when she introduced her products on the occasion of Ha Noi Cultural Day in Toulouse, France in 2007, many visitors came to her stall but they didn’t believe that her flowers were hand-made. She gave a demonstration of her skills and wowed observers.

“Some people asked to kiss my hands when they witnessed the flowers being shaped,” she says.

Hanh has taught her silk flower-making secrets to domestic and foreign students alike in recent years. She stills remembers a French girl. After several years studying, she came back to her country and opened classes to teach others to make Vietnamese flowers.

“When she married, she made herself a garland of silk flowers and sent me her photos wearing it as a thank-you to me,” Hanh says.

Hanh has been busier than ever of late, working around the clock to ensure visitors to the rapidly approaching 1,000th anniversary of Ha Noi had a chance to catch the scent of Viet Nam’s most celebrated silk florist.

“I will prepare carefully for the anniversary and be ready for whatever the Viet Nam Folklore Association requests,” Hanh says.

Source: VietNamNet/Viet Nam News


Source: QDND

New birth control regulations issued

In policies on March 13, 2010 at 4:39 am

New birth control regulations issued

QĐND – Friday, March 12, 2010, 20:27 (GMT+7)

New regulations on birth control amending the Population Ordinance issued by the Government on March 8 will permit seven cases of family circumstance to have three children as opposed to the previous quota of two.

Couples who give birth to triplets, that have a child and give birth to two or more babies during the second birth and those who give birth to a third child after a previous child died or was put up for adoption, will be exempt from birth control penalties.

Those whose one or two children are confirmed by local or central medical examination councils to be disabled or suffer from nonhereditary fatal illnesses will also be permitted to a third baby. The Ministry of Health has issued a list of fatal cases that will be affected by the new decree.

Ethnic groups with a population of less than 10,000 or with a birth rate lower or equal to their death rate will be allowed to have three children. The Government has asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to publicise the name of those ethnic groups.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

US$66 million to regulate traffic in Hanoi

In Politics-Society on March 13, 2010 at 4:38 am

US$66 million to regulate traffic in Hanoi

QĐND – Friday, March 12, 2010, 20:27 (GMT+7)

Around US$66 million (VND1,213 billion) will be invested in generating more traffic in Hanoi in the 2011-2015 period.

The information was released at a seminar in Hanoi on March 11 to discuss a human resource development project for traffic in the city.

Of the sum, around VND440 billion will be used to upgrade 75 places, which often experience traffic jams and 117 others where accidents are likely to occur.

Hanoi’s action plan for the next five years will be ensure the harmonious flow of traffic and reduce traffic accidents and fatalities by 7 percent compared to previous years.

The seminar was jointly organised by the Japan International Co-operation Agency and the City authorities.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Former Party leader honoured with 60-year Party insignia

In Politics-Society on March 13, 2010 at 4:38 am

Former Party leader honoured with 60-year Party insignia

QĐND – Friday, March 12, 2010, 20:33 (GMT+7)

The Party Committee of the Vietnam People’s Army Political General Department presented a 60-year Party membership insignia to former Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu in recognition of his contributions to the Party’s revolutionary cause in Hanoi on March 11.

Addressing the ceremony, deputy head of the Political General Department, Senior Lieutenant General Bui Van Huan said: “Over the past 60 years holding different positions of the Party, Mr Phieu has represented the moral quality, modest and sincere lifestyle and the strong spirit of criticism and self-criticism.”

When he was the head of the Political General Department, Mr Phieu had built up a pure and strong Army’s Party Committee. He has been presented with many noble Orders, Medals and Insignias.

Former Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu said over the past 80 years of his life and 60 years of Party membership, he has always tried his best to fulfil all the tasks assigned by the Party and the State. Also on the occasion, he asked all Party members in the army in particular and in the country in general should unceasingly strive to study and follow Ho Chi Minh’s moral examples and struggle for the comprehensive victory of socialism and communism.

Source: Nhan Dan

Source: QDND

First “Made In Vietnam” English teaching device introduced

In Politics-Society on March 13, 2010 at 4:38 am

First “Made In Vietnam” English teaching device introduced

QĐND – Friday, March 12, 2010, 20:33 (GMT+7)

“IOPT – Home Teacher” is the first English teaching device invented and made in Vietnam.

The device is about the size of four ball-point pens but stores a huge database of English, including pronunciation by native speakers.

“IOPT – Home Teacher” not only allows users to translate sentences in textbooks into English but also helps them to score marks in pronunciation.

The inventor, PhD Doan Ha Thang, Vice Director of the Environmental Physics Centre, under the Physics Institute of the Vietnam Institute of Science and Technology, said that the device is the latest invention of this kind in the world, patented by Japan and Vietnam.  

The Education Publishing House had published a series of English textbooks for secondary school students to use “IOPT – Home Teacher”, he added.

Source: Vnexpress

Translated by Hoang Anh

Source: QDND

An information center on tortoises opened in Cuc Phuong National Park

In Politics-Society on March 13, 2010 at 4:37 am

An information center on tortoises opened in Cuc Phuong National Park

QĐND – Friday, March 12, 2010, 20:33 (GMT+7)

The CucPhuongNational Park has recently unveiled an information center on tortoises, the first of its kind in the region, with an aim to protect Vietnam’s land and freshwater tortoises.

On display at the Center for Tourists, located in the tortoise preservation center, are introduction boards, pools for freshwater tortoises, incubation rooms, spaces for off-springs, tent models and trails for hunters.

As Tim Mac Commack from the Asia Tortoise Preservation Programme said, Vietnam is one of the important hot spots on tortoise diversity in Asia. There are 25 land and 5 freshwater tortoise species in Vietnam, home of two unique tortoise species in Central Vietnam and in the SwordLake in Hanoi.

The fact is that Vietnam has seen a dramatic decline in wild tortoise due to tortoise trafficking to China over the past 15 years.

According to several studies by international scientists, no wild tortoises in Central Vietnam were seen, while there remain four SwordLake tortoises in the world.

Source: TP

Translated by Mai Huong

Source: QDND

Billions of VND invested in schools in Quang Ngai

In Politics-Society on March 13, 2010 at 4:37 am

Billions of VND invested in schools in Quang Ngai

QĐND – Friday, March 12, 2010, 20:34 (GMT+7)

PANO – QuangNgaiProvince has built 654 classrooms and 132 rooms for teachers in the last two years.

The construction followed the provincial programme to concretize classrooms and hostels for teachers.

In 2009, the province built 342 classrooms and 132 rooms for teachers with a total investment of VND 90.487 billions.

Officials said 2010’s investment for such projects will be VND 186.517 billion. In addition to ongoing projects, the money is to erect 752 more new classrooms and 186 rooms for teachers.

Translated: Thu Nguyen – Phuong Linh

Source: QDND