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Archive for June 21st, 2010|Daily archive page

Tourism program launched in the northern provinces

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Tourism program launched in the northern provinces

QĐND – Monday, June 21, 2010, 22:17 (GMT+7)

The Bac Ha Culture and Tourism Week Open 2010, a special tourism program, has been launched in Bac Ha town in the northern mountain province of Lao Cai.

At the event, more than 60 horses took part in an interesting horse race at the town’s stadium.

The race, a traditional event in the mountainous area, drew the participation of thousands of domestic and foreign visitors, as well as local residents.

Earlier, a giant Thang Co pan, weighing 1.5 tonnes and measures 3 meters in diameter and 1 meter deep, was made to serve visitors. 500 kg of horse meat was cooked in the pan, considered to be the biggest Thang Co pan in Vietnam. Thus making it a Guiness record.

Thang Co is a special dish made from horse meat and several other ingredients and is presented at Hmong festivals.

During the event, many other cultural and art performances along with and traditional games were held.

Source: Ha Noi Moi

Translated by Duy Minh

Source: QDND

US$ 600 million to upgrade towns in Mekong Delta

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 4:44 pm

US$ 600 million to upgrade towns in Mekong Delta

QĐND – Monday, June 21, 2010, 22:17 (GMT+7)

A seminar to discuss the detailed plans for a project to upgrade towns in the Mekong Delta was recently held in Can Tho by the Ministry of Construction and the World Bank.

According to local officials, the project lies within the programme to draw up the National Town Upgrading Strategy and Comprehensive Investment Plan for Upgrading Urban Areas toward 2020, which aims to improve the living conditions of the local people living along the Mekong Delta.

Urban planners said that the project, expected to absorb some US$ 600 million, including US$ 455 million of the World Bank’s ODA, will be carried out in 6 cities and towns; namely Can Tho, My Tho, Ca Mau, Cao Lanh, Rach Gia and Tra Vinh.

Under the schedule, the project pre-feasibility study will be finished by the end of 2010. The project will be passed in June 2011 and the signing of funding pacts will be done by September 2011. The project will be then be approved in December 2011 and eventually start in January 2012.

Source: DDDN

Translated by Thu Nguyen

Source: QDND

After rocky spell, dong/dollar establish stable relationship

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 4:43 pm

After rocky spell, dong/dollar establish stable relationship

QĐND – Monday, June 21, 2010, 22:26 (GMT+7)

SBV has confounded critics who said Vietnam’s currency was getting out of control.

The State Bank (SBV) has succeeded in stabilizing the interbank exchange rate at 18,544 dong per dollar, while purchasing dollars to build up reserves.

SBV has reported that in the first quarter of 2010, Vietnam’s foreign currency reserves increased by two billion dollars.  Meanwhile, the World Bank forecasts that reserves may reach $17.5 billion by the end of 2010 after dipping to $15.2 billion late last year.

Foreign currency supply and demand have been in balance and liquidity high.  Banks are able to manage their foreign currency positions themselves without buying dollars, yen and euros from the State Bank. Export companies, which have earnings in foreign currencies, now sell their foreign currencies to banks instead of hoarding dollars, as was common several months ago. From mid-April to mid-May, the State Bank purchased $1 billion from banks.

The dong/dollar exchange rate quoted by commercial banks is now sometimes lower than SBV’s ceiling level (the interbank exchange rate plus three percent). On June 15, commercial banks were trading dong for dollars at 18,945-18,990 to $1.  The exchange rate on the curb market has sometimes been even lower than the rates quoted by commercial banks, something that’s rarely seen. In mid-June, the curb rate was 19,010 dong to the dollar.

With the dong/dollar exchange rate has been stable, enterprises have lost interest in speculating against the dong, and individuals are less apt to buy dollars to keep under their pillows.  Thus dollar deposits at banks have increased more slowly than dong deposits.

According to SBV, dong balances held by clients of credit institutions increased by 2.89 percent in May, and foreign currency deposits by 1.19 percent.

Meanwhile, the demand for loans in foreign currencies has increased rapidly. SBV says outstanding loans rose 1.86 percent in May – dong credit was up 1.53 percent, while foreign currency credit was up 3.16 percent.  That’s considered to reflect a preference for the lower interest rates still in effect on foreign currency loans now that fears of further dong devaluation have eased.

Foreign currency loans typically bear somewhat lower interest rates lower than  dong loans.  In the recent past, however, businesses did not dare to borrow in dollar because they feared they’d have to repay in more expensive foreign currencies.

If the current rapid increase of the loans in foreign currencies continues, an imbalance of the foreign currency supply and demand could emerge by the end of 2010.

Le Xuan Nghia, Deputy Chairman of the National Finance Supervision Council, points out that most of the foreign currency loans are short term loans due in less than one year). Do Minh Toan of ACB Bank says many, mostly with 6-9 month terms, will come due in September and October. Pham Hong Hai of HSBC predicts a dollars squeeze then, because businesses will be hunting for dollars to pay debts back to banks.

There’s a cyclical factor, too.  The demand for dollars always increases sharply in the last months of years because businesses need dollars to import goods. In September and October of 2009, businesses in HCM City alone spent $3 billion to import goods.

Source: VNN

Source: QDND

As world prices peak, Vietnam runs out of shrimp to sell

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 4:37 pm

As world prices peak, Vietnam runs out of shrimp to sell

QĐND – Monday, June 21, 2010, 22:26 (GMT+7)

Shrimp prices have spiked since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but Mekong Delta production is at a cyclical low.

CEO Le Van Quang of Minh Phu Seafood Company says there’s been a surge in demand by US shrimp importers since the oil spill disaster cratered Gulf of Mexico production.  Prices offered for black tiger shrimp have reached $13 per kilo, an increase of 30 percent over 2009 levels and the highest price seen in ten years.

Hot weather and decreased production in competing countries are also pushing  prices up.  An epidemic has killed 80 percent of Indonesia’s farmed shrimp, and 20 percent in Thailand and Malaysia.  Production is down in India and Bangladesh too.

A golden opportunity missed

Seafood companies say that they are missing fat profits because demand has outstripped supply.  Lam Ngoc Khuan at Phuong Nam Seafood Processing Company (Soc Trang) says that foreign partners are eager to place orders, but the company dares not sign new contracts.

Khuan says his company is scouring Ca Mau and Bac Lieu province for more shrimp.  It has only been able to buy 40 tonnes per day, though the factory can process and pack 120 tonnes per day.

Other Mekong Delta companies such as Fimex Vietnam,  Stapimex, Kim Anh, Thai Tan and Ut Xi tell the same story: there’s only enough shrimp for them to run at 20-30 percent of the capacity.

Ta Minh Phu, Deputy Director of the Bac Lieu province’s Department for Agriculture and Rural Development, says that hectarage devoted to shrimp aquaculture has been reduced in the last few years because prices were depressed below the cost of production for many farmers.  Now they do not have capital to resume farming, and banks are reluctant to provide loans.

Mekong delta production is expected to rebound from September 2010.

Source: VNN

Source: QDND

The “dioxide reporter”

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 4:37 pm

The “dioxide reporter”

QĐND – Monday, June 21, 2010, 22:18 (GMT+7)

Nguyen Son Lam has been nicknamed “dioxide reporter”, by his colleagues. Despite being serious disadvantaged, he has done his best to develop his passion for football as a sports reporter.

During these days, although Lam is fully occupied with writing about the World Cup, he still spent sometime with us talking about his life.

On wooden crutches

It’s not easy to get to Lam’s house at the end of Thai Thinh alley in Hanoi as the road runs narrow in a series of zigzags.

Now is 28 years old, Lam is just 80 cm tall and weighs and 25 kg, He said his father had been poisoned by dioxide during the US war in Vietnam. He told us he currently works for the Vietnamnet online newspaper as a sports reporter.

In his 20m2 room, there are three colourful balls, the match schedules of famous championships like the Premier League in England, Series A in Italy and the Primera Liga in Spain, photos of football legends, and posters of his favourite clubs.

To start with, we asked him about football reporting, Lam said even though he could never play football as other people, it did not prevent him from becoming a professional sports reporter for a reputable newspaper.

Lam is now busy writing a 200-page book entitled “the world’s famous football clubs” which is scheduled to be finished in a month and come out in September.

An iron will…

Born in Uong Bi City in Quang Ninh province, Lam is not as fortunate as other children. He suffers from osteomalacia, while one of his three brothers has meningitis. When seeing his disabled children, his father sometimes withdraws into himself and the entire burden is placed on his mother.

Lam is also worried about this. However, his love for football has helped him overcome his depression. During childhood he often played football in his wooden crutches with the neighbouring kids and regularly went to school with them where he had the chance to excel himself.

Lam’s determination became stronger when his father died in 1996. He thought that the only way to have a better life was to study.

Lam said he had been very disappointed about his failure at the first university examination but still decided to continue with his dream. He later succeeded in becoming a student at the Hanoi University of Foreign Studies.

… and a great passion

Proficient in English, French, and Japanese, Lam received job offers from many translation companies. But with his passion for sports he finally decided to work for the Vietnamnet online newspaper.

Because of the difference in the time zone between Vietnam and Europe, he usually has to work at night to report on the football matches. Right after getting home, he continues to translate some of the latest news for the next day.

One of his idols is a disabled Japanese named Otokate who has become an outstanding sports reporter despite losing all four limbs.

When we were saying goodbye, Lam said that although he is given some privileges, he does not want to rely too much on others.

“I want to work hard to support myself and also to show my deep gratitude to those who have helped me over the long years,” he said.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

‘Star schools’ fail normal kids

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm

‘Star schools’ fail normal kids

QĐND – Monday, June 21, 2010, 22:18 (GMT+7)

In big cities, parents dream of being able to enroll their children in prestigious public schools. However, many of them have learned that often enough, prestige is not the same thing as excellence, according to Dan Tri, a newspaper that specializes in covering the education sector.

Mai’s son is a first grader in a prestigious public school in Da Nang City.  She was surprised to learn that there are 55 students in the boy’s class. “With such a high number of students, I wonder if the teachers have enough time to take care of all of them,” she asks.

Because the schools that are considered ‘star schools’ are so popular, small (20 to 30 student) classes are just . . . a dream.

In Hanoi, Nguyen Du and Thang Long primary schools are well known.  However, like many other ‘star schools,’ Nguyen Du and Thang Long seem overcrowded.  Local residents regularly see hundreds of students walking home at break time to take a nap.  It is because the schools do not have enough seats for all students to take a rest

Students of the Thang Long Primary School, for example, are now spread over four buildings on Ngo Tram, Hang Bong, Nguyen Quang Bich and Ly Thai To streets.  Meanwhile, students of the Nguyen Du-Trung Vuong School cannot play at break time because there is no playing field.

Students of many ‘star schools’ learn in cramped classrooms, which, it turns out, are not classrooms at all, but just rooms rented by local homeowners.  Many parents are concerned that their children have to learn in such bad conditions. However, they still want their children to study at these schools.  They believe that their children will get the best education there, where the best teachers work.

What is taught at ‘star’ schools?

Many parents complain that their children have to study too hard at ‘star schools.’

Dao Nga, a military physician in Hai Duong City, says that students have to learn very intensively at the top schools. Her son is burdened with a lot of homework every day. Students not only to do all the exercises shown in textbooks, but they are also assigned more difficult exercises as well

As Nga’s son is good at mathematics, the boy was selected for the school’s competition team. The boy trains regularly for the competitions for excellent students at district and city’s levels.  “After every competition, he is worn out and has lost weight,” Nga complains.

Minh, in Hoan Kiem District in Hanoi, says that she never imagined that students of ‘star schools’ would have to study so hard.  She relates that a year ago, she felt fortunate to bring her daughter to a class taught by a famous teacher, a person who’d been awarded the title ‘excellent teacher at the national level.’

Minh said that there are 20 students more than in a normal class at her daughter’s school, because every parent wants their child to study with ‘excellent’ teachers.

Before Minh’s daughter entered the first grade, she could spell simple words.  Even so, she could not catch up with her classmates, who could read and calculate already. The girl has become afraid of learning and she does not want to go to school.

After such experiences, many parents decide to transfer their children to normal schools, because they realize that prestigious schools are not always the best schools for their children.

Source: Dan tri

Source: QDND

New home costs beyond reach of Hochiminions

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm

New home costs beyond reach of Hochiminions

QĐND – Monday, June 21, 2010, 22:26 (GMT+7)

Houses and apartments in Ho Chi Minh City have become so expensive that people must scrimp and save for ten years to afford them, according to Saigon Tiep Thi newspaper.

Nguyen Hoang Hai is a communication worker for a foreign company in HCM City.  Though the young native of Ben Tre earns seven million dong a month, he can’t yet afford to buy a house for himself in the southern metropolis.

Hai can save two million dong a month ($105) after covering his basic needs, but an apartment costs nearly one billion dong ($19,000).  Hai calculates that after 10 years, if he does not have to spend money on healthcare, does not get married, gets promoted every year, and apartment prices don’t change, he can buy a home.

Tran Hung, 31, relates that he and his wife live in a rented flat because he cannot buy one.  The couple has savings of 300 million dong and have dreamed of having an apartment of his own. However, the cheapest apartment that Hung’s been shown, a 22 square meter flat in Binh Tan district, was priced at 500 million dong.  For now, Hung and his wife have decided to rent an apartment for three million dong a month.

Hung learned that the apartments with an area of up to 100 square metre now are being offered at 16-17 million dong per square metre. “At such prices, owing an apartment is just a dream for us,” Hung said

Director Tran Quang Tuan of Minh Khoa Construction Company says those who have just graduated from university don’t have incomes sufficient to buy houses or apartments in big cities.  Most new graduates earn three to four million dong a month, but apartments are priced from 600 million to 1.5 billion dong.

Even people who have a monthly income of five to ten million dong, still find it difficult to buy houses.  Few are able to borrow, because the banks set high ‘free cash’ requirements on those who seek to finance purchase of a house or apartment.  After the banks deduct the cost of meals, electricity and water, internet service, money sent ‘home’ to parents and income tax, few can qualify.

Yearly per capita income in HCM City in 2009 was over 40 million dong ($2100), or more than  twice the national average.  According to the Ministry of Construction, a 50 square metre low cost apartment now costs between 500-600 million dong. This means that only people with average income who abstains from eating or drinking for 10 years can save enough to buy a home in HCM City.

Many apartment projects in the city’s suburbs are introduced as ‘having soft prices’. However, even these ‘low cost apartments’ typically bear prices in the ten to fifteen million dong per square metre range.  At the Le Thanh project apartments in Binh Tan district, for example, prices are set at ten to eleven million dong per square metre. ‘E-Home’ project flats in district 9 are offered at 11.8 million dong per square metre.

Source: Saigon tiep thi

Source: QDND

Japan, France commit US$134 million for fighting climate change in Vietnam

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Japan, France commit US$134 million for fighting climate change in Vietnam

QĐND – Monday, June 21, 2010, 22:26 (GMT+7)

As 22 million people in Vietnam may lose their home because of climate change, Japan and France have formed a foundation to help Vietnam prevent this danger.

On June 18, the Ministry of Finance, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the French Development Agency (AFD) Vietnam signed agreements for the “Support Programme to Respond to Climate Change” in Hanoi. Under the agreements, Japan contributes 10 billion Japanese Yen (US$110 million) and France contributes 20 million euros ($24 million).

The “Support Programme to Respond to Climate Change” is a Japan-initiated programme to support developing countries to tackle climate change, which is posing serious threat to many countries including Vietnam.

According to UNDP’s Human Development Report 2007/2008, under the 1-metre sea level rise scenario, about 22 million people or a quarter of the Vietnam’s population will have to be resettled and much of the agricultural land will be exposed to extreme salinisation and crop damaging due to flooding in the Mekong Delta.

To deal with these challenges, the Vietnamese Government ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol in 1994 and 2002, respectively, and issued the National Target Programme to Respond to Climate Change (NTP-RCC) in December 2008.

 “The SP-RCC programme will not only support the implementation of the NTP-RCC but it will serve as a platform for policy dialogue between Vietnam and its development partners as well as other concerned donors in order to enhance the aid effectiveness to Vietnam in this issue,” said Tsuno, chief representative of JICA Vietnam.

Alain Henry, chief representative of AFD Vietnam, said AFD is willing to support Vietnam to implement strategies on promoting energy efficiency principles and renewable energy development, to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also reinforce Vietnam’s economy resilience to external shocks, such as those induced by fossil fuel prices volatility, as well as its overall energy security, by reducing the exposure of Vietnam to fossil fuel imports.

Vietnam is the second country in Asia (after Indonesia) that Japan and France provide preferential loans for coping with climate change.

Source: VNN


Source: QDND

Media agencies asked to raise news quality

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Media agencies asked to raise news quality

QĐND – Monday, June 21, 2010, 22:17 (GMT+7)

The National Assembly, Party and Government leaders have asked the media to further enhance its news quality while asserting its important role in social life.

At his meeting in Hanoi on June 20 with journalists on the occasion of Vietnam’s 85th Revolutionary Journalism Day (June 21), NA Chairman Trong praised the media as “a close friend” and “an important information channel” of the National Assembly.

“Whether the National Assembly’s sessions can drum up public interest or not are largely attributed to the press,” Chairman Trong said, urging the media to improve the quality of coverage so that readers can understand the legislative body’s activities more thoroughly.

He particularly hailed the press in general, and the newspapers of the NA in particular, for disseminating information on activities related to the NA, its committees and the people’s councils.

Mr Trong said he expects the media to focus more on covering positive trends in society and combating negative phenomena as well as sabotage schemes under the guise of democracy and human rights to undermine the national unity.

The same day, To Huy Rua, who is politburo member, secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC) and head of the CPVCC’s Education Commission, visited the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

Rua spoke highly of the VNA’s contributions to the national construction and development, emphasising that the VNA has successfully fulfilled its role and responsibility as an important and reliable strategic information channel of the Party and State. Its provision of timely and accurate information has served well the policy-making and execution as well as meeting the research and information demands of other agencies.

He also affirmed that the VNA has well performed its tasks to bring the news to the Vietnamese community and foreign friends abroad.

The VNA should continue to raise the quality, effectiveness and competitiveness of its services, and develop the multi-media news service, including the creation of its own television channel, Mr Rua noted, expressing hope that the country’s only news agency will be able to keep pace with regional and international news agencies.

Later, Mr Rua made a tour of the Nhan Dan (People) newspaper, Radio the Voice of Vietnam, the Communist Review, the Quan doi Nhan dan (People’s Army) newspaper, the Vietnam Television, the Cong an Nhan dan (People’s Police) newspaper, and the Journalism and Propaganda Institute.

Congratulating the journalists on their anniversary, Mr Rua asked the media to focus on covering on Party congresses at all levels in preparation for the 11thth National Party Congress, and the implementation of the campaign “Studying and following the moral example of President Ho Chi Minh” and other major events in 2010.

The same day, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan held a working session with the staff of the Governmental e-portal, where he asked them to improve the accuracy, timeliness and efficiency of the information.

The portal should also provide in-depth analysis of the Government’s viewpoints and policies to help the public gain a better understanding, Mr Nhan said.

Source: VNA/PANO

Source: QDND

New bridge brings happiness to residents of riverside hamlets

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm

The recently completed bridge in the Mekong Delta Province of Kien Giang’s An Minh District is improving residents’ lives and bringing them considerable happiness.


A view of the new Muong Dao Bridge in An Giang Province (Photo: SGGP)

The bridge, which spans the Muong Dao Canal to connect Muong Dao A and Muong Dao B hamlets in Van Khanh Commune, was built with insulation panels, which are slight yet strong, said Huynh Duc Manh, director of a HCMC-based insulation panel production plant, one of the financial donors that made building the bridge possible.

In addition, prices for materials are quite inexpensive, with each square meter costing just VND2 million (US$100), he said. The panels are becoming popular for building 2-3 floor houses and villas.

“The bridge brings local residents great joy, as now their children will not be late to school due to waiting for boats for a lift,” said Ho Le Thuy, chairwoman of An Minh District People’s Committee.

She expressed gratitude to Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper, the panel production plant and the An Giang Province Union of Friendship Organizations for donations and mobilization that allowed for the bridge’s construction.

She also sent thanks to workers who had built the bridge that made the dreams of local residents come true.

Muong Dao Bridge, 48 meter long and 2.2 meter wide, was built with a total cost of VND228 million (US$12,000).

Source: SGGP