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Archive for July 31st, 2010|Daily archive page

Cuc Phuong Park offers wildlife adventures, prehistoric relics

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Cuc Phuong Park offers wildlife adventures, prehistoric relics

QĐND – Saturday, July 31, 2010, 21:30 (GMT+7)

One of the nation’s largest rainforests in Cuc Phuong National Park in the northern province of Ninh Binh has become a hot destination for adventure and nature lovers, complete with wildlife treks and homestays in the communes of Thai and Muong ethnic groups.

Located in the triangle formed by Hoa Binh, Ninh Binh and Thanh Hoa, 120km southwest of Ha Noi, the park is just three hours away from the capital.

The 22,200ha park – home to 2,000 primates, flora, fauna, a series of caves and several big lakes – was established in 1962 by the Government to preserve forest ecosystems in the northern part of the country.

Over 300 species of birds have been recorded at Cuc Phuong Park, including red-headed woodpeckers, silver pheasants and the pitta brachyura.

An Endangered Primate Rescue Centre was built to protect endangered animals, including Delacour’s Langur, the Gray-shanked Douc Langur and the Golden Headed Langur, all of which are endemic primates that exist only in Viet Nam.

In spring, between March and May, the park is aflutter with countless butterflies and covered in wild flowers.

“The park hosts around 100,000 tourists annually and the park’s accommodations can hold around 300 visitors a night,” the park’s tour operator, Do Hong Hai, said.

Wildlife trekking

A special wildlife tour was first organised six years ago, but it still only draws a limited number of adventurers, as the number of wild animals in the park have dramatically decreased in recent years.

The park’s staff suggested that tourists should come during the dry season between September and December.

“Tourists will have more trouble during the rainy season, as leeches and mosquitoes are everywhere. However, in the dry season you won’t be as exhausted after your treks,” Hai said.

He said that it’s very rare chance to see leopards, tigers or bears at night because the number of animals has been reduced due to climate change and illegal poaching.

However, he said that the owston civet, the giant black squirrel, the Indian flying squirrel and the loris could be seen between 7pm and 9pm most days.

“You can catch the glowing eyes of the civets, squirrels and loris very often these days. The two hours you will spend tracking them down at night will give you an unforgettable experience and a sleepless night!” Hai said.

Prehistoric cave

Cuc Phuong Park is also well-known for its prehistoric cave.

The limestone cave, which was excavated in 1966, was one of the earliest discoveries of human habitation in the country, with graves, stone axes, bone-made spears and tools dating back some 7,500 years.

During the excavation 44 years ago, archaeologists found skeletons in three tombs where they believed prehistoric people had lived in the forest 7,500 years ago.

In 2000 archaeologists discovered a fossilised sea reptile called placodontia, the first to have been found in Southeast Asia, dating back 200-300 million years.

Visitors can also trek through a primary forest of century-old trees to meet the giant cho tree (parashrea stellata), believed to be around 1,000 years old.

Living with the locals

Khanh Commune –home to 100 Muong people – is the one of six communes recognised as a place to make a homestay by the park administration.

The Muong ethnic commune is an ideal place to stop for the night after an entire day of walking around. Tourists can spend the night and see traditional folk dances around a camp fire at night.

“The travellers can dance along with the locals, and roast potatoes and cassava roots for dinner. A cheerful night in the stilt house will refresh you for your next day’s journey,” said tour guide Le Vu Ha.

Ha said that rafting along the Buoi River was a favourite pastime for travellers.

“It’s very interesting. Local people use bamboo rafts to cross the river, and travellers can try their hands at rowing them,” Pham Van Cuong, a guide from a Ha Noi-based travel agency, said.

“Travellers can row themselves along the river, which is surrounded by rice paddies and corn fields.”

Tourists can also expect to pay US$211 a piece for a group tour for two for a two-day, one-night trip.

Travellers can also get a bus from the Ha Noi-based Giap Bat station to Cuc Phuong at 3pm each day, for a price of VND65,000.

Another bus leaves the station for Nho Quan District, but it needs another 25km drive on a xe om (motorbike taxi) to reach the park.

Tour arrangements can be made through Luxurytravel, Handspan Adventure Travel, Exotissimo Travel and Buffalo Tours in Ha Noi.

To learn more or to book a package, visit

Source: VietNamNet/Viet Nam News


Source: QDND

Tours of old battlefields attract many visitors

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Tours of old battlefields attract many visitors

QĐND – Saturday, July 31, 2010, 21:22 (GMT+7)

A tour programme entitled “Memories of Old Battlefield and Comrades” has recorded some encouraging initial results after five years of operation, with increasing numbers of domestic and foreign tourists visiting the host province of Quang Tri .

According to Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Huu Thang, the programme has contributed remarkably to the provinces economic development by creating jobs and reducing poverty.

From 2005 to June 2010, Quang Tri province welcomed nearly 3.7 million visitors, earning a total revenue of 2.77 billion VND – a modest figure but an encouraging sign for the tourist industry in a poor area like Quang Tri.

Quang Tri saw some of the fiercest battles during the war against the US , and is home to 431 historical sites.

Thang said that soon after the programme was launched in 2005, the province organised a series of socio-cultural activities and events to promote tourism.

Many cultural festivals focusing on the revolution have impressed not only local visitors but also foreigners from all over the world, including the annual Truong Son Legends Festival on July 27 and a ceremony to release flowers on Thach Han River.

The 2010 National Reunification Festival, which took place on the 35 th anniversary of the liberation of the South and national reunification (April 30), has left a deep impression on nearly 100,000 visitors.

The “War Memoirs and Aspirations for Peace” Festival welcomed 38 foreign ambassadors and hundreds of overseas Vietnamese from all corners of the world.

This was a “double” efficiency of the combination of war relics and revolutionary festivals in areas that had seen fierce struggles during the war.

The province has also invested in the infrastructure that serves memorial tours, including historical sites and relics, and roads from Cua Tung beach to the Vinh Moc tunnels and roads to Cua Viet and Cua Tung beaches, Cua Tung Bridge and the memorial house to late Party General Secretary Le Duan.

Monuments to the heroes of Con Co Island and Regiment No. 27 in Cam Tuyen, a bell-tower in Quang Tri Citadel, road No. 9 and Truong Son Cemetery have been constructed or upgraded.

Tourist agencies in Quang Tri in particular have also responded to the programme by introducing reasonable and attractive tours as well as preparing maps, leaflets and publications that promote Vietnamese tourism.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Le Tien Tho stressed that in the future, businesses should define their markets in order to create more attractive tours.

He said that local tour operators need to liaise with travel agencies from the surrounding provinces and cities that have a large demands for visits to Quang Tri and then expand to localities along the East-West Corridor and countries in the Mekong sub-region, targeting overseas Vietnamese and academics who want to study the wars and revolutionary movements in Vietnam, especially in Quang Tri.

They should also look towards Western European countries, the Republic of Korea , Japan and the US and focus on war veterans and relatives of those who had fought in Quang Tri province.

As one of the initiators of the “Memories of Old Battlefield and Comrades” programme, Deputy Minister of National Defence Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Huy Hieu said that the programme should be expanded to north-western, central and Central Highlands provinces, Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta provinces.

Hieu, who fought on Quang Tri’s battlefields during the war, said he hoped that the programme will link up Quang Tri with other battlefields such as Dien Bien Phu in the north and Cu Chi tunnels in the south.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

UAE to boost tourism cooperation with Vietnam

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:19 pm

UAE to boost tourism cooperation with Vietnam

QĐND – Saturday, July 31, 2010, 21:22 (GMT+7)

Many travel agents from the United Arabia Emirates (UAE) have visited Vietnam to seek out business opportunities in the field of tourism.

More than 20 major travel agents from the UAE attended a seminar jointly held by the Vietnamese Embassy in the UAE, Vietnam Airlines, the Sharaf Travel Agency and Etihad Airways in the capital Abu Dhabi on July 29 to introduce Vietnam’s tourism potential.

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Quang Khai highlighted the achievements Vietnam’s tourism sector has made in recent years.

He stated that, despite a drop in numbers caused by the global economic crisis, Vietnam’s tourism sector still welcomed 2.6 million foreign tourists in the first six months of this year. In the second half of the year, the country is expecting to receive 6.2-6.5 million international arrivals as it is celebrating many significant events, such as the 65th anniversary of National Day and the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi.

If this goal is achieved, the sector will earn US$4.5-5 billion, accounting for 20 percent of the nation’s GDP. Vietnam is striving to become one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the region by 2015 and among the top ten destinations in the world.

Mr Khai said that the Vietnamese Embassy will create the best possible conditions to help UAE businesses invest more in Vietnam.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Over 1,300 tour guides apply for processional cards

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Over 1,300 tour guides apply for processional cards

QĐND – Saturday, July 31, 2010, 21:30 (GMT+7)

More than 1,300 tour guides in HCMC have put their names down at the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to change their practicing cards for new professional ones, a tourism official said.

The official of the Travel Division under the department said that of the total, over 900 are holders of cards that allow them to guide international tourists, and over 400 tour guides who are serving local travelers without cards.

Under the law, the tour guide will receive the new card within 15 working days, though the official said, “We have yet to issue any new cards to the tour guides.”

According to the division, the city had 1,680 tour guides for foreign tourists and a big number of tour guides for domestic travelers. Under the new tourism law, these tour guides have to apply for new cards or lose their operation permits.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) early this month told provincial departments of culture, sports and tourism to issue new cards for professional tour guides to replace paper-based cards, and the change should be completed by August.

* In related news, the HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism this Friday and Sunday will organize the final round of a contest to select best tour guides of the city.

A total 21 tour guides from 11 travel companies along with two freelance tour guides will compete in the final round. These tour guides have been selected from those of 300 travel companies in HCMC, and ten best tour guides of the city will compete in the national tour guide contest in Hanoi next month.

Source: VietNamNet/SGT


Source: QDND

Only 10 percent of VN mothers breastfeed exclusively

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Only 10 percent of VN mothers breastfeed exclusively

QĐND – Saturday, July 31, 2010, 21:21 (GMT+7)

Health experts have called for urgent action to promote breastfeeding nationally in Vietnam.

This follows a recent survey showing that only 10 percent of Vietnamese children are breastfed exclusively during their first six months.

The call for action was launched on July 29 to mark the World Breastfeeding Week organised by the Ministry of Health and the United Nations under the “Alive and Thrive” initiative. The event is being organised in 120 countries.

“Health personnel and healthcare units play an important role in promoting breastfeeding,” said Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Ba Thuy.

“Health staff at maternal and child healthcare units need to tell mothers to breastfeed babies within an hour of birth and to provide guidance on maintaining milk flow,” said Thuy.

Health workers overseas are taught that breastfeeding is more than a lifestyle choice, it’s an important health choice.

Infant formulas cannot match the exact chemical make-up of human milk, especially the cells, hormones, and antibodies that fight disease.

A recent survey showed that in Vietnam, few mothers initiate breastfeeding in the false belief that mother’s milk production is inadequate.

Le Minh Phuong, a state worker in Hanoi, complained that she could not maintain breastfeeding her baby for six months because the law stipulated she had to return to work after four months’ maternity leave.

“It is very difficult for mothers to maintain breastfeeding activities after maternity leave,” she said.

Lack of support from family members and health workers is another barrier to breastfeeding.

“A strong commitment from the health sector, government and international organisations is important”, said the United Nations Fund for Children acting representative in Vietnam Jean Dupraz.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

VN standardises herbal medicine

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:19 pm

VN standardises herbal medicine

QĐND – Saturday, July 31, 2010, 21:21 (GMT+7)

Vietnam had made ensuring the regulations and standards for traditional medicines and health supplements matched those of the region and beyond a priority, Health Minister Nguyen Quoc Trieu said on July 29.

And Vietnam, with a 86 million-strong population, was making a remarkable contribution to ASEAN’s foodstuff and pharmacy industries, he told a meeting in Hanoi to discuss measures to harmonise the regulations for traditional medicines and health supplements within the association.

The introduction of numerous traditional medicines and health supplements to Vietnam had helped diversify the regional market, he said.

The minister also called on ASEAN countries to invest in the industries as well as cooperate with Vietnam to help Vietnamese gain access to high-quality products at reasonable prices.

About 180 representatives of ministries and agencies as well as organisations from throughout the region are attending the two-day meeting which opened on July 29.

The meeting, the 13th of its type, provides a chance for participants to know more about the development of their industries and management methods in member countries.

They will also discuss enhanced coordination to help each take advantage of the region’s potential.

The requirements for the technical harmonisation and labelling of traditional medicines and health supplements as well as a road map to a legal framework are on their agenda.

Preparations for the discussions were made at specialised meetings in Hanoi three days earlier.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Dengue fever on the rise

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Dengue fever on the rise

QĐND – Saturday, July 31, 2010, 21:30 (GMT+7)

Dengue fever has spread out rapidly in several southern, central and central highland provinces. The number of infected people hospitalized has increased sharply.

In southern Kien Giang province, nearly 800 cases of dengue fever – 3 of them fatal- have been reported with children comprising half of the total. In July alone, there were 155 diagnosed patients, 23 more than in June.

In central highland Kon Tum province, 322 people have contracted the disease in 36 communes and districts. July’s infection rate is three times what it was a year ago. The provincial preventive health centre said that the rainy season will boost populations of mosquitoes, which are the main carriers of the disease.

In central Quang Tri province, although no fatalities have been reported for the past few days, the number of infections has increased sharply. In July, 32 were confirmed, more than the total number of cases in the first half of the year.

Quang Tri province’s preventive health centre sent doctors to halt local outbreaks and co-ordinate with local authorities to eradicate mosquito larvae and conduct mosquito survey in areas reporting infections.

According to health experts, the increase in the number of dengue fever cases can be attributed to local negligence in carrying out preventive measures.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Education sector told to improve standards through management

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Education sector told to improve standards through management

QĐND – Saturday, July 31, 2010, 21:21 (GMT+7)

Vietnam’s education sector must improve its management if it is to raise standards, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan said on July 29 at a meeting in Hanoi.

In the 2009-10 academic year, about 92.57 percent of high school students passed the graduation exam – 8.97 percent higher than in the previous school year.

Nhan attributed the improvement to management programmes that had been introduced that academic year.

High school principals around the country underwent re-training courses that focused on leadership, while education managers learned how to adapt to being financially independent.

They were also told how to best promote their school’s achievements in terms of training quality, finance, infrastructure facilities and teaching/learning conditions.

Nhan said the Ministry of Education and Training should continue to implement programmes designed to boost educational management.

He said the focus should be on implementing new programmes for pre-schools that included a combination of different teaching methods, the application of e-learning, extra-training for students who were performing badly and boosting the management skills of staff.

Nhan also urged the ministry to work with provincial authorities on developing schools for gifted students to provide high-quality human resources for the country’s development, and said greater emphasis should be placed on foreign-language learning.

Education and Training Deputy Minister Nguyen Vinh Hien said at the meeting that up to 96.4 percent of pre-schools now apply information technology, while 82.8 percent are connected to the internet.

Secondary schools now meet universal standards, while more than half of all pre-schools have adopted educational programmes.

However, despite improvements in education, Hien said schools had yet to meet national development demand. He also said there was a teacher shortage, a lack of infrastructure, a high drop-out rate and too much emphasis placed on passive learning.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

”For Vietnam Sea and Island” campaign launched

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:18 pm

”For Vietnam Sea and Island” campaign launched

QĐND – Saturday, July 31, 2010, 21:30 (GMT+7)

The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee, in coordination with the Phu Yen provincial Youth Union, launched a campaign on environmental protection on July 31 in response to the Vietnam Sea and Island Week 2010.

The campaign attracted the participation of more than 500 Youth Union members who are invloved in environmental protection activities in south-central coastal provinces.

Addressing the launch ceremony, Duong Van An, Secretary of the Youth Union Central Committee, highlighted the significance of environmental protection todat and called for a joint effort from young people and the whole community to protect the environment, especially the marine environment.

He said that during the campaign, youth unions at all levels will collect rubbish, establish enviromental protection groups and disseminate information to increase public awareness of the importance of environmental protection.

There will be many activities, including a sand painting contest about the environment, a postcard-making contest on Vietnamese islands and seas, and a online contest about islands and seas.

Vietnam has a 3,260-km coastline and total territorial waters of more than one million square metres, including over 3,000 islands and a diversity of maritime resources. Seas and islands play an important role in boosting the country’s socio-economic development and ensuring national security and defence. Therefore, protecting seas and islands has become an issue need in the national development.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Restructuring the national economy

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Restructuring the national economy

QĐND – Saturday, July 31, 2010, 21:30 (GMT+7)

Restructuring the national economy will play a decisive role in helping Vietnam achieve steady and sustainable growth, says Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

According to economists, restructuring the product categories should focus on giving priority to core products and avoiding failures made by other sectors, such as the automobile industry. The lack of viable support industries has led to a low percentage of domestic inputs. Vietnam does not yet have good support industries for its key export items, such as garments and textiles. The country needs to develop support industries for core products in the future.

Currently, the industrial sector does not have close links with the agricultural sector. Vietnam has to import most inputs for the agricultural sector, such as agricultural materials and machines. This is a huge loss for the industrial sector as it cannot build large rural areas into its domestic consumption market.

Regarding the agricultural sector’s outputs, Dr. Dang Kim Son, Head of the Institute of Strategy and Policy for Agriculture and Rural Development, says that half of Vietnam’s annual agricultural produce is exported but about 90 percent of them are raw products without trademarks. If the country applies new technology for processing coffee, rice and rubber, it will create a modern processing industry and agricultural outputs will become a positive factor in boosting the local industrial sector, he says.

For many years, Vietnam has made full use of its human resources to achieve a high economic growth rate but its Incremental Capital Output Ratio (ICOR) remains low in comparison with other developing countries in the region.

Dr. Nguyen Duc Thanh, Director of the Vietnam Centre for Economics and Policy Research (VEPR) under the University of Economics – Vietnam National University, says it is essential to mobilise different kinds of local resources to full advantage. However, if the country does not have strict mangement and inspection mechanisms, its national resourses will be wasted.

Mr. Thanh cites the link between industrial zones in Hanoi and those in Bac Ninh as a case in ppint. While Bac Ninh province has spent a lot of money on upgrading infrastructure, Hanoi is still reluctant to invest in major infrastructure projects for fear that investors will move to Bac Ninh on account of lower input costs there. Long An province and Ho Chi Minh City also face a similar situation. Other typical examples of wasting national resources could be seen in a number of provinces and cities which focus on building seaports and airports, as well as in the steel and cement sectors.

Vu Thanh Tu Anh, Director of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Programme, argues the inappropriate distribution of resources in different sectors in recent years has resulted in an unbalanced economy.

According to latest statistic figures the state owned economic sector contributes 34 percent of the GDP and makes up more than 33 percent of the total capital for social investment while using only 9 percent of the country’s total workforce. In the private sector these figures are 47 percent of the GDP, 32 percent of the total capital for social investment and 87 percent of the workforce.

The state-owned economic sector has enjoyed preferential treatment in terms of capital and real estate but its performance is remarkably inefficient by comparision with the private sector. Therefore, latter should be paid more attention.

In recent years, foreign direct investment (FDI) has been a major factor behind Vietnam’s economic development, however, the country should work out a suitable strategy to attract more FDI and make full use of it.

According to Nguyen Mai, Chairman of the Foreign Invested Business Association, Vietnam has so far disbursed US$60 billion of its FDI capital but the country only receives about US$1.5 billion from these businesses. The figure is too small in comparision with the priorities of land and natural resources that the FDI businesses receive. Another thing to be considered is that the FDI investors concentrate too much on land and real estate.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan stresses that the country’s economy is facing 3 inter-connected objectives. In the short run, Vietnam has cope with the impact of the global financial crisis and economic recession. In the middle-term, the country should catch up with new opportunities and deal with the challenges of the post-crisis period, while in the long run Vietnam should prepare for a 10-year socio-economic development strategy for 2011-2020.

The country needs to clarify the details of economic restructuring and focus on the quality of development. To support economic restructuring through renovating of development models, Vietnam should adjust its strategy to attract foreign investment giving priority to manufacturing, support industries, and high value added products as well as promoting cooperation between domestic businesses and foreign investors.

The Head of the Vietnam Economic Institution, Tran Dinh Thien, says that the country should basically change its domestic production structure to focus on higher added value industries. There should be a long term strategy of 5-10 years to form a national economic structure with such industries as its backbone. There should also be a transition period (2011-2013) before changing to the new development model. The renovation should occur in every aspect of the economy.

The premises for economic restructuring should also be considered, including forming a comprehensive mechanism for the market economy in line with administrative reform; developing the technology market; creating a fair competitive environment for all economic sectors; abolishing monopolies and developing high quality human resources.

The country’s future development should create a breakthrough in its productivity supported by skills and technology. Restructuring must be undertaken systematically and receive the support of the whole society.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND