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China conducts emergency bird flu drill

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2008 at 8:32 am

Beijing (VNA) – Health authorities of the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao on December 17 conducted a joint exercise to test their cooperation in the event of a cross-boundary incident of avian flu involving human cases.

Code-named “Exercise Great Wall 2008”, the training was jointly organised by the Ministry of Health, the Health Bureau of Zhejiang Province, the Health Bureau of Macao, and the Food and Health Bureau, the Department of Health and the Hospital Authority of Hong Kong, Xinhua news agency reported.

Over 60 public health officials and medical personnel took part in the exercise.

This is the third exercise of this kind and is organised under the Co-operation Agreement on Response Mechanism for Public Health Emergencies signed by the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao in 2005.

Ealier on December 16, China’s Agriculture Ministry said it has detected H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks at two poultry farms in the eastern province of Jiangsu, leading to the massive culling of 377,000 fowl. –

Indonesia passes new aviation law

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2008 at 8:21 am

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesia has recently passed new legislation imposing new, tougher safety requirements on commercial air traffic.

On December 16, Indonesia’s House of Representatives endorsed an amendment to a 1992 aviation law that would impose stricter safety requirements on airlines, particularly newcomers to the market, in response to demands from the European Union (EU).

The EU welcomed Indonesia’s adoption of the new law.

“The European Commission congratulates the Indonesian authorities on the passing of the aviation law,” the EU said in a statement. “It is a significant development for the improvement of air safety in Indonesia.”

Indonesian Transport Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal said the law complies with all of the elements requested by the International Civil Aviation Organisations (ICAO).

The Indonesian government and legislators have rushed adoption of the new law in order to encourage the EU to lift its ban on Indonesian airliners in European airspace, which was imposed in 2007.

In June 2007, the bloc banned all aircraft registered in the Southeast Asian nation from flying within European airspace, due to safety concerns caused by a spate of crashes and other mishaps.

The new law was drafted after the EU extended its ban on Indonesian airliners at a meeting in Brussels in November this year, saying a lot of work needs to be done to revoke the ban. –

Denmark helps raise Quang Nam’s environmental management capacity

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2008 at 8:16 am

Hanoi (VNA) – Denmark will provide 1.46 million DKK (254,400 USD) for central Quang Nam province to increase its environmental management capacity, the Danish Embassy in Hanoi announced on Dec. 16.

The project is part of a 20 million DKK scheme to support capacity development for environmental planning and management, which falls within the framework of a Vietnam-Denmark Development Cooperation in Environment (DCE) programme worth 250 million DKK.

The six-year programme, starting in 2005, is being implemented in Thai Nguyen, Phu Tho, Ha Nam, Nghe An, Quang Nam and Ben Tre provinces.

According to Nguyen Ngoc Bao Anh, who is in charge of Quang Nam ’s project, the funds will be used on the review of the strategic environment assessment for local socio-economic development plans and personnel training in the field.-

Big plans for school dentistry

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2008 at 8:12 am

Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnamese health sector will urgently strive to expand the school dental programme (SDP) to every part of the nation to try and reduce the high rate of dental diseases in children.

At present, the programme only covers eight out of 63 provinces and cities because of a lack of human and financial resource and medical equipment, said Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen at a national conference on school dentistry on Dec. 10.

Many provinces face challenges maintaining and expanding the programme, so it is necessary to promote clear policies to expand it to cover 100 percent of Vietnam ,” said Xuyen.

According to seven-year-old statistics, the rate of tooth decay in children between six to eight years of age is nearly 85 percent. Each child has an average of 5.4 decayed teeth. The decay rate among the adults is between 90 and 96.4 percent. Each adult has an average of nine to 11 decayed teeth.

Health experts said a lack of funds has prevented a large-scale dental survey from being carried out among children. A recent small-scale survey in Hanoi showed that the rate of tooth decay in children aged six to eight was 92.2 percent and each child had an average of 5.7 decayed teeth.

Since 1998, the SDP has provided limited dental-healthcare information for primary level students, given them fluoride to wash their mouths and carried out dental checks at schools.

Through the SDP, more than 6.7 million students received dental-health education. Of these, 3.6 million used the fluoride and more than 2 million had their teeth examined at school.-

High speed railway engineers to be trained in Japan

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2008 at 8:07 am

Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnam Railway Corporation (VRC) has signed a deal with the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Tokai), regarding the training of engineers in the use of Japanese high-speed rail technology.

Under the terms of the newly-inked agreement, the first group of 10 engineers will be sent to Japan to attend the course, which runs from March-November 2009, said VRC’s General Director Nguyen Huu Bang.

This move came after the Vietnam-Japan Consulting Joint Venture (VJC), in its initial report, proposed the use of Japanese Shinkansen technology in the planned express railway linking Vietnam ’s capital city of Hanoi with Ho Chi Minh City , its largest southern economic hub.

The railway project is one of Vietnam ’s three major infrastructure projects and there is still much to do, particularly regarding human resources, said Bang.

He added that VRC has sent over 100 officials and engineers to Japan since 2006 to learn about the high-speed technology so that they will be able to operate the rail system once it completed.

Using the planned technology, the railway will be designed for trains to travel at a maximum speed of 360 km per hour. However, the consultant joint venture recommended running trains at a maximum of 320 km per hour using Fastech 360s trains.

The 1,630-km-long express route will contain a total of 26 stations, including Hanoi and Thu Thiem terminus in Ho Chi Minh City . It will help to reduce the travel time between the country’s two largest cities to under 10 hours.

As scheduled, the railway lines from Hanoi to central Vinh city and from central Nha Trang city to Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam will be laid during the 2010-2015 period.

From 2015-2020, construction will begin on the routes between Vinh and Nha Trang and between Hanoi and the northern mountainous provinces of Lao Cai and Lang Son.-

Next year’s coal production aims to hit 33.5 million tonnes

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2008 at 7:59 am

Quang Ninh (VNA) – The Coal and Mineral Industrial Group has set itself the target of producing 33.5 million tonnes of coal in 2009.

The total sales target for next year has been set at 36 million tonnes, which includes 2.5 million tonnes stockpiled in reserve stores.

The coal and mineral industry’s 2009 targets, which also include 9,000 tonnes of copper, 6,500 tonnes of tin and 300 kg of gold, were announced at a business conference held in the coal-mining province of Quang Ninh on Dec. 19, where numerous contracts between producers and buyers were signed.

To attain these figures, the group said it would focus on marketing and looking after its workers. The group pledged to implement a range of proactive measures, such as the expansion of its sales network to boost domestic market share, while tightening up the monitoring of coal production to put a stop to illegal exploitation.

Exports were also in the focus at the workshop, with exporters being urged to speed up coal screening and processing procedures, particularly of low-energy coal, in an effort to improve the quality of their products.

The group vowed to increase levels of labour safety through the installation of fire-alarm systems in the coal mines.-

Global project helps protect vast swathe of central region’s forest

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Thua Thien-Hue Province’s Bach Ma National Park has been extended to increase wildlife protection.— VNA/VNS Photo Tri Dung

HUE — A highly diverse and ecologically important forest area stretching from Hue to the Laos border has been protected thanks to a 4.5-year project.

The “Green Corridor” project, with funding of US$2.57 million from the World Bank, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Netherlands Development Organisation and the central province of Thua Thien- Hue, involves extensive surveys and afforestation. It also led to the establishment of the Sao La Nature Reserve and the extension of the Bach Ma National Park.

Provincial action

Capacity was built through action plans for biodiv-ersity and preventing forest fires and wildlife trade.

More thanr 70 training courses were held for communities and rangers in areas ranging from law enforcement to nursery gardening techniques, in addition to awareness events in schools across the provinces.

“The project has succeeded in strengthening the management of the forest area,” said Nguyen Ngoc Thien, chairman of the Thua Thien-Hue provincial People’s Committee.

“I’m pleased to see how the project helped upgrade the forests, which play a vital role in protecting upland watersheds, biodiv-ersity, and landscapes,” he added.

The Green Corridor is a wet, low forest of below 700m in altitude, and home to many globally endangered species like the sao la, tiger, golden turtle, Vietnamese francolin, phein-ardia ocellata and white-cheeked black gibbon.

Based upon the achievements of the Green Corridor project, the WWF is already planning two new projects that will enhance the conservation efforts taken in the past few years. —

Singapore tie VN at Suzuki semi-finals

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2008 at 3:05 pm

Tied up: Vietnamese player Nguyen Minh Chau (second left) vies with a Singapore defender during the semi-final’s first leg match yesterday in Ha Noi. The match ended 0-0. — VNA/VNS Photo Quoc Khanh 

HA NOI — Defending champions Singapore tied host Viet Nam nil-nil in the AFF Suzuki Cup’s semi-final first leg match yesterday at Ha Noi’s My Dinh Stadium.

This gives Singapore a small advantage when they return home to play on their own ground.

It was the third straight draw between the two sides, including two friendly practice matches last month.

With their home advantage, Viet Nam received great encouragement and support from thousands of fans who filled the 50,000-seat stadium – and set out to dominate.

Halfback Le Tan Tai warmed up with a header in the second minute which went over the bar.

Knowing his players were small, Viet Nam’s Portuguese coach Henrique Calisto asked them to use low and short balls, but with high speed to attack Singapore.

His advice nearly led to a score at the 18th minute.

Midfielder Nguyen Vu Phong gave a smart pass to striker Nguyen Viet Thang to the right wing, who then faced Singaporean keeper Lionel Lewis.

Phong, who was a member of the two-time V-League champions Dong Tam Long An, ran close to the goal-mouth before giving a straight shot. Lewis failed to stop it and just looked at the ball as it passed out of his reach. But it was not Thang’s lucky day. The ball hit a goal post.

The miss heightened the push by the hosts, whose captain, Phan Van Tai Em, sprinted from midfield to take part in another attack three minutes later.

Tai Em chose the right place to catch a high ball from a free kick, jumped up to nod but his 10m attempt went wide.

Viet Thang missed his second chance. After a solo performance, Thang freely entered the penalty area and faced Lewis, who had to work very hard but was supported by luck. Thang’s shot missed goal by a hair’s breadth.

In the second half, Singapore stopped playing defensively and moved to the attack. The team, with many members imported from China, England and Nigeria, kept Vietnamese players on the run.

Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic put Alam Shah in the field, who added form and physical strength to the forward line. Shah did not let down his coach, creating disorder among the Vietnamese defenders.

The host could not find a chance to threaten Lewis, but they had to return to the home field to save keeper Hong Son.

At the 73rd, Casmir received a ball after a miss by Nhu Thanh near the box. The Nigerian-born player rapidly ran in to face goalie Son, but fortunately defender Phuoc Tu got home in time to kick it away.

One minute later, Tu scored what appeared to be an own goal trying to save his net. But while Singapore players were celebrating, a referee assistant raised the flag to show that one of them was in offside position.

Avramovic aggressively objected, but could not change the decision.

The last 15 minutes were the hardest for Viet Nam in the tournament. They had to stretch their power to resist Singapore’s assaults, using high balls to hunt for a goal.

The away-ground draw seemed to satisfy Avramovic. He and his team will enjoy home-ground in the return match in Singapore on Sunday. —

Education project targets traffickers

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2008 at 3:01 pm

HA NOI — A three-year, US$300,000 education project has begun in northern border provinces to cope with the trafficking of women and girls, HIV/AIDS and sexual violence. Many of the women are sold as prostitutes in China.

The Institute of Repro-ductivity and Family Health has already discussed ways of tackling trafficking and AIDS near the Lang Son and Lao Cai border gateways.

Institute director Nguyen Thi Hoai Duc considers sexual violence against women a key factor in HIV/AIDS spread.

Hot spots

Duc said provinces that attract many tourists or have fast urbanisation are hot spots for sexual trafficking and HIV/AIDS.

She said sex abuse is very common in Lao Cai, where 25 ethnic minorities account for 70 per cent of the population, including about 300,000 females.

She said girls and women are often sold as prostitutes to neighbouring China.

Meanwhile, in Lang Son Province, there is much domestic violence against women, including sex abuse. The number of HIV/AIDS patients is much higher than in Lao Cai.

The two destinations are also transitional places for women from other localities being smuggled through the border into China.

The new project will promote a community-based approach to tackling violence against women and HIV/AIDS.

It also plans to change the behaviour of local authorities, public organisations and the community.

“Firstly, we want to change the sexual behaviour of the men and also teach them about HIV/AIDS prevention,” said institute official Nguyen Hong Hai.

Doan Minh Cuong, a project official, said training courses would be held for owners and workers of karaoke bars, guest houses and hotels. This would include ways to achieve safe sex.

Cuong also said a commune-level intervention team would be set up to handle sexual violence against women. It will include local authorities, police and border guards.

The project will also set up a counselling centre which can test for HIV/AIDS in each province.

The United Nations Development Fund for Women has backed the project, which will be carried out in 32 communes with the biggest problems.

The Viet Nam Women Union and the People Committees of Lao Cai and Lang Son provinces are partners in the project. —

Bird flu outbreak reported in eastern India

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – The H5N1 bird flu has spread to Indian eastern state West Bengal since its outbreak in neighboring state Assam last month, news reports said on December 16.

The West Bengal government has said strains of the deadly avian flu virus were detected by the national High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in blood samples collected from two dead poultry birds in Malda district.

The same day, a ban on the inflow of poultry from West Bengal was imposed by other states following the confirmation of the disease.

The northeastern Indian state of Assam sounded a health alert after over 300 poultry birds died of the bird flu virus late last month. More than 250,000 poultry have been culled in the past two weeks in Assam , according to news agencies. –