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Vietnam Airlines to operate more flights during Tet

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:49 am

Vietnam Airlines said it would add 583 more flights on the 10 major routes during the Lunar New Year Tet holidays from January 18 to February 20.

According to the carrier, they will increase their seating capacity by over 100,000 seats. 

307 flights will operate between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, which is an increase of 63,000 seats and 41% more capacity than on normal days and 8 % higher than last year during Tet.

129 flights will be added on the Ho Chi Minh City and Danang route which is an increase of 26,820 seats and 35% more capacity than on normal days and 24% higher than during Tet last year.

The flagship carrier will mainly operate these flights at night to avoid traffic congestion at airports.

VNA will also operate these flights from lunar December 24 to 29 (January 27 to February 1) and lunar January 3 to 13 (February 5 to 15). Tickets for these special flights will be sold on December 10 and 20, 2010 and January 3 and 17, 2011.

Source: SGGP

Prices of overseas tours soar up during Christmas holidays

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:40 am

Prices of overseas tours soar up during Christmas holidays

QĐND – Saturday, December 04, 2010, 20:25 (GMT+7)

The demand for traveling during Christmas and Western New Year’s holiday are high because they fall on weekends, according to several travel agencies.

At present, short-day tours to Central Vietnam, Southeast Asian countries, and China have attracted a lot of visitors, though the price for such a tour has increased by $20 to $80 US.

According to Nguyen Thi Huyen, Deputy Director of Vietran Tour, most of the travelers have booked for Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong (China), and Thailand. The increased service charge and the shortage of accommodations during the end of the year made the fare for such a tour increase by $20 to $60 US compared to other times of the year.

At Vietran Tour, a four-day tour to Hong Kong charges $698 US; a five-day tour to Thailand costs $379 US, depending on the departure day. Tours to Singapore and Myanmar for four days costs $609 and $549 US, respectively.

A representative from Vietran Tour said that it might run out of tours during Christmas and Western New Year while airfares and hotel rooms are limited.

Meanwhile, Hanoi Redtour has increased its price for outbound tours by 3 to 5 percent, compared to normal days. Visitors have chosen Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Singapore, and Malaysia mostly due to big promotion programs there.

Hanoi Redtour is expected to take around 1,000 visitors to tour foreign countries and 500 visitors to tour around Vietnam. Its seven-day tour to Singapore and Malaysia charges $669 US. A four-day tour to Singapore and Hong Kong-Disneyland costs $599 and $679 US, respectively.

Also, on this occasion, Vietravel has launched 9-day tours around Europe and America combining it with a get-together with a family living abroad.

Meanwhile, prices for inbound tours seem not to have increased. According to Hanoi Redtour, a tour to DaNang-Hoi An, Lang Co for four days charges 4.6 million VND; Nha Trang-Dalat for five days costs 5.8 million VND; DaLat for four days costs 5.2 million VND.

During Christmas and Western New Year’s holidays, Fiditour offers a discount program for tours to Con Dao and Phu Quoc with a price of 2.2 million VND for 50 inbound tours each day.

Source: Vnexpress

Translated by Mai Huong

Source: QDND

PM wants stable prices and supply of goods during Tet

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:34 am

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on November 30 called on ministries, sectors and local agencies to continue to boost production of goods and supply, and ensure a stable market during Tet (Lunar New Year) next February and the first quarter of 2011.

Shoppers at a supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City during Tet last year.

The PM said though the Government has adopted many measures to step up production and ensure price stabilization and the balance of supply and demand for goods and services since the beginning of this year, the consumer price index (CPI) rose to 9.58 percent in November, impacting production and people’s lives.

The CPI of November increased by 1.86 percent over the previous month. This figure was an increase of 11.09 percent over the same period last year.

The national average CPI in 11 months exceeded the annual forecast with a year-on-year increase of 8.96 percent.

At the beginning of this year, the Government targeted a nationwide CPI of eight percent.

PM Dung said the cause of the problem was a few organizations and individuals that did not take price management seriously.

Speculation and groundless rumors about goods shortage and financial situation haven’t been controlled and prevented promptly, affecting implementation of the Government’s measures against inflation and for ensuring social welfare.

He instructed ministers and local authorities to focus on removing legal barriers and create favorable conditions for enterprises to expand production and business to ensure smooth provision of essential commodities like rice, poultry, meat, vegetables, milk, construction materials, medicines and travel services.

He wanted producers to forecast demand to ensure adequate supply nationwide before, during and after the festival.

The Ministry of Finance was assigned to co-ordinate with other relevant ministries and localities to maintain the prices of coal, electricity and petrol.

He wanted the ministry to reschedule adjustment of prices of goods and services that are subject to the State’s pricing control. 

He told the State Bank of Vietnam to take strong measures to stabilize the prices of gold and foreign currencies as well as interest rates.

The bank was asked to keep watch on the market and give severe punishments to those who speculate or corner gold and foreign currencies on the market.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade was ordered to adopt solutions to ensure sufficient supply of goods, and encourage enterprises to attend the price stabilization program and expand their distribution systems to rural and remote areas.

He also instructed market agencies to keep a close eye on things to prevent speculation, smuggling, and trade fraud, and apply criminal prosecution if necessary.

Source: SGGP

Only 10 percent Vietnamese babies breastfed exclusively during first six months of life

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2010 at 7:20 am

Only 10 percent of children in Vietnam are breastfed exclusively during the first six months of life. This situation calls for urgent action to promote breastfeeding, particularly by healthcare providers and communities in Vietnam.

Breastfeeding exclusively during the first six months of life plays an important role in babies and infants’ lives.  

The Ministry of Health, the United Nations and the Alive & Thrive initiative co-organized a press conference to launch World Breastfeeding Week 2010 (WBW) and the “call for action” is just part of WBW.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Ba Thuy stressed breastfeeding is the most complete form of nutrition for infants and small children during the first six months of life, only 10 percent of children in Vietnam are breastfed exclusively during this critical period of their lives and only 55 percent of Vietnamese mothers initiate breastfeeding within the first hour after birth.

The main reasons cited for delayed initiation of breastfeeding are a belief that mothers’ breast milk production is inadequate; C-section deliveries; separation of mother and child immediately after birth; insufficient counselling from healthcare providers due to busy schedules; and the availability of milk formula.

Research has also found that feeding infants with water after breastfeeding is a popular practice in both urban and rural areas of Vietnam (‘exclusive breastfeeding’ means infants receive no food or drink other than breast milk unless doctor ordered).

Some mothers believe that they lack sufficient breast milk to adequately nourish their children up to six months and often begin to supplement breast milk with formula milk and/or other foods at around four months of age. For those employed in the formal sector (20-30 percent of all mothers), the need to return to work after four months of maternity leave poses a challenge to continued exclusive breastfeeding. Lack of support from family members and health workers is another barrier to mothers exclusively breastfeeding their children.

Themed “Breastfeeding: Just 10 Steps, the Baby-Friendly Way,” World Breastfeeding Week this year aims to highlight the vital role that healthcare workers and facilities play in promoting breastfeeding. It calls for every health facility providing maternity services and care for newborn infants to provide support to mothers in breastfeeding using the ten steps.

The ten steps to successful breastfeeding were first presented in the 1989 WHO/UNICEF Joint Statement on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding: The Special Role of Maternity Services. Since then UNICEF and WHO have called for the implementation of the ten steps to successful breastfeeding in all maternity facilities because health workers play a critical role in influencing mothers’ decisions on how to feed their infants and young children.

WBW is celebrated in more than 120 countries to encourage breastfeeding as an important way to improve the health and development of infants and young children.

Efforts to encourage better breastfeeding practices in Vietnam are part of a national program on children and mother’s care to help ensure that children grow and reach their full potential. The country’s “Child Survival Action Plan” has set out the goal to achieve a 50 percent exclusive breastfeeding rate across the country by 2015.

The Ministry of Health will work closely with line ministries and mass media outlets to achieve the goal, recognizing that without improving breastfeeding rates and child nutrition would jeopardize attaining the Millennium Development Goals in Vietnam.

Source: SGGP

Nearly 1,000 bus trips to be added during university entrance test

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Nearly 1,000 bus trips to be added during university entrance test

QĐND – Saturday, June 19, 2010, 20:51 (GMT+7)

Several bus stations in Hanoi have planned to add approximately another 1,000 bus services to meet the growing demands of transportation of examinees and their families during the peak time of this year’s university entrance tests.

Specifically, on the days university and college entrance tests, the Southern Bus Station will receive an additional over 500 bus services, while the Gia Lam Bus Station will welcome an additional 230 bus services and the My Dinh Bus Station, 226 bus services.

The bus stations in Hanoi are expected to attract nearly 300,000 students and their relatives, mainly from provinces of Nam Dinh, Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa, Thai Nguyen, Quang Ninh and Hai Phong city during this year’s university entrance test in Hanoi.

Source: Vnexpress

Translated by Mai Huong

Source: QDND

South Africa shivers during World Cup party

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2010 at 4:26 am

Glamorous Brazilians in skimpy bikinis are staple fare at the World Cup but in South Africa you’re more likely to see fans wrapped up in scarves and gloves as the nation shivers.

Temperatures have plummeted to close to freezing at some games, giving a totally different feel to a tournament usually played in blazing summer tempeatures as players swap drinks bottles for gloves.

You have to go right back to Argentina in 1978 for the last World Cup held outside the summer months, since when football’s showpiece has sizzled in the heat in hotspots such as Spain, Mexico and the United States.

The South African showpiece opened in Johannesburg last weekend in warm sunshine but since then cold weather has swept across this vast nation from the north right down to Cape Town on the southwest coast.

A Brazilian fan braves the cold on June 15 during the 2010 World Cup match Brazil vs.North Korea at at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg

In high-altitude Bloemfontein, temperatures in the coming days are due to dip well below freezing with the South African Weather Service issuing an alert for very cold weather and a black frost.

In northern Rustenburg the plummeting mercury prompted hundreds of volunteers at the Royal Bafokeng stadium to muffle up for the New Zealand v Slovakia clash.

Bright sunshine during the day means England, based in Rustenburg, at the foot of the Magaliesberg mountains, have been training in conditions similar to those of an Alpine ski resort.

But Samuel Ntekile, a security guard at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus, had a warning for Wayne Rooney and his team-mates if they manage to stay in the tournament until the later stages.

“It’s freezing now but it’s going to get a lot colder,” he said. “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

AFP reporters have reported freezing fountains in the economic hub of Johannesburg, where it was bitingly cold for the Brazil v North Korea evening clash at the city’s Ellis Park stadium.

FIFA said the mercury had dropped to three degrees Celsius (37 degrees Fahrenheit) an hour before kick-off, prompting some of the Brazilians, including Real Madrid star Kaka, to wear gloves.

At the Portugal v Ivory Coast clash in coastal Port Elizabeth one American journalist complained: “This is a lot colder than covering NHL. At least in ice hockey they equip you with hats and gloves.”

One supporter, who only gave his name as Mas, made a 14-hour bus trip from his home in Durban for the game and said: “Me and my two friends have had to drink a couple of bottles of whiskey just to keep warm.”

A race meeting Thursday at the city’s Fairview racecourse was washed out due to heavy rains.

In Cape Town, night-time temperatures have dropped with snow on the top of the landmark Table Mountain though they are forecast to edge up in the coming days.

Defending champions Italy were forced to play through a chilly downpour during their opener against Paraguay, making conditions at the city’s Green Point stadium slippery, with players having difficulty controlling the ball.

Meanwhile disaster teams mopped up on Wednesday after floods and a blaze hit more than 2,100 shack dwellers.

The teams were placed on high alert at the weekend for bad weather that saw heavy rains, gale force winds, very cold conditions, widespread snowfalls and rough seas, the city said in a statement.

“The city of Cape Town?s disaster response teams are out in full force assisting flood victims, while still ensuring that contingency plans can be activated for the duration of the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” the statement said.

Source: SGGP

Work suffers, parties thrive during World Cup

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2010 at 4:24 am

 Leonardo Munoz, wearing a foot-tall blue-and-white wig, is ready to bare it all for the glory of Argentina.

Before the start of the World Cup that is keeping billions glued to their TV sets, Diego Maradona — Argentina’s greatest player and now its eccentric national team coach — vowed to run naked through the streets of Buenos Aires if his team wins the title.

Following Argentina’s 4-1 win Thursday over South Korea, it seems many of the team’s fans are ready to follow him.

South Korean soccer fans throng in Seoul,

“If Maradona runs naked, I’ll do it too — I’ll be painted blue and white!” said Munoz, adding he “screamed like an animal” from his desk at a call center during the game.

World Cup fever hits every four years, and fans around the world bring their own particular flavor to watching the spectacle. In Germany, known for its strong work ethic, some firms are allowing employees to watch at the office. Iraqis are enjoying a decrease in violence that, unlike in 2006, lets them gather in public and cheer. In isolated North Korea, the government has allowed some foreign broadcasts of games — albeit on tape-delay — and residents even cheered rival South Korea.

Argentina has endured a decade of political feuding, national insolvency and no soccer titles. But after Thursday’s victory, there are signs of hope that this year might bring a much-needed win on the global stage.

“These are critical moments for Argentina, politically and economically, and this provides a bit of relief for the people,” said shoe store owner Eva Garcia, 56.

Daniel Roman, who watched the game with 1,000 other fans on a huge video screen in the downtown Plaza San Martin, said the love of the game unites his nation unlike anything else.

“It’s what brings Argentines together, this passion,” he said.


Neighboring Brazil never needs an excuse to party. And 10,000 people gathered on Copacabana beach Tuesday to watch their team’s 2-1 win over North Korea. They gulped beer, blew whistles and ushered in the general mayhem that sweeps the nation during the tournament.

“It’s football and Carnival combined!” exclaimed 26-year-old Rodrigo Nobre, his Brazil shirt and shorts covered in sand. “It’s a time for coming together, forgetting our worries and cheering on our national team!”

Brazil — the global superpower of the Jogo Bonito, or “the beautiful game” as the sport is known around the world — will host the next World Cup, in 2014.


There is no beach party in Somalia.

Islamic fundamentalists who control stretches of the African nation have banned watching the World Cup.

“We don’t want our people to be preoccupied with seminude, crazy men jumping up and down who are chasing an inflated object,” said Sheik Mohamed Osman Arus, head of operations for the Hizbul Islam insurgent group.

“We don’t want them to waste their precious time and resources on un-Islamic matches, especially during prayer time,” he said.

Hizbul Islam, just like its ally, the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab group, has imposed a strict version of Islam in areas under its control in southern and central Somalia.

Arus said that his group, contrary to earlier reports, is not arresting people for watching the World Cup or taking any other action against them beyond chasing them away from TVs.

He said militiamen chased dozens of fans from a video hall in the western town of Afgoye, where men and women mingled Saturday to watch the Argentina-Nigeria match in the first World Cup tournament held on African soil.

In Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, fans have been forced to relocate temporarily to the slice of the city under government control, where they can cheer without fear.

Source: SGGP

Electricity shortages to get worse during dry spell

In Uncategorized on May 14, 2010 at 4:52 am

Power shortages will be worse this year than last year as new energy projects are behind schedule and droughts have dried up hydropower reservoirs, electricity regulators said.

Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Electricity Regulatory Authority said blackouts and shortages would be particularly bad in May and June, the dry season’s peak months.

People play chess on the pavement during a blackout. (Photo:SGGP)

According to Dang Hoang An, deputy general director of Vietnam Electricity (EVN), Vietnam’s largest hydropower plants, Hoa Binh, Thac Ba and Tuyen Quang, are operating at their lowest output levels ever this year as the dry season arrived early this year and will likely end late.

Several droughts have been reported across the country and over 20 major hydropower plants, with a combined capacity of 6,200MW, have had to restrict output to 50 million kWh per day until the end of the season.

The government aims to increase the country’s electric capacity by 50,000-60,000 kw by 2020 by ramping up total investment in the electricity industry to US$50 billion.

EVN has said it will spend over VND58 trillion ($3 billion) on new power projects this year, an increase of VND11 trillion ($578 million) over last year.

While EVN has said it would open seven new power plants as soon as possible, many projects currently under construction are far behind schedule.

The 220MW Son Dong thermal plant in Bac Giang Province was expected to open in the first quarter of this year, but only one of its two turbines is running, while the third 120MW turbine at Se San 4 hydropower plant in Gia Lai Province remains unfinished way past deadline.

The Electricity Regulatory Authority said the country had been unable to meet its goal of adding 450MW to the national grid in the first quarter, mostly due to the delayed projects.

“This will cause a severe electricity shortage during the dry season this year,” the authority said in a statement.

Technical difficulties

Vu The Cuong, head of EVN’s Technology Department in Ho Chi Minh City, said many recent blackouts had been caused by regular maintenance services or cases in which power was automatically cut off as a result of an overload on the grid.

“Such power cuts often last only a short time,” he said.

But Cuong also stressed that prolonged droughts had forced hydropower plants to run at a reduced capacity, meaning there would be more severe shortages through this month, the driest time of the year.

EVN said the good news was that though shortages would dire in parts of the country, Ho Chi Minh City at least would likely not lack electricity in May.

Source: SGGP

Tourists numbers jump during holiday

In Uncategorized on May 4, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Tourists numbers jump during holiday

QĐND – Tuesday, May 04, 2010, 21:7 (GMT+7)

The number of visitors attracted to popular and well known Vietnamese tourist spots rose sharply during the Liberation Day holiday period, from April 30 to May 3.

Around 500,000 tourists flocked to Ha Long Bay, a world natural heritage, to attend the 2010 Ha Long Tourism Festival (Carnival Ha Long), resulting in hotels, restaurants and tourist services becoming overloaded. The average price of accommodation increased by as much as two or five times, with some even ten times more expensive, compared to normal.

More than 500 boats that service the tourist trade in Ha Long Bay ran at full capacity, carrying almost 5,000 visitors per day.

It was a similar scenario in Sa Pa in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai , where around 15,000 tourists made the journey to enjoy the 2010 “In the Clouds” Festival.

According to the Culture and Eco-Tourism Centre at Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, the number of visitors to the Phong Nha-Ke Bang caves in the central province of Quang Binh reached over 19,000, a record figure for the park since it opened.

Lao Bao and Khe Sanh, two new destinations in the central province of Quang Tri , also attracted nearly 50,000 tourists over the April 30-May 1 holiday. Everyday, between 5,000 and 6,000 people from across the country and Laos and Thailand visited the areas to go sightseeing at the former US war battlefield as well as to shop at border trade centres.

The central province of Quang Nam , which is home to two world cultural heritages, Hoi An Ancient Town and the My Son Sanctuary, saw a sudden rise in the number of visitors with more than 3,000 rooms in 82 hotels and guesthouses being booked weeks in advance.

Other destinations such as Sam Son in Thanh Hoa province, Cua Lo in Nghe An province and the ancient capital of Hue also received their largest-ever number of tourists over the four-day holiday period.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

HCMC to provide $23mil loan to stabilize food prices during Tet

In Vietnam Economy on October 22, 2009 at 6:05 am

HCMC to provide $23mil loan to stabilize food prices during Tet

QĐND – Wednesday, October 21, 2009, 20:7 (GMT+7)

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has approved a plan to provide interest-free loans worth VND422 billion (US$23.4 million) to 13 food suppliers to secure adequate supply and stabilize prices of certain goods during Lunar New Year (Tet) next February.

The eight essential food items authorities have in mind are rice, sugar, cooking oil, poultry and meat, eggs, processed foods, fruits, and vegetables.

The supply of certain items like fruits, vegetables, processed foods, and meat will be increased, with poultry supply raised by half to 3,000 tons.

The supply of duck meat will remain unchanged at 500 tons but that of eggs will increase to 25 million, up from 15 million last year.

The administration has ordered the13 firms that will take part in the program to ensure quality, hygiene and safety, and that their prices are 10 percent lower than in the market and supply is 20-40 percent higher than normal.

The plan envisages the firms setting up 1,508 retail outlets, a three-fold increase from last year.

City vice chairwoman Nguyen Thi Hong said the program is open to more firms that can assure stable supply and distribution of foods.

This year’s loan amount is higher because there will be more items and suppliers than last year when nine firms shared VND409 billion.

Saigon Co.op will get VND100 billion compared to VND53 billion last year since the supermarket chain has agreed to supply many items.

These beneficiaries have to use the loans for the agreed purpose and repay it in six months, failing which they cannot join the program again.

Tet falls on February 15 next year.

Source: VietNamNet/SGGP

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