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Over 7,200 public, private hospitals do not have wastewater treatment system

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 at 9:36 am

Over 7,200 public and private hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City do not have standard wastewater treatment systems, the Department of Health has reported.

These medical clinics have only rudimentary systems at the best and discharged their wastewater into septic tanks, which are then released into the sewerage system.

The old waste water treatment facilities of the Traumatic Orthopedic Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Over 7,200 public and private hospitals do not have wastewater treatment system or the old facilities can’t meet the increase in usage

Approximately 45 central, city and district hospitals and private clinics, have not improved their wastewater treatment systems and the old systems cannot satisfy the increase in usage. The wastewater system is overloaded.

Hospitals said they are short of skill personnel in dealing with the issue, while the relevant agencies have yet to penalize any hospital or clinic that do not meet the requirements of a modern waste treatment system.

However, the city Department of Natural Resources and Environment has fined the Mental Hospital in District 5. The hospital was fined VND6 million and was forced to quickly construct a modern standard wastewater treatment facility.

Hospitals in the city have dumped thousands cubic meters of wastewater into the river environments every day.

Source: SGGP

Preval agrees not to release Haiti vote count: OAS

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2010 at 10:26 am

Haitian President Rene Preval has agreed not to release final results of the impoverished country’s disputed elections until after consultations with members of the Organization of American States, an official told AFP.

The candidates in Haiti’s presidential election.

OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza “spoke with President Preval today and requested a delay of the announcement of the final results of the elections,” assistant secretary general Albert Ramdin told AFP on Friday.


After the call from the OAS, Preval “agreed that he would ask the (Provisional Electoral Council, CEP) not to announce any results for now, until the OAS can help with the clarification process,” Ramdin said.


The Haiti electoral commission has said it will review the results of the presidential elections released earlier this month after Preval’s handpicked candidate Jude Celestin defied predictions to win a place in a run-off vote.


“We will see if everybody agrees these terms of reference, then start the process of clarification and recount,” Ramdin said.


It was also important to not “only focus on the electoral aspect but also on creating momentum for political acceptance of the final outcome of the clarification process,” he added.


The CEP previously has set a December 20 deadline to announce final election results.


The electoral commission plans a recount of tally sheets in the presence of the three main candidates, although popular singer Michel Martelly — ousted in the first round — and Mirlande Manigat — a former first lady who topped the poll — have refused to take part.


Manigat meanwhile Friday said she welcomed a second round in the poll but not with three or more candidates, a possibility that was raised earlier this week by French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie.


Ramdin on Wednesday visited Haiti after Preval asked for the OAS to set up a mission to help in the recount, which he said could be ready by early next week.


However, Ramdin said the special mission was not prepared to travel to Haiti unless the final election results were delayed.


“There’s no sense in clarifying the election results if those results are made final,” he said.


Ramdin also said the special mission “can only be successful if it is given access to all the information and an independent report is guaranteed.”


The OAS official said that over the weekend Celestin, Manigat and Martelly would be consulted to see if an agreement can be reached on how the recount is to be carried out.


Once an agreement is reached, he added, the recount will begin.


Martelly, who lost the number 2 spot in the November 28 polls by a mere 7,000 votes, on Wednesday warned that his supporters could “take to the streets” to protest what he insists were flawed election results,


“I’m telling you, if they come back to us with bad solutions, the people are going to take to the streets,” he told AFP.


The singer called this week for a re-run of the entire vote, with all 18 candidates taking part in the do-over, and the victor claiming Haiti’s presidency.


UN peacekeepers in riot gear had to restore order in major cities last week after at least five people were killed in politically charged riots, but the streets of Port-au-Prince have been calm since Friday.


Haiti’s chaotic election was carried out amid widespread allegations of fraud and the disenfranchisement of thousands of quake survivors and slum dwellers, who either couldn’t get the necessary papers to vote or weren’t on the register.


 

Source: SGGP

Vietnam not found any baby bottles with BPA

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2010 at 9:27 am

The Ministry of Health’s Food Hygiene and Safety Department of Vietnam on December 17 announced that it has not found baby bottles containing bisphenol-A (BPA), which is a hormone-altering agent.

A woman uses a baby bottle to feed her newborn son. (Photo:AFP)

Earlier, the department had collected samples from baby bottles and food packing plastics for testing.


According to Nguyen Thanh Phong, deputy director of the Food Hygiene and Safety Department, BPA is an industrial chemical used in making plastics in most reusable food drink containers and baby bottles.


Vietnam authorities have detected a permissible bisphenol-A (BPA) level in the plastic bottles sold across the country.


Vietnam is applying the decision 46/2007/QĐ – BYT, which allows BPA to be at 2.5mg per kilogram of material.


A recent market survey in Vietnam showed that concerned parents in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are switching to bottles imported from Korea, England and Germany. These countries advertise that their bottles are ‘BPA free’. In addition, parents are also turning to glass bottles. Although heavier and more expensive, as compared to the plastic ones, glass bottles are probably much safer.


Nguyen Cong Khan, from the Ministry of Health, said that mothers should breastfeed their child as this can ensure better protection and enhance the immune system of the child.


In November, the European Community (EU) banned baby bottles containing the chemical BPA. This was due to fears that BPA might be harmful to the health of a child. The population of the EU is half a billion people.


The ban will see the manufacture of polycarbonate infant feeding bottles that have BPA, outlawed from March 1st 2011. In addition, from June 1st, 2011, the importation and sale of plastics bottles that contain BPA will be prohibited into the European Community.

Source: SGGP

It’s not a good time to buy gold now, experts say

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:04 am

Gold traders were hesitate on investing more in the precious metal as the physical gold carried high risk of losses in the last two weeks, analysts said.

(Photo:thanhniennews)

The global gold price’s trading band fluctuated in low rates last week, closing at US$1,350 per ounce. The local price meanwhile remained unchanged at VND36 million per tael.


The gap was narrowed on the fact that Vietnam’s central bank has granted more quotas to import gold by year-end, in a bid to cool domestic gold prices and interest rate jumped to 16-18 percent per annum.


Gold experts expect the global gold price will reach the resistance level of $1,424 per ounce as it closed at $1,410 per ounce last weekend.


They also recommended that gold was overbought, so investors should be cautious in restructuring their investment portfolio.


Local gold price remained around VND300,00-400,000 higher than the global one. However, the local price will likely to retreat on imported gold tax rate of zero percent, interest rate of 16 percent per year and the recover of the stock market.


Gold traders expect the global price will make corrections this month, which is the festival season at many foreign countries around the world.


Experts also predicted that the yellow metal will remain the best asset class with high profit rate in the upcoming time as the global gold price will likely to hit the level of $1,600 per ounce.


Global gold on a rise
The global gold price opened at $,353-1,357 per ounce and closed higher at $1,414 per ounce last week on a job report. Statistics showed the number of non-agriculture jobs last month increased only 39,000, much lower than the expectation of 140,000-155,000 jobs, while unemployed rate rose unexpectedly to 9.8 percent.


Gold steadied on Monday after rising nearly 2 percent in the previous session to above $1,400 an ounce, with a struggling U.S. dollar that pushed silver to its highest since early 1980 likely to spur more buying from investors, according to Reuters.


Any signs of a weaker U.S. economy or heightened tensions between the two Koreas could also bolster gold, while worries about euro zone sovereign debt remain on investor minds.
South Korea started live-fire naval exercise on Monday, despite Pyongyang’s warnings against conducting the drills in disputed waters off the west coast of the peninsula.


Spot gold rose to $2.15 an ounce to $1,416.50 by 0709 GMT, having hit a low around $1,408. Gold had risen as high as $1,415.36 on Friday as the dollar tumbled following disappointing jobs data in November.


Bullion hit a record high around $1,424 an ounce in November.

Source: SGGP

Ceiling interest rate to not exceed 15 percent per year

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:04 am

The ceiling interest rate of commercial banks will be increased from 12% to 15% a year, from this Sunday.

A banking staff directs a customer about lending procedures. Banks agree that ceiling interest rates will not be higher than 15% percent a year (Photo: SGGP)


The decision came from a meeting between the State Bank of Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City and the Vietnam Banking Association, in collaboration with the commercial banks on Saturday.


A day earlier, the State Bank in Hanoi chaired a meeting, in which 12 northern commercial banks signed a commitment, agreeing that their maximum interest rate would be 14% a year.


In case, the banks give their customers any promotional programs (cash or any other gifts); the real interest rate would not surpass 15% a year. Any bank violating this regulation will suffer severe punishment from the authorized organizations.


Because of the rocketing interests during the last few days, the State Bank intervened to stop any more increases. At one stage, the interest rate was 17% to 18% a year in some commercial banks. However, now the ceiling is lower. In HCMC, it remains at 15.5% to 16.5% a year.


Related article:
State Bank tries to prevent banks from increasing their interest rates

Source: SGGP

Around 40 percent of Vietnamese poor not receive any medical treatment

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:00 am

Recent scientific researches have pointed out that around 40 percent needy medical patients have not received any treatment due to several reasons, said an official in the health sector at a Vietnam International Health Economics (HEA) Conference.

 

Patients wait for their turn to pay medical fee at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Around 40 percent of needy medical patietns have not received any treament due to financial reason, said Dr. Ly Ngoc Kinh (Photo: Anh Quan)

According to Ly Ngoc Kinh, former director of the Department of Health Examination and Treatment Management, the main reason is that many face financial difficulties. He said, “Approximately 42 percent of poor people received treatment in district clinics, while only 16.9 percent of wealthy patients did”.


Duong Huy Lieu, HEA’s chairperson, said, “Around 52.5 percent of health-care costs are paid out-of-pocket by households in 2008, while 44 percent of the population in Vietnam have joined up with medical insurance companies.


Mr. Lieu said, “Health insurance only paid 17.6 percent of the medical costs of any patient and that the patients he interviewed, 33 percent said their illness has dramatically reduced their incomes.


Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Phuong, a World Health Organization expert in Vietnam, said “Out-of-pocket health payments exacerbate poverty and approximately 3.7 percent households fall into poverty, due to medical costs in 2008”.


She also went on to say, “Poverty line families and the old are the most vulnerable with extra medical costs”.


The Vietnam International Health Economics (HEA) Conference, the first of its kind, which was jointly organized by the Vietnam Health Economics Association (VHEA) and the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, was held in Hanoi on December 7-8.


Also, in attendance to this meeting were eminent experts from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, the United Nations Children’s Fund, WHO and a number of non-governmental organizations.

Source: SGGP

BP did not put profit before safety on Gulf well: probe

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2010 at 6:22 am

Schools not permitted to offer two class sessions a day except parents’ requirement

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2010 at 10:52 am

Iraqi leaders not following US advice on gov’t

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2010 at 7:53 am

American influence has so dwindled in Iraq over the last several months that Iraqi lawmakers and political leaders say they no longer follow Washington’s advice for forming a government.


Instead, Iraqis are turning to neighboring nations, and especially Iran, for guidance — casting doubt on the future of the American role in this strategic country after a grinding war that killed more than 4,400 U.S. soldiers.


“The Iraqi politicians are not responding to the U.S. like before. We don’t pay great attention to them,” Shiite lawmaker Sami al-Askari, a close ally of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said Thursday. “The weak American role has given the region’s countries a greater sense of influence on Iraqi affairs.”

In this Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010 file photo released by the Iraq Prime Minister’s office, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, right, meets with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Baghdad, Iraq.

Vice President Joe Biden, the administration’s point man for Iraq, has doggedly lobbied Iraqi leaders, both on the phone and in six trips here over the past two years.


Iraqis, however, measure U.S. influence largely by its military presence, which dipped by threefold from the war’s peak to 50,000 troops in late August. As a result, Baghdad is now brushing off U.S. urgings to slow-walk a new government instead of rushing one through that might cater to Iran.


“The Iranian ambassador has a bigger role in Iraq than Biden,” said a prominent Kurdish lawmaker, Mahmoud Othman. He said the Americans “will leave Iraq with its problems, thus their influence has become weak.”


One problem which could worsen as a result is the sectarian divide — particularly if the secular but Sunni-backed Iraqiya political coalition, which won the most votes in the March election, is left out of a new Shiite-led government led by al-Maliki.


Many Iraqis, particularly minority Sunnis, would view such a government as “blessed by Iran and evidence of America’s relative weakness,” analyst Michael Knights wrote on the website of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. This perception could lead to a surge in violence.


Washington, which has its hands full with the war in Afghanistan and the hunt in Pakistan for Osama bin Laden, sees Iraq as “the bane of everyone’s existence lately,” said one senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the diplomatic issues.


But Iraq cannot afford to ignore completely what Washington wants. For one, that could bring the end of U.S. help and financial backing to broker $13 billion worth of contracts for military equipment.


It also would all but dash any hopes by Baghdad to re-negotiate a security agreement that is set to expire at the end of 2011 — a needed step to keeping some U.S. forces in Iraq to continue training its fledgling air force and protect its borders. A senior Iraqi military official predicted the new government, once it is settled, ultimately will ask U.S. troops to remain beyond next year.


U.S. alliances with Mideast nations to which Baghdad seeks to cozy up also cement American influence in Iraq, said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center think tank in Doha.


“In that, I think the U.S. is still pretty well positioned in terms of getting its voice heard in Iraq,” Shaikh said. But he agreed that the U.S. carries less sway in Baghdad than it used to: “If it was such an easy thing to exert influence, then wouldn’t Iraq have had a government by now?”


More than seven months have passed since March 7 parliamentary elections failed to produce clear winners, and Iraqi politicians say they will pick new leaders on their own timetable.


Othman said the lengthy impasse, despite heavy U.S. pressure to form a government that includes all of Iraq’s major political players, shows that Baghdad doesn’t really care what Washington wants.


“Yes, the Americans have their view on how to form an Iraqi government,” Askari agreed. “But it does not apply to the political powers on the ground and it is not effective.”


U.S. officials initially encouraged the Iraqis to form a government quickly, but recently started pushing for a slowdown after it became apparent that a party led by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was poised to play a major role.


The U.S. clearly hopes to stall the formation of a new government long enough for the deal unravel between al-Maliki and al-Sadr, whose hardline Shiite followers are close to Iran.

But the days of the U.S. calling the shots in Iraq are long over — largely because of President Barack Obama’s intent to scale back America’s presence more than seven years after the invasion which ousted Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-led regime.

That’s led Iraqi leaders to reach out to Mideast neighbors for support and advice on brokering a new government. Leaders from rival political coalitions in the last several months have been to Iran, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia on official visits. On Thursday, al-Maliki was in Ankara to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

It is Iraq’s newly warmed alliance with Iran that worries the United States.

In a development that may have assured him a second term, al-Maliki this month won al-Sadr’s backing. And this week, top Iranian officials gave al-Maliki their clearest nod of support yet during his trip to Tehran.

“Our concerns about Iran and its meddling in Iraq’s affairs are long-standing,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters in Washington this week. “But that said, we would expect the Iraqi government to work on behalf of its own citizens and not on behalf of another country.”

In Cairo this week, al-Maliki predicted a new government will be formed soon. A senior Iraqi government official said that will happen regardless of whether the U.S. blesses it, though he acknowledged that Baghdad would be weak without American support. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions.

“There is U.S. influence in the political process and forming of the government, but less so than before,” said Sunni lawmaker Osama al-Nujaifi. “As they (the Americans) begin to withdraw their military, the Iranians are taking advantage of the empty space, and are ready to fill the vacuum.”

Source: SGGP

Miss Vietnam not selected to Beach Beauty event

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Kieu Khanh, Vietnamese contestant at the Miss World Pageant 2010, was not selected to compete for this year’s Beach Beauty title, which will be held at Mandarin Oriental.

Kieu Khanh-Vietnamese contestant at the Miss World Pageant 2010.

Forty out of 115 contestants have been selected. The winner of this competition will automatically advance to the Top 16 Semi Finals.


Last year, Huong Giang is the first Miss Vietnam to ever place among the top 12 finalists of Miss World Beach Beauty competition, which took place at Zimbali Resort Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.


The Beach Beauty event first started in 2003, where the Miss World Organization wanted to have preliminary or “fast track events” to allow delegates to get into the Top 20 (2003), Top 15 (2004, 2005, 2008), Top 17 (2006) or Top 16 (2007).

Source: SGGP