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Central Highlands see positive socio-economic changes

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:09 am




Central Highlands see positive socio-economic changes


QĐND – Monday, December 27, 2010, 20:34 (GMT+7)

The Central Highlands Steering Committee held a conference in Buon Ma Thuot, Dak Lak province on December 27 to review ten years of implementing the political bureau’s resolution on socio-economic development and national defence and security in the Central Highland region in the 2001-2010 period.


Over the past ten years, localities in the central highlands have achieved impressive results in socio-economic development. The average income per capita in the region increased remarkably from VND2.9 million in 2001 to VND15.5 million in 2010 (making up 67 percent of the nation’s average rate with economic growth rate reaching 11.9 percent per year.


In the reviewed period, the Central Highlands upgraded to two first-tier urban areas, and established two cities and four towns. Infrastructure in both urban and rural areas in the region improved. 91 percent of communes possessed roads leading to the centre while 98 percent of hamlets had access to the national grid. All communes have primary schools, kindergarten, and health stations. Five provinces in the region have completed compulsory high school education.


Vocational training and job generation also gained positive results with nearly 1 million recruited workers including more than 180,000 ethnic minority people. The unemployment in urban area dropped to 2.51 percent. Nearly 111,000 households escaped poverty. The proportion of poor households fell to just 10.34 percent. In the ethnic minority group alone, the rate of poor households dropped sharply from 47.8 percent in 2006 to 19.9 percent in 2010.


Delegates also pointed out some shortcomings in the region. For example, socio-economic infrastructure in the region remains low while the quality of human resources has not been improved. While the rate of poor households decreased sharply, the rate of households fall into poverty again remained high. Over 11,000 households have had enough land for production.


Deputy Head of the steering committee, Tran Viet Hung said poverty reduction and hunger elimination for ethnic minority groups remained an urgent task for the region. Therefore, he said it is necessary to improve infrastructure in the region.


Source: VOV


Source: QDND

Socio-economics continue positive development

In Uncategorized on November 7, 2010 at 4:50 pm

HIV: Finally, Positive Results from a Microbicide Trial

In Uncategorized on July 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm

The HIV prevention world is abuzz with excitement following news of the first clinical evidence that a vaginal gel – known as a microbicide – can help to prevent sexual transmission of HIV infection.


A study by the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) found that a vaginal gel containing the antiretroviral (ARV) drug tenofovir was 39 percent effective in reducing a woman’s HIV risk when used for about three-quarters of sex acts and 54 percent effective when used more consistently. It also halved the incidence of genital herpes infections.







“Tenofovir gel could fill an important HIV prevention gap by empowering women who are unable to successfully negotiate mutual faithfulness or condom use with their male partners,” said Quarraisha Abdool Karim, one of the lead investigators of the study and associate director of Caprisa. “This new technology has the potential to alter the course of the HIV epidemic, especially in southern Africa where young women bear the brunt of this devastating disease.”


More than half of new HIV infections in Africa occur in women and girls. The CAPRISA study findings are likely to revive flagging morale among researchers disappointed by two decades of failed efforts to develop a female-controlled method of HIV prevention.


“We are giving hope to women. For the first time we have seen results for a woman-initiated and controlled HIV prevention option,” Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, said in a statement. “If confirmed, a microbicide will be a powerful option for the prevention revolution and help us break the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic.” 


Funded by the US and South African governments, the CAPRISA trial involved 889 HIV-negative, sexually active South African women who were considered to be at high risk of HIV infection. Half of the women were given vaginal applicators containing a 1 percent concentration of tenofovir gel, while the other half were given a placebo gel. The women were asked to insert a dose of the gel 12 hours before sexual intercourse and a second dose within 12 hours after intercourse. 


Over the course of the year-long study, 98 women became HIV positive – 38 in the tenofovir gel group compared to 60 in the placebo gel group. On average, adherence to the gel was over 70 percent, but among women who used the tenofovir gel for more than 80 percent of sex acts the gel provided greater protection from HIV. 


“We believe that the most responsible plan of action now is to quickly and efficiently articulate the sequence of steps necessary for confirmation and follow-up of these results, while also aggressively planning for potential roll-out of a licensable product,” Mitchell Warren, executive director of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, said in a statement. 


“As exciting as this result is – and as important as it is to follow it up without delay – the reality is that this product will not be available for widespread introduction tomorrow,” Mitchell cautioned. “It is critical to manage expectations while maintaining urgency.” 

Source: SGGP

US attitude towards Agent Orange more positive

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2010 at 4:47 pm




US attitude towards Agent Orange more positive


QĐND – Friday, July 16, 2010, 21:20 (GMT+7)

Tran Xuan Thu, General Secretary of Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA), said US attitude towards solving the AO/dioxin dilemma in Vietnam has become more positive.


Tran Xuan Thu, who is also VAVA Vice President, said at an interview with VNA on the threshold of the third hearing on Agent Orange to be held by the US House of Representatives on July 15.


The hearing session aims to consider steps to be taken to meet demand from Vietnamese AO/dioxin victims and those exposed to the toxic chemical sprayed by US troops during the war in Vietnam.


Thu told VNA that the campaign in support of Vietnamese AO/dioxin victims that has been running in all the four available channels has contributed to a shift in the US attitude towards the problem, not only in words but also in action.


The campaign, involving the Vietnamese and US governments, Vietnam-US Dialogue Group on AO/dioxin, the VAVA and progressive world forces, has helped bring about modest changes to the attitude of not only the US public but also politicians, he said.


First of all, the US side, for example, including politicians, has acknowledged and talked about AO victims more openly and no longer considers them as simply the disabled. Secondly, the US side has offered technological and financial solutions to detoxify a hotbed of dioxin in the central city of Danang.


Most recently in June, the Vietnam-US negotiation team has worked out a plan of action with a budget of some US$300 million for 10 years to prioritize healthcare for AO victims and clean up the environment.


Representing three million victims in Vietnam, VAVA expressed thanks to the negotiation team for their tireless efforts in contributing to solid solutions to this legacy in Vietnam, said the AO watchdog leader.


Thanks were expressed not only for humanitarian reasons but also in an effort to boost relations between the two countries, Thu added.


“The $300 million plan is worthy of respect at a point when Vietnam is poor and victims’ need is huge,” he said.


However, he emphasized the scheme is far from meeting what is needed for the problem in relation to human beings and the environment.


“Vietnamese AO victims are looking for the deployment of the program as soon as possible,” Thu emphasized.


Charles Bailey, Director of the Ford Foundation Special Initiative on Agent Orange/dioxin, and Susan Berresford, former Ford Foundation President, both confirmed that it was quite possible to solve the AO impact on humans and the environment in Vietnam.


However, they acknowledged the need for significant financial resources. They asked the US government to play a key role in meeting this financial demand and work with other donors to help the Vietnamese government and people address the problem.


Tom Harkin, who chairs the US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, shared sympathy with AO victims on their sufferings and losses during his visit to Vietnam in early July. He also emphasized that the US should consider solving the AO problem in Vietnam because of the issue of moral responsibility of those who had caused the problem.


The AO issue was not only the pain of Vietnam but also of many families in the US , said the US senator.


Hearing sessions held by the US House of Representatives and the International People’s Tribunal of Conscience as well as the consistent support raised by progressive world forces have contributed considerably to AO victims’ struggle for justice.


Eni F. H. Faleomaveaga, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who summoned the upcoming hearing, also launched and chaired the previous two sessions in May, 2008 and June, 2009.


Unlike the previous two sessions, the upcoming hearing will include VAVA representatives and the victims themselves. They are medical doctor Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, VAVA Vice President, and Tran Thi Hoan, a second generation victim, who lost two legs and one hand. The 23-year-old girl is a student of the Ho Chi Minh City Foreign Language and Information Technology University.


Thu concluded the interview by expressing wishes on behalf of three million Vietnamese AO victims that the hearing with the first-ever presence of Vietnamese AO victims would promote a US sense of responsibility towards the problem and push the US to take another step forwards in finding a solution to the problem.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

Vietnamese economy shows positive signs

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2010 at 4:19 am




Vietnamese economy shows positive signs


QĐND – Wednesday, April 14, 2010, 22:39 (GMT+7)

While many experts are concerned about the country’s economic growth, including the trade deficit in the first quarter of the year, Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAM) has taken a more positive outlook.


Experts from VAM, a fund management company that engages in public and private equity investment and advisory services, said GDP growth in the first three months is estimated at 5.8 percent (a year-on-year increase of 2.7 percent).


Comparing the two quarters, industrial production is up 13.6 percent, retail sales up 24.1 percent, and exports down only 1.6 percent.


Although GDP growth is less than the previous quarter, Tet (Lunar New Year) will have a negative impact on GDP growth in the first quarter of each year compared to the rest of the year, according to VAM’s report.


Average yearly inflation is now up to 9.5 percent, and foodstuffs and building materials categories continue to be the primary contributors to the rise.


The trade deficit in the first quarter is estimated at 3.5 billion USD, compared to a trade surplus of 1.5 billion USD in the first quarter of the year.


However, VAM experts said the number was not as bad as is sounds.


They said the first quarter was anomalous as the surplus was made entirely possible primarily by the re-export of gold due to the price gap of roughly 35 USD/ounce in Vietnam compared to the world market at the time.


In addition, on a monthly level the trade deficit is declining over the fourth quarter of last year, and inflows into the capital account are picking up quite strongly.


An estimated 4 billion USD in FDI and remittances flowed into Vietnam in the first quarter.


The evidence is in the currency market, where free market and official rates seem to be in equilibrium for the moment.


Nonetheless, on March 21, Fitch Ratings placed Vietnam’s long term foreign and local currency ratings on negative watch with potential for a downgrade, citing weakening confidence in the dong and a lack of transparency regarding foreign reserves and the balance of payments.


It does seem that Vietnam’s foreign reserves were drained substantially in 2009 due to the continued high trade deficit and the slowdown in FDI and remittances.


But for the time being, imbalances in the currency, current account and inflation seem well addressed, VAM said.


The VN-Index finished the month at 499.24, up only 0.5 percent. The market was rallying quite handsomely until Fitch lowered its outlook.


Official audited results are being announced by listed companies during the Annual General Meeting season.


Generally, the earnings have been good and better than management guidance, and some companies have encouraged targets of a 30-100 percent bottomline growth in 2010, with those on the higher end of the spectrum mostly riding on news products and newly added capacity.


On the other hand, lacking support from provisions reversal, tax breaks, low-cost materials and auto component companies have planned low targets compared to their earnings posted in the 2009 fiscal year.


As for the stock market, the 2009 fiscal year results have already been priced in, and going forward, stock prices will be mostly driven by targets for the current fiscal year and how management executes their plans, said VAM.


The news on the macro economy, credit and monetary policies, whether official or not, causes corporate news to drive the bourses.


The commitment to curbing inflation, stabilising the banking system as well as lowering borrowing costs in the last few days of March have eased investors’ panic.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

Child tests positive for bird flu

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 at 6:10 am

A three-year-old boy is the country’s fifth to contract avian influenza this year. 









The child, from the southern province of Binh Duong, was taken to Ho Chi Minh City’s Children Hospital II on March 10 with symptoms including a high fever and cough. Tests later confirmed the presence of the H5N1 virus.


He was then quarantined in the hospital’s Infectious Ward and placed on a breathing machine.

Doctors said they first suspected the boy had contracted dengue fever, but X-rays showed he had developed pneumonia and breathing difficulties, not normally associated with dengue.

The boy’s relatives said the family lived in a neighborhood where vendors sell live poultry, yet they were not aware of any sick chickens in the area nor had the child consumed any poultry.


The HCMC Department of Health convened a meeting soon after the case was announced with experts and doctors from the city’s Pasteur institute, Tropical Disease Hospital, and other medical personnel to discus the case and redo blood tests on the child.

Dr. Hung of the Pasteur Institute said that an update would be announced on March 17 and that the institute’s staff would investigate the boy’s neighborhood.





Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Dog meat, vegetables test positive for cholera

In Vietnam Health on December 23, 2009 at 11:35 am

A recent inspection of northern eateries serving dog meat, vegetables and shrimp paste has revealed alarming unhygienic practices and the presence of cholera bacterium in some foods.









Tran Nhu Duong, deputy head of the Hanoi-based National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, told a seminar December 22 that health inspectors had recently investigated some 30 street eateries selling dog meat in Hanoi.


Twenty-five of the eateries were found operating without a food safety and hygiene certificate; 15 prepared food next to a restroom; 19 used unwashed raw vegetables; and 27 served day-old meat.


More worrying, samples of vegetables, dog meat and shrimp paste taken from restaurants and markets in Hanoi and the northern provinces of Hai Phong, Hai Duong, and Thanh Hoa had tested positive for the Vibrio cholera bacterium, said Duong.


The bacteria, spread through contaminated water or food, causes acute intestinal infection which can lead to death if left untreated.


Although cholera in Vietnam has not been as prevalent this year as in the past, 471 cases have been reported in 15 provinces nationwide with one fatality in the northern province of Ninh Binh, said the Department of Preventive Health and Environment.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Obama vows ‘positive, cooperative’ ties with China

In World on November 17, 2009 at 11:06 am

Iran’s chief negotiator ‘positive’ ahead of nuclear talks

In World on September 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm

TEHRAN, Sept 30, 2009 (AFP) – Iran’s chief nuclear inspector Wednesday said he was heading for potentially make-or-break talks with world powers on Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme with a “positive approach.”








Iran’s atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi

“We are going to Europe for this negotiation with a positive approach and I hope this is an opportunity for others also,” he told reporters at Tehran airport before leaving for the negotiations in Geneva.


Atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi had said Iran is ready to discuss world concerns about its previously undisclosed second enrichment plant, but insisted there can be no bargaining about Iran’s right to master the nuclear fuel cycle at long-awaited talks with major powers on Thursday.


Disclosure to the International Atomic Energy Agency last week of the plant cast a shadow over the talks in Geneva, with Washington calling on Tehran to agree to “immediate, unfettered access” by IAEA inspectors.


Uranium enrichment is the sensitive process that lies at the centre of Western concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme, which Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States want the Geneva talks to address.


The process can produce the fuel for nuclear power or, in highly refined form, the fissile core of an atomic bomb.


The UN Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions against Iran over its failure to heed repeated ultimatums to suspend enrichment.


Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki meanwhile told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that Tehran would not give up its “right” to nuclear technology.


“Iran in defending its absolute right to devekop civilian nuclear technology will never bow under political pressure. Iran will never renounce its right to develop civilian nuclear technology,” he said, according to Irna news agency.


Source: SGGP

Investment promotion yielding positive results

In Uncategorized on October 11, 2008 at 9:12 am

HCM City (VNA) – Investment promotion activities have achieved encouraging results in advertising the investment environment in Vietnam as a safe and attractive destination that offers high competitiveness to foreign investors, said Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung.

The Deputy Minister made the remark at a conference held on Oct. 10 in Ho Chi Minh City to review investment promotion work in the southern region.

Over the recent past, ministries, services and localities have organised a range of activities to encourage investment in Vietnam , markedly contributing to the attraction and effective use of foreign direct investment.

As a result, the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Vietnam has increased sharply. The country attracted 18.5 billion USD in FDI in the 2001-05 period, more than 12 billion USD in 2006 and the figure surpassed 20 billion USD in 2007. During the first nine months of this year, the country attracted a record FDI total of more than 57 billion USD.

The conference discussed measures to overcome obstacles to increasing the effectiveness of investment promotion work.

Participants pointed to the lack of cooperation between localities and ministries and branches, the limited knowledge of the investment market and potential partners, and the shortage of officials to take charge of investment promotion activities.

They proposed a number of measures such as building detailed plans for each sector and regional as well as a list of projects calling for investment to facilitate investors. They also urged the completion of legal documents and policies regarding investment promotion and the development of a system providing detailed information for investors.-