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Suicides Rise Across India

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:08 am

“India has become the suicide capital of the world,” says Daya Sandhu, a counselling psychology professor at the University of Louisville in the U.S.

As a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Scholar at Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, India, Sandhu spent five months in India last year researching suicide trends in the country.

“While I was in India from January to June 2010, I was troubled to read headline news almost on a daily basis about students, farmers, and housewives hanging themselves, jumping before trains, taking poison, and committing self-immolation,” says Sandhu.

Beyond the walls of an abandoned factory here, Arun Bag now contends with the tragic memories of his father who killed himself after their farmland was seized to build a plant for the ‘world’s cheapest car’.

“Since his childhood he had only known the field, the plough and the harvest. When the land was acquired forcibly by the government for the Tata Motors car plant he became jobless,” says Arun Bag, remembering his father Haradhan Bag of Singur, an hour’s drive from Kolkata, the capital of eastern state West Bengal.

“He had slipped into depression. One day he took his life consuming insecticides,” Arun said.

Haradhan Bag, who committed suicide at the age of 76 in March 2007, is one of the thousands of Indian farmers who have taken their lives, unable to cope with economic plight, failed crops, farm debts and displacement.

In India, one farmer committed suicide every 32 minutes between 1997 and 2005, according to P. Sainath, a writer on Indian poverty who calculated the statistic from National Crime Records Bureau figures.

Farmers and students are most at risk.

According to the latest statistics of India’s National Crime Records Bureau, 127,151 people in India committed suicide in 2009. This indicates an increase of 1.7 percent over the previous year’s figures.

Suicide is a great social leveller in India, Asia’s third largest and one the world’s fastest growing economies with a projected GDP growth of 8.6 percent from 2010-11.

Displaced farmers like Haradhan Bag of Singur are battling the problem along with debt-ridden farmers of the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra. But middle- class urban families and students at India’s prestigious academic institutions are battling the problem as well.

In the bustling metropolis of Kolkata, barely 40 kilometres away from Haradhan Bag’s village, the media focus is now on the suicide of a 13-year- old student in one of the city’s elite schools.

Rouvanjit Rawla, an eighth standard student of La Martiniere for Boys, hanged himself at home in February last year after he was caned by a teacher at the school.

“I am now fighting for justice and to see that corporal punishment is done away with,” says Ajay Rawla, the father of the boy who is waging a legal battle against the school authorities.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has recently ruled that Rouvanjit was driven to suicide by the school which practises corporal punishment.

Sandhu says that though the media highlights the issue, the Indian government turns a blind eye to the problem at all levels – local, state, and national.

“There is no awareness about depression in India,” says Sandhu.

Interviewing a large number of students in India, Sandhu found academic pressure, parental expectations, marriage tension and relationships to be the primary causes of suicide among young people.

“I was stunned that all the students I interviewed mentioned that at least 70 percent of them have a prem rog (love sickness) and they live loveless lives,” Sandhu said. “They do not feel anchored anywhere. There seems to be no genuine parental love, but only conditional love. They are also strictly prohibited to engage in romantic love, as there is no dating system.”

There are very few counselling centres in India, given the number of suicide cases, according to Sandhu.

Lifeline Foundation in Kolkata is the only counselling centre of its kind in a city of 15 million people. It is also the only one in the West Bengal state of 80 million people.

“The parental pressure to excel in academics or jobs is a driver of suicide while it can combine with factors like substance abuse and relationship and family problems,” says Jayashree Shome, deputy director of Lifeline Foundation.

The centre offers a hotline and face-to-face support for people who are distressed or suicidal, but not many are aware of its existence.

“People who feel suicidal don’t want answers or solutions. They want a safe place to express their fears and anxieties, to be themselves,” she says. “We need to understand things from their perspective, not ours.”

According to Sandhu, the India Mental Health Act of 1987 is limited only to the treatment and care of mentally ill persons who suffer specifically from diseases such as schizophrenia, bipolar and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

“The India Mental Health Act of 1987 is clearly good only at laying down guidelines for establishment and maintenance of psychiatric hospitals and nursing homes… It is limited in scope and services that precludes persons who suffer from numerous other mental health problems such as suicide ideations, alcoholism and substance abuse problems, family, and community violence, anxiety and stress disorders,” he says.

Sandhu says there is an urgent need to ramp up mental health counselling in India.

“Most likely with economical help from the government, I would hope that the farmers’ suicide problems can be taken care of very soon,” he says.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam’s investment overseas to rise in 2011

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:12 am

Vietnam’s investment overseas to rise in 2011

QĐND – Monday, January 03, 2011, 20:37 (GMT+7)

Vietnam’s overseas investment capital is estimated to reach US$1.5-2 billion in 2011, of which US$700-900 billion expected to be disbursed, said an official of the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

Head of the MPI’s Foreign Investment Agency Do Nhat Hoang emphasised the need to monitor overseas investment activities to reasonably regulate the capital flow to stabilise the economy.

In 2010, Vietnam had 107 investment projects in 25 countries and territories with combined registered capital of US$2.926 billion. Disbursed capital totalled around US$900 million, of which over US$700 million was in the mining industry, US$70 million in agro-forestry and fisheries sector and distribution and retail sector accounted for US$53 million.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Overseas remittances see impressive rise

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:02 am

Overseas remittances are expected to record USD8 billion  in 2010, an increase of 25.6 percent over last year.

A teller counts US dollar banknotes at a Sacombank branch in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: Sacombank).

According to the Foreign Currency Management Department under the State Bank of Vietnam, overseas remittances were USD7.6 billion  in the first 11 months of this year and likely to be USD770 million  in December.

In addition, Vietnam ’s commercial banks have said that foreign currencies are flowing into Vietnam and have seen a rise of between 20-30 percent against the previous year.

This high level of remittances is attributed to the recovery of the global economy, which enables overseas Vietnamese to send more money to their relatives in Vietnam , the strong development of banking networks and the improved services offered at banks and economic organizations.

This year’s remittances are mainly from the US , Canada , Australia and markets that accept Vietnamese workers, such as the Republic of Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia .

However, money from Europe is likely to be affected due to public debt in Greece and Ireland .

Overseas remittances are forecast to increase in the next two months until the Lunar New Year festival.

Earlier, the World Bank released a report on worldwide remittances in 2010, with Vietnam ’s overseas remittances forecasted to be USD7.2 billion against USD6.6 billion  in 2009.

The report also showed that Vietnam now ranks 16th out of the top 30 countries surveyed.

Source: SGGP

October exports rise against previous month

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2010 at 3:24 am

Foreign visitors to Vietnam on the rise

In Uncategorized on November 1, 2010 at 2:14 pm

VN-Index adds small rise

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Movements of VN-Index on October 13. (Photo:, a measure of 262 companies and five mutual funds listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange rebounded on October 13 as foreign investors fostered disbursement. However, liquidity on the city bourse remained poor as local investors still neglected.

The benchmark restored 0.74 percent, or 3.38 points, to close at 457.7 points.

Trading volume slightly fell over the previous trading session as around 25.05 million shares changed hands at VND698 billion.

Among the index members, 135 increased, 65 dropped, while 67 treaded water.

Ocean Group Joint Stock Company (OGC), which saw 1.18 million shares change hands, was the only stock whose today’s trading volume was above 1 million shares. The company has continuously led the list of most active shares in volume recently.

AgriBank Securities Joint Stock Corporation (AGR), which gained 4.92 percent to VND12,800, ranked second with 953,600 shares traded, followed by PetroVietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Corporation (DPM) with 669,850 shares.

Binh Duong Trade and Development Joint Stock Company (TDC) soared 4.9 percent to VND30,000.

Hamico Group Mineral Joint Stock Company (KSH) advanced 4.88 percent to trade at VND45,100.

Transforwarding Warehousing Joint Stock Corporation (TMS) slumped 16.27 percent to VND27,800. The company will issue 3,303,121 bonus shares to its current shareholders, funded from undistributed profits, at a ratio of 25 percent. The odd shares will be paid in cash at a price of VND10,000 per share.

Long Giang Investment and Urban Development Joint Stock Company (LGL) tumbled 15.66 percent to VND21,000. The company will advance dividends in cash to its current shareholders at a ratio of 20 percent on November 1.

Imexpharm Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company (IMP) lost 5 percent to VND57,000.

The Hanoi’s HNX-Index also recovered, inching up 0.58 points, or 0.48 percent, to 120.39 points. Trading volume on the northern bourse, however, dropped to the lowest level since mid-February as just nearly 17 million shares traded at VND370.1 billion.

The market of unlisted shares made a contrast move as the UPCoM-Index sliced 0.15 points to 43.96. Trading volume was at 447,000 shares worth VND5.16 billion, doubled that of the previous day.

Source: SGGP

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

Stocks rise as session closes

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2010 at 11:19 am

The shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange swam upstream at the end of the July 29 trading session to finish a tad higher than yesterday amid investor hesitancy to buy stocks at lower prices.

VN-Index, which tracks 250 companies and four mutual funds, inched up 0.02 percent, or 0.11 points, to close at 491.11.
Liquidity on southern market severely dropped, as just around 37.4 million shares changed hands at VND1.1 trillion.
On the index, 100 stocks advanced, 96 retreated, while 58 remained unchanged.
Vinh Son – Song Hinh Hydropower Joint Stock Company (VSH) was the most active share by volume, with 1.57 million shares changing hands.
PetroVietnam Finance Joint Stock Corporation (PVF) came next with 1.49 million shares, followed by Gemadept Corporation (GMD) with 1.09 million shares traded.
620 Chau Thoi Concrete Corporation (BT6) and Khanh Hoa Power Joint Stock Company (KHP) both shot up 4.96 percent to VND74,000 and VND12,700 respectively.
From July 27 to September 27, Do Phuong Vi, wife of Le Anh Khoi – public relations agent of Khanh Hoa Power Joint Stock Company (KHP), registered to sell all her holdings of 3,100 shares for personal need.
FPT Corporation (FPT) climbed 4.93 percent, to VND74,500, from VND71,000 yesterday. The company’s pre-tax profits in the first six months of this year has reached more than VND1.08 trillion, up 38.1 percent year-on-year, and completing 51.29 percent of their goals for this year.
Binh Duong Trade and Development Joint Stock Company (TDC) closed up 4.91 percent to VND36,300.
Information and Networking Technology Joint Stock Company (CMT) declined for the second consecutive day, decreasing the daily maximum allowed limit of 5 percent to VND38,000.
Techno – Agricultural Supplying Joint Stock Company (TSC) fell for a third straight day, losing 4.96 percent to VND23,000.
Royal International Corporation (RIC) edged down 4.93 percent to VND19,300.
Stocks on the smaller bourse in the north also made a U-turn at the end of the trading session, gaining 0.4 percent, or 0.61 points, to close at 152.99. Trading volume rose to the highest level in the past five trading sessions, reaching 46.3 million shares, worth VND1.28 trillion.
The UPCoM-Index lost 0.59 points to 51.55 points. The market of unlisted stocks saw 326,300 shares change hands, at VND5.8 billion, as of 11 am local time.

Source: SGGP

July’s CPI records the lowest rise over six years

In Uncategorized on July 24, 2010 at 3:23 pm

July’s CPI records the lowest rise over six years

QĐND – Saturday, July 24, 2010, 21:38 (GMT+7)

The country’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) in July went up by only 0.06 percent from June, the lowest level so far against Julys since 2004. This is also the lowest increase since the beginning of the year.

The General Statistics Office says with this slight fluctuation, the CPI for the past seven months rose 4.84 percent over December 2009 and 8.67 percent against the same period in 2009.

July’s CPI for the first time increased in only eight out of 11 groups of commodities. The most significant increase was seen in drinks and tobacco (0.41 percent), followed by household goods and appliances (0.39 percent). Goods such as textiles, garments and shoes posted an increase of 0.35 percent.

July is the month of college and university entrance exams but the prices of educational products and services rose by only 0.11 percent.

Although restaurant and related services saw an 0.21 percent increase, food dropped by 0.97 percent, causing a dramatic impact on the CPI’s decline.

Other sharp declines were found in transport (0.94 percent), housing and construction materials (0.47 percent), and post and telecommunications (0.07 percent).

The low CPI in July is attributed to bumper rice crops and the drop in the price of rice, petrol and oil. Another factor is the slight fluctuation in the CPI in the two economic hubs, with HCM City down by 0.09 percent and Hanoi up by 0.25 percent against June.

However, experts warn that Vietnam is coming into the storm season with many unforeseen difficulties ahead, which could possibly lead to a serious imbalance between demand and supply. Major cities, especially Hanoi and HCM City, are urged to continue their efforts to stabilize the eight essential goods, while the government needs to proceed with flexible measures to manage the macro-economy.

In July, gold prices on the market went up by 2.15 percent from June, and by 35.86 percent against the same period in 2009.

Meanwhile, the price of the US dollar has risen 0.38 percent against June and 5.04 percent against a year ago after merchant banks raised their deposit interest rates and boosted the purchase of the US dollar.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Bio-fuel use on the rise in country

In Uncategorized on July 6, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Bio-fuels are gaining increased government attention, driven by factors such as oil price hikes, the need for increased energy security and growing concerns over greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. Conditions are favorable for bio-fuel because Vietnam, like every other countries in the world, must increase spending on renewable energy resources.

Scientists conducting research on clean energy at Poly-Technique University in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: SGGP)

Bio-fuel is an excellent fuel – it burns cleaner than petroleum-based fuels, reduces underground water pollution and its resources are renewable. Eventually, bio-fuels may replace gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. 

Considering these issues, developed and developing countries alike, are formulating mandatory policies to blend ethanol with renewable bio-diesel.

Moreover, nations have increased the use of bio-ethanol to replace fossil fuel in order to fulfill their agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, the major initiative of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.

Moreover, utilizing bio-diesel will help to develop agriculture, improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and landless rural households within agriculturally-oriented Vietnam.

Furthermore, Asia is critically dependent on energy imports and it has been predicted that Vietnam in particular will lack sufficient energy resources by 2012 and will be forced to export even more energy. Therefore, the Vietnamese government encourages the utilization of clean and renewable energies.

Currently, Vietnam produces around 50 million liters of bio-ethanol, an alcohol-based fuel made from fermented plant sugars and starches.  There is enough available sugar/honey for Vietnam to more than double its bio-ethanol production.

If the bio-fuel program is conducted well through 2020, Vietnam stands to turnover US$1.9 billion from providing materials to manufacturers of bio-ethanol.

PetroVietnam plans to build three tapioca-based ethanol plants in the northern province of Phu Tho, the central province of Quang Ngai and the southern province of Binh Phuoc, with each plant possessing a 100,000 cubic meter capacity.

Source: SGGP