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Insurance cardholders still face obstacles

In Uncategorized on July 5, 2010 at 12:10 pm

One year after the implementation of the new medical insurance, cardholders are still encountering annoyance.

Residents who registered for insurance cards at the local administration were told to have certificates of agreement from hospitals, said Dr. Ton That Quynh Trung from the general medical clinic Phuoc An on Su Van Hanh street in district 10.

Patients wait for their turns to see doctors at the Ho Chi Minh City Eye Hospital (Photo: Anh Quan)

Dr. Trung said the hospital has seen an increase of insurance card patients since July 1, 2009 when the new medical insurance regulation was launched.

Of 1,800 patients recently admitted to the hospital, over 900 were cardholders. To draw patients, the hospital has improved service quality, administrative formality and employed modern techniques in treatment, Dr. Trung said.

He also pointed out some difficulties patients still face. For instance, seriously ill patients were required to show hospital transfer paper if they want to enjoy health insurance.

The hospital got confused when foreigners with insurance cards registered for examinations and treatment as no available regulation exists for such patients.

According to the Ho Chi Minh City Insurance Company, it has signed contracts with 59 state-owned hospitals, 77 private clinics and infirmaries. Of 4,228,468 cardholders, many of them have registered for examinations at private clinics; therefore, the government should create favorable conditions for them.

On the other hand, patients with insurance cards found it hard to access free treatment in public hospitals due to an overloaded system that has not assimilated insurance cardholders smoothly, despite the city’s Department of Health(DoH)’s determination enforce the new regulation. For instance, cardholders directed protests to the managers of a hospital because staffs served them poorly, alleging discrimination.

Dr. Phan Van Nghiem from the DoH said administrative reform and improved quality of service are needed as the number of insurance cardholders is expected to skyrocket up to 26 million in 2010. He proposed that the insurance company to work out special policies for chronic, serious and kidney patients and support total treatment expenditures for the advantaged patients.

Meanwhile, Bui Minh Dong, deputy chief of the city’s Insurance Company, said although there has been an increase in patients registering for insurance cards, some hospitals have not used computers to manage illness records and facilities in district infirmaries cannot meet the increasing demand.

The scene of insurance holders standing in line to register to see doctors will continue to take place daily if the authorities do not address the program’s shortcomings.

Source: SGGP

Numerous challenges still ahead, says Party chief

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Numerous challenges still ahead, says Party chief

QĐND – Sunday, June 27, 2010, 21:11 (GMT+7)

In spite of overcoming the toughest times of the global economic crisis, the country still faces numerous challenges that require the whole nation’s efforts. 

Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh made the remark at a meeting with voters in the northern province of Thai Nguyen on June 26 after the National Assembly (NA) wrapped up its 7th session. 

Political stability is the most important condition to boost the country’s comprehensive renovation process in an effective and sustainable way, the Party chief told the local voters. 

Development and socio-political stability are related matters, he said, affirming that if the country wants to develop, the country needs the socio- political stability. And, vice-versa, development creates foundations for stability. 

For their parts, the voters showed their agreement with the NA’s major decisions at the recent session, including its suspended decision on the North-South express railway project as well as its request for further study into the Hanoi master plan. 

The voters said that they are pleased with the high sense of responsibility and democracy shown by the NA delegates and feel confident about the NA performance. 

In a frank and open atmosphere, they expressed their concerns over the implementation of the criminal code and the law education in schools. 

In addition, they asked the state to continue developing transport infrastructure, irrigation network, schools and clinics for ethnic minority groups in mountainous areas.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Japan still hopes to sell bullet train to Vietnam: minister

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm

TOKYO, June 22, 2010 (AFP) – Japan said Tuesday it will push on with efforts to sell its bullet train technology to Vietnam despite the project’s rejection in a rare show of defiance by legislators in Vietnam.

“We hope Vietnam will introduce Japan’s Shinkansen bullet train system,” Japan’s Transport Minister Seiji Maehara told a Tokyo press conference, after the vote in the National Assembly in Hanoi Saturday.

“Japan will try to help Vietnam introduce the Japanese system by cooperating with the Vietnamese government to draw up a feasible plan so that the National Assembly will approve it,” Maehara told reporters.

Vietnam’s legislators, who usually back government plans, rejected the 56-billion-dollar project, arguing that the country has more pressing development needs.

Vietnam has seen rapid economic growth, but roughly half the population still works in agriculture and per capita income is about 1,000 dollars.

Under the government’s proposal, the train would link the capital Hanoi with the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City 1,570 kilometres (975 miles) away, at speeds of 300 kilometres an hour, by 2035.

Japan, battling to revive its economy, hopes to sell its cutting-edge technology — from nuclear plants to renewable energy systems to bullet trains — abroad, especially to Asia’s emerging economies.

It is also among bidders hoping to help build a high-speed rail network in the United States under a plan proposed by President Barack Obama.

Maehara said his government would study ways to help Vietnam import the expensive train technology, such as by giving official development assistance or creating a fund to support such infrastructure exports.

Source: SGGP

Ancient crater still holds water

In Uncategorized on June 4, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Ancient crater still holds water

QĐND – Friday, June 04, 2010, 21:19 (GMT+7)

Pleiku City in the central highlands province of Gia Lai is famous for its magnificent waterfalls, green forests, rugged mountains and charming lakes, of which Bien Ho is a must-see destination for tourists to the city.

About six kilometers north of Pleiku City, Bien Ho, or Sea Lake, is a crater that has been dormant for millions of years. Its surface area is about 250 hectares and its average depth is from 20 to 40 meters.

A visit to Bien Ho and its surrounding mountains and pines is an escape from the chaos of the city. There is a watchtower affording spectacular mountain views and simple boats for hire to cruise around the giant lake for an amazing summer experience.

Bien Ho is an eco-tourist site for nature lovers, a romantic rendezvous for couples and a provider of water for hundreds of locals. This lake has never been known to dry up.

To reach Pleiku City, book with a travel agent on Pham Ngu Lao Street or catch a bus from Mien Dong Bus Station for around VND200,000.

Source: VietNamNet/SGT

Source: QDND

Children still need better social care

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Children still need better social care

QĐND – Tuesday, June 01, 2010, 22:11 (GMT+7)

Vietnam currently has several millions of children living in poor families, over 200,000 orphans and handicapped children, and thousands of child victims of Agent Orange and HIV/AIDS in need of intensive care and treatment, according to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA).

Dr. Tran Thi Thanh Thanh, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights (VAPCR), gave an interview to a VOV reporter on International Children’s Day (June 1).

VOV: As head of the VAPCR, one of Vietnam’s first social organisations for children’s affairs, can you tell us about the major activities that the Association is carrying out?

Dr. Thanh: The VAPCR was only established recently but has been already implementing some pilot models of services. The first is one to build a community-based children protection network in two hamlets in Ninh Hai commune, Ninh Hoa district in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa. In these two hamlets, there are 1,000 children living in sub-standard conditions, including 100 in special difficulties. The Association has set up a volunteer group consisting of 15 members who have a knowledge of the laws and the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. They are also provided with child protection skills. The VAPCR has also established children’s clubs to promote mutual understanding. In the future, we will expand this model in more remote areas where the local people are not fully aware of children’s rights.

VOV: What do you think of the average Vietnamese person’s awareness of children’s rights?

Dr. Thanh: Public awareness of children’s rights in Vietnam has recently made some remarkable progress. Previously, many Vietnamese people did not know what children’s rights were, and some did not even accept that children as any rights. At present, most people accept that children have rights. However, there remains a difference in the level of people’s awareness. Children’s rights should be written into the country’s socio-economic development plans, especially programmes on nutrition and education. Even so, people living in remote areas have not yet been made fully aware of children’s rights so they often break the law.

VOV: For many years you have been involved in protecting children’s rights. What experiences do you want to share with others?

Dr. Thanh: I have an unforgettable memory of when I visited a class in Da Bac district in the northern province of Hoa Binh. Before I went there, I had heard that the class was the best of its kind in Da Bac, as the local authorities there offer many incentive policies for poor children. After the class, many pupils’ parents claimed that they had to buy books for their children. The school did not buy books for poor pupils as they had promised. After that, I realised that hearing reports is not enough, you need to make fact-finding tours and listen to local people’s opinions. Fact-finding trips have helped me a lot in my management work.

VOV: Vietnam was the second country in the world and the first country in Asia to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 20 years ago. Has the country since introduced a comprehensive system on child protection?

Dr. Thanh: Vietnam has developed a comprehensive system to ensure children’s rights at all levels. We also built an action plan for children from central to grassroots levels. However, most of the officials and staff, who had been equipped with professional skills for child protection and care, changed their careers after the administrative reforms. Therefore, the country now faces a shortage of staff in charge of children’s affairs.

VOV: What message do you want to send to children and their parents on International Children’s Day?

Dr. Thanh: The message I want to send to them is that the Party and State always offer incentive policies for disadvantaged children. If any children have difficulties, they should let other people know and call for help. Children should focus on their studies, raise their self confidence and understand the incentive policies they are enjoying. For adults, I want to tell them that there are many underprivileged children in our country and we should also work together to ensure a better future for children.

VOV: Thank you.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Petrol price still high, despite global fall

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Pig disease still out of control

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2010 at 5:09 am

Pieces still missing in NYC car bomb plot puzzle

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2010 at 8:39 am

The Pakistani-American who police say admitted to igniting a failed car bomb in busy Times Square has made no court appearance since his arrest early this week and, though he is cooperating, authorities remain unsure he was acting alone.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly declined Friday to discuss what Faisal Shahzad is telling investigators, including what his motives were. He was arrested Monday aboard a Dubai-bound plane two days after the nighttime bomb scare cleared several blocks of the bustling district.

“This individual is cooperating. In these types of situations, you let the information flow, so to speak,” Kelly said.

A member of the New York Police Department bomb squad prepares to check a suspicious package in New York’s Times Square, Friday, May 7, 2010

Police have surveillance images of Shahzad around Times Square and video that shows his car traveling to the spot where they say he left a smoking sport utility vehicle May 1 rigged with a gasoline-and-propane bomb.

Law enforcement officials say they are trying to find links between the Bridgeport, Conn., man and possible financing sources, including the Pakistani Taliban, which has both claimed responsibility for and denied roles in the botched bombing.

A money courier was being sought who may have funneled cash to the 30-year-old budget analyst, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, said Friday the Times Square suspect had apparently operated as a “lone wolf” who did not work with other terrorists. Petraeus said in a statement to the AP that the alleged perpetrator was inspired by militants in Pakistan but didn’t necessarily have direct contact with them.

Investigators believe Shahzad had some bomb-making training in Pakistan as he claimed to investigators, and his training may have been sponsored in part by the Pakistani Taliban, a senior military official told the AP. But it was not clear where the training took place nor the quality of it, the official told the AP on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

Shahzad has told investigators that he trained in the lawless tribal areas of Waziristan, where both al-Qaida and the Pakistani Taliban operate, and that he came up with the attack plan himself.

Investigators have not been able to establish whether Shahzad was recruited for the Times Square operation by the Pakistani Taliban or another militant group — or whether Shahzad came up with the attack plan himself, the official said.

American officials have been quoted as saying they believe the Pakistani Taliban, which has no history of attacks on U.S. soil, had a role in the Times Square plot, either in funding or motivating and training.

Half a world away Friday, police cleared the streets around Times Square and called in the bomb squad to dismantle what turned out to be a cooler full of water bottles. Earlier in the day, police were called in to check a suspicious package that turned out to be someone’s lunch.

Since the bomb scare in the heart of the city, false-alarm calls are up dramatically, nerves are jangled, and media and law enforcement are rushing to the scenes to make sure the reports aren’t something bigger.

More than 600 calls came in since the attempted car bombing a week ago — about 30 percent higher than normal, police said.

Times Square vendor Walter “Candyman” Wells said the constant scares aroused more suspicion.

“I think they’re testing us, whoever is doing this,” Wells said, sitting on a stool near his table of T-shirts. “They’re playing chess with us right now, but they ain’t gonna win. ‘Cause we’re the Bobby Fischers.”

Source: SGGP

Stocks slide anew, but it’s still not a correction

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2010 at 8:39 am

The stock market’s wild ride may not be over yet.The Dow Jones industrials whipsawed again Friday, a day after their largest one-day plunge. The average was down as much as 279 points in the morning, went briefly into the black around lunchtime, then ended with a loss of 139.

Not quite as terrifying as the brief 1,000-point plunge the day before, but still extraordinarily volatile. It’s normal for markets to trade erratically a day after such a disruptive move, but analysts are divided over whether stocks are in the process of finding a bottom or whether too many investors are too spooked to get back in.

“It’s a pile of uncertainty … We don’t have any more clarity than we did yesterday,” said Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. in Boston. “We’re going to have investors who are less inclined to be in this marketplace until we get some clarity.”

Traders were still anxious amid lingering questions about what caused Thursday’s sudden drop. Several possibilities were being investigated but as of late Friday no clear explanation had emerged.

Specialist Gregg Maloney works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, May 7, 2010, in New York

Investors looked past a surprisingly strong report on the U.S. jobs market and focused instead on the latest moves in Europe‘s spreading debt crisis. Their concerns have fed a wave of turbulence over the past two weeks, including four straight days of selling this week, and helped trigger Thursday’s drop.

Technology stocks were particularly hard hit following reports that Nokia Corp. was broadening its legal fight against rival cell phone maker Apple Inc. to include the iPad, Apple‘s new hit product. Apple shares fell 4.2 percent in heavy trading.

The concerns about Europe’s debt crisis go far beyond Greece. A further loss of confidence in European government debt could have an impact on other weak countries like Portugal, potentially requiring another difficult bailout process.

Germany’s parliament approved Berlin’s share of the rescue package after a boisterous debate, but investors still fear that Greece may not make a May 19 deadline to make a debt repayment. That could cause ripple effects throughout the global financial system and further undermine Europe’s shared currency, the euro.

“You’re not concerned about the kid with the cold, but how he spreads it to the rest of the class,” said Len Blum, a managing partner at investment bank Westwood Capital. Blum noted that Greece’s debt problem could be similar to the subprime mortgage meltdown in the U.S., which quickly spread to other parts of the financial system.

The Dow closed down 139.89, or 1.3 percent, at 10,380.43.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 17.27, or 1.5 percent, at 1,110.88, while the Nasdaq composite fell 54, or 2.3 percent, to 2,265.64.

Falling stocks outpaced gainers two-to-one on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume was very heavy at 9.5 billion shares, compared with 10.4 billion on Thursday.

Friday’s trading left the Dow down 5.7 percent for the week and erased its gains for the year. The S&P fell about 6.4 percent, while the Nasdaq was off 7.9 percent for the week. The S&P and Nasdaq also went into the red for 2010.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies was off 8.9 percent for the week, and the Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market Index fell 834.93, or 6.8 percent, to 11,444.25.

The week’s losses would put the market about well toward what analysts call a correction, usually defined as a drop of between 10 percent and 20 percent following a sustained rise. The Dow is now 7.4 percent off its recent high of 11,205.03 reached on April 26. The S&P 500 is down 8.7 percent from its recent high of 1,217.28 reached April 23.

“We were in the midst of a pullback, we needed one, we got one,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at New York-based brokerage house Avalon Partners Inc. Cardillo said the choppy trading after such a drastic decline likely signals the market trying to find a bottom.

Stocks have been on a nearly uninterrupted upward path since March of last year, when indexes hit 12-year lows. Analysts have been predicting a correction for months, only to see the market bounce back after brief periods of decline.

Long-term market watchers actually welcome occasional pullbacks in stocks, saying that gives investors opportunities to pick up shares at bargain prices.

“We had the earthquake, we’re now in the midst of getting the aftershocks,” said Steven Goldman, chief market strategist for Weeden & Co. in Greenwich, Conn. “When the market’s so close to new highs, it’s difficult to have rallies. But when you’re down 10 or 12 percent from recent highs, we can deal with uncertainty better.”

The Labor Department reported that employers added 290,000 jobs last month, far more than expected and the biggest jump in four years. However the jobless rate rose to 9.9 percent from 9.7 percent as more people looked for work.

The big improvement in the jobs report brought some clarity to the biggest question remaining for the U.S. economy: When employers would start hiring again. Despite positive signs in manufacturing and housing, job creation has been lagging far behind other sectors of the economy, a worrisome point for economists. Friday’s report may help change that perception.

“It’s a good-size number and it had a lot of breadth,” said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo. “There isn’t a double-dip out there. The employment situation suggests that we have a sustained economic recovery in the U.S. Companies are hiring people.”

Apple fell $10.39, or 4.2 percent, to $235.86.

Oil fell, and gold rose. The dollar was mostly lower against most currencies. The euro clawed back some ground against the dollar after several days of declines.

European markets were broadly lower.

The declines were deepest in France, where the CAC-40 index tumbled 4.6 percent. Germany’s DAX fell 3.3 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 2.6 percent. Japan’s Nikkei fell 3.1 percent.

Source: SGGP

Prime rate mechanism still needed: NA deputy chairman

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2010 at 8:36 am

The question of maintaining or lifting the central bank’s prime rate mechanism dominated discussions on the first day of the 31st National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee session in Hanoi on Thursday, May 6.

At the Viet A Bank counter. At the 31st session of the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee that started in Hanoi on May 6, NA deputy chairman Nguyen Duc Kien said the prime rate should not be removed since it is an instrument to moderate the monetary market.

The discussions centered around amendments to the laws governing the State Bank of Vietnam and Credit Institutions.

Some deputies said that the prime rate should not be maintained, arguing that that the SBV can control the monetary market by using other financial instruments, including rediscount interest rate or recapitalization interest rate, while credit organizations issue loans based on negotiable lending rates.

Only in case of sudden fluctuations in the monetary market can the central bank interfere and impose caps on lending rates, they said.

Meanwhile, some other deputies wanted the prime rate to be maintained as an instrument to ensure that “the State manages the monetary market” and to form “a basis for implementation of monetary-related regulations of the Civil Code and other legal regulations.”

Ha Van Hien, chairman of the NA Economics Committee, said: “It is not advisable to apply a common lending rate for both banking transactions and civil deals, since they are quite different in nature.”

The prime rate should apply only for civil deals and banks and credit organizations should be allowed to lend based on negotiable interest rates, he said.

Phung Quoc Hien disagreed, saying that it is unfair to apply the prime rate only for civil deals. “There is no reason why only banks are allowed to lend at high interest rates,” he said.

Disagreeing with removal of the prime rate, Tran The Vuong, head of the NA People’s Aspiration Committee, said if such a removal is made, the Civil Code’s provisions that ban usury must be amended.

All lending activities, no matter that they are carried out by banks or individuals, are civil deals, he said, emphasizing that the prime rate is an instrument that is designed to prevent usury.    

Of the same view, Le Thi Thu Ba, chairwoman of the NA Justice Committee, said: “If the prime rate is removed, borrowers cannot afford loans at high interest rates and in case they have no other choice but to take very costly loans, they are unlikely to have the ability to repay lenders.”

After considering all opinions related to prime rate issue, NA deputy chairman Nguyen Duc Kien concluded that the prime rate should not be removed, since it is an instrument to moderate the monetary market.

“In the future, the prime rate should consist of a group of interest rates, not a single rate as at present,” he added.

The meeting also discussed some amendments to the Law on Credit Institutions.

One of the amendments related to the regulation that says, “All organizations or legal person that are not credit institutions are banned from carrying out banking transactions.” The suggested change would turn it into: “Except securities companies, all organizations or legal person that are not credit institutions are banned from carrying out banking transactions.”

The reason for the proposed change is that securities companies are engaged in some banking transactions, such as accepting deposits, and such transactions are provided for in the Law on Securities.

Source: SGGP