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Banks to start year with challenges and oppotunities

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:14 am

Commercial banks are set to cope with challenges and opportunities in 2011 as monetary policies will be more flexible, Dr. Le Xuan Nghia, vice chairman of the National Financial Supervisory Committee, said in an interview with Dau Tu Tai Chinh Newspaper.

(Photo:Minh Tri)

With the global economy will surely recover in 2011, foreign investments will return strongly to emerging markets in Asia, including Vietnam, said Dr. Le Xuan Nghia, vice chairman of the National Financial Supervisory Committee.

“Statistics show foreign investments keep flowing constantly into Vietnam in the last four months. Despite the inflation rising relatively high, investors are not too worried about the possibly of an unstable macro economy as the basic rate caused by monetary policies remains low,” Nghia said.

The inflation will decrease to 7-8 percent in this year if the gasoline price is around US$85-90 per barrel, helping commercial banks to cut interest rates, he said.

“Commercial lenders had to cope with the difference between the long-term and short-term interest rates last year, which hit the banking system hard. Therefore they should strengthen their operation as soon as possible this year,” he said.

The deposit interest rate fluctuation at the end of 2010 showed the interest rate was not driven by both the monetary market and the governmental regulations, threatening the safety of banks’ operation, Nghia noticed.

“Lenders this year will also have to cope with issues from the foreign exchange rate. They should offer foreign currency loans with the interest rates, which are adequate to each type of clients,” he said.

The vice chairman of the National Financial Supervisory Committee also warned the competition of foreign-owned and local banks this year will become harsher as the formers will be allowed to take the dong deposits from Vietnamese clients.

“But I do not think local lenders will be so worried about that. Foreign banks remain behind local lenders as their weaker financial strength and a fewer number of branches nationwide. Moreover, the strict risk managements prevent them from taking risks in such a small market in Vietnam,” he said.

“Besides, human resource is also a tough challenge for foreign lenders. Therefore, the biggest competitor of local banks in the next couple year is still themselves.”

Local lenders will also have to change their entire accounting software to match up with new regulations in the Law of Credit Institutions, which took effective on Jan. 1st 2011, he said.

“The new Law of Credit Institutions has some more regulations including forbidding banks to deposit to each others and restraining the credit growth of banks,” Dr. Nghia said.

Source: SGGP

N. Korea officially proposes talks with South: KCNA

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:11 am

North Korea Monday officially proposed dialogue with South Korea, less than two months after launching a deadly bombardment of a South Korean island.

Three official bodies separately sent notices to Seoul’s unification ministry calling for talks and announcing the reopening of a Red Cross border liaison office, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said.

It said the messages proposed holding a working contact for talks in the North’s border city of Kaesong on January 27, and suggested talks between Red Cross organisations in the southern city of Munsan on February 1.

The Red Cross liaison channel at the border truce village of Panmunjom would be reopened from January 12, the agency announced.

A Seoul government source quoted by the South’s Yonhap news agency confirmed the North had sent an official letter. There was no immediate response.

South Korea, which had been seeking a request through official channels, reacted coolly earlier Monday to a weekend proposal made through state media for the “unconditional and early opening” of talks.

The North’s November 23 bombardment of Yeonpyeong island near the disputed Yellow Sea border killed four people including civilians and drove tensions to their highest level for years.


Source: SGGP

Floating restaurant sinks with over 200 people

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:05 am

The floating restaurant shown submerged in water after the incident

A two storey floating restaurant, My Khanh, in district Phong Dien of Can Tho City sank on January 8 with approximately 220 people atop.

More than 200 people were celebrating a new year party on the first floor of this floating restaurant whilst 10 restaurant staff prepared food on the ground floor.

As the floating restaurant began to sink panic rose amongst the people on the first floor who tried to find ways to go ashore.

However, waiters and other staff members on the ground floor escaped death as they could get away easily.

It took about 15 minutes for the floating restaurant’s ground floor to totally sink into the river. One is still not certain if anyone from the first floor survived. The case is under investigation.

According to the police, the restaurant had just recently been built and was awaiting a license. With a length of over 20 meters and width of 10 meters it was supposed to carry a capacity of around 200 people.

Source: SGGP

Inspectors to destroy satay with unclear origin

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:25 am

All Chinese satay or ‘hotpot species’ that have an unclear origin will be collected and destroyed, said the director of the Department of the Food Hygiene and Safety Nguyen Cong Khan on Thursday.

Chinese satay packets sold at Hom and Dong Xuan markets in Hanoi on December 23 (Photo:

The decision came following revelations made by the Chinese media, who stated that their satay might contain a toxic cancer-causing substance.

In addition, the Ministry of Health is to set up 12 investigating agencies to examine food hygiene and safety around the country. The agencies would focus on businesses that produce, process, trade and import food and species.

The Department of Food Safety and Hygiene has recommended residents to use foods and species that origins are clear. If any person is in doubt about the origins of the species they are buying, they should report this to the authorized organizations.

Related article:
Vietnam tests ‘Chinese satay’ after revelation of toxic cancer-causing substance

Source: SGGP

San Diu folk songs fade with time

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:13 am

San Diu folk songs fade with time

QĐND – Thursday, December 30, 2010, 20:37 (GMT+7)

The folk singing of the San Diu ethnic group in the northern province of Tuyen Quang is fading with time, worry local elders.

The folk lyric singing, known as Soong Co, is rarely heard now, even in Ninh Lai commune, Son Duong district, where the form was believed to have originated. Over 70 percent of the population of Ninh Lai commune are of the San Diu group but few young people can now sing the songs.

“I even don’t know how to speak the San Diu language, let alone sing the traditional songs,” say some teenagers in the area.

Do Van Huong, 66, is one of the rare remaining locals who still can, and he recalls the memories of his youth and falling in love with his wife, Hoang Thi Suu, during nights of singing Soong Co.

“Back then, men who couldn’t sing Soong Co will not have been able to find a wife,” said Huong. “In springs, when farmers weren’t so busy in the fields working, young people always joined singing festivals.”

Teams of singers travelled around, stopping at every village and recruiting more members at each stop, he said.

“The lyrics are simple spoken language, yet they contain melodies inside,” said Le Thi Long, 61, from Ninh Lai. “People loved to sing Soong Co since, through the songs, they could speak out their feelings and hopes.”

While young people sang the songs to find lovers, old people used them to teach the youth about the merits of the ancestors and good behaviour, Long said.

According to Nguyen Viet Thanh, director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, teens from local ethnic groups no longer wear traditional clothes, speak ethnic languages, or have even grown up in homes of traditional design.

The customs of other ethnic groups in the province were also fading, Thanh said, including the Long Tong (Field Work) Festival of the Tay ethnic group, the Cap Sac (coming of age) ceremony and Tet Nhay (New Year’s Dance) of the Dao group, the Nhay Lua (Fire Dance) of the Pa Then group, and the Sinh Ca songs of the Cao Lan group.

The province has begun a project to preserve these cultural values, with a budget of up to 3.8 billion VND (1.9 million USD). The project includes research on the cultural values of seven ethnic groups in 45 villages in the districts of Na Hang, Son Duong, Chiem Hoa, Yen Son and Ham Yen.

From that research, the most endangered heritage will be prioritised for preservation efforts, with some local festivals to be reconstituted in conjunction with economic and tourism development efforts.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

RMIT links with ACCA

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

RMIT International University of Vietnam has joined forces with a major international accountancy association in order to support the development of accountancy within Vietnam.

Merilyn Liddell(L, sitting), president of RMIT Vietnam and Lucia Real-Martin, ACCA’s director of emerging markets (R, sitting) and members of RMITand ACCA at the signing ceremony (Photo: Courtesy of RMIT)

A memorandum of understanding was signed on January 4 between the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the University, providing an ACCA scholarship to the highest graded student in accountancy each year.

In addition, by way of supporting the university’s Accountancy Club, and participation in seminars and conferences, and other types of cooperation.

ACCA now operates an office in Vietnam, as ACCA wants to support the growth and development of the accountancy profession.

“We’re delighted to work closely with the ACCA in the interests of strengthening professional standards in accountancy within Vietnam, and to support the efforts of our own students in becoming part of an effective international network,” RMIT Vietnam president Professor Merilyn Liddell, said at the event.

RMIT Vietnam began operations in Vietnam in 2001 and this year will celebrate its 10th year of operation. The University is fully owned by RMIT University from Australia; an internationally recognized public university dating back more than 120 years.

ACCA opened its representative office in Hochiminh City in 2002, making it the first international professional organization having official presentation in Vietnam. In addition, ACCA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Finance, for the coordinated testing of public accountancy and certification in Hanoi in 2004. ACCA has also signed a partnership deal with the State Audit Department in January 2009. In recent years, ACCA students and members in Vietnam have rapidly increased, from 100 students and 11 members in early 2002, to more than 4,656 students and 300 members as of 2010.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam to narrow digital gap with internet connection

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:08 am

Information Technology and Communication (ICT) plays an important role in poverty reduction around the world and particularly in Vietnam. Therefore, it is necessary to universalize informational technology and application in the educational system.

Students from minority schools in the northern mountainous province of Lai Chau, are able to access the internet free of charge. (Photo:SGGP)

The issue relating to the universalization ICT in education, attracted many concerned people at the Vietnam National Conference Technology and Communication 2010. It is difficult to get ICT development in Vietnam, if the country fails to universalize ICT in education and develop ICT human resources.

Digital gap reduction

ICT will help the poor farmers and in particular to reduce the ‘digital gap’. It will also create opportunities to share knowledge and information, on agriculture, forestry, fishery, cultivation and animal husbandry. It will also assist with agricultural development issues such as education, training, services and e-commerce.

Over the past ten years, Vietnam Post and Telecommunications (VNPT) implemented a project of internet connection in all schools. However, the project was cancelled due to increasing costs.

In September 2008, the Military Telecom Group, Viettel announced that it would provide free internet connections to all schools and educational offices across the country. Until December 2010, Viettel completed its target to fully provide free internet connections to schools and educational offices.  The program provides more than 25 million teachers and student’s access to internet for teaching, studies and research work.

Viettel also signed an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Training, to invest in the equipment, manuals and other related documents to help train teachers in the use of the internet. Last year, schools in Dien Bien, Lai Chau, and Central Highlands region were able to connect to the internet using this program.

Dr. Quach Tuan Ngoc, Head of the Information Technology Department from the Ministry of Education and Training, said the program help schools connect to the wider world’s communities. The internet will help reduce the technologically ‘backward gap’ that can exist among some regions in the country.

Creating electronic educational programs

According to Information Technology experts, it is difficult to develop IT human resource if schools are not able to access the internet. If teachers cannot access the internet, they will not be able to teach effectively and students will not be able to research and study.

The internet connection plays an important role in developing modern education, say experts, and the use of the internet at schools will help the IT sector train more high-quality individuals.
The educational sector needs support from the IT companies and state government, said an expert.

Colonel Nguyen Manh Hung, Deputy General Director of Viettel, said Viettel would maintain and provide free internet to all schools.

Dr. Ngoc claimed that Vietnam would now be one of the few countries in the world that provides free internet access, to all its schools.

According to the 2010 report, from the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), Vietnam was ranked with Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand in the use of informational technology (IT) in the educational field.

Source: SGGP

Cool real estate market replaces foreign distributors with local ones

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:06 am

High-end real estate segment used to be dominated by foreign-owned firms such as CBRE Vietnam, Savills Vietnam, Coliers, Cushman Wakefield or Knight Frank, who have the upper-hand in design consultancy, management, marketing and sales.

(Photo: Minh Tri)

But those days are gone.

With the market cooling off and investors turning their back to high-end properties, foreign real estate firms over the past year no longer had a good time.

Savills, Knight Frank and CBRE for the past year had to give the chance to distribute the Indochina Plaza Hanoi project to Hanoi-based DTJ Group.

The priority to distribute the project was once associated with Savills Vietnam. Then its competitors such as Knight Frank and CBRE, the famous real estate service provider stepped in. But all have been replaced by DTJ.

Other big projects in Hanoi such as Mulberry Lane or Cana Park have also replaced foreign distributors with local ones.

Vincom Group has also broken up with its long-year foreign partners. The corporation is selling its projects itself, such as it did with the Royal City project recently.

Several developers of high-end real estate projects in Hanoi said they are willing to invite local distributors instead of foreign-labeled ones.

For a long time, hiring a foreign distributor was the optimum choice as the foreign firms made good business and they gave the project a better name.

But according to experts in the field, difficulties of the market have made the matter of fame no longer important.

Meanwhile, foreign distributors asked for higher payment and have failed to renew their sales and marketing measures to fit in the cooling market. They have failed to sell the project on time or make the profit promised to the developers.

These foreign firms have lost a lot of spotlight. Their reports have been more biased and less accurate. Some were even contradictory to each other.

So they were replaced or supplemented with local firms, which have made big improvements over the past time with proven successes in sales, management and marketing.

It showed good signs for Vietnam’s real estate market, insiders said.

Source: SGGP

Russia to approve nuclear treaty with US

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 5:57 am

 Russia was due Friday to give initial approval to a historic nuclear arms pact with the United States that opens the way for the former Cold War foes’ cooperation on everything from Afghanistan to Iran.

The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) that was passed after a months-long political battle by the US Senate on Wednesday has been the centerpiece of Washington’s efforts to “reset” lagging relations with Moscow.

The agreement slashes the two sides’ nuclear arsenals to 1,550 deployed warheads per side and leaves each country with no more than 800 launchers and bombers.

But besides also restoring vital inspections the treaty also goes a long way toward easing Russia’s worries that it will soon begin losing nuclear parity with the United States — a point of national pride since the Soviet era.

US President Barack Obama leaves the White House.

The State Duma lower house of parliament was scheduled to hold the first of three required votes on the treaty in its final session of the year Friday.

But a top ruling party member said that no emergency sessions would be held next week and that final passage was not expected until lawmakers returned from their New Year’s vacations on January 11.

“Further work on the ratification bill will continue once the Duma resumes its work in January,” news agencies quoted the Duma’s foreign affairs committee chairman Konstantin Kosachev as saying.

Yet the timing glitch seemed of secondary importance as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev phoned US President Barack Obama in the wake of the Senate vote, according to a statement from Obama’s office Thursday.

“President Medvedev congratulated President Obama on the Senate’s approval of the new START Treaty, and the two leaders agreed that this was an historic event for both countries and for US-Russia relations,” said the White House statement.

Pro-Kremlin deputies also took turns hailing the agreement as an important signal that relations between the two one-time rivals were finally getting back on track.

“There are times when our interests do not contradict each other. This is precisely one of those times,” said the upper chamber’s foreign affairs committee chairman Mikhail Margelov.

“We are standing side by side on this one without stepping on each other’s toes.”

Obama and Medvedev had signed the agreement in April as part of a renewed US commitment to win both Russia’s trust and cooperation in the handling of pressing international disputes.

The treaty works in Moscow’s favour because it slashes the United States’ nuclear arsenal to a size that Russia can keep up with despite its financial difficulties and its need to take old nuclear warheads out of commission.

But it also suits the United States because it removes a major roadblock in the two sides’ relations and paves the way for Russia joining international efforts to halt the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.

Russia’s assistance is also important in transporting support equipment for the NATO-led campaign in Afghanistan and deputies said that all types of cooperation were possible now that the Senate had passed the pact.

“Ratification will have a positive effect on all areas of our bilateral cooperation — especially Afghanistan and Iran,” ruling United Russia party deputy Ruslan Kondratov said in comments posted on the party’s website.

Yet some lawmakers are uneasy about the non-binding amendments that US senators attached to the so-called “resolution of ratification” that was aimed at soothe sceptical Republicans’ worries about the pact.

Duma deputies were expected to add their own non-binding resolutions to the text that did not change the essence of the treaty but underscored Russia’s displeasure with US plans to deploy a new missile defence system in Europe.

The disputed US amendments are already a part of the treaty and several lawmakers said they understood that the additions were primarily meant for US audiences.

“This is all a part of a grand chess game … that Obama is playing home,” Margelov said.

Source: SGGP

Vietnam strives to have one million of IT officers with int’l qualifications

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:23 am

Vietnam strives to have one million of IT officers with int’l qualifications

QĐND – Thursday, December 23, 2010, 20:33 (GMT+7)

Vietnam strives to be one of the world’s top 40 nations whose Information Technology (IT) students meet international qualifications by 2015.

This is one of the focal issues debated by delegates at a seminar on training IT human resources in Hanoi on December 23.

Nguyen Nhu Thang, secretary general of the Vietnam Electronic Industries Association said that to fulfill the project’s objectives, Vietnam needs to pay special attention to developing high quality IT staff, who would meet the requirements for international integration. Vietnam now ranks among top five nations in the Asia-Pacific region which have good sources of IT officers.

However, universities and colleges in Vietnam have not achieved good results in training IT human resources. Only one-third of schools meet the requirements in terms of the teaching staff and facilities, said secretary general of the Vietnam Informatics Association, Nguyen Long.

He added that the education sector should call on social organisations to invest in students and help them compete in informatics contests and become international computer programmers.

The Prime Minister has approved a project to promptly turn Vietnam into a power nation in information technology and communications by 2020.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND