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HCM City university offers M.Sc in leadership together with US school

HCM City International University has tied up with the US’s Northeastern University for an M.Sc degree in leadership.

Students have

to take a total of 12 courses, including international business management, cross culture management and developing leadership capacity.

Four will be taught by HCM City International University lecturers and the rest by Northeastern faculty. The US university will also provide the curriculum.

On completion, the students will get a degree from Northeastern University.

HCM City International University is a member of the Việt Nam National University-HCM City.

Hoài Đức chosen to become urban district by 2020

Hoài Đức District on the outskirts of Hà Nội will be developed into an urban district by 2020, said Hoàng Trung Hải, secretary of the Hà Nội Municipal Party Committee.

He made the statement during a working visit to the district last weekend.

Hải said Hoài Đức District connects the city’s urban and suburban districts, and thus, priority should be given to the transport sector there, he said.

Hoài Đức is adjacent to the districts of Bắc Từ Liêm, Nam Từ Liêm, Hà Đông, Phúc Thọ, Chương Mỹ, Đan Phượng and Quốc Oai.  Several important highways, such as Thăng Long Highway, National Highway 32, as well as many interprovincial routes, run through the district.

Seventeen out of 19 communes in the district met the criteria for new-style rural areas by the end of last year.

Regarding the economic structure, the current trade and services sector accounts for 46 per cent of the district’s GDP, while the agriculture sector accounts for 7.5 per cent.

To reach the target of becoming an urban district by 2020, Nguyễn Quang Đức, chairman of Hoài Đức District’s People’s Committee, urged the city authority to promptly build a section of Belt Road 3.5 connecting Thăng Long Highway with National Highway 32. Once completed, the road would yield great benefits in terms of economic and social development, he said.

Đức also suggested that the authority speed up the planning of these routes to attract more investors for the construction of schools, hospitals and trading centres.

The municipal secretary asked the district’s authorities to review unfulfilled targets and continue its efforts to ensure that all communes meet new-style rural area criteria.

He also urged district authorities to boost the application of information technology and administration reform so that it can become an urban district by 2020.

Vọng cổ singers to compete in online contest

Professional and amateur singers of vọng cổ (nostalgic tunes), a traditional genre of southern music, have been invited to take part in an online contest.

The contest for locals as well as foreigners began last month and has attracted more than 700 contestants. Many of them are young and live in Canada, Australia, Singapore and the US.

“The contest will give young performers a chance to develop their career, and meet music producers and agencies,” said young singer Nguyễn Văn Hợp of HCM City Television, a member of the contest’s organising board.  

Nine contestants will be chosen to compete for the top three prizes.

The show will hold three performances that will be broadcast on the HTV9 channel.

Each participant must submit a video of three minutes or less featuring their performance. The clip can be shot on a phone.

“I decided to join the contest because I wanted to share my love of vọng cổ with others,” said Mộng Thảo Trần, 20, a high school student from Đồng Nai Province.  

For her submission, Trần sang a song by veteran composer Bắc Sơn that highlights love, country and soldiers.  

“Vọng cổ songs feature the hopes and dreams of southern people. The songs are used in cải lương (reformed opera) plays, and are popular among farmers, including my family, who love singing vọng cổ after a hard day of working in the fields,” said Trần, adding that her clip had attracted more than 2,500 views.

Participants should send their entries to Vongcoonline.htv.com.vn.

The winners will be announced next month.

Officials urge tighter food safety control


HCM City university offers M.Sc in leadership together with US school, Officials urge tighter food safety control, Public vehicles to drive Hanoi’s transport, Health Ministry removes substandard cosmetics


The fight against unsafe food requires more joint drastic efforts by State agencies, food producers, suppliers and users, according to Director of the National Agro Forestry and Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD) Nguyen Nhu Tiep.

Tiep, speaking last week at a conference headlined “Actions for safe farming products”, warned that the fight against unsafe food in Vietnam would not end soon despite recent efforts.

The conference was co-organised last week by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and Lao dong (Labour) newspaper.

Le Viet Nga of the MoIT’s Department for Domestic Market, said up to 70 percent of fresh food was sold at traditional markets where risks of unsafe food were much higher than those in other food supply channels, such as supermarkets.

She said that products sold in supermarkets usually had clear certified origins.

In terms of producers, some of them failed to meet food safety requirements, particularly small-scale farms which accounted for about 98 percent of total farms in Vietnam, having limitations in capital, technology, corporation management and market access.

Chairman of Hanoi Supermarkets Association Vu Vinh Phu said that more attention should be paid to the production stage with solving problems of production factors like air, soil and water.

“We are too concentrated on controlling the supply stage. Food safety problems must be addressed from the root, not the top,” Phu said.

The official appealed for the Government to promulgate policies that are strong enough to encourage the production and supply of safe food.

“Consumers need to exercise their “soft” power to boycott those who violate food safety rules and to support those who strictly obey the rules,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy General Secretary of the Vietnam Seafood Exporters and Producers, said that it was time for Vietnamese food producers to tighten cooperation to ensure stable supply both in quality and quantity.

He suggested food processors to apply Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP - a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product) as a key to produce safe products.

Businessman builds new dorm, pays room & board for poor students

When the Cỏ May Dormitory opens in early September, at least 400 poor, talented students from HCM City and neighbouring provinces will have a free place to stay, thanks to the generosity of late businessman Phạm Văn Bên.

Located at the HCM City University of Agriculture and Forestry, the four-story, 54-room building was funded by Bên, former head of the Đồng Tháp Province-based private enterprise Cỏ May Ltd.

Besides the investment VNĐ37 million (US$1.7 million), Bên also asked his family to provide annual financial support of VNĐ15 billion to pay for school fees, meals and other expenses for students at the dormitory, according to his son, Phạm Minh Thiện.

“Our family will realise my father’s wish,” Thiện says.

Nguyễn Thị Bao, head of the Cỏ May Dormitory management board, says the applicants for the dormitory are students from poor families who have good academic records and have passed entrance exams for public universities.

“Mr Bên is a kind-hearted person,” Bao says. “I recognised his kindness when I met him 27 years ago.

Small library makes community a family

The residents of Condo A3 in Hanoi’s Nghia Tan Ward are familiar with a neat and lovely bookshelf in the lobby of the first floor in their building.

Since its establishment in 1999, the small library has become an interesting rendezvous for residents, enhancing their sense of community.

“The bookshelf offers just a few books and newspapers, but most of them are updated frequently,” says Bui Thi Anh Tuan, the manager of the small library.

“The elderly enjoy reading the Nhan Dan (The People) and Tien Phong (The Vanguard) newspapers, while the children like the Cham Hoc (Study) and Tuoi Tre Cuoi (Youth’s Satire) newspapers,” she adds.

Every morning, when the building resounds with the footsteps of people going to work, it is time for Tuan and her husband to receive the day’s newspapers and to open the bookshelf, which has been their habit for years. Every newspaper is placed neatly on the tables, waiting to be read and carefully put away at the end of the day.

The idea for the library emerged on a hot summer day, after a conversation in the lobby between Truong Van Con, Tuan’s husband and a former official of the Ministry of National Defence, and other retired residents.

Con suggested turning unused space of the entrance hall into a place for communal activities - for residents to gather to read books, exchange experiences and enhance their sense of community. The idea was eagerly supported by the residents.

With the enthusiastic contribution of veterans, it didn’t take long to set up the small library. While carpenter Doan Truong voluntarily built furniture, veteran Ho Quang Bao took over management work. Other residents cleaned and rearranged the hall to make room for the new bookshelf.

In addition to the newspapers donated by various groups - like the local Association of War Veterans and the Study Promotion Society - each family in the building contributes to the budget regularly to purchase books and newspapers, enriching the library.

“I call for each family’s donation every three months. Donations range from 20,000-100,000 VND (1-5 USD). On average, we collect over 1 million VND (45 USD) quarterly. Each contribution is publicised clearly on the notice board,” says Tuan.

“Each resident’s opinions on whether a newspaper is useful and suitable or not are also collected regularly. Newspapers deemed unsuitable are replaced by more appropriate ones”.

Young and old readers alike follow library rules strictly. All readers are responsible for taking care of the books and newspapers. Books are closed neatly after being read and put back where they belong. Each family also takes turns cleaning the library.

Residents of Condo A3 used to lock their doors after coming home and rarely communicated with each other. Now they are like members of an extended family, thanks to the small library.

“We gather in the lobby every New Year’s Eve. We sing together, talk about our sadness and happiness, and wish each other good luck in the coming years. Every dispute can therefore be resolved,” Con says.

Pensioner Duong Van Loan reads newspapers in the library every day, catching up with the news and chatting with other elders. Whenever he finds something interesting, he reads it out loud and discusses it with others.

“We all have TV and radio at home, but it is more interesting to read books and newspapers,” he says.

Tuan often takes careful notes of treatments for diseases common among the elderly. She also keeps notes on culinary secrets, which she shares with others when they get together in the evening.

She says the library is also a place for women in the area to exchange confidences and to share experiences on how to handle daily issues like raising kids, work stress, or simple tricks to make food more delicious.

Adults and children enjoy reading at the library, instead of playing computer games or watching TV. The children behave well and enjoy access to educational information, while soaking up the knowledge of their elders.

Before the library was established, theft was common, Doan Truong, a resident, said. Bicycles and motorbikes were stolen. Rubbish was placed secretively in front of the building, affecting the community and environment.

But following the operation of the library, everyone became more aware of keeping the building clean and local security improved.

The success of Condo A3’s cultural community and library has been multiplied by 20 other apartment buildings within Nghia Tan.

The library has become an integral part of life for many people living in the building.

“We all miss the library if we cannot visit it every day, due to health problems or family work,” Tuan says.

Public vehicles to drive Hanoi’s transport

Public transport is expected to make up 35 percent of Hanoi’s total transportation market share in 2020, rising from 12 percent at present, according to the city’s recently released transport planning for 2020 with a vision towards 2050.

Public transport is seen as a solution to traffic jams in the capital as it can deal with the large population and weak infrastructure.

The planning targets sustainability, comprehensiveness and modernity of the municipal transport system as part of the capital development master plan to 2050, Vu Van Nen, Director of the municipal Department of Transport, told a ceremony to announce the blueprint on July 30.

Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung described the planning as an important legal foundation for the management of projects to serve local development.

It pairs Hanoi’s transport development with the growth of the Hanoi Capital Metropolitan area, the Red River Delta and the northern key economic zone, while ensuring the unity of the national transport development strategy, he added.

Addressing the event, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said that the Government supports Hanoi’s efforts and will create the best possible mechanisms for the city to develop.

Planning is a scientific process, he said, underlining the need to set forth specific mechanisms, policies and reforms to put planning into place, along with creating optimal conditions for investors, businesses and economic sectors to engage in the city’s transport projects.

Hanoi aims to reduce up to 10 congestion hotspots and limit the duration of traffic jams to less than 30 minutes.

Figures from the city show that about 20,000 motorbikes and 8,000 cars are newly registered every month.

It is estimated the city will have about one million cars and seven million motorbikes by 2020.

Traffic infrastructure remains inadequate, making traffic congestion a major problem, especially in the inner city.

Lao Cai’s support for human trafficking victims challenged

Assistance to human trafficking victims in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai remains unproductive though a concerted effort has been made.

From 2011 to the end of June 2015, Lao Cai, which shares a 203km borderline with China, received 393 human trafficking victims back, including 74 children. About 76 percent of the victims are ethnic minority people.

Up to 255 of the victims were given medical check-ups and treatment while 151 others were provided with legal assistance. Forty-five victims received vocational training and 40 others got access to general education.

Notably, a support centre named “Nhan ai” (Benevolence) was built in 2012 with foreign funding. As of 2015, it helped 75 victims with psychological counselling, medical care, along with life skill and vocational training.

Nguyen Tuong Long, Director of the province’s sub-department on social crime prevention, said most of the rescued victims suffered from psychological and health problems such as mental disorders or physical injuries. Although the victims were sent to support facilities for medical treatment and counselling, their reintegration into society is still a major challenge, to themselves and local administrations as well.

A 20-year-old girl of the Mong ethnic group who was sold to China is currently studying at the “Nhan ai” centre. She said she is still haunted by the time she was forced into a marriage in the foreign land though she has escaped from it for two years now.

Staff members at the centre said most of the rescued victims have had physical or mental pains to a greater or lesser degree. Their fear for revenge from the traffickers or discrimination from their resident peers, a shortage of financial support for health care, and insufficient facilities are barriers to their social reintegration.

The victims’ low awareness, as well as a lack of professional support staff also undermined the victims’ reintegration efforts, Director of the sub-department Long said, adding that a helping hand from authorities, relevant agencies and domestic and foreign social organisations is much needed.

He noted from now to 2020, Lao Cai will spend more money sourced from the State budget for victim support activities which will also be combined with other socio-economic programmes such as poverty reduction, vocational training, and job creation.

It will call for local residents and businesses to aid human trafficking prevention and victim support. International cooperation will also be enhanced to garner more financial and technical assistance for the work, he added.

Jetstar starts initiative to offset flight emissions

Low-budget carrier Jetstar Pacific has teamed up with Jetstar Group to start the Fly Carbon Neutral Programme, an environment initiative, to raise its passengers’ awareness of climate change and offset flight emissions.

It is among the programmes jointly carried out by members of Jetstar Group, including Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam), Jetstar Airways (Australia), Jetstar Asia (Singapore) and Jetstar Japan, and Quantas Airways (Australia).

The programme calls for contributions by passengers when booking on www.jetstar.com .

The contributions, normally ranging from 8,000 – 30,000 VND per trip, will be used to fund local and international environment projects which aim to reduce greenhouse effects and protect endangered wild animals, or to support schools in developing countries.

Jetstar Pacific announced earlier this month it will purchase four Airbus A32 CEO Sharklet jets by the end of 2016 before welcoming ten more in 2017 as part of its expansion plan between 2016 and 2020.

The A320 CEO Sharklet is the latest version of the Airbus A320 family with the widest cabin in the single aisle market.

The carrier, a member of the Jetstar Group, is operating 105 Airbus A320s on about 4,000 flights to 75 destinations in 17 countries weekly.

Electric vehicles to promote tourism in Quảng Bình

The Quảng Bình People’s Committee has approved a three-year pilot project for using electric vehicles to transport tourists on several main roads in Đồng Hới City from this month.

About 24 roads have been chosen for the project, which will end in August 2019, such as Nguyễn Hữu Cảnh, Hữu Nghị, Quang Trung and Hương Giang, besides Quách Xuân Kỳ, Mẹ Suốt and Thanh Niên.

The routes will also include 37 parking lots of restaurants, hotels, plazas and seaside areas.

The approval of the project aims to diversify the kinds of tourism in the province, making them more attractive, and to meet the travel requirements of tourists.

Cát Vàng Services and Trading Co Ltd, which will conduct the pilot project, plans to use 30 electric vehicles to transport tourists.

Earlier several other provinces and cities had used electric vehicles to transport tourists including Hà Nội, Huế, Thanh Hóa, Nghệ An, Hải Phòng and Khánh Hòa.

Đà Nẵng children to get free eye check-ups

Fred Hollow Foundation (FHF) and Standard Chartered Bank will finance a free eye screening project for more than 7,500 primary school students in the central city in the 2016-18 period.

The city’s administration said the project, which was approved last week, would also provide eye care training to nearly 7,000 parents, teachers, health staff and servants in four districts.

The VNĐ6 billion (US$266,000) project also covers free eye surgeries to treat eye diseases and defects among 300 underprivileged students.

Đà Nẵng, Hải Dương and Tiền Giang will be the beneficiaries of the children’s eye examination project in the 2016-18 project.

Last year, nearly 50,000 people in Hà Nội were provided free eye check-ups, consultancy and surgery as part of the charity vision programme funded by the Fred Hollow Foundation.

Young Vietnamese fall in love with cup game and pen tapping

Plastic cups and pens are turned into musical instrument thanks to the skillfulness of Vietnamese youngsters who has a profound passion for pen tapping and cup game.

Pen tapping and cup game first appeared in America in the late 20th century. These games quickly became a hot trend thanks to the ability to create joyful, strange sounds.

Cup game requires players to learn from five to eight basic movements, combining with the skillful use of hands to create a song.

Le Phuong, of District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, was attracted by the funny sound of cup game.

This girl has spent three months to learn skills and perform to entertain her parents.

“My mother liked it, while my dad shot a video of me playing the song,” Phuong recalled.

“It’s easy to learn cup game. Players just need a plastic cup to perform anywhere. I have seen some people who tap the cup following the rhythm of a song and sing along. The sound is strange and enjoyable,” she added.

Meanwhile, Vu Duc Minh, student at the city-based Trung Vuong High School, said that players are required to learn theory and practice to be able to play a full, random song with this musical instrument.

Otherwise, they only need three hours to practice a fixed piece of music to become a medium level player.

“I was quite unfamiliar with playing it for the first time. However, it’s easy to become addicted to the game,” Minh explained.

According to Anh Khoa, another cup game player based in District 4, playing the game in group would be more enjoyable, while a large group or noisy playground can affect the sound quality.

In 2010, Nguyen Hoang Minh Tan, lecturer at the Asia Pacific Talent Youth Training Center, added cup game to his training course dedicated to young leaders. Tan said that the combination between rhythm and sound will help improve the brain function.

The founder of cup game was Rich Mulllins with his performance called “Screen Door” in 1987.

In the meantime, with pen tapping, players need to understand basic rhythm created by drumming, tapping, and combining between their right and left hand.

Tran Nhat Phi, of Go Vap District, is the founder of Vietnam’s first-ever pen tapping club.

The fan page entitled “Vietnamese Pentapping Community” has so far drew more than 30,000 members, spanning across the country.

“We usually organize offline meetings where people come for their passion,” he said.

After four years of playing the game, Phi said it has trained his skillfulness and flexibility, as well as encourages him to be more creative in composing.

Although both pen tapping and cup game are not considered art, and neither pen nor plastic cup is recognized as musical instrument, this trend still attracts many youngsters who want to create interesting new songs.

Health Ministry removes substandard cosmetics

The Drug Administration of Vietnam under the Ministry of Health yesterday said it has suspended many cosmetics from circulation and remove substandard items from shelves across the country.

These cosmetics removed from shelves include Ngoc An cream to treat pigmentation with batch number 015, manufacturing date February 2, 2016 and expiry date February 2, 2019 made by Commercial Company Tung An.

The cream failed to meet the quality because it contains clobetasol propionate substance which is not allowed in cosmetics.

The second item was withdrawn  from market is sheep placenta cream having batch number 006, manufacturing date March 23, 2016, and expiry date on March 23, 2019 made by Le Hoang Ha My Company also has clobetasol propionate substance.

Bao Lam Cream to treat pimple with production date December 17, 2015, and expiry date December 17, 2018 made by Bao Lam Company must be removed from shelves because it contains dexamethason acetat substance.

The Administration asked the three companies to collect all above-mentioned products and report to the Administration the result before August 10.

Additionally, the Administration also suspended from  circulation and took back eight cosmetics made by private company Long Thuan in the Mekong delta province of Tien Giang. Items must be taken back including shampoo, attar of pomelo flower used as hair conditioners, natural skin cream, and lip balm.

The Administration asked the departments of health in cities and provinces to inform to shops to take back these above-mentioned cosmetic products.

The departments of health are in charge of inspection and issued fines to these shops which did not conform to the decision.

US$36 million for building new Mien Dong Coach Station

Investor Saigon Transportation Mechanical Corporation (Samco) said it had already prepared VND800 billion (US$36 million) for construction of the first phase of new Mien Dong (Eastern) Coach Station in Ho Chi Minh City.

The station will locate in Long Binh ward, District 9 and Binh Thang ward, Di An town, the neighboring province of Binh Duong.

So far, site clearance has completed for the project except one case that has refused to remove in Binh Duong. Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has instructed relevant agencies to solve the issue.

According a 1:500 scale plan approved by the HCMC People’s Committee, the first phase will start work by the end of this year and complete by 2018.

The new station will locate near Suoi Tien terminal of Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro route to facilitate travel between the station and HCMC downtown.

Mien Dong Coach Station mainly serves passengers from the northern and central regions and the Central Highlands to HCMC and vice versa.

New season of Golden Lotus Bud Awards starts

Nominations for the 2016 Golden Lotus Bud Awards have been announced for three categories, including short films, teen films and documentaries.

Of the 90 documentaries, 23 short films and 14 films produced by secondary school students, the organiser selected 10 documentary nominees, 10 short film nominees and five teen film nominees.

The films selected are each 12-20 minutes long. They will be screened this weekend at the Công Nhân Cinema at 42 Tràng Tiền Street in Hà Nội. The awards ceremony will take place at the same venue on August 21.

This year the jury includes veteran filmmakers such as Phan Đăng Di, Phan Huyền Thư and Nguyễn Hoàng Điệp.

The annual award has been sponsored by Assistance and Development of Movie Talents (TPD) since 2010. The event features the best short documentaries and short films, all made by participants in the We Are Filmmakers Project (WAFM).

WAFM is a long-term programme to encourage young people to become involved in filmmaking. It was launched in 2009 by the Hà Nội-based TPD.

Film budget limits are set at VNĐ5 million (US$250) per film. The best entries will be screened at international film festivals at home and abroad.

TPD also announced the film Can Love, by WAFM participants Chu Ánh Nguyệt and Dương Phước Trung, won the Best International Film Award at the DIMA International Filmmaking and Acting Camp (DINFAC) in South Korea.

The awards ceremony took place on Friday night at the Dong-Ah Institute of Media and the Arts in Anseong City. 140 Korean students and 22 international students from Việt Nam, the US, the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and Hungary participated in the camp.

World famous DJ will bring hot EDM to Vietnam

It has been unveiled that Dutch DJ Martin Garrix will bring his brand of electrifying electronic dance music (EDM) to Vietnam in late September for a rocking performance at a private music event.

Garrix gained fame through his own solo song ‘Animals’ released June 16, 2013 on Dutch record label Spinnin' Records, which rapidly climbed and became a smash hit on the European music charts.

In addition, he released a remix of ‘Project T’ by Sander Van Doorn and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, which quickly hit No 1 on the Beatport charts.

Martin Garrix has also won a number of honourable awards including a Dance Music Award in 2013, a Buma Award and NRJ DJ Award in 2014, YouTube Music Award and MTV Europe Music Award in 2015, and an MTV Millennial Award in 2016.

Quang Nam Heritage Festival 2017 launched

The 6th Quang Nam Heritage Festival is set to take place on June 9-14 next year. The project has been approved by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Director of Quang Nam provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Dinh Hai said on July 29 that the festival will include various special culture and arts programmes, and sports and tourism activities such as an exchange among world heritage cities, an exhibition on Vietnam sea and islands, Bai Choi folk games festival, a boat racing, an international windsurfing racing with the participation of racers from 30 countries, an international choir competition, and Ngoc Linh ginseng festival.

The opening ceremony is scheduled for June 9, 2017 in Tam Ky city and the closing ceremony will take place on June 14 in Hoi An city.

Mr Hai said the event aims to honour Vietnam’s cultural value and Quang Nam province’s cultural identities as well as promoting Vietnam images to international friends.

The festival will provide an excellent chance for Quang Nam to accelerate cultural exchanges and share experiences in management and conservation of cultural heritages.

Saigon Railways to debut self-built train car next month

The Ho Chi Minh City unit of Vietnam’s railway operator is poised to introduce a new train car packed with modern accommodations next month in a bid to better serve their passengers.

The modern train car, set to be put into operation in mid-August, is co-produced by the Saigon Railways and Di An Train JSC in the southern province of Binh Duong.

The car is the prototype of a plan to build 14 more if proved effective, according to the train operator.

The cabin, featuring four environmental-friendly composite berths, is equipped with LED lightings and windows with high-quality sunshades, plus washing basins with infrared sensors.

Built with hardened steel body frame, the train car is utilized shock absorbers and dampers from Japan to minimize noise and maximize smoothness when travelling, enhancing comfort for boarding passengers.

The Saigon Railways is slated to have 30 such new high-quality cars by 2017.

Kon Tum: thousands of needy households get support

The Central Highlands province of Kon Tum has offered financial support to 84,000 poor, near-poor and ethnic minority households to improve their livelihoods over the past five years.

The needy have received a total of 951 billion VND (42.8 million USD) to develop their production during their period.

A dozen of social projects have been implemented to support disadvantaged people, including the National Project on Poverty Reduction, worth 4.6 billion VND (207,000 USD), which benefited 460 disadvantaged households in seven districts of Kon Ray, Dak Ha, Sa Thay, Dak Glei, Tu Mo Rong, Kon Plong, and Ngoc Hoi.

Over 8,200 rural labourers have received vocational training while more than 18,600 others have been helped to work in the Republic of Korea (RoK), Taiwan (China), Malaysia, Japan and Laos.

Thanks to these efforts, the province’s poverty rate has dropped to 11.5 percent.

Kien Giang power supply projects benefit islanders

The Southern Power Corporation (EVNSPC) is finalising three projects to supply power to two island communes, Lai Son and Hon Nghe, as well as in-need localities which are home to Khmer people in the southern province of Kien Giang within this year.

The project to provide power for 1,956 households in Lai Son, launched on September 4 last year at a cost of 467 billion VND (20.9 million USD), is scheduled to complete in August.

It comprises 43km of 110kV transmission line, including 24km crossing the sea, an 110kV transformer station and 13 distributing stations with a total capacity of 2,080kVA.

Meanwhile, the other project to bring power to Hon Nghe island commune was commenced in October 10, 2015 with an investment of 140 billion VND (6.27 million USD).

The project, which includes 16.3km cross-sea line and eight transformer stations with a total capacity of 975kVA, is expected to finish in the third quarter of this year.

In 2016, the EVNSPC will also conclude the second phase of a project to supply power to locals who have not accessed electricity, mostly Khmer people, in Kien Giang.

As many as 85 billion VND (3.81 million USD) will be invested in installing 89km middle voltage and 216km low voltage power transmission lines to bring power to 6,131 households.

Vietnam, Laos provinces review joint forest protection

Vietnam’s central Thanh Hoa province and Laos’s Houaphan province have reviewed a joint programme to protect forests and prevent and fight fires in shared border areas.

Forest warden forces and authorities of the two provinces exchanged information and together educated local people on forest protection, fire prevention and sustainable forestry development.

The two sides have also conducted more than 100 joint patrols along smuggling-prone border areas, seizing over 95,000 cubic metres of illegally harvested woods and 71 kilogrammes of wild animals.

The provinces will continue their joint operation between 2016 and 2020 with the focus on preventing illegal forest activities, controlling forest fires, developing local forestry industry, ensuring border security and promoting solidarity and cooperation between their residents, said Le The Long, Deputy Director of the Thanh Hoa Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Thanh Hoa and Houaphan share 192 kilometres of border that is surrounded by nearly 150,000 hectares of forests and lands for forest farming.

VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNE