Social News 8/11

Created 08 November 2018
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Soc Son district authority sets deadline for illegal buildings,Ca Mau encourages fishing vessels to install monitoring devices,Thua Thien-Hue hosts Asia-Pacific conference on intangible cultural heritage
Soc Son district authority sets deadline for illegal buildings, Ca Mau encourages fishing vessels to install monitoring devices, Thua Thien-Hue hosts Asia-Pacific conference on intangible cultural heritage

Mong Cai-Dongxing border gate welcomes 10 millionth visitor

Mong Cai city of Vietnam’s northern Quang Ninh province and Dongxing city of China on November 6 jointly held a ceremony to welcome the 10 millionth visitor travelling through the Mong Cai-Dongxing international border gate. 

The tourist, who comes from China’s Jiangxi province, was travelling to Mong Cai with eight others. 

Statistics show that the number of holidaymakers to Mong Cai through the border gate has reached nearly 3 million just in 2018 alone. 

The ceremony has not only marked the increase in the number of visitors via the border gate, but also contributed to promoting brand names and spurring the socio-economic development of the two cities. 

Dongxing is the third largest land border gate in China. Since 2013, China has allowed foreigners to conduct visa procedures at the gate. 

The People’s Committee of Quang Ninh province of Vietnam has allowed cars driven by Chinese nationals to enter Ha Long city through Mong Cai border gate for tourism purposes.

Since January 1, 2017, the province has only allowed cars with less than nine seats owned by Chinese nationals and enterprises to enter Mong Cai city and vice versa during its one-year trial period.

Chinese tourists are not allowed to stay beyond three days per entrance. In cases of accidents or broken-down cars, the stay is extended by another day.

In 2017, there were 93 cars carrying 256 Chinese tourists to Mong Cai city and 38 cars with 110 tourists from Vietnam to Dongxing City in China. 

Cars entering Vietnam through the Mong Cai border gate are allowed to travel around Mong Cai city. Meanwhile, tourists from Vietnam are allowed to travel around Dongxing city only. 

BOT road investors face quality backlash

Soc Son district authority sets deadline for illegal buildings, Ca Mau encourages fishing vessels to install monitoring devices, Thua Thien-Hue hosts Asia-Pacific conference on intangible cultural heritage

The Ministry of Transport (MoT) had decided to stop collecting tolls from build-operate-transfer (BOT) roads that had quickly fallen into disrepair after opening.

The action taken by Transport Minister Nguyen Van The has been applauded by experts and drivers whose money is going straight into the pockets of BOT investors.

Several BOT highways have raised public concern after experiencing problems even in their trial periods.

For example, a section of the Da Nang-Quang Ngai Expressway funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was opened to traffic in August last year, but after 14 months of operation, cracks and holes have appeared on the road surface.

The damage has caused risks for vehicles traveling at high speeds on the expressway.

The minister has asked the Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) – the investor – to stop collecting tolls on the road until the damage is repaired. Toll collections would resume 16 days after repair work was completed.

A BOT project to upgrade and widen a section of road on the National Highway in Binh Dinh province has also been hit with the same sanctions.

The 28.6km road was completed in May 2016 but local people and authorities have already lodged complaints about the project quality.

The investor was forced to halt toll collections at Bac Binh Dinh Toll Station on the National Highway.

The minister has asked expressway corporations and project management boards to inspect projects and repair any damage.

Economic expert Nguyen Minh Phong said that “the authority’s decision to stop toll collections on roads that were damaged and had not been repaired by investors was correct and necessary.”

“The BOT roads have been badly damaged but keep collecting fees in a direct violation of the legitimate interests of the people,” Phong said.

“In other words, the people were "pickpocketed" in open. They were not offered good services but still had to pay as usual. It’s unacceptable,” he added.

Former director of the State Assessment Department for Construction Works (under the Ministry of Construction) Tran Chung said management authorities should establish why the roads had been damaged as well as the consequences to the whole road.

According to Chung, no matter what the damage is, the investors should take all responsibilities due to loose monitoring and inspections.

In some recent cases, investors had been unwilling to deal with the problems, he said.

He supported the MoT’s move to punish staff involved in low quality road projects.

President of Hanoi’s Automobile Association Bui Sinh Quyen has also applauded the MoT’s decision. “This was a necessary move to deter irresponsible investors,” Quyen said.

Collecting tolls on damaged roads was contrary to business principles, he added.

Additionally, investors who refused or just patched up damaged roads would have to take responsibility, even criminal action, for accidents relating to the quality of roads, Quyen said.

However, Quyen was unsure how many roads would be sanctioned under the decision,  how the ministry would monitor its progress and whether the losses from halt  to toll collections would be borne by the investors or added to the duration of the project.

According to experts, the MoT should listen to drivers because they are the ones who pay the tolls.

Soc Son district authority sets deadline for illegal buildings

Soc Son district authority sets deadline for illegal buildings, Ca Mau encourages fishing vessels to install monitoring devices, Thua Thien-Hue hosts Asia-Pacific conference on intangible cultural heritage

A house built illegally on forest land in Minh Phú Commune in Hanoi’s Soc Son District. 

The People’s Committee of Hanoi’s Soc Son district has asked the Minh Phu Commune People’s Committee to coordinate with relevant agencies in solving violations relating to illegal buildings on forest land by the end of November.

The owners of illegal buildings should take them down or local authorities would dismantle them by force.

To facilitate the work, a campaign has been launched with a view to raise local residents’ awareness on the issue.

As of November 5, five out of 18 buildings that were illegally built on forest land have been demolished by their owners.

Chu Tuan Thanh, who had a 79-sq.m house that was due to be dismantled, said his family didn’t comply with the authority’s request, saying the responsibility of involved individuals and organisations should be clarified before dismantling began.

Thanh said he and his wife bought 1,800 sq.m of forest land in 2004 and the land purchase was certified by the Minh Phu Commune People’s Committee.

When asked about resident’s response to violations, Nguyen Truong Giang, head of the Natural Resources and Environment Division, said the district authority hadn’t received people’s feedback in writing regarding the settlement of illegal buildings on forest land.

Earlier, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung asked for measures to address land use violations in Soc Son district’s forest land. Twenty-seven buildings including houses, villas and even an eco-tourism area with a swimming pool, stilt houses and concrete roads that were illegally built on forest land in Hanoi’s Soc Son district over the past two years must be dismantled by December.

Chung said at a meeting late last month that the city’s agriculture department and Soc Son district’s People’s Committee must contact the owners and tell them to take the buildings down.

The violations were detected in Minh Phu and Minh Tri communes, and since then the chairman of the Minh Phu Commune People’s Committee has been suspended for 30 days for alleged involvement in land use and construction violations.

After local media reported rampant land use violations and construction in the two communes, Hanoi authorities were prompted to examine the land use, land management and construction licences granted there.

Soc Trang cares for needy Khmer people

Authorities in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang have worked with enterprises to support local disadvantaged Khmer ethnic people ahead of their traditional Ooc-Om-Bok Festival (moon worship festival) this month.

On November 2, the Southern Power Corporation (SPC), the Soc Trang chapter of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF), and the provincial power corporation handed over 12 charity houses to Khmer people in Tham Don commune, My Xuyen district. The new houses were among 20 sponsored by the SPC.

Earlier, on October 29, the provincial VFF chapter and lottery company transferred 125 houses worth 5 billion VND (215,087 USD) to poor households, including those of the Khmer community.

Meanwhile, the Thien Tam fund of VinGroup and Soc Trang Red Cross Society presented breeding cows to 25 needy households in Hung Loi town, Thanh Tri district. The cows, worth 15 – 17 million VND (645.5 – 731.5 USD) each, are part of the “Cow bank” project. Under the project, beneficiaries are responsible to take care of their cows, returning the first babies of the cows to the bank and keeping the rest.

Thien Tam Fund also handed over 100 other cows to Khmer people in Long Phu, My Tu districts and Nga Nam town.

Joining the series of charity activities, the health centre in My Xuyen district in collaboration with the Ho Chi Minh City-based Hospital STO Orient carried out a programme offering free eye checkups and surgeries for more than 300 patients.

Vietnam-China friendship singing contest promotes ties

Soc Son district authority sets deadline for illegal buildings, Ca Mau encourages fishing vessels to install monitoring devices, Thua Thien-Hue hosts Asia-Pacific conference on intangible cultural heritage

The Vietnam-China friendship singing contest aims to promote bilateral cultural exchanges and foster musical talents. (Source:

Vietnamese contestants will compete on November 10 night at Hanoi-based Au Co Arts Centre for the final of the 18th Vietnam-China friendship singing contest. 

The contestants, comprising 18 individuals and three bands, stood out in the qualifying rounds held across Vietnamese regions in mid-October.  

On November 10 night, each of them will perform a Chinese song and another in Vietnamese, and the best five will come to Guangxi, China, for the final slated for November 28. 

The annual event is jointly held by the Vietnam National Music Song and Dance Theatre and the People’s Radio of Guangxi.  

It aims to promote bilateral cultural exchanges and foster musical talents.

Mitsubishi wants to build waste-to-energy plants in HCM City

Mitsubishi (MHI) of Japan wants to work with Ho Chi Minh City in building plants to turn waste into energy, Executive Vice President at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Ken Kawai said.

At the meeting with Le Thanh Liem, Standing Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee in the city on November 7, Ken Kawai said his group wants to cooperate with the Vietnamese business hub in dealing with challenges stemming from its development process.

He said MHI owns multi-sectoral cutting-edge technologies and 40-year experience in treating waste into energy, and it is willing to involve in waste treatment in the city and transfer the related technology in the form of public private partnership.

At the present, MHI runs 314 waste treatment plants around the world, turning industrial, household, and solid waste into energy, Ken Kawai said, adding that the group will provide waster-to-energy technology that is optimal and suitable for each locality’s conditions.

The group wishes to expand its cooperative activities in Vietnam beyond production, technology transfer, and infrastructure development to improving capabilities and skills of Vietnamese workers so to enable them to master novel technologies in the future, he said.

Liem said the working visit by the MHI’s executives shows the group’s willingness and interests in investments in the city’s development efforts.

HCM City is willing to cooperate with MHI in not only urban infrastructure development but also waste treatment – the issue that is challenging the city during its urban development process, he said.  

He suggested MHI and municipal agencies soon discuss cooperation contents in detail in the field and work out realistic projects with high efficiency, especially when they plan to use the public-private partnership model for the projects.

Ca Mau encourages fishing vessels to install monitoring devices

Soc Son district authority sets deadline for illegal buildings, Ca Mau encourages fishing vessels to install monitoring devices, Thua Thien-Hue hosts Asia-Pacific conference on intangible cultural heritage

The Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau has installed monitoring devices on 80 fishing vessels, or 30 percent of total boats subject to the installation scheme’s first phase, aiming to enhance the efficiency of management over fishing activities.

According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the low implementation percentage was due to the majority of the vehicles unavailable for installation as they were out operating at sea or docked in other provinces.

In the first phase that ended in October this year, the province had aimed to attach monitoring devices into 242 vessels.

In the second phase, about 1,300 vessels are to be subject to the scheme, which is scheduled to finish in December 2018.

The People’s Committee of Ca Mau has asked border guard forces in seaports not to allow vessels without monitoring devices to go out to sea.

The department has advised the committee to send a document to other localities to ask for coordination in managing Ca Mau fishing vessels.

The committee has also asked departments and agencies to strengthen communications to encourage the vessels to install monitoring devices.

Blockchain Innovation Tour held in Ho Chi Minh City

Soc Son district authority sets deadline for illegal buildings, Ca Mau encourages fishing vessels to install monitoring devices, Thua Thien-Hue hosts Asia-Pacific conference on intangible cultural heritage

The Blockchain Innovation Tour was held in Ho Chi Minh City on November 6, as part of the series of “BIT Southeast Asia” blockchain events in the region, looking to connect projects and foreign investment funds with host countries.

The events will take place in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Singapore, attracting international speakers and projects from big names such as Med-H, Black Box, GrEARN, IH Star, Asset Stream, BitVR, and Opsis. 

Kelly Liu – Executive Director of Houbi Global, the leading global digital asset exchange firm – said projects will receive marketing support via direct presentations and social media. 

Ken Nizam – Executive Director of Block Asia, the first and fastest-growing blockchain portal, with 1 million views each year and headquarters in Singapore and branches in the Republic of Korea, Germany, and China – described ASEAN as an emerging blockchain market. 

More and more blockchain communities from developing countries, including Vietnam, are looking to access promising projects across the world. 

With BIT Southeast Asia, the organising board wants to share blockchain projects that are already underway with local communities. 

A representative from Block Asia pledged to stand side-by-side with projects to narrow the gap with local communities, as well as work with strategic partners to support projects. 

Verner Alvar, founder of Med-H, said his project aims to create a network of confidential medical archives for patients and medical experts. Thanks to blockchain technology, users will be able to control their personal data with the touch of a finger. 

Thua Thien-Hue hosts Asia-Pacific conference on intangible cultural heritage

Soc Son district authority sets deadline for illegal buildings, Ca Mau encourages fishing vessels to install monitoring devices, Thua Thien-Hue hosts Asia-Pacific conference on intangible cultural heritage

An overview of 2018 Asia-Pacific ICH NGO Conference 

The 2018 Asia-Pacific Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Non-Government Organisation (NGO) Conference opened in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue on November 6, under the theme of “ICH NGOs towards the Sustainable Development of Communities”.

Since 2014, the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (ICHCAP) has been organising international ICH conferences biennially as a networking platform for NGOs. This specific conference will focus predominantly on the work of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the Asia-Pacific region’s ICH field.

This year’s three-day conference has attracted the participation of representatives from 35 organisations from 16 nations.

Its discussions focus on the relationship between intangible cultural heritage and sustainable development.

Delegates are expected to exchange views on and experience in projects related to the role and potential of NGOs in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, in educating about ICH work towards sustainable development, in developing cities and communities comprehensively through disseminations on ICH, and in making proposals to better the support of NGOs for ICH conservation in the region.

The conference also includes a special session on ICH safeguarding in Vietnam, in which speakers are expected to discuss the 15-year implementation of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Nong Quoc Thanh, deputy head of the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, said that Vietnam was one of the first 30 countries to participate in the 2003 Convention.

Vietnam currently owns 62,283 confirmed pieces of ICH, including 271 national heritages and 12 UNESCO-recognised ones. By local heritages entering the national-level and international-level lists, they have provided the motivation for renewed cultural heritage conservation efforts.

Along with contributions by social organisations, Vietnam hopes to receive support from foreign experts, in ways of approach, experience, and resources, so as to protect and promote national cultural heritage values, Thanh added.

Phan Thanh Hai, Director the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre, stressed that Thua Thien-Hue has five UNESCO-recognised heritages, all of which are from the Nguyen Dynasty.

This conference offers a chance for the locality to partake in accurate and objective assessments to carry out policies towards the sustainable development of its intangible cultural heritage, expanding the cooperation in and promotion of its heritage, Hai said. 

Int’l agriculture fair for northern region opens in Thai Binh

The International Agricultural Fair of Northern Delta is underway at Ky Ba Park in the northern province of Thai Binh.

The event, part of the national trade promotion programme this year, attracted more than 300 firms, including prestigious agricultural brands, displaying their products at nearly 400 pavilions. 

In addition, there is also an exhibition area for “Economic, cultural and social development achievement of Thai Binh province”; a place for trade promotion and the exhibition of pets and bonsai.

Speaking at the opening ceremony on November 5, Nguyen Hoang Giang, Vice Chairman of Thai Binh People’s Committee and head of the organising board, said the fair is a good opportunity to promote and introduce achievements and development potential of the Northern Delta provinces, bringing a number of opportunities for cooperation among farmers, entrepreneurs and managers in agricultural-rural development.

Through the activities of the fair, farmers will have new orientations for developing agricultural products and especially hi-tech agriculture, which will be competitive in international economic integration, Giang added.

Since 2005, the annual agricultural fair in the northern region has drawn the participation of many domestic and international investors and businesses. 

The event will run through until November 11. 

Experts discuss measures to mitigate impact of climate change

Soc Son district authority sets deadline for illegal buildings, Ca Mau encourages fishing vessels to install monitoring devices, Thua Thien-Hue hosts Asia-Pacific conference on intangible cultural heritage

Environmental experts and scientists gathered at a conference in Hanoi on November 7 to discuss measures to mitigate the impacts of climate change, investment opportunities in renewable energy, and tools to evaluate an environmental strategy in Vietnam.

The event was jointly held by the Vietnam Academy Social Sciences (VASS) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Vietnam.

VASS Vice President Dr Dang Xuan Thanh said that under the Law on Environmental Protection, since 2014, all socio-economic works, strategies, and plans have had environmental evaluations included.

He said that the conference is a chance for scientists and researchers to gain a better understanding of the integration of climate change mitigation measures into socio-economic strategies and plans in Vietnam.

According to a report released in October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, by the end of the 21st century, the globe will be 3 degrees Celsius warmer, which will create negative impacts on people’s livelihoods, the environment, and ecosystems.

Currently, the global temperature has reached 1 degree Celsius warmer than before the industrial period started.

For Vietnam, global warming effects have been seen in increasing floods, reduced aquatic resources, and the disappearance of coral reefs and sea grass – all of which has greatly affected the livelihoods of people living on aquaculture.

Jiri Dusik from the UNDP Vietnam said that carbon consumption in Vietnam remains high, leading to difficulties in implementing climate change commitments made at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference.

He noted that greenhouse gas emissions in Vietnam are predicted to increase three times over the 2010-2030 period, adding that the majority of emission sources come from the energy sector. 

In 2030, Vietnam will have 64 coal-fueled thermal power plants, most of which are located in coastal areas. They will seriously affect the maritime ecosystem and locals’ livelihoods and living conditions, he said.

Dusik stressed the need for Vietnam to replace traditional power sources with more renewable options, such as solar and wind power.

Tourism helps improve ethnic life in Mu Cang Chai

Soc Son district authority sets deadline for illegal buildings, Ca Mau encourages fishing vessels to install monitoring devices, Thua Thien-Hue hosts Asia-Pacific conference on intangible cultural heritage

Tourism has helped remarkably improve the lives of ethnic minority people in Cao Pha commune of Mu Cang Chai district, the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai.

Giang Vang Lu’s family was once a poor household in Lim Mong village of Cao Pha commune, Mu Cang Chai district. 

To escape poverty, this year Lu decided to plant several new kinds of flowers on the Khau Pha pass, one of the four most beautiful passes in Vietnam. And, the flower-growing area attracted crowds of tourists to the pass.

Lu said he mainly grew buckwheat flower previously and by planting more types of flowers Cao Pha commune has become a tourist attraction for visitors. 

Thao A Thenh, Vice Chairman of the Cao Pha commune People’s Committee, said the authority are encouraging local people to provide community-based tourism services and plant flowers such as buckwheat or rose to serve tourism. 

With such policy, more flower gardens will be opened so that tourists to the commune can visit and take photos, helping generate income for local people. 

Besides planting flowers at tourism spots, more local specialities such as young rice flakes, glutinous rice and black cardamom are also sold in the commune to benefit more people.

Dak Nong to host Vietnam - Cambodia int’l trade fair

The Central Highlands province of Dak Nong will organise a Vietnam - Cambodia International Trade Fair from December 13-19, the province’s Department of Industry and Trade announced on November 7.

The fair is designed to promote border trade in the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle, as well as celebrate the 15th founding anniversary of Dak Nong province (January 1, 2004 - 2019). 

The event, held by the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) and Dak Nong’s Department of Industry and Trade, is projected to host about 400 booths.

The centrepiece of the fair will be an exhibition zone for socio-economic achievements and specialties of Dak Nong province, other Vietnamese localities and countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and the Republic of Korea.

In addition, an area will be reserved for products of craft villages, cooperatives and small industry businesses nationwide.

Bui Huy Thanh, Director of the provincial Industry and Trade Department, said the organisers will work with relevant agencies to create optimal conditions for businesses, especially foreign firms, in completing procedures to participate in the fair. 

VIETWATER 2018 opens in Ho Chi Minh City

The 10th International Water Supply, Sanitation, Water Resources and Purification Event - VIETWATER2018 – opened at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Center (SECC) in Ho Chi Minh City on November 7.

VIETWATER 2018 features more than 500 booths of domestic and foreign firms who are displaying equipment, products, technologies, techniques and solutions in the water industry. Thirteen among them are run by companies the UK, France, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Australia, Denmark, the Republic of Korea, Japan, China and Singapore.

During the three-day event, workshops entitled “Vietnam Water Industry with Industrial Revolution 4.0”, “Solid waste collection, transportation and treatment technologies suitable to Vietnam’s conditions,” and “Promoting gender equality in the water industry” will be held. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Cao Lai Quang, Chairman of the Vietnam Water Supply & Sewerage Association (VWSA), said the exhibition offers a chance for businesses operating in the water industry in Vietnam to meet with their peers from across the world in order to study new equipment and technologies as well as expand business activities and seek partners.

Sidelines workshops will enable Vietnamese units to learn from experience in reforming investment policies, mobilising capital sources, and updating advanced technologies for sustainable development, he said.  

According to Deputy Minister of Construction Bui Pham Khanh, after ten years, VIETWATER has become a leading prestigious international exhibition in the water supply and sewerage industry in Vietnam. It serves as an important bridge for domestic and foreign organisations and businesses to exchange technologies and seek partners.

Vietnam’s water industry aims to achieve no less than 95 percent of its citizens having access to clean water by 2025, with a clean water loss rate targeted at under 15 percent. Sewage management, also a growing issue, is targeted to serve more than 70 percent of urban and developed areas.

VIETWATER 2017, held on November 8-10 last year, received an impressive 14,072 attendees and 253 delegates from suppliers, manufacturers, municipalities, and users in the water industry.

2018 Vietnam Trade Fair in Cambodia opens

The 2018 Vietnam Trade Fair opened at the Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on November 7, with expectations to help boost trade between the two countries.

Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Defence of Vietnam Tran Don said the fair is an important economic-politic event, which will help promote the friendship and solidarity between Vietnam and Cambodia.

It will offer matching opportunities to businesses, including military ones, of the two countries, he said, expressing his hope that the fair will leave impressions in Cambodian people.

Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia Sam Sereyrath said Vietnam is a very important trade partner of Cambodia and the fair reflects potential of the bilateral trade ties.

He expected that the fair will help increase the bilateral trade and also boost cultural exchange between people of the two countries while noting that Cambodians very prefer Vietnamese commodities for their good quality and designs and reasonable prices. 

Over 200 booths display high-quality foods, home appliances, jewelries, electronic products, healthcare products, and others, and services of 150 businesses of the two countries.

The fair, organized by the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Embassy of Vietnam, and the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia, will close on November 11.

In 2017, Vietnam and Cambodia recorded a trade value of 3.8 billion USD.

Over 200 Vietnamese businesses have invested in 206 projects in Cambodia, including Metfone of military-run Viettel, Vietnam Rubber Group, Vietnam Airlines, and Angkormilk of Vinamilk.

Source: Terraced rice fields in Mu Cang Chai  - Bridge

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