More funding for ethnic minority poverty

July 4, 2008

More funding for ethnic minority poverty

The Prime Minister has agreed to give more funding to the second phase of a socio-economic development project in poorest ethnic minority areas, known as Programme 135.

According to the PM’s official circular dated May 19, 867 billion VND will be doled out to assist children in village kindergartens and day-boarder primary students in the areas. A further 800 billion VND will be distributed amongst the poorest communes and villages.

The Ministries of Finance, and Planning and Investment have been entrusted to manage capital resources to allocate to the programme as well as to guide and supervise the implementation of its projects.

The second phase of Programme 135, to run from 2006-2010, targets over 1,640 poor communes and 2,500 poor villages in ethnic minority areas.

Ill-fated victim of ship fire found

A crewmember from the abandoned Jordanian vessel was found dead on May 21, four days after the ship was engulfed by flames on Ba Ria-Vung Tau waters.

Mostaga Arafa, a 60-year-old Egyptian, was the only sailor of the Zayed ship crew to die in the accident. His body has been taken to Ho Chi Minh City .
A Vietnamese vessel rescued the remaining 27 crew members, including 10 Indians, eight Burmese, six Egyptians, two Filipinos and one Pakistani.

Survivors of the accident said there was an explosion from the cabin around 6am on May 17, which caused a fire to race through the oil-carrying vessel.

Police are conducting an investigation into the fire and relevant agencies are considering methods to remove oil from the ship.

ASEAN women’s group aids disabled kids

The ASEAN Ladies Circle (ALC) in the Netherlands is set to grant 2,705 Euros (68 million VND) to support children with disabilities in Vietnam .

The sum was raised at a fair spotlighting culinary and cultural features of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries held in The Hague on May 17.

The fair featured traditional art performances and fashion shows where visitors had a chance to see traditional Vietnamese dress such as the ao dai and head wear including the men’s turban and the women’s flat palm hat with fringing.

A special folk dance performed by Phan Thi Hong Chau, who is currently studying at the Tilburg Dance Academy , won the acclaim of audiences.

Visitors also had the chance to savour Vietnamese specialties from spring rolls to fried fish and lean pork paste, along with purchase souvenirs or view films highlighting the sites and wonders of Southeast Asia .

The ALC is formed by ASEAN women diplomats and the wives of diplomats to increase mutual understanding among ASEAN embassies and people of the Nertherlands.

The group hosts biennial cultural events to promote ASEAN’s image and raise funds to aid physically disabled children in member countries.

Eye hospital makes return flight

The Orbis Flying Hospital will return to Ho Chi Minh City and the central city of Da Nang from May 21-27 to provide check ups for 164 patients who they performed eye surgery on in March and April.

During their last visit, the voluntary Orbis professors and doctors offered training courses for local eye surgeons and nurses where they explained new treatment techniques. The Orbis professionals then worked alongside the local teams to provide eye check ups and operations to local people.

Orbis, a humanitarian organisation providing treatment to eye patients over the world, is helping Vietnam implement 14 long-term eye care projects in 24 provinces and city.

Germany helps Danang’s buses to go ‘green’

Central Danang city is conducting a feasibility study on an environmentally friendly bus project to be funded by Germany, reported the municipal Service of Transport and Public Affairs.

The credit commitment made by the German Government to the project is worth 300,000 USD, which is expected to be disbursed within 2008.

The city also plans to pilot a bus system project to improve accessibility for people with disabilities by means of funding from the Ministry of Transport.

Gov’t enacts decree on environment protection fee

Organisations and individuals involved in the exploitation of natural minerals are now required to pay environmental protection fees in line with a recent government decree.

Decree No. 63/2008/ND-CP on environmental protection fees for mineral exploitation activities, which was signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on May 13, says minerals include stone, gravel, sand, soil, coal, mineral water, ilmenite, metals, apatite ore, crude oil and natural gas.

The decree specifies that municipal and provincial People’s Councils will decide on fee levels in accordance with situations in their localities.

Environmental protection fees on exploitation of minerals, excluding crude oil and natural gas, will be allocated to local budgets.

Resettled people abandon homes for forest

Residents of Pachepalanh and Cutchrun, two resettlement zones for the A Vuong Hydroelectric Plant, are abandoning their homes and moving into the forest, said Dinh Thai Long, chairman of the People’s Committee of Quang Nam Province’s Dong Giang District.

According to official reports, about 20 families moved into the forest, causing problems for the local authority’s residential management.

Families may have left due to several housing problems at Pachepalanh and Cutchrun. After only three years of occupancy, many houses are already deteriorating. Residents often lack water and agricultural land, and landslides have left houses in precarious positions.

Artificial vulva made at Ha Noi hospital

The Ha Noi-based Saint Paul Hospital successfully formed an artificial vulva for a 35-year-old woman with a new surgical technique.

Despite being female, the patient, who wishes to remain anonymous, did not have ovaries, a uterus or a vulva. Instead, she had a pair of testes in her groin which had grown to the size of an adult male’s.

The surgery’s innovation comes from using soft skin from the thighs, instead of the upper arms as is usually done, to implant the artificial vulva. This allows the transplanted skin to feel sensation since veins and nerves are also transplanted.

The cause of the patient’s sexual condition is unknown. However, doctors believe her mother used contraception during pregnancy.

Rain beats down Quang Ninh Province

Monday’s downpour wreaked havoc in Quang Ninh and left many plots submerged.

Rockslides at the But Mountains Pass located on Highway 18A in Ha Phong Ward, Ha Long City destroyed iron fences and sea walls below. Some of the stones weighed more than a tonne.

The area is notorious for the frequency of its rockslides, but yesterday’s rain brought down four to five times the typical amount. No injuries were reported.

Provincial police lauded for major hashish bust

Government agencies and police in the northern province of Quang Ninh have received a letter of praise from Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung for the part they played in cracking an international drug smuggling ring last week.

Dung praised the Ministry of Public Security’s Drug Crime Investigation Department, the Coast Guard Department under the Ministry of Defence, the General Department of Customs and local police for catching the criminals, saying it was a big achievement not only in the fight against crime at home but also in the region and the world.

The PM said he hoped the police and custom officers would continue to tackle crime and implement the Government’s national programme on fighting illegal drug use.

Last week, police confiscated nearly nine tonnes of cannabis resin as it was being shipped through the Quang Ninh Province’s Mong Cai border.

The raid was the culmination of an investigation by C17 Drug Police from the Public Security Ministry and Quang Ninh Provincial Police. Five people carrying foreign passports were later arrested and charged with drugs trafficking.

Remains of voluntary soldiers from

Cambodia reburried

Remains of 16 soldiers falling down in Cambodia during the war-time were reburried in a ceremony held in northern Nam Dinh province on May 21.

As from 1997, the province has repatriated 81 sets of soldiers’ remains from Laos and Cambodia.

Free training course opened for farmers

The Vocational Training Centre of the Viet Nam Farmers’ Association on May 20 started a free training course for 100 farmers in the capital’s Tu Liem district.

Participants include low-income earners, social-welfare beneficiaries and those whose land has been repossessed for urban development.

The three-month course, taught by lecturers from the University of Agriculture, will provide farmers with basic information on farming, growing flowers and ornamental plants and practicing veterinary techniques.

The centre plans to open 15 courses of this kind for farmers this year.

HCM City puts kibosh on illegal matchmakers

Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee is launching an “iron-hand” campaign against illegal matchmaking services in the city that arrange buy-and-sell marriages between Vietnamese brides and foreign grooms.

The city authorities will check hotels, rented houses, and hostels on a regular basis.

The People’s Committee also assigned the Justice Department and the local police force the task of researching international regulations and conventions on marriages, especially in regards to the Republic of Korea and Taiwan .

This will be used to contribute to Ho Chi Minh City’s proposal to the National Assembly to include illegal matchmaking in the country’s penal code.

German NGO showcase their Vietnam aid work

The International Solidarity Organisation (SODI) of Germany is holding a photo exhibition of the aid work it has carried out over the past decade in central Quang Tri province.

The three-day event, opened in Berlin, Germany, on May 20, puts on show 30 colour photos depicting landmines being cleared and infrastructure being built in the province to relieve the aftermath of the war in Vietnam .

The SODI-funded projects were carried out in Con Trung hamlet, Phuong Coi village in Cam Lo district and Tan Dinh village in Trieu Phong district.

Since 1998, SODI staff have worked with local Vietnamese to deactivate almost 70,000 land-mines from 960 ha of affected land in the province as well. In addition, the organisation has run training courses on the dangers of landmines for thousands of villagers .

SODI have helped revitalise communal living conditions through construction of 200 new homes for families who were displaced by the threat of land mines, as well as traffic, electricity and water supply systems.

In total, the German organisation has spent 6.52 million Euros on projects in Vietnam over the past decade.

Professor Horst van der Meer and his wife, who first began landmine clearing projects in Quang Tri ten years ago, said the exhibition reviews SODI work in Vietnam so far and serves as a foundation to consider future projects.

Vietnamese Embassy Counsellor Nguyen Dang Tuan expressed thanks to SODI for their practical help given to Quang Tri people to overcome the aftermath of war. He cited SODI credits projects, training courses for poor women and investments in improving local educational conditions, in addition to major projects like land-mine clearing and resettlement assistance.

Tuan said SODI deserves Friendship Order, a distinguished honour presented by the Vietnamese Government for outstanding work by a foreign individual or organisation.

“We hope for more assistance from the SODI to Vietnam in overcoming war consequences,” concluded the Vietnamese diplomat.

Vietnam Red Cross rallies for disaster victims

The Vietnam Red Cross (VRC) on May 21 is appealing to people across nation to support the victims of recent natural disasters in China and Myanmar .

The VRC is calling on Vietnamese individuals and organisations to give their support to the victims by donating money, food, clothes and medicine. The program is accepting all donations until the end of May.

The association and authorities aim to deliver aid relief to the victims as soon as possible to help them overcome the aftermath of the disasters.

VRC has helped victims of many major disasters across the globe, including the Beslan massacre in Russia in 2004, hurricane Katrina in the US in 2005, the tsunami and earthquakes in Indonesia , Thailand , India , and Sri Lanka in 2005.

Front to raise funds for Nargis victims

The Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) has pledged to support a fund-raising campaign to raise funds for victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar.

VFF Chairman Huynh Dam announced the plan, to be launched by Vietnam Red Cross, as he laid a floral wreath in memorial of victims at the Myanmar embassy in Hanoi on May 21.

Dam also offered the fatherland front’s deep condolences to the Government, the Union Solidarity and Development Association and families of the bereaved.

“We strongly believe the Myanmar people will overcome the Nargis cyclone’s aftermath soon,” the VFF leader said.

Myanmar Ambassador thanked the VFF and Vietnamese people for their support during “their hardest time”.

(Source: VNA)

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