Hepatitis A virus-tainted fruits from China yet to enter VN

Thuy Dung The agency made the confirmation after a number of Australians were reported to be infected with the virus after eating the frozen berries packed in China and distributed in Australia by Patties Foods. The products said to be contaminated with the virus are Nanna’s Frozen Mixed Berries and Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries. As reported by Australian media, the food safety authorities of that country have requested recalls. After the incident in Australia, the department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development launched inspections into the products but has found none of the products on the local market. The department said Chinese frozen fruits are imported into Vietnam through Cat Lai Port in HCMC only. Vietnam does not import large volumes of frozen fruits and veggies due to low demand as Vietnamese consumers prefer fresh products. Last year, the country imported only 125 tons of frozen fruits and has bought 35 tons of frozen fruits in the year … [Read more...]

New expy projects need hefty capital

This file photo features a section of the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway. The Ministry of Transport expects the country to have at least 2,500 kilometers of expressway by 2020 - PHOTO: ANH QUAN

Le Anh The ministry will mobilize more than VND214 trillion from private investors, according to a report on expressway development by the ministry’s Planning and Investment Department. The department said 567 kilometers of expressway has been opened to traffic while an extra 457 kilometers is under construction. The expressways now in use include HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay, HCMC-Trung Luong and Noi Bai-Lao Cai. The expressways to be built towards 2020 are Ninh Binh-Thanh Hoa, Thanh Hoa-Ha Tinh, My Thuan-Can Tho, Cam Lo-La Son, Bac Giang-Lang Son and Noi Bai-Bac Ninh with a total length of 508 kilometers. A number of investors have shown keen interest in these projects, which will be carried out under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) and build-transfer (BT) formats. The new expressways in the list also include Quang Ngai-Quy Nhon (150 kilometers), Bien Hoa-Phu My-Cai Mep (47 kilometers), Nha Trang-Phan Thiet (200 kilometers), Dau Giay-Tan Phu (74 kilometers) and … [Read more...]

Chinese arrivals fall further in Feb

Foreign tourists take photos at the flower street on Ham Nghi Boulevard in HCMC’s District 1 during the Lunar New Year holiday (Tet), which wrapped up last week. The number of international visitors to Vietnam last month fell 10.2% month-on-month - PHOTO: KIEU GIANG

Dao Loan The first two months of the year saw the number of tourists from the largest visitor-generating market for Vietnam declining 40.3% from a year ago, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO). Many local travel agencies reported falls in Chinese tourists entering Vietnam through border gates in the northern region and by air in the period. However, Chinese visitor arrivals in Danang and Khanh Hoa Province have rebounded after sharp falls in the middle of last year when China illegally placed a giant oil rig in Vietnam’s waters in the East Sea. There were five scheduled and 15 chartered flights connecting China and Danang City each week before April last year but 13 of them were called off after the East Sea tension broke in May. However, the number of weekly flights has risen to 21 to date. February also saw a strong year-on-year increase of 68.1% in the number of travelers from South Korea, which is one of the major markets for Vietnam’s tourism … [Read more...]

Bamboo prawns

Small-size prawns - PHOTOS: DUC TAM

Duc Tam The creator of the unique prawns is Nguyen Minh Chau, 87, who earned a national handicraft award at a handicraft trade fair in the central coast province of Quang Ngai. His son Nguyen Phuc Son said a long time before making prawns from bamboo, his father had been well known for his skills of making handicrafts such as cotton sparrows and clay paintings. But people later were less interested in his cotton sparrows and clay paintings, so Chau tried making other handicraft products. One day, a new idea of making prawns from bamboo came to mind as he saw the back of a prawn and bamboo sections much the same. "At first, 90% of prawns were made of bamboo while clay was used for the rest. The first bamboo prawns sold well with revenue enough to feed my family and expand business," Son recalled. Over time, customers have set out stricter requirements. Therefore, Chau and his family have worked hard and long to create prawns that are more beautiful, are of higher quality and … [Read more...]

Vietnam Kite Festival held in Vung Tau

The Saigon Times Daily There were 190 craftsmen from 15 kite clubs nationwide showcasing nearly 230 kites of different colors and shapes. Phan Thanh Sang, deputy director of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and head of the organizing committee, said the event was for kite flyers to gather, exchange experience and strengthen cooperation. The event ended on March 1. The department said it would choose outstanding kites for the International Kite Festival set to take place in Vung Tau in April. Along with most visitors to the event, Vu Anh Hung from Vung Tau kite club and Nguyen Huu Toan from Saigon kite club in HCMC praised Ba Ria-Vung Tau authorities for holding the event, saying they will continue attending more kite festivals in the coming time. … [Read more...]

Vietnamese comprise second-largest international student community in Japan

The number of Vietnamese students is the second largest among the international students studying in Japan, according to the latest statistics from the Japan Student Services Organisation. — Photo nhatban.net.vn

The number of Vietnamese students is the second largest among the international students studying in Japan, according to the latest statistics from the Japan Student Services Organisation. According to the organisation, 184,155 foreign students were studying in Japan as of May 1, 2014, representing a 9.5 per cent increase compared with last year. As of May 2014, the number of Vietnamese students studying in Japan was nearly double the 2013 figure, at nearly 27,000 students. The organisation pointed out that the increased number of Vietnamese students in Japan was the result of more Japanese businesses investing in Vietnam, leading to a demand for Japanese language courses. China ranks first in the number of students studying in Japan, with nearly 94,400 students. … [Read more...]

Netanyahu brings his Iran nuclear fight to Washington


John Kerry warned Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday not to endanger US nuclear talks with Iran by revealing details of the discussions, as the Israeli premier lobbied in Washington to thwart the deal. The US Secretary of State issued his warning from the scene of the talks in Geneva, as the Israeli prime minister prepared to make a speech to the powerful pro-Israel AIPAC lobby. Netanyahu has infuriated the White House and Democratic lawmakers by accepting an invitation by President Barack Obama's Republican foes to speak on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Kerry intervened in the row after becoming "concerned by reports" that "selective details" of the deal aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear program would be revealed in the coming days. He did not mention Netanyahu by name, but attempted once again to defend his talks in Switzerland with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif. "The best way to deal with the question surrounding this nuclear program is to find a comprehensive deal, but … [Read more...]

US State Department Under Secretary travels to Quang Tri


Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security for the US State Department (Source: uacrisis.org) Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security for the US State Department, had a working session with key official of central Quang Tri province on cooperation activities to overcome consequences of bombs and mines left by the war in the locality on March 2. During the meeting with Gottemoeller, the Quang Tri authorities spoke highly of the US Government’s and non-government organisations’ contributions to surveying and clearing the unexploded ordnance (UXO) of war in the province. They also expressed their hope for continued assistance in projects on bomb and mine clearance, education on landmine, help for UXO victims, and development in the future. On her part, Gottemoeller spoke highly of the ongoing model on overcoming bomb and mine consequences in Quang Tri, saying that it can be … [Read more...]

Hanoi to develop Ba Vi – Suoi Hai resort as a national tourism zone

Developing Ba Vi - Suoi Hai resort as a national tourism zone

The Hanoitimes - In 2015, Hanoi will implement the plan for developing of tourism products and improve the quality of tourism services, attracting both domestic and foreign visitors. In particular, Hanoi will complete the plan of developing Ba Vi - Suoi Hai resort as a national tourism zone by 2020, orientation for 2030. A project for digitizing of Hanoi's tourism map with GIS technology, a scheme for promoting and building Hanoi's tourism products, brands in the 2015-2020 period will also be carried out. Hanoi organizes seminars and training courses for disseminating on tourism regulations in order to improve the quality of human resources. Hanoi increases the tourism promotion to attract more domestic and foreign visitors through cooperative activities with national and international tourism organizations. The information and propaganda to promote Hanoi's tourism will be strengthen in many forms. Thu Minh … [Read more...]

PM presides over monthly government meeting


Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (Photo: VNA) Improving business climate and national competitive edge is an urgent and key task, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told a monthly’s government meeting in Hanoi on March 2. Ministries, agencies and localities should do this job frequently and continually, he said. Reflecting on the January – February socio-economic performance, it was reported that the total retail value and agricultural production were on the rise while industrial production and exports-imports experienced slight month-on-month decreases due to the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday. Positive signals were seen in the attraction of official development assistance and foreign direct investment, and tourism sector as well. Social welfare continued to be made available to the poor, ethnic minorities and ex-revolutionaries nationwide. However, Cabinet members also admitted higher incidence of traffic accidents, especially before and after the holiday, and … [Read more...]

China probes seven top military officers over graft: army daily


China has placed seven senior People's Liberation Army (PLA) officers under investigation this year for alleged corruption, the military's main newspaper reported Monday, as a crackdown on graft intensifies. The website of the PLA Daily said the seven included Guo Zhenggang, son of Guo Boxiong, a former vice chairman of the ruling Communist Party's Central Military Commission, which is chaired by party chief Xi Jinping. Guo Boxiong served as vice chairman of the powerful commission from 2003 until 2012 under the previous leadership of then party chief and state president Hu Jintao. Xi, who is also state president, has vowed no leniency in a push to clean up the party, government and military from rampant fraud that he and other leaders say threatens the party's decades-long grip on power. He has vowed to pursue what are colourfully described as both "tigers" and "flies", a reference to both powerful figures as well as lower ranking ones in a bid to cleanse the party, … [Read more...]

Vietnam wins Philippine tender to sell 300,000 tons of rice

Trung Chanh A source close to the tender told the Daily that Vietnam was granted the contract after it agreed to lower its bids to the same winning levels offered by Thailand at the tender held last Friday by the Philippines’ state grain agency, the National Food Authority (NFA). The source said NFA agreed to buy 300,000 tons of rice from Vietnam under the government-to-government contract after Vietnam Southern Food Corporation (Vinafood 2) offered the bids equivalent to those of Thailand when that country won 200,000 tons of rice at the tender. Thailand bid US$441 for each of the first 100,000 tons of rice and US$421 for each ton of the remainder. Meanwhile, Vietnam initially offered bids of US$442 for each ton for the first half of 250,000 tons and US$424.5 for the remaining half. However, Vinafood 2 later agreed to revise down the price of US$441 a ton for the first 150,000 tons of rice and US$421 for the remaining 150,000 tons after Thailand secured 200,000 tons out … [Read more...]

SBV seen taking over two more ailing banks

Pedestrians walk past an Ocean Bank office in HCMC in this file photo. The State Bank of Vietnam may take over Ocean Bank and GPBank - PHOTO: TL

Thao Nguyen A leader of the SBV told the Daily that it would take more time for the central bank to prepare plans to restructure the two banks. GPBank is among nine struggling banks that were put on the restructuring list in 2012 but no investors have since then shown keen interest in them. Early last year, a foreign bank in Vietnam intended to acquire GPBank but the central bank did not approve some conditions proposed by this investor. Three former leaders of Ocean Bank have been detained for allegedly violating State regulations on credit institutions’ lending operations. They are ex-chairman Ha Van Tham, ex-general director Nguyen Minh Thu and ex-deputy general director Nguyen Van Hoan. Before the takeover plans for the two banks come into reality, the central bank will have to spend time auditing and determining equity of the two lenders, the official said. Sources said there would be some merger schemes to be realized this year, including those between Saigon … [Read more...]

Highlights for March 2-8

PERFORMANCETrinh Cong Son Music Night "Hạ Huyền 2″ (Dark Moon 2) L'Espace 24 Trang Tien Street, At the show, Giang Trang and other musicians will play music composed by Trinh Cong Son, a famous Vietnamese composer who was deeply influenced by Western music and created "sad melodies of yellow skin". Ticket: VND160,000 Special price for members of L'Espace and students: 80 000 VND EXHIBITIONExhibition "Painting en Plein Air in America" 31 - 33 Hang Dong Street The exhibition displays sixty-seven oil paintings created by Trinh Lu, a Vietnamese artist, between July and December of 2014 with his minimalist studio-on-a-bicycle capturing the landscapes of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Exhibition "Two Sisters - Two Frontlines" Vietnam Women's Museum 36 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, The exhibition describes the women's productivity and combat life during the wartime through the memories of witnesses to this history. Ticket: VND30,000 Art Show "Voyage" by Japanese Artist Tan My … [Read more...]

Islamic State allegedly threatens Twitter executive, staff -reports


Twitter Inc and U.S. authorities are investigating alleged threats made by Islamic State militants against the social media network's co-founder and other employees, according to media reports. Islamic State supporters, in online posts on Sunday, called for attacks against Twitter and its "interests," including death threats, according to the online news media company Buzzfeed, which first reported the story, and NBC. "Our security team is investigating the veracity of these threats with relevant law enforcement officials," Twitter said in a statement late Sunday, according to reports by CNBC and Buzzfeed. Representatives for Twitter could not be immediately reached for comment. One alleged threat was directed to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, NBC reported. Dorsey didn't address or acknowledge the threats in his tweets on Sunday. Islamic State militants have relied heavily on Twitter and other social media technology to coordinate and communicate, including shocking videos … [Read more...]

Ministry seeks to hike tolls for HCMC-Trung Luong expy

Anh Quan The ministry suggested the average toll for vehicles of under 12 seats to go up from VND1,000 to VND1,500 per kilometer from June 1 to December 31, 2018. This will help bring in an additional VND620 billion (US$29.14 million) if the proposal is approved. The ministry also asked for an additional VND325 billion to be earmarked from the sale of the toll collection right to the HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway to fund the Tan Tao and Cho Dem interchanges projects. The interchanges are additional components connecting to the expressway, which were approved by the Government in 2009. The ministry okayed the designs of these components in 2010 but the reciprocal capital from the State budget was prioritized for the expressway rather than the interchanges . According to Cuu Long Corporation for Investment Development and Project Management of Infrastructure (Cuu Long CIPM), building the interchanges is urgent to ease frequent traffic congestion at the Tan Tao-Cho Dem section in … [Read more...]

Unhealthy beliefs

The Saigon Times Daily A great number of traditional festivals can be found shortly after the celebration of the lunar new year, or Tet. They were originally designed to pay homage to ancestors but now undoubtedly they are where self-interestedness prevails. People no longer see those festivals as sacred as in the past. They go there for personal interest rather than self-sacrifice. They donate some small change but expect to get back something bigger or more valuable. However, those organizing such festivals also look equally self-interested since they can raise hefty donations from visitors who have become more superstitious than ever, believing that supernatural elements can bring them prosperity and happiness. Professor Ngo Duc Thinh, ex-director of the Vietnam Folk Culture Research Institute, said in an article he contributed to Tuoi Tre newspaper that commercial self-interestedness can be seen on both sides: the organizer and the attendee of festivals. In the post-Tet … [Read more...]

Minister reveals Vietnam’s progress in AEC establishment preparations


Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang in an interview granted to Vietnam News Agency (Photo: VNA) Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang revealed Vietnam’s preparation progress for the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency on the conclusion of the 21st ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat in Malaysia. The Minister underlined the Vietnamese Government’s guidelines, programmes and strategies to implement the commitments of the AEC formation, such as facilitating administrative formalities for businesses and raising public awareness of opportunities and challenges when joining the community. He cited Vietnam as one of the leading state members with over 90 percent of its commitments on the AEC establishment implemented, second only to Singapore. Vietnam also took the lead in eliminating tariffs. Statistically, the country has already zeroed out nearly 90 percent of its tax rates and will … [Read more...]

City to crack down on truck overload

Le Anh The city’s vice chairman Nguyen Huu Tin told a review meeting on traffic safety last Friday that relevant regulations have been made available and that transport inspectors and traffic police have been better equipped to improve controls on overloading in the city. Traffic inspectors and police should be held responsible if overloaded trucks are detected, he noted. Le Hong Viet, deputy chief inspector of the HCMC Department of Transport, proposed at the meeting that the city invest more in equipment to better control truck loads. The city’s transport inspectors have been provided with some 16 mobile and electronic weighbridges and devices. According to Viet, inspectors handled over 23,300 cases last year and imposed total fines of over VND103 billion. However, overloaded trucks are still found on the road in the city as their drivers often choose the roads without weighbridges available. Moreover, many vehicles do not stop when weighbridges are busy. To … [Read more...]

Rising visitor arrivals put Tram Chim sanctuary under pressure

Tourists take part in a boat trip in Tram Chim National Park in Dong Thap Province. The sanctuary attracts 60,000 tourists last year - PHOTO: GIANG PHAM

Ngoc Hung Tram Chim attracted as many as 60,000 tourists last year, five times higher than the number before 2012 when the park was recognized as the world’s 2,000th site of the Ramsar Convention of Wetlands of International Importance. Experts and researchers expressed concerns about the strong rise at a review conference on a project on biodiversity conservation and livelihood improvement through sustainable ecotourism development. The event was co-organized by WWF Vietnam and the national park in Dong Thap Province. Nguyen Van Hung, director of Tram Chim National Park, said as staff of the sanctuary lack tourism skills, they should be provided with courses on ecotourism development in order to better protect and preserve the national park. Despite the increasing number of visitors, the sanctuary has a limited amount of money to preserve its biodiversity and develop suitable products as the environmental protection fee has not been collected. The main financial source … [Read more...]