735 people die of traffic accidents in January
Vietnam’s National Traffic Safety Committee yesterday announced in January alone the country had 1,716 traffic accidents killing 735 people and injuring 1,550 others yet the number of cases and deaths decreased by 21 percent and 24 percent respectively compared to same period last year.
In January, police officers in the country handled nearly 372,000 traffic violations collecting fines of VND267.6 billion (US$ 12,006,460) and seizing 1,900 cars; 47,500 motorbikes and 1,100 other vehicles as well as withdrawing over 29,00 driving licenses.
The committee called on people to strictly obey traffic regulations, not drive fast, wear helmet and not drive when drunk.
Normally, traffic accidents occur during Tet holidays because traffic density on highways is very high as people returned their homeland for Tet holidays.
In these days, people flocked to bus stations, causing traffic congestions in front of stations.
Educator training key to optimising technology in classrooms in Asia Pacific: Microsoft survey
Microsoft has released the findings from its inaugural Microsoft Asia EduTech Survey 2016 which polled close to 200 educators in the Asia Pacific region.
According to the study, educators acknowledged that technology will continue to play an integral role in improving pedagogy, but flagged that the top challenge faced in optimising technology was a lack of training to do so.
According to the survey respondents, educators in the region (95 per cent) recognise the importance of technology’s role in transforming education and inspiring students. The top three uses cited were to enhance classroom learning experiences; to improve efficiency in their role; and to better communicate with students.
While almost all educators (96 per cent) are already influencing technology decisions in their work, nearly all of them (97 per cent) wish to do more. In fact, they unanimously (100 per cent) agree that technology will play a bigger role in transforming and improving education systems in the future.
“Educators in Asia Pacific are cognizant that technology has the power to expand the impact of education and accelerate the growth potential of every youth. Many are already finding inspiring ways to transform learning in and out of the classroom through technology and new pedagogy models. From that aspect, educators are likened to superheroes with their passion and aspiration to accomplish the extraordinary, as they push boundaries for the benefit of their students. However, we need to understand that technology is a means – not an end. Thus, we are committed to sharing our expertise with governments, organisations and schools to help them build a technology roadmap that supports their vision and take a holistic approach,” said Don Carlson, education lead, Microsoft Asia Pacific.
The survey also revealed some of the challenges that educators in Asia Pacific are faced with today when it comes to implementing technology in the classrooms. Lack of training was cited as the biggest challenge to optimising technology in classrooms (53 per cent ). The other challenges include inadequate budgets (51 per cent) and a lack of integration of technology with curriculum (46 per cent). These reinforce the notion that a holistic approach to education and technology is required for teachers to effectively drive transformation in pedagogy.
Hurdles aside, educators are optimistic about the usage of technology in the future and are keen to explore innovative ways of teaching and learning. The top three technology advancements educators hope to see in their work are to: enable personalized learning and individualised education (57 per cent), enable classrooms to be more immersive and fun (53 per cent); and see more intelligent and automated services to assist in administration and classroom teaching duties (46 per cent).
Today, educators are able to access applications leveraging the popular video game Minecraft or take part in Skype Field Trips or Mystery Skype for immersive and inclusive learning experiences through doing and exploring. In January, Microsoft announced its further investment in Minecraft with a new version customised for schools called Minecraft Education Edition. The new title will be available for free trial in the third quarter of 2016, offering an expanded set of features, including interactive maps and student portfolios. Additionally, Microsoft has started the public preview of Learning Tools for OneNote, which is designed specifically to improve reading and writing experiences for all students, including for those with learning disabilities like dyslexia.
The survey was conducted on-site during the Bett Asia Leadership Summit 2015 held in Singapore last November, with respondents that included teachers from across all levels from pre-school to post-graduate, as well as policy makers involved in education from across 18 countries in Asia Pacific . To help schools understand the best practices for successful pedagogy transformation for the 21st century, the Microsoft Education Transformation Framework outlines 10 best practices they need to ask to help fast track system-wide transformation by summarising decades of quality research.
Winter spring rice sees poor crop, price drop
Farmers in the Mekong Delta have started harvesting winter spring rice crop but they have been unhappy because of poor crop and price reduction.
Disadvantageous weather, long lasting heat and low flood level have caused silt deposits not raise field levels, pestilent insects increased investment costs, they said.
The more concern is that fresh normal rice fetches only VND4,600 a kilogram resulting in farmers’ 20-30 percent profit reduction compared to last year crop.
In related news, dragon fruit prices have doubled normal level in the central province of Binh Thuan. Traders pay farmers VND18,000-20,000 a kilogram.
This has been due to increasing demand for the Tet holidays and supply shortage as farmers have harvested since last month.
Binh Thuan is the country’s largest dragon fruit farming area with over 22,000 hectares concentrating in Ham Thuan Bac and Ham Thuan Nam districts.
High profit attracts farmers to red dragon fruit
Farmers in the southern province of Long An, which farms the most dragon fruit in Viet Nam, are cutting down the white flesh dragon fruit to plant red flesh dragon fruit, aiming to get a higher profit.
In Chau Thanh district, the main dragon fruit plantation in the region, the area for planting red dragon fruit has increased sharply in recent year, whereas before it only planted white dragon fruit.
Vo Van Thong, a local farmer, said he had cut down one hectare of the white dragon fruit to plant red fruit.
Many farmers across the district are also cutting down white dragon fruits even if they are growing well.
Chairman of the district People’s Committee, Nguyen Van Thinh, said many households are destroying crops of white dragon fruit to rush to cultivate red dragon fruit.
The price of white flesh dragon fruit is at VND10,000 (US$0.4) per kilo while red flesh dragon fruit is at about VND55,000 ($2.4) per kilo, he said.
According to the report of the district agriculture sector, the area of rice and other crops fell by 3,100ha by the end of 2015.
The area of dragon fruit farms is nearly 5,500ha, in which 2,500ha for red flesh dragon fruit, with 12,000 local households joining in cultivation.
In 2015, the district harvested 102,000 tonnes of fruit, increasing by 30 per cent compared with 2014, earning VND500-700 million per ha.
Nguyen Than Ai, director of the Viet Fruit Flavour Company, said the local farmers were rushing to grow red flesh dragon fruit despite low output in cultivation.
But the growers still want to plant red dragon fruit because of the high demand of the market and they also easily earn more money, according to Ai.
However, the farmers have to invest more capital and care in farming.
Head of Tam Vu Dragon Fruit Co-operation, Truong Quang An, said his co-operative had 60ha of dragon fruit and mostly exported to Thailand and China, but only the Chinese market favoured red flesh dragon fruit.
Sometimes, the red flesh dragon fruit priced at VND70,000 per kg, gaining higher profit than rice and white dragon fruit, he explained.
“So it is hard to convince farmers to continue planting white flesh dragon fruit,” he added.
Planting each ha of red flesh dragon fruit costs a lot of money, about VND200 million or more to harvest after 10 to 12 months.
The People’s Committee has warned farmers about the consequences and difficulties of massive replacement.
The situation is similar in Tien Giang Province. Many households in Cho Gao district are preparing to plant red flesh dragon fruit.
“The cost for red dragon fruit cultivation is high while the taste of Chinese market could be fickle,” she said.
The dragon growers would easily fall into a difficult condition if the price dropped due to the instablilty of the market, said Vo Van Van, head of the agriculture and rural development office in Chau Thanh District.
Red Sunday: just a quick pinch and a cinch
Meet and greet: Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc meets and talks with young people from colleges and universities who participated in the Red Sunday event on January 17 in Ha Noi. The eighth Red Sunday was co-organised by the Ha Noi Youth Union and Tien Phong (Vanguard) Newspaper. — Photo VNA Pham Kien
Blood donors, both young and old, signed up for this year’s Red Sunday blood drive in Dak Lak Province. Some have donated more than a dozen times. Thien Nga reports.
More than 2,000 people registered to donate blood for this year’s Red Sunday event on January 23 in Ea Kar District, which was one of three locations hosting this year’s blood donation drive for the third time in Dak Lak Province.
From Xuan Phu Commune, a Tay ethnic minority girl named Nong Thi Nguyet, who was donating blood for the first time, said more than 20 students from class 12C4 at Tran Nhan Tong High School had registered to take part in Red Sunday as soon as they found out it was being held in Ea Kar.
Attending the opening ceremony, Lam Thi Phuc Dung, head of Ea Kar District’s Office of Education and Training, said that 114 officials and teachers from the branch had volunteered to give blood.
While attending the event, she met Y Dhok Knul, an E De ethnic teacher at Nguyen Dinh Chieu Secondary School in Cu Hue commune, who had taken time off to donate blood. Y Dhok was proud to show it was the ninth time he had given blood.
Hundreds of students from high schools such as Tran Nhan Tong, Nguyen Thai Binh and Tran Quoc Toan responded to Red Sunday.
At Ngo Gia Tu High School, Nguyen Thi Thuy, the head teacher of class 10A5, took advantage of the morning to take part in the festival in order to get back to lessons on time. Huynh Bau Luan, the secretary of the school’s youth union, said there were 110 union members present.
Senior Lieutenant Nguyen Thanh Phuong, with his charming smile and crooked teeth, was soon spotted by female reporters after they found he was secretary of District Police and had donated blood over 15 times. In addition to Phuong, 35 military personnel, soldiers, and members of FPF Police Team No3 got together at the blood centre.
The event also attracted elderly people. Pham Dinh Chieu, a 65-year-old veteran from Ea Knop Commune said he had devoted 25 years to serve in the High Command’s Transportation Group 559, and this was the fourth time he had donated blood.
Phan Quoc Duong, 48, said that living in the centre of Ea Kar made it easier for his family to donate blood. He took his wife and son to Red Sunday, where they have all given blood on a number of occasions.
In Ha Noi’s Long Bien District, thousands of officers, soldiers and students participated in the Red Sunday at the Military Academy of Logistics, which was the first unit of the Defence Ministry to enthusiastically respond to this event.
Pham Van Chuong, 56, the head of village 3A in Ea O commune, also took part in the blood drive with his wife and son. He has donated 14 times, and his 24-year-old son Pham Van Tam has given blood on six occasions. They brought with them 12 people from village 3A who travelled over 20km by motorbike to get to the event.
Tran Quang Vinh, the chairman of the Red Cross in Ea O Commune, said 93 people from his commune had donated blood for Red Sunday, including Phan Thi Tu Oanh, the deputy Party Committee Secretary, and Le Viet Duong, the secretary of the Youth Union.
Although Cu Bong Commune is around 42 kilometres from the district centre, large numbers of E De, Tay, Thai and Muong ethnic people registered to give blood.
The largest number of donors came from Ea K’mut Commune with over 300 participants, while 50 came from Cu Hue Commune and 170 from Cu Ni Commune.
Nguyen Van Thang from Ea K’mut Commune said he and 43 others agreed to participate in Red Sunday after a village meeting. By the end of the day, the event in Ea Kar had collected 1,111 units of blood.
To mark the third Red Sunday in Dak Lak, the main organiser Tien Phong newspaper awarded scholarships to 10 excellent students who were particularly studious, dutiful and willing to overcome difficulties, according to the nomination list compiled by the District’s Office of Education and Training.
The organisers also awarded certificates of merit, crystal commemorative medals and VND10 million (US$447) for individual efforts to support the blood drive.
By January 23, 16,000 blood units had been donated during the 8th Red Sunday in Viet Nam.
On January 24, Red Sunday took place in eight cities and provinces throughout the country at the following locations:
Thai Nguyen University of Medicine and Pharmacy at 284 Luong Ngoc Quyen Str, Thai Nguyen City.
Tay Nguyen University at 567 Le Duan Str, Buon Ma Thuot City
Hong Duc University at 565 Quang Trung Str, Thanh Hoa City
Quang Binh University at 312 Ly Thuong Kiet Str, Dong Hoi City
Thai Binh University in Tan Binh Commune, Thai Binh City,
Quang Ninh Provincial Children Cultural Palace at 176 Le Thanh Tong Str. Ha Long City
Da Nang University of Economics at 71 Ngu Hanh Son Str, Da Nang
Ethnic groups to join spring festival in village
Various ethnic groups across the country will join the annual spring festival to be held at the Viet Nam Ethnic Group’s Culture, Tourism Village here on February 10-15.
Representatives of the Thai group in the northern province of Son La, the Tay group from the northern province of Thai Nguyen, and the Giay group from the northern province of Ha Giang will perform their traditional spring customs, including Long Tong (Farming), the new year welcome festival and the peace wishing ceremony.
Various folk art, games and customs will be showcased during the event, entertaining visitors and offering them a chance to understand the culture of each group.
A traditional wrestling event will be organised between 2.30pm and 4pm on February 13.
National leaders will join the event and wish the groups the best of luck for the lunar new year.
The village is located in Son Tay District, 45km to the west of Ha Noi’s centre.
Vietnamese people in Russia celebrate Lunar New Year
The Vietnamese Embassy hosted a banquet at the Hanoi-Moscow Complex in the Russian capital city on February 5 on the occasion of the Lunar New Year festival (Tet).
Those attending the event included representatives from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Security Service, the Institute of Far Eastern Studies, and the Russia – Vietnam Friendship Association.
Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Thanh Son said he was pleased with the Russian guests’ presence which demonstrated the strong friendship between the two countries.
He expressed his hope that bilateral relations will continue to be solidified this year.
Earlier the same day, the Lao Ambassador to Russia visited the Vietnamese Embassy in Moscow and extended Tet greetings.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese people in Saint Petersburg also held a year end party with the participation of Russian officials and friends.
More than 100,000 Vietnamese nationals are working and living in Russia, including some 6,000 students, and the numbers are still rising.
Project to intensify anti-malaria efforts through 2017
The Prime Minister has given the green light to a project on bolstering community-based malaria prevention and control through 2017, with the backing of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The project will focus anti-malaria efforts on vulnerable groups while improving the capacity and sustainability of the national malaria prevention programme.
It aims to continue reducing malaria incidence and the malaria mortality rate, and to prevent malaria outbreaks so as to reach the targets of the national strategy on malaria prevention and eradication for 2011 – 2020.
It will be implemented in 31 provinces with a non-refundable ODA grant of over 15.1 million USD financed by the Global Fund. About 2.63 million USD of the sum is from what remained from a similar project between 2009 and 2015.
While the Vietnamese Ministry of Health will provide more than 26.2 billion VND (1.17 million USD) for the project implementation, the beneficiary provinces will have to source around 23.1 billion VND (1 million USD) from their own budget’s to carry out the work.
The number of malaria sufferers in the country reduced from 43,700 in 2012 to 27,800 in 2014, according to the Institute of Mariology Parasitology and Entomology.
However, the number of malaria cases in the southeastern and Central Highlands areas increased remarkably, by 66.59 percent and 26.11 percent respectively, over the last six months of 2015.
Vietnam targets to completely eradicate the disease by 2030.
Southeast Asian Choreolab 2016 calls for applications
One Vietnamese choreographer will have a chance to join colleagues from ASEAN countries at the Southeast Asian Choreolab 2016 from May 28 to June 5 in Malaysia.
The selected candidate will live and work together to learn about contemporary dance with guidance from Japanese choreographer Akiko Kitamura, who is recognised as the most thrilling dancer in Japan.
Kitamura was born in 1970 in Tokyo. After learning ballet and street dance in her youth, she studied dance theory at Waseda University and began to build a professional career as a choreographer in show business while still in her teens.
She has choreographed many pieces for commercial films, fashion shows and plays.
The Choreolab aims to provide a supportive environment for participants to acquire new choreographic tools, develop regional networks with their peers and increase their international understanding.
LabCitoyen launches French eloquence contest
Vietnamese youngsters are encouraged to join LabCitoyen, a contest of eloquence in French. The top prize is a trip to Paris to attend the international LabCitoyen contest that will take place from July 3-11.
The theme for LabCitoyen 2016 is Health and Human Rights. Candidates should send their applications to the French Institute in Viet Nam before February 29.
LabCitoyen is an initiative to promote human rights debates among French-speaking youngsters between the age of 20 and 26 with good language skills.
From about 80 participating countries, winners are invited to represent their country in Paris at various conferences, meetings, cultural events, debates, round tables and workshops.
Binh Phuoc: Vietnamese volunteer soldiers’ remains reburied
A ceremony was held at a martyrs’ cemetery in southern province of Binh Phuoc on February 3 to rebury 70 sets of remains of Vietnamese voluntary soldiers who died during wars in Cambodia’s Kratie and Kampongthom provinces.
Of the total, 68 sets of remains were collected in the two Cambodian provinces during the 2015-2016 dry season by the provincial Military Command’s K72 team who is responsible for searching and repatriating the remains of the Vietnamese soldiers in Cambodia.
The provincial leaders and participants offered incense and flower to the fallen soldiers, showing their deep gratitude to them.
During the 2014-2015 dry season, 141 sets of Vietnamese martyrs’ remains were found while 132 other sets of remains found in Cambodian military zone 3 were gathered and repatriated.
About 4,000 Vietnamese volunteer soldiers who died during wartime are still lying in Cambodia. The two countries have set a target of completing the majority of the search, gathering and repatriation of martyr remains by 2020.
PM issues decree on nutrients newly required in food
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a decree to introduce iodine, iron, zinc and vitamin A as compulsory elements that need to be contained in Vietnamese food.
Decree 09/2016/ND-CP on food fortification released last week and to take effect from March 15 this year regulates that the four micronutrients should meet national technical standards and regulations on food safety.
Salt fortified with iodine, iron and zinc must be added to wheat flour, while vegetable oil that contains soybean oil, coconut oil, canola oil or peanut oil is required to have vitamin A – excluding vegetable oil used in industrial food processing, according to the decree.
Iodine helps to prevent and combat serious diseases such as basedow and deficiency disorders. Iron helps prevent and combat anemia and malnutrition.
Zinc helps to improve height. It also prevents and combats metabolism and cell disorders, bacterial diseases and bone development disorders.
Vitamin A helps prevent exophthalmia, blindness and malnutrition. It also helps build resistance to bacteria.
Despite the fact that Viet Nam has achieved a significant reduction in malnutrition among children under five, malnutrition remains a public health priority.
The Government last October began an integrated nutrition and food security programme to end malnutrition and stunting for children and vulnerable groups in the country.
The programme was among the targets that the country set after it joined 193 nations in signing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the aim of putting an end to hunger and poverty by 2030.
The programme on integrated nutrition and food security targets the most disadvantaged ethnic minorities and those living in poverty, and seeks to reduce inequity with a goal to improve the nutritional status of more than 36 million women of reproductive age and 7.1 million boys and girls under five in the country.
The support focuses on Lao Cai Province in the north and Ninh Thuan Province in the south to gather data and evidence that will guide national policy changes and scale up sustainable and integrated nutrition and food security models.
While national statistics showed a slow but steady decline in malnutrition rates in Viet Nam, poor nutrition still accounts for 45 per cent of total under-five deaths. Last year’s figures indicated that 25 per cent of children under five are stunted, while 14.5 per cent are underweight.
Dong Thap province told to push agriculture restructuring
President Truong Tan Sang encouraged the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap to continue with agricultural restructuring while paying a pre-Tet visit on February 6.
He hailed the province for effectively implementing the national programme on building new-style rural areas, saying agriculture makes up a large proportion of the local economy, hence proactively restructuring the sector is essential in the new situation.
The State leader also commended the provincial Party Organisation for successfully organising the local Congress, which he said, contributed to the fruitful 12th National Party Congress.
It was reported to the President, that the locality recorded an economic growth of 6.07 percent and the average per capita income had reached 32.6 million VND (1,467 USD) in 2015. The province targets a 8.5 percent growth and 35.6 million VND (1,602 USD) per capita in 2016.
In addition to increasing product quality, the agriculture sector has built and expanded numerous production value chains.
Dong Thap has 27 communes recognised as new-style rural areas.
Visiting Hoa An commune in Cao Lanh district, a pilot area for rural development, President Sang asked local authorities and people to exert more effort in eliminating impoverished households.
He presented gift packages to social welfare beneficiaries.
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