News on 12 September 2016


1) Việt Nam gains ground in fight against illiteracy

Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI– Strides have been made in Viêt Nam to eradicate illiteracy over the last seventy years, and efforts to promote literacy continue today. Việt Nam met the national standard for literacy in 2000, with 94 per cent of the population aged between 15 and 35 literate, compared to more than 95 per cent of the population being unable to read or write in 1945. The literacy rate reached 98.1 percent in the 15-35 age group and 96.83 per cent in the 15-60 age group, according to a report on the 2015-2016 academic year by the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET). Cities directly subordinate to the central government and the provinces in the Red River Delta and the northern central region performed best in tackling illiteracy. Most of the illiterate are ethnic minority people, who account for 44.8 percent of total illiterate people nationwide, MoET data show. 

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2) Waterway accidents could rise

Viet Nam News

HCM CITY – Waterway accidents have been increasing with great losses to human life and property because ship owners and crew aren’t following safety regulations. For the first eight months of this year, there were nearly 100 waterway accidents, with 24 in HCM City. Three of them - including barges crashing and collapsing Ghềnh bridge in the southern province of Đồng Nai and the Rạch Đỉa Bridge in HCM City and a tourism boat sinking in the Hàn River in the central city of Đà Nẵng - were considered very severe with three deaths and losses of several tens of millions of US dollars. 

“The main reason for the alarming situation is ship owners and crew ignoring waterway safety regulations,” Major General Nguyễn Quốc Diệp, deputy head of the Ministry of Public Security’s Transport Police Department, was quoted as saying in the Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper. He pointed out that ineffective education about waterway safety regulations in many localities along with loosened State management, patrols, fines and violation protection led the situation.

“To reduce waterway accidents, localities and related authorities must suffer strict fines if accidents happen in their areas,” Diệp suggested.

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3) Huge swath of world's wilderness lost since 1990s: study

Areas of the world that are untouched by humans are disappearing, with some 10 percent of the planet's wilderness gone since the 1990s, researchers said Thursday. The study in the journal Current Biology raises concern about these vital areas that form the foundation for ecosystems, particularly in the places that have lost the most, the Amazon and Central Africa.

"We can't restore or offset our wilderness. Once it is gone, it is gone," lead study author James Watson told AFP.

"It is exactly the same as a species extinction," said Watson, a researcher at the University of Queensland in Australia.

For the study, researchers defined "wilderness" as "biologically and ecologically intact landscapes free of any significant human disturbance. They made a map of such areas at present, and compared it to a map made using the same methods in the early 1990s. The result showed that about 20 percent of the world's land area is currently wilderness, or about 11.6 million square miles (30.1 million square kilometers). Most of that wilderness is in Australia, North America, North Asia and North Africa. Comparing the old map to the new one showed that an estimated 1.3 million square miles -- almost 10 percent of the wilderness area -- has been lost in the past two decades. The amount lost is equal to twice the land mass of Alaska, or about half the entire Amazon.

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4) Vietnamese parents support LGBT children’s quest for equal rights

Parents of LGBT (Lesbian – Gay – Bisexual and Transgender) children often journey a long, painstaking way, sometimes including years of denial, before fully supporting them in the pursuit of their true selves. Most LGBT people face discrimination, stigma or alienation from their families and society as soon as they come out of the closet.

Some years ago, Nguyen Dang Khoa, now 27, who is openly gay, received a letter from his desperate mother, Dinh Thi Yen Ly, demanding that her son choose either to be a ‘normal’ man and live to her expectations or remain gay and leave the house. Ly came to the ‘ultimatum’ after she had tried every way possible to seek ‘treatment’ for her son, including taking him to various psychologists.

One week later, the young man replied to his mother in a moving four-page letter, expressing a heartfelt apology and begging her to accept him as he really is, or at least give him one more year to graduate. He said he would then leave the family and no longer be a disgrace to them. Khoa’s letter helped his mother understand how hard he had been struggling with being gay, and ended the duo’s five-year stand-off, starting when she had stumbled upon his 11th grade diary in which he had expressed puppy love for a male friend.

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5) About 22,000 new lung cancer patients diagnosed in Vietnam each year: doctors

Around 22,000 new cases of lung cancer are recorded every year in Vietnam, where the disease is ranked among the top causes of death, doctors said at a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday. Doctors and medical experts gathered at the seminar on the application of targeted therapy in improving survival for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients hosted by the Oncology Hospital. According to figures presented by doctors at the event, around 22,000 Vietnamese people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year, while 19,500 die yearly from the disease. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among Vietnamese males, and the second-most common cause of cancer-related fatalities among females, doctors said.

Over 34,000 people, men and women, in Vietnam are forecast to come down with the disease each year by 2020.According to Vu Van Vu, head of the first internal ward at the Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital, NSCLC accounts for 85 percent of all cases of lung cancer, with the majority of patients only diagnosed at a late stage when distant metastases have developed. The rate of survival for these patients is extremely low, with less than five percent of NSCLC patients able to survive for five years or more since diagnosis.

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Cover photo by: Ju Ki