News Recap on November 2016
1) Floods Hit Central Vietnam
At least 31 people were pronounced dead and four missing after multiple flash floods and landslides hit Vietnam’s central provinces. The floods began in the second week of October and their accompanying 150-160 kilometre per hour winds damaged over 240,000 homes and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Nearly 1,300 Vietnamese and 96 foreigners were evacuated from the central provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Tri and Quang Binh.
If the devastation of the initial floods weren’t enough to cause concern, forecasters tracked and predicted an even bigger storm, Typhoon Sarika, which was expected to hit hard days later. Luckily for Vietnam, they escaped the typhoon by a narrow margin, as it downsized to a tropical storm. The Philippines and China however, were smashed by Typhoon Sarika, which caused much destruction.
2) Vietnam Says No to Foreign Military Base On Its Soil
Vietnam said on Thursday 13 October it would not allow other countries to set up military bases here, just days after Russia said it was considering reopening Soviet-era bases in Vietnam and Cuba. Russian news agencies last week quoted a Russian
deputy defence minister as saying Russia was considering plans to restore the bases that had served as pivots for Soviet global military power during the Cold War.
“Vietnam’s consistent policy is not to engage a military ally or engage with any country to oppose a third country,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh told a news briefing. “We will also not allow any other countries to set up a military base in Vietnam.” While pursuing a neutral foreign policy to befriend many countries and allowing port calls by foreign warships, Vietnam still bars any permanent presence by foreign military forces.
3) Vietnamese Man Suffers Kidney Failure after Drinking Snake Wine to Improve Virility
A 61-year-old Vietnamese man in HCMC was admitted to a hospital for acute kidney injury after drinking snake wine, rumoured to be good for male virility. According to Dr. Nguyen Bach, head of the kidney-dialysis ward at Thong Nhat Hospital, the man took up drinking wine laced with herbs and medicine of unknown origin a few years ago, believing that drinking one to two shots of the wine every day would help improve his virility.
Listening to advice from friends, he then reportedly added a snake to his medicinal wine to improve its effectiveness. According to Dr. Nguyen Bach, reduced libido in males from 55 years of age is normal and not a disease symptom that requires any medical treatment. The mixing of unidentified medicinal herbs with snakes can form toxic substances that endanger the drinker’s health, according to the doctor.
4) 61 Sunda Pangolins Saved
Sixty one wild Sunda pangolins (Manis javanica) were handed over to Save Vietnam’s Wildlife by Thai Binh Province’s Police Department yesterday afternoon. Previously, the police and the provincial Forest Management Department seized a truck illegally transporting the pangolins. The police are investigating two people, Ngo Van Hạnh and Le Duc Anh, who were found packing the pangolins in styrofoam boxes with small holes, surrounded by other boxes containing ice, and loading the boxes on their truck.
Lam Kim Hai, a doctor at Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, said three pangolins had died after they were moved to the Save Vietnam’s Wildlife centre in Cuc Phuong National Park of Ninh Bình Province. Another was weak because it had been very close to the ice boxes on the truck.
5) HCMC to Choose Contractors for Flood Control Project
The Prime Minister has agreed in principle to allow the HCMC administration to choose a contractor for a tidal flood control project for the city. The city is carrying out the flood control project in 19 out of 24 districts, and includes an area of 570 km2 and a population of 6.5 million, according to the Steering Centre of the Urban Flood Control Programme (SCFC).
The project will see the construction of six culverts with a width of 40-160 m and an embankment of nearly 7.8 km along the Saigon River. Three pumping stations with a capacity of 12-48 m3/s and 25 small drains will also be built, according to the city administration. The project will require more than VND9.5 trillion ($426 million) to complete. At a recent meeting, city authorities said they would earmark over VND156 trillion ($7 billion) for anti-flooding projects over the next five years.
6) Bus Terminals to Turn a Hi-Tech Corner
“Obsolete methods” are being used to manage bus terminals in Vietnam, and a technological upgrade is badly needed, Vietnamese officials say. They acknowledge that the current management system has promoted disorder, making it difficult to track
transport lines and routes. Do Cong Thuy, Director of Transport at Directorate for Roads of Vietnam (DRVN) under the Ministry of Transport (MoT), said information bulletins, including bus schedules, are done manually at present, using paper transport permits. There are 457 bus terminals currently in the country. “All bus terminals will be required to upload data concerning routes, list of transport companies operating on each route, license plates of every working vehicle and registered fares,” Thuy said.
7) HCMC Hospital Pressure Eased by Cutting-edge Clinic
Tran Thi Ngoc, 81, of Thu Duc District’s Binh Chieu Ward, no longer goes to the district hospital for treating her joint and heart diseases as the latter recently opened a satellite clinic at the ward health centre. She says: “I used to go to the hospital at 4 a.m. and wait for four or five hours before being examined. The satellite clinic provides the same service as the hospital. My chronic diseases caused by age do not need the hospital for treatment. It is good to get treated at the ward-level clinic.” The clinic has modern paediatric, obstetric, ophthalmologic and other equipment to treat patients.
8) Samsung Vietnam Says No Cuts in Jobs This Year Despite Note 7 Woes
Samsung Vietnam will maintain its current staff numbers, the firm said on Wednesday, despite the parent company scrapping its flagship Galaxy Note 7 phone following a series of battery fires. Samsung Electronics, which employs around 110,000 people in Vietnam, finally pulled the plug on the new Note 7 phone on Tuesday, less than two months after its launch, dealing a huge blow to the business as a result of unresolved safety concerns. But Samsung Vietnam said it has no plan to lay off employees in 2016 as a result of the parent company’s crisis and predicted the value of its exports would grow further from last year’s $32.7 billion. “The Note 7 incident may not bring about any significant impact on our exports in 2016; in fact this year’s exports turnover is expected to increase,” Samsung Vietnam said in a statement.
9) New Trains to Cut Travel Time
The Hanoi Railway Transport Joint Stock Company (Haraco) launched two express freight trains which will run on the route from the city’s Giap Bat Station to Song Than Station in southern Binh Duong Province and vice versa. Haraco deputy general director Nguyen Van Hoan said that the 18-freight-car train would have a shorter itinerary than other trains on the North-South route. Specifically, the itinerary will last for 51 hours instead of the 70 hours of other normal freight trains because the express trains will not stop for goods loading and unloading, and will not add or remove freight cars during the itinerary.
10) Vietnam Rated 3rd Most Generous Country for Paid Leave in Southeast Asia
Other countries in the region get far more public holidays than Vietnam, however. Southeast Asian nations in general are not very generous when it comes to paid annual leave. On average, a Southeast Asian worker has 10 days off per year, compared to 20 in European countries. The findings were based on each country’s labour laws and mostly applied to employees working an average five-day week; a definitive comparison between nations was not possible as some have different entitlements for different workers. On the whole, Vietnam was placed third in the region with 12 days statutory annual leave. However, Vietnamese have only eight extra paid public holidays, while it is 27 in Cambodia and 19 in Malaysia.
(All the above news items have been sourced from: wsj.com, vietnamnews.vn, tuoitrenews.vn and vietnambreakingnews.com)