Pavement clearing campaign continues in HCM City

Heavy rain this morning, August 14, caused the serious flooding for Quang Ninh Province’s Ha Long City, sweeping away one local pupil. Pham Bich Diep, a grade-6 pupil at Hung Thang Secondary School was swept into a drain near her school while trying to ride her bicycle from the school to her home this morning. Luckily, some local people saved her, but the bicycle got stuck in the drain.     The drain area where Diep was saved The drain has since been fenced.  Torrential rains have occurred to some localities in Quang Ninh Province since the evening of August 12. Three communes namely Dap Thanh, Luong Mong and Minh Cam in Ba Che District have been isolated due to the flooding. On August 13, Hoanh Bo District also faced a flash flood which caused landslides on more than 2,000 cubic metres of road, damaging nearly one hectare of paddy rice. At a meeting in Quang Ninh Province, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Long criticised the local Natural Disaster Prevention and Search and Rescue Standing Board for slow responses to the flooding.  The board did not know clearly about what happened to the localities after the heavy rains as of this morning.... [read more]

Regional destinations such as Thailand, Singapore, China and South Korea are attracting hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese each year. About 6.5 million Vietnamese tourists traveled abroad last year, an increase of 15 percent from 2015, according to the national tourism association. The estimate was based on official statistics from the most preferred destinations of Vietnamese tourists, including Thailand, Singapore, China, South Korea and Japan. “There are no government agencies compiling data on the number of Vietnamese traveling overseas," Vu The Binh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said. "This is our best estimate." “Vietnamese traveling abroad is a growing trend,” Binh said. Industry insiders say as more Vietnamese join the middle class, they increasingly look outward for travel destinations. It is estimated that Vietnamese tourists spend $7-$8 billion per year overseas, Binh said. He said that last year, despite some bleak news headlines about the economy, Vietnamese travelers are not affected. The waves of Vietnamese heading overseas have been a boon for tour operators. According to the Saigon Times, 10 biggest Ho Chi Minh City-based tour operators recorded revenue worth of VND5.5 trillion ($243 million) in 2015. The number of Vietnamese visiting South Korea last year, for instance, soared 58 percent from a year before to 240,000. The country has more than 1,000 tourism companies, of which 70 percent offer overseas tour packages to locals. Vietnamese passport holders can travel to 47 countries and territories without applying for a visa, according to the 2016 visa restriction index by Canada-based…... [read more]

Sensational journalism By Pham Vu in HCMC Never before has local print media called into question the professional code of ethics of online journalism. Leading mainstream newspapers have put themselves at odds with sensational news websites. As you flip through the pages of the recent issues of newspapers like Tuoi Tre, Lao Dong and Nguoi Lao Dong, you will find a lot of space reserved for carrying a series with multiple episodes about sensational online media. The information age has led to a boom of local online media outlets in recent years as more and more people, particularly internet-savvy youth, get the news online. To compete for netizens’ attention, a growing army of online news sites have chosen to be sensational, instead of embracing the canons of journalism like accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability. Most of the time exposure of bust and underwear, be it deliberate or otherwise, is becoming a salient topic on online tabloid newspapers. And celebrities and their family members, including children and teens, always fall prey to unethical journalists who scout every moment for what they see as a hit story. In a Tuoi Tre article, author Cat Khue describes the matter as “a disaster from voyeurism”. Khue wonders whether online papers have got to the point where they have no sense of fear, loss or standard when they disseminate information to millions of netizens. Hot topics like long-legged hot girl, waist, thigh, butt and bust dominate the headlines in the culture and entertainment…... [read more]

State enterprises rush to launch IPOs Hong Phuc By Hong Phuc - The Saigon Times Daily HCMC – The first quarter of the year witnessed an unprecedented surge in initial public offerings by state-owned businesses. Statistics by the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX), which arranges share auctions for state-owned firms, indicate HNX held 21 share auctions, which account for a staggering 84% of the total conducted in all of 2013. Nineteen of these auctions were initial public offerings and the remainder additional share issues. Investors’ interest in those share auctions varied depending on enterprises. There were auctions in which large numbers of investors competed for shares, such as those by Civil Engineering Construction Corporation 4 (Cienco 4) with 668 investors, Viglacera with 608 investors and Hanoi Construction Corporation with 203 investors. However, in the auctions that attracted little investor interest, the issuing firms sold around one-third of their offered shares. More than half the issuing enterprises are big corporations and 12 belong to the Ministry of Transport, which earlier issued a strong warning against those hesitating to let their businesses go public. Nine auctions at HNX by the end of the first quarter saw all the offered shares snapped up by investors, including two to sell additional shares of Ta Cu Tourism Joint Stock Company and Hai Duong Porcelain Joint Stock Company. The shares sold in the IPOs of those state firms in the first three months totaled 90.27 million worth around VND1.16 trillion. The extra shares issued by the current…... [read more]

Brokerages: Market recovery not in sight this week Phuong Thao By Phuong Thao - The Saigon Times Daily HCMC - Securities firms have predicted that the local stock market would not recover or even see its losing streak extending this week as the VN-Index is still far below the resistance level of 574 points. Last Friday the main index closed down 0.22% to 562.31 points due partly to news that negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) lasted for one more day for the 12 participating countries to discuss remaining issues before they could reach a deal for the U.S.-led trade accord. According to Viet Capital Securities Co., news headlines pointed to positive developments of the trade pact but a few sticking points blocked a final deal. At home, automobile tickers like HHS and TMT all performed well last week, with TMT gaining on all the five trading days and HHS on four days. Notably, TMT was up more than 3% last Friday, registering a total gain of 17% for last week. TPP watchers also took positions in leading textile and garment exporters such as TCM, TNG and STK. Stocks of power companies rallied. NT2 had a solid gain of almost 3% with Friday’s volume 30% higher than the combined turnover in the first four days of the week. Similarly, PPC, a thermal power company, posted a significant 5.7% rise in price with almost VND11 billion (US$0.5 million) in turnover, four times higher than the 10-session average. Investors are expecting a…... [read more]

Tien Giang says high incomes at lottery firm normal Trung Chanh By Trung Chanh - The Saigon Times Daily TIEN GIANG - Both the government of Tien Giang Province and the provincial Department of Finance have said that it is normal for staff of Tien Giang Lottery Co to earn high incomes. High incomes of the director and other staff at the company made news headlines earlier this year. However, the department’s director Ho Kinh Kha said authorities have found that wage and bonus payments at the company are in line with the existing regulations after reviews and inspections. The director of Tien Giang Lottery Co earns over VND700 million per year. The Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs inspected the lottery company and reported the results to the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs. The ministry’s Labor and Wage Department said over VND700 million earned a year by the company’s director is normal, Kha told a press conference on the province’s socioeconomic performance last week. “Under the instruction of the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, at a grade-one State-owned enterprise, the maximum monthly wages of the director, the deputy director and the chief accountant are VND27 million, VND23 million and VND21 million respectively,” Kha said. In case the enterprise meets requirements for extra budget contribution and higher revenue or profit, its executives can get additional sums equipvalent to half of their maximum wages. In addition, their incomes are contributed by the bonus fund of VND200…... [read more]

A rapid descent in the pound against the dollar Friday, referred to as a "flash crash", set tongues wagging across global trading floors as to what triggered the rare event. What caused the dive? After the pound crashed more than six percent against the dollar in under ten minutes during Asian trading hours, various explanations have been given. A spokesman for the Bank of England said simply that it was "looking into what happened" after sterling crashed also to a 6.5-year low versus the euro. Traders think that in today's tech-dominated world, it probably had a lot to do with complex mathematical equations known as algorithms. Automated trading systems can be set up to keep an eye on news headlines and react to potentially market-moving information. The Financial Times, among the first to report comments by French President Francois Hollande on Brexit, said the computers may have been reading its website. "Many algorithmic traders include tracking news websites in their systems. The FT story was first published the same minute as the move lower began," the paper said. Market analyst David Cheetham at XTB agreed. "It seems... plausible that news-scanning algorithmic trading systems began a move which gathered momentum as stop loss orders were triggered on the way down," he said. What news was potentially analyzed? The pound fell off a cliff at about 2310 GMT on Thursday to strike a 31-year low at $1.1841, before rebounding back above $1.24. The euro also hit a 6.5-year-high at 94.15 pence. Analysts…... [read more]

Again and again Anh Thu Late last month Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp. officially took responsibility for causing a widespread fish kill along more than 200 kilometers of coastline in central Vietnam in April and pledged to pay half a billion U.S. dollars in compensation for economic damage. But less than two weeks later, the company continued making news headlines as hundreds of tons of solid waste from its steel mill was dumped at an unlicensed dumpsite in Ky Anh Town, Ha Tinh Province where the Taiwanese-invested firm’s massive steel manufacturing complex is located. The waste burying was discovered early this week at a farm allegedly owned by the director of Ky Anh Urban Environment Company. Samples of the waste have been collected for testing to see whether it is toxic or not. Le Quang Hoa, director of the environment company, claimed the waste is not harmful as it had been recognized as non-toxic by a local environmental protection agency. But the problem is his firm is only licensed to handle household waste. Vo Ta Dinh, director of the Ha Tinh Department of Natural Resources and Environment, was quoted by Tuoi Tre newspaper as saying Formosa Ha Tinh had signed a waste handling contract with Ky Anh Urban Environment Company even though the latter was not licensed to treat industrial waste. This act amounted to a violation of the environmental protection law. Worse still, the local firm transported solid waste from the Formosa Ha Tinh still factory to an unlicensed…... [read more]

VietNamNet Bridge – Top leaders in Vietnam have reiterated the importance of promoting transparency and integrity among State officials as the only way to win public confidence. However, this seems to be a daunting task as there have remained problems with transparency and integrity, especially in the appointment of high ranking officials. In recent weeks, the former Minister of Industry and Trade, Vu Huy Hoang, has come under close scrutiny over two officials who are suspected of involvement in huge losses at enterprises but have still risen through the ranks. Trinh Xuan Thanh, vice chairman of Hau Giang Province – File photo Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has ordered an investigation into a newly-elected deputy of the National Assembly after he was found to use a luxury Lexus 570 SUV to get to work. Early this month, Trinh Xuan Thanh, vice chairman of Hau Giang Province, and his expensive car bearing a blue number plate made big news headlines. Under the current regulations, blue number plates are issued for State agencies and white cousins for private car owners. Moreover, the prevailing rules cap the value of a car which an official like Thanh is allowed to use at VND920 million but the local media values the Lexus 570 in question at around VND5 billion (US$225,000). Thanh, who was picked in the middle of last year to serve as vice chairman of Hau Giang for the 2011-2016 term, told the media that the car belongs to a private person who…... [read more]

Anh Thu Minister Thang, speaking at a recent meeting of the directorate, urged the directorate to replace inappropriate speed limit signs, which he said is a tough job to do. He warned that if such speed traps are not uprooted, those officials responsible would be uprooted instead. Thang’s strong statements made news headlines since what he insisted on is also a source of frustration for people, especially road users. Indeed, motorists frequently find themselves trapped by a number of traffic signs, not to mention the signs planted in invisible places. And such signs are among the causes of traffic accidents and motorists’ "innocent" violations. What’s more, speed limits are inconsistent. For instance, according to Tuoi Tre, there are several unjustified traffic signs on a 20-kilometer section of the newly upgraded National Highway 1 in Khanh Hoa Province’s Dien Khanh District, including two different speed limits just 400 meters apart. Traffic signs seem to be abused in Vietnam. Thang also said he has received a lot of complaints about this matter. On the upgraded and newly built roads, people find it unnecessary to enforce strict limit speeds which render new road constructions and upgrades meaningless. Minister Thang told the meeting that large amounts of money have been spent on building expressways and upgrading national highways and there are more brand-new autos on the road than in the past, but speed limits remain unchanged. He said setting the speed limit for automobiles at 40 kilometers per hour or below is no longer…... [read more]

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