Social News Headlines 18/6

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OVs join hands to protect homeland sovereignty

 

 

press planning, drowning, Illegal mining, WB, erosion

 

 

Overseas Vietnamese (OVs) in Fukuoka, Japan, held a peace march on June 15 in repudiation of China’s illegal placement of Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.

Approximately 200 people wore T-shirts imprinted with national flags, hoisting flags and posters condemning China’ actions under the Fukuoka guidelines and polices.

The march attracted great attention from local media. It initially obtained its target for inspiring love for homeland among OVs, disseminating correct information about China’s illegal acts to the international community and taking support from Japanese people for the legal struggle.

A similar demonstration took place in Berlin, Germany, on the same day with the participation of 7,000 OVs and international friends.

Le Hong Cuong, Head of the organising board, called on Vietnamese expatriates, in Germany and the rest of the world to join hands to support the Vietnamese Government’s stance towards resolving the territorial dispute peacefully through diplomacy at the negotiating table.

Cuong asked for OVs support of the fishermen and soldiers and law enforcement forces who are protecting the national sea and islands. He called upon international friends to condemn China’s violations at the German government and the European Parliament.

His speech was translated into the German language to help international friends understand and support Vietnam’s action against China.

A similar march by OVs in Hannover was held on June 14, at which Nguyen Quang Huong handed over EUR3,230 to the organising board to support fishermen and soldiers at home.

Siegfried Sommer, President of the Germany-Vietnam Association, and Tamara Hentschel, President of the Rice Drum (Trong Com) Association, also delivered speeches, condemning China’s perverse acts and urged Vietnamese people at home and abroad to have stronger action against China’s infringement.

Thousands of posters in different languages were handed out, criticizing China’s violation and calling on international friends’ support for Vietnam’s justice.

This is the third demonstration has been held in Berlin and the largest so far.

Officials and lecturers at the Moscow State University of Geodesics and Cartography (MSUGC) opposed China’s illegal deployment of the drilling oil rig in Vietnam’s EEZ.

Vladimir Oznamets, a lecturer and President of the Russia-Vietnam Friendship Association at the school, said China’s acts are acceptable, and Vietnam will win in the struggle for justice. Russia will support Vietnam, he said.

MSUGC President Victor Savinykh said this is a big issue in Vietnam-China relations, which should be settled by peaceful measures.

Four injured in gas explosion

Four people were injured in a gas explosion at around 5 am today in a beer shop located on To Hieu Street in Nghia Tan Ward, Ha Noi`s Cau Giay District.

The injured included Do Van Canh, 26; his wife Hoang Mai Huong, 21; and their two-year-old son Do Tien Dung. They live in a flat behind the beer shop and are undergoing treatment at Saint Paul Hospital. The fourth victim`s name has not been identified.

The owner of the beer shop Nguyen Minh Tuan stated that the gas may have leaked out and caused the explosion. Some employees of the shop were chafed by broken glass and were taken to hospital.

Do Hai Nam, the gas supplier for the shop, stated that the gas system, which he had supplied to the shop, was safe.

Due to the explosion, enamelled tiles, glass doors and windows in the first floor of the beer shop were broken.

The cause of the explosion is being investigated.

Owner of the beer shop and his employees received training on fire prevention and fighting during March this year, reported Duong Van Binh from the Cau Giay Fire Prevention and Fighting Police Department.

Trial for record drug case starts

The Supreme People`s Court of the northern province of Quang Ninh, yesterday began an appellate trial for the biggest drug trafficking case in Viet Nam involving 5,000 cakes of heroin.

Each cake is equivalent to 350 grams.

The case involved Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, born in 1960 in the northern province of Bac Giang, and dozens of other defendants.

In the preliminary hearing held in January this year, the provincial People`s Court awarded the death penalty to 30 drug traffickers, life imprisonment to 13 defendants and up to 20 years in jail to many others, on the charges of drug trafficking, forging documents and hiding military weapons. They were also convicted for doing illegal business, not denouncing criminals, bribing and mediating bribery.

Among the 89 defendants in the preliminary trial, forty appealed for a reduction in their sentences, one requested a review of his charges, and one continued to plead his innocence.

The trial is expected to last until June 20.

In a separate case, the HCM City People`s Court yesterday meted out life sentence to Le Thi Chau Hang, 32 on charges of drug trafficking.

Earlier in 2006, Hang was sentenced to eight years in prison for the same charge.

Information minister calls for press planning

Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son has stressed the need to introduce press reforms to ensure a stronger news media.

Son told the June 15 episode of the TV programme “People Ask, Minister Answers” that substantial planning is required to reduce the number of media agencies and create a legal framework to ensure that the quantity and quality of the country’s news output are both more effective.

Vietnam now has 838 print newspapers, 67 radio and television networks with nearly 200 audio and visual channels, plus about ten foreign TV channels operating in the country.

Vietnam has also seen strong development of online newspapers, which are becoming a main source of information.

However, the rapid expansion of the press system has raised alarm among many people who feel that the resources and money being poured into the sector are being wasted.

In addition, competition for readers among media outlets has led to a rise in unverified or untrue news reports being published alongside increasingly sensational news and photo stories, leaving readers unsatisfied and badly informed.

Minister Son affirmed that many online newspapers have broken regulations stipulated in Vietnam’s Press Law.

Since 2011, the ministry has punished online papers for publishing errors 62 times, including a fixed-term suspension on two publications, the revoking of press registrations and a ban for editors at fault.

The minister warned against readers taking their news from publications that don’t provide supporting evidence or verification. He said these news outlets infringe the fundamental regulations in press operations.

Last year, the ministry developed a decision on the management of the provision of internet services and online information, which was issued along with the Government’s decree on administrative punishment in press and publication activities.

Wireless sensors to help monitering of patient vitals

Wireless sensor networks are an effective solution to take care of patients and support physicians in the treatment process, researchers told a three-day international conference that opened in HCM City yesterday.

Researchers at Thai Nguyen University, Thai Nguyen University of Information and Communication Technology, and Ha Noi University of Science and Technology presented a wireless sensor to monitor the heartbeat and body temperature, including for outpatients.

It consists of two sensor nodes attached to the patient and a base node to collect data from them. The data received is displayed on a computer screen, allowing doctors to monitor a patient`s health status from a distance.

The system is simple and efficient, allowing patients to wear the device on their body without affecting normal activities.

With the convergence of microelectronic technology, integrated circuit technology, sensor technology, and signal processing, etc, scientists can increase the applicability of wireless sensor networks at low cost.

In Viet Nam, where overcrowding in hospitals has for long been a concern, the new sensors will help address this problem.

But there is little research or development done in the field in Viet Nam.

Similar devices have to be imported from abroad at high cost while demand is very high.

The new system would help reduce cost for hospitals, the researchers said.

Campaign aims to prevent drowning among children

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) on June 16 launched a campaign to prevent children’s drowning, targeting a reduction of 15% in the number of fatalities in 2015 compared to 2010.

Addressing the launching ceremony, MOLISA Deputy Minister Doan Mau Diep called on all relevant agencies, international organisations and localities to join hands in strengthening communications on helping children protect themselves from drowning and building a safe environment in their living and studying places.

It is necessary to promote first aid knowledge to save drowning children, while increasing measures to ensure waterway traffic safety, he said.

Preventing drowning among children and reducing deaths from the cause is a reachable target if authorities and families care more about children, stated Diep.

Drowning is among top causes of child fatalities in Vietnam , with over 3,300 deaths in 2012, equivalent to about nine cases every day. The figure is 10 times higher than the average figure of regional developing countries.

More than 50% of the victims were bathing in ponds, lakes, rivers or the sea without adult supervision.

Teaching children, especially those in rural areas, to swim safely has been considered as the most effective measure to protect them.

Illegal mining activities outrage ethnic farmers

Many ethnic households in the northern mountainous Lai Chau Province`s Ban Giang Commune have accused a farm owner of illegally exploiting minerals, which has polluted the environment and damaged crops.

U A La, village chief of the Na Sai Village, said 84 households, mainly belonging to the Giay ethnic minority group, had suffered severe losses as a result of mud produced by the illegal mineral operations. The sludge had contaminated vital water sources, killing fish and damaging crops.

La said the farm, owned by Nguyen Duy Thanh from Lai Chau City, had become a wasteland. The man purchased the land and began extracting minerals in 2011.

According to one reporter, about 20 workers are said to be working at the site using dredgers and digging tools. A large ore grinding mill, pipelines and some other tools have been observed on the land, surrounded by numerous earth mounds and holes full of stagnant water.

The farm is not carrying out any agricultural production activities.

La said the owner of the farm had directly discharged the mud, which was produced during the exploitation process, into the stream. The stream, which is the main water source for the village, distributed the contaminated water to crops in the area.

Nearly 30 hectares of rice fields and 20 hectares of ponds have been seriously affected.

In April, some local residents reportedly went to the farm, destroying machines and seizing property from the owner.

Thanh later sent a petition to the Tam Duong District Police Department and People`s Procuracy, claiming the farm had been attacked and requesting compensation of VND170 million (US$8,095).

Nguyen Ba Kien, Chairman of the communal People`s Committee said the committee had reported the case to the district`s Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

Following its own inspections of the farm, the committee mandated the owner remove the machinery from the site, citing he had not obtained proper exploitation certificates.

Kien said the owner alleged he had taken the machines to the site to dig fish ponds, a position that was fiercely opposed by local residents.

Bui Quang Vinh, Deputy chairman of Tam Duong District`s People`s Committee said the oversight by local authorities over illegal mineral exploitation had been lax, citing the enterprise had been able to conduct the illegal operations since 2011.

The committee is yet to receive a report from local police.

Vinh said the committee was focusing on verifying the responsibilities of those involved, including local authorities, and calculating losses incurred by local residents.

Canon Vietnam supports VND4.8 bil to Vietnamese students

Representatives from the HCM Communist Youth Union and Canon Vietnam signed a cooperative project to grant 240 scholarships worth VND4.8 billion from 2014-2020 to Vietnamese students who overcome difficulties to achieve good academic results.

Under the project, 90 scholarships will be awarded to high school students and the remainder to university students nationwide. Each scholarship for high school and university students is worth VND16.2 million and VND24 million per year respectively.

General Director of Canon Vietnam Sachio Kageyama emphasised that as well as production activities, Canon Vietnam has always paid attention to social activities by protecting the environment and preserving and developing culture imbued with national identity.

The General Director has announced he will grant more scholarships to help Vietnamese students in vocational activities and making contributions to Vietnam’s development.

Vietnam Students’ Association (VSA) President Le Quoc Phong extended sincere thanks to Canon Vietnam’s support to Vietnamese students.

He has committed to fulfilling responsibilities to select outstanding students who meet the requirements of Canon and the HCM Communist Youth Union. The award ceremony will be held in September.

VUFO launches Chinese language website

On June 16, Thoi Dai newspaper (Vietnam Times)- a forum of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organization (VUFO) launched a website in Chinese language.

The specialist website has 20 pages and 80 features focusing on key areas of social politics and diplomacy.

Its domain name is: Shidai.com.vn; Shidai.vn and subdomains:cn.Shidai.com.vn; cn.Shidai.vn.

In a speech, Thoi Dai newspaper Editor-in-Chief Le Quang Thien said this first website in Chinese language shows the official voice of the people and Vietnamese political and social organizations.

The website aims to provide information for all those who use Chinese language around the world and help international friends gain a better understanding of Vietnam and its people, the nation’s Party and State guidelines and policies in the renewal and international integration process. It also contributes to raising public awareness of Vietnam’s foreign policy, the world situation and global issues.

It is also seen as a communication channel to convey wishes of a peace-loving nation,, friendship and an iron-will of national protection as well as patriotic traditions of the Vietnamese people.

In the lead up to the 89th anniversary of Vietnam’s Revolutionary Press (1925-2014), VUFO President Vu Xuan Hong thanked media agencies for their great contributions to disseminating information on his organisation’s activities over the years.

WB set to help Can Tho develop

The World Bank (WB) will continue supporting Can Tho as it looks to adapt to changing socio-economic conditions, pledged bank representative Astrid Westerlind at a conference in the Mekong Delta city on June 16.

She noted that Can Tho is burdening an increasing amount of socio-economic pressure from its rapid urbanisation, coupled with the ecological imbalance resulting from excessive population density.

Therefore, it is crucial to seek timely measures to upgrade its infrastructure system, improve education-training quality and increase vocational training for farmers, she said.

Meanwhile, the city should work harder to raise public awareness in protecting the environment to ensure sustainable development, suggested Westerlind.

She stated that the WB will assist the city in terms of capital as well as experience, so that Can Tho can choose a suitable roadmap for its development.

Le Hung Dung, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, spoke highly of the WB’s support over the past years, with many projects in health care, urban upgrade and water treatment.

He said he hopes the WB will continue assisting the city in settling crises arising from its urbanisation process.

The local government has committed to doing its best to ensure the efficiency of the WB’s funding, the official vowed.

Seminar discusses implementation of child-related policies

A seminar hosted by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) in Hanoi on June 16 discussed the implementation of the Government’s policies for children.

The policies, all approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, cover the implementation of recommendations made by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. They also take into account regulations at local levels and the proposed national action plan for children affected by HIV/AIDS in the 2014-2020 period.

Addressing the event, MoLISA Deputy Minister Doan Mau Diep stated that although Vietnam is considered a leading country in realising international conventions on children’s rights, there remain several vulnerable groups of children, such as poor and ethnic children and those affected by HIV/AIDS.

Therefore, the policies will create an important chance for ministries, agencies and localities to exert more efforts in addressing children’s issues, he said. National and local leaders have vowed to carry out these decisions in a synchronous, comprehensive and effective manner so as to ensure the best conditions for children.

Regarding the national action plan for children affected by HIV/AIDS, they will strive to provide 90 percent of those affected by HIV/AIDS with health services, education, consultations, nutrition and physical development support, recreational services and access to social policies.

About 90 percent of establishments providing health care and treatment for HIV-infected children and related social organisations will be equipped with knowledge and skills on protecting and caring children affected by the deadly virus.

Meanwhile, all schools will create opportunities for HIV/AIDS-affected children to attend classes.

Standard communes, wards and towns for children will be based on 15 criteria on protection, care and education, which create a safe and healthy environment for their physical and spiritual development. The assessment will be conducted every November.

OANA discusses professional ethics in information

The Executive Board of the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agency (OANA) opened its 37th annual meeting in Manama, capital of the Kingdom of Bahrain, on June 16 to discuss a code of profession in information.

Since its inception in 1961 on the UNESCO initiative, OANA has become a major mass media floor for information exchanges in the Asia-Pacific region, with the participation of 44 news agencies from 35 countries, said OANA Secretary General and ITAR-TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman in his opening remark.

This holds special value as the organisation’s member countries provide about 70 percent of the world news flows, he said, adding that the media picture of the globe depends on the daily efforts of the news agencies and their effective cooperation.

Deputy Director General of the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) Le Duy Truyen delivered a speech on the changing face of mass media and enduring values.

According to Truyen, information technology has changed a lot of things in the media industry. But it cannot alter the enduring values of the media, namely precision, objectivity, attractiveness and humanity.

Today, VNA correspondents are required to equip themselves with writing and image shooting as well as filming skills. In addition, media organisations have to put huge sums of investment into developing their communication infrastructure and media applications so as to enable them to save information processing time and turn out user-friendly multi-media products that meet the requirements of consumers.

“This, consequently, makes good journalism distinctive and adds prestige to media organisations,” he said, adding that “only true journalists with professional qualifications, passion and courage can fulfill the noble mission of the media”.

He concluded that the human resource factor always plays a key and decisive role in creating outstanding press work, which consequently builds up the prestige of media organisations, while technology plays the role of a supporting tool to transmit messages to readers faster and more widely.

In addition to profession ethics such as avoiding misunderstanding and ensuring privacy, participants also talked principles of processing information relating to terrorism, violence and natural disasters.

The opening ceremony was earlier marked with a photo exhibition highlighting the homeland and people of the organisation’s member countries.

Vietnam’s green growth and fossil fuel fiscal policy praised

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released a report on June 16 on green growth and fossil fuel fiscal policy in Vietnam.

The paper emphasised Vietnam’s constant efforts in achieving targets set in its green growth strategy for broader and more sustainable development.

UNDP Policy Advisor (Economics) Michaela Prokop spoke highly of the Vietnamese government’s commitments to promoting green growth and restructuring the local energy industry.

In Vietnam, she said, most fossil fuel subsidies are provided for coal and other fuel sources for national development. In the 2007-2012 period, fossil fuel aid was valued at around US$1.2-4.49 billion, most of which was granted to State-owned energy producers and distributors via preferential loans and low-cost input, she revealed.

She stressed the need to reform fossil fuel fiscal policy to increase energy efficiency, protect the environment, ensure national energy security, and promote GDP growth in both medium and long-term periods.

However, the UNDP report noted that the reform of fossil fuel fiscal policy requires an overall reform of the energy industry and a communication strategy. It is essential to have measures in place to protect the poor and vulnerable businesses against rising fuel prices.

The UNDP report was based on research of Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS), the Institute for Energy, the Financial Strategy Institute, the Energy Alliance programme, the Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI), and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

Nghe An supports offshore fishermen

The central province of Nghe An is taking many measures benefitting its offshore fishermen, in order to make them feel secure when conducting operations at sea.

It has coordinated with local training institutions to train more than 900 captains, engineers and sailors.

Fishing vessels have been equipped with long-distance communication machines, contributing to ensuring information at sea, reducing damage caused by natural disasters and helping fishermen contact others.

The locality has also provided assistance for fishermen helping them pay the initial interest rate of their loans for newly-built ships. It has so far doled out VND9 billion (US$423,000) for this purpose.

Nghe An has also carried out activities to increase fishermen’s awareness of safe fishing practices, including the dangers and damage caused by using explosives, and supported them in seeking new and more lucrative fishing grounds.

New testing software makes learning Vietnamese easier

Software recently released from the Vietnam National University – Hanoi (VNU-HN) aids students in familiarising themselves with the criteria and standard exam questions for Vietnamese language tests for foreign people.

This is the first standard Vietnamese language ability self-assessment system for foreign learners.

In order to test the system`s quality, the University of Social Sciences and Humanities recently held a Vietnamese test for 10 foreign people from Russia, the Czech Republic and Mozambique.

The new form of testing has gained the support from foreign learners of Vietnamese.

Maria, a Vietnamese language student from Russia, said, “I think that this is modern and convenient way for learners to improve their skills. I definitely prefer it to the old method.”

“The exam structure is pretty good. I got score 70 out of 100 and I’m happy with the result. This way of of testing gives an accurate reflection of your abilities,” said Lada from Czech Republic.

Dr. Vu Duc Nghieu, from the University of Social Science and Humanities, who also heads up the research group, said, “This new form of testing is organised online instead of on paper. Students are required to answer a number of questions of different kinds. It’s a benefit for all Vietnamese learners at all levels and helps to evaluate the ability of students.”

Dao Kien Quoc, Deputy Director of the VNU-HN`s Information Technology Institute, said that one of the advantages of the new test is to open opportunities for Vietnamese learners from around the world to test their language skills and save the cost of doing so.

Along with the testing system, researchers have also created 24 original Vietnamese test sets with 3,600 questions to help foreign learners of Vietnamese improve their abilities.

The system includes 10 standards and 51 criteria for six levels, and was jointly created by 11 scientists, researchers ad linguists from the VNU-HN.

Students of certain majors to enjoy tuition reductions

The Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training has issued a circular offering tuition fee reductions for students of many majors, including the traditional arts and useful health research.

Under the circular, in the 2014-2015 school year, three groups of student will be exempted from tuition fees, including students at public primary schools.

Those choosing to study at a regular teacher training college, vocational training and private schools, under the state enrollment quota, and those who join the MoET’s standard teacher training courses will also enjoy the exemption.

According to the circular, 11 student groups will be offered tuition fee reductions, including those with revolutionary contributions; children at nursery schools and students whose have lost both parents.

Nursery children and students whose parents are very poor according to the standards set by the government and those who study at ethnic boarding schools are also included on the list, as well as those who belong ethnic minorities. Particularly, students who study Marxism–Leninism and students who specialise in the research study on tuberculosis, psychiatry, the forensic sciences and surgery at public medical training centres will also benefit.

Under the circular, students who study traditional music, classical drama, reform (cải lương), dancing, circular and other useful majors will be offered a reduction of 70% in tuition.

Meanwhile, students with parents who are state employees, with one of them suffering from occupational injuries, will enjoy the cut of 50% in tuition fees.

Photo exhibition focuses on Chinese marine aggression

The Danang Museum has put on an exhibition introducing with around 20 photos and clips showing first-hand scenes of Chinese ships sinking a Vietnamese fishing boat.

The exhibition is being jointly presented by the Danang Museum and the People`s Committee of Hoang Sa District on June 12. The photos and videos capture scenes of Chinese ship chasing and sinking Vietnamese boat on May 26 near Hoang Sa Island. The exhibition also shows the boat being brought up from the ocean floor as well as the rescue and return of 10 crew members.

The highlight of the exhibition is a video clip recorded by a fishermen showing the moment the Chinese ship, armoured with metal, rammed the Vietnamese vessel until it sank. "Who wouldn`t feel heartbroken after seeing these pictures. Even with such concrete evidence, China still claims that it is Vietnamese boats ramming their vessels," said a visitor from Hanoi.

Huynh Dinh Quoc Thien, deputy head of the Danang Museum, said the exhibition would last until the end of June. The aim of this exhibition is to expose Chinese expansionist ambitions, their inhumane actions and violations of international law to locals and tourists.

Do Phap, the lawyer representing the owner of the sunken fishing boat, said that they have completed all documents to send to the Chinese Embassy. They are demanding that China provide information about the Chinese `fishing` ship that sunk the Vietnamese boat, such as the identity of the ship`s owner, its captain and how many sailors were on board at that time. However, Phap was recently informed that the Chinese ship is licensed as 11202, and not 11209 as was initially reported. He is checking the exact number before sending the documents to the Chinese Embassy. "Vietnam and China have a mutual legal assistance treaty, so we have the right to demand this information," Phap said.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Danang City Fishery Association, Tran Van Linh, said they, along with other affected boat owners, are considering bringing the case to international court.

Dong Thap to get more pumping stations

The Dong Thap Province People`s Committee has approved a plan to build electric-pumping stations to serve farming from now to 2020.

Under the plan, which costs about VND367 billion (US$17.5 million), the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province will build 113 electric pumping stations to provide irrigation water for 15,600ha of farmland in the first phase during the 2014–15 period.

By 2015, the water pumping stations will irrigate at least 180,000 ha of farmland, equal to 74 per cent of the province`s total farmland last year.

In the 2016-20 second phase, an additional 274 pump stations will be built to serve 25,500ha of farmland.

By 2020, the province will have 203,500ha of farmland receiving water from the pumping stations, equal to 85 per cent of the province`s total farmland last year.

The plan will give priority to electric pumping stations to areas that have completed dykes and irrigation systems, and have high irrigation demand.

The plan also aims to replace existing diesel-fuelled pumping stations.

Endangered tigers found on truck in Nghe An

Police in central Nghe An Province on Saturday found two Indochinese tigers (Panthera tigris corbetti), which are listed as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The tigers were found on board a truck that was travelling the Ha Noi - HCM City route, crossing the province`s Quynh Luu District, when the district police stopped it.

The tigers, which are prohibited from being hunted, caged, or transported, were found to have been anaesthesized and bound by ropes. One tiger weighed 80kg and the other 90kg, according to officials.

Police transferred the tigers to the province-based Pu Mat National Park to be cared for and are continuing their investigation.

Central province builds dyke to check erosion

Central Thua Thien - Hue Province is spending VND49 billion (US$2.3 million) to build a 730 metre-long dyke along an erosion-prone coastal area.

The dyke is to protect land and people in Hai Duong Commune in Huong Tra District 11km from Hue City. It will also create a lagoon that can be used for aquaculture.

During last year`s stormy season, the commune lost a vital chunk of bank of soil, forcing people to evacuate their homes.

Commune chairman Nguyen Liem said the pattern had been repeated for any years, but the damage had always been repaired with piles of sandbags.

He said the sandbags could not withstand the waves and a concrete dyke was necessary.

The new dyke will be built by the province`s irrigation department. Work is expected to take two years.

Wetlands need better protection

The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region should better protect its wetlands by improving the application of sustainable livelihood models, experts said at a forum last Friday.

The forum, organised in Tan An city, Long An Province by the World Wildlife Fund, brought together local and foreign experts to discuss ways to protect the environment and biodiversity of wetland areas in the Delta.

Participants discussed regional planning and the management of aquaculture resources, and proposed strategies to make these activities more effective.

Bui Cach Tuyen, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, urged relevant ministries and sectors as well as Delta provinces and cities to raise public awareness sustainable use of wetlands resources to conserve biodiversity and adapt to climate change.

He said studies should be carried out and data compiled on natural resources in the Delta`s wetlands.

Localities in the region should forge international links and effectively use foreign assistance to protect biodiversity, he said.

The Mekong Delta, home to over 17 million people, is estimated to have 3.9 million ha of wetlands.

The region accounts for over 50 per cent of the national food output, and 90 per cent of the nation`s rice exports. Large aquaculture zones are also located here, helping the country become one of the biggest seafood exporters in the world.

VNN/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/ND

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