Friday, July 15, 2011

New bridge falls down over weighty truck

A newly built bridge spanning a 50-meter canal in Mo Cay Nam District of the southern province of Ben Tre collapsed Tuesday due probably to overloading.
A truck carrying 170 bags of grain mash was slowly crossing the bridge when it suddenly fell down. The total tonnage of the four-wheeled vehicle almost amounted to 8 tonnes at the time.


The accident scene. (Photo: Tuoi Tre)

Ho Quoc Viet, the truck driver, luckily had a narrow escape from the cabin moments later. No signs that warn of its loading capacity were installed near the bridge, locals told Tuoi Tre, adding there were many heavy vehicles frequently crossed it.
The bridge had a very long span, but no supporting piles were built in the middle, the locals say.
It was just inaugurated one year ago, they adds.
Local people now have to cover 4 kilometers, instead of 50 meters as before the collapse, to reach the other bank of the canal.
Local police are investigating the cause.
Former bank director held on swindling count
Can Tho police have arrested the former director of the Can Tho branch of Techcombank, Tran Luong Binh, for suspected swindling and appropriating nearly VND15 billion (US$714,000).
Initial investigations shows Binh,44, borrowed money from 34 depositors at attractive interest rates ranging from 0.45 per cent to 1 per cent per day.
Binh approached additional depositors, persuading them to lend him money at an interest rate of 10 per cent a month, spending the cash on repaying previous debts and on himself.
He eventually resigned from Techcombank unable to repay his debts of nearly VND15 billion. Binh decided to give himself up to police on Sunday.
UK charity reviews activities in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia
Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK and Northern Ireland Vu Quang Minh has praised the Medical and Scientific Aid for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (MSAVLC) for its help to Vietnam over the past 46 years.
At a meeting to review MSAVLC’s charitable activities in 2010 held in London on July 12, the charity’s President Peter Lacy and Honorary Secretary Peter Lidgard said that humanitarian projects carried out in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were worth a total of more than GBP100,000 last year.
They included projects to train 100 midwives in mountainous Lang Son province and help Agent Orange victims in Thanh Xuan peace village in Hanoi and the Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.
At the event, Peter Lacy was re-elected as President and Peter Lidgard as Honorary Secretary of the MSAVLC. The participants reached consensus on promoting activities to raise funds for new projects in the three countries.
Hoa Lo prison’s historical, cultural values promoted
The Management Board of the Hoa Lo prison historical site said it is actively popularising cultural and historical values of the prison to visitors in the city and the country.
Head of the Management Board Nguyen Thi Hien said that the board has focused on exhibits on the life of revolutionary soldiers who were held at Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi under the French occupation, trying to find those still alive among almost 2,000 former prisoners in order to collect more documents and objects.

An exhibition section on the life of US pilots taken prisoner attracts attention of visitors, especially those from the US, Europe and Asia.

The board organises knowledge contests on the prison’s history for students and pupils in Hanoi as well as meetings with historical witnesses every year.

Hoa Lo prison was built in Hanoi by the French colonialists in 1896. The relic site receives more than 100,000 visitors each year, 70 percent of whom are foreigners.

With the hand, foot and mouth disease spreading among children, many pre-schools in Ho Chi Minh City have closed fearing for the safety of their students.
Vang Anh preschool in District 8 closed yesterday after putting up a notice on its gate saying, “The hand, foot and mouth pandemic is spreading rapidly and dangerously. We kindly request all parents … to keep your children at home.”

A spokesperson said: “The school has strengthened safety measures against the hand foot and mouth disease in the past few months. However, one student was recently confirmed to have the disease when he returned to school after a week following an illness that his parents thought to be sore throat.
“We later had the local health authorities examine all other students.”
Several other preschools in District 8 and others have also shut down, causing inconvenience to many working parents.
Some remain open but have informed parents not to send their children to school if they have fever or rashes on their hands, legs, mouths, knees, or buttocks.
Trieu Tuan, head of the District 8 Education and Training Department, said some 10 children had contracted the disease in the last month, one of them fatally.

From now until August 20, about 30 state-owned preschools in the district will have to be closed due to the spread of disease, he said.
The Ministry of Education and Training had ordered educational agencies to take necessary measures to contain and prevent the disease, he said.
It said when two students in a class contract the disease, the class had to be closed for 10 days.
Meanwhile, HCMC’s Pediatrics 1 Hospital received 70-100 children with the disease every day, many in critical condition, Dr Truong Huu Khanh, head of the infectious diseases department, said.
From 160 to 200 kids were admitted as inpatients at any given time, he said.
At the Pediatrics 2 Hospital, 180 children were being treated yesterday and the hospital receives 60 new cases every day.
Two died of the disease last week, a doctor said.
Dr Nguyen Dac Tho, deputy director of the HCMC Preventive Health Center, said, at 400-450 per week, the number this year had been higher than in the past few years.
It even rose to 500 one week, he added.
He blamed the outbreak on a new etiological agent, Enterovirus 71 (EV71) of the sub-genotype C4, which caused a relapse of the disease in many children who had been cured.

US$143 million to be invested in irrigational works
Authorities in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong have decided to invest VND3 trillion (US$143 million) on irrigation works in the province's ethnic region over the next ten years.
The investment will come from the provincial budget and from a Government bond.
Around 100 new systems will be undertaken as part of the project, while 150 will be upgraded.
Once completed, the province's drainage system will ensure irrigation for 5,000ha of rice, 3,000ha of coffee trees and 4,000ha of aquaculture.
Over 200,000 people are expected to benefit from the work which will help improve living standards and promote agricultural production.
From 2006 to 2010, the province invested nearly VND1.2 trillion ($57 million) on 65 small and medium – scale irrigational works throughout the province for the development of local agricultural production.

Speeding rescue van kills student, injures 4

One student was killed and four others were seriously injured outside their university in Son La city after being hit by a speeding traffic rescue van Tuesday.

It first hit the four injured students who were crossing the road to enter Son La College for their exams.
It then crashed into a motorbike ridden by Ha Thi Liem, killing her instantly, before plowing into four motorbikes parked on the pavement and coming to a halt Liem, 18, belonged to Phu Yen District.
Cam Van Nguyen, 20, suffered a brain hemorrhage, Giang Thi Xanh, 23, had broken hipbones, Ha Thi Nhung, 18, had her spine fractured, and Lo Van Truong, 18, broke his right leg.
They were rushed to the Son La General Hospital for treatment.
The police arrived at the scene and detained the van driver, Nguyen Van Duc.
Witnesses said he could have been driving at around 100 km per hour.

Commuters slam high bridge tolls
Commuters on National Highway 51 connecting Vung Tau City with other southern provinces have urged authorities to close the operations of Co May Bridge tollbooth on this highway.
Residents and businesses in nearby areas and tourists going to Vung Tau City in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province have complained about the fees.
Nguyen Thi Hoa, a Vung Tau City resident travelling by car every day to work in Ba Ria Town, said she spends VND24,000 (US$1.2) twice a day passing through the tollbooth.
"The tollbooth operation should stop on July 18 and its operations should not be extended," Hoa said.
The tollbooth was set up in the middle of 1999 to collect money for the construction of Co May Bridge, which was built on a build-operate-transfer contract between the Viet Nam Road Administration and local Hai Au Company.
According to the contract, the Hai Au Company was allowed to operate the tollbooth until July 18. However, the Ministry of Transport has agreed to allow the company to extend the operation period.
Nhan Dan (People) newspaper quoted a document that the ministry sent to the province's People's Committee, which said that the extension was based on a governmental decree in 2006 that allowed motorbike commuters to pass through tollbooths for free.
This led to a loss for the company, the document said.
"The company has extended the operation, and it continues to charge automobiles, which is unfair," said Le Van Nam, director of a local transport company.
Nhan Dan quoted sources from the Hai Au Company showing that after-tax interest of the company from the tollbooth was VND247 billion ($12.3 million) and the company had no losses at all.
Local transport companies blamed the Hai Au Company of operating exclusively.
Nguyen Cong Khanh, a local bus operator on the HCM City – Vung Tau route, said his bus paid VND1.92 million ($97) a month for the tollbooth to pass through the booth four times a day.
Le Anh Tuan, deputy director of the province's Department of Transport, said that it had attempted to buy the tollbooth many times in order to create favourable conditions for commuters on the National Highway and bring investors to the province. But the effort had not been successful.
Landgrab official election deemed illegal
The Phu Yen Province legislature has pulled up a commune for allowing the reelection of an official who was found guilty of a landgrab and deemed his election illegal.
Pham Duong An, deputy chairman of the An Hiep people’s committee in Tuy An District, was elected back for five years by the commune people’s council on May 22.
But even before his candidacy was approved, he was accused of grabbing 7,674 square meters of public land for his shrimp farm.
On June 7 the district people’s committee concluded that An had violated land regulations and urged the commune people’s committee to take disciplinary action against him.
But ignoring this, both the local people’s council and people’s committee confirmed his election.
Later the commune disciplinary council decided that no disciplinary action would be taken against An and merely asked him to make self-criticism of his wrongdoing.
The Legislation Board of the Phu Yen Province people’s council has ruled that the commune people’s council violated the Law on Election of People’s Council by approving An’s candidature when he was being investigated for a crime.
It also flouted the Law on Cadres and Civil Servants by reelecting An though he had been found guilty of the landgrab, it said further.
Deeming the election illegal, the board has sent a report to the province people’s council.

Newspaper uncovers fake monks
Nguoi Lao Dong Newspaper has found out that two Buddhist monks who were begging for alms in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday were bogus.
Nguoi Lao Dong reporters said a fake monk came to Le Van Viet Street in District 9 to beg for alms and took a motorbike taxi home where he took off his disguising robe, counted the collected money and enjoyed grilled pork with lettuce on rice vermicelli.
According to the newspaper, this ‘monk’ earns about VND500,000 (US$25) per day. 
Another Buddhist nun asking for alms on Tran Phu Street in District 5
has also been found to be fake.

She was caught going home to a rent house on Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street in District 5 and giving the money that she had earned to a man aged about 40.
In response to Nguoi Lao Dong’s investigation about fake Buddhist monks, Superior Buddhist Monk Thich Thien Tanh, Deputy Head of the Managing Committee of the HCMC Buddhist Association, said all Buddhist monks or nuns who beg for money or food were bogus.
Tanh said according to the association’s regulations, monks or nuns must show letters of recommendation as they ask for alms outside pagodas.
Fine for trading bogus stamps set at $2,400
Those trading or displaying counterfeit postage stamps will be fined VND30-50 million (US$1,400-$2,400) under a new Government Decree (No 58).
The decree also stipulates that those who open, appropriate or destroy postal packages without permission will be fined VND10-15 million ($485-$728).
Those who send packages through the mail containing explosives, dangerous bacteria will be fined up to VND50 million.

Southern province set to expel Party members

Authorities in Long An Province have proposed expelling two government officials from the Communist Party for seriously violating Party rules, says Duong Ngoc An, chief of a local inspection committee.
The first one is Nguyen Van Tam, former head of the market management unit number 5 in the province, who has shown serious deteriorations in his lifestyle, morality, and political ideology.
Tam was discovered repeatedly going to neighboring Cambodia for gambling, which is banned by the Party rules.
He was also found to have an extramarital relationship with Tran Thuy Lieu who admitted to setting her husband, Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborers) newspaper journalist Hoang Hung, on fire at home in February.
The second official to be expelled is Cao Van Hong, former head of the province’s market management unit number 3. Hong confessed he had borrowed debts for him and his younger brother from a woman named X., and shattered other taboos.
No further details about the taboos were revealed.
Four other Party members in the province including Dao Quoc Cuong, Nguyen Kien Cuong, Nguyen Vinh Sang, and Ha Van Bien will only be given a warning thanks to minor violations.
Those infringements range from cockfighting, financial wrongdoings to oversight at work.
11th-grader caught molesting child
An 11th-grade male was caught red-handed raping a girl this morning in the central province of Quang Nam, newswire Dan Tri reported.
Pham Duc Thang, 17, tried to stop three children when they were traveling on their bicycles in Thang Binh District.
The three ran away after being threatened by Thang. He chased them, and grabbed N.L.L.T., a 11-year-old girl.
Thang took her to a nearby deserted house to molest. He hit T. three times very hard on the head, as she was struggling to get out of his strong arms.
He still managed to force sexual intercourse with T. despite her begging and violent resistance.
Locals figured out the rape, napping and handing Thang over to the local police.
Thang, now a student at Phan Boi Chau High School in the provincial capital Tam Ky, south of Thang Binh, has never had a record before.
The case is under further investigation.
10 people arrested for kidnapping businessman
The Ho Chi Minh City police on Tuesday, July 12, arrested 10 people involved in kidnapping N. H. K., a businessman, for VND200 million (US$9,730), which was later reduced to VND70 million.
Do Hai Van, 54, Do Tien Nhat, 35, and Nguyen Quoc Tien, 32, were caught in the act of receiving VND70 million from N.H.K’s wife, T.A, at a café in District 1.
From their confessions, the police later arrested 7 other people who were also involved in the case.
A few days earlier, T.A reported to the police that her husband, who heads a private company in District 1, had been kidnapped by a group of people at his office on June 8.
The kidnappers later used his phone to call T.A demanding VND200 million in exchange for her husband’s release.
They threatened that if she did not pay the ransom, they would take the man to Binh Duong Province and kill him there.
T.A told the police that her husband then called her himself telling her to pay the ransom.
After many negotiations, the kidnappers agreed to reduced the ransom to VND70 million and asked T.A to bring the money to a café in the Nguyen Canh Chan apartment building in District 1 at noon on Tuesday.
T.A agreed but requested them to take her husband to the café.
She then reported to the municipal police who showed up in time to arrest the kidnappers.
The kidnappers said they had been hired by loan sharks to kidnap N.H.K.
They also worked as debt collectors for these loan sharks, the kidnappers said.
The police are continuing their investigation.

Vietnam woman in Taiwan found having killed self
After completing an autopsy on Ha Cam Tu, a Vietnamese woman who was found dead in Taipei on July 7, the Taiwanese police have concluded that Tu had killed herself with coal gas, Tu’s family in Taiwan told Tuoi Tre.
Tu’s former in-law family told Tuoi Tre that Tu had divorced from her husband two years ago and had since moved from southern Taiwan to Taipei.
Tu came from Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City and left Vietnam for Taiwan with her Taiwanese husband 7 years ago.
The Taiwanese police reported that Tu died on July 7 in her rented room in Taipei.
The room was locked from inside and all of her assets in the room were intact.
Tu left a suicide note to a friend of hers, Thao, who is living in Taiwan.
In the note, Tu asked Thao to transfer all of her money and assets to her family in Vietnam.
The police said they had found in her cell phone a break-up message sent from her Taiwanese boyfriend on July 7.

Rain causes ATM malfunction in 2nd city
Several ATMs belonging to Techcombank and DongA Bank in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 malfunctioned between 7 pm and 9 pm Tuesday, with an official from the latter bank blaming it on rain.
Ly Thi Ngoc, director of DongA Bank’s ATM card control center, said the rain had affected telecom lines and the ATMs worked normally before and after.
In such instances, ATM card users should ask the bank's central call station for directions to the nearest working ATM, she added.
The State Bank of Vietnam has sought a report on the ATMs’ working and security status as well as payment data.
At the end of 2010 there were 11,700 ATMs in the country and 54,000 merchants while 32 million ATM cards had been issued. However, more than 90 percent of card usage is for withdrawing cash.

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