Archive for ‘Vietnam’

July 6, 2014

Laos hydropower plant threatens Vietnam’s Mekong

Laos hydropower plant threatens Vietnam’s Mekong

VietNamNet Bridge – Experts in Vietnam continue to voice their worries about the Lao government’s determination to build the Don Sahong hydropower dam on the Mekong River.

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:   http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/environment/106305/laos-hydropower-plant-threatens-vietnam-s-mekong.html

Laos hydropower plant, mekong river

VIETNAM RIVERS NETWORK (VRN) -Rivers and water resources are among the most valuable assets to humanity that need to be protected.

“It will be a major threat to Vietnam’s Mekong River delta,” said Dr. Pham Bich San, Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), adding that the dams on the Mekong mainstream will have negative impacts on the ecological environment, especially the lower course.

San cited recent research which found that the Mekong is one of the five biggest river basins in the world which has seen its current reduced the most sharply. The average annual flow in the lower course has declined by 10 percent over the last 30 years.

The Mekong section which runs across Vientiane in Laos has been so depleted in the last 10 years that people can wade across the river in the dry season.

In Thailand, the Chao Praya River, as it’s known by locals, which has traditionally been mild, unexpectedly caused major floods which lasted many months in 2011.

In the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam, salt water has encroached on the Tan Chau area in An Giang Province. This never happened in the past.

The Mekong River has always played a very important role in Vietnamese socio-economic development and regional food security. The Mekong River delta is home to 20 million people who are responsible for 27 percent of Vietnam’s GDP, 90 percent of rice exports and 60 percent of Vietnam’s seafood exports.

“VUSTA has many times in the past voiced its concern about the negative impacts of hydropower dams on Vietnam. Nevertheless, Laos went ahead and built its Xayabury hydropower plant. Now Vietnam needs to have a stronger voice over the Lao Dong Sahong project,” San said.

Professor Dr. Ho Uy Liem, a renowned scientist, some years ago warned that if Xayabury dam was built, it would create a very dangerous precedent for another 11 dams to be set up on the Mekong main stream.

“If so, this will be the destruction of the river,” Liem said. “This will deprive the livelihood of the 60 million people living along the riverside, especially the Vietnamese in the Mekong River Delta,” he said.

And Liem’s warning seems to turn into reality.

Le Bo Linh, Deputy Chair of the National Assembly’s Science & Technology Committee, has also expressed his deep concerns about the Lao decision to build Don Sahong dam, affirming that the work will affect the river’s hydrological regime, causing depletion in the dry season and bringing salinity to Vietnam’s Mekong River delta.

According to Linh, at the international meeting of the Mekong River Commission in April in HCM City, the involved parties approved a declaration which says that countries need to consult with others in the region if they plan to execute construction works on the Mekong main stream.

The Lao government, which promised at the meeting that it would consult with other countries, still has decided to set up its hydropower dams.

Linh said the government of Vietnam needs to express its official viewpoint on Laos building dams on the Mekong River, because it seems that concerns voiced by scientists and environmentalists, institutions and individuals are not enough for the Lao government to rethink the project.

Dat Viet

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VIETNAM RIVERS NETWORK (VRN) -Rivers and water resources are among the most valuable assets to humanity that need to be protected.

 

News and Events

    Mekong Matters: Workshop and Network for Development Journalists

    The rapid pace of development leading up to the the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is creating opportunities for journalists to find innovative and important environmental, business, investment, health and culture stories. Are you a Mekong-area journalist who reports on social and environmental impacts of development projects such as dams, mines, roads, ports or economic land concessions? Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) may have workshop, fellowship, resource and networking opportunities for you.

    STOP DON SAHONG DAM, ELEVATE MEKONG COOPERATION

    Hanoi, VietNam –  A recent press release by International Rivers on 18/06/2014 has confirmed that the construction towards the controversial Don Sahong Dam in Southern Laos has continued despite growing opposition from neighboring governments and ongoing calls for regional consultation. The Don Sahong Dam, which is located on the Mekong mainstream, must undergo the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA) as required by the 1995 Mekong Agreement. Nevertheless, the Lao government argues that Don Sahong Dam would not have to go through the PNPCA since it is not located on the mainstream. Laos continues to move forward unilaterally with this project despite opposition from regional communities and the governments of Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

    2nd VRN’s letter to Kasikorn Bank, Siam Commercial Bank and Bangkok Bank: Careful consideration and suspension of the loan to the Xayaburi hydropower dam project.

    The Xayaburi project is the first dam under construction, among 11 dams proposed on the lower Mekong mainstream. Many studies have already highlighted that the dams will cause severe impacts to the fish migration in Mekong River. Moreover, the dam will block sediment flow along the Mekong mainstream. The sediment prevents the Mekong Delta sinking and shrinking, and is the main source for the fertile delta land of Vietnam, which is known as the world’s rice basket. By unilaterally pushing forward with the project, Lao PDR has violated the 1995 Mekong Agreement signed by Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. Thus the project has been designed, and constructed started, without complying with the Mekong River Commission’s Procedure of Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA), which is mandatory for all mainstream projects on the lower Mekong River.

June 29, 2014

Moderm-day slavery: trafficked Vietnamese girls sold into marriage in China

 

Brides for sale in Vietnam and girls sold into marriage in China

A shortage of brides in China is putting young women in neighbouring countries at risk of being trafficked
AFP in Lao Cai

theguardian.com, Sunday 29 June 2014, 04.00 EDT

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/29/brides-for-sale-trafficked-vietnamese-girls-sold-marriage-china

 

Vietnam China woman

Kiab, an ethnic Hmong teenage girl, looks out of the window at a centre for trafficked women in the northern Vietnamese city of Lao Cai. Photograph: AFP/Getty

When Kiab turned 16, her brother promised to take her to a party in a tourist town in northern Vietnam. Instead, he sold her to a Chinese family as a bride.

The ethnic Hmong teenager spent nearly a month in China until she was able to escape from her new husband, seek help from local police and return to Vietnam.

“My brother is no longer a human being in my eyes – he sold his own sister to China,” Kiab, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, said at a shelter for trafficking victims in the Vietnamese border town of Lao Cai.

Vulnerable women in countries close to China – not only Vietnam but North Korea, Laos, Cambodia and Burma – are being forced into marriages in the land of the one-child policy, experts say.

China suffers from one of the worst gender imbalances in the world as families prefer male children. As a result, millions of men cannot find Chinese brides – a key driver of trafficking, according to rights groups.

The Lao Cai shelter is home to a dozen girls from various ethnic-minority groups. All say they were tricked by relatives, friends or boyfriends and sold to Chinese men as brides. “I had heard a lot about trafficking. But I couldn’t imagine it would happen to me,” Kiab said.

Since trafficking is run by illegal gangs and the communities involved are poor and remote, official data is patchy and probably underestimates the scale of the problem, according to experts. But rights workers across south-east Asia say they are witnessing systematic trafficking of women into China for forced marriages.

“This problem has largely been swept under the rug by the Chinese authorities,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, in New York.

Vietnamese girls are sold for up to $5,000 (£2,944) as brides or to brothels, said Michael Brosowski, founder and chief executive of the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, which has rescued 71 trafficked women from China since 2007.

“The girls are tricked by people posing as boyfriends, or offering jobs. Those people do this very deliberately, and for nothing other than greed and a lack of human empathy,” he said.

It is likely that many of the girls end up working in brothels, but due to the stigma of being a sex worker they will usually report they were forced into marriage.

Communist neighbours Vietnam and China share a mountainous, remote border stretching 1,350km (839 miles), marked primarily by the Nam Thi river and rife with smuggling of goods of all kinds: fruit, live poultry and women.

“It is mostly women who live in isolated and mountainous areas who are being trafficked across the border, because there is no information for us,” said 18-year-old Lang, from the Tay ethnic minority, who walked across the border illegally and was sold to a Chinese family by a friend.

In northern Vietnam, trafficking has become so acute that communities say they are living in fear. “I worry so much about it, as do all the mothers in the villages, but it has happened to a lot of girls already,” said Phan Pa May, a community elder from the Red Dao ethnic group. “I have one daughter. She’s already married, but I’m worried about my granddaughter. We always ask where she is going, and tell her not to talk on the phone or trust anyone.”

Activists working to combat trafficking in Vietnam say police and authorities take the problem “very seriously”.

The shelter in Lao Cai opened in 2010 and has helped scores of female victims. “There is nothing at home for these girls, not even enough food to eat,” said director Nguyen Tuong Long, referring to the dire poverty that is another key driver. But he said he believes the number of cases is falling.

May Na, from the Hmong ethnic group, was 13 when her uncle took her across the border and forced her to marry a Chinese man. “I could not accept it. They left me at home alone and I climbed over the wall and ran away. I was wandering for more than a day, lost, sleeping in the streets, crying,” she said.

Eventually, Na ended up at a police station, but because she spoke neither Chinese nor Vietnamese – only her native Hmong – it took police a month to figure out what had happened and return her to Vietnam.

Now 16, Na, the eldest of five children, is learning Vietnamese at the Lao Cai centre. Her uncle has been arrested, she says, but she has chosen not to return to her family. “I was so sad when I was in China. It was a painful experience for me,” she said.

The government has launched education programmes in rural areas near the border, warning young women not to trust outsiders.

Anti-trafficking groups in Vietnam say it is difficult to warn girls of the risks when it is often a family member or friend carrying out the deception. Instead, they want harsher penalties for traffickers – including, for example, prosecutions at local level to raise awareness in villages of potential punishments to deter people from trying.

 

May 28, 2014

เวียดนามส่งออกข้าวกว่า 2 ล้านตัน จีนยังครองแชมป์นำเข้าข้าวรายใหญ่ – Vietnam exports over 2 mln tons of rice, over 40 pct to China

เวียดนามส่งออกข้าวกว่า 2 ล้านตัน จีนยังครองแชมป์นำเข้าข้าวรายใหญ่

โดย ASTVผู้จัดการออนไลน์ 28 พฤษภาคม 2557 14:52 น.

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.manager.co.th/IndoChina/ViewNews.aspx?NewsID=9570000059579

ภาพแฟ้มเอเอฟพีวันที่ 18 ก.ย.2556 ชาวนาพ่นยาฆ่าแมลงลงในนาข้าวชานกรุงฮานอย รายงานของสมาคมอาหารเวียดนามระบุว่า ตั้งแต่ต้นปี 2557 จนถึงวันที่ 22 พ.ค. เวียดนามส่งออกข้าวไปแล้วทั้งสิ้น 2 ล้านตัน โดยจีนครองแชมป์นำเข้าข้าวรายใหญ่ที่สุดของประเทศ ที่ 40% ของการส่งออกทั้งหมด.– Agence France-Presse/Hoang Dinh Nam.

ซินหวา – เวียดนามทำรายได้มากถึง 899 ล้านดอลลาร์จากการขายข้าวทั้งหมด 2.061 ล้านตัน ไปยังตลาดโลกนับจนถึงวันที่ 22 พ.ค.2557 โดยมากกว่า 40% เป็นข้าวที่ขายให้แก่จีน ตามการเปิดเผยของสมาคมอาหารเวียดนาม (VFA)

ในช่วง 3 สัปดาห์แรกของเดือน พ.ค. เวียดนามส่งออกข้าวทั้งสิ้น 309,000 ตัน คิดเป็นมูลค่า 133 ล้านดอลลาร์ ตามรายงานของศูนย์ข้อมูลอุตสาหกรรมและการค้าเวียดนาม ภายใต้การดูแลของกระทรวงอุตสาหกรรมและการค้าเวียดนาม ระบุ

ส่วนรายงานของกระทรวงเกษตรและพัฒนาชนบทเวียดนาม เผยว่า การส่งออกข้าวของเวียดนามในเดือน พ.ค. คาดว่าปริมาณจะลดลง 10.2% และมูลค่าลดลง 7.3% เมื่อเทียบต่อปี

อย่างไรก็ตาม ยังมีสัญญาณบวกสำหรับข้าวเวียดนาม เนื่องจากราคาส่งออกโดยเฉลี่ยในช่วง 4 เดือนแรกของปีนี้อยู่ที่ 456.19 ดอลลาร์ต่อตัน ขยับเพิ่มขึ้น 4.4% เมื่อเทียบต่อปี

ในช่วงเดือน ม.ค.-เม.ย. ตลาดฟิลิปปินส์ เติบโตขึ้นอย่างมาก ขยับขึ้นมาเป็นผู้นำเข้าข้าวรายใหญ่อันดับ 2 ของเวียดนาม โดยครองส่วนแบ่งตลาดที่ 18.66% รองจากจีน ที่ยังคงรั้งตำแหน่งผู้นำเข้าข้าวรายใหญ่ที่สุดของเวียดนาม ด้วยสัดส่วน 41.75%.

ข่าวล่าสุด ในหมวด

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Vietnam exports over 2 mln tons of rice, over 40 pct to China

27.05.2014
Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/vietnam-exports-over-2-mln-tons-of-rice-over-40-pct-to-china

Vietnam has earned some 899 million U. S. dollars from selling 2.061 million tons of rice to world market as of May 22 in 2014, with over 40 percent sold to China, said Vietnam Food Association (VFA) on Tuesday.

In the first three weeks of May, Vietnam has exported 309,000 tons of rice, worth 133 million U.S. dollars, Vietnam Industry and Trade Information Center under the Ministry of Industry and Trade quoted VFA as saying.

According to a recent report by the Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam’s rice exports in May are expected to dip 10.2 percent in volume and 7.3 percent in value year-on-year.

However, the country’s rice enjoyed a positive signal as the average export price of the product in the first four months of 2014 stood at 456.19 U.S. dollars per ton, up 4.4 percent year-on- year, said MARD.

The Philippines was the market that saw remarkable growth in January-April period with an increase of 5.26 times in volume and 5.79 times in value year-on-year.

The report said the Philippines ranked the second among Vietnam’ s large rice importers in four-month period with 18.66 percent of market shares while China maintained Vietnam’s biggest rice importer, accounting for 41.75 percent of the market shares.

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FAO Estimates Vietnam Rice Exports Will Increase to 7.2 Million Tons in 2014, Up 8% from Previous Year

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://oryza.com/news/rice-news/fao-estimates-vietnam-rice-exports-will-increase-72-million-tons-2014-8-previous-year

May 14, 2014

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated Vietnam’s milled rice exports to increase to about 7.2 million tons in 2014, up about 8% from about 6.7 million tons in 2013 due to higher production and increased export demand from Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, China and the Philippines backed by low prices. In 2012, Vietnam exported about 7.6 million tons.

However, in the last week the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) lowered its 2014 rice export target to 6.2 million tons from the earlier target of 6.5 – 7 million tons due to heavy competition from India and Thailand. USDA estimates Vietnam to export 6.5 million tons of rice in 2014.

Vietnam exported 1.82 million tons of rice in January 1 – May 8, 2014 period, according to the VFA, down about 35% from about 2.8 million tons exported during the same period in 2013.

In its country brief on Vietnam, the FAO has estimated Vietnam’s total paddy rice production at about 44.2 million tons (around 27.6 million tons of milled rice) in 2014, marginally higher than about 44 million tons (around 27.5 million tons of milled rice) produced in 2013. The UN agency however, forecasts Vietnam’s paddy rice production from 2014 winter/spring crop at 20.3 million tons, similar to last year’s production, despite shifting part of the rice area to other crops, due to higher yields, favorable weather conditions, and adequate water supplies.

Domestic wholesale prices of rice continued to decline in April due to increased supplies from the 2013-14 main season winter-spring (January – July) harvest and lower cross-border exports to China, according to the FAO. The one million ton government procurement program, which began in mid-March, limited the decline in prices to some extent, but are generally low, says the FAO.

The VFA has expressed concern about the dependency of Vietnam rice exports on the Chinese market, both official and unofficial exports. Local sources note that some Chinese buyers have  also defaulted on payments, another risk.

 

April 14, 2014

Vietnam: Two netizens released from prison, 31 others still held

Two netizens released from prison, 31 others still held

Français

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  https://en.rsf.org/vietnam-two-netizens-released-from-prison-14-04-2014,46148.html

Published on Monday 14 April 2014.

Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that two netizens who had spent several years in prison – Vi Duc Hoi and Nguyen Tien Trung – were released on 11 and 12 April respectively although they are now assigned to a form of house arrest.

Arrested in October 2010, Hoi was sentenced in 2011 to five years in prison on a charge of anti-government propaganda under article 88 of the 1999 penal code for writing articles critical of the state. A former Communist Party official who ran a training centre in the northern province of Lang Son, he is now due to spend three years under house arrest.

He reportedly rejected the conditions originally imposed for his release from prison, namely abstention from any political activity aimed at promoting democracy and from writing articles expressing his views. The official reason for softening the terms of his release has not been given.

Trung was arrested in July 2009 on charges of anti-government propaganda and “subverting the people’s administration,” and was sentenced to seven years in prison under article 79 of the penal code. He should have been released from prison in January 2015 in order to begin a period of house arrest.

“While the release of these two netizens from prison is good news, only their full freedom would be satisfactory,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. “Above all, we call on the authorities to release the 31 netizens who remain in prison in violation of their fundamental rights.

“The government should take account of all the recommendations made when the UN Human Rights Council examined the situation of human rights in Vietnam in February, and should repeal all of the legislative articles that are systematically used to jail independent news providers.”

Democracy activists (from left) Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, 43, blogger Nguyen Tien Trung, 26, Le Thang Long, 42, and Le Cong Dinh, 41, stand during their trial at Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court House, Ho Chi Minh, January 20, 2010. — AFP pic

Two other bloggers have been freed in recent weeks. Dinh Dang Dinh, who was jailed in 2011 for launching a petition against a bauxite mine project, was released on 21 March but died on 3 April of stomach cancer, which was not treated while he was in prison.

Cu Huy Ha Vu was released on condition that he agree to go into exile and immediately flew to the United States. He was sentenced in 2011 to seven years in prison on a charge of anti-government propaganda after trying to bring a legal action against Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in connection with a bauxite mining project.

Vietnam is ranked 174th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. It is also classified as an Enemy of the Internet because of its crackdown on bloggers and cyber-dissidents.

 

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Worl day against Cyber censorship

Enemies of the Internet 2014: entities at the heart of censorship and surveillance

Natalia Radzina of Charter97, a Belarusian news website whose criticism of the government is often censored, was attending an OSCE-organized conference in Vienna on the Internet and media freedom in February 2013 when she ran into someone she would rather not have seen: a member of the Operations and Analysis Centre, a Belarusian government unit that coordinates Internet surveillance and censorship. It is entities like this, little known but often at the heart of surveillance and censorship systems in many countries, that Reporters Without Borders is spotlighting in this year’s Enemies of the Internet report, which it is releasing, as usual, on World Day Against Cyber-Censorship (12 March).  Read more

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://12mars.rsf.org/2014-en/enemies-of-the-internet-2014-entities-at-the-heart-of-censorship-and-surveillance/

 

 

 

April 14, 2014

Vietnam frees at least one more political activist

Reuters - US Edition

 

Vietnam frees at least one more political activist

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/14/us-vietnam-dissidents-idUSBREA3D0RI20140414

Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:11am EDT

Vietnamese dissident Nguyen Tien Trung stands between wreaths during a funeral for Hoang Minh Chinh in Hanoi February 16, 2008. REUTERS/Kham

Vietnamese dissident Nguyen Tien Trung stands between wreaths during a funeral for Hoang Minh Chinh in Hanoi February 16, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Kham

(Reuters) – Vietnam has freed at least one more political dissident, the second such release in the space of one week, as pressure increases on the communist government to cease arresting and jailing its critics.Nguyen Tien Trung, a blogger, was released from a prison in southern Ho Chi Minh City at the weekend, his father said on Monday. Trung was convicted of subversion and news of his release was not made public.

Nguyen Tu Tu described it as a positive move by the authorities and suggested the international community may have played a part in helping to secure his son’s release.

“The government said he followed the rules in prison very well, so he was released early,” Tu said by telephone.

“But everyone understands, the international community has put a lot pressure on the Vietnamese and this is an important reason why the government has released prisoners like my son… I hope there will be more.”

The BBC Vietnamese service reported the release of another dissident on Saturday, Vi Duc Hoi, a former communist party official who became a democracy activist. He was jailed in January 2011 for conducting propaganda against the state.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm Hoi’s release.

Pressure has been mounting on Vietnam to honor international human rights commitments, which it renewed when it won a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council last year.

Vietnam’s reputation for using fear and the law to stifle free speech, which its constitution permits, has put former foe the United States in a difficult spot as it pursues closer trade and military ties with a country that borders China and receives its political backing.

The United States and Vietnam are negotiating a Trans-Pacific Partnership deal that would bring large benefits for both sides, but would need the support of a Congress that has taken issue with human rights abuses.

Arrests and jail terms for Vietnamese dissidents have increased in recent years and early releases are rare.

Outspoken lawyer Cu Huy Ha Vu, the son of a former minister and close associate of late revolutionary Ho Chi Minh, was freed on April 5, three years into a 10-year sentence of both jail and house arrest for conducting “anti-state propaganda”.

He flew to the United States and arrived the following day.

(Reporting by Martin Petty in Bangkok; Editing by Nick Macfie)

 

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