SOCIAL IN BRIEF 8/9

September 8, 2009

Ministry not confirmed third swine flu fatality; Flash floods kill 4 in central region, 2 missing; PM approves $71 mln education development program; Vietnam Buddhist Sangha marks Vu Lan festival in Berlin

Ministry not confirmed third swine flu fatality  

The Ministry of Health has not yet confirmed that a 56-year-old woman on September 4 died of swine flu related illnesses, although its subdivision in Ho Chi Minh City Saturday announced she had tested positive for the A/H1N1 virus.

The ministry on September 6 confirmed 154 more cases of A/H1N1 influenza, bringing the total number of such flu cases in the country to 3,636 and two confirmed deaths.

A total of 1,568 patients have so far been discharged from hospital after receiving treatment. The remaining are under quarantine and being treated at medical clinics nationwide. All are reported to be in a stable condition.
 
Flash floods kill 4 in central region, 2 missing

Flash floods caused by heavy rains in central Vietnam have killed four people and left two missing, according to reports.

A low pressure zone from the East Sea caused heavy rains in central provinces late last week. Flash floods caused by the rains killed two people each in Thua Thien-Hue Province and Danang City, according to the Central Steering Committee for Storm and Flood Control.

Two fishermen from Quang Ngai Province were reported missing at sea and rescue workers were searching them on the weekend.

Due to the heavy rains, river water in the central region had risen up but already went down a little on Sunday. 

Floods also submerged thousands of hectares of rice and cereal fields. Right after floods decline, farmers tried to harvest some rice.
 
PM approves $71 mln education development program

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has recently approved a program to develop high school education based on a proposal from the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

The program is expected to receive loans of US$71 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
 
The Prime Minister requested the Ministry of Education and Training to collect opinions from other ministries and relevant authorities to assess the feasibility of the program.
 
PM Dung also requested ministries and relevant authorities to coordinate with the Ministry of Education to take further necessary steps to facilitate negotiations with the ADB about the loans, once the program is approved by the Ministry of Education and Training.

Vietnam Buddhist Sangha marks Vu Lan festival in Berlin
 
A delegation from the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) and followers arrived in Berlin on September 6 to organise a grand ceremony to mark the Vu Lan religious festival during their tour of four European countries.

At the ceremony, Most venerable Thich Thanh Phong emphasised the role Buddhism has played in the process of national construction and development. He also called on monks and followers abroad to make a greater effort to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi.

Addressing the ceremony, Vietnamese ambassador to Germany Do Hoa Binh expressed his hope that the VBS will continue to pay special attention to monks and followers overseas, pay regular visits abroad and help Vietnamese Buddhists abroad learn more about Buddhism in order to make a greater contribution to their homeland.

During the ceremony, participants also listened to telepath Phan Thi Bich Hang speak about her efforts to search for the remains of fallen soldiers over the past 19 years.

Thua Thien-Hue earns VND482 billion in tourism revenue
 
By the start of September, Thua Thien-Hue had received 943,400 tourists, equivalent to 94 percent of the same period last year and earned VND481.7 billion.

The capital invested in local tourism is now estimated to have reached VND550 billion this year, including VND90 billion from the state budget and the rest from businesses and the private sector.

The provincial department of culture, sports and tourism has held a number of promotional programmes including concerts and many other entertainments to attract tourists.

In addition, over 100 traditional festivals have revived and developed to support the tourism industry.
 
More A/H1N1 flu cases reported
 
Vietnam confirmed 154 more cases of A/H1N1 influenza on September 6, bringing the total number of flu patients in the country to 3,636 with two deaths.

The new cases included 125 in the South, 23 in the North, 3 in the central region and 3 in the Central Highlands.

So far, 1,568 patients have been discharged from hospital after treatment. The remaining are in quarantine for further treatment. All are in a stable condition.

On September 5, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned of the extraordinarily rapid spread of the H1N1 flu epidemic in both northern and southern hemispheres. The disease has so far claimed nearly 2,840 lives.

According to the WHO, the disease has spread very fast in the southern and southeastern Asian regions, especially in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

India has so far reported 105 deaths from the disease, Thailand – 130, Malaysia – 73, and the Philippines – 28.

By September 4 the US had reported 9,079 infected cases, with 593 deaths.

Buddhist requiem held for dead bridge workers
 
The Executive Council of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha in the southern province of Vinh Long held a requiem on September 5 for workers who died in a tragic bridge construction accident in 2007.

At 08.00am on September 26, 2007, more than 100 engineers and workers were working on and under the span of Can Tho Bridge linking Can Tho City and Vinh Long province when a 90-m section of an approach ramp collapsed. Nearly 40 people were killed and some 80 others were injured.

More than 200 Buddhist monks, nuns and followers from Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tien Giang and Vinh Long took part in the requiem and prayed that the dead workers would be reincarnated soon.

HCM City’s Tuan Tai Company, which sponsored the requiem, presented gifts worth VND500,000 to each of the victims’ families in Can Tho City and Vinh Long province.

PV 

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