“BANGKOK — The outspoken Vietnamese journalist and activist Pham Doan Trang knew it was only a matter of time before the police came for her.
She wrote a letter last year and gave it to an American friend with instructions to release it upon her arrest. In the letter, she asked that her friends not just campaign for her freedom but use her incarceration to fight for free elections and an end to single-party rule in Vietnam.
“I don’t want freedom for just myself; that’s too easy,” wrote Ms. Pham, 42, who has walked with difficulty since a police beating in 2015. “I want something greater: freedom for Vietnam.”
Shortly before midnight on Oct. 6, the police raided her apartment in Ho Chi Minh City and arrested her on charges of making and disseminating propaganda against the Vietnamese state. She faces up to 20 years in prison.
“CHICAGO — My mother believes that God and the Chinese Communist Party will defeat the novel coronavirus.
“Pray for Wuhan. Pray for China,” she urges me, referring to the capital of Hubei Province, where the outbreak started. It is early February, a week and some since Wuhan was placed under lockdown. My mother lives in our hometown in a neighboring province, and like most places in China, her city has enacted quarantine measures. But she is relatively safe there, and knowing that brings me selfish reassurance as I watch the crisis unfold throughout China: I am her only child and live on the other side of the planet, which is still barely touched by the coronavirus.
Every morning since late January, I have woken up in Chicago to a string of messages from my mother. The emails and texts continue through lunchtime; occasionally they pop up in the afternoon, and I know it’s been another sleepless night for her.
My mother forwards me reports from Chinese state media about how the government is taking swift action to combat the epidemic. She sends me screenshots of conversations with friends, as they discuss life under quarantine and how to convince unruly family members to stay inside.”
Workers installing new rail lines. Construction is one of the sectors receiving the most migrant workers across ASEAN. – VNA/VNS Photo: Công PhongViet Nam News
SINGAPORE – With labour migration on the rise across ASEAN, countries like Việt Nam, which sends a large number of workers abroad and relies on remittances for 7 per cent of its GDP, should strengthen protections for workers while lowering barriers to their mobility, argues a new World Bank report released yesterday in Singapore.The report, “Migrating to Opportunity”, highlights the importance of migrant workers to the region as a whole: ASEAN countries received US$62 billion in remittances in 2015. It also articulates challenges faced by ASEAN migrant workers, focusing on barriers to their mobility. The report concludes that removing barriers for skilled workers and decreasing obstacles for all workers would increase ASEAN worker welfare by 14 and 12 per cent respectively.
Labour migration rose significantly between 1995 and 2015, with Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand becoming the regional migration hubs. The significant differences in wages among ASEAN countries create opportunities for workers to earn more money when they cross the borders. Migration usually increases the salaries in receiving countries, which benefits both migrant workers and local ones.But migrant workers are often vulnerable, and policies across the region do little to address their needs. According to UN data, 80 per cent of intra-ASEAN migrants are low-skilled and many of them are undocumented. Contruction, plantation and domestic services are the sectors that receive most of migrant workers.
Current challenges facing migrant workers include lack of protections for migrant workers, high recruitment costs at recruitment centers, costly and lengthy migration procedures, migration quotas and domestic employment policies that prevent workers from easily changing jobs.Since migrant workers often find themselves at the mercy of recruitment agencies that promise to find them jobs abroad, Việt Nam needs to better regulate labour export companies to protect the rights of workers. The report also recommends that it consider a national migration strategy to guide reforms.”
Ban Nang was the first domesticated elephant in Đắk Lắk Province to become pregnant during the past 20 years. — Photo vietnamnet.vn
Viet Nam NewsĐắk Lắk — The first domesticated elephant in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk to become pregnant in 20 years delivered a stillborn calf last Sunday, the Elephant Conservation Centre has reported.The male baby weighed around 90kg.The 38-year-old mother, Ban Nang, had gone into labour but did not deliver for long, veterinarians at the centre said.The animal is owned by Y Mứ Bkrông of M’Liêng village, Liên Sơn town.Huỳnh Trung Luân, director of the centre, said veterinarians had gone into the forest every day to check on the creature and foreign experts too had been on the job.Ban Nang had been released into the forest when it was six months pregnant so that it could give birth in the wild, he said.But the delivery had possibly been difficult because Ban Nang was too old and the centre’s veterinarians had no experience in caring for pregnant elephants, he said.
“HÀ NỘI – China’s construction and opening of a cinema on Phú Lâm island in Việt Nam’s Hoàng Sa (Paracel) archipelago violates Việt Nam’s sovereignty over the archipelago, said Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng.Hằng made the statement yesterday in response to reporters’ queries about Việt Nam’s reaction to Chinese activities on Phú Lâm island.“Việt Nam has full legal foundation and historical evidence to affirm its sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelagos,” she said.”China’s actions violate international law and cannot change Việt Nam’s sovereignty over the archipelagos,” she affirmed.”Việt Nam objects to China’s building and opening of the cinema and requests the country not to repeat similar actions,” the spokesperson stated.”
“Viet Nam News Politics & LawsViệt Nam willing to join int’l efforts in protecting sea environmentUpdate: February, 14/2017
“Vice National Assembly Chairwoman Tòng Thị Phóng delivers a speech at the discussion on maritime economic resources at the annual hearing of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations in New York. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Hữu HoàngViet Nam NewsNEW YORK – Việt Nam is willing to join hands with the international community in efforts to protect the marine environment while exploiting economic resources in a reasonable and effective manner in combination with the safeguarding of peace, security and sustainable growth of the country, said Vice National Assembly Chairwoman Tòng Thị Phóng. In her speech at the discussion on maritime economic resources at the annual hearing of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations in New York on Monday, the Vice Chairwoman said that Việt Nam had paid special attention to the development of sea-based economy in line with the protection of marine environment.
She noted Việt Nam is a coastal state, with an important position in the international waterway, adding that the country is also vulnerable to climate change, including sea level rise. She held that protecting maritime resources and environment is the shared responsibility of many countries, especially those owning financial strength and advanced technology. Amidst the imbalance of sea exploitation and environment protection that leads to serious consequences affecting sustainable development, Vice Chairwoman Phóng underlined that peace and security is the prerequisite condition for sustainable growth.
At the hearing, titled “A World of Blue: Preserving the oceans, safeguarding the planet, ensuring human well-being in the context of the 2030 Agenda,” she also made a number of proposals to ensure the harmony of sea resources exploitation and environmental protection, including the full implementation of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to ensure security and safety at sea as well as the settlement of disputes through peaceful measures in line with international law. ”
“In addition to having a successful business year in 2016, Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ) carried out many meaningful community activities in line with the sustainable development philosophy PNJ always pursues.2016 is regarded as an unforgettable year of PNJ with an impressive business performance. Aside from brand promotion activities, the highlight of PNJ in 2016 was CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility).”
“HCMC – Concerned about the high possibility of population ageing in near future, the Ministry of Health has proposed relaxing the two-child policy in the draft population law.
The draft law, which has been sent to the Ministry of Justice for comment, presents two options for population planning: first, permitting couples and individuals to decide on the number of children they want to have but to an acceptable extent, and second, keeping the current two-child policy in place.
If the two-child policy is maintained, the population will age and the economy will face a labor shortage crisis in the next 5 to 10 years, said Nguyen Huy Quang, head of the Department of Legislation under the Health Ministry.
The current birth rate varies greatly among regions, cities and provinces. In certain places, the birth rate is far below replacement level, according to data of the ministry.For example, the rate is 1.45 children per woman of childbearing age in HCMC and 1.56 in Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Meanwhile, in most of the northern midland and mountainous provinces, the average fertility rate is 2.5 and the highest is 3.11 in Lai Chau.”