Press Digest (January 20 to 23)

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These are some of the leading stories in the Vietnamese press from January 20 to 23 



- The Ministry of Information and Communications and Da Nang City authorities are holding an exhibition in the city from January 19 to 26 featuring maps and other documents proving that the Paracel (Hoang Sa) and Spratly (Truong Sa) archipelagoes belong to Vietnam.

- The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union launched Sunday the 2014 Year of the Volunteer, a national program to provide aid to people through volunteer work, in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien.


- Striker Le Cong Vinh made history in the V-League by becoming the first footballer to score 100 goals in the country’s top professional league. His Song Lam Nghe An team Sunday claimed a 6-1 victory over QNK Quang Nam in the second round of the 2014 V-League Eximbank.



- The Thu Duc District People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City Monday sentenced two babysitters at a local unlicensed private nursery to three years in prison each for torturing four children while forcing them to eat and drink.


- The Supreme People’s Procuracy, Vietnam’s highest prosecutor’s office, has resumed investigations into the economic mismanagement charges against Pham Trung Cang, former deputy board chairman of Asia Commercial Bank (ACB). It banned Huynh Quang Tuan, a board member, from leaving his residency to investigate him on the same charges. Both were accused of colluding with Nguyen Duc Kien, ACB’s former deputy board chairman and co-founder, to order 19 employees to deposit nearly VND719 billion (US$33.8 million) at Vietinbank for an interest rate of 17.8-27 percent per year. The money was stolen by Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, a former deputy chief of the risk management office at Vietinbank’s HCMC branch who is standing trial for cheating several local banks, companies and individuals out of nearly VND4 trillion.  


- With 48 gold medals, Vietnam ranked fourth out of ten countries participating in the seventh edition of the biannual ASEAN Para Games, which took place in Myanmar from January 14 to 20.



- Foreign remittances sent via HCMC banks last year was $4.8 billion, a year-on-year increase of 21 percent. It amounted to half of the country’s total remittances. 122 FDI projects in Vietnam have overseas Vietnamese’s investments, which totaled over $260 million. 

- The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said Tuesday that Russia announced that it would temporarily cease frozen tra fish imports from another seven Vietnamese companies from January 31 due to food safety issues. But Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP general secretary, said the decision will not affect Vietnamese aquatic product exports much as Russia is no longer the biggest importer of Vietnamese tra fish. Earlier, four other Vietnamese were also hit with bans.


- Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has requested that the Vietnamese Association of Historical Sciences employ historians in the country to compile a series of national history books to comprise latest comprehensive study of the country’s history. Dung also ordered the Ministry of Education and Training to cooperate with relevant agencies to include Vietnam’s sovereignty of the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa islands in schoolbooks.

- Le Van Ly, former headmaster of the private Hung Vuong University, lost a lawsuit Tuesday in which he sued the HCMC People’s Committee for wrongly dismissing him from his post. The HCMC People’s Court rejected his allegations and concluded that the dismissal was legal. Ly was dismissed for his wrongdoings in enrollment, management and failing to follow decisions made by the school’s management board.

- Bad debts in the banking system accounted for an estimated 3.79 percent of outstanding loans as of last year-end, a nearly one percent decrease from the beginning of last year, said central bank spokesman Le Duc Tho on Tuesday. The state-owned Vietnam Asset Management Company has bought approximately VND40 trillion (US$1.9 billion) worth of bad debts from banks since it began operations in late July, and it planned to buy about VND100 trillion this year. 

- The HCMC People’s Committee has allowed fashion designer Si Hoang to open his ao dai museum in District 9, which will be Vietnam’s first museum for the traditional dress. The museum opened Wednesday.  



- Mentholatum is recalling five Rohto eye drop products made in Vietnam – Arctic, Ice, Hydra, Relief, and Cool – in the US market due to sterility control issues though there has been no evidence indicating they do not meet specifications. The recall does not include products made in Japan.

- Swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, who won three gold medals, two silvers, and one bronze at the 27th SEA Games in December, was Wednesday voted the most outstanding Vietnamese athlete for 2013 by 125 sports journalists. Her trainer Dang Anh Tuan was named top trainer in the poll organized by The Thao Viet Nam newspaper.


- The Forensic Science Institute has identified the presence of sodium bicarbonate and citric acid in the Chinese bomb toy, which exploded and emitted noxious fumes at an elementary school in Dak Nong Province last week, sending 36 students to hospital with breathing problems and convulsions. Some also fainted.

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