Central Vietnam hubs work to ‘revive’ dying river


It is hoped that in the near future, tourists will be able to cruise along the watercourse that runs from Da Nang City directly to the ancient town of Hoi AnBy Tuoi Tre News

August 17,2017, 17:15 GMT+7

Central Vietnam hubs work to ‘revive’ dying river
The Co Co River, with Ngu Hanh Son Mountain Cluster, one of central Da Nang City’s icons, in the background. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The administrations of Da Nang City and neighboring Quang Nam Province have been making efforts to rejuvenate a ‘dead’ river which will serve as a ‘bridge’ to promote the two cities’ ecotourism.Over the past few years, authorities in Da Nang City and Quang Nam Province, home to the UNESCO-recognized Hoi An Ancient Town, have both agreed to give priority to the ‘revival’ of the Co Co River. Tiếp tục đọc “Central Vietnam hubs work to ‘revive’ dying river”

Ho Chi Minh City proposes ban on groundwater exploitation

Groundwater is not safe for consumption and its exploitation can cause subsidenceBy Tuoi Tre News

August 24,2017, 14:35 GMT+7

Ho Chi Minh City proposes ban on groundwater exploitation
A resident uses underground water from a well to clean dishes in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have proposed a prohibition on underground water exploitation in certain metropolitan locations to ensure public health and prevent potential subsidence.The municipal People’s Committee has ordered the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to establish a map indicating locations where underground water exploitation could pose a danger to local residents. Tiếp tục đọc “Ho Chi Minh City proposes ban on groundwater exploitation”

APEC discusses experiences in simplifying business registration


Update: August, 24/2017 – 17:35

Participants exchange information before the workshop. — VNS Photo Thu Ngan

HCM CITY – APEC members shared their experiences in assisting companies, especially micro, small and medium-sized ones, smoothly register for doing business at a workshop titled “Simplified business registration and incorporation according to international best practices” held in HCM City on Thursday.

Hosted by the US, the workshop attracted around 100 participants and experts from 21 APEC economies. Tiếp tục đọc “APEC discusses experiences in simplifying business registration”

Vehicles avoid tolls, damage southern bypass


Update: August, 24/2017 – 18:00

The 18km road connecting the Trảng Bom and Cây Gáo communes in southern Đồng Nai Province is damaged by heavy vehicles that use it to avoid weighing and toll stations. — Photo news.zing.vn
ĐỒNG NAI — A 18km bypass in southern Đồng Nai Province is in serious disrepair with thousands of trucks and containers using it every day to avoid weighing and toll stations.The Trảng Bom-Cây Gáo bypass runs through the province’s Trảng Bom District and connects National Route 1 with Provincial Route 762. Tiếp tục đọc “Vehicles avoid tolls, damage southern bypass”

Coal in decline: Adani in question and Australia out of step


Special report: India and China are shifting away from coal imports and coal-fired power while a mega-mine is planned for Queensland. Where does this leave coal in Australia?


 Thursday 24 August 2017

The Paris-based International Energy Agency was born in a crisis. In the wake of the 1973 oil shock, as Arab petroleum producers withheld supply from countries that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur war, the then US secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, called on the OECD to set up a new body to ensure its members would always have the reliable and affordable energy they needed.

Over time, as the agency has expanded its focus to map broader energy trends, it has sometimes faced accusations of conservatism – that it has underestimated the uptake of renewable energy, and has been overly bullish about the future of fossil fuels. But last month it released a report that pointed to a rupture more far reaching than the 70s oil embargo.

It suggested investment in new coal power across the globe has peaked and is on the verge of a steep decline. In a coinciding media briefing, the IEA chief economist, Laszlo Varro, declared the “century of coal” that started in 2000 – evident in the extraordinary wave of investment by emerging Asian nations – may already be over.

“It is becoming clear that Chinese coal demand has peaked,” he went on. “The outlook for imports [to] India and other countries is uncertain.”

What does this mean for Australia, producer of about 30% of the world’s coal, as it plans a vast expansion in production in outback Queensland?

The future of coalmining is really two separate questions, with their own answers. Neither is clear-cut, but thermal coal – burned in power stations to provide electricity – is on a different trajectory to higher-quality metallurgical coal, mainly used in producing steel.

About 55% of the coal Australia exports is thermal, but the 45% metallurgical coal is more lucrative, reaping nearly two-thirds of the revenue. The bulk of the thermal coal is exported from the Hunter Valley of New South Wales; most of the metallurgical product comes from Queensland. Combined, coal exports were worth $55bn last financial year. Only iron ore brings in more.

Until last year, coal prices had been on a steep downward trajectory since 2011. The surge in demand last decade prompted investment in mines across the globe but demand had slowed by the time they became operational, resulting in oversupply. By 2014, global coal use had stopped growing. In 2015, it started to decline.


Several factors were at play, many of them long-term trends. China stopped growing as rapidly, took steps to limit choking air pollution, and began to shift its economy from relying on industrial exports to a greater emphasis on services and consumption. Climate change policies began to cut into coal’s market share in developed countries. In the US, the rapid development of cheap shale gas projects made coal uneconomic before the introduction of Barack Obama’s emissions policies.

By early 2016, the IEA was reporting that 80% of Chinese coalmining operations were losing money and the companies responsible for about half of US coal production were bankrupt.

It triggered a reaction. The Communist party forced the closure of some mines, restricted operation at others, to cut Chinese production by more than 10%. The global thermal coal price quickly doubled. The price of metallurgical coal surged further, tripling in April this year after Cyclone Debbie ravaged large parts of Queensland, reducing supply from some mines. Australia’s export revenue from coal exports soared 57% in a year. Both events illustrated the potential for volatility in coal markets owing to the weather or government fiat. But the bounce was brief.

Market analysts at Citi Research last month warned investors that the outlook for coal stocks was pessimistic: major banks were financing fewer projects; Donald Trump’s much-vaunted pro-coal and anti-climate change stance was having little impact in the US.

Chinese workers ride in a boat through a large floating solar farm project, billed as the largest in the world, under construction on a lake in collapsed and flooded coalmine in Huainan, Anhui province
Chinese workers ride in a boat through a large floating solar farm project, billed as the largest in the world, under construction on a lake in collapsed and flooded coalmine in Huainan, Anhui province. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

In a report for the Australian Conservation Foundation, consultants ACIL Allen agreed. “At present, there is considerable pessimism regarding the long-term outlook for prices of thermal coal in international markets,” it said. “This is reflected in forecasts by credible Australian and international agencies.”

Citi forecasts modest growth in Australian thermal coal exports in the near term, including the potential expansion of a couple of mines. But with prices expected to fall to US$60 a tonne by the end of the decade, down from a US$110 peak late last year, it sees no incentive for investment in new major projects – especially given public opposition and investor apathy towards coal.

It makes for an unlikely environment in which to develop a mega-mine backed by public money. But that is what Australia is considering.

The Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s $21bn proposal to build a giant mine in the Galilee basin, about 340km south-west of Townsville, dates back to 2010. It has outlasted three Australian prime ministers and survived the signing of a global deal to combat climate change. Unsuccessful court battles have been waged and lost by opponents, promised imminent start dates have come and gone, and government support has steadily increased.

Though known as the Carmichael mine, if fully developed it will actually be 11 mines: six of them open-cut and five underground, spread over a length of 50km. Eventually, the company says, it could yield up to 60m tonnes a year to be shipped to burn in Indian coal plants. The rail and port infrastructure necessary would open up the possibility of reviving some of the dormant coalmining plans in the basin, with a total potential additional output of about 150m tonnes of coal a year.

Greenpeace activists unveil a giant banner on Newcastle coal stockpiles, calling on the Commonwealth Bank to stop investing in coal
Greenpeace activists unveil a giant banner on Newcastle coal stockpiles, calling on the Commonwealth Bank to stop investing in coal. Photograph: Dean Sewell

To put that into context, Australia now exports about 200m tonnes. It is, by any measure, a massive expansion that could push the world measurably closer to breaching the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

The details of the Adani proposal have moved over time. It was initially proposed to run for 150 years but that has been scaled back to 60. The company promised it would create 10,000 jobs; an ACIL Allen Consulting economist contracted by the company later conceded in court a more likely figure was 1,464. And the project is promised to initially start on a smaller scale, producing 25m tonnes a year.

It has environmental approval, has been granted access to groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin, and won a four-year deferment before it has to start paying royalties to the state. In June Adani announced it had made a final investment decision and was ready to go ahead. In truth, this was spin – it was still yet to secure finance for the project (Australian banks have not been willing) – but it was ramping up pressure on the Australian government to approve a $900m low-cost loan through its Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to help to fund a railway that Adani would own and operate for itself and other potential Galilee basin miners.

Adani’s biggest champion has been the recently resigned resources minister Matt Canavan, who argued the mine should go ahead on economic, humanitarian and, most audaciously, environmental grounds. Specifically: bring jobs and growth to struggling north Queensland; help improve the lives of the 240 million Indians living without electricity; and be better for the planet given that India is building coal plants anyway, and Australian coal is a cleaner product than what is dug up in other parts of the world.

All three points have been contested. There has been significant pushback against the idea that, in a world where the demand for coal is flat at best, existing Australian mines would not lose out if the Galilee basin were developed. The coal consultancy Wood Mackenzie was commissioned to look at the issue by the $2bn Infrastructure Fund, which owns a stake in the coal-reliant Port of Newcastle, and found existing mines in southern Queensland and NSW would be hit. “Put simply, either the $1bn loan to Adani will have a significant impact on coal production and jobs in the Hunter Valley, Bowen basin and Surat basin, or the business case for the Adani rail line is deeply flawed and the promised jobs for north Queensland unlikely to materialise,” it reported.

Testing the humanitarian and environment arguments requires a closer look at the changes under way in the Indian electricity market. India is the world’s second largest importer of thermal coal. It doesn’t want to be. Its coal minister, Piyush Goyal, has repeatedly said he wants to cut imports completely. It won’t happen in the short term – some of the country’s plants were built to run using higher-quality coal, which is not available domestically – but a shift is under way. Reuters reported that demand for imported thermal coal in India fell 13% in the first seven months of this year.

Galilee Blockade protesters gather outside Bill Shorten’s office in Moonee Ponds, Melbourne
Galilee Blockade protesters gather outside Bill Shorten’s office in Moonee Ponds, Melbourne. Photograph: James Ross/AAP

Meanwhile, the country is seeing extraordinary reductions in the cost of large-scale solar power – 40% in a year – to the point where it is cheaper than domestic coal for the first time. There are questions over whether this is sustainable, but India has set an ambitious solar target of 100 gigawatts within five years. A draft national electricity plan released in December found no new coal-fired plants would be needed for a decade, and proposed coal plants with a capacity of 13.7GW – more than half Australia’s total coal fleet – were cancelled in May alone.

What does this mean for the Carmichael mine? Goyal says India does not need it, but will use the coal. Tim Buckley, of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, says a two-week trip he took to India to meet energy executives and government officials suggested a different story. “There was almost zero discussion on Carmichael,” he says. “The project is not on the radar, not expected to happen, immaterial for India’s energy plans given the progressive move away from imported thermal coal and just unbankable for Indian banks given excessive Adani group debt.”

India is not the only country rethinking the scale of its coal commitment. China has not cut imports – it is more focused on closing inefficient domestic mines – but its coal consumption peaked three years ago. It has an incredibly large fleet of generators likely to operate for decades to come, but they are running at less than 50% capacity. It cancelled 103GW of proposed coal-fired plants (more than twice the capacity of Australia’s east coast grid) this year.

Government officials note what is happening – the chief scientist Alan Finkel’s independent review of Australia’s electricity security noted that China is diversifying its energy mix, India limiting imports and South Korea cutting coal power to reduce pollution – but this shift receives little clean air in the Australian political debate, where the Minerals Council is an influential player and the major parties are supportive of a long-term source of jobs and revenue.

Misinformation is rife. Peter Freyberg, the head of coal at the mining giant Glencore, claimed that the IEA had projected that fossil fuels would provide almost 70% of energy in 2030, even if the world got its act together to limit global warming to an increase of less than 2C. He was making a point about coal’s longevity but, in reality, the IEA paints a different picture.

Yes, it estimates 64% of energy would come from fossil fuels in 2030 under this scenario – if you count electricity generation, industrial processes, transport, heating and cooking, and if you assume carbon capture and storage suddenly becomes viable. Even then, the biggest chunk would be expected to come from natural gas, which is considered a cleaner transitional fuel. The IEA found burning coal to generate electricity would decline sharply, with wind and solar providing more than half the world’s needs within 13 years. Traditional coal-fired power would be gone by mid-century.

Metallurgical coal is not expected to decline as quickly – in simple terms, there is not the readymade alternative to coal in steel manufacturing that there is in electricity generation. The IEA has forecast only a 15% drop in global trade of metallurgical coal by 2040 should the world deliver on the headline Paris agreement goals. Australia has about a fifth of the global market, and higher quality coal than many competitors, suggesting its market share should more or less hold up.

As the government points out, Australia also offers higher quality thermal coal than its competitors. But Tony Wood, energy program director at the Grattan Institute, says the numbers are compelling even once this is factored in.

“Malcolm Turnbull says coal will be part of the energy mix for the next several decades, and this is true, but it is a declining part of that mix,” Wood says.

“We may have a bigger share, but it is still a bigger share of a declining market. Unless someone does something with carbon capture and storage – or the world turns away from acting on climate change, which doesn’t seem likely – this is not an industry with a long-term future.”

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Vietnam calls for Southeast Asian unity amid South China Sea tension


Vietnam’s most powerful leader has called for greater unity among Southeast Asian states at a time the country has appeared increasingly isolated in challenging China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

FILE PHOTO: Vietnam’s General Secretary of the Communist Party and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong talks to media after he casts his vote for members of the 14th National Assembly and People’s Councils at a polling station in Hanoi, Vietnam May 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kham/Files

HANOI: Vietnam’s most powerful leader has called for greater unity among Southeast Asian states at a time the country has appeared increasingly isolated in challenging China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Making the first visit by a Vietnamese communist party chief to Indonesia, Nguyen Phu Trong said in a speech televised at home on Wednesday that the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) needed to be unified in resolving territorial disputes. Tiếp tục đọc “Vietnam calls for Southeast Asian unity amid South China Sea tension”

Myanmar’s Rakhine a human rights crisis: Kofi Annan


Myanmar’s western Rakhine state represents a human rights crisis, affecting particularly the Muslim community or Rohingyas there.

NAY PYI TAW: Myanmar’s western Rakhine state represents a human rights crisis, affecting particularly the Muslim community or Rohingyas there.

The Rakhine Advisory Commission, led by its chairman, the former UN Chief Kofi Annan, gave this assessment, without identifying the Rohingyas by name, in its final report released on Thursday (Aug 24). Tiếp tục đọc “Myanmar’s Rakhine a human rights crisis: Kofi Annan”

Cambodia shutters radio stations, expels US NGO

Al Jazeera Aug. 23, 2017

Khmer-language stations, Maha Nokor and Voice of Democracy, ordered closed as more media face legal threats.

Analysts said critical media are being targeted ahead of the 2018 polls [File: Reuters]

The government of Cambodia has shut down two independent radio stations and ordered the foreign staff of an American NGO to leave the country in the latest move against critics ahead of a general election next year.

The orders on Wednesday came a day after long-time Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened the Cambodia Daily, one of the country’s few remaining critical newspapers, with closure over an alleged unpaid tax bill of more than $6m, calling them “thieves”. Tiếp tục đọc “Cambodia shutters radio stations, expels US NGO”

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10 năm Việt Nam tăng 200% người bệnh tiểu đường

Hơn 10 năm số người mắc bệnh đái tháo đường Việt Nam tăng 200%, trong khi thế giới tăng 54% trong 20 năm.

vnexpress.net_Giáo sư Thái Hồng Quang, Chủ tịch Hội Nội tiết và Đái tháo đường Việt Nam cho biết bệnh đái tháo đường tăng nhanh trên toàn thế giới, đặc biệt đối với các nước đang phát triển. Dự báo của Tổ chức Y tế Thế giới (WHO), tỷ lệ đái tháo đường toàn cầu có thể tăng 54% trong vòng 20 năm từ 2010 đến 2030.

Việt Nam là một trong những nước có tỷ lệ người mắc đái tháo đường hàng đầu thế giới, chiếm khoảng 5,4% dân số với 5 triệu bệnh nhân. Tỷ lệ này tăng gấp đôi so với đầu những năm 2000. Số người mắc năm 2015 của Bình Dương là 13%, TP HCM 12%, mức báo động trên toàn thế giới.

Theo giáo sư Quang, điều đáng lo ngại là tỷ lệ người bệnh chưa chẩn đoán còn rất cao, chiếm khoảng 50%. Trong số 50% người được chẩn đoán và điều trị thì hơn một nửa có các biến chứng nặng về tim mạch, thận, tổn thương mắt, nhiễm trùng bàn chân dẫn đến đoạn chi… Bệnh tiến triển âm thầm, nhiều người khi đến khám lần đầu khi đã xuất hiện các biến chứng.

Tiếp tục đọc “10 năm Việt Nam tăng 200% người bệnh tiểu đường”

Giáo dục nghệ thuật – Vai trò và trách nhiệm

nghethuat 4/16/2017 10:28:08 AM

Bài viết đề cập đến vai trò giáo dục nghệ thuật đối với giáo dục phổ thông Việt Nam, các bình luận của tác giả về thực trạng và hệ lụy của việc giáo dục nghệ thuật bị coi nhẹ, những việc đã và đang làm và một số ý kiến của tác giả bài viết đối với giáo dục nghệ thuật ở bậc trung học phổ thông và công tác đào tạo giáo viên nghệ thuật.

TS. Phạm Văn Tuyến
Khoa Nghệ thuật, Trường ĐHSP Hà Nội
Email: tuyenpv@hnue.edu.vn

Tiếp tục đọc “Giáo dục nghệ thuật – Vai trò và trách nhiệm”