Soc Trang (VNA) – The Khmer people in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang will celebrate their traditional New Year festival, Chol Chnam Thmay , from April 14-16. COVID-19 prevention and control efforts during the festival, as recommended by the health sector and provincial authorities. Khmer people . In recent years, the provincial Party Committee, authorities, and people have joined hands to complete political and socio-economic tasks, contributing to giving ethnic rural areas a facelift.
This year’s International Thalassemia Day, themed “Addressing Health Inequalities Across the Global Thalassemia Community”, is devoted to raising public awareness about Thalassemia and one of the major causes in the spread of the disease – cousin marriages, as well as the importance of pre-marriage and pre-pregnancy counselling and screenings to early detect the disease.
Data shows that there are about 8,000 new-borns carrying the Thalassemia gene every year, around 2,000 of which will suffer from severe symptoms.
Some 13 million Vietnamese, or 13 percent of the population, carry the gene. About 20-40 percent of the Thalassemia gene carriers are mountainous ethnic minority people, mainly due to inbreeding.
According to the General Office for Population and Family Planning, despite many efforts, treatment can only help improve patients’ quality of life and does not completely cure the disease.
A report shows that since 2001, up to 20 percent of children born with Thalassemia died at the age of 6-7 and most people with severe symptoms cannot find a spouse.
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder caused when the body doesn’t make enough haemoglobin – an important part of red blood cells. The disorder results in excessive destruction of red blood cells, which leads to anaemia.
People with severe symptoms may suffer from bone problems and liver and heart failure, and the condition can be fatal.
A child can inherit Thalassemia if one or both of his or her parents carry the mutant gene. The risk is higher if both parents have it.
Most married Vietnamese couples do not have any tests or consultancy on inherited disorders. People who carry such genes show no abnormal signs so do not undergo examinations or screening before giving birth.
Huge investment in medicine and regular blood transfusions make Thalassemia a costly disease, placing a financial burden on families and society as a whole.
It is estimated that 2 trillion VND (85.1 million USD) and 500,000 blood units are needed each year to treat Thalassemia patients in Vietnam. The average treatment cost for a severe case from birth to the age of 30 is about 3 billion VND (130,000 USD).
The HCM City Human Resources Forecast and Labour Market Information (Falmi) Centre said the demand for human resources across sectors went up 13.14 percent year-on-year.
The highest demand for labour was seen in services with 70.38 percent of total vacant jobs, followed by industry (29.51 percent) and agriculture (0.11 percent). Notably, such sectors as processing and manufacturing, retail and wholesale, motor vehicle maintenance and repair, construction, education and training, and information and communications were the most desperate for workforce.
The centre said the demand for trained labourers made up 85.72 percent, including 22.19 percent of university graduates or holders of higher education degrees, mostly in finance-banking, IT, architecture, electricity, marketing, management and health care.
Meanwhile, the need for untrained workers accounted for 14.28 percent of the total demand, mainly in chemicals, garment-textile, business-trade, printing, tourism, and lodging and catering services.
Falmi said despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many socio-economic indicators have shown good growth on a yearly basis. Therefore, many enterprises have drawn up recruitment plans to realise their new business strategies.
Director of the city’s Investment Promotion Agency (IPA), Huynh Thi Lien Phuong said the MoU, which was signed late last month, aimed to build a trading center, casino, high-end entertainment and luxury apartments in the coastal area.
She said the project would be built on an area of 84,000.sq.m on the beach-front on Vo Nguyen Giap and Vo Van Kiet streets in the Son Tra peninsula.
Phuong said Da Nang authorities would auction land-use rights for the finance-trade-casino complex in the future.
She said the city was drawing up a detailed plan for the first international duty-free zone and smart urban area for investors.
Last year, five key investors – the Import-Export Pan Pacific Group (IPPG), T&T Group, New Techco Company from Vietnam, and Sakae Holding and another company from Singapore – registered for a land-use rights auction for a USD 2 billion finance-trade-casino complex in the central city.
Jonathan Hanh Nguyen, who is chairman of IPPG Group, urged the city to build an international standard duty-free zone and recreational area for tourists.
The city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment said four plots on two coastal facade Vo Van Kiet and Vo Nguyen Giap streets were reserved for finance-trade-casino complex development.
Two years ago, IPPG failed to negotiate with Trung Nam Group to make the Golden Hills area the first duty-free zone and factory outlet center in central Vietnam.
Last month the first downtown free-duty shop, VV Mall was launched at the beach-front Crowne Plaza Da Nang resort in Ngu Hanh Son district.
The Universal Alloy Corporation (UAC) from the US has launched the first aerospace parts project, while LG Electronics began construction of its R&D center in the city.
Da Nang, which is situated at the end of the East-West Economic Corridor, linking Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam, is planned as a global destination of tourism, finance, logistics and hi-tech investment.
Hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees flocked on Monday to take a holy bath in India’s Ganges river, even as the nation racked up the world’s highest tally of new daily coronavirus infections.
With 168,912 new cases, India accounts for one in six of all new infections globally, although the figure is still well below the U.S. peak of nearly 300,000 new cases on Jan. 8.
In the northern city of Haridwar, nearly a million devotees thronged the banks of the Ganges, a river many Hindus consider holy, to participate in the months-long ‘Kumbh Mela’ or pitcher festival.
“The crowd here is surging…the police are continuously appealing to people to maintain social distancing,” police official Sanjay Gunjyal told Reuters at the site.
By mid-morning a million people had taken a dip in the river, believed to wash away one’s sins.
As India’s second wave of infections builds, with fewer than 4% estimated to have been vaccinated among a population of 1.4 billion, experts say the situation could have a long way to go before it starts getting better.
“After cases declined in January-February, we were very comfortable,” said a panel of high court judges in the western state of Gujarat, calling on authorities to take urgent steps to rein in the outbreak.
“Almost everyone forgot that there was ever corona,” added the panel, headed by Chief Justice Vikram Nath.
A full opening of the economy from last year’s crippling lockdown, coupled with the mass religious festivals and political rallies in states heading to elections have fuelled the crisis.
Monday’s new infections carried India past Brazil for a tally of 13.53 million, data compiled by Reuters shows, ranking it the second-most infected country after the United States, with 31.2 million.
Tally feared to double in two months
India’s tally is on course to double in two months, according to estimates based on data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
Yet authorities appeared unwilling or unable to stop events that could lead to a calamitous spread of the disease.
|People are seen at a fish market, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Mumbai, India, April 12, 2021. Photo: Reuters|
Thousands of people are attending political rallies in four big states set for elections this month, including two events on Monday in the eastern state of West Bengal, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to speak.
“With 1.2 million active cases, and the daily number reaching 200,000, it’s bizarre to have poll rallies and a full Kumbh Mela,” political commentator Shekhar Gupta said on Twitter.
Officials and experts said authorities had underestimated the resilience of the virus, believing they had beaten it after daily cases fell below 10,000 in early February.
Officials in the worst-hit state of Maharashtra, home to the financial capital of Mumbai, said they were considering a broader lockdown this week after large closures at the weekend.
“It is necessary to break the cycle (of infections),” said a senior state official who sought anonymity. “We are working on identifying industries and services that need to be exempted.”
The rupee fell to its lowest in nearly eight months and Mumbai’s benchmark index tanked as much as 3.7% in the worst session in more than six weeks.
India’s economy has been limping back to recovery after last year’s hard lockdown caused the deepest contraction in decades.
The ready-made ingredients to make Han Thuc’s festival specialties has been plenty in both local and online markets for expats in Hanoi to buy and delight their children at home with a Vietnamese cooking lesson.
Hanoians often make two types of sweet dumplings – banh troi (floating dumplings) and banh chay ( sweet mung bean dumplings) – on the third day of the third month of the Lunar year, to worship their ancestors.
|Making these eye-catching banh troi and banh chay can be a joyful moment for mothers and children. Photo: The Vietnamese sweet dumplings made by To Hung Giang.|
Han Thuc Festival or the ‘Cold Food Festival’, falls on 14 April this year. Even though not many people are knowledgeable about the festival’s origin, it’s still considered important among all the Vietnamese rituals.
As special dishes made exclusively for Han Thuc festival, banh troi and banh chay as well as their ingredients are sold at every market throughout the country in the days leading up to and during the festivals. Expats in Hanoi can buy the ready-made ingredients and delight their children at home with a Vietnamese cooking lesson.
In these modern days, savvy working housewives don’t have time for the time-consuming task, so they prefer to buy banh troi and banh chay at food stalls in the market. But like many things, the best are home-made.
|The colouful dish of Banh troi made by To Hung Giang.|
Banh troi are small white dumplings made from glutinous rice flour stuffed with brown sugar. The most important stage of making banh troi is the shaping. Cooks pinch a little dough and flatten it out, place a brown sugar ball in the middle and roll it into a smaller ball of about three centimeters in diameter.
The cook heats the water to the boiling point, then cools it down a little bit before dropping some rice balls in, then boils again. When the balls float to the surface of the pot, they’re taken out with a ladle and then immediately placed into a bowl of cold water to prevent them from being overly sticky or gluing together.
The final step is the presentation. The white glutinous balls are put onto a plate and sprinkled with roasted white or black sesame seeds. Once made, they should be eaten that same day.
Banh chay are also made from glutinous flour, but they resemble boiled dumplings and are filled with mung bean paste, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and served in bowls with syrup flavored with grapefruit blossoms.
|A new version of banh chay in funky shape of pigs made by Phuong Nguyen.|
Traditionally, the banh troi and banh chay are white with a sugary taste, but talented cooks can make them more colourful and tasty by adding food colouring or flavouring to the dough.
In the present days, housewives do not need to prepare all ingredients for making these cakes by themselves but ordering from online stores on social media such as Facebook and Zalo or online shopping platforms like Shoppee, Lazada or buying from local markets.
These dough sets include all ready-made ingredients such as sticky-rice flour, natural brown sugar, green bean paste, sesame seeds, grated coconut, among others, at prices ranging from VND65,000 ($3) to VND100,000 ($4.5) per set.
A dough set at the price of $3 comprises one kilogram of ready-made glutinous rice flour (in five different colours) with corresponding amounts of sugar and roasted sesame.
|The safe ready-made ingredients to make banh troi and banh chay could be ordered via social media such as Facebook and Zalo or online shopping platforms like Shoppee, Lazada. Photo: dolambanhgabi|
A more expensive set, at $4.5, includes one kilogram of glutinous rice flour with corresponding amounts of sugar and roasted sesame for making banh troi and green bean paste and fresh sliced coconut for making banh chay .
Besides, the ready-made sweets are also available for busy housewives. The prices for ready-to-eat sweets range from VND10,000 to VND50,000 (from US$0.4 to $2.1) per portion, could also be ordered online or bought in the local markets.
For adventurous housewife who want to experience some new ‘different’ tastes, the floating dumplings with salted eggs or chocolate fillings are also available at the price of VND100,000 ($4.5) for a portion. Additionally, the floating dumplings in non-traditional shapes like rabbit, cat, fish are also the highlights of this year’s Han thuc Festival.
The ready-made ingredients for making banh troi and banh chay at home are available at: https://www.facebook.com/beemartvietnam ; https://www.facebook.com/vanashop or https://www.facebook.com/dolambanhgabi