VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES APRIL 19

HCMC starts second Covid-19 vaccination phase today

HCMC today, April 19, started the second phase of the Covid-19 vaccination in the city for medical workers and those working at the international passenger terminal of the Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

According to the municipal Center for Disease Control (HCDC), the second phase is expected to end by April 30. The city has been given an additional 58,250 doses of the vaccine.

Of the total, 45,190 doses will be reserved for the medical staff at both public and private medical centers and hospitals under the Ministry of Health. Meanwhile, 2,000 other doses will be for employees in contact with those entering Vietnam at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport and more than 9,000 remaining doses will be kept for medical workers who have received the first shot of the vaccine.

At a recent online meeting to discuss the second vaccination phase, HCDC Director Nguyen Tri Dung asked all agencies responsible for the vaccination to prepare sufficient first aid kits.

Medical centers should work out plans to cooperate with their nearest hospitals to ensure quick treatment for those showing abnormal symptoms after receiving the vaccine.

As of April 15, the city had injected more than 8,200 people with the vaccine.

The Ministry of Health has asked localities to complete the vaccination before May 5, otherwise it will take back the vaccine.

 More women in informal sector in Q1: GSO

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES APRIL 19

The third COVID-19 resurgence has weakened the labour market recovery momentum gained in the second half of 2020 and forced many labourers, particularly women, to shift to informal employment, according to the latest report by the General Statistics Office (GSO).

A survey by the GSO reveals that though there was a fall in employment in the first quarter of 2021, the number of working females rose against the same period last year.

The increase, however, was largely due to a higher number of women working in the informal sector, the GSO said, adding that the growth of females in informal sector was higher than that of males.

It is probably because women are more easy-going and do not have many choices of work compared to men, said Pham Hoai Nam, director of the GSO’s Population and Labour Statistics Department.

They had to take less stable jobs as long as they provide income for them, he added.

In the first three months of this year, the number of informal workers totalled 20.7 million, down 251,700 from the previous quarter and up 525,400 year-on-year.

Workers in informal economy accounted for 57.1 percent of the total workforce, an increase of 1.1 percentage point quarter-on-quarter and 1.8 percentage point year-on-year. The rate rose in rural areas (2.1 percentage point quarter-on-quarter and 2.6 percentage point year-on-year), and among women (1.8 percentage point quarter-on-quarter and 2.5 percentage point year-on-year)./.

Flash flood claims three lives in northern mountainous area

At least three people were killed in a flash flood that swept through Văn Bàn District, in the northern mountainous province of Lào Cai, over the weekend.

The bodies of two people were recovered on Saturday evening, while one remains missing.

The Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control of Văn Bàn District reported that the sudden floods affected 25 households, with furniture, motorbikes and construction materials damaged.

Two houses were swept away and dozens of others were damaged.

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính issued a dispatch asking localities to focus resources on dealing with the consequences of floods and heavy rain in the northern mountainous region since Friday.

In the dispatch to the people’s committees of the six northern mountainous provinces of Lai Châu, Yên Bái, Sơn La, Hà Giang and Tuyên Quang, the Central Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Control, National Committee for Disaster Response and Search and Rescue, and relevant ministries and agencies, the PM extended his condolences to families of the victims, and asked the local authorities to help locals fix houses and clean the environment, and provide them with food and essential goods.

He also asked the localities to keep a close watch on developments of flooding and rain, and to review and assess the safety of homes, especially in areas at high risk of flash floods and landslides, while preparing forces, vehicles, and equipment to deal with any circumstances.

The media will continue to provide information on developments of the natural disaster, damage, and response efforts, according to the dispatch.

A super typhoon called Surigae is edging closer to the eastern part of the Philippines.

At 7am on Sunday, it was 400km from the coastal area of the central Philippines.

It is predicted to intensify its power and affect the East Sea (internationally known as South China Sea).

The Central Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Control ordered authorities of coastal localities from Quảng Ninh to Cà Mau to closely follow the typhoon and report the typhoon’s development to ships offshore in the East Sea area.

HCM City airport overrun by crowds as domestic travel picks up

Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City, the country’s largest, has been crowded in the last few days and people have had to queue up for hours.

Despite there being no evident reason for the congestion since there have been no holidays like Tết, there seem to be more and more passengers as domestic travel is returning to normal due to Việt Nam’s success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

People almost missed flights due to the long queues and airline staff needed to use microphones and placards to find passengers requiring to board soon.

Nguyễn Thanh, who flew to Hà Nội on a 10am flight on Friday, told VnExpress online newspaper that even though she and her family arrived at the airport at 8am, they were still waiting at the security checkpoint at 9.40am and had to seek help from airline staff to catch their flight.

Some travellers struggled with the medical declaration or forgot to do it, which made the wait longer.

The airport has also tightened security checks ahead of the April 30-May 1 holidays.

The crowding was worse before weekends, with the number of passengers rising from 64,000 on Wednesday to 77,000 the next day.

The airport has instructed airlines to station more personnel to support their customers with procedures to speed up things, and has increased the number of its staff and scanners at security checkpoints.

A Vietnam Airlines spokesperson said the carrier has increased the number of staff to support customers.

The airport was designed to serve 25 million passengers a year by 2020, but has been handling nearly 40 million since 2017.

Construction of its third terminal is slated to begin in October, which will increase its capacity to 50 million passengers a year.

Safe travel gets priority during coming holiday

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has issued a directive urging ministries and government agencies to ensure traffic safety during the national holidays marking Reunification Day and May Day.

The directive was sent to the ministries of public securities, transport, information and communications, the National Committee for Traffic Safety, news agencies and provincial and municipal people’s committees.

Under the directive, PM Chính said efforts are needed to improve the capacity of public transport services to meet increasing demand for travel during the holidays.

Transport companies, stations, airports, railway stations, terminals and inland waterways were required to strictly comply with the traffic safety regulations; promote the application of electronic ticket sales; improve service quality; reduce traffic jams, delays and illegal price hikes and at the same time, strictly comply with regulations on prevention and control of the pandemic.

The PM asked the ministries and agencies to strengthen security and order at the major traffic routes, shopping centres, entertainment venues and major tourist and festival destinations. Illegal bus stations, vehicles that fail to meet technical safety standards and carry more than the prescribed number of people will be punished, the PM said.

Traffic infrastructure will be checked, including signals, warning signs and warning equipment in places that have a high risk of traffic accidents. Tollbooths will assign more workers to collect fees quickly to reduce traffic jams.

Drivers must ensure passenger safety by driving more carefully on steep roads and through level crossings, he added.

Increased inspections should be used to strictly punish traffic regulation violators, especially those who cause traffic accidents.

Public order disturbances, illegal racing and violations against public servants on duty should be strictly dealt with, at the same safety of COVID-19 prevention for enforcement forces and people need to be ensured.

Local departments of transport were also asked to remind people of the importance of wearing helmets and obeying regulations to minimise accidents and strictly comply with anti-virus protocols.

Hotlines to receive traffic complaints should be widely publicised, he added.

The PM also requested news agencies to regularly update traffic accidents, traffic jams, information to support travel guidance during the holidays and encourage citizens to strictly comply with traffic safety regulations.

Reports on these efforts will be sent to the National Committee for Traffic Safety before 3pm on May 3 to submit to the Prime Minister. 

Earth Day 2021: Israeli Embassy presents Hanoi with drip irrigation system

The Embassy of Israel in Vietnam launched a solar-powered drip irrigation system at Bac Co Park in downtown Hanoi as a gift to the capital city in an event on April 18.

Co-hosted by the Israeli Embassy, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCYU)’s Central Committee and the Hoan Kiem District Peole’s Committee, the event aimed to mark the Earth Day 2021 (April 22).

Invented by Israel, the drip irrigation system helps increase crop yield and quality while using less water per unit of land and reduce environmental pollution.

Speaking at the event, Israeli Ambassador to Vietnam Nadav Eshcar said the present demonstrates Israel’s commitment to supporting Hanoi and Vietnam at large in environment protection and creation of a green and clean living space.

Like other activities Israel is doing globally to respond to the Earth Day 2021, this aims to remind each person of valuable resources on the earth and encourage Vietnamese young people to contribute more to building a clean and green environment for their own future.

Welcoming the act of the Israeli Embassy, Secretary of the HCYU Central Committee Ngo Van Cuong said the event helps raise awareness of environment protection and climate change response among local residents, particularly young people./.

Composer Chung releases music book marking his 20-year career

Well-known composer Nguyễn Văn Chung has released a music book of 50 hit songs which he has written over the last 20 years.

The book has three chapters featuring the themes of love, family and children. 

It includes the composer’s famous love ballads, such as Vầng Trăng Khóc (Tears of the Moon), Chiếc Khăn Gió Ấm (Beautiful Scarf) and Chuyện Tình Dưới Mưa (Love in Rain). 

The book also consists of popular children’s songs such as Gia Đình Nhỏ -- Hạnh Phúc To (Small Family -- Big Happyness), Bố Ơi Kể Chuyện Con Nghe (Dad, Tell Me a Bedtime Story) and Nhật Ký Của Mẹ (Mom’s Diary). 

Nhật Ký Của Mẹ is about mother’s love. It was released in 2011 and quickly became famous in the country and overseas.

In 2014, the song was translated into Japanese by composer Yoshimoto Kayo and sung by Vietnamese-Japanese singer Hải Triều, which became popular in Japan.

In 2015, the song performed by pop star Hiền Thục ranked 10th on the CD The Best of Ballroom Music Vol. 36 produced by Casa Musica, a music company in Germany. The album features 45 works performed by popular artists and bands from different countries.

It has had more than 18 million views on YouTube since its release with the voice of singer HiềnThục in 2013. 

Chung’s music book includes beautiful pictures and sheet music to help readers study singing. 

It also comes with photos featuring pop stars such as Khánh Phương and Bảo Thi who performe Chung’s songs.  

Chung began his career in 2003 after working for Nhạc Xanh Studio, one of the city’s private music agencies.

His music styles are pop and R&B, with Vietnamese folk elements.

He has composed about 700 songs, including 300 for children. 

“I have worked hard to bring more suitable songs for children, containing lessons on life and family,” said Chung, 34, who recently received a copyright certificate for his 300 songs given by the Copyright Office under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. 

Hanoi, HCM City approve lists of candidates in upcoming elections

The third consultative conference held by the Hanoi committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front on April 17 adopted a list of 160 eligible candidates for the election of deputies to the municipal People’s Committee in the 16th tenure from 2021-2026.

The list was approved by all 55 delegates present at the conference.

The Hanoi VFF Committee reported that the second consultative conference passed an initial list of 188 candidates, but 24 candidates later withdrew and two others received less than 50 percent of confidence votes at meetings of voters in their neighbourhood.

Among the remaining 162 candidates, 63 are women, four are of minority ethnic groups, 23 are not members of the Party, and 35 are under 40 years old.

When the list was submitted to the third consultative conference, it was agreed that the two candidates with the least votes would be removed, hence the official list of 160 candidates.

Meanwhile, the third consultative conference held by the Ho Chi Minh City VFF Committee the same day adopted a list of 38 candidates for the election of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and another list of 159 candidates for the election of deputies to the municipal People’s Council in the 2021-2026 term./.  

Health minister tells localities to use COVID-19 vaccines before May 5 or lose them

The health minister has warned localities to use their COVAX-supplied COVID-19 vaccine doses by May 5 or face having them redistributed.

Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long made the statement during a meeting with all provinces and cities in the country regarding COVID-19 control and vaccination efforts, urging them to finish vaccinating priority groups before the deadline or the remaining unused doses would go somewhere else.

Việt Nam on April 1 received the first batch of 811,200 doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca from the global vaccine sharing scheme COVAX Facility out of the planned 4.1 million-dose shipment by May.

Previously, the health ministry asked all localities to submit a list of all those eligible for vaccination and finish the inoculations by May 15, but the new deadline was moved up 10 days 

The COVAX doses’ expiry date is said to be May 31, 2021.

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính in his first cabinet meeting on Thursday said the health ministry and localities cannot let any vaccine doses go to waste.

Regarding Việt Nam’s slow vaccine rollout, health experts noted the country has its own protocol – different from most nations – to ensure safety for the vaccinated as the COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for emergency use only.

All COVID-19 vaccination sites have to meet certain requirements in terms of facilities and staff, as well as carry out screenings and counselling before injection. All those who receive the jabs must remain at the site for at least 30 minutes for medical observation, monitor their condition at home in the following 24 hours and further monitoring is required for another three weeks.

Some 73,000 people – mostly frontline workers – have been inoculated against COVID-19, using, for the most part, the 110,000 doses bought from AstraZeneca that arrived in late February more than a month after the national drive was launched on March 8.

Eligible people for COVID-19 vaccine are those within the 10 priority groups detailed in the Government’s Decree 21, which are frontline workers (medical workers, COVID-19 steering committees, police and military forces directly involved in the fight against the pandemic); Vietnamese diplomats and relatives sent on overseas missions and diplomatic delegations and UN representative offices in Việt Nam; customs, exit and entry officers; essential service workers (utility, airlines, transport, tourism, etc.); teachers and education institution’s staff or those working at front-facing administrative offices; people with chronic diseases; the elderly (above 65 years old); people in COVID-19-hit outbreak areas; poor people and social welfare beneficiaries; people authorised by the State to work or study overseas.

The National Expanded Programme on Immunisation has recorded 33 per cent of those vaccinated displaying typical post-injection reactions such as localised pain, itches, light fever, or fatigue that usually go away without medical intervention in one or two days.

The programme noted that the reactions in Việt Nam seem “much lower” than in other countries, adding that the rate of side effect reports among the vaccinated in its usual five-in-one vaccination for infants (diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenza type B) is about 50 per cent.

Only 0.1 per cent reported serious reactions, but they received timely interventions and could return to work after one or two days of treatment/follow-up observation at a medical facility.

No rare blood clotting incidents have been recorded among the vaccinated using AstraZeneca in Việt Nam so far.

The health ministry on Thursday issued a decision to set up a steering committee on safe vaccination, comprising leading experts in the field to provide support for localities in cases of vaccine incidents.

The ministry also appealed to the media to increase coverage of the benefits of vaccines to encourage more people to register for inoculation.

At the meeting, a representative from the WHO office in Việt Nam lauded the country's pandemic containment efforts, adding that vaccines are key to fighting COVID-19 and their benefits far outweigh their risks, but other prevention measures should still be maintained.

At Friday's meeting, health ministry officials and experts also agreed on six main lessons in dealing with the country’s third wave of infections, which has now been contained, so that localities could take note to avoid "stumbling missteps" in the face of possible new outbreaks.

Việt Nam has gone 22 days without new local infections, and life has mostly returned to normal.

First, centralised quarantine of probable COVID-19 cases and direct contacts of the infected – not self-isolation at home – is still the solution to prevent the spread of the virus in the community, as shown in the cases of Hải Dương Province during the last few months and Đà Nẵng in July-August last year, the epicentres of Việt Nam’s third and second waves.

Second, targeted lockdowns – with mass lockdowns still on the table in serious cases – and increased COVID-19 testing kept infections in check while impacts on socio-economic development were minimised.

Third, the involvement of police in contact tracing efforts in Hải Dương proved to be valuable and replicable.

Fourth, preparations and co-ordination between different agencies were needed to ramp up testing (including pooled testing) as fast as possible to contain the outbreaks.

Fifth, the quick establishment of field hospitals using existing facilities to treat COVID-19 patients was a must when cases exploded to ensure medical centres treating other diseases and conditions are not disrupted or overwhelmed.

Sixth, the deployment of central-level health officials to hotspots helped achieve better co-ordination with local authorities in delivering timely and appropriate responses.

At the meeting, health experts called for the continued strict management of borders to prevent risks of new outbreaks, especially given the many repatriation flights bringing citizens home and serious outbreaks in neighbouring countries.

“If our guard is down and imported cases cause infections in the community, especially the South African or the UK variant of the virus, then the containment would be very difficult,” Minister Long said. 

HCM City steps up AI development efforts

To develop research into and the application of artificial intelligence (AI), authorities in HCM City may pilot order placing and public procurement and call for studies from scientists and businesses engaged in the field.  

Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Bui The Duy made the suggestion at a recent working session with the HCM City People’s Committee regarding the implementation of a national strategy on AI research, application and development by 2030.

He underlined that to promote AI development, the information and communications sector needs to create a market for AI products while the education sector must focus on appropriate training.

In terms of human resources for AI, the deputy minister said the southern city should pay attention to training programmes to disseminate knowledge and connect hi-tech parks, software technology parks, and start-up incubators.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Duong Anh Duc placed emphasis on acquiring experts in the field and proposing policy amendments to the Party Central Committee, while seeking permission to pilot policies on AI personnel and the use of and investment in AI products.

The Ministry of Science and Technology has been asked to devise orientations towards the building of three national centres on data archiving and to measure efficiency in the national strategy./.

8th Vietnam Book Day kicks off in HCM City

The 8th Vietnam Book Day was kicked off in Ho Chi Minh City’s Book Street on April 18, featuring various activities, both online and offline.

Addressing the launch, Deputy Minister of Information and Telecommunications Hoang Vinh Bao said this marks a start of a series of events of this year’s Vietnam Book Day, a day to celebrate the reading culture nationwide.

Via the events, the organisers want to inspire a love for books among people around the country, encourage them to read more and make reading their habit, he said, adding that it will help spread the reading culture among the community.

A host of events, including a display of books about HCM City, a launch of books on digital transformation, and talks with renowned writers and poets, are scheduled on the Book Street from April 18 – 22.

Meanwhile, an online book fair is underway at book365.vn from April 17 – May 15, featuring more than 70 domestic publishers and over 20,000 book titles. An online festival on book copyright will also take place from April 19 – 26, attracting around 50 domestic and international publishing houses.

Then Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued Decision No 284/QD-TTg on February 24, 2014, designating April 21 as Vietnam Book Day, in order to encourage a reading culture among the public./.

Residents of floating village fear for their future under Red River project 

Many households living in a floating village near the banks of the Red River in Hà Nội have feared for their future after hearing that the city plans to approve the Red River sub-division planning project this June.

The Red River urban planning project aims to develop an area of about 11,000ha in 13 districts of Đan Phượng, Bắc Từ Liêm, Tây Hồ, Ba Đình, Hoàn Kiếm, Hai Bà Trưng, Hoàng Mai, Thanh Trì, Thường Tín, Mê Linh, Đông Anh, Long Biên and Gia Lâm.

Under the project, there will be dozens of bridges built across the Red River, many parks and cultural, tourist, service and entertainment works, as well as modern ecological urban areas will be built on both sides of the river.

The project is to be implemented on a 40km-long section of the Red River from Hồng Hà Bridge to Mễ Sở Bridge.

According to the project, areas along the river will be developed into new urban areas or open spaces such as squares and parks. Therefore, 35 households in the floating village might be relocated.

Nguyễn Văn Được, 75, head of the floating village said the village was home to nearly 100 people from 35 households.

They came from different localities and temporarily lived in the floating village to earn a living, he said.

Được said when he heard about the project, he felt very worried about his future. He did not know how he would earn a living or where he and his life would live.

Currently, he and his wife’s income mainly depended on their guava garden and from raising some poultry and animals on the land on the river banks, he said.

Phạm Thị Thu, another resident of the village, said she thought the planning project would pay attention to the residents of the floating village.

“Most of us are old. We just want cleaner accommodation,” she said.

Nguyễn Văn Thành, 85, has spent most of his life on the banks of the river and said he and his wife lived in makeshift shelters for many years. They earned their living by collecting scrap.

He said he and his wife did not know where to go if they were forced to relocate. He hoped the Government would help his family have stable accommodation.

The land on both banks of the river has been used as a means of livelihood and accommodation of the residents in the floating village. They live in makeshift shelters, lacking both electricity and water.

Trần Ngọc Chính, president of the Việt Nam Urban Development and Planning Association, said the project would not only rearrange the area on the two banks of the river but also point out which households would be relocated.

The information relating to which households would be relocated should be published soon so people could know clearly, he said.

A representative of the People's Committee of Ngọc Thụy Ward, Long Biên District, where the floating village is located, said after the detailed planning of the area was revealed, the committee would make its own plan to support the village residents, he said.

University tuition fee increases cause concern

Tuition fees at some major universities in HCM City such as the University of Medicine Phạm Ngọc Thạch will increase sharply for the next school year, causing many parents and students to worry.

Associate professor Bùi Hoài Thắng, head of the Training Faculty of the Science and Technology University – HCM City National University, said school fees for the next school year would be VNĐ25 million per year (US$995), up from about VNĐ12 million ($518) in previous years.

High-quality programmes with a more English language curriculum will cost VNĐ66 million ($2,850) per year, an increase of 10 per cent compared with the past.

Thắng said the increase was based on a decision of the HCM City National University for its financial self-control programme.

Similarly, next school year the University of Medicine Phạm Ngọc Thạch will have tuition fees of VNĐ32-28 million ($1,380-1,210) per year depending on the faculty, whereas the old fees were VNĐ14-28 million ($600-1,210) per year.

Nguyễn Minh Trí, a student of the Chemical Engineering Faculty at the University of Science and Technology, said the tuition fee increase would be an obstacle for students and would put pressure on their families.

"For me, that increase is high. My family members and I face a big difficulty,” he said.

Thu Hạng, another student of the faculty, said increased tuition fees must go hand in hand with increased training quality.

Professor Nguyễn Đình Đức, head of the Training Committee of the Hà Nội National University, said university autonomy, which allows schools to set their own fees, must ensure the rights of the poor and the disabled to have the opportunity to access higher education, including advanced and high-quality programmes.

The goal of higher education was to create high-quality human resources for society and if tuition fees became a burden on students, higher education would fail in this goal, he said.

"The State and universities need to have scholarship policies to support poor and disabled students. Loans from social banks with preferential policies for poor students are a viable and effective solution to support them when the school is autonomous," he said.

Associate Professor Ngô Minh Xuân, council chairman of the University of Medicine Phạm Ngọc Thạch, said that next school year, the university would double tuition fees, but this fee was still too cheap compared with other medical schools and compared to the training costs spent by the university.

Despite increasing tuition fees, this level still cannot "calculate correctly and fully" the training costs the university paid for students, Xuân said.

"How can any university in the world train medical students with VNĐ3 million ($129)? The school is only increasing tuition fees to survive. In fact, the cost of training medical students must be four or five times higher than that of other professions and occupations. If the tuition fees of other majors are about VNĐ50 million ($2,100) per year, then the medical profession must be at least VNĐ200 million ($8,600)," said Xuân.

He added that with the current training, the university was suffering from losses, and must take income from its clinic – the Phạm Ngọc Thạch Medicine University Clinic – to compensate.

When entering university autonomy and no longer receiving State funding, all public universities must have a roadmap to increase tuition fees to ensure the quality of training, not only medical and pharmaceutical training schools, he said. 

Leader asks for better performance by Theoretical Council ​

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong on April 17 requested the Party Central Committee’s Theoretical Council to further improve both reality analysis and theoretical research on the basis of the Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh’s ideology so as to fulfill assigned tasks.

Speaking at the Theoretical Council’s meeting in Hanoi, the Party leader highly valued the council’s work during 2016-2021.

He also suggested some issues needing attention in the time ahead and asked for thorough understanding of the requirements in the political theoretical work in the new period.

The leader told the council to study new theoretical issues in the world, experiences of developed countries, along with scientific - technological revolutions.

General Secretary Trong also asked the council to improve the quality and effectiveness of political theory-related advice to help the Party Central Committee, the Politburo, and the Secretariat direct national development and defence efforts./.

Embassy in Canada holds online Hung Kings worship ceremony

The Vietnamese Embassy in Canada held a virtual ceremony to commemorate Hung Kings - the legendary ancestors of Vietnam – for Vietnamese people living across Canada on April 17.

The Hung Kings are commemorated each year on the 10th day of the third lunar month, which falls on April 21 this year, as an occasion for the nation to express gratitude to the ancestors.

The worship of the Hung Kings, closely related to the ancestral worship traditions of most Vietnamese families, was recognised as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2012.

Speaking at the event, which was synchronously held in Ottawa, Vancounver, Toronto, Montreal and Saskatchewan, Ambassador Pham Cao Phong highlighted the origin and significance of Hung Kings worship.

The Vietnamese community in Canada expressed their wish that Vietnamese culture will spread more broadly, so that the world will know Vietnam as not only the resilient people in the struggles for national liberation, but also the people of intelligence, kindness and solidarity./.

Thanh Hoa beat Bình Định in V.League 1

The 1-0 victory over Bình Định club in the V.League 1 2021 on Saturday helped Thanh Hóa maintain an unbeaten streak through four consecutive matches, and helped their players in their pockets as well.

With this win, Thanh Hóa’s chairman Cao Tiến Đoan decided to award the team VNĐ1 billion (US$43,500).

"I am very happy so I continue to reward the team to motivate them," said Đoan.

Previously, Thanh Hóa team received VNĐ3.2 billion ($139,100) from the chairman after their victory over Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh, Hải Phòng and a spectacular draw against HCM City.

Despite being the away team, Thanh Hóa played confidently from the opening whistle. They took the lead in the 43rd minute thanks to Lê Quốc Phương’s free kick.

The pressure of Thanh Hóa and the psychology of the previous loss clearly affected Bình Định who were poor in the midfield. On the day when the stars Hồ Tấn Tài, Hendrio da Silva and Rimario Gordon didn’t play well, Bình Định struggled to create many opportunities on Thanh Hóa's goal.

"I am very happy, I hope my players continue to maintain their spirit of competition to raise rankings in the next matches,” said Serbian coach Ljupko Petrovic of Thanh Hóa.

On Bình Định’s side, coach Nguyễn Đức Thắng said he felt sad when his team lost two consecutive matches.

"The saddest thing was that the team couldn’t score. We will have a change on personnel next games to improve our result,” said Thắng.

In other matches, Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh defeated Sông Lam Nghệ An 2-0, and Sài Gòn tied goalless with Hải Phòng.  

Deteriorated wastewater treatment systems cause pollution in Nghe An

Hundreds of households in Dien Van, Dien Ky and Dien Hong communes, Nghe An Province's Dien Chau District, are complaining about the environment being polluted by wastewater from a local industrial zone. 

Local people have complained their lives have been badly affected since the Dien Hong Commune Industrial Cluster discharged wastewater into the environment. Even though there are three wastewater sedimentation lakes, they seem to be abandoned. The wastewater is then discharged into the irrigation canal for the fields.

The industrial cluster has a lot of scrap collectors and a large amount of rubbish. The locals said they also had to suffer the smoke coming from iron and steel processing workshops.

Nguyen Hong Trung, chairman of Dien Hong Commune People's Committee, said, "There are 41 facilities operating there. They mostly collect steel scrap and recycle plastic. We have reported the situation to higher authorities many times but the problem hasn't been dealt with."

Dien Hong Commune Industrial Cluster was approved by Nghe An People's Committee in 2003. It covers 10ha with 11 firms and 30 household businesses. The wastewater treatment system has deteriorated and has been nearly abandoned.

The Department of Economy and Infrastructure in Dien Chau said the pollution was caused by the deteriorated wastewater treatment system in the cluster. When the cluster was opened, its infrastructure lacked synchronous investments. That's why Dien Chau District People's Committee are having plans to rebuild the clusters' infrastructure.

 

"We'll upgrade and rebuild all sewers and wastewater sedimentation tanks this year," said Truong Van Duc, head of Dien Chau District Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

Households around Dau Tieng Lake polluting water

Many households have come to raise fish and live on rafts on the reservoir of the Dầu Tiếng Lake, polluting the water resources over the years.

Dầu Tiếng is the largest artificial irrigation lake in Southeast Asia and provides agricultural water sources for the southeast area, and domestic water for HCM City.

Precarious life

Living on Dầu Tiếng Lake in Hòa Lộc Hamlet, Minh Hòa Commune, Dầu Tiếng District in the southern province of Bình Dương, are nearly 70 overseas Vietnamese households that repatriated from Cambodia.

They mainly live on the edge of the lake, building huts or temporary houses in the lake’s reservoir area to make a living.

Nguyễn Văn Đỏ, a resident, said most of the households returned to Việt Nam in 1990. Đỏ has Vietnamese nationality, so he bought land and built a house, but many others do not have identity documents or real estate assets.

Nguyễn Văn Cường, another resident, said every day he fished for a living. Due to a lack of identification documents and education, he could not find a good job.

Difficult work

Some local people think raising fish will not affect the environment. But local authorities believe uneaten food, waste, dead fish and domestic waste are the main cause of the water pollution in the lake.

Some households use nets to catch small fish as food for farmed fish, leading to the danger of destroying aquatic resources. 

To avoid environmental pollution and limit social evils, in early 2004, local authorities encouraged people to come ashore. About 25 families moved and built houses. However, the land area is limited, so it’s not enough to accommodate everyone and dozens of households still live on rafts.

Lê Bá Thành, deputy head of the Dầu Tiếng District Police, said the district police force has made a list of people living on rafts in Minh Hòa Commune.

Currently, there are 56 households in the village with 292 people. Local authorities are going to prepare identity papers for 14 households.

The work needs support from various local departments, said Thành.

A spokesperson of the Dầu Tiếng-Phước Hòa Irrigation Exploitation Co Ltd said it also proposed Tây Ninh and Bình Dương people's committees implement a resettlement and career change project for local people.

In 2018, the company had worked with the Dầu Tiếng District People's Committee to issue violation records to 76 households with 236 illegal rafts, asking them to dismantle the rafts and leave but so far the issue has not been thoroughly resolved. 

Vietnam, Italy conduct more than 40 joint scientific research projects

Vietnam and Italy have carried out more than 40 joint scientific research projects since 1992 when the two sides signed the first protocol on scientific and technological cooperation, according to Italian Ambassador to Vietnam Antonio Alessandro.

He said that the projects have contributed to the development in various areas, serving the life of people in both countries.

According to the ambassador, this year, the Italian Research Day in the World, which is observed annually on April 15, comprises a UniSmartItaly event, a virtual fair that presents the Italian academic system to the Vietnamese public interested in study opportunities abroad. The event will take place from April 16-24.

Alongside, a workshop on Vietnam-Italy scientific and technological cooperation will be held virtually on May 6 in Hanoi to discuss achievements and prospects of bilateral collaboration in the field, he added./.

HCM City gets 58,250 more doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

HCM City has received an additional 58,250 doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine out of the 811,200 doses from the COVAX Facility for the second phase of the vaccination drive, according to the city's Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention.

People vaccinated in the second phase include health workers who were not vaccinated in the first phase, those who work in Tân Sơn Nhất Airport and have contact with passengers, and members of certain community groups.  

The centre has not published the exact vaccination schedule for the second phase.

Speaking at a meeting of the city Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control held on Monday (April 12), Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, head of the city Department of Health, said the second phase will start after the city gets the additional 58,250 doses. The second phase is expected to end on May 15.

The city’s first phase ended on April 16, with 8,569 people vaccinated.

In the second phase, HCM City and Hà Nội have received the highest amount of doses in the country. Hà Nội will receive more than 53,000 doses.

More than 43,000 doses will be distributed to Hải Dương Province; 18,000-20,000 doses to Thanh Hóa and Nghệ An provinces; 245,350 doses to the southern region; and 49,000 doses to the Central Highlands region. 

The Ministry of Health will distribute 30,000 doses to the police and 80,000 doses to the military force.  

As of April 15, more than 63,750 health officials on the frontlines against the pandemic in 19 provinces and cities have been vaccinated in the first phase which started on March 8, using doses from the first batch of 117,000 doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca that arrived in the country on February 24.

Urban administration publicizes activities of district, ward people’s committees

An urban administration would help the people's committee of wards and districts in Ho Chi Minh City perform public services in a uniform fashion while maintaining their democratic nature and transparency across the board, said Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Tran Anh Tuan.

An urban administration model is expected to be more efficient by cutting down intermediary levels and promote proactive decision-making to suit the municipal’s unique characteristics, said Mr. Tuan.
In HCMC in particular, the new model goes hand-in-hand with building an e-government and smart city to hasten communication between the upper authorities and administrative agencies with the people, and quickly resolves civil requests, he added.

Most notably, each intermediary administrative level would not have a people’s council, and every decision by the people’s committee would be publicized on each level’s web portal.

Regarding Thu Duc City, the first city under the nation’s central-level city, there will be an extra department dedicated to science and technology to fit with the city’s established mission of training human resources and conducting advanced research.

According to the urban administration model in HCMC, intermediary levels in the city would be only an administrative organ without a legal status operating under democratic centralization.

Accordingly, chairmen of the people’s committee at these levels are no longer elected officials but civil servants, whose appointment and dismissal are decided by the chairman of HCMC People's Committee.

This is an update compared to the old policy where commune-level civil servants are recruited under a separate system from those of the district or higher levels. Mr. Tuan believed this is the first step towards providing better service to the people.

Dak Lak intensifies election preparations in ethnic minority areas

Dak Lak is a big Central Highlands province with a large number of ethnic minorities. To ensure democracy and success in the upcoming elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and all-level People’s Councils in the 2021-2026 tenure, the province has proactively promoted the dissemination of information in remote and ethnic minority areas.

Fifty kilometres from Buon Ma Thuat city, Krong Bong is a far-flung district in Dak Lak province. It is home to 25 ethnic minority groups, which account for nearly 40 percent of its population, yet information campaigns for the election of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and all-level People’s Councils in the 2021-2026 tenure, which is scheduled for May, have been synchronously deployed.

Dak Lak has implemented a range of solutions to ensure effective preparation works, such as sending officials to meet with local residents, translating election information materials into minority languages, and organising events to welcome the elections.

With a large number of ethnic minority people, Dak Lak has proactively implemented information campaigns in diverse forms, helping people from all walks of life understand the importance of the upcoming elections./.

Localities finalise lists of candidates for NA, People’s Council elections

Many provinces and cities nationwide held the third consultation conferences to finalise the lists of candidates for the elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure.

On April 15 in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, the Standing Board of the municipal Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee approved a list of 87 candidates for the election of deputies to the municipal People’s Council, including 39 women, accounting for 44.83 percent; four ethnic minority persons, or 4.6 percent; 14 non-Party members, equivalent to 16.09 percent; 25 under 40 years old, 28.74 percent; 24 re-elected, or 23.64 percent; and four religious followers, 4.6 percent.

Speaking at the event, Permanent Vice Secretary of the municipal Party Committee, Chairman of the municipal People’s Council and Chairman of the municipal Election Committee Pham Van Hieu said the municipal VFF Committee will continue working closely with localities to hold meetings between candidates and voters so that the election activities could be better monitored.

The same day in the southern province of Kien Giang, the Standing Board of the provincial Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee agreed on a list of 11 candidates for the election of deputies to the 15th NA and 103 candidates to the election of members of the provincial People’s Council for the 2021-2026 tenure.

The VFF Committees of Cao Bang, Vinh Long and Ha Giang provinces also held the third consultation conferences on April 15 to finalise the lists of candidates for the elections./.

Kien Giang assists Vietnamese Cambodians affected by COVID-19

Deputy Director of the Department for External Affairs of Kien Giang province Nguyen Viet Thong on April 15 handed over 300 million VND (13,000 USD) to representatives from the Vietnamese Consulate General in Cambodia’s Preah Sihanouk province as a gift of the southern province for poor Vietnamese Cambodians.

At the handover ceremony at Ha Tien International Border Gate, Thong spoke highly of efforts made by the Vietnamese Consulate General to support Vietnamese Cambodians in the region it is in charge, including Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong, Kampong Speu and Takeo provinces, especially amidst COVID-19 outbreaks in Cambodia.

He took the occasion to extend his best wishes to Vietnamese Cambodians in the southwestern region of Cambodia on the occasion of Chol Chnam Thmay, Cambodia’s New Year Festival.

Vietnamese Consul General Vu Ngoc Ly expressed his gratitude for the support of Kien Giang province as this was the third time the province have sent gifts to Vietnamese Cambodians in the region since the pandemic broke out in the province early last year.

On this occasion, President of the Khmer-Vietnamese Association in Kampot province Hoang Duc Ha received 60 million VND as a gift from the Vietnam Fatherland Front of Kien Giang province to Vietnamese Cambodians who are living in difficult circumstances in Kampot and Kep provinces./.

PM gives green light to 1-billion-tree growing project

The Prime Minister has issued a decision approving a project on growing 1 billion trees in Vietnam during the 2021 – 2025 period.

According to the project, of the 1 billion trees to be planted by the end of 2025, 690 million will be grown in urban and rural areas, and 310 million planted in protected, special, and production forests.

The project aims to protect the ecosystem, improve the scenery, respond to climate change, boost socio-economic development, improve the quality of people's life and foster the sustainable growth of the country.

As per the project, the target for 2021 is 182 million trees, with an average of 204.5 million trees to be planted each year in the 2022-2025 period.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has been tasked to be in charge of the work and cooperate with the Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment, and authorities of centrally-run provinces and cities to build related annual and five-year plans.

RoK assists Vietnam in social housing development

Workshops sharing experience in social housing development of the Republic of Korea (RoK) and policy improvements in Vietnam will be held in major cities of HCM City, Da Nang and Hanoi in the coming time, according to the Ministry of Construction (MoC).

The events are part of a project on the building of a master policy on Vietnam's social housing development for the 2021-30 period, which is carried out using non-refundable official development assistance (ODA) from the RoK government via the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), said Deputy Director General of the MoC’s Housing and Real Estate Market Management Bureau (HREM) Ha Quang Hung.

The project strives to devise and complete legal documents on the field, particularly in Vietnam’s current policies, survey the need of those who are eligible for social housing, provide training for staff in charge of building social housing policies for 2021-30, and revise the housing law 2014.

KOICA experts will replicate ideas from different pilot programmes and apply successful ideas in Vietnam’s specific conditions. Analysis, evaluation and recommendations will be provided for the MoC to fine tune mechanisms and policies in a bid to integrate advanced social housing development approaches in the world into Vietnam’s social housing programmes.

Statistics of the HREM showed that 249 social housing projects for low-income earners in urban areas and workers at industrial parks have been finished so far, with more than 104,200 apartments spanning about 5.4 million sq.m.

Meanwhile, 264 projects housing some 219,000 apartments are underway. However, the result is still far behind the target set by the national housing development strategy of 12.5 million sq.m of social housing by 2020./.

ADB helps Vietnam strengthen integrated flood risk management

Participants to a seminar in Hanoi on April 16 sought ways to strengthen integrated flood risk management in the context of climate change in Vietnam.

The event took place within the framework of a cooperation programme between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Tran Quang Hoai, deputy head of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control and head of the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority, pointed out unexpected rains and floods in Vietnam’s northern and north central regions over the past time.

Reservoirs would not sustain extreme rainfall that is likely to cause flooding and harm dyke systems, he said.

To cope with flood risks in climate change and ensure the safety of the dyke systems, the Prime Minister has approved the climate change adaptive integrated flood risk management project worth 275 million USD, using ADB loans.

The project will be carred out in nine cities and provinces – Bac Giang, Hai Duong, Thai Binh, Hai Phong, Hanoi, Ha Nam, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh and Thanh Hoa that are located in the basins of Red, Thai Binh and Ma rivers.

It will support the government to achieve the outcome: effective and sustainable flood risk management systems made operational and well maintained. There are three outputs: institutional and planning capacities for flood risk management improved; dike systems in Red-Thai Binh and Ma rivers rehabilitated and upgraded; and flood forecasting and early warning systems for Red-Thai Binh and Ma rivers modernised.

ADB Deputy Country Director in Vietnam Keiju Mitsuhashi said the Vietnamese government has paid attention to natural disaster prevention and control in general, and dyke system safety in particular.

The ADB also has paid heed to disaster risk management, particularly flood prevention and control, in Vietnam, he said, adding the bankpledges to help the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority and the nine cities and provinces implement the project./.

Exhibition of Ninh Thuan - Quang Nam Cham culture underway

An exhibition on the cultural heritage of Cham ethnic people in the central provinces of Ninh Thuan and Quang Nam is underway in Ninh Thuan on the occasion of the 46th anniversary of the liberation of the province (April 16, 1975-2021) and the liberation of the southern region and national reunification on April 30.

The exhibition is co-hosted by the Cham Cultural Research Centre in Ninh Thuan and the provincial museum of Quang Nam.

On display are nearly 80 artifacts, including photos, statues, pottery, over 1,500 tools, traditional handicrafts, costumes, jewellery, paintings, ancient musical instruments, and 1,400 books and reference materials.

Director of the Cham Cultural Research Centre Le Xuan Loi said the exhibition aims to introduce the unique cultural and artistic heritages of the Cham people in the land of Ninh Thuan - Quang Nam and the exchange of Cham culture with others throughout history.

The exhibition will run until May 15.

Lists of candidates for NA, People’s Council elections finalised in localities

The Standing Boards of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committees of provinces and cities nationwide held their third consultation conferences on April 16 to finalise lists of candidates for the election as deputies to the 15th National Assembly (NA) and members of all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure.

The northern mountainous province of Lao Cai concluded a list of eight candidates, of whom 25 percent are female and 37.5 percent are ethnic minority people, for election as deputies to the 15th legislature.

Ninety-two candidates have been selected for election as members of the provincial People’s Council for the 2021-2026 tenure, with the number of female, ethnic minority, non-Party, and re-elected candidates accounting for 41.3, 53.26, 15.22, and 23.9 percent of the total, respectively.

Northern Son La province, meanwhile, agreed on a list of ten candidates for election as deputies to the 15th NA and 110 candidates for election as members of the provincial People’s Council.

The figures for northern Bac Ninh province, central Quang Ngai province, and the Mekong Delta’s Dong Thap province are 10 and 97, 10 and 87, and 10 (excluding those introduced by central agencies) and 97.

In the northern province of Ninh Binh, a total of 85 candidates have been selected for the elections./.

Meeting held to promote enforcement of 2019 Labour Code

A meeting was held in Ho Chi Minh City on April 15 and 16 to discuss the implementation of new content in the 2019 Labour Code and documents guiding its enforcement.

Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Le Van Thanh said the 2019 Labour Code, which took effect on January 1 this year, is comprised of 17 chapters with 220 articles.

It features a number of major, important, and historic amendments and supplements that meet new requirements in the management of the labour market. The changes are also meant to realise Vietnam’s commitments to the international community, thus ensuring that domestic regulations match international labour standards and harmonise the interests of employees, employers, and the country, he noted.

Thanh pointed out the need to disseminate and provide training in the Labour Code and guidance documents so as to improve relevant parties’ awareness and remove obstacles to its enforcement.

Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Vietnam Chang-Hee Lee said the 2019 Labour Code has met requirements in the current labour market as well as those set up by international organisations, adding that the implementation of the new content and guidance documents is critical to helping localities and relevant agencies with enforcement, thereby creating a more harmonious environment in labour relations.

He said that over the last 20 years, more and more businesses from other countries have engaged in the local labour market and appointed Vietnamese employees to important positions.

This outcome, he said, is due to Vietnam’s political stability and large workforce, with the industriousness of its workers being critical to national economic development.

Highly valuing Vietnam’s labour market, which has been continually developing in recent years, he said that what the Government, ministries, and sectors need to do now is to create the best possible conditions for the legitimate interests of workers to be ensured and for them to make active contributions towards a better future.

Extra efforts needed to ensure absolute safety for upcoming elections

The Ministry of Public Security has been implementing plans and measures to ensure absolute safety and order for the elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and the all-level People’s Councils in the 2021-2026 tenure, which are scheduled to take place on May 23.

Speaking at the fourth session of the Subcommittee on Security and Order for the elections on April 15, Deputy Minister Lt. Gen. Luong Tam Quang, who is head of the subcommittee, hailed efforts made by the public security force and localities since the subcommittee’s third session on March 18.

He also required them to review and complete plans and scenarios for any situation to ensure absolute safety and order for the elections to prevent any unexpected incidents.

To enable voters nationwide to participate in the elections in a democratic, public and fair manner as regulated by law, Quang requested the subcommittee’s members and police units to combine security work for the elections with ensuring security and social order during the 46th National Reunification and May Day holidays (April 30 – May 3)./.

Ca Mau man jailed for brokering illegal entry to Vietnam

The People’s Court of the southern province of Ca Mau on April 15 sentenced Le Van Thao, born in 1963 and residing in Son Doc town, Tran Van Thoi district, to nine years in prison on the charge of organising illegal entry to Vietnam for 38 people.

Under the indictment of the Ca Mau People’s Procuracy, Thao, also known as Le Hoang Thao, received a phone call on January 18, 2021 from his relative Pham Hoang Lo from Malaysia and Au, a friend of Thao. Lo and Au asked Thao to use his boat to transport some people to the mainland for 25 million VND (1,083 million USD).

After making the deal with Lo and Au, Thao operated his boat plated CM 99323-TS to bring 38 people from Malaysia into Vietnam illegally.

His vessel has been seized. Meanwhile, the 38 illegal immigrants have been put under investigation./.

Ninh Binh gearing up for grand opening of Visit Vietnam Year 2021

The northern province of Ninh Binh is working around the clock to prepare for the grand opening ceremony of the Visit Vietnam Year 2021 and Hoa Lu Festival on April 20, which is expected to attract thousands of people.

It marks the start of a series of 38 cultural, sports, and tourism events the province plans to organise as host of the Visit Vietnam Year in 2021.

To gear up for the grand opening, Hoa Lu district has mobilised all communes and townships to fly national flags and set up banners, Vice Chairman of the district’s People’s Committee Luu Quang Minh said. All main streets have been tidied up and decorated with flowers, he added.

Ninh Binh has also adopted measures to ensure security for the event and to prevent fires and traffic jams. It has paid particular attention to precautionary measures against the spread of COVID-19, with regular inspections held to examine the coronavirus response at local tourist spots and the conduct of health screenings of visitors and local residents, especially those exhibiting symptoms such as cough, fever, and shortness of breath.

The provincial Department of Health is disinfecting areas where the grand opening’s activities are to take place and strengthening food safety inspections and clean-ups at restaurants and hotels, Director Vu Manh Duong said.

Temperature checks, hand sanitiser, and masks will be provided at the entrance to the venue where the event is being held, while scenario planning has been developed to deal with any occurrence of COVID-19 after the event, Duong noted.

The grand opening ceremony of the Visit Vietnam Year 2021 will take place at Hoa Lu ancient capital, a national special heritage site, and will be broadcast live on national TV channels. It will see the attendance of some 2,000 guests and 7,600 local people and visitors.

Located in the southern reaches of the Red River Delta, Ninh Binh is known for its wondrous natural scenery, with a labyrinth of waterways, mountains, and plains as well as cross-cultural influences from the north to the south and from the mountains to the plains and coastal areas. It is home to 1,821 relic areas, including 81 national relic sites and a world cultural and natural heritage site./.

Italy – emerging destination for Vietnamese students: ambassador

Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Nguyen Thi Bich Hue said Italy has become more and more popular among Vietnamese students looking to get an education abroad, while opening a series of workshops on studying in Italy on April 16.

The UniSmartItaly workshops, looking into study and work opportunities in Italy, are held virtually from April 16 to 24 by the Italian Rectors’ Conference and the Italian Trade Agency with the support of the Italian Embassy in Vietnam and the Uni-Italia Association.

In her remarks, Ambassador Hue thanked workshop organisers for choosing Vietnam as the first country to carry out this programme, noting that although the number of Vietnamese students in Italy remains modest, it has been growing fast in recent years.

Italy is an increasingly popular destination for Vietnamese students as it has a high-quality tertiary education system that provides training in the majors that can help deal with global challenges related to development, the environment, and technology and thus, meeting Vietnam’s demand.

Many Vietnamese students returning from Italy have greatly helped with national development and the two countries relations, she said.

Besides, she added, bilateral trade has topped 5 billion USD, and more than 4,000 Italian businesses are cooperating with Vietnamese partners in export and import, which are favourable conditions to create more study and work chances for Vietnamese students in Italy.

Hue suggested Italy promote students’ participation in and contributions to economic events between the two countries and invite postgraduates to engage in bilateral research projects, especially those in scientific research cooperation programmes.

She also recommended the two sides set up a channel for linking Italian employers with Vietnamese students and postgraduates in the country and sign an agreement on mutual recognition of each other’s certificates so as to facilitate the student exchange.

Vu Thi Bich Diep, deputy head of the Vietnamese Students Association in Italy, said Vietnamese students are confident in the development of bilateral ties across the board, which will further facilitate their efforts to study and find jobs in the European nation./.

Dien Bien adopts plans to revive tourism

After becoming frozen due to the impact of COVID-19, Dien Bien province’s tourism sector is now showing signs of recovery. In the first three months of this year the province welcomed more than 167,000 visitors, which prompted the sector to introduce stimulus packages to attract more tourists post-pandemic.

After closing its doors to prevent the spread of Covid-19, visitor numbers to the Dien Bien Phu Victory Museum are now recovering, with it welcoming nearly 7,500 people since March 4.

Visitors will be charmed by the unique local cultural characteristics, particularly community tourism, which has been developed in recent years.

To revive tourism in the new context, Dien Bien province has proactively created tourism stimulation programmes, focusing on domestic tourists while preparing plans to soon welcome foreign visitors.

The province welcomed more than 167,000 visitors in the first three months of this year but only 163 were foreigners.  It is expected to welcome about 1 million visitors in total this year./.

Activities held to commemorate legendary ancestors of Vietnam

The administration of northern Phu Tho province held ceremonies on April 17 to commemorate the legendary ancestors of Vietnam, Father Lac Long Quan and Mother Au Co.

Traditional rituals were conducted at the temples dedicated to Lac Long Quan and Au Co in the Hung Kings Temple relic site to express gratitude to the ones who laid the foundations of the country.

Every year, activities worshipping Lac Long Quan and Au Co take place ahead of the death anniversary of the Hung Kings, believed to be the very first founders of Vietnam, on the 10th day of the third lunar month (which falls on April 21 this year).

Legend has it that Lac Long Quan (real name Sung Lam, son of Kinh Duong Vuong and Than Long Nu) married Au Co (the fairy daughter of De Lai). Au Co then went on to give birth to a pouch filled with one hundred eggs, which soon hatched into a hundred sons. However, soon thereafter, Lac Long Quan and Au Co separated. Lac Long Quan went to the coast with 50 of the children, while Au Co went to the highlands with the rest.

Their eldest son was made king, who named the country Van Lang and set up the capital in Phong Chau (modern-day Viet Tri city in Phu Tho province), beginning the 18 generations of the Hung Kings.

The kings chose Nghia Linh Mountain, the highest in the region, to perform rituals devoted to rice and sun deities to pray for healthy crops.

To honour their great contributions, a complex of temples dedicated to them was built on Nghia Linh Mountain, and the 10th day of the third lunar month serves as the national commemorative anniversary for the kings.

The worship of the Hung Kings, closely related to the ancestral worship traditions of most Vietnamese families, was recognised as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2012./.

Seventh Japan-Vietnam Festival opens in HCM City

The seventh Japan-Vietnam Festival (JVF) opened at the September 23 Park in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 on April 17 with a host of activities.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Vo Van Hoan said he believes that the event will bolster understanding between the countries, and create more cooperation chances in education, trade, investment and tourism. 

Japan is the third largest trade partner of HCM City and the fifth leading investor of the city. The southern hub has formed ties with seven Japanese localities.

Takebe Tsutomu, head of the organising board on the Japanese side said the holding of the JVF after a suspension of more than one year demonstrated efforts by both countries in promoting the bilateral relations. The 7th JVF is a major cooperative project of the countries' tourism sector.

The two-day event features more than 100 booths of 75 units. Art programmes and sporting events will be staged by artists from both countries./.

PM requests efforts to deal with floods in northern mountainous region

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has issued a dispatch asking competent localities to focus resources on dealing with consequences of floods and heavy rains in the northern mountainous region since April 16 that had claimed three lives in Van Ban district, Lao Cai province.

In the dispatch to the People’s Committees of the six northern mountainous provinces of Lai Chau, Yen Bai, Son La, Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang, the Central Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Control, National Committee for Disaster Response and Search and Rescue, and relevant ministries and agencies, the PM extended his condolences to families of the victims, and asked the local authorities to help locals fix houses and clean the environment, and provide them with food and essential goods.

He also asked the localities to keep a close watch on developments of floods and rains, and to review and assess the safety of homes, especially areas with a high risk of flash floods and landslides, while standing ready forces, vehicles, and equipment to deal with any circumstances that may happen.

The media will continue to provide information on developments of the natural disaster, damage, and response efforts, according to the dispatch./.

UNSC adopts two resolutions on Libya, talks integrity of non-proliferation regimes

Vietnam, President of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for April, chaired a videoconference on April 16 to announce Resolution 2570 and 2571 related to Libya, both adopted unanimously.

Resolution 2570 allows the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to support the ceasefire monitoring mechanism of October 23, 2020, in the country. It decides to deploy a UNSMIL ceasefire monitoring team which would require an initial maximum of around 60 civil personnel as recommended by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

The resolution welcomes the recent progress in Libya, especially the establishment of the Government of National Unity and the relevant sides achieving consensus about the date of elections, on December 24 this year.

It urges the Government of National Unity of Libya and the parties concerned to take the steps necessary for organising the elections on schedule. It also underscores the importance of implementing measures for the disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration of armed groups and the security sector reform in the country.

In Resolution 2571, the UNSC decides to renew the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the UNSC committee concerning Libya until August 15, 2022. It extends the authorisation of its previously imposed measures against the illicit export of crude oil and other petroleum products from Libya until 30 July 2022.

The Council further called on all parties to implement the ceasefire agreement signed on 23 October 2020 and urged its member states to respect and support full implementation of the agreement, including through the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya without delay.

Also on April 16, Russia and China held an Arria-formula meeting with other UNSC members to discuss the integrity of international non-proliferation regimes.

At this event, Ambassador Pham Hai Anh, deputy head of Vietnam’s permanent mission to the UN, stressed the need to augment efforts to fulfill obligations under the international treaties on non-proliferation and disarmament of weapons of mass destruction.

He held that treaty bodies and international organisations need to operate in line with international law, ensure objectivity and impartiality, promote international cooperation, and assist member states to realise their obligations.

To operate better, the personnel of international organisations need to meet the highest standards of professional knowledge and ethics and have knowledge about regional characteristics, Anh said, adding that it is necessary to create conditions for more representatives of developing countries to work at those agencies and organisations.

Vietnam-Germany strategic partnership flourishing in various areas: diplomats

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung and State Secretary of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office Miguel Berger co-chaired the sixth meeting of the two countries’ strategic management group held in the form of videoconference on April 16.

Deputy Minister Dung informed about Vietnam’s diplomatic orientations and policy after the 13th National Party Congress and highly valued Germany’s important role and stature in Europe and the world as a whole.

He affirmed that Vietnam wishes to further intensify and develop the strategic partnership with Germany, which was established in 2011.

Congratulating Vietnam on the success of the 13th National Party Congress, Berger lauded the country’s efforts in the COVID-19 prevention and control, noting that Germany attaches importance to Vietnam’s role in the implementation of its policy guidelines for the Indo-Pacific region, adopted by the German Government in September 2020.

The two officials shared the view that despite impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnam-Germany strategic partnership has been growing strongly and effectively in various areas such as politics, economy, development cooperation, education - training, science - technology, and security - defence.

The cooperation contents under the countries’ strategic action plan for 2019 - 2022 are being carried out on schedule, including the establishment of a joint committee for economic cooperation, activities within the framework of the dialogue on law-governed states, security - defence cooperation, and the Vietnamese - German University.

They noted that in 2020, when both countries were non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Vietnam was Chair of ASEAN, and Germany was President of the European Union (EU) in the last half of the year, they coordinated closely to help upgrade the ASEAN - EU ties to a strategic partnership and promote security, peace, climate, and COVID-19 issues, thus helping to deal with global concerns.

To further strengthen the Vietnam - Germany strategic partnership, the two sides agreed to jointly build a strategic action plan for the next period, increase contact and mutual visits at all levels, and step up collaboration in priority fields like politics, diplomacy, security - defence, trade, investment, development cooperation, renewable energy, digitalisation, and vocational training.

They agreed to boost efforts to connect and assist the countries’ businesses to seek investment and business opportunities in each other’s markets and fully tap into chances generated by the EU - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) to drive post-pandemic economic recovery.

Germany pledged support for Vietnam to enhance comprehensive cooperation with the EU, while pushing the ratification of the EU - Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) by the German parliament.

Meanwhile, Vietnam welcomed Germany’s initiatives to contribute to peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the Asia-Pacific region and also showed support for the EU nation to strengthen relations with ASEAN.

The two sides agreed to keep close cooperation and mutual support at international organisations and forums, especially the UN, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the ASEAN-EU cooperation.

At the meeting, the officials also discussed international and regional issues of common interest.

Both voiced their concern over the recent complex developments in the East Sea, reiterating the support for the settlement of all disputes by peaceful means and on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

State Secretary Berger added that his country backs ASEAN’s efforts to bring into play the bloc’s centrality and contribute to regional peace, stability, and prosperity./.

Localities urged to brace for super typhoon Surigae

The Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control has sent a dispatch urging provinces stretching from Quang Ninh to Ca Mau to stay ready to respond to super typhoon Surigae.

According to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, the super typhoon is operating in eastern waters of the Philippine with wind force gusting up to above category 17.

Surigae is the strongest typhoon on record for the month of April, surpassing Typhoon Maysak in 2015, among several others which had maximum sustained winds of 278 kph.

On the morning of April 18, the typhoon was situated at about 400 kilometers east of the central coast of the Philippines and is forecast to move along the Philippine coast in a northwest and north northwest direction.

This is a strong and very dangerous typhoon. In case of direction change, it will directly affect the East Sea, where many fishing boats are operating.

Coastal localities were asked to inform all offshore fishing vessels about the typhoon's development to find safe anchorage.

To be ready for emergencies, the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control asked  the local steering committees for disaster prevention and search and rescue from Quang Ninh to Ca Mau to keep a close watch on the typhoon’s developments.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes   

 
 

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