VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES JUNE 15

 Vietnam attends 15th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting

A Vietnamese delegation led by Minister of National Defence Sen. Lieut. Gen. Phan Van Giang attended the 15th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) which was held via videoconference on June 15.

Speaking at the event, Giang expressed his support for Singapore’s proposal to continue holding the ADMM Plus, which was launched in 2010 when Vietnam served as ASEAN Chair.

He said the mechanism helped enhance the sharing of opinions on defence and security strategies amid regional and global uncertainties, as well as reflected the commitment to promoting practical cooperation between armies of the regional nations and eight dialogue partners for the sake of peace, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

Chaired by Second Defence Minister of Brunei Maj. Gen. Pehin Datu Lailaraja Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Md Yussof, the meeting reached consensus on preparations for the 8th ADMM Plus and approved the organisation of informal meetings between ASEAN defence ministers and counterparts from dialogue partners this year.

Participants adopted the Bander Seri Begawan Joint Declaration marking the 15th anniversary of the ADMM towards building a bloc of peace and prosperity. It highlighted parties’ commitment to forging peaceful and constructive cooperation to turn the East Sea into a water of peace, stability and prosperity via full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), towards soon reaching a practical and effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Parties concerned also pledged to promote maritime security, safety and freedom to peacefully settle disputes in the East Sea.

In the declaration, ASEAN member states vowed to promote joint work to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic as instructed in the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and ASEAN defence ministers’ joint statement on collective response to the outbreak of the pandemic, including holding dialogues to share the best practices and lessons, seeking new forms of cooperation, including inter-pillar and inter-sectoral coordination, supporting ASEAN’s readiness to overcome public medical emergencies, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic, via the ASEAN Centre of Military Medicine and the Network of ASEAN Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defence Experts.

Ministers also highlighted the need to maintain and promote peace, security, stability, maritime and aviation safety and freedom. They welcomed initiatives to build trust such as the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), the Guidelines for Air Military Encounters (GAME), the ASEAN Direct Communications (ADI) and other activities within the framework of the DOC in order to enhance communications, foster mutual trust as well as mitigate tensions and risks of accidents, misunderstanding and miscalculations both in the air and at sea./.

Cafe blaze leaves six dead in Nghệ An Province

A fire in a cafe killed six people in Vinh City of central Nghệ An Province last night.

The fire destroyed the Fill Lounge on Đinh Công Tráng Street.

The six victims include four members of a family that owned the cafe. The father, mother and their two children were found on the first floor.

The other two victims were a mother and daughter who rented a room on the third floor.

The building was used as a cafe and house by the family. They also rented out rooms on the third floor.

At 00:05 on Tuesday, people living near the cafe heard an explosion and saw the fire and reported it to the local fire fighting force.

After receiving the information, the Fire Fighting and Rescue Police Department of Nghệ An Provincial dispatched seven fire trucks and firefighting forces to the scene to put out the fire.

Vinh City police were also mobilised to protect the scene and assist in extinguishing the fire.

When the firefighters arrived on the scene, the fire had grown to the entire first-floor area and was spreading to the upper floors, while smoke and toxic gas covered the whole house.

The house was locked and there were many flammable materials such as furniture and electrical equipment inside, making it difficult to put out the fire.

After 1 hour and 30 minutes, the fire was extinguished.

The fire destroyed the entire first and second floors of the lounge.

Nghệ An police have directed agencies to work with the Institute of Criminal Science of the Ministry of Public Security to conduct an examination of the scene and investigate the cause of the fire,  said Colonel Phạm Thế Hùng, director of the provincial police. 

Solidarity helping Vietnam win COVID-19 fight

The COVID-19 vaccine fund was officially launched on June 5 for vaccine purchases, research, and production. A vivid illustration of national solidarity, the fund was set up to ensure that no one stands apart from the fight against the pandemic.

With COVID-19 having wreaked havoc on Vietnam’s economy, it is necessary for the country to reach herd immunity quickly so that the population can live safely with the pandemic, and vaccines are key in doing so. In this context, the COVID-19 vaccine fund was launched and affirms the Government’s dogged determination to ensure that no one is left behind in the fight.

It is a source of great pride to see Vietnamese people respond enthusiastically to the fight, even the elderly and children. Many businesses stand ready to donate hundreds of billions of VND to the COVID-19 vaccine fund.

Vietnam has so far received commitments on acquiring 130 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine this year. Negotiations are underway between the Ministry of Health and its partners to realise the set goal of 150 million doses. The state has been working to remove bottlenecks in mechanisms and to mobilise all resources to obtain the vaccines as soon as possible.

Experts have said that Vietnam needs to secure 150 million vaccine doses to cover 70 percent of its population, and this will cost more than 25 trillion VND (1.09 billion USD). The establishment of the COVID-19 vaccine fund will help ensure sustainable financial resources for the country’s vaccination campaign./.

HCM City aims to complete in dozens of transport projects in 2021

HCM City People's Committee has issued a plan for transport infrastructure development for the 2021-2030 period.

By 2030, the city targets building an additional 652km of roads, 212km of railways and bus rapid transit, 365km of inland waterways, 81 bridge projects, 15 major intersections, and seven projects under the smart city programme.

In addition, the city expects to complete investment plans for highways and national highways connecting the city with provinces in the Southern Key Economic Zone.

By the end of this year, the city expects to complete four main roads in Thủ Thiêm New Urban Area, the Thủ Thiêm 2 Bridge, and the Đồng Văn Cống road expansion project.

In addition, the city will complete the upgrading of provincial road No 9, an overpass at the Eastern bus station, and the Vàm Sát 2 Bridge in Cần Giờ District.  

Total expected capital to implement all of these projects in 2021 is VNĐ137 trillion (US$6 billion), including about VNĐ63 trillion from the state budget, and VNĐ74 trillion from other sources.

UNICEF partnership brings equitable STEAM learning opportunities to Vietnamese children

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and US non-profit organisation STEAM for Vietnam Foundation on June 15 announced a new long-term partnership to provide children in Vietnam with equitable learning opportunities on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) related areas, both online and offline, which meet globally recognised standards.

This shared value partnership aims to close the digital gap and promote digital literacy opportunities for millions of children and adolescents in Vietnam, aligning with the government’s strategy for the next five years.

Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative in Vietnam, said that STEAM for Vietnam has mobilised some of the best minds to create a specific set of relevant, entertaining, open source, learning materials on areas where girls in particular have traditionally been left behind.

These relate to science, technology, engineering, arts and math and the learning approach used drives creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills and much more. Improving science, technology, arts and math outcomes for girls and boys is a core focus of UNICEF’s Reimagine Education approach in Vietnam, and thus the partnership will seek to extend the reach of these stimulating resources to every child everywhere, especially girls, she said.

In joining hands to drive digital literacy and skills for children at every age, STEAM for Vietnam and UNICEF will partner on the broader Reimagine Education goals that include connectivity and a digital device for every child to learn and thrive, Flowers said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tran Viet Hung, CEO of STEAM for Vietnam Foundation, said: “We believe that a strong foundation of STEAM education will play a critical role in the success of the next generation of Vietnam in the global marketplace. STEAM for Vietnam would like to bring state-of-the-art STEAM education to children in Vietnam aged 6 to 18 through advanced technologies, innovative education models, and teacher expertise. We are honored and excited to begin our journey with UNICEF with the aim of providing every child with equal opportunities in accessing world-class STEAM education for free”.

This joint partnership programme will contribute to nationally recognized online learning solutions and digital transformation of the education system in Vietnam.

STEAM for Vietnam Foundation was founded in May 2020, with a mission to bring world-class STEAM education to millions of young Vietnamese for free. In only twelve months, the foundation has been successfully developing the technology ecosystem, creating innovative educational content, and implementing novel education models to provide 20 thousand students across Vietnam with courses in computational thinking, computer science, and robotics and receiving great feedback from schools, families, and students.

The partnership aims to provide every child in Vietnam with an equal opportunity to access world-class STEAM education for free including a variety of programmes from fundamental courses to advanced courses. This summer, students can register for two courses - Introduction to Computational Thinking and Programming with Scratch and Introduction to Computer Science with Python for children from 8 to 16 years old. The classes will be on Sunday mornings from June 27 to August 15, 2021, and taught by software engineers who work in tech giants. Students interested in the courses can register at www.steamforvietnam.org./.

Party leader in talks with Sri Lankan president

Việt Nam and Sri Lanka have agreed to continue building stronger bilateral ties as both countries recover from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agreement was reached during a phone call between Party chief Nguyễn Phú Trọng and Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday. 

The Vietnamese leader said Việt Nam is willing to work with Sri Lanka in the fight against COVID-19.

The two countries will take measures to boost ties and work together at regional and international forums as well as to promote ties in trades, investment, defence and the fight against climate change. 

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES JUNE 15

Donations to COVID-19 vaccine fund amount to 5.08 trillion USD so far

The national COVID-19 vaccine fund has received more than 5.08 trillion VND (221.34 million USD) worth of donations from 296,215 organisations and individuals as of 5pm on June 14, according to the fund's management board.

The Ministry of Finance, which is in charge of the vaccine fund, said the fund-raising campaign is being effective, obtaining a large amount of donations.

Vietnam needs 150 million doses of vaccines to administer about 75 percent of its population this year, with total cost amounting to 25.2 trillion VND. The State budget has so far prepared more than 14 trillion VND to cover expense and is short of some 11 trillion VND.

The ministry said said that it will publicise the amount of donations the fund receives every day along with the spending of money from the fund for the purpose on its recently launched website./.

Vietnam Buddhist Sangha presents COVID-19 test kits to Nepal

The Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) on June 14 presented 2,000 COVID-19 test kits worth 600 million VND (26,000 USD) to Nepal to aid the country’s COVID-19 fight.

The donations were handed over to the Government and people of Nepal via Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador to India and Nepal Pham Sanh Chau.

Venerable Thich Nguyen Chinh, deputy head of the Office of the VBS Central Committee, said the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed thousands of lives and caused major economic losses to Nepalese people. The donations from the VBS shows affection of Vietnamese Buddhist monks and followers for the Nepalese, he said, adding that the VBS hopes Nepal will soon keep the pandemic at bay.

The VBS also raised fund for Nepalese people in 2015 after the country was hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake./.

Vietnam stops granting, re-granting household registration books from July 1

The Ministry of Public Security has just issued a manual for cases with scrapped household registration books and temporary residence books at Circular No.55 from July 1.

Particularly, local residence registration offices will revoke such books and modify and update information in the residence database following the Residence Law but not re-grant them.

The new regulations apply for residents who do procedures on household registration , temporary residence registration, information adjustment on residence database, separation of household registration book, removal of residence book registration and temporary residence book registration, extension of temporary residence, removal of residence registration leading to a change in the information in the above books.

Over US$157 mln poured into upgrading national highway

According to Mr. Luu Viet Khoa, Vice Director of Project Management Board No.2 under the Ministry of Transport (MoT), the board is going to implement the investment and upgrading project of National Highway 19 (NH19) connecting Binh Dinh Province’s Quy Nhon Port and Le Thanh Border Gate in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai with a total capital of over VND3.6 trillion (nearly US$157 million) from official development assistance (ODA) and the World Bank capital.

There are a total of eight bidding packages in the 143-kilometer long project.

As planned, the investor will start work on the first bidding package with a capital of VND400 billion (US$17.4 million) this month and the rest bidding packages will be implemented until the end of 2023.

The National Highway 19 will be upgraded into a level 3 plain road with a road surface width of 11 meters and a speed limit of 80 kilometers per hour upon completion.

The National Highway 19 was constructed before 1975, being a vital route connecting the South-Central region with the Central Highlands, the Vietnam-Cambodia border and the Southern provinces of Laos.

After the Reunification Day (on April 30, 1975), the route has continuously been upgraded to meet the demand of transporting goods and traveling; however, it is currently damaged, causing unsafe traffic.

Deo Ca Group seeks to develop expy linking Can Tho, Hau Giang

Deo Ca Group has proposed investing in an expressway linking Can Tho City and Hau Giang Province in the Mekong Delta region under the public-private partnership format, at a total cost of VND8 trillion.

Speaking at a recent meeting with the Hau Giang government, the Deo Ca Group presented two solutions to implement the Can Tho-Hau Giang expressway project, but selected the solution wherein the project will be 37 kilometers long, start at the intersection of National highway 91 and Nam Song Hau Street and end in Vi Thanh City in Hau Giang Province.

The expressway is part of the Can Tho-Ca Mau expressway project, which runs through Can Tho, Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau and helps connect the Eastern North-South Expressway. As planned, the Can Tho-Ca Mau expressway will be executed in the 2021-2025 period.

In the first phase, the Can Tho-Hau Giang expressway will have four lanes and a speed limit of 80 kilometers per hour. When it enters the completion phase, the expressway will allow a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour and be 24.5 meters wide.

Thu Thiem Bridge 2 expected to be finished in 2nd quarter of 2022

The main span of Thu Thiem Bridge 2 over the Saigon River connecting District 1 and Thu Thiem Peninsula in District 2 is expected to be connected in September while the construction of the project is scheduled to finish in the 2nd quarter of 2022. 

Currently, the done work volume of the construction project of Thu Thiem Bridge 2 reached more than 70 percent.

The cable-stayed bridge has six lanes and a total length of 1,465 meters, with the main section stretching 885.7 meters. The main tower is 113m high, towards the Thu Thiem area.

The construction of Thu Thiem 2 Bridge project started in 2015 with total investment capital of VND3, 082 billion ($134.7 million).
The project is now back on track after a long halt due to site clearance issues at the Ba Son factory area and completing legal procedures, said the work’s investor, Dai Quang Minh Real Estate Investment JSC.

Infectiologist explains possibility of Covid-19 illness after full vaccination

Following the news of 53 health care workers at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases being infected with Covid-19 after full vaccination, hospital former director Professor Tran Tinh Hien said that no vaccine remained 100 percent effective against severe diseases.

However, according to the infectious disease specialist, vaccination is of great important strategy in the fight against coronavirus pandemic.

According to Professor Hien, the Hospital for Tropical Diseases is the southern metropolis's frontline facility in the Covid-19 fight. Moreover, this will be the medical facility for Covid-19 in the city, which means that the hospital will admit more Covid-19 patients.

A protective effect seen in AstraZeneca recipients reaches 61 percent effectiveness after 28 days. This is a survey conducted by RT-PCR on 159,930 adults aged 70 years and over in the UK between December 2020 and February 2021 when the B1.1.7 strain was emerging.

Citing the conclusion of the document published in The Lancet, an independent, international weekly general medical journal, on December 8, 2020, Prof. Hien said that the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine is safe and effective, giving good protection.

According to Professor Hien, the Hospital for Tropical Diseases needs to minimize the spread to health care workers’ relatives, friends and especially to patients in the hospital. The power of vaccines is undeniable as vaccination has been reducing infection cases in the US, the UK, Israel and the only way to get out of the pandemic is to get a good quality vaccine as much as possible.

Vaccination helps patients infected with Covid-19 not become serious or succumb to the disease. Moreover, vaccination helps keep the rate of infected people without symptoms at 50 percent- 60 percent. Therefore, vaccination is a key to reach herd immunity.

Made-in-Vietnam Covid-19 vaccine yields good result

According to the Ministry of Health, locally-produced vaccines are entering different stages of clinical trials, including Nanocovax in the third phase. The Ministry revealed made-in-Vietnam vaccine trial yields very good results.

Due to the urgent demand in the fight against Covid- 19, the National Council for Ethics in Biomedical Research has allowed the third phase trial of the Nano Covax vaccine to evaluate its trial results. Around 13,000 volunteers get jabs in phase 3 of human trials of home-grown Nano Covax vaccine to evaluate its effectiveness.

Associate Professor Ho Anh Son, Deputy Director of the university’s Institute of Biomedicine and Pharmacy revealed the Military Medical Academy and the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City each will inject 500 volunteers in the early time of the third phase of the NanoCovax vaccine trial while 12,000 volunteers will receive their second shot later.

As per schedule, by mid-September, after about 42 days of the second injection of the first 1,000 volunteers, related parties will evaluate the vaccine effectiveness. If the result of the trial is good, they will submit a document to the Government, the Ministry of Health, and the National Council for Ethics in Biomedical Research for approval.

Director of the Military Medical Academy Prof. Dr. Do Quyet said that the prior trials showed the vaccine was safe and vaccinated volunteers had antibodies against the coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health also announced the second trial of the COVIVAC vaccine developed by the Nha Trang Institute of Vaccines and Biologicals will be conducted in the Northern Province of Thai Binh adding that the Nha Trang Institute of Vaccines and Biologicals can make about 6 million doses of COVIVAC vaccine a year.

The Ministry of Health has established a steering committee to help and support domestic producers in Covid-19 vaccine technology transfer. One Covid-19 vaccine producer has discussed and negotiated with a manufacturer in the United States about technology transfer for the production of the Covid-19 vaccine from mRNA essence.

mRNA Covid-19 vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infection is high for full immunization with one dose. This producer can make 100-200 million doses a year, and it is expected to start production from the fourth quarter of 2021 or the first quarter of 2022.

Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No.1 (Vabiotech) has been negotiating with a Japanese partner to soon receive the transfer of vaccine production technology.

Vabiotech also signed an agreement with the Direct Investment Fund of the Russian Federation on the packaging of Covid-19 vaccine tubes Sputnik-V from semi-finished products with a scale of 5 million doses a month, starting from July 2021. The company orientates towards production technology transfer of 100 million doses annually.

Vietnamese Ministry of Health has approved the emergency use of Covid-19 vaccine Comirnaty developed by U.S.-based firm Pfizer.

Company fined US$47,848 for breaking wastewater discharge regulations

The People's Committee of the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau Province has issued a fine of VND1.1 billion (US$47,848) on Blue Bay Seafood Company in Cai Nuoc District for violating environmental regulations on wastewater discharge.

This company was fined VND608 million for discharging wastewater above the allowable regulations. In addition to the above fine, Blue Bay Company was asked to suspend its activities in six months and hire other environment companies to treat the environment within 30 days.

Before, Blue Bay Company had received an administrative fine of VND522 million for over-discharging waste causing environmental pollution in June 2020.The company had to pay a total of more than VND1.1 billion.

In related news, the People's Committee in An Giang Province in the Mekong Delta region has just issued an administrative fine of VND370 million on Chau Viet Long Company which fell foul of the environmental regulations. In addition, the company was forced to treat environmental pollution and report the results of its work within 30 days.

 

Chau Viet Long Company has discharged its untreated wastewater in the local fish wholesale market into the Hau River for a long time. Worse, the company has not collected domestic waste produced from market activities causing stagnation and pollution in the sewer and the area under the river.

The company was requested not to discharge untreated wastewater into the water source. However, the company has still sold seafood and secretly discharged untreated wastewater into the Hau River.

Vietnam Festival of Creativity & Design 2021 underway

The Vietnam Festival of Creativity & Design (VFCD) 2021 kicked off on June 14, offering a venue for sharing diverse creative experiences, promoting connection among those interested in and passionate about creativity and design.

The event, which lasts until July 18, is organised by RMIT University in Vietnam, in collaboration with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the Vietnam National Institute of Culture & Arts Studies (VICAS) and COLAB Vietnam.

As part of the festival, VFCD Graphic Design Contest 2021 themed “Key visual & creative merchandise” hasbeen launched for the first time, running from June 14 to August 3.

The contest challenges young participants to define and express a strong presence for VFCD 2021 under the theme “Creative future: how the cultural and creative industries enhance the social and economic development of Vietnam and promote the smart development of Vietnam’s major cities”.

The contest is open to students, creative practitioners and those who express their interests in Vietnamese culture and creativity aged 18 to 30.

It allows participants to submit their designs as individuals or groups of maximum three members.

The assessment is based on five criteria including creativity, innovation, symbolic thinking, branding orientation and inspiration./.

Ben Tre province to plant 10 million trees in five years

The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre is expected to plant 10 million trees from now to the end of 2025 under a programme recently issued by its People’s Committee.

The tree planting programme for 2021 - 2025 aims to raise all-level authorities and local people’s awareness of and sense of responsibility towards afforestation, environmental protection, and mitigation of climate change impacts.

Of the 10 million trees to be grown, more than 8.2 million trees will scatter in urban and rural areas while nearly 1.8 million others covering more than 369ha will concentrate in protection and commercial forests. They include woody, perennial, and multi-purpose trees and others of the mangrove forest, with priority given to indigenous species.

The programme is set to be carried out at a total cost of nearly 167 billion VND (7.3 million USD), financed by private sources, the local budget, and through some public investment programmes and projects planned for the five-year period.

Between 2016 and 2020, Ben Tre planted 4.2 million scattered trees and over 163ha of concentrated forest, data of the provincial People’s Committee showed.

The local forestry land area under forest now stands at almost 4,368ha, including 1,884ha of special-use forest, 2,128ha of protection forest, and 355ha of commercial forest.

Vietnam is working on a project to grow 1 billion trees nationwide between 2021 and 2025. They will include 690 million trees in urban and rural areas, and 310 million others in protection, special-use, and production forests.

This 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 country’s sustainable development./.

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES JUNE 15

Vietnam, Canada agree to expand cooperation in various spheres

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son on June 14 held phone talks with his Canadian counterpart Marc Garneau, during which he said Vietnam highly values Canada’s efforts in enhancing its relations with ASEAN and Vietnam.

Son congratulated Canada on its successes in containing COVID-19, and thanked the country for its support to Vietnam in dealing with the consequences of natural disasters in the central region and fighting the pandemic, especially in access to COVID-19 vaccines.

For his part, Garneau said Canada attaches importance to the bilateral ties, and wants to deepen the Canada-Vietnam comprehensive partnership.

He also applauded Vietnam’s efforts in controlling COVID-19, as well as the close coordination between the two countries in the fight against the pandemic over the past time.

The minister reiterated Canada’s commitment to help Vietnam and other countries in the region to secure COVID-19 vaccines via the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, the COVAX Facility, and the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund.   

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son on June 14 held phone talks with his Canadian counterpart Marc Garneau. (Photo: VNA)
The two ministers highly evaluated the fruitful development of Vietnam-Canada relations in many fields, especially since the two countries elevated the bilateral relations to the comprehensive partnership in 2017.

Despite adverse impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way trade still reached 5 billion USD in 2020, up 31 percent before the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) took effect.

Towards the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties (1973-2023), the two ministers agreed to take concrete measures to promote relations as directed by the two Prime Ministers during their phone talks on May 19, 2021, including the exchange of delegations at all levels and the regular maintenance of cooperation mechanisms between the two foreign ministries.

The two sides agreed to expand collaboration in many fields, especially in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting Vietnam's access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Vietnam and Canada will strive to raise two-way trade to 8 billion USD in the next two years and encourage their businesses to take advantage of opportunities brought by the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, while strengthening cooperation in education, finance, digital economy, innovation, sustainable development, clean energy, response to climate change and cooperation between localities.

The two ministers also discussed the international and regional situation, including the East Sea issue, affirming the significance of observing international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They also agreed to continue working together closely at regional and international multilateral forums such as the United Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the International Organization of the Francophonie./.

Vietnam treasures ties with Sri Lanka: Party chief

The Communist Party of Vietnam and the Vietnamese State always treasure the traditional friendship and fruitful cooperation with Sri Lanka, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has said.

The Party chief made the affirmation during his phone talks with President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa on June 14.

He recalled President Ho Chi Minh’s stop-over in Sri Lanka 110 years ago as part of the late leader’s journey to seek ways for national salvation.

The Party General Secretary expressed his hope that under the leadership of President Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka will reap more achievements in development, and soon contain the COVID-19 pandemic and restore the national economy.

Vietnam stands ready to share experience with Sri Lanka in the pandemic combat, he said.

The Party leader suggested the two countries work to enhance their mutual understanding and trust, and step up all-level meetings and exchanges, adding that Vietnamese and Sri Lankan agencies should utilise existing mechanisms to promote collaboration in politics, economy, investment, trade, agriculture, national defence and security, science-technology, culture and education.

At the same time, the two nations should continue with mutual consultations and support at regional and international organisations, he added.

For his part, President Rajapaksa congratulated Trong on his election as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, and lauded achievements the Vietnamese people and Party have attained over the past years under his leadership.

Sri Lanka wants to continue close coordination with and is willing to back Vietnam at international forums, the President said, noting his hope that the two sides will forge their cooperation to overcome the present challenges such as diseases and climate change, while expanding cooperative areas to serve economic recovery after the pandemic./.

Fish farmers hit hard by reservoir's unstable water levels

Hundreds of households that raise fish in cages on the waters of Hoà Bình hydropower reservoir have struggled in recent years due to unstable water levels.

Since Hoà Bình hydropower dam blocked the water flow in 1986, communes in Phù Yên District of Sơn La Province have had a water surface area of ​​up to 3,076ha which helped the local people living near the reservoir develop the fisheries industry.

Since 2010, many households in the communes of Tân Phong, Bắc Phong, Tường Phong, Tường Tiến, Tường Hạ and Nam Phong have switched to caged fish farming.

Like many other local households, Lường Văn Đức's family in Hạ Lương Hamlet of Tường Phong Commune started the caged fish farming in 2012.

Initially, he raised fish for his family’s daily needs, but when he saw the large market demand, his family borrowed capital to scale up.

Now, he has six fish cages and raises about 10,000 fingerlings including trout, grass carp, tilapia and bream.

The fish are raised with feed made from local agricultural byproducts such as grass, banana leaves, corn and cassava. This makes the fish flesh firm and delicious so traders in many places come to buy his wares.

However, from 2019 to now, every year from February to June, the water level in the reservoir has been low, so Đức and other fish raisers have had to move the fish cages to deeper water areas.

Worse still, from July, floods bring mud and soil and lead to a decrease in oxygen in the water, causing the sudden death of many fish.

Đức said: “Caged fish farming was the main source of our family's income.”

“But fish farming depends on water resource, so it has been greatly affected in recent years,” Đức said.

“Currently, the water depth in Hoà Binh reservoir at my fish farming location is only 7m as compared to 15-20m in past years,” he said.

Tường Phong Commune has a total natural area of ​​more than 52sq.km but most of the agricultural land is hilly, infertile and eroded by rains and floods so it is difficult to farm on, so caged fish farming has become key to local economic development.

Currently, the commune has 219 fish cages with a total output of 220 tonnes of fishes.

Due to the low and rapidly receding water level in the reservoir, commune authorities have asked breeding households and co-operatives to move cages to deeper water areas to reduce damage.

Cầm Văn Thống, the commune People’s Committee vice chairman, said that the commune had encouraged the development of cage fish farming for three villages.

But at present, faced with the unstable water source of the reservoir, the commune would guide people to change the structure of their breeding stock, Thống said.

He said the focus would be on building nursery areas for fish to reach a certain weight and then raise them in cages to limit damage, he said.

Meanwhile, in Tường Hạ Commune, in previous years, local people had stable incomes from raising caged fish in the reservoir.

But with the water level is unstable and decreasing sharply in the last 2-3 years, cage fish farming has been seriously affected.

Every year, the number of breeding households and the number of cages decrease. The number of cages dropped to 14 this year from 28 in 2020.

Despite his stable income of VNĐ50 million (US$2,200) per year from caged fish farming and experience learnt over the past 10 years, Lò Quang Huy in Khảo Hamlet of Tường Hạ Commune could not avoid losses due to erratic fluctuations of water level in Hoà Bình reservoir.

In 2018, Huy's family lost more than VNĐ70 million (US$3,000) from fish farming.

In the past two years, he has reduced the number of fish and changed some fish varieties to adapt to the seasonal water environment and deal with the disadvantages of water level changes.

Huy said: “With the current situation, I have to regularly monitor the changes of the water levels to move cages in time to avoid losses.”

He has tried to maintain the business because all his money is tied up in farming.

Phù Yên District currently has more than 3,350ha of water surface capable of aquaculture.

For the past 10 years, caged fish farming in the reservoir has brought high economic efficiency and made local people's lives better. However, the instability of the water source has significantly affected the fish farming process.

Bạc Cầm Thị Xiêng, head of the Phù Yên Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the district has 600 fish cages and the goal was to reach 800 by 2025.

However, cage fish farming was currently facing difficulties due to unstable water levels, so the breeding period was now only 6-7 months, leading to low yields, Xiêng said.

In addition, when the water in the reservoir receded, the agricultural sector was not informed, leading to breeders finding out too late to move cages and harvest their fish, she said.

To help fish farmers minimise losses, the department recommended relevant offices notify local authorities about reservoir water discharges, she added. 

Nghệ An COVID-19 patient suspected of failing to declare travel history honestly

Vinh City Police in the central province of Nghệ An on Monday morning launched criminal proceedings against a 22-year-old hairdresser who was confirmed to have COVID-19 on the same day but did not co-operate with authorities when providing her personal contact and travelling history.

She was the first COVID-19 case reported in the province after it had gone 38 straight days without community cases.

The woman from Sơn Trường Commune, Hương Sơn District in the central province of Hà Tĩnh lives on Hà Huy Tập Street in Vinh City.

She reportedly had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in Hà Tĩnh Province.

Despite visiting places across Vinh City, she failed to provide honest information to authorities, hindering efforts to trace suspected cases and isolate affected areas.

Information technological tools were used to identify places the woman visited in the last few days. Authorities found many differences between her actual travel history and what she declared earlier.

More than 100 police officers and other forces are at checkpoints to isolate part of Hà Huy Tập Ward while health workers are testing residents living in the area the woman lives in. 

Seminar teaches parents how to protect children

Vietnamese children might be enjoying their early summer holidays, but parents are concerned about the safety of their kids while they go about their daily business. 

To solve this problem, the Department of Child Affairs under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), Research Centre for Management and Sustainable Development (MSD) and Child Rights Governance Network, held an online seminar to teach parents and caregivers how to prevent accidents and injuries as well as respond to any unfortunate situations.

Speaking at the event on Sunday, Nguyễn Trọng An, former deputy director of the Department of Child Affairs, said accidents happen mostly in and around the house, with the most common drowning.

"We often think that the house is a safe environment, but in reality, there are many potential risks,” he said. 

Tragic accidents could occur if children play with electric plugs, detergents or medicines, he added.

He noted that the role of the family in child protection and building a safe house is extremely important.

"A child-safe house will provide parents with knowledge and ways to detect the risks of accidents for children in the house," said An.

According to Đặng Hoa Nam, Director General of the Department of Child Affairs, people need to realise the importance of protecting children.

"We always ask the locality not only to offer condolences but to find out why the children drowned in order to have solutions to protect children,” he said. 

Creating a safe physical environment for children and ensuring a safe environment in the family and community is very important.

Many children die every year from drowning or falling from a height due to adults' carelessness and ignorance, said Nam.

Children, parents and family members also need to learn safety skills. 

Building skills for families to prevent accidents and first aid knowledge is very important, he said, adding that sanctions should be promoted to protect children in families and communities.

"Child protection is not only part of a five-year or 10-year national programme, but it's the work of every family and each person," Nam said.

Ensuring the safety of children is not only the responsibility of parents and carers but also the responsibility of the whole community, according to Nguyễn Hải Anh, an expert from MSD.

Every parent must be an example for their children in obeying safety regulations and help them to form good habits, she said.

At the seminar, speakers also shared more about how to prevent drowning accidents among children - the leading cause of death for children in the summer.

Nam said knowing how to swim is important for children to protect themselves. 

Children need to learn to swim safely and be equipped with safety skills in the water environment. 

The number of children who die by drowning in Việt Nam is 10 times higher than in other developing countries. Drowning claims the lives of more than 2,000 children each year in Việt Nam, according to MoLISA.

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

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES JUNE 14

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5,000 residents in Vinh City put under lockdown due to suspected coronavirus case

 
 

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