Vietnamese, UK organisations cooperate in addressing post-war bombs, mines

Vietnamese, UK organisations cooperate in addressing post-war bombs, mines hinh anh 1

The Vietnam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC) and the Mines Advisory Group Vietnam (MAG Vietnam) on October 7 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in building and enhancing capacity in tackling post-war bombs, mines and unexploded ordnances in Vietnam.

The MoU is a basis for MAG to share technical expertise with VNMAC through training, developing effective quality management system, organising field visits, thus creating opportunities to help both sides develop stronger.

Addressing the signing ceremony, MAG Vietnam’s Director Helene Kuperman highlighted the important support and cooperation of VNMAC, the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence, and central and local authorities where MAG are operating, saying that these laid a foundation for positive results that MAG has achieved in addressing post-war bombs, mines and unexploded ordnances in the country.

VNMAC General Director Tran Trung Hoa stressed that the MoU marks an important milestone in the official cooperation relationship between the two sides in order to join hands in overcoming the consequences of landmines left from the war in the territory of Vietnam, and is an important premise for the two sides to specify their cooperation plans.

Hoa thanked other countries’ governments, international organizations, non-governmental organisations, domestic and foreign individuals and domestic and international communities for their positive contributions to the settlement of post-war bombs and mines in Vietnam in the recent time.

He expressed his hope to receive more coordination and support from individuals and organizations in this regard in the time to come.

MAG is a non-governmental organisation that conducts humanitarian demining activities in areas where war has occurred or is currently taking place. The organization’s work has helped more than 17.7 million people in conflict-affected communities in over 40 countries since 1989, giving them greater safety and the opportunity to rebuild their lives, livelihoods and futures.

In Vietnam, MAG began its activities in central Quang Tri province in 1999. It expanded its operations to central Quang Binh province in 2003.

MAG also completed a two-year project in the central province of Quang Nam from 2012 to 2014. Currently, MAG is continuing to operate in Quang Binh and Quang Tri – the most contaminated provinces in the Southeast Asian nation./. 

Uruguay wishes to promote FTA with Vietnam: Ambassador

There remains room for Uruguay and Vietnam to enhance trade exchanges, Ambassador of Uruguay Raúl Juan Pollak Giampietro has said.

In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) just a few days after he presented his credentials to President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the ambassador said that he would do his best to promote bilateral ties and that Vietnam’s planned opening of its embassy in Montevideo and a free trade agreement will be the best solutions to strengthen the relationship between the two countries, especially in the field of economy and trade.

He hoped that Uruguay's key products, especially beef, could penetrate the Vietnamese market while consumers in the South American country would have access to Vietnamese goods such as electronic products, rubber, fruits and coffee.

The ambassador invited Vietnamese businesses to attend Expo Prado, held every August in Uruguay, to introduce Vietnam’s potential products to South American companies.

He said that the two countries will hold a meeting of the Uruguay-Vietnam Joint Committee on economic, trade and investment cooperation next week, and conduct a political consultation in November.

Raúl Pollak expected that Uruguay and Vietnam will increase exchanges between the legislative bodies and cultural exchanges between their people, in addition to cooperation in the field of sports, especially football that Uruguay has strengths.

The diplomat also highly evaluated timely solutions the Vietnamese Government has taken in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, including policies to ensure social security and support workers affected by the pandemic.

He proposed strengthening cooperation between the two countries to deal with the impacts of the pandemic, such as exchanging information and experience in COVID-19 prevention and control as well as economic recovery solutions.

Receiving Raúl Pollak on September 30 who came to present his credential, President Nguyen Xuan Phuc suggested both sides create favourable conditions for Vietnam’s products to access the Uruguay market. He also proposed Uruguay assist Vietnam in penetrating the MERCOSUR market.

Trade turnover between Vietnam and Uruguay currently reaches 100 million USD./.

Cities' university students win Canadian award for nanotechnology to make herbal pesticides

The Nanoneem project by the namesake team from HCM City’s International University and Foreign Trade University in Hà Nội that uses nanotechnology to produce herb-based pesticides to enable green agriculture has won the first prize in the 2021 Social Business Creation competition, a cash award of 30,000 Canadian dollars (US$23,743) and a 4,200-dollar scholarship.

The Social Business Creation is an annual global competition to promote social business creation organised by HEC Montréal Canada, a public business school, and Prof Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi who won the Nobel Peace prize in 2006.

The project was led by Dr Dương Nguyễn Hồng Nhung, a lecturer at the university's School of Biotechnology.

She said 73 per cent of pesticides in Việt Nam contain hazardous compounds, leading to 3,000 cases of pesticide poisoning in the first half of 2011. The root cause is that there is no access to effective bio-pesticides at reasonable cost in the country, she said.

“We want to collaborate with many other projects in green agriculture to stop using poisonous plant protection chemicals. We also need more policies from the Government to develop green agriculture.”

The competition attracted 265 teams from 80 universities from 24 countries.

Mitsubishi Asian Children’s Enikki Festa calls for entries

The Department of Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibition on October 7 announced regulations of the illustrated diary contest Mitsubishi Asian Children’s Enikki Festa 2021-2022, calling for entries from children aged between 6-12.

The Mitsubishi Asian Children’s Enikki Festa invites children in Asia to create illustrated diaries (Enikki) that portray daily events and thoughts in the form of a picture and a short essay. The goal of the Festa is to use Enikki as a very effective means to promote cross-cultural understanding of each other’s lives and cultures and, eventually, to work for the promotion of cultural exchange among children of Asia.

This time, Enikki’s theme is “Here Is My Life.” Children are invited to paint and write anything in their daily lives that they have done, seen or felt, such as festivals, favorite pastimes, families and friends or something that happened at school, in order to introduce their daily lives and cultures to other children throughout Asia.

Entries of Vietnamese children can be sent to the organising board (Department of Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibition) at 38 Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh, Hanoi from November 23-30.

The organising board of the Vietnam contest will select one Grand Prix Award. The winner of the award will be invited to take part in a tour to Japan. Other big prizes include one Mitsubishi Public Affairs Committee’s Award, one Asian Pacific Federation of UNESCO Clubs and Associations’ Award, and one National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan’s Award and four excellent awards.

These eight outstanding works will be sent to compete at the Asian contest./.

Việt Nam logs 4,150 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday

A total of 4,150 new COVID-19 infections were registered in Việt Nam on Thursday, 209 cases fewer than the day before.

Việt Nam’s COVID-19 caseload now stands at 826,837, of which 822,238 are the result of the fourth wave of infections that began in late April.

HCM City and Bình Dương, the two biggest hotspots in the country in recent months, continue to record the highest daily case count at 1,730 and 840 respectively.

The remaining new infections were detected in Đồng Nai (589), An Giang (186), Tây Ninh (84), Long An (84), Kiên Giang (83), Tiền Giang (56), Khánh Hòa (51), Đồng Tháp (45), Đắk Lắk (36), Cà Mau (36), Bình Thuận (32), Cần Thơ (30), Hậu Giang (30), Hà Nam (24), Quảng Trị (22), Bạc Liêu (22), Trà Vinh (21), Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu (19), Đắk Nông (14), Quảng Bình (13), Quảng Ngãi (13), Gia Lai (13), Ninh Thuận (11), Vĩnh Long (10), Bến Tre (10), Kon Tum (9), Thanh Hóa (5), Hà Tĩnh (4), Quảng Nam (4), Nam Định (4), Yên Bái (3), Hà Nội (3), Bình Phước (2), Bình Định (2), Phú Yên (1), Đà Nẵng (1), Nghệ An (1), Bắc Ninh (1), Vĩnh Phúc (1), Phú Thọ (1), and Bắc Giang (1).

Among the new cases, only three were imported and the rest were local transmissions. A total of 1,986 new infections were recorded in the community.

An additional 120 COVID-related deaths were announced today in HCM City (92), Bình Dương (19), Đồng Nai (3), Cần Thơ (2), Bến Tre (1), Tiền Giang (1), Đắk Nông (1), and Long An (1). Việt Nam has had 20,223 COVID-19 fatalities to date, or 2.4 per cent of the total cases.

More than 5,600 patients nationwide are in serious condition, according to the Ministry of Health’s report, with 745 requiring invasive ventilation and 23 on life support (ECMO).

There were also 1,402 patients given the all-clear on Thursday, bringing the total numbers of recoveries to 758,488.

Ten out of 63 provinces and cities have not detected any new infections in the last 14 days. They are Bắc Kạn, Tuyên Quang, Lai Châu, Hòa Bình, Hà Giang, Thái Nguyên, Điện Biên, Hải Phòng, Thái Bình, Lào Cai.

Almost 50 million vaccine doses have been administered in Việt Nam to date, with over 12 million people fully inoculated. 

Mông orphan accepted to Hanoi Medical University

Living life without both parents since he was just nine years old, teenager Xồng Bá Hùa from the Mông ethnic minority group wouldn't let his loss stop his education.

He passed the National High School Graduation Exam with flying colours, and was admitted to the Hà Nội Medical University.

“Not long after my parents died, my then six-year-old sister became sick," Hùa told Sức khỏe & Đời sống (Health and Life) online newspaper.

"She was in pain, but we could not afford treatment. All I could do was cradle her in my arms and cry.”

That unforgettable memory ignited Hùa’s ambition of becoming a doctor, to one day treat impoverished kids such as himself in the remote commune of Mường Lống in Kỳ Sơn District of central Nghệ An Province.

As his grandparents and relatives were so poor, Hùa and his sister were sent to the SOS Orphanage in Vinh City, Nghệ An. The teenager remembered that Saturday in 2012 like it was yesterday. 

His uncle cried after he left both children at the orphanage gate, with a word of advice: “Get educated and come back to help the village.”

The siblings were then allocated to House No 14, where they were nurtured by Trần Thị Bình.

“We both cried a lot in the first week,” said Hùa. “But mama Bình was so kind to us, as were all the other orphans. It was because of that help that my sister and I could adapt to our new lives.”

When he started school, Hùa was not fluent in Vietnamese, and that hindered him from catching up with his classmates. The thought of giving up did cross his mind but quickly disappeared whenever he recalled his uncle’s advice.

“If my friends stayed up until 9pm to study, I must stay up until midnight. My efforts must be ten times greater to follow my dream and help my village in the future,” said Hùa.

Staying true to his words, Hùa stayed up every night until late, with mama Bình by his side teaching him both Vietnamese and general studies. The teenager gradually caught up and eventually surpassed his peers. After grade nine, Hùa left House No14 and moved into the orphanage’s dormitory, living on his own.

Living in the dorm, Hùa impressed everyone by his will and commitment to study. He would try to study anywhere, anytime, and even sat next to his peers just to attend an online class that he was not able to afford.

Phạm Ngọc Hòa, in charge of the dormitory, recalled: “Knowing his commitment to studying, we asked schoolteachers to tutor Hùa for free. I also found Hùa hundreds of model tests for him to practise. His results were so good, I was certain that he would pass the exam and fulfill his dream of becoming a medical student.”

Hòa said he was proud of Hùa, but was also worried that the child neglected his own health.

“During the 12th grade, some days he did not sleep, did not eat, just study," Hòa said.

"He was in the hospital for a week because of exhaustion. He was the last to go sleep and the first to wake up every day.”

In the National High School Graduation Exam, Hùa scored 8,25 in Chemistry, 8,4 in Mathematics, and 8 in Biology, with an additional 2,25 bonus points that added up to 26,9 in total. This result guaranteed that Hùa would be admitted to the Hà Nội Medical University, majoring in Medical Testing Technology.

Lê Bá Lương, SOS Vinh Orphanage director, said: “Hùa’s record is the orphanage’s record. This is the first time in 30 years that one of our orphans made it to the Hanoi Medical University.”

Hùa’s high school teacher at Hermann Gmeiner High School in Vinh City, congratulated the teenager, saying: “In all of my joy as a high school teacher, this is one of the most precious memories that I will hold dearly. My little Hùa has achieved his dream!”

A teary-eyed Hùa recalled the time he received his test results, as he was harvesting corns with his grandfather: “Grandpa and grandma were so happy, they hugged me and cried all the time,” he said.

Knowing he didn’t have one, his relatives bought him a new laptop as a gift. “It’s been so long since I saw my family this happy,” said the university freshman.

Surprised and touched by the love that his family gave him, Hùa vowed to try his hardest at university, and not let his family down.

Hydropower tunnel collapse kills two workers in Lai Chau

A hydropower tunnel suddenly collapsed on October 6 during construction taking place at the Nam Cum 3 hydropower plant in the northwestern province of Lai Chau, with two deaths being confirmed following the incident.

Kieu Hai Nam, vice chairman of the administration of Muong Te district, said on October 7 that the accident occurred in the early hours of the morning the previous day, with the victims being brought to hospital, where unfortunately they later passed away.

Moving forward, families of both victims residing in Bac Kan and Ha Giang provinces are set to be assisted with VND80 million each.

The cause of the incident is currently under further investigation.

Nam Cum 3 hydropower plant has a scale of 45 MW and investment capital of VND1.8 trillion, with its main investor being Muong Te Electrical Development Joint Stock Company.

Dispatch on transportation of residents to hometowns issued

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam on October 7 signed a dispatch on arranging transportation of residents wishing to return to their hometowns.

In order to continue pandemic prevention and control measures and ensure their safe movement, the Prime Minister asked centrally-run cities and provinces to continue following his directions in the Government Office’s dispatches dated September 30 and October 1. Accordingly, the work must be done quickly and smoothly, and congestion in checkpoints must be prevented.

Localities that are yet to control the pandemic but already stopped imposing distancing measures under Directive No.16 need to continue persuading residents to stay there while providing support for them and resuming safe production and trade.

For those wishing to return to their hometowns, localities must inform authorities of their destinations to organise the transportation.

Relevant cities and provinces are responsible for ensuring smooth transportation and offering assistance if necessary.

Destination localities were urged to receive the returnees and implement pandemic prevention and control measures in line with regulations.

The Health Ministry was asked to give priority to allocating vaccines to localities that receive many residents from pandemic-hit areas, as well as work with the Ministry of Defence to increase human resources to support the coronavirus fight./.

Vietnam reveal squad for AFC U23 Asian Cup qualifiers

Coaches of Vietnam’s U22 team on October 7 announced a lineup of 26 players who will take part in the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup qualifiers in Kyrgyzstan.

It is worthy of note that five of them are members of the national men’s football team which are playing at the final round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers, namely goalkeeper Nguyen Van Toan, defenders Nguyen Thanh Binh, Bui Hoang Viet Anh and Le Van Xuan, and midfielder Ly Cong Hoang Anh.

After Vietnam’s match against the hosts Oman in the World Cup qualifiers on October 12, these five footballers will return to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to join their teammates of the U22 team.

Other members will fly to the UAE on early October 8 to begin their training session there.

Vietnam’s U22 squad are set to play two friendly matches against Tajikistan on October 11 and Kyrgyzstan six days later.

The team will wrap up its training session in the UAE and travel to Kyrgyzstan on October 21.

In Group I of the U23 Asian Cup qualification round, Vietnam will play Chinese Taipei on October 27 and Myanmar on November 2./.

Dong Nai to reopen many activities

The southern province of Dong Nai, one of Vietnam’s Covid-19 hotspots, plans to resume many activities and services from this weekend.

Under a draft plan issued by the provincial Covid-19 Prevention and Control Steering Board, hairdressing salons, electronics and home appliances and mechanics services, stores, bookstores and sports activities would be allowed to reopen from October 9.  

According to Nguyen Thi Hoang, vice chairwoman of the local people’s committee, gatherings of more than 10 people are banned for sports activities.

Local people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or given one shot of Covid-19 vaccine after 14 days or those who have recovered from the diseases within six months are permitted to travel. But, they need to use QR code which shows their vaccination history.

At present, the province has maintained only 24 Covid-19 check-points in areas which are near HCM City, Binh Duong, Lam Dong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

Meanwhile, areas which still have Covid-19 infections have to be closely supervised.

Vo Van Chanh, party secretary of Bien Hoa City, has proposed the pilot quarantine at home for Covid-19 patients and people who have close contact with them.

Int’l seminar spotlights India - ASEAN culture - civilization connectivity

An international scientific seminar on India – ASEAN culture – civilization connectivity opened in Hanoi on October 7.

Co-hosted by the Vietnam Institute of Indian and Southwest Asian Studies (VIISAS) under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS), and the ASEAN - India Centre (AIC) under the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), the two-day event is being held in both online and offline forms to promote bilateral cultural diplomatic activities and further bolster their relationship.

In his opening speech, VASS Vice President Prof. Dang Nguyen Anh described culture as a pillar in the framework of 3C (connectivity, commerce, culture) between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in which culture - civilization connectivity has laid a foundation to share trust and common values about religions, languages, arts and ethnicity.

Today, culture and civilization connectivity has been evidenced more clearly by economic and political integration, and strategic coordination in regional and global issues towards common security and inclusive growth in the Indo-Pacific, he said.

Experts at the event discussed different aspects of bilateral culture - civilization connectivity and State management in the field, as well as orientations and tasks for the next period.

They highlighted the importance of connecting education, the youth and the network of museums in Southeast Asia to restore India –ASEAN culture - civilization heritages in the contemporary world.

The participants also debated ways to uphold bilateral culture - civilization connectivity, helping to consolidate the collective power of both sides for the sake of harmonisation, development and prosperity./.

Charity kitchen inside university gives meals to patients and frontline workers

Lecturers at the Faculty of Tourism – Vietnamese Studies, Nguyễn Tất Thành University (HCM City), established a kitchen inside the university to provide meals for patients and frontline medical workers.

Phạm Phúc Lợi, a fashion photographer and lecturer at the faculty, said the initial intention was to establish a kitchen inside the university to provide food for students who have been stuck in the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

But gradually, the members realised that the patients and frontline doctors also needed food, and decided to increase the number of meals to hundreds of boxes per day.

This charity kitchen has been operating for more than two months, with the initial number of members totalling only seven people who are lecturers of the Faculty of Tourism – Vietnamese Studies.

"Most are only familiar with words, lesson plans and teaching. So being in the kitchen to cook nearly one hundred meals a day is really very stressful and difficult for us,” Lợi said.


Seeing everyone's meaningful work, Lợi persuaded seven members of his family to join the kitchen. Since then, the kitchen's productivity has increased to 300 meals per day.

During the city's lockdown period, to ensure the safety of members, all members of the kitchen must stay away from their families, living on campus.

"Cooking for one family is not easy. Fourteen people cooking 200-300 meals a day, over the past two months, has been really hard,” he said.

But all members have never complained, everyone wholeheartedly wants to contribute delicious meals to helping patients and frontline doctors.

“We hope that patients will get well soon after their treatment," said the young lecturer.

In order to deliver meals to hospitals in the afternoon, the members had to start at 6am. They buy materials, cook rice, prepare food, then pack the dishes in boxes and transport them.

"From morning to noon, we cooked and prepared food. Early afternoon is the time for packing, delivering meals, cleaning and sanitising the kitchen," according to Lợi. 

At the end of the afternoon, all members played badminton and other sports in the schoolyard.

In the evening, the members gathered in the schoolyard to prepare vegetables, process ingredients and pack sauce for the next day.

Apart from the volunteer work at the kitchen, when the new school year started, the lecturers had to get back to online teaching.

Every day, teachers swapped roles to meet their teaching schedule and the work of the kitchen.

"The kitchen is busy, but everyone reminds each other to speak quietly so that other teachers can still teach," said the young lecturer.

While working in the volunteer kitchen, Lợi often thought of fun activities, such as listening to the radio together or discussing social issues.

He also wrote funny and witty messages on the food boxes by hand.

"Wishing and encouraging everyone to be optimistic, get well soon, and be strong to overcome difficulties – a positive spirit helps people beat the illness," he said.

He took advantage of the 45-minute lunch break to write each line on the boxes.

He wrote lines of folk songs or sayings to keep people's spirits up, like: “Who brings a bowl of soft and fragrant rice. Please share in the days of COVID”, and "The cook does not have a partner, the eater is single, we make an appointment when the pandemic ends."

Lợi said: “Every day I write on about 30 boxes out of a total 300 being delivered in the city. In each large bag with 20 meals, there are at least two boxes with good wishes.”

“Many people want more boxes with messages, but I don't have enough time," the photographer said.

As he witnessed so much pain and loss in the city during the devastating pandemic, Lợi always thought about how to create positive energy and share love with everyone.

He said that just sending a little more care would be a great source of encouragement to those who were struggling with the virus every day.

When the city authorities began to ease COVID restrictions on October 1, the chefs can go home and rest for a while.

Vietnam attends 9th Meeting of Council of ASEAN Chief Justices

Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam Nguyen Hoa Binh attended the 9th Meeting of the Council of ASEAN Chief Justices (CACJ) which was held virtually on October 7 by the Supreme Court of Indonesia.

The meeting is an annual event hosted alternately by supreme courts of ASEAN members to review the implementation of tasks in the past year and discuss plans for the upcoming time.

As President of the CACJ for the 2020-2021 tenure, Binh chaired the opening ceremony and a session adopting the minutes of the previous meeting of the council and electing its new head.

He underscored that since the CACJ was established in 2013, the council has affirmed itself as a significant political institute of ASEAN and greatly contributed to the development of the region at large and each member nation in particular, especially in protecting people’s interests for justice.

Member countries have stayed united and supported each other in fulfilling the goals of the CACJ, he added.

Binh handed over the CACJ presidency to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Indonesia Muhammad Syarifuddin, after the latter was elected as President of the CACJ for the 2021-2022 tenure.

At the meeting, delegates discussed methods to realise ideas and initiatives put forth at the previous events, along with the regional situation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, difficulties and challenges facing the CACJ and member countries’ supreme courts in particular, and solutions to remove these difficulties and challenges./.

National film festival on traffic safety launched

The National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC) and Toyota Motor Vietnam Co. Ltd. on October 7 jointly launched the national film festival on traffic safety 2021.

This year, the film festival will focus on the theme of raising the efficiency of law enforcement to ensure traffic safety.

Agencies, organisations, and Vietnamese citizens currently residing in the country are eligible for the contest.

Award-winning movies will be uploaded to the organising board’s Fanpage, in which the audience will vote for the top 5 most favourite works.

The award ceremony is slated for January next year in line with COVID-19 preventive measures.

This is the third year that Toyota Motor Vietnam has joined hands with the NTSC in holding the national festival on traffic safety.

The biennial event has been organised since 1996./.

HCM City assists over 2.4 million workers affected by COVID-19

The Ho Chi Minh City Federation of Labour announced on October 7 that it has spent over 1.39 trillion VND (60.4 million USD) as relief aid for 2.4 million trade union members, workers, civil servants, labourers and their children affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the city.

The federation offered meals to more than 15,200 workers in 119 firms working under “three-on-site” model at a total cost of over 15.2 billion VND, assisted 127 trade union cadres and 843 children of affected workers with a funding of 476.9 million VND.

Since the pandemic outbreak, the city has recorded 623,000 trade union members, workers, civil servants and labourers who received support in line with Resolution No.09 by the municipal People’s Council, and 44,380 others in accordance with the Government’s Resolution No.68 at a combined cost of more than 1 trillion VND.

As many as 200,000 welfare bags worth 40 billion VND were also handed over to those affected by the pandemic.

The federation’s social work centre also received over 317.4 tonnes of food and necessities valued at more than 18.6 billion VND from cities and provinces nationwide, and sent them to workers.

More than 1.5 million people also benefited from meal and cash support worth over 213.89 billion VND from trade unions at the grassroots level.

Trade unions at all levels also helped farmers consume nearly 604 tonnes of fruits and vegetables, held “zero Vietnamese dong” stalls for COVID-19 patients, offered remote health care consultancy and presented protective suits and masks to hospitals and front-liners./.

ASEAN urged to bolster cooperation in COVID-19 vaccination, mental health

Brunei's Second Foreign Minister Erywan Mohd Yusof called on all ASEAN members to step up cooperation in the vaccination drive against COVID-19, and in addressing mental health issues, reported the Bernama news agency.  

He made the call during his special address at the 2021 ASEAN Leadership and Partnership Forum held virtually on October 7,  themed “Rebuilding ASEAN Towards Sustainable Recovery”. 

Erywan, who is also ASEAN Special Envoy to Myanmar, said this will contribute to looking towards community-building measures to ensure that the welfare of ASEAN people is protected, both physically and mentally.

While it is reassuring to see many countries in the region embarking on extensive programmes to vaccinate their population, there were many who have yet to reap the same benefits.

Hence, accelerating the efforts to ensure equitable access to safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for all in a timely manner is crucial, he said.

He reiterated that vaccination is a gateway to being able to open up the economies and connect the region by facilitating to the best extent possible essential movement of people, including business travel and tourism.

What is less visible, however, but equally as important is the fact that the pandemic has affected the mental health and well-being of adults, youth, and children alike, he pointed out.

The Brunei minister called for early actions to address this issue as the region may see a mental health crisis that is far bigger than this pandemic in 10 to 15 years.

Therefore, ASEAN looks forward to the adoption of the East Asia Summit (EAS) leaders statement on mental health cooperation at the upcoming EAS, Erywan underlined, adding that ensuring the health and well-being of the people is essential in determining the path to a sustainable economic recovery./.

Vietnamese-Belgian painter uses wavelength prints to depict life in Vietnam

Vietnamese-Belgian artist Thy Nguyen Truong Minh opened his solo exhibition in Brussels recently, displaying artworks depicting life in Vietnam.

The black-and-white artworks were created with wavelength prints on do (Poonah) paper, a brand-new painting technique. Some of the artworks portray his grandparents, while some others illustrate his memories about Vietnamese villages with water buffaloes and bamboo trees, chopsticks in Vietnamese meals, and others. 

"I was born and raised up in Belgium. I want to learn about my roots, where my grandparents and parents were born. That is why I use wavelength prints to depict life in Vietnam’s countryside, " said artist Thy Nguyen Truong Minh. 

Thomas Grivegnee,  an exhibition goer said: "Through the paintings made by Thy, I have better understanding of his family’s past and Vietnam as well."

It is the fourth exhibition by Thy in Belgium.

He has a degree in Fine Arts, visual and spatial, from Brussels-based ERG School of Graphic Research. Born in the Belgian capital city in 1982 to Vietnamese parents, he later decided to live between Brussels and Ho Chi Minh City.

He is also co-founder of “La centrifugeuse” or “May xay sinh to” (The centrifuge), an international art programme involving art schools jointly conducted by French-speaking Belgian community in Wallonie-Brussels and Vietnam in HCM City.

He is also a lecturer in visual arts at HCM City University of Fine Arts./. 

Citizen protection measures taken for Vietnamese worker in Saudi Arabia

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is taking necessary measures to ensure the rights and legitimate interests of a Vietnamese female worker who died in Saudi Arabia, said the ministry's spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang on October 7. 

Speaking at the ministry’s online regular press conference, Hang revealed that the ministry has received information from the Embassy of Vietnam in Saudi Arabia that a Vietnamese female worker born in 1996 in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak died on July 8 this year while being treated at Saudi Arabia’s North Medical Tower Hospital.

Upon receiving the news, the Vietnamese Embassy actively contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and competent agencies of Saudi Arabia to verify relevant information and join hands with the enterprise sending the worker to carry out necessary citizen protection measures.

“The Foreign Ministry has worked with domestic competent agencies and local authorities to inform and assist the bereaved family with necessary procedures,” Hang said.

She added that the ministry has also asked the Vietnamese Embassy to closely collaborate with competent agencies in the Middle East country to promptly complete relevant procedures, thereby ensuring the rights and legitimate interests of the Vietnamese citizen./.

Vietnam aims for safe treatment of 100 percent solid waste in 2050

The Vietnamese Government has set a goal to raise the rate of solid waste collected and safely treated to 100 percent in 2050 as part of the freshly approved national strategy on green growth for 2021-2030 with a vision to 2050.

Overall, the strategy aims at restructuring the economy in connection with renewing the growth model to achieve economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, social equality towards a green economy, carbon neutrality, and contributing to limiting global warming.

Per the strategy, by 2050, 100 percent of urban areas will have their drainage systems completed to remove the possibility of flooding. All waste water will be treated following technical standards.

In special-class and first-class municipalities, public transport will handle at least 40 percent and 15 percent, respectively, of passenger volumes.

Meanwhile, by the time, at least 45 urban areas will ratify and implement their own master plans on developing green growth city.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the previous national strategy on green growth for 2011-2020 helped raise public awareness about the significance of green growth after eight years of implementation. Measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions were carried out widely, resulting in a reduction of 12.9 percent reduction in such emissions compared to the normal development scenario.

Energy consumption per unit of GDP declined by an average of 1.8 percent each year, while 46.9 percent of businesses targeted cleaner production by 2020 compared to 28 percent ten years earlier. In particular, outstanding loans funding green growth stood at nearly 238 trillion VND (10.36 billion USD) by 2018, or 235 percent higher than the figure in 2015./.

Communication campaign looks to reduce plastic waste

The information portal and communication campaign “Joining hands to reduce plastic waste” made debut on October 7 at

The communication campaign is part of activities within the pilot project “Initiative to establish a supermarket alliance to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic bags in Vietnam” (Plastic Alliance).

It is an initiative of the project “Rethinking Plastics – Circular Economy Solutions to Marine Litter” funded by the European Union and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and supporting a transition towards a circular economy for plastics to reduce plastic waste leakage into the sea.

Fanny Quertamp, Senior Specialist of the "Rethinking Plastics" project, affirmed that, within the framework of the project, the EU and the German ministry will stand side by side with Vietnam in efforts to reduce ocean plastic waste, by encouraging supermarkets and consumers to change their habits in order to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags.

The communication campaign has been implemented from October with various forms of communications expected to bring the most effective influences to promote changes in behaviours of the whole society./.

Vietnam chooses sustainable approach to development: Minister

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha affirmed that Vietnam chooses the sustainable and active approach to development in the direction of green and circular economy while addressing the fourth Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific on October 7.

The Vietnamese official said that the forum, along with the 5th United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) and other events such as UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) and the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15), is taking place in the context when the earth is facing the most serious ever challenges due to the climate, environment, natural ecology and COVID-19 crisis.

This is the result of an unsustainable growth model of humankind, which is affecting all countries and nations.

Minister Ha held that it’s time to put the recovery of the nature and ecologies at the top place in political, diplomatic and economic agendas, considering it as the criterion and moral standard in the behaviour towards the nature from highest leaders to all people at grassroots level.

Vietnam defines that sustainable development should be based on the foundation of balanced natural ecosystems and the respect for the rules of nature, he stressed.

Minister Ha called on all countries to reach consensus in mindset and perspectives on issues related to the climate change crisis and ecosystem collapse.

Along with policy tools and laws on the environment, issues related to climate change and natural resources management and environmental protection should be made indispensable and decisive criteria in economic policies.

Jointly held by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the fourth Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific included a high-level dialogue on strengthening actions for nature to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific, and discussions on reports from senior officials of countries.

At the forum, the ministers and authorities gave opinions on a draft report of the Senior Officials Meeting of the Fourth Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific as well as a draft document on outcomes of the Ministerial Segment of the forum regarding policy viewpoints and commitments following the 5th United Nations Environment Assembly theme of “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific”./.

Major marathon races in Hanoi delayed due to COVID-19

VPBank Hanoi Marathon 2021 is delayed to December 26 and even March 6 next year if the COVID-19 pandemic remains complicated in the capital city, according to the Vietnam Sports Administration under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The plans came up after organisers consult with relevant agencies, including the Vietnam Athletics Federation (VAF) and leaders of Hanoi, with priority given to ensuring safety of participants.

VPBank Hanoi Marathon 2021 was initially slated for October 24, then postponed to December 26 due to impacts of COVID-19.

In 2020, as Vietnam took the role as Chair of ASEAN, the race has been selected as the official marathon of the 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship and launched with a new name: "VPBank Hanoi Marathon ASEAN 2020".

Sponsored by the Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank), the race is Vietnam's leading professional marathon which has been held annually in October in Hanoi and the only official marathon event of the city.

It has been accredited by the World Athletics, officially certified by Grade A Measurers of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) and affiliated with the Vietnam Athletics Federation (VAF). Through the marathon, 200 non-professional runners will be selected to run in the 31st SEA Games marathon.

Since September 28, Hanoi has allowed local residents to do outdoor exercise.

Meanwhile, Longbien Marathon 2021, an annual running tournament in Hanoi and one of the largest marathons in Vietnam, has been delayed to December 12.

The race has opened for registration since February 13. Only after one week, Longbien Marathon 2021 received over 3,000 registrations./.

Stamp collection issued to celebrate 50 years of UPU International Letter Writing Competition

The Ministry of Information and Communication on October 6 released a stamp collection celebrating the 50th anniversary of the UPU International Letter Writing Competition.

The stamp collection has one stamp designed by artist Pham Quang Dieu of the Vietnam Post, with blue being the main color. A stylised number 50 representing the 50 years of the UPU International Letter Writing Competition is featured on the stamp along with the UPU logo and the globe which has five colours representing the five continents.

The design is intended to symbolise the unity of children across the globe in participating in the competition.

In 1971, the Universal Postal Union and UNESCO launched the UPU International Letter Writing Competition. Each year, the competition will take on a different topic. After 50 years, the competition has become an annual event, attracting youngsters all over the world.

Vietnamese children have participated in the competitions since 1987, bringing home two first, two second, six third and five consolation prizes.

The stamp "Celebrating 50 years of the UPU International Letter Writing Contest" has a face price of 4,000 VND and is officially available on the postal network from October 9, 2021 to June 30, 2023./.

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



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