VIETNAM NEWS JANUARY 19

Public security force enters “new ready” status to ensure safety for 13th National Party Congress

VIETNAM NEWS JANUARY 19
The Ministry of Public Security has made thorough preparations with hundreds of plans to ensure security and safety for the 13th National Party Congress.


The Ministry of Public Security has made thorough preparations with hundreds of plans to ensure security and safety for the 13th National Party Congress starting on January 25, its spokesman Maj. Gen. To An Xo told the Vietnam News Agency in a recent interview.

To protect one of the country’s most important events, Xo said since June 2019, the entire public security force has considered the guarantee of absolute security and safety for the Congress as a key task. It outlined an overall plan and nine specific plans to deal with all possible cases of terrorism or public disturbance.

Efforts to ensure security and safety have been carried out not only in Hanoi but also in all provinces and cities nationwide and in all aspects. Crackdown on crimes and close management of foreigners and illegal entries into Vietnam were launched, together with inspections on fire prevention and control, thus creating a safe and healthy environment for the Congress.

Xo added that at a rehearsal on January 10, the ministry directed new contents with the participation of new special-purpose combatant means, including holding the first parade of cavalry mobile police, anti-terrorism drill and protecting guards, which not only reflected the public security force’s power and determination but also their thorough preparations for possible contingencies.

Following the launching ceremony, the public security force nationwide entered the “new ready” status to protect security and safety of the Congress. They will stay on duty at the highest level in all units and localities. Armed patrols to discover crimes and law violators will be held with higher frequency, especially at complicated areas, and even on the cyber space.

According to Xo, the force issued a number of plans to ensure cyber and information security, actively fight and reject wrongful and hostile allegations, counteract malicious, wrongful and fake news. Such measures will be taken before, during and after the Congress./.

COVID-19: A Costa Rican confirmed as patient in Vietnam

The Ministry of Health on January 18 confirmed an additional two coronavirus patients, including a Costa Rican, who came to Vietnam to work.

The Costa Rican expert, 59, arrived in Vietnam on flight KE394 from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. He was quarantined and sampled for COVID-19 testing upon his arrival at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on January 16.

The result of the test on January 17 showed he had carried the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease.

He was then transferred to the Hanoi-based Hospital of Tropical Diseases for medical observation and treatment.

The other patient, a 28-year-old Vietnamese man, tested positive after returning to the country from the United States.

The man was said to transit through the Republic of Korea and land at Da Nang International Airport in central Vietnam on January 13.

He is now receiving treatment at the Restricted Area designated for COVID-19 patients at Da Nang Lung Diseases Hospital.

As of 18.00hrs on January 18 Vietnam has recorded a total of 1,539 COVID-19 patients, including 846 imported cases returning from coronavirus hit countries.

The same day, 22 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospital after making a full recovery from the disease. They raised the total number of recoveries to 1,402.

Of the remaining cases, 32 patients have tested negative at least once.

The number of deaths caused by COVID-19 and related illnesses in Vietnam remains at 35, according to the Ministry of Health.

Greetings on Vietnam - China diplomatic ties anniversary

Leaders of Vietnam and China have exchanged greetings on the 71st anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic relations (January 18, 1950 - 2021).

Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan exchanged messages with Chinese Party General Secretary and State President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu.

On this occasion, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, who is also Chairman of the Vietnam - China steering committee for bilateral cooperation, exchanged greetings with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Chairman of the China - Vietnam steering committee for bilateral cooperation.

China was the first country in the world to establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam. In 2008, the two countries agreed to establish the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, the highest cooperation framework in Vietnam's relations with other countries in the world./.

Vietnamese citizens advised to avoid countries with new COVID-19 variant

Vietnam has recently warned its citizens not to travel to places that have confirmed cases of the latest novel coronavirus (COVID-19) variant, with the next strain thought to be up to 70% more transmissible.

Many Vietnamese citizens overseas have registered to return to the homeland to escape COVID-19 and to celebrate the traditional lunar New Year holiday. But only those in urgent need will be considred. 

Citing recent warnings about the new variant by the World Health Organisation, the Consular Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam has recommended that local citizens severely restrict travel to any countries that have detected the new variant for safety reasons.

The Consular Department has therefore suggested that Vietnamese citizens contact relevant diplomatic missions abroad or call a citizen protection hotline in the event that their relatives require help.

As of January 21, the VOC202012/01 variant has already been reported in at least 50 countries worldwide, including Vietnam, after initially emerging from the UK in September, 2020.

The individual in the nation who tested positive for the new variant is a 44-year-old female Vietnamese citizen who returned from the UK on December 22, 2020, and was immediately placed into quarantine upon her arrival.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc recently decided to restrict flights aimed at repatriating Vietnamese citizens left stranded overseas due to COVID-19 until after the Lunar New Year. Any repatriation flight must be proposed by a number of ministries, with PM Phuc ultimately granting permission.

National annual figure for labour productivity set to rise by over 7.5%

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has recently issued a master plan aimed at improving productivity based on utilising science, technology, and innovation for the 2021 to 2030 period, under which the annual target for average labour productivity is expected to surge by over 7.5 % by 2030.
 
The plan aims to make productivity into an important driving force for development across all sectors, largely through the application of new renewal achievements in science, technology, management systems, and tools that help to improve productivity.

This scheme underlines the need to fulfill national science and technology tasks, whilst providing support to local firms in research, innovation, technology transfer, and application in an effort to enhance productivity and total-factor productivity based on science, technology, and innovation.

In line with the plan, between 30 and 35 centrally-run provinces and cities will complete their own plans to improve productivity based on science, technology, and innovation, while five to seven groups and corporations will deploy the implementation of productivity plans.

Furthermore, at least 500 small and medium-sized enterprises of centrally-run cities and provinces will launch pilot projects focusing on productivity improvement./.

Vietnam responds to World Wetlands Day

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) has asked other ministries, agencies and localities to take action in response to World Wetlands Day (February 2).

In a document issued on January 18, the MONRE ordered stepping up the communications work to raise public awareness of the significance of wetlands, and called for efforts in preserving and using wetlands sustainably.

It also suggested integrating wetland preservation into programmes, planning schemes and development projects.

World Wetlands Day 2021 highlights the contribution of wetlands to the quantity and quality of freshwater on the planet. Water and wetlands are connected in an inseparable co-existence that is vital to life, human wellbeing and the health of the planet.

The campaign is also an occasion to commemorate the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971.

The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. It aims to stem the progressive encroachment on and loss of wetlands at present as well as in the future.

As the first Southeast Asian nation to become a member of the Ramsar Convention in 1989, Vietnam has rolled out various activities to protect and use wetlands wisely, and built a legal corridor on wetland management.

So far, nine wetlands in the country have been recognised as Ramsar sites – wetlands of international importance – namely Xuan Thuy National Park, Bau Sau Wetlands and Seasonal Floodplains, Ba Be National Park, Tram Chim National Park, Mui Ca Mau National Park, Con Dao National Park, Lang Sen Wetlands Reserve, U Minh Thuong National Park, and Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve./.

New puppetry show promises fresh experience of Vietnamese culture

VIETNAM NEWS JANUARY 19

The Hanoi-based Vietnam National Puppetry Theatre has launched an experimental art programme named “Trang” (The Moon) that features different types of puppetry to offer the audience a new experience of the Vietnamese culture.

Director of the theatre Nguyen Tien Dung said the moon symbolises beauty and peace and is very familiar to every people. It is also an endless source of inspiration for poetry, music, and literature.

Hence, his idea is to use the image of the moon, the combination of land and water puppetry, and traditional music to create a contemporary art show that introduces the culture of Vietnam’s ethnic groups, from the north to the south.

He added that the performance is expected to become a must-see for tourists, helping them understand more about the unique Vietnamese culture.

Tickets for the show will be sold starting February 8, Dung noted./.

Thailand records new COVID-19 cases

Thailand's Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) reported 369 new cases on January 18, mostly through active testing in Samut Sakhon province.

Of the new cases, 357 were domestic infections while 12 others were imported cases.

A total of 269 local infections have been detected in Samut Sakhon, mostly being migrants.

Thailand has so far confirmed 12,423 coronavirus infections, including 10,134 domestic cases.

As many as 9,206 COVID-19 patients have fully recovered and been discharged from hospitals while 3,147 others are being treated in hospitals. The country's death toll from the coronavirus stands at 70./.

Indonesia records nearly 4,000 deaths from disasters, pandemic since start of 2021

Disasters and the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic have claimed nearly 4,000 lives in Indonesia since the start of this year, according to the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas).

Sriwijaya Air’s passenger plane coded SJ 182 en route from Jakarta to West Kalimantan’s Pontianak crashed into the sea on January 9, killing 62 people onboard.

The same day, a landslide occurred in Cihanjuang of West Java’s Sumedang district, claiming 32 lives while eight others went missing.

Flooding in South Kalimantan three days later submerged at least 10 districts and cities. Five people were killed as of January 17.

A number of earthquakes and aftermaths hit Majene district and the coastal city of Mamuju in West Sulawesi on January 14-15. The death toll has risen to 81, including 70 in Mamuju.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities has been on the rise. From the beginning of 2021 to January 17, Indonesia logged additional 164,731 cases.

The Ministry of Health on January 18 announced that the country has reported a total 917,015 cases, with 26,282 deaths./.

Singapore to resume Shangri-La Dialogue this year

The annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore will take place this year after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Singaporean Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen has said.

The Shangri-La Dialogue will resume this year, as more effective safety measures against COVID-19 are in place and vaccinations ongoing, he said in a social media post.

The event is scheduled to be held from June 4-6 by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

Neither the expected format nor number of attendees has been revealed.

Launched in 2002, the defence forum has attracted heads of state, high-ranking military officials, diplomats and weapons makers from around the globe./.

Thousands join blood donation festival in Hanoi

VIETNAM NEWS JANUARY 19
Many young people donate blood at the Chu nhat đo2021 (Red Sunday) blood donation festival at Hanoi University of Technology.

Thousands of people, mainly youngsters and students, participated in “Chu nhat do 2021” (Red Sunday) blood donation festival, which opened at the Hanoi University of Technology in the capital city on January 17.

With the theme "Donating blood to save people - Your Life and My Life", the annual event is organised by Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper, the National Steering Committee for Traffic Safety and the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusions (NIHBT).

The annual event has become a meaningful humanitarian activity on a national scale, aiming to handle blood shortages during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

Speaking at the event, Le Xuan Son, Editor-in-Chief of Tien Phong newspaper, Head of the Red Sunday 2021 organising committee, said that this year's Red Sunday was held early and will end later than every year with an aim to collect more blood for emergencies and treatment during and after the coming Tet.

“Since the end of November 2020, a series of blood donation festivals have been organised in 33 localities of 19 provinces and cities across the country. As of January 16, the 13th Red Sunday has received more than 27,000 blood units. We expect to receive at least 50,000 blood units at 80 localities of 43 provinces and cities nationwide,” said Son./.

Tourist arrivals to Hue monuments slump in 2020

Tourists visiting Hue monuments in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue sharply fell to over 1 million last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in revenue of more than 106 billion VND (4.6 million USD), down 72.62 percent year on year.

The figures were released by the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre on January 17.

Service revenue slumped by 75 percent to 4.9 billion VND.

The central province is expected to become a cultural, tourism and health care centre in Southeast Asia by 2030, and a festival city of Asia by 2045.

e is also set to become one of the country’s hubs in the fields of science, technology, multidisciplinary education and training, and national defence-security.

During the 2021 -2025 period, Thua Thien-Hue will work to earn the status of a centrally-run city and complete the expansion of Hue city before 2022 as planned./.

Indonesia: Another 4.2-magitude quake shakes West Sulawesi

Another earthquake, measuring 4.2 magnitude, shook Majene district, West Sulawesi of Indonesia, on January 18, four days after a 5.9-magnitude quake jolted the central province.

The tremors could be felt in the coastal city of Mamuju.

According to the Indonesia Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency (BMKG), the epicentre was at the depth of 10km, and 16km to the east of Majene.

Since January 14, Mamuju and Majene have been repeatedly struck by quakes and subsequent aftershocks.

A 6.2-magnitude quake on January 15 claimed 81 lives and injured more than 820 people. It has also forced about 28,000 people to flee their homes to seek safety.

Indonesia, one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth, straddles the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide and large portion of the world’s volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

In 2018, a devastating 6.2-magnitude quake and tsunami struck the city of Palu, further north in Sulawesi, killing thousands of people./.

COVID-19 pandemic worsens in Philippines, Indonesia

The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) on January 18 reported 2,163 new daily (COVID-19) cases, the highest in more than two months in the Southeast Asian country.

The last time the daily new cases in the Philippines exceeded the January 18 number was on November 8, 2020, which stood at 2,442.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines surged to 502,736 so far.

The death toll climbed to 9,909 after 14 more patients died from the disease, the DOH said. It added two more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 465,988.

The Philippines, which has about 110 million population, has tested over 6.84 million people since the disease emerged in January last year.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 9,086 in the past 24 hours to 917,015, with the death toll adding by 295 to 26,282, the Health Ministry said on January 18.

According to the ministry, 9,475 more patients were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recoveries to 745,935.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread to all the country's 34 provinces./.

HCM City hosts numerous activities during Tet holiday

VIETNAM NEWS JANUARY 19
An artisan introduces his works which are being on showcase at the main gate area of the flower road in HCM City


The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has planned a panoply of activities to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) festival, which falls on February 11-17 this year.

Of note, get-togethers with overseas Vietnamese and the foreign diplomatic corps in the city are set to be held on February 4 and 6.

Meanwhile, a ceremony to offer flowers and incense to late President Ho Chi Minh and President Ton Duc Thang will take place on February 8.

Fireworks will light up the sky at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve on February 11.

Flower festivals will be arranged at District 1’s Tao Dan Park and District 7 from February 6-17, with more than 3,000 exhibits being showcased.

A book street festival and flower road will be organised along Nguyen Hue pedestrian mall from February 9 to 15.

Also to mark the occasion, local authorities presented aid packages totalling 813 billion VND (35.07 million USD) to more than 550,000 policy beneficiaries, people who rendered service to the nation, Heroic Mothers, poor families, the elderly, and those hit by the pandemic.

Celebrations must follow guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19./.

HCM City works to ensure food safety, steady prices during Tet

Food companies in the southern largest economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City have enough stocks to meet demand during Tet in mid-February, Trieu Do Hong Phuoc, head of the HCM City People’s Council's Committee for Economy and Budget, has said.

Municipal authorities have stepped up inspection of food sold at wholesale markets to ensure safety during the festival, he said.

Pham Khanh Phong Lan, head of the city’s Food Safety Management Board, said the board would closely monitor food production, processing, distribution, and import-export establishments.

This year it plans to set up 20 teams of inspectors to check 8,187 establishments besides carrying out surprise inspections of those suspected of violating safety and hygiene regulations.

A delegation from the People's Council’s Social and Cultural Committee will inspect food and agricultural products at wholesale markets such as Binh Dien, Binh Tay and Binh Tien.

Cao Van Thanh, deputy head of the Binh Tay Wholesale Market Management Board, said the market administration is seeking to raise tenants’ awareness of food safety and hygiene requirements.

Those inspector teams has already inspected the Hoc Mon Wholesale Market in the namesake district and some markets in District 11.

Le Van Tien, deputy director of the Hoc Mon Market Management and Trade Company, said his market was one of the first two in the city to pilot a safe food model. Supervision of the quality of food products is done regularly and diligently, he added.

The municipal People’s Committee has also called on businesses participating in the annual price stabilisation programme to increase supply this year.

Those taking part help keep the prices of 10 groups of items steady, including rice, instant and dried noodles, RE and RS sugars, cooking oil, cattle meat, poultry meat, poultry eggs, processed foods, vegetables, seafood, and spices. Their prices are 5-10 per cent lower than market rates.

Saigon Co.op’s multiple retail chains have already begun Tet sales so that customers can buy most of the items now and buy only fresh produce close to the New Year, which falls in mid-February.

 

Nguyen Vu Toan, deputy general director of Saigon Co.op, said they have stockpiled nearly 4.9 trillion VND (212.3 million USD) worth of goods for Tet, a 20 percent increase from last year. The cooperative would increase quality inspections of its supermarkets 10-fold over normal months, he added.

Saigon Trading Group (Satra) is sourcing over 2.4 tonnes of items like rice, processed foodstuff and pork for supply during Tet, a 63 per cent increase over a normal month.

Nguyen Phuc Khoa, its deputy general director, said the company pays close attention to food safety and origin.

Pork prices have stabilised due to the country’s efforts to increase the number pigs and import frozen pork, and Satra and its subsidiaries would supply a large number of new products such as seasoned meat and spring rolls during Tet, he said.

Retailers plan to increase the number of cash counters and take other steps to ensure convenience and safety for customers during the peak shopping season.

They will also offer home delivery and sell ancestral offering packs, which used to be traditionally prepared at home during Tet. They will also make sales trips to remote areas./.

Northern region faces continued cold weather

VIETNAM NEWS JANUARY 19
Y Ty commune of northern Lao Cai province's Bat Xat district is covered by snow


The National Centre for Meteorological and Hydrological Forecast has reported that the temperature in the northern region will continue to decrease deeply over the coming days.

Rain and cold air hit the northern region on January 18 with the lowest temperature of 8-10 degrees Celsius and 4-7 degrees Celsius in mountain areas.

The lowest temperature was recorded early January 18 in Sa Pa, Lao Cai province, was 7 degrees Celsius and 9.2 degrees in Mau Son, Lang Sơn province, a slight increase from the previous day.

Some other mountainous areas also experienced very low temperatures including Pha Din (Dien Bien) with 9.4 degrees Celsius, Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc) 12 degrees and Dong Van (Ha Giang) 7.3 degrees.

The capital city to the north-central region faced temperatures of about 16 degrees Celsius.

Meteorological experts have warned that snowfall is predicted to occur in the high mountain areas of Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces in the next few days.

During this intensified cold spell, cold weather is forecast to hit central provinces from Ha Tinh to Thua Thien-Hue with temperatures as low as 9 degrees Celsius.

Central provinces and cities from Da Nang city to Quang Ngai province will experience low temperatures ranging between 15-18 degrees Celsius.

The meteorological agency said that in January and February, the northern region and the provinces from Thanh Hoa to Thua Thien-Hue are predicted to have average monthly temperatures 0.5- 1 degree Celsius lower than the same period of previous years.

This cold spell is forecast to last 3-5 days and remain longer in the northern mountainous areas.

Experts recommend localities change school hours or let students stay off when the area's temperature drops deeply, especially in mountainous areas.

Farmers were advised to take care of their livestock herds, keeping them warm and well-fed./.

NA’s Committee for Social Affairs convenes 19th plenary session

VIETNAM NEWS JANUARY 19
The NA’s Committee for Social Affairs convenes its 19th plenary session.


A report collecting feedback on the draft Law on Drug Prevention and Control (amended) was mulled over at the 19th plenary session of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs, which opened in central Da Nang city on January 18.

The programme on law and ordinance building for 2021 and the 2021-2025 period in the areas under the charge of the committee were also deliberated during the session, which is scheduled to conclude on January 19.

Chairwoman of the committee Nguyen Thuy An said the draft Law on Drug Prevention and Control needs to be adjusted, and asked representatives from the ministries of labour, invalids and social affairs, health, and public security, and the compiling board to continue to work on the document.

The committee is scheduled to look at a number of documents in 2021, including the draft Law on Emulation and Reward (revised), the draft Law on Health Examination and Treatment (revised), and the draft Law on Health Insurance (revised)./.

HCM City event marks 71st anniversary of Vietnam-China diplomatic ties

VIETNAM NEWS JANUARY 19
Presidents Ho Chi Minh (L) and Mao Zedong toast the sustainability of the Vietnam-China friendship in August 1957 (File photo: VNA)


The Ho Chi Minh City Union of Friendship Organisations (HUFO) held a gathering on January 18 to celebrate the 71st founding anniversary of Vietnam-China diplomatic relations (January 18, 1950 - 2021).

In his remarks, Chairman of the Vietnam-China Friendship Association in HCM City Duong Quan Ha said the two countries are neighbours with a time-tested friendship. Their relations, nurtured by late Presidents Ho Chi Minh and Mao Zedong and generations of leaders, were lifted to the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership and have been flourishing, bringing about common benefits for their people.

On the basis of their partnership, Party and State leaders of Vietnam and China have held many mutual visits and online talks over the past years to strengthen the traditional friendship, which is considered a precious spiritual asset of the two countries’ people.

The encouraging outcomes of bilateral ties, as well as the development and stability of each nation, have consolidated the confidence in a new stage of stronger and more substantive development of their relations this year and the time to come, Ha noted.

He also highlighted the fruitful friendship and cooperation between the HUFO, the Vietnam-China Friendship Association in HCM City and the Chinese Consulate General and Chinese businesses here, noting that they have cooperated in friendship, cultural, and social activities so as to enhance mutual understanding between the people of HCM City and Chinese localities, thus contributing to their countries’ friendship.

For his part, Chinese Consul General to HCM City Wu Jun emphasised that over the last 71 years, China-Vietnam relations have become a role model of ties between socialist nations.

In recent years, he added, under the direct leadership of the two countries’ top Party leaders and thanks to common efforts, bilateral ties have been growing well with cooperation increasingly substantive in all fields, from politics and economy, to people-to-people diplomacy.

Notably, in 2020, the countries carried out a wide range of joint activities to fight against COVID-19, assist the settlement of natural disasters’ consequences, and promote trade and investment links.

Wishing the Communist Party of Vietnam a successful 13th National Party Congress, the diplomat pledged to cooperate with the HUFO in people-to-people diplomatic activities so as to foster the sustainable development of the countries’ comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership./.

Vietnam’s success in fighting COVID-19, maintaining growth a miracle: Japanese expert

Vietnam has made an impression on the international community as a safe country with great economic potential, and its success in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining economic growth has been miraculous, a Japanese expert has said.

Director of Japan’s Vietnam Economic Research Institute (VERI) Hiroyuki Moribe made the comments in a recent interview with a Vietnam News Agency correspondent in Japan, during which he said that one of the most important factors contributing to Vietnam’s economic achievements is that the country did particularly well in controlling the pandemic.

Though COVID-19 broke out again in HCM City, Vietnam has kept it under control, he noted, stressing that this is a very important factor in the context of the US and countries in Europe and South America recording an increasing number of infections.

Drastic measures to respond to the outbreak, such as border closures, and Vietnamese people’s strict compliance with preventive measures contributed to the country’s success in keeping the pandemic under control and maintaining economic development.

Vietnam is one of only a few countries to have sustained positive growth in 2020, he said, adding that Japan must learn from Vietnam measures to contain the spread of the disease and promote economic activities.

Once the epidemic is under control and the vaccines are widely introduced, travel between countries will be easier and the number of foreigners coming to Vietnam will rise, contributing to boosting international trade as well as the country’s economic growth, he went on.

By making good use of innovation, Vietnam’s economy can grow stronger in the time to come, he said./.

Cambodia to use Chinese-developed COVID-19 vaccine

Cambodia will receive 1 million doses of anti-COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinopharm of China to vaccinate 500,000 people, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced via his Facebook account.

The Cambodian PM also said he will be the first to receive Sinopharm vaccine shots.

He said that in the context of widespread virus, the Kingdom will not hesitate to receive Chinese-aided COVID-19 vaccines although they have not yet approved by WHO.

As the doses are not enough for all Cambodian, it will be used for prioritised people including doctors, teachers, all-level armed forces, the judiciary, and other public service providers like taxi drivers.

The vaccines China announced to provide to Cambodia have already been used by Indonesia, he added.

The premier confirmed that the vaccination will be free of charge and based on a voluntary principle.

So far, Cambodia has reported 439 COVID-19 cases, including 386 cured and zero death./.

HCM City unveils proposed design for Tet Flower Street

VIETNAM NEWS JANUARY 19

Images of buffaloes will be put up at the entrance to the Flower Street from February 9 to 15 at Nguyen Hue Street, District 1. (Photo courtesy of Saigontourist)

The HCM City administration has unveiled a draft design for the 18th annual Nguyen Hue Flower Street to celebrate the coming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

Rural life featuring rice farming and buffaloes will be the theme for this year, the Year of the Buffalo, according to eastern zodiac.

Every year Nguyen Hue street in District 1, which has a pedestrians-only square down its middle, transforms into a ‘flower street’ during Lunar New Year.

This year it will be open from February 9 to 15, with the decorations starting on January 25, according to the organisers.

Like in previous years environment-friendly materials will be used for the decorations.

According to organisers, the organic design and architecture this year would aim to send the message of environmental protection.

To usher in the Year of the Buffalo, most of the event’s concepts and decorations will pay homage to the animal, with 26 mascots being set up along the street.

The entrance will feature a family of movable buffaloes display.

The organisers said the street would have a more innovative layout than previous years, which would allow smoother traffic flow.

The annual flower show, which highlights the Tet culture, has become hugely popular and attracts more than a million visitors a year.

There are also other annual flower festivals and markets during the Lunar New Year.

There will be flower market in three major parks, September 23, Gia Dinh and Le Van Tam, while flowers will be sold at 174 spots across the city from February 4 to 11.

A flower market will be set up along Tran Xuan Soan street in District 7 from January 27 to February 11./.

Indonesia: heavy rains hamper rescue of quake victims

Torrential rains have hampered the search for victims in an earthquake in Indonesia’s Sulawesi island which killed at least 73 and left thousands homeless.

Excavators and cranes were deployed across the devastated seaside city of Mamuju, which suffered the 6.2-magnitude quake on January 15.

It was unclear how many people - dead or alive - could still be under the mountains of debris in the aftermath.

Local police have deployed sniffer dogs to help in the search at a badly damaged hospital.
Rescuers said that the rain poses risks because damaged buildings could collapse if it gets too heavy, and aftershocks could move them too.

The quake brought in 28 aftershocks, destroyed hundreds of houses and many office buildings, hotels, hospitals and shopping centres in Mamuju city and Majene district.
More than 820 people were injured and about 15,000 left their homes after the quake.

Straddling the so-called Pacific ‘ring of fire’, Indonesia, an archipelago of high tectonic activity, is regularly hit by earthquakes.

In 2018, a devastating 6.2-magnitude quake and tsunami struck the city of Palu, further north in Sulawesi, killing thousands of people./.

HCM City: six more hotels designated as quarantine sites

VIETNAM NEWS JANUARY 19

HCM City has added six more hotels to be used to quarantine people and flight crews coming from abroad. (Photo: nhandan.com.vn)

HCM City has added six more hotels can be used to quarantine people and flight crews coming from abroad.

They are Dong Do, Hoa De Nhat, Hung Huong and Park Royal in Tan Binh district, New Milano in District 7, and Eastin Grand Saigon in Phu Nhuan district.

These hotels will be under the direction, management and administration of the city’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention, the Health Department, and the city People's Committee.

The quarantine sections must ensure appropriate medical facilities and disinfection equipment besides regular hotel-related tasks like food and drink, and laundry and room services to serve customers during the quarantine period.

The city People’s Committee directed the hotels to cooperate with the city’s Centre for Disease Control and healthcare centres to monitor the health status of quarantined people, providing necessary aid when needed or when a positive case is detected.

In addition, the city People’s Committee asked the Department of Health to collaborate with the People’s Committees of districts 7, Tan Binh, and Phu Nhuan as well as related state units to handle passengers at the airport who need to be quarantined.

Selected hotels and other lodgings must strictly follow COVID-19 prevention and control measures and hotel staff must be trained in COVID-19 prevention and use personal protective equipment./.

Trial for ex-trade minister Vu Huy Hoang, accomplices postponed again

The first-instance trial for ex-Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and nine accomplices, slated for January 18, was postponed again due to the absence of many people with related interests and obligations.

Earlier, the trial on January 7 was delayed as three defendants and related people were not present.

The jury will inform the re-opening of the trial later.

Hoang, born in 1953, and Phan Chi Dung, born in 1957 and the former Director of the Light Industry Department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), faced a charge of “violating regulations on the management and use of State assets, causing losses and wastefulness”.

The eight other defendants, who are former HCM City officials, including Nguyen Huu Tin, born in 1957 and the former Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, were accused of “violating regulations on land management”.

Tin and two others who are former officials of HCM City were absence from the trial on January 7.

According to the indictment from the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the Saigon Beer - Alcohol - Beverage JSC (Sabeco), which is under the MoIT’s management, was given 6,080 sq.m of land in Ben Nghe ward of HCM City’s District 1 for non-agricultural production and business purposes.

However, Hoang, former Deputy Minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa, and Dung directed subordinates at the ministry and Sabeco to carry out procedures for using land use rights and Sabeco's money as capital contributions to set up Sabeco Pearl, a joint venture between the firm and a number of private enterprises, to implement a project building a hotel, a trade and convention centre, and office space for lease on the land.

After Sabeco completed legal procedures for the joint venture’s investment and proposed the HCM City People’s Committee approve the addition of officetel and housing functions to this project, the MoIT ordered the company to transfer all of Sabeco's stake in this project to the private enterprises in the joint venture.

As a result, the right to manage and use the land, which is a State asset and worth over 3.816 trillion VND, was illegally transferred to private firms, causing a “particularly big” loss of over 2.713 trillion VND (118 million USD) to the State, according to the indictment.

Another of the accused, Ho Thi Kim Thoa, has fled, and the investigation police agency has put her on the wanted list./.

Vietnam, China continuously develop comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership

VIETNAM NEWS JANUARY 19
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong

Vietnam hopes to work with China to well implement common perceptions of the two countries’ senior leaders, and strengthen political trust and increase the efficiency of cooperation in all fields, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong has said.

In a pre-recorded speech sent to Chinese people via the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of Vietnam-China diplomatic ties (January 18), Cuong affirmed that the neighbourly friendship “both as comrades and brothers” nurtured by Presidents Ho Chi Minh and Mao Zedong and other generations of leaders has become a valuable asset of the two Parties, States and peoples, and both sides have responsibility for maintaining and promoting the relationship.

In the past year, despite impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bilateral relations maintained the growing trend.

The year 2021 is of great significance for both countries as Vietnam will carry out tasks and targets set out by the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam and China will fulfill the first centenary goal and prepare for the organisation of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Vietnam wishes to, together with China, well control differences on the basis of respecting each other’s legitimate interests and in conformity with international law, Cuong said, believing that with joint efforts, the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership will continuously be consolidated and deepened.

Meanwhile, in his pre-recorded speech, Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo spoke highly of achievements of the bilateral relations over the past 71 years.

As 2021 is significant to both countries, China and Vietnam should intensify solidarity, share opportunities and together face challenges.

China is willing to, together with Vietnam, consolidate political trust, grasp thoroughly development orientations of the two Parties and States, maintain high-level exchanges and create favourable conditions for the bilateral relations in the new era./.

VIETNAM NEWS JANUARY 19

Vietnam steps up measures to protect guest workers abroad

Vietnamese authorities have improved the legal framework, stepped up communication measures and promoted international co-operation to ensure labourers enjoy better rights when working abroad under contracts, a conference has heard.

The conference on ensuring the rights of Vietnamese guest workers was held by the Standing Office on Human Rights on January 15 in the northern city of Hai Phong.

Over the last few years, the country has sent an increasing number of Vietnamese labourers abroad.

Ensuring rights for the labourers in general and guest workers abroad in specific has been among the important policies of the government, Major General Nguyen Van Ky, deputy chief of the human rights office, said at the conference.

Vietnam has made adjustments to its laws and regulations to ensure they are compatible with the reality, to create favourable conditions for businesses offering guest worker services as well as to better protect the rights and interests of workers abroad, he said.

Human trafficking crimes via labour migration is still a pressing issue in Vietnam. According to Colonel Cao Quoc Viet from the Criminal Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security, the victims, mostly from vulnerable groups in the rural and mountainous areas, are trafficked for sex, labour and their body parts, among other reasons.

There are difficulties in tackling human trafficking as the crime is often conducted in host countries, making it difficult to investigate and rescue the victims, he said, adding that the victims often travel abroad legally, either on travel or work visas and are trafficked only after they enter the host countries.

Deputy head of the Department of Social Vices Prevention and Combat under the Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs Nguyen Thuy Duong highlighted the psychological and shelter support that trafficking victims require.

It is necessary to work on a standard procedure to support victims, continue to improve the support services, offer training to enhance the quality of social workers as well as ensure localities have a cooperation mechanism among different agencies to support the victims, she said./.

Tourism park reopens to restore Vietnam’s thousand-year-old culture

“Mot thoang Viet Nam” (Vietnam at a Glance), a tourism park recreating the beauty of Vietnam’s thousand-year-old traditional culture located on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, was reopened on January 16 after 10 years.

Every section of the 20-ha facillity in Cu Chi district tells its own story, said Director Tran Thi Tuyet Nga, citing the Hill of Eggs as an example, saying it tells a folk legend of Lac Long Quan and his wife Au Co who gave birth to a brood of a hundred eggs from which a hundred of children hatched and became the ancestors of all Vietnamese people.

Visitors to the park can also observe on-the-spot the traditional making of “do” (poonah) paper, printmaking, and the sericulture.

Traditional houses of people from various parts of the country with different styles of architecture are also recreated here to offer visitors a glimpse of the Vietnamese living spaces./.

Source: VNA/VNN/VNS/SGGP/VOV/NDO/Dtinews/SGT/VIR 

 
 

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