VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 17 (updated hourly)

National Assembly enters last working day of 10th sitting

VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 17 (updated hourly)
The 14th National Assembly enters the last working day of its 10th sitting on November 17.

The 14th National Assembly entered the last working day of its 10th sitting on November 17.

In the morning, the parliament will have a private meeting to vote on a resolution on piloting management and use of land for defence and security purposes in combination with production and economic development.

Deputies will then have a discussion on the draft law on forces safeguarding security and order at the grassroots level.

Earlier, the legislators discussed and gave opinions on the bill at the 48th meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee. The bill includes five chapters with 34 articles regulating position, functions, operation principles, rights and responsibilities of competent authorities for the forces.

In the afternoon, the parliament will vote on the amended Law on Environment Protection before the closing session of the 10th sitting during which the lawmakers will vote on the resolution on the date for the national election of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels for the 2021-2026 tenure, the resolution on Q&A activities, and the resolution of the 14th National Assembly’s 10th sitting.

Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan will deliver a speech at the closing session./.

Vietnam outstanding as ASEAN Chair: Officials

Members of ASEAN, international political observers, and media outlets all view Vietnam as having fulfilled its role as the ASEAN Chair in 2020 superbly, Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia Vu Quang Minh has said.

The 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings from November 12 to 15 wrapped up Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020.

Minh told Russia’s Sputnik news agency that, for the first time in the bloc’s 53-year history, most ASEAN meetings were held via videoconference, including the 36th ASEAN Summit in June and the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in September, which is a new format for meetings, especially high-level ones.

In choosing “Cohesive & Responsive” as the theme for its ASEAN year, Vietnam hoped to affirm that solidarity is decisive in the durability of the bloc, he said, stressing that only in a cohesive and responsive ASEAN Community can members be effectively responsive to the impact of rapid and strong changes in the world. Being responsive also helps ASEAN be more cohesive, enhancing its overall strength and resoluteness.

The ambassador said the impact of COVID-19 far surpasses that of the 1997 Asian financial crisis or the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. But ASEAN hasn’t been defeated, and as the Chair of the bloc, Vietnam has joined other members in exerting every effort to overcome any and all difficulties.

Nguyen Manh Tien, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for External Relations, told Sputnik that Vietnam fully performed its role as a connectivity centre of ASEAN, earning the appreciation of leaders of other nations.

It has also taken the lead in boosting economic connectivity in the “new normal”, which has not only helped its economy sustain growth this year but also been a starting point for the re-establishment of supply chains affected by the pandemic, he said.

The timely adaptation and response to COVID-19 is also a highlight of Vietnam’s activities as the ASEAN Chair, Tien said. As soon as the pandemic was first uncovered in China’s Wuhan city, Vietnam convened meetings to discuss the urgent actions needed to fight the outbreak and shifted most ASEAN meetings from in-person to online.

The number of events delayed or cancelled due to COVID-19 was minimised as a result, helping to ensure cohesion among member states in joint activities and the implementation of programmes.

ASEAN has become more cohesive as a new link in global supply chains and the fight against the pandemic, he said.

Meanwhile, international relations analyst Nguyen Minh Tam told the Russian news agency that, under Vietnam’s leadership, ASEAN’s international role increased considerably in 2020 and the bloc reached consensus on many important issues relating to regional peace and stability.

From 2020 onwards, ASEAN will gradually become an example of a community of solidarity for the goal of building peace, stability, equality, development, and prosperity, he added./.

Foreign media highlights RCEP signing, praises Vietnam's ASEAN chairmanship

Foreign media outlets have run various headlines on the signing of the world’s largest trade deal – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), with ASEAN at the centre during the grouping’s summit virtually hosted by Vietnam as ASEAN 2020 Chair last week.

Its members comprise the 10 ASEAN member states and Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea, which together accounts for a third of the global population and 29 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

The pact aims to liberalise trade and investment across the Asia-Pacific region by progressively lowering tariffs and cutting red tape, as well as laying out new rules on government procurement, competition policy and e-commerce, said South China Morning Post.

The Hong Kong-based newspaper quoted Stuart Tait, Asia-Pacific regional head of commercial banking at HSBC, as saying that the RCEP may prove to be the tonic Asia needs to recover from the COVID-19-induced slump.

“Intra-Asian trade, which is already larger than Asia’s trade with North America and Europe combined, will continue to power global economic growth and pull the economic centre of gravity towards Asia,” Tait said.

The Asia Times said the trade pact is designed to reduce costs and time for companies and traders by allowing them to export their wares to any signatory nation without meeting separate requirements for each country. It is expected to come into force by 2021.

Significantly, the RCEP represents the first-ever free trade agreement among China, Japan and the RoK, Asia’s industrialised economic powerhouses, it said.

It further noted that three Northeast Asian nations have been in talks since 2012 about forging a trilateral free trade pact with little progress towards a deal in recent years as geopolitical rivalry has intensified.

The pact is not only expected to help ASEAN nations to recover next year from the pandemic’s economic devastation, it also symbolically highlights the importance of the region in what some analysts still believe will become known as the “Asian Century.”

Forecasts suggest that the ASEAN bloc could be the fourth-largest economy in the world by the end of this decade. The region had a combined GDP of 2.57 trillion USD last year.

Cambodia's Khmer Times on November 16 stated that as an active and responsible member, Vietnam has made great contributions to ASEAN. "Vietnam had selected the theme “Cohesive and Responsive” for ASEAN 2020, expressing the chair’s desire for a united Asean to stand firm against the impact of the international and regional situation."

Russia's Sputnik news agency said that Vietnam has successfully fulfilled its task as ASEAN Chair in 2020, with its thoughtful preparation and selection of goals and priorities, leaving many important marks./.

Law revising HIV/AIDS legislation adopted

The National Assembly (NA) on November 16 approved a law amending and supplementing certain articles of the law on HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

As many as 440 deputies, or 91.29 percent of the total, voted in favour of the law at the ongoing 10th session of the 14th NA.

Scheduled to start taking effect on July 1, 2021, it amends and supplements 15 articles of the law on HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

It adds a number of groups with high-risk behaviour to those prioritised to access information, education, and communications on HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

The new law expands the participation of HIV-infected people and those with high-risk behaviour in some anti-HIV/AIDS measures, while supplementing pre-exposure preventive treatment measures to increase the effectiveness of HIV transmission prevention among those at risk of exposure and exposed to the virus.

It also reduces the age when people are entitled to ask for voluntary HIV testing to 15, so as to match the reality that more young people have contracted HIV.

The law also increases the groups given the right to access the information of those infected, to meet requirements in State management, epidemiological supervision, and virus transmission prevention and control./.

Russian ambassador hails ties with ASEAN under Vietnam’s chairmanship

Russia Ambassador to ASEAN Alexander Ivanov has highlighted the role of Vietnam as the Chair of ASEAN this year following the success of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings last week, saying it was not easy for the Southeast Asian country to fulfill its chairmanship duties.

The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the preparation and organisation of ASEAN’s relevant meetings and events, with some even postponed for the next year. Despite all challenges, Russia continued its fruitful cooperation with ASEAN as a driving force of the Asia-Pacific, Ivanov told the Vietnam News Agency correspondent in Jakarta.

The ASEAN-Russia cooperation has made good progress this year in all directions of the bilateral strategic partnership, he said.

The diplomat recalled the ASEAN-Russia Special Ministerial Meeting on COVID-19 on June 17 where the ministers agreed to exchange information and experience, and to work together on vaccine and many other issues. The two sides decided to enhance communication and interaction between ASEAN member states and Russian agencies responsible for prevention and control of infectious diseases.

Russia will also continue its training courses for ASEAN specialists at the International Research Center for the Study of Bio-safety and Human Well-Being in the Asia-Pacific region in Vladivostok in 2021 and 2022, the ambassador noted.

He further said that together with ASEAN partners, Russia has been working on modalities for the consultations of High Representatives for Security Issues and preparing to launch a joint Dialogue on ICT Security. “These new platforms will contribute to close coordination in combating new challenges ASEAN and Russia are facing,” the ambassador stressed.

ASEAN and Russia have also paid huge attention to economic recovery, he continued. This topic was in focus during the ASEAN-Russia Economic Ministers Meeting and the Special Seminar for joint response to the coronavirus outbreak in September.

A number of joint projects under the ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Partnership Financial Fund have been launched in agriculture, smart cities and health. In December, Russia will host an ASEAN-Russia Conference on sustainable and resilient urban technologies, he said.

He unveiled that the two sides are planning to convene an online meeting of the Network of ASEAN-Russia Think Tanks, where their experts discuss the future of the regional architecture in the Asia-Pacific after the pandemic, as well as cooperation in such important areas as disaster management, countering-terrorism and economic recovery./.

Vietnamese martial artist wins bronze at virtual 2020 Taekwondo Asia champs

VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 17 (updated hourly)
Martial artist Pham Quoc Viet (Photo: hanoimoi.com.vn)


Martial artist Pham Quoc Viet recently bagged a bronze medal in the recognised poomsae event at the Online 2020 World Taekwondo Asia Poomsae Championships.

His medal was the first of Vietnam at the competition.

The championships, held on November 12-14, took place virtually due to the impact of COVID-19.

It drew the participation of 144 martial artists of age 18-65 from 21 countries and territories in Asia, who competed in 14 recognised and free style poomsae events.

Vietnam sent four athletes to the competition./.

Saigon rugs up as “cold” weather descends

Temperatures in Ho Chi Minh City have fallen to 10 degrees Celsius minimums and 22 maximums in recent days, making young and old rug up to guard against the chill.
 
6 am. The streets of Ho Chi Minh City are blanketed in a thin layer of fog. Winter coats and scarves can be seen on every corner in the tropical city.

The sudden change in weather stirred up the local population, especially young people, who have taken the opportunity to wander the streets, enjoy a coffee, or capture the city’s beauty on their phones.

The cooler weather has arrived early this year and will last for another 10 days.

The chilly weather also signals the beginning of the festive season. But it may also affect the health. Local people, especially kids and the elderly, are advised to rug up when out in the early morning or late at night./.

Photo exhibition highlights 70 years of Vietnam-Bulgaria friendship

A photo exhibition reviewing 70 years of Vietnam-Bulgaria Friendship and Development opened in Hanoi on Nov. 16.
 
The 70 photos on display were selected from the huge photo archives of both the Vietnam News Agency and the Bulgarian News Agency. Not only do they capture precious moments in the history of the bilateral relationship, they also tell a beautiful story about seven decades of friendship between Vietnam and Bulgaria.

Vietnam News Agency General Director Nguyen Duc Loi said the exhibition is expected to create new impetus on the basis of a good traditional partnership so that the relationship between Vietnam and Bulgaria continues to firmly develop.

Ambassador Marinela Petkova said the exhibition introduces the decades-long fruitful cooperation between Bulgaria and Vietnam in an interactive and engaging manner.

She said the bilateral relationship has been upgraded though Bulgaria’s membership into the European Union and Vietnam’s membership in ASEAN.

Outstanding photos from the exhibition will be on display at the 70th anniversary ceremony of the Vietnam-Bulgaria Diplomatic Ties on November 17 at Hanoi Opera House./.

One resolution, one bill passed at NA’s November 16 meeting

Legislators adopted a resolution on urban administration model in Ho Chi Minh City and the revised law on HIV/AIDS prevention and control on November 16 during the plenary session of the National Assembly’s 10th sitting.

The resolution was voted in favour by 420 deputies, or 87.14 percent of the total, while the HIV/AIDS bill received 91.29 percent of votes in favour.

In the morning, NA deputies debated the draft of the amended Law on Road Transport, which comprises six chapters and 102 clauses regulating road infrastructure, vehicles, transportation, and State management of road transport. In the afternoon, they discussed the bill on Road Traffic Order and Safety.

On November 17, the lawmakers will cast votes on a resolution on pilot management and use of land for defence and security purposes in combination with production and economic development and discuss a draft law on forces for protection of security and order at grassroots level in the morning.

In the afternoon, they are scheduled to approve the revised Law on Environmental Protection and set the date for next year’s general election of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 term.

NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan will also deliver a remark to conclude the 10th sitting during the closing session, to be broadcast live by Radio the Voice of Vietnam, the Vietnam Television, and the NA’s TV channel.

Vietnam attends 31st APEC Ministerial Meeting

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh attended the 31st Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting held via videoconference on November 16 evening under the chair of Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Mohamed Azmin Ali.

During the first session on improving trade and investment, foreign and economic ministers of APEC economies appreciated the efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic, maintain cooperation, ensure the flows of essential goods and services, and boost regional economic linkages.

They agreed to further advance economic integration in the region, in a manner that is market-driven, including through the work on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) agenda which will contribute to high quality and comprehensive regional undertakings.

They stressed the importance of a rule-based multilateral trading system and backed the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s reform efforts.

Many of them spoke highly the significance of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement freshly signed at the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.

The ministers also discussed orientations for APEC cooperation in the time to come, and agreed to beef up cooperation in trade and investment, sustainable and inclusive growth, and digital economic development.

In the second session on inclusiveness, digital economy and sustainable innovation, the participants showed their support for the promotion of digital platform, structure reform, sustainable and inclusive development and innovation.

It is essential to ensure social welfare, increase resilience, boost inclusive economic recovery and minimise the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on developing economies.

APEC needs to pay attention to food security and the sustainable management of natural resources, as well as increasing women’s empowerment and supporting micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, the ministers said.

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh said that the COVID-19 shows mutual dependence between economies.

He stressed the need for APEC members to uphold the spirit of solidarity and responsibility to help the Asia-Pacific region soon overcome current challenges and continue leading the global economic recovery.

Minh suggested APEC continue promoting its pioneering role in stepping up open and free trade and investment, regional economic connectivity and people-centered economic growth.

The Vietnamese delegation also made proposals to help control the pandemic and boost economic recovery, ensure the sustainability of supply chains, and improve the self-reliance against future crises and shocks.

As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure and the ASEAN Chair in 2020, Vietnam once affirmed its continued efforts to, together with the international community, enhance multilateral cooperation, including within the framework of APEC.

The 31st APEC Ministerial Meeting approved a joint statement of the ministers affirming the determination of 21 APEC member economies to continue joining hands in building a self-reliant and prosperous Asia-Pacific region./.

More Vietnamese citizens flown home from Taiwan 

Two Vietnam Airlines repatriation flights brought home more than 240 Vietnamese citizens from Taiwan (China) on November 16 thanks to concerted efforts of competent authorities from both sides.

On board the flights were the elderly, people with illnesses, pregnant women, students who completed their courses, workers whose contracts expired and those in extremely difficult circumstances.

The Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei sent staff to help the passengers with check-in procedures at the airport before they boarded the flights.

In-flight safety and preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 were strictly put in place by the national flag carrier to protect their health.

Upon arrival at Khanh Hoa’s Cam Ranh International Airport, all crew members and passengers were given medical checkups and sent to quarantine in line with regulations.

Authorities will arrange more flights to repatriate Vietnamese citizens in the future, depending on the COVID-19 situation and domestic quarantine capacity.

Vietnam, Bulgaria enjoy tighter bonds than ever: Ambassador

Vietnam and Bulgaria are enjoying a more steadfast relationship than ever before, and holding enormous potential for cooperation, according to Bulgarian Ambassador to Vietnam Manirela Petkova.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Vietnam-Bulgaria diplomatic relations (February 8), the diplomat stressed that the bilateral relations have been developing based on goodwill and mutual trust and respect for common benefits in the past seven decades.

To date, collaboration between the two nations, their people and enterprises has been strengthened and expanded in various fields while leaders of both sides have enhanced dialogues across education, culture, tourism and economy, she said.

She went on by saying that becoming the Bulgarian Ambassador to Vietnam – a close and time-tested friend of Bulgaria is her great honour, and she is responsible for facilitating relations, dialogues and cooperation between the two states and people.

In recent years, both sides have paid due attention to their economic ties, with trade exchange seeing significant advancements even in the context of complicated developments of COVID-19. However, further efforts are needed to create favourable conditions for the two markets, she stated.

She said she has been impressed by the Southeast Asian country’s economic growth, and Bulgari acknowledged the Vietnamese Government’s efforts to improve its business climate.

“The signing of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is a vivid illustration for our belief in Vietnam. We hope to promote economic cooperation with Vietnam in the future”, she said.

She also expressed her delight as many Vietnamese students realise strengths of universities in Bulgari, and choose them to pursue their study.

Touching on a photo exhibition marking the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relations, the Bulgarian diplomat underscored the display will provide visitors with an insight into the bilateral ties, and show Vietnamese and Bulgarian leaders’ commitments to nurturing the partnership.

She hailed the Vietnam News Agency and the Bulgarian News Agency for their meticulous preparation for the exhibition, saying the two news agencies have worked together to preserve valuable photos about meetings of leaders and people since the first days of the diplomatic relations.

She described the exhibition as good evidence for the sound cooperation between the two agencies based on their agreements clinched in 2007 and 2013./.

More Vietnamese citizens return home from Japan, RoK

A Vietjet Air plane brought nearly 360 Vietnamese citizens back home from Japan on November 16.

Also on the day, nearly 240 citizens were repatriated from the Republic of Korea (RoK) on another flight of this carrier.

The passengers included children under 18, pregnant women, the ill, workers with expired labour contracts, students without accommodations and others in extremely disadvantaged circumstances.

The Vietnamese Embassies sent staff to the airports to assist the passengers with boarding procedures.

In-flight safety and preventive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic were rigorously enforced to protect the passengers’ health and prevent the spread of the disease.

All passengers and crew members received medical check-ups and were sent to quarantine in line with regulations upon arrival at Cam Ranh and Da Nang airports.

The repatriation of Vietnamese citizens in disadvantaged circumstances abroad will continue to be conducted in line with citizens’ wishes, the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine capacity in Vietnam.

Legislature adopt resolution on urban administration in HCM City

Lawmakers approved a resolution on urban administration model in Ho Chi Minh City on November 16 during the ongoing 10th session of the 14th National Assembly.

The resolution was passed with 420 deputies, or 87.14 percent, voting in favour.

Under the resolution, the local administration system in HCM City consists of the municipal People’s Council and People’s Committee, and the district- and ward-level People’s Committees. The higher-level people’s committees and their leaders are in charge of delegating tasks for the lower-level ones.

The organisation of other administrative units in the city follows the Law on Local Administration Organisation.

The resolution is scheduled to come into force on January 1 in 2021, with the organisation of the urban administration to be implemented from July 1 the same year./.

PM attends great national solidarity festival in Hanoi

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc joined residents in Dien Bien ward, Ba Dinh district, the capital city of Hanoi at the great national solidarity festival on November 15.

At the event, PM Phuc highlighted the significance of the solidarity festival, which is organised on the occasion of the founding day of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF). He said it was an opportunity to listen to public feedback via the political system the grassroots level.

The PM said in the past 90 years, the VFF has gathered people from all walks of life to successfully carry out the Party and State’s revolutions, while working to improve its operation’s efficiency.

Phuc hailed Dien Bien ward’s achievements in implementing the campaign “All people join hands to build new-style rural areas, civilised urban areas”, and expressed his hope that people and authority of Dien Bien ward will maintain the tradition of solidarity and unity in the current regional and global context.

On the occasion, the Government leader informed the locals of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related summits’ success, together with the country’s socio-economic achievements in the tough year of 2020.

He said national solidarity has helped the country overcome challenges to develop the economy, control the pandemic, and cope with consequences of flooding.

He asked Dien Bien ward to stay vigilant in the pandemic prevention work, as well as pay due heed to communication work to mobilise local people’s participation in Party building.

He particularly asked people and officials of the ward to continue working to consolidate the great national solidarity, and make further contributions to the city and country’s success.

Defence Minister holds phone talks with Japanese counterpart

Minister of National Defence General Ngo Xuan Lich talked over the phone with his Japanese counterpart Kishi Nobuo on November 16.

Minister Lich congratulated Kishi over his appointment as Defence Minister and expressed his hope that the minister will work to deepen result-oriented defence cooperation between Vietnam and Japan.

The two ministers informed each other on regional and international issues of mutual concern, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic control situation in their respective countries. They appreciated the timely sharing of knowledge and experience in fighting the pandemic by military medical experts of the two countries.

The ministers agreed to quickly implement contents in bilateral defence cooperation after the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled, with a focus on human resources and military medical training, peacekeeping, settlement of war consequences and other issues of mutual interest.

Minister Lich thanked the Government and Defence Ministry of Japan for their support and effective coordination with Vietnam during 2020, the year of Vietnam ASEAN Chairmanship, particularly in the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus 3 framework. He invited Minister Kishi to attend the ADMM Plus 3 slated to be held online from December 9 to 11.

 

Minister Kishi accepted the invitation, and thanked Vietnam for creating favourable conditions for ships of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force to dock at Cam Ranh international port for logistics and technical services.

UNDP helps coastal communities adapt to climate change

VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 17 (updated hourly)

Providing basket boat rides in the mangrove forest is a good alternative job for residents of Cam Thanh (Photo: Bui Thanh Trung) 

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in collaboration with the Vietnamese government and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), has revived approximately 4,000 hectares of mangroves in vulnerable coastal areas in Quang Ngai, Thanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Ca Mau and Nam Dinh provinces. 

The project has helped coastal residents to stabilize their livelihoods and get involved in ecological and environmental protection.

Pham Thi Ly, a resident of Cam Thanh commune, Hoi An city, in Quang Nam province, is rowing a basket boat, taking tourists to visit Cam Thanh coconut forest. For many years she has participated in a project to restore and conserve Cam Thanh nipa palm forest, funded by the Global Environment Fund's Small Projects Program in Vietnam (GEF SGP) and UNDP.

Ly said “In the past, I worked very hard to support my family. Now that basket boat tourism is developing, my life is better.”

The UNDP-GEF SGP project protects the land of Thu Bon estuary from waves, wind, and erosion, conserves Cam Thanh nipa palm forest, and sustainably uses forest resources.  Communities play a key role in preserving ecotourism.

Nguyen Thi Hoa Man, a local resident, said “Previously, when tourism was not yet developed, people were mainly dependent on fishing. If the husband went to sea and caught some shrimp and some fish, the wife would sell them. When the sea was rough, especially in the winter, we needed help to escape hunger. Since the project came here, tourism has grown in the coconut forest. Fishermen have switched from fishing to tourism. Tourism provides the women a stable job – rowing a basket boat.”

The Cam Thanh nipa palm forest is located in the cluster of the Tam Hai and Nui Thanh coral reef conservation zones and the Cu Lao Cham marine protected area, forming a marine conservation network in Quang Nam. Le Nhuong, former Head of the Farmers’ Association of Cam Thanh commune, said,“The project began with 75 ha of nipa palm forest. Later on, with the consent of the locals, we planted more trees and the forest has now expanded to 105 ha. The project has raised people’s awareness of nipa palm forest protection and sustainable use. Before this project, there was improper exploitation. We are now allowed  to exploit the forest only twice a year – at the beginning and in the middle of the year – to protect the ecological environment.”

Providing basket boat rides in the nipa palm forest is a good alternative job for residents of Cam Thanh. The number of households involving this service has increased and their income has also increased, from US$160 per month to US$195 per month.

In the neighboring province of Quang Ngai, UNDP, the Government of Vietnam, and the Green Climate Fund are implementing a mangrove project to provide jobs for people in Bau Ca Cai area, Binh Thuan commune, Binh Son district.

Since 2014, the project has planted 80 ha of forest and provided jobs to 50 local families. UNDP local coordinator Nguyen Thi Thuy Dung emphasised that “Households in Binh Thuan commune and Thuan Phuoc village now have this forest to shield them from storms. People can catch shrimp and fish manually instead of using electrical equipment in this area. The ecosystem here has improved remarkably. For example, in the afternoon or early morning flocks of storks or wild ducks gather here. This used to be an empty area filled with water. Now the locals offer community tourism services.”

"We arrived at Bau Ca Cai in the last days of October, when storm Molave had just swept through in Quang Ngai". said Ms. Nguyen Thi Hai, adding that thanks to the protection of the mangrove forests, the storm's damage was significantly mitigated. Hai's house and trees were hardly affected.

Since last year, her family has been transporting tourists to Bau Ca Cai lagoon by boat as a part-time job. Hai has 3 boats. Carrying  3 passengers, she earns US$9 per trip.

Mr. Pham Duy Nghia revealed that, in addition to exploiting aquatic resources from the lagoon, his family intends to raise green crabs. For every 20,000 crab breeds, after 3 months, if things go well, he will make a profit of about US$800.

Mangrove forest projects carried out by UNDP, the Vietnamese Government, and GCF are helping to mitigate climate change, protect vulnerable coastal communities, and  making local’s lives safer and more sustainable. Colorful boats waiting for passengers at Bau Ca Cai wharf and Ms. Pham Thi Ly's singing while rowing her customers to Cam Thanh coconut forest, are the visible result of these projects.

Foreign leaders appreciate RCEP’s strategic significance

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on November 15 that the signing of the long-waited Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement showed the region’s shared commitment to open trade and investment, despite the challenges of COVID-19.

“Our trade policy is all about supporting Australian jobs, boosting export opportunities and ensuring an open region with even stronger supply chains. RCEP builds on our trade successes and is good news for Australian businesses,” Morrison said in a statement.

With one in five Australian jobs reliant on trade, the RCEP agreement will be crucial as Australia and the region begin to rebuild from the COVID 19 pandemic, he stressed.

This agreement covers the fastest growing region in the world and, as RCEP economies continue to develop and their middle classes grow, it will open up new doors for Australian farmers, businesses and investors, he added.

On the same day, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that securing free trade agreements like the RCEP is an important part of New Zealand's Trade Recovery Strategy.

She affirmed joining in RCEP put New Zealand in the best possible position to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic and seize new opportunities for exports and investment.

She specifically mentioned that New Zealand primary industries and education will directly benefit from the agreement.

Meanwhile, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that the signing of the agreement on November 15 has demonstrated the commitments of peace and stability as well as prosperity within the region.

During the 4th RCEP Summit held virtually, Widodo stated that the signing was a historical moment as its process took nearly a decade after being initiated in 2011, and the first round of negotiation was conducted in 2013.

The pact will intensify the principle of an open, fair and benefited all-sides multilateral commerce, and provides hope and optimistic view on economic recovery for post-pandemic era throughout the region, he added.

Deputy PM calls for creating safe road traffic environment

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh called on all people to comply with road traffic safety regulations at a TV programme in commemoration of victims of traffic accidents.

At the programme broadcast on the Vietnam Television channel on November 15 in response to the UN’s World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, participants spent a minute’s silence in memory of those who lost their lives in traffic accidents.

The Deputy PM noted that there has been a significant decrease in the numbers of accidents, deaths, and injuries in recent years. However, Vietnam still recorded over 7,500 deaths caused by traffic accidents and close to 15,000 victims with lifetime injuries on an annual basis.

He asked people to wear helmets and fasten their seatbelts when riding on the road, and say no to drunk driving and speeding.

Dr. Pham Gia Anh from the Vietnam – German Friendship Hospital in Hanoi, said the medical establishment annually treated up to 17,000 urgent cases of road accidents in 2018 and 2019. However, the figure fell by about 10 percent to 12,000 cases in the first ten months of this year, the doctor added.

President of Toyota Motor Vietnam Ueda Hiroyuki said from Japanese experience, traffic infrastructure improvement, education on traffic law for traffic participants, and the installation of safety equipment on vehicles are key factors.

Vice Chairman of the National Committee on Traffic Safety Khuat Viet Hung said traffic infrastructure and transport services in Vietnam have been significantly improved, while the issuance of Decree 100 has contributed to reduce the number of accidents to the lowest in a decade.

The Government’s Decree 100/2019/ND-CP, coming into force on January 1 this year, details fines for administrative violations in road and railway traffic.

Automatic rain gauging stations contribute to disaster prevention

Automatic rain gauging stations have been effective in forecasting and responding to weather events in central provinces for the last five years, according to a project review.

Since 2016, the Disaster Prevention Community Fund and the Natural Disaster Control Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have installed 20 automatic rain gauging stations for early warning of flood and rain in four central provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Quang Binh and Quang Nam.

The gauging stations have not only provided information to grassroots-level disaster prevention agencies but also contributed to making the rain measurement monitoring system stronger which helped the meteorological sector and disaster prevention agencies have more analytical data for prediction and response.

From these first achievements, the project has become one of the fund’s annual funding mobilisation projects to support the community to improve capacity for natural disaster prevention.

This month, the fund provided 110 more stations for 11 central and Central Highlands provinces of Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Da Nang, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Kon Tum and Dak Nong.

The automatic rain gauging system can provide timely information on rainfall as well as warnings of excess heavy rain for the communities where the stations are located.

Local people and commune officials can track rainfall in real-time via software on smartphones or computers.

This information not only helped the commune-level disaster prevention steering committees quickly prepare response plans but also people to be proactive to avoid damage from heavy rains and floods.

Rain monitoring data from this system is seen as accurate and timely data in real-time, as well as compatible with the monitoring system of the national hydro-meteorological and the natural disaster prevention agencies.

The automatic rain gauging stations have contributed to building an early rain warning system at the local level.

Thanks to this system, people, local authorities and natural disaster prevention agencies could easily make decisions in response to heavy rains and floods.

The data from this system has been currently linked to the data portal of the National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control and the Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration, making a contribution to forecasting, warning, and directing the responses to floods and rains nationwide.

During five years, the fund has mobilised nearly 15 billion VND (690,000 USD) for the project./.

Diwali festival observed in HCM City

VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 17 (updated hourly)
Delegates light up an oil lamp at the Diwali festival 


The Indian Consulate General in HCM City for the first time hosted a celebration of the traditional Festival of Lights (Diwali) of India in the city on November 15.

Indian Consul General Madan Mohan Sethi voiced his hope that the celebration will enhance mutual understanding, solidarity and traditional friendship between people of India and HCM City.

At the event, participants prayed for the world to overcome difficulties caused by COVID-19 and for people in Vietnam’s central region to soon overcome the damage by recent natural hazards.

Diwali or Deepavali is a major festival in the year for the Indian people, and also one of the most sacred festivals for Hindus, which is widely celebrated across India. It spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, or good over evil.

Preparations for Diwali start a few weeks before the festival date, and the rituals typically extend over a five-day period.

The main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu calendar month Kartika. Based on the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.

Besides India, Diwali is also widely celebrated in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Nepal, Malaysia, Mauritius and other countries./.

More Vietnamese citizens brought home from Malaysia

More than 290 Vietnamese citizens were flown home from Malaysia on November 15 on a Vietnam Airline flight.

The flight was arranged by the Vietnamese authorities, the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia and the national flag carrier.

Passengers on board include pregnant women, the elderly, children under 18 years old, labourers with expired contracts and people in extremely difficult circumstances.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, disease prevention measures were strictly carried out during the flight. Upon landing at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, the flight crew and all passengers were given health check-ups and quarantined.

More repatriation flights are set to be conducted to bring Vietnamese citizens home, depending on their needs, and quarantine capacity in Vietnam.

Earlier this month, competent authorities joined hands to bring home nearly 290 citizens from Malaysia./.

Laos applauds Vietnam’s contributions to enhancing ASEAN’s role

Lao Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleusay Kommasith has spoken highly of the leadership role of Vietnam in its capacity as Chair of ASEAN 2020, as well as the country’s contributions to enhancing the bloc’s role on the regional and international forums.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency’s correspondent in Vientiane on November 15, the Lao diplomat said despite formidable challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam successfully organised the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, as well as completed all of the set targets in the role of the ASEAN Chair.

A record number of 80 documents were approved and announced at the summits, which is a vivid illustration for Vietnam’s organisation ability, he said.

The minister described the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement as one of the ultimate outcomes of the summits, in which Vietnam made huge contributions to the organisation, consultation and coordination with other signatories.

In the context that the coronavirus pandemic has spread so quickly across the globe, ASEAN has done a good job in disease prevention and control thanks to the leadership of Vietnam, he said, highlighting ASEAN’s initiatives such as the establishment of the ASEAN COVID-19 response fund, the ASEAN regional reserve of medical supplies, and the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergences and Emerging Diseases.

The diplomat also hailed Vietnam’s role as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), saying Vietnam proposed a wide range of ASEAN issues at the UN and UNSC’s discussions, which helps the international community has better understanding of the bloc’s role.

Saleusay took the occasion to thank the Vietnamese Party, State and people for their grant of 1,000 tonnes of rice as relief aid to flood-hit people in Savannakhet province although though they are suffering great losses from natural disasters. The move is an illustration for the true friendship between Vietnam and Laos, he stressed.

Signing of RCEP marks milestone in ASEAN history: official

ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi said the bloc had a momentous day when leaders of its member states, Australia, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand witnessed the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement.

He called the signing a historic event “as it underpins ASEAN’s role in leading a multilateral trade agreement of this magnitude, despite global and regional challenges and eight years of negotiations.”

“RCEP will give a much-needed boost for a swift and robust recovery for businesses and peoples in our region particularly during the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis,” the official added.

RCEP is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s biggest free trade pact to date, covering a market of 2.2 billion people with a combined size of 26.2 trillion USD or 30 percent of the world’s GDP.

The deal, upon entry into force, will improve market access with tariffs and quotas eliminated in over 65 percent of goods traded. Having 20 Chapters, 17 Annexes and 54 schedules of commitments covering market access, rules and disciplines, and economic and technical cooperation, it will make business predictable with common rules of origin and transparent regulations. This will encourage firms to invest more in the region, including building supply chains and services, and to generate jobs.

Negotiations of RCEP, beginning in 2013, were led by Iman Pambagyo, Director-General of Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade, and were supported by the ASEAN Secretariat.

The virtual signing of the pact by ministers of countries involved took place following the conclusion of the 4th RCEP Summit on November 15, as part of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits hosted by Vietnam.

Vinh Phuc works to increase forest growing area

The northern province of Vinh Phuc is exerting efforts in growing more forests while preserving protective ones.

At the same time, it is looking to switch from ineffective industrial trees to other crops with higher economic values.

Hundreds of billion VND has been mobilised for forest protection and development. In the 2016-2025, the province is allocating over 538 billion VND (23.29 million USD) from the provincial and State budget and social resources.

The provincial People’s Committee has issued guiding documents on forest protection and development by 2025, looking to increase the production value of the agro-forestry-fishery sector by 3.5-4 percent a year.

In addition, provincial authorities aim to raise public awareness of forest protection and development among local residents.

Vinh Phuc province is also working to raise forest coverage to 25 percent and attract more than 2,100 workers in the forestry sector.

The province is currently home to more than 31,600 ha of used forest land, making up 26 percent of the total natural land area of the province, primarily in Phuc Yen city and the districts of Song Lo, Lap Thach and Tam Dao. New forest growing area in the province is 706 ha.

Dance challenge raises public awareness of environmental protection

VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 17 (updated hourly)

The video is released at https://fb.watch/1K4KWPamQX/ (Photo: https://www.unicef.org/)

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on November 13 officially launched a dance challenge on social media to promote World Children’s Day (November 20) and raise public awareness of climate change and the environment.

Accordingly, UNICEF has cooperated with Vietnamese well-known dancer Quang Dang, who is famous all over worldwide for the dance in the hand-washing song “Ghen Co Vy” released in March 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, to choreograph the moves in the song ‘Let’s Act Together for Nature, a joint product of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, singer Quan A.P, and Nguyen Jenda.

The video was released at https://fb.watch/1K4KWPamQX/.

Quang Dang said “We are all concerned about protecting the environment and I want to encourage everyone, adults and children, to act together to ensure every child can enjoy a greener and cleaner future.”

UNICEF Representative in Vietnam Rana Flower said children have so many ways of expressing themselves and showing that they care about our planet.

By collaborating with Quang Dang, UNICEF wants to encourage children to take action to protect the environment, she added.

World Children’s Day is celebrated around the world to mark the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. The theme of this year’s celebration in Vietnam is “Reimaging a greener and cleaner Vietnam for every child”. The celebration is meant to be a ‘day for children, by children’ and for them to feel inspired to take action./.

Start-up Wheel 2020 attracts outstanding talents

The top 60 Vietnamese start-ups chosen from thousands of contestants competed at the semi-final round of the 2020 Vietnam Start-up Wheel contest in HCM City on November 13.

Then the top 10 local start-ups and five foreign start-ups entered the final round on the same day, which had total prizes of 10 billion (431,120 USD).

The foreign start-ups had two minutes to pitch and 10 minutes for Q&A via online format.

Startup Wheel 2020 wants to encourage start-ups to find a ‘silent moment’ to contemplate their business model and evaluate their business efficiency; find the ‘low notes’ to focus on their business’ core values, optimise resources for lean operations, and consolidate their strengths and resources to be ready to grab opportunities when the economy recovers, Truong Ly Hoang Phi, founder of the Business Start-up Support Centre, said.

The ‘Back to Basics’ theme of the event would help start-ups respond to difficult times, she added.

Organised by the Business Start-up Support Centre and the HCM City Young Businesspeople Association, the event seeks to help young start-ups find investors, consultants and mentors, business partners, and customers.

It also aims to honour Vietnamese and international start-ups who have demonstrated resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Start-up Wheel 2020 is one of the largest and most intensive start-up events in Southeast Asia, with the offline event in HCM City attracting more than 500 investors, venture capital funds, leading corporations, executives from local and foreign organisations that support start-ups, more than 100 outstanding local and international start-ups, and a large number of visitors.

ASEAN 2020: New opportunities offered to ASEAN businesses

The 11th ASEAN-UN Summit and the 4th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit are scheduled to take place via video conference on November 15, the last working day of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.

The closing ceremony and handover of the ASEAN Chairmanship to Brunei will be held later the same day, followed by an international press conference.

During the 10th ASEAN-UN Summit held in Thailand last year, leaders spoke highly of the importance of the UN and ASEAN in jointly addressing challenges across the globe.

The two sides emphasised the necessity to cooperate in climate change adaptation and natural disaster response, cross-border crime and terrorism prevention, sustainable development, and preventing sea level rise, pollution and plastic waste.

They also agreed to bolster ASEAN’s cooperation with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres laid stress on the significance and central role of ASEAN in the regional structure, highly valuing socio-economic development achievements of the organisation.

He noted that various challenges remain to be overcome, in order not to leave anyone behind. He affirmed that the UN stands ready to support ASEAN and voiced his hope that the bloc will continue carrying out sustainable development goals.

RCEP was initiated in November 2012 at the 21st ASEAN Summit held in Cambodia, aiming to establish an economic platform between the 10 ASEAN member states and Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea, focusing on trade in goods, services and investment.

If signed, RCEP would become the largest free trade agreement in the world, covering about 30 percent of the world’s population while contributing nearly one third (29.3 percent) of the world’s gross domestic product.

The 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, chaired by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, are running virtually from November 12 to 15. It offers opportunities for ASEAN member nations to comprehensively evaluate the results of intra-bloc cooperation as well as cooperation between the group and its partners, towards setting priorities for the next stage.

HCM City marks World Diabetes Day

More than 60 per cent of adults with diabetes remain undiagnosed in Việt Nam and only 30 per cent of people living with diabetes follow plans to monitor and manage diabetes at health facilities, according to the HCM City Centre for Disease Control.

Around 3.5 million people in Việt Nam had diabetes in 2015 and the number is expected to rise to 6.1 million by 2040, Dr Nguyễn Thị Ánh Vân of the centre told a meeting last Saturday.

Sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets and an ageing population were to blame for the rapid increase, she said.

Diabetes increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

It is a major cause for the increase in the number of cases of heart failure, stroke, kidney failure cases, lower extremity amputations, and blindness.

According to Dr Hồ Đắc Phương of Nguyễn Tri Phương Hospital in HCM City diabetes is one of five common chronic diseases in the country.

Diabetes develops silently with symptoms often less marked. As a result, the disease may be diagnosed several years late.

“A healthy diet, regular physical activity, and maintaining normal body weight are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes," he said.

“Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable by keeping weight under control, eating a healthy diet and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle.

“People with type 2 diabetes should need a proper diet, physical activity, medication, and regular screening.”

At the meeting, hundreds of people were tested for diabetes and received consultancy on diet and prevention of diabetes.

It was held by the centre and the HCM City Public Health Association to mark World Diabetes Day, November 14.

Over 1,000 trainee caregivers sent to work in Japan

Vietnam has sent more than 1,000 trainee nurses and caregivers to work in Japan over the past recent years. 

On November 12, the Department of Overseas Labour held a conference to review the cooperation programme to bring trainee caregivers to work in Japan in accordance with the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement during the 2012-2019 period.

Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Ba Hoan said the programme followed strict requirements from selecting, training to managing the caregivers sent to Japan. The Department of Overseas Labour closely worked with the Japan Embassy in Vietnam to carry out the Japanese Training Course for 1,610 candidates.

1,340 of them were sent to work at hospitals and nursing homes in Japan for a monthly income of JPY130,000-150,000 and other allowances.

The caregivers from Vietnam proved their skills via Japanese National Nursing Exam. The pass rate was 37% for nurses and 91% for orderlies, higher compared to the average rate of 10% and 30% for nurses and orderlies from other countries.

The demands for nurses and orderlies in Japan are still high. The authorities in both countries believe that with close co-operation, more Vietnamese nurses and orderlies will be sent to work in Japan, boosting the countries' relationship.

They will also help in Vietnam's development after returning from Japan.

Friendship Night marks 65th anniversary of Vietnam-Indonesia diplomatic ties

A Vietnam-Indonesia Friendship Night was co-held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Embassy of Indonesia in Vietnam on November 16 to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties (1955 – 2020).

The event featured traditional music performances from both countries and honoured winners of the video competition “Aku & Indonesia”.

In his opening remarks, Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam Ibnu Hadi said Indonesia is the first country in ASEAN to establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam and the 11th in the world to recognise it as an independent country.

He recalled the historic visits of President Ho Chi Minh to Indonesia and Indonesian President Seokarno to Vietnam in 1959, saying they laid solid foundation for the Vietnam-Indonesia relationship. The spirit of friendship between the two leaders is a historic treasure that must be promoted and passed to the future generations, he said.

Hadi, who is about to finish his four-year mission in Vietnam, said he is honoured to witness Vietnam’s robust growth and the positive development of the bilateral ties.

Also present at the event, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ta Quang Dong highlighted Indonesia’s important role in the region, saying the multi-faceted cooperation between the two nations is developing comprehensively and extensively at both bilateral and multilateral levels.

Vietnam and Indonesia have seen progress in politics, economy, investment, culture and more, particularly since 2013 when the two countries upgraded ties to a strategic partnership, he said.

As Vietnam and Indonesia have a lot in common in culture and history, the two countries enjoy shared benefits in fostering regional connection and international integration, the deputy minister continued. The two nations have together achieved numerous positive results in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, contributing to the building of an ASEAN Community of solidarity and development.

He expected that the event will promote ASEAN’s cultural diversity, enhance mutual understanding and solidarity between the two nations and their people, and further strengthen the bilateral strategic partnership./.

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

 
 

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