VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 26 (updated hourly)

Honour sacred for officials: Top leader addresses anti-corruption meeting

VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 26 (updated hourly)
NParty General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong

Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong on November 25 chaired a meeting of the standing board of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption to discuss a number of cases under the direction of the committee from the 17th session until now, during which he stressed that honour is the most sacred thing for an official.

Trong said that the positive results gained in preventing corruption and wastefulness have contributed to the country’s overall achievements, thus intensifying people’s trust.

He hailed the close coordination between and the determination of the inspectorate, audit agencies, courts, public security agencies, and armed forces, as well as the high level of consensus from the public.

He emphasised the need for more effort and closer coordination in the task, especially as the 13th National Party Congress is approaching.

Since the 17th session on January 15, despite the impact of the COVID-19 and natural disasters, corruption prevention and control, including the settlement of cases under the Committee’s monitoring, have forged ahead.

Relevant agencies have handled a total of 18 cases and four smaller cases.

The Party Central Committee, the Politburo, the Secretariat, and the Inspection Commission have disciplined eight officials, managed by the Party Central Committee./.

Nguyen Quang Thieu elected Chairman of Vietnam Writers’ Association

Author Nguyen Quang Thieu was elected as Chairman of the Vietnam Writers’ Association (VWA) at the association’s tenth congress for the 2020-2025, which was held in Hanoi from November 23 to 25.

Two Vice Chairmen of poet Tran Dang Khoa and writer Nguyen Binh Phuong, who were among an eleven-member executive board of the association, were also elected on the occasion.

The congress attracted the participation of nearly 600 writers, poets, arts critics and translations representing VWA members across the country.

Participants reviewed the operations and achievements of the association over the past five years and mapped out major tasks for the upcoming tenure.

Accordingly, in the past five years the association has actively worked to realise the Party and State’s guidelines and resolutions on developing Vietnamese culture, and to promote creativity and composition capacity among its members

The association also successfully hosted various events and activities including the Vietnamese Poetry Day, and the International Poetry Festival.

Vietnamese writers’ association urged to continue safeguarding traditional values

Politburo member Vo Van Thuong has asked the Vietnamese Writers’ Association to continue protecting traditional cultural values while creating new humane values in the years ahead.

Thuong, who heads the Central Commission for Communication and Education, made the request while attending a convention of the association which concluded on November 25.

He also asked writers to continue introducing images of the Vietnamese country and people to the world through literature.

In his speech, the senior Party official called for a greater role of literary works in combating corruption and moral degradation as well as promoting national reconciliation and a healthy democratic life.

The association of Vietnamese writers had earlier elected the 63-year-old Nguyen Quang Thieu, who is known as a poet, fiction writer, translator and literary critic, as its new chairman for the next five years.

He has also been active in connecting Vietnamese writers and American authors who used to fought in Vietnam, and has won various domestic and international prizes, including the Korean Changwon KC International Literary Prize in 2018.

The poet said that the challenges facing the association in the coming years are enormous but the real challenges belong to each writer who has to answer numerous questions about themself, their surrounding people, and the nation in an age of tumult.

UNSC non-permanent members forge cooperation

VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 26 (updated hourly)
The dialogue, held both in-person and online, is the first international event presided over by Vietnam within the framework of the UNSC since its first stint in 2008-2009. Norway and South Africa co-oraganised the event together with Vietnam.

Representatives from the 10 current non-permanent members (E10) and the five newly-elected non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) met on November 25 to share experience in UNSC activities.

The meeting, held both in-person and online, is the first international event presided over by Vietnam within the framework of the UNSC since its first stint in 2008-2009. Norway and South Africa co-oraganised the event together with Vietnam.

The meeting demonstrates Vietnam’s enhanced contributions as well as intensified coordination between the E10 countries to raise the operational efficiency of the council in maintaining international peace and security.

Addressing the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh lauded international efforts in keeping peace, cooperation and development, and highlighted UN member countries’ confidence in the role of multilateralism, and the UN’s coordination role in addressing global issues.

Minh expressed his hope that the meeting will help enhance mutual understanding and the exchange of viewpoints and experience among the non-permanent members in UNSC affairs.

The official called on the E10 countries to intensify their cooperation in order to further contribute to the council’s activities, and improve its efficiency and transparency.

He emphasised Vietnam’s commitments and priorities to the UNSC during its term, such as promoting multilateralism and multilateral solutions to settle conflicts; intensifying international commitments and respect for the UN Charter and international law; boosting cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations; preventing conflicts; protecting civilians, especially vulnerable groups, and essential infrastructure in conflicts; along with post-conflict reconstruction, including the settlement of bomb and mine consequences.

On November 25-26, the participating countries discussed present trends and challenges to the UNSC and cooperation between the E10 countries, among others./

Cambodia congratulates Vietnam on successful holding of 37th ASEAN Summit

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia has issued a press release regarding the virtual talks between Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc on November 24.

The Cambodian PM congratulated Vietnam on the successful outcomes of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, especially the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, the ministry noted.

The two leaders expressed their satisfaction on the significant progress of the comprehensive cooperation between Cambodia and Vietnam in recent years and agreed to deepen and broaden the existing close ties in the spirit of "good neighbourliness, traditional friendship, comprehensive cooperation and long-lasting stability”.

The two PMs stressed the importance of promoting two-way trade and investment between the two countries. In this respect, they agreed to ask their respective ministries, institutions and provincial authorities to work closely so as to facilitate the travel of the businesspeople as well as to enhance the implementation of the preventive measures to timely cope with the issues.

The two leaders also reaffirmed the joint efforts in strengthening bilateral cooperation on defence and security and guaranteeing the security and order at the border.

They noted with gratification that Cambodia and Vietnam have successfully contained the spread of COVID-19.

PM Hun Sen expressed his high appreciation to the Vietnamese Government for presenting medical supplies to Cambodia to fight against the pandemic and for facilitating the safe return of hundreds of Cambodian students to study in Vietnam.

For his part, PM Phuc praised the Royal Government of Cambodia for maintaining social and economic stability amidst the global pandemic.
Both leaders applauded the ratification of the Supplementary Treaty to the Treaty on Delimitation of State Border in 1985 and the Supplementary Treaty in 2005, and to the Protocol on Recognition of Accomplishment of Land Demarcation and Border Marker Planting by their respective legislative institutions.

They highlighted the importance of the recent exchange of topographical border maps between Cambodia and Vietnam. Both sides agreed to speed up the procedures to have the instruments of ratification of the said Supplementary Treaty and the Protocol 2019 exchanged as soon as possible.

They were strongly committed to resolve the settlement of the remaining 16 percent of the land boundary work, with a view to transform Cambodia-Vietnam border into a border of peace, stability, cooperation and development.

The leaders underscored the importance of the upcoming 18th Cambodia­-Vietnam Joint Commission at the ministerial level, to be convened on December 22 at Bavet city of Cambodia’s Svay Rieng province.

The two PMs expressed their strong determination to further strengthen cooperation in all areas and support each other in the regional and multilateral frameworks such as Mekong sub-region, ASEAN, ASEM and the United Nations.

Ministry of Public Security to host ASEAN meeting on transnational crime

The 14th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime and Related Meetings (AMMTC 14) will take place online on November 26, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will attend it and deliver a keynote address.

Hosted by the ministry, the meeting will involve officials from ASEAN member nations and the ASEAN Secretariat, and representatives from ASEAN embassies in Vietnam.

Immediately after the opening ceremony, General To Lam, Minister of Public Security, will chair the plenary session which will see the participation of ASEAN ministers overseeing transnational crime prevention, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, and ASEAN Directors-General of Immigration Departments and Heads of Consular Affairs Divisions of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (DGICM).

Vietnam will take over the AMMTC Chairmanship from Thailand - the host country of AMMTC 13 in November 2019 - at the session.

Delegates will look into regional and global circumstances that could impact on developments in regional transnational crime.

They will discuss and seek approaches to promote the implementation of objectives set out in the ASEAN Plan of Action in Combating Transnational Crime in the 2016-2025 period, and approve documents on initiatives and ideas from ASEAN member countries.

The ministers of ASEAN member countries are expected to adopt a Joint Statement for AMMTC 14.

AMMTC 14 will contribute to Vietnam’s success as ASEAN Chair in 2020 and strengthen its important position in the international arena.

It will also demonstrate the country’s strong political commitment and proactiveness in international cooperation on the prevention and control of transnational crime.

More than 280 Vietnamese citizens repatriated from Australia

Over 280 Vietnamese citizens in Australia were brought home safely aboard a Bamboo Airway flight on November 25.

The passengers included children under 18, the elderly, workers with expired contracts, and others in extremely disadvantaged circumstances.

The Vietnamese Embassy and Australian competent agencies coordinated to facilitate the citizens’ travel to airports in Sydney and Melbourne. Embassy staff also assisted them 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.

Upon arrival at the Can Tho international airport in the Mekong Delta city of the same name, all passengers and crew members received medical check-ups and were sent to quarantine in line with regulations.

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

Sub-committee for organisation of 13th National Party Congress sits for fifth meeting

The sub-committee for the organisation of the 13th National Party Congress convened its fifth meeting in Hanoi on November 25 under the chair of Tran Quoc Vuong, Politburo member, permanent member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat, and head of the sub-committee.

Participants discussed the work of ensuring order and security, and medical plans for the organisation of the congress, press-related activities in service of the congress, and other preparations for the event.

Vuong praised efforts of agencies and units in making preparations for the congress in accordance with their assigned tasks.

He asked agencies to consider comments from the sub-sommittee at the meeting, and complete assigned works to ensure that the congress will be held on schedule and in an effective manner./.

Health Minister requests faster testing of COVID-19

Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long on November 24 urged testing for COVID-19 to be accelerated, warning about very high risks of coronavirus transmissions from other countries as the pandemic situation remains tense around the world.

Addressing a teleconference on COVID-19 prevention and control, Long said Vietnam has stayed free of community transmissions of the disease for 83 straight days.

However, it has still seen imported cases boarding flights from foreign destinations. Meanwhile, although the Ministry of Health (MoH) has issued a number of guidelines for quarantine sites, the lack of vigilance remains at several establishments, especially hotels and other civil accommodation facilities, he pointed out.

Long underlined local authorities’ role in ensuring strict management of quarantine sites, asking them to gear up for the possible appearance of COVID-19 cases in the community.

Noting transmission risks at medical establishments, the minister said some hospitals, especially private ones, are still off guard.

Long said the MoH has continually requested testing be increased, but the number of tested samples is only about 4,000 per day, which has almost doubled the figure in July but is still very low compared to the number of people with flu and pneumonia symptoms.

If the testing speed is not increased, COVID-19 infections could be missed, he noted, adding that the faster tests are conducted, the sooner new cases are detected and the transmission is curbed.

The minister also emphasised the need to monitor imported food, noting that the MoH has ordered that frozen food shipped from pandemic-hit countries must undergo COVID-19 testing since the coronavirus can survive for a long time.

At the meeting, he also warned about transmission risks posed by illegal entries, adding that 77 people had been caught while trying to illegally enter Vietnam on November 23 alone.

Giving more details, Maj. Gen. Nguyen Duc Manh, Deputy Commander of the Border Guards, said since the year’s beginning, the force has kept guarding on more than 6,000 border paths and crossings and handled entry procedures for over 2.7 million people, during which it has recorded more than 20,000 cases of illegal entry.

The COVID-19 tally in Vietnam currently stands at 1,316, including 691 locally infected cases. As many as 1,153 patients have recovered from the disease while the fatalities are maintained at 35.

Vietnam attends 34th meeting of Asian political parties

A Party delegation, led by deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations Nguyen Manh Cuong, attended the 34th meeting of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) on November 25.

The meeting was held via videoconference with the participation of representatives from 30 political parties in Asia.

Participations spoke highly of ICAPP activities in 2020 which have contributed to promoting solidarity and cooperation among political parties in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, while discussing major orientations of the organisation in the time ahead, especially preparations for the 11th ICAPP General Assembly.

The ICAPP was set up in September 2000 with the aim at boosting exchanges and collaboration between Asian political parties with diverse political and ideological backgrounds./.

Vietnam contributes to strengthening ASEAN-UN cooperation: official

The UN General Assembly’s recent adoption of a resolution on ASEAN-UN cooperation has demonstrated the UN’s acknowledgement of the grouping’s position and capacity, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Hoai Trung has said.

The resolution was approved during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly on November 23, with the backing of 110 countries, the highest number of co-sponsors for the document since it was introduced for the first time in 2002.

As the ASEAN Chair 2020, Vietnam represented the grouping in drafting and negotiating for the resolution.

In an interview granted to the press, Trung attributed the adoption to Vietnam’s significant contributions as well as coordination between ASEAN member countries.

He recalled a working session on ASEAN’s role in the region and its coordination with the UN, held by Vietnam in January when the country began to assume the UNSC’s non-permanent membership.

As the ASEAN Chair 2020, Vietnam has coordinated and maintained the operation of the bloc in various spheres in the context of global changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, Trung said.

Many proposals raised by the country have received support from other ASEAN member countries and partners, he stressed, adding that ASEAN’s successes in the year have contributed to improving its position, role and contributions to international issues./.

Top leader receives outgoing Cuban Ambassador

VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 26 (updated hourly)
Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong (R) receives outgoing Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam Lianys Torres Rivera

Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong received outgoing Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam Lianys Torres Rivera in Hanoi on November 25.

Congratulating the ambassador on fulfilling her missions, Trong appreciated her active and effective contributions to consolidating and deepening special friendship between the two Parties and countries.

He hailed efforts made by both sides to organising activities in celebration of the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties (December 2, 1960-2020).

He expressed his belief that Cuba will overcome all difficulties and challenges and successfully hold the 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba in April 2021.

For her part, the Cuban ambassador expressed her thanks for support by Vietnamese leaders as well as ministries, sectors and localities to help her fulfil her working tenure.

She affirmed that in any positions, she will maintain contributions to the bilateral relations./.

German Communist Party supports flood-hit victims in Vietnam

Vietnamese Ambassador to Germany Nguyen Minh Vu has received assistance from the German Communist Party (DKP) to support flood-hit people in the central region of Vietnam.

DKP President Patrik Kobele handed over 12,150 EUR (14,489 USD) to Ambassador Vu at their meeting on November 25. The money was donated by members of the DKP and readers of the party’s newspaper.

Ambassador Vu thanked the party for the aid as well as the warm sentiments and support that the DKP and German friends have given to Vietnam.

The traditional friendship and long-lasting relations between the DKP and the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) as well as between the people in the two countries will help foster the intensive partnership between Vietnam and Germany, he stated.

The diplomat pledged to send the money to the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee so that it will reach the needy soon.

At the meeting, the two sides also discussed a number of issues such as the preparations for the 13th National Congress of the CPV, Vietnam’s external relations, and the cooperation and delegation exchange plan between the two Parties in the future./.

Cooperation agreement on child protection signed

A cooperation agreement on child protection was signed on November 24 between the Department of Child Affairs under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and Vietnam Post.

The main objective of the deal is to strengthen coordination, direction and implementation of measures to protect children and prevent and combat child abuse, ensuring the realisation of children's rights and building a safe and healthy living environment for children's development.

Under the agreement, the two sides will coordinate to carry out education programmes on child protection policies and laws. They will spread knowledge and skills on child protection, child abuse prevention and control for post office staff, especially at the commune level.

The two sides will provide information on children's rights through the network of post offices, postal staff and commune post offices nationwide. They will also build a network of volunteers to protect children nationwide.

The national hotline for children protection 111 will be announced nationwide.

The two units will work together to build a national database on children, support and maximise the strengths of each party to perform their tasks and bring benefits to society.

Ca Mau Province suffers $46m losses from natural disasters in 2020

Natural disasters have caused losses worth VNĐ1.06 trillion (US$46 million) in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Cà Mau this year, destroying public infrastructure, houses and crops, according to the local Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, Search and Rescue.

During the last dry season between the end of last year and the early months of this year drought caused a water shortage for more than 28,000 households and 43,583ha of forests.

Then, in recent months, heavy rains and strong winds flattened or blew off the roofs of 859 houses and damaged 43,460ha of rice, 578ha of vegetables, 408ha of fruits, and 20,500ha of aquaculture.

Heavy rains and high tides inundated 470km of canals and rural roads and the Hồ Chí Minh Road in the districts of Năm Căn and Ngọc Hiển.

Erosion in both the eastern and western coastal areas and mangrove forests occurred on a total length of 105 km. Erosion also damaged 46km of roads at 1,367 sites.

Cà Mau, the country’s southernmost province, is a peninsula with around 254km of coast. Its western sea dyke has been eroded and the area has subsided badly at many spots.

The province People’s Committee declared an erosion emergency in the 108km western dyke two times this year as a total of 5.8km in U Minh and Trần Văn Thời districts were dangerously affected.

Natural disasters caused the death of five people at sea and two others to go missing.

The province spent VNĐ697 billion ($30 million) on disaster relief this year.

It has petitioned the Government to allocate funds for upgrading 23km of the Sông Đốc - Cái Đôi Vàm section of the western dyke. 

It has set up teams comprising more than 8,600 people for rapid response to natural disasters. 

Lê Quân, chairman of the province People’s Committee, has ordered a survey of all damages caused by natural disasters to provide relief to and rehabilitate households.

Local authorities should closely monitor weather forecasts and take proactive steps to safeguard agriculture and step up inspections to ensure the safety of irrigation works, dykes and embankments, he added. 

Photo exhibition features career of veteran tuồng star

VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 26 (updated hourly)
A wax sculture featuring People’s Artist Đinh Bằng Phi is displayed at the HCM City Theatre Association. — Photo courtesy of the HCM City Theatre Association

A photo exhibition featuring the career of People’s Artist Đinh Bằng Phi, a leading artist of tuồng or hát bội (classical drama), a traditional genre of theatre in the central region, has opened in HCM City. 

The event displays more than 150 black-and-white and colour photos depicting the performances of Phi, who has worked for 65 years in tuồng. 

Highlighted works depict Phi and his colleagues performing in famous plays staged in the 1970s and 1980s in Sài Gòn (now HCM City). Their costumes, make-up, stage design and beautiful moves are also featured. 

The pictures are exhibited with captions and articles by reporters and theatre directors who have been involved in tuồng and have celebrated the artists’ talent and commitment to the art. 

“Every photo at our exhibition features the beauty of tuồng through Phi’s long career,” said theatre director Trần Ngọc Giàu, chairman of the HCM City Theatre Association, the event’s organiser.   

“Photos also provide viewers with knowledge about tuồng history and its development during various periods, including its evolution from a folk art into a royal art in the 17th century.” 

Phi began his career as a theatre scriptwriter in HCM City in 1959 at the National Music and Theatre School of Sài Gòn. 

In 1971, he became a professional tuồng performer after setting up the Đinh Bằng Phi Hát Bội Troupe by inviting talented artists like Kim Thanh and Xuân Quan. 

His strong and melodic voice as well as commanding stage presence helped Phi leave an indelible mark on the art. 

He was deputy director of the HCM City Hát Bội Theatre. He has written and directed more than 40 plays and performed in many cải lương (reformed opera) and tuồng plays, videos and movies. Some of his books on tuồng are used at art schools to teach students.  

He has won scores of prestigious awards for best actor and best director at national traditional theatre festivals and contests. He has also worked with art schools and theatres to train students. 

 

In 2018, his mini live show attracted 200 guests in HCM City. He performed traditional tunes with support from instrumentalists. 

“Tuồng is the spirit of Vietnamese people in the central and south regions. I hope young artists will keep it alive,” said the 83-year-old Phi. 

The exhibition will close on January 18 at 5B Võ Văn Tần Street in District 3. A series of forums and seminars on tuồng will be organised during the event. 

Hanoi to complete planning West lake

West lake and its surrounding area in Hanoi will be planned to become a cultural and spiritual destination for domestic and international tourists.

In the recent plans, Hanoi’s authorities are determined to include West lake in the strategy of protection and the planning of its surrounding needs to be completed for effective exploitation, Kinh te & Do thi reported.

Specifically, in the Urban Area Planning of West lake and vicinity (A6), the lake will become the center for urban development. The spatial structure is organized in strips and layers created by routes around the lake. Specially, the spatial axis of Quang An peninsula will be created to connect West lake with the Red river and Co Loa citadel.

Director of the Hanoi Department of Planning and Architecture Nguyen Truc Anh said that in order to implement the goal of building a modern and typical theater for the capital city, the municipal People's Committee has accepted funding by real estate developer Sun Group to research a detailed planning of Quang An peninsula. The planning will be submitted to the committee for approval.

Sun Group has invited design consultant Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the world's leading consultant in the field of designing theaters in the world, to propose ideas. The invitation of this consulting firm has been approved by the municipal Party Committee and People's Committee.

According to Mr. Truc Anh, only when the partial adjustment of this urban zoning plan is approved, will there be a legal basis to implement the detailed planning project of the spatial axis of Quang An peninsula so that West lake area can become a cultural and spiritual destination for domestic and international tourists.

Along with new projects in Quang An peninsula, Hanoi is working on other projects to change the landscape of West lake which include Ho Tay Water Park and New Sun Park, which were approved by the municipal People's Committee in 2020. Currently, the Hanoi Institute of Construction Planning is implementing a comprehensive perspective plan for this project.

Besides, Mr. Pham The Vinh, chairman of Nhat Tan ward People's Committee in Tay Ho district, said that the pedestrian space in Trinh Cong Son street located in the ward is going to be expanded to an area of ​​up to 26 hectares. The application dossier for the pedestrian space expansion to the West lake’s embankment is being finalized to submit to the Hanoi People's Committee for approval.

VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 26 (updated hourly)

UNFPA offers support to women in central region

Over 5,700 dignity kits have been presented to female members of the Vietnam Farmers Union (VFU) in the central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Nam which were badly affected by recent floods.

Naomi Kitahara, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Vietnam, on November 24 handed over the kits to Thao Xuan Sung, Chairman of the VFU Central Committee. The union will deliver the dignity kits to the women in need.

The country’s central coastal region has suffered unprecedented flooding from prolonged downpours and successive typhoons since early October, resulting in more than 200 deaths so far, and displacing thousands of people. At least 5.5 million people in the region have been affected, including an estimated 1.3 million women of reproductive age with more than 92,000 of them pregnant.

Pregnancy and menstruation do not stop in emergencies, and as such uninterrupted services for sexual and reproductive health must be provided for women and girls. And risks of violence against women and girls increase in a crisis, for which effective prevention and response must be immediately put in place.

According to the joint rapid assessment carried out last month, in which UNFPA experts played a lead role in the most affected areas of central Vietnam, the disaster had forced women and girls to move into evacuation centres without having the time to pack essential supplies. As a result, they were unable to manage their hygiene properly and lacked access to basic needs such as sanitary pads, clothes and underwear. In addition, access to water and places to wash and dry reusable pads and clothes, or to dispose used materials, was a problem.

Dignity kits are a signature product of the UNFPA's comprehensive package of humanitarian assistance to safeguard sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, mitigate the risk of gender-based violence, and respond and protect the dignity of women and girls adversely affected by a crisis.

“Preserving dignity is essential to maintaining self-esteem and confidence, which is important to cope in stressful and potentially overwhelming humanitarian situations. A dignity kit comprises the basic items that women and girls need to protect themselves and maintain their basic hygiene, respect and dignity in the face of crisis,” said Kitahara at the handover ceremony.

Indonesia’s unemployment up 2.67 million due to COVID-19

Indonesian Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati has said that the number of unemployed people in the country increased by 2.67 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic, from 7.1 million to 9.77 million or from 5.23 percent to 7.07 percent.

Of those, 2.36 million people were sacked while 310,000 others could not find jobs due to the pandemic, Indrawati told a press conference on November 24.

She pointed out that the increasing unemployment rate would have the implication of reducing the rate of the people's welfare but the social assistance from the government has helped overcome the problem.

According to the minister, the decreasing rate of welfare was reflected by more people who moved their jobs from the formal sector to the informal one./.

Techfest Southeast Region 2020 opens in HCM City

VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 26 (updated hourly)
A visitor at an exhibition area displaying science and technology products held as part of Techfest Southeast Region 2020 in HCM City. — Photo courtesy of the University of Economics of HCM City 

Việt Nam should promote collaboration between academia and businesses to promote the commercialisation of scientific research and develop a strong start-up ecosystem, speakers said at the Techfest Southeast Region 2020 event that kicked off yesterday in HCM City.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Trần Xuân Đích, deputy director of the Ministry of Science and Technology’s Department of Market Development and Science and Technology Enterprises, noted that Việt Nam was one of the fastest growing countries in ASEAN with a vibrant start-up eco-system.

“The current innovative start-up eco-system has entered a critical stage for the development of Vietnamese start-ups,” he said.

Thousands of local and international investors, enterprises and representatives from the start-up community are participating in the Techfest Southeast Region 2020 that runs until Saturday.

The event, the largest of its kind, aims to create a platform to connect the Vietnamese start-up eco-system with that of the world at large.

Dr. Nguyễn Đông Phong, chairman of the University of Economics of HCM City, said the event connects local and regional eco-systems in the Southeast region, and contributes to building a national innovation start-up eco-system. 

Government policies that will help the innovative start-up community and create a favourable environment for the growth of start-ups will also be discussed. 

Launched by the HCM City People’s Committee, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the University of Economics of HCM City, the events will be held both online and offline.

Successful start-up models and individuals and organisations making major contributions in the field will be honoured during the event.

The Techfest Southeast Region 2020 includes one general session, one round table and four sessions. The sessions will discuss current topics such as digital transformation, smart city, smart education, hi-tech agriculture, artificial intelligence and blockchain. 

Other activities held as part of the event include the 2020 HCM City Innovation, Start-up and Entrepreneurship Week, and the Việt Nam Artificial Intelligence Day.

In addition, there is an exhibition including nearly 60 booths displaying science and technology products. 

Exhibitors can participate in the online exhibition at a platform that works 24/7, aiming to connect the start-up community, the science and technology community, and innovative eco-systems of 63 provinces and more than 80 countries and territories, including the US, Canada, Germany, France, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Australia.

The Vietnamese start-up eco-system is supported by a legal framework. It has in recent years grown significantly with 38 incubators and more than 170 co-working spaces nationwide. There are more than 60 innovative start-up funds nationwide. 

NA Chairwoman meets voters in Can Tho

The National Assembly (NA) has paid close attention to the heavy toll that natural disasters have caused to many areas of Vietnam, NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said while meeting with voters in Cai Rang and Phong Dien districts in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on November 24.

Responding to voters’ concern about rampant natural disasters hitting the country, including saltwater intrusion and riverbank erosion in the Mekong Delta, and flooding in the central region, Ngan said the NA has been working to strengthen the relevant legal framework to facilitate work to alleviate damage caused by disasters.

She added that the NA had adopted the revised Law on Environmental Protection during its 10th sitting, which is expected to make the prevention of and response to natural disasters more effective.

Chairwoman Ngan also noted that the Government has issued Resolution 120/NQ-CP on sustainable development in the Mekong Delta, which devotes much attention to solutions to respond to climate change. She added that the local agricultural sector should also make changes to crop structure to adapt to the situation.

The top legislator moved on to note that investment has been poured into developing transport infrastructure in the Mekong Delta, but due to the region’s soil conditions, road construction is costlier than elsewhere.

The Government has developed the 40-km HCM City - Trung Luong Highway while the Trung Luong - My Thuan Highway is scheduled to open to traffic at the end of this year, she said, adding that My Thuan 2 Bridge, which connects the Trung Luong - My Thuan and My Thuan - Can Tho Expressways, will complete the transport network from HCM City to Can Tho.

These projects are included in the medium-term public investment plan for the next five years, she said.

The NA Chairwoman later briefed voters on issues tabled at the NA’s 10th sitting, which wrapped up earlier this month, and the socio-economic situation since the beginning of the year.

She urged everyone not to let their guard down against COVID-19, and underscored the importance of agriculture in national economic growth amid the pandemic.

While the service sector has been hardest hit by COVID-19, the agriculture sector has managed to contribute greatly to the national economy and even to global food security through export of farm produce, she said.

The NA chairwoman also congratulated the city for being the first in the Mekong Delta and the third in the country to complete new-style rural building a year ahead of schedule./.

Forum highlights youth role and development in ASEAN Community

The Dialogue Forum on Youth and 2020 ASEAN Community took place online on November 24, discussing youth development policies and related trends and issues facing ASEAN member states.

Organised by Vietnam’s Ministry of Home Affairs, the forum gathered representatives from ASEAN members’ State agencies in charge of young people affairs and the ASEAN Secretariat.

In his opening speech, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Tran Anh Tuan said Vietnam and other ASEAN member nations highly value the role of youth in the building, integration, and connectivity of the ASEAN Community, saying they are important human resources, particularly in enhancing solidarity and friendship regionally and globally.

This is the third time Vietnam has organised the forum since 2011, he said, which aims to promote the role and creativity of young people in addressing national and regional issues and to propose ideas and policies to boost living standards of youth and all people in the ASEAN Community as a whole . The forum also created an opportunity for the exchange of culture and policy making and the sharing of experience between participants.

Rodora T. Babaran, Director of Human Development at the ASEAN Secretariat’s ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Department, praised Vietnam’s effort in holding the forum amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Babaran said young people play an important role in the strategy for the formation of the ASEAN Community and are a priority in the making of policy in the bloc and its member states.

ASEAN is home to 220 million young people, who account for one-third of its population. The bloc recently built a youth action plan for 2021-2025 and a youth development index.

Babaran suggested policies be issued that encourage youth start-ups in different sectors, adding that increasing young people’s engagement in socio-economic matters and raising their awareness about ASEAN are also needed.

Participants discussed bloc members’ current situation regarding building and implementing policies regarding youth, in terms of education and training, healthcare, start-ups and job creation, and volunteer work.

They took the occasion to share experience in handling youth-related issues and make recommendations on ensuring the rights and interests of youth in the region and to optimise their participation in tackling socio-economic matters./.

New walking street in Lạng Sơn attracts thousands of visitors

VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 26 (updated hourly)
The new walking street in Lạng Sơn Province is attracting thousands of visits with its many folk games.

The new walking street in Lạng Sơn Province is attracting thousands of visitors daily with many folk games.

The Kỳ Lừa Walking Street opens from 6pm to midnight every Friday and Saturday. The area stretches 1,300m along Bắc Sơn, Lê Lai, Trần Quốc Toản and Lương Văn Tri streets and areas around Kỳ Lừa Market.

Here visitors can partake in traditional folk games under the guidance of instructors, enjoy local cuisine, and purchase local signature goods, especially agricultural produce and souvenirs.

Nông Bích Diệp, deputy chairman of Lạng Sơn People's Committee, said it attracts about 10,000 visitors per week, 2.5 times higher than initially expected.

"In the upcoming time, we will increase parking space if the number of visitors continues to increase. In addition, cultural and art performances, along with folk games, will bear specific themes to promote the cultural and traditional identity of Lạng Sơn," she said.

Kỳ Lừa Walking Street Project was planned in June. The first phase of the project will be implemented from now to October 2021.

The pedestrian area is a way to promote provincial traditions and cuisines while attracting more visitors with street performances and other services.

Located in the Nam Ninh-Lạng Sơn-Hà Nội-Hải Phòng-Quảng Ninh economic development corridor and blessed by nature with beautiful scenery and products, Lạng Sơn Province has taken advantage of these attributes to implement a plan that turns it into a tourism hub of the country.

In the past years, the provincial and local authorities have taken various measures to improve service quality and diversity with the aim to boost tourism.

Last year, the province welcomed over 3 million visitors, of which 2 million visited Lạng Sơn City.

Fifteen-month-old boy with bronchitis dies in Thạch Thất District General Hospital

Hà Nội’s Department of Health on Tuesday asked Thạch Thất District General Hospital to report on the death of a 15-month-old boy who was hospitalised for bronchitis last Saturday and died a day later.

According to the hospital’s initial report, the boy was hospitalised on Saturday morning with coughing and fever. He was diagnosed with bronchitis.

He was injected with medicine to treat bronchitis twice at the hospital without any abnormal signs. On Sunday afternoon, the boy reportedly had breathing difficulties, increased secretion of phlegm and mucus and an abnormal heart rate. He was then given an epinephrine injection, electric shocks and endotracheal intubation but the doctors failed to save the boy.

The hospital director Vương Trung Kiên said after the incident, the team who delivered medical treatment and emergency to the boy was suspended while an expert group examined the team's work to see if they had made any mistakes.

The hospital is working with authorities to investigate the boy’s death.

Rural trade receives Government support

About 2.3 million people are currently involved in rural trade in Việt Nam, marking an increase of 300,000 people since 2017.

Their average income is now VNĐ 4-5 million (US$ 90-100) per month, double the income generated by farming.

There are currently over 817,000 units specialising in rural trade nationwide with total revenue of VNĐ 236.2 trillion (US$10.2 billion ), an increase of VNĐ 40 million compared with 2017.

These figures were released on Monday by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development after a review of the implementation of Decree 52/2018/NĐ-CP over the last two years.

Head of the ministry’s Co-operative Economy and Rural Development Lê Đức Thịnh said that Việt Nam’s craft products were exported  to 163 countries and territories around the world, including the US, Japan and EU.

Last year, Việt Nam earned $2.35 billion from exporting craft products, Thịnh said, adding that in the first seven months of this year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, exports of craft products like bamboo, pottery and embroidery still achieved positive growth.

On April 12, 2018, the Government issued Decree No. 52/2018/ND-CP on the development of rural trade.

Under the decree, seven groups of rural trade activities are supported, including processing and preserving agricultural, forest and aquatic products; producing fine-art handicrafts; processing materials serving rural trade production; and producing timber, rattan and bamboo, ceramic and porcelain, glass, textile and garment, fibre, embroidery, knitwear, and small mechanical engineering products.

It also covers the provision of services for rural inhabitants.

These activities are being supported from production to promotion, with priority loans, science and technology and human resources training.

Also in accordance with the decree, a craft shall be recognised as 'traditional' when it fully satisfies the following three criteria: having existed in the locality for over 50 years and still being developed by the time of request for recognition; creating products bearing the nation’s cultural identity; being associated with the name(s) of one or more artisans or with the name of a certain craft village.

Besides expanding markets for trade products, the decree is also expected to help preserve traditional crafts in Việt Nam’s rural areas. 

Thịnh said that rural trade and trade villages were typical characteristics of Việt Nam’s culture and rural economy.

“The development of rural trade helps boost economic development in rural areas and change the socio-economic structure towards industrialisation and modernisation,” he said.

Agriculture minister Nguyễn Xuân Cường said that agriculture was a foundation of Việt Nam’s economy, so at every stage of its development, there were always policies to boost production and rural development.

He said that in the last two years since the issuance of Decree 52, more than VNĐ540 billion had been mobilised to support rural trade activities.

However, Cường said that rural areas still faced problems including low labour productivity, environmental pollution, and modest and unstable value chains for rural products.

Joint efforts were needed to boost rural trade so it could develop effectively and sustainably, the minister said. 

Local women contribute to boosting mutual ties with US

The Vietnam-US Forum kicked off on November 24 in Hanoi in an effort to support women in international economic integration whilst promoting their role in people-to-people exchanges between the countries.

During the course of the forum, Ha Thi Nga, president of the Vietnam Women's Union, highlighted the crucial role played by women in developing ties with the US. Indeed, women of both countries should increase exchange activities as a contribution to comprehensive co-operation for the purpose of boosting security, peace, and prosperity of each side and the wider international community.

Recent years has seen the Vietnam Women's Union organise a range of people-to-people exchange activities which have contributed to strengthening the comprehensive partnership between both sides.

Furthermore, the association has actively strengthened connectivity with other organisations as a means of welcoming delegations of American women to visit and work in the country. This has occurred whilst simultaneously dispatching groups to gain insights into the development experience of US women in fields such as female leadership, women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), along with the prevention of violence based on gender, Nga added.

He went on to note that several institutions under the association have co-operated with plenty of American partners in the fields of culture, publishing, economics, information, and education, with these efforts deepening the understanding and co-operation between women and people of the two countries.

Christopher Klein, deputy chief of the Mission of US Embassy Hanoi, said the US is proud to be a long-term partner in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment in the nation and globally. They are especially committed to empowering women to participate in both the public and private sectors.

Currently, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is co-operating with the financial sector in order to help Vietnamese women gain access to financial sources. This is alongside efforts to work closely alongside the Vietnam Women's Union to launch activities worth US$39.5 million by the US Government with the aim of enhancing the capacity of the private sector in support of small and medium-sized enterprises, especially female entrepreneurs.

Vietnam to test food imported from coronavirus-hit countries

Vietnam will test food, especially frozen items, imported from coronavirus hit countries to prevent a possible spread of the virus into the country, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH). 

The MoH on November 24 sent a dispatch to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Industry and Trade, the General Department of Vietnam Customs, and the People's Committees of provinces and cites, notifying them of the new measure.

The MoH proposed that the designated bodies instruct their relevant agencies to collect samples from imported food packaging items, especially for frozen food, for testing. Test results will be then sent to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control for evaluation.

Furthermore, relevant agencies must also ask firms involved in importing food items to strengthen measures aimed at preventing and controlling the COVID-19 epidemic, along with strictly complying with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s direction on bolstering prevention activities.

The new measure was introduced following recent discoveries of live coronavirus on frozen food packaging in some countries.

Most notably, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that they found live coronavirus on frozen food packaging in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao, a discovery which suggests the virus is capable of surviving in cold supply chains.

China also suspended imports of fishery products from Indonesia in mid-September due to COVID-19 contamination found in the outer packages. A month earlier, it also reported that frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil contained traces of the virus, as well as on frozen prawns brought in from Ecuador.

In total, China has reported approximately 10 cases of SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus, being found in frozen products or on packaging.

Despite these findings, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said they have yet to issue a document relating to implementing inspection work on imported food coming into Vietnam.

According to an official of Regional Animal Health Office No.6 (RAHO6), upon hearing the news of the discoveries of coronavirus on frozen food packaging in China, the RAHO6 quickly took 171 samples of cattle, poultry, fishery products, and frozen food packaging imported from 15 countries. They were also tested for traces of COVID-19, with all of the results coming back negative.

Vietnamese player beats former world champion in Chess Olympiad for people with disabilities

Vietnamese chess player Nguyen Van Quan defeated former world champion Indian Shashikant Kutwal in the first Online Chess Olympiad for People with Disabilities on November 23.
Van Quan started poorly as he spent more time on counter moves. But he then deployed good moves to force his opponent into mistakes before sealing victory in the 54th move.

Van Quan is a disabled chess player with the highest Elo rating in Vietnam (1,783), while Shashikant Kutwal was crowned world champion in 2017 and thereby earned the International Master (IM) title.

Van Quan’s amazing win against Kutwal, however, was not enough to rescue the Vietnamese team from a 1.5-2.5 defeat against their Indian counterparts, as his teammates lost two and drew one over the remaining three games.

Vietnam had previously defeated Kazakhstan (2.5-1.5) and Romania (4-0) in the first two rounds.

After three rounds, Vietnam temporarily stood in 14th with four points, which is a positive result as Vietnam’s initial average Elo rating is only at a ranking of 46th. The team will face Colombia in the fourth round, scheduled to commence at 9pm today.

The Online Chess Olympiad for People with Disabilities is taking place from November 21 to December 2 with the participation of 396 players across 61 teams from 45 countries and territories, including two grandmasters and 12 IMs.

Danang provides hotel quarantine services to guests entering Vietnam

VIETNAM NEWS NOVEMBER 26 (updated hourly)
A hotel in Son Tra District, Danang City, is certified as a quarantine place for guests entering Vietnam



Over 350 passengers who travelled on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Washington Dulles International Airport (Virginia, the United States) and arrived at the Danang International Airport yesterday, November 23, were provided with hotel quarantine services by the central beach city.

Guests could stay at hotels certified by the local government and whose prices range from VND600,000 a person a day to VND2.2 million a room a day for two guests, depending on the kind of lodging. The list of hotels is publicly posted on the website of the Danang Tourism Promotion Center under the Danang Department of Tourism.

All the passengers will have to undergo the SARS-CoV-2 virus test according to regulations.

Flight VN431 carried children under 18, the elderly, the sick, travelers stranded in the United States, overseas students and others.

After landing at the airport in Danang City, the competent authorities took the necessary steps to ensure safety. Some were then brought to a quarantine place in Lien Chieu District, Danang City, while others were transported to hotels.

Previously, at a meeting of the Steering Committee for Covid-19 epidemic prevention in Danang last week, Le Trung Chinh, vice chairman of the Danang City People’s Committee, said the demand from overseas Vietnamese wanting to return home will be high, apart from foreign experts and workers who wish to travel to Vietnam, which means more international flights will come to the country, especially to Danang.

This has been identified as an increased risk that could lead to a severe Covid-19 impact, and, as such, would have to be strictly controlled.

Tet train tickets to be up for sale for second time

Vietnam Railways Corporation will sell some 30,000 train tickets for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet, for the second time from 9.00 a.m. on November 25 following the first batch for grabs last month.

The 30,000 train tickets will serve train trips before the Tet holiday, from February 3 to 10, 2021, and after the holiday, between February 15 and 21, 2021.

In the last few years, Tet train tickets were sold out one month after they were put up for sale, but this year has been different. Since the Tet train tickets were put up for sale in October, the number of unsold tickets has remained high.

Saigon Railway Transport JSC attributed the slow sale of tickets to the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit hard the country’s economy and affected the income of residents.

Besides, as international air routes have yet to be reopened due to the ongoing global pandemic, local air carriers have focused on tapping the domestic market, resulting in the railway industry facing fierce competition from the aviation industry.

Some 82,000 tickets remain unsold, with some 27,000 tickets for train services from HCMC to Nha Trang and Hanoi City between February 2 and 11, 2021. Meanwhile, some 55,000 tickets for trains from Hanoi to Nha Trang and HCMC, which are set to serve the post-Tet period, from February 12 to 26, 2021, are facing a similar fate.

 
 

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