Police detain 20 foreigners illegally entering Vietnam

Traffic police catch 20 foreigners illegally entering Vietnam – PHOTO: TNO

The Traffic Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security discovered 20 foreigners traveling along the Hanoi-Haiphong-Quang Ninh Expressway in three cars in an attempt to illegally enter Vietnam at 1.00 a.m. today, October 26.

Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Truong Son, leader of the expressway patrol team 2 under the department, said that after receiving a request from the Lang Son Province police, the patrol team mapped out a plan to stop the vehicles at the tollgate of the expressway for an inspection and caught 20 foreigners trying to enter the country illegally, the local media reported.

The 20 foreigners and three drivers were taken to the police station in Lang Son Province for an investigation, he said.

On October 25, the patrol team stopped some vehicles traveling on the expressway to conduct drug tests. After undergoing quick tests, drivers Nguyen T.H, aged 30, and Nguyen T.D, aged 24, who live in Haiphong City and Hung Yen Province, tested positive for drugs.

No new COVID-19 cases to report on October 27 morning

Vietnam has no new COVDI-19 cases to confirm in the morning of October 27, keeping the national count at 1,169, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The country has entered the 55th straight day without locally-transmitted cases, registering them at 691 as of 6am on the day.

Among the active patients, four have tested negative for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 once, two twice and three thrice. There are no patients in critical conditions.

Up to 1,061 patients have been given the all-clear. The fatalities remain at 35.

As many as 14,777 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or came from pandemic-hit areas are now under health monitoring nationwide./.

Vietnam thanks international organisations for disaster relief

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung on October 26 received representatives from UN agencies and international organisations that have supported flood victims in the central region.

Guests included Andrew Jeffries, Country Director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Vietnam; Rana Flowers, UNICEF and FAO Representative in Vietnam; and Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam.

According to the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, international organisations, including UNDP, UNICEF, and ADB, have provided Vietnamese floods victims with nearly 3 million USD.

At the meeting, representatives of the organisations pledged to accompany the Vietnamese Government in calling for international support for disaster response efforts.

Flowers said the agency has raised 160,000 USD in emergency funding for clean water, personal hygiene, environmental hygiene, health care, nutrition, and education.

Noting the success of a programme to build 3,200 safe houses in flood-prone regions, Wiesen said the UNDP will continue working with the Green Climate Fund and the ADB to implement similar programmes worth 30 million USD to help Vietnamese people cope with natural disasters.

Jeffries, meanwhile, said the ADB is considering a 3 million USD support package after a quick survey of the damage and relief needs in central Vietnam.

For his part, Dung thanked the international organisations for their support, saing it has helped Vietnam deal with the major losses from the flooding.

He emphasised that the support also helps the country enhance its capacity to cope with natural disasters and quickly normalise the lives and livelihoods of those affected.

He noted that in addition to emergency relief, international organisations should cooperate with ministries, agencies, and local authorities to develop well-designed, long-term support programmes.

As rains and floods are forecast to persist, the Deputy PM affirmed that the Vietnamese Government will do its best to help people overcome the difficulties, while calling for continued assistance from international organisations so that local lives can quickly return to normal.

Chinese locality willing to facilitate imports from Vietnam: official

Chongqing authorities are ready to create favourable conditions for the import of high-quality products from Vietnam, particularly farm produce, deputy mayor of the Chinese municipality Li Bo has stressed.

The statement was made during Li’s courtesy visit to the Vietnamese Embassy in China on October 26.

At the meeting, Ambassador Pham Sao Mai highlighted the importance attached to the strategic comprehensive partnership with China by the Vietnamese Party, State and people, and expressed his delight at increasing win-win friendship and cooperation between Vietnam’s localities and Chongqing.

The diplomat expressed his hope that both sides will step up delegation exchanges and mutually beneficial engagements in economy-trade, transport connectivity, logistics and tourism.

He asked the municipal authorities to facilitate activities of Vietnamese farm produce exporters and the operation of the Vietnam’s trade promotion office in Chongqing.

The preservation of the local memorial house dedicated to late Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh and the favourable conditions created for Vietnamese citizens in the city were also part of his request.

For his part, Li affirmed Chongqing highly values and wants to strengthen the friendship and collaboration with Vietnamese localities, particularly those with which it has established twin relations like Ho Chi Minh City, Cao Bang and Quang Ninh provinces.

According to Li, trade between Chongqing and Vietnam’s localities earned 31.6 billion CNY (4.7 billion USD) in the first eight months of 2020, up 87.7 percent on-year. Meanwhile, the value of goods from Vietnam have to date accounted for 18 percent of Chongqing’s total import turnover this year./.

Farmer earns fortune from aquaculture

When the topic of farmers is ever raised, most people would conjure up an image of country folk toiling away in the fields all day long to make ends meet.

Luu Van Dung, a farmer in Hung Yen province, has run his start-up on breeding commercial aquaculture products and fingerlings since 2000 and has experienced failure quite a number of times. But he never gave up. His efforts have now paid off, with his fingerling workshop covering dozens of hectares.

Dung collects some 50,000 USD a year from selling fingerlings to both domestic and foreign markets. Seeing economic potential from the business model, he has opened a cooperative with 24 members, all local people, to help them find buyers and increase incomes.

Automated water pumping systems with extra oxygenation and fish feeding machinery are among the technological advances Dung applies at his aquaculture farm. This “smart farm” has repaid him with a handsome profit.

Many smart agricultural models have appeared in rural areas over recent times. Models deployed by some farmers have not only helped them become wealthy but also changed the face of their hometowns./.

Mui Ne national tourist site recognised

A recognition decision for the Mui Ne national tourist site was announced at a ceremony in Phan Thiet city, the southern central province of Binh Thuan, on October 24.

The site spreads across some 14,760ha of coastal land from Phan Ri Cua township of Tuy Phong district to Phu Hai ward of Phan Thiet city, with a core area of about 1,000ha for developing tourism facilities.

With special tourism resources, especially vast sand dunes – a symbol of Binh Thuan, it is expected to welcome 75-80 percent of the domestic visitors and 90-95 percent of all foreign travellers to the province.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism issued a decision to recognise the Mui Ne tourist site as a national one on August 24 this year.

Addressing the announcement ceremony, Deputy Minister Nguyen Van Hung said Mui Ne has become a renowned destination and been called a “resort capital” in Vietnam.

The ministry’s recognition will help increase the value of the brand “Mui Ne”, form a system of national tourist sites across the country, and also mark the development of Binh Thuan’s tourism, he noted.

In the recent past, the province has worked hard to complete local tourism infrastructure and attract investors with strong financial strength and rich experience to develop luxury tourism complexes, which is a prerequisite to establish Binh Thuan in general and Mui Ne in particular as a high-end destination comparable to those in the region and the world, according to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Hoa./.

US magazine hails Vietnamese fight against COVID-19

BORGEN Magazine of the United State has published an article lauding Vietnam’s effective containment of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The magazine details how the country has taken a unique approach to tracking the virus, with mass-testing procedures allowing Vietnamese doctors to develop efficient methods of contact tracing, therefore effectively controlling the spread of cases.

The publication notes that despite the longevity of COVID-19 globally, the Vietnamese Government remains optimistic about the future prospects for the local economy.

It quotes statistics compiled by the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR) that predicts the country will record GDP growth of at least 3% by the end of the year, while citizens have already resumed normal economic activities.

“In the midst of a global pandemic, the spirit of Vietnam seems unworried about fiscal matters”, the publication mentions.

It points to several factors involving the Government’s policies when outlining Vietnamese success in fighting COVID-19.

“Over the past few decades, the poverty rate in Vietnam has fallen drastically as services such as health care have become more widely available to citizens. In 1990, the country’s extreme poverty rate was 50%, but today that figure has fallen to 2%. In 2019, 90% of Vietnamese citizens had access to health insurance, compared to 59% in 2011”, the publication notes.

According to BORGEN, Vietnam’s management in the face of COVID-19 reflects similar measures that the country has to combat poverty.

“Even as COVID-19 in Vietnam dies down, economic projects are underway as countermeasures against poverty and toward the development of the country. The Government’s recently-issued Resolution 84 outlines incentives and fee reductions for small, private-owned businesses as they attempt to operate during pandemic times”, the article details.

In line with this resolution, there has been a 15% reduction in the renting price for Government-owned land. In addition, the resolution includes a 2% interest reduction for Government loans to small and medium-sized enterprises, with these fee reductions being potentially conducive to more employment and greater amounts of business.

The article also mentions the free trade agreement that has been signed by Vietnam and the EU, with the deal eliminating 99% of tariffs on traded goods between the two markets.

According to BORGEN, global organisations such as the World Bank view this trade deal in a positive light.

“The World Bank estimates that Vietnam’s GDP and exports may be boosted by 12% by 2030. These optimistic projections also benefit the citizens of Vietnam - many of whom are farmers or producers of exported goods”, according to the magazine.

BORGEN Magazine, run by The Borgen Project, is one of the leading media outlets for people interested in global issues, politics, and human rights.

HCM City launches second tourism stimulus package

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism has launched a second tourism stimulus scheme for the end of the year, offering discounts of up to 50% on hundreds of tour packages. 

Launching the scheme, the city set a target of receiving 15 million domestic tourists and earning approximately VND80,000 billion in revenue between now and the end of the year.

Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, said the local stimulus package has attracted the participation of approximately 100 travel and transport firms, as well as lodging facilities throughout the southern metropolis. A total of 200 tours are offered with discounts ranging between 10% and 50%.

Hoa added that the programme includes attractive tourism products that meet relevant safety requirements and price competition criteria with the aim of reviving the local tourism industry, increasing revenue, and generating jobs for workers following a hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Most notably, the tourism stimulus scheme will launch a diverse range of tourism products via both marine and road routes.

The Vietnam Tourism Association is set to co-ordinate with the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism to enhance connectivity with airlines, trains, travel companies, and tourist sites. This will be done in order to ensure the best possible services are provided to tourists.

According to Nguyen Trung Khanh, director general of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, to restore and promote tourism activities, the programme will target both Vietnamese and foreigners who are living in the Vietnam.

Visitors flock to Sa Pa to join Korean Culture Day

Thousands of tourists were present in Sa Pa town, the northwestern mountainous province of Lao Cai on the weekend to attend Korean Culture Day.
The event was jointly held b the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Vietnam and the provincial People’s Committee, featuring a range of activities to introduce and popularise the culture and tourism of the two countries.

In recent years, Korean Cultural Days have been held in the central city of Da Nang, Hoi An town in the central province of Quang Nam, coastal Nha Trang city in Khanh Hoa province, and Da Lat city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.

The event in Sa Pa was hoped to strengthen the relationship between the two countries and between the RoK and Lao Cai province as well.

Sa Pa is a small town in the northern mountain province of Lao Cai, located about 350km from Hanoi./.

Over 400 Quang Ngai students off from school for diphtheria prevention

More than 400 students in the central province of Quang Ngai are at home as part of diphtheria prevention efforts.

To date, the northern mountainous district of Ba To in Quang Ngai Province has recorded 20 diphtheria cases, including 17 students.  

Pham Van Mang, chairman of Ba Trang Commune, said that nearly 50 students from two classes with the diphtheria infections have been quarantined at home as part of disease prevention.

Around 300 students from the school have also provided with medical check-ups and vaccination. Those with diphtheria have been tightly monitored.

Phan Van Tri, headmaster of Ba Kham Primary and Secondary School said that after detecting one diphtheria case, the school allowed 30 classmates to be quarantined. All students of the school and teachers have also provided with a vaccination.

According to Dinh Thi Mai Huong, director of Ba To District’s Health Centre, sterilisation has been conducted at all schools with diphtheria infections. Around 404 local students have been permitted to be off from school to ensure safety.

She added that prolonged rainy weather is among favourable conditions for diphtheria outbreak, particularly in mountainous areas in Quang Ngai.

Party official receives head of US finance corporation

Politburo member Nguyen Van Binh, head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission , hosted a reception for Adam Boehler, CEO of the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), in Hanoi on October 26.

Binh said the current visit by a high-ranking delegation from US government agencies demonstrates the sense of initiative, proactiveness, and strong commitment of the US in promoting the countries’ comprehensive partnership, affirming that bilateral relations are thriving in a practical manner.

He affirmed that the Party and State always treasure relations with the US and welcomes US businesses to invest in the country, especially in spheres where the US has strengths, such as energy, high-quality infrastructure, medical devices, and biotechnology.

He underlined Vietnam’s consistent policy that the country has been exerting efforts to carry out solutions towards balancing trade with the US in a sustainable way.

Vietnam is committed to bolstering relations with the US, and in the trade sector in particular, in a fair and “win-win” manner, as a trusted partner, he noted.

Binh urged the DFC and the Export-Import Bank of the US (EXIM) to further engage in boosting two-way trade and investment, adding that strengthening trust is among the key factors in fostering the countries’ comprehensive partnership for the sake of their peoples, thereby contributing to peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the region.

For his part, Boehler affirmed that Vietnam is an important partner of the US in the region.

He emphasised that private investment from the US and the DFC in significant infrastructure projects in Vietnam will be further bolstered in the time to come, particularly in energy.

He expressed his hope that Vietnam will continue working with the US on addressing the latter’s bilateral trade deficit./.

Many foreign customers cancel tours to Vietnam set for Q1 next year

Due to the complicated developments of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, foreign partners of local tour operators have continued to cancel tours to Vietnam scheduled for the first quarter of 2021, with some even cancelling tours booked for October 2021, leaving travel operators to conclude that it would be hard to recover part of international tourism by mid-2021.

“Many tours have been canceled. French partners have cancelled tours set from now until March 15 next year,” Thierry Berger, general director of TransTravel Company, told The Saigon Times Online.

When the pandemic just broke out, Berger expected international tourists to visit Vietnam at the end of the year, but given the complicated situation of the health crisis, it had to be postponed to the end of 2021.

Tourism, mainly the international tourism segment, will recover strongly when Covid-19 vaccines are produced and used widely, he said, adding that it is expected to take time to successfully turn out a Covid-19 vaccine.

Nguyen Ngoc Toan, director of Images Travel, said the firm’s partners have canceled tours set until February 2021.

“We don't have many expectations that tourism will recover next year,” he said.

Facing the same fate, Footsteps Indochina Travel Company has seen its partners cancel tours scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2021.

Tran Hoang Anh, CEO of the company, said that due to difficulties in the international tourism segment, the firm is striving to shift to the domestic tourism segment to maintain its operations.

Many travel firms expected Vietnam to open its doors to international tourists in the coming period after the “Why not Vietnam” video, which introduces the country’s must-visit tourist destinations, with a message, “When you are ready to travel again, why not Vietnam?” was released on CNN Asia on October 15 as a way to promote the country.

However, in an announcement released by the Government Office on October 21 on the conclusions of the prime minister on Covid-19 infection and control at a regular meeting on October 19, the prime minister said Vietnam had not yet decided when to open its doors to international tourists.

“It is too early to discuss the reopening of international tourism,” Nguyen Trung Khanh, head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, told The Saigon Times Online on October 23.

“We will propose reopening our doors to foreign tourists when the situation improves,” he added.

PM allows HCMC to decide investment policy of HCMC-Moc Bai Expressway

A map illustrating the HCMC-Moc Bai Expressway (purple line) 

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has allowed HCMC to decide the investment policy of the HCMC-Moc Bai Expressway project, which will connect the city with Tay Ninh Province.

In a document sent to the governments of HCMC and Tay Ninh Province and the Ministry of Transport, the prime minister also demanded that the approval process and procedures of the project should comply with prevailing regulations.

The 53.5-kilometer HCMC-Moc Bai Expressway with four lanes is designed to start at Ring Road No. 3 in HCMC’s Hoc Mon District and end at National Highway 22 in Tay Ninh’s Moc Bai International Border Gate area.

The project would need an estimated investment of VND10.7 trillion. The governments of HCMC and Tay Ninh Province have proposed that the expressway be built under the public-private partnership model.

Once in place, the expressway will be the shortest road connecting the East-West economic corridor with neighboring countries, including Cambodia and Thailand.

It is also expected to ease traffic congestion on National Highway 22 and assist with the development of industrial parks and export processing zones along the expressway, especially the Moc Bai Border Gate Economic Zone.

Bien Hoa-Vung Tau expressway expected to be complete by 2025

An expressway connecting Bien Hoa City of the southern province of Dong Nai and Ba Ria City of the neighboring Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province is expected to be completed and opened to traffic by 2025.

On October 21, the Ba Ria-Vung Tau government said it had proposed that the prime minister approve the prefeasibility study for the first phase of the project, which will be executed under the public-private partnership format with a build-operate-transfer contract, the local media reported.

Accordingly, some 34.2 kilometers of the road will be built in Dong Nai Province, while a 19.5-kilometer section will be developed in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. The expressway will start at an intersection with a bypass of the National Highway 1A in Bien Hoa City and end at National Highway 56 in Ba Ria City.

The project requires an estimated investment of more than VND19 trillion, including construction and site clearance costs at VND9.1 trillion and some VND6 trillion, respectively.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau proposed that some VND6.8 trillion will be sourced from the State budget to fund the site clearance work and part of the construction of the section in the province.

The investor of the project will mobilize the remainder from its budget and bank loans. To recover capital, the investor will be allowed to collect toll fees from road users for 24.5 years.

If the province gets the prime minister’s approval, the investor of the project will be chosen from the last quarter of next year to the first quarter of 2022. Meanwhile, work on the project, which will cover some 588.5 hectares, is expected to start in the first quarter of 2023.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau Chairman Nguyen Van Tho said the project would help ease traffic on National Highway 51, facilitate traveling from Dong Nai and Ra Ria-Vung Tau to HCMC and the southern key economic zone. The road will also be connected with the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay and Ben Luc-Long Thanh expressways and the Long Thanh International Airport, contributing to completing the expressway system in the years to come.

Alarming increase in hand-foot-mouth, dengue fever in HCMC

Hand-foot-mouth and dengue fever cases are increasing at an alarming rate, said Dr. Le Hong Nga from the Center for Disease Control in Ho Chi Minh City. 

After a few days of pause, cases of hand-foot-mouth and dengue fever have skyrocketed. Last week, the southern metropolis recorded 886 cases of hand-foot-mouth in districts 5, Binh Thanh, Go Vap and Can Gio outlying suburb.

The Children Hospital No.1 said it has admitted more children suffering hand-foot-mouth from early October. Deputy Head of the hospital’s Infectious Disease ward Dr. Du Tuan Quy said the ward averagely receives 20 inpatients daily.

The ward has around 40 - 50 children including serious ones in Intensive care unit. The hospital has around 200 outpatients everyday.

Statistically, the hospital has admitted more than 8,000 patients from middle of October while the Children Hospital No.2 has seen a surge in the number of patient with 8,075 to 8,237 patients a day. Children mostly have had sore throat, acute bronchitis, digestive problems and pneumonia.

On the same day, the Ministry of Health announced by the middle of October, more than 71,000 case of dengue fever have been reported countrywide. Almost all cases are in the South region with 57 percent while 33 percent, 6 percent and 4 percent in the Central region, the Central Highlands region and the North region respectively, according to the Department of Preventive Medicine’s studies.

Medical workers said there is no changes in dengue development; yet, people should stay alert in October and November when the country officially enters the rainy season which is conducive for mosquito laying eggs.

Search for victims at Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant suspended

As heavy rains have continued to hit the central region, the search and rescue work for missing workers from the landslides at the Rao Trang 3 hydropower project in Thua Thien-Hue Province has been temporarily suspended to ensure safety for rescuers, said Tran Thi Hoai Tram, head of the Thua Thien-Hue government office.

Heavy rains are forecast to last until October 29, the local media reported.


As planned, another rescue team and sniffer dogs would be sent to the site of the landslides to support the rescue work but the plan was suspended as well.

Earlier, when the road to the Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant project in Phong Xuan Commune, Phong Dien District, was cleared, military, police and civil forces as well as vehicles had been mobilized to accelerate the rescue work.

By October 24, the bodies of five workers had been recovered from the landslides at the hydropower project and 12 others remain missing 13 days after the landslides.

Development project of Mekong Delta interdisciplinary database system approved

The Government has just approved a project of building an interdisciplinary database system for sustainable development and climate change adaptation in the Mekong Delta. 

Its goal aims to establish and operate interdisciplinary database system for the Mekong Delta on the basis of implementing integrated solutions, connectivity, sharing, linking databases between ministries, central agencies, localities, the Mekong River Commission of Vietnam (MRC), International Mekong River Commission and related agencies and organizations. Besides that, it will issue a mechanism for a long-term maintenance and operation of the interdisciplinary database system on the Mekong Delta.

Developing digital ecosystems and providing files about the Mekong Delta, intelligent application systems in various forms through modern and online information channels are to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of public service activities to the society as well as form policies, strategies, plans for development of sustainable socio-economic and climate change adaption. 

Additionally, the project will encourage and create conditions for enterprises, organizations, individuals and communities to share, receive, update and use information and data, deploying digital data infrastructure and providing digital services for sustainable socio-economic development and climate change adaption in the Mekong Delta.

500 wildlife animals rescued in Vietnam in first half of 2020

According to the Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV)’s statistics, 515 living wild species have been rescued in 27 localities informed through the EVN hotline from the beginning of the year to the end of June. 
EVN also reported 1,744 cases of wildlife violations relating to wildlife trade (with 687 cases) and wildlife storage (with 425 cases). Endangered species include Asian black bear, gibbon, langur, monkey, tortoise, freshwater turtle, shark, coolie.

ENV's Department of Wildlife Protection receives 8 phone calls of the violations reported by local people via the hotline 18001522 on average a day. After receiving information about the violations from residents, ENV contacts relevant competent agencies to handle cases in the blink of an eye and then update final result of the case in its national data on the wildlife violations.

ENV will work with funtional agencies to arrest wildlife animal traders and rescue the animals.

HCM City canals and rivers seriously polluted with litters

Around 2,000 kilometers of waterway in Ho Chi Minh City are polluted with litters, said the Department of Natural Resources and Environment yesterday.

Canals and rivers are the city’s drainage systems, yet garbage builds up on the street, it blocks the storm drains and sewers and the streets begin to flood, which can cause major damage to homes.

A representative from the Urban Sanitation Company said that averagely, more than 10 tons of litter have lately ended up in Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe canal daily because city dwellers are used to throwing litter in rivers and sewers plus heavy rain brought waste from canal branches into the canal.

Before, the HCMC People’s Committee had directed a harsh penalty on those who throw away litter in public places and sewers, rivers. As per the direction, a violator will pay VND3,000,000 to VND5,000,000 for littering in public places or commercial centers, apartment blocks. Those who throw litters into sewers or rivers must pay a higher fine of VND5,000,000 to VND7,000,000.

However, local administrations have not implemented the regulations strictly. Worse, the city has not spent on clearing garbage in rivers and canals; as a result, the city waterway system is blocked more.

HCMC speeds up smart city projects
The Commission of Economy and Budget (under Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council) yesterday held a meeting about the performance and progress of investment plans for smart city transformation sub-projects.

The HCMC Department of Information and Communications reported that it is now carrying out 4 sub-projects in the smart city transformation project. The first one, constructing an intelligent operation center for HCMC from 2019-2022, takes an estimated investment of VND969 billion (approx. US$41.7 million). The 2019-2025 project to establish a sole hotline center for receiving and handling emergency information has an estimated investment of VND993 billion ($42.8 million).

The other two projects to build a monitoring camera system and database storage and management system receive an estimated investment of VND600 billion ($25.9 million).

However, as said by Deputy Director of HCMC Department of Information and Communications Vo Thi Trung Trinh, these completely new sub-projects have encountered many obstacles.

The most challenging ones are a weak cooperation among related state units and industries in identifying the cope of IT implementation, and in voicing a feasible solution based on current laws; the confusing status of IT, postal tasks, and telecommunications in HCMC after these fields are managed by one state unit only; and unclear guidance documents of authorized state offices regarding management tasks for proper procedures and implementation conditions of public investment projects.

The main recommendation in the meeting was that the city should speed up the progress of sub-projects in the smart city transformation project so that the disbursement progress in 2020 is as planned.

In related news, yesterday, the Commission of Culture and Society (under HCMC People’s Council) also held a meeting to summarize the task of observing laws and policies about food safety in Hoc Mon Agriculture Wholesale Market.

Mr. Le Van Tien, Deputy Director of Hoc Mon Agriculture Wholesale Market Co Ltd., reported that after being chosen as a food safety piloting market, all management tasks for produce quality are more strictly carried out. Simultaneously, the market regularly examines input and output merchandise. As a result, in the past 9 months, it has fined 13 cases of selling unhygienic pork (a decrease of 40 percent compared to 2019).

The sad fact is many spontaneous produce traders appear around the market, creating unhealthy competitions with formal ones and negatively affecting the market’s prestige.

The Commission of Culture and Society paid a visit to certain markets in District 11 in the afternoon.

Head of the Management Board of Binh Thoi Market Nguyen Ba Tung shared that his organization often mobilize traders to frequently check their health to avoid contagious diseases at work.

District 11 Public Utilities Co Ltd. said that they regularly sanitize the market, especially in the section of meat and seafood. They also clean the market 2-3 times a month to ensure sanitation for raw meat and fresh vegetables sections.

Lastly, the Management Board has effectively handled spontaneous traders appearing around the market and reducing the area’s aesthetics.

Mr. Tung reported certain challenges in the management tasks for food safety like controlling the source of merchandise due to a lack of human resources or traders not wearing proper face masks and gloves. The People’s Committee of District 11 promised to tackle these problems right away via frequent checking and raising traders’ awareness.

Health Ministry warns diseases in aftermath of flooding

Vietnamese Ministry of Health has issued a warning of disease in the aftermath of catastrophic floods which hit the Southeast Asian country’s central region.

According to the Ministry, stagnant pools of flood water serve as ideal breeding grounds for pathogens that result in diarrhea and other waterborne infections including dengue fever, malaria, diarrhea, skin and eye infections.

To prevent above-mentioned diseases, the Ministry advised people to take proactive measures such as drinking boiled water and eating safe food. Moreover, residents in the flood-hit areas should wash their hands with soaps regularly before making food before and after using toilet.

Additionally, they should change water in vases and bowls on alternate days, remove water from flower pot plates on alternate days, turn over all water storage containers when not in use. Last but not least, they should bury animal corpses as per medical workers’ instructions.

Big infirmaries were assigned to provide assistance to their peers in the central region. Specifically, Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital must help their peers in the Central Province of Ha Tinh, Vietnam – Cu Ba Hospital in Dong Hoi Town in the Central Province of Quang Binh must help their peers in Quang Binh’s grass-root medical clinics.

For the disease prevention and fighting task, the Ministry assigned the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology to help hospitals in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri while the National Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health will help Quang Tri and Thua Thien – Hue and Nha Trang Pasteur Institute will help Da Nang and Quang Nam.

Leaders of medical centers were asked to prepare drugs, chemicals and means of transportation for emergency treatment.

Ethnic female students benefit from project Brighter Path to Future

Realizing that many girls from ethnic minority groups have to stop pursuit of schooling because of poverty, the VinaCapital Foundation and Vu A Dinh Scholarship Fund have jointly carried out project “Mo duong den tuong lai” (Brighter Path to Future) to help poor ethnic minority girls with good academic performance. 

VinaCapital Foundation Managing Director Rad Kivette pointed out that a study has shown up to 50 percent of ethnic minority girls don’t finish high school and just 3 percent of ethnic minority girls complete higher education.

The project will give financial assistance to those who strive to pursue education despite their poverty.
From 2010 till now, the project has given full scholarships and training courses to 100 indigenous girls in the country. In the first period 2010-2017, 98 percent of girls receiving scholarships and training courses have completed higher education.

Moreover, 80 percent of them returned to their villages to work for local development.

In the 2017-2024 period, 50 female ethnic students have so far been awarded full scholarships each worth US$10,000.

Assessment of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in schools

Over 200 school managers, headmasters and educationists from departments of education from southern provinces yesterday attended a conference on assessment of drinking water , sanitation and hygiene in preschools and high schools. 

The conference was presided by the Ministry of Education and Training with the participation of representatives from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World bank and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Health.

At the conference, Deputy Head of the Educational facilities, Equipment and Children’s toy Department Pham Van Sinh said that in the academic year 2017-2018, around 188,024 toilets have been built in public education facilities. The number of rest rooms increased to 270,695 in the academic year 2019-2020.

Educational facilities have hired employees to clean toilets properly and regularly or schools work with Ho Chi Minh communist youth unions to do cleaning or teachers and teaching staffs will do cleaning work. Additionally, some schools hire professional cleaning services.

Conference participants proposed school administrators will be responsible for sanitizing and performing hygienic cleaning of school toilets and facilities, educating students about keeping toilet clean while using safe water, toilets at educational facilities. Schools should build and upgrade rest rooms.

Maintaining clean toilets will be one of criteria to assess schools. Good hygiene facilities in schools provide the basis of a healthy learning environment.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid to be released in Vietnam today

The release of Diary of a Wimpy Kid will be simultaneously in Vietnam and the US and the UK on October 27. 

The Phuong Nam bookstore chains will display the series of fiction books written by the American author and cartoonist Jeff Kinney.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid first appeared in 2004 and it was well received from The Princeton Review, Gold Card Association, The Dallas News, The TRR Editors, The NW Press, and The JJ Printing Company. The New York Times, which ranks children's serials collectively on a "Series Books" bestseller list, has included the Wimpy Kid series for 64 weeks as of August 10, 2015.

The USA Today, which ranks best sellers based on sales alone regardless of genre or intended audience, has listed Diary of a Wimpy Kid in its top 150, peaking at number 8, for 141 weeks as of April 4, 2010.

In the US, teachers and parents select the series as a book to develop children’s reading habit. According to the Independent magazine, Jeff Kinney’s books have made him a best-selling author in the world.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a story about a middle-school weakling named Greg Heffley and his personal life in family and school. He is a timid boy but he is always curious about life. He is gradually mature and copes with situations in life through experiencing difficulties. It is really a bedside book of adolescents who experience changes in daily mood in their quality of life.

Since the release of the online version in May 2004, most of the books have garnered positive reviews and commercial success. As of 2020, more than 250 million copies have been sold globally.

Readers can order the original books released in the UK and the US at VND239,000 (US$10.29) in Phuong Nam bookstores or on Phuong Nam’s website

Workshop spotlights Vietnam-Indonesia relations


The Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV) and the Embassy of Indonesia jointly held a workshop on relations between the two countries in Hanoi on October 26. Photo: VOV

The Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV) and the Embassy of Indonesia jointly held a workshop on relations between the two countries in Hanoi on October 26.

Themed “Reflection of the 65 years of Vietnam-Indonesia relations and the way forward,” the event brought together more than 100 delegates from ministries, agencies, research institutes, associations and businesses.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung stressed the similarities shared by the two countries as well as their time-honoured friendship.

Indonesian Deputy Foreign Minister Mahendra Siregar said apart from the close political ties, bilateral cooperation in other spheres has also proven effective.

Indonesian Ambassador Ibnu Hadi said the establishment of the strategic partnership in 2013 has lifted the bilateral ties.

The delegates shared the view on the necessity to bolster the two nations' pragmatic cooperation in the context of the complex developments of the international situation, the COVID-19 pandemic and an array of security issues.

Cooperation between Vietnam and Indonesia, both bilaterally and multilaterally, has practically contributed to the building of the ASEAN Community, and consolidating the grouping’s central role in the architecture of the Indo-Pacific region.

Therefore, the two countries should continue to pragmatically implement the joint statement on enhancing the strategic partnership in 2018, and the action programme for 2019-2023, while stepping up high-level exchanges, strategic consultations and coordination at multilateral mechanisms.

The delegates also suggested Vietnam and Indonesia optimise their cooperation potential as well as advantages of the fourth Industrial Revolution to bring the bilateral relations forward./.

Vietnam, Nigeria strengthen bilateral relations

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh on October 26 held phone talks with Nigerian Minister for Foreign Affairs Geofrey Onyeama to discuss measures to bolster the bilateral ties.

Minh affirmed that Vietnam always treasures cooperation with countries in the African Union, including Nigeria.

He spoke highly of the development of the Vietnam-Nigeria ties over the past time, suggesting the two sides spare no efforts to consolidate and deepen the bilateral ties in spheres that both sides boast potential and strength.

FM Onyeama congratulated Vietnam on its major achievements in industrialisation and economic development.

He also highly valued efforts and accomplishments of the Vietnamese Government in COVID-19 prevention and control, while expressing his belief that the Government and people of Vietnam will succeed in the COVID-19 fight.

During their talks, the two sides agreed to bolster visits of high-ranking delegations and strengthen bilateral cooperation mechanisms in the coming time.

They consented to foster the economic-trade relations, particularly in trade, agriculture, manufacturing, energy, transport and information technology.

They also exchanged views on international issues of mutual concerns./

SMS campaign launched to support flood victims

The Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRCS) Central Committee on October 26 launched a text message campaign to call for public support for flood victims in the central region.

The campaign, in collaboration with the National Humanitarian Portal 1400, will run until the end of December 21.

Supporters can join the programme by texting “UH” to 1403. Each text message will contribute 20,000 VND (0.86 USD) to the fund.

The same day, the VRCS received about 3 billion VND worth of donations from Medlatec Group, the VRCS chapter in Ha Nam province and the Garment 10 Corporation, among others.

As severe floods triggered by widespread heavy rains have affected the life of millions of residents in the central region in the recent two weeks, the VRCS Central Committee has provided emergency relief worth nearly 5 billion VND to the five provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Nam, and sent delegations to support residents in hardest-hit localities.

Earlier on October 13, the VRCS Central Committee called on all of its chapters to join a fundraising campaign which takes place until December 12 in a bid to support flood victims in the central region.

More than 62 billion VND has been raised so far.

Vietnamese community supports Lao people to overcome flood consequences

A delegation led by Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos Nguyen Ba Hung on October 26 presented part of a donation raised by the Vietnamese community in Laos to the Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to support the country’s flood-hit victims.

At the handover ceremony, the ambassador expressed his sympathies over human and property losses in eight districts of Savannakhet province, central Laos, caused by the worst flooding in the past 42 years. He said residents in five central provinces of Vietnam have also suffered the same plight.

The Vietnamese Embassy and people living in Laos have arranged fundraising activities to help people of the two nations promptly overcome flood consequences and resume their normal life, he said, adding that some 150 million LAK (16,210 USD) has been raised.

A total of 50 million LAK was handed over to Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Padeumphone Sonthany while the remaining amount together with necessities will be delivered to flood victims in eight districts in Savannakhet.

The Deputy Minister said Laos has mobilised all sources to support people suffered from the flooding.

He thanked the Vietnamese Party, State and people for standing side by side with the Lao people in all circumstances, especially when Vietnam is also being devastated by the recent natural disaster.

Various Vietnamese delegations had offered aid and necessities to flood victims in Laos, he added.

Floods in Cambodia claim 40 lives

Cambodia’s National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) reported that the ongoing flash floods have so far killed 40 people.

From September 1 to October 24, the flash floods have affected 117 localities in 20 of the 25 provinces and Phnom Penh capital city, the Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP) cited the NCDM.

A total of 136,442 families or 545,768 people have been affected, of them 11,838 families or 47,352 people have been evacuated to the safety grounds.

Besides, 120,418 houses, 925 schools, 305 pagodas, 270,007 ha of rice fields, 88,779 ha of subsidiary crops, and many roads, bridges, canals have been flooded and damaged.

Relevant authorities at all levels have been actively taking necessary measures to timely assist the victims so as to mitigate difficulties and impact on people’s properties and lives.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen last week visited and distributed relief to some 30,000 flood-affected people in different districts in Banteay Meanchey province.

The current priority of the Cambodian government is to rescue people from the flood-hit areas, he said.

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology of Cambodia has announced that tropical storm Molave will soon drop further rain on the country. Nine provinces are forecast to record heavy rain on October 28-29./.

One new imported case raises COVID-19 tally to 1,169

Vietnam recorded one new imported case of COVID-19 over the last 12 hours, bringing the national total to 1,169, the national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control said on October 26 evening.

The patient is a 57-year-old man who returned from Russia on Flight VN5062 on October 16 and was sent to a concentrated quarantine centre in northern Ninh Binh province upon his arrival.

At present, he is being treated at the Cau Yen hospital in Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province.

Of the total case, 691 infected the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 domestically, with 551 reported since July 25, when the new outbreak began.

Also on October 26, four patients were given the all-clear, bringing the total number recoveries to 1,061. Death toll remains at 35.

Among the patients still under treatment, four have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, two twice and nine thrice. Currently, there is no patient in critical conditions.

There are now 14,901 people having close contact with confirmed cases or coming from pandemic-hit regions under quarantine, including 173 in hospitals, 13,615 in other quarantine sites, and 1,113 at home or accommodation facilities.

According to the Ministry of Health, the outbreak has been put under control; however, as the coronavirus may get worse during winter-spring season, the ministry continues to recommend local people wear face masks and wash hands with sanitisers regularly./.

More than 240 Vietnamese citizens brought home from Singapore

Over 240 Vietnamese citizens were brought home from Singapore on a flight operated by Vietjet Air on October 26.

The passengers included children under 18, the elderly, people with illnesses, and others in disadvantaged circumstances.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore sent staff to the airport to help the citizens with boarding procedures.

Strict security, safety and epidemiological measures were implemented during the flight to ensure passengers’ health and prevent the spread of diseases.

After landing at the Can Tho International Airport in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, the passengers and crew members had their health checked and were sent to quarantine in line with regulations.

The repatriation of Vietnamese citizens with difficult circumstances abroad will continue to be conducted in line with citizens’ wishes, the development of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine capacity in the country./.

Trial opens for banking operation violations at BIDV

The Hà Nội’s People’s Court on Monday opened the first-instance trial in the case relating to banking operation violations at the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).

As many as 12 people involved in the case will be prosecuted.

Trần Bắc Hà, former chairman of BIDV, was determined to be the mastermind behind the violations. However, he died in prison in July last year after a long illness so his conviction was suspended.

The accused include Trần Lục Lang and Đoàn Ánh Sáng, former deputy general directors of BIDV; Kiều Đình Hòa, former deputy director of BIDV’s Hà Tĩnh branch and Lê Thị Vân Anh, former customer service head of the branch; Ngô Duy Chính, former director of BIDV’s Hà Thành branch, Nguyễn Xuân Giáp, former deputy director of the branch, Phạm Hồng Quang, former head of customer service division and Đặng Thành Nam, an official in charge of customer management of the branch. They would be prosecuted on charges of violating banking regulations.

Other suspects who are accused of abusing trust to appropriate property include Đoàn Hồng Dũng, former director of Trung Dũng company, Trần Anh Quang, former director of Bình Hà company, Đinh Văn Dũng, former director general of Bình Hà company and Nguyễn Thị Thanh Sơn, former director of Hà Nam company.

According to the indictment, from 2011 to 2016, taking advantage of his position, Hà made a number of wrong-doings such as violating democratic centralism principles and working regulations to pour money into companies that were set up by himself.

Specifically, Hà directed the establishment of two companies including An Phú Joint Stock Company which was owned by Trần Duy Tùng – Hà’s son and Bình Hà Livestock Joint Stock Company. Hà also instructed and approved the granting of credit with incentives which go against regulations of the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) and BIDV despite the fact that the two companies did not have enough financial capital to carry out the project nor were they eligible for credit extension as prescribed by the SBV and BIDV.

The action has resulted in a loss of more than VNĐ1.5 trillion (US$64.2 million) to BIDV.

The trial is expected to last for ten days.




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