38 F1 contacts linked to Korean COVID-19 case quarantined

The Ho Chi Minh City Disease Control Center (HCDC) on October 27 said they have tracked down and quarantined 38 people linked to a Korean national who tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Japan several days ealier.

The Korean man in question left HCM City for Japan on October 24 and his saliva sample was taken for a rapid antigen test after he landed at Narita International Airport, Chiba, the same day. Test results proved he had contracted the virus.

Earlier, the Korean citizen entered Vietnam on July 29 and finished his mandatory quarantine in Hanoi on August 16.

From September 29 to October 24, he worked and stayed in Ho Chi Minh City.

According to the HCDC, before leaving for Japan, the man had not conducted any conclusive real-time PCR test in Vietnam. An epidemiological investigation showed that he had not come into contact with any COVID-19 patient before.

The center has moved to quarantine 38 people in close contact with the COVID-19 case. 29 of them have already tested negative for the virus with the real-time PCR method while the other nine are waiting for their results.

Vietnam on 56th day without new COVID-19 infection in community


No new COVID-19 case was reported from 6pm of October 27 to 6am of October 28, keeping the total infections at 1,172, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

So far, Vietnam has entered the 56th straight day without locally-transmitted cases.

Of the total infections, 691 were discovered in the community, including 551 found since the latest outbreak began on July 25.

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

Up to 1,062 patients have been given the all-clear. The fatalities remain at 35.

As many as 14,819 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or came from pandemic-hit areas are now under health monitoring nationwide, including 175 in hospitals, 13,523 in other quarantine sites, and 1,121 at home or accommodation facilities.

The Ministry of Health advised the community to continue wearing masks and wash their hands regularly./.

Traffic education to be delivered in junior, senior high schools

Traffic education will be delivered to students in junior and senior high schools in the academic year 2020-2021.

Under the request of the Department of Education and Training, schools will continue delivering traffic education program “An toan giao thong cho nu cuoi ngay mai” ( Traffic safety for future smile). Traffic education strives to provide teen drivers with a foundation that will instill safety, caution and a basic understanding of the laws that govern driving.

Specifically, schools will train teachers who will deliver traffic education to high schoolers. Teachers of different schools will exchange their experience in teaching traffic and road safety through seminars.
In next November and December, teachers will deliver road safety education with the participation of representatives from the city Traffic Safety steering board.

Road safety education can be delivered in extra-activities or blended with other lessons.

Hanoi Party chief requests urgent solution of garbage crisis

The Hanoi Party chief has asked authorities to provide free health insurance for people affected by contamination (in a radius of 1,000 meters) as requested by the people.

The Hanoi government is responsible for addressing legitimate petitions of the people in Soc Son district to handle the city’s garbage emergency, Kinh Te & Do Thi quoted Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue as saying at a meeting on October 25.

Mr. Hue convened the meeting after residents nearby blocked roads leading to the dump in Soc Son district, 25 km north of Hanoi's center, in protest of inadequate compensation and resettlement delays. The protest has left garbage-laden pushcarts stranded across the city for the past two days.

 Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue speaks at the meeting. Photo:
The residents have been living with the landfill contamination for years. The plan to resettle them has been delayed as compensation is still no where to be seen.

According to the Hanoi leader, the people living by the dump have given up their land for environmental sanitation for the whole city. However, up to now, their petitions for relocation has not been properly addressed, which proved that the municipal authorities and relevant agencies have not fulfilled their responsibilities and loose coordination among them.

The Hanoi Party chief has asked authorities to provide free health insurance for people affected by contamination (in a radius of 1,000 meters), as requested by the people.

Regarding the safe water supply for affected people, Mr. Hue stated that the Hanoi People's Committee must immediately consider solutions to upgrade the capacity of three existing water purifiers in Soc Son district, or build a new one to supply clean water for the locals.

The authorities need to urgently raise the treatment capacity of the landfill, speed up the progress of the Soc Son waste to power plant project to put it into operation in early 2021, Mr. Hue stressed.

He has assigned Soc Son district's authorities to persuade citizens to remove the roadblocks because this is a legal violation.

This is the second time in 2020 and the fifteenth since the dump was put into operation that people have prevented garbage trucks from entering the landfill, resulting in thousands of tons of garbage piling up along streets in the capital city. Thus, these days, Hanoi is once again plunged in a garbage emergency.

The Nam Son waste treatment complex, covering over 157 ha, was built in 1999 in Nam Son, Bac Son and Hong Ky communes. The complex handles around 5,000 of the 6,500 tons the city generates each day. The other 1,500 tons are treated at the Xuan Son landfill in Son Tay Town and other small waste treatment facilities.

Hanoi to complete test run for its first metro line by end-2020

Hanoi’s first metro line is one of the key public transport projects in the capital city.

The Vietnamese government has drastically requested the Hanoi Metropolitan Railway Management Board (MRB) under the Ministry of Transport to complete the safety test run of Hanoi’s first urban railway project, the Cat Linh-Ha Dong line, by the end of this year, Kinh te & Do thi reported.

The government is also focusing on removing financial difficulties for China Railway Sixth Group - the EPC contractor and the French consultancy Apave-Certifier-Tricc (ACT) consortium to carry out the safety evaluation and remaining tasks as soon as possible.

A recent report sent the National Assembly stated that the government will urge the relevant units to complete the safety certification and the overall handover in accordance with regulations within the first quarter of 2021.

According to the Ministry of Transport, the safety evaluation carried out by ACT has not made much progress. The Chinese general contractor has not provided manufacturers’ certificates, technical documents, test results or not conducted a full evaluation of the field tests. Therefore, ACT has not been able to complete the safety assessment due to insufficient grounds for independent consultancy.

ACT has come up with a solution that they will conduct field validation during the last 20 days of operation and emergency situation drills.

On October 23, Hanoi Railway Co., Ltd. said that Deputy General Director Nguyen Van Ngoc had issued a job announcement for the Cat Linh-Ha Dong railway.

Accordingly, personnel to operate the railway line will be ready by October 27. The company will sign labor contracts and provide uniforms to all employees. Operation training will start from November.

The Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line is one of the key public transport projects in Hanoi. Since September 2018, this project has tested all 13 trains, with an average speed of 35 kilometers per hour.

The railway is 13.5 kilometers long from Cat Linh Station in downtown Dong Da district to Yen Nghia Station in the southwestern Ha Dong district and uses standard-gauge rail track (1.435mm). The designed speed of the track reaches 80km/h and with a train frequency of two minutes.

Work on it began in 2011 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2013, but loan disbursement issues with China that were only resolved in December 2017 and other problems have stalled it for years.

Construction was completed in December 2019, and the original cost of US$553 million spiked to more than US$868 million.

Hanoi targets speedy construction of Nam Son waste treatment plant   

The plant is expected to become fully operational in 2021, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen The Hung has said.

Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen The Hung on October 23 inspected the construction progress of the Nam Son waste treatment plant – phase 2.

At the construction site, General Director of Hanoi Urban Environment Company (URENCO) Nguyen Huu Tien informed that the Soc Son waste treatment complex receives around 5,000 tons of garbage, or 77% of total dumped daily in Hanoi. The amount has exceeded the capacity of the complex by over 50%, he noted.

Regarding the progress of the Nam Son waste treatment plant – phase 2, a representative of the Project Management Unit of Hanoi’s Project in water provision, discharge and environment project said unfavorable weather conditions over the past few days have caused difficulties for constructors.

Moreover, the clear site has not been fully handed over to constructors, so the progress is still behind schedule.

Vice Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen The Hung requested local authorities in Soc Son district to continue supporting constructors in the Nam Son waste treatment plant – phase 2 project, while ensuring that the current complex continues receiving around 5,000 tons of garbage daily.

Mr. Hung expected the plant to fully operate in 2021, urging constructors and the Project Management Unit to speed up the construction process.

Vietnam to finalize legal framework for smart city model

Vietnam has already held a number of advantages for smart city development, including a broad coverage of 4G network, high accessibility of IT services and smartphone penetration in the country.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Construction (MoC) will focus on perfecting the legal framework for the smart city model, according to Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha.

By 2022, the MoC is scheduled to submit a draft law on urban management and development to the National Assembly, and finalize related national standards and criteria, said Mr. Ha at the ASEAN Smart Cities Summit and Expo 2020 on October 22.

Mr. Ha also informed that the MoC would be responsible for approval, master planning and drafting technical design for smart city projects during the 2021 – 2022 period.

In the meantime, the MoC is developing assessment criteria for smart city projects, including a common evaluation framework for smart city development in different urban types; information and communication technology (ICT) framework for reference; specialized socio-economic indicators for smart cities and green projects.

Notably, Minister Ha said the MoC would soon complete a strategy stipulating resource allocation for smart city projects, providing which types would be financed with funding from the state budget, provincial budget or social resources.

At the summit, Head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh said the development of smart cities has become more urgent, mainly due to rapid urbanization globally.

Mr. Binh referred to a study that estimates around 55% of the world population is living in urban areas, and by 2050, the rate would rise to 70%.

While urban cities make up 80% of global GDP, they also account for 70% of carbon emissions. Additionally, high population density in cities also poses challenges to natural resource consumption and risk of overloaded infrastructure.

These issues are of particular concern amid the Covid-19 pandemic and climate changes, as countries with long coastal lines are among the most vulnerable, Mr. Binh stated, adding the sustainable development of smart cities is essential in this situation.

Minister of Construction Ha also expected smart cities would help enhance efficiency in socio-economic development and accelerate the economic restructuring process, among other benefits.

In the case of Vietnam, the country has already held a number of advantages for smart city development, including a broad coverage of 4G network, high accessibility of IT services and smartphone penetration in the country.

In August 2018, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved the strategy for sustainable smart city development in the 2018 – 2025 period, with a vision to 2030.

Under the plan, by 2025, Vietnam would have at least six metropolises representing six major economic zones. In five years' time, Vietnam is set to form a network of smart cities nationwide.

Smart city building helps improve national competitiveness: Vietnam PM

Developing smart cities is really "a big game" that needs to be joined by many "players" with vision and resources.

Vietnam sees the development of smart and sustainable cities as a decisive effort to improve national competitiveness, Kinh Te & Do Thi quoted Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said at a smart cities summit.

Chairing the plenary session of the ASEAN Smart Cities Summit in Hanoi on October 22, the Vietnamese prime minister said as an active member of the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, Vietnam has made policies and efforts to develop smart cities, considering this one of three key tasks in the national digital transformation process.

Mr. Phuc stressed the importance of developing strong and smart infrastructure as well as e-government and then building digital government. The effort should be based on the continuous achievements and experiences of 35 years of national renewal and harnessing the added values of new technologies while promoting the cultural identities of ASEAN countries.

Developing smart cities is really "a big game" that needs to be joined by many "players" with a long-term vision and resources, towards realizing the goal of securing happiness, comprehensive human development, environmental protection and sustainable development of urban ecosystems, PM Phuc affirmed.

Besides, it is necessary to encourage the active participation of the private sector in boosting innovation and creativity, the PM emphasized.

He asked for continued promotion of strategic and high-quality scientific human resources development programs, as well as the harmonious linkage of innovation and digital transformation with sustainable smart city urban development orientations.

The government leader stressed that urban development is an important tool to boost national growth. Vietnam aims to accelerate and expand urban development to bring the best benefits to its people.

“I want ASEAN members to raise high spirit of solidarity and join hands to well implement the five priorities of ASEAN 2020 that are strengthening a peaceful environment, connecting prosperity, developing the community and ASEAN identity, promoting international partnerships and enhancing ASEAN institutional capacities," Mr. Phuc said.

He called on the construction industry, communities and businesses, especially technology companies, to work closely together and develop efficient smart cities.

On the sidelines of the summit, PM Phuc visited the Smart Cities Fair where Vietnamese and foreign companies present cutting-edge technologies in the field.

Pop singer raises over VND100 billion for flood victims in the central provinces

A pop singer has announced she received over VND100 billion after calling on people's donations to support flood victims in the central region. 

Singer Thuy Tien provided the update on the donations on her Facebook page on October 22.

According to the singer, she spent VND2,669,705,588 (USD116,074) on food, medicine, and other necessities, and financial donations to flood victims. She also shared photos of the bank's statement and all the bills for the goods she bought for donations. 

Thuy Tien returned to Ho Chi Minh City on October 20 after spending six days visiting and giving donations to people in the hardest-hit flooded areas in the provinces of Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Binh and Quang Tri.

The same day she also announced that she had received over VND105 billion (USD4.6 million) from donors to her charity project.

"I'm a bit worried when receiving too many donations to this project as I’m working on my own together with a small group of volunteers," she shared on her account. "But I'm more than happy for the flood victims who are in desperate need of help after losing all to the floods."

The singer also said that many people were worried about her too and advised her to co-operate with an organisation to better manage and use the donations but she wouldn't do that.

"I want to directly give the donations to the people-in-need," she said. "The donors trust me and want me to help give their support to the flood victims so I will try my best to do that. I cannot use their money to run an organisation which is costly and complicated."

Thuy Tien and her husband, former captain of the national football team Le Cong Vinh were already known for their charity project to help set up water purifying machines for local people in 12 provinces of the Mekong Delta region to cope with drought and saline intrusion.

When the flooding occurred in the central region, she soon called on people to join with her to help local people. And after posting a status on her Facebook account on the morning of October 13, she booked a flight to Thua Thien-Hue in the afternoon and went to buy goods to give to local people.

During the week she live-streamed her visiting local people in Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Tri, Quang Ngai to distribute food, medicine and money amid rising floods. She also promised to support two local children with school fees until they finished university. The singer's activities have received lots of praise and support from the public. She also reported on the large amount of money sent by donors to her bank account. 

After a week in the flooded areas, Tien said that she had to return to Ho Chi Minh City for several days and would then revisit the central provinces as soon as possible to continue her project.

“Many other charity groups have arrived to support the people there so I feel a bit more relieved," she said. "The flood water is receding and in the coming time I’ll work with local authorities in Hue, Quang Tri,Quang Binh, and Ha Tinh to give money for local people to settle their lives."

President of the Vietnam Red Cross Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu said she was moved that singer Thuy Tien raised such a large amount of money to support flood victims.

"It was really moving seeing Thuy Tien call for financial support for the flood victims in the central region and that she directly visited and gave donations to local people," she said. "However, she may face many difficulties and risks when distributing such a large amount of donations on her own. I hope that Thuy Tien will find the best way to support those in need."

According to latest news, Thuy Tien received over VND150 billion dong.

Australia to provide AUD100,000 in humanitarian support for Vietnam

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Ms Robyn Mudie, on Friday announced that Australia would provide AUD100,000 in immediate humanitarian support for relief efforts underway in response to severe flooding in central Vietnam.

The region has been hit by consecutive tropical storms, prolonged heavy rain, severe and widespread flooding and landslides. As of 22 October, more than 178,000 households had been affected by flood waters up to 2m high, 362 schools had been damaged and there had been widespread destruction of agricultural land and resources. This in addition to devastating loss of life, including members of heroic military rescue teams.

“When Australia experienced devastating bushfires last summer, we felt the outpouring of support from the government and people of Vietnam. Today we stand in solidarity with Vietnam, as you grieve for lost loved ones and heroic first responders. We will continue monitoring relief requirements as the extent of the impact comes to light,” said Ambassador Mudie.

This humanitarian assistance will be delivered through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership: It will operate in tandem with Australia’s ongoing efforts to support Vietnam’s recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic. This included the announcement of an immediate USD10.5m package of assistance in June.

Malaysia to host virtual APEC Leaders’ Meeting in November

Malaysia said on October 26 it will host the first ever virtual meeting of leaders from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies in November due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the International Trade and Industry Ministry said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will chair on November 20 the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM), which will see the participation of all 21 APEC economic leaders.

"Malaysia is making history by transforming APEC's usual ways of doing business and convening a majority of APEC meetings in a fully virtual format," it said.

The Southeast Asian nation, which will be hosting APEC for the second time, said the meeting is expected to launch the region's Post-2020 Vision, the key policy set to replace the "Bogor Goals" which will reach maturity at the end of the year.

APEC was established in 1989, consisting of 21 member economies in the Asia-Pacific region with the same purpose of creating greater prosperity for the people in the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and safe growth, as well as regional economic integration.

With a total population of 3 billion, the 21 APEC economies account for about 60 percent of the world's total GDP and nearly 50 percent of global trade. APEC is currently promoting trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation of business, human security, and economic and technical cooperation, aiming to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity in the region.

Memorial service held for policeman dead on duty


A memorial service was held in Dong Ha city, central Quang Tri province, on October 26 for Captain Truong Van Thang, who died conducting flood response operations. (Photo: VNA)

Quang Tri (VNA) – A memorial service was held in Dong Ha city, central Quang Tri province, on October 26 for Captain Truong Van Thang, who died conducting flood response operations.

Thang was a policeman of Huong Viet commune, Huong Hoa district, Quang Tri province. He was among the seven police officers who were dispatched to search for seven missing residents amidst rising floodwater on October 17.

The 31-year-old sacrificed his life while performing the duty the same day.

Minister of Public Security General To Lam sent a wreath to the ceremony, and extended his sympathies to the bereaved family.

Thang was posthumously presented with the national defence order (second class) and promoted in rank./.

HCMC’s schoolers to enjoy 11-day Tet break

The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has approved that schoolers of kindergarten, elementary schools, middle and high schools and vocational schools throughout the city will have a 9-day Tet break. 

Schools that currently adapt a five-day-a-week schedule will be enjoying the holiday for 11 days, from February 6- February 10 (on the 25th day of the last month- the 5th day of the first month of the lunar calendar).

As planned, the first semester of the academic year 2020-2021 will run from September 7 to January 9 while the second semester will start from January 11 to May 22.

Class at all grades will end at the end of May. Elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and centers for continuing education will close before June 15.

The 10th grade entrance exam will be completed before July 31.

Forests better managed thanks to protection policy

Thousands of hectares of forests in northern mountainous regions are being better managed and protected thanks to a new environmental services policy.

Pham Danh Tuyen, deputy head of Tam Duong district's Forest Protection Management Board in Lai Chau province, said payments for forest environment services had made positive impacts on people's lives, both economically and environmentally.

It had helped improve people's lives and raise awareness about protecting the forests, he said.

Lai Chau province has more than 470,000ha of forests that were allocated to State agencies, local individuals and households to look after in 2012.

From 2012 to the end of 2019, the provincial forest protection and development fund has paid 2.19 trillion VND (94.7 million USD) to subsidise efforts to protect the forests.

In 2019 alone, 542 billion VND was paid to 78,754 households assigned to take care of the forests.

The average income of households that took part in the project increased from 2 million VND in 2012 to 6.5 million VND in 2019.

Tam Duong district has more than 68,400ha of forest.

Last year, households and individuals earned 52.5 billion VND from the Protection Forest Management Board for protecting nearly 40,000ha of forest.

The forest environmental services policy had attracted a large number of workers to protect the forest, said Sung A Cua, a forest ranger from the Mong ethnic minority group.

Working as an administrator in Ta Leng commune, Cua often visits local residents to raise awareness about forest prevention and the need to cut vegetation to avoid forest fires.

He also shows people how to register to plant trees in order to improve their incomes.

In the past, forest protection and fire prevention faced many difficulties due to limited public awareness.

Deforestation for cultivation and illegal logging were still a problem, Cua said.

People in Ta Leng commune are observing regulations on forest protection now thanks to the forest protection fund, he said.

"This could be the driving force for locals to protect the forests and prevent forest fires," said Cua.

Over the past three years, Ta Leng commune has not recorded any forest fires or illegal deforestation, increasing the coverage ratio by more than 66 percent.

In addition to helping people change their habits, the policy has also contributed to improving the lives of ethnic minority groups, creating jobs and higher incomes.

Afforestation also helps people earn more money and raises a sense of responsibility about forest protection.

Giàng A Tung from the Mong ethnic minority group is from one of the families in Phin Ngan Xin Chai village that have been planting trees to cover bare land and hills.

In 2015, he was offered 1,600 tao meo seedlings (also known as son tra (Docynia indica), a kind of apple).

After five years of cultivating 1,4ha, he is hoping to harvest 300kg of tao meo this season, which he will be able to sell for 6,000-10,000 VND per kg.

“In the past I mainly planted maize but was economically efficient. Now táo mèo provides an income for my family. It's not a lot but it helps to reduce the economic burden,” said Tung.

Deforestation, forest fires and violations of the forest protection law had decreased since the forest environmental services policy was implemented in Lai Chau province in 2012, according to a provincial report.

In 2011, the number of violations hit 257 cases. In 2019, 172 cases were detected.

This had contributed to increasing the forest coverage ratio in the province from 41.6 percent in 2011 to 50.16 percent in 2019, improving the ecological environment, the report said.

According to Nguyen Ba Viet, deputy director of Lai Chau province's Forest Protection and Development Fund, the policy had helped local agencies at all levels and residents raise awareness about the significance and importance of forest protection and development.


Villages that were assigned to protect the forests had set up teams to regularly inspect them and issue protection regulations.

The management of fund for forest environmental services was being strictly implemented and transparent, Viet said./.

Ha Dong Intellectuals named Job Prize winner at Bui Xuan Phai Awards 2020

A group of intellectuals from Hanoi’s Ha Dong district received one of the two Job Prizes at Bui Xuan Phai Awards 2020 for the donation of about 150 royal decrees to localities with over 80 of which being given to temples in Hanoi. 

The Ha Dong Intellectuals group consists of 8 members who are renowned poets, painters, artists, and entrepreneurs. Since 2015, the group has collected and presented about 150 royal decrees of the Le and Nguyen dynasties between the 15th and the middle of the 20th century to localities, more than 80 of which were for temples in Hanoi.

The royal decree is considered the soul and spirit of communal houses, temples, palaces, places of worship, cultural and spiritual activities and a valuable part ofVietnam’s heritage. For many Vietnamese rural villages, the royal decree is the expression of cultural and spiritual values.

One day in 2015, members of the Ha Dong Intellectuals group talked about the royal decrees being kept by  member Trinh Huu Sy and then decided to do something about this.

Poet Nguyen Quang Thieu, a member of the Ha Dong Intellectuals group, told VOV “Our job originated from our love for Vietnam’s villages. When the royal decrees are presented to the locality, they seem to change the life of the people there as they receive something beautiful and sacred, closely associated with the places where they are from. This shows that the people are very aware of their traditional cultural values."

"The royal decrees often date back to 70, 80 years ago, or even more than 100 years ago, which means a very long time, so a lot of things have changed and we have had to do a lot of research and fact-finding tours to find the places mentioned in the royal decrees,” said Thieu.

In addition to those in the collection of Trinh Huu Sy, the Ha Dong Intellectuals group has searched and collected missing royal decrees. They even offered to buy documents from their  owners. The group members then do research and translate the documents.

“We consulted with the Institute of Han-Nom Studies and they said the royal decrees are of great cultural value. This is part of an original record on Vietnam’s culture that we need to restore. We asked the institute to verify the documents we collected, translate and put them into the files," said poet Thieu.

"Preserving national cultural background is of great importance as it helps us to stay balanced in every step we make towards the future. That’s why we decided to do this job,” he added.

By collecting the long-lost royal decrees, the Ha Dong Intellectuals group has contributed to preserving and honoring Vietnam’s national culture while inspiring other groups and individuals to pay more attention to presenting the royal decrees to their rightful places.

Spiritual markers of Vietnam’s sea and island sovereignty

Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago off the central province of Khanh Hoa boasts a number of Buddhist temples.

These pagodas serve as markers for Vietnam’s sovereignty over Truong Sa and are a must-visit destination for soldiers, people on the archipelago and offshore fishermen.

The sound of a pagoda bell and sea waves at dawn makes Song Tu Tay (Southwest Cay) island a peaceful village in the mainland. Song Tu Tay pagoda, with a main hall and two chambers on its sides, worships Buddha and people who laid down their lives for safeguarding national sovereignty.

Abbot Thich Thuong Dat told VOV, “The pagoda provides an important spiritual mainstay for local people and offshore fishermen.”

Pagodas on Truong Sa all face east to welcome the first ray of sunlight each day. Vo Thanh Hoa, who lives next to Sinh Ton pagoda, said: “I visit the pagoda in the morning and afternoon everyday to burn incense and pray for good health for people and soldiers here.”

Phan Van Minh, an employee at the Son Ca lighthouse, said the sound of the pagoda bell, sutra chanting, and Buddhist prayers foster a feeling of safety for islanders and fishermen.

“I visit the pagoda on the first and full moon days to pray good health for my family and other people. There I find a tranquil state of mind,” said Minh.

Venerable Thich Nguyen Hoa has been staying at pagodas on Truong Sa over the past 6 years. He said islanders visit the pagoda on the first and 15th day of the lunar month to show their respect for Buddha and attend dharma talks. On normal days, they come to help monks, he noted.

“Pagodas are a sacred place. Visitors, be they soldiers, people or fishermen, will find peace and tranquility which are helpful for their work,” Venerable Thich Nguyen Hoa added.

Pagodas on Truong Sa have been an endless source of encouragement for people and soldiers to protect Vietnam’s sea and island sovereignty.    

ASEAN Today: Vietnam lauded for efforts to combat illegal fishing

Fishermen in Khanh Hoa province

ASEAN Today, a website based in Singapore, on October 26 ran an article entitled “Vietnam launded for efforts to combat illegal fishing”, hailing the country’s efforts in this sphere.

The article quoted Vice Chairman of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam Rubén Saornil Mínguez as saying at a conference in Khanh Hoa province that the country had made significant improvements on the issue in recent years.

Rubén noted that as part of its reforms, Vietnam has raised standards throughout the fishing industry to comply with regulations for EU export under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

In line with EC recommendations, Vietnam adopted a new Fisheries Law in 2017, including a framework for building sustainable aquaculture and fisheries development. The government also established a steering committee for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing prevention at the national level—the move is aimed at supporting thorough enforcement of fisheries laws.

New regulations also require that all fishing vessels carry tracking devices. It appears that the regulations may already be helping to improve seafood traceability, as the number of boats with on-board GPS or other tracking technology has increased from 56 percent in April to 81 percent as of late August. These steps to improve traceability in aquatic product supply chains have been recognized internationally as well.

The article wrote that these efforts on transparency and governance are part of Vietnam’s new master plan for aquatic resources management. The plan also reportedly includes programmes to ensure all fishing vessels comply with regulations and initiatives to develop fisheries sustainably and responsibly.

Public programmes are also helping some producers convert their business to processed products. This offers producers more flexibility, allows them to sell products online and insulates them from economic shocks.

Vietnam is currently the third-largest seafood exporter in the world, shipping 8.6 billion USD worth of fisheries products in 2019. But the country has seen a decline in fisheries shipments amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first half of 2020, the country's fisheries exports fell 8.6 percent compared to the same period last year. By the end of August, shipments had picked up again, shrinking the year-on-year drop to 5.3 percent./.

ASEAN senior labour officials gather online for 16th meeting

The 16th ASEAN Senior Labour Officials’ Meeting (SLOM) took place via video conference on October 26, with the participation of representatives from the 10 member states and the ASEAN Secretariat.

Speaking in Hanoi, Ha Thi Minh Duc, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, updated officials on the progress and roadmap for implementing the ASEAN Declaration on Human Resources Development for the Changing World of Work.

Vietnam wishes to enhance ties with other member countries and relevant international organisations to effectively carry out the declaration’s implementation roadmap, she said.

Participants were provided with updates from the ASEAN Secretariat on progress in implementing decisions at ASEAN meetings regarding SLOM, along with information on the bloc’s recently-approved statements.

The Secretariat also spoke about the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and its implementation plan.

Member countries considered and agreed upon labour-related work plans for 2021-2025.

The SLOM is an annual meeting aiming to review the implementation of activities by three working groups: the SLOM Working Group on Progressive Labour Practices to Enhance the Competitiveness of ASEAN, the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, and the ASEAN Occupational Safety and Health Network.

About 150,000 flood survivors in need of food aid over next 6 months

Some 150,000 flood survivors in central Vietnam will be in urgent need of food aid over the next five to six months, while 110,000 vulnerable people will require support to recover their livelihoods and agricultural production, the Disaster Risk Reduction Partnership (DRRP) reported at a meeting in Hanoi on October 26.

The report was prepared by three groups of experts from the DRRP who were sent to affected central provinces from Quang Binh to Quang Ngai on October 22 and 23 to assess flood damage and the needs of survivors.

It also showed that around 7 million people in affected areas are living in temporary shelters or in vulnerable structures or houses. Those whose homes were submerged in floodwater are not likely to return to normality for three or five weeks.

DRRP partners have delivered emergency aid to the central region in response to a call for relief and international assistance from the Central Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

The ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) has sent more than 30 tonnes of emergency supplies to Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Tri provinces. The Vietnam Red Cross Society has provided flood-hit areas with 1,200 family goods packs and 500 boxes of P&G purifier powder, while the World Health Organisation has aided the six hardest-hit provinces with 320,000 Oasis water purification tablets.

Water supply systems in flood-stricken provinces have been seriously damaged, causing water shortages.

In this context, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has requested that provincial people’s committees provide cheap and clean water to households affected. It will also urgently send 10,000 water tanks to Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien-Hue./.

Hanoi looks to improve access to bus services

Hanoi is aiming for broader coverage by its bus network, so that 80-90 percent of residents in downtown areas can catch a bus by 2030.

This is part of Plan No 201/KH-UBND, issued by the municipal People’s Committee, on developing local public transport between 2021 and 2030.

Infrastructure for public transport will be developed under the plan, so as to ensure that by 2030, 80-90 percent of residents in downtown areas have a bus service within 500 metres of their home.

Hanoi will work to expand its public transport network to populous places such as residential areas and industrial parks, outlying districts, and socio-economic development centres, while ensuring the network’s connectivity with transport hubs and other transport modes.

Traffic will be managed in a way that prioritises public transport, while science and technology application will be increased in transport activities and communications will be enhanced to encourage people to use public transport.

Bus services currently meet 16.08 percent of travel demand in Hanoi, which falls short of expectations. The capital does, however, boast the largest bus network in the country, with 122 routes reaching all 30 district-level localities./.

Bac Lieu spends nearly 12 trillion VND to enhance climate resilience

The Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu has set aside 12 trillion VND (515.27 million USD) from central and local budgets to build infrastructure in response to climate change during the 2016-2020 period, heard a conference held in the locality on October 23.

As part of the efforts to realise the Government’s Decree 120 on sustainable development for the Mekong Delta region to adapt to climate change, the province has prioritised a wide range of climate resilient projects. Those include construction of Nha Mat boat shelter and fishing port, Ganh Hao dykes, and tidal flood control project in Bac Lieu city and its vicinity, among others.

The provincial People’s Committee has worked to promote sustainable and modern agriculture, with focus sharpened on attracting investment in the sector, implementing favourable credit policies for local rice growers and businesses, and prioritising extensive agro processing.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Minh Chien said in the coming time the province should map out a planning scheme for the 2021-2030 period with a vision until 2050, which encourage the effective use of all resources for local socio-economic development.

Accordingly, it should study and apply advanced technologies in response to climate change, outline and carry out organic agriculture development plan during the 2020-2030 period, while enhancing state management in environmental protection.

As one of the localities hard hit by climate change, Bac Lieu province has faced formidable challenges of rising sea level and landslides. Besides, due to poor infrastructure, the locality’s competitive edge remains limited./.

Dutch-funded project helps promote women empowerment

A project funded by the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) has produced positive effects on the improvement of the role and power of women in economic development in the south central province of Ninh Thuan.

According to Le Van Binh, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, over the past five years, thanks to the “Enhancing Opportunities for Women's Enterprises” (FLOW/EOWE) project, public awareness of gender equality in the locality has been enhanced.

Specifically, 90 percent of women in three cooperatives in Ninh Thuan that are covered by the project have engaged in the making of decision related to family spending. More women have taken the leading role in production teams and joined community activities, while getting their husbands share housework.

The project has helped local women become more confident and self-reliant in economy, and get deeper understanding of smart agricultural production and climate change response, Binh said.

At the same time, women-led enterprises have also received support from the SNV.

Initial statistics showed that three SNV-assisted cooperatives have enjoyed 30-50 percent rise in income.

FLOW/EOWE has been implemented in Vietnam since 2016 in four provinces of Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Binh Dinh and Quang Binh.

According to Peter Loach, SNV Country Director in Vietnam, the FLOW/EOWE project aims to help narrow gender gap by focusing on three main pillars: changing gender norms, creating favourable conditions for women to access economic activities, and enhancing the capacity of Government agencies and relevant partners in improving and implementing gender-related policies and women empowerment.

The SNV is a not-for-profit international development organisation. Founded in the Netherlands in 1965, the SNV has been working in Vietnam since 1995. It has marked its presence in over 30 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America./.

Mine-free land new home to farmers from flood-prone areas in Binh Dinh

In anticipation of this year’s flood and storm season, farmers living in flood-prone area have been relocated to a higher area in Cat Nhon commune, Phu Cat district, the south-central coastal province of Binh Dinh.

For many years, Nguyen Thi Sen, 61, in Cat Nhon commune, Phu Cat district, experienced water coming into her house in flooding season.

“I used to be scared when flooding season came,” said Sen. “I often had to put my belongings up and take my children and the cow to the house of family or friends until the flooding passed.”

This year is different. Three months ago, Sen was provided with a plot of land above the flood plain. She had her new house built and the construction completed in time for her and her children to move in before the flooding season started.

“I am no longer worried about flooding,” she said with a big smile.

Sen is among the 29 families who have been relocated from the lowland to this higher area. Local administration provided each family with 200 square meters of land and 20 million VND (861.7 USD) to build their houses in anticipation of this year’s flooding season.

Sen is among the 29 families who have been relocated from the lowland to this higher area. Photo: UNDP
This safe area is part of the 9,000 hectares of land that had been surveyed and cleared from unexploded ordnance (UXO) and landmines by the Korea-Viet Nam Mine Action project.

In October 2020, leaders of the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Vietnam officially handed over the map with post-clearance land and documents to local administrations and communities for socio-economic development.

At the handover ceremony, both UNDP Resident Representative Caitlin Wiesen and KOICA Country Director Cho Han-Deog highly appreciated the dedication and effort of the survey and clearance teams in ensuring that the work was carried out safely, at high quality, and on schedule, despite challenges caused by COVID-19 and the weather conditions.

“I am so moved to hand over the documents of 9.000 hectares of surveyed and cleared land in Binh Dinh, one of the most UXO contaminated provinces in Vietnam,” Wiesen said. “UNDP is honored to partner with VNMAC and KOICA to extend this work and release land for people’s development.”

While handing over Binh Dinh map with post-clearance lands to Vice Chairwoman of Phu Cat district People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Tuyet, KOICA Country Director Cho Han-Deog stressed: “The creation of this map is the result of the tireless efforts from all the parties during the past two years. The final goal of the project is not just about freeing land from UXO and landmines. Clean and safe land is the start of development process. Therefore, UXO clearance priorities should be aligned with broader development plans. And we anticipate the cleared land that has been handed over to Binh Dinh will be prioritised for socio-economic development.”

More than four decades after the war, 40 percent (nearly 250,000 hectares) of Binh Dinh province’s land area remains contaminated with UXO and landmines.

The Korea-Vietnam Mine Action Project was launched in March 2018 to strengthen the governance and management of national mine action activities, as well as to promote people’s safety and development in areas contaminated with UXO in Binh Dinh and Quang Binh provinces.

The project also helps ensure timely support and quality of life for survivors from landmine/UXO accidents and reduce future accidents through increasing the awareness in local communities about the potential risk from UXO and landmines.

“The project has provided a large area of clean and safe land for the province’s development and local people’s expansion of production, especially for the construction of social infrastructure such as health care centres and schools,” said Tuyet.

The 20 million USD project is funded by the Government of the Republic of Korea (RoK), through KOICA, and implemented by VNMAC and UNDP./.

Golfers to tee off for kids next month

The 2020 Swing for the Kids golf tournament will tee off on November 21 at the BRG Kings Island Golf Resort in Đồng Mô, Sơn Tây Town, about 46km from Hà Nội.

The 14th event has been delayed for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants will compete in four groups, including one for ladies, classified by their handicaps.

Besides top prizes for the overall champion and the winners of each group, the organisers will present awards for the longest drive, nearest the pin and hole-in-one.

The annual charity competition aims to raise funds to support poor students who have excelled academically.

After 13 competitions, more than VNĐ17.5 billion (US$755,000) has been collected and delivered to more than 16,000 students as well as used to upgraded school infrastructure around the country.

At a press conference yesterday in Hà Nội, the organisers presented seven scholarships to outstanding students at universities in the capital.

"Over the past 13 years, Swing for the Kids has attracted kind-hearted people who wish to support underprivileged students nationwide, especially those from rural, mountainous and island areas," said Lê Trọng Minh, editor in chief of Việt Nam Investment Review and head of the organising board.

"The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to postpone but could not stop us from continuing our task. We believe that our support will help reduce students' difficulties and challenges and push them to higher results," he said.

Speaking at the briefing, Thái Việt Dũng, a representative of Exness, one of the tournament's sponsors, said: "We know have a corporate social responsibility and through Swing for the Kids, Exness is honoured to be taking part and contributing to fulfilling the dreams of disadvantaged children in Việt Nam."

Padungsak Thanakij, a representative of Banpu Company, said supporting education had been on Banpu’s sustainable development agenda since its establishment. This was Banpu's first year Việt Nam and we were lucky enough to find Swing for the Kinds as our strategic partner for implementing CSR projects here, he said.

At the briefing yesterday, the organisers also decided to contribute VNĐ1 billion ($43,000) to people in the central region who have been strongly affected by floods and landslides recently.

Đại shines to help Viettel reclaim top spot of V.League 1

Viettel FC are in the driver's seat of the V.League 1 title race after beating Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh 1-0 at Hàng Đẫy Stadium on Sunday.

A goal from substitute Nguyễn Trọng Đại was enough to take all three tops and put Viettel back on top of the table on 34 points, followed by Hà Nội FC with 32 points and Sài Gòn FC with 31 points.

Đại celebrated his long-range winner in the 73rd minute by ripping his jersey off in ecstasy, resulting in the midfielder from the northern province of Hải Dương being booked, which means he'll miss the top-of-the-table clash with Hà Nội FC on Thursday.

“I am very sorry to my team for taking off my jersey. The first goal was too emotional. Congratulations to my team,” said Đại.

Coach Phạm Minh Đức of Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh even had to tip his cap to Dai for the stunning strike

“Đại had a moment of shining. We couldn’t stop him. Viettel deserved to take the victory. However, we were still playing well, making the game more intense and highly competitive,” said Đức.

Coach Trương Việt Hoàng of Viettel also praised Đại for his performance.

“Đại has recovered from his injury. I should have used him in the last match against Bình Dương, but I saved him for the match Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh in which he was trusted and played well. His precious goal helped Viettel maintain the top position. His long shot is very good. I've been watching him since he was still playing for the Việt Nam U19 team. Unfortunately, Đại had to receive a third yellow card and he can’t play in the next match against Hà Nội,” said Hoàng.

“The national premier league is about to finish and I want my team to continue to show their bravery. Viettel will next meet defending champions Hà Nội. We don’t have good results against this team. Viettel need to change the past. Definitely, we have to aim for one point. If we take advantage of the opponent's mistakes to win, I think that would also be appropriate. There is a little regret that we will play without Đại,” Hoàng added.

Elsewhere at the weekend, Sài Gòn FC beat Hoàng Anh Gia Lai 4-2, Thanh Hóa FC drew with Sông Lam Nghệ An 1-1, Quảng Nam beat SHB Đà Nẵng 3-1 and Nam Định lost to Hải Phòng 2-3. 

Citizens in Taiwan brought home on Vietjet Air flight

A flight operated by Vietjet Air brought 230 Vietnamese citizens in Taiwan (China) home on October 27 thanks to joint efforts by relevant Vietnamese agencies and Taiwanese authorities.

Passengers on the repatriation flight included children under 18, the elderly, the ill, workers whose visas and contracts had expired, students without accommodations, and others in difficult circumstances.

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

All passengers and crew members received medical checkups and were sent to quarantine in line with regulations upon arrival at Can Tho International Airport.

The repatriation of Vietnamese citizens in disadvantaged 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./.

Three new imported cases of COVID-19 reported on October 27 afternoon

Three new imported cases of COVID-19 were recorded from 6am to 6pm on October 27, raising the national count to 1,172, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

Patients numbered 1,170 and 1,171 are Indian experts who arrived from India on October 6 on flight 6E9471. They tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 while in quarantine.

Earlier, 18 other passengers on the same flight were also found to be contracted with the coronavirus.

The 1,172nd patient is a Vietnamese man who returned from France on October 21.

One patient was given the all-clear on October 27, raising the number of recovered patients to 1,062. The fatalities remain at 35.

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

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

Charity race sets aside 1 billion VND for flood victims

The organisers of a ten-day relay race, aiming to raise funds for COVID-19-affected workers, has agreed to set aside about 1 billion VND (43,000 USD) to support flood victims in the central region.

Co-organised by the Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp. (Sabeco) and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour, the race, which ended on October 26, covered 2,020 km, from the northern province of Quang Ninh’s Ha Long city to the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.

It has so far raised over 4.78 billion VND from 2,530 donations.

As of the evening of October 24, heavy rains and floods in the central and north-central regions had claimed 119 lives and left 21 missing, with the regions now preparing for Storm Molave to make landfall within the next few hours.

The eye of the powerful storm, the ninth of the year and the fourth this month, is expected to be over Vietnam’s coastline, from Da Nang city to Phu Yen province, at 4 am on October 28, with maximum winds of 165 km/h. Torrential downpours will blanket central localities from October 27 to 29, with flooding forecast in areas from Thua Thien-Hue to Quang Ngai./.

Philippine President orders graft probe in state agencies

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on October 27 said that he had ordered the country’s Department of Justice to launch a sweeping investigation into graft across all government agencies.

He issued a memorandum directing the department to look into anomalies at state agencies until the end of his term in 2022. It enables the body to decide what allegations to investigate and to work with other agencies.

In a televised national address, he said that the country continues to be plagued with corruption, adding that it is not weakening but getting stronger.

He vowed to focus his remaining term on fighting corruption.

Duterte is not eligible for re-election, but fulfilling his campaign pledge on corruption could help the chances of his chosen successor in the 2022 elections./.

OVs support flood-hit people in central region

The Vietnamese Embassy and Overseas Vietnamese (OVs) in Malaysia have raised a total of VND600 million in an effort to support individuals affected by the recent historic flooding that has hit the central region.

The donations have been transferred back to the country in order to help residents, especially those from poor households in central localities, overcome the aftermath of natural disasters. 

Vu Duc Minh, second secretary in charge of community affairs of the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia, emphasised that the OV community residing in Malaysia have regularly organised fundraising activities aimed at lending a helping hand to their compatriots in Vietnam over recent years. 

Minh noted that the latest fund-raising campaign in support of flood victims has received great support from Vietnamese agencies and associations in Malaysia. Indeed, he said these efforts demonstrate the sentiments and feelings of OVs towards people who have suffered as a result of the devastating nature of the flooding. 

Nguyen Thi Thanh Van, vice president of Vietnam Business Association in Malaysia, said that despite challenges caused by the resurgence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Malaysia, the OV community, especially businesses in Malaysia, have opened their hearts to flood victims in the central region. As a result, they have launched a number of fundraising activities to mitigate the impact of the recent natural disasters and help people from the centre overcome this challenging period.

Meanwhile, the Vietnam Youth and Students Association in Japan have come together to raise a sum of JPY130,500 in an effort to support those affected by the recent weather pattern in the central region.

The association’s representative stated that all donations are to be transferred to people in flood-prone provinces such as Quang Nam, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien Hue through the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee and other relevant organisations in the country.



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