Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh chaired the Government’s online conference with localities and the Government's monthly meeting in Hanoi on April 3.

In the afternoon, participants discussed an additional evaluation report on the implementation results of the public investment plan in 2022 and the deployment of the public investment plan in 2023; an additional evaluation report on the performance results of the socio-economic development plan in 2022 and the deployment of the socio-economic development plan in 2023, and an additional evaluation report on the performance of the State budget in 2022 and the State budget estimate in 2023.

Several Government members and local leaders suggested the National Assembly pilot several policies related to energy transition, especially renewable energy, contributing to delivering on Vietnam’s commitments to green and circular economic development.

They proposed tax and fee reduction, social housing policies in support of developers, buyers and renters; regulations on the management and exploitation of mines as well as the sharing of construction materials for key transport projects.

Speaking at the event, PM Chinh said the global economy is forecast to continue slowing down this year. In the country, difficulties remain, especially those in real estate and securities markets, and internal issues of the economy.

Based on opinions of the Cabinet members, he emphasised that the growth and inflation targets for 2023 have not been changed. However, ministries, agencies and localities need to make greater efforts to achieve these targets, and also closely monitor the situation and come up with scenarios and solutions.

Accordingly, they were urged to remove obstacles, particularly those related to legal regulations, promoting production and trade, generating jobs and creating livelihoods for residents.

Ministries and administrations were also requested to delegate more authority to lower levels, push for administrative reform, issue policies to waive, reduce, extend and reschedule the payment of taxes, fees, and charges; reschedule debts and cut lending rates.

The PM directed ministers and heads of ministry-level and governmental agencies, chairpersons of the municipal and provincial People’s Committees to strengthen discipline in line with the Government’s working regulations.

They were tasked with chairing projects and programmes involving many ministries and agencies. If any difficulties arise, they should actively consult with leaders of the relevant ministries and agencies to address them together.

In the afternoon of the same day, the Government mulled over a proposal on solutions to dealing with difficulties in production and trade. They also proposed the building of a law on amendments and supplements to several articles of the Law on Exit and Entry of Vietnamese Citizens and the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam.

Vietnam actively cooperates to ensure water security in Mekong River

Vietnam continues to be an active and responsible member, promoting cooperation with other member countries of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and international partners to enhance the effective use of water and related resources of the Mekong River.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh is set to attend the 4th Mekong River Commission (MRC) Summit in Vientiane, Laos, on April 5 at the invitation of his Lao counterpart Sonexay Siphandone.

The MRC is an intergovernmental organisation that works with the governments of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam to manage the shared water and related resources of the Mekong River for the sustainable development of the Mekong region. It was founded under the Mekong Agreement in 1995, building on previous cooperation through the Mekong Committee established in 1957.

As a country in the lower basin of the Mekong River, Vietnam has proved to be an active and responsible member of the MRC. It has expanded cooperation with the other member countries and international partners to promote the effective use of water resources and related resources of the Mekong River, contributing to the nation's socio-economic development, especially its Mekong Delta.

The PM's attendance at the event demonstrates the country's responsibility and commitment to the MRC; highlights Vietnam's special interest in the stable and sustainable development of the Mekong River basin; and affirms the country’s efforts and contributions to the effective use and sustainable management of the Mekong River's water resources for the benefits of the people in the basin, towards sustainable development.

With the theme “Innovation and Cooperation for a Water Secure and Sustainable Mekong”, the conference focuses on discussing orientations and directions related to the development and management in the Mekong River basin, and agreements and plans to achieve the outcomes of the Mekong River Basin Development Strategy in 2021-2030.

The event will bring together the Prime Ministers of the MRC member countries, representatives of the dialogue partners of the commission, namely China and Myanmar, and those from development partners, regional and international organisations, social organisations and the communities in the region.

Participants will adopt Vientiane Joint Statement, which will evaluate achievements made by the regional countries in recent years, analyse and assess challenges and opportunities for cooperation within the commission; and set out cooperation orientations for the future.

In an interview with a VOV resident reporter in Laos, Dr. Aloulak Kittikhoun, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Secretariat said we chose the theme “Innovation and Cooperation for a Water Secure and Sustainable Mekong” is because, the Mekong River is facing numerous challenges due to climate change, as well as human intervention.

In the next 4 years, we need to focus on innovation in managing the Mekong River and not only rely on traditional measures as before, but we need to change, especially in terms of policy, technology and management methods.

All these issues we need to discuss at the Summit with member states to find a solution and make appropriate decisions for the coming years.”

In recent years, with its position as a country in the lower Mekong River, Vietnam remains to be an active and responsible member, promoting cooperation with other MRC member countries and international partners in order to increase the efficiency of using water and related resources of the Mekong River, contributing to the socio-economic development of the country and especially of the Mekong Delta region.

Vietnam attends the 4th Summit in the context of deep international integration, and secured politics, security and defense. With economic growth of 8.02% in 2022, the Prime Minister has approved the Master Plan for the Mekong Delta in the 2021-2030 period with a vision to 2050.

In addition, the Mekong Delta also faces economic, social and environmental challenges, which require Vietnam to continue bolstering cooperation at the MRC.

Tree uproots in HCM City, injuring seven people

A tree at a secondary school in HCM City fell over this morning, April 3, injuring seven people.

The incident occurred at Tran Van On Secondary School in District 1 at around 7 am when the 15-metre-high tree suddenly collapsed to the ground despite the fine weather.


The scence of the accident

The tree fell onto seven people who were standing nearby. All seven were injured and quickly sent to District 1’s General Hospital. Two suffered light injuries and have been kept at hospital, while five others have been sent to other hospitals due to their more serious conditions.

Among those, one is a 32-year-old pregnant woman who has been hardest hit with serious injuries to her liver, legs and kidneys. The woman has been taken to Gia Dinh People’s Hospital for surgery.

Gia Dinh People’s Hospital is also serving another 56-year-old victim, who is also suffering from chest injuries.

Meanwhile, a Grade-7 student is receiving treatment for a broken thigh bone at Children’s Hospital 2.

The incident also damaged around five motorbikes. The cause of the tree collapsing is under investigation.

Van Don tourist boats to halt operation as Cai Rong Port closes 
Cruise ship owners in Van Don Island District have sent a letter asking for approval from local authorities to halt operations from April 5 when Cai Rong Port closes.

The letter came after the management board at Cai Rong Port announced that they would temporarily close from April 5 for maintenance until further notice.

According to boat owners, the real reason behind the closure of Cai Rong Port was to force them to move to Ao Tien Port which has just been put into operation. But they said that they wouldn't move there and would only resume operations when the Cai Rong Port reopened.

Explaining their refusal to move to the newly-built Ao Tien port, some boat owners said that the design of the new port was not suitable for their boats. Even when the water rises to its highest level, their boats with a capacity of fewer than 100 passengers are still between 2.5-3 metres lower than the wharf, posing safety risks for passengers.

Answering local media, an official of Van Don District admitted there was a problem and said they had asked the investor to fix it.

At present, there are 20 high-speed boats and 15 other vessels transporting local people and tourists from Cai Rong Port to neighbouring communes and popular tourist destinations including Quan Lan, Minh Chau, Ngoc Vung, and Ban Sen. Travel on these routes would be badly affected when boats halt operation.

Ao Tien Port, which serves tourists travelling from Van Don to islands and attractions in Bai Tu Long Bay and Ha Long Bay, was put into use on March 1. The port covers nearly 30 hectares and has the capacity to serve up to 2,600,000 passengers a year during 2020-2025 and would be expanded to 3,200,000 passengers a year through to 2030.

800 workers at southern company laid off amid lack of orders

Eight hundred workers of a plastic fabric manufacturer TaeKwang MTC Việt Nam in the southern province of Đồng Nai lost their jobs, according to the province's labour department.

The company has been facing a drop in manufacturing orders since late 2022, and before deciding on letting go of its workers, the company has reached an agreement with the employees on monetary compensation, according to Đồng Nai labour department.

All employees who are laid off will be compensated with half a month's salary per year of service, with a maximum of 11 months' salary per employee.

In addition, Taekwang will provide each worker with over VNĐ14 million (about US$600).

Most of the workers at the company have worked here for many years.

The workers are mostly around the age of 40, with a handful of new young recruits between the ages of 18-25.

Đồng Nai labour department is coordinating with relevant agencies and companies to help the laid off workers find new jobs.

In recent months, due to a lack of orders, companies operating in the fields of textiles, footwear, furniture, and mechanics in Đồng Nai Province started having to cut working hours, reduce or totally cut back on overtime.

The local authorities are closely monitoring the situation to ensure the rights of workers in case they lose their jobs. 

Ministry of Health extends the validity of more than 10,350 medical products

The Drug Administration Department (DAD) has extended the licences of 760 drugs and pharmaceutical ingredients until December 31, 2024, bringing the total number of drugs, pharmaceutical ingredients, vaccines, and medical products extended by the Ministry of Health to more than 10,350.

The latest extension marks the third time the DAD granted such an extension in 2023. 

Among the drugs and pharmaceutical ingredients extended this time, 565 were produced domestically, while 195 were foreign drugs.

They cover a wide range of pharmacological effects, including drugs for cancer treatment, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, antiviral drugs, and common fever-reducing and pain-relieving drugs.

With this extension, the DAD has extended 10,353 drugs, pharmaceutical ingredients, vaccines, and medical products under Resolution 80.

The first round alone saw the Director of the Drug Administration Department extend nearly 8,880 drugs, pharmaceutical ingredients, vaccines, and medical products.

All registration certificates for the extended drugs will continue to be used until December 31st, 2024.

In 2022, the DAD and MOH extended more than 10,000 drugs, pharmaceutical ingredients, vaccines, and medical products.

In addition, on April 2, the Director of the DAD signed a decree to issue registration numbers for the 113th batch of 166 drugs that have been re-registered for three or five years following the provisions of the 2016 Drug Law.

These drugs include antiviral drugs, cancer treatment drugs, and other speciality drugs.

The DAD has previously re-registered many drug items for three or five years following the provisions of the 2016 Drug Law to serve the healthcare and disease prevention needs of the people.

Hanoi boosts use of drones in agriculture production

Many districts and communes in Hà Nội have actively promoted the use of drones in agriculture production – the first step in boosting hi-tech farming and joining the global farm produce supply chain for the spring 2023 crop.

The Nicotex Hanoi joint stock company has introduced to farmers in Sơn Tây Town and Thạch Thất and Mỹ Đức districts a three-in-one drone which can spread seeds, fertilisers and spray pesticides.

The drone can spread seeds over four hectares of land in one hour and pesticides over 40 hectares per day in good weather conditions.

The use of drones will significantly save labour and cut the amount of pesticides used.

This is expected to improve the awareness of farmers about the application of technology in agricultural production, helping to increase the productivity and the quality of the crops. 

International Choir event opens in Hoi An

Singers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Việt Nam brought sweet melodies to the opening of the 7th Việt Nam International Choir Competition on April 2, marking the return of the biggest international musical event to the ancient town of Hội An.

The competition has been organised by the Hội An City’s People’s Committee and Interkultur, one of the world’s leading organisers of choir festivals.

A total of 600 artists from seven countries will take part in the even that runs until April 4. Teams from India, Saudi Arabia and Slovakia make up the rest of the participating countries.

Johan Rooze, Interkultur artistic director, said: “In the name of Interkultur and its president Günter Titsch, I cordially welcome you to the 7th Việt Nam International Choir Competition here in the beautiful city of Hội An.

“I’m very proud that this Việt Nam Choir Competition is such a successful event since we started it in 2011. We are really happy that we can present this year almost 18 singing groups not only from Southeast Asia but also from the Middle East and Europe.

“I am, and with me the whole Interkultur team, very happy to see so many choral music lovers, together again without masks to sing, and dance, and learn, and meet each other. I feel the Choral World is alive again and still ‘Singing together brings nations together’, especially here, in this amazing country.”

Rooze said he was particularly pleased the ancient city of Hội An was hosting the event.

He said at the opening ceremony: “Hội An is an amazing city and surely one of the most beautiful places in Asia to sing and to meet. You all will experience this during the next few days especially at night when the city is filled by thousands of lanterns and lights.

“If you enjoy the festival and competition in this fantastic city, please spread the word! We will be back again, I feel after three years the Choral World is awake again, and the choirs are swinging and singing as never before.”

Rooze also introduced members of international jury at the competition including Sonia Nadya Simanjuntak from Indonesia; Paul Smith from England and Vietnamese Đặng Châu Anh.

Participating teams at the competition are Navrachana School Choir of India; Melody of Aisyiyah Voice Choir from Indonesia; six teams from Malaysia: Malaysian Institute of Art's Ladies Chorus; Malaysian Institute of Art's Men's Chorus; Ottophony Vocal Ensemble; Phoenix Singers; St. Joseph's Private School Chamber Choir; UCSI Chamber Choir.

Thailand sent three teams Cheeseburger Hill; Thammasat University Chorus (TU Chorus) and the Bangkok Voices, while Slovakia took part with one team Cantica Collegium musicum choir.

The host joined the competition with five teams: Hội An Children's Choir Club; Saigon Choir; Saigon Female Choir; Saigon Male Choir; Vinschool One Primary

Transendence choir team represented for Saudi Arabia competing in the event.

Italian friends impressed by Vietnamese silk products

The Vietnamese Embassy in Italy recently collaborated with Vietnamese designer Minh Hanh and Vietnam Silk House to hold a programme called "Heritage Connection Journey", bringing Vietnamese silk and fashion to the Italian public through fashion shows and “Silk Talk” with leading Italian designers as guests.

It was part of celebrations for the 50th founding anniversary of Vietnam-Italy diplomatic ties this year.

On March 31 evening, Italian and international friends at the opening of the Vietnam-Italy Year 2023 were impressed by shows of Vietnam’s traditional long dress which were inspired by Italy’s heritage sites and designed by Minh Hanh. 

Earlier on March 29, "Silk Talk", which was held at the Vietnamese Embassy in Italy, not only introduced products of the Vietnamese silk industry but also the history and techniques of Vietnamese silk production, to representatives from the fashion and beauty industries, experts in sustainable agriculture production and Italian press.

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Duong Hai Hung affirmed that Vietnam has a centuries-old silk weaving craft. He hoped that the event would enable Vietnamese silk products to further penetrate Italian and European markets.

Huynh Tan Phuoc, Chairman of Vietnam Silk House, expressed his hope that via the event, the Italian press and fashion companies would be more interested in Vietnamese silk products, thus promoting cultural, trade and tourism connectivity between the two countries.

With its strength in hand-woven silk, which is still rare in the global fashion industry, Bao Loc city from the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong introduced its silk products to the warm welcome of fashion experts and professional units in Italy.

According to the World Bank, Vietnam is a major silk manufacturer and ranks second globally in terms of raw silk exports. The Vietnamese silk has also established its position among the world's top-quality silk products. The sericulture and silk weaving craft has long been an important traditional economic activity of Vietnamese people. Silk production is currently a spearhead industry in many Vietnamese provinces where there are favourable conditions for the sustainable development of silk production and silk-based products.

Australian Governor-General begins State visit to Vietnam

Australian Governor-General David Hurley and his spouse Linda Hurley arrived in Hanoi on April 3 afternoon, beginning their State visit to Vietnam at the invitation of President Vo Van Thuong.

This is the first foreign leader paying a State visit to Vietnam in 2023, and also the first national guest that President Vo Van Thuong has received in his new position. The visit is part of activities in celebration of the 50th founding anniversary of Vietnam-Australia diplomatic relations.

During his visit, Hurley and his entourage will lay wreaths at the Monument to Heroes and Martyrs, and President Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi; attend an official welcome ceremony; hold talks with President Vo Van Thuong; and have meetings with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue.

The Vietnamese President and the Governor-General will jointly visit Vietnam's peacekeeping force.

Hurley and his spouse will attend events to mark the 50th founding anniversary of Vietnam-Australia diplomatic ties, and educational and people-to-people exchange activities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City; meet alumni who graduated from Australian universities; and visit educational institutions in HCM City.

The visit, which is a prominent milestone in the year celebrating the Vietnam-Australia diplomatic ties, is expected to contribute to further strengthening the bilateral relations and the strategic trust between the two countries.

Vietnam, RoK boost cooperation to support cooperative development

The Vietnam Cooperative Alliance (VCA) and the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (NACF) of the Republic of Korea (RoK) inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the 2018-2021 period at a ceremony in Hanoi on April 3.

Addressing the event, VCA Chairman Nguyen Ngoc Bao said that the alliance has been actively supported by international organisations, including NACF, through exchange of information and experience in cooperative development, granting scholarships to VCA's staff, and supporting each other at meetings of the  International Cooperative Alliance - Asia and Pacific (ICA- AP).

The two sides have implemented the Party's policies and guidelines, and State laws on international economic cooperation, and tapped opportunities from the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA), which took effect in early 2017, Bao noted.

Under the MoU, the two sides will strengthen cooperation activities in various areas such as staff training, improving capacity of agricultural cooperatives and building new-style cooperative models.

In addition, the two sides will collaborate in trading products, goods and equipment for agricultural cooperatives, and exchange experience in developing agricultural cooperatives; building and operating the Vietnam - Korea cooperative startup support centre as well as supporting activities of member units of VCA and NACF.

NACF Chairman Lee Sung-hee said he hopes that the two sides will provide more support in the field of collective economy and cooperative, thus bringing many benefits to cooperative members.

The RoK side wants to support VCA in training its staff and members of Vietnamese cooperatives, he said.

Through the MoU, the two sides will regularly organise exchange of visits and experience sharing, including training activities, seminars and field trips.

NACF will support study tours of the RoK for managers, staff and members of VCA’s member cooperatives; and expand cooperation among parties through its liaison office in Vietnam.

Notably, it will share management and operation experience related to Hanaro supermarket chain and Rice Processing Center (RPC) to support VCA in joining its related business activities in Vietnam, as well as the operation of cooperative banks, cooperative development assistance funds, and agricultural loss insurance system.

The two sides will actively participate in and support global conferences hosted by each side, including meetings of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and the International Cooperative Agricultural Organisation (ICAO), as well as other activities. They will also support product consumption through trade exchange, including forms of barter.

Previously, VCA and NACF also signed a MoU for their cooperation in 2018-2021.

Leaders of Lang Son province, China’s Chongzuo city hold talks

Chairman of the Lang Son provincial People’s Committee Ho Tien Thieu held talks with Lan Xiao, alternate member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Secretary of the Chongzuo municipal Party Committee on April 3.

Thieu asked both sides to implement agreements signed at the 2023 Spring Meeting for provincial Party Committees’ secretaries and the 14th conference of the joint working group of China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Vietnamese provinces of Ha Giang, Quang Ninh, Lang Son and Cao Bang, as well as common perceptions reached by Secretary of the Lang Son provincial Party Committee Nguyen Quoc Doan and Secretary of the Party Committee of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Liu Ning during their talks on March 30.

The discussions centered around solutions to step up the construction of the Huu Nghi (Vietnam) – Youyi Pass (China) international tourism cooperation zone, launch the Tan Thanh (Vietnam) - Po Chai (China) tourism cooperation, develop unique, high-quality products, facilitate cross-border tourism, and promptly address difficulties to continue with the effective implementation of the cross-border labour management cooperation agreement.

Thieu suggested that the two sides should push for the opening of the specialized freight transport route in the area of 1088-1089 border markers, making it an official passage of the Huu Nghi – Youyi Pass border gate before June 1, 2023, accelerate the upgrade and formal opening of the Binh Nghi (Vietnam) - Ping Er Guan (China) border gate.

He suggested the group submit to the respective governments for approval the official working hours at the Chi Ma (Vietnam) - Ai Dian (China) border gate, consider the upgrade of the Chi Ma - Ai Dian border gate into an international one. Another focus was to urgently consider the resumption of customs clearance at several auxiliary border gates between the two countries; propose the two sides' competent authorities approve in principle a plan for tapping the role of the Dong Dang international railway station (Vietnam) - Pingxiang station (China) border gate pair in export-import activities and increase the volume of agricultural products transported by rail.

The host called on the two localities to boost economic and trade collaboration, facilitate customs clearance, accelerate the construction of infrastructure and expressways at border areas and those connecting with border gates, modernize border management and fight crimes across the border.

Lan, for his part, wished that Lang Son, together with Guangxi and Chongzuo city in particular, would propose solutions to enhancing two-way trade via both road and rail, consider resuming customs clearance at auxiliary border gates, upgrade border gate pairs such as Binh Nghi - Ping Er Guan, and step up cross-border tourism cooperation.

The host and guest agreed to continue strengthening their close, effective and substantial cooperation, particularly in economy-trade, e-commerce, connecting inter-regional expressways with border gates, infrastructure, expanding import and export routes, ports, logistics services, smart and digital border gates, upgrade and reopening of border gates and trails.

They also invited each other to important events hosted by the two localities this year.

Colours of Vietnamese ethnic groups’ cultures to cover Hanoi’s culture village

“Colours of Vietnamese ethnic groups’ cultures” will be the main theme of activities to be held at the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism in the suburbs of Hanoi next month.

Notably, activities from April 14-19 will honour the Vietnamese Ethnic Groups' Culture Day (April 19).

Meanwhile, from April 29 to May 3, events will aim to commemorate Hung Kings - the legendary founders of the nation on April 29, and mark National Reunification Day (April 30), and May Day (May 1).

The organising board will mark off a culture space featuring cultures of ethnic groups in the northwestern and northeastern regions, with the highlight being mountainous markets where visitors can not only enjoy typical dishes of each locality, but also enjoy art performances and play folk games.

A ‘neu’ pole erection ceremony will be organised by the Co Tu ethnic group from the central province of Thua Thien-Hue. This is a significant activity usually conducted by Co Tu people in their traditional festivals.

Meanwhile, the M’nong ethnic group in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong will perform their traditional wedding ceremony.

Visitors to the village this time will also have a chance to watch art performances with traditional musical instruments by ethnic groups from the Central Highlands region such as Co Tu, Ta Oi, Xo Dang, Gia Rai, Raglai, and E De.

Newly planted forest area increases 4.7% in Q1

About 38,700ha of concentrated forest was planted nationwide in the first quarter of 2023, up 4.7% year on year, according to the Vietnam Administration of Forestry.

Meanwhile, about 3.35 million cu.m. of timber was logged in the period under review, rising 4.2%, statistics show.

To protect and sustainably develop forest, the administration under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has asked localities to issue an appropriate forest development policy that encourages capable domestic and foreign organisations and individuals to invest in forest planting, protection, and caring.

It has also called for enhanced application of science and technology to afforestation; selection, import, and hybridisation of useful forest plants; and creation of alternatives to natural wood and firewood.

Vietnam seeks representatives for Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship

Nearly 2,200 outstanding students of 240 teams from schools, colleges and universities nationwide have taken part in the 2023 Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship (MOSWC) - Viettel.

The national qualifying round was held simultaneously in Hanoi, central city of Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City, right after the launching ceremony on April 2.

This year’s edition saw the participation of teams from localities with limited learning conditions such as Lang Son, Yen Bai, Bac Kan and Dak Lak provinces for the first time.

Contestants compete in two versions of Microsoft Office 2016 and 2019 with three segments of Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

After the national competition round wraps up, Vietnam will have six representatives at the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship scheduled to be held in July in the US State of Florida.

In the national round, the organising committee will award a first prize, three second, five third and 12 consolation prizes, as well as a prospective award to outstanding students.

According to Nguyen Thien Tu, Director of the Centre for Vietnam Youth Talent, Science and Technology (CYTAST) under the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee, co-head of the MOSWC Vietnam organising board, after 13 successful editions, the contest has become an attractive intellectual playground, helping young people improve digital capability and create momentum for future development.

The MOS World Championship has been held annually by the Certiport Corporation of the US since 2002 for students aged from 13 to 22 on a global scale. Contestants compete with their peers to prove their superior skills in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, culminating in the most popular technology skills competition on Microsoft Office.

After 13 years of participation in the contest, Vietnam has won four gold, three silver, and 10 bronze medals.

Last year, the Vietnamese team bagged two gold, one silver and one bronze medals, ranking first at the 2022 Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) World Championship in the US.

Famous ancient poem conquers poetry lovers in Germany

Truyen Kieu (The Tale of Kieu), a Vietnamese poem masterpiece from the 18th century by Nguyen Du, was presented in German on the background of the music by professor, musician Dang Ngoc Long, at an event in Dresden city, Germany, on April 1.

The event, which brought together over 100 visitors, most of them German and international friends, was organised and funded by Dresden’s "Die Märchen 1001" (Fairy tales 1001) association, aiming to promote the Vietnamese culture in the host country.

The Vietnamese masterpiece has been translated into 20 different languages, including German by the late German couple Irene and Franz Faber. The first German edition was published in the European nation in 1964.

Prominent Vietnamese poet and World Cultural Celebrity Nguyen Du, also known as To Nhu and Thanh Hien, was born on January 3, 1766, to a noble family in Thang Long ( Hanoi ).

His most outstanding work is the Tale of Kieu, a 3,254-line classic verse poem written in “luc bat”, a form that consists of alternating lines of six and eight syllables, a traditional form in Vietnamese poetry.

It recounts the life, trials and tribulation of Thuy Kieu, a beautiful and talented young woman, who had to sacrifice herself to save her father and younger brother from prison. She sold herself into marriage with a middle-aged man, unaware of his profession as a pimp. He later forced her into prostitution, marking the start of a series of tragic events in her life.

Throughout the poem, Nguyen Du depicted the beauty of true love and loyalty, and the unyielding hope for justice.

Vietnam Airlines, VASCO provides over 550,000 seats during upcoming long holidays

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and VASCO Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO) will supply nearly domestic 2,800 flights with 551,000 seats from April 26 to May 5 to meet the rising travel demands during the Hung Kings Commemoration Day (April 29), Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1) holidays.

The added flights bring passengers to popular tourist destinations such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Da Nang, Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, Da Lat, and Phu Quoc.

With recovered international network of more than 50 routes, Vietnam Airlines is also ready to serve outbound tourists during the holidays.

According to Vietnam Airlines, many flights during the holidays have been fully booked.

Passengers are advised to buy tickets on the airlines’ official websites, mobile apps, ticket offices and agents, while using auto check-in, mobile check-in and telephone check-in services, or checking in through their websites or at check-in kiosks at airports to save time.

Workers will have a five-day break from April 29 to May 3 this year as Hung Kings Commemoration Day, which takes place on the 10th day of the third lunar month, falls on April 29  and is immediately followed by Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1). As April 29 and April 30 are Saturday and Sunday, so May 2 and 3 will be added.

Symposium discusses 50 years of Vietnam-France relations

A symposium entitled "France-Vietnam 1973-2023: From historical legacies to the challenges of the 21st century", was organised on March 31 and April 1 by Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 University in collaboration with the Vietnamese Embassy in France, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and 10 years of strategic partnership between the two countries.

At the event, which was held in virtual and face-to-face forms, experts agreed that France has always been one of Vietnam's leading partners in Europe and the world as well. It was also among the countries that played an important role in the international integration of Vietnam. With the support of France, the seventh Francophone Summit in Hanoi in 1997 was the first multilateral event that Vietnam had hosted with the participation of many heads of state and government.

The signing of the Vietnam-France strategic partnership in 2013 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties marked a milestone in the friendship between the two countries, and provided a new impetus for bilateral cooperation and their joint efforts for peace and sustainable development.

According to Professor Pierre Journoud from the Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 University, this symposium is an opportunity to review important milestones in the relations between the two countries in all areas.

He said discussions at the symposium looked at all aspects of the diplomatic ties between France and Vietnam from political and strategic to economic and cultural, adding that the event was also a chance to identify weak points and obstacles in the bilateral relationship, so as to putting forth solutions to them and build balanced these relations in the time to come.

Vietnamese Ambassador to France Dinh Toàn Thang said that the event's topics covered many fields ranging from economy, politics, culture, health and higher education to environment, reflecting the diversity of Vietnam-France cooperation today.

The presentations and ideas at the seminar appreciated the potential and strengths of the relationship between the two countries, and also touched on the challenges that both parties must overcome, he said, adding that it offered an opportunity to explore new orientations in their relations in the times to come.

The diplomat said he hopes researchers, activists and local authorities, in particular those in Montpellier, will make further contributions to Vietnam-France relations.

Within the framework of the event, the Vietnamese Cultural Centre in France held a display of photos of Vietnam's economic and tourism potentials as well as the beauty of sea and islands of the country.

Education for Nature –Vietnam working to reduce ivory demand

The Education for Nature –Vietnam (ENV) has released a film challenging the traditional belief that ivory is a symbol of luxury and good fortune.

The film tells about a glamorous woman who is famous and well-liked by the public. As she attended a party, the host presented her with an ivory gift, which she subsequently flaunts on the social media. Instead of bringing her more popularity, her reputation is tarnished by her promotion of the killing of endangered elephants.

“Tackling the ivory trade in Vietnam is not just the responsibility of law enforcement, but also the public,” said Nguyen Phuong Dung, Director of Communications at the ENV.

“We must place a great portion of the responsibility on consumers. Without buyers, there would be no incentive for hunters and traders to kill elephants and ship their tusks to Vietnam. Retailers of ivory products and consumers alike must put a stop to the shameful act of killing elephants for their tusks.” 

Dung urged the public to stand up in the fight to protect elephants. “Do not stand on the sidelines! Instead, take action by reporting ivory crimes and urging family, friends, and business associates not to buy ivory. Challenge the misguided belief that wearing ivory will make someone look good and be lucky – after all, how lucky is the dead elephant killed for its ivory tusks?”

The film comes in tandem with ENV’s Elephant-friendly Business Campaign to combat the sale of ivory products in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, the ivory hotspot of Vietnam.

This included site visits to tourism establishments, encouraging owners to sign pledges not to sell wildlife products, as well as a ‘tourism workshop’ to raise awareness of the issue.

The ENV has worked closely with the Department of Communications in the province on this campaign and sharing the message with the public, including through a text message sent to their 2.17 million subscribers, urging them not to consume ivory and buttons on their website and community phone app to call the ENV Wildlife Crime Hotline.

A new ENV volunteer group was also established in Buon Ma Thuot city, Dak Lak province, in July 2022. Since that time, they have hosted six public awareness events urging people not to buy ivory products and collecting wildlife protection pledges.

Awareness panels have also been placed at 13 government offices and 14 tourist sites in the province.

Geological and mineral strategy approved

Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha has approved a geological and mineral strategy through 2030, targeting strategic minerals across Vietnam's mainland, coastal waters, and islands.

The plan aims to bolster socio-economic development, national mineral reserves, defence, security, and natural disaster prevention.

These aims are set out in Decision No. 334/QD-TTg, approving the Geological and Mineral Strategy to 2030, with a vision towards 2045.

The main goal of this strategy is to complete the investigation and assessment of strategic and important minerals on the mainland and in coastal waters and islands, as well as detect and investigate minerals in deep sea and offshore areas.

The strategy also aims to explore minerals such as coal, uranium, titanium-zircon, rare earth, apatite, copper, nickel, tin, bauxite, glass sand, and other minerals by 2045 while balancing the exploitation and national mineral reserve for a number of strategic, important, and large-scale minerals.

The strategy also focuses on the strict management, economical and efficient use of mineral resources, investing in mining and mineral processing technology, forming an advanced and modern mining industry that goes in line with environmental protection and a circular, green economy, climate change adaptation and towards carbon neutrality. It is also expected to end fragmented and out-of-date mineral mining and processing establishments that pollute the environment.

The specific objectives of the strategy include completing 85 per cent of the geological and mineral mapping area at the scale of 1:50,000 of the mainland by 2030; complete the investigation and assessment of mineral potential in promising structures in the North Central and South Central regions.

Another goal of the strategy is to investigate, evaluate and map geological hazards, environmental geology of the provinces in the mountainous and coastal areas of the Mekong Delta; survey and mapping of geological heritage nationwide; complete investigation and mapping of environmental geology of areas containing toxic and radioactive minerals; investigation and assessment of sand, gravel and construction materials in river basins.

It also includes forming mineral processing industrial parks with advanced technology and scale commensurate with the potential of each mineral, synchronised with regional infrastructure development.

The strategy also aims to develop technology for deep processing of minerals, promote cooperation in scientific and technological research, technology transfer, training and development of human resources in geology and minerals in order to mainly serve the needs of the economy, and strive towards forming an advanced and modern mining and mineral processing industry associated with a circular economy model, a green economy equivalent to that of advanced countries in Asia by 2045.

According to the development orientation, in terms of geology, priority shall be given to implementing and completing the mapping of mineral geology at the scale of 1:50,000 of the mainland and islands, marine mineral geological survey at the scale of 1:500,000, investigating, discovering and locating areas with mineral potential, especially strategic and important minerals.

The strategy also focuses on investigating and forecasting geological hazards in mountainous and midland provinces and establishing a comprehensive remote sensing identification technology system for areas with potential risks of geological hazards, zoning risks, synthesise and form a geological hazard risk management model to serve disaster prevention and mitigation work.

In terms of minerals, the strategy aims to review and locate national mineral reserve areas, balancing between planned use demand and long-term reserve for socio-economic development, defence and security assurance, and environmental protection. Exploration activities will have to comply with the planning, suitable to the potential of each type of mineral.

The mining industry will have to comply with the planning, use advanced technology and equipment, suitable to each potential type of mineral, and maximise the recovery of useful ingredients while ensuring environmental protection. For minerals with large and concentrated reserves, mining projects must be conducted while using advanced technology, modern equipment, and sustainable environmental protection.

The strategy emphasises the research and use of advanced technology in exploiting construction materials and ensuring the balance and harmony between export and import, ensuring domestic demand, and supplying raw materials for processing projects.

Source: VNA/SGT/VNS/VOV/Dtinews/SGGP/VGP/Hanoitimes