Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang urged journalists and press and media agencies to stay full of vim and vigour to continue their path ahead which is full with formidable challenges, while attending the June press meeting on June 18.

He took the occasion to extend greetings to them on the occasion of the 99th anniversary of the Vietnamese Revolutionary Press Day (June 21).

The official asked the sector to stay prudent during the transformation period under the national press development and management planning by 2025, calling for new mindsets in accordance with the market economy in order to overcome transformation challenges.

Deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Information and Education Lai Xuan Mon expressed his hope that journalists will carry on with the noble tradition of the Vietnamese revolutionary journalism, and continue devoting and completing their political missions, contributing to national construction and protection.

Looking back on the 99-year journey, the sector can take pride of their contributions to the national development and construction, he said, adding the press circle has proven its key role in the communications work to popularise the Party’s guidelines and the State’s policies and regulations, he stressed.

With a view to building a professional, humane and modern journalism landscape as stipulated in the document adopted at the 13th Party Congress, journalists and press agencies must promote the noble tradition that generations of revolutionary journalists have nurtured over the past 99 years, build up their political mettle, take on social responsibility, improve professional ethics to complete their political missions and meet the expectations of the people.

At the event, representatives from the Commission for Information and Education, the Ministry of Information and Communications, and the Vietnam Journalists’ Association put forth measures to support the sector to develop in line with orientations and promote the role of the nation’s revolutionary journalism./.

Vietnamese tourists opt for outbound tours, alternative transport

With summer nearing its peak and domestic airfare skyrocketing, Vietnamese travellers are increasingly looking abroad or opting for alternative transportation for their vacations, according to travel agents.

The rising cost of domestic flights has fueled a surge in outbound tours, with travel companies reporting a significant increase in bookings, particularly among family groups and individual travellers. Tour packages priced between 8-15 million VND (roughly 333-625 USD) per person seem to be a sweet spot for many vacationers seeking value for money, said CEO of Vietluxtour Tran The Dung.

Sharing this sentiment, General Director of the Vietnam Media Travel Pham Phuong Anh noted a high interest in trips to Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, Europe, Australia, and the US, adding that while cost-consciousness is on the rise, tourists are still willing to splurge on high-quality experiences they perceive as worthwhile.

To stay competitive, travel companies and hotels are offering discounts of 15-20% for groups of five or more. Additionally, many travellers are turning to alternative transportation options like high-speed and regular trains, buses, or even road trips with their families to save money.

The recent launch of the Thang Long high-speed vessel, offering a four-hour journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Con Dao island in the southern province of Vung Tau for a price between 615,000 – 1.1 million VND, exemplifies this trend. Similarly, train tours departing from Ho Chi Minh City to various provinces are gaining traction, providing a comfortable and scenic way to explore different regions.

Looking ahead, travel experts emphasised the need for Vietnamese localities and hospitality providers to collaborate on sustainable development strategies and maintain stable service prices to effectively attract domestic tourists in the long term./.

State leader hosts outgoing Swedish ambassador

President To Lam on June 18 hosted a reception for Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Ann Mawe who came to bid adieu to the host leader before ending her working term.

The Vietnamese State leader congratulated the Swedish diplomat on her successful tenure and positive contributions to both nations’ relationship.

Highlighting their time-honoured relationship, Lam said that Sweden is one of the first European countries to establish relations with Vietnam. He also noted his appreciation for the support and assistance of the Royal Family, Government and people of Sweden to Vietnam's past struggle for national independence as well as the current national construction and development.

The host leader suggested the two sides should enhance bilateral and multilateral political and diplomatic collaboration activities, including the exchange of delegations at all levels, especially in 2024 amid the two countries celebrating 55 years of diplomacy.

While welcoming Swedish businesses to intensify investment in Vietnam in such areas as infrastructure, transportation, green transition, green technology, renewable energy, urban planning and sustainable development, Lam said he hopes that the two sides will further strengthen people-to-people exchanges through cooperative activities in education, culture - arts, sports and tourism, and locality-to-locality cooperation to deepen mutual understanding and reinforce the friendship and cooperation between the two nations.

He expressed his hope that the ambassador will continue contributing to the traditional friendship and fruitful cooperation between Vietnam and Sweden.

In reply, the Swedish diplomat applauded Vietnam’s economic development in recent years, and thanked the President and competent agencies for helping her fulfill her mission as  a contribution to augmenting bilateral cooperation in a variety of fields.

She emphasized that over the past five decades , the relationship between the two countries has been constantly consolidated and expanded through high-level delegation and people-to-people exchanges.  Notably, two-way trade has witnessed a year-on-year increase, she added.

The Swedish Ambassador said that as one of the leading European nations in innovation and sustainable development, Sweden is willing to cooperate with Vietnam in climate change response and green transition.

The Ambassador affirmed that no matter what position she holds, she stays ready to act as a bridge to bring relationship between the two countries to new heights.

Deputy PM hails US Ambassador’s contributions to developing ties with Vietnam

Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang applauded the role and contributions of United States Ambassador Marc Evans Knapper to the development of bilateral relations in recent times at a reception held for the latter on June 18 in Hanoi.

At the function, the US diplomat emphasized that the past nine months has seen both nations record plenty of achievements in carrying out bilateral commitments, as well as the comprehensive strategic partnership framework, with the semiconductor and high-tech sectors enjoying a rapid start.

The Ambassador Knapper affirmed that the US side supports and wishes to assist the nation in realising its goal of becoming a high-income economy, as well as developing a green economy and a digital economy.

The two sides concurred to increase sharing and exchanging information to promptly resolve difficulties and obstacles that may arise during the co-operation process between the two countries.

In response, Deputy PM Quang highly appreciated the role and contributions of Ambassador Knapper to the development of bilateral ties in recent times, especially both nations’ decision to upgrade the bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership in September, 2023. He outlined his hopes that the Ambassador will continue to pay attention to fostering the sound cooperative relationship.

Deputy PM Quang proposed that the two sides strengthen exchange delegations to further deepen collaboration across multiple fields and to closely co-ordinate in planning activities to mark 30 years since the normalisation of relations, 80 years of Vietnam-US co-operation, and one year of the two countries upgrading relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2025.

He also asked the US to soon recognise the status of the Vietnamese market economy, support the nation in implementing development goals until 2045, as well as international goals and commitments in the field of green transformation. This is along with responding to climate change and increasing resources to help the country to overcome the consequences of war.

Azerai La Residence Hue named among Best Upcountry Hotels in Vietnam

Azerai La Residence Hue has been named among the list of winners for the Luxury Awards Asia Pacific 2024, as voted by the world's leading travel website Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Macau.

The Azerai La Residence Hue ranked first among the top 10 hotels and resorts, as well as being honoured in the category of Best Upcountry Hotels in Vietnam.

The newswire outlined that located in the former imperial capital of Hue, the iconic Azerai La Residence has been voted as one of the best hotels in the country, as well as being the top property in the countryside.

Overlooking Hue’s Perfume River, the 122-room property sits in a restored French colonial governor’s mansion and boasts an original façade from the 1930s.

Two complimentary wings were built in 2005 in a more streamlined design, with touches of the Art Deco ethos.

According to the reputable website, the hotel joined the Azerai group in 2019 and features a fitness centre, tropical garden, and 40-metre saltwater swimming pool, which is perfect after spending humid days of citadel- and temple-touring.

The chic resort brasserie Le Parfum serves a mix of Vietnamese and Western dishes, while the Le Gouverneur lobby lounge turns out cocktails, wine, and beer, including several local brews.

Travel + Leisure Luxury Awards Asia Pacific 2024 is aimed at revealing the best hotels, pools, spas, and general managers nationwide.

Logo design contest on Vietnam-Germany ties launched

The German Embassy in Vietnam launched a logo design contest on June 18 aimed at marking the upcoming 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries (1975- 2025).

The selected logo will be used for a myriad of events, marketing activities, websites, posters, and other purposes throughout the upcoming year as part of wider efforts to celebrate Vietnam-Germany diplomatic relations.

Logos should be designed with the key colours of the two countries’ flags whilst also including the number 50.

The competition is open to professionals and amateurs, agencies, institutions, groups, or individuals aged above 18 with residence in either Vietnam or Germany. Employees and relatives of the German Embassy in Hanoi or the Vietnamese Embassy in Berlin may not take part in the competition.

The digitized form of the logo in common should be file formats (JPG, GIF), as well as vector graphics (EPS, SVG).  Contestants can send their entries to the following address:

All entries must be submitted to the judging panel by August 15.

The winner will receive a cash prize of VND20 million and a return flight ticket between Vietnam and Germany. The second and third prizes will be awarded VND10 million and VND5 million, respectively.

Vietnam ready to secure place at FIFA Futsal Women’s World Cup

Coach Nguyen Dinh Hoang has called up 15 female futsal footballers to the team’s first training session in Hanoi to prepare for the 2025 FIFA Futsal Women's World Cup hosted by the Philippines for the first time.

The national women’s futsal team will fly to China to take part in an international friendly tournament running from July 11 to July 15.

The inaugural edition of the FIFA Futsal Women's World Cup is to be hosted by the Philippines in late 2025.

The 16 teams will be divided into four groups of four, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the knockout phase, comprising of quarter-finals, semi-finals, a third-place play-off, and the final.

Alongside the host Philippines, the inaugural 2025 Futsal Women's World Cup will feature three teams from Asia, two each from Africa and North/Central America, three from South America, one from Oceania, and four qualifiers from Europe.

Starting from 2025, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Futsal Asian Cup will serve as a qualification for the FIFA Futsal Women's World Cup.

Vietnamese players are therefore embarking on a mission to earn a place at the World Cup by finishing among the top three finalists at the Asian tournament.

Danang looks towards broader international exchanges

The Centre for International Co-operation and Foreign Affairs Services (CIFA) of Da Nang has signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on co-operation and hosting international events, cultural exchanges, investment, and tourism promotions with partners from the Republic of Korea (RoK), Singapore, and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the central city. 

Tran Chi Cuong, vice chairman of the municipal people’s committee, said that the CIFA will help to support international organisations and businesses in the central city, along with the central and Central Highlands region, thereby contributing to Da Nang’s external activities, as well as creating links with international partners and friends.

Following the signing of the MoUs, the CIFA will work in co-operation with Pax I&D company of the RoK, Sporting Insight Asia of Singapore, and the Japanese businesses community in central Vietnam to launch a broad array of cultural and tourism events which will serve to highlight investment opportunities, as well as international exchange programmes.

Da Nang has opened liaison offices in Tokyo and Yokohama to enhance tourism, trade, and investment, while Russia, Laos, China, Japan, and the RoK have also opened general consulate offices in the central city.

A new joint visa application centre for Belgium, Germany, and Italy, along with a joint UK and Australia centre, have been opened, while Spain and Poland have also started honorary consul offices in Da Nang.

The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) has already set up office in the city, while the RoK’s Trade-Investment Promotion Agency has been working on investment links between the RoK and the coastal city.

Da Nang has been designated as a favourite international destination for Meetings Incentives Conferences and Events (MICE), as well as for golf tournaments and wedding exhibitions following its successful hosting of the APEC event back in 2017. 

Military Region 2’s team repatriates over 1,800 martyrs’ remains in 30 years

The martyrs’ remains search and repatriation team in Laos under Military Region 2 has searched and collected 1,835 remains of Vietnamese over the past three decades, heard a ceremony to mark 30th founding anniversary of the team held in Oudomxay province, Laos, on June 17. 
The team was established on June 17, 1994 under the directive of the Vietnamese Minister of Defence and the minute signed between the two Governments on the search and repatriation of the remains of the Vietnamese voluntary soldiers and experts who laid down their lives in Laos during wartime. It has been tasked with surveying, clarifying, searching and repatriating the remains in six northern Lao localities of Oudomxay, Luang Namtha, Bokeo, Luang Prabang, Phongsaly and Xayaboury.

At the ceremony, Major General Pham Hong Thai, deputy political commissar and head of the Steering Committee for the search, collection and identification of fallen soldiers’ remains (Steering Committee 515) under Military Region 2 praised the team’s achievements over the past time, and thanked the Lao Government’s special working group, the Vietnamese and Lao people in the six northern provinces of Laos, as well as the authorities of Vietnamese Dien Bien province and Oudomxy for their sincere support for the team’s work.

Vice Chairman of Oudomxay province Onkeo Unnalom expressed his gratitude towards the voluntary Vietnamese soldiers and experts who made sacrifices for the international revolutionary cause, and stood shoulders by shoulders with the Lao people to fight for independence and freedom of the Lao people.

He asked the administrations and peoples of the six Lao provinces to see the search and repatriation of Vietnamese soldiers and experts’ remains as their responsibility to consolidate information and put forth the work.

On the occasion, the Vietnamese Ministry of Defence and the administration of Oudomxay presented a certificate of merit to the team in recognition of its achievements in the past time.

10 Owston’s palm civets born in captive environment

Ten Owston’s palm civets were born at the Cuc Phuong National Park in the north of Vietnam under a captive breeding programme jointly implemented by the park and Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW), the SVW said on June 18.

This is the biggest success so far in the captive breeding of the endangered animal, expected to help revive its population in the nature.

Tran Van Truong, a coordinator at the SVW, said the baby civets have been monitored around the clock via a camera system and human impact also minimised to ensure their safety.

According to SVW Director Nguyen Van Thai, the organisation is striving to seek additional resources and promote cooperation with domestic agencies to improve genetic diversity for the Owston’s palm civet population in the captive environment, aiming to return the captive-bred mammals to the nature in the next 3-4 years.

It is also calling for intensifying measures to handle poaching as well as strengthening patrols to protect the species and its natural habitat.

Owston’s palm civet (Chrotogale owstoni) was categorised on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Redlist as endangered in 2016. The species is native to Vietnam, Laos, and a very small portion of southern China.

Its population in the nature has been shrinking considerably due to poaching and smuggling./.

Remains of Vietnamese martyrs repatriated from Laos

A ceremony was held in Oumdomxay province on June 18 to handover and repatriate remains of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts who laid down their lives during the wartime in the six northern localities of Laos.

Speaking at the ceremony, Major General Sivon Sayavong, director of the Oudomxay provincial police department, stressed the special solidarity between the two Parties and States, as well as the sacrifice by Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts to international missions, saying they have greatly contributed to the Lao struggle for national liberation.

He thanked the Vietnamese Government and people for their support to Laos during the past struggle as well as the present cause of national defence, construction and development, and expressed his belief that the great friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation between the two Parties and States will be further tightened in the time ahead.

A team of Vietnam’s Military Region 2 was established in June 1994 and tasked with searching and repatriating remains of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts in the six northern Lao localities of Oudomxay, Luang Namtha, Bokeo, Luang Prabang, Phongsaly, and Xayaboury, according to Major General Nguyen Hong Thai, head of the region’s steering committee for the search, collection and identification of fallen soldiers’ remains (Steering Committee 515).

It has collected and brought home remains of 1,836 of such people, and handed them over to 25 Vietnamese cities and provinces, he said.

A memorial and burial service for the 12 martyrs is slated for June 19 at a cemetery in the northern border province of Dien Bien./.

Traffic banned on Hanoi streets during Russian President visit

Some streets in Hanoi will be closed to vehicles during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit on June 19 and 20. 

According to the Hanoi Traffic Police, passenger buses and trucks, except for public vehicles, will be banned on some streets from 7 am on June 19 to 10 pm on June 20.

During this time, vehicles from the city's eastern and southeast provinces, such as Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Hai Phong, and Hai Duong, will be directed to the Thanh Tri Bridge and Phap Van Expressway.

Vehicles from the city's southern areas to the northern areas and back will follow the Phap Van Expressway to Le Trong Tan and then National Road 32.

Vehicles will also be restricted on Belt Road 3 during these two days.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Vietnam from June 19 to 20 at the invitation of Nguyen PhuTrong, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam's Central Committee.

Speaking with the Vietnam News Agency about the visit, the Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia, Dang Minh Khoi, said it was a significant diplomatic event that demonstrated Russia's commitment to its multifaceted co-operation with Vietnam.

President Putin's visit will provide an opportunity for the leaders of both countries to discuss and outline specific measures to enhance bilateral economic and trade cooperation, including boosting the implementation of major joint projects, particularly in areas such as energy, industry and agriculture, he said.

Four dead in Bac Kan landslide

Four people in a family in the northern mountainous province of Bac Kan have died in a landslide that buried their house on June 18.

According to a report from local authorities, the landslide occurred during heavy rain at 2 am when a large amount of soil from a hill fell onto the wooden house of Nong Van Cha in Nghien Loan Commune, Pac Nam District.

Five people were sleeping inside the house at that time," the report said. "However, only Cha's 17-year-old niece managed to escape. Cha, 41, his 43-year-old wife, their 18-year-old daughter-in-law, and their newborn grandchild were all then found dead in the debris."

Over the past three days, the area has experienced heavy rains in the afternoons and evenings, causing soil on the five-metre-tall hill to come loose and fall.

Statistics showed that Pac Nam District received nearly 90 mm of rainfall between 10 pm on June 17 and 4 am on June 18.

MoH launches project to tackle non-communicable diseases and mental health

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has approved a project aimed at preventing, detecting, and managing non-communicable diseases and mental health disorders through the end of 2025.

The move is meant to enhance public health protection, care and improvement by strengthening preventive measures, early detection and treatment management.

The project hopes to reduce the prevalence of pre-disease conditions, illnesses, disabilities and premature deaths caused by cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma as well as mental health disorders.

Hospital reports indicate that 65-75 per cent of inpatients suffer from non-communicable diseases, with oncology, respiratory and cardiovascular departments particularly burdened. Mental health is also a significant challenge.

Statistics from the National Institute of Endocrinology reveal that approximately 6-7 per cent of the population has diabetes. According to the National Cardiovascular Institute of Việt Nam, hypertension, the silent killer, affects 25 per cent of people over the age of 25.

The prevalence of non-communicable diseases is rapidly increasing, yet they are detected and treated in only one-third of patients.

Việt Nam's high alcohol consumption exacerbates injuries, brain strokes and heart attacks, while the high smoking rate contributes to various diseases, including cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiovascular issues.

Non-communicable diseases are estimated to account for about 77 per cent of all deaths in Việt Nam annually, mainly due to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

In response, the MoH’s project sets several goals for 2024-2025. These include increasing prevention, early detection and treatment management rates for non-communicable diseases and mental health disorders, enhancing the health system's capacity to provide these services and improving monitoring, information management and reporting on non-communicable diseases, mental health disorders and associated risk factors.

Achieving these goals requires organising services for screening, performing health checks, measuring indicators and conducting tests to detect non-communicable diseases and mental health disorders early.

Regular screening should be integrated into medical services, especially at communal health stations, with periodic public health checks and proactive visits by high-risk individuals to medical facilities.

Screening should also be included in the healthcare management of children and students, with workplace health examinations, elderly care and prenatal check-ups for pregnant women.

The target group includes people of all ages, with a focus on those aged 40 and above and individuals determined to be at high risk for specific diseases.

Regular monitoring, check-ups, counselling and prevention are essential for high-risk individuals and those with pre-disease conditions.

This includes managing and preventing cardiovascular risk, counselling for smoking cessation, screening and interventions to reduce harm from alcohol consumption and creating psychological counselling records for those at high risk of mental disorders.

Activities should be organised through integrated health management at educational institutions, workplaces, community health stations and related medical facilities.

The MoH aims to develop and enhance the capacity of the health system to provide these services at all levels.

Community network is foundation for HIV epidemic control

Việt Nam has been recognised as one of the few countries with the best HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in the world.

The lead is the result of the participation of the entire political system and relevant forces, along with efforts of many community groups.

Associate Professor Phan Thị Thu Hương, Director of the Việt Nam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) under the Ministry of Health, said that at present, many HIV-positive people in Việt Nam belonged to vulnerable groups such as people who use drugs, sex workers and men who have sex with men (MSM).

They are easily discriminated against, so the State health system is more difficult to access.

Currently, the country has about 400 community groups, which play an important role in educating people about how to reduce the risk of contracting HIV and connecting individuals to treatment, along with providing free practical help.

The groups convince people with HIV to go for treatment, helping them overcome difficult times and reintegrate into life.

One of the key factors that help community groups be effective is close cooperation among members.

Experience and expertise sharing has enhanced the capacity of the overall system.

For example, the Việt Nam Network of People with HIV (VNP+) is a non-governmental organisation founded in 2009, which now has more than 300 affiliate member clubs across the country.

These clubs give technical support and provide advocacy for people living with HIV.

Thanks to this cooperation, members of the groups have improved their ability for testing consultation, mutual care and support and expanded epidemic surveillance for people at high risk in their areas.

Deputy Director of the Kiên Giang Centre for Disease Control Võ Thị Lợi said that without peers from the community groups, it was a big challenge to access at-risk people, while the risk of infection among MSM was increasing at an alarming rate.

When receiving a positive HIV test result, Nguyễn Thúy Ng., who lives in Bình Thạnh District, HCM City, collapsed and felt like her life had stopped.

But when she met Ngô Thúy H., leader of the group 'For a brighter tomorrow', Ng. found joy again.

Ng. recalls that after her husband died of HIV, the community group suggested she also test and while waiting for the results, she became a hermit. The results were exactly as she predicted.

But the love and enthusiasm from the group helped Ng. regain the will to live and equip her with better knowledge and understanding about HIV/AIDS. Now, she herself is one of the active members of the group, helping and mentoring new members.

'Each day of living must be 24 hours of love and meaning' is the group's motto and is spread by all members of the group to bring hope to people living with HIV across the country.

Currently, the HIV infection rate among people who use drugs and MSM is one of the main sources of the HIV epidemic in Việt Nam.

Statistics from the VAAC showed that the HIV infection rate increased by sixfold between 2012 and 2020.

However, for many reasons, the MSM community cannot access and use services such as testing and treatment in the usual way.

Therefore, more than ever, community groups are the bridge to help people with HIV access services, get information and collect practical items such as needles and condoms.

Việt Nam is gradually transferring financial responsibility for HIV/AIDS prevention from international donors to domestic agencies, with community groups expected to become an indispensable pillar in the work needing to be done.

Experience from the COVID-19 pandemic proved the power of community network. When social distancing was applied, many people living with HIV had difficulty accessing antiretroviral drugs.

The network quickly called for volunteers and coordinated with local medical facilities to supply medicine to HIV patients’ houses.

Thanks to the timely support, thousands of people living with HIV did not have to interrupt treatment during the pandemic.

In addition, the community network also invited participation from the private sector and other resources, creating a diverse and sustainable ecosystem for HIV/AIDS prevention. 

Tourist stranded on Hạ Long Bay island, prompting investigation

A tourist has reported being stranded on an island in Hạ Long Bay by a tourist boat, prompting an investigation from the Quảng Ninh Province's transport deparment.

The tourist previously claimed on their Facebook account about the "disastrous travel experience” after the boat that dropped them off on Ti Tốp Island departed without them.

The passenger was not notified by phone about the boat leaving and had been waiting for 30 minutes at the wharf, unable to call the boat operator’s phone number, according to the post.

Initial reports said that on Sunday, a tourist boat identified as QN 926x carried 99 people to Ti Tốp Island in Hạ Long Bay.

The boat was not able to gather everyone when leaving the island due to the large number of passengers. Another vessel was then arranged to bring them back ashore.

The incident was not reported to the local Inland Waterways Administration or Hạ Long Bay Management Board, which only learned of the case after it was published on social media.

The ship owner was also contacted and notified of the responsibilities of all involved in the case to prevent similar incidents from occurring and to ensure the safety of tourists when visiting the bay. 

Cà Mau Province agricultural sector braces for harsh weather

The southernmost province of Cà Mau is taking urgent measures to mitigate the effects of possible inclement weather on its key crops and aquatic species during the ongoing summer-autumn season.

Its summer-autumn rice is expected to suffer from unfavourable weather this year, including prolonged heat, according to the province Centre for Hydro-Meteorology Forecasting.

The low rainfall so far this rainy season in alum-affected areas means the alum is not washed away from rice fields before the summer-autumn rice crop is sown.

May-June is the transition period between the dry and rainy seasons.

But temperatures now are higher than normal, and this will affect the growth of seedlings in dry fields, the centre said.

There would be strong winds and heavy rains in July and August, which would damage the rice crop when it ripens, it said.

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province plans to sow 35,244ha of summer-autumn rice.

Trần Chí Nguyện of the province Agriculture Extension Centre, said farmers should prepare land well and take measures to improve the soil and reduce the alum.

“Farmers should co-operate with their district agricultural officials for instructions in nature-based farming.”

The province People’s Committee has ordered the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and other relevant agencies to strengthen measures to prevent the spread of diseases among aquatic creatures, especially shrimps.

The country’s largest shrimp producing province has 18,661ha of farms affected by diseases this year, and a mortality rate of 35-75 per cent, according to the department.

Its Agriculture Extension Centre has told farmers to keep a close eye on weather forecasts during the transition period to promptly take measures to safeguard their crops.

Shrimp food should be checked for quality to ensure the safety of the crustaceans, it said.

Farmers should dissolve lime, nutrient minerals and bioproducts in water and add it to shrimp ponds when there are rains, it said.

When the ponds have abnormal water or other conditions, farmers should inform agricultural officials for taking prompt remedial measures, it said.

The province is expected to harvest 205,300 tonnes of aquatic animals in the first half of the year, including 121,200 tonnes of shrimps, according to the department.

Former hospital director faces 30 years in prison for bid rigging, embezzlement

A local court in HCM City on Tuesday sentenced the former director of Thủ Đức Hospital to an additional 11 years in prison for involvement in a scandal related to coronavirus test kits, bringing his total prison term to 30 years.

Nguyễn Minh Quân was found guilty of signing a contract to purchase test kits at prices that were three times higher than their actual cost, resulting in significant financial losses for the hospital.

Quân was previously convicted of embezzling over VNĐ102.5 billion (US$4.2 million) through bid-rigging and money laundering and was ordered to repay the embezzled funds.

The court found that Quân pressured subordinates to award contracts to specific companies and personally benefited from the embezzled amount.

Five other former officials of Thủ Đức Hospital received sentences ranging from 2.5 years to 3.5 years for violations of bidding laws that caused serious consequences.

In a separate trial earlier this year, former ministers and officials were found guilty of bribery and mismanagement in connection to the test kit scandal.

Former health minister Nguyễn Thanh Long was sentenced to 18 years in prison for accepting bribes, while former science and technology minister Chu Ngoc Anh received three years for mismanagement.

Việt Á Technology Corp, a private medical firm, accused of colluding with officials to sell COVID-19 test kits at inflated prices, played a major role in the scandal, according to police.

Phan Quốc Việt, its founder and chief executive, was given a 29-year sentence in addition to a 25-year term handed down in a separate trial.

The verdicts come as Việt Nam continues its national anti-corruption campaign, which has led to investigations of numerous senior officials for corruption.

Việt Á reportedly sold approximately 4.5 million test kits in the nation during the pandemic at prices at least three times higher than their actual cost, illegally generating VNĐ1.23 trillion ($50 million), according to police reports. 

Rising measles cases trigger concerns over vaccination coverage rates

Measles cases have been rising since the beginning of 2024, particularly in HCM City, raising concerns about the insufficient vaccination coverage rates in provinces.

HCM City's Department of Health attributed the surge to the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted the supply of vaccines in the Expanded Programme on Immunisation in 2022.

The disruption derailed vaccination rates, with many children not receiving their vaccinations on time, or at all.

By the beginning of 2023, when the vaccine supply began to increase, HCM City and other provinces had implemented catch-up vaccination plans for children. However, vaccine coverage rates have still not reached the required levels to give herd immunity.

In response to concerns about the shortage of measles vaccines in the past three months, Hoàng Minh Đức, Director of the General Department of Preventive Medicine, said vaccine production takes time.

He said new vaccine doses were produced in the first two months of 2024 and distributed to localities for vaccination from June until October.

"Việt Nam has received 17/21 million doses of measles vaccine, which has been transferred to the Centres for Disease Control in the provinces," said Đức.

He also said that the Ministry of Health, from April to June, delivered enough measles vaccines for the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, ensuring 7.5 per cent of children are vaccinated monthly.

He added that they had advised the Ministry to review all non-vaccinated children and that provinces with children who had not received enough doses would be required to organise catch-up vaccination programmes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Việt Nam is at risk of a measles outbreak in 2024, due to the low vaccination rates in 2023, if it does not implement full vaccination programme. 

Hà Nội unveils ambitious plan to improve residents' lives by 2030

The authorities of Hà Nội have approved a plan to improve the lives of its residents across various levels by 2030.

Specific targets include ensuring veterans and their families on monthly allowances have comfortable conditions of living, above the average in their communities.

Additionally, the city aims to slash unemployment rates to below 3.0 per cent overall and below 3.5 per cent in urban areas while it aims to train at least 80 per cent of the workforce.

Social security is also a significant piece of the puzzle. The plan aims for a substantial portion of the working-age population to participate in social and unemployment insurance schemes. Beyond working years, it also strives to provide a secure future for retirees, with a target of 65 per cent receiving regular pensions and social support.

Health and well-being are equally important. Hà Nội is setting its sights on a longer, healthier life for its residents. The average life expectancy is expected to reach 77 years, with a minimum of 68 years spent in good health. Expanding health insurance coverage to 98 per cent and encouraging residents to use primary care services are crucial steps towards achieving this goal.

But perhaps the most striking aspect of the plan (Plan No.181/KH-UBND) lies in housing. Hà Nội residents can expect a significant improvement in living space, with the average square footage per person being 32 sq m.

Furthermore, the city plans to develop a staggering 2.5 million sq m of new social housing. This includes the construction of one to two independent social housing complexes, along with the most noteworthy commitment, ensuring every industrial and export processing zone in the city has access to social housing.

The success of the programme hinges on it being implemented so authorities have urged all relevant agencies to put the plan into action. 

Former DongA Bank CEO passes away while serving life sentence

Trần Phương Bình, the former CEO of Đông Á Joint Stock Commercial Bank (DongA Bank), passed away on June 18 while serving a life sentence for multiple wrongdoings during his tenure at the bank.

Bình was born in 1959 in the northern city of Hải Phòng. Before getting arrested, he resided at Trần Não Street, Bình An Ward, District 2, HCM City.

He was convicted in a series of five trials for various crimes, including violating lending regulations and causing losses of about VNĐ13 trillion (US$513 million) to the bank.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the convicted crimes.

Bình's death comes just months after he was hospitalised due to poor health following his fifth trial in March 2024. He was unable to attend the sentencing hearing for that trial, in which he was sentenced to eight years in prison for violating lending regulations.

Bình served as the Director-General of Đông Á since 1998, and the bank was a well-performing one in retail and card services.

The downfall began in the late 2000s when he and his accomplices at the bank aggressively expanded into the real estate sector, leading to a surge in bad loans and ultimately causing the bank to fall under special supervision by the State Bank since August 2015.

He was suspended as CEO in 2015 accordingly and arrested shortly thereafter. 

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