Argentine media highly values Sapa's beauty hinh anh 1 
Infobae describes the beauty of Sapa with verdant green mountains, deep valleys, and cascading rice terraces. (Photo: Screenshots)
Infobae, a renowned newspaper in Argentina, reported that Sapa resort town in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai is one of the 16 most beautiful small towns in the world.

In its March 10 new trends column, Infobae cited the voting results of British travel magazine Time Out, describing the beauty of Sapa with verdant green mountains, deep valleys, and cascading rice terraces. 

Visitors can reach Sapa by a train or coach, the magazine said, adding that from the local town square, tourists can see Mount Fansipan - the Roof of Indochina, and find markets selling delicious and unusual ingredients.

The surrounding area is scattered with tiny villages home to ancient Vietnamese tribes and hiking trails that wind up into the clouds, the magazine said.

Along with Sapa, which ranked 14th in the list, there are other towns in Asia including Wae Rebo of Indonesia, Ogimachi of Japan, and Ghandruk of Nepal.

Hanoi and US Embassy bolster cooperation

Chairman of the Hanoi administration Tran Sy Thanh received US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper on March 12, outlining future cooperation orientations between the capital city and the US Embassy.

At the reception, Knapper said that the US Embassy and Hanoi have cooperated in various fields, from trade, investment, and education to people-to-people exchanges.

He thanked the municipal administration for facilitating the construction of the new US Embassy headquarters, expecting that the building would take shape on schedule.

This project symbolizes the relationship between the two countries, and upon completion it will play an active role in expanding diplomatic and trade cooperation between the two sides, he noted.

According to the diplomat, the door is wide open for US-Vietnam cooperation following the recent upgrade of bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

He talked about US businesses’ investment projects in the Vietnam National Innovation Centre in Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park, and expected more similar cooperation projects with Hanoi to be undertaken in future.

He revealed that the US Embassy is going to organize a festival in Hanoi this October following the success of the 2023 event, to connect peoples of the two countries and promote cultural diversity.

With regard to air pollution, the diplomat recommended that public health experts of the US can assist Hanoi to address the problem.

Thanh for his part welcomed Knapper’s proposals and affirmed that Hanoi always creates maximum conditions and support for the new US Embassy headquarters project.

He also expressed Hanoi’s desire to work with US experts to figure out and handle causes of air pollution in the city.

Vietnam seeks Finish assistance to energy transition projects

Vietnam desperately needs international support and assistance in terms of technology, resources, and management, including from Finland, to realise its net zero commitment and the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha told Finish Ambassador to Vietnam Keijo Norvanto at a reception in Hanoi on March 12.

Hakan Agnevall, President and CEO of Wartsila, a leading Finish company that offers sophisticated lifecycle solutions and smart technologies for the marine and energy industries, was also present at the meeting.

Receiving the guests, Ha praised Finland for the experience it has acquired in sustainable development areas such as circular economy, environmental protection, and clean energy.

He welcomed Finish businesses’ plans to develop clean energy projects in Vietnam, including Wartsila’s tentative project to build the first flexible power plant in Vietnam, using LNG and then hydrogen in future to support the integration of renewable energy into the power system.

Such project matches Vietnam’s efforts to convert coal-fired power plants to gas power, combining power sources from renewable energy, stressed the Deputy PM.

He suggested that Wartsila fully calculate infrastructure investment costs, gas purchase plans, renewable energy development sources and production costs in accordance with the Vietnamese market.

The Deputy PM also informed his guests about Vietnam’s preferential policies to attract foreign investors into developing offshore wind power to produce and export green fuels such as green hydrogen and green ammonia. He also briefed them on the direct power purchase mechanism in Vietnam, as well as investors’ engagement in manufacturing renewable energy equipment or investing in waste electricity.

Prime Minister orders strengthening fire prevention, control

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on March 12 issued a dispatch ordering the Minister of Public Security and Chairpersons of People's Committees of provinces and centrally-run cities to strengthen the fire prevention and control work.

The move was made following a fire that occurred on March 12 morning at a high-rise building in O Cho Dua intersection, Hanoi’s Dong Da district, a busy area with a high density of population and traffic. The fire caused panic among many people. Luckily there was no casualty.

In the dispatch, the PM commended competent forces and local residents for promptly implementing measures to put out the fire quickly, ensuring the safety of people and minimising property damage.

The PM instructed the Minister of Public Security and Chairpersons of People's Committees of provinces and centrally-run cities, especially big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, to continue to direct relevant agencies to strictly and effectively implement directions by the Government and the PM, especially Directive No. 01/CT-TTg dated January 3, 2023, on strengthening fire prevention and fighting.

The PM also urged agencies and localities to promote communication activities, and equip residents with better knowledge and skills in fire prevention and fighting. They were also requested to implement measures to ensure safety against fire and explosion in crowded places and festivals.

President receives outgoing Pakistani Ambassador

President Vo Van Thuong received Pakistani Ambassador Samina Mehtab in Hanoi on March 12, congratulating the outgoing diplomat on her excellent fulfillment of tasks in Vietnam.

The State leader highly valued the ambassador’s active and effective contributions to the friendship and cooperation between the two countries, especially the organisation of many meaningful activities to celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations in 2022.

He highly appreciated Mehtab for holding a number of effective activities to promote cooperation between ministries, sectors, localities, and businesses of the two countries, thereby helping develop the Vietnam - Pakistan friendship and cooperation and expand cooperation areas, especially economy, trade, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges.

Many business delegations of Pakistan have also come to Vietnam to explore investment opportunities, he noted.

Thanking the President and relevant agencies of Vietnam for their active support for her and her colleagues to fulfill duties, Mehtab said she was deeply impressed with the sentiments and hospitality of Vietnamese people, which, she said, is why the country’s tourism is growing so strongly.

She underlined the importance of economic and trade partnerships and voiced her delight at the vigorous growth of bilateral trade.

The ambassador expressed her hope that the two sides will soon hold high-level mutual visits to open up more opportunities for boosting trade ties. She also suggested the countries’ parliamentary friendship groups increase sharing experience to help enrich cooperation achievements.

In addition, Mehtab called on the two countries to further step up collaboration in other fields, particularly information technology and between chambers of commerce to promote coordination programmes between Vietnamese and Pakistani businesses.

President Thuong emphasised that Vietnam always treasures the cooperation with Pakistan and wishes the bilateral relations will develop more strongly in the future.

He agreed with the ambassador’s proposal on increasing high-level delegation exchanges, asking the two sides to boost mutual visits by delegations of ministries, sectors, localities, businesses, associations, and parliamentary friendship groups, along with people-to-people interactions, so as to enhance mutual understanding and friendship.

Vietnam and Pakistan should make joint efforts to secure more fruitful partnerships in trade and investment, he added.

Through the ambassador, President Thuong sent congratulations to Asif Ali Zardari on his recent election as President of Pakistan and invited the latter to pay a visit to Vietnam.

He also expressed his hope that with her experience, understanding, and special sentiments towards Vietnam, Mehtab will further contribute to the two countries’ relations in the time to come.

Searing heat bakes southern Vietnam, temperatures rise above 38°C

Southern localities of Vietnam are going through the hottest spell of the year, with daytime temperatures hovering around 37-38°C or beyond, according to the Southern Regional Hydro-Meteorological Station.

The heat wave gripped eastern localities and some western localities on March 11, sending daytime temperatures rising to 37.9°C in Dong Nai, 38°C in Binh Duong and 38.5°C in Binh Phuoc.

The heat wave also spread across Mekong Delta provinces but with weaker intensity. Statistics show An Giang and Vinh Long provinces recorded as high as 36°C and 36.2°C respectively.

March 11 was logged as the hottest day of 2024 so far, breaking the 38°C record set up on February 15 in southern Vietnam.

In addition, relatively low humidity ranging from 30 to 50% made the heat even more intense.

Southern localities are set to brace for the searing heat in the coming days, but the intensity of the heat will decrease compared to previous days. The warmest weather is forecast to last 12 noon to 4 pm.

As the dry season is at its peak at present, daily temperatures in eastern localities in the coming days will commonly fluctuate between 35 - 37°C, while those in western localities will be around 32 - 37°C.

The Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that local residents, especially workers, drink enough water to prevent heat stroke.

Resources must be ensured for policies on elderly: Deputy PM

Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha asked localities to ensure resources for the implementation of policies towards the elderly, while addressing a hybrid meeting of the Vietnam National Committee on Ageing (VNCA) on March 12.

To take a better care of seniors and carry forward their role in socio-economic activities, it is a must to consolidate the organisational apparatus of relevant associations at all levels, especially those at the grassroots, the official noted.  

Policies on this group of people require a long-term vision with the elderly’s lives, health and social affairs taken into account, he said, urging ministries, agencies, localities, and the Vietnam Association of the Elderly (VAE) to propose the Politburo issue a relevant resolution in the new situation.  

VNCA members should step up their coordination in inspection and supervision over the implementation of the National Action Programme for the Elderly for 2021-2030, he continued.
The VAE was asked to work together with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), other ministries and agencies to form coordination mechanisms and organise activities for the senior, and enhance international cooperation in elderly affairs.

The MoLISA reported that Vietnam counts about 16.1 million older adults, of whom more than 5.4 million have received either pensions or social allowances, and 15 million been covered by health insurance.

VAE Chairman Nguyen Thanh Binh suggested the issuance at an early date of a resolution ratifying the national strategy for the elderly by 2030, and the rapid perfection of institutions and policies in response to population ageing.

Top leader of Laos applauds Hanoi - Vientiane cooperation

General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith received a delegation of Hanoi led by Dinh Tien Dung, Politburo member of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Secretary of the municipal Party Committee, in Vientiane on March 12.

Briefing his host on the outcomes of the talks between the Hanoi and Vientiane delegations, Dung said the fruitful cooperation between the two capital cities is one of the vivid demonstrations of the Vietnam - Laos special traditional friendship.

He affirmed that Hanoi will continue coordinating closely with Vientiane to effectively carry out the agreements reached by leaders of the two Parties and the two States, along with the deals between the two capitals.

The Lao leader spoke highly of the outcomes of Dung’s talks with Secretary of the Vientiane Party Committee Anouphap Tounalom, along with the two cities’ partnerships under their cooperation agreement for 2022 - 2025, especially Hanoi’s practical assistance to the Lao side.

He voiced his belief that Hanoi and Vientiane will continue productively implementing their cooperation agreement and carry out new cooperation areas in an increasingly effective manner. He also called on Hanoi to actively share its experience in the Party and political system building as well as other fields with Lao localities.

The top leader of Laos noted that he believed the two capital cities’ friendship and cooperation will become a role model of the two countries’ locality-to-locality cooperation, thus contributing to the great friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos.

Also on March 12, the Hanoi delegation attended the inauguration ceremony of the headquarters of the Justice Department and the Procuracy of Vientiane. The project, invested with 3 million USD, is a gift from the Party organisation, administration, and people of Hanoi to their Vientiane counterparts.

The same day, the delegation took part in the Hanoi - Vientiane tourism and trade promotion programme 2024.

Thanh Hoa sees surge in rabies cases
The northern central province of Thanh Hoa has experienced a notable increase in rabies cases, with four outbreak clusters resulting in two deaths and exposing 86 individuals to the disease.Local officials attribute the rise in incidents partly to poor management of domestic animals, noting that many dogs and cats are allowed to roam freely. This, coupled with inaccurate animal population statistics, has contributed to a low vaccination rate against rabies.

Efforts to enforce dog management regulations have been insufficient. Over the last decade, rabies has claimed 31 lives in Thanh Hoa and led to 85,145 people receiving post-exposure prophylaxis treatment.

In response, the Thanh Hoa People’s Committee has called for urgent actions from localities and agencies to bolster rabies prevention and control measures.

Nationally, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that rabies caused 82 deaths across 30 cities and provinces in Vietnam last year, with Gia Lai, Binh Phuoc, Ben Tre, Nghe An, and Dien Bien recording the highest fatalities. From January 1 to February 20 this year, rabies has already resulted in 18 deaths in 12 cities and provinces, marking an increase of nine cases compared to the same period last year.

Contests honor Hanoi's glorious past and young heroes
Contestants should share their thoughts about the achievements and significant historical events of the city, depict the images of heroes and martyrs, famous landscapes, historical relics associated with the milestones of the liberation of the city.

 Youth and children in Hanoi have the opportunity to participate in two contests:  "Hanoi in My Eyes" and "Book Review - Nurturing Pink Dreams with Green Pages" in 2024.

The two competitions aim to celebrate the 93rd anniversary of the founding of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (March 26, 1931 - March 26, 2024), the 70th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory (May 7, 1954 - May 7, 2024), and the 70th anniversary of the Capital Liberation Day (October 10, 1954 - October 10, 2024).

The painting contest is aimed at participants aged 6 to 11 years old and highlights the glorious achievements and significant historical events of the capital. It seeks to depict the images of heroes, martyrs, famous landscapes, and historical relics associated with the milestones of the capital's liberation.

Other themes include young heroes in the process of nation-building and defense, as well as the proud and illustrious traditions of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union and the Ho Chi Minh Young Pioneer Organization, tied to the history of building and developing the city.

The deadline to submit entries for the city level competition is March 30.

The book review contest titled "Proud of Capital Heroes" is open to Vietnamese and international youth living in the city, aged 12-22.

Participants will be tasked with summarizing the content of their favorite book and expressing their reflections on the book, highlighting the valuable lessons it has imparted to them in the realms of both study and life. 

They should also share their thoughts about the achievements and significant historical events of the city, depict the images of heroes and martyrs, famous landscapes, historical relics associated with the milestones of the liberation of the city.

 Entries for this contest should be in the form of a video clip, no longer than five minutes, presented in Vietnamese or English (with Vietnamese subtitles).

 Entrants must send the link to their uploaded YouTube entry to

The results of both contests will be posted on

The announcement of the results and the awards ceremony for both competitions will take place in April.

The most outstanding participants and entries from the two competitions will be selected for promotion and exhibition at the activities celebrating the 70th anniversary of the capital’s Liberation Day.

Government’s Decree helps remove hiccups along bidding procedures

The Government’s Decree No. 24/2024/ND-CP detailing a number of articles and measures to implement the Bidding Law is expected to remove hiccups along the purchasing and bidding for drugs, supplies, and medical equipment.
However, according to experts, it takes time to implement the bidding procedures in addition to an open mechanism for hospitals and medical facilities to have adequate drugs, supplies, and equipment for treatment.

The Decree 24 stipulates in detail the order and procedures for selecting contractors on the basis of continuing to promote decentralization and delegation of rights to investors. Moreover, the Decree helps cut time and costs for procedures of selecting contractors as well as strengthen the application of technology for transparent bidding information.

Additionally, the Decree 24 has regulations to fundamentally resolve the inadequacies in bidding that hospitals and medical facilities have faced recently, and create the most favorable conditions for public and private medical facilities in bidding for the procurement of drugs, supplies, and medical equipment.

Furthermore, the Decree clearly stipulates the bidding packages that can be designated as contractors in emergency cases and disease prevention services to ensure that hospitals can purchase drugs and medical supplies as soon as possible for patient treatment without having to carry out time-consuming bidding procedures.

Regarding centralized drug bidding, the Decree 24 has added regulations allowing the selection of more than one winning bidder so that if the first contractor is no longer able to provide medicines and equipment, investors – hospitals can immediately sign a contract with the next contractor in their lists. Plus, investors – hospitals can allow contractors to offer quantities according to their ability to supply, not necessarily the exact quantity of drugs stated in the bidding documents.

If a hospital has not yet organized bidding or has bid but has not selected a contractor or the previously signed framework agreement expires, it is allowed to purchase according to its needs to meet usage needs for a maximum period of 12 months. Health insurance will pay for the purchase according to the contract price.

According to representatives of some hospitals, the government’s new decree will create initiative and flexibility for hospitals in purchasing drugs for medical examination and treatment to solve the shortage of drugs on the list of centralized bidding in big infirmaries. In particular, one of the most difficult problems for medical facilities in recent times is prices in bidding packages, the Decree 24 stipulates that the pricing index is one of the basis for bidding package prices.

According to the new decree, if there is more than one pricing index, investors – hospitals can choose the highest quotation suitable to their financial capacity requirements to price the bidding package. This regulation helps hospitals choose good quality goods that suit their professional needs and financial capabilities.

Deputy Director Duong Duc Thien of the Department of Planning and Finance under the Ministry of Health said that the department is currently trying to perfect the system of documents and legal regulations after the issuance of the Decree 24. The ministry is also developing a number of circulars related to the list of drugs, testing supplies, and medical equipment eligible for price negotiation.

It is expected that the circulars will be issued in the first quarter of 2024.

Medical facilities highly appreciate the Government's early issuance of Decree 24 to remove hiccups in the bidding and purchase of drugs, supplies, and medical equipment. Deputy Director Nguyen Minh Tien of the City Children's Hospital commented that the new content in the Decree 24 helped hospitals quickly complete the bidding work and obtain appropriate equipment to promptly save the lives of serious patients.

Sharing the same opinion, Director of the Central Obstetrics Hospital Professor Nguyen Duy Anh shared that the Decree 24 provides solutions to ensure medical facilities have enough sources of drugs, medical supplies and equipment for medical examination and treatment.

The new decree is also a legal corridor for hospitals to comply with the present regulations, ensuring a source of goods to serve patients for 1-2 years. He hoped that the new decree would help hospitals to buy medicines and equipment for use in a long time.

Vietnam steps up labour union cooperation with Brazil, Peru, Uruguay

President of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) Nguyen Dinh Khang has engaged in discussions with representatives of labour unions from Brazil, Peru, and Uruguay, as part of his working trip to South America and attendance to the second conference of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) Presidential Council held in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

While in Brazil, Khang, who is also WFTU vice president, held talks with leaders of the Central of Workers of Brazil (CTB) and numerous bilateral meetings to strengthen ties with WFTU member unions, especially those in the Americas such as the Cuban workers' center (CTC), Workers' General Confederation of Peru (CGTP), Argentine Leather Manufacturing Union (SAMC), and Transport Workers’ Union of Uruguay.

From March 5 to 7, the Vietnamese delegation met with Secretary General of the Peruvian Communist Party (PCP) Luis Alberto Villanueva Carbajal and Secretary General of the General Confederation of Peruvian Workers (CGTP) Gerónimo López Sevillano, while holding a working session with the Federation of Construction Workers of Peru (FTCCP).

Hosting the guests from Vietnam, the Peruvian Party leader expressed his admiration for the Southeast Asian nation’s economic, political, and social achievements under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), and lauded contributions by the VGCL to such development.

At the meeting with the CGTP Secretary General, both sides exchanged experiences in labour union activities in representing and protecting workers as well as measures to step up cooperation between the sides.

With 2.8 million members, the CGTP, affiliated with the Communist Party of Peru, is one of the four labour organisations recognised by the government.

From March 7 to 9, Khang paid a courtesy call to Secretary General of the Communist Party of Uruguay Juan Castillo, held talks with Marcelo Abdala, the president of the Uruguayan trade union federation PIT-CNT, and worked with Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Security of Uruguay Mario Arizti.

Castillo told Khang his desire to further strengthen collaboration with the CPV and to learn from Vietnam's valuable experiences in the building and development of the nation for the sake of the people. He noted that, together with the Montevideo authorities, the Uruguayan party is working on the establishment of a Vietnamese cultural space, featuring an image of late President Ho Chi Minh, in a prominent location in the capital.

The talks with the PIT-CNT president saw the sides informing each other on their respective operations and mutual concerns. They also emphasised the important leadership of the communist party in labour union activities.

PIT-CNT is Uruguay's sole labour union, wielding significant influence in the country by having around 25% of the workforce as its members.

Meanwhile, Khang and the Uruguayan deputy minister discussed legal regulations and state management related to labour and workers’ unions in each country, especially regarding the tackling of labour disputes and strikes.

Drone light show to be highlight of Vietnam Tourism Year - Dien Bien 2024

The first-ever light show featuring a total of 200 drones will be held as a highlight of the opening ceremony of the Vietnam Tourism Year - Dien Bien 2024 and Ban (Bauhinia) Flower Festival in mid-March.   

Preparations for the opening ceremony of the Vietnam Tourism Year - Dien Bien 2024 and Ban (Bauhinia) Flower Festival underway
Utilising both drones and music, the light show is expected to create an impressive visual effect for those attending the event.

Visitors will have the chance to admire an array of colourful symbols, such as a Vietnamese map, a flying dragon, the tourism logo of Dien Bien mountainous province, the Ban flower, Muong Thanh field, the national flag, as well as various symbols of tourist cities throughout the country.

Vietnam Year - Dien Bien 2024 is scheduled to be launched on March 16 and is expected to attract a large number of tourists to the province. The locality aims to receive 1.3 million visitors and earn VND2.2 trillion, equal to US$89.32 million, from tourism this year.

The festival will serve as a boost for the local tourism sector whilst also contributing to enhancing the overall attractiveness of Vietnamese tourism to international visitors. 

Old citizen ID cards valid until prescribed expiry date

One of the most important contents of the Law on Identification (ID) is the change of old citizen ID cards into new identification cards, effective as of July 1, 2024.

Regarding the new content, Colonel Vu Van Tan, Deputy Director General of the Public Security Ministry's Department for Administrative Management of Social Order (C06) said that citizen identification cards issued before July 1, 2024 shall be valid until the expiry date prescribed in the card. New identification cards will be issued for those in need.

Colonel Vu Van Tan also informed that as of July 2024, identification cards will be issued for citizens aged 14 years who have not been had ID cards and those whose ID cards have expired.

On July 1, it is expected that the Ministry of Public Security will annually issue identification cards for ten million cases, including three million new cards for citizens from 14 years old and children on demand; four million cards for those who want to change in to the new cards and three million re-granted cards.

During the period of July 1, 2024 to July 1, 2025, the Ministry of Public Security is expected to grant around 15 million identification cards, comprising five million new issuance cases for citizens from 14 years old and under 14 years old on demand; three million cards for cases with expired ID cards and so on.

In order to avoid congestion at identification card issuance points, Colonel Vu Van Tan said that the upcoming granting session would be dedicated to citizens from 14 years old and those with expired or lost citizen identification cards, adjusted information and cases on demand.

Ciputra Hanoi International Badminton Tournament opens

The Ciputra Hanoi International Badminton Tournament – Yonex Sunrise 2024 opened on March 12, attracting 310 athletes from 19 countries and territories.

The athletes will compete in five categories: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. The winners of each category will receive a cash prize of 1,200 USD, while runner-ups and third-placed athletes in each category will pocket 720 USD and 300 USD, respectively.

The tournament, organised by the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports and the Hanoi Badminton Federation, belongs to the competition and scoring system of the Badminton World Federation (BWF). It will last until March 17 at Tay Ho Gymnasium in Hanoi.

Athletes with high international rankings competing at the tournament include Rhustavito Shesar Hiren (Indonesia, ranked 76th in the world men's singles), Shetty Ayush (India, 78th in the world men's singles), Sim Yu-jin (the Republic of Korea, 39th in the world women's singles), and Letsthana Karupahthevan (Malaysia, 55th in the world women's singles).

Japan funds school construction projects in Đà Nẵng

The Japanese Embassy in Việt Nam has funded construction of school classrooms in Phú Túc Commune and a kindergarten in Hòa Phú Commune of the central city’s Hòa Vang District through the Japanese Government’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).

The construction of school items in Đà Nẵng City, one of eight projects funded by the GGP in Việt Nam, will be funded with VNĐ1.36 billion (US$58,000) toward providing safe and fully-equipped classrooms for children in the two communes – home of the ethnic Cơ Tu Community – in the suburban and upstream area of Đà Nẵng.

The school buildings will also provide a safe shelter facility for local communities in flood and storm season.

The city’s foreign affairs department said it’s the third project with funding from the Japanese Embassy in Việt Nam, after the construction of a kitchen in the boarding Ngô Gia Tự primary school in 2019, and medical equipment donation for Đà Nẵng General Hospital.

Đà Nẵng and Japan’s comprehensive relationship has been promoting through annual cultural exchanges among cities in the past decades.

Four prefectures from Japan, including Kisarazu, Kawasaki, Sakai and Yokohama, have inked friendship and co-operation agreements with Đà Nẵng, and the annual Việt Nam-Japan Cultural Exchange Day has been organised in Đà Nẵng since 2014.

Nine cities in Japan, including Fukuoka, Yokohama, Maebashi, Chiba, Shizuoka, Tokyo, Tottori and Nagasaki, and 82 Japanese businesses have inked co-operation deals with Đà Nẵng City’s Đông Á University for human resources training and employment from central Việt Nam.

More than 300 students from the Đông Á private university have been employed by Japanese companies for working and studying in Japan since 2017.

Japan promoted its Consular Office in Đà Nẵng City to a General Consulate just a year after it was founded in 2020.

A tree planting event marking the 50th anniversary of Việt Nam-Japan diplomatic ties (September 21, 1973 - 2023) was held by the central city’s union of friendship organisations and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Đà Nẵng City (JCCID) in Đà Nẵng last year. 

Tiền Giang to expand Đồng Tháp Mười Ecological Reserve

In order to effectively conserve biodiversity while promoting the development of tourism in the Đồng Tháp Mười sub-region, Tiền Giang province has proposed to expand the Đồng Tháp Mười Ecological Reserve in Tân Phước district’s Thạnh Tân commune.

Accordingly, along with the existing core area of nearly 107 hectares, the province will expand an additional buffer zone of 244 hectares.

The expansion of the Đồng Tháp Mười Ecological Reserve will be carried out in two phases.

In the first phase, during 2024 and 2025, the province will reclaim 60 hectares for afforestation and expansion of the existing reserve, including 30 hectares in the north and 30 hectares in the south of the reserve.

In the second phase, from 2026 to 2030, the province will expand the remaining area based on a suitable plan according to the local economic and social development.

According to the Chairman of the Tân Phước District People's Committee, Trần Hoàng Phong, relevant authorities are seeking investment for the development of eco-tourism in the Đồng Tháp Mười sub-region, with the Đồng Tháp Mười Ecological Reserve being one of the attractive tourist destinations.

This area has great advantages and potential for developing eco-tourism, providing jobs and increasing incomes for rural labourers, Phong said.

The local area has invested in various infrastructure projects to serve the development of eco-tourism, such as boat and vehicle docks, rest stops, ferry bridges, internal roads, bird observation towers and scenic viewpoints within the reserve.

The district continues to improve its waterway and road transportation infrastructure, connecting with other areas in the Đồng Tháp Mười sub-region and inviting investors for tourism development projects.

These activities are aimed at both conserving the unique ecosystem of Đồng Tháp Mười and serving the needs of tourism, research and development to attract domestic and international tourists, Phong emphasised.

Previously, in 2000, to conserve rare and endangered species, protect the ecological environment, and develop tourism, the provincial People's Committee established the Đồng Tháp Mười Ecological Reserve.

The reserve is located in Thạnh Tân commune, Tân Phước district, with a total area of nearly 107 hectares, including a central water pond of about one hectare, while the remaining area is used for planting and nurturing unique species that need conservation.

Phong said that the reserve's mission is to conserve the characteristic fauna and flora of the Đồng Tháp Mười region, as well as conduct research, manage, protect, and restore the salt water mangrove forest ecosystem, forest habitats, precious gene sources, and a number of endangered species.

Over the past 23 years since its establishment, the Đồng Tháp Mười Ecological Reserve has become home to over 12,000 resident birds, including many rare species listed in Việt Nam and the world's Red Book, such as Sarus Crane, Asian Openbill, and Lesser Adjutant.

The reserve also houses eight species of fish, 19 species of reptiles, 16 species of mammals, and 36 species of birds, along with over 6,000 indigenous trees including bamboo, reeds, mangroves, and sugar apples, creating the green lungs of the entire region.

In reality, due to the increasing number of birds residing, nesting, and breeding, the existing mangrove forest area is no longer sufficient.

Therefore, the expansion of the Đồng Tháp Mười Ecological Reserve is highly necessary to meet the needs of conservation and sustainable development of eco-tourism in the Đồng Tháp Mười sub-region.

Ninh Thuận Province to focus on tourism development

Ninh Thuận Province plans to develop tourism into a spearhead economic sector by raising both the scale and quality of services, according to the province's Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Nguyễn Văn Hoà.

The south central province is proud to have multiple attractive tourist destinations with beautiful beaches and scenery. It is accessible by air, land road, railway, and sea.

Ninh Thuận focuses on developing branded tourism products and services, added value and high competitiveness along with promoting digital transformation and developing human resources to serve high-class tourism. It also focuses on exploiting tourism resources and connecting its tourist attractions with other destinations in neighbouring provinces.

The province is concentrating on developing four key tourism products including sea resorts, cultural tourism (especially Chàm cultural heritage sites), high-tech agriculture, and ecotourism associated with Núi Chúa National Park.

The province has developed four new products: exploration entertainment, semi-wild hunting, experiential travel, and health and wellness. Other complementary tourism products are community entertainment tours, culinary tours, tours of renewable energy production facilities, and commercial services.

Ninh Thuận will develop its tourism in four zones. The central one is Phan Rang-Tháp Chàm City and the neighbourhoods. It offers tours of the city’s heritage sites, beach resorts, cuisine, and nightlife entertainment services.

The northeast zone offers marine, forest, and agricultural ecotourism, mainly in the Vĩnh Hy, Bình Tiên, Núi Chúa and Thái An areas. This area plans to offer high-end tourism tied to the local specialties of grape products and wine.

The southeast zone focuses on resort tourism and exploration of sand dunes, salt fields, and sea tours in the Cà Ná and Dinh cape areas. It targets the high-end tourist segment with salt resort tourism products and desert-style resorts, while the western area is developing community tourism and forest eco-tourism.

Ninh Thuận is striving to attract 3.5 million visitors and earn VNĐ2.9 trillion (US$118.3 million) in tourism revenue by 2025. This would contribute 13 per cent to the province’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) and create jobs for 15 per cent of its work force.

By 2030, the province expects to turn tourism into a spearhead economic sector, striving to welcome 6 million visitors and earn about VNĐ5.9 trillion (US$256.5 million) in revenue.

The province has made many decisions to attract large-scale investors with large-scale tourism projects. By the end of 2023, the province has 57 tourism projects granted investment registration certificates with total registered capital of over VNĐ51.6 trillion. 

Last year, Ninh Thuận Provincial People's Committee [Government] boosted tourism promotion activities and organised many large-scale events to create a good impression for tourists such as: Ninh Thuận Grape-Wine Festival 2023, receiving a UNESCO certificate for "Ceramic art of the Chăm people on the List of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent protection", and signing a tourism development cooperation agreement between Khánh Hoà and Ninh Thuận for the period 2023 - 2025.

The number of tourists to Ninh Thuận has increased over the years. In 2023, it reached 2.9 million, an increase of 20.8 per cent over the same period in 2022, of them 40,000 international visitors, up by 239 per cent.

During the recent Lunar New Year holiday, the number of visitors to the province rose unprecedentedly to 99,000, a 17.9 per cent increase over the same period last year, of which, international visitors were estimated at 10,000, an increase of 11.6 per cent over the same period last year.

The province has a 100-km coast that stretches from Bình Tiên to Cà Ná. Its natural landscape and culture are advantages for tourism development.

Warm, sunny weather all year round makes Ninh Thuận suitable for growing grapes, jujube, garlic, asparagus, and aloe vera, and raising sheep and goats. Its fruit orchards and sheep farms attract many tourists.

Between high mountain ranges and the sea are white sand beaches. Famous destinations in Ninh Thuận include Ninh Chữ, Bình Tiên, and Cà Ná beaches, Nam Cương sand dune, Dinh cape, and Rái cave.

Vinh Hy Bay is said to be one of the eight most beautiful beaches in Việt Nam.

The province also now has a number of world-class resorts including Bình Tiên, Vĩnh Hy, Long Thuận, Hoàn Mỹ, and Ninh Chữ Sailing Bay. 

Hanoi celebrates Vietnam Book and Reading Culture Day 2024

A wide range of book-related activities will be held in Hanoi to spread reading culture in response to the third Vietnam Book and Reading Culture Day 2024, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).

The event will take place from April 15 to May 1 with the message "Good books need readers", "Valuable books for friends", and "Give good books - buy true books". 

The opening ceremony of the third Vietnam Book and Reading Culture Day as well as the Book Festival will take place from April 17 to 21.

During the event, reading movements will be launched in families, schools, public offices, and communities, while organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the development of books and the culture of reading in society will be honored.

Specifically, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will carry out the book festival at the National Library of Vietnam, the library system, and cultural institutions. The Ministry of Education and Training will organize activities in schools, academies, and universities, while the Ministries of Public Security and National Defence will promote the culture of reading in the units of the security and defense forces.

Vietnam News Agency, Nhan Dan Newspaper, Vietnam Television, Voice of Vietnam, and other media agencies will promote the third Vietnam Book and Reading Culture Day by reporting on typical models, organizations and individuals active in developing the reading culture.

Publishers and printing houses will organize book weeks, book fairs, and book launches. In addition, online distribution channels, technology platforms, social networks, and e-commerce platforms will help to promote books and donate books to disadvantaged people.

There will also be book introductions, storytelling, and drawing based on book content, as well as seminars on books and reading culture.

The decision of the Vietnamese Government on the organization of the Vietnam Book and Reading Culture Day annually at the national level was signed in 2021.

According to the decision, the event aims to reaffirm the role and importance of books in improving knowledge, skills, thinking, and education. It is organized in response to the project "Promoting a reading culture in the community, with an orientation to 2030" initiated by the Prime Minister.

It not only celebrates the culture of reading and contributes to the creation of a "learning society", but also serves as an opportunity for people to improve their understanding of the rich national culture, to honor readers, writers, publishers, printing houses, and libraries who strive to preserve, collect and promote books.

Vietnamese experts in Denmark chart 2024 course

The Association of Vietnamese Experts and Intellectuals in Denmark (AVIED) convened a meeting on March 9 to review its first year of operation and plan 2024 activities.  

Addressing the event, Le Quy Vang, AVIED Chairman and a member of the executive board of the Union of Vietnamese Associations in Europe, outlined the association's accomplishments in 2023, highlighting its streamlined organisational structure and targeted activities, including seminars to share living and working experiences in Denmark, networking opportunities with Vietnamese professionals, and establishing connections with local associations.

In his remarks, Ambassador Luong Thanh Nghi affirmed that the Party and State always value the development of Vietnamese experts and intellectuals abroad, including those in Denmark, considering it a crucial and highly meaningful task for the sustainable and long-term development of the nation.

According to him, the Vietnamese community in Denmark is highly esteemed by the local authorities for their tangible and practical contributions to the local development and relations between the two countries. He emphasised that this positive aspect should be further leveraged and upheld.

Highlighting a need to build a strong and united association this year, Nghi suggested building a specific action plan focusing on AVIED members’ strengths and aligning with Vietnam’s development priorities, such as green transition, digital transformation, sustainable development, green and circular economies, and sectors of Vietnamese experts’ strength like health care, biotechnology, agriculture, renewable energy, quantum technology and information technology.

He also proposed maintaining the cultural identity of the Vietnamese community via Vietnamese language classes and the Vietnamese Embassy in Denmark’s activities to popularise Vietnamese culture among the Danish friends.

It is also crucial to continue strictly adhering to local laws, deeply integrate into and make positive contributions to the host society, he said, adding that the embassy will always accompany and work closely with AVIED to offer all possible support to its members for the development of Vietnam and its bilateral ties with the European nation.

Overseas Vietnamese in Macau get together

The Overseas Vietnamese Association in Macau (China) held a gathering on March 10 to celebrate the Lunar New Year 2024 and International Women’s Day (March 8).

Representatives from Macau authorities, the Vietnamese Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau, and overseas Vietnamese people in Macau attended the event.

Consul Nguyen Tuan Anh from the Vietnamese Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau extended best wishes to the Vietnamese community here, particularly women.

He applauded the Overseas Vietnamese Association for its good performance during the past time and expected that the association members will actively take part in activities to promote the image of Vietnam and Vietnamese people in the host locality.

He hoped that the association will work with the Consulate General to call on Macau authorities to lift visa restrictions for Vietnamese tourists and workers.

He asked the associations in Hong Kong and Macau to continue to strengthen their connections and solidarity to further develop the Vietnamese communities in the two localities.

Duong Trung Duc, President of the Overseas Vietnamese Association in Macau said that this year, the association will continue promoting Vietnamese culture and cuisine as well as consolidating solidarity in the Vietnamese community.

On this occasion, Consult Nguyen Tuan Anh awarded the certificates of merit to Vietnamese individuals and collectives in Macau for their contributions to the association and their homeland.

About 7,800 Vietnamese workers are in Macau, most of them are female domestic helpers or staff at restaurants and hotels. As Macau's economy is recovering from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Vietnamese workers in Macau is expected to rise gradually.

Vietnam call up 33 players for World Cup qualifiers against Indonesia

Philippe Troussier, head coach of the Vietnamese national men’s football team, on March 11 announced a 33-player squad in preparation for two matches against Indonesia in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers later this month, according to Vietnam Football Federation.

The first leg will take place at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium of Indonesia on March 21, and the second leg at My Dinh Stadium on March 26.

The squad will welcome the return of a number of familiar players, notably defenders Nguyen Thanh Chung, Bui Tien Dung and Nguyen Duc Chien, strikers Nguyen Tien Linh and Nguyen Cong Phuong.

The Vietnam national team is set to gather on March 13 but it will be until March 15 that the team will have full players due to the schedule of the round of 1/8 of the 2023-24 National Cup. Thus, Coach Troussier has only four days of training in Hanoi before leaving for Indonesia on March 19. Then, he and his players will have two more training sessions to complete preparations for the match with host Indonesia on March 21 at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, with a capacity of 80,000 spectators.

The Vietnamese team will return on March 22 to meet the Indonesian team again on March 26 at My Dinh National Stadium.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau levies heavy fines on vessels violating IUU fishing regulations

Authorities of the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau have so far this year handled 33 violations of regulations against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, mostly those related to vessel monitoring system (VMS), according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The department said that local authorities have sent warning messages to 6,673 fishing vessels that stayed unconnected for six hours, along with 179 others with no VMS signals for more than 10 days.

The agencies collected fines totaling 822 million VND (33,367 USD) from vessels found to be in violation of the regulations.

As part of its efforts to strengthen control over movements of fishing vessels, the department is working closely with other forces to manage the fleet of fishing vessels in the locality, erasing the registration of vessels that no longer operate, and encouraging vessels to strictly follow regulations in registration, VMS installation, and food safety rules.

The province has deployed personnel to be on duty 24/7 at onshore stations to monitor and supervise all fishing vessels operating at sea through the fishing vessel monitoring system, while strictly handling violations of regulations and illegal crossing of sea borders.

Currently, Ba Ria-Vung Tau has 4,578 operating fishing vessels, including 2,745 offshore ones, 96.72% of which have installed VMS.

Nguyen Van Tho, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said that it has requested the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Border Guard High Command as well as localities across the province to further review and handle vessels with expired registration and those without VMS signals.

The committee has also asked for tightened control over origin traceability and the issuance of export licences at fishing ports, and the installation of cameras to manage movements of vessels at ports and the volume of seafood handled by ports.

Amazing Binh Dinh Festival expected to boost tourism growth

The upcoming Amazing Binh Dinh Festival is considered as one of the biggest events in 2024 of the central province of Binh Dinh, helping boost the local tourism growth.

The festival will run from March 22-31 with many events, particularly the UIM-ABP Aquabike international jet ski race with about 70 riders from 30 countries around the world, and the UIM F1H20 international professional motorboat race with the participation of Binh Dinh motorboat team of Vietnam to compete with about nine foreign teams.

Tran Viet Anh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Binh Dinh F1 Joint Stock Company, the organiser of the competition, said that preparations have been 90% completed. The provincial People's Committee has also established sub-committees on logistics, health, culture, sports, and tourism .

The festival is expected to welcome about 35,000 visitors, both domestic and foreign.

Huynh Cao Nhat, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Tourism, said that the department has instructed organisations and individuals providing tourism services in the area to prepare well for the race and called on relevant localities and authorities to coordinate with the department to ensure security and safety for tourists.

In addition, the department has asked accommodation facilities to improve service quality as well as applying discounts for athletes and tourists when coming to the locality.

Binh Dinh welcomed more than 5 million tourists in 2023, earning more than 16 trillion VND (650 million USD), an increase of 25% compared to 2022. The province targets to lure 6 million visitors this year.

MoLISA considers expanding social pension beneficiaries

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs estimates that reducing the age for receiving social pensions from 80 to 75 years old will help expand the eligible beneficiaries by about 800,000 elderly people who will receive benefits.

According to the ministry, after 12 years of implementing the Law on the Elderly, ministries, sectors, and localities have achieved significant results. Up to now, the legal framework for the implementation of the Elderly Law has been issued.

However, the work for the elderly in localities still faces difficulties and limitations. Regular health check-ups and health records for the elderly in some areas are only conducted for those over 80 years old.

Those from 60 to 79 years old are still ineligible due to financial shortages.

The social pension level for the elderly is still low compared to the current cost of living. Many people cannot wait until they are 80 to receive social pensions.

In addition, the community-based elderly care model has not been adequately implemented by localities.

Pension policies for the elderly who retired before 1995 are not reasonable, commonly ranging from VNĐ3.2 million to 4.8 million, which is lower than those holding the same positions who retired after 1995, it said.

The ministry said that in the upcoming period, it was necessary to address issues related to the elderly in the context of population ageing, in line with the national socio-economic development strategy.

Việt Nam is currently experiencing a golden population structure while undergoing the process of population ageing. The population group aged 60 and above is growing rapidly, from 11.9 per cent in 2019 to 13.9 per cent in 2023.

Currently, the average life expectancy of Vietnamese people born in 2023 is 73.7 years, with an average life expectancy of 71.1 years for males and 76.5 years for females. Compared to countries in the Southeast Asian region, Việt Nam's average life expectancy is lower than that of Singapore (83 years), Brunei (78 years), and Thailand (76 years).

In the draft amended Social Insurance Law submitted to the National Assembly, the Government has proposed that Vietnamese citizens aged 75 and more without pensions, monthly social insurance benefits, and other monthly social allowances will receive social pension benefits provided by the State budget.

The monthly pension benefit level determined by the Government is in line with the socio-economic development conditions and the State budget's capabilities at each period. The Government will report to the National Assembly to decide on gradually adjusting the age for receiving social pension according to the State budget's capabilities at each period.

According to Trương Xuân Cừ, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Elderly Association, the draft amendment of the Social Insurance Law to reduce the age for receiving social pensions from 80 to 75 has met the expectations of the elderly.

In addition, the association has also proposed reducing the age of receiving financial support to the elderly in poor households, those without caregivers, or near-poor elderly living in areas of ethnic minority communities and extremely difficult mountainous regions from 75 to 70 years old. 

Campaign to eradicate dilapidated housing to launch in April

The Central Committee of the Việt Nam Fatherland Front (VFF) held a meeting in Hà Nội recently to discuss the coordination of preparations for the nationwide launching ceremony of the campaign "Eradicate Temporary and Dilapidated Housing."

Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the VFF Hoàng Công Thủy chaired the meeting.

In line with the Prime Minister's Conclusion announced at the meeting of the Central Council for Emulation and Reward (Announcement 422/TB-VPCP dated October 19, 2023), the Central Council, in collaboration with the Central Committee of the VFF, will coordinate the nationwide launch of the "Eradicate Temporary and Dilapidated Housing" campaign. This initiative, set to run until 2025, is a result of discussions and agreements with relevant ministries, sectors and agencies.

The organisation of the launching ceremony aims to rally and mobilise all levels, branches, agencies, organisations and individuals from all walks of life to successfully achieve the nationwide goal of "completely eliminating the use of temporary and dilapidated housing for poor households, near-poor households, and people affected by natural disasters and climate change."

This initiative is in line with the spirit of Resolution 42-NQ/TW dated November 24, 2023, from the 8th Party Central Committee's meeting on continuing innovation, improving the quality of social policies, and meeting the requirements of the construction and protection of the Fatherland in the new period.

At the meeting, participants discussed and gave opinions on the draft plan for organising the launching ceremony, focusing on unifying the time, venue and guest list; supporting resources to achieve the goal of eradicating temporary and dilapidated housing nationwide; and the content of propaganda before, during, and after the ceremony takes place.

During the meeting, Thủy announced that the Central Committee of the VFF, in collaboration with relevant agencies, would initiate the nationwide project to eliminate temporary and dilapidated housing based on inputs from participating delegates.

The nationwide launching ceremony for the "Eradicate Temporary and Dilapidated Housing" campaign is anticipated to occur in mid-April 2024, hosted by Hòa Bình Province.

Thủy urged the Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs, and the Ministry of Home Affairs to meticulously prepare for the ceremony. The emphasis would be on ensuring its practicality, efficiency, and alignment with the current circumstances. 

Robot that can identify human characteristics launched

Robot Anbi, who can identify people’s characteristics by analysing their faces, has been launched by ANAN Technology And Development Joint Stock Company.

Nguyễn Hữu Thủy, General Director of the company, said the company has created a camera inside the robot, which can scan a person’s face and send back a report on that person’s characteristics.

The report includes a general view, core characteristics, strong points, weak points, and that person’s capabilities based on various skills such as the eagerness to learn and communicate.

The robot was made based on Big Data and AI, and is able to communicate in natural language. He can understand and reply in Vietnamese.

Its software uses advanced technology such as an infrared camera, which can scan colours and the density of coloured points on a face. Within ten seconds, millions of calculations are made to compare the coloured points, and then analyse and categorise the characteristics of the person.

The robot has been developed for the past five years by experts from the US, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, and Việt Nam.

It can be applied in education, psychology consultancy, selling, and customer service. 

Best futsal players called up for Asian Cup 2024’s training camp

Diego Giustozzi and his national team have begun their training camp for the 2024 AFC Futsal Asian Cup, a Futsal World Cup qualifier, in HCM City.

The Argentinean coach named four keepers, four fixos (defenders), seven alas (midfielders) and four pivots (strikers). Most of them were familiar faces which served the national team in 2023, competing at the Asian championship qualification and local and international friendly matches.

Among them are the Golden Ball 2023 winner Phạm Đức Hòa, Silver Ball holder Châu Đoàn Phát and Bronze Ball keeper Hồ Văn Ý, along with veterans Trần Thái Huy , Nguyễn Minh Trí, and top scorer of the current national championship Nguyễn Thịnh Phát.

The team will take part in an international tournament against world No 49 New Zealand, No 8 Morocco and No 7 Iran from March 28-31.

They then host Malaysia in a two-leg friendly match on April 6 and 8.

Giustozzi will finalise a team of 14 players on April 12.

The Cup will be organised on April 17-28 in Thailand. Việt Nam are in Group A against face Myanmar, China and the hosts.

The top four finishers will qualify for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Uzbekistan 2024, which will take place between September 14 and October 6, marking the first time the global showpiece will be held in Central Asia. 

Việt Nam have set their sights on a semi-final place to qualify for the World Cup for the third time in a row. 

Minh, Nguyên checkmate competition in super rapid chess event

Grandmaster Lê Tuấn Minh secured his first title while Woman Grandmaster Phạm Lê Thảo Nguyên bagged her second at the National Chess Championship on March 11 in Hà Nội.

Hanoian Minh triumphed in the men's super blitz event with eight points from seven wins and two draws. 

HCM City masters Nguyễn Quốc Hy and Phạm Trần Gia Phúc were second and third, respectively.

Nguyên from Cần Thơ also had eight points to top the women's class. Đỗ Hoàng Minh Thơ from Bến Tre and Nguyễn Hồng Anh of HCM City finished behind her.

It was Nguyên's second title following the first one in rapid chess on March 9.

Players will next take part in standard chess before wrapping up the tournament on March 17 with ASEAN chess competitions.

Nam Định dominates beginning of V.League 1 season

Nam Định has become the top title favourite of the V.League 1 due to its outstanding performance that places it in the leading position after the end of the first part of the season over the weekend.

The team has won nine matches, draw one and lost two. Having earned 29 points, Nam Định has established a three-point gap with closest rival Becamex Bình Dương.

Under coach Vũ Hồng Việt, Nam Định was most successful on its home turf, recording a unbeaten streak of five wins and one draw. 

Contributing to the team's achievement were outstanding performances by Rafaelson Bezerra Fernandes and Hendrio Araujo Dasilva, who are among the best foreign players in Việt Nam.

The duo has scored 18 of Nam Định's 29 goals after 13 matches.

The team's local players were also at their peak. They were a combination of experienced players, such as national goalkeeper Trần Nguyên Mạnh, striker Nguyễn Văn Toàn and midfielder Tô Văn Vũ, and young talented ones, such as midfielder Lý Công Hoàng Anh and defender Ngô Đức Huy.

In its latest move, Nam Định announced a deal to bring veteran Nguyễn Tuấn Anh home from Hoàng Anh Gia Lai FC on March 11.

"Nam Định still needs to improve our midfield area and needs someone who can manage the tempo of the team and regulate the match, limiting rivals' counter-attacks. Tuấn Anh will be a perfect puzzle piece for Nam Định," coach Việt said.

He added that many clubs wanted to have a quality player like Tuấn Anh. He showed his ability at both Hoàng Anh Gia Lai and the national team. He is one of the club's best contracts this season.

In his first day with the new team, Tuấn Anh said: "Nam Định is an ambitious team, eager to win the championship this season. I think I will be able to help the team now and in the future. I will appreciate the opportunity given to me, playing my best, and contributing to my new team's success. I am ready to conquer the challenge."

The national premier league will have a two-week rest as the national team will play two 2026 World Cup qualification matches against Indonesia. It will resume on March 30.

The 29-year-old Tuấn Anh will make his debut as Nam Định visits Hà Nội on March 31. His contract will last until the end of the 2023-24 season.

Korean man wanted by Interpol arrested in Da Nang

The police have arrested Im Ju Seob, a Korean national who is on the Interpol wanted list for running an online gambling ring in his home country.

The arrest was carried out in central Da Nang city by the local police in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Security's Foreign Affairs Department.

According to the police, the 53-year-old Korean man had been placed under a red notice by Interpol for managing an illegal Korean gambling website with servers located in the Philippines. The site was operational from early 2017 to the end of 2019.

The police said that Im Ju Seob had first entered Vietnam through Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, where he stayed for a while.

He then moved to Da Nang in mid-February and stayed at a hotel in Ngu Hanh Son district before being arrested by the police.

Once questioned at the police station, the Interpol-wanted Korean man confessed that he had operated the gambling website and accumulated a total online bet money at over KRW44.3 billion, equal to US$33.6 million.

The police have already completed procedures in order to hand over the man to Korean authorities.

Da Lat among Asia’s leading spots for nature destinations

The mountainous city of Da Lat located in the Central Highland province of Lam Dong has been named as one of the Top 9 nature destinations in Asia, according to digital travel platform Agoda.

Just a short flight from bustling Ho Chi Minh City, Da Lat represents a nature lover’s paradise with cool weather, pine forests, and waterfalls. The local environment makes it ideal for hiking, doing like canyoning, and enjoying local gardens, the article wrote.

Agoda unveiled that the surroundings offer enchanting scenery, which is another key factor in making Da Lat an unforgettable retreat for nature enthusiasts from around the globe.

The list was based on searches made on Agoda in January with Da Lat taking the lead among Asia’s favourite nature destinations.

To enthuse travelers about the unique and remarkable beauty which they can explore throughout the Asia-Pacific region, Agoda looked at some of the top nature destinations across nine markets to come up with ideas in order to reconnect with nature through ancient forests, deep valleys, and serene lakes.

Aside from Da Lat of Vietnam, Agoda suggested experiencing great destinations such as Ooty of India, Lombok of Indonesia, Hakone of Japan, Miri of Malaysia, Siquijor Island of the Philippines, Jeongseon-gun of the Republic of Korea, Hualien of Taiwan (China), and Khao Yai of Thailand.

Cat Ba Tourism Festival set for spectacular launch
The Cat Ba Tourism Festival 2024 is poised for a vibrant start with the Green Cat Ba Art Programme orchestrating a dazzling fireworks display at the end of March.Scheduled to light up the sky for 15 minutes, the fireworks will begin at 9.45 pm on March 31, marking the commencement of this year's festivities on the island.

In addition to the fireworks, the festival will feature a Hot Air Balloon Festival on March 30-31, adding to the array of activities celebrating the island's tourism appeal. The event anticipates the participation of thirteen balloons, including three giant multicoloured hot air balloons, six first-class hot air balloons, and a selection of ground-level balloons, promising a mesmerising spectacle for attendees.

Organised by Cat Hai District, festivities will also include a variety of sporting events. Highlights include a men's volleyball tournament, the expanded Cat Hai Dragon Boat Racing Championship, and the thrilling Fastest X Cat Ba Amatina race, ensuring visitors' diverse and engaging programme.

Cat Ba Island saw an impressive influx of three million tourists last year, marking a 29.40 percent increase from the previous year, including 554,000 international visitors.

The island sets an ambitious target to attract 3.60 million visitors this year.

Hanoians search for small houses as apartment prices rise

Many people in Hanoi have had to turn to small-sized houses in small lanes with prices ranging from VND3-5 billion, due to difficulties finding an apartment due to low availability and rising prices.

Many people in Hanoi have had to turn to small-sized houses in small lanes with prices ranging from VND3-5 billion, due to difficulties finding an apartment due to low availability and rising prices. Illustrative photo.

Nguyen Hung has just bought a 40-square-metre three-storey house at VND3.50 billion down a small lane in Dong Da District.

Hung said he wanted an apartment but had failed to find one, so he began looking for a house instead.

"Our house lies in a small lane that cars can’t access so it's a bit inconvenient," he said. "But with our limited budget, we have no other choice. The only good side is that it is located near our office."

The man said prices for apartments in Hanoi have risen sharply recently.

"I've visited many projects in the city and was shocked at the price hike," he said. "An apartment of over 70 square metres in Nam Tu Liem District is being offered for sale at VND5.30 billion. Those used for 5-7 years in Thanh Xuan and Dong Da districts are also priced at over VND5 billion.

Meanwhile, our 40-square-metre house with three floors will have a total area of over 100 square metres. It's much cheaper than an apartment."

Nguyen Ngac Tam, a real estate agent in Hanoi said that sales in small-sized houses in the city have increased recently amid a shortage of apartments.

"Small-sized houses priced below VND5 billion in small lanes in Ha Dong, Hoang Mai, Hai Ba Trung, and Dong Da are selling very well," Tam said.

A report by real estate website said that while prices of many other real estate groups have remained low, house prices have continued rising by between 2 - 9 percent compared to the same period last year.

"Houses in Tay Ho District have seen the highest rises of over nine percent, while thoses in Dong Da, Ha Dong, Hai Ba Trung, and Hoang Mai have risen by 4-8 percent," the report said.

The report also added that houses priced at between VND3-5 billion have seen the highest number of transactions.

Việt Nam and Laos join hands to protect water and environment in Mã and Neun-Ca rivers

The environment ministries of Việt Nam and Laos on Tuesday held a workshop to launch a bilateral project on water and environment security in the Mã and Neun-Cả rivers.

The project, themed “Fostering Water and Environmental Security in the Ma and Neun-Cả Transboundary River Basins and Related Coastal Areas, Việt Nam and Lao PDR”, aims to strengthen integrated water resources management and "ecosystems health" in the Neun-Cả and Mã river basins.

It is a result of collaboration between Việt Nam's Department of Water Resources Management (DWRM) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Department of Water Resources (DWR) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Lao DPR, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The workshop, which introduced the project and captured feedback on the project design and implementation plan, brought together many central and provincial government officials from Việt Nam and Lao DPR, local and international NGOs, universities, research institutes and other stakeholders.​

This five-year project has a budget of US$8 million funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) of which about $3 million will be channelled to support pilot project implementation in the Mã and Neun-Cả basins.

Its overall goal is to enable Việt Nam and Lao PDR to address freshwater resource management and ecosystem health in the transboundary Mã and Neun-Cả river basins and coastal zones by creating an enabling environment for transboundary cooperation and action.

IUCN is the lead operational partner responsible for project coordination and technical oversight.

In opening remarks at the workshop, Rémi Nono Womdim, FAO Representative in Việt Nam, said: "Importantly, as the first bilateral GEF international waters project between the two countries, it will address the common challenges that the Mã and Neun-Cả rivers share."

“The project's efforts to enhance water and environmental security in the Mã and Neun-Cả river basins align closely with FAO's 2022-2031 Strategic Framework, advancing the 'four betters': better production, better nutrition, better environment, and better life. By creating the enabling conditions for transboundary cooperation and action on shared water resources, the project contributes to healthier ecosystems, which are foundational to sustainable agrifood systems, improved livelihoods, and a better future for communities in Việt Nam and Lao PDR,” according to the FAO official.

Sharing the same view at the workshop yesterday in Hà Nội, Ngô Mạnh Hà, Deputy General Director of DWRM of Việt Nam's MoNRE, and Dr. Inthavy Akkharath, Director General of DWR, Lao DPR's MoNRE, said: “The project is consistent with national priorities and the ambitions of the new law on water resources management. Both governments strongly support this project and will work closely with IUCN, FAO and other partners in Việt Nam and Lao PDR to address climate change impacts and improve natural resources management in both river basins.”

​The project will be implemented with five expected outcomes including: 1) getting consensus among countries on key transboundary concerns; 2) enhancing water security, environmental sustainability and forecasting capabilities in both basins and their coastal areas; 3) reinforcing joint actions; 4) reversing land degradation trends in the two basins; and 5) enhancing the capacities of relevant national entities, and sharing project experiences and lesson learnt.

Jake Brunner, Head of IUCN Lower Mekong Sub-region and IUCN Việt Nam Country Representative, emphasised: “As the lead executing agency, IUCN will collaborate with a wide range of partners on project implementation. This includes setting up a transboundary coordination mechanism to collaboratively manage surface and groundwater. This will maximise the economic value of the basins’ water resources and reduce risks of floods, droughts and saline intrusion.”

Participating the workshop, representatives from across sectors contributed ideas, and provided inputs and comments for project implementation and future plans to promote transboundary cooperation, build sound river basin management frameworks, and strengthen water and environmental security and gender equality.

Việt Nam and Lao PDR share several transboundary waterbodies which play a crucial role in supporting the livelihoods of millions of people, sustaining ecosystems, and driving economic development, experts said.

However, the experts have also warned these waterbodies face increasing pressures from population growth, urbanisation and climate change, highlighting the urgent need for effective and sustainable transboundary management.

The challenges are immense and further complicated by multiple pressures on water resources at the water-energy-food-ecosystem nexus. 

Foreign Minister lauds progress of Vietnam - Japan cooperation

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son received Komura Masahiro, member of the House of Representatives and Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, in Hanoi on March 12.

Lauding the great progress of the Vietnam - Japan friendship and cooperation in various fields, Minister Son noted that Japan remains a partner of leading importance of Vietnam. It ranks first in terms of official development assistance (ODA) provision, second in labour cooperation, third in investment and tourism cooperation, and fourth among trading partners of Vietnam.

He said 2023 was a particularly successful year of the Vietnam - Japan relations as it saw the elevation of their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, which created an important basis for bilateral relations in the next 50 years, along with mutual visits by nearly 200 delegations at all levels, and more than 500 activities celebrating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

He asked Komura and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work closely with the Vietnamese side to promote the implementation of the newly established comprehensive strategic partnership and the agreements reached between the countries’ leaders; increase exchanges at all levels and between their Parties, States, and parliaments; and reactivate and step up cooperation mechanisms between ministries and sectors of the countries.

The host official called on Japan to continue assisting Vietnam to build an independent and self-reliant economy, and provide new-generation ODA for large-scaled strategic infrastructure development, climate change response, digital transformation, and healthcare projects.

Vietnam is pushing ahead with the establishment of a Government working group to accelerate investment cooperation and ODA projects between the two countries, he announced.

The Foreign Minister also asked for boosting people-to-people exchanges, a foundation for sustainable relations, through strengthened cooperation in culture, tourism, labour, and human resources training.

For his part, Komura pledged close coordination with the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to successfully organise high-level mutual visits in the coming time.

Japanese businesses are highly interested in expanding investment in Vietnam, he said, proposing the Vietnamese Government continue to further improve the investment climate and roll out partnerships in new areas like digital transformation, green transition, and cooperation within the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC) framework.

At the meeting, the two sides also touched upon some regional and international issues. They affirmed that Vietnam and Japan will continue supporting each other at multilateral forums and international organisations while enhancing coordination, stance sharing, and cooperation in issues of common concern.

Da Nang, Shandong province foster cooperation

A delegation of China’s Shandong province led by its Vice Governor Song Junji paid a visit to the central city of Da Nang on March 12, which was expected to contribute to enhancing cooperation between the two localities in the time ahead.

Vice Chairman of the Da Nang city People’s Committee Tran Chi Cuong briefed the guests on the city’s socio-economic situation, saying it has been identified as the growth nucleus of Vietnam’s central key economic region.

According to the official, Da Nang has established cooperative ties with 48 localities of 22 countries and territories worldwide, noting it has maintained friendship and official cooperation with a number of Chinese localities, including Shandong.

In 2017, the Chinese Consulate General in Da Nang was put into operation, serving as a bridge between the city and Chinese localities and partners, he said.

Cuong emphasised that Da Nang wishes for more intensive and closer relations with Chinese localities, especially in the areas where the sides have strengths and share similarities like tourism and navigation.

For his part, Song said Shandong boasts strengths in both agriculture and industry, and suggested the two sides promote Party diplomacy and exchange experience in Party building, thus contributing to boosting the relations between Vietnam and China in the new era.

The official held that Shandong and Da Nang share similarities in economy, culture, tourism, trade and high-tech, saying he hopes that the visit will help forge their bilateral collaboration in the coming time.

Apart from the good political ties, economic cooperation and trade between Da Nang and Chinese localities are growing, he continued.  

China is running 93 projects in the Vietnamese central locality with a total investment capital of 118 million USD, mainly in catering services, electronics import consultation, and silicon product manufacturing.

Last year, Da Nang exported 47 million USD worth of goods to China, and imported 205 million USD.

In the year, China was the second biggest source of tourists to Da Nang, with 179,000 arrivals./

Vietnam treasures ties with Slovakia: Deputy FM

Vietnam always attaches importance to developing good cooperation relations with Slovenia – an important partner of Vietnam in Central and Eastern Europe, Deputy Foreign Minister Le Thi Thu Hang told Slovenian State Secretary for Foreign and European Affairs Sanja Stiglic.

During a political consultation which took place in the framework of the Vietnamese official’s visit to the European country March 9-11, Hang valued Slovenia as it takes Vietnam as a priority partner in its policy of enhancing and expanding relations with countries in the Southeast Asian region.

Hang called on the Slovenian side to complete procedures to ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), thus facilitating equitable and win-win investment cooperation between the two sides. She also urged Slovenia to push the European Commission (EC) to lift the "yellow card" against Vietnam's seafood exports to assist the country in developing a sustainable fisheries sector.

The officials discussed measures to promote traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation between the two countries, in the framework of a visit to the European country from March 9-11.

They agreed on the necessity to increase all-level delegation exchanges, cooperation in state, government, and parliamentary channels, and people-to-people exchanges, and between the two foreign ministries.

They also agreed to further step up trade and investment cooperation by fully and effectively implementing the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA); improve the effectiveness of the Inter-Governmental Committee on Economic Cooperation mechanism; create favourable conditions for each other's goods to enter each other's markets; and encourage Slovenian enterprises to increase investment in Vietnam, especially in areas where Slovenia has strengths such as maritime transport, logistics, renewable energy, and pharmaceuticals.

Expressing her impression of Vietnam's recent socio-economic development and international integration achievements in recent years, Stiglic spoke highly of its increasingly important role and position in the region and the world.
Slovakia always treasures and wishes to enhance relations with Vietnam – its leading important partner in Southeast Asia, she stressed, adding that more and more Slovenian businesses are interested in business cooperation with Vietnam.

She hailed Vietnam's strong commitments at COP26 in 2021 regarding climate change adaptation, affirming that Slovenia is willing to share experience and collaborate with Vietnam in this field.

The officials agreed to promote bilateral cooperation in potential areas such as education; training; green, digital and circular economy; maritime transport; logistics; tourism; and labour.

They exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern, affirming commitment to maintaining close coordination and mutual support in multilateral forums.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the two sides emphasised support for Vietnam's and ASEAN's stance on ensuring security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the sea, settling disputes through peaceful measures, and adhering to international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).

Hang took the occasion to suggest the Slovenian government continue to create favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community in the European nation to live stably and integrate well into the local society, thus serving as a bridge connecting cooperation between the two countries.

During her stay, Deputy FM Hang had meetings with Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajo and President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia Tibor Simonka, and a working session with Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Igor Papic. She also attended a ceremony to celebrate the 30th founding anniversary of the Vietnam - Slovenia diplomatic ties.

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