Authorities of Binh Lieu and Hai Ha districts in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh (Vietnam) and Fang Cheng Zone in China’s Guangxi province have agreed to hold a ceremony to mark the official opening of Hoanh Mo - Dong Zhong Border Gate pair this month.

At their talks on May 9, representatives from the localities agreed that the opening ceremony is of significance in terms of politics, economy, and culture of the Vietnamese and Chinese localities where the border gate pair is located.

The participating parties agreed to focus on promoting the results of traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and China, as well as between Quang Ninh province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, including Binh Lieu and Hai Ha district, and China’s Fang Cheng Zone in Fang Cheng Gang city. The goal is to build a border of peace, stability, friendship, cooperation, and development. They will also promote border trade via the Hoanh Mo - Dong Zhong border gate pair and the Bac Phong Sinh – Lihe crossing.

At the end of the talks, the parties expressed their goodwill and determination to coordinate in promptly implementing agreed work to further improve the quality and efficiency of border gate management and trade./.

Efforts continue to search for missing fishermen at sea: spokeswoman

Relevant Vietnamese authorities are coordinating closely with the Chinese side to search for the fishermen from the central province of Quảng Bình who went missing after their vessels got into distress at sea, spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Phạm Thu Hằng said on Thursday.

At the ministry’s regular press conference, Hằng cited reports from competent authorities which said on May 2 - 3, four fishing vessels from Quảng Bình with 24 fishermen on board got into distress at sea. Authorities and fishing vessels of Vietnam have been working with the search and rescue force of China to actively search for the fishermen on the vessels.

So far, 13 have been saved while one was found dead, and 10 are still missing, she noted.

The spokeswoman said as soon as receiving the notification, the foreign ministry liaised with the Chinese Embassy in Hà Nội and instructed the Vietnamese Embassy in Beijing to inform China’s search and rescue agency about the case and ask the Chinese side to send necessary forces and vehicles to search for and save the missing fishermen.

Relevant agencies of China have deployed vehicles to coordinate with Việt Nam in the search, she went on, adding that authorities of Việt Nam are also working closely with the Chinese side to search for the fishermen, stay updated with the situation, and get citizen protection measures ready.

PM suggests Samsung see Vietnam as strategic manufacturing, export base

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh received Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Samsung Electronics Park Hark-kyu in Hanoi on May 9, calling on the firm from the Republic of Korea (RoK) to view Vietnam as a strategic manufacturing and export base.

The government leader applauded Samsung’s efforts and determination while doing business in Vietnam.

The host and guest noted with satisfaction that the Vietnam - RoK comprehensive strategic partnership is growing strongly, political trust between the two countries unceasingly enhanced, and cooperation in various areas flourishing, especially in politics, economy, culture, and people-to-people exchanges, which form an important foundation for Samsung to expand investment in Vietnam.

PM Chinh affirmed that the Vietnamese Government always attaches importance to improving the investment climate and pledges to create favourable conditions for long-term operations of foreign enterprises.

It will continue providing optimal conditions for the projects of Samsung to operate fruitfully and develop sustainably in Vietnam in the spirit of harmonising interests and sharing risks, he stated.

For his part, Park noted Samsung has invested 22.4 billion USD in Vietnam so far and plans to add about 1 billion USD to its investment in the Southeast Asian country annually.

Aside from research, development, manufacturing, and export of electronic and high-technology products, the group has also been investing in supporting industries and manpower training for Vietnamese companies, and helping local firms to engage in its production and supply chain, he said.

Samsung hopes to continue developing to contribute to Vietnam’s foreign trade and economic growth, the CFO added.

Appreciating Samsung’s building of an R&D centre and participation in manpower training in Vietnam, PM Chinh asked the group to coordinate closely to effectively run the training centres based at the National Innovation Centre (NIC), step up cooperation to turn digital technology enterprises of Vietnam into partners in its ecosystem, increase investment in and expand the R&D centre, and boost assistance for startup, innovation, and manpower training in the country.

He also welcomed Samsung’s production and business plan, calling on it to continue helping Vietnam further improve domestic companies’ capacity so that they can join in Samsung’s supply chain more effectively.

Samsung should continue seeing Vietnam as a strategic base for manufacturing and exporting its key products to international markets, particularly when the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the EU - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) already took effect, PM Chinh suggested.

Agreeing with his host, Park spoke highly of Vietnam’s investment and business climate as well as the PM’s readiness to listen to and assist enterprises, adding Samsung will continue standing side by side with the country on the development path./.

Cuc Phuong National Park rescues rare gibbon

The Cuc Phuong National Park in the northern province of Ninh Binh has rescued a yellow-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus gabriellae) which belongs to IB group - the list of endangered and rare species prioritized for protection following the Government’s Decree 84/2021/ND-CP.

The animal was handed over by a resident in Hai Phong city, who found the gibbon on his farm and contacted the park’s Endangered Primate Rescue Centre (EPRC) and Hai Phong City’s Forest Protection Department.

A representative of the park said that last month, it also rescued a rare gibbon from Hai Phong city.

Currently, 29 endangered primates are cared for at the park’s EPRC - a non-profit project dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, breeding, research, and conservation of Vietnam’s endangered and critically endangered primate species. Established in 1993, through collaboration between the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Cuc Phuong National Park, the centre is presently managed under the umbrella of the Vietnam Primate Conservation Programme, jointly operated by the Zoo Leipzig and the Cuc Phuong National Park.

Currently, the programme conserves over 180 primates representing 14 endangered and rare species in Vietnam. Of those, 12 species have been successfully bred with a total of 382 individuals. Of these, three species have bred for the first time in captivity.

The programme has also released 154 individuals into the wild./.

Red cross society takes early action to respond to disasters

Seeing disaster preparedness as a strategic mission, the Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRCS) has focused on early action to respond to disasters, VRCS Central Committee Vice President and General Secretary Nguyen Hai Anh said at a workshop held in the central city of Da Nang on May 9.

This year, the VRCS continues to implement its coordination programmes with competent ministries, branches and sectors, improving the quality of the response forces, providing guidance on the application of the Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for Disaster Response while making reports to relevant authorities in a timely manner and flexibly deploying rescue force, he said.

Vietnam is now home to more than 400,000 VRCS volunteers who are given regular training on natural disaster response and rescue skills, he highlighted. Anh said since the beginning of the year, the society has rolled out various activities to support locals hit by hail, thunderstorms and cyclones in the northern mountainous region, drought and saline intrusion in Mekong Delta, and serious incidents at production and business establishments across the nation.

Since January 2023, disasters have left 166 dead and missing as well as caused damage worth some 8.23 trillion VND (323.4 million USD).

Last year, nearly 149 billion VND in both cash and goods was granted for disaster and disease response work of the VRCS chapters./.

Finland-funded climate change adaptation projects reviewed

Projects to promote the modernisation of air quality monitoring and management system in urban areas, and hydrometeorological services in Vietnam funded by Finland is progressing effectively, contributing significantly to improving the capacity of the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting (NCHMF) in early warning of tropical storms, strong winds, and heavy rain, according to Finnish Minister of Climate and the Environment Kai Mykkänen.

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency’s reporters on the sidelines of the "Climate Solutions from Finland" programme held in late April in Helsinki, the official said through the projects, workshops discussing measures to better air quality have been organised to provide support and share the best solutions and experience of Finland in designing air quality monitoring networks.

According to Mykkänen, the Northern Centre for Environmental Monitoring (NCEM) under the Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA), is focusing on expanding and modernising air quality monitoring networks in accordance with a national plan for environmental monitoring for the 2021-2030 period with a vision to 2050.

The official also highlighted the results of a project to upgrade the rainfall measurement, and storm and lightning prediction capabilities of the NCHMF, which was jointly implemented by Vaisala Group of Finland and the Finnish Meteorological Institute, saying that the project helped improve Vietnam's weather radar network and supported the installation of a nationwide lightning detection sensor network.

He praised the positive participation and commitment of the project’s management agency - the Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration (VNMHA) and Finnish contractors, saying that the project met the requirements for improving the early warning system, thus minimising damage caused by extreme weather patterns.

Investing in meteorological services and early warning systems is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to respond to climate change, and avoid future losses and damage caused by its impacts, he stressed.

The official affirmed that the long-term cooperation between Finnish and Vietnamese partners has greatly contributed to modernising Vietnam's meteorological and hydrological observation and weather forecasting systems, thus helping Vietnam better cope with increasing climate-related risks and the impacts of climate change, and supporting other sectors such as agriculture and health care./.

Lam Dong targets becoming “green paradise” by 2030

The Central Highlands province of Lam Dong aims to become a green tourism paradise by 2030 and a modern, green, smart and worth-living centrally-run city by 2050.

The goals are set in the province’s master plan for the 2021-2030 period, with a vision to 2050, which was approved by the Prime Minister in late last year.

Under the plan, Lam Dong’s tourism sector will develop comprehensively in scale and quality of human resources and services, diversify tourism products, and upgrade infrastructure to the international level, thus creating impetus for the development of related industries on the foundation of green economy, circular economy, digital economy, and creative industries. It will accommodate leading high-end resort-eco-healthcare-sport tourism centres in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

Lam Dong will turn the resort city of Da Lat into a leading tourism centres with high-quality nightlife activities. Bao Loc city and its surrounding areas will become satellites and regional tourism centres.

It will also prioritise high-class tourism services such as golf, horse and dog racing.

Situated on a plateau around 1,500 metres above sea level, Da Lat is famous for its French colonial heritage. It used to be a summer retreat for French officials during colonial times thanks to its year-round cool climate and beautiful landscape.

In 2022, CNN listed Da Lat as one of "18 most underrated places in Asia."

Lam Dong received over 8.65 million tourist arrivals last year, up 15% year-on-year. Of them, international visitors reached 400,000, up 167%. During the five-day Reunification Day and May Day holidays from April 27 to May 1, the province welcomed about 210,000 visitors, an increase of 40% compared to the same period in 2023./.

Việt Nam, Italy look to beef up sci-tech cooperation

The 8th session of the Việt Nam-Italy Joint Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation took place in Rome on Wednesday to summarise the collaboration so far and set out new tasks for the two sides.

The event was co-chaired by Vũ Thị Tú Quyên, Deputy Director of the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology’s Department of International Cooperation, and Giuseppe Pastorelli, Deputy Director of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s economic promotion and innovation department.

Both sides expressed satisfaction at the outcomes of the seven bilateral sci-tech cooperation programmes implemented since 1998. These programmes have fostered strong collaborative relationships between Vietnamese and Italian research institutes and universities, enabling joint research projects in Italy's areas of expertise to effectively address Vietnam's socio-economic development needs.

Over 70 educational establishments and more than 250 experts of the two nations have participated in field surveys, study tours, exchange visits, and the training of over 50 Master’ and PHD students. Additionally, they have jointly published over 150 scientific papers on journals from Việt Nam, Italy, and around the world.

The 8th session saw the sides concurring on their cooperation scheme for 2024-2026, focusing on the five priority areas of agricultural science and food technology, information technology and communication, climate change and sustainable development, space science and earth observation, and technology for conservation and restoration of cultural and natural heritage. They also finalised a list of joint research projects to be implemented in the near future.

Japanese Ambassador honoured for contributing to Việt Nam-Japan diplomatic relations

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn on Wednesday awarded the “For the cause of Việt Nam's foreign affairs” insignia to outgoing Japanese Ambassador to Việt Nam Yamada Takio in recognition of his contributions to Việt Nam - Japan diplomatic relations.

At their meeting, Sơn assessed that during the past 4-year term of Ambassador Yamada Takio, bilateral relations have grown well in all fields with outstanding achievements.

The diplomat's efforts and contributions to strengthening the friendship and cooperation between the two nations, he said.

The minister hoped that in the coming time, Ambassador Yamada Takio, with his experience, understanding, and affection for Việt Nam, will continue to contribute to the Việt Nam-Japan relations in such fields as economy, investment, human resources training, people-to-people and locality-to-locality exchanges, and tourism.

For his part, Ambassador Yamada Takio thanked the ministry for supporting and closely coordinating with the Japanese Embassy over the past four years in the context of many new and complicated developments in the world and region, especially the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He affirmed that in any positions he holds in the coming time, he will continue to promote the bilateral friendship and cooperation. 

Draft decree to enable carbon credit transactions through bilateral deals

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) is seeking feedback on a draft decree on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction and ozone layer protection.

The draft contains provisions covering carbon credit transactions between countries through bilateral deals, which is in line with Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement. 

It also includes provisions that enable the governing body in charge of a public investment project to sign carbon credit deals with other countries following the Law on International Agreements. 

The deals must specify the amount of GHG emission reductions generated by the project to be transferred.

Under the draft decree, the Ministry has the authority to issue a Letter of Approval for the project based on the request of the governing body, the opinions of relevant ministries and Việt Nam's national GHG emission reduction targets.

If the project is not granted a Letter of Approval, its GHG emission reductions will be counted toward Việt Nam's Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) but cannot be counted toward other countries' NDCs.

Decree No. 06/2022/NĐ-CP on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction and ozone layer protection was issued on January 7, 2022, to make way for a domestic carbon trading market.

Under the plan specified in the decree, Việt Nam will develop a legal framework for carbon credit transactions and operating rules for a carbon trading platform by 2027.

A supervising body will also be established to implement the trial run of the platform in 2025 and put it into official operation in 2028.

It is worth noting that the provisions on Letters of Approval are absent in the decree. 

Moving forward with national key transport projects: PM

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính urged the acceleration of national key transport projects while chairing a meeting in Hà Nội on Wednesday.

At the 11th meeting of the State's Steering Committee for national key transport projects and works, the Government leader lauded efforts by investors, constructors, engineers and labourers in the implementation of the projects over the past time.

PM Chính, who is also head of the committee, reiterated the targets of 3,000km of expressways by 2025 and 5,000km by 2030 as set at the 13th National Party Congress and highlighted the enormous workload for this year.

He asked ministries, agencies and localities to take more drastic actions to remove roadblocks to ensure the progress and quality of the projects, while fighting corruption and other negative phenomena in this regard.

Stressing the importance of site clearance, he urged localities to work harder in this stage, and complete procedures to ensure materials for the construction, along with paving the way for new projects.

Ministries and agencies were also asked to quickly address the bottlenecks regarding foreign loans, and send working groups to localities, helping them mitigate obstacles in construction work.

For the circuit-3 500kV transmission line, the leader ordered great efforts in land clearance and resettlement in order to achieve the project completion goal in June.

PCC's Inspection Commission examines violations by some Party organisations, officials

The Inspection Commission of the Party Central Committee (PCC) has proposed disciplinary measures against several Party organisations and members at its 41st meeting in Hà Nội.

At the meeting, the Inspection Commission looked into the case involving the Party delegation to the HCM City People's Committee. It stated that the Party delegation violated the principle of democratic centralism and working regulations, and showed a lack of responsibility and lax leadership and instruction, letting the People’s Committee and organisations and individuals violate the Party’s regulations and the State’s laws in the management and use of land, finance and assets, as well as investment, planning and the implementation of projects run by Vạn Thịnh Phát Group and bidding packages and projects by Advanced International Joint Stock Company (AIC).

Many Party organisations and members have been disciplined, and many others have undergone criminal proceedings.

Such violations have caused very serious consequences and risks of huge losses to State assets and social resources, triggered public concern, and negatively affected the reputation of the city Party organisation and administration, to the extent that they must be reviewed and handled, the commission noted.

It said the Standing Board of the municipal Party Committee for the 2010-2015 term, and the Party delegation to the municipal People's Committee for the 2011-2016 and 2016-2021 tenures must bear the main responsibility for the above-said violations and wrongdoings.

Lê Thanh Hải, former Politburo member, former Secretary of the municipal Party Committee, and former Secretary of the Party and former Chairman of the municipal People's Committee; Lê Hoàng Quân and Nguyễn Thành Phong, former members of the Party Central Committee, former Deputy Secretaries of the municipal Party Committee, and former secretaries of the Party delegation and former Chairmen of the municipal People's Committee; and several other Party organisations and members must also shared the major responsibility.

The Inspection Commission decided to issue warnings against the Party delegation to the People’s Committee for the 2011-2016 and 2016-2021 terms, and the Party Committees of the municipal Departments of Finance, and Planning and Investment for the 2015-2020 term, and the Departments of Construction, and Natural Resources and Environment for the 2010-2015 tenure.

It reprimanded the Party Committees of the Departments of Construction, and Natural Resources and Environment for the 2015-2020 term and Nguyễn Toàn Thắng, Secretary of the Party Committee and Director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

The commission proposed authorised agencies consider and take disciplinary measures against the Standing Board of the municipal Party Committee for the 2010-2015 terms and Hải, Quân and Phong.

The Standing Board of the municipal Party Committee and the Party delegation to the municipal People's Committee were asked to instruct the correction of the violations and wrongdoings, and consider and handle organisations and individuals who committed violations.

At the meeting, the commission also scrutinised the cases involving Party members of the Party Organisations in the northern provinces of Bắc Giang, Bắc Ninh and Vĩnh Phúc and the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, the Government Office, and the National Assembly Office.

The cases involved Mai Tiến Dũng, former member of the Party Central Committee and former Minister-Chairman of the Government Office; Dương Văn Thái, member of the Party Central Committee, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee and Head of the National Assembly Deputy Delegation of Bắc Giang Province; Phạm Thái Hà, member of the Standing Board of the Party Committee and Vice Chairman of the NA Office, and Assistant to the NA Chairman, and some officials of the localities, who the Inspection Commission said, have shown a decline in political ideology and morality, seriously violated the Party’s regulations and the State’s laws while performing their tasks in the fight against corruption and other negative phenomena, and violated rules set for Party members, causing “very serious” consequences and public anger, and negatively affecting the reputation of Party organisations and agencies.

It proposed competent agencies consider and impose disciplinary measures against Dũng, Thái and Hà and a number of local officials, while several others were expelled from the Party.

For the case of the Standing Board of the Party Committee of Military Region 3, the commission asked it to carry forward its achievements and review its shortcomings in instructing the implementation of working regulations, personnel affairs, the management and use of land, finance and assets, and investment, and the declaration of assets and income. 

Fire at parking lot destroyed 40 electric tourist cars

A fire broke out at the car park of the Central Electric Power College in Hội An City, Quảng Nam Province, on Wednesday, destroying 40 electric tourist cars.

The fire was first noticed by security guards at around 5.50am. They immediately alerted the fire department.

Firefighters from the Fire Prevention and Rescue Police Department of Bắc Quảng Nam rushed to the scene. After 30 minutes, the blaze was brought under control.

The parking lot was leased by a private company to park electric tourist cars. At the time of the fire, some school employees managed to push 12 cars out of the car park, but six of them were damaged. The remaining 40 were completely destroyed.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

Bến Tre Province builds embankments to prevent river, coastal erosion

The southern Bến Tre Province is building two embankments to prevent erosion of riverbanks and coasts in Châu Thành and Ba Tri districts.

They include the Giao Hoà Riverbank Erosion Prevention Project in Châu Thành and the Coastal Erosion Prevention Project in Ba Tri at a cost of VNĐ300 billion (US$11.8 million) funded by the Government's contingency fund.

Nguyễn Văn Điền, director of the Project Management Board for Investment in Agricultural and Rural Development in Bến Tre Province, said the Giao Hoà project includes the construction of an embankment running 472m, repairs and enhancement of embankment crests and railings totalling over 1,161m in length, and improvements to the embankment under the An Hóa Bridge.

They will cost VNĐ105 billion, and over 52 per cent of the work is complete.

It will help prevent erosion directly affecting residential areas and agricultural lands, impacting 300 households.

It involves the immediate relocation of 26 households.

The work is expected to be completed by August.

According to the Project Management Board for Investment in Agricultural and Rural Development in Bến Tre, the coastal erosion prevention project in Ba Tri will span 2.3km. 

It is divided into two embankment sections and will cost VNĐ210 billion.

Around 50 per cent of the work is complete.

It aims to prevent coastal erosion and land loss due to the impact of climate change and rising sea levels, enabling sustainable and long-term production development in local areas.

It is expected to be completed in October.

According to the Bến Tre Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, in the past decade riverine and coastal erosion has become increasingly unpredictable and been causing significant loss of agricultural land and protective forests, and affecting the livelihoods of locals, especially in the coastal districts of Ba Tri, Thạnh Phú and Bình Đại.

The province currently has 112 erosion-prone locations totalling a length of 134km.

Riverbank erosion threatens 104 spots stretching approximately 115km, affecting houses and agricultural lands belonging to 700 households.

Coastal erosion threatens the other eight locations stretching 19km leading to the loss of 200ha of farmlands and 54ha of protective forests.

Beside, among these locations, there are 13km of riverbanks and 8,5km of coastline are severely affected by erosion more than others.

These include the coasts of Ba Tri, Bình Đại and Thạnh Phú, and the riverbanks of Mỏ Cày and areas like Tam Hiệp, Bình Đạ and Phú Đa.

They require urgent protection, at a cost exceeding VNĐ1,000 billion.

Health authorities convene to tighten grips on food facilities

The Health Department of Đồng Nai has held an urgent meeting to discuss tightening the supervision of food facilities in the province, following the mass food poisoning incident involving Cô Băng Bakery.

Trịnh Bửu Lễ, Director of the Medical Centre of Long Khánh, revealed that there are currently 132 bakeries in the city, but only one-fifth of them have business licences.

The recent food poisoning incident involving Cô Băng Bakery is not the first serious food poisoning incident to occur in the city. A similar incident took place in June 2021, leading to 250 people being rushed to the hospital.

Fortunately, the cases were mild and no fatalities were reported.

"Regarding the recent food poisoning incident, the owner of Cô Băng Bakery has covered the medical expenses of all the victims," said Lễ.

According to the Food Safety Department of Đồng Nai, 4,100 food facilities in the province were inspected in the first four months of 2024, of which about 4,000 came up to standard whereas 18 were found to violate food safety regulations and were imposed a total fine of VNĐ196 million (US$7,700).

Their main violations included not complying strictly with the three-step food inspection rule and operating with expired food safety licences.

Võ Thị Ngọc Lắm, Deputy Director of the Health Department of Đồng Nai, emphasised the need for enhanced cooperation among agencies in supervising food providers.

She urged commune-level officials to promptly report any violations, or signs of violations, to district authorities to prevent further food poisoning incidents.

At the meeting, representatives from districts and cities highlighted the difficulties in supervising small-scale food facilities, in particular street food vendors.

They noted that enforcement actions, primarily at the commune level, often involve warnings rather than administrative penalties.

By May 7, seven days after the food poisoning incident involving Cô Băng Bakery, 547 people had been hospitalised, of which 466 recovered and were discharged from the hospital, while 81 were still being treated.

In the most serious case, a young child, is showing signs of improvement and is expected to be taken off the ventilator in the next few days, while the health of the other patients hospitalised has stabilised.

Testing of 29 patient samples revealed that 16/29 samples were positive for both Salmonella and E. coli bacteria, while 9/29 samples were positive for E. coli bacteria.

Testing of food samples taken from Cô Băng Bakery at the time of the poisoning incident showed that 4/8 food samples were positive for Salmonella.

On April 30, Cô Băng Bakery on Trần Quang Diệu Street, Xuân Bình Ward, Long Khánh City, sold more than 1,000 pork bread sandwiches to customers.

The following morning many customers began to experience diarrhoea and vomiting and were admitted to the Long Khánh General Hospital.

At the time of the investigation following the incident, Cô Băng Bakery did not have either a business licence or a food safety license.

MoT to accelerate transportation projects in Central Highlands

The Ministry of Transport has recently announced that it will tighten co-operation with local authorities in the Tây Nguyên (Central Highland) provinces to accelerate projects that improve local transportation.

Accordingly, the ministry announced that it has a plan to develop the social-economy linked with the security and national defense in the Central Highlands region.

Under the co-operation, the ministry and local provinces will co-ordinate to accelerate land clearance to ensure that all projects will be done in time.

To exploit and leverage the potential and advantages of the region, the ministry will prioritise the development of road and air routes, focusing on removing transportation bottlenecks in the region, ensuring connectivity and forming links between the Central Highlands and the central and Southeast coastal areas.

The ministry will also support localities in researching and investing in expressways; sections of the North-South expressway to the West; expanding airports of Liên Khương, Pleiku, and Buôn Ma Thuột; restoring and upgrading the Tháp Chàm – Đà Lạt railway line; and the railway line connecting the Central Highlands with nearby provinces.

In detail, by 2030, the Ministry of Transport is expected to complete construction and operation of the 180km Quy Nhơn - Pleiku expressway with a preliminary total investment of around VNĐ54 trillion (US$2.1 billion).

By 2027, the plan is expected to be put into operation the 118 Khánh Hoà – Buôn Ma Thuột expressway with a preliminary total investment of nearly VNĐ22 trillion ($871 million).

By 2027, the aim is to open the 129km Gia Nghĩa – Chơn Thành expressway with a preliminary investment of over VNĐ25.5 trillion ($1 billion). By 2028, the plan is to inaugurate the 67km Tân Phú – Bảo Lộc expressway with a total investment of over VNĐ18 trillion ($710 million).

By 2025, the ministry is also studying the addition of the Quảng Ngãi - Kon Tum expressway to the plan.

It is researching and preparing for investment in the North - South west expressway, with the investment process for expressways after 2030 including the Ngọc Hồi - Pleiku expressway, 90 km in length, six lanes, with a preliminary total investment of around VND19 trillion; the Pleiku – Buôn Ma Thuột expressway, 160 km in length, six lanes, with a preliminary total investment of about VNĐ34 trillion ($1.3 million); and the Buôn Ma Thuột- Gia Nghĩa expressway, 105 km in length, six lanes, with a total investment of VNĐ22.1 trillion ($871 million).

The ministry confirmed that it will co-ordinate with the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ministry of Finance to prioritise investment resources for developing economic and social infrastructure in the Central Highlands region.

The ministries therefore will guide and co-ordinate investment activities to connect production areas, routes to the centres of communes, villages, and inter-village roads.

The Ministry of Transport will also empower localities to invest in infrastructure managed by the Government within provincial territories, especially in transportation infrastructure projects. This aims to leverage the proactive nature of localities, and mobilise maximum resources for investing in the development of transportation infrastructure.

A specific roadmap for each year will be issued to implement the plan. The solution put forward is to efficiently utilise the transportation infrastructure and organise transportation in a scientific and efficient manner.

Actions will be taken to construct and implement a maintenance plan for the transportation infrastructure to promptly address any deterioration, incidents, or potential dangers posing risks to traffic safety.

The ministry will also apply modern technologies in management, operation, design, construction, organisation, exploitation, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure to accelerate progress, improve quality, and reduce project costs while also protect the environment, and address climate change.

The ministry also informed that it will promote the implementation of transportation infrastructure connectivity projects between Việt Nam and countries in the Mekong Sub-Region, especially within the framework of co-operation in the Mekong Sub-Region, the Cambodia - Laos - Viet Nam Development Triangle, and other ASEAN countries.

The Central Highlands region contains the provinces of Đắk Lắk, Đắk Nông, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Lâm Đồng. The region borders Laos and Cambodia. 

HCMC aims to transform into film city

There have been positive developments as to fundamental supports for the growth of the cultural industry, especially the film industry, in HCMC lately to help it turn into a film city in the near future.

“The spirit of a film city is the availability to offer logistics support to filmmakers, who are then free to apply their creativity in film content”, shared famous Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda at the HCMC International Film Festival (HIFF) 2024.

Obviously, the role of the State as well as specific policies of each locality is the key to facilitating the development of the film industry. With the goal to become a film city and a member in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), HCMC particularly pays attention to policy making in this matter. It has launched the project ‘Developing the Cultural Industry in HCMC until 2030’ with clear visions and strategic aims for each period.

Moreover, the HCMC People’s Council has introduced several resolutions with the same aim, such as Resolution 181/ NQ-HDND on December 8, 2023 about a list of projects to call for investments under the public-private partnership method, including 23 projects in the culture-sports fields; Resolution 16/2023/NQ-HDND on September 19, 2023 about the minimum total investment scale of projects under the public-private partnership method; Resolution 12/2023/NQ-HDND on September 19, 2023 about the content and rewards for contests, festivals, and professional literature composition competitions.

Turning to the downside, as there are both subjective disadvantages (cinematographers, lighting and sound technicians) and objective ones (equipment and facilities), the Vietnamese cinema has not been able to keep up with the world. In HCMC, there is also a serious shortage in human resources, especially high-level ones, in the film industry. What is more, the State’s investment in film infrastructure, technologies, production, and distribution is rather limited and inconsistent, thus cannot achieve the expected goals.

In order for the film industry in HCMC, and the whole country in general, to match its potentials, it is necessary to create close connections among relevant units and form a network to join the international one. Film producer Tran Thi Bich Ngoc, in charge of the ‘Project Market’ in HIFF 2024, commented that it is vital to make global filmmakers realize the potentials of Vietnam via its capable and talented human resources, strong logistics. Only then can these filmmakers turn to Vietnam for cooperation opportunities.

Director Charlie Nguyen agreed with this stance, saying that the key to achieving the above ambition is to have a consistent and healthy cinema ecosystem in the country. The most important factor seems to be human resources, especially in script writing.

Dr. Truong Minh Huy Vu stressed on the necessity to train capable human resources in the film industry, ranging from script writers, directors, actors and actresses to film businesspeople. These professional people are able to help the national cinema industry to compete with the global one.

The essential role of human resources training has been reflected in the project ‘Developing the Cultural Industry in HCMC until 2030’, along with a sensible proposal of issuing policies to attract more talents in the cultural industry to improve the overall quality.

"HCMC’s cultural industry will bloom vibrantly to match its international counterparts as long as suitable mechanisms are adopted. The cinema must become a key factor in the cultural industry, contributing to raising the public’s awareness and boosting the growth of tourism. I hope that HCMC is able to properly invest in this field and develop appropriate mechanisms for its film industry to go global and attract more filmmakers in the world to the city”, said Prof. Dr. Trinh Quang Phu – Head of the Oriental Research Development Institute (ORDI).

Rural areas warned about shift of environmental pollution there

The report on environment protection in 2023 sent to the National Assembly mentions a risk of pollution in rural areas due to new manufacturing activities.

According to the report, there are still many manufacturing models that create environmental pollution such as releasing chemicals and toxic substances that are hard to decompose into the atmosphere, leading to high treatment costs. Adding to that is a significant rise of businesses in the fields of industry, construction, mining, processing, and production lately.

Worryingly, air pollution caused by dust, especially Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5, is still serious and seasonal. This situation is increasingly worsening in large cities. The Air Quality Index (AQI) in Hanoi and HCMC reveals that there are many times the safety threshold is exceeded, gravely harming the public’s health.

As to water pollution, the amount of domestic sewage as well as wastewater from craft villages has considerably risen whereas current treatment facilities cannot meet the huge demands at the present. Only 30.3 percent of industrial clusters and 16.1 percent of craft villages nationwide invest in constructing a centralized wastewater treatment system. The total volume of domestic sewage collected and treated in urban areas is rather low, at 17 percent, while most residential areas in the countryside can enjoy no such facilities.

Regarding solid waste, the total quantity of household one in 61 out of 63 provinces and cities in Vietnam is nearly 67,900 tonnes per day, nearly three-fifths of which are from urban areas. The proportion of collected and treated solid waste in rural areas only reaches 78 percent. The percentage of craft villages with a collection point for industrial solid waste is merely 21 percent. Many types of hazardous waste, residual pesticide packaging, and hazardous medical waste are not thoroughly or satisfactorily treated.

Thai Xoe dance performance sets new record

The massive performance of Thai Xoe dance art has been recognized as the show organized at the largest number of places in the country by the Vietnam Record Organization (VietKings) in Hanoi on May 7.

A Thai Xoe dance performance featuring the participation of more than 2,000 employees of Muong Thanh Group was held in Ha Long, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Vinh, Dien Bien, Ly Son, Phu Quoc, Hanoi and other localities nationwide, and Vientiane in Laos on May 2-7.

The event aims to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory (May 7, 1954 - 2024) and the National Tourism Year-Dien Bien 2024.

The art of Thai Xoe dance was listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at the 16th session of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which took place from December 13-18, 2021 in Paris, France.

Thai Xoe is a unique type of traditional dance that is associated with and plays a significant role in the daily life of Thai ethnic communities in the northwest of Vietnam, especially in the provinces of Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Son La, and Yen Bai.

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