The authorities of Ca Mau Province have reached out to the central Government for assistance regarding a sand undersupply that is impacting the construction of the Can Tho-Ca Mau Expressway which runs through the Mekong Delta province.

The total sand requirement for building the expressway’s roadbed, including the Hau Giang-Ca Mau section, is 18.5 million cubic meters. However, to date, the contractors have secured only 3.5 million cubic meters.

This shortage is exacerbated by an inadequate supply of river sand, delays in completing procedural requirements for exploitation, and the inability of operating sand mines to meet project timelines due to regulatory restrictions.

According to local officials, these challenges are causing substantial delays, with the project expected to be six months behind schedule by the end of 2025.

Currently, the Hau Giang-Ca Mau section of the expressway is just 25.9% complete, mainly focusing on bridges. Progress on the main route has been particularly hampered by the lack of sand.

The Hau Giang-Ca Mau section spans over 73 kilometers and requires an investment of more than VND17,152 billion.

First working day of Party Central Committee's ninth plenum

The ninth plenum of the 13th Party Central Committee opened in Hanoi on May 16 morning.

Prior to the plenary session in the morning, the Politburo announced its decision to assign Gen. Luong Cuong, Politburo member and Director of the General Department of Politics of the Vietnam People's Army to join the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat and hold the position of its permanent member.

Additionally, Secretary of the Party Central Committee and current Chief of its Office Le Minh Hung will assume the role of head of the Party Central Committee’s Organisation Commission while retaining his current position.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong presided over and delivered an opening speech at the session, while Politburo member and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, on behalf of the Politburo, coordinated the session.

Cuong, in his new capacity as permanent member of the Secretariat, presented the agenda for the 9th plenum's deliberations. The committee later discussed personnel issues and disciplinary measures against some officials.

1. The Party Central Committee considered the termination of positions and duties for Truong Thi Mai, Politburo member and member of the 13th Party Central Committee.

Mai is a senior leader of the Party and the State, who received fundamental training and matured from the grassroots level. She was assigned to hold many important leadership positions in the Party and the State. Throughout her career and in her leadership roles, she always demonstrated a high sense of responsibility, successfully fulfilled the tasks assigned, and made significant contributions to the leadership and direction of the Party and activities of the National Assembly.

However, according to a report by the Party Central Committee's Inspection Commission, during her tenure as a Politburo member, Secretary of the Party Central Committee, and head of its Mass Mobilisation Commission, Mai had made a number of wrongdoings and violations of regulations on what Party members must not do, the regulations on the responsibility to set an example of officials and Party members, firstly Politburo member, member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat and member of the Party Central Committee, thus affecting the prestige of the Party and her personal reputation. Fully aware of her responsibilities before the Party and the people, Mai submitted a request to resign from the assigned positions and retire.

Following the regulations of the Party, the State and based on Mai's wishes, the Party Central Committee agreed to let her resign from the posts of Politburo member and member of the 13th Party Central Committee.

2. The Party Central Committee decided to introduce candidates for the 15th National Assembly to elect the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the 2021-2026 tenure and the Chairman of the 15th legislature (2021-2026 tenure).

3. The committee elected four additional members to the 13th Politburo. They are Le Minh Hung, Secretary of the Party Central Committee, head of the Party Central Committee's Organisation Commission and Chief of the Party Central Committee’s Office; Nguyen Trong Nghia, Secretary of the Party Central Committee and head of the Party Central Committee's Commission for Information and Education; Bui Thi Minh Hoai, Secretary of the Party Central Committee and head of the Party Central Committee's Mass Mobilisation Commission; and Do Van Chien, Secretary of the Party Central Committee and President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee.

4. The Party Central Committee decided to impose disciplinary measures on several high-ranking members:

-Le Thanh Hai, former Politburo member, former Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, former Secretary of the municipal Party Civil Affairs Committee and former Chairman of the municipal People's Committee, was found to have violated the democratic centralism principle, Party regulations, state laws, and regulations on things that Party member must not do, the responsibility of setting good examples, and working rules. He also showed a lack of responsibility, and relaxed leadership and direction, leading to significant breaches and wrongdoings within the city's Party organisation and administration, resulting in severe consequences, risks of substantial financial losses and wastefulness to the State’s money and asset, along with multiple criminal cases, including very serious ones, which involved many officials and Party members who violated the law and were subsequently disciplined and prosecuted, stirring public concern and causing very negative impact on the reputation of the Party organisation and administration of the city.

- Duong Van Thai, a member of the 13th Central Committee and Secretary of the Bac Giang provincial Party Committee, along with Mai Tien Dung, former member of the Party Central Committee and former Minister-Chairman of the Government Office, were found to exhibit moral and lifestyle degradation and serious breaches of Party regulations and state laws while performing their assigned duties and in anti-corruption efforts. They also violated regulations on things that a Party member is banned from doing and on the responsibility of setting good examples, causing severe repercussions, public outrage, and significant damage to the credibility of the Party, local government, and state agencies.

Based on the nature, severity, consequences, and causes of their violations, and following the Party regulations on disciplinary measures for violating Party organisations and members, the Party Central Committee decided to strip Le Thanh Hai of all Party positions; and expel Duong Van Thai and Mai Tien Dung from the Party.

The Party Central Committee tasked the Politburo with directing relevant agencies to implement these decisions as per regulations.

In the afternoon, the Party Central Committee worked in groups, discussing the detailed outlines for the political report of the 13th Central Committee at the upcoming 14th National Party Congress, the detailed outlines for the report on five-year implementation of the 10-year socio-economic development strategy for 2021-2030, and the five-year socio-economic development plan for 2026-2030.

National Science and Technology contest launched in Bắc Giang

The 2023-2024 National Science and Technology Contest for students has been officially launched in Bắc Giang Province. 

Co-organised by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), the Central Committee of the HCM Communist Youth Union (HCYU), the Vietnam Fund for Supporting Technological Creations (VIFOTEC) and the People's Committee of Bắc Giang, the competition features 74 institutions, including 62 out of the 63 Departments of Education and Training, 12 universities and colleges and the Vietnam National Institute of Educational Sciences.

A total of 149 projects have been carefully selected from provincial and school-level competitions across 21 fields.

Phạm Ngọc Thưởng, Deputy Minister of Education and Training, emphasised that the contest provides a valuable platform for students to actively explore their creativity and foster research capabilities from middle to high school levels.

"Through the contest, we have identified many outstanding projects and contestants to represent Việt Nam in international competitions, contributing to our country's high rankings," said Thưởng.

Lê Ô Pích, Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Bắc Giang, highlighted the opportunity the contest offers for local students, teachers and education officials to engage in experience exchange with counterparts from across the country.

"It encourages students to pursue scientific and technological research, motivates universities, research institutes and organisations to support such endeavours and strengthens experience exchanges between provinces," said Pích.

According to the organisers, the projects will be ranked and awarded First, Second, Third and Fourth prizes based on their scores, but the total number of prizes will not exceed half of the projects.

First, Second and Third prize winners will receive Certificates of Merit from MOET, while First and Second prize winners will also be awarded the "Youth Innovation Badge" by HCYU.

Fourth prize winners will receive Certificates of Merit from VIFOTEC. Teachers who guided students to First prizes will be honoured with Certificates of Merit by the National Education Union of Vietnam.

The top projects from the contest will be selected to represent Việt Nam at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in the United States in 2024.

Đạt is the only Vietnamese at Abu Dhabi world championship

Chu Đức Đạt is the only Vietnamese representative at the World Judo Championship 2024 which will be held on May 19-24 in the UAE.

Đạt is one of three martial artists sent to a number of international tournaments with a view to collecting points for their world ranking, which would then allow them to take part in the world tournament and the 2024 Paris Olympics.

However, after months of fighting, Đạt, champion at the 32nd SEA Games, has only qualified for the Abu Dhabi competition.

He is one of nearly 700 athletes from over 110 countries and regions and will be competing in the men's U60kg category.

The individual classes will take place from May 19 to 23, with mixed team fights on May 24.

The championships, to be held at the Mubadala Arena, are part of the IJF World Tour and the last major stop on the road to qualifying for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics. 

Rare bird found at HCM City house

A wreathed hornbill found flying at a house in HCM City was handed over to the city's Forest Protection Department on Wednesday.

The 1.2-kilo male bird was discovered at Huynh Thi Lien's house in Xuan Thoi Thuong Commune in Hoc Mon District on May 12.

Lien noticed it was a rare bird with a distinctively large beak she had never seen before. She then captured it and contacted the local Forest Protection Department.

The wreathed hornbill belongs to the IB group, a list of endangered and rare species prioritised for protection following the Vietnamese government's Decree 84/2021/ND-CP.

Prolonged hot weather damages durian trees

Many durian growers in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak have suffered great losses due to prolonged drought.

Mai Van Hung’s family has two hectares of durian in Quang Tien Commune, Cu M’gar District. They expected to harvest around 20 tonnes of durian this year. However, the orchard is experiencing a serious drop in productivity. About 50 durian trees have no fruit left.

According to Tran Xuan Hoa in Quang Phu Town, up to 30 percent of his family’s durian trees have seen the fruit fall early. The situation has continued to worsen. He has hired people to remove vulnerable fruits and erect support columns to protect the durian trees. However, he worried that productivity would sharply decline.

Nguyen Ngoc Giao, head of Cu M’gar District’s Agricultural and Rural Development Board, said the locality is home to 5,000 hectares of durian cultivation. This year, the severe drought has resulted in water scarcity for crops, including durian trees. High temperatures have caused the trees to suffer and prematurely end their growth.

More than two million agricultural households trained in digital skills

A drone spraying pesticide on a paddy field in Bình Phước Province. Greater efforts are needed to accelerate the digital transformation in agriculture. — VNA/VNS Photo

More than two million farmer households have been trained with digital skills, with more than 50,000 farm products now on sale on e-commerce platforms, demonstrating a growing efficiency in the digital transformation of the agricultural sector, Nguyễn Quốc Toản, Director of the Centre for Digital Transformation and Agricultural Statistics said.

Speaking at a meeting on Tuesday in Hà Nội, Toản said that farmers are the centre of moves into a digital space.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Lê Minh Hoan said that with digital transformation, even if there are fewer people working in agriculture, there are still ways and tools which can be used to profit from the land. 

Hoan stressed that technology-powered development is also a way towards sustainable and green development in Việt Nam.

For cooperatives and farmers, digital transformation is a multi-channel solution, including digital platforms, e-commerce channels, using social channels to market agricultural produce, which in turn will produce data to help shape production and distribution.

However, greater efforts are needed to accelerate the digital transformation in agriculture, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The focus will now be on enhancing research and development, the application of technology, as well as innovation to speed up digital transformation and development in the agricultural digital economy - the three streams being agriculture, rural development and farmers themselves.

It is also necessary to develop big data for the sector to increase the application of digital technologies and help farmers increase quality and yield.

Deputy Prime Minister Trần Lưu Quang asked the agriculture ministry to speed up administrative reforms and develop a standardised database for the sector, including planting, husbandry, aquaculture, forestry and irrigation.

Investments should prioritise the development of the information and technology infrastructure and a structure system for high-tech crop and husbandry zones.

It is also important to create strong bonds between agricultural enterprises and technology start-up firms to develop smart and modern agricultural value chains, he said. 

Airlines report rising delays

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), 24.10 percent of flights operated by Vietnamese airlines faced delays in the first four months of this year, compared to just 15.50 percent in 2023.

A report by CAAV showed that local airlines conducted 87,036 flights in the first four months of 2024 including 36,755 by Vietnam Airlines, 36,753 by VietJet Air, 6,730 by Bamboo Airways, 2,559 by Pacific Airlines, 2,207 by VASCO, and 2,032 by Vietravel.

As many as 20,956 flights, or 24.10 percent faced delays during the period.

Pacific Airlines had the highest number of delayed flights this month, with 34.20 percent, followed by VietJet Air at 33.10 percent, Bamboo Airways at 18.40 percent, VASCO at 16.50 percent, Vietnam Airlines at 16.40, and Vietravel Airlines at 13.80 percent.

"66,080 flights, or 75.90 percent, took off on time during the period, with Vietravel Airlines, the country's youngest airline, reporting the highest on-time performance at 86.20 percent.

Explaining the rise in delayed flights during this period, CAAV said that local airlines had increased frequency and routes to meet rising demand during the Tet Lunar New Year Holiday. Meanwhile, some airlines including the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and low-cost carrier VietJet Air had reduced flights using Airbus A321 aircraft since January, due to technical issues with Pratt & Whitney's PW1100 engines.

Phu Quoc hailed as one of world’s 10 most affordable tropical destinations to visit

Phu Quoc island in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang has been named among the 10 most affordable tropical destinations to visit around the world, according to travel experts from Travel+Leisure magazine of the United States.

Whilst Phu Quoc does require connecting flights and has higher airfare costs than most places on the list, travelers shouldn’t let that be a deterrent as once they arrive at this slice of paradise visitors realise it has an incredible value, the publication shared.

The US magazine revealed that rooms at the top-rated Mövenpick Villas & Residences Phu Quoc start at just US$75.

Travel+Leisure also wrote that the night markets in Duong Dong overflow with cheap and delicious foods to eat, whilst catching rays on the white-sand beaches and hiking through Phu Quoc National Park are free activities to enjoy.

Mérida, the capital of Mexico's Yucatan state, topped the list; followed by Bali of Indonesia; Negril in Jamaica; and Phu Quoc in Vietnam.

Lush landscapes, reasonable rates, and frame-worthy photo opportunities are all top of the itinerary on a visit to these affordable tropical destinations, from Costa Rica to Vietnam, Travel+Leisure reported.

Two arrested for smuggling endangered species

Police operating in Nghi Son commune in the northern province of Thanh Hoa have detained two Vietnamese people for the crime of illegal transporting endangered, precious, and rare animals in large quantities.

The mastermind behind the case was identified as Tong Thi Lanh, 40, residing in Tan An village of Phu Nhuan commune in Phu Vang district in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

According to a police report issued on April 7, local police forces had stopped a suspicious car travelling on National Highway 1A as it passed through Nguyen Binh ward. Upon inspection of the vehicle, they found two styrofoam boxes containing nine dead pangolins and 17 big-headed turtles and yellow-headed temple turtles.

Expanding the investigation, the police forces continued to arrest Phan Quoc Vuong, 30, residing in Hoa Son commune of Hoa Vang district in Da Nang. Vuong was the person who had sent the styrofoam box containing the 17 living turtles.

Following detection of the animals, the turtles were promptly transferred to the Cuc Phuong National Park’s Centre for Rescue, Conservation and Development of Creatures in the northern province of Ninh Binh where they will receive care and possibly be returned into the wild at a later date.

The case is currently under further investigation. 

Pangolins and turtles are listed as critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to the high demand for its meat.

Vietnam shares experience in ensuring operation of informal labour area

The country has carried out policies aimed at enhancing the role and ensuring the legitimate rights and interests of individuals and informal enterprises, especially household businesses, thereby maintaining social and cultural cohesion whilst promoting sustainable production.

Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, Vietnam permanent representative to the UN, was speaking this at a high-level dialogue held on leveraging informal employment for inclusive development in Asia and the Pacific held by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) on May 14 in New York.

The Vietnamese diplomat stated that nearly 65% of the nation’s workforce is employed in the informal area.

He shared that Vietnamese experience in improving legal frameworks; encouraging mutual support among business households through appropriate partnership models such as cooperatives; ensuring strict management; and the timely support from local authorities for individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, and household businesses.

Representatives took time to assess trends related to the informal labour sector in the region, whilst sharing good practices and lessons in terms of implementing policies and support measures specifically for informal labourers and enterprises in a bid to enable them to continue contributing to economic development efforts.

According to the definition set out in the 2022 Report on Informal Employment in Vietnam by the General Statistics Office (GSO), the informal sector comprises of establishments engaged in production or business owned by households and not set up as separate legal entities, not independent of the households or their members owning them.

Informally employed individuals are those engaged in work that, as defined by law or in practice, is not protected by a labour law, does not entail income tax payment, or does not entitle them to either social protection or other employment benefits.

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