VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES MAY 20
Speaker of the Singaporean Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and his spouse wrapped up the official visit to Vietnam on a high note on May 20.
During his trip from May 18-20, Tan held talks with National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, paid courtesy calls to General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong and President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and met Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.
The meetings saw both sides highlighting the significance of the visit, saying it helps deepen the bilateral relations, particularly when the two nations are about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 10th year of their Strategic Partnership in 2023.
The two countries have boasted regular high-level delegation exchanges and various people-to-people exchange activities to strengthen solidarity. They are also enjoying a growing economic linkage.
Vietnamese leaders said the presence of Speaker Tan at the ongoing SEA Games 31 in Vietnam provides a great source of encouragement for the Singaporean sports delegation, contributing to the success of the regional sports event.
Against the backdrop of the regional and global uncertainties in geopolitics and economy, bringing both challenges and opportunities, the two countries agreed to further enhance their connectivity and cooperation and effectively make the most of the two legislatures’ ties, thereby accelerating the strategic partnership in seven key areas.
They agreed that the cooperation agreement signed between the two parliaments during Tan’s visit will give a push to their bilateral ties, especially in experience sharing in lawmaking and developing a digital economy and digital society. It is also expected to enable them to bolster coordination at multilateral forums, such as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF); and support each other’s stance on both regional and global issues of common concern.
Leaders of the two sides also thanked each other for mutual aid at the time of COVID-19.
Given that Vietnam and Singapore are seeing thriving economic ties, reflected by increasing investment flows from Singapore into Vietnam over the last two years in spite of the pandemic, Tan said this trend is likely to persist and Singaporean investors’ confidence is on a rise because of Vietnam’s potential and opportunities.
Both sides reiterated that there is plenty of room for the two countries to step up comprehensive cooperation.
They also exchanged views on the current regional and global situation and several issues of mutual interest, emphasising ASEAN's consistent principal stance on the East Sea issue, the settlement of disputes via peaceful measures, and the importance of ensuring peace, security and freedom of navigation on the sea.
15th National Assembly’s third session to open on May 23
The third session of the 15th National Assembly will open on May 23 in Hanoi and last for 19 days, according to Vice Chairman of the NA Office Vu Minh Tuan.
Tuan told a press conference in Hanoi on May 20 that the meeting is expected to debate and approve five draft laws and three draft resolutions, and look into six other bills.
The drafts laws to be adopted are the Law on Mobile Police, the revised Law on Cinematography, the Law on Insurance Business (amended), the Law on Emulation and Reward (amended), and the law amending articles of the Law on Intellectual Property.
The draft laws to be tabled for discussions are the Oil and Gas Law (amended), the Law on Domestic Prevention and Control (amended), the Law on Inspection (amended), the Law on the Implementation of Democracy at Grassroots Levels, the law amending and supplementing articles of the Law on Radio Frequencies, and the Law on Medical Examination and Treatment (amended).
Legislators will also spend time discussing socio-economic issues, the State budget and supervision, among others, including the NA’s supervision over the enforcement of policies and laws on planning since the Planning Law took effect.
The question and answer session will last for two and a half days, said NA Secretary General and Chairman of the NA Office Bui Van Cuong, adding that Deputy Prime Ministers, ministers and head of agencies will take the floor.
International seminar discusses smart city building in Da Nang
An international workshop titled ‘Smart city: Experiences from some countries in western and northern Europe and Da Nang’s vision’ took place in the central coastal city of Da Nang on May 20, gathering experts and representatives of embassies, consulates general, trade associations and foreign businesses.
In her remarks, Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations, said the central economic hub boasts infrastructure, services and management levels that meet for smart city levels.
Local authorities and people are also determined to press ahead with the process, she noted.
The workshop introduced Vietnam’s policies for smart city development and Da Nang’s plans to accelerate the local process.
Presentations on smart infrastructure and management by speakers from Austria, the Netherlands and Ireland, among others, were tabled.
Concluding the event, Ho Ky Minh, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said Da Nang will take into account and the study models and solutions presented.
The official affirmed that the city hopes embassies of western and northern European countries will call on businesses and investors to visit Da Nang and help local firms to expand their markets and bring Vietnam’s digital solutions overseas.
Venezuela university opens faculty on Vietnamese nation, culture in Ho Chi Minh era
The National Experimental University of the Armed Forces (UNEFA) of Venezuela on May 19 launched the “Vietnamese nation and culture in Ho Chi Minh era” faculty on the occasion of the 132rd birthday of Vietnamese national leader and UNESCO-recognised man of culture - late President Ho Chi Minh.
For his part, UNEFA Rector Pascualino Angiolillo said that Venezuelan people love the nation and people of Vietnam, affirming that many State officials, experts and scholars of Venezuela have the need to research on the culture, economy, politics, society, nation and people of Vietnam and learn from the country’s development model so as to apply in Venexuela.
The new faculty will initially focus on researching the history, economy and politics of Vietnam, he said, expressing his hope for support from Vietnamese agencies. He said the university plans to establish the faculty in all of its branches across the country.
Formed in 1973, UNEFA is a public university run by Venezuela’s National Bolivarian Armed Forces. This is the venue to train civil and military experts in the fields of applied science research and development. In addition to its headquarters in Caracas, UNEFA has branches in 21 states of Venezuela and is the largest university in Venezuela in terms of scale, with 110,000 students, and facilities.
On the occasion, a get-together was held in both in-person and online formats in Odessa city of Ukraine to mark the 132rd birthday of President Ho Chi Minh and the 30th anniversary of the diplomatic relations of Vietnam and Ukraine.
At the event, Ukrainian friends shared their stories about and sentiments for President Ho Chi Minh, and performed poems and songs about President Ho Chi Minh and the nation and people of Vietnam.
Vietnam calls for ensuring food security for global peace and development
Vietnam considers food security as the foundation of peace, stability and development, Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations stated at an open debate on conflict and food security held by the UN Security Council (UNSC) in New York on May 19.
During the debate, the Vietnamese diplomat said Vietnam shares the international community's common concern about increasing challenges facing the global food system due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and natural disasters.
This seriously affects the food security of countries, especially developing countries and countries with conflicts, he said.
Besides humanitarian efforts, sustainable measures are needed to strengthen the capacity of developing and conflict-affected countries to secure food supplies and improve living standards for people, as well as promote the settlement of root causes of conflicts, peace building, and conflict prevention, Giang stressed.
He spoke highly of efforts made by the UN, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and international donors in responding to hunger, and suggested the UN and its partners promptly share information on food insecurity caused or aggravated by conflicts, thus timely responses can be made.
The diplomat also underlined the responsibility of parties involved in conflicts for respecting international humanitarian law and not to use starvation of civilians as a method of warfare which are stated in Resolutions 2417 and 2573 of the UNSC.
While highlighting Vietnam’s efforts in ensuring food security, Giang said Vietnam aspires to become a regional “food innovation hub” and continue to contribute to joint efforts in addressing global food security challenges.
Asian Para Games postponed to 2023 due to COVID-19
The 2022 Asian Para Games, scheduled to take place in the Chinese city of Hangzhou this year, has been postponed to 2023 over the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) and the Games' organising committee (HAPGOC) have announced.
A taskforce formed by the two committees and the Chinese Paralympic Committee will work on rescheduling the Games, originally slated for October 9-15.
The committees said in a statement that the preparations for the event have been going very well.
However, joint works will be carried out to secure a new date that works for the para-sport calendar, according to the statement.
The announcement follows the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA)’s postponement of the tournament to 2023 earlier this month due to the pandemic.
JICA supports Vietnam in realising net-zero emission commitment
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japan Science and Technology (JST), in cooperation with the Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST) and the Nagaoka University of Technology (NUT) of Japan, organised a signing ceremony of Record of Discussions for the “Project for Innovation of Science and Technology on Natural Rubber for Global Carbon Process” in Hanoi on May 19.
The project is funded with the official development assistance (ODA) of the Government of Japan through the Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) Programme which is co-financed by JICA and the JST.
It will be implemented by HUST and NUT for 5 years from 2022 to 2027, and considered as the development of the previous JICA-JST joint project for “Establishment of Carbon-Cycle-System with Natural Rubber”, which was completed in March 2016.
Focus of the project is the development of advance technologies to establish a large-scale production for protein-free natural rubber in Vietnam. Besides, new technologies for biodegradation of rubber products and low greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and rubber production wastewater system with resource recovery will also be developed.
Room remains for boosting HCM City-Cuba cooperation
Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Committee Phan Van Mai has promised to boost the relationship between Vietnam and Cuba at a reception on May 19 for Orlando Nicolas Hernandez Guillen, the new Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam.
Mai and the Ambassador agreed to promote cooperation between the two countries in the fields of diplomacy, youth and cultural exchange.
HCM City will offer 30-50 scholarships for Cuba students to visit and learn in the city each year as well as support the exchange of students between the two sides, the city official said.
Mai suggested that the Cuban Ambassador pay attention to specific collaboration projects with the city in the fields of healthcare and teaching Spanish for the sake of cultural exchange.
HCM City plans to hold several meetings this year to introduce potential cooperation areas between Cuba and the city, he said.
For his part, the Cuban Ambassador said there is great room for cooperation and expressed his hope that HCM City will facilitate stronger collaboration between the two sides in the future.
At present, Cuba is adopting many policies that can open up investment opportunities, he said, noting the hope that more businesses in HCM City take interest in investment in Cuba. The diplomat also invited HCM City businesses to attend the upcoming international conference held this November on the island.
Guillen affirmed that he will act as a bridge to strengthen comprehensive cooperation between Cuba and HCM City in the fields of education and healthcare.
Orbis to assist over 60,000 Mekong Delta children with eye care next year
Orbis international organisation will support more than 60,000 children in the Mekong Delta region with eye check-ups and assist over 10,000 students with surgeries under a project slated for next year.
Authorities of the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on May 19 received representatives of the organisation regarding the integration of an eye screening project into annual health examination for children in 2023.
Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thuc Hien spoke highly of Obis’ projects which help residents in the Mekong Delta access high-quality eye care services, asking the organisation to care more for rural children.
He assigned relevant agencies to support and build specific plans for the launch of projects.
Doris Macharia, Senior Vice President of Global Programmes of Orbit International, expressed her hope that in the coming year, hospitals and relevant agencies in Can Tho will continue to work with the non-profit organisation in the implementation of programmes providing children with eye screening and improving skills of health workers in ophthalmology.
Orbis will cover the fees for the services for about 500 poor and pre-school children, improve capacity of health workers in the community, teachers and school nurses through three-week training courses in May 2023, she added.
Quang Nam province seeks solutions to preserve elephants
A workshop on the preservation of Asian elephants in Bac Tra My and Hiep Duc districts of Quang Nam province was held on May 19 in the central province.
The event, which was organised by the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology in collaboration with the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, aims to find solutions to effectively conserve the elephant population in the locality.
It is reported that a herd of Asian elephants are living in forests belonging to Bac Tra My district, outside the elephant conservation area of the province.
Although no exact information about the number of individuals and structure of the herd is available, it is urgent to evaluate their status, habit and food source, to help with the protection of the elephants or relocation of them to the conservation area.
Asian elephant has been on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and the Vietnam Red Book. In Vietnam, elephants are distributed in a number of provinces including Son La, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Kon Tum, Dak Lak, Binh Thuan, and Dong Nai.
According to a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature in Vietnam (WWF-Vietnam), at least 29 elephants were killed or endangered from 2009-2015. There are only about 100 individuals living in the wild in Vietnam due to loss of habitat and illegal hunting.
A project on the conservation of elephants for 2013-2030 has been approved by the Vietnamese Government to meet the urgent requirements to preserve elephants in the wild.
Vietnam joins efforts to restore ecosystems
Vietnam is joining common efforts to restore the ecosystems in response to International Day for Biological Diversity 2022 themed “Building a shared future for all life”.
Currently, the risk of biodiversity degradation and ecosystem imbalance remains high, directly affecting food security, and driving people to the risk of poverty, genetic resource depletion, and especially climate change. Therefore, the restoration and protection of ecosystems and biodiversity has become a global issue.
Vietnam currently boasts 173 conservation zones with a total area of more than 2.5 million hectares, including 33 national parks, 66 nature reserves, 18 species and habitat conservation areas, and 56 landscape protection zones. In particular, the country houses nine UNESCO-recognised “World Biosphere Reserves” and three “World Natural Heritage Sites”, nine ramsar sites, 10 ASEAN Heritage Parks.
Vietnam has 128 special-use forests, mostly small and scattered ones, that make up the country’s system of protected areas. However, many of them have degraded not only in scale but also in quality of habitat.
In order to improve the declining quality of the environment, localities across the country have actively responded to the tree planting movement to protect the ecological environment and limit the negative effects of climate change.
Vietnam is considered one of the most important areas in the flyway network of migratory and endemic birds, with 63 globally important bird zones and seven endemic bird zones.
By now, the country has recorded more than 900 bird species, of which 99 need conservation attention, 10 are critically endangered, and 17 endangered.
On January 28, Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh signed a decision approving the national biodiversity strategy to 2030 with a vision towards 2050.
UN promises support for Vietnam’s energy transition scheme
The United Nations (UN) has affirmed its willingness to support Vietnam in establishing a partnership on energy transition with the Group of Seven (G7) nations in a letter of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.
Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Climate Action Selwin Hart handed over the letter to Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN at a meeting in New York on May 18.
In the letter, the UN Secretary General applauded Vietnam’s decision to make a strong commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 and reducing domestic coal-fired electricity consumption at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), affirming that the UN fully supports Vietnam's efforts to phase out coal-fired power by 2040.
Guterres welcomed G7 nations’ recent agreement to prioritise the establishment of partnership with Vietnam on energy transition.
HCM City, Cuba bolster co-operation in diplomacy, youth and cultural exchanges
Phan Van Mai, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee and new Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam Orlando Nicolas Hernandez Guillen have agreed to bolster bilateral co-operation in diplomacy, youth, and cultural exchanges.
At a recent reception held for the Cuban diplomat, the municipal leader pledged his best efforts to develop the relationship between the nation and Cuba.
In line with this, Ho Chi Minh City will offer up to 50 scholarships for students from the Caribbean country to visit and learn in the southern city each year, as well as support the exchange of students between the two sides, he said.
Mai suggested that the Cuban Ambassador take heed to specific collaboration projects with the southern metropolis in the fields of healthcare and teaching Spanish, as a way of intensifying cultural exchanges.
Moving forward, Ho Chi Minh City plans to hold several meetings this year to introduce potential co-operation areas between Cuba and the city, he said.
In response, the Cuban Ambassador said there is ample room ahead for broader co-operation, with the diplomat voicing his hope that Ho Chi Minh City will facilitate stronger collaboration between the two sides in the future.
At present, Cuba is in the process of adopting numerous policies that can open up greater investment opportunities, he said, noting the hope that more businesses in the southern city become interested in investment in the Caribbean nation.
The diplomat also invited firms from Ho Chi Minh City to attend the forthcoming international conference which is slated for this November.
Ambassador Guillen affirmed that he will serve as a bridge to augment all-around co-operation between Cuba and Ho Chi Minh City in education and healthcare.
World-renowned Hungarian pianist performs in HCM City
A piano recital by Hungarian pianist Ernő Fehér took place in Ho Chi Minh City on May 19, luring more than 350 people.
The event was co-hosted by the Consulate General of Hungary in HCM City and the HCM City Conservatory of Music.
Szilvia Szojka, consul general of Hungary in HCM City, said that after a two-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the concert could be organized with over 350 people, including the participation of representatives of the HCM City Union of Friendship Organizations and the Consular Corps.
The maestro, Ernő Fehér, dazzled the audience with his incredible and light-hearted technique.
He played works by famous composers such as Domenico Scarlatti, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Liszt. As the closing chord of the classical music concert, and to the surprise of the audience, he performed a piece for four hands composed by Franz Schubert along with Pham Dieu Thao, piano teacher of the HCM City Conservatory of Music.
Born in 1979, the Hungarian artist has won various competitions, including First Prize at the International Future Musicians Audition in Japan and the Silver Medal and two Special Honours of the Béla Bartók International Piano Competition in Hungary.
The Travel: Vietnam among top 10 countries for unique coffee culture
The Travel, the world's leading site for interesting travel tips, has listed Vietnam among its top 10 countries which boasts a unique coffee culture.
According to details given by the website, in many places, the local way of serving or consuming coffee is steeped in a vast array of rich culture and tradition. Therefore, learning about the coffee culture of a country can serve to teach visitors about the place itself.
The Travel noted that in the nation, coffee isn’t just a drink as a way of starting the day, it’s something people enjoy in the morning, at noon, and even at night.
“Vietnam has some of the best coffee in the world and offers two unique beverages every traveler should try while visiting. Vietnamese iced coffee consists of medium or dark roast coffee over ice, combined with condensed milk. It’s the perfect refreshment for a hot day,” says the website.
It revealed that another unique coffee order that shouldn’t be overlooked when visiting the country is egg coffee.
“This delicious, creamy hot drink is made by combining egg yolk with condensed milk to create a frothy addition to a cup of coffee”, the website stressed.
Among the list of the top 10 countries with unique coffee cultures includes Greece, Sweden, Mexico, Indonesia, Australia, Italy, France, Costa Rica, and Turkey.
Blood transfusion hospital opens second HCM City branch
The Blood Transfusion Haematology Hospital in HCM City has opened a new branch in Bình Chánh District’s Tân Kiên high-tech medical cluster.
It will offer high-end testing, diagnosis and treatment of blood diseases.
The VNĐ 1 trillion (US$43.2 million) 300-bed hospital is equipped with state-of-the art facilities and equipment.
Dương Anh Đức, deputy chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said the second branch of the Blood Transfusion Haematology Hospital was expected to take the lead in the country in terms of blood transfusion and haematology, offering quality services to locals, the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta residents and foreigners.
Apart from examination and treatment, the hospital will also function as blood and stem cells banks.
Twin sisters reunited after 47 years thanks to citizen ID cards
Twin sisters, separated 47 years ago, have been reunited in the most unusual of ways.
They only found each other again after applying for citizen identification cards.
According to the local police in Hoài Nhơn Township, Bình Định Province, the unit received an application for a card for a woman named Mai Thị Bền, living in Hoài Châu Bắc Commune.
Colonel Võ Văn Thạnh, head of Hoài Nhơn township's police department, said that when processing Bền's image, the computer could not load it because her face was too similar to that of another citizen in Phú Yên Province.
The police spoke to Bền, who disclosed that she lost her family when she was 11 years old and was instead raised by a couple in Hoài Châu Bắc Commune.
Bền could remember that she had a twin sister, but hasn't known where she is. She had been trying to find her for years.
Local police contacted Tuy An District's police to clarify the claim.
Đỗ Thị C, whose face looked so similar to Bền's, lives in An Thạch Commune, Tuy An District of Phú Yên Province.
C told police that she had a twin sister who went missing in 1975 and had not seen her since.
The 62-year-old twin sisters are over the moon at being together again after 47 years of separation.
Đồng Tháp develops lotus-related tourism
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Đồng Tháp plans to expand lotus farming, increase the value of lotus products and promote tourism based on visits to lotus fields.
The delta’s largest lotus-growing province plans to increase the area under the flower from the current 800ha to 1,350ha by 2025.
Farmers there grow six varieties, mostly in Tháp Mười, Cao Lãnh, Tam Nông, and Thanh Bình districts, where conditions are conducive.
Lotus farming requires low investment but fetches incomes four to six times higher than rice, according to farmers.
Besides fresh flowers, seeds and roots, the province also produces various types of lotus-related products such as essential oil, cosmetics, wine, milk, tea and other beverages, and food.
The province, well known as the land of pink lotuses, has developed tourism products such as visiting lotus fields and foods made from the flower.
Lotus is one of the five key products in the province’s agriculture restructuring plan, as products made from the flower have been exported, providing high incomes for farmers.
UNICEF calls for VN to speed up inclusion of 'child wasting' into policy
UNICEF Việt Nam calls for the inclusion of treatment for child wasting into the domestic health examination and treatment law and other long-term development funding schemes to help save the lives of many children in the country.
Child wasting refers to the most lethal form of undernutrition and one of the top threats to child survival. Around one in five deaths among children under 5 are attributed to severe wasting, which is caused by a lack of nutritious food and repeated bouts of diseases such as diarrhoea, measles and malaria, which in turn compromise a child’s immunity.
UNICEF continues to release global evidence on the rising levels of malnutrition in children. All forms of this disease are prevalent in Việt Nam, where the estimate based on 2019 annual nutrition surveillance revealed that 230,000 under-5 children suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) annually.
Malnutrition is listed as a disease in the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Classification of Diseases, and it is a preventable and treatable disease. Wasting, defined as low weight-for-height, is the most visible and lethal type of malnutrition.
Severe wasting, where children are too thin for their height resulting in weakened immune systems, is the most immediate, visible and life-threatening form of malnutrition. Worldwide, at least 13.6 million children under 5 suffer from severe wasting, resulting in one in five deaths among this age group.
Given the close links between SAM, stunting and mortality, interventions aimed at the prevention and treatment of SAM will help to reduce both child mortality and stunting further.
Việt Nam has prioritised nutrition policies through resolutions and subsequent directives emphasising stunting reduction and enhancement of nutrition care.
Prevention and treatment of children with SAM are one of the critical objectives of the National Nutrition Strategy 2021-30 and national targeted programmes.
"Việt Nam has established a good enabling environment for SAM prevention and treatment, with clear political commitments," said UNICEF Representative Rana Flowers.
"However, there are no policies nor funding sources identified in central or local budgets for Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition interventions, with 90 per cent of SAM cases being untreated. Now's the time to accelerate ongoing efforts by taking action to include examinations and treatment of SAM children in the revision of the Law on Medical Examination and Treatment."
AstraZeneca, mRNA vaccines provide equivalent protection: data
AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and mRNA COVID-19 vaccines provide equivalent protection against hospitalisation and death following two doses, a new expert review of data from 79 studies has found.
The data shows that both offer 91.3-92.5 per cent protection against hospitalisation and 91.4-93.3 per cent protection against death regardless of age and with no statistical difference.
While data available relates to Delta and earlier variants, emerging statistics indicate similar findings on serious COVID-19 outcomes resulting from Omicron.
The data, reviewed by infectious disease experts across Asia, comes from VIEW-hub, an interactive platform for visualising global data on vaccine use and impact developed by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the International Vaccine Access Center.
The platform is updated on a weekly basis to include global real-world studies on vaccine effectiveness.
The 79 studies reviewed include comparative effectiveness data for AstraZeneca’s vaccine and mRNA vaccines.
The platform is not designed to capture the safety outcomes of these studies, preventing similar safety comparisons.