The HCMC Department of Science and Technology has just launched the project ‘Building a Technology Map in HCMC in 2023, with Orientation to 2025’.

HCMC mapping its technological needs, prowess ảnh 1

Saigon Hi-tech Park in Thu Duc City plays an important role in technology development of HCMC (Photo: SGGP)

The development of this technology map includes such essential content as

_forming a structure for the map,

_creating technology branches of the map,

_comprehensively evaluating the technology market and available products,

_classifying existing technology products and demands in the market,

_assessing the current technology status and prowess of the city,

_evaluating international technological research trends and pinpointing challenges in the field.

Many countries in the world have already mapped such technology information and a follow-up development route for ease of management. These essential data can also be used to promote research activities and more effectively allocate financial resources.

Major technology enterprises exploit this map to lead the industry, while smaller ones depend on this to provide supporting products.

Two draft laws, NA’s draft supervisory plan for 2024 put on table

Two draft laws and the National Assembly (NA)’s draft supervisory programme for 2024 are high on the agenda of the 15th parliament’s ongoing fifth session on May 27.

In the morning, on behalf of the Prime Minister, Minister of Public Security To Lam submitted a draft law on amendments and supplements to some articles of the Law on the People’s Public Security Force.

The draft law aims to institutionalise the Party’s guidelines and policies, remove bottlenecks, and guarantee the legal system’s consistency to meet the requirements for safeguarding national security and social order and safety.

Minister To Lam also proposed a draft law amending and supplementing some articles of the Law on Exit and Entry of Vietnamese Citizens and the Law on Foreigners’ Entry into, Exit from, Transit through and Residence in Vietnam.

This bill is intended to institutionalise the Party’s guidelines and policies and meet the NA’s requirements for and the Government’s process on administrative reform and digital transformation.

Verification reports on the two drafts were delivered by Chairman of the NA Committee for National Defence and Security Le Tan Toi.

Legislators scrutinised both draft laws at group discussions in the afternoon.

Also at the plenary sitting in the morning, they looked into the NA’s draft supervisory programme for 2024.

NA Vice Chairman Tran Quang Phuong said 2024 will be an important year for the success of the implementation of the 13th National Party Congress’s resolution and the action plan of the NA’s Party delegation to carry out this resolution. The parliament will also consider and revise the law on supervisory activities of the NA and the People’s Councils next year.

Therefore, a supervisory programme with more reformed and improved content for 2024 will provide an important basis for revising legal regulations on supervisory activities and perfecting the legal system as a whole, as in line with the spirit that supervision is a focus of the NA’s activities, he added.

Deputies emphasise need to prevent false information on goods, services

National Assembly (NA) deputies stressed the need to supplement the responsibilities of relevant agencies in preventing and eliminating false information on products to protect consumers, as the legislature put the draft Law on Protection of Consumer Rights (amended) on table during its ongoing fifth plenary session on May 26.

They pointed to many acts of using social media to popularise false and misleading information, and even counterfeit product brands to deceive consumers.

To Van Tam from Kon Tum province said that one of the important factors in protecting the rights and interests of consumers is that they have sufficient and accurate information about the quality of products and services.

However, amidst the siege of fake information, it is difficult for consumers to distinguish which products are good and authentic, leaving many to fall victim to false advertising, emphasised Tam.

Therefore, he proposed to supplement the responsibilities of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and relevant ministries and sectors, especially the Ministry of Information and Communications, in preventing and removing false information on social media by professional technical measures.

Sharing the same view, Huynh Thi Phuc from Ba Ria-Vung Tau province proposed adding regulations on the responsibilities of communications agencies in advertising and promoting goods and services.

Tran Thi Thu Phuoc of Kon Tum province stated that in order to protect consumers, the draft law clearly stipulates the responsibilities of organisations and individuals to provide transparent, accurate, and sufficient information about goods and services to consumers, as well as compensation and settlement measures for consumers when there is a problem.

However, in practice, consumers are routinely deceived, she stressed, adding that the draft law needs to specify criteria for assessing whether the conduct of organisations and individuals misrepresents products or services to consumers, based on consumer cognitive ability and identification.

Appreciating deputies’ ideas, Chairman of the NA Committee on Science, Technology and Environment Le Quang Huy said that the agency will work with the drafting agency to fully acquire and clarify these contents before submitting this draft law to the NA for approval.

Former anti-smuggling police officer smuggles 1,287 containers

On May 25, the People's Court of HCMC commenced the first-instance trial of 26 defendants involved in a case of smuggling 1,287 containers of used equipment and machinery from abroad to Vietnam, with a total value exceeding VND217 billion.

After each shipment of containers of goods into Vietnam and delivery to the warehouse, Vo Van Dong would meet Hoang Duy Tien either at the headquarters of the Investigation Police Department on Economic, Corruption-related Crimes and Smuggling (PC03, Ho Chi Minh City Police) or at a coffee shop. He would then provide Tien with the agreed-upon amount of money for the expenses associated with importing goods.

On May 25, the People's Court of HCMC commenced the first-instance trial of 26 defendants involved in a case of smuggling 1,287 containers of used equipment and machinery from abroad to Vietnam, with a total value exceeding VND217 billion.

This case involves Hoang Duy Tien, 38, a former police officer who worked in the Anti-Smuggling Team (Team 7) of the PC03 Department, HCMC Police, along with his accomplices.

According to the indictment, between September 2019 and May 24, 2021, Hoang Duy Tien and his accomplices engaged in the extensive smuggling of used machinery and equipment from foreign countries to Vietnam. Tien collaborated with owners of goods to illegally import second-hand machinery and equipment from Japan and China into Vietnam for trading and generating illegal profits.

To carry out their actions, Hoang Duy Tien and his associates established 47 companies and directly utilized the legal entities of 45 companies to facilitate the process of opening 1,153 customs declaration forms. Through this scheme, they managed to smuggle 1,287 containers into Vietnam. They manipulated and falsified all the foreign trade contracts, invoices, and related documents associated with the shipments, ensuring that they met the required criteria as stipulated by regulations.
Subsequently, to complete the customs clearance procedures, Hoang Duy Tien established connections with Dai Minh Viet Company to fabricate on-site inspection reports and issue fraudulent certificates. These falsified documents were then submitted to the customs authorities to meet the requirements for customs clearance, as mandated by regulations.

Despite not having an agreement with Hoang Duy Tien regarding the importation of used machinery and equipment for commercial purposes, the defendants, who held positions such as directors, deputy directors, appraisal department heads, and appraisers within Dai Minh Viet Company, willfully ignored legal regulations. They falsified inspection reports, issued fraudulent appraisal certificates, and disregarded the potential consequences. Their actions were aimed at facilitating the customs clearance process for the smuggled goods, as directed by Hoang Duy Tien and his associates.

In February 2021, defendant Vo Van Dong, 56, a former officer of the PC03, HCMC Police, approached Hoang Duy Tien with information that his friend needed to import used machinery from overseas to Vietnam. Vo Van Dong proposed discussing the matter with Tien to come to an agreement. Subsequently, Hoang Duy Tien agreed to handle the import of the container shipments from abroad to Vietnam on behalf of Dong. He set a fee of VND90 million per container, including the transportation costs.

Hoang Duy Tien personally received information about the container shipments of used machinery and equipment from Vo Van Dong. Afterward, Hoang Duy Tien directed his staff to handle the preparation of documentation and import procedures for those container shipments.

After each shipment of containers of goods into Vietnam and delivery to the warehouse, Vo Van Dong would meet Hoang Duy Tien either at the headquarters of the PC03, HCMC Police, or at a coffee shop. He would then provide Tien with the agreed-upon amount of money for the expenses associated with importing goods.

NA delegation attends Nevsky International Ecological Congress in St. Petersburg

A National Assembly (NA) delegation led by NA Vice Chairman Nguyen Khac Dinh attended the 10th Nevsky International Ecological Congress in St. Petersburg in Russia, at the invitation of the First Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council of Federal Assembly of Russia (upper house) Andrey Yatskin.

At a meeting on May 25 with Yatskin, who is also head of the Russian Federation Council’s group for cooperation with the NA of Vietnam, Dinh affirmed that Vietnam always treasures the traditional friendship and comprehensive strategic partnership with Russia, and remembers the priceless support that the former Soviet Union and now Russia has given to Vietnam.

Dinh, who is also Chairman of the Vietnam - Russia Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group, pointed to a number of problems in the economic-trade partnership between the two countries, and asked Russia to support the upgrade and adjust the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to benefit bilateral relations. He also suggested that Russia create favourable conditions for the strengthening of labour cooperation in areas of each other’s strengths and demands, and simplify the visa-granting procedures for Vietnamese citizens.

The Vietnamese official expressed his hope that the parliament and government of Russia will continue to support Russian oil and gas firms to cooperate with Vietnam in oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the East Sea in line with international law.

Vietnam hopes that Russia will continue to support the country’s standpoint of settling East Sea issues through peaceful measures on the basis of international law, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982, contributing to maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world, he said.

Dinh also highlighted the significance of parliamentary cooperation – an important pillar in the partnership between the two countries, stressing the need to strengthen parliamentary collaboration to support the partnership between the two governments.

For his part, Yatskin said he sent the proposal on the cooperation plan for the 2023-2025 period between the Federation Council of Federal Assembly of Russia and the Vietnamese National Assembly via the diplomatic channel, and expected to receive the reply soon.

He said that he has regularly worked with leaders of St. Petersburg during the construction of President Ho Chi Minh’s statue in the city as well as preparations for the inauguration of the statue on June 30 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Vietnamese leader’s first arrival in Petrograd of the former Soviet Union, which is St. Petersburg now.

Earlier, the Vietnamese delegation had a meeting with Vice Chairman of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg Nikolai Bondarenko who expressed delight at the diverse cooperation between the city and Vietnam as well as Vietnamese localities.

Dinh affirmed the significance of locality-to-locality cooperation between the two countries and expressed his hope that Russia and St. Petersburg will continue to give favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community to work and settle down in the city and make contributions to the development of ties between the two countries.

Also on May 25, the Vietnamese delegation attended the opening session of the 10th Nevsky International Ecological Congress.

Earlier on May 24, the delegation had a working session with the Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg, and presented the local administration and Secondary School No.488 with many precious documents about President Ho Chi Minh to exhibit at the Ho Chi Minh Museum in the city.

Deputy PM Tran Luu Quang meets leaders of Sri Lanka, Japan in Tokyo

Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang met with President of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Japan Hosoda Hiroyuki, and three co-chairmen of the Vietnam - Japan economic cooperation committee of the Japan Business Federation (KEIDANREN) in Tokyo on May 26.

Talking to the Sri Lankan leader, Deputy PM Quang, who is paying a working visit to Japan, affirmed that Vietnam consistently attaches importance to the traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation with Sri Lanka and wishes to develop bilateral relations more effectively and substantively.

He suggested both countries promote partnerships in multiple aspects, including increasing all-level mutual visits and people-to-people exchange; effectively carrying out existing bilateral cooperation mechanisms, particularly the Joint Committee chaired by the two foreign ministries; signing cooperation documents on education, culture, and agriculture; and strengthen trade links to raise bilateral trade to 500 million USD in the near future. 

Quang also called for expanding ties to other potential fields, opening direct air routes to boost tourism, and maintaining close coordination at regional and international forums, especially the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Recalling his impression during a visit to Vietnam as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, President Wickremesinghe underlined support for the countries’ relations to develop more strongly and recommended that the two sides enhance cooperation in the economy, trade, investment, tourism and climate change response, and at multilateral mechanisms.

He also shared his country’s efforts and policies to surmount economic challenges, noting that during that process, it hopes to foster economic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and take part in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), with Vietnam being a member of both.

At the meeting with Speaker of the House of Representatives of Japan Hosoda Hiroyuki, Deputy PM Quang noted with satisfaction the strong, substantive, and fruitful development of the Vietnam - Japan extensive strategic partnership.

He asked the House of Representatives and its Speaker to continue helping to elevate friendship and cooperation to a new level. He also took this occasion to recommend the Japanese lower house increase delegation exchanges at all levels, including between young and women parliamentarians.

Stressing the importance of economic cooperation, he asked the Japanese side to help enhance the two economies’ connectivity to assist Vietnam in effectively engaging in new supply chains, support the implementation of the new-generation official development assistance (ODA) programme for Vietnam, and encourage small- and medium-sized enterprises of Japan to invest in and transfer technology to Vietnam.

Speaker Hosoda applauded the growth of bilateral relations, particularly their increasing cohesion via investment, trade, and manpower partnerships.

He also highly valued the important role and active contributions to Japan’s socioeconomic development by the nearly 500,000 Vietnamese people in the country, adding that he hopes to see more Vietnamese coming to study and work in his country.

The same day, Deputy PM Quang had a meeting with three co-chairmen of the Vietnam - Japan economic cooperation committee of KEIDANREN, namely senior advisor to Resonac Holdings Corporation Ichikawa Hideo, CEO of Sumitomo Corporation Hyodo Masayuki, and CEO of Sojitz Corporation Fujimoto Masayoshi.

He appreciated KEIDANREN’s contributions to promoting economic and trade partnerships, connecting the two countries’ enterprises, especially via the Vietnam - Japan Joint Initiative, giving useful advice to help improve the business climate in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese Government pays heed to protecting investors’ legitimate interests and harmonizing the State and enterprises’ interests. He suggested KEIDANREN continue bolstering investment ties and help the Southeast Asian nation effectively join supply chains of Japanese firms in the region and access capital sources for infrastructure development, the Green Innovation Fund, and the green finance sources of Japan.

The three Japanese co-chairmen welcomed Deputy PM Quang’s visit amid the 50th anniversary of the two countries' diplomatic relationship.

They thanked the Vietnamese Government for its attention and support for investment and business activities of foreign enterprises, including those from Japan, over the past years.

Seven-a-side super cup match features national champions

A super cup match will be held on May 28 in Hà Nội to kick off the national seven-a-side football season.

It is a match between two national champions, HCM City-based Đạt Tín FC and Hanoian Mobi FC.

Đạt Tín lifted their first National Seven-a-side Football Championship (VPL-S3) trophy last year after beating EOC 4-1 in the final match last September.

Mobi FC secured its title of the 2022 Vietnam Super Cup (VSC-S2) after beating Đắk Lắk Lottery 3-2 in the final's extra time last December.

According to coach Phan Trần Tuấn Anh of Đạt Tín, both two sides agreed to bring the strongest players who helped them win their 2022 season titles to the super cup match.

He said the pressure on both sides was the same as it was the first time the super cup match was organised. He believed that Đạt Tín's attacking playing style would make the final a great match with many goals.

It will be the second match between the two sides within eight months. In the semi-final match of the VPL-S3, Đạt Tín came from behind to beat Mobi 2-1 to advance to the final, and then took the gold medal.

The match will be held at the Hoàng Mai District Culture and Sports Centre. The two teams will compete in a 70-minute match. If there is a draw result in the official time of the final match, a 20-minute extra time and penalty shootout will be held to find out the winner.

The winners will walk away with the trophy and VNĐ30 million (US$1,300) in cash, while the losing team will pocket VNĐ15 million ($750).

The match is one of the activities celebrating the 10th anniversary of VietFootball, the organiser and founder of the national seven-a-side competitions.

After the super cup match, the regular season's qualifications will be held in three regions from June 3 to August 13 in Hà Nội, HCM City and Đắk Lắk Province.

Eight of the strongest teams from these three regions will compete in the national championship finals in August. 

Eight teams vie for DBC 2023 basketball trophy

The Danang Basketball Championship 2023 will be organised from May 27 to June 4 at Sơn Trà District's Culture and Sports Centre in Đà Nẵng.

The DBC 2023 is sponsored by VNPAY is jointly organised by New Sports Company and VTVcab.

It is the closing event of the Vietnam Basketball Championship (VBC), which includes the Hà Nội Basketball Championship 2022 and the Saigon Basketball Championship 2023.

Eight clubs will be divided into two groups and compete in a round robin format. The best two teams of each group will advance to the semi-finals, and the winner will walk away with VNĐ80 million along with gifts from sponsors.

The second and third place teams will pocket VNĐ40 million and VNĐ30 million, respectively.

The MVP of the tournament will receive a bonus of VNĐ20 million.

The organisers will allow each team to register an unlimited number of athletes of Vietnamese origin.

Vietnamese overseas players and foreign players who are living and working in Việt Nam are allowed to compete in the championship.

According to Tô Duy, head of the organising board, the Đà Nẵng competition was also the final stage of the VBC. The organisers expect to promote the development of basketball in the community. 

"We hope to find new talent from this amateur tournament. They will be introduced to the either the Đà Nẵng team or Việt Nam Basketball Association's pro clubs, taking part in the national championship and international competitions," said Duy.

He also added that the DBC's success would be a strong push for the organisers to spread the tournament to other cities and provinces, and even upgrade it into a national championship following the VBC format. 

The DBC will be broadcasted on VTVcab's ON Sports channel; apps ON Plus and ON; facebook page ON Sports and Youtube: ON Bóng rổ. 

Localities step up measures for forest fire prevention

Localities have been taking measures for forest fire prevention in response to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's dispatch, which was issued on May 22 urging wildfire prevention measures as heatwaves are scorching many localities.
In the dispatch, the Prime Minister asked chairpersons of people's committees of provinces and cities to be responsible for fire prevention and fighting in the area under their management for minimizing the damage from forest fires and implementing several important tasks.

On May 24, the Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Search and Rescue in the Ca Mau Province in the southern tip of Vietnam announced to take preventive measures to cope with the risk of heat, drought, water shortage, saltwater intrusion, and the risk of forest fire in 2023.

The Board of Directors of the U Minh Ha National Park said that they have been strengthening solutions to be proactive in fire prevention and fighting. The park has been coordinating with other forces and local administrations to implement fire prevention for enhanced forecast and understanding of the situation in the province.

In addition, increased information on wildfires was done to raise awareness of households in the buffer zone of U Minh Ha National Park which will help to cope with all situations to minimize the risk of forest fires.

Mr. Tran Cong Danh, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Mekong Delta Province of Kien Giang, said that from May 19 to 24, the province had rehearsed the operation to close all saltwater sluices in the area, including two culverts Cai Be and Cai Lon. At the same time, the Department checked freshwater levels in ponds, lakes and canals for paddy fields and shrimp farming.

In addition to operating culverts and dams in the area, Kien Giang Province also coordinated with An Giang Province to operate the Tha La-Tra Su sluice system to get fresh water for paddy fields in Tan Hiep, Hon Dat and Kien Luong districts.

According to the Southern Institute of Water Resources Research, water supply from the Mekong River to the Mekong Delta region is facing adverse conditions caused by El Nino, heatwaves, and low rainfall. El Nino starts from May to July 2023 and El Nino is forecast to worsen in the next time.

Hence, expert Nguyen Huu Thien who studies the ecology of the Mekong Delta, said that for the short-time strategy, the best adaptation is to adjust the cropping calendar to avoid damage during the year with extreme drought and salinity. Residents in the coastal areas should restore freshwater for their daily activities during the dry season of 2023. Local governments should take heed of water supply for people in coastal districts especially El Nino bringing extreme weather.

The prolonged hot weather has caused drought and saltwater intrusion in most of the central regions. In addition, people in mountainous areas are at this time distributing vegetation for new afforestation, making the risk of forest fire very high. Accordingly, competent agencies and localities have taken measures to cope with the risk of wildfires.

In recent days, heatwaves have been sweeping the central provinces of Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, and Phu Yen greatly affecting the lives and farming of local people. In the middle of a dry field in Trung Trinh village in Xuan Phuong commune of Phu Yen Province’s Song Cau town, farmer To Van Kiet struggled to pump groundwater to irrigate the elephant grass, moaning the sun was as fierce as fire, no one dared to work in the field.

Worse, from the end of April until now, saline water has entered the Thu Bon and Vinh Dien rivers in Quang Nam Province’s Duy Xuyen District and Dien Ban town with high concentrations, exceeding the allowable threshold by 20-30 times, so many pumping stations stopped their operation.

Mr. Truong Xuan Ty, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Quang Nam Province, said that the provincial People's Committee had directed Tam Ky City and Dien Ban Town to build dams to prevent saltwater and keep fresh water in Vinh Dien and Ban Thach rivers.

Meanwhile, people in mountainous areas of Quang Nam province are clearing land, clearing grass and burning vegetation to plant forests, posing a high risk of forest fires. Mr. A Viet Son, Chairman of Nam Giang District People's Committee, said that to prevent the risk of forest fire, the district has directed localities and agencies to disseminate information on forest fires to villagers.

Mr. Vo Van Trinh, Head of the Forest Protection Department of Quang Ngai Province’s Duc Pho town, fretted because the province has 18,000 hectares of forest with a very high fire risk, while the department has only six staff.

Mr. Le Duc Sau, Deputy Director of Binh Dinh Forest Protection Department, complained that 100,000 hectares of planted forests are facing a high risk of fire due to prolonged droughts and extremely hot weather. The provincial forest rangers have adopted measures such as repairing fire barriers, reinforcing fire watchtowers, and sending more staff to monitor the forest.

Due to the prolonged heat stress, a forest fire raged in Coc Coong village in Dong Phuc Commune of Bac Kan Province’s Ba Be District on May 22. Forest rangers and local authorities mobilized more than 100 locals to fight the fire; finally, the fire was under control by 2:30 on May 23.

The Forest Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development informed that through satellite monitoring and aerial photography, 61 points of forest fire have been detected across the country mainly in Northwest, Central, and Central Highlands. Previously, in his telegram, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Quoc Tri asked people to call the Forest Protection Department to inform the department about the wildfire.

Vietnam seeking effective solutions to address fake BTS

Vietnam Information Security Association (VNISA) – Southern Branch yesterday held a seminar named ‘Risk Warnings and Prevention Methods for Online Fraud’.

Le Pham Thien Hong An, an IoT Security expert from the Information Security Center of VNPT, shared that hackers usually take advantage of vulnerabilities in the telecoms infrastructure to commit fraudulent crimes.

Lately, one common trick of theirs is to fake Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) and send brandname messages to phone users for scamming purposes. The Authority of Information Security (under the Information and Communications Ministry) reported that in the first 3 months this year, it detected over 3,200 websites performing those illegal actions.

However, until now, there has been no effective solutions to this problem yet. The Information Security Authority can only cooperate with the police to verify the detected cases. Therefore, it recommended that telecoms service providers work closely with functional agencies to tighten monitoring activities to timely discover such criminal cases and handle them.

Southern region cool with abundant rainfall, Northern region hot

According to meteorological experts, the quantity of precipitation in the Southern and Central Highlands regions is progressively rising as a result of the intense operation of Southwest winds.

According to the latest update from the National Center for Hydro Meteorological Forecasting at 3 p.m. on May 27, the South Central Coast, Central Highlands, and Southern Vietnam experienced moderate rainfall accompanied by thunderstorms, with some areas receiving heavy and torrential rains.

Certain locations recorded precipitation exceeding 70mm, including Phan Lam Commune in Binh Thuan Province with 109mm, Ya Ly 1 Commune in Kon Tum Province with 82mm, Ea H’ding Commune in Dak Lak Province with 82mm, Ea Sup District in Dak Lak Province with 80mm, Duc Hoa District in Long An Province with 73mm, and Khanh Binh Commune in Khanh Hoa Province with 71mm. The forecast indicates that from the afternoon of May 27 until May 29, the Central Highlands and Southern regions will continue to experience moderate to heavy rainfall, with some areas expecting torrential rainfall ranging from 60mm to 120mm per period and some places receiving over 150mm per period.

During the period from the afternoon of May 27 to 29, the South Central Coast region can expect moderate rainfall and thunderstorms, with some areas experiencing heavy to extremely heavy rainfall ranging from 20-40mm per 24 hours and some places receiving over 80mm per 24 hours. The meteorological agency forecasts that widespread thunderstorms and localized heavy rainfall in the South Central Coast, Central Highlands, and Southern regions may continue for several more days.

In the Northern region, after nearly a week of cool weather, a new heatwave is expected to occur starting on May 29 in the Northern and Central areas due to the direct influence of the Southeastern edge of the hot low-pressure system in Asia.

Specifically, on May 29, the heatwave will primarily affect the Northwest region and the Western mountainous areas of the North Central Coast and Central Coast regions, with temperatures exceeding 36 degrees Celsius. By May 30, the heatwave will expand and cover a larger area, encompassing the entire Northern region as well as the North Central Coast and Central Coast regions, where maximum temperatures could potentially exceed 39 degrees Celsius.

Meteorological experts have raised concerns about the potential risks of electricity shortages, water scarcity for irrigation, and wildfires that may recur due to the heat wave.

HCMC saves 10.2 million kWh of electricity

As drought sapped hydropower plants countrywide, Ho Chi Minh City attempted to save electricity. The city’s efforts in saving electricity were rewarded as from May 16, 2023, it has saved 10.2 million kWh of electricity.

The Ho Chi Minh City Steering Committee for Disease Prevention and Control and Economic Recovery yesterday held a press conference to provide information on socio-economic issues and epidemic prevention and control in the city.

At the press conference, Mr. Nguyen Phu Vinh, Head of the Business Department of the city Electricity Corporation (EVNHCMC), informed about the results of the implementation of the municipal People's Committee’s Official Dispatch No. 1993 on promoting energy saving and ensuring electricity stable electricity supply in Ho Chi Minh City in the dry season and 2023.

Accordingly, all districts, Thu Duc City and the Management Board of Export Processing and Industrial Zones (HEPZA) have so far implemented the direction of the city authorities to reduce electricity use, significantly contributing to stabilizing the electricity supply.

In addition, the entire public lighting system has adjusted the time to turn on the lights late and turn off the lights 30 minutes earlier meanwhile all decorative and billboard lights had to reduce their capacity by 50 percent or be turned off after 22 hours in a bid to save energy.

As a result, from May 16, 2023, Ho Chi Minh City has saved 10.2 million kWh of electricity. On average, the southern largest city saves nearly 1.14 million kWh of electricity every day worth about VND 2.4 billion.

EVNHCMC continued asking customers to take measures for reducing energy consumption. Specifically, this unit recommends people unplug appliances when not in use, increase the temperature of air conditioners and keep it at moderate levels to save on electricity bills and turn off or use lights with automatic on and off modes in public areas, garages, and corridors of apartments.

Regarding the shortage of rare drugs, Chief of Office of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health Le Thien Quynh Nhu said that currently infirmaries citywide are lacking some rare drugs such as Atropine eye drops, Acitretin oral pills, Dapson tablets combined with iron oxalate, etc. Mitoxantrone injection, Idarubicin injection, Foscarnet trisodium hexahydrate injection.

According to Ms. Le Thien Quynh Nhu, these are drugs that have been in short supply for a long time due to a lack of suppliers; thus, hospitals have used alternative regimens. When substituting with other drugs, insured patients have to pay high drug prices or are not covered by health insurance. Therefore, the Chief of the Office of the Department of Health said that the Department of Health proposed a mechanism for the procurement of rare drugs by using the state budget.

About the shortage of rare for treatment of Botulinum poisoning cases, Ms. Le Thien Quynh Nhu said on May 22, right after receiving information about cases of Botulinum toxin poisoning, the Drug Administration of Vietnam has sought the World Health Organization (WHO)’s assistance for supplying botulism antitoxin.

On May 24, 6 bottles of botulism antitoxin were transported to Vietnam. However, a patient did not survive due to severe complications and an overdue antidote.

Thus, the health sector in Ho Chi Minh City expected that the Ministry of Health will soon have a solution to reserve rare drugs for emergency cases where there is no alternative medicine.

Talking about projects in the field of culture and sports, Deputy Chief of the Office of the Department of Culture and Sports of Ho Chi Minh City Nguyen My Hanh said that currently, the Department is studying projects proposing social contributions in the form of Public-Private Partnerships. It planned to attract FDI capital for about 27 projects.

At the same time, this unit will review the housing facilities under management to consider the eligible premises to be included in the list of projects needing social investment.

Some 30,000 volunteers offer helping hands to clean up trash across Vietnam

The "Clean Up Vietnam" campaign, the largest of its kind in Vietnam, will return for the fifth time on June 4, with around 30,000 volunteers registered domestically and abroad.

Themed "Pick Up Rubbish - Reach Out Global", this year's event will see the participation of several sponsors, media and environmental ambassadors, as well as celebrities such as singers Tien Manh and Phuong Thanh, TV host Manh Cuong, Hanna Giang Anh, and Trung Thao Mai.

In its fourth edition in December 2022, held in 102 locations across Vietnam and 12 others in foreign countries including Japan, South Korea, the US and Thailand, the campaign attracted more than 16,000 volunteers and collected a total of more than 186 tons of garbage.

Since its launch in 2020, the Clean Up Vietnam campaign has been encouraging people to pick up trash, with the aim of raising people's awareness about reducing plastic waste and putting trash in the right place, protecting the environment, and guiding the community towards a greener lifestyle.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment's 2020 report, daily urban waste has increased from 32,000 tons in 2014 to more than 36,000 tons in 2020, accounting for more than 50% of the country's solid waste. During the pandemic, Vietnam's limited waste management systems also experienced a spike in plastic waste.

By joining the Clean Up Vietnam campaign, which covers 63 cities and provinces nationwide, volunteers hope to be part of the ongoing effort to alleviate this pressure.

The event aims to gradually move Vietnam from the top four countries that dump plastic waste into the sea to the top five cleanest and most beautiful countries in Southeast Asia by 2025.

The "Clean Up Vietnam" campaign will act as a bridge between Government agencies, businesses, clubs, and groups in environmental protection, supporting localities to maintain environmental protection activities in the future.

In addition, the event will inspire "love for the environment" among young generations in schools.

Whale worshipping festival held in Ha Tinh province

The Nhuong Ban Whale Worshipping Festival, a national intangible cultural heritage, was held in Cam Nhuong commune, Cam Xuyen district, the central province of Ha Tinh on May 26.

The festival is said to have been organised since the founding of Nhuong Ban village under the Tran Dynasty (1225–1400).

However, based on the conferment documents left, the festival dates back to the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945). Currently, in Ngu Ong Temple, there are still three of such conferment documents.

The recognition of the festival as a national intangible cultural heritage is a foundation for the locality to continue preserving and promoting the value of the festival.

Many cultural and sport activities such as tug of war, volleyball and boat rowing were held in Cam Nhuong commune on this occasion, attracting a large number of local people and visitors.

Vietnam, Cambodia sign inspection cooperation MoU

The Government Inspectorate of Vietnam and the Cambodian Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation (amended), as part of their talks in Hanoi on May 26.

According to Vietnamese Inspector General Doan Hong Phong, since the bodies’ first MoU was inked in 2005, regular exchange activities and coordination in organising personnel training courses have facilitated the sides’ sharing of information and experience, contributing to improving the effectiveness of inspection work in each country.

Phong said he is pleased that an agreement was reached for the signing of the amended MoU during the Cambodian delegation’s current visit to Vietnam, describing the event as an important milestone in deepening the cooperative relationship between the two agencies, and in nurturing the good neighborliness, traditional friendship, comprehensive and sustainable cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection Samdech Kittisangha Men Sam An, the Cambodian delegation head, said through their talks, the sides exchanged a host of inspection and anti-corruption experiences, particularly regarding the building of the law on inspection, the prevention of and fight against negative acts, and the settlement of complaints and denunciations related to land.

They also agreed on the organisation of training courses for Cambodian inspectors, with the Cambodian side expressing its belief that the two will well carry out their freshly signed cooperation agreement, helping boost the efficiency of inspection work in their respective nation.

NA Chairman hosts US Senate delegation

National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue gave a reception in Hanoi on May 26 a delegation of US Senators led by Senator Mike Crapo, during which the host hoped that their ongoing Vietnam visit will be an important milestone, contributing to deepening the ties between the two countries and parliaments.

The Chairman spoke highly of the positive, substantive and comprehensive development of bilateral relations in recent years, while recalling recent contacts and meetings between the two sides, including the phone talks between Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and US President Joe Biden on March 29 and a meeting between Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and President Biden on the sidelines of the expanded G7 Summit in Japan in May.

Vietnam appreciates the US strengthening cooperation with partners the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, Hue said, adding that Vietnam hopes the US, through new strategies and initiatives, will continue to demonstrate its strong commitment to upholding ASEAN centrality, the ASEAN-US Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, as well as the Mekong–US Partnership.

Expressing his agreement with Hue's opionions on cooperation in addressing war consequences, collaboration in economy, trade, investment and between the two countries' legislative agencies, Senate Crapo said the US senator delegation's visit aims to strengthen bilateral ties, promote opportunities in business and trade, address war aftermath, continue cooperation in searching for servicemen missing during wartime and efforts to clean up dioxin-contaminated areas.

Agreeing with the NA Chairman's view on a record of 123 billion USD in two-way trade between Vietnam and the US last year, Senator Crapo expressed his hope that the figure will continue growing.

The US Senator highly valued Vietnam's commitments on all four pillars in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) initiative. 

According to the US Senator, the two sides can cooperate in multilateral and bilateral cooperation mechanism. This is also one of the US's current highest priorities to nations, including Vietnam, and the Indo-Pacific region.

He welcomed Vietnam’s approach to global trade issues, and wished to work with Vietnam to realise cooperation plans.

During the meeting, both sides spoke highly of the role of parliamentary cooperation in the two countries' relations, saying that both parliaments have increased mutual visits and contacts in recent times. They supported and hoped to further strengthening the relations between the two parliaments via the exchange of delegations at all levels, especially high-level ones, to promote cooperation between their legislative agencies and collaboration in areas.

Chairman Hue said he hopes the two legislatures will continue to expand cooperation in various forms so that US congressmen and Vietnamese NA deputies understand more on situtation in each country, bilateral relations, especially young parliamentarians; promote the exchange and coordination mechanism between the two countries’ parliaments, their committees, friendship parliamentary groups, parliamentary assistants, and soon establish a group of parliamentarians who are in favour of Vietnam–US relations in the US Congress.

Also at the meeting, Hue voiced Vietnam’s support for the US in its role as the APEC Chair 2023, and hoped that the US would support Vietnam’s bid to host APEC Year 2027.

On the East Sea issue, Vietnam highly apprecitated the US's support for Vietnam and ASEAN's stance regarding the East Sea, including ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight, and peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Chairman Hue hoped for more US congressmen to visit Vietnam to understand the country's achivements in its process of development and ensuring social welfare.

On this occasion, Hue invited the US to attend the ninth Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) to be hosted by the National Assembly of Vietnam in this September in Hanoi.

After the meeting, the US Senate delegation attended a working session of the National Assembly.

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