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VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES NOVEMBER 11

Vietnam expects APEC to remain key forum for economic cooperation, linkages

Vietnam expects APEC to continue affirming its role as a key forum for economic cooperation and linkages, promoting economic growth of the region and the world, and asserting the important role of multilateralism and multilateral cooperation, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dang Hoang Giang has said.

Talking with the press about President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s attendance at the 28th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting via videoconference on November 11-12 at the invitation of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Giang said that in 2021, despite adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the APEC cooperation process has been still promoted. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum has continued to affirm its important role in ensuring a free and open trade and investment environment, support the multilateral trading system, step up regional economic connectivity and linkages, and promote new cooperation in digital economy and digital transformation, he said.

APEC has paid great attention to efforts to promote the role of women, support micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and vulnerable groups in the economic recovery process. In addition, APEC members have actively exchanged and discussed specific measures to effectively implement the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040, which was approved by APEC leaders last year.

Vietnam has closely coordinated with the host New Zealand and APEC members, strongly promoted cooperation and contributed to APEC's agenda in 2021. As a key country in building the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040, Vietnam has actively participated in building a plan to effectively implement the vision. In particular, the country has also made strong commitments and taken specific actions in APEC cooperation to respond to climate change.

Giang expressed his hope that through the 28th APEC Leaders' Week, APEC will set forth solutions, promote cooperation in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, create new motivations, accelerate economic recovery, and bring the region back to sustainable and inclusive growth.

President Phuc is scheduled to participate in the 28th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on November 12 and a dialogue between APEC leaders and the APEC Business Advisory Council on November 11. He will deliver a pre-recorded speech at the APEC CEO Summit on November 11 - 12.

2021 is the first year Vietnam has implemented the socio-economic development plan for 2021 - 2025 and moved to a stage of comprehensive and extensive integration into the world. The State leader’s participation in the APEC Economic Leaders' Week will help raise Vietnam’s stature in multilateral activities, including those of APEC, and help the country make active and effective contributions to the building of a plan for implementing the APEC Vision 2040./.

Social, educational, investment issues in parliament’s focus on Nov. 11

The ministers in charge of social affairs, education - training, and planning - investment are fielding queries within their remit on November 11, the second day of the question and answer (Q&A) session of the 15th National Assembly (NA)’s second sitting.

Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung is replying to legislators’ concern about different issues pointed out on November 10 afternoon, including the care for children orphaned by COVID-19, the access to support policies for pandemic-hit people and businesses, the policy to attract labourers back to work, assistance to vulnerable groups, and the monitoring and examination of charitable activities.

After that, NA deputies will ask the minister of education and training about teaching and learning quality, education and training reforms amid the COVID-19 pandemic, online teaching and learning, the equality in access to education among different regions, and health care for students to prepare for school reopening, among others.

Regarding planning and investment, questions will focus on measures for economic recovery and development; assistance for enterprises, cooperatives, business households to revive and boost operations; the medium-term public investment plan for 2021 - 2025; ways to accelerate the disbursement of public investment and key projects; and the progress of programmes and projects funded through official development assistance (ODA) and concessional loans.

Some ministers, heads of sectors, and deputy prime ministers responsible for relevant areas will also provide more details.

The Q&A session is broadcast live on several radio and television channels./.

Lao Cai receives USAID’s aid for sustainable forest management

The Office of the People’s Committee of northern border Lao Cai province on November 10 reported that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has decided to offer a non-refundable aid worth 1 million USD to the province to carry out a project on sustainable forest management and biodiversity preservation.

The technical assistance project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emission, increase carbon sequestration in production forests, and preserve biodiversity in high-value forests. It will be carried out between 2021 and December 31, 2026 by the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The districts of Si Ma Cai, Muong Khuong, Bac Ha, Van Ban and Sapa township will benefit from the project with five subcomponents, including improving forest management in residential community, promoting sustainable livelihoods for communities living on forests, enhancing legal enforcement in forestry, renovating technical solutions to production forest management, and pooling resources for forest management and protection.

The project costs 1.11 million USD, 1 million USD of which is sourced from the USAID and the remainder from the local budget./. 

Firms fined for Covid-19 spread in Bac Lieu

Two firms in the southern province of Bac Lieu have been fined for violating Covid-19 prevention rules which have led to a large virus outbreak in the area.

The Gia Rai Town People's Committee on November 10 announced a fine of VND 20 million each to Tan Khoi Seafood Company and Chau Ba Thao Seafood Company for violating Covid-19 prevention rules which have caused the largest virus outbreak in the area so far.

According to local authorities, the two companies had failed to conform to the government's regulations on Covid-19 prevention and control. They didn't carry out weekly Covid-19 testing for workers at their workplaces, which had caused a large-scale virus spread in the community.

A report from the Gia Rai Town People's Committee said that a female worker from Tan Khoi Seafood Company was accidentally found to be infected with Covid-19 on October 19 when being asked to take a quick test by a local healthcare centre where she took a relative to for a health check-up.

Local authorities then found 50 positive cases the same day when carrying out testing on people who had had close contact with the worker.

More infections have been found later and the outbreak has spread to some neighbouring districts including Dong Hai and Phuoc Long.

As of November 10, more than 1,000 infections have been reported, which are all linked to the case at Tan Khoi Seafood Company.

FIFA representative satisfied with My Dinh National Stadium upgrades

Referee Mohamed Nagor Amir Bin Noor, the VAR co-ordinator appointed by the FIFA, has expressed his great appreciation for the upgraded functional rooms at the My Dinh National Stadium.

During the meeting held with the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) on September 9 morning, the officially said that the VAR room at the My Dinh National Stadium has been greatly improved and therefore meets the technical requirements set out by Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

This comes following the AFC sending a delegation to Hanoi in order to directly check conditions at the My Dinh National Stadium. Following this, the AFC required VFF to promptly renovate and upgrade a number of features, including the playing surface, sound and lighting systems, as well as other functional rooms in order to host future matches.

Following these requests, the My Dinh National Stadium has been upgraded and has seeing its playing surface improved, along with the stands and functional rooms.

The VFF will also provide Internet coverage in function rooms, while the grass on the pitch has been replaced with new and high-quality grass that is colourfully zoned in line with international standards.

Moving forward, Vietnam are scheduled to play host to Japan at 19:00 p.m. on November 11.

Hanoi cultural space features Thai and Vietnamese landscape and people

A cultural space aimed at introducing the landscape and people of both Thailand and Vietnam is set to be held at the Hanoi Opera House on December 3, to celebrate 45 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

On display throughout the function will be photographs depicting cultural heritages, natural heritages, festivals, prominent sightseeing spots, costumes, and people from both countries.

Those images will have captions in both Vietnamese and English, with many of them being provided by the Embassy of Thailand in Vietnam.

The same day will also see a music gala held to commemorate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations, with this taking place at the Hanoi Opera House and drawing the participation of Thai and Vietnamese artists.

The event will be organised in a practical and effective manner, while also ensuring that the Health Ministry’s 5K message on COVID-19 prevention and control measures are fully followed, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Saigon Choir receives Gold award at World Choir Games 2021

The Saigon Choir of the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music receive a Certificate of Excellent equivalent to the Gold award in the category of Video Clip A cappella at the World Choir Games 2021 which is also considered the 'Olympics of Choral Music' took place from October 30 - November 7, 2021 in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium.

The 11th edition of the world's largest international choir competition is organized online by the Interkultur to enable all choirs worldwide to participate online due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The World Choir Games are an international choir festival-taking place every two years on different continents.

The organization of Interkultur is born by the idea of bringing together people of all countries, cultures and world views in peaceful competitions. Right from the beginning Günter Titsch was convinced of the power of his idea to create "bridges of encounters". All people involved share the same enthusiasm for choral music. It resolves prejudices, opens eyes and hearts for friendships and lays the groundwork for a vibrant and peaceful togetherness that outreaches music. Today the Interkultur organizes every year up to 14 international choir competitions and festivals around the globe.

Established in June 2016, the Saigon Choir has currently more than 60 members. The choir has regularly maintained practical activities and participated in international music competitions as well as organized private music nights for over the past five years with the support of the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music .

The Saigon Choir won the Gold prize at the Vietnam International Choir Competition 2017 held by the Interkultur in Hoi An ancient town in the central coastal province of Quang Nam.

Heavy rains unearth huge bombs in Quang Tri

Heavy rains have unearthed two huge bombs left over from the war in Huong Lap commune, Huong Hoa district, the central province of Quang Tri.

The Mobile Mine Clearance Team of PeaceTrees Vietnam, a NGO based in the US that works to remove leftover explosives, said on November 10 that they are managing to deactivate the bombs.

Of the two, the MK-82 bomb measures 274 mm in diameter and 1.54 m in length and weighs 227kg, and the M117 bomb is 406 mm in diameter, 1.2 m in length and 340 kg in weight.

Quang Tri is the most severely contaminated place for bombs and mines in Vietnam. It has seen over 3,400 deaths and 5,100 injuries from UXO since the war ended in 1975.

Last month, the Mobile Mine Clearance Team also safely handled a 227 kg bomb left over from the war in Luong Le village, Tan Hop commune, Huong Hoa district./.

2022 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers: Vietnam ready to face Japan

Vietnam will face Japan at My Dinh national stadium in Hanoi at 7pm on November 11 in the final round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

On home ground with domestic fans, the Vietnamese team are in good standing to play Japan and Saudi Arabia.

At the training session on November 8, the Vietnamese team welcomed the presence of young goalkeeper Quan Van Chuan from the Vietnam U23 team. Chuan was promoted to participate in training with his senior teammates because he will continue to be an option in the plan to prepare for the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup 2020.

Following the end of the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualifiers, nine players from the U23 team are participating in training with their seniors, including goalkeeper Nguyen Van Toan, defenders Bui Hoang Viet Anh, Nguyen Thanh Binh and Nham Manh Dung, midfielders Le Van Xuan, Ly Cong Hoang Anh and Le Van Do, and strikers Tran Van Dat and recently Ho Thanh Minh.

The addition of Van Chuan will help the Vietnamese team strengthen their squad as top choice keeper Van Lam is still recovering from an injury, while Van Toan also needs a solution to treat his shoulder inflammation definitively.

Key defender Tran Dinh Trong said he has completely recovered from the injury and is ready to play in the match against visitors Japan.

He added that though Japan is a strong rival, Vietnam has been ready spiritually and tactically for the match.

Midfielder Quang Hai told FIFA that fan support at home will be a great motivation for the Vietnamese team. They will strive to achieve their first points and live up to fans’ expectation./.

 

Winners of online book introduction contest honoured

An award ceremony of the online book introduction contest “The Book I Love” was held at the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi on November 10, with 56 excellent entries receiving certificates from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Addressing at the event, Director of the Library Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and head of the organising board Pham Quoc Hung said the contest has contributed to revitalising reading culture, diversifying forms of reading, spreading a passion for reading in the community and meeting requirements of digital transformation to serve the people.

After nearly four months, the organising board received more than 3,000 entries from 59 provinces and cities across the country. The localities that recorded a large number of contestants are Ha Tinh, Nam Dinh, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Bac Giang, Hoa Binh, Bac Ninh, Dong Nai, Hai Phong, and An Giang.

A special prize was awarded to a group of contestants: Do Phuong Linh, Nguyen Manh Tuan and Pham Phuong Thao from the Military Library of the Ministry of National Defence’s General Department of Politics.

Four first prizes were presented Dao Xuan Anh, an 11th grader from Son La province; 7th grader Doan Thi Hoang Yen from Dong Nai province; Cao Hoai Bac, a lecturer of the Ministry of Public Security’s People's Security University; and a group of contestants: Nguyen Thi Hoa, Tran The Dai, Hoang Minh Thuy, Bui Thi Hong Chien from a high school in Dien Bien province.

The organising board also awarded six second, ten second, ten third and 35 consolation prizes to goods presentations.
Videos to introduce books sent to the contest were produced creatively with careful preparations using different effects, materials, and graphics to make the videos more attractive.

Posted on the Youtube channel "Sach va Tri Tue Viet”, the entries have attracted a large number of visits and followers, Hung said, noting that the contest served as a forum to share thousands of useful books to readers and book lovers across the country./.

HCM City adds 33 mobile medical stations to curb resurging COVID incidence 

HCM City has set up 33 new mobile medical stations, bringing the total number to 255, following a surge in the number of COVID cases in recent weeks, according to its Department of Health.

Of them 20 are in District 12, eight in Bình Chánh District, four in Hóc Môn District and one in Bình Tân District.

Speaking at a meeting on Tuesday, Tăng Chí Thượng, director of the department, called on district authorities to set up more mobile medical stations to take care of the patients being treated at home.

He said they need to pay close attention to high-risk patients such as people aged 65 and above and those with underlying medical conditions or who are unvaccinated. 

He also urged them to speed up vaccination.

More than 80 per cent of people in the city aged 18 and over are fully vaccinated. 

According to the HCM City Centre for Disease Control (HCDC) and district health centres, the number of new cases have been rising again, with some days seeing more than 1,000.

Nguyễn Văn Vĩnh Châu, deputy director of the department, attributed the rise mainly to unvaccinated and partly vaccinated people returning from provinces to the city for work. 

The city has also activated quick response teams in districts with a rising number of cases, especially Hóc Môn.

Hospitals have been told to draw up a list of reserve doctors and nurses who can be dispatched to mobile medical stations in districts and field hospitals, and reinforce their facilities for treating COVID, stock up on equipment and medicines and be prepared to admit more patients. 

"Vaccinated people remain at risk of getting and spreading the virus," Châu said. 

He said the public should remain totally cautious and strictly comply with COVID prevention measures.

The city plans to organise a memorial service next Thursday (November 18) in remembrance of people who died of COVID during the fourth pandemic wave that has claimed more than 16,800 people since it began in April.

It has recorded more than 440,000 cases. 

Additional training for level-2 field hospital No.4 opens

An additional medical training course for the level-2 field hospital No.4 opened in Hanoi on November 10.

The course is organised at the request of the United Nations to equip the Vietnamese medical staff with necessary medical knowledge and skills, especially response to medical emergencies, diagnosis and treatment of common diseases, before they depart for the UN Mission in South Sudan.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Director of the Military Medical University Maj. Gen Nguyen Truong Giang asked staff of the hospital to not only improve their professional expertise but also foreign languages and physical health to meet working requirements, especially in areas with adverse weather conditions.

During the course till November 21, they will be trained in medical expertise, foreign language and first aid techniques./. 

HCM City to use 173.5 hectares for low-income housing

HCM City has planned to allocate 173.5 hectares of land to carry out housing projects for low-income earners in the 2021-2025 period.

The move is aimed to raise the city’s housing area per capita to 23.5 square metres by 2025.

  

 

During the 2021-2025 phase, the city will call investments for 18 projects to provide a total of around 17,900 apartments for workers. Of the sum, eight projects with 9,600 apartments will be located in the five outlying districts of Binh Chanh, Hoc Mon, Nha Be, Cu Chi and Can Gio.

The city is expected to need around VND566.98 trillion (USD24.65 billion) on housing projects between 2021 and 2025, including VND37,69 trillion for low-income housing projects.

Of the VND37.69-trillion investment for housing projects for low-income people, the state will fund VND1.17 trillion, equal to five percent of the total.

Next year, HCM City will use 52.1 hectares of land for housing projects for low-income people with a total investment of VND698 billion.

Vietnam acts as partner country of St. Petersburg Int’l Innovation Forum

The 14th St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum (PMIF) kicked off in the Russian city on November 10, with Vietnam being the partner of this year’s event.

The forum through November 12, organised both in person and via videoconference, features more than 50 events and discussions on technological breakthroughs and the development of digital technology.

Addressing the plenary session themed “New industrial policy. Change readiness”, Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Dang Minh Khoi said Vietnam has achieved impressive economic achievements thanks to its people’s industriousness and the state’s attention to both people’s happiness and economic development.

He also underlined the enormous assistance that the former Soviet Union and Russia has given to Vietnam during the struggle for national independence and efforts of economic development.

Chairman of the Vietnamese People’s Association in Russia Do Xuan Hoang said innovation has become an indispensable part of the current life and changed the economy and society.

In fact, he noted, innovation is necessary for the development of any enterprise or economy.

As part of the forum, a roundtable workshop took place to look into the prospects of economic - trade partnerships between St. Petersburg and Vietnamese localities. It was attended by representatives from businesses, science and healthcare centres, and public organisations of the Russian city and Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong city, and Khanh Hoa province of Vietnam.

Evgeny Grigoriev, Chairman of the St. Petersburg Committee for External Relations, noted the top priority of his city now is boosting cooperation with Vietnam.

Trade between the two countries has been growing continually, reaching 4.9 billion USD in 2020 and 3.8 billion USD in the first nine months of 2021, respectively rising 8 percent and 4.6 percent year on year, according to Khoi.

The diplomat also applauded the fruitful ties in COVID-19 prevention and control, helping turn Vietnam into the first Southeast Asian country to successfully bottle the Sputnik V vaccine and work to become a Sputnik V manufacturing centre in the region.

Participants in the workshop talked the outlook for bilateral cooperation in various fields such as cancer treatment, pharmaceutical, solid waste treatment, electrical materials and power grids, tourism, bamboo and rattan products, farm produce, software, and industrial park development./.

Vietnam lauds RoK’s cooperation commitments to ASEAN

Vietnamese Minister of National Defence General Phan Van Giang spoke highly of cooperation commitments of the Republic of Korea (RoK) to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the ASEAN-RoK Defence Ministers’ Informal Meeting held virtually on November 10.

He said that the RoK’s commitments have contributed to consolidating peace and stability in the region, including the East Sea.

The minister noted his support for the RoK’s proposals on measures to improve ASEAN’s peace-keeping capacity, as well as the country’s organisation of the 2021 Seoul UN Peacekeeping Ministerial in December.

The RoK has made contributions to ASEAN-led cooperation mechanisms, especially the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM ), Giang said, expressing his hope that the country will successfully hold the co-chairmanship of the ADMM-Plus Experts' Working Group on Cyber Security with Malaysia for the 2021-2023 tenure.

Praising the RoK’s capacity in COVID-19 response, the minister thanked the country for its support to ASEAN members and Vietnam in particular in this regard.

The meeting was co-chaired by Brunei’s Second Minister of Defence Major General (Retired) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Md Yussof, and RoK Defence Minister Suh Wook.

Suh proposed a plan of action on defence cooperation between ASEAN and the RoK, and shared his views on multilateral cooperation in tackling non-traditional security challenges and cypersecurity cooperation possibility in ADMM-Plus.

He also touched upon measures to raise the capacity of ASEAN’s peacekeeping forces.

The participating ministers applauded the RoK’s action plan that aims to concretize its enhanced New Southern Policy, in line with the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), creating a basis to guide defence ties between the two sides in the time ahead./.

Benefits of Khanh Hoa beach defences questioned

Many people have expressed concerns that a beautiful beach in the southern central province of Khanh Hoa may be spoiled by the construction of a sea dyke along the beach.

Dozens of workers have been working every day at the dyke construction at Hon Khoi Beach and Doc Let Beach in Ninh Hai Ward. These beautiful beaches have been dug up and badly damaged by the operation of heavy trucks transporting construction materials. 

A local resident, Nguyen Bay, said that the dyke construction work had been going on for more than a month. He said that he and many other residents were worried that the dyke would hinder the operation of their fishing boats and especially spoil the scenery of Hon Khoi and Doc Let beaches.

In his recent letter sent to the Khanh Hoa Provincial People's Committee, Vu Thanh Ca, former Director of the Vietnam Institute of Seas and Islands also expressed concerns about the bad impact of the dyke project on the scenery and environment of Doc Let Beach.

According to the expert, the project will bring more harm than benefits to Doc Let Beach.

“Doc Let has fine sand that can disperse 90 percent of water wave power while a dyke can only do between 20-50 percent," he said. "The dyke will even make the waves stronger and cause more erosion in the future."

Ca said that the waves combining with high tide in winter may cause erosion at Doc Let beach but then summer waves will bring back sand to the shore.

“We’ve seen this process for thousands of years," he said. "So there's no reason to carry out a project that will bring more harm than benefits."

The expert also warned that the dyke may soon be destroyed by the waves due to it being constructed on a sandy foundation.

"We can see many of such dykes built at the beaches in Mui Ne in Phan Thiet City, and Cua Dai and An Bang in Hoi An City," he said. "They‘ve all been damaged a short time after being built. And now what has been left is just a mess and loss of our beautiful beaches."

According to the Ninh Hoa Commune People's Committee, the 727-metre-long sea dyke project in Ninh Hai Ward, which has a total investment of VND 88 billion (USD 3.82 million), aims at preventing erosion at local beaches and protect people's houses during the storm and flooding season.

Speaking about concerns of local people and experts, chairman of Ninh Hoa Commune People's Committee, Nguyen Vinh Thanh, said that rising tide had affected the lives of many people for many years and the situation had recently become more serious due to climate change.

“We can’t compare a life-saving project and its impact on the beach’s appearance," the official said. "We’re doing the same work as what has been done with Nha Trang, and Dai Lanh beaches."

Truong Sa medical centre saves fisherman in distress

Truong Sa town medical centre in the central province of Khanh Hoa’s Truong Sa island district said on November 10 that it has provided first aid for a fisherman from the central province of Quang Ngai, who met with an accident at sea a day earlier.

The victim, Nguyen Kim Man, 42, is now in stable condition and being monitored and taken care of at the centre’s quarantine site.

Man met with the accident when his vessel was fishing near the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.

The reception of and provision of emergency aid for the fisherman were carried out in line with COVID-19 prevention and control measures. The victim and crew members on his ship took rapid tests for the disease, which turned out negative./.

All 12 North-South expressway subprojects to be developed in 2021-2025

All 12 subprojects of the 729-kilometer North-South expressway project will be developed concurrently in the 2021-2025 period, instead of developing nine subprojects first as earlier planned, according to the project’s prefeasibility study.

The Ministry of Health has submitted the prefeasibility study to the Government for consideration, before it is sent to the National Assembly (NA) for approval prior to November 15. This study has been updated from the previous one, the local media reported.

Specifically, four subprojects will be executed under the public-private partnership (PPP) model, Bai Vot-Ham Nghi, Ham Nghi-Vung Ang, Chi Thanh-Van Phong and Van Phong-Nha Trang.

The remaining subprojects will use public investment, including Vung Ang-Bung, Bung-Van Ninh, Van Ninh-Cam Lo, Quang Ngai-Hoai Nhon, Hoai Nhon-Quy Nhon, Quy Nhon-Chi Thanh, Can Tho-Hau Giang and Hau Giang-Ca Mau.

Thus, the number of subprojects to be developed under the PPP formula was cut from nine to four. Three sections with a total length of 177 kilometers from Vung Ang in Ha Tinh Province to Cam Lo in Quang Tri Province will be built concurrently with other subprojects, instead of being executed later as in the previous plan.

As a result, the estimated investment needed for the project increased from VND124.6 trillion to nearly VND148.5 trillion, including VND131.2 trillion from the State budget and VND17.3 trillion from the private sector.

The Ministry of Transport urged the Government to propose the NA decide the area of forest land needed for the project and assign the Government to decide the conversion of forest land before approving the report.

From its experience in executing PPP subprojects of the North-South expressway project in the 2017-2020 period, the ministry suggested the NA allow the proportion of the State budget in PPP subprojects to be capped at 54%-65% of the total cost of each subproject.

The NA should also assign the Government to consider and decide the changing of the investment mode if the subprojects cannot be executed under the PPP model.

HCMC plans to develop 20 housing projects for workers

The HCMC Department of Construction has plans to develop 20 low-cost housing projects with over 18,000 units for workers, with total capital of more than VND37 trillion, in the 2021-2025 period.

The municipal department will divide the city into three areas to build low-cost homes for laborers, according to a plan on housing development recently sent by the department to the HCMC government.

In the existing urban area, including districts 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, Binh Thanh, Go Vap, Phu Nhuan, Tan Binh and Tan Phu, two social housing projects with 370 units would be built. The two projects would cover a total area of some 30,000 square meters, according to the department’s plan.

The developing urban area includes  districts 7, 12 and Binh Tan, and Thu Duc City. Five housing projects with 4,000 units would be developed in districts 7, 12 and Binh Tan, while five other social housing projects with over 4,300 units would be developed in Thu Duc City.

In the outlying area, which comprises Binh Chanh, Hoc Mon, Nha Be, Cu Chi and Can Gio districts, the municipal department would develop eight projects covering 546,000 square meters, with 9,500 units, for workers.

The capital for these housing projects would be sourced from the State budget and others, the local media reported.

In the 2016-2020 period, the city developed some 15,000 social homes with a combined floor area of over 1.2 million square meters for workers.

According to a survey by the HCMC Labor Federation, some 1.3 million workers in the city need housing.

In late October, Thu Duc City broke ground for a social housing project with 1,000 units costing an estimated VND1.2 trillion to meet the housing demand of 3,000 workers in Thanh My Loi Ward.

Quick Covid testing service price cap to be halved

The highest price of quick Covid-19 testing services will be cut by over 50% to VND109,700 per test, according to a circular issued by the Ministry of Health on November 8.

Under the circular, which takes effect tomorrow, November 10, the price of a real-time PCR test will be capped at VND518,400, the local media reported.

Since July 1, each quick and real-time PCR test price has cost VND238,000 and VND734,000, respectively, at the highest.

The Ministry of Health also intervened in the test price of group samples. Accordingly, the highest price will be VND538,000, divided equally among the owners of the samples.

According to the Ministry of Health, the price of quick testing services includes taking and preserving samples, conducting tests and producing test results and the salaries of those taking the tests. The depreciation and management costs have yet to be taken into account.

As for real-time RT-PCR tests, the price includes the cost of taking and preserving samples and conducting the tests.

The ministry also asked hospitals and clinics to purchase materials, equipment, chemicals and test kits in line with the Bidding Law.

Inspections into medical centers’ compliance with regulations on pricing and bidding must be enhanced and violators must be handled to prevent unreasonable high prices of testing services.

Moreover, the ministry is completing a draft decree on the management of medical equipment and services, including Covid-19 test kits and testing services, to save costs for medical centers and residents while ensuring the quality of test kits.

According to the Ministry of Health, last year and early this year, the major spikes in Covid-19 cases in many countries pushed up the demand for testing while Covid-19 test kits were in short supply. As a result, the prices of test kits and testing services were running high.

HCMC adds 33 pop-up healthcare stations

HCMC has established 222 pop-up healthcare stations and coordinated with the military medical force to add 33 more stations as the number of Covid-19 cases eligible for self-isolation at home in the city has surged.

According to a report issued by the municipal Department of Health on November 9, HCMC has eight districts with high case numbers at home, with District 12 taking the lead with nearly 9,500 cases, followed by Thu Duc City with some 6,600, Hoc Mon with 6,400 and Binh Chanh with 3,900, Thanh Nien newspaper reported.

The 33 new pop-up healthcare stations have been set up in four districts, with 20 of them in District 12, eight in Binh Chanh, four in Hoc Mon and one in Binh Tan.

As of November 9, HCMC has some 51,000 active Covid-19 cases, including more than 11,000 staying at hospitals, over 4,300 at centralized quarantine centers and over 35,000 at home.

Vietnam, Russia establish new centre to step up cancer treatment cooperation

A memorandum of understanding has been signed to establish a Russia-Vietnam biomedical science and technology research centre, a project that covers joint cooperation in proton radiation therapy in cancer treatment.

The MoU was inked at a Vietnamese business forum held as part of the 14th St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum. The signing ceremony was participated by Prof. Dr. Tran Dai Lam, Director of the Institute for Tropical Technology under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology; Arkady Stolpner, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Berezin Sergey Medical Institute (MIBS) in St. Petersburg; and Evgeny Grigoriev, Chairman of the Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg.

The Russia-Vietnam centre will be a place for the research, diagnosis and treatment of cancers with modern technologies, including proton radiation therapy technology, creating a premise for the implementation of a trial model of cancer treatment hospital using the therapy in Vietnam.

Speaking at the ceremony, Lam said the project opens a new prospect of cooperation with Russia and is the first step for Vietnam to become a cancer treatment centre in Southeast Asia.

Lam also emphasised that it will contribute to the fight against cancers in Vietnam with high efficiency and reasonable costs regarding the use of the most advanced technologies.

After the signing, Stolpner announced that the MIBS will sponsor the cost for sending three Vietnamese children to Russia for free cancer treatment at the MIBS each year./.

Binh Phuoc to set up three more field hospitals as Covid spreads

As new Covid-19 cases have spiked over the past 10 days, Binh Phuoc Province decided yesterday, November 8, to establish three more field hospitals.

The southern province has worked out a worst-case scenario in which the number of hospitalizations would rise to 3,000, up from the earlier planned 1,000.

Data from the Center for Disease Control in Binh Phuoc Province shows the province had reported 2,318 cases by November 8, with 670 of them under treatment, 1,634 having recovered and 15 having died, according to a news report of the Vietnam News Agency.

A 200-bed treatment facility will be located in Chon Thanh District, a 200-bed facility in Bu Dang District, and a 360-bed facility at Binh Phuoc College.

According to the provincial government, the trajectory of the pandemic in Binh Phuoc and neighboring provinces remains unpredictable. Sources of infection of new clusters are unknown.

Binh Phuoc’s vaccination rates are still low.

With the establishment of the three field hospitals, the province’s healthcare system will be able to handle 3,000 hospitalizations at a time.

If new cases continue to soar, the province will weigh allowing Covid patients with no or mild symptoms to self-isolate at home.

The provincial government also ordered quarantining direct contacts of confirmed cases at home if their residences meet the requirements.

The province will also set up a three-level treatment system. Medical facilities under level 1 will tackle cases with no or mild symptoms. The level-2 facilities will receive moderately-ill patients, while those in severe or critical condition will be treated at the level-3 facilities.

The province also proposed that the Ministry of Health support it by sending medical workers and equipment to set up a Covid ICU center with 100 beds in the province.

HCMC master planning should focus on traffic, accommodation:architectural expert
 
Among the papers participating in the contest ‘Ideas for Ho Chi Minh City Master Planning” are impressive innovative ideas for a more sustainable development of the city in the future. Architect Nguyen Van Tat voiced his opinion about the necessity of the municipal authorities to address issues related to traffic facilities and social security for the public.

Metro or rapid transit has been invented and used globally for over a century as a transit hub thanks to its great architectural convenience. The number of daily metro users in major cities in the world like Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow is significantly large.

Each metro station can serve millions of passengers each day, and hence the need of proper transit- and commercial-oriented development in its neighboring areas to answer the needs of these people. It is expected that these newly established urban areas might replace more cities formed under traditional administrative structure.

However, HCMC’s master planning has long been structured according to the zoning model, with a downtown area, a central area for each district or ward, and some wholesale markets. Obviously, there will be contradictions between the modern metro style and traditional zoning one once more metro lines are introduced in HCMC in the future.

Therefore, the municipal authorities should tackle such issues for neighboring sites of metro lines as land resources, sufficient parking space for metro passengers, intersections between the metro lines and the current road system. This must be included in the adjusted master planning of the city as a strategic policy on the city’s total surface area.

Also regarding traffic facilities, Saigon has long been considered a city of rivers. Sadly, river traffic has been neglected so far. Lately, there are certain projects to exploit this natural advantage, but merely for tourism purposes, which is a pity considering that the river system of the city is able to do much more for public transport.

Another critical matter to address is accommodation for a huge quantity of laborers coming to HCMC from other provinces besides hotels to serve tourists.

Currently, there exist a contradictory fact that many reasonable apartments or residential buildings for resettlement have been built and left unused for many years, while millions of poor people have to live in narrow boarding houses without sufficient service infrastructure.

It is these structures that become so vulnerable during incidents like pandemics. Obviously, a sound urban planning must include logical solutions for problems arisen in these parts, especially in sensitive times.

Even with the law that 10-20 percent of the land resources in new urban areas is allocated for reasonable apartments, the chance for vulnerable people to obtain accommodation in these sites is still quite low, as they cannot find affordable services like schools, hospitals, eateries, markets when they move here.

The adjusted master planning of HCMC, besides introducing a more convenient traffic system, should provide a feasible solution for this issue so that migrating laborers feel at ease when they come here to work. These residential sites are called ‘transitional’ urban areas, with proper social security conditions for low-income people. From these places, another generation will be born and develop into successful urban individuals, contributing their part to the sustainable growth of HCMC.

Unemployment rate among people of working age increases

The unemployment rate among people in the working age group has increased in the recent ten years, said Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO)’s report, the growth of the Covid-19 epidemic wave has caused a community health crisis that led to a global social and employment crisis pushing millions of people into unemployment.

Vietnam has gone through four coronavirus waves, including the fourth wave of Covid-19 pandemic starting from late April that was longer and left much more negative impacts on daily life and socio-economic development. The severe and prolonged fourth wave has seriously impacted large cities and provinces, processing zones and industrial parks that have made outstanding contribution to the economic development and State budget as well as closely linked with global value chains.

The country approved a pandemic relief package at the total cost of VND20,280 billion (US$892 million) to support 15.01 million people affected by the pandemic nationwide under the Resolution No. 68/NQ-CP of the Government on regulations on policies to support employees and employers facing difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic, including nearly 13 million freelance workers.

Of which, HCMC carried out three Covid-19 relief packages with a total capital of about VND11, 890 billion (US$523 million) and provided millions of welfare social bags to support needy people.

However implementation of financial assistance package has been delayed in several localities. The Minister asked localities to urgently make a list of categories of individuals, businesses receiving Covid-19 aid package and suggested the Ministry of Finance to provide capital in a timely manner.

The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs has proposed the Government to promulgate legal documents on removing difficulties, expanding beneficiaries of Covid-19 aid package, and simplifying administrative procedures for application for the support.

The Ministry also plans to establish 12 inspection teams to monitor the implementation of pandemic assistance package in 33 provinces and cities throughout the country.

HCMC’s key transport projects need capital

The urban infrastructure is determined as a key factor for socio-economic development; therefore, Ho Chi Minh City has planned the investments of key transport projects. However, many have not been implemented yet due to the shortage of capital.

The National Highway No.13 stretches from Binh Thanh District through Mien Dong (Eastern) Coach Station to Binh Phuoc Crossroads across the National Highway No.1A connecting to Binh Duong Province, belonging to the Binh Trieu 2 Bridge Project of HCMC. The bridge project was divided into two phases comprising new construction of Binh Trieu 2 Bridge and upgrading some roads with a total length of over 10.6 kilometers, including 4.5 kilometers of the National Highway No.13.

Accordingly, the Municipal People’s Committee has proposed the National Highway No.13 renovation and expansion project since 2002. Initially, HCMC expected to expand highway to 60 meters in width with a total investment capital of over VND4,700 billion (US$207 million); however, the shortage of capital made the road width reduce to 43 meters with a total investment of nearly VND3,200 billion (US$141 million).

The Municipal Department of Transport then submitted the proposal to the HCMC People’s Council for approval of the National Highway No.13 renovation and expansion project starting from Binh Phuoc Crossroads to the Binh Trieu Bridge with a total length of around 5.5 kilometers in Thu Duc City. The project is being planned for investment and will be implemented from now to 2025.

According to the Transportation Works Construction Investment Project Management Board of Ho Chi Minh City, the project is expected to be under construction in advance 2023 with a total investment of VND9,992 billion (US$439 million) from the city budget.

Aside from that, HCMC has other key projects whose implementation has been delayed due to the capital shortage. Of these, the city will concentrate on transport projects in Thu Duc City and the surrounding areas of Tan Son Nhat Airport by 2025 including a road connecting Tran Quoc Hoan Street with Cong Hoa Street, expansion of Hoang Hoa Tham Street, renovation of Cong Hoa Street.

Besides, the city strives to expand the gateways in the East and in the West, the National Highway 1A, National Highway No.13, National Highway No.50 and the National Highway No.22. Especially, the HCMC – Moc Bai expressway project is expected to start work in 2023 and complete in 2025.

As the complicated and unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, the city budget is forecast to be hugely affected in the upcoming time. With the allocation of VND142,557 billion (US$6.3 billion) to the city's budget approved by the National Assembly, it is difficult to to implement key transport projects, connecting the city with surrounding localities in accordance with the Prime Minister’s direction including the Ring Roads No.2, No.3, No.4, HCMC- Moc Bai expressway, HCMC – Thu Dau Mot – Chon Thanh expressway and other key projects approved by the HCMC People’s Committee.

In order to speed up the key transport projects in the period of 2021 – 2030, the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City assigned the Municipal Department of Planning and Investment to collaborate with relevant departments, agencies and units to study mechanisms, policies and mobilize sources to promote the investment activities. Of which, it is necessary to call for and select investors into the projects under public-private partnership in accordance with regulations in this field.

HCMC health authority directs not to carry out periodic Covid-19 tests

In its temporary guidance on the implementation of Covid-19 testing in districts and Thu Duc city, the Department of Health in Ho Chi Minh City directed localities not to carry out periodic Covid-19 tests in wards, communes, or districts.

Under the health authority’s direction, those who have received full doses of the vaccines and recoveries within six months ought to undergo tests only when they have suspicious symptoms or for an epidemiological investigation.

Additionally, people coming from areas under Alert Level 4, the highest alert level, or people in medical isolation under the health sector’s regulations must undergo Covid-19 tests also.

In addition, local administrations must perform Covid-19 testing for areas with high risks and groups of people with medical complexity in residential areas according to steering committees for epidemic prevention and control’s plan.

Local health workers will perform monthly testing by RT-PCR test method of sample pooling of ten people. Pool-testing strategies combine samples from multiple people and test them as a group.

When it comes to testing of member families in a household in areas under an epidemiological investigation, the HCMC Department of Health directed quick tests of all contacts of infected people living under the same roof and those living within epidemic clusters regardless of their history of vaccination or history of Covid-19 disease. Self-tests are performed by a person at home or medical workers will do it if a resident can't do it themselves.

According to the municipal Center for Disease Control’s information, some 21,804 people were inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccines on November 8. Since Ho Chi Minh City started its vaccine rollout until the end of November 8, Vietnam has administered approximately 13,687,515 doses of Covid vaccines so far. Amongst them, around 5,861,015 people have got the second dose.

Currently, 99.76 percent of people over 18 years old have received one shot of the vaccines while 81.02 percent of residents have received two doses of the vaccine and 95.81 percent of people over 65 years old have received two vaccine jabs, and 95.95 percent of inhabitants over 50 years old have received two vaccine jabs.

About 3,279,235 HCMC dwellers were vaccinated with Sinopharm's Covid-19 vaccine (Vero Cell). Furthermore, 888 children aged 12-17 were vaccinated on November 8.

HCMC announces new measures to increase control of Covid-19

Lately, cases of Covid-19 in Ho Chi Minh City tend to increase again. Many districts have seen Covid-19 outbreaks in the community becoming hotspots. Therefore, local administrators have announced to take drastic measures to increase control of the epidemic.

The Department of Health of Ho Chi Minh City set up 10 inspection teams to check the prevention of the Covid-19 epidemic in districts 12, Hoc Mon, Nha Be, Binh Chanh with more positive cases of Covid-19. The health inspectors arrived at the conclusion that most of the cases are workers working in industrial zones and living in rental houses in the area.

After nine new Covid-19 outbreaks were discovered in Hoc Mon District’s Xuan Thoi Thuong and Ba Diem communes, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health has asked relevant agencies to promptly take measures for stamping out the epidemic. By November 7, test results have shown that of 729 people, 81 were positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Therefore, the Department of Health coordinated with the Military Medical Department under the Ministry of National Defense to send medical workers of 15 mobile medical stations from Binh Tan District to Hoc Mon District to help their peers control the epidemic soon. In addition, the Department of Health proposed the Rehabilitation Center of the Hue Central Hospital, and the field hospital No. 14 receive severe Covid-19 infected cases.

From October 23 to now, more than 8,000 cases of Covid-19 people have been recorded in District 12. Especially, more than 1,200 cases have been recorded in Hiep Thanh ward alone.

According to District 12 leaders, many of the Covid-19 cases are workers and tenants while Binh Chanh District has had 6,201 cases of Covid-19 from the beginning of October until now following the re-operation of industrial zones in the area. Most of the infected cases are living in communes Vinh Loc A, Pham Van Hai and Le Minh Xuan.

Dr. Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy Director of the Health Department of Ho Chi Minh City, said that because workers in densely populated rental houses face the greatest coronavirus risk, it is necessary to have strict epidemic control measures in industrial parks and worker accommodation.

Local governments need to raise their vigilance as well as review those who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and have vaccination plan for them. Last but not least, local administrations must develop a plan for the establishment of mobile medical stations in case that military force withdraws.

Averagely, the southern metropolis records between 900 and 1,000 new Covid-19 cases per day. Currently, hospitals in the area are treating more than 11,000 patients while more than 31,000 Covid-19 people with mild symptoms isolated and treated at home. Worryingly, the number of hospitalizations is higher than the number of recoveries every day.

Through surveillance statistics, there has been a slight rise of new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations at hospitals in the city in recent two weeks, especially in districts with many industrial zones. Though Ho Chi Minh City has a relatively high vaccine coverage rate, many unvaccinated people from other provinces return to Ho Chi Minh City for studying and work; hence, the risk of disease spread is quite high.

According to Associate Professor Tang Chi Thuong, Director of the Department of Health of Ho Chi Minh City, after more than a month of implementing Directive 18 of the municipal People's Committee on continued prevention and control of the Covid-19 epidemic and gradual recovery of socio-economy, the pandemic is temporarily stable, but there are still potential risks of infection spread.

President’s participation in APEC meetings to raise Vietnam’s stature in multilateral activities

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc is going to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings on November 11 - 12 via videoconference, expected to help promote Vietnam’s stature in multilateral activities, including those of APEC.

The year 2021 is important to APEC as it is the first year to implement the APEC Vision 2040. The 21 member economies continue attaching importance to APEC and considering this a leading forum in the region and an important mechanism in the Asia-Pacific to help augment multilateral efforts to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, recover economies, and prepare for durable growth.

Vietnam became an official member of APEC on November 15, 1998, raising the forum’s membership to 21. This was a significant milestone during the implementation of Vietnam’s open foreign policy of diversifying and multilateralising external relations and integrating into the global economy.

The APEC region is critical to the country’s security and development as it gathers 15 of the 30 strategic and comprehensive partners which are leading economic and trade partners of Vietnam. Thirteen of the 17 free trade agreements Vietnam is enforcing, negotiating, or waiting for ratification cover 17 APEC members.

During the 23 years of its APEC membership, Vietnam has made active and proactive contributions to the forum, thereby helping to promote regional peace, stability, cooperation, and economic connectivity and maintain APEC’s role as a leading mechanism for economic connectivity in Asia-Pacific.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is currently one of the members taking the lead in boosting APEC’s commitment to the cooperation in sharing vaccines and ensuring equal and effective distribution of and access to vaccines at a reasonable cost. It has also been appealing to other members to voluntarily transfer vaccine production technology so as to step up vaccine production and supply towards herd immunity.

The APEC Leaders' Week this year takes place amid the continuation of complex developments, increased uncertainties, and new challenges posed by the COVID-19 resurgence with more dangerous variants. Meanwhile, the global economy is recovering, but unstably and unevenly. The Asia-Pacific remains the leading region in economic recovery, development, and connectivity.

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc is scheduled to participate in the 28th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on November 12 and a dialogue between APEC leaders and the APEC Business Advisory Council on November 11. He will deliver a pre-recorded speech at the APEC CEO Summit on November 11 - 12.

2021 is the first year Vietnam has implemented the socio-economic development plan for 2021 - 2025 and moved to a stage of comprehensive and extensive integration into the world. The State leader’s participation in the APEC Leaders' Week will help raise Vietnam’s stature in multilateral activities, including those of APEC, and help the country make active and effective contributions to the building of a plan for implementing the APEC Vision 2040./.

Major contents of APEC CEO Summit 2021

The APEC CEO Summit, one of the world’s premier business and government events in 2021, takes place in Auckland, New Zealand, on Nov. 11-12. State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc delivered pre-record speech at the discussion session on sustainable development and climate change on Nov. 11.

 

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Vietnam values ties with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Vietnamese Ambassador Le Viet Duyen presented President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s credentials to Governor-General of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Susan Dougan via videoconference on November 10, affirming that Vietnam always values developing ties with the island nation. 

Duyen expressed his belief that the credentials presentation ceremony will lay a foundation to boost bilateral ties in various areas, especially in trade, investment, culture, tourism, agriculture and education. 

He pledged to do his best to further lift bilateral relationship to a greater height. 

Dougan, for her part, spoke highly of Vietnam’s dynamic and open external policy, development orientations and socio-economic achievements over the past years. 

Expressing her wish to further reinforce bilateral links, she suggested that the Vietnamese investors should invest in apparel in the Caribbean country. 

Lying within the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines covers an area of nearly 389 sq.km and has a population of nearly 110,000. 

Vietnam and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines established bilateral diplomatic ties on December 18, 1995. 

Both sides have worked closely together within the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) framework. The island nation actively joined in discussions in April 2021 when Vietnam served as rotating UNSC Chair. 

Following the La Soufrière volcano eruption disaster, the Vietnamese Government donated 50,000 USD to the Saint Vincent and Grenadines Government and people to help them overcome its consequences./. 

Vietnam spotlights ADMM’s role over regional security issues

 

ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Retreat was held virtually on November 10. Defence Minister, General Phan Van Giang led the Vietnamese delegation to attend the event.

Addressing the event, Vietnamese Minister of National Defence General Phan Van Giang highlighted the role played by the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) over the last 15 years in strengthening trust and building common awareness on regional security issues, including the East Sea issue.

Giang stressed that ASEAN needs to stick to its principled stance on the East Sea, and settle disputes by peaceful measures on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

At the retreat, a representative of Brunei said that the Retreat focuses on how to further promote the role of ADMM in moving the ASEAN Community forward in the spirit of the ASEAN 2021 theme of “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”./.

COVID-19: Daily caseload hits 7,930

An additional 7,930 infections of COVID-19, including 12 imported cases, were recorded in Vietnam on November 10, bringing the nationwide tally to 992,735.

Compared to the previous day, the number of daily cases was down by 211.

Ho Chi Minh City reported the highest number of infections with 1,414, followed by Dong Nai province with 848, and Binh Duong province with 627.

The capital city of Hanoi logged 80 new cases.

According to the Ministry of Health’s report, 3,620 patients nationwide are in serious conditions, with 311 requiring invasive ventilation and 13 on life support (ECMO).

On the day, the country saw 79 deaths from the disease. The death toll now hits 22,765.

A total of 1,254 recoveries were reported on November 10, taking the total number of patients given the all-clear to 844,054.

More than 93.96 million vaccine doses have been administered to date, with over 31.15 million people having received two doses./.

Vietnam confident in ASEAN – Australia cooperation in overcoming COVID-19: official

With the role of the co-chair of the ADMM-Plus Experts' Working Group on Military Medicine with Brunei, Australia and ASEAN will have many practical activities to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic together, said a Vietnamese official while attending the informal ASEAN-Australia Defence Ministers’ Meeting on November 10.

The online meeting took place as part of the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) Retreat.

Deputy Minister of National Defence Sen. Lieut. Gen. Hoang Xuan Chien, head of the Vietnamese delegation, affirmed the importance of the ASEAN – Australia ties as the sides agreed to set up a comprehensive strategic partnership at their first ASEAN-Australia Summit. Such agreement paved the way for boosting their cooperation, including in defence, Chien added.

Chien alauded Australia’s engagement in the ADMM Plus framework, particularly regarding practical activities via experts’ groups.

He took the occasion to thank Australia’s timely support for ASEAN member states, including Vietnam, in response to the pandemic.

At the meeting, participants commended the establishment of the ASEAN – Australia comprehensive strategic partnership, considering it a milestone in their relations.

Welcoming Australia’s proposal of a vision document on defence cooperation with the bloc, they said it creates a basis for the orientation of ASEAN-Australia defence ties in the coming time, promote ASEAN's centrality, respects international law, and ensures security and safety in the region, including the East Sea.

The delegates acknowledged Australia’s contribution to the ADMM Plus and support the nation’s role in co-chairing the ADMM-Plus Experts' Working Group on Military Medicine with Brunei.

They also discussed the direction of defense cooperation in the coming time to ensure that Australia's collaboration proposals are in line with ASEAN's priorities./.

Vietnam, Myanmar look toward stronger partnership

Vietnam is currently the ninth largest trading partner and the seventh largest foreign investor in Myanmar, with two-way trade turnover reaching US$860 million in 2018 and US$1.02 billion in 2019, exceeding the target set for 2020.

The Vietnam - Myanmar Friendship Association holds its second congress for the 2021-2026 term.
The Vietnam-Myanmar Friendship Association held its second congress for the 2021 to 2026 term on November 11 in Hanoi in both in-person and online formats .

Chu Cong Phung, former Vietnamese Ambassador to Myanmar, was duly elected to continue holding the position of chairman of the Vietnam-Myanmar Friendship Association for the 2021 to 2026 term.

The Congress elected a 30-member executive committee for 2021 to 2026, along with a three-member Inspection Committee. According to a report presented during the course of the event, the relationship between both sides has grown steadily over the past five decades.

The two countries established a comprehensive partnership back in 2017, thereby opening up channels of dialogue and close co-operation at a ministerial level in foreign affairs, defence, security, economics, and trade.

Many high-level exchange visits have been held by both nations’ leaders, along with various ministries and agencies, while bilateral mechanisms have been regularly maintained and promoted. Indeed, the Joint Committee on Bilateral Cooperation and the Joint Sub-Committee on Trade serves as a typical case in point.

By the end of April, total Vietnamese licensed investment capital in Myanmar stood at US$2.2 billion, thereby covering 11 projects on telecommunications, construction, and banking.

Most notably, co-operation in defence, security, agriculture, transportation, construction, and banking have yielded an array of positive results.

Furthermore, the two countries have actively co-ordinated with each other at international and regional forums, such as at ASEAN Conferences, the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), and the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy Summit (ACMECS).

During the last term, the Vietnam-Myanmar Friendship Association launched a broad range of practical activities as a way of promoting the comprehensive co-operative partnership, thereby deepening mutual understanding between the two peoples.

Moving ahead to the next term, the Vietnam-Myanmar Friendship Association will continue strengthening co-operation with the Myanmar Embassy in Hanoi, the Vietnamese Embassy in Yangon and with the Myanmar-Vietnam Friendship Association. This will be done to organise a series of regular activities regarding information exchange and well implement signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The association will also ramp up co-operation with religious, political, and social organisations in promoting economic, cultural, educational, and healthcare exchange activities.

As part of her speech, Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, president of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO), congratulated the Executive Committee of the Vietnam-Myanmar Friendship Association for the 2021 to 2026 term. She went on to praise Cong Phung as the new chairman of the Association, with Ambassador Nga affirming that the Association has made practical contributions to consolidating and tightening the friendship between the two nations.

The Vietnamese diplomat also expressed her confidence that the new Executive Committee will continue to do its job well, thereby leading the Association to implement many practical and effective activities and contributing to moving forward the friendship and co-operation between both sides.

Talk sheds light on folklore in cultural industries

A talk on “Living with Folklore” took place via video teleconference on November 10, bringing together hundreds of foreign and domestic delegates, including many cultural experts.

Co-held by the Vietnam National University (VNU) Hanoi’s Vietnam-Japan University and the Vietnam Cultural Initiatives, the event aimed to gather information and help enhance the audience’s understanding of different aspects and evolution of folklore in the contemporary era through two key approaches: folklore in the cultural industries and on digital platforms.

The first session on “Folklore in the Cultural Industries” was intended to bring a diverse perspective on folklore in the cultural industries, from Vietnam’s point of view as well as in comparison to the region and the world.

It saw the delegates exploring the connection between folklore and the cultural industries, the role and values of folklore in people’s life and livelihoods, the possibilities and challenges in developing modern day products and services based on folklore materials, and the ability to promote folklore through the products and services of the cultural industries.

A presentation by a Korean delegate shared the Republic of Korea’s experience in promoting folklore culture in people’s life and exporting cultural goods.

In Vietnam, folklore can be found in almost every aspect of the cultural industries, from cinema, fine arts, photography, to architecture, publishing, fashion, literature, music and even video games, said Dr. Tran Thanh Viet from the VNU Hanoi’s University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Folklore is an abundant source of material for cultural makers to show their creativity and bring it closer to the modern life, he said.

The second session on “Digital Folklore” explored the expression, preservation and promotion of folk cultural values on digital platforms. Speakers presented projects on folklore on digital platforms in Vietnam and in the world, in which experts and communities work with digital multimedia materials on various subjects such as traditional performing arts, craft villages, handicraft, objects associated with traditional customs, architectural heritage, visual arts, etc.

It expected to share good practices, open up new collaborations and initiatives to promote the preservation and digitisation of folk culture, and enhance people’s experience of folklore on digital platforms.

The event is part of Vietnam Festival of Creativity & Design 2021 organised by RMIT University Vietnam in collaboration with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies (VICAS), COLAB Vietnam and other partners./.

Winners of 2021 Reading Culture Ambassador Contest honoured

Nearly 300 individuals and collectives were honoured at the award ceremony of the 2021 Reading Culture Ambassador Contest on November 10.

The contest, organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism with the participation of many units and schools across the country, presents eight first prizes, 10 second prizes, 52 third prizes and more than 200 consolation prizes.

Launched in February, it was opened for students nationwide and aimed at promoting reading culture at schools and in the community.

Organisers received more than 870,000 entries by students from nearly 6,900 educational institutions, including those from Ha Nam, Bac Giang, Thai Nguyen, Gia Lai, Quang Ninh and Phu Tho provinces./.

Vietnam - Myanmar Friendship Association holds 2nd congress

The Vietnam - Myanmar Friendship Association on November 11 organized the second national congress for the 2021-2026 term in both face-to-face and online forms.

Chu Cong Phung, former Ambassador of Vietnam to Myanmar, was re-elected as Chairman of the association for the term 2021-2026.

Reports presented at the congress show that the Vietnam – Myanmar relations have developed fruitfully in the past nearly 50 years. The establishment of comprehensive partnership between the two countries in 2017 opened up channels of dialogue and close cooperation at the ministerial level in foreign affairs, defence, security, and economy – trade.

Vietnam is now the 9th largest trade partner of Myanmar and the 7th biggest foreign investor in the Southeast Asian nation. Two-way trade reached 1.02 billion USD in 2019, and exceeded the set target for 2020. By the end of April 2021, Vietnam’s total licensed investment capital in Myanmar is 2.2 billion USD, including 11 projects, mainly in telecommunications, construction, and banking.

In the previous tenure, the Vietnam - Myanmar Friendship Association organized many activities with practical results, contributing to promoting the comprehensive cooperative partnership, enhancing mutual understanding and friendship.

In the next term, the Vietnam - Myanmar Friendship Association plans to continue strengthening cooperation with the Myanmar Embassy in Hanoi, the Vietnamese Embassy in Yangon, and the Myanmar - Vietnam Friendship Association to organise exchange activities, and effectively implement the MoU signed by the two associations.

It will also enhance linkages and cooperation with professional associations, religious, political, cultural and social organisations in order to foster economic cooperation and cultural, educational and medical exchange between the two countries./.

Vietnamese publishing industry discussed at 17th Venezuela Int’l Book Fair

The Embassy of Vietnam in Venezuela held a seminar on the Vietnamese publishing industry’s outstanding features in both virtually and in-person forms on November 9 as part of the 17th Venezuela International Book Fair (FILVEN 2021).

Addressing the seminar, Dr Tran Doan Lam, former director of The Gioi Publishing House, said that Vietnam attending the event as a guest of honour at Venezuela’s biggest cultural event of the year proved that the two countries, despite being far apart geographically but very close in terms of love for reading culture, share similar history with aspiration for freedom, independence, self-reliance, courage and patriotism.

Lam presented an overview of the main stages of development of the writing and publishing industry in Vietnam, from moc ban (woodblocks) printing to making use of the do (poonah) trees to make the unique paper suitable for printing and writing in about the 2nd century BC, or the creation of the Nom script in literary works in the 10th century, to the birth of world-renowned classical literary works such as the Tales of Kieu by Nguyen Du in the 18th century.

The Vietnamese speaker said that in the Middle Ages, there were villages specialising in book printing with wooden planks, mainly near the Thang Long Citadel (now Hanoi). Among them, 3,050 woodblocks preserved in Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in the northern province of Bac Giang were recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as the World Documentary Heritage in the Memory of the World Programme.

Vietnam has had over 60 publishing houses since 1952, plus about 1,500 printing establishments and 13,700 bookstores across the country. Every year, on the occasion of Vietnam Book Day (April 21), major book fairs are held in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, attracting the participation of Vietnamese and international publishers.

At the event, President of the Venezuela-Vietnam Friendship Association  Carolus Wimmer expressed his desire to cooperate with the The Gioi Publishing House to give more Vietnamese books to Venezuelan readers to meet their demand for studying the history, culture, country and people of Vietnam./.

Vietnam calls for addressing underlying root causes of conflicts

Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Vietnam's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, stressed the need to address the underlying root causes of conflicts, at an open debate on “Exclusion, inequality and conflict” of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on November 9.

He noted that inequalities and exclusion can drive or exacerbate the underlying root causes of conflicts.

“We all know that very few conflicts end simply with the signing of a peace agreement,” he said, pointing out that damaged infrastructure, lack of essential services and few development opportunities can jeopardize post-conflict recovery efforts.

It is thus essential to address the underlying root causes of conflict. The Council must continue to uphold the Charter and work with other UN entities in accordance with their respective mandates.

Regional organisations play a complementary role in maintaining international peace and security, he added, citing the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Meanwhile, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development continues to be the utmost priority, and more innovative finance should be considered to support its implementation.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the COVID‑19 pandemic has amplified misery and inequalities, with 120 million more people being pushed into poverty, billions lacking social protection, health care and job protection to cope with the biggest recession the world has seen since the Second World War.

Pointing out vaccine gap between countries, which has hindered recovery efforts, he said there is a need to invest in the development of all people, equally, and prioritise women in peace building,

Trust must be built through national institutions that include and represent all people, anchored in human rights and the rule of law, he said, calling for institutions resilient to corruption and abuse of power, and policies and laws specifically protecting vulnerable groups.

In all societies, especially those experiencing conflict, diversity of culture, religion and ethnicity should be viewed as a powerful benefit, rather than a threat, he said, adding “Without full inclusion and equality, peace is a job half done.”/.

Bac Giang launches Lifelong Learning Week 2021

The People’s Committee of the northern province of Bac Giang has held a ceremony to launch the Lifelong Learning Week in 2021 via videoconference with connections to more than 700 locations in 10 districts and cities across the province.

This year, the Lifelong Learning Week is themed “Digital transformation and chances for lifelong learning for all amid COVID-19”.

Addressing the event, Standing Vice Chairman of the committee Mai Son said that amid the globalisation context where the world is entering an era of high technology with challenges from COVID-19 pandemic, digital transformation has become a new trend of learning, helping people broaden their vision, enriching knowledge and sharpen their skills of working effectively.

The Lifelong Learning Week is a chance to honour, maintain and promote the tradition of studiousnes of Vietnamese people, he said.

Son held that lifelong learning, along with the strengthening of digital transformation, especially amid COVID-19 pandemic, will help form a society in which all individuals are active in learning, and all people become more closely together. Lifelong learning also serves as a source of happiness and help people improve themselves, he added.

The official asked the provincial Education and Training sector strengthen communications to raise its officials’ awareness of and responsibility as well as determination in implementing digital transformation. Schools should increase the application of information technology in both managing and teaching activities, he stressed.

He advised students to make full use of time, opportunities as well as support from teachers and studying tools as well as the Internet to learn more effectively. Alongside, they should optimise their knowledge by applying them into real life, he said.

He requested the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee, organisations, associations and local government in localities to mobilise resources from the community for learning, while raising public awareness of the obligations and responsibilities in building a learning society.

With the motto of “education and training is the leading national policy,” and investing in education is investing in development,” over the years, the Education and Training sector of Bac Giang has overcome difficulties to make positive changes in the sector’s performance, with expanded schools and classrooms.

To date, the province has had 760 education and training establishments, 691 of which have met national standards, reaching 92.1 percent. The overall education quality has been improved, with an increasing number of students showing good academic performance and successful entering universities and colleges through years, many of whom took the top positions in university entrance exams.

Meanwhile, 75 percent of total households have become learning families. Many students from poor families have risen from difficulties to become successful in studying.

At the event, participants witnessed a teaching session themed “Skills to become digital citizens” conducted via Microsoft Teams (Office 365) app.

Earlier this year, the Prime Minister issued a decision approving the project "Building a society of learning in the 2021-2030 period".

The project sets targets of 90 percent of provinces to achieve the literacy standards at Level 2, 100 percent to complete preschool education universalisation for preschool children, and 70 percent to meet the standard of universal primary education at Level 3 by 2030.

It also strives for 70 percent of people in the working age to be equipped with information capacity and living skills, 60 percent aged from 15 trained in technical and professional qualifications, and 15 percent having a university degree or higher.

In order to achieve the above goals, the project offers a number of tasks and solutions such as disseminating and raising awareness about building a learning society, completing relevant mechanisms and policies, promoting the implementation of digital transformation and application of information technology in the organisation of lifelong learning activities./.

Mother language training courses help promote Vietnamese culture abroad

One hundred and fifty teachers from 10 countries and territories in the Asian – Australia region have successfully completed a Vietnamese language training course hosted by the Foreign Ministry's State Commission for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs (COVA).

In his speech at the closing ceremony on November 7, Director of the COVA's Department of Information and Culture Dinh Hoang Linh said the course is the first in the framework of a programme on training overseas Vietnamese teachers in teaching the Vietnamese language in 2021.

During nearly one month of the course, trainees were equipped with pedagogical skills, formal and professional Vietnamese teaching methods, and more knowledge about Vietnamese culture and history. They were also provided with teaching materials from experienced lecturers at Vietnamese universities.

Previously on November 6, the second course of this kind for Vietnamese teachers in Europe and North America kicked off virtually, with the participation of nearly oversea 130 teachers from Austria, Poland, Belarus, Belgium, the US, Canada and Germany.

Addressing the event, Ambassador Luong Thanh Nghi, Deputy Chairman of COVA affirmed that the committee always pays attention to the teaching and learning of the Vietnamese language in Vietnamese communities abroad.

This is an important task to help overseas Vietnamese communities preserve the cultural identity and traditions, contributing to popularizing the Vietnamese language and culture abroad.

Professional training courses in teaching Vietnamese language for overseas teachers is an annual activity conducted by the committee since 2013. So far, nearly 400 teachers have completed both face-to-face and online training courses.

According to Nguyen Van Son, a Vietnamese language teacher in the Czech Republic, Vietnamese association in the Czech have actively maintained the popularization of Vietnamese language to children with the support of the Vietnamese Embassy and volunteer teachers.

He expressed his hope that the Vietnamese Party and Government will pay more attention to promoting the teaching and learning of the Vietnamese language abroad.

On the occasion, a seminar was held to discuss measures and share experience to promote teaching and learning the Vietnamese language abroad and remove difficulties in implementing the programme./.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/SGGP/Nhan Dan

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