Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính on Saturday presided over the Government’s meeting to discuss the situation and measures to ensure electricity supply for production, business and consumption in the last months of 2023 and 2024.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, electricity supply in the first ten months of 2023 was generally assured. However, there were certain periods in late May and early June when the northern region experienced electricity shortages due to unusually dry hydrological conditions and extreme heat, leading to a sudden and prolonged increase in electricity demand. It is estimated that the total electricity production and import for the entire electricity system in 2023 will reach 280.6 billion kWh, a 4.6 per cent increase over the same period in 2022, reaching 98.6 per cent of the plan.

To meet the 2024 socio-economic development plan, calculations show that balancing electricity supply and demand in 2024 may require an increase in electricity load growth from 6 per cent to 8.96 per cent. The electricity system is expected to meet the needs of socio-economic development in most scenarios. However, in an extreme scenario with increased electricity demand and adverse hydrological conditions, the northern region may still face electricity shortages.

During the meeting, participants assessed the current power supply capacity and the causes of recent local power shortages. Leaders of ministries, branches, and Deputy Prime Ministers discussed various scenarios and proposed plans to ensure sufficient electricity for the 2024 socio-economic development plan.

These plans include strategies for operating electricity supply and demand, ensuring an adequate supply of raw materials and fuel for power plants to operate at full capacity, maximising the utilisation of power sources, investing in new power projects, and encouraging electricity savings, particularly during peak periods. Additionally, it is suggested that there should be a specific mechanism prioritising the development of power sources in the northern region.

In conclusion, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính said that, in 2023, there has been no shortage of power sources to support socio-economic development. However, power shortages still occurred at certain localities due to limited management. Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, he emphasised the importance of developing scenarios and closely monitoring electricity operations based on power sources, electricity load, distribution, utilisation and prices.

For 2024, the goal is to create electricity operating scenarios ensuring that the entire country has a minimum of 50,000 MW and a maximum of 52,000 MW of electricity available for production, business and consumption.

Achieving this goal will require securing sufficient raw materials for electricity production, including water, coal and gas.

Efforts should be made to maximise the use of domestic coal resources and import coal only when domestic demand cannot be met, the PM said.

Additionally, water resources should be managed, and water should be stored in reservoirs for both agricultural production and hydroelectricity. Renewable energy sources should be integrated into the system to harmonise benefits between people, businesses and the state. Gas power projects should be maximised, and the possibility of importing gas should be considered, if necessary, he added.

The Prime Minister stressed that any problems and issues should be addressed through coordination and collaboration among ministries and branches. If a problem falls outside their authority, it must be reported to government leaders for consideration and resolution.

Regarding electricity transmission, the Prime Minister urged ministries and branches to coordinate efforts to remove bottlenecks and urgently commence the construction of the extended 500-kV transmission line, circuit 3. This may include building additional lines to regulate electricity distribution, ensuring national energy security, particularly for the northern region.

Regarding distribution, the Prime Minister requested an acceleration of the transfer of the National Load Dispatch Centre to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, along with the resolution of any legal issues. If necessary, the government should issue an additional decree to address these matters. Relevant ministries and branches should work closely with the Ministry of Home Affairs to resolve these issues completely.

For electricity usage, the Prime Minister assigned the Committee for Management of State Capital at Enterprises and Vietnam Electricity to collaborate with news agencies, newspapers and media to actively promote and guide the economical, safe and effective use of electricity.

The Prime Minister also instructed ministries and branches to conduct research on adjusting electricity prices appropriately, considering investment, operation, distribution and other costs, as well as any price adjustments due to inflation. Additionally, there should be policies in place to ensure that price calculations align with the social security policies of the Party and State.

Concerning rooftop electricity trading and direct electricity trading, Prime Minister Chính assigned Deputy Prime Minister Trần Hồng Hà to direct the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Justice to coordinate with national agencies and associations to develop appropriate, effective and timely treatment plans.

Success in COVID-19 combat reflects Vietnam’s mettle, wisdom: PM

The success in the combat against the COVID-19 pandemic has once again reflected the spirit, mettle, and wisdom of Vietnam, which does not step back in the face of every difficulty and challenge, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said on October 29.

PM Chinh, who is also head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, made the statement while chairing a national hybrid conference reviewing the pandemic fight.

Participants in the event shared the view that COVID-19 is an unprecedented, complex, and unpredictable global pandemic. Facing the urgent need to protect people’s lives and health, ensure social security, and boost socio-economic development, right and timely decisions appropriate to each stage of the pandemic have been issued, enabling Vietnam to slow down the spread, prevent the outbreak, and gradually curb the disease in a short period of time.

The pandemic has been brought under control nationwide. People of all social strata put their trust in the Party and State’s policies on the pandemic fight. The results of COVID-19 prevention and control have substantially contributed to socio-economic recovery in most areas, they said.

Angela Pratt, Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Vietnam, highly valued the country’s achievements in the COVID-19 combat and noted its response to the pandemic is a model for other countries.

Highlighting six lessons and factors of the country’s success, which led to the recent downgrade of COVID-19 from a Group A infectious disease to a Group B one, she said Vietnam showed strong capacity of detecting, tracing, zoning and phasing out the disease; a very effective combination of border measures and appropriate hotspot lockdown; good health care capacity, enabled by many dedicated and skilled health care workers; the very effective vaccination rollout; good engagement of the community broader society in the response; and especially very strong, clear and committed government leadership in the pandemic combat.

Reviewing the unforgettable moments of the combat, PM Chinh said the COVID-19 fight demonstrated the solidarity and patriotism of the entire nation.

He held that Vietnam has recorded fruitful results thanks to a right mindset that puts people’s health and lives first and above all, considers people as the centre and key player of the fight, and views the victory over the pandemic as the victory of people.

He attributed the success to the timely leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the Party Central Committee, and the Politburo with Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong giving frequent and direct orders; the strong directions from the Government, the PM, and the National Steering Committee; the support from the State President and the National Assembly, the coordination from the Vietnam Fatherland Front; the drastic, unanimous, and consistent actions by all-level administration; people and businesses’ support, trust, and active participation; along with assistance from international friends.

On behalf of the Party and State leaders, PM Chinh appreciated efforts by all-level authorities, sectors, localities, the steering committees for COVID-19 fight, and especially health workers, military and public security soldiers, and other frontline forces.

He also took this occasion to thank other countries and international organisations for supporting Vietnam in the fight against the pandemic.

Pointing out several lessons, the Government leader asked ministries and sectors, particularly the Ministry of Health, to continue perfecting regulations, mechanisms, and policies to meet anti-epidemic requirements in all circumstances; develop preventive and grassroots health systems; and reform policies and methodology on the training of medical workers to ready manpower for combating epidemics, especially workers at the grassroots level and in disadvantaged, remote, mountainous, border, maritime, and ethnic minority areas.

He also demanded decent treatment for health workers be ensured; the pharmaceutical industry, vaccines, biologicals, medical equipment, and traditional medicine developed; and information technology application to epidemic forecasting and healthcare management boosted.

The PM requested ministries, sectors, and localities press on with settling pandemic consequences; stabilising people’s life, especially pandemic victims, including orphans; deal with outstanding problems; and rewarding those with remarkable performance in the combat.

At the meeting, he also affirmed that the steering committees for COVID-19 prevention and control at all levels have excellently fulfilled their duties and now wrap up their role.

Chinese tourist arrivals in Khanh Hoa edge up

Tour operators have organized additional chartered flights from China’s major cities to Khanh Hoa Province, bringing more Chinese tourists to the south-central province.

China Southern Airlines, the largest carrier in China, has plans to launch daily flights to the Cam Ranh International Airport in Khanh Hoa Province starting October 29.

Currently, this airline is operating three round-trip flights a week from China’s Guangzhou to Khanh Hoa. With its plan, the total number of flights between Khanh Hoa and Chinese cities will rise to 10 per day.

The increase of direct flights from China to the province will help attract visitors from China and other countries as well, said Nguyen Thi Le Thanh, director of the Khanh Hoa Department of Tourism.

The agency previously worked closely with its Chinese counterparts to promote the opening of new direct air routes between the two countries. Tourism businesses and local authorities have introduced a multitude of new tourism products to encourage Chinese visitors to stay longer and spend more.

In October, accommodation facilities in the province catered to 500,000 visitors, doubling the number in the same period in 2022. Notably, 220,000 of them were international tourists, a 6-fold increase year-on-year.

Khanh Hoa is expected to welcome 6.2 million travelers and earn VND30,000 billion in revenue by the end of this month.

Digital skills gap addressed with 40,000 scholarships in Vietnam

Approximately 40,000 scholarships and three new additional courses will be awarded to Vietnamese students from universities, colleges, and job seekers in 2024 as part of the Google Career Certificates program.

This achievement comes from the collaboration between Google and the National Innovation Center (NIC) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), aiming to fulfill Google's commitment to support digital enhancement for Vietnamese people.

The award ceremony took place on October 28 at the Talent Development Summit: The Grow Together for a Better Future and the closing program for the 2022-2023 period.

The event was part of the Vietnam International Innovation Exhibition 2023 (VIIE 2023), held from October 28 to November 1, by the Ministry of Planning and Investment in collaboration with its partners.

The Google Career Certificates program, launched in 2022, is a non-profit project by Google in Vietnam, sponsored by the NIC.

The program is part of a series of projects and activities by Google to enhance the digital skills and knowledge of the Vietnamese workforce.

After completing each course, learners receive globally recognized professional certifications from Google in various fields, including IT support, data analytics, project management, digital marketing & e-commerce, and user experience design, through the online learning platform

The program will offer eight courses, including five courses launched during the 2022-2023 phase, and three new courses: cybersecurity, advanced data analytics, and business intelligence. These courses will be available for free until December 31, 2024.

According to Google's latest economic report, 62% of surveyed participants believed that analytical skills are among the most important, along with 55% emphasizing the significance of digital skills and cybersecurity.

The report also highlighted a serious shortage in the field of cybersecurity, with a current demand for 650,000 experts while only 50,000 professionals can address real-world issues.

Sapna Chadha, Vice President of Google, Asia-Pacific, said: "Vietnam is one of the countries with the fastest-growing digital economy in Southeast Asia, and we believe there are even more promising developments in the future.”

To foster this opportunity, Google is committed to supporting the enhancement of digital skills for the people of Vietnam. Alongside MPI, NIC, and other government partners, they will continue to contribute to the successful implementation of the Google Career Certificates program.

“We believe this collaboration will create significant value for the Vietnamese labor market, providing students and job seekers with opportunities to learn and succeed in the near future," she underlined.

Tran Quoc Phuong, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, also shared that the program has achieved significant milestones in narrowing the digital gap in Vietnam, providing learning and development opportunities for 20,000 individuals.

He added among them, over 5,000 learners have completed at least one course in the program and received professional certifications from Google. 

Within the framework of the event, the event collaborated with VietnamWorks and TopCV to organize a large-scale job fair, connecting graduating students with over 30 companies in the recruitment network. 

This allowed learners to have direct interactions with employers, through useful activities such as career counseling, and mock interviews to help them prepare for the competitive job market. The event attracted the participation of over 1,500 students, both in-person and online.

The Google Career Certificates will continue to contribute to the sustainable development of the information technology sector in Vietnam. 

To date, it has provided learning and development opportunities for 20,000 students, enabling them to access new career opportunities.

Work resumes on Ben Luc-Long Thanh expy’s longest bridge

Work has resumed on the long-delayed Binh Khanh Bridge, the longest cable-stayed bridge along the 57-kilometer Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expressway.
The construciton of the bridge got back on track on October 27 after a five-year suspension.

The main bridge package is expected to be completed in 11 months, according to Dang Huu Vi, director of the Southern Expressway Projects Management Unit under the Vietnam Expressway Corporation.

Construction of the Binh Khanh Bridge began in August 2015, with a total cost of around VND2.8 trillion. The bridge over the Soai Rap River connects the outlying districts of Nha Be and Can Gio in HCMC.

Work on the Binh Khanh Bridge came to a halt in December 2018 when it was 70% complete due to financial constraints.

The bridge has the highest vertical clearance in Vietnam, at 55 meters. This significant height between the bridge and the water surface is designed to accommodate huge ships navigating the Soai Rap River.

The bridge is a crucial component of the Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expressway project, which commenced construction in July 2014. By the beginning of 2019, the project had been 80% complete. However, construction was suspended due to technical and legal issues.

In early July, the prime minister issued a decision revising the investment plan for the expressway project, paving the way for the resumption of construction work.

As per the plan, the project will secure loans from the Asian Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency to resume construction. The completion date for the entire project has been extended to September 30, 2025.

Binh Dinh fish port suffers serious pollution

Binh Dinh Port, which serves hundreds of boats every day, is facing serious pollution caused by fish trading and processing activities. 

Plastic bags and bottles, styrofoam boxes, and wastewater from fish processing activities have been left all over the port. 

According to the Binh Dinh Provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, a wastewater treatment system was built at the Quy Nhon Fish Port in 2018 but the treated water samples didn't meet quality standards. The system hasn't been fixed or upgraded for the past five years, adding more to the pollution problem in the area.

Director of Binh Dinh Fish Ports Management Board, Dao Xuan Thien, admitted that the wastewater at Quy Nhon port hadn't been treated properly before being released into local waters."We're still finding a capable contractor for the wastewater treatment system at Quy Nhon Port," Thien said.

Thien also added that some of the rubbish at the port comes from local households who live nearby and upstream rivers.

"We've proposed to the provincial government to assign funding for collecting rubbish in the area," he said.

UEH Vietnam and NTU Singapore launch International MBA to develop global leaders

University of Economics HCM (UEH) and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have jointly launched the International Master of Business Administration (IMBA) programme in Việt Nam.

The new programme, set to commence in August 2024, aims to deliver a comprehensive business education, amalgamating the collective expertise of both universities to equip participants with skills and knowledge vital for thriving in the green and tech economy.

Upon successful completion of the programme's requirements, participants will be awarded the NTU MBA Degree by NTU Singapore. Additionally, they will receive the Certificate of Completion in Business Administration from UEH. This dual recognition underscores the programme's commitment to delivering a well-rounded educational experience.

The Vietnam government has recognised that sustainable economic growth in the 21st century must be fostered through science, technology, innovation, and digital transformation. This year, education and training have been highlighted as key areas of collaboration during Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính’s visit to Singapore in March. With the two countries celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations, this programme is poised to facilitate the exchange of expertise, technology, and investment opportunities, promoting mutual growth and development for both countries.

UEH President Professor Sử Đình Thành said: “The collaboration between UEH and NTU Singapore will bring together the expertise of our two institutions to drive global knowledge exchange, develop leadership, and cultivate talents to contribute to the economic growth of both nations. The collaboration between the two universities will provide participants with a holistic learning experience. By bringing together faculty from both institutions, the programme combines global perspectives with a strong grasp of the local context in Việt Nam.”

Professor Christina Soh, Dean of NTU Singapore’s Nanyang Business School, said: “UEH's faculty has a deep understanding and hands-on experience of Việt Nam’s local business environment, encompassing cultural, economic, and political nuances. NTU's faculty contributes evidence-based knowledge and global insights to enrich this programme. Through this collaboration, we strike a harmonious balance between acting locally and thinking globally.” 

Two former directors jailed in Đà Nẵng - Quảng Ngãi expressway case

Following a two-week-long trial, on Friday morning, the People's Court of Hà Nội sentenced 22 individuals in a case involving construction-related infractions, culminating in damages of VNĐ460 billion (approximately US$18.7 million) during the second phase of the Đà Nẵng-Quảng Ngãi Expressway Project.

Trần Văn Tám, the former Director of the Việt Nam Expressway Corporation (VEC), was handed a 3-year prison term on counts of “serious violations of regulations on investment in construction projects causing serious consequences,” paired with a 30-month sentence for “negligence causing serious consequences.” The cumulative effect of these sentences amounts to 5 years and 6 months of incarceration.

Mai Tuấn Anh, former Chairman of the Board and former VEC Director, was sentenced to 42 months in prison for "negligence causing serious consequences."

Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng and Lê Quang Hào, both former VEC Deputy Directors, received a total of 11 years and 8 years in prison, respectively, for "serious violations of regulations on investment in construction projects causing serious consequences."

The remaining 18 defendants were convicted of the same charge of "serious violations of regulations on investment in construction projects causing serious consequences", with total sentences ranging from 5 to 10 years. These include three former leaders of the Project Management Board of the Đà Nẵng-Quảng Ngãi Expressway Project: Hoàng Việt Hưng, Nguyễn Tiến Thành and Đỗ Ngọc Ân.

The Đà Nẵng-Quảng Ngãi Expressway Project is a national key project managed by the VEC, with a total length of nearly 140 kilometres.

Phase 1, which spans 65 kilometres from Đà Nẵng to Tam Kỳ (Quảng Nam Province), was opened in August 2017. Phase 2, which is over 74 kilometres and goes from Tam Kỳ to Quảng Ngãi (Quảng Ngãi Province), was opened in September 2018.

However, shortly after the expressway went into operation, numerous defects appeared, significantly affecting its operation, traffic safety, and overall performance. Violations occurred in both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project. In Phase 1, 36 defendants were prosecuted.

During Phase 2, various parties responsible for the project, including the investor, project management board, construction contractors, and supervising consultants, failed to adhere to regulations in material selection, design compliance, trial construction, and general material production. The construction process, particularly the materials used, proved to be substandard, leading to significant damage.

In terms of quality control and site inspection, there was a lack of rigorous guidance in the project's direction and construction management. Inspection and control of construction quality were insufficiently conducted at various stages and steps according to construction regulations. Consequently, in both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project, construction materials did not meet technical standards and design requirements, resulting in damage and serious consequences for the operation of the expressway.

Notably, on May 25, 2016, after conducting a site inspection of the project, the Ministry of Transport requested VEC to enhance material quality inspections, particularly those relating to stone quarries in the Quảng Nam and Đà Nẵng areas. However, Tuấn Anh and Tám did not take the request seriously, which led to continued usage of subpar materials, and resulted in unsatisfactory quality, substandard construction, and significant damage to the expressway's operation.

Throughout both phases of the project, the lower-ranking officials under the leadership of Mai Tuấn Anh and Trần Văn Tám, including Deputy Director-Generals Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng and Lê Quang Hào, who played key roles at the Project Management Board, were all indicted for "Serious violations of regulations on investment in construction projects causing serious consequences."

The trial determined that, in their roles as Directors of VEC, Tuấn Anh and Tám had neglected management duties, failed to provide proper guidance for timely rectification of project issues related to source materials, construction processes, and project acceptance.

The trial's council acknowledged the gravity of the defendants' offences. However, it considered that the defendants were all highly qualified professionals with good moral character who acted with a sense of urgency to bring the project into operation. As a result, a portion of the sentences for the defendants was reduced.

South Nghệ An to Quảng Ngãi to have over 200mm of rain

The southern area of Nghệ An to Quảng Ngãi Province on Tuesday will experience heavy rain with total rainfall ranging from 50-150mm, with some places receiving over 200mm, according to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

The heavy rain is likely to persist until Thursday.

The Gulf of Tonkin experienced wind speeds of 29-74km per hour on Monday.

The northern part of the East Sea had wind speeds of 39-74kph.

The sea area from Quảng Ngãi to Kiên Giang experienced scattered showers and thunderstorms.

To proactively respond and minimise damage caused by natural disasters, the National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control on Sunday requested provinces and cities from Nghệ An to Quảng Ngãi to closely monitor the weather forecast.

They must provide timely and complete information to organisations and people to enable them to take preventive measures.

The provinces should deploy forces to inspect and review residential areas along rivers, streams, and low-lying areas to organise the relocation and evacuation of people in areas at high risk of deep flooding, flash floods, and landslides.

They should also assign forces to guide traffic, especially through underpasses, spillways, deeply flooded areas, fast-flowing water, and areas at high risk of landslides.

Another important task is ensuring the safety of teachers, students, and schools in flooded areas, and being prepared to prevent flooding in urban areas, agricultural areas, and industrial parks.

The aforementioned provinces and cities must inspect and review reservoirs and downstream areas, especially small hydroelectric reservoirs and important irrigation lakes.

They are responsible for arranging permanent forces to operate the reservoirs and handle any situations that may arise, ensuring the safety of projects under construction, especially key ones.

Additionally, they should notify captains and ship owners to have appropriate plans for the safety of people and property, and be ready with forces and means for rescue work when situations arise.

Every problem must be reported to the National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control. 

Quảng Ninh Province celebrates its 60th anniversary

Quảng Ninh Province on Saturday evening held a ceremony to celebrate its 60th Anniversary of Founding (October 30, 1963 – October 30, 2020) at October 30 Square in Hạ Long City.

During his address at the ceremony, Nguyễn Xuân Ký, the Secretary of the Quảng Ninh Provincial Party Committee, emphasised the province's remarkable achievements over the past six decades, characterised by pioneering breakthroughs and substantial contributions to the nation's socialist development and security under the esteemed banner of the Party.

Looking ahead, Quảng Ninh aspires to transform into a role model province by 2030, excelling in various dimensions—economic prosperity, aesthetic beauty, cultural refinement, and modernity, ultimately enhancing the quality of life for its residents, Ký said.

The province's vision includes serving as a catalyst for growth in the northern region, functioning as a nucleus for dynamic and comprehensive development, evolving into a premier international tourism destination, a marine economic hub, and a pivotal gateway to the Northern key economic region and the nation as a whole.

Speaking at the ceremony, President Võ Văn Thưởng emphasised the significant position of the province, which is not only a top location in the country but also a historical site associated with the heroic victories at the Bạch Đằng River, marking the nation's triumphant history against invaders.

Quảng Ninh Province's heritage extends to its roots as a mining region, a cradle of the Vietnamese working class. The province is home to the majestic and picturesque Hạ Long Bay, recognised by UNESCO as a world natural and cultural heritage site, as well as Yên Tử, the birthplace of the Trúc Lâm Zen sect, linked to King Trần Nhân Tông, a prominent national politician and cultural figure. Quảng Ninh also boasts a diverse array of unique landscapes, traditions, and festivals.

Appreciating the socio-economic development achievements of the province, the President emphasised that Quảng Ninh is increasingly asserting its position and role as a growth engine in the northern region.

One notable aspect is the prioritisation of infrastructure development, particularly the development of modern and comprehensive transportation systems. This is coupled with a strong commitment to harmonising economic growth with cultural development, progress, and social justice, ensuring social security, and caring for the well-being of its people.

Quảng Ninh Province has implemented numerous policies that outshine those of many other regions across the country, with a special focus on remote mountainous, border, and island areas. The province has successfully achieved the goals of the new rural construction programme at all three levels, accomplishing this three years ahead of the national target for sustainable poverty reduction from 2021 to 2025.

Furthermore, Quảng Ninh Province maintains national defence, security, and sovereignty over its borders, ensuring social order and safety. The organisational structure has been streamlined, resulting in improved government management effectiveness and efficiency. The province consistently ranks among the top in the country in the Provincial Competitiveness Index and other indicators reflecting an honest, creative, proactive, and service-oriented government.

The President stressed the importance of implementing Central Resolutions and tasks outlined in the 15th Provincial Party Congress to achieve Quảng Ninh's vision of becoming a prosperous, modern, and dynamic hub for comprehensive development, international tourism, and marine economics, serving as a gateway to the north region and the nation. He called for maintaining Party integrity, enhancing leadership, fostering unity, and strengthening anti-corruption measures, with a focus on improving leadership and personnel quality. The President also encouraged a strong working class and commitment to innovation.

Quảng Ninh Province should also ensure rapid, sustainable economic development by restructuring, technological advancement, digital transformation, and a balanced approach to industry, services, and agriculture, with continued investments in practical new rural areas.

Furthermore, the President hoped for the preservation and promotion of cultural, historical, and natural heritage, emphasising their role as catalysts for socio-economic progress through tourism development. The province should prioritise education quality, public health, social security, and narrowing regional wealth disparities.

The President also said Quảng Ninh must continue its commitment to responsible resource management, environmental conservation, and proactive measures for natural disaster prevention, mitigation, and rescue efforts to protect both the people and state assets. The province should prioritise tree planting, forest conservation, safeguarding marine ecosystems, and ensuring the well-being of industrial production areas and coal mining sites. It must also maintain safeguarding the nation's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and border security.

Forum explores potential of innovation in health sector

A forum was held at the National Innovation Centre (NIC) in Hanoi on October 29 with a focus on the application of medical technology to health care.

The event, part of the NIC opening ceremony and the Vietnam International Innovation Expo 2023 from October 28 to November 1, aims to provide a panoramic view of the health sector’s important aspects and introduce and connect potential partners in medical technology and digital transformation from hospitals, centres, research institutes, and medical universities in the region and the world.

In his remarks, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Duy Dong said that health care is one of the priority sectors in the national digital transformation programme until 2025, with orientations towards 2030.

The digital transformation programme for the health sector covers four pillars, namely disease prevention and health care, medical examination and treatment, health administration, and organisation of online international specialised conferences.

Dong said the COVID-19 pandemic has fueled a giant leap in digital transformation in the health sector. Technological applications have been deployed quickly to access people nationwide such as the health declaration apps of NCOVI and PC COVID, the contact tracing app of Bluezone, and telemedicine.

The pandemic has partly reflected the importance of innovation in the health sector to public health care and socio-economic recovery and development, the official noted.

Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan said innovation in the health sector means the development and application of technological ideas and new processes and solutions to improve the quality and promote scientific advances in medicine. Innovation will resolve challenges and growing demand for health care, and it will take place in all steps from primary health care, disease prevention, examination and treatment to the production of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biologicals, and medical equipment.

Innovation in health care requires the coordination among medical experts, technologists, policy makers, and investors to make positive changes amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is taking place strongly, he went on.

Thuan voiced his hope that the forum would help connect domestic organisations and units with international technology developers and investors to boost the development of Vietnam’s health sector in the time ahead.

Delegation of national political academy visits France

A delegation of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (HCMA) paid a working visit to and took part in a refresher course in France from October 23 to 28.

The course on leadership studies and transformation of public administration, held at the National Institute of Public Service (INSP) of France, was under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation for 2019 - 2023 between the two sides.

Speaking at a meeting with the INSP’s international cooperation department, HCMA Deputy Director Duong Trung Y highly valued the recent cooperation programmes and exchanges, which have been carried out in various formats such as exchanging experts, holding online or in-person training courses, and organising specialised workshops.

The two sides agreed to sign a cooperation MoU for the next period in the coming time.

On this occasion, the HCMA delegation visited and had a working session with the Vietnamese Embassy in France.

Ambassador Dinh Toan Thang applauded the cooperation between the HCMA and INSP, which are prestigious training institutes for senior officials of the two countries and also form a special model of education - training cooperation, helping enhance the Vietnam - France strategic partnership, which turns 10 this year.

Union to maintain role as core force of Vietnamese youth in France

The Union of Vietnamese Students in France (UEVF) held the 10th congress, for 2023 - 2025, in Paris on October 28 with the participation of 60 delegates from across the European country.

The congress elected a 25-member executive committee and a seven-member secretariat. Nguyen Phan Bao Thuy was re-elected chairman of the UEVF for the next two years.

Speaking highly of the union’s activities, Vietnamese Ambassador to France Dinh Toan Thang said the UEVF is truly the core and pioneering force in activities of the Vietnamese youth and students, as well as the Vietnamese community in France. Its efforts and results over the past years form a good precondition for it to develop further.

He expressed his hope that the UEVF will remain an active factor of the Vietnamese community, including students, in France and carry out meaningful activities to help the students integrate into the local society and turn their hearts towards the homeland.

The ambassador also pledged the embassy’s support the UEVF’s activities.

UEVF Chairman Thuy promised that with its members’ dedication, dynamism and solidarity, the union will hold more practical and useful activities for students and young people of Vietnam in France, and always maintain its role as the pioneering force in the Vietnamese community’s activities to bring images of the homeland closer to international friends.

In the new tenure, it will work to develop and connect the network of Vietnamese intellectuals to meet the demand for science in the digital era, innovation, and renewable energy, he added.

The UEVF, one of the first associations of overseas Vietnamese students, now has 27 sub-unions with over 15,000 members across France.

Vietnam effectively contributed to IPU 147: official

Vietnam actively participated in and effectively contributed to the 147th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU 147) that took place in Angola’s capital of Luanda from October 23-27, said National Assembly (NA) Vice Chairman Nguyen Khac Dinh.

Dinh, who led the Vietnamese delegation to the event, said that IPU 147 is a success with the participation of delegations from 130 member countries, of that 36 delegations were headed by parliament chairpersons and 22 others by  vice chairpersons. Vice NA Chairman Dinh, on behalf of the Vietnamese delegation, addressed the plenary session.

He said that the Vietnamese four-member delegation joined all activities of the event, such as professional sessions of the IPU’s Forum of Women Parliamentarians and the Forum of Young Parliamentarians, meetings of the Committee on Sustainable Development, the Committee on International Peace and Security, the Committee on Democracy and Human Rights, and the Committee on United Nations Affairs.

At the forums and meetings, the Vietnamese delegation delivered speeches. International delegates highly valued the Vietnamese delegation's proposals.

On the sidelines of the event, the Vietnamese delegation had bilateral meetings with the parliamentary delegations of Tanzania, Malta, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

Much room remains for Vietnam - China defence cooperation: officials

Gen. Phan Van Giang, Politburo member, Vice Secretary of the Central Military Commission and Minister of National Defence of Vietnam, had talks with Sen. Lt. Gen. He Weidong, Politburo member and Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of China, in Beijing on October 28.

Giang, who is on an official visit to China, affirmed that the Party, Government, army, and people of Vietnam always keep in mind the enormous assistance from their Chinese counterparts for the struggle for national liberation and reunification in the past as well as the national construction at present.

In any circumstances, Vietnam always holds the consistent viewpoint of attaching importance to building the solidarity and friendship, long-term stability, strong mutual trust, and comprehensive cooperation with China, he stated.

Vietnam is persistent in the foreign policy of independence self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation and development, and in the defence policy of “four no’s” – no military alliances, no siding with one country against another, no foreign military bases or use of the Vietnamese territory to oppose other countries, and no use of force or threat to use force in international relations. It always views the maintenance of a peaceful and stable security environment as one of the key factors of cooperation for common development, and welcomes all countries’ cooperation initiatives and mechanisms for the purposes of peace, stability, common development, and common interests of the region, the official went on.

Giang added that Vietnam highly values China’s major and global cooperation initiatives for common interests such as the Global Development Initiative, the Global Civilisation Initiative, and the Belt and Road Initiative.

For his part, He noted China attaches importance to the consolidation and development of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership with Vietnam.

Speaking highly of Vietnam’s “four no’s” defence policy, the host official stressed that defence cooperation is one of the important pillars helping promote the friendship and cooperation between the two Parties and the two States for the sake of the two peoples, as well as for peace, stability, cooperation, and development in each country, the region, and the world at large.

Both sides shared the view that a number of cooperation activities between the two armies have been carried out in 2023 after a long period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They held that there remains much room for their countries to develop defence cooperation, and that in the time ahead, Vietnam and China should maintain frequent high-level mutual visits and meetings between leaders of the central military commissions and defence ministries, continue organising the border defence friendship exchange, step up sharing experience in the Party-related and political works in the armies, and consider expanding cooperation in such fields as high-quality manpower training, the defence industry, strategy studies, military medicine, along with the areas matching the countries’ strengths and demand.

With regard to the East Sea issue, they perceived that it is necessary to exchange opinions in a sincere and straightforward manner, properly control differences, jointly seek measures for settling issues appropriately and in line with the common perceptions reached between the leaders of the two Parties and the two countries, fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and soon finalise an effective and substantive code of conduct on the waters (COC) matching international law.

During the talks, Giang invited He and other leaders of the Central Military Commission and the Defence Ministry of China to attend the ceremony marking the 80th founding anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army and the second Vietnam International Defence Expo in late 2024.

The Vietnamese official also appreciated the invitation to him to attend and address the ongoing 10th Beijing Xiangshan Forum, expressing his belief that the event will be successful.

18-year-old singer wins top prize in Hanoi singing contest

On the evening of October 28, the final of the Hanoi Singing Contest, organized by Hanoi Radio and Television, was held with the participation of 12 contestants in three genres: Chamber Music, Folk Music and Light Music, as well as a song about Hanoi.

Tran Thi Van Anh, 18, from the central province of Ha Tinh, competed in the folk music genre and won the first prize. She is the youngest contestant in this year's competition. Hanoi Singing is the first professional music contest Van Anh has entered.

Three second prizes were awarded to Ho Van Kanh (light music), Nguyen Huu Trung (chamber music) and Mai Thu Huong (folk music).

Three third prizes were awarded to Ninh Trinh Quang Minh (light music), Pham Minh Hieu (folk music) and Bui Phuong Khanh Thy (light music).

Head of the organizing committee of the contest, Le Thi Anh Mai, deputy general director, deputy editor-in-chief of Hanoi Radio-Television, said the organizers were very surprised by the large number of participants and their qualifications, which far exceeded expectations.

"The judges had a hard time scoring and selecting the contestants in the rounds because their scores were very close," Mai said.

Hanoi Radio and Television will continue to support the talented contestants by giving them opportunities to perform in art shows and major events organized in Hanoi, helping them gain more experience and stage skills.

"Through this competition, we hope to discover and nurture musical talents to create the next generation of qualified and professional artists. The competition is in response to the Hanoi Party Committee's Resolution 09 on the Development of Cultural Industries and the Cultural Development Program - Building an Elegant and Civilized Hanoi People," Mai said.

Hanoi Singing Contest opened registration on August 29 with nearly 600 applications from all over the country. It has gone through the preliminary rounds (September 20-30) and semi-finals (October 15-18) to select 12 outstanding faces to advance to the final round.

The contest's predecessor was the Hanoi Television Singing Contest, first held in 1994 and since then biennially. However, since 2010, the competition has been suspended.

This is one of the first singing competitions in the country that is considered to have high professional quality and a large number of participants. It is also a long-standing signature program of Hanoi Radio and Television.

Vietnam wins silver in Asian air rifle mobile target shooting

On October 28, the Vietnamese shooting team participated in the air rifle mobile target shooting event at the 2023 Asian Shooting Championships in Changwon, South Korea, and surprisingly clinched two silver medals.

In the men's qualification round of air rifle mobile target shooting, the Vietnamese shooting team saw Ngo Tuan Anh score 564 points, securing a spot in the semi-finals, while Ngo Huu Vuong, the silver medalist of the 19th Asian Games, placed 5th in the qualification with 563 points.

Subsequently, Ngo Tuan Anh advanced to the bronze medal match and defeated his opponent Ha Kwangchul (South Korea) with a score of 10-8, claiming the bronze medal. Originally, Ngo Tuan Anh had a chance to reach the finals. However, in the semi-finals, the Vietnamese shooting athlete narrowly lost to his Korean rival, Kwak Yong Bin, with a score of 5-7, thus only having the opportunity to compete for the bronze medal.

Nonetheless, the Vietnamese shooting team found cause for celebration with a notable silver medal achievement. Shooter Nguyen Thi Thu Hang excelled in the qualifying rounds, earning her a spot in the final, where she competed against her opponent, Irnazarova Zukhra. In the final showdown, Thu Hang displayed great determination but ultimately secured a silver medal with a score of 2-6. This achievement marked a historic first for Vietnam in the 10m air rifle mobile target shooting discipline at an Asian championship.

In addition to the previously mentioned accomplishment, Vietnam's mobile target air rifle team also earned another silver medal in the women's team event, featuring Nguyen Thi Thu Hang, Duong Thi Trang, and Le Thao Ngoc. Additionally, the men's air rifle mobile target shooting team of Vietnam secured a bronze medal. In 2012, Vietnam participated in the Asian championship but got only a bronze medal in the men's team event for air rifle mobile target shooting.

Gov’t puts forward special mechanisms for expressway construction projects

The Government is seeking the National Assembly's approval for its proposal to increase the State’s capital contribution to road construction projects under PPP model to the maximal 70 percent of the total project value, which is 20 percent higher than the current limit.

On behalf of the Prime Minister, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung submitted the proposal to the legislative body on October 27.

Nguyen explained that some transport projects which require huge amount of investment capital but their transport demands remain low, thus the proposal is expected to make these projects attractive in the eyes of investors.

In addition, the Government also suggested that the provincial People’s Committees be empowered to implement highways and national roads by their budgets (including supportive capital from the Central level if any). The policy is expected to optimize potentials, advantages and responsibilities of local leaders.

The proposed special mechanisms may last by the end of 2025.

The Government targets to have 5,000 kilometers of expressway by 2030.

In the past 20 years, only 1,200 kilometers of expressway have been built, which means 3,800 kilometers of expressway must be completed over the next seven years.

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