Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has given the green light to a plan on the implementation of the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons (ACTIP), especially women and children.

The plan sets a goal for Vietnam to boost international cooperation and fulfil its responsibility as an ASEAN member state in anti-human trafficking efforts.

Ministries, sectors, and localities are in charge of carrying out communications campaigns on the content of the ACTIP and legal documents on trafficking prevention and control.

They are also tasked with incorporating the ACTIP into national and local laws and regulations. Increasing international cooperation, protecting victims, and cracking down on the vice are also key missions.

The plan is to improve the effectiveness of the receipt, verification, and identification of victims of trafficking and to implement measures to protect the safety of victims and their families, whose information will be kept confidential in accordance with the law, among others assignments.

Related agencies and sectors also have responsibility for making laws and enforcing legal regulations on quickly rescuing, protecting, repatriating, and rehabilitating victims, while building programmes to ensure their livelihoods and rehabilitation.

Such responsibility also covers increasing efforts to investigate and prosecute traffickers, especially organised rings, and applying discipline commensurate with the nature and severity of this crime./.

HCMC seizes two containers of used gloves imported from China

Two containers containing used rubber gloves imported from China into Vietnam have been discovered and confiscated at Cat Lai Port in District 2 by HCMC's competent agencies.

Since late October, the Saigon Trading Group Product and Import Export Medical Equipment Co. Ltd., headquartered in Binh Thanh District, has been importing gloves, according to the Saigon Port Border Customs Sub-department Region I.

The company said in a customs declaration that the brand new rubber gloves were used for kitchen activities and were not medical gloves.

Seeing some signs of illegal import, the sub-department on December 2 launched an inspection into the batches in line with Article 34 of the 2014 Customs Law.

After checking the containers, the competent forces found two containers containing 1,087 cartons weighing a total of 5.77 tons of dirty rubber gloves with an unpleasant smell, Thanh Nien Online reported.

The sub-department said these gloves were used and looked like medical gloves, adding that due to the complicated development of Covid-19, the import of used rubber gloves posed a serious threat of community coronavirus transmission.

In early August, the HCMC police worked with the competent agencies to break up a ring that turned used medical gloves into new ones at a factory in the city. Over 2.3 million gloves were seized at that time.

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Hanoi suspends crowds for Covid-19 prevention

Hanoi has decided to suspend mass gatherings following new domestic Covid-19 infections in HCM City.

Under the request issued by Hanoi People’s Committee’s Chairman Chu Ngoc Anh on Thursday, Hanoi needs to continue applying strict Covid-19 prevention regulations.

According to the chairman, mobile Covid-19 prevention and control task forces must be always willing to be on duty round-the-clock every day to detect Covid-19 cases as well as vulnerable cases.

It is compulsory for people in Hanoi to wear face masks and use hand wash at places at high risk of Covid-19 infection such as quarantine sites, markets, supermarkets, schools, stations, airports and hospitals.

Any person, including those who manage agencies and units, who violates in Covid-19 prevention and control regulations in line with the government's Decree 17 will be punished.

The Hanoi chairman also noted that all people who enter Vietnam from abroad have to be sent to quarantine areas as regulated. Police and authorities of localities need to closely supervise them.

Anh ordered an end to unnecessary crowded events. In cases where such events still need to be held, the organisers and participants are required to conform to Covid-19 prevention regulations.

HCM City which has witnessed three new domestic Covid-19 infection cases has also prohibited mass gatherings in unnecessary cases.

The city has also taken drastic measures to define people who would face Covid-19 infection risks for being related to the three Covid-19 patients.

When events and activities are held with the participation of foreigners who come from Covid-19-affected areas, the organisers must seek local health authorities’ permission.

Vietnam still at high risk of Covid-19 transmission

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Although thousands of people who were in close and indirect contact with the Covid-19 cases in HCMC have tested negative for the virus, Vietnam is still at high risk of Covid-19 transmission, according to the national steering committee for Covid-19 infection prevention and control.

On December 3, the Ministry of Health asked the departments of health and medical centers to consider pandemic prevention and control as the top priority. Hospitals and clinics should review their prevention and control measures and seriously comply with regulations on classifying, quarantining and testing those suspected of infection, Thanh Nien Online newspaper reported.

The steering committee asked the HCMC Department of Health to direct medical centers in the city to quickly classify and test those suspected of being infected with the virus to immediately detect new cases. The department was also asked to establish teams to inspect medical centers.

According to the steering committee, after 88 straight days without locally-transmitted Covid-19 cases, HCMC has reported new cases, who were infected with the disease from imported cases and then transmitted the virus to others. In the northern region, large events are in the offing, so the risk of Covid-19 infection is high.

On December 3, HCMC Vice Chairman Le Thanh Liem asked departments, agencies and districts to enhance efforts to prevent and control the pandemic.

The municipal government required closely controlling outside sources of infection, calmly responding to all situations and zoning off pandemic-hit areas. All people entering Vietnam have to be placed under quarantine at centralized quarantine centers managed by the military and approved lodging facilities.

Those under quarantine must comply with regulations, regularly wear face masks and limit contact with surrounding people. Heavy sanctions will be imposed on agencies and individuals violating regulations, posing a high risk of pandemic transmission.

In case the pandemic continues to spread in the community, the department must propose the municipal authorities impose social distancing measures in high-risk areas. In addition, the city will cease events and activities with the participation of a large number of people.

HCMC Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong called for increased vigilance to stem the spread of Covid-19 in the community. The Health Department and districts must accelerate the traceability of people who were in close and indirect contact with Covid-19 patients.

As for people quarantined at home, the local authorities must take responsibility if they leave their houses. The municipal Department of Health must review regulations on quarantine at home and minimize the number of people quarantined at home.

The department will launch unannounced inspections into centralized quarantine centers.

In Hanoi, municipal Chairman Chu Ngoc Anh has checked the pandemic prevention and control measures at Garment 10 Corporation and Duc Giang Hospital in Long Bien District and asked for the enhancement of inspections into centralized quarantine centers and supervision of those quarantined at home.

Labour exporting company fined for fraud

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs have just fined a labour export company for cheating hundreds of workers.

The Hue Tuan Investment Joint Stock Company was fined VND400 million (USD17,391) for violating the Law on Overseas Vietnamese Labour.

According to the ministry's investigation, Hue Tuan Investment Joint Stock Company had violated regulations when organising training and signing contracts with workers who registered at the company to work in Poland and Japan.

"After collecting money as fees, the company failed to send labours to work abroad and did not return the money," the investigation reported. "After that, the company's director, Vu Minh Tuan, refused to meet with the workers who wanted to get their money back. He also fled when the ministry's inspection team came to work with them on the complaints.

Following their investigation, the ministry decided to suspend the company's operations for 12 months and issued a fine of VND 400 million.

The company was also requested to pay all the money that they owed.

Earlier, over 200 workers have sent a total of VND 4 billion (USD173,973) to Hue Tuan as fees to register for working in Poland. Nearly 100 others have also registered and paid for fees to work in Japan since December 2008.

However, the company has failed to send the workers abroad to work on their contracts. When the worker wanted to get their money back, Tuan tried to delay multiple times. On September 15, 2020, he held a meeting with the workers to threaten them and even beat a female worker.

Vietnam to work to ensure food security

The Prime Minister recently signed Decision No.1975/QD-TTg issuing an action plan to realise the Politburo’s Conclusion No.81-KL/TW dated July 29 on ensuring national food security till 2030.

Accordingly, ministries, ministry-level and Government agencies, and People’s Committees of centrally-run cities and provinces must adopt synchronous and effective measures in accordance with the Conclusion.

The PM requested raising public awareness of national food security in the new situation, considering it as a specially important task during industrialisation and modernisation, strengthening the Party and authorities’ leadership in ensuring food security for citizens, localities and the whole nation.

They are assigned to rearrange, speed up mechanisation and automation of production in combination with food processing and consumption, continue to effectively carry out the Vietnam rice trademark project and rice export development strategy, and develop key rice cultivation zones in advantageous areas.

The leader ordered improving public access to safe food, ensuring nutrition, upgrading and modernising infrastructure with a focus on transportation, transport and logistics services while developing a food security information system and forecasting food production and consumption for timely support.

He asked for continuing to fine-tune policies and mechanisms to ensure national food security, perfect policies related to land, investment, finance, credit and trade, as well as food export-import mechanism.

At the same time, human resources training must be improved to meet demand of a modern, high-tech and smart agriculture sector, and clean and organic agriculture expanded in tandem with origin tracing and food safety supervision.

The PM directed improving the efficiency of State management on food security, strengthening vet medicine and plant protection system amid the complicated developments of epidemics.

It is also a must to effectively use natural resources in adaptation with climate change, closely incorporate food security guarantee into national, regional and local development as well as land use planning, especially land for rice farming.

The Government leader demanded adopting sustainable intensive farming measures, complying with laws on environment protection for farming activities causing waste, wastewater and other polluting substances, and effectively using chemical fertilisers and plant protection medicines to protect land and water environment.

Ministries, ministry-level and Government agencies, and People’s Committees of centrally-run cities and provinces were tasked with increasing international cooperation in food security so as to improve competitiveness and export value of food, removing technical barriers, and harmonising regional and global standards on food security.

Vietnam contributes to ASEAN’s success in 2020: expert

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The Asia-Pacific Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is sealed on November 15.

Vietnam’s chairmanship has ensured ASEAN has retained its ability to effectively channel regional cooperation, according to a senior analyst from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)’s defence and strategy programme.

In her article recently published at, Dr. Le Thu Huong said that against all odds, Vietnam has concluded its chairmanship of ASEAN with the signing of the world’s largest trade agreement - the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), contributing to reasserting ASEAN’s centrality in the economic architecture of East Asia.

A great deal of ASEAN’s success this year can be attributed to Vietnam’s ability to keep the focus on critical bread and butter issues.

The article highlighted Vietnam’s contributions to ASEAN in various fields, from traditional security and maritime-related issues to the economic domain, as well as COVID-19 recovery plans, and innovation for a post-pandemic world.

Vietnam has been among the strongest supporters of FTA networks, expanding the number of its own bilateral agreements, but also promoting connections to two of its top investors – the Republic of Korea and Japan.

Vietnam’s successful battle with COVID-19 within its borders has been critical for its leadership of ASEAN this year, the article said, adding that the country has asserted strong leadership in a challenging geopolitical environment.

While Vietnam’s chairmanship has been instrumental in steering ASEAN through challenging times for the region’s economic and health security, it is the developmental agenda that can truly unite this diverse group, it noted.

According to the article, Vietnam also hosted the ASEAN-United Nations dialogue, which acquired special prominence given the setbacks COVID has caused to efforts to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

With most economies in the region expected to contract, any conversation about a post-COVID recovery needs to be a collective one.

ASEAN’s continuous efforts to sustain the cooperation framework in spite of the geopolitical climate, are both pragmatic and useful, it said./.

Indonesia: Over three-fourths of COVID-19-hit-labourers return to work

More than three-fourths of workers in Indonesia who had to leave their job since May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic have returned to work, according to Indonesian Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani.

The minister said that the figure was based on a survey by the World Bank on impacts of the pandemic from May to August 2020.

She said that about 70 percent of the country’s population have resumed their work as before the pandemic broke out.

Meanwhile, the ratio of bread earners halting working was down to 10 percent in the latest survey from 24 percent in May.

According to Statistics Indonesia, 29.12 million people in working age in Indonesia were affected by COVID-19 in August, while the number of the unemployed was 9.77 million, a rise of 2.67 million from the same period last year.

The ministry said that the Indonesian Government will focus on dealing with economic issues, including the strengthening of production to create more jobs.

Over the years, the National Economic Recovery (PEN) programme has shown its efficiency in reducing poverty by helping about 3.43 million Indonesians escaping from poverty.

The Indonesian has decided to shorten the year-end vacation to one day instead of four as initial plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

As of December 1, Indonesia had reported 543,975 COVID-19 cases, with 17,081 deaths, the highest among Southeast Asian countries in both number of infections and deaths./.

Second national congress of Vietnamese ethnic minority groups opens

The second national congress of Vietnamese ethnic minority groups opened in Hanoi on December 4, with the participation of nearly 1,600 delegates.

Prominent among guests at the event were Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh, head of the steering board for the congress, said the event is a vivid illustration for the solidarity of ethnic groups across the nation.

The congress is an opportunity for the Party and State to grasp the ethnic minority people’s thought and expectations, thus creating consensus and strong belief in society in the leadership of the Party and State on the threshold of the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam, he stressed.

Delivering the congress’s draft political report, Minister – Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs Do Van Chien underlined the standout achievements of the ethnic work since the first congress in 2010, including improved local livelihoods, more sustainable poverty reduction as well as better healthcare, education and security.

Particularly, ethnic minority people’s confidence in the Party and State’s leadership has been consolidated, helping strengthen the national solidarity, he stressed.

However, Chien said the work still showed several limitations such as still high rates of poor and near poor households, the existence of backward and superstitious practices in some localities, and deforestation for construction of hydropower plants that causes flooding and landslides in mountainous areas.

The official presented targets, tasks and solutions for ethnic minority affairs during 2021-2020, including doubling the average income per capita of ethnic minority people by 2025 compared to 2020, an annual three percent reduction in poverty rate, and under-10 percent poverty rate by 2030.

To that end, Chien said competent authorities and Party committees at all levels should complete policies and regulations related to ethnic minority groups and mountainous areas, promote economic structure shifting in line with local culture and practice, among others.  

On the occasion, the Vietnam News Agency joined hands with the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs to organise a photo exhibition, highlighting ethnic minority groups’ contributions to the cause of national construction and development as well as their culture and life./.

Seminar boosts communications on cooperation chances in Francophone community

A seminar on intensifying communications on cooperation opportunities in the Francophone community was held in Hanoi on December 3 by Le Courrier du Vietnam, a weekly French-language newspaper under the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), and the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF)’s Asia-Pacific Office.

In his opening remarks, VNA Deputy General Director Le Quoc Minh said that the seminar aimed at honouring countries, territories and organisations which use French language, and introduce to the press the role and operations of the OIF as well as Vietnam’s participation as a full and responsible member.

It also contributed to strengthening solidarity of Francophone partners in Vietnam, and affirming the dynamism of French-language units of the VNA, especially Le Courrier du Vietnam, as well as the role of the OIF Asia-Pacific Office in increasing the position and prestige in Vietnam and the region, Minh stated.

He affirmed the VNA’s support for Francophone development in Vietnam, adding that the agency now has the largest numbers of French-language journalists and publications in Vietnam, that have play a bridging role connecting Vietnam and the Francophone community.

Besides Le Courrier du Vietnam, which is Vietnam’s only French-language weekly, the State-run VNA also publishes a French version of its e-newspaper Vietnam Plus and the magazine Vietnam Pictorial, a French bulletin along with a French-language programme on its V-News TV channel.

Seminar boosts communications on cooperation chances in Francophone community hinh anh 2
Cheskou Oussouman, Chief Representative of the OIF Asia-Pacific Office (Source: VNA)

Cheskou Oussouman, Chief Representative of the OIF Asia-Pacific Office, briefed the participants on the activities and priorities of the organization as well as its targets.

Set up in 1970, OIF now has 88 member countries, including 27 observers. Vietnam became an OIF member in 1970, since then it has made a lot of initiatives to boost cooperation and dialogues among member states./.

Social assistance programme receives Prime Minister’s approval

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Teachers and children with autism join a performance in a festival for children with autism in HCM City

A social assistance and rehabilitation programme for autistic children and people with mental disorders in 2021 – 2030 has been approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.


The programme aims to call for all of society to help increase material and spiritual support, care and rehabilitation for autistic children and people with mental disorders to integrate into the community, helping ensure social security and improving the quality of social assistance services for the mentally ill.

The programme aims that in 2021-25, annually at least 80 percent of the mentally ill and 80 percent of autistic children will have access to different forms of medical services.

About 70 percent of children from birth to six years old are hoped to be screened for early detection of autism spectrum defects and early intervention. At least 10,000 children with severe autism are set to receive appropriate treatment, education, rehabilitation and assistance in rehabilitation and social assistance facilities.

The programme also set a target that in 2021-25, at least 80 percent of children with autism will have access to education and at least 20,000 people with psychiatric disorders will be provided with vocational guidance and therapeutic workers at social assistance establishments.

At least 10,000 households with mentally ill people will be able to borrow capital with preferential interest rates for their work, and 80 percent of mentally troubled people with financial difficulties are hoped to be provided with free legal services.

At least 60 percent of social assistance establishments taking care of mentally ill people, autistic children and people with mental disorders are expected to have sports and fitness clubs.

To achieve the objectives, the programme outlines key tasks and solutions including medical, educational and career assistance, therapeutic measures and livelihood support.

It will develop a network of social assistance institutions in charge of care, rehabilitation education for the mentally ill and autistic children.

It will also improve the capacity of medical workers in the field, and recommend solutions, mechanisms and policies to develop the social assistance system in mental health care. /.

USAID-supported projects to help Vietnam reduce impact of natural disasters

Vietnam is among the countries selected by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for private sector engagement (PSE) pilot projects to advance innovative solutions to reduce the risk and impact of natural disasters, the US Embassy in Vietnam announced on December 3.

Other beneficiaries from the projects are Indonesia and the Caribbean countries.

These projects are aimed at helping the humanitarian community better understand how the private sector can invest in projects that mitigate the risk of disasters; increase businesses’ participation in community disaster preparedness plans and policies; help reduce the social and economic impacts of disasters; and support communities’ efforts to recover and rebuild after disaster strikes.

These USAID-supported pilot programmes will help countries develop stronger relationships with private sector actors and develop mutually-beneficial projects that strengthen entire communities’ disaster resilience.

In Vietnam, the Asia Foundation, in partnership with ISET International, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and the Vietnam Institute for Development Strategy (VIDS) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, will bring together key private sector, local government, and civil society actors to collaboratively design and launch multi-stakeholder pilot projects to strengthen flood mitigation efforts and improve water network management in the coastal city of Quy Nhon in the south central province of Binh Dinh.

Private Sector Engagement (PSE) is a strategic approach to international development through which USAID consults, strategizes, aligns, collaborates, and implements with the private sector for greater scale, sustainability, and effectiveness of development or humanitarian outcomes./.

Workshop on promoting multicultural education at Vietnam's universities

A workshop on multicultural education at Vietnamese universities in the context of the ASEAN Community with a vision to 2025 was held in Ho Chi Minh City on December 3.

Speaking at the event, Chairwoman of the Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam – Southeast Asia Friendship Association Phan Thi Hong Xuan said although ASEAN set clear education goals in 2015, the results remain relatively modest. She attributed such to the large education gap among member states, the lack of collaboration among education organisations, and challenges in recognition of certifications and internationalisation of degrees in the region.

In order to improve the efficiency of international cooperation, participants suggested the Vietnamese universities closely pursue five regional education goals, including enhancing accreditation up to standards of the ASEAN University Network, opening training courses to grant certificates recognised by ASEAN universities, and increasing the exchange of culture and students between Vietnamese and ASEAN universities.

Malaysian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Wong Chia Chiann said each ASEAN member state is striving to fulfill strategic goals mentioned in the Declaration on ASEAN Community Vision 2025, adding that the movement in ASEAN as well as in the world and mutual reliance among multicultural nations in education are becoming increasingly important.

Apart from necessary skills and knowledge, ASEAN leaders play a significant role in promoting education in the principle of understanding in diversity, she said./.

Women’s Football Championship 2020 moves venue due to COVID-19 fears

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The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) has decided to relocate the second leg of the National Women’s Football Championship 2020 from Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh city to Go Dau stadium in Binh Duong province amid COVID-19 concerns in the southern metropolis.

The second leg of the National Women’s Football Championship 2020 will now be held in Binh Duong province.
The second leg of the tournament had originally been scheduled to take place at Thong Nhat Stadium between November 20 and December 13.

However, with four new COVID-19 cases detected locally, there has been growing worries about the safety of the event among the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) and the competition’s organising board.

According to the schedule, three last rounds of the tournament are set to be played at Go Dau Stadium in Binh Duong province as opposed to Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City.

Incumbent champions HCM City I FC are leading the table with 31 points, two points ahead of second-placed Hanoi I FC.

Da Nang workshop looks toward waste-free tourism

A workshop was held in the central city of Da Nang on December 3 to look for ways to boost waste-free tourism in the region.

Deputy Director of the Centre for Adaptive Capacity Building Research Nguyen Thi Thuy Nga said the event gathers hospitality providers in and outside the city to share successful practices in waste reduction and environment protection, thus reducing the discharge of wastes into the environment.

Participants discussed effective waste treatment models via reports on plastic waste management in Vietnam, organic garbage and clean vegetables, waste-free tourism toward Hoi An green destination in Quang Nam.

On the occasion, recycled products made by domestic firms are also put on display, contributing to reducing waste pollution and mitigating climate change impact.

Participants also had a chance to visit The Field restaurant in Hoi An where waste recycling models are being adopted, giving them an insight into a waste-free business model towards building a circular economy in Vietnam./.

Quality helmets donated to special needs school in Hà Nội

A ceremony was held on Thursday to hand over quality helmets to students and teachers at special needs Bình Minh Primary School in Hà Nội, along with helmet-wearing tutorials and road safety training, as part of Helmet for Kids programme by the AIP Foundation to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

This year’s theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is “Building Back Better,” and the primary focus is to create a more disability-inclusive, accessible, and sustainable world.

The helmets are from Protec, whose own workforce includes a large number of team members with special needs.

US Ambassador to Việt Nam Daniel Kritenbrink participated in this event by delivering remarks, distributing helmets as well as taking part in the helmet-wearing tutorial with students. Against the backdrop of the 25th anniversary of Việt Nam-US diplomatic relations, Ambassador Kritenbrink’s participation in this engagement demonstrated the steadfast US support for social inclusion initiatives in Việt Nam while bolstering US-Việt Nam people-to-people ties. 

Ambassador Kritenbrink expressed his sincere appreciation to the AIP Foundation, Protec, UPS, and AA Việt Nam for continuing to implement this meaningful and life-changing event year after year while highlighting the transformational impact that their efforts have had. 

“This is precisely why the US Mission in Việt Nam is so delighted to partner with AIP Foundation, AA Việt Nam, and Protec and UPS to distribute helmets to vulnerable communities across Việt Nam while equipping them with the life-preserving knowledge they need to remain safe as they transit Việt Nam’s roadways,” Ambassador Kritenbrink stated while highlighting the fact that Vietnamese commuters are much safer and more cognisant than they have ever been of the paramount importance of wearing helmets and practicing road traffic safety thanks to the efforts of these organisations.

The event was also attended by Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States Hà Kim Ngọc, who joined virtually from Washington, D.C., and by UPS, a key US supporter of road safety initiatives in Việt Nam for the past 15 years.

Ambassador Ngọc said “Over the past 25 years since the establishment of US-Việt Nam diplomatic relations, the Vietnamese people and children have received a lot of support from US NGOs, including AIP Foundation, together with the Administration, Congress and business community. We very much appreciate that Greig Craft and the AIP Foundation have made a lot of efforts in raising the awareness of road safety and providing helmets to many schools in Việt Nam. Nowadays, the Vietnamese school-children have become the change agents for a society of safer road users.”

The US government has taken concrete strides in reducing physical and social barriers for people with disabilities in Việt Nam by providing nearly $125 million of support since 1989.

The Government of Việt Nam has also made improving the well-being of people with disabilities a high priority of national interest. Between 2012 and 2020, the Government of Việt Nam has spent over $13 million annually to support for persons with disabilities in accordance with Decision 1019.

In August 2020 Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc also signed a decision to continue support programmes for persons with disabilities for the next decade.

The Helmets for Kids programme has been a signature project of AIP Foundation since its launch during the historic US presidential visit to Việt Nam in 2000.

Since its inception, one million helmets have been distributed through Helmets for Kids to primary students throughout Việt Nam.

Protec and AIP Foundation donated 2,500 medical masks for students, teachers, and parents in a special handover between Protec’s workers and Bình Minh Primary School’s students. 

The Helmets for Kids programme has benefited from the generous support of many US corporations including UPS as well as from grants provided by the US Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam, the US Mission in Việt Nam, Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Government of Việt Nam, as well as by other partners in Hà Nội and HCM City. 

Tây Ninh to build, upgrade roads to improve connectivity in south-east VN

The southern province of Tây Ninh plans to start building two new roads and upgrade an existing one next year at an estimated cost of VNĐ4.5 trillion (US$194 million) that will come from both the central and local governments.

Đặng Hoàng Chương, director of the province’s Management Board for Traffic Works Construction and Investment, said the projects would enhance connectivity between cities and provinces in the south-eastern region.

In 2021-25 the province will also build the N8 - 787B - 789 road with a length of 48km and six bridges on route. To run through the province’s Trảng Bàng Town and Dương Minh Châu District and Bình Dương and Bình Phước provinces, it will cost more than VNĐ3.4 trillion (nearly $148 million).

A second new construction will be a 16km section of provincial highway No.794 from Kà Tum junction to Sài Gòn 2 Bridge in HCM City.

The 22.5m, four-lane construction will cost VNĐ500 billion ($21.5 million) and is expected to be completed by 2024.

The highway No.794 connects HCM City with Tây Ninh and Bình Phước provinces.

A third construction involves the upgrade and expansion of a 36.2km long section of provincial highway No. 795 from Tân Biên Town to Dầu Tiếng Reservoir in Tân Châu District.

It will cost VNĐ564 billion (nearly $24.5 million) and be finished in 2024.

Nguyễn Thanh Ngọc, chairman of the Tây Ninh Province People’s Committee, said land acquisition and clearance is underway, and contractors would be selected to soon start construction of the HCM City- Mộc Bài Expressway.

It would be the artery between HCM City and Tây Ninh, and contribute to socio-economic development in the region and create favourable conditions for cross-border trade with Cambodia, he added.

Long An to expand high-quality, hi-tech rice farming

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Long An plans to increase its rate of high-quality rice cultivation to 70 -75 per cent during 2021 – 25 from the current 50 per cent, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

It aims to produce 2.5 million tonnes of grain annually during the period.

Nguyễn Thanh Truyền, director of the department, said to achieve the targets advocacy of environmental protection and improving the quality of agricultural produce would be undertaken.

The province would speed up construction of irrigation works like water pumping stations, ditches in crop fields and saltwater prevention sluices, research and create suitable sowing schedules, identify rice varieties to be grown in each locality, and organise courses to train farmers in farming techniques, he said.

It will focus on implementing an existing programme to develop high-tech agriculture and increase its high-tech rice farming area from the current 20,000ha to 60,000ha by 2025.

Last year the province produced 2.8 million tonnes of rice, including some high-quality varieties like Đài Thơm 8, OM 4900, Nàng Hoa 9, ST24, and ST25.

ST25 won the first prize at the 2019 World’s Best Rice Contest.

In 2013 the province zoned more than 48,000ha for growing high – quality varieties in 25 communes in the Đồng Tháp Mười (Plain of Reeds) region to serve exports, improve efficiency and enhance farmers’ incomes.

In these areas, farmers have to use advanced techniques like ‘one must and five reductions’ and ‘three reductions and three increases.’

The former requires farmers to use certified seeds, and reduce seedlings, plant protection chemicals, nitrogen fertilisers, irrigation, and post-harvest losses.

Trần Văn Lắm, who uses advanced techniques to grow rice in Tân Thạnh District’s Bắc Hòa Commune, said he is able to reduce the use of seeds for sowing by 20 – 50 kilogramme per hectare and fertilisers by 20 – 30 per cent compared to traditional methods.

His costs are down by VNĐ2 – 2.5 million (US$90 - 110) per hectare while yields are 500 – 800 kg higher, he said.

“The income is VNĐ 4 – 6 million ($170 - 260) per hectare higher.”

The high-quality varieties, too, fetch farmers higher incomes.  

Lê Hoàng Phi in Thạnh Hóa District’s Tân Đông Commune has switched to glutinous rice variety IR 4625 in his 1.5ha field because of its high quality, resistance to diseases and steady demand and price.

He uses technology, organic fertilisers and bio-products to meet market demand and earns VNĐ50 million ($2,160) a year, he said.

Long An is expected to have 498,300ha under rice this year, slightly down from last year, according to the department.

The average rice yield is expected to be 140kg higher than last year at 5.6 tonnes per hectare. 

Vietnam – Korea Training & Technology Transfer Center officially put into operation

The Vietnam – Korea Training & Technology Transfer Center (VKBIA) officially came into operation on December 3 in the TMA innovation park located in Quy Nhon city in the central province of Binh Dinh.

Upon opening, the centre features more than 200 engineers specializing in the fields of software, digital transformation, digital application, and digital economy. Engineers from both nations will come together in order to ramp up the transfer of technology, whilst establishing research and development (R&D) centres, stepping up co-operation in training human resources for high-tech industries, and adapting to the global production and supply chains.

During the ceremony aimed at debuting the centre, Tran Hai Linh, chairman of the Vietnam-Korea Businessmen and Investment Association, outlined the importance of developing an e-government, speeding up the process of digital transformation, making breakthroughs in implementing Industry 4.0 technology, and training high-quality human resources in the future.

Ho Quoc Dung, secretary of the Provincial Party Committee and chairman of Binh Dinh People's Committee, expressed his hope that co-operation between the VKBIA and TMA Solutions Company will ultimately serve to contribute to accelerating the province’s socio-economic development. This is in addition to speeding up the development of a knowledge-based economy, whilst also supporting the locality's participation in the international integration process.

Approximately 3,000 engineers and software specialists nationwide are anticipated to work at the centre moving forward. 

Sketching contest for university students held in Hanoi

Hundreds of students that study art and architecture majors have attended a sketching contest held at Hanoi Temple of Literature.

"We have the idea to organise this contest after realising that many tourists enjoy young people's sketches of the Temple of Literature. This temple is a valuable heritage so we want to make this a centre for art and cultural activities," said Le Xuan Kieu, director of Hanoi Temple of Literature's Scientific and Cultural Activities Centre.

The contest will last from December 3 to 31. Students studying art and architecture can participate including those from the National University of Civil Engineering, Hanoi University of Architecture, Vietnam University of Fine Arts and Hanoi Open University. All participants will sketch about the temple's architecture, items or scenery.

Hanoi is currently one of 246 cities in the world participating in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The contest is also one of the activities to realise the city's commitments to the network and to encourage young people to understand more about the temple.

Outstanding works will be displayed and honoured in mid-January 2021. The first-place winner will be awarded VND10m. There will be two co-winners for second place, three co-winners for third place and five consolation prizes.

The representative of UNESCO Hanoi praised the contest as it is an interesting way to boost creative education and a playground for students to show their talents.

Tran Hau Yen The, art advisor of the contest, said, "I hope the contest and the artworks will be an inspiration for visitors. I believe that the students will not only be able to recreate the architecture on paper, they can also express their emotions and thinking there."

Developing reading culture in the community with the use of non-state funding

The Department of Publishing, Printing and Issuing, Vietnam Post and Trung Nguyen Corporation JSC held a ceremony in Hanoi on December 2 to announce and ink a coordination programme in the implementation of a plan to develop reading culture in the community with the use of non-state funding in the 2020-2025 period.

The programme aims to build and develop the reading movement; raise awareness among all strata of people of the great significance of reading in research, education and the formation of human personality; and implement the tasks in the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 329/QD-TTg dated March 15, 2017, approving a project on developing reading culture in the community until 2020, with orientation to 2030. 

Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Hoang Vinh Bao affirmed that the Wednesday signing marks a new way in implementing the policy of promoting non-state funding in publishing activities and mobilising social resources for reading culture development.

He voiced his hope that with the joint efforts of organisations, enterprises and individuals, the reading movement in the community will increasingly thrive, gradually building and developing the reading habit among all strata of people, thus contributing to improving people’s knowledge and socio-economic development.

The programme will be implemented in three stages, 2020-2021, 2022-2023 and 2024-2025, targeting to publish 30 book titles and deliver dozens of thousands of copies of these books to Vietnam Post’s transaction points across the country, while building and developing the Trung Nguyen Corporation JSC’s book coffee model at Vietnam Post’s transaction points. 

Accompanying the programme, Vietnam Post will support the transportation of books to its transaction points nationwide, as well as offering infrastructure and personnel to operate the bookstore system at its post offices.

Over 2,000 people related to new cases in HCMC undergo Covid-19 tests

As many as 2,244 people related to the four new Covid-19 cases in HCMC have undergone Covid-19 tests, HCMC Party Committee Secretary Nguyen Van Nen said at a meeting this morning, December 3.

According to Nen, 1,632 have tested negative for the new coronavirus and the results of the other 612 will be announced soon.

The city recently reported four new Covid-19 cases, including a Vietnam Airlines flight attendant who was infected with Covid-19 after staying at the airline’s quarantine center in mid-November, and three locally-transmitted cases.

All the venues that these patients recently visited such as food stalls, coffee shops, English centers and schools have been temporarily closed.

The city has updated three more venues related to the new cases comprising Cu Hanh Tay food stall at 189 Le Van Sy Street, Ward 14, Phu Nhuan District; room B14-06 on the 14th floor of the HCMC University of Technology (HUTECH) at 475A Dien Bien Phu Street, Ward 25, Binh Thanh District and Met Ha Thanh food stall at 839/12 Le Hong Phong Street, District 10.

People who visited Cu Hanh Tay at around noon on November 21, HUTECH’s room B14-06 between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. and between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on November 22 and Met Ha Thanh from 8-9 p.m. on November 27 should immediately contact the nearest local health centers for a Covid-19 test.