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Hai Van Tunnel 2 – the longest road tunnel in Southeast Asia, linking the central province of Thua Thien-Hue and Danang City has opened to traffic.

The inauguration ceremony for the 6.2-kilometre tunnel was held in Danang City this morning, January 11 with the participation of Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung.  

Hai Van Tunnel 2 opened to traffic on January 11. 

At the event, Deputy PM Dung hailed Deo Ca Group for finishing the project earlier than scheduled.

Ho Minh Hoang, chairman of Deo Ca Group, said that Hai Van Tunnel 2 is a challenging work to be built. During the construction time, the group had to deal with many difficulties when both ensuring the construction pace and safety for Hai Van Tunnel 1.

Hai Van Tunnel 2 is expected to help in reducing traffic pressure for the current Hai Van Tunnel 1. It would shorten travel time for vehicles and improve the efficiency of transporting goods and passengers.

The project of expanding Hai Van Tunnel was approved by the Ministry of Transport in 2016, including two stages with a total investment of more than VND7.2 trillion (USD310 million). The first stage is to repair and upgrade the existing Hai Van Tunnel 1 and improve a section of National Highway 1 running through the Hai Van Pass.

The second stage is to broaden a tunnel, which was used for the excavation, into a traffic tunnel – Hai Van Tunnel 2 – with four lanes and an approach road to the tunnel of the same scale.

Indonesia plane crash: First victim, black box’s location identified

Indonesian relevant agencies have identified the first victim of the Sriwijaya Air plane crash on January 9 in which all 62 people on board were killed.

National Police spokesman Rusdi Hartono said that the victim was named Oki Bisma, a 29-year-old flight attendant, who was identified through his fingerprints. The identification was conducted by matching DNA samples from the victims’ families.

As of January 11, police have received 17 bags of human remains from the crash site and 53 DNA samples provided by the relatives.

Indonesian has carried out search and rescue activities since January 9, with assistance of forces and vehicles offshore Seribu islands, where the plane vanished.

In addition to plane wreckage, clothes, personal luggage and human remains, rescuers detected signal of the plane’s black box about 23 metres below the water’s surface.

Search teams have narrowed down the location of the "black box" flight recorders and the remote-controlled vehicle would help scan the sea bed, Indonesian navy chief of staff Yudo Margono said.

He added that the box is under so much debris and relevant forces are working to ensure safety for divers./.

One imported case of COVID-19 recorded on January 11

A Polish expert who was sent to quarantine right upon his arrival at HCM City-based Tan Son Nhat International Airport tested positive for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control reported on January 11 evening.

The 57-year-old man is now under treatment at Cu Chi hospital in HCM City, the committee said.

The latest case of COVID-19 has brought the national tally to 1,515.

A total of 1.361 patients have been given the all-clear so far. The fatalities still stand at 35.

Among the active patients, nine have tested negative for the virus once, eight twice and eight thrice.

Some 17,470 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or came from pandemic-hit regions are now under quarantine nationwide./.

Two recovered Russian COVID-19 patients test positive again

Two Russians have tested positive for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 again after they were given the all-clear and completed quarantine on January 7.

The 31-year-old woman and her one-year-old daughter came to Vietnam to reunite with her husband who is working for the Vietnam-Russia oil and gas joint venture Vietsovpetro in Vung Tau city in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

The duo were sent to quarantine at a hotel in Cam Lam district in central Khanh Hoa province right after their arrival, and tested positive for the virus on November 26. They recovered on December 25, according to Ba Ria-Vung Tau province’s centre for disease control.

After being given the all-clear, they were quarantined at a hotel in Loc Tho ward, Nha Trang city, Khanh Hoa province, and completed quarantine on January 7. During the quarantine period, both tested negative for the virus twice.

After learning about the relapse cases, the Vietsovpetro Medical Centre under the joint venture has promptly disinfected the areas where the two had visited, and conducted contact tracing.

Three F1 cases, including the husband and two health workers at the centre, were sent to a concentrated quarantine establishment in Ba Ria-Vung Tau and 21 F2 cases were quarantined at home./.

Vietnamese aviation ready to assist Indonesia after plane crash

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The Sriwijaya Air flight, coded SJ182, crashed into the sea on January 9 just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital Jakarta.


The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) stands ready to support its Indonesian counterpart with regard to the recent plane crash, said CAAV leader.

In a letter sent to the Indonesian Civil Aviation Authority on January 11, head of the CAAV Dinh Viet Thang expressed his deepest sympathy to the bereaved and hoped that the Indonesian agency will soon determine the cause of the accident.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh on January 10 sent a message of condolences to Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi over the crash.

The Sriwijaya Air flight, coded SJ182, crashed into the sea on January 9 just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital Jakarta.

The Boeing 737-500 plane with 62 people, comprising 50 passengers and 12 crew members, on board was en route to Pontianak in West Kalimantan./.

Virus containment, growth goals achieved: HCM City chief

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Ho Chi Minh City has achieved its “dual goal” of containing the COVID-19 pandemic and reviving the economy, Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, told a recent meeting.

Speaking at a meeting held on January 9 to discuss the city’s socio-economic development plans for 2021, Phong said the city was able to contain the virus while achieving economic growth of 1.39 percent, and all sectors managed to achieve growth.

Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, its revenues topped 371.3 trillion VND (16.1 billion USD) or 91.51 percent of the target, he said.

Exports were worth more than 43 billion USD, foreign investment exceeded 4.3 billion USD and remittances were worth more than 5.5 billion USD.

More than 40,000 new businesses were established with a total registered capital of more than 1.1 million VND.

Some 8,300 resumed operations after suspending business due to the pandemic.

The city has been able to quickly bring the recent local transmission of COVID-19 under control.

Only eight people are currently being treated, and there has been no death in the city, Phong said.

He attributed the excellent results to “the concerted efforts made by the Government, public and businesses.”

Phong said the city would try to achieve all socio-economic targets set for this year.

It would continue to build an urban government and improve its investment environment, he said.

It would focus on speeding up digital transformation, build a smart city, and speed up administrative reform, he said.

It has set an economic growth target for 2021 of at least 6 percent, with the services sector accounting for 60 percent of the economy.

The per capita income target is 6,500 USD.

The city is set to create 140,000 jobs this year, taking the urban unemployment rate to below 4 percent, Phong said.

It also set other targets such as a fertility rate of at least 1.39 children, land used for transport being 12.76 percent of urban land, among others.

The average housing area per capita will be 21.04sq.m, and the urban greenery rate will be at least 0.55sq.m.

However, Phong admitted that the targets would be hard to achieve since the pandemic remains a threat in most parts of the world with the new variants in the UK and South Africa believed to be much more infectious./.

New art programme preserves tuồng

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Young and veteran artists from the art programme Vang Vọng Trống Chầu are helping to preserve and develop tuồng, a traditional genre of Vietnamese theatre which began in the 17th century. Photo courtesy of tHCM City Hát Bội Theatre 

A new art programme offering tuồng, or hát bội (classical drama) performances has been launched by a group of artists in HCM City as part of their efforts to introduce Vietnamese culture and theatre to young people. 

The programme, titled Vang Vọng Trống Chầu (Echoing Drum), offers excerpts from famous plays featuring historical events and national heroes. The works highlight traditional culture and lifestyles. 

Veteran artists such as Hữu Lập and Ngọc Khanh perform with their younger colleagues who are students of the HCM City Hát Bội Theatre, one of the region’s leading traditional theatres. 

Each 60-minute show of Vang Vọng Trống Chầu includes talks about tuồng's history and development during various periods. Dozens of musical instruments and costumes used in tuồng are exhibited after the show.  

“Our programme aims to expand tuồng, a traditional art developed from folk art into a royal art in the 17th century, among young people. We hope audiences will learn about the country’s history, culture and lifestyle through our performances,” said the programme's head Phan Khắc Huy. 

Huy said that he and his staff had worked hard because they wanted to “honour tuồng and its artists who have used their art to keep traditional Vietnamese theatre alive". 

Huy has worked with Saigon Innovation Hub, the programme’s investor, to help Vang Vọng Trống Chầu become more professional and a popular tourist destination. 

“We hope our tuồng shows will attract local and foreign visitors who want to learn about Việt Nam’s culture and theatre,” said Huy, who has 10 years of experience in tuồng. 

In 2015, Huy began working with HCM City Hát Bội Theatre to offer training courses in tuồng for amateur actors and high school and universty students. The courses' teachers are People’s Artist Đinh Bằng Phi and Meritorious Artist Hữu Danh, who has more than three decades of experience. 

Tuồng consists of singing and dancing accompanied by music, and is highly stylised and filled with symbolism. Its themes include monarchist loyalty and patriotism which help define the play’s structure, language, music, struggles, and characters' personalities.

Performers wear heavy costumes weighing up to 10 kilos. They use their body, from the fingers to the elbows to all of the muscles, to move on stage. They must have a strong voice to sing and dance at the same time, and express the emotions of the characters. 

Famous plays, such as Trần Bình Trọng Tuẫn Tiết (National Hero Trần Bình Trọng), Hồ Nguyệt Cô Hoá Cáo (Nguyệt Cô Turning into a Fox) and San Hậu (The Reign), have been staged many times by different generations. 

In the last five years, HCM City’s cultural authorities have offered policies and projects to help tuồng artists expand their art. 

Shows of the programme Vang Vọng Trống Chầu are staged at 273 Điện Biên Phủ Street in District 3. 

Action programme to promote all-round development of children

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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc recently signed off a national action programme for children for 2021 - 2030, aiming to ensure the realisation of children’s rights and their all-round development and create a safe, healthy, and friendly living environment for them.

In the first goal about children’s development and health and nutrition care, the programme looks to raise the rate of children aged eight and younger accessing support services for comprehensive development to 90 percent by 2025 and 95 percent by 2030.

It plans to increase the rate of children less than one year of age getting all the eight vaccines recommended for them to 97 percent by 2025 and 98 percent by 2030, and have this rate at 98 percent among under-five children in the next 10 years.

The first goal also targets lower rates of under-five children suffering from malnutrition related to weight, height, and obesity.

The second goal about child protection aims to bring the rate of children with special disadvantages down to less than 6.5 percent by 2025 and 6 percent by 2030, and respectively raise the rate of those receiving care and assistance to 90 percent and 95 percent.

Under this programme, the rate of abused children is expected to be reduced to below 4.5 percent and 4 percent, and the rate of child and adolescent labourers aged 5 - 17 to 4.9 percent and 4.5 percent by 2025 and 2030, respectively.

The ratio of children suffering from accidents is hoped to decrease to 550 and 500 per 100,000 by 2025 and 2030, and the ratio of child fatalities caused by accidents to 16 and 15 per 100,000, respectively.

The third goal is about education, culture, and entertainment for children. Accordingly, the programme plans to raise the rate of under-five children covered by pre-school education to 99.1 percent by 2025 and 99.3 percent by 2030, those completing primary education to 97 percent and 99 percent, and junior high school education to 88 percent and 93 percent.

Apart from further cut down dropout rates, it also looks to have 95 percent of schools providing child mental health services in the next five years.

In the fourth goal about children’s participation in child-related issues, 30 percent and 35 percent of children aged seven and over are set to be consulted about these issues in suitable forms by 2025 and 2030.

The programme plans to improve awareness of participation rights and capacity for 85 percent and 90 percent of children in the next five and 10 years, and increase the rate of children taking part models and activities that promote children’s participation rights to 30 percent and 35 percent, respectively./.

Can Tho to have most advanced kindergarten in Mekong Delta

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The American Collegiate Academy bilingual kindergarten is promised to be among those with the most advanced teaching method in Can Tho city and the Mekong Delta at large, said Duong Tan Hien, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee during the school’s inaugural ceremony on January 10.

Located in Hung Phu ward of the city’s Cai Rang district, the kindergarten covers an area of over 7,000 sq.m. It has more than 20 classrooms and support facilities. The first students will begin attending school in March.

A member of Aston English Centre System, the school will devise curriculum in both Vietnamese and English in keeping with the Ministry of Education and Training’s training programme.

Considering Can Tho’s position as the urban hub of the Mekong Delta, due regard has been paid to education, especially kindergarten. A host of quality private and international schools have been set up in the city over the past five years after the introduction of various policies in investment attraction./.

Exchange programme raises 6.42 million USD for child care activities

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A performance staged at the exchange event


Nearly 149 billion VND (6.42 million USD) was raised for poor and disadvantaged children during the 14th edition of the “Mua xuan cho em” (Spring for children) exchange programme held in Hanoi on January 10.

The event was to support the beneficiaries ahead of the upcoming traditional Lunar New Year and honour donors who made great contributions to activities for children in the past year.

Addressing the programme, Vice State President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, who is also Chairwoman of the National Fund for Vietnamese Children (NFVC) Sponsorship Council, called on relevant agencies, organisations, families, schools and philanthropists to further support disadvantaged children, build a safe environment for them, ensure the implementation of children’s rights, and mitigate the risks of child abuse and accidental injury.

Priority should be given to children in disaster-hit areas, of minority groups, and those with severe illness, Thinh noted.

During the event, participants were briefed on the “Trai tim cho em” (Operation Healthy Heart) programme and the plight of children living in underprivileged circumstances across the country, especially those of Dan Lai ethnic minority group which requires urgent protection.

On the occasion, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs presented certificates of merit to individuals and units with excellent contributions to protecting and caring for children in 2020.

The Spring for children programme, during its 13 past editions, raised 1.2 trillion VND to support close to 1 million children via scholarships, clean water projects, free operations, and relief aid, among others./.

Vietnam restricts inbound flights till Tet holiday

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved a proposal by several ministries to restrict inbound flight numbers from now till the lunar New Year holiday (Tet) due to the emergence of the new COVID-19 variant.

Flights to repatriated Vietnamese citizens stranded overseas due to COVID-19 will be restricted from now till the Tet holiday to prevent the emergence of the new COVID-19 variant in the country.

Flights are only allowed with the Prime Minister’s permission following the proposal from the Ministries of Health, Foreign Affairs, National Defence, Public Security and Transport.

The PM asked the Ministry of National Defence to work closely with the Ministry of Health to set up concentrated quarantine facilities for the returnees.

He also requested provincial and municipal administrations to strengthen inspection at concentrated quarantine facilities except ones run by the military.

The Ministry of Health and local administrations were required to strictly follow procedures of receiving, transporting and monitoring those who finish the mandatory 14-day quarantine period at the aforementioned facilities. Anyone who breaks up the rules will be duly punished according to the law.

The PM also requested that the Ministry National Defence and the Ministry of Public Security strengthen border control to early detect and prevent any illegal entry.

The Ministry of Transport was assigned to consider plans to resume commercial flights to overseas destinations under the PM’s instructions after the Tet holiday to realize the dual goal of epidemic prevention and economic recovery, as well as meet people’s travel demand.

Literary works by famous authors reprinted

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Cover of Bỉ Vỏ (Thieves) by Nguyên Hồng is published by Kim Đồng Publishing House  Photo from the publisher’s website

The Kim Đồng Publishing House has released a series of eight books by Vietnamese writers as part of the publisher’s efforts to encourage reading among youth. 

The publications include five novels, two poem collections, and an essay.

Two highlighted novels are Bỉ Vỏ (Thieves) and Đất Rừng Phương Nam (Southern Land), by Nguyên Hồng and Đoàn Giỏi who played a lead role in the country’s contemporary literature.

Đất Rừng Phương Nam is one of several famous books by late author Đoàn Giỏi, winner of the State Award for Literature and Arts in 2001.

Giỏi wrote the novel in June 1957 when he was 32. One month later, it was released by the newly opened Kim Đồng Publishing House in Hà Nội.

Đất Rừng Phương Nam is an epic in praise of southerners, their history, culture and lifestyle.

The 255-page book features the adventures of a boy named Nam, who loses his family in a battle and lives in the southwestern region under the French colonists. 

Nam learns new things and has experiences with the help of poor farmers and children, and travels around the region and witnesses the suffering of farmers during the war.

He joins the Việt Minh guerrillas to fight against the French troops. 

The book has been translated and printed in dozens of languages, such as English, Russian, Chinese, Spanish and Polish. It was adapted into a movie and a TV show by HCM City Television.

“Author Giỏi’s Đất Rừng Phương Nam encourages people to love nature and discover the country and people,” said Nguyễn Tuấn Kiệt, a 9th-grade student from HCM City.

Bỉ Vỏ by late author Nguyên Hồng was released in 1937 in Hà Nội. It was a publishing phenomenon. 

The novel features the tragic life of Tám Bính, a rural girl living under a semi-feudal colony who is forced to be a gang leader in Hải Phòng.

Hồng featured the semi-feudal society of Việt Nam during the French period, when two legal systems existed: the French rulers and the local feudalists.

 

His social-realist writing style was a reaction against romanticism by many writers of this time.   

“Readers call author Hồng the ‘Victor Hugo of Việt Nam’ because his writing features his love for poor people, particularly women and children,” an official from the publishing house said.

“We will provide more Vietnamese titles targeting young readers this year,” he said.   

Kim Đồng, the country’s leading publisher for children, has also contracted with well-known authors, including young writers, to create books for teenagers.

Its website, www.nxbkimdong.com.vn, has introduced new Vietnamese children’s books in literature, history and the arts.

Kuwaiti Ambassador highlights flourishing ties with Vietnam

On January 10 Vietnam and Kuwait celebrated the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations, a meaningful and symbolic event in the bilateral relationship, Kuwait’s Ambassador to Vietnam Dr. Adnan Abdullah Al-Ahmad has said.

“On this day in 1976, our two countries decided to establish new co-operation based on the friendship and solidarity. Since then, the relationship between Vietnam and Kuwait has always been strongly fostered by the two Governments and two peoples in the spirit of mutual respect,” he said.

As a means of marking the relationship, both nations signed a series of agreements during the historic visit to Vietnam by Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah back in 2007, followed by a trip to Kuwait by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in 2009.

These agreements include deals on the promotion and protection of mutual investments and a co-operation agreement between the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). This is in addition to protocol on the establishment of the Joint Committee on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, an agreement on air transport, a framework agreement on economic science and technology ties, and an agreement on double taxation avoidance and prevention of income tax invasion.

Most notably, the official visit to Hanoi by Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Al-Sabah served to contribute to further strengthening all-around co-operation between the two countries, with a number of agreements signed in fields such as culture, arts, sports, trade, along with oil and gas exploitation.

“Besides, co-operation in culture, education, justice, environment, energy, agriculture, science and technology are important features in the relationship between Vietnam and Kuwait.

The degree of co-operation across multiple fields, along with a broad range of activities to promote bilateral relations, has affirmed that despite long geographical distance, the Kuwaiti-Vietnam friendship has always been provided close-knit ties. The connection and co-operation between our two countries today is due to the empathy and understanding between the two peoples who have gone through the ups and downs of history,” the Kuwaiti diplomat said.

In terms of economic, trade, and investment development, both sides have yielded encouraging results. Since 1979, the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has provided loans worth more than US$182 million to boost rural, mountainous, and remote infrastructure development projects throughout Vietnamese localities such as Bac Kan, Dien Bien, Ha Tinh, and Hoa Binh for the purpose of improving living standards.

In November, 2007, construction work began on the Kirby pre-engineered steel building factory following investment by Kuwait in Nhon Trach 3 Industrial Park in the southern province of Dong Nai, with an initial capital of US$15 million and output anticipated to reach 40,000 tonnes annually. Indeed, Kirby Vietnam now has offices based in Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City, with their factory supplying stainless steel products to both the domestic market and other overseas markets, such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Australia, and several African nations.

Nghi Son Petrochemical Refinery project in Thanh Hoa province remains one of the most notable examples of investment ties between the both sides, with an initial capital of US$9 billion being agreed in 2008 between the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), Kuwait International Petroleum Company (KPI), and two Japanese partners.

With regard to trade and investment co-operation, import-export turnover between the two countries reached approximately US$3.6 billion in 2019.  Kuwait imports traditional goods from the nation such as clothes, footwear, aquatic products, seafood, wood products, pepper, tea, and coffee, while exporting petroleum, plastic materials, chemicals, fertilizers, and leather to the country.

Moving forward, both sides are looking for greater opportunities to develop trade and investment by intensifying delegation exchanges and organising exhibitions and fairs.

The two nations are also making greater efforts to seek opportunities for investment co-operation and exchanges of experience in their strongest fields, such as oil and gas, science and energy, whilst simultaneously encouraging businesses to increase opportunities in other sectors. This includes efforts to boost ties in infrastructure, agriculture, construction, finance, and banking.

“In the coming days, as the Kuwaiti people prepare to celebrate the 60th Independence Day and the 30th Liberation Day, while the Vietnamese people are preparing to welcome the traditional Lunar New Year festival, I wish the Government and people of the two countries a future of peace and prosperity, and may our 45-year friendship be strengthened more and more as a contribution to maintaining and promoting peace and prosperity in the region and the world at large,”  the Kuwaiti Ambassador said.

Vietnam aims to strengthen post-war toxic chemical consequence settlement

Vietnam plans to step up efforts to clear post-war unexploded ordnance and toxic chemicals, aiming to remove about 800,000 hectares of bomb and mine-polluted land by 2025.

The information was announced at a conference held yesterday by the National Steering Committee on the Settlement of Post-war Unexploded Ordnance and Toxic Chemical Consequences, or Committee 701, under the Ministry of National Defence.

The ministry worked with authorities and agencies to handle post-war unexploded ordnance and toxic chemicals in 2016-20, successfully decontaminating two airports and handling some 260 tonnes of Chlorobenzylidenmalo (CS).

In the five-year period, agencies and authorities removed toxic chemicals in Đà Nẵng Airport in central Đà Nẵng City and Phù Cát airport in Quy Nhơn City, the central province of Bình Định, and also started work in Biên Hòa and Aso airports.

They have also implemented projects to support victims in provinces hit hard by toxic chemicals while working with localities to seek international donors to implement projects.

Speaking at the conference, Deputy Minister of Defence Sen. Lt. Gen. Nguyễn Chí Vịnh requested the committee continue its work, noting that in the immediate future, it is necessary to finalise documents to ensure benefits and support for people who fought in the war and were affected by chemical toxics.

Authorities needed to continue to focus on contaminated spots that have been detected, investigate and evaluate the level of toxic chemicals in areas sprayed with chemicals in the wartime and other suspected areas while monitoring the environment after settlement, the official said, adding that about 800,000 hectares of bomb and mine-polluted land is expected to be cleared by 2025.

He also called on authorities to study the legal grounds and scientific basis to fight for justice for Agent Orange/Dioxin victims based on legal grounds and in accordance with Vietnam and the US' laws and international practice.

Illegal gold mine in newly-established national park to be destroyed

Chairman of Quang Nam Province Le Tri Thanh has ordered the illegal gold mines located inside the Song Thanh National Park to be destroyed.  

According to Thanh, the mines will be destroyed in order to protect the environment and restore the ecosystem and order in the national park.

Song Thanh Natural Reserve Management Board was asked to collaborate with border guards, police and local authorities in Nam Giang and Phuoc Son districts to have a proper implementation plan. They must report back to the provincial authorities by January 23.

On December 23, Quang Nam People's Committee officially announced the decision to turn Song Thanh Nature Reserve into Song Thanh National Park. This is the first national park in Quang Nam and is one of the biggest special-use forests in Vietnam.

It covers 76,000ha, spreading across 12 communes in Nam Giang and Phuoc Son districts near the Lao-Vietnam border. There are 899 plants, 23 endemic species and 49 species of Vietnam’s Red List. It has 130 species of birds, 168 species of reptiles and amphibians.

It has recently been damaged by illegal loggers and illegal natural resources exploitation.

Kon Trang Long Loi community-based tourism village inaugurated in Kon Tum

The People’s Committee of Dak Ha district in Kon Tum province held a ceremony on January 9 to inaugurate the Kon Trang Long Loi community-based tourist village, the first of its kind in the district.

99% of the population in Kon Trang Long Loi village are Ro Ngao ethnic people, who have preserved their traditional practices, including living in stilt houses, weaving brocades, and playing gongs.

Visitors to the village have the opportunity to explore the distinct indigenous culture of the Ro Ngao people, taste their delicious dishes such as rice cooked in bamboo pipes, grilled chicken and wine drunk out of a jar via wooden bamboo pipes, as well as enjoying gong performances.

In addition, they can try their hand at playing the traditional musical instruments of the Central Highlanders, weaving and brocading.

According to Deputy Director of the Kon Tum provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the launch of the Kon Trang Long Loi community-based tourism village is expected to contribute to boosting socio-economic development in Dak Ha district while creating a new destination on Kon Tum’s tourist map.

He stressed that the department will continue to coordinate closely with tourist management agencies, travel businesses and local people in the advertising of the village and developing local tourism in a sustainable way.

Seeking ways to develop independent film projects

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A scene in the ‘Binh Ngo Dai Chien’ animated film. (Photo: Duoc Moi team)



An animated film based on a historical theme entitled ‘Binh Ngo Dai Chien’ (The Pacification of the Wu) was released last December. It is the final product of the crowd-funded film project named ‘Viet Su Kieu Hung’ (Pride in Vietnamese History) by young filmmakers from the Duoc Moi team. 

‘Binh Ngo Dai Chien’ recalls the Tot Dong- Chuc Dong battle of in 1426 when the Lam Son troops, under the command of national hero Le Loi, defeated the Ming invaders from the north. After the battle, Dại Viet gained independence, and Le Loi became king in 1428.

After its cinema debut, the film was broadcast on Duoc Moi's YouTube channel and has attracted approximately 3.5 million views thus far.

The making of the 60 minute-film resulted from the joint efforts of all team members during 15 hardworking months and 13 script changes.

‘Binh Ngo Dai Chien’ is likely to be the biggest animated historical film (fundraised) so far as it has received VND1.3 billion, donated by 1,600 people, exceeding the production team’s initial target of VND1 billion.

Although the funding is just about enough to cover members' accommodation, the participating film makers were willing to join the team without being paid ,simply following their passion for film-making and their aspiration to introduce Vietnamese history to young audiences.

Their enthusiasm received great support from prestigious artists including Khanh Hoang, Duc Thinh, and Meritorious Artist Thanh Loc.

The first film of the series was 'Tu Chien Thanh Da Bang' (Battle at Da Bang). It was released in 2018 and has drawn much interest from the audience.

After the project was completed, the participants returned to their normal jobs as illustrators, scriptwriters and consultants for historical and cultural projects.

The success of the ‘Viet Su Kieu Hung’ project proved that community efforts can help independent artists further promote their creativity to create valuable products which can benefit the community.

However, the practice of crowdfunding in Vietnam hides certain risks such as if the project team cannot raise enough money for the project, they must give up or carry on in a way so as “robbing Peter to pay Paul”, which can result in a less effective project.

Although young independent artists are in need of a stable source of financial support, statistics have shown that the call for investment for private art projects still faces several difficulties as the artists are young and have not yet established themselves in art circles. At the same time, businesses have not shown much interest and enthusiasm for artistic projects.

It is necessary to establish connections and promote exchange among artists and investors so that they can find a common voice in implementing art projects. Their cooperation will surely help create authentic artistic products which can promote the creativity of the artists while benefiting both the businesses and sponsors.

Around 40,000 pirated books seized from two houses in Hanoi

Approximately 40,000 pirated books were seized when police officers and inspectors raided two houses in Hanoi.

Police officers from the Ministry of Public Security and inspectors from the Department of Information and Communications in the capital city on January 8 paid visits to the house at No. 3 in alley 89 in Ngo Thi Sy Street and a warehouse in Van Phuc Ward in Ha Dong District confiscating 50 tittles comprising of over 40,000 pirated books.

Among the pirated books are some of First News, Alpha Books, Tre and Nha Nam’s best-selling titles such as Hanh trinh ve phuong Dong (Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East) , Muon kiep nhan sinh ( Many Lives – Many times), Bi mat tu duy trieu phu ( Secrets of the Millionaire Mind), Quang ganh lo di ma vui song (How to Stop Worrying and Start Living) , Dac nhan tam ( How to Win Friends and Influence People).

Seized books weighed around 15 tons; therefore, four trucks were sent to the houses to carry all. The investigation was considered as the biggest case of pirated books for years in Hanoi.

Nguyen Thi Khoai hailing from Thanh Oai District in Hanoi reportedly managed the two venues; however, she couldn’t produce any papers to prove that these books are legally printed and published and the origin of books.

Nguyen Van Phuoc, director of First News - Tri Viet said that the company and related agencies have been looking for the rings to print counterfeit books for years. They have discovered many rings and venues to sell counterfeit books in streets Duong Lang, Tran Quoc Hoan and Pham Van Dong in Hanoi.

Additionally, a large quantity of counterfeit books is sold in e-commerce platforms, fan pages, and community groups in social networks such as Facebook.

In September, 2020, First News - Tri Viet Publishing House officially filed a copyright lawsuit against Alibaba-owned online marketplace Lazada for failure to handle vendors selling 'counterfeit books' on its platform. Moreover, First News- Tri Viet Publishing House and Alpha Books announced 45 fan pages which sell many 'fake versions' of its books with poor quality and errors.

Widespread availability of pirated books produced with sophisticated counterfeiting techniques circulating on the market is the pain and suffering of the publishing sector causing big loss for the publishers and authors. Counterfeit books have even higher price than the original ones from 30 percent- 50 percent and then sellers offered discount to cheat buyers.

Pirated books can fool consumers at first look because of their similar appearance to the genuine ones; however, the difference lies in the quality of the paper used, the book-binding technique, and the content inside. They are poorly made with thinner paper, untidy prints, and pictures with fuzzy or uneven color shades.

Book festival spreads human values amongst high schoolers

A book festival was yesterday organized for high schoolers by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training and Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper to spread human values such as love for books and peace. 

The book festival themed “ Lon len cung sach” was held in the school for Gifted Student Tran Dai Nghia with the participation of 162 students.

This year, the book festival was held with various activities such as “Who read quickly and understand deeply?” “Who read faster and more books?”, “Taking photos with books”. Moreover, schoolers are taken to book street for sightseeing tour and buy books to gift their peers in outlying districts.

Speaking at the festival, Head of the High School Education Bureau Le Duy Tan said that 162 students participating the festival are teen reading ambassadors. He added that the festival has been organized six years, more students are interested in reading books and reading book has become a culture feature in schools.

He emphasized that in addition to finishing competitions in the festival, reading ambassadors had to help their classmates to read book and love books as well as build book-reading movement to inculcate reading habit in schools.

Eighth-grader Luong Ba Thien Giao from Nguyen Chi Thanh High School in District 12 said that the book festival is a good opportunity to share their love for books with other friends from different schools.

Ninth-grader Nguyen Ngoc Khanh Ngan from Phan Dang Luu High School in District 8 decided to choose the book “ Secret of natural science” to introduce in her competition of Reading Book Diary. However, she revealed that she in fact draw pictures to illustrate the book rather than to talk about the book content.

Students converted Tran Dai Nghia High School into a photography studio to introduce books with pictures.
While going sightseeing in Nguyen Van Binh Street, the city’s book street in District 1, each team was given VND200,000 to buy books as gifts for poor friends in outlying district Can Gio. They also wrote best wishes on the books to their peers in Can Gio.

It is scheduled that the award-giving ceremony will take place on January 15.

Students learn about activities of administrative organizations

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Nearly 300 third graders of Nguyen Binh Khiem School in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 were going a sightseeing tour around the city to learn about activities of administrative, cultural, economic and educational organizations.

The sightseeing tour to find out activities of the above-mentioned organizations is a part of the festival named “Pride as a resident of Ho Chi Minh City”  which students took part in last weekend.

They were travelling around the city downtown on electric bus fleets to discover activities of these organizations in District 1. They dropped by Thong Nhat Conference Hall, also called Reunification Hall or Presidential Palace, to learn more about the history and origin of the national special monument.

Moreover, students participated in drawing, collecting famous poems and literature themed “ Pride as a resident of Ho Chi Minh City”. Students have drawn pictures of well-known venues such as Ben Thanh Market, the Ho Chi Minh City Post Office, or the Saigon Central Post Office, Saigon Zoo and Botanical gardens and Landmark 81 building.

Additionally, students also played as reporters to give teachers, parents and friends interviews on topics which they were carrying out.

At the wrap-up, students displayed their hand-made products and gave musical performance. The highlight of the festival is the competition “ Rung chuong vang” (Ring the Golden Bell), small children answered 20 questions of famous venues, historic and cultural monuments of the city where they are living.

Finally, parents and students cooked dishes – specialty of the city.

Through participating in the activities, small students had chances to learn many skills including communications, team work, delivery of speeches.

Few self-employed workers buy voluntary social insurance

Voluntary social insurance brings the benefits to self-employed workers; however, the rate of people participating in the social insurance scheme is relatively low. 

There should be a mass communication campaign to raise the people’s awareness of the benefits of joining the voluntary social insurance scheme, particularly when they are getting old.

For instance, couple Nguyen Thi Hoa who sell fruits in Cay Queo market in Binh Thanh District earning VND13 million- VND15 million monthly but they have not participated in the voluntary social insurance despite local administration’s encouragement.

Mrs. Hoa said local administrators did encourage her and her husband to buy voluntary insurance for the sake of us adding that she is 50 years old now while only those participating over 20 years can enjoy pension from the insurance agency.

Grocery trader in Bui Van Ba Street in District 7 Tran Thi Tham said that all her earning is spent on her children’s tuition fee and other activities; hence, she doesn’t have savings for paying social insurance.

According to the Vietnam Social Insurance Agency, social insurance is unattractive which is partly a reason why administrators bumped into difficulties in persuading freelance workers to buy social insurance.

Importantly, the great difference between mandatory social insurance and voluntary social insurance discourages people to buy. Mandatory insurance buyers are entitled to enjoy compensation for a portion of either lost or reduced laborer's income due to sickness, maternity, occupational accidents and occupational diseases, disability, unemployment, old age, and death whereas voluntary social insurers just enjoy compensation for pension and death.

Quite many people have not fully understood the importance of joining in social insurance; plus, their income is low. Consequently, they are indifferent to participating in the social insurance scheme.

According to the insurance agency, around 16,101,000 people have participated in the insurance scheme accounting for 32.6 percent of the number of people in the working age; of whom, 1,068,000 people have participated in voluntary social insurance.

Most densely populated Go Vap District has the self-employed workers in Ho Chi Minh City. Thanks to local administrators, more people have participated in the insurance scheme.

Director of the Insurance Agency of Go Vap District Ho Hai Luan said additional 2,636 people agreed to buy social insurance voluntarily by the end of 2020. The fruitful achievement was thanks to the District People’s Committee, people’s committees in wards, the women union and market management board’s direction.

Mr. Luan explained for the success of Go Vap District that due to impact of the coronavirus pandemic, out-of-work employees felt securer than when they buy social insurance in addition to local government’ encouragement.

Sociologists said that people are not interested in participating in the social insurance scheme just because of long-term payment, not to mention to low compensation for buyers of insurance; therefore, there should be a change to attract more participants.

At a virtual meeting lately on implementation of social insurance task in 2021, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam ordered the Vietnam Insurance Agency to make more efforts to achievement the set goal that the coverage of social insurance must be 45 percent of the country’s population by 2025 and 35 percent of the residents in the country must participate in unemployment insurance.

Deputy PM Dam requested local administrations and the insurance agency must enhance encouragement and improve people’s awareness of buying insurance.

On November 21, 2019, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed Decision No.1676 to observe May every year as the month for all Vietnamese people to participate in the national social insurance scheme. On May 23, the Vietnam Social Insurance Agency (SIA) launched a month to call on all people nationwide to participate in this scheme.

Dengue cases drop in Ho Chi Minh City

The Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control yesterday said that cases of dengue dropped to 528 last week, a decrease of 34.6 percent compared to the average number in the prior four weeks. 

Last year, the number of dengue cases reached 26,181, a fall of 62.3 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. Presently, districts 2,9, 10, 11 have seen a slight increase in dengue cases in comparison with the average cases of the prior four weeks.

The Center advised that each household, each organization and each resident should spend 10 minutes – 15 minutes to tidy their houses and their working places by removing stagnant water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and change water from flower pot plates on alternate days.

Moreover, people should place fish (guppies, betas) in ornamental fountains that are always filled with water and apply insecticides as well as wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and closed shoes to avoid mosquito bites even in daytime. When anyone experiences high fever, headache, muscle pain and vomit, they should go to nearby medical centers for timely treatment.

Charity fundraising walk for taking care of poor residents

An amount of over VND3.9 billion (US$169,329 ) was collected from the charity walk yesterday organized by the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee in Thu Duc District to support poor residents. 

Nguyen Thi Le, Deputy Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee; Le Hoa Binh, Deputy Chairman of the city People’s Committee; To Thi Bich Chau, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee in the city and more than 1,500 employees of state organizations, students and people from all walks of life took part in the charity walk.

Speaking at the event, Chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee in Thu Duc District Ha Tuan Anh said that the district fund for the poor received financial contributions from all organizations and people from all walks of life in response to the campaign “Residents join hand to help the poor across the country - Don't let the poor be left behind” launched by the Prime Minister.

The year 2020 had passed but the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people is enormous. Therefore, the Fatherland Front in Thu Duc District and in wards have encouraged people to contribute to the fund for the poor. The fund organizers have so far collected over VND8.6 billion (US$ 386,642 ).

Hanoi university wins Clarivate's innovation award

For the first time, Vietnam has three representatives recognized by Clarivate.

The Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST) has made it into Clarivate Analytics’ Leading Innovators List 2020 in South and South East Asia.

The Global Innovators report by Clarivate Analytics identifies the world's most innovative organizations.

Being recognized by Clarivate Analytics, a global leader in providing trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation, is proof of the university teachers’ and students' efforts and achievements in research and creativity in recent years. 

The innovative research products to prevent the Covid-19 pandemic include BK-Vent Supportive Respirator, Corona RT-Lamp Rapid Test Kit and Positive pressure chambers for filtering coronavirus on flights to Equatorial Guinea.

A group from the HUST spent a month during Hanoi’s social distancing period to research and design BK-Vent, a ventilator which has breathing support functions for Covid-19 patients that meet standards set by the Health Ministry and the Association for Advancing Safety in Health Technology. The most basic principle of this ventilator is that the machine supplies air containing oxygen to patients’ lungs, because Covid-19 patients have trouble breathing.

Corona RT-Lamp Rapid Test Kit was developed by a research team at the HUST. The new kit utilizes the reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) technique to detect the novel coronavirus using the naked eye, based on color changes of indicator chemicals. A sample could be processed within 30 minutes using the new kit, as opposed to around 120 minutes required for RT-PCR test kits, previously developed by Vietnam. 

Four positive pressure chambers, which were produced by the HUST, were set up on a flight departed from Hanoi on July 28, 2020 to separate the Covid-19 infected passengers from others. The flight brought home 219 Vietnamese workers, of whom 120 are Covid-19 positive, from Equatorial Guinea.

In the university's science and technology development strategy, promoting innovation is one of the key tasks, through strengthening cooperation with businesses, incubating and supporting creative startups in the university and increasing support to the commercialization of inventions and useful solutions, contributing to solving socio-economic issues.

For the first time, Vietnam has three representatives recognized by Clarivate, including Hanoi University of Science and Technology (category of Higher education institutions), Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (category of Government’s research organization) and Viettel Industry - Telecommunication Group (category of Enterprises).

Source: VNA/VNN/VNS/SGGP/VOV/NDO/Dtinews/SGT/VIR