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The national medical council officially made its debut at a ceremony in Hanoi on January 15.

The national medical council officially made its debut at a ceremony in Hanoi on January 15, which has been regarded as a milestone of the domestic health care sector.

The council was formed in line with the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 956/QD-TTg, with the aim of assisting the Government leader in preparing necessary conditions for organising capacity assessment in medical profession.

The establishment of the council is in accordance with international commitments on medical capacity standards and matches Vietnam’s situation, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said, urging the council to soon put forth its operation regulations as well as mechanisms for the organisation of medical licensing examinations.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long stressed that the health sector is preparing for strong and comprehensive reforms, with medical training being a priority.

The sector has chosen the granting of medicine practising certificates as a key task, as it has a big impact on the entire health care system, the official said.

Minister Long has been assigned as chairman of the council./.

One imported case raises national COVID-19 tally to 1,537

One new imported case of COVID-19 was reported in the past 24 hours to 6pm on January 16, raising the total number of cases so far to 1,537, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The new patient is a Nigerian citizen arriving from Qatar on January 14.

A total of 1,380 patients of COVID-19 have been given the all-clear, while fatalities remain at 35.

Among patients receiving treatment, 10 have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, 10 twice and 12 thrice.

Meanwhile, 17,954 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or arrived from pandemic-hit areas are being quarantined nationwide, with 135 at hospital, 16,466 at designated facilities and 1,353 at home or their accommodations./.

Int’l cooperation needed for COVID-19 fight: Official

Deputy Foreign Minister To Anh Dung on January 15 highlighted the need to enhance international cooperation in the fight against COVID-19, especially as the disease still threatens the lives of millions of people around the world.

Addressing a seminar held jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French Embassy in Vietnam to discuss measures to further promote international cooperation in responding to health challenges, Dung said no country or territory can control the pandemic on its own.

Along with domestic efforts to contain the spread of the disease, as a responsible member of the international community, Vietnam advocates the policy of joining hands with other countries in the fight, Dung affirmed.

Vietnam supports the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its role in coordinating global pandemic control efforts, Dung said, adding that as Chair of ASEAN in 2020 Vietnam promoted intra-bloc cooperation in preventing and controlling the pandemic.

Within the framework of the UN, Vietnam proposed an “International Day of Epidemic Preparedness”, which aims to raise the awareness of individuals, communities, states, and the international community on the need to have a permanent sense of epidemic prevention in all activities.

The initiative was approved by the UN, receiving huge support and sponsorship from the international community, the official said.

WHO Chief Representative in Vietnam Kidong Park said Vietnam’s pandemic prevention efforts have proven effective compared to countries with a larger or equal population.

He congratulated the country on clinical trial of its first COVID-19 vaccine, expressing his hope that it will record more achievements in vaccine production.

Participants discussed Vietnam’s experience and policies on bilateral and multilateral cooperation in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other health threats, and the role of WHO in disease prevention.

They also emphasised the necessity of further enhancing global coordination in producing vaccines./.

People hope for success of 13th National Party Congress

The Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee on January 15 presented a pair of cups, named Lac Hong, to the 13th National Party Congress, which symbolise the hope that the people place on the event. 

President of the VFF Central Committee Tran Thanh Man handed over the cups to Tran Quoc Vuong, politburo member, permanent member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat and head of the organisation sub-committee of the 13th National Party Congress. 

Man underlined the significance of the gift, which aims to honour the national culture and the historic imprint of the upcoming National Party Congress. 

The official stressed the resolve of the entire Party, people and army to overcome difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters in 2020, maintain socio-economic development, national defence and security, and consolidate public trust in the Party and the State.

For his part, Vuong said the cups have demonstrated the public’s sentiments, responsibility, trust and hope for the success of the congress, helping to open up a new era for the nation./.

Over 870,000 households to access electricity in 2021-2025

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MoIT considers common retail power price

The national target programme on electricity supply for rural, mountainous and island areas will reach approximately 871,263 households between 2021 and 2025, as heard at a conference held in Hanoi on January 14 to review its implementation in the past five years.

According to the Electricity and Renewable Energy (EREA) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), among these households, 153,911 or 0.74 percent have yet to access electricity, while the rest are using unstable power sources.

The programme will also bring electricity to 2,638 small- and medium-sized pumping stations in 13 Mekong Delta localities, while working to help a number of islands join the national grid or access renewable electricity sources.

On December 13, 2018, the Prime Minister issued Decision 1740/QD-TTg approving the target programme. Seventeen communes, with 9,890 villages and 1.05 million households expected to benefit. Specifically, until 2020, the programme hoped to supply stable power services to households in the areas from the national power grid, new and renewable power resources with a target of giving power access to almost all rural households.

The total cost of the programme was about 30.11 trillion VND (1.3 billion USD) sourced from the central and local budgets, the Electricity of Vietnam, non-refundable ODA, preferential loans.

As heard at the conference, during the five-year period, the programme helped all 17 communes access electricity. It granted power access to 204,737 households and five islands.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Dang Hoang An said 99.26 percent of rural households had access to electricity as of December 31 in 2019.

An said due to financial limits, the programme faces a 81.5 percent shortage of its investment demand and could not fulfil a goal of giving power access to almost all rural households in 2020.

Bui Quoc Hung, deputy head of the EREA, said the investment shortage is about 26 trillion VND for the 2021-2025 period.

He said the MoIT has submitted a plan proposing the use of preferential loans from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank for the programme./.

Indian Government sends aid to flood victims in central Vietnam

The Indian Government has sent 3,000 sets of personal goods to people affected by floods in the central region of Vietnam.

Indian Ambassador Pranay Verma presented symbolically the aid to Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung in Hanoi on January 15.

The ambassador offered sympathy over the losses in human lives and property caused by flooding and storms in central Vietnam, and expressed his hope that the aid will help the flood victims quickly return to normal life.

Deputy FM Dung thanked the Indian Government and people for the support, saying that the sharing will further deepen the close ties between the two countries.

Mentioning bilateral ties, the two sides agreed to intensify measures to implement the outcomes of the virtual talks between the two countries’ Prime Ministers on December 21, 2020, and realise the targets and commitments in the Vietnam-India Joint Vision Statement for Peace, Prosperity and People, and the action plan for the implementation of the Vietnam-India comprehensive strategic partnership for 2021-2023./.

Top leader extends congratulations to newly-elected general secretary of Lao Party

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee and State President Nguyen Phu Trong has sent a basket of flowers and a congratulatory message to newly-elected General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee Thongloun Sisoulith.

In his message, the Vietnamese leader said the election of comrade Thongloun Sisoulith shows the trust the Lao Party and people have in him and the recognition of his great contributions to the Lao revolution.

“I believe that under the leadership of the LPRP and the General Secretary, the fraternal Lao people will continue to grasp new and greater successes in the cause of reform and successfully implement the Resolution of the LPRP’s 11th National Congress, thus building a nation of peace, independence, democracy, unification, and prosperity towards the goal of socialism,” he wrote.

He underlined that the Party, State and people of Vietnam will work hard to join hands with the Party, State and people of Laos to maintain and reinforce the great friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries, making bilateral ties deeper and more practical and effective in all areas, benefiting the people of both countries and for peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the region and the world.

The Vietnamese leader expressed his hope that the great Vietnam-Laos friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation will be sustainable forever.

Comrade Thongloun Sisoulith was elected as the new General Secretary of the LPRP Central Committee during the first meeting of the committee on January 15.

On this occasion, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also cabled a message to comrade Thongloun Sisoulith to congratulate him on his election.

Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan extended her congratulations to Chairwoman of the Lao National Assembly Pany Yathotu on being re-elected to the LPRP’s Politburo.

Standing member of the CPV Central Committee’s Secretariat Tran Quoc Vuong also congratulated comrade Bunthong Chitmani on being elected as Standing member of the 11th LPRP Central Committee’s Secretariat.

On the same day, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh sent a message of congratulations to comrade Saleumsay Kommasith on his election as member of the LPRP Politburo.

Head of the CPV Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations Hoang Binh Quan also extended his congratulations to comrade Sounthone Sayachak on being elected to the 11th LPRP Central Committee’s Secretariat./.

Mural painting to raise awareness of environment inaugurated in Hanoi

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US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink cuts a ribbon to launch a mural painting on the outside wall of Hanoi's American Club on January 15.


The US Embassy in collaboration with the Art Builds Community (ABC) organisation on January 15 unveiled a mural painting at American Club in downtown Hanoi which is expected to raise public awareness of the environment protection.

The project was started in December last year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the US – Vietnam relations.

The project, themed “Clean Environment and Green Planet,” reflects the Vietnam – US partnership and friendship which have been developed over the last 25 years, said US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink. It also shows both countries are committed to and can work together in sustainably protecting the environment and responding to climate change, he added.

He cited an American proverb “A picture is worth a thousand words,” saying the painting conveys a message that everyone shares a responsibility of protecting this planet and environment.

The ambassador further noted that against the backdrop of alarming air pollution in Vietnam’s metropolises, the US Embassy is working with local partners to increase people’s awareness of harmful effects of air pollution and the importance of their choice of clean energies to reduce pollution.

Initiated in 2020, the environment-focused mural was jointly designed by Vietnamese-American artist Christine Nguyen and four Vietnamese artists, said ACB founder Ta Thi Thu Huong. The 100-sqm 3D mural features vivid images of endangered species of fauna and flora, she added.

Huong voiced her hope that the mural painting will be a new cultural and arts destination in Hanoi./.

Over 3 billion VND raised at Run for the Heart race

More than 3 billion VND (nearly 129,000 USD) has been raised during the eighth Run for the Heart race, an annual event to support disadvantaged children with congenital heart diseases.

The proceeds were announced by the Gamuda Land Vietnam and Heartbeat Vietnam - a health care programme of VinaCapital Foundation at a ceremony in HCM City on January 15.

With the funding, about 115 children with congenital heart diseases would be able to receive free surgeries, raising the total number of beneficiaries from the programme to over 1,300 so far.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the eighth edition took place virtually, meaning it can reach runners from across the nation.

Launched in last November, the event was the result of a partnership between its organisers and Vietrace365, one of the most popular online virtual race platforms for the running community in Vietnam, which offers race courses nationwide.

A highlight of the race this year was fundraising through a series of mini gameshows broadcast live on its official communication channels, which were joined by a large number of celebrities./.

Vietnamese returning home via land border gates exempt from quarantine fees

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In any circumstances, Vietnamese people entering the country through land border gates and undergoing quarantine in military establishments will be exempted from quarantine fees, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said on January 15.

At a meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, Dam, who is also head of the committee, noted that as of January 15, Vietnam has recorded 1,536 COVID-19 cases, including 876 imported and 660 community infections.

Due to the appearance of new variants of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, Vietnam has limited inbound flights, the Deputy PM said.

He underlined the need to extend the concentrated quarantine period to more than 14 days for those who entering Vietnam from countries and territories that have reported new SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Besides, it is necessary to prevent illegal immigrants, while ensuring the strict implementation of quarantine regulations, Dam stressed.

A representative from the Ministry of Health said that the ministry has reviewed the receiving and sending of people to quarantine establishments, while guiding localities how to carry out the procedures. After taking concentrated quarantine, the quarantined people must spend 14 days on self-quarantine at home and restrict from contacting with others.

The Ministry of Health has also developed software to manage quarantined people, said the representative.

Deputy Minister of Health Truong Quoc Cuong suggested that more guidelines should be given to coastal provinces and cities, including Khanh Hoa and Da Nang, to effectively control immigrants to Vietnam.

At the meeting, members of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control agreed on the need to continue applying long-term measures in the community, including the “5K message”, along with the acceleration of vaccine research and production.

Particularly, during the course of the upcoming 13th National Party Congress and the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, COVID-19 prevention measures should be tightened, they said./.

Vietnam steps up IPv6 transition

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The Ministry of Information and Communications announced a programme on transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) in 2021-2025, which will focus on state agencies, instead of the community and business circle as in the previous period, at a meeting in Hanoi on January 15.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Huy Dung said between 2021-2022, half of ministries, agencies and localities are set to adopt IPv6 transitional plans and successfully shift towards IPv6 for their portals. All of them are expected to roll out the plans between 2022-2025.

He stressed that Vietnam needs to prepare infrastructure for digital transformation, especially e-Government.

In Vietnam, the IPv6 transition in networks, services, applications, software is an evolution that ensures Internet resources capacity and security requirements to support digital transformation and development of e-government and smart cities services./.

Social security policies effectively implemented despite difficulties: conference

Amid difficulties caused by diseases and natural disasters, social and health insurance policies, Vietnam’s major social security policies, have been effectively implemented, said an official at a conference held on January 14.

General Director of Vietnam Social Security Nguyen The Manh said the most important task ahead is to expand the coverage of social and health insurances toward a goal of reaching all people nationwide.

In 2020, about 88 million people or 90.85 percent of the population joined the health insurance network, up 25.6 percent from 2015. The figure meant Vietnam has basically completed its universal health insurance target ahead of schedule.

The social insurance network also expanded, having more than 16.16 million participants (32.7 percent of the workforce), including over 1.12 million voluntary ones. The number of voluntary participants doubled that of 2019.

The collection of social insurance and health insurance premiums exceeded the revenue estimate set for 2020 by 1 percent.

Manh attributed the growth, despite economic slowdown that caused people to lose their jobs, to efforts made by the sector and its collaboration with other sectors and units in implementing communication campaigns and other synchronous measures.

The work will continue this year, he added./.

Binh Phuoc asked to maximise advantages in agriculture

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the southern province of Binh Phuoc to work harder to deal with existing problems and optimise its advantages and potential, especially in agriculture.

Working with provincial leaders on January 14, the PM suggested the province follow a direction of becoming a pioneering, renovated, and rich locality in the southeast region based on diverse, smart, organic and high-quality agriculture with concentrated production and intensive processing to produce high quality products with high added value.

It should become home to renowned Vietnamese agricultural trademarks, he said.

The Government leader underlined that the province needs to focus on developing organic agriculture to produce high added value for its products while continuing to boost its role as aenergy hub of the country, creating a breakthrough in regional connectivity and having a greater part in the new economic corridor. It should also further expand its transport infrastructure and settle issues relating to irrigation to ensure water resource security, he added.

He also asked Binh Phuoc to pay greater attention to links in development, regional connectivity, and infrastructure connectivity. As an important part of the new economic corridor, lying in the middle of the southeast and Central Highlands regions and with Thailand and Cambodia as neighbours, Binh Phuoc should turn its Hoa Lu border gate into a connection point for international tourism routes.

Binh Phuoc should also bear responsibility for protecting the ecosystem of the southeast region, safeguarding and regulating the flow of rivers and securing water resources, he emphasised.

The PM also asked it to continue maintaining the unique cultural identity of local ethnic minority groups, creating a solid foundation for dealing with the risk of ethnic conflict, social evils, land disputes, environmental pollution, and the rich-poor gap.

According to provincial leaders, Binh Phuoc surpassed 21 out of 24 socio-economic targets in 2020. Economic growth reached 7.51 percent while budget collections hit 11.6 trillion VND, equivalent to 169 percent of the target.

It targets 8.5-9 percent growth this year, with total social investment reaching 29 trillion VND.

Provincial leaders at the session proposed the Government create favourable conditions for the province to become a connection point for transport projects on inter-regional connectivity./.

Thousands of hectares of rice affected by salinity, diseases in Kien Giang

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Kien Giang, the country’s largest rice producer, has more than 7,140ha of ‘mua’ rice crop damaged by 30-70 percent because of salinity, according to the province’s Plant Cultivation and Protection Sub-department.

The damaged areas are in the districts of An Minh, An Bien and Vinh Thuan.

The ‘mua’ variety of rice is grown in the rainy season in areas where farming is rainfed. In the Mekong Delta province, farmers rotate between ‘mua’ in the rainy season and brackish-water shrimp in the dry season in the same fields.

The early conclusion of the 2020 rainy season means farmers in An Minh, An Bien and Vinh Thuan lack freshwater to wash out the saltwater from their fields from the shrimp farming.

The affected fields have lower yields and poor quality, causing losses to farmers.

Besides, more than 8,190ha of the 2020-2021 winter – spring rice and mua rice crops in the province are affected by rice pests like brown plant hoppers, worms, golden snails, and mice.

They have damaged rice growth and caused rice blast disease, grain discoloration disease, bacterial leaf blight and other diseases.

The sub-department has instructed farmers to take measures to prevent rice diseases, protect their fields and regularly monitor them to treat rice diseases properly.

Farmers planted 58,742ha of mua rice in the 2020 rainy season and have harvested more than 4,720ha, mostly in An Bien and Vinh Thuan districts and Ha Tien city. They sell the paddy at a high 6,600 – 7,000 VND a kilogramme.

Farmers have planted 282,604ha of 2020-2021 winter – spring rice, or 98 percent of the target. Most of the crop is growing well.

The province targets a yield of 7.15 tonnes per hectare and total output of more than 2 million tonnes of paddy./.

Thailand: Migrant workers get pandemic aid from businesses

Global brands and small firms are actively providing assistance to migrant workers in Thailand, who are meeting difficulties after a jump in COVID-19 cases in the Southeast Asian nation.

Thailand is "struggling" to respond to its worst coronavirus outbreak, with more than 200 new infections reported each day. The country has so far counted more than 11,000 cases, including 69 deaths.

In Samut Sakhon, a province south of Bangkok where an outbreak began at a shrimp market late last year, many migrant workers are struggling to survive while local authorities imposed a social distancing order here since December last year.

According to activists, an estimated 400,000 migrant workers, mainly from Myanmar, are working in the province. The health crisis has left many migrant workers unable to find jobs.

The Raks Thai Foundation, a legal aid charity that has an office in Samut Sakhon, said it had received donations from many foreign and local companies since December.

 

A representative from the foundation said that migrant workers help support the Thai economy and they should be given equal rights.

Kimberly Rogovin, a coordinator for Global Labor Justice – International Labor Rights Forum, an organisation to ensure labourers’ rights, stressed the need to do more to address the current crisis and prevent future disasters.

She proposed the private sector to ensure workers are paid decent wages, have access to healthcare service, and do not bear the burden of paying for COVID-19 tests./.

COVID-19 vaccine trials in Vietnam strictly follow WHO’s guidance

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The first human trial of COVID-19 vaccine Nanocovax begins in Vietnam on December 17 with the first three volunteers, receiving injections at the Military Medical Academy. (Photo: VNA)


The trials of COVID-19 vaccine in Vietnam strictly follow the guidance of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and international organisations in terms of safety and immunity, said Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang at a press conference in Hanoi on January 14.

She said that the Military Medical University gave 75mcg of Nanocovax, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Vietnam, to three volunteers on January 12. This is the highest dose of the vaccine given to volunteers during the first stage of human trials.

Nanocovax is developed by the Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, basing on recombinant protein technology. Currently, there has been no evidence that new COVID-19 variants can resist this technology./.

Spreading warmth amidst cold nights

The North region is experiencing the coldest days of winter. Normally at night, everyone would quickly return to their home to avoid the silvering cold. However, there are young people from a volunteer group called “Ấm” (Warm) in Hanoi willing to go outside the streets at night to spread warmth to the homeless.

Young volunteers from Am group meet at 9pm under the cold of below 10 degrees Celsius.

Water bottles are put in the food bags. Noodles, milk and especially warm blankets and coats have been carefully sorted and packed in gift bags.

Late night is the time when homeless people call a day off and they will look for a place to sleep.

Walking on Hanoi’s streets in the cold weather, youngsters are looking for homeless people who take pavements as their shelters.

Founded in 2013 from a few youngsters, currently, the number of the group’s member has increased, helping to spread good deeds to less lucky people.

Each gift is given with warm greetings from young people, helping the homeless overcome the chilli winter night.

The journey to spread the warmth and love from youngsters continues at nights. The gifts are small, but wherever they come, a cold winter night becomes warmer and happier./.

Gifts presented to needy workers ahead of Tet

Nguyen Van Giau, Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for External Relations, led a delegation to visit and present gifts to disadvantaged workers in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang on January 13.

A hundred gift packages, each worth 1.15 million VND (50 USD), were handed over to workers at the An Giang Fisheries Import-Export JSC.

Giau attributed the achievements the country has recorded in socio-economic development and external affairs to the significant contributions of trade union members and workers, including those in An Giang.

The Party and the State have rolled out various policies to improve the material and spiritual lives of employees, he stressed.

On the same day, the trade union of northern Ha Nam province organised a pre-Tet gathering for more than 500 local workers, with the presence of Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung and Vice President of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour Tran Van Thuat.

They handed over 450 gift packages to workers in difficult circumstances.

Meanwhile, some 1,000 gifts packages worth 1 million VND each are to be handed over to workers in need in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, under a Lunar New Year programme.

According to the provincial trade union, the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted production and business in the locality, with average monthly incomes standing at only 4.5-5 million VND./.

Thailand: Food factory converted into quarantine facility in Samut Sakhon

Thailand has for the first time put into operation a COVID-19 quarantine facility which was converted from a factory of the Pattaya Food Group.

According to the government’s COVID-19 task force, the factory, which was used to manufacture canned foods under the Nautilus brand, is now a 600-patient bed quarantine facility. It is divided into three zones: a green zone is the reception area, a yellow zone is where medical professionals are stationed and where they will change their clothes, and a red zone will house infected persons.

Thai health authorities will speed up COVID-19 tests for more than 35,000 workers at 400 factories in Samut Sakhon by January 24. Samut Sakhon houses a large number of plants and migrant workers, most of whom come from Myanmar.

Provincial chief public health officer Naretrit Khatthasima said the province's efforts are being bolstered by medical teams from across the country who have been sent to work there, adding the outbreak in Samut Sakhon has been contained as a result of active case finding and proactive screening in the province.

Deputy governor Surasak Pholyangsong said the province is scheduled to open its fourth field hospital in tambon Nadee on January 15.

He said the facility, which is formally known as Samut Sakhon's care centre, has 350 beds to accommodate COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms.

To date, the outbreak in Samut Sakhon has spread to more than 50 provinces and cities across the nation.

The Southeast Asian country documented 271 new COVID-19 infections on January 14, bringing its total COVID-19 cases to 11,262. Sixty-nine people died of the novel coronavirus./. 

VUFO to step up peace, solidarity, friendship activities

The Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) plans to step up peace, solidarity, and friendship activities with foreign countries, strategic and comprehensive partners, and international friends in 2021, heard a conference in Hanoi on January 14.

The Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) plans to step up peace, solidarity, and friendship activities with foreign countries, strategic and comprehensive partners, and international friends in 2021, heard a conference in Hanoi on January 14.

The information was unveiled at the third conference of the presidium of the VUFO, during which delegates agreed that the union will enhance cooperation with partners in addressing the consequence of war, Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin, bombs and mines, natural disasters, and diseases.

Information efforts will be boosted to mobilise international support for Vietnam’s stance on issues regarding sea and island sovereignty, among others.

It will play a more active role in activities relating to the UN agenda on sustainable development by 2030 and will consider joining other major international mechanisms and forums in order to generate more support for the country.

Addressing the conference, VUFO President Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga said that amidst the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the union has overcome difficulties and strived to adapt to the new situation.

Phan Anh Son, VUFO Vice President and Secretary General, said the union provided timely aid to international friends in fighting the pandemic last year, with total funding amounting to about 13 billion VND (563,500 USD).

Meanwhile, through the union, 115 non-government organisations sent more than 6.5 million USD in cash and kind to Vietnam during the fight, he added.

The union intensified the application of information technology, he said, as well as online people-to-people exchanges in the context of COVID-19, helping to enhance friendship and cooperation between the people of Vietnam and foreign countries./.

ADB-funded project helps set up biodiversity corridors in central region

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A target ethnic minority-inhabited area in Quang Nam province (Photo: baotainguyenmoitruong.vn)


A biodiversity conservation corridor project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has made positive changes to forest protection in the central provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien-Hue.

The Greater Mekong Sub-region Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Project (BCC) - Phase 2 was the first loan project in the environmental sector in the three provinces and was carried out from 2011-2020, focusing on setting up and managing biodiversity corridors towards the sustainable management of the Central Truong Son landscape.

According to Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan, the target area is very special, as the Central Truong Son landscape plays a leading role in biodiversity in Vietnam but is difficult to approach and is home to ethnic minority groups.

Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Environment Administration Nguyen Hung Thinh said that 35 communes in six districts in the three provinces have benefited from the project, which had total investment of 34 million USD, including a 30 million USD loan from the ADB.

Three provincial-level biodiversity conservation corridors were established, managing 298,000 ha of forest.

Over 4,600 ha of forests were also recovered during the period. Meanwhile, 1,146 households were given technical assistance and cash to improve agricultural productivity. Per capita income in the six target districts reached 25.3 million VND (1,090 USD) in 2018 as a result, up 158 percent against 2011.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) also added 3.7 million USD to the BCC project - Phase 2, to expand its scale, intensify management, and maintain ecological integrity in and around natural reserves in the Central Truong Son landscape./.

Thailand adopts strategic plan on bio, circular and green economy

The Government of Thailand has adopted a strategic plan on the bio, circular and green (BCG) economy to drive economic growth from 2021 to 2026.

The five-year strategic plan was approved at the first meeting of a management committee to drive the BCG economy chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on January 13.

According to PM Prayut, the government agreed to place BCG on the national agenda to speed up development because the sectors can increase the value of farm products and BCG is part of a global development trend.

The BCG strategic plan covers four sectors: farm and food; healthcare and medical services; energy and biochemicals; and tourism and the creative economy.

He said the government first plans to develop the bio-economy, as Thailand has more than 30 million people working in the farm sector, yet most of them remain in poverty.

He noted that the BCG committee established seven working committees to drive the development, improve regulations and attract real investment.

The development plan calls for the government to increase the value of farm products and generate more income for the farm sector.

It aims to generate 4.4 trillion baht (146.5 billion USD) worth of income, or 24 percent of GDP, and create 16.5 million jobs by 2022, up from 3.5 trillion baht in 2019.

Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the government is considering various measures to promote the industry as well as privileges from the Board of Investment (BoI). Last June the BoI approved adjusting investment privileges and conditions for agriculture categories, such as a new agriculture category that applies high technology in plant factories./.

Thousands of hectares of rice affected by salinity, diseases in Kiên Giang

Kiên Giang, the country’s largest rice producer, has more than 7,140ha of mùa rice crop damaged by 30 – 70 per cent because of salinity, according to the province Plant Cultivation and Protection Sub-department.

The damaged areas are in the districts of An Minh, An Biên and Vĩnh Thuận.

The mùa variety of rice is grown in the rainy season in areas where farming is rainfed. 

In the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province, farmers rotate between mùa in the rainy season and brackish-water shrimp in the dry season in the same fields.

The early conclusion of the 2020 rainy season means farmers in An Minh, An Biên and Vĩnh Thuận lack freshwater to wash out the saltwater from their fields from the shrimp farming.

The affected fields have lower yields and poor quality, causing losses to farmers.

Besides, more than 8,190ha of the 2020-21 winter – spring rice and mùa rice crops in the province are affected by rice pests like brown plant hoppers, worms, golden snails, and mice.

They have damaged rice growth and caused rice blast disease, grain discoloration disease, bacterial leaf blight and other diseases.

The sub-department has instructed farmers to take measures to prevent rice diseases, protect their fields and regularly monitor them to treat rice diseases properly.

Farmers planted 58,742ha of mùa rice in the 2020 rainy season and have harvested more than 4,720ha, mostly in An Biên and Vĩnh Thuận districts and Hà Tiên City.

Farmers sell the paddy at a high VNĐ6,600 – 7,000 a kilogramme.

Farmers have planted 282,604ha of 2020-21 winter – spring rice, or 98 per cent of the target.

Most of the crop is growing well.

The province targets a yield of 7.15 tonnes per hectare and total output of more than 2 million tonnes of paddy.

ASEAN leader complements Vietnam’s success in ASEAN Chair Year

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Participants at the meeting


ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi has lauded Vietnam’s leadership and persistence in leading the ASEAN in building the ASEAN Community, and especially in promoting the grouping’s joint efforts in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addressing the first meeting in 2021 of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR) held on January 15 in online form, the ASEAN leader noted that 2020 was a year of difficulties and challenges brought about by COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted the special position of the CPR in ASEAN activities in Jakarta.

Under the leadership of the Vietnam mission to ASEAN, the CPR worked effectively in coordination with other ASEAN mechanisms and the ASEAN Secretariat in fulfilling tasks in 2020, contributing to strengthening inter-sectorial and inter-pillar cooperation and coordination in the building of the ASEAN Community, expanding the bloc’s collaboration with partners and improving the capacity of the ASEAN Secretariat, he said.

In 2021 when COVID-19 pandemic is developing complicatedly, he held that Brunei’s choosing the theme of “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper” for its ASEAN Chairmanship Year is a suitable choice.

Along with promoting ASEAN Community building, one of the major tasks of Brunei in the year is reconstructing the region through the implementation of  the ASEAN  Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) as well as initiatives approved by ASEAN leaders in 2020, he said.

Ambassador Tran Duc Binh, head of the Vietnam permanent mission to the ASEAN, thanked representatives of countries to the ASEAN for their support and effective collaboration in 2020 while Vietnam served as ASEAN Chair.

He expressed his belief that Brunei, as the Chair of CPR in 2021, will successfully complete tasks for 2021.

Vietnam will continue to work closely with the Brunei mission and the CPR as a whole to realise priorities and initiatives in 2021 during the ASEAN Chairmanship Year of Brunei, he pledged./.

German newspaper highlights AO impact on generations of Vietnamese

Despite it being over 50 years since the United States stopped spraying Agent Orange (AO) throughout various parts of Vietnam, people are still suffering from the severe hereditary defects caused by the chemical to this day, according to a recent article published by German daily newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau (FR).

On January 7, 1971, an aircraft from the US Air Force took off for the last time on a mission to spray the deadly chemical over Vietnamese fields and forests, with AO being known as the most harmful and most widely used chemical agent, according to the article.

The toxic chemicals had been provided to the US Air Force by Dow Chemical, Monsanto, through Mobay, a joint subsidiary with the Federal Republic of Germany Bayer AG, and a handful of other firms. Dow Chemical also supplied napalm to the armed forces of the US until 1969.

The article describes that by January 7, 1971, the US Air Force flew 6,542 flights in order to spray more than 20 million barrels of the chemical throughout the country’s southern regions.

More than 20% of forests throughout the region were "defoliated" at least once, with 10 million hectares of agricultural land being destroyed, with these actions being kept secret until the end of 1965, the article adds.

It was only when inquiries were made by the US Congress that the US Government officially declared that AO was not being used as a means of chemical warfare, but as a herbicide to destroy the crops of Vietnamese farmers throughout the south.

The author cites estimates provided by the Vietnamese Government that four million Vietnamese were exposed to AO/dioxin, causing severe damage that extends to the present day.

The poisonous chemicals were able to penetrate the soil and groundwater, while it is also believed that former US bases where barrels of the chemical were stored were also left severely contaminated.

After a long period of disputes, some US soldiers who suffered severe damage due to coming into contact with dioxin received compensation, with the scheme initially starting in the 1990s. Despite this, the Vietnamese victims have not received anything.

The article states that although the administrations of former US Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama presented the country with US$100 million for an ecological cleaning programme, in 2016, the cost of cleaning a stretch of the dioxin-contaminated Passaic river in New Jersey was roughly US$1.4 billion.

New schedule announced for Miss World Vietnam 2021

The organisers of the Miss World Vietnam 2021 pageant have unveiled the latest schedule for the upcoming beauty contest, aiming to select a Vietnamese representative to the world beauty pageant in the future.

A press conference to launch the pageant is now set to get underway in March.

Following this, the competition’s initial qualifying rounds are scheduled to take place in April before the final round is held in the fourth quarter of the year.

The beauty contest is to be organised by Sen Vang Entertainment Company and its format will follow that of the Miss World pageant.

Pham Kim Dung, head of the Miss World Vietnam pageant’s organising board,  described how the contest is seeking dynamic, young, and modern faces who can represent the country at international pageants.

In previous pageants, national winners went on to enjoy success in global pageants. Most notably, Luong Thuy Linh, Miss World Vietnam 2019, was able to clinch a Top 12  spot in the Miss World 2019 pageant.

Furthermore, Kieu Loan, first runner-up of Miss World Vietnam 2019, was among the Top 10 finalists of the Miss Grand International 2019 pageant.

The Tuong An, second runner-up of Miss World Vietnam 2019, made the leading eight  contestants of Miss International 2019, becoming the first Vietnamese representative to win the Best National Costume sub-title.

Thua Thien Hue aims to receive up to 3.5 million visitors this year

The tourism sector of Thua Thien Hue province aims to welcome between 3 million and 3.5 million visitors during the course of the year, with the locality designing fresh tourism products to attract visitors and ensure prevention measures in tourism activities amid complicated developments relating to COVID-19.

After undergoing a long period of restoration, the Ngo Mon Gate (Noon Gate), an iconic symbol of the former royal city of Hue, has been open to visitors in the early days of the New Year. Indeed, ritual ceremonies have been held at Hue Monuments Conservation Center in order to attract tourists and local residents.

Throughout the year, the locality is expected to host a series of events and festivals, such as the Thua Thien Hue Tourism Festival, the Hue Traditional Craft Festival 2021, the Lotus Festival, Food Festival, and the music festival Hiphop.

Phan Thanh Hai, director of the provincial Department of Culture and Sports, said that the locality has identified tourism industry as its key economic sector. As such, the province hopes to introduce aspects of cultural heritage via a series of Vietnamese movies with a view to attract tourists to visit popular check-in points shown in these films.

With a target of receiving up to 3.5 million visitors this year, local travel firms have devised plans to invest in new tourism products in an effort to fully utilise local advantages, with a specific focus on improving service quality as a way of encouraging visitors to stay longer.

Le Huu Minh, acting director of the Thua Thien Hue Tourism Department, noted that the local tourism sector has actively removed hurdles to help investors carry out large-scale tourism projects, while simultaneously elevating the locality as a safe, friendly, and attractive destination for visitors.

He also emphasised the need to roll out an aid package for businesses and employees, in addition to deploying policies that can stimulate tourism demand` .

Cold spell sparks mass cattle deaths in Thua Thien-Hue

The National Steering Committee for Natural Disasters Prevention has asked authorities in Thua Thien-Hue Province to explain about the unusually large number of cattle that died in the last cold spell.

A Luoi District Department of Agriculture reported that over 900 cattle died in the recent cold spell. This is a high number for Thua Thien-Hue as it is not among the coldest provinces. The number of cattle that died in Thua Thien-Hue is even higher than the total number of cattle that died in the northern mountainous provinces.

It is forecast that there will be more cold spells in January. Thua Thien-Hue Steering Committee for Natural Disasters Prevention and Search and Rescue will set up an inspection team to find the cause and propose solutions to the problem. The local authorities must allocate funding to deal with the damage and support the farmers, especially those with disadvantaged backgrounds.

Some 200 buffaloes died in Lao Cai, 260 in Son La and nearly 180 buffaloes in Dien Bien Province. As of now, nearly 110ha of crops and 1,050 flower pots in Lao Cai were destroyed in the cold.

The National Steering Committee for Natural Disasters Prevention asked local authorities to have more effective measures to protect the residents and livestock. Students have been allowed to stay home if it is too cold and locals are warned not to burn coal inside closed rooms.

In order to take care of the livestock, the farmers should provide more feed, reinforce and keep the cages dry.

Hanoi’s third metro line to enter operation next year

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Nhon-Hanoi Station, the third metro project in Hanoi, is expected to be put into operation in 2022.

According to the Hanoi Metropolitan Railway Management Board, by the end of last year, around 67.5% of the work of the Nhon-Hanoi Station metro project had been completed.  

In October last year, the first train of the route was brought to Vietnam from France, while the second one is scheduled to arrive at Haiphong Port by late this month.

A representative from the management board said that after the Lunar New Year or Tet Holiday, the second train would be displayed at the elevated station S1 for the public to see.

The eight remaining trains are still being produced in France to be handed over to Vietnam by late this year.

A train has four carriages.

The 12.5-km metro route which runs from Nhon Town in Nam Tu Liem District to Hanoi Railway Station in Dong Da District, will cost VND36 trillion (USD1.56 billion), sourced mainly from official development assistance from France.

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