Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the breaking ground ceremony for the first phase of the My Thuan - Can Tho expressway project in Vinh Long city in the Mekong Delta province of the same name on January 4.

The 23-km expressway will run from My Thuan Bridge 2 in the city’s Tan Hoa ward to the Cha Va intersection connecting with National Highway No 1 in Binh Minh town’s Thuan An commune.

It has total investment of 4.8 trillion VND (209 million USD).

The speed limit will be 100 km/h. It will have four lanes in the first phase, allowing vehicles running at a speed of up to 80 km/h. The expressway is expected to be completed in 2022 and then come into operation a year later.

Addressing the ceremony, the Prime Minister said that when the project is finished next year, the HCM City-Trung Luong-My Thuan-Can Tho expressway will then be completed.

Over the years, he said, the Government and ministries and sectors have invested substantial resources in transport projects around the country.

He also revealed that construction of the first items at the Long Thanh International Airport will start on January 5.

On the same day, the PM also attended another ceremony to open the Trung Luong-My Thuan expressway to traffic, which starts in Cai Be district and connects with the HCM City - Trung Luong Expressway.

The project was launched in November 2009 and resumed in April 2019 after being postponed for 10 years. The 51-km expressway is now 75 percent completed, with a speed limit of 40 km/h set for vehicles of less than 16 seats and under 2.5 tonnes.

In his remarks, the Government leader said that despite the difficulties during project implementation, including changes in legal policies and the impact of COVID-19, Tien Giang province, the Ministry of Transport, relevant agencies, and the Deo Ca Group have managed to complete the project as scheduled.

He asked contractors and relevant agencies to speed up construction so it may be inaugurated between October and November this year./.

Vietnam records three new COVID-19 cases

Vietnam recorded three new imported COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours from 6:00pm of January 3, bringing the total number of infections to 1,497, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

All of the new cases are Vietnamese citizens who returned home from Japan and Germany. They have been quarantined upon their arrival.

According to the subcommittee for treatment, as many as 1,339 patients have fully recovered from the disease while the number of related deaths is still kept at 35.

Among the patients undergoing treatment across the country, nine have tested negative for the virus once, six others twice, and five thrice.

As many as 19,055 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions are currently quarantined nationwide, including 152 in hospitals, 17,234 in state-designated establishments, and 1,669 at their residences./.

Thang Long bridge to reopen on January 8

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The Thăng Long Bridge's surface is covered in a new layer of ultra-high performance concrete and another layer of polymer concrete.

The Thăng Long Bridge, one of the first bridges connecting the two banks of the Red River in Hà Nội, is expected to be in use again on January 8 after months of being closed for repairs.

According to the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam (DRVN), the repair work is being sped up.

The final stage of covering the new layer of ultra-high performance concrete and then another layer of polymer concrete on the bridge surface has been completed by contractors.

Other work will be soon completed to meet the requirements of the Ministry of Transport.

Nguyễn Trung Sỹ from the DRVN said the polymer concrete layer is 4-8cm thick.

The polymer concrete layer can last for 5-10 years and be maintained for further usage, Sỹ said.

The repair project, which started on August 16, has a total investment of VNĐ270 billion (US$11.73 million).

Hà Nội’s Thăng Long Bridge was put into use in 1985. Over the past 20 years, despite several upgrades, the bridge has deteriorated.

Cracks and potholes on the surface of the bridge have consistently appeared. 

The bridge’s surface underwent two major repairs in 2009 and from 2012 to 2014, according to the DRVN.

However, the bridge became badly damaged again.

Thăng Long Bridge has a total length of 1.6km and spans the Red River, connecting Hà Nội’s downtown with Nội Bài International Airport and northern provinces with the capital city.

Session highlights special links between Vietnamese, Lao armies

The Lao Embassy in Vietnam, the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations, and the Vietnam - Laos Friendship Association had a working session with the Hanoi Capital High Command on January 4.

The event took place on the occasion of 77 years since the establishment of the Vietnam People’s Army (December 22, 1944 - 2021) and the 72nd founding anniversary of the Lao People’s Army (January 20, 1949 - 2021).

Lao Ambassador to Vietnam Sengphet Houngboungnuang said over the last 45 years, despites rapid and complex developments in the region and the world, the great friendship, faithful and pure solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos, built and nurtured by late Presidents Ho Chi Minh, Kaysone Phomvihane, and Souphanouvong and upheld by generations of the two countries' leaders, revolutionaries, and people, have become a priceless asset of both nations.

It is the decisive factor in every success of each country’s revolution, and it has not faded away but continued to be enhanced both extensively and intensively in all aspects, according to him.

The diplomat considered the working session as a demonstration of the close-knit ties and special solidarity between the Vietnamese and Lao armies and peoples, expressing his hope that the countries’ younger generations will keep treasuring and promoting these relations.

At the session, Maj. Gen. Nguyen Quoc Duyet, Commander of the Hanoi Capital High Command, affirmed that the high command always adheres to the Vietnamese Party and State’s foreign policy, which attaches special importance to relations with Laos.

He highlighted Vietnam’s consistent viewpoint of bringing into play the special solidarity and friendship with Laos and wish that Laos will firmly safeguard its independence, sovereignty, and stability and develop more and more strongly.

Duyet noted over the past five years, the high command has organised many working visits to Laos and also welcomed delegations of Lao military officers.

Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides have also held phone talks to share experience in the disease prevention and control, which has helped strengthen connections between the Hanoi Capital High Command and the Vientiane Capital Military Command, thus contributing to overall relations between the two armies and peoples, he added./.

Commission to ensure 13th National Party Congress’s press centre runs smoothly

Ensuring smooth operations of the 13th National Party Congress’s press centre and the information provision for foreign media are among the tasks the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Information and Education has been told to fulfil between now and the time the congress takes place, in late January.

The request was made by Commission Chairman Vo Van Thuong, who is also a Politburo member and Secretary of the Party Central Committee, at the January 4 meeting that reviewed the commission’s performance in 2020 and launched tasks for this year.

Applauding the commission’s efforts and achievements, he noted it needs to ensure that the resolution of the 13th National Party Congress will be disseminated more quickly.

Besides, it has to fruitfully carry out its 2021 work plan right from beginning months of the year while continuing to reform its personnel work and creating a favourable environment for its staff to bring into play their capability and strengths, Thuong said.

The commission reported that in 2020, it worked hard to serve all-level Party congresses in the run up to the 13th national event.

Leaders of the commission took part in working delegations of the Politburo and the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat to examine and promote the implementation of the Politburo’s Directive 35-CT/TW on all-level Party congresses ahead of the 13th National Party Congress. They gave opinions on draft documents submitted to and attended the congresses of the 63 provincial-level Party organisations and four others directly subordinate to the Party Central Committee.

For 2021, it added, the commission will keep closely following directions issued by the Politburo and the Secretariat; proactively coordinate with ministries, central agencies, and localities; and make proposals, promote, and guide the implementation of the Politburo’s directive on the popularisation and realisation of the 13th National Party Congress’s resolution.

It is also set to push ahead with carrying out important tasks related to political theory, defending the Party’s ideological foundation, and giving orientations on communications, press, publication, culture, and public opinion-related affairs./.

Ministry asks PM to approve extra funding for tunnel project

The Ministry of Transport has proposed Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc approve the allocation of an additional VNĐ1.18 trillion (US$51.7 million) from the State budget to the Đèo Cả Tunnel Project.

The project aims to build road tunnels through Đèo Cả (including the tunnels of Đèo Cả, Cổ Mã, Cù Mông, and Hải Vân). The Đèo Cả Tunnel Project runs through the Cả Pass on National Highway 1A linking the two central provinces of Phú Yên and Khánh Hòa and construction began in 2012.

The Đèo Cả Tunnel, which was put into operation in August last year, is the second-longest mountain road tunnel in the country, after the Hải Vân Tunnel, which is 6.28 kilometres long and runs between Thừa Thiên in Huế Province and Đà Nẵng City.

Under this further budget allocation, the Hải Vân tunnel expansion project would be expected to be put into operation soon.

The proposal signed by Deputy Minister of Transport, Lê Đình Thọ stated that Đèo Cả Tunnel Project is a national key project, playing an important role in socio-economic development, ensure national defence and security in the central provinces and the Central Highlands.

Currently, Đèo Cả, Cổ Mã and Cù Mông tunnels are in use, contributing to solving congestion, creating favourable conditions for connectivity and promoting socio-economic development for central coastal provinces, according to the ministry’s proposal.

The Hải Vân tunnel expansion work was the final implementation item of the Đèo Cả project, that was tested and approved by the State Council for the Acceptance of Construction Works.

Currently, the Ministry of Transport is working with the investors to complete procedures to put the Hải Vân tunnel expansion project into operation soon.

“However, the Đèo Cả project's finance is facing some problems including the allocation of VNĐ1.18 trillion State budget capital, and the La Sơn-Túy Loan station's toll fees have not been completely resolved,” Thọ said.

“It affects the funding for operation and maintenance of tunnel works and bank repayment plans,” he said. The ministry has developed a plan to allocate mid-term investment money and the State budget capital in 2020 for the project.

The ministry consulted with the National Assembly Finance and Budget Committee, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Finance and Vietinbank, proposing the Prime Minister for approving the allocation of VNĐ50 billion, and the rest will be allocated in 2021 and the period of 2021-2025. 

Digitization of records helps prevent health-service abuse

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A doctor in Thủ Đức District in HCM City checks the electronic medical records of a patient.

The health sector in recent years has increasingly used information technology, leading to positive changes in all medical activities, including the management of health-service abuse.

Professor Trần Quý Tường, general director of the Agency of Information Technology under the Ministry of Health, said that 100 per cent of hospitals nationwide are using a hospital management information system, and that 10 hospitals and one clinic are using electronic medical records instead of paper.

Some hospitals in Hà Nội, Đà Nẵng and HCM City are using social media for patient interactions.

Electronic medical records for patients and cloud computing applications are also being used in Nghệ An, Tiền Giang and Kon Tum provinces.

Tường said that each hospital needs an average of six months to complete its electronic medical record software, which could cost up to more than US$6 million. But most hospitals already have a basic technical foundation and only have to spend VNĐ20-30 billion ($868,502-1.3 million) on average.

Ten out of 1,400 hospitals nationwide have successfully adopted electronic medical records.

Electronic medical records can help detect common health-service abuse, including unnecessary scheduling of high-tech tests as well as health centres' refusal to take health insurance and demand that patients pay the bill.

By 2025, 15 per cent of hospitals nationwide are expected to be using electronic medical records and cashless payment services under the National Health Digital Transformation Programme.

According to Tường, most hospitals have also installed Laboratory Information System. When patients are transferred between medical facilities, the system ensures that there is no abuse in test results.

Linked data also allows hospitals to monitor patients’ examinations, treatments and test results, from which adequate introductions and referrals can be given.

"There are 23 hospitals nationwide that also have picture archiving and communication systems (PACS). This avoids the cost of printing films and reduces the cost of diagnostic imaging services," Tường added.

Each year, Việt Nam spends about VNĐ4 trillion ($173.7 million) on films. Thanks to PACS, patients can save money because the scans are stored in the system.

The health sector plans to apply digital technology to most of its activities and services, forming a smart health system with smart prevention; smart medical examination and treatment; and smart medical administration.

Criminal proceedings started against COVID-19 border jumper

The Investigation Agency of Vĩnh Long Province Police has initiated criminal proceedings against a man who illegally entered Việt Nam and then tested positive for the coronavirus on December 26.

He is accused of spreading contagious diseases to other persons in accordance with Article 240 of Penal Code.

According to the investigation agency, COVID-19 Patient 1440, whose name was given as L.T.T, entered Việt Nam from Cambodia via a trail in An Giang Province’s An Phú District on December 24.

After he returned home to Vĩnh Long, T’s family informed local authorities who sent him to a quarantine centre and took a sample for testing. The result showed he was positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus on December 26.

The provincial Police Department worked with the police departments of Đồng Tháp and Sóc Trăng provinces and Cần Thơ City and HCM City to trace people who had close contact with the patient.

Patient 1440 entered Việt Nam illegally with five other people, three of whom have since tested positive for the coronavirus.

All the patients have been quarantined, and close contacts with them have also been quarantined.

According to Văn Công Minh, Director of Vĩnh Long’s Health Department, T is currently isolated and being treated at the Hospital of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease in Vinh Long Province. His health is stable.

All of the patient's close contacts have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once. 

Hanoi welcomes first tourists of the New Year

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The Hanoi Department of Tourism hosted a ceremony on the morning of January 1 in collaboration with relevant units as part of efforts to welcome the capital’s first group of tourists of 2021.

At the event aimed at welcoming the group of 20 visitors, Tran Trung Hieu, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism, underlined the significance of receiving guests at the Temple of Literature, known locally as Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam, a leading tourist site in Hanoi. Indeed, the role of the function is part of wider efforts to open up bright prospects ahead for the tourism industry in 2021.

Furthermore, the event is part of activities in response to the "Vietnamese people travel in Vietnam" scheme, with the purpose of stimulating domestic tourism demand, introducing high-quality tourism products and services to guests, whilst elevating the image of the culture and history of Hanoi to both foreign and local tourists.

Moving into 2021, Hanoi’s tourism industry will continue to carry out plans to boost domestic tourism by designing attractive and unique tour packages, with the ultimate aim to welcome between 13 million and 19 million visitors, representing nearly two-fold increase compared to 2020, Hieu emphasised.

Firms seek thousands of students for jobs, internships at job fairs

Enterprises in HCM City are seeking students for jobs and internships to meet production needs before Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday which will falls on February 12-15.

At a job fair held on Wednesday at International University under the Viet Nam National University-HCM City, 50 domestic and foreign enterprises were looking for students to fill 1,000 jobs and internships.    

The HCM City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank (HDBank), for example, wanted employees for the positions of customer relations assistants and tellers.

Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies Company was looking for production maintenance engineers, technical assistants, quality control technicians, and quality assurance staff.

FPT Securities needed investment consultants and interns.

R.E.D. Biotech Joint Stock Company was recruiting many employees for different positions, including interns with an allowance of VNĐ4 million per month (US$172.7).

Huỳnh Minh Ngọc Châu, who specialises in human resources at Decathlon Vietnam, said: “The company needs employees for three positions, including e-merchandising interns in fitness sports. We expect to recruit university students and graduates who love sport, are active, and have leadership skills as well as business acumen.”

Trần Vĩnh Khánh Ngọc, who is in charge of recruitment at BEST Inc, a smart supply chain and logistics solutions provider, said: "The company has a management trainee programme for fourth-year students to help develop their business, marketing and leadership skills. During the trainee programme, the students can work in a field different from their major, then have chances to develop further their careers.”

HCM City Nông Lâm University has received many suggestions from enterprises to introduce its students since October. Many positions are in the fields of biotech application, food, real estate and others. There are also many part-time jobs for its students.  

The University of Finance-Marketing has received recruitment announcements from enterprises for accountants, traders, market survey employees and investment consultants with salaries of VNĐ5-10 million ($215-$431).

Many universities have organised job fairs to offer their students with opportunities to network and demonstrate their capabilities to potential employers.

Lê Văn Cảnh, International University’s vice president, said: “The fair is one of IU’s regular activities to realise its strategic goals and policies to provide career orientation services to students, empowering students' capabilities, referring students to appropriate job openings, and strengthening university-industry linkages for joint collaboration and development.”

“Job fairs are an opportunity for students to find out about future employers and gain a deeper understanding of the current job market and figure out a career path for themselves,” Cảnh said.

Lê Nguyễn Thu Ngân, an International University fourth year student, said: “Job fairs are helpful for students like me because we can seek a job amid COVID-19. Many companies have cut their staff and do not want to hire interns.”

Nguyễn Nhựt Anh, a third year student at International University, said: "I expect to seek an internship through the job fair."

Through job fairs, companies have chances to provide detailed information to students.  

Châu said: “Students are now very confident and are active in adapting to jobs. Besides basic knowledge, VNU-HCM and International university students are trained in English and other skills, so they meet company demands.”

Many universities have co-operated with companies to update training programmes and reduce the gap in recruitment needs.

Cảnh of the International University said: “The university has fostered research cooperation with businesses in order to produce a workforce equipped with both in-depth knowledge and practical experience.” 

Vietnam makes progress in fight against IUU fishing

The European Commission (EC) has made positive assessment of Vietnam’s fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing following two inspections in the past over three years since EC imposed a “yellow card” on Vietnam’s export of aquatic products to Europe.

Vietnam has continued to intensify its supervision of fishing activities towards having the yellow card removed.

In the first nine months of last year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) assigned the task of updating and using the Vnfishbase software to 28 coastal cities and provinces, said the Directorate of Fisheries.

The Directorate of Fisheries also established a team to conduct surprise inspections of the management of fishing vessels and fishing activities as well as the update of data on the software in several localities.

It was found that there had been cases when fishing vessels were cut off from the monitoring system. Localities attributed the problem to connection cut due to delays in paying satellite fees, technical errors and unknown causes.

Director of the Ca Mau provincial Department of Information and Communications Tran Quoc Chinh said the number of local fishing vessels committing illegal fishing in foreign waters has reduced year after year thanks to the intensified inspection and communication activities.

Vice President of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers Nguyen Thi Thu Sac said since the “yellow card” was imposed on Vietnam’s aquatic products, export to the European market has dropped by 30 percent.

The Government has taken legal measures against vessels that violate the Law on Fisheries 2017, with some even facing a fine of up to 2 billion VND (86,000 USD).

Sac said the EU is a very important market for Vietnam, and stressed that businesses and fishermen must join hands with the Government to have the yellow card removed./.

Hanoi welcomes over 118,000 visitors during New Year holiday

The capital city of Hanoi welcomed over 118,000 tourist arrivals during the New Year Holiday from January 1-3, according to the municipal Department of Tourism.

Of the total visitors, there were 4,451 foreigners who came for official and diplomatic purposes.

The most favourite destination during the holiday included Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism (over 7,300 visitors), Hanoi Zoo (5,000 visitors), Duong Lam ancient village (3,200 visitors), and Hoa Lo prison (1,700 visitors).

Particularly, the Heineken Countdown Party held on December 31 night in front of the Hanoi Opera House drew swarms of locals and visitors who came to enjoy outdoor concerts and pinnacle firework displays to welcome the New Year.

The tourism department, in collaboration with competent agencies, organised an event to welcome the first visitors to the capital city on January 1.

In a bid to promote local tourism, many lodging facilities slashed down their service prices by 25-50 percent with many attractive packages and menus. Furthermore, music programmes were organised by four-star and five-star hotels to entertain the customers./.

4.72kg of marijuana from Canada to Vietnam seized

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The marijuana has been confiscated during a regular check at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport. (Photo:cand.com)
 



Vietnamese customs officers at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport have found and confiscated 4.72kg of marijuana transported from Canada to Vietnam.

Relevant forces used a sniffer dog to check a shipment with suspicious signs of drugs transported from Toronto (Canada) to Vietnam, transiting through the Republic of Korea. 

They found marijuana packaged in 27 vacuum bags which were hidden into bottles of supplementary diets. These bottles were then packaged in carton boxes of confectionery and personal utensils in order to evade the control of the customs authorities.

According to the police, the seized shipment should have been delivered to a person living in Ho Chi Minh City's District 7. 

The case is under investigation. 

Recruitment quota for vocational schools to increase in 2021

The General Department of Vocational Education has set the new development programme for vocational schools during the 2021-2025 to recruit 19.8 million students.

The Draft Development Plan for Vocational Education for 2021-2025 period aims to increase the quality and scale of the vocational sector, more closely connect with firms, reform the current vocational school system, apply more technology in management and operation processes.

It aims to recruit 19.8 million students in the 2021-2025 period. 85% of them will have the right jobs after graduation and a better salary. 35% of them will have all required diplomas and certificates so that the number of vocation school graduates will account for 70% of the total workforce. For the 2025-2030 period, the recruitment quota for vocational schools will be 29.1 million students. At least 90% of the students must have jobs after graduation and a better salary.Vietnam has 1,907 vocational schools. Nguyen Thi Viet Huong, vice head of the General Department of Vocational Education said in 2020, vocational schools met the recruitment goal and recruited 2.28 million students. For the 2016-2020 period, 11 million students were recruited, an increase of 21% compared to the 2011-2015 period.

In 2020, the Department of Vocational Education drafted the development plan and submitted it for prime ministerial approval to develop a more skilled workforce and improve the country's competitiveness.

Due to Covid-19, technology has been applied more and many schools recruited students online. Arenas for students to develop their start-up projects are also one of the important subjects. Many vocational schools have set up their own start-up centres.

More cherry trees to be grown in Da Lat

Da Lat City in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong has approved a project to plant more cherry trees in local inner-city streets.

Under the project worth VND1 billion (USD43,478), 219 3-4 metre high cherry trees will be grown around Xuan Huong and Tuyen Lam lakes and along many streets such as Tran Hung Dao, Hung Vuong, Nam Ho, Da Quy-Trai Mat area and Cau Dat tea hill.  

Cherry blossoms can be seen in many areas of Lam Dong Province, including at the bottom of Lang Biang Mountain, the centre of Da Sar Town, Da Nhim Commune in Lac Duong District and lots of streets in the city.

The cherry blossoms are among products to lure tourists to Da Lat City.

Ho Chi Minh City announces 10 outstanding events during 2020

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The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City unveiled the top 10 events of the southern metropolis in 2020 at a recent press conference held on December 31.

Accordingly, the remarkable events comprised:

1. Ho Chi Minh City successfully organised Party Congresses at all levels and the 11th Ho Chi Minh City Party Congress.

2. The National Assembly promulgated a Resolution on the organisation of urban government and the establishment of Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City.

3. In Ho Chi Minh City, the Covid-19 epidemic was successfully brought under control while outstanding achievements in the medical industry were recorded.

4. The city took the lead in digital transformation and promoted the construction of a “smart city”.

5. Many key traffic works were completed, urban traffic has gradually improved.

6. Ho Chi Minh City promoted regional linkage development activities, and took the lead in implementing the “digital external relations” model.

7. The armed forces made an important contribution to maintaining security, politics and social order and safety throughout the city.

8. Ho Chi Minh City affirmed its role and responsibility as a “City of gratitude for the sake of the whole country”.

9. People in Ho Chi Minh City joined hands to build a green, clean, beautiful and civilised city.

10. Efforts were made to successfully implement the city’s theme in 2020, the “Year of promoting cultural activities and building a civilised urban lifestyle”.

Noi Bai airport runway put back to use after repairs

After six months of being upgraded and repaired, the first phase of Runway 1B at the Hanoi-based Noi Bai International Airport (for only takeoff) was put back into operation on January 1.

Vietnam Airlines Flight VN159 from Hanoi to Danang City was the first flight to take off on the 1B runway at 8.00 a.m. on the same day after the repairs on the runway were completed.

Dang Hung Thai, director of the Noi Bai taxiway and runway upgrade project, said that Airbus A321 and A320 aircraft can take off on the 3,000-meter-long 1B runway.

The project to rehabilitate and upgrade taxiways and runways at the Noi Bai International Airport was approved in April last year and was carried out in June 2020.

As planned by the Ministry of Transport, after the Lunar New Year holiday, the 1B runway will continue to be closed for the construction of the remaining 800-meter section.

After the entire runway 1B is completed and put into service, the 1A runway will be closed in June for repairs and renovations to serve the 2022 Tet holiday.

On June 29, 2020, the Ministry of Transport broke ground on the projects to upgrade and repair some runways, build taxiways S3A, S5B and S6B, upgrade some existing taxiways, develop flight management service facilities and install lighting and signal systems from 2020 to 2021, with a total investment of over VND2 trillion.

After being upgraded, the Noi Bai International Airport will be able to handle the Airbus A350, Boeing 787-9 and 787-10 aircraft, contributing to fulfilling the target of 63 million passengers per year and two million tons of cargo a year by 2030, the local media reported.

A Luoi hydropower plant stops operation due to broken water pipe

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Water from the broken water pipe sends mud and rocks from a talus falling into the hydropower plant - PHOTO: VIETNAMNET


A Luoi hydropower plant in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue stopped operations after its water pipe broke down and flooded the plant with water and mud yesterday, January 1.

The breach occurred on a 12-kilometer-long pipe running from the reservoir. Water from the breach made mud and rocks from a talus fall into the hydropower plant, forcing the operator to close the gates to receive water from the reservoir.

Phan Thanh Hung, office chief of the Thua Thien-Hue Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention, Search and Rescue, said the committee has asked the provincial Department of Industry and Trade to collaborate with the local authorities to investigate the cause of the incident and resolve it in a timely manner.

No casualties were reported and local people were warned to stay away from the site.

The Central Hydropower JSC said the breach took place at a location some 300 meters from the plant, where landslides had previously occurred due to heavy rains and floods. The broken pipe will need at least one month to be completely repaired.

The 170 MW A Luoi hydropower plant is located in Hong Ha Commune, A Luoi District. Central Hydropower JSC began construction on the plant in 2007 and put it into operation in 2012.

Traffic accidents kill 40 during New Year holiday

The country saw 67 traffic accidents occur during the January 1-3 New Year holiday, killing 40 people and injuring 37 others, according to an announcement released on January 3 by the Traffic Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security.

The number of traffic accidents and deaths fell by nine and 16, respectively, against the figures seen during the holiday last year, the local media reported.

During the holiday, the traffic police tackled over 27,290 violation cases and imposed fines of over VND28 billion, up 15,822 cases and VND17 billion, year-on-year.

Of the total, the road traffic police found over 26,680 violations of traffic safety rules, fined VND27 billion, impounded 123 autos and 3,550 motorcycles and suspended over 1,650 driving licenses. In addition, the waterway traffic police handled over 612 violations.

In addition, some 2,000 drivers were found driving under the influence of alcohol, while two others tested positive for illicit drugs.

HCMC puts steel bridge replacing An Phu Dong ferry into service

The An Phu Dong steel bridge, which connects District 12 and Go Vap District and replaces the An Phu Dong Ferry, opened to traffic this morning, December 31.

The bridge allows two-wheel vehicles, small automobiles and pedestrians and bans trucks and buses from using it. The bridge permits a maximum speed of 30 kilometers per hour and a maximum height of two meters for vehicles.

The An Phu Dong steel bridge helps shorten the distance between the An Phu Dong Ward and Go Vap District by some 10 kilometers, the local media reported.

Luong Minh Phuc, director of the HCMC Management Board of Investment and Construction of Traffic Projects, said that this key traffic project of the city would replace the ferry to ensure the safety of residents and would also contribute to the socio-economic development of An Phu Dong Ward in District 12 and Go Vap District.

Work on the An Phu Dong bridge project started in February, with a total investment of some VND80 billion. The bridge is 240 meters long and 12.5 meters wide and has two lanes. 

Dong Nai breaks ground on 10-kilometer road leading to expy

The 10-kilometer Huong Lo 2 Road project linking National Highway 51 in Dong Nai Province’s Bien Hoa City and the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway has got off the ground, with a total investment of some VND1.5 trillion.

The provincial government on December 29 broke ground on the first phase of the project in An Hoa Ward and Long Hung Commune of Bien Hoa City. The road will run along the Dong Nai River, the local media reported.

The first section of the projected road will be two kilometers long, starting at National Highway 51 and ending at the Long Hung urban area. Some construction components of the project comprise building a road surface, a concrete bridge, pavements, trees and lighting and drainage systems.

The first phase of the project is set to be completed within 17 months, with a total cost of VND230 billion.

In the first phase, the road will have four lanes for autos and two lanes for other vehicles, while in the second phase, apart from building the remaining eight-kilometer section, the road will be expanded to six lanes for autos and four lanes for other vehicles, with a total width of 30 meters.

The Dong Nai project management board said that Huong Lo 2 Road is one of the province’s key projects, with funding from tenders of land use, funds for support of arrangement of enterprises and the province’s budget.

The road, once in place, is expected to ease traffic congestion on National Highway 51, shorten the time and distance between Dong Nai Province and HCMC and contribute to the development of the province.

My Thuan-Can Tho expy rescheduled to get off ground next year

The construction of the My Thuan-Can Tho expressway project has been rescheduled to begin in early 2021 instead of this month as previously planned, for unknown reasons, Nguyen Nhat, Deputy Minister of Transport, confirmed to the Saigon Times.

The 23-kilometer-long project will run through the two Mekong Delta provinces of Vinh Long and Dong Thap. It will begin from the My Thuan 2 Bridge project and end at the Cha Va Intersection of National Highway 1A, both in Vinh Long Province.

The road project requires an investment of over VND4.8 trillion. Of this, VND932 billion of funding will come from the 2016-2020 medium-term public investment plan, while the remaining amount will be from the 2021-2025 medium-term public investment plan.

In the first phase, the road will have four lanes with a speed limit of 80 kilometers per hour. It will be further expanded to six lanes, allowing vehicles to travel at a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour.

To date, the project’s investor has found contractors to conduct three construction packages, with two packages just being approved by the Transport Ministry.

Of the three construction packages, the XL-01 package will be implemented by a consortium comprising Vinaconex Engineering, Construction and Investment JSC, Nhac Son Company and 319 Corporation in two years, with a winning bid price of VND809 billion.

The XL-02 package will be conducted by a consortium of Truong Son Construction Corporation and Cienco 4 Group in two years, with a winning bid price at VND705 billion.

The XL-03 package will also be executed in two years by another consortium consisting of Hai Thach Construction and Investment JSC, Tan Nam Construction Company and 36 Corporation, with a winning bid price at over VND1.4 trillion.

HCMC installs huge pipeline to enhance water supply

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A worker operates a water pumping station. A huge pipeline with a diameter of 1,500 millimeters from Binh Tan District to HCMC’s outlying district of Binh Chanh is under construction – PHOTO: VNA



A huge pipeline with a diameter of 1,500 millimeters from Binh Tan District to HCMC’s outlying district of Binh Chanh is under construction to enhance the city’s water supply to the western part.

Following the city People’s Council’s resolution, Saigon Water Corporation (Sawaco) has started work on the pipeline project benefiting the western part, Tuoi Tre Online reported.

This outlying area of the city was earlier being supplied water by Cho Lon Water Supply JSC through a 300-mm pipeline. Due to the weak water supply at the end of the network, residents there failed to get good service.

Based on the installation of the grade-1 pipeline, two grade 2 and 3 pipelines running from HCMC to the other neighboring province of Long An will be quickly developed, contributing to addressing the salinity intrusion problem in the Mekong Delta region.

The installation of the 11-kilometer pipeline will be carried out within two years, with a total cost of over VND900 billion.

Reduction extended until mid-2021 for 29 fees

The Ministry of Finance today, December 29, issued Circular 112, which extends the reduction of 29 fees until the end of June 30, 2021, with the reduction rates ranging between 50 and 100%, aimed at helping businesses recover and ensuring social security in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Specifically, the Government will continue to cut the citizen identification card issuance fee by 50%, medical fees by 70%, fees related to food safety by 90% and fees related to the securities sector by 50-100%.

Some other fees that enjoy the fee cut extension are the environment data use fee, the construction project evaluation fee and the technical design evaluation fee.

Without further extension, these fees will return to normal from July 1, 2021.

The 50% reduction on the registration fee for locally made cars will not be extended and will return to normal from January 1, 2021.

The Ministry of Finance said that since Covid-19 broke out, the Government has implemented many solutions to lessen the negative impacts of the pandemic, help production and trade recover and support affected people. The ministry has worked with other ministries to issue 21 circulars on fee reduction.

ETC service launched at 35 more tollgates

The Transport Ministry and Viettel jointly put into operation electronic toll collection (ETC) systems at 35 tollgates on December 29, raising the number of ETC tollgates nationwide to 91 to date.

The 35 toll stations with ETC systems installed are part of the second stage of a non-stop toll collection project. Of them, 25 are of build-operate-transfer projects managed by the Transport Ministry and the other 10 are under the management of local authorities, reported Lao Dong Online.

Vietnam Digital Transport JSC, a subsidiary of Viettel, offers the non-stop toll collection service called ePass for the second stage.

With the addition of 35 ETC tollgates, the non-stop toll collection project has met the deadline set by the prime minister, as the number of tollgates being equipped with ETC systems increased over 80% compared to that seen over the past four years.

Speaking at the event to launch the service, Le Dinh Tho, Deputy Minister of Transport, said that all of the toll stations along national highways have met the target of deploying non-stop toll collection, with 91 of 116 stations having installed the ETC systems. The remaining 15 stations have yet to install the systems due to short periods for collecting toll fees and the inadequate financial plans of investors.

The ETC systems are expected to promote the use of non-stop toll collection nationwide, enabling the country to develop digital transport in the years to come, Tho added.

Le Dang Dung, acting chairman and general director of Viettel, said Viettel pledged to join hands with the Transport Ministry to build and develop the transport industry’s database and develop platforms connecting data of information systems and platforms managing the e-collection and e-payment activities in the field.

Danang looks to build VND823-billion waste treatment facility

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A view of the Khanh Son landfill in Danang City. Danang looks to build a VND823-billion waste treatment facility – PHOTO: VNA



The People’s Council of Danang City has issued a resolution to develop some projects in the city, including a solid waste treatment facility project in Hoa Khanh Nam Ward of Lien Chieu District under the public–private partnership (PPP) format, with a total investment of over VND823 billion.

With a designed capacity of 1,000 tons of waste a day, the project is set to be put into service in 2023. The facility will process household waste by the burial method.

The waste treatment facility project, which will cover nearly three hectares of land, will earn revenue from products after waste treatment such as compost fertilizer, plastic pellets and unbaked bricks as well as from waste treatment services.

In late November, the Danang government agreed with the proposal of a consortium of three firms to build a solid waste treatment facility with a capacity of 1,000 tons of waste per day at the Khanh Son solid treatment complex under the PPP format.

To ensure the treatment of solid waste in the city until 2023, the municipal government directed the Danang Department of Natural Resources and Environment to quickly work with other relevant agencies to study the plan.

The project will be submitted and passed in the first quarter of 2021, while the preparation for a tender for the project is set to be done in the third quarter next year.

As for the Danang waste-to-energy plant project with a capacity of 650 tons a day, the Vietnam Environment Corporation has completed procedures for technology appraisal, made a detailed plan of scale 1/500 and approved an environmental impact assessment report. The project was also added to the national power development plan.

The city is expected to discharge over 1,800 tons of household waste a day by 2025 and some 2,400 tons a day by 2030.

HCMC spends VND354 billion to rebuild rehabilitation hospital

The HCMC Department of Health this morning, December 28, held a groundbreaking ceremony to rebuild the HCMC Hospital for Rehabilitation and Treatment of Occupational Diseases, which is set to require some VND354 billion.

The hospital, which is located at 313 Au Duong Lan Street in Ward 2 of District 8, will cover over 26,000 square meters and comprise eight floors and a basement. It is scheduled to be put into service in June 2022.

Dr. Pham Minh Hoang, deputy director of the hospital, said that the Grade-1 hospital is a center for rehabilitation and treatment of spinal cord injuries.

Over the past few years, the hospital has faced an overload of inpatients and outpatients, so expanding its scale is necessary to meet the demand from patients and further develop the health sector in the city, said Hoang.

Besides, Hoang said that rebuilding the hospital is one of the key projects for the sustainable development of HCMC, contributing to the comprehensive growth of the country, the local media reported.

Transport Ministry seeks State capital for Ca Pass Tunnel project

The Ministry of Transport has proposed the prime minister allocate VND1.18 trillion from the State budget for the Ca Pass Tunnel project.

According to the ministry, the project, including the construction of tunnels passing through the Ca, Co Ma, Cu Mong and Hai Van passes, is a key national one and has been put into service, Thanh Nien Online newspaper reported.

The expansion of the Hai Van Pass Tunnel is the last part of the project, whose safety and quality have been confirmed by the State Council for Acceptance of Construction Works.

The Ministry of Transport is coordinating with the investor of the project to complete procedures to put the project to expand the Hai Van Pass Tunnel into operation late this month.

However, obstacles to the project’s financial plan have yet to be tackled, affecting the fund for operating and maintaining the pass tunnels and repayment of bank loans.

Since 2018, the prime minister has ordered the removal of obstacles facing the project. The Ministry of Transport has cooperated closely with the investors and the relevant ministries and agencies to propose solutions to the prime minister.

As for the fund of VND1.18 trillion that the State had earlier committed for the project but has yet to disburse, the ministry last year came up with a plan to allocate the capital from the medium-term public investment plan for 2020 and submitted it to the prime minister.

In September this year, the ministry suggested the prime minister approve the allocation of VND50 billion sourced from the reserve fund for the project. The remaining would be sourced from the medium-term public investment plan for the 2021-2025 period.

Top legislator attends celebrations of 75 years of first NA election in Can Tho

National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan attended a meeting on January 4 held by the NA delegation from the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first NA general election (January 6, 1946).

In her address at the gathering, the NA leader highlighted the glorious tradition of the NA in the 75 years since the first election of deputies to the 1st National Assembly, affirming that the legislature has been constantly growing for the sake of the people and the country.

Over the last 14 terms, legislative activities have increasingly come into reality with improved quality, contributing to resolving many problems facing society and the country’s development.

The NA has also made reforms in Q&A sessions, ensuring quality and efficiency and meeting the requirements of national development.

The legislature has brought into play the wisdom and enthusiasm of thousands of NA deputies nationwide in formulating and promulgating the Constitution and laws, in deciding important national issues, and in supervising all activities of the State, she said.
This 14th NA has recorded major progress in applying information technology in its activities, she added.

She took the occasion to praise the contributions made by Can Tho’s NA delegation to the activities of the 14th NA and the country’s development in recent years.

The city’s NA deputies have upheld their role sand responsibilities, actively serving as a bridge between the Party and the State and voters, she noted.

The top legislator proposed the delegation continue renewing its efforts, effectively contributing to the NA’s activities and actively coordinating with relevant sectors to prepare for the organisation of the election of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure./.

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