Vietnamese pagodas in Thailand get Vietnamese nameplates
The event saw the attendance of the head monk at Pho Phuoc Pagoda Thich Kinh Chieu, the Charge d’affaires of Vietnam’s Embassy in Thailand Pham Thanh Nam, and hundreds of Vietnamese expats in Thailand.
Pho Phuoc pagoda is the headquarter of Annamnikaya – the Vietnam Buddhist branch in Thailand, while Tu Te pagoda is associated with the time the late President Ho Chi Minh lived and worked in Thailand in the early 20 th century.
They are among the oldest Vietnamese pagodas in Thailand.
Previously, on an official visit to Thailand, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam and the Bangkok authorities attached a Vietnamese nameplate for Khanh Van (U Phai Rat Bamrung) pagoda, which was built by overseas Vietnamese in Thailand in the 18th century.
There are approximately 20 pagodas of Vietnamese origin in Thailand, the most in any country.
They have contributed to preserving the culture and traditional spiritual values of Vietnamese people residing in Thailand.
Tuồng performance contest opens in Đà Nẵng
Nguyễn Hiển Dĩnh Theatre opened the annual National Classic Drama (Tuồng ) and Traditional Folk Opera Contest with a Tuồng performance: Như Những Tượng Đài (Living Statues), on Saturday night.
The 90-minute performance, by Nguyễn Sỹ Chức and director Đặng Bá Tài, retold an old story of immortal actors and actresses of the Liberated Army’s art troupe during the fiercest fighting during the American war in 1968.
It also depicted lives of actors and actresses who had contributed their performances and died for the country’s reunification.
The performance used traditional art and costumes to describe a modern story.
Deputy minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Vương Duy Biên, said the contest is an opportunity for traditional art troupes nationwide to share their experiences, skills and knowledge of preserving classic dramas in modern time.
“The annual rendezvous is an ideal meeting among actors, actresses and directors, after a year of hard work. New performances and new angles of traditional art, and new faces, come out of the creations of art troupes nationwide at the biggest contest of the year,” Biên said during the opening ceremony at the city’s Trưng Vương Theatre.
“We hope more outstanding shows would spark the development of traditional performances and attract young people to join the centuries-old art,” he said.
Nearly 700 artists and actors from 11 art troupes nationwide will stage 17 shows, of which 10 are classic dramas, in Đà Nẵng over nine days.
Gold medals will be awarded on August 29th to the best performances, actors, artists, directors and choreographers.
Shows will be staged at 9am and 8pm daily, and visitors can attend by obtaining free tickets.
Đà Nẵng is the first city to introduce Tuồng to the public and tourists, with outdoor performances held every Sunday night.
The dramas were introduced at some junior high schools as a pilot project to preserve the centuries-old art.
Last year, Tuồng Xứ Quảng (Quảng Nam’s classic drama) was recognised as a National Intangible Heritage.
The city also has a collection of 204 classical Tuồng scripts, written in Hán (Chinese script) and Vietnamese ideographic characters (Nôm), which were published between 1802-1845.
Vũng Tàu to restore historical sites
Many historic sites in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province need to be restored to prevent them from falling into disrepair.
Hồ Văn Lợi, director of the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that 19 national relics were in danger of further deterioration and should be restored.
“We are working with cultural researchers and historians to devise a restoration plan,” he said.
Local authorities will also support the relics’ managing board to manage and preserve ancient objects.
In Vũng Tàu, five historic relics, such as Bạch Dinh (White Palace) and Thích Ca Phật Đài Pagoda (Theravada Buddhist), are often open to the public free of charge and need to be restored.
Bạch Dinh, one of the city’s most popular destinations, was built as a retreat for French Governor General Paul Doumer in 1898. It is located on the site of a Nguyễn Dynasty fortress and has beautiful views along the coast.
It was a penitentiary during the reign of King Thành Thái between 1906 and 1917. The palace displays many objects in porcelain and wood.
“We cannot afford by ourselves to restore the palace,” said Nguyễn Huy Hoàng, a tour guide and interpreter working at the palace. “We need more support from local authorities in preservation.”
Hoàng said that Bạch Dinh attracts more than 200 foreign and local visitors every day. On holidays, the number triples.
Thích Ca Phật Đài Pagoda is located on five hectares of land in the northwest of Lớn (Large) Mountain and was built in 1961.
It includes a 10.2 metre-statue of Gautama Buddha sitting on a lotus. The pagoda attracts thousands of tourists from home and abroad every year.
The Department recently submitted a proposal on establishing a relic managing board to the province’s People’s Committee.
“Restoration methods will be issued this year,” said Lợi.
Tâm wins Mekong Delta cycling tournament
Nguyễn Thành Tâm won the yellow jersey for best time at the Mekong Delta Cycling Tournament on Saturday.
Tâm of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời triumphed with a time of 26:23.42, followed Tâm by Lê Văn Duẩn of VUS-HCM City and Hà Thành Tâm of An Giang Plant Protection.
In the penultimate 125km stage on Saturday morning, Phạm Quốc Cường finished first. Phan Thông Nhàn of Cần Thơ and Đỗ Tuấn Anh of Domesco Pharmacy Đồng Tháp were the runners-up.
In the ninth and final stage in the afternoon, cyclists pedaled 40km in Rạch Giá City. Nguyễn Minh Thuận of Vĩnh Long beat Nguyễn Dương Hồ Vũ of Bình Dương to win with a time of 1:03.16.
Duẩn won the green jersey award for earning 142 points.
VUS-HCM City won the team title. Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời and Mathnasium HCM City were second and third.
Phú Yên proposes to build two new bridges
The people’s committee of the central Phú Yên Province has sought the transport ministry’s approval to build Đà Rằng and Sông Chùa bridges on National Highway 1.
The total investment capital of the project will be about VNĐ1 trillion (US$44.8 million).
Hoàng Văn Trà, chairman of the committee, said on Thursday the two bridges, which connect National Highway 1 to Tuy Hòa City, were built in 1969 and that their condition had badly deteriorated over the past several years.
In 2013, the Đà Rằng Bridge had caved in and got damaged. The local authority had temporarily repaired it and had banned vehicles that can carry more than two tonnes from using the bridge. Vehicles with larger capacities have been forced to use an additional road built in 2003.
Sông Cầu Bridge, located 500m away from Đà Rằng Bridge, was in the same situation with cracks developing along the bridge.
Trà said due to the shortage of funds, the provincial authority could handle only repair and maintenance. This has restricted travel and affected the investment potential of the province.
He said the surplus government bonds for the upgrade of National Highway 1 and the Hồ Chí Minh Road passing through the Central Highland area could be used for rebuilding the two bridges.
Free hospitality training provides jobs for impoverished youth
Phạm Văn Cường, 23, can never forget the days when he toiled at low-paid work in the southern Bình Dương Province to earn money to help his mother.
This came to an end when he caught a lucky break. Through a youth-assistance centre, he was recruited for a free training course in hospitality that targeted disadvantaged youth across Việt Nam.
After six months of learning the ropes at a five-star hotel in Hà Nội, the Thanh Hóa Province native was introduced to a catering service on a five-star cruise in Hạ Long Bay.
“The training was practical and useful. I have longed to work in this field, but my family couldn’t afford it,” said Cường, whose father died when he was a child, leaving his mother to struggle to raise him and his brother.
“I will stick to this job for the rest of my life. Now, with a stable income, I can help and compensate for my mother’s hardship.”
Provided with accommodation, Cường and the other 27 impoverished trainees under the 2015-16 Youth Career Initiative (YCI) also participated in English language classes twice a week besides being trained in hospitality at five-star hotels across the capital city. YCI is run in partnership with local vocational training charity REACH, which anticipates over 90 per cent of graduates will find suitable employment within six months of graduating from the programme.
Cường arrived in Hà Nội today to share his experience with nearly 50 disadvantaged youths, the new trainees under the 2016-17 YCI programme, which will start next week.
This year’s students will train under the tutelage of senior staff and managers at the Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Hanoi Opera, Sheraton Hanoi, InterContinental Hanoi Westlake and the JW Marriott, with some 60 per cent of the programme delivered on-site as part of daily hotel operations.
This year’s YCI was the largest to take place in Việt Nam to date, with 48 students and five partner hotels, up from five students and one hotel when the programme was launched in 2011, according to REACH Executive Director Phạm Thị Thanh Tâm.
“The programme now has a strong track record of helping the youth from the most under-served groups in Việt Nam to gain a foothold in the global hospitality industry,” Tâm said.
The UK-based initiative has helped to deliver training to students from a variety of underprivileged backgrounds in Việt Nam, including victims of human trafficking, domestic violence and extreme poverty.
“Some of us grew up without parents, while others were raised by a single parent. Many of us are from ethnic minority groups. We couldn’t afford to go to university or a vocational training school, so we struggled to acquire useful skills to get a decent job,” said Trần Bích Thủy, 22, from the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai.
“We all have big dreams of getting a stable career, becoming successful and inspiring other disadvantaged youth.”
Prompt countermeasures needed to fight dengue fever
There is a risk of widespread dengue fever outbreak in Vietnam in the time ahead if no prompt actions are taken, said Dr. Phan Trong Lan, head of the Ho Chi Minh City-based Pasteur Institute.
Lan told a communication training course in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre on August 18-19 that this year’s rainy season comes earlier than the previous years in the Central Highlands.
Meanwhile, droves of disease-carrying mosquitoes have yet to be completely destroyed, resulting in a dengue fever outbreak in the region, he said.
He added that the disease often reaches its peak between September and November. The southern provinces of Binh Phuoc and Ben Tre, and Lam Dong province in the Central Highlands are “hot spots” of dengue fever this year.
Ben Tre province alone has recorded more than 1,400 dengue cases so far this year, including one death, representing a three-fold increase against the same period last year.
The numbers of dengue cases and deaths in Vietnam have dropped since 1985, the Dr. said, forecasting that the disease will reach a ten-year peak in 2018 when a new cycle of dengue fever begins.
He suggested localities tightly cover water containers to hinder mosquitoes from laying eggs and spray mosquito repellent, while raising public awareness of dengue fever by
integrating disease prevention activities into new-style rural area building programmes and school curriculums.
The HCM City-based Pasteur Institute is studying a vaccine against dengue fever, which is expected to be used in Vietnam in September 2017.
Statistics from the Health Ministry’s General Department of Preventive Medicine showed that the number of people that contracted dengue fever in the first six months of this
year reached over 44,800, more than 2.5 times higher than the same period last year.-
Vietnam manufacturing faces critical manpower shortage
When economic reforms were initiated in 1986, shifting to a more open market economy in line with World Trade Organization guidelines, Vietnam quickly became one of the globe’s chief sources of abundant and cheap labour.
But Vietnam’s economic performance and growth over the decades since then set the clock ticking down on when that manpower supply would run out.
Today – it has run out – and domestic and foreign sector manufacturers such as those in Ho Chi Minh City, the nation’s largest economic hub, are facing a chronic shortage of highly skilled apprentices and unskilled production workers.
Whether it be production linemen, machine operators, warehouse personnel or in the front office- the manufacturing segment is facing a critical worker shortage and struggling to meet its needs, said Duong Minh Tam.
Mr Tam, who is deputy head of the Saigon Hi-Tech Park, which has a need for roughly 24,000 employees to run at full production, stresses the park urgently needs industrial workers, particularly skilled machinists.
Speaking at a recent business forum in the City, he said, with the relatively small number of workers in hand, the park has not been able to go on round-the-clock full production, leaving machines set idle.
Nguyen Thanh Tung of the Export Processing and Industrial Zone Authority (HEPZA) is another employer who is now having sleepless nights, worrying about the huge loss of revenue if he continues to operate with only about 30-40% of his required workforce.
Mr Tung, who is the director of the Job Opportunity Centre at the industrial park, notes that in total 50,000 employees are needed but the park is nowhere near the required number it needs.
Employers in the park have invested in a great amount of automation and complex machinery but are reluctant to invest in the good and extensive training programs required to get local workers up to speed, he said.
While at the same they also are unwilling to pay the higher salaries it takes to attract job applicants, who say the wages and salaries offered in the City industrial zones is inadequate to support a decent lifestyle for themselves and their families.
Most manufacturers are under the impression that if they provide quality apprentice-type training for local people – once trained – they will leave and accept employment elsewhere.
They just don’t believe there is a good rate of return on their investment to provide training and are under the collective belief that the government (or the City) should provide the training, or at least, underwrite the cost.
Nguyen Van Be, president of the HEPZA Businesses Association, in turn pointed to the need for companies to work more closely with vocational training centres in training students.
There are more than 20,000 students graduating from vocational training schools each year, he said, but companies still face manpower shortages due to a skills gap between labour supply and demand.
The typical factory today is very automated, said Mr Be, and it is normal to have, programmable logic controllers, computers, robots, palletizers and a host of other automatic packaging equipment.
To operate and maintain this kind of equipment requires high quality apprentice type training that the nation’s universities, colleges and vocational schools have not and are not adequately providing.
Admittedly, Mr Be acknowledges, this still doesn’t solve the immediate worker shortage crisis or the question of who should fund the cost for advanced training that is so desperately need.
New rules for coaches to Hải Phòng
Regulations governing the operations of coaches operating on the Hà Nội-Hải Phòng route will soon be channged to restore traffic order and ensure safety, said transport officials.
Under the proposal, coaches will have to follow bus station regulations and pick up and drop off passengers at designated bus stops.
Nguyễn Hoàng Anh, deputy head of Transport Department under the Directorate for Roads of Viet Nam (DRVN) said, the management of coaches on the Hà Nội-Hải Phòng route would be applied in October on National Highway 5 and then on the Hà Nội-Hải Phòng Expressway.
The unhealthy competition among transport enterprises has threatened traffic safety on National Highway 5.
About 13 transport operate on the Hà Nội-Hải Phòng route, making 386 trips a day.
Hoàng Văn Vĩnh from the Department of Criminal Police said the department detected numerous violations by transport firms on the route.
Many transport firms and drivers did not follow bus station regulations, he said, adding that some created their own routes and schedules.
Many drivers had been injured in fights over customers while others had been threatened. In some cases, drivers drove slowly hoping to pick up more passengers.
The number of trips would remain unchanged excepting for an adjustment in schedule to make them more relevant, he said.
Khuất Việt Hùng, deputy chairman of National Traffic Safety Committee, said the Ministry of Transport (MoT) would supervise vehicles regularly to make sure they operate according to the right itinerary and schedule.
Khúc Hữu Thanh Hải, director of Đất Cảng Transport Company, applauded the MoT’s initiative, saying it would create favourable conditions for transport firms.
If all enterprises abide by the new model, unhealthy competition would be reduced dramatically, he said.
Nguyễn Văn Huyện , director of DRVN, said the bus-like management of coach services would help prevent illegal buses and stops. “Once its success is proved, the initiative will be applied to all below 100km-fix routes nationwide,” he said.
While some people applauded the proposal, others expressed concern over its feasibility.
Nguyễn Tuấn Cường from Hải Phòng City’s Đồ Sơn Township wondered whether passengers would be willing to stand all the way from Hà Nội to Hải Phòng while it cost only VNĐ70,000 (US$3) for a high-quality passenger coach ticket.
A number of transport firms told Kinh tế và đô thị (Economics and Urbans Affairs) newspaper that with so few passengers, conflicts were bound to happen as coaches depart the stations every 3 minutes.
Nguyễn Văn Thanh, chairman of the Việt Nam Automobile Association, urged relevant authorities to carefully consider the bus operation on the route, citing high rates of urbanisation and crowded coaches on the route.
Đắk Nông wants plant built faster
The Central Highlands province of Đắk Nông has suggested speeding up the construction of the Nhân Cơ Aluminum Plant to ensure its completion in 2016 as scheduled.
At a working session with Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Chí Dũng in Đắk Nông on Thursday, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Lê Diễn called for more attention from ministries and centrally-run agencies to the building of irrigation facilities in the locality to cope with climate change.
Along with road, railway and airport projects from 2016-2021, the official proposed the Government allocate capital for its migration projects, saying Đắk Nông hosts 51,000 unplanned migrants who have not been helped to settle in, affecting the locality’s security.
According to Diễn, the province will focus on creating economic breakthroughs in the next five years, targeting a bauxite-aluminum-spongy iron complex, high-tech agriculture, and tourism.
At the same time, Đắk Nông will pour more funds into infrastructure construction to serve local development, gearing towards an annual growth rate of 9 percent and per capita income of VNĐ52 million (US$2,340), he noted.
Minister Dũng urged the province to mobilise other resources, apart from the State budget, especially those from businesses to spur growth.
Đắk Nông should improve its investment climate and regional connectivity, he suggested.
The minister promised to propose the Prime Minister maintain mid-and long-term capital for the province, and create the best possible conditions for projects in the locality.
National trade unions vow to boost reforms
Trade unions of Việt Nam will constantly boost comprehensive reforms to confirm their role in the protection of workers’ and labourers’ rights, as Việt Nam strives to enhance its international integration, said Bùi Văn Cường, President of the Việt Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL).
Cường, who made a speech at a conference held earlier this week by the VGCL in Hà Nội, said that a strong trade union depended on the actions of individual members, thus a trade union official should possess high qualifications in both their trade union activities and their profession so that they could win trust from labourers and employees.
Việt Nam’s recent signing of a numbers of free trade pacts with world partners and its commitment to effectively implement such agreements including those of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) have had a strong affect on trade unions in the country, said Trần Thanh Hải, the VGCL vice chairman.
International integration creates a variety of chances for domestic labourers, but at the same time causes challenges for trade unions, according to Hải.
The official revealed that VGCL had set up a master plan on trade union reform for the years between 2016 and 2025.
Hải said the aim of the project was targeted at intensifying the action of trade union members and considered them a key to boosting the operation of the whole organisation.
Meanwhile, Vice President of the VGCL Nguyễn Thị Thu Hồng urged more legal assistance for women migrant workers saying it must be enhanced as part of trade unions’ focus.
Hồng said the VGCL would take more measures to care for women workers in general, and female migrant workers in particular in the time ahead.
A number of legal aid models have proved effective, she said, highlighting the mobile legal assistance service in Hà Nội, the distribution of legal leaflets in southern Bình Dương Province and the provision of advice about collective labour agreements in northern Vĩnh Phúc Province.
Trade unions nationwide have established 19 centres, 42 offices and 15 groups on legal aid in all 63 provinces and cities.
Việt Nam currently houses 282 industrial parks and 55 industrial clusters which will strongly increase in the next few years as the country’s population is forecast to reach 100 million by 2020, Hồng added.
Meanwhile, Việt Nam is strongly developing its economy with foreign investment set to thrive thanks to the enforcement of free trade agreements like the TPP.
The migration from rural areas to cities and industrial parks will soar, mostly among young women aged between 15 – 25 who want to seek higher incomes than in their rural hometowns, she said.
Hồng noted women migrant workers are the most vulnerable group as they lack knowledge about their rights and benefits and labour-related laws, not to mention other difficulties such as quota fulfillment pressure, poor nutrition and insufficient income.
Unsafe city flats to come down
HCM City is expected to demolish up to half of all apartment buildings that are in disrepair by 2020, according to Lê Văn Khoa, deputy chairman of the city’s People’s Committee.
Speaking at a meeting held last week, Khoa said the city’s Department of Construction would complete assessments of the condition of the 474 buildings by the end of the year.
About 27,000 households live in the buildings, most of which were built in the 1960s. Of the 474 buildings, 106 are in serious disrepair.
The 727 Trần Hưng Đạo apartment building in District 5, for example, as well as the Cô Giang apartment building in District 1 and the blocks 4 and 6 of the Thanh Đa apartment building in Bình Thạnh District are in danger of collapse.
After the assessments are completed by the Construction Department, the city will have the right to choose the contractors to do the demolition work. The Prime Minister gave the city permission to choose contractors instead of going through a timely bidding process.
District authorities will be responsible for choosing the contractors if buildings to be demolished are located in their areas.
Since 2006, the city has demolished 32 dilapidated apartment buildings, which had housed a total of 4,000 families and had a combined floor area of 204,000 sq. metres.
Health camp to benefit impoverished people in Kon Tum
Family Medical Practice (FMP) Vietnam and the Israeli Embassy will jointly organise a free medical check-up and treatment camp for the needy in the Central Highlands’ Kon Tum Province.
A medical team of 20 doctors, 30 nurses and up to 70 other support staff from FMP Vietnam will provide health check-ups, consultations, vaccinations and medicines free of cost for people in 10 communes in Kon Plông District between September 11 and 18. The programme also aims to build the capacity of Kon Tum hospital to serve the local people.
Besides medical assistance, basic necessities such as books, clothes, shoes and blankets, besides toys, school supplies and confectionery will also be given to the local people.
“In line with the medical camp, we are inviting organisations and individuals to support this charity mission that could touch the lives of thousands of disadvantaged people. Any contributions toward these efforts from the community will be tremendously appreciated,” Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israeli ambassador to Việt Nam, said.
Organisations and individuals are invited to donate items or money till September 3, which can help purchase salt, rice and flash-lights in support of this mission.
Kon Plông is a mountainous district, the poorest in the Central Highlands’ Kon Tum Province. It is home to some of Việt Nam’s most disadvantaged communities. People in these regions have among the highest mortality rates and lowest life expectancies in the region. Located more than 50km from the nearest medical facilities, the people of Kôn Plông have effectively no access to any healthcare.
Ring of VAT invoice traders prosecuted
The capital city police yesterday arrested three people suspected of printing, publishing and trading value-added tax (VAT) invoices.
Colonel Phùng Anh Quang, head of the investigation division, said after tracing the operation of the accused, the police found they had used “ghost” businesses to illegally trade VAT invoices.
“Their trick was to buy businesses suffering losses and then modify the business’ details, or they would establish ‘ghost’ companies operating in all fields, including construction, tourism, services, and trade. (These businesses would be used) to sell VAT invoices,” the colonel said.
The police found Hoàng Lệ Hằng, 45, residing in Hai Bà Trưng District. She headed the 10-person ring, which comprised her relatives and acquaintances.
Her office was based in Yến Cafe on Cảm Hội Street.
Hằng bought businesses at prices ranging from VNĐ30 to 40 million each, including their stamps and invoices.
She and her accomplices then sold VAT invoices at a price of VNĐ200,000-300,000 each.
On arresting the accused, the police seized 36 company stamps, nearly 200 invoice books, several other documents, and VND757 million in cash.
Since June 2014, the ring has sold more than 3,000 VAT invoices, worth VNĐ780 billion, to 500 companies, under the names of 33 companies.
The illegal trading in VAT invoices has caused tax losses of VNĐ78 billion for the State budget, the police said.
The three accused are Hoàng Lệ Hằng, Vũ Kim Oanh, and Nguyễn An Tuấn.
The police are still investigating the case.
Vietnamese children perform in int’l opera in Russia
Three Vietnamese children performed in an international opera entitled “Dream of the 21 st century” held by the Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation (Rosatom) on August 18 at the Opera Helikon in Moscow, Russia.
The programme was part of the “Nuclear Kids” project, an initiative of Rosantom designed for international children in an attempt to bolster friendship among offspring of those who are working in the nuclear industry in different countries worldwide, while generating creativity among the children living in the self-contained Rosatom city.
Speaking at the event, Rosatom Communication Committee Director Sergey Novilov said the project will help to boost international ties both in economic and cultural areas.
Under the project, outstanding children of officials and staff who are working in the nuclear industry in Russia, as well as Rosatom’s overseas partners, will gather in Moscow to perform with Russian artists for a special annual art event.
The “Nuclear Kids 2016” runs from July 10 to August 21 with the participation of 53 children from Russia and 17 children from other countries, including Turkey, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Bangladesh and Vietnam.
Central Highlands provinces repair schools for new academic year
Provinces in the Central Highlands have spent hundreds of billions of dong to repair and build new classrooms for the school year of 2016-2017, which starts in September.
Most money is used for upgrading facilities in remote and ethnic minority areas.
Besides the State budget, provinces called for donations from enterprises for the purpose.
In Kon Plong district in Kon Tum province, 12 new classrooms have been built, bringing the total number of schools from nursery to high schools in the district to 32 with 478 classrooms.
In Cu Jut, Dak Song, and Krong No districts in Dak Nong province, dozens of schools have been built in remote areas and equipped with new tables and benches.
As of now, provinces in the region have 3,284 schools from nursery to high schools, including 57 boarding schools for ethnic students.
Dak Lak has the largest number of schools with 1,010, providing education to more than 433,550 students, 30 percent of them come from ethnic minority groups.
Conference: economic integration focus of external relation work
The 18th national conference on external affairs, which took place in Hanoi on August 21, laid emphasis on economic integration as the focus of localities’ external relation work.
Addressing the event, Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of External Affairs Nguyen Thanh Long said localities have well implemented bilateral cooperation as well as inter-regional and inter-provincial mechanisms with foreign partners.
He noted that provinces and cities nationwide have signed 119 agreements with foreign partner localities, along with 230 MoUs on cooperation with overseas businesses and organisations, thus mobilizing substantial resources for local development.
As a result of effective economic diplomatic efforts, the total foreign direct investment in Vietnam hit 51.53 billion USD, with several billion-USD projects in Thai Nguyen, Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai, Bac Ninh, Binh Duong and Khanh Hoa.
Nearly 300 million USD funded by non-governmental organisations is disbursed nationwide each year.
Cooperation with localities in other countries has also opened up business opportunities in hi-tech agriculture, renewable energy and climate change response.
Over the past two years, provinces and cities have coordinated with the Foreign Ministry to campaign successfully for UNESCO’s recognition of 10 cultural heritages. The localities have also licensed more than 1,100 foreign reporters to cover Vietnam’s socio-economic developments, and attracted remittances worth over 26 billion USD.
Nearly 3,600 firms run by overseas Vietnamese are operating in 52 out of 63 cities and provinces, predominantly in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Tho, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Hai Phong, Nghe An, Long An and An Giang.
Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung, for his part, said the city has actively worked with Foreign Ministry and representative Vietnamese agencies overseas to improve the efficiency of global integration.
Director Nguyen Thanh Long underscored the role of Vietnamese representative agencies abroad in promoting economic integration of localities back home, saying that they should serve as a bridge to help localities connect with foreign partners.
He also urged local governments to maintain close ties with the Foreign Ministry and representative Vietnamese agencies abroad.
Party delegation pays working visit to UK
A delegation of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Popularisation and Education paid a working visit to the UK from August 14-18 to learn about the country’s policies regarding food hygiene, education accreditation, research and market.
During the stay, the delegation held working sessions with the University of East London, the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Aston University in Birmingham.
They also visited the UK Food Standards Agency and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Energy to discuss issues on bilateral cooperation in science-technology and food safety.
The Party officials met with representatives of Vietnamese scientists and students to listen to their ideas to foster Vietnam-UK scientific-technological ties in the future.
Vinamilk celebrates 40th anniversary
Vietnam’s dairy giant Vinamilk marked its 40th anniversary at a ceremony that was live broadcast nationwide on August 20 night.
The ceremony in Hanoi recalled the course of 40-year development of the Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company since its establishment in 1976, one year after the national liberation.
The company has grown into not only the biggest milk maker and one of the top 50 listed firms in Vietnam but also one of the top 100 companies in Southeast Asia and the top 300 in Asia companies.
Over the past 10 years since the equitisation, Vinamilk has contributed more than 3 trillion VND (136.3 million USD) to the State budget per year.
In her speech at the ceremony, Vice President Dang Ngoc Thinh hailed Vinamilk as one of successful equitisation models and an outstanding example in building a brand that is capable of competing in and outside the country.
Vinamilk is also one of the best firms supporting social programmes, especially those targeting children.
On the occasion, National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan presented the Independence Order, third class, to the company, marking the second time it has been awarded with the distinction.
The company also announced a 14 billion VND financial aid to poor students across the country.
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