Vietnam-RoK consultancy and technology solution centre inaugurated
The Vietnam – Republic of Korea consultancy and technology solution centre (VITASK) was inaugurated during a ceremony in Hanoi on December 11.
Funded by the official development assistance, the centre is a joint project between the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) with an aim to help Vietnamese enterprises operating in automobiles, electricity and electronics join the global value chain.
Korean experts will offer technical support to Vietnamese businesses, provide training for engineer students, and build experimental infrastructure to review product functions.
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh wished that the RoK Government and MOTIE would continue arranging resources and supporting similar projects such as VITASK to improve Vietnamese firms’ technical capacity to meet demand of Korean enterprises in Ho Chi Minh City.
RoK Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy Sung Yun-mo said his country will always partner with Vietnam to operate the centre effectively, bringing high value to the two countries’ business communities.
In the near future, the two Governments will continue offering financial support to improve the capacity of the centre’s managerial staff, towards the goal of further developing the Vietnamese industry./.
Six imported COVID-19 cases detected on December 11
Six new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the past 24 hours, all returning from abroad, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control announced on December 11 evening.
Of the new patients, three are Vietnamese and the rest are a Belarusian expert and his relatives. They are now under quarantine Khanh Hoa province and Da Nang city in the central region, and Hanoi.
With the new cases, the national count of COVID-19 cases now stands at 1,391, of which 693 are locally transmitted.
Among the COVID-19 cases in Vietnam, 1,237 have recovered while the fatalities remain at 35.
As for those still under treatment, 10 have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, nine twice and four thrice.
A total of 20,832 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or arrived from pandemic-hit areas are being quarantined nationwide, with 200 at hospitals, 16,743 at concentrated facilities, and 3,889 either at home or accommodations.
Young physiologists meet in Quy Nhon city
As many as 290 leading professors, young scientists and businesses operating in biology are gathering in Quy Nhon city, the central coastal province of Binh Dinh, for the Third Rencontres de Quy Nhon – Biology Conference 2020.
This annual event, from December 11-13, is part of the scientific activities of the 16th Rencontres du Vietnam.
During this meeting, the participants will look at more than 200 reports in such spheres as medicine-biology-pharmacy, bio-chemistry, and plant biology, agriculture and environment.
The event looks towards multi-sectoral cooperation in scientific research and the formation of a network of scientists to exchange research experience, and build partnerships in order to get the most updated scientific knowledge.
The highlight of this year’s event is the formation of the Scientific Advisory Committee that brings together 11 leading professors from different research and academic institutions across Vietnam.
Founded in 1993 by Jean Tran Thanh Van, Rencontres du Vietnam, a non-profit organisation and an official partner of UNESCO, aims to step up international exchanges between Vietnam and the international community, particularly in the areas of science and education.
It is also set to promote the integration of Vietnamese scientists into the international scientific community, as well as the passion for science among the youngsters./.
Seminar reviews HIV-infected women’s access to loans
A seminar took place in Hanoi on December 11 to collect feedback on a report on HIV-infected women’s access to the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP)’s loans.
Speaking at the event, Country Representative of the UN Women in Vietnam Elisa Feznandes said the event aims to seek measures to improve HIV-infected women’s access to loans and legal assistance, as well as their livelihoods.
She added that households affected by HIV easily fall into poverty due to higher antiretroviral (ARV) cost, thereby affecting their access to education and other opportunities.
According to her, HIV-infected women not only need ARV drug and medical services but also social support and livelihood guarantee.
Deputy Director of the VBSP’s Credit Department for students and other social beneficiaries said the loan programme for HIV patients and their families is piloted in 15 cities and provinces during 2016-2020. The bank has so far offered loans worth 14 billion VND (605,000 USD) to them.
However, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs reported that only 84 HIV patients and families received loans, or 16.7 percent of eligible ones in accordance with the Prime Minister’s Decision No.29/2014/QD-TTg.
Participants suggested enhancing authorities’ attention to HIV prevention and control, supporting livelihoods for HIV patients, and improving the role of socio-political organisations in helping borrowers use loans effectively./.
First-instance trial opens for CDC Hanoi case
|Former CDC Director Nguyen Nhat Cam at the court|
The People’s Court of Hanoi on December 10 opened the first-instance trial on the case of “violations on bidding regulations of that causes serious consequences” at the Hanoi Centre for Disease Control (CDC Hanoi).
There are 10 defendants involving in the case, including six from the CDC – former CDC Director Nguyen Nhat Cam; Nguyen Vu Ha Thanh, former head of Financial-Accounting Office; Nguyen Thi Kim Dung, former head of the Organisation Office; Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, former head of the Professional Plan Office; Hoang Kim Thu, former chief accountant; Le Xuan Tuan, a CDC official.
The four others are from private companies: Dao The Vinh, Director of the Vietnam Scientific and Material Science Company Limited (MST); Nguyen Tran Duy, General Director of the Nhan Thanh Asset Valuation and Auctioning JSC; Nguyen Ngoc Nhat, an employee of the Vitech Development Co., Ltd; and Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, an employee of the Phuong Dong Medical Equipment Co., Ltd.
Twenty-seven lawyers have registered to defend the defendants at the court.
According to the indictment by the Supreme People’s Procuracy, taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation, from early February 2020, CDC former Director Nguyen Nhat Cam colluded with Nhat, Tuyen and Vinh to raise the prices of medical machineries and equipment in a bidding package from CDC Hanoi before carrying out normal procedures.
He then directed his employees to legalise all normal procedures, enabling MST to win the bid with a price they had agreed upon, resulting in an economic loss of over 5.4 billion VND (233,200 USD).
Procurators said Cam was the mastermind.
The defendants earlier confessed to police that they jacked up the price of the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) machines used in testing the new coronavirus by a factor of three./.
ASEAN defence ministers gather at 14th meeting
The 14th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM-14) took place via videoconference on December 9 under the chair of the Vietnamese Minister of National Defence, Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich.
On the basis of ASEAN defence ministers’ statement on defence cooperation against disease outbreaks issued in February, they have enhanced anti-COVID-19 partnership via sharing information and experience, providing medical supplies, working together to control cross-border movement and develop test kits and vaccines, and successfully organising an online joint drill on COVID-19 prevention and control among their military medical forces in May, he added.
During the ADMM-14, participants considered defence cooperation initiatives, the ADMM work plan for 2020-2022, and especially, the ASEAN defence ministers’ joint statement on defence cooperation for a cohesive and responsive ASEAN./.
10th National Patriotic Emulation Congress opens
The 10th National Patriotic Emulation Congress took place at the National Convention Centre in Hanoi on December 10.
The event saw the presence of leaders from the Party, State, National Assembly, Government, and the Central Emulation and Rewards Council, and over 2,000 delegates.
He stressed that the emulation movements need to set practical and specific objectives, adding attention should be paid to evaluating, rewarding, promptly discovering, fostering and replicating outstanding examples.
The leader also underlined Vietnam’s success in the fight against COVID-19, saying that amid difficulties posed by the pandemic, its economy still maintains positive growth, while the disease is basically kept under control, and social security guaranteed.
Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, Deputy Chairwoman of the Central Emulation and Rewards Council, said the patriotic emulation movements and commendation work have recorded innovations, creativity and efficiency over the last five years, importantly contributing to the national defence and construction.
Emulation movements across the fields launched by the Prime Minister have become the core of the national emulation movement, and been responded by all levels, sectors, localities and the people.
On the occasion, outstanding collectives and individuals in emulation movements in the 2016-2020 were honoured for their achievements and great contributions to the society’s development./.
More Vietnamese citizens brought home from Australia, New Zealand
More than 340 Vietnamese citizens were flown home from Australia and New Zealand on December 9 on a Vietnam Airline flight.
The flight was arranged by the Vietnamese authorities, the Vietnamese representative offices in Australia and New Zealand, the national flag carrier, and authorities in the host nations.
Passengers on board include the elderly, children under 18 years old, labourers with expired contracts and people in extremely difficult circumstances.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, disease prevention measures were strictly carried out during the flight. Upon landing at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, the flight crew and all passengers were given health check-ups and quarantined.
In October, competent authorities joined hands to bring home 350 Vietnamese citizens in Australia and New Zealand./.
Patriotic emulation movement greatly contributes to country’s successes: Top leader
Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong on December 10 highlighted the contributions of the patriotic emulation movement to the socio-economic achievements of the country over the past years.
Addressing the ongoing 10th National Patriotic Emulation Congress held in Hanoi, the top leader said that the success in the national defence and construction over the past 70 years has proved the correctness and creativeness of the Ho Chi Minh ideology and the Party’s orientations on patriotic emulation.
Throughout the history of national construction and development, under leadership of the Party, the patriotic emulation movement has been developing strongly, intensively and extensively, he said.
The movement has encouraged people across the nation to show patriotism by overcoming difficulties and challenges to make great achievements of historical significance in the renewal cause as well as national construction and defence, said the leader.
Reviewing the important and comprehensive attainments of the country over the years, he stressed that the nation has never seen the realm, strength, international position and prestige as it is today.
He also spoke highly of the outcomes of the patriotic emulation movement and awarding activities over the past five years.
On the other hand, he also pointed out a number of shortcomings in the field, noting that many effective models have yet to be discovered, developed and multiplied.
The leader expressed his hope that in the future, the movement will show stronger performance in encouraging ministries, sectors, agencies, localities and people nationwide to weather difficulties and challenges, optimising opportunities brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution to continue boosting the growth of the nation and completing all targets and tasks set in the socio-economic development plan for the 2021-2025 period.
He underscored that the movements should give practical and detail goals in association with the implementation of political and socio-economic development missions of each ministry, sector, agency and locality/.
Regional head elections held in Indonesia
More than 100 million voters in Indonesia were expected to head to the polling stations on December 9 to cast their vote in the simultaneous regional head elections (pilkada) in 270 regions comprising nine provinces, 224 districts and 37 cities.
Earlier, the Indonesian government announced that December 9 would be a public holiday and vote count is projected to wrap up on December 20.
2020 pilkada will decide the results of the presidential election in the next four years.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spurred concern over the spike of new cases, the Indonesian government in June decided to postpone the election date to December 9.
The country’s General Election Commission (KPU) has introduced health regulations for a total of 298,939 polling stations across the country. A separate voting location will be zoned off for voters whose body temperature is higher than 37.3 degree Celsius.
As of December 8, Indonesia had reported 586,842 COVID-19 infections, with a death toll of 18,000. At least four candidates died of COVID-19 and 60 others tested positive with the SARS-CoV-2 that causes the disease.
On the threshold of the election, thousands of poll workers were found to contract the virus./.
Vietnam promotes women’s role in building peace: conference
International delegates lauded Vietnam’s contributions to affirming women’s roles in building and sustaining peace while attending the International Conference on Women, Peace and Security held by the Foreign Ministry in partnership with the United Nations on December 7-9.
United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlombo-Ngcuka spoke highly of Vietnam’s contributions to promoting the adoption of UN Security Council’s Resolution 1889 on women’s role in post conflicts when the country played the role of a non-permanent member of the UNSC during 2008-2009.
Meanwhile, UN Resident Coordinator for Vietnam Kamal Malhotra said that the conference is a wonderful opportunity for countries to enhance their commitments to improve the roles of women.
He also appreciated Vietnam’s strong support for the UN’s agenda on women, peace and security, expressing his belief that the country will keep its leading role in the agenda.
At the closing ceremony, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Hoai Trung said the conference affirmed determination of member states to realise the four pillars set in UN’s agenda on women, peace and security, including ensuring women’s full and equal participation in decision making, integrating gender perspective into women’s participation in settling the roots of conflicts, promoting women and girl children’s rights, and enhancing women’s roles in post-conflict relief and rescue work.
A wide range of initiatives and recommendations were raised at the conference, Trung said, adding Vietnam’s proposal “Hanoi Action Commitment” detailing activities to strengthen women’s participation in peace progress and women’s empowerment in various sectors receive enthusiastic response from 11 nations, namely Estonia, Finland, Mexico, Malaysia, Laos, New Zealand, Norway, the UK, Sweden, Germany and Myanmar.
The document will be introduced to other UN members in the time ahead before being sent to the President of the UN General Assembly and the UNSC, he added.
Successful organisation of the conference is significant since it reiterated Vietnam’s consistent foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralism, diversification and international integration, and that Vietnam is a trustworthy and responsible member in the international community, he stressed.
The conference, alongside with Vietnam’s contribution in the role as the ASEAN Chair 2020 and a non-permanent member of the UNSC during 2020-2021, continued to affirm the Vietnamese Party and State’s policies to promote gender equality and improve women’s position./.
Soil washing effective for dioxin contaminated land
The soil washing technology has proved to be effective in treating dioxin-contaminated soil at Bien Hoa Airport in the southern province of Dong Nai, experts said at a seminar held in Hanoi on December 8.
As soil washing is low-cost and imposes little environmental burden compared to thermal treatment, experts said it should be considered to be applied further in the time ahead, they said.
The area surrounding Bien Hoa airport contains high levels of the chemical and is considered one of the country’s dioxin hotspots. According to assessments from Vietnam and the US, some 500,000 cu.m of dioxin-contaminated land in the airport need to be treated, requiring a large amount of capital and technology./.
World Bank helps Indonesia reduce carbon emissions
The World Bank and Indonesia’ environment and forestry ministry have signed a landmark agreement on Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) worth 110 million USD.
The move aims to support the Southeast Asian country’s efforts to lower carbon emissions due to deforestation and forest degradation between now and 2025.
The FCPF said Indonesia will receive results-based payments for reducing 22 million tons of carbon emissions in a bid to realise the national target on climate and environment.
According to Environment and Forestry Ministry Secretary General Bambang Hendroyono, the agreement aims at reducing forest degradation across 12.7 million hectares of land, and protecting biodiversity.
Besides, it will support to improve land governance and local livelihoods, while safeguarding habitats of vulnerable and endangered species by improving forest licensing, increasing the number of small-scale plantations, and promoting community-based planning.
World bank Country Director for Indonesia and Timor-Leste Saty Kahkonen said Indonesia has committed to reducing up to 41 percent of greenhouse gas emissions with international support by 2030, as well as promoting sustainable development in its plan.
The agreement will provide unprecedented support to achieve these ambitious goals, she added.
Last year, the Indonesian government approved to fund 2.1 trillion IDR (148.94 million USD) for the freshly-established Environmental Fund Management Agency. The money will be used for activities in forestry, energy and mineral resources, carbon trading, environmental services, industry, transportation, agriculture, marine and fisheries.
The government pledged to cut 29 percent of greenhouse emissions with its own efforts, and 41 percent with international support under the Paris Agreement on climate change./.
Singapore, Thailand to enable cross-border payments using only mobile numbers
From mid-2021, users of Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s equivalent PromptPay will be able to send money instantly and securely across the two countries with their mobile phone numbers at competitive rates, according to Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
This linkage between two countries’ national faster payment systems will be the first of its kind in the world, noted Menon earlier this week.
Kickstarted by MAS and the Bank of Thailand three years ago, the service will begin with a small group of banks on both sides. Participation will be scaled up to include more banks and non-bank providers over time, he said. MAS is also keen to partner other central banks in the region to expand the linkage across Southeast Asia, he added.
This is part of MAS’s efforts to make cross-border remittances cheaper and faster, in order to extend the benefits of a digital economy to a wider range of users, he said.
Singapore’s central bank is also seeking to make cross-border payments and settlements – one of the biggest painpoints for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – quicker and more affordable.
MAS had embarked on Project Ubin five years ago to explore the use of blockchain, with the final phase of experimentation completed in July this year where a blockchain-based prototype for multi-currency settlement was successfully tested./.
Online conference spotlights President Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts
Theoretical and practical values of President Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts regarding the combination of patriotism and internationalism over the past 100 years were highlighted at an online conference jointly held by the Vietnamese Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations and authorities of Russia’s Saint Petersburg city on December 11.
Such values have continued to light up Vietnam’s reform and international integration, heard the conference.
They have also affirmed the President’s great contributions to international communists’ and workers’ movements, according to speeches delivered at the event.
The conference was to pay tribute to President Ho who laid the foundation for the relations between Vietnam and the former Soviet Union and present Russia, and came as part of the activities marking the 70th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties.
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