Education, culture-sport sector join hands in developing school sports
|The rate of children who can perform all five basic swimming skills in the academic year 2019-2020 was over 80 percent (Photo: SGGP)|
Within the five recent years, school sports have developed steadily as the education sector and the culture-sport sector have worked together to develop school sports; however, existing school sports facilities fail to meet students’ need.
The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training’s statistics has shown that, 77 percent of preschools and all primary, junior and senior high schools in the academic year 2019-2020 had pitch – an outdoor playing area for various sports.
Nevertheless, around 29.6 percent of primary schools and over 45 percent of standard multi-sport grounds. Plus, 93 schools have swimming pools including 74 gunite swimming pools and 19 mobile ones for compulsory education of swimming for children.
Following the Prime Minister’s direction No. 274 on planning and using sport facilities in schools, the Department of Education and Training actively developed sport grounds in schools including expansion of grounds and construction of multi-sport grounds, swimming pools and mini soccer fields.
Furthermore, the education sector provides expenditure on purchasing sport equipment for schools.
Similar, the bureau of education in District 4 yearly partners with the district sport center to deliver effective swimming lessons to children in primary schools. The rate of children who can perform all five basic swimming skills in the academic year 2019-2020 was over 80 percent. The District also sets up sport clubs of soccer, basketballs, volleyballs and martial arts in preschools, primary schools.
The district administration required newly-built schools must have sport grounds.
Children of Primary School Nguyen Binh Khiem in District 1 have two mandatory swimming lessons a week. They will swim in the swimming pool opposite to the school.
However, teachers bumped into difficulties with large classes sometimes up to 50 children with one coach; therefore, the school in partnership with the sport center and the swimming club Nguyen Binh Khiem has organized open water festival to check students’ swimming skills.
Many schools in HCMC have promoted sport activities after class hours to improve students’ fitness.
People’s committees asked to increase supervision to environmental violators
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has asked people’s committees in cities and provinces to increase supervision to companies violating pollution emissions standards.
In its document 6118, the Ministry also noted that local authorities must keep an eye on hazardous waste management facilities which receive hazardous wastes for treatment, storage or disposal.
For the past time, the Ministry has coordinated with municipal and provincial people’s committees to change periodic visits to the above-mentioned facilities during the coronavirus pandemic according to the government’s direction.
Now, the Ministry proposed the people’s committees to direct local departments of Natural Resources and Environment and related state competent agencies to intensify supervision to production facilities, business establishments which contribute to water, air and land pollution especially hazardous waste management facilities.
Moreover, local administrations should monitor medical waste especially in localities reporting Covid-19 patients.
Harsh penalties will be imposed on violators in the field of environment.
Local administrations should work with inspectors from the Ministry and the Environment Administration of Vietnam on the inspection plan in 2021 with attention to hazardous waste management facilities.
Hanoi’s first metro line to conduct test run by end-2020
The urban metro line is one of the key public transport projects in Hanoi.
The safety test run for the whole system of Hanoi’s first line of urban railway project, the Cat Linh-Ha Dong line, will be completed within 20 days by late December 2020, Kinh te & Do thi reported.
The Hanoi Metropolitan Railway Management Board (MRB) under the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said that 110 experts of China Railway Sixth Group – the EPC contractor – and eight of the French consultancy Apave-Certifier-Tricc (ACT) consortium will carry out the safety evaluation and remaining tasks in November.
Currently, some 90 experts and personnel of the general contractor and one French expert have arrived in Hanoi for the trial operation of Cat Linh – Ha Dong line. Among them, 30 are under Covid-19 quarantine.
According to the MRB, the purpose of commissioning the line is to test and evaluate its safety and the skills of the operating personnel in accordance with the actual run chart.
The MRB added that the overall acceptance of the project will include both the test for pre-
Especially, the MRB stressed that the trial operation and acceptance phase of the project is not the last one before putting the project into commercial operation. The Cat Linh – Ha Dong line will still have to undergo a host of evaluation tests.
Accordingly, the consultants will evaluate and issue a certificate for the safety and quality system of the project and submit to the Vietnam Register for appraisal and certification. After that, the investor will accept and hand over the project to the Hanoi People’s Committee for official running. The process is predicted to be protracted.
Expectation from the Minister of Transport’s promise
At a National Assembly sitting on November 3, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The admitted that the progress of urban railway traffic projects was behind schedule.
In the near future, the Ministry of Transport will coordinate closely with big cities’ administrations so that new urban railway projects can avoid repeating such delays, Mr. The said.
Commitments of Mr. The received special attention from the public.
According to the minister, although the workload at Hanoi’s first metro line project is almost completed, the safety evaluation carried out by ACT has not made much progress. The Chinese general contractor has neither provided manufacturers’ certificates, technical documents, test results nor conducted a full evaluation of the field tests. Therefore, ACT has not been able to complete the safety assessment due to insufficient grounds for independent consultancy.
ACT has come up with a solution that they will conduct field validation during the last 20 days of operation and emergency situation drills.
With the minister’s commitment, it is expected that the Cat Linh – Ha Dong railway will be in service in early 2021 as planned.
Work on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line began in 2011 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2013. But several hurdles, including loan disbursement issues with China that were only resolved in December 2017, have stalled it for years.
The first urban metro line is one of the key public transport projects in Hanoi. Since September 2018, this project has tested all 13 trains, with an average speed of 35 kilometers per hour.
Project costs have more than doubled from the original VND8.8 trillion (US$378 million) to VND18 trillion (US$774 million), according to state auditors.
When complete, the country’s first metro line will run 13 kilometers from Cat Linh station in downtown Dong Da district to Yen Nghia station in southwest Ha Dong district.
WB to support Đà Nẵng with infrastructure projects
|The Rồng (Dragon) Bridge spans the Hàn River in Đà Nẵng. A series of key infrastructure projects in Đà Nẵng were developed with funding from the World Bank.|
The central city’s People’s Committee has asked the World Bank (WB) to extend the Đà Nẵng Sustainable Development Project until 2023, while adding drainage and wastewater treatment to the list of items in need of funding.
Chairman Huỳnh Đức Thơ made the request during a working session with WB Country Director Carolyn Turk on Friday (November 6).
Thơ also asked for co-operation between the city and the WB from 2021-30 when Đà Nẵng plans to develop a series of key infrastructure projects including the Hàn River Crossover, the Đà Nẵng International Airport tunnel, the city’s Railway Relocation and Integrated Urban Renewal project, smart traffic system, metro, tramway and monorail.
Turk highly appreciated the co-operation between the WB and the city and the implementation of projects funded by the World Bank in the city over the past 20 years.
Turk said the WB would review the city’s proposals.
She also suggested that Đà Nẵng should urgently work with ministries and state agencies to implement the Development Policy Operation (DPO) loan programme with total funding of US$100 million for Đà Nẵng.
The WB would continue to support the development of Đà Nẵng in sustainable urban management and administration.
The WB has funded many key infrastructure projects in Đà Nẵng with over $500 million over the past two decades, and local residents have benefitted from the advanced infrastructure services in the sustainable city.
Đà Nẵng has invested much in urban development to make it the largest city in the central region and a ‘green city’ by 2025.
In 2013, the WB agreed to provide $202 million for a US$272-million sustainable development project to help improve the city’s Bus Rapid Transit network, build new roads, and revamp the existing drainage system.
The WB also funded a five-year priority infrastructure project by covering 70 per cent of the total investment of US$218.4 million from 2008-13.
Hanoi tourism flourishes on second stimulus program
Cooperation programs between travel businesses in Hanoi and other provinces have gained positive results.
Hanoi’s tourism industry has thrived again thanks to the second domestic tourism demand stimulus program, launched by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in September together with the participation of local travel companies, that offers attractive products at affordable prices in the last months of the year.
VietSense Tourism Company has introduced a series of Autumn – Winter tours with a discount of 30%. Specifically, the Hanoi – Con Dao tour costs VND5.6 million (US$241) per person and Mekong River Delta tour VND5.7 million (US$245.8) per person for 3 days 2 nights.
Similarly, Vietravel Travel Company has offered discounts of up to 40% for booking from October 26 to November 1 including package tours and hotel booking services. Deputy Director of Vietravel Tourism Company – Hanoi Branch Pham Van Bay told Kinh the & Do thi that the prices of the tours keep unchanged but the standard tour service is upgraded to 4 to 5 stars.
Meanwhile, Hanoitourist Travel Company, in addition to reducing tour prices by 10-30%, is also preparing to introduce many new tourism products. The company is surveying a tour to discover Vietnamese heritages including Hoa Lu (Ninh Binh province), the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (Hanoi) and Ha Long (Quang Ninh province). In addition, the company is working with the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long to launch a night-time tour, expected to be released later this year.
Upgrading service quality but reducing tour price is one of the measures to stimulate tourism demand in the last months of 2020 and post Covid-19, Mr. Le Hong Thai, deputy director of Hanoitourist told Kinh the & Do thi.
Until the end of the year, the travel companies will focus on exploiting in the East – Northwest, North, South, Con Dao, Phu Quoc islands, etc. because these are tourist areas that meet the criteria “safe, attractive”, UNESCO Hanoi Travel Club Chairman Truong Quoc Hung said.
Meanwhile, Standing Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association Vu The Binh said that domestic tourists always have travel needs with the trend of short-term relaxation. At this point, in addition to the reasonable price, improving service quality and introducing new products will be the decisive factor in attracting customers, said Mr. Binh.
Promote links between Hanoi and provinces
According to tourism experts, to prepare for the tourism season at the end of 2020 and the upcoming Lunar New Year, Hanoi’s tourism industry needs to enhance links between Hanoi and other provinces, cities to exploit local strengths, in addition to launching promos.
Mr. Binh from the Vietnam Tourism Association stated that culture is the characteristic of Hanoi’s tourism. That Hanoi’s tourism industry strengthens links with businesses and localities across the country not only helps promote the advantages of each locality, but also expands the domestic tourist market and soon revives after Covid-19, Mr. Binh analyzed.
Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism Tran Trung Hieu said that during November, through the VITM Hanoi International Tourism Fair, the city will organize many promotion activities which help businesses attract customers to choose Hanoi as a destination. In particular, in the fourth quarter of 2020, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have coordinated with five provinces and cities in the central economic region (Danang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Thua Thien – Hue and Binh Dinh) to open a linking forum for tourism development in the region.
Previously, in order to build a journey from Tam Chuc tourist area (Ha Nam province) to the capital, a number of businesses coordinated to offer a tour connecting Ha Nam – Hanoi with the theme “Sparkling Hanoi.” Notably, among the tours, Hanoitourist has cooperated with tourism businesses in Ninh Binh province to build a tour “The night before the capital’s move“ of which visitors can experience the process of King Ly Cong Uan moving the capital from Hoa Lu (Ninh Binh province) to Dai La (Hanoi).
The cooperation programs between businesses in Hanoi and other provinces have gained positive results. According to the Hanoi Department of Tourism, in October 2020, Hanoi welcomed 554,000 tourists, an increase of 30% compared to September. Total revenue from tourists is estimated at VND1.21 trillion (US$52.2 million), up 25% compared to September.
With the plan to stimulate demand and promote tourism well organized, Hanoi’s tourism industry has flourished significantly and expects that the positive momentum will continue. The industry strives to welcome the number of domestic tourists by 2020 from 50% to 60% compared to the previous year, creating momentum for 2021.
VN brings home 1,700 nationals stranded abroad due to COVID-19 last week
As many as six flights carrying 1,700 Vietnamese citizens from Germany, Romania, Singapore, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Brunei landed in Viet Nam from November 2-8, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The passengers onboard these flights included children under 18, pregnant women, the elderly, workers whose labor contracts had expired, students with no residences due to dormitory shutdown and other with especially difficult circumstances.
Precautious measures were implemented during these flights to prevent transmission of COVID-19.
Right after arriving at local airports, all the passengers received check-ups and were sent to concentrated quarantine sites in line with current regulations on COVID-19 responses.
From April 10 to November 8, local agencies coordinated with Viet Nam’s representative agencies overseas to launch 185 flights, bringing home about 52,982 Vietnamese citizens stranded abroad due to COVID-19.
In the time to come, more repatriation flights will be arranged to bring Vietnamese citizens home.
As of 6:05 am on November 9, Viet Nam confirmed 1,213 COVID-19 cases, including 1,070 recoveries and 35 fatalities, said the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control led by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam.
As the pandemic remains complicated around the world with total infection cases surpassing 50 million, including more than 1.25 million deaths, Viet Nam still closes borders to foreign tourists and maintains vigilance as the winter nears.
In a bid to pursue the dual goal of COVID-19 containment and economic recovery, the Government in September decided to resume international commercial flights to to four destinations, namely Tokyo (Japan), Guangzhou (China), Taiwan (China), Seoul (the Republic of Korea), Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Vientiane (Laos).
On November 11, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh urged localities, especially Ha Noi, Can Tho and HCMC to increase paid quarantine capacity to meet growing demand from incoming travellers.
Pay-to-stay quarantine areas are designated hotels and other accommodation facilities for Vietnamese and foreigners from abroad.
Local authorities are requested to coordinate with the Ministry of Health and other relevant ministries to manage quarantine work in a safe and effective manner./.
ASEAN Secretary-General pins high hopes for 37th Summit outcomes
Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi has pinned high expectations for the outcomes of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for November 12-15.
Granting an interview to the Vietnam News Agency ahead of the summit, Dato Lim said the ASEAN Summit is the highest decision-making body in the region. The Leaders’ deliberation and decision will set the tone for the work of ASEAN, as well as ASEAN’s engagement with its Dialogue Partners.
High on the agenda is the Leaders’ endorsement of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and its Implementation Plans, which will serve as the whole-of-community exit strategy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are also expecting constructive outcomes from the RCEP negotiations to provide a significant boost to market confidence, which is much needed amid the pressures of COVID-19 and general uncertainties on the region’s economy,” he said.
In addition, the ASEAN leader also expected to see outcome on the discussions of ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement, to facilitate the safe resumption of people-to-people connectivity in the region.
“These measures represent ASEAN’s collective response towards “normality” in the post-COVID-19 era in a safe and sustained manner, factoring into consideration the national health and travel protocols of each member state,” he noted.
He said at the 37th ASEAN Summit, the work on Community-building continues apace with the mid-term reviews of the ASEAN Political-Security Council (APSC), ASEAN Economic Council (AEC) and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Council (ASCC) Blueprints, and the Master Plan on the ASEAN Connectivity 2025.
“Beyond ASEAN, we will continue to strengthen relations with external partners, and will be adopting Plans of Action with Canada, India, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and United States to elevate these bilateral partnerships to greater heights,” he stated.
According to Dato Lim, under the chairmanship of Vietnam, preparations for the 37th ASEAN Summit have been progressing smoothly. Twenty-nine high-level meetings and activities are scheduled for November 9-15. There will also be the 23rd ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the 15th East Asia Summit, as well as various Post-Ministerial Conferences (PMC) between ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners. The 4th RCEP Summit will also be held.
In addition, two special meetings would be convened, including the ASEAN-New Zealand Commemorative Summit to celebrate 45 years of partnership and the inaugural ASEAN Women Leaders’ Summit to recognise the role and contributions of women towards a gender-equal ASEAN Community.
Other notable events to be launched and be reported at the ASEAN Summit will be the Mid-term Review of ASEAN Community Vision 2025 Blueprints, the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, and the Launching of the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies./.
Greetings extended to Cambodia on 67th Independence Day
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan on November 9 extended their respective greetings to Cambodia’s Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, President of the Senate Say Chhum, and President of the National Assembly Samdech Heng Samrin on the occasion of the 67th anniversary of the country’s Independence Day (November 9, 1953-2020).
In the messages, the leaders of the Vietnamese Government and National Assembly congratulated Cambodia on the achievements the Cambodian people have obtained in ensuring stability and socio-economic development and especially in the prevention and control of COVID-19.
They expressed their belief that under the leadership of the Senate, National Assembly, and Government of Cambodia, the Cambodian people will continue to reap new and greater success in the cause of building and developing a prosperous country with a rising position in the global arena.
Vietnam treasures and continues to strengthen the close cooperation between the two governments and legislatures to foster the sound neighbourliness, traditional friendship, comprehensive cooperation, and long-term sustainability between Vietnam and Cambodia, thus deepening bilateral cooperation and making it more practical and effective for the benefit of people in both countries and for peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the region and the world, they stated.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh also cabled a message of greetings to his Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhonn./.
Photo exhibition features Vietnam Fatherland Front’s 90-year operation
Photos highlighting operations of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) during 90 years of formation and development are on display in Ho Chi Minh City from November 9.
The exhibition includes over 100 photos divided into three themes and displayed at three different places.
The photos exhibited at Lam Son park in District 1 focus on the glorious 90-year history of the VFF since it was set up on November 18, 1930 and gone through many different names.
With the theme of “All people unite in building new-style rural areas and civilised urban areas”, the photos displayed at Nguyen Du – Dong Khoi crossroads introduce outstanding activities of the VFF system of HCM City to speed up the implementation of patriotic emulation movements and campaigns.
Meanwhile, on Dong Khoi street (in front of Chi Lang park), on display are photos featuring the organisation’s social and charitable activities, together with those highlighting the city’s achievements during its development and integration process.
The exhibition will remain open to visitors until November 20./.
HCM City get-together marks Cambodian Independence Day
The Ho Chi Minh City Union of Friendship Organisations (HUFO) held a get-together on November 9 to mark Cambodia’s 67th Independence Day.
Addressing the gathering, President of the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association (VCFA)’s HCM City chapter Truong Minh Nhut stressed that November 9, 1953 was a historical milestone in Cambodia’s history of national construction and defence.
He highlighted the traditional friendship, fruitful cooperation, solidarity, and mutual support between Vietnam and Cambodia in the past struggles for national liberation as well as present efforts in national construction and development.
The leaders and people of the two countries are trying to consolidate solidarity and friendship, cooperate in socio-economic development, and closely coordinate at international forums, in order to elevate the traditional friendship to a new high, for the benefits of the two countries’ people and for the sake of peace, stability, and cooperation for development in the region, he said.
The chapter has organised activities to bring the people of the two countries closer together, along with social welfare programmes to support poor Cambodian students, Nhat said, adding that people in HCM City will continue their efforts to further promote the cooperation between the two nations.
Sok Dareth, Cambodian Consul General to HCM City, expressed his delight at the increasing development of the Cambodia-Vietnam special traditional friendship and neighbourliness.
Both Cambodia and Vietnam have been affected by COVID-19 and natural disasters this year, and leaders from the two countries, sectors, localities and people have regularly shared and supported each other, he emphasised.
He took the occasion to thank the Vietnamese Party, Government, army, and people for their wholehearted support to Cambodia during the liberation of the country from the genocidal Pol Pot regime in 1979, as well as the current national construction and development.
Cambodia has always cooperated with and supported Vietnam in fulfilling its role as Chair of ASEAN and the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA 41) in 2020 and as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 term, as well as at regional and international forums, especially within ASEAN, he affirmed.
He highly appreciated and respectfully acknowledged the effective assistance of HUFO and VCFA’s HCM City chapter in connecting, consolidating, and promoting the friendship between the city’s residents and people of Cambodia in general and Phnom Penh in particular.
The Cambodian Consulate General will continue its efforts and cooperate with municipal authorities, departments, and sectors, as well as HUFO to organise people-to-people exchanges, contributing to further developing Cambodia-Vietnam relations in all fields and bringing practical benefits to the people of the two countries, he said./.
Senior officials review preparations for 37th ASEAN Summit, related events
The ASEAN Senior Officials’ Preparatory Meeting took place via videoconference on November 9 to look into preparations for the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings, slated for later this week.
Participants spoke highly of preparations by Vietnam, as ASEAN Chair in 2020, for key events in the bloc this year. They also basically agreed on activities, agenda items, and documents to be submitted to leaders at upcoming meetings.
They expressed satisfaction that the initiatives and priorities for 2020 have been carried out well and on schedule despite the difficulties posed by COVID-19.
Outstanding initiatives include the mid-term review of the implementation of blueprints for the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, building the Hanoi Declaration on a post-2025 ASEAN Vision, reviewing the implementation of the ASEAN Charter, and promoting sub-regional cooperation for narrowing development gaps and promoting sustainable development, according to officials.
Regarding ASEAN’s external relations, they appreciated the contributions of partners in 2020 and during the ASEAN Community building process.
Member countries held that the principles and criteria set up by ASEAN in fundamental documents like the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific should continue to be upheld and applied widely.
On this basis, they agreed on proposals of Cuba, Colombia and South Africa on joining TAC.
Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung thanked other member countries for their active coordination in preparing for the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings.
He greatly valued their contributions to promoting the initiatives and priorities for 2020, stressing that these have truly become shared outcomes of the bloc.
The deputy minister affirmed that Vietnam will do its utmost to successfully organise the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings – the most important events in the bloc this year./.
Vice President calls for solidarity among ASEAN businesswomen
The ASEAN Women CEO Summit was held in Hanoi on November 9 with the theme “Making changes for a stronger and more responsive women entrepreneur community”.
Addressing the summit, held by the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh said the COVID-19 pandemic has caused heavy losses to the global economy and ASEAN member nations in particular.
While holding the 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship amid the coronavirus outbreak, she noted, Vietnam has exerted every effort to organise a range of activities in conformity with the theme of “Cohesive & Responsive”.
Regional women in general and female entrepreneurs in particular have been greatly inspired by the bloc’s commitment to efforts promoting gender equality and empowering women, made in the Chairman’s Press Statement of the ASEAN Leaders’ Special Session at the 36th ASEAN Summit on Women’s Empowerment in the Digital Age, held last June, the Vice President said.
Thinh expressed her belief that the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network will become a leading forum for regional businesswomen to lead the entrepreneur community towards economic integration and to remain united to proactively and effectively respond to the impact of the pandemic and climate change.
She also hoped that businesswomen would seize opportunities from the fourth Industrial Revolution and capitalise on ASEAN countries’ support in order to develop strongly and sustainably for a stronger and more responsive community of regional women entrepreneurs.
The summit featured four sessions on the response to COVID-19, the promotion of digital transformation and the comprehensive recovery of women-owned businesses, gender-smart investment, and the promotion of effective cooperation via networks.
A number of recommendations were approved on improving businesswomen’s access to support resources, especially from governments, credit institutions, and social organisations; developing human resources, capacity, access to new technologies, and technological literacy; boosting digital transformation in women-owned enterprises; and building a gender-responsive ecosystem for nurturing enterprises.
The ASEAN Women CEO Summit was held ahead of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings, which are scheduled to take place via videoconference from November 12 to 15./.
Foreign ministers reiterate ASEAN’s resolve to resume COC talks
ASEAN Foreign Ministers reiterated the grouping’s resolve to resume negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) with China, during the 22nd ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) Council Meeting held online on November 10.
At the meeting, the ministers rejoiced at the new and pragmatic developments of the APSC despite a range of difficulties and challenges, as well as the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They highly valued the contributions of relevant agencies under the APSC, such as the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC), to the pandemic fight over the past time.
The ministers said up to 98 percent of the APSC action plan has been completed, describing this as a hallmark in the ASEAN Community building.
However, more works need to be done in the time ahead, they said, urging the agencies under the APSC to accelerate the implementation of the remaining action lines, and revamp their operation methods proactively and flexibly.
They stressed the significance of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and the statement issued by ASEAN FMs on the occasion of the 53rd anniversary of the grouping (August 8, 1967).
ASEAN needs to carry forward the principles stated in these important documents and work harder to materialise the commitments included in the documents, they said./.
PM praises public security force’s efforts in search, rescue activities
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has praised the people’s public security force for their achievements in ensuring security and order, as well as natural disaster prevention and control, search and rescue activities.
In his letter to the officers and soldiers of the force, he noted and complimented their round-the-clock efforts in evacuating people out of areas suffering flooding and landslides in the central region recently.
The activities manifest the key role of the public security force not only in protecting the national security, social order and safety, but also in easing people’s difficulties in hard time, stated the PM.
The Government leader noted that amidst the natural disasters, the force has effectively designed and implemented plans to maintain security, order and traffic safety, while mobilising local personnel to involve in saving affected people and protecting safety for the transportation of aids to the needy.
Many officers and soldiers faced danger while performing search and rescue activities, some even laid down their lives, including Captain Truong Van Thang of Huong Viet commune, Huong Hoa district of Quang Tri province, who died while protecting the safety for locals and property in the border locality, he pointed out.
Noting that the flooding and heavy rain may prolong with complicated developments in the coming time, the PM asked the force to strengthen collaboration with other armed forces and local authorities to continue protecting the security, order and performing search, rescue activities, thus minimising losses./.
Sri Lanka supports flood-hit victims in central region
Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Vietnam Prasanna Gamage on November 9 handed 66.5 million VND (2,860 USD) donated by Sri Lanka people living in Vietnam to support flood-hit people in the central region.
Deputy Director of the Southeast Asia – South Asia – South Pacific Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affair Pham Hung Tam hosted a reception for the diplomat, and received the donation.
Ambassador Gamage expressed his sympathies over heavy losses of life and property caused by storms hitting central provinces in recent weeks.
He said he believes that the authorities and people in affected localities will soon overcome difficulties and stabilise their lives.
The ambassador took the occasion to once again thank the Vietnamese Government for supporting the Government of Sri Lanka with medical supplies for preventing COVID-19 worth 30,000 USD.
For his part, Tam expressed gratitude for the embassy and Sri Lanka people in Vietnam for assistance they have given to Vietnamese people and flood victims in particular.
Mutual support between the two nations in difficult times are practical actions to celebrate the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, he said./.
ASEAN-Japan Centre leader hails Vietnam’s ASEAN chairmanship
Secretary General of the ASEAN-Japan Centre Masataka Fujita (Source: VNA)
Vietnam has been successful in managing and organising all the meetings, he affirmed in an interview granted to Vietnam News Agency correspondents in Tokyo, on the occasion of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings from November 12-15.
This year is quite special in the sense that all the countries have been suffering from the pandemic. But, as a successful country in terms of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam can take the lead in not only surviving but also becoming stronger, he stated.
The official emphasised the importance of actions taken by the Vietnam Government to boost post-pandemic economic recovery, adding that this is a “good opportunity for Vietnam to show how to get stronger”.
To cope with the uncertain future caused by the pandemic, Fujita highlighted the need to make economies and supply chains much stronger and more resilient.
Attention should be paid to risk management to stay ready in response to any financial crisis, natural disaster or pandemic, he stated.
According to him, not only ASEAN but also Japan have learned how slow they are in this transformation. Most of the countries are going down and experiencing negative growth, by the way, only Vietnam has positive growth this year.
“When you look at the industrial structure, not all the industries are down. In fact, IT-related areas are still growing. In the US and other countries where stock prices are rising, actually, all the rising stocks came from IT-related companies. Therefore, digitalisation is quite important, and this time, both ASEAN and Japan learned how slow we are. In this particular area, I think ASEAN and Japan can cooperate further,” said Fujita.
He also suggested both sides strengthen cooperation in the healthcare sector.
The official said that all the countries are suffering from the pandemic crisis, and there are some countries to do relaxation in investment in the healthcare sector and try to establish companies producing masks or personal protective gears as well, adding the industries which are resistant to such a crisis should be promoted further./.
Singapore newspaper highlights Vietnam’s success story ahead of ASEAN Summit
The Straits Times, an English-language daily broadsheet newspaper based in Singapore, on November 9 ran an article spotlighting impressive achievements of Vietnam, the Chair of the ASEAN 2020.
While all eyes are on the ASEAN Summit to be held from November 12 – 15, Vietnam’s economic success story, too, has been the subject of much attention, it said.
The country’s economy has consistently turned in a strong performance in the past decade, growing by 5 percent to 7 percent each year. Foreign investors are especially drawn by its expanding middle class, vibrant private sector and young population. About 70 percent of its 95 million people are younger than 35.
According to the first female Ambassador of Singapore to Vietnam Catherine Wong, for Singapore, economic ties are a “mainstay” of its relationship with Vietnam.
Wong said Singapore is the third-largest foreign direct investor in the country, and this is very significant as the top two investors are the Republic of Korea and Japan, which are far larger economies than Singapore.
She told the Straits Times that longstanding symbols of cooperation include a 24-year-old Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park joint venture, plus a connectivity framework agreement since 2006 to boost collaboration in sectors such as finance, information technology and transport.
But there are new opportunities, she added, setting her sights on Vietnam’s rapidly growing infrastructure, urban solutions, innovation and start-ups, and e-commerce.
Regarding agricultural trade, she hoped to diversify Singapore’s sources of food supply by bringing more Vietnamese agricultural products and seafood into Singapore.
Touching on Vietnam’s fight against COVID-19, Wong said the Government has taken some tough measures, reacted quickly, and prepared early for possible local infections after the first cases in China emerged.
The country also developed its own test kits and ventilators, and is working on developing a vaccine, she said.
Vietnam experienced two waves of infections – one in March and April, and a more localised outbreak in Danang city in July and August. But the authorities’ swift response and comprehensive lockdown measures put a lid on local transmissions.
For this reason, Singapore was confident in unilaterally lifting border restrictions to its visitors from Oct 8, she said.
Vietnam’s borders, however, remain closed. The next step is to see how two-way travel can be eased with health and safety precautions in place, she added./.
Ten prosecuted in Hanoi Centre for Disease Control case
The Supreme People’s Procuracy has prosecuted Nguyen Nhat Cam, former Director of the Hanoi Centre for Disease Control (Hanoi CDC), and nine other defendants on charge of “violations on bidding regulations that causes serious consequences” which occurred at the centre and relevant units.
Among the ten, six are from the Hanoi CDC, and four from private companies, namely 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 Vitech Development Co., Ltd; and Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, an employee of Phuong Dong Medical Equipment Co., Ltd.
According to the indictment, taking advantage of the COVID-19, Nguyen Nhat Cam colluded with Nguyen Ngoc Nhat, Nguyen Thanh Tuyen and Dao The Vinh in agreeing to purchase medical machines and equipment in a bidding package of Hanoi CDC before carrying out normal procedures.
Cam also colluded with Nguyen Tran Duy in committing a fraud by legalising procedures to assess the bidding package with a price required by Hanoi CDC.
He then directed his employees to legalise all normal procedures to make MST win the bidding with a price they had agreed, resulting in an economic loss of over 5.4 billion VND (233,200 USD).
Procurators said that Cam is the mastermind of the case.
The defendants confessed to the police they had 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./.
Training course helps improve capacity of HIV-infected women’s networks
A capacity building training course for networks of HIV-infected women to improve the voice, status and capacity of women living with HIV was held in Hanoi on November 9.
Jointly organised by the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU), the course attracted 30 women who are leaders of groups of women living with HIV in seven northern provinces and cities.
It provided new knowledge regarding treatment regimens for HIV carriers and changes in the policy framework for treating HIV-infected people, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Participants were also instructed how to access loans from the bank for social policies to raise livelihoods.
Addressing the event, Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai from VWU’s Department of Family and Social Affairs said gender inequality is one of the factors that increase the risk of HIV infection and vulnerability to HIV among women and girls.
Gender inequality also makes it difficult for women to access HIV prevention information and services, care and support, she said, adding that women infected or affected by HIV often are subject to stigma and discrimination.
In recent times, UN Women has collaborated with many agencies and organisations to build capacity and support empowerment of groups and networks of HIV-affected women.
With the assistance of UN organisations in Vietnam, the VWU has for many years been actively supporting HIV-infected women through a series of models, including building capacity for women living with HIV to participate in building and implementing related policies and programmes towards ensuring equality./.
People living with disabilities get digital skill support
Thirty-nine students with disabilities will develop the skills needed to take on digital employment opportunities to help them live independently, support their families and contribute to the digital economy.
This is the objective of a five-month “Digital Employment Training Programme for Persons with Disabilities Co-existing with COVID-19” that has been launched with the collective efforts of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Government of Japan, and the Will to Live Centre.
“This is what we are contributing to the increased equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities – the indicators of Article 27 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Sustainable Development Goal No 8 on Decent Work For All,” said UNDP Resident Representative Caitlin Wiesen.
“We must ensure that existing inequalities and risks faced by persons with disabilities are not further deepened by COVID-19, and we can together build forward better toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world, which will also be the theme of the approaching International Day for Persons with Disabilities”.
Two of the key findings of the UNDP’s recent study on employment policies and their implementation for persons with disabilities were that reasonable accommodation was not stipulated by law, and that persons with disabilities were not being trained in the skills necessary to meet the demands of the new labour market.
As part of the project, the Will to Live Centre can lead the way by making reasonable accommodation available and providing the latest digital skills for persons with disabilities to integrate in the dynamic economy of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“Each people has their own ability and value,” said founder and CEO of the Will to Live Centre Nguyen Thi Van. “We need to create equal opportunities for everyone to unleash their potential,” she added, calling on students to find the strength to overcome all barriers and move forward.
“I wanted to go to university but there was no elevator there and my mum couldn’t give me a piggyback up the stairs to my class everyday so I had to stay at home,” said Vo Thi Mien, 19, from Ha Tinh province. “I was sad because I wanted to integrate into society. Digital skills training opens a second gate for me. I hope that I can find a decent job after graduation to support my family.”
“I can type and play games on the computer. I’ve completed junior secondary school. When I was 16 years old, I learnt tailoring and got a job, but I lost it during COVID-19,” said Sung A Thang, a 20-year-old from the Mong ethnic group.
“I would like to learn photoshop and video-making. My dream is to have a series of clothes shops so I want to take promotional photos/videos for my shops. I would like to learn English, too,” he said.
Persons with disabilities (Pwds) have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The UNDP’s Rapid Assessment on Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Persons with Disabilities that covered nearly 1,000 respondents showed that 72 percent had a monthly income of less than VNĐ1 million; 30 percent had been made unemployed due to COVID-19; 49 percent had their work hours reduced, and 59 percent had received a pay cut.
Meanwhile, 71 percent of PwDs had seasonal/informal jobs or owned an informal business, so they were at risk of being ineligible to receive allowances from the Government’s social welfare response package./.
UNDP supports disaster-affected people in central Việt Nam
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has handed over gender-responsive household kits, disinfectants, and equipment for storm and flood monitoring and assessment to people suffering from floods in central Việt Nam.
These supplies are a part of the UNDP’s emergency assistance of US$400,000 to storm- and flood-affected people, with support focused on the poor, near-poor and women in the five most affected provinces of Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, Thừa Thiên-Huế, Quảng Nam, and Quảng Ngãi.
The support includes 800 gender-responsive household kits, 30 tonnes of disinfectant, five sets of equipment for floods and storm for real-time assessment and monitoring, and repairing 300 damaged houses. The UNDP expects to leverage another $1 million for emergency response and recovery efforts.
Central Việt Nam has been impacted by a series of intense storms, cyclones, and record-level floods since early October with more than 230 people reported dead or missing. At least 380,000 houses have been flooded, damaged, or destroyed. In the aftermath, tens of thousands of the most vulnerable have been left with nothing but damaged houses, destroyed livelihoods and ruined crops. Many are being forced to depend upon external support, while further storms are expected to make landfall on the central coast in the weeks ahead.
“We express our heartfelt condolences to the Government and people of Việt Nam for the devastating damage and loss of life you have suffered from the ongoing storms and historic flooding. Now more than ever, affected people, especially the poor, near-poor, women and girls are in need of safe repaired houses to return home to and vital supplies to cope with losses,” said Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Resident Representative in Việt Nam.
Many people have lost almost all of their household possessions to the floodwaters, and many others have become homeless. Poor and near-poor people will not have the means to invest in house repairs, reconstruction, or purchasing necessities.
According to the findings of the three intersectoral joint assessment teams during 21-23 October, of which the UNDP led two, the flood levels and storms have been unprecedented in their scope, causing widespread damage to people and property and affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 1.5 million people.
Household kits, including kitchen equipment, blanket and mosquito nets, personal protective equipment and disinfectant all help people to protect their health and gradually get back to work.
While house repairs provide a quick fix for families to return to their homes, the UNDP support intends to include specific resilient features, which will help them withstand the impacts of strong typhoons, floods, and climate extreme events to protect people and their household possessions, and these features have already been proven successful through a joint UNDP-Green Climate Fund-Government project on coastal resilience that has been running since 2017.
Following a recent study by the UNDP and the Ministry of Construction, there is a large need of support to build 109,211 resilient houses in 28 coastal areas, of which 24,884 are of urgent need. It is important to replicate and scale-up resilient housing models in Viet Nam, especially for the poor and near-poor in 28 coastal provinces. This requires efforts by the Government, the private sector, individuals and development partners.
“We believe that the more storm and flood resilient houses are built, the less people will suffer from loss and damages, and with safe homes and protected property, the less people will need emergency support in the future. We would like to invite all partners to join with us to build more storm resilient houses to ensure that no one is left behind,” Wiesen highlighted.
“Following floods and storms, ensuring a rapid assessment of damages and needs is critical in order to move quickly and save lives. In this connection, the UNDP is providing essential equipment to five provincial disaster management authorities to improve the assessment and monitoring of flood impacts, including drones and fly-cameras reach areas which are not normally accessible or visible from the ground, and help create risk maps for longer-term risk reduction efforts to avoid needless human suffering,” Wiesen added.
Three artists awarded at buddy bear art competition
Three Vietnamese artists won prizes at the Buddy Bear Art Competition 2020, hosted by the German Embassy in Hà Nội and the Việt Nam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies (VICAS) to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Việt Nam – Germany diplomatic relations.
Out of 14 applications, a jury picked the designs of the artists Chu Thúy Quỳnh, Nguyễn Xuân Lam and Phùng Văn Tuệ as winners.
From the left: Artist Chu Thúy Quỳnh, Phùng Văn Tuệ and Nguyễn Xuân Lam pose for a photo by their buddy bear works. Photo Courtesy of organisers
The three winners of the art competition were each awarded a prize of VNĐ15,000,000 for their works.
The three Buddy Bears can be viewed from November 16 in the exhibition hall of the VICAS Art Studio, 32 Hào Nam, Đống Đa District, Hà Nội.
The Buddy Bears originated from an art project in 2001. They have become a landmark of Berlin and are considered unofficial ambassadors of Germany. The outstretched arms of the standing Buddy Bear symbolise friendliness and optimism.
The “United Buddy Bears” were created in 2002. The exhibition of around 140 Buddy Bears designed by artists from member states of the United Nations promotes peaceful coexistence between people of all races, cultures and religions. Since their first exhibition in Berlin, over 40 million visitors have already admired the Buddy Bears.
New Zealand announced NZ$170,000 in aid for central Việt Nam
New Zealand will commit NZ$170,000 (US$116,000) in humanitarian aid to help struggling communities in central Việt Nam deal with the consequences of the floods and successive deadly storms affecting the region since early October.
The New Zealand Embassy said the funds include NZ$150,000 for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and NZ$20,000 for World Vision relief efforts
“Our sincere condolences go out to those communities and families affected by the flooding and landslides,” New Zealand Ambassador to Việt Nam, Wendy Matthews said.
“Alongside the relief work of the Vietnamese Government, this assistance seeks to help families meet basic needs and to help them begin rebuilding their livelihoods. It is an example of New Zealand’s ongoing commitment to supporting the people of Việt Nam.”
In the central region 235 people have been listed as dead and missing from typhoons and floods, which have also caused estimated economic losses of about VNĐ17 trillion, according to a Government report to the National Assembly on November 2. More typhoons are expected to make landfall in the central region in coming days.
International support for Việt Nam disaster response
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$2.5 million grant to assist Việt Nam in providing emergency and humanitarian services to residents affected by the recent floods in the country’s central region.
“We commend the Government of Vietnam for their quick emergency response to the disaster,” said ADB Country Director for Vietnam Andrew Jeffries. He added that ADB’s grant will augment the wider government response to deliver immediate, life-saving assistance to people who need it the most, especially people who were already experiencing adverse economic impacts due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The grant is funded by the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, which was designed to provide support to ADB’s developing members affected by major natural disasters.
ADB has been working with other development partners to support the government’s disaster relief efforts, including assessing the impact of the disaster and the needs for assistance in the central provinces. ADB’s assistance aims to help ensure that people living in the disaster areas have access to basic medical and social services and resources to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
World Vision Việt Nam has also pledged its US$1.2 million Response and Early Recovery Program in response to the widespread flooding and landslides caused by the recurrent rains and typhoons in Central Việt Nam. This programme aims to address the most urgent needs with life-saving assistance and speed up life building process for the 10,000 most vulnerable households in the affected areas of Quảng Trị, Quảng Nam, and Quảng Ngãi provinces.
The Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) has passed a legal provision giving US$100,000 in aid to help flood victims in central Việt Nam, according to the National Assembly (NA)’s Office.
In a letter to Chairwoman of the Vietnamese NA Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân, the speaker of the FSM Congress said Việt Nam has always been in the mind of Micronesian people this year, adding that the Micronesian congress and people are impressed by the way Vietnam deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The speaker said the FSM Congress and people hope Vietnamese people will safely go through 2020, a year full of challenges.
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