Nice weather anticipated over Christmas, New Year
All three regions of Vietnam are forecast to enjoy nice weather, perfect for entertainment activities during Christmas, while spells of rain and sunshine are expected in the south, with extreme cold set to hit the north over the New Year.
According to the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting, temperatures between Dec. 23 and Dec. 25 in the northern region are expected to fluctuate between 13 and 16 degrees Celsius.
Most notably, the lowest temperatures are predicted to hit northern mountainous regions, ranging between 7 and 12. The highest temperatures in northern localities such as Lai Chau, Dien Bien, and Son La will hover around between 18 and 25.
The capital of Hanoi is poised to witness clouds and scattered showers, with lows ranging between 15 and 17 and highs of between 18 and 20.
As a result of the intensified cold air, both the north and north-central provinces are expected to see rains and spells of extreme cold in the opening days of January, 2021.
Furthermore, there will be scattered rains and cold spells in the central region, with temperatures ranging between 15 and 23.
There will also be spells of rains and sunshine in the Central Highlands and the southern region, with the lowest temperatures in the Central Highlands reaching between 18 and 21, while the lowest temperatures in the south will be between 22 and 25.
National Startup Day for Students 2020 kicks off in Hanoi
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam and delegates visit a display of students’ startup ideas on the sidelines of the 2020 National Startup Day for Students on December 22 (Photo: VNA)
The 2020 National Startup Day for Students, SV.Startup, kicked off in Hanoi on December 22, with Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam in attendance.
This year’s SV.Startup was held by the Ministry of Training and Education in cooperation with the Thuy Loi University and Nova Edu.
Addressing the launching ceremony, Dam said Vietnam’s startup and innovation ecosystem has taken major steps forward in recent years but still has a long way to go.
More importantly, many young people and students have ambitions in entrepreneurship and innovation, contributing to developing and safeguarding the country, he noted.
To achieve the goal of becoming a prosperous society and a high-income country by 2035, Vietnam must accelerate reforms of the business environment and promote education innovation, with a focus on innovative startups, Dam said, adding that these must utilise new tech platforms to develop new products and services and access new markets.
The Deputy PM appreciated the change in mindset at many universities, which has led to greater attention being paid to research and the promotion of innovative startups among students, and urged universities to help students sharpen their startup and teamwork skills and encourage them to expand their networks and share startup ideas.
The number of entries submitted to the national startup contest has doubled since Project 1665 on supporting students to adopt a spirit of entrepreneurship by 2025 and the National Startup Day for Students were launched three years ago.
On display at the National Startup Day for Students this year were 72 startup projects selected from nearly 600 entries. The first prize will receive 60 million VND (2,600 USD) in rewards, a support package worth 115 million VND, and an opportunity to access funding of 40,000 USD./.
L’Espace to show six popular Christmas movies in Hanoi
The French Cultural Centre (L’Espace) based in Hanoi is set to screen a total of six interesting movies between Dec. 21 – 27 in line with the framework of Christmas Film Week.
The films set to be shown during the event include Gus petit oiseau, grand voyage, Le Secret de la potion magique, and A Reindeer’s journey. In addition, Santa & Cie, Les Nouvelles Aventures D’ Aladin, and ALAD’2 Bande Annonce, will also premiere.
The movies are scheduled to be presented in French and will feature Vietnamese subtitles or dubbings. Ticket prices will range between VND50,000 and VND60,000.
Vietnam reports six new imported COVID-19 cases
Vietnam recorded six new imported COVID-19 cases on December 22 evening, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 1,420.
The new patients included five Vietnamese citizens returning home from Poland and Germany, and one Japanese expert.
Of the total, 693 are domestically-transmitted cases, including 553 infections since the pandemic broke out in the central city of Da Nang on July 25, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
The subcommittee for treatment reported that 12 more patients have given the all-clear from coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, taking the total number of recoveries to 1,281. Meanwhile, the number of deaths related to the disease remained at 35.
Among the patients undergoing treatment across the country, six people tested negative for the virus once, 10 twice and four thrice.
As many as 16,360 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions are currently quarantined nationwide, including 187 in hospitals, 15,038 in concentrated quarantine establishments and the remainders at their residences./.
Over 90kg of suspected rhino horns seized at Tan Son Nhat airport
|The suspected rhino horns seized at the airport|
Police and customs officers in Ho Chi Minh City on December 22 seized more than 90kg of suspected rhino horns at Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
The suspected rhino horns were found in two shipments, with one weighing 138 kg sent via Singapore Airlines, and another weighing 74kg delivered via Cathay Pacific Airlines.
One of the flights transited in Singapore, while the other transited in Hong Kong (China).
The exhibits are now being kept at a warehouse of the Saigon Cargo Service Corporation located in the airport.
There are some 25,000 wild rhinos in the world, with the population dropping by 95 percent over the last four decades.
Conservationists have warned that rhinos will become extinct within the next 10 years if poaching is not stopped./.
Four injured foreign sailors taken to Khanh Hoa for treatment
|During the rescue mission|
The Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre on December 22 brought four injured seamen from a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel to the south-central province of Khanh Hoa’s general hospital.
A day earlier, the centre received a mayday call from the vessel Chemsinyoo, which was en-route from Singapore to China. The ship’s captain asked for medical assistance and the transporting of the injured to the shore for urgent treatment.
Aboard the Chemsinyoo, which encountered an accident 99 nautical miles to the southeast off the coast of Khanh Hoa’s Nha Trang city, four crewmembers – two from China and two from Bangladesh – were seriously injured. A mechanic, an Indonesian national born in 1987, died.
Despite the bad weather, the rescue mission was a success, with COVID-19 prevention and control measures strictly conducted during the process./.
Senior officials talk ways to boost Vietnam-Finland relations
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto expressed their delight at the positive development of relations between the two nations during their phone talks on December 22.
Haavisto congratulated Vietnam on its successful containment of COVID-19 and voiced his belief that both sides will overcome negative impacts of the pandemic to foster bilateral ties more strongly in the time to come.
The two officials agreed that Vietnam and Finland will resume mutual visits as soon as conditions allow while still maintaining bilateral cooperation mechanisms.
Minh and Haavisto also discussed measures to bolster bilateral economic, trade and investment links as the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) has come into force, along with ways to strengthen cooperation in highly potential areas such as education-training, science-technology, development cooperation, and the environment.
The Finnish minister congratulated Vietnam on its successful performance as Chair of ASEAN in 2020 while highly valuing the country’s role, position, and efforts as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021.
Minh asked Finland to keep supporting, assisting, and sharing with Vietnam in issues of common concern within the frameworks of the UN and other multilateral forums.
He stressed that Vietnam is ready to act as a trustworthy bridge between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the EU./.
Hanoi builds 600 new European standard bus stop shelters
The Hanoi government has just approved to invest in a synchronous construction project for installing bus stop shelters and billboards in 12 urban districts.
Some 600 new European standard shelters have been built at public bus stops in Hanoi, the Government Portal reported.
This is part of a plan to invest in a synchronous construction project for installing bus stop shelters and billboards in 12 urban districts, aiming to encourage Hanoi’s residents to switch to public transportation usage, thus easing traffic congestion and improving air quality.
According to the municipal People’s Committee, of the 600, 235 shelters will be newly installed, 1,200 advertising boards will be installed at the median strips wider than two meters.
Besides, 25 touch screens will be installed and connected to WiFi for real-time bus tracking, and advertising.
The project will be deployed in 12 urban districts, including Ba Dinh, Hai Ba Trung, Long Bien, Thanh Xuan, Hoan Kiem, Tay Ho, BacTu Liem, Nam Tu Liem, Cau Giay, Hoang Mai, Dong Da and Ha Dong.
The investor will invest 100% of cost of construction, operation, exploitation and maintenance for the whole project within 20 years, under the PPP format.
Currently, suburban bus routes account for 57% of Hanoi’s public transport, playing an essential role in serving inter-city passengers and connecting its peripheral areas with the city’s downtown, according to Hanoi Department of Transport.
There are 71 bus routes operating in outlying districts with more than 2,100 bus stops. Only 23 of them are sheltered, accounting for under 1%, the department said.
The average distance between two stops is 900m while the operating frequency of suburban buses is low, forcing passengers to wait for long time for buses in these areas.
The Hanoi government has been working to expand the city’s public transport network as motor vehicle traffic worsens, but progress has been slow.
PM urges strong measures to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine testing
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on December 21 asked vaccine research units to take strong measures, and suitable and creative methods to speed up vaccine trials in the country.
Chairing a meeting of permanent Cabinet members, the PM asked relevant agencies to create maximum conditions for domestic units to conduct vaccine research. He assigned the Ministry of Health to coordinate with the Ministry of Science and Technology and authorized agencies in determining the vaccine production capacity of domestic enterprises to take appropriate and timely support measures.
He also requested using the funds for clinical trials for the right purposes and in an effective way.
The Ministry of Health should learn experience of countries around the world in conducting COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials to speed up the testing of NANOGEN’s Nanocovax vaccine in order to soon put it into use, while looking for foreign partners to cooperate in implementing the phase-three clinical trial of the domestically produced vaccine, the Government leader noted.
Under the direction and state management of the Ministry of Health, the Vietnam Military Medical University will coordinate with the Institute of Biotechnology under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology and relevant agencies to build a project to develop a vaccine research and development centre for prevention and control of human infectious diseases, including a grade 3 or 4 biosafety laboratory.
Regarding the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines from other countries, the PM affirmed that a certain volume of vaccines is needed to protect people’s health. He asked the Ministry of Health to soon complete a project to determine the purchase of an appropriate country’s vaccine, and search for more suppliers.
Amid the complicated developments of the pandemic in the world and the region, PM Phuc stressed that raising vigilance is still the most important measure to prevent and control the disease.
People nationwide should closely follow the message featuring 5K (in Vietnamese) Khau trang (facemask) – Khu khuan (disinfection) – Khoang cach (distance) – Khong tu tap (no gathering) – Khai bao y te (health declaration) in order to live safely with the novel coronavirus in ‘new normal’, he said.
Meanwhile, agencies at all levels must prevent violations of quarantine regulations from repeating and localities, especially big cities, need to enhance inspections of pandemic prevention and control./.
VinaPhone 5G network launched in Hanoi, HCM City
Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) announced on December 19 it officially launches VinaPhone 5G network in Hanoi and HCM City.
This is a milestone in Vietnam’s technology development as 5G technology is bringing about important changes in all aspects of social life while at the same time laying a solid foundation for building a digital government in the country.
Upon the successful launch of the Vinaphone 5G network, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Phan Tam said to date, three big telecommunications and information technology enterprises have helped Vietnam advance into the one of the leading countries in 5G deployment worldwide.
Experts have agreed the ownership of 5G equipment has a national strategic meaning.
All three major carriers in Vietnam, including Viettel, VinaPhone, and MobiFone, have deployed 5G networks in Hanoi and HCM City. With speeds 10 times higher than the current 4G, 5G is expected to solve data network problems while providing smoother speed experiences./.
Japan’s Fujifilm to produce COVID-19 antigen test kits in Vietnam
Japanese precision chemistry firm Fujifilm Corp. is planning to expand its production facilities in Vietnam to make SARS-CoV-2 antigen test kits to serve the global markets.
An official of the Tokyo-based company was quoted by Kyodo News Agency as saying Fujifilm will invest an undisclosed amount in Fujifilm Yuwa Medical Products Vietnam Co., a joint venture producing diagnostic agents, in stages starting in the next fiscal year to build a monthly production capacity of 2 million testing kits. A date for the start of production has yet to be decided.
With its own technology used in the photo printing process, the kits can quickly and easily detect the novel coronavirus antigens. In Japan, Fujifilm plans to produce the kits at its plant in Kanagawa Prefecture, west of Tokyo, as it has applied for manufacturing and marketing approval to the state’s examining authority.
Fujifilm Yuwa Medical Products was established in May in the southern province of Binh Duong, with Fujifilm owning 51 percent and Yuwa Co., a molding maker based in Japanese Nagano Prefecture, 49 percent. It began producing diagnostic drugs in November this year.
In antigen tests, doctors insert swabs into a patient’s nostril and put nasal discharge on a testing kit plate to get the result on site. Despite its lower accuracy than the currently dominant polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests, the quick and easy method is expected to be used in airports and event venues as well as hospitals./.
50 foreign NGOs receive VUFO certificate of merit
|VUFO Chairwoman Nguyen Phuong Nga presents the certificate of merit to a NGO representative|
The rewards were granted to the NGOs by Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, Chairwoman of the VUFO, at a ceremony on December 21.
Addressing the event, Nga praised the spiritual and material support and active cooperation of more than 500 foreign NGOs in Vietnam, saying they have made important contributions to the achievements of the country during the year full of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
She noted that foreign non-governmental organisations, typically those receiving the certificate of merit this time, actively responded to the call of the VUFO to join hands with the Vietnamese people in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, coping with drought and saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta provinces; and overcoming storm and flood consequences in a number of central provinces through specific, practical and timely programmes, projects and activities.
Activities of the organisations also targeted disadvantaged groups in the community such as women, children and people with disabilities, she added.
In 2020, foreign NGOs provided aid to Vietnam in many socio-economic areas such as health, education, agricultural and rural development, and social issues, protection of natural resources and environment, with a total value estimated at 250 million USD.
Of which nearly 9 million USD was for dealing with the aftermath of floods and storms in the central region and 6.5 million USD for COVID-19 prevention and control./.
Southeast Asian countries act to prevent COVID-19 spread
Many Southeast Asian countries have taken various measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus since the number of infections have increased in the nations recently.
The confirmed COVID-19 caseload in Thailand soared by 382 on December 21, 360 of them were migrant workers from Myanmar who had close link to an outbreak at a wholesale seafood market in Samut Sakhon province near Bangkok.
The number of new infections surged due to intensive testing of thousands of migrant workers in the fishing industry.
Permanent secretary for public health Kiatiphum Wongrajit said the Thai authorities are testing 10,000 migrant Myanmar workers, and the number is expected to increase to 40,000 in a bid to contain the outbreak within the province.
Samut Sakhon has been put under lockdown with a curfew from 10pm-5am in effect until January, together with social distancing and travel restriction.
Thailand has so far confirmed a total 5,289 COVID-19 cases, including 60 deaths.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the Health Ministry to allocate more fabric facemasks to the provinces bordering Thailand’s Samut Sakhon, with three main border gates of O’ Smach, Daung and Poipet to receive a large number of facemasks.
Besides, localities having border with Thailand have prepared disposable facemasks for migrant workers coming back to the country.
Earlier, Hun Sen announced to grant 50 million KHR (12,500 USD) for seven provinces bordering Thailand to cope with the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Philippines documented 1,721 new cases and 10 deaths on December 21, increasing the total infections to 461,505 and deaths to 8,957.
According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the Philippines has ensured vaccination for some 22 million people, or 20 percent of the population. Last month, the nation signed a deal with AstraZeneca to buy 2.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. It targets inoculation for around 60 million people in 3-5 years.
Amidst the complicated development of the pandemic, Indonesia and Myanmar have enhanced restriction measures to prevent risks of new outbreaks during Christmas and New Year Holiday.
As of December 21, the COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 6,848 within one day to 671,778, with the death toll adding by 205 to 20,085. Meanwhile, Myanmar logged 116,000 infections and 2,443 deaths./.
Hanoi takes lead in environmental quality monitoring
Hanoi has implemented an array of environmental protection solutions.
Hanoi is currently the leading locality in Vietnam in establishing a modern and uniform environmental quality monitoring system.
The municipal authority also publicly releases environmental monitoring data on the website https://moitruongthudo.vn.
Mai Trong Thai, head of the city’s Environment Protection Division under the Environment Department, said that his division has advised the municipal People’s Committee to enhance the planning work on environmental protection, especially environment monitoring, to make it uniform with other specialized plans in the city’s socio-economic development master plan.
Mr. Thai said his division has been operating 35 automatic air monitoring stations, six surface water monitoring stations, a waste water monitoring station at Nam Son waste treatment complex in Soc Son district, and one mobile air monitoring truck.
“We have invested in rolling out 15 fixed air environmental monitoring stations, three radioactive monitoring equipment, five water monitoring stations, and six underground water monitoring stations,” Mr. Thai said.
We have set the target to complete the environmental monitoring network in the city by 2021,” he added.
In the time ahead, the Hanoi Department of Natural Resources and Environment will keep applying the software for modeling pollution data transmission and forecast, identifying pollution causes, developing short-term/medium-term/long-term action plans for environmental protection, and proactively responding to environmental incidents and climate change.
Earlier, the city has implemented an array of environmental protection solutions, checked development plans which include climate change adaptation factors, prioritized eco-friendly projects and focused on implementing sustainable environmental protection solutions towards a building a low carbon city.
Hanoi has so far installed 50 indoor sensor stations at schools and some offices to provide people with timely air quality indicators. This helps policy-makers come up with appropriate regulations in improving air quality.
Deputy Defence Minister hosts Cambodian officials
Deputy Defence Minister Sen. Lieut. Gen Hoang Xuan Chien hosted a reception in Hanoi on December 21 for Cambodia’s Ambassador to Vietnam Chay Navuth and defence attaché Col. Rem Kan, who recently took office in Vietnam.
Chien suggested that both sides regularly hold consultations, exchange information, and educate their officials and soldiers about the traditional friendship, solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation between the two peoples and armies.
He asked them to work closely with border protection and management forces, maintain joint patrols at sea between naval forces, boost cooperation in personnel training, and step up the search for and repatriation of the remains of Vietnamese voluntary soldiers and experts who laid down their lives in Cambodia.
Navuth, for his part, vowed to deepen partnerships, including defence ties, in a practical and effective manner for the benefit of the two peoples, contributing to realising the goals of the ASEAN Community and for the sake of peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world./.
30,000 meth pills seized in Lao Cai province
|Police in the northern border province of Lao Cai on December 20 arrest four men, seizing 30,000 meth pills they are trafficking.|
The men are Ly My La from the northern province of Ha Giang, and Vang A Sau, Ly Seo Ta and Ly Van Phuc, all from Lao Cai province.
The investigation unveiled that Ly My La purchased 12,000 meth pills from a Lao woman at a price of 230 million VND (9,952 USD). He then asked Ly Seo Ta to buy another 18,000 pills valued at 270 million VND from Vang A Sau.
Ly Seo Ta asked his son – Ly Van Phuc – and a person called Nha to transport the pills for selling.
They were arrested in Ban Cam hamlet, Ban Cam commune, Bao Thang district, Lao Cai province.
The case is under further investigation.
HCM City leader extends Christmas, New Year greetings to city diocese
Secretary of the Party Central Committee and Secretary of the HCM City Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen has visited and extended his Christmas and New Year greetings to the city diocese.
Nen wished the archbishop, priests, and dignitaries as well as the Catholic community in the diocese a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. He lauded their contributions in fostering solidarity and guiding the Catholic community to implement the Party and State’s policies and laws.
He said that, in 2020, the city and the country as a whole faced difficulties due to COVID-19 and then natural disasters. However, with the joint efforts of the government and local authorities and people, the city overcame the obstacles and maintained socio-economic development.
But there is much to do in the future, he said, underlining the need to continue controlling the pandemic, implementing the resolution of the 11th city Party Congress, and completing socio-economic tasks.
He expressed his belief that in 2020, the archbishop, priests, and dignitaries as well as the Catholic community in the diocese will continue to join hands with local authorities to build great national unity and further develop the city.
On behalf of the diocese, Archbishop Nguyen Nang thanked city leaders for creating the optimal conditions for the Catholic community to practice their religion and overcome difficulties brought about by the pandemic and natural disasters.
He affirmed that dignitaries and Catholics in the diocese will always stay united and accompany the Party, government, and people of HCM City to build a civilised, prosperous, and sentimental city.
On the occasion, the municipal People’s Committee handed over documents of five Catholic parishes – Tan Lap, Cong Thanh, Tan My, Tan Hiep, and Binh An – to the diocese, thus providing better conditions for the Catholic community to conduct their religious activities./.
Hanoi considers e-government key for breakthroughs in administrative reforms
The establishment of e-government, along with smart city projects and IT application in state management, is considered key step for Hanoi to make breakthroughs in administrative reforms.
Since the beginning of the year, Hanoi has adopted video conferencing technology at all 579 wards, communes and villages, while establishing and putting into use core databases on population, enterprises and insurance, among others.
Thanks to broad application of information technology in processing administrative procedures, over 1,448 online public services in Hanoi, or 81% of the total, are available at advanced stages of 3 and 4 out of a 4-level scale so far.
Meanwhile, the number of online applications submitted to the municipal public services portal has hit the 300.000 mark, with 90% of which being processed on time.
Notably, the rate of online tax declaration has reached 98%, online tax payment 95%, and 100% enterprises register businesses online.
This year, Hanoi targets 100% of documents exchanged among state agencies are in form of e-document; reducing the average time of meetings by 30 – 50%; 90% of meetings of the municipal People’s Committee and 80% of meetings among local units are carried out online; progressively adopting public online services at advanced stages 3 and 4 for 100% of all administrative processes, with at least 35% of which in stage 4.
To achieve these targets, Hanoi has completed expanding the wide area network (WAN) to 100% of communes, wards and villages, while providing sufficient IT infrastructure to local authorities at grassroots levels for greater convenience of enterprises and citizens in handling administrative processes.
In Dong Da district, the local government has set up various chat groups for quick assignment and efficient management. Therefore, those participating in these groups can access new information and issues that required immediate attention.
Additionally, internal operations of the local authorities are managed via an online working system using digital signatures.
“The system has been connected with that of the city, helping us reduce costs and expenses related to paper documents,” said Do Thuy Linh, an IT staffer at Dong Da district People’s Committee.
“By working in an online environment, we have been able to maintain smooth operations while still complying with the social distancing orders during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Linh added.
Similarly, all 18 wards in Hai Ba Trung District are now adopting online working system to send and receive e-documents.
Dong Hong Anh, a public servant at Bach Mai ward, said the rate of people using online administrative services is up to 90%.
The Satisfaction Index of Public Administration Services (SIPAS) of Hanoi in 2018 was 83%, resulting in an increase of 16 ranks against 2017 and completing two years in advance the targets set in Program No.08 of the municipal Party Committee on administrative reform in 2016 – 2020.
Hanoi remains the second of 63 provinces/cities in the public administration index (PAR) for two consecutive years 2018 – 2019; 9th nationwide in the provincial competitiveness index (CPI) in 2018, rising 15 positions against 2015; and ranked second nationally in index of IT application readiness, among others.
Hanoi to build large-scale entertainment parks soon
The city is calling for investment in entertainment parks that meet regional and international standards.
Hanoi’s authorities have approved a 1/500 scale detailed planning map for Ho Tay Water Park and New Sun Park, allowing the construction of these facilities to get started soon.
The new entertainment parks would help the city avoid the current shortage of sizable amusement parks and modern entertainment complexes.
Under the plan, these amusement parks will have spaces reserved for indoor and outdoor activities and theme parks. Ho Tay Water Park is expected to become an attraction with a comprehensive technical infrastructure.
Currently, Ho Tay Water Park and Bao Son Paradise Park, Hanoi’s two biggest outdoor entertainment complexes, together with some indoor fun zones located in shopping malls such as Vincom Royal City, Vincom Mega Mall Times City and Aeon Mall have been unable to meet the demand for recreation of Hanoi’s residents.
According to Chairman of Sunvina Travel Company Ta Huu Chien, Hanoi is lacking large-scale entertainment and recreation complexes that are attractive enough for travelers to spend more money and time.
Former General Secretary of the Association of Cities of Vietnam Nguyen Lan told Kinh te & Do thi that the city should call for investment to build parks of the size of Disneyland Resort (California, the US), DreamWord (Golden Coast, Australia), or Everland (South Korea), Disneyland (Paris, France). These parks are expected not only to meet the local demand but also serve foreign tourists.
According to the Hanoi Department of Planning and Architecture, building large scale amusement parks that meet regional and international standards is already in the city’s planning of parks and flower gardens. However, it is facing shortage of funding to be carried out and the city is counting on private resources for this purpose.
Hanoi is calling for domestic and foreign investment in various entertainment projects, including a 96 hectare amusement park project in Ha Cau ward, Ha Dong Distric; a project on ecological and flower garden in Bac Tu Liem district, in an area of 178 ha; a project of theme parks along the Hanoi – Hai Phong Highway (in Long Bien and Gia Lam districts), in an area of 200 ha and the project of Dong Mo Entertainment Service and Tourist Park in Son Tay town, in 264ha.
UNDP project aims to accelerate socio-economic development in ethnic minority areas
|UNDP project aims to accelerate socio-economic development in ethnic minority areas hinh anh 1
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister-Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs Do Van Chien briefed on the process of building the national target programme (NTP) for socio-economic development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in the 2021 – 2030 period.
This is the first time Vietnam has had a national target programme dedicated to ethnic minority and mountainous areas, he noted, adding that estimated budget for its first phase (2021 – 2025) approved by the National Assembly is over 137 trillion VND (5.86 billion USD).
However, the implementation of the programme is facing numerous difficulties, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chien said.
UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen believed that the ethnic minorities, with their creativeness, will turn the national target programme into an effective tool to promote local socio-economic development.
UNDP is willing to cooperate with the Committee for Ethnic Minorities, ministries, agencies and provinces to support the Vietnamese Government in this important effort, said she.
The project aims to provide policy consultancy and technical support for the development of guiding documents for the NTP and SEDEMA implementation, including an assessment of implementation results mechanisms adopted in the New Rural Development and the NTP on Sustainable Poverty Reduction so as to inform and recommend the appropriate, innovative mechanisms for adoption in the NTP and SEDEMA.
It will also deliver technical support to the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs in development and introduction of innovative solutions under the NTP-SEDEMA and launching event, as well as technical support for digital transformation in implementation and management of the NTP- SEDEMA.
UN Security Council worries about Middle East peace process
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov reported the developments in the Middle East to the UN Security Council via a videoconference on December 21, highlighting the challenges in implementing Security Council resolution 2334.
He noted that Israel has continued with plans on settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, adding that half of the settlements are deep in the West Bank, in areas crucial for the contiguity and viability of a future Palestinian State.
He said that the activities violate UN resolutions and international law, pointing out that houses of Palestinians, including those in East Jerusalem, have continued to be destroyed, while violence has occurred frequently.
Representatives of many members of the council voiced their deep concern about the situation and called on all parties to abide by resolutions of the UN, end violence, protect civilians and resume negotiations.
Ambassador Pham Hai Anh, Chargé d’Affaires of the Vietnamese mission to the UN said that settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have no legal validity and constitute a violation of international law and United Nations resolutions.
Showing concern about the continuous violence recently, he urged all parties to practice restraint and not to conduct actions complicating the situation and hindering negotiations and dialogues.
Vietnam support the intermediary role of the UN and welcomed international cooperation initiatives that help reach a fair, sustainable and long-term solution to the Middle East peace process, he stated.
The ambassador also underlined Vietnam’s support to the two-State solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestine State, in line with international law and UN resolutions.
The meeting is held every three months to discuss the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016) on the peace process in the Middle East.
The same day, Canada announced a grant of 70 million USD to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
This support, to be delivered in three years, will help respond to the rising needs of vulnerable Palestinian refugees in UNRWA’s 5 areas of operation – the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, according to a statement of Canada’s Foreign Ministry.
It added that the aid will allow more than half a million children to receive a quality education and will help finance more than 140 primary health clinics, as well as provide shelter and food to indigent refugees.
From 2016-2019, Canada spent 85 million USD to support UNRWA. It also provided 1.1 million USD in April to help it respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US used to provide UNRWA with 300 million USD a year, roughly a third of its core annual budget. But President Donald Trump’s government stopped the aid in 2018.
PM asks court sector to become “stronghold of justice”
The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) held a national teleconference on December 21 to review the sector’s performance in 2020 and the 2016-2020 tenure and set tasks for next year.
It reported that, over the last five years, courts nationwide have handled more than 2.3 million cases, equivalent to 97.6 percent of the total received, with improved quality.
The rate of verdicts and judgements cancelled or amended every year is less than 1.5 percent, meeting the target set by the National Assembly. Courts have also tried a large number of serious and complex economic and corruption cases that attracted public attention, the SPC noted.
Appreciating their significant contributions to the country’s achievements during the 2016-2020 tenure, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that under the Party and State’s resolutions on judicial reform, courts at all levels have proactively devised breakthrough solutions to improve judicial quality, carry out the judicial reform strategy, and fulfil assigned tasks.
The court sector has exercised judicial power and performed its functions and tasks well, thereby protecting justice, human rights, and the rights and legitimate interests of collectives and individuals, he said.
The Government leader added that the sector has brought major corruption cases to trial in a timely and stringent fashion while actively and effectively taking part in the fight against corruption, winning high evaluation from the Party, State, and people.
During the period, courts at all levels dealt with more than 1,100 corruption cases with 2,600 defendants, recovering trillions of Vietnamese dong and many assets for the State.
The PM also highlighted their efforts to enhance discipline among judges and staff and promote cooperation with international partners.
Pointing out certain shortcomings in courts’ performance, he said the rate of cancelled or amended administrative judgements remains high; some verdicts and judgements are not sufficiently clear, hampering enforcement; or the time to settle many business cases or bankruptcy applications is still too long.
These problems have directly affected Vietnam’s investment and business climate, he noted.
Regarding tasks for the time ahead, the PM asked court cadres to work out detailed orientations, targets, tasks, and solutions for a new judicial reform strategy so that the sector can better meet requirements in the new context.
He also requested they continue improving quality in handling cases, actively implement directions from the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption, and accelerate the settlement of serious corruption cases and those attracting public attention.
Phuc told people’s courts to strive to become a “stronghold of justice”, thus meeting the Party and State’s requirements and people’s expectations.
At the teleconference, the Supreme People’s Court also marked the sector’s connection with the National E-Document Exchange Platform and the launch of the court sector’s public services on the National Public Service Portal.
Hanoi seeks special mechanisms to accelerate two mega ring roads
The two ring roads would connect Hanoi with near 10 other provinces.
Hanoi city’s authorities have proposed to the central government special mechanisms for speeding up two billion-dollar ring roads No.4 and 5 that would connect 10 provinces to boost economic growth, local media reported.
The special mechanism would be in forms of simplified procedures so that the Ministry of Transport (MoT) and provinces and cities involved in the projects could fast-track them.
Hanoi also suggested that the MoT should be in charge of the construction of the entire ring road No.5 connecting eight provinces and cities in the North to ensure better connectivity, while Hanoi would be responsible for ring road No.4 whose construction would start the immediate future.
For ring road No.5, as of May 2020, only a small section of it has been completed with investment capital of US$170 million.
Under a prime ministerial decision, ring road No.4 has a total length of 136.6 kilometers connecting Hanoi with Vinh Phuc, Hung Yen, Bac Ninh and Bac Giang provinces.
Costing some VND72 trillion (US$ 3.1 million), ring road No.4 crosses 14 districts of three localities. The section that runs through the capital city spans 56.5km across the seven local districts of Soc Son, Me Linh, Dan Phuong, Hoai Duc, Thanh Oai, Thuong Tin, and Ha Dong.
The 331-km ring road No.5, meanwhile, crosses 35 districts of eight northern provinces and cities, including Hanoi, Hoa Binh, Ha Nam, Thai Binh, Hai Duong, Bac Giang, Thai Nguyen, and Vinh Phuc. Its section through Hanoi is about 48km long.
As such, the number of ring roads to connect Hanoi city with other Vietnamese provinces and cities will be seven, including ring roads 1, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4 and 5.
Nearly 360 Vietnamese citizens brought home from US
Nearly 360 Vietnamese citizens were brought home safely on a flight arranged by Vietnamese and US agencies together with national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines on December 21-22.The passengers included children under 18, the elderly, the ill, students who completed their studies without accommodations and those in extremely difficult circumstances.
Vietnamese representative offices in the US helped citizens in remote areas travel to airports in Washington D.C and Los Angeles, and sent staff to assist them with boarding procedures.
To ensure health for the citizens and prevent the spread of COVID-19, strict security, safety and epidemiological measures were applied during the flight.
After landing at Noi Bai international airport in Hanoi, all passengers and crew members on the flights had their health checked and sent to quarantine in line with regulations.
The repatriation of Vietnamese citizens in disadvantaged circumstances abroad will continue to be conducted in line with citizens’ wishes, the development of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine capacity in the country./.
More Vietnamese citizens brought home from RoK, Japan
Nearly 700 Vietnamese citizens were flown back to Vietnam from the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Japan on flights of the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines on December 20 and 21.
The flights were arranged by relevant agencies of Vietnam and the host countries, with passengers being children under 18, pregnant women, elderly people, and workers with expired contracts and students who have completed their studies, and other with disadvantaged circumstances.
To ensure health for the citizens and prevent the spread of COVID-19, strict security, safety and epidemiological measures were applied during the flights.
After landing at Tan Son Nhat international airport in Ho Chi Minh City, all passengers and crew members on the flights had their health checked and sent to quarantine in line with regulations.
The repatriation of Vietnamese citizens in disadvantaged circumstances abroad will continue to be conducted in line with citizens’ wishes, the development of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine capacity in the country./.
Hanoi plans development of Red River’s northern bank
The northern bank of the Red River is designed to be a new and modern urban area.
As Hanoi’s authorities have approved the urban area planning for the northern bank of the Red River, many experts say this will be a great opportunity for urban development in the area, helping reduce overpopulation in the downtown in the future, Kinhtedothi.vn reported.
According to Hanoi’s Construction Master Plan till 2030 with a vision to 2050 approved by the prime minister, the northern bank of the Red river is designed to be a new and modern urban area.
Based on the general planning, the municipal government has prepared and approved many planning sub-projects in this area as a basis for future investments in a number of important works such as Nhat Tan-Noi Bai axis (along Vo Nguyen Giap avenue), T2 terminal of Noi Bai International Airport, Nhat Tan bridge, Hoang Sa-Truong Sa avenue, among others.
These works have gradually built up a modern urban profile in the northern region of the Red river, including Dong Anh district.
Vice Chairman of the Dong Anh district People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Tam said that the urban area planning was approved with the expectation of reducing overpopulation in Hanoi’s downtown to 0.8 million people from 1.26 million.
Besides, this is an opportunity for Dong Anh district to attract competent investors for construction projects in the district by 2025, Tam noted.
To help the northern bank of the Red river develop comprehensively and quickly to attract more people to settle in the area, it is important to upgrade transport infrastructure. Hanoi has recently announced the architectural plan of Tu Lien bridge, a modern bridge that will connect Hanoi-Thai Nguyen highway, Ring Road No.3, urban areas of Dong Anh district with Hanoi’s downtown.
Deputy Minister of Construction Nguyen Dinh Toan emphasized that the current solutions and policies for easing Hanoi’s population density are not effective in dealing with the increasing population density in Hanoi’s downtown and the booming of high-rise buildings.
With Nhat Tan bridge and the to-be-built Tu Lien bridge, Dong Anh district would be more accessible from Hanoi’s downtown and therefore, it is feasible for Hanoi downtown’s residents to move to Dong Anh district, Toan said.
Social policy bank contributes to national sustainable development
The Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) was awarded the “Labour Hero in Renewal Period” title for its contributions to promoting sustainable poverty reduction, new-style rural area building and ensuring social welfare policies in the country, at a ceremony on December 21.
Addressing the event, Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, who is also Deputy Chairwoman of the Central Emulation and Rewards Council, praised the bank for the successful implementation of its development strategy in the 2011-2020 period.
She stressed that the Party and State have always attached important to social welfare policies, which are considered both the target and a motivation for the nation’s sustainable development.
The social policy credit is really an innovative solution which suits the conditions in the country, significantly contributing to successfully implementing the socio-economic development strategy in 2011-2020, the Vice President said.
According to the Vice President, the bank has timely and effectively implemented social policy credit programmes with improved quality, helping realize the national goal of sustainable poverty reduction and social security guarantee.
She suggested the bank continue to develop towards autonomy, stability and sustainability, and build its development strategy for the next 10 years.
Vice President Thinh also asked the bank to review, amend, and finalise mechanisms and policies on social policy credit and propose adjustments to relevant laws, in order to effectively mobilize, manage and use resources for social policy credit.
According to VBSP General Director Duong Quyet Thang, the bank’s capital for policy credit activities has grown at an average 10 percent per year in the last ten years, reaching over 235.6 trillion VND (over 10 billion USD at current exchange rate) by the end of 2020.
The total value of loans under social policy credit programmes has increased by 2.5 times from over 89.4 trillion VND in 2010 to 226.2 trillion VND by the end of 2020, with 6.5 million borrowers. The figure include 56.34 trillion VND owed by borrowers who are minority ethnic people or residents in mountainous areas.
The bank’s social policy credit programmes have reached all communes in ethnic minority and mountainous areas.
Ketut Kusuma, a Senior Financial Sector Specialist from the World Bank expressed his impression on achievements made by the bank, saying that the success implementation of social policy credit in Vietnam can help the country realise millennium goals ahead of schedule./.
Incense offering ceremony for Vietnamese martyrs held in Cambodia
A delegation led by Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia Vu Quang Minh offered incense to fallen soldiers at the Vietnam – Cambodia Friendship Monument in Phnom Penh on December 21.
The event was part of activities to mark the 31st anniversary of Vietnam’s All People’s Defence Festival and the 76th anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army (December 22).
A delegation from the Royal Cambodian Army led by Defence Ministry Secretary of State Gen. El Van Sarat also attended.
They observed a minute’s silence for Vietnamese voluntary soldiers who laid down their lives in Cambodia during the war.
Tens of thousands of Vietnamese voluntary soldiers and experts died while performing international duty in Cambodia during wartime, and the remains of many of them are still not found. The Governments of the two countries have coordinated to conduct search for and repatriate the remains for many years.
Over the last two decades, the An Giang provincial Military Command’s Team K93 has collected and repatriated 1,956 remains of martyrs who were Vietnamese voluntary soldiers and experts in Cambodia, 251 of whom have been identified.
Earlier, on December 18 and 19, the Vietnamese Consulates General in Preah Sihanouk and Battambang provinces also organised incense offering ceremonies in memory of Vietnamese war heroes who sacrificed their lives in Cambodia./.
Uzbekistan looks to boost ties with Vietnam
Uzbekistan considers Vietnam an important partner and a bridge to help the Central Asian country build relations with other Southeast Asian nations, said Uzbekistani Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov.
The Uzbekistan official made the statement when receiving a letter of credentials presented by Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia and Uzbekistan Ngo Duc Manh at the Uzbekistan Embassy in Moscow on December 21.
During the meeting, Kamilov spoke highly of his country’s traditional relations and sound friendship with Vietnam, expressing the hope to expand cooperation with the Southeast Asian country in agriculture and light industry.
He briefed on Uzbekistan’s socio-economic development achievements in recent years, affirming that Uzbekistan maintains win-win cooperation with its neighbours and foreign partners.
In an interview with the National Television of Uzbekistan after the meeting, Ambassador Manh highlighted the friendly bilateral relations, saying that Vietnam wants to promote the exchange of delegations at all levels, economic and trade cooperation and people-to-people exchange between the two countries.
He took the occasion to thank the Uzbekistani Embassy in Moscow for its effective cooperation with its Vietnamese counterpart, thus contributing to strengthening multifaceted cooperation between the two nations./.
Largest biomedical data management platform launched in Vietnam
The platform can store and process hundreds of PetaByte of data, as well as analyzing the whole genome in less than 30 minutes.
VinBigdata Institute under Vingroup on December 18 officially launched the largest biomedical data management and analysis system in Vietnam (https://genome.vinbigdata.org), Kinh te & Do thi Newspaper reported.
Built since June 2019, the system currently stores more than 1200 TeraBytes of data and nearly 5000 biological samples related to the 1000 Vietnamese genome projects and other application projects in accordance with the standards of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The design of the information security system follows the European General Information Security Regulation (GDPR).
It is expected that by the end of 2021, the system will update data sets from applied research projects on disease risks and drug effects by VinBigdata.
The system can store and process hundreds of PetaByte of data, as well as analyze the whole genome in less than 30 minutes, making it easy for parties to access, search, analyze and share data.
In the future, the project will become a valuable and reliable reference portal for Vietnamese people and the world biomedical research community.
On the same day, VinBigdata Big Data Institute announced its partnership with 10 leading prestigious research organizations in the world in the field of precision medicine.
The cooperation aims to promote research and accurate medical application in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, among others.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Prof. Vu Ha Van, Scientific Director of Vingroup Big Data Institute, said: “Vingroup will take advantage of global technological breakthroughs to promote research and development projects which will bring practical benefits to Vietnamese people.”
For his part, Associate Professor Michael Winther from Lee Kong Chian Medical School under Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) said, on behalf of international partners, that this cooperation is essential for the advancement of genetic medicine in the region, as only when studying common and unique characteristics of each population, can scientists fully exploit the potential of genetic medicine.
Top legislator visits Military Zone 5
Chairwoman of the National Assembly (NA) Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan held a working session on December 21 in the central city of Da Nang with the High Command of Military Zone 5, which covers the strategic area of central and Central Highlands provinces.
Military Zone 5 has completed all missions assigned, particularly in training and combat readiness, contributed significantly to national construction and protection, and proven its core role in natural disaster response and addressing the aftermath, as well as in the fight against COVID-19, the NA leader noted at the meeting.
The area faced six successive storms and tropical depressions this year and hundreds of thousands of personnel from the local armed force were mobilised on search and rescue operations, repairing damaged local facilities and conducting sanitation work, she said.
She recommended the military zone strengthen its forces and pay due regard to political education for its personnel.
The official ordered the enhancement of the protection of internal politics and the Party’s ideological foundation, to effectively combat “peaceful evolution” plots by hostile forces and to offer prompt advice to localities and sectors in addressing complex issues.
Ngan asked the military zone to join hands with local Party Committees and authorities to consolidate national defence, particularly at sea, on islands, and in border areas.
She said it should remain attentive to reinforcing national solidarity via the socio-economic and cultural development of remote locations and areas inhabited by ethnic minorities.
Ngan also highlighted other key tasks, such as mass mobilisation, poverty reduction, and developing economic-defence zones.
Earlier on the same day, Ngan and her entourage visited and presented gifts to Heroic Mother Trinh Thi Thin and Hero of the People’s Armed Forces Le Hai Ly in Da Nang.
Thailand: over 10,000 to be tested after new COVID-19 outbreak
Thai authorities announced on December 20 that the country will begin to test tens of thousands of people for coronavirus and extend curbs on movement, after a record daily surge in coronavirus cases to over 500.
Taweesin Wisanuyothin, spokesman for the Thai government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration said by December 23, the country aim to conduct 10,300 tests in the southwest province of Samut Sakhon, where the outbreak appeared, and nearby provinces such as Samut Songkhram and Nakhon Pathom.
Active case findings will continue in several provinces, actually across the country, he noted.
Thailand, the first country outside China to report coronavirus infections, has largely kept the outbreak under control with 4,907 cases and 60 deaths as of December 17.
However, the country confirmed 576 new infections on December 19-20, including 516 migrant workers in Samut Sakhon province.
Previously, on December 17, the Thai Government announced one case of community infection – a woman vendor at the Central Shrimp Market in Samut Sakhon. According to epidemiological information, the woman has not left Thailand and the source of infection has not been determined.
Thai Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul said that the outbreak may have originated from illegal migrant workers from the Myanmar border into Samut Sakhon, which is a fishing hub with tens of thousands of migrant workers from countries in the region.
The Cambodian government on December 20 asked local authorities to strengthen safety measures along the border after neighbouring Thailand reported more than 500 COVID-19 cases in its Samut Sakhon, which is located about 300 km away from Cambodia’s border.
Health Minister Mam Bunheng said in a statement that the authorities along Cambodia’s provincial border with Thailand must be on high alert and must check health for all incoming travelers thoroughly, screening their body’s temperatures and requiring them to fill in health declaration forms.
All travelers entering Cambodia must undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine, and their samples must be taken on the same day they enter Cambodia, he added.
Cambodia has reported no new cases of COVID-19 infections in the last five days. According to its Ministry of Health, the country has recorded a total of 362 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, with no deaths and 345 recoveries.
Meanwhile, the Philippines announced 1,754 new cases of COVID-19 and 36 deaths on December 20, raising the total cases to 459,789 and fatalities to 8,947./.
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