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EC Executive Vice President to visit Vietnam this week

Executive Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans will pay a visit to Viet Nam from February 17-19, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Monday.

Vietnam ready for vaccination campaign for children aged five to 11

The Ministry of Health is outlying procedures to immunise children aged five to 11 against COVID-19 in line with recommendations made by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The Ministry’s Health Strategy and Policy Institute has recently conducted an online poll that indicates 60.6% of parents with children under 12 agreed with the need to inoculate their children against COVID-19. Roughly 29.1% of the respondents said they were considering the plan, whilst just 1.9% of polled parents said they did not agree.

According to Prof. Dr. Phan Trong Lan, head of the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health, if vaccinated children aged five to 11 years old show fewer symptoms and milder symptoms than adults in the event that they are infected.

Furthermore, he said the Pfizer vaccine that will be used for child immunisation has been approved by the WHO and the Food and Drug Administration of the United States, as well as the European Medicines Agency.

The vaccine will therefore be given to children in this age group via two injections, at an interval of eight weeks apart. Each jab contains 10 micrograms of the COVID-19 vaccine, one third of the dose given to those aged 12 and older.

Pfizer reported last year that clinical trials of its vaccine in more than 2,000 children aged five to 11 showed the vaccine was “safe, well tolerated” and “it showed robust neutralising antibody responses.”

Hanoi accelerates COVID-19 vaccine rollout for high-risk people

Hanoi authorities have been urging all its districts to make records of people at a high risk of contracting COVID-19 and give them vaccine booster shots, according to a notice signed by Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Chu Ngoc Anh on February 13.

They asked local administrations to continue encouraging high-risk and vaccine-hesitant people to get double vaccinated and ramp up at-home inoculations for homebound people who are aged above 50 with underlying health conditions, or at a high risk of severe illness from the COVID-19, the notice said.

Over 99.5 percent of the people aged over 12 in Hanoi have been double vaccinated and nearly 55 percent have received boosters. A majority of the COVID-19 cases are mild or show no symptoms while most of the deaths are senior citizens with severe underlying medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases and final stage of cancer.

Hot air balloon rehearsal takes place in Tuyen Quang province

In preparation for an International Hot Air Balloon Festival slated for late March in the northern province of Tuyen Quang, Ballooning Media Co. Ltd held a rehearsal on February 12 and 13 in the locality.

The rehearsal took place at Nguyen Tat Thanh Square in Tuyen Quang city and Na Tong village stadium in Thuong Lam commune, Lam Binh district. After the test flight, Ballooning Media Co. Ltd will discuss with the People’s Committee of Tuyen Quang province, the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism (DoCST) to reach agreement on the time, location and scale of the festival.

It is expected that about 15 hot air balloons from different countries will participate in the festival.

Vietnamese photographer wins Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022 award

Vietnamese photographer wins Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022 award hinh anh 1

Photographer Nguyen Ngoc Thien’s photo featuring anchovy fishing.

Photographer Nguyen Ngoc Thien has become the winner of the Save Our Seas Foundation Marine Conservation award of the Underwater Photographer of the Year (UPY) 2022 with his photo featuring anchovy fishing off the coast of Hon Yen in the south-central province of Phu Yen.

The 34-year-old is living and working in Ho Chi Minh City. He is the only Vietnamese photographer to win an award of the UYP 2022, a prestige competition of the UK that was first held in 1965.

Thien took the photo in June 2019 in the peak season of anchovy fishing in Phu Yen. His photo spreads a message of protecting marine resources from overfishing.

The UPY 2022 received 4,200 entries from photographers from 71 countries and territories. This year, Rafael Fernandez Caballero from Spain was crowned the overall winner of the contest with his photo , titled “Dancing with the Giants of the Night” depicting five whale sharks, the largest known fish in the world, feeding on nocturnal plankton in Maldives.

Frost covers Fansipan Mountain peak in Lao Cai

rost covered the top of Fansipan Mountain, the highest peak in Indochina, in Sa Pa town, the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai early on February 14, as the temperature dropped below 0 degree Celsius.

This is the fifth time that frost has appeared on Fansipan peak since the beginning of this winter.

Frost can burn leaves and flowers, and damage fruits. If seriously, plants can be completely killed, causing loss of crop production.

The Lao Cai Hydro-Meteorological Station forecasts that in the early morning of February 15, the temperature on Fansipan will remain low and frost will continue to occur.

Vietnam men’s football team remains number one in Southeast Asia

Vietnam remained the number one team in Southeast Asia, followed by Thailand and the Philippines, in the latest edition of the FIFA Men’s World Rankings, the first of this year.

This was attributed to their 3-1 win over China in the World Cup qualifier on February 1, making them the first Southeast Asian team ever to do so in the history. The victory earned Vietnam 15.46 points which has also helped them return to the world’s top 100 ranking.

Just five days before the historic win over China, the team slipped out of the FIFA top 100 ranking as they lost 0-4 to Australia in another World Cup qualifier match.

Compared to the previous rankings at the end of 2021, Vietnam obtained 6.1 more points to maintain their 98th place globally this year.

HCM City to carry out new art activities this year

Unique art activities emphasising the beauty of HCM City will be implemented in the Lunar New Year 2022.

In 2022, besides the composition campaign with the theme “Chung một niềm tin chiến thắng” (Winning belief), several plans to develop theatrical works towards to 47th anniversary of the southern liberation and national reunification will be carried out.

They include the HCM City International Music Festival, Academic Arts Festival “Autumn Melodies”, National Tuồng and Folk Opera Festival, ASEAN Music Festival, National Band Festival, International Circus Festival and National Puppetry Talents, among other activities.

Heritage activities to conserve and promote values of tangible and intangible culture will be a focus as well.

Relevant authorities have planned to propose Củ Chi Tunnels as one of the World Heritage Sites to UNESCO and stressed the importance of the media in effectively promoting activities of museums in HCM City.

The city will also implement plans to preserve and promote traditional costumes of ethnic people as well as plans to bring Đờn ca tài tử (Southern traditional music) to a broader audience.

On a different note, the HCM International Music Festival (Hozo), which received positive feedback on its quality and professional organisation when first being held in 2019, had to be cancelled at the last minute due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the HCM City Light Music Center, organiser of the Hozo, the festival is likely to come back in 2022 as this serves as a “bright spot” in tourism and helps attract more visitors to the city.

Traditional customs preserved among OVs in Laos

The custom of visiting pagodas during the Lunar New Year, or Tet, has been preserved among overseas Vietnamese in Laos. They not only visit pagodas to pray for good health, happiness, and good fortune in the year ahead, but also to preserve traditional Vietnamese customs.

During the opening days of the Lunar New Year, or Tet, the Vietnamese community in the Lao capital Vientiane gather together at Phat Tich Pagoda, one of the two largest Vietnamese pagodas in the country, to pray for good fortune.

For those unable to return to their homeland to enjoy the Tet holiday due to COVID-19, visits to pagodas help them teach their children and grandchildren about traditional Vietnamese customs during the Lunar New Year.

OVs in France pray for peace

A prayer for peace for overseas Vietnamese (OVs) living in Paris and surrounding areas was held on February 13 at Truc Lam Zen Monastery in Villebon-sur-Yvette, 25km south of the capital.

A large number of Vietnamese expats attended the event.

All participants prayed for a happy new year, and good health for their families and other loved ones.

Inaugurated in 1990, Truc Lam Zen Monastery in Villebon-sur-Yvette is among the popular destinations for the Vietnamese community, as these places offer them a spring atmosphere like in theỉ homeland.

Classic music night to open new activities at L’Espace

Vietnamese and Taiwanese classical artists will perform at L’Espace on February 25.

The artists, including violinist Nguyễn Mỹ Hương, pianist Trần Hà Mi, cellist Phan Đỗ Phúc, and his wife, international pianist Hsin-Chiao Liao, will present works by famous French composers during a concert entitled Impressionnisme.

The concert is the opening event for a series of cultural and art activities organised by L’Espace in 2022.

The concert will open with a prélude by Claude Debussy which has a fast and decisive tempo, and new and creative harmonies.

The repertoire will also feature Sonata for violin and cello by Maurice Ravel, who composed the work from 1923 to 1927. The composition was inspired by American jazz and blues.

Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso – a composition for violin written in 1863 by Camille Saint-Saëns, and Gaspard de la nuit – a suite of piano pieces by Maurice Ravel written in 1908, will also be performed.

The Impressionnisme concert will start at 8pm on February 25. Tickets cost VNĐ200,000, and VNĐ150,000 (for L’Espace members and students). Purchase ticket online at .

Vietnam prepares for safe resumption of tourism

Recently, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has sent the Government a proposal to completely open international tourism, including welcoming foreign tourists to Việt Nam and allowing Vietnamese tourists to travel abroad from March 31.

From now until March 30, Việt Nam will continue to implement phase 2 of a pilot programme to welcome international tourists, but it is proposed to expand to localities in which residents have received the 3rd dose of the vaccine and low-risk areas.

Under the pilot programme, international tourists can visit seven localities including Phú Quốc island (Kiên Giang Province), Khánh Hòa, Quảng Nam, Đà Nẵng, Quảng Ninh, Bình Định Province and HCM City.

To adapt to the new situation, museums, parks, eco-tourism areas and cinemas in Hà Nội have been allowed to open. Historical sites are also gradually reopening. Notably, Hương (Perfume) Pagoda, a famous spiritual tourist destination of the capital, will welcome tourists back from February 16.

Hà Nội Department of Tourism also works with relevant units, airlines and travel businesses on preparing conditions for reopening, recovering and developing tourism. Accordingly, businesses are ready to welcome tourists back, first domestic, then international travellers.

In Đà Nẵng, the city’s Department of Tourism has made plans to promote the city’s tourism in the new normal state with two main messages: “Đà Nẵng Now Open” and “Enjoy Đà Nẵng”.

In Quảng Nam, a pilot plan to welcome international visitors has been implemented since November 2021. During the recent Lunar New Year holiday, the province also welcomed 60,000 domestic visitors, which tripled the number of tourists in the same period in 2021.

Developing Hue into the capital of Ao Dai

The idea of developing Hue into the capital of Ao dai, Vietnam’s national dress, is an effort to integrate traditional heritage into modern life and gradually build the image and brand name of Ao dai Hue. It will also enable the traditional dress to become a unique product of cultural tourism.

There are several objectives in developing Hue into the capital of Ao dai in Vietnam, as stated within the proposal for the “Hue – the Capital of Ao dai” project. These include promoting the value and brand name of Ao dai Hue, developing the name “Hue – the Capital of Ao dai Viet Nam”, and training Ao dai artisans, designers, and tailors.

To promote the wearing of Ao dai, since 2020 the Thua Thien-Hue Department of Culture and Sports has encouraged male and female public servants to wear Ao dai while at work.

Blood donation feature to be launched on Facebook in Vietnam

A feature for blood donations in Vietnam will be launched on Facebook social network on February 16, enabling donors to easily connect with blood reception facilities.

The Red Spring Festival is held annually after the Lunar New Year holiday, aims to help ensure sufficient blood supply for medical use which, in the past, often faced a serious shortage after the the country’s biggest and longest holiday.

First held in the spring of 2008, the festival has attracted hundreds of thousands of participants and received nearly 92,000 units so far. Most of localities nationwide and many agencies, businesses, and organisations have also organised annual blood donation activities on this occasion.

This year’s festival in Hanoi will last for nine days, until February 20, expected to attract 10,000 donors and receive about 7,000 blood units.

PM asks to promote socio-economic recovery and development programme

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has asked ministries, agencies and localities to drastically and effectively implement the socio-economic recovery and development programme and speed up the disbursement of public investment capital.

In dispatch No 126/CĐ-TTg signed by the Government leader on Saturday, he urged ministers, heads of agencies and chairs of people’s committees of localities to direct to drastically and effectively carry out set tasks and solutions. This focuses on synchronously and effectively implementing the COVID-19 prevention and control programme for 2022-2023 following the motto of safe and flexible adaptation and effective control of COVID-19 and ensuring safe production and business in line with new progress of the pandemic.

The PM also asked to build specific action plans to exploit tasks and solutions set by Government Resolution No 11/NQ-CP issued on January 30 on socio-economic recovery and development; to flexibly and synchronously manage and closely coordinate monetary and financial policies and other fiscal policies to contribute to stabilising the macro economy, curbing inflation, ensuring the safety of credit institutions and supporting socio-economic recovery and development.

Focus will also be placed on identifying the speeding up of disbursement of public investment capital as a key political task in 2022-2023, establishing a working group on promoting public investment capital disbursement at each ministry, agency and locality to regularly inspect and deal with difficulties and obstacles with a target of 100 per cent of public investment capital plan assigned for 2022 being fully disbursed while ensuring the quality of projects and effective use of capital. Violations, corruption and wrongdoings that hinder the disbursement of public investment capital will be strictly punished.

The cau mua ritual prays for bumper crops

Early spring is the time when the E De ethnic minority group in the Central Highlands region enjoy the festive time with the cau mua (Praying for fertile crops) ritual.

This is one of the important rituals of the E De people, which takes place when a new crop planting season begins. They believe that the ritual will bring them good weather and a bumper crop.

During the days of the ritual, people in the village do not work in the fields or travel far. They only stay in the village to focus on this activity.

They also prepare models, often made from wood, to perform the ritual, such as the rice warehouse, which symbolises the wish to be full; and the shield and sword, to ward off evil spirits.

In addition, they also bring production tools such as grass rakes, hole punching sticks, rice seed canisters and some offerings to the gods like roosters and ruou can (wine stored in a big jar and drunk with long bamboo straws).

The host of the ceremony will pray to heaven and earth for good weather and grain. After that, the village sends people to perform the tria lua ritual (put the seeds in the hole and fill it with soil) around the ceremonial pillar.

The host then splashes water to bless and pray for rain against drought. At the end of the worshiping ceremony, the E De people go home and drink ruou can to celebrate a new farming season.

Ho Chi Minh City speeds up adjustment of development master plan

The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has just issued a decision on approval of an outline of missions and total cost estimate for the project adjusting the master plan of the city by 2040, with a vision to 2060.

Accordingly, the 2, administrative boundary of Ho Chi Minh City and Can Gio marine area is on the adjustment plan.

Ho Chi Minh City’s master plan aims for the city to be developed into the nation’s largest economic hub for tourism, industrial services and high-tech agriculture by 2040, with a focus on climate change adaptatiedeon.

The city will remain the country’s economic and technological hub, focusing on innovation as part of the national urban development strategy.

Under the master plan, the city will develop a complete infrastructure linking the city with neighbouring provinces. The newly established Thu Duc city will be developed into an innovative city model that will support the development of HCM City and the southern region.

The city will integrate urban development with transit-oriented development (TOD), including underground-based public transport solutions.

New highway planned in Mekong Delta

A new 188-kilometre highway in the Mekong Delta between Châu Đốc City in An Giang Province and Sóc Trăng Province is planned to be built, and the feasibility study for it has been handed to the Ministry of Transport by the Mỹ Thuận Project Management Board.

It will start at National Road No 91 in Châu Đốc, pass through Cần Thơ City and Hậu Giang Province and end at Trần Đề Port in Sóc Trăng.

In the first phase, it will have four lanes and allow speeds of up to 80km per hour.

To be built using public funds, its cost is estimated at VNĐ44.3 trillion (US$1.9 billion) for the first phase.

It will be widened to six lanes by 2030.

Missosology picks VN contestant among top 15 at Miss World 2021

Missosology, the world’s leading publication on beauty pageants, has named Vietnamese representative Do Thi Ha among its Final Hot Picks of the leading 15 beauties participating in the Miss World 2021 pageant.

According to the rankings, Ha, who was crowned Miss Vietnam 2020 stands at 1.75 metres tall and measures 80-60-90, comes 12th in the overall list.

The organising board of Miss World has also announced the sub-contest “Digital Media Challenge” where the Top 40 contestants were asked to promote their journey at the Miss World pageant through their individual websites at

Most notably, the overall winner of the challenge will automatically earn a place among the Top 12.

To engage with Do Thi Ha and promote her stories, fans can visit her individual website: .

Project approved to improve forest protection capacity

Deputy Prime Minister Lê Văn Thành has approved a 10-year project to improve forest rangers’ capacity in management, protection and firefighting.

The project aims to reduce at least 10 to 15 per cent of law violations in the forestry sector compared to the 2015-20 period, especially deforestation, illegal wood exploitation and transportation, and forest burning.

It has also sets targets of reducing forest fires and improving deforestation forecasting capacity.

To realise the targets, personnel training is key. At least 50 per cent of forest protection and firefighting forces must be trained with professional skills and be equipped with forest protection devices.

The project also highlights key solutions such as perfecting legal mechanisms and policies to improve forest protection capacity of forest rangers and specialised forces; disseminating to the mass media about the role and value of forests in responding to climate change, combating desertification, combating land degradation, providing economic and social values, ensuring national defence and security.

Danang City reopens almost in-person classes

Danang City will reopen almost all of its schools this month after the six-month closure triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the municipal People’s Committee.

The Danang authorities have just announced that sixth graders and university students will go back to classrooms from today [February 14] while primary pupils will return one week later on February 21.

The Danang Department of Education and Training has issued regulations and plans to ensure a safe resumption of in-person schooling for their teachers and students, as directed by municipal chairman Le Trung Chinh.

According to the new guidance, primary schools will return from February 21 but not offer day-boarding for their pupils, and they will only go to schools for half-day. No return date has been set for preschoolers.

Face-to-face teaching on campus will resume from February 14 at foreign language and informatics centers, as well as centers for life skills and extracurricular activities.

Some 1.3 million Vietnamese to become jobless in 2022: ILO

This is forecast by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in its latest report titled “World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2022.”

The 2023 projection in Vietnam is about 1.2 million people, equal to that of 2021, the year Covid-19 occurred, the report said.

Meanwhile, Trading Economics noted the Vietnam unemployment rate is projected to trend around 3.3% in 2022 and 2.9% in 2023. The rate increased to 3.72% in the third quarter of 2021 from 2.62% in the second quarter of 2021.

Source: VNA/VNS/SGT/SGGP/VOV/Hanoitimes

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