Railway linking HCMC, Dong Nai to open to traffic before 2030
The Ministry of Transport has thrown its weight behind Dong Nai’s proposal to develop the Thu Thiem-Long Thanh light railway project linking HCMC and Dong Nai Province and put it into operation prior to 2030.
The Thu Thiem-Long Thanh light railway project is considered one of the key projects to enhance connectivity with the Long Thanh international airport, which is under construction, said the ministry.
The capital has been allocated so that preparation for the project can start this year, according to the ministry.
The project is part of the national railway system development plan in the 2021-2030 period with a vision to 2050 approved by the prime minister.
The 38-kilometer rail link has been added to a list of national projects to call for foreign investment in the 2021-2025 period, according to the prime minister’s decision issued on November 1, 2021.
The Dong Nai government had earlier proposed the prime minister consider entrusting the province as an authorized agency to implement the light rail project, the local media reported.
Despite throwing its support behind the proposal, the ministry asked the province to reach a consensus on the investment with the HCMC government to report it to the prime minister as the rail link will run through HCMC.
Vietnam selected to play host to Miss Earth 2023
Truong Ngoc Anh, chairman of the board of Nova Entertainment, has announced that her company is set to host Miss Earth 2023.
This will be an excellent chance for Vietnam to popularise the country’s land, people, and tourism, said Ngoc Anh at a press briefing on February 17.
She said her company will also thoroughly prepare facilities in order to welcome more than 100 beauties from all over the world who will participate in the beauty pageant.
Ngoc Anh also revealed that her company is holding the copyright to Miss Ethnic Vietnam, which is scheduled to take place in March.
The competition aims to honour the beauty of Vietnamese women and the cultural identity of various ethnic groups, as well as strengthening solidarity among them.
Most notably, the winner of Miss Ethnic Vietnam will earn the chance to compete at Miss Earth 2023.
Miss Earth was originally launched by the Philippines Carousel Production Company in 2001 to promote environmentally-friendly activities.
Previously, Vietnam played host to Miss Earth 2010.
GM Liem takes on Carlsen at Airthings Masters 2022
GM Le Quang Liem is scheduled to play world No1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway on February 19 at the Airthings Masters 2022 as part of the Champions Chess Tour 2022.
Besides Carlsen, Liem will also take on other leading players, including world No. 3 Ding Liren (China), world No.5 Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia), world No. 6 Levon Aronian (USA), world No.7 Anish Giri (Netherlands), and world No.9 Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan).
The tournament which is taking place online from February 19 – 26 has attracted 16 players who are playing in a round-robin format to select eight to the quarterfinals.
The Airthings Masters 2022 is part of the Champions Chess Tour, which has total prize money of US$1.6 million, the most attractive in international chess tournaments.
The tournament’s winner will receive US$25,000, while the runner-up will be given US$15,000.
Living and working in the US, Quang Liem is now coaching the chess team at the Webster University.
This year, in addition to international tournaments, he will represent Vietnam to compete at the 31st Southeast Asian games (SEA Games 31) to be held in Hanoi in May, and the 19th Asian games (ASIAD) to be held in China in September.
Vietnam in same group with Thailand, Malaysia, RoK at AFC U23 Asian Cup final round
Vietnam have been drawn in Group C at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Asian Championship final round following the draw results in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on February 17 (Hanoi time).
According to the Vietnam Football Federation, Vietnam will be in the same group with other two Southeast Asian teams of Thailand and Malaysia, along with the Republic of Korea, the 2020 champion.
The final round of the AFC U23 Asian Championship 2022 will see the competition of 16 teams which are divided into four groups. Eight teams that are group winners and runners-up will advance to the quarterfinals.
In the qualifying round, the U23 Vietnam team won all two matches to win a ticket to the final round. This is also the fourth time in a row that the U23 Vietnam team have entered the final round. The team played the final game of the championship in 2018.
The final round of the AFC U23 Asian Championship 2022 will take place in Uzbekistan from June 1-19.
Seminar seeks opinions on draft decree on Internet-based services
A seminar was organised on February 17 to gather experts’ opinions on a draft decree on amendments and supplements to Decree No. 72/2013/ND-CP (Decree 72) on the management, provision and use of Internet-based services and information on the Internet, which aim to create more relevant regulatory frameworks for the growth of the Internet and digital economy in Vietnam.
The seminar was held by the Vietnam Digital Communications Association (VDCA) in collaboration with the Institute for Policy Studies and Media Development (IPS) and the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC).
VDCA Chairman Nguyen Minh Hong said the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed people’s life, particularly the way they interact with the world. Today, meetings, entertainment activities, video games and transactions of goods are all non-fungible tokens (NFTs) made trans-nationally, he said, emphasising that digital technology plays a critical part in recovering, sustaining and boosting economic growth in the post-pandemic period.
As Vietnam is expecting the digital economy to account for 20 percent of its GDP by 2025, the government has not only been accelerating the development of digital infrastructure but also improving related policies, particularly those related to Internet-based services, for example, cross-border information provision services, cloud computing, data storage, online games, and social networks, Hong noted, adding that these are shown in the draft decree.
Attendees at the seminar made recommendations related to cyber-information security, settlement of disputes on copyright, fake news, domain names, licensing social networks, online games, among others.
Joint UN project promotes disability inclusion
The United Nations has recently launched a joint project, themed “Working together for an inclusive future. Implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) through effective collaboration.”
Launched just before the World Day of Social Justice (February 20), the joint project brings together the expertise and experience of three agencies – UNICEF, UNFPA and UNDP – in supporting national and provincial authorities and organisations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) to support multi-sectoral interventions in support of the fulfillment of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in Vietnam.
It is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of Australia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, who are longstanding donors of the UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) Multi-Partner Trust Fund.
The project aims to serve as a vehicle for multi-stakeholder dialogue and partnership to ensure results and impact towards a CRPD compliance environment in Vietnam, which is fundamental to ensure the materialisation of the principles of leaving no one behind and building back better a more inclusive society for all.
VinFuture Prize second season calls for nominations
The second season of the VinFuture Prize has been launched with a focus on honouring outstanding scientific innovations that can help reimagine post-pandemic life and stimulate sustainable development.
Prof. Sir Richard Henry Friend, Chair of the VinFuture Prize Council, said: “Last year’s prize awards celebrate very clearly how science and innovation can bring real global benefits for health. However, humankind faces big challenges in many other areas, including natural resource consumption, the move to zero carbon to avoid damaging climate change, and others.
“This year, we want to reach as widely as we can, across disciplines and across continents, to broaden the scope and impact of the VinFuture Prizes in reviving the post-pandemic world.”
The VinFuture Foundation entrusted the Prize, one of the world’s largest annual awards in science and technology, with contributing to the betterment of life for millions of people globally by facilitating breakthrough scientific research, technological innovations, inventions that help change people’s lives, as well as exceptional scientific solutions in diverse fields, across various geographical areas, and from scientists regardless of age, gender, or nationality.
The second season is open to nominations until May 17 this year.
Five members of U23 Vietnam show suspected positive COVID-19 results
Five members of the U23 Vietnam team had suspected COVID-19 tests prior to its first match at the ongoing 2022 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Youth Championship, according to the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF).
After a training on February 17, some members of the team showed signs of fever. All members then were undergone rapid COVID-19 testing. As a result, four players and a coach had suspected positive tests for coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. They were quarantined immediately.
Vietnam will play against Singapore on February 19 at the Prince Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Earlier, Indonesia and Myanmar withdrew from the 2022 AFF U23 Championship as many players tested positive for COVID-19.
Benefits of attending school outweigh COVID-19 risks: WHO Representative
“The social and developmental benefits of attending school outweigh the risks associated with COVID-19 for children,” Dr Kidong Park, World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Vietnam, has stressed.
The COVID-19 crisis has forced school closures for months, disrupting the learning process of millions of Vietnamese students.
“Prolonged school closures contribute to adverse social, educational, health, and economic impacts for children and society,” Park told the Vietnam News Agency. He particularly pointed out that one of the most vulnerable are disadvantaged children who are inequitably affected because of the challenges in accessing remote learning.
“While some transmissions have occurred in schools, schools do not pose a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission than other settings such as workplaces, restaurants, and shopping malls,” he said.
WHO acknowledges that the Government of Vietnam has been assessing the reopening of schools, with careful consideration of the country’s outbreak situation, latest available evidence based on experiences of other countries and the concerns of some of the parents on children’s safety, the official said.
“We could not eliminate the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools, but we can reduce such risk through appropriate infection prevention and control measures,” he noted.
The WHO representative underscored that vaccination of children should not be considered as a pre-requisite condition for school opening. A safe learning environment can be created for children through the consistent implementation of 5K measures at school as well as in the community.
Quang Tri: 108 explosives safely detonated
The Mines Advisory Group (MAG) said on February 18 that its team has safely moved and detonated 108 dangerous explosives found in a Melaleuca forest in the central province of Quang Tri’s Hai Son commune.
There were 103 37mm artillery shells and five 40mm grenades discovered by the team at a depth of about 30cm below the ground in a location that is some 200m away from the residential area.
Determining that these explosives are eligible to move, they brought them to a gathering ground for detonation.
According to the Quang Tri Mine Action Centre, in 2021, governmental and non-governmental organisations with mine remediation activities cleared over 37 million sq.m of land by demining 27,660 bombs, mines, explosives of all kinds.
Da Nang to welcome first international flight on March 27
The central coastal city of Da Nang is set to welcome foreign tourists on its first international flight on March 27 after nearly two years of closure due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This information was released on February 17 during a meeting held between leaders of Da Nang City People’s Committee and representatives of numerous local airlines.
According to a representative of Singapore Airlines, the carrier is scheduled to bring in the first international delegation to Da Nang on March 27.
Representatives of various airlines have expressed their desire to see the central coastal city reopen all entertainment services at tourism sites, properly handle F0 cases if infections are reported, and lift other restrictions currently in place.
They also noted that slow reopening will cause the central city to lose its competitive advantages as an attractive destination, and at the same time hinder the capital flow from foreign investors.
A representative of the Da Nang Department of Health revealed that the city would no longer implement a quarantine period for foreign tourists, adding that the unit would also provide timely support and treatment for those who are unfortunately exposed to the virus.
Bamboo Airways launches Rach Gia-Phu Quoc route
Bamboo Airways launched a direct air route on February 17 between Rach Gia in the southern province of Kien Giang to Phu Quoc Island, with the route featuring three flights per week.
Moving forward, the new direct air service is anticipated to contribute to reducing the travel time from Rach Gia to Phu Quoc to just 20 minutes, as opposed to the previous time of 2.5 hours via high-speed boat.
The latest route will make use of the Embraer aircraft, creating favourable conditions in which passengers can travel faster.
It will also mark one of the shortest domestic routes, which is approximately 120 km long.
Previously, the route had been operated by Vasco on ATR-72 aircraft, with a flight time of roughly 40 minutes. However, Vasco was forced to halt operating the route back in 2016 due to a lack of economic efficiency.
Another RoK expert likely to coach Vietnamese U23 side
A Republic of Korean coach is likely to be selected to succeed incumbent Park Hang-seo to lead the Vietnam national U23 side at the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup, according to a source from the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF).
The source did not disclose the name of the new coach, but said the VFF is entering the final round of negotiations with the RoK manager who was introduced by Park.
The VFF is expected to make public the new coach’s profile next week, said the source.
The VFF and Park have agreed that the incumbent coach will no longer lead the national U23 side after the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in May 2022. Park and his students have set a target of defending their championship title in their home turf in May.
The veteran coach said he wants to focus on the senior national team, instead of splitting his time between both U23 and senior national teams as he has done over the past four years.
The VFF was said to early this year contact Kim Gil-sik, 44, who coached Ansan Greeners FC in the K-League 2 in 2021 and the RoK’s national U15 team for the hot seat, but Kim later declined the invitation.
Park’s successor will lead the Vietnamese team to compete in the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup which is set to take place from June 1 to 19 in Uzbekistan. Vietnam have been placed in Group C alongside Thailand, the Republic of Korea (RoK), and Malaysia.
Workers offered rental support to return to labour market
The Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) is proposing a rental assistance package for workers’ accommodation.
The package is worth VNĐ6.6 trillion (US$20.9 million) and is planned to quickly restabilise the labour market, which has been adversely affected by the pandemic, especially during the long lockdowns of 2021.
The proposal will be completed this month.
The plan was made based on the Prime Minister’s official letter on the programme of socio-economic recovery, development and enhancement of public investment capital disbursement.
The package will offer housing rental support for labourers who are renting and/or working in industrial parks, export processing zones and key economic areas.
MOLISA Minister Đào Ngọc Dung said that the proposal would be submitted to the Government and approved by the National Assembly for disbursal.
HCM City deploys young doctors for grassroots healthcare
Almost 300 new graduates from the Phạm Ngọc Thạch Medical University in HCM City have been sent to work at commune and ward medical stations across the city to improve the quality of grassroots healthcare.
Commune and ward medical stations played a key role in providing COVID-19 patients with convenient and timely home based medical care, he pointed out.This was the first time fresh graduates from medical universities were deployed to commune and ward health stations.
After a year they would practise at hospitals for six months, he said.
During their 12 months at medical stations they would totally be paid around VNĐ60 million (US$2,600), he said.
Young writer releases bilingual book
She may only be 11-years-old, but Nguyễn Hạnh Phương, who writes under the name Rosy Black, has a great literary future ahead of her.
Kim Đồng Publishing House has published the first volume of a bilingual book for children called Biệt Đội Ngôi Sao: Cuộc Tìm Kiếm Sức Mạnh Vĩ Đại (Star Team: A Quest For The Greatest Power).
Four more of her books, Back to The Past; To The Future; Up to Heaven and Down to Hell, will be released in the future.
It is a story of four English adventurous children aged 12. They are classmates and each of them has a gift such as reading old language, navigating, wizardry and robotics.
They discover a box with the letters The Box of Greatest Power in a house but a character called Death steals it from them. The story tells of their quest to get the box back.
Phương writes in English first and then translates into Vietnamese. She was taught English at the age three by her mother — an English teacher. At the age of four, she could read both Vietnamese and English. She has read so far over 1,000 books mainly in English.
Trans-Vietnam Book Fair to kick off
Six book publishers, including Tre (Young) Publishing House, Thai Ha Books, Nha Nam, Minh Long, Dinh Ti and Saigon Books, will collaborate to organise a Trans-Vietnamese Book Fair.
The book fair will take place from February 22 to 27 (8:00 AM to 9:00 PM), at Ho Chi Minh City Book Street, providing an opportunity for book lovers with great discounts at the same time, from all six book publishers. This is also an event to introduce a series of latest works, good and valuable titles to the public.
Specifically, all books at the book fair will be discounted by 25%, or up to 35% during the golden hour from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM, every day of the event. In addition, there are tens of thousands of books and stories with prices from 5 to 30,000 VND per book.
The six participating units of this year’s Trans-Vietnam Book Fair, will also introduce readers to good publications and books, suitable for all ages, with a plethora of incentive programmes, gratitude to readers through promotions, as well as thousands of attractive gifts, such as keychains, bookmarks, and exclusive notebooks for readers who shop at the book fair.
Deputy PM urges completion of 361 kilometres of expressway in 2022
Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh has called for stronger efforts to complete the 361 kilometres of the north-south expressway by the end of 2022.
He told a meeting on February 18 that the sections that must be put into operation in 2022 include Mai Son (Ninh Binh) – National Highway 45 (Thanh Hoa), Cam Lo (Quang Tri) – La Son (Thua Thien Hue) and Vinh Hao (Binh Thuan) – Dau Giay (Dong Nai).
Thanh also asked for the completion of another 149 kilometres in 2023, including the National Highway 45 – Nghi Son, Nghi Son – Dien Chau, Nha Trang – Cam Lam sections and My Thuan 2 Bridge.
The construction of these sections faces a shortage of building materials necessary for laying road foundations.
Vietnam ready to join negotiations on draft Peru/ Rwanda resolution on plastic waste