HCM City now becomes COVID safe zone
Ho Chi Minh City, the epicenter of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, has lowered its COVID-19 alert level to green – the lowest in the four alert level system adopted by the Ministry of Health.
According to a decision, signed on January 8 by Duong Anh Duc, vice chairman of the municipal administration, 18 local districts have now turned green on the municipal COVID-19 map, while District 1, 10 and Binh Thanh and Thu Duc city remain in Level 2.
Currently the city has recorded no more than 500 infections daily compared to 14,000 – 15,000 cases during the height of the outbreak in August – September 2021.
The daily number of deaths has also dropped significantly from more than 300 in August 2021 to approximately 20 at present.
Vietnam sees decline in number of guest workers
The number of Vietnamese people going to work abroad decreased over the last two years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Department of Overseas Labour under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.
Between 2016 and 2019, an average of over 100,000 Vietnamese went to work overseas each year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the figure dropped to 78,000 in 2020 and 45,000 last year.
At present, there about 580,000 Vietnamese guest workers in total, including nearly 250,000 in Japan, some 230,000 in Taiwan (China), and nearly 50,000 in the Republic of Korea.
They mainly work in the fields of manufacturing (mechanics, textile – garment, leather footwear, electronics), construction, agriculture, fisheries, and services (caregiving, domestic work).
Programme raises over 4.58 million USD for pandemic-hit children
The 2022 “Mua xuan cho em” (Spring for Children) programme raised more than 104 billion VND (4.58 million USD) to support disadvantaged and pandemic-hit children. The 15th edition of the programme was held at the Hanoi Opera House on January 9 night.
It is an annual programme launched by the National Fund for Vietnamese Children (NFVC) under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA). Beside raising funds, the programme also honours organisations and individuals with outstanding contributions to supporting disadvantaged children over the years.
Last year, the fund mobilised more than 92 billion VND and assisted 115,000 children affected by the pandemic through different programmes and projects like building classrooms and playgrounds, financing surgeries and presenting bikes and scholarships to the disadvantaged children.
Vietnam Football Federation has new acting president
Permanent Vice President of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) Tran Quoc Tuan will serve as Acting President until a new president for the 2022-26 term is elected. The information was revealed during a press conference of the VFF on its annual congress for the 2018-22 tenure held on January 9.
At the congress, participants agreed on orientations and activities of the football body this year, focusing on the realisation of targets set in the Vietnamese football development strategy to 2020 with a vision to 2030; and development of young footballers and stability in the professional football system.
The VFF will also build plans for the national teams in line with game schedule of domestic tournaments and ensure resources for training sessions ahead of international events, notably remaining matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers, the 2022 AFF Suzuki Cup, and the 2022 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup, and more.
Vietnamese, Lao Ministries of Public Security strengthen cooperation
The close cooperation between the Ministries of Public Security of Vietnam and Laos has contributed to deepening and consolidating the special friendship and solidarity between the two Parties, States and peoples.
The assessment was shared by both Vietnamese Minister of Public Security Gen. To Lam and his Lao counterpart Gen. Vilay Lakhamphong during their talks in Hanoi on January 9.
This year, the two sides will continue with coordination in handling arising cases quickly so as not to let hostile forces and criminals harm the security and order of the two countries, while seriously implementing the 2022 Cooperation Plan, and strengthening the exchange of information of mutual concern, especially the world and regional situations that affect the two nations’ security and order.
The two sides will effectively implement international treaties and agreements to which they are signatories; accelerate negotiations towards the signing of an agreement on extradition, and another on mutual protection and exchange of classified information between the two Governments; and support each other at world and regional forums in ensuring security, peace and stability in the region and the world as well as in the fight against crimes.
They will cooperate to effectively carry out activities to celebrate the Year of Friendship and Solidarity between Vietnam – Laos, Laos – Vietnam in 2022, as well as the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 45th anniversary of the signing of the Vietnam – Laos Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation.
New cold spell to hit northern Vietnam from January 10 night
A new cold snap is projected to hit north-eastern Vietnam starting January 10 night,according to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.
The northern and central regions will be struck by rain and thunderstorms, with whirlwinds, lightning, hail and strong winds expected in some locations.
Northern and north-central Vietnam will start experiencing biting cold weather with temperatures ranging from 13-16 degrees Celsius at the lowest and even dropping to below 13 degrees Celsius in high mountains.
Authorities in the affected regions are asked to provide local residents with prompt guidance to mitigate consequences of natural hazards and devise plans in case of emergencies.
The northern area of the East Sea, including the waters around Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago, is expected to have strong northeasterly wind and rough sea on early January 11.
Writing contest for children launched
The French cultural centre in Hanoi (L’Espace) has launched a writing contest themed “Con yeu Tet” [I love Tet] on the occasion of the debut of a Vietnamese-French bilingual book of the same name.
The contest is open to children under the age of 14 with their love-related works in many forms such as prose, poetry and painting in either Vietnamese or French.
Contestants can submit multiple entries at the same time. They can choose one of the following formats including drawing on A4 paper, making a two-minute video and writing a prose or poem which is less than 500 words.
Entries should be submitted to L’Espace at 24 Trang Tien Street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi, before January 15 via post or online via e-mail address:
NA’s extraordinary session looks into two important issues
National Assembly (NA) deputies continue an online debate on issues related to amendments and supplements to a number of articles of the Law on Public Investment, the Law on Public-Private Partnership, the Law on Investment, the Biding Law, the Electricity Law, the Enterprise Law, the Law on Special Consumption Tax, and the Law on Enforcement of Civil Judgments; and the Eastern North-South Expressway project on January 10.
Relevant government members will give explanations and clarifications on a number of issues raised by NA deputies.
In the afternoon, they will focus on the investment plan for the expressway project in the 2021-2025 period.
The project is hoped to contribute to improving the economy’s competitiveness in the context of extensive integration, promoting socio-economic development and ensuring defence security.
According to the Government’s report, the project has an initial investment of nearly 149 trillion VND (6.56 billion USD). Its construction will start in 2023 and basically complete in 2025. Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The will field a number of issues raised by NA deputies.
Smart hospital project underway in Ninh Thuan
A strategic cooperation agreement was recently signed regarding the launch of the first smart hospital of Advantech computer manufacturing company in Vietnam in the south central province of Ninh Thuan.
The pact, reached by the Advantech Vietnam, the Integrated Electronics (Intel) Corporation of the US and the Ninh Thuan-based Thai Hoa General Hospital on January 8, focuses on the implementation of the ‘iHospital’ solution and smart medical devices.
With a vision to build the Thai Hoa General Hospital as a leading smart hospital in Vietnam and the region, Advantech Vietnam and Intel Corporation will design a system of smart medical equipment in tandem with the hospital’s needs.
Advantech also offers high technology solutions to support medical workers in providing examination and treatment and improve patient experience. The smart hospital is projected to begin operation this June.
Zero-dong minimart chain launched to support people in need
A series of six minimarts was opened in Phu Nhuan, Go Vap, Tan Binh, Hoc Mon and Cu Chi districts in Ho Chi Minh City to provide necessities at a price of zero dong for disadvantaged people to welcome the Lunar New Year 2022.
These are the first six minimarts in a chain of 32 minimarts to be launched in all districts throughout HCM City, in addition to six more in other provinces and cities across the country.
The chain of minimarts is jointly operated by the Phu Nhuan Jewelry JSC, Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee’s Ho Chi Minh City chapter and Ho Chi Minh City Women Entrepreneurs Association.
The programme is expected to help more than 25,000 households in need, to have an opportunity to buy essential goods to welcome Tet.
Vietnam promote application of AI in hydrometeorology
Head of the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting’s Weather Forecasting Department Tran Quang Nang said that the Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration has developed forecasting technology, including the application of AI to various fields such as monitoring, calculation, forecasting technology. This application helps to improve the quality of hydro-meteorological forecasts and warnings, thus ensuring reliability and closeness to reality, and contributing to reducing disaster risks, and boosting socio-economic development.
The Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration has established its Steering Committee for Digital Transformation for the 2021 – 2025 period, and at the same time implemented different research and application of artificial intelligence in specific problems, including the application of AI in storm forecasting, heavy rainfall quantification and forecasting of water level rise caused by storms.
In the coming time, the Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration continues to invest in and develop the application of artificial intelligence in data processing, hydrometeorological forecasting and warning, build a virtual assistant system to automatically provide weather information for users, and apply virtual reality and virtual interaction in the presentation of hydro-meteorological information.
HCM City to rebuild 14 old apartment blocks this year
Fourteen old apartment buildings in districts 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10 and Tân Bình in HCM City will be rebuilt in 2022 after long delays, city People’s Committee deputy chairman Lê Hoà Bình has said.
Three of the works are in District 1, two each in District 4 and District 6, five in Tân Bình and the rest in other districts.
As of September last year, 333 households living in six old apartment towers built before 1975 were relocated. Another 303 out of 566 in five other places are currently moving.
The renovation and rebuilding of old apartments in HCM City have been slow due to difficulties related to investment procedures and lack of consensus for relocation among occupants.
Deputy Health Minister prosecuted for involvement in fake cancer drug case
Deputy Health Minister Truong Quoc Cuong and 13 others are facing charges for their role in counterfeiting cancer medicines labelled as Health 2000 Canada, according the new indictment issued by the Supreme People’s Procuracy.
According to the indictment, from 2008 – 2010, two of the accused prepared applications for seven drugs branded Health 2000 Canada so they could be authorised to be circulated in Vietnam. Although the documents were all fabricated, the drugs were later approved by a number of officials.
Between November 2012 and June 2014, Cuong and his accomplices faked a range of documents to change the origins of the medicines to import some 838,100 boxes of the medicines into Vietnam. They were then resold to drug stores, hospitals and pharmaceutical businesses.
Cuong worked as head of the Drug Administration of Vietnam from 2007 to 2016 and took legal responsibilities for all activities of the office. He was said to lack responsibility in assessing and granting licences for the drugs; and lacked supervision and examination over those assessing and registering the drugs, leading to the approval of the applications for the import and consumption of the counterfeit drugs in Vietnam.
After the drugs were imported and consumed in Vietnam, although he received information about their suspected origins, Cuong did not ask authorities to stop their circulation, or recall and destroy the drugs. As a result, many health establishments still traded and supplied the counterfeit drugs without clear origins to treat patients.
Ha Long-based shop displays innovative solutions for plastic pollution reduction
A shop of the “Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge” (EPPIC) which displays innovative products and services aimed at reducing plastic pollution was opened in Ha Long city, northern Quang Ninh province, on January 7.
The items on show, made from environmentally friendly materials, were among the winners of the EPPIC competition for the ASEAN region, which sought solutions to plastic pollution in Ha Long Bay of Vietnam and Samui Island of Thailand. This contest was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI), with support from the Norwegian Government.
Vietnamese in Czech Republic marking Lunar New Year
The Vietnamese Cultural and Art Association in the Czech Republic have held a gathering at the Sapa commercial centre in Prague on the occasion of the upcoming Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.
The highlight of the programme, held on January 8, was an Ao dai (Vietnam’s traditional long dress) show and art performances.
Hoang Dinh Thang, Chairman of the Union of Vietnamese People Associations in Europe which sponsored the gathering, lauded the Mrs Ao dai fund in Europe for its contributions to bringing together Vietnamese across Europe.
Ambassador Thai Xuan Dung said the fund has played a role in assisting Vietnamese at home affected by natural disasters, as well as the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Youth union members plant more than 1,000 trees in Ta Cu Natural Reserve
More than 1,000 sao den trees (Hopea odorata), a rare species, have been planted on two hectares in Ta Cu Nature Reserve in central coastal Binh Thuan province’s Ham Thuan Nam district.
As many as 4,000 more sao den trees will be planted in May this year, according to the provincial HCM CYU committee. The activity not only expands green coverage across abandoned land but also contributes to enhancing awareness of local youth union members and the community about the importance of forest, thereby mobilising joint efforts to care for forest and environment protection.
Japan to help its businesses recruit talented ASEAN workers
The Japanese Government is planning to assist the country’s businesses to recruit talented workers from Southeast Asia, according to the NHK newswire.
Under the plan, the government will help Japanese companies hold job briefing sessions or offer online internships for 50,000 workers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in different fields, including digital technology, over the next five years.
NHK reported that Japanese Minister Economy, Trade and Industry Hagiuda Koichi is set to announce the plan at a seminar this week during his tour of Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.
Besides, the government is scheduled to announce plans to encourage Japanese companies to share information so as to avoid risks and draw lessons from supply chain disruptions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Art programme to pay tribute to naval soldiers
An art programme entitled “Xuan Truong Sa” (Spring in Truong Sa (Spratly Archipelago)) will take place on January 15 to pay tribute to naval officers and soldiers who heroically fought until their last breath for the country’s sea and island sovereignty and continental shelf.
It also aims to educate young people and tighten the ties between soldiers and people.
The event, the 10th of its kind, will be jointly organised by the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Online Newspaper and the Naval High Command.
It will be broadcast live on the Vietnam Television Channel 1 (VTV1), the CPV Online Newspaper, and the Vietnam National Defense Television channel.
Finalists face off at Danang Miss Tourism
The central city has selected the best 33 of 70 qualified candidates for the final round of the Miss Tourism Đà Nẵng contest to be organised on March 5, sparking a positive series of travel and cultural activities in the tourism recovery plan throughout 2022.
Vice director of the city’s tourism department Nguyễn Xuân Bình said the contest would ignite the tourism promotion plan in 2022 with the city strongly committed to reviving the tourism industry after a two-year damage by COVID-19.
The event’s organising committee said a total prize of VNĐ2 billion (US$87,000) had been reserved for the winners, and seven sub-titles including Top models; Miss fashion; Miss Sport; the beach pageant; the most talented; communications; and kindness awards.
Top winners of the event will get berths at Miss Việt Nam and Miss World Việt Nam to be organised later this year.
National Assembly Chairman attends launching ceremony of legal tech applications
Four new legal technology applications have been launched to support the Supreme People’s Court. The launching ceremony was attended by National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vương Đình Huệ in Hà Nội.
The applications are a database-library central system, monitoring and operation centre, virtual assistant software for the judges, and the people’s online court.
This move is also a prompt and effective solution to proactively and safely adapt to the complicated COVID-19 pandemic, which has been affecting legal proceedings in court.
Animated films on Vietnamese history to be released online
Two animated films on Vietnamese history produced by the Việt Nam Cartoon Company will be released on YouTube to celebrate Tết (Lunar New Year) Festival, which begins on February 1.
Bạch Đằng Nổi Sóng (The Battle on Bach Đằng River), a 3D production, features the Bạch Đằng Battle of 938, a fight between Vietnamese troops led by Ngô Quyền, and Chinese invaders under the Han Dynasty.
The cutout animation Nữ Tướng Mê Linh (The Heroines) portrays the national heroines Hai Bà Trưng (Two Trưng Sisters) in AD 40.
Mekong Delta authorities take measures to secure freshwater in upcoming dry season
Authorities in the Mekong Delta provinces are taking measures to store water for irrigation and household use during the 2021-22 dry season.
The delta, the country’s largest rice, fruit and seafood producer, is forecast to face a higher level of saltwater intrusion in its rivers than average though less severe than during the 2019-20 dry season. It had a late flooding season this year and is likely to have higher levels of rainfall in the next few months, according to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorology Forecasting.
To mitigate the impact of saltwater, Cần Thơ City has prioritised the dredging and upgrade of the Ngang, Đông Pháp, E1, and G1 irrigation canals to increase their storage capacity. They add up to a total length of 29.2km.
Trà Vinh Province is building irrigation projects, upgrading saltwater prevention dams and sluices, and digging new ditches in fields to store water for irrigation.
Tiền Giang Province has built eight steel dams to prevent saltwater intrusion into the Bảo Định and Gò Công areas. It has also built seven saltwater prevention dams along canals in Châu Thành and Cai Lậy districts and drilled 16 borewells to supply water to people living in remote areas.
Bến Tre Province has built three temporary saltwater prevention dams on the Ba Lai River’s branches in Châu Thành District so that water can be drawn for treatment.
In the coastal provinces of Long An, Bến Tre, Trà Vinh, Sóc Trăng, Bạc Liêu, Cà Mau, and Kiên Giang, saltwater is expected to intrude 50 – 60 km into rivers in places that lack comprehensive prevention works in the first two months of 2022, according to the Southern Institute of Water Resources Research.
Hanoi sees sharp fall in bus passengers
The Hanoi Transportation Corporation (Transerco) has witnessed a considerable decline in public bus passengers last year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Public buses in Hanoi were resumed operations with half capacity from July. However, just a short time later, all bus routes in the city were suspended because of a new virus outbreak. Since October 14, the routes have been resumed at half capacity.
In 2021, the number of Transerco’s bus passengers using monthly tickets decreased by 63% on-year. The firm’s staff work on rotation with a salary cut by 70 percent. Transerco sold 12.49 million tickets, down 72 percent against the year’s target and 63 percent on-year. The company’s revenues in 2021 were estimated at VND2.12 trillion (USD91.37 million).
Hanoi has around 120 bus routes, covering 30 districts and towns.
Police arrest Hai Phong bank robber after two days
A young guy has been arrested after robbing a bank in the northern province of Hai Phong and driving away with cash worth VND3 billion, police said.
The suspect – Nguyen Van Nam, 24, a resident of Hai Phong’s Cat Hai island district – was arrested on January 9 while he was hiding in the neighbouring province of Thai Nguyen.
Nam committed an armed bank robbery at a transaction office of the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) on Dinh Vu Street of Dong Hai 2 ward, Hai An district, on January 7.
The masked man, wearing a backpack and a cap, used a military gun to threaten employees and took away a certain amount of cash. He took a motorbike parking outside the office and drove away.
The police later said that the guy stole about VND3 billion. Currently, officials are taking testimony, completing legal procedures, and moving the robber to Hai Phong for further investigations.
Exhibition welcomes upcoming Lunar New Year
Xua va Nay (Past and Present) Magazine coordinated with Heritage Inns to open an exhibition featuring the Tiger – animal designation of the 2022 Lunar New Year, in Hanoi, on January 8.
The exhibition also introduces the art of shaping the Vietnamese tiger through industrial art products, applied to contemporary life.
At the exhibition, several works were announced for the first time, with high applicability. The organising board also displayed a large-sized “Ngu Ho” (Five tigers) painting, which was completely hand-painted, using the traditional method of gilding.
The works were selected for exhibition through the consultation of historian Duong Trung Quoc, Le Van Lan; Art critic Nguyen Do Bao, art researcher Nguyen Manh Duc and Hang Trong painting artist Le Dinh Nghien.
2021 Vietnam Motorkhana Championship launched
The 2021 Vietnam Motorkhana Championship was launched at a press conference in Hanoi, on January 8.
As this is the first time being held, the 2021 Vietnam Motorkhana Championship is expected to take place on January 15 and gather 40 athletes from all over the country, to participate in two competitions.
The first category consists of 20 athletes who are racers, which have been granted a sports car racing license by VMA LLC. The second category consists of 20 athletes from VMA LLC Member Clubs across the country.
In addition to the main competition categories at the tournament, athletes and guests will also participate in the experience of Go Kart racing.
The 2021 Vietnam Motorkhana Championship will take place at the Formula One (F1) racetrack in Hanoi. This is the first time Vietnam’s famous racetrack has organised a competition since its completion.
Viet A boss admits to bribing partners
Phan Quoc Viet, founder and general director of Viet A Technology Corporation, has admitted to gouging the prices of Covid-19 test kits by 45% and giving nearly VND800 billion in bribes to partners, said the office chief of the Ministry of Public Security, To An Xo. Xo said the price gouging and bribery had helped Viet A pocket over VND500 billion.
The competent agencies have frozen many of the assets and savings books of Viet and other Viet A’s employees, including more than VND320 billion, US$100,000 and 20 properties.
Moreover, eight properties of the director of the Hai Duong Center for Disease Control (CDC), Pham Duy Tuyen, have been seized.
Over the past 20 days, 19 people involved in the case have been prosecuted. On December 17 last year, Viet and three of his subordinates were first charged with allegedly violating regulations on bidding, causing serious consequences.
On December 29, 2021, the case was shifted under the surveillance of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption.
Lao Prime Minister begins Vietnam visit