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  • 12/11/17--00:17: Article 3
  • Corruption crackdown reaches high

    A former member of the Party Politburo and deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission has become the highest-ranked official yet to be snared by the anti-corruption drive initiated by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

    Corruption crackdown reaches high, Government news, Vietnam breaking news, politic news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news 

    Dinh La Thang

    Dinh La Thang, former Chairman of the Member Council of the State-owned PetroVietnam (PVN), was arrested yesterday and temporary stripped of his titles.

    He will face legal proceedings for his alleged involvement in two serious economic mismanagement cases, resulting in great losses to the State assets.

    The decision to arrest Thang was taken by the Investigative Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security.

    Thang is accused of involvement in a case of deliberate violation of the State’s regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences (Article 165 of the Penal Code), and for abusing his position and authority to arrogate property (Article 280 of the Penal Code), causing losses of VNĐ 800 billion (US$35.2 million) to PVN’s investment in OceanBank.

    He is also accused of having a role in the deliberate violation of the State’s regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences and committing embezzlement (Article 278 of the Penal Code) in the Thai Bình 2 thermal power project implemented by the PetroVietnam Construction Corporation.

    On the same day, the Politburo yesterday issued a decision suspending Thăng’s Party membership and related activities with immediate effect.

    Also yesterday, the National Assembly Standing Committee adopted a resolution suspending Thang as a member of parliament.

    Negligent advice

    In April this year, the Party Central Committee’s Inspection Commission had decided to consider disciplinary action against seven former top executives of PetroVietnam, including Thang.

    Thang was Secretary of the Party Committee and Chairman of the PetroVietnam Group from 2009-2011.

    The Commission found that the group’s Party Committee Standing Board had been negligent in advising the PetroVietnam Party Committee on a 2009 resolution that approved illegal contract packages, and a 2011 resolution on investing in OceanBank, contrary to the Law on Credit Institutions, which resulted in a loss of VNĐ900 billion ($39.59 million), including VNĐ800 billion ($35.19 million) for OceanBank. 

    The Commission asked the Party Committee of the Central Business Bloc to take quick disciplinary action against the PetroVietnam Party Committee’s Standing Board.

    It found that Thăng bore prime responsibility for resolutions and wrongdoings by the Party Committee Standing Board and the Member Council of PetroVietnam during the 2009-2011 tenure.

    Thang was also held responsible for the Member Council’s resolutions authorising bidding packages in violation of Government decrees and advising the then Prime Minister to approve many bidding packages that failed to meet legal conditions.

    He was also found responsible for violations of the Law on Bidding related to the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the Dung Quất Biofuel Plant, as well as low investment efficiency in a number of projects, including the Đình Vũ Polyester manufacturing plant and several bio-energy projects.

    Furthermore, Thăng was found to have violated working regulations of the group’s Board of Directors by signing an agreement on contributing 20 percent and upwards of OceanBank’s capital before it got the approval of the Board of Directors.

    Later, Thăng received an official warning and was removed from the Politburo of the Party Central Committee for his wrongdoings as head of the National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam).

    Thăng’s arrest is the strongest action yet taken against a former Politburo member under the intensive corruption crackdown.

    The crackdown has attracted a great deal of public attention and been referred to as a “burning hot stove.”

    In connection with Thang's arrest, the National Assembly also adopted a resolution on the prosecution, arrest, search, and temporary suspension of a NA deputy Nguyen Quoc Khanh, another former Chairman of the PVN.


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  • 12/11/17--00:33: Article 2
  • Investors hunt for shares in beer companies

     Sabeco holds the largest market share, but it is Heineken which dominates the Vietnamese beer market. 

    vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, Habeco, Sabeco, MOIT 

    Sabeco holds 40 percent of market share in terms of consumption

    In 2016, Sabeco had VND6 trillion in pre-tax profit, half of the profit made by Heineken, while Sabeco’s market share doubled.

    The state’s divestment of Sabeco has resulted in starting price of VND320,000 per share. The price is described as ‘unreasonably high’ considering the company’s business performance.

    “Sabeco shares (SAB) are now too expensive,” said Akiyoshi Koji, chair and CEO of Asahi Group, one of the potential SAB buyers.

    SAB price has increased by twofold compared with December 2016, when it entered the bourse.

    A report released by a securities company in September showed that Sabeco traded with a P/E of 35x, much higher than Asahi’s 16x, Carlsberg’s 21x and Heineken’s 20x.

    However, analysts still believe the divestment would succeed because Vietnam is one of the most best beer markets in the world. 

    A report released by a securities company in September showed that Sabeco traded with a P/E of 35x, much higher than Asahi’s 16x, Carlsberg’s 21x and Heineken’s 20x.

    Meanwhile, Sabeco is the leading company with 40 percent of the market share in terms of consumption.

    Though holding the overwhelming market share which is nearly double that of Heineken’s, the No 2 in the Vietnamese market, Sabeco’s profit is lower than Heineken’s.

    According to the Vietnam Industry Research and Consultancy (VIRAC), Heineken Trading revenue was VND33.9 trillion, while Sabeco’s combined revenue was VND30.6 trillion, of which beer sales brought VND26.2 trillion, while the remaining came from packages and beverages.

    Heineken Trading is in charge of distributing beer products for the entire Heineken group. The two key brewers of Heineken are Heineken Vietnam Brewery and Heineken Hanoi.

    Heineken Vietnam, besides the major brewer located in district 12, HCMC, also owns four subsidiaries in Da Nang, Quang Nam, Tien Giang and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

    Heineken’s revenue is just a bit higher than Sabeco’s, but its profit is far higher.

    Sabeco’s combined pre-tax profit in 2016 was VND5.7 trillion, less than half of the total profit made by Heineken group in Vietnam– VND11.6 trillion. The profit of Heineken Vietnam alone was much higher than Sabeco’s, at VND9.5 trillion.

    An analyst commented that considering the business performance, Sabeco does not have the leading role in the beer market like VInamilk which is leading the dairy market.

    SAB is now traded at the P/E of nearly 50x, while Vinamilk shares are at 26x.

    Other brewers lag far behind Sabeco and Heineken. AB Inbev, the world’s largest brewer, reported modest revenue of VND200 billion.

     Kim Chi, VNN

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  • 12/11/17--01:32: Article 1
  • Skyjacking in Vietnam - Conclusion: Wrestling with leaflet distributor

    Ly Tong made a bomb threat to intimidate the plane’s crew and passengers

    Skyjacking in Vietnam – Conclusion: Wrestling with leaflet distributor 

    A Boeing 737 aircraft is seen in this photo taken from the Internet

    A hijack committed by an anti-state propagandist in the early 1990s has remained vividly imprinted on the mind of a former Vietnamese ambassador.

    At age 90, Vo Anh Tuan, former Vietnamese Ambassador to the United Nations, cannot forget the details of a hijack committed in September 1992 by Ly Tong, a pilot under the former Saigon regime.

    “As the Vietnamese ambassador to Yugoslavia at the time, I returned to Vietnam while the embassy was closed after the outbreak of the civil war there,’ he recalled.

    “I would have flown in the Russian-built TU-154 aircraft, but the airline staff told me to try the Boeing 737 they had just hired. I ended up changing my ticket to the flight which was later hijacked,” Tuan recalled.

    The Boeing jet, with a crew hired from Bulgaria, took off from Bangkok at 5:00 pm and was scheduled to land at Ho Chi Minh City’s TanSonNhatAirport at 6:30 pm.

    Hijacker Tong began to put his plan into action around 30 minutes before the jet landed in Vietnam.

    At 5:45 pm, he pinched an unoxidized steel knife from the meal he had just been served.

    Approximately 20 minutes later, while an air hostess was serving him drinks, Tong suddenly threw a paracord around her neck and held her at ‘gunpoint’ while pushing her into the flight attendants’ room.

    There, a Bulgarian flight attendant who had also been hand- and foot-tied by Tong was locked in.

    He coerced the two women to lie still on the floor by threatening to detonate a bomb.

    When another stewardess named Thuy Tien stepped in, the hijacker intimidated her into opening the cockpit door.

    Once he was inside the cockpit, Tong claimed he had a bomb in his bag and would not hesitate to blow everyone up if the crew refused to act on his commands.

     Skyjacking in Vietnam – Conclusion: Wrestling with leaflet distributor
    Vo Anh Tuan, former Vietnamese Ambassador to the United Nations, recalls details about the hijack in September 1992. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    The man then shoved Tien out of the compartment, overpowering the pilot and co-pilot and taking over the jet.

    Much to everyone’s relief, lights were then turned on in the passenger compartment, former ambassador Tuan recalled.

    Flight attendants informed passengers of the reduction in altitude and that they were preparing for landing.

    “Fifteen minutes later, we heard nothing from the stewardesses. It was getting dark. I clearly saw the street lights beneath, which meant the plane had dropped to a worryingly low altitude,” he added.

    The plane then suddenly gained altitude, striking fear amongst the passengers.       

    “An Asian passenger is subduing the crew up there. I think he’s a psycho,” Tien, the flight attendant, revealed to passengers as she hurried down from the first-class section of the plane.

    “He’s not a psycho. The plane is being hijacked,” the former ambassador immediately told his wife and a provincial official on the same flight.

    In the cockpit, Tong coerced the captain into flying around the downtown areas of Ho Chi Minh City and left the window open so that he could scatter propaganda leaflets.

    “I spotted a man who was sporting something like a parachute suit and a helmet in the first-class compartment. He was scurrying back and forth and scattering stacks of fliers onto the ground,” the former diplomat said.

    Tuan grabbed a leaflet that read “Ly Tong, Commander-in-Chief of the South Vietnam Uprising Army,” meaning he was calling on people in the southern region to rebel against the government. 

    Upon Tong’s command, the jet hovered several times and made repeated dives above the city’s downtown areas.

    The situation lasted for half an hour, sending the passengers into panic, with some putting on their life vests.

    One of the hostesses then requested the passengers to fasten their seatbelts, as the crew was about to open the doors.

    Tuan’s heart pounded hard when he heard this.

    Everyone held their breath and braced for the worst.

    After distributing the leaflets, Tong requested the captain to maneuver the plane to an altitude of 2,300m and open the door for him to make his parachute jump.

    “We suddenly heard a deafening sound like that of a bomb blast,” Tuan said.

    A formidable gust flew into the cabin, blowing away objects that had been placed in front of the passengers.

    The plane teetered violently but remained airborne.

    Following Tong’s jump, the captain steered the jet toward an emergency landing at TanSonNhatAirport.

    The landing was over 30 minutes later than originally scheduled.

    The local police, fire trucks and ambulances had been deployed on the ground by then.

     Skyjacking in Vietnam – Conclusion: Wrestling with leaflet distributor
    Hijacker Ly Tong. Photo: Internet

    Uncertain whether Tong had accomplices, the police officers requested all the passengers be interrogated.

    As an ambassador, Tuan was spared the investigation procedure.

    “I was told by the crew later that the hijacker had forced the pilot to steer the plane to District 8 before he made the jump and ended up in a pond,” Tuan added.

    Tong then made his way to a local neighborhood security guard in plain clothes.

    He offered to pay US$200 to the man if he agreed to take him to a designated address.

    The watchman then rode him straight to the police station.

    Born in 1946, Ly Tong was a pilot and first lieutenant in the former Saigon regime.

    After 1975, he crossed border to the U.S.

    Tong pleaded guilty at a court hearing, claiming he had returned to lead the insurgents in southern Vietnam.

    He was sentenced to 20 years behind bars and was released early in an amnesty in 1998 before returning to the U.S. 

    In November 2000, only one day before then-U.S. President Bill Clinton’s visit to Vietnam, Tong hijacked a Thai plane and commanded the jet be steered to Ho Chi Minh City for him to distribute leaflets again.

    The man was apprehended by the Thai government and convicted for hijacking and intruding on the country’s air space. 

     Tuoi Tre News

    >> Skyjacking in Vietnam – P6: The fate of Vietnam’s plane hijackers

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  • 12/11/17--01:46: Article 0
  • Social News In Brief

    HCM Communist Youth Union convenes national congress 


    HCM Communist Youth Union convenes national congress, Health ministry launches national action month on population, National Mekong Committee urged to promote role in regional growth
    The 11th National Congress of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union for the 2017-2022 tenure opened in Hanoi on December 10

    The 11th National Congress of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCYU) for the 2017-2022 tenure opened in Hanoi on December 10 with the participation of nearly 1,000 young people.

    Addressing the first session of the congress, First Secretary of the HCYU Central Committee Le Quoc Phong described the congress as an important political event and a festival of Vietnamese youths.

    The congress is reviewing the youth union’s activities during 2012-2017 and set out targets, tasks and solutions for the next five years.

    It will also amend and supplement regulations of the HCYU and elect a new central committee for the 11th tenure, he said.

    With eight forums and 20 group discussions, the congress will last until December 13.

    Earlier, the delegates paid tribute to President Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum in Hanoi and laid wreaths and offered incense at the HeroicMartyrsMonument on Bac Son road, also in the capital city.

    HCMCity highly appreciates WB’s support

    Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong hosts a reception for WB Vice President for Sustainable Development Laura Tuck on December 9.

    Ho Chi Minh City highly appreciates the World Bank (WB)’s support and always considers it as an important partner of the city, said a local official.

    In a reception for WB Vice President for Sustainable Development Laura Tuck on December 9, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong spoke highly of the WB’s assistance in local key projects in environmental treatment, urban landscape development and living condition improvement over the past years.

    HCMCity wants the WB to continue its support to ongoing projects in environment sanitation, green transport development, food safety and improving the competitiveness of the animal husbandry sector, Phong said.

    The city expects to continue negotiations with the WB in other projects related to smart city building, food safety, flood control, water loss control and more, he added.

    Phong also suggested the WB help HCMCity with resources, policy consultancy, and technical assistance so that it could become a hub for economy, trade, finance and science-technology in the region.

    Tuck, for her part, said the WB regards HCMCity as an important partner in Vietnam and is ready to cooperate with the city in urban infrastructure development, land management and innovation, among others.

    She also committed to introducing to the city potential investors and sharing experience and successful development models from around the world to improve living conditions for local people.

    Party member Tran Quoc Vuong wraps up visit to Russia

    Politburo member and head of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee’s Inspection Commission Tran Quoc Vuong and a high-ranking Vietnamese delegation concluded their five-day visit to Russia on December 9.

    Before leaving Russia, Vuong had a working session with acting governor of Saint Petersburg Alexander Govorunov, in which he noted that relations between Saint Petersburg and Vietnamese localities are important to bolstering ties between the two countries.

    He affirmed that Vietnamese Government will continue to create favourable conditions so that Saint Petersburg and Vietnamese provinces can have effective cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, investment, education and training, culture and tourism.

    Alexander Govorunov, for his part, stressed that Vietnam is an important partner of his city, expressing his hope that the Vietnamese delegation visit will give impetus to trade and investment relations between the two nations.

    Saint Petersburg and Vietnam have huge potential for collaboration in fields of the Russian city’s strengths like ship building, water treatment technology, pharmaceuticals, education and training and information and technology.

    He pledged to closely work with Vietnam to organise activities to mark the arrival of President Ho Chi Minh in Saint Petersburg 95 years ago.

    During his visit to the institute for Ho Chi Minh studies at Saint PetersburgUniversity, Vuong expressed his wish that the institute will contribute more to the Vietnamese studies in Russia and to the two countries’ traditional relations.

    At a meeting with representatives of the Vietnam Embassy and the Vietnamese expatriate community, the Party official informed them on socio-economic affairs back home.

    He stated the Party and Government always consider overseas Vietnamese an indispensable part of the country, and are willing to create best conditions possible for the group to integrate into their host nations and make contribution to their home country.

    Health ministry launches national action month on population

    The Ministry of Health’s General Office for Population Family Planning held a meeting to launch the National Action Month on Population on December 9.

    The month promotes prenatal health screening for healthy babies, early newborn health screening for prompt treatment, and investment in population work as a sustainable move.

    Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien said on average, about 1.5 – 2 percent of Vietnamese newborns in a year, equaling 22,000 – 30,000 babies, have birth defects. 

    The General Office for Population Family Planning has implemented a prenatal and newborn health screening programme that has spread nationwide. To date, approximately 25 percent of pregnant women and 35 percent of babies have received early diagnoses and treatment.

    Addressing the meeting, Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh praised the health body’s efforts and achievements in population planning and urged state agencies, sectors and citizens to support and participate in the programme.

    On October 25, the 12th Party Central Committee issued Resolution 21/NQ-TW, which set out a 2030 goal of having 70 percent of pregnant women and 90 percent of newborns respectively screened for at least four and five popular diseases.

    Go home safely campaign launched to protect children

    Wearing helmets and driving slowly are among effective measures to ensure traffic safety for children, heard a ceremony to launch Go home safely campaign in Hanoi on December 9, which aims to call for the community’s actions to ensure traffic safety for children.

    Traffic accident is the second major reason behind child fatalities in Vietnam after drowning, said Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Hong Lan at the launching ceremony, which was jointly held by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

    Lam said that traffic accidents resulted in 50 percent of deaths among adolescents and youngsters aged 15-19.

    She stressed that road accident-stemmed injuries in children can be avoided through raising public awareness of traffic safety regulations and law.

    Wearing helmets is an effective way to protect children, as it can reduce 40 percent of death risks and 70 percent risks of serious injuries in children, she stated, adding that if drivers slow down their average speed by only 5 percent, fatal accidents will be reduced by 30 percent.

    Meanwhile, Yoshimi Nishino, UNICEF Acting Chief Representative in Vietnam noted that every year, about 2,000 people die of traffic accidents, including 500 children, worldwide. One child dies every four minutes in road, while 50 percent of traffic accident victims are pedestrians, bicycle and motorbike riders, she added.

    In Vietnam, the National Committee for Traffic Safety reported that in 2016, traffic accidents killed nearly 9,000 people and dozens of thousands of others injured, said Yoshimi Nishino.

    She lauded Vietnam’s efforts for proactively implementing global road safety initiatives with specific steps in building effective traffic law.

    The UNICEF official called for the community to wear helmets for both adults and children when riding bicycles and motorbikes, and speed down when crossing areas crowded with children.

    At the event, representatives of ministries, sectors, localities, schools, parents and students signed commitments to wear helmets and drive slowly for children’s safety.

    Vietnamese culture promoted at Winternational Embassy Showcase

    The vibrant display of Vietnamese fine arts,  signature cuisine, and stunning natural landscapes impressed visitors at the annual Winternational Embassy Showcase held by the Vietnamese Embassy in the US in collaboration with the International Trade Centre on December 6.

    The event drew the participation of 39 diplomatic representative offices in the host country, nearly 5,000 visitors. News press like Washington Post and Washington Diplomat sent reporters to cover the event.

    Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh affirmed that the cultural event is significant as it creates opportunities for diplomatic agencies to exchange and popularise cultures of their homeland.

    It also helps boost friendship between the US and other foreign countries, including Vietnam.

    On the occasion, the embassy also organised a photo exhibition on Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership relations.

    Seminar looks to promote labour exports to CzechRepublic

    Vietnam’s labourer supplying capacity and demand for foreign workers of the CzechRepublic’s Karlovy Cary region were discussed at a conference held in Karlovy Vary city on December 8.

    Vietnam has provided 500,000 Vietnamese labourers skilled in healthcare, engineering and mechanical engineering for 40 countries, including Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Qatar and it is able to supply high quality workforce for the Czech Republic.

    Karlovy Vary is in need of 6,500 workers while the figure in the whole country is 700,000, thus local businesses are planning to hire labourers outside the European Union, including those from Vietnam.

    At the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to the Czech Republic Ho Minh Tuan said that labour cooperation deal between the two countries has expired since 2008 and is yet to be re-signed. The exchange of experts between the two countries is not to be carried out yet.

    Most of the Vietnamese workers go to the CzechRepublic through a brokerage company with high fees, Tuan noted, adding that contracts signed between the European country’s localities and more than 260 licensed enterprises in Vietnam are necessary in the coming time.

    He also laid stress on the need for both sides to take measures and make efforts to concretise the cooperation agreements.

    In a talk with a Prague-based Vietnam News Agency correspondent, Josef Janu, an official from Karlovy Vary, said that most of the employment vacancies are in healthcare, tourism resort and handicraft production sectors, hence, skilled workers from Vietnam are welcomed.

    EU-funded project to promote herbal plant value chain

    A workshop was held in the northern province of Yen Bai on December 8 to launch an EU-funded project to enhance capacity in managing the value chain of herbal plants.

    The event drew representatives from the Health Ministry, sponsors as well as Vietnamese herbal medicine scientists and researchers.

    Yen Bai boasts high potential in herbal medicine development as the province owns over 630 kinds of herbal plants in 99 communes, along with nearly 1,000 traditional remedies to cue 40 groups of diseases. However, some valuable remedies are facing risks of loss, while over exploitation is threatening the existence of many kinds of plants.

    In order to preserve and develop the remedies, the project will encourage the engagement of social organisations in improving management over the herbal plant value chain. It will cover four communes of Dong Cuong, Mai Dong in Van Yen district, and Cam An and Bao Ai communes of Yen Binh district.

    The project will be implemented in 45 months at a total cost of nearly 14 billion VND. It will give direct support to 300 households farming herbal plants in the four benefited localities.

    Along with collecting data on herbal plant regions, the project will hold some training courses for locals, support them in farming techniques and promote the role of the herbal sector in socio-economic development of the localities.

    At the same time, it will multiply good models in herbal plant farming and traditional remedies.

    CaoDaiTayNinhChurch holds congress for 2017-2022 tenure

    As many as 1,500 Cao Dai dignitaries nationwide met in the congress for 2017-2022 tenure of the CaoDaiTayNinhChurch in the southwestern province of Tay Ninh from December 6-9.

    During 2012-2017, the church worked to bolster internal solidarity and joined hands with relevant authorities to carry out social and charity activities. It also instructed the followers to carry out policies of the Party and State during the national renovation and protection.

    Looking forwards the 2017-2022 period, the church will focus on strengthening internal solidarity, working to connect with external social organisations, participating in charitable and social activities as well as leading its followers to comply with State regulations.

    At the congress, head of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs Vu Chien Thang hailed the church’s role in the past years, saying the church has demonstrated its role in guiding its followers to have actively joined in local socio-economic and cultural activities in the locality, making significant contributions to the national construction progress.

    The Vietnamese Government has persistently ensured belief and religious freedom as well as legal religious activities of dignities and followers and been determined to eradicate and give strict punishments to anyone who takes advantage of religions to undermine national unity and socio-political order, Thang stressed.

    Founded in 1926 in Tay Ninh province, the Cao Dai religion worships the Divine Eye, known as the eye of heaven and a symbol of supreme of the Cao Dai religion. Cao Dai’s doctrine honours the Divine and the miraculous quality of supreme spirits, and considers them as the means for human beings to unify with God.

    Vietnam Fatherland Front to help push aquatic exports to Australia

    The Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) will join hands with relevant agencies to organise a dialogue between 100 Vietnamese seafood businesses in the Mekong Delta region and the Australia’s Seafood Importers Association (ASIS) to promote seafood shipments to Australia, VFF President Tran Thanh Man has said.

    Man asked the ASIS to pay due attention to the imports of Vietnamese shrimp and tra fish while meeting with Norman Grant, President of the association, in Sydney on December 8.

    He said he believes that with significant improvements in quality, Vietnamese seafood will satisfy strict requirements of its importers, including Australia.

    “If shrimp and tra fish, two strategic goods of Vietnam, are allowed to enter the Australian market in 2018, it will be a practical move to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the two countries,” Man noted.

    Norman Grant, for his part, said that as shrimp imports to Australia are evaluated based on biological safety principle, the VFF should work to supervise shrimp farming businesses to ensure food safety before exports.

    He expressed his hope that fish breeding facilities in Vietnam will be improved, meeting fastidious requirements of Australia.

    The same day, Man surveyed Suez waste treatment technology on the outskirts of Sydney.

    Man wrapped up a visit to Australia with his VFF delegation from December 6-10.

    Prime Minister meets representatives of Japan Business Federation

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met with a delegation of the Japan Business Federation (KEIDANREN) in Hanoi on December 8.

    The host leader spoke highly of KEIDANREN’s role in the Vietnam-Japan extensive strategic partnership along with the role of the federation’s Japan-Vietnam Economic Committee in enhancing the two countries’ economic, trade and investment cooperation.

    The Vietnamese Government and people attach importance to developing ties with Japan and pledge utmost efforts to boost the strong and sustainable development of this relationship, he said, expressing his hope that Japan will soon become the biggest investor in Vietnam.

    Kuniharu Nakamura, Co-Chairman of the Japan-Vietnam Economic Committee, said to Japanese businesses, the Vietnamese market holds a very important position with big consumption strength. The two countries boast strong trade ties at present.

    Vietnam should step up improving its business climate and reinforcing bilateral economic partnership, he added.

    Hideo Ichikawa, who co-chairs the committee, said Vietnam needs to further develop infrastructure such as railways and roads which are critical to improving investment and business climate.

    Japanese companies are interested in infrastructure projects under the public-private partnership format in Vietnam, he noted, asking the Vietnamese Government to remove obstacles facing Japanese firms.

    PM Phuc said he hopes Japanese enterprises will pay attention to the environment when investing in Vietnam. He also asked Japan to assist Vietnam to develop infrastructure, especially in transport, as it is currently a bottleneck in Vietnam’s economy.

    Vietnam wants Japanese businesses to invest more strongly in the country. They are very successful in Vietnam, which is partly attributable to KEIDANREN’s activities, he added.

    At the meeting, PM Phuc also answered Japanese businesses’ questions on local mechanisms and policies.

    National Mekong Committee urged to promote role in regional growth

    The Vietnam National Mekong Committee should promote its role in the growth of the Mekong Delta and CentralHighlands regions, stated Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha, Chairman of the Committee at a meeting in An Giang on December 8.

    The meeting drew representatives of central ministries, sectors and agencies as well as leaders of Mekong Delta localities and four Central Highlands provinces of Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Gia Lai and Kon Tum.

    Ha highlighted the need to focus on the project to remove locals from eroded areas and prevent erosion and land depression.

    He noted that the MekongRiver basin has suffered from unexpected impacts. Increasing demand for water in upstream areas reduced water flow in the dry season as well as the amount of alluvium.

    Along with flood, tide and deep saltwater intrusion, climate change and extreme weather conditions have also seriously threatened production and people’s lives as well as socio-economic growth of the Mekong Delta region, he said.

    The minister stressed the need to review the committee’s orientations and seek solutions and plans of action to fulfill its tasks.

    In the coming year, the committee will work for the implementation of resolutions issued by the International Mekong River Commission, while coordinating initiatives on regional connectivity, and supporting MekongRiver basin localities in managing water resources, said Ha.

    He asked the committee to prepare reports to deliver at bilateral meetings as well as working sessions of inter-governmental committees between Vietnam, and Laos and Cambodia.

    In addition to consolidating its organisation, the committee should focus more on human resources development, database update and international cooperation expansion, he added.

    He lauded participants’ ideas on using branch rivers for reserving water, pledging that the committee will design support policies for the work.

    Workshop updates VN’s implementation of UPR recommendations

    The Foreign Ministry and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Vietnam held a workshop in Can Tho city on December 8 to inform the implementation of the 2nd-cycle Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations accepted by Vietnam.

    UPR, an inter-governmental mechanism of the Human Rights Council, reviews human rights issues in all UN member states. It is based on the principles of dialogue, cooperation, equality, objectivity, and transparency with the aim of improving and promoting the implementation of obligations and commitments on human rights. Vietnam went through the first UPR in May 2009.

    Speaking at the workshop, Vu Quang Anh, Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of International Organisations, said after accepting 182 recommendations on human rights made by UN member states in February 2014, Vietnam assigned ministries and sectors to seriously implement the recommendations.

    At present, 147 of the 182 accepted recommendations have been implemented while four others have been partly carried out. Notably, Vietnam ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. It also approved dozens of important legal documents relating to human rights and citizens’ rights so as to concretise the 2013 Constitution in line with international conventions to which Vietnam is a party.

    The country has also improved public awareness of human rights in all fields, including politics, economy, society and culture, he noted, adding that it is effectively implementing many national programmes to protect vulnerable groups’ interests such as the national action programmes on gender equality, the elderly, and children.

    It has fully implemented policies targeting persons subject to social protection, particularly children, the elderly, and the disabled. Meanwhile, authorised agencies have also supported residents in areas suffering from natural disasters, drought, saltwater intrusion, and pollution.

    As a result, average per capita income increased from 1,900 USD in 2013 to 2,215 USD in 2016, Anh said.

    Nicholas Booth, policy adviser for governance, access to justice and human rights at UNDP in Vietnam, said the UN highly values Vietnam’s coordination with human rights agencies in realising the recommendations and improving the UPR process.

    However, the UN realises that the country is facing many challenges to the recommendation implementation such as asynchronous legal system, limited resources for social welfare programmes, and overloading at sectors and authorities which have to carry out the recommendations and many other tasks at the same time.

    Booth asked Vietnam to maximise agencies’ responsibility in independently implementing the recommendations and ensure sufficient financial and human resources for the work. Particularly, it needs to form close and sustainable partnership between local administrations and social and civil organisations to effectively implement the UPR process.

    At the workshop, participants also discussed the focus and orientations for the implementation of the 3rd-cycle UPR recommendations in the time ahead.-

    PM asks for enhanced Vietnam-South Africa trade

    Vietnam and South Africa should continue to step up trade activities and enhance cooperation in various fields in an attempt to make two-way trade surpass the current over 1 billion USD.

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc made the suggestion at a reception in Hanoi on December 8 for outgoing South African Ambassador to Vietnam Kgomotso Ruth Magau, who came to say good-bye to him.

    “The two countries need to facilitate the investment promotion of their businesses, especially in agriculture, one of Vietnam’s strengths,” he said.

    Lauding the successful tenure of Kgomotso Ruth Magau as South African Ambassador to Vietnam, the Government leader expressed his wish that she will continue to support the enhancement of Vietnam-South Africa multifaceted cooperation in her new position.

    For her part, the ambassador said Vietnam holds an important role in South African’s foreign policy.

    The South African Government and people always remember the support and assistance Vietnam has given to their past struggle for independence as well as current national development, she said.

    Haling the progressing bilateral relations, she said that the South African Government will continue fostering cooperation with Vietnam, particularly in agriculture, tourism and people-to-people exchange.

    Half of country’s communes expected to become new-style rural areas in 2020

    Fifty percent of all communes across the country are expected to be recognised as new-style rural areas in 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) stated at a conference in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on December 8.

    According to the ministry, so far, Vietnam has 2,853 recognised new-style rural communes, accounting for 31.96 percent of total communes. Of which, 295 communes fulfilled all criteria of the programme’s new standards for the 2016-2020 period.

    At the same time, 42 districts in 24 provinces and cities also earned the recognition, up 11 districts compared to the end of 2016.

    After six years of implementation, one of the outstanding outcomes of the National Target Programme on new-style rural area building is the development of infrastructure system in rural areas.

    At the end of 2016, 99.4 percent of communes were accessible by car, and all communes were connected to the national power grid. More than 99.5 percent of communes had kindergartens, primary schools and health care stations.

    MARD Deputy Minister Tran Thanh Nam held that in order to reach the target, all localities should focus on improving the living conditions of locals, protecting the rural environment, ensuring clean water access and maintaining social order and safety.

    Nam added that in the coming time, the ministry will effectively implement pilot projects in new-style rural building, prioritising economic development with production chains, contributing to transforming rural economic structure and raising people’s income in a sustainable way.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Public Security Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Son suggested that public security forces of cities and provinces nationwide should consider the programme as their major and regular task and work hard to ensure social security and order.

    Ben Tre hands over 100 houses to policy beneficiaries

    The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre has handed over 100 houses of gratitude to policy beneficiary families in eight districts.

    The houses were constructed at a total cost of 7.5 billion VND (330,000 USD), of which 5 billion VND (220,000 USD) came from the Lien Viet Post Joint Stock Commercial Bank (LienVietPostBank).

    Nguyen Huu Phuoc, Vice Chairman of the Ben Tre province People’s Committee, said the houses aim to pay tribute to the policy beneficiary families, helping them enjoy a happy Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.

    Ben Tre now has around 4,000 households in need of housing support.

    Association helps promote Vietnam-Czech friendship

    The Czech-Vietnam Association (CVA) on December 9 convened its 21st congress in Prague, the Czech Republic, to review 20 years of operation.

    In his remarks, CVA President Marcel Winter highlighted the association’s efforts to enhance the friendship between the Vietnamese and Czech people, and help the Vietnamese community in the CzechRepublic integrate into the host society through various activities.

    The CVA has also repeatedly proposed competent agencies of the Czech Republic streamline procedures for granting visas to Vietnamese labourers, he said.

    Vietnamese Ambassador to the Czech Republic Ho Minh Tuan stressed that the Government and people of Vietnam always highly evaluated good sentiments and effective activities of the CVA, especially those of its President Winter.

    Such activities include assisting Vietnamese people affected by natural disasters, and poor patients and children, and promoting cooperation between businesses of the two countries, he said.

    The association has also supported Vietnam during its struggle to protect national sovereignty over seas and islands, the diplomat said, stressing Winter’s role in this regard.

    Contributions made by the CVA in general and Winter in particular to the bilateral friendship were applauded by then President Truong Tan Sang, Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan during their official visits to the CzechRepublic, he noted.

    The congress elected CVA Vice President Jan Kusy as new President of the association from now until December 2019.

    Winter, who has now worked as CVA Honorary President, told a Vietnam News Agency correspondent that he will not give up activities in support of Vietnam.

    Ca Mau moves to fight illegal fishing off foreign waters

    The Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau is undertaking a number of drastic measures to prevent local fishermen from illegal fishing in foreign waters and raise their awareness of the matter and related laws.

    Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Tien Hai assigned the local police to work with border guards to timely detect and impose penalties on those who take boats and fishermen to go fishing in foreign waters, and acts of smuggling and commercial frauds at sea.

    The border guards must increase control and inspection of offshore fishing vessels and encourage boat owners, captains and sailors to sign commitment of not illegal fishing in waters of neighbouring countries like Thailand or Malaysia.

    The provincial authorities also continue educating local fishermen on related laws, urging them to refrain from unlawful activities in foreign waters. Local administrations and relevant agencies will hold workshops and training sessions on a regular basis to improve their awareness of the issue and provide them a thorough understanding of international offshore fishing regulations to avoid risks and losses.

    The province pledged to strictly impose heavy penalties on the violations in line with the government’s decree No. 103/2013/ND-CP, including heavy fines and revocation of captain licences and permits of aquatic resource exploitation.

    Mekong Clubs Championship to take place in four countries

    National football champions of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand will compete in the Toyota Mekong Clubs Championship, scheduled for December 9 – January 6 in the four countries.

    According to information announced at a press conference in Hanoi on December 8, the opening match between Sanna Khanh Hoa of Vietnam and Boeung Ket of Cambodia will take place in Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium on December 9.

    The final match and the closing ceremony will be held in Thailand.

    The champion will get a Cup and a prize worth 75,000 USD, while the runner-up and the third prize winner will receive 50,000 USD and 30,000 USD, respectively.

    As part of the Toyota Mekong Football Project initiated by the Toyota Motor Asia-Pacific, the tournament has been held since 2014 for best clubs of countries in the Mekong region.

    Communication work helps prevent malnutrition in ethnic minority children

    Communication work is one of the major solutions to prevent malnutrition in children, especially those of ethnic minority groups, a health official said.

    Truong Tuyet Mai, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Nutrition under the Health Ministry, said at a workshop in Hanoi on December 8 that communication campaigns can help raise public awareness of undernourishment and encourage good practices in child care.

    The official said in 2016, 24.3 percent of under-five children were stunted in Vietnam. Of note, the stunted growth rate among ethnic minority children under five (32.1 percent) doubled that of children of Kinh (Viet), the ethnic majority.

    She attributed the imbalance to the limited access to health care services of ethnic minorities and their inadequate feeding practices in early age.

    Dragana Strinic, Country Director at Save the Children International, said Vietnam has made marked progresses in reducing the malnutrition rate.

    However, she said, the stunted growth rate among ethnic minority children has still remained high, warning that stunted growth could seriously affect development of children.

    The “For all children” campaign which was announced during the workshop is an initiative of the Save the Children International, aiming to improve nutrition for ethnic minority children, she said.

    The campaign promotes a healthy diet and better health care during pregnancy, and breastfeeding, Strinic added, noting that it is expected to contribute to implementing the national nutrition strategy during 2011-2020 with a vision towards 2030.

    Modern television technology to be on show

    The latest broadcasting equipment and technology will be presented at the Việt Nam International Broadcast & AV (VIBA) Show in Hà Nội next year.

    Visitors will be able to watch films screened with modern technology, attend photo shows and sound performances, and play games with virtual reality (VR) glasses.

    Following the succes of two events held in HCMCity, the VIBA show will showcase opportunities for international and Vietnamese television and businesses.

    “The exhibition will definitely boost the industry,” said Kim Jeong-hun, general director of Exporum Inc, organiser of the event.

    The Broadcast Department under the Ministry of Information and Communication, will bring a total of 200 exhibitors from 11 countries and territories together for the event.

    Visitors will be able to experience ultramodern broadcasting equipment and technology plus post-production, digital displays and IT solutions.

    They will be able to experience interactive contents that create exciting atmospheres and workshops, seminars and business matching with opportunities to meet government bodies, associations and other major key players in the industries.

    The drone competition will show visitors the new trend of camera recording which has also become a sport.

    The event will be held at the Hà Nội International Exhibition Centre, 91 Trần Hưng Đạo Street on April 5-7, next year.

    Two-volume artbook features VN cuisine

    The Vietnamese version of a two-volume art book featuring popular streetfood in Hà Nội and specialities in different regions goes on sale nationwide today.

    Compiled by writer Nguyễn Trương Quý and painter Đặng Hồng Quân, the book comprises colourful and humorous drawings of food. A short introduction and “where to eat” guide are also featurted.

    The English version of the book will be released early next year.

    Two volumes Lê La Quà Vặt (Streetfood in Hà Nội) and Ăn Quà Xuyên Việt (Streetfood Nationwide) are now on sale at VNĐ115,000 (US$5) each.

     “Various traditional cultural values have declined in modern society,” said Quân. “I want to preserve them. Cuisine and streetfood are one of the best attractions for tourists.

    “We want to introduce the signature food of Việt Nam, which can’t be mistaken with dishes from other nations.”

    Nguyễn Thị Minh Thái, PhD of art, highly recommended people, especially foreign tourists, to read the book because the pictures helped overcome the language barrier.

    Tâm wins sixth stage in Pleiku

    Nguyễn Thành Tâm once again defeated Lê Nguyệt Minh to win the sixth stage of the Bình Dương Television Cycling Tournament, Ống Nhựa Hoa Sen Cup, yesterday.

    Tâm of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang won the 30 lap, 44km stage around Đại Đoàn
    Kết Square
    in PleikuCity with a time of 48.49 minutes.

    Earlier, the former national cyclist Tâm also triumphed in the fifth stage.

    The yellow jersey for the best overall time belongs to Phạm Quốc Cường of Domesco Pharmacy Đồng Tháp, while the white jersey for best young cyclist is still held by Nguyễn Minh Luận of the senior Việt Nam national team.

    Minh of VUS-HCM City still holds the green jersey as the best sprinter, followed Minh by Tâm.

    Yesterday cyclists moved to Buôn Ma Thuột City to prepare for the seventh stage to GiaNghĩaTown in Đắk NôngProvince.

    Resources mobilised to support disadvantaged children

    The National Fund for Vietnamese Children (NFVC) should affirm its role as a reliable address for philanthropists and work to mobilise more funds to support disadvantaged children, said Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh.

    Speaking at the meeting held in Hanoi on December 7 to call for financial support for needy children, Thinh said that among 26 million Vietnamese children, 1.5 million are in especially difficult circumstances and about 2.5 million others are at high risk of being disadvantaged.

    She hailed the fund’s achievements in the past years, which have made significant contributions to reducing poverty rate in the country.

    She took the occasion to thank sponsors for their kindness in the past time.

    At the event, 17 enterprises pledged support worth over 150 billion VND (6.58 million USD) for Vietnamese children through the NFVC.

    Many corporations and organisations signed agreements with the NFVC to provide financial support for the children like Truong Tien Group, Vietnam Dairy Products JSC and Dasnet Charity Fund.

    The NFVC, set up in 1992 by the State in accordance with the Law on Child Care and Protection, aims to mobilise domestic and international resources to implement objectives for children. After 25 years, the fund has mobilised over 5.5 trillion VND (241.4 million USD) and supported over 30 million children from difficult backgrounds.

    US and Vietnam Enhance English Teaching through VietTESOL Conference 

    ThaiNguyenUniversity hosted the 3rd International VietTESOL Conference from December 7 - 8, in coordination with the U.S. Embassy, National Foreign Languages Project 2020, Ministry of Education and Training; and the VietTESOL Community. 

    The VietTESOL conference brought together diverse stakeholders of English language teaching, learning, research, and usage in an engaging platform to support the English language teaching profession, enhance English proficiency and lifelong learning among professionals and learners, and advance English language teaching, learning, research and usage in Vietnam and beyond. 

    This year’s conference offered a wide range of professional development opportunities to English language teachers of all levels.  The conference featured key note speeches from University of Hawaii’s Dr. J.D. Brown as well as University of Languages and International Studies’ Professor Hoang Van Van and Professor Le Van Canh.  In addition, participants shared over 80 papers, posters and tech fair sessions and led 30 workshops, including many from U.S. Department of State English Language Fellows. Approximately 280 English language instructors from around the country and 25 international participants registered to attend the conference. 

    The U.S. Embassy’s Regional English Language Office (RELO) was a proud sponsor of the conference, and RELO sponsorship funds were used, in part, to support the travel and attendance of regional teachers.


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  • 12/12/17--00:16: Article 3
  • Social News 11/12

    "Danish Week - Sustainable City Solutions" about to begin 

     'Danish Week - Sustainable City Solutions' about to begin, HCM City honours 18 “Heroic Mothers”, Thousands come to int’l cuisine festival in Hanoi, Seven fishermen rescued at sea, Chinese contractor asks to further delay Hanoi's first sky train

    A series of events on sustainable city solutions will be held in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from December 12 to 17 within an initiative of the Embassy of Denmark in Vietnam and co-organized by the National University of Civil Engineering in Hanoi (NUCE) and the University of Architecture Ho Chi Minh City (UAH), with support from local authorities, organizations, and enterprises from Vietnam and Denmark.

    Denmark is among the world leaders in green technology, and Green Growth is an important area of Vietnam and Denmark’s Comprehensive Partnership Agreement,” said Danish Ambassador H.E. Charlotte Laursen. “With this campaign we hope to create opportunities to exchange inspiration and knowledge with Vietnam on how to build green and sustainable cities.”

    With the theme “Danish Week - Sustainable City Solutions”, the campaign includes exhibitions, seminars, film screenings, masterclasses, and a competition seeking practical ideas on how to ensure greener and cleaner cities.

    Seminars will be hosted by NUCE in Hanoi on December 12 and by UAH in Ho Chi Minh City on December 14. Experts from the two countries will share experience, lessons learned, and best practices in urban planning policy and solutions.

    Students from NUCE and UAH will also have opportunity to attend masterclasses with famous Danish architect Hans Peter Hagens and the Head of the Technical and Environment Department in Aarhus city, Mr. Mogens Bjørn Nielsen.

    Exhibitions open to the public from December 12 to 17 at NUCE and December 14 to 19 at UAH will showcase some of the best sustainable architecture designs and city development projects from Denmark. In Hanoi, the exhibition will be moved to Ly Thai To Square near HoanKiemLake on the weekend of December 16 and 17.

    Other events include the final round of the “Raising Awareness on Green City Solutions in Vietnam” competition, where best ideas on how to ensure greener and cleaner cities will be named. The competition is being co-organized by the embassy and the Denmark - Vietnam Alumni Network.

    Within the framework of the Comprehensive Partnership Agreement signed by the two countries in 2013, the relationship focuses on political dialogue, cultural exchange, commercial activities, and targeted ODA-projects matching Denmark’s strengths in green growth, food and agriculture, health, and education.

    Bilateral trade between Vietnam and Denmark has increased significantly since 2011 and interest from Danish companies in cooperating with Vietnam regarding trade and investment continues to increase. More than 130 Danish companies are now in Vietnam and many more are interested in doing business in the country.

    HCMCity honours 18 “Heroic Mothers”

    18 women are posthumously presented with the Vietnamese Heroic Mother title in HCMCity on December 11

    Ho Chi Minh City held a ceremony on December 11 to confer posthumously the noble State title of “Heroic Vietnamese Mother” to 18 women whose husband and children laid down their lives in the struggle for national liberation and protection.

    Addressing the ceremony, Vice Secretary of the HCM City Party Committee Vo Thi Dung expressed her gratitude to the mothers who devoted their beloved to the struggle for national independence.

    She also asked local authorities to take care of living conditions of those who have made contribution to the country and their families.

    To date, 5,296 women in HCMCity were awarded with the Heroic Mother title, with just more than 200 being still alive.

    Thousands come to int’l cuisine festival in Hanoi

    An international cuisine festival, the fifth of its kind, held by the Foreign Ministry’s Bureau of Diplomatic Corps Services in Hanoi on December 10 attracted thousands of visitors. 

    Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, Ambassador Nguyen Nguyet Nga and many foreign ambassadors joined the crowd to enjoy unique dishes from various countries and different regions in Vietnam

    Opening the event, Ambassador Nguyen Nguyet Nga, who is spouse of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, said the festival wants to create a platform for exchange among foreign diplomats, visitors and Vietnamese, thus enhancing mutual understanding. 

    Among the 120 booths at the festival, 35 were run by foreign embassies in Vietnam. Besides food, handicrafts and local specialties were also available along with folk art performances, with proceedings going to charity.

    The organising board of the event presented 200 million VND to the Binh Thuan kindergarten in the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai, which was damaged by recent flooding, and 10 gifts to orphans at the Vi ngay mai charity centre.

    First ASEAN film festival held in the Netherlands

    The first ASEAN film festival recently took place in the Dutch city of Utrech as part of celebrations for the 50th founding anniversary of the bloc. 

    The event was graced by the presence of the Ambassadors of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to the Netherlands

    Speaking at the event, Chairman of the ASEAN Committee in The Hague - Indonesian Ambassador to the Netherlands Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja said the festival hopes to convey a message of ASEAN culture and history to Dutch friends via 10 films of different genres made in the five above countries. 

    During the festival from December 8-10, audiences had chances to exchange with actors and actresses from Indonesia and the Philippines and enjoy food of Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines

    With the support of the Foreign Ministry, the Department of Cinema, BHD and Galaxy companies, Vietnam introduced two films :Tam Cam: Chuyen chua ke” (Tam Cam: The Untold Story) and “Toi thay hoa vang tren co xanh” (Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass) to the event.

    Public transport sector improves services

    The move aims to improve public transport services and encourages people to use public transport.

    With this smart instruction, all information about bus schedules will be provided to customers, such as the number of buses at the station, bus arrival times, and the next buses’ schedule. Besides, customers will be also provided with information about ticket prices, and operation time.

    The move has received a warm response from public.

    “The new devices help us to save time, we can know the exact time for our next trip so we can arrange our time appropriately,” said Le Thi Ngoc Bao, a resident in District 12.

    Meanwhile, Le Van Minh, a resident in District 8 said: “Previously, we had to face time pressure, but now with new smart device it’s easier for us as both drivers and travellers to know the timetable for every trip.”

    According to bus driver Le Khac Bao Quoc many more people are expected to use public transport because busses’ information is now available and there will be no late or delayed busses.

    Besides electronic information boards, the bus stations have been equipped with detailed instructions to help travellers know more about bus routes, stop-over and pick-up points of other buses.

    Moreover, the city has focused on improving infrastructure for pubic services, including areas for disabled people, and bus stops.

    “We have planned to put into operation three new bus stations and 85 new bus stops in the city to serve customers’demand,” Director of Ho Chi Minh City Management and Operation Centre Tran Chi Trung said.

    After a pilot period, the new devices will be implemented and installed at more than 450 bus stops in the city to attract more people to use public transport.

    The city also needs to continue improving customer service, helping reduce individual transport means to the city, especially during rush hours.

    Seven fishermen rescued at sea

    Seven fishermen from BìnhĐịnhProvince were rescued at sea on Sunday after their boat encountered difficulties in rough conditions on Saturday morning.  

    The Đà Nẵng-based Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre No 2 (MRCC2) told Việt Nam News that all crew members were healthy when their boat was towed safely to Đà Nẵng port yesterday morning.

    According to MRCC2, the fishing boat suffered engine failure on Saturday, 155 nautical miles off Cửa Lò beach in Nghệ An Province.

    Strong waves and high winds prevented crew members from repairing the engine, and a rescue ship from the MRCC2 was sent to locate the distressed vessel.

    The rescue ship towed the fishing boat and crew to the port of Đà Nẵng yesterday morning after a 17-hour trip through the night.

    This incident marks the second case in three days where an MRCC2 ship was called to rescue boats and crew members.

    On Friday, a ship from MRCC2 also rescued nine fishermen on a fishing boat off the coast of Nghệ An Province.

    Last month, a crew member on a fishing ship from Bình Định was saved after 20 hours when his boat sank off the coast of southern Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province.

    Tourism Ideas Contest opens in HCM City

    Sixteen student teams from eight universities in HCMCity participated in the Tourism Ideas Contest held the in HCMCity’s Bình Thạnh District.

    The Tourism Ideas Contest was hosted by the HCM City University of Technology (HUTECH) in collaboration with the city’s departments of Tourism and Science and Teachnoloy on Saturday.

    Organisers are looking for creative ideas, new tourism products and solutions to support the development of the city’s tourism sector.

    The contest attracted students not only studying tourism, but also from many other majors, such as  IT, social sciences and humanities and banking-finance.

    The participants bring to the contest several products, such as pictures made of fish scales, bus routes for foreigners, Sài Gòn Free Walking Tours-a non-profit organization,  the app “WOW”–“Wow, HCM City is wonderful!”, smart hotels, travel by electric cars, and others.

    According to the organisers, each team has a maximum of five members.

    After the contest’s qualifying round on December 9, eight teams will be chosen to continue in the contest’s semi-finals on December 17 presenting details of their products after being assisted by coaches.

    The best products is planned to be displayed and awarded at the gala night on December 27.

    Tourism has been identified as one of the country’s key economic sectors, and tourism training has become a specialized industry.

    HCMCity has great potential for tourism development, but its tourism development may not be meeting with its potential.

    The contest not only creates a playground for students to develop new tourism products but also strengthens the development in science and technology, start-ups and the creation in the city’s tourism.

    Saigon Heat suffer defeat at first ABL match

    Saigon Heat let their rival, Formosa Dreamers, come from behind to win 80-75 in their first match at the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) on Saturday in HCM City.

    Playing on home turf, the Heat made an impressive start and ended the first quarter at 18-13.

    The Dreamers did a better job early on in the second quarter, with a streak of 14 points to take the lead of 27-22. Akeem Scott helped the Heat come back with a three-point throw before his teammates netted 12 points to close the quarter at 37-28.

    Scott continued his outstanding performance with 11 points in the third quarter, and the Heat maintained their lead of 62-55 by the end of the quarter.

    The Heat led by 7 points 71-64, with 7.05 minutes to go in the game after a split from the line from their high-scoring import, Scott. However, the Dreamers sparked a three-point barrage that turned the game around.

    The visitors continued to score, while the Heat failed to create attacks, leading to a loss of 75-80.

    “When it’s your first game and you did not have any exhibition games, nay practice games, you really don’t know how things are going to go,” said Saigon Heat head coach, Kyle Julius. “For our first game together, I thought we had some good moments and some bad moments and we can grow and work on those.”

    The Heat will next play Mono Vampire of Thailand on December 17. 

    Conference talks co-management in fishery resources protection

    A national conference on co-management in protecting fishery resources between the State and community took place in the central province of Binh Thuan on December 9. 

    Hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)’s Directorate of Fisheries and the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the event was attended by authorities, representatives of the fisheries sectors and fishermen of cities and provinces from Quang Ninh to Ca Mau. 

    It aimed to refine legal framework and boost coordination in co-management in fishery resources protection and to rally financial support to support local fishermen and protect the coastal eco-system. 

    Nguyen Thi Thu Huyen, National Coordinator of the UNDP/GEF SGP, said the National Assembly’s adoption of the Fisheries Law marks a turning point in community-based management in the fisheries sector. The law provides the legal foundation for fishermen’s official access to fisheries resources and the recognition and promotion of their role in managing such resources.

    Hidenao Watanabe from the Japan International Cooperation Agency suggested establishing fishery exploitation groups with government support. 

    In Binh Thuan, pilot models in co-management in fishery resources protection are underway in Phuoc The commune, Tuy Phong district and Thuan Quy commune, Ham Thuan Nam district, which have achieved positive results. 

    Earlier on December 8, a working group from the MARD inspected the pilot model in co-managing ark shell farming in Thuan Quy commune, Ham Thuan Nam district.

    Vietnam attends political parties’ conference in Russia

    A delegation of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) attended a conference on the role of political parties in developing Russia-ASEAN relations hosted by the United Russia Party (URP) in Vladivostok, Russia, between December 7-10.

    The conference was attended by representatives from political parties of ASEAN member nations and the URP. Acting General Secretary of the International Conference of Asian Political Party Jeon Jae-man was present at the event as an observer. 

    Delegates discussed topics related to dialogue among parties as a mechanism for enhancing relations between Russia and ASEAN members.

    They highlighted the role played by political parties, especially ruling parties, in promoting ties among countries. They also strongly opposed external intervention in countries’ internal affairs.

    The Vietnamese delegates, led by deputy head of the CPV Central Committee’s Commission for External Affairs Nguyen Tuan Phong, contributed to the conference’s agenda. 

    On the sidelines of the event, the Vietnamese officials held a working session with representatives from the URP, during which they discussed measures to strengthen the friendship between the two parties and states.

    Kids paint their thoughts on peace

    Nearly 400 Hanoian and international children painted art on the peace and beauty of Hanoi in Ly Thai To Flower Garden in the capital city on December 10.

    Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Culture and Sports Tran Quoc Chiem said the event presents opportunities for kids to exchange with each other, thus fostering friendship between Vietnamese and foreign children.

    The paintings show the kids’ thought of the beauty of Hanoi, its people and their aspiration for peace and a clean and safe living environment.

    Nguyen Minh Phuong, 11 received first prize for her painting “Peace, solidarity and friendship”.

    Min Jin Yang, 14, from the Republic of Korea, and two Hanoi kids, namely Le Hong Nhung, 12 and Tran Linh Chi, 9 were presented with second prizes.

    Numerous others received third prizes and encouragement prizes for their paintings.

    ‘Help-portrait’ program brings joy to disadvantaged people

    More than 1,200 photographers and volunteers have participated in the eighth edition of ‘Help-portrait’ program held recently in 15 provinces and cities and Tho Chu Island with the purpose of bringing joy to child cancer patients and disadvantaged people.

    In addition to major activities of the programme, voluntary groups took many photos of local people living in remote areas at any appropriate time and gift them their photographed photos.

    This year’s program aims to preserve and present 10,000 photos to pediatric cancer children, lonely old people and especially difficult people. These photos were taken at more than 60 nationwide places such as hospitals, charity houses and centres for children with disabilities.

    At Christmas parties to be held during the programme, disadvantaged children will receive gifts donated by benefactors.

    After the eight-year duration of the programme, 50,000 photos have been taken as a small contribution to alleviating difficulties for children and people with special difficult circumstances. 

    Chinese contractor asks to further delay Hanoi's first sky train

    The main contractor of Hanoi's first elevated railway line running from Cat Linh to Ha Dong, to the north of Hanoi, has suggested pushing back the project's deadlines to late 2018, according to the Transport Ministry.

    Under the new schedule, the project would have test runs in early September 2018, and would be put into operation in November 2018. 

    This would result in an 11-month delay compared to the previously proposed schedule, which would have seen test runs in October this year and a fully operational elevated railway by mid-2018.

    "This is only the Chinese contractor's estimation, not an official schedule," said Nguyen Ngoc Dong, vice minister of transport. "The Transport Ministry has tasked the project's management board with reviewing its progress, and would report to the prime minister in January 2018."

    The main contractor, the state-owned China Railway Sixth Group Co., claimed delayed disbursment of $250 million in official development assistance (ODA) from China is still the cause of the delay.

    The main contractor still owes Vietnamese contractors over VND600 billion (US$26.5 million), despite already taking over US$65 million from its own working capital to pay them.

    In October, the project's general manager Tang Hong said he had reported to the Chinese embassy to urge the disbursement as well as worked with the Transport Ministry to speed up the project.

    According to Dong, Vietnam has resolved all disbursement issues on its side but the necessary procedures on China's side have yet to be completed.

    Currently 95% of the project's construction work has been completed, while 60 percent of imported equipment has arrived in Vietnam and 40% of equipment has been installed. The contractors are expected to install the project's signal and electronic systems, as well as finish construction of railway stations in the coming months.

    Work on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated railway, which will run over more than 13 kilometers (8 miles), started in October 2011 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2013. But several hurdles, including issues with the Chinese contractor, have been stalling the project for years.

    The original cost estimate of US$552.86 million has also ballooned to more than US$868 million, including US$670 million in loans from China.

    Green growth promoted to respond to climate change

    Climate change and increasing greenhouse gas emission are challenging Mekong Delta provinces’ sustainable growth. In order to increase their resistance and ability to mitigate the impact of climate change, local provinces are promoting the Green Growth Strategy.

    The Mekong Delta is home to more than 18 million people and is Vietnam’s key industrial-agriculture hub. But the region is facing serious climate change challenges including a rising sea level, receding mangrove forests and coastal erosion.

    The average temperature in the region is expected to increase 0.7 degrees Celsius by 2020 and 2 degrees Celsius by 2025. The volume of CO2 emissions in the region is likely to increase rapidly in the near future due to its rapid development.

    The government adopted a National Strategy on Green Growth in 2012 focused on reducing greenhouse gas emission, greening production, and greening consumers’ lifestyles. An Giang, Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Kien Giang, Soc Trang and Hau Giang provinces are finalizing their plans in response to the Strategy.

    Vo Doan Dung of the Hau Giang Department of Planning and Investment said green growth is inevitable. He said promoting green growth will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make growth sustainable.

    Le Minh Chien, Vice Chairman of the Bac Lieu Provincial People’s Committee said “Green growth is of great importance to sustainable development. We need to mobilize resources and adopt a coordinated policy to implement this task.”

    The Ministry of Planning and Investment has released an Action Plan on green growth in Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Kien Giang, Soc Trang, and Hau Giang province. Under the plan, local provinces will strengthen regional links, promote environmental sustainability, protect biodiversity, and harmonize economic, social, and environmental goals. The region will need US$5.2 billion to invest in green growth until 2025.

    Ha Dang Son, an expert on green growth with the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said that provinces need to mobilize foreign aid and focus on human resource training. 

    Mr. Son asked local provinces to review their plans to introduce green production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions: "Activities to reduce green house gas emissions involve developing renewable energy, reforming cultivation techniques, and restructuring agricultural production. We should promote high-tech agricultural production, and review our economic development and environment plans to boost green production.”

    Vietnam inks deal with Mekong neighbors to put an end to malaria

    Vietnam and its neighboring countries in the Mekong region have formed an agreement to eliminate malaria by 2030, amid concerns that the mosquito-borne disease has developed a resistance to drugs.

    Representatives from Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam met on Friday to discuss the disease, that has developed a strong resistance to antimalarial drugs such as Artemisinin, the core compound used in antimalarial medicine.

    The officials pledged to improve cross-border collaboration and secure adequate funding to eliminate the disease.

    Malaria prevention and treatment will be provided free of charge for ethnic minority groups, migrants and remote communities, they said.

    The countries will receive support from the World Health Organization through surveillance programs and national planning.

    WHO officials said in a statement that the 2030 goal is within reach and must be met to guarantee the health of vulnerable communities.

    “The Anopheles mosquito does not need a passport or a visa to cross borders,” said Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, as he urged the countries to unite under one strategy.

    Malaria elimination in the region will set an example for the rest of the world, he said.

    Malaria is a deadly disease caused by parasites that are transmitted through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. The disease sickened 214 million people and killed 438,000 in 2015, with 90% of the deaths in Africa and 70% of them children under five years old, according to the WHO.

    Between 2012 and 2016, effective control tools including nets, insecticides and preventive treatment for infants helped reduce malaria cases in the Greater Mekong Subregion by around 74%.

    Vietnam, which already set a national target for malaria elimination by 2030, has reduced its number of cases by 82% and deaths by 93% in the past decade. It reported 4,161 infections last year, a 55% drop from the previous year, with just three deaths.

    The country has been struggling to treat malaria since 2015. Drug-resistant parasites have been detected in BinhPhuocProvince, three hours north of Saigon, and Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Khanh Hoa and Quang Nam in the central region.

    HCMCity department proposes doubling traffic fines

    The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport is proposing a significant increase to administrative fines levied for traffic violations in an attempt to ease the city’s traffic woes.

    The proposal suggested doubling current fines for traffic violations in inner city areas in order to minimize traffic accidents and gridlock in the city.

    After collecting feedback, the plan will be submitted to the city’s People’s Council for approval.

    According to Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the municipal transport department, the number of traffic crashes and traffic related deaths increased in 2016 compared to the previous year, a majority of which could be attributed to traffic violations.

    In the first 11 months of 2017, 97 people were killed in traffic crashes caused by driving on the wrong side of the street and 33 more were killed in accidents caused by speeding, Cuong continued.

    Raising the fines in intended to raise awareness of traffic regulations within the local community, not to contribute to the city budget.

    The measure is also backed by article 23 under the law on administrative penalties, which was promulgated in 2012, the official elaborated.

    Under current regulations, motorcyclists who ignore red lights or directions of traffic police will be fined from VND300,000 (US$13.21) to VND400,000 (US$17.61).

    A similar fine is imposed upon those who ride their motorcycle in the wrong lanes or on prohibited roads.

    Illegal parking is subjected to a penalty between VND100,000 (US$4.4) to VND1.2 million (US$52.84) depending on the severity.

    The transport department’s decision to submit the proposal comes against the backdrop of resolution passed by the lawmaking National Assembly in late November to pilot special mechanisms and policies for the development of Ho Chi Minh City.

    As the special mechanism mulls over the increase in certain taxes and charges, raising fines for traffic violation falls within its scope.

    Raising fines for traffic violations is also included in the city’s overall plan to reduce traffic congestion and traffic related accidents across the southern metropolis, Cuong stated.

    Offenses mentioned in the proposal include illegal parking, wrong-way driving, failing to comply with traffic light signals or directions given by traffic police, amongst others.

    Penalties for violations related to roadwork and public hygiene on streets are also expected to be raised if the proposal is approved.

    Traffic cops will first focus on instructing and reminding local residents to follow traffic rules before a strict enforcement of the new measure, Cuong said, adding that technology will also be applied to assist the process.

    Local citizens have expressed their support for the proposal and have offered constructive feedback to maximize its efficiency.

    According to Tran Hai Duc, a lawyer from the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association, raising traffic fines is necessary but requires careful consideration due to the direct impact it could have on the lives of residents, especially those with limited income.

    To lower traffic crashes and congestion, other solutions should also be carried out, including raising public awareness, improving traffic infrastructure, and limiting negativity behavior from law enforcement.

    Nguyen Quang Trung, a car owner, believes that the fine increase should only be applied to certain violations.

    The current penalties for some offenses are appropriate and should be kept the same, Trung added.

    Hanoi man arrested for battering starving 10-year-old son

    Police in Hanoi have detained a man after his son fled away from an apartment where they were living together.

    Tran Hoai Nam, 34, is under investigation for child abuse, following claims made by his 10-year-old son.

    The boy is being looked after by his mother after he ran away on December 5.

    For the past two days, he has been screaming in his sleep, the boy's mother, identified as Ngan, told VnExpress on December 7.

    The boy's face is covered with scars and injuries and doctors have diagnosed him with four cracked ribs and a cracked skull.

    He is unable to look at photos of his father and trembles with fear when the abuse he has been subjected to is mentioned.

    For the past two years, his father and stepmother have allegedly beaten and starved him, keeping him locked up in their rented apartment and away from school.

    “I don’t want to go back there,” said the boy.

    Ngan and her husband, Nam, divorced in 2014 when they already had two children together. As agreed by the court, each of them took custody of one child.

    From 2014 to early 2016, the boy lived with Nam, his stepwife and parents at a house in Hanoi, and Ngan was allowed to see her son on weekends.

    In July 2016, Nam and his stepwife moved out of his parents’ house and cut all ties with his parents and first wife.

    Ngan said she asked Nam to let her see their son several times, but Nam repeatedly turned her down.

    “He always had a reason to prevent me from seeing my son. Then he changed his phone number and moved to a new place, leaving me no way of contacting my son,” she said.

    The boy said he was forced to quit school after he finished his second grade and had to work like an adult.

    But his father and stepmother did not stop there, and beat him over and over again, even when he had done nothing wrong.

    “They often left me to starve and did not let me go outside to play," he said. "I haven't had a proper meal for two years and there were many nights I had to sleep on the floor with only a thin blanket.”

    In two years, he saved up VND5,000 (22 cents) and tried to run away five times.

    On December 5, after getting a sound thrashing from his stepmother because "she thought I had eaten stewed beef on the sly,” the boy decided to make his escape.

    With 22 cents, he ran as fast as he could to a xe om driver that he knew without his shoes on, “so that my dad and stepmother couldn't catch me.”

    The driver carried the runaway to a bus station and helped him catch the bus to his grandparents.

    “Though it’s been two years, I still remember the address. When I got there, I had to tell them my name, age, and date of birth before they recognized me,” the boy recalled.

    Ngan said she almost collapsed after seeing her gaunt son with injuries all over his body and long hair after two years apart.

    “If he hadn't been wearing a T-shirt I bought him years ago, I wouldn't have believed he was my son,” she said in tears.

    The father told the police that his son was "naughty so he had to discipline him."

    Nam reenacted the way he had beaten his son for the police on Wednesday, bending a metal coat hanger into a rod and using it to beat the boy, and sometimes even using a soup ladle to strike the boy’s head or kick him in the ribs.

    The stepmother has also admitted to the abuse.

    Truong Anh Tu, a Hanoi-based lawyer, said Nam can be charged with "torture" and face three years behind bars.

    Despite all this, the boy has still asked the police to release his father.

    Child abuse is becoming more common in Vietnam, with most cases reported at nurseries; but criminal charges are rarely brought against the culprits.

    The owner of a private daycare center in Saigon was arrested last month after a video of her and her employees abusing small children went viral online.

    Early this year, two teachers in Hanoi were fined VND2.5 million (US$110) each after an online video showed them beating crying children with various objects, including a slipper.

    In a rare case, a court in the southern province of Kien Giang sentenced two babysitters to three years in jail in January 2014 for torturing children at an unlicensed private nursery.

    Another babysitter in Saigon received an 18-year sentence the same year for killing a baby after she couldn’t stop him crying. She escaped the death sentence because she was under 18 at the time of the fatal incident.

    According to government data, more than 2,000 children in Vietnam suffer serious abuse that requires special help and intervention every year.

    Honda awards for young Vietnamese scientists, engineers

    On December 8, Honda Vietnam presented the 10 best undergraduate students from affiliated Vietnamese universities with Honda Y-E-S Awards worth US$30,000 and 10 motorbikes.

    The annual program is jointly implemented by Honda Foundation, the National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategy Studies (NISTPASS), Honda Vietnam Co., Ltd, and 10 affiliated universities.

    All Y-E-S Award recipients are eligible for the Y-E-S Award Plus worth US$10,000 if they pursue a master or doctoral course in Japan, or US$7,000 if they enroll in an internship program of 2.5 months to 1 year duration at Japanese universities, research institutes, or labs within 4 years of receiving the Y-E-S Award.

    Hirohisa Uchida, managing director of the Honda Foundation, said that since its launch in April 2017, the organizing board has received 113 applications from students with outstanding academic records in 10 affiliated universities. The 10 best students are selected over three rounds of competition for the Honda Y-E-S Awards.

    Kuwahara, General Director of Honda Vietnam, said that over the past 12 years, 120 students out of 1,038 applicants have been honored with Honda Y-E-S Awards and 30 went on to receive the Y-E-S Plus to take master degree courses and internship programs in Japan.

    Eleventh national youth union congress opens

    The 11th National Congress of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth (HCYU) opened in Hanoi on December 11, drawing 999 delegates representing millions of the union’s members nationwide.

    Addressing the opening session of the congress, Communist Party of Vietnam General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong lauded the accomplishments of youth and children’s movements as well as the HCYU operation at all levels.

    Showing his strong trust in the youth, the Party chief suggested that in the coming time, the union should pay greater attention to educating the youth on revolutionary ideal, political firmness, morality and lifestyle.

    The union should encourage and promote patriotism, revolutionary ideal and trust in the political regime among youngsters, he said.

    At the same time, he also asked the union to improve youngsters’ awareness about wrong information and arguments of hostile forces, especially via social networks.

    The HCYU should uphold its central role in youth organisations of the country, while guiding the Ho Chi Minh Vanguard Children Union and working hard to protect and educate children, he said.

    The Party leader also requested the union to build mechanisms, policies and activities to foster the development of young people in all fields, across social and economic aspects.

    Speaking at the event, Nguyen Phi Long, Secretary of the HCYU’s 10th Central Committee and President of the Vietnam Youth Federation said that the congress will review and draw lessons during the implementation of the 10th Congress’s resolution in the past five years, and set targets for the 2017-2022 period. The Congress will also make adjustments to the union’s Charter.

    He reported that youth and children’s movements in the past five years were successful, with 455,000 works built and over 2,200 projects launched in various fields, bringing about high socio-economic results.

    Voluntary and charity activities of the union drew 16 million participants nationwide, he added.

    He said that in the 2017-2022 period, the union will focus on fostering young generations with revolutionary ideal, strong political will and patriotism, as well as with good health, good knowledge and aspiration for a better life and better world.

    He drafted 11 major targets in operation of the union in the next five years, including giving 5 million innovative ideas, planting 30 million trees, providing 10 trillion VND as loans for youngsters to boost production, and supporting 1,000 startup projects.

    The union also plans to give career consultations to 10 million youngsters, introduce jobs to 1.5 million others, and admit 5 million more members.

    WWF calls for wildlife protection

    The World Wide Fund for Nature in Vietnam, better known as WWF Vietnam, on Wednesday joined forces with Hanoi Young Business Association to organize a seminar to call for Vietnamese entrepreneurs and German businesses active in the country to join hands in the protection of endangered wildlife. 

    Over the years, Vietnam has been known as a transhipment point and a large consumption market for products from endangered wildlife, including rhino horns.

    Van Ngoc Thinh, country director of WWF Vietnam, said the high demand for using products from wild animals has resulted in the fast extinction of endangered species.

    Therefore, the Vietnamese and German business communities’ efforts and commitment to combating illegal consumption of wild animals are highly appreciated, Thinh added.

    Nguyen Viet Hung, financial director of B. Braun Vietnam Co Ltd, says the company aims to carry out activities to boost environmental protection by using natural resources in a legal and responsible way.

    Violations on SonTraPeninsula to face tough sanctions

    The Government Inspectorate will inspect all investment projects on Son Tra Peninsula in Danang City, and violations, if found, will be strictly handled, said Huynh Duc Tho, chairman of Danang, at a meeting of the city People’s Council on December 7.

    SonTraPeninsula has been in the spotlight this year since news about the illegal construction of 40 villas there broke and the Danang Tourism Association called for the central Government to protect the peninsula from rampant tourism property development.

    Tho was quoted by Dan Tri news website as saying that most projects on the peninsula had been approved before 2015. Municipal authorities have submitted a new zoning plan for the peninsula to the Government but a final decision will not be made until June 2018.

    Before the new zoning plan is approved, the city will restrict construction density and the altitude of projects on the peninsula to harmonize economic development and protection of nature.

    Tho said municipal authorities have also inspected a number of projects in other parts of the city such as Lien Chieu and Hoa Vang districts. Violations will be strictly punished, he noted.

    According to Tho, land management weaknesses have resulted in failures of several urban development projects in the city.

    Construction, residence fees hiked in city

    The HCMC People’s Council on December 7 hiked fees for residential registration, construction licensing and museum admission as the current levels are too low to cover spending.

    In particular, the issuance and renewal of residence registration books cost VND8,000-15,000, registration of permanent or temporary residence VND5,000-10,000, information change in residence registration books VND3,000-5,000, and extension of residential permit VND5,000-10,000.

    Exempt from residence registration fees are children, senior people, those with disabilities or contributions to the country’s revolution, poor households, spouses and children under 18 of war martyrs, wounded soldiers, and children under 18 of wounded soldiers.

    As for museum admission, the new fee at the WarRemnantsMuseum is VND40,000 per visitor; and VND30,000 per visitor at the Museum of HCMC, the HCMCFineArtsMuseum and the Museum of History. Admission is free at TonDucThangMuseum and Southern Women’s Museum.

    Regarding construction licensing fees, the council hiked the fee for houses to VND75,000 per license, and VND150,000 for other construction works. VND15,000 is charged on a license extension or adjustment. The existing fees are VND50,000, VND100,000 and VND10,000 per license respectively.

    Issuing a work permit for foreign workers in HCMC costs VND600,000, up from the current VND450,000.

    The new fee for issuance of land use right certificates in HCMC ranges from VND25,000 to VND1.6 million per application depending on size and subject.

    HCMC council passes pilot special mechanism

    HCMC People’s Council members at the sixth council meeting on December 7 approved a resolution piloting a special development mechanism in the city as stated in an earlier National Assembly (NA) resolution, Nguoi Lao Dong reports.

    The HCMC People’s Committee, or the city government, is assigned to present a list of projects in which ten hectares of rice farming land or above will be used for other purposes, a list of Group A projects funded by the city’s budget, and an annual budget allocation plan to the council for approval.

    The city government will have to urgently prepare specific schemes so that the council could weigh them at a meeting scheduled for mid-2018. The schemes include imposing new fees beyond the law on fees and charges, increasing the fees and charges provided by the law, and raising wages of civil servants.

    The city government is also tasked with drawing up other schemes for discussion at the mid-2018 meeting at the latest, including hikes of special consumption and environmental taxes, capital mobilization, and construction of belt road No. 3.

    The city government will have to closely coordinate with central government agencies to prepare and evaluate the aforementioned schemes and present them for approval by next December.

    The schemes to be decided by the city government before next June involve delegation of power, organizational rearrangement, adjustments of names and functions of units under the city government, and the use of revenues from the special financing-budgetary mechanism to invest in socio-economic infrastructure.

    The implementation of the resolution, set to go into force on January 15 next year, will be strictly supervised by the council. 

    Youth representatives join dialogues with official leaders

    Delegates of the ongoing 11th National Congress of the Ho Chi Minh City Communist Youth Union participated in dialogue sessions with ministerial and sectorial leaders on December 10 in Ha Noi. 

    Under the theme “Business start-up, employment,” Minister of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung and other ministerial and local leaders exchanged views with participating youths on issues on business start-up, employment, mechanisms and conditions for the youth. 

    Under the motto “The youth join hands to build new rural areas,” Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong discussed the youngsters about the filed, mechanisms, and conditions for the youth to build new rural areas. 

    The forum “The youth takes the lead in environmental protection and response to climate change,” was chaired by Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha. 

    Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien presided over the forum named “The youth with preservation and development of national cultural diversity.”

    The forum on “The youth plays leading role in protecting the Vietnamese socialist fatherland,” saw the participation of representatives of the Ministry of National Defense. 

    Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngoc Anh talked with youngsters about mechanisms and conditions for scientific and technological applications.  

    Finally, at the forum on “Vietnamese youth’s study, training, and creativity for tomorrow development,” Deputy Minister of Education and Traing Nguyen Thi Nghia discussed measures and solutions to improve the quality of young scientific research among pupils, students, teachers.

    Vietnam's first public hospital meets Westgard Sigma testing standards

    The Testing Unit of the Oncology Centre - ChoRayHospital in Ho Chi Minh City has been recognised with the award of Six Sigma certification under the US Westgard Sigma Verification of Performance (VP) Programme.

    The Six Sigma test certificate is certified by the US Westgard QC in accordance with international standards. Nearly 50 laboratories around the world are awarded this certification, for which errors in test results must be minimal, with less than four errors in a million occurrences. The testing unit of ChoRayHospital is the first public hospital in Vietnam to achieve this certification, with 75% of the tests satisfying the criteria for Six Sigma.

    Associate Professor, Dr. Nguyen Truong Son, Director of Cho Ray Hospital, said that the unit is always facing an increasing number of tests due to increasing patient numbers. The results of tests ensure 60-70% of clinical diagnosis by doctors, so assuring the quality of test results in the shortest period of time while maintaining quality standards and economic efficiency is a huge challenge.

    The automated testing system operated at the centre since mid-2016 has helped shorten about 55% of workflow (reducing the test process from 33 to 15 steps), increasing productivity, reducing testing result return time (reducing wait time to 60 mins, 30 mins quicker than before), and sharing the burden with other departments. Son added that the system has the fastest conveyor at present, with a rate of 3,600 samples per hour.

    Six Sigma is among the most important international quality management standards used by many enterprises in industries around the world to identify performance, reduce errors, and streamline processes, services, and products to the highest quality level. In the field of testing, the application of Six Sigma is a guarantee of accurate test results, thus ensuring correct diagnosis and treatment. The Westgard Sigma VP Programme validates this standard.

    In addition, the programme also provides staff training, improving operation processes, and enhancing laboratory benchmarking to help reduce operational costs.

    Based on this initial step, ChoRayHospital will replicate the Six Sigma application model in other testing units to synchronise the quality of testing at the facility, Dr. Son said.

    Sten Westgard, Director of Client Services and Technology for WestgardQC, highly praised the quality of Cho Ray’s testing unit, saying that the laboratory’s quality is even higher than that of several labs with Six Sigma certification in the US.

    Kinh Mon recognised as new rural district in Hai Duong province

    The Hai Duong Provincial People’s Committee held a ceremony on December 10 to receive the Prime Minister’s certificate of recognition for Kinh Mon district as a new rural district in Hai Duong province.

    During the 2010-2016 period, Kinh Mon district has mobilised more than VND2,832 billion for the construction of a new rural model. Through the inspection, all 22 communes of Kinh Mon district have met the set criteria of the rural modernisation programme. On November 7, 2017, the Prime Minister signed a decision recognising Kinh Mon district as a new rural district.

    Speaking at the ceremony, Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh praised the achievements of Hai Duong in general and Kinh Mon district in particular for their efforts in promoting socio-economic development and building a pure and strong political system in the cause of innovation, integration, and development of the country. The Vice President also asked that in future, the Hai Duong province would continue to promote the achievements, overcome the limitations; mobilising all classes of people in implementing the rural modernisation programme.

    On the occasion, the Vice President also presented a certificate recognising An Phụ-Kinh Chu-Nham Duong Complex in the district as a Special National Relic.

    The An Phụ-Kinh Chu-Nham Duong Complex has great historical, cultural, and archaeological value. The highlight is Cao An Phu Temple worship Tran Lieu - father of national hero Tran Quoc Tuan (General Tran Hung Dao). Meanwhile, Kinh Chu relic is famous for Kinh Chu cave which is one of the six most beautiful caves in the South, with more than 40 unique epitaphs carved into the cliffs over historical periods. In addition, Nhat Duong area in Duy Tan commune is a wonderful mountain with dozens of caves.

    On December 22, 2016, the Prime Minister signed a memorandum recognising the An Phu - Kinh Chu-Nham Duong Complex as a Special National Relic. This is the second special relic recognized in Hai Duong province after the historic Con Son - Kiep Bac.

    $220,307 LED light system installed My Phuoc-Tan Van Expressway

    The Department of Transport in the southern province of Binh Duong has finished installation of LED light system with total investment capital up to US$220,307 in My Phuoc- Tan Van Expressway

    Investor Becamex IDC installed LED light system to replace the old kind – Sodium lights. The installation is carried out in the 16 kilometer section from Di An in Thuan An Town to ThuDauMotTown for the first phase.

    It is scheduled the investor will install another light system in the remaining section with the length of 10 kilometer.

    Before, Sai Gon Giai Phong article reflected the expressway with the speed of 80 kilometer per hour without lighting system resulted in continuous traffic accidents and robbery at nights.

    The Department of Transport has urged the investor to install light system.

    Ministry launches campaign to collect signature for food safety

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade yesterday launched a campaign “One million signatures for food safety” by organizing a meeting in Hanoi with the participation of hundred people.

    This is the first activities to start for the media action program for food safety in the country in 2018.

    The campaign took place in the context that people are preparing for Tet holiday ( the Lunar New Year), complex development of smuggling and commercial fraud.

    Speaking at the campaign, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said the national strategy for food safety for the period 2011-2020 with the vision to 2030 pointed out food safety is meant ensuring consumers’ right and health. Accordingly, party organizations, local governments and businesses should focus on.

    For years, the Ministry has implemented many activities in order to guarantee food safety. The launching ceremony for food safety aimed to call for joining hand of the community to say no to unsafe food and lending a hand for commercial fraud and smuggling.

    The Ministry said that the action program aims to change producers’ and consumers’ awareness of food safety. It promised to continue to liaise with other ministries and agencies in guiding and performing supervision for food safety in manufacturing units, markets, supermarkets, especially wholesale markets and crack down production of fake and low quality commodities, smuggled goods.

    Can Gio – Can Giuoc ferry to put into operation in April 2018

    The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transportation said that the Can Gio – Can Giuoc ferry is expected to be put into operation in April of 2018.

    Accordingly, the Can Gio – Can Giuoc ferry has been invested under public-private partnership with its total investment of VND 56 billion including two ferry terminals, 2 thirty-tone ferries, 2 sixty-tone ferries and technical system at the two ferry terminal.

    The ferry meets the travelling demand of automobiles up to 10 tons from National Route 50 (provinces of Long An, Tien Giang) to Can Gio district, Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa which would contribute to shorten the distance from 11 kilometers to 49 kilometers. 

    At the same time, the ferry also would help enhance the regional links and ensure the national defense for the coastal areas of Ho Chi Minh City.

    The People Committee of Can Gio District is the investor and the project has total investment of VND 15billion from the city budget.

    Special mechanisms require HCMC to be more dynamic: Council Chairwoman

    The NA's recently approved resolution on piloting special mechanisms for HCMC would create a motive power for development. However it is not a wand able to solve all current issues in the city but a challenge forcing the city to be more dynamic to overcome stagnations, said Chairwoman of the city People’s Council Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam.

    In an interview with Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper, Ms. Tam said that the resolution gives the city stronger than before decentralization in some matters within the jurisdiction of the National Assembly, the Government and the Prime Minister.

    The 6th session of HCMC People’s Council has passed a resolution assigning the city People’s Committee to prepare some projects to carry out the resolution. HCMC has only five years for the pilot implementation and must review that in the first three years.

    Therefore, the city government must urgently complete projects and submit them to the city People’s Council in 2018 for consideration and approval. The council will consider to approve the projects closely and cautiously to ensure the right process, transparency, publicity and democracy.

    In fact, the city People’s Committee has determined contents for these projects right after the NA approved the resolution basing on practical problems and congestions.

    When proposing the central government to provide special mechanisms, the city had already defined which problems in need of solving to boost the city’s development with obvious directions and targets.

    The resolution intensifies the city’s autonomy in some fields such as land management, public investment, finance-budget and public payroll. If being conducted efficiently, the resolution will bring HCMC more resources such as revenues from equitization, fee and tax increase for development investment.

    Anti-flooding, environmental cleanup and traffic infrastructure projects will have investment capital. In addition, the city can advance on the central budget for construction of important traffic works such as ring road no. 3.

    The resolution also entitles the city to decide talent attracting policies by deciding wage level for experts, scientists and special talents and raise income for cadres and civil servants.

    HCMC will increase some taxes and fees not only to hike budget revenue but also aim at social management, urban development and to creat healthier business environment.

    The municipal authorities will not use administrative instructions to ban businesses from doing something or not but economic measures to encourage or limit them. For instance, polluting businesses will have to pay higher taxes and fees.

    The hike of some taxes such as environmental protection and special consumption tax must ask for the central government’s opinions. The resolution tasks the Government to instruct relevant agencies to work with HCMC to reform procedures and shorten solving time.

    HCM City Party Chief expects further contributions from Vietnamese startups in US

    Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan on December 9 said he hoped that Vietnamese startups in the United States would continue contributing initiatives and resources to improve the city’s startup ecosystem. 

    He was speaking at a forum connecting Vietnamese startups in the US and Vietnam in San Francisco during a HCMC high level delegation's working visit to the US.

    Stating at the forum, he hoped that Vietnamese startups in the US will connect together to form a network of innovative startup businesses of the Vietnamese community in the world, strongly contributing to the native country.

    Mr. Nhan emphasized that Vietnam is one of the world’s fastest growing nations for the last 30 years. At present, the country has 110 million people including 68 million in working age with the life expectancy of over 80.

    HCMC accounts for 0.6 percent area and 10 percent population and contributes to 28 percent budget revenue of the country. Private sector now makes up 57 percent and the city attracts 23 percent foreign direct investment to Vietnam.

    In addition, it is home to the country’s first export processing zone, software park, high-tech park and bio technology center.

    The city is also first locality in Vietnam organizing technology equipment fair which has become a national brand name; opening programs; training 1,000 business leaders in preparation for integration and 500 masters and doctors to work in public fields and universities.

    In November 2017, HCMC publicly announced implementation of SmartCity project.

    The city has set the target of fast and sustainable economic development in the phase of 2020-2030 with growth rate approximating 8 percent, productivity triple the country’s average level. Contribution to the national budget will reach 30 percent and the city will become the center of the country in Industry 4.0, a smart city and a global center of Vietnam.

    Mr. Nhan acknowledged that currently HCMC faces many difficulties because of climate change and education and health quality is humble. So it does need initiatives and resources to solve these issues.

    At the forum, businesses shared successful experiences in starting a business and shared opinions about innovative startup movement. For instance, they talked about ways to lure talents to work in the city for a long term with low starting wage, attract venture capital companies in innovative startup, apply lessons from Silicon Valley in Vietnam and about the role of women in innovative startup and education and training reform.

    The forum was co-organised by the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and HCMC People’s Committee, attended by standing deputy chairman of the committee Le Thanh Liem, deputy chairman of the State Commission on Overseas Vietnamese Luong Thanh Nghi, Vietnamese Consul General to San Francisco Ho Xuan Son and over 150 Vietnamese firms operating in the US and Vietnam.

    Alarming increase in kids with IH due to vitamin K deficiency

    The NationalChildrenHospital in Hanoi has admitted three infants under one year old with a diagnosis of Intracranial hemorrhage (IH) due to late onset of vitamin K deficiency.

    The infants were in a coma when they were hospitalized.

    Deputy head of the Surgery Department Dr. Dang Anh Duong said that after hospitalization, three patients were undergoing tests which showed they have had a reduction of Prothrombin in blood resulting from Vitamin K deficiency.

    Three kids were given a transfusion to prevent bleeding in their brain to stabilize respiratory and circulatory function, surgeons performed surgery to remove blood clots.

    According to medical experts, 90 percent of hemorrhagic disease of the newborn is characterized intracranial bleeding in infants aged 30-40 days old due to severe vitamin K deficiency.

    Once, the mortality rate of newborns suffering intracranial bleeding and the rate of complication are 40-50 percent despite intensive treatment. They may suffer complications of such as haematoma expansion, perihaematomal oedema with increased intracranial pressure, intraventricular extension of haemorrhage with hydrocephalus, seizures, venous thrombotic events, hyperglycaemia, increased blood pressure, fever, and infections.

    Therefore, to prevent the disease, doctors warned that infants should be supplemented Vitamin K right after birth orally or by injection. In fact, all newborns are injected one shoot of Vitamin K1 1mg orc Vitamin K3 2mg or vitamin K1 2mg three time orally.

    Ministry continues signing health insurance contracts with private infirmaries

    Vietnamese Ministry of Health and the Vietnam Social Insurance (VSI) have decided to continue signing health-insurance contracts with private infirmaries from January 1, 2018.

    It is a happy news for private health-care facilities which now have their classifications authorized by the Ministry.

    Before, non-public hospitals have fretted as in its dispatch, the VSI announced that private facilities which have not sorted out are not eligible for receiving insured patients from January 1, 2018. It is meant that hundreds of private clinics nationwide must shut down because they have no patients.

    Deputy director of VSI's Department for Health Insurance Policy Le Van Phuc said that in its guidance on signing contracts health insurance and treatment payment, the VSI required private infirmaries to supplement missing document according to the inter- ministries of health and finance circular No. 41/2014.

    For instance, to continue signing contracts of health-care insurance in 2018, non-public facilities must have additional decision of service and technical classifications of their facilities; moreover, they must apply same health-insurance payment levels in governmental hospitals.

    Mr. Phuc affirmed that as per the regulation of medical insurance, medical clinics must be classified to set health insurance payment level and technique on which the health authority can specify the level a patient is eligible for medical insurance level when they are not examined in the hospital of their choice beforehand.

    Moreover, classification of hospitals and delineation of area are legal base for sorting out services, techniques, medicine and transfer patients.

    He confirmed to continue signing health-insurance contracts with private infirmaries which had signed contracts before to avoid mess and give more time for private infirmaries to finish paperwork. As per the Ministry of Health, all 212 private hospitals in 46 cities and provinces nationwide have not been classified like government hospitals.

    Accordingly, independent hospitals face difficulties in provide health-insurance services. Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien said that the Ministry is building up a draft to submit the government for early issuance of guidance to facilitate private hospitals’ activities.

    Association of Vietnam private hospital said that they are encountering difficulties with regulations of treatment and health insurance payment because while private hospitals have not been classified yet, the health insurance payment is based on hospital sorting out. Hence, private hospitals are hard to receive insured patients.

    Application of ICG opens new era in colorectal cancer treatment

    In yesterday science seminar themed “ Application of Indocyanine green (ICG) in endoscopy of colon”, director of Tumor Cancer in Hanoi Dr. Tran Van Thuan said colorectal cancer is popular amongst male. 

    The World Health Organization’s calculation, around 14.1 million fresh cases of cancer are reported in the globe; of which 1.36 million being colorectal cancer. Worse, of 8.2 million cancer-related deaths, nearly 700,000 deaths due to colorectal cancer are also figured out.

    In Vietnam, colorectal cancer ranks the fourth of ten popular cancer amongst men with infection cases of 8,000; the number of infections is predicted to rise to over 13,000 cases by 2020.

    The cancer is also the second popular cancer amongst female with over 6,000 cases a year. The number of infections is likely to rise to over 11,000 cases by 2020.

    For colorectal cancer treatment, application of Indocyanine green (ICG) - a fluorescent dye that has been widely used for fluorescence imaging during hepatobiliary surgery – has opened new era because it improves the visualization of hepatobiliary anatomy and reduces the rate of post-operative complications.

    Education sector takes heed to child protection

    In order to help students out of child abuse and violence, the Department of Education and Training has issued its plan to protect kids in the period 2017-2020. 

    In the academic year, the Department and relevant agencies will review legal document relating to child protection to submit amendment in the new stage.

    Furthermore, the education authority will issue new document of child protection with reproductive health education, life skills, and gender equality for teaching staffs as per the Ministry’s instruction.

    Additionally, the sector will adopt some measures to enhance teachers’ and parents’ awareness of child taking care and protection. Amongst measures, the sector will coordinate with the youth Communist Union Ho Chi Minh city to build plan which focuses on changing people’s behaviors of protecting and educating in school and in the residential areas.

    Besides, rooms to provide psychological consultation services will be set up in preschools.

    For the period 2018-2020, the sector will liaise with the Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs on educating and looking after children as well as work with local governments to keep an eye on taking care of kids in association with eco-social growth in each locality.

    The bureau of education and training in 24 districts and continuous education centers must implement the above-mentioned mission. They must send report to the Department on December 25 annually to submit it to the Ministry.

    Nghe An woman receives administrative fine for sweeping trash down sewer

    People’s Committee in the north-central province of Nghe An’s Vinh Tan Ward said it has fined a local woman who was caught dumping rubbish into a local sewer on camera. 

    Before, on December 7, residents in Tan Phat condo in Vinh Tan Ward filmed a 60 year old cleaner to sweep the rubbish down to the local sewer.

    The woman was later identified Ms. Bui Thi H., a tenant in the condo. The woman regretted her deed and paid administrative fine of a VND1 million (US$44) to the local administration.

    An administrator said Ms. H was fined for violating the environment regulation.

    Vietnamese singers to sing in the youth show

    The show Khát Vọng Trẻ (Young Aspiration), an annual entertainment programme, will be held at Quần Ngựa Sports Centre,
    30 Văn Cao Street
    , Ba Đình District on December 12.

    The show will feature Vietnamese pop singers like Đoan Trang, Hà Anh Tuấn, Phương Linh, Uyên Linh, Đông Nhi, Quốc Thiên, Vũ Cát Tường, Dương Hoàng Yến, Đông Hùng and MTV group, as well as dance companies as Oplus, Arabesque, Hoàng Thông, The Sun, White Apricot and Young Aspiration.

    Also, two fashion collections will be shown with performances from beauty queens and models such as Miss World Việt Nam 2015 Trần Ngọc Lan Khuê, Miss World Việt Nam 2016 Nguyễn Diệu Ngọc and 200 students from universities in Hà Nội.

    The show includes four parts, and is inspired by the four seasons in a year.

    The autumn section is themed ‘August Revolution’, with songs on patriotism and the hunger for freedom of a peace-loving nation. Winter is expressed through performances on solidarity and close ties between soldiers and citizens. The spring shows victories, dreams, love and family reunions. Finally, the summer shows volunteer spirit and hope for young people.  

    Additionally, pop singer Đoan Trang will perform Điệp khúc tình yêu (The Refrain of Love), Uyên Linh will sing Áo mùa đông (Winter’s Coat) and Vũ Cát Tường sings Mùa hè xanh - Góc đa hình (Green Summer – Polymorphic Angle).

    At the end of the show, all artists will join their voices in the song Thanh niên Việt Nam tiến bước (Việt Nam young people move forward), composed by musician Nguyễn Văn Luân, first prize of the song composing contest to celebrate the 11th National Congress of the Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union, which takes place from December 11-13.

    Outstanding historians honoured with Phạm Thận Duật award

    Three Vietnamese historians were honoured with 2017 Phạm Thật Duật awards at a ceremony held in Yên Mô District in the northern province of Ninh Bình on Sunday.

    This year’s awards have been given to Professor Lê Hải Đăng from the Vietnam Institute of Archeology, Professor Dương Thanh Mừng from HuếUniversity’s College of Education and Professor Nguyễn Xuân Hùng from the Institute for Religious Studies.

    The event was jointly organised by the Việt Nam Association of Historical Sciences and the Phạm Thận Duật Award Fund.

    The Phạm Thận Duật Award Fund was founded in 2000 in honour of Phạm Thật Duật (1825 – 1885), a patriotic scholar and historian who was born in Yên Mô District. The awards are given yearly to outstanding historians who have made significant contributions to the understanding of national history.

    This is the first time that the awards ceremony has been celebrated in Phạm Thật Duật’s hometown, after 17 years at the Temple of Literature in Hà Nội. 

    Also on the occasion, the Phạm Thận Duật Award Fund presented a set of gifts to local students who have performed well in national contests, as well as to disadvantaged students with excellent academic performances.

    In the past 17 years, the fund has given 92 prizes in total, including eight first prizes, 38 second prizes and 46 third prizes. Two were awarded to international historians who conducted outstanding historical relating to Việt Nam and Southeast Asia.

    The Hà Nội People’s Court on Monday resumes a trial legal proceedings against an illegal virtual gold trading floor that involves top managers of the Hà Nội-based Khải Thái Consultant Limited Company (KTIC).

    The trial was earlier postponed for three months for further investigation, because in August, during the trial, more victims reported to the court claiming they were cheated by the company.

    In court on August 21-23, KTIC General Director Hsu Ming Jung (also called Saga) from Taiwan and his six Vietnamese accomplices were being tried on charges of swindling VNĐ264 billion (US$11.7 million) from more than 700 investors.

    Hsu Ming Jung, 42; Đoàn Thị Luyến, 30, managing director of the company; Nguyễn Mạnh Linh, 30, a director of the company; and Trịnh Hoàng Bình, 42, the company’s chief accountant are charged with fraud pursuant to Article 139 of the Penal Code.

    Two other Vietnamese – the managing directors of the company’s branches at the PlaschemBuilding in Hà Nội, Đinh Thị Hồng Vinh, and at the LotteBuilding in Hà Nội, Tăng Hải Nam– are also charged with the same offence.

    A total of 171 victims were summoned to the court’s first hearing in August – a record number of victims reported to the Hà Nội People’s Court.

    While conducting additional investigation, the investigation agency reported the number of victim increased to 724.

    The accused were arrested in October 2014 after they were found to have set up an illegal gold trading floor to cheat investors.

    According to the indictment, Saga established KTIC in November 2011 with charter capital of VNĐ20 billion. The company opened three branches with 18 business offices.

    Between December 2012 and September 2014, the Taiwanese CEO and his accomplices illegally set up a gold trading floor to raise over VNĐ287 billion ($12.75 million) at high interest rates from 724 investors. They then appropriated most of the funds, police said.

    The company paid a total of over VNĐ18 billion ($800,000) in interest to the investors and appropriated nearly VNĐ270 billion.

    Jung and his accomplices used sophisticated methods to fraudulently embezzle the funds via a fake investment trust, police said.

    The court will hear the case for 10 days.

    Sixteen fishermen rescued off Trường Sa Archipelago

    A fishing boat with a 16-member crew, which drifted for several days in the Trường Sa (Spratly) Archipelago, reached Bà Ngòi Port in CamRanhCity Sunday afternoon.

    The boat was towed to the port by a rescue ship.

    Earlier, on November 29, the Vietnam Navy received distress signals from the fishing boat, coded BD-99.559TS and captained by 45-year-old Nguyễn Cường, a native of BìnhĐịnhProvince.

    The boat’s crew was reportedly fishing 270 nautical miles off the Quy Nhơn coast when its engine broke down.

    The vessel was carrying 7,000 litres of diesel oil and seven tonnes of fish.

    The Vietnam Navy decided to assign a ship to immediately initiate a search operation for the boat.

    The rescue ship reached the boat on November 30 and towed it to Song Tử Tây Island in Trường Sa Archipelago for repair. On December 6, it was pulled to the mainland because the problem could not be fixed.

    On the same day, another fishing boat with 16 crew members from BìnhĐịnhProvince was also successfully rescued by the command of the Fourth Region under the Vietnam Navy. The engine had broken down and the boat was drifting some 40 nautical miles from Đà NẵngCity’s SơnTràPeninsula for two days.


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  • 12/12/17--00:55: Article 2
  • Metro trial delayed again

    HÀ NỘI - The trial run of the capital city’s first metro system has been postponed for the third time to next September.

    A section of the Cát Linh - Hà Đông metro project passing over HoàngCầuLake in Đống Đa District. Photo dated 2016. - VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hùng

    The Cát Linh – Hà Đông metro route was to have had its trial run in October this year, which was the project’s third deadline. The new date marks a further delay of 11 months.

    According to the latest report submitted by the Railway Project Management Unit (RPMU) to the Ministry of Transport, the new date for the trial run will be the next National Independence Day, September 2, 2018. The trial run will last for three-six months, and commercial operations will start by November 2018. The new schedule has to be approved by the Prime Minister.

    The RPMU has stated that 95 per cent of the construction work has been completed.

    The first, frequently cited cause for tardiness was capital disbursement, with a meagre US$10 million of the additional $250 million loan package, approved due to cost overrun, being disbursed as of 2017 September for construction and installation works.

    However, the RPMU claims that for the moment, capital disbursement issues have been “resolved for the most part”.

    The second reason given for the multiple delays is from the general contractor’s limited management capacity -- understaffing and lack of experience to “slow and illogical” progress at every step of the project, from design, construction, to drafting project acceptance document or documents marking completion of various project components.

    This is the third time the project has missed its deadline, despite pressure from both the Transport Ministry and the public. At the beginning of 2016, the ministry ordered the general contractor to pilot run the trains in September the same year, and start commercial operations throughout the project’s entire length by the end of the year.

    However, in June, seeing that this deadline couldn’t be met, the ministry set December 31 as the new “final deadline” for completion of construction and installation.

    When this was also not met, therefore, in February this year, the ministry directed that trial runs start in October so that commercial operations can begin in the second quarter of 2018.

    Of the initially projected investment of $552 million, $419 million (76 per cent) was to be sourced from Chinese loans, with the rest covered by the Vietnamese Government’s counterpart funding.

    Construction began in 2011, but in November 2014, it was announced the project would need a total of $868 million, an increase of $300 million or 160 per cent over the initial estimate.

    An additional preferential loan worth $250.62 million, negotiated three years ago, was signed between the Ministry of Finance and China Eximbank on May 11.


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  • 12/12/17--00:58: Article 1

    Vietnam, Cambodia to develop cashew farming area

     Vietnam, Cambodia to develop cashew farming area, Vietnam-Japan Joint Initiative helps improve business climate, Opportunity for Vietnamese food products to enter US market, Experts urge expanded cultivation of fruit exports

     The Vietnam Cashew Association (VINACAS) is working with the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to establish a cashew farming area in Cambodia that is able to produce 1 million tonnes of material cashew annually.
    VINACAS President Nguyen Duc Thanh unveiled the information at the association’s seminar in HCMCity on December 7 to seek ways to support foreign trade of cashew between 2018 and 2019.

    Addressing the event, Thanh said Vietnam has remained the world’s largest exporter of cashew and seen a robust growth of the cashew processing industry in recent years. 

    However, the domestic supplies of cashew nuts have only satisfied about 20-35 percent of the firms’ demand for materials while imports of cashew face risks from quality control and payment, he noted.

    Cambodia is able to produce high-quality cashew nuts thanks to good varieties and favourable weather conditions, Thanh stated, adding that the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and some local growers are proposing to cooperate with the VINACAS to build a “one-million-tonne” cashew growing plantation on an area of 500,000 hectares in Cambodia in the future.

    VINACAS guaranteed to purchase all the amount of cashew nuts to be harvested on the area and will closely coordinate with Cambodia to translate the plan into reality, he vowed.

    Director-General of the Cambodian General Department of Agriculture Hean Vanhorn said Cambodia looks forward to Vietnam’s support in cultivating and harvesting techniques and quarantine technologies to ensure the cashew productivity and quality.

    VINACAS decided to provide Cambodia with 1.5 billion VND in financial support for the development of the plan from 2018-2022.

    Cambodia is currently Vietnam’s fifth biggest supplier of raw cashew and if the plan works out well, it will become the world’s largest raw cashew producer in the future.

    Vietnam-Japan Joint Initiative helps improve business climate

    As many as 28 policy dialogues were held between Vietnamese and Japanese agencies involved in the sixth phase of the Vietnam-Japan Joint Initiative, which lasted from August 2016 to December 2017. 

    The outcome was released at a high-level meeting of the Joint Committee of the Vietnam-Japan Initiative held in Hanoi on December 7 to review the implementation of the sixth phase. 

    The Japanese side has made many constructive policy recommendations, which have been acquired by concerned Vietnamese ministries and agencies to serve the refining of law and policy as well as the enforcement process. 

    According to the committee, 19 out of 32 items identified to be done in the sixth phase have been carried out soundly as scheduled, covering services, support to small-and medium-sized enterprises, logistics-transportation and labour. 

    Meanwhile, the seven stagnant items dealt with labour issue, regulations for foreign investors in the Investment Law, the Law on Business and the Land Law as well other laws regarding investment and business, and pharmaceutical product distribution. 

    The two sides will continue to discuss the six items that have yet to be realised. 

    They agreed to soon carry out the seventh phase of the project with new approach and implementation method suitable with the reality. 

    Major, feasible policy recommendations are expected to be made at the seventh phase, contributing to improving Vietnam’s investment environment, attracting more Japanese investments in the country and consolidating the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries. 

    Addressing the meeting, Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung praised efforts made by Vietnamese ministries and agencies and Japanese businesses over the past 14 years of implementing the initiative. 

    Their efforts have helped create a favourable and competitive business climate in Vietnam, expand Japanese investments in the country, complete local mechanisms and policies and promote law enforcement, he said. 

    Vietnam wishes to cooperate with Japan to develop the domestic economy more rapidly, sustainably and independently, that can connect with the world on the basis of the Vietnam-Japan extensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia,” he said. 

    Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Kunio Umeda expressed his hope that the Vietnamese Government will firmly realise industrial development policies for the mid- and long-terms and macro-economic targets such as economic growth rate, inflation and trade deficit. 

    The Japanese Government will actively join hands with its Vietnamese counterpart to popularise valid policies in the fields of production and industry, while calling for Japanese investments in Vietnam, he said.

    Opportunity for Vietnamese food products to enter US market

    The US has been a leading importer of food and agricultural products from Vietnam and the export growth is forecast to reach 11 percent this year, heard a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on December 7.

    According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the US is a potential export market of Vietnam with export turnover increasing over recent years. However, Vietnam’s export earnings to the US market currently account for only 2 percent of the US’s total import turnover.

    Participants noted that the US market’s attraction is posing fiercer competition to Vietnamese exporters in addition to the country’s strict regulations on food safety set out by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA).

    A representative of Vietnam's Trade Office in the US said the agency will continue updating information about the FSMA as well as the US’s economic and trade policy on its portal, while providing legal assistance and export-procedure consultancy, making it easy for Vietnamese exporters to understand more about this market.

    It has also assisted businesses of the nations in seeking cooperation opportunities in business, investment and export-import, while working with ministries and sectors to resolve trade disputes concerning Vietnam.

    Trade ties between Vietnam and the US have been growing as bilateral relations have witnessed fruitful development in recent years. 

    The US has remained the largest importer of Vietnamese products, with Vietnam’s export turnover to the market hitting 38.45 billion USD last year, and 34.7 billion USD in the first 10 months of 2017.

    Vietnam currently ranks 16th among the US’ leading trade partners. Bilateral trade grows 20 percent annually and Vietnam has enjoyed a trade surplus with the US in the past 10 years.

    Vietnam, Taiwan seek ways to foster industrial cooperation

    Vietnam and Taiwan (China) boast a lot of potential for investment cooperation in the field of industry, heard a forum in Ho Chi Minh City on December 7.

    Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc said Vietnam is now an attractive investment and business destination for many foreign enterprises, including those from Taiwan

    Vietnam’s advantages include high economic growth rate, political stability, and strategic geographical location, while its consumption market has grown rapidly with an increasing middle class, he said 

    The country has also continually reformed institutions and policies to create the best possible conditions for foreign firms to do investment and business, he noted.

    Loc added that Taiwan used to lead the investment inflow into Vietnam in the 1990s and is currently the fourth biggest investor in the country.

    Pham Tuan Anh, Deputy Director of the Department of Industry under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said Vietnam and Taiwan are important economic partners of each other. 

    Taiwan has recently invested in many large-scale mining, metallurgy and textile-garment projects in the Southeast Asian nation, creating a big number of jobs for local people.

    However, Taiwanese companies haven’t formed connections with Vietnamese firms, he said, noting that Vietnam prioritises projects using high technology and creating more added value. Therefore, it hopes Taiwanese businesses will actively team up with Vietnamese companies and promote a new investment inflow into the country.

    Xu Sheng Xiong, Chairman of the Taiwan Industry Association, said Taiwan’s total investment in Vietnam has exceeded 31 billion USD. Including projects invested through a third party, this figure is estimated at around 100 billion USD.

    According to Xu, Vietnam and Taiwan have many supplementary conditions to develop processing-manufacturing industries and production of goods for export. Vietnam has rich mineral resources, abundant workforce and low production costs while Taiwan has experience and green production technology. Therefore, the two sides should connect their businesses to form production-consumption chains.

    Aside from stronger investment, they can also increase the exchange of experiences in international cooperation, manpower training, and hi-tech application to improve the capacity of Vietnamese small- and medium-sized enterprises, Xu said.

    Workshop spotlights Vietnamese IT services, products

    The Ministry of Information and Communications organised a workshop on Vietnamese-branded IT products and services in Ho Chi Minh City on December 7.

    According to the Department of Information Technology, Vietnam’s IT sector groups 24,000 businesses, which generate jobs for over 700,000 personnel and contribute 34 trillion VND (1.49 billion USD) in tax to the State budget.

    There are more than 2,700 companies working in the digital content industry, which have seen favourable growth conditions in Vietnam thanks to the local young workforce, competitive labour cost, increasing number of smart phone users, and widespread internet connection.

    To Thi Thu Huong, deputy head of the department, said the digital content industry makes up just a small part in total revenue of the IT sector. It houses large amount of firms but most of them have small and medium scale, she added, noting that there are not many Vietnamese – branded IT products capable of winning a market share. 

    Pham Thi Ly, head of the Centre for Development and Integration, said enterprises must defend themselves against fake products, suggesting that transparent origin information can boost competitiveness of Vietnamese products amid integration.

    Le Quang Tu Do, Head of the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, the Ministry of Information and Communications, said monitoring the operation of enterprises operating domestically is tighter than that of firms working across borders. He said the situation might reduce competiveness capacity of domestic businesses.

    Do said support policy is needed to help Vietnamese companies build brands to be able to compete against those from foreign countries, which are now more popular in the Vietnamese market.

    Dak Lak’s food production reaches record high

    Despite unfavourable weather conditions, total food production in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak reached a record high of 1.24 million tonnes this year, 71,865 tonnes higher than the same period last year.

    Farmers in the province cultivate three main food crops: winter-spring, summer-autumn and autumn-winter.

    Local ethnic people were supported to switch from rice to hybrid maize or other short-day food crops in fields suffering from water shortage, which bring in better economic efficiency. They have also used new high-yield hybrid rice and maize varieties in the three crops.

    Relevant agencies have guided local farmers in cultivation and disease prevention techniques, contributing to high yields of rice and maize, at 6.3 tonnes per hectare for rice and 5.1 tonnes per hectare for maize. 

    Currently, Dak Lak farmers are rushing off their feet to repair irrigation systems and prepare soil and field for the 2017-2018 winter-spring crop.

    Experts urge expanded cultivation of fruit exports     

    More farmland should be devoted to cultivation of fruit, especially key exports, experts said at a conference held in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang.

    Nguyen Hong Son, head of the Department of Crop Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said on Tuesday that focus should be on quality to ensure safety and hygiene of fruit exports.

    Reducing post-harvest losses and increasing capacity in storage were also needed, he said.

    Son said that fruit cultivation areas had increased in recent years, with a total of over 857,000ha. The increase was partly due to farmers shifting from cultivating rice to fruit.

    The areas for fruit growing are mostly in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta and Hong (Red River) Delta regions, he said.

    Because of the use of advanced technologies, fruit yields have surged in recent years.

    Cao Van Hoa, a high-ranking official from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Tien Giang, said his province had nearly 73,000ha of fruit, with an average of 1.3 million tonnes produced each year.

    Nguyen Thanh Tai, deputy director of Dong Thap’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said his province had over 27,000ha of fruit cultivation, with some areas growing famous fruits like Cao Lanh mango, Chau Thanh longan and lemon, and Lai Vung mandarin.

    In the 2016-17 period, local farmers switched to fruit from rice on a total of nearly 3,000ha, he added.

    At the conference, speakers noted that fruit exports had yet to reach their potential even though efforts had been made to expand cultivation.

    Poor storage and harvesting methods had contributed to the slow growth of fruit exports.

    Vo Mai, deputy chairwoman of the Viet Nam Gardening Association, said the biggest weakness was processing, this was why 80 per cent of fruit was sold in the domestic market, with most of it consumed raw.

    Mai suggested that the Government develop better management methods. Each fruit should have a specialised area, she said, as it would be easier to manage, process and ensure food hygiene and safety.

    These areas should be developed under VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards, she added.

    Conference attendees also suggested that enterprises and farmers improve cooperation to ensure large-scale production and authentic origin.

    Le Quoc Doanh, deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that Viet Nam has many advantages to develop fruit production, but limited information about import markets was hindering growth.

    He also said that prices and yields were not stable, and that competition from other markets was a significant burden.

    To develop better production methods, the country needs to improve cooperation among all involved parties, and process and diversify fruit products to ensure added value.

    More trade promotions are also needed to reduce the dependence on one market, he said.

    In recent years, national vegetable and fruit export revenue has increased, with US$2.4 billion recorded last year, a rise of 33.6 per cent year-on-year.

    This year, it is expected to be between $3.46 billion and $3.63 billion. With this figure, Viet Nam now ranks third out of five key fruit exporters in the ASEAN region.

    Vietnamese fruits are exported to 60 nations and territories. The main fruit exports are dragon fruit, pipe apple, mango, jackfruit and papaya. 

    Viet Nam’s 100 most sustainable firms honored     

    Viet Nam’s 100 most sustainable businesses of 2017 were announced at a ceremony in Ha Noi on Wednesday.

    They were selected from nearly 500 entries to the contest, jointly conducted by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Viet Nam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD). Businesses include Phu Nhuan Jewelry JSC, Da Nang Port Logistic JSC, Thang Long Invest Group, Herbalife Viet Nam and Amway Viet Nam.

    Heineken Vietnam improved its previous ranking (from third position last year) to the top sustainable manufacturing company among the 100 most sustainable companies in Viet Nam. It was selected as the leading company on the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) ranking due to its significant achievements in 2017.

    The company made a significant economic contribution to Viet Nam– some 0.75 per cent of the nation’s GDP -- along with focusing on green growth by using carbon-neutral initiatives such as biomass to create thermal energy for brewing. It also prioritised using Vietnamese suppliers wherever possible, and by doing so, added nearly 200,000 jobs in Viet Nam.

    According to the organising board, this year’s programme assessed firms on the basis of 134 criteria, focused on socio-economic and environmental aspects. In the future, the list of criteria will be simplified so that it can be applied to micro- and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

    Addressing the event, VCCI President Vu Tien Loc highlighted the presence of new private firms in this year’s ranking, saying that this proves the country’s business climate is improving. Tran Ngoc Anh from Dekalb Viet Nam, a Monsanto entity that sells genetically modified seeds to farmers and is one of the honoured firms, said the recognition gives her company motivation to pursue sustainable development goals at home and abroad.

    The programme was first held in 2016 and will be an annual event.

    This year, the companies received three different types of honors including the sustainable business certificate, the sustainable enterprise certificate for excellent manufacturing enterprises and the sustainable business certificate for excellence enterprises in trade and services.

    The certificates aim to encourage businesses in Viet Nam to focus more on sustainable development, planning and implementing strong development business strategies. 

    Agribank and Bao Viet sign co-operation agreement     

    The Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development of Viet Nam (Agribank) and Bao Viet Holdings signed a co-operation agreement on Wednesday.

    Under the co-operation agreement, Agribank and Bao Viet have committed to prioritise the use of products and services of each other and exploit the strengths and potential of each party to raise efficiency and competitiveness for deeper and further integration.

    Tiet Van Thanh, general director of Agribank, said through the co-operation with Bao Viet, a leading financial-insurance group in Viet Nam, Agribank hopes that it will successfully implement the Party’s resolutions and the Government’s policy on promoting the leading role of State corporations and enterprises in supporting each other to develop sustainably, reach out to the world and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.

    At the signing ceremony, Nguyen Quang Phi, Bao Viet general director, said Bao Viet and Agribank have many similarities in size, network and fields of operation. Through the co-operation agreement, the commitment to use each other’s products and services will help the two maximise their potential and strengths, he said.

    Northwestern region targets to welcome over 16 million tourists by 2020

    Vietnam’s eight northwestern mountainous provinces will boost links and lure more investment in tourism and road infrastructure to reach target of welcoming 2.3 million foreign visitors and 14 million local tourists by 2020.

    The provinces of Hoa Binh, Son La, Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Phu Tho, Lao Cai, Yen Bai and Ha Giang has huge potential and advantages for tourism development as it boasts beautiful landscapes and historical sites, rich natural resources, diverse ecology and cultures of ethnic minority groups.

    However, there remain obstacles hindering regional tourism development including difficult terrain, poor infrastructure and limited resources.

    The region lacks high-class tourism services to keep tourists longer, they said, adding that promotion has also been poor, with few travel firms operating in the region.

    The insiders also agreed on the need for more human resources training, the most serious problem facing the provinces’ tourism, as 60 percent of local tourism workers have no professional training.

    Home to more than 30 ethnic minority groups, the region should focus on developing community-based tourism to introduce tourists to the beauty of the people, cultures and lifestyles of local ethnic minorities, they said.

    Over the years, northwestern provinces have tried to create the best conditions for different economic sectors to invest in tourism. Transport infrastructure works serving tourism have been built, including the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway, National Highway 6, and a railway linking Lao Cai and Kunming (China). 

    Luu Duy Linh, Deputy Director of the Hoa Binh provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said regional provinces have already developed a road tourism route, National Road 6, connecting Hanoi, Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien and Lai Chau. 

    The provinces are also surveying a river tourism route along the Da River that allows tourists to see the Hoa Binh, Son La and Lai Chau hydropower reservoirs, he said, adding that the route is expected to be launched at the end of this year.

    Linh stressed the need for northwestern provinces to promote their strengths and create distinctive products based on unique cultural values, landscapes, and the environment.

    He said Hoa Binh will focus on the culture of the Muong ethnic group as it is a typical feature of the province while Son La and Dien Bien will pay attention to the cultures of Thai, Mong and Dao ethnic people. 

    According to Ha Van Sieu, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, National Tourism Year 2017 in the northwest has helped awaken the region’s potential and open up opportunities for the development of tourism.

    Themed “Colors of the Northwest”, the event has offered a chance for the provinces to introduce their tourism potential, cultural identities and heritage values to domestic and international visitors, while creating a breakthrough in tourism development, building new products and enhancing links among localities in the field, he said.

    To serve National Tourism Year 2017, the region has invested in developing eight attractive tourism products, including community-based tourism, tours to discover terraced fields and mountainous market-days, spiritual tourism along the Red River and the Da River, and tours to see flowers.

    There is also a tourism program to discover roads where Vietnamese soldiers marched during the Dien Bien Phu Campaign and tours designed for those who want to conquer the summits of Vietnam including Fansipan in Lao Cai (3,143m), Phu Ta Leng in Lai Chau (3,040m) and Chieu Lau Thi in Ha Giang (2,412m).

    Vestas and Tan Hoang Cau sign MoU aims to accelerate wind farm development

    Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas and locally-invested Tan Hoang Cau signed a turbine supply contract for the 30MW Huong Linh 1 wind farm as well as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the pre-development of three other wind projects.

    This turbine supply contract for Huong Linh 1 wind farm is estimated at more than €22 million ($26 million). Huong Linh 1 wind farm is located in the central province of Quang Tri.

    Mai Van Hue, chairman of Tan Hoang Cau (THC), said, "We are committed to deploying the latest technology and wind turbine models to bring the highest efficiency for the projects. Therefore, we are partnering up with Vestas, the industry leader, to help us bring this project to life.”

    Clive Turton, president of Vestas Asia-Pacific, said, "Vietnam is the ASEAN's second fastest growing economy and it is commendable that given all this growth, the country is looking into wind energy. 

    Vestas is very excited for the partnership with Vietnam in this respect and today, we are absolutely delighted to be here to demonstrate our commitment. 

    Vestas is Denmark's leading light in the renewable energy sector and will show Vietnam how to appreciate the value, opportunities, and potential of wind energy to improve the lives of Vietnamese people.”

    “We will engage, expand, and deepen our capabilities in Vietnam and look forward to working even more closely together," he added.

    Previously, Vestas supplied turbines for the 30MW Huong Linh 2 project in the central province of Quang Tri, also invested by THC.

    Seafood exports target forecast to achieve one month ahead of schedule

    This year’s seafood export turnover is forecast to expand by 6% to US$7.4 billion when compared to last year’s figure, and is set to fulfill its target one month ahead of schedule despite facing a number of notable, says the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

    In 2017, seafood exports are encountering difficulties due to low market demands and stringent technical barriers set by major importers. 

    According to initial statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs in the ten months leading up to mid November, aquatic export products have brought in over US$7.2 billion in revenue and seafood export turnover in November alone is estimated at US$728.118 million, thus lifting the 11 month turnover to US$7.565 billion in total and surpassing the set target by US$156 million.

    At present, there has been a change in the ranking of Vietnam’s four major export markets-the EU, the US, Japan and China when the EU replaced the US to become the biggest buyers of the country’s aquatic products.  Over the past ten months, exports of aquatic products to major markets saw positive growth against last year’s corresponding period.

    Specifically, seafood exports to the EU in October rose 37.5% to US$168.803 million over last year and up 8.84% from a month earlier. In the first ten months of the year, seafood exports to the EU market surged an impressive 21.2% to US$$1.215 billion.

    This is the first time that the EU has become the No 1 destination for Vietnam’s aquatic products.  Within the EU bloc, the Netherlands has posted the strongest growth with seafood export turnover to the Dutch market in October alone grew 80.3% against last year’s same period, bringing total export value in ten months to US$243.668 million, up 43.8%.

    Meanwhile, the US the former largest market for Vietnam’s aquatic products, dropped to the second place due to slower growth and a slight reduction of 2.5% in turnover. The main reason behind this is that the US Department of Commerce (DOC) has imposed high anti-dumping tariffs on Vietnam’s shrimp and tra fish industries, making these products lose their competitive edge when compared to other significant rivals.

    Seafood exports to the Japanese market have soared 21.8% and are projected to maintain this high growth rate thanks to price hikes in the Japanese Yen (JPY) against other foreign currencies.

    Despite fast-growing consumption demand of aquatic products in China, the domestic supply fall short of meeting these demands

     To meet domestic consumption demand and ensure material resources for seafood processing plants,  seafood import encouragement policies have been adopted by the Chinese Government to reduce the catch numbers of aquatic products to protect the fisheries sources and manage them more sustainably, thus facilitating Vietnam’s  seafood exports to the highly lucrative market.

    Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP Secretary General attributes the shrinking seafood export turnover to the US to strict technical barriers and high anti-dumping duties on tra fish and shrimp, which have adversely affected export activities and resulted in falling export turnover from this large market. However. positive growth in other major markets have made up for the decrease in export earnings from the US market, Hoa notes.

    Mr Hoe highlights the EU’s strengthened import of Vietnamese shrimp, especially processed products of high added value and impact of Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA to take effect in2018 as contributory factors to Vietnam’s increased export turnover to the EU.

    Local businesses have managed themselves to boost exports and secured a firm foothold this profitable market, which begins to focus on higher imports of Vietnamese goods

    The export volume of seafood has seen no high increase this year but the value is on an upward trend as businesses have concentrated more on producing high-added value export products, primarily targeting the EU market, thus accelerating the finalization of seafood export turnover target one month ahead of schedule, Mr Hoe explains.

    Despite still being the primary destination for Vietnam’s seafood exports, the EU’s recent issuance of a yellow card warning to Vietnam over its exploitation of fisheries will deal a significant blow to Vietnam’s seafood turnover into the EU next year.

    Therefore, the seafood industry along with government agencies need to take drastic actions to avoid the risks of being dealt with a ‘yellow card’ and a ‘red card’, which would greatly affect next year’s export plan. 

    Khanh Hoa to establish special administrative-economic unit

    The People’s Council of the central province of Khanh Hoa adopted a resolution approving a project establishing Bac Van Phong (Northern Van Phong) special administrative-economic unit during its fifth session on December 7. 

    The special unit will cover all the area and population of Van Ninh district, including about 111,000 ha of land and water surface and more than 128,000 people in 12 communes and one town. 

    Van Phong Bay and the Northern Van Phong area hold an important strategic, geological-economic location for the country and the region, able to become a gateway for Vietnam to reach the EastSea and the Indochina peninsula. 

    The area is also expected to help boost the nation’s maritime economy, the southern central region, the CentralHighlands and Khanh Hoa province, and protect national sovereignty over seas and islands. 

    The special unit will focus on developing sea transportation, trade-financial services, tourism, health care, education and high-tech industrial development. 

    The People’s Council has assigned the provincial People’s Committee to complete a dossier for the project to be submitted to competent agencies.

    Northern Van Phong is one of the three special administrative-economic units initially developed on the basis of the the Conclusion No 21-TB/TW issued on March 23, 2017 by the Politburo. The others are Van Don in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh and Phu Quoc in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.  

    The Ministry of Planning and Investment expected that with preferential incentives, the three special zones would attract investment worth dozens of billions of dollars, which would generate huge sums in terms of added value and boost average income to 12,000-13,000 USD per capita.

     The ministry estimated that the special zones would contribute billions of dollars in taxes and fees to the State budget.

    Viettel telecom wins Best Fintech Companies award

    Vietnam’s military-run Viettel telecom group on December 7 was honoured with the Best Fintech Companies award for its BankPlus services. 

    The awards were organised by the US-based International Data Group.

    After six years of operation, BankPlus has connected with 15 banks in Vietnam. There are about 3.4 million customers using the application with an average of 10.3 million transactions each month. 

    The application allows money transfers and payments at 85,000 transaction stations nationwide or via mobile phones.

    Japan’s Fuji Engineering inaugurates apartment blocks for rent

    Japan’s Fuji Engineering Vietnam Co., Ltd on December 7 inaugurated apartments for lease and facilities that provide services for Japanese employees at Dong Van I Industrial Park, Duy Tien district, the northern province of Ha Nam.

    Covering 12,000 square metres, the project is valued at 10 million USD and is the province’s first wholly foreign-invested project in hospitality and services.

    The 10-storey buildings offer 76 houses from 26-54 square metres per apartment and provide amenities like offices for lease, a golf course, conference rooms, restaurants and supermarkets.

    Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Minister-Chairman of the Government’s Office Mai Tien Dung lauded the construction of the buildings, calling it a significant work between two close partners like Vietnam and Japan.

    Vietnam always creates favourable conditions for enterprises from Japan, who is the leading official development assistance provider for Vietnam and its third largest trade partner, Dung stated.

    He asked Ha Nam province to prioritise Japanese businesses and to tackle difficulties for them in a timely manner.

    Osamu Yasuhara, Chairman of the Fuji Engineering Group, for his part, recognised the support from central and local authorities for the project, adding that the buildings will not only satisfy investors’ demands but help complete infrastructure facilities and create an ideal investment climate for Japanese firms in the locality.

    Vinh Long pledges optimal conditions for foreign investors

    The Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long has been creating optimal conditions for investors to run their businesses in the locality.

    Secretary of the provincial Party Committee of Tran Van Ron made the statement at a seminar to introduce local potential on economy, trade, investment, tourism and education to foreign diplomatic agencies, consulate generals, associations and firms in Ho Chi Minh City on December 7.

    Prominent attendees at the event included representatives from Consulate Generals in HCMCity, the Japan External Trade Organisation, the Japanese Business Association of HCM City and the Chambers of Commerce of the US, the Republic of Korea, Canada, Australia and the European Union in HCMCity.

    The seminar discussed green energy, hi-tech agriculture, clean water, the environment, climate change adaption, ecotourism and human resources training.

    Ron introduced six key aspects of the province, including agriculture, aquaculture and livestock, handicrafts, tourism, human resources training and industrial parks (IPs).

    He called on investors to pay attention to local IPs, while describing the event as preparation for the Vinh Long Investment Promotion Conference to be chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in March 2018.

    International participants also shared experience to promote local potential, thus luring foreign investors, particularly in industry, tourism and agriculture.

    They expressed their hope that the province will offer more incentives for investors and focus on training human resources to meet requirements of investors.

    Rang Dong, Sojitz Pla-Net sign strategic partnership

    Rang Dong Plastics Joint Stock Company (RDP) and Sojitz Pla-Net, a Japanese corporation, signed a strategic partnership on December 6, taking a new step towards cooperation between the two sides.

    The existing co-operation between them is the development of the Rang Dong Long An Plastics factory with a total investment at 32 million USD in the first stage.

    Earlier, RDP sold 20 percent of its capital at the Rang Dong Long An Plastic Joint Stock Company that operates the Rang Dong Long An plastics factory for Sojitz Pla-Net, reported

    Becoming RDP’s strategic shareholder, Sojitz Pla-Net will supply raw material and have support in soft skills as well as in sales for RDP via Sojitz Planet’s retail system in Vietnam and exports to neighbouring markets, the Sojitz Pla-Net chairman said.

    RDP chairman Ho Duc Lam said when being put into operation, the project of Rang Dong Long An will meet increasing demand on plastics in the domestic market and also exports to many countries.

    The factory is equipped modern machinery, including packaging workshop meeting HACCP standard, to develop global supply chain in line with standards of the US, Japan and European markets.

    Lam expected with this cooperation, RDP would sustainably develop to become the leading company in Vietnam’s plastic market and to be one of the top 10 companies supplying plastics resin in Asia by 2020.

    Home Credit wins Việt Nam Outstanding Banking Award     

    Consumer credit company Home Credit Viet Nam has received the award for the best financial company at the 2017 Viet Nam Outstanding Banking Awards.

    The award is given by the Viet Nam Bank Association and IDG Group based on a poll of consumers.

    Nine years ago Home Credit had become the first foreign company in the consumer finance market, and it is now one of the biggest companies in Viet Nam, offering consumer loans for buying motorbikes, home appliances and electronics and cash loans.

    Recently it launched new products targeting education and healthcare.

    Last month, the company unveiled its new brand name identity set, further strengthening its people-oriented business strategy.

    It has more than 7,000 offices across all country and 10,000 employees and a customer base of 6.76 million. 

    GoBear Vietnam receives 1 mil online visitors within first year of operation

    GoBear Vietnam was closing on the 1,000,000 visitor mark on December 7 after a single year of operations in Vietnam. GoBear keeps improving and will add an enhanced credit card comparison function in January 2018.

    GoBear is Asia’s first and only metasearch engine for insurance and banking products. GoBear provides users a comparison platform that is free, easy to use, and unbiased. Since the official launch in Vietnam in early December 2016 with three products— comparison of credit cards, personal loans, and travel insurance—as well as educational pages for unsecured loans, GoBear Vietnam has landed nearly one million visitors to its website to become a trusted provider of comparison services for financial products in Vietnam.

    The new website features an upgraded credit cards comparison function and is expected to provide users with an enhanced experience which will make searching and comparing credit cards on the website easier than ever before.

    “The fact that GoBear Vietnam has hit nearly one million visitors in our very first year of operation shows Vietnamese people’s genuine interest in finding the right personal finance products and confirms GoBear’s vast growth potential. GoBear is looking forward to receiving even more support from our users and business partners, and to bringing more transparency and fair pricing to the market in our next phases of development,” said Andre Hesselink, CEO and co-founder of GoBear.

    “Overall, GoBear has shown strong month-on-month growth ever since we started our first office in Singapore right up to our latest office in Vietnam. So far, we have served 14 million users year to date, with a rapid growth of four million users last month. In 2016, Think with Google ranked GoBear as the most popular comparison website in the region based on search volume,” Hesselink added.

    GoBear is Asia’s first and only metasearch engine for insurance and financial products. It was founded based on the simple premise that a consumer should find freedom and ease in choosing complex financial products like insurance, credit cards, and loans. 

    Headquartered in Singapore since early 2015, GoBear has established presence in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Manila, Hong Kong, and Vietnam, and will continue to expand across Asia in 2018.

    As one of the fastest growing fintech startups in Asia, GoBear is leading the way in democratising financial shopping experience with its unbiased and personalised comparison process. GoBear’s user-oriented platform neither aggregates nor sells products.

    GoBear simply offers consumers a free and transparent comparison process based on their financial needs and is not influenced by service providers’ commissions or advertising. The result is a user-friendly experience that empowers users to make better informed decisions efficiently, saving both time and money.

    $26 million wind turbines for Quang Tri

    Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas and local company Tan Hoang Cau (THC) signed a turbine supply contract for the 30MW Huong Linh 1 wind farm as well as a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the pre-development of three other wind projects on December 7 in Hanoi.

    The turbine supply contract for the Huong Linh 1 wind farm, located in the central province of Quang Tri, is worth more than €22 million ($26 million). Construction will take eight months, with six sub-projects to be developed having a total generation capacity of at least 30 MW. The two will work together to select appropriate locations for installing wind turbine towers.

    “We are committed to deploying the latest technology and wind turbine models to bring the highest efficiencies to the projects,” said THC Chairman Mr. Mai Van Hue. “Therefore, we are partnering up with Vestas, the industry leader, to help us bring this project to life.”

    President of Vestas Asia-Pacific, Mr. Clive Turton, said the company views Vietnam as ASEAN’s second-fastest growing economy and given all this growth, the country is looking into wind energy. “Vestas is very excited for the partnership with Vietnam in this respect and today we are absolutely delighted to be here to demonstrate our commitment,” he said.

    “Vestas is Denmark’s leading light in the renewable energy sector and will show Vietnam how to appreciate the value, opportunities, and potential of wind energy to improve the lives of Vietnamese people,” he went on. “We will engage, expand, and deepen our capabilities in Vietnam and look forward to working even more closely together.”

    Last year witnessed the establishment of Vestas Vietnam, testament to the confidence and long-term commitment that Vestas has in Vietnam’s wind market. It has activated collaborations with Vietnamese partners and organizations such as the Institute of Energy, and supported the Global Wind Energy Council’s project to establish a National Wind Energy Association for Vietnam.

    Since its establishment in 1979, Vestas has been committed to harvesting the potential wind holds for the planet’s energy supply. “Our mission is to deliver best-in-class sustainable energy solutions and set the pace in our industry to the benefit of our customers and our planet,” Mr. Turton added.

    Vestas holds the world’s largest fleet of wind turbines, having installed over 59,909 in more than 76 markets on six continents. This 83-GW installed capacity generates more than 205 million MWh of electricity per year, globally reducing carbon emissions of CO2 by more than 110 million tons. Vestas also services over 71 GW across the globe, both proprietary and multi-brand.

    “Vestas is fully committed and optimistic regarding the development of wind in Vietnam,” Mr. Turton said. “We look forward to continuing to work as a fully-fledged local entity and, together with our local partners, build a prosperous future for the wind industry and Vietnam as a whole.”


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  • 12/12/17--01:22: Article 0
  • World Bank forecasts Vietnam’s GDP growth of 6.7 percent

    Hanoi - The World Bank (WB) on December 11 released its report “Taking Stock- An Update on Vietnam’s Recent Economic Development”, forecasting the country’s GDP to grow at 6.7 percent this year.

    Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

    Over the medium term, growth is projected to stabilise at around 6.5 percent, and inflation is projected to remain low, says the bi-annual economic report on Vietnam.

    Ousmane Dione, WB Country Director for Vietnam, said growth momentum picked up across major economies and global trade recovered in 2017, adding with incomes rising and poverty falling, Vietnam’s economy had another good year of strong growth and broad macroeconomic stability.

    According the new WB report, stronger domestic demand, robust export-oriented manufacturing, and a gradual recovery of the agriculture sector are driving Vietnam’s economy, which expanded by 6.4 percent during the first nine months of the year compared to the same period last year. The manufacturing and service sector respectively grew by 12.8 percent and 7.3 percent during the same period. 

    Low inflation and rising real wages sustained buoyant domestic demand and private consumption, while the stronger global economy helped Vietnam’s export-oriented manufacturing and agricultural sectors. Job growth continued, with 1.6 million new jobs added in the manufacturing sector over the past three years, and 700,000 additional jobs in the construction, retail, and hospitality sectors, leading to higher aggregate labour productivity. Labour demand also contributed to rapid wage growth, with wages increasing by 15 percent cumulatively between 2014 and 2016. 

    Despite progress in resolving non-performing loans, risks remain, including the lack of robust capital buffers in some banks, especially amidst rapid credit growth. 

    Fiscal tightening is underway, and has led to a leaner budget deficit and containment of public debt accumulation. However, the decline in public investment – falling to 16 percent of total spending in the first nine months of 2017 compared with an average of 25 percent in recent years – may not be sustainable over time, as Vietnam needs significant investments in infrastructure to support future growth. 

    A slow-down in structural reforms could also impact the ongoing recovery, especially given the weaker growth in investment.  Enhancing macroeconomic resilience and structural reforms can lift Vietnam’s growth potential over the medium term.

    Sebastian Eckardt, WB’s Lead Economist for Vietnam, said structural reform remains a central priority in view of tepid productivity growth. Building on progress already made, Vietnam can further lift productivity growth through investments in needed infrastructure and skills as well as deeper reforms of the business environment, SOE and banking sector, the WB expert added.


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  • 12/13/17--00:37: Article 6
  • Record number of Tet flights planned for Tan Son Nhat Airport

    TanSonNhatInternationalAirport in HCMCity will serve a record number of flights at peak hours in the run-up to the Lunar New Year 2018.

    The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam announced the schedule, from January 30 to March 4, up to 44 flights will be permitted at the airport at between 6 pm to midnight. While 37 flights will be scheduled between midnight to 6am am.

    Passengers at TanSonNhatInternationalAirport

    Dang Tuan Tu, director of TanSonNhatInternationalAirport, said that this would be the highest number of flights so far.

    The passenger numbers are set to increase to 134,207 a day during Tet Holiday at the airport, up by between 16,490 and 17,505 compared to last year.

    TanSonNhatInternationalAirport is forecasted to welcome more than 4.1 million passengers with 26,288 flights in the run-up to Tet, up 25% and 20% respectively on-year.

    Tu added that the authority decided to increase the flights as the airport had been upgraded., NLD

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  • 12/13/17--00:41: Article 5
  • Ex-chairman of Vietnam Rubber Group investigated

    Multiple violations at the group resulted in losses of VND8.3 trillion ($365.6 million)

    e Quang Thung, ex-chairman of state-run Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG). Photo:

    Police have initiated legal procedures against a former chairman of state-run Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) for his alleged violations of state rules, which have led to serious consequences.

    The Ministry of Public Security launched an investigation on Tuesday in to the offenses of Le Quang Thung, ex-chairman of VRG, along with four other former officials from its units in the southern provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Phuoc.

    The Government Inspectorate of Vietnam had previously reported its conclusions of an examination of capital and state asset management at VRG and its subsidiaries during the 2005-11 period.

    According to the report, as of 2011, VRG had channeled nearly VND2.6 trillion (US$114.4 million) into investments in other businesses, accounting for 13 percent of the group’s charter capital.

    Violations were also recorded in the transfer of shares at rubber companies in the southern provinces of Tay Ninh and Ba Ria - Vung Tau.

    More serious allegations arose from management oversight and project implementation at the Phu Rieng Rubber Company in Binh Phuoc.

    VRG subsequently established the Phu Rieng- Kratie Rubber Company to invest in a rubber plantation project in Cambodia, during which violations were committed, causing losses of over VND483 billion ($21.2 million).

    VRG and the project developer also spent nearly $1.9 million worth of bank loans illegitimately, resulting in their inability to pay up.

    According to the Government Inspectorate, these violations caused losses totaling VND8.3 trillion ($365.6 million).

    Loss-making investment

    The inspection highlighted that VRG and its units had invested large sums of money in businesses outside of the rubber industry, only to end up suffering heavy losses.

    As of late 2011, the Tay Ninh Rubber Company had channeled almost VND70 billion ($3 million) into six firms, of which only one produced profit worth approximately VND1.5 billion ($66,078).   

    The Dong Nai rubber firm spent some VND362 billion ($15.9 million), only 10 percent of which delivered financial gain.

    VRG also poured more than VND390 billion ($17.1 million) into hydro-power dams, construction, and aquaculture processing between 2006 and 2011.

    From 2008 to 2011, the group failed in its VND600 billion ($26.4 million) foray into the hospitality and steel industries.

    Business operations of the group also suffered repeated losses, resulting in the loss of VND144 billion ($6.3 million) in charter capital, and over VND253 billion ($11.1 million) debt remaining unpaid.

    In early December, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc called on the relevant authorities to deal with the serious violations at VRG.
    Tuoi Tre News

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  • 12/13/17--01:15: Article 4
  • Businesses ask PM for transparency, fewer rules

     HÀ NỘI – Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc pledged the Government would continue to improve the business climate for the private sector to thrive, stressing their critical role in  national growth.

     Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc pledged favourable conditions for businesses at the Việt Nam Business Forum in Hà Nội on Tuesday. - VNA/VNS photo Thống Nhất

    Speaking at the Việt Nam Business Forum (VBF) in Hà Nội on Tuesday, Phúc said that it was the business community who would shape the Vietnamese economy in the coming decades.

    They are an important driving force to realise the country’s aspirations for prosperity, according to the Prime Minister.

    The business community contributed to boosting Việt Nam’s gross domestic product (GDP) from US$27 billion in 1997 to an estimated $220 billion this year, Phúc said, adding that the country planned to reach a GDP of $300 billion in 2020.

    Phúc said he had high hopes for a new generation of businesses and entrepreneurs. He acknowledged that most Vietnamese businesses still operated on a small scale.

    “How to enable Vietnamese firms to grow to international reach has been a top concern of the Government,” he said.

    Phúc urged businesses to strive to improve their competitiveness by enhancing their corporate governance and applying modern technologies. He added that the Government always encourages fair competition among firms.

    "Capital- and labour- intensive production models are no longer appropriate in an era of rapid technological growth and international integration. Instead, the knowledge-based model prevails, requiring Vietnamese firms to adapt," Phúc said.

    Phúc welcomed investors to do business in Việt Nam but stressed that the country would strictly punish those violating laws, especially those who bring environment pollution, negative impacts on the country’s traditional cultural and social values and labour abuse.

    Phúc said that the Government would give priority to investments in infrastructure, stabilising the macro-economy and improving the transparency and efficiency of institutions to ensure social advancement – the key to promoting economic growth and an expansion of the middle class.


    A number of proposals were raised at the VBF yesterday to enhance productivity, improve the business climate and promote the development of the private sector.

    Vũ Tiến Lộc, Chairman of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said that businesses were still struggling with a number of difficulties in administrative procedures, wage increases outpacing productivity growth and burdensome fees.

    “ Việt Nam should hasten the efforts to cut business prerequisites, reform the procedure of specialised checks during import and export and reduce costs for businesses,” Lộc said.

    According to Ryu Hang Ha, Chairman of Korea Chamber of Commerce (KoCham) in Việt Nam, the Government should increase funding for research and development (R&D) of small- and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups as well as develop policies to encourage their investments in R&D.

    KoCham also proposed clearer regulations regarding social insurance for foreign employees and minimum capital for foreign-invested companies.

    According to the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), a number of investment opportunities were not realized due to problems relating to a lack of transparency and complicated licensing procedures.

    Natasha Ansell, Chairwoman of Amcham, stressed that Việt Nam should attract private investment for major projects to help improve the overall financial situation of the country.

    She said that it was urgent for the country to attract private investment in the power sector, which could amount to billions of dollars if the Government had appropriate policies. In addition, Việt Nam needed to modernise the transportation sector to catch up with rapid technological growth.

    Hiroshi Karrashima, Chairman of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the lack of transparency in administrative management would undermine the attractiveness of Việt Nam to investors. “We hope the Vietnamese Government will have stronger measures to tackle this issue,” he said.

    Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Trí Dũng said that the market expansion from the signing of free trade agreements and approach to industry 4.0 technologies would bring opportunities for Việt Nam to engage in the global value chain and speed up the process of industrialisation and modernisation.

    Việt Nam would continue to review regulations to minimise barriers to businesses and eliminate any discrimination between firms, Dũng said, adding that firms should also be proactive in enhancing their competitiveness.

    VBF, since 1997, has served as a regular and high-level channel of communication between the business community and the Vietnamese Government, initiated by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank Group.   


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  • 12/13/17--01:49: Article 3
  • What will foreign investors do with strong Vietnamese brands?

    Analysts have warned that strong brands may disappear once foreign investors buy into Vietnamese companies.

    vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, Sabeco, MOF, SCIC 

    MOIT has announced the sale of 343.66 million Sabeco shares

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) has announced the sale of 343.66 million Sabeco (Sai Gon Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Corporation) shares at the starting price of VND320,000 per share.

    The market value of the State’s 53.59 percent stake is estimated at VND87.4 trillion ($3.85 billion).

    With the share price described as ‘sky high’, the divestment deal worth VND11 trillion is reserved only for investors with powerful financial capability.

    With the share price described as ‘sky high’, the divestment deal worth VND11 trillion is reserved only for investors with powerful financial capability.

    Those making financial investments to seek profit won’t be interested in the deal because of the price.

    The investors interested in Sabeco shares aim to conquer the Vietnamese beer market. Sabeco has a firm foundation, strong brand and large retail network.

    “Sabeco has 24 breweries and relations with 1,200 distributors. Foreign investors are wise enough to take full advantage of the factories and the distribution network built by Vietnamese to bring their products to the Vietnamese market,” an analyst commented.

    He recalled that Unilever took over P/S (a Vietnamese toothpaste brand) and brought its Close-Up toothpaste into the Vietnamese market through the network it acquired. After Carlsberg bought Huda and Halida, the Vietnamese brands began fading away, although they still exist.

    However, Truong Thanh Hoai from MOIT said there was no need to worry that Sabeco brand would disappear.

    Besides Sabeco, the state is also planning to sell another brewer – Habeco. However, according to the HCM City Securities Company, the agreement signed with Carlsberg, which became a shareholder of Habeco 10 years ago, has caused difficulties in divestment.

    The problem is that the average price of a Habeco stake is twice as much as the price at which Carlsberg plans to pay to buy.

    MOIT, the seller, must be sure that the stake sale campaign will bring optimal value. Therefore, the two parties still cannot find a common voice.

    As for Sabeco, the share price continued to rise after MOIT’s announcement. The P/E of Sabeco share reached 50x, much higher than the 16x of Asahi, 21x of Carlsberg and 20x of Heineken.

    Many investors wonder if Sabeco can sell the 53 percent stake with such a high selling price and low liquidity.

    Some observers believe that Sabeco share price has been pushed up artificially by a group of investors, who want to profit from selling a Sabeco stake.

    Meanwhile, others keep Sabeco shares and refuse to sell, hoping the price will escalate.

    Thanh Lich, VNN 

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  • 12/13/17--06:12: Article 2
  • Social News 13/12

    First district-level hospital in country performs open heart surgery

    First district-level hospital in country performs open heart surgery, Le Quoc Phong re-elected 11th HCYU Central Committee first secretary, Official: Children need safe internet environment 

    Doctors at Thủ Đức District Hospital in HCM City on Tuesday performed the country’s first open heart surgery at a district-level hospital.

    The operation was conducted on a 23-year-old man with congenital heart defects.

    Three years ago, the patient from the south central coastal province of Bình Định was diagnosed with atrial septal defects, a common congenital heart defect that causes shunting of blood between systemic and pulmonary circulation. Recently, his health had deteriorated.

    The man was admitted to Thủ Đức District Hospital for examination where a Doppler echocardiography showed that he had secundum atrial septal defects 20x23 millimetres in size as well as tricuspid regurgitation, which is an insufficiency of the tricuspid valve, affecting blood flow from the right ventricle to the right atrium.

    He also was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension.

    The hospital’s doctors consulted doctors at the HCM City Heart Institute, who worked with the Thủ Đức Hospital doctors to perform the three-hour surgery, which closed the secundum atrial septal defects.

    The patient is recovering and being monitored at the hospital’s Cardiac Intensive Care Department.

    Thủ Đức District Hospital has been investing in advanced equipment for a long time, according to Dr Nguyễn Minh Quân, the head of the hospital.

    The hospital’s doctors, nurses and other staff were trained at the HCM City Heart Institute for more than four years after the city’s Department of Health approved open heart surgery at the hospital, Quân said.

    Le Quoc Phong re-elected 11th HCYU Central Committee first secretary

    Le Quoc Phong, First Secretary of the 10th Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCYU) for 2012-2017 was re-elected as First Secretary of the 11th HCYU Central Committee for 2017-2022 on December 12.

    Nguyen Anh Tuan, Nguyen Ngoc Luong and Bui Quang Huy were also re-elected as Secretaries of the 11th HCYU Central Committee.

    The 11th HCYU Central Committee comprised of 151 members as announced at the ongoing 11th National Congress of the HCYU in Hanoi on December 12.

    Delegates elected the 31-member Standing Committee, the four-member Secretariat and the 19-member Inspection Commission of the 11th HCYU Central Committee.

    The 11th National Congress of the HCYU, which is taking place in Hanoi from December 10, brought together nearly 1,000 delegates representing millions of the union’s members nationwide.

    Official: Children need safe internet environment

    Relevant organisations and agencies should join hands to create a safe internet environment for children, said Deputy Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Hong Lan.

    Lan made the remarks at a ceremony held in Hanoi on December 12 to release the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)’s annual report “State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World”.

    She noted that it is necessary to equip children with necessary skills to access to a safe internet environment and children should be put in the centre when building digital policies.

    Meanwhile, Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF Representative in Vietnam, said that digital technology can make a life change for children who are left behind, particularly disable and ethnic kids and those living in disadvantaged areas.

    Online protection does not mean to control children’s internet use but protect their safety, he highlighted, adding that the Government need to closely work with the private sector to safeguard children, especially disadvantaged kids.

    The UNICEF’s flagship report stated that despite children’s massive online presence – 1 in 3 internet users worldwide is a child – too little is done to protect them from the perils of the digital world and to increase their access to safe online content.

    The report explores the benefits digital technology can offer the most disadvantaged children, including those growing up in poverty or affected by humanitarian emergencies. These include increasing their access to information, building skills for the digital workplace, and giving them a platform to connect and communicate their views.

    However, millions of children are missing out, the report said. Around one third of the world’s youths – 346 million – are not online, exacerbating inequities and reducing children’s ability to participate in an increasingly digital economy.

    The report examines how the internet increases children’s vulnerability to risks and harms, including misuse of their private information, access to harmful content, and cyber bullying. The ubiquitous presence of mobile devices, the report notes, has made online access for many children less supervised – and potentially more dangerous.

    Furthermore, it also recommended that policies need to facilitate internet access for children, protect them from online threats like abuse, human trafficking and online bullying, and safeguard their privacy and identities.

    Officially connected to the Internet in 1997, Vietnam had 64 million internet users as of June 2017, accounting for 67 percent of the total population. Social media has been popularized with 64 million Facebookers, most of whom are children and teenagers.

    Seminar spotlights Vietnam’s culture and development issues

    Vietnam’s development and cultural issues and the world’s experiences were discussed at a seminar jointly held by the Party Central Committee’s Theory Council and the Vietnam National Academy of Social Sciences in Hanoi on December 12.

    Prof. Dr. Ta Ngoc Tan, vice chairman of the council, said that following the 12th National Party Congress, development and cultural issues have seen new requirements, expecting comprehensive theoretical research and summary to serve the reform cause.

    The outcomes of the seminar are complete theoretical and practical researches on development and culture, thus laying a scientific foundation for operation of authorized agencies and serving the mapping out of the Party’s policies.

    Meanwhile, Prof. Dr. Nguyen Quang Thuan, President of the Vietnam National Academy of Social Sciences, reviewed achievements in cultural development of Vietnam, with promoted traditional values and deep integration into the world.

    However, Thuan also pointed to negative sides and problems of Vietnamese culture, and even alarming issues. He held that urgent problems in society include degraded morality and weak education.

    He stressed the need to strictly review the real situation of national culture and learn experience of other countries.

    Participants at the event discussed a number of lessons from other countries in using culture to sharp development philosophy.

    USAID continues helping Vietnam Red Cross manage disaster risks

    The US Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide nearly 800,000 USD for the continuation of a project to raise the capacity of the Vietnam Red Cross and its chapters to manage disaster risks, conduct first aid, and care for people’s health in emergency situation.

    The expanded phase, to be implemented from September 30, 2017 to 2019, is expected to benefit 13,700 people directly and 30,000 others indirectly in three provinces, which are Hoa Binh in the north, Quang Tri in the central region and Bac Lieu in the south.

    The project helps make plans to respond to and reduce disaster risks, train teachers and students on water and sanitation-related issues, and hold training courses on first aid and disease prevention.

    Speaking at the launch ceremony, US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J.Kritenbrink spoke highly of the role of the Vietnam Red Cross in humanitarian activities as well as the outcomes of the project’s first phase.

    He expressed his hope that the second phase will continue applying community-based approaches to help target communes have better preparations and strengthen resilience to natural disasters.

    The first phase of the project was carried out from October 2015 to July 2017 in six disaster-prone communes of Hoa Binh, Quang Tri and Bac Lieu provinces with an investment of 500,000 USD.

    Inspection work has improved, but problems remain

    The national watchdog has made notable improvements in its work, but the problems of overlapping, delays and corruption persist, the head of the Government Inspectorate, Lê Minh Khái, has acknowledged.

    Khái’s admission at a meeting held in Hà Nội yesterday to review six and three years of implementing respectively the 2010 Law on Inspection and the 2013 Law on Reception of Citizens.

    According to the head of the Government Inspectorate, “comprehensive inspections” have been conducted in all areas lying within State management, with a focus on “problematic and controversial cases” that received extensive public attention.

    These efforts have helped reinforce rule of law and ensure social and legal order, he added.

    His office, together with provinces and ministries, has been committed to directing quick settlements of complaints and denunciations, with due attention paid to long-standing ones.

    However, the Government Inspectorate has found numerous cases that continue to pose potential threats to social order and political stability, especially with religious and political elements, the meeting heard.

    Chairing the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hoà Bình lauded the achievements made in the implementation of the two laws, but urged “timely adjustments and solutions to address weaknesses and limitations,” meeting the people’s expectations and State management’s demands.

    The Deputy PM asked ministries and localities to strictly follow through on the central-level guidelines and plans, abide by Prime Minister’s orders in improving inspection works of enterprises, and ensure that every step of the inspections and drawing of conclusions is “done transparently, objectively, with clarity on the scale of violation and damages caused.”

    Deputy PM Bình also stressed the need for follow-up inspections to see whether the violators have corrected themselves after inspection verdicts are handed down.

    He said this would "ensure that the inspection results are meaningful and are making positive changes".

    On citizen receptions (meetings organised to receive complaints, petitions and denunciations from the public), Bình said these should be frequent and regular and abide by relevant rules.

    Ministers, head of ministerial-level agencies, chairpersons of provincial People’s Committees, and directors of State agencies should also make time to meet the public, to “directly engage and converse with citizens,” and hear their concerns and expectations, Bình added.

    Youth urged to bolster ’revolutionary ideals’

    The 11th National Congress of the Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth (HCYU) opened in Hà Nội yesterday, drawing 999 delegates representing millions of the union’s members nationwide.

    Addressing the opening session of the congress, Communist Party of Việt Nam General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng lauded the accomplishments of youth and children’s movements as well as the HCYU operations at all levels.

    The Party chief suggested that in the coming time, the union should pay greater attention to educating the youth on revolutionary ideals, political firmness, morality and lifestyle.

    The union should encourage and promote patriotism, revolutionary ideals and trust in the political regime among youngsters, he said.

    At the same time, he also asked the union to improve youngsters’ awareness about shamming information and the spurious, specious arguments of hostile forces, especially those arguments disseminated insidiously via social networks.

    The HCYU should uphold its central role in youth organisations of the country, while guiding the Hồ Chí Minh Vanguard Children’s Union and working hard to protect and educate children, he said.

    The Party leader also asked the union to build mechanisms, policies and activities to foster the development of young people in all fields.

    Nguyễn Phi Long, Secretary of the HCYU’s 10th Central Committee and President of the Việt Nam Youth Federation, said that the congress will review and draw from the work of the past five years and set targets for the 2017-2022 period. The Congress will also make adjustments to the union’s Charter.

    He reported that youth and children’s movements in the past five years were successful, with 455,000 buildings, including houses and schools, constructed and over 2,200 projects launched in various fields.

    The voluntary and charity activities of the union drew 16 million participants nationwide, he added.

    During the last five years, more than eight million youth received career advice, 420,000 received vocational training and another two million were introduced to proper jobs.

    Up to 14,000 youth economic models and 356 youth cooperatives were also developed during the period, Long said.

    He said that in the 2017-2022 period the union will focus on fostering young generations with revolutionary ideals, strong political will and patriotism, as well as good health, critical thinking skills and aspirations for a better life and better world.

    He drafted 11 major targets of the union in the next five years, including proposing 5 million innovation initiatives for different sectors, planting 30 million trees, supporting 1,000 startup projects and providing VNĐ10 trillion (US$444.4 million) in business loans to young people to boost agricultural production and contribute to the country’s economic development.

    The union also plans to give career consultations to 10 million young people, introduce jobs to 1.5 million others, and admit 5 million more members.

    Vietnamese students receive AEON Scholarships

    The AEON 1% Club Foundation, a member of Japanese retail and financial services corporation AEON, granted 60 scholarships to Vietnamese university students at a ceremony held in Hanoi on December 12.

    Yohsei Honda, Secretary General of the AEON 1% Club Foundation, said the AEON Scholarship is an allowance-based scholarship for university students in various Asian countries and self-financed Asian students studying in Japan.

    The project, designed to “Support the Dreams of Asian Students”, was started in 2006 in the hope that recipients will play an active role in the future, connecting their home countries with Japan in their respective specialist fields. In addition to year-round financial support, the project offers opportunities for various study curriculums and volunteer activities aimed at scholarship students studying in Japan, and provides support for students aiming to develop into global talent.

    In Vietnam, the "AEON Scholarship" has been awarded to a total of 626 university students, including two universities in Hanoi since 2012 and two in Ho Chi Minh City since 2011.

    This year in Hanoi, students from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities and the Foreign Trade University were honoured to receive the scholarships. At the Scholarship Certificate Granting Ceremony, scholarship students gave speeches on their personal dreams and goals.

    Honda said the AEON 1% Club Foundation was established in 1989 in Japan, has been operating based on 1 percent of pre-tax profit donated by the major AEON Group companies, engaging in projects with three main themes of “Sound Development of the Next Generation, Promotion of Friendship with Foreign Countries, and Sustainable Development of Regional Communities.”

    A similar scholarship awarding ceremony will take place in HCM City on December 13.

    Since its establishment, the "AEON scholarship" has supported 5,117 students in 35 universities and colleges across Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar.

    Be smart, watch out for trigbger fingers

    Trigger-finger and trigger-thumb, the painful condition common in middle-aged women and people with diabetes, may occur in young people who overuse smartphones.

    VMN, a university student in Giảng Võ Ward, Đống Đa District, who was diagnosed with trigger finger for making repeated finger and thumb movements, usually spent five hours a night using her smartphone for checking Facebook and chatting with her friends.

     “I did not expect the habit to cause so much pain,” she said. “It hurt when I tried to extend my fingers. I felt terrible as I could no longer control my hand,” she added.

    And N is not the only case. VTP, 28, a clothing store owner in District 1, HCM City, told Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper that her fingers suddenly went numb and felt painful when grasping an object. 

    “I use a smartphone every day with my fingers wiping its touchscreen for hours to check mail, surf webs and send messages. It was a surprise when my doctor announced that I suffered trigger finger,” she said.

    According to doctor Nguyễn Văn Phú from Việt Nam Sports Hospital, trigger-finger or finger-flexor-tendinitis happens when overuse or injury puts strain on the tendons. It is more commonly found in women than men and occurs most often in people who are in their 40s.

    Older people are also at high risk of developing trigger finger since their tendons are losing elasticity.

    However, nowadays, young people, especially those whose work or hobbies require repetitive gripping actions, may also experience the ailment.

    Phan Vương Huy Đổng, vice head of HCM City Sports Medicine Association, said that a tendon, in its normal condition, glided smoothly through a sheath covering it thanks to a lubricating membrane surrounding the joint. When a tendon sheath becomes inflamed, the inflammation obstructs a finger’s movement, causing the digit to drag through the sheath. 

    Nguyễn Xuân Anh, head of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery Department at Sài Gòn ITO Hospital, said that people with trigger finger would experience strong pain, particularly in the morning. Therefore, he made the following recommendations.

    When one first experiences finger stiffness with pains in the hands and finger joints, soak the hands in warm water every morning and move them gently during breaks.

    Anti-inflammatory medication can also help if prescribed by a doctor.

    If the symptoms worsen, doctor may offer Cortisol injections or minor surgery to cut open an inflamed tendon sheath.

    However, Nguyễn Đức Thành from the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation at HCMC University Medical Centre, warned that surgery could possibly cause complications, such as finger numbness or inability to keep a firm hold.

    Therefore, prevention is better than cure. Doctors suggest not to overuse smartphones, avoid activities requiring repetitive gripping and wear anti-vibration work gloves when operating vibrating hand-held machinery.

    Frequent stretching exercises during break time, moreover, can also alleviate symptoms.

    According to, the number of smartphone users in Việt Nam is expected to reach 28.77 million this year, accounting for 28.5 per cent of its population.

    65,000 children benefit from nutrition education project

    Nearly 65,000 kindergarten and primary school students throughout the country have been taught about proper nutrition and physical activities through a programme undertaken by the Việt Nam Red Cross Society and FrieslandCampina Việt Nam.

    The Project on Nutrition Education and Physical Strength Development in Việt Nam’s Children saw the Red Cross organise talks by nutritionists at 100 primary schools and kindergartens.

    The talks would end with flash mobs, helping make the whole event fun for the students.

    The students were taught the formula for health and comprehensive development: eating three proper meals every day comprising all four groups of essential nutrients, namely carbohydrates, protein, fat, and vitamins; drinking two glasses of milk each day; and engaging in physical activities for one hour.

    The Red Cross also invites nutritionists from the National Institute of Nutrition to train the main representatives of its branches in provinces and cities, who then teach teachers at schools in their locality.

    More than 250,000 families have benefited from the Project on Nutrition Education and Physical Strength Development in Việt Nam’s Children.

    The project has also contributed to achieving important targets in a Government programme titled School Milk-For Việt Nam’s Stature, which aims to improve the nutrition and height of kindergarten and primary students by 2020.

    By 2030 Việt Nam hopes to reduce the rate of child malnutrition to below the global and regional averages.

    FrieslandCampina Việt Nam this year is collaborating with the Bình Dương Province Health Education and Communication Centre on an education programme on nutrition education and physical development to benefit 10,000 primary school students.

    The programme is a part of a campaign called Nutrition-Exercising-Healthy initiated by FrieslandCampina based on the concept of daily diet, nutrition and exercise affecting a child greatly.

    War veterans honour late President Ho Chi Minh

    More than 500 delegates attending the sixth National Congress of the Vietnam War Veterans’ Association (VWVA) paid tribute to late President Ho Chi Minh at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi on December 13.

    Present at the event was Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Duoc, Chairman of the VWVA.

    Veterans later offered incense at the Monument to Heroic Martyrs to commemorate soldiers who died for the cause of national liberation.

    On December 13 afternoon, the sixth National Congress of the (VWVA) will convene a preparatory meeting.

    The official congress is scheduled to take place on December 14-15 with the participation of 516 delegates representing nearly 3 million veterans across the country.

    It is set to review the implementation of the 5th congress’s resolution while discussing plans, tasks and solutions in the new tenure, and will elect a new executive board for the 2017-2022 tenure.

    In the previous tenure, the association and its chapters made efforts to reduce poverty sustainably, promote charity activities and help each other improve livelihoods.

    In addition, the VWVA’s chapters worked closely with localities to consolidate the political system at grassroots level and develop a pure and strong association.

    The chapters also contributed to preventing corruption and social misbehaviour and defeating “peace evolution” schemes to ensure political stability and social order.

    “Pho” honoured in Ho Chi Minh City

    Activities to honour the cultural values of “pho” were held in Ho Chi Minh City by the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper and Acecook Vietnam on December 12.

    The event drew the participation of famous pho restaurants in the city, with dishes made from rice noodles also served to visitors.

    An exhibition was also held at the event, along with talks from cuisine experts about the development of “pho” and its traits in different regions of Vietnam.

    On the occasion, Tuoi Tre newspaper launched a campaign to seek recognition for December 12 as ‘Day of Pho’ in Vietnam, aiming to promote the dish.

    As a symbol of Vietnamese cuisine, “pho” is present across the world. In addition to rice noodles, a few herbs, thinly-sliced beef or chicken and broth as the main ingredients, a slice of fresh lemon and a splash of chilli are indispensable to a delicious bowl of “pho”.

    Hanoi meets tourism target

    Hanoi is forecast to serve 23.83 million tourists in 2017, up nine percent year-on-year and one percent compared to the year’s target.

    The figure includes an estimated 4.95 million international and 18.88 million domestic tourists. Tourism revenue is set to hit 70.96 billion VND (3.12 million USD), up 15 percent from last year, according to the city’s Department of Tourism.

    Foreign tourists to the city mainly came from China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, France, the US, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Canada.

    According to the Hanoi Tourism Department, tourism management and promotion campaigns have been strengthened. The city has also improved tourism infrastructure and service quality, along with planning and investment in tourism products.

    The department will work with relevant agencies to step up inspections and ensure the city’s image as a safe and friendly destination.

    The city hopes to earn about 75.78 trillion VND (3.33 billion USD) from nearly 25 million visitors next year, a growth of seven percent from 2017.

    Fine art association should emphasise innovation

    A ceremony was held in Hanoi on December 12 to  celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association.

    Vo Van Thuong, member of the Political Bureau and head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Popularisation and Education, congratulated the association for its achievements over the past 60 years.

    “The association should continue to bring creativity into full play, which is associated with the pride and responsibility of artists to build a Vietnamese fine art with both progressive and traditional identity,” he stressed. “The artists should maintain the true, the good and the beautiful while promoting Vietnam’s fine art to the world.”

    He said the association should encourage artist members to create more works with high quality of ideological message and technique; improve the effectiveness of exhibition activities and develop fine art critics.

    Since its beginning with just 123 members, the association has vividly depicted the process of building socialism in the north, fighting against invaders in the south and reuniting the country. Many artists visited industrial zones, mines, rural and mountain regions and battlefields to capture the entire country’s fight to win independence and build the nation. Today, the association gathers 1,900 members from across the country, who are joining more and more activities like field trips, camping for painting and exhibiting their works within and outside the country.

    There remain some shortcomings within the association. Some artists rely on old ways of creating without any innovation. Some have even copied others or violated copyright. Some important topics like farmers, workers, soldiers and people’s security officers have not been taken seriously.

    The association has been awarded the Labour Order, the Independent Order, the Ho Chi Minh Order, and the Golden Star Order.

    At the ceremony, the association gave merit certificates to former leaders of the association and some artists with active contributions to the sector.

    Defence Minister receives Cuban Ambassador

    Minister of National Defence General Ngo Xuan Lich highlighted the close relationship between Vietnam and Cuba while receiving Cuban Ambassador Lianys Torres Rivera in Hanoi on December 12.

    He said Vietnam remembers the great support of the Cuban Party, Government, people and army for Vietnam’s revolutionary cause and national construction.

    The minister applauded bilateral defence cooperation, especially several high-level exchanges in 2017.

    The two sides signed multiple defence cooperation documents, with the most noteworthy being a cooperation plan during 2017-2019 covering 14 spheres, contributing to consolidating the friendship between the two countries and improving their defence capacity, he said.

    Lich expressed his belief that the ambassador will successfully fulfill her tasks in Vietnam, helping promote traditional fraternity between the two Parties, Governments, peoples and armies.

    Rivera said Cuba treasures its ties with Vietnam and considers defence cooperation a pillar in the relationship.

    She also affirmed Cuba’s further support for Vietnam’s national development.

    Nostalgic concert to honour composer Du

    One of the most famous Vietnamese romantic songs, Tình Em (My Love), by late composer Huy Du will be performed at a concert held in Hà Nội to commemorate his 10th death anniversary this Friday.

    The concert, organised by the Việt Nam Youth Theatre and QPVN military television, will take middle-aged music lovers on a trip down memory lane, enjoying both romantic and patriotic songs popular during war time.

    Huy Du read a poem by an armyman, named Hồ Ngọc Sơn, in the Literature and Arts magazine. The poem was writen when the northern soldier was fighting in the Gia Lai battle in the Central Highlands and received a letter from his wife after a long time.

    As an armyman himself, Huy Du empathised deeply with the plight of the soldier and set the poem to music in 1962 without using musical notes and adjusting the lyrics. Incidentally, Tình Em was the original title of the poem.

    After People’s Artist Quý Dương performed the song for the first time, it became a favourite for many generations. But it was not performed as regularly as other songs by the composer, because love-themed songs were not promoted much while the nation fought for liberation of the South and reunification of the country.

    Born in Bắc Ninh Province, Huy Du went to Hà Nội with his father when he was small. He began to study music and violin. He and his friends established a music band playing at the city’s Old Quater.

    During the first Indochina War, he joined the Viet Nam People’s Army and headed Army Division 320’s Art Troupe. After the war studied at the Beijing Conservatory of Music from 1956 to 1962, and later worked with the General Political Department’s Art Troupe until 1977.

    Du wrote and composed about 400 musical works that have contributed to revive the glorious history of the nation. He was honoured with many prizes including the State’s Independence Order and the Hồ Chí Minh Award for Literature and Arts.

    At the concert on December 15, the songs will be accompanied by a modern orchestra and performed by popular singers and music bands.

    People’s Artist Lê Khanh will be the MC, telling stories and highlighting milestones to help the audience achieve a deeper understanding of the composer’s life and career.

    "I will try to lead the audience to get more in touch with the composer’s soul," Khanh said.

    "The audience will not enjoy the songs but also know more about stories and memories of the composer when he wrote them."

    The composer’s son, pianist Nguyễn Huy Phương, will play a piece which was written for his mother. The concert will begin at 8pm on Friday,  at the Việt Nam Youth Theatre, 11 Ngô Thì Nhậm Street, Ha Noi.

    Conference seeks to improve food value chain in Mekong Delta

    An investment promotion conference to improve the food value chain in the Mekong Delta was held in Can Tho city on December 12, attracting more than 150 experts, businesses and investors from Vietnam and abroad.

    Speaking at the event, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency Vu Ba Phu said with favourable business conditions, the Mekong Delta is attracting more and more foreign investors.

    General Director of Trung An high-tech agriculture company Pham Thai Binh said several enterprises from China, Europe and Australia want to buy Vietnamese rice but the country doesn’t produce enough high-quality rice to meet demand.

    To improve the product value chain, he underscored the need to create a manufacturing value chain.

    Bulgarian Commercial Counsellor from the Bulgarian embassy in Vietnam Oleg Marinov said in recent years, the European Union has been the second largest market of Vietnam, behind the US. Two-way trade topped 38.4 billion EUR in 2015, 29.9 billion EUR of which was Vietnam’s exports to the EU.

    He asked Vietnam’s agricultural sector to step up restructuring of manufacturing and renovate farming and processing to produce high-quality products, thus satisfying demanding markets such as the EU.

    On the occasion, 10 cities and provinces in the Mekong Delta including Bac Lieu, Can Tho, Ca Mau, Kien Giang, Hau Giang, An Giang, Tra Vinh, Long An, Vinh Long and Tien Giang received investment via 54 food processing projects. Bac Lieu attracted the most with 20 projects.

    Quang Tri border guards uncover synthetic drug trafficking cases

    Border guards in the central border province of Quang Tri have discovered two drug trafficking cases from Laos to Vietnam since the beginning of December.

    On December 12, the drug squad of the Quang Tri border guard force and forces at the Lao Bao international border gate together caught red-handed two drug traffickers, namely Mai Van Nguyen, born in 1979, and Dinh Huu Tinh, born in 1992, from Quang Binh, seizing 2,369 synthetic drugs.

    On December 8, the forces surprised Pham Van Dung, born in 1993, residing in Lao Bao town for transporting 615 pink synthetic drugs. Dung confessed that he bought the drugs in Laos to sell for drug addicts in Lao Bao town.

    Further investigations are underway to handle these cases in accordance with legal regulations.

    Local authorities say that the number of ethnic minority juveniles engaging in drug trafficking at the Vietnamese-Lao border in Quang Tri has increased sharply over the last five years.

    They also say that efforts to fight drug trafficking in the area have been hampered by a change in rules that determines punishment, including detention, on the narcotics content of the drugs seized.

    This has created a loophole that traffickers exploit by smuggling reduced quantities of narcotics each time, but increasing the number of cross-border trips.

    Vietnam’s Quang Trị and Laos’ Savannakhet provinces share a border that is 156km long, with the Lao Bao-Densavan border gate connecting the East-West Economic Corridor.

    Drug traffickers are taking advantage of the area’s topography to hire Vietnamese immigrants to set up drug trafficking rings for smuggling drugs from Savannakhet into Quang Tri through the Lao Bao international border gate.

    Japan shares experience in developing food industry

    The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) will create opportunities for Japanese businesses to meet with Vietnamese food companies to exchange investment information.

    Chief Representative of JETRO in Hanoi Hironobu Kitagawa made the statement at a conference on developing Vietnam’s food industry on December 12.

    JETRO will update information in the field to inform Japanese firms, he said.

    He noted that many Japanese enterprises want to go to Vietnam to explore the food industry in the country.

    Deputy head of the industry department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Bui Truong Thang said the food industry in Vietnam has developed strongly in recent years.

    The sector has supplied various products for the economy, meeting domestic demand and supplying exports.

    Many businesses have invested in developing material areas, including the largest dairy company in Vietnam Vinamilk, which boasts 10 large-scale livestock farms nationwide with 22,000 cows.

    Saka Hrumi, a representative from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, suggested arranging dialogues to forge Vietnam-Japan agriculture value chains.

    The two countries have held three such dialogues since 2014, he noted, adding that this conference aims to build an agriculture food value chain through cooperation between State and private firms in Vietnam.

    The event is expected to be held annually as part of activities to realise the bilateral agricultural partnership in the middle and long term, he said.

    Japanese businesses suggested local authorities provide more financial and technical support policies to establish a waste treatment system to prevent land contamination.

    At the conference, Japanese companies shared effective business models. For example, vice chairman of the Wagoen Group Kiuchi Hizokazu introduced Japanese vegetable growing technology in Thailand. The group hopes to expand production in agriculture in Vietnam, he added.

    HCM City beauty salons fined over violations

    HCM City Department of Health announced on December 12 that it has fined 93 beauty salons for various violations including operating without licenses.
    One beauty salon on Ngo Gia Tu Street was fined over VND112m (USD5,000) for working and advertising products without licenses. 54 facilities were fined VND350m, some of which were fined over VND30m.

    According to the Department of Health, they inspected 150 facilities and fined 93 facilities since August. Most of the facilities lack signboards, provide unregistered services, advertise unapproved products or lack adequate equipment.

    The municipal Department of Health plans spot checks in 2018 and inspections when there are complaints from the public. The department also proposed to add more regulations about penalties. For example, violating facilities should be publicly named.

    Work starts on Vietnamese-funded school in Laos

    Work began on the construction of a high school, a gift from General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong, in Laos’ Bolykhamxay province on December 13.

    Built at cost of 30 billion VND (1.32 million USD), the Sithanaxay school project spans 2,126 square metres. It consists of a fully-functioned four-storey building, which is designed to accommodate eight classrooms, two laboratories, and a convention room.

    The school will be transferred to the Lao side in late August 2018, prior to the local 2018 – 2019 new school year.

    Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, Nguyen Huy Tang, deputy head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations, said the establishment reflects Vietnam - Laos traditional and comprehensive cooperation, as well as their Party and Government leaders’ attention to human resources training in Laos.

    He stressed it is a major project in celebration of the Vietnam – Laos and Laos – Vietnam solidarity and friendship year 2017, which marks 55 years of bilateral relations and 40 years of the signing of the countries’ Treaty on Amity and Cooperation.

    He asked the project management board under the Office of the Party Central Committee and Company of Economic Cooperation of Vietnam to coordinate to ensure the quality and safety of the project.

    Bolykhamxay deputy governor Bounma Bouchaleuan noted that the school will help improve the local high-quality educational infrastructure to meet development demand.

    Border guards asked to play crucial role in safeguarding sovereignty

    President Tran Dai Quang asked border guards to play their crucial role in safeguarding border and island sovereignty and security during a working session with the Border Guards High Command in Hanoi on December 13.

    The working session took place on the occasion of the 73rd founding anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army and the 28th anniversary of All People’s Defence Festival Day (December 22).

    The President lauded border guards for offering timely advice about policies to build stable border comprehensively and tapping collective power of the entire political system and people in border construction and defence.

    The force have also actively fought crimes, especially organised, transnational, drug, human trafficking, smuggling and trade fraud crimes while raising public awareness of the Party guidelines and State laws and policies in border and island areas, contributing to disrupting sabotage plots by hostile forces and maintaining stability in border areas.

    Border guards stepped up activities as part of All People’s Defence Festival Day in various forms and launched programmes and mass movements to reduce poverty, prevent natural disasters and fuel socio-economic development.

    They were asked to thoroughly grasp and make correct forecasts about situation in border and island areas while working closely with units concerned to fight and promptly deal with contingencies, contributing to maintaining political security and social safety and order, and firmly safeguarding independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation.

    The leader required them to actively advise Party committees and authorities at all levels about strengthening all people’s border guard posture in combination with all people’s national defence and security postures, effectively join social welfare and poverty reduction programmes.

    Border guards must pay attention to Party building, thoroughly grasp and effectively implement the Resolution on strengthening Party building and rectification adopted by the fourth conference of the 12th Party Central Committee, prevent and drive back degradation in political thoughts, moral virtue and lifestyle, as well as “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” behaviours, and implement Decree No.5-CT/TW of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee on learning and following late President Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts, morals and lifestyle.

    Further attention should be also paid to border external relations, reinforcing cooperation with forces from neighbouring countries in preventing and combating social vices along the shared border, extending friendship with people and border guards in neighbouring countries, towards building a borderline of peace, friendship, cooperation and development, he said.

    He expressed his belief that border guards will reap greater achievements to successfully fulfill the tasks of building and firmly safeguarding the nation.

    Via a teleconference, the President talked with cadres and officials of A Pa Chai, Bo Y and Hon Chuoi border defence stations, expressing his hope that they will help reduce poverty and ensure social welfares to local people.

    PM encourages youths to become pioneers in all sectors

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged youngsters to become pioneers in all sectors, from socio-economic development to national defence. 

    “I hope that many young people would become ‘warriors’ in start-up, technology, global trade and national defence,” he said at the closing session of the 11th National Congress of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCYU) in Hanoi on December 13.

    The leader noted that it is necessary to implement mechanisms and policies, especially at the Governmental level, to promote start-up spirit among youths.

    He called on young people to contribute more to the nationwide start-up campaign, aiming to establish 500,000 enterprises by 2020 and raise the total number to over 1 million.

    “The Government will continuously review policies towards youths and issue new mechanisms and policies to promote start-up spirit among youngsters, generate jobs and deal with urgent issues,” the PM said.

    Besides, young people should be pioneers in applying achievements of the fourth industrial revolution, he said, urging the HCYU to strongly support youths in study and scientific research.

    Pointing to a range of difficulties and challenges facing the country, especially natural disasters, plus threats of peaceful evolution, corruption and other social bad deeds, PM Phuc underlined the need for young people to be better aware of such issues.

    He also requested a regular working mechanism between the Government and the HCYU Central Committee and all-level authorities to collect more opinions from youths.

    During the session, Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam and First Secretary of the 11th HCYU Central Committee Le Quoc Phong signed a Joint Resolution on cooperation mechanism between the Government and the HCYU Central Committee during 2017-2022.

    The delegates then approved a resolution of the 11th National Congress of the HCYU Central Committee, which sets forth major objectives, tasks and projects for the union in the next five years.

    Website providing database on martyrs debuts this month

    A website providing a database on war martyrs and their graves will be launched on December 22, the 73rd founding day of the Vietnam People’s Army, a unit of the Ministry of Information and Communications announced on December 12.

    The Vietnam National Institute of Software and Digital Content Industry has deployed supercomputers to collate information on martyrs from the database of the Ministry of National Defence’s policy department, significantly reducing time taken to locate documents about martyrs and identify remains.

    The institute has coordinated with other bodies of the Ministry of Information and Communications, such as the Authority of Information Technology Application, the Department of Information Technology and the Information Centre to build an information network and a national database on the issue.

    It has also unified the database of the Ministries of National Defence, and Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to develop a website which allows citizens to search for martyrs’ information and receive information from citizens.

    According to labour minister Dao Ngoc Dung, about 200,000 sets of remains scattered across southern provinces, Laos and Cambodia haven’t been collected, while another 300,000 sets of remains that have been reburied in martyrs’ cemeteries lack information to make an accurate identification.

    Da Lat seeks feedback on transformation of downtown

    Authorities in Da Lat, a popular tourist destination in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, are gathering feedback from residents on plans for the new face of the city’s center.

    An urban design was presented at the Hoa Binh Theater, located in the heart of the city, for citizens to review and give their opinion on.

    The scheme is included in a plan for Da Lat and its vicinity by 2030, with a vision towards 2050, and was approved by the prime minister in 2014.

    A brand new downtown area in Da Lat is considered necessary in order to turn Da Lat into a center of tourism and service. 

    The city’s center, which houses the famous Xuan Huong Lake and Da Lat Market, is welcoming an increasing number of visitors because of its world class scenery and local shopping opportunities.

    Local infrastructure, accommodation, and public works do not currently meet the demand, especially on weekends and during holidays.

    Most businesses in the area still operate separately, and lack cooperation.

    According to the plan, downtown Da Lat, covering some 30 hectares, will include four main sections, including the Hoa Binh Theater, Da Lat Market, Xuan Huong Lake, and Dinh Tinh Hill..

    The Hoa Binh Theater will become a flower square, while its underground areas will also be developed.

    Dinh Tinh Hill will be preserved, while extra public works and service complexes will be added to the city’s center.

    Renovations will be done in downtown neighborhoods and streets, namely Nguyen Chi Thanh, Phan Boi Chau, Nguyen Van Troi, and Ly Tu Trong.

    According to Le Quang Trung, director of the Lam Dong Department of Construction, feedback will collected until December 23.

    Cambodian alumni delegation visits Vietnam

    A get-together with Cambodian alumni was held in HCM City on December 12 by the Ministry of Education and Training to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam-Cambodia diplomatic relations.

    The visiting delegation includes 48 Cambodian alumni, who had studied at universities in Vietnam under bilateral cooperative and scholarship programs over the years.

    After graduation, many of them returned to Cambodia and have become key government officials. They have positively contributed to accelerating the national construction and development and bolstering time-honoured relationship between the two countries.

    Nguon Sovanara from the Cambodian Ministry of Cults and Religion expressed delight at the Cambodian alumni’s Vietnam visit and exchange activities and believed that the traditional friendship and solidarity between the two nations will last forever.

    HCM City is the first destination of the Cambodian alumni during their visit to Vietnam this year. After visiting tourist attractions, they are expected to leave the city on December 13 for further exchange activities in Tra Vinh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Tay Ninh provinces. The delegation will return to Cambodia on December 17.

    Deputy PM urges efforts to fight smuggling, trade fraud

    Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình has asked all ministries, sectors and localities to work harder to fight smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods during the coming Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.

    In the document sent to Government bodies and localities, Bình, who is also head of the National Steering Committee on Prevention and Control of Smuggling, Trade Fraud and Fake Commodities, said cases of smuggling, trade fraud and fake goods were forecast to get more complicated, seriously affecting market stability, health of consumers and social security.

    As a result, the committee asked all agencies to intensify the fight against such crimes.

    Police, market watch inspectors and specialised inspection teams have been asked to co-operate closely to control the domestic market, intensify supervision and handle violations related to smuggling, trade fraud, production and trade of fake goods.

    Inspection teams are responsible for checking business conditions, products’ origin and labelling to ensure quality standards.

    Border guards have been asked to instruct all units to co-operate with relevant forces, including public security, coast guard and customs, to detect and handle illegal cross-border goods transportation and trade fraud in border gate areas, canals and rivers, and closely control goods and luggage of passengers at entry or exit via air routes, road and waterway.

    In particular, sea border soldiers are responsible for strengthening patrol and deterring oil, gas and natural resource smuggling in the northeast and southwest sea areas.

    The committee estimated that during the first 10 months of this year, as many as 181,000 cases of smuggling, trade fraud and fake commodities were detected, an increase of some 35 per cent compared with the previous year. Total fines amounted to nearly VNĐ19 trillion (US$836 million).

    Help-Portrait Program gifts 59,292 photos

    The 8th Vietnam Help-Portrait Program has attracted more than 1,000 photographers and volunteers

    Statistics reveal that up till now, 59,292 free photos have been gifted to poor people.

    The 8th Vietnam Help-Portrait Program was held in 15 nationwide provinces and cities of Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Hue, Da Nang, Binh Dinh, Nha Trang, Vung Tau, Hai Phong, Da Lat, Buon Me Thuoc, Binh Thuan, Binh Phuoc, Bien Hoa, Can Tho, An Giang, and Tho Chu Island.

    More than 1,000 photographers and volunteers participated in the event this year.

    Untilthis moment, Help-Portrait has already gifted 59,292 free photos to poor people.

    Being organized for 8 years (2010-2017), Help-Portrait has drawn more and more attention from the public.

    Each year, nearly 2,000 young people all over the country take part in the program.

    In addition to the official activities of the event, which happened simultaneously in the country, the groups of volunteers also actively visited poor and remote areas to take free photos of residents there at any appropriate time and gifted them.

    As usual, at places like hospitals, charity houses, orphanages, and centres for children with disabilities, Vietnam Help-Portrait organized Christmas parties for disadvantaged kids.

    Particularly, with this year’s topic of “Diary of Smiles”, the organization board hoped that they could bring happiness, smiles, as well as memorable experiences to people via their photos.

    District 1's authority proposes to expand walking streets to attract visitors

    Secretary of HCMC’s District 1 Party Committee Huynh Thanh Hai yesterday proposed the city People’s Committee to permit expansion of Nguyen Hue and Bui Vien walking streets to attract more visitors.

    He was speaking at a meeting with chairwoman of HCMC People’s Council Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam, who was inspecting the district's implementation of Directive 07 by the standing board of HCMC Party Committee about tourist development missions by 2020, yesterday afternoon.

    According to Mr. Hai, amusement demand in walking streets is very large. Therefore, the district Party Committee proposed the city People’s Committee to permit connecting Nguyen Hue walking with Bach Dang Park to develop an amusement, cuisine and shopping area to serve visitors and residents at weekend nights.

    In addition, he suggested expanding Bui Vien walking street to Do Quang Dau and De Tham streets, Pham Ngu Lao ward and link the area up to September 23 Park to form an attractive tourist destination.

    He suggested the city People’s Committee to renew and upgrade operations of Ben Thanh market including Ben Thanh night market because that is not only a shopping place but also a relic site attracting lot of visitors.

    District 1 is the center of HCMC, where international conferences, important political and social events, cultural and national festivals regularly occur. The district lures millions of domestic and foreign visitors during holidays, New Year festivals and anniversaries annually.

    Besides Ben Thanh market and Nguyen Hue walking street, it is home to many places attracting visitors such as Notre-Dame Cathedral and Reunification Palace.

    Concluding the meeting, chairwoman Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam appreciated highly achievements in tourist activities which District 1 has obtained for the last past. That has significantly contributed to budget revenue of the district and the city.

    She noted that the district should analyze its comparative advantages to utmost promote them and take the initiative in working with agencies and other localities to further develop local tourist products.
    In the morning on the same day, Ms. Tam worked with District 7 about implementation of Directive 07.

    The district Party Committee reported that District 7 has promoted its strength to develop waterway tourism in Phu Thuan and Huong Tram wards and exploit waterway transport routes or river bus routes.

    Still Committee Secretary Nguyen Van Dieu admitted that resources from businesses for tourist development are weak and the qualification of tourist management cadres is limited. In addition, the district has faced other issues such as street littering, street disorder, flooding and traffic jam affecting tourist attraction.

    Ms. Tam required the district to not only determine its major tourist products but also connect with other services and establishments in the district to better serve visitors.

    VN manufactures vaccines against foot-and-mouth disease

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) yesterday announced and transferred the virus of foot and mouth disease (MFD) to businesses with a target of manufacturing vaccines against foot-and-mouth susceptible animals and cattle disease.

    According to Sub-Department of Animal Health Office No. 6, this is the result of several stages of researching the virus in accordance with the recommendations of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

    The sub-regional animal health office selected the virus type O with a name of RAHO6 / FMD / O-135 in one case the ME-SA / PanAsia to meet the technical criteria for vaccine production under OIE's recommendations.

    Deputy Head of the MARD's Department of Animal Health Dam Xuan Thanh said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development recognized the type O virus as the copyright of the Sub- Regional Animal Health Department No.6.

    According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, the foot and mouth disease occurred in Vietnam over 100 years ago.

    For many years, the disease has been causing serious damages for livestock farming; however, Vietnam has still imported about 40-50 million doses of vaccine every year at the cost of about US$ 20-30 million.

    Dengue costs two lives in Binh Phuoc Province

    The Department of Health in the southern province of Binh Phuoc today announced hospitals in the province reported two deaths following dengue fever induced complications, one case higher than same period last year.

    Moreover, the dengue virus infected a total of 1,986 residents during the first ten months.

    Though the rate of infection of dengue decreased by 37 percent compared to the same period last year and there has been no massive outbreak of the disease in the province, two deaths were reported in districts Hon Quan and Dong Xoai Town.

    Accordingly, the health sector in province enhanced supervision on mosquito killing duty and cases of infections to soon control outbreaks. Additionally, it has adopted measures to kill the insect plus spraying chemical in districts at high risk.

    The health sector in close coordination with local administrations in updating information of immigrants to implement proper measures against the disease with locals’ activities.

    Giant Lantern Festival to light up HCM City

    The Giant Lantern Festival will light up Van Phuc Urban Area in Ho Chi Minh City’s Thu Duc District from December 8-January 21, 2018.

    The festival will include a series of cultural activities such as music performances, fashion shows, food fair and others.

    Artisans spent several months to create lanterns featuring animal shapes; legendary historical figures, such as Son Tinh-Thuy Tinh, Thanh Giong; architectures Thien Mu Pagoda, 9-storey tower and more.

    The amazing lantern festival aims to welcome the upcoming New Year.

    Annual VTV Concert to ring in the New Year

    The annual VTV New Year Concert “Hello 2018” will return to the audience on VTV1 channel on January 1, 2018.

    The show will feature leading singers in the country, such as Thanh Lam, Hong Nhung, Thu Phuong, My Tam, Thu Minh, Tung Duong…

    Music lovers will have a chance to enjoy popular Vietnamese and international songs such as Giot nang ben them (Drop of Sunlight on Veranda), Dem nam mo pho (Dreaming of streets), Yesterday, I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing and more.

    The annual concert will use spectacular visual effects used in motion pictures, said Director Pham Hoang Nam.

    Minimum wages to rise next year

    The Government has decided to increase minimum monthly wages by VND180,000-230,000 to VND2.76-3.98 million depending on regions from January 1, 2018.

    According to Decree 141/2017/ND-CP, employees working for enterprises in region one comprising major cities and provinces will enjoy a new minimum salary of VND3.98 million while the new levels for those in regions two, three and four will be VND3.53 million, VND3.09 million and VND2.76 million respectively.

    The National Wage Council has approved the new minimum wages after working with relevant agencies.

    Salaries of workers in normal conditions must not be lower than minimum wages. As for skilled workers, they pay must be at least 7% higher than the minimum wage by region.

    When raising minimum wages for their staff, employers are prohibited from removing or cutting allowances for workers who work overtime, at night or in a toxic environment. Other allowances, subsidies and bonuses must be maintained as stated in labor contracts, collective labor agreements and enterprises’ regulations.

    IBM, Five9 to provide evidence-backed cancer treatment AI

    IBM and Five9 on Tuesday announced their partnership to implement IBM Watson for Oncology – the first artificial intelligence (AI)-driven oncology clinical decision support system that helps doctors advance cancer care for patients – in Việt Nam.

    Phú Thọ Hospital will be the first in Việt Nam to adopt IBM Watson for Oncology.

    According to Nguyễn Trọng Huấn, director of software provider Five9, IBM Watson for Oncology provides clinicians with confidence-ranked treatment options and supporting evidence to help them make treatment decisions for their patients.

    With IBM Watson for Oncology, trained by New York-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, one of the world’s leading cancer centres, physicians can quickly identify key information related to the patient’s medical record, find relevant evidence and explore treatment options.

    Huấn said profits from implementing IBM Watson for Oncology would be used to support patients using this system.

    According to the company, IBM Watson for Oncology is being used by some 80 hospitals in 11 countries.

    It is now available to assist clinicians on breast, lung, colon and rectal, as well as gastric, ovarian, cervical and prostate cancers.

    Nguyễn Viết Tiến, deputy minister of health, said IBM Watson for Oncology marked a new step in applying information technology in cancer treatment in Việt Nam to enhance quality of healthcare services.


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  • 12/13/17--06:16: Article 1
  •  ADB: Growth at 6.7% in 2017 & 2018

    Vietnam’s growth prospects have been revised upwards to 6.7 per cent in both 2017 and 2018 compared to previous forecasts of 6.3 per cent and 6.5 per cent, respectively, in a supplement to the Asia Development Bank’s Asian Development Outlook Update 2017 report, released on December 13.

     ADB: Growth at 6.7% in 2017 & 2018, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news 

    The first three quarters of 2017 saw GDP grow by 6.4 per cent, up from 5.9 per cent in the same period of 2016, the report noted. 

    Growth was driven by the manufacturing sector, which expanded 12.8 per cent in the first three quarters of the year, the highest rate in the sector since 2011. 

    “Fourth-quarter manufacturing growth, traditionally the sector’s strongest, is likely to exceed growth over the first three quarters,” the report stated.

    Services growth also rose to 7.3 per cent from 6.7 per cent in the corresponding period in 2016, driven by buoyant tourism and strong banking activity. 

    Agriculture recovered and grew by 2.8 per cent in the first nine months as drought eased in the Mekong Delta and the central highlands. 

    Industry and construction remained strong despite a drag from the mining and oil subsector, which contracted by 8.1 per cent in the first half of the year.

    The ADB forecasts that economic expansion in developing Asia will accelerate to 6 per cent in 2017 as stronger than expected exports and domestic consumption fuel growth. 

    Excluding Asia’s newly industrialized economies, growth is now expected at 6.5 per cent this year. 

    “Developing Asia’s growth momentum, supported by recovering exports, demonstrates that openness to trade remains an essential component of inclusive economic development,” said Mr. Yasuyuki Sawada, ADB’s Chief Economist. 

    “Countries can further take advantage of the global recovery by investing in human capital and physical infrastructure that will help sustain growth over the long-term.”

    Growth in Southeast Asia is picking up faster than earlier forecasted, with GDP set to expand by 5.2 per cent in 2017 and 2018, compared to forecasts in September 2017 of 5 per cent and 5.1 per cent. 

    The sub-region is benefiting from stronger investments and exports, with accelerating growth in Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Infrastructure investment continued to play an important role in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. 

    Robust domestic demand - particularly private consumption and investment - will continue to support growth in the sub-region, according to the report.

    VN Economic Times

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  • 12/13/17--06:39: Article 0
  • HCMC attempts to efficiently implement specific mechanisms

    Chairman of HCMC People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong yesterday afternoon presided over a meeting on implementing the NA resolution of the specific mechanism for city development.

     HCMC attempts to efficiently implement specific mechanisms, Government news, Vietnam breaking news, politic news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news
    An aerial view of HCMC (Photo: SGGP) 

    At the meeting, HCMC People’s Committee Office chief Vo Van Hoan named 19 groups of works need to be carried out and proposed to immediately implement 10 groups without the need of deep study, for instance the list of projects using over ten hectare rice growing area, public investment projects in Group A and city’s capital advancing for infrastructure projects belonging to the central government’s responsibilities.

    Relevant sides should conduct deep studies for the remaining of nine groups such as decentralization and authorization, equitization revenue use, payroll reform plan, social capital mobilization, especially tax and fee supplementation or increase.

    Some types of taxes and fees are not applicable currently but in the next five or ten years. Still they should be studied and proposed right now to have an overall look and fully estimate impacts. Mr. Hoan suggested inviting experts to study this matter with the municipal authorities right from the start.

    He proposed to complete projects to implement the resolution in March for the standing board of the city People’s Committee to approve and submit to the city Party Committee and People’s Council.

    Associate Professor and Dr Tran Hoang Ngan, director of HCMC Cadre Academy, said that the NA resolution issue aimed to solve problems and challenges which HCMC is facing.

    Therefore, projects of the specific mechanism must head toward tackling these issues including traffic jam, flooding, climate change and environmental pollution and soon build and put into operation schools and hospitals to ease overloading.

    In short term, the city should conduct decentralization and authorization right away, he stressed. HCMC has carefully studied this matter and district, commune and ward authorities are waiting for implementation to meet residents’ expectation.

    Tax, fee increase

    Dr. Tran Du Lich congratulated HCMC for having specific mechanisms after many years of pursuing but noted that the city will undergo heavy pressure with the responsibility of efficiently implementing the mechanisms during only five pilot years.

    Talking about the mechanism on budget revenue increase, he proposed to study and estimate positive and negative impacts from tax or fee hike. Imposing special consumption tax on wine, beer, cigarette and petrol or raising auto registration fee must be carefully weighed.

    If the city increase the fee, residents might register their automobiles in other localities and take to HCMC for use. It is not sure that tax hike will increase or tax cut will reduce budget revenue, he analyzed.

    Dr. Huynh The Du from Fulbright Vietnam University emphasized that the success of special mechanisms is to increase the competitive ability of the city, job creation possibility, budget revenue and gross regional domestic product.

    Hence, the municipal authorities must improve business environment to lure businesses and effectively use its resources.

    Noting basic conditions need to comply with when implementing the group of solutions in budget and finance, he said tax and fee policies implementation must ensure fairness and collection ability.

    If the city was amateur, money would run into other localities. If that situation occurred, budget revenue would reduce although the city increased taxes, he said.

    He proposed that mechanisms should create ‘sunken points’ to attract economic activities. If the way of doing is not suitable, the city will unintentionally become a higher point and economic activities will flow into other provinces and cities.

    Concluding the meeting, chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said that successful implementation of mechanisms aimed at advantageous development environment toward sustainability and improving the competitive ability of HCMC.

    He required that projects must be built before June next year and agencies to study deeply lot of works with the attendance of experts.

    Mr. Phong assigned deputy chairman of HCMC People’s Committee Tran Vinh Tuyen to undertake the group of works relating to finance and budget. Members of this group include directors of Finance and Taxation Departments.

    He will be directly in charge of the group of works relating to land, investment, decentralization and authorization. Members comprise directors of Planning and Investment, Finance and Natural Resources and Environment Departments.

    In addition, the city will invite experts to join hands in studying and building projects to ensure efficiency and feasibility.


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  • 12/14/17--01:23: Article 4

    ICAEW: Blockchain could replace banks and lawyers

    As a country where cash is still king, the current state of implementation of blockchain technology solutions in Vietnam is still very new. Blockchains that transact with one another could replace central authorities such as banks, clearing-houses, and lawyers, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)’s report “Blockchain and the Future of Accountancy”.

    Smart contracts that use blockchains could lead to widespread disruption of financial systems, according to the accountancy and finance body. With the ability to directly interact, the technology could save firms the cost and effort of doing business with a ledger owner and increase transparency and security against financial crime.

    “Blockchains mean organizations can work together without an intermediary but no longer need to have institutional trust in one another. This is potentially a seismic shift in how we do business,” Mr. David Lyford-Smith, ICAEW’s IT Faculty Technical Manager, said. “It will have knock-on effects on everything from record keeping to supply chain management and accounting and audit, while could potentially remove middleman institutions, gain transactional certainty, reduce costs and bias, and open up access to more participants.”

    Instead of having one-single owner, blockchain records propagate identical copies to all their users. Any participant in the ledger can trace all previous transactions, allowing increased transparency and making the blockchain “self-auditing” and transactions permanent.

    “At the moment, the trustworthiness of a ledger comes from the central controller. By distributing records among users, the trust is instead in the record-keeping system itself, which means a greater degree of reliability,” Mr. Lyford-Smith went on. Blockchain has the potential to be used in a number of areas, such as smart contracts, inter-bank reconciliation and the transfer of assets, such as land registry. However, it is not just of use to businesses.

    “There are potential applications beyond commerce. This is especially appealing in cases where transparency and accountability are key. For example, if aid spending were provided in a blockchain-based asset, the end receiver of the funding is easily identified. This would help deliver much greater confidence in the process.”

    Still, there are some constraints and challenges that need to be overcome before blockchains can be used to their full potential. These are both logistic - related to aspects like computing power and when encryption might be necessary - and legal, as new legal frameworks would need to be created, for example to enforce contracts.

    “Ultimately, blockchain is likely to be a foundational technology,” Mr. Lyford-Smith said. “It will take years - perhaps even decades - for it to be developed, standardized, and bedded into the architecture of the internet and the financial system. It will need to be sped up, made more efficient, and have its operating costs reduced. However, it is highly likely that it will eventually come to represent a step change in how commerce works.”

    In Vietnam, the central bank has ruled that cryptocurrency, including bitcoin, is not a legal method of payment, potentially due to a clash between traditional financial banking structures and modern, alternative offerings based on the blockchain and cryptocurrency.

    A few Vietnam FinTech startups have been working on providing basic infrastructure layers in order to enhance the local ecosystem around these technologies, yet there has not been attempts to implement any advanced use cases of blockchain technology in order to improve the efficiency and unforgeability of data and documents in the local economy.

    However, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV)’s ruling does leave mining and the use of blockchain technologies alone, and so traders in the area can still operate as long as they do not use their proceeds to buy or sell products.

    Policy changes cause confusion for investors


    Policy changes cause confusion for investors, eTax services started in two northern provinces, Wood exports set US$8 bil export turnover target, Dong Nai: trade surplus predicted to hit US$2 bln
    Mr. Adam Sitkoff was speaking at the workshop (Photo: VGP)

    Mr. Adam Sitkoff, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency as saying that although foreign direct investment (FDI) has played an important role in boosting Vietnam’s economic growth, recent changes in policies and regulations, which are not consistent with international best practices, have exposed many foreign investors to considerable risks and obstacles in executing their investments.

    The AmCham official was  speaking at the workshop themed “Challenges of policy and regulatory changes for foreign investors in Vietnam”, co-organised by AmCham, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency in Hanoi on December 7.

    Meanwhile, Professor Nguyen Mai, Chairman of the Vietnam Foreign Investment Enterprises (VAFIE) said the economic statistics in Vietnam clearly show the importance of foreign investment in the economy, adding that so far Vietnam has attracted foreign investors from more than 100 countries and territories with investment capital pouring into the country totalling $165 billion.

    FDI enterprises contributed some 19 per cent of domestic revenue, 19 per cent of GDP and more than 70 per cent of export turnover in 2017, Prof. Mai said.

    However, he shared Mr. Sitkoff’s view that there was a lack of consistency and transparency in the adjustment process of some State policies, causing confusion for investors and making it difficult for them to determine directions for investment and business operation.

    Since 2006, the Government has empowered the city-level or province-level people’s committees to decide the licenses for FDI projects. However, some of them have abused this power and made decisions beyond their authority and not in line with laws, leading to unhealthy competition among localities, seriously damaging the interests of investors when investing in Vietnam, Prof. Mai said.

    According to Mr. Sitkoff, American companies operate across the spectrum of economic activity in Vietnam, including in efforts to help the country become more productive, efficient, safer and cleaner.

    “However, we often see investments that don’t materialise due to challenges dealing with corruption and an over-complicated, restricted, and unclear licensing and regulatory environment,”  the AmCham Executive Director said.

    “Our members need greater reform efforts that help create a fairer and more competitive environment where decisions are made faster, procedures are less complicated, rules are fairly enforced, and companies compete on their merits - including for access to land and opportunities,” he added.

    Notably, the workshop discussed typical regulatory changes that either have come into effect or are being drafted during the 2016-2019 period, such as the draft law amending and supplementing five tax laws including the Law on Special Consumption Tax (“SCT”), Decree 54/2017/ND-CP guiding the implementation of the Law on Pharmacy and amendments to the Law on Tax Management.

    Mr. Herbert Cochran, Director of the Vietnam Trade Facilitation Alliance, said at the workshop that frequent regulatory changes make Vietnam a more risky destination for foreign investors.

    An investor, when making decisions on investment or expansion in a country, would develop a five to ten year business plan to estimate the returns on investment. Changes in taxation will adversely impact the entire business plan, potentially causing higher costs, lower revenue and therefore a lower rate of return or longer time to get a return on their investments, he said.

    Citing the draft law amending and supplementing five tax laws including the addition of sweetened beverages to the group of objects subjected to SCT, Mr. Cochran shared international practices showing that such an imposition would harm the industry, indicating that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be hurt the most and may even be eliminated.

    If tax is applied, Vietnam will be among 2.2 per cent of the population in the Asia-Pacific region that have to pay for this tax, said Mr. Cochran.

    He highly recommended that the Government take into serious consideration the potential socio-economic impacts of the changes in tax policy, which have a major effect on society and industries which have contributed to the State budget, whereas the effectiveness hasn’t been proven.
    At the workshop, Mr. Le Net, AmCham Healthcare Committee representative, spoke of the situation and challenges faced by investors in the pharmaceutical industry.

    Although the Law on Pharmacy has some advanced provisions and offers an opportunity to promote pharmaceutical business development, some documents such as Decree 54/2017/ND-CP guiding the implementation of the Law on Pharmacy includes provisions that are inconsistent with the law and WTO commitments, he said.

    According to this decree, foreign importers must have a proper location in Vietnam, and run their own drug storage, storage equipment and transportation, creating unnecessary costs, which in turn will escalate drug prices due to higher operation costs of foreign importers.

    Mr. Net said such enforcement, which leads to the shutting down of current foreign investors who acquired their licenses or forces them to change their business model, would have a negative impact on the reputation and investment environment in Vietnam.

    Big data the future of supply chain management and logistics

    In the age of digitalization, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), the data from everyday life can be collected and kept in storage, creating a huge collection of “big data”. As data is captured at a higher velocity and with more diversity, the analysis of big data can provide valuable information to improve many aspects of life, including business, customer service, and supply chain management, according to CEL Consulting Vietnam, an advisory firm in supply chain and operations.

    In recent years, the topic of big data has gained major attention as it is considered most relevant to the supply chain strategy of companies and organizations.

    In discussing the application of big data in Vietnam, “there are enterprises that choose to take small but smart steps to gradually learn and apply big data instead of making massive investments only to follow the trend,” said Mr. Julien Brun, CEO of CEL Consulting Vietnam.

    For instance, he added, a lot of Vietnamese firms have shaken hands with each other to together use big data in analyzing customers’ needs, so that they can best approach potential clients.

    Quoting the Harvard Business Review, Mr. Brun said there are many businesses around the world that choose to follow the big data trend with huge investments and they recruit a large number of data scientists, which has dramatically pushed up the salary range in the profession globally.

    According to an IBM report, in 2015, global vacancies for data scientists reached 4.4 million, but only one-third were filled. However, not all investments in big data produce the expected results. Mr. Brun believes that unless you are a tech giant like Google, Amazon, or Facebook, the wiser approach is to invest in small steps, focusing on processes that have potential for improving profitability.

    For example, “if you are an express courier or last-mile logistics company, you can consider starting your big data investment in delivery routing optimization,” he said. “The small steps you can make could be to begin collecting data relating to delivery performance. Some examples include delivery lead-time, late delivery rate, traffic conditions, road conditions, and weather conditions for each delivery route.”

    According to the Supply Chain Insight Report, it is estimated that 18 per cent of businesses worldwide have started exploring ways to utilize big data to improve sales and operations performance. The number of companies utilizing big data is forecast to rise to 43 per cent within the next ten years. Supply Chain Insight also projects that although only 6 per cent of businesses currently possess big data (over 1 million GB), 38 per cent will do so within the next decade. Big data is forecast to continue growing in terms of volume, diversity, and velocity in the context of fast-growing IoT.

    CEL Consulting, a member of the CEL Asia Group, is a management consulting firm specializing in supply chain and operations in emerging markets like Southeast Asia since 2005. CEL Consulting pioneers the development of technological solutions that support the management of supply chains and improve business performance.

    Vinh Long pledges optimal conditions for foreign investors

    The Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long has been creating optimal conditions for investors to run their businesses in the locality.

    Secretary of the provincial Party Committee of Tran Van Ron made the statement at a seminar to introduce local potential on economy, trade, investment, tourism and education to foreign diplomatic agencies, consulate generals, associations and firms in Ho Chi Minh City on December 7.

    Prominent attendees at the event included representatives from Consulate Generals in HCMCity, the Japan External Trade Organisation, the Japanese Business Association of HCM City and the Chambers of Commerce of the US, the Republic of Korea, Canada, Australia and the European Union in HCMCity.

    The seminar discussed green energy, hi-tech agriculture, clean water, the environment, climate change adaption, ecotourism and human resources training.

    Ron introduced six key aspects of the province, including agriculture, aquaculture and livestock, handicrafts, tourism, human resources training and industrial parks (IPs).

    He called on investors to pay attention to local IPs, while describing the event as preparation for the Vinh Long Investment Promotion Conference to be chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in March 2018.

    International participants also shared experience to promote local potential, thus luring foreign investors, particularly in industry, tourism and agriculture.

    They expressed their hope that the province will offer more incentives for investors and focus on training human resources to meet requirements of investors.

    94 per cent of Vinaconex unmarketable on stock exchange

    Only 5.35 million shares of Vietnam Construction and Import-Export JSC (Vinaconex) out of the 96.24 million on offer were sold via the auction organised by State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) this morning, indicating that 94 per cent of Vinaconex may be unmarketable.

    According to newswire NDH, three investors, including one organisation, bought five million shares and two individuals registered to buy 5.35 million shares.

    After the auction, SCIC acquired VND137 billion ($6.03 million) from selling the stakes at the price of VND25,600 ($1.12) apiece (the initial offering price), decreasing its holdings in Vinaconex to 52.2 from 57.79 per cent.

    Previously, SCIC released the plan to auction off 96.24 million shares in Vinaconex, equal to a 21.79 per cent stake, on December 8 on the HNX. SCIC set the minimum bidding price for the competitive share offering at VND25,600 ($1.12) apiece.

    At this price, the state investment company expected at least VND2.46 trillion ($108 million) in proceeds, while retaining a 36-per-cent stake in the company.

    Each prospective investor had to register to buy a minimum of 5,000 and a maximum of 96.24 million shares. The cash deposit must be equal to 10 per cent of the value of the booked purchase at the offering price.

    A few days ago, Vinaconex divested its entire 25.5-million shareholding in Vinaconex Water Supply JSC (Viwasupco) through an auction. Sinh Thai LLC bought 17.3 million shares and REE 8.2 million shares at the price of VND39,904 ($1.76) apiece. After the purchase, Vinaconex acquired $47.1 million, and Sinh Thai LLC and REE increased their holdings in Viwasupco to 50.4 and 34.7 per cent, respectively.

    Vinaconex operates in diverse fields, including property development, design consultancy, industrial production, financial investment, education and training, and commercial activities. It currently manages nine subsidiaries and affiliates.

    eTax services started in two northern provinces

    The General Department of Taxation (GDT) on Monday began the provision of electronic tax (eTax) services to all enterprises in the northern provinces of Bac Ninh and Phu Tho.

    With the eTax system, businesses can access and manage all electronic tax services on a single system, rather than having to log into various applications.

    Specifically, taxpayers only need to use one account and login to a system to use all services and manage all tax records, without changing the page address or logging in again.

    This will help taxpayers easily complete the steps in the process of tax declaration, payment, tax refund and search of tax records and information, according to the GDT.

    For large enterprises, apart from a main account of each tax code, an enterprise can create additional accounts for various positions in the enterprise such as director, chief accountant and accounting, which will help monitor the responsibility of members in a flexible way.

    In addition, the eTax system has a look-up function, so taxpayers can look up tax records sent to the tax office and check the results of the tax processing.

    For businesses that have already been using the tax authorities’ tax filing systems, all information of transaction accounts and business records will be automatically transferred to the eTax system to continue using the services. The taxpayers will not have to re-register.

    According to the GDT, when the eTax system is officially put to use, enterprises will stop using the old electronic tax declaration and payment system.

    Tax authorities have also sent taxpayers specific instructions so that they will be able to use the new system.

    The centralised one-stop shop will be on held on a trial basis in the two provinces until March 10, 2018.

    JC&C reinforces presence in Vietnam

    After spending over $1 billion on acquiring a large stake in Vinamilk, the largest automotive group from Singapore, Jardine Cycle & Carriage Limited Company (JC&C), has poured VND45 billion ($1.98 million) into acquiring an additional 1.1 million shares in Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Corporation (REE).

    According to newswire Vnexpress, JC&C, through its investment fund Platinum Victory Pte., Ltd. completed the purchase of 1.1 million shares in REE to increase its holding to 23.9 per cent.

    In late November, JC&C announced that it spent over VND87 billion ($3.8 million) buying 2.1 million REE shares. After the deal, JC&C increased its holding in REE to 23.55 per cent from the previous 22.87 per cent.

    JC&C has ambitions to acquire a member in the REE board of directors but fail due to the barrier of foreign ownership limit.

    JC&C now holds an aggregate 145.6 million Vinamilk shares, representing approximately 10.0 per cent of the company’s issued share capital. JC&C is now the third largest shareholder, following State Capital Investment Corporation of Vietnam (SCIC) with 36 per cent and Fraser & Neave Ltd. with 18.74 per cent.

    The taking of this relevant interest in Vinamilk is in line with JC&C’s strategy of investing in market-leading companies in Southeast Asia. In particular, it increases JC&C’s exposure to the Vietnamese economy and the group is planning on making further such investments.

    Along with Vinamilk and REE, JC&C has been present in Vietnam through its 25.1 per cent holding in the country’s largest automotive firm, Truong Hai Auto.

    JC&C is 75 per cent held by Jardine Matheson, a diversified business group focused principally in Asia, which also has interest in other Vietnamese businesses, including Asia Commercial Bank, Pizza Hut, KFC Vietnam, and several real estate assets.

    Established in 1977, REE is a publicly-traded diversified business group operating in the primary fields of mechanical and electrical engineering services (M&E), manufacturing, assembling and sales of Reetech air-conditioner systems, real estate development and management, and power and water utility infrastructure construction.

    Wood exports set US$8 bil export turnover target

    Vietnam’s wood exports may fetch between US$7.8-US$8 billion this year, far exceeding the set target of US$7.3 -US$7.5 billion, according to the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (Vifores).

    The association forecasts that wood exports to major markets such as the US and China have posted the highest growth rate over the past few years but this will prove only a temporary boom with these markets likely to see a downward trend and the focus shifting to exporting timber to the EU market.

    Nguyen Ton Quyen, Vifores General Secretary says that from the start of the year to late November, export turnover soared an impressive 10.5% to nearly US$7 billion when compared to the same period last year.  The wood sector has witnessed strong growth in the 11-month period surpassing last year’s 1.1% growth rate.

    The US, China, Japan, the EU and the Republic of Korea remain the largest consumers of Vietnamese wood and wooden products, accounting for nearly 90% of the total export turnover. In particular, the US has the biggest market share of Vietnamese wood at 42.7%, trailed by China at 14.1% and Japan at 13.7%. Wood exports have shown a drastic upturn in such markets as the US (up 18.8%), the Republic of Korea (up 14.2%) and Canada (up 13.4%).

    The increase is attributable to the high export growth of artificial wood board, particle board, melamine-faced chipboard (MDF) and wood pellet while exports of such products were on a downturn trajectory in previous years. In addition, new market expansion will provide solid foundation for the wood sector to bolster export growth in the coming years.

    With an average growth rate of 11% per month and the peak season in the rest of the year for wood exports, the turnover of US$7.8 billion for the whole year is within reach and is likely to touch US$8 billion.

    For the EU market, Mr Quyen says that recently, wood trade between Vietnam and the EU has made up for around 12%-15% of the country’s total export turnover with average value of US$650-US$700 million per year. The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will officially come into force next year and bring tariffs on wood products to zero %. The trade deal is expected to elevate total export turnover to approximately US$1 billion.

    Some experts forecast that wood exports to the US market will experience a fall in the coming years. Mr To Xuan Phuc a policy analysis expert from the US-based Forest Trends, says Vietnam’s timber exports to the US, currently amounting to US$2.7 billion might be affected by the US’s policy of bringing jobs back to the US.

    Owing to the rapid growth rate, the wood sector has faced a number of challenges including a scarcity of raw timber and fierce competition between foreign and domestic material suppliers.

    Dong Nai: trade surplus predicted to hit US$2 bln

    The southern province of Dong Nai is forecast to enjoy a trade surplus of US$2 billion in 2017, according to Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Dinh Quoc Thai.

    Export turnover of the locality is estimated at nearly US$17 billion this year, up 11.8% year-on-year, while the figure for imports is US$15 billion, up 13.5%.

    According to the provincial Statistics Office, in November alone, the locality’s export turnover hit US$1.54 billion, 6.9% above October.

    Among commodities with high export growth compared to October, footwear ranked first with 34.4%, followed by wooden products with 34.1%, textiles with 32.1% and fiber with 19.2%.

    The results were attributed to local exporters’ access to new markets and effective exploitation of traditional markets.

    Businesses in Dong Nai have taken advantages of free trade agreements signed between Vietnam and other economies, thus expanding export output.

    The increased export price of farm produce in 2017 has also contributed to Dong Nai’s export growth, Thai said.

    Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Duong Minh Dung said the agency will continue providing support for local exporters in trade promotion, seeking new markets and connecting to foreign direct investment businesses operating in the locality.

    It will also do its best to fight fake goods and trade fraud to protect producers and consumers, he added.

    Truong Hai Auto Corporation to export nearly 1,200 buses to ASEAN

    Truong Hai Auto Corporation (Thaco) will export nearly 1,200 buses bearing the Vietnamese brand name to ASEAN markets, said Thaco CEO Tran Ba Duong at the launch ceremony of a bus manufacturing plant on December 8.

    Mr Duong said the company have signed a series of trade deals on exporting 1,150 buses to markets such as Thailand, Taiwan (China), the Philippines, and Cambodia. For 2018 Thaco have arranged to ship 550 vehicles to overseas markets.

    Once the new factory is officially put into operation bus exports will grow to meet regional demand. The factory, equipped with a modern production line, was built on an area of 17ha at Chu Lai Open Economic Zone in Quang Nam Province at a cost of VND7,000 billion and boasts a design capacity of 20,000 vehicles per year (8,000 coaches and 12,000 mini-buses). This is the first bus plant in Vietnam to use locally produced parts for 80% of its components.

    An R&D centre was set up at the plant to facilitate the design of a wide range of vehicles and raise the rate of locally produced components to 60%.

    At present, with sales of 14,000 units, the company holds 54% of bus market shares.

    Vinh Long pledges optimal conditions for foreign investors

    The Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long has been creating optimal conditions for investors to run their businesses in the locality.

    Secretary of the provincial Party Committee of Tran Van Ron made the statement at a seminar to introduce local potential on economy, trade, investment, tourism and education to foreign diplomatic agencies, consulate generals, associations and firms in Ho Chi Minh City on December 7.

    Prominent attendees at the event included representatives from Consulate Generals in HCMCity, the Japan External Trade Organisation, the Japanese Business Association of HCM City and the Chambers of Commerce of the US, the Republic of Korea, Canada, Australia and the European Union in HCMCity.

    The seminar discussed green energy, hi-tech agriculture, clean water, the environment, climate change adaption, ecotourism and human resources training.

    Ron introduced six key aspects of the province, including agriculture, aquaculture and livestock, handicrafts, tourism, human resources training and industrial parks (IPs).

    He called on investors to pay attention to local IPs, while describing the event as preparation for the Vinh Long Investment Promotion Conference to be chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in March 2018.

    International participants also shared experience to promote local potential, thus luring foreign investors, particularly in industry, tourism and agriculture.

    They expressed their hope that the province will offer more incentives for investors and focus on training human resources to meet requirements of investors.

    Supply and demand chain links promoted at HCMCity conference

    A two-day conference on supply and demand connections opened at Phu Tho Indoor Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City on December 8, with 2,763 businesses from 39 provinces and cities showcasing their products on 450 standard pavilions.

    The conference features industrial and industrial support products, typical rural industrial goods, and other products meeting export criteria, in addition to farm produce and local specialties. It promises to assist in linking exports through retail and distribution networks in HCMCity like Saigon Co.op, Satra, Centra Group, LOTTE Mart, and MM Mega Market and create connections with credit organizations, cooperatives, and producers and suppliers of agricultural products.

    The Vice Director of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, Nguyen Huynh Trang, said the aim of the conference is to find markets for new products and facilitate a smooth transaction process while enhancing cooperative ties between relevant actors in the process of developing optimal supply chains.

     In a first for the conference, networking activities have gone digital on their website, which provides businesses with access to expanded information channels.

    Since its debut in 2011, the conference has become a trusted destination for retailers, producers, and the domestic and foreign business communities.

    Aquaculture output scales up 8%

    Aquaculture output in the first 11 months of 2017 totalled more than 3.5 million tonnes, up 8% from the same time last year, as estimated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    Tra fish farming areas in the period expanded by 2% year on year to 5,822 hectares and total yield is expected at over 1.2 million tonnes. Large tra fish raising localities are Dong Thap with total output of nearly 436,000 tonnes, An Giang with 258,000 tonnes and Can Tho with 171,500 tonnes.

    Shrimp output during January-November also picked up 9.9% from the same time last year to 636,000 tonnes thanks to good control of diseases.

    Also in the period, seafood catches were 3 million tonnes, 4% higher than the corresponding period last year.

    Fishing activities were hugely impacted by unfavourable weather conditions in November, the ministry said.

    According to statistics, three central provinces of Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen caught 17,390 tonnes of tuna, with highest catch recorded in Binh Dinh province (9,700 tonnes).

    KPMG Vietnam kicks off annual tax seminars

    The KPMG Vietnam Tax Institute 2017 series held its first session in Ho Chi Minh City recently, covering the most pressing issues of Vietnam’s tax system.

    The seminar provided a comprehensive overview of Vietnam’s macroeconomic outlook and tax environment in 2017 to more than 500 participants coming come from major businesses in Southern Vietnam.

    Partners and directors from KPMG Vietnam also discussed the impact of recent regulatory updates and provided insights into new tax-related issues that can affect companies.

    Some of the topics covered in the seminar include corporate tax, value-added tax, indirect taxes, transfer pricing, and tax dispute resolution.

    Participants were particularly interested in Vietnam’s recent proposals to revise its tax law, which includes a hike in value-added tax, changes in capital assignment profit tax, and other amendments to personal income tax. They also wanted to know how fast-growing online businesses in the country might be taxed.

    At the seminar, KPMG also introduced its tax intelligence solutions for companies.

    The series will continue with another session in Hanoi on December 13 and Danang on December 14. KPMG Tax Institute is an annual event hosted by the professional services firm.

    VBF 2017 to reassess Vietnam’s position in Industry 4.0 world

    Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) 2017 will discuss and offer solutions to enhance productivity and evolve industrial sectors in the context of Industry 4.0, spurring private sector investment and boosting international integration.

    The forum consists of three sessions presented by foreign business associations present in Vietnam, including KoCham, AmCham, EuroCham, and the Japan Business Association in Vietnam (JBAV), among others. The theme of the first session is enhancing productivity and factors developing industrial sectors, focusing on the auxiliary industry, technology transfer, and the impacts of Industry 4.0 to foreign invested businesses.

    The theme of the second session is strengthening private sector investment to improve the country’s financial situation, focusing on the PPP format and means to develop banking.

    The theme of the third session is improving business climate, facilitating private businesses to achieve breakthroughs.

    The forum will take place on December 12, 2017 at Lotte Hotel in Hanoi and will be co-chaired by Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, IFC senior country manager for Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia Kyle F. Kelhofer, chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and VBF co-chairman Vu Tien Loc, and VBF co-chairman Hirohide Sagara.

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will attend and talk at the forum.   

    Earlier, the mid-term VBF took place in June 2017 with the theme "Strengthening the linkages between FDI and domestic businesses in the new global context."

    The forum reviewed and proposed solutions to maintain and attract capital from the private sector, the linkages between FDI and domestic businesses, the impacts of recent global policies to the Vietnamese economy, and assessing the enforcement of investment laws in order to improve the efficiency of law enforcement.

    VBF, which was established in 1997, is a channel of policy dialogue between senior leaders of the Vietnamese government and the business community, covering almost all economic fields in order to develop a favourable business climate, mobilise private sector investment, and spur sustainable economic development in Vietnam.

    Hai Phong city tries to keep top position in FDI attraction

    Hai Phong City is implementing various measures to maintain last year’s leading position in foreign direct investment attraction against fierce competition with Hanoi and Quang Ninh.

    Statistics released by Hai Phong’s Department of Planning and Investment show that so far this year Hai Phong has attracted more than US$1 billion from 47 newly registered and 35 revised projects. 

    Last year, Hai Phong ranked second nationwide in luring FDI, which reached nearly US$3 billion. Major investment projects include the US$1.5 billion project by LG Display and US$550 million project of LG Innotek. Investors say they selected Hai Phong for its potential.

    Tran Thuy Trang, Deputy General Director of Jasan Company Vietnam in the Vietnam-SingaporeIndustrial Park in Hai Phong, said the company has 2 sock factories in Vietnam.     

    Trang said “Since the company was established, we have received support from the local administration. Currently we have 1,500 workers and plan to double the number by the end of next year.

    Jasan Company 1 began operations in 2015; Jasan 2 began operations this year; and Jasan 3 will start next year. In the next 3 years, we will continue to increase investment in Hai Phong to US$50 million. Jasan group wants to raise its investment in Vietnam to US$120 million in the near future. I believe Hai Phong is our true investment direction.”

    The Republic of Korean investors are leading investors from 36 countries and territories in Hai Phong with registered capital of more than US$5.3 billion in 100 projects. They are followed by Japan with nearly US$3.8 billion in 132 projects.

    Hai Phong is implementing comprehensive measures to attract investment. They will implement a national strategy on green growth until 2020, focus their budget on key projects, especially in transportation infrastructure, and complete the infrastructure of industrial parks and industrial clusters, particularly the Dinh Vu - Cat Hai Economic Zone.

    Hai Phong has defined strategic, potential partners from Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the US, and aims to attract investment in high-tech production, source production, and high-added-value products and solutions.

    Le Trung Kien, Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment, said “Improving the local business and investment environment has been chosen as this year’s theme.

    We will continue to step up reforming administrative procedures and procedures related to the investment environment, land clearance, land access, and maximizing support for businesses.

    Hai Phong has promulgated a series of policies to meet investors’ demands for an improved business and investment environment and personnel quality, quicker completion of administrative procedures, and fewer unnecessary regulations hindering investors.”

    PYN Elite invests US$40 million in banking sector for the first time

    PYN Elite Fund signed an agreement to purchase a 4.99 per cent stake in Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) for $40 million, marking its first investment in the banking sector.

    Do Anh Tu, deputy chairman of the board of directors of TPBank, said that with the financial potential as well as the reputation of PYN Elite at the international and domestic markets, the fund is a perfect match to co-operate with TPBank to bring high-quality banking services for customers in general and small- and medium-sized enterprises (TPBank’s target customer segment) in particular.

    In order to mobilise funds for new its investments, including the investment in TPBank, PYN Elite divested from a series of companies.

    Notably, in early December, PYN Elite released that it had completed the sale of 839,810 shares of Development Investment Construction JSC (DIG) for VND17 billion ($746,300). Besides, a number of days later, PYN Elite handed over 2.13 million shares of Mobile World Investment Corporation (MWG) to Vietnam Securities Deporsitory for VND280 billion ($12.3 million).

    In addition, PYN Elite sold over two million shares in Kinh Bac City Development Holding Corporation (KBC) and 325,000 shares of Hoa Binh Construction and Real Estate Corporation (HBC).

    Entering Vietnam in 2013, PYN Elite is the third largest foreign-investment fund in Vietnam with a total investment capital of $491.4 million.

    At present, PYN Elite owns 8,027,890 shares or 7.14 per cent stake in Japan Vietnam Medical Instrument JSC (JVC), 7 per cent in Ho Chi Minh Infrastructure Investment JSC (CII), 4.1 per cent in Vietnam Construction and Import-Export JSC (Vinaconex), among other large-scale domestic enterprises.

    TPBank is privately-owned. Its major shareholders include Japan-based investment firm SBI Holdings, Vietnamese gemstone trader DOJI Group, and telecommunications giant FPT Corporation, as well as SBI Ven Financial Group Holding Singapore Pte.

    Convenience costs Vietnam’s out-of-home food service industry

    Ho Chi Minh City-based market research firm Decision Lab has confirmed the continued rise of the convenience store at a breakfast seminar co-hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce in Ho Chi Minh City.

    If you were in the business of opening convenience stores in Vietnam this year, it’s been another big one.

    However, the continued emergence of the channel hasn’t been without its fallouts.

    According to a presentation by Ho Chi Minh City-based market research firm Decision Lab this month, convenience stores are disrupting Vietnam’s out-of-home food service industry ‘in a fundamental way.’

    Tracking performance since April 2016, data from the agency’s Foodservice Monitor*, which is based on thousands of continuous online interview responses by consumers in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang, suggests that the continued expansion of convenience chains like Family Mart, VinMart+ and Circle K, is not only diverting foot-traffic away from mid-to high-end food outlets, but has also devalued the market by sparking a voucher war.

    Responding to a question about what they’d eaten or drank out of home yesterday, a sample of 18,000 responders reported eating out slightly more often in Q3 2017 compared to Q3 2016; 147 times on average, up from 144.

    However, according to Decision Lab senior consultant Nghiem Vu Huong Linh, who presented the data, they did so a lot more selectively, and a lot more frequently at the lower end of the market.

    It was this change, combined with what Linh described as 2017’s ‘discount tornado,’ whereby even fine dining restaurants engaged in heavy vouchering as the market got tough, that resulted in average spend declining by 18 percent per head per visit, to just over VND60,000 (US$2.65).

    According to their numbers, this fall in average spend translates to a drop in total sales revenue of approximately VND3.3 trillion (US$145.3 million) or about 10% year on year.

    During the same period, as bubble tea outlets also proliferated, the number of convenience locations grew rapidly, with consumers quick to adapt to their extended offer of around-the-clock hot food, cold drinks, free-wifi and other snacks in air-conditioned comfort.

    The result has been an increase in market share to 14%, which translates to a lot of tuna sandwiches, bento boxes and warmed up chicken wings.

    Commenting on the results, Linh said it was a reflection of convenience stores greatest strengths; speed of service, variety of goods and most importantly, availability.

    “The convenience channel poses a direct threat to the quick-service industry,” she said, “the increase in market share is a nightmare for operators in this segment, because unless total demand suddenly increases dramatically, Vietnamese consumers will continue to make trips to convenience stores at the expense of other channels.”

    According to Decision Lab’s research, the number of visits to quick service outlets, which include staples like McDonalds, KFC, Highlands Coffee and Starbucks, reduced by 34 million nationwide between Q32016 and Q3 2017.

    That decrease was in stark contrast to an increased flow of approximately 81 million visitors to categories classified as low-end, including convenience stores, street food vendors and workplace or school canteens.

    Total visits to street food outlets fluctuated over the period and then went up to 87 million during Q3 2017, which was higher than Canteen’s at 73 million and Convenience Stores, at 64 million total visits in the most recent quarter.

    Significantly, according to numbers from the International Grocery Research Organization, Vietnam’s convenience market is expected to grow by a further 37.4% between now and 2021 - more than any other Asian market.

    By 2020, it’s expected there will be one convenience store per 17,815 Vietnamese residents, which sounds like a lot in a nation of 94 million, but is still a long way from Taiwan, the undisputed kings of convenience, where this number is approximately 2,300.

    Unsurprisingly, according to Decision Lab’s data, the rise of the convenience store is being driven by young people, specifically Gen Zers, classified as 15-23 year old ‘digital natives’, who are either entering the labor market for the first time, or are about to finish school.

    According to Decision Lab co-founder Thue Quist Thomasen, who spoke about this segment of the population, Gen Z are ‘early adopters in the out-of-home food market’, and as such wield significant power. They also report eating outside of the home substantially more often than the national average – 197 times compared to 147.

    With a growing population base of around 14.4 million across the three major capitals, and reported average out-of-home spend of VND892,000 per month, Thomasen said to the assembled industry players, “it’s time to take the kids seriously.”

    Reaching out to them, Tuoi Tre News spoke to Justin, 23, who was hanging out with friends Huyen, 20, and Dana, 18, at the Family Mart store on Xuan Thuy in District 2’s Thao Dien in Ho Chi Minh City.

    When asked why they chose to spend time in convenience stores, Justin said it was about ‘more choice’ and ‘better service’.

    “Here we have more choice, more comparisons on price, better service and overall its better for us young people,” he said.

    “It’s comfortable, there is air-conditioning and the coffee here is cheaper than across the road. It’s VND50,000 over there compared to only 10 or VND20,000 here.”

    Huyen, 18, echoed his thoughts, and said she visited convenience stores almost everyday, either to sit and study or sometimes to meet friends.

    “I often go in the evening, sometimes around midnight. Sometimes I’ll stay for five minutes, or sometimes for 2 hours.”

    Also there were co-workers Pham, 32, Nhien, 21 and Vy, 22 who were enjoying an after-work drink.

    “It’s friendly here,” said Nhien, “and comfortable. We can sit around on tables with friends like a coffee shop, and it’s open all day. It’s relaxing.”

    Notably, of all the young people Tuoi Tre News spoke to inside convenience stores, almost without fail they said that they recognized that the ‘food was better outside.’

    It seemed that rather than replace meals, food eaten in convenience stores was most often supplementary to their regular diet, where the first meal of the day is still a priority.

    “I eat here sometimes,” said Long, 22 “but usually the food here is small, and not enough for a full breakfast, so most of the time I prefer local street food restaurants.”

    “It’s cheaper and more convenient on the street,” said Yen, 19 “and the quality is better.”

    Both of these sentiments are supported in Decision Lab’s own findings, which say that Gen Z consumers choose street food only slightly less often than the rest of the population, and that the popularity of street food is anything but on the wane.

    This in a year when many vendors were forced ‘off the street’ by city administrations and were the subject of the usual number of hygiene inspections.

    It should be music to the ears of people like street food identity Nguyen Thi Thanh, aka ‘The Lunch Lady”, who serves hot bowls of delicious soup in a well-frequented, but hard to find hem just off Hoang Sa in the Da Kao ward of Ho Chi Minh City’s district 1.

    Addressing the potential disruption to her own market posed by convenience stores, she said she was aware of convenience stores popularity but believed that it was a cyclical change.

    Internet Famous: Nguyen Thi Thanh aka “The Lunch Lady” known for featuring in Anthony Bourdains ‘Parts unknown’ Photo: Vu Ha Kim Vy

    “It’s temporary,” Thanh said.

    “Teenagers love something new, but I don’t think it will last long. It’s the same with fashion, food, everything. It changes all the time.”

    Asked if she thought it was harder to be a street vendor now, she said she thought people would always recognize good food, no matter where they get it.

    “If you cook with passion and you maintain the quality at a reasonable price, people will return.

    “But if all you offer is air-con, free wi-fi and a comfortable space, you won’t succeed because the cost is too high and people won’t come back. “

    Food for thought? This market is one to watch.


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  • 12/14/17--01:49: Article 3
  •  VN-Russia business relations boom

    HÀ NỘI - Enterprises from Việt Nam and Russia should utilise new business opportunities to cement the comprehensive relationship between the two countries.


    Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng visits the Expo-Russia Vietnam 2017 in Hà Nội yesterday.— Photo

    Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng said this at Expo-Russia Vietnam 2017, which opened its doors here yesterday. More than 500 businesses are taking part.  

    “The future of bilateral ties depends not only on the expectations of the two governments, but also on the dynamism and determination of the two business communities," the deputy PM said.

    Russia is an important trade partner for Việt Nam with two-way trade reaching to more than US$3.2 billion in the 11 months of the year to date, up 26.7 per cent year-on-year. This figure, however, still lags behind the trade target of $10 billion by 2020 set earlier by the two countries’ leaders, Dũng said.

    The deputy PM said he hoped the country’s key staples, such as textiles and garments, footwear, seafood, farm produce, timber and electronics and consumer products could better penetrate Russia.

    Meanwhile, he said Việt Nam was ready to import products from a wide range of sectors from Russia, including industrial, farm goods, petrochemicals, industrial equipment, cars and parts as well as raw materials.

    Vietnamese firms had shown rising interest in the Russian market, the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice-chairman Hoàng Quang Phòng told a business forum at the expo.

    As of July 2017, Việt Nam had 18 investment projects in Russia with a total investment capital of $2.4 billion. The projects mainly concerned energy and mining industries. Meanwhile, Russian firms have pumped more than $1 billion into 115 projects in Việt Nam.

    Phòng said, Expo-Russia Vietnam 2017 would accelerate two-way economic ties by showcasing products and services for export and investment projects and research findings of businesses, universities and research agencies.

    It would also introduce achievements in energy, machine manufacturing, transport and telecommunications, as well as mining, chemical industry, healthcare, agriculture and hi-tech industries.

    At the expo, organised by VCCI and Russian company Zarubezh Expo, Vietnamese firms have an opportunity to learn about Russia’s investment environment and seek business partnerships.

    The event, which will run until tomorrow, also includes a workshop on economic co-operation between member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union and Việt Nam, and roundtables on agriculture, energy, transport and healthcare.

    At the first event in December 2015, the Russian side signed 172 agreements with Vietnamese partners.   


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  • 12/14/17--01:56: Article 2
  • Fintechs flock to Vietnam, but cash is still ‘King’

    Analysts believe it is not by chance that Samsung, Ant Financial Services and Facebook  joined the Vietnamese fintech market this year. 


    vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news, fintech, MOF, startups
    Large conglomerates have joined the Vietnamese fintech market

     Samsung on September 13 officially launched SamsungPay, a mobile payment app, in Vietnam.

    A representative of Samsung said the conglomerate hopes it can attract a high number of users in Vietnam where Samsung smartphones are popular. Seven banks have connected SamsungPay, allowing ATM and credit card holders to use the ‘wave to pay’ technology.

    There are 30 million smartphone users in Vietnam and 52 percent of Vietnamese access the internet. Vietnam ranks 15th in the world in terms of internet growth with the growth rate of 9 percent per annum.

    SamsungPay’s joning the Vietnamese mobile payment market, according to analysts, is a sign showing that Vietnam has attracted fintech giants.

    Two months ago, Jack Ma visited Vietnam to attend the large annual event on e-payments. This indicated that Ant Financial Services will come to Vietnam after taking over Lazada, an e-commerce firm.

    Before Jack Ma’s arrival in Vietnam, Facebook set foot in the Vietnamese fintech market cooperating with the Military Bank to set up eMBee, a financial transaction channel via fanpage, the first of its kind in Vietnam. The bank hopes it can have 500 new clients via Facebook.

    There are 30 million smartphone users in Vietnam and 52 percent of Vietnamese access the internet. Vietnam ranks 15th in the world in terms of internet growth with the growth rate of 9 percent per annum.

    Governor of the State Bank Nguyen Kim Anh said that fintech, with its outstanding advantages, is an inevitable trend all over the world, including Vietnam.

    However, some analysts said that fintech firms won’t be able to develop rapidly in Vietnam, where cash remains preferable.

    Vietnam has a high percentage of young people who use new technology and the internet, and have increasingly high income. However, the number of people accessing banking services remains modest.

    “Once cash is still ‘King’, fintech won’t be able to go far,” said a banker.

    According to Nguyen Thuy Duong, deputy CEO of Ernst & Young, said though Samsung Pay and the payments through QR code that Alipay and many Vietnamese banks apply are user friendly, users cannot make payments everywhere.

    A survey by The World Bank found that 6.2 million adults cannot access financial services because the service providers are too far from them.

    Meanwhile, 2.2 million say services are too expensive for them to use and 2.3 million find the procedures too complicated when opening accounts. At least 1.1 million don’t have confidence in the financial system.

    Mai Chi, VNN

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  • 12/14/17--01:56: Article 1
  • Traditional taxi brands take on Uber and Grab in airport travel

     Under the strict competition posed by Uber and Grab along routes from the inner cities to the airports, traditional taxi companies continuously issue strategies to entice customers, including cheap fare packages and “bombarding” customers with private messages.

    Traditional taxi companies are throwing out promotions and discounts to take on Uber and Grab

    Cheap fares and promotions galore

    On the occasion of Uber and Grab adjusting fares along the routes from the inner city to Noi Bai International Airport after failing in issuing the VND150,000-160,000 ($6.60-7.04) fare earlier this year, traditional taxi brands in Hanoi decided to issue discounts and promotion programmes to take up the gauntlet, according to newswire Vnexpress.

    Accordingly, almost all traditional taxi brands apply fares of VND160,000-200,000 ($7.04-8.81) for the route (maximum of 32 kilometres from the inner city). A number of brands went as low as VND130,000-150,000 ($5.72-6.60) per trip.  Previously, the average fare was around VND270,000-300,000 ($11.89-13.21).

    Notably, Ba Sao taxi offers a fare of VND180,000 ($7.92) per trip for a maximum of 30km. Besides, the brand uses five-seat Toyota Vios cars with large trunks to serve customers.

    With the fare of VND200,000 ($8.81) per trip, Noi Bai Airport also commits to take absolute responsibility in case customers miss their flights over the firm's mistakes (for example picking up customers later than scheduled or drivers causing a traffic accident on the way to the airport, resulting in the customer missing the flight).

    Some other traditional taxi firms asked customers to book trips in advance via telephone for a fare of VND160,000 ($7.04) per trip.

    Nguyen Anh Quan, deputy chairman of the Hanoi Taxi Association, said that with the above fare packaging, traditional taxi firms are confident in competing with Uber and Grab for airport travel.

    In Ho Chi Minh City, in order to gain market share along the routes from the inner city to the airport, traditional taxi firms are “bombarding” customers with messages.

    According to Hoa, a taxi driver in Ho Chi Minh City, some years ago, it was easy to earn money via trips from the inner city to TanSonNhatInternationalAirport. He had an average of five trips with the average income of VND250,000 ($11.01) per trip, however, at present, the figure decreased to VND150,000 ($6.60) per trip, and the number of trips also fell due to the impact of Uber and Grab.

    Thus, traditional taxi brands in general and the company where Hoa is working had to invite customers by sending out private messages on mobile phones. Certain customers can receive dozens of taxi promotion messages for airport travel every day. 

    Traditional taxi brands also send messages to promote the fare packaging of VND200,000 ($8.81) for the Nha Trang-Cam Ranh route.

    Extra fee making competition difficult

    Despite Uber and Grab’s failure to implement the VND150,000-160,000 ($6.60-7.04) fare for airport trips, they continue to offer cheap fare packages in collaboration with promotion programmes for these routes.

    Hoa from District 5 said that it takes her VND200,000 ($8.81) to go by traditional taxi firms from Vo Van Kiet Road to Tan Son Nhat International Airport, however, the figure is only VND150,000 ($6.60) with Grab and Uber. Recently, Uber and Grab also issued additional discounts of VND25,000 ($1.1) per trip—as a result, she spent only VND125,000 ($5.5) per trip.

    According to Nam, a taxi driver of Uber in Ho Chi Minh City, the reason for Uber’s fare cuts is due to the company’s growing fleet. He added that although Uber’s fares decrease, drivers continue to work due to the attractive bonus policy. Notably, taxi drivers will receive at least VND500,000 ($22.01) per week if they complete a set number of trips.

    Back to Hanoi, traditional taxi brands have advantages along the route from the inner city to Noi Bai International Airport, however, it is difficult for them to compete with Uber and Grab on the return route.

    Vu Quoc Huy, chairman of the Board of Directors of Ba Sao, said that high airport concession fees stop traditional taxi brands from exploiting. Notably, each taxi has to pay an average of VND3 million ($132.08) per month for picking up customers at airports.

    Quan expressed that traditional taxi brands are in an unfair competition with Uber and Grab in airport travel because of this extra charge.

    By Ha Vy, VIR

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  • 12/14/17--02:15: Article 0
  • In Vietnam, nude photographers strive to erase stigma


    Works featured at Vietnam’s first-ever licensed all-nude photo exhibition are considered the appetizer for the more risqué showcases expected in the future

    In Vietnam, nude photographers strive to erase stigma 

    A work by photographer Dung Art is seen in this photo.

    A number of artists in Vietnam are working to ensure a clear line between artistic nudity and vulgarity.

    Artistic nude photography has been present and legal in Vietnam for decades. 

    However, enormous social stigma and reluctant public reception continue to engulf the genre.   

    The Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism issued a regulation in March 2016 banning beauty and modeling competition title-holders from posing nude or with offensive costumes for photos and subsequently releasing them to the public.

    The regulation, however, was scrapped.

    The line between art and obscenity

    Do Ngoc, a seasoned female photographer, shared that she first entered the world of artistic nude photography around 1995 during a trip to Bangkok

    She was staying at a hotel with a female friend when she noticed sunlight dancing around the girl’s head as she combed her hair.

    The light accentuated her slender body and white silk dress, highlighting the different colors floating through the room.

    Ngoc wasted no time capturing the moment.

    Her dedication and attentiveness relieved her friend’s embarrassment and resulted in the photographer’s first artistically nude photos.

    Nude photographers in Vietnam are not merely women.

    Thai Phien, a veteran male nude photographer and the first in the country to gain national recognition for a nude collection, can recall many of his shoots.

    In Vietnam, nude photographers strive to erase stigma 

    Seasoned nude photographer Thai Phien (right) works with a model during an outdoor shoot in his self-provided photo.

    On one particular photo shoot, Phien noticed certain awkwardness in his new subject. 

    However, once the shoot began, the subject did his job well and everything went smoothly.

    A few days later, Phien and the subject were having a drink when the young man confided that he was wearing three pieces of underwear during the shoot.

    “However, once work started, your high concentration and intensity gave me no time or reason to think of anything else. It then dawned on me that contemplating stripped women in photography is not what I previously thought,” the young man said. 

    “Once asked if photographers are ever in love with their naked models, I would always say yes, as without love, how can we attain chemistry and create such gorgeous work?” Phien stressed. 

    “However, romantic love and lust give way to true love for art. Otherwise we would not have worthy pieces,” he asserted.

    Phien added that the fine distinction between art and offensiveness lies in the recognition given by the organizers of nude art competitions, pointing to his own international accolades as examples.  

    “The line is quite distinct. One can easily recognize obscenity,” photographer Ngoc affirmed.

    Vu Quoc Khanh, president of the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists, put the limited popularity of artistically nude photography in the Asian country of Vietnam down to social stigmas which remain deeply ingrained in Vietnamese culture.

    “Less outstanding camerawork is tolerated in other genres of photography. By contrast, artistically nude photographers’ oeuvres tend to be more critically and ethically judged,” he noted.

    Removing restraints

    Tao Tac, or ‘The Creator’s Work,’ the first-ever all-nude photo exhibition to be awarded a license in Vietnam, launched in September 2017 and was a resounding success for organizer Hao Nhien, another veteran nude photographer, and his colleagues.

    Other well-known Vietnamese photographers, including Tran Huy Hoan, Duong Quoc Dinh, Le Quang Chau, and Thai Phien, have all failed in past efforts to gain approval for nude photo exhibitions.

    Phien managed to obtain a permit to publish a nude photo book, but his multiple efforts to attain approval for an exhibition fell short.

    His successful attempt was considered by his colleagues as a sign that the door for approval might be opening wider.

    The milestone event has given hope to other nude photographers that more shows might be on the horizon.

    The nude photographer community also predicts a boom of such showcases.

    “Artistic nude photos from Phien’s exhibition are considered aperitif only, while showcases as strong as whisky are on the way,” Phien said.

    He urged the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists (VAPA) to organize more activities and seminars related to nude art.

     In Vietnam, nude photographers strive to erase stigma
    Female nude photographer Do Ngoc. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    “It would take considerable effort to persuade artists, management agencies and the entirety of society to keep from brewing a storm in a teacup,” Vu Quoc Khanh, VAPA chair, said.

    The VAPA did consider organizing seminars several years ago, but such conferences never made it past any preliminary planning stage.

    The association is planning to resume its consideration of the idea in the near future.

    Dinh also suggested summoning professional artistic nude photographers from across the country to provide a counterbalance to those using nude images which offend the traditional custom as scandals for popularity or personal gains.

    Internationally-awarded nude works by Vietnamese artists should be displayed at exhibitions open to the public in order to enlighten them on the distinction between genuine art and obscene content, he added.

    Contests in the genre should also be organized, the artist urged.

    Vi Kien Thanh, general director at the Authority for Arts, Photography, and Exhibition, affirmed nude collections which meet regulations under Decree 72, which stipulates the models’ identity should not be revealed or be disclosed only with their consent in writing, will be granted permits.

    The authority will propose a reshuffle of staff tasked with granting permits to ensure smooth operations. 

    Thanh wholeheartedly asserted support for nude photo exhibitions and reaffirmed the opinion that they follow artistic aspirations and freedom of expression.

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    Tuoi Tre News 

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