Social News 5/12
Hanoi plans to raise parking fees from January, 2018

Hanoi plans to raise parking fees from January, 2018, Nearly US$8.5 million invested for rural development, “Safety walk” extra-class to be held for primary students in HCMC, Microsoft Office Specialist Championship launched

At the Hanoi municipal People's Council’s meeting, the Hanoi People’s Committee has proposed to increase car and motorbike parking fees in the city from January 1, 2018 with a popular increase of up to 50 percent. 

Thus,  the new fee for motorcycles will be from VND 3,000 to VND 5,000 a vehicle while the fee for car will increase from VND 30,000- 50,000 per each.

In some areas, the monthly car parking fee will increase from VND1.7 million to VND2.6 million per each. 

The Ha Noi People's Committee said that the adjustment would not affect to local people's lives because in fact the parking fees which they have been paying for units and individuals are 1.5-2 times higher than the city's proposal.

Police seize 1,300 unclear-origin poultry in Nghệ An

Traffic police in the central province of Nghệ An seized a coach transporting nearly 1,300 baby poultry without clear origin on Monday in Diễn Châu District’s Diên Hồng Commune.

Đỗ Minh Hiếu - the coach driver - failed to show the police legal documents proving the origin of the poultry, the online newspaper Infonet reported.

According to the initial investigation, Hiếu admitted to the police he was hired to carry the baby poultry from Hà Nội to Nghệ An.

The police have handed over the baby poultry to the district’s animal health division.

The case is being investigated further.

Nearly US$8.5 million invested for rural development

An international on Saemaul Undong (New Village Movement) was organized in Ho Chi Minh City by the Korea Saemaul Undong Center under the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities in cooperation with the Saemaul Globalization Foundation and the Central Steering Committee for National Target Programme on the New Rural Development.

The event attracted more than 300 participants from Srilanka, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, including Associate Professor Dr. Vo Van Sen -principal of the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanity; Mr. Lee Sang Woo - Head of Representative Office of Saemaul Globalization Foundation; Dr. Ngo Thi Phuong Lan, Director of Saemaul Undong Center for Rural Development; Pham Thanh Duy Vice director of Saemaul Undong Center for Rural Development.

The Korean rural development model extensively has been applied in 14 countries including Vietnam.

In Vietnam, the project has been implemented in 8 villages in 5 provinces, including Thai Nguyen, Bac Ninh, Hue, Ninh Thuan and Hau Giang in the 2014-2021 period with a total capital of US$8.5 million.
The Saemaul Undong, also known as the New Community Movement, New Village Movement, was a political initiative launched in 1970 to modernize the rural South Korean economy.

Saemaul Movement has chieved great success in reducing poverty and improving living conditions in rural areas, thus narrowing the urban-rural divide.

Businesses accompany Vietnam to develop smart industry

Domestic and international businesses participating in Smart Industry World 2017 have committed to accompanying Vietnam to soon develop the smart industry effectively. 

They made the promise at a meeting with Nguyen Van Binh, head of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee’s Economic Commission, in Hanoi on December 4. 

Binh said the Vietnamese Party and State have issued a number of guidelines and policies on industrial development, including smart industry. 

Last year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued a directive on enhancing capacity to access the fourth industrial revolution, the official added. 

However, he said, Vietnam lacks a master plan on the revolution, which is forecast to change production methods of countries and remap the global economy. 

Binh stressed that international businesses play an important role to Vietnam’s industrialisation and modernisation process which is expected to be completed by 2030. 

The Party and State of Vietnam will offer incentives to foreign enterprises and investors who come to the country to introduce state-of-the-art technologies. 

The Economic Commission and other Vietnamese ministries and sectors want to learn from experience of international firms to finalise policies, apply science-technologies and develop human resources, thus creating a favourable environment for the development of the fourth industrial revolution in Vietnam, he said.

HCM City plumps for co-operative model to develop agriculture

HCM City will adopt the co-operative model to develop its agriculture, the administration has decided.

Speaking at a workshop on December 3, the city’s Party Secretary Nguyễn Thiện Nhân said: “To develop the city’s agricultural production, besides choosing right plants and animals, the most important factor is choosing the best model.”

He pointed out that the ratio of agricultural workers in the city has fallen sharply from 5 per cent in 2000 to 1 per cent last year.

Globally, the co-operative model is the most popular, not households or joint ventures, he said.

“Households do not know what the market needs: the market wants high-quality products, a large number of them and with brands, and food quality and safety. All can be addressed through the co-operative model.”

Besides, co-operatives would find it easier to approach banks since they have proper production plans and enough customers, can adopt technology and farm more efficiently than households, he said.

“If HCM City wants to sustain its agriculture, authorities must switch the production model from household to co-operatives.”

Currently, some 77 per cent of the agriculture is carried out by households while co-operatives account for only 5 per cent.

Lê Thanh Liêm, deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee, said: “Farmers’ profits at co-operatives are 30 – 50 per cent and co-operatives are a must for agricultural development.”

The city has 230 agricultural production groups and 10–20 per cent of them should be upgraded into co-operatives soon, he said.

“The city has already issued support policies for newly established co-operatives but related authorities should implement them gradually.

“The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development along with relevant authorities should educate farmers for them to understand the benefits of the co-operative model and its success.”

According to the department, the city has 41 co-operatives with 2,235 members, and plans to set up seven model co-operatives in Củ Chi, Hóc Môn, Bình Chánh, Nhà Bè and Cần Giờ districts.

“The department has suggested that the city should send well-educated staff to manage co-operatives for the first three years at a salary of over VNĐ11 million (US$500) a month,” Trần Ngọc Hồ, deputy director of the department, said.

Two schoolboys drown in Yên Bái

Two schoolboys, aged 6 and 9 years, reportedly drowned while playing in Khe Dài Stream in the northern mountainous province of Yên Bái’s Đồng Tâm Ward on Sunday afternoon.

According to an initial investigation, the two boys fell into the stream when they were playing nearby. The six-year-old boy studied at Nguyễn Trãi Primary School and the nine-year-old boy studied at Yên Ninh Primary School.

Local rescue teams discovered the bodies of the two boys at about 5pm on the same day, after a one-hour-long search.

Representatives from the locality visited the two boys’ houses to offer condolences to their families. 

“Safety walk” extra-class to be held for primary students in HCMC

An extra-curricular class will be organized by the academic year 2017-2018 for students in 28 primary schools in Ho Chi Minh City.
The class “Safety walk” organized by the city’s Department of Education and Training in coordination with the Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation from December 4, 2017 to March 6, 2018.

Selected schools to hold the extra classes are these near bus stations in districts 1, 5 and 6.

Students will be taught how to walk safely and they will practice walking in school yard.

The extra classes will not affect their general curriculum.

Iranian film directors to give workshops in HCM City

Directing and acting training courses by film director Reza Dormishian and actor Parsa Pirouzfar from Iran will be held at Ho Chi Minh City University of Theater and Cinema on December 11-12.

The classes launched by the Vietnam Cinema Association are opened for filmmakers, directors, screenwriters, cameraman, stage deisgners, make-up artists, students and lecturers of the movie industry.

Iranian film director, screenwriter and producer Reza Dormishian is one of the most prominent and distinguished directors of the new generation of the Iranian cinema. His first feature film, Hatred was received well by critics and cinema writers and the Iranian critics gave it three awards , including Best Directing, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing.

Actor and theater director Parsa Pirouzfar is a founder member of Iranian Theatre Actors Association and also member of Khaneh Cinema (The Iranian Alliance of Motion Picture Guilds), Iranian Film Actors Association (I.F.A.A.), Iranian Theatre Actors Association and The Theatre Forum.

Microsoft Office Specialist Championship launched

The Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) World Championship 2018 in Việt Nam was launched on Tuesday by the Hồ Chí Minh Central Youth Union and IIG Việt Nam, an organisation for testing and educational quality accreditation.

In the national primary examination round, candidates will take the MOS Specialist test – to assess their skills in Microsoft Office, including Microsoft Office 2013, Microsoft Excel 2013 and Microsoft PowerPoint 2013.

A total of 120 most outstanding candidates will participate in the national final round.

Three most outstanding candidates from the national final round will take part in the world final round, which will be organised in Florida, the United States, from July 29, 2018 to August 1, 2018.

The first prize for the world final round will be US$7,000 while the second and third prizes will be $3,500 and $1,500, respectively.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, secretary of the executive board of the Hồ Chí Minh Central Youth Union, said he highly appreciated the efforts of IIG Việt Nam during the past eight years to bring the competition to Vietnamese students.

“The competition helps impart information technology teaching and studying based on international norms, helps schools assess their teaching quality, and, therefore, creates good condition to develop young talent in the present international integration scenario,” he said.

Also at the launch ceremony, the organiser honoured Vietnamese MOS ambassadors who won outstanding achievements at the world final round MOS World Championship 2017. The competition was organised in California in the United States in August this year. The ambassadors are Bùi Mạnh Tú from Lê Hồng Phong High School for Gifted Students in the northern province of Nam Định, Dương Quốc Trung from HCM City University of Foreign Trade and Đỗ Tiến Điệp from People’s Security Academy.

When the competition was first launched in 2010, just some 30 universities and colleges across the country participated. At present, the competition has attracted more than 500 junior secondary schools, high schools, universities and colleges, with more than three million students across the country. 

Viettel to play U21 national event semifinal

Viettel played outstandingly to tie goalless with Hoàng Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) in the final match of the qualifying round of Group B on December 3.

This helped them earn the last ticket to compete at the National U21 Football Championships.

With HAGL already having booked a semifinal ticket, they played with many substitute players, making it easier for Viettel, who needed one more point to enter the next round.

With efforts and a defence strategy, Military team Viettel succeeded in drawing with mountainous football team HAGL.

Following this draw, HAGL topped the group, while Viettel ranked second. The two teams will compete against Sông Lam Nghệ An (SLNA) and Becamex Bình Dương, who topped Group A, respectively.

As scheduled, SLNA will face Viettel in the first semifinal, while HAGL will meet Bình Dương in the other semifinal on December 5 in the southern province of Bình Dương.

Cường wins first stage of television cycling event

Phạm Quốc Cường won the first stage of the Bình Dương Television Cycling Tournament, Ống Nhựa Hoa Sen Cup, on December 3.

Cường of Đồng Tháp triumphed in the 153km stage from the southern province of Bình Dương to Bình Thuận, in which he competed in 3:21.31.

Nguyễn Minh Luận of the Việt Nam youth team and Hà Văn Sơn of BTV Đại Nam Bình Dương were the runners-up.

Cường also held the yellow jersey award for the best overall time and the green jersey award for the best sprinter, with 15 points.

The event has attracted the 10 strongest teams in the country, including HCM City, Đồng Tháp, An Giang and Đồng Nai with nearly 70 cyclists, more than 20 of whom are now members of the national team.

They will compete in nine stages, with a total length of nearly 1,100km via the provinces of Bình Thuận, Ninh Thuận, Khánh Hòa and Gia Lai, as well as Kon Tum, Đắk Nông, Bình Phước and Bình Dương.

The tournament has a total prize of VNĐ400 million (US$17,400), of which the winners of the overall yellow jersey will earn VNĐ60 million ($2,600).

The event’s organisers will hold charity activities on the sidelines of the event, including giving 900 gifts to disadvantaged households and 90 bicycles to poor students in the provinces the cyclists will pass through.

The event will be a chance for national cyclists to hone their skills to prepare for the Asian Games to be held in Indonesia next August.

Tiền Phong golf tourney in Hà Nội

The Tiền Phong Golf Championship is scheduled to tee off on December 16 at BRG King’s Island Golf Club in the outskirts of Hà Nội.

The event will feature about 140 golfers from across the country.

The tournament, which aims to raise money for the Fund for Vietnamese Young Talents, has a total prize fund of VNĐ7billion (US$304,300).

According to the organising board, about VNĐ500million ($21,700) is expected be collected for the fund during the event.

It is organised by Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper and the National Sports Administration.

Minh a victor at Bình Dương cycling race

Despite the rain, Lê Nguyệt Minh triumphed in the second stage of the Bình Dương Television Cycling Tournament, Ống Nhựa Hoa Sen Cup, on December 4.

With best sprint in the last metres, Minh from VUS-HCM City beat strong rivals to take lead with a time of 3:29.40 in the 132km race from Phan Rang-Tháp Chàm City to Ninh Hòa District in Khánh Hòa Province.

Minh’s teammates, Lê Văn Duẩn and Mai Nguyễn Hưng finished second and third.

The national cyclist Minh also won the green jersey with 28 points, followed by Phạm Quốc Cường of Domesco Pharmacy Đồng Tháp with 13 points.

Although, Phạm Quốc Cường of Đồng Tháp didn’t rank in top three of this stage, he still held the yellow jersey award for the best overall time.

Today, nearly 70 cyclists will compete in the third stage from Ninh Hòa to Krông Pắk of Đắk Lắk Province, lasting 124km.

The tournament, which covers nine stages, has a total prize of VNĐ400 million (US$17,400), of which the winners of the overall yellow jersey will earn VNĐ60 million ($2,600). 

Land clearance for Long Thanh airport project sped up

Tran Van Vinh, Vice Chairman of the Dong Nai province People’s Committee, has urged units involving in site clearance, compensation, support and resettlement of the Long Thanh international airport project to double efforts in order to ensure the feasibility study report to acquire land for the construction is completed in December 2017. 

At a working session with representatives of the units on December 4, Vinh said land reclaiming, compensation, support and resettlement work will target all 5,000ha of the project.

The work will be carried out for only one time right after Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approves the report and is expected to come to an end before 2021, he noted. 

Vinh said to ensure the process of the work, Dong Nai is set to build infrastructure of the Loc An-Binh Son and Binh Son resettlement areas, covering a total area of 585ha, in January 2018. 

Land clearance for the first phase of the project is due to be completed in 2018 to ensure the construction begins in 2019 as scheduled, he added. 

He said Dong Nai will send a document to the Transport Ministry to ask for the planning of routes linking to the airport. 

Dang Minh Duc, Director of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said the Ministry of Transport has asked Dong Nai to soon establish a steering board for the land clearance, compensation, support and resettlement project. 

The Long Thanh airport project aims to serve 100 million passengers and 5 million tones of cargo each year. It includes three phases with the first one is expected to be done no later than 2025, the second by 2035 and the final after 2035.

HCM City seeks stronger educational ties with Ontario

Ho Chi Minh City wants to step up cooperation in general education and vocational training with the Canadian province of Ontario, said Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong.

At a meeting with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on December 4, Phong considered his guest’ first official visit to Vietnam as an illustration of the Canadian Government and Ontario’s interest in the Southeast Asian nation and HCM City.

Economic cooperation between HCM City and Ontario remains modest compared to its potential, he said, noting that there are many fields in which they have opportunities to reinforce cooperation, especially the areas matching Ontario’s strength and HCM City’s demand like information technology, infrastructure building, and automobile assembly.

HCM City pledges to provide the best possible conditions for Ontario investors to learn about and invest in the city, thus bringing successes to Canadian businesses and contributing to local development, he added.

Wynne said Ontario is ready to cooperate and share experience in training teachers and improving general education. It successfully applied public-private partnership in resolving the problem of urban infrastructure construction, and it is ready to share this experience with HCM City.

At the meeting, the officials said the two localities share many similarities such as the role in their respective countries’ economies and challenges facing their development like population aging and climate change impacts. These are also chances for them to augment cooperation in the future.

With 67 projects worth some 110 million USD, Canada now ranks 21st among more than 90 countries and territories investing in HCM City. Toronto, the capital of Ontario, signed a cooperation agreement with HCM City in 2006.-

Deputy PM highlights improvements in Vietnam-Kazakhstan trade

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh highlighted improvements in Vietnam-Kazakhstan trade ties while receiving Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Akylbek Kamaldinov on December 4.

At the meeting in Hanoi, Deputy PM Minh noted with satisfaction the progress in bilateral relations in various spheres, from politics, economy-trade, to culture, tourism and security.

Visits by the two countries’ leaders, with the most recent being an official trip to Kazakhstan by National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan in October, have created a driving force for multifaceted cooperation.

He highly valued the initial improvements in bilateral trade since the Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Free Trade Agreement took effect in October 2016, reaching 184 million USD in the first nine months of 2017 which approximates last year’s figure.

The two countries need to devise measures to continue carrying out the trade pact in an effective manner, he said, adding that Vietnam is ready to act as a bridge for the implementation of a free trade agreement between Kazakhstan and ASEAN.

For his part, Deputy Minister Kamaldinov spoke highly of Vietnam’s socio-economic achievements over the past years and congratulated the country on the successful APEC Year 2017.

He asked the two countries to promote the traditional friendship and win-win cooperation in a substantive fashion, thus meeting the aspirations of the two countries’ Governments and people.

Earlier, the Kazakh official had a political consultation with Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Dang Dinh Quy.

The two sides agreed to maintain all-level delegation exchanges and political consultations to boost mutual understanding and bilateral cooperation. They will coordinate closely and support each other at the United Nations, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, and other international forums, particularly amid Kazakhstan’s non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for 2017-2018.

At the event, the officials also discussed cooperation and security in Asia-Pacific. They underscored the importance of peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation in the East Sea, peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of international law, and not using or threatening to use force.

They concurred in bolstering trade and investment ties and creating favourable conditions for the countries’ businesses to partner in their strong fields such as agriculture, processing industry, manufacturing, infrastructure building, and defence industry

On December 5, Deputy Foreign Minister Akylbek Kamaldinov will co-chair the 8th Meeting of the Vietnam-Kazakhstan Intergovernmental Committee for Economic, Trade, Scientific and Technological Cooperation with leader of the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade in Hanoi.

Ho Chi Minh City leader wishes to boost trade with New Zealand

Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan has expressed his wish to boost trade and tourism with New Zealand, particularly the export and import of farm produce.

During a reception in Ho Chi Minh City on December 4 for New Zealand Ambassador to Vietnam Wendy Matthews, Nhan lauded New Zealand’s strength in agriculture, adding that the country has poured 57 million USD into 15 projects in the city, a modest figure compared to potential. 

Matthews, for her part, described education as a key field to connect the two countries. 

She vowed to reinforce education and trade ties with Ho Chi Minh City for sustainable development of the two countries. 

In the afternoon the same day, Vice Secretary of the municipal Party Committee and Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong hosted a reception for the Premier of Ontario, Canada Kathleen Wynne.

Leaders visit Hải Phòng and Hà Tĩnh

The Government will focus on boosting economic development and ensuring social welfare, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc told voters in Kiến An Ward in northern Hải Phòng City yesterday.  

The PM briefed the voters on Việt Nam’s socio-economic achievements so far this year. Exports expanded by 21 per cent above the planned figure to over US$200 billion. The country has a trade surplus of $2.8 billion, along with over $47 billion in foreign currency reserves in the first 11 months of 2017.

He also noted that more than 120,000 new firms have been set up, while Việt Nam has attracted over $33 billion in foreign direct investment this year for the first time. Meanwhile, the number of poor households has been reduced significantly and defence and security have been ensured, he said. The APEC Economic Leaders’ Week 2017 and related meetings were held successfully, he added.

Voter Hoàng Đình Chiến asked the PM to describe the Government’s management in 2018 to ensure sustainable growth and complete the 2015-2020 plan.

PM Phúc said that in the coming time, along with overcoming the consequences of disaster and ensuring national security, the Government will also work hard to improve social security and welfare. At the same time, the Government will apply drastic measures to combat corruption and wastefulness.

Answering voter Đinh Đặng Hùng on solutions to develop high technology agriculture, the PM said that the cabinet will continue gathering voters’ opinions on the adjustments to the Law on Land, thus facilitating the development of hi-tech agriculture on a large scale.

Meanwhile, voter Nguyễn Đức Hạnh showed interest in the Party and State’s policy in protecting sovereignty over seas and islands and cooperation in exploiting maritime resources.

The Government leader stressed said that Việt Nam resolutely safeguards national sovereignty over seas and islands in line with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.Việt Nam will continue using peaceful measures and negotiations combined with protest to protect this sovereignty, he stated.

Recalling the EU’s issuance of a yellow card to Vietnamese seafood, the PM said he hopes fishermen will abide by international law in fishing activities. He asked Hải Phòng locals to take the pioneering role in the work.

On the same day, Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ met voters in central Hà Tĩnh Province’s Đức Thọ District.

Huệ praised achievements made by people and authorities of the district, particularly in building new style rural areas.

Regarding the construction of safe water projects in rural areas, Huệ said the Government had a plan to provide preferential policies in terms of land lease to lure investors in building safe water supply stations at a low cost. He instructed social policy banks to provide businesses with low-interest loans to implement these projects.

In order to help promote sustainable agricultural development and ensure incomes for local people, the Government would organise models of production linkage in co-operation with businesses and adjust policies on agricultural insurance, he said.

At the meeting, local voters voiced their concerns about infrastructure damage from natural disasters, hampered people’s daily activities. They also said illegal sand exploitation along La River has affected the environment and harmed local agricultural production.

The deputy PM said he would entrust relevant Government agencies or local authorities to address these concerns. 

VFF chief meets New Zealand leaders

President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Tran Thanh Man visited Speaker of the Parliament of New Zealand Trevor Mallard in the country’s capital Wellington on December 5. 

Man, who was in New Zealand from December 3-5, was the first foreign guest hosted by Mallard after taking office on November 7. 

The VFF leader congratulated New Zealand on its successful general election in September 2017 and forming a new government, believing that the New Zealand government and parliament will continue improving the country’s stature. 

Lauding New Zealand’s contributions to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting recently held in Vietnam, Man affirmed that Vietnam is ready to share experience with New Zealand to fulfill the role of APEC host in 2021.

The guest asked New Zealand’s parliament and government to continue supporting Vietnamese nationals in the country that now number nearly 7,000, who he said, serve as a bridge for bilateral cooperation. 

The VFF leader welcomed close support between the two countries in regional and global forums, as well as New Zealand’s stance on the East Sea issue in the spirit of respect for international law. 

He expressed his wish to continue receive New Zealand’s support of Vietnam and ASEAN’s stance on the issue. 

Mallard, for his part, briefed his guest about progress in New Zealand’s education sector, adding that New Zealand wants to extend ties with countries, including Vietnam, via education-training collaboration. 

The same day, Man had a brief meeting with Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern. 

Earlier, he met Vietnamese nationals in the country.  

At present, nearly 2,500 Vietnamese students study in New Zealand. The Auckland – Ho Chi Minh City direct air route, which opened in June 2016, has been tapped effectively. Two-way trade has grown by nearly 20 percent annually, reaching 900 million USD last year and the figure is estimated to hit 1.7 billion USD by 2020. 

New Zealand currently has 28 valid investment projects worth nearly 101.94 million USD in Vietnam, 41st out of 120 countries and territories investing in the country.

Vietnam, Cambodia fast-track upgrade of friendship monuments

The upgrade of 12 Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Monuments in Cambodia has been completed while work is under way on three others under a joint project, heard a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on December 5. 

At the conference reviewing outcomes of the project on renovating Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Monuments in Cambodia, the two sides said they have closely coordinated in the work, noting that it is a vivid demonstration of the friendship and neighbourliness between the two countries. 

With financial support of the Vietnamese side, Cambodian localities have ensured progress and quality of the project. 

The two sides agreed to continue effectively implementing contents of the minutes of the second meeting between the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence and the National Council of Solidarity Front for Development of Cambodia Motherland held in HCM City on November 24, 2016.

They will also speed up the progress of the ongoing upgrading projects, aiming to finish the work in the first quarter of 2018. 

At the same time, the Cambodia side will continue to examine friendship monuments in the country and inform the Vietnamese side about their conditions. 

They will propose the Vietnamese and Cambodian Governments construct new friendship monuments in historical sites in Cambodia if necessary.

New trial run needed for Hà Nội’s first metro line

Another trial run should be planned for Hà Nội’s Cát Linh–Hà Đông urban railway project, after the first one was cancelled, according to Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyễn Ngọc Đông.

Đông said the trial run process for the city’s first metro line, which was slated to start in October to prepare for official operation in the second quarter of 2018, missed the deadline so another plan should be set up to replace it.

The deputy minister of transport was quoted on Bnews online newspaper on Sunday saying that the trial would be developed based on the amount of equipment and trains available, which is dependent on disbursement from China Eximbank. 

“The Ministry of Justice and relevant ministries are completing procedures to put forth the disbursement”, Đông said. 

As of November 24, five out of 13 trains for the railway had been delivered to Hà Nội. 

By May this year, China Eximbank had disbursed US$18.25 million for the project, according to Vũ Hồng Phương, Deputy Director General of the Railway Project Management Unit under the Ministry of Transport.

The amount, part of a delayed $22.75 million, has been transferred to the Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) contractor, to be paid to sub-contractors. 

About 90 per cent of construction work has been completed by May this year. Equipment installation was underway. However, the delay in capital disbursement had hindered the project’s progress. 

The 13 kilometre Cát Linh-Hà Đông urban elevated railway will have 12 stations and one depot area.

Out of the initially projected investment of $552 million, $419 million (76 per cent) was sourced from Chinese loans, with the rest matched by the Vietnamese Government. 

Construction started 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.

WWF, Intel continue wetland reforestation project in Long An

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Intel Vietnam - Malaysia on December 5 launched a joint effort to plant 7,000 trees at the Lang Sen Wetland Reserve of the Mekong Delta province of Long An.

This is a continuation of the project to grow 12,000 trees at the reserve in the previous year, in a bid to restore degraded forests, improve resilience of wetland plants and mitigate negative impacts of flood and drought.

The planting also aims to provide wood and non-wood products such as cajuput oil, honey and valuable medicinal herbs as well as eco-tourism services to support local residents.

The project, with the participation of 270 volunteers of Intel Vietnam, will also contribute to the WWF’s strategic plan which helps Lang Sen reserve and local community enhance climate change adaptation.

Officially established in 2004, Lang Sen Wetland Reserve is among the few natural remnants of the Plain of Reeds (Dong Thap Muoi), and home to almost 400 species of plants and animals.

Workshop marks 60 years of VN’s ratification of 1949 Geneva Conventions

The Foreign Ministry and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) held a workshop in Hanoi on December 5 to mark the 60th anniversary of Vietnam’s ratification of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 on international humanitarian law (IHL).

Nguyen Minh Vu, Assistant to the Vietnamese Foreign Minister, emphasised that Vietnam’s ratification of the 1949 Geneva Conventions was an important milestone demonstrating the country’s respect for and promotion of the enforcement of the IHL in particular and international law in general.

At present, changes in the forms of armed conflicts and the strong development of science-technology, including the development of tools and weapons used in war, are posing substantial challenges to the interpretation and application of regulations of these conventions, which were drafted in the 19th century.

Therefore, the workshop also provides a platform for domestic and foreign experts to discuss the latest developments in the interpretation and application of regulations in the IHL, along with international efforts in promoting the IHL enforcement in the world, Vu said.

Beat Schweizer, head of the ICRC Regional Delegation in Bangkok, said the ICRC highly valued Vietnam’s active support for and leadership in strengthening and developing the IHL. 

The ICRC has established and maintained relations with civil and military organisations of Vietnam to enforce the Geneva Conventions, and hopes to enhance dialogue on IHL-related issues with the Vietnamese Government, he added.

At the workshop, participants shared Vietnam’s experience in implementing the Geneva Conventions of 1949 during wartime and in dealing with war consequences, raising awareness of the IHL, and stepping up the enforcement of the Geneva Conventions and other contents of the IHL.

On June 5, 1957, then President Ho Chi Minh signed a document declaring Vietnam’s joining of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. They comprise the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field; the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea; the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War; and the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

These conventions have had 196 parties, and they are among the few international treaties that have such a large number of member states and are applied around the globe.

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