Vietnam – Proactive Force for Southeast Asia in 2015

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh: "Vietnam will be a "responsible, active, and proactive" member of the ASEAN family. Photo: Le Duong - VNA Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh made the statement in his article titled "Vietnam 2015: A proactive force for peace, stability and community-building in Southeast Asia" recently published on the weekly NewEurope in Brussels, Belgium. He said 2015 will be the year that Vietnam steps up and further accelerates economic reforms, with a priority of strengthening market economy institutions and streamlining bureaucracy while also engaging in broader social and political change. "In 2015, Vietnam expects the conclusion of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, bringing the total number of its signed free trade agreements (FTA) to 12 which cover more than 50 countries, among them more than 15 members of the G20. Vietnam optimistically foresees itself to be the first (and perhaps only) ASEAN … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s First Ao dai Museum

After many years nurturing a desire to building a museum to preserve and highlight the traditional dress of Vietnam which has existed for more than 300 years, designer Si Hoang’s dream comes true. The museum was built in his Long Thuan garden house which boasts old wooden architecture with the southern landscape of rice fields, bamboo bridges, lotus ponds and rivers. Part of Long Thuan garden house where designer Si Hoang built the Ao dai Museum. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP Designer Si Hoang and guests cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of the museum. Photo: File Paper Ao dai designs are exhibited outside the museum. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP Inside the Ao dai Museum. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP Learning about the history of Ao dai designs displayed at the museum. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP The museum showcases Ao dai of different periods in the 17th and the 18th centuries, and more than 60 Ao dai owned by the Nguyen (1802-1945) kings and royal families, and dresses … [Read more...]

Singapore’s Chingay Parade 2015 a treat of light and colour

This year's Chingay Parade was among activities held in celebration of Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence (Photo: VNA) The annual Chingay Parade in Singapore on February 27 and 28 transformed the Marina Bay area into a sea of light and vibrant colour in celebration of the country’s 50th anniversary of independence. This year’s street parade was said to be the grandest in Chingay’s 43-year history. Themed "We love Singapore", it showed the country’s respect for the past as well as hope for the future. The event got off to a colourful start with a modern dance performance by thousands of amateur artists in handmade outfits decked with plastic flowers. Nearly one million of such flowers were made from used plastic bags by half a million Singaporeans since a year ago. Some 4,000 foreign performers from 14 countries across the world also made an appearance with a wide range of vibrant acts to show off their signature cultures. Vietnam also … [Read more...]

Private firms race to take over State-owned enterprises

Major Vietnamese business people have geared up to take over State-owned enterprises, which were recently equitised, in the role of strategic partners. A corner of Nha Trang Port in the southern province of Khanh Hoa. After being transferred to the VinGroup Vinpearl JSC, the port will be transformed into a harbour with moorings for pleasure craft and cruise liners. Thousands of billions of dong have been spent to buy stakes in State-owned enterprises in recent times, reports online vietnamnet.vn. Early this year, Chairman of T&T Group Do Quang Hien said that he is ready to pour more than VND490 billion (US$23 million) to buy a 98.02 per cent stake in Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) at Quang Ninh Port. If the buying of the stake is successful, the port will be added to the list of Vinalines ports that are selling shares after equitisation. A year ago, Da Nang Port sold 13.2 million of its shares to five private domestic investors for a fairly high price, after … [Read more...]

Sugar sector urged to make radical reforms for int’l integration

(VOV) - Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu, who is also chairman of the Steering Committee for International Economic Integration, has granted an extensive elaboration on the real situation and solutions for the sugar sector in the country in response to media regarding the recent imports of sugar produced by Vietnamese Hoang Anh Gia Lai group's factory in Laos's Attapeu Province in the 2013-14 crop. The state offers too many incentives to the sugar sector From my perspective, since the establishment of the sugar sector, the state has always paid special attention to developing and protecting the industry by high tariffs barriers. Even though Vietnam joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and implemented the roadmap to reduce tax under WTO commitments, the sector has been protected by the state. Recently, under ASEAN nations’ common commitments for integration process, Vietnam has offered preferential tariffs of 5% to member nations for white and raw sugar … [Read more...]

Vietnam art kite festival held with flying colours

Photo: VNA The Vietnam Art Kite Festival 2015 was held in the southern coastal city of Vung Tau on February 28 and March 1, attracting large crowds of locals and tourists. The two-day festival brought together nearly 190 kite artists from 15 clubs across the country. Visitors were treated with an eye-catching kite flying display of nearly 230 kites, including an 81-metre long kite in the shape of a giant copperhead. After the event, the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will select artists and clubs with unique kites to attend the international kite festival, which is slated for April 2015, said Deputy Director Phan Thanh Sang.-VNA … [Read more...]

Ambassador affirms Vietnam’s support for India’s Look East policy

Ambassador Ton Sinh Thanh speaks at the workshop (Photo: VNA) Vietnam always supports the Look East policy of India and welcomes the country’s greater presence in Southeast Asia and Vietnam in particular. Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh made the statement at a workshop on India’s Look East policy held from February 26-28 at Shillong in India’s northeaster state of Meghalaya. He highlighted the traditional friendship between Vietnam and India, which received a boost with the singing of a strategic partnership agreement in 2007 and since then their cooperation have been developed in across-the-board fields. India is currently one of the top 10 trade partners of Vietnam, with two-way trade surging to over 8 billion USD in 2014 from 1 billion USD in 2006, the ambassador said, adding that bilateral trade is expected to hit 15 billion USD in 2020. Indian investors have poured more than 220 million USD in Vietnam while Vietnamese businesses invested … [Read more...]

Dong Thap crafting products revived

Traditional craft villages in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap have revived their practices through innovative and adaptive thinking. After struggling with chronically unstable income from weaving bamboo traps only sold in the flooding season, households in Hoa Long commune in Lai Vung district decided to make changes to their products to suit a new market. Locals began producing miniature fishing equipment, such as bamboo mice or fishing traps, to sell as decorative objects or souvenirs. Village resident Nguyen Huu Tho said since then his products have become a hit with local and regional tourists. The miniatures are produced at lower costs, due to the fewer materials required for their construction, but are sold at the same price as the standard-sized products and reap a good profit, according to Tho. "I will spend some money on whittling and polishing machines to improve the attractiveness of the products", he said, adding that there is increasing demand in the market … [Read more...]

Celebrations mark Lunar New Year in Europe

A dance performance by Vietnamese children (Photo: VNA) Vietnamese expatriates gathered at separate events in France and Belgium to celebrate the Lunar New Year on February 28, the tenth day of the first lunar month. The event in Nogent-sur-Marne, a commune in the eastern suburbs of Paris, attracted more than 1,000 overseas Vietnamese from across France. It became lively with unicorn dancing, "xam" singing, and piano performances along with folk games. Dang Ngoc Chan, a member of the standing board of the Vietnamese People’s Association in France, recalled outstanding achievements of the Vietnam Year in France 2014 which were partly contributed by expatriates, helping strengthen bilateral friendship and cooperation. He said he believes the two countries’ relations will be further enhanced through the Vietnam visit by French President Francois Hollande in 2015. Addressing about 350 overseas people at a similar celebration in Brussels, Vietnamese Ambassador to … [Read more...]

Ha Giang to build 293 reservoirs by 2020

The northernmost province of Ha Giang have set the goal of building 293 water storage reservoirs by 2020 to serve local people’s need for water for daily use. The combined volume of these reservoirs will be enough to supply water for all residents in four districts - Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van and Meo Vac - in the water-scarce Dong Van Karst Plateau. The costs of building these reservoirs will come from the Stage budget, the local budget and loans from international financial organisations like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Since 2007, 84 reservoirs with a combined volume of 406,000 cu.m have been put in operation or are being under construction in the four districts. They are capable of supplying water for 52,522 people or 20.6 percent of the four districts’ combined population. The number of reservoirs will be raised to 99 reservoirs by 2017 and 293 by 2020. The four districts have a total area of 2,350 sq.km and are home to 17 ethnic minority … [Read more...]

Green life fans shouldn’t miss visiting this tourism site in southern Vietnam

An ecological tourism complex outside Ho Chi Minh City has emerged as a perfect choice for tourists who look for outdoor experiences like jungle trekking, homestays, and fruit and vegetable picking. Located in Vinh Cuu District in Dong Nai Province, over 80 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, the Kingfisher Nest Dong Nai is gaining in appeal among trekkers and enthusiasts of pastoral life. Tours offered on Saturdays and Sundays to this tourism venue are becoming popular with local companies that prefer their employees to partake in green activities. One of the complex’s highlights is jungle biking, which offers terrain biking experiences on densely vegetated trails. The treks are designed in mounting difficulty levels and lengths, from 15 to 45 kilometers and even longer to cater to clients’ diverse demands. Apart from jungle trekking and biking, tourists are also drawn to "role-play" tours, which provide memorable experiences of farming, homestays in basic … [Read more...]

January car sales accelerate year-on-year

Automobile sales touched 19,979 units in January, down 1 percent from December, but surged 80 percent from a year ago, a Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA) report stated. However, the report also pointed out the existing gap between the growth in sales of complete-knock-down (CKD) and completely-built-up (CBU) automobiles. Data showed that 13,487 CKD autos were sold in January, reflecting a rise of 69 percent from the same month last year, while the sales of CBU autos reached 6,492 units, up 110 percent. January was also the month leading to the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, which often sees an upswing in auto purchases and many vehicle manufacturers report record sales during the month. Toyoto Motor Vietnam (TMV) sold 4,262 units in January this year, jumping 35 percent over the same period last year and reflecting a record high sale for January in the last two decades. Ford Vietnam also recorded a 60 percent growth in sales over the same period last year to … [Read more...]

ASEAN economic ministers resolve to complete RCEP talks this year

Delegates at the event (Photo: VNA) ASEAN economic ministers affirmed their resolve to conclude the negotiation on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement by the end of this year at a meeting in Malaysia from February 28 to March 1. The 21st ASEAN Economic Ministers' Retreat said the RCEP will promote economic, trade and investment cooperation between the bloc and its partners of India, the Republic of Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and China. The meeting evaluated the implementation of commitments on the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) formation, and discussed how to ensure the progress of the AEC Blueprint’s core economic integration measures. Non-tariff trade facilitation measures and practical ways to expand the regional market’s integration after 2015 were also on the agenda. The ministers considered and provided guidance for the drafting of the post-2015 economic vision and strategic plan of action for ASEAN, in the hope that a … [Read more...]

Flappy Bird app named in global popular brand list

Flappy Bird mobile game has been ranked 39th in a report on the world's 50 most popular brands of 2014. Vietnam's Flappy Bird mobile game has been ranked 39th in a report on the world's 50 most popular brands of 2014. The report was released by Infegy, an American provider of intelligent social media monitoring. The game, developed by Vietnamese Nguyen Ha Dong, became a phenomenon at the beginning of last year and was the most downloaded application on the Google Play Store and App Store for Android and iOS devices. The report is based on data on more than 800 brands and insights from online conversations. Flappy Bird is the only game on the list, although other games, such as Clash of Clans, were also tracked. The most popular topics for conversation included Flappy Bird clones, the Flappy Bird creator and App Store.-VNA … [Read more...]

World Bank approves 100 mln USD credit for Vietnam’s poverty reduction

Illustrative image (Photo: VNA) The World Bank (WB) Board of Executive Directors has approved an additional 100 million USD loan for an ongoing project to help improve living standards for the poor in six northern mountainous provinces of Vietnam. The increased financing will bolster the country’s poverty reduction efforts in the provinces of Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Lao Cai and Yen Bai where poverty rates are among the highest in the country. Victoria Kwakwa, WB Country Director in Vietnam said the WB wished to "share the government of Vietnam’s strong desire to reduce poverty through the community-driven development approach embedded in this project. She also expressed the willingness to work with the Vietnamese government to scale up the project’s successes, adding that most of its beneficiaries are poor ethnic minority people. The additional credit will further contribute to the government’s poverty reduction efforts by improving the … [Read more...]

Mountainous bridge has tallest pier in Vietnam

Pa Uon bridge (Source: kyluc.vn) Pa Uon Bridge, spanning Da River Lake in Quynh Nhai district of the northern mountainous province of Son La, has been recognised as the bridge with the tallest pier, 98.6 metres, in Vietnam. The recognition was made by the Vietnam Book of Records on February 28. Pa Uon in Chieng On commune is part of the National Road 279 that connects Son La with other northwestern provinces such as Lai Chau, Dien Bien, and Lao Cai. The 9-metre-wide bridge is 918 metres long while its access roads at both ends total 500 metres. It consists of two abutments and 11 piers with the main pier as tall as 98.6 metres. The height from the river bed to the bridge surface is 103.8 metres. The same day, a boat racing festival was organised under Pa Uon Bridge by the Quynh Nhai People’s Committee. The annual event, attracting eight teams with over 200 rowers this year, was aimed to honour local cultural identities and promote sports among the public.-VNA … [Read more...]

Indonesia ends search operation of crashed AirAsia plane

A major part of the fuselage of the plane (Photo: AFP/VNA) Indonesia on February 28 announced the end of the search operation for bodies and wreckage of the crashed AirAsia QZ8501 plane following the retrieval of the final major part of the fuselage of the plane from the sea. The rescue team on February 27 successfully pulled the final major part and loaded it onto a ship, according to head of the Indonesia National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) Bambang Soelistyo. No more bodies were found, he said, confirming the total number of bodies recovered so far is 103. Earlier, Mardjono Siswosumarno, chief of Indonesia ’s National Transport Safety Committee (NTSC), said the committee successfully downloaded the information from the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, which were retrieved on January 13. The NTSC is expected to conduct the detailed analysis within 12 months according to the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation … [Read more...]

IT firms set high targets for 2015

Illustrative image (Source: ec.europa.eu) After ending last year with encouraging results, several IT firms in Ho Chi Minh City have set higher business targets this year. Dang The Tai, general director of CMC System Integration Saigon Ltd, said his company achieved revenue of 659 billion VND (30.9 million USD) last year compared to 543 billion VND (25.48 million USD) in 2013. The figure is expected to reach 725 billion VND (34.02 million USD) this year, Tai said. CMC Saigon is currently one of the two largest Vietnamese companies capable of providing all IT and telecommunication services and solutions, he said. It accounts for 60 percent of market share in the south in providing professional IT solutions and services for customers in the fields of finance, banking and the stock market. Le Minh Chau, pre-sales manager of Meganet, which specialises in network solution, equipments and infrastructure, said the company has set a target to achieve 10-15 billion VND (469,263 USD- … [Read more...]

Mong ethnic group holds first Culture Festival in Ha Giang

A Khen (pan pipe) performance (Photo: VNA) The first Mong (H’mong) Ethnic Culture Festival was kicked off in Meo Vac district, the northernmost province of Ha Giang on February 28. The two-day event aims to nurture the traditional culture of the Mong ethnic minority group that has been passed on for generations and motivate them to work harder in order to have a better life. A wide range of activities were enacted by locals to introduce their life and customs including rites on the New Year’s Eve, engagement rituals and the rite of naming a grown-up man. A competition on building stone fence was held, and visitors were invited to try their hand at making the Mong’s staple food – the "men men" from maize powder. The traditional "con" throwing (throwing a cloth ball through a ring) and Khen (pan pipe) performances warmed up the atmosphere, and a beauty contest attracted crowds of young people. The same day, Meo Vac district held a ceremony to receive … [Read more...]

ASEAN promotes women, children’s rights

The 10th Meeting of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) took place in Jakarta, Indonesia, on February 25-27 to review the implementation of the ACWC Work Plan in 2012-2016 and discuss a plan for 2016-2020. The ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and other relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies talked over measures to support women victims of trafficking and help law enforcement agencies, social workers and health officials to handle cases more efficiently. The meeting looked at feedback from social service agencies and other relevant stakeholders on the establishment of the ASEAN Network of Social Service Agencies (NOSSA) to prevent, protect and assist victims of violence against women and children from 10 ASEAN member states. Thirty three nominated social service agencies involved in the field have been appointed as initial members of NOSSA. At the same time, the ACWC is developing the Regional Plans of … [Read more...]