By staff writers – Translated by Anh Quan
Formally elects the president and vice president
Speaking at the congress, PM Phuc urged the association to continue its work in building up the Vietnamese intellectual circle in order to serve national development.
The Government leader spoke highly of VUSTA’s role in gathering and uniting Vietnamese scientists and technical experts at home and abroad, providing favourable conditions to make contributions to their homeland.
Intellectuals lay the foundation for social progress, and Vietnamese intellectuals play a crucial role in the country’s construction and development, the PM said, asking the union to strengthen its operations to become a strong political and social organisation, acting as the voice of scientists and technicians across the country, while caring for and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of its members.
The union was also assigned to serve as a consultant for the Party and State in gathering the brainpower of intellectuals, while contributing ideas to the Party and State’s policies and major socio-economic projects and programmes.
The congress saw the participation of over 900 delegates representing more than 3 million VUSTA members nationwide.
The participants reviewed the union’s operations in the 2015-2020 period and set out its orientations and tasks for the next five years.
Member of the Party Central Committee and Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Science, Technology and the Environment Phan Xuan Dung was elected as President of the union.
* Indian government ministers and officials were following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lead by opting for an Indian-made vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca one.
* Thailand may celebrate its traditional new year Songkran as usual around mid-April, Culture Minister Itthiphol Khunpluem said Wednesday.
* China’s annual coal output will stand at no higher than 4.1 billion tonnes by the end of the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), after it climbed 1.4 percent year on year to 3.9 billion tonnes in 2020, said a report issued by the China National Coal Association on Wednesday.
* President Joe Biden said on Tuesday the United States would have enough COVID-19 vaccine for every American adult by the end of May.
* The European Union aims to increase the region’s COVID-19 vaccine production capacity to 2-3 billion doses per year by the end of 2021, Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton was quoted as saying.
* German Chancellor Angela Merkel was expected on Wednesday to agree a gradual relaxation of curbs with regional leaders, but the rules can be tightened again if infections jump.
* Australia will seek the support of the defence forces in its immunisation drive, as it looks to ramp up a vaccination rollout programme that is running behind schedule.
* More than 3.5 million people have been vaccinated in Chile against COVID-19 almost a month after the start of a mass inoculation campaign, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday. It said in a communique that a total of 3,512,326 people have been vaccinated in the country, with 2,259,013 over the age of 60.
* OPEC and other oil producers, a group known as OPEC+, are considering rolling over production cuts into April instead of raising output as oil demand recovery remains fragile due to the coronavirus, three OPEC+ sources told Reuters. OPEC+ ministers hold a full meeting on Thursday.
* Indonesia, with the world’s third biggest rainforest area, reduced the rate of deforestation by 75% last year by controlling forest fires more effectively and limiting clearing of woodland, the Environment Ministry said.
* Negotiators from the Republic of Korea and the United States will hold talks in Washington later this week to discuss how to share the upkeep cost for the US Forces Korea (USFK), Seoul’s foreign ministry said Wednesday.
* The Russian Foreign Ministry urged the US administration “not to play with fire” after Washington on Tuesday announced sanctions against Russian individuals and entities over the alleged poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
* The US Senate is expected to take up Biden’s US$1.9 trillion relief package on Wednesday, with fellow Democrats seeking to advance key priorities and jettison aspects that have drawn unflattering scrutiny.
* Portuguese hotels lost 73% of total revenues last year compared to 2019, the Portuguese Hotel Association (AHP) said on Wednesday, as the COVID-19 pandemic drastically curbed travel from abroad, weighing on the tourism-dependent economy.
* An earthquake of magnitude 6.2 struck central Greece on Wednesday, sending people rushing from their houses but drawing no immediate reports of casualties or significant damage.
* The World Bank is preparing emergency financing to help about 30 African countries access vaccines, the global lender told Reuters.
* Turkey and Egypt could negotiate a maritime demarcation agreement in the eastern Mediterranean if their ties, which have been strained, allow for such a move, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.
* Katyusha rockets were fired on Wednesday on a military airbase housing US-led coalition forces in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, security sources said. A brief statement by the Joint Operations Command said that 10 rockets were fired in the morning on Ayn al-Asad airbase without causing casualties, while the Iraqi forces seized the rocket launcher later.
* Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday urged the United States to lift sanctions to save the nuclear deal, which is also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), official IRNA news agency reported.
* A record number of Ukrainians were taken to hospital with coronavirus over the past 24 hours while the number of deaths remains consistently high.
* Kenya and Senegal received their first batches of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme.
* Merck & Co agreed to make rival Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine.
The site was the outcome of the first phase of a project sponsored by Startech, a Vietnamese IT company operating in Laos. The second phase will build a software to serve the committee’s project and administrative management.
Speaking at the ceremony, Lao Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment and Vice Chairman of the committee Khamphuei Keokinaly stressed the launch of the website presents an opportunity for the committee to boost its employment of advanced science and technology serving its work in a new period.
The website is a tool to spread information on Laos’ policies for attracting foreign investors, including those from Vietnam, he noted.
Once completed in December this year, the Startech project is expected to help the committee digitise its data on operations, investment promotion, and management of Vietnam – Laos cooperation projects. It will also facilitate access by Vietnamese agencies and firms to information on the two nations’ collaboration developments.
Việt Nam News introduces a story by Bulgarian Ambassador to Việt Nam Marinela Petkova to mark the National Day of the Republic of Bulgaria (March 3)
Bulgaria and Việt Nam are natural and close partners. Our decades-long relationship exhibits shared principles and goals for building a community of peace and prosperity for our peoples. Our lasting bilateral ties have been carefully cultivated and nowadays rest on common objectives, executed with equal strength on bilateral, as well as on multilateral level.
On March 3 Bulgaria celebrates its National Day, its liberation in 1878 from foreign domination, the end of a centuries-long struggle, which in its final stages attracted widespread international support. Therefore, it is not only an occasion to celebrate Bulgaria’s sovereignty and freedom, but also a day to reflect on the transformative power of solidarity, cooperation and common values.
Being one of the first countries to recognise Việt Nam’s right to independence, in 2020 Bulgaria and Việt Nam celebrated 70 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Thanks to Việt Nam’s successful effort in containing the spread of COVID-19 we were able to carry out a series of events to commemorate the anniversary as an important milestone and a testament to the endurance and resilience of a friendship that upholds its unique people-centred character.
Rallying the support of partners from state and local level institutions and agencies across Việt Nam and Bulgaria, with the help of the numerous active Việt Nam-Bulgaria friendship associations , the 70th anniversary was widely recognized through diplomatic visits and events in HCM City, Hải Phòng and Vĩnh Phúc, with B2B webinars, various cultural happenings, book publications, all culminating in the month of November with the inauguration by the Vietnam News Agency of the exhibition Việt Nam-Bulgaria: 70 Years of Friendship and Development and a friendship concert at the Hà Nội Opera House.
It was the turbulent historical events of the mid-20th century that brought Bulgaria and Việt Nam together, but it was through dedicated will and thoughtful commitment that our partnership managed to transcend tests of time to nowadays encompass pragmatic and hands-on solutions for applied diplomacy. Boasting an earnest bilateral political dialogue, consistently growing economic co-operation (yet to meet its full potential), and dynamic multi-sectoral collaboration, the current agenda of Bulgaria-Việt Nam relations has widened to include exchange on international developments and security concerns, economic engagement and socio-cultural matters, taking shape and projecting results on a larger world canvas.
While competing visions and agendas on the global order are at play now, the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe and demonstrated how interconnected and interdependent the world has become. It has overturned lives and livelihoods revealing some opportunities hidden in the conspicuous challenges, such as hastening the transformation of industries, digital connectivity, setting up regulatory standards and norms and pointing to the necessity of streamlining government policies for an enhanced rule-based multilateral framework.
Drawing on Việt Nam’s membership in ASEAN and Bulgaria’s membership into the European Union we ensure and witness consistency and complementarity between our multilateral and bilateral diplomacy and co-operation. In December 2020 under Việt Nam’s Chairmanship of ASEAN both organisations elevated their relationship to the level of strategic partnership, stipulating even deeper joint work on matters of politics, economy, security, connectivity, sustainable development, climate change and green growth. The institutionalisation of the EU-Việt Nam relations continued through the groundbreaking EU-Việt Nam FTA, the launch of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and the signature of the Framework Partnership Agreement, to name just a few.
Furthermore, the timely and effective measures for COVID-19 control taken by the Government of Việt Nam made the country a world role model, while in parallel as ASEAN Chair Việt Nam led the regional efforts in containing the pandemic and guiding the post-pandemic recovery. In Europe, Bulgaria participated in developing a common EU approach to ensure safe and free vaccination for all, and in co-ordinating on a 1.8 trillion euro recovery plan; the EU has committed more than 850 million euro to COVAX, working also to advance solidarity with international partners, including ASEAN and its member states, via ‘Team Europe’. The objective, defined as a joint EU global vision, with the substantial financial resources allocated, is “to seek a post-pandemic recovery that is sustainable, human rights-based, inclusive, green, digital, and which strengthens gender equality and boosts human development, especially for those furthest behind.”
Now, the emerging new norms of co-operation are integral to seeking pragmatic co-operative solutions and a drive towards inclusive multilateralism, deepening our ties on key priorities and demanding truly strategic relationships. Tackling social and gender inequalities is also essential. In that regard promoting the role and participation of women, including along the Women, Peace and Security Agenda has a vital place in both Bulgaria’s and Việt Nam’s foreign policies, with the alignment of objectives and initiatives between the programme document ‘Hanoi Commitment to Action’ , adopted in December 2020, and Bulgaria’s ‘Women, Peace and Security National Action Plan 2020-2025’ .
Pushing further the multi-stakeholder partnerships between government, society, private sector, academia, scientific community the guidelines of the 13th National Congress of the CPV aim at increasing prosperity towards a high-income Việt Nam by 2045. Transcribed into Vietnam’s Socio-Economic Development Strategy 2021-2030 they outline areas of bilateral collaboration of common significance such as economic modernisation, innovation and promoting environmentally-friendly standards, private sector development, effective institution-building, resilience to climate change and social justice.
Bulgaria and Việt Nam’s relationship persevered because it has been continuously adapting and developing, nowadays doing so to match and navigate the ever complex body of entwined international challenges and changing geopolitical realities. Upheld by mutual understanding and true peoples’ friendship the story of the Bulgaria-Việt Nam partnership teaches a lot about solidarity, compassion, generosity of spirit and giving back. It is the story of how diplomacy and dialogue have been instrumental in influencing and strengthening peaceful state-to-state relations.
Decades of mutual support and respect give Bulgaria and Việt Nam the confidence and the ambition to continue to work together to promote growth and ensure sustainable and inclusive national development. While we prepare for another leap forward post-pandemic both countries should continue to act as effective partners in today’s multipolar world, to propel the strategic communication through well-connected networks for dialogue – academic, cultural, social and business, and encourage their significance in state-to-state affairs. VNS
CANBERRA — Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter, the country’s chief law officer, identified himself on Wednesday as the subject of a historical rape allegation, declaring his innocence and strongly denying the claim.
Politicians who last week received an anonymous allegation of an assault in 1988 had referred material to federal police. On Tuesday, police in New South Wales state, where the alleged assault occurred, said there was insufficient evidence to investigate the claim and closed the matter.
Seeking to end swirling speculation about the identity of the unnamed cabinet minister since the allegation was first reported last week, an emotional Porter said he was the subject of the claim. He said the incident had never happened and he said he had not had a sexual relationship with the woman involved.
“I can only say to you that it didn’t happen,” Porter told a media conference in Perth, adding he was being asked to “disprove something that didn’t happen 33 years ago.”
Porter said all he knew about the allegation was what he had read in the media, but the details of the claim had never been put to him.
He said he would not resign his ministerial position, but would take leave for a couple of weeks to “assess and hopefully improve” his mental health.
Police had said the allegation could not be investigated because the alleged victim did not make a formal statement to them detailing her account before she committed suicide last year.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had spoken to the then unnamed minister who had “vigorously rejected” the allegation.
Porter said he had the backing of Morrison.
Australia’s Minister for Industrial Relations Michaelia Cash will stand in as acting Attorney-General while Porter takes leave, a spokesman for Morrison said.
The government has been under pressure over its handling of unrelated allegations by three former staff members of the ruling Liberal party that they had been raped by an unidentified colleague.
One victim who went public with her allegations has made an official police complaint.