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Fresh outbreak of ASF leaves over 5,800 pigs culled

A farmer pours feed into a pig shed. The return of the African swine fever in many localities nationwide has led to the culling of 5,856 affected pigs – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – The recurrence of the African swine fever (ASF) in many localities nationwide has led to the culling of 5,856 affected pigs as of June 28, according to a Department of Animal Health official.

The disease has been reported in 143 communes of 14 provinces, with one commune being newly hit, stated Tran Thi Thu Phuong, chief of the Department’s Division of International Cooperation and Communication.

To date, ASF outbreaks have occurred in 255 communes of 20 provinces and cities across the country for less than 30 days.

In the northern province of Lai Chau, the highly contagious disease, which has spread to four of the seven communes and wards of Lai Chau City, led to 100 sick pigs being killed.

The province has taken drastic measures to fight ASF, but it is at risk of facing a wider spread as the deadly disease had earlier struck 93 of its 108 communes and wards, noted Nguyen Anh Hung, head of the Lai Chau Animal Health Division.

In Cao Bang, the ASF recurrence had killed 600 pigs by June 24, with 138 farming households in nine of the 10 districts and towns affected. The scattered outbreaks have left this northern upland province struggling to curb the spread of the disease.

The disease, which poses obstacles for pig repopulation plans, has also prompted the culling of 97 pigs in Quang Ninh, another northern province, confirmed Quang Ninh’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Amid the fresh outbreak of the fatal disease, the Department of Animal Health has urged localities to intensify measures to prevent and control its spread.



Vietnam climbs two spots in e-governance ranking

Vietnam climbs two spots in e-governance ranking

People fill passport application forms online at the HCMC immigration office, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.

Moving up two places to 86th in the 2020 global e-government growth index, Vietnam still lags behind Southeast Asian peers.

The country scored an overall 0.66, higher than the global average of 0.59 in the biennial E-Government Development Index (EGDI) released this week by the United Nations.

Despite its improvement, Vietnam still lags far behind its neighbors in developing e-governance. In Southeast Asia, Vietnam stands sixth behind Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines.

The EGDI presents the state of e-government development of countries. Along with an assessment of local website development patterns, it incorporates access characteristics like infrastructure and educational levels to reflect how a country is using information technologies to promote access and inclusion for its citizens.

The ranking measured 193 countries and territories around the world based on three important dimensions of e-government: availability of online services, telecommunication infrastructure and human capacity.

Vietnam, classified in the group of developing countries having a High EGDI score, has made substantial improvements in telecommunication infrastructure, jumping 31 places from the 2018 report to 69th this year, moving up three spots to 117th in the human capacity index.

“The tax authority in Vietnam has implemented e-filing, e-payment and e-customs initiatives that have helped to improve tax collection and management and have lowered taxpayers’ compliance costs,” the report said.

Denmark topped the 2020 e-governance index, followed by South Korea and Estonia.

Vietnam targets climbing 10-15 places in the U.N.’s E-Government Development Index global rankings and breaking into the top four in Southeast Asia by 2025.

A government program to turn Vietnam into a digital nation approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc last year wants 80 percent of the population to carry out transactions digitally, and aims to provide broadband Internet and 5G connections nationwide in the next five years. Local telecom firms are chasing a head start in the 5G race as Vietnam expects to become an early adopter of the technology.

The government has acted on years of complaints from the public and investors that it takes too long to complete administrative procedures and that the process involves too much paperwork.

Official data in 2019 shows it can take up to 218 hours and cost VND64.1 million ($2,700) to complete a single administrative procedure.

Nearly 85 percent of Vietnamese and businesses are satisfied with administrative services provided by state agencies, according to Public Administration Reform Index 2019.


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Red River flood diversion needs special treatment

Architect Dao Ngoc Nghiem, Vice President of the Vietnam Urban Development and Planning Association, talks on the need to grant a special policy for Hanoi on flood diversion on the Red River.

Red River flood diversion needs special treatment
Architect Dao Ngoc Nghiem. — Photo

When did the study planning the Hong (Red) River banks start?

The portion of the Red River that runs through Hanoi has a total length of about 130km. For ages, people have lived on both sides of the Red River. In the 1998 Hanoi’s master development plan, city authorities adopted a decision to develop the city along the banks of the Red River, in which the Red River would become an axis in the city’s course of urban development.

To implement the Prime Minister’s Decision 1259, in 2012, Hanoi authorities approved the planning design for areas along the two sides of the Red River. And in the last three years, the Hanoi Construction Planning Institute has developed a planning map for the development of the Red River. However, until now such an architectural design and other ideas on the development plan of the Red River banks remain on paper.

Why? What has caused the delay for the approval of the plan?

A very important requirement in the planning of the Red River banks is to develop an important axis space for Hanoi to ensure urban areas continue to develop, yet still make the best use of available land and protect Hanoi’s inner city from flooding.

However, the idea of developing the land outside of the river dyke must adhere to the Vietnamese 2006 Law on Dyke Management and the Government Decree 113 which was issued on June 28, 2007 on the master planning of dykes along the Red River and the Thai Binh River. However, until now Hanoi and Thai Binh authorities have not yet got their master plan on anti-flood ready for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to approve. That’s why the plan on zoning the Red River remains on paper.

Can you explain more about the development plan for the two sides of the Red River?

By now there are quite a few proposals on the planning of the Red River at different scopes and scales. For example, in 1996, a Singaporean investor came up with a proposal to develop a big and modern urban area in An Duong area which is located on one side of the Red River dyke. According to the Singaporean proposal, the area would be modelled on an urban area in Singapore. Then in 2005, American Indochina Land Corporation came up with a proposal to build a science hub in the An Duong area.

In 2004, another project which was named HAIDEP – a joint venture between Vietnam and Japan, also came up with a proposal to build cities along the banks of the Red River.

In 2006, Hanoi and Seoul authorities signed a mutual agreement on co-operation in the development of the River dyke portion which run through Hanoi.

In 2017, quite a few big Vietnamese economic groups, including Sun Group, Vingroup and Geleximco and others also came up with proposals to financially sponsor the planning study, particularly the harness of the Red River and the transportation activities along the Red River. Adding to that, Hanoi authorities have also adopted a plan to assign the Hanoi Institute of Construction and Planning to work with Sun Group, Vingroup and Geleximco to study developing urban areas along a portion of the Red River which runs through Hanoi.

What are the challenges in the development of the portion of the Red River which runs through Hanoi?

The biggest challenge is how to calculate the stability of the flood diversion and the dyke system for Hanoi. To do that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should develop a plan on the flood discharge for the Red River as well as the whole dyke system that runs through Hanoi.

Furthermore, Hanoi should adopt a detailed plan on the development of the banks of the Red River. And of course, to do that Hanoi should also adopt a preferential policy to turn ideas into life.  VNS

Hanoi rekindles riverside megacity project along the Red River

Hanoi seeks ideas to develop Red River banks

RoK to help Hanoi plan development


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Students change study abroad plans because of Covid-19, new policies

The Covid-19 pandemic and new policies applied by countries receiving foreign students have changed Vietnamese students’ study abroad plans.

Duong Thi Hoai Chan, a parent in HCM City, decided to cancel the plan to send her son abroad to university this year.

Students change study abroad plans because of Covid-19, new policies

The son is studying at an international school in Vietnam, which belongs to a pilot project implemented by the HCM City Education and Training Department and the Australian Ministry of Education.

The students are following an Australian curriculum, under which the new academic year begins in January and finishes in November.

Chan initially decided that her son would go abroad to follow university education in Australia or Canada, the countries which allow admissions in January. However, as the epidemic is escalating and online learning is still maintained in Australia and Canada, Chan has reconsidered her decision.

The Covid-19 pandemic and new policies applied by countries receiving foreign students have changed Vietnamese students’ study abroad plans.

Since the son will finish high school in November, he won’t be able to enroll in universities which begin new academic years in September.

Therefore, Chan is considering opportunities to study finance under foreign curricula at the Vietnam-Germany International University (a member of HCM City National University) and the International School of Business-ISB (a member school of the HCM City Economics University) and some other schools.

She also is considering the 2+2 or 2+1 training models, i.e. two-year study in Vietnam and another one or two years in foreign countries.

However, the son wants to study medicine or life-related sciences, while these schools have advantages in economics majors.

Chan admitted that she considers ‘non-traditional choices’ for her son. And if the son wants a gap year, she will support his idea. During the gap year, she will encourage him to go to vocational schools or go to Israel to study.

The parent said, due to Covid-19, she has had more time to understand what her son wants and where he wants to study. Covid-19 has made her understand that one needs to be very flexible to adapt to all changes in their lives.

Tran Manh Hung, a parent in Lam Dong province, has two daughters who were initially planning to go to Australia to study arts and design. However, because of Covid-19, they will stay in Vietnam and study at domestic schools.

While the elder sister will study design at an international school, the younger sister has chosen HCM City Architecture University.

Le Thi Linh from International School of Business said the number of students asking for information about international training programs at the school is higher this year. She estimates that the number of applications is 50 percent higher than the previous year.

Le Ha 


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