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Nguyen Dynasty’s last palace maid dies at age 102



Mrs. Le Thi Dinh, the last imperial maid of Vietnam’s last feudal dynasty, the Nguyen Dynasty, passed away on February 21 in the ancient capital city of Hue at the age of 102.

Cung nữ cuối cùng triều Nguyễn qua đời tại Huế, thọ 102 tuổi

Mrs. Le Thi Dinh, the last imperial maid of the Nguyen Dynasty

Mr. Vo Le Nhat, Director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Center, told VietNamNet that the center sent its employees to Mrs. Dinh’s home to prepare for the funeral.

“The family asked for the center’s support to hold the funeral. But due to the complicated situation of Covid-19 epidemic, the funeral will be organized by the family,” Nhat said.

Mrs. Dinh’s son – Mr. Nguyen Nhu Tri – said that three years ago, Mr. Dinh fell and was bedridden.

“My mum’s health got weaker recently. She passed away at 13:45 yesterday (February 21),” Tri said.

The funeral will be held on February 28, he added.

According to historical documents, at the age of 8, while attending Dong Khanh school, Mrs. Le Thi Dinh was summoned by the Queen (the wife of King Dong Khanh).

When Dinh was 15, the Queen passed away, and after that she served the wife of King Khai Dinh.

Each month, Ms. Le Thi Dinh was paid six dong (equivalent to 600 cans of rice).

After the August Revolution in 1945, the Queen moved to An Dinh Palace and then the house at No. 147 Phan Dinh Phung Street, Hue City. Mrs. Le Thi Dinh followed the Queen as her maid.

Mrs. Dinh was a palace maid but also a descendant of the royal family as she is the granddaughter of prince Ung Quyen, and third brother of Kings Kien Phuc, Ham Nghi, Dong Khanh. So after the Queen died, Mrs. Dinh moved to Kien Thai Vuong Palace to take care of the altars of kings Dong Khanh, Kien Phuc, Ham Nghi and Khai Dinh and later King Bao Dao (since 1997).

Hue cultural researcher Tran Dai Vinh said that Mrs. Le Thi Dinh is considered the last palace maid of the Nguyen Dynasty and “her death is a great loss”.

“Mrs. Le Thi Dinh had a thorough understanding of the customs, makeup, rituals and costumes in the court. She was the one who had access to the royal ways of the last feudal dynasty of Vietnam,” Vinh said.

Quang Thanh



Central Highlands corn farmer caught growing cannabis ‘cattle feed’



Central Highlands corn farmer caught growing cannabis 'cattle feed'

Police measures a cannabis tree found in a farm in Chu Se District of Gia Lai Province, February 25, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Oanh.

A farmer in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai is being investigated after he was found growing 230 cannabis trees in between corn stalks.

The 25 to 145-centimeter-high trees were discovered covering 800 of 4,630 square meters cultivated by Tran Hung, 38, in Chu Se District on Thursday afternoon.

Police also found a nursery where baby cannabis trees were being reared.

Hung said the nursery is owned by his grandmother and that he was assigned to manage it two years ago.

In late 2019, an acquaintance gave him cannabis seeds to grow as cattle feed, he said.

Police, having seized the entire cannabis crop, plan to expand their investigation.

Cannabis is on the list of narcotics forbidden in Vietnam.

Those growing cannabis on a small scale could be fined VND2-5 million ($86.16-215.40). Farmers found cultivating 500 to 3,000 plants could face jail terms of six months to three years, while those operating on a bigger scale could spend up to seven years in jail.


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74 volunteers receive made-in-Việt Nam COVID-19 vaccine in human trial’s Phase II



A volunteer receives a dose of Nano Covax, Việt Nam’s first COVID-19 vaccine, as the Phase 2 of the human trial begins at the Military Medical University on Friday. — VNA/ Photo Minh Quyết

HÀ NỘI — A total of 74 volunteers were given the Vietnamese COVID-19 vaccine, Nano Covax, in phase II of human trials on Friday.

Nanocovax is Việt Nam’s first COVID-19 vaccine reaching the human trial stage, developed by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC and the Military Medical University (MMU) in Hà Nội.

According to a representative from MMU, the phase 2 was held concurrently at two places, 35 were given the jabs at the MMU and Pasteur Institute in HCM City will administer the shots to 39 volunteers in the southern province of Long An.

The Phase 2 trial is expected to see the participation of up to 560 volunteers aged 18-60. Some of them have underlying health conditions such as hypertension and diabetes but are not too severe.

The trial of the vaccine at the two places, compared to the first phase where the vaccine is being administered in Hà Nội only, could speed up the progress by shortening the study time to three months instead of six months while ensuring scientific data is accurate, the representative said.

The first 35 volunteers in Hà Nội were chosen among about 300 people who registered to participate in the second-stage trial of the vaccine at the MMU after undergoing rigorous medical examinations. 

They are divided into four random groups to receive three doses of 25mcg, 50mcg and 75mcg of the vaccine or a placebo.

“Because the trial sees the participation of volunteers with underlying health conditions, we have been prepared for all scenarios and ensured safety for all volunteers,” said Lieutenant-General Đỗ Quyết, Director of the Military Medical University.

He said the results of the trial would be announced in May before the third stage trial during which only one single shot of the vaccine is to be injected for 10,000-15,000 people from domestic and foreign pandemic-hit areas.

Test results of the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine showed that it is safe and has no serious complications and might be effective against B117, the new variant in the United Kingdom, Quyết said.

He also said the research team would evaluate the immune response carefully in the second phase.

“Although we have shortened the trial of the vaccine by half with great efforts by the research units, more efforts should be made and the compliance with set standards is a must,” said Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam as he visited the first 35 volunteers on Friday.

He stressed the need to have a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Việt Nam as quickly as possible, adding that the successes of the trial would not only serve as effective against COVID-19 but also boost the pride of Vietnamese scientists who take part in the research and development of vaccines as well as of the public at large. 

Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam, Head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, visited the volunteers and the medical staff involved in the vaccine trial at Military Medical University (MMU) in Hà Nội on Friday. — VNA/ Photo 

At the vaccine administration site in the southern province of Long An, a 57-year-old man from Thanh Phú Commune in the province’s Bến Lức District told Việt Nam News: “After I heard about the second phase of human trials on the media, I went to the health centre to register as a volunteer.”

“I feel very happy to get the vaccine.”

Another volunteer, 51, from the same commune said: “I was provided careful counselling about the vaccine. I also read about the results of the first phase. I trust the vaccine’s effectiveness. I was happy to be selected.”

Nguyễn Ngô Quang, deputy director of the Department of Science, Technology and Training, said: “Besides importing COVID-19 vaccines, the country also has to research and develop the vaccine to ensure health security.”

The imported vaccines are only meant for use now, and the country has to rely on domestic production in future, according to Quang.

The country also has other vaccine candidates being developed by the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals, the Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No 1 and the Centre for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals. — 

A health worker administered the vaccine shot for a man in Long An Province during the human trial. — VNA/ Photo Đức Hạnh


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Five new COVID-19 cases reported on Friday evening



Five new cases reported this evening, one imported and four community cases in Hai Duong who were quarantined.


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