“Flower of the Apple Tree” – the first joint Hungary-Vietnam film.(Photo: VNA)
A ceremony was held at the Urania National Film Theatre in Budapest, Hungary on February 8 to debut “Flower of the Apple Tree” – the first joint Hungary-Vietnam film.
Speaking at the event, Csaba Káel, Government Commissioner for the Development of the Hungarian Motion Picture Industry, said that the film helps increase understanding about Vietnam and Hungary and bring the two countries’ culture closer to each other.
The film is being debuted on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement to end war and restore peace in Vietnam, bringing the audience back to the exciting years of relationship between the two countries in the 1970s.
Watching the film, people can also see images of changes and development of Vietnam today, he said.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Hungary Nguyen Thi Bich Thao praised the film crew and relevant competent agencies of both nations for their efforts to allow the film to be introduced to the public after five years, overcoming difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The film will premiere at the Uránia National Film Theatre in Budapest beginning February 15.
Meteorology sector improves warning system in natural disaster risk management
The General Department of Meteorology has revealed that its early warning system has played a crucial role in mitigating the impact of extreme weather events and safeguarding both lives and property.
In its latest report, the department stated that it had issued over 58,600 forecast and warning bulletins to relevant authorities annually, facilitating disaster prevention and response efforts.
The report highlights the effectiveness of the meteorology industry, which was able to provide timely forecasts for seven storms, two tropical depressions, and a range of severe weather events, including cold spells, heat waves, and floods. These forecasts allowed for prompt action to be taken, reducing the risk of harm to communities and their livelihoods.
The agency has also well performed its role as a focal point for hazardous weather forecasting in Southeast Asia.
In 2023, it is forecast there will be 11-13 storms and tropical depressions in the East Sea, of which 5-6 storms will affect the mainland.
Heat waves this year are forecast to become more intense.
Deputy Director of the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Hoàng Phúc Lâm said the sector has extended the time limit for weather forecasting and early warning of natural disasters to 10 days.
The content and format of the bulletins have changed a lot, focusing on providing forecast information on a smaller scale at the district and commune levels, and over a longer time period.
Storm forecasts and tropical depression warnings are given three to five days in advance; heavy rain two to three days in advance, and thunderstorms from 30 minutes to two to three hours in advance. Severe and damaging cold spells are forecast two to three days in advance.
Trần Hồng Thái, general director of Việt Nam’s General Department of Meteorology, said the industry has strongly focused on investing in science and technology to promptly provide information and data, ensuring consistency, accuracy, continuity, reliability, effectively serving sectors and ministries.
He said climate change is expected to worsen the frequency, intensity and impacts of some types of extreme weather events.
Flash floods and landslides in mountainous areas; geotechnical data in the East Sea, along with the requirements for international cooperation, the country’s socio-economic development activities in the context of the strong development of science and technology have been posing challenges to the meteorological sector.
Kon Tum celebrates its 110th anniversary
The Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province of Kon Tum is hosting a series of cultural and sports activities to mark the 110th anniversary of its establishment (February 9, 1913 – 2023).
The programme includes a photo exhibition titled “Kon Tum – The Land and the People”, organised by the Việt Nam Cultural Arts Exhibition Centre under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, in cooperation with the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The exhibition displays 200 works by photographers and photojournalists from Kon Tum and other provinces.
The photos highlight the province’s landscapes, cultural and architectural heritage, lifestyles, as well as work on the preservation and promotion of the culture and tradition of ethnic minorities in Kon Tum.
The showcase also features works focusing on achievements related to the economy, science and technology, social security, national defence, national sovereignty protection, international integration, and new-style rural communes.
The exhibition remains open at the province’s museum until February 12.
For sports, the province, in collaboration with the National Traffic Safety Committee, will host a mountain marathon for National Traffic Safety in Sa Thầy District on February 12.
The marathon will offer distances of 42km, 21km, 10km, and 5km around Chư Mom Ray National Park.
According to the organisers, all profits from the race will be given to needy victims of traffic accidents.
Previously, Kon Tum also launched a food festival to introduce 150 signature dishes of Kon Tum and Tây Nguyên on February 8, and an air balloon lantern festival on February 8 and 9 as part of activities to celebrate its establishment anniversary.
Dak Lak elephant dies
A 34-year-old elephant in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak has died from illness.
According to Tran Xuan Phuoc, director of the Dak Lak Centre for Elephant Conservation, Animal Rescue and Forest Protection Management, elephant Rok died at the centre on Thursday.
Right after that, the centre reported the case to Buon Don District’s authorities for a postmortem investigation.
Animals Asia Foundation (AAF) had funded a project to take the male elephant from the neighbouring Lam Dong Province to Dak Lak on January 15.
Phuoc added that at the time of being rescued from Lam Dong, the elephant was already in bad health. Experts from AAF provided intensive treatment and care for the animal, but failed to improve the situation.
After finishing the autopsy, the centre held a burial ceremony for the elephant.
The Dak Lak Centre for Elephant Conservation, Animal Rescue and Forest Protection Management is taking care of two elephants after handing over three elephants to Buon Don National Park earlier.
Northern region to face new cold spell
The northern region will face a new strong cold spell from February 13 after a long period of warm weather with high humidity.
According to the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting, the foggy weather will continue to last until the weekend in the north with temperatures ranging between 17- 22 degrees Celsius and humidity of over 85 percent.
The region will expect two bright sunny days on Saturday and Sunday before experiencing a new cold spell on February 13.
The cold dry weather is forecasted to last several days before the foggy and rainy days return, the centre said.
Rare langurs seek food at Phu Yen pagoda
Three rare langurs often come to a pagoda in the southern central province of Phu Yen to seek food.
According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the douc langurs have appeared at Quang Son Pagoda over the past ten days in Tuy Hoa City’s Hoa Kien Commune. They weigh from seven to 20 kilos.
The animals often climb on trees at the pagoda and are quite friendly with people. They are usually given fruit by monks and visitors.
Nguyen Vinh Thanh, head of Tuy Hoa City’s Forest Management Board, said the langurs were listed among endangered rare species which need to be protected. Local authorities have called on people to help preserve them.
He also added that his agency has also considered measures to return the langurs to the wild.
Some 6,000 promo train tickets go on sale on HCMC-Hanoi route
The Saigon Railway Joint Stock Company has launched a promotion program to offer a 30% discount on 6,000 train tickets from February 21 to March 31 to boost rail travel.
Tickets, open for sale from 8:00 on February 18 to the end of March 28 and applicable for fixed seats, must be purchased at least three days in advance.
Trains subject to the promotion program include SE3/SE4, SE7/SE8 with a route from 400 kilometers early in the week, from 500 kilometers for weekends; trains SE21/SE22 with a route from 400 kilometers; trains SNT1/SNT2 with a route from 250 kilometers; and trains SPT1/SPT2 with a route from 150 kilometers.
After enjoying discounts, train tickets from HCMC to Nha Trang will be priced at VND180,000 per ticket, HCMC-Danang at VND340,000 per ticket and HCMC-Hanoi at VND630,000 per ticket.
Passengers can buy tickets at train stations and authorized ticket agents or book online through website and mobile app.
Deadline for Metro Line No.1 completion extended
The Government has agreed to reschedule the completion date of Metro Line No. 1 to the final quarter of 2023.
The earlier deadline for the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line is the fourth quarter of 2021, with the contractors’ warranty period lasting for two years from 2024 to 2025 and the time for operation and maintenance support between 2024 and 2028, the Government news site Baochinhphu.vn reported.
The PM tasked the HCMC government with removing hindrances to the project, ensuring its progress aligns with the plan, and allocating resources to complete unfinished components in case the project lags behind the deadline.
The city was also told to review the funding demand and carry out paperwork related to the negotiations and signing of the fourth loan agreement for the project.
Five wood associations join hands to boost trading
Vietnam’s five wood industry associations have announced their strategic cooperation to boost trade promotion and woodwork exports and develop the local wood market.
They are the Association of Vietnam Timber and Forest Product (VIFOREST), the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCMC, the Binh Duong Furniture Association, the Dong Nai Wood and Handicraft Industry Association and the Forest Products Association of Binh Dinh Province.
The partnership is aimed at helping enterprises active in the wood and woodwork industry expand their operations and beef up furniture exports, said Do Xuan Lap, chairman of VIFOREST.
The HCMC Export Furniture Fair 2023, or HawaExpo 2023, which is slated for February 22, will mark the cooperation.
The four-day fair will be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center in HCMC, making a start for the subsequent large-scale furniture fairs in Asia.
The event is expected to bring together multiple major Vietnamese woodwork producers and exporters, including AA Corporation, Interwood, Sanyang, Lam Viet, Dai Thanh, Tien Dat, Truong Thanh, An Cuong, Woodlands and Scansia Pacific.
Allan Kjaer, business development manager of Fine Scandinavia, said that despite the slow growth of the local wood industry in 2022, Vietnam is still an ideal destination for international furniture buyers.
The fair will act as a link between Vietnamese furniture suppliers and foreign partners, he added.
Prime Minister’s visit to Singapore particularly successful: expert
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s official visit to Singapore was particularly successful and beyond expectations, reported an expert in the field.
Talking to the Vietnam News Agency, Assoc. Prof. Vu Minh Khuong from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore said the trip from February 8 to 10 has considerably promoted Vietnam’s stature, thus consolidating the trust in the country’s development efforts and bright future.
A breakthrough success of the visit is that it has created great confidence among Singaporean enterprises, many of which have expressed their intention to invest in Vietnam, he noted.
The city state is highly impressed with Vietnam’s green energy and energy security strategies, as well as the goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, he went on, perceiving that the two countries will make important strides in sustainable development and green energy investment.
Khuong said he is also impressed with Vietnam’s investment in developing wind energy for export to Singapore, considering the memorandum of understanding on green and digital economic partnership a stepping stone for further progress in bilateral collaboration in this field.
During the visit, the two countries reviewed their cooperation outcomes over the last 50 years, especially since the upgrade of bilateral ties to a strategic partnership. The two Southeast Asian nations have always trusted each other, shown strong political determination, and also boast huge cooperation potential.
Vietnam has expressed its sincerity, faithfulness, practicality, and adaptability to the era in its cooperation and relations with other countries, especially Singapore, according to the expert.
He voiced his belief that with effort and support between the two Governments, Vietnam and Singapore can jointly create substantial impetus toward their cooperation to become a role model in the region.
Phu Yen works to protect rare gray-shanked douc langurs
The Forest Protection Department of Tuy Hoa city, the central province of Phu Yen, coordinated with relevant units to raise public awareness of the importance of protecting the gray-shanked douc langurs that appeared recently in Cam Tu village, Hoa Kien commune.
On the morning of February 10, an individual of this kind of primate appeared in the garden of Le Van Thanh in Cam Tu village.
Thanh said three individuals that appear to be the gray-shanked douc langur (Pygathrix cinerea) have been observed in residential areas in the village since December last year. They recently showed up in the village again between 9am – 5pm.
Le Thanh Tung, head of Cam Tu village, said after receiving information from locals about the presence of the primates in the village, village authorities asked local residents not to hunt them.
On February 9, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Phu Yen province sent an official dispatch to the Phu Yen Forest Protection Department and Tuy Hoa City People’s Committee, requesting cooperation in protecting these rare animals.
On February 10 morning, the Forest Protection Department of Tuy Hoa city coordinated with local authorities to inspect and observe the activities of those animals in the locality.
The gray-shanked douc langur, that has the scientific name Pygathrix cinerea, is an endangered, precious and rare animal. This particular species belongs to the IB group. The animal is therefore protected under Decree No. 06/2019/ND-CP dated January 22, 2019 of the Government on management of endangered and precious forest plants and animals, rarity and implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Nguyen Vinh Thanh, head of the Forest Protection Department of Tuy Hoa city, has asked local authorities and locals to follow the movement of the animals, thus taking appropriate measures to manage and protect the species.
According to GreenViet Biodiversity Conservation Center (GreenViet), in Phu Yen, protective forests in Dong Xuan district are identified as habitats of gray-shanked douc langurs.
Green Viet is organising a survey from February 8-13 to additionally study the distribution, number and habitat of the gray-shanked douc langur in protective forests of Dong Xuan district in order to have more scientific data for the planning, management and conservation of the species sustainably nationwide.
Valentine’s Day brings romantic deals to retailers all over the city
Retailers in Ho Chi Minh City have restarted their promotional campaigns following the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, another opportunity for sales just two weeks after Vietnam’s biggest holiday of the year.
Romantic deals are ready to go on such gifts as jewelry, flowers, fashion and cosmetics, the best Valentine’s Day gifts.
The Saigon Jewelry Company Limited (SJC) is offering discounts ranging from 1% to up to 40% from February 10-20 on its products, including, a girl’s best friend, – diamonds. The Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company has a pre-Valentine’s Day sale to help beat the rush.
Flower, fruit and chocolate sellers are offering products of different prices, both online and offline.
Nguyen Ngoc Thang, director of operations at Co.opmart, said Co.opXtra hypermarkets are running a promotion programme until February 22 on products such as chocolate, cakes, flowers, perfume and couple’s T-shirts, and offering 420 movie tickets through the Cooponline platform.
A survey at commercial centres and supermarkets in HCM City shows that the supply of gifts for Valentines Day this year will increase from 10-20% as compared with normal days.
Cosmetic products by such brands as Dove, Pantene, Enchanteur, Pond’s, L’Oreal, Head&Shoulder and Hazeline are on sale from only 73,500 VND (3.12 USD) each, with add-on items included with the purchase. The prices of other products like teddy bears, footwear, bags and perfumes are reduced by 10 – 30%.
Digital transformation – inevitable trend of sport sector
The Vietnam Sports Administration (VSA) has coordinated with competent agencies in building a project on digital transformation in the sport sector for 2023-2025, with a vision towards 2030.
The project is expected to upgrade the sector’s database and conduct digitalisation in management, training and research.
Head of the VSA Dang Ha Viet said the project is also intended to build a modern, effective sport sector that integrates into the world, creating a push to relevant activities, thus helping to increase the sector’s turnover and profits.
He took the examples of some sport teams that have utilised digital transformation to produce data in service of high-achievement training such as volleyball teams, saying data analysis software has been used to record performance of athletes and assess their strengths and weaknesses.
InStat, the world’s biggest library of football video and data, and Electronic Performance and Tracking System have also been employed in football, Viet continued.
Managers should point out the urgent need to conduct digital transformation while drafting the project, along with building a roadmap for the selection of athletes in the time ahead, he said, calling it the most important work.
In its first phase from 2023 to 2025, the project will focus on upgrading the IT infrastructure at the VSA and providing training for its staff.
The second, from 2026 to 2030, targets digital transformation and data digitalisation and the utilisation of new technologies in analysis, supervision and forecasting.
Tay Yen Tu Spring Festival takes place in Bac Giang
The Tay Yen Tu (West Yen Tu) Spring Festival and the Culture – Tourism Week 2023 of the northern province of Bac Giang took place at the Tay Yen Tu spiritual and ecological tourism complex from February 2 – 6.
The events were attended by Member of the Party Central Committee, Editor-in-Chief of Nhan Dan (People) Newspaper, Deputy Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Information and Education, and Chairman of the Vietnam Journalists’ Association Le Quoc Minh, and Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Duong Van Thai, and crowds of Buddhist followers and visitors.
In his speech at the opening ceremony on February 2, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Giang Mai Son said the Tay Yen Tu tourism complex, located on the path of propagating the Dharma of the founders of the Truc Lam Yen Tu Buddhist sect, holds a special position for developing cultural, spiritual, ecological, and relaxation tourism.
Given this, Bac Giang is developing a tourism space and working with nearby Quang Ninh and Hai Duong provinces to compile a dossier seeking UNESCO recognition of the Yen Tu – Vinh Nghiem – Con Son, Kiep Bac landscape complex as world heritage.
The recognition will help promote tourism as well as economic, cultural, and social development in the region, the official noted, Son said.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Dao Cuong requested Bac Giang to continue to raise public awareness; put culture on par with economy; coordinate with the ministry to organise the 3rd National Tourism Conference; mobilise all resources to invest in tourism development; and develop new tourism products.
The Tay Yen Tu Spring Festival and the Bac Giang Culture – Tourism Week featured 15 main activities and a wide range of cultural, sport, and tourism events, which will be held in Son Dong, Yen Dung, Luc Nam, and Luc Ngan districts.
Notably, a procession of the set of woodblocks carved with the poem “Cu tran lac dao phu” took place on February 2, bringing the set from Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Yen Dung district to Thuong Pagoda in the Tay Yen Tu complex.
The woodblocks on “Cu tran lac dao phu”, written in the Nom and Han (Chinese) scripts, are among the Buddhist woodblocks kept at the Vinh Nghiem Pagoda that were listed as documentary heritage in the Memory of the World Programme for the Asia-Pacific region.
The 70km-long procession aimed to honour the ideological values of the Truc Lam Yen Tu Buddhist sect and re-enact the sect founders’ path of propagating the Dharma. It was recognised by the Vietnam Records Organisation (VietKings) as the biggest of its kind held in Buddhist rituals in Vietnam.
Mekong Delta provinces told to supply sand to expy project
Three Mekong Delta provinces, Vinh Long, Dong Thap and Long An, have been asked to ensure the supply of 19 million cubic meters of sand for two sections of the North-South Expressway project.
The Ministry of Transport has sent this request to the three provinces as the shortage of sand is affecting the construction page of the two sections of the cross-country expressway that will pass through the Mekong Delta, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
The first section connects Can Tho City and Hau Giang Province and the second links Hau Giang and Ca Mau provinces, the ministry said.
According to a My Thuan project management board report, these sections need 18.5 million cubic meters of sand for backfilling.
The ministry, therefore, asked the government of Vinh Long to allocate around five million cubic meters of sand to serve the construction of the North-South Expressway in the 2021-2025 period, with about three million cubic meters for 2023 and the rest for 2024.
The governments of Dong Thap and An Giang were requested to provide seven million cubic meters of sand each for the project.
The sand will be taken from their local sand mines, according to the ministry.
The ministry requested the provincial authorities to guide investors and contractors through procedures to open the mines in compliance with the Government’s Resolution 18, which stipulates the implementation of the National Assembly’s Resolution 44 on the development of the North-South expressway in 2021-2025.
Work on the two sections began at the start of this year. The Can Tho-Hau Giang section will cost VND10.3 trillion, while the Hau Giang-Ca Mau section will require VND17.1 trillion.
Nam Định’s Peace Singing Festival named a national cultural heritage
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has named Thái Bình Xướng Ca (Peace Singing) Festival, a unique traditional activity in the northern province of Nam Định’s Vụ Bản District, as a national intangible cultural heritage.
The festival is held every three years, from the 9th to the 11th day of the third month (lunar calendar) in the years of Tiger, Monkey, Snake, and Pig, celebrating great military victories of the Trần Dynasty (1226-1400).
It reflects important historical values and demonstrates the role and contributions of the people in Gạo Village, Thành Lợi Commune, during the three national resistances against the Nguyên-Mông (Yuan-Mongols) invaders in 1258, 1285 and 1287-1288.
To boost traditional and historical education to younger generations, the event also shows people’s dreams, aspirations and cultural creativity, contributing to preserving national cultural identity.
Nguyễn Văn Thư, Director of the Nam Định Province Museum, said documentary sources show from the Đinh-Tiền Lê to the Trần Dynasty, the former Gạo Village (now Quả Linh Village) had food warehouses and an army troop to protect and transport food for the royal court.
The village made great contributions to helping the Trần Kings (Trần Thái Tông, Trần Thánh Tông and Trần Nhân Tông) three times defeat the Nguyên Mông in the 13th century.
Nam Định Province Museum has developed a scientific dossier of the intangible cultural heritage for the traditional festival of Nam Định Peace Singing Festival.
According to the dossier, especially after the third victory on the Bạch Đằng River in 1288, King Trần Nhân Tông rewarded the Gạo villagers for opening a singing festival to celebrate the victory.
During the event, which is now the Thái Bình Xướng Ca Festival, various special rituals bearing the historical imprints of the Trần Dynasty are performed, such as the procession of the Kiệu Thánh (Saint Palanquin), an incense offering ceremony for the 18 clan ancestors, a series of sacrifices for mandarins, works on building a pavilion, boat racing, weaving contests on the lake, singing military songs and chest playing games.
All of the cultural performances in the event are re-enacted activities of the Gạo villagers during their time to help the Kings in the resistance wars, particularly food transportation. Many activities take place on the water, symbolising the naval battles of the Trần Dynasty army and people to defeat the foreign invaders.
According to legend, in the past, Gạo Village had its boat team specially for transporting food for the Kings’ army. During the festival, the people’s singing reflects the image of a team with three boats driven by three strong people selected from the villagers.
The team is led by a big, commanding dragon boat with drums playing to sail around the village lake.
According to the dossier, this vivacious performance has attracted many visitors since it conveys a highly educational meaning about consciousness and solidarity for today’s generation.
Musical adapted from world-famous children’s book to hit the stage in the capital
Seventy children will hit the stage to put on another performance of the musical Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window on the last weekend of February at the Youth Theatre in Hà Nội.
Adapted from a book by Japanese writer Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, the musical is an art project conducted by the Hanoi Arts for Youth (HAY).
Artists of the HAY have composed the entire score and 13 songs for the musical, which 70 school students will perform. The young cast rehearsed for five months before the premiere last December. The debut received much applause from the audience thanks to the excellent acting of the cast, who all captured their characters very well.
Published in 1981, Totto-chan, the Little Girl at the Window is an autobiographical memoir by Japanese television personality and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. Set in Japan, it is a story of education against the backdrop of World War II.
Written like a journal, the book describes the school’s day-to-day activities and experiences that leave a lasting impression on the book’s main character, the six-year-old Totto-chan. In simple, beautiful language, the author captures the innocence and inquisitiveness of the child trying to understand the world.
The book has been translated into English, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Italian, German, Russian, Vietnamese, and many other languages.
The stage production developed by the HAY is Việt Nam’s first-ever musical adapted from the book.
HAY was founded in October 2017, consisting of people wishing to offer children an arts education and build self-confidence in public.
The group has implemented several musicals for children, adapted from world-famous literature works such as Nobody’s Boy (originally titled Sans famille) by French writer Hector Malot and The Witches by British author Roald Dahl.
So far, HAY has staged about 40 shows. More than 1,000 school students have involved in different art projects by HAY.
Audience in Hà Nội can enjoy the musical Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at The Window at the Youth Theatre in Hà Nội on February 24 and 25.
For the tickets, dial the hotline 0812 790 118 or inbox HAY fanpage www.facebook.com/hanoiartsforyouth.
Golf tournament raises funds for community in Australia
A golf tournament was held on February 8 in Sydney to raise funds for community activities of overseas Vietnamese in Australia.
Vietnamese Consul General in Sydney Nguyen Dang Thang said more than 18,000 AUD (12,000 USD) was donated by golfers and donors. All the funds raised from the tournament will be used to promote the teaching and use of Vietnamese language in Australia.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Vietnamese ranked third among the top languages used at home in Australia, other than English. Vietnamese Australians are one of the largest groups within the global Vietnamese diaspora with more than 330,000 people.
The encouragement of the use of Vietnamese in second and third generation overseas Vietnamese families is essential and important in educating young generations about their homeland’s culture and history as well as contributing to bolstering the connections between the two countries.
A workshop took place in the central coastal city of Da Nang on February 9 discussing methods and lessons learned in the preparation for and response to public health emergencies in Vietnam’s border provinces.