New Year gifts for needy people

Ha Noi, Jan. 11 (VNA) -- The State, local administrations and mass organisations have helped social welfare beneficiaries and needy people to prepare for the coming lunar new year (Tet) festival which will fall on Jan. 24 this year.

President Tran Duc Luong has signed a decision to present Tet gifts to beneficiaries of social policies nationwide.

Jobs to be created for 1,4 million people in 2001

Ha Noi, Jan. 11 (VNA) -- Jobs will be created for 1.4 million people in 2001, reported the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs at a conference to review its work in 2000 and launch the tasks for 2001.

Bilingual ethnic primary school programme

Ha Noi, Jan. 11 (VNA) -- A project to provide bilingual primary school education to ethnic minority children in 39 Vietnamese provinces has won acclaim from countries around the region.

Education experts and officials have labelled the multi-grade bilingual education (MBE) programme as a model of educational reform in the Asian region.

Other regional governments are considering adopting the programme, including Thailand, India, Laos, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Winter-spring rice crop begins

Ha Noi, Jan. 11(VNA) -- Farmers in northern provinces are harvesting maize, a main subsidiary food crop in the winter.

Though the cultivated acreage of maize dropped by 7 percent as compared to the previous season due to heavy rain, the yield is good.

As soon as the maize crop is finished, farmers are preparing for the next winter-spring rice crop.

Vietnam - Lao new border gate to boost trade

Ha Noi, Jan. 11 (VNA) -- The Cha Lo-Nam Phao border gate between Viet Nam's central province of Quang Binh and Khammounane province of Laos was inaugurated on Jan. 10.

The border gate was jointly built by the two countries. It is expected to become a major busy trading centre as it helps create a commercial corridor by linking the Vung Ang sea port, the Ho Chi Minh City highway and the National Highway 1A of Viet Nam to central Laos and northeastern Thailand, Myanmar and Yunnan province of China.--VNA

Issue of drug abuse in Hanoi

Ha Noi, Jan. 11 (VNA) -- Ha Noi is encountering widespread drug abuse and trafficking despite its initial achievements in drug control, says director of the Metropolitan Social Evils Control Department, Nguyen Vi Hung.

Hung says the abuse and trafficking is a pressing issue and constitutes a great loss to the entire community.

The senior officials who was addressing a meeting of the Ha Noi People's Council last week, says relentless endeavours have been made to halt the spread of drug abuse and addiction.

Hon Mun becomes maritime sanctuary

Ha Noi, Jan 10 (VNA) -- A document for the implementation of a technical support project for Hon Mun maritime sanctuary was signed in Ha Noi today between Viet Nam and three international organizations.

The signatories were Viet Nam's Deputy Minister of Fisheries Nguyen Viet Thang and representatives of the Global Environment Fund (GEF), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the Intertnational Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

Vietnam's pepper export in 2000

Ha Noi, Jan. 10 (VNA) -- Viet Nam was the world's third producer of pepper and earned more than USD 140 million from exporting 36,000 tonnes in 2000.

General Statistics Office figures show that the pepper was exported to 30 countries and territories and the major importers were Singapore, the Netherlands, China and the U.S.

The exports totalled almost 16 percent of world supply after India and Indonesia.

Indian Prime Minister winds up visit to Vietnam

Ha Noi, Jan. 10 (VNA) -- On Jan. 10 Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee ended his official Viet Nam visit during which the two countries signed protocol extending their cultural cooperation programme to 2003, a memorandum of understanding for nuclear energy cooperation for peaceful purposes and a tourism agreement.

Viet Nam respects the result of election by Thai voters

Ha Noi, Jan. 10 (VNA) -- Viet Nam respects the result of last week's election by Thai voters, said Ms. Phan Thuy Thanh, spokeswoman of the Foreign Ministry.

Ms.Thanh was answering an AFP correspondent's question today, Jan. 10, about Viet Nam's reaction to the result of the Thai House of Representatives election.