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.

Forest products processing to become active

Ha Noi, Jan. 10 (VNA) -- The Forestry Corporation is set to develop the forest product processing industry into an economic spearhead in the coming years.

The corporation will not only invest in producing chipboard and furniture and processing forest products for domestic use and export but also develop tourism, machinery manufacture and other services.

The corporation plans to earn an export turnover of USD 100 million between 2001 and 2005.

Conference on quality and food safety of aquatic products

Ha Noi. Jan. 9 (VNA) -- The Fisheries Ministry held the third conference on quality and food safety of aquatic products in Ha Noi on Jan. 9.

Representatives from aquatic processing enterprises and relevant agencies nationwide reviewed their work between 1996 and 2000, and worked out a plan of action from now to 2005 to improve the competitiveness of Viet Nam's aquatic products in the world market.

General Secretary reiterates importance of Laos ties

Ha Noi, Jan. 9 (VNA) -- The Vietnamese Party, State and people would always attach importance to constantly consolidating and developing the loyal and pure Viet Nam-Laos relationship, Viet Nam Communist Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu said.