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Round-up

Vietnam absent at U.S. embassy opening ceremony in Jerusalem

Vietnam did not send a representative to an event hosted by the Israeli Prime Minister on May 13 on the occasion of the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, news website Infonet.vn reports, citing the Press and Information Department under Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Late last year, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital while the Palestinians consider it as the capital of their future state.

Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said Vietnam was afraid Trump’s decision might adversely affect peace and stability in the Middle East.

With friendly relations with both Israel and the Palestinians, Vietnam supports the two-state solution, in which an independent State of Palestine peacefully coexists with the State of Israel. Solutions regarding the status of Jerusalem must be in accordance with international law, especially the United Nations resolutions, and consented by the parties concerned, said Hang.

Vietnam has 55 million inactive bank cards

Among 132 million bank cards having been issued as of late last year, 55 million of them are inactive, Tuoi Tre Online newspaper reports, citing a report of the Vietnam Bank Card Association.

Dao Minh Tuan, chairman of the association, said banks rush to issue ATM and credit cards to reach their targets without considering customers’ demand. Meanwhile, card holders have to be subject to banking service fees no matter whether they use the cards.

Tran Quang Thoai, a bank card expert, proposed banks set targets based on the number of active cards, study customers’ needs, charge account management fee and invest in new payment methods.

According to the association, local banks issued nearly 15.6 million new cards last year, 20% of the number of active cards.

PM urges tighter land management in SEZs

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked leaders of Quang Ninh, Khanh Hoa and Kien Giang provinces to cope with violations of land brokers in special economic zones (SEZs) in the coming time, according to news website Vietnam Finance.

Provincial authorities must take drastic measures to prevent land brokers from manipulating land prices. They are also told to coordinate with relevant ministries and agencies to complete plans to develop SEZs, and focus on high-skilled manpower training and attracting strategic investors.

At the first meeting of the national steering committee for developing SEZs on May 14, PM Phuc required the provinces chosen for developing those zones must tighten management of land, forests and the environment. The three zones are Van Don in Quang Ninh Province, Bac Van Phong in Khanh Hoa Province and Phu Quoc in Kien Giang Province.

Vice chairman of HCMC’s District 1 abandons resignation

Doan Ngoc Hai, vice chairman of HCMC’s District 1, has proposed the city government allow him to withdraw his letter of resignation and continue working, news site Vietnamnet reports.

Hai took responsibility for dealing with urban issues within the district’s precincts in March 2016. Last year, he launched a campaign to clean up the sidewalks for pedestrians.

The campaign inspired other localities to launch similar movements to take the sidewalks back to pedestrians and was highly appraised by the Prime Minister.

However, early this year, he tendered his resignation, citing the failure of his campaign.

EVN leader picked as deputy minister of industry and trade

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on May 15 appointed Dang Hoang An, general director of Vietnam Electricity Corporation (EVN), as deputy minister of industry and trade, according to news site Vietnamnet.

An has held the post of EVN general director since June 2015. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the electricity sector and has worked for EVN for over ten years.

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