What you need to know in Vietnam today:
-- Vietnam and the Philippines on Thursday issued the content of a joint statement, which was reached during Vietnamese State President Truong Tan Sang’s visit to the ASEAN fellow country to attend the 23rd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on Tuesday, on the establishment of their strategic partnership. The statement covers many fields of cooperation including politics, economic matters, defense-security-law enforcement, maritime affairs, science-technology, and society-culture.
-- Venezuela on Thursday ratified the Vietnam-Venezuela Agreement on Agricultural Cooperation Projects for 2015-18, which was published the same day in the South American country’s Official Gazette No. 40,790. The agreement, which was clinched by the two countries in Hanoi in August, defines collaboration mechanisms that allow Vietnam’s support for Venezuela when it comes to activities to develop rice farming and beef cattle production.
-- Vice Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health Pham Khanh Phong Lan, who is a deputy of the lawmaking National Assembly, told a meeting on the revision of the drug law on Thursday that the prices of medicines in Vietnam are still high given many unaddressed issues, including monopoly and collusion between drug firms and distributors, many levels of intermediaries adding additional costs to the rates, and bribes and commissions paid to doctors.
-- A mother and two children were found dead with bleeding injuries in their necks and another one on the hip of the mother in the Mekong Delta province of Long An on Thursday. Police said the mother, who was found with a knife near her body, might have killed her two sons before committing suicide.
-- A high school student was killed after being stabbed in the heart by two men at the front door of her house in Hanoi, according to her classmate who stayed with her when the incident happened on Thursday. According to local police, those committing the crime may have friction with the victim's mother, so they murdered the daughter in revenge.
-- France’s InVivo NSA Group will partner with a company based in the south-central province of Phu Yen to cultivate maize on a trial basis, following a cooperation agreement signed on Thursday. Accordingly, maize will be grown by local farmers on more than 25 hectares of land in Tay Hoa and Phu Hoa Districts from this December to March 2016, with technical assistance provided by experts from InVivo, which pledges to buy the corn at prices that are the same as, or 10 percent higher than, market rates at the time of purchase.
-- About 3,000 farmers from three Mekong Delta provinces will benefit from a project which was launched in Can Tho City on Thursday to increase their income by at least 30 percent through increasing yields and/or reducing input costs by adopting innovative rice cultivation methods to produce the grain meeting EU quality standards. The project, Better Rice Initiative Asia under Integrated Coastal Management Program, is carried out to promote private-public partnerships along the rice value chain through the adoption of a sustainable rice cultivation model harnessing the latest technology.