Good morning from Vietnam!
-- Representatives of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday handed a diplomatic note to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi, voicing their protests against China conducting a test-flight to its illegal airport on Da Chu Thap (Fiery Cross Reef), part of Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago, earlier the same day.
-- An unidentified spherical, metallic object, weighing approximately 50 kilograms and featuring Russian letters, on Saturday fell onto Chiem Hoa District in the northern province of Tuyen Quang following a huge explosion sound in mid-air, a local official has confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper. Sources have said that two similar objects had also been spotted in Son La and Yen Bai Provinces, also located in the north.
-- The People’s Committee of Nong Cong District, located in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa, on Saturday held a press meeting to report on an incident at a lime kiln on late Friday afternoon in which the owner, his two daughters and five others were killed, while his wife remains in a critical condition. Preliminary investigations showed that the victims might have choked on carbon monoxide omnipresent in the manually-run kiln.
-- Work started on Saturday on a hospital located in Xieng Khoang Province in Laos, with Vietnam providing non-refundable aid. The first sod is slated to be turned on another Vietnam-funded infirmary in Laos’ Hua Phan Province on Monday (January 4).
-- A tremor measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale occurred on Saturday afternoon in Muong Te District, situated in the northern mountainous province of Lai Chau, according to the Vietnam Earthquake Information and Tsunami Warning Center.
-- Seventy-five traffic accidents happened nationwide on the first two days of 2016, killing 42 people and wounding 53 others, Vietnam’s National Traffic Safety Committee has announced.
-- A taxi cab suddenly burst into flames on Friday night while it was traveling inside Hai Van Tunnel, the longest of its kind in Southeast Asia, which links the two central cities of Da Nang and Hue. According to the management, the blaze trapped 25 automobiles inside the tunnel and resulted in a closure of the passageway and traffic congestion for 80 minutes.
-- Sales at most supermarkets, malls and conventional markets in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City remain poor with a number of sellers abandoning their stalls, despite Tet (Lunar New Year), the biggest-shopping season in Vietnam, just weeks away.
-- The 2015 Da Lat Flower Festival, which ran for five days in the namesake city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, wrapped up on Saturday night amidst experts’ complaints about its lack of originality, though organizers have said the event had drawn approximately 100,000 visits each day.