Read what’s in the news today, March 17!
-- Former Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, who was in office from 1997 to 2006, passed away in the early hours of Saturday at his home in Ho Chi Minh City at the age of 85.
-- Thousands of Roman Catholics gathered outside the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica in downtown Ho Chi Minh City on Friday evening for the funeral of late Archbishop Paul Bui Van Doc, who passed away in Rome on March 7 during an Ad Limina visit.
-- Vietnam is on course to make electronic toll collection (ETC) technology available at all toll stations on its lifeline cross-country National Highway 1A by the end of 2018.
-- The Ho Chi Minh City administration has called on the central government to give it a mechanism that would grant the city more autonomy in approving local projects to develop wastewater treatment facilities and sewer systems.
-- A construction company under Vietnam’s state-owned oil and gas giant PetroVietnam has finished shipping five offshore oil platforms to an Indian petroleum company as part of a contract worth US$70 million.
-- Ho Chi Minh City police have initiated legal proceedings against the prime suspect in the kidnapping of two young Vietnamese-American girls in the city last week, after finding no evidence to support her statement that she had followed orders from the girls’ father.
-- Hundreds of locals in the south-central province of Binh Dinh blocked part of the cross-country National Highway 1A for over seven hours on Friday to protest a local seafood factory project that they feared would damage the local environment.
-- Fourteen people responsible for the near miss of two trains in the southern province of Dong Nai last month have received disciplinary actions from Vietnam Railways Corporation for their failure to adhere to safety regulations.
-- The resort city of Da Nang in central Vietnam will open three new nighttime entertainment destinations for locals and tourists in its downtown area, according to a plan unveiled on Friday by the municipal office of the People’s Committee.
-- Five projects worth over $80 million in South Korean foreign direct investment (FDI) from into the southern province of Binh Phuoc was approved on Friday.
-- Vietnam will develop a data center to administrate tax from online retailing services in the face of the industry’s hiking growth in recent years, an official from the General Department of Taxation said at an online business forum in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday.
-- American footwear company Skechers is conducting surveys for the possible development of manufacturing facilities in Vietnam, with its first location expected to be in the northern province of Hai Duong.