Read what is in the news today, September 18!
-- Vietnam and Cuba held their third defense policy dialogue in Hanoi on Tuesday, discussing the situation in each country as well as in the region and the world, and evaluating the implementation of defense cooperation between the two countries.
-- Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam’s largest metropolis - has a permanent population of nine million but in reality is housing over 13 million people who stay in the city for work, education or traveling purposes, the municipal administration said at a housing conference on Tuesday, adding that the city’s population is growing at a rate of one million people every five years.
-- The Vietnamese Ministry of Finance is seeking legislative approval in erasing more than VND40 trillion (US$1.77 billion) in uncollectible tax arrears, which account for more than half of the country’s total unpaid taxes as of the end of 2018.
-- An electrical issue with the circuit board in one of the LED lamps installed inside the Rang Dong Company in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi was responsible for starting a six-hour fire that gutted the bulbs manufacturer’s warehouses and factories on August 28, releasing up to 27.2 kilograms of mercury and other toxic chemicals into the environment.
-- A court in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak on Tuesday handed Phan Thi Dao, 39, the death sentence for transporting 7.73 kilograms of heroin from Laos into Vietnam on two separate occasions in August 2018, receiving a commission of VND50 million ($2,200) for each successful trip.
-- Five defendants, including four former officials and an ex-police officer in the northern province of Ha Giang, begins their trial on Wednesday on the same charge of abusing their position and authority related to their alleged meddling with the exam scores of dozens of local students in the 2018 National High School Examination.
-- Nine suspects, including six Chinese nationals and three Vietnamese, have been arrested in Ho Chi Minh City for allegedly running multiple personal loan apps that operate similar to ‘loan sharks,’ terrorizing their debtors when they are unable to pay.
-- The General Confederation of Labor, Vietnam’s top labor union, has proposed raising the total national paid days off from ten to 13 days by adding a day off each to the New Year holiday, the Vietnamese Family Day (June 28), and the National Day holiday (September 2).
-- Vietnamese lender VietinBank on Tuesday inaugurated the Vientiane headquarters of its affiliate VietinBank Laos in a ceremony attended by Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Somdy Duangdy in the capital city of Laos. On the occasion, the bank also presented $100,000 USD to the Lao government to support local victims of Storm Podul, which hit the country last month.