What you need to know today:
-- Vietnam is ready to take on the role of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) from January 2020, the Vietnam News Agency quoted Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Hoai Trung as saying on Thursday.
-- Permanent Vice-Chairwoman of National Assembly Tong Thi Phong hosted a delegation of the Cuban Ministry of Justice led by Minister Oscar Manuel Silveira Martinez in Hanoi on Thursday, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
-- The Ho Chi Minh City public transport management center has proposed that the Saigon Bus Company suspend a driver for steering his bus in the wrong lane on Tran Quoc Thao Street, District 3 on Wednesday, after a video of his reckless driving surfaced online on Thursday.
-- Saltwater intrusion has hit several flower-growing regions in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, threatening the supply of flowers for the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.
-- Ho Chi Minh City authorities will block many streets on Sunday for 4,000 personnel to engage in anti-terrorism drills.
-- A Hanoi court on Thursday sentenced Nguyen Van Dong, 53, to death for fatally stabbing his younger biological brother Nguyen Van Hai, 50, and three of Hai's family members on September 1 this year.
-- The Ministry of Industry and Trade projects Vietnam's exports and imports to top US$500 billion in turnover for the first time in 2019.
-- Fireworks displays will be staged in the entrance to the Saigon River Tunnel in District 2, at the Landmark 81 skyscraper in Binh Thanh District, and at Dam Sen Cultural Park in District 11 from 00:00 to 00:15 on January 1 to celebrate New Year.
-- Four Vietnamese players were included in Fox Sports Asia's best XI in men's football at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines. Vietnam claimed the gold medal of the category, routing Indonesia 3-0 in the finale on Tuesday.