What you need to know today:
-- Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith is leading a delegation to Vietnam for a visit and to co-chair the 42nd meeting of the Vietnam – Laos Inter-Governmental Committee from January 2 to 4 at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
-- Two former chairmen of the People’s Committee of Da Nang in central Vietnam were among the defendants in a trial at the Hanoi People’s Court that began on Thursday, the Vietnam News Agency reported. They are facing charges of violating regulations on state asset management and use and on land management.
-- The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has ordered that subordinates not give gifts to their seniors during the upcoming Tet, or Lunar New Year, holiday.
-- A police chief, Thai Dinh Hoai, has been expelled from the Communist Party of Vietnam for using a fake high school diploma for work. This means he will be stripped of his title as chief of the police unit tasked with fighting crimes on corruption, economic affairs, and smuggling.
-- Le Thanh Liem, former director of the Department of Health in southern Long An Province, was prosecuted on Thursday for graft.
-- Authorities in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho have fined Indian Ocean Co. Ltd. VND36 million (US$1,553) because 50 of its employees were hospitalized on December 14 over food poisoning after having lunch at the company.
-- A motorbike rider was fined VND7 million ($302) and had his driving license revoked for 23 months in Hanoi on Thursday. He claimed to have drunk only “two cups of alcohol.”
From January 1, car drivers will be fined VND30-40 million ($1,297-1,729) and have their driving license revoked for 22-24 months if they break regulations on drink-driving.
Motorcyclists will face a VND6-8 million ($259-346) and have their driving license revoked for 22-24 months for the same offense.
-- The U.S. Department of Transportation has permitted Vietnam Airlines (VNA) to expand cooperation with Delta Air Lines after they signed a deal in August 2019, a VNA representative said on Thursday, adding that they plan to launch direct flights to the U.S. in the future.