Here are today’s leading news stories:
-- Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged concerted efforts to turn Vietnam into an agriculture powerhouse with a modern and effective farm produce processing industry during a conference between the national government and localities in Hanoi on Tuesday.
-- The Ministry of Health on Tuesday evening confirmed three new COVID-19 cases, including a woman in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap and a man in Ho Chi Minh City who both entered Vietnam illegally from Cambodia, and an eight-year-old girl returning from the United States. The country’s tally stood at 1,454, with 1,319 having recovered.
-- All eight people who had direct contact with patient No. 1,452, a border jumper in Dong Thap Province, have tested negative for the novel coronavirus once, local authorities said on Wednesday morning.
-- The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport has carried out a test run of the Can Gio-Vung Tau ferry and is expected to officially put it into operation on January 4.
-- A total of 129 people were caught trying to cross the Vietnamese border illegally from Laos, Cambodia, and China on Tuesday, local border guard units reported.
-- The Hanoi Department of Planning and Architecture has proposed the construction of the city’s second airport in Ung Hoa District, about 45 kilometers south of downtown Hanoi, to relieve pressure on the current Noi Bai International Airport.
-- Competent authorities on Tuesday released a king cobra weighing 21 kilograms into its natural habitat at the Dong Nai Culture and Nature Reserve, located in the namesake southern province.
-- Foreign investors had poured US$28.53 billion into the Vietnamese market as of December 20, equivalent to 75 percent of the amount in the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
-- Vietnam’s consumer price index (CPI) in 2020 rose 3.23 percent from 2019 while core inflation climbed 2.31 percent year on year, the General Statistics Office reported.
-- Vietnamese singer Van Quang Long, former member of 1088 Boy Band which was popular in the 2000s, died from stroke at the age of 41 in the U.S. on Monday (local time).