What you need to know in Vietnam today:
-- Vietnam has a defensive and peaceful defense policy and the country has defense relations with many nations, with a view to contributing to peace, security, stability, cooperation, and development in the region and the world, Pham Thu Hang, deputy spokesperson of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Thursday. Hang was answering a media question on whether Vietnam would sign any more deal similar to an MoU on mutual logistics support it had clinched with India last month.
-- Vietnam vehemently opposes China conducting a miliary exercise around the former's Hoang Sa (Paracels) from July 16 to 20, Pham Thu Hang said at a press meeting on Thursday.
-- Vietnam currently has 21.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in stock, Duong Thi Hong, deputy director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, said on Thursday.
-- Lightning struck almost 6,000 chickens to death in a commune in Hai Duong Province, northern Vietnam on Thursday, a local official said on the same day.
-- Police in Binh Dinh Province, south-central Vietnam said on Thursday that they had fined a woman VND2 million (US$85) and revoked her driver's license for two months after she was filmed letting her child sit on the roof of her moving car.
-- The southern region of Vietnam has detected the BA.2.12.1 subvariant of the Omicron, which is 1.8 times more likely to escape immunity than the BA.2 lineage, the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City said on Thursday.
-- A woman jumped to her death from a bridge in Quang Ngai Province, central Vietnam on Thursday, leaving behind her six children, local authorities confirmed the same day.
-- Vietnam cut retail petrol prices by up to VND3,600 per liter on Thursday, with the popular RON95-III now selling for VND26,075 (a little over $1) a liter.
-- Hung Thinh Land, a major Vietnamese property developer, has filed for an IPO at the State Securities Commission. This is a step closer to the company's listing in the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange in 2023.
-- The Japanese government decided on Friday to hold the state funeral planned for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on September 27, Reuters cited a person who was at a cabinet meeting to as confirming.
-- "Joe Biden, the oldest person ever to serve as president of the United States, has tested positive for COVID-19, is experiencing mild symptoms and will continue working but in isolation, the White House said on Thursday," Reuters reported.