Russian President to visit Vietnam

Ha Noi, Feb. 21 (VNA) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin will make an official visit to Viet Nam from Feb. 28 to March 2, the Foreign Ministry has announced.

It will be the first visit to Viet Nam by a Russian President.

Earth tremor shakes Lai Chau province again

Ha Noi, Feb. 21 (VNA) -- An earth tremor shook Dien Bien Phu basin in northwestern Lai Chau province at 18:05 hrs on Feb. 21.

The quake measured two on the Richter scale.

Earlier on Feb. 19, an earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter Scale hit the province, heavily damaging schools, houses and hospitals there. No deaths were reported and total material damaged was estimated at VND 200 billion (USD 13.8 million).

Porcelain potential in Vietnam

Ha Noi, Feb. 20 (VNA) -- Graphite deposits estimated to contain millions of tonnes of ore have been found in the northern-midland Phu Tho province.

The 28 pegmatite-graphite deposits will be mined to make porcelain.

Viet Nam has 105 known kaolin ore deposits with reserves estimated at 639 million tonnes, 39 white-clay ore deposits, reserves estimated 52 million tonnes, and 184
red-clay ore deposites.

HIV/AIDS prevention model for border provinces

Ha Noi, Feb. 20 (VNA) -- A prevention model titled "Community Action to Fight HIV/AIDS" will be deployed in five provinces along the border with Cambodia and Laos between June 2001-June 2002.

They are northern Lai Chau province, central Quang Tri province and the southern provinces of An Giang, Dong Thap and Kien Giang. All are designated "hot spots" with high rates of HIV/AIDS carriers.

Seminar on patent cooperation among ASEAN

Ha Noi, Feb. 20 (VNA) -- Measures to help Viet Nam and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, countries better use the protection offered by the association's Patent Cooperation Treaty, PCT, are being discussed at a three-day seminar that began in Ha Noi on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

PCT's patent-protection system is designed to promote technological innovation among ASEAN countries as well as help them attract foreign investment. It is crucial to developing countries that have just started industrialization and modernization like Viet Nam.

Opium poppy acreage shrinks

Ha Noi, Feb. 20 (VNA) -- Viet Nam's opium poppy acreage has shrunk from 19,000 ha in the 1992-93 crop to 420 ha at present, according to the State Committee for Ethnic Minorities and Mountainous Areas.

The committee held a conference in Ha Noi today, Feb. 20, to review the implementation of the opium poppy eradication programme in the 1993-2000 period.

Farm export records high growth in January

Ha Noi, Feb. 20 (VNA) -- Viet Nam earned USD 55 million from exports of farm produce in January, a year-on-year increase of 28 percent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Items recording increases of between 31.5 percent and 3.7 percent included rice (170,000 tonnes), rubber latex (7,000 tonnes) and coffee (22,496 tonnes).

In 2000, Viet Nam exported more than 3.5 million tonnes of rice for USD 670 million, 280,000 tonnes of rubber latex for USD 170 million and 700,000 tonnes of coffee for USD 485 million.

Tourism representative offices abroad due to open

Ha Noi, Feb. 20 (VNA) -- The Viet Nam Tourism Administration (VTA) is awaiting approval from the Government for opening its representative offices in France, Japan, China and Thailand.

It is part of the VTA promotion move up to 2010, which aims to further tap these potential markets.

With 750 Chinese tourists coming to Ha Noi during the lunar New Year Festival, Viet Nam has been officially listed as one of 15 largest destination sites for Chinese tourists.

Earthquake in Lai Chau and Son La provinces

Ha Noi, Feb. 20 (VNA) -- Earthquakes strongly shook Dien Bien Phu basin, northwestern Lai Chau province, from 22:51 pm on Feb. 19 to 5:00 am on Feb. 20, injuring dozens of people.

Offices, particularly headquarters of the provincial Party Committee, People's Committee, schools, and hospitals, in the region were heavily damaged by the quakes with the strongest measured at 5 on the Richter scale.

People were injured as they sought ways to run away from their trembling houses.

Vietnam and Ku wait news agencies sign cooperation agreement

Feb. 19 (VNA) -- An agreement for information exchange was signed between Viet Nam News Agency, VNA, and Kuwaiti news agency, KUNA, in Kuwait City on Feb. 18.

The signing took place during the first meeting of the executive board of the Organization of Asian-Pacific News Agencies, OANA, and the Secretariat of the Federation of Arab News Agencies, FANA.

Signatories were KUNA President and General Director Mohammed Al. Ajeeri, and VNA Deputy General Director Nguyen Duy Cuong.