USD570 MILLION was spent importing pharmaceuticals into Vietnam in the first quarter of this year, marking a year-on-year increase of 16.7 percent, according to the latest statistics from the General Department of Customs. Imports have come from dozens of countries and territories in Asia, North America, Europe and Oceania. In particular, many major markets in Europe are supplying pharmaceuticals to Vietnam. By the end of February 2019, France was the largest drug exporter to Vietnam, reaching nearly USD55 million, up 40.3 percent over the same period last year. It was followed by Germany, India, the US, the Republic of Korea, the UK and Belgium with USD44.5 million, USD37 million, USD34.2 million, USD22.7 million, USD18 million and USD14 million, respectively. The poor ability to develop new drugs and the few businesses with access to high standards are the main reasons for the rapid increase in pharmaceutical imports over recent years. Nearly 55 percent of domestic pharmaceutical needs must be met by imported sources, including a large number of patented drugs, which are expensive because they are unable to be produced domestically. The drug spending per capita in Vietnam in 2017 was about USD56. This figure is expected to increase to USD85 in 2020 and USD163 in 2025.

USD2 MILLION is the total worth of Vietnam’s national football team, according to figures published by Transfermarkt.com, a football statistics site. Transfermarkt.com’s calculation was made on lineups that played for Vietnam at the Asian Cup 2019, their most recent international tournament. The most valuable player in the team was goal keeper Dang Van Lam, who currently plays for Thailand’s Muangthong United, with a worth of USD336,039. Midfielder Luong Xuan Truong, who plays for Thailand’s Burriram FC, came second at USD223,987. Nguyen Cong Phuong, a striker for South Korea’s Incheon United, and midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai and defender Doan Van Hau, both playing for Hanoi FC, were ranked at the same worth of USD168,075.
Hanoi-based Viettel FC midfielder Nguyen Trong Hoang was valued at USD140,052, while defender Do Duy Manh of Hanoi FC and Viettel’s Que Ngoc Hai both had the market value of USD84,031. This is the first time the entire lineups of Vietnam’s national football team have made Transfermarkt.com’s value list.
Before the 2019 Asian Cup, Vietnam’s squad was modestly valued at USD360,000, as only four players—Xuan Truong, Cong Phuong, Trong Hoang and Van Lam—appeared in the football transfer site’s data. The latest update of Team Vietnam on Transfermarkt apparently came after a string of successful tournaments of the Golden Stars. Vietnam finished second at the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship and sealed the fourth position at the 2018 Asian Games. They also won the 2018 AFF Cup and advanced to the 2019 Asian Cup’s quarterfinals.

1st 5d-effect glass bridge opened last month in the northern province of son la. The Vietnam-made structure, measuring nearly 100 meters long, two meters wide and standing 22 meters tall, boasts the world’s state-of-the-art 5D technology with 30 special effects—including nerve-jangling glass cracking, heart forming, flower opening and fish swimming—and a photoelectric sensor system, according to the developer. The bridge alone costs VND32-35 billion to build and the total expense could amount to VND40 billion if additional structures are to be taken into account, Pha Luong deputy director Dinh Hong Phuc said. The idea of the structure was conceived over two years ago but the project’s contractor—Queen Viet Company— only had four months to assemble it from steel and bullet-proof glass, according to the company’s general director Nguyen Manh Cuong. Particularly, the bridge, called ‘Love Glass Bridge,’ has ten towering heart-shaped structures on a pillar with ten lotus petals. Its bridge piers are made from 54,000 colored glass pieces, symbolizing 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups. The walkway is formed by three 15mm reinforced glass panels, each of which can bear a strength of eight metric tons per square meter, attached together from two glue layers. The total loading capacity of the bridge is about 60 metric tons, or the combined weight of 50-70 people, and its safety is guaranteed given considerations from geological surveys and the walkway’s weight, according to Cuong. “We chose Moc Chau to build this bridge for its mountainous landscape with great potential for tourism development,” he said. Tickets reportedly fetch VND100,000 per person.

1 ton of meth, which were stashed in loudspeakers, were seized by the police. Officers discovered two trucks and a parked car, driven by two Taiwanese men, showing signs of carrying illegal goods in HCMC. The trucks held “extremely heavy” loudspeakers, which prompted suspicion when police found that the drivers lacked legal papers to transport the equipment. Stashed in the speakers were 600 gold-colored Chinese tea packets, carrying 606 kilograms of meth. The police traced the trucks’ route, which led them to a Vietnamese man who had more loudspeakers filled with meth and ketamine. In total, the city police confiscated 103 loudspeakers. News of the bust comes on the heels of two massive drug hauls in central Nghe An province, where 600 kilograms of meth was discovered stuffed in speaker boxes in the home of an elderly couple and 900 kilograms was found abandoned on the side of a road earlier this week. Vietnam is both a hub for drug use and a popular thoroughfare for shipments of illicit narcotics, with the number of large-scale hauls increasing in frequency and volume. Much of the country’s illegal supply floods in from the lawless “Golden Triangle” zone that straddles Laos, Thailand and Myanmar. Though older users in Vietnam have long prefered opium and heroin as their narcotic of choice, younger people are increasingly turning to party drugs such as meth, ketamine and ecstasy.

VND 196 credit card debt and a late payment fine of vnd5 were issued to tung by his former bank. Tung said he opened a credit card at a local lender years ago during a promotional event, but never got round to using it. About two years after opening the credit card, Tung received a call from the bank asking him to pay more than VND1 million in outstanding maintenance fees. He complied and transferred his payment to the bank’s account, thinking it was the end of the trouble. However, in early April, Tung received an email from a debt collection agency informing him that he still had VND196 in outstanding credit card debt that had  been overdue for 968 days as of March 31. The agency requested that Tung finish paying off the debt as soon as possible “to avoid unnecessary inconvenience”. Tung said he had to scramble for two VND200 banknotes to make the payment in person, as the amount was too small to be transferred electronically. The smallest denomination of the Vietnamese currency is VND100, although banknotes smaller than VND500 are rarely seen in circulation. As clerks couldn’t find any smaller notes to give Tung his change, they agreed to reduce his debt and fine to VND200 in total.

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