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Indian car rental startup bet big on Vietnam market


‘Burning money’ to attract users like other ride-hailing apps in the early days of its appearance, startup Zoomcar from India bet big on the Vietnamese market.

“Within the next one year, the parent company aims to contribute 40% to the global Zoomcar market in Southeast Asia. Vietnam is expected to account for about 10%, equivalent to 8 million USD for the next financial year. “, Mr. Kiet Pham, Vice President and Country Director of Zoomcar Vietnam, told VnExpress.

It is worth noting that Zoomcar’s short-term Southeast Asian market only includes Vietnam and Indonesia. Earlier, Zoomcar Co-Founder and CEO, Mr. Greg Moran and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Zoomcar, Mr. Uri Levine, announced that they would invest $100 million in this area.

For the vast majority of Vietnamese users, Zoomcar is still an unfamiliar name. Because this startup has only been operating for 4 months, with the first market being Ho Chi Minh City. However, in India, it is the leader in the self-driving car rental ecosystem.

This platform was born in 2013 with headquarters in Bangalore. They now have more than 300 employees, operating in more than 50 cities. Across all markets, they have approximately 10,000 vehicles across Asia and the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa), available to customers to rent by the hour or by the day.

“We have about 1,000 vehicles on the floor,” said Mr. Kiet Pham about the results in Vietnam market after 4 months of penetration. To get this number of cars, Zoomcar boldly rewards partner car owners who put their cars on the platform (often called car hanging on the app) for customers to choose to rent.

Every week, every month, partner cars with enough bookings and minimum hours of suspension will be rewarded with money. Even on the occasion of the 30/4-1/5 holiday, car owners just need to hang the car on the application and receive a hot bonus of 3 million VND.

Mr. Kiet Pham, Vice President and Country Director of Zoomcar Vietnam. Photo provided by the company

Not only giving money to reward car owners, this application also offers many bold promotional codes for car renters. It can be said that this method of pitching is similar to when new ride-hailing applications enter Vietnam. It is “burning money” to reward partners and give promotional codes to users to create habits, attract customers and gain market share.

Mr. Kiet Pham said the parent company is ready to 25 million USD to expand its presence in Vietnam. Since its inception, Zoomcar has raised a total of $207 million. In the latest funding round in November 2021, they successfully raised $92 million from SternAegis Ventures (USA).

And what makes Vietnam one of Zoomcar’s first two target options in Southeast Asia is that it has the 4th largest auto market size in the region and only 5.7% of households own a car. according to the 2020 data of the General Statistics Office.

In fact, India and all the countries where this app is present has in common that the economy is growing very fast, but the infrastructure and car ownership rate is low.

In addition, Mr. Kiet Pham gave 4 reasons why this application chose Vietnam. The first is that the motorcycle market is saturated, with consumption in the past 2 years decreasing by an average of 10% a year. Second, the population of middle and high income is increasing, tending to switch to using cars. Third, although the infrastructure is not ready yet, many large projects have been implemented.

The fourth factor is that Covid-19 causes an increasing demand for personal transportation. It is the low rate of car ownership, but the number of people with income gradually increases at the threshold of having a need for a car but cannot afford to buy a car, creating a large amount of rental demand.

According to a report released in March by Statista, Vietnam’s car rental market has an estimated size of $550 million by 2022. This market is forecast to grow 10.9% annually and reach a value of $840 million. by 2026 with 8.7 million users. “The market at this time is very beautiful. The market has just ‘ripe’, so it has received a lot of support when it launches,” said Mr. Kiet Pham.

And this application has the first sweet fruit when the number of rides next month often doubles the previous month. “This is not too surprising, but it is also beyond our initial plans,” said the head of Zoomcar Vietnam.

However, similar to other ride-hailing apps in the early days of penetration, this growth rate came from aggressive promotional campaigns. “We have to run promotions to create demand for the market,” explained Mr. Kiet Pham.

According to him, in the past, people had needs but the market did not have a solution. For example, people who need to rent usually spend 15-20 million deposit, must keep household registration book and rent for at least one day. Here, the company runs a promotion to let customers know about an application that can be rented for only 6 hours, without a deposit or any paperwork.

For car owners, because the market is not big enough, the revenue is not attractive enough, so they have to spend money to reward them to hang their car on the application. “The market demand has to be enough so that after we only pay revenue to our driver partners, they still earn more than in other traditional ways. Then we will stop investing to run this program. “, said Mr. Kiet Pham.

But the challenge for Zoomcar when entering the Vietnamese market is the discount policy with a too high rate, up to 40%. – a number that some people when looking for cooperation – has retreated.

Acknowledging this is difficult, but Mr. Kiet Pham believes that this ratio is reasonable because resources are needed to develop the market, take responsibility for risks and operate the system. Meanwhile, the car owner just needs to hang up the car and not have to worry about finding customers, verifying the customer’s reliability or delivering the car. “This is passive income based on the idle time of the car,” explained Mr. Kiet Pham.

Next, it is precisely because of the idle time story that another challenge arises. That is, despite the increasing number of car bookings, the application is “a headache” because car owners have a low car suspension rate, only 50% on average. The reason is that some car owners only hang their cars when they are free. Not to mention, cars on the majority of platforms are popular and mid-range without luxury lines.

In addition, the development of the market is also a problem. Because of self-driving car rental, this platform is limited in space by the small number of people with driver’s licenses. In HCMC, for example, it is estimated that only 3% of the population has a B1, B2 degree. The director of Zoomcar Vietnam said that he would participate in changing market perception to solve this problem.

The target group that Mr. Kiet Pham targets are students who are about to graduate and office workers with less than 5 years of experience. These are people who both have time and have a high income just enough to rent a self-driving car.

Despite the challenges that will have to be overcome, Mr. Kiet Pham’s team firmly believes that self-driving car rental will be a trend of the future. He said he’s seen it happen in Singapore and the US. In Vietnam, the number of people searching for the keyword “self-drive car rental” since October last year has surpassed that of the pre-pandemic years.

“That proves, this will be the trend and is not a direct competitor to the traditional car-hailing segments,” he said. In the immediate future, Zoomcar is planning to expand the market in Hanoi in the second quarter of this year.

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Cement businesses reduce profits because of the burden of costs


The high prices of coal, gasoline and many other fuels make production costs go up, making the profits of the cement businesses decline.

Although revenue in the first quarter grew, the profit of Ha Tien Cement Joint Stock Company 1 (Vicem Ha Tien – HT1) still decreased by nearly 74% compared to the same period last year, reaching nearly 25 billion dong. This is the company’s lowest profit quarter since the first quarter of 2018. Similarly, Vicem Gypsum Cement Joint Stock Company (TXM) in the quarter and then lost more than double compared to the same period in 2021 and is the heaviest loss in the past 13 years.

Compared with the first quarter of last year, Vicem Hai Van Cement Joint Stock Company (HVX) had a revenue decrease of more than 17%, profit after tax decreased by 8%. As for Vicem Hoang Mai Cement Joint Stock Company (HOM), profit after tax inched slightly over the same period, net operating profit decreased by 93%, only at 19 million dong. The profit of this business mainly comes from other profits, which suddenly increased by 3 times.

The production line at Vicem Ha Tien. Image: HT1

Profit many cement enterprises negative performance mainly due to high cost pressure. Vicem Ha Tien said that in the first quarter of the year, the price of coal, oil, gypsum and many other materials skyrocketed under the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. This burden caused the company to reduce its gross profit by more than 76 billion dong. Meanwhile, Vicem Gypsum Cement is under pressure from transportation costs, loading and unloading. This amount more than doubled in the same period last year…

And Vicem Hoang Mai was heavily influenced by rising coal and oil prices. In a recent shareholder document, the company’s management said the world coal price “surprised” increased from $230 a tonne at the end of February to $415 a tonne in the early March period. Crude oil prices also reached peaked at $125 a barrel, the highest in 14 years, causing the company’s input costs to increase sharply.

According to the Vietnam Cement Association, coal is the most important input material, usually accounting for about 35-40% of the cost of cement production. Of which, nearly two-thirds of coal must be imported, making the cost of cement production in Vietnam highly dependent on international coal prices.

Cement is also an energy-intensive manufacturing industry, with electricity costs accounting for 15-20% of finished products. Although EVN has committed not to increase electricity prices in 2022, VnDirect still predicts that electricity production costs of cement companies will increase.

Coal prices rose sharply while the cement industry depended on imports for 66%.  Source: VnDirect

Coal prices rose sharply while the cement industry depended on imports for 66%. The source: VnDirect

Facing cost pressure, many businesses have adjusted the selling price of cement with a popular increase of about 100,000 VND a ton in the second half of March, with some units raising the price to 150,000 VND a ton. Recently, businesses continue to raise prices. Vicem But Son adjusted up 50,000-70,000 VND a ton, Bim Son Cement increased by 70,000-95,000 VND a ton, The Vissai Cement raised the price by 80,000 VND a ton…

Forecasting the general situation for the whole year, VnDirect believes that listed cement companies can improve their business results thanks to the recovery of the apartment market in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi and the recovery of resort real estate projects. . This reduces the export of semi-finished products – clinker, helping businesses gradually escape from high transportation costs, high dependence on foreign markets, making business less efficient.

Siddhartha

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The 58th day of the war in Ukraine: Putin accused Kiev of not allowing soldiers in Mariupol to surrender


President Putin accused Ukrainian authorities of not allowing troops in Mariupol to surrender, saying Russia would save their lives if they lay down their arms.

“All Ukrainian army soldiers, members of nationalist battalions and foreign mercenaries who lay down their arms were spared their lives, were treated in accordance with international law and received medical care. quality,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told European Council President Charles Michel on April 22. “However, the Kiev authorities did not allow them to use this opportunity.”

In a phone call with Michel, President Putin said that “many war crimes committed by the armed forces of Ukraine are ignored”.

Putin also urged the European Union (EU) to put pressure on Ukraine’s military to stop large-scale attacks on residential areas in the east of the country, as well as acts of “gross violations of the law”. international humanitarian”.

Ukraine has not yet commented on the statement of the Russian President.

Smoke rises from the Azovstal iron and steel plant in the southern city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 14. Image: RIA Novosti.

On the same day, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that it would suspend humanitarian fire and open evacuation corridors for people at the Azovstal iron and steel factory, south of the city. Mariupolif Ukrainian soldiers raise a white flag around the premises of the facility or in certain areas.

The Russian side insists that its forces and the armed units of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) “will immediately stop all hostile acts and open safe passage for humanitarian convoys”. Ukraine has not commented on this information.

The British Ministry of Defense said that Russia did not send troops to attack the Azovstal factory, but instead surrounded this factory, in order to preserve forces to carry out other missions in eastern Ukraine.

The Azovstal iron and steel plant on the outskirts of Mariupol has a network of underground tunnels, likened to an “underground fortress”, which is the last defensive stronghold of Ukrainian forces in Mariupol.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia plans to hold a fake referendum in the city Kherson. Zelensky urged people in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces to be “extremely cautious” about information provided to Russian forces, saying Moscow would use it to fabricate a referendum.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced that the country’s military launched Kalibr cruise missiles “to destroy an enemy battalion with full numbers, weapons and equipment at the Meliorativnoye train station in the province of Meliorativnoye.” Dnipropetrovsk“.

Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said that the Russian air force fired many missiles that destroyed a Ukrainian S-300 long-range air defense complex in the southern region. Novoselkaclose to the Ukraine – Moldova border.

The direction of Russian penetration in eastern Ukraine.  Click to see details.

The direction of Russian penetration in eastern Ukraine. Click to see details.

Major General Rustam Minnekaev, acting commander of Russia’s Central Military District, said Russian forces wanted to open a land corridor from southern Ukraine to the breakaway Transnistria region in Moldova.

General Minnekaev said that the ethnic Russian community in Transnistria “is being suppressed”. Moldova’s Foreign Ministry then summoned Russian ambassador Oleg Vasnetsov and expressed deep concern about the statement.

The Kremlin announced that President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold talks with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Russia on April 26, but has not announced more details.

Secretary-General Guterres has requested to meet the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, in an effort to promote dialogue to end hostilities, a UN spokesman said on April 20.

President Putin did not accept phone calls or any other form of communication after Guterres declared Russia’s military operation in Ukraine “in violation of the UN charter”.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that nearly 5.1 million Ukrainians have been displaced abroad since the outbreak of hostilities. The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports about 218,000 third-country nationals, mostly students and migrant workers, leaving Ukraine for neighboring countries.

Nguyen Tien (According to RIA Novosti, AFP, CNN)

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Figurine paintings of Francis Bacon cost more than 50 million USD


The work “Triptych 1986-1987” – consisting of three figurative paintings – by British artist Francis Bacon sold for 50.2 million USD.

The number was pegged during Christie’s “20/21st Century: London Evening Sale” in March, which ranks third in the year’s most expensive auctions so far.

The work consists of three composite pictures. The picture on the left is based on the moment US President Woodrow Wilson left the Quai d’Orsay during the Versailles Treaty negotiations in 1919 published in the press.

On the right is a depiction of the cloth-covered recording device of Russian Constituent Assembly member Lev Davidovich Trotsky, inspired by a photograph taken at the scene of his assassination in Mexico in August 1940. The lamp shines down on the bloody paper, a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life.

In the center is a figure like John Edwards – Bacon’s partner at the time – in a pose reminiscent of George Dyer – the artist’s lover – in the painting. Black Triptychs that Bacon drew after Dyer committed suicide in 1971. The character was naked and his eyes were fixed on the blood-stained white cloth on the right. The body seems to be being squeezed by two pieces of thigh protectors, showing the despair in the present.

The painting “Triptych 1986-1987” size 198×147.5 cm, oil paint, pastels, aerosol paint on canvas. Image: Christie’s

According to Christie’s, three frames are connected by pavement image appearing in the first and third frames. However, each frame has an independent value. The subject’s solitude is enhanced by the black space behind.

The work conveys loneliness, human death and integrates historical issues, according to experts. Katharine Arnold – head of European Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s in London – said that the mention of Former US President Thomas Woodrow Wilson and Former Member of the Russian Constituent Assembly Lev Davidovich Trotsky, the masterpiece encapsulates Bacon’s meditations on pain, loneliness, and death in the face of history’s cruelty.

“In the big picture of life, death, love, art and war, Bacon seems to show that we’re all alone in the end,” he said.

According to the auction house, the image of Wilson and Trotsky side by side is interpreted by experts as implying “drawing European history in Bacon’s life”. It also alludes to Trotsky’s return to Russia from New York, USA in 1917.

The image of Edwards sitting in a chair on a platform, looks like a large reference book that art historian Martin Harrison called a critique of pain and loneliness.

In 1988, Triptych 1986-1987 is one of 23 works by Bacon on display at the New Tretyakov gallery in Moscow – the first exhibition by a famous Western artist to take place in Russia. “Although many viewers do not recognize part of the work as derived from Trotsky’s photograph, the display of the painting demonstrates a major shift in Russia’s political attitude toward art,” Arnold said. More than a decade later, the work was exhibited at many events in the US.

The image of President Wilson leaving the Quai d'Orsay (left) and the room in Mexico where Trotsky was murdered was chosen by the author as a painting inspiration.  Photo: Christies

The image of President Wilson leaving the Quai d’Orsay (left) and the room in Mexico where Trotsky was murdered was chosen by the author as a painting inspiration. Image: Christie’s

Katharine Arnold says the large three-panel format gives Bacon the opportunity to document his life through historical events. Drawing time Triptych 1986-1987, Bacon lived most of the 20th century, achieving personal achievements and experiencing extreme events. The artist is still haunted by the tragic death of his gay lover George Dyer. As a result, the photographic sources inspired in the work spanned most of Bacon’s life. “The paintings are painted with his life experiences, achievements and traumas,” Arnold said.

At an event in 1991, the artist told art critic John Gruen, “I feel as an artist must be nourished by both his passion and his frustration.”

Between 1962 and 1991, Bacon composed only 28 sets of three large works, each measuring 198 x 147.5 cm. Nearly half of them are in museums worldwide. Triptych 1986-1987 of the few works in private hands.

Young painter.  Photo: Francis-bacon.com

Young painter. Image: Francis-bacon.com

Francis Bacon (1909-1992) was an English figurative painter born in Ireland. He is famous for his bold, emotional, crude and somewhat grotesque works. His name started to be famous from the work Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (1944), now kept at the Tate Gallery, UK. The painting has been called “a turning point in British art history” by Chris Stephens – Tate’s curator.

Since 1950, Bacon began to include his work, portraits of friends and lovers in his works. Artists prefer to draw from photos rather than real people. According to Christie’s, Bacon once said that drawing from photographs helped him interact with the impulses of the nervous system. He tries to reveal the wild spirit hidden deep inside of man, which he often calls “one’s rhythm”. “Even when friends come and pose, I take pictures and then draw,” the artist said. At the 1985 event, Mr. Alan Bowness – director of the Tate gallery – declared Bacon the greatest living painter.

Many works by Francis Bacon sell for high prices. Painting Triptych 1976 Sold for $86.3 million in Sotheby’s session 2008. Painting Three studies for a portrait of John Edward (1984) was sold by Christie’s for $80.8 million in May 2014. Portrait of George Dyer Talking (1966) sold for $70 million in February 2014.

Triptych 1976 oil and pastels on canvas.  Photo: Sothebys

“Triptych 1976” oil and pastels on canvas. Image: Sotheby’s

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Well-being gaps


People’s income increased by 40% in the period 2012-2022, but the coverage of social insurance increased slowly, the number of workers withdrawing one-time social insurance increased.

On April 20, summarizing 10 years of implementing social security policies under Resolution 15, Mr. Nguyen Van Hoi, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said that in the period 2012-2022, the average income of people increase 30-40%, reaching 4,000 USD per year; maintaining jobs for more than 54 million people; the average unemployment rate controlled at 2-3%. However, the safety net still has many gaps, when the coverage of social insurance is low, the number of participants is small, especially the voluntary sector is not worthy of its potential, the Social Insurance Fund is not sustainable.

New social insurance covers one third of the labor force

The whole country has about 50 million workers in age, the number of participants in social insurance is only nearly 16.6 million, accounting for 37%. The low level of social insurance coverage becomes a double challenge to the income security of working-age workers and in the long run when reaching retirement age. The Central Government’s target by 2030 to have 60% of the working-age population participate in social insurance, moving towards universal coverage is difficult to achieve.

Experts say that Vietnamese enterprises are mainly small and medium enterprises, many informal economic units; Many forms of employment and labor relations have not been included in the compulsory social insurance payment system, which limits the expansion of coverage.

Especially groups such as business households, cooperative members, contract economy workers, supply chain workers… According to statistics at the end of 2019, the whole country had about 5.6 million individual business households. not yet subject to compulsory social insurance contributions and only a few of them participate in voluntary social insurance. Not to mention there are about 23,000 cooperatives with 6 million members and 1.2 million employees, but only about 7,000 cooperatives with 41,000 employees pay compulsory social insurance.

The number of people participating in voluntary social insurance is low, accounting for more than 2% of the labor force. This area currently has only two basic regimes, retirement and survivorship, which makes workers not excited to participate. But adding more benefits could cause the premium, which is supposed to be high, to increase or increase government subsidies.

Unemployment insurance participation is low, around 13.5 million people, accounting for 30% of the workforce by the end of 2021, leaving most workers without any income protection if they lose their jobs. Two years of the pandemic’s impact, causing workers to receive unemployment benefits to increase sharply. In 2020 alone, more than 1.03 million people receive unemployment benefits, an increase of 324,000 compared to 2019.

“This makes a significant part of workers choose to withdraw social insurance once early to ensure short-term income security when leaving work,” said Mr. Andre Gama, ILO expert.

The speed of social insurance coverage is on track to slow down when workers withdrawing one-time social insurance increases after the pandemic. From 2016 to now, about 4.87 million people withdrew once. According to calculations, for every two people who join the system, one person leaves.

According to Mr. Andre Gama, the characteristics of the Vietnamese labor market make it difficult for most workers to accumulate 20 years of social insurance contributions to enjoy the minimum pension (45%). Many young workers, especially workers directly engaged in production, find it difficult to pay insurance premiums continuously for 20 years to wait for their pension, making them choose not to participate or leave the system.

In addition to studying and amending the Law on Social Insurance, the expert recommends that the management agency add policies on child or family benefits to the welfare system to expand coverage.

The risk of “getting old before getting rich”

Dr. Bui Ton Hien, Director of Science, Labor and Social Affairs, said that Vietnam has officially entered the aging phase with the proportion of elderly people aged 60 and over accounting for more than 10% of the total population and falling into the group of five countries. has the fastest aging rate in the world.

It is forecasted that by 2039, Vietnam will become a country with an aging population, facing the risk of “getting old before getting rich” when there are about 15.5 million people over 65 years old and increasing to 21.7 million people by 2050 (accounting for 19% of the population). Meanwhile, the middle class is currently forming, accounting for 13% of the population and is expected to reach 26% by 2026.

Old people in Hanoi exercise by the Sword Lake, February 2022. Image: Ngoc Thanh

There are about 9.6 million elderly people over 60 years old who do not receive any pension in the whole country and are expected to increase to 13 million by 2030. Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, expert of the United Nations Population Fund Program, assessed that this is the result of the low age of workers participating in social insurance, accounting for 63%.

The source of income for the elderly in Vietnam still mostly comes from the support of their children, up to 38%; 29% from continuing to work, only 15% receiving retirement and 10% receiving social benefits. The pandemic has reduced the average income of the elderly by 41% and pushed them more easily into the at-risk group.

According to Quynh, the risk of income insecurity in old age is always present, while Vietnam’s budget for social assistance for the elderly is still low compared with other countries at the same level of development, about 6,130 billion dong, accounting for 0.15% of GDP in 2020.

Experts recommend to expand retirement coverage for the elderly through a multi-tiered social protection system; reconsidering the level of social retirement benefits for the elderly to ensure a social standard of living… Vietnam also needs to focus a lot on primary health care and preventive medicine to improve health and minimize the risk of functional decline of the elderly and reduction of medical examination and treatment costs; build a long-term health care system and have more family support services because relatives are still the main care force for the elderly.

Gaps in the safety net

About 66% of the elderly in Vietnam do not have a pension. Video: Ta Lu

The group is absent from the welfare system

Another “gap” in the safety net, according to experts, is the absence of an intermediary group – the informal workers “between the social insurance policy and the social allowance”. Statistics show that more than 33 million informal workers, including agricultural workers, are participating in nearly 70% of total employment in the country today.

The difficulty in accessing this group is evident when implementing welfare packages to respond to Covid-19, especially for freelance workers. For two consecutive years, the Government has issued welfare packages of VND 62,000 billion and VND 26,000 billion, both bringing workers without contracts (freelance workers) into support. The 62,000 billion VND package supports about 1,000 billion VND for more than one million freelance workers. The package of VND 26,000 billion was delivered to localities for self-implementation, supporting nearly 15 million turns of freelance workers and special groups with a total cost of VND 19,600 billion.

The leader of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs once emphasized that this is the group that is deeply affected, directly and difficult to reach. Verifying this group information becomes one of the “bottlenecks” of the support policy.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Nga, a World Bank expert, likened this group to a “missing layer” in the safety net when the official system has almost no data on them, not knowing who they are, what they are doing and where they are. support. The difficulty in accessing them proves that the policy system and implementing organization are not well adapted. This agency and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs are standardizing 24 databases that the industry manages, including information on informal workers. The connection with the data system of the police, insurance, employment … is a necessary step in the implementation of social security policy.

According to the policy orientation of social insurance to 2030 and the proposed amendment of the Law on Social Insurance, the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs will focus on the following groups of policies: Building a multi-tiered social insurance system by supplementing regulations social pension benefits; additional employees to participate to expand the scope of payment of compulsory social insurance; amending the conditions for enjoying the retirement regime in the direction of gradually reducing the minimum number of years of payment from 20 to 15, then to 10 years.

Hong Chieu

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Health benefits from eating grapes every day


Grapes are an excellent source of vitamin C, antioxidant nutrients, vitamin K, potassium, and a variety of nutrients.

Grapes are popular in Vietnam and many countries around the world. This is an affordable fruit that can be used in many different dishes and situations, with obvious health effects.

Grapes contain a variety of nutrients

Grapes have a high nutritional content. About 150g of grapes contains 104 calories, 1g protein, 18% vitamin K, 21% minerals, 8% vitamin B6. As such, grapes are a rich source of vitamin K and essential minerals, which can produce energy. Vitamin K prevents blood clotting and helps keep bones strong.

Grapes are a great source of beneficial B vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin and B6. Both thiamine and riboflavin are necessary for the growth and development of the body. B6 is beneficial for protein metabolism.

Grapes support heart health

150g of grapes contains 6% potassium. This mineral is needed to maintain stable blood pressure. Potassium helps lower blood pressure by dilating arteries and veins. It also helps to excrete sodium, preventing the narrowing of arteries and veins.

Even so, a meta-analysis of 32 studies found that too much potassium intake can lead to increased blood pressure. Scientists recommend consuming about 4.7g per day.

Compounds in grapes also prevent high cholesterol, by inhibiting cholesterol absorption.

In an eight-week study of 69 people, scientists found that eating 500g of red grapes per day reduced total cholesterol levels. However, green grapes did not have the same effect.

Additionally, a diet rich in resveratrol – an antioxidant in grapes – lowers cholesterol levels.

Grapes contain a lot of antioxidants

Antioxidants help repair damaged cells. This condition is caused by free radicals. These are single electromagnetic atoms or molecules. They create an electron hijacking reaction, disrupting the normal functioning of cells, causing cell death leading to premature aging. High levels of oxidation can lead to a number of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

The highest levels of antioxidants are found in the skins and seeds of grapes. However, many factors can affect their concentrations, including ripeness, grape variety, post-harvest storage, and environmental factors.

Antioxidants persist even after the grapes have fermented. This is the reason wines are also sources of antioxidants.

Some grape varieties contain high levels of anthocyanins. This is the compound that gives grapes their orange, red, blue, pink and purple colors. Human and animal studies indicate that anthocyanins may help prevent brain and cardiovascular diseases.

Other important antioxidants in grapes are resveratrol and quercetin, which also prevent cardiovascular disease, lower blood sugar and reduce the risk of cancer.

The vitamin C, beta carotene, lutein, and ellagic acid in grapes are also strong sources of antioxidants. In particular, beta carotene prevents blindness, healthy immune system.

Grapes are a good source of vitamins, minerals, vitamin K, and a variety of antioxidants. Image: Stocksy

Anti-cancer grapes

Grapes may prevent some cancers. Resveratrol, the antioxidant in this fruit, helps reduce inflammation, acting as a inhibitor of the growth and spread of cancer cells.

Animal studies show that grape extract can stop the growth and spread of breast and colon cancer cells. Additionally, a two-week study of 30 volunteers showed that people over 50 who ate 150g to 450g of grapes per day reduced their rates of colon cancer.

Overall, a diet rich in foods rich in antioxidants, including fruits like grapes, may prevent cancer.

Grapes are good for the eyes

Compounds in grapes help protect people from eye diseases. In one study, scientists found that mice that ate grapes had fewer signs of retinal damage and better retinal function than mice that didn’t eat grapes.

Other research also shows that the compound resveratrol found in grapes will protect human retinal cells from ultraviolet A (UVA), reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration – a common eye disease. .

According to one review, resveratrol also prevents glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic eye diseases.

Grapes contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been shown to maintain eye health, improve vision and fight common age-related eye diseases.

Improve memory, mood and increase central ability

According to experts, eating grapes can help boost memory and improve brain health. In a 12-week study of more than 100 healthy, elderly volunteers, scientists found that taking a 250mg grape extract pill was able to improve concentration, memory, language language.

Other research on teenagers shows that drinking 230ml of grape juice per day helps to relax, euphoria, relieve stress and enhance memory.

Thuc Linh (According to Healthline)

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How countries calculate personal income tax


The US, UK, and Japan all apply a progressive tariff, with individual deductions up to tens of thousands of dollars per year.

In Americataxable income is calculated by taking total income minus deductions and exemptions such as pension contributions, university tuition fees, college loan interest, etc. After that, people continue to subtract Take the standard deduction, or itemized deductions and multiply it by the tax rates.

The US currently applies a progressive tariff, with 7 levels of 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%. Taxable income thresholds are also detailed, depending on whether the taxpayer is single, married and filing jointly, married but filing separately, and single as the breadwinner.

In addition to federal income taxes, Americans must also pay state income taxes. Currently, there are 7 tax-free states in this country. Of the remaining 43 states, 9 apply one tax rate to all residents. Other states use a progressive tariff, which ranges from 1-13.3%.

In addition, the standard deduction for single people and married people who file separate tax returns is also increased by $ 400. The increase for people who are married and filing jointly is $800. The numbers for single people as the breadwinner are $600 and $19,400.

Alone Married, joint tax return Married, filing separate taxes Single is the breadwinner of the family
Standard deduction in 2022 12,950 USD 25,900 USD 12,950 USD 19,400 USD
Standard deduction for 2021 12,550 USD 25,100 USD 12,550 USD 18,800 USD

In the world, the adjustment of personal income tax calculation according to inflation is quite common. As in the US, in November 2021, this country’s Tax Service (IRS) announced more than 60 changes to the federal tax bracket for 2022. Accordingly, the income thresholds in the tax tier were raised by 3% over the previous year. previously to reflect the highest inflation in October 2021 (6.2%) in more than 30 years. This adjustment is to avoid people being pushed to a higher tax level or missing out on tax refunds and tax deductions due to inflation, not real wages.

In BrotherIn March 2021, the government of this country also announced the adjustment of personal deduction and taxable threshold for the period 4/2022 – 4/2026. Accordingly, the individual deductible is raised to £12,570 a year, from £12,500 ($16,600). Taxable income at Tier 1 – Basic rate has also been increased to £50,270, from £50,000.

The UK currently applies a progressive tax schedule, with 3 levels, corresponding to 3 tax rates of 20%, 40% and 45%. If the annual taxable income is over £125,140, ​​no personal deduction is available to the payer. In addition, they may also be able to deduct certain amounts such as savings deposits, dividends, the first £1,000 from self-employment, the first £1,000 from rental.

Income taxes Tax level
Personal deduction 0 – 12,570 pounds 0%
Basic rate 12,571 – 50,270 pounds 20%
Higher rate £50,271 – £150,000 40%
Additional rate Over £150,000 45%

Last year’s adjustments were all for inflation. However, keeping these levels unchanged for four years is drawing criticism from the British government. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), based in London (UK), earlier this month said UK inflation is at its highest level in decades and is still accelerating. So with the current high fuel prices, the UK Treasury could collect £21 billion more in tax than expected. However, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that these figures are fair and reasonable, in order to solve the record level of public debt incurred because of Covid-19.

Japan – the world’s third largest economy – has a rather complex personal income tax system, with different tax calculation depending on the source of revenue. For example, with salary income, employees will be deducted 550,000 yen ($4,500) if they earn 1.625 million yen a year. For incomes over 8.5 million yen, the deduction is 1.95 million yen.

Income from work Deduct
No more than 1.625 million yen 550,000 yen
Over 1.625 million to 1.8 million yen (income) 40% – 100,000 yen
1.8 million – 3.6 million yen (income) x 30% + 80,000 yen
3.6 million – 6.6 million yen (income) x 20% + 440,000 yen
6.6 million – 8.5 million yen (income) x 10% + 1.1 million yen
Over 8.5 million yen 1.95 million yen

After that, they will continue to receive family deductions. If the income is 25 million yen or less, the maximum personal deduction is 480,000 yen. If income is 10 million yen or less, the maximum deduction for spouses is 480,000 yen. In addition, dependents, people with disabilities, widows or single parents are also exempted.

Finally, the taxable income will be multiplied by the progressive tax schedule. Japan currently applies 7 levels, with tax rates from 5% to 45%. The first 1.95 million yen will be subject to 5% tax. Taxable income over 40 million yen is subject to a maximum of 45%.

China divide personal income into 9 categories, such as income from salary, business, copyright, rental, … with different tax calculation. For example, salary income will be deducted 60,000 yuan ($9,400) a year. Then subtract expenses such as child care support (1,000 yuan per child per month) or care for the elderly (up to 2,000 yuan per month)… to get taxable income.

Income from salary will apply a cumulative tax rate of 7 levels, ranging from 3% – 45%. Tier one applies to the first 36,000 yuan. The highest tier applies to taxable income above 960,000 yuan.

Malaysia tax deduction for individuals and dependents of 9,000 ringgit ($2,000) per year applies. This figure has been unchanged since at least 2014, according to data on the Internal Revenue Council website of Malaysia.

In addition, taxpayers in Malaysia are also entitled to more than 20 other deductions, from the cost of taking care of parents, money to buy equipment to support disabled relatives, tuition fees for themselves to medical expenses, vaccines, etc. ..

Malaysia’s progressive tariff is divided into 12 levels from A – L. In which, the first 5,000 ringgit is exempt from tax. The tax rates range from 1-30%. The highest tax tier applies to people earning over 2 million ringgit a year. This tariff is added one tier from 2020.

In Thailand – another Southeast Asian country, the Revenue Department – this country’s revenue agency applies quite a few deductions and supports when calculating taxable income. Accordingly, taxpayers will be able to deduct income from working, royalties, house and land rental, self-employment…

In addition, they are also entitled to a personal deduction of 30,000 baht ($900) a year for adults (single, spouse, parents over 60 years old and earning less than 30,000 baht a year); 15,000 baht with children. Interest on home loans, installments, life insurance, school fees for children, charity… are also deducted from taxable income.

Thailand also uses a progressive tariff, with the first 150,000 baht being tax-free. This country currently has 7 tax levels, ranging from 5 to 35%. The highest tier applies to people with taxable income over 4 million baht a year.

Ha Thu

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How do pandemics end?


Diseases such as HIV, Zika, and influenza end with immunity from vaccines, herd immunity or persist in a chronic form with effective treatment.

Two years since the onset of Covid-19, the epidemic situation in countries has improved significantly. Rates of infection, hospitalization and death have fallen in recent weeks, signaling the crisis seems to be coming to an end. But experts ask how and when will the pandemic end?

In fact, Covid-19 is considered in many aspects. According to Professor Erica Charters, University of Oxford, the pandemic will “medically end” when the number of infections and deaths decrease; It is “politically over” when the authorities end the preventive measures, and “socially ends” when people return to the way they used to be.

Scientists study the prospect of Covid-19 ending through past pandemics. Diseases such as Zika, HIV and influenza could provide many lessons in the coming months, Professor Charters said.

Before Covid-19, flu is considered the most deadly agent in history. Historians estimate the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed 50 million people worldwide, including about 675,000 Americans. Another flu epidemic in 1957-1958 killed about 116,000 people in the country.

In 2009, the US welcomed another major epidemic, but not particularly dangerous for the elderly – the group with the highest mortality rate from flu complications. Finally, the country has less than 13,000 deaths.

In August 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that influenza had entered the post-pandemic phase, becoming an endemic disease, with seasonal outbreaks with traditional cycles.

Usually, pandemics develop in this direction. It wanes over time, as the general population builds up immunity through vaccines or natural infection. They become seasonal diseases in later years. Scientists say this kind of pattern is possible with Covid-19.

“Everything will be back to normal. The epidemiological graph is undulating regularly, there are times when the number of infections increases sharply during the year, sometimes they decline. It’s like seasonal flu or the common cold,” Matthew Ferrari, Director of the Penn State Center for Infectious Diseases Dynamics.

In 1981, US officials reported many cases of cancer-like lesions and pneumonia in healthy gay men. More and more similar cases appeared after that. In 1982, scientists called the disease AIDS, immunodeficiency syndrome. They determine HIV – Human immunodeficiency virus is the cause of this condition. They destroy the body’s cells that fight disease and infection. For many years, AIDS was considered a dreaded death sentence. By 1994, it had become the leading cause of death among people aged 25 to 44 in the United States.

People in front of a bus of an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in Abuja, Nigeria, December 2018. Photo: Reuters

But treatments became widespread in the second half of the 1990s, turning the disease into a manageable chronic condition. Patients receive prophylactic treatment with ARV drugs. If they use drugs regularly, they can live with HIV for many years, decades and the disease does not progress to AIDS.

HIV is no longer a medical emergency, but the World Health Organization still considers it a major public health problem. The virus has claimed the lives of 36.3 million people, as of 2021. In Africa and low-income countries, HIV, left unchecked, is still considered an emergency.

Professor Charters said the pandemic would not end equally in every part of the world. “It will become endemic in each locality (region) at different times,” she said.

In 2015, Brazil suffered an outbreak Zika spread by mosquitoes. It causes mild symptoms for adults and children, but has serious consequences for pregnant women, causing birth defects, affecting fetal brain development, causing babies to have abnormal microcephaly. often.

In 2016, WHO declared this a public health emergency. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reported 224 cases of Zika transmission from mosquitoes and more than 36,000 cases in the US territory, mostly Puerto Rico.

But this number dropped significantly in 2017. Zika almost disappeared after that. Experts believe that the epidemic has receded because most people have immunity. Dr. Denise Jamieson, a former CDC official who led the program against Zika, said the pressure on creating a vaccine has eased.

Zika will be a potential threat for many years. Outbreaks could happen again if the virus mutates or a large number of young, unvaccinated people contract the disease.

For Covid-19, when and how to end the pandemic is still a mystery. Many countries have ended the state of emergency, ready to respond to pathogens such as the common seasonal flu. Sweden declared an exit from the pandemic, the number of infections decreased steadily after two months of almost complete removal. France recently ended the regulation of wearing masks and using vaccine passports. About 65% of Americans have been fully immunized, 29% received a booster dose of vaccine. The number of infections has decreased for nearly two months, the number of people hospitalized in this country has also decreased sharply, by nearly 30%.

But after the “stealth” Omicron variant BA.2 appeared, the epidemic in the UK, New Zealand and Hong Kong escalated. The virus also challenges China’s “No Covid” strategy. In Latin America and the Caribbean, more than 248 million people have not yet received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Countries with low vaccination rates are likely to see an increase in infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the future.

“We are not yet out of this pandemic, we need to take a cautious approach,” said Ciro Ugarte, emergency medical director for the Pan American Health Organization.

Thuc Linh (According to AP)

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The global economy is deeply in turmoil


The Ukraine crisis and new blockades in China further strained supply chains, caused commodity prices to escalate, and globalization cracked.

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) is expected to raise interest rates today, in the context of the global economic turmoil. The pressures on inflation that they think will soon disappear still exist. Some are getting worse.

Like many other private-sector forecasters, the Fed misjudged how strong U.S. commodity demand would be and how long it would strain global supply chains. Factories, seaports and trucking companies are still overwhelmed.

Supply chains showed signs of improvement in January and February, but are now rattled by conflict in Ukraine and new blockades in China. These developments promise to prolong delivery times and further drive up prices.

A harbor in Mykolaiv, Ukraine in February. Photo: NYT

The war slowed flights and shipments through Asia-Europe. Supplies of palladium, nickel and wheat are threatened. Auto companies had to close factories because of a lack of spare parts. Meanwhile, Russia responded to Western sanctions with an export control plan.

Business leaders in Germany are increasingly worried about the impact of the war in Ukraine on Europe’s largest economy, where inflation, disrupted supply chains and high energy prices are increasing the possibility of a recession. withdrawal.

The European Center for Economic Research’s index of economic sentiment fell 93.6 points to minus 39.3 points in March. It was the biggest drop since 1991. “A growing recession looms. possibility,” said Achim Wambach, the center’s president. According to him, inflation accompanied by recession will take place in the next few months.

Two days before Russia launched its military campaign in Ukraine, the February business sentiment survey rebounded after six months of uncertainty. But also since then, the continuous increase in energy prices has pulled up the consumer price index. German inflation rose to more than 5% in February.

Western sanctions imposed on Russia have forced hundreds of companies to stop doing business in the country. Many other companies have been affected by having to cut financial and media ties with the country.

“We are seeing the effects of hostilities on the global economy, on raw materials and on supply chains,” said Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen, one of hundreds of German companies that have stopped production in Russia. evaluate.

The US-led effort to isolate Russia from international trade marks a crack in the free trade vision that has guided US policy for nearly 30 years. It heralds a future in which countries and companies shift from dealing with rivals to focusing on like-minded partners.

“The trading system as we know it, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core and with a basic set of rules that all follow, is fractured,” said Jennifer Hillman, Commercial Attorney and a former WTO trade lawyer.

Advocates of globalization argue that the benefits of free trade are enormous. It opens up new markets for businesses and makes a variety of consumer goods more affordable. Bill Reinsch, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (USA), said that moves to isolate Russia are “satisfying in the short term”. “But nobody wants to talk about the long-term consequences of weakening international institutions,” he pointed out.

Now, the world may be returning to a more isolated system of trade blocs. Although the US will stop buying Russian oil, others will still be customers. The US-China trade war has also not prevented Beijing from achieving the goals of China’s plan to develop high-tech industries by 2025.

And the Ukraine crisis is only part of the cause of the tension. Recently, China’s provinces and cities have gone into widespread lockdown to try to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant.

Shenzhen, a hub for electronics manufacturing and an important port with 17 million people, announced its closure for seven days last weekend. Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronics company that specializes in supplying components to Apple, said it would temporarily suspend operations.

Restrictions in China, which contributes more than a quarter of global production, are likely to affect already tangled supply chains and exacerbate inflation. “The question is whether this is going to be bad or very bad,” said Phil Levy, chief economist at logistics company FlexPort, commenting on the lockdown situation. He noted that this disruption occurred when delays in shipping became too severe.

Mary Lovely, Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics highlighted the importance of Shenzhen and its surrounding region for electronics, as well as other industries, such as metals, furniture and paper products. “I think it will definitely affect the supply chain,” she said. Those pressures will make it easier for prices to increase than before the epidemic.

Anti-epidemic forces work in Shanghai, China on March 14.  Photo: NYT

Anti-epidemic forces work in Shanghai, China on March 14. Photo: NYT

“We’re in a period of high inflation. Suppliers will probably eliminate those costs or take this opportunity to raise prices,” Ms. Lovely said.

The Fed has kept interest rates close to 0% since March 2020 and is expected to raise rates today for the first time since 2018. The agency expects this to cool demand and push back inflation. Because, Fed policymakers and Wall Street researchers both think that prices will gradually decrease as consumers begin to shift spending from imported goods to services, such as movies, vacations. and restaurant. That shift will help factories and shipping lanes keep up with increased demand.

Matthew Luzzetti, chief economist at Deutsche Bank, recently revised his inflation forecast because the cost of rent is rising too quickly in the consumer price index. He thinks high inflation will last unless the Fed intervenes.

Over the past few years, events have been so unusual that it is rare for any expert to predict them all correctly. And Fed officials admit they misjudged inflation last year, in part because of expectations that supply chains would recover more quickly. For now, they comment more cautiously, especially given the Ukraine crisis.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank (ECB) late last week, said it would end its massive bond-buying program earlier than expected and pave the way for a rate hike later this year. The move rattled financial markets and underscored the challenge facing Europe in managing the inflation shock that accompanies the recession caused by the crisis in Ukraine.

ECB President Christine Lagarde has warned that the Ukraine conflict could significantly reduce the bloc’s economic growth by dragging down confidence and trade. “We see great uncertainty,” she said.

Session An (according to NYT, WSJ)

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How to treat Covid-19 at home?


Hong KongExperts advise people infected with nCoV to treat at home according to symptoms, take basic drugs such as paracetamol if they have a fever, supplement with vitamins, and avoid indiscriminate and floating drugs.

When the PCR test was positive for nCoV, Yves Sieur, a Frenchman living in Hong Kong, isolated himself at home at the request of the health industry, monitoring the progress of the disease.

Having received two shots of the vaccine, he still had a sore throat and high fever for three days in a row. “I felt like I had a thousand needles pierced my throat, it hurt to my ears. I couldn’t even swallow my saliva, I had to spit it out,” Sieur said.

For Sieur, the most characteristic symptom was a sore throat that lasted for two days, so much so that he could not drink water. He was worried he would become dangerously dehydrated, so he called an ambulance to the hospital.

However, with the above symptoms, he was advised to treat at home. Hospitals in Hong Kong have also been crowded because of the high number of infections. The doctor advised him to take steroids for his throat. After a few hours from taking the first pill, he can drink water again.

Studies have shown that the Omicron variant causes less damage to the body, usually confined to the upper respiratory tract, which includes the nose, throat, and trachea.

“Omicron doesn’t go to the lungs, so compared to other strains, it doesn’t affect your airways. But I had a high fever, inability to eat and diarrhea,” Mr. Sieur said.

People in Hong Kong wait in line to be tested for nCoV on February 24. Photo: AP

As Covid-19 swept through Hong Kong, F0s with mild symptoms were advised to rest and receive treatment at home. Experts give some notes for patients to take care of themselves more effectively.

Dr. Nichola Salmond, Director of Optimal Family Health, said that F0 could be Treatment is based on symptoms. She advises patients to use Panadol (paracetamol) if they have fever and body aches. She said patients should take medicine if the fever is 38 degrees Celsius or higher, can use more decongestants to reduce runny nose.

“Fever makes many people feel tired. When the temperature drops, they are more comfortable,” she said.

Vitamin D long recognized as an immune booster, recommended by many doctors and experts during pandemics. Research published in February found a link between vitamin D deficiency and disease severity. F0s with vitamin D deficiency (less than 20 ng/ml) had a 14-fold increased risk of severe disease after viral infection compared with those with Vitamin D levels above 40 ng/ml.

“Vitamin D deficiency is a big problem in Hong Kong. People tend to avoid the sun, which is a 95 percent source of Vitamin D,” Salmond said.

Amount Standard vitamin D is usually no more than 5,000 units. But according to Salmond, people who are positive for nCoV can increase to 10,000 units within a few days of infection. She also recommends the F0 supplements with zinc and vitamin C, both of which have antiviral properties.

For children, many studies show that this subject lacks 50% of zinc and iron in the daily diet, and needs to supplement zinc and iron to meet the needs for comprehensive development. Children with Covid need to supplement with essential vitamins to increase immunity and recover soon.

Other experts advise patients drink a lot of water, Fever causes dehydration of the body. Supplement minerals and electrolytes to help detox.

According to Dr. Benita Perch, Institute of Integrative Medicine, Omicron causes diarrhea in some patients. She advised people to reduce their consumption of dairy products and eat fried foods during the infection period. These substances weaken the immune system that is trying to fight off pathogens. She recommends a simpler, milder home drink of honey, lemon, garlic and ginger, mixed with warm water.

Thuc Linh (According to SCMP, Harvard Health )

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