These are some of the leading stories in the official Vietnamese press on Friday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
- Commercial banks said their progress has been slow in cutting the lending rates for existing loans to below 15 percent in accordance with the central bank's request as they fear the disadvantages in competing with larger lenders.
- Maritime Bank said it would cut lending rates for customers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City between July 23 and October 23 to 0.68 percent a month.
ECONOMIC AND GENERAL NEWS:
- The customs said they have seized 137 kg of elephant tusks worth $218,000 at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City from the luggage of two Vietnamese passengers who said they had brought them from Angola.
- Vietnam has reported a total of 61,580 AIDS-related deaths since 1990 and people in the age group of 20-39 accounted for 81 percent of the total, Dr. Do Huu Thuy of the Health Ministry's HIV Prevention Department said.
- The General Taxation Department said it adopted a package of taxation concessions worth between 36 tillion and 40 trillion dong ($1.73 billion-$1.92 billion) to support the economy in the first half of this year.
- Border patrol forces said they detained a Vietnamese man in the central province of Nghe An on Wednesday night while he was trafficking 22 packs of heroin from Laos into Vietnam.
- Ho Chi Minh City police said they detained a Vietnamese man working for a state-run agency for allegedly providing highly confidential documents to anti-Vietnam organisations in exile.
THOI BAO KINH TE VIETNAM
- Rice exporters have so far bought summer-autumn paddy equivalent to 99,000 tonnes of milled rice under an industry plan to stockpile 500,000 tonnes, helping lift the paddy price by 200,000-300,000 dong ($10-$14) per tonne in the Mekong Delta, the Vietnam Food Association said.
- The processing industry's inventory as of June 1 rose 26 percent from a year ago and edged up 2.2 percent from the previous month, showing the industry's difficulties, Duong Thanh Hang, deputy head of the Planning and Investment Ministry's industrial statistics department, said.