Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung has called for short-term visa waivers for major markets like China and India to drive tourism recovery. Vietnam waives visas for nationals of 25 countries, while Malaysia and Singapore do so for 162, the Philippines for 157 and Thailand for 65. The number of foreign visitors to Vietnam in the first 10 months of this year was 10 million, far above the full-year’s 8-million target. But the figure remains modest compared to neighbour Thailand. Since August, Vietnam has been issuing e-visas valid for 90 days. VN Express
Cash payments for adults
All adult Singaporeans will receive between $200 and $800 in December through the Government’s Assurance Package to help with the rising cost of living. This will apply to Singaporeans aged 21 and above in 2024, regardless of the number of properties they own. Within this group of about 2.9 million Singaporeans, about 2.5 million will receive an additional payment of up to $200. This additional sum applies to Singaporeans whose assessable income for year of assessment 2022 is up to $1,00,000. The payments are a part of measures to cushion the impact of higher inflation and the goods and services tax increase. The Straits Times
Surge in drivers without licence
Data from the Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority (BCTA) has unveiled a disconcerting trend — an increasing number of individuals flouting driving licence regulations. Between 2022 and the first week of October 2023, a staggering 4,780 individuals were apprehended for violations related to driving licences. These ranged from driving without a valid licence to being caught with licences that had expired. The BCTA said driving test slots are being increased for individuals holding learner licences. The Bhutanese
Kathmandu, too, bans TikTok
Nepal has decided to ban the popular social media app TikTok, saying it is disrupting “social harmony” in the country. Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud said to make social media platforms accountable, the government has asked the companies to register and open a liaison office in Nepal, pay taxes and abide by the laws and regulations. TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, has faced scrutiny in a number of countries because of concerns that Beijing could use the app to harvest user data or advance its interests. The Himalayan
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