Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Tourist numbers at Preah Vihear rise


via CAAI

Tuesday, 19 October 2010 15:00 May Kunmakara

THE number of tourists visiting Preah Vihear province increased by more than 50 percent in the first nine months of the year, compared to the same period last year.

Officials said improved infrastructure and increasing security in the northwestern province brought more visitors to the country yesterday.

Some 97,812 visitors made the trip to the province this year to the end of September, up 51.29 percent from the 64,652 visitors during the same period of 2009.

“Tourism has been increasing every month because security along the border is improving, and provincial road connections are getting better,” said Kong Vibol, director of the Preah Vihear province Tourism Department.

The statistics showed over 90 percent of total visitors were Cambodian nationals, with 90,109 local tourists travelling to the province in the first nine months, up 54.65 percent on the same period last year.

Some 7,703 foreigners travelled to the province this year to the end of September, a 15.25 percent increase on the same period last year.

Island building: Koh Puos sales office on the way


via CAAI

Tuesday, 19 October 2010 15:00 Soeun Say

THE firm behind the US$1 billion development on Koh Puos, off the coast of Sihanoukville, will open a sales office and showroom in Phnom Penh early next month, in preparation for launching sales at the island resort.

Located in the PGCT Centre at the intersection of Sothearos and Sihanouk boulevards, the office is being assembled, and is already staffed by a handful of employees, according to Saing Heng, assistant to Koh Puos project director Andrew Halturin.

“We have yet to set prices, but we will begin costing and selling units on Koh Puos for December,” he said.

The massive $1 billion “exclusive” development has been planned since 2007. Phase 1 of villa construction and infrastructure development on the island is set to begin in November.

In July, Halturin told the Post the first phase consisted of residential seafront villas and low-rise apartments buildings, as well as island utilities, infrastructure and a ring road.

Future phases will see hotels, a casino, and other venues are to be developed in separate steps from 2011 to 2016, according to the project’s plans.

Andrew Halturin has said the purpose of Koh Puos development was to create a world-class recreational resort.

Dancers join hands for Japanese festival


New traditions ... Japanese and Cambodian dancers perform for Japan’s Bon Odori festival in Phnom Penh at the weekend. Photo by: Pha Lina

via CAAI

Tuesday, 19 October 2010 15:00 Roth Meas

JAPANESE and Cambodian dancers performed together to celebrate the Japanese festival of Bon Odori during celebrations at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

Traditional drumming by members of the Cambodia Japan Cooperation Centre entertained guests before the opening ceremony, attended by members of the Japanese Embassy, Japanese Association, Centre of Japanese Language Studies and other non-profit groups.

Suzuki Yasujiro, the vice president of the Japanese Association in Cambodia, said the festival was normally celebrated each August in Japan. Buddhists believe the gates of hell are opened at this time, releasing spirits to visit their living relatives.

City workers return to their home towns to celebrate Bon Odori with their families, enjoying outdoor folk dancing.

“We make this an enjoyable event because many people come back from their work in cities. When we get together, we want to be happy together,” said Suzuki on Sunday.

“We like dancing and Cambodians also like dancing, so we have staged this happy event together in order to build more peace.” The festival was popular with children, he explained, and it’s a time to sample special Japanese delicacies and drinks.

Celebrations at the Cambodia Japan Cooperation Centre featured food stalls giving visitors an authentic taste of Japan.

Por Limeng, a 19-year-old student at the university’s Center of Japanese Language Studies, said that Bon Odori was similar to Cambodia’s Pchum Ben festival which also offered foods to the spirits of ancestors.

“I just learned about the festival recently, but at Pchum Ben we toss balls of rice to the spirits, and the Japanese have dancing instead,” he said.

He was one of about 40 student volunteers who dressed in traditional clothes to join in the Japanese folk dances. They also performed popular Cambodian folk dances and songs at the festival.

“When we dance, we meet more people, especially students from other universities,” said Por Limeng. “I think it’s just an entertaining event that helps Cambodia’s good relationship with the Japanese.”

, Thai journalists make pact

 via CAAI

By Sathien Wiriyapanpongsa

The Nation

Published on October 19, 2010

Photo Vorawit Pumpuang

Thai and Cambodian journalists agreed yesterday not to allow themselves to be used by politicians who make nationalistic claims for political gain.

They agreed that the media should be careful with coverage that could cause conflict between the two countries and resentment between their peoples. It was also agreed that media workers from both sides should meet regularly to correct misunderstandings.

A group of 12 journalists from Cambodia yesterday visited the Thai Journalists Association as part of a tour at the invitation of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, which also includes meeting with senior Thai officials. At the TJA, the Cambodians were greeted by its acting president Chavarong Limpathapani and Thai Broadcast Journalists Association chief Visut Komwatcharapong.

Ath Bonny, from Cambodia's Bayon Television, said politicians from both countries often blamed the media for conflicts.

He also noted that journalists sometimes reported with nationalist sentiment that caused conflict between the two countries. He cited as an example reports about weapons training of the red shirts in Cambodia.

Cambodian journalists said their country's government officials had said there was no such training on their soil. Yung Khemara, from a Cambodian newspaper, said the media in that country did not follow up on the issue after insistence by high-ranking Cambodian officials that the claim by Thailand's Department of Special Investigation was untrue.

Huy Vannak, from the Cambodia Television Network, said his country's information minister described the DSI claim as "laughable", noting that Cambodia was a tourist destination and therefore any weapons training would be impossible to hide.

Chin Madepo, from the Rasmei Kampuchea daily, dismissed a perception that the Cambodian news media are under the influence of Prime Minister Hun Sen. He said the mass media there enjoyed "full freedom and democracy" and "can report on any news that is true".

Journalists deride Siem Reap camp claims


via CAAI

Published: 19/10/2010

Cambodian reporters have scoffed at recent allegations by the Department of Special Investigation that members of the red shirt movement have received weapons training in Siem Reap.

"We couldn't conceal it if it's true. Siem Reap is a renowned resort province in Cambodia with a lot of foreign tourists," Om Chandara, a senior reporter with the Angkor Wat newspaper told members of the Thai media yesterday at the Thai Journalists Association (TJA).

Om Chandara is one of 12 Cambodian reporters paying a one-week visit to Thailand as part of a Foreign Ministry exchange programme aimed at providing the Cambodian media with a better understanding of Thailand and its people. The programme was introduced after Thai-Cambodian relations took a turn for the worse in recent years.

Om Chandara said the DSI should not have leaked the claims made by the suspects who say they underwent arms training as it could cause misunderstandings between the two countries. The media from the two countries also should work more closely to make such matters clear to prevent a recurrence of the suspicions.

The DSI said last Monday its investigations had found that 39 Thai men had been trained to use weapons in Siem Reap for a mission to assassinate key public figures in Thailand, including Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Democrat Party secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban.

The disclosure followed the arrest at a resort in Chiang Mai's Mae On subdistrict of 11 men suspected of involvement in a movement to destabilise national security, planning to kill prominent Thai figures and to overthrow the monarchy.

The 11 men are now under a witness protection scheme in exchange for any information which could lead to the arrest of accomplices.

Ath Bonny, deputy editor-in-chief of Bayon radio and television station, said the Cambodian media, officials and people had not paid any attention to the DSI's report and they do not believe their country had been used as a camp to provide weapons training for red shirt supporters.

"There must be some misunderstanding," Ath Bonny said.

He said even Thai diplomats at the embassy in Phnom Penh denied the report when Cambodian reporters contacted them for clarification.

Yung Khemara, a reporter from the DAP Media Centre, said the DSI report was causing misunderstandings between the two countries.

"It [the arms training for red shirts in Cambodia] doesn't look true to us," Yung Khemara said.

She said Thailand should stop releasing reports along these lines as they did neither country any good. Thailand and Cambodia also should forgive one another and forget the past in order to be able to move forward together to a bright future.

The Cambodian reporters asked the TJA to develop a website which reported on issues affecting the two countries so Thai and Cambodian reporters could use it as a reference whenever misunderstandings arise.

Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith led the media mission to Thailand and yesterday met with Mr Abhisit at Government House.

Improving Third World health, one toilet at a time


 via CAAI

PATRICK WHITE

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Oct. 18, 2010

This is a story about saving lives, nurturing love and building latrines.

It starts with two young Winnipeggers deciding to travel the world. And it ends in Cambodia, where the couple have saved countless lives pitching a life-saving product most people in the West take for granted.

“Believe me, I never imagined my career would take me into toilets, but I’m glad it has,” says Tamara Baker, who, along with her partner Cordell Jacks, has set up a roaring latrine trade in a country where some 85 per cent of rural dwellers defecate in fields, creating a massive public-health problem.

The Easy Latrine is a $30 toilet using a prefabricated chamber, pipes and a concrete pit.

About two years ago, the University of Manitoba business school grads found themselves at a personal and professional crossroads. By all outside appearances, they were living the dream. Both worked good corporate jobs and made good corporate paycheques. They just didn’t feel good about it.

“I really, really hated it,” Mr. Jacks, now 30, says of his financial services job. “It didn’t have the soul I was looking for.”

Ms. Baker, 28, felt the same about her senior marketing gig. That shared experience drew them into a romantic relationship in early 2007. Within two years, they decided to tackle their collective malaise, selling their worldly possessions and booking tickets to Calcutta.

But a funny thing happened on the way to India. Two days before they were set to embark, someone from IDE, a Winnipeg based non-profit that supports business opportunities for poor people in the developing world, called and convinced the couple that Cambodia, a country with world’s worst sanitation rates outside of sub-Saharan Africa, needed their enterprising minds.

The reasons for Cambodia’s dismal sanitation rates were no mystery. Installing a toilet ran about $150, well beyond the means of the average Cambodian, and few people responded to hectoring public-health lectures about the ills of defecating above their water table.

“Somehow, we had to make the world’s most unsexy product seem attractive to people who knew very little about it,” Mr. Jacks says.

First, they had to redesign the toilet. IDE courted renowned designer Jeff Chapin, and over several months he came up with the Easy Latrine, a simple $30 toilet using a prefabricated chamber, pipes and a concrete pit. Where an old-style latrine took a whole day’s work and several contactors, any villager can install an Easy Latrine in a few hours.

“It’s not particularly beautiful, but it’s a real breakthrough because of the cost and the production methods.” says Jan Willem Rosenboom, the Cambodia water and sanitation coordinator for the World Bank, which funded the project along with the United States Agency for International Development.

Next, they needed to stir up demand. Rather than harangue locals about public health, Ms. Baker decided to market the toilets as a status symbol. “Keeping up with the Joneses is as much of a concept in Cambodia as it is here in North America,” she says of the marketing campaign she pitched village by village. “So we sold sanitation as something that will make you feel proud, something that fits the budget, as achievable aspiration.”

And it appears to be working. Sanitation revenues in the pilot region have increased 800 per cent in one year, with businesses selling more latrines in nine months than they’d sold in the previous four years. Twenty-two new sanitation businesses have sprung up. One region’s latrine coverage increased by 36 per cent. Best of all, businesses all over the country are clamoring for training in EZ Latrine construction, so they can starting hawking the loos throughout the country.

“Now that the private sector is organized to do this, it’s spreading like wildfire,” Mr. Jacks says. “Rather than create a toxic cycle of dependency, as some aid can do, we hope to leave the country within a year.”

Officials with other NGOs, including the venerable Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are now asking for the couple’s help in other sanitation enterprises around the world. They’ve even been inducted into the World Toilet Association hall of fame (yes, it exists).

Despite all the toilet talk, the couple couldn’t be happier together.

“The last year has definitely had its challenges,” Ms. Baker says, “but we’ve certainly decided that we can have much more to offer the world as two than one.”

Conservationists say Angkor Wat at risk from tourists


Visitors pose for photographs near the Angkor Wat temple Aug. 31 in the northern province of Siem Reap, about 199 miles from Phnom Penh

By SOPHENG CHEANG
The Associated Press
updated 10/18/2010

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — A U.S.-based foundation is urging concerted international action to preserve world-famed cultural heritage sites at risk of loss or damage, including Cambodia's ancient Angkor Wat temple complex, one of the great landmarks of Asia.

The Global Heritage Fund says in a report circulated Monday that "of the nearly 500 global heritage sites in the 100 poorest and emerging countries of the world ... over 200 are facing irreversible loss and damage today."

Among the other sites highlighted are Sumerian archaeological sites in southern Iraq it says that are subject to massive looting; the ancient city of Hasankeyf in Turkey that could be flooded by a new dam project; and Kashgar in western China, where old quarters face demolition under government plans to guard against earthquakes that will relocate over 50,000 people.

"The trend of loss is accelerating due to the simultaneous man-made threats of development pressures, unsustainable tourism, insufficient management, looting, and war and conflict," says the report, "Saving Our Vanishing Heritage: Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage."

The report says that visitors to Angkor Wat increased by 188 percent from 840,000 in 2000 to 2.4 million in 2009. The temples were built when Angkorian kings ruled over much of Southeast Asia between the ninth and 14th centuries. After centuries of abandonment — and neglect in the 1970s during a civil war — they have emerged as Cambodia's leading tourist destination.

Visitors climbing over the ruins is causing "heavy deterioration of original Khmer stonework," the report warns. It adds that hotels and restaurants nearby are sapping region's aquifer, which has caused the famed Bayon temple's 54 towers to sink into the ground.

Tan Sambu, an official of the Apsara Authority — the Cambodian government office that oversees the temples — said it has issued guidelines for tourists, telling them not to touch carvings and statues. Earlier this year, South Korea provided $9.2 million to build a new road that will circle the temple complex and reduce traffic inside the heritage area.

"Of course when there are many tourists visiting, the deterioration of the original stonework at the temples can't be avoided, but our agency has tried to reduce the effects as much as possible," Tam Sambu said.

The Global Heritage Fund report calls for the preservation of heritage to be recognized as a global priority like combating climate change and biological diversity. It is due to will host a forum on the issue Tuesday at California's Stanford University.

When in Cambodia, after the temples, try simple pleasures of the beach and spicy crab in Kep

via CAAI

MIKE ECKEL
Associated Press Writer

KOH TONSAY, Cambodia (AP) — Ask for the crab. In black peppercorn sauce.

The proprietor of the thatched-roof and bamboo-walled island restaurant will acknowledge the order in sign language and broken English. She'll shuffle across the seaside grass over to the dock where the crab cages sit, steeping in the Gulf of Thailand's tepid waters.

She'll return with a bucket of crustaceans and fry them in an iron wok over a charcoal fire in her open-air kitchen, searing them in a sauce made largely from sweet, fiery Kampot peppercorns. She'll bring you a heap of steaming seafood, pepper sauce, paper napkins and beer to the shaded picnic tables. You'll eat the crab — soft-shells and all — sucking the sauce from your fingers, drinking the beer to blunt the fiery pepper and thank the stars that few people have discovered the culinary and aesthetic pleasures of this southern coastal region.

While Cambodia's Angkor Wat temples are its biggest tourist draw, beach-bound tourists — particularly those looking for more than the backpacker-on-a-shoestring itinerary — are waking up to the unexplored beauty that this muggy country has to offer. The low-key beach town of Kep and the riverside village of Kampot, a three-hour drive south of the capital Phnom Penh, offer rough edges but simple charms, along with nearby islands like Koh Tonsay, where the crab in peppercorn is served.

The Kep-area beaches also offer alternatives to better-known regional beach resorts like Thailand's Phuket and even Cambodia's own Sihanoukville. Sihanoukville was a favorite of jet-setters (Jackie Kennedy visited in the '60s) before the country was beset by the horrors of wars, coups and the Khmer Rouge. These days, Sihanoukville's luxury resorts have plenty of attitude, having been rediscovered by growing numbers of nouveau-riche Cambodians and others. Sleepy Kep, in contrast, seems to attract a clientele that spurns Sihanoukville's swagger.

The town of Kep consists of a collection of modest residences and hotels tucked into the foliage off crumbling pavement and dusty roads, along with rows of motley shacks and several grand villas, many of which still show the ravages inflicted by the Khmer Rouge who sneered at Kep's bourgeois trappings. Kep Beach is mostly a stretch of rocky sand directly under the main road, though that doesn't stop the locals from swimming along the stony promenade. Notable local landmarks include an unusual nude statue of a fisherman's wife and a monstrous statue of a crab. The 16-room Beach House hotel and its tiny swimming pool hides just above the beach in the tropical hillside foliage, offering sweeping views of the gulf.

Bending around the promontory to the west and north is Kep's main drag, the Crab Market: a line of bamboo and thatch shacks where you can find crab, fish, prawns and squid, not to mention laundry service, tourist trinkets, boat rides, motos (mopeds), cold beer, cheap drugs, Internet connections, massage services and just about anything else you can imagine. The circus mix of locals, backpackers and proper tourists is a prime spot for people-watching.

Farther up the coast are Kep's nicer accommodations. Inland and up in the hills, there's the Veranda, with a wooden restaurant and bar on a slope with a vista of stunning sunsets over the water. Waterside, Knai Bang Chatt has the swankiest lodgings in town with an emerald infinity swimming pool and stylish, modernist building. The hotel's Sailing Club next door has a dining room perched on piers over the water and a small sandy beach where you can sip vodka tonics while the waves lap your toes. Kep Malibu Estates, despite the unusual name, is also perched inland, its swimming pool and grassy yard up a dusty road past rundown shacks and the disconcerting sight of impoverished farm families tending ragged plantings and staring blankly at passing tourists.

For many, the islands just off of Kep are the real draw. Phu Quoc is the largest, but it belongs to Vietnam and it's some distance away. For that reason, Koh Tonsay — translated as "Rabbit Island" — is arguably the most popular. Like many things in Cambodia, getting there is not entirely for the faint-hearted. Most hotels have connections with boat operators, or you can arrange a boat ride at one of the Crab Market shacks. The skinny boats, built mainly for fishing, are powered by crate-sized outboard engines with propeller shafts the length of a small tree. Their narrow width means they pitch and yaw more than most people feel comfortable with. That said, they move fast, and the 30-minute ride to Koh Tonsay (about $10) takes you out into a bay past poetic scenes of fishermen tending lines and seine nets.

The island reportedly was used at one point as a prison colony by the country's long-ruling monarch, Norodom Sihanouk. Today, however, its dense interior foliage keeps most visitors limited to the crystalline waters that slosh the whitish sands on its north side, where simple wood platforms are dotted with hammocks and thatched roofs. Just inland are the open-air kitchens and shacks of the half-dozen families who cater to tourists. For overnight stays, many families rent bungalows that are nothing more than enclosed shacks with wooden sleeping platforms and mosquito nets.

For most visitors, lounging on the beach platforms, alternating between swimming in the bathwater sea and drowsy contemplation of swaying palms is the most activity one can muster. Occasionally, wiry, naked-to-the-waist Cambodian men shimmying high into tree canopies, hacking at bushel-sized bunches of coconuts with machetes and letting the green fruit thud to the ground, spooking unsuspecting tourists. For less than a dollar, they'll trim off the husks for you, lop a hole into the top and pop a straw in it for the freshest coconut milk you could possibly hope for.

But when hunger truly strikes, it's best to find crab. The size of golf balls, these crustaceans are caught by traditional hook and lines, and left in cages in the water until mealtime. For less than $5, the cook/hostess prepares a mound of the animals, cooked in oil and peppercorns of the Kampot — a once-famous Cambodian agriculture export — and beer for two. The instinct is to equate crab with lobster, use your teeth to dismantle the shell and suck the meat out. But the shells are so soft, you realize it takes less effort to just eat the crab, meat, shell and all. With pepper sauce tingling on your tongue and cold beer washing it down, gorge yourself on Kep's finest culinary offering — and enjoy a place while it remains untrampled by the crowds.

____

If You Go...

KEP AND KOH TONSAY, CAMBODIA: http://bit.ly/9WqOPt

TIMING: The best time to visit Cambodia is in the rainy reason (roughly late September through February), when the daytime temperatures aren't sweltering. The rains, while heavy, are brief in their duration and awe-inspiring in their intensity. This is considered high season for many hotels and other tourist services.

GETTING THERE: Fly to one of Southeast Asia's hubs — like Bangkok or Singapore — then take a budget carrier — Air Asia, Silk Air, Dragon Air, Jet Star, to name a few — to Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh. Regular bus service between Phnom Penh and Kep is cheap (around $7; http://www.ppsoryatransport.com) but getting tickets and finding the right departure point in Phnom Penh's chaotic streets can be difficult, so best to ask your hotel or a travel agent for help. Renting a taxi to make the three-hour drive is also possible. Cost varies depending on whether you use a private car ($20-35 a day; http://www.lyna-carrental.com/) or a shared taxi or car ($40 and very subject to change with no notice)

ACCOMMODATIONS IN KEP:

—Knai Bang Chatt: http://www.knaibangchatt.com. Located waterside, about a minute by moto or tuk-tuk (motorized rickshaw) from the Crab Market. Rates $150-$350 high season, $110-$225 low season.

—Veranda Natural Resort: http://www.veranda-resort.com/index.php. Located inland, up a steep hill at end of dirt road, about three minutes by moto or tuk-tuk from Crab Market. Rooms and bungalows $40-$210, high season,; $35-$195, low season.

—Kep Malibu Estates: http://www.malibuestatesbungalows.com/. Located inland, up a short dirt road, about three minutes by moto or tuk-tuk from the Crab Market. Rooms or bungalows, $35-$120, high season, $30-$80, low season. Camping is also available.

The Beach House: http://www.thebeachhousekep.com/. Located on a steep hill overlooking Kep Beach, 3 minutes by moto or tuk-tuk from Crab Market. Rooms $40-$55.

Hun Sen Accuses Sam Rainsy of Serving Foreign Interests

Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer

Phnom Penh Monday, 18 October 2010
 
via CAAI
 
Photo: AP
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen smokes during an inauguration in Kandal province

“I only file complaints against the Vietnamese in order to protect Cambodian territorial integrity."

Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned the opposition party not to personalize a conflict against him and accused its leader of serving Thailand's interest.

The accusation came after 26 Sam Rainsy lawmakers filed a petition last week to summon the premier to explain on the alleged military training to Thai red shirt protesters inside Cambodia.

“Do not turn it into a conflict with Hun Sen,” Hun Sen said on Monday at a public forum. “[You] have a problem with the law. It’s a legal matter, but [you] have tried to turn it into a dispute against me.”

Sam Rainsy has been sentenced to 12 years in jail on charges of falsifying public documents, disinformation and destruction of border markers in Svay Rieng province.

“I never take a personal issue as a big one,” Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer by phone from France. “I only file complaints against the Vietnamese in order to protect Cambodian territorial integrity. Cambodian people have fallen victims to the culture of impunity in the past 20 or 30 years. The powerful have a bad habit of killing people at will. I must work to end this impunity for the sake of people’s peace.”

Sam Rainsy announced last Saturday through a video conference to his supporters that he had filed complaints to the courts in the US, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands -- alleging Hun Sen of collusion in a number of violent incidents in Cambodia.

Sam Rainsy accused Hun Sen of being responsible for the 1997 grenade attack on the opposition rally; extrajudicial killings in the aftermath of the 1997 coup against it coalition partner Funcinpec; the killings of non-violent demonstrators and monks in 1998; and atrocities against civilians along the border during the civil war in the 1980s.

In September Sam Rainsy launched a campaign to mobilize international support to pressure the Cambodian government to bring him back into the country. But Hun Sen insists that the opposition leader must at least serve two third of his punishment.

ទឹក​ជំនន់​នៅ​ទីក្រុង​ភ្នំពេញ ; Floods In Phnom Penh



Related video: October 12, 2010 Rain Water Floods Ta Kmao

Plug pulled on Mobitel money transfers (Updated)


via CAAI

Monday, 18 October 2010 21:13 Jeremy Mullins

An international association of mobile operators has suspended grant payments to fund Cambodia’s largest service provider Mobitel’s money transfer service following regulatory concerns.

In May, the GSM Association (GSMA) announced Mobitel’s parent firm CamGSM had been awarded a grant under its US$5 million Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) program largely backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mobitel launched its Cellcard Cash money transfer service in late September.

The amount of money awarded to the provider has yet to be disclosed.

Officials have since said service began without oversight from the National Bank of Cambodia, as mandated in an August prakas.

The central bank stated last week it would act to ensure its laws were followed.

GSMA has now suspended grant payments until the situation is resolved, according to a statement obtained by the Post.

The association said that CamGSM was working with the NBC to develop the appropriate regulatory framework and secure a formal licence.

“To this end, the two parties have agreed to suspend the payment of further grant monies until the GSMA MMU Fund Panel is satisfied that CamGSM has secured all necessary regulatory approvals,” it said.

“GSMA encourages dialogue between mobile money providers and regulators, however regulation is a matter for the government in each country in which such services are developed.”

Mobitel Chief Operations Officer Kay Lot and Chief Executive Officer David Spriggs declined to comment on the oversight issue. Kith Meng, chairman of CamGSM owner Royal Group, also declined comment.

NBC Director General Tal Nay Im said there were no developments following statements made last week.

Despite the controversy, GSMA remained enthusiastic about the future of banking via mobile phone in the Kingdom.

Cambodia was ideally positioned to benefit from mobile money transfers, as fewer than 4 percent of people have bank accounts, its statement said.

Cellcard Cash’s two competitors, money-transfer service Wing, and ACLEDA Bank’s Unity mobile banking service, both function with oversight by the National Bank of Cambodia.

Floods may continue into November (Updated)


via CAAI

Monday, 18 October 2010 22:57 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

The damage inflicted by recent floods could end up costing nearly half as much as Typhoon Ketsana last year, officials have said, as the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology warned that heavy rainfall could last “until mid-November” because of low atmospheric pressure.

Speaking on the sidelines of a workshop concerning a draft law on disaster management, Nhim Vanda, vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said an official report on flood damage had not been completed, but that “preliminary estimations” indicated that “rains and floods may cost almost half of the costs of last year’s Typhoon Ketsana disaster in Cambodia”.

Ketsana, which hit Cambodia for seven days beginning on September 29 last year, left 43 people dead and 67 seriously injured and affected roughly 49,000 families, according to figures cited by Nhim Vanda.

He said the NCDM had also determined that Ketsana caused US$132 million in damages.

Ung Rina, deputy director of the Water Resources and Meteorology Department at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said that recent heavy rainfall could continue as low atmospheric pressure persisted.

“To avoid the danger of flooding, I would like to appeal to all people to be careful of the floods, which could continue until mid-November,” he said.

Keo Vy, director of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said on Sunday that four people had died from drowning since the floods began: one each in Siem Reap, Kampong Chhnang and Preah Sihanouk provinces, and one in Phnom Penh.

Nhim Vanda said the areas most affected by the flooding in the past few days included Dangkor district in Phnom Penh and Pursat and Banteay Meanchey provinces.

Hem Darith, deputy governor of Dangkor, said more than 1,021 families from six communes had been evacuated on Sunday because of the overflowing Preak Thnoat river, but that they had been able to return to their homes.

On Sunday, Banteay Meanchey officials said flooding had crippled the town of Poipet, where roads had been closed and residents were prevented from going to work. But Poipet governor Try Narin said that the town was slowly returning to normal after water began receding.

In Pursat, deputy governor Khov Sokha said 3,596 families lacked food and supplies in the provinces. He also said that roughly 6,242 hectares of rice crops had been completely destroyed, and that 10 bridges and more than 43 kilometres of road had been damaged. He said local officials had spent a total of $29,454 on 400,000 sandbags and 2,500 litres of petrol used by water-pumping machines.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hun Sen, speaking at a graduation ceremony at the National Institute of Education, praised the response by authorities to the floods.

“I would like to appeal to all authorities to continue their hard work,” Hun Sen said.

Vicious rice wine kills scores (Updated)


via CAAI

Monday, 18 October 2010 22:55 May Titthara

At least 16 people have died in Kampong Cham province’s Oraing Ov district after reportedly drinking rice wine that some officials speculated had been contaminated with pesticides.

Deputy district governor Nuon Song said the deaths of the villagers – who were from three different communes – began on Friday, but that officials first got word of them on Sunday.

“After preliminary analysis from our experts, we suspect that they died because of intoxication,” he said.

“The authorities have worked hard to save their lives.

Seriously intoxicated villagers have been sent to the provincial hospital, while those slightly affected have been gathered at the Preah Theat pagoda for treatment.”

He said while eight villagers died in Preah Theat commune, four died in Ampil Tapoak commune and three died in Mean commune.

He added that at least 12 people – six of them women – died because the wine they drank was laced with an unknown contaminant, while two died from simple overdrinking and two because they were “too old”.

District governor Khhun Tha said health officials in Kampong Thom were “monitoring the mishap”.

“Though we have found that people have died because of contamination in their bodies, we are unsure of the exact cause yet,” he said.

But provincial police chief Nuon Samin said officials suspected the rice wine had been contaminated with pesticides.

“We suspect that the person who bought the wine may have incorrectly poured the wine into a nearby pesticide bottle,” he said. “Consequently, anyone who drinks that wine has died.”

He said some of the wine had been consumed immediately following a Buddhist religious ceremony on Friday, and that villagers had begun collapsing and dying not long after.

Keo Narith, the director of the provincial hospital, said that the death toll had continued to rise rapidly – just seven deaths had been reported as of Sunday – and that he, too, suspected the deaths were caused by pesticides.

“We are investigating the cause of death, but we are unable to identify the exact cause yet,” he said. “It is hard to make a conclusion.”

He added that a total of 77 people had received medical treatment after reportedly drinking the wine.

UN keeps corruption probe confidential (Updated)


via CAAI

Monday, 18 October 2010 22:53 James O'Toole

The United Nations Office of Legal Affairs in New York says a report from the anti-graft monitor at the Khmer Rouge tribunal is “confidential”, despite a pledge from a monitor earlier this year to release the report publicly.

Uth Chhorn, the head of the National Audit Authority who was appointed Independent Counsellor for the tribunal last year, said in June that he expected a report of his office’s investigations to be made public by the following month.

Last week, however, he said the government and the UN had decided to keep his July report classified for reasons unknown to him.

“The contents of the report are confidential,” a representative of the UN’s Office of Legal Affairs said in an email.

“However, I can say that the UN was pleased to receive Uth Chhorn’s professional report, which affirmed the value of the independent counsellor position to [tribunal] staff”.

In March, Prom Vicheth Sophorn, deputy director of the National Audit Authority’s Audit Department 3, said the independent counsellor’s office was in the process of investigating three complaints.

These complaints, he said, included an allegation that Cambodian security staff had been forced to pay kickbacks to their superiors, and two cases of alleged wrongful termination – one on the UN side and one on the Cambodian side.

Prom Vicheth Sophorn said at the time that he expected the report to be released publicly in “April or May”.

Although the agreement between the government and the UN that established the position does not stipulate that its reports be made public, civil society groups have pushed for transparency in the office’s operations.

“The most important thing is the process, that people fully understand what’s being done and have confidence in that process,” said Anne Heindel, a legal adviser at the Documentation Centre of Cambodia.

“If nothing ever comes to light, it will make people question the sincerity of the effort.”

State brain drain feared (Updated)


via CAAI

Monday, 18 October 2010 22:46 Brooke Lewis

This year’s termination of salary supplement programmes in the civil service sector could exacerbate the outflow of staff from government positions to more lucrative donor-funded positions, according to a country audit prepared by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The authors of the audit, which was researched late last year and posted to the Global Fund’s website on October 1, warned that the end of salary supplements could cause “low morale, more staff losses in the public sector, a lower quality of performance and an increase in corruption”.

The audit covered grants totalling US$202.5 million.

Before this year, development organisations had been bolstering the often meagre salaries of civil servants in a range of sectors via schemes that were banned by a sub-decree that went into effect on January 1.

In response to outcry from the development community – members of which complained of problems similar to those listed in the Global Fund audit – the government then approved a six-month interim period in which some salary supplement payments were able to go forward.

The Global Fund audit said the government’s handling of the change had “caused confusion”, in part because in 2008 Cambodia ordered all Global Fund grants to be aligned with Merit-Based Performance Incentives, one of the schemes that was cancelled.

The interim period ended on July 1, at which point the government’s replacement compensation scheme, known as Priority Operating Costs, was launched.

Under POC, development groups must obtain permission to provide civil servants with lump-sum payments for each individual programme they run, according to a separate sub-decree, which outlines two broad levels of pay scales: “national” and “sub-national/public service delivery”.

Draft guidelines by the government’s Council for Administrative Reform stress that “POC payments are not salary or salary supplements”.

Rather, POC payments are “lump-sum payments to public servants who are selected to work in the framework of development cooperation”, the guidelines say. “POC payments will end when the expected results are met, or the development cooperation or programme ends.”

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said that he did not know whether the switch to POC payments had prompted more civil servants to leave their jobs for higher-paid positions with development agencies.

However, he was not overly concerned about warnings raised in the Global Fund audit, provided development work was still being done.

“At the end, everybody works for the nation,” he said. “They have a choice to go wherever is most attractive.

“Everyone who works for the government ... we understand that it’s very low pay.”

Health Ministry officials could not be reached for comment.

Phay Siphan said the government’s 2011 budget included a 20 percent increase in funding for civil servants.

Budget barter (Updated)


via CAAI

Monday, 18 October 2010 20:24 Nguon Sovan

Cambodia’s newly established Anti-Corruption Unit plans to request .02 percent of next year’s budget, or $US480,000, to fund its activities.

The unit, which hopes to initiate its operations at the beginning of next year, now employs 60 staffers and will retain 500 when it is operating at full capacity, ACU permanent member Sar Sambath has said.

The ACU hoped to submit its strategic plan to the government for approval by November, he said at a meeting with donors in Phnom Penh.

“The unit is going to propose to the government that we receive .02 percent, but we are still in the process of proposing.”

Last week, the Council of Ministers approved a draft budget for 2011 of US$2.4 billion that is awaiting approval from the National Assembly.

If the ACU’s request for 0.02 percent of that sum is granted, it would receive $480,000.

Tony Kwok Man-wai, the former deputy commissioner of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption, said in March that anticorruption budgets should ideally be pegged at around 0.33 percent of the overall budget, though regionally, anticorruption outlays typically sit closer to 0.01 percent.

Sar Sambath did not provide detailed information on how the ACU would spend its funds, while ACU head Om Yentieng and spokesman Keo Remy could not be reached for comment.

Theodore Allegra, the deputy chief of mission at the American Embassy, said at the meeting that donors had inquired about the ACU’s plans for budget, staffing and strategy as they made plans to cooperate with the unit.

“The development partners would like to work with the government in combating corruption and strengthening the new ACU,” Allegra said.

He called the March passage of the Kingdom’s first Anticorruption Law a “major achievement” and said donors “look forward to the robust implementation of this important piece of fundamental legislation”.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said that he did not have information on how the ACU’s budgetary request would be assessed. National Assembly Banking and Finance Committee chairman Cheam Yeap could not be reached for comment.

In March, the Anticorruption Law was passed without amendment by the National Assembly over the objections of opposition lawmakers, who walked out on the vote in protest.

Super typhoon lashes Philippines, kills at least 3

 via CAAI

By BULLIT MARQUEZ, Associated Press Writer  Mon Oct 18,

CAUAYAN, Philippines – The strongest cyclone in years to crash into the Philippines killed at least three people Monday, leaving a wasteland of fallen trees and power poles and sending thousands scampering to safety in near-zero visibility. A retired general said bracing for the onslaught was like preparing for war.

Super Typhoon Megi, blowing across the northern Philippines, was forecast next to head toward China and Vietnam, where recent floods unrelated the storm have caused 30 deaths.

On Monday, strong currents on Vietnam's flooded main highway swept away a bus and 20 of its passengers, including a boy pulled from his mother's grasp. In China, authorities evacuated 140,000 people from a coastal province ahead of the typhoon.

Megi packed sustained winds of 140 miles (225 kilometers) per hour and gusts of 162 mph (260 kph) as it made landfall midday Monday at Palanan Bay in Isabela province, felling trees and utility poles and cutting off power, phone and Internet services. Its ferocious wind slightly weakened while crossing the mountains of the Philippines' main northern island of Luzon.

With more than 4,150 Filipinos riding out the typhoon in sturdy school buildings, town halls, churches and relatives' homes, roads in and out of coastal Isabela province, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) northeast of Manila, were deserted and blocked by collapsed trees, power lines and debris.

One man who had just rescued his water buffalo slipped and fell into a river and drowned in Cagayan province, near Isabela. A woman was pinned to death when a tamarind tree crushed her house and injured her child in Kalinga province, and a security guard died after being struck by a pine tree in nearby Baguio city, officials said.

At least six were injured in the region by falling trees, collapsed roof and shattered glass, officials said.

As it crashed ashore, the typhoon whipped up huge waves. There was near-zero visibility and radio reports said the wind was so powerful that people could not take more than a step at a time. Ships and fishing vessels were told to stay in ports, and several domestic and international flights were canceled.

The entire Isabela province lost power along with 16 of Cagayan's 28 towns as the typhoon blew by. Cagayan Governor Alvaro Antonio said the wind was fierce but blew high from the ground, sparing many ricefields ready for harvesting.

A resident prepares to cut fallen trees blocking the highway at the onslaught of typhoon Megi (local name 'Juan') Monday Oct.18, 2010 at Cauayan, Isabela province in northeastern Philippines. The strongest cyclone in years to buffet the Philippines knocked out communications and power as residents took shelter Monday.… Read more »
(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) 


Although initial casualties were low compared to past storm disasters, retired army Maj. Gen. Benito Ramos, who heads the country's disaster-preparedness agency, expressed sadness over the deaths. Bracing for the typhoon, he said, was like "preparing for war."

"This was tougher because in war, I could take a nap," Ramos told The Associated Press.

Thousands of military reserve officers and volunteers were on standby, along with helicopters, including six Chinooks that were committed by U.S. troops holding war exercises with Filipino soldiers near Manila, Ramos said.

In July, an angry President Benigno Aquino III fired the head of the weather bureau for failing to predict that a typhoon would hit Manila. That storm killed more than 100 people in Manila and outlying provinces.

This time, urgent preparations included evacuations and the positioning of emergency relief and food supplies days before the typhoon hit. The capital was expected to avoid any direct hit, though schools were closed.

Megi was the most powerful typhoon to hit the Philippines in four years, government forecasters say. A 2006 howler with 155-mph (250-kph) winds set off mudslides that buried entire villages, killing about 1,000 people.

In Vietnam, officials say up to 31.5 inches (800 millimeters) of rain have pounded areas in just a few days, forcing 126,000 people to flee their homes. Earlier flooding this month left more than 80 people dead or missing.

Megi could add to the misery.

"People are exhausted," Vietnamese disaster official Nguyen Ngoc Giai said by telephone from Quang Binh province. "Many people have not even returned to their flooded homes from previous flooding, while many others who returned home several days ago were forced to be evacuated again."

China's National Meteorological Center said Megi was expected to enter the South China Sea on Tuesday, threatening southeastern coastal provinces. The center issued its second-highest alert for potential "wild winds and huge waves," warning vessels to take shelter and urging authorities to brace for emergencies.

Nearly 140,000 people fled homes in the southern island province of Hainan, where heavy rains left thousands homeless over the weekend, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday.

Thailand also reported flooding that killed at least four people, submerged thousands of homes and vehicles and halted train service. It also prompted the evacuation of nearly 100 elephants from a popular tourist attraction north of the capital.

___

Associated Press writers Jim Gomez, Teresa Cerojano and Hrvoje Hranjski in Manila; Margie Mason and Tran Van Minh in Hanoi, Vietnam; and Chi-Chi Zhang in Beijing contributed to this report.

Conservation group urges action to save Angkor, other developing world cultural heritage sites


via CAAI

By: Sopheng Cheang, The Associated Press
Posted: 18/10/2010

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - A U.S.-based foundation is urging concerted international action to preserve world-famed cultural heritage sites at risk of loss or damage, including Cambodia's ancient Angkor Wat temple complex, one of the great landmarks of Asia.

The Global Heritage Fund says in a report circulated Monday that "of the nearly 500 global heritage sites in the 100 poorest and emerging countries of the world ... over 200 are facing irreversible loss and damage today."

Among the other sites highlighted are Sumerian archaeological sites in southern Iraq it says that are subject to massive looting; the ancient city of Hasankeyf in Turkey that could be flooded by a new dam project; and Kashgar in western China, where old quarters face demolition under government plans to guard against earthquakes that will relocate over 50,000 people.

"The trend of loss is accelerating due to the simultaneous man-made threats of development pressures, unsustainable tourism, insufficient management, looting, and war and conflict," says the report, "Saving Our Vanishing Heritage: Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage."

The report says that visitors to Angkor Wat increased by 188 per cent from 840,000 in 2000 to 2.4 million in 2009. The temples were built when Angkorian kings ruled over much of Southeast Asia between the ninth and 14th centuries. After centuries of abandonment — and neglect in the 1970s during a civil war — they have emerged as Cambodia's leading tourist destination.

Visitors climbing over the ruins is causing "heavy deterioration of original Khmer stonework," the report warns. It adds that hotels and restaurants nearby are sapping region's aquifer, which has caused the famed Bayon temple's 54 towers to sink into the ground.

Tan Sambu, an official of the Apsara Authority — the Cambodian government office that oversees the temples — said it has issued guidelines for tourists, telling them not to touch carvings and statues. Earlier this year, South Korea provided $9.2 million to build a new road that will circle the temple complex and reduce traffic inside the heritage area.

"Of course when there are many tourists visiting, the deterioration of the original stonework at the temples can't be avoided, but our agency has tried to reduce the effects as much as possible," Tam Sambu said.

The Global Heritage Fund report calls for the preservation of heritage to be recognized as a global priority like combating climate change and biological diversity. It is due to will host a forum on the issue Tuesday at California's Stanford University.

Gap Adventures-Planeterra Foundation Plan to build Cataract Surgery Center


via CAAI

18 October 2010

Gap Adventures together with a non-profit Planeterra Foundation aim to build a vision center with a plan to restore the sights of Cambodian people through cataract surgery.

The future Gap Adventures 20/20 Vision Center will be placed to the impoverished rural province of Battamban in Cambodia with an aim to conduct simple cataract operations to help restore the sights of over 12,000 Cambodians who suffer blindness due to cataract problem.

Over 90 percent of these people whom have lost their visions believe to be preventable and are in curable conditions.

According to the reports of SEVA Canada, a dedicated Vancouver-based charity organization in treating and preventing of blindness, there are more than 314 million people are affected of severe vision impairment worldwide and about 45 million are blind. Based on their report 80 percent of these blindness is curable with the help of a 15-minute cataract surgery that only cost for about less than $50.

Bruce Poon Tip, founder of Gap Adventures, said that when thinking about celebrating their 20th anniversary, they came up with an idea to look forward on one of the core value that drives to the direction of their company, with a value of helping to change people lives. They could think no better ways to create a brighter future for people and places that enriched their lives and their travelers as well.

According to Poon Tip, to travel is a privilege and at their company they believe it comes with an obligation to their part. To help people in restoring their sight is something that the company wants to concentrate on.

They will launch events that will support and help their goal through Ignite the Nite to be held in Toronto on November 3.

The Gap Adventure is an adventure travel agency that offers small group adventures across the seven continents to over 100,000 global travelers annually.

4 arrested for helping Cambodian men illegally work at supermarket


Fukuoka Prefectural Police investigators search the office of Lim's company in Iizuka on Oct. 18. (Mainichi)

via CAAI

(Mainichi Japan) October 18, 2010

FUKUOKA -- The president of an information technology (IT)-related company and three others were arrested on Oct. 18 for helping three Cambodian men come to Japan under the guise of IT engineers and illegally work at a supermarket, police said.

Arrested for violating the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law were Lim Wee Yee, 39, president of the IT company in Iizuka who is a Malaysian national; Takashi Miyazaki, 40, president of the Kurume Chimakiya supermarket chain; his younger brother and board member Yoji Miyazaki, 36; and Masaru Sakai, 30, the operator of another supermarket.

The elder Miyazaki has admitted to the allegations while the three others have denied any wrongdoing, according to investigators.

The Fukuoka Regional Immigration Bureau is considering deporting the three Cambodian men.

The four suspects conspired to help the three Cambodian men aged 24 to 27 come to Japan in early December last year on special work visas by disguising them as IT engineers at Lim's company, and illegally work at Kurume Chimakiya supermarket, prefectural police allege.

The bearers of special work visas for IT engineers can stay and work in Japan for up to five years while those holding ordinary work visas can work here for only three years.

When they were secondary school students, the three Cambodian men got acquainted with Sakai, who was teaching Japanese in Cambodia as a volunteer, sources involved in the investigation said.

In summer last year, shortly before they graduated from university, Sakai approached them again and solicited them to work at a supermarket in Japan, according to the sources.

Fukuoka Prefectural Police investigators suspect that Sakai mediated between Lim and the elder Miyazaki.

Law puts girls at risk in Cambodia


via CAAI

Oct 18, 2010

By Laurinda Luffman for SOS children

Across Asia, an estimated 10 million girls and women work in prostitution selling sex to around 75 million men.

Across Asia, an estimated 10 million girls and women work in prostitution selling sex to around 75 million men. The regional director of UNAIDS in the Asia Pacific has expressed concern that many are being put at risk of infection from HIV/AIDS because of laws outlawing sex work. Worried about being arrested, many women are fearful to be found with condoms, let alone seek legal or medical help when they need it.

In Cambodia, policemen believe it is one of their duties to arrest sex workers. Even though possession of condoms is unlikely to be accepted as evidence in court, having condoms can be a factor in a woman’s arrest. According to a July report from Human Rights Watch, even those who distribute condoms can now be implicated in illegal sex acts. UNAIDS is worried such policies will discourage the use of condoms to protect against HIV/AIDS. Ironically, in Cambodia, the law specifically criminalises HIV transmission and exposure.

The situation in Cambodia used to be very different. A few years ago, the country introduced a 100 percent ‘Condom Use Programme’ which required condoms to be made available for sex workers and allowed for selective enforcement of anti-sex work laws. But in 2008, a new law against sex-trafficking was introduced in Cambodia. This resulted in the closure of most brothels and sent the sex industry underground.

According to a recent BBC documentary, there are an estimated 100,000 sex workers active in Cambodia today. Around one third of these are thought to be girls under the age of eighteen. Since brothels were closed, many girls now work in clubs and bars, where they dance on stages to be selected by male clients. Although the legal age for girls working in these bars is meant to be sixteen, many Cambodian girls start much younger and it is not uncommon to find thirteen or fourteen-year olds in the bars.

In the capital Phnom Penh, the BBC film crew found eighteen-year old Alang, who had been sold into the sex industry at thirteen. Alang’s aunt said she was taking her to the city to study, but instead the girl was sold into the sex industry and kept in a hotel for male clients. Even though Alang escaped more than once from the men who first bought her, she still works as a prostitute. With little formal education, Alang has no other way to support herself, though she wishes there was a way to escape her life in the industry.

As well as lobbying governments over how sex trade laws are being implemented, non-governmental agencies and charitable organisations try to offer support to vulnerable girls. But it is not always easy, particularly when children are often sold into the sex trade by their own families. And with an estimated 500,000 dollars spent every night by Cambodian men in the red light district of Phnom Penh, clearly there is no shortage of demand.

South Korea hands over surplus military equipment to Cambodia

via CAAI

October 18, 2010 A total of 233 items of South Korean surplus military equipment, including yard utility boats, have been transferred to Cambodia, according to the South Korean Ministry of National Defense on October 8.

Lee Seon-cheol, head of the Office of Military Force and Resources Management at the ministry, and Cambodian senior defense official Chau Phirun signed an agreement to hand over Korean surplus military equipment, including three yard utility boats, 100 maneuvring vehicles, 24 engineering tools and 36 medical tools.

The transfer was made at the request of Cambodian defense minister. Korean president Lee Myung-bak had promised Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen during Lee's state visit to Cambodia in October last year to hand over Korean surplus military equipment.

"Relations between Korea and Cambodia has been deepened in current administration and military ties is also improving," said a senior defense official at the ministry. "Utility boats are going to be operated aimed at inspecting drug and human trafficking through waterways."

Cambodia's PM: floods causes more damages than Ketsana last year

via CAAI

Source: Xinhua
October 18 2010

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen said Monday that floods that affects the country in recent weeks has caused more damages than Typhoon Ketsana last year.

Delivering speech to graduate students, Hun Sen said preliminary reports showed that floods that caused by heavy rains in the country have affected more damages than Typhoon Ketsana last year that hit several provinces.

He said at least four people have been killed by floods and at least 9,000 hectares of rice fields have been damaged.

But, he said total loss and damages caused by floods are being figured out.

Typhoon Ketsana hit Cambodia last September and the estimates of 100,000 people were affected by the floods and 15,000 households were in need of food assistance.

Keo Vy, communication officer of National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) said this year's floods have hit 12 provinces and a city.

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via CAAI

Cambodia will Host National Forum of Small and Medium Enterprises

Monday, 18 October 2010 14:56 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, Oct 18, 2010-Cambodian ministry of industry, mines and energy and national bank will host the small and medium enterprises and financial institutions in a move to promote financial sector in the country, the statement from the government said.

It will bring together more than 50 financial agencies and about 200 SMES to discuss ways to improve access to finance in Cambodia, statement added.

SMES are looking for financial products and services from formal financial agencies to further expand and grow their businesses, it said.

EU and IFC of World Bank also supported this event. it will be held in 10 November.

Cambodian PM expressed Concern about dollar Inflation

Monday, 18 October 2010 14:53 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, Oct 18, 2010-Cambodian PM Hun Sen on Monday expressed his concern about the dollar inflation affecting to the livelihoods and local employees who received wage as dollar.

“Now the dollar fluctuation and if it continues to decrease, it affects to local employees which used dollars widely and global economy, “he added.

He said that in ASIA- EUROPEA summit, UK also appealed to china to help deal global economic downturn. Now china stands second economic powers after the United States.

12 Cambodians Died of Wine Poisoning

Monday, 18 October 2010 14:31 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, KAMPONG CHAM, Oct 18, 2010- At least 12 Cambodians have died of wine poisoning and 20 others affected to the serious health matters, a senior police official said on Monday.

Non Samen, Police chief of Kompong Cham province said that 12 local resident in Prothet commune,, Oreang Ov district of Kompong Cham province had died after drinking local wines poisoning since 16 October, 2010 in religion ceremony of ancestors.

Samen added that the local people used the bottles which used to contain grass poisoning to buy local wine and when they gathered in religious ceremony. First day 9 Cambodians died but up to now, there were 12 people died and other 20 are better now, he added.

Even though doctors are investigating the cases and the conclusion did not reveal yet.

Cambodia Utilizes Space Technology for Disaster Risk Management

Monday, 18 October 2010 12:32 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, Oct 18, 2010-The ministry of land management and Asian disaster reduction center of Japan on Monday hosted the seminar on utilizing the space technology for disaster risk management in a move to strengthen the natural disaster control.

“This workshop shall bring to all participants technology in obtaining new and up to data and information through utilizing data which are received from the satellite for the disaster management,” Im Chun Lim, minister of land management said in ceremony.

“it also will obtain the additional knowledge on space technology and use it for the preparation of geographical data with high quality which can be used as a basis to prepare strategic planning as well as for the betterment of decision making in the socio-economic development as well as for the impacts for disasters,” he added.

He added that the workshop to day is on utilization of space technology for disaster risk management which is a current global issue for all countries in world. Current climate change has caused a series of disaster and brought many difficulties to the livelihood and possession as well as on the economies.

“even though Cambodia has never have experience of earthquake, drought and flooding are types of the disasters which have occurred frequently such flooding from rainwater during these few days for example, “he said.

He stresses that disaster risk management is a task which is difficult to foresee. However preparation of various measures for that disater reduction is the task which we all can do through utilization of space technology and through our contribution in the context of country or in the form of regional cooperation such as ASEAN or globally.

He continued that assurance of those disaster risk reduction means we can contribution to the guarantee of sustainable socio- economic development and poverty reduction of the people which is the goal of the government.

At the same time, expert Lal Samarakoon said that most of the countries find the year 2010 is a cool year experience lots of rain. Asia Pacific region is prone to a wide variety of natural disasters.

Lal added as you are aware, we are facing dramatic changes in our global weather pattern, he added. Report said that between 1975 and 2006, our region has experienced 37 per cent of world disasters and 44 per cent of world economic losses. .