Week 661

Fraud? International Cooperation for Transparency – Sunday, 25.4.2010

Posted on 26 April 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

Cambodia entered into many different international relations since the new Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia was promulgated in 1993 and a new phase of history for the country began. International integration was one of the main policy goals of the government – regaining the seat for Cambodia in the United Nations, which had been held by a representative of the Khmer Rouge until 1991, long after the Khmer Rouge had lost their grip on the country, establishing new diplomatic relations, gaining membership in ASEAN, in the World Trade Organization [WTO], etc., and entering into many bilateral agreements – with other governments, with international organizations like the Asia Development Bank, and with Non-Government Organizations through the Ministry of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Some of these agreements have consequences in detail, which were not all foreseen or discussed with those who are affected – for example: the membership in the WTO will require that copyrights of international companies for computer software will have to be enforced from 2013 onward, and the import of goods and services from other countries has to be liberalized. Though this may have difficult consequences for some sections of the Cambodian economy, other sectors welcome it.

During the past week, a five-year Accountability in Governance and Politics program, financed by the USA, was inaugurated by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and the US Ambassador Carol A. Rodley, according to which the Cambodian government will cooperate, implementing specific projects, with the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. According to the nature of this program, international transparency will be necessarily be enhanced, even when this may relate to difficult challenges to be faced internationally.

What this can mean can be deducted from a difficult processes developing at present in the USA. Goldman Sachs – a full-service global investment banking and securities firm – one of the top financial institutions of the USA, is facing at present charges by the US Securities and Exchange Commission [“The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation”] of fraudulently having contributed to the wide breakdown of financial systems, by systematically entering into contract with people and companies who were supposed not to be able to pay back what they borrowed. To give a small-scale example: one internal e-mail, now leaked, says “I’ve managed to sell bonds to widows and orphans” making “some serious money” for the bank; one section manager made a profit of $1 billion for the bank – but then the whole system collapsed and needed much higher government assistance. The future will show how this will be handled.

Once international government agencies get involved, the chance of achieving real transparency is higher. Repeated corruption allegations raised, for example, by the non-government agency Global Witness in the UK were easily dismissed here as not coming from a government agency, without dealing with their specific documentations. They had also raised questions related to the role of the – then – head of the Forestry Department, Mr. Ty Sokun, which were quickly and strongly rejected as “nonsense” and “lies” at that time, but recently he was removed from his position. The situation will be different in a case which is receiving ever more prominence recently.

The Australian Company BHP Billiton – “the world’s largest diversified natural resources company” – entered into a mineral exploration agreement with the Cambodian government in 2006 to explore for bauxite in Mondolkiri – unprocessed aluminum ore; parts of the exploration site, a 996-hectare mining concession, were in protected natural forest areas. It had also been announced that this was just for exploration, a decision could be found only later, as the transport of bauxite, or the production of aluminum which requires huge amounts of electricity, need further studies. But this plan was abandoned in 2009 because the studies had shown that bauxite mining in Mondolkiri would not be cost-effective.

But recently, during this month of April 2010, BHP Billiton announced that United States Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating corruption allegations which may relate to Cambodia, though this is not yet sure.

According to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of the USA, a company which has made illegal payments, can be fined to pay “up to twice the benefit that it sought to obtain by making a corrupt payment,” and staff involved may have to serve five years in prison.

Neither the US Securities and Exchange Commission nor BHP Billiton has stated that there were actually illegal payments. But the present investigations are based on some reports dating back to 2007.

According to various sources on the Internet, the Minister of Water Resources Lim Kean Hor had reported in the National Assembly at that time that the Prime Minister had informed him from Australia that BHP had paid US$2.5 million as “tea money” for the concession. BHP said, however, that this money was designated for a “social development fund” for health and education projects in Mondolkiri. According to other sources, BHP confirmed to have paid US$1 million to the government in 2006 to secure the concession agreement.

Later inquiries produced various incongruous pieces of information: that the money was not used, as designated, for health and education in Mondolkiri, but for irrigation in Pursat, and the records of the the Ministry of Economy and Finance show for 2006 only US$443,866 as income from mining concessions.

By Saturday, not only the US Securities and Exchange Commission was dealing with the BHP case, but also the UK Serious Fraud Office [“an independent Government department that investigates and prosecutes serious or complex fraud, and corruption. We are part of the UK criminal justice system”].

A “social development fund” of the Cambodian government had also been mentioned before, in relation to substantial payments from Caltex, having obtained the right for off-shore oil exploration. While one government argument, why an NGO law is urgently needed, was the request to gain more transparency about social and development funds (which are, for NGOs, regularly audited by public auditing companies anyway), we have not seen any similar reporting so far about the government’s social development fund – its purpose, its administrative arrangements and it’s oversight bodies, and its assets and disbursements.

The Cambodia Daily carried on 24/25.4.2010 an article, “Precise Meaning of ‘Tea Money’ Up for Debate.” And Mr. Phay Siphan, the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, is quoted to have pointed to the new anti-corruption legislation which shows that the government is committed to “highlight transparency.” – He will surely be able to shed more light onto this affair.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Japan Grants Aid for the Establishment of a Marine Aquaculture Development Center in Cambodia – Saturday, 24.4.2010

Posted on 25 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Phnom Penh: The Imperial Government of Japan grants Yen 624 million, approx. US$6.5 million, for the establishment of a Marine Aquaculture Development Center in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the center will be held in the morning of 26 April 2010 in Tumnub Rolok commune, Sihanoukville, and will be chaired by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Mr. Chan Sarun, and by the Japanese Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Kuroki Masafumi.

“An announcement of the Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA] dated 23 April 2010 says that the plan to construct a Marine Aquaculture Development Center in the Kingdom of Cambodia was initiated with the goal to promote maritime aquaculture in order to respond to the demands for sea-food from a growing number of fishermen, and to reduce the pressure on fishery, as well as to curtail the import of not healthy fish from abroad.

“The announcement adds that the new plan, funded by the Japanese government, will also provide equipment and material for research, and support also the construction of an administration building, a building to store fish eggs before they are hatched, a building for hatching, a breeding building, as well as materials for aquaculture research.

“In addition to research and the development of marine aquaculture, the plan also focuses on building up the capacity of the center to produce 400,000 young fish per year.

“There are three fresh water aquaculture development centers in Cambodia: in Bati district in Takeo, in Prey Veng, and in the Chrang Chamres commune in the Russey district, Phnom Penh.

“It should be remembered that aid from the Japanese government to support agriculture in Cambodia amounted to about US$10 million by 2008, and the total amount of aid from the Japanese government from 1992 to 2009 was US$1.8 billion.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5180, 24.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 24 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #461, 24.4.2010

  • In 2010, More Than 64 Million People Live Under the Poverty Line, Encountering the Global Economic Crisis [according to the World Bank]

Note:

We were not able to verify these numbers, but share instead the following information, also based on World Bank data:

Poverty Around The World

by Anup Shah (This Page Was Last Updated Monday, 1 March 2010)

At a poverty line of $1.25 a day, the revised estimates find:

  • 1.4 billion people live at this poverty line or below.
  • This is more than the previous estimate of 984 million with the older measure of a $1 a day in 2004.
  • In 1981, the estimated number of poor was also revised upward, from 1.5 billion to 1.9 billion.

The World Bank notes that “the incidence of poverty in the world is higher than past estimates have suggested. The main reason is that [previous data] had implicitly underestimated the cost of living in most developing countries.”

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2231, 24.4.2010

  • [Fifty eight] Non-Government Organizations and Associations Condemn the Intention [of some Thai extremists] to Remove Border Posts
  • A School Building Was Destroyed by a Tropical Storm, and a Lightning Killed a Person in Ek Phnom District [Battambang]
  • Within One Month [from 23 March to 23 April 2010], Thirteen People Were Killed and Forty Others Were Injured by traffic accidents in Phnom Penh

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6938, 24.4.2010

  • Some Countries [England, France, and Australia] Alert Their Citizens in Thailand to Stay Away from Bangkok [as violence might break out]

Note:

While finalizing this edition of The Mirror, there is a constant streem of news coming in from Bangkok over the Internet:

Late in the evening, some of the red-shirt leaders called on their followers to take off their red shirts (so that they cannot be identified by the authorities) and mix into the population as guerrilla, and “to finish the whole game” before the Thai King will speak on 26 April at 17:00 to 101 newly appointed judges – an event which had been announced today, for the first public statement of the King.

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3862, 24-25.4.2010

  • The Eviction of Citizens and Land Disputes Lead to Food Insecurity and Poverty – the European Union Announced Food Aid [of US$2.6 million for Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5180, 24.4.2010

  • Japan Grants Aid for the Establishment of a Marine Aquaculture Development Center in Cambodia
  • [Prek Kompeus] Commune Chief and Residents Appeal to the Public, Describing their Land Dispute with the Heng Development Company [Kandal]
  • [Takeyama Osamu – 竹山修] The Mayor of Sakai City [堺市市長] and His Delegation Comes from Japan to Study Tourism in Cambodia [very informative website Sakai City: For Foreign Residents and Visitors (in English, Chinese, and Korean)
  • A Tropical Storm Caused 17 Houses to Collapse and Inured Two People in Siem Reap

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

The Cambodian Prime Minister Is Concerned about the Loss of Ground Water in Siem Reap – Friday, 23.4.2010

Posted on 24 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Siem Reap: Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen expressed concern about the loss of ground water in Siem Reap that could lead to earth quakes that can damage the Angkor Wat Temple, for which safety cannot be guaranteed.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said so in the morning of 22 April 2010 in Svay Dangkum district, Siem Reap, during the inauguration of a Wastewater Management and Culvert System.

“He said that to further beautify Siem Reap City as the center of the province to attract a large number of tourists, the goal of Cambodia is not only to attract more than 2 million tourists, but our goal is to see as many as 5 million tourist arrivals. Therefore, we have to think about the creation of a larger airport. But our major problem now is to focus on the problem of the ground water used by big hotels. Now we are encouraging investment in bringing water from external water reservoirs to Siem Reap City. We cannot keep on using ever more ground water, because some big hotels consume too much of it, and this leads to the loss of balance between the earth layers and aquifers, which then may result in quakes that might seriously affect our rich cultural heritage. Thus, care has to be taken seriously.

“Samdech Hun Sen asked for a thorough check on big hotels that are drawing ground water, because the amount consumed per day cannot be just estimated, otherwise damage will occur in Siem Reap. Therefore, a good way out is to encourage companies to invest to develop water supply to be drawn from external reservoirs to replace the use of ground water in Siem Reap City.

“Regarding the beauty of the city, he spoke to the Siem Reap Governor, Mr. So Phearin, asking him to clean the Water Convolvulus [a semi-aquatic tropical plant grown as a leaf vegetable, known also as Water Spinach, Water Morning Glory, Chinese Spinach, and Swamp Cabbage] along the road from the airport to the city. He added, ‘You officials, you travel back and forth every day. You see it, but you do not care about it and let the weeds – Water Convolvulus and Water Hyacinths – grow along the road. It is not that you could not do anything. But you do not care about it!’ Last year, he had mentioned this already once, but nothing has changed. Early in the new year, he had reminded them once again, but still it is the same. He went on to say that the flood in Siem Reap results from disorderly constructions which block the flow of water. He continued to say that to develop Siem Reap City is not as difficult as Phnom Penh, which is 500 times more difficult, but still it can be developed. But here, just along the road, it does not happen. ‘Just pave the pedestrian walkways and put concrete slabs on the channel to cover for flowing water will beautify the city, providing an attractive view for the tourists, which is better than letting weeds and Water Convolvulus grow in the channels.

“He added, ‘I would just like to remind you again in case you forget. When one becomes governor of Siem Reap, it is better to have fixed these things before leaving Siem Reap again, because it does not cost much to do it. Roads in front of the houses of citizens and of hotels were already paved according to a regulation introduced. Some roads may be impossible to construct according to that regulation, so a fifty-fifty formula should be introduced [where the state pays half and citizens pay the other half of the cost]. Where the state can construct the roads, do it, because there are supporting funds available from the province and from the Apsara Authority. The real problem is that you did not care to do it.’

“In the meantime, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen praised the governor of Poipet for encouraging and coopering with the citizens to work on improvements. The good leadership there makes Poipet City have nice roads, attracting tourists, while Siem Reap City attracts weeds, Water Convolvulus, and Water Hyacinths.

“Siem Reap residents criticize the Siem Reap governor for not producing any noticeable development in the city. For example, the Siem Reap River is much smaller than the Sankae River in Battambang, but the Battambang authorities were able to pave the river banks with concrete slabs, while the Siem Reap River is like a channel, but the Siem Reap governor was not able to do the same. The pedestrian walkways in Siem Reap are bumpy. Some are paved with concrete slabs. Some are just the plain soil and muddy. Some are full of weeds, making it difficult to walk for the traveling tourists; instead, they have to walk on the road. The Siem Reap city does not offer attractive views for tourists at night, because of public order and sanitation problems.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5179, 23.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 23 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #460, 23.4.2010

  • A Car Hit Four People Including an Unborn Baby and Killed Them, but the Takeo Police Released the Car Driver [in exchange for US$2,000]
  • The Asian Development Bank Provides a Loan of US$10.93 Million to Cambodia to Strengthen Infrastructure in Siem Reap [to implement construction projects and to deploy a culvert system]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2213, 28-29.4.2010

  • The Prime Minister Asked Citizens to Be Careful to Protect Themselves from Lightnings [recently, six people were killed by lightnings in one day in Pursat. He suggested that citizens should not hold any metal objects, like knives or axes, and turn off their mobile phones, radios, and TV sets]

The Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6937, 23.4.2010

  • The Russey Keo District Authorities Announced to Close Guesthouses along National Road 6A [from Phnom Penh to the north, as it is obvious that they do not serve tourists, but are “Love Hotels” offering places for people to have sex – Phnom Penh]
  • Laos Has Collected More Than US$80 Million from Gold Ore while More Ore Is Being Extracted

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3861, 23.4.2010

  • The Debts of Some Countries Are Increasing, and the International Monetary Fund Is Worried that Another, More Serious Economic Crisis May Break Out [also Cambodia is mentioned – when the debt increases, loans for the private sector are cut, so that big and small private enterprises encounter difficulties when they seek loans for their operations; as a result, workers of those enterprises lose their employment]
  • Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai government] Asked the United Nations to Deploy Peace Keeping Forces in Siam [Thailand] to Prevent Civil War and Violence

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #155, 23.4.2010

  • The Producer [Mr. Bradley Cox] of the Documentary Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” Wants to Present the Film in Cambodia [Mr. Chea Vichea was the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of Cambodia who was shot dead in 2004 – The film is to share info that the producer has recovered about persons who are supposed to have been behind the murder of Mr. Chea Vichea]
  • BHB Investigates Corruption Allegations in Cambodia [BHP Billiton is conducting an internal investigation over a corruption accusations related to getting a concession for Bauxite exploration in Mondolkiri in 2007 – BHP Billiton withdrew from Cambodia 2009]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5179, 23.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Is Concerned about the Loss of Ground Water in Siem Reap
  • The East Timor President [Mr. José Ramos-Horta] Asked Cambodia to Support His Country’s Candidacy to Become a New Member of ASEAN

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The Cambodian Prime Minister Regards Terrorism as a Cruel Specter – Thursday, 22.4.2010

Posted on 23 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, announced strict anti-terrorism policies, as terrorism is not only a problem of Cambodia but of the whole world. The head of the Royal Government considers terrorism as the cruelest specter that must be eradicated.

“During the inauguration in the morning of 21 April 2010, of the secretariat of the National Counterterrorism Committee which cost more than US$1.6 million and took nearly one year to construct, at a military airbase, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen said that terrorism is a global issue that must be suppressed so that it does not cause instability for people and for whole societies.

“He said, ‘Our war on terrorism is part of the current global war on terrorism, and even though Cambodia is not a target of terrorist attacks, we must not miss to see any possible situation. If we are apathetic or careless, the country might become a safe shelter for terrorists.’

“It should be noted that the National Counterterrorism Committee is headed by the Prime Minister, and Mr. Om Yentieng is the deputy head who leads the forces of the unit by cooperating with other mixed forces to crack down on possible terrorism in Cambodia, as terrorists might take Cambodia as a basis to hide themselves and to attack other governments, or to commit illegal activities like human trafficking and drug smuggling.

“Samdech Hun Sen stressed, ‘The Royal Government of Cambodia regards terrorism as the most brutal crime in human history, as it can destroy social and political stability and cost human lives among people of all races and of every age group, and it can occur at any place in any region and any country and on the international and intercontinental levels.’

“Also, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia mentioned the strategies for the eradication of terrorism which he had developed himself, to achieve a successful crackdown on possible terrorism in three steps. Nevertheless, the head of the Royal Government said that though special anti-terrorism forces have been created, there must be cooperation with other forces, such as the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, the police, the military police, as well as with the citizens.

“Samdech Hun Sen went on to say that it is essential to be ready to fight terrorism in order to guarantee the safety for one’s own people as well as for people of other countries.

“It should be remembered that Cambodia and its partner countries had cooperated to arrest a notorious terrorist, Hambali, who was behind the attack on Bali in Indonesia that killed hundreds of people.

“Also, the eldest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen, General Dr. Hun Manet, is the commander of the special forces and the head of the Anti-Terrorism Department of the National Counterterrorism Committee.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #459, 22.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 22 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #459, 22.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Regards Terrorism as a Cruel Specter
  • A Dutch Man Was Arrested for Debauchery with Three Boys [Sihanoukville]
  • Cambodia Prepares to Send a Delegation to East Timor to Study the Potential for Rice Export [according to a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and the East Timor President, Mr. José Ramos-Horta – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2228-2229, 21-22.4.2010

  • Siamese [Thai] Extremists Plan to Uproot Border Posts on 2 and 3 May 2010 [at the Ta Moan Touch Temple]
  • The Maternal Mortality Rate in Cambodia Drops [according to The Lancet magazine, there were 266 maternal deaths per 100,000 births, while the national census of Cambodia had reported as many as 461 maternal deaths in 2008]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6936, 22.4.2010

  • Last Year a Woman Was Killed by a Lightning, and This Year Her Husband Was Shot Dead, Leaving Six Daughters as Orphans [perpetrator is not yet identified – Pursat]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3860, 22.4.2010

  • The Reform of Democracy Does Not Only Depend on Words, but the Government Must Show Real Political Will [said the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Carol Rodley]
  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Do Not Trust [Cambodian People’s Party Senator] Oknha Ly Yong Phat Who Promised Again and Again to Solve Land Disputes with the Amleang Commune Residents

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #155, 22.4.2010

  • The Prime Minister Says the Kingdom Is Ready to Fight Terror
  • Smoke from the Eruption of a Volcano in Europe [in Iceland] Affects Tourism in Cambodia [the bookings of hotel rooms and the time of staying in Cambodia have been reduced by 10% to 15%]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5178, 22.4.2010

  • 207 Cases of Forestry Crimes Were Sent to the Courts [more than 5,000 cubic meter of woods have been confiscated]
  • Another Person in Cambodia Dies from Bird Flue [H5N1], in Prey Veng
  • An Elephant Protection Ranger from Cambodia [Mr. Tuy Sereivathana] Wins the Golden Environmental Prize for 2010 and Receives More Than US$100,000 [from the Goldman Environmental Foundation for his efforts to help protect Asian elephants from being slaughtered by humans and for helping to teach farmers to prevent elephants from destroying their crops]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

The United States of America Launched a Program of Accountability in Governance and Politics – Wednesday, 21.4.2010

Posted on 22 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Phnom Penh: The United States of America launched a Program of Accountability in Governance and Politics with US$16.2 million to promote accountability and transparency in the Cambodian government.

“The program was launched on 20 April 2010 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh, and it was chaired by the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, and by the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Carol A. Rodley.

“The United States Agency for International Development [USAID] developed this Accountability in Governance and Politics 5-year program, aimed at assisting Cambodia by encouraging the government to be responsible for implementing their policies through: 1. Strengthening of accountability, transparency, and broad access to information; 2. Creation of modern leadership; and 3. Support for the electoral systems.

This program will provide US$7.2 million to the International Republican Institute from 2009 to 2014, concentrating on consolidating the capacity of civil servants and of officials of political parties through the analysis of public surveys and through the creation of effective strategies for decision making.

“This program also offers US$6.08 million to the National Democratic Institute for increasing transparency over decisions of the government, and for further strengthening the access to public information about policy formation.

“The program also provides US$2.29 million to the International Foundation for Electoral Systems to strengthen the understanding of politics and the participation by women in government positions.

“Ms. Carol A. Rodley said that democracy in Cambodia is young, but it has progressed much since the first elections in 1993. She added that the United States of America hopes to cooperate with related institutions of the government, with civil society, and with all political parties to strengthen democracy in Cambodia. She went on to say, ‘I am exited about the extensive consolidation of skills and of experiences that these organizations have contributed to Cambodia, with which they can implement the projects at their areas. I believe that we will see positive results within five years.’

“On the same occasion, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An highly assessed USAID for initiating and for funding this crucial program, and he hopes that it will contribute to promote the understanding and the participation of citizens in creating and implementing various policies that are more accountable and more transparent, so as to lead to a broader implementation of democracy in Cambodia.

“He added that the projects to be implemented are also consistent with the political program of the Royal Government that is encouraging the participation from all circles in the process to establish policies, in project organization, and in different decisions made by the Royal Government through consultations to ensure a balanced progress in Cambodia. The Royal Government clearly stated that civil society and non-government organizations are important partners for economic and social development, as well as for the strengthening of democracy and the respect for human rights in Cambodia.

“He hopes that these projects will be implemented equally and faithfully by the three organizations, according to their goals, in order to join with the Royal Government to strengthen democracy, development, and the implementation of polices to further develop the economy and the society.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5177, 21.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #458, 21.4.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank [ADB] Predicted that the Cambodian GDP Will Grow by 4.5% in 2010 and by 6% in 2011 [if the global economic growth is in line with the forecast of the ADB, and if the climate is favorable for agricultural cultivation in Cambodia]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Will Lead a Delegation to Attend the Inauguration of the Expo 2010 Shanghai [in China on 29 April 2010]
  • The Number of People Killed by an Earthquake in China [in the northwest] Rose to 2,000

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6920, 21.4.2010

  • The Municipal Court Issued a Warrant to Bring Mr. Sam Rainsy to the Court [for a hearing, not for arrest] over an Accusation that He Faked Public Maps
  • A Fierce Lightning Storm Killed Six People during a Rain in the Early Visakh Lunar Month in Bakan District [Pursat – the Visakh month is the second month in the traditional lunar calendar, in 2010 extending from the end of March to the end of April]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3859, 21.4.2010

  • The Asian Development Bank Found that the Rate of Poor Khmer Citizens Strongly Increased in Rural Areas

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.154, #1, 21.4.2010

  • Asian Development Bank: Cambodia Lacks behind Its Neighboring Countries in the Garment Sector and in Tourism
  • [The Former Phnom Penh police chief, now jailed at the Prey Sar Prison] Heng Pov Published a Book Praising [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Politics [“The Strategy of Putting the Fire of War in Cambodia to an End” – ហេង​ពៅ “យុទ្ធសាស្ត្ររំលត់ភ្លើងសង្គ្រាម​នៅ​កម្ពុជា”]
  • The Land Dispute in Amleang Commune Is Still Hot as There Is Still No Solution [about 500 villagers continue to protest against Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company encroaching on what they claim is their land]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5177, 21.4.2010

  • The United States of America Launched a Program of Accountability in Governance and Politics
  • [Twenty seven] Foreign Journalists from the time of the War between 1970 and 1975 Arrived in Cambodia Again [for a reunion, and they were welcomed by the Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]
  • [The President of the Cambodian People’s Party and of the Senate] Samdech Chea Sim Welcomes the Former Head of State of Vietnam [Mr. Trần Đức Lương (Tran Duc Luong} during his visit to Cambodia to strengthen the ties and good cooperation between both countries]

And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

In 2009 Telecom Cambodia Progressed, but Debt Collection Problem Continues – Tuesday, 20.4.2010

Posted on 21 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Phnom Penh: Telecom Cambodia held a meeting on 19 April 2010 to reflect on the work in 2009 and to set its goals for 2010, chaired by Mr. Lao Saroeun, a delegate of the Royal Government as the Director General of Telecom Cambodia, and by Mr. Koy Pum, an Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication.

“Mr. Lao Saroeun said that in 2010, Telecom Cambodia encouraged efforts to collect more income, following the circulars and recommendations from different leaders. He advised the telecommunication personnel that efficiency and success result from building up trust from clients. Therefore, they must be able to maintain clients, and must think of setting up more access faciliies and network services to serve the clients.

“Mr. Koy Pum said that Telecom Cambodia is a public institution of the Royal Government of Cambodia. It is responsible for developing telecommunication and information technology, and it is actively extending telecommunication infrastructure, especially the backbone network of telecommunication, and extending the network for clients in cities and in rural areas, to respond to VGN System applications [see Note 1: further down] in the future so as to catch up with the advancement of Communication and Information Technology of the world, and particularly to meet the obvious demands of clients.

“He added that in 2009, with the agreement by the Board of Directors, Telecom Cambodia accomplished several noticeable achievements in constructing telecommunication infrastructure, expanding networks, and providing new services in response to demands. As a result, the number of clients increased steadily. In the meantime, Telecom Cambodia is facing strong competition from other operators that provide similar services, including phone networks and the Internet. This caused Telecom Cambodia to try harder to overcome all challenges and to receive positive results, as seen today.

“He said that these results cannot be seen separate from the efforts of the leaders on all levels and of the employees of Telecom Cambodia who have worked hard. Also, to accomplish new successes in 2010, an important year for telecommunication developments among strong competition, Telecom Cambodia has to define a clear vision and goals, to achieve defined results, based on proper management and monitoring mechanisms, so that the operations of Telecom Cambodia can achieve success.

“The Undersecretary of State added that besides the effects from the global economic crisis, Telecom Cambodia also faces other challenges, such as sturdy competition from other local and international telecommunication operators, difficulties in collecting payments, the limitation of services provided to clients, a lack of qualified human resources, and especially the drop of international telecommunication income from the 001 gateway.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6934, 20.4.2010

Note 1:

VGN Systems – Voice Gender Normalization Systems

“Traditionally the interest in voice gender conversion was of a more theoretical nature rather than founded in real-life applications. However, with the increase in mobile communication and the resulting limitation in transmission bandwidth, new approaches to minimizing data rates have to be developed. Here Voice Gender Normalization (VGN) presents an efficient method of achieving higher compression rates by using the VGN algorithm to remove gender specific components of a speech signal, and thus enhancing the information content to be transmitted.

“A second application for VGN is in the field of speech controlled systems, where current speech recognition algorithms have to deal with the voice characteristics of a speaker as well as the information content. Here again the use of VGN can remove the speaker’s voice gender characteristics and thus enhance the message contents.”

Note 2:

It is interesting that such a specific, fairly new field as VGN is mentioned here, but it is surprising that the efforts to introduce economic control by Telecom Cambodia over other Internet Service Providers, by trying to introduce a single, mandatory Internet Exchange Point and a monopoly for the purchase of international connectivity, and even the possibility of Internet content control (as had been reported also in The Mirror) is not mentioned here; related considerations date back into 2009, though the controversy became publicly discussed mainly in 2010. These plans were finally given up, after they had met with much opposition in the business community.

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #457, 20.4.2010

  • The Municipal Court Summons [the opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy to Appear Today [over a complaint of the government accusing him of faking maps and disinformation. – He is abroad; normally he sends a lawyer to represent him]
  • The Naga Casino Was Accused of Illegally Dismissing 41 Staff [they were dismissed with immediate effect without being informed in advance]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2227, 20.4.2010

  • The Thomson Reuters Foundation [“Established in 1982, Thomson Reuters Foundation is a registered charity in Britain and the United States”] Has Not Responded to a Cambodian Request [to correct the size of Cambodia on a table from 176,520 square kilometers to the official size of Cambodia of 181,035 square kilometers]
  • The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Will Make an Official Visit to Cambodia [from 25 to 28 April 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6934, 20.4.2010

  • In 2009 Telecom Cambodia Progressed, but Debt Collection Problem Continues
  • The European Union Grants US$1.6 Million for Human Rights and Democracy Work in Cambodia
  • The United Nations Calls On Donors to Provide the Funds That They Promised for Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3885, 20.4.2010

  • The Head of the Department of Labor of Mondolkiri [Mr. Noy Sron] Recruits His Son as the Deputy Head

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.153, #1, 20.4.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Asked the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to Investigate Government Officials [who are said to have been involved in killing Khmer citizens, and bring the suspects to the Tribunal according to the law]
  • Thai Troops Withdrew from the Chak Chreng Area [after staying there for three days; there were negotiations between army commanders of both countries]
  • Amleang Commune Residents Blocked Road 52 to Protest [against Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company that continues to clear the land and blocked the way to their rice fields – Kompong Speu]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5176, 20.4.2010

  • Thirty Five Cubic Meters of Wood Were Found in the Five Star Eva Hotel in Siem Reap [the owner of the wood had reported this to the authorities; no more information is given]
  • Police Cracked Down on a Big Group of Armed Robbers That Had Committed 20 Robberies [arresting seven people – Phnom Penh]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Mr. Hang Chakra Vowed to Continue to Write According to His Conscience as He Did Previously – Monday, 19.4.2010

Posted on 20 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“The editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, Mr. Hang Chakra, has just been released from Prey Sar prison on Tuesday last week, a day ahead of the Khmer New Year, and he vowed that he will continue to publish his paper according to his conscience, constructively also criticizing the government.

“Mr. Hang Chakra told the Phnom Penh Post on Sunday, ‘I could not believe that I would be released a day ahead of the Khmer New Year. I am so happy that I can meet my family.’ Mr. Hang Chakra added that he will try to publish his Khmer Machas Srok papers again next week, after a suspension early this month due to financial reason, and he will continue to criticize the government with the attempt to constructively contribute to the nation and to fight corruption. He said, ‘I will continue to publish the paper with my conscience, to criticize corrupt people among government officials, to serve the readers and the society. I hope that the readers will still support me.’

“It should also be known that, before Hang Chakra had been released, he wrote a letter of apology to Prime Minister Hun Sen one month after he was convicted, and he promised that he will not write to accuse anyone of corruption without evidence, if he would be released.

“Mr. Hang Chakra is the editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, a newspaper that has a tendency towards the Sam Rainsy Party. He was convicted to serve 12 months in prison, and he was fined to pay Riel 9 million (at present approx. US$2,200) on 26 June 2009, for defaming Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, after he had released several texts accusing cabinet officials of Deputy Prime Minister Sok An of being involving in corruption without intervention.

“Mr. Hang Chakra denied he is related to the rumor that he is joining the Cambodian People’s Party and will stop criticizing the government. Mr. Hang Chakra clarified, ‘No institution can press me to change my conscience, as I spend my own money to publish my papers, and my paper is still alive because of our readers.’

“The head of the Criminal Department of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Pov Bunthouen told the Phnom Penh Post on Sunday that Mr. Hang Chakra was one of the 42 prisoners who were released earlier than expected who were on the list to be released, while the punishment of 119 others on the list will be reduced. He said, ‘We are preparing to organize a Visakh Bochea ceremony (on 28 April 2010). I have not yet checked all documents, and I expect that all those documents in the lists that will be checked after the ceremony.’” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #150-151, 12-14.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:

Monday, 19 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #486, 11-19.4.2010

  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN] Set Up New Plans to Boost the Economy [ASEAN leaders promised to cooperate to restore the economic and financial sectors by eliminating commercial protectionism and to open free markets]
  • Robbers Robbed a Jewelry Seller at the Canadia Market, Taking Away Nearly US$10,000 [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2225-2226, 11-19-.4.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Authorities Offer Two Options for 257 Families Whose Houses Were Burnt Down in Boeng Kak [they will be allowed to reconstruct houses on a plot of 3.9 by 5 meters at the burnt area, but the authorities will not provide them with land titles – or they can settle on a plot of 5 by 12 meter in Chaom Chau commune, Dangkao district where the authorities will provide them land title. So far, 165 agreed to take the 2nd option]
  • The Cambodian-Chinese Prek Kdam Bridge [across the Tonle Sap River in Kandal, constructed with a loan from China and US$28,783,644 from the Cambodian government] Was Opened for Traffic
  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Sent a Letter of Condolence at the Occasion of the Death of the Polish President [who was killed in plane crash]
  • Cambodia Asked the Head of ASEAN to Immediately Convene a Meeting to Reduce the Tensions in Thailand [but Thailand rejected it as previously usual for all members: No interference into internal affairs!]
  • Nearly 60 Cubic Meters of Luxury Grade Wood Found in Dangkao District, belonging to a [Kompong Cham] Forestry Head [the authorities are seeking to arrest him – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6932-6932, 12-19.4.2010

  • 579 People Were Seriously and Slightly Injured or Killed in Traffic Accidents during the Khmer New Year [49 people were killed this year, compared to 2009, when 52 people were killed]
  • More Than US$87 Million Is Provided [by donors] to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for 2010 and 2011 [ announced by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Clashes Broke Out in Bangkok, Killing 20 People and Injuring 842; and 28 Police and Soldiers Had Been Held as Hostage [by red-shirt demonstrators]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3856, 12-18.4.2010

  • The Constitutional Council Rejected a Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians’ Request which Heng Samrin Had Rejected Before [for the government to temporarily suspend putting border posts]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #150-152, 12-19.4.2010

  • Cambodian and Thai Soldiers Clashed along the Border, when there Was an Invasion from Thailand [Thai soldiers demanded Khmer soldiers to remove a wooden house which has been constructed there over ten years, but Khmer soldiers disagreed; four Thai soldiers were injured while Khmer soldiers were not – Oddar Meanchey. In the meantime it was reported that the soldiers of both sides withdrew from the area, and also, that this information is not correct; we cannot just trust ONE information in such a situation, but be aware of frequent inconsistencies and changes – but we “mirror” them, not knowing if there will be coming more changes]
  • The United States of America Greeted Cambodia at the Khmer New Year, while the Cambodian Prime Minister Praised Troops [stationed along the Cambodian-Thai border]
  • [Five representatives of] Amleang Commune Residents Came [to Phnom Penh] to Ask for an Intervention from Mr. Hun Sen [over a land dispute with Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company in Kompong Speu]
  • The Ministry of Health Calls on Citizens to Stop Using [Kemlotlanhthomcaocap – Spelling/wording not sure] Cosmetic Foam Imported from Vietnam [after a woman in Banteay Meanchey died after she used it]
  • Prices of Petroleum at Big Fuel Stations in Cambodia Increased Also after Prices of Oil at the International Markets Rose [a liter of premium quality is US$1.12 and the normal quality is US$1.07]
  • Mr. Hang Chakra Vowed to Continue to Work According to His Conscience as He Did Previously

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5174-5175, 11-19.4.2010

  • The Top US Diplomat [Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Secretary of State of the USA] Vowed to Strengthen Cambodian-American Ties [recalling good cooperation between the USA and Cambodia]
  • Luxury Grade Wood [about 100 cubic meters] Was Found in the Sambara Resort and Spa Hotel [in Siem Reap]
  • The President of Poland Is among the 132 People Who Were Killed in a Plane Crash in Russia
  • Within the First Two Months of 2010 Cambodia Attracted Investment of US$116.5 Million [for 15 projects in agriculture and the garment sector, from China, Singapore, and Vietnam]
  • The Ministry of Tourism Expects that 2010 Will Be the Year That Tourism Recovers and Grows by 10% [or to 2.4 million tourist arrivals]
  • The Army Commander-In-Chief Anupong Paochinda and Opposition Party President Chavalit Support the Dissolution of the Parliament, after a Clash Which Cost 21 Lives [Thailand – This headline shows also the need to follow developments carefully to verify what is going on; in the meantime it is reported that the military, under General Anupong Paochinda, has taken over the responsibility to maintain security in Bangkok, after the police had not been able to do so]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...