The World Food Program Plans to Provide Food to 108 Million People in 74 Countries Including Nearly One Million Cambodian People – Tuesday, 20.10.2009

Posted on 21 October 2009. Filed under: Week 635 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 635 – Tuesday, 20.10.2009

“Rome: Because the number of starving people increases beyond the number in previous reports, today (World Food Day – 16 October 2009), the World Food Program (WFP) of the United Nations calls on the world to remember that more than one billion people do not have enough food to eat.

“The executive director of the World Food Program, Ms. Josette Sheeran, said, ‘Actually, the “World Food Day” is also “No Food Day” for 1 among 6,000 persons [Late addition: Apologies for a grave error during the process of preparing the manuscript: it is “1 among 6 persons” – a much more serious situation. And, according to the original English version we now replaced the former rendering “Word Without Food Day” with “No Food Day.”] in the world in this year. It should be remembered that more than one billion people will not have enough food to eat this year. We cannot change this problem. Therefore, our challenge is to make “No Food Day” become “World Food Day” for hundreds of millions of people who do not have sufficient food to eat.

“The flow of food aid is at the lowest level within the last 20 years, while there are more starving people due to the impacts from rising food prices, from the global financial crisis, and from more climate change.

“This year, the World Food Program plans to provide food to 108 million people in 74 countries in the world, including nearly one million Cambodians. But serious shortage of fund leads to the reduction of food to be distributed to some countries, and to temporary suspension of aid in some other countries. So far, donor countries have granted approx. US$2.9 billion in aid to the World Food Program which plans to spend US$6.7 billion in total for 2009.

“Ms. Sheeran added that during these decades, the World Food Program can supply food to about 10% of the men, women, and children who are starving in the world. But this year is the first year that the agents of the World Food Program seem not to be able to achieve its goal. As an agency to respond to emergency needs, the World Food Program has encountered many unexpected demands in 2009, like the response to the recent flood in the Philippines.

“As for Cambodia, the World Food Program said that even given the development that has been achieved in recent years, Cambodia is still considered as a country with starvation placed at high emergency levels, and it is among 36 countries in the world where there is a very high number of children suffering from malnutrition. Since 1979, the World Food Program has closely cooperated with the Royal Government of Cambodia, with other agencies of the United Nations, and with non-government organizations to alleviate starvation and malnutrition in Cambodia. The overall aim of the World Food Program in Cambodia is to improve food security among starving people through many programs related to education, health, and nutrition, to rise the living standard, and to sustainably build up against natural disasters and against other shocks. In 2008, the World Food Program supported nearly one million of the poorest people and of people with food insecurity.

“To celebrate the ‘World Food Day’, an event was jointly organized under the concerns of achieving food security during the crisis’ by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Food Program in Takeo. The World Food Program Representative to Cambodia, Mr. Jean Pierre De Margerie, said that achieving food security is still a challenge for thousand of poor and vulnerable people of Cambodia. The follow-up impacts from the rising food prices and the global economic crisis worsen the level of vulnerability in Cambodia, especially in regions hit by the typhoon Ketsana. He added, ‘Efforts to work collaboratively and the good coordination from all relevant partners are the best way to accomplish a regular and sustainable food security in Cambodia.'” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6783, 20.10.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2076, 20.10.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Told Citizens that the State Will Not Collect Fees for Listening to Radio and for Watching TV [after there was a request by the chairperson of the Commission on Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation Propaganda and Information of the National Assembly to collect such fees]
  • Four Robbers Robbed the Srae Prang Village Chief’s House, Taking Kathen [a Buddhist ceremony] Money [approx. US$5,000], and Shot His Son to Death [Kompong Cham]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6783, 20.10.2009

  • The World Food Program Plans to Provide Food to 108 Million People in 74 Countries, Including to Nearly One Million Cambodian People
  • More Than 300 Fishermen Protested in Front of the Municipality as Fishing Yields Drop to Almost Zero because of [sea] Sand Dredging [Koh Kong]
  • The Head of the Eye Department [of a Korean university] of [South] Korea Promised to Continue to Provide Eye Treatments and to Train Cambodian Ophthalmologists [by sending Korean volunteers, as they did since 2007]

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #29, 20.10.2009

  • The Khmer Prime Minister Asked Global Witness to Stop Criticizing the Cambodian Government of Cutting Trees [the Prime Minister said during the First National Forum on Climate Change that global warming is first of all the result of economic activities in rich countries – the cutting of trees in a small country will now have global consequences]
  • Husband and Wife Who Tortured a Girl Are Detained at Prey Sar Prison [Phnom Penh]
  • The Ministry of Interior Announced to Fine Overloaded Trucks Seriously [as they create traffic hazards]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5025, 20.10.2009

  • The National Assembly Continues to Discuss the Demonstration Law
  • A 64-Year-Old Man Raped Two Young Girls [8 and 9 years old – he was arrested – Pursat]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1811, 20.10.2009

  • [The president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Mr. Sam Rainsy: We Do Not Want Peace like Peace for Slaves [he said so while the National Assembly was discussing the defamation law

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

Back to top

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

Perception and Reality – Again – Sunday, 18.1.2009

Posted on 19 January 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 595 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

On Monday, 12 January 2009, we had the 100,000th visit to the Mirror – starting from January 2007.

Thanks for your interest.

Would you like easy access to the editions of The Mirror directly by e-mail, and keep them on your harddisk? Or have a “newsfeed”? You can “subscribe” for free!

Click on Subscribe to The Mirror (not here, but on the blue letters to the right of the text, underneath Have a look at last week’s editorial and Previous editorials). You are offered several possibilities to select from. If you do not have any other preferences, we recommend:

Get The Mirror delivered by e-mail

And follow the questions.
.

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 595

In the Mirror, we have taken up the public importance of perceptions several times over the years.

Actually, we had raised this question at the beginning of the publication of The Mirror on the Internet in January 2007, with reference to Prime Minister Dato Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi of Malaysia under the tile “Perception and Reality.” At his inauguration, he had pointed to the important role of perceptions held by the public – which may or may not conform to reality, but are nevertheless extremely important for the political situation of a country.

And Dato Seri Syed Hamid Albar, as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, took up the concern for the role of perceptions, saying that “negative developments do not contribute to creating a climate of confidence in the world, which is vitally necessary for all of us, regardless of different faiths and beliefs, to live in peace and harmony.”

Not only the reality is important – but how it is understood and interpreted what is heard and seen – this too is extremely important. Some good things may be misunderstood as if they were bad. But if many things heard and seen result in negative perceptions, it can have deeply devastating consequences for a seemingly well functioning society.

This week, we list up some reports – really not knowing how the public can help to clarify what is confused, to avoid moving further down into the dark.

The international Human Rights Organization Human Rights Watch had, in its 2009 report covering the situation of many countries, also criticized Cambodia.

Human Rights Watch does not report only about notoriously criticized countries like Myanmar, but it deals also with the human rights situation – to name some more countries – in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and in the United States of America. Many of these countries take problems raised very seriously.

The brief Cambodia section of the Events of 2008 is followed by about 20 additional, detailed background documents

The content of all this is – unfortunately – not new: criticism of the criminal justice system, cases of intimidation, violence, imprisonments. Endemic impunity, rampant corruption, and illegal plundering of natural resources. And: Cambodia is due to be reviewed under the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the UN Human Rights Commission in December 2009.

Most cases had been reported in the Khmer press during the year, quite a number also we had mirrored.

The official Cambodian reaction was reported in the Cambodia Daily as follows:

“Om Yentieng, head of the government’s human rights committee, dismissed the report’s findings, saying Human Rights Watch was defaming the country with lies and, in the process, making themselves foolish.

‘I refuse all of the accusations,’ he said, ‘they are just trying to make up things, or they just want to spoil heir name. They are playing the role as a puppet in order to gain an advantage for themselves.’”

(Cambodia Daily, 16 January 2009)

As an illustration of the gap between this perception and the reality we point to some reports mirrored during the past week – small and big events:

  • When people need public certifications or documentation, there are often no publicly displayed fees, saying transparently what is to be paid – “The price of a certificate, to get employment, to register the place of residence, or to get married is US$5.00, but the price goes up with its urgency – US$5.00 for one month – US$45.00 for 15 days, US$100.00 for one week, and US$150.00 for one day.” Similar arrangements may be in place in other countries too. But the report claims what is said to be general knowledge: “…these extra charges do not go to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.”
  • When a family had lost their new born son in a hospital formerly supported by Japan, the following financial dealings were reported. They had been going on for some time, but nobody had dared to speak up. – “There are notices written on the walls of the Japanese hospital with big Khmer letters on blue background, saying please do not pay anything to the staff, but only to the cashiers. Patients who are not able to pay for the services are invited to contact a monitoring group, and if someone asks for money in addition to the prescribed fees, they should be reported to the monitoring group. The service charges are approx. US$3.50 for a woman delivering her first baby; the normal room charge is approx. US$2.50 per night. – However, everything is different from the above prohibition notice. Each patient pays extra money in addition to the services, such as approx. US$10.00 to US$30.00 for doctors, approx. USUS$2.50 to each medical staff who injects three syringes three times per day etc. A woman said that, when the head of her baby appeared half way, first the doctors asked her how much money she would offer them. That woman offered them approx. US$12.00, but the doctors demanded more. Because she begged that that was all the money she had, they agreed. This is an incredible story, but that was what that woman said herself. Another woman staying in the next bed offered the doctors US$5.00, but only when they arrived at the sum of US$30.00 they agreed.”
  • When defense lawyers at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal were unable to get information about alleged kickbacks of Khmer staff – to higher level persons, for having received their positions – which would have satisfied them that there will be no unfairness in the trials, they finally filed a request for clarification of these corruption allegation at the Phnom Penh court. Now they feel intimidated by judges who prepare to sue them for defamation – instead of being grateful that the allegations could be refuted by a court forever.
  • When a delegation from the Senate and from human rights groups tried to inspect and to check forest sites allegedly cleared for planting rubber trees in Ratanakiri, the DM Group, the company under suspicion, prevented them from fulfilling their task.
  • When a Danish Woman had bought several thousand over-the-counter painkiller tablets with codeine, that can be easily and legally bought at many pharmacies all over Phnom Penh, and she tried to mail them at the Post Office – they are cheap here, and she hoped to sell them abroad to make some small extra money to support her son – she was arrested. Now she was convicted to serve 15 years in prison and fined approx. US$7,500 for drug trafficking. None of the press report said anything about any involvement with illegal substances.
  • When 234 families felt threatened as owners of their land by the Heng Development Company, they were satisfied that the Kandal provincial court had confirmed their land rights on 26 February 2007. But now the company deployed machinery and started to clear their land. When the legal owners protested, the company told them that the Kandal court had made a wrong judgment. The Military Police in Kandal Stung, led by their commander – a nephew of the director of the Heng Development Company – deployed 20 to 30 armed military police who opened fire with their AK-47 rifles – at least three men were seriously injured.
  • When it was reported that the US company PHI Mining had bought the Indochina Mining Corporation, now a subsidiary of PHI Mining, and that it now cooperates with the Cambodian company Angkor Metal Corporation, it was not big news. But maybe it had been big news before, and we had missed to see it – or it should have been big news. As we have mirrored yesterday, his cooperation relates to Cambodian natural resources , where the initial valuation of this copper ore area is estimated at USUS$1 billion. And we also mirrored yesterday that the Angkor Metal Corporation does not disclose much about itself in the way other companies do, though the US partner company writes that the “Founders of Angkor Metal Corporation include a son and a son-in-law of Mr. Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, thus ensuring political support to acquire and extend mining license.”
  • The Constitution of Cambodia says:

    The National Assembly shall approve the national budget, State planning, loans, financial contracts, and the creation, modification and annulment of tax. (Article 90)

    We do not have information about any public bidding for the financial contract for national mineral resources, which the Angkor Metal Corporation finally got, neither do we have information on the status of the National Assembly approval procedures for the project and loan agreements – in the range of US$500 million – which are, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, already signed by Cambodia and by Kuwait.

    As stated initially, in public politics the perception of what is going on is often more important for the public democratic process than the reality – so we raised all the issues above – all based on information which was either in Cambodian newspapers, or which is available publicly on the Internet. Prime Minister Badawi had accepted, therefore, the need for self-criticism in searching for the reasons for such perceptions. But at the same time he considered it necessary to engage in identifying what he saw as “wanton violations of human dignity, natural justice, human rights and international law.”

    A good example.

    Please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

    Back to top

    Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

    “After My Son Was Born, He Died; His Weight Was 3.5 kg” – Monday, 12.1.2009

    Posted on 13 January 2009. Filed under: Week 595 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Yesterday, Monday 12 January 2009, we had the 100,000th visit to the Mirror – starting from January 2007.

    Thanks for your interest.

    Would you like easy access to the editions of The Mirror directly by e-mail? You can ’subscribe’ for free!

    Click on Subscribe to The Mirror (it is to the right of the text, underneath Have a look at last week’s editorial and Previous editorials). You are offered several possibilities to select from. If you do not have any other preferences, we recommend:

    Get The Mirror delivered by e-mail

    And follow the questions.
    .

    Monday, 12.1.2009

    The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 595

    “Phnom Penh: Ms. Socheata (name changed to maintain her safety) who was at the end of her pregnancy, she started having labor pains, had hot and cold flushes, and she was starting to lose amniotic fluid. That happened in the night of 1 January 2009. She was brought by her family to the National Maternal Child Health Center – which many people still call the ‘Japanese Hospital’ – because she regularly went there for prenatal examinations.

    “Mr. Sambath, her husband (also name changed to maintain his safety), said that he brought his wife to the emergency room, and his first task was to pay money. Then they checked the dilatation of the uterine cervix, and the doctors said that during that night her uterine cervix had not opened, and they told them to go back home.

    “The Japanese Hospital, the National Maternal Child Health Center, is located in Srah Chak, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh. This hospital is at the west of Wat Srah Chak. Japan had assisted this hospital, and even though Japan had stopped assisting this hospital two or three years ago, it is still called the Japanese Hospital by the people. The director of this hospital is Dr. Kum Kanal.

    “On 4 January 2009, at 1:30 p.m., Socheata started again having strong labor pains; so she came to let doctors check for the second time. Mr. Sambath said that in more than 16 hours, since 1:30 p.m. of 4 January 2009 to 4:20 a.m. of 5 January 2009, the baby was still alive, but due to carelessness, the baby finally died.

    “Mr. Sambath complained, ‘Because we are poor, they left my wife unattended; the baby boy died before he knew anything and had not yet seen the sunlight.’ Also, he asked Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the Minister of Health, Mr. Mam Bunheng, to help seek justice, or to provide a proper solution, and especially not to let this bad model continue, endangering more lives of lovely babies and wives.

    “In the afternoon of 5 January 2009, Mr. Sambath phoned Mr. Mam Bunheng and told him the story, and 15 minutes later, the director of the National Maternal Child Health Center, Mr. Kum Kanal, was made to be very busy. In the evening of 6 January 2009, there was a meeting about the death of Mr. Sambath’s son, led by Mr. Kum Kanal. That was what was known.

    “Some staff of the Japanese Hospital who love justice told Rasmei Kampuchea in the afternoon of 7 January 2009 that there is systematic corruption, and that there are persons who cover this, who are not afraid of anyone, except the director. They went on to say that at the National Maternal Child Health Center, the number of patients declined to almost half of what it had been before. Patients go to the Calmette Hospital, and furthermore, some staff left to work there. In January 2009, there was information that there will be an investigations about irregularities at the National Maternal Child Health Center by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Inspection. The staff of the National Maternal Child Health Center want to perform good work, but some of them are committing crimes by using babies as hostage to press their parents for money.

    “A former undersecretary of state of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, who experienced the same as Mr. Sambath with his son, expressed deep regret, and he said that some doctors do not have mercy and sympathy for human lives.

    “There are notices written on the walls of the Japanese hospital with big Khmer letters on blue background, saying please do not pay anything to the staff, but only to the cashiers. Patients who are not able to pay for the services are invited to contact a monitoring group, and if someone asks for money in addition to the prescribed service fees, they should be reported to the monitoring group. The service charges at the National Maternal Child Health Center are Riel 14,300 [approx. US$3.50] for a woman delivering her first baby, and Riel 73,000 [approx. US$18] for a woman delivering her second or third baby; the normal room charge is Riel 10,000 [approx. US$2.50] per night.

    “However, everything is different from the above prohibition notice. Each patient pays extra money in addition to the services, such as: Riel 40,000 [approx. US$10] or 50,000 [approx. US$12.30] or US$30 for doctors, Riel 10,000 [approx. US$2.50] to each medical staff who injects, outside of the working hours, three syringes three times per day (it is not known whether they use government provided or private medicine), Riel 2,000 [approx. US$0.50] for bathing a baby, Riel 2,000 for cleaning the wounds of a woman, and there are other cases where patients are treated for money outside the government services [using this public hospital to treat patients privately and earn money from private persons] during the mornings; each medical staff earns at least Riel 100,000 [approx. US$25] for services outside the public system.

    “A woman staying at Room 215 on the first floor said that, when the head of her baby appeared half way, first the doctors asked her how much money she would offer them. That woman offered them Riel 50,000 [approx. US$12.30], but the doctors demanded Riel 70,000 [approx. US$17] from her. Because she begged that that was all the money she had, they agreed. This is an incredible story, but that was what that woman said herself. Another woman staying in the next bed offered the doctors US$5.00, but only when they arrived at the sum of US$30.00 they agreed.

    “Regarding these wrong and unauthorized expenses, the director of the hospital, Mr. Kum Kanal, and the Minister of Health, Mr. Mam Bunheng, could not be reached for comment.

    “Mr. Sambath brought his wife back from the hospital, and could only tell this story to other people. ‘He said that his dead baby was a son. They told me that he was not born prematurely, and that he weighed 3.5 kg, but he died.’

    “They did not agree to deliver the body of his baby to him to celebrate a proper funeral for him.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4792, 11-12.1.2009

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Monday, 12 January 2009

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1844, 11-12.1.2009

    • [The president of the National Assembly and honorary president of the Cambodian People’s Party] Samdech Heng Samrin Leads a Delegation of the National Assembly to Visit Laos and Vietnam
    • Primary Schools in Suburbs Lack 50 Buildings Corresponding to 1,000 Rooms [each room can accept between 60 and 70 students – Phnom Penh]
    • A Man Was Arrested by Police for Raping a Six-Year-Old Girl [Kampot]
    • Cholera Killed 500 Buffaloes in Krakor District [Pursat]
    • In 2008 Unemployment in the United States Reached a New Record [there were 2.6 million unemployed people]

    Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #321, 12.1.2009

    • Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Decides to Attend the 14th ASEAN Summit in Thailand [held from 27 February 2009 to 1 March 2009]
    • The Documentation Center of Cambodia provides Khmer Rouge History into the Curriculum [of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #324, 11-13.1.2009

    • Prince Ranariddh Responds to Insult by Hun Sen [that there are people preparing documents to ask for positions from him; Prince Ranariddh asked Prime Minister Hun Sen to release the names of those people]

    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #180, 11-12.1.2009

    • Fishery Official: During this Moon-Month of Khneot 10,000 Tonnes of Fish Could be Caught to Make Prahok for the Citizens
      Japan Donates Machines to Help with Mine Clearance in Cambodia [of more than US$4 million]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6549, 12.1.2009

    • Japan Promises to Encourage a Project to Construct a Neak Loeang Bridge Soon [in Prey Veng – according to the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs , Mr. Nakasone Hirofumi]
    • There Were 34 Crime Cases Less in 2008 Than in 2007 [there had been 224 cases in 2007]

    Meatophum, Vol.53, #718, 12-17.1.2009

    • The Price of One Certificate [for Khmer citizens, to get employment, to register their place of residence, or to get married in a foreign country] Is US$5, but the Price Goes Up and Down Whether It Is Urgent or Not! [US$5 for 1 month – it takes one month to receive a certificate, US$45 for 15 days, US$100 for one week, and US$150 for one day; but these extra charges do not go to the Ministry of Economy and Finance…]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3663, 12.1.2009

    • [The president of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party] Sam Rainsy: If There Is No Decentralization, There Is No Democracy [on 31 January 2009, the Sam Rainsy Party will hold a decentralization congress, summoning all its 2,660 commune council members countrywide]
    • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Will Take Action according to the Complaint of Corruption Allegations at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [filed by foreign co-defense lawyers of former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea – according to the president of the Municipal Court, Mr. Chiv Keng]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4792, 11-12.1.2009

    • ”After My Son Was Born, He Died; His Weight Was 3.5 kg”
    • The Group Who Planted Explosive Devices Belongs to a “Front for Uniting the Nation” [four suspects are arrested]

    Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

    And please recommend us 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...