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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Singapore IT-service provider upbeat on China, Cambodia, Malaysia

By DPA Feb 12, 2007, 3:03 GMT

Singapore - Resolvo Systems, a Singapore information technology-service provider, is bullish about its three new operations in China, Cambodia and Malaysia, an executive said in a report published Monday.

'Revenues from our overseas operations are expected to help grow our overall revenue by some 70 per cent for fiscal year 2007,' co-founder Yap Boon Leong told The Business Times.

While declining to disclose exact figures, he said revenue last year was in the millions.

'By 2008, we expect revenue outside of Singapore to surpass that of revenue from Singapore,' Yap was quoted as saying. 'As part of our regional strategy, this year, we are going to look at the markets of Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.'

Resolvo's main areas of focus are virtual desktops, open-source infrastructure solutions, identity-management solutions and enterprise solutions.

Its operations in Cambodia also handle research and development. 'Cambodia is a highly underrated country, often overshadowed by its neighbour Vietnam,' Yap said.

He praised the drive and aptitude of the company's Cambodian staff.

Resolvo was founded in April 2000 by Yap and his partner, Wong On Yee. Read more!

Students baking cookies to aid Cambodia


Steam rose from the baking pan as Jacob Wagner pulled a dozen cookies, soft and hot, from the modern kitchen at his town of Tilden home.The oven used to bake the cookies, the running water that moistened the cookie dough, and the kitchen utilities used to form the dough into round balls were a stark contrast from those that the cookies would benefit.

Jacob and his fellow fourth graders at Hillcrest Elementary School in Chippewa Falls have been joined by their parents in kitchens throughout Chippewa Falls the past three weeks baking cookies for weekly bake sales with proceeds benefiting children in Cambodia.

The project, which has turned Hillcrest into a building full of "cookie monsters," began in the classroom of teacher Beth Prusila, who called to action by her brother and sister-in-law, who traveled to Cambodia recently and saw the terrible conditions children were living in.

"They have no toilets, books, chalkboards or running water," Prusila said of the Cambodian schools. Prusila's brother felt bad about what he witnessed and called her to see if Hillcrest could help the children in Cambodia.And help, Hillcrest has.

For the past three Wednesdays, Prusila's students have been arriving at school early to sell their home baked cookies from 7:30-8:15 a.m. Combined with a bake sale during conferences one night this past week, the students have raised $1,061 through "Cookies for Cambodia." There are three more Wednesday morning cookies sales planned, with the other Hillcrest fourth grade classes stepping up to bake and sell cookies, too.

It was the students who dreamed up the "Cookies for Cambodia" idea."We were trying to think of ways to help them and we decided on the cookies," said fourth grader Elli Daniels."We thought a lot of kids would want to buy cookies," said Marissa Pearson, a fellow student.Student Kurt Schauss liked the idea."Cookies and Cambodia - they both start with Cs so they go good together," he said.

Student Riley Patrow not only helped by baking cookies and then purchasing a few dollars worth for a Wednesday school-time snack. He also added $26 of his hard-earned cash to the cookie kitty.Kaitlin Rubenzer, another fourth grader, said she's glad to be able to help out for a good cause."It's nice to help if they don't have anything over there," she said.

The fourth graders have learned about Cambodia through social studies lessons. They have seen the plight of the Cambodians first hand through photos sent to Prusila by her brother. Prusila shared with her students a video her brother filmed and Cambodia and sent along on a compact disk."They sent me photos, and we used them to make posters advertising the cookie sales," Prusila said.

Now students from every grade level have been exposed to the dire conditions of students in a far-away land. Prusila says her brother and sister-in-law have big plans for the money Hillcrest raises."They are going back to Cambodia and are going to buy chalkboards and supplies right there.

My brother is going to commission a well so they have fresh water. The learning environment and living conditions of 700 Cambodian students are sure to change for the better all because of some flour and water mixed with love - and a few chocolate chips for good measure. Read more!

Cambodia to open islands to tourists

Phnom Penh (dpa) - Cambodia's pristine islands are to be the focus of a new government push to attract developers and broaden the base of the country's growing tourism market, local media reported Sunday.

The English-language Cambodia Weekly quoted Tourism Ministry secretary of state Thon Khon as saying the 61 mostly untouched islands had been identified by the government as ideal development and investment opportunities.

The government is keen to develop its booming but narrow-based tourism industry beyond the temples of Angkor Wat in the country's north in order to create a more robust tourism economy.

"We need to link the Angkor temples to the beaches ... Although we have many tourism sites, our two biggest potential draws are the Angkor Wat temples and the beaches," the newspaper quoted Khon as saying.

The paper also quoted investment chief for the Council for the Development of Cambodia, Sourn Sothy, as saying that there were a number of bids on the table centered around Cambodian islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Sothy said the government was keen for rapid development in the area, and was demanding earnest money of 1,000 dollars per hectare from investors which would be forfeited by those who sat on land and failed to develop it within six months.

Last September the government announced it had signed an agreement to allow a Russian company to develop a coastal island into a tourist resort with an initial investment of up to 300 million dollars. The Ministry of Tourism annual report released last week recorded 1.7 million visitors to Cambodia in 2006, up by nearly 20 percent.

The country registered 1 billion dollars in tourism revenue in 2006, up from $832 million in 2005. However these figures were highly dependent on visitors to Angkor Wat, the gateway of which, Siem Reap, has an international airport.

Earlier this year Sihanoukville Airport also reopened, and the Tourism Ministry has said it is keen to attract tourists from Angkor to its stunning white sand beaches and islands in the south-west of the country, around 240 kilometers from the capital. Read more!

U.S. sailors provide medical care to villagers in landmark Cambodia visit

The sailors from a U.S. warship named USS Gary on Saturday conducted community relations events, providing medical care to villagers, during the first U.S. Navy visit to Cambodia in more than 30 years.

During their second day on land, sailors painted a clinic and fixed its rain gutter in a village near Cambodia's main port city of Sihanoukville, where their ship docked.

At a nearby Buddhist pagoda, about 200 villagers lined up to get their health checked by a team of warship doctors.

The small medical team of two primary care doctors, two dentists and their assistants are joined by local physicians and the Sihanoukville Public Health Department to provide primary health services to local villagers in the two day medical civic action event on Saturday and Sunday, according to a press release from the U.S. embassy.

The USS Gary is the first American naval vessel to make a port call in Cambodia in the past 32 years, Joseph Mussomeli, U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, said to reporters, adding that the visit symbolizes strengthening ties between Cambodia and the United States.

The USS Gary is an Oliver Hazard Perry Class guided missile frigate. This class currently consists of 51 ships making it the largest single class of warships built by a Western Nary since World War Two, the press release said.

The ship, which is 453 feet in length, has a crew of 21 officers and 203 enlisted personnel, it said.
The USS Gary is scheduled to make a ship visit to Cambodia from Feb. 9 to Feb. 13, it added.

Source: Xinhua Read more!

SK buys stake in Vietnam offshore oil field

SK Corp. said yesterday it bought a 25 percent stake in an offshore oil development project in Vietnam to better tap the fast-growing energy demand in Southeast Asia.

Korea's largest refinery took over the shares in the 15-1/05 oil field from Vietnam Oil and Gas Corp., or Petrovietnam, the Southeast Asian country's state-run oil monopoly.

The purchase is SK's second energy investment in Vietnam.

The company currently holds a 9 percent stake in the neighboring 15-1 reserve, which has secured about 300 million barrels of crude oil and over 3 trillion cubic feet of gas.

"We had a great success in 15-1 field, and we pin a high hope on the new project as well," SK CEO Shin Heon-cheol said in a signing ceremony in Hanoi.

SK also plans to set up a branch in Hanoi in a further effort to expand its overseas exploration businesses. SK is currently tapping 25 oil fields across 14 countries, having secured about 440 million barrels of oil reserves so far.

The Seoul-based oil firm estimates its crude oil development project in Brazil will start production in the second-half of 2007.

SK's oil development business turned in about 215 billion won ($228 million) in operating income last year, which accounted for nearly 20 percent of total earnings.

Industry watchers largely expect the company's revenue from exploration projects to further rise in the coming years on the back of high petroleum prices. Read more!