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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cambodia officially launches new traffic law

Cambodia's comprehensive new traffic law, signed by King Norodom Sihamoni on Feb. 8, was officially launched here on Tuesday with the attendance of approximately 1,000 people and ambassadors to Cambodia, local media said on Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, also Minister of Council of Ministers, who presided over the event, said that the announcement on the official implementation of the new traffic law was hoped to encourage all Cambodian nationals to change indifferent attitudes to the law, increase understanding about the law and respect it while driving their vehicles, said Cambodian-language newspaper the Rasmei Kampuchea.

The deputy minister said efforts to strengthen the implementation of traffic law, which is an effective means to reduce road accident rates, are also hoped to contribute to the development of social economy to rapidly eradicate the poverty of Cambodian people.

Public Works and Transport Minister Sun Chanthol stated that most traffic accidents in Cambodia, where about four people died and 17 were injured by road accidents each day in 2006, are caused by human error including speeding and drunk driving, which accounted for 94 percent.

Based on the new law, drivers of vehicles over 49cc are obliged to hold licenses with each license having 12 points, according to English-language newspaper the Cambodia Daily.

Points will be deducted for violations with one point being docked for driving without a helmet, while more serious violations like drunk-driving will result in up to six points being deducted. If a driver loses all of his points, he or she loses his license and will not be granted a new one for at least six months.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) reported that in 2003, Cambodia lost 116 million U.S. dollars, or 3 percent of GDP, as a result of traffic accidents.

Source: Xinhua
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Hewitt slams orphanage's claims

Tennis player Lleyton Hewitt's manager has described as a "beat-up" and a "witch-hunt" a Today Tonight segment to air tonight that will cast doubt on his and his wife Bec's commitment to build an orphanage in Cambodia.

The segment will question the couple's contribution to the orphanage, suggesting they had done less than Bec Hewitt promised in February 2005.

The pair had pledged to be involved in construction of the Hope For Children orphanage, a project by The AIDS Trust of Australia.

But the player's manager, David Drysdale, said today that the couple had followed through on their promises.

"The AIDS trust was looking to somebody [to provide] the money to purchase the land where the orphanage would be built," he said.

"Bec's commitment was to buy the land where the orphanage would be built - she gave $65,000.

"Bec's commitment was fulfilled and The AIDS Trust would support that.

"It's ironic that Channel Seven are taking this track when the money she donated actually came from her prizemoney on Dancing With The Stars and an interview with Today Tonight."

The AIDS Trust's acting CEO Ross Smith confirmed the Hewitts had fulfilled all commitments they had made to building the orphanage.

A Today Tonight spokeswoman would not provide details of the story to air tonight, but confirmed that Today Tonight producer Phil Goyen and reporter Marguerite McKinnon had travelled to Cambodia to "look at the orphanage the Hewitts committed to".

"Basically we're going to put all the facts and financials out there and people can make up their own mind," Goyen said.

"We've come to Cambodia to see exactly what's been done and who's done it."

Drysdale said the program's allegations were based on "a play on words".

"They think 'building the orphanage' means to keep putting in for the building itself, but there was no ongoing commitment, the commitment was to buy the land," he said.

Mr Drysdale said the couple were "bitterly disappointed" at Today Tonight's allegations, which come as Lleyton Hewitt prepares to travel to Belgrade to face Serbia in the Davis Cup.

"Bec is devastated that a TV network she gave so many years to, on Home and Away and Dancing With The Stars ... that the network can turn around and do this to her - she's devastated by it."

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Cambodia conducts airplane rescue exercise

The Cambodian government on Wednesday conducted an airplane rescue exercise at the military airbase next to the Phnom Penh International Airport in order to prepare itself against urgent situation such as fire and explosion.

"We conduct this airplane rescue exercise because Cambodia is a member of the International Civil Aviation Association," said Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers.

"We want to show the big aviation companies that we have the abilities to save planes when they are in emergent cases," he said, adding that such exercise will be conducted every year.

Some 20 ambulances, hundreds of troops and firemen and over 10 fire engines were deployed in the exercise.

Some severely "injured" passengers were rushed from the site to the nearest hospitals and the doctors helped other passengers with slight "wounds" on the scene.

Source: Xinhua

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Cambodia's parliament approves stock exchange law

PHNOM PENH (ThomsonFinancial) - Cambodia's parliament on Wednesday approved a law that takes the country a step closer to opening its first stock exchange, planned for 2009.

The National Assembly approved the law setting out the rules and regulations by which private and state enterprises can issue stocks and bonds.

'This law will help develop the national economy and society by collecting capital from the public or securities investors... for investment,' a copy of the draft said.

The law also aims 'to promote investment from abroad and the participation in the securities market in Cambodia,' it said.

The government now must establish a nine-member Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia to regulate the planned market and the issuing of government bonds, it said.

The government last week launched a project to establish the country's first securities market, partnering with South Korea in a programme that hopes to see a stock exchange established by 2009.

Despite concerns from oppostion lawmakers over the independence of the new commission, Finance Minister Keat Chhon said the law meets international standards.

But he acknowledged that many challenges remain -- particularly creating the infrastructure for the market and a computer system to manage trading.

He said the government will control the new securities commission until at least 2015 and will spend some 15 million dollars to develop the market.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy urged the government not to interfere in the securities market.

'When there is a lot of interference, it could lead to conflicts of interest,' he said.

'There will be a lot of money coming across the securities market, so then there will be the risk of cheating,' Rainsy said.

While still one of the world's poorest countries, Cambodia has emerged from decades of conflict as one of the region's rising economies.

The country has posted annual economic growth averaging 11 percent over the past three years on the back of strong garment and tourism sectors.

Cambodia remains a largely cash-only economy and a high degree of mistrust keeps many people hoarding their money at home instead of using the banks.

In April, Cambodia was assigned its first-ever sovereign debt rating by the credit rating agency Standard and Poor's, which said the impoverished country's outlook was 'stable'.

The B+ rating is below investment grade status, restricting many institutional investors, but it is a significant step in Cambodia's bid for economic respectability.

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