The land of heroes
Our heroes
Our land
Cambodia Kingdom

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cambodia facing tropical storm Lekima

Continual rain over the past few days is an indication Cambodia is likely to face tropical storm Lekima, which may bring serious flooding across the nation, local media said on Tuesday.

Lekima has moved from Vietnam to China's coastal area, provoking the Cambodian Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology to announce on Sept. 30 that it may soon need to issue flood warnings, should river depth at target points rise above danger levels, Cambodian-language newspaper the Rasmei Kampuchea quoted officials as saying.

The depth of the Mekong River at Stung Treng province has risen to 7.15 meters, in Kratie province 17.79 meters, in Kampong Cham province 12.64 meters and in Phnom Penh 8.73 meters, according to a bulletin issued on Oct. 1 by the ministry's hydrology department.

The warning will be announced if the depth at the target areas rises to 10.70 meters in Stung Treng, 22 meters in Kratie, 15.20 meters in Kampong Cham or 10.5 meters in Phnom Penh.

The storm would bring incessant torrential rains to Cambodia for days, possibly from Oct. 2 to 5, said the September 30 announcement, making an impact on not only Mekong River Basin but also northeastern provinces such as Ratanakiri, Modulkiri and Preah Vihear, and in the northwest provinces of Kompong Chhnang, Pursat and Battambang.

Source: Xinhua
Read more!

Cambodia working on establishing geographical rights of goods

Cambodia is conducting studies on the creation of geographical rights for the nation's key products to promote exports, local media said on Tuesday.

The process is being discussed at a two-day workshop here organized by the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN), which ends on Tuesday. The conference is being attended by officials from the ministries of commerce and agriculture and private producers, Cambodian-language newspaper the Kampuchea Thmey reported.

The study aims to identify the geography of goods to streamline the trade, said Rafael Dochao Moreno, EU charge d'ffaires to Cambodia.

"We have to collect goods in areas to be registered and disseminated and also protect those goods in the country and abroad," said Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Commerce Mao Thora. The project will run in conjunction with the government 's One Village One Product initiative.

Rice from Battambang, silk from Banteay Meanchey, palm sugar from Kompong Speu, pepper from Kampot, fish paste from Siem Reap, and Cardamom spices from Pursat are on a shortlist of products that are to be examined to see if they hold the criteria to meet geographical indication (GI) standards, said Mao Thora.

"Geographical indication is not a certificate," said Stephane Passeri, administrator for the EU-funded EC-ASEAN Intellectual Property Rights Cooperation Program, or ECAP II.

"It is an intellectual property concept. Such rights have to follow national legislation, without which there is no recognition that can be claimed outside Cambodia," Stephane Passeri added.

With aid from EU, the geographical registration of goods is to urge for the adoption of Law on Intellectual Property Rights according to the demands of World Trade Organization (WTO), said Mao Thora.

Source: Xinhua
Read more!

Cambodia facing tropical storm Lekima

Continual rain over the past few days is an indication Cambodia is likely to face tropical storm Lekima, which may bring serious flooding across the nation, local media said on Tuesday.

Lekima has moved from Vietnam to China's coastal area, provoking the Cambodian Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology to announce on Sept. 30 that it may soon need to issue flood warnings, should river depth at target points rise above danger levels, Cambodian-language newspaper the Rasmei Kampuchea quoted officials as saying.

The depth of the Mekong River at Stung Treng province has risen to 7.15 meters, in Kratie province 17.79 meters, in Kampong Cham province 12.64 meters and in Phnom Penh 8.73 meters, according to a bulletin issued on Oct. 1 by the ministry's hydrology department.

The warning will be announced if the depth at the target areas rises to 10.70 meters in Stung Treng, 22 meters in Kratie, 15.20 meters in Kampong Cham or 10.5 meters in Phnom Penh.

The storm would bring incessant torrential rains to Cambodia for days, possibly from Oct. 2 to 5, said the September 30 announcement, making an impact on not only Mekong River Basin but also northeastern provinces such as Ratanakiri, Modulkiri and Preah Vihear, and in the northwest provinces of Kompong Chhnang, Pursat and Battambang.

Source: Xinhua
Read more!

Experts: Cambodia Fertile Ground for Tamil Tigers

Cambodian authorities recently broke up a human smuggling network run in part by the Tamil Tigers. The involvement of the Sri Lankan separatist group in illegal activities in Cambodia came as no surprise to experts, who have watched the sophisticated insurgency transform in Phnom Penh since it began buying Cambodian weapons in the 1990s.

"The operations in Cambodia still exist to a great extent. However, it may not be focused in the same areas that it was focused in the late '90s," said Shanaka Jayasekara, a terrorism researcher at Macquarie University in Sydney.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, no longer need Cambodia as a place to "mop up" old weapons, Jayasekara told VOA Khmer, echoing other interviews with analysts and government officials over several weeks.

Their weapons purchases are more sophisticated now, but the criminal infrastructure put in place in the early 1990s, when Cambodia was its primary arms bazaar, is still there, enabling drugs and human smuggling, credit card fraud and money laundering.

"The LTTE has been involved in the narcotics trade for quite some time. They have also facilitated human smuggling of the Tamil diaspora through some of the Southeast Asian countries," Jayasekara said.

Cambodia authorities say in August they broke up an operation run in part by Tamil Tigers intent on smuggling up to 250 Pakistanis and Sri Lankans to Western nations and Australia.

The bust was an indicator that efforts from Sri Lankan and Cambodian officials to unseat Tamil Tiger operations in the county had not been successful.

The Tamil Tigers earn hundreds of millions of dollars each year by collecting money from Tamil immigrant communities. The Tamil people belong to a minority group in northern Sri Lanka and southern India, but Tamil expatriates live in many Western countries, including Canada, Norway and Australia. A lot of money comes from these groups, either by choice or through coercion, experts said.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Tigers also earn money by running guns to groups like the Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group in the Philippines. And they smuggle Tamil people into Western countries.

This helps the Tamil Tigers fill their war chest and continue their separatist fight against the Sri Lankan government, Jayasekara says.

"It's a kind of a business opportunity for the LTTE. They make money out of it. They also do it to take their key operatives to certain locations and place them in vital destinations so that their international network can be run more efficiently," Jayasekara said.

At least two Tamil operatives escaped Cambodia's August dragnet: Ranni Lerin and his brother, Lipton Lerin, who operated their human smuggling ring out of a cafe in Phnom Penh, authorities said in September.

The Cambodian government made a public call to Interpol to help them capture the men.

Jayasekara said the flight of the two brothers likely has not halted the group's activities, which are now being run by a man who officials know little about.

Officials say more needs to be done to rein in the Tamil Tigers, who have invented devices—including the suicide vest—and innovated techniques that reach Islamic terrorists.

"The LTTE has growing links with other terrorist organizations like the al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah," said Dr. Palitha Kohona, the Sri Lankan Secretary of Foreign Affairs in Colombo and an expert on the Tamil Tigers.

The innovative Tamil Tigers, who have been fighting for a separate Tamil state since 1975, has its own navy, merchant vessels and a small air force. The insurgency has led to the deaths of more than 60,000 people.

Countries like Cambodia and Sri Lanka need help in pursuing the group, Kohona said. "We need expertise," he said.

"We need intelligence gathering assistance."

The US, meanwhile, has listed the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist organization.

Earlier this year, US agencies disrupted a Tamil Tiger plot to smuggle high-tech weapons, missiles, ammunition and night-vision goggles out of the US.

Undercover officers acting as State Department officials also caught operatives attempting to bribe them to have the Tamil Tigers taken off the US terrorist list.

The problems Sri Lanka is facing with the Tamil Tigers will become the problems of wealthier countries if more isn't done to stop the group, in undeveloped countries like Cambodia and in developed nations of the West," Kohona said.

"Terrorism is not an issue for one country. It is an issue for the entire sea of humanity," he said. "Terrorism is a scourge that has to be eliminated wherever it might be found."
Read more!

Audit finds flaws in KRouge tribunal hiring

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — An audit of Cambodia's genocide tribunal has highlighted serious hiring flaws and suggests that the UN's development agency UNDP, which oversees millions in donor funding, should quit the court.

The audit was commissioned by the UNDP last year following allegations that some Cambodian staff had paid for their positions on the UN-backed court, which was established to try former leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime.

But it was only made public late Monday amid growing pressure for its release.

The audit details a tangled bureaucracy inside the Cambodian side of the joint-court, rife with unqualified staff, bloated salaries and the creation of dozens of unnecessary jobs costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"If the Cambodian side does not agree to the essential measures that are, from UNDP perspective, necessary to ensure the integrity and success of the project, then serious considerations should be given to withdrawing from participation in the project altogether," the audit said.

It goes on to recommend that all Cambodian contracts be nullified, and new employees hired under closer UNDP supervision.

The UNDP says the audit is a private document and would not comment, but tribunal staff maintain that they have nothing to hide and have responded to most of the findings.

One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that the court, which posted the audit on its website, had always wanted the findings to be made public.

But the official also dismissed the audit's recommendation that the UNDP withdraw from the court.

"Imagine if they were to leave this late in the game, 18 months on. It would be disastrous," the official said.

The court is currently investigating five people for crimes committed during the communist Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 rule over Cambodia, during which up to two million people died.

So far two suspects, former prison chief Duch and regime ideologue Nuon Chea, have been detained.

The tribunal's decision to post the audit comes as the cash-strapped court prepares to launch a major fund-raising campaign.

Tribunal spokesperson Helen Jarvis said earlier that the court has enough money to continue operating through early next year, but that budget shortfalls could threaten to delay the process after that.

Some 56.3 million dollars have been budgeted for the long-stalled trials, but the Cambodian government has so far only pledged a fraction of its 13 million-dollar share.

The rest, officials say, must come from additional donor funding, although there are fears that the international community might be unlikely to pay for what it perceives as a flawed process.

Read more!

Cambodia urges comprehensive UN reforms

Hor Namhong was teaching the UN how to reform their administration? we didn't know that you can talk, which school did you go to ? we knew you graduate from Yuon Hanoi's slave. And you are Yuon Hanoi, You should be reforming your pockets first so that you don't steal so much from Cambodia for Yuon Communist.

Cambodia called for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations on Monday to make the world body responsive to 21st century problems.

"We are more than ever convinced of the urgent need for a comprehensive reform and not just the Security Council (UNSC), because we need to mobilize our collective efforts and wisdom to address the problems we are facing in this 21st century in a responsive and comprehensive way," Hor Namhong, Cambodia's deputy prime minister, said in a speech at the general debate of the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly.

He stressed Phnom Penh's stance that reform of the UN must be comprehensive.

"Instead of focusing primarily on the reform of the Security Council, maybe we can first start with the reform which can lead to a consensus," Namhong, who also serve as Cambodia's foreign minister, said.

"We may commence with the ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) on how to make it more effective and more relevant to deal with the problems of development in the context of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals).

"Afterward, for the General Assembly (UNGA), too, we certainly need to empower this institution more so that it could play a prominent role in addressing today's global problems, as a democratic, deliberative policy-making and representative organ of the United Nations," Namhong said.

"With the momentum and consensus building of the reform of both ECOSOC and UNGA, we could then move to the UNSC reform to ensure that it reflects today's realities with an equitable representation of developed and developing countries," he added.

Source: Xinhua
Read more!