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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Leader Gets US$107 Mln Power Transmission Job In Cambodia

KUALA LUMPUR, Leader Universal Holdings Bhd's unit, Cambodian Transmission Ltd, today entered into a 25-year build-operate-transfer power transmission agreement with Electricite Du Cambodge (EDC) to develop a 230 kilovolt power transmission system from Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham for US$107 million.

EDC is Cambodia's state-owned limited liability firm.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia, Leader said the project would be funded by internally generated funds and bank borrowings.

The project would be commissioned in three stages with the first being the construction of the Kampong Cham substation which was expected to be completed by July 2011.

The second would be the new North Phnom Penh substation and this was expected to be completed by March 2012.

"The completion of the entire project with the commissioning of the approximately 110km transmission line from North Phnom Penh substation to Kampong Cham substation, from whence the commercial operation date of the project commences.

"This is expected by Dec 31, 2013," Leader said.

The project fulfils part of the planned development of the Cambodian grid system and provides for future 230 kV extension to other parts of the country around Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia, in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Currently, Leader through its 60 per cent-owned subsidiary in Cambodia, Cambodia Utilities Pte Ltd, owns and operates a 35-megawatt power generation plant in Phnom Penh and supplies electricity to EDC under a 18-year power purchase agreement. This power plant has been in operation since 1997.

Leader is also developing a 100-megawatt coal-fired power plant project in Sihanoukville through its 80 per cent-owned subsidiary, Cambodian Energy Limited. Electricity generated will be supplied to EDC under a 30-year power purchase agreement.

-- BERNAMA
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Tropical depression 01W fading over Vietnam and Cambodia

Tropical Depression 01W wasn't very well organized when it made landfall earlier today, and is dissipating as it now moves from Vietnam westward into Cambodia.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite has noticed that Tropical Depression 01W's (TD01W) rainfall is now light and very widely scattered. In addition, the low level center of the storm has been dislocated to the west of the area of precipitation as a result of wind shear.

TRMM, managed by NASA and the Japanese Space Agency flew over Tropical Depression 01W (TD01W) early today, January 20 at 0845 UTC (3:45 a.m. ET/ 3:45 p.m. local time, Vietnam). TRMM revealed that the depression was already dissipating over land because the storm's rainfall was widely scattered and light to moderate (between .78 to 1.57 inches per hour) in isolated areas.

At 4 p.m. ET yesterday, January 19 (4 a.m. January 20, Vietnam local time) the Joint Typhoon Warning Center issued its final warning on the depression. At that time, TD01W had maximum sustained winds near 25 knots (28 mph). At that time, was located about 125 miles southeast of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, near 9.8 North latitude and 107.8 East longitude. Since then, TD01W made landfall and is dissipating over land.

At 2 p.m. ET today, January 20, the cities of Battambang and Siemreap in Cambodia; and Dong Hoi, Thanh Hoa, Vinh and Son La in Vietnam were all reporting light rain, while other areas around both countries reported variable cloud conditions as TD01W's remnants continue to dissipate.

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Assumption Students Educate Cambodia

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Students in Assumption High School's Global Issues Club built a school in Cambodia last year. This year, they're on a mission to see the fruits of their labor.

It has been a four-year journey for many of the students in the group who were touched after their teacher first told them about the struggles of young women in Cambodia due to sex trafficking.

Now 10 seniors are just $10,000 and two weeks away from seeing the difference they've made in the world.

"For some it's the only way they can make money for their family, so they'll feel like it's something that they need to do to help. And a lot of the girls are really young, they're about five or six when they're sold in there, so that's why we wanted to do something to help," said student Megan Foley.

Group member Lexie Krall said the story of a woman who escaped from a brothel and now helps other escape inspired them for the special mission.

"We decided we wanted to build a school and with $20,000 ended up building a school, providing an English teacher and a computer," said Krall.

They built the school through American Assistance for Cambodia because experts said the best way to help change a child's life is through education.

Four-hundred children in kindergarten though 12th grade go to the school. Assumption students maintain the school by raising $6,000 a year.

The Vision for the Cambodia trip started in the classroom and students said they're really excited about the trip because for the first time they're going to be able to see how what they learned in the classroom played out in life.

"It's really fulfilling to see all the hard work that we've put in to this it's finally paying off and we're finally getting to see our dream," said Krall.

"I think when we go and we visit our school and we get to see the children and, like, interact with all the kids who go there, it's really going to put, like, a face to all the work we've been doing for the past four years and it's really exciting," said Foley.

Ten students will go on the mission trip in two weeks, but they're still trying to raise $10,000 to make the journey. To help the Assumption students achieve their goal, a donation Web site has been set up. Click here for more information on the Educate Cambodia mission.
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Another Made in China Import: Smog

(AP) Ozone blowing over from Asia is raising background levels of a major ingredient of smog in the skies over California, Oregon, Washington and other Western states, according to a new study appearing in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature.

The amounts are small and, so far, only found in a region of the atmosphere known as the free troposphere, at an altitude of two to five miles, but the development could complicate U.S. efforts to control air pollution.

Though the levels are small, they have been steadily rising since 1995, and probably longer, said lead author Owen R. Cooper, a research scientist at the University of Colorado attached to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.

"The important aspect of this study for North America is that we have a strong indication that baseline ozone is increasing," said Cooper. "We still don't know how much is coming down to the surface. If the surface ozone is increasing along with the free tropospheric ozone, that could make it more difficult for the U.S. to meet its ozone air quality standard."

The study is the first link between atmospheric ozone over the U.S. and Asian pollution, said Dan Jaffe, a University of Washington-Bothell professor of atmospheric and environmental chemistry.

He contributed data from his observatory on top of Mount Bachelor in Oregon to the study.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering lowering the current limit on ozone in the atmosphere by as much as 20 percent, and has been working with China to lower its emissions of the chemicals that turn into ozone.

Ozone is harmful to people's respiratory systems and plants. It is created when compounds produced by burning fossil fuels are hit by sunlight and break down. Ozone also contributes to the greenhouse effect, ranking behind carbon dioxide and methane in importance.

Ozone is only one of many pollutants from Asia that reach the United States. Instruments regularly detect mercury, soot, and cancer-causing PCBs.

Jaffe said it was logical to conclude that the increasing ozone was the result of burning more coal and oil as part of the Asia's booming economic growth.

The next step is to track the amounts of Asian ozone reaching ground levels on the West Coast, said Cooper.

Work will start in May and end in June, when air currents produce the greatest amounts of Asian ozone detected in the U.S. Weather balloons and research aircraft will be launched daily to measure ozone closer to ground, where it affects the air people breathe, Cooper said.

The study to be published in Nature looked at thousands of air samples collected between 1995 and 2008 and found a 14 percent increase in the amount of background ozone at middle altitudes in springtime. When data from 1984 were factored in, the rate of increase was similar, and the overall increase was 29 percent.

When ozone from local sources was removed from the data, the trend became stronger, Cooper said. Using a computer model based on weather patterns, the ozone was traced back to southeastern Asia, including the countries of India, China, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

The ozone increases were strongest when winds prevailed from southeastern Asian, Cooper said.
In a commentary also published in Nature, atmospheric chemist Kathy Law of Universite de Paris in France said the study was "the most conclusive evidence so far" of increasing ozone over the Western United States.

Law noted that natural sources of ozone could contribute to the increases, and there were limitations to the computer model used to trace the sources of the increases, but the study remained a "vital benchmark" that could be used to test climate change models, which have been unable to reproduce increases in ozone.

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