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Friday, November 14, 2008

68,000 poor families of Cambodia receive emergency food assistance from ADB

PHNOM PENH, Over 68,000 poor families of Cambodia have received emergency food assistance following the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Board of Directors' approval of the project last month, said an ADB press release here on Friday.

"This assistance is making a very real difference in the lives of Cambodia's most vulnerable, particularly its children," said ADB Country Director Arjun Goswami.

"Putting food on the tables of Cambodia's poorest families, just one month after the project's approval, is a commendable accomplishment by the government," he said, adding that food distribution has been supervised by independent NGO monitors.

One of the primary objectives of ADB's emergency food assistance is to help support Cambodia's efforts to ameliorate the food price inflation shock on the poorest and most vulnerable families in the seven provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake, and in three urban slums around Phnom Penh, said the release.

The project targeted the poorest 20 percent of poor families in 200 selected communes, it added.

The ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.

Established in 1966, the ADB is owned by 67 members, 48 from the region. In 2007, it approved 10.1 billion U.S. dollars of loans, 673 million dollars of grant projects, and technical assistance amounting to 243 million dollars, according to the release.

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EU blacklists Cambodia's Siem Reap and all Angolan carriers

By David Kaminski-Morrow

Cambodia's Siem Reap Airways International and all carriers from Angola have been added to the European Commission's 'blacklist' of banned airlines.

But the update, released today, gives no specific information on whether the Commission has acted against any carriers from the European Union.

Phnom Penh-based Siem Reap Airways does not operate directly to Europe, but the European Commission states that the carrier "does not operate in compliance" with Cambodian safety regulations, nor does it meet ICAO standards.

"Significant concerns have also been expressed by ICAO with regard to the ability of the Cambodian civil aviation authorities to implement and enforce the international safety standards," says the Commission in a statement.

Angolan flag-carrier TAAG had already featured on the blacklist but the Commission has extended the ban to all airlines from the southern African state.

It says the blanket ban on Angola is based on "significant safety concerns" brought up by ICAO in an audit last month. The Commission adds, however, that it will continue "close consultation" with Angolan authorities with a view to completing a plan of corrective measures.

Angola is one of several countries - among them Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan and several African states - on which an all-inclusive prohibition on European services has been imposed.

Ukrainian carriers Ukraine Mediterranean Airlines and Ukraine Cargo Airways remain on the blacklist for failing to prove that they have implemented corrective actions on safety deficiencies.
"The Commission, together with member states, will visit both carriers before considering any modification of the operating ban," says the EC, which adds that it is pressing the Ukrainian authorities to strengthen safety standards.

Gabonese operator Nouvelle Air Affaires similarly stays on the blacklist, because there is "no evidence" of progress on corrective measures. All Gabonese carriers, except for Gabon Airlines and Afrijet, are blacklisted.

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Cambodia to unveil hybrid rice to interest investors

PHNOM PENH, A newly developed Cambodian high-yielding hybrid rice variety will be presented in Kampong Thom province on Monday to interest investors in large-scale cultivation, national media said on Friday.

Louis Kek, director of Malaynesia Resources, part of the Malaysian-Cambodian joint venture responsible for the new variety's development, said that his company is holding discussion with foreign investors to cultivate 50,000 hectares of this kind of rice in the province.

Singaporean and Middle Eastern investors had been invited to inspect the first harvest of a 2-hectare test plot of the Cambodian Super Hybrid Rice, he was quoted by English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodia Daily as saying.

The project will enlarge its production area in the province to200 hectares in the next growing season, he said.

"We are ready for large-scale implementation. I expect it to become widely accepted because of the increase in yields," he said, adding that 7 to 8 tons of yield of rice variety per hectare over the traditional 2.5 tons of yield of other types.

Cambodia used to lead the Southeastern Asian countries in exporting rice, but later lagged behind due to years of war. The government in recent years has established plans to improve its rice production for export and foreign currency income.
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