Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Cambodia's economic growth likely to reach 6.7 percent

Phnom Penh (VNA) - Cambodia's State Bank governor Chea Chanto has said that the national economic growth rate is expected to stand at 6.7 percent in 2005, against the 5.6 percent growth in 2004.

Speaking at a conference on August 15, he said this is attributed to political stability and high growth of some spearhead economic sectors such as tourism, construction, agriculture and garments.

He added that the bank has taken measures to stabilise domestic currency, minimise and prevent the dollarisation of the Cambodian market, and boost economic development.

The bank will continue to strengthen the banking system in accordance with current situation of the country, he said.-Enditem

Flood warnings expected for Mekong river

Water levels along the Mekong River are reaching emergency levels, and officials are expected to issue flood warnings in the coming days.

"kratie province will declare a state of emergency because of flooding," The Cambodia Daily on Monday quoted Long Saravuth, deputy director of the Hydrology Department at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, as saying.

Water levels in Kratie province are as high as 22 meters in some places, he said.

The Mekong has reached nine meters in Phnom Penh, one meter short of the flood warning level for the river, and Stung Treng province, with a water level of 10.7 meters, has already issued flood warning, Long Saravuth said. While Kompong Cham province declared a state of emergency on Saturday.

Officials in all provinces along the Mekong have been working hard to prevent flood damage as much as possible by warning people ahead of time, Long Saravuth said.

Some families have already evacuated to higher places, and hundreds of hectares of rice fields have been flooded in some provinces.

Earthquake Strikes North of Tokyo; Injuries Reported

Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- A magnitude 7 earthquake struck the Tohoku region north of Tokyo at 11:46 a.m., The U.S. Geological Survey said on its Web site. The quake caused `many' injuries in the city of Sendai, Kyodo News reported.

The earthquake struck 55 kilometers (34 miles) below the surface off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture, the USGS said. The epicenter was located 354 kilometers north-northeast of Tokyo, where buildings shook for as long as two minutes.

As many as 80 people were injured after the roof of an indoor swimming pool in Sendai collapsed, NHK Television reported, citing local authorities. The government set up an emergency task force in the Prime Minister's official residence in Tokyo to coordinate its response to the earthquake, it said in a statement. Many people were injured by falling objects in Sendai, Kyodo News said, citing Sendai's fire prevention and control administration.

Haneda Airport was closed for checks on the runway, a spokesman said. Three expressways were closed in the Tohoku region north of Tokyo. East Japan Railways Co., Japan's biggest operator of train services, halted its Tohoku bullet train for safety checks, the company said.

Nippon Oil Corp., Japan's biggest petroleum refiner, said operations at its Sendai refinery in Miyagi prefecture were stopped after the quake.

A tsunami warning was issued for a 50 centimeter wave (20 inches) to reach the coast by noon local time, NHK Television reported, citing Japan's Meteorological Agency.

ទឹកទន្លេនៅចតុមុខកើនឡើងដល់កម្ពស់៩,១៥ម៉ែត្រ

ភ្នំពេញ-- កម្ពស់ទឹកទន្លេមេគង្គនៅភាគខាងលើ ដែលបានឡើងជិតដល់ចំណុចប្រកាសអាសន្នកាលពីថ្ងៃទី១១ សីហា បានស្រកចុះបន្តិចវិញ តែនៅស្ថានីយ៍ជលសាស្ត្រទន្លេបាសាក់ចតុមុខបានឡើងដល់កម្ពស់ ,១៥ម៉ែត្រនៅថ្ងៃទី១៣ សីហានេះ កំពង់ចាមទឹកឡើងដល់ចំណុចប្រកាសអាសន្ន

លោក ម៉ៅ ហាក់ ប្រធាននាយកដ្ឋានជលសាស្ត្ររបស់ក្រសួងធនធានទឹកនិងឧតុនិយមបាននិយាយឲ្យដឹងនៅថ្ងៃទី១២ សីហាថា មិនទាន់មានខេត្ត-ក្រុងណាមួយទទួលរងការលិចលង់ដោយទឹកជំនន់ទន្លេមេគង្គនៅឡើយទេ តែទឹកបានជន់ឡើងទៅដល់ជិតចំណុចត្រូវប្រកាសអាសន្ននៅខេត្តក្រចេះ និងស្ទឹងត្រែង កាលពីថ្ងៃទី១១ សីហា តែបានស្រកចុះវិញបន្តិចនៅថ្ងៃទី១២ សីហានេះ។

ប្រភពដដែលបាននិយាយឲ្យដឹងទៀតថា ទឹកជន់ឡើងទៅដល់ចំណុចជិតប្រកាសអាសន្ននោះបានហូរចូលតាព្រែកទៅក្នុងបឹងនានាដែលរីងទឹកអស់កាលពីពេលកន្លងទៅ ហើយក្នុងរយៈពេល ទៅ៣ថ្ងៃខាងមុខនេះទឹកទន្លេមេគង្គនៅភាគខាងលើមិនឃើញមានសញ្ញាជន់ឡើងថែមទៀតទេ តែនៅស្ថានីយ៍ជលសាស្ត្រទន្លេបាសាក់ចតុមុខទឹកនៅបន្តឡើង

តាមប្រភពដដែលបាននិយាយឲ្យដឹងនៅថ្ងៃទី១៣ សីហានេះថា ទឹកទន្លេមេគង្គនៅស្ថានីយ៍ជលសាស្ត្រទន្លេបាសាក់-ចតុមុខនៅថ្ងៃទី១៣ នេះបានឡើងដល់កម្ពស់ ,១៥ម៉ែត្រ ហើយនៅជន់ឡើងថែមទៀតនៅថ្ងៃបន្តបន្ទាប់ នៅខេត្តកំពង់ចាមថ្ងៃនេះទឹកបានឡើងដល់ ១៥,២០ម៉ែត្រ ដែលជាចំណុចត្រូវប្រកាសអាសន្នហើយ

ទាក់ទិនទៅនឹងទឹកទន្លេមេគង្គជន់ឡើងនេះ កាលពីថ្ងៃទី១១ សីហា សម្តេច ហ៊ុន សែន នាយករដ្ឋមន្រ្តីបានថ្លែងអំពាវនាវឲ្យប្រជាជនរស់នៅតាមដងទន្លេមេគង្គចាប់ពីប្រទេសឡាវរហូតដល់វៀតណាម និងនៅតាមសងខាងដងទន្លេបាសាក់ផងត្រូវមានការប្រុងប្រយ័ត្ន ព្រោះទឹកបានឡើងជិតដល់ចំណុចត្រូវប្រកាសអាសន្នហើយ សម្តេចបានបញ្ជាឲ្យកងកម្លាំងប្រដាប់អាវុធទាំងអស់ត្រូវប្រុងប្រៀបដើម្បីជួយសង្គ្រោះដល់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋនៅតាមដងទន្លេក្នុងករណីជាយថាហេតុ

នៅព្រឹកថ្ងៃទី១២ ខែសីហា ក្រសួងការពារជាតិដែលអនុវត្តតាមប្រសាសន៍របស់សម្តេច ហ៊ុន សែន នាយករដ្ឋមន្រ្តីបានបង្ហាញពីយុទ្ឋនាការសង្គ្រោះជនរងគ្រោះដោយទឹកជំនន់ ដែលបានធ្វើឡើងនៅតាមដងទន្លេសាបរួមមានទូក អូប័រ ម៉ារីន សាឡង់ ផ្ទះបណ្ដែត រថយន្តសង្គ្រោះ និងឧទ្ឋម្ភាគចក្រចម្លាក់ពោងសង្គ្រោះជាដើម

នាយកដ្ឋានជលសាស្ត្របានព្យាករណ៍កាលពីដើមឆ្នាំនេះថា ឆ្នាំនេះទឹកទន្លេមេគង្គអាចឡើងដល់កម្ពស់ ១០,៣០ម៉ែត្រ កាលពីឆ្នាំ២០០៤ ទឹកទន្លេមានកម្ពស់ត្រឹមតែ ,៩៧ម៉ែត្រ។ កម្ពស់ទឹកឆ្នាំនេះខ្ពស់ជាងពីឆ្នាំ២០០៤ តែវាមិនទាន់ដល់ចំណុចត្រូវប្រកាសអាសន្ននោះទេ។ កម្ពស់ទឹកដែលត្រូវប្រកាសអាសន្ននៅទីក្រុងភ្នំពេញគឺនៅកម្ពស់ ១០,៥០ម៉ែត្រ។ ទឹកទន្លេមេគង្គកាលពីឆ្នាំ២០០០ បានឡើងដល់កម្ពស់ ១១,២០ម៉ែត្រ ក៏ទីក្រុងភ្នំពេញលិចទាន់លិចនៅឡើយដែរ។

សម្តេច ហ៊ុន សែន នាយករដ្ឋមន្រ្តីមានប្រសាសន៍អំពាវនាវនៅក្នុងកិច្ចប្រជុំគណៈរដ្ឋមន្រ្តីកាលពីពេលកន្លងទៅនេះឲ្យអាជ្ញាធរគ្រប់ខេត្ត-ក្រុងនៅតាមដងទន្លេមេគង្គយកចិត្តទុកដាក់ទប់ស្កាត់គ្រោះទឹកជំនន់ ព្រោះទឹកទន្លេមេគង្គឆ្នាំនេះធំជាងឆ្នាំមុន។

Cambodia says KR tribunal at risk


Tourists standing behind a display of Khmer Rouge victim pictures in Phnom Penh (archive picture)
Khmer Rouge victims have already had to wait 30 years for justice
Cambodia's prime minister has said a tribunal to try former Khmer Rouge leaders is at risk unless Phnom Penh gets help with its share of the cost.

Hun Sen said Cambodia was $11.8m short of the funds it agreed to contribute.

"It has been quite a headache for me. Sometimes, I have even thought of letting it [the tribunal] slide," he said on Monday.

The tribunal, which is expected to run for three years, is mainly being funded by the UN.

Hun Sen now wants the international community to pledge more than its $43m share.

"If they don't give money, no trial will be convened," he said.

Cambodia, one of Asia's poorest countries, has said it can only contribute $1.5m - well short of the $13m it was expected to give.

The UN announced in April that it had raised enough money on its side for the tribunal to go ahead.

Long process

The communist Khmer Rouge regime, which ruled from 1975-79, is blamed for the deaths of more than one million people out of an eight million-strong population.

Cambodia first sought UN funding for the court eight years ago.

There are concerns that the ageing top figures of the murderous regime, who have never been prosecuted, might die before being taken to court.

The regime, headed by Pol Pot, persecuted its political opponents as well as minority groups.

They allowed food shortages to kill people by starvation, while others were forced to move from the cities to the countryside, where they died from overwork in labour camps.

Cambodian Opposition Lawmaker Returns Home Despite Threat of Prosecution

Opposition lawmaker Chea Poch has returned home to Cambodia after fleeing the country six months ago for fear of arrest on criminal defamation charges. The lawmaker returns to a country whose government has becoming increasingly intolerant of political dissent.

At the airport in Phnom Penh Monday, Chea Poch said he returned to Cambodia to fulfill his duties as a member of parliament. He had spent six months in self-imposed exile in the United States. The lawmaker fled Cambodia in February to avoid arrest after the National Assembly revoked his legislative immunity, allow the court to prosecute him on criminal charges.

Two other members of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party also lost their immunity. Party chief Sam Rainsy fled the country, but Cheam Channy was arrested.

Chea Poch spoke briefly with reporters before climbing into a car at the airport. He said he was more worried about Cambodia's impoverished farmers than he was of being prosecuted. The politician says he is prepared to go to court, but is concerned that he will not receive a fair trial.

"I am not confident in the court because the court of Cambodia, as the local and international newspapers state, is the puppet of the government," he said.

Last week, the Phnom Penh Military Court convicted lawmaker Cheam Channy on charges of fraud and creating an illegal army, and sentenced him to seven years in prison. The opposition says he merely led a shadow cabinet to oversee government activities.

The U.S. government has condemned the verdict and urged the court to reexamine the case. Washington also has pressed the National Assembly to immediately restore the lawmakers' immunity.

Human rights activists in Cambodia say Chea Poch is courageous to return because he could face the same treatment as Cheam Channy. They warn that Cambodia's judiciary is heavily influenced by the government

Chea Poch was charged with criminal defamation after he claimed National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh accepted bribes to join the coalition government with the ruling Cambodian People's Party.

Sam Rainsy faces defamation charges for claims of government corruption and for suggesting that Prime Minister Hun Sen had masterminded the assassination of a prominent union activist, a staunch opposition supporter.

A Cambodian military judge said last week the court is considering prosecuting Sam Rainsy for ordering his party to create a secret army. The judge said Cheam Channy's testimony incriminated the opposition leader.

Sam Rainsy has announced he will return to Cambodia in mid-September, despite the threat of prosecution.

Cambodian PM dismisses criticism over trial of opposition lawmaker

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday dismissed criticism on the court's conviction of opposition lawmaker Cheam Channy for allegedly creating an illegal armed force.

"Some people want to use foreign c ountries to press the government to reverse its decision and resume their lawmakership for this guy or that guy," the premier told reporters after meeting with outgoing Malaysia's ambassador to Cambodia.

Hun Sen said he supported the court's decision, and was disgusted with the "so-called wording of exerting international pressure on Hun Sen's government".

Cambodian Military court convicted and sentenced the opposition Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Cheam Channy seven years in prison on Aug. 9 on charges of fraud and forming illegal army to topple the government.

Cheam Channy had been stripped of parliamentary immunity in February along with Sam Rainsy and a third MP Chea Poch.

The US Embassy in Phnom Penh and the US State Department in Washington immediately issued statements condemning the verdict inthe Cheam Channy case and calling on the National Assembly to restore the parliamentary immunity of three opposition lawmakers.

"The conduct of the trial raises again questions about the competence and independence of Cambodia's judiciary, and constitutes further intimidation of opposition voices," the statement said.

"Any pressure on the government from the international community will be worthless, because on the contrary it will only make the jailed man stay in jail longer," Hun Sen pointed out.

"Even if Cambodia needs to eat grass roots and banana trees, Cambodia has to preserve national independence," the premier stressed, adding that "Cambodia is an independent country which needs peace and security."

"The court's business is independent..., Investigation of the case must go on, no matter how far it will lead," he said.

Sam Rainsy fled Cambodia after he and two other party members had their parliamentary immunity revoked in February. Enditem