Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thais rally over Cambodia border dispute

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Thousands of demonstrators accused the Thai government Wednesday of yielding a disputed border region with an ancient temple to Cambodia, the latest trouble for the embattled prime minister who has been facing daily protests calling for his resignation.
Led by the People's Alliance for Democracy, about 5,000 people gathered in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and accused the minister, Noppadon Pattama, of giving into the Cambodians in exchange for business concessions.
The Preah Vihear temple, dating back to the 11th century, has been the subject of a boundary dispute since the 1950s. The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the cliffside temple was within Cambodian territory.
Accusing the government of corruption and abuse of power, demonstrators have been holding sometimes violent protests since May 25 to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and his coalition government.
The protesters say Samak is merely acting as a proxy for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in September 2006.
The political discord heightened Wednesday after opposition Democrat Party lawmakers lodged a no-confidence motion against Samak and seven other Cabinet members over alleged conflict of interest and mismanagement.
The Preah Vihear temple issue resurfaced as Cambodia was preparing to apply to UNESCO for the temple to be listed as a World Heritage Site, a process that requires the inclusion of a map.
Sondhi Limthongkul, a key leader of the anti-government alliance, alleged that Noppadon gave up some territory near the temple in exchange for his "boss" — Thaksin — getting concessions to develop a casino complex on Cambodia's Koh Kong island.
Noppadon served as Thaksin's lawyer and continues to have close ties with him.
Waving Thai flags, the protesters held up placards reading, "Thailand is not for sale," and "Bandit government sold Thai soil to Cambodia."
Noppadon denied the allegations.
"The minister of foreign affairs deserves flowers instead of brickbats," Noppadon said, adding that not "a single square centimeter" of Thai soil was lost during recent negotiations with Cambodia.
He said Cambodia had drawn up two maps, one of the temple and the other of the adjacent area.
Noppadon said the Cambodians will present only the temple map in their upcoming request to UNESCO. The second map, which includes the disputed boundary, will not be an issue and thus Thailand has not yielded any territory, he said.
Samak's People Power Party won general elections last December. His new Cabinet is packed with Thaksin's allies and relatives, and critics say rehabilitating the former leader is among the new government's top priorities.
A court disbanded Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party last year and banned him from public office until 2012.

Thailand endorses Cambodia map of disputed temple

BANGKOK, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's Cabinet on Tuesday endorsed a new map of the disputed Preah Vihear temple drawn by neighboring Cambodia, which would pave the way for Cambodia's application to list the temple as a World Heritage Site.
Cambodia will present the yet-to-be disclosed new map as a key document to experts of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at a meeting in Quebec next month.
Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said Tuesday the disputed and undemarcated 4.6-square kilometer area surrounding and adjacent to the temple complex is not included on the map, addressing Thai public controversy over sovereignty claim, according to Thai News Agency.
The minister also emphasized that all details in the new map would be released after the World Heritage Committee meets in July to consider the matter.
The 21-nation committee is scheduled to meet in Quebec beginning July 2 to decide whether or not to grant the world heritage site status to the temple.
UNESCO had made clear that the two neighbors must first settle their differences before it accepts the application of the Cambodian government to list the temple as world heritage site.
Historically, both Thailand and Cambodia have claimed the ancient Khmer-style temple complex and the surrounding area overlapping disputed border territories of the two countries.
The International Court of Justice in Hague ruled in 1962 that the temple complex itself, which stands atop a cliff, belonged to Cambodia. But the only convenient access to the temple lies on the side of Thailand in Kantharalak district of the northeastern province of Si Sa Ket.
Government critics and opposition have blamed the current government for "giving away Thai territory".
The anti-government group People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD)on Tuesday issued a statement calling for Thai ambassadors, charged' affairs, consuls, and officials of the Foreign Ministry to come out to "maintain the country's sovereignty" regarding the Preah Vihear temple.
The PAD, which has staged continuous rallies in central Bangkok since May 25 to call for the current Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to step down, said it would demonstrate before the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday to pressure the government.
Editor: Yan Liang

Cambodia breaks ground on its highest skyscraper

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia on Wednesday broke ground for what will be the country's highest skycraper, a 52-storey tower slated to become the "landmark" of the low-rise capital Phnom Penh.
The one-billion-dollar International Finance Complex (IFC) is being backed by South Korea's GS E&C company and is expected to be completed in 2012.
The project is being hailed by Cambodia's leaders as a symbol of the country's galloping economy, which has averaged 11 percent growth over the past three years.
"IFC is the highest building in the history of Cambodia's capital and is a symbol of the economic growth in Cambodia," said Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.
Kevin K.R. Kim, the Korean firm's CEO, said the project will contribute to the development of Cambodia and become "the landmark of Phnom Penh city."
The site, located near the Tonle Bassac River, includes plans for offices, 275 serviced apartments, a convention centre, an international school and six-high-rise apartment buildings accommodating 1,064 units.
The Southeast Asian nation in March broke ground on the country's first skyscraper, a 42-storey tower.
Cambodia has climbed back from decades of civil unrest to emerge as one of the region's most vibrant economies, marked by an unprecedented building boom that is radically changing the face of this once-sleepy capital.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Judges visit Khmer Rouge torture centre

Phnom Penh - The judges of the Cambodia tribunal have visited S-21, the notorious Khmer Rouge torture centre. They are involved in the trial of surviving members of the country's toppled communist regime. The former chief interrogator at the centre and one of the main defendants on trial, Duch, also took part in the visit.

The judges hoped the visit would give them a better picture of the atrocities committed in S-21 where, between 1975 and 1979, approximately 15,000 Cambodians were imprisoned. Only a few dozen of the prisoners survived their ordeal.

A few years ago, Duch expressed regret for his part in the atrocities. He is now acting as a witness for the prosecution.

Former Khmer Rouge chief revisits prison

he chief interrogator of the former Khmer Rouge in Cambodia has returned to the prison where thousands were killed under his supervision.

Kaing Geuk Eav, who is also known as Duch, wept as he led the investigating judges of the UN-assisted Khmer Rouge tribunal around the notorious S-21 prison.

He has been charged with crimes against humanity.

Spokesman for the tribunal, Reach Sambath, said Duch became emotional when shown a tree against which children were smashed to death.

"When he saw the tree trunk he said the children were smashed into the tree trunk," he said.

"At the end of the conversation he went on his leg and he, you know he pray, salute to the tree and he feel very emotioned."

Torture victims meet top Khmer Rouge inquisitor

Tourists look at a portrait of Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, the former head of the Khmer Rouge's S-21 prison, at Toul Sleng high school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Tourists look at a portrait of Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, the former head of the Khmer Rouge's S-21 prison, at Toul Sleng high school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photograph: Chor Sokunthea/Reuters

The Khmer Rouge's chief interrogator came face to face with survivors of the former Cambodian regime's notorious S-21 prison today as part of his trial charges of crimes against humanity.

Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, returned to the prison where he allegedly ordered thousands to be tortured and executed during the 1970s.

His visit to S-21 as part of Cambodia's genocide tribunal is the first since the Khmer Rouge regime was toppled in 1979. The site, known as Tuol Sleng, is now a genocide museum.

Figures suggest that 16,000 men, women and children were held at S-21; only 14 are thought to have survived.

Duch was joined by several witnesses and survivors of S-21 today. Speaking before the visit, three said they did not feel angry towards Duch but wanted answers about why they had been captured and tortured.

Bou Meng, 67, said he and his wife, Ma Yoeun, were both put in S-21 prison in 1977 and his wife was later executed.

"I just want to ask him what she may have done wrong that they had to kill her. Where is my wife?" he said.

"Duch is revisiting his past atrocities although he is not going to see blood stains or hear the scream of prisoners any more," said Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, a group researching atrocities carried out by the Khmer Rouge.

Duch yesterday broke down in tears as he led judges from the tribunal on a tour of the "killing fields" peppered with the mass graves of his alleged victims.

He has been charged with crimes against humanity for his role as commandant of the regime's largest torture facility. He is one of five former high-ranking Khmer Rouge officials being held for trial by the tribunal.

An estimated 1.7 million people died during the 1975-79 communist regime as a result of policies that caused starvation, overwork, lack of medical care and execution.

Cambodia holds Asian Festival of disabled artists

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Festival of inclusive arts attended by disabled and able-bodied artists has started in Cambodia, an event official said on Thursday.

The festival event in Siem Reap province is to be held from Feb.21 to 24 and the event in Phnom Penh will be held from Feb. 23 to March 1, said Chum Noy, an official for Bophanana Audiovisual Center, which is a supporter of the event.

"We encourage the artists to expand their skills and help society," he said.

For the first time, disabled and able-bodied artists from across Asia come together in Cambodia to present an exciting festival of performance, film, workshops, music and visual arts with a spotlight on the abilities of all people, said a press release of the event.

This arts extravaganza will celebrate the talent and diversity of not only Asian culture, but also the human spirit, it said.

"This isn't about putting disabled people up on the stage. This is about changing the way people perceive disability," Hannah Stevens said on behalf of Epic Arts in the press release.

Funded by The Nippon Foundation and produced by Epic Arts, spotlight is a world standard, multi-arts program which will provide powerful role models for people with disabilities, it said.

By involving the international community, the aim is to build opportunities and networks for artists with disabilities within the region, through workshops, collaborations and shared experiences, it added.

Editor: Yao Siyan

Khmer Rouge top interrogator apologises to regime's victim: witness

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — The Khmer Rouge's top interrogator returned Wednesday to the former school turned torture centre which he ran during Cambodia's 1970s genocide, apologising to his victims for blindly following orders, a witness said.

It was the first time in nearly 30 years that prison boss Duch, who oversaw the regime's Tuol Sleng prison with brutal efficiency, had set foot in what was one of the Khmer Rouge's most horrific killing machines.

The 65-year-old former maths teacher whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav is one of five former Khmer Rouge leaders facing UN-backed trials for atrocities committed under the communists' rule.

During a day-long session with officials from Cambodia's genocide tribunal, Duch walked through Tuol Sleng's dilapidated classrooms, re-enacting for them the daily routine that helped shape his alleged crimes, officials said.

"At the end he stood at the gate and clasped his hands in prayer, apologising to his victims for what he did and saying he had blindly followed his superior's orders to kill his own people," said one witness to the proceedings, which were conducted in private.

Only around a dozen of the estimated 16,000 men, women and children who were herded, blindfolded and bound, into Tuol Sleng during the regime's repeated purges are known to have lived through the ordeal.

Some of those survivors were on hand Wednesday to confront Duch directly for the first time since the Khmer Rouge regime fell, although tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath declined to comment on what was said.

"They talked to each other, but through the judges. The judges, lawyers and co-prosecutors asked questions and the witnesses and Duch answered," he told AFP.

"All the parties, including the charged person and the witnesses, have explained what happened here 30 years ago," he added.

He said that more meetings between Duch, survivors and former prison guards would be mediated Thursday by court officials as part of their ongoing investigation into the brutal upheaval that engulfed Cambodia between 1975 and 1979.

Tuol Sleng survivor Chum Mey, who according to witnesses was present Wednesday, told AFP earlier that he wanted to speak to Duch and convince him to acknowledge his crimes.

"The re-enactment is good, it means he (Duch) cannot say he did not do anything. I want him to show the judges ... where he gave the orders to bring people to be executed," Chum Mey said.

"I want him to recall the stories and answer everything," he added.

Duch, a born-again Christian who was seized by Cambodian authorities in 1999 and held at a military prison until his transfer to the tribunal in July, is charged with crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the regime's inner circle.

Up to two million people died of starvation and overwork, or were executed by the Khmer Rouge, which dismantled modern Cambodian society in its effort to forge a radical agrarian utopia.

Cities were emptied and their populations exiled to vast collective farms, while schools were closed, religion banned and the educated classes targeted for extermination.

Duch, who has not denied his Tuol Sleng role, also took court officials Tuesday through the Choeung Ek killing fields, where as many as 20,000 people -- most of them prisoners at Tuol Sleng -- were murdered.

There he knelt and prayed several times, weeping for the regime's victims, Reach Sambath said, calling the visit a significant step towards justice.

Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal was established in July 2006 after nearly a decade of contentious negotiations between the government and United Nations over the shape of the court.

The first public trials are expected later this year.

Cambodia suspends to release alleged terrorists

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian Supreme Court here on Wednesday delayed to release verdict for three men charged with attempted murders of diplomats by suicide bombing and explosion against western countries' embassies in Phnom Penh.

Haji Chiming Abdulazi, 42, and Muhammady Alaludim Mading, 46, both Muslim from Thailand, as well as Cambodian Muslim Sman Esma El, 30, were already sentenced to life in jail by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and the Appeal Court.

"We delayed to release verdict for the case and we will declare it on March 13," said Khim Pon, president of the Council of Judgment, after over four hours of hearing.

The trio were charged with planning to murder diplomats through suicide bombing and explosion against western countries' embassies in Phnom Penh, including those of United States, Britain and Canada, said prosecutor Chhoun Chantha in the courtroom.

"They were also linked with regional terrorist group the Jemaah Islamiyah," he added.

The group's leader, Hambali, was arrested by the Thai authorities in February 2004, after reportedly staying for six months in Cambodia, he said.

They were connected with international terrorism group the Al-Queda and their acts were of international terrorism, he said.

The Cambodian police authorities arrested the three men in cooperation with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Chhoun added.

Editor: Yan Liang

S Korean President to visit Cambodia this year

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Lee Myung Bak will visit Cambodia sometime this year, at the invitation by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen during their Monday meeting in Seoul, a senior official said here Tuesday.

Lee will visit Cambodia to strengthen the cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, economy and personal relations, Hor Namhong, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, told a press conference.

The press conference was held upon the return of a senior Cambodian delegation led by Hun Sen from the swearing-in ceremony of Lee Myung Bak in Seoul.

"The visit will bring about closer economic ties between the two sides to help develop Cambodia," Hor said.

Since Lee was former economic advisor for Hun Sen, the two men have had deep personal relations, Hor said, adding that this year is also the 11th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries.

As the No. 1 foreign investor in Cambodia, South Korea is contributing large amount of money in the construction field in Cambodia, Hor said.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

ADB president arrives in Cambodia for visit

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda arrived in Phnom Penh Sunday for his first official visit to Cambodia.

Kuroda is scheduled to meet with senior Cambodian government officials on Monday to discuss ADB's assistance programs in this country and the important role of regional cooperation in the Southeast Asia region, an ADB news release said.

Kuroda will also travel to Sisophon in northwest Cambodia to launch a new railway rehabilitation project and will sign a package of five grants and loans that will help spur job creation, expand educational opportunities, and enhance growth, it said.

Cambodia has received over one billion U.S. dollars in assistance since joining ADB in 1966, according to the news release.

Between 2004 and 2007, ADB has provided six grants and nine loans to Cambodia totaling 250 million U.S. dollars, it said, adding that ADB plans to provide an additional 50 million U.S. dollars in assistance this year.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

US mulls funding Khmer Rouge tribunal

The United States has confirmed it will consider contributing funds to Cambodia's tribunal established to try former Khmer Rouge leaders.

State Department spokesman says the department will first review all the facts about the tribunal and its operations, including whether or not it is capable of meeting international standards of justice.

A Cambodian official said earlier that Washington wants an advisory role in Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal and would consider helping fund the cash-strapped court if given the post

Already burdened by a multimillion-dollar shortfall when it opened in 2006, the tribunal is set to run out of funds by March without another cash injection from the international community.

Cambodia's UN-backed tribunal was established in July 2006 with a 56 million US dollar budget.

Vietnam-Cambodia trade set to increase 27%

Vietnam and Cambodia have set a target of increasing their two-way trade by 27% to US $2.3 billion by 2010 and to US $6.5 billion five years later.

These targets were released at a Vietnam-Cambodia border trade conference in the Mekong delta province of An Giang on January 16, which was attended by representatives from central and local governments of the two countries.

Addressing the conference, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Nguyen Cam Tu said much remains to be done by the two governments, localities and businesses to achieve the target.

He also mentioned a number of difficulties in cross-border trade between the two countries, including poor transport systems, equipment and facilities.

Participants at the conference proposed that the two governments create a more convenient legal foundation for the development of cross-border trade and transport, loan provision for developing transport systems and facilities at border markets and economic zones.

They also called for the exemption of visas for people in border provinces, the simplification of import-export and investment procedures, and cooperation to build border markets and economic zones and transport systems.

Vietnam exported US $1.2 billion worth of commodities to Cambodia last year, a 6.5-fold increase of 2001. Cambodia is now Vietnam’s 16th largest importer, buying mostly home alliance, vegetables and fruits, confectionaries, plastics, cigarettes and detergent.

Vietnam is Cambodia’s third largest export market, importing chiefly home electric appliance, interior decorations, garment accessories and auto parts. (VNA)

EVN constructs two hydropower plants

Electricity of Viet Nam plans to bring Cambodia power

PHNOM PENH — The Electricity of Viet Nam will build two hydropower plants on the Se San River’s segment of the Cambodia’s Ratanakiri and K’ra Tre provinces at a cost of US$600 million, local authorities announced yesterday.

According to the Cambodian Ministry of Industry, Mines and Electricity, the two plants will be designed to have a combined capacity of 500MW, generating 2 million MW of electricity annually. A feasibility study on the plants has been completed, and construction will begin soon.

Other than satisfying Cambodia’s growing thirst for power, the two plants will also sell electricity to the southern part of Viet Nam.

Some 20 industrial zones have been built so far in Cambodia, necessitating a stable supply of electricity. Two plants were also expected to provide water for agricultural production and help reduce floods in the areas. — VNS

Cambodia to double luxury golf courses by 2010: official

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia doubled its number of luxury golf courses last year to four and hopes to have eight by 2010 in a bid to lure more high-end tourism from the fast-growing sport in Asia, officials said Thursday.

Cambodia in 2007 opened its only two PGA-rated courses in the popular tourist town on Siem Reap, in northwest Cambodia near the famed Angkor temples which remain the country's biggest draw for foreign visitors.

A third course backed by South Korean investors is expected to open in Siem Reap in 2009, said Suos Yara, secretary general of Cambodia Golf Association.

Three other multi-million-dollar golf projects are also under construction near the capital Phnom Penh and along the border with Vietnam, with another planned near the seaside resort of Sihanoukville, he told AFP.

"Golf can attract more high-yield tourists. Beside touring our heritage sites, tourists also need entertainment," he said.

"They have different hobbies, but most adults like playing golf as part of their tour package," he added.

Cambodia's profile as a golfing destination got a major boost when the Phokeethra Country Club in Siem Reap hosted the country's first international golfing event in November.

Suos Yara said the golfing industry has also contributed jobs to the local community, adding that the government wanted to eventually see at least seven courses in Siem Reap and about 10 near Sihanoukville.

"We want more golf courses ... When we have more golf course, we have more tourists and prospective investments," Suos Yara added.

Tourist arrivals to impoverished Cambodia topped two million in 2007, bringing in much-needed revenue.

But while most foreigners still flock to the Angkor temples, tourism officials are seeking to create more visitor destinations.

Cambodia plant starts up

Siam Cement Group's joint-venture cement plant in Cambodia officially started operations yesterday to tap rapid demand growth in Thailand's neighbour.

Kampot Cement (KCC), is a 90:10 joint venture between SCG and the Khaou Chuly Group, Cambodia's leading construction and engineering firm.

The joint venture company was established with investment capital of US$100 million, or 3.2 billion baht, and can produce 900,000 tonnes of Portland cement a year, according to SCG cement president Pramote Techasupatkul.

Output from the Kampot plant mainly served domestic consumption. Demand in Cambodia has grown faster than supply.

''Our additional capacity will lower the country's dependence on imported cement, which will reduce its trade deficit,'' Mr Pramote added.

The company also aims to see its production technology transferred to local operators through its contractor training programme.

SCG hopes to become a leader in Asean with heavy investments in pulp and paper, petrochemicals and cement.

Apart from Kampot, SCG's other investments in Cambodia include Cpac Cambodia, a ready-mix cement business; Cpac concrete products; Cpac Monier roofing tile products; and engine parts and lube oil from Siam Kubota Industry.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cambodia rejects Taiwan's bid to open business representative office

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian government has reiterated its rejection of the so-called Taiwan External Trade Development Council's request to open a business representative office in Cambodia, local newspaper the Deum Ampil reported on Wednesday.

The council plans to open a branch in Cambodia and a number of other countries in Asia to seek new markets for Taiwanese businesses, according to the reports of Channel News Asia (CNA) on Monday.

The attempt to reopen a business representative office is impossible, said Om Yentieng, advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

A Taiwanese business representative office was opened in 1993 in Cambodia but closed following factional fighting in 1997.

The Taiwan business council also plans to organize a delegation visit to promote business ties with both Cambodia and Myanmar, according to CNA.

Some 1,000 Taiwanese investors do business here, mainly in the garment sector, said Om Yentieng, adding that five shoemaking factories in Cambodia are owned by Taiwanese investors, with each employing around 8,000 to 10,000 Cambodian workers.

The Cambodian government consistently supports China's One-China policy and in July last year announced its opposition to Taiwan's bid to join the United Nations.

"There is only one China in the world, namely the People's Republic of China, and Taiwan is an integral part of China," Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong told Xinhua at the time.

Editor: Du Guodong

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

ITD part of $5bn Cambodia venture

Koh Kong plant will produce 1,830 MW


SET-listed Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD), Thailand's biggest construction company, is joining with five investment partners to develop a $5-billion coal-fired power plant in Cambodia.
President Premchai Karnasuta said ITD had signed a memorandum of understanding to invest in the power plant with Egco Plc, Ratchaburi Electricity Holding Plc, Datang International (Hong Kong) Ltd and Sino Thai Resources Development Plc.
Italian-Thai Power and Energy controls the largest stake of 30% in the joint venture, Koh Kong Power Light Ltd.
The SET-listed power companies Egco Group and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc hold 20% each. China's Datang owns 15%, while Egat International, a newly established and wholly owned overseas investment unit of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, holds 8% and Sino Thai holds 7%.
Located in Laem Yai Saen in western Cambodia, Koh Kong Power Light is expected to come onstream by 2014 with an initial capacity of 1,830 megawatts. The utility is targeted to reach its maximum capacity of 3,660 MW several years later, Premchai said.
ABN Amro has conducted a financial feasibility study of the project, while Team Consulting Co provided environmental management studies. Datang International (Hong Kong) Ltd will be an equipment and engineering service provider. The company has discussed a long-term purchasing contract with a coal mine operator in Indonesia, he added.
Mr Premchai said that Koh Kong Power Light had been in discussions with the Thai government to supply power to Egat. It offered a cheaper price for electricity to Thailand than local coal-fired power plants and Laos's Hongsa Lignite in order to secure a power purchase contract with Egat.
''We want the new power plant to supply electricity to Egat, but it has yet to be included in the current Power Development Plan,'' Mr Premchai said.
''The project has not started construction. But once we secure the power contract with Egat, we could speed up the development to finish one year ahead of schedule.''
The Cambodian power plant is part of ITD's strategy to diversify into energy and mining to offset falling revenue from core construction activities over the past two years. It established wholly owned subsidiaries Italian-Thai Power and Energy Co and Sin Rae Muang Thai Co to support this strategy.
The two companies have sought business opportunities in Southeast Asian countries, India and Madagascar, he added.
ITD posted a consolidated net profit of 893 million baht in the nine months to September 2007, compared to a loss of 1.4 billion baht during the same period a year earlier, reflecting in part a change in accounting methods.
ITD shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 7.25 baht, down 60 satang, in trade worth 196 million baht.

Foreign tourist arrivals in Cambodia to increase by 20% on annual basis

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Foreign tourist arrivals in Cambodia will increase by 20 percent on annual basis in the upcoming decade, local Chinese-language newspaper the Commercial News on Monday quoted an industry report as saying.
Cambodia saw some two million foreign tourist arrivals in 2007,a 20 percent rise over 2006, and the expansion rate is expected to maintain, said the report from the Cambodian Association of Travel Agencies.
Most of the tourists were Japanese, Chinese, Americans, South Koreans and French people, said the report, adding that the industry earned some 140 million U.S. dollars in 2007, accounting for almost 10 percent of the kingdom's gross national products.
Meanwhile, another Chinese-language newspaper the Jianhua Dailyon Monday quoted industry official as saying that Cambodia will have three million foreign tourist arrival in 2010 and five million in 2015.
Tourism has been one of Cambodia's triple pillar industries. The Angkor Wat historical park in Siem Reap province, the beach in Sihanoukville municipality and the Royal Palace in capital city Phnom Penh are the main attractions for foreign tourists.
Editor: Jiang Yuxia

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Accounting, Finance Will Be Hot In '08

Jan. 7, 2008 (Investor's Business Daily delivered by Newstex) --

Skilled accountants and finance experts will be among 2008's most sought-after professionals.
Research by staffer Robert Half International says companies are especially interested in accountants and auditors who have excellent communication and tech skills.
Robert Half says the most in-demand positions for 2008 include:
Internal auditors. Those with certified internal auditor designations to help meet compliance rules like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are particularly in demand. National average starting salaries for internal audit managers at companies with more than $250 million in sales are expected to climb 6.7% next year to $81,500 to $109,500 annually.
Senior accountants. Those with public accounting smarts and at least three years of experience will be needed to perform core accounting tasks. The greatest gains in starting compensation for senior accountants are expected at midsize firms. Average starting salaries are expected to rise 5.4% over 2007 to $49,250 to $63,000 annually.
Financial analysts. Companies need them to help with budgeting, forecasting and financial modeling. Demand is especially acute at the management and senior levels. Base pay is forecast to jump 5.8% for managers with large firms, to $74,750 to $99,000.
Temp Demand May Slip In Q1
Shifting economic conditions are expected to cause adjusted demand for temporary workers in the U.S. to fall by 2.3% from a year earlier in the first quarter of 2008.
The survey by staffing consultant G. Palmer & Associates also says adjusted demand for temps in the fourth quarter of 2007 likely fell less than 2% below the same period in 2006. This is because the unemployment rate was lower than expected in the final three months of 2007, resulting in higher than expected demand for temporary workers.
Organizing Is Key To Business Success
An Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) survey says that 39% of business professionals believe that getting organized will be their key to success in 2008.
The office products retailer found that almost a third want to raise their efficiency in order to have more time for other activities. An additional 24% hope to get rid of the paper piles on their desks.
Respondents told Office Depot ODP that chaos in the workplace is costly. Sixty-five percent believe that lost time is the biggest drawback to disorder. And 54% say chaotic work habits cause them to forget deadlines and appointments.
Thirteen percent believe that jumbled work habits cost them business opportunities.
Improving the tilt between work and personal life is viewed as a key to boosting productivity. Fifty-three percent of professionals say improving their work-life balance is their leading goal for 2008.

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