Sunday, 13 January 2008

Sacravatoons: Monkey's Prediction

Courtesy of Sacratoon :

Eight-man gang of drug dealers arrested

General News
Sunday January 13, 2008

A major leader of a drug-dealing gang in the Ratchadapisek area was arrested along with seven members of the gang yesterday. Pol Maj-Gen Worasak Noppasittiporn, commander of Metropolitan Police Area 2, said Sanya Lumsiri, the gang leader, and seven others were charged with possessing narcotic drugs for sale.

Police seized 4,450 methamphetamine pills, 77 grammes of crystal methamphetamine and 1,017 ecstasy pills as well as a 9mm pistol and a rifle during the raid.

The suspects admitted they sold the drugs, which were smuggled from Cambodia through Sa Kaeo province, to teenagers who frequented entertainment venues on Ratchadapisek road.

Income from Angkor Wat Is More Than $60 Million, but the State Gets Less Than $10 Million

13 January 2008
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 542

“Parliamentarian Son Chhay wrote a letter to Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen, asking him to reconsider the rights granted the Sokimex company to administer Angkor Wat. In a letter to Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen on 10 January 2008, Mr. Son Chhay pointed out that the rights granted to Oknha Sok Kong’s company to administer Angkor Wat makes the state lose not less than $50 million each year.

“In 2007 alone, the income from tourists visiting Angkor Wat was approximately US$50 million, but the government gave a contract to Oknha Sok Kong’s company to manage Angkor Wat, through which the state gets every year only US$10 million from the company. As a consequence, Angkor Wat, which is the most important Khmer heritage, easily benefits Sok Kong’s company not less than $50 million each year. Therefore, Mr. Son Chhay asked the government, especially Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen, to reconsider the contract given to the Sokimex Company to administer Angkor Wat; otherwise, the government will continue to lose benefits while the company does not do anything to protect or maintain Angkor Wat. This means that the Sokimex Company of Oknha Sok Kong can sleep and still wait to easily receive benefits from the historical heritage of all Khmers.

“Mr. Son Chhay affirmed that this is an issue the government must reconsider, relating to the granting of rights, and in future there should be bids announced appropriately, not again to be conducted quietly, giving the right to Sok Kong’s company like it happened. At present, it is affirmed that the number of tourists increased in 2007; the number of foreign tourists that visited Cambodian was more than two million. According to officials of the Ministry of Tourism, it is expected that in 2008 the number of tourists will continue to increase. Though the number of tourists increases, the government does not update the contract with the Sokimex company to increase the amount of money to be paid to the government. The amount continues to be maintained at $10 million per year.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that there is nothing to be seen which was developed and paid for by the Sokimex company; that means that the company just waits to get benefits easily. He said that even the toilets for tourists are not good, which is a shame for the nation. Nonetheless, the government seems not to think about what Mr. Son Chhay has raised. According to reports, the government still continues to grant the right to Sok Kong’s company to manage Angkor Wat and to collect money from all tourists.

“The Ministry of Tourism boasted about the increase in the number of tourists visiting Cambodia, especially coming to visit Angkor Wat, and that in 2007, the number of tourists was more than two million. However, the big amount of income from the tourists does not go into the national treasury. On the contrary, it remains in the hands of businesspeople of a private company. To give the right to Oknha Sok Kong’s company to manage Angkor Wat is like to allow this company to collect money from the tourists just on its own, while the state loses tens of millions of dollars each year. It is not known why such an easy arithmetic has been agreed upon; the government as well as the Prime Minister has many well-educated advisors - why do they not see an easy way of creating benefits from Angkor Wat; or is the money, which Sok Kong’s company earns, quietly shared with government officials and not put into the national treasury? If a simple farmer would manage Angkor Wat instead of Sok Kong’s company, and the government would each year just wait to get $50 million from the farmer, this would also be possible. But Sok Kong’s company probably provides $40 million of the $50 million earned to government leaders, keeps $10 million for itself, and hands on $10 million for the nation. Doing so can solve problems for this company so that the company maintains the right to continue to manage the temple area, and it can easily collect money from the tourists. It is believed that this is why the government does not stop Sok Kong’s company from managing Angkor Wat.

“Mr. Son Chhay thinks that it is a shame for the Khmer nation to have Angkor Wat, but the state does not have the ability to manage the temple area; instead, it gives the management to a private company to put toll gates on the ways into the Angkor Wat temple area in order to collect money from foreign tourists. Mr. Son Chhay demanded that Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen reconsiders the contract between the government and the Sokimex company on the management of Angkor Wat soon, because while the number of tourists increases, the company does not spend anything on Angkor Wat, the company just sleeps and waits to easily collect money from the historical heritage of our Khmer ancestors.

“But will the government take Angkor Wat away from being managed by the businessman Sok Kong or not? By retaining Sok Kong’s company to manage Angkor Wat, officials get much money into their own pockets, but the government gets little. When the government has little money, it cannot spend much on various services. At the end, only high ranking officials and businesspeople live comfortably from the heritage of our Khmer ancestors who are the ancestors of all.”

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3227, 12.1.2008

EVA airplane forced to land in Cambodia

Sunday, January 13, 2008

PHNOM PENH -- A plane carrying 146 passengers and crews was forced to make an emergency landing in Phnom Penh shortly after take off due to technical problems, an airport official said Saturday.

The EVA Airways flight, which was en route from the Cambodian capital to Taipei, returned to Phnom Penh International Airport on Friday about 15 minutes after it left, said Kim San, chief of Cambodia Air Traffic Services.

The plane, which had technical problems related to supplying air within the cabin, left for Taipei after being grounded for one hour, he said.

Sir Edmund Hillary, first man to the top of the world, dies at 88

Sir Edmund Hillary who had conquered Mount Everest for the first time along with Tenzing Norgay in 1953, has passed away at the age of 88.

According to reports by the Associated Press, Hillary died at Auckland Hospital at 9 am Friday, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark's office said. “Though ailing in his later years, he remained active, but no cause of death was immediately given,” the report adds.

“Hillary's life was marked by grand achievements, high adventure, discovery, excitement — yet he was humble to the point that he only admitted being the first man atop Everest long after the death of climbing companion Tenzing Norgay.”

“But he was more proud of his decades-long campaign to set up schools and health clinics in Nepal, the homeland of Norgay, the mountain guide with whom he stood arm in arm on the summit of Everest on May 29, 1953.”

Hillary's pace slowed in his final years. He made his last visit to the Himalayas in April 2007 when he and Elizabeth Hawley — unofficial chronicler of expeditions in the Himalayas for 40 years — met the 2007 SuperSherpas Expedition in Kathmandu.

"Sir Ed described himself as an average New Zealander with modest abilities. In reality, he was a colossus. He was an heroic figure who not only 'knocked off' Everest but lived a life of determination, humility, and generosity," Prime Minister Clark said in announcing his death.

"The legendary mountaineer, adventurer, and philanthropist is the best-known New Zealander ever to have lived," she said.

Sir Edmund Hillary, First on Everest, Dies at 88

Sir Edmund Hillary, 83, smiles in front of a giant picture of Mount Everest at the Birendra International Convention Centre in Katmandu May 29, 2003.

State funeral for Sir Ed in 10 days

Jan 12, 2008

For the first time since her husband's death, Lady Hillary publicly emerged from the couple's home on Saturday afternoon to an emotional embrace with the prime minister.

Helen Clark, who had just arrived home from overseas, said that delivering what she called "big hugs" to Sir Edmond's widow had been a top priority. The two then slipped back inside, away from the large media contingent, to share their grief privately and talk about funeral arrangements.

Clark says the State funeral will likely be held Tuesday week.

"That gives time for family members to be here and it's likely that that will be preceded by a lying in state of Sir Edmund's casket so that members of the public can pay their respects," says Clark.

The funeral is expected to take place at St Mary's Anglican Church in Parnell, Auckland, and the public will be able to view the service on big screen in the neighbouring cathedral.

Clark says that despite Sir Ed's popularity, it is important to respect his family's wishes.

"It's a lot for the people and Lady Hillary is very conscious of people of the local communities of sherpa people and Indian people who also revered Sir Ed - so she is looking for a way where we can be inclusive but also respect the family's wishes."

While Sir Ed may have considered himself an ordinary Kiwi, State funerals are a rarity - the last was for the Unknown Warrior who was brought home from France in 2004.

"Sir Ed was an extraordinary New Zealander...he has had an extraordinary status here and extraordinary status internationally, and the State funeral is in keeping with that" says Clark.

Among the dignitaries, there has also been a steady flow of mourners to Hillary's home with members of the public dropping off flowers and saying their prayers for the man they admired.

Achievements Clark says Hillary was the country's best known New Zealander, and for good reason.

Not only did Sir Ed conquer the highest peak in the world, in 1958 he led a Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic team to another adventuring first.

On Ferguson tractors Sir Ed and his team drove overland to the South Pole.

He maintained his relationship with the icy continent and was largely responsible for the creation of Scott Base.

A memorial service will be held at Scott base on Sunday, where the New Zealand flag has been flying at half mast since news of his death reached the base.

Word of Sir Ed's death is also percolating across India and Nepal, where it is expected to cause great sadness.

Sir Ed was a great humanitarian who through his Himalayan Trust helped to improve the health and educational conditions of the Nepalese people. And he was New Zealand's High Commissioner to India from 1985 until 1989.

NZ High Commissioner to India and Nepal Rupert Holborow says flags are at half mast and books of condolence have been opened.

He says there will be a considerable response over the coming days and he is talking with both governments about how they will pay tribute to Sir Ed.

Share your thoughts and feelings about the passing of this great New Zealander on our message board. ONE News will compile your comments into a book of remembrance which will be presented to his family.