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Business in brief

Software giant Microsoft has become the first private donor for the Khmer Rouge trial,

a spokesman for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) said

on January 11.

Microsoft Singapore has contributed a donation of $100,000 to the United Nations

side of the ECCC budget to be used in the general operations budget, spokesman Peter

Foster said.

According to the ECCC, the donation by the Singapore division of Microsoft is the

first from a private source.

"The $100,000 from Microsoft Singapore was made towards the general operating

budget and came with no strings or restrictions," he was quoted as saying in

local media.

The $56-million dollar joint UN-Cambodian tribunal still faces a near $8-million

shortfall, mainly on the Cambodian side, and Foster said contributions from the private

sector were much appreciated.

Vendors protest

Hundreds of vendors from Veal Yun market in the provincial town of Svay Rieng gathered

in front of the provincial hall on January 6 to protest against a newly authorized

local company charging higher fees for security and other services in 2007, newspapers

reported.

In a complaint sent to the provincial governor, vendors said the new company, owned

by businessman Hou Yan, is collecting $11 to $24 for security services per month

depending on the number of stalls a vendor operates. Last year he only charged $5

to $5.40 per vendor, Rasmei Kampuchea reported.

The vendors say they could not afford the new market taxation. They requested provincial

authorities intervene.

Rat restaurants

Restaurants in Battambang town are gearing up for the paddy rat season, a news agency

reported January 11.

"The last rice has just been harvested, so the rats are ready. They are coming

onto the market now, and the next three months while they are in season are very

good business for us," restaurateur Chhrut Hen, 24, told Deutsche Presse Agentur.

"We can make an extra $200 when rat is in season," Hen says. According

to Hen, only paddy rat is served, and not common city rats.

Vendors say those who have developed a taste for rat span all social classes. Hen

says her restaurant sells at least two kilograms of rat meat each night.

Capital cooperation

Ho Chi Minh City party chief Le Thanh Hai and Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema met

on January 11 to discuss cooperation projects between the two cities, a state-run

Vietnamese news agency reported.

Key projects include a new hospital - the Cho Ray-Phnom Penh Hospital - being built

on Phnom Penh's Street 51, a project to supply fertilizer to Cambodian farmers, rubber

plantation development projects, and projects in tourism and education.

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