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In Review

Jan 24: Disadvantaged people will get training to open their own small

businesses under a project announced by the German Embassy. Germany signed an agreement

with the Ministry of Youth to start training in about two months. Germany will put

up 9.5 million marks. The project will be run by two experts from the German Agency

of Technical Cooperation.

Jan 26: Reuters reported: Inflation was 3.5 percent in 1995, far below

the 26.1 percent of 1994 and 31 percent of 1993, National Bank of Cambodia Gov. Thor

Peng Leath said. He said the economy grew at about 7 percent last year and predicted

between 7 and 9 percent this year, with inflation around 6 or 7 percent. Other bank

officials said the 1995 inflation rate was skewed lower by deflation in the last

quarter, during the rice harvest.

Jan 26: A "multi-sectoral" attack on HIV and AIDS is scheduled

to start this month, the UN Development Program said. The 18-month project will aim

at increasing awareness of the disease and will beef up provincial AIDS offices in

Kompong Som, Koh Kong, Kompong Cham and Kampot. A network of trainers will work to

build consistent approaches toward behavioral changes. Funding of $756,428 will come

from UNDP, which signed an agreement with the Royal Government. The UN group will

support the National Aids Program in the Ministry of Health and three other ministries,

including Social Action, Labor and Veterans Affairs; National Defense, and Information,

as well as the Secretariat for Women's Affairs.

Jan 27: Reuters reported: King Norodom Sihanouk flew to Bejing for medical

tests for arterial problems and diabetes. The King, who says he has recovered from

cancer, is expected home before the mid-April traditional New Year.

Jan 28: Reuters reported: Cambodia and Burma, which revived diplomatic

ties last year after two decades, agreed to establish a Joint Commission for Bilateral

Cooperation and started talks about exchanging ambassadors. Foreign Affairs Ministers

Ung Huot and Ohn Gyaw signed the agreement in Rangoon. First Prime Minister Norodom

Ranariddh visited Burmese Prime Minister Senior Gen. Than Shwe.

Jan 30: Cambodian doctors will be trained to provide mental health care

in a first step toward establishing a community-based mental health system, the US

Agency for International Development said. The Harvard School of Public Health will

provide training for 100 primary care doctors with an $800,000 USAID grant.

Jan 30: The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied that Vietnam

detained 15 Cambodian police in Svay Rieng Province on Jan. 25. In a press release

the Ministry also denied the existence of any border tension between the two countries.

Jan 31: Reuters reported: The secretariat of the four-nation Mekong River

Commission will be based in either Phnom Penh or Vientiane, and the decision will

be made by Cambodian and Laotian leaders, Ing Kieth, public works and transport minister

said. The commission ended a meeting in Phnom Penh with Thailand and Vietnam withdrawing

their bids for the secretariat. But the delegates, who came to choose a site, didn't.

A Cambodian delegate said the decision was "very political" and "very

sensitive."

Jan 31: Reuters reported: An unidentified senior Khmer Rouge official told

the Australian Broadcasting Corp that corrupt Cambodian government troops are selling

arms and ammunition to the rebels in remote jungle camps near the Thai border. The

official said bullets are selling for about 12 cents, AK47s for $200 and artillery

shells for $400. The report was denied by co-defense minister Tea Chamrath, who called

it "a bluff."

Feb 2: A charity drive began to set up a center to help the old, poor,

homeless and orphaned, the Khmer Veterans and Farmers for Economic Development Association

said. The center will be called "Habitat for Humanity."

Feb 2: Reuters reported: A Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman

said talks were underway between Cambodian and Vietnamese officials about an exchange

of accusations of border tension. Cambodia's First Prime Minister Norodom Ranarridh

fired the first shot recently, charging that border markers in Svay Rieng had been

stealthily moved 300-400 meters into Cambodia. The Vietnamese spokesman said his

country respects border agreements. In Phnom Penh, an Interior Ministry spokesman

said co-minister Sar Kheng had been invited to Hanoi to discuss the issue, after

Sar Kheng discussed border issues with Vietnam's ambassador to Cambodia Tran Huy

Chuong. The official Vietnamese daily Nhan Dan quoted Cambodian National Television

as saying the two agreed to resolve frontier issues peacefully, "in line with

building a border of peace, friendship and cooperation between the two countries."

Feb 4: Reuters reported: Second Prime Minister Hun Sen said the government

welcomes multiparty participation in the next election and invited Cambodians to

establish as many as 50 new parties. But he said new parties "must serve the

people and not damage" - an apparent reference to opposition leader Sam Rainsy's

Khmer Nation Party, which the government has not recognized. Hun Sen said, "We

should not worry about the new political parties but we must not do anything which

damages the people's benefit due to our struggle for a [political] seat."

Feb 5: Several Singapore companies have set up joint ventures with the

Royal government. One, involving Hiap Huat Holdings, Camsin Corp, Intraco Ltd and

Thakral Investments, will develop science and technology for use in farming padi

and other crops, upgrading warehouses, rice mills, packaging, logistics support and

exporting and marketing Cambodian agricultural crops. The other, involving Hiap Huat

Holdings, Texwell Industries, Grandmaster International and Informatics Holdings,

plans to set up computer training schools, offering, according to a release, "world

class standards in computer-based training and development." In a speech welcoming

the agricultural joint venture, Steven Lek, chairman of the Takeo Farmers' Trust

Limited and Consortium Marketing, said the agreement involved "close and sometimes

intense negotiations" but added: "It is our earnest hope that this project

will upgrade the knowledge and skills of the farmers in Cambodia...."

Feb 5: Reuters reported: Cambodia asked the United Nations for help in

its fight against drug abuse and trafficking. Second Prime Minister Hun Sen met with

Giorgio Giacomelli, director of the UN International Drug Control Program. Nuov Kanun,

secretary of state of the council of ministers, said the co-premier asked the UN

"to train our technical drug staff very clearly how to identify different kinds

of drugs." He said Giacomelli promised to help as much as possible. UNDCP officials

say Cambodia is getting increased use as a transshipment point for heroin from the

Golden Triangle opium-growing region where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet.

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