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Archive for April 2013

Former Pakistani president Musharraf arrested by police

ISLAMABAD, April 19 (Xinhua) — Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was arrested early Friday morning, a day after a court ordered his arrest for imposing emergency rule in 2007.

Musharraf appeared before a court of a local magistrate in Islamabad and formally offered his arrest, said his defence lawyer Qamar Afzal.

The judicial magistrate Abbas Shah granted a two-day transit remand of Musharraf to the police to question him about his action to detain judges after they restrained from work.

Musharraf left the court room after a brief appearance to fulfill legal requirements following Thursday’s orders of his arrest by Islamabad High Court.

Officials have requested that Musharraf should be placed in house and his house be declared as sub-jail over security concerns.

Musharraf’s lawyer had also requested the magistrate to send his client on judicial remand instead of handing over to the police on physical remand.

Police sources said that the former president was brought to the court of judicial magistrate, Abbas Shah, as his appearance was a legal requirement after his arrest order.

The Islamabad High Court on Thursday ordered Musharraf’s arrest for detaining senior judges when he imposed emergency rule in 2007.

The Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court, Shaukat Aziz Siddiqi, had canceled his interim bail in the case. However, Musharraf succeeded in fleeing the court with his security guards.

A case had been filed against Musharraf for placing dozens of top judges under house arrest when he imposed emergency rule and suspended the constitution in November 2007. The judges had refused to take oath under his Provincial Constitutional Order.

A lower court had previously issued arrest warrant for Musharraf in the case and had declared him proclaimed offender as he had previously failed to appear before the court despite several orders.

The Islamabad High Court had granted interim bail in the case and canceled his bail when he appeared before the Chief Justice on Thursday.

Musharraf is also facing other legal cases, including treason charges for imposing emergency rule, the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto and the killing of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006.

Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, denied all charges and said he would defend himself in courts. He had resigned in August 2008 to avoid impeachment by the parliament and went into exile since then.

He returned to Pakistan last month after over four years of self-imposed exile in Britain and the United Arab Emirates to take part in the May 11 parliamentary elections for his All Pakistan Muslim League party. But a couple of days ago, he was disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan for contesting the coming elections.

 

Siam says ready for final statement at ICJ

BANGKOK, April 19 (Xinhua) — Thailand is ready to present its final statement on the case related to disputed border area with Cambodia on Friday night (Bangkok time) to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Thai ambassador said on Friday.

Virachai Plasai, Thailand’s Ambassador to the Hague, the Netherlands and head of the Thai legal team, said that they are confident that in the second and final round of oral statement, Thailand could counter all arguments made by Cambodia, Thai News Agency reported.

Speaking to Thai media at a press briefing at the Hague, Virachai believed that the oral arguments will comprehensively and convincingly rebut Cambodia’s pleadings on Thursday.

Thailand’s first round of oral statement by Thailand took place on Wednesday. The second and final round oral statement by Thailand takes place Friday at 3 p.m. local time (8 p.m. Bangkok time).

The ICJ had accepted Cambodia’s request to reinterpret its 1962 ruling, which awarded ownership of the ancient hindu Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia but did not mention the disputed area immediately surrounding it.

The hearings on the border dispute are scheduled to be held from April 15 to 19 with both sides preparing to present their arguments. The ruling will not be delivered until October or November this year.

The general climate along the border near the temple has been normal so far.

 

Hun Sen warns internal war if opposition wins July’s polls

PHNOM PENH, April 19 (Xinhua) — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen warned on Friday that there will be “an internal war” if the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) wins a general election on July 28.

The premier’s warning followed the announcement of the self- exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Wednesday that he will convict members of Cambodia’s current government accused of Khmer Rouge-era killings if his party wins the general election in July.

Via a video from the United States to about 200 supporters gathering at the Choeung Ek Killing Field to mark the fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge on April 17, 1975, Sam Rainsy did not name those government members, but references to “ministers and deputy prime ministers” were consistent with his statement on April 17 last year, when he called for legal action against Prime Minister Hun Sen, Senate President Chea Sim and National Assembly President Heng Samrin.

“He (Sam Rainsy) has not come to power, but he dares to use insolent remarks, announcing to convict members of the current government, and Hun Sen,” the prime minister said during the inauguration of new achievements at a Buddhist pagoda in western Kampong Speu province.

“An internal war will definitely happen if he (Sam Rainsy) wins the election because no one will let the other arrest easily. There will be fighting back,” the premier said. “We have no wish to stage war, but they threaten to do war (with us) first.”

However, the premier said he did not believe that the opposition party could win in the forthcoming election.

“Based on previous results, the opposition party needs to seek at least another 3 million votes to win the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP),” he said.

On March 25, the premier predicted that his CPP would win at least two-thirds majority in the general election this July.

Hun Sen, 61, has been in power for 28 years and vowed to stay in the office until he is 90.

In the last election in 2008, the CPP won 90 seats out of the 123 parliamentary seats, while the Sam Rainsy Party won 26 seats, the Human Rights Party three seats, the Funcinpec Party two seats and the Norodom Ranariddh Party two seats.

Self-exiled Sam Rainsy is currently the leader of the CNRP, which was a merger between the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party.

Sam Rainsy, 63, fled the country in late 2009 before a Cambodian court sentenced him to 11 years in jail in absentia for two charges — removing border poles and publishing a false map of the border with Vietnam and accusing deputy prime minister and foreign minister Hor Namhong of being a member of the Democratic Kampuchea, or known as Khmer Rouge.

In November, the National Election Committee removed his name from the voter list for the July’s election on the grounds that he is a convicted criminal, meaning that he will be unable to participate in the upcoming election.

 

Written by Kham

19/04/2013 at 5:31 pm

Cambodia’s bourse sees slow progress in 1st year of operations

PHNOM PENH, April 18 (Xinhua) — The Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) has seen slow progress in its first year of operations because there has been only one listed firm and public knowledge about the stock market remains low, officials said Thursday.

The CSX was officially launched trading on April 18 last year with only one listed enterprise, the state-owned Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA).

“Because there is only one product in the stock market now, so the trading action is limited,” Ming Bankosal, Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia, which is the CSX’s regulator, told Xinhua over telephone. “I believe that the situation will be improving from this year as three or four enterprises are planned to list on the CSX this year.”

He said at the launching of the CSX, there were only 3,600 investors, but it was now up to 5,000 investors.

Ming Bankosal was optimistic about the market’s future, saying that for a long-term strategy, the stock market will hugely contribute to developing Cambodian economy.

“In my vision, the future of CSX will be bright as Cambodia holds the free market policy and foreign investors such as China, the United States, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom are confident in Cambodia’s political stability and economy, so more investors will come to Cambodia,” he said. “More investors will need more capitals, so the stock market will be one of their choices to mobilize capitals.”

Nguon Meng Tech, Director General of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said that “public confidence” remains a major obstacle in developing the country’s stock market.

“In my point of view, the idea of the stock exchange is still new here, and it needs at least another three years to promote public awareness about the market,” he told Xinhua. “People are reluctant to invest their money in something that they have no knowledge about.”

Svay Hay, chairman of the broker Acleda Securities Plc, said the CSX is currently well-equipped with high technologies, laws and regulations, and market intermediaries.

“I think that the market has everything in place, but the challenges are no listing companies and poor knowledge among the public,” he told Xinhua. “The market sees slow progress in its first year of operations because there is only one issuer — the PPWSA — so the trading action is limited as investors have no option.”

The PPWSA sold 13 million shares in its first IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) in last April with a share going for 6,300 riel (1.57 U.S. dollars).

In May, the highest-priced stock was about 2.55 U.S. dollars a share, and then, it had gradually lowered to 1.55 U.S. dollars.

On Thursday, the PPWSA’s share price dropped by 4.91 percent to 6,200 riel (1.55 U.S. dollars) per share from 6,520 riel (1.63 U.S. dollars) in previous day. Thursday’s trading volume was only 100 shares worth 620,000 riel (155 U.S. dollars), according to data of the CSX.

Last week, the PPWSA allocated its first dividend to shareholders. According to the firm’s announcement, the dividend payout ratio was seven percent, with a total dividend of 2.4 billion riel (600,000 U.S. dollars), and the dividend per share is 27.7 riel (0.69 cent of U.S. dollar).

Low dividend allocation has discouraged some investors from the market.

Ming Bankosal agreed that the first dividend was very low, but defended that the firm has to keep some portions of the profit for business expansion.

“Normally, shareholders want to get much profit, but the company cannot allocate all the profit to the shareholders, it needs to keep some for business expansion, or it has no capital to expand the company’s business,” he said.

The CSX was initiated by the Korean Exchange in 2007. It is a joint venture between the government of Cambodia holding 55 percent of the stakes and the Korean Exchange owning the remaining 45 percent.

 

Cambodia’s 10 cities, provinces to get new governors: PM

PHNOM PENH, April 18 (Xinhua) — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Thursday that 10 cities and provinces out of the kingdom’ s 24 cities and provinces will get new governors as current governors get retired, sick and assigned to new work.

Speaking during the inauguration of a new administration building of Kampot province, the premier said eight governors got retired. They are the governors of the provinces of Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Stung Treng, Kandal, Kampong Speu, Mondolkiri, and Phnom Penh Municipality.

The two other outgoing governors are the ill-governor of Oddar Meanchy province and the governor of Banteay Meanchey province, who will run as a lawmaker-candidate in the general election in July.

Hun Sen said he had requested to King Norodom Sihamoni for the replacement and the king had already approved the appointments of new governors.

He said the governor’s term is four years and the retired age is 60.

 

Siam netizen acclaim delegation at ICJ over border dispute with Cambodia

BANGKOK, April 18 (Xinhua) — As Thai delegation were presented oral arguments to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the disputed border area between Thailand and Cambodia at the Hague, the Netherlands, words of admiration by Thai netizen of the Thai team’s performance at the court were widely spread on social networking sites.

“Let’s give moral support to Virachai Plasai, head of legal team in the case,” read a message widely shared on Facebook by Thais.

Virachai, also Thailand’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, told the ICJ on Wednesday that Thailand spotted irregularities of map presented by Cambodia during its presentation of its statement on the case earlier on Monday. The map was different to the one attached in its petition to the court.

“There exists different versions of this map, the lines on which cannot be transposed to the actual topography without causing further problems. Cambodia even altered the map Thailand presented in the original Case and submitted as its own evidence in the present case,” according to Thai Foreign Ministry’s press release clarifying the point presented in the court.

The argument about the irregularity of the map presented by Virachai had impressed many Thais as they see it a very strong argument against Cambodia. “You are the best, Virachai. You’ve done your best to protect our homeland,” a comment on Facebook read.

On Wednesday, Thai delegation was at the presentation of oral arguments to the International Court of Justice in the public hearings in the Case Concerning the Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 15 June 1962 in the Case Concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand).

Apart from Virachai, the delegation of Thailand includes Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Phongtep Thepkanjana, and Minister of Defence Sukumpol Suwanatat.

The ICJ had accepted Cambodia’s request to reinterpret its 1962 ruling, which awarded ownership of the ancient hindu Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia but did not mention the disputed area immediately surrounding it.

The hearings on the border dispute are scheduled to be held from April 15 to 19 with both sides preparing to present their arguments. The ruling will not be delivered until October or November this year.

Also Cambodia on Monday said the right way to determine the temple’s “vicinity” is to follow the lines on a map of 1:200,000 scale called “Annex I map” which includes the disputed 4.6 square kilometers area. Thailand, however, argued that Cambodia saw nothing wrong with Thailand’s actions regarding the border line until 2007, when Phnom Penh wanted additional areas adjacent to the temple to be included in the inscription of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage site.

“The disputed 4.6 square kilometres area was not at the core of the conflict in the previous case, and is larger than the area that Cambodia claimed in the original case, which was only 0.35 square kilometres,” stated the press release.

The historic temple was declared as a World Heritage site in 2008 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The enlisting in 2008 as the World Heritage site heated the border, resulted in several rounds of skirmish at the border.

Also on Wednesday, anti-Cambodia activists tried to raise the Thai flag in a disputed border area but were turned away by Thai authorities.

Leaders of the group, Preecha Iamsuphan and Veeraphan Malaiphan, believed to be affiliated with the nationalist People’s Alliance for Democracy, said the protesters wanted to fly the flag in the border area as a symbolic gesture to show the area belongs to Thailand.

The protesters later dispersed without any violence.

The general climate along the border near the temple has been normal so far.

 

Locals worry about clashes over ICJ’s Preah Vihear ruling

The Nation
Si Sa Ket April 13, 2013 1:00 am

Villagers ready to evacuate as Thai, Cambodian troops take position

People living in this border province are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the Preah Vihear Temple and its surrounding area will not trigger a war or bloody clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops.

“We are worried about the possibility of a battle,” Prayote Meemui, 50, said yesterday. Prayote lives in the border village of Phoomsaron in Khantaralak district.

“We have been hearing the exchange of gunfire from time to time recently,” he said.

In response to Cambodia’s request, the ICJ is scheduled to hear statements from both countries between April 15 and April 19 before it forms an opinion on its 1962 judgement in relation to the ownership of the Preah Vihear Temple.

At the centre of the dispute is not just the ancient Hindu temple, which is now inscribed as a World Heritage site on Cambodian soil, but also its surrounding 4.6 square kilometres.

“My neighbours and I will watch the live broadcast of the ICJ hearings. We have to be alert at all times,” Prayote said, adding that he believed Cambodia would become dissatisfied if the ICJ ruled in Thailand’s favour or vice versa.

Locals say they have noticed that both Thailand and Cambodia have been moving more troops and weapons to the border zone since mid-March. While both sides claim to be doing military exercises, the locals believe that they need to be prepared for possible evacuation.

“I keep my car’s tank full at all times,” Niran Lumthaisong, 50, said, adding that he had packed up all their important documents and belongings to ensure that he and his family can leave the area immediately in case of emergency.

He said seven border villages in Si Sa Ket’s Tambon Sao Thong Chai have already set up protection teams, which will guard villages should a border clash erupt and most residents need to evacuate.

“We need security teams because evacuees cannot remove all their belongings immediately,” Niran explained.

Thailand and Cambodia have locked horns over the Preah Vihear Temple issue several times before, especially after Cambodia registered the Hindu temple as a World Heritage site.

Prayote said he hoped the ICJ would deliver a neutral verdict and support joint management of the area surrounding the temple.

Thai officials have closed down the Mor E Dang cliff, a popular tourist attraction, since the beginning of this month. The cliff is close to Preah Vihear and Thai authorities are concerned that some groups might go there to stage a protest, which might encourage the use of violence.

Soldiers have now been posted to guard the entrance to the Mor E Dang cliff.

ICJ ordered clear armed men from the map shown

ICJ ordered clear armed men from the map shown

Written by Kham

13/04/2013 at 4:38 pm