( February, 2002 Volume 2 No.2 )

Tele 2 has an earth station at Prek Ho in Kandal province and utilizes two satellite dishes and submarine fiber optic cables to reach a staggering 220 countries around the world. The Intercontinental celebrations were organized by Red Dot Cambodia and included a full range production program creative concept, stage design and choreography for the large dance program, an art performance and a multimedia presentation.

Advertising at Pochentong

Pochentong Airport became even more of a modern world airport last month with the signing of an agreement between French Societe Concessionnaire de l'Aeroport and Red Dot Cambodia Company Ltd. The agreement includes an agreement with Samsung to provide television sets inside Pochentong for airing advertising, infomercials and entertainment programs. Under a concession agreement dated July 6, 1995 an agreement was signed on January 14 this year, the Royal Government of Cambodia has appointed the Societe to carry out the design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of Pochentong International Airport and retained the services of Cambodia Airport Management Services. Red Dot is to develop video programs for airing on the International terminal's TV sets as well as advertising for sites within the International terminal.

First Trademark Law Passed

The Cambodian National Assembly passed the first law on intellectual property governing the registration and protection of trademarks recently. The law is intended to help to increase investor confidence and show member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that the Cambodian government is serious about meeting legislative requirements to join the WTO, according to government officials. The draft law on trademarks was approved along with a draft on patents by the Council of Ministers in November last year. Since 1990s the Ministry of Commerce estimates that more than 15,000 trademarks have been registered with them for use in Cambodia. The country's continued political stability and continued government efforts to further strengthen the economy are cited as major reasons for the increased investor confidence heralded by the flood of trademark registrations.

New Khmer Braille Program

Once upon a time it took weeks of painstaking work to translate Khmer into Braille, the written language of the blind. Now, thanks to a new computer program developed by a blind researcher in Thailand and adapted with the help of Overbrook School for the Blind and non-government organization (NGO) Krousar Thmey, it takes a fraction of the time, allowing educational resources to be quickly and easily translated and opening up whole new opportunities for blind students in Cambodia. The program, called Khmer/Braille 1.1, came into being after Wiraman Niyomphol of Thailand's Mahidol University created a similar program to translate Thai text. The research needed to adapt the program for Khmer script was funded by the Overbrook Nippon Network on Educational Technology. It means that Khmer text can be typed into a computer or entered on disk and the program will automatically translate it into the raised dots on a page that is the Braille system. Blind and visually impaired people can then read by touch. Krousar Thmey operates schools for the blind in Battambang, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Previously, to translate each letter of each page of any literature into Braille, a typist had to use a grid of six dots and enter each letter manually as a separate symbol. "Now we can translate resources very quickly with a 95 per cent accuracy rate, and this rate will almost certainly improve with later versions of the program," Krousar Thmey's Florent Combeaux said. "That means resources for blind Khmer students will be much faster to prepare." Krousar Thmey's ultimate aim is to integrate blind students into school classes with non-handicapped students so they have access to the same education and learn from the same resources. Krousar Thmey is a non-political, non-religious, non-profit organization dedicated to helping Cambodian children in the three key areas of child welfare, educational and schooling support and cultural and artistic development.

Artists Doing It For Themselves

Java Cafe on Sihanouk Boulevard will stage an exhibition that showcases of the products of a two-week workshop undertaken by 35 Level I, II and III students at the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA). The workshop was conducted by British artist Sasha Constable, who recently exhibited her own works at the FCCC. All proceeds from work sold during the February 6 to March 3 showing, entitled “Open Window” will be split evenly between the artist and RUFA to go towards art supplies. Meanwhile, the Association of Cambodian Artist Friends opened its own gallery on December 28 last year, ensuring that the 100 or so members of the association now have a permanent place to sell and showcase their work. The gallery is located opposite the clock at Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh. Association members include artists and teachers and older members of the group conduct teaching courses for younger members. It is divided into four committees traditional drawing, art and sculpture; modern drawing and fine art; weaving, sewing and related areas, and design. The new gallery will open from 7am to 7.30pm daily. Art on offer ranges from about five dollars in price up to $500 for larger pieces. Entry is free. Association President Uth Roeun said the center aimed to collect Khmer artists together, to train a younger generation of Khmers in traditional techniques and to centralize information.

Lobster Price Hits Rock Bottom

Cambodia is famous throughout the region for its freshwater lobsters, and now fans of the delicacy are enjoying a rare treat the price per kilo has almost halved from last year's. During the last waning moon, one kilogram of river lobster brought between 30,000 riel to 35,000(seven to eight dollars) against some 45,000 riel (nearly $11) in 2000. The dark of the waning moon is the period when the crustaceans feed and are therefore most easily caught. Farmed lobsters are a little more expensive, with prices up to about $12 per kilo, according to lobster vendors at Psar Thmei like Miss Sok Srah. "I expect this trend to continue for the rest of the season," Miss Srah. "It is very good for me because more people can afford lobsters so I actually sell more." Customer Miss Pov Vannara agreed. "Because I can buy more, I tend to buy lobsters more frequently"' she said. The season began in November and is expected to continue into March. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries spokespeople said the glut of lobsters has been caused by several factors the government's on-going crackdown on illegal fishing, a recent directive to open formerly privately owned fishing lots in Takeo and Prey Veng to public fishing and last year's floods, which opened up new breeding areas to the lobsters.

Journalism School Opens

The new Department of Media and Communications at the Royal University of Phnom Penh was officially opened on January 14 by Prime Minister Hun Sen. The class actually started in October last year, with 28 students who were selected from a total of 1744 applicants. Classes are in English, and the faculty employs seven Khmer lecturers and one foreign lecturer. The new faculty is supported by several organizations-the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation of Germany, German Academic Exchange Services, the German Embassy and a joint cooperative effort by the University Ateneo de Manila of the Philippines and Wittweida University, Germany.