Cambodia's foreign aid donors lashed the government yesterday for failing to curb corruption, saying the problem was ruining the nation and suggesting they might have to reconsider future funding plans. \nCambodia loses an estimated US$300 to US$500 million annually to corruption, according to a study prepared for the US Agency for International Development (USAID). \n"It is no exaggeration to view corruption as a cancer that threatens this country's economic, political and social development," said US Ambassador Charles Ray, speaking at the opening of a two-day conference at which the donors -- known collectively as the Consultative Group -- will determine what aid to give Cambodia next year. \nCambodia is asking donors -- who have been holding such meetings for about a decade -- for US$1.8 billion in development aid for next year to 2007, Cambodia's Finance Minister Keat Chhon has said. \nThe assistance from Western countries, Japan and international institutions such as the World Bank provides about half the government's budget. \nThe squandered funds include foreign aid, and "Without doubt the misuse of donor resources undermines the effectiveness of assistance and puts the prospects for future contributions in jeopardy," Ray said. \n"Donors want to see accountability, especially when resources they have provided appear to be diverted for personal gain. There is widespread consensus that defeating corruption is the key challenge facing Cambodia."
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
CHANGING PERCEPTIONS: In its tender, the Hong Kong administration said that it had failed to ‘mobilise the community to support law enforcement actions’ The Hong Kong government has agreed to pay millions of pounds to a discreet London-based PR firm to counter coverage of the territory in the international media. Consulum, which has also represented Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was on Monday awarded the ￡5 million (US$6.2 million) one-year contract to improve Hong Kong’s reputation — the same day that China passed national security legislation targeting the territory. The Mayfair-based PR business was founded by Tim Ryan and Matthew Gunther Bushell, two former employees of Bell Pottinger, an agency that has been criticized for representing some governments and leaders that other businesses