Saturday, 12 July 2008

Sangkum Yutecthor Party Barn-Sophal (Election-2008)

Kh-Democratic Ouk-Poury (Election-2008).

FUNCINPEC Party (Election-2008).

Sam Rainsy Party (Election-2008).

Human-Rights Party, Setmornous (Election-2008).

Norodom-Ranarith Party (Election-2008).

Preah Vihea Celebration 08-07-08

UN Lists World Heritage Temple

World Heritage (July 8, 2008)



World Khmer News on Cambodia World Heritage Celebrations

Khmers around the world celebrate entry into the World Heritage in Cambodia. Visit for more news, entertainment, updates and more.

To Stop the killing of Journalists, Corruption, Land Evictions and Grabbing, Vote for Number 9

Sam Rainsy, leader of Cambodia's opposition Sam Rainsy Party, speaks during a rally in Kandal province, 50 km (31 miles) west of Phnom Penh July 11, 2008. Cambodia is due to hold a general election on July 27.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Sam Rainsy, leader of Cambodia's opposition Sam Rainsy Party, greets supporters during a rally in Kandal province, 50 km (31 miles) west of Phnom Penh July 11, 2008. Cambodia is due to hold a general election on July 27.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Sam Rainsy, leader of Cambodia's opposition Sam Rainsy Party, speaks during a campaign rally in Kandal province, 50 km (31 miles) west of Phnom Penh July 11, 2008. Cambodia is due to hold a general election on July 27.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Supporters of Cambodia's opposition Sam Rainsy Party attend a rally in Kandal province, 50 km (31 miles) west of Phnom Penh July 11, 2008. Cambodia is due to hold a general election on July 27.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

A food seller looks at supporters of Cambodia's opposition Sam Rainsy Party during a campaign rally in Kandal province, 50 km (31 miles) west of Phnom Penh July 11, 2008. Cambodia is due to hold a general election on July 27.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Sacravatoons :" Khim Sambo ,a Khmer Journalist "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Sacravatoons :" Number 4 Party "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Thais to erect Thai tradition house close to disputed land near Pra Vihear

Si Sa Ket - Some 100 protesting Thais will erect a Thai pavilion close to the borderline near the disputed overlapping land next to Preah Vihear.

Ronachit Thummong, chairman of the Assembly of Isaan Small-Time Farmers, said his group of some 100 protesters would relocate a knockdown Thai pavilion to be erected closed to Thai border at the dispute area to prevent Cambodia from laying claim to Thai soils.

The Thai protesters were rally at the Mor Edaeng Cliff on the Thai soil to protest against the occupation of the overlapping land near Preah Vihear by Cambodian vendors.

The Nation

Slain Cambodian journalist's son dies in hospital

The Earth Times
Sat, 12 Jul 2008
Author : DPA

Phnom Penh - The teenage son of a slain Cambodian opposition party journalist has died in hospital from gunshot wounds, police said Saturday, after he and his father were attacked in an apparent assassination attempt just weeks before national elections. Khim Sambo, 47, a senior scribe for the Khmer-language Moneakseka Khmer daily, was pronounced dead at the scene and his son, Sarin Thida, 19, died later in hospital after Friday evening's attack.

Police said the pair was returning from exercising at the capital's busy Olympic Stadium when two men on a motorbike approached and fired five rounds from a K-59 pistol at close range.

Khim Sambo, initially named by police at the scene as Khim Sam Ol, worked for the pro-Sam Rainsy paper for 11 years but his beat remained unclear as Cambodian journalists habitually use pseudonyms.

A board member for the powerful Club of Cambodian Journalists, which has condemned the killings, said Sambo was previously an associate of slain journalists Thun Bun Ly and Nuon Chan.

Both of those men were also working for pro-Sam Rainsy publications when they were shot dead in 1996 and 1994 respectively.

However, despite recent controversy surrounding Sambo's paper, whose editor Dam Sith was last month charged with defamation against a senior government minister and jailed for a week, police urged caution in attributing political blame for the murders.

Cambodia is scheduled to hold national elections on July 27 and the pre-election period has historically been fraught with violence, but police said it was also a popular time to act on personal disputes in the hope politics would be blamed.

Information Minister and former journalist Khieu Kanharith attended a service for Sambo and his son Saturday morning.

Govt must take responsibility

Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama greeting journalists at Suvarnabhumi airport before announcing his resignation at the airport on Thursday.

Saturday July 12, 2008
The Bangkok Post

A THAI RATH writer said that what Thai society would like to see now is the government showing the proper spirit and admitting its grave mistakes


Late on Monday, Unesco's World Heritage Committee (WHC) decided at its Quebec meeting to register Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site stemming from the unitary submission by Cambodia government. It was a total defeat of the Thai Foreign Ministry under the supervision of Noppadon Pattama, noted a Thai Rath writer.

The writer remarked that an official from the Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had sent him a note stating that some previous criticisms put forward by the writer were based on erroneous information concerning the Preah Vihear issue.

On Tuesday the Constitution Court ruled that the joint communique signed by Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, in which Thailand basically acceded to Cambodia's wish for the unitary listing, should have received Parliament's approval, under Article 190 of the 2007 Constitution. The writer wondered whether any officials of the Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs would dare to voice an opinion against him now.

What is certain is that the Preah Vihear temple is now under the sole protection of Cambodia, with Thailand having no say in the matter. What's more, at present some Cambodian vendors have encroached on the disputed territory and set up shop, while the Thai army and security personnel have not taken any action to protect Thailand's territory.

Everything seems to fall favourably to the Cambodian side, with tacit support from the Thai government, as Thai officials seemed to be reluctant to lobby the WHC to reject Cambodia's listing, observed the Thai Rath writer. He added that the Thai people must keep a guarded eye on a rumoured casino complex to be built adjacent to Preah Vihear on the Cambodia side.

Suspicions against the government concerning the Preah Vihear issue would never have arisen if not for word that former PM Thaksin Shinawatra was investing big in Cambodia, as the belief is widespread that Mr Thaksin is pulling the strings of the government of Samak Sundaravej. It was inevitable that some people in Thailand are now alleging the Samak administration's whole-hearted support for Cambodia's unitary submission was in return for favourable investment treatment.

Now that the Constitution Court ruled that the joint communique should have been approved by parliament before it was signed, it is pretty clear that the government is 100% wrong on the Preah Vihear issue, unintentionally or not. What Thai society would like to see is the government showing the proper spirit and admitting its grave mistakes, especially Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama (note - Minister Noppadon resigned on Thursday).

Probably no one will ever know if there was a hidden agenda in endorsing Cambodia's unitary listing of Preah Vihear, remarked the editorialist, but both Mr Samak and Mr Noppadon bull-headedly pushed for cabinet approval of the communique even though they were warned by several legal experts and academics against doing so.

Now they have been ruled as being in the wrong by the Constitution Court, they should show responsibility, concluded Thai Rath.

House dissolution?

On the same day that the Constitution Court ruled that the joint communique between Thailand and Cambodia fell under Article 190 of the present constitution, the Supreme Court's Political Division also affirmed the red card issued by the Election Commission against Yongyuth Tiyapairat, deputy leader of People Power Party, noted another Thai Rath writer. The Supreme Court's ruling means that Mr Yongyuth would no longer be the PPP's list MP and will be barred from politics for five years.

What made the ruling significant is that Mr Yongyuth was the first deputy leader of the PPP and would have assumed the leadership had anything happened to PM Samak Sundaravej. Mr Yongyuth was at the core of the party. Therefore, the PPP is afraid that his guilty verdict will lead directly to the party's dissolution.

Chart Thai and Machima (government coalition partners) party executives were red-carded, and the EC is in the process of filing a case to dissolve the two parties for involvement in vote-buying, a grave offence.

Mr Yongyuth's case is very significant as he is the party's key man and very close to the party's "real boss", said Thai Rath.

The two court rulings should speed up political developments, leading at the least to a major cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Samak is facing a hard choice, said the writer. To continue governing is not easy as the party is under a cloud of suspicion and the government lacks credibility, while dissolving the House of Representatives and holding a general election under a new party banner might not return Mr Samak as prime minister, noted Thai Rath.

Rules must be respected

According to Pongpol Adireksarn, head of Thailand's World Heritage Committee, who participated in the WHC meeting in Quebec, Canada, there are six criteria for listing a World Heritage site. For its application on the Preah Vihear temple site, Cambodia cited criterion one concerning human ingenuity, criterion three concerning ancient civilisations and criterion four concerning historic buildings, noted a Matichon editorial.

The international WHC deemed that even if the temple met only one criteria it was eligible to be listed as a World Heritage site.

Matichon said the Thai people must accept that Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia because of a 1962 ruling by the World Court at the Hague. The WHC listing followed established rules which should be respected, even though a certain section of Thai people may not feel good about the world body's decision.

The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) may air their suspicions about the joint communique between Thailand and Cambodia on this issue in accordance with their democratic rights, said the writer. It was also within the rule of democracy when the opposition filed a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama over the Preah Vihear issue, and the same can be said of the petition to the Administrative Court against the government's acceptance of the joint communique.

When senators petitioned the Constitution Court to rule on whether the government violated the constitution in not submitting the joint communique for parliamentary approval it was also playing by the rules.

Even the latest attempt by the Democrat party to file a criminal suit against Mr Noppadon on the Preah Vihear issue is within the rules of democracy.

What is not within the rules is the PAD's attempt to rouse the Thai people to feel ill will towards Cambodia and to push Thailand to reject acceptance of the WHC's ruling by forcefully seizing Preah Vihear temple. By trying to incite bad feelings, destruction and the occupation of other people's property, the PAD is operating outside the legal system. Their wishes must not be carried out by the Thai people.

The Matichon editorial urged the Thai people to turn to the positives instead of resorting to violence and destruction. The Thai government should apply to list areas surrounding Preah Vihear temple on the Thai side, including the Phanom Dongrak mountain range and Preah Vihear national park as a World Heritage site as well. Meanwhile, the area must be developed to make it easy for tourists to visit the temple and the surrounding areas, and to appreciate Thailand's Isan culture. This path will avoid disastrous confrontation and foster peaceful coexistence and prosperity, concluded Matichon.


The 2007 constitution is a key factor in explaining the government's present political problems, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said on Wednesday.

Mr Samak particularly mentioned articles 190 and 237, saying that without these two provisions political strife could have been avoided.

Article 237 deals with the dissolution of political parties, while Article 190 covers parliament scrutiny of agreements deemed by the cabinet to have a wide-ranging impact on the country.
His comments came after the Constitution Court ruled against the government on the Preah Vihear communique and the Supreme Court's Political Division affirmed the EC's red card of Yongyuth Tiyapairat, both on Tuesday.

Fuel, cigarette smuggling rife in southern provinces

Smugglers use rivers and roads to traffic petrol from the southern province of An Giang to Cambodia.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Several routes in the southern border provinces have become major supply lines for petrol and cigarette smuggling between Vietnam and Cambodia.

Price differences in the two commodities between the neighboring countries have increased demand and made the illegal trade more lucrative.

During June, gasoline prices in Cambodia grew 70 percent higher than in Vietnam, said Ngo Xuan Truong, director of Vietnamese Germadept Cambodia Transportation Company.

The price of 10 pack cartons of some cigarettes in Vietnam were around VND10,000 (US$0.60) higher than in the neighboring country.

Cambodian cigarettes

Cigarettes are being smuggled along the roads and rivers connecting the provinces of Tay Ninh and Long An, including road No. 825, road No. 823, National Highway No. 22 and Thay Cai Canal.

They then pass through the bordering areas to Go Dau District in Tay Ninh and Duc Hue and Moc Hoa Districts in Long An Province.

Smugglers use motorcycles to transfer the cigarettes to a transit point at My Hanh Bac Commune in Long An’s Duc Hoa District, and take them to HCMC’s cigarette markets on the streets of Truong Chinh, Hoc Lac and Tran Quoc Toan.

Vietnamese petrol

Petrol smugglers are bamboozling authorities with a wide variety of tricks to get the fuel over the border.

Most petrol smugglers come from local provinces.

Farmers, for instance, are lured by the easy money after harvest.

“A man can get VND50,000 ($3) for carrying a can 500 meters through the border,” a smuggler spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Meanwhile, pay for a day’s labor is some VND35,000 ($2.10).”

“The smugglers are becoming more numerous and inventive,” saidan official at Tay Ninh’s Chang Riec border post.

“They have even sent someone to follow us and inform them about our raids.”

In a recent bust on petrol smugglers, the border inspectors were divided into groups for secret raids.

One group stopped one smuggler but he dumped the petrol cans and managed to escape with his motorbike.

Another group caught Khum Vuot from Cambodia’s Kampong Cham Province, trying to smuggle 300 liters of petrol in 10 cans.

In the provinces of Long An and Dong Thap, smugglers often use motor boats to carry petrol through the web of rivers and canals in the area.

They use canals T7 and T9 and Cai Co and Bien Gioi rivers, said an official from Long An’s Ben Pho Border Post.

If chased, they are always ready to throw cans of petrol into the river to block the waterway, he said.

Big operation

Local authorities in Tay Ninh, Long An and Dong Thap provinces have enforced temporary measures to fight petrol smuggling including putting a limit on the amount of petrol stations can buy from petrol companies.

They also banned stations from selling petrol directly into plastic containers.

It helped decrease the cross border trade for a short time until the smugglers found new ways – buying petrol from stations further from the border.

Some stations near the border, however, were ready to put petrol into cans – with a higher price than listed – any time the inspectors weren’t around.

“The smugglers even designed modified petrol tank for tractors, which could contain up to 300 liters, to buy petrol from the stations,” said Le Van Tho, a resident living near Tay Ninh’s Xa Mat Border Gate.

“They transfer the petrol into 30-liter plastic cans to carry across the border. Each motorcycle can carry over five cans of petrol.”

“They often go in groups and spread out on tracks through the cashew forests if they get chased by authorities,” he said.

The border guards of Tay Ninh Province, in cooperation with the provincial police, have seized nearly 10,000 liters of smuggled petrol during the first six months of this year.

They also recently stopped a truck carrying 2,000 liters of petrol at Chang Riec Border Gate in Tan Bien District.

The authorities responsible for smuggling control are the market watchdog, economic police, border customs and border guards.

There is little cooperation between the different agencies, however, and the border guards play the main role.

The border customs are busy at the border gates while economic police only make occasional busts on major smuggling rings.

The market watchdog works mostly in administration and blames a lack of personnel for their ineffectiveness on the ground.

“Long An has over 130 kilometers of borderline with Cambodia,” said Nguyen Van Minh, head of the Long An market watchdog.

“The provincial market watchdog has only eight officials. It’s hard to control the smuggling.”
Minh also said the border guards in the province seized over 7,000 liters of petrol in June, but the market watchdog hadn’t seized any.

“We have a list of suspected petrol stations in the border area,” he said.

“But we haven’t revoked any licenses. We didn’t catch them red-handed.”

Minh also refused to comment on a rumor about illegal deals between the petrol stations and some local officials.

Temple tree

The Indian Express
Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rajeev Khanna

Dehradun, July 11: The 800-year-old Ta Prohm shrine in Cambodia — better known as temple of trees — will soon be restored and conserved with the help of Dehradun-based Forest Research Institute (FRI). A team, led by FRI director Dr S S Negi and senior scientist Dr Sas Biswas, will supervise the entire process of conserving and restoring the temple. Besides being as old as the world famous Angkor Wat temple, Ta Prohm is unique with massive trees winding around the structure.

Almost like a giant octopus taking the temple in its tight grip, the tree trunks and roots wind through the crevices of the structure. The unique appearance of the temple draws thousands of tourists every year.

The Cambodian authorities had approached the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to restore the temple. Years ago, the Angkor Wat temple was successfully restored by the Archeological Survey of India. Though there was no doubt that the ASI was well-equipped to restore this temple too, the question was whether it would be able to do so without touching the trees that were more than a century old. It was at this point that the FRI was approached and a team of scientists made a reconnaissance of the site in February 2007. Subsequently, they started working on a project proposal to restore the temple, without causing any damage to the trees.

“It was of prime importance that the trees do not get disturbed in any way. We studied all aspects of the area — physiological, pathological and aesthetic. We studied the area surrounding the temple in terms of its meteorology, geomorphology and bio-diversity,” said Biswas.

The FRI recorded 131 trees in its study. These trees belong to 25 species with Tetrameles, better known as Speung, being the most prominent.

The project report prepared by the FRI was approved recently at a seminar of International Co-coordinating Committee for Restoration and Conservation of Monumental Heritage Sites of the World held at Siem Reap in Cambodia.

Dr Biswas said, “We have studied the region in both micro and macro terms and on the basis of our observations we have suggested the measures for conservation. For example, the trees around the temple get waterlogged during the rains and as a result, their roots get exposed. The visitors trample upon the exposed roots. We have suggested installation of small wooden planks over such roots. Similarly, visitors climb up and sit on the tree branches. We have suggested the installation of wooden culverts. We have identified the causes of disease and decay and have also come up with solutions.”

The FRI proposes to cover the exposed roots of the trees with sterilised local soil. It plans to install aesthetically suitable wooden and iron props to provide support to the leaning trees. In addition to this, there is a proposal to regulate the movement of tourists near the trees. Besides supervising and supplementing the conservation of the temple and the trees, the FRI will also develop local capacities so that Cambodian experts can undertake similar projects on their own in the future.

Cambodian journalist gunned down

Posted on Sat, Jul. 12, 2008
The Associated Press --

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia --A journalist working for a pro-opposition Cambodian newspaper was killed along with his son in a drive-by shooting in the capital, police said Saturday.

Khem Sambo, 47, reported on corruption and other social ills under the rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen for the opposition newspaper Moneaseka Khmer.

He was riding a motorcycle with his 21-year-old son on Friday when they were each shot twice by a man who was also riding a motorcycle, Phnom Penh police Chief Yim Simony said. They died later in a hospital.

"At this stage we do not have any leads yet about the motive. We are collecting evidence and witnesses who could help us in searching for the attackers," Yim Simony said.

Moneaseka Khmer editor Dam Sith called the attack "the gravest threat" to his newspaper, which is affiliated with Cambodia's main opposition Sam Rainsy Party.

Oum Sarin, president of the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists, said the killing is "creating a climate of fear" among journalists.

The case is the first killing of a Cambodian journalist in five years, according to Pen Samithy, president of Club of Cambodian Journalists.

The killing threatens the climate for campaigning ahead of July 27 national elections, the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, a coalition of 21 private groups, said in a statement.

It said it suspected the killings were linked to the many articles Khem Sambo wrote about issues such as illegal logging, illegal fishing deals and land grabbing that involved powerful government officials.

Khieu Kanharith, Cambodia's information minister, said the "culprits cannot be forgiven and must be found."

Davik's Away

Davik Teng walks toward LAX s Tom Bradley International Terminal as her mom, Sin Chhon, wipes away tears late Wednesday. After 9-year-old Davik underwent surgery to repair a heart defect and several months of recovery, the pair are returning to their village in the Battambang Province of Cambodia. (Jeff Gritchen / Staff Photographer)

Davik Teng, 9, solemnly walks through the Tom Bradley Terminal at Los Angeles International (LAX) Airport on her way to her flight home late Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Shrugging into a pink Disney princesses backpack and toting a rolling carry-on bag with a stuffed elephant and a small American flag, Davik Teng said goodbye to a group of about a dozen friends at Los Angeles International Airport and boarded a flight bound for Cambodia. Davik was accompanied by her mother, Sin Chhon, Hearts Without Boundaries president Peter Chhun, and vice president, Lucky Chhuon, and Chantha Bob, who played a pivotal role in locating the 9-year-old Cambodian girl. Davik received a number of gifts and cash and plenty of hugs and tears before departing. She now returns to her tiny home village on the outskirts of Battambang City in Cambodia. The one-room bamboo hut where Davik lives has no electricity, running water or bathrooms. She will return to the embrace of about 20 cousins, aunts, uncles, a grandfather and grandaunt. Davik was brought to the United States for life-altering open-heart surgery, which was performed in March. The Press-Telegram will have a wrap-up story with photos and multimedia which will be in Sunday's newspaper and on-line.

Thai tourists cancel Cambodia trips over security fears

Tourists walk past an Angkor Wat temple, in Siem Reap province of Cambodia
BANGKOK (AFP) — About a thousand Thais have cancelled visits to Cambodia's famous Angkor Wat ruins since an ownership dispute erupted between the two neighbours over another temple, a tourism chief said Saturday.

The mass cancellations began last week at the height of a disagreement over the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, said the president of the Thai Tourism Promotion Association Songsak Sriklueb.

Thai nationalist protests forced the government last week to retract its support for Cambodia's successful application to list the temple as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as its entrance lies within its borders.

No violence against Thais has been reported in Cambodia since the dispute began, though the Preah Vihear temple was temporarily closed two weeks ago after 100 Thai protesters tried to march there.

"Our 12 tour operators told me last week that at least 1,000 people have cancelled their trips. Their main reason was security concerns. Thai tourists are not taking the risk," Songsak said.

"Some wanted to postpone their trips until later this year which has caused problems for the tour operators," he said.

Songsak said the Thai tourism industry had already been hit hard by soaring fuel prices, inflation and domestic political tensions.

Thailand's immigration authorities reported nearly 36,000 Thai tourists visited Cambodia last year. The country receives about two million tourists annually.

The ancient Khmer temple Angkor Wat is the main tourist attraction in Siem Reap, just 120 kilometers from Thailand's eastern border.

In 2003, similar nationalist sentiments inflamed tensions between the Asian neighbours after rumours circulated in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh that a famous Thai actress had claimed Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand.

Thousands of angry Cambodian protesters set fire to the Thai embassy and destroyed Thai businesses while hundreds of Thais were airlifted from the Cambodian capital to escape mob attacks.

Vatana fled to Cambodia, police say

The Bangkok Post

Veteran politician Vatana Asavahame, wanted for jumping bail in a corruption case, was found hiding in his casino in Cambodia's Poi Pet border town, police said yesterday.

Deputy national police chief Jongrak Juthanont quoted a report from Sa Kaeo police chief Pol Col Itthipol Piriyaphinyo as saying that a cousin of Mr Vatana had crossed the border from the province to see him at the Poi Pet Resort hotel, one of the two casinos in which he holds major stakes in Cambodia. The other is the Grand Diamond hotel.

Although the former interior minister's whereabouts are now known, police could not arrest Mr Vatana outside Thai territory, said Pol Gen Jongrak adding the court also has not ruled on the case yet.

The court on Wednesday seized Mr Vatana's 2.2-million-baht bail and issued a warrant for his arrest after he failed to turn up to hear the verdict in the Klong Dan wastewater treatment plant corruption case. The reading of the verdict is re-scheduled for Aug 18.

Pol Gen Jongrak said Mr Vatana could have travelled to Cambodia by car via Sa Kaeo or taken a boat to Cambodia's Koh Kong province from his home province Samut Prakan.

Pol Gen Jongrak also said it was hard for a well-known figure to be hiding in the country, citing the case of former public health minister Rakkiat Sukthana, who eluded police for almost a year after he was given a 15-year jail term in the medicine supply scandal case.

Albany missionary prepares for 4 more years in Cambodia

Friday, July 11, 2008
By Carrie Petersen
Albany Democrat-Herald

Ken Huff is getting ready to return at the end of this month to Cambodia for another four-year stint as a missionary with Assemblies of God.

Huff first went to work in Cambodia in January 1999, leaving behind his job as a youth pastor at First Assembly of God in Albany.

“I wanted to go to where most people hadn’t heard the gospel and where they were very poor,” he said.

Why work with the poor? “Probably because Jesus worked a lot with the poor,” he said.

Huff, a 1980 graduate of West Albany High School who went on to play basketball for Linn-Benton Community College, is now the Assemblies of God country director in Cambodia.

He is a representative to the government, works with the national church, and is involved with other missionary projects.

One of those projects is schools. Assemblies of God sponsors five public schools and operates two Christian schools in Cambodia.

Other projects include an orphanage, community development and medical teams.

First Assembly of God in Albany sends a medical and dental team to Cambodia once a year to set up a clinic in a rural area, “where people are really poor and don’t get any care,” Huff said.

Huff was a sophomore in college when he became a Christian, which “changed the direction of everything,” he said.

He left Albany and went to Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

He returned to Albany, volunteering at First Assembly of God and then joined the staff in 1987.

He was a youth intern for four years before he became the youth pastor.

The youth at First Assembly have continued to support Huff, buying him a Toyota Hilux in 2000 to get him around the roads of Cambodia.

Huff will speak at 6 p.m. July 20 at Albany’s First Assembly of God about Cambodia and his work there. Everyone is welcome.

Cambodian opposition journalist shot dead

July 11th, 2008

by Mohit Joshi

Phnom Penh - A senior Cambodian journalist working for an opposition newspaper was gunned down and killed in a central street in the capital Friday evening, police said.

Khim Sam Ol was a journalist for the pro-Sam Rainsy Party newspaper Moneaksekar Khmer, police and a journalism representative said.

Police said Sam Ol's son, who was not named, was also seriously injured in the attack as the pair walked back from exercising at the capital's Olympic Stadium after work.

Ages of the men were not immediately available.

Cambodia is scheduled to hold national elections on July 27 and although the National Election Committee has reported fewer potentially politically motivated incidents than previously, past pre-election periods have been marked by violence.

The murder is likely to cause a political storm because on June 8, Sam Ol's editor, Dam Sith, was arrested on defamation charges against Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong and spent a week in Prey Sar prison before Prime Minister Hun Sen intervened.

Hor Namhong later dropped the charges after Dam Sith wrote to him saying he had made "a mistake" in publishing the offending comments.

And police Friday urged caution in assigning political blame to Sam Ol's murder, saying investigations were in the early stages and no motive had been established.

"If you don't like someone, hurting them when tensions are high, like before an election, and then hoping politics is blamed is a sensible strategy," one officer said on condition of anonymity.

Personal disputes, most often over money, land or lovers, remain by far the primary motives for murder in Cambodia. (dpa)

Thailand may extradition to arrest ex-deputy interior minister

MCOT English News
11 July 2008

BANGKOK, July 11 (TNA) - Thailand is considering the possibility that a former cabinet minister, avoiding the serving of an arrest warrent, may be hiding out in a Cambodian casino.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) on Friday said that if there is evidence that former deputy interior minister Vatana Asavahame is in Cambodia, the court will seek extradition through the Cambodian government.

OAG Spokesman Tanapitch Moonpreuk said Thailand might extradite Mr. Vatana to face corruption charges in a Thai court.

Earlier the court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Vatana after he failed to appear to hear a ruling on his alleged involvement in a case of corruption. In his absence the court rescheduled the reading of the verdict to August 18.

If the former minister fails to appear at that time the court will impound his Bt2 million bail and read the verdict in his absence.

It is rumoured and there is reason to believe, that Mr. Vatana may have fled across the Thai-Cambodian border in eastern Thailand to seek refuge in a casino in the neighbouring country. (TNA)

Hillsboro native returns from mission abroad

Friday, July 11, 2008
The Hillsboro Argus

Hillsboro resident Anthony Eggleston, a student at Northwest Christian College, was among several students who recently returned from mission trips abroad. Eggleston was one of a group of 10 NCC students who returned June 3 from Cambodia.

The students visited Cambodia and spent time in the capital of Phnom Penh. They then ventured into rural provinces of the country and visited the famed Angkor Wat temple and historic sites of the Khmer Rouge regime, including the "Killing Fields," a genocide museum and a torture prison. They spent 12 days in a remote village, living at an orphanage and organized recreational, educational and worship activities for the youngsters there. They lived like the locals: slept on tile floors and did without running water, air conditioning or other modern conveniences.

To prepare for their trip, the mission team held weekly meetings that served multiple purposes. There was financial counseling, they learned pertinent information about the destination countries, and performed team-building activities.

Responsible for raising funds for their own travel, mission participants began fundraising in October 2007. The Cambodia trip cost $2,600 per person. The travelers sent family and friends letters seeking financial assistance. Other fundraising efforts included a faculty-student silent auction, root beer float sales, a bingo night and Duck game day parking. Eggleston collected close to $100 in the "Cut Anthony's Hair" fundraiser.

Border filling stations asked to check oil smuggling


VietNamNet Bridge – Filling stations in Tay Ninh Province bordering Cambodia have been told to stop selling petrol in bulk to buyers in an effort to prevent oil products from flowing into the neighboring country where petrol is priced higher, a local official said.

Do Thanh Hoa, director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, told the Daily his department had just required all petrol stations in the province not to sell petrol to the buyers who use cans or barrels to contain the fuel.

"The order is already given to all 285 gas stations in the province as more people are increasingly involved in smuggling petrol from the province to Cambodia in recent months," Hoa told the Daily on Tuesday. He explained that at the time being, the petrol price in Cambodia is some US$1.2 per liter while the price in the province is much cheaper, at less than VND15,000, or some 90 US cents.

Many motorbike riders have been stealthily transporting petrol in plastic cans to Cambodia to earn a wide margin, he said.

"Early this year, we limited the volume of petrol sold to all stations in the border zone to some 150,000 liters each per month to check the illicit trade. Since then, many smugglers have gone further inland to buy the gas with large amount in cans and barrels," Hoa said.

To put a choke on the illegal gas transport across the border, gas stations along the border have been asked to sell a maximum 50 liters of petrol for each buyer at one time.

According to Hoa, the department last week closed a gas station in the province for violating the order.

Hoa estimated that oil smuggling has fallen by some 30% compared to the high time in March.
In the first six months of the year, the province's market monitoring agencies confiscated some 75,000 liters of petrol found being illegally trafficked to Cambodia.

The Market Monitoring Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that petrol smuggling in the Mekong Delta tended to increase lately, with some 15,000 liters of petrol smuggled to Cambodia per day.

(Source: SGT)

Leopard Capital Competes to Invest in Cambodia Acleda Bank

July 11th, 2008

Bloomberg - Leopard Capital, which is setting up a $100 million private-equity fund to invest in Cambodia, said it’s competing to buy a stake in Acleda Bank Plc, the largest Cambodian bank.

“It’s the best-run bank, it’s clean and it has very good margins,” Thomas Hugger, executive director at Leopard Capital, said in an interview in Singapore today.

Leopard Capital is vying with other foreign investors that are seeking to invest in Cambodian companies after the economy grew at least 10 percent in the last four years. Acleda Bank, based in Phnom Penh, reported a 46 percent jump in net income to a record $9.7 million in 2007, according to its annual report.

“We have a lot of people sniffing around, ready to buy into us,” John Brinsden, vice chairman of Acleda Bank, said in an interview in Phnom Penh on June 18, declining to give details.

Acleda’s assets more than doubled to $473 million in 2007, from $223 million the previous year, according to its annual report. Loans almost doubled to $311 million, from $157 million over the same period. The bank had 204 offices across Cambodia at the end of last year.

Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Siem Reap, Cambodia

SIEM REAP, Cambodia (Reuters Life!) - Got 48 hours to explore the ruins of the ancient Angkor empire? Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors make the most of the temples and Siem Reap, the tourist town booming in the shadow of Angkor Wat.


6 p.m. - Relax on rattan armchairs in the pleasant garden of the Singing Tree Cafe just down the street from the Siem Reap river. It's a nice place for an evening drink or a healthy meal or for those seeking to unwind completely, there's an evening yoga class in the wooden, traditional Khmer house.

8 p.m. - Every year, more than two million tourists visit Angkor Wat, the 12th century Hindu-Buddhist temple which is synonymous with Cambodia. By day, flag-waving guides herd package tourists through the world heritage site. But if you go to the night viewing, you can gaze at the reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu mythology and the intricately carved apsaras, or celestial nymphs, in solitude and immerse yourself in the grandeur of the ancient architecture while other tourists eat dinner.


7 a.m. - After a quick breakfast, head for the temples. Drive around the Angkor Wat moat to Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer empire.

The Bayon temple, with its 200 enormous faces smiling down on visitors from stone towers is a must-see. The Terrace of the Elephants, where King Jayavarman VII viewed public ceremonies, is well preserved compared to some of the surrounding temples which need a bit of imagination to appreciate.

11 a.m. - Go back to Siem Reap to avoid the midday sun. On the way, take a detour on the airport road to the National Centre for Khmer Ceramics Revival, a workshop which seeks to recreate ancient Khmer pottery using clay from the nearby hills, fired in a giant kiln built based on information found by archaeologists researching similar ancient sites. Watch the potters create giant jars like the ones that are found at archaeological digs or try throwing a pot yourself on the primitive potters' wheel.

12.30 p.m. - Siem Reap's food choices have expanded dramatically in recent years. Go to Amok Restaurant, named after the Khmer curry made by steaming the coconut-based dish in a banana leaf for a typical Cambodian lunch. Besides the fish amok, the banana flower salad and the green papaya salad are nice.

1.30 p.m. - A good time to wander around the airair conditionedconditioned shops. Angkor Candles stocks a selection of handcarved candles in the shape of local motifs. Rajana is a fair trade shop selling handmade silver jewelry, cushion covers and other knick-knacks. For cotton "krama" or gingham check scarves worn by Khmer Rouge fighters, head to the Old Market where they are sold in every color combination imaginable.

3.30 p.m. - For a quick and unusual snack, try the fried crickets and other creepy crawlies sold on the bridge spanning the Siem Reap River. Or, for those less adventurous, you can go to the Blue Pumpkin for a banana ginger tart and iced coffee before journeying back to the temples.
4 p.m. - If the Angkor temples had not been restored, they would all look like Ta Prohm, about one km (mile) from Angkor Thom. Trees with huge roots threaten to swallow the moss-covered walls of this temple and return it to the surrounding jungle. It's a familiar sight for "Tomb Raider" fans. Proceed on to Pre Rup, a 10th century Shiva temple whose sandstone and brick walls glow orange in the late afternoon light. Then, climb up Phnom Bakheng, a temple mountain also dedicated to Shiva, to watch the sun set over what remains of the Angkor empire.

7 p.m. - To catch the latest gossip on archaeological finds, have a drink with the experts. The French team will be at the Laundry Bar in the centre of town. The Japanese, who are the second largest contingent after the French, are usually at Cafe Moi Moi on the road back to town from the temples.

8 p.m. - Keeping with the Angkor theme, dine at Le Malraux, a bistro named after writer and statesman Andre Malraux who embarked on an exploratory mission into the Cambodian jungle in the early 1900s and was arrested by French colonial authorities for trying to steal bas-reliefs from one of the Angkor temples. Confit de canard and other things French will help you enjoy the atmosphere of Indochina of bygone years.

10 p.m. - Night comes early to Siem Reap. But if you follow the neon lights and noise emanating from places like the Sok San Palace and Sokha Entertainment Club, you'll find young Cambodians singing, dancing and trying their luck on the slot machines.


7.30 a.m. - From dawn, the Old Market is a hive of activity as housewives rush to buy fresh vegetables, meat and fish. That is also when the food stalls offer the most choices. Rice porridge, duck noodles and sticky rice steamed in banana leaf packets make an interesting Khmer breakfast.

8 a.m. - Drive out to Kbal Spean or the Valley of the 1,000 Lingas. Wear sturdy shoes as it is a bit of a hike to the myriad stone gods carved into the riverbed and boulders on the banks. The Angkoreans believed the water passing over these symbols of Shiva would fertilize their rice fields and ensure a bumper crop.

1.30 p.m. - Maintain the Hindu theme over lunch at Kama Sutra back in Siem Reap. The Indian restaurant is one of the classier ones in town and serves both north and south Indian favorites. Try their dosas -- very thin and crispy.

2.30 p.m. - Cambodia's weaving masters at the Institute of Khmer Traditional Textiles (IKTT) will be back from siesta now and at their looms creating silk in intricate designs. You can watch them spin, dye and weave at their workshop on the edge of town. If you are a textile fanatic, journey to their farm to see silk worms being raised and dyes of different hues being created from tree bark, leaves and other natural sources.

4 p.m. - Follow the road to the right of IKTT, past the crocodile farm and basket shops, and you will soon be in Roluos, an area that is home to a clutch of 9th century temples. Ancient architecture buffs can study the structural differences between the Bakong and Preah Ko temples and Angkor Wat, which was built centuries later. Ordinary tourists will enjoy the journey which takes you through villages, rice paddies and herds of water buffalo wallowing in the mud.

6 p.m. - Paved roads are increasing in Cambodia, but many are still spine-jarring dirt tracks. Go to Chai Massage near the road to Angkor Wat and let them knead the knots and kinks away.

7 p.m. - Tourism exceeds journalism by far in Siem Reap, but there is still a Foreign Correspondents Club. It's near the river and the garden is the perfect place for a last gin and tonic before the journey home.

(Reporting by Masako Iijima, editing by Miral Fahmy)

Cambodia journalist shot dead - police

PHNOM PENH, July 11 (Reuters) - A Cambodian journalist working for an opposition newspaper was shot dead on Friday by unknown gunmen who fired on the victim and his son, police said.

Khim Sam Bo, 47, was shot twice and his 19-year-old son was seriously wounded in the capital Phnom Penh, as they left a sports stadium, police chief G. Touch Naruth said.

"We do not know the motive for the killing yet. The investigation continues," he told Reuters.

Colleagues said he had written stories criticising senior government officials and corruption in the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is seeking re-election in a July 27 general election.

Khim Sam Bo worked for more than 10 years for the Khmer Conscience newspaper, whose editor Dam Seth was recently accused of defaming Foreign Minister Hor Namhong. The charges were later dropped.

"I am so disappointed. It hurts me to hear that he was killed," Dam Seth told Reuters.

"I call on the authorities to find the killers of Khim Sam Bo and punish them," he said.

(Reporting by Ek Madra; Editing by Darren Schuettler and Bate Felix)

Thai anti-gov't group moves to impeach cabinet over Cambodian temple issue

BANGKOK, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's civil political coalition People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) continued their campaign to bring down the government led by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, moving to impeach the cabinet on Friday over the PreahVihear Temple issue.

PAD leaders Pipop Thongchai, Somsak Kosaisook and Suriyasai Katasila on Friday submitted a petition with Senate Speaker Prasobsuk Boondech to seek impeachment of the Samak-led cabinet, alleging that it has violated the law by allowing the signing of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Communique to support Cambodia's bid to list the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage site, according to Thai News Agency.

Somsak accused the government of having deliberately broken Article 270 of the Constitution, by allowing Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama to sign the communique with Cambodia on June 18 without seeking parliamentary endorsement in advance, an act that the Constitutional Court ruled as in breach of the Constitution on Tuesday.

Nappadon has announced resignation from the cabinet on Thursday to take responsibility for the court ruling. He insisted he and the Foreign Ministry had done nothing wrong in the case, though.

Somsak also alleged that the signing was not handled in a transparent manner and that it has led to Cambodia's success in getting the temple listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site on Tuesday.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which held a meeting in Quebec, Canada, has approved Cambodia's bid despite that Noppadon flied to explain Thailand's withdrawal of support for its neighbor's bid.

The Committee cited that since the International Court of Justice in 1962 has ruled that the temple sits on Cambodian territory, Thailand's concern about the overlapping areas near the temple could not play any role in the decision regarding Cambodia's application.

The Senate Speaker said he would proceed with the impeachment case once the PAD has acquired 20,000 signatures within 180 days as required by law.

Another PAD leader Suriyasai said was confident he would be able to submit the list by July 14.

The PAD, known as a political group against the former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has been holding rallies in central Bangkok since May 25 to call for the step-down of the Samak government, which the PAD seen as a "proxy" of Thaksin after he was ousted in a military coup in September, 2006 and banned by court from running in elections for five years.

Editor: Lin Li

New charges filed against ousted Thai PM

Thailand's former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, right, and his wife, Pojaman, left, pose with their youngest daughter Paethongtarn Shinawatra after her university graduation ceremony, Thursday, July 10, 2008, in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo)

By Sutin Wannabovorn
Associated Press Writer / July 11, 2008

BANGKOK, Thailand—Thai prosecutors filed new corruption charges against ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday for alleged abuse of authority to benefit his family business.

The Attorney General's Office filed the charges in the Supreme Court over changes made in 2003 to a payments system for state-owned enterprises that benefited Thaksin's family-owned mobile phone company, Deputy Attorney General Waiyawut Toetrakun said.

The filing came as a series of legal cases against the former prime minister, toppled in a 2006 military coup, appeared to be gaining momentum, with a ruling on one expected at the end of the month.

The charges Friday said Thaksin ordered a Cabinet resolution in 2003 to change concession fees paid by mobile phone companies to state telecommunications enterprises.

The fees were converted into a simple tax, which was lower.

Advanced Info Service, a subsidiary of Shin Corp., a telecom conglomerate owned by Thaksin's family until early 2006, benefited the most because as the biggest mobile operator it had been paying the largest concession fees.

"The result of the investigation found that the suspect has abused (his) authority" to benefit his family's company, the charges said. The changes caused financial losses to two state-owned telecommunications enterprises, they said.

The case is the eighth against Thaksin and members of his family that has gone to court out of a total of 24. The others are still with police or the attorney general's office.

Among other cases, the Supreme Court began to hear testimonies Tuesday from witnesses in the trial of Thaksin and his wife on charges related to her purchase of Bangkok real estate when he was prime minister. The court is to rule July 31 on separate charges of tax evasion against his wife.

Several high-profile court rulings this week have targeted top officials in the five-month-old government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, which is filled with Thaksin allies.

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama resigned after being accused of jeopardizing the country's claims to land near an ancient Cambodian temple.

The Thai Constitutional Court had ruled Tuesday that Noppadon acted unconstitutionally when he endorsed Cambodia's application to have the Preah Vihear temple registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site without first consulting Parliament on the matter. Critics fear the endorsement undermines Thailand's claim to land near the temple, which is on the Thai-Cambodian border.

On Wednesday, the Constitutional Court disqualified Public Health Minister Chaiya Sasomsup from office for violating asset disclosure rules.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court banned a former parliamentary speaker from politics for five years for electoral fraud. The verdict could lead to the eventual dissolution of Samak's People's Power Party if the Constitutional Court decides that Yongyuth Tiyapairat committed the fraud to benefit his party.

A number of senior Thaksin loyalists serve in Samak's government. Before his appointment as foreign minister, Noppadon was Thaksin's top lawyer and spokesman while the former prime minister was in exile after his ouster.

Civil Society Worries about Freedom of Expression in Cambodia Which Is Becoming More Restricted for Both Journalists and for the People

Posted on 12 July 2008
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 568

“Officials of local human rights organizations said that Khmer people begin to dare to express their opinion regarding problems they deal with. However, the freedom of expression of citizens is limited and often not welcome by the authorities. ‘Nowadays, they threaten us to leave, and if we do not follow their orders, they will not agree. Now, they are observing us; people living to the West of our place seldom talk. Sorry! Now soldiers arrive, I would like to stop talking. They are following me.’

“The above words are the words of two women living in Kampot, who tried to tell journalists about being followed by local authorities, like also other people in the district who are being evicted from their land.

“Regarding the freedom of expression of these citizens, the president of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO] Ms. Pong Chiv Kek [also known as Dr. Kek Galabru] stated that in the last few years, the authorities try to prohibit that people gather to express their opinion – but the authorities object by raising security concerns as their reasons.

“Ms. Pong Chiv Kek said, ‘Especially, when workers want to hold a demonstration for something, they hardly ever obtained a permission, though they apply. Our government restricts gathering and marches to express opinions. Sometimes, just expressing something about the borders, there will be problems – the government uses the court to punish those who have expressed their own opinions.’

“Ms. Pong Chiv Kek, observing the situation of the freedom of expression in Cambodia, added, ‘In a democratic regime, the government is created by the people, and such a government will work for the people; if it is a government created by the people, it must join with the people to develop the country. So the government must contribute by providing enough information that the government does this and does that, it provides forest concession to whom, it wants to build a dam there, or want to develop something here; the people must be provided with enough of this type of information. If the people have obtained such information, they have to gather and to talk; for this, they need freedom of expression.’

“Institutions to which the problem of freedom of expression in Cambodia relates, includes the law drafting institutions, the law implementing institutions, the courts, institutions which provide public information, non-government organizations, and also citizens in general.

“The Cambodian Center for Human Rights president, Mr. Ou Virak, who observes the situation of freedom of expression in Cambodia, stated that Khmer citizens nowadays dare to express their opinions regarding problems they are facing. However their free expression is hindered by the authorities.

Mr. Ou Virak added that Cambodia has laws as well as a Constitution guaranteeing freedom of expression. But on the other side, those laws are not fairly applied by the authorities. He continued, ‘If we look at the implementation, we have police, judicial officials including prosecutors, and the government - important agencies to implement the law, but nowadays, judicial officials, who have the duty to implement the law show much bias. They do not allow people to express their opposing opinions, and even people within a party can often talk only about their party, without being able to talk also about negative points.’

“Mr. Ou Virak went on to say, ‘‘As for the media, Cambodia has laws regulating the flow of information, but those laws have not been implemented efficiently to protect journalists. He added, ‘We see that recently, the courts have been used to restrict the freedom of expression by closing a radio station, and by arresting Dam Sith [the Editor-in-Chief of Moneaksekar Khmer], while there are cases where the government did not investigate the cases threatening and physically abusing journalists or activist who are not on the side of the Cambodian People’s Party. Therefore we say that the courts have not fulfilled their duties; contrarily, they are used by the government to restrict the freedom of expression.’

“Mr. Pen Samithi, the president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, said that the freedom of expression and press freedom in Cambodia are on the way of improving during these last few years. He added, ‘If we want that people act like in a country where there is Internet in almost all houses, this is impossible. But in practice Cambodia has the ability for qualified action we can take well, but we have to try more, to catch up with other countries, because we are far behind, including in technology and in other fields.’

“However, Mr. Pen Samithi stated also that journalists still face many difficulties to find sources of information, especially information about the government relating to politics.

“Recently, besides the arrest of some journalists on the accusation of defamation and disinformation, according to an investigative report of LICADHO, at least three citizens have been shot dead by the authorities when protesting for land in Preah Vihear province.

“In 2008, Mr. Chan Savet, an investigative officer of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC - said that because of the land protest, at least 36 citizens have been detained, and 6 citizens are under being searched.”

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3356, 11.7.2008

CPP Files Complaint Over Royal Portraits

CPP officials claim the hanging of royal portraits outside election party offices, like these at the Ministry of Defense in 2004, is a breach of campaign regulations.

By Chiep Mony, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
11 July 2008

Cambodian People's Party district political officials issued a campaign complaint Tuesday over the display of the royal portraits outside a Norodom Ranariddh Party headquarters.

CPP representative Nuon Nho filed the complaint at the commune election committee, or CEC, for Or Cha commune, Battambang district, Battambang province, alleging the violation of a code of conduct by the Norodom Ranariddh Party.

The party has hung the portraits of former king Norodom Sihanouk, former queen Norodom Monineath and King Norodom Sihamoni outside its provincial headquarters, which is a violation of the election law, according to the complaint.

NRP deputy chief of Battambang Sat Vichheka said Friday he knows the election law well, but the portraits have been displayed since 2007.

"These portraits have been displayed in front of the NRP office for worship, for respect of the king's institution, not for the election campaign," he said. "The NRP does not display these portraits in its leaflets and other election documents."

CEC chief Prak Saphal said he invited NRP representatives to attend a meeting to resolve the problem Saturday.

"We'll know the result tomorrow," he said.

Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said a display in front of the party office "for worship" is not a violation of election law.

If the portraits are displayed in documents for the campaign, such as leaflets or car billboards, it is a violation of regulations, he said.

Nuon Nho could not be reached for comment.

Battambang District Governor Uy Ry, of the CPP, said the display of the portraits was an election activity, because the photos are displayed on the NRP gates, outside, not inside the office.

Below the portraits are many leaflets posted about the campaign, he said.

In Phnom Penh, meanwhile, CPP coalition partner Funcinpec has displayed outside its national headquarters large portraits of Sihanouk and Monineath. The national office of the Norodom Ranariddh Party also displays portraits of the three royals.

'A Lot,' But Not Enough Rural Help: Minister

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
11 July 2008

Through work by the government and other non-governmental agencies, Cambodia's rural areas are developing, but much is left to be done, a minister said Thursday.

"I realize we have borrowed money from donors a lot but we have done a lot for people," Minister of Rural Development Lu Laysreng said, as a guest on "Hello VOA."

A number of projects has produced 28,000 kilometers of roads, more than 6,000 bridges, and half a million wells, Lu Laysreng said.

Cambodia receives about $600 million per year in donor aid.

Meanwhile, many in the countryside remain poor despite the development, Boua Chanthou, director for the Partnership for Development in Kampuchea, or Padek, said.

"The need is still tremendous," she said, also as a guest on "Hello VOA."

Lu Laysreng acknowledged that land issues remained a critical problem for people in the countryside.

"I'm suffering over this," he said.

Khieu Samphan Awaits Lawyer Confirmation

By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
11 July 2008

Jailed Khmer Rouge president Khieu Samphan has selected a replacement defense lawyer from two likely candidates, but neither had confirmed a position Friday.

A new candidate is likely to be approved by next week, tribunal officials said.

Khieu Samphan's former Cambodian lawyer, Say Bory, resigned early last week, leaving on opening in the defense team, which includes the French attorney Jacques Verges.

"I went to meet Khieu Samphan this morning, and [he] gave me the name that he read in the directory of lawyers," Say Bory said.

He chose an experienced lawyer who can speak French, but Khieu Samphan must wait for final confirmation from the candidate, Say Bory said.

Rupert Skilbeck, head of the tribunal's defense section, said it would take some time because of the importance of the decision.

Khieu Samphan must make sure he chooses a lawyer he is confident with and who can sustain a trial that could last two to three years, Skilbeck said.

Family members of Khieu Samphan could not confirm his choice Friday.

A source close to the tribunal said Khieu Samphan indicated interest in two names, Heng Chy, a former judge and former chief of the Appeals Court, and Sar Sovann, who holds a doctorate of law from France.

Heng Chy said Friday he had discussed the position with Say Bory, but at age 76, as old as his would-be client, sitting in long tribunal hearings and poring over thousands of pages of documents would be difficult.

Sar Sovann said Friday he was likely to lose the job to Heng Chy, but would not comment further.

1 Dead, 3 Hurt in Apparent Food Poisoning

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
11 July 2008

A five-year-old boy died and three others were sickened in a possible case of food poisoning in Preah Vihear province, health officials said Friday.

Thouern Tiep, 5, died after he was taken to the commune health center with two brothers and an aunt Thursday afternoon, officials said.

The four had eaten noodles and candy together at a small shop in Sa Em village, Kantout commune, Choam Khsant district, near the Thai border.

None of the goods that were eaten came from Thailand, said Sap Bunthouern, Kantout's second deputy commune chief.

Brothers Youert Em, 4, and Youert Yim, 8, and the aunt, Ron Moa, 13, left the health center and returned to their homes late Thursday, Sap Bunthouern said.

Phann Ron, the 49-year-old grandfather of the deceased, said his grandson had played in the dirt before Ron Moa gave the children money for noodles and candy.

Two hours later, they all fell ill, he said.

Their faces took on a purple hue, and they were all taken to a traditional healer for coining.

The treatment appeared not to work, so the family called the health center to take them for further treatment.

By then it was too late, Phann Ron said. Thouern Tiep died three hours later.

Preah Vihear Health Director Kouy Bun Thany said authorities took samples of the noodles and candy, as well as blood of the three living patients, for laboratory tests in Phnom Penh.