Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Cambodian husband lands in hot water after calling wife lazy

By eNews 2.0 Staff
July 15th 2008

A Cambodian man who called his wife lazy and set her up with a business to keep her occupied, suffered extensive burns when she poured a pot of boiling water on him while he napped, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Rasmei Kampuchea reported neighbours as saying Prom Cheoun, 35, of south-eastern Prey Veng province had grown frustrated with his wife's card-playing sessions and bought her some vegetables to sell at the market to keep her busy.

But the wife, Oung Saman, 29, allegedly decided to prove he was a hypocrite and waited until he was snoozing at noon before pouring the boiling vat over him, the paper said.

'He tried to alter her behavior so she had no time to go out or just hang around,' the paper quoted the neighbour as saying.

It said Cheoun received extensive burns. His wife left and was on the run from police.

Cambodia returns Thai temple trespassers

By eNews 2.0 Staff
July 15th 2008

returning three Thai nationals, including a Buddhist monk, who had crossed into Cambodia to protest the recent decision to list Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site.

The Thais, identified as Phicharn Thapsorn, 35, Chanikarn Singnok, 64, and Buddhist monk Khamphor, were detained by Cambodian soldiers for trespassing in the Preah Vihear temple compound on the Cambodian side of the border.

The men, reportedly members of a Buddhist peace pilgrimage group, had crossed into the temple area from Khantalak district, Si Sa Khet province, which borders Cambodia's Preah Vihear province, Monday night.

Si Sa Khet Governor Seni Chittakasem confirmed that Cambodian authorities had released the three men unconditionally by Tuesday afternoon.

An estimated 40 Thai border police had crossed the Cambodian border into Preah Vihear temple to retrieve the trespassing Thais, alarming tourists and sparking urgent talks between the two sides, Cambodian authorities said.

'After the arrests, around 40 black uniformed Thai border guards with guns arrived at the temple and scared tourists with their weapons,' said Hang Soth, secretary-general of the government's Preah Vihear authority in a telephone interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Cambodia has had riot police and military on standby at the temple since Thai protests began earlier this month.

Preah Vihear temple, known as Phra Viharn in Thailand, was named a World Heritage Site at a UNESCO meeting in Quebec earlier this month, despite Thai opposition to the listing.

The ancient Hindu temple, perched on a 525-metre-high cliff on the Dangrek Mountain range that defines the Thai-Cambodian border, has been the source of a sovereignty dispute for decades.

An ownership spat between Cambodia and Thailand led to a suspension of diplomatic relations in 1958 and eventually ended up in The Hague for an international settlement in 1962. Cambodia won.

The temple reemerged as a source of bilateral tensions in 2006 when Cambodia first proposed listing the monument as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Thailand objected, and succeeded in blocking the subscription attempt in 2006 and 2007 on the grounds that parts of the temple compound were still subject to a border dispute.

Cambodia redrew the Preah Vihear inscription map this year, excluding the disputed territory. It was approved by the World Heritage Committee on July 7.

The Thai government at first backed the proposal, but then withdrew support when the issue became a political hot potato.

Residents of Si Sa Khet province, about 400 kilometres north-east of Bangkok, have been protesting the listing since early July, prompting Cambodia to shut access to the temple from the Thai side of the border.

Foreign ownership law - Cambodia

Property Report.com

Cambodia´s private sector has urged the government to allow foreign ownership this week saying an open-minded real estate market would promote economic growth. The Cambodian investment law was amended back in 2005 to allow foreign ownership of permanent fixtures, but as yet has not been enforced. The non-implementation of the act has in fact rendered the amendments as a forgotten law, and as such has now become out dated. In the current legal understanding, the old law will only allow a property investment in the name of a Cambodian national but with the pressure from the private sector to increase wealth, urgent action will be required.

Chris Green, Head of Research at Obelisk International says ‘The key improvements to the property investment law would open up a whole new economic world to the country of Cambodia. These measures would not only further develop Cambodia´s property investment market, but the new interest from those investors who want to take advantage early, will not only create a boom putting Cambodia on the map, but will also make the country more competitive with its neighbours.’

American lawyer and chairman of the International Business Club, Bretton Sciaron comments on the property investment news ‘There are several reasons for urgent action, this is already a sector of the economy that is dynamic, but foreign ownership of apartments, condominiums and other such structures on the land will help spur further economic growth. Such a regulatory development will provide a dramatic indication that Cambodia has an investor-friendly environment.’

Vast new building projects have increased over the past few years, including a great number of satellite cities worth billions of dollars that when completed will fundamentally alter the appearance of the capital. After years of disorder within Cambodia, the country is now turning things around as a growing economy posting a steady 11% growth over the last three years, fuelled by a strong tourism industry and clothing manufactures.

Cambodian Commerce Minister, Cham Prasidh said that Cambodia still relies on international aid for half of its annual budget, but must now diversify by seeking more varied foreign investments. ‘There are other sectors we are trying to encourage, but we have to find out what are the sectors where we can be competitive. If we try to produce the same thing as Thailand or Malaysia, it will be very difficult’.

Cambodia ibis sanctuary wins international wildlife award

M&G Asia-Pacific News
Jul 15, 2008

Phnom Penh - An ibis sanctuary established in Cambodia by the Wildlife Conservation Society was awarded Wild Asia's 2007 Responsible Tourism Award, the non-profit group said in a press release Tuesday.

The prize, set up by Wild Asia, an organization working for the conservation of natural areas, rewards environmental responsibility in business.

The ecotourism project, located in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in the northern Preah Vihear province, protects the only known area where giant and white-shouldered ibises breed and can be regularly observed, the group's surveys found.

The giant ibis is Cambodia's national bird.

As Cambodia seeks to expand its foothold in the tourism market, the government has placed increasing emphasis on developing ecotourism as a strategy to reach this goal.

In 2007, Cambodia received more than 2 million visitors for the first time. The ibis sanctuary is four hours north of Siem Reap, the gateway to the Angkor Wat temple complex, the nation's largest tourism attraction.

The other two winners of the 2007 awards were a resort in Kerala, India, and an ecolodge in Indonesia.

Cambodia says 40 Thai troops cross border in temple feud

Cambodian soldiers guard the border with Thailand in Preah Vihear province on July 6


Thai tourists walk past a anti-landmine sign at the Preah Vihear temple in Preah Vihear province, Cambodia

The World Court ruled in 1962 that the Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia

UN cultural agency has granted World Heritage status to the ancient Hindu temple

PHNOM PENH (AFP) —Tensions flared on Cambodia's border with Thailand Tuesday, as 40 Thai troops entered their neighbour's territory in a dispute over a 900-year-old Hindu temple.

Bangkok and Phnom Penh officials both said the trespass was caused by a misunderstanding after the soldiers went to pick up three Thai protesters arrested for jumping an immigration checkpoint to reach the Preah Vihear temple.

"The Thai soldiers will return soon. They came to pick up the three protestors but they confused the places," said Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh.

Thai officials insisted the soldiers had not crossed the border.

Hang Soth, who heads the agency that manages the Preah Vihear temple, said the soldiers had entered a Buddhist pagoda on the slope of the mountain leading to the ruins.

"At first about 20 troops entered a pagoda in Cambodian territory. Later they increased their numbers to about 40," he said.

The troops and Cambodian border authorities discussed the situation to make sure no one opened fire, he said.

"We are in negotiations with them so that there is no gunfire and to avoid serious future problems," Hang Soth said.

The governor of the Thai province across from the temple denied that the soldiers were on Cambodian soil.

"It's a misunderstanding. There is no trespassing by our soldiers," governor Seni Chittakasem told AFP.

Seni said he had led a delegation into Cambodia to secure the release of the three protesters, insisting that the soldiers had remained nearby but on Thai territory.

"All three detainees have been released and now are on the Thai side," he added.

The protesters -- one man, one woman and a Buddhist monk -- had placed wooden planks over barbed wire on the border to get across, vowing to reclaim the temple, which the World Court handed over to Cambodia in a 1962 ruling.

The 11th-century Preah Vihear is at the centre of a long-running territorial dispute as the main compound lies inside Cambodia but the most accessible entrance is at the foot of a mountain in Thailand.

Cambodia closed the main border crossing leading to the temple after about 100 Thai protesters tried to march to the site on June 23.

The protesters are part of a group calling themselves Dharmayatra, which has been camped at the foot of Preah Vihear for the past few weeks.

The temple has provoked a political firestorm in Thailand, after Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej's government agreed last month to support Cambodia's bid to win World Heritage status for the ruins.

A Thai court invalidated the agreement, and foreign minister Noppadon Pattama was forced to resign in the ensuing scandal. The parliamentary opposition is mulling impeachment motions against the entire cabinet.

Despite the controversy, last week the UN's cultural agency UNESCO awarded the temple World Heritage status in recognition of its importance as an example of ancient Khmer architecture.

Protesters launch impeachment effort against Thai government over temple dispute

The Associated Press
Published: July 15, 2008

BANGKOK, Thailand: Protesters in Thailand launched impeachment proceedings against the government Tuesday for allegedly losing disputed territory to neighboring Cambodia.

The protesters, led by the People's Alliance for Democracy, have staged daily demonstrations for nearly two months against Prime Minister Samak Sudaravej. They claim he is a proxy of Thaksin Shinawatra, whom the military ousted in a 2006 coup.

Samak denies this and says the protesters are trying to undermine his democratically elected government.

The alliance recently latched onto the volatile issue of disputed territory near Cambodia's ancient Preah Vihear temple as a means of intensifying its attack on Samak's six-party coalition government.

Opponents say the government supported Cambodia's application for UNESCO World Heritage Site status for the temple, thus undermining Thailand's claim to an area near the 11th century Hindu-influenced monument.

Tensions over the issue escalated Tuesday when Cambodia said Thai soldiers had entered its territory near the temple. Thailand denied the charge, saying the soldiers were on Thai land.

The Thai Constitution states that Thai citizens have the right to initiate impeachment of a government if they can produce the signatures of at least 20,000 eligible voters. The alliance says it has gathered more than 40,000 signatures calling for Samak's government to be impeached.

The speaker of the Senate, the upper house of Parliament, must first verify the signatures then send the petition to the National Counter Corruption Commission for investigation before the Senate can proceed with a debate and vote.

"The ministers of the Samak Sundaravej government have violated the Constitution, which resulted in the country losing some territory, sovereignty and dignity," said Chamlong Srimuang, a key leader of the protest alliance.

Vichienchot Sukchokrat, the government spokesman, declined to comment on the impeachment bid, but said the government was "ready to prove that (its) actions did not compromise the country's sovereignty" in the dispute with Cambodia.

Chamlong also led street demonstrations that climaxed with the coup that toppled Thaksin in 2006. The former prime minister returned from exile earlier this year to face a slew of court cases related to alleged corruption and abuse of power during his term in office.

Opponents say Thaksin is a key, behind-the-scenes power broker in the Samak government, despite his being banned from politics.

American leftists were Pol Pot's cheerleaders

The Boston Globe

By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist

The death of Pol Pot, 23 years to the day after he and the Khmer Rouge seized control of Cambodia, occasioned long backward glances at one of the 20th century's most horrific genocides. It was noted everywhere that the communist reign of terror in Cambodia lasted nearly four years and that at least 1 million human beings -- by some estimates as many as 2 1/2 million -- were murdered in an orgy of executions, torture, and starvation.

``In the name of a radical utopia,'' The New York Times recalled in its long obituary, ``the Khmer Rouge regime had turned most of the people into slaves. . . . Dictatorial village leaders and soldiers told the people whom to marry and how to live, and those who disobeyed were killed. [Those] who did not bend to the political mania were buried alive, or tossed into the air and speared on bayonets. Some were fed to crocodiles.'' Nearby was a photograph of human skulls -- emblem of the dreadful ``killing fields'' in which the communists butchered a quarter of Cambodia's people.

But nowhere in the Times story was there a reminder that the Khmer Rouge was able to seize power only after the US Congress in 1975 cut off all aid to the embattled pro-American government of Lon Nol -- and that it did so despite frantic warnings of the bloodbath that would ensue. President Ford warned of ``horror and tragedy'' if Cambodia was abandoned to the Khmer Rouge and pleaded with Congress to supply Lon Nol's army with the tools it needed to defend itself.

To no avail. US troops had come home two years earlier, but American antiwar activists were still intent on effecting the ``liberation'' of Southeast Asia. Radicals like Jane Fonda, David Dellinger, and Tom Hayden stormed the country, denouncing anyone who opposed communist victory in Cambodia and Vietnam. On the campuses, in the media, and in Congress, it was taken on faith that a Khmer Rouge victory would bring peace and enlightened leadership to Cambodia.

``The growing hysteria of the administration's posture on Cambodia,'' declared Senator George McGovern, ``seems to me to reflect a determined refusal to consider what the fall of the existing government in Phnom Penh would actually mean. . . . We should be able to see that the kind of government which would succeed Lon Nol's forces would most likely be a government . . . run by some of the best-educated, most able intellectuals in Cambodia.''

Stanley Karnow, hailed nowadays as an authoritative Indochina historian, was quite sure that ``the `loss' of Cambodia would . . . be the salvation of the Cambodians.'' There was no point helping the noncommunist government survive, he wrote, ``since the rebels are unlikely to kill more innocent civilians than are being slaughtered by the rockets promiscuously hitting Phnom Penh.''

The New Republic told its readers that the ouster of Lon Nol should be of no concern, since ``the Cambodian people will finally be rescued from the horrors of a war that never really had any meaning.''

In Washington, then-Representative Christopher Dodd of Connecticut averred: ``The greatest gift our country can give to the Cambodian people is peace, not guns. And the best way to accomplish that goal is by ending military aid now.''

Was this willful blindness or mere stupidity? To believe that the Khmer Rouge would be good for Cambodia, one had to ignore everything the world had learned about communist brutality since 1917. How could intelligent Americans have said such things?

But they did, repeatedly.

In the news columns of The New York Times, the celebrated Sydney Schanberg wrote of Cambodians that ``it is difficult to imagine how their lives could be anything but better with the Americans gone.'' He dismissed predictions of mass executions in the wake of a Khmer Rouge victory: ``It would be tendentious to forecast such abnormal behavior as national policy under a Communist government once the war is over.'' On April 13, 1975, Schanberg's dispatch from Phnom Penh was headlined, ``Indochina without Americans: for most, a better life.''

On the op-ed page, Anthony Lewis was calling ``the whole bloodbath debate unreal. What future could possibly be more terrible,'' he demanded, ``than the reality of what is happening to Cambodia now?''

As the death marches out of Phnom Penh proceeded, Lewis went on making excuses for the Khmer Rouge. He mused that it was ``the only way to start on their vision of a new society.'' Americans who objected were guilty of ``cultural arrogance, an imperial assumption, that . . . our way of life'' would be better.

Amazing, the lies that were told as Cambodia's holocaust roared on. The ``scholars'' were the worst. Gareth Porter and G.C. Hildebrand of the Indochina Resource Center insisted that Pol Pot's horrendous cruelties ``saved the lives of tens of thousands of people.'' Ben Kiernan, who would eventually head the Cambodian Genocide Program, asserted that ``the Khmer Rouge movement is not the monster that the press have recently made it out to be.'' Tell that to a million murdered Cambodians.

Twenty-three years ago, American leftists cheered, justified, and denied as the communists plunged Cambodia into a nightmare of atrocity. In the end, they failed to whitewash Pol Pot's record. They will not succeed in whitewashing their own.

FBI could probe journalist's murder

Vandy Rattana; A mourner prays on Saturday before an alter for journalist Khim Sambo, who was gunned down Friday evening.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Cheang Sokha and Kay Kimsong
Tuesday, 15 July 2008

T he US Federal Bureau of Investigation is ready to help Cambodian authorities probing the assassination of opposition-aligned journalist Khim Sambo, the US embassy said late Monday, warning that the brazen killing could scare people away from general elections in two weeks.

Khim Sambo and his 21 year-old son, Khath Sarin Pheata, were gunned down Friday evening outside Phnom Penh's Olympic Stadium in a drive-by shooting that has shaken the capital and raised fears for press freedoms ahead of the polls.

“Our family never had any enemies or disputes with neighbors. What happened to my father was unexpected,” Khat Sarinda, the victim’s 24 year-old daughter, told the Post on Monday.

Police have few leads, but the FBI "stands ready to provide assistance, if requested by the Cambodian government, in investigating the case," the embassy said in a statement in which it also urged Cambodian authorities "to take the necessary measures in order to bring the perpetrators to justice."

The 47 year-old, who submitted articles critical of the government written under pseudonyms to Moneaksekar Khmer, a newspaper affiliated with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, died at the scene.

His son died in the early Saturday at Ketomelea military hospital, and the two were cremated Sunday at Wat Tuol Tumpong in a ceremony attended by several hundred people.

Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith, who has condemned the killings and called for swift justice, welcomed the FBI’s offer on Tuesday.

“It would be good if we could cooperate with the FBI in investigating this case. We could trade experiences. Either way, we would not be blamed if we could not find the killers, or if we found them [critics] would not say [the suspects] are the fake killers.”

Various journalist organizations, including the Khmer Journalist Friendship Association, the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and the International Federation of Journalists, have expressed outrage over the killings.

Kek Galabru, president of Cambodian human rights group Licadho, also condemned the shootings as a bid to sow fear, saying “message is to scare the journalists from writing the truth” ahead of the July 27 elections.

She pointed out that Khim Sambo was the 12th journalist to be murdered since Cambodia’s first democratic election in 1993. None of the perpetrators has been convicted.

The US embassy, meanwhile, warned that the shootings, along with Sunday’s acid attack against Ngon Srun, a senior Cambodian People’s Party member, could keep people from the polls.

Ngon Srun was severely burned on the face and chest after being doused with acid by unknown assailants. Police say no criminal complaints have been filed.

“Violent, criminal acts such as this can have a chilling effect on the media, and ... risk undermining citizens’ confidence in their ability to fully participate in the electoral process in safety and security,” the embassy said.

According to Prampi Makara district police chief Yim Simony, Khim Sambo and his son were fired on five times by a man riding pillion on a motorbike as they drove away from the stadium on Monireath Boulevard.

Their motorbike kept upright for another 30 meters before crashing into a woman on a bicycle, according to several witnesses. Khim Sambo was struck twice, while Khath Sarin Pheata was hit by one bullet in the chest.

The attackers, who wore civilian clothing and made no effort to hide their faces behind sunglasses or helmets, circled back around to make sure they had hit their mark, said one witness who did not want to be named.

“After shooting, they turned around on their motorbike and looked down at his body to be sure he was dead,” the witness told the Post on Monday.

Others said they feared for their own security and refused to discuss the killings.

Khim Sambo’s murder was the first killing of a journalist since October 2003, when Chuor Chetharith, deputy editor for Funcinpec-aligned Ta Prum radio, was slain. That death was one in a slew of high-profile killings to occur in 2003 and 2004, all carried by two men on a motorbike in crowded areas.

At the time of his death Khim Sambo was also working with tycoon developer and government advisor Sok Kong, president of Sokimex, one of the largest Cambodian-owned companies.

He had extensive contacts among CPP-friendly officials in the judiciary and security forces, despite his regular contributions to the anti-ruling party Moneaksekar Khmer.

Friday’s shootings follow last month’s week-long detention of Dam Sith, Moneaksekar Khmer’s editor-in-chief and a Sam Rainsy Party candidate for the parliamentary elections.

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong pressed defamation and disinformation charges against Dam Sith for publishing comments by Sam Rainsy, who alleged Hor Namhong’s involvement in Khmer Rouge atrocities.

Prime Minister Hun Sen requested that Phnom Penh Municipal Court release Dam Sith on bail amid mounting international pressure, and Hor Namhong later dropped his suit.

But his arrest was condemned by the Sam Rainsy Party as another example of harassment of the opposition by the ruling party.

Temple tensions

Heng Chivoan; A Cambodian soldier stands in front of Preah Vihear temple earlier in July.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Post Staff
Tuesday, 15 July 2008

A t least 30 Thai troops entered Cambodia near Preah Vihear temple Tuesday, officials said, following the arrest of three Thai protesters who had illegally crossed the Cambodian border in the latest flare-up over the disputed 11th-century Hindu monument.

The armed soldiers have chased Cambodian villagers away from the site, said Koy Chan Sophal, deputy chief of a detachment of special Heritage Police who were deployed to Preah Vihear last month as tensions over the temple rose.

"Right now we are ... like hostages of the Thai soldiers. But we are keeping silent and awaiting orders from our top officials," he told the Post.

"If the government tells us to arrest them, we will arrest them immediately," he added.

Hun Saravuth, deputy military police commander for Preah Vihear province, said the Thai soldiers had spread out in a forested area within the temple complex after occupying a Buddhist pagoda located on a mountainside underneath the temple.

"We do not know why they are here," he said.

Earlier in the day a group of more than 100 soldiers and angry Thai demonstrators massed at the international checkpoint located near the temple to demand the return of three Thais – a monk, a nun and a layperson – arrested for crossing the border.

The checkpoint was closed last month after a group of Thai demonstrators approached Preah Vihear, protesting Cambodia's claim to the temple.

Reinforcements from the Choam Kh'san district and border police have been rushed to the temple complex, said district governor Kao Long, but Cambodian officials have vowed to remain calm.

"The Cambodian side is cool and patient," said Hang Soth, director of the National Preah Vihear Authority.

"The top levels of government are trying to resolve the situation. We do not want to fight," he added.

Preah Vihear temple was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on July 7 despite a lingering dispute over ownership of the land surrounding the temple.

The designation sparked jubilant celebrations across Phnom Penh, culminating in an enormous fireworks display at Olympic Stadium Monday night that drew thousands of people.

But in Thailand, bruised nationalism remains unappeased, and the government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej is suffering from the fallout.

On July 10, Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama stepped down after the Constitutional Court ruled that he had acted illegally in signing an agreement supporting Cambodia’s bid to have Preah Vihear temple listed as a World Heritage Site without the permission of parliament.

His move had been approved by Samak’s cabinet, which the court also decided had violated the Thai Constitution in acting without parliamentary consent, a verdict that observers said could lead to a major cabinet reshuffle.

Thai nationalists have vowed to continue protesting over the temple, with some groups saying they would storm Preah Vihear.

"If Thai protesters continue to enter Cambodian territory, we will arrest them and send them back," said Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan.

"We would like Cambodia and Thailand to solve this diplomatically through their embassies," he told the Post on Tuesday.

Cambodian and Thai troops square up over disputed temple

Ian MacKinnon in Bangkok
guardian.co.uk
Tuesday July 15, 2008

Tensions over a disputed border temple escalated today after a Cambodian official claimed 40 troops from neighbouring Thailand had crossed the frontier.

A Thai army chief immediately denied any incursion but said its soldiers had taken up positions near the 11th-century Hindu temple on Thailand's soil to protect its territory.

The Preah Vihear complex - long a source of bitter wrangling between the neighbours - was awarded world heritage site status by the UN's cultural organisation last week.

A Cambodian official claimed the troops entered the temple complex following the arrest of three Thai protesters who managed to sneak across the border.

Hang Soth, director general of the Cambodian authority responsible for the Preah Vihear complex, said the Thai troops had crossed the border near the temple site.

"Confrontation is occurring between Thai troops and our Cambodian troops," he said. "Our troops have been ordered to be on alert but not to shoot first."

He added that Cambodian guards had stopped the protesters - a Buddhist monk, another man and a woman - and were willing to hand them back immediately. Cambodia closed the temple to visitors from Thailand late last month.

The festering row over the site was reignited after the former Thai foreign minister Noppodol Pattama backed the Cambodian application for world heritage listing.

He was forced to step down after a Thai constitutional court ruled he had overstepped his authority by offering the government's backing without consulting parliament.

Anti-government protesters, who have been staging demonstrations in Bangkok for weeks, seized upon the dispute as yet another means to attack the People Power party coalition.

The protesters claimed the prime minister Samak Sundarvej's government had lent support to Phnom Penh's listing application in return for business concessions in Cambodia for the ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The dispute between Thailand and Cambodia centres on land around the temple complex, which is situated on a cliff-top. Because of the difficult terrain, access for visitors is vastly easier from the Thai side.

Thai troops occupied the temple complex in 1954 after the withdrawal of French troops from Cambodia. Phnom Penh protested to the international court of justice in The Hague in 1959, prompting a severing of diplomatic relations and threats of force by both sides.

But in 1962 the international court ruled that the temple, whose Hindu roots echo the more famous Angkor complex, lay on Cambodian soil, to the anger of many Thais.

The fragile nature of relations between the neighbours was reflected in 2003 when anti-Thai riots erupted in Phnom Penh. Bangkok's embassy there was set on fire after a Thai actress was falsely reported to have said that Angkor Wat still belonged to Thailand.

Thai soldiers acrossing border hit land mine in Cambodia, captain injured

www.chinaview.cn
2008-07-15

BANGKOK, July 15 (Xinhua) -- At least one soldier of a Thai army patrol squad were injured while the team entered a disputed area near Thai-Cambodia border and hit a land mine near the controversial Preah Vihear Temple on Tuesday afternoon.

Initial investigation said the captain of the squad was injured on the leg during the blast, a source from the Thai army told Xinhua.

Earlier Tuesday, three Thai protestors were arrested by the Cambodia authorities as they were claimed illegally crossed the border into the Preah Vihear Temple. After the arrests, tensions rise on the border as some reports said dozens of Thai armed personels have entered into the Preah Vihear Temple.

According to Thai local news network The Nation, around 40 black uniformed Thai border guards with guns arrived at the temple and scared tourists with their weapons.

Editor: An Lu

Cambodia says Thai troops cross border

National Nine News
Tue Jul 15 2008

About 40 Thai troops entered Cambodia in the latest flare-up of a territorial dispute over a 900-year-old Hindu temple, Cambodian officials at the border told AFP.

They crossed the border hours after three Thai protesters were arrested for jumping an immigration checkpoint in a bid to reach the ruins of the Preah Vihear temple, said Hang Soth, the Cambodian official who manages the site.

"At first about 20 troops entered a pagoda in Cambodian territory. Later they increased their numbers to about 40," he said.

"We don't understand yet why they came," he added.

The Thai soldiers have positioned themselves at a Buddhist pagoda located on the slope of a mountain, underneath Preah Vihear temple, he said, and the troops and Cambodian border authorities are in discussions.

"We are in negotiations with them so that there is no gunfire and to avoid serious future problems," Hang Soth said.

The governor of the Thai province across from the temple, however, denied that the soldiers were on Cambodian soil.

"It's a misunderstanding. There is no trespassing by our soldiers," governor Seni Chittakasem told AFP.

Seni said he had led a delegation into Cambodia to secure the release of the three protesters, insisting that the soldiers had remained nearby but on Thai territory.

"All three detainees have been released and now are on the Thai side," he added.

The temple was recently declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO, despite objections from Thai groups.

The two countries have a long-standing dispute over the land that surrounds the temple, and Thai activists have recently revived nationalist sentiment over the issue.

Cambodia's recent move to secure the temple's world landmark status has angered political leaders in Thailand and sparked small protests by some Thais who feared it would jeopardise their country's claims to disputed land adjacent to the site.

Some Thais have been protesting the listing and demanding the eviction of Cambodians living on land near the temple. In response, Cambodia has sealed off access to the temple from Thailand since June 22.

Dharmayatra call hunger strike

The Bangkok Post
Tuesday July 15, 2008

ANCHALEE KONGRUT AND AP

Dharmayatra, the ultra-nationalistic Thai group which is trying to reclaim the Preah Vihear ruins for Thailand, announced it will launch a hunger strike to try to pressure the government to take action on the temple issue.

The group, led by Samarn Sringarm along with nine of its members, will begin its hunger strike today.

The group has already been exerting pressure on the government as some of them managed to get across barbed wire Thai soldiers had put up at the border with Cambodia. They sat in meditation in a Cambodian village within the overlapping area between the two countries.

The barrier had been erected by the soldiers to prevent protesters in Si Sa Ket province heading to the Cambodian village and clashing with locals.

The Thais want the Cambodians to be evicted from the overlapping area.

Despite the move being seen as only a media stunt, it paved the way for anti-government protesters to launch their campaign against the government, said Pranee Hriphong, a member of the Dharmayatra group.

On Thursday, activist Veera Somkwamkid will make a speech on the Thai side near the temple and on Sunday, hundreds of farmers from the Association of Northeastern Small-Scale Farmers _ a powerful grassroots group _ will camp overnight there.

The Cambodian government, meanwhile, organised another mass rally yesterday to celebrate the listing of the 11th century Preah Vihear temple as a world cultural landmark.

Around 10,000 people were expected to gather late yesterday to celebrate Preah Vihear temple's new status as a Unesco World Heritage site, said Mann Chhoeun, deputy governor of Phnom Penh municipality which organised the event.

The ceremony will be presided over by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An in the wake of his return from Canada, where he lobbied a Unesco committee meeting to designate the temple as a cultural treasure.

''We have succeeded in this goal not by just sitting idly. We struggled hard to get it,'' Mann Chhoeun said.

Preah Vihear was declared a World Heritage site a week ago in spite of the strong objections from Thai anti-government groups.

The two countries have a long-standing dispute over the land that surrounds the temple, and Thai activists have recently revived nationalist sentiment over the issue.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice awarded the temple and the land it occupies to Cambodia.

Cambodia nabs three Thai protestors at controversial border temple

The Earth Times
Tue, 15 Jul 2008 04:31:01 GMT
Author : DPA

Bangkok - Cambodian soldiers on Tuesday detained three Thai protestors, including one Buddhist monk, who had crossed the border to demonstrate against the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a UN World Heritage Site despite Thailand's opposition. State-run Thai TV PBS said the three men, identified as Phicharn Thapsorn, 35, Chanikarn Singnok, 64, and Buddhist Monk Khamphor, were detained by Cambodian soldiers Tuesday.

The group had crossed in to Preah Vihear province, Cambodia, from the Thai Khantalak district in Si Sa Khet province on Monday, the TV station said.

Preah Vihear temple, known as Phra Viharn in Thailand, was named a World Heritage Site at a UNESCO meeting in Quebec earlier this month, despite Thai opposition to the listing.

The ancient Hindu temple, perched on a 525-metre-high cliff on the Dangrek Mountain range that defines the Thai-Cambodian border, has been the source of a sovereignty dispute for decades.

An ownership spat between Cambodia and Thailand led to a suspension of diplomatic relations in 1958 and eventually ended up in The Hague for an international settlement in 1962. Cambodia won.

The temple reemerged as a source of bilateral tensions in 2006 when Cambodia first proposed listing the monument as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Thailand objected, and succeeded in blocking the subscription attempt in 2006 and 2007 on the grounds that parts of the temple compound were still subject to a border dispute.

Cambodia redrew the Preah Vihear inscription map this year, excluding the disputed territory. It was approved by the World Heritage Committee on July 7.

The Thai government at first backed the proposal, but then withdrew support when the issue became a political hot potato.

Residents of Si Sa Khet province, about 400 kilometres north-east of Bangkok, have been protesting the listing since early July, prompting Cambodia to shut access to the temple from the Thai side of the border.

US boosts military ties with Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia

Vietnamese soldiers march past US and Vietnamese flags as part of a welcoming ceremony for US president George W. Bush in Hanoi in mid November 2006. The United States is stepping up military ties with Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as part of a deepening relationship with Southeast Asia amid competition for influence from China, officials have said(AFP/File/Hoang Dinh Nam)

File photo shows a US Marine providing cover to Thai troops during an anti-terror training operation in eastern Thailand. The United States is stepping up military ties with Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as part of a deepening relationship with Southeast Asia amid competition for influence from China, officials have said(AFP/File/Saeed Khan)

by P. Parameswaran
Mon Jul 14, 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States is stepping up military ties with Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as part of a deepening relationship with Southeast Asia amid competition for influence from China, officials said.

The United States and Laos, they said, plan to exchange military attaches by the end of the year as part of the strategy aimed at beefing up defense links with the trio in the heart of a once central Cold War battleground.

Three years after resuming full military ties with Indonesia soured by human rights concerns, "we are beginning to develop those same kind of ties with Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia," deputy US assistant secretary of state Scot Marciel said.

"We are starting off small -- doing some training, some exchanges which we think are very useful," he said.

"And by the end of this year, we and the Lao government will open defense attache offices in each other's capitals, which is a big step, an important step," Marciel, the US ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said at a Washington forum last week.

Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were latecomers to ASEAN together with Myanmar.

The other ASEAN states are Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

US officials rejected any notion that the move to build military ties with Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos was to check China's rising influence in Southeast Asia, saying it was part of broadening the overall relationship.

"It doesn't really signify more than that," said a senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

China is rapidly building up its military and could challenge traditional US naval dominance in the region, experts say, citing among other examples, Beijing's setting up of a new underground nuclear submarine base on the southern tip of Hainan Island, close to vital sea lanes in Southeast Asia.

Unlike many other Southeast Asian states which have substantial military ties with the United States, "we havent had that so much with Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia because of the history," the State Department official said, referring to the Vietnam War.

As the conflict escalated between the United States and Vietnam, neighbors Laos and Cambodia became increasingly involved in the war.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail -- a supply route from North to South Vietnam that the United States wanted to cut -- passed through both countries.

US officials said they were looking at expanding an international military education and training program in Vietnam, now confined largely to ship visits and a modest English language teching project for Vietnamese military officers.

The former battlefield enemies exchanged defense military attaches in the mid 1990's after Hanoi cooperated in accounting for missing Americans from the Vietnam War.

US defense ties in Laos also centered on the recovery of soldiers missing.

China is fast emerging as a top economic player in Cambodia and Laos.

In Cambodia, where the 1975-1979 communist Khmer Rouge regime was backed by Beijing, China is the largest foreign donor.

"It is a fact that China is growing economically and playing a more active role in much of the world, certainly including in Southeast Asia, but we don't see this as a zero sum game," Marciel said.

3 Thai protesters sneak into Cambodia's ancient temple in disputed border region

AP

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Three Thai protesters sneaked across the border into Cambodia on Tuesday to try to enter an 11th century temple at the center of a dispute between the neighboring countries, an official said.

The incident marked the first cross-border foray by Thai protesters since Cambodia shut off access to Preah Vihear temple to visitors from Thailand late last month.

Preah Vihear was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site a week ago despite objection from Thai anti-government groups. The two countries have a long-standing dispute over the land that surrounds the temple, and Thai activists have recently revived nationalist sentiment over the issue.

Hang Soth, director-general of the national authority for the temple, said a Thai Buddhist monk, a woman and a man apparently managed to evade a checkpoint on the Thai side and crossed through a jungle border into Cambodia.

He said they were immediately stopped by Cambodian guards and sent back.

"They walked over to our side (of the border) quietly and tried to hold a meditation at the temple," he said.

"But we told them that Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia and has just been registered as a World Heritage site," he said.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice awarded the temple and the land it occupies to Cambodia, a decision that still rankles many Thais even though the temple is culturally Cambodian, sharing the Hindu-influenced style of the more famous Angkor complex in northwestern Cambodia.

Cambodia's recent move to secure the temple's world landmark status has angered political leaders in Thailand and sparked small protests by some Thais who feared it would jeopardize their country's claims to disputed land adjacent to the site.

Some Thais have been protesting the listing and demanding the eviction of Cambodians living on land near the temple. In response, Cambodia has sealed off access to the temple from Thailand since June 22.

Cambodia Day in Pictures

Doves fly above the Royal Palace during sunset on Monday, July 14, 2008 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

A Cambodian photographer takes photo of a Lion statue during sunrise at Preah Vihear temple, Preah Vihear province, Cambodia on July 13, 2008. Three Thai protesters managed to quietly sneak across the border to try to set foot on Cambodia's 11th century temple but were later sent back to their country, an official said Tuesday.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

A chicken roams near the locked gate from Thai side to Preah Vihear temple, Preah Vihear province, Cambodia, on July 13, 2008. Three Thai protesters managed to quietly sneak across the border in an attempt to enter Cambodia's 11th century temple, which has become the center of a dispute between the neighboring countries, , an official said Tuesday, July 15, 2008.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Cambodian boy and girl scouts scale down the steps of Preah Vihear temple in Preah Vihear province, Cambodia, Sunday, July 13, 2008. Preah Vihear temple was declared a World Heritage site a week ago despite objection from Thai anti-government groups. The Cambodian government planned to hold another mass rally Monday to celebrate the recent listing of the country's 11th century Hindu temple as a world cultural landmark.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

A Cambodian police, left, looks on as boy and girl scouts take pictures at the locked gate from Thai side to Preah Vihear temple, Preah Vihear province, Cambodia, on July 13, 2008. Three Thai protesters managed to quietly sneak across the border in an attempt to enter Cambodia's 11th century temple, which has become the center of a dispute between the neighboring countries, , an official said Tuesday, July 15, 2008.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Cambodian celebrations at the national stadium after the Preah Vihear temple was announced as a World Heritage site in Phnom Penh July 14, 2008

A performer dances during celebrations at the national stadium after the Preah Vihear temple was announced as a World Heritage site in Phnom Penh July 14, 2008. The Cambodian government organized another mass rally on Monday to celebrate the recent listing of the country's 11th century Hindu temple as a world cultural landmark, an official said.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA

A Cambodian traditional dancer waits for her take to celebrate Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple enlisted as a World Heritage site during a rally Monday, July 14, 2008 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Cambodian government organized another mass rally Monday to celebrate the recent listing of the country's 11th century Hindu temple as a world cultural landmark.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Performers dance in celebration at the national stadium after the Preah Vihear temple was announced as a World Heritage site in Phnom Penh July 14, 2008. The Cambodian government organized another mass rally on Monday to celebrate the recent listing of the country's 11th century Hindu temple as a world cultural landmark, an official said.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Performers dance during celebrations at the national stadium after the Preah Vihear temple was announced as a World Heritage site in Phnom Penh July 14, 2008. The Cambodian government organized another mass rally on Monday to celebrate the recent listing of the country's 11th century Hindu temple as a world cultural landmark, an official said.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodians celebrate the decision made for Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site during a rally Monday, July 14, 2008 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Cambodian government organized another mass rally Monday to celebrate the recent listing of the country's 11th century Hindu temple as a world cultural landmark.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

A Cambodian national flag flys above the crowd during the celebration of Cambodia's 'Preah Vihear' temple enlisted as a World Heritage site during a rally Monday, July 14, 2008 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Cambodian government organized another mass rally Monday to celebrate the recent listing of the country's 11th century Hindu temple as a world cultural landmark.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Performers cheer during celebrations at the national stadium after the Preah Vihear temple was announced as a World Heritage site in Phnom Penh July 14, 2008. The Cambodian government organized another mass rally on Monday to celebrate the recent listing of the country's 11th century Hindu temple as a world cultural landmark, an official said.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

King Father Supports A Plan To Build A Hospital Near The Preah Vihear Temple

By Sok Serey
Radio Free Asia
11th July 2008
Translated by Khmerization


Ex-King Sihanouk has given his support to the Khmer Civilisation Foundation to build a small hospital to provide free treatment to the guards and the people living in the vicinity of the Preah Vihear temple complex.

Mr Moeung Son, president of the Khmer Civilisation Foundation, who has led an 8-member delegation to have an audience with the ex-king in the Royal Palace on Wednesday has told Radio Free Asia on Thursday that: “We presented him with a drawing of the planned hospital that we have applied to the Preah Vihear Authority and I have already received a phone call from Mr. Ang Soth (Chairman of Preah Vihear Authority) that he has approved the plan. We want to support the achievement of the present government which has overcome many obstacles in its efforts to list the Preah Vihear temple on the World Heritage List.”

He said that the building of the hospital will cost about US$20,000 with the money that will come from private donors. The planned hospital will have 5 rooms which will be built close to the areas where the people live and the Foundation plans to request the government to provide the medicines needed for the free treatment. Mr Moeung Son said that he plans to lead a delegation to visit the area, after the ex-king and the Preah Vihear Authority had given their approval.

Deputy PM Hor Namhong has told the media on the issue of Preah Vihear on the 8th of July that: “The successful listing of the Preah Vihear temple on the World Heritage List is a victory for the present government. But more importantly, it is a victory for the Khmer civilisation.”

The World Heritage Committee has, on 7th of July, approved the listing of the Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site in its 32nd meeting in Quebec in Canada.

According to documents from the Royal Cambodian Academy, Preah Vihear temple, which was built in the 11th century, was judged to be belonged to Cambodia by the International Court of Justice in The Hague on the 15th of June 1962.

Victorious delegation returns home

Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Touch Yuthea (Further reporting by Neth Pheaktra)
The Mekong Times

_______________________________
“Celebrating the ceremony at Olympic Stadium is aimed at confusing the public to obtain political gain during the upcoming elections. As far as the temple is concerned, H.E Sok An should again look at the documents he previously took to Thailand. Thailand has now announced it will claim the territory around the temple as Sok An’s drawn map involves only the body of the temple” - SRP MP Son Chhay
______________________________

The Cambodian delegation returned home yesterday after successfully registering Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site. Deputy Prime Minister Sok An who led the working group to Canada said at the airport, “I am very excited, as the temple has been successfully listed after seven years.”

A party held at Olympic Stadium to welcome the arrival of the Cambodian officials, was broadcast live by Bayon TV station. Sok An said that the World Heritage Committee, consisting of 21 member countries representing 185 signatories to the Convention on World Heritage, unanimously backed Cambodia’s inscription of the ancient temple on the World Heritage List. Citing the importance of the listing, he claimed, “Registration of the temple as a World Heritage Site signifies that the temple belongs to Cambodia.”

Sok An described the negotiation strategies used with UNESCO and Thailand to reach the decision for listing of the temple. Sok An cited Thais’ past protest against the listing of Preah Vihear Temple as the World Heritage Site based on three points: the border issue, joint listing of Preah Vihear Temple and a lake in Thailand, Cambodia’s proposal to register Preah Vihear temple without discussion with Thailand.

“The mentioning of border issues is not true as Cambodia used the map determined by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.” Concerning Thailand’s request to jointly list the temple, he said Cambodia declined the request due to the fact that the temple belongs to Cambodia. He said that if Cambodia had agreed with Thailand’s request to register Preah Vihear temple and a lake in Thailand as a World Heritage Site, “it would have lost 50 percent of its sovereignty and other interests.”

Before listing Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site, Cambodia had responded to three requirements of the World Heritage Committee – improve the maintenance of Preah Vihear Temple; prepare regular reports to plan for managing the temple; and cooperate with Thailand.

A delighted Sok An said the listing of the temple as a World Heritage Site is one of the great achievements of the third-mandate government whose term is coming to an end. “We must remember the victory of the government as well as of the CPP,” he underlined, adding, “There are many more tasks and achievements we need to complete in the future. Voting for CPP means voting for Samdech Hun Sen as the future Prime Minister, who will complete those tasks.”

“The celebration ceremony at Olympic Stadium is nothing special as Preah Vihear temple has been Cambodia’s property since 1962 under the crusade of former King Norodom Sihanouk,” said Rong Chhun, president of Cambodia Watchdog Council. “The celebration is simply being used for political gain, which only confuses voters before election day,” he added.

Son Chhay, Sam Rainsy Party spokesman said: “Celebrating the ceremony at Olympic Stadium is aimed at confusing the public to obtain political gain during the upcoming elections. As far as the temple is concerned, H.E Sok An should again look at the documents he previously took to Thailand. Thailand has now announced it will claim the territory around the temple as Sok An’s drawn map involves only the body of the temple.” The Cambodian government has claimed that listing the temple as a World Heritage Site will not relinquish Cambodian territory.

Rice to visit New Zealand next week after ASEAN meeting

Trend News
15.07.08

( Xinhua ) - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit New Zealand after attending a meeting of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Singapore next week.

The U.S. State Department said Rice will attend the ASEAN talkson July 23-24 before traveling on to the Australian west coast city of Perth and the New Zealand largest city of Auckland for talks.

She will also have a brief stop in Apia of Samoa to meet Pacific Islands leaders before going to Hawaii.

Rice is expected in New Zealand on July 26.

ASEAN members are: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia. Myanmar, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Fort Collins couple 'Parents of the Year'

The Grossmans relax in the park
Colorado Parents of the Year Kari, far left, and George Grossman, right, play with their two children, Grady, 8, bottom, and Shanti, 4, on Wednesday at City Park in Fort Collins. (Photos by Mara Auster/The Coloradoan)
Grossmans have two adopted kids and built a school in Cambodia

BY NATE TAYLOR
Coloradoan.com
July 14, 2008

Kari and George Grossman didn't see it coming, but July 7 turned out to be a shocking and humbling day.

The Fort Collins couple not only found out they were named the 2008 Colorado Parents of the Year, but they also found out Kari Grossman's book, "Bones that Float, A Story of Adopting Cambodia," won the Independent Publisher Book Award for Peacemaker of the Year.

Her book is about the couple's experience of adopting their 8-year-old son Grady from Cambodia and then building a school in Cambodia.

The Grossmans were selected as Parents of the Year by the Colorado Parents' Day Council not only for parenting Grady and his 4-year-old sister, Shanti, whom the family adopted from India, but for their work building and running the Grady Grossman School in Cambodia.

The Grossmans were also selected because their work in Cambodia models a life of service for their children.

"I never thought about how it would have an effect on our own children's point of view," Kari Grossman said, adding that her son recently told her that when he was "old like Grandma, I'm going to work very hard for the GG School."

"To see what he was getting out of it touched me," she said.

Kari Grossman said the family didn't even know they had been nominated for the parenting award, which celebrates Parents' Day - a nationally recognized day of remembrance for parents celebrated on the last Sunday of July.

"It's just the way our life and the way our family works," George Grossman said of the family's work in Cambodia. "Maybe (the award) is just an affirmation that we're doing something right as a family. We really don't think it's all that extraordinary, but I feel rather humbled by the whole thing."

The Grady Grossman School provides education for five rural villages in Cambodia and is its village's only permanent structure. It started with 50 children in 2001, and today there are 500 students, seven teachers, a solid cement structure with a water well and a solar-powered computer. The school is a part of the Grossmans' foundation, Sustainable Schools International.

With a quarter of the proceeds going to the school, Kari's book has raised about $50,000 for the school. The couple also makes trips to Cambodia three or four times per year.

"I've never seen a couple go to the extent that the Grossmans have," said Peggy Yujiri, spokeswoman for the Colorado Parents' Day Council.

The Grossmans are among 50 nominees for National Parents of the Year, which will be announced on Parents' Day, July 27. They were honored at a dinner on Sunday in Denver along with 11 other Colorado couples.

Cambodian ibis project wins Responsible Tourism Award

e-Travel Blackboard
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

An ibis project established by the Wildlife Conservation Society in Cambodia has been awarded ‘Wild Asia’s 2007 Responsible Tourism Award’, which rewards the inclusion of environmental responsibility within business strategies.

The ecotourism project, established at Tmatboey in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, protects the only known area where Giant and White-shouldered Ibises breed and are commonly seen.

The birds are found in the forests which surround the village, which are comprised of dipterocarp deciduous trees.The Wild Asia awards intend to dually exemplify responsible tourism businesses, whilst encouraging others to develop Responsible Tourism business strategies.

The award program also shares the best practices of the winning organisations, in an attempt to demonstrate to tourism operators the benefits and ease of implementing responsible practices.Cambodia is home to a variety of eco-tourism resources across many provinces, including the flooded forest, deciduous dipterocarp forests, grasslands, semi evergreen forests, freshwater wetlands and the Tonle Sap Great Lake.

Talking with the Colorado Parents of the Year

Rocky Mountain News
Monday, July 14, 2008

Q: What’s the secret to being good parents?

Kari: I don’t know if we have any secrets other than for us in our situation with kids who were adopted from another country I think one of the few secrets to that is that we experience their walk through understanding their adoption and understanding the loss that goes with losing your country and your birth culture with them.

Meaning that we share the story with them. We talk about the truth of the stories. And we don’t have any hidden information.

I think in adoption that used to be the case. I don’t know if there was shame associated with it or whatever, but people didn’t share the whole truth. And with our kids we’ve been talking about the truth since day one.

Of course, since being adopted means that there’s loss involved, both our kids have to face and learn about loss early in life. And I think that’s a good life skill to have because all of us face losses in our lives.

So as parents we walk through that with them. We celebrate adoption every day. We celebrate who they are and their uniqueness every day. I think that’s one of the things that I’ve always noticed with friends who have non-adopted children, biological children.

Maybe because they look different to us, we really see whom they are coming out. That’s not so much a reflection of who we are, because they don’t look like us. Maybe it’s a little easier to separate yourself and say, watch this person emerging and what can I do to support that, whatever it is, instead of putting my own opinions on it.

George: There was a woman we met a long, long time ago, way before Kari and I were married. And she said the only thing you can really give your children is a happy childhood. We have always remembered that. It was like a runoff line that she gave us and we’ve always tried to do by that and to live by that with the kids.

I think that would be my one advice for all sorts of things: try to give your children a happy childhood. It’s not about money. It’s really about spending time with them and doing things with them and finding out what they’re interested in and kind of playing with them at that level. Because really what they want is your attention and your time and your love.

Q: What would you say were the most challenging aspects of your two adoptions?

George: The first adoption was patience, because at that point we had no children and so you walk by the bedroom that he or she will go in and the fact that once you start the process, a lot of things are beyond your control.

So it requires a lot of patience, a lot of faith and a lot of support for each other while this process is going on. I’d say that’s the biggest thing with the first adoption.

The second one, you already have a child, so you don’t think that much.

Kari: On our second adoption it seemed that the information that we were being given was that Shanti was gross motor delayed. She was older. She was almost two. And so we basically had to sit down and say to ourselves, you know, are we accepting a special needs child, a child that will be physically handicapped?

What could we really infer from this medical information that was coming from across the planet? So it really was kind of a leap of faith.

Interestingly, by the time she came to us, she has totally overcome her gross motor delay.
Apparently she had problems with her legs. They didn’t work properly for the first year. But by the time she came to us she was quite capable of walking and she bounced on the trampoline and now she’s our athletic one. So you know, you just go with it.

Q:What brought you to Cambodia in the first place?

Kari: Before we went on our adoption trip, we, like most folks, didn’t know much about Cambodia other than it was next to Vietnam.

We’d heard of Pol Pot. We’d heard of the Khmer Rouge, but we really didn’t know. And so we were basically praying a lot about adopting.

You get into that world and there’s a lot of information…it’s overwhelming. You just have to step back a bit.

So anyway, we were actually starting the process of adopting from China. Primarily because we were with other people who were adopting from China and they were telling us where to go and what to do.

But one of those people put us on an e-mail list that was four families who had adopted from China. And on that list one day, someone posted a message about these children in Cambodia, that there were all these children waiting to be adopted.

I called it the fatal click because with that click, up came these faces of beautiful children
And I said to George, I have to find out about this. So over the period of the next two weeks, I called everywhere I could find for information about Cambodia and the adoption process.

Then one day, I called my mother. My mother was in Maine. I told her, ‘Mom, you’re not going to believe this but I’ve been learning about Cambodia.’

And she said, Cambodia! I just came from the hairdresser and this woman was there and she had adopted children from Cambodia and I got all the names for you of people to call.
And she started reading them off and I had already called the same people.

And as I was having this conversation, George walked in the door with National Geographic had a cover story about Cambodia and he plopped it down.

And I just looked at him and said: OK. Got it. You don’t need to send any more signals. We got the message.

UNICEF-supported programme cares for Cambodian children living with HIV


UNICEF video
Vanna, 12, receives regular monthly health care, thanks to the UNICEF-supported ‘Friends Helping Friends’ programme in Cambodia.

UNICEF

By Shantha Bloemen

SVAY RIENG PROVINCE, Cambodia, 14 July 2008 – On the veranda of their rural home, 12-year-old Vanna, his twin brother and an older sister race against the natural light to finish their homework. A clock perched between family photos chimes six times as the three orphans and their aunt make the most of the waning day.

At the chime’s reminder, the aunt brings a tray of medicine. Vanna takes the pills in what is for him another race: He is one of at least 6,000 Cambodian children living with HIV.

Vanna’s father died from an AIDS-related illness in 2000. After a year of sickness, his mother also died. It was only then that the children were checked for HIV, and it was only Vanna who tested positive.


Friends Helping Friends’

Six years later, Vanna’s life is not so different than that of his brothers. He still loves to ride his bike, goes to school and helps his siblings with household chores.

Crucial to this life of normalcy has been the UNICEF-supported ‘Friends Helping Friends’ support group at the provincial hospital. Designed especially for children living with HIV and their caregivers, Friends Helping Friends provides opportunities for children to connect with others in similar situations, talk about their lives, play, eat a nutritious lunch and get medical care.

Vanna and his aunt have made the monthly, 15 km journey to the hospital for the past two years.

Clinton Foundation provides medicines

“I enjoy being able to talk and play with other children, who, like me, also have to take medicine everyday,” Vanna says shyly.

With UNICEF funds, a large room in the hospital children’s ward was transformed by colourful animal murals, books and toys. One of UNICEF’s partners, the Clinton Foundation, provides the medicines that Vanna gets after his check-up each month.

UNICEF has played a strong role in supporting paediatric AIDS treatment, refurbishing hospitals and paediatric wards, and providing technical guidance and training related to HIV and AIDS in Cambodia.

Improving care, reducing stigma

“One issue for Cambodia is that many of the facilities are run down and old,” says UNICEF Cambodia’s Chief of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care, Haritiana Rakotomamonjy. “Some of the referral hospitals don’t even have space for keeping children. The refurbishment of the health facilities has helped revive care for all treatment, regardless of a child’s status.”

Cambodia dramatically reduced its rate of HIV infection from 3 per cent in 1997 to just under 1 per cent in 2006. An essential element of that success has been eliminating the social cost of coming forward to get treatment.

In the past, people infected with HIV were often shunned. But stigma and discrimination have been reduced through the expansion of testing facilities, treatment services and support networks such as Friends Helping Friends.

“Cambodia has demonstrated that even with limited resources, you can have a turnaround on such a complex communicable disease,” says UNICEF’s Regional Advisor on HIV/AIDS for East Asia and the Pacific, Wing-Sie Cheng. “Very good leadership and extremely good follow-up ensure that change happens on the ground at the district and provincial levels.”

But with almost half of new infections now among married women and a third of all new infections transmitted from mother to child, there is still a tough race ahead for Cambodia’s children at risk.

Promoting Cambodian Journalism

VOA News

Promoting Cambodian Journalism - Download (MP3)
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Five Cambodian journalists were recently honored by their professional colleagues for outstanding investigative reporting. The five top winners of the Club of Cambodian Journalists’ “Investigative Journalism Awards Competition”, received their awards at a ceremony in Phnom Penh. The competition was organized with the support of the U.S. Embassy, in order to encourage the Cambodian press to play a stronger watchdog role in the country’s nascent democracy and advocate for greater transparency.

Mr. Oum Layum, of Rasmei Kampuchea Newspaper, took first place for his reporting on land disputes and land management issues in Cambodia’s O’Chrov area. Mr. Leang Delux, Miss Ung Chan Sophea, Mr. Hang Sokmony, and Mr. Neth Pheaktra took second through fifth place honors for reporting dealing with issues ranging from the efficiency of public services to charges of medical malpractice.

In his remarks at the awards ceremony, U.S. Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli told the journalists, “By bringing the issues you have written about to the attention of the Cambodian public, you are helping Cambodia to achieve the promise of democracy.”

“It certainly isn’t easy for a journalist to stand up against the authority of a government and the power of the wealthy to tell the people the truths others would seek to keep hidden,” said Ambassador Mussomeli. “Holding government and politicians to account is one of the most important roles the press plays in a vibrant democracy,” he said. Ambassador Mussomeli paid tribute to those journalists who work, often in great danger, to uncover corruption and mismanagement by government officials.

He noted also that “journalists have a responsibility too: to be fair and balanced; to not engage in corruption by accepting bribes or engaging in self-censorship; and of course to always consider accuracy the touchstone of their profession.”

Ambassador Mussomeli said Cambodia has made progress in press freedom. But arrests and intimidation of journalists continue. And lawsuits brought by high government officials restrict free speech and inhibit the watchdog role of the media. Cambodia’s media, said Ambassador Mussomeli, “are the custodians of conscience” for their country.

A Journalist and His Son Murdered

Posted on 15 July 2008
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 5689

By sharing the Declaration of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, we show our shock and our solidarity.

Club of Cambodian Journalists

Members of the Club of Cambodian journalists express their deep concern about press freedom and the security of journalists in Cambodia, after unknown people shot dead Mr. Khim Sambo – 45, a journalist with Moneaksekar Khmer – and his son, at 6:30 p.m. on 11 July 2008 in the center of Phnom Penh.

The Club of Cambodian Journalists is aware that this shooting occurred at a time of heightened security during the election campaign for the fourth term parliamentary election, which will be held on 27 July 2008.

The Club of Cambodian Journalists is shocked hearing about this lamentable murder. The Club of Cambodian Journalists would like to share our sorrow and condolences about the deaths of Mr. Khim Sambo and of his son with the family of the deceased. At the same time, the Club of Cambodian Journalists, which is an independent organization with nearly 200 members countrywide, condemns this murder and calls on the authorities to investigate this event and to arrest the murderers and those who are involved with them, so that they will be sent to court to be prosecuted, based on the law. There is no reason which can justify this murder.

Phnom Penh, 12 July 2008

Club of Cambodian Journalist

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Germany Pledged Euro 1.5 Million to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

“The German Government has pledged to provide Euro 1.5 million, equal to approx. US$2.4 million, for the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“According to an announcement on 11 July 2008, these funds will be provided to the section of the tribunal supporting the victims’ participation in the tribunal, which was created to find justice for people victimized during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.

“Since 2005, Germany has already provided US$5.5 million to support the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. As for the funds pledged now, they are a part of funds to extend the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, after it has been decided that this tribunal will continue until 2010, and therefore more funds to cover the expenses are now needed than projected before.

“Before the proceedings started, US$56.3 million were approved for the tribunal; then, after plans were changed, up to US$143 million were calculated, but only US$86.7 million were approved.

“So far, five [former] Khmer Rouge Leaders have been arrested: the former head of state, Khiev Samphan, the former president of the assembly, Nuon Chea, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ieng Sary, and his wife Ieng Thirith, and Duch, a former chief of the Tuol Sleng Prison of the Khmer Rouge regime.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4640, 13-14.7.2008

US condemns killing of Cambodian journalist

TVNZ, One News
Jul 14, 2008

The United States condemned on Monday the killings of a Cambodian journalist and his son, warning it could have a "chilling effect" on the media ahead of a general election later this month.

The US embassy in Phnom Penh said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was ready to help Cambodian authorities investigate the drive-by shootings of Khim Sam Bo, 47, and his 19-year-old son on Friday.

Also on the weekend, a senior member of the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) was attacked with acid by an unknown assailant, police said.

"Violent, criminal acts such as this can have a chilling effect on the media, and paired with the acid attack against CPP Secretary of State Ngor Srun, risk undermining citizens' confidence in their ability to fully participate in the electoral process in safety and security," the embassy said in a statement.

Cambodia's top opposition Sam Rainsy Party and major journalist guild have also condemned the killings they say are part of a campaign of intimidation in the runup to the July 27 vote Prime Minister Hun Sen is widely expected to win.

"This clearly demonstrates the nature of those in power," the Sam Rainsy Party said on Saturday, adding the killers of opposition politicians in the past were never arrested.

Police said the motive for the killings remain unknown.

On Friday, a gunman on a motorcycle shot five times at the victims as they were leaving a sports stadium.

Khim Sam Bo worked for more than 10 years for the Khmer Conscience (Moneaseka Khmer) newspaper, whose editor Dam Seth was recently accused of defaming Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.

The charges were later dropped.

Colleagues said he had written stories exposing corruption by senior government officials in the Hun Sen government.

Source: Reuters

Cambodia holds big concert to hail Preah Vihear temple as world heritage

www.chinaview.cn
2008-07-15

PHNOM PENH, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia here on Monday held a big concert inside the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh to hail the Preah Vihear temple to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sok An, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and head of the senior Cambodian delegation for applying for the Preah Vihear temple with the World Heritage Committee, presided over the ceremony after arrival from Canada.

Sok An said that the committee banged the hammer to decide to list the Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site after "we showed all documents to implement the UNESCO's requests."

"Listing the Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site showed us that the temple is top Khmer architecture for humanities," he added.

Cambodia's next generation has to preserve it and it is not only Khmer people but also people of the world have to do so, he said.

At the ceremony, thousands of old and young Cambodians wearing T-shirts shouted, waved the national flag and chanted songs on Khmer history while all top Cambodian singers sang the songs in relation with the Preah Vihear temple and land of Preah Vihear with traditional music.

All the 21 members of the World Heritage Committee during its 32nd session unanimously approved the Cambodian application to list the temple as the World Heritage Site in Quebec, Canada, last week.

Fortunately for Cambodia, last minute efforts by the Thai delegation to delay the vote and to have joint management of the temple failed at the current session of the committee.

On June 15, 1962, the International Court of Justice decided toward the ancient Angkorian site at the Cambodian-Thai border to Cambodia over the protest of Thailand.

Editor: Yan Liang

'Selective' Coverage After Murders: Reporter

Moneaksekar Khmer, one of only two opposition newspapers remaining in Cambodia, will be selective in subsequent stories, a staff reporter said.

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

Khmer audio aired 14 July 2008 (1.06 MB) - Download (MP3) Khmer audio aired 14 July 2008 (1.06 MB) - Listen (MP3)

The murders of an opposition journalist and his son in Phnom Penh Friday night have sent a ripple of self-censorship through his old newspaper, journalists said Monday.

Khim Sambor, 47, and his 21-year-old son, Khat Sarinpheata, were gunned down as they drove on a motorbike near Olympic Stadium Friday evening, just 16 days away from a national election.

Khim Sambor died at the scene, and his son died at a local hospital a few hours later. Both men were cremated in a Buddhist ceremony Sunday.

The killings have meant a change in the way Moneaksekar Khmer will operate, the editor said Monday.

"We don't know if there will be other pressure after the murders. We must be very careful, even for security, and in the work," the editor, Dam Sith, said. "We are afraid that if we write something risky, it could bring us in front of accusations."

Dam Sith was held in jail for a week last month following a story he ran implicating Foreign Minister Hor Namhong as a member of the Khmer Rouge.

He was released when Hor Namhong dropped defamation charges against him, and Dam Sith swore at the time to continue his pro-opposition coverage of the country.

Now, his stories will reflect a more cautious editorial approach. Self-censorship on the meaning of story text and the choice of words will change, he said.

"The murder of Khim Sambor is a serious threat against Moneaksekar Khmer," Dam Sith said.
"We are worried now for the whole staff as they are reporting, and when they get back home."

Other Moneaksekar Khmer journalists echoed Dam Sith's concerns.

"We are concerned in accomplishing our jobs," said Vong Sopheak, a reporter for the newspaper.

"We don't know what will happen to us, and so we must be more careful. We don't want to have a confrontation. And now we are selective of the information and selective of the topic."

Khim Sambor had covered politics, including the reporting of stories on government corruption, for the newspaper, which is affiliated with the Sam Rainsy Party.

Human rights groups said his murder was likely due to his reporting. Khim Sambor had reported for many years, and focused on conflicts, election irregularities, illegal logging, fisheries crimes, land grabbing, "which are related to powerful Cambodian officials," the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee said in a statement. His murder was likely related to his reporting, the group said.

The killings were roundly condemned by local and international rights groups.

"Allowing this murder to go unpunished would have a considerable impact on the 27 July elections, and we therefore hope the investigation will produce quick results," Reporters Without Borders said in a statement Saturday.

Moneaksekar Khmer is only one of two opposition newspapers.

A third, Sralanh Khmer, began reporting from a pro-Cambodian People's Party point of view following the defection to the ruling party of its top editor, Thach Keth, who is now a CPP undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Information.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy called Khim Sambor's killing a political assassination and called for an immediate investigation.

"When one who dares to write or argue against those with absolute power is assassinated, the perpetrators behind the killing are never found nor tried according to the law," he said in a statement Saturday. "This clearly demonstrates the nature of those in power."

Sam Rainsy also called for further investigations into murders of other opposition supporters, including labor leader Chea Vichea, parliamentarian Om Rasadie, "as well as countless numbers of journalists, political activists and others."

Police have made no arrests in Friday's killings.

The US Embassy issued a statement Monday offering the help of its Federal Bureau of Investigation office "if requested by the Cambodian government."

CPP Official in Thailand After Acid Attack

By Seng Ratana, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
14 July 2008

Khmer audio aired 14 July 2008 (654 KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 14 July 2008 (654 KB) - Listen (MP3)

A government official injured in an acid attack in Phnom Penh Sunday was sent for treatment in Thailand, but his condition is not critical, a top police official said Monday.

Ngor Srun, a Cambodian People's Party secretary of state for the Council of Ministers, was attacked Sunday afternoon as he had a flat tire changed on his car on Kampuchea Krom Boulevard, Phnom Penh Police Chief Touch Naroth said.

Ngor Srun was treated for several hours at Calmette Hospital and sent to Thailand around 4 pm Sunday afternoon, hospital officials said.

Police will begin an investigation, even though there has been no charges pressed by the victim or his family, Touch Naroth said.

Neither suspects nor motive have been identified, and no one has come forward as a witness, making an investigation difficult, Touch Saroth said.

Ngor Srun was injured on his face and chest, though the injuries were not critical, Touch Naroth said.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, confirmed the attack and the victim's government position, but he declined to give further details.

Prampi Makara District Governor Srun Sroan said he would push for further investigation, but he could not release more information because none had been provided by the family.

Kek Galabru, president of the rights group Licadho, said the case was likely related to a personal conflict.

The use of powerful acids to attack personal rivals is not uncommon in Cambodia. At least eight people, including six men, have been killed in such attacks since 1999, with about 90 men and 90 women reporting attacks, according to Licadho.

Sunday's assault was the first acid attack on a government official and came two days after the shooting murders of an opposition newspaper reporter and his son in Phnom Penh.