Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Govt pushes new border checkpoints


Kasit: ‘Understanding vital to bilateral ties’

via CAAI

Published: 28/09/2010 at 12:00 AM

NEW YORK : The Foreign Ministry is preparing to review a proposal to open new temporary checkpoints along the Cambodian border as part of a plan to restore relations.

The proposal to open new checkpoints was put on hold while relations cooled between the two countries, only thawing recently when the two agreed to return their ambassadors to each other's capital.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya did not specify yesterday where the border checkpoints would be located but said the spots had been picked and would be in areas safe from landmines.

The checkpoints would facilitate the flow of travel and tourism between the two countries, Mr Kasit said, adding the two countries must adhere to the principle of mutual understanding.

The plan would be forwarded for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's consideration soon and the minister expected cooperative efforts between the two countries to begin next month.

The development came after Mr Abhisit met with Cambodian leader Hun Sen late last week in New York for the first time following a series of diplomatic spats that began with Phnom Penh's appointment of ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser last November. The two leaders agreed to exchange information at all levels and to check all facts before reacting publicly to developments.

They also agreed to allow border problems _ particularly the dispute over the Preah Vihear temple _ to be settled by legal processes.

Mr Kasit said he would propose to Phnom Penh that the two countries register the names of Thais and Cambodians who cross the border regularly to forage in forests so that they do not fall victim to human trafficking or end up in illegal trades such as timber logging.

He said the measure would help the two sides react more diplomatically in cases where border encroachment is suspected.

Mr Kasit said his ministry would work with the navy and the Defence Ministry to promote cultural exchange activities in border provinces such as Chanthaburi and Trat.

The minister also said he planned to invite Cambodia's information minister and media representatives from the country to Thailand to prevent further misunderstandings from arising due to inaccurate media reports. The trip would follow up on a recent visit made by Prime Minister's Office Minister Ong-art Klampaibul to Phnom Penh.

Teaneck dentist fixes teeth, raises smiles in Southeast Asiar


via CAAI

Monday, September 27, 2010

BY SACHI FUJIMORI
The Record
STAFF WRITER

In a makeshift dental clinic in Cambodia, set up in a school next to a monastery, where chickens ran free and a six-foot-long pig slept all day, a monk sat down in Dr. Harry Harcsztark's operating chair — actually a folding chair. The crimson-robed holy man refused any anesthesia, as Harcsztark, a dentist from Teaneck with a practice in Kearny, went to work extracting his broken and rotted teeth. "This guy had to be in a lot of pain," said Harcsztark. "He was very stoic and sat there, typical of a monk."

Dr. Harry Harcsztark, in Cambodia during a five-month humanitarian medical mission, with one of the young children, who 'were our best patients.'

Harcsztark, who has a gentle manner and looks like the trimmer brother of the actor Danny DeVito, wanted to make this monk smile, the way he can with most of the patients he's seen over his more than three decades in practice. "We couldn't get him to smile or laugh. I told my translators to tell a joke," said the dentist.

At the end of the procedure, Harcsztark, sweating through his uniform in the 100-degree heat, posed for a picture with the monk, who let out a half-smile. "He was very appreciative," said Harcsztark.

Many poor and rural Cambodians have never seen a dentist. The Southeast Asian nation is still struggling to build its basic medical infrastructure, after the Khmer Rouge's genocidal regime from 1975 to 1979 wiped out 20 percent of the population, targeting doctors, intellectuals and the professional class.

In June, Harcsztark volunteered with a medical mission aboard the USNS Mercy, a Navy hospital ship that anchored for 12 days outside Cambodia to bring U.S.-quality medical care to some 30,000 locals. Powder white and emblazoned with red crosses, the 1,000-bed ship is constructed from a gutted supertanker and is the fifth-largest hospital in the world.

Stopover

The stopover in Cambodia was part of Pacific Partnership 2010, a five-month floating humanitarian mission, in which the USNS Mercy traveled to several Southeast Asian nations, bringing medical care and initiating engineering projects in the host countries. Harcsztark was invited to participate in the military-civilian partnership through the University of California, San Diego Pre-Dental Society, a volunteer organization that coordinated many of the civilian doctors, dentists, nurses and other professionals aboard the ship.

Harcsztark, who has five grown children between the ages of 25 and 31, was looking for adventure and a chance to give back when he signed up for the Cambodian trip. "It's very rewarding to help others, as I get older. And I get to see cultures I never otherwise do see," said Harcsztark, who was an active-duty Navy officer from 1974 to 1976.

The USNS Mercy was brought out of retirement in 2004 to bring disaster assistance to victims of the Asian tsunami. Its subsequent missions have distributed thousands of eyeglasses, surgically corrected cleft lips and palates, removed tumors, and helped bring updated medical equipment to poor areas, but ultimately it's also about building relationships with host countries, said Dr. Irvin Silverstein director of the UCSD Pre-Dental Society. "We're changing people's lives one person at a time, and we're also changing the ways nations and people look at each other. It has become a good diplomatic building block."

These trips, however, are not designed for those seeking a relaxing cruise vacation.

Harcsztark said he worked close to three weeks with only a half-day off. He slept in bunks, stacked three beds high, sharing a room with over 100 men, some of whom snored. Lights went out at 10 p.m. sharp.

Everyone aboard the ship had to wear a uniform at all times. As an Orthodox Jew, Harcsztark had to apply for permission to wear his tallit — prayer shawl — and teffilin — small prayer boxes containing parts of the Torah — for daily prayers. He also had to obtain permission to do his morning prayers on the stern of the ship, careful to stay clear of the helicopter landing pad.

On Saturday, the Shabbat, the day of rest, he had his work assignment switched to the ship's emergency section, which is permissible work under Jewish law because it involves life-saving activities.

Sticking to his kosher diet wasn't a problem while on the ship, he said, and when on land in the communities he subsisted on MRE's (the military acronym for meal, ready-to-eat).

He rose each day at 4:30 a.m. in order to meet a 6 a.m. "bandaid boat," a smaller craft that shuttled crew members and equipment ashore. With about 25 in all working on the dental team, the crew brought along their own generators, sterilization equipment and cell towers to enter all patient information into a computer network.

Harcsztark was assigned to two sites, a hospital and a school, converted into a dental clinic. Upon arriving each morning, he saw hundreds of people lined up waiting to be seen by a dentist. Once checked in, the more complicated cases, such as those needing tumor biopsies or multiple extractions, were sent to the ship to be tended to at the state-of-the-art dental clinic.

Living with pain

Many of the people he treated had been living with pain and abnormal dental conditions for months, if not years. "Some type of cases we treated you rarely see outside of college textbooks," he said. The tooth decay he saw was minimal, however, which he attributes to the Cambodian's diet that is low in processed sugars and candy.

A translator stood by his side at all times to help communicate. And the children were willing patients, opening their mouths wide for his peering flashlight. "They didn't know what a dentist is. They were our best patients," he said.

Though he couldn't get the expressionless monk to laugh, Harcsztark knew exactly what to say to a nervous little girl who took a seat in his dental chair. "You look pretty, are you married yet?" She giggled, he said.

E-mail: fujimori@northjersey.com

Author tells story of two lost photojournalists


George Hamilton, Perry Deane Young and Tim Page visit the spot where photojournalists Sean Flynn and Dana Stone were last seen on Highway 1 near Chi Pou, Cambodia. Contributed photo

By Carolyn Bowers
StarNews Correspondent

Published: Monday, September 27, 2010
via CAAI

Journalist, author and playwright Perry Deane Young will be the guest speaker at the Friends of the Library Southport-Oak Island annual meeting on Tuesday.

He is the author of nine books and three plays.

But to Tricia Foy, Friends of the Library board member and close friend of Young, the man is so much more than that.

“He is a kind of Renaissance man,” she said, “a kind, quiet, gentle man who plays music and plants things. There’s a lot of depth there.”

Foy has a lot to base her description on. Young lived with her family as “one of the basement boys” while he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Foy and Young were both students at UNC at the same time. “He was one year older, and he treated me like a little sister,” she said.

In 1993, Young returned to Chapel Hill to finish his degree, and he visited Foy’s mother, his landlord from some 30 years ago. “He took his keyboard and played and sang to her in the nursing home,” Foy said.

When Foy read Young’s newest book, an updated version of “Two of the Missing: Remembering Sean Flynn and Dana Stone,” which was originally published in 1975, she said, “I didn’t know the adventurer that was in him until I read this book, and I couldn’t put it down.”

The book tells the story of two of Young’s colleagues, Flynn, son of Errol Flynn, and Stone. The two Vietnam war photojournalists rode off on their bright red motorcycles into Communist-held Cambodia on April 6, 1970, and were never seen again.

This updated version, published in 2009, contains 18 pages of pictures of the two of them, many of which have never been published before.

Last April Young returned to Vietnam for a reunion of fellow photojournalists, and he revisited the site where his friends were lost. After 40 years, he concluded that his friends took the risk of crossing the border into Cambodia because they wanted to take pictures and write stories that would “give the world a rare perspective on war from the other side.”

When Foy e-mailed Young asking him if he did “speaking gigs,” Young said, “Sure. Can I bring my books?”

His wide range of books includes “Hanged by a Dream? The Facts Behind the Legend,” the story of Joshua Young, Perry’s grandfather’s first cousin, who was disturbed by an incredible dream or vision. Another is “The Untold Story of Frankie Silver,” a scrupulously researched book that dispels the untruths surrounding the hanging of Frankie Silver, who was accused of cutting her husband’s head off with an ax.

This journalist, playwright, multifaceted author and Renaissance man will talk about the old and the incredibly different, new Vietnam, as well as autograph copies of his books, at the Friends of the Library’s annual meeting.

China's Xi'an signs MOU with Cambodia to enhance economic cooperation

via CAAI

September 27, 2010

Businessmen from China's Xi'an city are interested in investing in Cambodia's electronics, technology and packaging factories for agricultural products, an official from the city said Monday.

Hao Mangxi, head of Xi'an Bureau of Trade and Commerce, is leading a delegation of seven large companies from Xi'an, the capital of China's Shaanxi province, to visit Cambodia. "Firstly, we are interested in technology or electronics--I will inform my people to learn more and invest in the sectors," Hao said on Monday, after the signing ceremony on Memorandum of Understand to further enhance the economic and trade cooperation between Xi'an and Cambodia.

The MoU was signed by Hao Mangxi and the Director General of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, Nguon Meng Tech.

Hao said Xi'an has a lot of companies are specialized in modern technology and electronics such as IT, automobile spare parts and agricultural machinery products.

"We are here to learn more about Cambodia's potentials and will bring the information to tell people and investors to come for business or investment here," he said.

Nguon Meng Tech said that Cambodia's agricultural sector is very potential for foreign investments and Cambodia has a large number of young-educated labors with cheaper labor cost.

"What we need is investors with expertise in technologies to develop agricultural products for exports," he said.

Hao said that the two-way trade between Xi'an and Cambodia was only about 100,000 U.S. dollars per year which is still low compare to other provinces of China.

Source: Xinhua

Teachers Take Sleepy Hollow Education to Cambodia

Lisa Graham (far left) and Claire Heskestad (far right) with their class of Cambodian teachers. Credit Courtesy Photo
Inside the Teachers Without Borders workshop in Cambodia. Credit Courtesy Photo
Lisa Graham (second from left), Claire Heskestad (third from left) with their Cambodian translators. Credit Courtesy Photo

via CAAI

Two high school social studies teachers paid their way to volunteer abroad this summer.


By Sarah Studley
 
Two months off is typically a much-welcomed perk for teachers, but two of Sleepy Hollow High School's social studies instructors took their skills abroad this past summer.

Lisa Graham and Claire Heskestad left behind the newly-renovated high school to help rejuvenate the school system in Cambodia through the non-profit organization Teachers Without Borders.

The colleagues took on the challenge of spending two-and-a-half weeks in Cambodia, a nation whose people, buildings and education system were demolished during the genocide and rule of the Khmer Rouge during the 1970s.

"This country is still suffering," said Graham. "They threw away all of the talent—lawyers, architects, engineers, teachers."

Graham heard about the opportunity to volunteer in Cambodia through a list serve and jumped at the opportunity, inviting Heskestad, a friend and co-worker, to join.

After months of paperwork and administrative procedures, the duo fronted their own funds to pay for the trip and left on June 30 to teach at a workshop created for Cambodia's educators, who generally make around $40 a month.

Heskestad and Graham designed their own curriculum and provided materials for the program designed to teach Cambodian teachers new techniques and lesson ideas.

The two taught teachers, who ranged in education from middle school to college graduates, in a Cambodian school, while enduring 100-plus degree weather with 100 percent humidity. The school did not have electricity, which is typical for the struggling nation.

"They mostly just [have students] copy off of the board," said Graham. "We modeled interactive methods in terms of what students could do together. That's really new to the teachers."

Graham added having the teachers move desks around into groups was "sort of a big deal," as was raising their hands and coming up to the front of the classroom.

"We realized the teachers needed to make supplies for their classrooms," said Heskestad. "We had them make their own world maps they could take home and use."

Both Graham and Heskestad said the language barrier proved to be a challenge, but they compensated with their experience working with ESL students. Graham, who is fluent in Spanish and Heskestad who is a native of France, used two translators and minimal writing to make the lessons as clear as possible.

"Having a second language helped in terms of being careful with language," said Graham. "It's hard when you have a translator, but they were so sweet and really patient."

Graham said the teachers especially enjoyed the use of a jeopardy game to relay important facts in the social sciences, a universally-understood and effective teaching method.

By the end of the workshop, Heskestad and Graham felt they had provided the teachers with the necessary tools to become better educators in their own classrooms, as well as the leadership skills to help other Cambodian teachers adopt new methods in the future.

The 20 teachers in their class made traditional Cambodian skirts for Graham and Heskestad as a thank you.

"They were really thrilled," said Heskestad. "They were all very receptive and did enjoy themselves."

Upon returning, but not before spending a few additional weeks in Vietnam, the two shared their experience with the Tarrytown Teacher's Association, hoping to garner additional interest in the program.

"We're thinking of going back next year and bringing some other teachers," said Heskestad. "A lot of the time teachers don't realize the need for their expertise."

Foreign ministry plans to revive ties with Cambodia


Published: 27/09/2010

via CAAI

The Foreign Ministry is drafting a plan to revive Thai-Cambodian ties, with cooperation from many sectors and many levels, and will forward its recommendations to the cabinet for approval soon, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said on Monday.

The foreign minister's remarks follow the meeting between Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Sunday.

During the half hour meeting they agreed that warm relations between the two neighbours are vital for the benefit of their people.

The diplomatic standoff between the two countries resulted in part from Cambodia’s unilateral management plan for the environs of the ancient Preah Vihear temple that sits on disputed border land claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia.

Mr Kasit, who also attended the UN General Assembly in New York, said he will start the drafting process once he returns to Bangkok and expects to forward it for the prime minister's approval soon.

The plan to restore the relationship with Cambodia includes operations and activities at both local and central levels, Mr Kasit said. For local operations, the ministry will coordinate with the 2nd Army Region, the Thai navy and with the governors of provinces adjacent to the Cambodian border.

Cultural, sports and academic exchange activities between the peoples of the two countries will be held, while medical and humanitarian aid as well as landmine clearance and disposal operations will be conducted mutually, he said.

"We also want to seek cooperation with Cambodian authorities in the registration of Thais and Cambodians living along the borders, and foragers, in order to avoid violence in case they stray and accidentally trespass into the other country's territory," said Mr Kasit.

"Troops of both sides can contact each other. When a problem occurs, they should talk to avoid the use of violence and must be able to identify and differentiate local residents and people foraging along the border from criminal rings.

"We must speed up joint operations in suppressing criminals and syndicate smugglers," Mr Kasit said.

He more border checkpoints should be opened to facilitate trade, transportation and tourism along the border, but the checkpoints should be opened only in appropriate areas, not in disputed areas or areas where there is a risk of stepping on landmines.

The policy at the central level involves assistance in development roles in various fields and will cover operations for the new fiscal year which begins in October, he said.

Mr Kasit expressed hope that th eCambodian information minister and the Cambodian media will accept his invitation to visit Thailand and discuss the dispute. This would help create better understanding between the two nations.

Angkor butterfly hunters tell of poverty amid tourist wealth

via CAAI

Siem Reap still one of Cambodia's poorest parts as package trips and foreign-owned businesses swallow visitors' cash

Ben Doherty in Siem Reap
guardian.co.uk
Monday 27 September 2010

Children in Siem Reap hunt for butterflies to sell. More than half of all families in the province live below the poverty line, on less than 80p a day. Photograph: Ben Doherty for the Guardian

Boa is 19, the sixth of 11 children. With all of his family, he lives in a small thatched two-room house on the outskirts of Siem Reap.

Three mornings a week, he and his siblings, along with a gaggle of children from his ramshackle suburb, walk the two kilometres to the neighbouring forest carrying makeshift nets fashioned from long branches, wire and plastic bags. They go to catch butterflies.

"We have to catch butterflies to sell because we are a poor family. We have no money. The money we make is to help the family, for food and to go to school. Without this, we cannot go to school," Boa said through an interpreter.

The butterflies they catch – usually between 60 and 100 between them – they bring to the Butterflies Garden Restaurant in Siem Reap town. They are released inside the restaurant's massive net, to flutter around the diners sitting in the garden café. For their toil, the children are paid about 5,000 riel (80p) each.

"But still, we don't all go to school," Boa says. "Some have to stay home to help the family. But everyone has to help catch butterflies."Despite the annual flood of international tourists to the Angkor temples and the estimated £380m they are predicted to bring this year, Siem Reap remains one of the poorest parts of Cambodia.

More than half of all families live below the poverty line, surviving on less than 80p a day. Four villages in 10 have no access to safe drinking water and 53% of all children are malnourished. Literacy rates are some of the lowest in the country, at 64%, and just 10% of children finish high school. "Siem Reap is one of the poorest provinces of Cambodia, which is a bit weird seeing the number of tourists going there," said Philippe Delanghe, the head of the UN's culture unit in Cambodia. "I only hope that in the future we might be able to help people living around Angkor Wat to improve their livelihoods, which hasn't really been the case until now."

The majority of tourists' money is spent with foreign-owned hotels, tour companies and restaurants. Many package tourists spend a week in Siem Reap without visiting a local business.

Ticket sales from the Angkor temples, worth about £19m a year, are split between government coffers in Phnom Penh (some of which is redirected back to the Angkor management authority) and a petrol company called Sokimex.

The anomaly of such out-of-town wealth surrounded by so much local poverty grows more stark every tourist season.

Suko Om, the manager of the Butterflies Garden Restaurant, says it spends between £250 and £315 a month buying butterflies from about 25 local children.

The business also offers jobs to older children, as well as access to a local school, food and even a place to sleep. But he still feels the restaurant is working at the edges of a larger, systemic problem.

"There is revenue coming into Siem Reap because of the tourists, but most of the businesses are foreign-owned. Almost all of the money just goes straight back out."

Cambodia launches 5-year plan to tackle corruption

via CAAI

Mon Sep 27, 2010

By Prak Chan Thul

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia unveiled a five-year plan on Monday aimed at fighting rampant graft and attracting foreign investment in one of Asia's poorest and most corrupt countries.

Among the measures are mandatory asset declarations for more than 100,000 state officials, anti-graft classes in schools and channels for the public to report allegations of corruption and extortion by government employees.

"There is no exception for anyone in this strategic plan," Keo Remy, spokesman for the National Council for Anti-Corruption, told a news conference.

"The most important goal is to push for economic development ... we want to better promote investment, which would make our peoples' livelihoods better."

Cambodia was ranked the 158th most corrupt country in the world last year according to an index of 180 nations compiled by anti-graft watchdog Transparency International.

Analysts say graft has been a factor that has squeezed foreign investment in the Southeast Asian nation as it grapples with dire poverty exacerbated by decades of war and political upheaval including the 1975-79 "Killing Fields" regime.

Reforms are underway to improve infrastructure, boost energy production and develop the agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and mining sectors, but deep-rooted corruption limits investor interest.

"This should play a major role in improving public sector governance in Cambodia," said Peter Brimble, an Asian Development Bank economist. "This is likely to strengthen the investment climate and enhance confidence among the business community."

The International Monetary Fund said in a statement the measures "could significantly reduce the cost of doing businesses, and thereby improve Cambodia's international competitiveness."

Keo Remy said his council faced a huge task because corruption was deeply ingrained in society, but he said non-government organisations were proactive in identifying state bodies who were siphoning off money.

Vorn Pao, the president of Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association, told Reuters 11 groups would lodge a complaint with the council on Monday against tax officials whom he alleged were pocketing a $1 million (640,000 pounds) a year from vehicle road tax fees.

(Editing by Martin Petty)

Despite pressure from brands, no deal yet in garment dispute talks

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/

via CAAI

Sep 27, 2010

Phnom Penh - Cambodian garment unions failed to agree a remuneration deal with manufacturers on Monday, but said they would meet later in the week to continue talks.

The lack of a deal came despite a letter from major international clothing manufacturers, such as the Adidas Group, pushing for an equitable solution.

Monday's meeting followed a four-day strike a fortnight ago that cost the industry an estimated 15 million dollars. Unions had complained that a July deal to increase the monthly minimum wage by five dollars to 61 dollars was insufficient.

Speaking to the German Press Agency dpa on Monday, union leader Ath Thorn said representatives from unions, the government and the Garment Manufacturers' Association of Cambodia (GMAC) would meet again on Wednesday.

Ath Thorn said the government had pressured manufacturers to drop a slew of legal cases filed against dozens of unionists and workers over the strike.

And he said unions would push for improved benefits rather than a higher minimum wage.

'Sixty-one dollars is not enough, but we don't have a choice because this (agreement) is binding so I stop with that,' he said. 'In general we are not happy with the minimum wage at 61 dollars, but we will continue to try with other benefits.'

A representative from GMAC was unavailable for comment.

The meeting was preceded by a letter from five international clothing companies: the Adidas Group, Levi Strauss and Co, Gap Inc, H&M Hennes & Mauritz, and the Walt Disney Company.

In their letter, which was addressed to Cambodia's minister of commerce, the unions and GMAC, the brand owners said they were watching the direction of events 'with great concern.'

They urged the parties to find a solution that was 'inclusive of all parties' concerns and provides longer term stability for the industry.'

'As buyers in Cambodia it is important that we can see mature industrial relations taking place, and that the process respects and includes all parties and stakeholders,' they said. The garment manufacturing industry is Cambodia's largest foreign exchange earner, with the bulk of exports sent to the United States and the European Union. The global economic crisis hammered the industry, which accounted for 15 percent of gross domestic product in 2008 and two-thirds of exports.

The Ministry of Labour said 93 factories closed last year with the loss of almost 70,000 jobs and dramatic cuts in overtime in other factories.

Cambodian gov't holds meeting to help solve garment workers' strike

via CAAI

September 27, 2010

A committee will be set up to help solve the dispute between stakeholders and garment workers, a Cambodian official said on Monday.

after a meeting with about 60 stakeholders, Ith Samheng, minister of social welfares, veterans and youth rehabilitation said that it has been agreed that a committee will be set up to help end the dispute over wages and allowance for garment workers.

The Cambodian government held the meeting with representatives from garment factories and labor unions to seeking way to resolve garment workers' strikes that had happened on Sept. 13-16.

The government also urged the two confronting parties to put an end to any strikes.

At Thon, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union claimed that about 210,000 workers from 95 factories had joined the strikes, demanding their proper salary from the current offer of 61 U.S. dollars to 93 U.S. dollars per month.

However, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia ( GMAC) acknowledged that 30 factories in the garment and footwear industry suffered during the four days of strikes and demonstration which were joined by about 20,000 workers.

Days after the strikes temporarily put off, Cambodia's garment association claimed a total loss of about 15 million U.S. dollars.

The four-day strikes ended after the government had pledged to organize a meeting on Sept. 27 between union leaders, representatives of garment workers and their employers.

At present, garment industry employs about 300,000 Cambodians, mostly women, in more than 300 factories around the country.

GMAC is representing all exporting garment factories in Cambodia.

Source: Xinhua

Top brands fret about Cambodia garment industry unrest

Tens of thousands of textile workers staged a four-day walkout earlier this month, demanding higher wages

via CAAI

PHNOM PENH — Clothing brands Adidas, Gap, H&M and Levi's expressed "great concern" at recent unrest in the Cambodian garment industry, as talks between unions and manufacturers kicked off on Monday.

Tens of thousands of textile workers staged a four-day walkout earlier this month to demand higher wages -- the latest bout of industrial action in Asia.

In a letter sent to unions and the Garment Manufacturers' Association in Cambodia (GMAC) on Friday and seen by AFP on Monday, the major foreign buyers said they had been closely following the recent developments in the industry.

"It is now with great concern that we watch the direction the process is taking," they wrote.

The letter -- which was also signed by The Walt Disney Company -- urged both sides to find a "long-term solution" and called for "mature industrial relations".

GMAC secretary general Ken Loo said nothing had been agreed in the first meeting between manufacturers and unions on Monday, and both sides are to submit a list of five negotiators to the Ministry of Labour by Wednesday.

He added that the unions had not pressed for a minimum wage increase -- GMAC had made clear beforehand that was not an option -- but asked for an attendance bonus, a seniority bonus, daily food allowances and a living wage allowance.

Ken Loo said there was room to negotiate about the allowances and a deal "is possible."

Union leader Ath Thun, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, told AFP: "We are hopeful that we will get those demands because all sides have agreed to negotiate to end the issue."

The garment industry is a key source of foreign income for Cambodia and employs about 345,000 workers.

The strike followed a deal between the government and industry that set the minimum monthly wage for garment staff at 61 dollars, whereas unions want a base salary of 93 dollars.

Unions say about 200,000 workers took part in the walkout but GMAC puts the number at just 45,000, with only around half that actually picketing outside the factory.

The strike ended on September 16 when the government arranged talks between the two sides.

In New York, Hun Sen, Abhisit Agree to Diffuse Tension

Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer

New York City Monday, 27 September 2010
 
via CAAI
 
Photo: By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Prime Minister Hun Sen (left) met with his Thai counterpart, Abhisit Vejjajiva (right) at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel's room for border talk at the sideline of US-ASEAN Summit.

Speaking to VOA Khmer ahead of the meeting Saturday afternoon, Abhisit said he hoped for a “good conversation.” He declined to comment on whether Thailand would seek concessions from Cambodia in order to solve the border issue.

Prime Minister Hun Sen met with his Thai counterpart, Abhisit Vejjajiva, on Friday, as both agreed to move toward peaceful resolution of a contentious border issue that has turned into a nearly intractable row.

Speaking to VOA Khmer ahead of the meeting Saturday afternoon, Abhisit said he hoped for a “good conversation.” He declined to comment on whether Thailand would seek concessions from Cambodia in order to solve the border issue.

Both sides claim a small stretch of land west of the clifftop temple of Preah Vihear and have heavily armed troops entrenched along the border. Only recently did the two sides restore diplomatic ties, after a spat last year over the hiring of ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser to Hun Sen.

On Friday afternoon, Hun Sen arrived ahead of Abhisit at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel's room for border talk at the sideline of US-ASEAN Summit. The two men greeted each other warmly, and Abhisit requested they talk one on one. In a small sideroom, the two men talked as their foreign ministers waited outside for approximately half an hour.

Prior to the meet, Surin Pitsowan, the secretary-general for Asean, told VOA Khmer it was a “good sign” the two had decided to meet at the “highest level.”

Abhisit declined to comment following the meeting, and Hun Sen was walled off by security.

But Prak Sokhon, a close adviser to Hun Sen, told reporters the meeting had been positive. Both men agreed to avoid confrontation and not to add more troops along the border. They also agreed to strengthen agreements and cooperation to alleviate the border tension, he said.

The two are expected to meet again early next month in another Asean meeting in Europe, as well as Hanoi.

Small Demonstration Greets Hun Sen in New York

Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer

New York City Monday, 27 September 2010

via CAAI
 
Photo: By Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer
Around 20 Cambodians gathered outside the UN offices in New York on Saturday, to demonstrate against Prime Minsiter Hun Sen ahead of meetings with US and Asean officials.

“We do not prohibit any kind of rebuke, but the criticism must be constructive, not just like suffocating throats and pulling wings. No matter what different point of view you have, we respect it. But I would only like to tell you that if you love the nation, we must unite, no matter what disagreements we have on some issues.”

Around 20 Cambodians gathered outside the UN offices in New York on Saturday, to demonstrate against Prime Minsiter Hun Sen ahead of meetings with US and Asean officials.

They carried placards reading, “Hun Sen must respect human rights;” “Hun Sen must stop illegal evictions in Cambodia;” “Hun Sen must stop using the court to silence opposition voices;” and “Hun Sen is a tyrant, mafia, a traitor.”

Protesters said they were concerned over Cambodia's human rights record and inability to solve longstanding border disputes with its neighbors. And the demonstration came as Hun Sen was to meet US leaders, including President Barack Obama, and Asean officials, including sideline talks with Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva over border issues.

Michael Duong, the main organizer of the rally, said all the issues needed to be solved.

But Cambodia's Foreign Affairs Ministry said the protest was not constructive.

“We do not prohibit any kind of rebuke, but the criticism must be constructive, not just like suffocating throats and pulling wings,” said Ouch Borith, a secretary of state for the ministry. “No matter what different point of view you have, we respect it. But I would only like to tell you that if you love the nation, we must unite, no matter what disagreements we have on some issues.”

Consulate Vows To Help Cambodians 'Unconditionally'

Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer

Philadelphia Monday, 27 September 2010

via CAAI

Photo: By Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer
Sok Savoeun, the newly appointed consular.

“Today I want to make clear to all of you that the main mission of either the embassy or the consulates is to serve all people regardless of their political tendencies and beliefs. We will serve you unconditionally.”

Cambodia opened a consulate office in Philadelphia, Penn., on Saturday, the third of its kind, aimed at serving Cambodian nationals and attracting tourism and investment.

Located on the ground floor of a building in the north of the city, the five-by-fifteen-meter office will certify documents and work with Cambodians facing issues like deportation, officials said.

“The opening of the general consulate is to help functions for our people who live in the US, to use it as a bridge for people in Philadelphia to our motherland,” Ouch Borith, secretary of state for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told a crowd of about 100 Saturday.

Cambodia already has consulates in Seattle, Wash., and Lowell, Mass., in addition to its embassy in Washington.

Officials also moved to put aside concerns that these offices were extensions of the ruling Cambodian People's Party.

“Today I want to make clear to all of you that the main mission of either the embassy or the consulates is to serve all people regardless of their political tendencies and beliefs,” he said. “We will serve you unconditionally.”

“I am committed to serve the interests of the Cambodian people,” said Sok Savoeun, the newly appointed consular. “I will try my best to help as much as I can, regardless of your political parties. So long as you are Cambodians, I will do my best to serve you.”

Tribunal Investigating Judge Leaves After Indictments

Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer

Phnom Penh Monday, 27 September 2010
 
via CAAI
 
Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Marcel Lemonde, co-investigating judge for the Khmer Rouge tribunal, gestures during an interview with the Associated Press at his office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2007.

“I have many projects. I have scheduled for a long time to do other things after Cambodia. I will be traveling, writing and I have scheduled as well a personal project. It will not be a passive retirement, you'll see.”

Now that indictments are in for four senior Khmer Rouge leaders, international tribunal investigating judge Marcel Lemonde will resign from the UN-backed court.

In an interview with VOA Khmer Friday, Lemonde said he hoped his successor, German judge Siegfried Blunk, would carry the tribunal forward for Cambodian victims of the Khmer Rouge.

“I take my retirement absolutely,” Lemonde told VOA Khmer. He would not only be retiring from the hybrid court, but from the French judiciary as well. However, he said he would not have an inactive retirement.

“I have many projects,” he said. “I have scheduled for a long time to do other things after Cambodia. I will be traveling, writing and I have scheduled as well a personal project. It will not be a passive retirement, you'll see.”

Lemonde joined the tribunal in the office of co-investigating judges in 2006. He had planned to stay three years, he said, but he ended up staying for four.

Lemonde's office oversaw the indictment and trial of Khmer Rouge torture chief Duch, as well as the investigations and indictments of four senior Khmer Rouge leaders on atrocity charges, including genocide.

He also sought, without the public support of his Cambodian counterpart, You Bunleng, the testimony of six senior government officials, who have all so far ignored the summonses. He also unilaterally began an investigation of five more unnamed Khmer Rouge suspects, following a motion by the international prosector that divided the court.

Still, Lemonde told reporters earlier this month he had been satisfied with his efforts in the tribunal and his partnership with You Bunleng.

Sam Rainsy 'Not Surprised' by 10-Year Sentence

Pin Sisovann, VOA Khmer

Washington, D.C Monday, 27 September 2010
 
via CAAI
 
Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Cambodian opposition party leader Sam Rainsy, stands in front of the municipal court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

“I am not surprised. Instead, it encourages me, because if the Phnom Penh government has its court sentence me, it means I am right.”

Following a court decision last week that sentenced Sam Rainsy to 10 years in prison, the exiled opposition leader maintained in an interview the cases against him are political.

“I am not surprised,” Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer in a question-and-answer session, reacting to a court decision. “Instead, it encourages me, because if the Phnom Penh government has its court sentence me, it means I am right.”

Sam Rainsy was convicted of forgery and disinformation, after he published a map alleging Vietnamese land encroachment on his party's website.

“It would worry me if the government praised me,” he said. “Given that the government mistreats people and serves a foreign country, it is good for me that they are angry with me. On the contrary, if it praised me, people would suspect me. The conviction tells people that I am loyal to the nation.”

Sam Rainsy has said he expects an international political solution to this case and a second, as he was not defending his own property but that of Cambodia.

Government officials have denied Vietnamese land encroachment and say the map he distributed on the website was forged and made false claims.

Sam Rainsy said the case involves both Cambodia and Vietnam, which makes it international in scope.

“My conviction was internationally, politically motivated and needs an international solution,” he said.

He also denied a request to European parliamentarians for help signaled concern for his party and may reflect the difficulties of leading from abroad. But he said Cambodia had been saved once by international intervention in its civil war against the Vietnamese-backed government of the 1980s.

“I'm neither worried about myself or the Sam Rainsy Party,” he said. “I'm worried about Cambodia. If I cared about myself, I would not have become a politician.”

He was also optimistic a political solution could be found. He cited the return of Prime Minister Hun Sen's onetime political rival, Prince Norodom Ranarridh, who was also in exile prior to the 2008 elections, as an example. And he dismissed comments from ruling party officials that said his appeal for international intervention had sullied Cambodia's image.

Sam Rainsy also expressed optimism for the long term and urged Cambodians to work together.

“Nothing is immortal,” he said. “When Pol Pot controlled Cambodia, no one expected Pol Pot to be toppled. But those who mistreat people will vanish like Pol Pot.”

Cambodia sets out plans to fight corruption

Cambodian men drive their motor taxis loaded with goods and passengers along a street in Phnom Penh on June 7. Cambodia has laid out plans to tackle graft in one of the world's most corrupt nations, in an attempt to reassure foreign investors.…

via CAAI

Mon Sep 27, 2010

PHNOM PENH (AFP) – Cambodia on Monday laid out plans to tackle graft in one of the world's most corrupt nations, in an attempt to reassure foreign investors.

The National Council for Anti-Corruption, a new body, said it had adopted a five-year plan that would include mandatory asset declarations for more than 100,000 state officials.

Council spokesman Keo Remy said the asset declarations would start early next year.

Cambodia was ranked 158th worst out of 180 countries on anti-graft organisation Transparency International's most recent corruption perception index.

It was also ranked the second most corrupt Southeast Asian nation after Indonesia in an annual poll by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy earlier this year.

Keo Remy told AFP that the council aims to improve "the national economy and the standard of living for the people, as well as to gain confidence for foreign investment."

Rampant corruption has harmed the country's image in the eyes of foreign investors and donors.

In an effort to change a culture of corruption that has permeated levels of society, the council said it wants to organise anti-graft lessons in schools and universities across the country.

It also plans to launch ways for the public to report corruption and extortion attempts by government officials, such as a hotline and a website.

"Under our crackdown nobody will be forgiven for corruption," Keo Remy said.

In March, the government approved a long-awaited anti-corruption law that could see officials jailed for up to 15 years if convicted of accepting bribes.

The law allowed for the creation of the anti-corruption council and an anti-corruption unit to oversee investigations, but critics said it was unlikely either body would be effective because both would be controlled by the ruling party.

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press


via CAAI

King Leaves for Shanghai World Expo 2010

Phnom Penh, September 27, 2010 AKP -- His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, departed here this morning for China to attend the celebration of China's National Pavilion Day at Shanghai World Expo 2010.

The visit is made at the invitation of President of the People’s Republic of China H.E. Hu Jintao, Mr. Om Daravuth, official of the king’s cabinet told reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport.

The Cambodian monarch was seen off by Senate President Samdech Akka Moha Thamma Pothisal Chea Sim, National Assembly President Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin and Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, many high-ranking officials and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia H.E. Pan Guangxue, as well as other members of the Royal family.

King Sihamoni will also visit Cambodia’s pavilion and other countries' national pavilions.

China's National Pavilion Day at Shanghai World Expo will be celebrated on Oct. 1, the Chinese National Day.

During his stay in China, the king will also pay a visit to King-Father Norodom Sihanouk and Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk who are currently in Beijing for medical checkup and treatment, said Mr. Om Daravuth. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)

-------------------

NA President Returns Home

Phnom Penh, September 27, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian National Assembly delegation led by its president Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin returned home on Sept. 25 from Hanoi, Vietnam after joining the 31st ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-31).

Speaking at a press conference at Phnom Penh International Airport, H.E. Cheam Yeap, chairman of NA Committee on Economy, Finance, Banking and Audit, said the AIPA-31, presided over by Vietnamese NA President H.E. Nguyen Phu Trong, has approved a wide range of resolutions regarding security, politics, economic cooperation, culture and society, climate change, disaster management, prevention of infectious diseases, protection of water resources in the Mekong region, human resource development, enhancement of female parliamentarians’ role, and maternal and child health improvement, etc.

H.E. Cheam Yeap also told reporters of the meeting between Cambodian NA President Samdech Heng Samrin and his newly-elected Indonesian counterpart. The meeting was aimed at strengthening the ties of solidarity, friendship and cooperation between the legislative bodies of the two countries, he said.

Cambodia will host the 32nd AIPA in 2011. --AKP

(By LIM Nary)

-------------------

Cambodian-Thai Leaders’ Talk Is a Success

Phnom Penh, September 27, 2010 AKP -- The meeting last Friday between Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen and his Thai counterpart Abhisit Vejjajiva on the sidelines of the ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meeting was a success.

Delegate Minister attached to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers of Cambodia H.E. Prak Sokhon told reporters at a press conference at Phnom Penh International Airport on Sept. 26 upon the return of the Cambodian delegation led by Samdech Techo Hun Sen from attending the 2nd ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ Meeting held on Sept. 24 in New York.

The 40-minute talk is aimed at increasing the mutual understanding and at discussing joint measures to further promote the bilateral cooperation between the two neighboring countries, Cambodia and Thailand, said H.E. Prak Sokhon.

On the initiative of Samdech Techo Hun Sen, both leaders agreed on four key points – avoid armed confrontation on the border, promote the cooperation on exchange of arts and sports, examine the possibility to open Stung Bot border checkpoint for trade exchange promotion, and jointly monitor on press reports to prevent misinterpretation, he added.

According to Delegate Minister H.E. Prak Sokhon, Samdech Techo Hun Sen and Abhisit Vejjajiva planned to meet again at the upcoming Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Brussels and ASEAN Summit in Hanoi.

During his stay in New York, the Cambodian premier has also met with Cambodian people living in the U.S. and Canada. On the occasion, Samdech Techo Hun Sen welcomed and appreciated their support and active contribution, both financial and spiritual, to the reconstruction of Cambodia. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)

-------------------

Cambodia PM Message on 31st WTD

Phnom Penh, September 27, 2010 AKP -- On the occasion of the 31st World Tourism Day (Sept. 27) under the theme of “Tourism and Biodiversity”, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen has sent his appreciation of national and international achievements, more commitment to link tourism and biodiversity to fight poverty, and the call for cooperation from all stakeholders.

In his message, Samdech Techo said, “I highly praised the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) which has dynamically endeavored in stimulating the global tourism movement and promoting the valuable, vital role of tourism sector by mitigating the climate change whilst the world is being concerned about the continued loss of biodiversity and the global warming.”

“Cambodia has considered tourism as Green Gold because it plays vital role in improving the livelihood of locals, mainly local communities at the tourist sites. With just the first seven months of 2010, Cambodia witnessed an increase of international arrivals of 13.85 percent while domestic tourism remarkably increased 11.5 percent...The tourism sector development of Cambodia contributes approximately 10 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” the message further said.

“I would like to appeal to all citizens, ministries, institutions, relevant authorities, private sector, national and international NGOs, please continue supporting and actively contributing to the development of Cambodia’s tourism sector by participating actively with a sense of high responsibility in the preservation and protection of cultural asset and environment; promoting tourism product and service; maintaining peace, tourism safety and security; keeping smiles and traditional friendliness of our citizens; welcoming with warm hospitality in the sense of good cooperation, especially strongly participating in the emulation movement of “Clean City, Clean Resort, Good Service” in order to suitably develop Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder, and becomes a very attractive world-class tourist destination in the region and the globe which tourists can feel the warmth,” concluded the message. --AKP

(By MOM Chan Dara Soleil)

-------------------

New Peace Corps Volunteers Take Oath

Phnom Penh, September 27, 2010 AKP -- The new Cambodia’s Peace Corps Volunteers have taken an oath after being trained in Khmer language and culture, health care and teaching skills.

The swearing-in ceremony was held on Sept. 23 at the National Institute of Education under the presidency of Acting Prime Minister H.E. Sar Kheng and U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Mrs. Carol A. Rodley.

The 50-member group, the fourth of its kind, has lived nine weeks with Cambodian families in local communities, said John Dara, Peace Corps country director, adding that the group is going to spend another two years living with Cambodian families.

U.S. Ambassador Mrs. Carol A. Rodley said Peace Corps is proud to work with Cambodian side in English teaching, health care, construction of school libraries, etc.

For his part, H.E. Sar Kheng highly evaluated Peace Corps’ determination and activities, considering them as an important contribution to Cambodian government’s endeavors in alleviating poverty.

“The presence of Peace Corps Volunteers in Cambodia does not only contributes to the country development and experience exchange between Cambodian and American peoples, but also to the dissemination of Cambodian culture and tradition, as well as the real situation in Cambodia to the American community,” he underlined.

On the occasion, H.E. Sar Kheng called on Peace Corps to expand its aid program to the fields of agriculture and trade. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)

-------------------

DPM Sok An Calls on Japan to Help in the development of Cambodia’s OVOP Project

Phnom Penh, September 27, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Sok An told Mr. Igusa Kunio, an expert in the “One Village, One Product” last Thursday that Cambodia has built a new US$500,000 market in Kirivong district in the southern province of Takeo.

Dr. Sok An, also minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers (OCM), said that he has two trucks available to transport the farmers’ crops to the market free of charge, according to OCM’s Press and Quick Reaction Unit.

Mr. Igusa Kunio said he was impressed with H.E. Sok An’s commitment, but he suggested that the government should launch a campaign to encourage and educate farmers on the benefits that can be derived from the “One Village, One Product” concept before they join the project. This is scheduled to be held on Sept. 28, 2010 with the participation of Japanese officials.

H.E. Sok An also said that the implementation of the “One Village, One Product” policy was to encourage farmers to increase production and processing of their agricultural crops to meet the demands of local and foreign markets. This will help the country in its poverty reduction efforts.

Cambodia’s poverty line is now said to be at 27.4 percent down from the estimated 50 percent in 1993.

The Cambodian deputy prime minister H.E. Sok An also said that the government will buy the farmers’ products, if they are in too much of a demand and will, supply it to soldiers who are based on the frontlines at Preah Vihear province.

The One Village, One Product (OVOP) National Committee of the Kingdom of Cambodia was established in 2006 on the initiative of Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia. --AKP

-------------------

Cambodia Marks 17th Anniversary of the Constitution Day

Phnom Penh, September 27, 2010 AKP -- The 17th Anniversary of the Constitution Day (Sept. 24) of the Kingdom of Cambodia was held here last Thursday under the auspices of H.E. Ek Sam Ol, chairman of the Constitutional Council.

Addressing the ceremony, H.E. Ek Sam Ol recalled the lessons and experiences related to the writing of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia in 1993 as well as the amendments in the following years.

H.E. Ek Sam Ol pointed out that the constitution is the top law of Cambodia. It has 16 chapters and 158 articles. --AKP

(By KHAN Sophirom)

-------------------

France Pledges to Provide More Scholarships to Cambodian Students

Phnom Penh, September 27, 2010 AKP -- The French government will continue to provide its assistance for the development of Cambodia’s health sector.

The comment was made known by the French Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Jean-François Desmazières, during his meeting with Cambodian Minister of Health H.E. Mam Bun Heng last Thursday in Phnom Penh.

France will continue to provide scholarships to 50 Cambodian Medical students a year, he added.

The French ambassador, who is going to end his mission in Cambodia soon, highly valued the latest development in the health service in the Kingdom, especially the fight against infectious diseases by reducing the infection and mortality rate.

He further expressed appreciation for the good cooperation between the two countries in the field of health care.

In reply, H.E. Mam Bun Heng profoundly thanks the Government of France for its support and assistance to Cambodia, especially in the health sector.

France has helped train Cambodia’s human resources at the University of Health Sciences, Calmette Hospital and the Institute of Pasteur; and build many medial infrastructures. --AKP

(By Noeu)

-------------------

Conferment of Medals for Chinese Engineers and Technicians

Phnom Penh, September 27, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian Senate has decided to give medals to 24 Chinese engineers and technicians for their efforts in the repairing and upgrading project of library and office buildings.

The medals were conferred on the Chinese engineers and technicians by H.E. Um Sarith, general secretary of the Senate in a ceremony held on Sept. 23 in the auditorium of the Senate.

H.E. Um Sarith said the conferment of the medals is to express gratitude to the engineers and technicians of China Building Technical Group Co., Ltd. for their endeavors in repairing and upgrading Senate’s office and library buildings in a short period of time.

Moreover, they helped other works as the senate wished, he said.

H.E. Um Sarith also extended a condolence for a Chinese engineer’s decease in implementing the project. --AKP

(By THOU Peou)

-------------------

Cambodian Desserts Exposition

Phnom Penh, September 27, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian first-ever desserts exposition, officially launched here on Sept. 23 at Koh Pich center, brought together some 137 different Khmer desserts and cakes.

“Khmer cakes and desserts represent our identity, like the prosperous tradition, custom, and culture passed on from our ancestors, that we need to preserve and promote,” said Phnom Penh Governor H.E. Kep Chutema who presided over the exposition launch.

The three-day desserts exposition is the initiative of the Phnom Penh Municipality in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. The initiative allowed symbolic desserts and cakes from 12 provinces across Cambodia to showcase for the public.

The exposition also plays a contributing role to the upcoming 2011 ASEAN Tourism Day to take place in Phnom Penh. The event is expected to be organized in a traditional Cambodian way. --AKP

(By MOM Chan Dara Soleil)

-------------------

Cycling Cambodia Tour To Be Held in 2011

Phnom Penh, September 27, 2010 AKP -- Cambodia will host the Cycling Cambodia Tour in early 2011 in Siem Reap province.

Some 120 cyclists from around the world are expected to participate in the 750-kilometer race, from Siem Reap province to Phnom Penh capital city, said Mr. Vath Chamroeun, general secretary of National Olympic Committee of Cambodia.

About US$3 million will be spent for the great event to be organized by the International Cyclist Federation. --AKP

(By Théng)

Au revoir Cambodge Soir


via CAAI

Monday, 27 September 2010 15:39 Post Staff

Cambodge Soir, Phnom Penh’s weekly French-language newspaper that also publishes online, has lost its financial backing and will close its doors after printing its final issue on Thursday, executive editor Jerome Morinière said Monday.

“The directors of the company withdrew from their French adventure that, in this time of economic crisis, has become too expensive,” Morinière said in a statement posted on the paper’s website.

Originally launched as a thrice-weekly publication in 1995, Cambodge Soir became a daily in 1997.

Following the mass resignation of staff members in June 2007, the paper was shuttered for a number of months before relaunching in October that year in its current weekly print format, Cambodge Soir Hebdo.

Last year, Cambodge Soir’s Ung Chansophea won the Francophone Press Freedom Award for an article on battered women, becoming the first Asian journalist to earn the honour.

Morinière’s said the conditions for the dismissal of the paper’s 30 employees was being negotiated.