Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Director of commercial brokerage completes charity work in Cambodia for Christmas

http://www.bridgingandcommercial.co.uk/

via CAAI

Tuesday 14th December 2010


After the annual dinner of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers last month, Bridging and Commercial bumped into Graham Allen (pictured), the managing director of Commercial Money Matters.

Asking him what he would be doing for the festive season, we were surprised to hear that he would be spending part of it in the jungles of Cambodia in his role as UK Volunteer Ambassador for MAG – the Mines Advisory Group.

Incredibly impressed by his altruistic way of spending the holiday – and as MAG is an extremely worthwhile cause – we were keen to find out more.

As a UK humanitarian non-governmental organisation (NGO), MAG is based in Manchester. and works in over 35 countries dealing with the remnants of post-conflict materials, including landmines, bombs, rockets, and small arms (such as rifles etc).

The charity is co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, awarded for its work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines [www.icbl.org], which culminated in the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty – the international agreement that bans anti-personnel landmines, sometimes referred to as the Ottawa Convention.

Made up of an international team of experts, the majority of whom have a background in ordnance disposal, MAG’s international experts work in the training and supervision of local teams to assist in the clearance of the environment around their local communities so that normal life can be restored.

Speaking about MAG’s international workers, Graham praised the work they did, and paid tribute to one of MAG’s international workers, Stephen ‘Darby’ Allan from Portsmouth, who was tragically killed in a landmine explosion in October while working in Kapoeta, southern Sudan.

Despite the dangers involved, Graham leaves for Cambodia tomorrow (Wednesday the 15th of December) in a self-funded trip – only benefiting from the charity’s transport in the field whilst he’s there.

He said: “I have long been a supporter of MAG and so I’m going to see the work that the organisation carries out to gain a better understanding of the local difficulties, so that I can report on it to the wider world when I get back by writing articles and giving talks.”

On how the charity decides which areas are cleared, Graham said: “This very much depends on local priorities and requirements. A large number of agencies are involved at different stages of the process, but in the main the decision is based on liaison and negotiation with national and local government and community leaders themselves.

He continued: “MAG looks to promote human security, food and water security and community-based prosperity by removing the restrictions on innocent people caused by conflict. MAG involves the community wherever possible with its work and puts on Mines Risk education classes for local residents of all ages.”

Having previously visited mine-affected countries such as Vietnam and Nambia, Graham is somewhat used to dealing with difficult situations, however when he arrives in Cambodia, he will not be faced with an easy task, as a number of Cambodian communities are still living under the shadow of fear from a conflict that ended more than 30 years ago.

“Tragically, this year 59 people have fallen victim to anti-tank mines alone in Cambodia, with 24 of those casualties killed.” Graham added. “The number of people killed or injured by all types of mines or unexploded ordnance in Cambodia this year is much higher – more than 200.

“Only last month 13 people were killed when the vehicle they were in detonated an anti-tank mine in Cambodia’s Battambang province. The victims include a seven-month-old baby girl and a four-year-old boy, who had been with their parents picking chillies in the fields.”

Some of the victims' belongings

MAG’s Chief Executive Lou McGrath OBE has spoken about this incident, describing how “landmines – vicious and indiscriminate weapons – continue to pose a daily risk of death to people here, despite the hard work of all the clearance agencies in the last two decades”.

In May and June this year MAG’s clearance teams removed and destroyed more than 2,600 lethal landmines and other deadly items of unexploded ordnance from Battambang province, making upwards of 300,000 square metres of land safe for people to use.

Describing what he will be doing whilst in Cambodia, Graham said: “First of all I will go through the necessary briefings on orientation, safety, geography etc. Safety is absolutely paramount for MAG, the safety of all members of the community, staff and visitors. Then I hope to be going on mobile operations, which will involve being out in the field watching mines removed and destroyed, from a safe distance, of course.”

Although he will be away from most of his family, including his sons and grandchildren, over Christmas, Graham will have the chance to see his brother in Cambodia, as he works full time for MAG in a field-based research and development role for mines clearance.

MAG is funded by a broad range of donors and charitable giving, and in his spare time Graham is actively involved in giving talks around the country to raise awareness of MAG’s work.

He said: “My most recent talk was to the University of Nottingham’s Human Rights Law Centre, and I talk to all sorts of groups, including Rotary groups, church groups and schools. Many of the groups that I address take the opportunity of making donations to support the work of MAG.”

So spare a thought, while you are relaxing and enjoying the festive season, for the men and women of MAG who carry out the vital work of supporting communities in claiming back their land and gaining security. And spare a thought too for Graham Allen, one of our brokers, who will be out in Cambodia over Christmas, learning more about MAG’s work so that he can spread the word when he returns.

Graham’s last words to us before he left were that he hopes his example will encourage other businesspeople to support MAG’s work.

We at Bridging and Commercial feel that MAG is a worthy cause and have decided to support their work, not only by making a donation, but also by contributing this piece and giving you, our readers, a link to make a donation to MAG.

To make a donation to MAG’s work, visit: http://www.maginternational.org/donate

For more information about Graham Allen or about him doing a talk about MAG for your organisation, visit http://www.commercialmoneymatters.co.uk

You can also contact MAG’s fundraising team on 0161 238 5486 to find out how your company can support MAG’s vital work.

For more information about MAG's work in Cambodia please visit: http://www.maginternational.org/cambodia

Cambodia to close Vietnamese refugee centre

via CAAI

2010-12-14

PHNOM PENH, Tuesday 14 December 2010 (AFP) - The UN refugee agency on Tuesday pleaded for more time to resettle 62 Vietnamese ethnic minority Montagnards after the Cambodian government said it would shut down the centre housing the refugees.

The largely Christian Montagnard community -- a group whose members backed US forces during the Vietnam war -- says they face repression in Vietnam.

The Cambodian office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been informed by the Foreign Ministry that facility in Phnom Penh will be closed on January 1.

"The UNHCR is requested to speed up the process of resettling the 62 Montagnards who are qualified for resettlement in third countries," the ministry wrote in a letter, dated November 29 and seen by AFP on Tuesday.

It added that the Cambodian government would repatriate to Vietnam any remaining Montagnards, "including the new arrivals, and those awaiting interview, on a date to be notified in due course".

A UNHCR spokeswoman refused to comment on the exact number of Montagnards currently staying at the compound, saying it would only discuss the 62 Montagnards up for resettlement.

"We have asked the government to give us some more time and we hope the Cambodian government will consider our request favourably," UNHCR Asia spokeswoman Kitty McKinsey told AFP.

"We want to find long-term solutions for these 62 individuals."

Government officials were not immediately available for comment.

Around 2,000 Montagnards fled to Cambodia in 2001 and 2004 after security forces crushed protests against land confiscations and religious persecution.

Vietnam, Cambodia and the UNHCR signed an agreement in January 2005 under which Montagnards may choose whether to resettle in a third country or return home. Cambodia has refused to allow them to stay in the kingdom.

The majority were resettled, with the United States taking in many.

Communist Vietnam has strongly denied a 2006 accusation by the New York-based Human Rights Watch that it had detained and tortured Montagnards who returned home.

Japanese neurosurgical institute plans to open general hospital in Cambodia


A rendition of the large-scale general hospital planned by Kitahara Neurosurgical Institute to be built in Cambodia. (Image by Kitahara Neurosurgical Institute)

via CAAI

(Mainichi Japan) December 14, 2010


Kitahara Neurosurgical Institute, one of Japan's leading neurosurgical medical centers, is planning to open a large-scale general hospital in Cambodia early next year, a first for a Japanese hospital, it has been learned.

Officials at the hospital are aiming to set up a facility with emergency care capabilities in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh in February. The facility will offer medical services to both Japanese citizens living in Cambodia and to citizens of Cambodia, where a wealthy class has begun to grow. Doctors at the facility will also work to improve the level of medical technology in the country.

Over the course of seven years, officials plan to build both a medical college and a large general hospital with around 1,000 hospital beds that will bring in patients from countries around Southeast Asia. Officials plan to make the hospital a private corporation that will receive its funding from private sector investors and hope to have the hospital listed on Cambodia's stock market.

The hospital will be equipped with advanced, Japanese-made medical equipment. "We want to export medical and environmental technologies to Southeast Asia," says Shigemi Kitahara, chair of the board of directors of Kitahara Neurosurgical Institute. With pressing competition from Germany in the export of medical equipment, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) has decided to lend its support to the project and is currently working out the specifics of how it will do so.

The hospital will not be the first Japanese medical facility in Asia -- a medical facility in Okayama Prefecture previously opened doctor's offices in Shanghai and other locations. However, with the decreasing population in Japan and medical costs already as high as the government will permit, running a hospital in Japan is becoming more financially difficult. Other leading hospitals in Tokyo have also begun considering expanding abroad, marking a change in direction for what has traditionally been a domestic-oriented industry.

In Cambodia, which is suffering from a severe shortage of doctors, it is possible to practice with a Japanese medical license. Furthermore, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plans to liberalize the use of medical services across different member nations, which is expected to allow hospitals to easily expand into other countries after establishing bases in Cambodia.

A spokesperson for International Design Japan, a consulting company that assists with the development of medical services abroad, says that in the last six months, the number of consultations with medical facilities about expanding overseas was three times greater than during the same period last year, with as many as 40 consultations on some days.

"Doctors are increasingly worried that because of drops in tax revenues, national and local governments may not be able to pay enough in insurance payments to keep hospitals going," says company representative Katsuhisa Kawasaki.

Meanwhile, a Tokyo dentist who plans to expand business to Cambodia says, "There is a serious problem of people refraining from going to the hospital in Japan because of the recession. The age when doctors could rely on a steady income is over."

Managing director Tsutomu Horikawa of Akita-based Sano Drug Group, which manages pharmacies and wholesale medical supplies, says, "We have to shift our focus from Japan, with its declining population, to overseas." Next spring, the group will begin offering a 24-hour translation service in Guangzhou, China, geared for Japanese patients.

Thanks to factors such as its economic growth, Asia is expected by countries around the world to experience a surge in demand for medical services, and competition among these countries to attract doctors is already beginning. If the number of doctors and hospitals in Japan giving up on Japan's medical system and shrinking market and moving overseas increases, some fear one result will be a hollowing out of Japan's medical services.

China and Cambodia: cassava diplomacy

http://blogs.ft.com/

via CAAI

December 14, 2010
by Tim Johnston


China’s push to increase its power and influence in south-east Asia is proceeding apace. Hun Sen, Cambodia’s long-serving prime minister, is the latest leader to make the pilgrimage to Beijing.

After a welcoming ceremony with a military band, Hun Sen held talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. He was also scheduled to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao and top lawmaker Wu Bangguo during his five-day stay. But it wasn’t just energy and infrastructure on the menu.

“China and Cambodia continue to strengthen friendly cooperation. This is in the interest of the people of the two nations and also in the interest of regional peace and stability,” Wen told Hun Sen.

Bilateral agreements between the two countries include roads and bridges - continuing a Chinese push to improve the regional transport infrastructure - and a power station. China and Chinese companies are by far the largest source of funds for Cambodia, with $8bn of investments promised in just the first seven months of this year.

But perhaps most notable was talk of a deal for China to buy Cambodia’s cassava. The root vegetable is widely used in cooking in Africa and South America, where it is used to make fufu flour, tapioca, and cassava French fries. Cassava can also be used for biofuel, a market where China is looking to expand. From the China Daily:

Hun Sen told the Xinhua News Agency that “in the past, we signed rice export agreements with China already, and we hope to sign the cassava exports to China during the visit and we are suggesting for corn export deals with China also.

“Our farmers will make use of rice and cassava exports because the Chinese market is very big,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to more cooperation in the agricultural field.

China’s largesse in straitened times has bought new friends in south-east Asia, an area where its power has traditionally created a degree of unease. It is funding an $8bn pipeline project in Burma, railways and a sports stadium in Laos, and when Xi Jinping, the Chinese vice-president, visited Phnom Penh last December, the two countries signed $850m worth of deals.

General Than Shwe, Burma’s strongman, visited Beijing in September and Choummaly Sayasone, the Laotian president was in China at the end of last year.

In return, China gets friends.

According to a June 2009 US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks, Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew said that the Association of South East Asian Nations’ three poorest members were China’s eyes and ears in the region.

Within hours, everything that is discussed in ASEAN meetings is known in Beijing, thanks to China’s close ties with Laos, Cambodia, and Burma, he stated.

Cassava for gossip, it seems, is a healthy trade.

Cambodia to shut UN site for Vietnamese refugees

via CAAI

By SOPHENG CHEANG
The Associated Press
updated 12/14/2010

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The Cambodian government has informed the U.N. refugee agency it will shut a compound housing 62 Vietnamese refugees on New Year's Day and send them back to Vietnam, where they allegedly face repression.

The U.N. agency, which already has granted them refugee status, pleaded Tuesday for a little more time to decide how to resettle the group.

They are the last batch of asylum-seekers from a wave of 1,812 Vietnamese hill tribe people taken in by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees since 2006, said the agency's regional representative Jean-Noel Wetterwald. The agency has resettled 999 of them, mostly in the United States, and sent 751 of them home.

Cambodia is eager to close the refugee compound in Phnom Penh to deter any further arrivals of ethnic minorities from Vietnam's Central Highlands, who are collectively known as Montagnards. Many of them sided with the United States during the Vietnam War, attend Protestant churches not recognized in Vietnam and are generally distrusted by the communist government.

"If we don't tell them to close the site, the work of the UNHCR will be prolonged endlessly," Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said. "We don't want the site to stay there forever."

The Foreign Ministry told the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in a letter obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press "it has decided to close down the site" on Jan. 1. The government will send the refugees back to the communist country "on a date to be notified in due course," said the letter, dated Nov. 29.

The U.N. agency said it understands the government does not want the refugees staying indefinitely in Cambodia, but hopes a little more time will be granted so resettlement can be arranged.

"We have asked the government to give us an extension of the deadline to try to see if we can find a solution," Wetterwald said in a telephone interview in Bangkok.

He said the closure would not affect the agency office in Cambodia, which opened in 1983.

Thousands of Montagnards have fled to Cambodia since 2001, when Vietnam's communist government cracked down on protests against land confiscation and restrictions on religious freedom.

___

Associated Press Writer Jocelyn Gecker in Bangkok contributed to this report.

Cambodia Geared To Host An Unforgettable Event


via CAAI

Published by Ozgur Tore

This year's ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) TRAVEX (Travel Exchange) 2011 registered an overwhelming response, with over 500 exhibition booths fully sold by end October 2010.
All ten member-nations will be well-represented at this annual leisure travel trade event which showcases the largest contingent of ASEAN destination products and services.

While some 1,000 buyers have registered their interest to source at the event, only 400 have been selected to attend under a privileged hosting programme. Buyer profile this year includes delegates from Asia-Pacific (55 per cent), Europe (37 per cent) and the rest of the world.FTNNEWS is one of the media partners of ATF 2011.


A total of 1,600 delegates are expected at this year's ATF 2011. His Excellency So Mara, Secretary of State, Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia remarked, "ASEAN is one of the few regions in the world that offers a lot of tourism value in the international market. Demand for ASEAN will continue to grow and we can see that in the increasing interest of international buyers and proliferation of ASEAN products and services at the upcoming ATF."

ATF 2011 marks the event's 30th anniversary. ASEAN member-nation Cambodia, will host ATF 2011 in Phnom Penh from 15 to 21 January. ATF TRAVEX, the 3-day travel trade mart component of the event will take place from 19 to 21 January at the Diamond Island Convention & Exhibition Centre. His Excellency Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, Cambodia and Chairman of ATF 2011 Host Committee, said "This year's theme ‘A World of Wonders and Diversity' embodies everything that Cambodia has to offer as a compelling destination. We look forward to welcoming all ATF participants and international delegates to the Kingdom of Cambodia. We have taken great pride to create plenty of opportunities for them to discover our country's rich cultural, natural and historical heritage."

Business appointments and meetings which encompass the majority of delegates' schedules over the 3-days are just some of the many highlights that ATF 2011 will offer. ASEAN Tourism Conference (ATC) - the educational front of ATF - will feature topics such as Ecotourism and Sustainable tourism in the ASEAN region as well as managing tourism in destinations which are home to Heritage Sites. Invited speakers hail from global institutions such as United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Global Sustainable Tourism Council and will engage the audience through thought-provoking sessions and interactive panel discussions on key issues in ASEAN tourism today.

ATF 2011 is also poised as an event with bountiful networking opportunities, teeing off with the ever-popular game of golf at the Royal Cambodia Phnom Penh Golf Course.

Hosted by The Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia, the ATF 2011 Opening Ceremony is set to be a spectacular event featuring some 500 local and foreign performers in traditional and contemporary performances. The Ministry is also pulling out all stops to ensure a feast for the senses with a strong play on the latest pyrotechnics and sound effects technology. Delegates can also look forward to a stunning 30 minutes fireworks highlight.

Over the 3 days, delegates can wine, dine and enjoy the company of their peers at several hosted luncheons, dinners as well as at 3 late night functions at Nagaworld, Raffles Hotel Le Royal and Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra.

Pre-show city tours of Phnom Penh and post-show tours to popular Cambodian destinations such as Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong are also available to hosted buyers and media delegates. For full details of ATF 2011 and regular programme updates, visit http://www.atfcambodia.com/  

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press


via CAAI

AKP/01

China, Cambodia Agree to Build Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

Phnom Penh, December 14, 2010 AKP -- China and Cambodia on Monday agreed to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation and further strengthen bilateral cooperation.

The consensus was reached during talks between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and visiting Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in the Great Hall of the People, downtown Beijing, Chinese News Agency Xinhua reported.

“Facing the complicated regional and international situation, China and Cambodia should share the opportunities, and join hands in coping with the challenges and promoting peace and development,” said Wen.

He said China and Cambodia have forged closer bilateral relations in recent years with frequent high-level contacts, close cooperation on issues involved each other’s major concerns and common interests, increasing political and strategic mutual trust, and expanding pragmatic cooperation.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his appreciation to China for its long-term support and assistance to Cambodia. He said Cambodia hoped to continue to have close contact with China at all levels, enhance mutual trust and deepen comprehensive cooperation.

He also vowed that Cambodia would continue to abide by the one-China policy and respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Wen welcomed Cambodia to make full use of the free trade agreement between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and expand investment in China.

Wen said the government would encourage Chinese companies to increase investment in Cambodia and help in its construction of special economic zones. China will look to expand cooperation with Cambodia in areas including agriculture, infrastructure construction, finance and human resources, and continue to provide assistance, he added.

The Chinese premier called on the two sides to increase per annum bilateral trade to US$2.5 billion by 2015. For the first half of this year, bilateral trade was worth US$627 million, up more than 37 percent.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen said Cambodia welcomed China’s investment and wanted to export agricultural products to China.

Wen also called on the two countries to strengthen coordination within various regional mechanisms and on coping with non-traditional security threat, so as to maintain their common interest.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen said Cambodia will work with China to promote ASEAN-China ties and maintain regional peace and stability.

After the talks, officials from the two countries signed 13 deals on cooperation in areas such as energy, infrastructure, finance and consular affairs.

Last from Dec. 13 to 17, this was Samdech Techo Hun Sen’s third official China visit since taking office.

Besides Beijing, Prime Minister Hun Sen will also visit north China’s Tianjin Muicipality and east China’s Jiangsu Province. --AKP

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AKP/02

DPM Sok An Meets French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade

Phnom Penh, December 14, 2010 AKP -- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers, H.E. Sok An received here last Wednesday visiting Secretary of State for Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry of the Republic of France H.E. Pierre Lellouche.

In the meeting, H.E. Pierre Lellouche, accompanied by French ambassador to Cambodia and four representatives of French potential investors, informed H.E. Sok An that the purposes of his two-day visit to Cambodia (Dec. 7-8) is to explore and promote bilateral economic cooperation between Cambodia and France, according to the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers.

H.E. Pierre Lellouche said that, having relationship with Cambodia, France is currently conducting the studies on three sectors, namely energy, infrastructure and communication including the flight of France Airline to Cambodia in the coming March 2011 and the production of food in agricultural sector.

On that occasion, the Cambodian deputy prime minister told the French delegation that the policy of the Royal Government of Cambodia under the wise leadership of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen is to support all investors without discrimination. He said that Cambodia is a country of great potentiality in agricultural sector, for more than 80 percent of the Cambodian people are doing farming, including rice, rubber and other agricultural products.

H.E. Sok An also informed the delegates that, currently, what the Cambodian people have as additional productions are vegetables and fruits, and requested the French counterpart to help facilitate these products to get into the European markets.

He further informed the guests about the success of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), which had just been ended in Phnom Penh, under the organization of the Cambodian People’s Party. The delegates attending the ICAPP conference had highly appreciated the brilliant leadership of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, in building the country and building peace and uniting the nation. They considered Cambodia’s experience as a model for problem-solving in other countries.

Furthermore, the Cambodian deputy prime minister told H.E. Pierre Lellouche that the situation along the border area of the Preah Vihear Temple had eased and returned to what it was like before July 15, 2008 after four rounds of meetings between Samdech Techo Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva.

H.E. Sok An also expressed his gratitude to France for her aid and investment contributing to economic and human resource development in Cambodia.

In 2010, in the framework of cooperation between Cambodia and France, there have been three signed agreements, one of which is Supplementary Agreement on Angkor Heritage Project and Sustainable Development with supplementary fund of 400,000 Euro in order to complete the repair work of Baphuon Temple in Angkor Thom area. The second one is Cooperation Convention on Project against Fake Products Harmful to Health and Security in the Mekong sub-region with 123,500-Euro fund, signed on June 22, 2010. The third one is Roadmap on Cooperation between Cambodia and France from 2011-2013, signed on Oct. 1, 2010 between the foreign ministers of the two countries, with the aim of advancing development cooperation to economic cooperation.

On the same day, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry of France H.E. Pierre Lellouche also met with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Hor Namhong. --AKP

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AKP/03

NPMEC Holds Meeting on the IPC

Phnom Penh, December 14, 2010 AKP -- Cambodia’s National Center for
Peacekeeping Forces and ERW Clearance (NPMEC) held a meeting on the Initial Planning Conference (IPC) here yesterday to prepare the Command Post Exercise (CPX).

In cooperation with the headquarters of U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), the meeting took place as part of a multinational peacekeeping exercise of the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) 2011 to be held next year under the auspice of the U.S. army.

Speaking at the meeting Gen. Sem Sovanny, NPMEC chairman said the “Angkor Sentinel 2011” will be held next year at which the United States Army Pacific will be the main partner.

He said Cambodia is satisfied with the success of the previous and first military exercise.

The meeting was also attended by Col. Robert Dunton, representative of USARPAC.

The initiative plan for the next military exercise will be held in May 2011.

Cambodia conducted for the first time in July this year the large scale U.S. sponsored military exercise which was participated by some 1,000 military personnel from more than 20 countries. --AKP

By THOU Peou

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AKP/04

Vietnam Wishes to Further Create Taxi Company in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, December 14, 2010 AKP -- Mailinh Company of Vietnam is intended to further create a seven-seat taxi company in Cambodia’s Phnom Penh capital.

The intention was made known here on Dec. 13 by Mr. Ho Huy, director of Mailinh Company during the meeting with H.E. Kep Chutema, Phnom Penh governor.

During the meeting, Mr. Ho Huy briefed H.E. Kep Chutema on his company’s four-year operation in Cambodia. Mailinh has been investing in the U.S., Africa, Laos and Cambodia, he said.

In reply, H.E. Kep Chutema supported and encouraged the Vietnamese company to directly work with the government of Cambodia. --AKP

By LIM Nary

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AKP/05

Cambodia To Establish Jewelry and Gem Quality Testing Lab

Phnom Penh, December 14, 2010 AKP -- Cambodia is planning to build a US$10-million laboratory to check and test the quality of precious stones, according to Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce H.E. Cham Prasidh.

Last Friday, H.E. Cham Prasidh and Dr. Wolfhard Hauser, chief executive officer of Intertek Testing Services signed a Memorandum of Understanding on this jewelry and gem quality testing lab project.

The lab is aimed to promote the country’s jewelry and gem trade, said the Cambodian minister, stressing that through the MoU, Intertek Testing Services will help build the lab and provide technical assistance to Cambodia.

Dr. Wolfhard Hauser said Intertek is a London-based international testing company. It has offices in over 130 countries and employs around 26,000 staff. --AKP

By KHAN Sophirom

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AKP/06

The Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open 2010 Ends

Phnom Penh, December 14, 2010 AKP -- The Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open 2010, a golf tournament, was wrapped up on Dec. 12 in Siem Reap province.

The closing ceremony of the four-day tournament was presided over by Deputy Prime Minister and National Defense Minister H.E. Tea Banh, and Minister of Tourism and President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia H.E. Thong Khon.

Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Tea Banh praised the Ministry of Tourism and Siem Reap provincial authority for their cooperation with Phokeethra Country Club, the Asian Tours, Sofitel Hotel and Johnnie Walker in organizing this event.

Mr. Thong Jaidee from Thailand won the first prize with US$47,550, Mr. Kanichi Kuboya from Japan took the second with US$32,500 and Mr. Kim Hyung Sung from South Korea took the third with US$18,300 at the final tournament.

Some 132 professional golfers from 25 Asian and European countries have joined in the competition. --AKP

By Théng

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AKP/07

Tennis Tournament for Tep Khunnah Memorial Cup 2010 Concluded

Phnom Penh, December 14, 2009 AKP -- The 15th Tep Khunnah Memorial Cup was concluded at the Tennis Training Center in Phnom Penh on Dec. 12.

Mr. Khit Sypin, a media officer of the Cambodian Tennis Federation, told reporters that the nine-day tournament was attended by international professional tennis players from Vietnam, Thailand and the host country Cambodia.

Of the 77 players, 17 are foreigners, said Mr. Chea Pov, an organizer of the event.

As the result, Cambodian player, Mr. Bun Kini, won the first place and Timo Sivapruksa from Thailand took the second place at the final tournament.

The Tep Khunnah Memorial Cup is held annually at the Tennis Training Center in Phnom Penh. --AKP

By Théng

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AKP/08

Pro-orphan Performance Festival

Phnom Penh, December 14, 2010 AKP -- Approximately 140 art performers from nine countries, including Cambodia, joined hands in staging pro-orphan performance festival in Battambang province of Cambodia.

The festival was funded by various charity agencies in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and Ministry of Tourism. It took place from Dec. 9 to 12.

Phare Ponleu Selpack, the Cambodian circus training school, hosted the festival.

Starting with various performances on different main streets in the provincial town in the evening, series of circus was performed at night time at the Phare Ponleu Selpack office. Income from selling ticket fee to the festival-goers, as well as from orphan-made souvenir, food and beverage stalls will be used to sponsor hundred of Cambodian orphans.

The festival is also designed to preserve the circus arts in Cambodia and to give the nine country troupes the opportunity to act in front of an audience, get training and meet other artistes to share their experiences, according to Mr. Khuon Det, director of Phare Ponleu Selpack.

It will also help foster the performers’ competitive spirit and their creativity, he added. --AKP

By MOM Chan Dara Soleil

Suspect in kidnap case escapes jail


via CAAI

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:02 Chrann Chamroeun

Kampong Cham provincial police are searching for a 27-year-old woman accused of kidnapping and attempted extortion, who escaped from custody by allegedly climbing through a 25-centimetre hole in the roof of a bathroom, Chem Seng Hong, deputy provincial police chief said yesterday.

The parents of the kidnapped 6-year-old girl filed a report at the police station on Saturday morning when they realised she had been kidnapped after receiving repeated phone calls from the suspect demanding they transfer US$20,000 in ransom for the girl.

The woman was arrested on Saturday at Cambodia Asia Bank in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district as she awaited the transfer of a negotiated ransom of US$12,000 from the girl’s parents.

The suspect was due to be sent to provincial court for further questioning over the kidnapping charges, but managed to escape when she was allowed to use a bathroom at the police station on Sunday.

“A police official allowed her to go to the bathroom and she locked the door from the inside while he was waiting for her outside.

“We concluded that she made her escape through a small hole in the roof which is about 2 metres high.”

Chem Seng Hong said the escape was unexpected and regrettable.

“We are terribly regretful for our negligence in letting the offender flee from our detention facility,” he said.

“We did not expect that it was possible, and it is the first time such a thing has happened [here] in all the years I’ve worked as a police officer.”

Chem Seng Hong said that police have distributed more than 1,000 fliers with the suspect’s name and photograph, and are exhausting all options to discover the whereabouts of the fugitive.

“We are now burning our hands and legs to hunt for the woman to be brought in for prosecution ... revealing her identity to all levels of district, commune and military police officials in the province and other provinces,” he said.

Australian arrested for child porn


via CAAI

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:02 Chrann Chamroeun

SIEM Reap provincial court on Sunday ordered the detention of an Australian national, a day after he was stopped at Siem Reap International Airport in possession of 114 pornographic video clips of European and Asian minors.

Sun Bunthorng, chief of the provincial Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Unit, said the arrest was made based on information from anti-paedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants.

The 39-year-old accused would remain in prison until the necessary investigations are carried out, he said, adding that police had confiscated two laptops as evidence.

Sun Bunthorng said it was unclear whether any of the video clips were of Cambodian children, but that further investigations would make it clear.

“One boy was found and brought for interrogation and the accused might face charges of purchasing child prostitution,” he said.

Samleang Seila, APLE’s country director, said the group had monitored Ayres for a long time prior to his arrest.

“We are now working in cooperation with police officials to find out whether or not the video clips were Cambodian children,” he said.

State seeks input on new draft juvenile law


via CAAI

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:01 Thomas Miller

NEARLY 800 youths currently serve time in Cambodian prisons, but a draft juvenile justice law, made public yesterday by government officials, could change that trend.

Government officials met with civil society groups at a national conference in Phnom Penh to invite input and gain support for its bid to push the long-awaited legislation towards completion.

The government has been working on the law, which currently contains 15 chapters and 86 articles, since 2000.

“The objectives of the law are to ensure respect of the rights of minors in conflict with the law, protect the rights and best interest of minors in conflict with the law and victims, support rehabilitation and reintegration of minors in conflict with the law into society and the community, and protect society’s and the community’s interests,” said Ith Samheng, minister of social affairs.

“This is the first time ever that our country has a special separate law for the child like other developed countries,” he said.

Anna Sunga, a child protection specialist with UNICEF who has provided technical assistance to the government on the law, said it was “premature to actually assess the law because it’s not final”. However, she said the current draft meets international standards.

“Its basic framework definitely is compliant with international standards. But of course, the details still have to be completed.”

Some of those details, she said, would be worked out in secondary legislation.

Sunga said the draft bill “emphasises the use of detention as a last result for minors”, gives primacy to the “best interest” of the child and includes child participation in judicial proceedings – all international principles for children’s rights.

“The judicial system should be the measure of last resort,” said Hy Sophea, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Justice.

Sunga said NGOs, including a coalition focused on children’s rights, have been involved in the lengthy legislative process through two national consultations. She expected comments from NGOs on the draft bill to be recorded for consideration by the Council of Jurists and the Council of Ministers.

The 2009 penal code, which went into effect on Friday in Phnom Penh and will be enacted en force around the country on December 20, also includes several provisions that provide more options for minors.

Minors who have committed an offense under the penal code are subject to measures of surveillance, education, protection and assistance. Criminal convictions for minors over the age of 14 are also allowed, but alternatives appear to be given priority. A criminal sentence for a minor must be justified by the circumstances of the case, and a sentence cannot be more than half of the same sentence for an adult, with 20 years for a life sentence.

A range of options are available to judges confronted with delinquent juveniles, including handing over the minor to his or her parents or guardian, a social service agency, a qualified private organisation, a hospital or institution, or judicial protection. The code does not specify how such determinations ought to be made.

The new draft juvenile justice law fills in a number of gaps in the penal code, Sunga said, adding that it is not yet final and that much work remains to be done.

“For the law to work, there has to be a commitment of the government to invest in alternatives to detention and diversion programs and measures. There has to be lots of resources,” she said.

Thais get 18 months for illegal entry


via CAAI

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:01 Cheang Sokha

SIEM Reap provincial court has sentenced three Thai nationals from Surin province to 18 months each in jail after convicting them of entering the country illegally and the unlawful possession of weapons.

Heng Kheng, the Siem Reap provincial deputy prosecutor, said yesterday that the court handed down the verdict on Thursday last week. It also ordered the three men to pay an additional fine of 1 million riels (US$250) each.

The verdict was scheduled to be delivered yesterday, but was shifted forward to Thursday, due to the judge being otherwise engaged.

“We could not prolong the day of the announcement of the verdict, so the court decided to move it earlier,” he said.

Sanong Wongcharoen, 36, Lim Puangpet, 39, and Lan Sapsri, 53 – all from Surin province’s Sangkhla district – were arrested on August 18 by authorities in Oddar Meanchey province.

At the time of their arrest, Cambodian soldiers confiscated homemade guns, torches and batteries from the trio, who had strayed around 500 metres inside Cambodian territory.

They were sent to the provincial court August 20 and charged with illegal entry and the illegal use of weapons.

Ly Vengheng, the defence lawyer for the three men, said he will discuss with his clients whether to log an appeal against the conviction.

“I will meet them tomorrow [Tuesday] to discuss it in detail and if they want to file an appeal then I will arrange the documents for them,” Ly Vengheng said.

The case is a reversal of the usual pattern of events on the Thai-Cambodian border, which has seen a recent rash of arrests and shootings of Cambodian nationals by Thai border guards.

Last month, a 25-year-old migrant worker from Battambang province was shot dead by Thai authorities, prompting an official complaint from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Thai embassy officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mine casualties top last year


via CAAI

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:01 Matt Lundy

CAMBODIA has registered its first year-on-year increase in casualties resulting from landmines and explosive remnants of war since 2005, according to a report from the Cambodia Mine/ERW Victim Information System released yesterday.

The number of people either killed or injured has increased nearly 20 percent over the first 11 months of this year, compared with the same period last year. Even with December figures forthcoming, the 260 casualties recorded by CMVIS so far this year eclipse 2009’s total of 244.

According to the report, 70 people have been killed and 190 injured, including 41 amputees, through November.

Chivv Lim, project manager for CMVIS, said the spike in casualties was in part fuelled “by two significant cases”.

“One is the case in May in Pailin province, when 16 people were killed or injured by an anti-tank mine. There was also an accident in Battambang in November,” said Chivv Lim, referring to an incident that killed 14 people after a homemade tractor ran over a civil war-era anti-tank mine.

Over the past two years, Battambang province has recorded nearly double the number of casualties as Banteay Meanchey province, which has the second-highest totals. Two-thirds of November’s 24 casualties happened to farmers.

Speaking with The Post in October, Leng Sochea, deputy secretary general of the Cambodian Mines Action Authority, said the increase in casualties was possibly due to electrical workers installing power cables.

Through April, landmine and ERW-related casualties were down by nearly 25 percent compared with the same period last year. The trend was reversed with 51 casualties in May, the highest monthly total since August 2007.

ADB to fund protection of forests


via CAAI

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:01 James O’Toole

THE Asian Development Bank has approved US$69 million in funding for the protection of community forests in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos over the next decade.

In a statement issued yesterday, the ADB said the project would include the planting of trees on 19,000 hectares of degraded forest land as well as conservation training for local communities. The project will also comprise “small-scale community infrastructure ... for potable water, sanitation, and waste management improvements, as well as upgrades of market access roads”, the statement said.

Sothea Ros, the ADB spokeswoman in Phnom Penh, said the project would begin in April of next year, finishing in 2019, and would include forests in the Cardamom Mountains and Northeastern Cambodia. These locations have been proposed as possible “carbons sinks” under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programme, an arrangement under which countries “offset” carbon emissions by paying other countries to conserve their forests.

Officials at the ministries of Environment and Agriculture could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Police Blotter: 14 Dec 2010


via CAAI

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:00 Phak Seangly

Heavy vehicle kills woman on pavement
A 58-year-old woman died instantly when a heavy construction vehicle swerved onto a footpath and hit her in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district on Sunday. Traffic police said the woman was waiting to cross the street when a passing excavator ran out of oil and the driver careened onto the footpath to avoid stopping in the road. Police said the driver abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene.
KOH SANTEPHEAP

Two drunks arrested for roadblock ruse
Kratie town police on Wednesday night arrested two men, aged 23 and 25, accused of creating a roadblock in an attempt to extort money from passing drivers. They were also accused of destroying a motorbike. Police said the two men had admitted to creating a roadblock with a table and some big rocks, and asking two youths, aged 16 and 18, for about 2,000 riels so that they could buy some alcohol. The youths, feeling threatened, jumped off their motorbike and ran away, after which the two suspects, who were drunk at the time, destroyed their abandoned motorbike out of anger, police said.
KOH SANTEPHEAP

Bag snatcher knocks himself unconscious
A bag snatcher’s plot was foiled in Phnom Penh on Friday after he crashed his getaway motorbike and fell unconscious, Tuol Kork district police said. The 18-year-old would-be-thief was hospitalised, his accomplice escaped, and the handbag was returned to its rightful owner, police said. A 55-year-old motorbike driver who the thieves crashed into was slightly wounded and has indicated that he will file a complaint for compensation, police added.
RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Mother kills herself in her repossessed home
A 43-year-old woman committed suicide in her home on Wednesday, the same day debt collectors arrived to claim her house and land in Pursat province. Police said the debt collectors had forced the woman to sign over her home after she was unable to repay 1.5 million riels [about US$370] that she had borrowed to help her child to start a business. The woman drank pesticide at about 9:30am on Wednesday and died in hospital later the same day, police said.
KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Motorist hit with stick is critically injured
A 19-year-old man was critically injured after one of a group of five drunk men hurled a wooden stick at his head as he was riding past on a motorbike shortly after midnight on Saturday in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district. Police said they had arrested a man who confessed to throwing the stick. Witnesses said groups of drunk men often caused problems in the area.
RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Five heritage listings sought


Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Smean Pe, a renowned chapei singer and musician, performs at his home last January.

via CAAI

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:01 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

CAMBODIA plans to nominate a total of five items for inclusion in UNSECO heritage listings next year, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts said yesterday.

Chuch Phoeun said the five items included ayai, an artform that involves two people pitching their wits against each other through song; chapei dong veng, a two-stringed instrument with a wooden body and long neck; the 7th century Sambor Prey Kuk temples in Kampong Thom province; hol phamuong, colourful traditional dress made from silk; and kbach kun boran Khmer, a traditional form of boxing.

“We have been working very hard researching and preparing about these ancient Khmer [practices and objects] for inclusion in the UNESCO lists,” he said.

“With our hard work and strong commitment, we expect that we will able to submit these valuable things for the UNESCO listings by 2011.”

He said members of an inter-ministerial task force had most recently been travelling around the country “interviewing the old people who still remember about the ancient Khmer boxing” to collect information about kbach kun boran Khmer, which officials plan to submit to UNESCO in August.

Other submissions are expected to be made in February.

Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear temple are already included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, which is designed to help preserve cites or practices deemed by the UNESCO committee to have “outstanding universal value”.

Sbek thom, Khmer shadow puppet theatre, is the only traditional Cambodian practice which is currently included in the body’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Cambodia on track for two MDGs


via CAAI

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:01 Mom Kunthear

CAMBODIA is on track to meet two of its nine nationally set Millennium Development Goals by 2015, according to a presentation made by the Ministry of Planning during a regional conference in Phnom Penh yesterday.

Officials speaking at the opening of the three-day conference – held to discuss the implementation of MDG strategies in Asia-Pacific countries – the Kingdom is on track to meet targets to reduce child mortality rates and to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

However, the country is unlikely to meet targets to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, improve maternal health and ensure environmental sustainability. It is also making slow progress toward targets to achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and de-mining goals.

During his opening remarks, Minister of Planning Chhay Than said Cambodia had made some “substantial” achievements, but faced some particular challenges.

“The challenges in our case are much more severe compared to other countries at our level of socio-economic development because of events in our recent history,” he said, adding that the country’s civil war only ended in 1999.

“Our main development challenge is the availability of development resources to carry out the massive task of rebuilding our physical infrastructure and institutions,” he said.

According to a presentation from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, countries across the region are struggling to meet targets related to hunger, health, primary education, child mortality, maternal health and sanitation.

Representatives from 12 Asia-Pacific countries are attending the meeting.

Car concerns driven home


Photo by: Jerremy Mullins
Safe new pickups driving in Steung Treng province on the fourth Ford Adventure late last week.

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My concern is the old scrap and used cars [which are] sold in this market and risk lives. The market is full of these cars
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via CAAI

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:00 Jeremy Mullins and Sen David

CAMBODIA’S car dealers are forming an association to represent industry concerns, such as “life-threatening” risks posed by poor quality imports.

Rami Sharaf, group country manager for Ford importer RMA (Cambodia), said the Cambodia Automotive Industry Chamber was presently undergoing registration.

The main concern for RMA, which he said was driving the initiative, was to address the general poor quality of used vehicle imports.

“My concern is the old scrap and used cars [which are] sold in this market and risk lives. The market is full of these cars,” he told The Post during a trip to southern Laos.

According to the 2010 Doing Business in Cambodia report from the United States Commercial Service, the “vast majority” of vehicles on the road are second-hand imports.

Rami Sharaf claims increasing tax rates and import duties for used vehicles rather than new autos would help reduce the number of “sub-par” automobiles in operation.

“Many of these cars were involved in fatal accidents in the US and in Europe, and they were brought here as scrap cars and converted to brand new shiny cars. This is life-threatening – they should not be on the road,” he said.

However, used car dealers said they opposed a high tax on used imports yesterday.

Chet Phally, a car dealer near Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh, said Cambodia’s economic situation had to be taken into account when formulating policy on auto taxes.

“Most Cambodians have no ability to buy a new car,” he said. “Used cars are at a more suitable price.”

RMA claims the Ford brand presently controls around 25 percent market share, with its pick-up trucks being particularly popular due to their privileged import tax status, said Rami Sharaf.

The firm faces competition from brands such as Toyota, but Rami Sharaf claimed Ford’s heritage set it apart.

RMA wrapped up its fourth Ford Adventure on Sunday, which saw hundreds of Cambodian Ford owners travel in a convoy to Laos.

Cassava crops poised for growth


Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Ke Vanna, 50, sells cassava yesterday at Deum Kor market in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district.

via CAAI

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:00 Chun Sophal

DOMESTIC cassava production is set to rise nearly nine percent this year, compared to 2009, according to a provisional estimate from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.

Ministry cabinet chief Hong Narith said cultivation of the crop was increasing because new markets were looking to the Kingdom for exports.

“We hope farmers will supply more cassava to meet demand from markets both inside and outside the country,” he said.

The cassava crop is set to total 3.78 million tonnes this year, an 8.9 percent increase on the 3.47 million tonnes produce last year, the Ministry’s report said.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said a deal on cassava is to be signed during his five-day official visit to China this week.

The agreement will directly benefit Cambodia’s farmers by opening a large export market for the crop, he said.

Cambodia presently exports largely to neighbouring nations, according to the owner of a Banteay Meanchey province cassava farm.

Chok Pouk said he agreed that opening markets for cassava exports besides Thailand and Vietnam would provide increased opportunity for farmers.

He intends to double the size of his farm from 500 hectares to 1,000 hectares on the hope that new markets will demand more of the crop.

Cassava prices rest on market demand, according to Malay Trading representative Som Yen Samnang.

The firm – which is a cross border dealer in the Thai market – said the crop was fetching 2.7 baht per kilogram this year, up from 2.05 baht in 2009.

“If Cambodia can open the market for cassava in China, prices will be higher because we don’t need middle men from Thailand and Vietnam,” he said.

$250 million MFI fund launched by ADB


via CAAI

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:00 Catherine James

THE Asian Development Bank has launched a US$250 million microfinance fund to support private sector institutions which lend to the poor.

ADB said in a statement yesterday it would use the “large scale” fund “to partner with financial institutions that actively lend to microfinance institutions in the ADB’s developing member countries”.

Peter Brimble, ADB Cambodia senior country economist, told The Post the outcome for Cambodia was yet to be determined.

“We’re exploring the relevance of this to Cambodia,” he said, adding that he was enthusiastic about the move.

“This is a sector we want to work on, so we’re excited to hear about a regional fund that allows us to explore the possibility of more Cambodia-specific projects,” he said.

The ADB’s statement said it would support the expansion of lending to MFIs by sharing up to 50 percent of the default risk on underlying MFI loans, “in turn enabling increased provision of financial services to the under served”.

“This will help address the significant unmet demand from the poor for financial services, and provide additional funding for micro-borrowers,” it said.

Rules for handicraft factories in the works


via CAAI

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:00 Rann Reuy

THE Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy is drawing up a prakas, or edict, laying out guidelines for handicraft production in Cambodia.

Both officials and producers had recognised a lack of legal documents supporting the handicraft industry, according Ministry of Industry director general Meng Saktheara.

“When the prakas is released, [the handicraft industry] will be much more effective and transparent,” he said.

Ministry officials met yesterday to discuss the document, set to be finalised early next year.

Owners of handicraft factories must meet standards in areas as environmental protection, worker safety, and increase transparency of regulatory practice, according to a draft document.

Heng Heang, president of Phnom Penh’s Small and Medium Enterprise association, said there were few laws controlling the industry, making it difficult for craftsmen to produce at certain quality levels.

Kampot province’s director of small and medium enterprise Chan Sitha said he welcomed a prakas. Preparing regulatory framework was good to control producers, but could have been introduced earlier, he said.

Graffiti artists spray at restaurant display


via CAAI

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 15:00 Roth Meas

A FREE exhibition of paintings opens on Friday night with a live performance by French graffiti artists Massa and Hora at Le Jardin Restaurant on Street 360 in Phnom Penh.

The young duo will spray paint their designs onto a 5-metre long canvas at the restaurant from 9pm on December 17.

Massa, aged 23, said that he had never attended art classes, but was influenced by graffiti on train stations and old buildings in France.

“Graffiti artists mostly focus on letters and play with different styles and abstract elements,” he said. “I hope that when Khmer people see us work, they will think about what we do and maybe play with the Khmer alphabet to develop their own style of graffiti.”

Massa and Hora’s live performance will complement the five paintings on show by French artist Vallier Theo, 30.

This series focused on old buildings in Phnom Penh, Vallier said. Having lived in Cambodia for the past three years, the Marseille-trained artist has developed a love for classic architecture in the city, often taking photos while roaming the streets.

“The buildings have nice styles and are interesting. I’ve been taking pictures of what they look like before they are destroyed. Maybe in a few years they will be gone, so my paintings will remind people of how the buildings were designed.”

Recently he has been experimenting with different techniques, using metals and rust to embellish his canvases. “I’ve been developing the idea of painting on metal, and I’m using rust to colour my paints. I use only white paint on metal. At first, the whole painting is white. All the colours and contrasts are created by rust.”

The exhibition opens at 7:30pm and runs through to January 29.