Saturday, 5 January 2008

Justice for Cambodia

January 4, 2008
By LESLIE HOOKThe Wall Street Journal
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The news from the Khmer Rouge war-crimes tribunal is good: Five former leaders are in custody and the first hearings began in November. The news is so good, according to the U.S. State Department, that Washington is mulling injecting a chunk of money into the tribunal. Supporters say this will help the impoverished nation come to grips with Pol Pot's 1975-1979 genocide, which left a quarter of the population dead.

Not so fast. Although it's finally getting off the ground, the tribunal is flawed, and has yet to prove it's capable of delivering justice. Before any taxpayers' dollars are put on the line, there are several issues to consider.

For starters, the tribunal will likely try fewer than a dozen defendants. During negotiations between the Cambodian government and the United Nations in the 1990s, the definition of whom the tribunal could try -- "senior leaders" and "those most responsible" for the genocide -- was carefully crafted to limit the court's scope. In the eyes of Cambodian government officials, many of whom had some involvement with the Khmer Rouge, the sooner this dark period can be laid to rest, the better.

Phnom Penh also insisted the trials be held in Cambodia -- the first time a U.N. genocide tribunal has been held where the crimes were committed. After years of negotiations, the U.N. and Phnom Penh agreed that a majority of judges would be Cambodian, but that foreign judges would hold a supermajority power. This meant that no decision could be passed unless at least one foreign judge agreed.

A few sponsoring nations, including the U.S., balked at this arrangement, on the grounds that the notoriously corrupt Cambodian judicial system would still play a leading role. Yet the U.N. had no trouble persuading more than 20 other countries to ante up, and nearly $50 million in donations have poured in since fund raising began in 2004.

The cash has not been enough. The official courtroom is still under construction. The translation team is already backed up, unable to handle the 300,000 pages of Cambodian-language documents through which the judges are sifting. The witness protection team has a skeleton staff and no director. On the day I attended the court last month, a throng mobbed the entrance and the security check took nearly an hour.

Then there are the corruption allegations. A U.N. audit last spring found, among other irregularities, that the Cambodian side of the court had hired underqualified staff and was paying inflated salaries. The United Nations Development Program, which oversees that part of the program, tried to bury the news, limiting circulation of the audit and refusing media inquiries. The report was finally released in October, but only after these pages exposed the scandal. In an interview last month, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An promised, "We are deeply engaged in the fight against corruption." Sounds good, but where are the actions to back up these words?

Now the tribunal has its hands out for more cash. The U.N. is planning a major fund-raising drive this month that will likely double the court's original budget estimate to more than $120 million. For the first time, there's a real chance that Washington may chip in.

In October, the U.S. embassy in Phnom Penh cabled Washington that it was time to start investigating whether the tribunal met the standards that would qualify it for congressional funding. This prompted exploratory visits by representatives of several members of Congress and the ambassador-at-large for war crimes, Clint Williamson. Last month, after a trip to Cambodia, Mr. Williamson said the tribunal is "moving in a very positive direction." In an interview, U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Joseph Mussomeli acknowledges there have been "bumps in the road," but puts his faith in the international judges, who would "walk out" if the court didn't meet international standards.

That's not good enough: At the very least, the U.S. should use any offer of money as a lever to enforce new and better practices -- such as a full investigation into the allegations of kickbacks that have dogged the court's administrative offices.

The real measure of the war-crimes tribunal's success, however, will be whether it can bring a sense of closure to Cambodia's people. On the day I was in court, a man sitting nearby told me, "My father was killed at S-21." Sothea Sambath was referring to the torture and detention center run by the defendant, Duch. "This man signed on top of my father's confession," he said. "I really wanted to see his face, to look him in the eyes, and to see the beginning of justice." He smiled politely, as if this tragic part of his family history is an ordinary matter.

In some sense, it is: Practically every Cambodian has a relative who died during the Khmer Rouge genocide. Which is all the more reason to ensure that these trials turn out not to be a sham.Ms. Hook is an editorial page writer at The Wall Street Journal Asia.

25 Cambodians arrested after religious differences leads to fight at fishing port.

Police Senior Sergeant Major Ruaysub from Samaer San Police Sub-Station in Sattahip was called to a fight in progress at a local fishing port in the early hours of Friday Morning.

The fight was between a group of Cambodian Buddhists and Muslims who have fought on a number of occasions due to their religious differences. This time, no one was seriously hurt and 25 Cambodians were arrested and charged with fighting in a public place.

School Land Being Sold for CPP Office, Opposition Claims

By Chun Sakada,
VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh
04 January 2008

Listen Chiep Mony reports in Khmer

Cambodian People's Party authorities have colluded with local school administrators in Pursat province to arrange the sale of school land for use as a political party headquarters, Sam Rainsy Party officials said Friday.

"This corruption is taking away from the people of Cambodia," said Heng Chanthuon, an SRP official for Pursat.

A CPP official in Pursat denied the allegations Friday, but said the use of land was up to school officials, and if they offered it to the party, he would take it.

Ong Sovath, a SRP commune clerk in Pursat, said a local village chief and school principal were working without higher approval for the exchange of land.

The land sale had angered local teachers, Ong Sovath said.

Dengue Death Toll Highest in Nearly a Decade, Official Says

By Chun Sakada,
VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh
04 January 2008

An early monsoon that encouraged mosquitoes led to the highest dengue fever death rate in nearly a decade, health officials said Friday.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever, or "bonecrusher disease," killed 407 Cambodians and infected more than 40,000 people in 2007, officials said. Health officials said Friday hospitals were ill equipped to handle the outbreak.

In 2006, 16,650 people were infected and 158 died. The death toll for 2007 was the highest since 1998, when the disease killed 474 people, the Associated Press reported.

The disease is characterized by headache, fever, exhaustion and severe joint and muscle pain. Health officials sought to curb the spread of dengue by encouraging Cambodians to cover water containers and treat standing water where mosquitoes breed.

Severe outbreaks of the disease in 2007 were also reported in Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Vendors Will Rebuild on Razed Site of Market Fire

Like this market fire in Poipet in 1998, Thursday's Sihanoukville blaze has worried rights investigators it may not have been an accident. (AP Photo)

By Heng Reaksmey,
VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh
04 January 2008

Chiep Mony reports in Khmer-(1.22MB)
Listen Chiep Mony reports in Khmer Heng Reaksmey reports updated story-(839KB)
Listen Heng Reaksmey reports updated story

Representatives of Leu Market vendors called on the cabinet of Prime Minister Hun Sen Friday, following a fire that destroyed all but four stalls in the Sihanoukville market but injured no one early Thursday morning.

The representatives were allowed to enter the prime minsiter's residence in Takhmau district, Kandal province, just outside Phnom Penh, though Hun Sen himself was not there, vendors said.
Officials gave vendors a signed document promising they would be allowed to rebuild at the same site at Leu Market, which was all but destroyed in a fire late Wednesday and early Thursday.

"We're extremely happy" to receive official permission to rebuild, one vendor said Friday, "because we have hope."

The fire destroyed more than 1,000 stalls, authorities said.

Government officials said the blaze was started from the blown embers of a vendor's charcoal brazier, but investigators from the rights group Licadho said circumstances surrounding the fire were suspicious enough to warrant further investigation.

Officials said the market could cost up to $1 million to rebuild.

Prime Minister Calls for the State and for the Military to Reduce Fuel Wasting

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 541
Posted on 5 January 2008.

“Kompong Cham: Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, called on 3 January 2008 for military chiefs and for all state institutions to be thrifty when using fuel, reducing the use of fuel in order for the saved resources to be used for the public sector.

“Samdech Prime Minister said this during the inauguration of the Military Region 2 Hospital on the morning of 3 January 2008.

“Samdech Dekchor said that because the price of oil goes up all over the world, the funds requested for the use of fuel by the military is beyond the resources. Therefore, the only choice left is to appeal to the armed forces, including to the leaders of the Ministry of Defense, to military commanders at all levels, to military chiefs and deputy military chiefs, all who use fuel, that they should use fuel within the limits of the allocated budget.

“Moreover, Samdech Dekchor also called for state institutions which use state fuel that they should use fuel economically and not use it for work which is not work for the state, for example, gasoline of state should not be used to go for a private drive on Saturdays or Sundays.

“Samdech Dekchor continued that in 2008 we must be thrifty. If we are not thrifty, we will meet difficulties, because the price of oil is going up world-wide.

“Samdech went on to say that we have to keep the fuel to be used for the public sector, such as for the construction of roads and irrigation systems.

“Samdech Dekchor said that, for example, when his officials follow him going to the same destination, all of them should reduce the number of cars used – until now they used to come one person in one car each, now they should change this and come together in only one car for three or four of them, in order to save fuel. If they can do so, we can reduce the use of cars, instead of ten cars it is better to use only three or four cars.

“Samdech Hun Sen said that even he himself has already started to do it – he has only one car driving in front of his car and one after his car. This is to help to save, for our people.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen expressed the hope that the army will act as a model in saving fuel.
“It is noticed that so far, officials of the Royal Government – both in the civil sector and in the military, always compete with each other for the latest cars, using modern cars which use much gasoline. Furthermore, many officials have even many cars for the use in their families, such as for carrying their children to school, carrying their wives to the market, etc. which all means to use state fuel. The gasoline allocations of some government officials and of some persons in the armed forces, who have monthly gasoline supplies, have also been taken away by their bosses.

“A government official said that the gasoline supply for a ministry per moth is more than 400 liters, but it is still not enough. There must come a reduction of gasoline allocations. The ministers of some ministries use the annual gasoline supplies for the ministry only for themselves for the whole year.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4480, 4.1.2008

Oil at 99.29 dollars in Asian trade

Friday January 4, 2008

Oil prices were higher in Asian trade on Friday after profit-taking kicked in as the price broke through the symbolic 100-dollar mark for the second straight day, dealers said.

Record-high prices led Japan's prime minister on Friday to pledge "all possible measures" to reduce the economic impact of expensive oil, while the European Commission warned that high oil prices would affect growth in the 27-nation bloc.

In afternoon trade, New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, was 11 cents higher at 99.29 dollars a barrel.

The contract struck a fresh all-time record of 100.09 dollars per barrel in early US floor trading Thursday but then settled back to close at 99.18 dollars.

On Wednesday, the contract had briefly touched 100 dollars for the first time, stoking inflation fears when an expected US economic slowdown may hamper the global economy.

The initial spike to 100 resulted from "really just one trade which was like a stunt," but more trades pushed it above 100 again on Thursday, said Victor Shum, of international energy consultancy Purvin and Gertz in Singapore.

"We have eased off from the 100 level primarily because of some profit taking," Shum said.
Brent North Sea crude for February delivery was up 30 cents at 97.90 dollars a barrel.

In London trading on Thursday, Brent North Sea crude for February settled down 24 cents at 97.60 dollars after hitting a record 98.50 dollars earlier in the day.

Analysts say rising oil demand has outstripped growth in supply. They point to booming Asian economies like China and India and insufficient investment by oil exporters, which has led to a decline in spare production capacity.

Geopolitical tension and new buying interest from speculative investors like investment funds are also behind a quadrupling in the oil price over the last five years, analysts say.

A weakening US dollar, which makes oil more affordable for buyers in stronger currencies, is also cited as a factor for the rise in prices.

US crude reserves, seen as a safety buffer in the oil market, fell by 4.0 million barrels in the week ended December 28, the US Department of Energy said Thursday in its weekly report on energy stockpiles.

That was the seventh week in a row that stockpiles had dropped but Shum said the latest decline was largely due to traders' year-end tidying of their books for tax purposes.

"So the market reaction was somewhat lukewarm," Shum said.

Analysts said the symbolic 100-dollar price level would heap pressure on the OPEC oil-producing cartel to increase output when it meets on February 1.

Worries over the impact of record oil prices have hit nations big and small.

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday banned the use of state vehicles for anything other than official business in a bid to save fuel.

"If we don't save petrol, we will face difficulties because of increasing world oil prices," he said.

Shum said oil is likely to break 100 dollars again over the next few days on a possible influx of new money into commodities as investors balance portfolios at the start of the year.

Phil Flynn at Alaron Trading said oil and other commodities were "on fire" as traders bid up prices helped by a soft dollar.

The double effect of surging oil prices and a weakening US dollar pushed gold to its own historic peak on Thursday, when it struck 870.00 dollars in New York.

In inflation-adjusted terms, oil is still slightly below the level it reached in 1980, Shum said.

He forecast an average price in the 80 to 100-dollar range on the New York Mercantile Exchange for 2008, up from an average in the low 70s last year.

Asian consumers fear oil rise will add to daily struggle

Source: AFP

SINGAPORE • From a Beijing cab driver to a vendor selling food wrapped in banana leaves at a Jakarta roadside, life for ordinary people in Asia is set to get even tougher after the price of oil hit $100.

Consumers across the region griped about the rising cost of fuel after crude oil hit $100 per barrel for the first time during trading in New York on Wednesday.

“What can I do? I just suffer,” 30-year-old businesswoman Sirintra Vanno complained at a petrol station in Bangkok. “I have no choice but to drive every day to go to work because public transportation services are so limited.”

Nena, an elderly woman who sells meals wrapped in banana leaves by the roadside in Jakarta, said higher fuel prices had dramatically cut her daily income over the past few months from 60,000 rupiah to 35,000 rupiah.

“I have to buy things at higher prices now but I cannot raise the price of food every time kerosene rises,” she said.

Hery, 54, a motorcycle taxi driver in Jakarta, said he feared rising oil prices would lead to cuts in government subsidies for the cooking fuel, which costs 6,000 rupiah (64 cents) per litre.
“It will be out of reach” if the price goes higher, he said.

Australian truck driver Doug McMillan said the rising oil price
was having a devastating impact on his business, which uses trailers to deliver farm equipment across the country's vast Outback.

McMillan said fuel costs used to account for about one-third of his expenditure but were now 55 percent-and rising.

“By the time you pay your drivers' wages, there's no profit left,” he said as he drove one of his rigs.

Song Haisheng, a 30-year-old taxi driver in Beijing, said he too was under pressure, adding he and many of his colleagues were barely surviving at current petrol prices.

“In order to save fuel, many taxi drivers now would rather park and queue along the street like this than cruise blindly as we used to do in search of customers,” he said as he queued outside an office building in Beijing.

The Chinese government caps the prices at which refiners can sell their products, partly shielding consumers from the immediate impact of global oil spikes.

But it allowed refiners to raise domestic fuel prices by roughly 10 percent in November and ordinary Chinese now fear more hikes, with even the more well-off feeling the impact of record fuel prices.

“Nowadays I try not to travel by car when going on business trips and instead opt for the train as much as possible,” said Huang, 42, who would only give his surname as he waited for his company driver to pick him up in Beijing.

On the streets of Manila, taxi driver Mario Agbayani was also worried.

“If pump prices continue to rise, I will be forced to look for another job because what I would be earning in a day would not be enough to even buy petrol,” the 40-year-old father of three said.
He spends 12 hours a day on Manila's chaotic roads but takes home only 500 pesos (about $12) after expenses.

Japanese businessman Narihisa Murakami, 38, said in Tokyo that ordinary folks were powerless in the face of rising fuel prices, calling them “a real problem” and adding that fuel economy had become key when buying a car.

World leaders send condolences

Royals, heads of state and govt send messages
Published on January 5, 2008

Leaders from more than 20 countries around the world have sent messages of condolences to Thailand over the passing of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako, Prince Akichino Fumihito and Princess Akichino Kiko have sent their respective messages of sympathy to His Majesty the King.

Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni and King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, who is well known in Thailand, have also sent their commiserations to the Kingdom.

Kuwait's Emir His Highness Sheikh Sabah IV Al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah and Bahrain's Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa sent letters to extend their condolences.

Neighboring Lao President Chommaly Sayasone and Singapore's President Sellapanh Rama Nathan, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have sent their condolence to HM the King.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and South Korea's President Roh Moo-hyun yesterday sent messages of sorrow and concern to HM the King.

Nigeria's President Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar' Adua and Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala also sent messages of deep sorrow to Thailand.

All leaders said they were saddened by the death of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana. They praised her role and dedication to the poor, according to the Foreign Ministry's spokesman, Tharit Charungvat.

Thai embassies around the world were open for overseas Thais and foreigners to pay tribute to the Princess, he said. Some leaders of foreign countries also signed message of condolences at Thai embassies abroad, Tharit added.

Supalak G Khundee
The Nation

Cambodian PM raps UN envoy over violence in his native Kenya

Macau Daily
Friday, 04 January 2008

Prime Minister Hun Sen lashed out yesterday at the UN rights envoy to Cambodia, saying he should deal with violence in his homeland Kenya before demanding reform from the government in Phnom Penh.

The attack against Kenyan lawyer Yash Ghai was the latest in an ongoing row between government officials and the envoy over his scathing assessment of Cambodia's rights situation.

Calling him the "human rights emperor", Hun Sen said Ghai needed to turn his attentions to Kenya instead of unfairly scrutinising Cambodia.

More than 340 people have been killed in Kenya in a wave of bloodshed triggered by last week's disputed presidential polls.

"Now the bloodshed in Yash Ghai's Kenya has almost created a killing field ... he has criticised Cambodia for the same things that are happening in his own country," Hun Sen said in a speech broadcast over state radio.

"I am sending a message to the UN secretary general to send Yash Ghai to work in his own country rather than Cambodia," Hun Sen added.

Before leaving Cambodia after his latest visit last month, Ghai, who was snubbed by government officials, said the country's judiciary has failed, leaving the population in fear of going to court and threatening the rule of law.

The rebuke spurred Cambodia to lodge a formal complaint against Ghai with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Ghai has repeatedly clashed with Cambodian leaders in the past due to his unusually blunt assessments of the government's reform failures.

Hun Sen has said he would never meet with Ghai, who was appointed as the UN rights envoy in November 2005.

The premier has called Ghai "stupid," "rude" and a "god without virtue."

On Thursday he offered to send Cambodian peacekeepers into Kenya under the UN flag "in order to tell Yash Ghai that Cambodia is not only capable of handling its problems, but that we can also help others."

Dengue death rate reaches 10% in Cambodia in 2007

January 04, 2008

A total of 407 Cambodian people died out of some 4,000 dengue fever cases in 2007, which scored a 10 percent death rate, health official Ngan Chantha said here on Friday.

Kampong Cham province was the main place of dengue death because its density of population was higher than other provinces, said the official from the Health Ministry.

"The residents didn't clean the places around their houses and their water tanks in a proper way, which caused tiger mosquitoes to transmit virus to people easily," he said.

People should pay more attention to their health care and sanitation, he said. In 2007, the government spent about 3 million U.S. dollars to contain the epidemic, he said.

In addition, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and other non-governmental organizations contributed money to carry out the campaign, he added.


TU College of Law women's group raising funds to build school house in Cambodia

Women's Law Caucus members say group's mission, which includes the directive to erase discrimination against women, extends to poverty stricken Cambodia.

[ClickPress, Thu Jan 03 2008] The Women's Law Caucus at The University of Tulsa College of Law will extend its members' commitment to supporting women to help poverty stricken Cambodia.

The WLC is participating in the Cambodian School House Project, which sponsors construction of a school in a village that currently lacks one.

The organization's goal is to raise $19,000 which will be matched by the Asian World Development Bank to build a school house.

The WLC is a student organization dedicated to encourage more women to enter the legal profession, erase continued professional discrimination against women, provide mutual support for fellow students and call attention to the needs and problems of women as attorneys.

"Two years ago the WLC took its community spirit to a worldwide level by adopting a school house in Egypt," said Linda Hem, president of the law school's WLC chapter.

"The success of that project inspired our current group to contribute in another country where women are desperate for educational opportunities."

Poor access to education for women is sited as a major contributing factor to an epidemic of prostitution in Cambodia.

It has been estimated between 10,000 and 20,000 Cambodian women and children are forced to work as prostitutes. In areas where school houses have been built, the problem has been lessened.

The WLC has held several fund-raising events during the fall semester, including a poker tournament and candle sales.

In order to meet the $19,000 goal during this academic year, the group still has more to do. A date auction, a pie in the professor's face event and several other fundraisers are planned.

In addition to the school house project, the WLC is an active supporter of Race for the Cure, provides valuable programs for the law school community and presents the annual Fern Holland Award at its spring banquet.

Individuals who would like to contribute to the Cambodian School House Project may contact Linda Hem at

Assistance through the World Food Programme (WFP) to Cambodia, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Colombia

Source: Government of Japan
Date: 04 Jan 2008

1. On December 25 (Tue), the Government of Japan, in response to a request from the UN World Food Programme (WFP), decided to contribute US 500,000 dollars (about 58,000,000 yen) to the school feeding programme in Cambodia, US 300,000 dollars (about 34,800,000 yen) to the mother-and-child health and nutrition programme in Pakistan, US 253,000 dollars (about 29,350,000 yen) to the rural development programme in Indonesia, and US 100,000 dollars (about 11,600,000 yen) to the school feeding programme in Colombia.

2. In Cambodia, WFP will utilize this contribution for the school feeding programme. It provides access to education to children who are expected to play an important role in forming the country's future, and thus contributes to the economic and social development of Cambodia which is tackling nation building. A Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV), who is stationed at WFP's country office upon the request of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of Cambodia, has been working on the collaboration between the school feeding programme and the home care programme as a comprehensive support for AIDS orphans and malnourished children. We believe that our contribution should make positive changes in the fields of both education and health. WFP provides school feeding to more than 20.2 million children in 71 countries worldwide. It contributes to bringing up the future generation to achieve a whole country's development through raising enrolment ratio, addressing gender disparity, and enhancing children's learning ability as well as improving children's nutritional conditions.

3. In Pakistan, WFP will utilize this contribution for distributing take-home food at mother-and-child health (MCH) clinics in Baluchistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where people suffer from extreme poverty. Japan recognizes that poverty reduction in the areas is vital for removing a hotbed for terrorists. Women's health, in particular mothers', is in dire condition. Because of cultural values, they have limited access to the important knowledge of reproductive health and to basic social services. In order to address this situation, WFP, with Japan's contribution, will provide food at MCH clinics, and gives incentives women to come to clinics and families to allow it. Japan believes that it should improve the mother-and-child nutrition and health condition.

4. In Indonesia, WFP will utilize this contribution for building and managing infrastructure?dams, tree planting, irrigations, etc.?in rural areas in Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT), where people suffer from severe food shortage. We believe that it should enable communities to solve the food shortages in a sustainable way and to better prepare for a natural disaster. Fully aware of the increasing natural disasters due to the climate change and its repercussions on food production, WFP has been tackling the climate change in the pursuit of sustainable solutions to the problem of food shortage. For example, it has planted around 5 billion trees around the world in the last decades.

5. In Colombia, WFP will utilize this contribution for providing school feeding to internally displaced children in borderlands. The country has been suffering from prolonged internal conflicts between the government and illegally armed groups, which has caused approximately three million internally displaced people, the world's largest scale, as of the end of 2006. However, the current administration has been achieving some results in restoring security and advancing a peace process in the country. Japan intends to assist the peace process through stabilizing borderlands where WFP's school feeding programme will provide internally displaced children with access to education as well as improving their nutritional condition.

Cambodia's PM cracks down on official vehicle misuse

ABC Radio Australia

Cambodia's prime minister has banned the use of state vehicles for anything other than official business in a bid to save petrol amid soaring world oil prices.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech on national radio some officials used state vehicles to drive their families around on weekends.

He did not say what the penalty would be for officials who failed to heed the new ban.

The state does not subsidise fuel prices in impoverished Cambodia, where pump prices are at record highs of almost 1.15 dollars US per litre.

Cambodia suffers worst dengue epidemic, 407 dead

Fri Jan 4, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Cambodia suffered its worst ever outbreak of dengue fever last year and it killed 407 people, most of them children, the highest toll in nearly a decade.

Dengue, which causes fever, headaches and agonising muscle and joint pains, had infected nearly 40,000 people since the first outbreaks last May, Ngan Chantha, director of the Health Ministry's anti-dengue programme, said on Friday.

"It is the worst number of infectious cases ever in Cambodia," he said, noting the disease infected 16,000 people and killed 424 in 1998.

Thousands of sick children sought free treatment at four Swiss-funded hospitals last year, but doctors said they did not have enough resources to treat everyone.

The World Bank, the World Health Organization and the Red Cross have provided pesticides to kill mosquitoes, while the Asian Development Bank (ADB) gave $300,000 to the anti-dengue programme.

Cambodia, whose health care system was devastated in 30 years of civil war, spends about $3 per person on health a year, according to the World Bank.

Cambodia's PM questions UN envoy over Kenya violence

ABC Radio Australia

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen has criticised the UN rights envoy to Cambodia, saying he should deal with violence in his homeland Kenya before demanding reform from the government in Phnom Penh.

The attack against Kenyan lawyer Yash Ghai was the latest in an ongoing row between government officials and the envoy over his scathing assessment of Cambodia's rights situation.

Calling him the "human rights emperor", Hun Sen said Mr Ghai needed to turn his attentions to Kenya instead of unfairly scrutinising Cambodia.

More than 340 people have been killed in Kenya in a wave of bloodshed triggered by last week's disputed presidential polls.