Monday, 14 January 2008

Tribunal judges travel to former Khmer Rouge stronghold: official

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Top officials from Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal travelled for the first time to the regime's former stronghold Monday to allay fears of mass arrests of former rebels.

Judges investigating the murderous Khmer Rouge regime joined other court officials for the three-day visit to the western, Pailin region to "meet and talk" with former rebels, said tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath.

"The aim of the meetings is to explain to them about the role of tribunal and its mandate -- that this court will only try the most senior and the most responsible Khmer Rouge leaders, and the ordinary Khmer Rouge officials should not be worried," he told AFP.

The visit also aimed to clear up misunderstandings about the joint Cambodian-UN tribunal in the hope of convincing many to give evidence for the prosecution in upcoming trials, Reach Sambath said.

"We need cooperation from many of them because they could be key witnesses in order to assist the trials," he said.

Pailin, near the Thai border, was one of the final refuges of the brutal regime which was driven out of power in 1979, and many soldiers and officials fled to the remote region to regroup and try and battle the new government.

Up to two million people died of starvation, overwork or were executed under the Khmer Rouge, which emptied Cambodia's cities, exiling millions to vast collective farms in a bid to forge an agrarian utopia.

The tribunal, established in July 2006 after nearly a decade of negotiations between Cambodia and the United Nations, seeks to prosecute crimes committed by senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

Five heads have been detained to face charges for crimes committed during the regime's 1975-79 rule. Trials are expected to begin in mid-2008.

All the defendants claim to be suffering from serious health ailments, causing concern among those hoping to find justice before the alleged perpetrators die.

Noun Chea's wife is suffer when she live without her husband

Mrs. Noun Chea, now you are suffering when your husband were away from you. You can taste of how million of Cambodian women are suffer when your husband killed their husbands. Your husband is deserved to be in jail until he died because he killed million of innocent peoples.

Former Khmer Rouge leader Noun Chea's wife shows her relatives portraits in her house at Phasar Phrum village in northwestern of Pailin near Cambodia-Thai border January 14, 2008. The co-investigating judges of the "Killing Fields" tribunal, You Bunleng and French Marcel Lemonde, to meet for the first time with the lower ranking of Khmer Rouge rebels in the northwestern province of Pailin on Tuesday.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Former Khmer Rouge leader Noun Chea's wife sweeps her house as her 18-month-old granddaughter Kher May stands in the doorway at Phasar Phrum village northwest of Pailin near the Cambodia-Thai border January 14, 2008. The co-investigating judges of the "Killing Fields" tribunal, You Bunleng and French Marcel Lemonde, to meet for the first time with the lower ranking Khmer Rouge rebels on Tuesday.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Former Khmer Rouge leader Noun Chea's wife is seen with her 18-month-old granddaughter Kher May inside their house at Phasar Phrum village northwest of Pailin near the Cambodia-Thai border January 14, 2008. The co-investigating judges of the "Killing Fields" tribunal, You Bunleng and French Marcel Lemonde, to meet for the first time with the lower ranking Khmer Rouge rebels on Tuesday.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Former Khmer Rouge leader Noun Chea's wife is seen with her 18-month-old grand daughter Kher May inside their house at Phasar Phrum village in northwestern of Pailin near Cambodia-Thai border January 14, 2008. The co-investigating judges of the "Killing Fields" tribunal, You Bunleng and French Marcel Lemonde, to meet for the first time with the lower ranking of Khmer Rouge rebels in the northwestern province of Pailin on Tuesday.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Tribunal judges travel to former Khmer Rouge stronghold

Map locating the town of Pailin in western Cambodia. Top officials from Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal travelled for the first time to the regime's former stronghold Monday to allay fears of mass arrests of former rebels.(AFP/Graphic)

Police commandos stand guard on the road leading to the house of most senior surviving Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea, in Pailin, September 2007. Top officials from Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal travelled for the first time to the regime's former stronghold Monday to allay fears of mass arrests of former rebels.(AFP/File)

Toul SangKer's Electricity Plant No. 5 & 6 are on the fire

(Photo: Chulthea, Koh Santepheap)

Sacravatoons: Shopping sale for election Day; 2003

Courtesy of Sacravatoon :

Justice for Cambodia's Killing Fields

Let's not forget the atrocities carried out in Cambodia in the name of forced collectivism and an "agrarian utopia." The waste and grift in the recent legal proceedings are distressing. Why would $120 million be needed for a trial?!

TCS Daily - Justice for Cambodia's Killing Fields: "In Cambodia, thirty-two years ago, Pol Pot opened the gates of hell and evil reigned bringing destruction, devastation, death and despair.The monstrous behavior of the Khmer Rouge claimed untold victims. Estimates of the death toll during Pol Pot's time of terror run as high as 2.5 million; more than 1 of every 4 Cambodians.In the name of building an agrarian utopia, Pol Pot abolished private property and religion, sought to clear out cities and establish rural collectives. The educated middle class was tortured and executed. Hundreds of thousands died from disease, starvation or exhaustion from forced labor."

Justice for 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 Angkor Wat Admission Fee Scandal

Admission to Angkor Wat archaeological park is $20 per day, and I suspect that most visitors consider this a reasonable fee to experience one of the world's great wonders, especially since some of the fee is supposedly earmarked for preservation efforts. Then you notice that many of the monuments are in poor condition, and that those under reconstruction are often signposted as supported by grants from various international organizations, with little evidence that your $20 was involved in the restoration efforts.

Well, guess what? Most of it apparently disappears into the black hole of Cambodian corruption, in this case controlled by one of the country's largest economic consortiums. Cambodia Mirror translates a document that uncovers the scandal that is Angkor Wat admission fees.

“Parliamentarian Son Chhay wrote a letter to Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen, asking him to reconsider the rights granted the Sokimex company to administer Angkor Wat. In a letter to Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen on 10 January 2008, Mr. Son Chhay pointed out that the rights granted to Oknha Sok Kong’s company to administer Angkor Wat makes the state lose not less than $50 million each year.

“In 2007 alone, the income from tourists visiting Angkor Wat was approximately US$50 million, but the government gave a contract to Oknha Sok Kong’s company to manage Angkor Wat, through which the state gets every year only US$10 million from the company. As a consequence, Angkor Wat, which is the most important Khmer heritage, easily benefits Sok Kong’s company not less than $50 million each year.

Therefore, Mr. Son Chhay asked the government, especially Prime Minister Mr. Hun Sen, to reconsider the contract given to the Sokimex Company to administer Angkor Wat; otherwise, the government will continue to lose benefits while the company does not do anything to protect or maintain Angkor Wat. This means that the Sokimex Company of Oknha Sok Kong can sleep and still wait to easily receive benefits from the historical heritage of all Khmers.

“But will the government take Angkor Wat away from being managed by the businessman Sok Kong or not? By retaining Sok Kong’s company to manage Angkor Wat, officials get much money into their own pockets, but the government gets little. When the government has little money, it cannot spend much on various services. At the end, only high ranking officials and businesspeople live comfortably from the heritage of our Khmer ancestors who are the ancestors of all.”

Building new lives

Deborah Groves is happiest helping the Cambodian people, particularly the local children of Prasat Char village.

14 January 2008
By Angie Kay

Deborah Groves sat down with a magazine recently and read about how some in our western society are now bleaching their eyeballs to match their sparkling whitened teeth.

Surrounded by extreme poverty in the Cambodian home she has lived in since 2005, the Coast photographer was at a loss to reconcile the two realities.

“I couldn’t understand it,” Deborah, 42, said. “I just couldn’t believe it. I rarely get to see a women’s magazine and someone had brought a couple over for me to Cambodia.

“In the past I had always enjoyed reading magazines but I just put that one down and went back to work.”

Work for Deborah now focuses on helping to empower her new neighbours in the Prasat Char village in Siem Reap province in the mid-north-west of Cambodia with her charity Helping Hands Cambodia.

In less than two years she has helped them to build a bridge, which improves work opportunities for the villagers; build a school, which gives 300 children a rudimentary education and which features the only toilet in the village; as well as constructing water pumps to provide clean drinking water.

Much of the last 12 months has been focussed on establishing a new eye treatment program which has saved the sight of numerous villagers, a “full bellies” breakfast program for students at the school and the “work for a bicycle” program.

“Every household in the village has now earned a bike,” Deborah says, brimming with pride.

“We don’t just give them a bike; they have to work for it. It costs them $5 and they have to work for Helping Hands for a day doing things in the village. If they can’t afford the $5 they can earn the bike by working for four days.

“The effect of a program like this is not only that they get a bike which they can use to go to work or high school in Siem Reap, but it also enhances their dignity and I am proud of that.

“We are not turning them into beggars. We want to facilitate them helping themselves. We want to help train up the younger people so they can become leaders in their village, because they are the hope for the future of the country.

“It would be so easy to just go in there and see a family needs some new clothes and give them to them, but that doesn’t give them dignity because they then come to feel they have to rely on other people.”

Bringing about such extraordinary transformation was the last thing Deborah expected when she went on a tour to Cambodia in 2004.

At the time she was running a successful wedding photography business in Currimundi, but “I felt I needed to make some sort of change”.

“I went for a two-week tour, saying I could settle back into life as a wedding photographer or I would come back more disgruntled. I came back more disgruntled.

“Everyone thought I was crazy but I kept thinking that I was more than just a business. The poverty impacted me the most and I felt I could do something about it. The way they live was just so primitive.”

So Deborah now combines her passion for photography, her driving need to bring about lasting, positive change and her rather extraordinary people skills to make the difference.

She still takes her photos but now they are of the sights and people of Cambodia and they are sold to tourists in hotel souvenir shops, book shops, galleries and airport galleries, with the money going back into her Helping Hands charity, which last year became a registered non-gov-ernment organisation in Cambodia.

“The photos help to raise money but they also help to raise awareness of the issues,” Deborah said.

“There was one tourist who bought some of my photos and then when they got back home, they sent me a $500 donation, which goes a very long way here. It costs us $5 for a consultation as part of the eye treatment program.”

As well as large-scale projects, Helping Hands has helped to set up a number of villagers in their own small business, supported families with sick relatives, paid for surgery for a burns victim and funeral costs for another villager, as well as setting up a seed bank to allow all villagers to have access to vegetable seeds.

In a country besieged by poverty, frequently inept government and still wavering under the shadow of thousands of unmapped landmines scattered through the countryside, it can be dangerous.

“It is very different to the lifestyle we have here,” Deborah said during a recent visit with family on the Coast.

“You have to be sensible because stuff does happen but as a westerner you are less likely to be robbed at gunpoint because they know if they are caught the punishment will be much worse.

“And because of the landmines you do have to be careful where you walk. There are still people in Cambodia being blown up by the landmines.”

But Deborah is not one to focus on the negatives, instead steering the conversation back to the positive work being done in Prasat Char.

In the last 12 months, Helping Hands has increased its staff from just Deborah and a villager Chanti, who has become her invaluable offsider, to now include four staff at the school, two staff in a shop selling the photos to tourists and an American volunteer.

And there are plenty more plans to expand the work done by the organisation with stated aims which include finding more ways for villagers to earn an income including making crafts to sell, having all children in the village attend school and educate the adults on issues from health to agricultural practices.

“In other words our aim is to get them to become more self-reliant and look after themselves instead of being recipients of charity,” Deborah said.

For more details on the Helping Hands organisation check out

Donations can be made at the St George Bank: The details are: account name: Helping Hands Cambodia; account number: 419 526 714; BSB: 114 879.

Ch. Karnchang to grow in region

Looks in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam


Ch. Karnchang Plc (CK), Thailand's second-largest construction company, is seeking new opportunities in neighbouring countries as well as work on the government's programme to expand Thailand's rail network.

Due to a slump in the local construction business over the past two years, CK has explored more business opportunities in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, said Prasert Marittanaporn, executive vice-president for accounting and finance.

The company is currently developing the 20.4-billion-baht Nam Ngum hydroelectric dam in Laos. Construction is 45% completed and the dam is scheduled to start generating power to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand in 2011.

CK has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Laotian government to construct three more hydroelectric power projects in Laos, with feasibility studies now under way.

Studies should be completed this year for the The Nam Bag 1 and 2 plants, with a combined value of $400 million and capacity to generate 1,080 megawatts, Mr Prasert said.

Another project involving CK is the $1.8-billion hydroelectric power plant in Xayaburi province, with capacity of 1,260 MW.

In Cambodia, CK is in the early stages of a road construction project in Siem Reap.

Meanwhile, the company is close to signing a deal for the construction of a paper mill in Vietnam for Siam Cement, Thailand's biggest industrial conglomerate.

''Business opportunities in the neighbouring countries are huge. Lots of projects are being developed there along with economic developments such as infrastructure and factories,'' Mr Prasert said.

''To bid for projects around Thailand, we have to compete with other major Thai contractors and those from China and Korea, and CK has the capability to do so.''

SET-listed CK, ranked second to Italian-Thai Development (ITD), expects revenue generated from overseas projects to be equal to that from local contracts within two years.

The company's revenue was 18 billion baht in 2006, and in the first nine months of last year it totalled 12 billion, Mr Prasert said.

''Revenue in 2007 is likely to shrink ... as there were no new major construction projects due to political and economic uncertainties,'' he said, adding that the company had targeted revenue of at least 14 billion baht for all of 2007.

''But this year would be better as the new government is expected to kick off mass transit projects to drive economic growth,'' said Mr Prasert.

''And they must do it as construction projects could generate a huge multiplier effect to the economy, especially employment.''

The government has announced plans to spend 150 billion baht on five rail projects around Bangkok.

CK plans to join in bidding for two rail projects likely to be launched this year with a combined value of 80 billion baht, Mr Prasert said.

Bidding terms for the elevated Purple Line, worth 30 billion baht, are scheduled to be released for bidding this month, while the 50-billion-baht Blue Line will follow later this year.

''With our experience of more than 10 years in infrastructure projects, we have not seen any problem joining the bidding for these projects,'' Mr Prasert said. ''As oil prices have kept rising, these rail networks are crucial for the economy and to ease traffic by transporting people who live in the suburbs to central Bangkok.''

At present, Bangkok has three rail lines _ two elevated and one underground, carrying 600,000 passengers a day. By expanding the network, the government hopes to boost traffic to eventually reach one million people daily.

Mr Prasert said CK had also joined with another Thai contractor in the bidding for a 5.8-billion-baht dual-track train line running from Laem Chabang to Chachoengsao province.

The company's shares closed on Friday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 7.80 baht, up 10 satang, in trade worth 4.73 million baht.

Cambodia opens first big cement plant

Sun Jan 13, 2008

KAMPOT, Cambodia, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Cambodia's first major cement plant, a $93 million joint venture with Thailand's Siam Cement SCC.BK, opened on Monday, another symbol of the war-scarred southeast Asian's nation rapid economic development.

The factory, in the coastal province of Kampot, is expected to produce 960,000 tonnes of cement this year, reducing Cambodia's reliance on imported materials for the construction boom reshaping its capital, Phnom Penh.

Siam Cement and top Cambodian building firm Khaou Chuly Group said their joint venture, Kampot Cement Co., should be producing double that quantity in 2009 and 2010.

At the factory's opening ceremony, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had been importing between two and five million tonnes of cement each year to meet soaring demand and needed to start making its own.

"We need more cement," he said.

After decades of civil war, including the Khmer Rouge "Killing Fields" of the 1970s, Cambodia's economy has taken off in the last three years, due mainly to rapid expansion of its tourism and garment industries.

A construction boom fuelled by billions of dollars of foreign investment, much of it South Korean, has helped push annual economic growth to nearly 10 percent. (Reporting by Dara Rith; Writing by Ek Madra; Editing by Ed Cropley)

The former Khmer Rouge stronghold area of Pailin …

Buddhist monks walk past the Phnom Yat temple in the former Khmer Rouge stronghold, the northwestern province of Pailin, near the Cambodia-Thailand border, January 13, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

A Buddhist monk uses a mobile phone at the Phnom Yat temple in the former Khmer Rouge stronghold area of Pailin January 13, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodian villagers play volleyball in Pailin town, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold in northwestern Cambodia, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

A thick dust trails behind a car as it drives past a Cambodian farmer herding his buffaloes on a dirt road in Battambang province in northwestern Cambodia, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008. Some 85 percent of Cambodian population of 14 million people are poor farmers and many of them survive on less than US$.50 a day.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Brief News From Cambodia

Two Die in Truck Collapse

Two people died instantly and other five seriously injured when an ISUZU truck had a flat tire and collapsed as it was traveling along national road No5. The incident occurred at about 8:30 am in Tkoul Toch village, Ansa Chambok commune, Pursat province. The dead victims are Ms. Sles Srahleyhars, 43 and Mr. Rith Roy, 22. They both lived in Russei Krok commune, Banteaymeanchey province.

Cambodia Worker Association Members to Rally in Olympic Stadium

Head of Cambodia Worker Association Chear Mony sent a proposal to Phnom Penh Municipal hall to ask for permission of Olympic stadium to rally Association members on January 25. There will be around 100,000 factory workers from 180 factories to protest for increasing salary. The hall replied that the permission waits for the governor returning from mission in Mondolkiri.

Two Die in Mine Explosion

Two men died instantly in a mine explosion when they were driving oxen cart through a field. The blast occurred at about 10am in Sreahteok Thmei village, Kamreang district, Battambang province. The dead victims are Nut Vith, 42 and Nu Koy, 41 lived in Sreahteok Thmei village. Commune police recognized that the blasting scene is the area containing mines in ground.

Five People Sentenced Minimum 20 Years Imprison

Five smugglers of over 4 tons of raw drug material including three Chinese, a Cambodian and a Thai were sentenced from 20 to 25 years imprison and pay from 40-100 million riel by Phnom Penh municipal court. Other two Chinese suspects were also convicted in the same charge in absentia. This drug trafficking case happened in April 2007 in Kampong Speu province that a group of people tried to produce addict drug weighting over 4 tons.

PM Replies Raise of Goods Price Increasing

Prime Minister Hun Sen replied the raise of Cambodian Worker Association president Rong Chhun about the increasing price of goods. In an official letter, Prime Minister said that there are three factors that push the goods price high, 1- the price of global oil is going up, 2- Cambodia has prohibited import meat of birds and animal from neighboring countries, 3- the inflation of US dollar currency. He added that the government has increased the salary of public servants.

Woman Commits Suicide from Chroy Changvar Bridge

Phnom Penh: A 24-year-old woman attempted to commit suicide by jumping from Chrov Changvar Bridge at 10 am on 10 Jan 2007. She was saved on time by police. The woman known as Mith Pisey lives in Dangkor district’s Dangkor commune, police said. She attempted to commit suicide because she an argument with her 42-year-old husband, who is a Phnom Penh police officer. Her husband did not come home very often, nor did he talk to her, so she had decided to kill herself, police added.

Thai Police Send Khmer immigrant Workers back

Banteymeanchay Province: Khmer workers, who sought jobs illegally in Thailand, were arrested and transported to Cambodia by Thai authority, at least 300 workers a day. According to the report, at the Cambodia-Thai border_ Ou Chrov district, the workers were continually sent to immigrant office to question, educate and return their homes. Some of them went to work in Thailand legally. In Cambodia, there were not many jobs to do, so they had made decision to seek work in Thailand just to make some money, supporting their family, the workers said.

A sharp increase of tourists and based industry in Kampong Sorm

Kampong Sorm City: A high rank officer of tourism ministry has confirmed that during 2007, tourism industry in this city has dramatically increased. The number of tourists has reached to 370,000, including foreign tourists about 90,000. We can get 20% of tourists increase and around 30% raise of tour services, said Mr. Sorm Chenda, tour department director in Kampong Sorm. Until now, there are 42 hotels, 108 guest houses, and 67 restaurants. A long with its beautiful beaches, Kampong Sorm city also has 22 islands that only 8 are the tour sites especially for catching foreign tourists’ interests.

A Mini-truck Burned in Dei Kraham Dispute Area

A mini-truck was burned at night in Dei Kraham dispute area in Phnom Penh. People at the scene said that they stayed at a side about 30 to 40km from the truck and 7 NG Company and PM police were at nearby side to the truck. A Human Right’s representative was also at the scene. He said that the event seemed to be prepared because immediately before the fire, the electricity was not accessible

Retired King Stops Producing Film

His majesty king father Norodom Sihanouk wrote on his website on January 6, 08 that he stops producing film after his recent film got criticism from some media institutions and children. The film called MONATIO showed a group of people wearing like Khmer Rouge soldier who forced people to leave Phnom Penh on December 17, 1975. But they behaved differently from the Khmer Rouge. Retired King explained that those people were not Khmer Rouge; they were Lon Nol’s soldier.

Log still continues to traffic everyday

Siem Reap Province: Recently, log is still illegally transported everyday by traffickers from Svay Ler district. A news report has also expressed that traffickers have busily done their actions through a whole day since they get a green light from the authority from Svay Ler district. Whether day or night it is not important; the log is continuously transported through Siem Reap without any banning from the authority.

In 2007, about 407 children died and 39,851 were sick of dengue fever

Phnom Penh: During 2007, about 407 children died because of dengue fever and 39,851 were suffered from this sickness. However, the exact number of the dead and the sick is not eventually found, for most of private clinics and hospitals have not sent their reports to National program against dengue fever yet. Mostly their reports are not acceptable since they are not true. So far there are about 100 cases of dengue fever per month, while in 2006 it reached to 800 cases per month around Cambodia. Though it is quite lower than the previous year, National program never ignores this concern. However, what causes the problem is fund which has to be supported more by local organizations.

Among 1,000 people, only 2 donate blood

Phnom Penh: Every year about 30,000 blood stocks are necessarily needed to save human life in any hospital around Cambodia. Blood donation is a precious humanitarian activity for saving the life, said Morm Bunheng, Health ministry secretary of state. According to a report from National Blood Donor Center, there are only 30% of volunteer in blood donation; in average only 2 among 1000 residents have donated their blood. The same report has showed that unless two among 100 volunteer, it can not sufficiently response to the requirement.

Skyscrapers coming soon in Cambodia

Kandal Province: In the next four year, an International Finance Center that has 53 floors will appear in Sangkat Tonle Basak, Phnom Penh. During the meeting with PM Hun Sen, Mr. Kevin Kab Royal Kim, GS company executive, has said that his company plans to invest on three main projects in Cambodia that the first one will start in half of 2008 and it will spend four years to completely construct. About 1,100 million dollars will effort with this project. Mr. Kim added that inside the International Finance Center, it includes supermarket, shopping center, office, school, apartment that can support about 10,000 residents and about 3000 workers for providing services. PM Hun Sen considers this main project as the proud of not only Cambodians but also the government that our country can have skyscrapers like others.

A New Place of Young Precious Stones

A group of people are digging for precious stones on a mountain where locate in Kirivong district Takeo province. On the mountain some of the gem hunters carry pitch-axe and the others handed other tools with expecting that they will find stones today. They speak without stopping their digging.
We were not able to have the stones assessed by a professional. But the gem diggers say people sometimes pay them 800.000 Riel ($200) per kilogram of the stones. And some rich people come to watch them dig and sometimes pushing the door open to try to buy them.
The gems were first discovered here in a year ago at three mountains namely Morhasey, Tambang Samlor, and Phnom Toteng. Ms. Phath Sam is an old woman who lives nearby says she had a dream.“There was an old man wearing with white told me that this is a mountain that has a lot of precious stones please did not move to other place.” said Phath Sam, an old woman lives nearby those mountains.

Her dream now come truth. Ms. Chum Yun and her term is a lucky group that found three Koyun of the stones in one hole at Phnom Toteng. And now her family’s living is better. Chum Yun siad, “most of the stones that my group found is light black, strong white and the side of the stones some are small and some are big like our arm and our thigh. And the merchants came to my whole and bought the stones. Our group gain nine thousands dollars for the three Koyun (small truck) of the stones, so we got fives million Rile for each.”

Mr. Reach On gets up at 4:00 in the morning with the food that his five has packed with a scarf. It’s now 9 o’clock his group has not discovered a place to find stones yet. He goes to hunt the gem everyday. And Reach On says that to find stones is very dangerous. Sometimes we can die immediately. “When I was digging I felt so afraid about landslide. I did not collect my stones all so that other people picked the stones up from my whole a lot, too. The whole villagers found the stones from my whole after me”, said Reach On.

However, an old people had gone in the mine hole because of landslide. But many people still want to take the risk. The chief of Prey Ampok commune, Mr. Ney Neang says about half of the people in the commune are looking for gems. Neang is happy the commune has stones. But he also has some worries. Ney Neang said, “if we based on the law it is illegal because the stones are in the public land. And if the top powers order me to do, I have no excuse. But until now the district authority have not taken action yet. They maybe thought that the villagers are so poor and for me I stand with the villagers.”

In Ratanakiri and Pieline, where there are gems things haven’t always gone so well. Some analysts say the people there are still poor and the money gems hasn’t made it into the national budget. The Excellencies of Takeo province was not available to comment for this story.

Top 10 Eco-Friendly Asian Resorts

International eco-travel continues to grow every year as travelers across the world become more environmentally conscious when making vacation plans.

According to a recent study by the International Ecotourism Society, approximately 70 percent of travelers today prefer to pay a premium rate for hotels that are eco-friendly. As travelers the world over realize their responsibilty to protect the environment, the demand for greener travel options is increasing. Now travelers can visit more eco-friendly locations worldwide, including in Asia.

If trekking through Asia sounds like a your vacation dream, you can do so in a more eco-conscious way by staying at the continent's top green resorts. The online reservation website recently complied a list of the top 10 resorts in Asia for the greenest of travelers.

Top 10 Green Hotels in Asia

1.Banyan Tree Phuket, ThailandOnce described by the United Nations as a toxic wasteland, the abandoned tin mine of Banyan Tree Phuket was recently transformed into the environmental showcase it is today. Now a wildlife sanctuary, the complex resort serves as a popular green resort where guest fees go to support important conservation and community projects.

2. La Residence d' Angkor, Siem Reap, CambodiaDesigned to blend harmoniously with the environment, La Residence also possesses a strong commitment to sustainable tourism. Beyond its environmentally sound practices, the hotel also regularly donates to charities and encourages its guests to do the same. The resort supports the Angkor Hospital for Children through the weekly video screening of a video where guests can contribute second-hand items or donate money for the cause.

3. Evason Hua Hin Resort & Six Senses Spa, ThailandThe iconic thatched huts of the Evason Hua Hin Resort are eco-friendly in nature. Drawing on biodegradable products and adopting practices that conserve energy and minimize waste, the resort supports several local initiatives including the Mangrove Forest Conservation and the Kervorkian Foundation (dedicated to assisting HIV+ babies and children).

4. Nihiwatu, Sumba Island, IndonesiaThere is no place on earth like Sumba Island. Here, the indigenous traditions and animist culture of the Sumbanese people remain completely in tact. Located on 438 acres of tropical forest and rice terraces, Nihiwatu is surrounded by some of the world's most pristine beaches. The resort is strongly committed to conserving its native surrounds and improving the quality of life of the Sumbanese people.

5. Anantara Resort & Spa Golden Triangle, ThailandNestled in the tropical jungle of Thailand’s most Northern province, Anantara’s Golden Triangle resort plays a significant role in elephant conservation. Part of the Royal Thai Government’s Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC), the resort helps protect the elephants, keeping them in an environment similar to their traditional surroundings. With programs for guests that include elephant trekking and forest living skills, the conservation experience is an interactive one.

6. Amar Vilas Agra, IndiaAs part of the esteemed Oberoi Resorts and Hotels, this luxury resort is within 600 meters of the majestic Taj Mahal. Besides its unique architectural and landscape design, the Amar Vilas also upholds a commitment to philanthropic activities including conserving the local environment and cultural heritage.

7. Popa Mountain Resort, Bagan, MyanmarLocated in the forest woodlands of Popa Mountain, this resort was designed to suit its surroundings. Guests are enclosed in the vibrant, yet peaceful terrain, with ample opportunities for hiking the breathtaking Mt. Popa shrine. Using biodegradable products and adopting their own recycling practices to avoid environmental damage, this small resort brings you back to nature.

8. Suneva Fushi Resort & Six Senses Spa, MaldivesJust like all Six Senses properties, this resort has a comprehensive policy on its environmental and social responsibilities. Suneva Fushi supports a myriad of Maldivian community initiatives including tree planting on Eydafushi Island and camps where citizens can get free medical treatment.

9. Tanjung Sanctuary Hotel, Langkawi, MalaysiaTrue to its name, this resort is a sanctuary for those who have a passion for nature. The Tanjung Sanctuary Hotel's design and practices uphold the ideals of sustainable tourism. Importantly, they provide a unique insight into the local flora and fauna with specially designed educational tours for guests.

10. Alila Ubud and Manggis Resorts, Bali, IndonesiaThese two resorts are in close proximity to each other and both recently achieved Green Globe certified status. Alila Ubud was awarded for recycling 80 percent of its water consumption. Alila Manggis excelled in the reduction of water and electricity consumption.

As travelers the world over realize that the responsibility to protect the environment is a shared one, they’re adopting greener lifestyles and scrutinizing the hotels and destinations they choose to stay in.

For more information on environment sustainability and green travel initiatives, visit International Tourism Partnership.

Source — Agoda

19 Foreign Firms to Be Listed on Exchange


By Park Hyong-ki
Staff Reporter

The Korea Exchange (KRX) is seeking to attract more foreign companies to go public on the Seoul stock market. It said securities firms have already signed underwriting contracts with 19 overseas companies.

The KRX noted that at least 10 companies based in China and Japan will be listed on the KOSPI and the Kosdaq by the end of this year. T's FUTURE, a Japanese PC recycling company, is expected to become the first Japanese firm to be listed on the Kosdaq after applying for an initial public offering (IPO) last week.

As part of its globalization plans for 2008, the KRX said, ``We will eye beyond China to attract a larger number of foreign listings.'' It added it will aim to attract companies from Cambodia, Laos, Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States.

To this end, it plans to hold investors seminars overseas, including Vietnam and Cambodia, beginning in Tokyo, Japan next Tuesday and in Liaoning, China in March.

The exchange has agreed with Cambodia and Laos to support the development of their capital markets, and is moving to export its technology for IT trading systems there alongside Vietnam.

So far, the exchange has listed two Chinese firms, one each on the KOSPI and Kosdaq last year. 3NOD Digital Group, a Chinese digital audio manufacturer, listed its shares on the Kosdaq, while Huafeng Textile listed through depository receipts on the main bourse. Cowell Holdings, a producer of camera modules for mobile phones, is set to become the second Chinese listing after 3NOD on the Kosdaq as the company is set to go public by the end of the month, the KRX said.

Besides attracting Chinese firms, the Kosdaq division of the exchange is actively pursuing the listings of U.S. tech firms as well.

On top of the ongoing efforts to increase foreign listings on the stock market, the exchange said it will revise disclosure rules, and allow foreign companies to make public notices in English, instead of in Korean, by the end of this year.

Currently, all firms, including foreign entities, are required to disclose their quarterly and semiannual business reports in Korean, according to the Financial Supervisory Commission.

The exchange said, ``Further discussions with related officials are needed to move in that direction.''