Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Welcoming a new year

Members of the Corning Chinese Association perform a traditional dance at the 2007 Spring Festival, celebrating Chinese New Year.

Parents and children perform during the 2007 Spring Festival as part of the Corning Chinese Association's celebration of Chinese New Year.

Celebrations to mark Chinese New Year, to be observed Thursday, include Asian traditions and tasty treats.

February 6, 2008
By Kathleen Costello - Star-Gazette

Year of the rat

The years: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008.

Corning Chinese AssociationInformation about the group or its festival:
People born in a Year of the Rat are clever and bright, charming and hard-working. They have broad interests and a strong ability to adapt to different environments. Rat people are thought to make wonderful leaders.Bad traits: On the downside, rat people can be controlling, often insisting on doing things their way. They can become obsessed with detail and can be intolerant and strict, frequently demanding order, obedience and perfection.

Thursday marks the beginning of Chinese New Year, the first day in the Chinese or lunar calendar. The first day of the 15-day celebration always takes place during the second new moon after the winter solstice.

Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in many Asian cultures. In addition to China, the annual holiday (also called the "Spring Festival") is celebrated in Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan and Korea. It has been celebrated in America for more than 150 years.

Chinese New Year resembles the American Thanksgiving holiday, since families share large meals. As in many cultures, an abundance of good food is believed to be a harbinger of good things to come.

"It is a time to get together with your family, but that is a little difficult now, living overseas," says Jie Shi, a native of China who lives in Horseheads and works at Corning, Inc. This year, Shi will celebrate the holiday with her 19-year-old daughter and with local friends.

In many Asian cultures, New Year's Eve is the time when families gather to prepare traditional foods such as dumplings, says Lu Zhang, of Painted Post. Then on New Year's Day, the celebration extends out to include friends, neighbors and colleagues.

Each year is named after one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. This year is the year of the rat, which is the first animal in the 12-year cycle. Rat years are generally viewed as times of renewal.

According to legend, Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed from the earth. Only 12 came to bid him farewell and, as a reward, he named a year after each one in the order they arrived, starting with the rat and ending with the pig. Each animal personifies characteristics of the people born in that year.

Those born in rat years are said to be logical, charming, shrewd and inventive.

Symbolism plays a large role in the holiday. The color red is said to represent prosperity, so many people wear red clothes or use red decorations. Children collect money from relatives, which they gather in red envelopes.

People wear new clothes and shoes to symbolize a new beginning, and people clean their homes thoroughly to sweep away past misfortunes, Shi says.

Many traditional foods involve elements of good fortune, as well.

Baking a whole fish, including the head, is a common tradition for Chinese New Year, Zhang says. The head is left untouched to symbolize a completeness of family. The Chinese word for fish is "yue," which is similar to the word for riches.

One traditional dish is "yuan xiao," small dessert dumplings that are eaten on the 15th day of the celebration, called the Lantern Festival. Made from sticky rice flour and filled with sweet stuffing, the dumpling balls symbolize family unity, completeness and harmony: a fitting end to the holiday.

Locally, the Corning Chinese Association is organizing a "Spring Festival" to celebrate the new year. The festival, which is only open to members of the association and their families, will take place from 4:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Broadway Middle School in Elmira. Zhang, the Corning Chinese Association chairman, says the celebration will include food, activities for adults and children, performances by about 11 different groups, and more.

CAPJ presents 2007 free expression report to information minister, journalists

6 February 2008
Source: Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)

On 30 January 2008, the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ) held a meeting with Information Minister Khieu Kanharith and journalists to present its report on the state of press freedom in the country in 2007.

While welcoming the government's decision to decriminalise defamation on 13 August 2007, CAPJ noted a sharp increase in attacks on journalists, compared with 2006 figures: There were 15 incidents of journalists being threatened, nine lawsuits filed against them, three warnings issued to them and eight arrests of journalists.

A full report of the situation can be found in SEAPA's annual review, prepared with input from CAPJ and released on 27 December 2007:

Free but fearful in Cambodia

Cambodia appears to have in place all the laws ensuring media freedom, but the reality is a different matter altogether. The constitutional provision for press freedom is ironically often invoked to restrict this very right, for it says, rather broadly, that the exercise of this right must not infringe upon the rights of others, "affect good traditions of society", and violate public law and order and national security. The interpretation of these restrictions should conform to the standards in the ratified International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but that has not been the case.

For example, multiple revisions have incorporated into the 1995 Press Law unwarranted restrictions and self-contradictory stipulations, such as binding journalists to criminal law though acknowledging that "no persons shall be arrested or subject to criminal charges as a result of the expression of opinion".

Another restrictive constitutional provision that has been repeatedly invoked is Article 7, which states: "The King shall be inviolable". It was used to justify the confiscation of "Free Press Magazine" over an article that questioned former King Norodom Sihanouk’s immunity from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Despite the seemingly positive act to decriminalise defamation on 13 August—rendering moot the defamation threat against Thach Ket, chief editor of "Sralanh Khmer", and former king Norodom Sihanouk's lawsuit against the same newspaper for alleging Queen Monineath was a Vietnamese—there is still another favourite weapon of the authorities: the law on disinformation, which punishes transgressors with imprisonment from six months to three years or a fine of one million to ten million riels (approx. US$253 to US$2,530), or both. And even in civil defamation cases, journalists still face the threat of jail if they fail to pay the same steep fines.

Climate of fear

Much of the government’s workings remain shrouded in secrecy, with the access to information law ignored or not enforced by government officials. Journalists operate in a climate of fear made real by the past occurrences of colleagues being attacked and killed. While none was killed for their work this year, the sense of danger lurking persists under the authoritarian leadership of Hun Sen, the prime minister since 1985. Chim Chenda of "Kampuchea Thmei" was threatened with a gun by General Pol Sinuon for addressing the officer by his name, while Chandy of "Reaksmei Kampuchea" received an anonymous death-threat letter after he wrote a story implicating the Commune Chief of Tek Kraham in land grabbing. Phon Phat of "Chbas Ka" found his house razed twice over his reports on illegal logging.

Those threatened for their work would lie low or flee the country until the situation quietens down. A Radio Free Asia reporter bearing the penname "Keo Nimol" had to leave the country briefly after the prime minister lashed out at him, calling him insolent and rude. His colleague, Lem Pich Pisey, was forced to flee after receiving an anonymous death threat.

The Ministry of Information regularly issues and enforces bans on newspapers for reporting on sensitive issues like corruption and land grabbing, and criticisms against public officials. The biggest casualty was the closing of the major French newspaper, "Cambodge Soir", in operation for 12 years, after it defied the ban on an environmental report produced by an international non-governmental organisation which alleged official corruption. Soon after, the "Sralanh Khmer" newspaper was warned to stop further reports about the same issue. The "Khmer Amatak" newspaper was suspended a month for incurring the wrath of Deputy Prime Minister Nhiek Bun Chhay.

Government propaganda dominates the national broadcaster, allowing no room for the views of opposition parties. Even in the press and radio—where there is a certain level of plurality as ownership is open to political parties, businesses and non-governmental organisations—the authorities can limit ownership on a whim, as seen in the rejection of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights’ application to run a community radio station.

The Internet is a new medium that is as yet unrestricted, but it is accessible only to the minority middle class in the big cities—an estimated 44,000 users out of a total population of close to 14 million. A burgeoning community of bloggers continues to show and test the viability of the medium, and it will consequently, too, soon test the patience of the authorities.

Ethics problem

A lack of journalism ethics in an underpaid profession has also exposed journalists to physical harm, especially those in the poverty-ridden countryside where there is severe lack of basic infrastructure. A majority of the provincial journalists earn a monthly salary of about US$40, and would demand payment in return for their articles or other bribes. On 13 January, editors of the "Sangket Ka", "Samaki" and "Sangkum Cheat" newspapers were arrested and charged for blackmailing actress Vang Srey No. On 15 February, a "Polrath Khmer" reporter was attacked by an angry mob for alleged extortion. On 27 March, the publisher of "Vichea Khmer" newspaper was arrested for attempted murder. Most of such cases would be resolved behind closed doors or through "under-the-table" negotiations, entrenching the culture of bad journalism rather than breaking the cycle.

To address concerns about ethics and protect freedom of the press in general, a Press Council composed of 13 journalist associations was created on 20 July, with Um Sarin, president of the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists, elected to head the organisation.

This report was prepared with input from Sam Rithy Duong Hak, Vice-President of the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists, a SEAPA partner based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

3P Networks Update on Cambodia Telecom Frequency Negotiations
February 06, 2008

“Striving for Low Risk - High Returns”

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--3P Networks Inc. (OTCBB:TPNW) (“the Company”) is currently in the final stage of negotiations with the Royal Cambodian Government to acquire significant frequency spectrum in order to implement unique cost effective telecommunication solutions in Cambodia and in neighboring countries.

As disclosed in a news release dated December 10, 2007, the Cambodia transaction qualifies as the foothold required for a rapid and strategic expansion into the region, specifically in the emerging economies of Laos and Vietnam. Affordable and reliable telecommunications are critical for developing countries in their efforts to both attract investment capital and stimulate a robust domestic environment. While assisting Cambodia’s long term growth and higher GNP-per-capita targets, the Company will also succeed in significantly enhancing shareholder value.

The Company’s strategy is to rapidly build value via credible cash flows from an established and continually expanding subscriber base in areas where valuations are considerably below standard industry benchmarks. In the briefest of terms, the acquisition of the available telecommunications concession will meet the necessary return-on-investment criteria from the perspective of the inherent risks in creating business opportunities in the developing world.

The Company continues to look for takeover targets in the heavily undervalued regions of the world, subject to the availability of quality management. The opportunity in Cambodia has led to the suspension of the Company’s previously announced (August 20 and October 18, 2007) acquisition and financing of certain Caribbean assets. The current opportunity is a direct result of the Company’s joint venture with a boutique investment-banking firm in Phnom Penh—Diversified International Projects.

About 3P Networks: TPNW

3P Networks’ management has decades of experience providing telecommunication technologies to developing nations. Much of the focus has been in technologies which assist in the “custom bundling” of multiple products including TV, fixed and wireless VoIP and broadband connectivity, all in a common platform. The Company’s management realizes that aggregating subscribers is the name of the telecommunications game; the growth-oriented markets of the niche South East Asian region (in and around Cambodia) offer a unique window of opportunity. For more information please access the company’s website at

About Diversified International Projects Diversified International Projects Co. Ltd. (D.I.P.) represents and promotes financial enterprises, institutions and investors in the Asia region. Over the past 20 years, D.I.P. principals have been involved in a number of significant transactions, particularly related to investment and property development activity, and are well positioned to represent financial enterprises as well as develop, implement and market financial-related services to markets in the fast expanding Asian region.

Chinese company to construct hydro-electric station in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Three BOT (build, operate and transfer) agreements were signed here on Wednesday for a Chinese company to build and develop the Kirirom III Hydro-electric Station in Kaoh Kong to meet the power demand from Kaoh Kong, Kampong Speu and Phnom Penh.

Zhao Shouhe, president of the China State Grid Xin Yuan International Investment Co. LTD., and vice president Wang Hong inked the agreements with Cambodian Minister of Economics and Finance Keat Chhun, Cambodian Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Semand other government officials.

Charged Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia Duan Jinzhu and Economic and Commercial Counselor Sun Weiren also joined the ceremony.

A press release from the Cambodian side said that the project won approval from both governments after more than two years of field research and expert study.

It will enjoy benefits in dual sectors of society and economy, satisfying the Cambodia's power need on condition of safety and high efficiency and generating incomes and taxes for both governments, it added.

The project is located in Koh Kong province in southwest Cambodia, 159 km away from Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, and 120 km away from Sihanoukville, the major port city of Cambodia.

The 47-million-dollar power plant will have an installed capacity of 18 megawatts. The plant will be finished in three years and have 30 years of granted on cession.

Editor: An Lu

Crime and Punishment , Unusual criminal incidents from around the region
Tuesday, February 05, 2008

By Advocate staf

Honeymoon in Cambodia
With love in short supply the world over, it seems misguided to punish Hun Siv. All the 41-year-old New Britain resident allegedly did was to bring people together in the bonds of matrimony. Sure, the marriages he reportedly arranged in 2006 and 2007 between three American citizens and three Cambodians were almost definitely scams arranged to procure American citizenship under fraudulent auspices. On Tuesday, Jan. 29, a federal grand jury indicted him for conspiracy to defraud the United States, abetting marriage fraud and other charges. But who is the federal government to stand in the way of love?

Quit Beating Yourself Up
In the movie Liar Liar, Jim Carey beats himself up in a courtroom bathroom so his condition gets sympathy from the judge. It seemed to work out well for him. Not so much for Steven McCurry of East Hartford. He was arrested Wednesday, Jan. 30 after a domestic dispute over “money and living conditions.” He reportedly had a habit of punching and scratching himself and blaming it on others in order to get them arrested. McCurry was charged with domestic disturbance.

Area 51
There are a lot of angles to the drug arrest that occurred in Middletown on Friday, Jan. 25, but we think we should start with the name. Nineteen-year-old Middletown resident Lavasha R. Outlaw arguably never had a shot at a law-abiding life, saddled as she was with a name like “Outlaw.” Honestly, she’s lucky she didn’t become a cowboy. She reportedly opted for crack-dealing instead of spurs. The Middletown Press reports that during a search of Outlaw’s apartment, a police dog sniffed out several bags of crack. Outlaw allegedly hid the drugs in a bag of coffee grounds, which she stuffed down her pants. Even odder than the hiding attempt was the Press’s description: they wrote that the drugs were in the “vaginal area of her pants.”

Final Insult
You can’t use the word “asshole” in court, we guess, so when Manchester court prosecutor Lisa Herskowitz described Henry Baixuali to a judge she had to resort to saying “He’s just a drunken, racist scourge on society, your honor.” While not an obscenity, it’s pretty harsh. But if the allegations against the 16-year-old Manchester resident are true, it was warranted. Reportedly, Baixuali got raging drunk on Monday, Jan. 25 and terrorized customers at a a Manchester Dunkin’ Donuts with racial slurs and other behavior. Exactly two weeks before that, Baixuali reportedly pulled the same shit at Manchester Memorial Hospital. In addition to being sternly dressed down by Herskowitz in court, Baixuali also received breach of peace and trespassing charges.

Not Quite
OutsmartedSo you decide to shoplift and get caught. What to do? Tell the cops a fake name. They’ll never find you out — they have no way of checking a person’s real identity, right? That’s the brilliant plan 17-year-old Omara Williams of East Hartford came up with. On Wednesday, Jan. 30, she was arrested for shoplifting and told the police her name was Porsha. Police found out she was lying after “further investigation,” namely just checking her ID. Williams was then charged with not only larceny, but criminal impersonation and forgery as well.

Please, Take the Bus
Some people just shouldn’t drive. Luis Hernandes Morales of East Hartford is one of those people. On Saturday, Jan. 26, Wethersfield police pulled him over during a routine traffic stop. Turns out, he was an illegal alien, he was operating under the influence, he didn’t have a license or insurance, and his vehicle wasn’t registered. His bail was set at $50,000.

Looking For a Fight
There are good reasons to fight: for freedom, for your family, for a good spot in line on black Friday. It seems that 16-year-old Isaiah Barrow of East Hartford ran out of good reasons. On Wednesday, Jan. 30, he and his friends, allegedly part of a gang, were set to scrap with anybody walking after dark near Burnside Avenue and Tolland Strett. A fight broke out between several people and 13 arrests were made. Barrow would have been released with the rest of his friends, had he not told the arresting officer to “suck his dick.” Not the best thing for him to say in his defense. Barrow was charged with breach of peace.

All of the information contained in the Advocate’s police blotter comes from police reports or officials, or has been shamelessly swiped from other published accounts. Individuals charged have not been independently investigated by the Advocate. All those arrested are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

Ex-Khmer Rouge leader moved back to hospital

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2008

Former Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary, one of five top cadres facing Cambodia's genocide tribunal, remained hospitalized yesterday after being rushed from prison the day before, court officials said.

The regime's 82-year-old former foreign minister, who is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, was hospitalized on Monday after he began urinating blood, said Ang Udom, his lawyer.

The emergency was just the latest in a series of health scares suffered by possible tribunal defendants -- all of whom are elderly and frail -- and again raised fears that death could come before the trials for those accused of of past atrocities.

"All five defendants are old. They have spent years living in the jungle," said Reach Sambath, spokesman for the UN-backed tribunal, adding that Ieng Sary's condition was improving but that he was still in hospital.

"The doctors are very serious about their health, especially Ieng Sary ... of the five, he is the biggest cause for concern," he said.

It was Ieng Sary's second time being hospitalized in as many weeks. He was brought in for medical attention late last month due to a chronic heart problem, Reach Sambath said earlier.

His lawyer has said that Ieng Sary's health has deteriorated since his arrest in November.

Tribunal judges have also been sometimes forced to halt interviews with another suspect, Nuon Chea, because of health concerns.

Up to 2 million people died of starvation and overwork, or were executed during the 1975 to 1979 rule of the Khmer Rouge, which dismantled modern Cambodian society in its effort to forge a radical agrarian utopia.

From Phnom Penh to Paris, 'Super Tuesday' goes abroad

US Democrats living in Indonesia cast their votes in Jakarta

US Democrats wait to cast their votes in Jakarta

A US citizen casts her vote at a polling station in downtown Rome

Posters made by supporters of Barack Obama are displayed before a Democrats Abroad primary vote, in London

A US citizen residing in India (L) casts her ballot at an on-site voting center of the Democrats Abroad India
PARIS (AFP) — From the Indonesian city where Barack Obama spent part of his childhood to Hong Kong's bars and a Dublin pub, US Democrats abroad grabbed their first chance to vote in "Super Tuesday" primaries.

Voting for expat Democrats is taking place across the world until February 12, as well as online, with a total of 11 votes at stake for the Democratic Party convention that will eventually choose its candidate.

The venues are about as far removed from formal political institutions as possible, from pubs and cafes to bookshops and doughnut stores.

In Jakarta, where Obama spent part of his youth living and going to school in Menteng, a suburb of decaying colonial grandeur, Democrats handed him a win over Hillary Clinton in the first result announced, party officials said.

Seventy-five percent of nearly 100 votes cast by expatriate Americans just past midnight (1700 GMT Monday) went to Obama and 25 percent went to Clinton, Democrats Abroad officials here said.

Robert Lamont, a 53-year-old USAID worker in Jakarta, said he chose Obama for his combination of charisma and conciliatory foreign policy approach.

"That means he has more sensitivity to the wider world than someone who has lived in the US her whole life," he told AFP, comparing Obama to Clinton.

It is the first time Democrats living overseas had the chance to vote in person for their own delegates. The Republican Party does not elect convention delegates from abroad.

In Bangkok, hundreds of people went to the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand to cast their ballots.

Phil Robertson, chairman of Democrats Abroad Thailand, expected thousands of Americans to vote at polling stations in the capital.

In neighbouring Cambodia, a polling station in Phnom Penh's aptly-named USA Donuts was set up ahead of voting on Saturday.

"People are seeing that they can actually vote and their votes will carry," said Wayne Weightman, chairman of Democrats Abroad in Cambodia. "As expats, we're so close to the effects of our foreign policy ... but some people have been feeling disenfranchised."

The presidential race has gripped the public imagination in close US ally Japan.

A Japanese translation of Obama's 1995 memoir "Dreams from My Father," in which the future senator wrote of his long search to connect with his Kenyan father and heritage, has spent time on the bestseller lists.

There was strong participation in Europe, as well.

In Paris, Behnaz Mahdavi, 48, casting her ballot at the American Church on the left bank of the River Seine, said she had faced "the hardest" decision.

"I've been thinking for weeks and the more I think about it the more I want both of them. So I don't know -- I voted for one of them but I'm hoping to get both of them together."

"Hillary's going to be president," burst out Elaina Mariarty. "I'll do everything I can to make sure Hillary gets in office. I wanna see her kick (front-runner Republican presidential hopeful and Arizona Senator John) McCain's ass!"

Britain is home to 250,000 Americans of all ages, and Democratic organisers reported a "frenzy" of interest in the nomination race because it was too close to call and could see the first female or African-American president.

"We're seeing a reflection here of what we're seeing in the States," said Daniel Rivkin, spokesman for Democrats Abroad UK. "There has been a lot of enthusiasm. We're expecting thousands."

One of Dublin's most famous pubs, O'Neills, was the venue for Irish-based Democrats seeking to play their part.

Democrats gathered around beer and pizza in a Berlin cafe to participate. Liesel Tarqueni, a 30-year-old graduate student from Oregon, said she backed Obama.

"I trust him... He's not part of the corruption of Washington DC," she said.

More than 100 people cast ballots in the first two hours of voting at an Anglican-Episcopalian church in central Rome, volunteer Karen Georgi said.

"I could have voted on-line much more easily but I thought I'd come along and be a part of all this," said Frank Cappiello, a 30-year-old teacher's assistant from Pennsylvania.

"Super Tuesday" states account for more than half the Democratic delegates and almost half of Republican delegates for their party conventions later this year, which formally nominate candidates for November's presidential vote.

McCain enjoys a commanding lead over his rivals in the battle for the Republican nomination while a clutch of new polls show the Democratic race a neck-and-neck struggle between Clinton and Obama.

In Mexico City, where voting was also being held, Ralson Darlington of Democrats Abroad said "this is the most interesting and the most important election in ages."

"This is the first election in ages where it's not an incumbent president or vice president who is running, so it's wide open," he said.

11 Summoned to Court Over Mining Row

By Chiep Mony,
VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
05 February 2008

Audio in Khmer - Listen (MP3)

Preah Vihear provincial court authorities have summoned eight hill tribe representatives and three police officials to explain how a local mining operation was robbed during a demonstration last month.

The mineral company has sued local villagers, of the Kuoy ethnic group, for theft and damaged property.

About 200 Kuoy villagers demonstrated against the mine on Jan. 23, fearing that chemicals from the mine had poisoned their cattle, officials said.

In an ensuing fracas, equipment from the mine was stolen and some of its chemicals were destroyed, the company claims.

Sam Chheng, a Kuoy representative, said he and the other accused will appear in court Wednesday.

Chhim Savuth, an investigator for the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said local villagers reported poisonous chemicals to authorities many times but were ignored, leading them to demonstrate.

Villagers accused local officials of collaborating with the mining company.

Rovieng Police Chief Sin Than said the mining company was to blame for all the trouble and had sued authorities for damages as well.

He echoed concerns of the Kuoy villagers that he would be arrested after his appearance at court Wednesday.

Ieng Sary Hospitalized

By Chun Sakada,
VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
05 February 2008

Audio in Khmer - Listen (MP3)

Jailed Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary was hospitalized Monday for treatment of a urinary tract problem, officials said Tuesday.

The former foreign minister of the regime was rushed to the hospital after urinating blood, and he remained in the hospital Tuesday.

Lawyer Ang Udom said his client should not be kept at a tribunal detention center ahead of his atrocity crimes trials.

“We complained about the detention because of his health, because the prison conditions are not good,” Ang Udom said.

Ieng Sary, 82, suffers from heart problems and has been to the hospital twice in 10 days, tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said.

Ieng Sary was being kept at Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh to be monitored, Reach Sambath said.

“The persons to decide whether he should stay in or out of jail are the five judges from the Khmer Rouge tribunal, following a hearing,” Reach Sambath said.

Life at a Khmer Rouge torture center caught on canvas
5 February 2008

This painting depicts memories of 63-year-old Vann Nath from his days of captivity under the Khmer Rouge. Prisoners were confined to a metal bar. Almost everyday prisoners died. Their corpses were not taken away immediately.

Those still alive had to sleep and eat alongside the bodies, knowing the same thing could happen to them. As the painter Vann Nath can well portray the ill-fated detainees as he was among those confined to a metal bar. Vann Nath is one of seven survivors- three of which are still alive today- of the dreadful Khmer Rouge’s secret prison where 14,000 men, women and children were interrogated, tortured and executed during 1975 and 1979.

Vann Nath was tortured and nearly killed. Fortunately, his painting skills saved his life, as he was put to work painting and sculpting portraits of the regime’s leader, Polpot.

In 1979, the artist prisoner escaped from S-21 as the Pol Pot regime collapsed under the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia. As a survivor, the Cambodian government asked Vann Nath to paint scenes he witnessed in S-21 to show the secret horrors of the ‘Killing Fields’.

These works still hang in the former torture center which today is a museum. Vann Nath said he found difficulty in creating the paintings as it reminded him of the painful years.

“Sometimes it’s very hard. When I start painting, it reminds me of all the pain and the faces of all my friends who were killed.

Everyday I can not live peacefully. Sometimes I don’t want to hear and to know anything about it,” said Vann Nath.

However, Vann Nath keeps painting because he wants to let the world know about the endurance of Cambodian people during the Pol Pot regime and to show the younger generations the misery of their ancestors so the regime would never be allowed to resurface.

A series of paintings by Vann Nath, entitled “Endurance” will be shown for the first time in Bangkok at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand until the end of February.

Cambodian Garment Sector Under Threat
Feb 5 2008

Cambodia's garment industry expects to see a decline of orders from American retailers amid fear of a slowdown in the U.S. economy, a Cabinet minister said Tuesday, as he warned the country's top export sector by value faces tough times.

"I am concerned that our garment sector would face some problems," Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh said. "Now that the U.S. economy may head into a decline, purchasing orders from U.S. retailers may also decrease."

He said last year's garment exports to the U.S. were worth more than US$1.9 billion (euro1.3 billion). The figure represents about two-thirds of Cambodia's total exports of clothing products in 2007, Cham Prasidh said.

Anti-dumping measures the U.S. has imposed on the import of Chinese goods have so far helped sustain Cambodia's garment export industry.

But at the end of 2008, the U.S. will phase out the measures against China as well as a monitoring mechanism on imports from Vietnam, another competitor, compounding pressure on the Cambodian garment industry, Cham Prasidh said at a press conference Tuesday.

"Competing for that market has not been an easy task," he said.

Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, agreed that the industry is facing "a very difficult" time and "stiffer competition" ahead.

Cambodia currently has 300 garment factories that employ 355,000 workers.

Cambodia ranks 12th among the 25 top countries from which the U.S. imports textile products, according the U.S. Census Bureau.

Cambodia achieves over $2 bln of investment in 2007

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia scored 2.808 billion U.S. dollars of investment in 2007, Cambodian Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh said here on Tuesday.

"The number of investment projects in 2007 was more than that in 2006, but the investment volume went lower," he said on the sideline of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Mega investment projects were absent in 2007, which led to the decrease of investment volume over 2006, he said, adding that however the government has been making efforts for months to finalize several jumbo projects currently under negotiations.

In 2007, for local investors, average single project had little investment but the total number of such projects was big, he said.

The local investors' focus has diverted from resort and hotel construction to agricultural and industrial projects as a result of the government's ongoing reform policy, he said.

In the past decade, the economic growth of Cambodia has depended on four pillar industries, namely garment, tourism, infrastructure construction and agriculture.

Editor: Wang Hongjiang

Her Excellency Bun Rany Hun Sen Requests to Examine How Nightclubs Disregard Regulations

5 February 2008.

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 546

“Phnom Penh: The First Lady of Cambodia, Her Excellency Bun Rany Hun Sen, appealed to the Phnom Penh municipal authorities to examine the nightclubs in their administrative area, and she appealed also to the authorities in other provinces and cities about negative actions, which have an impact on security, social order, and national culture and traditions. She also requested to stop the song “I’m asking for one part of your heart” on television, and to stop showing singers wearing sexy clothes.

“Speaking at the annual convention of the National Committee for the Promotion of Social Morality, aand Cambodian Women’s and Families’ Values on 31 January, as honorary chairperson of the national committee, Her Excellency Bun Rany Hun Sen pointed out that negative social actions, vices, and cases of rape - for example fathers rapeing their daughters, grandfathers rapeing their granddaughters - are on the increase. She stressed that this is really a problem. Such immoral acts were not part of the Cambodian time-honored tradition. She added that this is not a problem that we should ignore, it is a national issue. Some people understand that social developments make people act like that. She raised the question whether society leads the people, or whether people lead the society; whether people educate the society, or society educates the people. If the society leads the people, it means that it is a good society, but people may lead a good society to deteriorate. She continued to say that according to her idea, it is always some people who lead a society to deteriorate.

“She stressed that what she is worrying, ‘We all have to make every effort, because this is not just a problem for the government only. If we do not all try to implement the laws from the beginning, the law cannot be implemented effectively.’

“She appealed that Phnom Penh has to be controlled and examined, especially such places which cause negative activities; there are about 100 nightclubs. But she added that the problem does not exist only in Phnom Penh, but also in the 24 provinces and cities.

“She made a new request by asking the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Information to observe what clothes singers wear to perform on stage and when they are broadcasting live on television. She said that currently singers are often wearing scanty clothes. Previously, Prime Minister Hun Sen had issued an order to pay attention to this problem. It lasted only four or five months. Now it is again the same, when one observes the TV.

“She made a request to stop singing the song “I’m asking for one part of your heart” on TV, because she sees that the song does not contain a positive meaning to educate Cambodian women. She said that she had made a request to stop singing this song. If the song is played on music cassettes at home, she does not object, but now it is allowed that singers sing this song on television. She sees that female singers like singing this song. She said that there are many songs to sing, but why go to ask for anothers’ heart? If the singers have wives or husbands, they can go to ask them. She said that this song is not educational in the traditional Cambodian way, but it provides bad models. She said that if people want to stop domestic violence and other vices, this will include to stop singing this song which does not serve the interests of the society, and to stop singing it is part of the effort to prevent domestic violence.

It can be remembered that in the past, wearing scanty clothes on stage was banned already twice by Prime Minister Hun Sen, but it led only to a short-time improvement. Few years ago, a girl performed on a TV stage without covering her body properly and this was broadcasted live on TV - but later this singer apologized for her mistake. The song entitled “I’m asking for one part of your heart” has been known as a Cambodian song from abroad, sung by Ms. Song Seng Hon. The song was produced many years ago, in which a girl asks for the love of a man who has already a wife.

With regard to the above problem, Mr. Kim Kunvath, the general director of the television station TVK, fully supported Her Excellency Bun Rany Hun Sen’s request. He claimed that in fact, “We are not narrow-minded, but the younger actors seem to forget our Khmer tradition, and as for the clothes they wear, they should wear clothes according to the clothes of Cambodian girls who have a clean tradition.’

“At the same time, he appealed to all the television stations to cooperate in supporting the valuable request of Her Excellency Bun Rany Hun Sen.

“Mr. Kuoch Kevin, the production manager of the television station CTN, also supported Her Excellency Bun Rany Hun Sen’s request, because he agrees that her advice and her opinions are correct for promoting the honor of Cambodian society, particularly promoting the clean traditions and customs of our Cambodian women.

Regarding her request, Mr. Kuoch Kevin said that he was never interested in the song “I’m asking for one part of your heart.” The song was written and sung by Ms. Song Seng Hon in the United States, and publicized in 1990. The song seemes to have a content and a meaning that do not suit society, as it particularly affects the dignity and honor of Cambodian women, as Her Excellency had mentioned.

“Regarding the wearing of scanty clothes by some people on stage, Mr. Kuoch Kevin thought that wearing such clothes is often considered elegant, fashionable, and modern, according to some types of program they attend. However, he also confirmed, “If we participate in a private program in a friendly manner or at home, we can wear the kind of clothes that we want to put on. But if we participate in various programs for the public to be broadcasted on television, clothes should be worn like Cambodian girls wear them, who have honor, dignity, and clean traditions, to be good models for our younger generation.’

“He stated that performers are famous not for wearing scanty clothes, but for their real talents and their capacity.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4506, 3/4.2.2008

Cambodian French quarter hosts property investment opportunity
February 05, 2008
Cambodia is a rising Asian tiger likely to see massive growth in 2008. Tourism is expanding rapidly and going up market, and the low prices of property make it a popular destination for investors on a limited budget looking to make a quick profit.

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Queenco Leisure buys land in Cambodia for 10 mln usd to build beachfront resort

AFX News Limited

LONDON (Thomson Financial) - Queenco Leisure International Ltd said it has purchased 9 hectares of land in Sihanouk Ville, a coastal area in the south-west of Cambodia, for 10 mln usd, which it plans to develop as a destination beachfront resort and casino, including hotels and conference centres.

The casino developer and operator said as part of the acquisition, it has also acquired exclusive rights from the Cambodian government for the stretch of beach immediately in front of the site.

'Along with the expansion of Sihanouk Ville's airport, the area is being transformed as a tourist destination, with a growing local economy, as both foreign and domestic investors recognise the future potential of the area,' chief executive Dror Mizeretz said.

Today's announcement follows the company's acquisition of 48 hectares of land in Sihanouk Ville in February 2007, Queenco added.

Different worlds: WB trades letters with Cambodia class

Tom Sherlin/The Daily Times
Codi Lambert looks over a letter and photo from her Cambodian pen pal at William Blount High School.
By Mark Alewineof The Daily Times Staff

�I�m excited to say I have a new friend in America.�These words have found their way from the small, Asian country of Cambodia, to the hands of students on the other side of the world in Lisa Millsaps� English class at William Blount High School. Since last fall, her class has been corresponding with students in Cambodia by writing letters to pen pals through Millsaps� friend, Autumn West.

West, who was a Blount County resident, has spent the last year working with the Peace Corps as an English teacher in Cambodia (which is in Southeast Asia, bordering Thailand and Vietnam). She and Millsaps, who attend Sevier Heights Baptist Church together, decided to begin a pen pal program and have their classes write letters to each other. West said, in a letter to Millsaps, she wanted to begin a letter writing club for some of her best students in hopes it would help them improve their English. Millsaps said she wanted to try and expose her class to other cultures and people, so the two began making the idea happen.

�It's been a long time since I've been so excited about doing a project, Millsaps said, with tears in her eyes.

Letters from Cambodia

In October, the first set of letters came from the Cambodian students. West said in her own letter that her students were assigned to describe either themselves or the religious festival Pchum Ben, which some did in minute detail. Their English was difficult to understand and the letters were somewhat impersonal, but they had a significant effect on Millsaps� class. Many students said they read their letters out loud to their family members and friends, with one student saying she read the letter at least 10 times to her family.

Millsaps said her class jumped at the idea of replying to their letters, so they began writing and bringing in pictures of themselves to send. They wrote descriptions of themselves and their daily lives, as well as answering questions the Cambodian students asked about America.�We could not wait.

We were so excited,� Millsaps said.After weeks of waiting, the letters finally arrived in Cambodia and in the hands of the letter writing club. The students were ecstatic, West said in an e-mail, and could not believe American students had written them back.�I knew we could make this work, but her students could not believe we would actually write them back,� Millsaps said.

WB students reply

Almost immediately, West�s students wrote their replies and made gifts for the American students they now considered friends. Different from their first, the second set of letters were far more personal, and the class was amazed by their sincerity and compassion.

�There is a lot of care that went into their letters,� Millsaps said. Her students agreed.

�They�re so sincere,� one student said.

In the package, the students had sewn pieces of cloth with detailed pictures and their pen pal�s name on them. They also included pictures of themselves, which for some was no easy task. One of Millsaps� students said her pen pal wrote how difficult it was to find a picture of herself to send, realizing that simply having a photograph of herself was such a privilege.

For the majority of Millsaps� class, the realization that there were people around the world who lived very differently and with much less has played a significant role in shaping their feelings toward the project.

�It gives you a better perspective over your life,� one student said. She added many students were unaware of life outside of William Blount High School and this project was helping her grasp an understanding of the rest of the world.

�I think more people our age should do this,� she said.

Other students added their feelings as well, saying this has changed the way they see the world and themselves.

�It makes me realize there is more to life than what I wanted,� one said.

It is now time for Millsaps� class to send letters back to Cambodia, and the students are already discussing sending gifts like CDs, sports balls, necklaces, bracelets and pictures to help them understand their lives even more.

For all the students, the letters have become a part of their class and a part of their lives, and many of them said they wanted to continue this even after the class is over.

�I want to continue this through college,� said one student.

�This is probably the coolest thing I�ve done in high school,� added another.

Millsaps emphasized the impact this has had and will continue to have on her students, and said they will never forget what they have learned through this experience.

�They are going to remember this for the rest of their lives.�

AROUND JAPAN/ KONOSU, Saitama Prefecture: Painting a picture of hope in Cambodia

On the streets of Phnom Penh and in rural villages of Cambodia, children are expressing themselves through painting thanks to a Japanese artist on a mission.

Their paintings and drawings have, in turn, been helping to make their lives a little better and brighter.

Tateshi Kajiyama, 56, is an artist based here who specializes in water colors. In Cambodia, he is known simply as "ta ku rouk," which translates as "grandpapa drawer."

For the past decade, Kajiyama has regularly visited the country between four and five times a year.

While there, he spends his time giving art lessons to young children, even handing out brushes to those who live on the streets of the capital.

Back home, he has been raising money at private exhibitions and collecting donations that he sends to schools in Cambodia to support children's education.

It was a chance meeting with a Cambodian student in Japan that got him started on his mission.
In late April 1998, Kajiyama befriended the student at a store in Shinjuku. They sat in a nearby cafe and talked for over two hours.

Everything Kajiyama learned that day about the daily lives of ordinary people in Cambodia was different from what he had learned about the country through the media. In his mind, Cambodia was a country filled with land mines and terrible poverty.

He said he came to realize that despite the lingering confusion and devastation of civil war, Cambodians were resilient and intent on moving forward to rebuild their country.

Intrigued, he flew off to Cambodia that summer.

"I wanted to visit a country that was undergoing change and to see the daily lives of the people with my own eyes," Kajiyama said.

He visited a village in Kandal province in southern Cambodia, where his student friend was from.

At a local elementary and junior high school, he rented classroom space. He spread out the painting supplies he had brought with him from Japan and invited the children there to draw.

"These were children who were encountering paint for the first time in their lives. Some just went ahead and tried to eat it straight out of the tube," he said.

The children painted local birds, flowers and fresh produce. They drew to their hearts' content on big sheets of paper. Kajiyama said: "In Japan, children like to draw anime characters.
Cambodian children faithfully draw what they see."

He was surprised to see them come up with powerful and vibrant images. It was hard to imagine that the children were drawing for the first time.

Kajiyama pondered how to help them through these drawings.

He noticed that the school had no chalkboard, nor textbooks for students.

So he decided to take the paintings back to Japan. He held exhibitions in Tokyo and sought donations--to be put to good use for the children.

Since then, he visits the country as often as he can.

In Phnom Penh, he has shown street children how to draw while they camp out on the sidewalks. He was again very impressed.

"(The children) are so intense. There is so much concentration. They can draw for three to four hours without a break under the tropical sun, something I can't do," Kajiyama said.

He said he had collected more than 200 drawings during his visits over the past 10 years.

Based on the funds he has sent in, the school in Kandal was able from last year to start distributing textbooks to all its students. The broken well is fixed and a new gate was installed to welcome the kids.

Thanks to these renovations, more children are coming back to the school.

Today, Kajiyama is working toward a new goal.

He wants to build an art studio-cum-gallery in Cambodia.

"I want to create a space where people can communicate through art," he said.

With passion in his heart Kajiyama looks forward to returning to Cambodia this year to visit his budding students.

Cambodian power may arrive early
Tuesday February 05, 2008


The Thai-developed Koh Kong power plant in Cambodia will likely begin supplying electricity earlier than scheduled because of delays facing other plants planned by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat).

According to Egat deputy governor Suttipong Teppitak, the state utility has accelerated negotiations with the operators of the 3,660-megawatt, coal-fired Koh Kong plant, a venture of Italian-Thai Development, Ratchaburi Holding and Egco Group.

''We will speed up a deal so that we can sign a power purchase-agreement a bit early,'' he said.
Egat fears that protests against its own coal-fired power plants could delay their startup and possibly create a risk of power shortages in the future.

Mr Suttipong said there was very limited time to educate the public about new clean-coal technology, but public acceptance would be essential before Egat started construction.

''We must have a reserve plan to deal with any incidents since it seems that anything could happen in our country,'' said Mr Suttipong, who oversees policy and planning.

Egat had planned to begin receiving power from Koh Kong between 2019 and 2021. Egat's local coal-fired plants, with a total 2,800 MW, were to start serving the grid in 2015-17. ''We will swap our schedules,'' he said.

Egat is in the process of site selection and preparing a public acceptance plan.

The Koh Kong talks, said Mr Suttipong, would focus on power tariffs and the high cost of a 500-kilovolt line running 500 kilometres from the west coast of Cambodia to Bangkok.

The Koh Kong operators were unavailable for comment.

An Energy Ministry source said Egat would also open talks with operators in Burma and southern China as optional power sources.

Egat recently has approached South China Grid Co about buying 1,750 MW initially. The project is due to come online in 2010 with a capacity of 10,000 MW.

Cambodian judges delay genocide trial
Tuesday, Feb 05, 2008

Cambodia's genocide tribunal postponed Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea's first public court hearing yesterday amid a row over his legal team, raising concerns for further delays to the UN-backed proceedings.

The tribunal was scheduled to hear an appeal against Nuon Chea's pre-trial detention.

But a key member of his defense, Dutch attorney Victor Koppe, has yet to be admitted to Cambodia's Bar Association, a requirement for foreign lawyers wishing to represent defendants in a tribunal.

"The pre-trial chamber decided to adjourn the hearing to a later date and ordered the lawyers of the charged person to submit a written report about the presence of the international lawyer," the judges said.


Nuon Chea, the senior-most of the five Khmer Rouge cadres to be arrested so far, argued earlier in the day that going ahead without Koppe would violate international standards of justice.
"It is not consistent with international standards. I believe that if these proceedings go ahead, it is not fair to me," the 81-year-old regime ideologue told the judges.

Nuon Chea, who was Khmer Rouge supreme leader Pol Pot's closest deputy and the alleged architect of the regime's execution policies during its 1975 to 1979 rule, was arrested in September and charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

No new date has been set for his appeal, the judges said.

"It's regrettable that it's been postponed," co-prosecutor Robert Petit said. "Any delay in this court is regrettable. Any delay in getting at the truth in this matter and justice for the victims is regrettable."

Had the hearing been held, it would have been only the second public hearing since the tribunal was convened 18 months ago.

"The delay does not satisfy us," said Cambodian villager Huy Chhum, one of hundreds of spectators who gathered in the courtroom to watch the hearing.

"So many delays will make villagers lose faith in the court and then it is meaningless," said Chhum, a 75-year-old whose wife, brother and son perished under the regime.

Up to two million people died of starvation and overwork, or were executed by the Khmer Rouge, which dismantled modern Cambodian society in its effort to forge a radical agrarian utopia in what became one of the 20th century's worst atrocities.


All of the former Khmer Rouge leaders in custody are elderly and ill, and there are fears they could die before being put in the dock.

Cambodia's genocide tribunal was convened in 2006 after nearly a decade of fractious talks between the government and UN.

But it has been badly hampered by delays amid infighting among judges as well as attempts by the Cambodian Bar Association to assert its authority over foreign defense lawyers.

The conflict over Koppe arose last week when the bar refused to admit him after he signed a motion seeking the dismissal of one of the pre-trial chamber judges, Ney Thol.

In his motion, Koppe accused Ney Thol, president of Cambodia's military court, of being "neither independent nor impartial."

Bar officials said Koppe had signed the court documents before they swore him in, violating the rule that foreign lawyers wishing to represent tribunal defendants must be accepted by them before conducting court business.

Baker recounts awe-inspiring visit to Cambodia's Angkor Wat

World traveler Stanley Baker's talk on Angkor Wat attracted a full house last Wednesday. Photo: Martin C. Barry

By Martin C. Barry
Article online since February 4th 2008

Stanley Baker has visited some of the most famous spots in the world, including Stonehenge in England, the Pyramids of Egypt, Machu Picchu in Peru, and Tikal in Guatemala.

However, none proved more inspiring than the long-forgotten medieval Cambodian city of Angkor Wat. Baker, who is semi-retired from a career as an international trader, had ample opportunity over the years to travel the globe extensively.

Based on a trip he took to Indochina nine years ago, he recounted the experience during a talk he delivered in the Westmount Room of the public library last Wednesday, attracting a room full of residents with a shared interest in travel. His presentation also included a video of footage he recorded on his voyage, showing the architecture, fine carvings, markets and way of life.

Angkor Wat, which covers one square mile, is considered the most impressive religious edifice in the world. It was the largest city by size and population of the Khmer empire during its heyday between the years 800 and 1410. Angkor Wat was built by thousands of slaves, with Khmer kings trying to outdo each other.

The planning was elaborate, with canals for peasants' rice fields and scores of schools and hospitals. Although it withstood a Thai attack in 1431, over-population, deforestation and sediment from canals contributed to the city's collapse. It was abandoned completely in the 1500s when the Cambodian capital moved to Pnom Penh.

At that point, the jungle took over, with tigers, panthers, monkeys and snakes. In the following centuries, reports of this lost city were treated with skepticism. In the late 19th century, an adventurous American named Frank Vincent rediscovered Angkor Wat and it was back on the world map.

The enormous impact the Buddhist faith has had on Cambodian society is made clear through the country's present-day motto: 'Nation, Religion, King.' While Cambodia went through a notoriously brutal period in the 1970s and 1980s under the regime of the communist Khmer Rouge, Angkor Wat has gone on to be designated a World Heritage Centre and is undergoing restoration.

Today, however, Baker added, the countries of Indochina remain nominally communist, while adapting to the reality of capitalism. At the same time, religion is not being suppressed as it was under the communist system of the former Soviet Union, but is treated as an important part in people's lives. Thailand, another nearby country Baker visited, has recently been having its own problems.

There was a military coup there in 2006 and it also has economically-booming Asia's slowest growing economy. In recent elections, the deposed Thai premier's party received the most votes, "but if he returns from exile he faces arrest for corruption," said Baker. "His wife, who is also being charged, has said he will return to dispute the charges."

Local impact in Cambodia

David Cooper, Chris Durant, Hilary James, Heidi Hindmarsh and Claire Durant in Cambodia.

05 February 2008

VICTOR HARBOR - In starting the new year, Victor Harbor locals Hilary James, Chris Durant and Claire Durant, can be satisfied knowing that they have been able to make a difference in the lives of many Cambodian people.

Last November, together with Hilary's son David (also of Victor Harbor) and daughter Heidi (of Woodcroft), the three women spent 16 days doing missionary work in Cambodia.

Hilary has already visited Cambodia twice before and was instrumental in raising $20,000 to build a church and an orphanage there.

But for the others, who had never been to the impoverished country before, it was an eye opening experience.

On their first afternoon, the group was taken to a smelly rubbish dump to initiate them on exactly what it is like in Cambodia and how the people live.

They would carry medical packs with them wherever they went and tend to people who had injuries, cuts, sores and infections.

"Everywhere we went we were cleaning up infections and sores, and we would suss out who needed to go to hospital," Hilary said.

Claire's main task was teaching English to a small class aged between 13 and 21, which she said was challenging but also very rewarding.

She couldn't believe that it only costs $1 a month for them to learn English, which for Australians seems like a drop in the ocean but for them is quite a significant amount.

"It was hot and you just sweat, it's hard trying to teach to them and make them understand and then having to understand them," she said.

David's forte was the medical side of things, he is a volunteer with SA Ambulance at Goolwa, and he was always patching people up, tending to broken bones and assessing horrible infections, hence he was quickly given the name Dr Dave.

Hilary's daughter Heidi just loved looking after the little babies and always had a baby in her arms.

A memorable moment for the group was when they met a little girl who badly needed to go to hospital but had no money.

They were able to use some of the money they had raised to send her to hospital and her life was saved, had she been left for only a couple more days she would have died.

"To think that about $10 saved a life, that really struck us, these things are just so rewarding," Chris said.

"It's so cheap to save a life there," Hilary said.

"And yet it's so expensive for them," Chris added.

The community raised $6000, which the group took over to spend on the people in Cambodia and they said it really did go a long way.

They would like to thank everyone on the Fleurieu Peninsula who donated time, money or items to the cause and are pleased to be able to tell you that your contribution did make a difference.

The three women are now on a mission to continue raising money for Cambodia and the next garage sale will be held on February 9.

Hilary's next project is to raise enough money for 600 cakes of medicated soap for children in a village north of Phnom Penh who have scabies.

She also plans to start up her own foundation so donations can be tax deductible, for more information contact Hilary on 8552 5532.

Khmer Rouge Victims Participate In 'Historic Day'
Tuesday, 5 February 2008,
Release: United Nations

Khmer Rouge victims participate in 'historic day' at UN-backed tribunal
4 February 2008 - Cambodians who suffered under the rule of the Khmer Rouge participated for the first time today in the United Nations-backed tribunal trying the movement's leaders.

Their participation, through their lawyers, was described by the tribunal's Victims Unit as "a historical day in international criminal law."

"To date, no international or hybrid tribunal mandated to investigate war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide has involved victims as civil parties, giving them full procedural rights," the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) Victims Unit said.

Under the tribunal's rules, victims of crimes committed under the rule of the Khmer Rouge can play an active role in the court's proceedings as civil parties, with rights including participation in investigations, representation by a lawyer, the ability to call witnesses and question the accused, and to claim reparations for the harm they suffered.

Today's hearing on the appeal by former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea (aka Brother Number Two) against his provisional detention was adjourned in response to a request by a defence lawyer. A decision on the date of its resumption will be announced on 6 February.

Nuon Chea faces charges of having planned and ordered the murder, torture and enslavement of civilians in the late 1970s.

Under an agreement signed by the UN and Cambodia, the ECCC was set up as an independent court using a mixture of Cambodian staff and judges and foreign personnel. It is designated to try those deemed most responsible for crimes and serious violations of Cambodian and international law between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979.

Detained former Khmer Rouge leader hospitalised
February 05, 2008

Phnom Penh: One of the five former Khmer Rouge leaders being held for trial by Cambodia's UN-backed genocide tribunal has been hospitalised for the treatment of a urinary tract problem, officials said on Tuesday.

Leng Sary, former Khmer Rouge foreign minister, was rushed from his detention cell at the tribunal to a hospital Monday after urinating blood, his lawyer said. It was the second time in the past 10 days that the 82-year-old Sary, who has a history of heart trouble, has been taken to a hospital, said tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath.

"We try our best to take care of all the defendants without thinking about the costs ... so that they remain healthy to confront the law," Reach Sambath said.

Sary was taken to hospital just hours after another former Khmer Rouge leader demanded "international standards" of justice and asked for release on bail in his first appearance before the tribunal on Monday.

Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge's former ideological leader, has been detained since September 19 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Banker: Trust in Finance Growing

By Sok Khemara,
VOA Khmer Washington
04 February 2008

Many Cambodians still misunderstand the benefits of banking and finance, preferring the dollar to the riel and avoiding savings accounts to their detriment, a bank official said Monday.

Channy Ung, director of Acleda Bank, the third largest in bank in Cambodia, said that putting just a little money in the country’s banks would increase their ability to distribute credit. At the same time, people would earn interest, he said, something they cannot get from money stashed at home.

The Khmer Rouge abolished banks and money, in an era that saw several regime and currency changes, leading to a deep-rooted distrust of banks.

But a large increase in the number of people making deposits meant trust was returning, Channy Ung said, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

About 90 percent of the money deposited in 2007 was in US dollars, however, he said, showing that people still did not trust the national currency.

The riel had not lost its value, he said, and inflation has been steady for a long time. But the national bank still does not require the sole use of the riel.

Channy Ung said the banks existed as a place for financial safety, which could include freezing assets of criminals at the behest of the national bank and courts.

“But so far there is no money freezing against any company without reason and without proper authorization from the Central Bank,” he said.

US Group: Tribunal Needs Adviser

By Sok Khemara,
VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
04 February 2008

Audio in Khmer - Listen (MP3)

A US-based monitor said Saturday donors need to pressure the Khmer Rouge tribunal to select an independent adviser to ensure the trials of former regime leaders meet international standards.

The Open Society Justice Initiative, which has rankled officials in the past with accusations of corruption within the courts, made its recommendation as US officials weigh whether to give direct funding to the tribunal.

Robert Varenik, acting excecutive director of OSJI, told VOA Khmer from New York that the tribunal, known officially as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, needed funding, but that funding should have conditions.

“States should insist that the United Nations and the Cambodian government appoint an independent special adviser to help address the ECCC’s administrative and operational problems, and demand an investigation into long-standing corruption allegations, which, if left unchecked, could undermine the possibility for fair trials,” Varenik said.

Critics worry the tribunal will run out of money before it is able to try all the leaders who stand accused of atrocity crimes, but UN spokesman Farhan Haq told VOA Khmer recently the tribunal should have enough funds to continue.

“The Extraordinary Chambers need more money if they are to fulfill their historic task of trying Khmer Rouge leaders fairly,” Varenik said. “But the ECCC can achieve this only if the institution as a whole operates transparently.”

US officials have denied pushing for an advisory role in exchange for tribunal funding.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Scot Marciel said on a recent visit that an adviser would make it easier for the US to offer funding, but was not a requirement.

Trafficking Task Forces Debated

By Pich Samnang,
VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
04 February 2008

Audio in Khmer - Listen (MP3)

While trafficking in persons, especially women and children, remains a big challenge facing Cambodia today, authorities and other agencies are debating whether the addition of a new task force to combat the crime is working.

The National Task Force was created last year, together with a senior task force led by the Ministry of Interior, in a bid to prevent the human trafficking, protect the victims and prosecute traffickers.

Ten Borano, deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s Anti-Trafficking Department, told a training seminar in Phnom Penh recently that the two task forces are involved from top national officials to local authorities.

The trafficking problem has been reduced as a result, he said.

Bith Kimhong, director of the ministry’s Anti-Trafficking Department, said the setup of the task forces is crucial in fighting human trafficking.

“The creation of the mechanism involving levels from the top to the bottom is essential for police, as well as local authorities, to prevent and crack down on human trafficking because, as [Deputy Prime Minister] Sar Kheng instructed, there has to be a leading force at not just district but commune level.”

“I think the problem of human trafficking takes root with locals,” he said. “If the local authorities can create their own task force, that’s really good. At least they can understand what human trafficking is.”

However, Adhoc President Thun Saray, said the creation of the additional task forces is unnecessary and serves mainly to expose the inability of the existing authority.

“The most important thing to do is to strengthen the existing authority,” Thun Saray, “If it can’t be strengthened, we have to find out why its performance is ineffective.”

Regarding the creation of the new task forces to fight human trafficking, Marielle Sander Lindstrom, who heads a counter-trafficking program at the Asia Foundation, said she believes the task forces will make improvements.

“One of the problems up until now has been that many agency organizations have not been working together,” she said. “They’ve not followed the same agenda; everyone has had their own project to implement. Now that we have a national task force that’s led by the government, in collaboration with the NGOs, we have a much, much better chance of having a coordinated action that would translate into more effective protection for victims.”

In addition to the setup of the task forces, Cambodia has also just created a new law on the human trafficking.

The new law, which consists of nine chapters divided into 52 articles, recognizes all forms of trafficking, including forced begging.

Lawyer Liv Sovanna, from the Khmer Lawyer Office, said the new law is better than the old one but added that a good law alone is insufficient without widespread implementation.

“The newly approved law is good, but the mechanism of its implementation is vital,” Liv Sovanna said. “So there must be participation of all organizations involved as well as of the people themselves to ensure that the problem of human trafficking in Cambodia can be solved.”
The new law still needs the King’s ratification, which is expected soon.

Although no accurate and reliable figure is available, a remarkable number of Cambodian women, men and children become victims of human trafficking. The victims, most of them women and children, are sent to neighboring countries such as Thailand and Malaysia for sexual exploitation or into forced labor in factories or as domestic servants. Some children are forced into begging rings. Meanwhile, male victims are trafficked for forced labor in fishing or construction.

Some 30,000 Cambodians were deported from Thailand over the past two years for illegal entry into the country. Most of them were victims of sex trafficking, according to the Thai Department of Immigration.

Most victims of the human trafficking are from poor rural areas where their communities understand very little about the true intention of traffickers, who use various methods to acquire victims. In many cases, they lure the victims by promising them high-paying jobs in other countries, such as Thailand, Malaysia, Korea or Taiwan.

Sometimes acquaintances, friends or even family members sell the victims or are paid by traffickers for help in deceit.

You Ay, secretary of state for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, said traffickers use different ways to get the victims.

“There is another form of trafficking: fake marriages, which happen a lot. Another form is a request for child adoption,” she said.

Those trafficked for sexual purposes in particular face the risk of contracting disease like HIV and AIDS.

According to UN estimates, more than 5 million people were living with HIV in the Asia Pacific region in 2006, with 140, 000 to 610,000 dying from AIDS-related illnesses.

In Cambodia, a lack of information, low education and the lack of family income are seen as the most common reasons why Cambodians are so vulnerable to physical and sexual exploitation.
You Ay, who is also the head of the National Task Force To Fight Human Trafficking, said the government is trying to raise awareness of the issue so that the people do not fall prey to human trafficking.

“We see that a huge number of the people are well aware of the problem,” she said. “For emergencies, we have a telephone hotline. But we’ve noticed that some people are still being cheated, so the Royal Government is striving for safe migration for them, no matter where they go. Thus, everyone, including the media, has to get involved, to make sure our people can no longer be cheated.”

Lawyer Glitch Postpones Nuon Chea Hearing

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

Audio in Khmer - Listen (MP3)

Jailed Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea successfully argued for the delay of the first tribunal hearing against him Monday, convincing judges he did not have a foreign lawyer legally qualified to represent him.

“May I respect the ECCC,” Nuon Chea said, addressing the tribunal by its official acronym, for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. “I am Nuon Chea, a defendant. My opinion is that, why is there a hearing today, when I only have one Cambodian co-lawyer, not in line with international standards? Therefore, I think that there is no justice. I need to have two lawyers, according to the law of this court. If there is only one Cambodian lawyer, and there is no foreign lawyer, [he] cannot defend me at this time. I ask the court to postpone.”

The judges agreed, along with other court jurists and outside observers.

Dutch lawyer Victor Koppe has not been admitted to the Cambodian bar, making him ineligible under tribunal regulations, which requires a defense team of at least one Cambodian and foreign lawyer.

Koppe violated the rules of the courts when he petitioned for the removal of a tribunal judge ahead of the hearing, without having been sworn in by the Cambodian Bar Association, the Associated Press reported.

Pre-trial co-prosecutor Chea Leang said the postponement decision was “very appropriate,” adding that the prosecutors “respect the rights of the accused, as stated in the law.”

No new hearing date was set, but pre-trial judge Prak Kimsan said he would expect communication from Nuon Chea’s primary foreign defense attorney, Michiel Pestman, who has not yet arrived in Cambodia.

“Please, guards, take the defendant to the detention center,” Prak Kimsan ordered after the decision.

Prior to the hearing, victims of the Khmer Rouge regime gathered outside the tribunal facilities, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

Um Pum, 77, from Kampong Speu province, said the delay would not change the ultimate outcome of Nuon Chea’s trial.

“Go ahead with the procedure,” said Um Pum, who lost 16 family members to the regime.

“When he can find a lawyer, even 20 of them, he will still be sentenced. His lawyers cannot defend him.”