Monday, 10 March 2008

sacravatoons : " MK restaurant "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon :

Volunteers going overseas for Operation Smile

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dr. Alice Smith of Coralville will be among more than 50 volunteers traveling to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday to March 21 with Operation Smile to provide free treatment to children born with facial deformities.

The volunteer team consists of more than 50 medical and non-medical volunteers from Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore and the United States.

Founded in 1982, Operation Smile is a worldwide children's medical charity dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children and young adults.

Canadian pedophile suspect Christopher Neil goes on trial in Thailand

Canadian pedophile suspect Christopher Paul Neil at criminal court in Bangkok, Monday, March 10, 2008. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Apichart Weerawong

March 10, 2008


BANGKOK, Thailand - A Canadian pedophile suspect arrested last year in a worldwide manhunt after Interpol unscrambled his swirled digital images from Internet photos went on trial Monday in Thailand, accused of sexually abusing a nine-year-old boy.

Christopher Paul Neil, a 32-year-old schoolteacher who worked in several Asian countries, was arrested in Thailand on Oct. 19, 2007 after Interpol issued an unprecedented global appeal to help apprehend him.

Shackled and smiling, Neil waved to a friend and said "How's It Going" as he entered Bangkok's criminal courthouse ahead of the trial. He was wearing an orange prison uniform, barefoot and chained to another prisoner.

"I hope there will be justice in Thailand," he told The Associated Press.

Neil has pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing a nine-year-old Thai boy, who contacted police after seeing Neil's face on television following his arrest. The child claims Neil paid him the equivalent of between $15 to $30 to perform oral sex in 2003, while he was living in Thailand.

He faces up to 20 years in prison for charges that include sexually abusing a minor and videotaping the alleged abuse, taking a child without parental consent and holding him against his will.

"We've got the evidence and we have the victim," said prosecutor Sontus Singhapus. "He's guilty."

Prosecutors plan to introduce some 70 photographs that allegedly show Neil engaging in sexual acts and playing with young naked and partially clothed young boys, said Sontus.

They also plan to put the nine-year-old victim on the stand along with his parents and another boy who recruited the youngster for Neil.

Sontus said Neil could face additional charges if police can track down other Thai victims whom he allegedly abused.

Neil's opening hearing was quickly adjourned after the court assigned him a lawyer and set the next session for June 2.

Interpol's public call for help was based on the discovery of some 200 Internet photos believed to show Neil sexually abusing at least a dozen Vietnamese and Cambodian boys, some as young as six.

The photos were found online in 2004, but the face of the perpetrator was digitally obscured as a swirling shape. After three years of searching, the international police agency was able to unscramble the images with the help of German police computer experts. Interpol circulated the pictures publicly and received hundreds of tips that led them to identify Neil as the suspect.

Neil was arrested 11 days after the appeal was launched after flying into Bangkok on a one-way ticket from South Korea, where he was working as an English teacher. He was caught at the house of his boyfriend identified as Ohm in Nakhon Ratchasima province located in the country's northeast.

Ohm, who refused to provide his full name, was at the hearing Monday and insisted Neil was innocent.

"How can this be him?" Ohm said. "When I stayed with him, there was nothing like this. I don't believe (the charges)."

Neil had taught at various schools in South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam since 2000. Previously, Neil worked as a chaplain in Canada, counselling teens.

Neil lived in Thailand from 2002 to early 2004, according to police.

Since Neil's arrest, Interpol has said it will allow wider use of public appeals to track suspected pedophiles, trying to build on the success it had tracking down the Canadian.

New Zealand Rider Wins TOTAL Motocross 2008 Championship in Cambodia

James Robinson (L) of New Zealand and Pierre Yves-Catry of France take part in the Total International Motocross Championship on the outskirts of Phnom Penh March 9, 2008 . REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea


New Zealand motor rider James Robinson on Sunday won the TOTAL International Motocross 2008 Championship in Cambodia in Class A with the cash prize of 400 U.S. dollars.

Meanwhile, in Class A, Cambodian-French rider Pierre Yves Catry won second place with the cash prize of 250 U.S. dollars, and Siam Tiencharoenphol from Thailand won third place with the award of 150 U.S. dollars.

In addition, Cambodian rider Khan Chove won first place with the cash award of 250 U.S dollars in Class B, while another Cambodian rider Lim Pheng won first place in Class C with the cash prize of 150 U.S. dollars.

TOTAL, the major fuel driller and vendor from France, hosted this motorcycle field race, which was divided into series of Class A, B and C.

Some 20 riders from Cambodia, Indonesia, France, Australia, the U.S., Thailand, Canada and New Zealand joined the race.

TOTAL is one of the main fuel vendors in Cambodia and already hosted two motorcycle field races for the kingdom.

Thailand, Cambodia To Set Up Joint Development Areas

BANGKOK, March 10 Asia Pulse - Thailand and Cambodia plan to set up joint development areas (JDA), covering 26,000 square kilometers of overlapping sea border areas, to facilitate the exploration of natural gas and crude oil, Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said.

FM Noppadon said the Thai and Cambodian foreign ministries would hold talks on the establishment of the JDA to manage the overlapping border areas which are rich in natural gas and crude oil.

Thailand's Foreign Ministry would join its Energy Ministry in talks with Cambodia as soon as possible on the issue, FM Noppadon was cited by the Bangkok Post as saying.

Force and Fraud
March 10, 2008

by P.M. Lawrence

Technically, tax isn't theft and slavery. But the technical side is all about how you do the taxing, not about what happens to the person and property being taxed. Some of these technicalities do matter to us, the taxpayers, on the principle of "know thine enemy" so we can accommodate ourselves better to the load, but they just aren't on the same wavelength as the ethical question or the personal experience.

A lot of tax advocates retreat into the area they know to try to justify it, though. They just don't realise that they are building in their assumptions and addressing the wrong question, any more than the shopkeeper in the Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch did when he admired the plumage and forgot the dying bird – a bird that was, in actual fact, dead. It's the same way a Vietnam War spokesman was missing the point when he pointed out that, technically, the USA had not invaded Cambodia, it was only an incursion. That was something that made a great deal of difference to the military operation, but practically nothing to the people in Cambodia.

In the same way, another of the usual suspects, Zahi Hawass, trotted the same sort of thing out, explaining how – technically – the pyramids weren't built by slave labour: "The name of Khufu and his pyramid is always attached to a popular notion that the pyramid was built by slaves. But that was not the case... They were also paid by the king, or worked instead of paying tax." Well, even if you are going to be technical, it's still wrong; they hadn't invented money in those days, so it couldn't have been tax, could it? As though it made a difference to the people involved if they were obliged to hand over crops or labour instead of currency. If you want to see how the technicalities weren't the point for the people, look at the Old Testament. Sure, the children of Israel were forced to work for the Pharaoh, but look – when they fled, they had all sorts of possessions they could take with them and homes of their own to mark with blood, so they weren't really slaves, were they? Technically, they weren't taxed to build Solomon's Temple either, for the same reason that money hadn't been invented, but try reading the description of just how that was done.

And so on down to our own age. We get a clearer picture of just what tax is when we aren't so close to it, and when the people involved had previously had a different alternative we can compare it with. One case is what the French did when they colonised Madagascar, just over a century ago.

Not that there had been a golden age before, of course. The independent kingdom that was overthrown had relied on something more overt, though – slavery, and forced labour from "free" peasants, a corvée. But look and see just what happened in reforming these things, how the burden was simply rearranged in a technically more convenient way but the burden if anything increased.

Governor-General Gallieni implemented a hybrid corvée and poll tax, partly for revenue, partly for labour resources and partly to move away from a subsistence economy. The last feature involved paying small amounts for the forced labour; that way, not only did it create a demand for money to get out of the corvée, money trickled into the system to close the loop. It's actually better for the victims than a straight corvée or a straight poll tax, since they don't get trapped by impossible demands so often – it's more "progressive" for people who are either feeble or cash poor, "only" destroying people who are both...

"There was the introduction of equitable taxation, so vital from the financial point of view; but also of such great political, moral and economic importance. It was the tangible proof of French authority having come to stay; it was the stimulus required to make an inherently lazy people work. Once they had learned to earn they would begin to spend, whereby commerce and industry would develop.

"The corvée in its old form could not be continued, yet workmen were required both by the colonists, and by the Government for its vast schemes of public works. The General therefore passed a temporary law, in which taxation and labour were combined, to be modified according to country, the people, and their mentality. Thus, for instance, every male among the Hovas, from the age of sixteen to sixty, had either to pay twenty-five francs a year, or give fifty days of labour of nine hours a day, for which he was to be paid twenty centimes, a sum sufficient to feed him. Exempted from taxation and labour were soldiers, militia, Government clerks, and any Hova who knew French, also all who had entered into a contract of labour with a colonist.

Unfortunately, this latter clause lent itself to tremendous abuses. By paying a small sum to some European, who nominally engaged them, thousands bought their freedom from work and taxation by these fictitious contracts, to be free to continue their lazy, unprofitable existence. To this abuse an end had to be made.

"The urgency of a sound fiscal system was of tremendous importance to carry out all the schemes for the welfare and development of the island, and this demanded a local budget. The goal to be kept in view was to make the colony, as soon as possible, self-supporting. This end the Governor-General succeeded in achieving within a few years." ~ The Drama of Madagascar, Sonia E. Howe, pp. 331–2. Methuen & Co. ltd. London, 1938.

See how open and honest the governors can be, when they don't realise just what it is they are confessing? They could do that then because it seemed so clear that they were improving on slavery and forced labour, while bringing the benefits of civilisation to primitives as well. They conveniently forgot that by arranging the burden better they were just making it easier for them to pile on more, and that those "primitives" had been interacting with the outside world for generations, quietly and incrementally reforming and civilising themselves all along. The same applies to our situation, only the governors muddy the waters by not realising that they are doing it, since they think they are us and that it is we who are doing it to ourselves. If you want to be technically accurate, tax isn't theft. But tax is still just a proxy for burdens, forced labour, taking of property without consent and so on – it is just more convenient than coming right out and doing it just like that. Fraud before force, but force after all. A technicality, not a justification.

Cambodia to form committee to check on quality of medicines

PHNOM PENH, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Around 30 leaders from Cambodia's various pharmaceutical organizations have agreed that a Pharmacy Accreditation Committee must be formed this year to keep check on the quality and validity of medicines sold through the kingdom's growing number of pharmacies, local media reported Monday.

"Among our many challenges are keeping check on the quality of medical products sold and an overall improvement in the quality of health services, so a Pharmacy Accreditation Committee is needed," Yim Yann, president of the Pharmacist's Association of Cambodia, was quoted by the Mekong Times as saying.

The Pharmacy Accreditation Committee, to be supervised by the Health Ministry's Department of Drugs and Food, will assess whether pharmacies reach a standard called "Good Pharmacy Practice," said Yim Yann, with those up to scratch receiving of facial accreditation.

The rapidly increasing circulation of medicines is hampering efforts to control the sector, Sok Pheng, Under Secretary of State for the Health Ministry, said, adding that drug traders with no medical knowledge often conspire with dishonest traders to circulate fake medicines.

Although relevant laws are enforced, most pharmacies are substandard so contraband, counterfeit, inferior, unregistered and expired drugs still sit on pharmacy shelves, he said.

Mao Dareth, deputy president of the Pharmacist Association of Cambodia, said that there are about 1,300 pharmacies throughout the country, nearly 500 of which are in Phnom Penh.

Editor: Jiang Yuxia

Cambodia Property Boom Enriches, Divides

Construction workers cut steel for building a new apartment complex in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Jan. 11, 2008. Cambodia is embracing a thriving real estate market, where land and housing prices in the capital city skyrocket with no sign of letting up. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Mar 9, 2008
Associated Press Writer

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) -- An old hospital was razed to make way for Phnom Penh's tallest building - a 42-story twin condominium tower. A garbage-strewn slum became prime real estate after police evicted its dwellers to a parched rice field outside the capital.

Cambodia is experiencing a construction boom fueled by foreign investment, particularly by South Koreans, and buying and selling among the country's few nouveaux riche - while leaving the poor majority behind.

Shopping malls and tall apartment buildings are sprouting up, transforming the capital's landscape that once bore the charm of colonial French-styled villas but resembled a ghost town at the fall of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime nearly 30 years ago.

Political stability and robust economic growth of nearly 10 percent have lured investors to the real estate market that has seen prices surge over the last few years - though they are still lower than in neighboring Vietnam or Thailand.

"Cambodia was sleeping for many years and now it's waking up," said Claire Brown, managing director of Britain-based Claire Brown Realty, who began buying and selling property in Phnom Penh two years ago.

"Everybody wants to get a piece of the action," she said by phone. "The time to get in is now because soon it's going to be too late."

Prime city land prices have tripled over the last two years to $3,000 per square meter ($279 per square foot). Those kinds of returns have drawn rich and middle-class Cambodians, as well as those living abroad.

"In buying and selling land, they could get profit 100 or 200 percent a year, if they make the right bet on the right location," said Dith Channa, the sale manager of CPL Cambodia Properties Ltd., a Phnom Penh-based real estate agency.

But the soaring real estate market is also widening the gap between the rich and the poor.
"Phnom Penh city is getting modern every day - of course for the wealthy," said Chhorn Et, a former slum dweller now living with hundreds of others in a village in the middle of rice field about 12 miles from the capital.

"The government swept us away because they regarded us as very unpleasant for their eyes," said the 34-year-old woman who scavenges for discarded cans and bottles to sell for a living.
The flourishing property market is also happening in the shadow of problems of land rights disputes that, in recent years, have often pitted the poor against wealthy developers with link to the Cambodian political establishment.

"We're moving toward possibly about 10 percent of the population owning 90 percent of the land in Cambodia," said Naly Pilorge, director of the nonprofit human rights group Licadho.

That could fan social and political unrest, she and others have warned.

The biggest projects are being funded by South Korean investors and companies, which have been the leading investors in Cambodia following the resumption of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1997. Investment and tourists from South Korea have surged following a 2006 visit to Cambodia by former President Roh Moo-hyun.

World City Co., of South Korea, is investing $2 billion to build a "satellite" urban complex called Camko City on a 300-acre area on the northwest side of Phnom Penh. The project, the single biggest foreign direct investment in Cambodia to date, will include residential, commercial and public facilities - villas, condos, trade and financial centers, office buildings, shopping centers, hotels, schools and hospitals.

Meanwhile, at a busy corner leading up to the city's landmark Independence Monument, an old government hospital has been torn down to make way for a 42-story condominium and shopping complex worth about $250 million. That's going to dramatically change Phnom Penh's skyline, where the tallest building now is a 15-story hotel.

It is going to be the first luxury residential building and tallest structure in Cambodia, said Kim Tae-Yeon, chairman of Yon Woo Inc., a South Korean developer.

Kim said the towers will have about 500 units of apartments, office space and retail shops with price tags ranging from $112,000 to $1.8 million a unit. Construction will start next month and take 3 1/2 years to complete, but Kim said nearly half of the units have already been bought.

In recent years, Siem Reap, a northwestern town near the famed Angkor Wat ruins, also has seen frenzy of hotel and guesthouse construction for the growing numbers of tourists.

Thrilled with the boom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has said it has been made possible by the political stability he has brought. In a recent speech he warned that if he isn't re-elected in July elections, property prices could nosedive.

"It was a threat, a dirty trick to gain votes," said Son Chhay, an opposition party lawmaker.

Son Chhay and some human rights workers, including Pilorge of the human rights group Licadho, believe that the boom is partly fueled by people laundering money from illegal logging, drug trafficking and tax evasion by plowing the cash into the real estate market.

"This is not going to be healthy for the Cambodian economy," Son Chhay said.

There are also concerns that the rapid price gains are creating a bubble that will eventually pop.
Eric Sidgwick, senior economist at the Asian Development Bank office in Phnom Penh, said the real estate market has been "driven by a combination of genuine demand for business-related and residential construction," as well as a growing population, increased urbanization and speculation.

Still, there were "reasons to be concerned about the recent increase in real estate prices and the dangers of further inflating a speculation-led bubble," he said in an e-mail. He declined to comment about any possible link between money laundering and the property market boom.

Meanwhile, the poor like Chhorn Et, the former slum dweller who was moved outside the capital, are left to cope with a stark reality in their new village, which has no running water or sewage system.

Although each family has been given a small piece of land to live on, they complained of the lack of means to support their livelihoods. They have to travel daily to the capital to do odd jobs as motorbike taxi drivers, in construction or scavenge for bottles and cans to sell to buy food.

Many of them are even too poor to afford a latrine and have to use a nearby rice field as toilet, said 37-year-old Mom Somaly, a mother of five children.

Pointing to a distant land-for-sale sign, she said "soon they may not even have a field to use as toilet any longer."

Total International Motocross Championship, Phnom Penh

James Robinson of New Zealand takes part in the Total International Motocross Championship on the outskirts of Phnom Penh March 9, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)
Pierre Yves-Catry (L) of France takes part in the Total International Motocross Championship on the outskirts of Phnom Penh March 9, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)
James Robinson (L) of New Zealand and Pierre Yves-Catry of France take part in the Total International Motocross Championship on the outskirts of Phnom Penh March 9, 2008 .REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Trial begins in Thailand for Canadian suspected in pedophile case

Canwest News Service

Sunday, March 09, 2008

BANGKOK -- A Canadian man, arrested after police unravelled a digitally scrambled face from images of child abuse found on the internet, will begin his trial Monday in Thailand.

Four months after his arrest, Christopher Neil, of Maple Ridge, B.C., who pleaded not guilty, will stand trial on charges of molesting underage children in Thailand.

Neil was arrested in rural Thailand in October after a week-long manhunt.

Thai police accuse the 32-year-old of raping young boys in Vietnam and Cambodia several years ago.

Detectives in various countries had been trying to track Neil down since German police discovered photographs on the Internet three years ago of a man sexually abusing 12 boys in Vietnam and Cambodia.

The man's face had been scrambled with a digital swirling pattern, but German police computer experts managed to unravel the disguise and Interpol issued an unprecedented worldwide appeal through the Internet for information.

More than 350 people came forward with information.

If convicted, Neil could face up to 20 years in jail in Thailand.

Why I loved Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia submitted by Pat Mundy

The Indianapolis Star
March 9, 2008

There are only a few places in the world where man-made wonders, which required unbelievable efforts by the civilizations that created them, are so accessible. You can walk in, around and through so much of the ruins such as this.

This massive tree, with its roots spilling over the ancient temple buildings, seems almost surreal. If you let your mind imagine what it was like nearly eight centuries ago, the beauty is even more amazing.

Pat Mundy, Zionsville