Monday, 16 June 2008

Sacravatoons : " My Jungle Law "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Sacravatoons : " The Mighty-Flower "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

French company to invest $250 mln to develop resort in Cambodia

16 Jun 2008

A French-financed company will invest $250 million to develop the Ream area in Cambodia’s port city of Sihanoukville into a resort, according to Ieng Sophallet, assistant to Prime Minister Hun Sen, Friday.

Alain Dupuis, French citizen and director of the Ream Resort Development Company, met with Hun Sen Thursday to find support from the government for his project, he added. Khmer-language newspaper the Rsamei Kampuchea Friday quoted Alain as telling the premier that his company will construct five-star hotels, other accommodation facilities, golf course, leisure places along the beach and motor-boat sporting project for tourists in the Ream region.

The premier welcomed the investment and requested the company to work with the Council for Development of Cambodia to achieve success, it added. Construction of the project will start in late 2008 and be finished in 2010. Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s major sight-seeing destination. Sandy beach and clean sea used to attract tens of thousands of travelers annually. (Xinhua)

Japan's Hino trucks enter Cambodian market

PHNOM PENH, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Hino Motors Ltd. of Japan here Monday opened its sole official distributing branch in Cambodia toprovide the ever increasing infrastructure construction market with dump trucks, cargo trucks and concrete mixers.

"I am confident that these lines of proven high-quality brand-new vehicles from Hino will be one of the best solutions to the needs of our growing nation," said Sy King Triv, whose KT Pacific Group jointly established the branch with Hino Motors Ltd. in suburb Phnom Penh.

Hino will soon fit in with the truck market of Cambodia and upgrade the current situation that second-hand trucks are dominant,hence generating problems like high cost of fuel, low efficiency and frequent maintenance, he said.

Meanwhile, Japanese Ambassador Shinonara Katsuhiro told the inauguration ceremony of the joint venture, KT Hino Motors Pte Ltd., that "new activities, such as this launch, are the result of efforts made by both Japan and Cambodia and will contribute towards stimulating other companies to make investments in such activities."

Hino has been Japan's top producer of medium and heavy-duty trucks for almost three decades.

Cambodia has been improving its infrastructure facilities in recent years. Road, bridge, apartment and skyscraper projects wereinaugurated one after another in urban as well as rural areas.  

Editor: An Lu

Hun Sen: The Oligarchic Ruler Of Cambodia?

Read Dam Sith's release.

Editorial by Khmerization
Courtesy of Khmerization at
“Cambodia of today has been superficially viewed in many misleading ways. On the surface, it appears to be a full functioning parliamentary democracy, with the parliament and the prime minister elected for a 5-year term. Deep down, Cambodia is nothing but governed by an oligarchy - a government run by a small kleptocratic or plutocratic group with Prime Minister Hun Sen as the head.”

My poor Cambodia and her subjects have been governed by clumsy rulers for many generations. One way or the other, she has been ruled and misruled by despots, incompetent and corrupt leaders or simply by a small group of kleptocratic and plutocratic oligarchs. It is this reality that Cambodia remained poor and backward for generations.

Cambodia of today has been superficially viewed in many misleading ways. On the surface, it appears to be a full functioning parliamentary democracy, with the parliament and the prime minister elected for a 5-year term. Deep down, Cambodia is nothing but governed by an oligarchy - a government run by a small kleptocratic or plutocratic group with Prime Minister Hun Sen as the head.

The sad reality is that Cambodia of today is ruled or misruled by one man. Cambodia, if analysed thoroughly, has a hallmark of a despotic one-man show with his kleptocratic or plutocratic elites as his backbones and lifelines. His kleptocratic and plutocratic oligarchs are allowed to plunder and pillage Cambodia’s natural resources and to rob the villagers’ lands at free will. And with a stroke of a one man’s pen anything is achievable.

Coming back to my discussion topic, I would like to draw an attention of the readers of this article to one recent classic example of a one man rule. Many would view or tend to believe that Dam Sith’s arrest was simply derived from a defamation law suit brought on him by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong. In my opinion, Hor Namhong’s defamation suit was just a pretext used to harass and victimise opposition politicians. Dam sith’s arrest was a case of a concerted effort by the Cambodia People Party’s (CPP) leadership, in particular Mr. Hun Sen, to get Sam Rainsy or simply to frighten him into fleeing the country. Facing with electoral defeat, the CPP and in particular PM Hun Sen, has deployed their effective weapons to kill Rainsy’s victory chances - and that is to destroy his party with coerced defections and with their intimidation tactic in order to send Rainsy into exile. But, this time, their attempt failed miserably because Rainsy was not intimidated. Realising that his tactic didn’t work, coupled with strong pressures from local and international human right groups, Mr. Hun Sen capitulated and, with a stroke of his pen, Dam Sith was set free.

The arrest of Dam Sith and his release from prison with only a stroke of a pen of a single man proved that Cambodia is a lawless state. While I applaud and appreciate the PM’s intervention for Mr. Dam Sith’s release, I also condemn with the way in which his incarceration and exoneration was handled. It was apparent that his arrest was orchestrated by Mr. Hor Namhong with Mr. Hun Sen’s blessing. The court or the poor judge was simply used as a political tool to formalise and legitimise the arrest. This was evident with Mr. Hun Sen’s intervention, when due judicial process was bypassed.

I agreed with Mr. Sam Rainsy when he said that, when a single person decides everything, a lot of time and energy was wasted. The Dam Sith saga has used up a lot of energy and has diverted a lot of attention from the more serious issues of land disputes, youth unemployment, health or economic problems that the nation is facing today. The problems facing the nation should be a more urgent issue of a responsible government. On the contrary, an irresponsible and a selfish PM thinks of nothing other than how to outsmart his opponents in order to rule forever. The resulting effect was that Cambodia and her people are the victims of his clumsy and selfish leadership. And Cambodia remained poor and backward, even with billions of international aid. This is what happens when a small group of kleptocratic or plutocratic oligarchs misruled the country.
The Cambodia Court of justice or The Hun Sen Court?

Dam Sith (L) smells freedom yesterday leaving Phnom Penh's Prey Sar Prison, accompanied by Kuoy Bunroeun (SRP MP).

Monday, 16 June 2008
Neth Pheaktra
The Mekong Times

After an arrest and detention that has provoked fierce international criticism, Dam Sith, editor-in-chief of the pro-Sam Rainsy Moneaksekar Khmer newspaper, was yesterday released from Prey Sar Prison on bail.

The release came after a personal appeal from Prime Minister Hun Sen to Phnom Penh Municipal Court President Chiv Keng.

Dam Sith, also standing as a SRP parliamentarian candidate for Phnom Penh, thanked newspapers, national and international civil society organizations, politicians, SRP leaders and Prime Minister Hun Sen for their help in securing his release.

Despite thanking Hun Sen for his intervention, Dam Sith stressed he will not change his political orientation and that Moneaksekar Khmer will continue to be pro-opposition. “I, Dam Sith, will continue to maintain my original stance,” he emphasized.

“One could say that my release is an improvement in press freedom. But for me, [the arrest] is a violation of a journalist’s rights. The arrest shows the pressure on journalists and the political sector as well,” Dam Sith told reporters upon his release.

The premier’s role in Dam Sith’s release was uncertain, with Dam Sith himself saying he had only heard of Hun Sen’s intervention over the radio.

Hun Sen said yesterday he had ordered Dam Sith to be bailed “because [I] see that Dam Sith cannot run away.” The premier underlined that Dam Sith would still face legal proceedings.

Sam Rainsy said Dam Sith’s release was “no thanks to anyone.”

“[The] arrest and release of Dam Sith is a piece of theater that should not have happened since the beginning,” he said. “[O]ur authorities are dictatorial, do not respect the law, legal procedure and constitutional law. … This means that democracy in our country is moving backwards.”

Media and civil society organizations, journalists and the Ministry of Information welcomed Dam Sith’s release.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith, who last week requested the Phnom Penh Municipal Court release Dam Sith, could not be reached for comment. However, Thieng Vandarong, under secretary of state at the Information Ministry said: “On behalf of the Ministry of Information, we welcome the decision of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to release Dam Sith on bail at Samdech Decho Hun Sen’s request.”

Pen Samithy, president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ), said he was “very pleased” over Dam Sith’s release. “The CCJ continues to observe the case,” he said. “We also hope that Hor Nam Hong will withdraw his lawsuit against Dam Sith and that he will file his complaint only against Sam Rainsy.”

Local human rights group president Kek Galabru expressed concern over other cases that have not received Hun Sen’s attention. She said that Cambodia “must abide by the foundations of democracy that it has promised … the right and freedom of access to information and freedom of expression.”

END Land Grabbing in Cambodia

Asian Human Rights Commission

To sign the petition please click the link here

We urge you to sign the petition below. Ask your friends to join and sign the petition.

People's voices:

The petition

His ExcellencyPrime Minister, Cambodia Your Excellency,I am deeply concerned about the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of Cambodian people who have been, and who are known to live in fear of being evicted as a result of development projects, land disputes and land-grabbing. Evictees have received no just compensation. They have been forcibly evicted from their homes and lands and relocated in areas with little social amenities and economic opportunities for their livelihood. Those who solely depend on the land to make a living have simply found their livelihood destroyed.

In forced evictions, public forces have demolished their homes or set fire to them and destroyed their belongings including crops and plantations. Some evictees have been beaten or even arrested on fabricated charges to subdue resistance and force evictees to accept unjust compensation.

I urge you to immediately end the suffering and fears of those people by halting all evictions in which disputes have not been resolved or just compensation has been paid, and by suspending all land concessions for development projects that affect people’s homes and lands. I also urge you to enforce the land law and urge all parties, including your government, to resort to the due process of law for the adjudication of land disputes. All courts of law and other adjudication mechanisms should be independent, impartial and easily accessible for all, and they should judge the cause of the weak, the poor, the powerful and the rich without fear or favour.

Yours sincerely,


'Occupation' upsets Si Sa Ket locals

By Supalak Ganjanakhundee
The Nation
Published on June 13, 2008

Residents of northeastern Si Sa Ket province yesterday launched a campaign against Cambodians living on the outskirts of the Preah Vihear temple, which they consider Thai territory.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in 1962 that only the temple belongs to Cambodia, not the area downhill, said Thiva Rungkaew, chairman of Coordinating Committee for Si Sa Ket Province Development.

"We lost the temple 46 years ago and people in Si Sa Ket province will not allow the further loss of the area downhill," Thiva said by phone from Si Sa Ket, the province adjoining the site of the temple.

A dozen people paraded in the provincial downtown to express their dissatisfaction as they had learnt that some 1,000 Cambodians had occupied the area 300 metres downhill from the fence around the temple.

They held up posters saying, "We lost Prasat Pravihan [Preah Vihear temple in Thai] in 1962 and we will not lose anything more in 2008."

The group demanded the Cambodians move their stalls and community out of the area. Thiva will call a meeting on Sunday to prepare for another protest.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat said Thailand and Cambodia have a joint boundary committee to handle the matter in accordance with a memorandum of understanding signed in 2000.

The ministry has lodged official protests with Cambodia over the building of road to the overlapping area in 2004, and the setting up of official outposts and a community in the area in 2005.

"Boundary is another issue. We should not mix it up with sovereignty over the temple and a proposal to list it as a World Heritage Site as this could make the issue more complicated," the spokesman said.

ASIA: Civil Society Uniting Against Corruption

By Marwaan Macan-Markar

BANGKOK, Jun 16 (IPS) - Cambodian lawmakers are still to offer unanimous support for a petition aimed at combating corruption that was presented to the National Assembly in mid- May. The call was a cry from ordinary people -- over a million of them.

Leading this grassroots movement was a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) that have been fighting graft that plagues every level of this Southeast Asian nation. By May, the activists had gotten some 1.1 million signatures out of a population of 14.2 million to support a drive to bring local anti-corruption laws on par with international standards.

There was a lot of awareness raised, with many public meetings during the signature campaign, which ran from Nov. till Apr. 2008, says Aaron Bornstein, head of the Cambodia office of the Mainstreaming Anti-Corruption for Equity (MAE) Project, which is funded by the development arm of the U.S. government. "The campaign was conducted in 19 out of the country’s 20 provinces. There was urban and rural support."

"The coalition is intent on getting all political parties in the country to commit to supporting the petition before the end of the calendar year," Bornstein said during a telephone interview from Phnom Penh. "This revealed greater public awareness that even ordinary people can play a role in battling corruption. Supporters of the petition were saying, ‘enough is enough’."

As a new report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) confirms, Cambodia’s groundswell of anger against corruption at the grassroots level is also evident in other corners of Asia, where people are forced to pay bribes to get basic services such as health care, education, water and sanitation -- in addition to bribing the police and members of the judiciary.

Like in Cambodia, sections of the public have mounted innovative efforts to take on those who are abusing power. In Nepal, an anti-corruption CSO has tapped the power of community radio to "encourage anti-corruption activities," states the UNDP report, ‘Tackling Corruption, Transforming Lives - Accelerating Human Development in Asia and the Pacific’.

In the Philippines, "roadwatching" has become an anti-graft activity, where adults and schoolchildren have learnt "valuable lesson about citizens power and good governance" by paying attention to road construction, adds the 233-page report. "[This group] monitors road-building – examining the original plans then sending young people out into the field to discover what, if anything, was actually built, and if so, how well it was constructed."

"People across the Asia-Pacific region are becoming increasingly concerned about corruption, and governments are starting to react," notes the report, the first of its kind published by the U.N. agency. Hauling the rich and powerful before the courts may grab the headlines, but the poor will benefit more from efforts to eliminate corruption that plagues their everyday lives.

That message, in fact, was driven home by Transparency International (TI), a global anti-graft watchdog, last year. "The poor, whether in developing or highly industrialised countries, are the most penalised by corruption," revealed TI’s ‘Global Corruption Barometer 2007’. "About one in 10 people around the world had to pay a bribe in the past year; reported bribery has increased in some regions, such as Asia-Pacific and South East Europe."

"Corruption affects the poor most in this region; it is they who suffer because they cannot afford to pay the bribes since it eats up a large portion of their small incomes," Ramesh Gampath, co-author of the UNDP report, told IPS from Jakarta, where the publication was launched. "They have to pay bribes for services that should be their right, like health, education, water and sanitation."

The rampant scale of corruption across Asia and the Pacific -- identified by some studies as the most corrupt region in the world -- could undermine the targets set for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The latter are eight targets that government leaders have pledged to meet by 2015, including halving of poverty and extreme hunger, securing primary education for all children and reducing child mortality.

"If there is rampant corruption, the MDGs will be compromised," says Gampath.

"Corruption can occur within health services at all levels -- from grand corruption, as funds are siphoned off during the construction of new hospitals or health centres, to petty corruption as health workers demand bribes to perform their routine duties," the report reveals. "Some cross- national studies have suggested that in countries where levels of corruption are higher immunisation rates are lower and levels of child mortality are higher."

Corruption in education has its own unique features besides the obvious, such as corrupt officials siphoning off funds for school buildings, "which can increase cost between two and eight times." In many countries, the report notes, "there are irregularities in the hiring of teachers, which, in the most extreme form, results in the recruitment of ‘ghost teachers’ or even in the creating of entire ‘ghost institutions’ -- with allocated salaries and other expenses channelled into the pockets of officials."

Curbing abuse through greater local community activity has produced some results in Indonesia -- notorious for being among the most corrupt countries in Asia. "There has been a shift in public perception since 2004, where people perceive that they have a role to play in fighting corruption," says Rezki Sri Wibowo, deputy secretary-general of TI’s Indonesia chapter. "A strong anti-corruption has emerged in Aceh to monitor reconstruction after the tsunami [in December 2004]… Civil society groups and the public are monitoring the procurement process much more now than before," he added during a telephone interview from Jakarta. "The government’s decision to revitalise the national counter-corruption commission has also helped."
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Cambodia: As You Were At The Top

draw by Preah Khan Reach FC while Kirivong FC threw everything they had before they could steal the one point off a 3-3 draw against National Defense Ministry.

National Defense Ministry were in superb form despite playing away where they were quick to romp to a 3-1 lead at the break.

To Van Thann (19th minute), Sok Pheng (29th) and Khim Bory (44th) were all on target for National Defense as Kirivong Sok Sen Chey replied with their only goal in the first half from O.J.Chukwuma in the 40th minute.

But National Defense concession of Chukwuma¡¦s second goal just two minutes after the restart would prove pivotal as Kirivong grew in confidence to slam home their well-deserved equaliser off LY Ravy in the 57th minute for both teams to share the spoils.

Locals want vendors off temple steps

The Bangkok Post
Monday June 16, 2008



SI SA KET : Local people are demanding the eviction of Cambodian souvenir vendors from the stairway leading to the ancient ruins of Preah Vihear temple.

Sanong Huaychan, chief of Kantharalak district which borders the temple, said the Cambodian vendors' stalls are on both sides of the stairway leading up to the ruins. Although the temple is on Cambodian territory, the steps begin in Thailand.

Local people will press the authorities to drive the vendors out, he said.

The eviction issue was raised at a meeting in Si Sa Ket yesterday attended by local officials, historians and senior monks. The forum was entitled ''Preah Vihear becoming a World Heritage Site: What's in it for Si Sa Ket?''

The meeting was told that Thais built the souvenir kiosks, but they were taken over by Cambodians after Preah Vihear was given to Cambodia by a World Court ruling in 1962.

Some of the forum participants insisted a local movement was needed to safeguard ''national treasures''.

Speakers rebuked Foreign Affairs Minister Noppadon Pattama for saying that some people were going overboard with their nationalistic bravado.

The minister said he did not want ill-intentioned people derailing ''this smooth-running train'', a reference to the ongoing Thai-Cambodian negotiations over the demarcation of Preah Vihear.

In the map to be used for the listing of the ancient ruins as a World Heritage Site, the border line at Bandai Naga (Naga-lined stairways), the entrance to the Hindu temple in Si Sa Ket province, apparently encroaches upon Thai territory by about 10 metres.

Speakers at the forum heatedly discounted Mr Noppadon's statement that the Cambodian vendors have been selling souvenirs at their present site from the beginning.

The National Security Council (NSC) will meet today to examine Cambodia's map of Preah Vihear, which Phnom Penh hopes to use for the World Heritage application. The NSC will decide if the map should be rejected.

Day in Picture

Along the road some local khmers lying on their motorcycle taxis with their legs up
"U wanna ride a tuc-tuc?

Adventurers drawn to the beauty of Cambodia

Angkor Wat (above right) provides a stunning sight with its detail and beauty.
By Jenny Hammond

AFTER decades of unrest, Cambodia is coming into its own as a destination for travelers eager to embrace architecture, adventure and smiles, writes Jenny Hammond.

Compared with its high profile neighbors, wartorn Vietnam and the idyllic paradise of Thailand, Cambodia tends to fly under the radar. But that does not mean this fascinating country has any less to offer.

After three decades of war, Cambodia is now at peace and attracting more and more tourists with the promise of Indiana Jones- or Tomb Raider-type adventures.

Undoubtedly Cambodia is a beautiful country, quite different from its neighbors.

For starters there are vast expanses of bright red earth house communities where the homes are built on stilts to protect residents from floods in the rainy season and the odd rogue snake, while at the same time providing shelter for livestock below.

The view feels more like something out of Africa than Asia with mango trees nestled along the sides of bumpy roads where smiling locals sell juicy slices of pineapples to weary passers-by.

Cambodia was ravaged during the war years and still has the highest number of unexploded land mines in the world. But with a vast expanse of magnificent horizons and some of the world's most breathtaking man-made structures, the horrific past is being replaced by the wonder of the country's rich cultural heritage.

The biggest attractions on the tourist trail are the temples of Angkor which are among the most incredible structures on Earth in spite of thousands of years of wear and tear and, more recently, clumsy tourist feet.

Situated near the sleepy town of Siem Reap, the temples were only rediscovered by the Western world in the 1860s although they still housed a wealthy working monastery.

The discovery generated a great deal of international interest in Cambodia, with well-known explorers swooping on the country to document their travels throughout the area. But in the last part of the last century, visiting Cambodia became difficult as the country was forced into conflict with neighbors.

With Cambodia and its relics now safe to visit following its recent past, tourism is becoming a booming industry.

And most are heading straight for Angkor. The temples of Angkor, capital of Cambodia's ancient Khmer empire, rival each other in size, detail and beauty, but Angkor Wat, the largest religious structure in the world, stands proud near the center of them all.

Angkor Wat is the best example today of man's devotions to the gods through its sheer size and intricate carvings. More than 3,000 individually carved "heavenly nymphs" adorn the structure while the high turrets of the temple all point west leading many to believe the monument was built as a tomb - the west symbolically points towards death.

A note to remember for visiting this temple is that it is lit at night between 7:30pm and 9pm so a visit at this time allows a brief escape from both the heat and the distracting tour bus crowds.

But in spite of Angkor Wat's size, it is by no means the best of the many monuments spreading throughout a thick forest.

Heading north from Siem Reap, you first come across Angkor Wat, then the walled city of Angkor Thom where stone faces of tranquil Buddhas stare serenely into the thick jungle.

To the east of the city is the mesmerizing temple of Ta Prohm intertwined in a jungle wilderness and Banteay Kdei that offers intricate stone carvings.

Restorations are underway in many of the structures, but the beauty of Ta Prohm is embellished by the way nature has reclaimed the temple with massive trees winding around the structure, breaking up walls as if they were made of sand.

Like a giant octopus enveloping the temple, the tree trunks and roots - often more than 30 centimeters wide - wind through the crevices while birds chatter noisily in the tree tops above.

With temperatures often exceeding 30 degrees Celsius, young local children run to tourists touting cold refreshments as well as a myriad of craft items such as flutes, bags, postcards and books.

While many parents have been lost in conflicts, maimed by land mines or even killed by poisonous snakes, the children still welcome visitors with wide smiles and fluent English greetings.

After the architecture, the hospitality in Cambodia is the most notable aspect of a visit there, as locals are quick to wave happily at foreign faces - making it a top destination for anyone seeking culture, beauty, kindness and an incredible adventure.

Cambodian PM says troops on standby for UN peacekeeping missions

PHNOM PENH, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said here on Sunday that Cambodia has stand-by troops for U.N. peacekeeping missions.

"Cambodia has stand-by troops for U.N. peacekeeping missions. When U.N. needs necessary forces, we will send them off. However, we won't send them to fighting countries," said the Prime Minister while attending a bridge ground-breaking ceremony.

The troops were well trained and equipped with high-quality materials, he added.

Prak Sokhon, chairman of the Cambodian Committee for Sending Troops to U.N. Peacekeeping Missions, told reporters earlier that at least 340 Cambodian officers and soldiers are now reserved for U.N. peacekeeping missions.

Cambodia has sent three batches of peacekeepers to Sudan under the U.N. umbrella in the past three years.

Cambodia has also participated in two international military exercises held in Mongolia and Bangladesh respectively.

Editor: Yan Liang

Cambodians mark anniversary of court awarding border temple

The Earth Times
Sun, 15 Jun 2008
Author : DPA

Phnom Penh - More than 400 Cambodians gathered near the sacred site of Wat Phnom in the capital Sunday to celebrate the anniversary of the International Court in The Hague awarding a disputed border temple to Cambodia over Thailand. It was the first time the 1962 decision to award Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia has been marked and comes after bitter renewed wrangling between the two nations as Cambodia attempts to have the temple recognized as a World Heritage site.

Cambodia has rejected requests by Thailand to jointly manage the site and Thailand in turn has disputed border territory around the temple.

The head of the organizing committee for the rally, Moeung Son, made a speech praising the International Court's decision.

"Thanks to the International Court for its verdict which gave Preah Vihear temple back to the Khmer people," he said.

No dignitaries attended the rally, but it had received the support of King Norodom Sihamoni in a letter last week.

Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association holds national congress


VietNamNet Bridge - The Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association (VCFA) re-elected Vu Mao as President for the 2008-2013 period at its 3 rd National Congress in Hanoi on June 14.

Addressing the event, President of the association Vu Mao, stressed the important strategic relations between Vietnam and Cambodia , saying that bilateral relations are seeing positive developments on the basis of mutual benefits, traditional friendly neighbourliness and comprehensive cooperation.

Over the past five years, the VCFA has actively and creatively renewed its activities, improving the people-to-people diplomatic work, strengthening the traditional friendship and solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia .

The congress defined the VCFA’s focal tasks in the 3 rd term, namely to promote the education on the two countries’ traditional friendship, solidarity and comprehensive cooperation, attach importance to economic, trade, scientific and technical cooperation; continue to develop the organisation, improving the quality of its activities and strengthening its leadership.

The VCFA will create opportunities for former Vietnamese experts and volunteer soldiers to visit their former combatant fields in Cambodia , and organise exchange meetings for students and business clubs of the two countries.

Cambodian Ambassador to Vietnam Vann Phal highly appreciated the traditional friendship, solidarity and fine cooperation in the spirit of “good neighbourliness, traditional friendship, and long-tern, durable and comprehensive cooperation” between the two countries.

The congress also passed its revised charter and elected a new 39-member executive committee.

(Source: VNA)

Democrat calls for FM to reveal Cambodia's new map

Sun, June 15, 2008
The Nation

The Democrat party called on the Foreign Ministry on Sunday to reveal the new border lines for Preah Vihear Temple proposed by Cambodia in its bid to list the temple as a Unesco World Heritage site. Deputy party leader Alongkorn Polabutr expressed concern the ministry appeared to be withholding details of the Cambodian proposal.

Phnom Penh's bid to make Preah Vihear Temple a protected site reached a stalemate last year when Bangkok objected to a map attached to the proposal.

Bangkok said it included overlapping zones between both countries and they had to be demarcated first.

Several rounds of negotiations followed and Cambodia agreed to propose a new map which Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said did not include the overlapping areas.

He doubted the government would compromise on the issue that could benefit former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was reportedly keen about investing in Koh Kong province in Cambodia.

Alongkorn said the ministry should make the issue transparent by showing details of the map to the public before Unesco considers the Cambodian proposal between July 2 and 10.

The Cabinet is scheduled to endorse Cambodia's new map next week, enabling Phnom Penh to submit its proposal to Unesco.

Thailand and Cambodia claimed ownership of the temple until the World Court ruled in favour of Cambodia in 1962.

Alongkorn said yesterday was the 46th anniversary of that ruling.

It should be noted the World Court ruled that only the temple, not the areas around it, belonged to Cambodia, he said.

A seminar on the controversy was conducted in Si Sa Ket province yesterday, where many panellists expressed doubts on the Thai government's expected admission of Cambodia's new map.

Last week, some residents in Si Sa Ket called for the removal of Cambodian communities from overlapping areas.

Crocodile mauls Cambodian teen

The Earth Times
Sun, 15 Jun 2008
Author : DPA

Phnom Penh - A Cambodian teen who tried to capture an escaped crocodile to sell for money found himself hospitalized with 25 stitches and lucky to be alive, police said Sunday. Chea Hak, 16, a school student, tried to capture the animal after he saw it in a local pond when his mother sent him to wash dishes, police in central Kampong Chhnang district said.

The reptile mauled the boy's left thigh and right hand badly before friends could pull him free.
It was the second reported crocodile attack in a week. A student in Siem Reap province, 400 kilometres north of the capital, is still missing after being last seen taking a short cut to school through a crocodile farm.

Police said the Kampong Chhnang crocodile, thought to have escaped a local crocodile farm, was still free and enjoying pond life because local entrepreneurs hesitated to tangle with it again.