Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Farmers plant rice seedlings in a paddy field in Takeo province, 80 km (50 miles) south of Phnom Penh

Farmers plant rice seedlings in a paddy field in Takeo province, 80 km (50 miles) south of Phnom Penh August 8, 2008 . Cambodia is one of the world's poorest counties, with three-quarters of its 14 million population depending on agriculture in a country where the average daily income is less than $2.REUTERS /Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodia's farmers plant rice seedlings in a paddy field in Takeo province, 80 km (50 miles) south of Phnom Penh August 8, 2008 . Cambodia is one of the world's poorest counties, with three-quarters of its 14 million population depending on agriculture in a country where the average daily income is less than $2.REUTERS /Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Farmers plant rice seedlings in a paddy field in Takeo province, 80 km (50 miles) south of Phnom Penh August 8, 2008 . Cambodia is one of the world's poorest counties, with three-quarters of its 14 million population depending on agriculture in a country where the average daily income is less than $2.REUTERS /Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodia's farmers plant rice seedlings in a paddy field in Takeo province, 80 km (50 miles) south of Phnom Penh August 8, 2008 . Cambodia is one of the world's poorest counties, with three-quarters of its 14 million population depending on agriculture in a country where the average daily income is less than $2.REUTERS /Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Farmers plough rice in a paddy field in Takeo province, 80 km (50 miles) south of Phnom Penh August 8, 2008 . Cambodia is one of the world's poorest counties, with three-quarters of its 14 million population depending on agriculture in a country where the average daily income is less than $2.REUTERS /Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Farmers plough rice in a paddy field in Takeo province, 80 km (50 miles) south of Phnom Penh August 8, 2008 . Cambodia is one of the world's poorest counties, with three-quarters of its 14 million population depending on agriculture in a country where the average daily income is less than $2.REUTERS /Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

SRP questions about secret deals with Thaksin over Preah Vihear

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CIB to streamline investment procedures

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Hor Hab and Nguon Sovan
Thursday, 11 September 2008

THE Cambodian Investment Board (CIB) is preparing to implement a new strategy for foreign investment that aims to simplify bureaucracy and improve the quality of services.

"We have already made changes in the import-export sector by adopting a Single Administration Document, whereby authorities check all goods at a single location to save time and money," said Suon Sithy, secretary general of CIB.

Previously, investments required a 28-day waiting period as paperwork moved between various ministries. Under the new strategy, simple investments will require only seven to 10 days for an answer directly from the CIB, Suon Sithy said.

He said more complicated investments related to the environment or politics will still be subject to the 28-day requirement.

"We are walking the right path, though we haven't yet reached our goal," Suon Sithy said. "We are making investment easier by not requiring the same documents be submitted to all relevant ministries."

Suon Sithy said the board has also put in place a risk-management strategy for imports and exports that requires inspection of only suspicious or "irregular" cargo, while simplifying the process for companies that respect the law while meeting the needs of their customers. "We have made progress in promoting Cambodia as an attractive investment target and creating a good business climate for potential investors, but more needs to be done," he said.

Economist Sok Sina said Cambodia's investment laws have improved and current trends show a strengthening investment market.

"We can already see that trade volumes are getting bigger and bigger," he said.

Cambodia advances 15 places in Doing Business 2009 rankings

September 10, 2008

PHNOM PENH - Cambodia moved up 15 places to 135th in the ranking of the ease of doing business around the world, according to a report released Wednesday by International Finance Corporation and the World Bank.

Cambodia's significantly higher standing is the result of reforms that make it easier for businesses to get credit and to close a business.

Comment: Address graft charges or jeopardise the KR tribunal

AFP; Newly appointed judges to the ECCC, Catherine Marchi-Uhel of France (left) and Siegfried Blunk of Germany were officially sworn in Friday. During last week’s plenary session, tribunal judges called for corruption allegations to be fully investigated.
The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Post Staff
Thursday, 11 September 2008

Judicial process in peril if donors don't commit more funding

The growing number of allegations of corruption in the form of required staff kickback payments at the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) causes grave concern about the integrity of this court that is designed to promote the end of impunity.

The credibility of the court now depends on its ability to prove that it is corruption-free. We welcome the statements of ECCC Judge Sylvia Cartwright at the opening of the plenary session of judges on September 1, 2008, that "these historic trials, which are so important for the people of Cambodia, must not be tainted by corruption", and that claims of corruption must be resolved in a transparent manner. We welcome the recent step of all the judges of the ECCC to strengthen the Code of Ethics to which they are bound. These steps enhance the credibility of the court.

Members of the NGO community in Cambodia have been strong supporters of an independent and credible tribunal to address Khmer Rouge crimes in a manner that meets international standards and leaves behind a strong legacy for Cambodian courts.

These goals cannot be met if the ECCC tolerates the practice of graft that requires staff or officials to pay back a portion of their salaries to get or keep their jobs. The allegations that such demands are being made of Cambodian staff or officials at the ECCC must be definitively dealt with.

Protect whistleblowers

In addition to the Cambodian side of the court, the Government of Cambodia, the United Nations and the donor community have a responsibility to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to eliminate alleged corrupt practices from the ECCC.

No longer can the Cambodian government, the UN and the donors ignore this problem because the allegations threaten the ability of the court to continue as a credible institution in the eyes of the people of Cambodia.

Staff of the ECCC who have come forward to give an account of such practices display courage and risk their personal and professional security and perhaps that of their family members. Without their courage, corruption cannot be addressed. They provide hope that the ECCC can serve to prove that progress can be made to eliminate corruption from judicial institutions in Cambodia. We urge the Cambodian government, the UN and the donor community to take strong steps to provide adequate whistleblower protection and support for these people.

Over the last year the Director of Administration, the UNDP and donor representatives assured the public that they will have a "robust" program to deal with corruption allegations. The fact that allegations came forward first in early 2007 and again in the spring of 2008 - after claims that they had been dealt with fully - raises concerns about the sufficiency and effectiveness of the commitment of the parties and the mechanisms put in place. The court's integrity may be irreparably damaged if the problem is not dealt with now and comes up for a third time. The court must assure the public it has adequate mechanisms to deal with allegations of corruption in a timely and conclusive manner. The process must be transparent while protecting the rights and interests of those that come forward.

The ECCC can still bring justice

Finally, while the allegations of corruption are discouraging, we continue to believe that the ECCC can succeed in its goal of providing some justice for the people of Cambodia. Encouraging progress has been made on the cases before the Court, which must continue without interruption. The ECCC, like other tribunals dealing with international crimes, requires significant resources to complete its mission of providing justice and a model of legal reform to Cambodia. We urge donors to continue to provide adequate financial support to the court, while ensuring that the corruption is effectively addressed.


The following NGOs endorse the above statement:

Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC); Coalition of Civil Society Organization Against Corruption (CoCSOAC); PACT Cambodia; Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC); Center for Social Development (CSD); Khmer Institute for Democracy (KID); Cambodia Justice Initiative (CJI); Youth Resource Development Program (YRDP); Youth for Peace (YfP); People Center for Development and Peace (PDP-Center); Khmer Youth Association (KYA)

Creative Holidays launches Vietnam and Cambodia

e-Travel Balckboard
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Creative Holidays has launched its 2009 Vietnam & Cambodia program offering the trade an expanded product range, as well as new, more flexible travel options that can be tailored to suit specific clients’ time and budget requests.

The new program boasts a full page of new hotels in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, including two new beach resorts – The Furama near Danang and the Nam Hai near Hoi An, Vietnam. The program also has more tour options in both Vietnam and Cambodia including cruises on the Makong Delta from Saigon to Siem Reap and visa versa as well as a cultural overnight trip to Mai Chau village near Hanoi.

All this has been added to the already extensive program which features Halong Bay boat options, including the Halong Ginger, a five-star high-end junk for travellers looking for a more luxurious experience. The program also includes more hotel options in the popular cities of Saigon, Hanoi and Hoi An, a full page outlining Sapa train and rail options as well as the product in the beach areas of Phu Quoc Island, Phan Thiet and Quy Nhon.

Andrew Yell, general manager, product, sales and marketing, Creative Holidays said “This year we have a really diverse range of products designed to suit all markets, including families, couples, singles, those on a budget, the more adventurous, people looking for a hands-on experience and those after romance, luxury and indulgence.

“The interest in travelling to Vietnam and Cambodia has grown significantly over the last 12 months and continues to be popular choice with Australians. In fact, we have seen sales increase significantly over the past year as Vietnam continues to be well priced and affordable with a great range of accommodation and tour options.

“We have been able to increase our range to offer more five-star resorts, like the Six Senses in Nha Trang and the Nam Hai in Hoi An, more options to the booming family market and, option of independent flexible itineraries and group trips where solo travellers and singles are able to join one of the two group tours. We have the country covered now and due to the big demand, the expanded product range caters for anyone who wants to visit Vietnam.

“We have an excellent ground handler who is both professional and dedicated with exceptional guides and staff, and will ensure your clients will experience Vietnam in the best way possible.

“Truly flexible independent touring is always a popular choice and consultants now have more options than ever with Creative Holidays. Agents can tailor an itinerary exclusively for their clients with us, right down to the standard of accommodation, duration, budget and sightseeing options.

“Tailoring a trip for clients is simple in Vietnam because geographically the country runs over 3000km from north to south, so the most practical itineraries traverse the country from top to bottom or vise versa, with as many, or as few, stops in between as travellers would like.

However, with the boom in interest to the region demand can sometimes out number supply, so book your clients early to ensure they don’t miss out during peak seasons.

“Moving forward into 2009, we expect to see growth continue for Vietnam, particularly as the region is so accessible, easy to travel though and appeals to such a broad cross-section of the market.”

Creative Holidays’ entire program is a comprehensive information source and research tool to help consultants and their clients plan their holiday. It features impartial destination information supplied by Lonely Planet including temperature charts, country and area maps, event details, currency and dining information, travel facts, country highlights and much more throughout.

As a SPECIAL BONUS, Lonely Planet is offering significant discounts on their range of travel guides to Creative Holidays’ customers, so if your clients wish to learn more about Vietnam and Cambodia be sure to direct them to where they can save 20 per cent on all full priced Lonely Planet guides.

Creative Holidays is Australia’s leading independent holiday company with a range of holidays to suit everyone – especially those who enjoy the independence and flexibility of planning their own holiday. Creative Holidays great deals are available exclusively through travel agents.

Cambodia's first agency to value business assets opens

VANDY RATTANA; New condominiums and businesses for sale in Phnom Penh.

The requirement that companies declare their assets is widely believed to be one of the biggest obstacles to establishing Cambodia’s stock market, sources say. Most enterprises that could list are family-owned and guard the value of their businesses.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Chun Sophal and Nguon Sovan
Thursday, 11 September 2008

Establishment of valuation association a key step in opening the Kingdom's stock market, but some business leaders say it will not be capable of doing the job

CAMBODIA'S first agency to assess the value of corporate assets opened last week, in what company sources are describing as a key step in establishing a Cambodian stock exchange.

But business figures are sceptical the new body will be able to establish sufficient nationwide transparency in time to meet the stock market's 2009 deadline for opening.

Sung Bonna, chairman of the new National Valuation Association of Cambodia (NVAC), which is supported by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, said the body will play an important role in Cambodia's future growth.

"We will try to push this nascent association to attract foreign investors and to assist in the process of setting up a stock exchange next year," he said, adding that the stock market will not go ahead in the absence of credible asset evaluations. "If we have professional assessors and good management, the stock market process will be smoother," he said.

In Channy, CEO of Acleda Bank, said the new agency could provide independent assessments for firms wishing to register on the Kingdom's stock market.

"We need an assessor that has enough independence to determine the accurate value of a company's assets. This concept generally exists in other countries," he said.

'2012 more realistic'

But Nguon Meng Tech, director general of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, said he does not think the association will be successful.

"I do not believe that they are capable enough for this work for the time being," he said.He added that the 2009 deadline for a Cambodian bourse was little more than a pipe dream.

"Cambodia does not have enough human resources and experts," he said, adding that 2012 was a more realistic target.

In Channy said Acleda currently assesses its own assets and is unlikely to use NVAC until it establishes more branches across the country. "We do not reject the use of the service, but we trust our own assessment," he said.

Likewise, Kong Triv, CEO of KT Pacific Group, said that he has not considered using the NVAC to evaluate his company's assets. "We will wait and see how independent [it] is and how it builds confidence, and then we will consider it," he said.

Sung Bonna admitted the NVAC was untested, but he said he was optimistic it will valuate properties accurately. "The association will seek training from foreign experts to make sure that the evaluation is internationally acceptable," he said.

Cambodian Economic Association President Chan Sophal said Cambodia must have a property evaluation association that is fully independent, "otherwise companies could lose confidence".

Sacravatoons :" Cambodia, the US Products' Dumping Site "

Courtesy Sacravatoon

Sacravatoons : " Buy One Get One Free "

Courtesy Sacravatoon

Sacravatoons :" The Royal-Pig can fly "

Courtesy Sacravatoon

U.N. mandate necessary in Cambodia

UPI Asia Online

By Lao Mong Hay
Column: Rule by Fear
Published: September 10, 2008

Hong Kong, China — In the 1970s and 1980s the Cambodian people suffered successively from the extension of the Vietnam War, massive human rights violations and another protected war of ten years commonly known as the Paris Peace Agreements. As an integral part of a comprehensive settlement of the latter war in 1991, Cambodia agreed to adhere to international human rights standards and norms in order to prevent the return of the policies and practices of rights violations of the past.

Those peace agreements have provided for, among other things, a temporary administration of Cambodia by the U.N. and close monitoring of the human rights situation in Cambodia by the U.N. Human Rights Commission, including, if necessary, by the appointment of a Special Rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia. Since the end of that U.N. administration in 1993, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights opened a field office and the U.N. secretary-general appointed a special representative for human rights in Cambodia to help the country meet its human rights obligations as well as to monitor the human rights situation.

However, the Cambodian government, which has since been effectively run by the Cambodian People's Party, formerly a communist party, has not been happy with the U.N. human rights mandate. The relationship between this government and the high commissioner's field office on one hand and the secretary-general's special representative on the other has been characterized by continuous conflicts.

These conflicts have become open and very acrimonious in recent years when the Cambodian government openly attacked the incumbent special representative, Professor Yash Ghai from Kenya, following the latter's reports and statements criticizing the government's failure to honor its obligations. That government has once called for Ghai's sacking and having failed, refused to cooperate with him and also threatened to close down the field office.

The U.N. human rights mandate is now being reviewed in the current session of the Human Rights Council beginning this week. This review has caused a lot of anxiety in Cambodia's civil society, as they fear the mandate could end. There is then a risk that not only the Cambodian government would cease honoring its human rights obligations but also any human rights gain achieved since 1993 would be reversed.

The U.N. mandate has contributed to improving a certain number of human rights. The rights of women and children are much better although violence against women, woman trafficking and child labor remain serious national issues. More Cambodian women are playing an active role in public affairs and school enrollment of children and girls is higher than before.

The press has more freedom. Legal and judicial reforms have been undertaken though at a very slow pace. Codes of procedure have been enacted and there is more compliance with them as the police force and judicial officers have gained better technical expertise and training although the justice system and the police still have a lot of flaws and shortcomings. Resorting to torture and ill-treating accused persons is less frequent although crowded prisons, lack of hygiene and inadequate food rations remain big problems.

However, despite these positive developments, the Cambodian government has yet to honor many fundamental rights enumerated in the peace agreements. Over recent years there has been a reverse in the freedom of assembly and association when in the past, peaceful public demonstrations and protests were practically banned and force was used to enforce it.

As was observed in the latest electoral process, political control of the media persists; arrest and killing of journalists, and threats and intimidation continue and at least one journalist has fled the country fearing personal security.

There is no rule of law yet as the judiciary has remained under executive control, the rich and the powerful. As Ghai observed, "state authorities, as well as companies and politically well-connected individuals, show scant respect for the rule of law," and that the courts and legal profession, "have failed the people of Cambodia woefully."

There is little respite from deprivation of private property without just compensation as the rich and the powerful have often connived to grab land from the poor and the weak. It has been reported that some 150,000 Cambodians are facing the risk of being forcibly evicted from their homes and lands to make way for development or city beautification. Ghai observed that such people are living in fear: "fear of the state, fear of political and economic saboteurs, fear of greedy individuals and corporations, fear of the police and the courts."

Moreover, the Cambodian government has not fully honored the right of all Cambodian citizens who undertake activities to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. It has frequently obstructed human rights defenders who frequently face threats and intimidation, or even death. Furthermore, the government has already planned to enact a law to curb the activities of human rights non-governmental organizations.

These organizations, which have actively promoted human rights, the rule of law and democracy, are at the mercy of the government. There are as yet no national institutions for democracy and the rule of law, which are functional, independent, and impartial that can protect the rights of Cambodian citizens.

Due to the absence of such institutions and the weakness of civil society organizations, the U.N. human rights mandate is necessary, both for the protection and promotion of human rights and for the development of those institutions in Cambodia.

The Cambodian government must offer a more effective alternative before it calls for an end to its obligations under the Paris Peace Agreements.

MPs to get back to benches on September 24

Cambodge Soir


The King officially convened lawmakers for a new parliamentary session. But will Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) and Human rights Party (HRP) MPs attend?
On September 9, the 123 future MPs of the National Assembly elected in July, received their official convocation--sent by the King--to attend the September 24 session.
Cambodge Soir Hebdo contacted Yem Ponhearith, the HRP General Secretary: “We are in line with the King, but we are still expecting an answer to a letter sent jointly with the SRP. This letter stipulated that we wish not to take the oath at the same time as the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) MPs”.
As for Yim Sovann, Phnom Penh SRP MP: “as long as the complaints filed for election riggings have not been clearly solved, we will not attend the September 24 session. We are still expecting a reply from the King”.
Hun Sen has already warned the opposition party Mps, that failure to attend will result in distributing their seats to other attending party members.

Cambodia remains concerned of possible new surge in Aids cases

Cambodge Soir


The third national HIV conference gathers all of the country’s experts whilst new modes of contamination arise.

On September 10, the third Conference on Aids begins in Phnom Penh. Over three days, around 1,000 participants from both civil society and the government will listen to Cambodian and foreign experts. Four topics are the focus of this year’s conference: prevention, care, patient rights policy and the reduction of the consequences of Aids.

Doctor Teng Kunthy, the General Secretary of the National Authority on Aids remains on his guard. He is specifically concerned by “new contamination modes developing with homosexuals and drug consumers with the use of more and more intravenous drugs, and group sex without condoms”. These new modes develop as condom usage decreases.

At the conference presentation, the speakers recalled the authorities’ commitment, until 2010, to give the entire population access to infrastructure designed to combat Aids.

Opportunity will be given during the conference to take stock of the results of ten years of fighting the deadly virus in Cambodia, where the prevalence rate reaches only 0.9 percent.The conference budget is estimated at US$ 80,000 and is financed by around twenty donors, including: PSI, USAID, Angkor Beer, Save the children and FHI. Foreigners are charged US $100 to take part in the conference, and the fee is US$ 50 for Cambodians.

Hun Sen lauds world literacy day

Cambodge Soir


Monks, ministers and local authorities mobilised in the fight against illiteracy.

“Literacy is the key for development", declared the Cambodian Prime Minister in a press release dated September 8, on the occasion of UNESCO world literacy day.

It is within the framework of the UNESCO initiated “literacy decade 2003-2012” that Hun Sen made several recommendations concerning his country. The aim of this programme is to reduce adult illiteracy by 50 per cent around the world.

The prime Minister asked members of the government to collect information among families during their travels around the country. As for monks, they should promote literacy in pagodas and local authorities should provide more opportunities to learn how to read and write for those in need.

According to the National Statistics Institute, the illiteracy rate in Cambodia was 74 per cent in 2004. In 2008 UNESCO estimates 778 million illiterate people around the world.

Duch: co-prosecutors sharpen their pencils

Cambodge Soir


In disagreement with the co-investigating judges’ closing order, co-prosecutors request their appeal be examined on the basis of written briefs.

This proceeded quickly, as co-prosecutors filed on Friday, September 5, five days before the deadline, their appeal brief of the co-investigating judges’ closing order regarding Duch’s case.

They also requested that the pre-trial chamber decision should be announced “in written briefs, without requesting any hearings”. They also expect their appeal and the briefs filed by each party to be posted on the Khmer rouge Tribunal (KRT) website.

This appeal followed the closing order of the co-investigating judges, Marcel Lemonde and You Bunleng, on Duch, the former head of S-21 detention centre, dated August 8, for “crimes against humanity” and “serious breaches of the Geneva Convention dated August 12, 1949’’. The co-prosecutors argued that the closing order omitted accusations regarding breaches of the Cambodian Penal Code from 1956 which “could highlight Duch’s criminal demeanour and [...] strengthen the Cambodian people’s feelings that this trial is theirs”.

Anti-tank mine explodes in Anlong Veng

Cambodge Soir


Six people were killed and two others injured on Sunday September 7, when an anti-tank mine exploded in Anlong Veng province, located in the north west of Cambodia.

Among the victims are four women and a baby. Menn Ly, the police chief of Oddar Meancheay province explained that the victims were on board a truck when it drove over a mine.

A Khmer Rouge stronghold until 1998, the province is one of the most heavily mined in the Kingdom. Each year, with the monsoon, similar incidents occur in this region. The heavy rain moves or brings to the surface the devices, which sometimes slide onto roads. According to estimates, a total of five million mines and UXOs are spread over Cambodian territory.

Cambodian held at airport with over 1kg amphetamine

The Times of India
10 Sep 2008

CHENNAI: The city's notoriety as a major transit point in the smuggling of hardcore drugs and psychotropic substances is growing. Customs and directorate of revenue intelligence officials regularly seize heroine, ketamine and other psychotropic substances, meant mainly for smuggling to the Far East.

On Monday, sleuths of the air intelligence unit of Chennai customs intercepted a Cambodian national about to board a flight to Bangkok and seized 1.05 kg of amphetamine, worth around Rs 20 lakh in the international market. Son Piseth was then arrested and remanded.

The air intelligence unit personnel, engaged in profiling the passengers of a Thai Airways flight, found Piseth's movements suspicious and detained him for interrogation.

"A check of his hand baggage did not reveal any contraband. We then recalled the checked-in baggage and found the inner clothesline of the suitcase tampered with. We cut it open and found the fibre bottom also tampered with. The contraband was filled in two polythene covers and spread as thin layers inside the fibre bottom. The white powder found inside the polythene cover was amphetamine," customs commissioner Parminder Singh Sodhi said.

Piseth, during the interrogation, admitted that he had attempted to smuggle the drug to Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, via Bangkok for $1,000.

According to his passport, Piseth visited New Delhi five times earlier and, according to his own confession, carried out smuggling operations on all five occasions.

Amphetamine is a psychotropic substance that is abused on a large scale like ketamine . However, unlike ketamine, amphetamine is a scheduled drug that comes under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Popularly known as 'speed', 'ice', 'meth' and 'crank' in abuser circle, it is largely used as a recreational club drug and as a performance enhancer.

In recent months, the city has become a major transit point for the smuggling of ketamine and heroin to the Far East. However, this is first instance in six months that amphetamine is being seized. Amphetamine, which has medical uses, is a banned drug in the country due to its physical and physiological ill-effects.

NCR Launches Next Generation Family of NCR SelfServ ATMs in Cambodia to Help Drive Banks' Revenue and Improve Consumer Satisfaction

Wednesday September 10
NCR Corporation

- NCR SelfServ ATMs Helps Banks to Increase Revenue and Improve Customer Satisfaction

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, September 10 /PRNewswire/ -- NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR - News) today announced the launch of its new NCR SelfServ(TM) family of automated teller machines (ATMs) in Cambodia. NCR SelfServ ATMs are designed to help drive more revenue by enabling easier introduction of multi-function services and ensuring higher ATM availability to customers, while reducing environmental impact.

ATM availability is one of the key priorities for banks in Southeast Asia, and the NCR SelfServ family with its "self-healing" capability addresses this need. This new ATM family recovers automatically from software failures without intervention, cutting down recovery time previously ranging from three to four hours, to just ten or fifteen minutes, therefore ensuring higher ATM availability.

Matthew Heap, NCR industry marketing director for Asia Pacific, said, "NCR is committed to the Cambodia market and the launch of NCR SelfServ today reinforces the same. The NCR SelfServ family reflects a key NCR strategy to link the consumer experience across the ATM, the Internet and mobility. Clearly, consumers want self-service banking to be convenient, easy to use, secure and always available when and where they want. As consumers do more through the ATM channel, it becomes imperative for financial institutions to ensure their ATM network is constantly up and running. NCR is committed to deliver the best in technology and services and will continue to innovate in changing the way consumers connect, interact and transact with businesses."

Over half of ATM downtime is due to low-level maintenance tasks - often performed by branch staff - such as replacing receipt rolls and clearing cards or paper jams. With intuitive interactive graphic operator panels, NCR SelfServ allows staff to fix more faults the first time and do so more quickly, leading to better availability. NCR SelfServ units include NCR's patented two-sided thermal (2ST(TM)) receipt printers that reduce the amount of paper consumed. Its larger paper rolls and dual receipt roll dispensers also include auto-change functionality.

The new NCR SelfServ family is designed to deliver the most advanced services, including bill payments and no-envelope intelligent cash and cheque deposits, while reducing environmental impact. NCR SelfServ is also the only ATM family to feature protected USB technology. This means that modules needed to deliver future services on ATMs can be added quickly, without compromising the security of the ATM. As 2D barcode technology emerges, bill payments and other transactions that use this technology can be handled on new modules available on NCR SelfServ. Technologies such as contactless card and mobile payment systems can also be easily integrated with NCR SelfServ ATMs to improve convenience for consumers and create revenue-generation opportunities for financial institutions and other ATM deployers.

China Banking Corporation is the first bank in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia to purchase the new ATMs, with an initial order of SelfServ units to fulfill its objectives of providing more convenient banking to its customers.

Royal Family Members Will Form a New Party after the Creation of the Government

Posted on 9 September 2008
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 577

“Phnom Penh: According to a royal family member who used to be a politician, the some royal family members plan to form a new party after the creation of the new term Royal Government.

“Prince Sisowath Thomico, an advisor to the Great Heroic King Norodom Sihanouk, informed Rasmei Kampuchea in the evening of 8 September 2008 whether it is true or not that some members of the royal family plan to form a new party - but he has already discussed it, seeing that in the next term government, the monarchy will loose its voice completely, because he is not sure who are real monarchists at present – whether, in Funcinpec, Mr. Nhek Bun Chhay [the Funcinpec secretary general] or Mr. You Hockry [the secretary general of the Norodom Ranariddh Party] are real monarchist; therefore he is concerned about the loss of the monarchists’ voice.

“Prince Sisowath Thomico added, ‘I have emphasized that the creation of a new party should wait until a new Royal Government is formed, because the Cambodian People’s Party had declared to follow the Sangkum Reastr Niyum regime as a general direction; this is theerefore the time that the monarchists who love the King, and the Great Heroic King, and the monarchy, unite to help the Royal Government to follow the track [of the Sangkum Reastr Niyum tradition]. But we cannot assume that they will follow that track. Therefore, if they do not follow that track, we should find ways so that the monarchists express their voice, to remind the Cambodian People’s Party of their promise, and to remember the track that the Sangkum Reastr Niyum walked; the creation of a new political parity may be a measure that might lead to other related measures.’

“Prince Sisowath Thomico said that the present considerations about the creation of a party are just to serve as a brief discussion, and there is not yet any clear policy. Asked who would be the leader if the members of the royal family would create another party, Prince Thomico responded that that was a difficult question, because if the National Assembly adopts a new law to prohibit members of the royal family to enter politics, they themselves would not be able to enter politics. However, if the National Assembly does not adopt such a law, many members of the royal family want him - Prince Thomico - to be the president.

“Mr. Kol Panha, the executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections – COMFREL – renarked to Rasmei Kampuchea that the creation of a party by members of the royal family is their right, but the royal family should not create too many different parties, because unity among parties will make them strong, and if too many parities are formed, the royal family parties will not be strong.

“Mr. Kol Panha continued that at the present time, there are many people with the right to vote, and the youth of the new generation does not know much about the line of the royal family. Therefore a party created by royal family members might be weaker than other parties which were created earlier. Mr. Kol Panha said also that if a party, that is planed by the royal family, is really formed, the monarchy and politics would be strengthened.

“Regarding the creation of a new party by the royal family, a credible source hinted that the logo of that party would be the ‘Throne’ and its motto ‘The King and the tenfold qualifications of the King [charity, morality, sacrifice, honesty, softness, austerity, calmness, peacefulness, patience, respect for the law] and sovereignty.’

“This source went on to say that a party to be created by members of the royal family does not yet have a name, but a small number of people from the Cambodian People’s Party, some activists from Funcinpec, from the Norodom Ranariddh Party, and from the Sam Rainsy Party who were former Funcinpec activists, will join.

“It should be remembered that previously, Funcinpec was considered to be the royalist party, a party led by members of the royal family and created by the [former King, the] Great Heroic King Norodom Sihanouk, and then the Great Heroic King had handed it to his beloved son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh. Funcinpec, a product of the former Great Heroic King, was strongly supported during the first term elections in 1993. Nevertheless, later on, under the rule by Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Funcinpec had become weaker and weaker until now, when it finally split and almost disappeareds. How much success will the plan to create a new party by members of the royal family achieve, while the Cambodian People’s Party is ruling the country and gained a landslide victory in the previous elections?”

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1741, 9.9.2008
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Cambodian Heroine Fights Against Human Trafficking

Cambodian Activist Somaly MamPhoto by Ken Levinson

Contact: Janet Sassi

Fordham University

When Somaly Mam was on the brink of adolescence, her grandfather sold her into the sex trade in Cambodia. Today, Mam is a published author and advocate for victims of a global human trafficking industry that sells nearly a million people into slavery each year.

Mam recounted her unlikely life journey at “Speak Truth to Power,” an event sponsored by the Graduate School of Social Service (GSS) and Fordham Law School on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Addressing an audience of 150, Mam painfully recalled the decade she spent in a brothel, forced into prostitution where virgins were at a premium and captives became younger and younger—as young as five years old.

She recalled “having to close our eyes, and accept 20 to 30 men per day” or else face being beaten by their captors. On three occasions, Mam said, she tried to commit suicide.

After she witnessed her best friend’s murder at the hands of a client, Mam escaped the sex trade with the help of a French aide worker.

“I know how to react under fear, but talking here is not easy for me,” said Mam, author of The Road of Lost Innocence: The Story of a Cambodian Heroine (Spiegel & Grau, 2008). “I don’t know my age, my real name or my family, but I thank every one of you who has helped me to understand what love means. Now I have my mission, to save others from the brothel and to help them find a new life, to give them love.”

In addition to being an author, Mam is co-founder and president of AFESIP (Acting for Women in Distressing Situations), an organization that operates three shelters in Cambodia for more than 300 young girls who have escaped the forced sex-trade. Since most of the girls are between five and 12 years old, Mam has opened schools at the sites. To date, AFESIP has rescued 4,000 children from sex trafficking, she said.

Mam delivered an impassioned plea for support against a global human trafficking market that generates $9.5 billion annually, $4 billion of which goes to the prostitution industry. She also urged the audience to contact United States senators who do not support the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year to strengthen penalties for trafficking.

“I can go to a brothel and save a victim, or 20 victims, but the next day they will be replaced,” Mam said. “I cannot stop organized crime, but you can. They are still raping every day. So please, talking is great but more reacting is needed.”

Joining Mam was William Livermore, director of customer contact at LexisNexis, a political and financial supporter of Mam’s organizations. Livermore noted that there are still 11 states within the U.S. that do not have anti-trafficking legislation on their state books.

“Trafficking is a problem that is bigger than the sub-Mekong delta,” he said. “It is here in New York, Boston . . . so even in the United States, there is work to do.”

The event was co-sponsored by GSS, Fordham Law School’s Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, LexisNexis, Priority Films and Redlight Children, a non-governmental organization fighting child sexploitation.

One Cambodian turns trash to cash

Garbage pickers regularly scour the municipal dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (David Montero)

Heng Yon Kora founded the Community Sanitation and Recycling Organization to find a better life for many of these poor Cambodians, who often live at the city’s dump, by turning trash into a commercial commodity. (David Montero)

Heng Yon Korra has a plan to reduce trash and fight poverty in Phnom Penh. So far, it’s working.

By David Montero
Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
September 9, 2008 edition

Heng Yon Kora has had a long, intimate relationship with trash: As a teenager just after the fall of the Khmer Rouge’s brutal regime – a period when Cambodia was racked by famine – he survived on it.

He quickly learned that, in a nation trying to rebuild after years of war and isolation, discarded metals and plastics were precious commodities. Selling recycled waste, Mr. Kora soon had enough money to pay for schoolbooks.

Although hard work took him away from the garbage heaps – to jobs at the World Health Organization and the United Nations – he never forgot the lessons he learned there.

His profession in human rights and development often brought him face to face with garbage pickers. Thousands of them, including about 1,000 children in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, pick garbage for a living, selling scrap to earn enough to eat. Many face discrimination and grim health prospects.

There was the growing amount of garbage, too. As Kora’s nation rises, enjoying an economic boom, its garbage woes have piled high.

So in 1997, Kora decided to address the poverty and waste by founding the Community Sanitation and Recycling Organization (CSARO), a nongovernmental organization that turns trash into an economic asset for the poor, borrowing an idea from NGOs in neighboring countries.

It’s a small success story not only for making a dent in Cambodia’s poverty, but also as a showcase of how innovative local solutions in one part of Asia are being exchanged throughout the region.Phnom Penh’s only waste dump at Stung Meanchey, six miles outside the city, tells the underside of Cambodia’s economic story.

Garbage rises like a mountain, its contents a discarded inventory of life – chunks of ceramic toilets, plastic sneakers, and water bottles. Garbage is up by 15 percent in the capital from last year, according to CINTRI, a Canadian company that does waste removal here.

The city has no official recycling policy, and the landfill is now overflowing, posing health and environmental risks. Kora knew from experience that just throwing trash into landfill was a waste. “We’ve been standing up at city hall and saying that waste is money,” he says.

To find solutions, Kora and his staff scoured the region. “We did an exchange in the Philippines, in Bangladesh. We looked around Southeast Asia.” They found ideas they liked and adapted them to conditions back home.

On a recent afternoon, Von Savrin demonstrates one such idea: For several hours a day, she cuts old movie posters down to strips and rolls the strips into paper beads. Fastened with glue onto a string, they make brightly colored necklaces that sell at stores around the city.

“We discovered the idea in the Philippines,” says Bo Sok Han, CSARO’s program officer, who has attended workshops in Thailand, Vietnam, India, and Bangladesh.

Ms. Savrin, who has never had a job before, now works from home, where she raises her children while also earning $75 a month – more than most teachers and civil servants make. “She’s given us the change to go to school,” says Savrin’s son, Sohao Sety.

Savrin is one of 60 women trained by CSARO who make jewelry, picture frames, and bags at home, all from recycled garbage. They hope soon to form a cooperative, to expand their products and earnings.Kora found another idea he liked in Bangladesh, where he attended an exchange workshop with Waste Concern, an organization that employs the poor to turn organic waste into fertilizer. Like Bangladesh, some 70 percent of the trash produced every day in Cambodia is from fruit and vegetable scraps. Waste Concern showed Kora’s staff how coconut shells, mixed with other organic waste, could make high-grade fertilizer.

Since 2007, CSARO has employed four people to produce four tons of fertilizer each month, which they sell to farmers at about $100 a ton – a small profit, but enough to pay the four employees and hopefully bankroll an expansion.

It is uncertain how much of an impact CSARO can have on reducing Cambodia’s waste problem. For now the municipal government has mandated simply opening a new landfill farther outside the city, to replace the old one.

To Kora, that’s a waste of good trash. “The government should educate people to [recycle] their household waste. Then they’ll get some benefit.”

Missing woman case brings to light other problems at Unique Living

Jeff Melton / The Star
Unique Living has come under fire in recent years by the county DSS. On Sept. 3, the assisted living facility reported a resident, Mouy Tang, missing.

The Star
Tuesday, Sep 9 2008
David Allen

SHELBY - Quyhn Tang has made the choice to wait by her phone, both hopeful and unsure of her sister-in-law's whereabouts.

"It's heartbreaking," she quietly said of Mouy Tang, who disappeared between Lawndale and Fallston last week. "Very stressful. We're praying that someone out there is caring enough to bring her home.

"Mouy, a native of Cambodia and Unique Living resident, wandered from the oft-criticized adult-care home Sept. 3, following at least two other residents who disappeared in 2006.A representative at Unique Living Tuesday declined to comment on Mouy's disappearance.

It's the type of issue Cleveland County Department of Social Services officials have been warning about for months.

Back in June, the county DSS sent a letter to the state, specifically to Department of Health Service Regulation Adult Care Licensure Section Chief Barbara Ryan, in reference to Unique Living, noting potential dangers the facility presented.

The state's official response, or lack thereof, recently prompted the county DSS board to consider drafting a new letter to Dempsey Benton, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

"There was no official response to my letter," DSS Director John Wasson said. "They did send teams out ... at least they didn't ignore it totally."Neither Ryan nor DHSR Acting Director Jeff Horton was available for comment Tuesday.

The Star reported in July that teams from the DHSR were brought in to Unique Living to inspect the facility.

Several citations were given, Wasson said, including problems involving faulty door alarms and dangerously hot water.

The facility was directed to correct the issues by Aug. 29, said Tom Ensley, adult services supervisor. Problems remained when officials went back to follow up on Sept. 3, the day Tang went missing.

But less than a week before, a DHSR construction section inspector said the deficiencies had been addressed.

"He stated that all the areas that he had cited as deficiencies had been corrected," Ensley said. "However, when we made our visit last week and walked through that facility, we noted a number of items that were on this list of deficiencies that were still not corrected."

Problems found

County DSS officials said the sanitation level, which was cited as a deficiency, remains below standards. There's a door in the facility leading outside that, no matter the effort, cannot be shut properly. Dresser drawers were found missing or broken. The list goes on.

But the door alarms worried Ensley the most.

"They weren't repaired; they still aren't repaired," he said.

State officials would probably cite Unique Living with "Type A" violations, Ensley said, where "direct harm has occurred" because of uncorrected problems.

Jim Jones, a DHSR spokesman, said the state agency is still investigating the situation in light of Tang's disappearance.

Search continues

Though Tang has been missing a week, officials and Tang's family haven't given up hope.

Searches continued Tuesday morning, DSS Social Work Program Manager Teala McSwain said. Officials scoured underpasses, combed woods.


And as days pass with little to no leads, optimism fades.

"Unless something good has happened or there's a miracle, we may be looking at another death there," McSwain said. There have been several parties actively pursuing Tang's disappearance, she said.

"Her family has been active with her and been in contact with us and with the facility and police and emergency management since this event has happened," McSwain said. "Our law enforcement and emergency management have spent countless hours, day and night, since this has happened.

"Since 1985, three other Unique Living residents have died because of accidents or disappearances - a "sacrifice of our poor system in some ways," McSwain said.

In 2006, resident Kelly "Buck" Whitesides was found dead less than 1,000 feet from the home six days after going missing. One resident was previously scalded to death and another choked on a sandwich.

"How many people are going to wander away?" Quyhn Tang asked. "This is preventable."

Cambodian inflation running at 22 per cent, government says
Submitted by William Kaelin
on Tue, 09/09/2008

Cambodian inflation was running at a record high of 22 percent for the year through July, Planning Minister Chhay Than said Tuesday.

Than blamed the global rise in oil prices for the increase in the Consumer Price Index, which ended 2007 at 18.7 per cent.

"The Cambodian inflation rate is at a record high and most of that rise can be blamed on global oil prices - completely out of the government's control," Than said.

But he said Cambodia anticipated a reduction in oil costs in coming months, and he hoped the inflation rate would fall in the fourth quarter accordingly.

Cambodia, Australia strengthen co-op to fight against terrorism

PHNOM PENH, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Under the support from Australia, Cambodia on Tuesday organized a series of workshops to train more than 550 people, including judges, prosecutors, senior police officers and soldiers, for anti-terrorism law.

The Cambodian government considered terrorism act as a cruel crime in the history of humanity, and it makes turmoil in the society especially politically, Ang Vong Vathana, Cambodian Justice Minister, said at the closing ceremony for the workshops.

The Cambodian government also considered terrorism act as an international matter, he added.

According to geographical areas, the qualification of policy and economy of Cambodia is not the most important target for terrorism acts, he said, adding that Cambodia needs to prepare ahead to fight against terrorism anyway, to ensure the security and safety for people.

Cambodia also has to join with other countries to eliminate the terrorism acts internationally because the terrorism acts put the people around the world under fears, he said.

Meanwhile, Emily Roper, regional chairwoman of legal aid unit for Ministry of General Prosecutors of Australia, said Cambodia is one of the leading countries in the region making an effort to fight against terrorism acts.

"In our region, we used to suffer seriously from a number of the terrorism acts like Marriot Hotel in Indonesia's capital of Jakarta in August 2003 and Bali in October 2005," she said.

"Therefore, we have to cooperate to combat against it and we have to build network firmly in Asia to respond all threats," she added.

"We need strengthen cooperation in the exercises of the anti-terrorism law," she said, adding that Australia is very happy to see the contribution of Cambodia in fighting against the terrorism acts.

Editor: Bi Mingxin

More dams for Cambodia to help rural poor

ABC Radio Australia
Tue Sep 9, 2008

The Cambodian government is preparing to build ten hydro-electric and irrigation dams in the country's north-west provinces.

It's hoped the four billion dollar project will supply more than 100-thousand rural families with water and electricity.

Presenter: Sonia Randhawa Speaker: Veng Sakhon, Secretary of State for the Cambodian Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology; Yang Saing Koma, President of the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture; Chan Sophal, Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture President.

Listen: Windows Media

RANDHAWA: The World Bank says rural poverty in Cambodia has dropped by more than a fifth over the past decade, but one in three Cambodians still lives below the government poverty line. Low agricultural productivity's been identified as one of the factors keeping farming communities poor. Dams that generate both electricity and a reliable water supply are part of the solution, in the eyes of both the government and international donors. Veng Sakhon is the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology; he outlines the new proposal.

SAKHON: The beneficiaries are two provinces, affecting at least 100,000 families.

RANDHAWA: Poor yields are one barrier stopping Cambodian farmers from getting ahead financially. The crippling price of power is another. Electricity costs are five times higher in Cambodia than in neighbouring Laos, and twice as high as in Vietnam. The prospect of cheaper hydro-electric power's been welcomed by the independent Cambodian Economic Association. Its president is Chan Sophal.

SOPHAL: It is very, very important for the Cambodian economy because we badly need electricity for development. At the moment, we suffer the problem of very expensive electricity, so Cambodia is not competitive at all when compared with neighbouring countries such as Vietnam and Thailand.

RANDHAWA: However, critics say the new dams need to be built properly to deliver their promised benefits. Yang Saing Koma is the president of the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture. He says projects in the past have suffered from construction flaws.

KOMA: Our experience has shown that one of, one of the big problems is about the sustainability of the structure, I meant that after the construction either the quality is too poor and there is a lack of participation of the community to maintain the scheme properly so it, it leads to the low effectiveness of the irrigation scheme.

RANDHAWA: Nonetheless, the project has firm endorsement from the government. The Water Resources Ministry says it will be of value not just to surrounding villages, but to downstream communities as well, as spokesman Veng Sakhon explains.

SAKHON: The creation of the dam is really for the irrigation, the area is 130,000 heactares, and also play a very important role for flood control, because Kampong Thom area especially Stung Sen, people living along the Stung Sen are affected almost every year by the flooding.

RANDHAWA: That may not be the case unless floods are extreme, according to Yang Saing Koma.

SAKHON: Sometimes flooding is also good, because flooding can bring a lot of silt that can improve the soil fertility. Flooding also cause people in the downstream, they are also growing rice, they have to have a certain water regime that can provide good conditions for the floating rice to grow. So flooding for many places in Cambodia, it is just normal because people have got used to it.

RANDHAWA: On balance, Mr Yang says the government should be investing in other areas, and says other poor rural communities won't benefit at all from the proposed dams.

SAKHON: The impact on the fisheries, if there is a dam built, have to make sure there is a minimal impact on the fisheries, because the fisheries in Tonle Sap is very important for millions of people in Cambodia.

RANDHAWA: And Chan Sophal from the Cambodian Economic Association says that while dams can be of value, they need to be properly planned or the government won't be able to keep its promises to Cambodia's rural poor.

SOPHAL: We have to be careful with the cost of doing this, the cost can be too high, in terms of environmental cost and other cultural and social costs. Damming can be good, but it can also be bad.

Garment enterprises to explore new markets for enhancing trade
September 09, 2008 (Cambodia)

The Cambodian Ministry of Commerce is worried after looking at the export results of the fourth quarter of 2007. The export of garment, which is the major sector for earning foreign currency, has witnessed a significant fall of almost 46 percent during this period.

The authorities are now demanding that United States, the biggest market for the nation should bring down the import tariff rates, in order to overcome this situation.

However, in the first quarter of 2008, nation shipped apparels worth around US $1.16 billion to United States, a rise of 2.2 percent when compared to same time of previous year.

Cambodia earned nearly $2.9 billion in 2007, by exporting garments, showcasing a slight annual rise of 2.2 percent.

The Cambodian garment sector contributes almost 80 percent to the total earnings made by the country, by shipping various products in different parts of the world.

The sector also plays a vital role in providing employment to large number of people that automatically improves the economic condition of the country. At present more than 3,50,000 people are earning their living by working in garment industry.

Experts suggest that, new markets should be explored in order to boost the exports that have observed a decline in Q4 of 2007. Being one of the important sectors its earnings directly affects the economy of Cambodia. Even the slowdown in US economy is sure to affect the nation, as United States buys 70 percent of Cambodian textiles, the orders are likely to reduce.

Industry insiders also suggest that, the management of units should be done correctly as last year due to various reasons the workers had gone on strikes lot many times, which hampered the production process.

This is why the Government is now finding means to diversify exports and look for other potential overseas markets. The authorities have also asked entrepreneurs related to other industries to explore new destinations for helping the nation increase foreign revenue.

The main export partners of the country are US, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Prince To Seek 'Unity' in Third Royal Party

Prince Sisowath Thomico says he is seeking to keep royal family members politically relevant.

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
09 September 2008

Khmer audio aired 09 September 2008 (1.21 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 09 September 2008 (1.21 MB) - Listen (MP3)

[Editor's note: With two fractured royalist parties coming out of the national election, Prince Sisowath Thomico, a cousin of King Norodom Sihamoni, says he has a plan to revive the royal name. With Norodom Ranariddh running his self-named party from exile, and Funcinpec winning only two seats in July's election, Prince Thomico has announced he wants to established a unifying party. He sat for an interview with VOA Khmer at his cabinet office at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh.]

Q. You have a plan to set up a new political party, following the formation of a new government later this month. What is the main purpose of this party?

A. I have a plan to find a way not to disqualify the voice of the royalists. And I must set up a new party, but it is not clear how I can set up the new party.

Q. How will you set up the new party?

A. I want to remind people of the royalist stance. Currently, the principle of the royalists is not interpreted clearly. That's why the voice of royalists has been disqualified and there is disunity among the royalists. Because there is no clear ideology, no clear theory, no clear principle, and no clear stance. Right now the royalist side has only individual principles, individual theories, and individual stances.

Q. You set up the Sangkum Jatiniyum Front Party in 2006, but later you gave up on the party and joined the Norodom Ranariddh Party, and then Funcinpec. Why do you want a new party?

A. Because now Funcinpec and the Norodom Ranariddh Party have weakened, endangering the Cambodian royal family in politics. I recognize my political process failed in unifying the royalists. I also recognize I lost to [NRP Secretary-General] You Hockry and [Funcinpec Secretary-General] Nhiek Bunchhay, who are the leaders disunifying the royalists. I cannot let the royalists lose. I must find a way to put value to the royal family and royalists once again.

Q. How will your planned party help promote the honor and prestige of the royal family and the royalists in the Cambodian political arena?

A. When the Khmer royal family becomes the national symbol, especially in the political sense, and when the royal family serves the king to protect the national culture and works hard to show the big national problem. I hope to do so. I hope and believe all walks of Khmer citizens can unify together to protect the border, sovereignty and culture. My stance is that the royal family and the royalists can join in unity under the king and the government to show the national problem.

Two Men Sought in Brazen Rape, Abduction

By Seng Ratana, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
09 September 2008

Khmer audioa aired 09 September 2008 (1.46 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audioa aired 09 September 2008 (1.46 MB) - Listen (MP3)

Police are seeking two men suspected of raping a young woman after a brazen abduction from a Phnom Penh beer garden last week, in a crime rights workers say is not uncommon in a growing culture of impunity.

The victim, who is 16 years old, was allegedly kidnapped by two men at gunpoint from Soun Samneang beer garden around 1 am on Friday night, according to her brother, Ra, who witnessed the abduction and asked that only his first name be used.

Ra's account was corroborated by a police report and testimony of another witness, who asked not to be named with the two men still at large.

The men had been drinking at the beer garden earlier that night, Ra said. They drank until the restaurant closed, and just as Ra's mother arrived to pick up his sister, they returned in their car, a green Toyota Corolla, brandishing pistols.

The two men, both in their twenties, pushed his sister and mother into the car, Ra said in a recent interview from his apartment near Soun Samneang, where he shares a room with guards and waitresses from the restaurant.

He was unable to help because of the guns, Ra said.

"That night, they came," Ra said. "I was fighting with them, and they said, 'Be careful of dying,' and they also pushed me toward the car. I want these gangsters put in prison."

The kidnappers took the two women on National Road 6, dropping the mother at the Japanese Friendship Bridge in Phnom Penh, Ra said, citing accounts of his sister and mother. They then took his sister to Tek Meas guesthouse, on the Chroy Changva peninsula, where both men raped her, Ra alleged.

Chamkar Mon district police said they have received a complaint from the victim, who said she asked to use the phone of Tek Meas, after the alleged assailants left her, taking her phone and her jewelry.

However, staff members at the Tek Meas guesthouse said Monday they had no knowledge of the incident.

A night guard at the guesthouse, who declined to give his name, said he was asleep by 11 pm that night and did not know two men had taken a girl into a room.

"I know nothing. I heard nothing. I went to sleep as usual," he said.

Everyone with knowledge of Friday's incident was afraid to give his or her full name, for fear of reprisal.

The owner of the Soun Samneang beer garden, who gave her first name, Neat, said she had helped the victim file a complaint.

"I'm worried about this kind of case happening again at my restaurant, because the restaurant has no right to keep the guns of its visitors," she said. It is not possible to know which guests have guns, she said.

A coworker, Nuon, who is a beer promotion girl at Soun Samneang, said she and other girls at the restaurant are now afraid for their safety.

"Even the young gangsters have guns. That's why I'm afraid," she said, adding that she was forced to continue working to earn money and support her parents.

Ra said his sister and mother have gone into hiding.

Chamkar Mon District Police Chief Ouch Sokhorn said Monday the two suspects had been identified, but he declined to provide further details in the ongoing investigation.

However, Friday night's alleged crime was not an isolated incident, and similar cases are not hard to find.

Another victim, Leak, 21, worked as an Angkor Beer promotion girl last year at a similar beer garden in Phnom Penh. In May 2007 she was taken by three men with a gun who forced her into their car and took her to another guesthouse along National Road 6, not far from the Tek Meas.

"One man pointed the gun and forced me to get in the car, and they brought me to a guesthouse," she said. "One man wore a condom, but the other two did not. That's why I'm afraid of AIDS."

The event still haunts her, she said, and the memory of it hurts. She never filed a complaint, and now regrets it, she said, because the three men who raped her remain free.

Lim Mony, director of the women's department of the rights group Adhoc, said criminals in Cambodia look down on the police, their impunity a product of the inability of police to fully protect the people.

"It shows that the honesty and dignity of the law are low down," she said. "The police do not fully protect the safety of society."

Most important, she said, such abductions and rapes exhibit a disregard for women, and especially women who work at night.

Nop Sarin Sreyroth, secretary-general of the Cambodian Women's Crisis Center, said Friday night's case highlighted a worsening problem, where offenders have no respect for the law.

If the men are not arrested and punished, it will affect the feeling of women who work at night, she said, and will encourage other similar crimes.

Phnom Penh Police Chief Touch Naroth said last week the city was meeting with guesthouse owners to make sure they register their guests before renting them a room, or face a fine or closure.

Guesthouses have become a favorite place for petty criminals to do drugs, commit crimes, and rape women, he said.

Court Opens Case in Opposition Assault Suit

By Chiep Mony, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
09 September 2008

Khmer audioa aired 09 September 2008 (752 KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audioa aired 09 September 2008 (752 KB) - Listen (MP3)

The Kampot provincial court on Tuesday began proceedings in a suit against a military official brought by Sam Rainsy Party Deputy Secretary-General Mu Sochua.

A court prosecutor said he questioned Mu Sochua in court Tuesday morning, declining further comment.

Mu Sochua, who brought a suit against Brig. Gen. San Sman, who she claims assaulted her during a dispute in Kampot ahead of July's national election.

Mu Sochua said Tuesday she had filed three complaints against San Sman: assault, sexual harassment and attempted murder.

"My request is to urge the court to have a hearing in this case very soon," she said.

During an argument, "the army general assaulted Mu Sochua and her shirt became undone, leaving her half-naked in front of a crowd of men," the party said in a statement ahead of Tuesday's proceedings.

In Cambodian courts, a prosecutor determines whether a case goes on to an investigating judge. Kampot prosecutors must now question San Sman, according to procedure.

San Sman denied the accusation in a brief comment Tuesday.

"If I had rancor with her, it would be right to accuse me of attempted murder," he said. "But she and I never knew each other."

He called the case a "political issue" and declined further comment.

Police Crackdown on Sex Work Debated

From left: Maj. Iem Ratana, of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police, Leng Sros, and Sou Sotheavyvice president of the Cambodia Network for Men and Women Development.

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
09 September 2008

In a police crackdown on public prostitution, sex worker advocates said Thursday the rights of the women and men must be respected.

"Those people need money to feed their children, need money to buy books and feed themselves," saidof Cambodia Network for Men and Women Development, as one of three guests on "Hello VOA."

A new anti-trafficking law passed in February has led to the arrests and fines of sex workers who seek clients in public parks and other locales around the city.

The crackdown has made making a living for these women and men very hard, said Sou Sotheavy, who was joined by Leng Sros, vice president of the organization.

Maj. Iem Ratana, chief of anti-trafficking and juvenile protection unit of the Phnom Penh Municipal Police, said the sex industry had declined in the city thanks to the crackdown.

"New law enforcement has made this activity decline, as some violators dare not do it and back off," he said. "It's against the law and custom."

Artisans carve a lovely bunch of coconuts

MICHAEL KOHAN; From Christmas tree ornaments to earrings, each item produced by the Coconut Project is crafted by hand.

MICHAEL KOHAN; Young members of the Coconut Project holds up sample

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Karen London
Tuesday, 09 September 2008

The Coconut Project in Kep teaches rural young people to make, market unique jewellery and craft items using simple coconut shells

IN a small room in the rural village of Chamkea Bei in Kep municipality, a group of young people are carving out a niche in the handicraft market through a unique community development project.

Each morning, in this "coconut shell" room in the Chamka Bei Vocational Training Centre, earrings, necklaces and other jewellery (as well as Christmas decorations) are meticulously crafted by hand using coconut shell. The process is a lengthy one as the makers go through about eight different stages of filing, sawing and sanding to get to the finished product.The results are natural, eco-friendly products made entirely from sustainable resources.

"They start with the coconut husk, file and cut the hair away and then glue the design on and cut around with a hand saw," says Antonia Marison, founder of Khmer Creations, one of the organisations behind the initiative. "The piece is then sanded with up to six different grades of sandpaper and polished with coconut oil to finish. It usually takes between two to four hours to complete one piece.

Shell gain

"Every piece is different and unique - no two pieces are alike. What I also like about them is that they are not machine-manufactured or perfect, which adds to their individuality," Marison added. "In order for this project to be a successful and sustainable enterprise, the quality of our products is paramount."

The Coconut Project was created through a partnership of Khmer Creations and Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia (BABSEA) under the Hand in Hand integrated community development project.

The idea behind the intiative, said Marison, was to provide young villagers with a marketable skill that would eventually lead to sustainable economic self-sufficiency.

"We identified handicrafts as an area where there was a genuine interest from villagers, especially the youth, as well as a burgeoning market," she said.

To help get the project off the ground, a jewellery designer was brought from Japan by Khmer Creations to train the young people in jewellery production and provide design consulting. She came up with "Khmer-focused" designs and carried out a three-week intensive training program with 10 local youth.

The workshop participants were selected from among the poorest young people in the village, most of whom had previously worked as subsistence farmers. While the participants were enthusiastic and eager to learn, their families were initially perplexed at what their children were doing playing with coconut shells during rice-planting season, said Marison.

It was only when they began to sell their handicrafts back to Khmer Creations and to hotels in Kep that the community began to value this seemingly waste material.

"Jewellery making is a skill that anyone can acquire after some training and it is empowering for the artisans," said Marison. "They take a lot of pride in their work, particularly when they see the finished product."

In the initial stages, the Coconut Project is trying to sell locally in markets in Kep and Kampot as well as encourage people to come down to visit the workshop where they can purchase the goods. They have also begun selling their jewellery at the Friends flea market held in Phnom Penh every month, and Khmer Creations is currently approaching international fair-trade buyers for the Christmas decorations.

" Every piece is different and unique – no two pieces are alike.” "

"We had a great response to the jewellery at the last Friends flea market, and in particular to the Christmas decorations. There is a huge market out there for ethical Christmas decorations and now is the time to start tapping into that market. People always like to see something different and have what no one else has."

Learning a business

"Once they have enough orders they will work independently. A percentage will go back to the project to buy equipment like the saw blades which are imported from Germany but available in Phnom Penh. Also, in the future, once BABSEA has phased out management of the vocational training centre, the artisans will be required to pay rent for the workshop space ensuring that vital funds to go back into the community."

BABSEA will continue to recruit trainees for the coconut project according to market demand for the products. They will be trained by the first group, allowing them the opportunity to pass on the skills they have learned.

"By supporting this project, we will be giving young people in Chamka Bei a new perspective on small businesses," said Marison.

Processor could hurt shrimp supplies

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Nguon Sovan
Tuesday, 09 September 2008

A NEW shrimp processing plant slated to begin operations early next year has raised concerns that local shrimp stocks won't be adequate to supply the facility, Sam Peou, president and CEO of Nautisco Seafood Manufacturing, told the Post.

The Canada-based firm broke ground on the US$4 million Sihanoukville plant, capable of processing 30 tonnes of shrimp daily, in January and expects construction to finish in January 2009, Sam Peou said.

"We are very concerned about the availability of shrimp in Cambodia," he said Sunday. "We can't fish 30 tonnes of shrimp per day from local waters, so I expect to buy farmed shrimp from neighbouring countries."

He said the plant expects to get only 20-25 percent of its supply from local sources and the rest will be imported from Vietnam, Thailand and China, depending on quality and price.

Sam Peou said he hopes local aquaculture farmers can also help supply the plant. "We want the government to encourage farmers to raise more shrimp," he said.

But one government official said an increase in local production was unlikely.

"We have no plans to promote shrimp farming," Nao Thuok, director general of the Cambodian Fisheries Department, told the Post Sunday. "If we tried, then people would cut down the mangrove forests and devastate the environment."

Nautisco plans to export between 300 and 500 tonnes of shrimp monthly in its first year of operations to markets in Japan, Canada, the US, Russia and Eastern Europe.

Illegal bottled-water makers face closure

HENG CHIVOAN; A shop vendor checks her stocks of bottled water in Phnom Penh on Monday.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Kay Kimsong
Tuesday, 09 September 2008

Safety rising concern as most producers fail to meet standards

MORE than 100 bottled-water companies could be closed for failing to meet minimum production quality standards, the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy has said, adding that Cambodia's markets are being flooded with potentially dangerous drinking water.

Only 24 of the 130 enterprises are compliant with the ministry's Department of Industrial Standards, department director Ping Sivlay said. "We know that some of these enterprises don't even tell the ministry where their factories are located or what kind of water they are using to make their product," he told the Post.

Bottled water that meets the ministry's standards is currently given a "CS900" stamp, but enforcing quality control in the markets is difficult. The Commerce Ministry's Cam-Control can report suspect products to the Industry Ministry, but it is unclear by which criteria they are judged and what action can be taken against violators.

Ping Sivlay said that the Industry Ministry was working to establish an Institute of Standards that would set quality-control guidelines for all products manufactured in Cambodia. Once this is set up, the ministry would begin banning subpar products, he said.

"We will take action against any drinking-water enterprises that do not reach national standards for quality," he said.

Ser Viseth, manager for Hi-Tech Pure Drinking Water, said his company brings samples of their product to both Cam-Control and the Industry Ministry each month for testing in order to obtain the CS900 stamp. Others, however, are not so diligent, said Ith Praing, secretary of state at the Industry Ministry.

"For those bottles of water with no [CS900] stamp, they are illegal and the water is not guaranteed to be good to drink," he said.

The overarching concern is the health impact on a public that largely relies on bottled water, health officials say.

Dr Veng Thai of the Phnom Penh Municipal Health Department said unregulated production methods are to blame for the varying quality of water.

But the bottled-water issue also extends to other products, in the interest of fair competition, said Mao Thora, undersecretary of state for the Commerce Ministry. "We need standards for all products," he said.