Friday, 10 October 2008

Palin and the dangerous news anti-intellectualism

Guerrilla News Network

By Josh Schrei
Thu, 09 Oct 2008

When the shell-shocked, illiterate, and pissed-off country folk of Cambodia who later came to be known as the Khmer Rouge finally drove back government forces and stormed the capitol of Phnom Penh in the 1970s, they focused all their pent up rage on one class of people — intellectuals.

Basically, if you had a college degree, you were killed. If you were a doctor, you were killed. If you wore glasses, you had your face bashed in with a bat. The initial killing spree that took place was rabid and brutal, carried out with the type of rage that is only seen when a people who have lived under the boot of a real or perceived enemy for years are finally let loose.

In this case, however, the rage was misguided. The intellectuals in Cambodia weren’t really the problem. And the disproportionate anger towards them was not historically intrinsic to the peasantry; it was a slowly, methodically developed political tactic employed by Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot to do one thing and one thing only — whip his base into a frenzy and keep him in power.

Certainly scapegoatism is not a new political tactic — the Nazis being the classic example. But what is interesting and terrifying about cases like Cambodia is the particular type of rage that is generated when a country-dwelling ‘underclass’ who have felt inferior and put down by the ’smarter’ urbanites finally get their day to… shine.

Unfortunately, the years that follow such bloodbaths tend to be — to put it mildly — not very fun. During the cultural revolution in China for example, infant mortality rates soared because qualified doctors were often seen as elitists and were either not allowed to practice or were killed outright.

There’s a simple reason why the years after anti-intellectual purges aren’t fun. Because intellectuals matter. It really shouldn’t even need to be said, but frighteningly in the current political climate, it does.

Obviously no-one in the United States is overtly advocating violence against the intellectual elite, but in metaphorical and increasingly real terms, the Republicans are waging a war pitting middle American ‘Joe Six Pack’ and ‘Hockey Moms’ against coastal elitists with Harvard degrees. Sarah Palin is the personification of this, taking George Bush’s strategy of ‘everyday speak’ to even greater heights (or lows) than George ever did. Apparently, in the Karl Rove strategy book, ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, so much so that now the war of ‘everyday America’ vs. ‘the smart people’ is absolutely central to Republican electoral strategy.

There should be no underestimating how dangerous and toxic this strategy is. By simultaneously gutting the very educational and social programs that support and sustain ‘Joe six pack’ with one hand and with the other creating a vitriolic culture in which those who actually are educated are seen as ‘other’ and therefore not worthy of governing, the Republican party is toying with the future of this country in ways that can and will cause irrevocable damage.

We all might laugh or cringe when Sarah Palin talks about being ‘five weeks on the job’ and bringing ‘Joe Six pack’ into the white house or describes herself as a ‘pitbull with lipstick.’
What we should be is very, very afraid.

Leaving aside the fact that what America needs both domestically and abroad at this particular juncture in history is to be governed by a pair of really, really smart people, the truly frightening prospect is what will happen if the Republicans continue with this tactic. The historical parallels are ugly. Nineteen-thirties Italy comes to mind. As does post WWI Germany. As does — in an extreme example — Cambodia.

In immediate terms, the natural outcome of this ‘everyday man’ nationalism and anti-elitist frenzy combined with economic downturn is a drastic drop in America’s ability to compete in the world. Our nation’s economy lessens as our nations ability to lead the global conversation lessens, and then, as the economy tanks and jobs diminish, the gap between ‘Joe Six Pack’ and the coastal elites widens, the hatred and division grows. To the point that to half the nation’s people, it somehow, astonishingly, becomes a negative to speak of how smart, or well educated, or articulate, or worldly a person is.

A nation such as ours, founded on a very heady document written by some very smart and very well educated people, should never, ever shy away from electing scholars as president. We have, and we should, embrace it.

There are two saving graces here. One is that thinking Republicans are actually starting to realize the danger that Palin — and the campaign of class war that she represents — poses to their party and are becoming more and more vocal about it.

The other is that everyday Americans have suffered the most at the hands of the current administration and many of them realize it. Hopefully more will.

The ones that don’t — the ones that rabidly call for a ‘hockey mom’ in the white house while the rug is being pulled out from underneath them — they’re the ones whose blindness would soon have them picking up the metaphorical bat and taking it to the very doctor that could heal them.
Hopefully the rift in the republican party over the new Palinism — and a democratic victory — will create a shift towards a more thinking, issue-based Republican party. Otherwise, to put it bluntly, we might as well close our schools, shut down our borders, send more of our sons and daughters off to die, and rename 2008 Year Zero.

GNN contributor Josh Schrei is a producer, writer, and nonprofit strategist living in New York City.

Sentence reduced for convicted Russian pedophile


The Associated Press
Published: October 10, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: A former Russian businessman convicted of sexually abusing a Cambodian girl had his prison term reduced but still faces another trial for similar offenses involving 18 other victims, officials said Friday.

An Appeals Court judge panel scaled down Alexander Trofimov's prison term to six years from 13 years previously handed down by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

Appeals Court judge Samreth Sophal said Friday the reduction, which he issued during a closed-door session Thursday, was done in line with a new law against child sex crimes that was passed by lawmakers early this year.

Cambodia has long been a magnet for foreign pedophiles and the courts have stepped up action against sex offenders in recent years.

In March, the municipal court sentenced the Russian to 13 years in prison for an alleged sexual offense against a 14-year-old girl in the capital Phnom Penh.

Trofimov, previously convicted of debauchery, was re-sentenced on the charge of soliciting sex with a minor under the new law.

Trofimov's Cambodian lawyer, So Dara, said he will discuss whether to appeal the new prison sentence with his client.

Trofimov was arrested last October over allegations that he had abused as many as 19 girls since 2005. He has denied the accusations.

He is now facing another trial in Sihanoukville, a coastal city in Cambodia's southwest, for allegedly sexually abusing 18 other girls.

No date has been set for the new trial.

Asian Development Bank Provides Food to Poorest Families in Cambodia

Posted on 10 October 2008
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 581

“The Asian Development Bank – ADB – announced yesterday, 8 October 2008, that it will provide emergency food, corresponding to US$35 Million, to the poorest families in Cambodia while they are challenged by the rising price of food and of fuel.

“The poorest families living around the Tonle Sap Lake and in poor communities in Phnom Penh will receive rice and other food. Food will be provided also to children leaning in primary classes at different education centers and at primary schools.

“The aid of the ADB will help to increase employment through ‘food-for-work’ programs, and poor farmers will receive seeds and fertilizer for increasing yields.

“Mr. Arjun Goswami, the ADB Country Representative in Cambodia, said, ‘The aid of the ADB will help half a million of the poorest Khmer people from starvation.’

“Since more than one year ago, the price of rice increased twice, and the price of meat and of fish increased between 30 and 50 percent, while farmers seriously suffered with the price of fertilizer rising three times.

“Many poor families had sold their property and asked for loans with very high interest rates for buying food, which leads to more serious poverty.

“Mr. Goswami added that “Cambodian families generally spend around 60% of their income on food, therefore, the rising price of food gravely affects the poorest families.’

“One out of three children in Cambodia suffers from malnutrition, and the present food crises increased the burden and the extent of malnutrition among children in this country.

“Mr. Goswami added, ‘The aid of the ADB aims mainly to save children from being affected by malnutrition, which can block their physical and mental growth, which causes different diseases to appear later.

“The emergency food aid package of the ADB covers US$17.5 million in grant aid and US$17.5 million as a concession loan. The Royal Government of Cambodia will contribute US$5.8 million to support this project.

“Mr. Cheam Yeap, a high ranking official of the Cambodian People’s Party, said that as a Khmer citizen, we welcome the aid provided by international organizations, especially by the ADB, that always helps us. The provision of food aid is strengthens the livelihood of the Cambodian people. Previously, we could share food for some extent.

“Mr. Cheam Yeap continued to say that the aid of the ADB is good for the Cambodian government led by Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, and it is also an achievement that the new fourth term government has received as a new gift from an international organization for the Cambodian people.”

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #112, 9.10.2008
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 9 October 2008

Police Blotter: 09 Oct 2008


Written by Mom Kunthear
Thursday, 09 October 2008

Ek Savuth was killed by a group of gangsters in Battambang district, Battambang province at 7pm Monday. The police said that a gang of six men, wielding knives and wooden sticks, ambushed Ek Savuth as he was walking down a lane. The man's mother said she refused to go for a walk with her son that day because his wedding ceremony was to take place within a few days. The police suspect that the attack was caused by a personal dispute and are searching for the perpetrators. KOH SANTEPHEAP

Sou So, 29, drowned in a pond in Chaba Morn district, Kampong Speu province around 2:30pm Monday. The police said that Sou So's family looked for him after he did not come back from taking his daily bath in the local pond. Sou So's wife and children were the first at the pond but failed to find the man's body. Sou So's whole family returned to the pond that night and found the man's body floating in the water approximately 100 metres from where he used to bathe. The police suspect that Sou So got dizzy while he was enjoying his bath and drowned because there was no one around to save him. RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

Chhem Chhey, 23, was arrested by the police after he raped an 11-year-old girl on October 2 in Chhul Kiri district, Kampong Chhnang province. The girl said the offender came to her family home while her mother was away and asked her about his chicken. When the girl told Chhem Chhey that she did not know where his chicken was, he held his hand over her mouth and raped her. The girl's family took the condom used by Chhem Chhey while he raped the girl to the commune chief as evidence of the crime. The police said Chhem Chhey has confessed to raping the girl twice and refused to have his photograph taken for the newspaper. KOH SANTEPHEAP

Che Chhoeng, 53, was arrested by the police after he raped and killed an 18-year-old woman in Thmor Pouk district, Banteay Meanchey province at 6am Saturday. The police said Che Chhoeng asked the young woman to help him cut fire wood to sell at the local market and then raped and killed her in the forest. Apparently the girl knew the perpetrator. KAMPUCHEA THMEY

Chinese dairy products pulled from local shelves

TRACEY SHELTON; A woman at a Phnom Penh market examines milk products on Wednesday. Chinese goods feared to be tainted with the industrial chemical melamine have been pulled from shelves in Cambodia.


Written by Kay Kimsong and Sebastian Strangio
Thursday, 09 October 2008

White Rabbit candy the first casualty in govt crackdown

GOVERNMENT inspectors have seized a number of imported goods suspected of containing Chinese dairy products, which will be tested for the banned industrial chemical melamine before being cleared by the authorities.

Import-export inspections agency Camcontrol has not found any Chinese milk-powder products known to be tainted with the chemical, but Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said it has seized potentially-tainted drinking milk, ice cream, chocolate, cake and candy products - including the popular Chinese White Rabbit candy.

"The Ministry of Commerce has already stopped traffic of 19,200 packs of White Rabbit candy from Bayon Supermarket, 80 packs from Pencil, and three packs from O'Russei market," Cham Prasidh wrote in a September 26 letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

In response to a scandal that has seen 13,000 Chinese children who drank melamine-tainted infant formula hospitalised, Camcontrol Deputy Director Khlauk Chuon said the agency was treating any food containing Chinese dairy products as suspicious.

"We are searching everywhere, in every city and at markets in remote areas," he said, adding that White Rabbit candy was a particular concern. "We are suspicious about [White Rabbit] candy, but we are not sure yet whether or not it contains melamine," he said.

The popular candy has already been taken off the market in other countries after it was found to be tainted with melamine.

Khlauk Chuon said authorities also feared Chinese milk products might be re-branded, allowing them to slip into the country unnoticed.

Pen Sovicheat, head of the Trademarks Office in the Ministry of Commerce, said inspectors had not yet found any instances of products being relabelled but were taking "major precautions"."Camcontrol has issued a notice to all provinces along the border to verify any imports from China," he said.

O'Russei market chief Keang Lak said Camcontrol officials had confiscated a few bags of White Rabbit candy from the market, but were still searching for tainted milk powder. "This is a big problem that affects people's health, so everyone has to pay attention to it," he said.


Asia will weather financial storm: Asean


Written by AFP
Thursday, 09 October 2008

SINGAPORE - Asean's finance ministers reaffirmed the region's economic and financial resilience on Wednesday - the same day as Asian stock markets plummeted to levels not seen in years.

"We expressed full confidence in Asean member states' economic and financial resilience, and their ability to weather the current difficulties in global financial markets," the 10-member bloc said in a statement received in Singapore, which held the group's rotating chair until earlier this year.

Trading on the stock market in Indonesia, an Asean member, was suspended due to "irregularities" Wednesday after the main index plummeted more than 10 percent in midmorning trade, officials said.

In Singapore the local bourse was down more than six percent and shares in Asean member Thailand fell more than eight percent.

The Asean ministers said the region's economic fundamentals remained sound and significant reforms have been undertaken since the 1997-98 financial crisis hit the region.

"The strong capitalisation of banking and financial institutions in the Asean region ... and their limited direct exposure to the deterioration in the US and other affected credit markets, constitute important strengths," the ministers said.

Asean said a Macroeconomic and Finance Surveillance Office would be established to help boost regional financial stability and accelerate regional integration. AFP

Group cautions on KRT funding


Written by Georgia Wilkins
Thursday, 09 October 2008

DONORS to Cambodia's cash-strapped Khmer Rouge tribunal should demand that graft allegations at the court be dealt with before the release of future funding, the legal watchdog Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) said Wednesday, calling the tribunal's struggle to control corruption "serious and potentially fatal" to its legitimacy.

"Donors should condition any future funding, as well as the release of existing pledges, on a meaningful resolution of longstanding concerns about perceived corruption at the [Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia]," the group said in its October report on the tribunal.

That Cambodian court staff were forced to kick back portions of their salaries to their bosses were sent to the UN's office of Internal Oversight Services in August. Their review was returned to the Cambodian government at the end of September but details have not been disclosed.

The allegations led the UN Development Program to freeze funds to the tribunal, which has repeatedly been threatened with bankruptcy.

While some additional money has been pledged in recent months, the court still faced a funding shortfall of nearly US$75 million to remain operational through 2010, OSJI said.

The group did hail recent efforts by the court to address corruption, such as the appointment of ethics monitors and a processs to address complaints. But it questioned the ability of tribunal officials to protect whistleblowers, saying that failure to protect complainants "puts the credibility of both the court and the UN in jeopardy".

Court spokesman Reach Sambath said Wednesday he was not worried about the report. "People have the right to express themselves," he said.

Officials move on Group 78

Rick Valenzuela; Yong, 18, whittles sticks used for holding baloons at her home in Group 78 on Wednesday. She says she has lived on the site for 14 years.


Written by chhay channyda and Sebastian strangio
Thursday, 09 October 2008

Residents of the embattled slum community say local authorities have made house calls, asking them to accept relocation to the city's outskirts

LOCAL authorities have visited the Group 78 slum community in Tonle Bassac commune, asking residents to thumbprint documents promising to vacate their homes and relocate to the city outskirts.

Residents and housing rights advocates said that district and village officials, led by Chamkarmon Deputy Governor Mea Sopheap, had been visiting the community since Monday, pressuring residents to thumbprint documents and offering $5,000 and a 5-metre-by-12-metre plot in the Dangkao district in exchange for their waterfront homes.

"The officials threatened my mother to accept the offer, saying Group 78 would be evicted like the Sambok Chab community," resident Tan Khem Mony, 30, said Wednesday, referring to the forced eviction of more than 1,300 families in June 2006.

"It was intimidation. I cannot leave here because the offer from the authorities is too small to buy a new house."

Community representative Lim Sambo said that since Monday around 20 of the community's 88 families had been interviewed by officials, but he emphasised that residents were standing firm.

"What we want is land titles from the government," he said, referring to the Kingdom's 2001 Land Law, which allows peaceful, long-term residents to claim ownership over untitled land.

The residents of Group 78, who occupy a valuable strip of land near the National Assembly building, have come under increasing pressure to vacate their properties, which the municipality claims is a state road.

In June 2006, the 1,367 families from the adjacent community of Sambok Chap were forcibly driven from their homes on behalf of local developer Sour Srun company.

Divide and rule

Attorney Ly Ping, who represents the community, said the door-to-door tactics of the authorities were designed to undermine solidarity amongst the families remaining on the site. "They fear talking to the group because they are strong, so they try to divide everybody," he said.

Man Vunthy, a legal coordinator from the Community Legal Action Center, said the municipality had the right to ask people to leave, but should pay fair compensation in return.

"I think the authorities are trying to cheat people," he said.

"If they want to enlarge the road, people cannot stay, but they must pay fair and just compensation." He added that reimbursement at market prices was the only fair option. "According to a land appraisal in October 2007, land here is worth $1,200 per square metre, but now the land [price] has increased," he said.

But Ly Ping said that the municipality was not in a position to make fair rulings on urban land disputes. "It is a conflict of interests," he said.

"For example, villagers want to submit letters to ask for [land] titles, but how can City Hall approve these? City Hall wants this land, and they also have the power to develop it."

Mea Sopheap could not be reached for comment.

ADB gives $35m in food aid to help Kingdom's poorest

TRACEY SHELTON; The ADB's country director Arjun Goswami at the press conference Tuesday.


Written by Brendan Brady and May Kunmakara
Thursday, 09 October 2008

The emergency package comes as the WFP restarts school meal program aimed at keeping poor rural students in class

THE ADB announced Monday its official approval of an emergency food-aid package, providing US$35 million to the most vulnerable Cambodians struggling with ballooning commodities prices.

The $17.5 million grant and $17.5 million loan will be supplemented by $5 million from the government.

"Our target is to get food on the plate within three weeks, but we need to make sure the system is fully transparent first," said the ADB's country director, Arjun Goswami. He added that most of the program's deliverables would come in the first of its three-year timeframe.

The measure will address the needs of both suppliers and consumers, distributing food rations to those most in need and selling seeds and fertilisers to farmers at a subsidised rate, the bank said. The plan also includes work-for-food programs.

The project aims to provide immediate relief to populations around the Tonle Sap lake, which have been hardest hit by rising commodities prices, according to poverty mapping conducted by the ADB and the government.

The domestic price of rice and fertiliser has doubled over the past year, while the price of meat and fish has increased 30 to 60 percent, according to the ADB. It estimates that nationwide the population has lost half a billion dollars in purchasing power due to inflation.

"Forty million is not the full need for even the Tonle Sap region. The initial quick assessment we did suggests the need for just the Tonle Sap region may be closer to $80 million or $85 million," Goswami said.

Mahfuz Ahmed, an ADB agriculture economist overseeing the project, added: "People have less diversified economic opportunities in the Tonle Sap area.... These are 500,000 people who are desperately poor."

Three "slums" in Phnom Penh are also targeted for assistance. The ADB measure comes after the government requested urgent assistance in May.

Despite the country's bounty of rice, about a quarter of the farming population are net rice purchasers as poor access to capital and processing facilities forces them to sell short to middlemen at undesirable rates.

"We are also looking at those things as part of our medium and long-term strategy," but at the moment "are facing a short-term situation", he said.

The bank said its relief package would complement the UN World Food Program's recently restarted $9 million school meal scheme, which provides meals to 450,000 rural school children before they start their lessons. The WFP was forced to suspend the school meals program in May due to high food prices.

$50,000 heist outside Acleda bank might be fake, police say


Written by Chhay Channyda
Thursday, 09 October 2008

A man was attacked by two assailants with a hammer outside the bank's main branch, but police reviewing footage are suspicious

PHNOM Penh police say they suspect an alleged armed robbery outside Acleda Bank's Monivong Boulevard headquarters on Tuesday was a fake.

Municipal police chief Touch Naruth said the incident, in which some US$50,000 in cash was reportedly stolen from Taiwanese businessman Ly Minh Yang while he was in the bank's parking lot, could have been staged.

A security video of the incident appears to show Ly Minh Yang being followed into the bank's parking lot by two men on motorcycles who then hit him on the head with a hammer, Touch Naruth said.

"They used a hammer to hit Ly Minh Yang on the head but it didn't look like he even bled," he said. "We have to view the video many times because the picture isn't clear."

There must be an "in-depth investigation", he said, urging Acleda to be more vigilant about their security.

Beefing up security

Acleda says it is planning to beef up security at its Phnom Penh headquarters in response to the incident.

An Acleda official who did not wish to be named said the three cameras monitoring the bank's parking area 24 hours a day had not been sufficient to prevent the robbery.

"We will install more video cameras, deploy more security guards outside the bank to strengthen security," he said, adding that the 20-second recording of the robbery has been handed over to police.

An odyssey of despair and hope

ANNE-LAURE POREE; Nuon Ros with his crutches and leg brace in the small house he shares with his mother and siblings in Andong.

Thursday, 09 October 2008

A young man's journey through family upheaval, grinding poverty and a brutal assault that left him permanently disabled ends in renewed faith in a better future for his family

NUON Ros, 18, lives down a narrow, dirty lane between two thatched houses in Andong, a "village" established by the government for some 1,300 families evicted from the Sambok Chap slum in downtown Phnom Penh.

Andong, situated on a low-lying rice field 20 kilometres outside the capital, is little more than a makeshift collection of shacks prone to flooding and plagued by disease during the rainy season.

Families there live on 4-metre-by-6-metre plots, and only about 400 residents have been given legal land titles, making the prospect of another forced relocation likely for most.

Nuon Ros lives in a fragile shelter with his mother, who was disabled in an accident a few years before and is now unable to work.

She nonetheless must care for her nine other children and one grandchild, abandoned by its father.

When meals are available, they consist most frequently of rice porridge, bobor. The family eats rice on special occasions, and fish or meat almost never. They occasionally supplement their diet with vegetables found growing in the wild.

Nuon Ros and his family can sometimes earn as much as 4,000 riels a day carrying water to other residents of Andong. His father - an alcoholic - abandoned the family years earlier.


With so few prospects for the future, Nuon Ros's unquenchable hope for a better life strikes a dissonant note - more so considering the harrowing assault by security officials that left him permanently disfigured.

Nuon Ros had returned to Phnom Penh in 2007 to participate in an outdoor performance of the Fine Arts Association of Andong during that year's Water Festival.

After the show, the performers decided to sleep at the site. Nuon Ros went for a walk before going to bed. About 20 minutes later, a white car pulled up and two uniformed men abducted him without a word. Ten other youths were captured by security officials, and all of the detained were sent to Kob Sraeu Centre, a holding facility primarily for drug users. They were later transferred to Chaom Chau Centre near Phnom Penh International Airport - a place where even hardened criminals fear to go.

Nuon Ros was accused of drug use and told he would remain at the centre for three months. During Nuon Ros's detention, his mother tried frantically to find him.

"One week after our arrival at Chaom Chau Centre, my mother visited me with the mother of another boy arrested with me," Nuon Ros said. "They brought us bread. But the other boy took advantage of an open door and escaped. The officers could not find him, so they interrogated me to see if I knew about his plan to escape."
ANNE-LAURE POREE; The scar left by extensive surgery to repair a badly broken leg.

Breaking bones

Nuon Ros said he knew nothing about a plan for escape. The officers thought otherwise and beat him several times with a bamboo stick. Three days later, one of his legs began to swell.

His mother finally acquired letters from local authorities and the head of the Fine Arts Association asserting that he was a member of the Andong performance group. Nuon Ros was released, but not before he was made to affix his thumbprint on a document swearing that he would never use drugs again.

At home, his leg swelled to nearly double its normal size. And then one evening he stumbled and fell.

"I remember the sound of the bone snapping," he said. The leg was turned in the wrong direction, with the heel where the toes should be.

Despite his unendurable pain, Nuon Ros's mother could not afford to bring him to hospital. She relied instead on a local practitioner of traditional Khmer medicine, who tried to set the bone and bound the leg with bamboo.

After three days the fever began, leaving Nuon Ros nearly unconscious.

By chance, a doctor from the local rights group Licadho saw his condition. He spent two hours trying to persuade the boy's mother to let him be relocated to a hospital. She was concerned that doctors would try to amputate her son's leg.

Licadho's Dr Lay Rapo finally succeeded and made arrangements for surgery at a Phnom Penh hospital.

After two days of antibiotics treatment, Nuon Ros spit up a 20-centimetre worm and required three blood transfusions prior to surgery.

Doctors tried three times to surgically repair the leg, but a massive infection and the thinness of the bones made their task impossible. Instead they used a weight-and-pulley system to extend the leg in small increments until it returned to the correct position. When the bones began to mend, Nuon Ros was moved to a rehabilitation centre for physical therapy.

It took nine months after his savage beating before Nuon Ros could return home in good health, but with a left leg a few inches shorter than it used to be and the need for a crutch and a leg brace.

But he also came back with a new sense of calm and the strength of a survivor. He has now entered a vocational training school in Battambang with the aim of supporting his family. "After studying mechanics, I want to work and to study Khmer. I really want to know how to read," he said shyly.

Nuon Ros's wishes remain simple: "I want my family to get all it needs and have enough to eat."

Phnom Penh hosts regional drug event


Written by Christopher Shay
Thursday, 09 October 2008

PHNOM Penh on Wednesday opened a major regional workshop called "Response Beyond Borders" focusing on the prevention of HIV as it relates to the intravenous use of illegal drugs.

The workshop, which is to conclude today, is a follow up to a January conference in Goa, India, and brings together drug-users, people who help addicts, researchers and politicians to discuss how to improve policy and the delivery of services, while reducing the rate of incarceration of drug users in Southeast Asia.

Gordon Mortimore, a technical advisor to the HIV/Aids Asia Regional Program (HAARP) and an executive committee workshop member, said Cambodia was chosen to host the workshop as a way to encourage the government's prior efforts in this area.

Another reason why Cambodia was selected as a host is to show support for Korsang, a Phnom Penh NGO that conducts a variety of harm reduction services, including needle exchange and health education, and runs a 24-hour drop-in centre.

Korsang was able to bring 25 drug-users to the conference.

"I brought them ... so they can know they are not alone in this," said Holly Bradford, one of the founders of Korsang.

"I just want to them to feel a part of something," she added.

Angry Boeung Kak residents say water supplies have been cut


Written by Chhay Channyda
Thursday, 09 October 2008

Residents living under threat of eviction say their lives got even more difficult when their supply of running water was turned off last month

BOEUNG Kak residents living in Village 2 on the edge of the capital's rapidly-shrinking lake have complained that their water supply was abruptly cut off last month.

"It seems like a threat to villagers to make them leave Boeung Kak," said Pech Sokna, 51, a representative for Village 2 residents.

"I do not know what the reason behind the cutting of our water supply is," she said, adding that the village has 296 families living both on land and on the lake itself.

"The water supply has been cut from only residents' houses on the lake, which is more than 100 families," she said.

The development of Boeung Kak by locally owned private company Shukaku Inc started on August 26 when the sand dredging company HSC began filling the lake.

This is the first stage of a 133-hectare commercial and housing project that will see over 4,000 lakeside families evicted from their homes.

Leave the area

The municipality has been offering cash or replacement housing and money to those who have agreed to leave the site, but still many residents are fighting against the offer and demanding a legal solution and fair compensation for their homes.

"Our life is very difficult under these conditions, and now our water has been cut off," Pech Sokna said, adding that residents have to buy water from nearby, which is costing them around 4,000 riels (US$1) a day.

Chhay Thirith, Srah Chak commune chief, said he was unaware of the problem at Village 2.

"Water for Boeung Kak residents is supplied by a private firm and not the state," he said, but added that now he was aware of the problem he would look into it. "We are a local authority. We never want to harm people."

Pailin residents view KRouge sites with civil society group tour


Written by Khoun Leakhana
Thursday, 09 October 2008

Delays at Cambodia's genocide court are disillusioning many, but a local NGO is trying to facilitate dialogue and keep people interested

HOPES for justice are rising as the first public trial of former Khmer Rouge torture chief Duch draws closer, but some remain baffled by the role of Cambodia's genocide tribunal and delays in the court are starting to irritate many.

"The trial process is being intentionally delayed. I don't understand why the money donated is not adequate," said 58-year-old Hem Saroeun, a Pailin resident who took part in a recent Center for Social Development (CSD) visit to Phnom Penh to visit the court.

"I have heard Reach Sambath, the court spokesman, say that the tribunal won't succeed if it doesn't have more money," he said, his face wrinkled with concern.

As part of its ongoing program to help people like Hem Saroeun understand Cambodia's genocide tribunal, the CSD on Tuesday escorted Pailin residents to the court and genocide sites in the capital.

The CSD's public forum unit's activities aim to give Cambodians an insight into the Extraordinary Chamber's efforts to bring former Khmer Rouge leaders to justice, said Theary Seng, executive director of CSD and a civil party to the trials.

An expensive trip

"We spent over US$100,000 dollars on each round of the forums," she said. "We have been taking villagers to see the Tuol Sleng and Choeung Ek museums and the [Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia]."

Tuesday's trip was a prequel to the Pailin public forum which is to be held October 17. This is the third forum of its kind held in former Khmer Rouge stronghold, and the 18th forum held nationwide since 2007.

"CSD invited 50 villagers from Pailin to visit Tuol Sleng, Choeung Ek and the ECCC so that they may be able to engage more meaningfully in the discussions at the October 17 public forum," Theary Seng said.

For her, the most important thing about the public forums and tours is that it "enable[s] participants to discuss their experiences under the Khmer Rouge regime with others."

Opposition defectors continue to flock to Hun Sen's ruling CPP

TRACEY SHELTON; Reach Samrach, former chief of finance for the Human Rights Party.


Written by Meas Sokchea
Thursday, 09 October 2008

The HRP's Reach Samrach and Lim Rathanak, and the NRP's Keo Sothea say govt's overwhelming support demands allegiance

TWO members of the opposition Human Rights Party and a third from the Norodom Ranariddh Party announced their defection to the Cambodian People's Party on Tuesday, just hours after HRP founding member Keo Remy embraced the ruling party.

Reach Samrach, chief of finance for the HRP, and his deputy, Lim Rathanak, told the Post Wednesday they agreed to defect to the CPP without conditions or expectations.

Keo Sothea, an NRP stalwart and publisher of the Voice of Khmer Youth newspaper, also announced his allegiance to the CPP.

Reach Samrach said that he submitted a letter to CPP leaders seeking permission to join the party, but that he has yet to receive a response.

"I cannot walk contrary to the CPP leaders when they have received so much support from the Cambodian people," he said.

Lim Rathanak told the Post he also defected without conditions and did not seek a position in the new government.

Meanwhile, Keo Sothea said Wednesday he could not continue as a member of the NRP because it would no longer have any political clout following last week's resignation of its leader, Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

"After [Prince Ranariddh] quit politics, I saw that the NRP would be weak, so I could not stay," he said.Senate Vice Chairman Tep Ngorn told the Post he will preside over a ceremony today to formally recognise the defectors as CPP members.

In the run-up to the July 27 national polls, the opposition suffered unprecedented defections to the CPP, which won 90 of the National Assembly's 123 seats.

Cambodian military boosts presence in disputed border area


The Cambodian army has reinforced troops in the disputed border area on Phnom Trop mountain where Thai and Cambodian forces clashed briefly Friday, national media reported today.

"We want to make a stronger frontline after the situation occurred Friday," Sar Thavy, Preah Vihear provincial deputy governor, was quoted by the Cambodia Daily newspaper as saying.

Sar Thavy said the troops now stationed at the site of Friday's skirmish, which left one Cambodian and two Thai soldiers injured, were taken from the contingent of troops already present around the Preah Vihear temple.

He declined to say how many soldiers have been moved into the Trop mountain area, though the Cambodian troops around Preah Vihear temple were previously reported to number at least 800.

The armed confrontation occurred about 2 km northwest of the Preah Vihear temple.Meanwhile, Srey Dek, regional military commander at the temple, said troops had only been sent to patrol the area as he had received information that Thai troops had once again entered the area, which both countries claimed as their own.

The border row between the two neighbors erupted after Cambodia 's arrest of three Thai nationalist protesters on July 15, whom authorities allege crossed illegally into Cambodia close to the disputed Preah Vihear temple site.Since then, Thailand and Cambodia have been building up their forces near the temple and tensions have escalated, spreading to other temple sites along the border.


Ideal Geological Conditions for Intrusion Related Gold (IRG) Deposits Identified on Elray's Porphyry

Written by marin2008
Thursday, 09 October 2008'

Elray Resources, Inc. (OTCBB: ELRA), atechnically-driven gold and precious mineral exploration company, ispleased to report to shareholders on findings at its Porphyry Creek Projectin Cambodia.

Elray Resource's Porphyry Creek Project is a grass roots project locatedapproximately 290 km north of Phnom Penh in an area considered to havepotential to host a copper porphyry system with copper and goldmineralization, based upon reconnaissance geological mapping and sampling.The project area is 9,000 hectares and Elray owns 100% of the license.

Management is pleased to report that the project area contains intrusiveswith consistent fine grainsize, but rare porphyry textures indicating ashallow plutonic environment of intrusion. This is an ideal crustal levelfor the development of Intrusion Related Gold (IRG) deposits.

In addition, mining industry consultants Behre Dolbear Australia Pty Ltd("BDA"), who were commissioned by Elray Resources to prepare a technicalreport on the project, sampled and observed an interesting new style ofmineralization for Cambodia on the SW edge of the ground that suggeststhere is a copper porphyry that underlies the project, either directlybeneath the sampled outcrop or in a really close sense. A select sample ofthe chalcopyrite and malachite/azurite micro-veining appearing nearvertical in fairly close spacing (10 to 15 veinlets of 0.5 to 1.0 mmthickness per meter) produced results up to 1% copper in the quartz richgranodiorite outcropping in the stream and banks of a small drainage.

"We consider this to be a very significant find," commented Mr. Barry J.Lucas. "This type of porphyry is often associated with large tonnage copperdeposits which are amenable to open pit mining, and this is in addition tothe IRG gold deposits for this project. We will be keeping shareholdersupdated on developments."

About Elray Resources, Inc.

Elray Resources, Inc. is a junior exploration and development Corporationwhich has successfully accumulated a portfolio of four highly prospective,heavily mineralized mining tenements in Cambodia and Mexico. ElrayResources, Inc's, primary objective is to source projects, conductgeological assessments and seek Joint Venture partners to develop theproperties.

Please visit for more information.

Embattled Thai premier to visit neighbours


Thu, 09 Oct 2008
Author : DPA

Bangkok - Embattled Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawak will visit Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar next week despite problems at home, foreign ministry sources said Thursday.

Somchai, who was appointed premier on September 25, will visit Laos on Sunday, Cambodia on Monday and Myanmar on Wednesday, the Thai Foreign Ministry announced.

He has scheduled similar one-day visits to Singapore and Indonesia in the near future, said a ministry official.

Somchai has had a tempestuous first week in office.

Anti-government protestors stormed Parliment on Tuesday in an effort to prevent Somchai from reading out his government's policy statement, a first step towards legitimizing any new administration.

Although the protestors, followers of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), failed to prevent Somchai from entering Parliament and launching his rule, he had to flee the parliament compound later in the day by jumping a fence and hopping on a helicopter.

Somchai has come under heavy criticism for allowing police to fire tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, leading to a bloody clash between police and PAD members Tuesday that left two dead and more than 400 injured.

The PAD is staunchly opposed to the return to power of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra who was toppled by a coup on September 19, 2006. Somchai is Thaksin's brother-in-law.

Despite the rocky start for his government, Somchai has vowed to keep all of Thailand's international commitments, including playing host to the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in mid-December.

Asia environment chiefs meet in Vietnam

Agence France-Presse

HANOI—Ministers and top officials from 16 Asia-Pacific nations met Thursday in Vietnam to discuss climate change and other regional environmental problems, including biodiversity loss and polluted megacities.

The First East Asian Environmental Ministers' Meeting in Hanoi brought together representatives from Asia's large industrialized nations and Southeast Asia's developing economies.

"Humankind is facing great challenges on increasingly serious climate change and environmental degradation," said the Vietnamese host, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, according to the official English translation of his speech.

The main causes, Hai said, were "the over-consumption of energy, the over-exploitation of natural resources, the extensive desertification as well as the rapid industrialization and urbanization that are out of control.

"Climate change and environmental degradation are posing big consequences at different levels to all countries without exception," he told the conference.

The meeting brought together delegates from East Asian industrial powers China, Japan and South Korea along with India, Australia and New Zealand.

Also represented were the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Other than the host, the only countries represented at the ministerial level were Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia and Myanmar.

The conference was expected to issue a consensus statement on priorities for cooperation in protecting the environment across the diverse region, with an emphasis on promoting environmentally-sustainable cities.

Communist Vietnam, the fast-industrializing host nation, faces a range of environmental challenges, from traffic-choked cities and air and water pollution to wildlife habitat destruction and biodiversity loss.

Sea level rises from global warming would impact Vietnam worse than most countries because of its long coastline and low-lying river deltas, where the major population and food-production centers are located, says the World Bank.

Hai said that natural disasters in Vietnam had killed about 800 people a year for the past decade, as typhoons have battered the coast and brought flooding and landslides to remote mountain regions.

"Vietnam is forecast to be one of the five countries that are most vulnerable to climate change and sea level rises," he said.

Burmese Ambassador to Cambodia Dies

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Text of report in English by Japan's largest news agency Kyodo

Phnom Penh, Oct. 9 Kyodo - Myanmar [Burma]'s ambassador to Cambodia, Aung Naing, has died of a stroke, a Cambodian official said Thursday.

Srey Thammarong, adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen, told Kyodo News that Aung Naing died at around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Aung Naing, 61, had served for many years in military health departments in Myanmar and used to be one of the personal doctors to military junta leader Than Shwe.

Before becoming ambassador to Cambodia in 2004, Aung Naing had been ambassador to Japan.

Originally published by Kyodo News Service.

First trial of KRouge leader delayed to next year: court

Kaing Guek Eav was the first Khmer Rouge leader to stand trial for the atrocities committed during 1975-79

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia's UN-backed genocide tribunal said Thursday that the long-awaited first trial of Khmer Rouge cadres would be delayed until next year because of legal hold-ups.

Five senior Khmer Rouge leaders, mostly in their 70s and 80s, remain in detention awaiting trial for their alleged roles in the 1975-79 atrocities.

In August the court formally indicted former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav -- better known as Duch -- making him the first leader to stand trial.

Court officials had hoped that the hearing would start this month, but prosecutors appealed Duch's indictment, saying it failed to go far enough and portray a "full and truthful account" of his crimes.

The court said in a statement that appeals and other necessary legal procedures would delay the trial until next year.

"Successfully conducting trials of this significance is a complex process. The court recognizes that it can be frustrating for the millions who have been waiting for decades to see justice done," the court said.

"Nevertheless, each step of the legal process must be followed carefully and conducted in line with the highest standards of justice," it said.

The court added that a trial management meeting would be convened by mid-January 2009, where a date for the first hearing would be set.

Up to two million people died of starvation, overwork or execution under the the Khmer Rouge, which dismantled modern Cambodian society in its effort to forge a radical agrarian utopia.

Established in 2006 after nearly a decade of negotiations between Cambodia and the UN, the long-stalled tribunal seeks to prosecute crimes committed 30 years ago by senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

Magazine report says Elton John to visit Cambodia

Monsters and Critics

Oct 9, 2008

Phnom Penh - Sir Elton John, British superstar and heavyweight activist in the fight against HIV/AIDS, has told a US magazine he is planning a visit to Cambodia.

Sir Elton and partner David Furnish have raised more than 150 million dollars for projects to assist people living with the virus through the Elton John Aids Foundation since it was set up in 1992.

'This year, we look forward to traveling to Cambodia to visit projects in that country,' Kansas City-based Camp Magazine quoted Sir Elton as telling journalist and gay rights activist Mark Segal.

The colourful pop icon, known for dozens of hits including Crocodile Rock, I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues and his tribute to Princess Diana, Candle in the Wind, has focused his humanitarian work on HIV/AIDS projects and regularly visits countries ravaged by the virus such as South Africa.

Although Cambodia has reduced its rate of HIV/AIDS in recent years, it still has one of the highest in the region and people with the virus continue to face stigma and discrimination.

The visit would be Sir Elton's first to Cambodia.

Officials Warn Consumers of Chinese Goods

Authorities began pulling goods like White Rabbit sweets, above, from market shelves Wednesday.

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

Cambodia's national customs authority on Thursday warned citizens to avoid food products imported from China, pending tests for the dangerous chemical melamine, which has been found in a number of Chinese products, including milk powder.

The warning comes as the authority, CamControl, was bolstering efforts to monitor imports from China in local markets nationwide, including pulling several products from shelves.

Around 30 countries worldwide have begun recalling products made with Chinese milk powder, suspected to be contaminated with melamine, a chemical potentially fatal for children.

At least four Chinese babies have died after ingesting melamine-laced milk products and 54,000 have been sickened, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

Singaporean officials found melamine traces in three Chinese products Thursday, including Cadbury candies, AP reported.

CamControl pulled some products from Phnom Penh markets on Wednesday, including nearly 20,000 packages of White Rabbit sweets, said Khlauk Choun, deputy secretary-general of the agency.

"I've asked all levels of people, be careful not to eat export products from China, which are suspected of containing melamine," he said. "And I've distributed samples of the products that have melamine in them."

CamControl officials have gone to markets around the country posting examples of milk powder and other products as warnings to vendors and shoppers.

"We cannot find out whether the [tainted] Chinese milk powder has come into Cambodia yet," he said. "But some products that are suspected, like Chinese milk products, ice cream, chocolate, cake, or candy, including the popular Chinese White Rabbit, we seized all of these products from stalls and from markets for testing."

CamControl was "very concerned" that tainted Chinese milk powder could be re-labeled in China and exported to Cambodia.

"We aren't discriminating against Chinese food products," he said, but the authorities were following a "risk profile" of potentially dangerous products.

"We are more focused on the food product from China than before," he said. "We regard this as a priority."

First Khmer Rouge Trial Inches Nearer

By Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
09 October 2008

Khmer Rouge tribunal officials announced Thursday they would determine a trial date for jailed prison chief Duch in January, setting the firmest date yet for the first trial of five jailed leaders.

In a statement Thursday, tribunal officials said the trial date for Duch, whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, will be decided after the Pre-Trial Chamber rules on an indictment appeal by prosecutors on Dec. 5.

Prosecutors appealed a ruling by investigating judges in August, claiming the indictment had not encompassed the full extent of his alleged crimes. A ruling on that appeal will move a trial forward, though no date is certain.

“We cannot expect any date before the Pre-Trial Chamber decides on the appeal,” tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said.

However, Long Panhavuth, a program officer for court monitor for the Open Society for Justice Initiative, said he expected a trial for Duch would not start until at least February 2009.

Duch, 65, charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, has been detained since May 1999. Four other Khmer Rouge leaders were arrested in 2007.

“Successfully conducting trials of this significance is a complex process, and the Court recognizes that it can be frustrating for the millions who have been waiting for decades to see justice done,” the tribunal said in its statement Thursday. “Nevertheless, each step of the legal process must be followed carefully and conducted in line with the highest standards of justice. This will also ensure the most enduring legacy for the Cambodian Courts.”

The announcement came as three senior-most detained leaders were sent to the hospital for check-ups. Nuon Chea, 82, Khieu Samphan, 76, and Ieng Sary, 82, each were taken to Calmette Hospital for routine visits this week.

Thais Bolster Bantey Meanchey Presence

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
09 October 2008

Thailand has increased its troop and ammunition supplies along the border of Bantey Meanchey province over the past few days, following a small skirmish and the injury by landmine of two Thai troops in the past week, military and government officials said.

Banthey Meanchey Governor Oung Ouen said Thursday the Thai side was increasing troop deployments along 150 kilometers of his border, west of Preah Vihear temple, the initial site of a military standoff that began July 15.

Many encampments of around 20 soldiers along the border had been bolstered by five to ten soldiers more since Tuesday, he said.

The increase came following a the first fracas between opposing soldiers, at Phnom Trop near Preah Vihear temple on Friday, and the injury of two Thai soldiers on the same mountain on Monday, he said.

However, he said, there was no apparent tension between the two sides.

Col. Ven Say, deputy commander of Regiment 51, said the Thais had sent 50 boxes of ammunition to soldiers along the border of Banthey Meanchey.

The increase of troops and ammunition were not a cause for concern, he said, but Cambodian soldiers were vigilant “24 hours” a day in the area.

Meanwhile, Cambodian soldiers at Preah Vihear have begun confiscating cell phone SIM cards from a Thai network used by many people living and working along the border.

Hang Soth, chairman of the Preah Vihear National Authority, said Thursday the SIM cards had been collected since Wednesday in an effort to improve security for Cambodian soldiers deployed nearby.

US Booklet To Help Track Mine Victims

By Taing Sarada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
09 October 2008

Khmer audio aired 08 October 2008 (969 KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 08 October 2008 (969 KB) - Listen (MP3)

A new US State Department landmines guidebook could help Cambodian deminers and other authorities keep better data on casualties from mines and unexploded ordnance.

The 75-page “Landmine Casualty Data: Best Practices Guidebook” is designed to help agencies create a mine victim database, or improve existing databases, as well as providing victim assistance.

Khim Sophoan, director general for Cambodian Mine Action Clearance, said he had not seen the booklet, but added it could “fill our experience gap.”

Cambodia continues to be plagued with landmines, despite years of efforts to eradicate them, along with unexploded ordnance. But Khim Sophoan said the number of victims had steadily decreased since 1993.

There were, for example, 1,211 recorded victims in 1999 and 350 in 2007. So far this year, only 186 people have been injured by landmines or unexploded ordnance.

Earlier this week, two Thai soldiers were injured by landmines while patrolling the contentious border near Preah Vihear temple.

Battambang province, the site of some of the Khmer Rouge’s last stands against advancing government forces, remains the worst for landmines.

Khim Sophoan said the government planned to demine another 467 square kilometers by 2015 and have the country cleared of mines by 2020.

Critics say this will be difficult, with many mines still in the deep forests, where they can continue to injure or kill.

“I think if they want to have more effective landmine clearance, they should add more CMAC staff and add more mine detectors,” said Kouy Ny, who was injured by a mine and now works for an aid organization in Battambang.

Jailed Khmer Rouge Five Allowed Contact

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
09 October 2008

Khmer audio aired 07 October 2008 (838 KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 07 October 2008 (838 KB) - Listen (MP3)

Five detained leaders of the Khmer Rouge have been granted the rights to interact with each other while in tribunal detention, canceling and earlier ban.

The five leaders had not been able to meet with each other since their respective arrests over the last half of 2007; judges concluded such collusion could jeopardize their investigations into charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Son Arun, lawyer for Nuon Chea, said the courts had lifted the ban.

Tribunal spokesman Peter Foster said the Pre-Trial Chamber of the tribunal courts had found no reason to continue separation of the five leaders, Nuon Chea, 82, Khieu Samphan, 76, Ieng Sary, 82, Ieng Thirith, 77, and Kaing Kek Iev, 65.

The lift of segregation comes as trials for the five former leaders continue remain delayed. The first trial will likely not be held until early 2009, for Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Kek Iev, better known by his revolutionary name, Duch.

Meanwhile, three Khmer Rouge leaders were taken to the hospital for check-ups this week: Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary.

Standard and Poor's assesses Cambodian economic outlook as stable

Monsters and Critics
Oct 9, 2008

Phnom Penh - Standard and Poor's declared the Cambodian economic outlook stable Thursday in an overall positive assessment in a sovereign report covering 21 Asia-Pacific nations.

The report, sub-titled As the Financial Storm Spreads, Major Uncertainties Loom, praised the government's economic strategies.

It noted that despite the fact corruption and a dependence on donors remained concerns, it considered the Cambodian People's Party national election win in July with an increased majority meant 'no change in its pragmatic and market-friendly direction was expected.'

However, the strong showing of the main opposition party, the Sam Rainsy Party, at the polls, grabbing 22 per cent of the vote, meant despite its dominance the ruling party remained accountable to voters and augured well for the democratic process, it added.

The global financial services and credit rating company awarded Cambodia its first sovereign debt rating of B-plus in 2007.

The B-plus rating is below investment grade status, restricting many institutional investors. However, Cambodia has since risen above nations such as Pakistan.

Standard and Poor's Thursday assessed Cambodia's outlook stable and said although 'inflationary pressures remain acute ... fiscal policy remains one of the credit strengths for Cambodia.'

Cambodia is expected to maintain real GDP growth of around 7 per cent into next year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The report comes ahead of an IMF meeting in Washington October 10-13 which will gather the world's central bankers and finance ministers to discuss a global response to the world's financial crisis.