Saturday, 17 October 2009

Spinners raise funds to aid Cambodian village

Saturday, October 17, 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)


An indoor cycling fundraiser, called “Spin for Cambodia,” is planned this weekend at an upper State Street business to help 12 area volunteers perform humanitarian work in that ravaged Asian nation.

The fundraiser will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Spectrum uptown gym, 3908 State St., Santa Barbara. Cyclists will be asked to donate $20 per hour of participation for a at least one hour and up to six hours.

“We expect about 100 people and six instructors,” said Jennifer Marsh, event organizer and a Westmont biology professor. The South Coast resident said she decided to help with the fundraising effort after meeting the Cambodia trip organizer Tommy Marx.

The volunteers and their friends are raising funds for the December trip to Cambodia to help restore a community in that country, which has been torn apart by war and a genocidal regime. The group wants to help the people of Chamcar Bei recover from 30 years of armed conflict and the Pol Pot regime, as depicted in the Oscar-winning film “The Killing Fields.”

Bridges Across Borders and Developing World Connections, both international nonprofit organizations, are helping arrange the trip with Marx, a Santa Ynez Valley resident, who will lead the 14 volunteers – a dozen from Santa Barbara County and two from Europe. Marx served as a restoration team member in the same region of Cambodia last year.

Marx said he became involved in international relief efforts after the Asian tsunami in 2007. He went to Cambodia last year and decided to return with more help. A process design engineer at the South Coast-based tech company Flir, Marx said his company back his efforts.

Also on the trip are acupuncturist and massage therapist Jackie Sugich and healthcare writer Karen O’Hara are among the other volunteers headed to Cambodia. They both said they were impressed by Marx’s work and wanted to go on the round-the-world adventure.

The volunteers and friends put on a Sept. 30 reception and silent auction at Blush Restaurant and Lounge, and a similar event at a private home in Santa Ynez Oct. 10.

At Saturday’s spinathon, each one-hour session will be led by a professional cyclist and no previous spinning experience is necessary. Bikers can win prizes and will receive snacks provided by Spectrum and Edward & Sons. It is open to Spectrum members and everyone else. Walk-ins will be accepted on a space-available basis.

Sign-ups are being accepted at the Spectrum Uptown front desk, (805) 563-8700, or by contacting Marsh at (805) 245-0032 or e-mail

Monetary contributions are tax-deductible and checks should be made payable to Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia.

Donations may be made to the team or on behalf of specific volunteers.

Cambodian PM returns home from China trade fair trip

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen returned home on Saturday after attending a trade fair and paying a work visit to China's Sichuan province.

Hun Sen led a high-level government delegation to participate in the meeting which included Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce as well as other members of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, and He Leping, charge d'affaires of Chinese Embassy, and other Cambodian government officials met Hun Sen and his delegation at the Phnom Penh International Airport.

During his stay in China, Hun Sen attended the opening ceremony of the 10th Western China International Economy and Trade Fair (WCIETF) and paid a work visit from Oct. 15 to 17 in Chengdu in China's Sichuan Province.

Hun Sen also met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and received courtesy call from Liu Qibao, secretary of the Communist Party of China Sichuan Provincial Committee.

The 10th WCIETF with the theme of "grasping opportunities coping with challenges, enhancing opening up and cooperation for Win-Win," highlighted Pan-Asian Economic Exchanges and Cooperation, Promoting Trade and Investment Growth.

Editor: Li Xianzhi

Danger Prohibit Messages in Cigarette Approved

Written by DAP NEWS -- Saturday, 17 October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

A Cabinet meeting on Friday approved to inclusion of health warnings on cigarette packets. The warnings, which will take up 30 percent of the front of the cigarette box, will alert smokers to impact of smok- ing on health, according to a newly-approved sub decree.

“The meeting has approved the sub decree on printing health warning on cigarette packages which prepared by the Cambodia’s Health Ministry,” according to a press statement from the Office of the Spokesman of the Council of Ministers yesterday.

The statement added that the sub decree was “to remind smokers and people to better understand the impacts of smoking to their health, and it also to prevent advertising of low quality and smoke advantages of tobacco companies.”

Deputy Director of National Center for Health Promotion Sung Vinntak said that the sub-decree approved on Friday is one of the National Health Strategies to improve Cambodia’s health.
“I believe that the sub decree will help Cambodia to reduce the number of smokers after the warnings are printed,” he added.

Vinntak noted that a 2008 survey by a local NGO found that Cambodi- ans spend nearly US$70 million cigarettes. The survey found that 48 percent of more than 18-year-old men and 3.6 percent of 18-year-old women smoke. He said that there are currently no data on smoking-related deaths. Tobacco is the global second leading cause of death, currently responsible for the deaths of one in ten adults worldwide, or about 5 million deaths each year. If current smoking patterns continue, it will cause some 10 million deaths each year by 2020. Half the people that smoke today—about 650 million people—will eventually be killed by tobacco. Each day in the WHO Western Pacific Region, 3,000 people die from tobacco use.

“Health warnings on tobacco packages are a simple, cheap and effective strategy that can vastly reduce tobacco use and save lives,” said WHO Assistant Director-General Dr. Ala Alwan. “But they only work if they communicate the risk. Warnings that include images of the harm that tobacco causes are particularly effective at communicating risk and motivating behavioral changes, such as quitting or reducing tobacco consumption.”

Only 10 percent of the world’s population lives in countries that require warnings with pictures on tobacco packages.

“In order to survive, the tobacco industry needs to divert attention from the deadly effects of its products,” alleged Dr. Douglas Bettcher, director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative. “It uses multi-million-dollar promotional campaigns, including carefully crafted package designs, to ensnare new users and keep them from quitting.” “Health warnings on tobacco packages can be a powerful tool to illuminate the stark reality of tobacco use,” he added.

Permanent Deputy Prime Minster Men Sam On presided over the weekly meeting of Council of Ministers, standing in for Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen who is attending an exhibition in China for three days.

Development, Restoration Projects for Typhoon-Hit Regions in 2010

Written by DAP NEWS -- Saturday, 17 October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Cambodia will in 2010 initiate development and restoration projects for typhoon-hit regions, Nhim Vanda, first deputy president of the National Disaster Management Committee (NDMC) said on Friday

Relevant ministries and agencies must evaluate the disaster damage clearly and to help the Government’s prioritize action and more efficiently redevelop, Nhim Vanda told a meeting of the disaster management officials from across Cambodia at his office. The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) will now concentrate on restoration projects in typhoon-hit regions, he said.

“We will cooperate with development partners and international aid agencies to help restore the typhoon hit regions, and so far we had to help victims rapidly,” he added. “Now the World Bank, ADB and other partners expressed their willingness to help restore infrastructure affected and destroyed by the storm.”

Cambodia is facing “floods from this storm and rain that caused our local farmers’ rice fields and infrastructure to be in a serious condition.”

Over 1,100 schools have affected by flooding with students unable to attend classes, he added. More seriously, farmers have lost seedlings and need seeds replanting rice, he said, adding that nearly 20,000 hectares of rice fields in Kompong Thom province alone were destroyed. Some regions have also suffered disruptions to transport and health services, and impacts on everyday life.

“We also are concerned with food security for next year but perhaps this year we will harvest 3 million ton of rice and, depending on the weather and, we could possibly rescue our rice. We also are concerned over temples affected by the floods and the erosion in surrounding regions,” Nhim Vanda said.

Initial estimates of the damage are about US$29 million, according to an NDMC report. Thousands of families have been affected and national roads need to restore quickly to facilitate trade, it added.

But the damage could yet turn out to be more costly than first thought because flooding has not receded yet in some provinces, said Ly Thuch, second NDMC deputy president. “If it recedes soon, other rice fields and other infrastructure could survive,” he said.

“This disaster tested our decentralization and power delegation for the sub-national level,” he added. “All ministries and agencies need to cooperate to save people.”

Keung Moa, under-secretary of state for the Transport Ministry, said that his ministry will spend about US$3 million to help restore national roads and rural tracks. The Transport Ministry is in discussions with the MEF about the road rehabilitation, he added. According to the Disaster Manag- ement Committee of Kratie Province, the storm completely destroyed 81 hectares of recently planted rubber saplings.

Ketsana hit Cambodia last week and it affected Kampng Thom, Ranatakkiri, Modulkiri, Kampong Cham, Oddor Meanchey, Banteay Meanchey, with lesser impacts in Preah Vihear province and Kratie province. It killed at least 20 people in Kampong Thom alone.

Gov’t Eliminates Railway Unit, Establishes Railway Department

Written by DAP NEWS -- Saturday, 17 October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

The Cambodia Government has approved a sub-decree to eliminate the old Railway Unit in favor of a new Railway Department as part of the development of Cambodia’s railways.

According the sub-decree, obtained October 16 and issued on October 1, the Railway Unit, a public institution, will be officially closed on November 15.

The Government approved the creation of a Railway Department controlled by the Ministry of Tran-sportation and Public Works.

It is unclear if former Sokhum Sokhavorn Mony, director-general of the Railway Unit, will be the director of the Railway Department.

“I don’t know who will be a new director of this department,” Touch Chankosal, secretary of state for the Ministry, told DAP News Cambodia on Friday, referring questions to the minister. But Tram Eav Teouk acco- mpanied Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen to China on Thursday. “The approval to eliminate the Railway Unit includes eliminating the council group, direct-general and all officials from November 15, 2009,” the sub-decree added.

A private company from Australia holds full authority to invest in the railway department in Cambodia, one source told DAP News Cambodia.

Ex-Fighting Drug Trafficking (FDT) Chief Detained

Written by DAP NEWS -- Saturday, 17 October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media) 

The ex-chief of the Fighting Drug Trafficking (FDT) Office of the Interior Ministry Touch Muysor has been detained over alleged illegal drug trafficking, according to an Interior Ministry official on Friday.

The source said that Touch Muysor was arrested last week.

The Interior Ministry's Director of the Department of Security Chai Syrith told DAP News Cambodia that "Touch Muysor will be sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Saturday. He was detained after members asked him to explain related to illegal drug trafficking."

There have been 7 accused persons arrested by the Department of Security after a crackdown on illegal drug trafficking.

The Interior Ministry removed Touch Muysor from his position after they found evidence to suggest illegal drug trafficking and arrested him. He will be sent for pre-trial court processing soon.

Government Officials Ordered to Help Flood Victims

Written by DAP NEWS -- Saturday, 17 October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered Cambodian Government officials and affiliated institutions to concentrate their efforts to help victims of flooding caused by Typhoon Ketsana, a Friday press release from the Cabinet said.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen asked all Government officials to continue helping victims in the local area, especially areas suffering flooding,” Deputy Permanent Prime Minister Men Sam Orn said at the weekly meeting of Cambodia´s Council of Minister. She also revealed the latest statistics about the damage caused by the flooding 2,799 hectares of crops have been affected.

Data from the National Disaster Control Committee on Friday showed that Ketsana killed 39 and injured 48 in Cambodia, with 517 houses totally destroyed and for a cost to Cambodia of over US$38 million. The Cabinet also adopted a sub-decree prepared by the Environment Ministry and other affiliated institutions concerning injections and chemicals at the meeting. The meeting also approved the printing of warnings on cigarette packets, as requested by the Health Ministry.

“This sub-decree aims at educating all people to get better understanding of the impacts of cigarette smoke,” the press release added.

Germany Pledges $200,000 for Ketsana Victims

Written by DAP NEWS -- Saturday, 17 October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

A German delegation led by Dr. Josef Fullen Bach on Friday promised aid amounting to €200,000 for Cambodian victims of Ketsana, a Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) official said.
The Germans were welcomed Cambodian Minister the Keat Chhun at the MEF, the Germany Government pledging to continue its cooperation with Cambodia.

During course of the meeting, both Cambodian MEF´s minister and the German delegation’s Dr. Josef Fullen Bach agreed Germany would continue cooperation with the Cambodian Government in land reform, rural development and agriculture.

“The purpose of the meeting, beside of cooperating with, the Germany government pledges to support to all Cambodian victims of Ketsana,” Fullen Bach said.

Keat Chhon, also a deputy prime minister, stated at the meeting that “we would like to deeply thank the German Government … who donated aid to Cambodia.” So far, the German Government has provided a massive amount of aid to Cambodia for the support of micro-finance institutions, road maintenance and rebuilding, and electricity access in remote areas.

Written by Dave Mabell
Friday, 16 October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

A political leader who’s also an educator and humanitarian will be an honoured guest today in Lethbridge.

Son Soubert, first elected to Cambodia’s parliament in 1993, will be awarded an honourary Doctor of Laws degree during fall convocation ceremonies at the University of Lethbridge.

He’ll join Juno Award-winning Calgary musician Paul Brandt — a Doctor of Fine Arts, as of today — and hundreds from a fall graduating class of nearly 350 during public events starting at 10 a.m.

Soubert, educated in archeology and classics in France, met students in the university’s Rotaract group Friday and described his nation’s colourful history and future opportunities.

Now leader of the new Human Rights Party — one of several contenders in the Kingdom of Cambodia, which combines a constitutional monarchy with a multi-party parliament — Soubert traced his nation’s influences back to the time of the Roman Empire. It’s been profoundly influenced by trade with China to the north and the power of India to the west.

Canada’s influence is more recent, he said, dating back to the 1950s. During the 40 years that followed, however, Cambodia survived many political changes — including more than a decade of occupation by Vietnamese troops.

Since democratic government returned in 1993, he pointed out, many Canadian doctors, dentists and many other volunteers have responded to the nation’s many health issues. Malnutrition remains a major concern, and HIV poses another ongoing threat.

Canada’s federal government seems less interested, Soubert suggested.

“Canada closed its embassy in Phnom-Penh this year,” making things more difficult for Canadians who wish to visit or volunteer.

Soubert also works with his nation’s orphans — their parents are still alive, but too poor to feed them — and he described their improved living conditions and educational opportunities. Today, he said, some of those children have done well enough to attend university classes.

On the political front, Soubert and his father helped found the Khmer Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party. Later he was elected president of the Son Sann Party before moving on to help found the Human Rights Party.

Just what those rights are, he said, depends on many cultural, religious and political factors. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and — in some parts of the country — Roman Catholic teachings are involved.

Competing values and beliefs are at play in many of Cambodia’s neighbouring nations as well, he pointed out. Still, some political leaders hope to expand economic ties between the ASEAN countries.

Soubert admitted he’s doubtful about how that could occur.

“How are the ASEAN nations, with so many differences, going to build something like the European Union?”

Cambodian PM returns home from China trade fair trip

(Posted by CAAI News Media)
PHNOM PENH, Oct 17 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen returned home on Saturday after attending a trade fair and paying a work visit to China's Sichuan province.

Hun Sen led a high-level government delegation to participate in the meeting which included Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce as well as other members of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, and He Leping, charge d'affaires of Chinese Embassy, and other Cambodian government officials met Hun Sen and his delegation at the Phnom Penh International Airport.

During his stay in China, Hun Sen attended the opening ceremony of the 10th Western China International Economy and Trade Fair (WCIETF) and paid a work visit from Oct. 15 to 17 in Chengdu in China's Sichuan Province.

Hun Sen also met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and received courtesy call from Liu Qibao, secretary of the Communist Party of China Sichuan Provincial Committee.

The 10th WCIETF with the theme of "grasping opportunities coping with challenges, enhancing opening up and cooperation for Win-Win," highlighted Pan-Asian Economic Exchanges and Cooperation, Promoting Trade and Investment Growth. (Xinhua)

Cambodia is expected to export 1,000 tonnes

(Posted by CAAI News Media)
Phnom Penh, Oct 17 (VNA) – Cambodia is expected to export 1,000 tonnes of cotton to Vietnam by the end of this year, said executive in the industry.

Kong Chan, Managing Director of Cambodia’s Seladamex Co., Ltd, said his company is working with its Vietnamese partners to seek a consensus for the trading and if successful, this will be Cambodia’s largest contract to export cotton since 1970, marking a milestone for the development of the cotton industry in Cambodia.

Cotton-growing areas have been narrowed in Cambodia since 1979 due to low selling price and difficulties in finding markets.

According to statistics released by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Cambodia, trade between Vietnam and Cambodia had by the end of August reached 848 million USD, down 29.2 percent from a year ago. Of which, 726 million USD were Vietnam’s exports to Cambodia.

Cambodian economists said that despite the downturn this year, two-way trade is expected to increase strongly by 2010 to reach 2 billion USD as Cambodia’s economy will rebound next year.(VNA)

Final Death Toll of Ketsana Raised to 35

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Oreginal report from Phnom Penh
16 October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Cambodian officials now estimate that Typhoon Ketsana claimed 35 lives and cost the country $41 million, leaving thousands of people homeless.

Hardest hit was Kampong Thom province, but 11 provinces in all suffered from the storm, which raged across the east and north of the country on Sept. 28.

Hundreds of homes were destroyed, and many people are now facing food shortages, the National Committee for Disaster Management said Friday.

The agency “will submit a compiled report of damage to the government to request assistance from the international community,” Nhem Vanda, first deputy president of the disaster committee, said.

The World Bank and the Japanese government have signaled a willingness to provide aid for victims of the storm, but they need a clear damage report from the government to proceed.

In Kampong Thom, the storm destroyed nearly 20,000 hectares of rice crop, as well as infrastructure, for a total of $17 million in damages, according to a preliminary estimate.

“I have worries for the destruction and damage of more infrastructure,” Som Sophath, deputy governor of the province, said. There, the storm killed 20 people, injured 14, and destroyed 109 houses, he said.

The German government will provide $280,000 in emergency assistance, Josef Fullen Bach, a government representative for Southeast Asian policy, told Finance Minister Keat Chhon on Friday.

The aid agency Oxfam last week estimated 20,000 people were in need of immediate emergency assistance.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam On, in a weekly government meeting Friday, encouraged government officials to travel to affected areas and help victims.

Underlying Causes of Stroke Are Many: Doctor

By Nuch Sarita, VOA Khmer
16 October 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

A stroke is caused when the blood supply to any part of the brain is interrupted. The two major causes are bleeding or blood clotting in the brain, often caused by high blood pressure, with risk increasing with age, hereditary conditions, smoking, high cholesterol and heart disease, a doctor said Thursday, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

A stroke is a medical emergency, said Taing Tek Hong, who practices in Florida. It should be treated immediately to reduce the risk of disability.

Surgery, medication, hospital care and rehabilitation are all treatments for stroke. One type of surgery is performed to remove fatty build-up in the carotid artery.

“Early recognition of stroke symptoms is crucial,” he said. “The sooner treatment is given, the better. This can be best done in a ‘stroke unit,’ a dedicated area in the hospital staffed by nurses and therapists with experience in stroke treatment.”

“Stroke rehabilitation should be started as immediately as possible and can last for a few days to over a year,” he said. “Patients with disabling strokes need physical therapy (re-learning to walk or perform other gross motor functions), occupational therapy (re-learning activities of daily living such as eating, drinking, dressing, bathing, cooking, reading and writing, toileting).”

“Speech and language therapy help patients with problems understanding speech or written words, problem forming speech and problems with swallowing,” he said.

One listener to the program asked the doctor whether his severe headaches, which have no known cause but include tingling and numbness, might be symptoms of a stroke.

“This one is not a stroke,” the doctor said. “It is called a herniated disc. When the spinal cord or spinal nerves become compressed, they don’t work properly. This means that abnormal signals may get passed from the compressed nerves. By interfering with the pathway by which signals are sent from your brain out to your body and back to the brain, all of these symptoms can be caused by herniated disc pressing against the nerves.”

“In Cambodia, there has been a rapid increase in stroke mortality and prevalence of hypertension,” he said. “Hypertension and stroke occur at a relatively younger age. Overweight, alcohol, salt intake, diabetes, and smoking are risk factors for hypertension in Cambodia.”

Bristol's Decker Focuses Lens On Cambodia

Brian Zelasko/Western New England College

Western New England College junior Brittany Decker recently departed on a two-week trip to Cambodia. The Communication major will shoot a documentary about a local foundation's efforst to bring education and medical care to villagers there.

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

On Campus
Submitted by Western New England College on 2009-10-16.

When Brittany M. Decker started her junior year at Western New England College, little did the Bristol native realize it would take her half-way around the globe. But that's exactly where she's heading to document a charitable foundation's efforts to provide education and medical care to the poor.

Decker departed Oct. 15 on a two week trip to Cambodia. There, the communications major will videotape a documentary project on The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation's work outside the capital of Phnom Penh.

"I feel very fortunate to be able to travel abroad, meet some exceptional people, and hopefully make a difference in a global perspective," said Decker, a native of Bristol, Connecticut. "I look forward to being able to apply what I have learned here at Western New England College in such an incredible way."

Since 2004, the foundation has funded schools in small squatter communities outside Phnom Pehn, serving more than 500 students in five schools. The foundation also supports a group of orphans, and funded a project to create a medical clinic serving more than 2,000 people per month, with an emphasis on maternity care for women and children.

The trip wasn't even on Decker's radar at the start of the semester seven weeks ago. She knew she would be producing a video on the foundation. When Dr. MaryAnne Herron, director of special projects for the foundation, extended an invitation to accompany her to Cambodia, Decker worked with her advisor and other professors to clear her schedule and make the trip possible.

"The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation welcomes the vision of Western New England College to participate as a global partner with the foundation's charitable programs in Cambodia," said Herron. "We are so pleased that the college has stepped forward to allow Brittany to take part in this significant mission."

Decker became involved with The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation through the Western New England College Institute for Media and Non-Profit Communication. The Institute connects students with area non-profit organizations in need of video production services. The projects provide students with professional experience writing, producing, shooting, and editing video projects, while the non-profit organization receives professional-quality video production at low or no cost.

"These unique opportunities make Western New England College a special place to learn," said Brenda A. Garton, director of the Institute and a member of the College's communication faculty. "Creating this video will provide Brittany with an extraordinary experience that will impact the rest of her life and assist the Grinspoon Foundation with their remarkable work in Cambodia."

Decker hopes to blog about her experiences during the trip and will show her finished documentary video at the college when it is complete.

Salesian Missions Planning Two New Agricultural Schools in Cambodia

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

World Food Day and new United Nations report highlight need for such programs

New Rochelle, NY (Vocus/PRWEB ) October 17, 2009 -- Salesian Missions has announced it is in the planning stages to open two new agricultural schools in Cambodia next year, just as World Food Day and a new report from the United Nations highlight the need for such programs.

Not only can they provide skills training, but also food for students and their families.

"Investing in agriculture in developing countries is key as a healthy agricultural sector is essential not only to overcome hunger and poverty, but also to ensure overall economic growth and peace and stability in the world," said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Program, in an Oct. 14 United Nations press release announcing the economic crisis has lead to a sharp increase in hunger, affecting the world's poorest.

Salesian Missions currently operates more than 90 agricultural schools around the world. The plans for the two new schools in Cambodia - one in Poipet and the other in Battambang - should be in place early next year, according to Matt Welsh, program officer with Salesian Missions. When the schools actually open is largely based on when the necessary funds will be raised, he added (Those interested in finding out how they can help should go to

"We are in the process of developing model farms at these two sites, where villagers will be provided relevant training in modern farming methods with the goal of increasing crop yields," said Welsh who oversees specific Salesian Missions programs in Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia.

Like their counterparts in other countries, the agricultural schools will serve youth ages 15 to 20.

"These are young people from marginalized, disadvantaged families, who do not have the resources to send their kids to school otherwise," said Welsh, who added that the schools are estimated to serve more than 100 students at a time.

"Salesian Missions has provided schools like these all over the developing world," said Welsh. "Not only can they provide skills training, but also food for students and their families."

Salesian Missions provides not only educational opportunities in more than 130 countries around the globe, they address core needs. The agricultural schools offer more than just agricultural training - they are often part of a larger program that also offers literacy education and other vocational training, in addition to feeding programs for hungry children.

"The core of our mission is to provide educational opportunities to the poorest of the poor. When the youth receive training, they stay and contribute to the local economy and the needs of their communities," said Welsh. "This delivers benefits for years after they leave our institute."

Salesians have been operating vocational training programs around the world for nearly 150 years and were invited by the Cambodian government in 1991 to establish a vocational training institute in Phnom Penh.

ABOUT SALESIAN MISSIONS: Salesian Missions is headquartered in New Rochelle, NY. The mission of the U.S.-based nonprofit Catholic organization is to raise funds for its international programs that serve youth and families in poor communities around the globe. The Salesian missionaries are made up of priests, brothers and sisters, as well as laypeople - all dedicated to caring for poor children throughout the world in more than 130 countries, helping young people become self-sufficient by learning a trade that will help them gain employment. To date, more than 3 million youth have received services funded by Salesian Missions. These services and programs are provided to children regardless of race or religion. To date, more than 5 million Americans have contributed financially to this work. For more information, go to


Hannah Gregory

Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia Typhoon Ketsana
(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Source: Habitat for Humanity International

Date: 16 Oct 2009
Typhoon Ketsana left thousands homeless when it struck the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia in October 2009.

Habitat's response in the Philippines

Habitat for Humanity is supplying house repair kits for up to 10,000 families in Metro Manila to help them cope with the terrible flooding caused by Typhoon Ketsana.

Habitat for Humanity Philippines will work with local government agencies and the ABS-CBN Foundation to build new homes and relocate families from flood-affected areas of Pasig, Taguig, Quezon City and Laguna.

At least 120 toilets will be built in ten evacuation centers under a co-funding partnership between Philippines National Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. Volunteers from "Friends of Habitat for Humanity Philippines" continue to distribute relief packs to families in these evacuation centers.

Habitat's response in Vietnam

Habitat will repair homes and replace roofs for families affected by the typhoon. Moving forward, Habitat hopes to provide permanent houses in phases for affected families along the central coastline and to provide disaster preparedness and mitigation programs.

Habitat's response in Cambodia

Habitat Cambodia will offer technical assistance and construction help to families who are rebuilding their houses after the typhoon.

Thai in Pictures

Armed with batons and shields, Thai soldiers march into the government house compound to provide security Friday, Oct. 16, 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai government imposed the ten-day Internal Security Act ahead of this weekend rally by supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as the ASEAN Summit is to take place next week in the southern resort town of Hua Hin. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong) (CAAI News Media)

Armed with batons and shields, Thai soldiers march into the government house compound to provide security Friday, Oct. 16, 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai government imposed the ten-day Internal Security Act ahead of this weekend rally by supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as the ASEAN Summit is to take place next week in the southern resort town of Hua Hin. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong) (CAAI News Media)

Thai soldiers stand in formation inside the government house to provide security Friday, Oct. 16, 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai government imposed the ten-day Internal Security Act ahead of this weekend rally by supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as the ASEAN Summit is to take place next week in the southern resort town of Hua Hin. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong) (CAAI News Media)

Thai soldiers put down their equipment after entering the government house compound to provide security Friday, Oct. 16, 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai government imposed the ten-day Internal Security Act ahead of this weekend rally by supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as the ASEAN Summit is to take place next week in the southern resort town of Hua Hin. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong) (CAAI News Media)

Thai soldiers, armed with batons and shields, stand in formation while providing security at the government house compound Friday, Oct. 16, 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai government imposed the ten-day Internal Security Act ahead of this weekend rally by supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as the ASEAN Summit is to take place next week in the southern resort town of Hua Hin. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong) (CAAI News Media)

Thai well-wishers pray for Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej to get well at hospital in Bangkok in September. Thailand's prime minister has said an investigation is under way into whether the stock exchange was manipulated, after anxiety over the king's health sent markets plunging. (AFP/File/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

An official works near a portraits of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok October 15, 2009 (CAAI News Media)

A Thai soldier stands guard in front of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit portriats in restive southern Yala province, in 2006. Thailand's prime minister has said an investigation was under way into whether the stock exchange was manipulated, after anxiety over the king's health sent markets plunging. (AFP/File/Muhammad Sabri) (CAAI News Media)

Cambodia in Pictures

Cambodian school children ride on a bicycle on a dirt road in flooded village of Balang, Kampong Thom province, about 168 kilometers (104 miles) north of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, Oct. 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith) (CAAI News Media)

Cambodian school children ride on bicycles on a dirt road in flooded village of Balang, Kampong Thom province, about 168 kilometers (104 miles) north of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, Oct. 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith) (CAAI News Media)

Him Huy, top, a former security guard of the Khmer Rouge's S-21 prison, delivers the first Cambodian-authored Khmer Rouge history textbooks to high school students in Kampong Thom province, about 168 kilometers (104 miles) north of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, Oct. 16, 2009. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith) (CAAI News Media)

Top-level meetings boost ties with Cambodia, Sri Lanka

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met with his Cambodian and Sri Lankan counterparts in Chengdu city, Sichuan province, China, on October 15 to discuss economic ties.

At the meetings, which took place on the sidelines of the 10th Western China International Trade Fair, all the three Governmental leaders expressed their satisfaction with recent developments in their bilateral relations and pledged to strengthen ties in the future.

In his meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Dung expressed thanks to the Cambodian Government for providing favourable conditions for Vietnamese businesses to operate successfully in civil aviation, banking, telecommunications and agriculture.

He recognised the major progress recently made in the demarcation and planting of land border markers as an assurance that the job will finish up in 2012, in line with commitments by the leaders of the two countries.

“As its neighbour and fellow member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam will do its best to work with Cambodia to facilitate cooperation in all fields, especially in economics, trade and investment, thus contributing to development in each country and the region as a whole,” Mr Dung said.

His view was shared by his Cambodian counterpart, Hun Sen, who emphasised the significance of their fruitful cooperation in economics, especially the pouring of Vietnamese investment capital into Cambodia, amid the global economic crisis.

The Cambodian leader also expressed thanks to Vietnam for its assistance in rescuing Cambodians hit by storm Ketsana.

Concrete measures to cement relations between the two countries and among ASEAN members were also put on the table.

During his reception for Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka, Mr Dung recalled the recent visit by his guest to Vietnam as a major contribution to making a giant leap forwards in bilateral relations.

“We hope that Sri Lanka will act as a bridge between Vietnam and South Asia to help boost economic, commercial and investment cooperation.”

“Vietnam is ready to welcome the Sri Lankan President for an official visit,” Dung said.

The Vietnamese PM concluded by pledging support for the Sri Lankan Government’s efforts to stabilise security and order and put an end to terrorism as soon as possible so that the country may focus on national construction and development.

In return, Wickramanayaka confirmed his Government’s policy of boosting their traditional friendship and multi-faceted cooperation with Vietnam.

He also praised Vietnam’s positive role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

The Sri Lankan leader reiterated his Government’s invitation to Mr Dung for a visit to his country, which was accepted with pleasure.


The Korean Ambassador to Cambodia Stressed the Place of Bilateral Ties with Cambodia Ahead of a Visit by the Korean President Next Week

Posted on 16 October 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 634 – Thursday, 15.10.2009
(Posted by CAAI News Media)

“Just a week before a visit by the South Korean President to Cambodia, the ambassador noticed that the pace of investment, of commerce, and of other ties between Cambodia and Korea has flourished significantly, making South Korea the country with the most investors in Cambodia and with the highest number of international tourists’ arrivals since the establishment of ties between both countries in 1997.

“The President of the Republic of Korea will lead a government and businesspeople’s delegation to make an official visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia for two days from 22 to 23 October 2009.

“During a roundtable meeting organized by the Club of Cambodian Journalists with support from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation of Germany on 14 October 2009 at the Hotel Cambodiana, the Korean Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Lee Kyung-Soo, said that the two-day visit by the Korean President in Cambodia is made in response to an invitation by Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, who officially visited the Republic of Korea (South Korea) in June 2009.

“The Korean Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Lee Kyung-Soo, recounted the achievements of the Cambodian-Korean ties ahead of a visit by the head of the Korean government to Cambodia during the forum about cooperation between Cambodia and the Republic of Korea. He said that besides meeting with the King and top leaders of Cambodia, the South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak will attend talks with Cambodian and Korean investors in Phnom Penh.

“The Ambassador said that Korean investments in Cambodia increased up to US$2.7 Billion by 2007. In 2008, investments amounted US$1,238 million. He said these are figures from the Council for the Development of Cambodia. In the first six months of 2009, Korean investments amounted to only US$100 million, declining by 58% compared to the corresponding period in 2008. He went on to say that this was due to the global economic crisis, but not due to any other reasons.

“Ambassador Lee Kyung-Soo added that after establishing diplomatic ties in 1997, Korean investors invested in the garment sector, in tourism, and in mineral resources development. From 2007 onward, Korean investors invested also in construction, real estate, agriculture, industry, and finance and banking.

“As for commerce, Korean is in the 7th position of countries importing products to Cambodia, worth US$309 million, while Cambodia is in the 80th position of countries importing to South Korea, exporting products worth US$294 million.

“Also, South Korea is one of the important donors of Cambodia. Since 2001, there have been US$220 million in loans and US$46 million in grant aid.

“The Ambassador said during the forum with Cambodian journalists that at present, there are 8,400 Khmer people living (legally) in Korea, including Khmer workers, Khmer women married to Korean men, and Khmer students. Among these 8,400 Khmer people, 2,900 are Khmer women married to Korean men, and 4,900 workers. There are about 4,000 Korean people living in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“According to an announcement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia on 14 October 2009, during the official visit to Cambodia, Mr. Lee Myung-Bak will meet the King of Cambodia, Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromaneath Norodom Sihamony. Then he will meet in courtesey visits with the President of the Senate, Samdech Akkak Thoma Pothisal Chea Sim and the President of the National Assembly, Samdech Akkak Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin. He will have top bilateral meetings with the Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen.

“The announcement says that Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen and Mr. Lee Myung-Bak will witness a signing ceremony for two agreements between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, Mr. Hor Namhong, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Commerce of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Yu Myung-Wan – an extradition agreement, and an agreement on financial credits for economic development cooperation from 2009 to 2012.

“During the first official visit by the South Korean President, Mr. Lee Myung-Bak to Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that five more documents are expected to be signed also. 1. Agreement about cooperation between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Korea and the Chamber of Commerce of Cambodia; 2. Agreement on cooperation to produce publications; 3. Memorandum of Understanding about cooperation in the mine sector; 4. Memorandum of Understanding about joint cooperation in exploring mineral resources; and 5. Memorandum of Understanding about cooperation in investments to plant trees and on problems of climate change.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5021, 15.10.2009
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 15 October 2009

Lakeville teen brings love, smiles … H1N1 to Cambodia

PHOTO: Megan Richardson, 17, top center, a Lakeville South High School senior, took a month-long mission trip to Cambodia in June. Her group not only taught children English and played games with them, but managed to bring the H1N1 swine flu with them to the country. “I’ll always be part of the group that brought swine flu to Cambodia,” she joked.Photo submitted

South senior’s mission trip provides great memories, distinction of introducing “swine flu” to Asian nation

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

by Derrick Williams
Thisweek Newspapers

Between her desire to make a difference, see the world, and act on what she described as a calling from God, Megan Richardson expected her summer-time mission trip to Cambodia to be a life-changing event she would never forget.

“Let’s just say it lived up to expectations,” the Lakeville South senior joked. “It was the most wonderful, fulfilling and unusual thing I’ve ever done.”

Beginning in June, Megan, 17, spent about a month with 39 other youth missionaries from all over the United States in the Southeast Asian country, teaching children English, playing games and ministering to Cambodian youths as part of Global Expeditions, a Christian youth organization that sponsors mission trips all over the world.

“That was the wonderful part,” she said. “The children were so open and loving. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.”

The unusual part?

“Not only did I get swine flu, but our group brought the first cases of the flu to Cambodia,” she said. “The World Health Organization even got involved and said up until our group arrived, Cambodia hadn’t seen H1N1 yet.”

A calling

Megan said her plan to go on a mission struck her last year.

“I felt that I needed to go somewhere, see the world and maybe help people,” she said. “It was a strong feeling, almost a calling.”

So Megan began looking into different missions and Christian youth organizations.

Her parents were supportive.

“As we prayed and talked, we began to feel as though Megan was being called toward missions as well,” her father Mike said. “We talked about what she might want to do after high school and we felt compelled to encourage her to go on a trip.”

Initially, Megan found a mission organization through school, but Mike said he wasn’t comfortable with it.

“I knew it hurt her, but I said to keep looking,” Mike said. “That’s when Megan found Global Expeditions.

“After a lot of prayer and even more research, we were more comfortable with the idea. We were with it and said she could go. We just felt like God wanted her to go.”

Mike said the organization also helped, promising daily e-mail updates and opportunities to talk to Megan every couple days.

Megan was ecstatic.

“It was thrilling when I found out I was going. I was going to get out, meet new people and see the world,” Megan said. “It was an opportunity to step out and be myself and grow.”

After fundraising for half a year, Megan procured the $4,500 she needed for the trip from family and friends and members of her church, Lighthouse Community Church in Rosemount.

“They were more than generous,” Megan said.
Getting to work

After flying from Minneapolis to Dallas to San Francisco to Hong Kong and then to the Cambodian capitol of Phnom Penh, Megan said the group got to work right away.

Each day her group would wake up at 6 a.m., eat, and then split into two teams. Megan’s team would go to a learning center in Phnom Penh.

“Kids anywhere from pre-schoolers to 15-year-olds would come before and after their regular school day,” Megan said. “We’d teach them games and songs, Bible stories and English.”

After the day at the learning center, Megan said the group would meet back at their base for dinner, team building and ministry and worship.

“I can’t tell you how wonderful the experience was,” she said. “I’m not the same person I was before I went. It was so rewarding and the children were so amazing.”

Megan said there was a language barrier, but nothing a smile and a hug couldn’t translate.

“Some of the older kids knew English, but the younger ones – a lot of times there wasn’t a need to speak,” she said.

Megan said she got a lesson in the warm heart and compassion of the children of Cambodia during a visit to a slum.

“We were visiting a group of children and teaching them the game Duck, Duck, Goose. Well, I was running, chasing a boy, but slipped and fell,” Megan said. “I cut a hole in my jeans. We were all laughing, but the boy I was chasing, who didn’t know English, came over and tried to wipe the dirt off my pants. He wanted to help me and give me a hug. It was then that it hit me how much compassion these kids have.”

Megan said the days of meeting and getting to know the children was a blessing and sad all at once.

“Being over there really opened my eyes,” she said. “You see what these kids have and it breaks your heart. You want to help them, and I think we did, if only a little.”

Swine flu

While teaching children was the highlight of her trip, Megan said contracting swine flu was the most unusual part.

Megan is fine now, but she said she spent a night in a Phnom Penh hospital and was then quarantined for nearly a week after.

“Cambodian people would come up to the window to our room and take pictures with their camera phones,” she said of being quarantined. “They were curious, I guess.”

Mike said they received phone calls updating the situation, but he was worried about Megan’s health.

“You always hear, don’t get sick in another country,” he said. “From the care to the cost, getting sick in another country can be scary. We were worried, but Global Expeditions did a good job keeping us in the loop.”

Ultimately, the flu was traced back to one girl who was part of the 40-person group, Megan said.

“She brought the flu with her to the airport and we all got it from her,” she said.

Mike said he was happy it all worked out.

“The American Embassy made a visit to the hospital and the Cambodian government picked up the hospital bill for those who were sick,” he said.

And Megan recovered from her 103-degree fever and illness in a little less than two days, she said.

“We were all OK. It was funny though, the person from the embassy that visited us in the hospital said they knew swine flu would eventually come to the country, but they expected it to come from travelers from Australia, not teenage missionaries from the U.S,” Megan joked.

'Amazing' experience

Megan said she would recommend a mission trip to anyone.

“It’s amazing. Truly amazing” she said. “But I’d tell people that they should go for the right reasons and to do it fully. Fully immerse yourself in the experience.”

Megan said the trip was far more than just meeting people and an odd story about swine flu.

“It was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “I feel fulfilled and content and I want to do it again as soon as I can.”

Mike said seeing his daughter make such a transformation made it worthwhile for him too.

“She’s grown as a person and I couldn’t be more proud,” he said.

E-mail Derrick Williams at:
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South Korean President’s Visit To Strengthen Trade

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
16 October 2009
(Posted by CAAI News Media)

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak will make a two-day visit to Cambodia next week, aiming to strengthen bilateral cooperation and boost economic investment.

South Korean businesses have played a major role in recent economic development in Cambodia, but the global downturn has curtailed their investments.

Lee is scheduled to arrive Oct. 22, at the invitation of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and will have a royal audience with King Norodom Sihamoni, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. He will also pay courtesy calls on Senate President Chea Sim and National Assembly President Heng Samrin, and have official talks with the premier.

"Lee’s visit to Cambodia is crucial for the economy and for the people of the two countries,” the spokesman, Koy Koung, said.

The two countries will sign an agreement on extradition and will approve a framework for loans and economic development through 2012, he said.

Other agreements to be signed include those on cooperation between both chambers of commerce, co-production of broadcast programming, mineral exploration, plantation investment and climate change.

Congressional Censure a Message of Solidarity: Official

By Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
16 October 2009
(Posted by CAAI News Media)

A recent congressional reproach of Cambodia’s corruption and political repression is not meant as an attack on the government, a US official says, but it is meant to demonstrate to the Cambodian people they are not alone.

Four US congressmen issued a House resolution earlier this month censuring pervasive corruption and continued human trafficking, a message government officials have dismissed.

“We, the United States government, are aware of what is going on within your borders; and while Cambodia is a sovereign country it is also part of the international community,” the office of Rep. Jim Moran, who was among those sponsoring the resolution, said in a statement to VOA Khmer explaining the resolution’s intent.

“We, the United States, cannot stand by idly when we see the people of Cambodia lack what we here in the US take for granted—the freedom to speak up, move around and live where we wish, without the danger of persecution and prosecution,” the statement said.

The resolution—introduced Oct. 8 by representatives Ed Royce, a Republican from California; Frank Wolf, a Republican from Virginia; Moran, a Democrat from Virginia; and Anh Josept Cao, a Republican from Louisiana—calls on the House of Representatives to condemn the repression of opposition candidates by the ruling party and calls on the Cambodian government to better combat the “worsening problem” of human trafficking.

Cheam Yiep, a parliamentarian for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, told VOA Khmer earlier this week the resolution was one-sided and not accepted by the government.

“Everything we do is based on our laws,” he said. “Our laws and those of the US are different. You, the sharp-nosed, live more than 1,000 kilometers away, and I live in Asia. I, as a lawmaker voted in by voters, make laws based on what my people need. I thank you for sharing your concern, but the concern is unthoughtful, without analysis, without estimation, and without clear checks and balances.”

“You’ve based [the resolution] on only one side,” he said, referring to testimony by an opposition lawmaker, a leading rights advocate, and a union representative to the House’s Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission last month. “This is inappropriate and unacceptable.”

In fact, sponsors of the resolution cited the rights commission testimonies and reports from the US State Department, Human Rights Watch, a UN special envoy for human rights, and the international environmental watchdog Global Witness, as cause for the censure.

Moran’s statement, issued Tuesday, said the congressmen’s “interest in Cambodia is not due to what the US can gain, but how the US can assist a country whose people strive for freedom of expression, thought and movement, but whose own government is knowingly preventing those functions from taking place.”

The resolution has moved to the House Committee for Foreign Affairs, officials said.

Cambodia ratifies ASEAN economic agreements with China, Japan, S. Korea
(Posted by CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian National Assembly on Friday ratified the ASEAN economic cooperation agreements with China and South Korea while on Thursday, the legislature approved the ASEAN comprehensive investment agreement and also the ASEAN-Japan economic cooperation agreement.

"These agreements need to be approved urgently because they will be handed over to head of the government (Prime Minister Hun Sen) who will work on it with other countries in the upcoming ASEAN Summit in Thailand on Oct. 23-25," said Kong Vibol, secretary of state of Ministry of Finance, and representative of government to defend these agreements at the National Assembly.

"These new agreements will attract foreign partners to invest and make business here in the context of the global financial crisis," he said, adding that "we will get the benefits from the agreement framework."

"We hope to enlarge our trade and investment with these countries," he noted.

ASEAN signed the agreement with China in January 2007 in Philippines, with South Korea in November, 2007 in Singapore and with Japan in April, 2008 in Cambodia.

According to report from Cambodia's Commerce Ministry, bilateral trade volume in 2008 between Cambodia and China was worth about 794 million U.S. dollars.

For the bilateral trade between Cambodia and South Korea in 2008, Cambodia's imports from South Korea were about 309 million U.S. dollars, and its exports to South Korea reached to about 294 million U.S. dollars. So far this year the two-way trade volume was worth about 120 million U.S. dollars. South Korea is the biggest investment partner on construction and real estate last year.

At the same time, the bilateral trade between Cambodia and Japan was worth over 100 million U.S. dollars in 2008. Cambodia's exports to Japan amounted to over 31 million U.S. dollars. Japan is the biggest donor for Cambodia.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Editor: Mu Xuequan

Millicom completes withdrawal from Asia
16 October 2009
(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Millicom has completed withdrawal from Asia by selling its Sri Lankan operation, only weeks after agreeing separate sales of businesses in Cambodia and Laos. Etisalat has bought its Sri Lanka business for $155 million cash.

With the move, Millicom’s Tigo brand will be restricted to a few operations in Latin America and Africa, where there are “significant long-term growth opportunities”, according to CEO Mikael Grahne.

Millicom was one of the pioneers of mobile communications — it originally held 15% of the partnership that became Vodafone — but has been withdrawing from the global market for some time.

In August 2009 the company agreed to sell its 58.4% interests in a Cambodian operator to its Cambodian partner for a price close to $350 million. A month later Russia’s VimpelCom agreed to spend $65 million on a 74.1% holding in its Laos operator.

The moves follow a review in July by banker Goldman Sachs of Millicom’s Asian operations. As a result of the review, all Millicom’s Asian interests were classified as assets held for sale.

The Sri Lankan sale “represents the final element of our recent divestment programme”, said Grahne. The sale is “not subject to any conditions”, said Millicom, and is expected to close by October 20.

The company still has six operations in Latin America and seven in Africa, all using the Tigo brand. GTB