Thursday, 21 January 2010

In Picture: Buddhist Monk

A Cambodian Buddhist monk walks under rain in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith) (CAAI News Media)

Cambodian Export in 2009 Dropped by 18.2%; Cambodian Economy in 2010 Might Achieve Growth – Wednesday, 20.1.2010

Posted on 21 January 2010
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648
via CAAI News Media

“According to statistics of the National Bank of Cambodia, total export products of Cambodia to foreign markets in 2009 amounted to US$3,619 million, showing a decline by 18% or US$804.7 million, compared to 2008.

“The garment sector, the biggest source of income for Cambodia, dropped to only US$716.2 million, and other products dropped to only US$88.4 million.

“As the export of Cambodia declined in 2009, the import declined also to only $5,208 million which dropped by 17% or US$1,063 million, compared to the previous year.

“The governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Chanto, stated that the downturn of the Cambodian export resulted from the economic crisis. But Mr. Chea Chanto rejected forecasts by international financial institutions over the impacts of the global economic crisis on the Cambodian economy.

“Mr. Chea Chanto stressed that the growth for 2009 declined from 6.6% to only 2.1%, and the growth for 2010 is expected to achieve 3%.

“Previously, the International Monitory Fund forecast that Cambodia can achieve only 2.7% growth, the World Bank forecast 2.5%, and the Asian Development Bank forecast 1.5%.

“The forecast given by Mr. Chea Chanto is different from Mr. Hun Sen’s, who predicted that the economic growth for 2010 is only 2%. Mr. Hun Sen recognized the bad impact from the global economic crisis on the Cambodian economy.

“An economist of the World Bank office in Phnom Penh, Ms. Stephanie Simmonds [? - phonetic], predicted that the Cambodian economy will not achieve an accelerating growth in 2010.

“The forecast about economic growth in 2009 is being discussed but has not yet been finished. The economic growth estimated by the International Monitory was only 2.7%, by the World Bank 2.5%, by the Asian Development Bank 1.5%, and by the Royal Government of Cambodia 2%.

“The year 2009 is considered as an abnormal year. Cambodia had experienced a stable economic growth of almost 10% for 10 consecutive years, but this ended in 2009.

“The economist Ms. Stephanie stated that the major problem is that many citizens and investors had expected an continuing and fast growth, but this expectation was not true for 2009.

“Migrant workers who had planned to send their money back home could not do it. Also those who planned to sell their land for profit could not do it either.

“The same economist said that the import of cars decreased, and there is a somewhat bad trend related to debts owned to banks.

“The financial and economic downturn puts a burden on several sectors, but it heavily affects the garment and the tourism sectors.

“Some special groups suffer from this economic impact, such as tuk-tuk drivers, small restaurants, and other parts of the service sector. Only agriculture had a stable income, though it was partly affected by the typhoon Ketsana.

“As for 2010, there is a question: Is an economic recovering on the way for Cambodian workers and entrepreneurs or not? [...]

“The export of products from Vietnam to Cambodia in 2009 dropped by more than 20%, compared to 2008. The total export of Yuon [Vietnamese] products to Cambodia amounted to about US$1,7 billion in 2009, and it is expected to rise higher in 2010 to about US$2 billion.

“Facing this situation, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Vietnam called for a meeting with investors who export products to Cambodia, to seek solutions for the problems they encounter. In 2010, the Vietnamese government will negotiate with the Cambodian government to ease the difficulties of Vietnamese investors.”

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #721, 20.1.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 20 January 2010

UN Envoy Wants Cooperation on Rights

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
20 January 2010
via CAAI News Media

UN human rights envoy Surya Prasad Subedi on Wednesday encouraged Cambodia’s leading rights organizations to establish better cooperation with the government in an effort to improve the country’s rights situation.

“We support a cooperation mechanism between the government and non-governmental organizations,” said Ou Virak, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights. “It is very important to promote and protect human rights and to reduce the tension between the government and non-governmental organizations.”

The government has a prickly relationship with many rights groups, seeing them as critical naysayers aligned with the opposition.

Rights groups have been sharply critical of the government’s record of rights violations, such as forced evictions, arrests of protesters and threats against rights leaders.

Subedi, the UN’s special rapporteur for human rights in Cambodian, arrived Monday on a two-week mission.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen Tuesday, Subedi suggested similar cooperation, according to Om Yentieng, head of the government’s human rights committee.

Tribunal To Limit Civil Parties in Court

By Kong Sothanarith and Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
20 January 2010
via CAAI News Media

Representatives for civil parties at the Khmer Rouge tribunal are discussing how to approach an upcoming decision that could limit their role in the courtroom.

Civil parties are groups of victims, with lawyers, who are allowed to file complaints and participate in trials at the UN-backed court, as a mechanism to help provide reconciliation for the crimes of the Khmer Rouge.

The tribunal is set to amend a rule of the court that would require all civil party lawyers to themselves be represented by select lawyers in the courtroom. The tribunal will meet for a plenary session Feb. 2 through Feb. 9.

Meanwhile the tribunal has also made a staffing change.

Tan Senarong, a deputy prosecutor for the tribunal and a judge in Kandal province, has resigned, saying his work at two jobs left him with not enough time to work effectively on either.

Chan Darareaksmey, a prosecutor in the national Court of Appeals, will replace him.

The Cambodian side of the hybrid court is filled with judges from the ranks of the court, forcing many judges to wear two hats.

Cambodia Seeks End to Child Labor

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
20 January 2010
via CAAI News Media

Poor families in poor health, the loss of land and the legacy of war are all contributing to a child labor problem in Cambodia, the country’s national International Labor Organization coordinator said Monday.

“The latest studies we have show that in many countries, if there exists child labor, that country is in heavy poverty,” said the coordinator, Chhorvirith Theng, as a guest on “Hello VOA.” “In a country where educational development exists, that country has no child labor. So on both these tendencies, the government of Cambodia is paying attention. For instance, we take education as a core sector.”

The government and private sector are working to jointly eliminate child labor in Cambodia by 2015, Chhorvirith Theng said, through plans to educate people at the grassroots level, as well as vocational and skills training and microfinance.

A national survey in 2001 found 1.5 million children aged 5 to 17 who were economically active in Cambodia. Around 250,000 were working in risky occupations.

Child labor is not only a problem in Cambodia, but around the world, Chhorvirith Theng said. The ILO estimates as many as 250 million children involved in labor, with the majority involved in dangerous jobs that can be damaging physically, mentally and spiritually.

Assumption Students Educate Cambodia

Group Hopes To See Results Of Work To Build School

By Monica Hardin/WLKY
January 20, 2010

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Students in Assumption High School's Global Issues Club built a school in Cambodia last year. This year, they're on a mission to see the fruits of their labor.

It has been a four-year journey for many of the students in the group who were touched after their teacher first told them about the struggles of young women in Cambodia due to sex trafficking.

Now 10 seniors are just $10,000 and two weeks away from seeing the difference they've made in the world.

"For some it's the only way they can make money for their family, so they'll feel like it's something that they need to do to help. And a lot of the girls are really young, they're about five or six when they're sold in there, so that's why we wanted to do something to help," said student Megan Foley.

Group member Lexie Krall said the story of a woman who escaped from a brothel and now helps other escape inspired them for the special mission.

"We decided we wanted to build a school and with $20,000 ended up building a school, providing an English teacher and a computer," said Krall.

They built the school through American Assistance for Cambodia because experts said the best way to help change a child's life is through education.

Four-hundred children in kindergarten though 12th grade go to the school. Assumption students maintain the school by raising $6,000 a year.

The Vision for the Cambodia trip started in the classroom and students said they're really excited about the trip because for the first time they're going to be able to see how what they learned in the classroom played out in life.

"It's really fulfilling to see all the hard work that we've put in to this it's finally paying off and we're finally getting to see our dream," said Krall.

"I think when we go and we visit our school and we get to see the children and, like, interact with all the kids who go there, it's really going to put, like, a face to all the work we've been doing for the past four years and it's really exciting," said Foley.

Ten students will go on the mission trip in two weeks, but they're still trying to raise $10,000 to make the journey. To help the Assumption students achieve their goal, a donation Web site has been set up. Click here for more information on the Educate Cambodia mission.

Thaksin drops back into Cambodia
By The Nation, AFP
Published on January 21, 2010
via CAAI News Media

Fugitive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra arrived in Cambodia |yesterday for his third trip as an economic adviser to the country, said Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith.

"He has arrived. He just landed," Khieu Kanharith said. "I don't know about his itinerary yet."

Meanwhile, Noppadon Pattama, a close aide to Thaksin said Thaksin would stay only one night at Cambodia for a refuelling stop and would head to Dubai today. He said Thaksin came from Papua New Guinea.

Where malaria wins

Cambodian Yon Samm, 58, has contracted malaria six times in the past seven years. He lives in the village of Krachaleur, on the outskirts of Pailin, Cambodia, where malaria parasites have become resistant to artemisinin-based therapies. If this drug stops working, there’s no good replacement to combat a disease that kills 1 million annually. International medical leaders have declared the resistant malaria a health emergency.

This 2009 photo shows a merchant in Pailin, Cambodia, speaking with a woman as she holds her sick child. Malaria parasites in the Thai-Cambodia area of Pailin have become resistant to artemisinin-based therapies, according to non governmental agencies working in the region. If this drug stops working, there’s no good replacement to combat a disease that kills 1 million annually. As a result, earlier this year international medical leaders declared resistant malaria here a health emergency.

Chhay Meth, 9, is suffering through an attack of malaria at the family’s home in O’treng village on the outskirts of Pailin, Cambodia. Scientists have confirmed the first signs of resistance to the only affordable treatment left in the global medicine cabinet for malaria: artemisinin.

via CAAI News Media

Drug-resistant disease threatens at Thai-Cambodia border

Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, January 20, 2010

EDITOR’S NOTE: Once-curable diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria are coming back, as germs rapidly mutate to form aggressive strains that resist drugs. The reason: The misuse of the very drugs that were supposed to save us has built up drug resistance worldwide.

This is the second in an occasional series.

PAILIN, Cambodia — O’treng village doesn’t look like the epicenter of anything. Just off a muddy rutted-out road, it is nothing more than a handful of Khmer-style bamboo huts perched crookedly on stilts, tucked among a tangle of cornfields once littered with deadly land mines.

Yet this spot on the Thai-Cambodian border is home to a form of malaria that keeps rendering one powerful drug after another useless. This time, scientists have confirmed the first signs of resistance to the only affordable treatment left in the global medicine cabinet for malaria: Artemisinin.

If this drug stops working, there’s no good replacement to combat a disease that kills 1 million annually. As a result, earlier this year international medical leaders declared resistant malaria here a health emergency.

“This is not business as usual. It’s something really special and it needs a real concerted effort,” said Dr. Nick White, a malaria expert at Mahidol University in Bangkok who has spent decades trying to eradicate the disease from Southeast Asia. “We know that children have been dying in Africa — millions of children have died over the past three decades — and a lot of those deaths have been attributed to drug resistance. And we know that the drug resistance came from the same place.”

Malaria is just one of the leading killer infectious diseases battling back in a new and more deadly form, the AP found in a six-month look at the soaring rates of drug resistance worldwide. After decades of the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and staph have started to mutate. The result: The drugs are slowly dying.

Already, The Associated Press found, resistance to malaria has spread faster and wider than previously documented. Dr. White said virtually every case of malaria he sees in western Cambodia is now resistant to drugs. And in the Pailin area, patients given artemisinin take twice as long as those elsewhere to be clear of the parasite — 84 hours instead of the typical 48, and sometimes even 96.

Mosquitoes spread this resistant malaria quickly from shack to shack, village to village — and eventually, country to country.

And so O’treng, with its 45 poor families, naked kids, skinny dogs and boiling pots of rice, finds itself at the epicenter of an increasingly desperate worldwide effort to stop a dangerous new version of an old disease.

Bundled in a threadbare batik sarong, 51-year-old Chhien Rern, one of O’treng’s sick residents, sweats and shivers as a 103-degree fever rages against the malaria parasites in her bloodstream.

Three days ago Chhien Rern started feeling ill while looking for work in a neighboring district. So she did what most rural Cambodians do: She walked to a little shop and asked for malaria medicine. With no prescription, she was handed a packet of pills — she’s unsure what they were.

“After I took the drugs, I felt better for a while,” she says. “Then I got sick again.”

The headaches, chills and fever, classic symptoms of malaria, worsened. Chhien Rern’s daughter persuaded her to take a motorbike taxi past washed out bridges and flooded culverts to the nearest hospital in Pailin, a dirty border town about 10 miles from O’treng.

Doctors say there’s a good chance Chhien Rern was sold counterfeit drugs.

People generate drug resistant malaria when they take too little medicine, substandard medicine or — as is all too often the case around O’treng — counterfeit medicine with a pinch of the real stuff. Once established, the drug-resistant malaria is spread by mosquitoes. So one person’s counterfeit medicine can eventually spawn widespread resistant disease.

Yet in most parts of the world, people routinely buy antimalarials over the counter at local pharmacies and treat themselves.

A recent study out of neighboring Laos found 88 percent of stores selling artemisinin-based drugs, the same ones scientists are desperately trying to preserve, were actually peddling fakes. Worse, nearly 15 percent of the counterfeits were laced with small hints of artemisinin, which could prompt resistance. The researchers found indications that some were made in China, feeding smugglers’ routes that snake through Myanmar and into Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The counterfeits, along with outdated drugs, are jumping continents. In Africa, where malaria is endemic in 45 countries, the fake drug industry is thriving. A 2003 World Health Organization survey found between 20 percent and 90 percent of antimalarials randomly purchased in seven African countries failed quality testing, depending on the type of drug.

WHO and Interpol formed a task force three years ago to try to stop counterfeiters, seizing millions of fake malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and other pills in Southeast Asia and Africa. But officials say the work is only as good as the countries’ legal systems.

“One of the problems is that there’s not really any enforcement, so what happens when they find a drug that’s counterfeit or substandard?” says David Sintasath, a regional epidemiologist at the nonprofit Malaria Consortium in Bangkok. “The policy is to take it away from them. That’s good until the next month when they get their next shipment, right?”

Countless unlicensed shops in Cambodia sell artesunate, a single-drug therapy that has been banned in the country. Artesunate, a modified version of artemisinin derived from a Chinese herb, has been hailed as miracle treatment worldwide because it works so well with so few side effects. But Cambodian surveys have shown that many patients take artesunate alone instead of mixing it with another antimalarial drug, making it easier for resistance to build.

“The drug has been around for a long time and misused for a long time and this is all encouraging the parasite to develop resistance,” says Dr. Delia Bethell, of the U.S. Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Science, whose research has been at the forefront of identifying emerging resistance on the border.

Back in western Cambodia a few miles from O’treng village, shopkeeper Nop Chen turns a flashlight on a glass case full of drugs he hawks from inside his cramped roadside house. He digs through the many boxes and produces two different types of artemisinin-based antimalarials. Both lack the full amount of a second required medication, mefloquine, necessary to treat the strain of malaria in the area and ward off more resistance.

But Nop Chen, a former Khmer Rouge medic, points to a small Cambodian seal on the boxes and says he feels confident the drugs are the real deal. Still, he acknowledges he is not licensed to sell the pills and he’s unsure where they originated.

“I’m not concerned because it’s got the sticker and the stamp,” he says, squinting at the Khmer script on the labels. “Because of the logo, I trust it to not be fake — it was made in Cambodia.”

Walk past O’treng’s cluster of sagging huts, cross another cornfield and hike a twisted mile on a dirt track to a wooden shack where a string of smoke is curling through the wooden floor planks in a largely futile effort to keep mosquitoes away. It’s here that skinny 13-year-old Hoeun Hong Da wakes up on the floor nauseous and burning with fever.

Hong Da recovered from malaria two months ago, but now the dizziness and headaches are back. He’s been sickened by the disease six or seven times in his short life — too many to remember. He knows that if he doesn’t get to a hospital soon, he could die.

With no new treatments in the pipeline, normally reserved scientists are quick to use words like “disaster” or “catastrophe” when asked what might happen if they don’t contain the disease that’s ravaging young Hong Da before it spreads to Africa. There, malaria already kills an estimated 2,000 kids daily.

For the past 50,000 years the malaria parasite has been evolving, and migrating, alongside humans. It moves within the huts of O’treng, and into neighboring towns when men like Hong Da’s father and older siblings float from job to job.

Some work is close enough for them to return home at night, but other jobs keep them away for stretches of time. They sleep in tight rows, sweating and weary, in disintegrating bamboo huts with workers who are also traveling, and possibly infected with malaria.

The concept of containing drug resistance has never been tried before. Scientists wonder: How do you control the spread of a resistant parasite transmitted by mosquitoes that bite people who live and work in infested jungle areas, then scatter in all directions, all the time?

This area, the former stronghold of the murderous Khmer Rouge, has a notorious history. Burmese migrant workers who once mined rubies and sapphires in these now deforested hills are believed to have helped transport strains resistant to the drug chloroquine back to Myanmar a half century ago. From there it spread to India and later over to Africa until the drug was useless worldwide.

A decade later, history repeated itself when resistance to the drug sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine followed the same path.

Now, in western Cambodia, scientists are concerned because the artemisinin-based drugs are taking longer than usual to kill the parasites. Earlier this year, an army of aid agencies and experts from the WHO began racing to this impoverished corner on the Thai-Cambodian border to divvy up a $22.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aimed at stopping this virulent new strain.

But grants haven’t stopped lines of Cambodians, sick or not, from queuing up every morning at Thailand’s border, charging past the checkpoints in search of work or goods. Some may carry resistant strains in, others may bring them home.

And grants haven’t stopped the parasite from spreading in the O’treng area, despite widespread bednet distribution, awareness campaigns and enhanced surveillance systems. Some scientists say the only sure way to fix the problem is to eradicate malaria entirely from western Cambodia.

“It’s really dangerous,” says Dr. Rupam Tripura, who’s conducting a study in Pailin for the Wellcome Trust-Mahidol University-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Program. “What will happen to the mosquitoes? Can you kill those living in the jungle? No, so you cannot kill the strain.”

If O’treng is the epicenter of this emerging disease, Phoun Sokha is the point man aimed at controlling it.

At 47, Phoun Sokha is the village malaria worker who lives at the mouth of the hamlet and proudly displays an orange plastic kit that resembles a tackle box.

Phoun Sokha is serious about his packets of medicine and his rapid tests to prick blood from sick villagers’ fingers to determine if they have malaria and if so, what type. He makes sure patients are taking their free medicines and checks to see if they’re improving. If not, Phoun Sokha can even arrange transportation to the hospital.

But treating O’treng’s malaria patients can be frustrating.

“Some of the patients, when they went to the hospital, after one month, maybe they get malaria again,” he says.

Today Hong Da, the village boy who has fought malaria so many times before, heads home from the hospital after a few days of treatment. He clutches a new mosquito net he hopes will prevent yet another infection. Together, the recovering boy and his weathered mom shuffle past sick neighbor Chhien Rern’s shack before disappearing among the tassels of the cornfield toward their home.

But all is not well.

Under a tattered quilt, Hong Da’s 9-year-old sister Hoeun Chhay Meth is curled on a thin mattress atop the wooden floor inside the family’s open-air home.

She had malaria alongside her brother two months ago. They share a mosquito net that she burned a hole in when she stayed up one night reading by the light of a makeshift candle. Her brother thinks that’s how the mosquitoes infected them.

“Very afraid of dying,” says Chhay Meth, who has started taking medicine provided by the village malaria worker. “I feel worse than before. I cannot walk myself or stand up by myself and cannot eat well.”

Hong Da understands. He gently lifts his little sister’s limp body, scooping her up, his strength returning. Chhay Meth reaches weakly for her mother.

Like her big brother, this child doesn’t know about counterfeit drugs or antimalarials.

She only knows she’s sick. And the medicines don’t seem to work as well any more in this little village she calls home.

Prof Subedi calls on Cambodian PM

via CAAI News Media
Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Professor Surya P. Subedi of Nepal who is the UN human rights envoy for Cambodia met with the Prime Minister of Cambodia in Phnom Penh on Tuesday to review the human rights situation in the country and to identify the areas for improvement.

The two-hour-long meeting focussed on freedom of expression, press freedom, freedom of association, the independence of the judiciary and land rights in the country.

Professor Subedi offered his assistance to the government of Cambodia to improve the human rights situation in the country.

Prime Minister Hun Sen was receptive to the ideas and they agreed to work together on a number of issues.

Professor Subedi is on a two-week long fact-finding and human rights monitoring visit of Cambodia on behalf of the UN.

L-S grads raise money for Cambodian schools

Art Illman/Wicked Local staff photographer
Steve Patton, a 2004 Lincoln-Sudbury graduate, is the founder of Cambodian Threads, which sells handmade silk scarves to benefit schools in rural Cambodia.

By Kathy Uek/Staff Writer
Wed Jan 20, 2010
via CAAI News Media

Sudbury - Thanks to Cambodian Threads, Christmas came twice last month for students in Cambodia.

Cambodian Threads, run by two 2004 graduates of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, donates a portion of the proceeds from sales of handmade silk scarves to disadvantaged schools in rural Cambodia where the colorful clothing is made.

Steve Patton handles the day-to-day operations managing inventory, shipping product and working with customers at his family’s home in Stow. Jacob Daniels, an English teacher in Cambodia, works with local artisans and schools.

During a school visit on Christmas Day, Daniels donned a Santa cap as he delivered 300 notebooks and pens to secondary school students in the island village Prek Bongkong.

“As we carried the boxes over to the courtyard, we were greeted by a couple of hundred smiling children who were standing with great anticipation,” Daniels said in his blog. “The smiling children then came to collect their Christmas gifts. That look in their eyes was truly priceless. They were so happy to receive their school supplies.”

Earlier that month, Daniels delivered supplies to primary school students in the capital city of Phnom Penh.

Locals, most of them farmers, must live on about $20 to $40 per month and necessities like food and clothing take precedence over school supplies

“Schools are not properly funded and they lack a lot of pretty simplistic things, such as pens, notebooks and papers, which we take for granted,” said Patton.

After teaching English in Cambodia for about a year, Daniels approached Patton with the idea of selling locally made scarves and donating some of the proceeds to area schools.

“I learned a lot about the history of Cambodia from Jake,” said Patton. “They had a lot of political strife during the Vietnam War and it has continued to this day. It’s an up-and-coming country, but it definitely has its fair share of problems. I figured what better way to start giving back than with schools. I thought it sounded like a cool idea.”

The two L-S alumni formed Cambodian Threads and began selling the scarves late last year; school donations followed.

“We have received positive responses from people, both about the scarves and the idea in general,” said Patton.

Artisans make the scarves in Prek Bongkong, located on the Mekong River about 20 miles from Phnom Penh. The scarves are made of naturally dyed raw silk cultivated by local Cambodian farmers.

Cambodian Threads offers scarves in a variety of designs and colors, which sell for $19.99 on the Web site

In the future, Patton and Daniels plan to sell their merchandise at retail stores, which they hope will increase sales and allow them to make regular donations.

Patton and his brother, Mike, who designed the Web site, are planning a February trip to Phnom Penh to meet the artisans and develop a more comprehensive marketing plan.

“We are starting with scarves and hope to eventually get into other garments,” he said.

Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh: hotel review

Somerset Maugham and Jackie Kennedy have both stayed here

Three wings form a courtyard around gardens with two swimming pools

The graceful building that began life as Hotel Le Royal 80 years ago

Yolanda Carslaw enjoys Old World ambience at Phnom Penh's Raffles Hotel Le Royal.

By Yolanda Carslaw
Published: 18 Jan 2010


The capital's smartest address, near Wat Phnom and several embassies, removed from the riverfront tourist hub yet a 10-minute tuk-tuk ride from most sights.


A sweeping driveway leads to the graceful building that began life as Hotel Le Royal 80 years ago. In 1997 Raffles reopened the refurbished property having added three wings to form a courtyard around gardens with two swimming pools, palms and monkey pod trees. Ceilings are high, floors are polished black-and-white tile or marble, the stairway restored teak and furnishings mostly Art Deco reproductions. Approachable staff, some in Khmer dress, look after a cosmopolitan 50-50 mix of business and leisure travellers. There is also a spa and gym.


In our spacious Landmark room we loved our sleigh beds, the period prints and the sleek, spotless bathroom. Some suites are named after famous visitors (Somerset Maugham; Jackie Kennedy) but these aren't always larger or smarter.


The gargantuan $20 (£12) breakfast buffet is a feast of international food, from tropical fruit to scrumptious steamed dim sum. You can order food all day, and Restaurant Le Royal offers appetising Khmer and international evening meals. The Elephant Bar (happy hour 4-8pm; live music Monday-Saturday) is popular with expats.

We like

The romantic Old World ambience; the pool; and the chamber trio in the Writers' Bar.

Not so keen

Breakfast finishes early, at 10am; guests pay for Wi-Fi ($6/hour).


00855 23 981888;; from £98, room only.

Why Phnom Penh?
If you're visiting the temples of Angkor, don't bypass Phnom Penh – the Cambodian capital has a history both fascinating and chilling, a lively social scene and gorgeous palaces. Only in the past decade has it recovered from the Khmer Rouge years (1975-79) when a quarter of the population perished and the city was forcibly evacuated. Put aside at least half a day to visit the Museum of Genocide at Tuol Sleng Prison and the Killing Fields outside the city. For a cheerful antidote, visit the colourful Royal Palaces, join early morning aerobics in the park, marvel at the good-natured traffic mayhem and visit craft shops and markets – great for homewares such as silk and basketry. Khmer food is light, fragrant and cheap, and for a cocktail don't miss happy hour at the Foreign Correspondents' Club.

Getting there
Several Asian carriers, including budget airline Air Asia (, fly from London to Phnom Penh via Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur; you can also go via Hong Kong with British Airways and a local carrier such as Dragon Air. The total journey time, excluding transit, is about 15 hours. Phnom Penh airport is 30 minutes from the centre; most hotels pick you up. Buses from Siem Reap (for the Angkor temples) take six hours; the Mekong Express ($11) is a good option, with a lavatory on board, drinks and snacks included and a halfway stop. You can also travel by boat (six hours; $35) from Siem Reap. You can walk safely in Phnom Penh by day, but take tuk-tuks after dark ($2).

Leader gets US$107m job in Cambodia

via CAAI News media
Thursday, January 21, 2010

LEADER Universal Holdings Bhd's unit, Cambodian Transmission Ltd, today entered into a 25-year build-operate-transfer power transmission agreement with Electricite Du Cambodge (EDC) to develop a 230 kilovolt power transmission system from Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham for US$107 million.

EDC is Cambodia's state-owned limited liability firm.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia, Leader said the project would be funded by internally generated funds and bank borrowings.

The project would be commissioned in three stages with the first being the construction of the Kampong Cham substation which was expected to be completed by July 2011.

The second would be the new North Phnom Penh substation and this was expected to be completed by March 2012.

"The completion of the entire project with the commissioning of the approximately 110km transmission line from North Phnom Penh substation to Kampong Cham substation, from whence the commercial operation date of the project commences.

"This is expected by Dec 31, 2013," Leader said.

The project fulfils part of the planned development of the Cambodian grid system and provides for future 230 kV extension to other parts of the country around Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia, in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Currently, Leader through its 60 per cent-owned subsidiary in Cambodia, Cambodia Utilities Pte Ltd, owns and operates a 35-megawatt power generation plant in Phnom Penh and supplies electricity to EDC under a 18-year power purchase agreement.

This power plant has been in operation since 1997.

Leader is also developing a 100-megawatt coal-fired power plant project in Sihanoukville through its 80 per cent-owned subsidiary, Cambodian Energy Limited. Electricity generated will be supplied to EDC under a 30-year power purchase agreement.


Asia-Euro couple in Germany for launch of romance film

Jan 20, 2010
via CAAI News Media

Hamburg - A former Cambodian prostitute and a German man whose happy-end romance has been filmed by a leading director were in Germany this week for the theatre release of the movie, Same Same But Different.

Genre stories about western men who fall in love with Asian bar-girls developed a German branch in 2007 with the publication of Wherever You Go, an autobiographical story by Benjamin Pruefer who discovered his new Cambodian sweetheart was a 'working girl.'

Pruefer, wife Sreykeo and their two children who all live in Phnom Penh, were invited to the glittering premiere late Tuesday in Hamburg.

David Kross, 19, the leading man to Kate Winslet in her Oscar-winning 2008 performance in The Reader, plays the German backpacker taking a break from university who meets Sreykeo Solvan, played by Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, at a drug-filled party.

The story was filmed by German actor-director Detlev Buck, 47, who plays a father in the Golden Globe winning movie The White Ribbon.

Same Same But Different picked up a prize last August at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland.

In the movie, Pruefer only discovers after his return to Europe in a Skype chat that Sreykeo is HIV-positive, but is drawn back to her.

Pruefer, 30, said at the premiere it was more a cinematic creation by Buck than a portrayal of his own life.

'I didn't have the feeling my whole life flashed before my eyes,' he joked, clutching his son Lukas in one arm.

Buck called Same Same 'a sensuous film with an extreme amount of love in it.' It was partly shot in Asia, with a mix of scenic wonders and disturbing slum life. 'The film is my declaration of love for Cambodia,' Buck added.


Document 1/5

By AhmekKhmer

Senator Edward Kennedy called it an infamous agreement, totally careless of Cambodian lives. Another view was expressed by the House majority Leader Thomas P. Tip ONeill. He said the bombing should stop because Cambodia is not worth one American life.

Geneva marked a historical split among the Khmer Communists. Those were taken to Hanoi remained there, growing older, more pro-Vietnamese and more remote from their country. But a few hundred Khmer Communist guerrillas dissolved Hanoi and stayed in the marquis after 1954. They saw the Geneva as an outright betrayal of the Cambodian resolution. Twenty-three years later, the Communist Prime Minister of Cambodia complained that this revolutionary struggle of our people and the war was booty that was subsequently captured, dissolved into thin air through the Geneva Agreements. The trouble in those days, he said, was that Cambodians did not know which direction to follow and which forces to rely on. Evidently Hanoi was not a reliable force and, in order to distance the Khmer Rouge from their Vietnamese origins, the Partys history was rewritten and its founding dated in 1960, not 1951.

In Paris on January 27, 1973, one week after Nixons second inauguration, the United States, the Republic of Vietnam, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam signed an Agreement on ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam. Soon after dawn on the morning of January 29, 1973, the crump of mortars, the whistle of bullets and the whine of artillery shells began to die all over South Vietnam. In the wreckage of the provincial capital of Quang Tri, men on both sides tentatively lifted weary heads from foxholes and gazed silently upon one another.

But while the agreement was certainly an achievement, it was not designed or destined to bestow peace. In Laos a sort of peaceful transfer of power was arranged.

It is less easy to demonstrate why no solution to the war in Cambodia was found after the Paris Agreement.

The crucial point was that neither Washington nor Hanoi wanted a cease-fire in Cambodia before Vietnam. At least until 1973 each wished its associate to continue a limited war.So long as Lon Nol remained to conduct his holy struggle against the demon Communists no cease-fire was likely. From now the Thais and South Vietnamese were ostensibly Cambodias allies, but a unilateral settlement by the Khmers would likely bring South Vietnamese and possibly Thai incursions, which would subject the Khmer countryside to continue damage and destruction and possible foreign domination of another stripe. The threat was clear; the Cambodians could not win, but if they tried to retire, war would be waged against them as aggressively as now-by their current friends.

During the second stage, between summer of 1971 and 1973, the growing Khmer Rouge started to break away from Hanois control and to discard the totem of Sihanouk and his supporters; collectivists measures were begun. Then, from the time of the Paris Agreement in January 1973 onward, the Khmer Rouge were largely on their own; they depended on North Vietnamese logistics but had no guaranteed aid from any foreign power and were free to launch their own military initiatives.

But then in 1973, when the Paris Peace Agreement prevented American bombing of first Vietnam and then Laos, the entire Seventh Air Force was switched back to Cambodia. All of this had more to do with political and organisational requirements in Washington and South Vietnam than with the military needs of the Lon Nol government. Until August 1973, when Congress brought the bombing to an end, hundreds of thousands of bombs dropped by the American South Vietnam and Cambodian air forces onto Cambodia fell unreported and uncontrolled on areas occupied first by the North Vietnamese and then by the Khmer Rouge.

Document 2/5

By AhmekKhmer

The language of the Paris Agreement placed no real formal obligations on Hanoi or Washington with regard to Cambodia or Laos.

During the course of his talks with Le Duc Tho, Kissinger had attempted to obtain an assurance that cease-fires could be arranged in Cambodia and Laos as well as in Vietnam. The North Vietnamese were able to give satisfactory assurances on Laos; Hanoi had always dominated the Pathet Lao. In Cambodia, however, no such guarantees could be given, because of growing tensions between the North Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge. During 1972, when almost North Vietnamese combat divisions were withdrawn from Cambodia for the offensive in South Vietnam, reports of fairly constant fighting between the allies reached Phnom Penh and Washington. By the end of the year the Khmer Rouge were fielding an army of around 50,000 men, organized in regimes, and were strong enough to hold their own against Lon Nol, with only logistical support from the North Vietnamese.

Although Kissinger subsequently assured Congress there were no secret clauses to the Paris Agreement, Nixon had, at North Vietnamese insistence, written a secret letter to the Prime Minister, Pham Van Dong, promising such aid.

It is not clear what role Kissinger himself was prepared to take in any Cambodian negotiations at this precise moment. Before and after January 1973, he usually insisted that any Cambodian peace talks-unlike those concerning Vietnam-must take place between the two parties and that the United States could not be directly involved. Since each Cambodian side had always explicitly denied that there was any possibility of its negotiating with the other traitors (each, indeed, had condemned the leaders of the other side to death) the prospects for such talks were dim.

Yet Thieu himself and many American officials insisted that the existence of an anti-communist allied government in Phnom Penh was essential to the survival of South Vietnam.

(In October 1972 Kissinger had made his only visit ever to Phnom Penh. He stayed two hours. Lon Nol later said he had revealed very little of Washingtons plans for Cambodias future.) Lon Nol was evidently disturbed by the notion of a cease-fire; Swank soothed him by guaranteeing that enemy actions of any scope against Cambodia involving a cease-fire in Vietnam would be regarded as a violation of any agreement reached with Hanoi, and I stressed that air power based in Thailand would be deployed on his behalf in case of need.

Beginning in late February 1973, Sihanouk, Monique, the ever-present Ieng Sary as minder, and more than a hundred Vietnamese to assist and supervise travel down the Ho Chi Minh trail, left southern China headed for Cambodia. Travelling in Soviet-made jeeps, they reached Cambodian territory after eight days on the road and were met by Hu Nim, whom Sihanouk had regarded as a bitter enemy only five years before, and Son Sen, leading military figure in the Khmer Rouge. Travelling on, they were joined by Khieu Samphan and Saloth Sar, the future Pol Pot, and later again by Hou Youn and Sars wife, Khieu Ponary. Sihanouk now had about him the three men whom he had repeatedly castigated as traitors and enemies while he was still in power.

In the same vein a Cambodian Communist diplomat later complained that in 1973, after the Khmer Rouge refused to talk with Lon Nol, The Vietnamese signed their own agreement with the Americans and the B-52s which bombed Vietnam were all sent to pulverize Cambodia.

When Sihanouk returned from his trip to Cambodia he told Ambassador Etienne Manach that Khieu Samphan, the Khmer Rouge commander in chief, had said to him, Hanoi has dropped us.

Document 3/5

By AhmekKhmer

In those days, the present King Norodom Sihanouk still tried to cover up that there were no North Vietnamese troops in Cambodia after Paris Agreement:

For his part, Sihanouk gave vent to his feelings in a diplomatic manner. He criticised peace-loving countries that sought to impose a cease-fire on Cambodia. He said American claim that
North Vietnam was still fueling the war were untrue-the resistance was no longer receiving aid. He denounced American peace plans which involved the partition of the country.

In Washington officials claimed that the North Vietnamese were shipping new men and materiel into South Vietnam and publicly alleged that there were still five thousand North Vietnamese troops operating against Cambodian forces.

The conservatives summoned traditional arguments: the Presidents hands should not be tied; this was not the time; the United States was bombing for peace.

The North Vietnamese, like the Americans, had sought a stalemate war in Cambodia. But the Khmer Rouge were seeking victory. After attempting to cut the governments supply lines they now closed in on Phnom Penh. Their principal motive, it is apparent, was fear that the North Vietnamese might betray them completely. In Cambodian terms that betrayal had already begun. Sihanouk complained to the New York Times in July that the North Vietnamese were now far more interested in American aid than in helping Cambodia. Suddenly you see Dr. Kissinger smile and Le Duc Tho smile at Dr Kissinger. They shake hands, and they go arm in arm and leave us alone. He later told another journalist, T. D. Allman:

We do not have enough ammunition. I look back to the Treaty we signed with the Pathet Lao, with the North Vietnamese and with the (Vietcong), at the South China Conference in 1970. We promised to fight to the end. Now the North Vietnamese sign agreements with Kissinger. No matter, we will fight one alone.The North Vietnamese want American aid so they do not help as much as they could. The Chinese play the big power game with America. Brezhnev and Nixon are friends. But we will not play the big power game. We will fight for the unity of our country.Nixon continues to pour arms into Phnom Penh. We get very little from our Communist allies. Still we will fight for Cambodia.

On several occasions he said he feared that Washington and Hanoi might agree to the partition of Cambodia. In these matters Sihanouk expressed ageless Cambodian fears, and there was no reason to suppose that he did not represent the feelings of the Khmer Rouge as well. Later the Khmer Communists claimed that the North Vietnamese entered into negotiations in 1973 in an attempt to swallow us, but they did not succeed. Pol Pot, the Party leader and Prime Minster after the war, commented If we had agreed to have a cease-fire in 1973 in accordance with the manoeuvres of the U.S. and Vietnamese enemies, we should have suffered a heavy loss. First of all, we should become slaves of the Vietnamese, and the Cambodian race would have entirely lost its identity.

For those men, 1973 confirmed a historic conviction that survival, let alone victory, could be guaranteed only by absolute independence and an astonishing fixity of purpose. As it was, the indifference of their allies and the assault upon them by the supporters of their enemy stamped out thousands upon thousands of them, and the survivors had neither the men nor the firepower for a final assault upon the capital when, after August 15, 1973, the rain re-inherited the skies.

When he had arrived in 1970 the glow of enthusiasm at least among the townspeople for Sihanouks removal and for the chance of fighting the North Vietnamese was dimming, but it was still perceptible. By the fall of 1973 it had long disappeared.

Document 4/5

By Ahmekkhmer

Since the Paris Accord, Swank had made little attempt to conceal from his staff his distaste for the continuing carnage in Cambodia. He asserted that the war is losing more and more of its point and has less and less meaning for any of the parties concerned. He could see no prospects for peace.

In August 1973, the fall of Phnom Penh had been widely expected. Journalists flocked to be there when the American bombing ended.

After a long and bloody street battle the Communists finally withdrew. Sihanouk later complained bitterly that, but for the treachery of Hanoi in withholding supplies, the town would have been captured.

While Communist advances were, to some extent, dependent on provisions from Hanoi, Lon Nols army became hostage to American materiel.

The T-28 fighter-bomber pilots would not descend below 300 feet; bombs and napalm dropped at sharp angles from that height were usually inaccurate. They undoubtedly killed a lot of people but not necessary those who were targeted.

Emory Swank comments that the only possibility of peace then would have been if we had taken the dramatic step of drastically reducing our support for the Phnom Penh government. It was one of possibility I suggested. The Chinese and North Vietnamese might have taken it as a step toward a negotiated settlement. But to Kissinger it would have been leading from weakness.

However, on January 28, the day before the Paris Agreement took effect, Lon Nol made what passed for the cease-fire offer Kissinger had promised Le Duc Tho. His statement makes clear his refusal to appreciate that a Khmer Communist organization existed and shows how qualified his gesture was:

By virtue of the Geneva Agreements of 1954 we have the right to repossess the parts of our country which have been illegally occupied by the North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces. To enable them to leave our territory in the shortest possible time, we will order our troopsto suspend their offensive operations and to establish contacts with the people to ascertain their welfare and to assure their protection. Incident which might impede their passage or jeopardize their installations will be regarded as actions by intruders who will continue to exercise our right of legitimate self-defence through defensive military operations throughout our territory.

For sure, we are gentle and kind Cambodian people; our lands, as already mentioned before, are getting shrank day by day, do not like to kill our Blood Brothers and Sisters, and we dont like to wage war, either, as the present King Norodom Sihanouk clearly told to his Khmer children and the world:

At the end of January, Sihanouk publicly declared that the Front was revaluating its policy. If the United States is prepared to act in a friendly manner with an independent and non-aligned Cambodia, we are prepared for a rapid reconciliation with Washington, he said. We are not warmongers. We dont want a bloodbath. We dont want to throw oil on the fire that is now dying out in Indochina.

In March 1974, for example, the Baltimore Sun correspondent remarked on incomprehensive brutality of the Khmer communists. He recalled that the conventional wisdom had always been that Khmer did not wish to fight Khmer and that once the North Vietnamese withdrew from Cambodia good sense would prevail.

But Lon Nol was still the White House choice, and after the bombing incident Nixon sent him a telegram to renew our expression of admiration for the Khmer peoples courage and steadfastness under your leadership.

The memorandum also asserted that the bombing was justified because the continued presence of North Vietnamese troops in Cambodia threatened the right of self-determination in Vietnam.

Document 5/5

By AhmekKhmer

In fact, all that the Constitution required was that the President asks for Congressional authority to bomb Cambodia in order to prevent the Communist takeover of Vietnam, if that were indeed its purpose.

Americans helped Yuon leaders in Prey Nokor/present Ho Chi Minh City were to brutally kill Khmers paving the way for Yuon to plunder more land of Khmers. All Yuon leaders, who are not afraid of losing their peoples lives as long as they can secretly send their Yuon settlers to settle in Cambodia, (See more Cambodia is swamped by Yuon Settlers) to wag jungle war against Cambodians, have had Good Blessings from their masters Americans. American leaders always chop and change to betray their Good Allies as William clearly tells us as following:

At 6 A.M. on April 12, Dean sent letters to members of the government and to other politicians offering them places on his helicopters in two and a half hours time. To his astonishment the only senior official to arrive at the embassy was Saukham Khoy, the acting President. The day before, Saukham Khoy had sat, weeping for Cambodia, and told some journalists, The United States led Cambodia into this. But when the war became difficult the United States pulled out. Dabbing his eyes, he had speculated on the future: There are some Cambodians who say that if the United States stops aiding Cambodia then we should turn to some other great power. Who? Russia.

In an interview with the New York Times, Sirik Matak then warned that the regime could not survive, and he said that Sihanouk would win easily in a free election. He appreciated Washingtons reluctance to interfere in Cambodian affairs, but if the White House insisted on continuing to sustain an unpopular regime, We will fall to the Communists.

From the Khmer Rouge perspective, however, the severity of the bombings was matched by the treachery of the North Vietnamese. The Cambodian communists had refused to take part in the Paris peace talks. When North Vietnam and the United States signed the Paris Peace Accords on January 27, 1973, bombing missions over Vietnam and Laos were terminated. The fighter bombers and other aircraft thus released were diverted to strike Khmer Rouge positions in Cambodia. However, the end of the bombing in 1973 and subsequent cuts of aid to Cambodia did the most to ensure a Communist victory in Cambodia, as by 1975 the Lon Nol government had largely run out of ammunition.

Thaksin lands in Cambodia

via CAAI News Media
Jan 20, 2010

PHNOM PENH - FUGITIVE former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra arrived in Cambodia on Wednesday for his third trip as a controversial economic adviser to the country, said a government spokesman.

Thaksin, whose visits have stoked a diplomatic row between the Thai and Cambodian governments, landed in a private jet at Phnom Penh International Airport, spokesman Khieu Kanharith told AFP. 'He has arrived. He just landed,' Khieu Kanharith said. 'I don't know about his itinerary yet.'

Thailand and Cambodia recalled their ambassadors in November and expelled senior diplomats over Cambodian premier Hun Sen's appointment of Thaksin, who is living abroad to avoid a jail term for corruption in his home country.

Tensions between the neighbouring countries soared further when Phnom Penh then refused to extradite Thaksin during his first visit to Cambodia in his new role.

During his previous stays in Cambodia, Thaksin has addressed top government officials on how to boost investment, tourism and agriculture. He also met scores of his 'Red Shirt' supporters from Thailand, where he remains a hugely influential figure.

Before Thaksin's appointment as an adviser, relations between Thailand and Cambodia were already tense due to a string of deadly gunbattles at their disputed border, where troops have faced off since July 2008. -- AFP

Overseas Operations To Contribute 15 Per Cent Of Public Bank's Overall Profits

via CAAI News Media

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 (Bernama) -- Public Bank Bhd's overseas operations will contribute about 15 per cent of the bank's pre-tax profits in three to five years, Managing Director Tan Sri Tay Ah Lek said Wednesday.

He said the bank's subsidiaries in Hong Kong and Cambodia are expected to contribute significantly, adding that revenue from overseas subsidiaries currently accounted for 7.2 per cent of the group's pre-tax profits.

Public Bank currently operates in Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and is expected to continue its focus in Indochina countries.

To further drive its growth, Public Bank will expand its overseas branch network.

Tay said Public Bank would open two more branches in Hong Kong, bringing the total to 74, five more in Cambodia from the existing 15, two more in Vietnam from seven currently, and add one more each in Shenzhen, China, and Laos where it currently has three.

Speaking at a press conference here after announcing the group's results for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2009, he said growth would remain organic.

"Organic growth is our forte," Tay said, adding that there was no immediate plan to make any foreign or domestic acquisition.

Meanwhile, Public Bank Chairman Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow said the group posted a 4.5 per cent growth in operating pre-tax profit to RM3.32 billion and a net profit of RM2.52 billion in 2009.

The group's improved profit was mainly due to continued strong growth in net interest and financing income by RM435 million or 10.2 per cent to RM4.71 billion.

"We are pleased to have delivered a strong set of results for the year (2009), driven by steady revenue growth, above industry rate of loans growth, strong asset quality, cost efficiency and prudent risk management," Teh said in a statement.

The group also declared a cash dividend of 25 sen per share and share dividend, on a one for every 68 shares held, to be distributed from the treasury shares of Public Bank.

On 2010 prospects, Teh said: " Public Bank group is expected to maintain its earnings momentum and continue to record satisfactory performance."

He said Public Bank would continue to pursue its strategy of strong organic business growth, maintain its superior loans portfolio and improve productivity.


Haiti's pain felt around the world

A man comforts Desie Ulachine, 7, at a hospital in Port-au-Prince, January 18, 2010. The pace of food and medical aid deliveries picked up in earthquake-shattered Haiti, providing some hope to desperate survivors, but doctors worried disease would be the next big challenge for the tens of thousands left injured and homeless a week ago. Picture taken January 18, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters)

via CAAI News Media


By Zheng Anguang

BEIJING, Jan. 20 -- The disastrous earthquake in Haiti one week ago has brought untold suffering to this Caribbean island nation, which has already witnessed too many tragedies and is in urgent need of calm.

According to the latest reports, more than 70,000 corpses have already been buried - it is estimated that the death toll will exceed 100,000, with 3 million in total affected by the disaster. In Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital and where the most damage was done, survivors are not only suffering from a shortage of food and shelter, but are also threatened by mobs and burglars in the state of anarchy. President Ren Prval said the country was like a war zone; residents said the smell of death filled the streets.

In a nation that has suffered many similar disasters, Chinese people did not hesitate in sending aid groups and taking measures to save lives. Neither did the whole world, which shares the pain of Haiti in this critical time: More than dozens of rescue teams have already arrived in Haiti. More aid workers and resources are reportedly on the way. The United States even sent an aircraft carrier to support the relief efforts. For the common purpose of sending aid to Haitians in need, Cuba has allowed the US air force to pass through its air space, an impossibility for many years.

International organizations have also played key roles in rescue efforts. The United Nations, which has also suffered much in the earthquake with many of its workers buried in ruins, has ordered numerous branches to send first-aid equipment. Workers from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, the World Food Program and the World Health Organization are giving aid and offering security forces, despite the fact that many of them are also victims of the earthquake.

NGOs have also performed admirably. The International Committee of the Red Cross, Oxfam, the Mercy Corps, the International Rescue Committee and Doctors Without Borders all arrived on the scene as early as possible. In fact, for many years they have always been working in this war-torn island, devoting love and care to Haitians. As public welfare organizations, they are often more efficient and convenient in such efforts and most likely getting better relief results.

The world is flat, but not fair. Distribution of wealth, power and resources has never been equal among nations, striking some of them with misfortune and poverty. As a nation that has long been troubled by political instability and economic depression, Haiti deserves our special care. In fact, ever since 2004, Haiti has always been in need of help, owing much of its progress to the selfless devotion of many international organizations and independent nations. At this critical time, aid work in Haiti demands participation of all its neighbors, near or far.

The international society should take up more responsibility in relief efforts in Haiti. It is reported that some parts of the nation have already fallen into a state of anarchy; therefore the international society should help to manage the chaos if necessary.

There are successful examples. In 1992, in order to return peace and stability to a war-torn land and relieve the suffering, the United Nations set up a Transitional Authority in Cambodia. More than 20,000 peacekeeping workers participated in social work there, from domestic elections to providing security. More than 100,000 additional workers from various NGOs also joined in the efforts. It is fair to say that international cooperation and help are an important reason for the present prosperity and stability of Cambodia.

In this epoch of globalization, happiness and suffering are shared by all around the globe. No nation should be isolated from the family of humankind. In order to make a harmonious world, no countries should "beggar their neighbors" and they should follow the motto "Live and Let Live" as the basis of their policies. Universal peace might still be a dream far from reality, but to do more work for the common good should be the shared creed of all accountable powers. US President Barack Obama said to the Haitian president recently: "The entire world stands with the government and the people of Haiti, for in Haiti's devastation, we all see the common humanity that we share." May the world be united in this great humanitarian work.

The author is an associate professor at the School of International Studies of Nanjing University.

(Source: China Daily)

Editor: Wang Guanqun

Life Chiropractic College West Provides Chiropractic Care During Cambodian Mission Trip

via CAAI News Media pm PST

Life West News

Hayward, California -- Kim Khauv, a doctor of chiropractic and faculty member and alumnus from Life Chiropractic College West, led a team of twelve college interns who traveled to rural parts of Cambodia to provide chiropractic care. Over the course of two weeks in December 2009 they provided care to over 1500 patients, many of whom where children in orphanages and the sick and elderly in local villages.

This marks the first chiropractic mission trip to Cambodia from Life West. Arrangements were made with cooperation from government officials, village leaders and orphanage directors. The Life West team was joined by volunteer organizer, Aireen Navarro, and volunteer doctors, Amy Vevoda, D.C., and Nathan Clem, D.C., both from Seattle, Washington.

The trip had been a long-held dream by Dr. Khauv, whose family fled Cambodia in 1981 after the Khmer Rouge, a faction of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, began an agricultural reform leading to widespread famine and genocide between 1975 and 1979. After earning his graduate degree as a doctor of chiropractic and a master's degree in public health, he began a non-profit organization, Well-Balanced World, with the sole intention of returning to his homeland and bringing chiropractic to his fellow countrymen.

Dr. Khauv is very grateful to have the opportunity to go back to Cambodia and offer healing to many who have little or no access to any health care. He states, "I sincerely appreciate Life West for their support. The devoted doctors and dedicated interns who came along allowed me to live out my dream of bringing chiropractic to Cambodia." He is planning the next mission trip for December 2010 with the intention of increasing the number of locations and the number of patients served.

Life West, established in 1976, is an accredited non-profit institution of higher learning. Currently over 400 students from across the United States and abroad are enrolled, and over 3,700 graduates of Life West are now providing chiropractic care worldwide. The college's Health Center, a public outpatient facility staffed by approximately 150 senior interns who are guided by licensed doctors of chiropractic, provides affordable health care to more than 1,500 patients per week in the city of Hayward, California. The college and Health Center maintain a Web site at