Tuesday, 20 April 2010

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Cambodian passengers get off of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Cambodian passengers get off from a ferry at Tonle Sap lake's bank in Kampong Chhnang province, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, April 19, 2010. The Tonle Sap is combined lake and river system in the country that is also the largest body of water in Southeast Asia (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

A Cambodian woman and Buddhist monks get off from a ferry at Tonle Sap lake's bank in Kampong Chhnang province, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, April 19, 2010. The Tonle Sap is combined lake and river system in the country that is also the largest body of water in Southeast Asia (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Mr. Hang Chakra Vowed to Continue to Write According to His Conscience as He Did Previously – Monday, 19.4.2010


via CAAI News Media

Posted on 20 April 2010.
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“The editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, Mr. Hang Chakra, has just been released from Prey Sar prison on Tuesday last week, a day ahead of the Khmer New Year, and he vowed that he will continue to publish his paper according to his conscience, constructively also criticizing the government.

“Mr. Hang Chakra told the Phnom Penh Post on Sunday, ‘I could not believe that I would be released a day ahead of the Khmer New Year. I am so happy that I can meet my family.’ Mr. Hang Chakra added that he will try to publish his Khmer Machas Srok papers again next week, after a suspension early this month due to financial reason, and he will continue to criticize the government with the attempt to constructively contribute to the nation and to fight corruption. He said, ‘I will continue to publish the paper with my conscience, to criticize corrupt people among government officials, to serve the readers and the society. I hope that the readers will still support me.’

“It should also be known that, before Hang Chakra had been released, he wrote a letter of apology to Prime Minister Hun Sen one month after he was convicted, and he promised that he will not write to accuse anyone of corruption without evidence, if he would be released.

“Mr. Hang Chakra is the editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, a newspaper that has a tendency towards the Sam Rainsy Party. He was convicted to serve 12 months in prison, and he was fined to pay Riel 9 million (at present approx. US$2,200) on 26 June 2009, for defaming Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, after he had released several texts accusing cabinet officials of Deputy Prime Minister Sok An of being involving in corruption without intervention.

“Mr. Hang Chakra denied he is related to the rumor that he is joining the Cambodian People’s Party and will stop criticizing the government. Mr. Hang Chakra clarified, ‘No institution can press me to change my conscience, as I spend my own money to publish my papers, and my paper is still alive because of our readers.’

“The head of the Criminal Department of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Pov Bunthouen told the Phnom Penh Post on Sunday that Mr. Hang Chakra was one of the 42 prisoners who were released earlier than expected who were on the list to be released, while the punishment of 119 others on the list will be reduced. He said, ‘We are preparing to organize a Visakh Bochea ceremony (on 28 April 2010). I have not yet checked all documents, and I expect that all those documents in the lists that will be checked after the ceremony.’”

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #150-151, 12-14.4.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 19 April 2010

Thai protesters fortify camps in heart of Bangkok

Thai soldiers look on as Buddhist monks make their rounds near an anti-government rally site Tuesday, April 20, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. Soldiers in full combat gear continue to patrol the capital's central business district as anti-government demonstrators prepare for a massive rally. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has announced he would not set a date for protestors to be forced out of their encampment.… Read more »(AP Photo/David Longstreath)

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By THANYARAT DOKSONE, Associated Press Writer

BANGKOK – Thai protesters said Tuesday that they would fortify their sprawling encampment in Bangkok's upscale hotel-and-shopping district before venturing out to "wage a big war" to topple the government they decry as illegitimate.

Soldiers in full combat gear guarded other nearby sections of the capital in an increasingly tense standoff that has shuttered 5-star hotels and glitzy shopping malls and threatens to damage Thailand's sunny image as a tourist paradise.

Key protest leader Nattawut Saikua canceled a rally that had been planned for Tuesday. He said that thousands of protesters were instead shoring up their defenses while guards dressed in black, some with bulletproof vests, set up new checkpoints in the areas they now occupy.

Red Shirts were seen sharpening hundreds of long bamboo rods and piling them into tall stacks, part of an arsenal of crude weaponry that also included broken up pavement stones.

The "Red Shirt" protesters — who are demanding that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva call early elections — have been occupying the tony Rajprasong district for more than a month and now are camping in nearby main roads covering several city blocks.

Red Shirt security details are manning checkpoints fortified by barbed wire, controlling traffic into and out of the protest zone.

Security forces moved into nearby Silom Road on Monday to deter any Red Shirt incursion into the central business district, where several major banks and corporations have their headquarters.

The standoff in Bangkok has cost merchants tens of millions of dollars.

One hotel inside the protest zone, the Holiday Inn, closed its doors Tuesday while the neighboring InterContinental told all remaining guest to check out. Both said they would reopen next Monday. Other hotels across Bangkok reported dramatic drops in occupancy rates.

Nattawut had promised a large rally Tuesday at an unnamed location, but later said the protesters would first work to prevent soldiers from clearing them out of their camps.

"We will fortify our rally campground to ward off any invasion before we go out to wage a big war," he said. Nattawut said that once troops move out of the nearby Silom Road, the Red Shirts would stage a march down that road to boost morale of people working along the avenue.

Nattawut also indicated that the demonstrators were open to negotiations to end 40 days of confrontations and chaos in the city, which

"Our group is always open to outsider suggestions. Whatever group wants to propose a solution to the crisis, we're happy to hear these solutions," Nattawut said.

Abhisit — speaking on government-run television channels Monday night — said he would not set a date for protesters to be forced out of their encampment.

The Red Shirt protesters, formally known as the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, initially were camped in a historic district of Bangkok. A failed April 10 attempt by security forces to flush protesters from that neighborhood erupted into the worst political violence Thailand has seen in 18 years, leaving 25 dead and more than 800 wounded.

The protesters consist mainly of poor rural supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and pro-democracy activists who opposed the military coup that ousted him in 2006.

They believe Abhisit's government is illegitimate because it came to power through a parliamentary vote after disputed court rulings ousted two elected, pro-Thaksin administrations. The conflict has been characterized by some as class warfare, pitting the country's vast rural poor against an elite that has traditionally held power.

Armed troops initially moved before dawn Monday to block entry to Silom Road, patrolling some of the city's most famous bar strips just off the main street. The Red Shirts said the authorities were preparing a "killing field" in the area.

After a tense face-off early Monday, the troops pulled back almost halfway down the road's 1.5-mile (2.5-kilometer) length to protect a key target of the protesters, the headquarters of the Bangkok Bank, which was barricaded by razor wire. The Red Shirts claim Bangkok Bank has close ties to the government, and have protested in front of the building previously on a smaller scale.

During the earlier street battles, the military lost a senior officer and suffered scores of other casualties among its troops, who were mostly equipped for riot control rather than lethal combat. The majority of the dead, however, were civilians.

The government accused "terrorists" armed with guns and other weapons of orchestrating the earlier violence and says weapons were stolen from the military that have not been returned.

The virtual occupation of key areas of Bangkok by the Red Shirts has hit Thailand's lucrative tourist industry hard.

Associated Press writers Jocelyn Gecker, Grant Peck and Denis D. Gray contributed to this report.

Cambodian growth projected 4.5 pct this year, 6 pct for 2011: ADB

via CAAI News Media

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

PHNOM PENH, Apr. 20, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- The Asian Development Bank said on Tuesday that Cambodian growth is projected 4.5 percent for 2010 and higher to 6 percent for next year thanks to good crops, increasing services, tourism and constructions.

"If the weather allows for reasonable crops in Cambodia, GDP is projected to rebound by 4.5 percent in 2010," said the Bank release.

"In 2011, a return to higher--though still below trend--growth in garment exports and tourism, together with some expansion of non-garment manufacturing and a pickup in other services sub- sectors, is projected to raise GDP growth to around 6 percent," it said.

Agricultural output is projected to expand by 4.7 percent assisted by efforts to increase irrigation and the greater availability of high-yield seeds, it said.

The Bank also detailed that the growth in services is projected to resume at around 5 percent for this year and construction activity will likely grow at a moderate rate of about 4 percent, as appetite for bank credit gradually recovers and inflows of foreign direct investment, particularly from South Korea, resume for some projects.

Cambodia received 2.2 million tourists last year. The kingdom produced 7.3 million tonnes of rice for 2009/2010 of which the country saw another surplus of rice of 3.1 million tonnes available for export, according to the agriculture ministry.ADB also said that Cambodian growth was almost double digits from 1998 to 2008, but the country's growth was estimated contracted 2 percent in 2009 due to the global downturn in 2008.

The World Bank on April 7 said that Cambodian growth is projected at 4.4 percent for 2010, expects 6 percent for next year.

(Source: iStockAnalyst )

CAMBODIA: Learning platform

via CAAI News Media

20 Apr 2010 08:49:00 GMT
Source: MAG (Mines Advisory Group)
Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.

Previous | Next Students play in front of the new school building, constructed on land that had been cleared by MAG.
Nicolas Axelrod / MAG

Until March 2008, Veal village school in Pursat province had no proper building - because nobody dared to build one. There had been accidents involving landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the village, and community members suspected there must be more in the ground.

The school director, Meak Hun, got on with his job as best he could, but says: "Teaching was extremely difficult. I had to teach students under villagers' houses."

Eleven-year-old Buor Seiha recalls what those lessons were like: "Each time it rained, we almost got soaked. We didn't have chairs and tables. I had to put my chalkboard on the mat and crouch over it as I wrote."

One of MAG Cambodia's all-female teams came to the village in July 2007. It took more than six weeks to clear the land needed for the school. During the process, six items of UXO were found and destroyed.

Once the land was safe, a school was built with the support of two international non-governmental organisations, Sustainable Cambodia and Save the Children Norway.

Today, about 300 students attend classes there, a notable change from the way things were.

"The number of students [before the school was built] was only around 30 to 40, as the learning environment was not good," says Meak Hun. "Students faced a lot of hardship. Many students went fishing, cutting wood or picking bamboo shoots instead of coming to classes."

The local authorities and parents now cooperate to make sure that all children are now sent to school.

Another student, Phan Hoeurm, is happy to have the opportunity to study in a proper classroom. She says, simply: "Now we have a good school."

For more information on MAG's Cambodia programme please go to www.maginternational.org/cambodia.

View MAG photo galleries.

MAG thanks the following donor for funding the work mentioned in this article: Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, US Department of State.

[ Any views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not of Reuters. ]

Change Agents Inspire Hope and Humility: 2010 Goldman Environmental Prizes Awarded


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posted by: Nancy Roberts

Hope found a home last night as six fearless individuals making a difference were honored with Goldman Environmental Prizes. Some 4,000 environmentalists packed the San Francisco Opera House as the prizes were accepted by three men and three women from across the globe, who each took home $150,000 in the 21st year of the Prize.

The Care2 community will recognize the issues that faced each of these amazing leaders--their concerns are our concerns: animal welfare, environmental conservation, a healthier food system, and protecting the rights of those who need a voice: animals, indigenous peoples, family farmers and ecosystems.

Each prizewinner's inspiring path was different, yet there were common threads. Personal courage in the face of threats and patient, dogged relentlessness were key. Education, including scientific or legal training, was vital: several of the awardees spoke of being inspired by teachers and mentors to keep fighting for what is right. Expertise comes in many forms: Cuban winner Humberto Rios Labrada noted the essential cooperation and mutual learning between trained agronomists and local farmers that have brought about an organic farming revoution in his country.

Each winner worked within the system, using existing laws or political structures to call for transparency or change. Thuli Brilliance Makama, Swaziland's only environmental lawyer, used her training to fight to allow environmentalist groups to monitor government actions in protection of land and native peoples, whose interests were often seen as contradictory. And each winner recognized the importance of grassroots efforts, from rallying the people of Costa Rica to protest huge foreign fishing interests using brutal shark finning practices, to involving farmers in Cambodia in understanding how to co-exist with wild elephants, to calling on hundreds of protestors to demonstrate in sub-freezing temperatures to stop bulldozers from destroying a Polish forest.

Each activist took on a seemingly impossible David versus Goliath scenario and made progress, as when the U.S. winner Lynn Henning relentlessly reported the disgusting and damaging Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) practices of Big Ag that were destroying land, health and hope around her family's farm.

Here is a video of the story of 2010 U.S. winner Lynn Henning:

Other winners' video introductions are also available online.

The 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize winners are:

Thuli Brilliance Makama, Swaziland

Thuli Makama, Swaziland’s only public interest environmental attorney, won a landmark case to include environmental NGO representation in conservation decisions and continues to challenge the forced evictions and violence perpetrated against poverty-stricken communities living on the edges of conservation areas.

Tuy Sereivathana, Cambodia 

Tuy Sereivathana worked to mitigate human elephant conflict in Cambodia by introducing innovative low-cost solutions, empowering local communities to cooperatively participate in endangered Asian elephant conservation.

Małgorzata Gorska, Poland
Małgorzata Gorska led the fight to protect Poland's Rospuda Valley, one of Europe's last true wilderness areas, from a controversial highway project that would have destroyed the region's sensitive ecosystems.

Humberto Rios Labrada, Cuba
A scientist and biodiversity researcher, Humberto Rios Labrada promoted sustainable agriculture by working with farmers to increase crop diversity and develop low-input agricultural systems that greatly reduce the need for pesticide and fertilizer, encouraging Cuba’s shift from agricultural chemical dependence.

Lynn Henning, USA
Family farmer in rural Michigan, Lynn Henning exposed the egregious polluting practices of CAFOs–concentrated animal feeding operations- gaining the attention of the federal EPA and prompting state regulators to issue hundreds of citations for water quality violations.

Randall Arauz, Costa Rica
Drawing international attention to the inhumane and environmentally catastrophic shark finning industry, Randall Arauz led the campaign to halt the practice in Costa Rica, making his country the new international model for shark protection.

The Goldman Environmental Prize organization has developed a curriculum for Grades 9-12 in Environmental Ethics. This resource is sure to inspire future environmental leaders, and produce an even wider pool of great Prize candidates in the years to come.

Learn more and watch videos of each winner's story at the Goldman Prize site.

ADB forecasts economic rebound for Cambodia

via CAAI News Media

Posted : Tue, 20 Apr 2010
By : dpa

Phnom Penh - The Asian Development Bank on Tuesday predicted Cambodia's economy would return to growth this year, following an estimated 2-per-cent contraction in 2009 due to the global economic crisis.

The ADB forecast economic growth of 4.5 per cent this year and 6 per cent in 2011. The economy grew by an annual average of 9.1 per cent from 1998 to 2008.

ADB country economist Eric Sidgwick noted signs of recovery in the first quarter of 2010, with indications of growth returning to the three key economic pillars that were hit: garment manufacturing, construction and tourism.

But he said Cambodia must broaden its economic base and add value in all four key sectors including agriculture, which alone accounts for about one-third of gross domestic product.

He said tourism provided an example of a key industry needing to diversify.

"If you look at the rates of growth of tourist arrivals over the last several years, that rate of growth has been gradually declining - growth is still positive, but [the rate of growth] is declining," Sidgwick said.

"That is an indication that the tourism industry is maturing, in a sense."

To boost that growth rate would require a new wave of investments, to diversify away from its focus on the temples of Angkor Wat and to encourage visitors to stay longer.

"And I think there are good prospects for developing the tourist industry further in Cambodia, but it needs more than just Angkor Wat," he said.

Sidgwick said recovery in the key garment export markets of the United States and the European Union would dictate the extent of local recovery in the sector.

But he said to improve Cambodia's overall economic prospects, the government must ensure that reforms that have been on the table for years are now implemented. Integrating its economy into the region, where strong growth is expected, is also vital.

Sidgwick said the government's doubling of the budget deficit from 3 per cent in 2008 to 5.9 per cent last year was the right response as a short-term measure to the global economic crisis and "probably manageable," but warned it had not all been well-targeted.

"The fiscal stimulus impact of those measures could probably have been greater had the expenditures been targeted more to more productive investments and less on consumption," he said.

The ADB report said Cambodia's poverty rate, measured at 30.1 per cent in 2007, had likely risen due to the global economic crisis, although a lack of coordinated data meant that precise figures were not available.

Clients at New Albany nail salon recruited for phony marriages

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Five from New Albany, one from Sellersburg arrested


>>SOUTHERN INDIANA — A New Albany business is one of a handful of nail salons in the area where American citizens were allegedly enticed to take part in a scheme seeking to bypass immigration laws with phony marriages.

A female client of Pretty Nails Salon, on the 4200 block of Charlestown Road, was reportedly recruited by a worker there named Monirath Em, or Angel, in exchange for free nail services, cash and a trip to Cambodia, according to a federal indictment unsealed last week.

The client, whose name is not listed in court records, reportedly visited the nail salon about every two weeks from 2003 through 2006. Angel asked the client to sponsor her brother and sister, Borin Chum and Yota Em, to come to the United States.

The same person was later asked to marry Angel’s cousin for $5,000, but the offer was declined. Angel then asked the woman to go to Cambodia and pose as the cousin’s girlfriend.

She expressed concern about the legality of what she was being asked to do, but Angel reassured her, “I have an attorney. Trust me.”

Angel, 32, and her boyfriend, 39-year-old Michael Chanthou Chin, allegedly gave the client money for a U.S. passport and drove her to Louisville International Airport in February 2006. She flew to Cambodia and was photographed at an engagement ceremony before returning to the United States on March 4. The woman withdrew from the scheme, but a marriage between her and the unidentified man was registered in Cambodia in August 2006.

In April 2007, Angel flew to Cambodia and engaged the same person that her customer had previously “married,” while Chin also became engaged to another person. Chin and Angel returned to the United States without going through with the marriages.

Chin was reportedly a foreign-born Cambodian national who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2005. Angel also was foreign-born and became naturalized in 2006. They both lived in New Albany.

Borin Chum and Yota Em later married other American citizens in Kentucky and moved to New Albany.

Chin, Angel and 22-year-old Phearoun Peter Em, also known as Sophea Lim, of Sellersburg, were identified as three of the scheme’s six organizers.

According to court records, 23 people from three states have been indicted and arrested.

According to the allegations, U.S. citizens were paid between $1,000 and $5,000 to become engaged to foreign-born Cambodian nationals and file paperwork for them to obtain a visa. They were promised another $1,000 to $5,000 after the marriage and the arrival of the Cambodian-born national in the United States.

The American citizens were offered all-expense-paid vacations to Cambodia. They would stage photographs with their Cambodian fiancees at hotel rooms, beaches and tourist attractions. They were instructed to change their attire to make it appear as though the photographs were taken on different days.

The Americans were treated to restaurants, beaches, nightclubs and brothels. Sophea Lim even accompanied some of the Americans to Cambodia and offered to let young girls perform sexual favors for $7.

In one case in Louisville, an American woman charged in the indictment claimed she was threatened with murder after she attempted to back out of a fraudulent marriage. She went forward by completing immigration paperwork to obtain a fiancee visa and then participating in a marriage ceremony in Louisville.

Sangha Srey, 49, of New Albany, also entered the United States after participating in a fraudulent marriage, according to the indictment.

Some of the allegations date back to January 2000 and go until earlier this month. The conspiracy included more than 12 marriages and attempted marriages.

“[Immigration and Customers Enforcement] will not tolerate those who facilitate, arrange or profit from sham marriages to criminally exploit our nation’s generous immigration system,” said John Morton, Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE in a statement last week. “Marriage fraud results in an illegal shortcut to U.S. citizenship and poses a concern to our national security. All of those involved in these false marriages will be held accountable.”

The maximum penalties the suspects face are 75 years in prison, a $2.75 million fine and supervised release for 33 years.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Claire Phillips.

Most of the defendants appeared in federal court on Friday or Monday. Some have already been released on bond.

The Tribune contacted Pretty Nails Salon multiple days, but no manager was present and employees said they could not comment. Different Louisville attorneys have entered appearances for the defendants. Several attorneys contacted declined to comment.

DAP News ; Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

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EU Offers $1.6 Mln for Human Rights, Democracy Work in Cambodia

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 02:00 DAP-NEWS/ Tep Piseth

PHNOM PENH, April 20-The Delegation of European Union to Cambodia on Monday has launched its new call for proposals for human rights projects with a total allocation of €1.2 million (over $1.6 million).

“The funds are drawn from the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and aim to finance Cambodian NGOs whose work contributes to the development and consolidation of democracy and respect for all human rights in Cambodia, it said.

"The European Union values the expertise that many Cambodian NGOs possess, and notably the role that they can play in the field of strengthening human rights and democracy. This is why we are very keen in continuing our support to human rights defenders in Cambodia," said Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno, Chargé d' Affaires of the Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia quoted him as saying.

It added that funding is to promote the rights and empowerment of indigenous people and their communities, to enhance the role of women in society and politics, and to address human trafficking, to prevent torture and improve prison conditions, to ensure the respect for the rights of detainees and convicts, as well as to promote land security and tenure for the most vulnerable and marginalized groups.

It said that The EU has published this call for proposals every year since 2004, and it has awarded a total of € 10.5 million (about $ 14 million) in grants since then. The EU is currently funding 33 human rights projects, which are implemented by 26 national and international NGOs.

East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta Visits Cambodia

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 03:56 DAP-NEWS / Ouy Bun Leng

PHNOM PENH, April 20-East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Harta and 1996 Nobel Peace winner will visit Cambodia from 21-23 April to meet with Cambodian students in Phnom Penh and deliver his keys note about the “building the culture of peace and development in a globalized world”.

He also will meet Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on 21 April on bilateral talks,” the source close to the government said. East Timor is observatory country for ASEAN and it plans to join ASEAN soon.

His biography said that Jose Ramos Horta, was born December 26, 1949, has been Foreign Minister of East Timor since independence in 2002, having previously been a spokesman for the East Timorese resistance in exile during the years of Indonesian occupation between 1975 and 1999.

He was born in Dili, the capital of East Timor, to a Timorese mother and Portuguese father who had been exiled to East Timor by the Salazar dictatorship. He was educated in a Catholic mission in the small village of Soibada, later chosen by Fretilin as headquarters after the Indonesian invasion. Of his eleven brothers and sisters, four were killed by the Indonesian military.

He was actively involved in the development of political awareness in what was then Portuguese Timor which caused him to be exiled for two years in 1970 - 1971 to Portuguese East Africa. It was a family tradition as his grandfather had also suffered exile, from Portugal to the Azores Islands, then Cape Verde, Portuguese Guinea and finally to Portuguese Timor.

A moderate in the emerging Timorese nationalist leadership, he was appointed Foreign Minister in the "Democratic Republic of East Timor" government proclaimed by the pro-independence parties in November 1975.

Ramos Horta left East Timor three days before the Indonesian troops invaded to plead the Timorese case before the United Nations.

Ramos Horta arrived in New York to address the UN Security Council and urge them to take action in the face of the Indonesian military onslaught which would result in over 200. 000 East Timorese deaths between 1976 and 1981. José Ramos Horta was the Permanent Representative of Fretilin to the UN for the ensuing ten years.

In December 1996, José Ramos Horta shared the Nobel Peace Prize with his fellow countryman, Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo. The Nobel Committee chose to honor the two laureates for their 'sustained efforts to hinder the oppression of a small people', hoping that 'this award will spur efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict of East Timor based on the people's right to self- determination. The Committee considers José Ramos Horta 'the leading international spokesman for East Timor's cause since 1975.

José Ramos Horta studied Public International Law at The Hague Academy of International Law (1983) and at Antioch University where he completed an MA in Peace Studies (1984). He was trained in Human Rights Law at the International Institute of Human Rights In Strasbourg, France (1983). He attended Post-Graduate courses in American Foreign Policy at Columbia University, New York (1983). He is a Senior Associate Member of St Anthony's College, Oxford, England (1987).

PM Hun Sen to Open New Building of Anti-Terrorism

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 01:56 DAP-NEWS / Sreng Vibol

PHNOM PENH, April 20-Cambodian Prime Minister will attend the opening ceremony of new building of the national committee of anti-terrorism inside the military airbase near Phnom Penh international airport, source to the government said on Monday.

The official ceremony will conduct on Wednesday (April 21) and this office namely secretariat of the national committee of anti-terrorism, the source said.

This unit has been playing a key role to fight serious crimes and especially crime crossing borders, the source noted. This unit also has supported from the friendly countries for their training our officials and it so far has contributed actively to fight against terrorists who destroyed social security, peace and stability of the country and especially economic matters like money laundering,’ the sources added.

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni to Visit Japan

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 01:52 DAP-NEWS/ Tep Piseth

PHNOM PENH,April 20-“Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni will pay a state visit to Japan from 16-20 May this year to strengthen bilateral bonds for the two kingdoms,” the statement from Cambodian Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.

His Majesty Akihito, the emperor of Japan, is invited his majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni for this state visit, the statement said.

It added that during his stay in Japan, his Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom sihamoni will make a state call on their majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan.

His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni will participate in a state Banquet hosted by their Majesties the emperor and empress of Japan and a lunch hosted by His Excellency Mr. Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan, in his honor, the statement said.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia highly appreciates this state visit to Japan of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, which will further strengthen friendship and cooperation between the kingdom of Cambodia and Japan,” it added.

PM Hun Sen to Attend World Expo 2010 in China

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 04:30 DAP-NEWS/ Tep Piseth

PHNOM PENH,April 20-Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead the Cambodian delegation to attend the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China from 29 April -2 May, the statement from the Cambodian Government’s cabinet said on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has always joined the World Expo class in China in past years as the witness of strengthening bilateral bonds between the two countries.

China is the biggest loan provider for Cambodia as well as billions of US dollars investment in hydroelectric power plants and agricultural sector and help build rural infrastructure development in the country, and they are the old friends.

U.S. Injects $US16.2 Million for Three U.S. Democratic Institutions in Cambodia

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 06:03 DAP-NEWS/ Ek Madra

PHNOM PENH, April 20 – United States on Tuesday launched a five-year plan of $16.2 million program designed to promote accountability and transparency in government in Cambodia. The program will be implemented by a consortium composed of the International Republican Institute (IRI); the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).

“This program is designed to promote increased accountability and transparency in policy making and implementation, and it will encourage all Cambodians – from leaders to civil society groups to individuals – to be accountable for the decisions they make,” said U.S. Ambassador Carol A. Rodley at the official launch of accountability in governance and politics program, which also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

They will do this by supporting multi-party discussions and, in the run-up to the 2012 and 2013 elections, through candidate debates organized with all the competing parties, she said.

“By working side by side with Cambodians inside and outside of government, we have contributed to some notable successes,” said Rodley.

She also said that national and local elections have steadily improved, culminating in the National Assembly election in the summer of 2008, “which was conducted in a largely peaceful and orderly atmosphere and was widely regarded as the freest held in Cambodia”.

Cambodia’s democracy is young, but it has made substantial progress since the first national election in 1993, said Rodley.

She also said that the United States is pleased to have played even a small part in this process since 2001, when we launched our first good governance program in Cambodia.

Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Council of Ministers, said the project will be implemented in line with the government’s policies to ensure the equitable progress in the country.

“Under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Cambodia has adhered to improve democracy, pluralistic party system as well as the freedom of expression and so on.”

“Cambodia has been the safe heaven for NGOs”.

Former Vietnamese President Admires Cambodian Development: Official

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 06:04 DAP-NEWS / Ouy Bun Leng

PHNOM PENH, April 20-Former Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong on Tuesday met with Cambodian National assembly president Heng Samrin to exchange views about the relationship bonds between the two countries.

Mr. Kom Kosal, chief of Cabinet of the national assembly president said that Mr. Tran admired Cambodia about the country’s development with quick move and hoped Cambodia will progress with prosperity soon like other civilized countries.

Mr. Kosal continued that Mr. Tran visited here for first time in 2001 as Vietnamese president.

“Cambodia also thanked for the help in the past years and continued the bilateral cooperation for the mutual benefits of the two peoples and countries,” he noted. Mr Tran also will meet with Samdech Chea Sim, senate president on the same day.

Cambodian Growth Projected 4.5 pct This Year, 6 pct for 2011- ADB

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 07:29 DAP-NEWS

PHNOM PENH, April 20 – The Asian Development Bank said on Tuesday that Cambodian growth is projected 4.5 percent for 2010 and higher to 6 percent for next year thanks to good crops, increasing services, tourism and constructions.

“If the weather allows for reasonable crops in Cambodia, GDP is projected to rebound by 4.5 percent in 2010,” said the Bank release.

“In 2011, a return to higher—though still below trend—growth in garment exports and tourism, together with some expansion of non-garment manufacturing and a pickup in other services sub-sectors, is projected to raise GDP growth to around 6 percent,” it said.

Agricultural output is projected to expand by 4.7 percent assisted by efforts to increase irrigation and the greater availability of high-yield seeds, said the ADB.

The Bank said that the growth in services is projected to resume at around 5 percent for this year and construction activity will likely grow at a moderate rate of about 4 percent, as appetite for bank credit gradually recovers and inflows of foreign direct investment, particularly from Korea, resume for some projects.

Cambodia received 2.2 million tourists last year. The kingdom produced 7.3 million tonnes of rice for 2009/2010 of which the country saw another surplus of rice of 3.1 million tonnes available for export, according to the agriculture ministry.

ADB also said that Cambodian growth was almost double digits from 1998 to 2008, but the country’s growth was estimated contracted 2 percent in 2009 due to the global downturn in 2008.

The World Bank on April 7 said that Cambodian growth is projected at 4.4 percent for 2010, expects 6 percent for next year.

According to a joint statement—which joined by the World Bank, Cambodia and IMF—released at the news conference said Cambodian foreign direct investment (FDI) is estimated at $515 million for 2009, and it is projected to increase at $725 million for 2010.

The release said the value of FDI is expected to reach up to $800 million for 2011.

Cambodia, which has been successful with rice production in the last decade and this prospect remains unchanged, produced an estimated 7.3 million tonnes of rice for 2009/2010 of which the nation saw another surplus of rice of 3.1 million tonnes available for exports.

The kingdom’s exports was $USD 3.9 billion and imported was $5.4 billion for 2009.

The country projected exports for 2010 is $4.1 billion and imports are estimated $6.3 billion.

For next year, Cambodia expected exports to increase up to $4.6 billion and imports expected to increase up to $7 billion.

U.S. Hospital Ship to Visit Cambodia

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 08:48 DAP-NEWS/ Tep Piseth

PHNOM PENH, April 20-The U.S. hospital ship named “Mercy” will depart its home port here on Saturday bound for Asia including Cambodia and a series of humanitarian missions this summer, the statement from the navy ship Mercy obtained on Tuesday said.

The ship, along with a contingent of military medical, dental and engineering personnel and civilian volunteer specialists, will travel to Cambodia, and other countries including Vietnam, Indonesia and Timor-Leste as part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s “Pacific Partnership 2010” mission, 3rd Fleet officials in San Diego announced Monday. The ship will be arrived Cambodia soon.

Cambodia and The U.S. will mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relation in July with many social and cultural events. Both sides also plan to conduct military training exercise soon with hundreds of soldiers from other countries to take part in this exercise.

Along with Mercy, two other Navy ships, which officials did not name, will join in humanitarian civic assistance missions in Palau and Papua New Guinea.

Mercy, a Military Sealift Command ship commanded by Merchant Marine Capt. David Bradshaw, will leave San Diego Naval Base on May 1 for the overall missions led by Capt. Lisa Franchetti, who commands Destroyer Squadron 21 in San Diego. Navy Capt. Jeffrey Paulson, a medical officer, will command the military treatment facility aboard Mercy.

The 894-long, 69,000-ton ship is a former oil tanker that was converted into a floating hospital. It is equipped with a helicopter flight deck, specialized laboratories, 12 operating rooms, an 80-bed intensive-care unit and enough beds to house 1,000 patients.

The deployment isn’t Mercy’s first aid mission in Southeast Asia. During a four-month 2008 deployment under the Pacific Partnership banner, medical personnel aboard the ship treated more than 90,000 patients in visits to the Philippines, Vietnam, Federated States of Micronesia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea.

Singaporean Oil Company Acquired 25% Stake of Cambodian Oil Block with Chevron Corp

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 09:06 DAP-NEWS/ Tep Piseth

PHNOM PENH, April 20-The Singapore-based KrisEnergy Pte. Ltd said on Tuesday that the company earlier acquired a 25% stake in a Cambodian offshore block operated by a unit of Chevron Corp (CVX).

Te Duong Dara, director general of Authority of Cambodian Petroleum could not reach for comment.

KrisEnergy holds interests in nine exploration licenses in Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, it said. The Dow Jones media reported on Monday that the company has arranged a $150 million credit facility with Standard Bank Plc to fund recent acquisitions of oil and gas assets in Indonesia and Thailand.

"The credit facility enables the leveraged acquisition of oil and gas producing assets and was utilized in recently completed transactions in Indonesia and Thailand," the company said in a statement.

EU Helps over 2.6 Million US Dollars for Food Security in Cambodia

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 09:08 DAP-NEWS / Sreng Vibol

PHNOM PENH, April 20-European Union announced on Tuesday that it will provide over 2.6 million US dollar for the food security program for Cambodia. The fund will be implemented by the locally civil society projects that contribute to improve food security in Cambodia, the statement from EU here said. The projects will be launched here on April 22, it added.

Cambodia Trade Sector Wide Approach and the Way Forward

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 09:11 DAP-NEWS/ Soy Sophea .

Eleven projects adopted by the Sub-steering Committee on Trade Development and Trade Related Investment

PHNOM PENH – The Cambodian Government is taking stock of greater ownership of trade related foreign assistance in Cambodia, where a Trade Sector Wide Approach (Trade SWAp) mechanism was put in place as a unique model of coherent mechanism of trade development. The SWAp unites all activities funded by development partners to assist the Government to enhance the country’s trade potential, according to joint press statement of Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce and Swap Trade on Tuesday.

In a meeting held Tuesday in the Ministry of Commerce, eleven projects have been adopted by the Sub-steering Committee on Trade Development and Trade Related Investment for a total amount of around US$ 2 million, a year after the Trade Development Support Programme (TDSP) was launched.

These projects include as many areas as enhancing the capacity of the Ministry of Commerce and the special economic zones to effectively administer rules of origin, custom valuation, product information for trade promotion, drafting sanitary and phytosanitary standards, regulation on e-commerce or support to dialogue on minumum wages in garnment industries.

Over the next two days, seniors officials of the Ministry of Commerce, trade related line ministries along with private sector associations and representatives of development partners will be gathering in a Trade SWAp retreat, to provide up-to-date information on Cambodia’s trade specific intervention and the corresponding mechanisms, so as to define ambitious milestones for 2010.

Cham Prasidh, Minister of Commence, said in his opening speech that, even if there are recently some initial signs of recovery from the global financial crisis, Cambodia needs to sustain its efforts to constantly improve competitiveness and pave the way to facilitating trade and economic growth.

“Remarkable challenges related to regulation, finance, management capacity, staff incentive scheme and fiduciary have emerged from the (trade sector wide approach) execution, however we are here to acknowlege the achievements we accomplished, experiences we learnt, challenges we faced, and working out the way forward,” H.E. Dr. Cham Prasidh said.

Using the momentum created by the Prime Minister’s decision on Trade SWAp implementation creating a cross-ministerial Implementing Committee and the Ministry of Commerce’s Prakas of 04 February 2010, all related ministries are aiming at accelerating the process of building a conducive environment for traders, manufacturers and investors.

The Ministry of Commerce’s Prakas has achieved a remarkable milestone in coordinating trade technical assistance with three Working Groups that are overseeing progress in legal reforms, product and service development and capacity strengthening in trade support institutions.

The Cambodian trade specific intervention broadly aims at reducing the cost of doing business in the country. This includes legal reforms, trade facilitation, and product standards and reaches across all sectors—from fisheries to rubber and tourism through addressing legal reform and cross-cutting issues, product and service development for exports and capacity development for trade—and takes on board many of the Government’s ongoing reforms in such areas as decentralization and public finance management.

With continuous engagement from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which has been essential in enabling the sector wide approach to take shape over the last decade, Cambodia had successfully updated its Diagnosis Trade Integration Study (DTIS) in 2007.

Launched in March 2009, the Trade Development Support Programme (TDSP) is a trust fund providing US$ 12.6 million from the European Commission, the Danish International Aid Agency (DANIDA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and managed by the World Bank, for developing, financing and implementing an integrated trade strategy for an initial period of three years.

On 29 September 2009, Cambodia also gained access to the Tier 1 of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), seven years after having been selected as a pilot country under the Integrated Framework (IF) following the country’s accession to WTO.

EIF will allow the country to enhance its national capacity to formulate, implement, manage and monitor a pro-poor trade policy that is consistent with, and supportive of, the country's National Development Plan and its Millennium Development Goals.

An important part of the resources available will be used to share with other Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Cambodia's experiences of accession to the WTO and its success in bringing about coordinated development partner support to focus on its further integration into the world economy.

Bow, stretch and bend

Photo by: Sovan Philong

via CAAI News Media

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 15:01 Sovan Philong

Fishermen bend a boat back into shape at the Chhuc Tru fishing village in Kampong Chhnang province last Thursday in preparation for the rainy – and fishing – seasons.

Risks loom for opposition media

Photo by: Rick Valenzuela
A man picks up a newspaper from the newsstands on Street 51 south of Sihanouk Boulevard earlier this year.

via CAAI News Media

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 15:03 Chhay Channyda and James O’toole

AS opposition publisher Hang Chakra prepares to resume publication of his newspaper next week, observers say he faces a media environment in which the place of opposition outlets has, if anything, grown more precarious during his time behind bars.

The publisher of the opposition-aligned Khmer Machas Srok newspaper received a Royal pardon earlier this month and was released last week from Prey Sar prison, where since June he had been serving a one-year sentence for disinformation. He had been charged under the UNTAC criminal code in connection with a series of articles that accused officials working under Deputy Prime Minister Sok An of corruption.

Though Hang Chakra has vowed to resume printing articles critical of government corruption once his paper is back up and running, other publishers say the stifling of pro-opposition media figures is on ongoing trend that is unlikely to be reversed in the near future.

“Right now, we have only three [opposition-aligned] newspapers, but in 1993, we had around 10 newspapers,” said Hen Vipheak, publisher of the Sereypheap Thmey weekly newspaper, who was sentenced to one year in prison in 1995 for criticising the coalition government. He said that the risk inherent in his profession had driven away other would-be opposition journalists, citing Hang Chakra’s case as a particularly strong deterrent.

“Hang Chakra’s case is an example – we always think, ‘Who is the next to go to jail?’” he said. “This is our risk in having such a newspaper.”

Though editors in the capital have avoided prosecution in the past few months, cases against reporters in provincial courts have come regularly.

Radio Free Asia reporter Sok Serey was acquitted of disinformation charges by the Takeo provincial court in February, and Siem Reap provincial police filed a complaint against Koh Santepheap newspaper journalist Sim Samnang earlier this month, accusing him of disinformation and defamation. He is currently behind bars awaiting trial on unrelated extortion charges.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith emphasised the need for professionalism on the part of opposition media figures, saying that as long as they did not publish falsehoods, they had nothing to fear from the government.

“You have a lot of newspapers attacking the government, about everything, and no one goes to jail,” Khieu Kanharith said Monday.

Dam Sith, publisher of the Moneaksekar Khmer daily newspaper, said that although the opposition press had withered significantly over the years, it continued to fill the gaps in coverage produced by pro-government publications.

“We write about victims of land disputes, we write about corrupt officials and irregularities in society,” said the publisher, who resumed operations earlier this year after suspending publication last July under threat of defamation, disinformation and incitement charges filed by government lawyers.

An important element of the CPP’s media dominance is the vast financial power of its ruling elite, said Cambodian Centre for Human Rights president Ou Virak. Television broadcasting is expensive, and access is tightly controlled by the government, while the cost of newsprint and distribution is an obstacle for potential newspaper publishers, Ou Virak said. With Internet penetration still low, he cited radio as the most cost-effective medium for independent journalists to reach large numbers of Cambodians at the moment.

“The market is very small – not a lot of money to go around,” Ou Virak said, adding that the CPP’s “money machine” had helped establish a large number of pro-government outlets in a small market.

But, regardless of the challenges it faces, Hang Chakra said Monday that Khmer Machas Srok, which was forced to shut down earlier this month due to a financial shortfall, would soon resume its place in the public debate.

“I will still give constructive criticism to the government to improve my society,” Hang Chakra said. “The next issue will talk about corrupt government officials whom I have evidence against.”

Acid attack victim expelled from High Star talent show

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
At their home in February, Soam Sichoun, 52, shows the wounds that her daughter, 16-year-old talent show winner Hang Srey Leak, suffered in an acid attack last year.

via CAAI News Media

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 15:03 Mom Kunthear

A TALENT show star who was the victim of an acid attack late last year will not be able to compete in a finalists’ competition which begins next month because her scars are still too visible, the girl’s mother and one of the show’s organisers said Monday.

Soam Sichoun said her 16-year-old daughter, Hang Srey Leak, who was crowned one of the winners of TV9’s weekly talent show High Star in November 2009, has temporarily returned to Cambodia after being treated at a hospital in South Korea, but that she still has visible scars that will disqualify her from competing in the talent show.

“I plan to take my daughter back to the hospital in Korea at the end of this month for more treatment, and I will stay there for a year while my daughter receives treatment,” she said, adding that Hang Srey Leak has been treated in three hospitals since half a litre of acid was poured over her face, body and limbs as she stepped out of a Phnom Penh beauty salon in December of last year.

Dy Saveth, a former film star who is an organiser of High Star, said Monday that contestants with scars only on their bodies would be allowed to compete, but that facial scars meant automatic disqualification.

“We don’t allow the contestants to compete if they have scars on their face, even if they have the ability to be a star,” she said.

Chev Virak, a TV9 producer and the production director for High Star, in January said that Hang Srey Leak would not be allowed to compete in the talent show finals if she still has big scars on her body.

Soam Sichoun said Monday that she was motivated to seek further treatment in part by the hope that her daughter would be able to compete again.

“I feel very sorry for my daughter, and I really regret that she cannot join the final contest. I will allow her to be a star again when her wounds heal,” she said, adding that she has already spent over US$20,000 treating her daughter’s injuries, and that, although the hospital in Korea was not charging, it would still be an expensive process.

“The hospital does not charge my daughter for treatment, because they know she is a star, but I have to spend money on food and accommodation,” she said.

Following a spate of reported acid attacks that began late last year, a government committee began drafting a new law that its members have said will include stricter regulations for acid sales and tougher punishments for perpetrators of acid attacks.

The draft law was due to be finalised shortly after Khmer New Year.

Teng Savong, secretary of state at the Interior Ministry and director of the government’s Acid Committee, said Monday that the committee was still in the process of preparing the new draft law and could not confirm when it would be finalised.

UN official discusses KRT funds, progress

via CAAI News Media

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 15:03 James O'Toole

PATRICIA O’Brien, a UN under-secretary general who reports directly to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, met Monday with Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, praising the progress of the Khmer Rouge tribunal and also discussing the budgetary shortfalls it faces, court officials said.

Dim Sovannarom, a press officer for the tribunal, said a lack of funding for operations by the court’s national staff would force those officials to defer some of their salaries for this month.

“The national [side] doesn’t have regular salary to give to the staff for this April, so national side salaries will be paid only half,” Dim Sovannarom said, adding: “[O’Brien] said during the meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Sok An that she will support and do her best to talk with the donors to support the ECCC.”

In a statement released on Monday, the court said O’Brien and Sok An had confirmed “their strong support for the ECCC and their intention to continue to work closely together in a spirit of mutual cooperation and understanding to ensure that the legacy of the Court is preserved”.

With the court’s budget for 2010 and 2011 having been approved last week, O’Brien and Sok An “call upon the international community to come forward with contributions and pledges to both the national and the international components of the Court”, the statement said.

A meeting between donors and court officials has been scheduled for Thursday, Dim Sovannarom said, with the aim of resolving the financial shortfall facing the national staff.

Police Blotter: 20 Apr 2010

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Tuesday, 20 April 2010 15:01 Phak Seangly

Police in Kampong Speu province have arrested two men and are looking for two others accused of getting drunk and beating three people with sticks last Wednesday. Military police said the group of seven men were drinking alcohol together in a binge that lasted several hours. A verbal argument started somehow, leading them to attack one another with wooden sticks. Two of the suspects managed to escape.

Police in Poipet town are looking for four men accused of beating a man who tried to overtake their car on a motorbike. The 41-year-old victim told police while he was recovering at Banteay Meanchey provincial hospital that he tried to overtake the car, but ended up almost hitting it when he swerved to avoid a pothole. The group in the car then started to beat him, he said. During the beating, however, one of the assailant’s older sisters came to the scene and intervened, promising that she would help solve the dispute later. Police say they would only bring the four men to justice once they receive a letter of complaint from the victim’s family.

Police in Svay Rieng province have arrested a 55-year-old pawnbroker accused of accepting a stolen car. The arrest happened Saturday after police received a complaint letter from a car owner who said his vehicle had been stolen. Police said they found a luxury vehicle at the accused man’s house. Police said the pawnbroker said that he bought the car for US$30,000 last month. Police are currently looking for the man who sold the vehicle after he allegedly stole it.

Police in Kampot province arrested four accused prostitutes during a raid on a suspected brothel last Sunday. But police said the brothel’s owner and six patrons somehow managed to escape their grasp during the raid. Police said they also found 1 kilogram of a mysterious narcotic plant in the brothel. Authorities have seized the plants as well as five motorbikes.

Police in Kratie province have arrested a man, 46, accused of raping a woman on a ferry dock. Police said the assault happened Friday while the pair were waiting for a ferry to cross the river in the middle of the night. The man was brought to the police station after a patrolling officer decided the pair looked “suspicious”.

Kampong Speu villagers seek firm land boundaries

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Tuesday, 20 April 2010 15:02 May Titthara

KAMPONG Speu villagers embroiled in a dispute with Cambodian People’s Party Senator Ly Yong Phat met with local officials on Monday to reiterate their demand that clear boundaries be set between their farmland and land granted to the senator’s sugar company.

Meanwhile, about 300 villagers from Omlaing commune staged a protest near the site of the company’s 9,000-hectare land concession, located in Thpong district’s Omlaing commune, with the aim of preventing future clearing operations, villagers said.

On Monday evening, about 400 Omlaing villagers blocked National Road 52 to express their frustration with the company, said Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for the rights group Licadho. He added that he worried that tension could spill over into violence.

Now we cannot do anything. we need to plant rice, but we cannot.

Suon Ly, a resident of Omlaing commune who joined in the earlier protest, said that more than 1,000 hectares of disputed land encircling the village and the villagers’ farmland had already been cleared by the company.

“Now we cannot do anything,” he said. “We need to plant rice, but we cannot because we don’t have clear boundaries between the villagers’ land and land granted to the company yet.”

Tuon Song, the governor of Thpong district, said he had met with both villagers and company representatives on Monday and that he would pass on the villagers’ request to the provincial governor.

“I will let the villagers know about their request on April 22 after I get an answer from the provincial governor,” he said.

Fearing the company would try to clear a portion of the land under the cover of darkness, about 100 villagers slept in their fields overnight Sunday despite rainy conditions, said representative San Tho.

“We did not dare to go anywhere,” San Tho said. “We stayed in the village because we were afraid that the company’s employees would grab our land.”

“Last night we were in a bad situation because of the rain,” he added.

Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for the rights group Licadho, said he is worried the villagers will face a shortage of food if the company continues to clear land and prevents them from planting crops.

“It is the season for planting rice, but the villagers cannot because they must protect their land,” he said.

Am Sam Ath said the company should allow the villagers to plant rice, and that its representatives should “continue to negotiate”.

“It’s a violation of the Land Law because the company is grabbing the villagers’ land without finding a resolution,” he said.

Chhean Kimsuon, representative for the Phnom Penh Sugar Company, declined to comment on Monday.

SKorean marriage ban to be rescinded

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Tuesday, 20 April 2010 15:02 Mom Kunthear

THE government is set to lift a ban imposed on marriages between Cambodian women and South Korean men, though no new rules or procedures concerning such unions have been established, an Interior Ministry official said Monday.

On March 5, Cambodia temporarily banned marriages between local women and South Korean men after a marriage broker was sentenced to 10 years in prison for recruiting 25 girls from rural areas and arranging for them to be married off to South Korean men. At the time, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said the ban would not be lifted until the government put in place a screening mechanism to prevent trafficking.

Chou Bun Eng, a secretary of state at the Interior Ministry, said Monday that the government would soon resume permitting marriages between Cambodian women and South Korean men, but that no new protocols had been put in place.

“We don’t have strong conditions for allowing marriages between Cambodian women and South Korean men. We just want them to respect the guidelines stipulated in sub-decree 183,” she said, referring to the sub-decree governing marriages between Cambodians and foreigners.

Koy Kuong said Monday that a note addressing the lifting of the ban would be sent to all embassies “soon”.