Saturday, 14 August 2010

Radio FM 102 Tonle ( Cambodia)

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press

via Khmer NZ

PM: Talks To Be Resumed After Ratification of Bilateral Agreements by Thai Parliament

Phnom Penh, August 13, 2010 AKP --

Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, has expressed his government’s stance to resume the bilateral border negotiations after Thai Parliament ratified the last three bilateral border agreements.

If the bilateral talks do not work, we will invite the third party, stressed Samdech Techo Hun Sen here on Thursday at the closing ceremony of a meeting on the protection of Tonle Sap Lake.

He further asked the Thai side not to be afraid of the participation from the third party, which could be ASEAN or UN or special envoy of the UN secretary general or any dignitary such as president of Indonesia.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen also said he would propose the UN secretary general who will pay a visit to Cambodia on Oct. 27-28 to play the role as coordinator for this border issue.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen also reacted to the Thai side, which insisted on the withdrawal of the Cambodian troops and people from the 4.6-square kilometer area (near Preah Vihear Temple) it considered as overlapping zone. “Where is that area of 4.6 square kilometers,” he asked, recalling that according to the judgment of the Hague International Court of Justice in 1962, the Preah Vihear Temple and its surrounding area belong to Cambodia. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)


Cambodian Premier Presides Over the Closing of Meeting on Tonle Sap Lake Conservation

Phnom Penh, August 13, 2010 AKP --

Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen presided over the closing ceremony of a meeting on Tonle Sap Lake conservation held here on August 12.

The meeting was also attended by government officials, foreign ambassadors to Cambodia, and representatives of local and international organizations as partners of Tonle Sap authorities.

After a two-day meeting, some factors were found as a cause for destroying a flooded forest plain of Tonle Sap Lake, said Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Yim Chhay Ly, chairman of the Council for Rehabilitation and Development of Agriculture and Rural Area in his report presented at the event.

He said an area of 640,000 hectares in six provinces situated around Tonle Sap Lake is determined as protected area of flooded forests.

Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen appealed to the concerned institutions, mainly the six provincial authorities, to revive Tonle Sap Lake which is now being affected by serious destruction and anarchic acts.

“The area served as a special eco-system for providing shelter for fish to lay eggs will be lost and destroyed.”

Therefore, he said, the royal government, with the participation of the related institutions as well as people, has to take measure against and prevent the destruction of protected area of Tonle Sap Lake. --AKP

(By THOU Peou)


International Exercise to Prepare for Severe Pandemics To Be Held in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, August 13, 2010 AKP --

ASEAN, the United Nations and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will host the Southeast Asia Regional Multisectoral Pandemic Preparedness and Response Tabletop Exercise in Phnom Penh from Aug. 16 to 20.

The five-day exercise, a first of its kind anywhere in the world, will focus on managing the impacts of severe pandemics on societies, governments and organizations in the Asia-Pacific region.

This tabletop exercise will help us response on time to the outbreak of any pandemic as well as to natural disasters, said ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan.

Representative from nine of the 10 ASEAN member states and observer states, senior representatives and leading experts from regional intergovernmental organizations, UN agencies, other key international bodies and NGOs responding to animal and pandemic influenza will take part in the international event.

The upcoming exercise is expected to attract over 170 high level participants. --AKP

(By CHAN Soratha)


U.S. Praises Cambodian Military’s Mine Clearance Action

Phnom Penh, August 13, 2010 AKP --

The U.S. Capstone delegation praised and highly valued Cambodia for its military mine clearance mission since 2006.

The appreciation was made known here on Aug. 11 by former General Michael Carns, head of U.S. Capstone delegation during a meeting with General Sem Sovanny, director general of the National Center for Peacekeeping Forces and ERW Clearance (NPMEC).

Cambodia has successfully completed the mine clearance and order-keeping missions in Chad, Sudan, and Republic of Central Africa under the UN umbrella.

In the meeting, General Sem Sovanny profoundly thanked the U.S.’ spiritual and material support to Cambodia to successfully achieve its UN mission.

He also said that the historic success of the multinational peacekeeping military exercise hosted recently by Cambodia “Angkor Sentinel 2010” was really inseparable from the U.S. army’s support. --AKP

(By CHEA Vannak)


9th National Medical and Pharmacy Day Held

Phnom Penh, August 13, 2010 AKP --

The 9th National Medical and Pharmacy Day was held here yesterday at the National Institute of Education in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Yim Chhay Ly.

Speaking at the event, H.E. Yim Chhay Ly said the royal government in the 4th mandate considers the health improvement as the key factor for human resource development and social economic sustainability.

H.E. Yim Chhay Ly went on to say that the main priority of health field is to reduce the mother and child mortality rate.

Dr. Seng Sok Hun, president of the France-based Cambodian Physician Association and also co-chairman of the 9th National Medical and Pharmacy Day said that four associations from France and Cambodia participated in this event with an aim to exchange experiences and learn about the progress of the medical and pharmacy fields in Cambodia as well as in the world. --AKP

(By Théng)


Cambodian Scholarship Students Leave for Europe

Phnom Penh, August 13, 2010 AKP --

As many as 33 Cambodian students and professors from the Royal University of Phnom Penh and the Institute of Technology of Cambodia will continue their studies in Europe under the European Commission’s Erasmus Mundus program.

The farewell ceremony was held here on Aug. 12 in the presence of Minister of Education, Youth and Sports H.E. Im Sethy, Chargé d’Affaires of the European Delegation to Cambodia Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno and representatives of the receiving countries’ embassies in Cambodia.

The Cambodian students and professors will pursue bachelor, master, doctorate, and post-doctorate’s degree programs in Business, Engineering (Automobile, Computer, Electronic, Industrial, Telecommunication), Construction, Environment, English Teacher Training, International Relations, and Urban studies in France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

Erasmus Mundus is a co-operation and mobility program in the field of higher education that aims to enhance the quality of European higher education and to promote dialogue and understanding between people and cultures through co-operation with countries outside the European Union. --AKP

(By LIM Nary)

Investments on Islands in the Cambodian Sea Is Full of Secrets and Corruption as They Are Not Put UP for Public Bidding – Friday, 13.8.2010

via Khmer NZ

Posted on 14 August 2010
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 677

“A high ranking official of the Sam Rainsy Party demanded the government to clarify the investments by private companies on some islands in the Cambodian sea. People want to know which companies control those islands and the leasing prices, and for how long. A request was made after the Cambodian government handed over some islands to local and foreign companies for investment, but the investment opportunities were not put up to facilitate accurate and transparent public biddings.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, said that it is illegal that the government delivered these islands to private companies, and the income from these investments is not inserted into the national budget. The investment or concession arrangements for those islands are confidential and corrupt. Mr. Son Chhay, said, ‘Where will the income from the islands be taken? As a parliamentarian, we have to observe and monitor the national income, after the government had issued sub-decrees to hand those islands over to companies, but we have not seen any documents about the amount of income from these leasings and concessions.’

“Mr. Son Chhay added that islands in the sea have as high a potential for the Cambodian economy as the beaches near Kep, Koh Kong, and Sihanoukville, because they attract national and international tourists. However, the government does not put them up for public bidding; this also affects the environment, and the background of the companies is not known. He said, ‘We have received information that several Khmer islands have been handed over by the government to powerful people or to relatives of government officials, and they then leased some islands to some foreign companies, exploiting for themselves the interests of the Khmer people.’

“In his response, a Cambodian People’s Party parliamentarian and chairperson of the Commission of Economy, Finance Banking, and Audit, Mr. Cheam Yeap, acknowledged that the government did not put the investment on those islands for public auction, because the government does not have detailed plans, to show them to the clients for bidding. Since the government was not able to create detailed plans, putting them for public bidding is impossible. This recognition by such a high ranking official from the Cambodian People’s Party shows that the investment or leasing of the islands to some companies is mysterious and can be plagued by corruption.

“Mr. Son Chhay stressed that he requested the government in writing since 2006 to clarify investments and leasing of islands to some companies without transparent public bidding, but he has not received any response from the government. Now, he is collecting documents to be used as evidence about the impact and the corruption, in order to submit them to the government and ask for clarification again. The intention is to summon ministers or other government representatives to clarify these investment on some islands that are being developed – their shares were sold in Hong Kong – in order to know whether such activity is legal or not, and whether it conforms with basic procedures. If there is no clarification, it can be concluded that what was done before was the illegal sale of some islands of the country.

“In July 2010, the Ministry of Tourism cooperated with UNESCO towards the registration of some beaches of Cambodia among the world most beautiful beaches [Reference not clear, maybe the UNESCO Environment and development in coastal regions and in small islands program, concerned with 'environmentally sustainable, socially equitable, culturally respectful and economically viable development']. It is expected that there will be strong support from national and international tourism. Also, the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon, said that after Cambodian beaches will have been noted, the Ministry of Tourism is trying to make some Cambodian beaches to be fully listed among the world’s most beautiful beaches during the nomination next year.

“Nevertheless, non-government officials watching the environment in Cambodia noticed that some companies taking charge of island developments do not study the effects on the environment. Like on Puos Island, while there is yet no result from the developments by a Russian company, there is mysterious information and it might be related to corruption. Obviously, the Puos Island development plan has not been provided any benefit to the nation, besides environmental deterioration and impacts on the living conditions of citizens who used to do fishing near the island.

“According to expert officials, there are about 40 islands in the Khmer sea with investment potential where some have already been developed, while some others are being developed by companies such as Rong Island, P’Oun Island, Bang Island, and Puos Island. Recently, the Cambodian government provided licenses to private companies to invest on four more islands in Koh Kong, such as Sameth, Putsa, Chhan, and Toteung islands. Among those companies, there are also Yuon [Vietnamese] companies, and the development periods are up to 90 years. This might lead of the loss of Cambodian territory, as the Cambodian government does not present investment contract documents for those companies.

“A non-government organization official in Kampot said that some years ago, a Yuon company, Try Pheap, developed Tonsay Island in Kep and evicted the Khmer citizens living there from that island. At present, that Yuon company has not continued its developments. After it obtained the license, it stopped its activities. Such a problem emerged, as previously the government did not conduct public biddings and did not set clear conditions publicly before offering a license to that private company. Therefore, from now on, the government must conduct public biddings before providing licenses to companies to develop and operate on islands in the Cambodian sea, in order to avoid secret and strongly corrupt practices as in the past.”

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3957, 13.8.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 13August 2010

Experts call for solutions to get China-ASEAN transport network back on track

via Khmer NZ

NANNING, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- A proposed transport network stretching from the south China city of Nanning to Singapore that would help create a southeast Asian economic community has stalled largely due to unresolved funding and administrative issues, experts said Friday.

The Nanning-Singapore (N-S) Economic Corridor, a system of highways and railways connecting major southeast Asian cities, is a focal point at the fifth Pan-Beibu Gulf (PBG) Economic Cooperation Forum in Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The project, which would include Hanoi, Vientiane, Phnom Penh, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, would help bring about a comprehensive development zone, said Professor John Wong, of the East Asian Institute of Singapore, at the two-day forum, which opened Thursday.


Last month, 20 government officials and experts from China's National Development and Reform Commission, and the foreign, commerce and railways ministries and local think tanks made a 10-day study tour of the proposed N-S Corridor.

After holding five seminars with think tanks from Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, the study team concluded the plan was both feasible and meaningful.

The integrated transport infrastructure already largely existed in the China-ASEAN region, said Gu Xiaosong, the study team leader and deputy head of the Academy of Social Sciences of Guangxi.

A highway network had been proved feasible to some extent by the China-ASEAN International Car Rally Race, which was successfully held in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

In the race, which was jointly sponsored by China's central government and Guangxi regional government, drivers largely followed the routes of the N-S corridor.

The railway from Nanning is connected to Vietnam's North-South railway. From southern Vietnam, the railway link can be extended to Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and eventually Singapore. The sections from Nanning to the Vietnam-Cambodia border and from the Cambodia-Thailand border to Singapore have been completed and are in operation.

Railways between neighboring cities are already in place, except for the 300-kilometer stretch from Phnom Penh to Hanoi. The tracks from Nanning to Hanoi have been standardized. To make the N-S connection operational, the tracks in other sections must be standardized to make them compatible with the Nanning-Hanoi rail tracks.


However, experts say various political, economic and social challenges lie ahead, and no timetable has been made public for building and revamping the necessary sections of the corridor.

Since the project was first proposed, governments of ASEAN nations have voiced support for the project, but little substantial progress has been made.

Gu Xiaosong said poorer countries like Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia most needed funding to revamp domestic roads, as Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia already had good transport infrastructure.

"The project will have to clear its first hurdle of funding," said Wong. Aside from a 10-billion-U.S.-dollar ASEAN Investment Fund set up by the Chinese government, the project could also be funded by Japan and the Republic of Korea, and multilateral sources like the Asian Development Bank, he said.

Wong said, in the final analysis, the pace of development was not independent of ASEAN's own progress towards regional cooperation. He suggested the project be brought under the wider China-ASEAN cooperation framework.

Klaus Gerhaeusser, director general of the East Asia Department at the Asian Development Bank (ADB), said at the Forum that improving transport infrastructure within the China-ASEAN region was one of the priorities of ADB, and it was willing to provide funding for the N-S Corridor.

But Gu Xiaosong said the ADB would not issue loans for the project until a concrete and substantial plan is reached among China and the ASEAN nations.

Yeoh, of the Malaysian Strategy & Leadership Institute, said China and ASEAN should encourage more private sector participation in the project, which would boost the efficiency of the construction and the operation of the corridor.

Beyond the "hardware" was the need to tackle the many "software" issues, such as administrative co-ordination among regions and localities, said Wong.

"This includes negotiation among the relevant regions or localities to simplify and streamline the CIQ (customs, immigration and quarantine) procedures in order to facilitate travel and logistics," he said.

"There are also long-term challenges of coping with the social aspect of development in connection with community building and human development efforts, particularly in terms of people-to-people contacts," Wong said.


The N-S economic corridor was proposed by experts and political leaders at the first PBG Economic Cooperation Forum in 2006 as the "axis" in the "One Axis, Two Wings" plan for economic integration between China and ASEAN in which the PBG Economic Zone and the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) are the two wings.

Transport ministers of China and ASEAN nations agreed in 2007 that the two sides should make joint efforts to build an efficient, secure and environment-friendly regional transport system and a strategic transport system development plan was signed.

Since then, the project has won support from China's central government.

When the project is completed, it would take only two days to travel overland between Singapore and Nanning. "China and the six ASEAN members would gain from the improved transportation and communications network, which will enhance trade, investment and tourism," said Wong.

At the forum, Thailand's Deputy Minister of Commerce, Alongkorn Ponlaboot, said the transport cost for Thailand exporters could cut costs by a third when the N-S Corridor was completed.

Tram Ivtek, Minister of Public Works and Transport of Cambodia, said the Cambodian government had made great progress in improving the domestic transport system with help from development partners, including China.

"We will continue to seek help from development partners and give high priority to the reconstruction of the transport network connecting all parts of the country as well as the rail networks of neighboring countries," Ivtek said.` The N-S Corridor would also bring obvious economic benefits, including better division of labor, increased tourism and demand for services, said Michael Yeoh, chief executive officer of the Malaysian Strategy & Leadership Institute.

Li Xinghua, deputy head of planning at China's Ministry of Transport, said transport infrastructure was one of the key aspects of China-ASEAN cooperation, and the N-S corridor would reinforce the cooperation.

It would lay a solid foundation for deeper and wider economic relations between China and ASEAN countries, said Ma Biao, head of the Guangxi autonomous regional government, at the forum.

Vietnam helps Cambodia treat drug addiction

via Khmer NZ


Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Ke Kim Yan, chairman of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, on August 13 paid a working visit to FATACO Export Import Company, in the southern province of Ben Tre, the manufacturer of Bong Sen, a detoxification drug.

Deputy PM Ke Kim Yan spoke highly of the cooperation between the State, Government and people of the two countries in many areas, especially in combating criminals and drugs.

FATACO Director Nguyen Thi Phan said that in December, 2009, the company sent a group of health workers to Cambodia to guide the use of Bong Sen medicine as a treatment for drug detoxification. As a result, within half a month, 21 patients recovered and integrated well into the community.

China's assistance benefits whole society of Cambodia: Cambodian DPM

via Khmer NZ

August 14, 2010

China's aid to Cambodia contributes to the country's social and economic development, and significant reduction in poverty, said Sok An, deputy prime minister, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"The relations between Cambodia and China, I could say without hesitation is very good," Sok An said. "China is one of the main development partners of Cambodia and has provided significant assistance to Cambodia."

"Most of China's assistance is for infrastructure development, such as construction and repairs of roads and bridges and for other important development projects such as irrigation system, expansions of river port, electricity distributions, and many others," said Sok An.

Moreover, China has also assisted Cambodia's human resources development through providing scholarships to deserving Cambodian students and government officials to study in China.

Sok An, also the minister of Council of Ministers, said that " the roads and bridges have strategic role to play in facilitating local and regional transport and an access to remote areas, so goods and services can move faster from one place to another. This in turn leads to price reduction, benefiting consumers."

He pointed out that Chinese assistant projects helped to attract more investment from all sectors to different parts of Cambodia, which can create jobs for people there. So they can generate more income to support their families.

At the same time, these assistant projects (roads and bridges) have promoted tourism "which is important for employment creation and for enhancing national and sub-regional activities and thus economic growth as the transportation cost is reduced."

Besides, these roads and bridges have connected people from more developed areas to less developed ones; for example, providing faster access to education and health services, the deputy prime minister said.

China-funded construction of roads to Preah Vihear Temple unambiguously plays crucial role in opening up Preah Vihear area, he said. It both helps promote and preserve Cambodia's rich cultural heritage and attracts national and international tourists to the area.

The deputy prime minister said China's aid, with the participation of private sector, has resulted in "impressive economic growth, reaching double digits of 11 percent during 2004- 2007; and significant reduction in poverty from 49 percent in 1994 to 35 percent in 2004, to 30 percent in 2007 and to 27.4 percent in 2008 and it is even lower today."

Sok An during the interview cited some mega projects funded by China, including: Building of the Office of the Council of Ministers; Prek Kdam bridge; Prek Tamak bridge; Cambodia-China Friendship Se Kong bridge; National Road No. 57 (Pailin); National Road No. 62 from Kampong Thom to Tbeng Meanchey, Preah Vihear; National Road No.8, connecting Krek and Meun Chey; and National Road No. 76 from Senmonorom (Mondul Kiri) to Dakdam.

The China's assistance to Cambodia started on 1950s, including grants and loans. Since then 110 projects have been implemented, includes providing large quantities of commodities.

"In the meantime, China's assistance is effective and the implementation of the China-funded projects in Cambodia is made with minimal procedural requirements," he stressed.

Sok An said that Cambodia needs more financial and technical support for further development, so he hopes that the bilateral cooperation relations between Cambodia and China will be further strengthened.

Source: Xinhua

From Tinseltown to the Trash Heap: One Man, Big Change

via Khmer NZ

August 13, 2010

YouthGive contributing writer Matt Robertson shares his story from travels in Cambodia:

Words from pleading voices ring out: "Scott, take my child...take my child to study, please...please take him!" These words still echo in my mind a month after returning to the States from my exploration through Cambodia. Women bring their children up to us, asking for a chance at education for their child, as we tour through the garbage dumps looking for abandoned kids with no support. These images will stay with me forever.

This scene was one of many I witnessed while volunteering last month at the Cambodian Children's Fund in Phnom Penh. The experience provided for me an absolutely illuminating perspective, having grown up in a privileged Northern California community, taking excellent education for granted.

I had taken a year off from Pitzer College and used the opportunity to join my mother on a three-month sojourn throughout Southeast Asia. After she returned to California, I decided to continue exploring with one of my best friends. After lounging and soaking in the Indonesian culture and reveling in the backpackers highway for three weeks (good fun!), we decided it was time to look beneath the surface and see if we could return the gift of travel by somehow giving back to the part of the world we were blessed to be traveling in.

I had met Scott Neeson at a fundraiser for the Cambodian Children's Fund (CCF) in San Francisco. During our brief exchange it was obvious that helping in Cambodia was his passion and life's work. The former President of 20th Century Fox International, Scott was used to the best Hollywood had to offer...big time money and lots of power. But then Scott traveled to Cambodia between job contracts, and this was the experience that would change his life forever.

During his initial stay, Scott witnessed soul searing poverty and brutal circumstances shocking to most of us in America. Seven months after returning to his new job, Scott said, "the virus had set in," and continuing his Hollywood life as before was clearly no longer an option. "This is simple," he told himself, "I have so much, and they have so little..." He sold everything and moved to Cambodia to help in whatever way he could.

 It is now six years later and Scott is busy at work using his skillful management in collaboration with a fantastic local staff to truly transform one of the poorest communities in Cambodia. Three thousand families in the Meanchey District of Phnom Phen suffer from extreme poverty, debt, sexual abuse and child trafficking, as well as vicious domestic violence. CCF is committed to taking the kids in the worst situations and providing them with education, medical care, a safe living environment, and essentially a second chance at life. And they are doing it.

But he can't help everyone...not yet.

Growing since it's founding in 2004, CCF now houses 515 children who previously lived on the dumps in four residential facilities. The facilities are complete with full-time staff, computer labs with learning software and educational tools such as books, pens and paper, white boards and vocabulary posters. Children in the program benefit from safe and secure shelter, a nutritional diet, medical treatment, dental services and vaccinations. Scott has also set up "Satellite Schools" which teach English to hundreds of the applicants on the waiting list still living in harsh conditions. The four facilities are now at their maximum capacity and the organization lacks sufficient funding to expand beyond their latest developments.

Some of these new developments CCF has introduced are programs that aim to uplift the whole community rather than focusing exclusively on the children. "You can't take a child out of the family and expect them to be good and balanced citizens," says Scott. CCF seems to be helping redefine exactly what "family" means in this society where virtually anyone in their 30's and older experienced the Khmer Rouge genocide of the late 1970s. Many are missing an essential ingredient of wisdom passed down from generation to generation of child rearing skills and ethical behavior. CCF's new programs are directed towards educating local families with this essential knowledge and also providing nurturing environments for the children to have the opportunity to reach their fullest potentials.

Scott and the Cambodian staff have an uncanny ability to identify community needs and devise solutions that address them. A maternal care program now provides local women with childcare classes and basic necessities for caring for their newborns. A nursery provides a safe play and basic learning environment for preschool children ages 2-5. The "Engender Program" provides mothers with well-paid daytime jobs making tote bags as a way of livelihood. And the "Excelerators Program" provides extra-curricular educational opportunities that, in the past, have included two contingents of students who visited the Global Youth Leadership Summit in the United States.

However, the most impressive experience for me was witnessing the lively, vital Community Center built in the midst of the dump. At one corner CCF has provided a free clean water pump that acts as a convening place for the surrounding locals and has cut the infant mortality rate in HALF. Rice and soup can be bought daily at a discounted price, and the nursery buildings surround the border of a volleyball court. A medical building provides free medical check-ups (the only one in Cambodia to do so) and performs minor surgeries. Community "disco" dances are organized once a month with bright lights and good music that provide a safe and appropriate environment for boys and girls to meet each other and hang out at night. It has truly become the heart of the community.

Cambodia has been a major wake-up call for me. Working with CCF and engaging in cross-cultural exchange has provided me with a perspective I had previously lacked. I no longer take access to schooling for granted. I have truly realized that education is not my right; it is my privilege and an incredible gift that is up to me to take advantage of. For many of the young people I have met while traveling around Asia, going to college is their highest aspiration. Unfortunately most cannot afford the comparatively modest costs required for course tuition.

But perhaps the greatest lesson I have taken back with me from my travels is that despite the traditional differences each culture claims as their historical heritage, humanity shares a common thread in our fundamental needs for life. As the Internet and social media networks continue to expand to a global platform, it is easier than ever to learn about what is happening in the rest of the world and suddenly peoples problems are not so far away. Now, you CAN make a difference.

I asked Scott what might be the best way for someone to help contribute to CCF, knowing that most people do not have the opportunity to travel to Cambodia and see for themselves what needs to be done. His answer surprised me: "Just being aware of what is going on out there makes the biggest difference." Being home now I feel those words resonate within me. By knowing what some people live through on a daily basis there has been a deep shift in priorities in myself and smaller things I was previously preoccupied with seem to no longer hold as much weight.

But that being said, CCF still greatly benefits from any kind of donation, and I was impressed by what they can do with just a little financial support. Even with a small donation you can provide two young children with education for a month. Thirty dollars can feed a child suffering from malnutrition and $1200 covers an entire year of expenses in the program.

A child's resilience is a fantastic inspiration to witness. With just a little attention and the right environment, a child who used to pick trash everyday can grow up with aspirations to better their culture's way of life, and have the skills to do so. The kids and young adults at CCF proved this to me every single day of my time there. All children have incredible potential, yet most lack appropriate resources to nurture it.

"Is this all it takes to change the lives of two children?" Scott reflected in his early days in Phnom Penh. Five hundred and fifteen children later, he is working harder than ever to provide these kids with the resources they need to become Cambodia's next generation of movers and shakers.

Arisman spotted by tourists singing in Siem Reap hotel

via Khmer NZ

Published: 14/08/2010

The Department of Special Investigation is working with police to hunt down Arisman Pongruengrong, a hard-line red shirt protest leader, who is reported to have been seen in a hotel in Cambodia.

On Tuesday, Mr Arisman who has fled the terrorism charge against him, was apparently spotted by Thai tourists in the City Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap.

He was reportedly seen among a group of 10 Thai people in a restaurant in the hotel singing songs. DSI chief Tharit Pengdit said DSI officials are working with police to bring Mr Arisman back to Thailand as soon as possible.

The DSI's indictment of 25 red shirt protesters and pro-Thaksin Shinawatra politicians on terrorism charges has prompted state agencies to gear up efforts to bring back those who have fled abroad, including Thaksin, he said.

Two Puea Thai MPs - Jatuporn Prompan and Karun Hosakul - have enjoyed parliamentary immunity from being held by police, but Mr Tharit said that in the wake of their indictments they are now suspects and must appear at the first court hearing scheduled for Aug 16 and also seek a court ruling on bail.

Sirisak Tiyapan, director for international affairs of the Office of the Attorney-General, said the only way to bring Thaksin back is to ask the country where he is now staying to extradite him.

Thaksin is believed to be living in Montenegro in southeastern Europe where he has secured citizenship.

D.O.B unknown – Former Cambodian orphan and refugee running for Congress

via Khmer NZ

by Staff Writer on August 13, 2010

Sam Meas and his daughters, Monique and Sydney. (Courtesy of Sam Meas)

Born under the Khmer Rouge regime as an orphan, Sam Meas does not know which year he was born, since the all the birth records were destroyed by the regime. But he knows he should be somewhere between 37 and 40 years old. He grew up in a refugee camp in Thailand was later adopted by an American when he was a teenager. Despite his tough childhood, Meas, a Haverhill resident, has big dreams. For one, he is running as a Congress candidate in the Republican primary in November, representing the Fifth District. Meas opens up to the Sampan at his past, present and future.
Sampan: First, tell us about yourself.

Meas: I decided several years ago to settle in MA and to raise my family in the 5th District. I first came to the United States as an orphan immigrant via a refugee camp inside Thailand called Kao-I_Dang by way of Catholics Charities of Richmond, Virginia in 1986. I was adopted by a single parent who provided me with unconditional love and affection.

I graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance in 1996. Upon graduation, I moved to New England, and I’ve been settled here ever since. I was a Principal with State Street Global Advisors prior to my resignation in April to campaign full time.

I am married to Leah, my beautiful wife, for over eight years. Together, we have two beautiful daughters, Monique and Sydney Suan-Meas. By chance, Monique and Sydney have the same birthday, March 24. They are exactly two years apart.

Spending time with my wife and two daughters are now my primary interests. I like to hike, hunt, fish, golf and visit science museums. As the girls get older, we would like to take them on cross country trips to see America the beautiful! America is such a great country and there is so much to see!

We believe that America is not just like any other country. America is an exceptional country and we are proud to be Americans. We believe in the exceptional spirit of the American people. We have great respect and profound admiration for the “American Dream”. We will protect and defend the United States Constitution so that we can pass on the blessing of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Sampan: When did you come to the United States? Describe your immigrant experience.

Meas: I was born in Cambodia between 1970-1972. I don’t know my own birthday. I lived in a refugee camp inside Thailand for three years. I came to the United States as an orphan immigrant by way of Catholics Charities of Richmond, Virginia in 1986. I was adopted by a single parent who provided me with unconditional love and affection.

Like most immigrants, I initially had difficulty adjusting to life in the United States. I experienced cultural and language barriers just like many other immigrants. The culture shock was overwhelming at first. I survived the genocidal communist regime of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, lived in a refugee camp, and received hardly any formal education. And within a span of about 24 hours, I left hell to come to heaven. Simple things such as my st time using the toilet, taking a shower and sleeping on a bed with sheets and pillows were novelties to me.

But luckily, I came the US when I was young and was able to learn English, by watching a lot of TV – mainly soap operas – and to assimilate to the American culture. I was also very fortunate to be taken in by American families.

I moved to Massachusetts in 1999 after I graduated from Virginia Tech. This is where I met my wife. After four years of long distance dating, my job transferred me to San Francisco and New York. We got engaged and married in June 2002. Massachusetts is my home and where I am proud to work and raise my family I hope that my children, after they graduate from college, will also get married, settle down and raise their family in Massachusetts.

Sampan: How have you been involved with the Asian-American communities in Massachusetts?

Meas: From 2001 until I took a leave of absence in 2008, I was a member of the Board of Directors for a nonprofit agency called North Suffolk Mental Health Association. A significant number of the agency’s clients are South East Asians. The agency provides an array of services, including but not limited to, early childhood, independent living, and psychological/psychiatric care.

Prior to my decision to run for US Congress, I had very little active political involvement. But I have voted in almost every local, state and federal election. However, for quite sometime now, I have been observing politics from afar.

In the special election in January 2009, my Cambodian team and I organized a voting drive for the Scott Brown Senatorial Campaign. We helped get approximately 800 votes for Scott.

Now that my daughters are older, I am certain that my wife and I will be members of many social clubs. We are very involved with our daughters and our professional lives.

Sampan: What is your professional background? How do you see it play a role in the world of politics and policy-making?

Meas: I learned how to develop a teamwork type of environment to get things done within the financial world:

a. I learned to develop a common sense approach to situations, which is sorely lacking right now in Congress. If we apply the common sense approach, I believe that we can solve most of the complex issues that both our nation and the world are facing. Politics in Washington is too polarized. We must come together, to work together for the good of this country and for our future. I came from nothing to work for something – I have achieved my very own American Dream. I was poor, destitute and starved, so I will not be afraid to stand up and fight for the principles and values on which this great nation of ours was founded upon. I will fight for those who are less fortunate. We need more people like myself in Washington fighting for lower taxes and less bureaucracy. There is too much government waste.

b. My experience as a Principal with State Street Global Advisors gave me the ability to collaborate and motivate others to focus on the task at hands as well as the short term and long term goals.

Sampan: This is your first time running for office. Why did you set Captiol Hill as your first political destination?

Meas: I’m fed up with the way Washington has become out of control. Something has to be done now and this is where I can make a real difference for our community, the 5th District and the state of Massachusetts. The policies being developed and pushed are not good for our families, small business and the future of this country. Something has to be done and I couldn’t sit here and watch my family, friends and our community suffer. Since coming to this country, I have always been interested in the political process and I decided to finally give something back. After giving considerable thought to running for office, family and friends urged me that someone of my background and experience would be perfect for representing the 5th District in Washington. Every day of the last year, while out in the District talking to voters, has confirmed to me that this is the right race for me and that my messages of responsible government, less burden on our families and small business community, immigration and fiscal responsibility are the appropriate ones for this time.

Sampan: Why running as a Republican candidate?

Meas: I’ve been supporting the Republican Party since I came to this country and the Republican Party is closest to the ideology I have developed due to my background. I’ve worked hard to mobilize the Asian community for other Republican candidates in MA – like Scott Brown.

Sampan: Where do you stand on Arizona’s anti-immigrant law and the Immigration Reform?

Meas: I fully support what Gov. Brewer is doing in Arizona. Just like here in Massachusetts, the US government is failing to enforce the current laws on the books. We do need to discuss a comprehensive overhaul of the guest worker program. I do not support amnesty to illegal immigrants who are already here in the US. Everyone who wishes to come to the US must come legally just like I did. Everyone must respect the laws of this country. Giving amnesty to the illegal immigrants who are already here is just like giving a free pass to someone who cuts in line. It is inherently unfair to those who are already waiting in line.

Sampan: How do you plan to garner the support from Asian-American voters?

Meas: I hope they will see that I represent their interests. It is time they have someone to stand by their side and show them that they need to get involved in the American political system. They, like the district, need a stronger voice in Washington– traditionally they haven’t had a voice and I hope to be that voice. But it is also important to remember, I am not just representing the Asian-Americans… I’m here to represent the District and the good of the District. The district hasn’t had solid representation since Niki Tsongas came into office. So it is not just the Asian-Americans who deserve a vote, the whole 5th District deserves a vote.

Sampan: What issues do you plan to take on if elected?

Meas: Economy & Out of control spending: Congress is out of control and must adjust to a new course: I plan to be a vocal opponent of increasing Govt. control in the lives of Americans. There is too much spending, waste, and regulation. It has to be stopped as our debt is unsustainable going forward. Hard working families and small businesses cannot survive under the weight of all this. Access to credit is a must for small businesses, middle class tax cuts, cuts in the federal budget as debt spirals recklessly out of control. How can a business want to hire more employees when the Govt, keeps changing the rules and making it more expensive to operate their businesses? It can’t work that way and it has to be stopped!

Healthcare: I plan to fight to defund the healthcare bill that was passed and try to lead a coalition on repealing it. I do believe there are ways we can help those get the care they need. I just don’t feel the Govt. has all the answers.

National Security / Immigration: I feel these both go hand-in-hand. If we cannot secure our borders, how can we ever know who is coming here to destroy our country? We must secure our borders.

Jobs and Economy: One of the most important things, if not the most important thing, I will do while in Congress will be to fight hard to bring new jobs and economic relief back home to our District. The current unemployment levels are unacceptable and it is burdening our communities, families and, ultimately, our futures. Where Tsongas, Pelosi and Washington have failed have been to raise taxes, tighten available credit to small businesses and bring additional jobs to the workforce. While the budget and debt continue to rise under Congress’s out of control spending habits, the jobless rate continues to rise. I find this unacceptable and we must create jobs immediately.

Sampan: Is there anything you would like to add?

Meas: Yes, I was joined by some very honorable candidates running to represent you in Washington. Over the last few months of hard campaigning, I have traveled the district and talked many voters. I’ve learned a lot from listening to them and learning what they need. I know what this district needs and we’re going to take our message of change and sensible government to Washington to shake things up. I have also been told on many occasions that I am the only candidate who can beat Niki Tsongas. I am the only candidate who can bring in new voters from the Asian community, other immigrant communities and Republicans and Democrats together for common goals to represent this district. It is new candidates, like I, that are the future face of the Republican Party. This will allow this voting block to have a voice in American politics. I am the only candidate who has experience living under a tyrannical socialist government, and knows what it is like to have a government that controls every aspect of one’s life. My life experiences have given me the resolution that I will not back down from doing what is needed to be done. I will not bend or give up when the going gets tough. But it is my fresh ideas and leadership that this district needs. We don’t need professional politicians, who are the same old party establishment candidates, running our government. These are the types of policies and candidates that have contributed to the current mess we are in. We need common sense, real solutions and real representation in Washington that we can count on.

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via Khmer NZ

PM Hun Sen Teaches Thai PM a lesson on Border Issue

Friday, 13 August 2010 13:05 DAP-NEWS / Vibol

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 13, 2010-Cambodian government has seen patiently on dealing border issues with Thailand even Thai troops invaded Cambodia’ sovereignty since July 15, 2008 but the Phnom Penh government has kept maximum restraint for bilateral deal on border issues.

But yesterday in the meeting of Conservation of Tonle Sap Lake, PM Hun Sen taught Thai PM Abhisit a lesson on this issue because PM Hun Sen ordered his deputies to stop resuming the bilateral talks on border unless Thailand ratified the border agreement that the border committees from the countries had approved.

This lesson will teach ruling Thai PM in a shame in his leadership. That lesson will make Thai PM not forget about the time of his reign.

Cambodia needs the international communities to be witness for border issues because Thailand always created trick and very flexible for bilateral relationship and border deal. Thailand under ruling Thai PM has created enemy with Cambodia. Thailand created many enemies including border issues with Malaysia, Burma and Laos. How does the country to live in peace.

This Thai PM is expansionist after he did not recognize MoU 2000 and now he turned to know MoU 2000. He himself helped to set up MoU in 2000. But, sometimes, he pretended not to know about it.

Thai PM needs to know about the lesson learning about the international law. Ratify or not on border deal with Cambodia is Thai right and it does not matter. But how to deal border, and go to measure the area that is the problem. Thai PM has set up the relationship with dishonest as neighboring countries.

Thai government is set up a strategy. Cambodia could list 11th century Preah Vihear temple as world heritage site but Cambodia could not develop and attract the foreign tourists because the armed forces stationed in each side. But this strategy is successfully or not when we will wait and see.

The UN secretary general started his visit Cambodia on October 27-28. UN SG. Mr. Ban will act coordinator for border issues with Thailand. Thai PM also plans to meet Mr. Ban in late September in meeting of General assembly of UN.

700 Cambodian Youth are Seeking Jobs in a Day

Friday, 13 August 2010 12:19 DAP-NEWS / Khemara

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 13, 2010-International Labor Organization on Friday said that each day over 700 Cambodians are seeking jobs and they graduated students and youth need employment for surviving.

In recent years, the number of the Cambodians are in 20-24 years are about 30 per cent of total population are seeking jobs and it increased annually, Phon Sophoun, “told Dap.

Phon added that labor market in Cambodia is garment factory, companies, and other truism services are classified in economic system, and servants, sellers at homes are not economic system as basics. Most students learn account and management but the real markets for jobs are construction, and electric engineers needs more labor.

The government always encouraged the investors to expand labor markets for local people. The training for labor market need to match each other if not so, number of unemployment rate will be higher and reach to crisis of unemployment, he added.

According to population census shows 72 per cent of employed persons engaged in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sectors, followed trading and vehicles repairs about 8 per cent, manufacturing about 6 per cent and public administration about 3 per cent. In 2008 census, 17 per cent of employed Cambodians were paid employees. Paid employment was significantly higher in the cities at 52 per cent against 9 per cent in rural areas. 250,000 Cambodians jumps in labor forces in each year.

US-Cambodians To Discuss Post-Khmer Rouge Healing

Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer | Washington, DC
Friday, 13 August 2010

via Khmer NZ

Photo: by Taing Sarada
Khmer Rouge survivors in the US will meet on Saturday to discuss challenges they face and to seek ways for healing.

“But it will not completely heal the wounds of the trauma that survivors and their family have experienced..."

Khmer Rouge survivors in the US will meet on Saturday to discuss challenges they face and to seek ways for healing, as the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal moves toward its second trial.

The meeting in Lowell, Mass., will be an opportunity for the Cambodian community to get an update on complaints they filed to the court through the US-based Applied Social Research Institute of Cambodia.

The US-Cambodians will also discuss on reparations for members of the Cambodian diaspora, according to a statement from the institute.

“Now the court is one mechanism that will help to ensure that the culture of impunity would be discouraged or stop in some way,” said Nou Leakhena, executive director of the institute. “But it will not completely heal the wounds of the trauma that survivors and their family have experienced. So we as the community need to move forward in a healthy and productive way that will ensure the legacy of the Khmer Rouge history beyond the killing fields for the next generation.”

Nou Leakhena, who will lead the discussion, said that it is important to have community meetings to understand more about what justice means for the victims and what they should do for healing.

The forum is also sponsored by Asian Pacific American Institute.

knowledge About Cambodia Silk Preserved

Center Seeks To Publish Names of All Khmer Rouge Victims

Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer | Washington, DC
Friday, 13 August 2010

via Khmer NZ

Photo: AP
A Cambodian child holds a recent verdict book of Khmer Rouge leader Duch, during the books delivering by the U.N.-backed genocide tribunal staff officials at Prey Sar village.

“For Cambodia, we have never listed the names of those who died, so I think those 2 million victims should be named in a book, as history, to be distributed to all institutions in Cambodia.”

The Documentation Center of Cambodia is preparing a book that aims to list the names of every person who died under the Khmer Rouge.

An estimated 2 million people, or a quarter of the population, perished under the regime. The book will be a legacy to those victims, said Kok Thai Eng, deputy director of the center, as a guest on “Hello VOA” Thursday.

“For Cambodia, we have never listed the names of those who died, so I think those 2 million victims should be named in a book, as history, to be distributed to all institutions in Cambodia,” he said.

Other countries have similarly listed those who died in plane crashes or wars, he said. The Documentation Center will seek to do the same, soliciting e-mails or phone calls from the families of the dead. Family members who wish to participate can call 012 95 58 58, he said.

The book aims to list where people died, where they were from and other basic information. The center hopes to publish it over the next two years and place one in each of Cambodia's 1,621 communes.

Kok Thai Eng said he hoped the book will bring peace of mind to people after they see their loved ones listed.

“People who have called in to tell the center to list their family member's names have been really supportive and very happy,” he said.

The book project marks a next step for the Documentation Center, which has already collected thousands of documents related to the Khmer Rouge and submitted them to the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal.

Government Unveils Traffic Safety Initiative

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh
Friday, 13 August 2010

via Khmer NZ

Photo: AP
Traffic injuries are a major problem in Cambodia, where about 4 people per day are killed in accidents, according to a government report.

The government has unveiled a new set of measures to decrease the number of deaths on Cambodian roads.

The National Road Safety Action Plan calls for better designed roads, better law enforcement, better treatment of accident victims and other measures aimed at lowering the fatality rate 30 percent, or about 4,700 lives, over the next 10 years.

Nearly 1,000 people died on the roads in the first six months of 2010. That number is an apparent increase from the total 1,700 deaths in all of 2009.

The plan, devised by a multi-agency road safety committee, calls for increased funding and the development of expertise in order to improve road safety.

Improved safety will require better infrastructure, better trained drivers and speed and traffic flow management, according to the plan, released earlier this week.

The plan also calls for improved major national roads and the training of engineers for road safety audits and other oversight. It will target major risks, including speeding, driving without a helmet, seatbelt or child restraint and drunk driving. It will also target overloaded vehicles and improve the reaction time for first responders.

Other strategies include public education, road safety curriculum in schools and universities and peer-to-peer education. Education campaigns will be linked to law enforcement initiatives.

Under the plan, the Ministry of Health hopes to strengthen national emergency medical services, including first aid, transport, capacity of hospitals, mechanisms to manage the system and integrated information systems. Physical rehabilitation of the victim post-crash will also become a feature in the plan.

Traffic legislation will also need updated for modern traffic conditions, and the laws must be better enforced, according to the plan. This will include better drivers licensing in a database linked between police and the judiciary.

Experts Say Healing Must Come From In and Outside the Tribunal

Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer | Washington, DC
Friday, 13 August 2010

via Khmer NZ

Photo: AP
Duch is responsible in the torture and execution of more than 12,000 people in Tuol Sleng prison.

"To continue acknowledging or thinking that we are victims is like to continue living in the Khmer Rouge time.”

There are many ways that people can heal from the Khmer Rouge. The UN-backed tribunal is only one of them. And though some have voiced disappointment with a relatively short sentence for Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch, experts say it's a start.

“To continue our lives as victims is like allowing Duch to control our lives,” Chhang Youk, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, which researched Khmer Rouge atrocities, said in a recent phone interview. “We are now doctors, workers, farmers, medical practitioners, and teachers so we have to move on with our lives. This is a way to add punishment on Duch. Teaching our children [about Khmer Rouge regime] is also another way. To continue acknowledging or thinking that we are victims is like to continue living in the Khmer Rouge time.”

Reconciliation is one of the main mandates of the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal. But with the verdict of Duch passed and the court now looking at its second case, some victims have not been satisfied.

However, Chhang Youk said, no amount of punishment will repair the lives lost under Duch. But the perpetrator was brought to justice.

“Nineteen years is not a whole lot [in terms of the] number of years,” said Nou Leakhena, executive director of Applied Social Research Institute of Cambodia, which works with Khmer Rouge victims in the US. “But at the same time, a verdict was reached, and that sets the precedent that perpetrators or potential perpetrators will be punished for crimes that they commit against innocent civilians and the destruction of a society.”

Nou Leakhena, whose institute has helped Cambodians in the US file complaints with the UN-backed tribunal in Cambodia, said the process has been legally complicated and the court has not done a good job improving the participation of victims.

“So my recommendation is, to the survivors, do not reach a decision until you fully understand the context by which the verdict was reached and at the same time what they do to ensure that this type of surprise verdict does not happen for Case 002,” said Nou Leakhena, who attended the Duch verdict. “I think too often survivors tend to react emotionally without looking at the situation more rationally. And by combining both rationality with emotion, I think it would be a lot healthier, not only for them but also to help encourage the court to do its job and to hold them accountable, to find justice not only for the Cambodian survivors but for Cambodian society at large."

After 77 days of testimony, which included appearances of surviving prisoners of Tuol Sleng and researchers, Duch was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity for overseeing the execution of more than 12,000 prisoners.

The verdict has brought mixed reactions.

“I think that this is acceptable,” Vann Nath, who survived the prison, told VOA Khmer this week. “There's nothing more we can demand than that. I am so happy. He is now 68 or 69 and for 19 more years we don't know if he can stand it. I am now feeling much relieved."

Ronnie Yimsut, an author and activist in the US, has both joyful and unhappy feelings, but suggested that people should find ways to move forward.

“I think that all Cambodian people, including myself, have to accept the result of the court,” he told VOA Khmer on Monday. “What Cambodians should do is keep monitoring Case 002, which focuses more on senior Khmer Rouge leaders. Duch was just a junior follower, and I hope Duch would testify against them.”

Another Tuol Sleng survivor, Chum Mey, reacted with tears and disagreement when he first heard the July 26 verdict, but by this week, he said he now feels “some relief.”

“After considering it all over, I feel some relief, because we have a court with international participation,” he said. “This makes me more relieved. I am not just heated like before. It is a relief also because we have set up a law in Cambodia, unlike the three years and eight month lawless regime” of the Khmer Rouge.

Tribunal officials hope the verdict will provide this kind of relief to Cambodians who suffered under the regime. They have now published the verdict in its entirety and begun to distribute it to educational and other institutions for the public.

“This verdict has a big part in helping to heal their mental wounds,” tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said, “which the court has done for the Cambodian people as well as those who love justice across the world.”

Cambodia's appeal court on Friday upheld the sentence of the Swedish

Johan Brahim Escori, 63, arrives for his trial at the appeal court in Phnom Penh August 13, 2010. Cambodia's appeal court on Friday upheld the sentence of the Swedish national, who was handed six-and-a-half years in prison and a $1,000 fine by the lower court last year. Escori was found guilty of abusing a nine-year-old boy under Cambodia's anti-human trafficking law's indecent acts. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

A security officer looks on as Johan Brahim Escori, 63, attends his trial at the appeal court in Phnom Penh August 13, 2010. Cambodia's appeal court on Friday upheld the sentence of the Swedish national, who was handed six-and-a-half years in prison and a $1,000 fine by the lower court last year. Escori was found guilty of abusing a nine-year-old boy under Cambodia's anti-human trafficking law's indecent acts. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

Johan Brahim Escori (R), 63, talks to reporters after his trial at the appeal court in Phnom Penh August 13, 2010. Cambodia's appeal court on Friday upheld the sentence of the Swedish national, who was handed six-and-a-half years in prison and a $1,000 fine by the lower court last year. Escori was found guilty of abusing a nine-year-old boy under Cambodia's anti-human trafficking law's indecent acts. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

A security officer (R) escorts Johan Brahim Escori (L), 63, and an unidentified prisoner back to the Prey Sar prison after Escori's trial at the appeal court in Phnom Penh August 13, 2010. Cambodia's appeal court on Friday upheld the sentence of the Swedish national, who was handed six-and-a-half years in prison and a $1,000 fine by the lower court last year. Escori was found guilty of abusing a nine-year-old boy under Cambodia's anti-human trafficking law's indecent acts. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

24hrs: Saving Land

Cambodian People’s Party Officials Were Accused to Be Behind the Creation of Reservoirs – Thursday, 12.8.2010

via Khmer NZ

Posted on 13 August 2010.
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 677

“The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen, naming some district governors and commune chiefs, saying that the Ministry suspects them as being involved in collusion to protect illegal reservoirs which are ruining the Tonle Sap lake.

“During a session of the Tonle Sap Authority yesterday [11 August 2010], the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, Mr. Lim Kean Hor, stated that many local authorities collude with merchants to encourage farmers to claim that they own those reservoirs in an attempt to protect the reservoirs, whereas they are not allowed to be created around the Tonle Sap lake.

“He said, ‘We reported and sent the name list of those people to Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen to consider and to decide an appropriate measure.’

“He added that he and his fellow officials just follow the Prime Minister’s order.

“In April, the Tonle Sap Lake Authority received an order from Prime Minister Hun Sen to demolish illegal reservoirs around the Tonle Sap lake, as well as those the Region 2 and 3 that are determined as conserved areas of flooded forest.

“239 illegal reservoirs set to be demolished in Region 2 are located in the six provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kompong Chhnang, Kompong Thom, Pursat, and Siem Reap.

“The president of the Tonle Sap Lake Authority, Mr. Lim Kean Hor, stated also that 45 reservoirs were destroyed since 25 June 2010 and 288 markers were put in those regions.

“He added, ‘Though rainy reason blocks the destruction of those reservoirs and though we temporarily suspended the destruction, we still watch over the issues every day.’

“According to Mr. Lim Kean Hor, almost 10,000 hectares of the wet area surrounding the Tonle Sap lake are destroyed each year for the creation of reservoirs, the expansion of agricultural land and fishing lots, and of charcoal business operations.

“Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhayly said that the potential of the Tonle Sap lake can support the living of nearly four millions Cambodian people settling around the lake.

“He added, ‘The Tonle Sap lake is an important pulse of economy, of environment, and of culture in Cambodia.’

“He went on to say, ‘We must cooperate to protect and conserve the Tonle Sap lake and engage in the conservation for the development of eco-tourism.’ However, he said, ‘The Cambodian People’s Party must acknowledge what we did, because party officials such as district governors and commune chiefs signed on documents to allow the creation of those illegal reservoirs.’”

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #235, 12.8.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 12 August 2010

Rising yarn prices hits Cambodian silk industry

via Khmer NZ

August 13, 2010 (Cambodia)

As the price of silk yarn imports go up, it is posing a danger to continued existence of the Cambodian silk industry. This is because since end-June, almost half the silk weavers of country have left their jobs, industry officials divulged.

Prince Sisovath Pheanuroth, President of the Khmer Silk Village Association (KSVA), said that the yarn prices have almost doubled, over the corresponding period last year, and that there are no indications of it going down.

The KSVA revealed that, there has been a hike of 46 percent in the prices of silk yarn prices and they now stand at US $40,000 per ton as against $27,500 per ton in the same time last year. Further the prices are expected to rise to a level of $45,000 -50,000 per ton by year end.

The association President further stated that, as the silk yarn exporters continue to restrict supply, he believes that silk yarn prices would continue to rise in times to come.

The country each year churns out around four tons of silk yarn, which barely meets the local demand. Between 2005 and 2009 each year, Cambodia was required to import around 300-400 tons of silk yarn from Vietnam and China in order to produce finished silk products. Of the entire produce, 30 percent of the finished products were exported to overseas markets and the rest was sold in local markets.

As stated by Ke Muny, Deputy Secretary General of KSVA, the price rise proved to be a menace to jobs of about 20,000 workers engaged in the sector, and now with diminishing silk profits, many of those who were earlier engaged in silk weaving are now hunting for jobs in other sectors.

Since July, almost half the weavers across Cambodia have given up their jobs as the finished silk products that they produce are not reaping high prices and as such are no more profits, Ke Muny said.

On April 27, Prime Minister Hun Sen abolished the duty on imports of silk yarn as well as removed value-added tax. Though this brought down the production cost by around seven to 10 percent, mounting prices of the raw material are continuously eating up profits.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India