Saturday, 21 August 2010

Cambodia: Recovering antiquities

via Khmer NZ

france24english | August 20, 2010

CAMBODIA - The traffic of antiquities is a problem the world over. Today we take a look at how Cambodia is dealing with it. In a country with over 12,000 temples, despite the creation of heritage police, rare objects often go missing with little hope of them ever being recovered.

Temple row calls for calm heads, says Kasit

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Published: 21/08/2010

Thailand wants to solve its border conflict with Cambodia through bilateral agreements and international law, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya reaffirms.

He set out the government's position yesterday in a letter to Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem. Vietnam chairs the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Mr Kasit has also sent the letter to other Asean foreign ministers to clarify the dispute between Thailand and Cambodia.

On Tuesday, Vietnam wrote to the government seeking Thailand's views after Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong called for Asean to intervene in the dispute, which concerns the overlapping boundary area near the Preah Vihear temple.

Cambodia has warned the disagreement could escalate into armed conflict.

Mr Kasit argued in the letter that there was room for the two countries to discuss the issue.

"With continued understanding from our Asean colleagues, Thailand and Cambodia will succeed in overcoming the bilateral challenge for the mutual benefits of the two countries and peoples in the spirit of good neighbourliness and Asean solidarity," he said.

The diplomatic tension did not affect other cooperation between the countries including border trade and regional cooperation schemes.

Thailand remained committed to exercising the utmost restraint, he said.

He confirmed to other Asean members that Thailand had no intention of delaying consideration of the three agreed minutes of the Joint Boundary Commission (JBC).

The Foreign Ministry has resubmitted the agreed minutes of recent meetings of the JBC to parliament for approval in line with the constitution.

The matter is now with parliament and will proceed in accordance with the democratic process, Mr Kasit said.

"This should not be construed as an intention to delay consideration of these three agreed minutes," said the minister.

They were not included in the present joint parliamentary meeting as too many other issues had to be discussed.

The next round of the JBC will take place only after the agreed minutes of the last meetings are approved.

The main issues at the meetings were the decision by the two countries to survey border areas, including those near the Preah Vihear temple, and to start to make aerial maps of the border.

Earlier, some senators and activists threatened to protest if the Foreign Ministry submitted the JBC documents to parliament for endorsement.

Critics said support for the memo could be interpreted as Thailand agreeing to cooperate with Cambodia to base border demarcation on a map drafted by colonial-era France which he said put Thailand at a disadvantage.

The Thai-Cambodian relationship turned sour after Thailand opposed Phnom Penh's management plan for Preah Vihear temple proposed to the World Heritage Committee meeting in Brazil last month.

The WHC decided to postpone consideration of the matter until its next annual meeting in Bahrain.

Cambodia is seeking help from international organisations including the United Nations and Asean to intervene.

Meanwhile, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said he is ready to hold talks with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on the issue, the Phnom Penh Post quoted a spokesman for the Cambodian Foreign Ministry Koy Koung as saying.

Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan has suggested the two leaders meet to discuss the countries' differences.

Cambodia Struggles to Reduce Maternal Deaths

via Khmer NZ

By Irwin Loy

Chan Theary, executive director of the Reproductive and Child Health Alliance, an NGO that supports a remote health centre in Cambodia. Credit:Irwin Loy/IPS

PHNOM PENH, June 19, 2010 (IPS) - For Chan Theary, a remote, mountainous stretch of land in western Cambodia encapsulates the uphill struggle this South-east Asian nation faces in reducing the alarming number of women who die during pregnancy.

Thma Da commune, which sits along the border with Thailand in Pursat province, is a sparsely populated area that lies roughly 200 kilometres from the closest hospital.

There is a single midwife stationed in a makeshift health centre. That means there is only one person who is trained to treat pregnant women for the roughly 4,000 people scattered throughout the entire commune over difficult, muddy roads.

"It’s hardly accessible," said Chan, executive director of the Reproductive and Child Health Alliance (RACHA), a non-government organisation that supports the health centre.

"It takes so long to get to. If you imagine pregnant women when they go during the rainy season when the storms are very strong, it’s so difficult."

Cambodia is burdened with one of the highest maternal mortality ratios, or MMR, in the region. In 2008 the figure stood at 461 per 100,000 live births.

The numbers mean that, on average, five women in the country die on a daily basis from what are essentially preventable causes – post-partum hemorrhages, eclampsia, and infections.

The frustration for those who work in the field here is the fact the MMR has not decreased in the last decade. And with five years to go until 2015, it appears unlikely Cambodia will meet one of its key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for maternal health – to cut the nationwide MMR to 140.

That is despite the fact the country has shown improvement in some of the building blocks crucial to curbing maternal health.

One of the eight MDGs – aimed at significantly reducing, if not totally eradicating, poverty – which all United Nations member states must meet by 2015 is to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters from the 1990 levels.

According to the U.N. at least 529,000 women die from complications in childbirth every year – the vast majority of them in developing countries.

Alice Levisay, the country representative for the U.N. Population Fund, says Cambodian authorities have been committed to solving the maternal health problems.

"There have been significant increases in deliveries by skilled providers, deliveries in facilities and in antenatal care in the last few years," Levisay said.

Within the last decade, for example, the proportion of women who have their babies delivered by skilled health personnel has almost doubled form 32 percent in 2000 to 63 percent in 2009, she said.

More women now receive two or more antenatal check-ups from these trained professionals during their pregnancies – from 30 percent in 2000 to 83 percent last year.

And Cambodia now has at least one midwife for every health centre in the country, thanks to a recent focus on training and an incentive scheme that rewards midwives with cash payments for each delivery.

Though experts here say these are significant accomplishments, there still remains a wide gap between current standards and quality care.

Thma Da commune highlights both sides.

The health centre in Thma Da, for example, lacks running water during the dry season and until recently, electricity – brought in only after RACHA funded the installation of solar panels.

The centre's midwife herself is inexperienced, and makes so little money, Chan said, that she sells cakes on the side, taking her away from her duties and ensuring the health centre is not fully staffed all the time. Crucial medicine, as well, that can help treat deadly post-partum hemorrhages, is in short supply.

"It is not even basic care," Chan added. "We cannot say that, okay, the service there is really high quality. It’s not.

"That’s why, if you look at this situation, it is hard to say now that maternal health has been improved."

Authorities here have acknowledged the tremendous difficulties the country faces in reducing maternal deaths.

"With a maternal mortality ratio of 461, Cambodia ranks among the highest in the region, and we are not likely to reach our goal," said Ing Kantha Phavi, the Minister of Women’s Affairs, during the Women Deliver global conference on maternal health held earlier this month in Washington. "What is worse is that we know how to prevent these needless deaths."

Still, experts here say there is some cause for optimism – provided that the proper investments are in place.

A study published earlier this year in the British medical journal ‘The Lancet’ suggested that Cambodia’s MMR has actually fallen over the last decade. It used what the researchers believe are more precise estimates to peg Cambodia’s MMR at 266.

If accurate, the findings would suggest that Cambodia is much closer to its elusive goals on maternal health, though Susan Jack, a medical officer with the World Health Organisation’s country office in Cambodia, noted that both figures are unacceptably high.

"Every effort needs to be made to prevent these largely preventable deaths through better access to good quality care," said Jack. "This remains the paramount challenge for Cambodia."

For now, health experts here are anticipating the results of this year’s demographic health survey – the last countrywide health census scheduled before 2015.

RACHA’s Chan said many, including her, are optimistic the recent gains made on the ground will finally culminate in showing a statistical reduction in maternal deaths.

"There is an expectation the MMR will be reduced because of all the efforts," said Chan. "We hope so, too."

UN offers to help resolve Thai-Cambodian border row

via Khmer NZ

Published: 21/08/2010

UN chief Ban Ki-moon is ready to help Cambodia and Thailand resolve their deadly border dispute, a UN spokesman said Friday.

Cambodian soldiers are seen close to the Cambodia-Thailand border near the contested Preah Vihear temple. UN chief Ban Ki-moon is ready to help Cambodia and Thailand resolve their deadly border dispute, a UN spokesman said Friday.

"The Secretary-General hopes that Cambodia and Thailand will resolve the dispute along their border amicably through dialogue," Farhan Haq told a press briefing. "He stands ready to help the parties."

The neighboring southeast Asian nations have been locked in a troop standoff at their border since July 2008, when the ancient Preah Vihear temple was granted UNESCO World Heritage status.

The row turned deadly in October of that year when two people reportedly died during an exchange of fire between Thai and Cambodian forces near the site.

The World Court ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia, although its main entrance lies in Thailand.

The exact boundary through the surrounding grounds remains in dispute, and occasional gunfights between troops of the two nations have claimed lives.

The Thai-Cambodia border has never been fully demarcated, partly because it is littered with landmines left over from decades of war in Cambodia.

Cambodian Artists To Share Peace-Building Efforts

Nuch Sarita, VOA Khmer | Washington, DC
Friday, 20 August 2010

via Khmer NZ

Photo: by Vandy Rattana
Catherine Filloux has written four plays about Cambodia, in addition to “Where Elephants Weep,” which proved widely popular

“We will discuss with the guidance of peace-building scholars and practitioners a range of questions about the relationship between the arts and conflict.”

An American playwright who focuses on Cambodia is set to take part in a symposium with other Cambodian artists that looks at the relationship between the arts and peace building.

Catherine Filloux, a French-Algerian American who wrote the popular musical “Where Elephants Weep,” told VOA Khmer recently that Cambodian theatre artists Chhon Sina and Ieng Sithul will also travel to New York for the Theatre and Peace Building in Cambodia Symposium at Fordham University.

The symposium will be held Sept. 20 and Sept. 21. Following that, the artists will take part in a conference held by Theater Without Borders, called Acting Together on the World Stage: A Conference on Theatre and Peace Building in Conflict Zones, from Sept. 23 to Sept. 26.

On Sept. 20, she said, “We are going to be having an open rehearsal of Chhon Sina’s new play...‘Phka Champei,’ about a sex worker and victim of domestic violence who lives in a slum in Phnom Penh.”

The following day, “there will be a panel in which will be discussed issues of theatre and peace building, and we will do an excerpt from Chhon Sina’s play, and we will also have Ieng Sithul perform,” she said.

Filloux has written four plays about Cambodia, in addition to “Where Elephants Weep,” which proved widely popular.

Her plays include “Eyes of the Heart, Photographs from S-21,” about a woman who suffers from psychosomatic blindness after the Khmer Rouge regime; “Silence of God,” about Pol Pot; and “The US Complicity in What Happened in Cambodia.”

The second conference will discuss how current Cambodian artists worked following the Khmer Rouge “and have used art as a way to express human rights and also as a way to heal,” Filloux said.

Other participants come from countries like Peru and Ireland, as well as Native Americans from the US. All will have a chance to discuss parallels in their rebuilding efforts.

Rithisal Kang, a Cambodian Fulbright scholar in the US, will also attend.

“We will discuss with the guidance of peace-building scholars and practitioners a range of questions about the relationship between the arts and conflict,” he told VOA Khmer. “I believe we will learn and gain understanding of the nature of conflict, causes of violence and the meaning of peace.”

Experts Explain Potential for Joint Criminal Enterprise

Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh
Friday, 20 August 2010

via Khmer NZ

Photo: AP
Skulls on display, at the Cheoung Ek museum in Phnom Penh.

“By linking the accused in this way, evidence against one of them my help prove the responsibility of another.”

In their final submission for the Khmer Rouge tribunal's next case, court prosecutors said four senior leaders of the regime should be tried under Joint Criminal Enterprise.

Joint Criminal Enterprise, better known as JCE, is a complex legal theory that groups suspects together in the planning and execution of crimes, and it could be at the heart of Case 002, which tribunal officials expect to take place early next year.

In the submission, prosecutors recommended that suspects Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith “committed these crimes through a joint criminal enterprise, the purpose of which was to enforce a political revolution in Cambodia and systematically destroy any opposition to the [Communist Party of Kampuchea's] rule.”

Tribunal legal affairs spokesman Lars Olsen explained it this way. JCE alleges that “these charged persons together decided a plan, a criminal plan, on how to run Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime.”

That plan led to atrocity crimes, for which the senior leaders can be tried together, according to prosecutors. Trial Chamber judges will have the final decision in the matter. But JCE will be complicated for a trial.

Anne Heindel, a legal adviser for the Documentation Center of Cambodia, said in an e-mail Friday that JCE is “a mode of individual criminal responsibility. That is, it shows how someone commits a crime.”

Similar “modes” include aiding a crime, planning it, ordering it, or having superior responsibility over it, she said.

And while JCE can take different forms, at its most basic it involves “a common plan among a number of individuals who all share the same intent to commit a crime,” Heindel wrote.

JCE was first applied at the international war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. It was also applied in the tribunal for Rwanda and in a special court for crimes in Sierra Leone.

“JCE is generally used to prosecute international crimes, but variants of it can be used in domestic prosecutions,” Heindel said. “For example, in Cambodian law, there is a similar mode of liability called 'co-perpetration.'”

In Case 002, prosectors have alleged that all four defendants are tied together, she said. “By linking the accused in this way, evidence against one of them my help prove the responsibility of another.”

“The prosecution wants to show that they all share responsibility for crimes committed in furtherance of the common plan,” she said.

JCE is merely a way of thinking of the case. And that will be up to the Trial Chamber to decide, said You Bunleng, the Cambodian investigation judge for the tribunal. Separate from that, court judges will also determine whether the four are tried in one group by other means.

JCE is only being applied for Case 002. The tribunal has two other cases in its hands, nos. 003 and 004. There has been no determination on whether to indict more suspects in those cases.

But JCE will not be used to determine indictments, Heindel said.

Prosecutors did not include torture chief Duch in their submission. Duch was handed a commuted sentence of 19 years last month after a separate trial for crimes committed at Tuol Sleng prison, known to the Khmer Rouge as S-21.

Heindel said the inclusion of Duch in the second case was “unnecessary” and would have prolonged court procedures.

“The JCE alleged against the four charged persons in Case 002 encompasses many crimes in which Duch was not involved,” she said. “The alleged JCE also likely includes S-21, but it is not required that all participants in a JCE be tried in the same case. He can still be brought before the court as a witness.”

They May Look Alike, But Treat Parasites Differently: Doctor

Nuch Sarita, VOA Khmer | Washington, DC
Friday, 20 August 2010

via Khmer NZ

Photo: AP
Cambodians buy these fishes to be pickled for food in the year after.

"It can be hard to detect because even under a microscope, the parasite looks similar to others."

Tropical areas with poor sanitary conditions can be a hotbed for parasites and other diseases.

That includes amebiasis, whose diagnosis can be tricky, Taing Tek Hong, a Florida-based doctor said Thursday, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

In the United States, amebiasis is often found in travelers to tropical areas, but it can also be found in residents of such areas.

It can be hard to detect because even under a microscope, the parasite looks similar to others, Taing Tek Hong said.

These parasites are found in human or animal stool, infected food, or water, lakes, ponds and streams. The stool of a person with intestinal parasites is contagious as long as infection lasts, possibly for years after symptoms cease, he said.

Amebiasis may cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, or blood in the stool. It also may invade the liver, lung, brain, or other organs.

Taing Tek Hong said the common symptoms of parasites in humans are diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating, mucus after bowel movement, weight loss, pale skin, fatigue, and excessive hunger.

Intestinal parasites are usually successfully treated, but may reoccur if the source of infection still exists.

Amebiasis can be treated with metronidazole for colitis or liver abscesses, or with iodoquinol, paromomycin and diloxanide for asymptomatic carries, he said.

Other parasites (and their cures ) include: giardiasis (metronidazole, nitazoxanide or paromomycin, the latter for pregnant women); cryptosporidosis (nitazoxanide); hookworm (albendazole, mebendazole, pyrantel pamoate); strongyloidiasis (ivermectin, thiobendazole); and schistosomiasis (praziquantel, oxamniquine).

Traveler's diarrhea can be treated with ciprofloxacin, 500 mg twice daily for three days, or xifaxan (rifaximin), 200 mg three times daily for three days.

Mother, daughter duo make trip to Cambodia

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By Amanda Calzada, Placer Herald Correspondent

CourtesyMari Oxenham, left, and her daughter Karin Oxenham made a recent trip to Cambodia.

It was the most unforgettable trip of their lives.

Mari Oxenham, a kindergarten teacher at Breen Elementary School, and her daughter, Karin Oxenham, a 2010 Rocklin High alumni, wanted to have one last travel memory together before Karin left for college. Such was a 15-day missionary trip to Cambodia.

“Sometimes it is easier to pretend the poor do not exist, but when I realize I actually have the power to change lives, I want to do so,” said Karin Oxenham, who has traveled to Mexico three times and Fresno once for mission work with her church.

Their mission entailed interacting with approximately 300 children through fun activities while always keeping an open mind and heart. Bayside team members learned to be accepting of every person they saw and interacted with, from the victims of sex-trafficking to the “pimps” and “ex-pimps.”

“Pimp” is the name of the man who sells the girl to another man. Families can decide to sell their daughters for a night or decide to give complete custody to the stranger in return for a flat cash payment. Girls as young as age 3 are engaged in the horrors of Cambodia’s sex-trafficking.

Thirty million victims of modern day slavery are in the world today and an estimated one million more each year.

“After living in Cambodia for that short period of time, I cannot go an hour without thinking about the people there,” Karin Oxenham said.

Karin and Mari Oxenham visited the female victims at a trafficking and rape treatment center and were surprised to observe the girls’ jubilant energy and vibrant zest for life. They see each girl as a miracle transformed by God, they say, since each girl forget what happened to her the night before and bounce into a room with a smile on her face. Trafficking is part of their culture, Mari Oxenham said.

Mari and Karin Oxenham both helped children with crafts at “Kids Club” and remember seeing 18 year olds “feverishly” coloring alongside 3 year olds. Mari Oxenham said that the same crafts at Kids Club that kept the kids thoroughly entertained for 10 consecutive days would have easily bored her kindergarten class after five days.

The Bayside team wanted to improve the Cambodia quality of life in different ways. From a medical clinic to a basic computer training class, the team helped both adults and children. The reason behind every deed was to ultimately eradicate the sex-trafficking in Cambodia by changing people’s hearts through love and hope, Mari Oxenham said.

This goal also came through the form of an athletic competition. As an outreach to the men in the community, Lord’s Gym sponsored an event to see who was the “strongest man.” The event brought unprecedented feelings of pride and unity to the Cambodians through laughter, cheers, and clapping.

Sex-trafficking does not only exist in Cambodia. The Oxenhams researched that Sacramento has one of the worst rates of sex-trafficking in the country. However, an organization called, Courage to You, is establishing the first Northern California home for girls rescued from trafficking.

Girls that are victims of trafficking are placed into juvenile hall. Currently, there are 150 victims in juvenile hall waiting to be placed in the treatment facility.

“Frankly, I was stunned to learn about the miraculous improvements in people’s lives. I could have heard a million stories about it, but being in the midst of the work there gave me a great sense of the magnitude of the changes taking place in Cambodia,” Mari Oxenham said.

The Oxenhams observed that the Cambodians felt sincerely appreciative of their team’s efforts, especially since they traveled from the United States.

For more information regarding sex-trafficking, go to or

More Than 30% of the Size of Ratanakiri Is Contracted to Foreign Companies for Mineral Exploration, Affecting the Environment and the Living Conditions of the Poor Citizens – Thursday, 19.8.2010

via Khmer NZ

Posted on 20 August 2010
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“The rich natural resources in Cambodia, especially gold, gems, and diamonds, attract the attention from foreign investors to invest in mining in Cambodia, and the leading companies are the OZ Company and Southern Gold company of Australia. Also, some Yuon [Vietnamese] companies that do not make their identity known, operating illegally on gold exploitation, siphoning national resources out from Cambodia.

“The Yuon press quoted the director of the Saigon Jewelry Company, the biggest gold company in Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Long [Nguyễn Thành Long], as having said that the company had shown its plan to the Yuon government to ask for permission to invest in factories in Cambodia and Laos. If this company earns the approval from the Yuon government or from the governments where it plans to invest, this company will establish gold manufacturing factories abroad not later than in late 2010.

“Yuon officials said that this company will start its production with the trademark SJC in Laos this year, investing in Laos first, before seeking to create factories and branches in Cambodia. Some other Yuon companies investing in gold trade, such as the Sacom Bank, the Agri-Bank, and the Hun Huang [? - phonetic], and have opened representative offices in Cambodia and are strengthening and expanding their business operations.

“Yuon investors see huge benefits from investments in Cambodia and in gold exploration in the northeast of Cambodia; they have sent skilled workers to come to conduct illegal exploitation with the backing from military officials or civil authorities. Gold deposits in the northeast of Cambodia are being exploited illegally by traders, not leading to national income.

“Recently, Yuon traders had sent a barge on the Sekong river to Siem Pang district in Stung Treng, loaded with gold filtering machines, in an attempt to conduct illegal gold exploitation. The local authorities blocked the barge for some time to clarify questions about legal documents, but they will likely let it go after an intervention from the provincial level.

“Also, citizens in the Veun Sai district in Ratanakiri are worrying about the impact on water quality in the Sesan river, as Chinese gold miners are drilling to explore gold ore on Pang Island. They said that the Chinese company has been operating for two months, employing more than 10 Khmer workers, using two machines for drilling, and disposing waste water into the Sesan river, from which citizens consume water for their daily living.

“Citizens complained that at present, the water in the Sesan river was dirty and can no longer be used, but the local authorities do not intervene. Pang Island in the Sesan river has an area of 200 meter in length and 100 meter in width, and there live Krueng ethnic minority tribespeople, who have settled there since long. Now they are seriously affected by the gold exploitation by the Chinese company Indochine Resources [a holding company for the Indochine Group, 'the largest mineral concession holder in The Royal Kingdom of Cambodia' - including Indochine Mining].

“Officials of the Ministry of Industry. Ratanakiri Department, said that the Ministry of Industry provided a license to Indochine Resources in November 2009, to explore metal ore on an area of 200 square kilometers. So far, no companies have been registered also to exploit resources. All are just conducting explorations, and any exploitation in the past was illegal.

“The exploitation means that a company can gain benefits from the ore, whereas exploration means just to drill to find ore samples for experiments, but some companies colluded with expert officials and the authorities in charge to conduct exploitation while they only have exploration rights, so they gain benefits without paying tax to the state on their profits. Such anarchy occurs at the northeast of Cambodia, and some officials and members of the authorities are happy to collect personal benefits from it.

“According to expert officials, in Ratanakiri more than 3,000 square kilometers, or 30% of the size of the province, have been contracted to 19 companies to conduct explorations. Those companies deal with quarries, or they are construction companies, sand companies, gems companies, granite companies, and metal companies etc., and 10 companies have not received exploitation license. Citizens complained that some activities of those companies violate the land they own, and there is also deforestation.

“Civil society officials often voiced concern relating to the issues that some mineral exploration companies do not obey the laws, and that the requirements from relevant ministries and the exploitation by some companies affect the environment and the living condition of citizens. Expert officials never take restrictive actions against these companies doing exploitation, though citizens from the region had reported about improper activities of those companies.

“Since private companies started anarchic mine exploration in Cambodia without any interception by expert officials, they have extracted almost everywhere underground mineral deposits, but so far, no money has been paid into the national budget. Officials of civil and international organizations frequently warned that the improper management of mineral resources might seriously damage Cambodia. Therefore, the government must create laws to carefully control mineral resources and income.”

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3962, 19.8.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 19 August 2010

Lightning claims 94th victim of 2010 in Cambodia

via Khmer NZ

August 20, 2010

Lightning killed a woman in Banteay Meanchey province's Malai district Monday, bring the total number of lightning deaths in Cambodia for the year so far to 94, local media reported on Friday, citing the figure from the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM).

Koy Vy, 37, was struck by lightning at about 6 pm while carrying rainwater to a house located in a cornfield in O'Sampoar commune, the Cambodia Daily quoted deputy district chief Duong Tum as saying.

"Right now the lightning is very powerful and dangerous," he said. "We told the villagers not to go out when it rains, but it' s hard for them to get out of the rain because they are farmers."

The NCDM's count of lightning deaths at this point last year was 120. While there have been fewer deaths this year due to lightning strikes, six deaths were recorded across the country this week.

"This week a lot of people were killed by lightning ... mostly due to all the rain," Keo Vy, deputy director of information and relations for the NCDM, was quoted as saying.

Vy said the NCDM was preparing a document for villagers on how to stay safe during thunderstorms, adding that it would be more detailed than previous versions.

"We are preparing the presentation and we also are seeking a sponsor to print posters and booklets," he said.

"When the villagers understand, it will help reduce the deaths by lightning," he said.

Source: Xinhua

Thai Foreign Minister sends clarification letters to ASEAN

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On 20 August 2010, Ms. Vimon Kidchob, Director-General of the Department of Information and Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, was asked by the media regarding the letter which the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia sent to Vietnam in its capacity as ASEAN Chair, proposing that ASEAN assist in the current problem between Thailand and Cambodia. In response, the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson said that Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya had sent a letter to H.E. Mr. Pham Gia Khiem, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, which had also been circulated to the foreign ministers of the other ASEAN member countries. In his letter, Foreign Minister Kasit made the following points:

1. Thailand remains committed as always to exercising utmost restraint. It is the Kingdom’s goal to resolve this bilateral issue peacefully and in good faith, and through bilateral channels in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and international law. The allegations contained in the Note from Cambodia are unfounded.

2. Despite perceptions of tension, bilateral communications between Thailand and Cambodia continue unabated through various channels and mechanisms. Both countries continue to cooperate on a wide range of issues at all levels, whether bilateral, sub-regional or regional. Normal cross-border activities between the peoples on both sides of the border remain business as usual.

3. The Thai Cabinet already re-submitted the Agreed Minutes of the recent meetings of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) to the Parliament for approval in line with the country’s Constitution. The matter is now with the Parliament and will proceed in accordance with Thailand’s democratic process.

4. With continued understanding from ASEAN colleagues, Thailand and Cambodia will succeed in overcoming the current bilateral challenge for the mutual benefits of the two countries and peoples in the spirit of good neighbourliness and ASEAN solidarity. The bilateral process should continue to proceed, as was the general will of the ASEAN family when ASEAN discussed this issue two years ago.

UN chief offers to mediate in Thai-Cambodia dispute

via Khmer NZ

August, 20 2010

HA NOI — United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has showed his willingness to work as a mediator in the Cambodia-Thailand border dispute, the Cambodian media reported.

The deputy spokesperson for UN Secretary General, Farhan Haq, replied to an email from the Cambodian press on August 18 saying that, "The Secretary-General is willing to mediate situation when both sides request him to do so".

Last week, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called for an international conference to seek a peaceful solution to the two-year-long dispute over the Preah Vihear temple which has world heritage status.

Hun Sen said that he would put forward the proposal to Ban Ki-moon as he plans to pay a two-day official visit to Cambodia in late October.

Cambodia 's Foreign Affairs spokesperson Koy Kuong also welcomed Ban Ki-moon's response to the border issue.

Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Cam-bodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen are expected to meet when they attend the upcoming Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) early in October in Brussels, the Nation online reported yesterday.

ASEAN Secretary General Dr Surin Pitsuwan, who was on transit to Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday, expressed the hope that the two leaders would take the opportunity in Belgium's capital to discuss bilateral issues of mutual concerns.

Premier Abhisit and Hun Sen will join the other Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN leaders to meet their European counterparts in Brussels, where the EU headquarters is situated.

In a related development, Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban has reiterated that Thailand wants only bilateral talks with Phnom Penh to settle the border conflict.

Surin's revelation came after his trip to capital Phnom Penh, Cambodia, early this week leading a Thai-Muslim delegation to visit Cambodian-Muslim community at the invitation of Hun Sen, the Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.

Swiss man arrested in Cambodia for child sex

via Khmer NZ

August 20 2010

A Swiss guesthouse owner has been arrested in Cambodia for allegedly buying sex from a juvenile boy, police said Friday.

Erich Bader was arrested on Thursday at his guesthouse, Prince Mekong Villa, in the northwestern province of Siem Reap, home to the famed Angkor Wat temples, said the town's anti-human trafficking police chief Sun Bunthong.

The 52-year-old will be charged with soliciting sex in 2009 with a 16-year-old boy, Sun Bunthong added.

Cambodia has struggled to shed its reputation as a haven for paedophiles, despite jailing or deporting dozens of foreigners for child sex crimes since 2003.

Thailand-Cambodia Dispute Can Be Settled Under Bilateral Framework: Abhisit

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BANGKOK, Aug 20 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Thursday reasserted that the dispute between Thailand and Cambodia could be addressed and successfully resolved under a bilateral framework, Thai news agency (TNA) reported.

He conceded that there was no conclusion yet whether the Thailand-Cambodia dispute should be raised for discussion at an Asean meeting.

Abhisit said he understood that once Vietnam, as Asean chairman, had received a written complaint from Cambodia, it would seek comments on the matter from other Asean members.

However, he believed, all Asean members would realise the dispute could be resolved under the bilateral framework as with many cases that occurred earlier.

"The dispute is considered an internal affair of an Asean [member], but it is usual that member countries express concern and occasionally wanted the group to play a role in helping address it.

"However at this stage, we remain confident we can address the dispute under the bilateral framework. So, it is unnecessary to make written clarifications to member countries," he said.

The Thai premier also shrugged off the Phnom Penh's claim that Cambodia needed to bring up the dispute for consideration as multilateral level talks because Thailand's Parliament failed to consider ways to address the problem proposed by the Joint Border Committee for its reading.

He said the dispute-solving process had now proceeded under the agreement, but the internal process of each country must be respected.

"In Thailand, the issue must be deliberated under a parliamentary process, which must be respected. The government has no intention to make a delay," he said.

Mekong river can be economic heart of region: Cambodia

Cambodian minister Cham Prasidh said nations around the Mekong have neglected the river itself

Cham Prasidh (right) said the Mekong should be developed for river transport to enable trade

via Khmer NZ

By Ian Timberlake (AFP)

HANOI — Nations around one of the world's great rivers, the Mekong, are tightening transport and other links but have neglected the region's very heart -- the river itself, a Cambodian minister said Friday.

At a meeting of the six countries surrounding the Mekong, Cham Prasidh said the potential of the 4,800-kilometre (2,976-mile) river has been neglected as the region develops road links and "economic corridors", which he likened to arteries.

"But we forget the heart and the Mekong River is the heart. We need to develop the heart first," he told AFP after making his suggestion to a conference of fellow ministers.

"I think this is a new concept but this is something that is going to strike them all, because we have overlooked the main thing, in the Mekong."

Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, was speaking at the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) conference.

GMS is an Asian Development Bank-supported programme that began 18 years ago to promote development through closer economic links. Along with Cambodia it includes Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, as well as China's Yunnan province and the Chinese Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Cham Prasidh said the Mekong should be developed for river transport to enable trade, while the livelihoods of people living along it should be enhanced.

He also proposed that agriculture around the river be developed in accordance with an ecosystem that is changing because of global warming.

The Mekong begins in the Tibetan Plateau, flows through China, along the northeastern border of Myanmar, and then marks the Thai-Lao frontier before pouring into the heart of Cambodia and ending at the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam.

More than 300 million people live in the area surrounding the Mekong.

Cham Prasidh said it was too soon to assess the cost of developing the Mekong River as an economic corridor but added that it would be "quite a huge project" which he hoped the Asian Development Bank and others would support.

"Actually... the transportation of all the goods through the Mekong River should be the cheapest way of transport" once it is cleared of rocks and obstacles, he said.

"By so doing we also open the door for Laos, from being a landlocked country to open it to the sea."

No other ministers mentioned the Mekong in their opening remarks, except for Thailand's lead delegate who mentioned a need for "better management" of the river.

Delegates were expected later Friday to endorse a plan for connecting regional rail lines, which Cham Prasidh said would be another cheap way of transporting goods to the Mekong nations and beyond, to other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The plan cites four possible ways of connecting the railways but it says the most viable route would stretch from Bangkok to Phnom Penh, then Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and finally up to Nanning and Kunming, largely using existing lines or those already under construction.

The only missing link on that route would be between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh, it says, estimating a cost of 1.09 billion dollars for completion.

This does not include roughly seven billion dollars in additional funding needed to upgrade the existing lines.

By 2025, an estimated 3.2 million passengers and 23 million tonnes of freight are forecast for the completed route, the document says.

Although they are growing fast, the Mekong nations -- except for Thailand -- have the lowest per capita gross domestic product among the 10 ASEAN members.

Border dispute with Cambodia to bring social unification or division in Thailand?

via Khmer NZ 2010-08-20

By Nutthathirataa Withitwinyuchon

BANGKOK, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The current border issue between Thailand and Cambodia has been more complicated by the emergence of patriotism in Thailand and the internal political game played by local politicians.

The recently frequent demonstrations against Cambodia's management plan of Preah Vihear Temple and government's resolution on the issue by Thai Patriot Network allied with People Alliance for Democracy (PAD) reflects the nationalism mood which has been lately spurred in this nation. The question posed concerns whether the rising nationalistic sentiment will further divide Thai society or finally restore unity to this divided country.

"The patriotism is now complicating the issue and intensify division in Thai society..It is more difficult to find the truth ( amidst all the information from various groups) and people choose to agree with what they believe," said Dr. Kitti Prasirtsuk, a lecturer at Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University.

Surveys shows among Thai people there are hardliners who want the government to take decisive action swiftly and moderates who want to see the border dispute being solved peacefully.

An opinion poll on the Preah Vihear Temple issue conducted across the country earlier this month by the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) revealed that 69.55 percent of 1, 133 respondents agreed that the government should, through diplomatic means and military forces, push Cambodians out of the overlapping area near the temple as it is Thai territory. And 77. 93 percent of them, who saw the issue is crucial, said the government should make it part of the national agenda.

On the other hand, the Dusit Poll conducted in August in Bangkok and its vicinity showed that 49.77 percent of 1,059 respondents did not agree with the demonstrators for fearing the rally will create conflict among Thai people. And 37.10 percent of respondents are afraid that the demonstration will increase tension over the issue.

The temple and its surrounding area has been an age-old territorial dispute between the two countries for more than half a century. And the problem root dates back to 1904 when Thailand and French, colonial authority ruling Cambodia, set up a joint commission for the purpose of border demarcation. Even after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decided to award the temple to Cambodia in 1962, the row over a land plot of 4.6 square kilometers around the temple has never been resolved.

For Dr. Kitti, another factor that put additional pressure on the Thai government when dealing with this border issue is the domestic politics game. "The internal politics game going on in the country has also further complicated the issue," he said.

As the government held live discussion with representatives from Thai Patriot Network and the Yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on Aug. 8, in an effort to explain its position over the controversial issue, it received hard criticism from the opposition Puea Thai Party.

"The prime minister's explanation on Preah Vihear and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Thailand and Cambodia in 2000 was still unclear but the PAD supporters hailed at him to make people believe that the government is working rightfully," a Puea Thai core member was quoted as saying by Bangkok Post.

"The New Politics Party (a political party founded by PAD in 2009) is trying to stir patriotism because it wants to win the Bangkok City Councilor elections on Aug. 29. If not, the party may not be able to emerge in the next general election," the same member was quoted as saying by Bangkok Post.

PAD allied with Thai Patriot Network to demand the government to revoke the MoU signed with Cambodia in 2000 pertaining border demarcation as they believe the MoU puts Thailand at disadvantage. The group also asked the government to force Cambodians out of disputed area along Thai-Cambodian border, to nullify 1907 French- made map of 1:200,000 scales, and to ask the ICJ to review its 1962 ruling on the ownership of Preah Vihear Temple.

Thai government is currently facing tough challenge of bringing Cambodia back to the table of bilateral talks as Campodia 's Prime Minister Hun Sen set a precondition of resuming the meeting of Joint Boundary Committee (JBC). This means Thai government has to get the results of former three meetings of Joint Boundary Committee (JBC) approved by the Parliament as soon as possible so that the schedule of next JBC meeting could be set for discussion of border demarcation with Cambodia.

"Joint Boundary Committee is an important mechanism to achieve solution but the government should move faster," said Dr. Kitti.

Division in Thai society has become widely acknowledged since the prolonged protest of Red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) in Bangkok from March 14 to May 19, which left 89 people died and nearly 2,000 injured. The government has since been tasked to bridge the disparity in society. The nationalistic sentiment over the disputed border issue, however, is hardly helpful to ease the crisis faced by the government.

3 Thais arrested by Cambodian police not spies: Army

via Khmer NZ

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Aug 20 - The three Thai hunters arrested by Cambodian police on charge of spying while gathering forest products along the Thai-Cambodian border are not spies and their arrest has nothing to do with the two countries ongoing border dispute, a senior Thai army official said on Friday.

Second Army Region commander Lt-Gen Veevalit Chornsamrit made the assertation after three Thai men from Thailand’s northeastern border province of Surin were arrested by Cambodian border patrol police in Kanna village of Sangkha district six days ago during the heated border spat between the neighbouring countries.

The trio were identified as Sanong Wongchareon, Ling Pongphet and Lan Sapsri. All were charged by the Cambodian authorities with spying.

Gen Veevalit reaffirmed that the three mens are not spies as accused by Cambodia, but just ordinary local citizens who were armed only with homemade hunting guns with them.

He said the detainees are all safe and have been sent to Cambodia's Siem Riep province Friday morning for legal prosecution.

"The Cambodian authorities informed us that the trio can not yet be sent back to Thailand as they must face legal procedures in Siam Riep first and the process will take a while," the commander said.

Gen Veevalit reasserted that the arrest of the three has nothing to do with politics nor the border dispute and Cambodia has not set any conditions in exchange for the release of the Thai detainees.

"The villagers simply strayed while hunting for game," the Thai commander said. "Recently some Cambodians were discovered crossing into Thailand, which deported them back to their homeland, according to the Thai commander."

Gen Veevalit expressed confidence that Thai officials at operational level are now coordinating with their Cambodian counterparts to bring the trio back, while concerned authorities have also been instructed to warn residents along the border not to illegally enter the border areas to hunt or seek forest products to avoid a repeat of the incident.

Following concerns that border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia may affect the case of the three arrested men, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Friday that good cooperation at the operational level between the two countries could help ease the problem.

Thani Thangpakdee, deputy director-general of the Thai Foreign Ministry’s Department of Information, said on Friday the ministry has already instructed the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh to provide assistance to the three arrested Thai nationals.

Tension at the Thai-Cambodian border flared up after UNESCO accorded the ancient Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site in 2008 after Cambodia applied for the status, while the border dispute over the contested 4.6 sq km area of land near the temple claimed by both countries remains unresolved, leading to clashes between the militaries of the two kingdoms. (MCOT online news)

Thai foragers arrested in Cambodia

via Khmer NZ

Published: 20/08/2010

Three Thai villagers have been arrested by Cambodian border patrol police while hunting in Cambodia, 2nd Army chief Lt-Gen Veewalit Jornsamrit said on Friday.

Reports from the governor of Surin province and the Suranaree Task Force he confirmed three Thai men were arrested after straying across the border from Sangkha district of Surin province on Wednesday while hunting and foraging for food in the forest.

They were identified as Sanong Wongcharoen, 37, Ling Pongphet, 39, and Laen Sapsri, all from moo 7 of tambon Tatoom in Sangkha district. They each had a muzzle-loading gun.

Lt-Gen Veewalit said it was understood the three were detained at Along Veng and sent to Siem Reap on Friday morning.

The 2nd Army chief said the Surin governor had sent a letter to the Siem Reap governor to seek their release and the Suranaree Task Force had been instructed to hold talks with a Cambodian military commander identified as Maj-Gen Noun No.

He said it might take some time to get their release.

Cambodia eyes nuclear power to meet energy demands

via Khmer NZ

Fri Aug 20, 2010

By Prak Chan Thul

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia is looking into nuclear power as a future energy source to meet rising domestic demand, although construction of a plant is still years away, a top government official said on Friday.

Cambodian scientists have begun to study nuclear technology in a bid to keep apace with Southeast Asian neighbours planning to build plants in the next few years, said Ith Praing, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy.

"(Nuclear power) is a possibility because our neighbours are doing it, so we have to study it and see how dangerous it is," Ith Praing told Reuters.

"It's still a long way to go, even by 2030, we will not have used all of our resources," he added.

Ith Praing said an assessment of the potential costs on a nuclear energy programme had yet to be made and the government was still focussed on hydropower as an electricity source.

Cambodia last year said it wanted to attract about $3 billion (1 billion pounds) in foreign investment to build six hydropower plants by 2018.

Vietnam, which is currently chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), last month called on members to consider using nuclear power for peaceful purposes as Asia faces rising energy needs to fuel economic growth.

Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation has offered to help ASEAN countries to build nuclear power plants and develop its safe use in a region where energy agencies estimates primary power demands will climb 2.5 percent annually until 2030.

Cambodia's neighbour, Vietnam, plans to start building its first nuclear power plant in 2014 using Russian technology, a state-run newspaper reported in June.

Thailand is looking to develop nuclear power to reduce its dependence on natural gas and is planning to build four 1,000-MW nuclear power plants at a total cost of about $8 billion (5 billion pounds).

Two of these plants are expected to feed power into the grid in 2020 and the remaining two in 2021.

(Editing by Martin Petty and Jason Szep)

Man kills five relatives in Cambodia

via Khmer NZ


A Cambodian man killed five family members and injured three others after they prevented him from raping his 16-year-old sister-in-law, local media reported Friday.

The man, identified only as Nang, then hanged himself.

Police said the crime, which took place Thursday in south-eastern Svay Rieng province near the border with Vietnam, was among the worst the country had seen in years.

Provincial police chief Prach Rim told the Phnom Penh Post newspaper the victims were related to Nang.

'The attacker had raped his sister-in-law twice before, and he tried to rape her again, but was apparently stopped by his family,' he said.

'They then fought together, and the attacker locked the doors of the house and stabbed his family members to death before hanging himself,' Prach Rim said.

Police said Nang murdered his wife, his 2-year-old son, his mother-in-law and two of his sisters-in-law. His daughter and nephew were injured, as was the sister-in-law he tried to rape.

Last month a drunken soldier murdered three people and injured four during a rampage in nearby Kampong Cham province after arguing with his wife.

The head of one prominent local human rights organisation said he was worried the issue of domestic violence is not being taken seriously in parts of Cambodia.

'It seems everyone sees this kind of violence as normal,' said Thun Saray, the head of Adhoc.

Cambodian maids fill Indonesian void

via Khmer NZ

Fri, Aug 20, 2010
The Star/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA - Cambodian maids are filling the void left by the freeze on Indonesian maids, said Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) president Alwi Bavutty.

He said thousands of Cambodians were being brought into the country every month to cater to the demand for maids.

Prior to the Indonesian maids freeze in June last year, he said there was only between 2,000 and 3,000 Cambodian maids in Malaysia.

This was in comparison to the 4,000 to 5,000 Indonesian maids who were brought in monthly before the freeze, he said adding there were currently more than 200,000 of such maids in the country.

"Agencies used to bring in 400 to 500 Cambodians before, but now some 3,000 come in every month," he told The Star.

He said the agency fees of between RM7,000 and RM8,000 paid by the employer for Cambodian maids was about the same as that for Indonesian maids.

"One plus point for the Cambodians is their discipline record - the problem of them running away from their employers is almost none.

"Maybe it is because they do not know anyone to mix around with," said Alwi, adding that there were maybe one or two isolated cases.

By comparison, Alwi said 20% of Indonesian maids ran away from their employers.

The Cambodians get job training and attend English and Malay language classes in their homeland before they are sent to Malaysia, he said.

However, Alwi said Malaysians preferred Indonesian maids because of the cultural similarities.

He added that Malaysian and Indonesian representatives had met a few times to resolve the freeze, with the next meeting expected on Thursday.

Among the issues being hammered out are the agency fees, minimum wage and a weekly off-day.

Alwi said Indonesian agents would be requested to reduce their fees as it was higher than the fees charged by Malaysian agents.

"They are charging between RM3,000 and RM5,500 in agency fees, up from RM2,000 in 1995. Local agents have to fork out close to RM2,000 for medical tests and levy," he said.

Alwi said Papa preferred wages of maids to follow market forces instead of having a minimum wage, adding that employers should be given the choice to "buy up" the weekly off-day.

"Maybe we can pay them (maids) for the one off-day. It's similar to paying overtime," he said.

Cambodian Embassy Second Secretary Ung Vantha said Cambodia Labour Ministry statistics showed that until June 22 this year, 24,753 Cambodian maids were working in Malaysia.

"We have advised them (the ministry) to improve the quality of workers sent here," he said, adding that the embassy was not involved in the recruitment of Cambodian workers.

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via Khmer NZ

Cambodian PM Warns Culture of Nepotism and Cronyism for Appointing Governmental Positions

Friday, 20 August 2010 09:50 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 20, 2010-Cambodian PM Hun Sen said on Friday that the ministry and other governmental agencies have eliminated the culture of appointing the state positions based on the nepotism and cronyism.

They also have to eliminate the culture of intervention of exchange of position in state agencies, the statement from Cabinet’s meeting said, adding that this way will encourage the active officials in work, help to promote them for ranks and push them to work effectively and it also implements the reform policy of administrative unit of country.

Not only civil side but also armed forces have to eliminate the culture of appointing through nepotism and cronyism. All ministry and relevant state agencies must stop appointing through overlapping its agencies of power in public administrative unit.

PM Hun Sen used to warn his relatives of using his name to gain own benefits through doing bad things in society and it destroyed his families’ names. In Cambodia, whenever people have the simple conflicts, they have always called to their people who could help and prevent them from punishing the legal system.


Strengthens ASEAN Member States Preparation for Pandemics

Friday, 20 August 2010 08:34 DAP NEWS / Soy Sophea

CAMBODIA, Phnom Penh, August 20, 2010- A major international pandemic preparedness exercise closed in Phnom Penh on Friday 20 August, having explored key issues that Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) need to consider when preparing to face future pandemics, according to a statement on Friday.

The event, which was a first-of-its-kind anywhere in the world, saw ASEAN Member States work together in a 5-day simulation to prepare for the occurrence of a major pandemic.

ASEAN Member States and the international community, including humanitarian organisations and technical experts, identified possible impacts of a severe pandemic on essential services such as energy, transportation and finance, and the key challenges associated with responding regionally and internationally to such a crisis, it said, adding that participants gained more understanding of the existing regional preparedness and response plans, current gaps in those plans, and mechanisms that can be used in response efforts.

Participants also confirmed the essential service sectors that must be supported in a response and identified planning and response elements, and issues required to ensure continuity of operations by governments and civil society at national and regional levels.

The participants identified points for action by ASEAN, the Member States, and other regional and international organizations and nations that provide assistance, as well as addressing improvements to how ASEAN Member States should coordinate and cooperate amongst themselves, with the United Nations (UN) and other key international agencies. The lessons learnt from the exercise will facilitate participants to make improvements in their respective strategies, protocols and plans, and strengthen existing standard operating procedures, and plans for interagency and cross-border cooperation.

The week long event, which was hosted by ASEAN, the UN and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), saw the participation of over 130 high-level participants from governments, UN agencies, international bodies, non-governmental organisations and ASEAN Member States Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Speaking during the event, the Minister of Health of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Dr. Mam Bun Heng, said that, “the exercise has been instrumental in highlighting the non-health sectors that can be disrupted during a pandemic, preventing a government from responding to its full capacity. The exercise has also shown how, by working together across Member States, we can better prepare for times of crisis, to the benefit of our individual nations and the region as a whole. The simulation has showcased the true merits of collaboration in times of disaster and has left us better placed to deal with future pandemics”.

Also speaking at the closing ceremony of the exercise, ASEAN Secretariat’s Director for Cross-Sectoral Cooperation Directorate, Dhannanjaya V. Sunoto, said that, “I feel that we have emerged stronger as a region after this week. However, a greater task lies ahead. We now have to work closer together to strengthen our pandemic preparedness and response plans.”

The ‘Southeast Asia Regional Multisectoral Pandemic Preparedness and Response Table Top Exercise: Managing the Impact of Pandemics on Societies, Governments and Organisations’, was funded with support from the USAID.

Cambodia Expressed Concern about Child Birth Rate for 40,000 Per Year

Thursday, 19 August 2010 09:42 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 19, 2010-Cambodian scholars and researcher on Thursday expressed their concern about the child birth rate in human resources when the neighboring countries stand about one million child birth rate per year like in Vietnam and Thailand but Cambodia has birth spacing policy.

According to the research, our country gets the 40,000 child birth rate per year after the health ministry set up the policy of birth spacing in the family in purpose of reducing poverty and help the mother to live with healthy and firm, Klot Thida, head of royal academy of Cambodia said in a seminar about using chemicals.

Sometimes, we could not compete with neighboring countries in terms of human resources because we have small number of population. And sometimes, the diseases also caused the baby die. Using chemicals in food and other materials including in milk is one of concern for growing child and those who are human resources from the country, she said.

In Cambodia, birth spacing is widely spread for Cambodian families to reduce number of children and the government also helps people to meet with millennium development goals.

For Cambodia, the total population rose to 13.4 million in 2008 and on July 11th, 2010, it will have 14.3 million with population growth rate about 1.55 percent in each year; Cambodia families have 3-4 children in average. So, in 2025, Cambodian population could increase to 17.5 million.

The report added that the population in the whole world is about 6,855 million and will rise to 7, 000 million at the end of 2011. In every second, 4-5 babies in average are born on the planet and a woman could be able to deliver 2-3 babies in average. The women living in developed countries have about one or two children and the women living in developing countries have 4-5. The number of babies was born is estimated at 130 million for each

According to statistics, about 50 million people die of other factors including half million of women dying related to pregnancy and delivering babies each year. Accordance with data, the population in the world every year will increase by about 80 million, which are the challenging matters for the future, he noted.