Sunday, 29 August 2010

Freight Train Imports Planned in Cambodia

via Khmer NZ


Peter Brimble, Asian Development Bank senior country economist for Cambodia, said the main rationale for the railway upgrade, partly funded by the ADB, was to develop a more cost-effective freight system. “The logistics cost of carrying agricultural produce is critical and if you don’t have an effective way of doing it then it’s difficult to get the product out. I think the idea behind this is that it’s one option that’s relatively cost-effective".

Toll Royal Railway is planning to spend up to US$81 million to import new trains as part of the multi-million-dollar railway upgrade of the Kingdom’s major freight routes, according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation.

“The company has already set a plan to buy 11 engine carriages, 500 freight carriages and some other train materials for their operation by the end of this year or next,” the ministry’s Secretary of State Touch Chankosal said yesterday.

He said that Toll Royal Railway was preparing the paperwork to apply to the Council for Development of Cambodia requesting permission to import the locomotives; however, he said he could not confirm where the trains would be purchased from.

He said that refurbishment of Cambodia’s existing trains would continue, but that the expectation was that they would not suffice.

“In fact, we still have many carriage heads and carriages which can be mended, but they do not completely run well, so we need to import the new ones,” he said.

Peter Brimble, Asian Development Bank senior country economist for Cambodia, said the main rationale for the railway upgrade, partly funded by the ADB, was to develop a more cost-effective freight system.

“The logistics cost of carrying agricultural produce is critical and if you don’t have an effective way of doing it then it’s difficult to get the product out. I think the idea behind this is that it’s one option that’s relatively cost-effective,” he said.

Touch Chankosal said it was also the first step to ease the amount of heavy transportation damaging roads.

The ADB and AusAID are providing $141 million in funding for Toll to upgrade the 254-kilometre line from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville town, a 388-kilometre line from Phnom Penh to Poipet and a 48-kilometre line from Poipet to Sisophon.

Brimble said there were no plans for the ADB to fund future railroad projects in the Kingdom, but that he understood a “spur” would be added to the rail line in Sihanoukville to link it to the nearby port.

Toll Chief Executive David Kerr declined to comment, and ADB senior transport economist Peter Broch said he could not confirm the figures provided by the ministry.

Toll is jointly owned 55 percent by Australia’s largest trucking and freight company, Toll Holdings, and 45 percent by Kit Meng’s Royal Group. The duo teamed up last year to secure a 30-year concession to operate the network.

Toll Holdings reported a full-year net profit yesterday of A$278.9 million (US$247 million) for the 12 months ending June.

Its shares rose 2.7 percent to A$5.99 at close of trading in Sydney yesterday.

State President concludes Laos, Cambodia visits

via Khmer NZ


State President Nguyen Minh Triet returned home in the afternoon on August 28, wrapping up an official visit to Laos and a State-level visit to Cambodia.
In the morning the same day, the President attended and delivered a speech at the talks on “Experience, potential and opportunities for Vietnamese investors in Cambodia ” in Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh .

The talks were attended by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Economic and Financial Minister Keat Chhon and over 200 representatives of the two countries’ business circles.

Representatives of Vietnamese businesses currently doing business and investing in Cambodia presented the results of their invested projects in agriculture, mining, finance-banking, healthcare, energy, light industry and hydro-electricity. They put forth recommendations for boosting the two countries’ economic, trade and investment cooperation on a par with the current growing political ties.

The Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister told President Triet and the participants that his country expects its economy to boom this year with an estimated GDP growth rate of at least 5 percent.

He pointed to the young and dynamic population as one of his country’s advantages together with untapped potential, saying there will be many opportunities for Vietnamese investors.

Noting the participants’ recommendations and specific initiatives, President Triet said the two countries’ economic, trade and investment cooperation has attained encouraging developments though yet to match their potential.

Opportunities still lie ahead, President Triet said, expressing his hope that Vietnamese investors will go to Cambodia with the spirit of solidarity and friendship.

He urged Vietnamese investors to be responsible and cautious to avoid sparking problems that can affect their partners’ trust, and participate actively in poverty reduction, cultural, healthcare and educational activities in Cambodia.

Also in the morning, President Triet visited the construction site of the Technology and Senior High School in Kampong Chnang, which is built with 10 billion VND that General Secretary Nong Duc Manh presented to the Cambodian Royal Fund during his visit to Cambodia in 2005. Once competed, the school will be named “the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship School”.

In an interview granted to the press, Deputy Foreign Minister Dao Viet Trung said the good outcomes of the two visits will contribute greatly to strengthening and lifting Vietnam’s ties with Laos and Cambodia to a new height.

He said the leaders have affirmed the importance of their growing traditional friendship as an invaluable asset that needs to be preserved and handed down to the next generations.

Trung reiterated that Vietnam has placed importance to strengthening and enhancing its special solidarity and friendship and comprehensive cooperation with Laos and good neighbourliness, traditional friendship and all-sided cooperation with Cambodia.

In the future, Vietnam will increase the exchange of visits with Laos and Cambodia at all levels in order to deepen their currently fine political ties to create a foundation for their cooperation in the fields of economy, investment, trade, and others.

Regarding cooperation with Laos, Trung said the two countries should quickly carry out their agreements in the fields of hydro-electricity and the plantation of industrial plants and mining, while pushing up cooperation in healthcare, agriculture and rural development, infrastructure construction, tourism, culture, and post and telecommunication.

For her part, Vietnam will step up the training of human resources for Laos to help it meet the needs for industrialisation and modernisation, Trung noted.

In the short term, Trung said the two countries need to work on their plan on enhancing the quality and effectiveness of Vietnam-Laos cooperation in education and human resource development and carry out the projects to establish the Faculty of Vietnamese language in the Lao National University and other cooperative projects in education and training.

With Cambodia, the two countries will strive to raise their two-way trade to 2 billion USD in 2010 and encourage Vietnamese businesspeople to invest in Cambodia, especially in banking, the growing of rubber plants, fertilizer production, the processing of farm products, mining, oil and gas industry, telecommunication and hydro-electricity.

Vietnam will boost its cooperation with and help Cambodia in other fields, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transport and communications, education, healthcare and tourism, Trung said.


State President wraps up visit to Cambodia

via Khmer NZ


State President Nguyen Minh Triet has wrapped up his official visit to Cambodia to promote the traditional relationship between the two countries.

Over the past days, all of Cambodia was decorated with colourful banners and flowers to welcome Mr. Triet and his delegation.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Doan Viet Trung said the visit was motivation to develop the time-honoured Vietnam-Cambodia relationship.

The visit laid a foundation to bring the relationship to a new height, said Trung.

In a party for the President, Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni said Cambodia people are very happy to have such good friends as the Vietnamese, who have helped them in their struggle against colonialism and imperialism.

In agreement with the king, Cambodian senior officials expressed their great gratitude to Vietnamese volunteer soldiers for their assistance in fighting the regime of genocide.

Great Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong and Great Supreme Patriarch Bou Kry said Vietnam not only helped Cambodia in its struggle but also in its re-construction and the development of Cambodian Buddhism.

Cambodia is now a developing country with industrial parks emerging from the “killing fields.”

In 2010, Cambodia’s economic growth could reach 5 percent and annual per capita income is expected to hit US$1,900. Economic co-operation between the two countries has also increased strongly in recent years. Vietnam has 63 projects in Cambodia with combined investment capital of more than US$900 million. Two-way trade turnover is estimated to be more than US$2 billion and high-quality Vietnamese products are securing a firm foothold in the Cambodian market.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen affirmed that his country’s economic development can be attributed to Vietnam’s contributions through investment and trade exchange. During the visit, President Nguyen Minh Triet and PM Hun Sen agreed to expand co-operation in mining, telecommunications, finance, banking, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transport, culture and information. The two sides also agreed to complete land border demarcation by 2012 to create borders with peace and stability.

Investment between the two countries has been blooming in recent years, said Mr. Trung. Vietnam is one of the leading investors in Cambodia. At its current pace, Vietnam’s investment in Cambodia will reach a minimum of US$6 billion in the next five years, mainly in energy, hydroelectricity, aviation, banking, finance, oil and gas.

Over the ups and downs of history, close ties of solidarity and friendship between the two countries have been forged and developed. Mr. Triet, the Cambodian King and other leaders reaffirmed that those traditional ties are an invaluable asset which should last forever.

Mr. Triet said the two nations have lived together for a long time and they always stand side by side in hard times. Cambodia expressed its deep gratitude for Vietnam’s support, particularly for saving it from genocide, while Vietnam thanks Cambodia for its support during the resistance struggles. History has seen fine relations between the two countries so the current generation has the responsibility to develop the relationship and sustain it in the future.

During his visit to Cambodia, Mr. Triet also cut the ribbon to inaugurate the Radio the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) bureau in Phnom Penh.

Within Six Months of This Year the Trade between Cambodia and China Amounted to US$627 Million – Saturday, 28.8.2010

via khmer NZ

Posted on 29 August 2010. Filed under: Week 679
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

“Phnom Penh: The Counselor of the Economic and Commercial Section of the Chinese Embassy to Cambodia, Mr. Jin Yuan, said that according to Chinese customs statistics, within six months of 2010, the Cambodian-Chinese trade amounted to US$627 million, an increase by 37.70% compared to the corresponding period last year.

“He said in a press conference in the morning of 27 August 2010 that Cambodia is an important member of ASEAN and a neighboring country with long lasting friendship, and it has benefited from the development of a China-ASEAN free trade region. Cambodia and China has achieved fruitful results through their cooperation in economy and trade. Through such quick progress, the amount of investment between both countries this year will arise beyond the amount before the global financial crisis.

“Mr. Jin Yuan added that the export from Cambodia to China rose by as much as 108.70% compared to the same period last years. Products imported from China to Cambodia increased three times. Also, Cambodia became a major target of Chinese entrepreneurs.

“He went on to say that investments from China in Cambodia range from the textile and garment sectors to other multi-sectors, such as agriculture and the development of special economic zones. According to the Council for the Development of Cambodia, by the end of July 2010, there were 360 Chinese investment projects or 23% of all investment projects in Cambodia, and therefore, China is the top country with investments in Cambodia compared with other countries.

“He continued to say that through encouragement by the Chinese Embassy in the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Department of Supervision on Product Quality of China is discussing with the Ministry of Agriculture of Cambodia a Memorandum of Understanding about strengthening of general sanitation standards and plant sanitation, to solve the supervision of agricultural products such as rice and cassava that are exported to China. [See also China Quality Focus – a Western managed and operated company in China] He said, ‘We believe that through joint efforts of both sides, there can be solutions for the problems relating to the export of agricultural products by the Royal Government of Cambodia.’”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5288, 28.8.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 28 August 2010

Laramie woman wants to befriend girls in Cambodia

via Khmer NZ

Saturday, August 28, 2010

About five years ago, Ruth Williams was reading a magazine while waiting to see her hairdresser, and she came across an article about a woman rescuing children from sex trafficking in Cambodia.

She saw a photo of a 5-year-old girl she couldn’t forget.

“Her face just haunted me, and I couldn’t get her from my mind,” Williams, a mother of six who runs Puddle Ducks Day Care, said.

Williams wrote a letter to Somaly Mam, who runs a series of centers in Cambodia for girls who have escaped slavery. She never expected a reply, but her letter sparked a friendship with Mam and a special relationship with Srey Mach, the 5-year-old in the article, who is now 10.

“I asked (Mam) what I could do to help, and she let me start sending things for this little girl,” Williams said. “Really, it’s just befriending.”

Now Williams is looking for other women who want to befriend girls in Cambodia.

In 1996, Mam started an organization called AFESIP — the acronym, in French, means “acting for women in distressing situations” — that runs six centers for rescued children in Cambodia.

The centers provide care, rehabilitation, education, job training and help reintegrating victims into their communities. One of those six centers, the Kampong Cham Center, houses 54 of the youngest girls, ranging in age from 5-16 years old. The girl Williams befriended lives there, and Williams is hoping to find women who will take on similar roles for the rest of the center’s residents.

“They’ve all been either orphaned or sold or kidnapped,” Williams said. “Somaly Mam does her best to find their families in cases where she can, but usually if they’ve been sold, they can’t go back (home).”

She remembers sending Srey Mach a pair of pink pajamas. She wore them for a week straight.

“I realized how important it was just to love one little girl. I couldn’t change the lives of everyone, but we could do this for one little girl,” she said. “I’m asking any ladies that want to share part of their love with a little girl and have a personal relationship with them.”

Initially, she worked with her church and the community to gather hygiene supplies, clothing and toys for the residents of the Kampong Cham center, but postal rates have tripled, and sending large packages isn’t feasible. By connecting individuals with girls, she’s hoping to continue supporting them without incurring huge costs.

“There’s no money involved. I’m just trying to find women who would be willing to befriend one little girl, send her a small package,” she said. “It costs about $8 to send a small outfit or a toy or something to Cambodia. Or maybe a postcard with pictures of Wyoming.”

She’s found about 40 volunteers so far. Many of the women who are participating do so together with their families, but Williams stressed that she wants women in particular to be the main donors because of the experiences the girls have had with men.

“Eventually, it would be great if they could have male figures in their lives, but I want to stick to women right now,” she said.

Most of the girls at the Kampong Cham center don’t speak English, so they probably wouldn’t be able to write back. Williams said the relationship would be one-sided, and she’s asking for volunteers willing to make a long-term commitment.

“The girls, more than anything — more than clothes or food — they crave a mother. I know we can’t be mothers, but we can be mother figures to them,” Williams said.

Somaly Mam was born in poverty in Cambodia and sold into slavery as a girl. She grew up working in a brothel before escaping and starting a new life. In addition to starting AFESIP to help victims, she started the Somaly Mam Foundation in 2007 to raise money to fight human trafficking.

“Don’t be scared. Stand up and help to fight,” Mam said in a video about her work. “Love costs nothing.”

The trafficking industry generates up to $12 billion a year and is the fastest-growing illegal industry in the world. An estimated 2 million to 4 million victims will be sold into slavery in the next year.

Williams will travel to Cambodia Sept. 7 with a television crew from Los Angeles that is filming a documentary. The crew heard about Williams from Mam during a recent benefit. Williams said she’s cramming her luggage full of gifts for the girls at the Kampong Cham center along with photographs of the women who will befriend them.

Williams and the crew, Orange County TV, will have a bodyguard with them during their weeklong stay. Mam also receives 24-hour protection, and the centers have been raided in the past.

Williams stressed that victims of sex trafficking are indeed victims, and many of them are children.

“Srey Mach was 5 years old. She didn’t have a choice, and they’re tortured to the breaking point. It’s a horrific thing,” she said.

Anyone who wants to join the effort can e-mail Williams at They’ll receive information about the program before they have to make a commitment. Williams said she’s also willing to talk to women’s groups around Laramie about the program.

“Somaly Mam’s big thing is to show these girls that they are not nothing. They have been abused and degraded to the point they don’t think anything of themselves. They think they’re worthless. I think this can really help. Just one at a time,” she said.

For more information about the Somaly Mam Foundation, go to .

Japan-South Korea ties / South Korea aiming high / Seeks to be world leader as economic strength increases

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The Yomiuri Shimbun

Today, Aug. 29, marks the centennial of the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty of 1910. This is the first installment of a series on the current state of the two countries' bilateral relationship, which has been evolving rapidly.

Many South Koreans have hated and envied Japan since this country annexed the Korean Peninsula 100 years ago, while many in Japan have looked down on Koreans, but with the recent rise of the South Korean economy, Japan can no longer afford such arrogance.

One recent example took place in Cambodia, a country Japan has thoroughly supported since the end of its civil war in the 1990s. In Sihanoukville, Cambodia's only full-fledged port city, a special economic zone is being developed using part of 20 billion yen in yen loans extended by Japan.

Covering about 70 hectares, the equivalent of 70 baseball fields, the zone is expected to have a profound effect on Cambodia's development.

A senior official at a Cambodian public corporation involved in the development was shocked when an official of Samsung Group, South Korea's largest chaebol, announced that the group wanted to lease all the land in the zone. The special economic zone is scheduled to be completed in autumn next year; not even the rents have been decided yet.

"This can't be. Japan was the country that provided assistance [for the zone]," the official thought. He declined politely but was unable to hide his surprise at Samsung's offer to in effect buy the zone, to take on Cambodia's entire future.

"I think [Samsung] planned to construct factories for TVs and air conditioners, to establish a major base aimed at the global market," he said.

Dalian--in China's Liaoning Province--has been considered a stronghold of Japanese companies. However, Changxing Island, off the coast of Wafangdian in Dalian, looks like a South Korean island.

South Korea's STX Corp., the world's fourth-largest shipbuilding company, invested 3 billion dollars (about 255 billion yen) to build factories there that employ more than 10,000 people. The number is to be increased by another 10,000 within a few years, sources said.

Japanese companies are losing ground to South Korean firms in many places around the world.

In home electrical appliances--an industry Japan has dominated--Samsung Electronics Co. made about 10.93 trillion won (about 780 billion yen) in operating profits in 2009, more than Japan's nine major electric companies combined.

In the same year, South Korea's trade surplus topped Japan's for the first time. The country's living standards are rapidly approaching those of Japan, and confidence is growing.

An increasing number of South Korean intellectuals now say the country's modern history began in the colonial period. It was breaking a taboo to accept this new idea and calmly link South Korea's current situation as an economically strong nation with what it learned from Japan in the past.

"Remarkably, the unilateral condemnation of Japan has faded. This is a great change that I couldn't have imagined," said Prof. Lee Yong Hoon of Seoul University, who advocated this theory in a 2006 book.

The Investigative Commission on Pro-Japanese Collaborators' Property, an organization directly under the South Korean president, ended its activities in July. The commission was set up in 2006 to seize property and other assets from the descendants of people identified as Japanese collaborators.

South Korean President Lee Myung Bak said the country will become a leading advanced nation.

"We aim to become the world's best in business and sports, and have the No. 1 pop star," a person

Thais held in Cambodia 'home soon'

via Khmer NZ

Published: 29/08/2010

SURIN : Surin governor Raphee Phongbuphakit has asked the families of three Thais detained for entering Cambodia illegally to be patient as they await their release.

The three Surin natives _ Sanong Wongcharoen, Lim Puangpet, and Lan Sapsri _ were hunting and foraging in a forested area near the border when they wandered on to the Cambodian side and were nabbed by patrol officers.

Mr Raphee said the provincial administrative office was still waiting for the Cambodians to complete the paperwork necessary for the trio's release.

The governor's remarks came after seven family members of the three returned from Siem Reap where they had visited the men in detention.

Siem Reap governor Sou Phirin told the relatives that both Prime Minister Hun Sen and Defence Minister Tea Banh had received a report about the three Thais and were "happy to help".

He dismissed reports that Hun Sen himself had ordered the release of the three Thais, saying the prime minister did not have that authority.

Group including former refugees take part in mission trip to Cambodia

From left, Mary Hensley, Pastor Sam Duong with his son, Calvin, Vanny S. Sap and Docnga Sap talk about their trip to Cambodia.

via Khmer NZ

By Kim Kimzey

Published: Saturday, August 28, 2010

Docnga Sap of Wellford fled Cambodia’s “killing fields” more than 30 years ago.

For five months, he sought refuge at a camp in Thailand. Sap noticed that hundreds of children in the camp received meals each morning.

“I ask somebody, ‘Who is the rich man to feed the children every day?’ ”

The person responded “Jesus.”

Sap noticed how some people treated the refugees with kindness. He questioned why they were kind. Someone told him “Jesus.”

Sap converted to Christianity in that refugee camp. He also lived at a camp in the Philippines before he and his wife, Vanny, arrived in the United States in 1980. They lived in California for 16 years before moving here.

Sap had not walked on Cambodian soil in 31 years. And it had been 40 years since he last saw his home village of Pong Tuk. Sap longed to return there, help the villagers and share the gospel.

Sap was able to realize his vision last month. He and Vanny journeyed to Cambodia with a small mission team organized by the Rev. Sam Duong, pastor of the Cambodian Ministry in Spartanburg.

Duong also survived the Khmer Rough regime. He fled Cambodia to Vietnam. He returned to Cambodia, but later left for Thailand and eventually the Philippines. Like Sap, Duong converted to Christianity in a Thai refugee camp.

Duong now lives in Charlotte, N.C., and is pastor of two churches, including a church in Greensboro, N.C., and the Cambodian Ministry sponsored by United Baptist Church in Spartanburg. The Cambodian Ministry is the only Cambodian-language Southern Baptist church in South Carolina.

Both churches collected money and assisted the mission team in their trek to Cambodia.

The team consisted of Duong, Docnga and Vanny Sap, Chenda Mroek, a member of the church in Greensboro, and Mary Hensley of Spartanburg.

They left for Cambodia on July 8 and flew into Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. They spent 14 days in Cambodia, visiting congregations (including a church outside Phnom Penh that Duong helped establish several years ago), and leading worship services, baptizing believers and helping poor villagers.

It took six hours for the mission team to travel from Phnom Penh to Siemreab and another three hours on bumpy, dusty roads from Siemreab to Sap’s home village.

They were overwhelmed by the reception they received. More than 100 villagers gathered to welcome them. Sap was moved to tears and unable to speak.

“The whole town welcomed us,” Sap recalled. “But one lady ask me, ‘What do you bring with you?’ ” He replied, “I bring the good news from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Weeks before the trip, Sap learned his son Putheavy, who lives in Cambodia, had converted to Christianity. Sap considers this a miracle.

Putheavy and six others were baptized during one service while the mission team was in Cambodia. More than 100 people also were baptized at a mass baptism. Because of limited transportation, Duong had to limit the number of baptisms. The converted crowded into beds and atop roofs of pickup trucks before setting out for a lake to be baptized. Hensley counted 27 people on a van for 15 passengers. Duong, with assistance from several other pastors, performed baptisms.

Duong said it was very hard to be separated from his wife and three young children. It brought a greater realization to the sacrifices made by missionaries like those who introduced him to his faith in a Thai refugee camp all those years ago.

The mission team’s days were long. Members were so busy making plans and working that they often fell asleep after midnight and arose at 6 a.m.

Money raised by the team’s churches was used to dig a pond to provide water to villagers in Pong Tuk. Property was donated for a church site, and 15 Bibles and five hymnals were purchased. Pigs and chickens were bought for the village. One Cambodian church received rice to feed hungry families. Gate City Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C., also bought a farm tractor for a Cambodian church.

United Baptist Church members collected vitamins and over-the-counter medications, such as pain relievers, distributed to Cambodians on the mission trip.

Mary Hensley coordinates the Cambodian Ministry at United Baptist Church. She has been involved with the ministry since it began 15 years ago.

“We started by having fellowships once a year where we would invite the people to come,” Hensley said.

In 1999, a lay pastor from Atlanta began coming twice a month to lead the Cambodian congregation in worship. Hensley said they had about 11 members when that pastor left in 2005. Duong became pastor in October 2007. The Cambodian Ministry has grown since Duong’s arrival. Duong baptized about 70 people in less than a year and more are awaiting baptism, Hensley said.

Hensley said the Spartanburg church has more than 70 members. Average attendance was 35 to 40 but declined during their absence on the mission trip.

Members of the mission team hope to return to Cambodia in November 2011.

Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia get learning network

via Khmer NZ

August 28, 2010

Forty-two Vietnamese, Lao and Cambodian university rectors agreed to establish a network of universities and create its operational content and mechanisms.

The decision was made at a meeting of rectors from Vietnamese, Lao and Cambodian universities at Ho Chi Minh City National University on August 27.

Addressing the meeting for, “Promoting co-operation in tertiary education and scientific research,” Head of the Lao National Assembly’s Socio-Cultural Affairs Committee Douangdy Outhachak emphasised the necessity of implementing education and training, along with modernising science and technology.

The establishment of the education network will help Laos further develop its economy, trade and services, he said.

He expressed his hope that Vietnamese universities will receive more Lao students and assist Lao universities in human resources training programmes.

Associate Professor Phan Thanh Binh, who is also Rector of Ho Chi Minh City National University, said the network would be a foundation to promote co-operation among regional universities, thus contributing to regional development and raising the solidarity and traditional friendship among the three countries.

The rectors also discussed establishing of a digital university connected with the ASEAN Universities Network (AUN), and developing of a virtual university between Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Representatives from 11 Vietnamese, Lao and Cambodian universities signed a memorandum of understanding on training co-operation in which they will exchange students, lecturers, learning, scientific information, and research. (VNA)

Vietnamese president wraps up visit in Cambodia

via Khmer NZ

August 28, 2010

Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet wrapped up his three-day state visit to Cambodia on Saturday.

During his stay in Cambodia, Triet had met with King Sihamoni, Chea Sim, president of the Senate, and Prime Minister Hun Sen.

In his meeting on Thursday in the Royal Palace, King Norodom Sihamoni said Nguyen Minh Triet's visit to Cambodia was historical and said the visit helps strengthen the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

During the visit, Ngueyn Minh Triet also attended the opening ceremony of representative office of the Voice of Vietnam based in Phnom Penh and also visited the Cambodian-Vietnamese friendship school.

It was the second visit paid by Nguyen Minh Triet after he made the first visit in 2007 as president of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

In June, former King Norodom Sihanouk and his wife Norodom Moninieth and King Norodom Sihamoni made private visit to Vietnam.

Source: Xinhua

Vietnam to release more than 17,000 prisoners

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HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam's president has ordered more than 17,000 prisoners freed as part of the country's annual National Day amnesty, officials said Saturday.

Twenty of those to be released have been charged with national security crimes, but no high-profile pro-democracy dissidents were included. Several were ethnic minorities from the restive Central Highlands bordering Cambodia.

Vietnam has been criticized by the United States and European Union for jailing political and religious dissidents. The Communist county does not tolerate any form of protest and often uses national security laws to convict those deemed a threat.

Of the 17,210 inmates being freed, 37 are foreigners from a number of countries, including France, the United States and Canada. The release will begin Sunday to commemorate National Day on Sept. 2.

Dane charged over sex tourism in Cambodia: official

Tourists are seen visiting Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap
via Khmer NZ

PHNOM PENH — A Cambodian provincial court has charged a Danish man with providing his young male guesthouse staff for sex with tourists in the country's northwest, an official said Saturday.

Svend Erick Jonasson, 64, was arrested in Siem Reap for allegedly letting his guests have sex with his male Cambodian workers aged 15, 17 and 21, said Chea Heng, from the government's anti-human trafficking department.

He said the victims charged 15 to 50 US dollars for sex with the suspect's customers, with Jonasson, whose was arrested Thursday, taking five US dollars of the fee.

"The victims have told us everything, but he has not confessed," said Chea Heng. "He could face up to 15 years in jail."

Dozens of foreigners have been jailed for child-sex crimes or deported to face trial in their home countries since Cambodia launched an anti-paedophilia push in 2003 to try to shake off its reputation as a haven for sex predators.

Lifestyle News: Singapore's unique culture inspires Thai and Cambodian artists

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By Sharon See
Posted: 28 August 2010

SINGAPORE : An outsider's perspective can sometimes lead to new insights and this is what the work of two visiting artists from Thailand and Cambodia seems to show about Singapore.

Veasna Tith (left) and Vichaya Mukdamanee

To many foreigners, the Merlion is synonymous with Singapore. And what Thai artist Vichaya Mukdamanee found on his recent trip here was that Singaporeans perhaps think so too.

He said: "I bought 100 Merlion dolls in Little India, Chinatown, and I set them up in different locations in Singapore. The work is actually the situation when Singaporean people saw I was stacking them on the street, and I saw how they interact with the work.

"I see the Merlion as a symbol of Singaporeans, how people are walking along, following each other, doing something in the same direction, and throughout Singapore, people saw the Merlion and said, 'That is cute, that is like us.' Some people get the message, and it is really interesting."

He added: "I see Singaporean people as 'unity' - you guys think the same way, do the same thing, and approach the same goal, how to create changes in the country, so that is very interesting, how you guys are so different, but think in a similar concept."

Delighted, he documented his experience in works including paintings, videos and an installation.

Yet, all this came about through a stroke of serendipity.

Vichaya, and Cambodian artist Veasna Tith were here to research Thai and Cambodian art for the upcoming National Art Gallery.

But the sights and sounds that greeted them inspired them to create new art.

Veasna said: Many foreigners and also some Singaporeans say that Singapore does not have its own culture. But to me, I do not really agree with this.

"What I see, your basic, your traditional culture was Peranakan that mixed with Chinese and Malaysia. Because to my culture, Chinese and Malay is hard to mix together...It is unique of a country that you can combine a lot of people from different backgrounds, different religions, different cultures - they come and live together in peace."

Veasna set to work on a series of paintings that draw on elements of the Merlion, the Singapore flag and Singapore's various ethnic roots.

She observes that Singaporeans do not always see their rich culture, as the country seems to focus more on economic development, science and technology.

This is something she sees in Cambodia too, where bread and butter issues are key.

But she believes Singapore, through its National Art Gallery, could invigorate artists across Southeast Asia and, in so doing, kindle a collective appreciation of our cultures.

Meanwhile, through his attachment with the National Art Gallery, Vichaya felt deeply moved after visiting many different museums here.

He said: "The museums and the organising process here is really advanced and high quality. It is like you have the standard that the rest of the world can rely on, the conservation, and the idea of collecting the whole region into one.

"It is a very interesting idea, how to relate our own communities together. I think that impressed me a lot." - CNA/ms

Cambodia welclomes back bronze medalist at Youth Olympic Games in Singapore

via Khmer NZ

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia has expressed its pride after it had won a bronze medal at the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

Nhan Sokvisal, Chef de Mission who led the Cambodian athletes to the Games said Saturday that upon arrival in Phnom Penh on Friday, the female medalist was cheerfully escorted back by many Cambodians including the Minister of Tourism who was head of Cambodia Olympic Committee.

Nhan Sokvisal said "it was a big pride for Cambodia" to have won the medal.

He said Som Sothea, 15, was one of the four Cambodian athletes who attended the games and won the bronze medal.

She won the game in Yudo, while the other three who competed in wresting, running and swimming did not win the medal.

However, Nhan Sokvisal said there were about 3,600 athletes who competed the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

Those athletes came from 205 countries and regions in the world and Cambodia was classified as 79th following a bronze medal as won by Cambodia.

Editor: Tang Danlu

Vietnam and Cambodia agree to high-level contacts

via Khmer NZ

August 28, 2010

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni receives President Nguyen Minh Triet

President Nguyen Minh Triet and Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni have agreed the two countries should maintain high-level contacts to promote and facilitate expansion of bilateral multi-faceted co-operation.

They reached the consensus at their meeting in Phnom Penh on August 27 during the current State visit to Cambodia by President Nguyen Minh Triet.

They welcomed efforts by both governments in implementing bilateral co-operation agreements.

King Norodom Sihamoni welcomed the current visit to Cambodia by President Triet, saying he believed it would be a historical event, create a strong dynamic to promote the two countries’ traditional friendship and comprehensive co-operation for prosperity of each nation.

The King expressed his gratitude to the Vietnamese leaders’ and people’s support and valuable assistance for the Cambodian people in the past, as well as the present national restoration and development.

The Vietnamese people are always the Cambodian people’s good neighbour, and the Cambodian stands shoulder to shoulder with the Vietnamese people, he affirmed.

King Norodom Sihamoni also pledged to continue fostering the traditional friendship and comprehensive co-operation between the two countries.

He expressed the wish that the Vietnamese people under the leadership of the Vietnamese Party and State would continue to obtain even greater achievements in their national construction and development.

President Triet hailed achievements recorded by the Cambodian fraternal people under the reign of King Norodom Sihamoni in the national construction and development.

He spoke highly of Cambodia’s increasing position and prestige in the region and in the world and wished the Cambodian people more achievements in the future in order to successfully build the Kingdom of Cambodia in peace and prosperous development.

President Triet also thanked the King, the government and people of Cambodia for their due attention to and for facilitating the Vietnamese community to live, work and study in Cambodia, thus contributing to Cambodia’s development and fostering the friendship of the two nations.

He affirmed Vietnam’s consistent policy of attaching importance and sparing no effort to foster the Vietnam-Cambodia traditional friendship and co-operation.

Earlier in the morning, President Triet laid wreaths at the Independence Monument and the monument commemorating Vietnamese voluntary soldiers who sacrificed their lives in Cambodia.

He also attended a ceremony to inaugurate the Radio the Voice of Vietnam Bureau in the capital city. (VNA)

Alongkorn leaves for Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City to boost trade

via Khmer NZ

NONTHABURI, Aug 28 -- Thai Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot left Saturday on a three-day visit to the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, aimed at boosting trade with the two neighbouring countries.

During the visit, Mr Alongkorn said prior to his departure, he will inspect road transport and logistics development linking the two countries including transport systems, warehousing facilities and customs procedures.

Mr Alongkorn said he would also try to develop Thailand’s trade with the two countries as part of an implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) scheduled to be launched in 2015.

Also, he said he would survey proposed locations for special economic zones at the Thai border districts of Watthana Nakhon and Aranyaprathet.

The special economic zones will benefit both Thailand and Cambodia in terms of trade and tourism, Mr Alongkorn said.

During the first seven months this year, combined trade between Thailand and Cambodia totaled US$1.61 billion, up 76.1 per cent from the corresponding period of 2009. Thailand enjoyed a trade surplus of about US$1.3 billion.

Trade between Thailand and Vietnam between January-July this year totaled US$3.9 billion, an increase of 27 per cent from the same period last year, with Thailand enjoying a trade surplus of US$2.4 billion. (MCOT online news)

Cambodian girl with swollen arm arrives in Taiwan for operation

via Khmer NZ


Taipei, Aug. 28 (CNA) A two-year-old Cambodian girl suffering from massive swelling in her right arm arrived at Taichung Veterans General Hospital (TVGH) in central Taiwan Saturday for treatment.

Reachny Mich, whose condition has been described as having an "elephant arm, " was discovered by a Taiwanese medical team when it was in Cambodia in April to provide local residents free medical services.

She then obtained the promise of Taiwan government's to treat her after Yu Tsi-hsun, a volunteer on the medical team, made repeated appeals on her behalf.

Following the hospital's initial examination of the girl Saturday, pediatric hematologist Chang Teh-kao said Mich's blood pressure, heartbeat and body temperature all appeared normal, but he feared that her disorder was far more "complicated" than originally thought.

Chang said Mich's right arm appears to be four to five times bigger than her left arm, possibly caused by the abnormal growth of blood vessels or bones.

"It is rare to see such a deformation of blood vessels, " he said.

Earlier in the day after the girl, her mother and Yu arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Yu said Mich's mother was worried about the operation facing her daughter but also trusted Taiwan's doctors and felt grateful for their help.

A special team of pediatricians from different departments convened by Lee San-kang, deputy superintendent of the hospital, has been assembled to perform the surgery. (By Lee Chun-chin, Hau Hsue-chin and Elizabeth Hsu) enditem/ls