Thursday, 30 September 2010

Police Blotter: 30 Sep 2010

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Thursday, 30 September 2010 15:01 Sen David

Woman loses necklace in drive-by snatching
Two thieves snatched a 30-year-old woman’s necklace from her neck while she was riding her motorbike in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district on Monday. Police said the victim was travelling on her way to a pagoda when the two thieves drove dangerously close to her and grabbed her necklace. The woman shouted for help, but no one came to her aid before the thieves sped off. Police are on the hunt for the suspects.

Eager boy hit by car while jumping from taxi
A 9-year-old boy died instantly after being hit by a car while alighting from a moving taxi in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district on Monday. Police said the boy was travelling to a pagoda. As the taxi approached its destination, the boy haphazardly hopped out into traffic. Police said the taxi driver was “careless” in failing to look after his passenger. They confiscated his car, and sent both drivers to the district police station for questioning.

Gang’s poles and stones break siblings’ bones
Two siblings were seriously injured after being attacked with stones and a metal pole by four drunken gangsters in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district on Monday. Police said the two victims were at a party when they began to argue with the suspects, who proceeded to beat them with the metal pole before stoning them. Neighbours sent them to hospital immediately. Police said the suspects will be caught, as they are notorious for their bad behaviour.

Police suspect migrant worker of killing wife
A 39-year-old man in Banteay Meanchey province’s Preah Netr Preah district was arrested on suspicion of killing his wife on Monday. Police said that the man, who worked in Thailand, was angry when he arrived home because his wife had finished all the wine and was heavily boozed. He then grabbed a knife and stabbed her to death. Neighbours reported that the wife got drunk every time her husband went away to work.

Cops on the lookout for wannabe thieves
Police in Kampong Chhnang province are on the hunt for two men who unsuccessfully attempted to steal a motorbike from a factory worker at gunpoint on Tuesday. The victim, who moonlights as a motorbike taxi driver, had ridden his motorbike to a quiet place to gather his thoughts. It was there that he ran into the two suspects, who threatened him with a gun before beating him. Police arrived immediately, but the suspects managed to escape on foot.

Cyber threats a concern for stock exchange

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Thursday, 30 September 2010 15:00 Jeremy Mullins

CAMBODIA’S planned stock exchange would face cyber attacks, experts said yesterday, but bourse officials emphasised that security would be in the hands of experienced partners.

Information technology experts gathered at a conference in Phnom Penh's Koh Pich island cautioned the importance of security issues for the bourse, which the government has said must launch by next July ‘at any cost’.

An official from Japanese computer security firm TrendMicro said it was inevitable that someone would try to exploit the new stock exchange.

“For sure, some smart guy will try to test the system,” said product marketing manager Khongsak Kortrakul.

He said attacks would likely come against the stock exchange itself, which were usually relatively secure entities, but also against individual users – if they were able to access the exchange through the internet.

A major challenge for the exchange, he said, would be ensuring security protection for individual buyers.

“Customers [of securities] want to trade from anywhere, from coffee shops,” he said, and added that connections such as free WiFi were frequently unprotected against threats.

Hitachi Data Systems consultant Vasudevan Nair said that an exchange’s reliability was important for success.

But exchange officials said they were considering IT challenges.

Securities Market Supervision Department director at the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia Chan Narith said the Korean Exchange – which owns 45 percent of the Kingdom’s planned bourse – have been charged with handling IT security. “Our Korean partner has done security well in the past,” he said.

Korea Exchange senior manager Sang Yook Lee said that previous company experience proved that keeping customers happy was crucial to success.

Consumer fair aims to boost handicrafts

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Thursday, 30 September 2010 15:00 Soeun Say

THE first Cambodia International Consumer Fair will be held in conjunction with the Kingdom’s Water Festival from November 19 to 23, aiming to promote Cambodia’s wares to an international audience.

Around 1,000 booths will be set up on Diamond Island hosting a variety of products and entertainment ranging from local produce to movies, according to Prak Chan Long, general manager of Diamond Island Convention Center.

Event planner MCdi Cambodia Co is organising the fair and managing 500 of the booths, 60 of which it has allocated for free to Cambodia’s Federation of Handicraft, according to MCdi chairman Michael Ho.

“We will allocate 60 booths to them free of charge – we hope that they can make some money during this period and promote the handicrafts of our country,” he said.

With over 2 million national and international visitors expected during the festival, the fair was a great opportunity to sell produce and promote the Kingdom’s handicraft industry and traditional products, Michael Ho said.

Keo Davy, president of Federation of Handicraft, said yesterday that the booths were normally very expensive for the small handicraft sellers, so the free booths were very welcome.

Michael Ho said the exhibition would cost more than US$100,000.

Of the 500 booths MCdi is managing, it has already sold 300.

One booth costs between $300 and $700 to rent.

Salt dealers welcome calls for crackdown

A man carries two salt-filled panniers in a warehouse filled with raw, natural sea salt harvested in Kampot province. Photo by: Heng Chivoan

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Thursday, 30 September 2010 15:00 Chun Sophal

THE Cambodian government has called for institutions to join forces to end the trade of illegal untreated salt, as a UNICEF study showed the banned product had gained market share.

Officials say that untreated salt is often smuggled to Cambodia from neighbouring countries and sold at market without adding iodine – which is put into the product to aid an estimated 4 million Cambodians consuming insufficient iodine.

A sub-decree titled Managing Iodised Salt Business, signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and enacted into law in October 2003, laid out punishment included fines of up to 1 million riels for those selling untreated salt.

But stricter enforcement of the regulation was necessary, according to Sub-national Commission of the Elimination of Iodine Shortages representative Chan Pong Vathana, speaking at a conference in Phnom Penh this week.

Consumption of iodised salt in Cambodia fell from 98 percent in 2008 to just 53 percent last year, according to a UNICEF study.

Salt was being increasingly smuggled into Cambodia from Thailand and Vietnam without the required processing, officials said.

“We are looking at measures to crack down on the smuggling of such non-iodised salt,” said Peung Sivlay, chairman of the Sub-national

Dealers yesterday welcomed the calls for stricter moves to regulate sales. Duong Phalla, a salt dealer near Phnom Penh’s Psah Chas (Old Market), said yesterday she supported the government’s stance, adding it did not affect her business as she stopped selling non-iodised salt in 2002.

“Nowadays, we sell only iodised salt supplied by salt producers in Kampot and Kep salt, because it’s the customers’ favourite,” she said.

Kampot and Kep Provinces Salt Producers Community reported yesterday it had sold 60,433 tonnes of iodine salt during the first nine months of 2010 worth US$2.87 million, after selling 73,226 tonnes for $8.36 million during the whole of 2009. Co-president Bun Baraing said that salt was commanding half the price of last year due to excess supply.

The organisation began mixing iodine into its salt in 1999, supported by UNICEF.

Experts warn of dangers lurking in contact lenses

Tim Ratha, model and actress, wearing blue contact lenses. Photo Supplied

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Thursday, 30 September 2010 15:00 Ou Mom

BLONDE hair and coloured contact lenses are popular among Asian youths and stars who are at the forefront of fashion.

Cambodian singer Sok Pisey, known for her beautiful looks, rather than her singing voice, often wears green or even violet contact lenses when she appears on the concert stage.

Other Cambodian models and actors such as Mak Sen Sonita, Tim Ratha, Keo Pich Pisey, and Lim Marina are usually photographed with various coloured contact lenses in their magazine and newspaper photo shoots.

The trend has also spread to the United States, Australia, and Canada, driven by Lady Gaga’s video for her song “Bad Romance”, in which she displayed larger-than-life eyes. The lenses are popular among Asian teenagers and adults. The lenses create an illusion of doe-like eyes. Many people consider them as a fashion accessory rather than medical devices.

However, they were not without their dangers, eye care specialists said.

Ophthalmologists fear that Lady Gaga’s example in wearing the coloured lenses could lead youngsters to compromise their eye health or even, in extreme cases, risk blindness.

According to ophthalmologist Kruy Arv Pors of Preah Ang Doung in Phnom Penh, wearing coloured contact lenses is not safe in countries where pollution and dust are common, like Cambodia.

The expert recommends that if you do use them, wear them for a short period only to avoid long-term effects on your eyes. But wearing such lenses can also cause allergies and irritation in otherwise healthy people, he cautions.

According to, contact lenses can be made of various plastics, such as rigid gas permeable hard lenses, semi-hard contact lenses, or soft lenses.

“Hard lenses cannot let oxygen inside the eyeball, which can dry out the surface of the eye, which can lead to blindness if they are worn for any length of time,” the website said.

In Cambodia, coloured lenses can be bought for just $20 to $30 a pair – and no prescription is needed. But in the West, these products are not yet on shops’ shelves and can only be bought online.

The New York Times noted that coloured contact lenses were being worn around the country and were readily available in cosmetic and prescription variants on the internet despite being illegal in the US The FDA, the Optometrists Association of Australia, and Health Canada have not approved their use.

“The key factors that users have to know are to choose types of contact lenses that suit your eyes and consult with an ophthalmologist if any unusual problems happen,” said Kruy Arv Pors.

He said that nowadays Cambodian people who have problems with their eyes needed to be aware of three things.

“First, remedy problems such as red eyes affected by bacteria; second, various eye diseases may need an operation; and thirdly, always wear the correct prescription for your eyes, rather than wearing glasses made for other people,” he said. Spectacles were easier on the eyeballs than contact lenses, he pointed out.

Leander Paes graces terraces

Indian tennis celebrity Leander Paes enjoys a knock-up on a specially installed mini-tennis court yesterday at the Terrace of the Elephants in Siem Reap’s Angkor temples. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun

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Thursday, 30 September 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

Indian Davis Cup star Leander Paes, best known for his six Grand Slam doubles titles and as many final appearances, has pledged all of his energy and expertise in promoting the Kingdom’s tennis cause as the Tennis Federation of Cambodia’s first goodwill ambassador.

At a colourful and well-attended function held at the Terrace of the Elephants in Siem Reap’s Angkor temple complex yesterday morning, Leander Paes declared: “I am humbled and honoured to be Cambodia’s goodwill ambassador.

“As a practicing Buddhist, to be here in Angkor Wat is an elevating experience. There is so much in common between the Indian and Cambodian cultures and it is a privilege to be working in this role.”

The 37-year-old, who is only the second man after Australian Rod Laver to win Wimbledon titles in three different decades, said he was well aware of the rebirth of tennis from its ashes in the Kingdom.

“I can see the dreams in [the Cambodians’] eyes and I will do everything I possibly can to help them realise those dreams. I want to take tennis to the people of Cambodia just the way the TFC wants. Internationally, my aim will be to pin Cambodia firmly on the World map.”

TFC main sponsors Ezecom had flown in a special mini-tennis court that was set up against the backdrop of the stone-carved terraces for eight kids from the school’s mini-tennis programme to share playing time with Paes, who shared a few quick tips to keep the kids bubbling with excitement.

“There is no greater joy for a kid than knocking a few against a top player like Leander,” said TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit, adding that a “player of Leander Paes’ calibre brings a whole new dimension to the Kingdom’s tennis”.

Vice Governor of Siem Reap, Mao Vuthy, and Ezecom CEO Paul Blanche-Horgan were among the dignitaries attending the function.

Later at a news conference, Paes announced the launch of Grassroots Tennis Opportunity Foundation for which he is a co-founder along with the President of the TFC and Senior Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh. The two other founding members of the foundation to be unveiled in 2012 are the TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit and Treasurer Christophe Forsinetti.

Accepting his commendation certificate as the Kindom’s representative, Paes said the foundation’s main thrust would be to take tennis to the kids, especially underprivileged ones with an education intensive approach. During the second phase, the foundation would be creating micro tennis centres all around the country.

New 2nd Army Region commander pledges to improve ties with Cambodia

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NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Sept 29 - Thailand's new Second Army Region commander Lt Gen Thawatchai Samutsakorn pledged to boost ties with Cambodia and will attend a Regional Border Committee (RBC) meeting in Siem Reap in late October.

Speaking to journalists after assuming the post from his predecessor Lt-Gen Veevalit Chornsamrit who will retire on Friday, Gen Thawatchai said he was not worried as he has been working in the northeastern region since he was a second lieutenant

Regarding relations with the neighbouring country and the questions of peace and order along the Thai-Cambodia border, he said his policies will not be different from his predecessor, but there will be additional policies such as more frequent visits to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

The general said he would meet Cambodia’s fourth region army commander at the RBC in Siem Reap at the end of October. Details of the discussions will be conveyed to his superiors and the government accordingly.

If Thai-Cambodian ties improve, it may lead to considering the opening of the Khao Phra Viharn National Park, he said.

The new second army region commander pledged he would try his best to handle the border issue and to strengthen relations between soldiers of the two countries.

Tensions between Thailand and Cambodia regarding the border dispute flared after the World Heritage Committee (WHC) registered the ancient Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site last July.

Cambodia attempted to propose a temple management plan to the WHC, but Thailand opposed the move as problem of the contested 4.6sqkm of land near the temple remains unresolved, leading to several military clashes along the Thai-Cambodian border. (MCOT online news)

Cambodian leader says meeting with Thai PM restored bilateral confidence

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By Sopheng Cheang (CP)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday his country's relationship with Thailand has improved after he met his counterpart last week.

Hun Sen said the 40-minute meeting in New York with Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva restored confidence and co-operation between the two countries, which have been feuding over disputed border territory and other issues. The two leaders were attending the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

Relations took a turn for the worse last year, with both countries withdrawing their ambassadors, after Hun Sen made former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra an official adviser and hosted him like a VIP.

Thaksin, ousted by a 2006 military coup, is a fugitive from Thai justice, sentenced in absentia to two years in jail after being convicted of a conflict of interest charge in 2008. Hun Sen said Thaksin had been unfairly convicted for political reasons.

The envoys resumed their posts last month after Thaksin quit his appointment, citing time constraints.

Cambodia's relations with Thailand have been contentious for years, with the focus mostly on a border dispute. They have had a series of small but sometimes deadly skirmishes over the demarcation of their border near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple.

Relations worsened after Abhisit, a political opponent of Thaksin, became prime minister in December 2008.

Hun Sen described his meeting with Abhisit as "very vital" to ensuring confidence and increasing co-operation.

"I can say that the meeting was very fruitful for resolving differences," he said on the sidelines of a school graduation ceremony.

Hun Sen said he and Abhisit discussed a wide range of issues, including the border dispute, frontier security, trade and drug trafficking.

The two leaders also agreed to try to resolve all differences by peaceful means, he said.

Saudis may hire maids from Mali, Cote d' Ivore and Cambodia

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Published: Sep 29, 2010
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia may start recruiting housemaids from Cambodia, Mali and Cote d' Ivore to reduce reliance on Southeast Asian countries, especially Indonesia and Sri Lanka, an official from the Saudi committee in charge of recruiting expatriate workers has told Arab News.

"Recruitment offices in Indonesia and Sri Lanka did not honor many of the agreements signed with them. Problems associated with housemaids from these countries are on the rise," Yahya Maqboul, a member of the Saudi National Committee to Recruit Foreign Manpower (SNCRFM), said on Wednesday.

Maqboul, who is also chairman of the recruitment committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said a delegation from SNCRFM recently visited Mali as part of efforts to find manpower from other countries.

He, however, noted that while the recruitment of manpower from Mali and Cote d’Ivoire might not be cheaper than sourcing workers from Southeast Asian countries, it would not be difficult for citizens from these countries to adapt to Saudi habits and traditions.

He said this was because both African countries were predominantly Muslim and the traditions of their people were not completely different from those in the Kingdom.

The Malian minister in charge of citizens working abroad and African integration, Badra Alou Macalou, has invited members of the committee to visit Mali and discuss recruitment opportunities.

A press release from the Saudi Chamber of Commerce said an agreement to recruit workers from Mali might be concluded during the committee’s visit to the African country’s capital Bamako.

Members from the committee had earlier visited Cambodia and Cote d'Ivoire for the same purpose.

Baan Muang Editorial

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Published: 30/09/2010

The recent meeting in New York between Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen should help improve relations between the two neighbouring countries.

Bilateral ties turned sour after Cambodia listed the historic Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site. This subsequently led to a confrontation between Thai and Cambodian soldiers in a disputed area near the Hindu temple.

At the height of the conflict, both countries recalled their ambassadors. In fact, problems between the two countries arose soon after Mr Abhisit took up the premiership in December 2008. Members of the opposition Puea Thai Party stoked the conflict by enhancing their friendship with the Cambodian leader.

Now that Mr Abhisit and Hun Sen have met at the US-Asean summit in New York, bilateral ties should improve significantly.

The spirit of friendship should be fostered, so that the two countries can solve longstanding issues which have caused tension and misunderstanding on both sides.

At their meeting, the two premiers reiterated that good relations were of the utmost importance.

From now on, Thailand and Cambodia will arrange more ministerial meetings and organise more activities to further improve relations between the two countries and their peoples.

Leonard Cohen live in Cambodia

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Published: 30/09/2010

To celebrate and contribute to the restoration of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Canadian musician and songwriter Leonard Cohen will perform at the Olympic Stadium on November 27. To aid victims of Cambodia's recent tragic past, proceeds from this concert will benefit the Cambodian Red Cross and Cambodians with disabilities.

This major entertainment showcase will be held under the patronage of Hun Sen, prime minister of Cambodia, and wife Bun Rany, president of the Cambodian Red Cross. A highlight is also Phnom Penh's newly built Olympic Stadium, a rare example of the work of famous Khmer architect Vann Molyvan, whose modern mix of classical Khmer designs is a subject of international interest.

Cambodia: UN rights expert voices concerns over freedom of expression

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Defamation laws are being used disproportionately in Cambodia against journalists, activists and politicians, an independent United Nations human rights expert said today, warning against a narrowing of the political space in the South-East Asian country.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
By UN News

Defamation laws are being used disproportionately in Cambodia against journalists, activists and politicians, an independent United Nations human rights expert said, warning against a narrowing of the political space in the South-East Asian country.

Surya P. Subedi, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, also voiced concern about issues related to land and housing rights and the narrowing of political space for members of the opposition.

“There has been a disproportionate use of the law regarding defamation and disinformation against journalists, human rights activists and political leaders,” said Surya P. Subedi, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia.

Presenting his report to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, Mr Subedi acknowledged that Cambodia has made important advances in recent years in strengthening human rights, including the enactment of major new laws.

At the same time, he noted that “Cambodia remains a complex country in terms of the protection and promotion of human rights, as democratization has not yet fully taken root.”

The major areas of concern are those relating to access to land and housing rights, freedom of expression, and the challenges faced by the judiciary, he said, adding that they continue to dominate the legal and political landscape in Cambodia.

The expert recommended a series of measures to strengthen the independence and capacity of the judiciary and the overall human rights situation.

Mr. Subedi also voiced his concern about the narrowing of political space in Cambodia for those belonging to the opposition parties and other political activists, noting the conviction of the leader of the opposition, Sam Rainsy, since the submission of his report to the Council.

He hoped that the conviction will be subject to appeal and urged that this be conducted with the utmost attention to due process and principles of fair trial.

Hun Sen Weighs In on Labor Disputes

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer Phnom Penh
Wednesday, 29 September 2010

via CAAI

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen

“I would like to request the court to drop charges against workers and the trade union leaders and to request all factories to take the workers back to work. This is a win-win resolution.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday made a public appeal for the courts to drop charges against workers participating in a general strike earlier this month, in a move that proved popular with labor leaders.

His appeal came after the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia ruled out a request from the Ministry of Labor that factories walk away from cases they filed against the leaders of the strikes, where thousands of workers demanded better incomes to offset the rising cost of living.

“I would like to request the court to drop charges against workers and the trade union leaders and to request all factories to take the workers back to work,” Hun Sen said, speaking at the graduation ceremony for the National Education Institute. “This is a win-win resolution.”

GMAC officials declined to comment on the statement Wednesday, but they have said in the past the factories have the right to file against the strikes, which they called illegal.

Hun Sen said Wednesday that if the court complaints went forward, the strikes would continue. He urged factories to find ways to better compensate their workers—who belong to Cambodia's top-earning industry—and he urged employees to “work hard for the gain of the companies.”

“This is a fair gesture by Prime Minister Hun Sen to take care of the workers,” said Ath Thun, president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation and a leader of the strikes.

He said around 150 workers from 17 factories had not been allowed back to work, following four days of strikes that cost factories as much as $15 million.

A Kandal provincial court official said he would hold a “legal examination” of the cases in light of Hun Sen's remarks.

Meanwhile, both managers and labor leaders have been working on improving negotiations. Both have agreed to send five members each into a commission, and they have signed off on a nine-point agreement to improve negotiations.

Foreign Minister Touts Achievements at UN

Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer Washington, D.C
Wednesday, 29 September 2010

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Foreign Minister of Cambodia Hor Namhong at United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters.

“Food production is the top agenda of our government policy, and agriculture and irrigation are being aggressively considered as a springboard for broader economic development with the ambition to turn Cambodia into a more important rice-exporting country.”

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong addressed the UN General Assembly Tuesday, saying the global financial crisis had not stopped Cambodia from reaching some of its development goals.

Cambodia's “Millennium Development Goals” included targets for child mortality, HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases, he said. “According to the recent study made by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the UN Millennium Campaigns, Cambodia was listed among 20 countries making the most absolute progress on MDGs.”

The UN development goals aim at halving the world's poverty rate, promoting education and health and protecting the environment, all by 2015.

The UN in Cambodia says child mortality has dropped from 95 per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 60 in 2005, the latest figure available. But the rate is still high compared to regional countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Hor Namhong said that while a lack of attention on agriculture, coupled with rising fuel costs, threatened food security in some parts of the world, Cambodia had managed well.

“Food production is the top agenda of our government policy, and agriculture and irrigation are being aggressively considered as a springboard for broader economic development with the ambition to turn Cambodia into a more important rice-exporting country,” he told the Assembly.

In his 13-minute speech, Hor Namhong pushed for developed countries to pay more attention to climate change and environmental issues.

“Cambodia urges developed countries to honor their commitment to provide financial and technological aid to developing nations in the fight against climate change, and take the lead to cut their respective carbon dioxide emission,” he said.

Hor Namhong called for peaceful resolution to issues on the Korean peninsula and between Israel and Palestine. He also lent Cambodian support to a UN resolution to end the embargo of Cuba.

Mine Clearance Activist Earns CNN 'Hero' Honor

Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer Washington, D.C
Wednesday, 29 September 2010

via CAAI

Photo: VOA, Khmer
An image of Cambodia Self-Help Demining organization website.

Aki Ra, 40, a former child soldier of the Khmer Rouge, established the Cambodia Self-Help Demining organization in 2008, to help people clear their land of the remnants of Cambodia's warring past.

A Cambodian demining activist has been chosen as a “Hero” by the international broadcaster CNN, in work that was also recognized by the US State Department.

Aki Ra, 40, a former child soldier of the Khmer Rouge, established the Cambodia Self-Help Demining organization in 2008, to help people clear their land of the remnants of Cambodia's warring past.

In a statement, the State Department said it “saluted” his work and his designation as one of CNN's Heros.

Bill Morse, international project manager for the group, said he was delighted to have recognition from the State Department. The demining organization has helped clear some 160,000 square meters of mines, focusing mainly on the war-troubled northwest, he said.

The State Department provided a $100,000 grant for 2009 and 2010 to help Aki Ra's team, the agency said in a statement. “Since 1993, the US Humanitarian Mine Action Program has invested more than $71 million in humanitarian mine action in Cambodia,” it said.

The Cambodian Mine Action Committee says mine and ordnance casualties fell from 271 to 243 from 2008 to 2009.

Pailin to Tribunal Prosecutors: No Further Indictments

Pich Samnang, VOA Khmer | Pailin, Cambodia
Wednesday, 29 September 2010

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An unidentified former soldier looks on near the once Khmer Rouge-stronghold border town of Pailin, Cambodia.

“I want the court to limit [indictments] to just five individuals, because it has not found the real murderers.”

Residents in the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Pailin told a delegation from the UN-backed tribunal last week they do not want to see the prosecution of further cases at the court after the second one is completed.

Andrew Cayley, the international prosecutor for the court and head of the delegation, told the residents that no more than 10 people would be further prosecuted in cases No. 3 and No. 4.

The Sept. 22 trip was part of a series of fact-finding missions Cayley has taken since his inception as prosecutor at the beginning of the year.

The tribunal has successfully tried one Khmer Rouge soldier, Tuol Sleng prison chief Duch, and it is preparing to try four senior leaders—Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith.

But indictments beyond that have proved a contentious issue in the hybrid court, which includes international and national prosecutors and judges.

In Pailin, a Khmer Rouge stronghold until 1996, former cadre are not convinced the court will not expand its scope.

“I want the court to limit [indictments] to just five individuals, because it has not found the real murderers,” said Phong Pheoun, a 49-year-old former soldier in Pailin. “In fact, the Khmer Rouge were patriots. Some high-ranking Khmer Rouge did everything only to defend the nation and the people. They did not kill people.”

Horn Siha, deputy chief of '75 Village, in Sala Krao district, said tribunal investigations were a waste of time.

“If we go deeper, the story will be far from over,” he said. “It already took nine months just to try one person, so if they have to do it with 10 people, for example, how can the country move forward and develop?”

There are also sentiments here that the tribunal is already holding the wrong people.

“They are also victims of the regime,” said Mek Mak, the deputy governor of Pailin.

Khieu Samphan, the nominal head of the regime who will face trial next year for atrocity crimes, including genocide, “only performed administrative tasks, like making phone calls, during that time,” Mek Mak said. “So how can he be a murderer?”

He put the blame on Pol Pot, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, who stood at the head of the Khmer Rouge and the heart of the regime known as Democratic Kampuchea.

But Cayley, the international prosecutor, said the tribunal could not try a man who was already dead.

“The investigating judges have found sufficient evidence to prove the accused committed the crimes,” he said.

Behind the scenes in Cambodia

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Dubbing artists have the most iconic voices in the country, yet nobody knows their faces.

By Terry McCoy — Special to GlobalPost

Published: September 29, 2010
Famous people that go unseen. In Cambodia, one of the most famous voices in the whole country is a voice-over artist whose face nobody would recognize. Pictured here are models at a fashion show in Paris, Sept. 27, 2008. (Benoit Tessier/Reuters)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Touch Sohka has arguably the most famous voice in Cambodia, and yet nobody has seen his face. The 49-year-old is on every Khmer television station daily, but nobody has any clue what he looks like.

Confused? Well, so is he. Touch says he has trouble understanding his own profession. It’s that strange, he says. Just ask his kids. They think he’s nuts.

Touch is one of the only voice actors in a country that almost explicitly runs, and obsessively manages, foreign entertainment on television. He has dubbed them all: Wolverine, Jackie Chan, that whiny kid from Transformers — each role contorted by his grouchy baritone and signature gusto, “Ay-ya!”

Then, after hours of inescapable, serendipitous dubbing, the credits roll: Not a mention of Touch nor his dubbing cohorts. Why?

“My job isn’t acting,” Touch explained recently from a studio as anonymous and difficult to find as Touch. “My job is speaking. I’m not a film star. I’m not a singer. I stay in the studio. I hide my face.”

In Cambodia, dubbing is a serious and regulated business. Touch’s company, Sunday Video, holds a near monopoly over the industry and acts like a filter, government-endorsed and monitored. They translate, add seemingly random musical accompaniment, catch anything political or racy, and blur out unmentionables. In other words, Sarah Jessica Parker and the gang aren’t getting a lot of air time.

The final product usually falls somewhere between a dubbed-over Godzilla flick and an ill-synced, blurry Ashley Simpson concert. With an occasional “Ay-ya!” thrown in for good measure.

“Sometimes, the television is not all that beautiful to listen to,” Chea Chen Rachna, 27, said while waitressing at Java, a popular cafe in Phnom Penh. “But I would choose a dubbed movie over a movie that’s not dubbed every time. ... I know I love it.”

The amusingly poor dubbing seems to augment what most Khmer enjoy about watching television: chaotic action and physical comedy. Ironic joking and witty dialogue don’t elicit the laughs in Cambodia. But someone tripping or an obviously fake moustache? Now that’s comedy.

There’s unintentional comedy as well. With only five dubbers at Sunday Video, which handles 80 to 90 percent of the foreign television programs and movies aired here, the amount of work often exceeds staffing. The results are baffling. Films may have two or three voices for dozens of characters. Sometimes, the viewer is left wondering at a small boy with a man’s voice.

“We hate dubbing children,” veteran dubber Nong Pholly lamented, voice booming as usual. “Sore throats for days.”

As with most developing countries, Cambodia doesn’t boast much of an entertainment industry. Indeed, what incipient media exists has suffered setbacks recently. Since 2008, the number of Khmer companies that produce television programs has plunged 85 percent, from 75 production companies to 12, according to Cambodia’s Cinema and Cultural Diffusion Department.

By 2012, Cambodia’s film industry will be all but extinct, predicted Sin Chan Saya, the director of the department. “We don’t produce movies well, so it’s difficult for them to succeed,” Sin said. “A film industry is important because we can disseminate our culture, but the quality, the talent isn’t good.”

Yet remarkably, demand for more Khmer television stations remains fierce. A decade ago, only four Khmer television stations existed; today, there are 10.

So we’re left with an interesting situation. Less native entertainment available plus additional air space and available foreign programs equals dubbing, dubbing and confused viewers.

“It’s difficult to explain my work,” Nong half-shouted. “So difficult! Because the people always think our work is easy. They think all we do is talk and talk and talk, and do nothing.”

Such, they say, is the life and times of a Cambodia dubber: life, misunderstood. And ignored. Like the hand model or ghost writer, their talent gets shunted. Famous ... kinda.

This can be a good thing. Or bad.

Nong, a tad vain, hates when people recognize her or her famous voice. “I’m too old!” Nong, 56, bellowed. “I’m almost 60. Yes, I want fame, but I don’t want them to know my face. I’m not like a singer or like other famous people and I’m happy for this.”

Even for this article, no pictures of them were allowed; no one, they say, can know their identity.

If not fame, what then, is the allure of dubbing? Money, and lots of it. Each of the five voice actors makes about $6,000 per year — more than three times the national average of $1,900 per year, according to CIA records — and are content with wealthy anonymity.

So maybe what happened next at Sunday’s studios, though strange and slightly embarrassing, makes sense. Short on staff, the production company looks for actors in every situation — like, say, the middle of newspaper interviews.

As this reporter was preparing to depart the studio, management ventured a tempting offer: “Would you be interested in starring in a Khmer karaoke music video? You could be the foreigner.”


AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press

via CAAI

Multilateralism Key to Addressing World’s “Interconnected, Proliferated Challenges,” Says Cambodia

Phnom Penh, September 29, 2010 AKP -- Multilateralism is crucial to addressing the world’s “interconnected and proliferated challenges,” especially with the “daunting task” in the aftermath of the global and financial storm, Cambodia said Tuesday in New York.

“The global and economic and financial storm seems to be over, but the task of restoring confidence and making economic recovery is far from complete and remains a daunting task, especially for the developing countries,” Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Hor Namhong was quoted as saying by Chinese News Agency Xinhua while addressing the annual general debate of the 65th session of the UN General Assembly, which entered its fifth day Tuesday.

The achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight anti-poverty targets, remains “uncertain,” because of the fragile economic recovery in these countries, H.E. Hor Namhong said.

“The failure to meet the MDGs by 2015 means that millions of people will still be locked in the cycle of poverty,” he said. “Therefore, as the economic recovery is happening, a joint effort for concrete actions is needed to further boost confidence and keep up the momentum of the global economic growth.”

With climate change, the issue presents a “major challenge” for every country, particularly for poor countries, H.E. Hor Namhong said. “We see daily, more and more headline news and reports on chaotic weather worldwide.”

He added that with the lack of financial resources devoted to agriculture, as well as the lack of access to agro-technologies and irrational use of water sources, it has become catalysts of food security.

“Given the most serious emerging global challenges, the United Nations must be ready to fulfill its growing responsibilities to tackle these complex issues of the world,” he urged. --AKP


DPM Hor Namhong To Meet with His French Counterpart

Phnom Penh, September 29, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H.E. Hor Namhong will meet with French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs H.E. Bernard Kouchner on Oct. 1 in Paris, France.

There will be a signing ceremony of a document on the Cooperation between Cambodia and France and a working luncheon following the talks, according to a press release of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation dated yesterday. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)


American Assistance Helps Cambodia Achieve MDGs

Phnom Penh, September 29, 2010 AKP -- The U.S.’ assistance to Cambodia has contributed to help the country in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially in fighting against HIV/AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases.

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia H.E. Long Visalo said at the signing ceremony of amendments to two bilateral agreements that will provide US$35.10 million in 2010 funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to support the fields of health and education in Cambodia.

The amendments were signed here on Sept. 28 by H.E. Long Visalo and USAID Mission Director Mr. Flynn Fuller in the presence of U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Mrs. Carol A. Rodley.

Of the total amount, over US$33.5 million will be used to support and strengthen the health sector and the rest to the basic education sector, said Undersecretary of State and spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Koy Kuong.

The U.S. has pledged to assist the field of health until 2011 and the field of education until 2013 with the total amount of US$277 million, said the spokesman, adding that up to now, some US$235 million have already provided to Cambodia.

He further recalled that on Sept. 19, 2010, Cambodia was presented with a Millennium Development Goals Awards for its national leadership, commitment and progress towards achievement of Goal 6 – Combating HIV, malaria and other diseases, he recalled.

According to a study of the Overseas Development Institute and the United Nations Millennium Campaign, Cambodia has been among other 20 countries making great progress on MDGs.

Acting Foreign Minister H.E. Long Visalo expressed profound thanks to the American government for its contribution to the strengthening of Cambodia’s priorities in health and education, the main factors to alleviate poverty and to develop human resource for the socio-economic development.

In addition to health and education activities, USAID supports a broad range of programs designed to benefit all Cambodians in areas such as human rights, rule of law, local governance and decentralization, anti-corruption, natural resource management, economic growth, and combating trafficking in persons, said a news release of the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, indicating that USAID expects to commit a total of US$69 million in assistance to Cambodia in 2010. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)


Hong Kong Willing to Enhance Trade Cooperation with Cambodia

Phnom Penh, September 29, 2010 AKP -- Hong Kong could be an essential platform or focal point for Cambodia to develop its business relations with China and the global markets, Tina Phan, the director of Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) to Indochina, said during a seminar on “Hong Kong-Your Fast Track to Business Success” in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

“Cambodia can use Hong Kong’s platform to bridge its trade activities into China or globally,” Tina Phan was quoted by Chinese News Agency Xinhua as telling more than 200 Cambodian businesspeople in the seminar, who are in the businesses of jewelry, entertainment, film productions, music productions, and handicraft.

“We are the trading firm for you in financial sector, logistics and transportations; thus, Cambodia can use the expertise from Hong Kong to develop its businesses.”

To date, roughly 50 Cambodian companies have been doing business in Hong Kong – quite low if compared to Vietnam.

“We are here today to introduce what Hong Kong could help Cambodia to develop its international businesses,” she added.

“I believe that Cambodia is one of the emerging markets and there will be a lot of opportunities for both side businessmen to cooperate in business purposes.” --AKP


Cambodia To Send Peacekeeping Forces to Lebanon

Phnom Penh, September 29, 2010 AKP -- Cambodia will dispatch its troops to join the UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon in early October, a senior government said yesterday.

More than 90 trucks together with demining equipments departed from Kampong Speu province’s military base yesterday to Preah Sihanouk Ville Autonomous Seaport, where the UN vessel is scheduled to ship them to Lebanon in early October, said H.E. Prak Sokhon, delegate minister attached to the prime minister and chairman of the National Committee for Coordinating Affairs with UN Peacekeeping Mission.

Twenty-Cambodian advanced mission team will leave here for Lebanon in mid October to prepare for 219 Cambodian blue beret troops, who will join UN Peacekeeping Mission there. --AKP

(By KHAN Sophirom)


ADB Forecasts Cambodia’s GDP Growth at 5 Pct This Year

Phnom Penh, September 29, 2010 AKP -- Asian Development Bank (ADB) raises Cambodia’s GDP growth to 5 percent for 2010 – 0.5 percent up from its April’s forecast of 4.5 percent, according to the updated Asian Development Outlook 2010 released on Tuesday.

“Cambodia’s economic growth in 2010 is now forecast at 5 percent because of solid growth in garment exports and tourist arrivals,” Chinese News Agency Xinhua quoted the updated Asian Development Outlook 2010 as saying.

The U.S. Department of Commerce figures indicate that garment imports from Cambodia in the first seven months of this year increased by over 10 percent in the U.S. dollar terms, and by about 24 percent in volume terms, compared with the same period of last year, said the report.

Tourist arrivals rose by 12.4 percent in the first 6 months of 2010. However, growth in construction remains subdued and agricultural production is expected to be hurt by the late arrival of the rain this year, added the updated report.

ADB also forecast Cambodia’s growth is projected at around 6 percent in 2011, reflecting forecast increases in garment exports and tourism receipts, and expansion of rice exports following a new rice production and export policy, and a pickup in non-garment manufacturing and some other services sub-sectors.

The report noticed that the inflation has been more subdued than expected in April, so that the full-year forecast for 2010 is trimmed to 4 percent. Next year, inflation is likely to edge higher to about 5 percent, in step with economic activity.

It said that the gross foreign reserves edged up to nearly US$2.5 billion in the first seven months of 2010 from the end of 2009, equivalent to about four months of projected imports. --AKP


Cambodia Hosts Seminar on Internet Management and KHNIC Development

Phnom Penh, September 29, 2010 AKP -- Cambodia organized here on Sept. 27 an ASEAN Seminar on Internet Management and Development of Cambodia Network Information Center (KHNIC) in the presence of Secretary of State for the Cambodian Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications H.E. Chin Bunsean.

The one-day seminar was attended by five ASEAN countries – Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

The seminar was aimed to end the KHNIC development project and to present a report to ASEAN, said Mov Chariya, general director of Posts and Telecommunications, adding that KHNIC will begin its works in late 2010 or early 2011. --AKP

(By LIM Nary)


Japan Provides Cambodia a Rice Husk Carbonized Machine

Phnom Penh, September 29, 2010 AKP -- The Japanese Kansai Corporation through Japanese C&N Business in Cambodia has provided a rice husk carbonized machine to the Royal University of Agriculture.

The handover ceremony was held here on Sept. 27 in the presence of Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries H.E. Ty Sokun, Rector of the Royal University of Agriculture Dr. Ngor Bunthan, and President of C&N Business Mr. Kenzo Hamada.

According to an expert, the rice husk carbonized machine is used to produce rice husk carbon, which is then used as fertilizer in improving land quality for agricultural plants. --AKP

(By CHEA Vannak)