Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Kiwi jailed for rape in Cambodia accused of defamation

Graham Cleghorn - Source: NZPA

via CAAI

Published: Wednesday November 17, 2010
Source: NZPA

A Cambodian women's group is accusing a New Zealand man convicted for rape of defamation and demanded he pay $US5000 ($NZ6535) in compensation and issue an apology.

Graham Cleghorn, 62, was convicted in 2004 of raping five teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 19 who were employed as maids at his Siem Reap home.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and faces an extra two years per victim if he refuses to pay each of them $US2000 in compensation.

Cleghorn has accused a local NGO - Cambodian Women's Crisis Centre (CWCC) - of offering $US10,000 to his victims in exchange for them testifying against him, through various media outlets.

The defamation hearing against Cleghorn took place at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday.

CWCC manager Ket Noeun told the court the defamation complaint stemmed from Cleghorn's repeated statements through the press, the Phnom Penh Post reported.

Cleghorn argued the evidence was first heard in court so could not be defamation.

Lawyer for CWCC Mey Sophea requested the court demand Cleghorn pay $US5000 compensation and to issue a public apology.

Judge Din Sivuthy said a verdict would be announced on November 26.

Old anti-tank mine kills 14 in Cambodia: police

A Cambodian woman carrying a baby walks past a sign warning of the presence of landmines O'Chhoeu Kram village near the Thai border. Fourteen people, including a one-year-old girl, were killed after their vehicle hit an old anti-tank mine in the northwest of the country, police said Wednesday. (AFP/File/Tang Chhin Sothy)

via CAAI

Wed Nov 17

PHNOM PENH (AFP) – Fourteen people, including a one-year-old girl, were killed after their vehicle hit an old anti-tank mine in northwestern Cambodia, police said Wednesday.

The child and 11 other passengers were killed instantly in Tuesday's blast in the province of Battambang, said Buth Sambo, police chief of Banan district.

One person died on the way to the hospital and another on Wednesday morning, he said.

"It is a tragedy that 14 people from five families were all killed," he told AFP.

The group was returning from a day's work at a chilli farm when the driver decided to take a short cut through a field and set off the anti-tank mine.

Landmines and other unexploded ordnance left over from decades of civil war in Cambodia are still killing people on a weekly basis, new figures released on Wednesday showed.

From January to October of this year, 53 people died because of mines or other ordnance, according to CMVIS, the government's data collection body.

The total number of casualties from unexploded ordnance recorded between 1979 and October 2010 stands at 63,754, said CMVIS.

Justice eludes Cambodian acid attack victims

Cambodian acid survivor Morm Nheb sitting at the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Photo courtesy: AFP

The burnt hands of Cambodian acid survivor Morm Nheb as she sews at the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Photo courtesy: AFP

Cambodian acid survivor Som Bunnarith, 39, playing keyboard at the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Photo courtesy: AFP

A Cambodian acid survivor on a bed at the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Photo courtesy: AFP

Cambodian mother of Keo Savorn (R) looking after her daughter at a hospital in Phnom Penh after being injured in an acid attack. Photo courtesy: AFP

via CAAI


By Kounila Keo

PHNOM PENH, Wednesday 17 November 2010 (AFP) - Morm Nheb still remembers how her burnt flesh smelt when her ex-husband doused her face with acid, scarring her for life.

"It's not a good smell," said the mother-of-two, whose life has been a struggle ever since the day her ex-husband vented his anger over their divorce.

"There's no going back after I was splashed with acid, and I am living like a dead body or a living ghost," she said.

She is one of a growing number of acid burn victims in Cambodia, where the caustic liquid is easily and cheaply available -- and attackers rarely brought to justice.

"We have difficulty in trying to get people to press charges because they are sometimes very fearful of the perpetrator," said Chhun Sophea, a programme manager at the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC).

In other cases, such as Nheb's, the attackers go on the run and are never heard from again.

Since CASC opened its doors in 2006, it has helped around 300 people like Nheb by offering free medical and legal aid, counselling and skills training.

While there are no official statistics and many cases go unreported, Sophea said acid crimes are on the rise.

From January to October this year, CASC recorded 18 attacks, in which 34 people were injured.

Sophea said that was "definitely an increase on last year", when 33 people were treated overall, including some injured in accidents.

The Cambodian government has acknowledged the problem and is now in the process of drafting a law that would regulate acid sales and impose harsher sentences on attackers.

Drafting committee deputy chairman Ouk Kimlek told AFP that convicted perpetrators could face between five years and life in prison under the new law, expected to be approved by the end of the year.

"Acid is a horrible thing," he said. "We are looking to put those attackers in jail for what they have done to the victims, so we can curtail more acid crimes."

Acid violence is a serious problem in some other Asian countries as well.

Bangladesh has seen 86 cases with 111 injuries in the first nine months of the year, according to the London-based Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF), an NGO campaigning to make acid attacks a criminal offence in the country.

In Pakistan, women's rights group the Aurat Foundation recorded 20 cases of acid throwing in the first half of 2010.

The vast majority of victims in those countries are women, but in Cambodia men are just as likely to be a target.

"A lot of people think acid crimes are related to love triangle issues," said Sophea.

But that is not always the case, she said, and the motives for such attacks range from jealousy to anger and revenge.

"It's not focused on the women here. Men have their anger against men also and women get really upset with husbands too. The anger and resentment builds up over time and they don't have any way of letting it out," she said.

Som Bunnarith, 39, a long-term resident at CASC, is one of these male victims.

He was burnt by his wife five years ago when they were arguing over his many late nights out. The attack left him blind.

"I cry. I am very sorry about my eyes," said the former salesman.

He says he has forgiven his wife. They both work at CASC now, and he does not want to see her jailed.

Nheb, on the other hand, still wants justice.

She was unable to get her factory job back after the attack, and feels ostracised.

"When people look at you, whether it's pity or just a curious look, it's the most horrific thing," she said.

"When they see acid victims, they say, 'If you take someone's husband, here is the result.' That infuriates me."

No Longer a Pedophile’s Haven

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A crackdown in Cambodia is catching Western men, but locals still mostly unhindered.

Tang Chhin / AFP-Getty Images
An American man charged with child-sex offenses hides his face as he arrives at court in Phnom Penh in 2003.

Cambodia’s pedophile saga has provided no shortage of headlines in recent months. A Russian investor convicted of buying sex with 17 girls as young as 6 years old had his prison sentence reduced from 17 years to eight, with a chance for early release. A Swede suspected of sexually abusing children was recorded on tape by Swedish journalists, bragging about how easy it would be to bribe his judge for a shortened sentence. And another Brit, who in 2005 went free despite overwhelming evidence that he molested children, is now back in court, having returned to Cambodia seemingly undeterred by the legal system.

But these ignominious developments are actually an improvement over years past. Rewind a decade, and disgraced British glam rocker Gary Glitter led a cast of foreign pedophiles whose presence in Cambodia made the impoverished Southeast Asian country infamous as a refuge for child-sex offenders. Those were days when children were openly sold for sex in Phnom Penh’s Svay Pak district and NGO raids on child brothels were invariably foiled by corrupt police on the take. Lax law enforcement and pervasive local demand for prostitution have long made Southeast Asia a destination for sex tourists of all stripes—and in Cambodia, in particular, the social, economic, and legal foundations that militate against the sexual exploitation of children were shattered by years of debilitating rule and civil strife.

Today, the likes of Glitter no longer can break the law with impunity in Cambodia. Following pressure from local activists as well as the United States, Australia, and some European countries, Cambodia launched a campaign in 2003 to fight its reputation as a pedophile’s carefree playground. By most accounts, the effort has achieved results. Now, articles about arrests of North American and European nationals pepper the pages of the local press. The crackdown and accompanying PR campaign helped lift Cambodia from the gutter of the U.S. human-trafficking watchlist, making the donor-dependent country eligible for a greater variety of direct aid.

“For Western pedophiles, Cambodia is no longer a safe haven,” says Samleang Seila, the head of the local child-protection group Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE). The change is evidenced by a rising number of arrests for “debauchery” and “indecent acts,” which grew from just eight in 2003 to 36 last year, according to APLE. The organization tracks sex tourists, gathers evidence against them and hands their cases over to local police. That’s when things can easily unravel: inexperienced and under-resourced, Cambodia’s police and judiciary are prone to corruption and poor implementation of the law. But despite its shaky foundation, the legal system has made strides, says Joerg Langelotz, of APLE. Case in point: the same judge in the town of Siem Reap who a year and a half ago declined to deliberate on a child-molestation charge because the alleged abuse didn’t exceed fondling has now agreed to hear the case. “There is less complacency and more commitment,” says Langelotz.

As policing improves, Western perpetrators are taking greater cover. In two different arrests involving British men in the past few months, the suspects had founded child-care NGOs that now appear to have been fronts for them to prey on children. Kao Thea, the head of Phnom Penh’s anti–human trafficking and juvenile-protection division, is confident his police officers can stay ahead of the curve. “Now we can stop sexual abuse of children from foreigners who come to Cambodia because we are much more experienced than we were before,” he says. That may be true, but rights groups say a greater scourge has been largely undeterred by the crackdown: a thriving child-sex market fueled by locals.

Among the 141 arrests for “debauchery” and “indecent acts” in Cambodia since 2003, only 37 of the suspects were Cambodian and just 19 were men from other Asian countries, according to APLE. And yet, Western men represent only a minuscule fraction of the population in Cambodia that is sexually exploiting children. According to a report released last month by the juvenile-protection NGO, ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Abuse and Trafficking), the vast majority of former child sex workers say their clients were local men. It may not seem like much of a revelation given the disparity in numbers between Western and local men but, as ECPAT points out, the findings run contrary to “the usually held assumption that pedophilia is a Western problem.”

“Cambodian men prefer beautiful, fair-skinned, and younger-looking sex workers—basically minors,” Chin Chanveasna, head of ECPAT’s Cambodia office, told a conference attended by government and NGO officials in October, adding that sexual exploitation of children by locals is overlooked because of a single-minded focus on targeting Western men. Says Steve Morrish, executive director of SISHA, an NGO that investigates human trafficking: “A lot of the Cambodian men I speak with, they want the young ones and they don’t see it as anything to hide.” Moreover, in Cambodian culture, it is often the reputation of the victim, rather than of the perpetrator, that is blighted. According to a report on Cambodia by Amnesty International released earlier this year, girls who are sexually abused often become outcasts in their community, while convicted offenders face little stigma.

Given the obstacles to changing such widely held attitudes, it’s not surprising the government has targeted Western men, whose crimes are more conspicuous. But, says, Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, “Western pedophiles are the low-hanging fruit. Now should come the climb up the tree to catch local sexual abusers of children.”

New Meat-Eating Plant Discovered in Cambodia

via CAAI

posted by: Beth Buczynski

Scientists in Cambodia's remote Cardamom Mountains have discovered a new species of carnivorous pitcher plant that eats meat in order to flourish in otherwise impoverished soils.

Researchers from Fauna & Flora International (FFI) discovered that the large red and green pitchers of Nepenthes holdenii are actually modified leaves designed to capture and digest insects.

An unusual adaptation seen in this new species is its ability to survive during drought periods when fires regularly decimate the rest of the plant life.

Fran├žois Mey, a French botanist and Nepenthes expert who described the plant said: 'This amazing species may be the most drought-tolerant of the genus. Thanks to a large underground tuber, it has the ability to endure extended periods of drought and fires'.

The new species is being called the Holden Pitcher after British photographer Jeremy Holden, who first found the plant during the FFI survey.

"The Cardamom Mountains are a treasure chest of new species, but it was a surprise to find something as exciting and charismatic as an unknown pitcher plant," Holden said.

Biologists claim that the discovery of this plant reinforces the need for continuous exploration and protection of biodiversity.

The new pitcher plant joins a green-blooded frog and a number of new reptiles that have recently been discovered in the Cardamom Mountains.

Mey and Holden are currently working on a book devoted to the carnivorous plants of Cambodia.

SimplyHelp Cambodia: A Vocational Education Mode of Success

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By Lotte Goede, Donna Pulese-Murphy

Mom Phoeun, who lives in rural Cambodia, lost his father at a young age, and his mother is suffering from chronic illnesses. With cow herding being their only source of income, they could not make enough money to pay for her rising medical costs. Mom Phoeun sought relief by attending the SimplyHelp Tailoring School which had just established itself in his village. By learning a trade and distinguishing himself, Mom Phoeun is now not only able to support himself, but can also provide for the care that his mother desperately needs.

Cambodia is a country burdened with a legacy of conflict. The Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, seized power in 1975. An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died; most intellectuals and educated people were executed, and their cultural heritage destroyed. The devastation of the Pol Pot regime remains with the people of Cambodia, now one of the poorest countries in the world.

In 2001, the SimplyHelp Foundation decided to establish a branch in Cambodia. The Foundation’s two vocational training schools—a Tailoring School and a Computer School—have over 4,000 graduates, of which 85 per cent find jobs working for large companies, in banking, for non-governmental organizations or open up their own storefronts. Some go on to higher education.

Mobile Tailoring School—Sewing up Poverty Wounds

The SimplyHelp Tailoring School opened its doors officially in 2002. Many had the means to learn not only a trade but how to be self-sufficient. The school is mobile and goes to poor villages in the middle of rice fields where it is needed most. When a farming village is chosen as the school’s next destination, the village chief opens up his home and turns it into a temporary school. A highly-qualified master sewing teacher is sent from Phnom Penh to this village two or three days a week to train two assistant teachers who teach on the days she is not in the village. There are two classes per day, which allows the students to go to school either in the morning or afternoon, and to work their land the other part of the day. Students are trained for six months and classes are free. Since its inception, the school has moved eight times and, to date, has graduated 1,686 students.

The need for this type of education in rural Cambodia is staggering. In the village of Krang, for example, within three months after graduation, ten out of eighty graduates established small businesses in their living rooms with just a sewing machine and some fabric, and all of them have been able to earn good money. In other villages as well, graduates have opened tailoring shops which provide them with steady, reliable incomes—in sharp contrast to the difficulties that go along with being farmers. Some of these shops have developed into authentic-looking businesses with glass displays, beautiful clothes, and proud owners.

Tailoring School’s Social and Economic Impact

Former tailoring school graduates who have started their own businesses have taken on apprentices, thus passing on their knowledge. These apprentices pay the master tailor $150 and can stay with the tailor until they have mastered the essential skills. When asked why they choose to pay $150 to learn the trade when they can get paid to learn it at a government school, their answer is “quality!”

According to Vuthi Seng, Coordinator of SimplyHelp Cambodia, the social status of women changes after graduation. “Young Cambodian rural women traditionally have to stay home,” he says. “However, once a young lady graduates from the SimplyHelp Tailoring School in her village, which takes much less time than the two to three years required in a private school in the capital, she has a skill and can earn an income. She now has a more equal relationship with her husband; otherwise she is treated as a subject to her husband and has little decision-making power in the home.”

Additionally, not only does this heightened income affect a woman’s social status, but it affects a community at large. For instance, all students at the tailoring school are farmers and cow herders and have an average income of $1 to $2 per day. But graduates with their own businesses increase their average income from $3 to $7 per day. This extra income is not only used for basic needs, but is also re-invested in their own businesses and in their communities.

Computer School—Processing 
The Possibilities

The SimplyHelp Cambodia Computer School also opened in 2002 and is located in the capital Phnom Penh. Due to the high-quality training and low cost, 200 to 250 students apply for the 100 available training spots every three months. Typically, the students selected are from low-income households, orphans, or have a disability. During these classes they learn Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. From 2002 to 2009, the Computer School had 2,784 graduates.

The school’s teacher, Sophat Phoung, is a disabled young man from a rural area of Cambodia. Due to an accident in his early childhood, his right leg does not function anymore, which significantly reduced his job opportunities. So in 2002 he attended the computer school and worked as a volunteer after graduation. Due to his hard work and dedication, he was hired as a teacher in the school in 2003 and not only can he support himself now, but he can also provide income for his family.

Computer School’s Social and Economic Impact

There are signs that Cambodia is catching up with the rest of the information technology world as the Computer School has seen an increase in demand for more specialized computer training in QuickBooks, Photoshop, Access, and Peachtree.

A notable trend is that, although there are more male then female students, the number of female students has steadily increased over the years. Common jobs for graduates include data entry for companies or working at the cash register in supermarkets. It might not occur to people in the West that one needs to have basic computer skills to operate a cash register. Many others become business managers, administrators, or teachers, such as Ky Bun Heang, who became executive director for a Japanese NGO operating in Cambodia and specializing in the education field; Miss Chea Lida, who became a manager at one of the most successful Cambodian Banks; or Mr. Nuty, who became a provincial manager at the Department of National Treasury in Rattanank Kiri province.

SimplyHelp Cambodia is an educational model for economic and societal success, but certainly more work needs to be done. No matter how small or large, it is critical to support these kinds of vocational education endeavours which not only help individuals build a new life for themselves, but also help perpetuate a self-sustaining community.

Research and Markets: Cambodia - Telecoms, Mobile, Internet and Forecasts

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DUBLIN -- Research and Markets
( has announced the addition of the "Cambodia - Telecoms, Mobile, Internet and Forecasts" report to their offering.

Hot competition in Cambodia's crowded mobile market as 10 operators chase subscribers

Cambodia has managed a remarkable transition in building a vibrant telecom market. Despite the country's status as one of the least developed nations in the world and whilst it remains one of the poorer countries in Southeast Asia, Cambodia's efforts to expand and upgrade its telecom infrastructure have certainly been bearing fruit. There was very little infrastructure remaining from before the tumultuous Khmer Rouge days. As a result, Cambodia bypassed rebuilding the fixed-line market and quickly launched into alternative technologies, jump-starting its telecommunications infrastructure with digital technology. Not surprisingly, mobile services have completely overwhelmed the market. By early 2010, there were ten mobile operators vigorously competing with each other in a market segment that was growing at a healthy rate. There were 5.6 million mobile subscribers (penetration 38%) in the country at the start of 2010. The market was still in a very strong expansion phase as evidenced by the keenness shown by foreign operators seeking to be part of it.

Some limited fixed-line growth had earlier come about through investment under foreign assistance, but this mainly benefited Phnom Penh and geographical coverage has not increased significantly since that effort in the 1990s. The number of fixed-line services has remained relatively static at around 50,000, but by 2009 the numbers were starting to edge upwards. In the absence of any substantial fixed-line growth, mobile telephone services continue to completely dominate the overall telecom market in Cambodia. In fact mobiles represent more than 99% of the total number of telephone services in the country.

It is worthwhile noting that wireless technology has been especially advantageous for Cambodia in achieving rapid network rollout and replacement of a fixed network badly damaged by 20 years of war. In addition to the thriving mobile networks, Wireless Local Loop (WLL) has been useful for rapid provision of a limited number of fixed-line services. However, while Cambodia has exemplified the fact that WLL offers a viable option for rapidly expanding telecom access in developing countries with low levels of fixed infrastructure, the potential of this technology has yet to be fully exploited in the country.

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

Business People Urged ACMECSs’ Leaders to Ease Trade

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 05:10 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, Nov 17, 2010-The business people from Cambodian, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar under framework of ACMECS (Ayeyavady , Chao Praya, and Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategies) on Wednesday urged the leaders to facilitate trade to expand the cooperation and good places for investment, and regional integration.

“The five countries will turn the region into one destination for tourists, and one visa for five countries, one single window for trade, “private sector said. The views supported from the leaders.

Third bridge over Mekong River in Laos will help to expand further trade. Private sector will join more role in ACMECS forum to involve in trade.

Cambodia hosted first forum for ACMECS in Phnom Penh. They touched on the tourism, agriculture,, rice, industry,, human resources, and trade. ..

Press Statement of the Outcomes of the 6th CLV Summit, the 5th CLMV Summit and the 4th ACMECS Summit

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 04:59 DAP-NEWS

1. From 16th to 17th October 2010 Cambodia hosted and chaired the 6th CLV Summit, the 5th CLMV Summit and the 4th ACMECS Summit. The Summits were held at the Peace Palace, Phnom Penh and chaired by Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The main outcomes of these Summits are the following:
I. The 6th CLV Summit

2. The Summit was held to review progress and set out future direction of the CLV cooperation.

3. The meeting took note of the progress of cooperation in the CLV Triangle Development Area, especially the achievements made in the area of trade and investment, including the organization of trade fairs; conferences on trade, investment and tourism promotion; simplification of export procedures and business registration processes; and the granting of tax incentives to boost investment in the region.

4. The meeting adopted the revised Socio-Economic Development Master Plan in the CLV Development Triangle Area (2010-2020) and given high priority to a number of sectors, such as physical infrastructure, trade and investment facilitation, social and cultural development, agro-industry and tourism…etc. with a view to accelerating socio-economic development and poverty reduction, which are crucial for realizing the vision of creating a harmonious and prosperous Development Triangle Area by the year 2020.

5. The meeting made a firm commitment to promoting this cooperation through the adoption of «the Phnom Penh Declaration on Deepening of Cooperation in the Development Triangle Area» and the amended the «MOU on the Special Preferential Policies for CLV Development Triangle Area».

6. Moreover, the meeting was resolved to accelerate the implementation of the bilateral and multilateral agreements in the Development Triangle Area, particularly the Cross Border Transport Agreement of the GMS, the ASEAN Economic Blueprint, bilateral trade agreements, the Rice Cooperation and Contract Farming Projects and the ASEAN Single Window.

II. The 5th CLMV Summit

7. The Summit was held to review progress and set out future direction of the CLMV cooperation.

8. The CLMV cooperation was established to narrow development gap and to accelerate the integration of the four countries in order to catch up with the other six ASEAN members. As a result, since the 1st CLMV Summit held in Vientiane, under the CLMV cooperation an Action Plan covering 9 areas of cooperation was adopted and include the following sectors: (1) coordination of economic integration policies, (2) trade and investment facilitation and promotion, (3) agriculture, (4) industry and energy, (5) transport, (6) information and communication technology (ICT), (7) tourism, (8) human resource development and (9) health care. In this framework, 58 concrete projects were adopted at the 4th CLMV Summit in Hanoi in 2008.

9. At this CLMV Summit, the meeting adopted the Joint Declaration of the 5th CLMV Summit to reaffirm their determination to promote cooperation in the 9 areas and to deepen the traditional relationships based on the long-lasting friendship, good neighborliness and mutual benefits among the CLMV Countries.

10. As financing remains a key challenge, the meeting was determined to seek assistance from development partners and encourage private sector’s participation in both regional and sub-regional frameworks in order to accelerate the implementation of action plans and important projects. In this regard, the meeting agreed to prioritize and select 16 projects to be submitted to development partners, particularly Japan, China, Korea and India for their support.

III. The 4th ACMECS Summit

11. The Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) is a cooperation framework between Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam established to capitalize on both economic disparities and complementarities of member countries in order to narrow the development gaps in the sub-region and contribute to building the ASEAN community.

12. The objectives of this 4th ACMECS Summit are: (1) review ACMECS cooperation and future direction, and (2) review and adopt the Declaration and the Plan of Action to expedite the implementation of ACMECS cooperation framework.

13. ACMECS cooperation includes 8 sectors namely, (1) investment and trade facilitation, (2) agricultural sector, (3) industrial and energy sector, (4) transport linkages, (5) tourism sector, (6) human resource development, (7) public health, and (8) environment, which is a new sector adopted at the 3rd ACMECS Summit held in 2008 in Hanoi. Cambodia and Vietnam are the co-chairs of the Environmental Sector Working Group.

14. The meeting adopted the Phnom Penh Declaration on ACMECS and the ACMECS's Plan of Action 2010-2012 as a roadmap for the implementation of cooperation among ACMECS member countries, as well as the cooperation with development partners to ensure its successful implementation by 2012.

15. In this connection, the Heads of the Governments of ACMECS member countries also met with ACMECS business leaders. The ACMECS Business Council was created as a common project under trade and investment facilitation cooperation. ACMECS Leaders encouraged active participation of the ACMECS Business Council in the implementation of ACMECS's Plan of Action, particularly under the initiative of Governments-Private Sector Partnership, in order to ensure maximum and effective use of all the potentials of the existing business and investment opportunities in member countries.

16. The 6th CLV Summit, the 5th CLMV Summit and the 4th ACMECS Summit were held as ASEAN is also accelerating the process of building the ASEAN community by 2015. From the beginning, the establishment of these cooperation frameworks at sub-regional level is designed to achieve the main goal - promoting development and physical connectivity in the newer, less-developed ASEAN members. This will make concrete contribution to the efforts in narrowing development gaps and accelerating community building in the region. First and foremost, the objective is to build the ASEAN Community, and afterward to build the East Asia Community in the longer run.

17. In this sense, we take great pride from the fact that as through our joint efforts, the CLV, CLMV and ACMECS cooperation frameworks were incorporated into the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity recently adopted at the 17th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi. The Master Plan is pre-requisite and necessary for building and realizing the ASEAN Community by 2015. As financing remains a fundamental challenge for countries like Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam, the preparation of projects of CLV, CLMV and ACMECS cooperation frameworks to be incorporated into the Master Plan of ASEAN Connectivity is part of our innovative and creative mechanism to engage ASEAN dialogue partners and other development partners to provide support for projects of their best interest.

18. The Heads of the Governments of all countries participating in these summits highly appreciated the capable and efficient chairmanship of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia and expressed their profound gratitude to the Royal Government and People of Cambodia for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to all delegates participating in these important Summits.

Phnom Penh, 17th October 2010

14 Cambodians Including a Baby Killed by Anti –Tank Mine

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 04:52 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, BATTAMBANG, Nov 17, 2010-The Cambodian police said on Wednesday that there were 14 Cambodian farmers killed by the anti-tank mine in Battambang province, northern part of Cambodia, about 300 km from Phnom Penh.

The 14 people loaded on the a tractor on the way home from farming killed by the exploded mines in village of Kompong kol , Cheng Mean Chey, Banan, district of Battambang province.

The mine exploded yesterday and nobody survived from it, the official to CMAC, Mine action center said.

Batambang province is last battlefield in the country and last year there were 245 people died of mine casualties in the country. Mine is still the obstacle to develop country and reduce poverty.

Cambodia Sends 197 de-miners to Lebanon Under UN Peacekeeping Mission

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 04:49 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, Nov 17, 2010-Cambodia on Wednesday sent 197 de-miners to Sudan under UN peacekeeping mission, and 21 people already went there last week.

Douglas Broderick, UN resident coordinator to Cambodia told the sending ceremony that your mission represents an expansion of the Cambodian contribution to the UN “global peacekeeping efforts”.

He added: This is the first time Cambodian peacekeepers have been deployed to Lebanon and the mission includes 218 personnel.

“The tasked with responsibility of demining, as well as in building veritical and horizontal constructions, the challenges in Lebanon for you as individuals may be great, that together as a team you represent an important step forward in Cambodia’s transition from an recipient country of peacekeepers to one that deploys highly skilled experts to assist in other countries where the need is great,” He said.

Tea Banh, minister of national defense said that Cambodia is committed to joining the global peacekeeping efforts to stabilize the peace and seek social security for countries in post conflicts.

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press

via CAAI

Vietnamese Prime Minister Concludes Visit to Cambodia

Phnom Penh, November 17, 2010 AKP -- Vietnamese Prime Minister H.E. Nguyen Tan Dung left here this morning after concluding his official visit and attending the 6th CLV, the 5th CLMV and the 4th ACMECS Summits in Cambodia.

H.E. Nguyen Tan Dung and Madame together with his entourages were seen off at Phnom Penh International Airport by H.E. Ouch Borith, Secretary of the State at the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and other senior officials.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia H.E. Ngo Anh Dung was also on hand.

During his stay in Phnom Penh, H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung was received in a royal audience by His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia.

Moreover, he also paid courtesy calls on Cambodian Senate President Samdech Akka Moha Thamma Pothisal Chea Sim; National Assembly President Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, and held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen. --AKP

(By KEO Chandara)


4th ACMECS Summit Opens

Phnom Penh, November 17, 2010 AKP -- The 4th Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Summit was held here this morning at the Peace Palace.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, and his counterparts from Laos, H.E. Bouasone Bouphavanh; Myanmar, H.E. Thein Sein; Thailand, H.E. Abhisit Vejjajiva; and Vietnam, H.E. Nguyen Tan Dung; presided over the summit.

ASEAN Secretary-General H.E. Surin Pitsuwan, foreign ministers, delegate ministers, relevant ministers and business representatives from the ACMECS countries also attended the event.

On the occasion, Cambodian Premier Samdech Techo Hun Sen recalled the past history of ACMECS, saying that the Bagan Declaration at the 1st Summit put forth five priorities for ACMECS cooperation including trade and investment facilitation, agricultural and industrial facilitation, communication system linkage, tourism cooperation, and human resource development.

In 2006, he said, the field of public health was included in the ACMECS cooperation while the field of agriculture and industry were divided into two separated fields to reflect their importance. After that, at the summit in Hanoi, environment became the 8th field of the cooperation, aiming at resolving issues related to environmental threats.

The broadening of the cooperation has shown the significance the member countries have given to this sub-regional economic cooperation strategy, said Samdech Techo Hun Sen, adding that the most important thing is that ACMECS cooperation has been integrated into the master plan of ASEAN. “The link of ACMECS contributes not only to the vision of ASEAN link, but also to the establishment of ASEAN Community by 2015,” he stressed.

The Cambodian prime minister believed that the continued efforts in trade, investment and tourism facilitation will help promote social economy and prosperity,” he said.

He also spoke of the climate change which he termed as life-and-death factor for the ACMECS countries’ future. Last month, ACMECS member countries, including Cambodia, were badly affected by abnormally heavy rain and flooding in several areas of the country.

As the ACMECS courries can be considered as a world important rice stock, the Cambodian leader hoped that the agricultural production domain, especially rice production, will become an important composition of our cooperation in the future.

He further emphasized the importance of support and participation of the private sector in achieving the ACMECS’ joint visions. He then asked the governments of ACMECS member countries to provide more opportunities to private sector so that it can participate in the ACMECS cooperation.

The development and prosperity of ACMECS are also inseparable from the support of the development partners.

ACMECS was officially established by the four member countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, at their first Summit Meeting on Nov. 12, 2003 in Bagan, the Union of Myanmar. With Vietnam’s accession to the group in 2004, ACMECS currently consists of five member countries. --AKP

(By OUK Kimseng)


Thai Prime Minister Arrives in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, November 17, 2010 AKP -- Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand H.E. Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva arrived here this morning to attend the 4th ACMECS Summit to be held here on the same day.

H.E. Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva and his accompanied members were warmly greeted on their arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport by H.E. Ouch Borith, Cambodian Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and other senior officials.

Thailand’s Ambassador accredited to Cambodia H.E. Mr. Prasas Prasavinitchai was also present.

According to the schedule, the Thai premier will hold bilateral talks with Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen this afternoon. This will be the 4th meeting between both premiers after the two neighboring countries have restored their full diplomatic relations by resending their ambassadors to resume their duties in last August.

An agreement on visa exemption between the two Kingdoms for holders of ordinary passports is also expected to be signed after the bilateral meeting.

Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation (ACMECS) currently consists of five member countries – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. --AKP

(By KEO Chandara)


Cambodia Dispatches Troops for UN Mission in Lebanon

Phnom Penh, November 17, 2010 AKP -- Cambodia sent this morning 197 troops, of them four women, to participate in the peacekeeping mission under the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) framework.

The departure ceremony of the Cambodian Field Engineering Contingent 513 was held at Phnom Penh Military Airbase in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense H.E. Tea Banh; Minister Attached to the Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Coordination Committee H.E. Prak Sokhon; and UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Douglas Broderick.

According to H.E. Prak Sokhon, the Engineering Unit 513 is a construction unit, attached with a mechanical and manual demining unit. An advance team of 21 persons had departed for Lebanon 10 days ago to settle the ground and receive equipment and supplies that were shipped out of Sihanoukville port in mid October.

Cambodia has so far trained and dispatched five demining units to Sudan and one order keeping unit of 42 men strong for movement control for the UN missions in Chad and Central African Republic, he said.

“A total of 627 of armed forces, command officers and military observers have been sent to the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (UNPKO) mission in Sudan, Chad, and Central African Republic. Coupled with today’s departure of engineering unit 513, our total forces participating in the UN peacekeeping mission have reached 845 persons,” he indicated.

For his part, UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Douglas Broderick applauded the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Peacekeeping Teams for their dedication to providing assistance abroad, to sharing their skills and experience with countries that are suffering due to conflict.

“Your work, and the work of other Cambodian peacekeepers, will help make development possible and give opportunities and hope to the people and to the communities in which they serve,” he added.

Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Tea Banh has reaffirmed the royal government’s strong determination in humanitarian contributions to the world peace and security through the process of sending its troops to different countries under UNPKO.

He also advised the Cambodian troops to respect and obey the military disciplines, ethics, and other international laws and regulations. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)


Journalists Play Vital Roles in Country's Development

Phnom Penh, November 17, 2010 AKP -- Journalists have played important roles in contribution to the development of the country, said Secretary of State at the Ministry of Information H.E. Thach Phen at the opening of the training course on “Community Radio Program Production” held here on Nov. 15.

The five-day training course was organized by the Media Training Center of the Ministry of Information under the sponsorship of UNESCO.

Altogether 15 information officials from 15 provinces across the country have been attending the course, said Mr. Meas Kim Suon, acting director of the Media Training Center. --AKP

(By LIM Nary)

German man faces molestation charges

via CAAI

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 15:02 Chrann Chamroeun

PREAH Sihanouk provincial court yesterday tried a German national in absentia on charges of committing indecent acts last year against two boys aged 11 and 14.

Walter Orson Novak, 46, was arrested in March last year from a guesthouse in Sihanoukville, where he was renting a room.

He is accused of taking the boys down to a beach on multiple occasions to molest them, and paying them up to US$5 each time, according to a statement released by child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants. He was freed on bail after serving a month of pretrial detention.

Novak was absent during the hearing yesterday, which has been postponed on two previous occasions due to his absence.

But Nuon Phanith, a lawyer provided to the victims by APLE, said the hearing went ahead, with Novak’s lawyer Khun Sophal standing in for his client.

“In my conclusion, I requested that the court sentence the man according to the law because there is enough evidence,” he said.

He requested that the court order his immediate arrest if he is found guilty, and pay a combined $7,000 in compensation to the victim’s families.

If found guilty, Novak faces one to three years in prison.

He said court officials were unaware of Novak’s current whereabouts because he has since changed addresses without notifying local authorities.

Presiding judge Im Manith said a verdict would be announced on November 25.

Villagers decry title tax

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Wednesday, 17 November 2010 15:02 Mom Kunthear

RESIDENTS of Kandal province’s Kandal Stung district lodged a complaint with the rights group Adhoc yesterday, claiming they have been hit with an exorbitant “tax” to obtain land titles from the provincial Department of Land Management.

“I went to get my land title at the land management department after my mother divided up her land ... but the officials asked me to pay a tax of US$150 at the tax department in order to obtain the land title,” said Touch Meakkea, a representative of about 200 families in Prek Sleng village, in Prek Sleng commune.

Touch Meakkea, whose mother gave her a 9-by-50-metre plot of land, said that a tax official later suggested that the fee might be negotiable.

“The tax official told me that I cannot get my land title if I don’t have the money to pay them, but they said I could discuss the price with them again,” she said.

“I can give some money to obtain the land title, but I can’t give as much money as they require because I am poor,” she said.

In addition to Touch Meakkea, two other families lodged complaints with Adhoc yesterday requesting official intervention after they were also told to pay a $150 fee for title deeds.

Men Makara, Adhoc’s provincial coordinator, said yesterday that he would investigate the complaints and write to the Department of Land Management about the issue.

The people who have filed complaints have “proclaimed that there are many more families in Prek Sleng village who are having the same problem with the tax officers”, he said.

He said it was suspicious that the tax official had allegedly referred to the fee as negotiable. “No one can reduce or increase the cost of the tax, which has already been approved by the government,” he said.

Prek Sleng commune chief Meas Sokkhem said yesterday the amount demanded by officials was excessive.

“I have not seen any complaints from my villagers yet, but as far as I know, land owners only have to pay tax officers about 10,000 to 20,000 riels [between $2.50 and $5] to receive their land titles,” she said.

Chhim Kan, chief of the Kandal provincial Department of Land Management, said he did not know how much the three families had been asked to pay or the official fee typically paid to obtain a land title.

“I really asked them to pay to get the land title, but I’m not the one who notes the price for receiving [them],” he said.

Police chief accused of land grab

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Wednesday, 17 November 2010 15:01 Chhay Channyda

A border police chief in Mondulkiri has been accused of clearing protected forest to make way for a private cassava farm, according to about 100 Phnong families who filed a complaint with a local rights group yesterday.

Thoeung Thveuk, chief of the O’Kleur community in Dak Dan commune, accused police chief Keo Dan of encroachment in a forest where the families live. “Keo Dan destroyed forest for his own property, and such activity greatly affects our traditional cash crops,” he said.

Adhoc provincial coordinator Kul Midy confirmed he received the complaint and said the issue was important for many indigenous communities.

Keo Dan dismissed any wrongdoing, but admitted he had cleared half a hectare of forest with two other villagers. “I know the land belongs to the state. I just need a small plot of land for farming. If the state wants to take it back, I will give it back,” he said.

Mondulkiri forestry administration official Song Kheang said he had just received word of the complaint and would work with local officials to investigate it. If convicted, Keo Dan could face a sentence of 12 months to 10 years in prison.

Strike for fired union heads

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Wednesday, 17 November 2010 15:01 Mom Kunthear

ABOUT 500 garment workers from the Zhen Yun Factory in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district held a protest yesterday to demand the reinstatement of four union leaders fired over the weekend, as well as better working conditions.

Yang Sophorn, deputy director of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, said the company fired the four workers on Friday after learning the factory’s employees had elected them as union leaders.

“We informed the company owners on Friday who won the vote to become union leaders, but the company doesn’t allow union leaders, so they were fired,” said Yang Sophorn.

A general manager for the Zhen Yun Factory, who would only identify herself as Horng, said she didn’t know if the fired employees would be allowed back to work.

“My boss has not decided yet whether we will accept those four union leaders back to work or not,” she said.

On Monday, representatives from the Free Trade Union met with the factory owners to demand the reinstatement of the workers, in addition to 11 basic working conditions, such as increased wages for overtime work and health services for sick employees.

Yang Sophorn said the factory owners were willing to accept 10 of the working conditions, but refused to re-hire the ousted employees or pay higher rates for overtime hours.

“The employees won’t continue working if the company owners refuse to accept the four union representatives and don’t add more money for overtime work,” she said.

One of the fired employees Seng Bora said “the workers need union leaders in the factory to protect them when they have problems with the owners”.

Horng said she didn’t know if the factory owners would set another date of negotiations with the union representatives.

Thief faces murder charges

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Wednesday, 17 November 2010 15:01 Chrann Chamroeun

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried a man on charges of attempted murder and possessing an illegal weapon, in relation to the theft of a motorbike last year for which he has already been convicted on robbery charges.

Kheng Pov, 21, was arrested in October last year in Kandal province’s Ksach Kandal district in connection with the robbery of a motorbike taxi driver in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district in September.

Police said a separate driver was wounded after the suspect allegedly shot him several times in the leg when he came to the victim’s defence. Kheng Pov was found guilty of robbery and sentenced to seven years in prison earlier this year.

Presiding judge Ker Sakhorn said during the hearing yesterday that the case was reopened so the suspect could face attempted murder and illegal weapon charges.

But Kheng Pov called the decision to try him twice an “injustice” and denied that he ever opened fire on the victim, claiming his accomplice, known as Chek, fired the handgun at the ground, which ricocheted and struck the victim in the leg.Chek has so far eluded police.

A verdict will be announced on November 29.

Police Blotter: 17 Nov 2010

via CAAI

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 15:01 Sen David

Student dies after being knifed by gang
A 17-year-old student was stabbed to death by a group of “gangsters” in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district on Monday. Police said the victim was also a gangster at high school, and that he had fought with the group on a public road. The gangsters stabbed him, and he was immediately sent to hospital. Doctors reported that they had “cured” him, but just three days later he died. Police said the gangsters were constantly playing truant from school, and this was not the first time they had stabbed someone.

Man denies rape of underage sweetheart
A 36-year-old Vietnamese man was arrested after being accused of raping a 13-year-old girl in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on Monday. Police said the suspect, a cricket seller, persuaded the victim to come with him to a guesthouse, where he raped her. She decided to tell her mother despite the man warning her against it. The mother filed a complaint to police, but the suspect denied that he raped the girl, insisting that they were in love and agreed to have sex.

Guard steals bike from hospital’s carpark
Police arrested a man accused of stealing a motorbike from the Russian-Cambodian Friendship Hospital carpark in Phnom Penh on Saturday. Police said the man was a guard for the motorbikes, and that a fellow guard had shouted for help when he saw his colleague driving off. The suspect admitted he was “fraudulent”, and police sent him to court.

Governor’s house set ablaze, child at fault
The house of the governor of Kampong Speu’s Thporng district caught fire on Sunday after his great-grandson was playing with a lighter. The governor said the family was having lunch together, but his great grandson went upstairs, intrigued with the cigarette lighter. A neighbour saw the fire and informed the governor downstairs. A fire engine soon arrived, but a witness said it was “so late”. Police said it was lucky the fire didn’t spread to nearby houses.

Drug dealer caught pushing pills in capital
A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of selling drugs in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district on Sunday. Police said the man was selling the drugs in a “quiet place”, when they saw him and arrested him. Another man managed to evade officers. Police confiscated 198 unknown pills, a motorbike and a phone. The suspect admitted that he “really did this many times”. Police sent him to court for further questioning.

Elephants on parade

via CAAI

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 15:01 Khouth Sophakchakrya

PUTANG village, an ethnic minority community in Mondulkiri province, plans to hold a traditional elephant parade tomorrow in order to attract more tourists to visit the area. Py Ngouk, the chief of Romnea commune, said the parades were traditionally held annually to ask the spirits for health and happiness, but would this year be used to promote tourism. Putang villagers will decorate 12 of their 20 elephants for the event, he said.

Regional strategy on agenda

via CAAI

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 15:01 May Kunmakara

BUSINESS leaders are hopeful that their recommendations for greater regional economic cooperation will be adopted at a summit of heads of state, set to take place in Phnom Penh today.

The joint business council of the five-nation Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) met yesterday to discuss economic cooperation among its member states of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand.

About 350 delegates and businesspeople attended the forum, held at the Cambodiana Hotel, ahead of the ACMECS summit.

Delegates raised concerns and discussed proposals on economic issues including strengthening investment and cooperation, cross-border trade, tourism, agriculture, transport links, industry, human resources development and bilateral relations.

Joint business council chairman Kith Meng, president of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, said the council would make its recommendations to regional leaders, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, today.
“I am sure that ACMECS leaders have been briefed on our discussion of economic cooperation on the borders, agriculture, human resource, transport and tourism,” he said.

Among the proposals was a single visa for each of the five member countries, which Kith Meng said would improve bilateral relations.

There is a need to review the present situation and to explore and formulate good practices for beneficial contract farming.

Thai chief delegate Tanit Sorat, vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, urged the joint business council to focus on transportation links and improved logistics.

He said member states should accelerate the ratification of the Greater Mekong Sub-region cross-border trade agreement, and establish an alliance to create a sub-regional network of logistics.

“I hope the said recommendations would help promote the goal of ASEAN connectivity,” he said.

Tanit Sorat also said each member state would benefit from establishing business centres that would disseminate and publicise trade and investment information, as well as provide business-matching services to interested parties.

Member states should also speed up the implementation of existing and future plans to improve resource mobilisation.

Myanmar delegate Win Aung, head of the Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the development of small and medium-sized enterprises should be taken into account.

“SME development is playing a very important role for high growth of the economic of the country so we should think about this,” he said.

Laos delegate Chinda Vongsouly, president of the Champasak Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also urged a greater focus on contract farming and tourism marketing.

“There is a need to review the present situation and to explore and formulate good practices for beneficial contract farming projects.”

Kith Meng said he hoped the ACMECS leaders would consider approving the proposals to better the economies of the five member states.

The ACMECS sub-region ranks fifth in the world in terms of population, which currently stands at about 230 million people, and has a combined GDP of more than US$400 billion.

Hun Sen proposes regional fund

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein, Vietnamese PM Nguyen Tan Dung, Cambodian PM Hun Sen, Laos PM Bouasone Bouphavanh and ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan of Thailand link arms at the Peace Building yesterday.

via CAAI

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 15:00 Vong Sokheng and Thomas Miller

PRIME Minister Hun Sen suggested to the leaders of Laos and Vietnam yesterday that a fund to help development of a triangular region between the three countries be created.

Speaking at a meeting at Phnom Penh's Peace Building, the premier highlighted plans to deepen cooperation through the 2010 to 2020 “master plan” for economic growth in the CLV-Development Triangle Area.

“Since financing remains a big challenge for all of us, I would suggest that we address this issue by initiating the establishment of a CLV Fund to mobilise financial resources to fund projects,” he said.

“Japan has already provided a US$20 million grant for the development of the area in order to ensure concrete and fruitful outcome of this cooperation,” he said.

The cross-border CLV region was created in 1999 to support agriculture, energy, tourism and trade industries through coordinating infrastructure projects, developing human resources and facilitating the flow of people and capital.

It comprises 13 provinces and 6.5 million people across the three countries, including Mondulkiri, Rattanakiri, Stung Treng and Kratie provinces in Cambodia.

The need for joint development was emphasised during yesterday's meeting, as the regions economies emerged from the effects of the world economic crisis.

Hun Sen said yesterday: “The strengthening of cooperation is truly crucial in the regional and global context after the recent global financial crisis.”

He also urged his counterparts to adopt a proposal for preferential policies to benefit business and investment.

The prime minister also said that prioritisation was key to the area’s success.

“CLV countries are facing the shortages of financial resources for the implementation of many programs and projects,” he said.

“I believe that, firstly, we should commit to primarily short-listing a number of prioritised projects from our cooperation sectors – such as infrastructure, trade and investment, social development and cultural conservation, agro-industry, tourism and the environment.”

High-ranking Cambodian officials stated that progress had already been made.

Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh, who chairs a CLV coordinating committee, said CLV countries had already made improvements by signing agreements to loosen visa restrictions. Citizens from the three countries are free to visit neighbouring areas without visas for 30 days, while border passes have been extended from three to seven days, he said.

CLV countries have also reduced temporary work visa fees to $80 per year, and Cambodian and Vietnam have increased the daily quota of vehicles crossing the border. Looking ahead, he said, the neighbours had agreed to develop a common border pass for tourism, business and social purposes.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said he thought that the promotion of local currency instead of the dollar in cross-border trade was an example of strong cooperation amongst the three

The fifth Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam summit also convened at the Peace Building in Phnom Penh yesterday. ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan attended the meeting and “saluted” the four premiers for their cooperation.

“Only through full participation in the activities of the [free] market can we expect to unleash all the potential that each of the four countries has to offer,” he said.

SALT Academy leagues kick off

Photo by: Sam Schweingruber
FC Basel Chairwoman Gigi Oeri sits with the Battambang Province U13 girls team, who are wearing their new uniforms of a replica strip of FC Basel.

via CAAI

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

Battambang’s reputation as a major footballing hub in the Kingdom was further enhanced when SALT Academy launched its fifth annual junior league for boys and girls, sponsored for the second year running by ANZ Royal Bank, with great fanfare on Sunday.

More than 1,000 players representing 62 teams drawn from local organisations, orphanages, schools and communities will vie for honours in five different categories – Boys U11, U13 and U16, and Girls U11 and U16 – over the next four months in a season stretching right up to March.

Many of the teams have been brought through the Indochina Starfish Football Program. Matches will be played every Sunday at the Institute of Technology pitch and Baek Chan ground in Battambang, while some matches will also be staged at the University of Battambang field.

The U16 events for boys and girls will feature nine-a-side games using one half of a regular pitch. All other categories involve seven-a-side fixtures on quarter of a pitch. All matches will be played over two halves of 30 minutes each.

An impressive and well attended opening ceremony on Sunday included special guest Gigi Oeri, Chairwoman of Swiss League champions FC Basel. Oeri was on a four-day visit to oversee the activities of the SALT Academy and also to support some of its developmental ideas and plans. Battambang province’s U13 girls team where given FC Basel shirts to wear during their matches this season.

Coaches from both SALT Academy and ISF were given another round of intensive coaching by FIFA Grassroots Instructor Fritz Schmid of Switzerland on his second trip to Battambang in less than three months. Schmid, who had a long association with FC Basel as well as a short stint with English Premier League club Tottenham, has been a coaches educator for FIFA and the Swiss FA for many years. The thrust of the coaches workshop was on the Magic Square – an offensive formation of four players – as well as defensive movements.

Deputy Director of Battambang Province Sok Kung was among the dignitaries attending the gala opening. Representatives from the government, city administration and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Education were also in attendance.

As part of the inaugural bash, a seven-a-side knockout tournament was held in five categories. ASPECA won the girls U13 event, and SOS triumphed in U16 girls. The Catholics team, meanwhile, took top honours in the boys U11 division, KCD emerged victorious in the U13 group, while Asia Hope needed penalties to clinch first in the U16s.