Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Davik surgery hurdle cleared

Dr. Jose Polido, DDS, operates on Davik Teng at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. The work, which included the removal of seven teeth, was undertaken to avoid the risk of infection before heart defect repair.(Jeff Gritchen/Staff Photographer)
Sin Chhon comforts her daughter, young Cambodian heart patient Davik Teng, as the girl comes out of general anesthesia after dental work at Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles Tuesday. The procedures cleared the way for the 9-year-old's cardiac surgery in Long Beach.(Jeff Gritchen/Staff Photographer)

Teng, 9, is now a step closer to the operation that will repair her heart.
By Greg Mellen, Staff writer

After having seven teeth pulled and eight cavities filled, Davik Teng is ready to take the next step in her journey to have life-altering heart surgery.

Dr. Jose Polido, the head of the Division of Dentistry at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, said Tuesday's oral surgery was a success.

Barring any setbacks, Davik will have open heart surgery on Thursday, March 20, to repair a hole in her heart and provide a new lease on life.

Davik is a 9-year-old girl from a rural village in Cambodia who suffers from a heart defect that doctors in her home country were unable to fix. She was brought to the United States by Long Beach-based nonprofit Hearts Without Boundaries and Childrens Hospital agreed to provide the facilities and

surgical teams for the procedures.

Initially, Childrens Hospital had only agreed to take care of the heart procedure. But when the dental health issues arose and the cost of oral surgery proved prohibitive for the fledgling nonprofit, the hospital agreed to pick up the tab for both procedures.

Because of poor dental health throughout Davik's mouth, doctors decided to treat her dental disease first to minimize the risk of heart infection from oral bacteria getting into the blood.
"It went just as planned," Polido said after the 2 hour surgery, done under general anesthesia.

Polido said the seven extractions were of baby teeth and included the tips of two roots of teeth that
were about to be dislodged. Davik also had one small abscess that was cleaned out.

Doctors had worried that if the infection from an abscess or other bacteria got into the bloodstream, it could lead to endocarditis, or inflammation of the heart valves.

Polido said "within a good couple of weeks" Davik should be ready for the surgery to repair her ventricular septal defect, or hole in her heart.

Left untreated, Davik's heart condition would deteriorate and eventually lead to irreversible lung damage.

According to Dr. Vaughn Starnes, the surgeon who will repair Davik's heart, most people with a condition like Davik's die between the ages of 30 and 35 if untreated.

If all goes as planned, Davik should be up and moving around within three to four days after the heart surgery.

But first, Davik needed the dental work.

Peter Chhun, the executive director of Hearts Without Boundaries, picked up Davik and her mother, Sin Chhon, from the small Long Beach apartment where they are staying in the cold hours before dawn Tuesday.

A sickle moon hung in the eastern sky as Chhun made his way through the light early-morning traffic along the now familiar route to Childrens Hospital. By 7:30 a.m. Davik was ready for surgery and shortly after 10 a.m., she was wheeled into the recovery room.

Davik's mother ran to her child's side and stroked her forehead. At 10:19 a.m., Davik's eyes fluttered open, followed shortly by tears and soft crying.

"I want to go home," were her first words.

Shortly after noon, Davik and her mom were ready to return to Long Beach, having cleared one of the major obstacles left in their journey.

Cambodian bottom smacker ends time in the can, mate on the run

The earth times
05 Mar 2008

Phnom Penh - A Cambodian man convicted of smacking a female motorist's bottom was handed a one-year suspended jail sentence and his friend was sentenced to the same term in absentia, a court official said Wednesday. Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor Kry Soky said Van Theara, 22, remained on the lam after being found complicit in delivering a playful slap on the bottom to a female motorbike rider which his friend had claimed was meant as a joking compliment.

He said Theara's friend, Khun Pheakdey, 18, had been ordered to pay compensation of 350 dollars and released after already serving five months in jail for his moment of indiscretion.

"This is not a funny story because funny stories do not end up in court. This is sexual harassment. A polite man takes a strange girl he likes by the hand, not by the bottom," Soky said by telephone.

The case was prosecuted after the victim's parents heard about the incident and filed a complaint to the court, he said.

Hun Sen's ineffective war on land-grabbing

March 05, 2008

Column: Rule by Fear

HONG KONG, China, In recent years, land-grabbing has been a big issue affecting many people and forestry areas across Cambodia. It has been feared that the grabbing of people's land could spark a "peasant revolution" as in the past, which led to the harsh communist revolution of the 1970s. On March 3, 2007, Prime Minister Hun Sen set out to wage "a war against land-grabbers" whom he identified as officials of his own party, the Cambodian People's Party, and people in power.

These powerful and rich people have invariably, through illicit means, secured ownership of lands already rightfully owned or occupied by powerless and poor people. They have also secured cooperation from law enforcement agencies and courts of law to enforce their ownership and to evict the owners or residents. In addition, they offer to pay compensation that is not commensurate with the market prices of the affected lands and the hardship of relocation. This unjust compensation has led to protests that, in turn, have led to forced evictions and/or arrests, mostly on fabricated charges.

When Hun Sen launched this war, there were doubts about his seriousness in eradicating land-grabbing. There were charges he was just electioneering prior to the commune elections held in the following month as the opposition Sam Rainsy Party was staunchly opposed to land-grabbing and was already working hard to help its victims.

There were some grains of truth in the charges. The announced war contributed to appeasing many people and secured for the CPP through that election the control of 1,592 commune councils out of 1,621of these local bodies across the country. The SRP also made some gains, overtook the second largest party, FUNCINPEC, and obtained control of 27 councils.

The war immediately won a number of battles against several land-grabbers. An army major was arrested, for example, for encroaching on more than 1,500 hectares of state forestry land, and an army general was forced to return 200 hectares of land to the government, although no action was taken against him. Moreover, a tycoon and two associates were arrested for falsifying documents regarding 300 hectares of land.

Later, in July, Hun Sen ordered the demolition of a foreign-owned luxury housing estate built on a filled-in lake on the outskirts of Phnom Penh for obstructing the flow of water and causing floods in the capital.

No such canons have been heard in other cases, however, and land-grabbing has not subsided.
For instance, in January 2008, Cambodia's National Authority for the Resolution of Land Disputes said it had received 1,500 cases of land-grabbing and had addressed one-third of them.

A human rights NGO, ADHOC, received 382 complaints against land-grabbing filed by people who came to seek its help in 2007, a figure down from 450 in 2006. However, it noted that the number of people arrested in protests against land-grabbing had almost doubled from 78 in 2006 to 149 in 2008, the number of forced evictions had increased from 16 in 2006 to 26 in 2007 and that these forced evictions had affected no less than 5,585 families.

Amnesty International said in a recent report that "at least 150,000 Cambodians across the country are known to live at risk of being evicted in the wake of development projects, land disputes and land-grabbing." Land-grabbing is thus an enormous problem when Cambodia has 14 million inhabitants and slightly more than 1 percent of its population is facing such a risk.

Moreover, the gravity of the issue apparently has not decreased in 2008. According to the news stories on its web site, Radio Free Asia reported 29 cases of land-grabbing in Cambodia in January and February -- on average, one case every other day. An army general close to Hun Sen was involved in one case, and a tycoon close to the ruling circle was implicated in another.

Unfortunately, the record of Hun Sen's war against the grabbing of forestry land is not any better. In a recent report, Cambodia's Ministry of Environment said that "a number of armed men and powerful people" were grabbing forestry land, even in national parks. Such people threatened park rangers and cleared the forest for ownership purposes. The same ministry noted that local authorities had issued ownership titles to these land-grabbers and recognized their commercial transactions in the national parks.

Similarly, it has recently been reported that, despite the government's action to take land back, forestry land-grabbing has been on the increase in almost all provinces. This increase has run parallel to the rise in land prices, which have shot up by 50 percent over the last year in urban areas.

Hun Sen needs to do more if his war against land-grabbers is to score any victory and land-grabbing is to be eradicated. He needs to reign in officials in his own party and others in power, as well as the rich and the companies these powerful people have supported or are associated with, and to stop making any more land concessions to all of them. Furthermore, he needs to halt any eviction without just compensation for the evictees.

Moreover, Hun Sen needs to ensure effective enforcement of the land law and the law on the protection of nature with no favor given to any party. He should end the practice of using executive orders to adjudicate land disputes and should instead utilize the due process of law.

He should also cease his control of the courts of law, clean up their corruption, provide them with adequate resources and respect their judgments. He should likewise empower the cadastral commissions set up under the land law, now very weak and starved of resources, to adjudicate disputes over unregistered land, provide them with sufficient resources and respect their independence and their decisions.
(Lao Mong Hay is currently a senior researcher at the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong. He was previously director of the Khmer Institute of Democracy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and a visiting professor at the University of Toronto in 2003. In 1997, he received an award from Human Rights Watch and the Nansen Medal in 2000 from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.)

Japan's Navy Involved in 2nd Collision in Vietnam, Kyodo Says
Mar 05,2008
By Stuart Biggs

March 4 (Bloomberg) -- A Vietnamese cargo ship collided with two Japanese destroyers, the Matsuyuki and Hamayuki, docked in Ho Chi Minh City port in Vietnam, a day after the Hamayuki collided with another boat in the same port, Kyodo News said.

The Vietnam-registered Hailong-45 hit the Matsuyuki at 9:27 a.m. Japan time today and collided with the Hamayuki two minutes later, Kyodo reported, citing unidentified officials at Japan's Defense Ministry. There were no reports of injuries, Kyodo said.

The Hamayuki suffered minor damage in a collision with a Cambodian freighter yesterday, Kyodo reported. The Hamayuki and two other Japanese destroyers were on a training cruise at the time, the news agency said.

The incidents came about two weeks after another Japanese destroyer, the Atago, sliced a fishing boat in half off the coast of Japan near Tokyo, leaving its father and son crew missing and presumed dead. The incident on Feb. 19 prompted opposition calls for Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba to resign.

Japanese Destroyer Collides with Cambodian-owned Cargo Ship


The accident occurred in the Vietnamese port of Ho Chi Minh.

The destroyer of the Japan Self-Defense Forces Hamayuki bumped the Cambodian-owned dry cargo ship Masan.

Maritime Bulletin-Sovfracht reports the harmed vessel is registered at the port of Nakhodka, was built in 1977 and sails under flag of Cambodia. Its operator is Erico Shipping Co., Ltd., Nakhodka.

The Japanese destroyer that came to the port of Ho Chi Minh with a visit didn’t get hurt. The Russian dry cargo ship got nothing worse but a battered flagpole and some scratches.

Japan is strongly affected by the second accident with its MSDF ships for the last two weeks – on February 19 another Japanese destroyer Atago wrecked a fishing boat on its way from maneuvers back to Yokosuka.

Mercedes becomes driving force of ASEAN Tour

Joachim Schmidt, President and CEO of Daimler Chrysler Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia, touches the logo of Mercedes-Benz new "C-Class" car during its launch at the Auto Expo in New Delhi January 9, 2008. Mercedes-Benz has thrown its considerable financial muscle behind a fledgling regional golf tour aimed at developing talent in Southeast Asia.
REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Tue Mar 4, 2008

By Ossian Shine

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - German automaker Mercedes-Benz has thrown its considerable financial muscle behind a fledgling regional golf tour aimed at developing talent in Southeast Asia.

Mercedes were on Tuesday unveiled as tour title sponsor of the ASEAN Golf Tour and, although neither the sponsor nor the tour would reveal the exact sum of sponsorship, an insider told Reuters it was a "seven-figure U.S. dollar deal".

The tour will feature 10 events in this its first full year, and they will be played in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

"There is a possibility that we will add several more this year," chairman of the tour, AC Wong, told reporters at a news conference. "We are in the process of engaging Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Brunei. It is my hope that we will soon host a tournament in each one of the 10 ASEAN nations.

ASEAN -- the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -- is a geo-political and economic organization of 10 nations: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The first event of the 2008 tour will take place in Malaysia from May 15-18.

The season-ending Tour Championship will be played in Bangkok from November 27-30.
News of the tour's launch was welcomed by professionals across the region.

"The circuit is an ideal breeding ground for young players."

Only golfers resident in an ASEAN country will be eligible for the tour, Wong said, and there is no plan to offer places to golfers from outside the region.

"Our priority is to develop the talent in the region," he smiled.

(Editing by Martin Petty)

Renewed fears for rare Mekong dolphin in Cambodia

An Irrawaddy dolphin, also known as the Mekong dolphin, swims in the river at the Kampi village in Kratie province, 230 km (143 miles) northeast of Cambodia, March 24, 2007.
REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

Wed Mar 5, 2008

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - A sharp drop in the number Mekong dolphins born in Cambodia has renewed fears for the survival of the rare mammals, wildlife experts said on Wednesday.

Only three baby dolphins, one of them dead, were found during an annual survey conducted in late November, down from six newborns in previous years, Touch Seang Tana told Reuters.

Their weight had also dropped to under 2 kg (4.4 lb) from 5 kg (11 lb) in the 1980s, the chairman of the Commission for Mekong Dolphins Conservation said.

"A group of 10 full-grown dolphins living in the upper Mekong River had no babies at all this year," he said, blaming a shortage of fish and rising water temperatures which might have affected their reproductive systems.

There are about 150 dolphins living in the upper Mekong River, up from only 90 before a 2006 ban on net fishing in the eastern provinces of Kratie and Steung Treng.

Conservationists had hoped for a surge in newborn dolphins after the ban was imposed.

"Global warming may be a possible indirect threat to the dolphin population, particularly if their fitness is reduced," said Teak Seng of the World Wildlife Fund.

"Dolphins are very sensitive to changes in their environment such as water temperature and quality.
Other factors may be more influential such as diseases and water pollution," he said.

(Reporting by Ek Madra; Editing by Darren Schuettler)

China Southern Announces Expanded Beijing-Tehran Service

Mar 04, 2008

BEIJING - China Southern Airlines, (NYSE: ZNH) (HKSE: 1055) (SHA: 600029) - - the newest member of SkyTeam and the largest airline in The People's Republic of China, is pleased to announce all-new, non-stop direct flights from Beijing to Tehran and double the frequency to four flights per week, starting March 31.

China Southern has been operating Beijing-Tehran flights on Wednesday and Saturday, (with a stop at Urumqi) which take 10 hours.

The new flights will only take eight hours and will also operate every Monday and Friday.

China's largest airline will use an Airbus A330-200 aircraft for this service.

Flights will leave Beijing at 15:10 and arrive in Tehran at 18:40 local time. Return flights will leave Tehran at 20:20 local time and arrive in Beijing at 7:50 the next morning.

The newest member of SkyTeam - - and the largest airline in The People's Republic of China for the past 29 years, China Southern Airlines - - connects more than 80 cities around the globe. Major business and vacation destinations served in China include: Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Guilin, Hong Kong, Kunming, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan and as well as International service, including: Amsterdam, Bangkok, Fukuoka, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Lagos, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Moscow, Osaka, Paris, Penang, Phnom Penh, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.

For China Southern Airlines reservations and information, please contact your local travel agent.

Bun Rany Hun Sen is the Mother of the nation or Bitchy of the nation?

Bun Rany Hun Sen
Picture is courtesy of

1- Love Another’s Husband
2- May I have a Piece of Your Heart Too
3- If I can’t be First Can I be Second

All three songs have been prohibited from playing in the public after Prime minister’s wife called on the authorities of Phnom Penh along with all municipal and provincial authorities to review all night entertainment clubs, which she said that they have been affecting security and social order as well as national culture and customs.

Why all of those three songs are really kill her heart?
Piseth Peleka are dead because of her and now could be someone else might be die again? how many more should die under this woman?

Author raising money for Cambodian school


Tue, Mar. 04, 2008
The Kansas City Star

Kari Grady Grossman is coming to northeast Johnson County to tell her story.

The Wyoming resident, and author of Bones That Float, A Story of Adopting Cambodia, will be giving a presentation at St. Agnes Catholic Parish this weekend about her efforts to help children in the Asian country.

She will read excerpts from her book, answer questions, show a short documentary and offer ways Kansas City area residents can help.

The presentations are part of her small grass-roots campaign, started seven years ago.

When Grady Grossman and her husband adopted their son from Cambodia in 2001, she said, their lives took a drastic turn.

Struck by the poor conditions surrounding children in the Third World country, the couple raised money to build the Grady Grossman School there.

“After we built the school, we thought we would go home with the baby and continue our normal lives,” Grossman said. “But when we took a trip back, we realized that the school wouldn’t be able to function without community support.”

She is trying to raise money for teacher salaries, school supplies and education for the community on how to operate the school. She would like to come up with a business model that could serve as a pilot for other schools in Cambodia.

The experience prompted her to write a book and start an organization with her husband called “Friends of the Grady Grossman School.”

Now she is asked by readers all over the United States to come and tell her story.

Vietnam mulls allowing cattle imports from Cambodia

March 5, 2008

Vietnam’s agricultural authorities are considering a proposal by the southern Dong Thap Province to officially import cattle from Cambodia to tackle problematic diseases stemming from unabated cattle trafficking.

In the proposal, the provincial Animal Health Department explained that rampant cattle trafficking through border areas despite the ban on cattle imports from Cambodia exacerbates risks of diseases like foot-and-mouth spreading.

Duong Nghia Quoc, deputy head of the provincial Agriculture and Rural Development Department, said approving cattle imports would help to control smuggling and potential epidemics.

Currently, local cattle supplies fall short of consumption demands—a situation which reinforces the smuggling industry.

Statistics showed the province harbors some 30,000 head of cattle, a figure inadequate to meet local consumption needs let alone feeding massive markets in Ho Chi Minh City and other neighboring provinces.

Human resource shortage additionally hinders authorities’ control due to the vast border with Cambodia, said Head of the provincial Animal Health Department Vo Be Hien.

At many points, the two nations are divided merely by a canal or paddy field, creating favorable conditions for traffickers.

Kien Giang Province’s Animal Health Department concurs, expressing that legalizing imports would aid detection of ill animals for timely quarantine.

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Bui Ba Bong, after undergoing the ministry’s consideration, the proposal will be submitted to the respective governments.

Authorities of the two countries then would proceed to negotiate an agreement.
The timeline to reach such an understanding is yet unknown.

Foot-and-mouth, one of the most prevalent diseases for cattle, is highly contagious and affects animals with divided hooves.

Upon infection, the beasts develop ulcers in the mouth and hoof areas.

The latest epidemic broke out in January 2006 and was only contained in September last year.

It took heavy tolls on cattle breeders across Vietnam with thousands of animals forcibly slaughtered.

Source: SGGP

American indicted in Cambodia over Vietnamese girl’s death

March 5, 2008

Cambodian police yesterday charged a residential US national with murdering his Vietnamese girlfriend who was strangled with a wire coat hanger, according to police sources Tuesday.

Grant Kim Helling was arrested on February 22 as he tried to flee his apartment in Phnom Penh, said Mom Sitha, chief of the police unit dealing with crimes involving foreigners.

The American had set the apartment alight in an attempt to destroy the woman’s body, the official said.

Helling, 46, leapt from his first-floor balcony, badly injuring his legs in the fall. Upon searching his home, police discovered the deceased corpse.

The man, indicted with murder by Phnom Penh’s Municipal Court in the aftermath of his arrest, faces life imprisonment if convicted.

TOTAL to host third motorcycle field race in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, March 5 (Xinhua) -- TOTAL, major fuel driller and vendor from France, will host its third motorcycle field race in Cambodia on Saturday, national Chinese-language newspaper the Sin Chew Daily said on Wednesday.

Some 40 riders from Cambodia, Indonesia, France, Australia, Thailand, Canada and New Zealand will join the race.

The competitors will show their skills on the field designed near National Road 6A.

TOTAL has sponsored world motor races for over 40 years. It is now one of the main fuel vendors in Cambodia and already hosted two motorcycle field races for the country.

Editor: Du Guodong

Phnom Penh City Will Stop Bus Business in the City by the End of 2008

Posted on 5 March 2008.
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 550

“To solve the problems of daily traffic congestions in Phnom Penh due to the growth of the population and the increasing number of vehicles, the governor of Phnom Penh, Mr. Kep Chuk Tema issued a strict announcement: to prohibit large passenger buses from operating on the roads of Phnom Penh by the end of 2008. This is the second reminder for all bus owners who are doing business in Phnom Penh. A representative of the governor, Mr. Chreang Sophan, held a meeting last week in the meeting hall of the Phnom Penh municipality with the participation of relevant officials and representatives from bus companies, in order to widely disseminate the information about the end of large bus traffic in Phnom Penh at the end of 2008.

“The deputy governor of Phnom Penh, Mr. Chreang Sophan, said at the meeting that this is the second time that the Phnom Penh municipality has disseminated such information, so that all owners of bus companies can be prepared in advance to seek appropriate and suitable locations which will not affect the public order. As for this regulation, City Hall is determined to implement it because at present, the authorities are facing severe challenges from traffic jams, as the growth of the population and the increase of the number of vehicles go beyond estimates. Mr. Chreang Sophan added that, concerning solutions for the above problem, City Hall has nothing but this regulation. It is necessary, and it is also the first step to take, for large and long buses, which cause major problems leading to traffic jams. As for next steps, other vehicles which cause traffic jams will also be brought under control, so that traffic congestions can be avoided. Even though City Hall knows in advance that the measure will affect the feelings of some people, City Hall will still not hesitate to carry out this regulation, because many people support this plan. It should be remembered that there are complaints about parking and traveling buses. Business owners are not considerate of the difficulties they cause to other passersby, when their buses are parked everywhere along public streets, which causes heavy traffic congestions and serious inconveniences.

“In the meeting, an official of Phnom Penh Municipality said that at present, Phnom Penh has grown to have a population of 2 million people, there are 160,000 cars, and 60 motorbikes [surely this number in the original is wrong] with license plates, apart from the cars and motorbikes without license plates, together with cars and motorbikes with provincial license plates entering the city, and together with Tuk-Tuk taxis, and large buses. In particular, the disrespect of traffic laws is one of the main causes of traffic congestions. The same official confirmed that from the end of 2008 onwards, City Hall would order that large-sized buses have to stop at suburban areas, such as along Road No. 271, Road No. 273, Road No. 598, Road No. 90, National Road No.1 at the area of Chbar Ampov, National Road No. 2 at the area of Chak Angrae, National Road No. 4 at the area of Choam Chao, and National Road No. 6 at the area of Prek Leap. Particularly, the number of buses which will be allowed to operate in Phnom Penh will be also clearly defined, and it will be necessary to ask for permission from the government.”

Neak Cheat Niyum, Vol.3, #42, 4.3.2008

Baseball In Cambodia Lives Through Wiregrass Man
March 5, 2008

Dothan, Al (WSFA) -- It's Americas pastime. Baseball is something many here grow up knowing. However, for one Wiregrass man, it's much more.

It was an escape from a violent past.

Now he's using that game to teach kids about the country that took him in. He's your average joe.

Joe Cook loves baseball. It makes him feel American.

He and his family were forced from their native Cambodia to escape the genocide of the Khmer Rouge in early 1980's.

"Everything was just overwhelming at the time," said Cook.

Baseball opened up so much for Joe. He's married with two children, and working as a chef in Dothan.

His first trip back to Cambodia was in 2002. It was then, he decided he needed to take the game that gave him so much, to the kids of Cambodia.

"I'll bring glove, balls and I'm going to teach you how to play baseball," said Cook.

With his promise, Joe and the people of Baribo built their own field.

However, Joe's dream has been tough. He doesn't make much, what he does earn goes to paying bills and his family.

His passion for baseball in Cambodia keeps it going.

Cook said, "I throw ball to the kid, they throw back to me, there's so much joy in that kids eye."

In December of 2007 Cambodia's first national baseball team competed in the Southeast Asian games.

Cook was able to be a part of that experience because to many he's the father of baseball in Cambodia.

"They always come up to me, ask me questions to learn about new things," said Cook.

Reporter: Daniel Curtis

Thailand, Cambodia agree on UN plan for disputed temple

Disagreements over Preah Vihear, which sits on Cambodian soil but can only be easily accessed from Thailand, have long plagued Thai-Cambodian relations. -- PHOTO: AFP

March 4, 2008 Tuesday

BANGKOK - THAILAND'S prime minister said on Tuesday he would not block attempts by neighbouring Cambodia to have the disputed Preah Vihear temple complex listed as a United Nations World Heritage site.

Thailand and Cambodia have historically both laid claim to Preah Vihear, an ancient Hindu site perched high on a mountaintop on the Thai-Cambodia border.

Newly-elected Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said his government had reached an agreement with their neighbour allowing Cambodia to propose Preah Vihear temple - but not the surrounding land - as a World Heritage site.

'Cambodia and Thailand are preparing to issue a joint communique, but first I have to inform the Thai people,' Mr Samak told reporters on Tuesday as he returned from an overnight trip to Cambodia, his first as prime minister.

'Cambodia confirmed that they will propose only the temple site for World Heritage status, not the surrounding area,' he added.

Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said the communique would also stipulate that Thailand and Cambodia must jointly manage the area surrounding Preah Vihear.

The United Nations culture organisation Unesco ruled last year against granting the temple coveted World Heritage status, but recognised it as a significant international site.

Rumours swirled that Thailand had blocked Cambodia's efforts to have Preah Vihear listed, but Cambodian officials denied that and said they expected the temple would be accepted this year after they submit a management plan to the World Heritage Committee.

A dispute with Thailand in 2003 over Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple - the most significant symbol of the country's ancient Khmer empire - sparked a night of riots that saw Thailand's embassy and several Thai-owned businesses burned and looted in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.

Disagreements over Preah Vihear, which sits on Cambodian soil but can only be easily accessed from Thailand, have long plagued Thai-Cambodian relations.

Former Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk took Thailand to the World Court in 1962 over the two countries' claim to Preah Vihear. The court ruled that the temple belonged to Cambodia.

-- AFP

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Heritage bid unites border rivals

The dispute over Preah Vihear temple dates back a century
Tuesday, 4 March 2008
Frances Harrison Religious affairs reporter, BBC News

Thailand and Cambodia have agreed to lay aside a century-long dispute over a temple complex on their border.

Both countries want to push for United Nations World Heritage status for the site.

The Preah Vihear Hindu temple was built in the 11th and 12th centuries on the top of mountains that form the Thai-Cambodian border.

But the exact position of the border has been disputed, and the complex has one entrance in each country.

Thailand's Prime Minister has returned from a visit to Cambodia promising to back attempts to register the temple area, but not the surrounding land, as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Colonial-era dispute

Last year the UN ruled against world heritage status for the temple - some assumed this was because Thailand blocked Cambodia's application, although both countries deny this.
The dispute dates back a century.

A joint border demarcation team set up by the Kingdom of Siam and the French colonial authorities placed the temple inside Cambodia.

At the end of French colonial rule in Cambodia the Thais occupied the temple, with the result that the dispute landed in the International Court of Justice.

The Thais argued that the border was supposed to follow the watershed line of the mountains, in which case the temple would have been theirs.

The Thais also said they had never bothered to dispute the map because to access the temple from the Cambodian side required scaling a 500-metre (547-yeard) high cliff, so in practice they always had possession.

The court ruled in favour of Cambodia, but fighting with the Khmer Rouge meant it was only in 1998 that the temple opened to the public.

Now Cambodia has built a road up the cliff to reach the temple that has plagued relations with Thailand for so long.

A world of caring

Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune
At the Center for International Health, Dr. Patricia Walker, left, and Yanakry Chhit said goodbye in the traditional Cambodian way. Chhit lost her husband, siblings and parents to the murderous Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. The St. Paul center’s roots go back to a small medical team on the Thai-Cambodian border in 1979.

The Center for International Health in St. Paul offers medical care for immigrants, many of whom are confounded by the American system.

By KEVIN GILES, Star Tribune
March 4, 2008

Yanakry Chhit lost her husband, siblings and parents in the Khmer Rouge killing fields of Cambodia. Adel Ganopolskiy emerged a survivor from the cancer-drenched region around Chernobyl, the leaking nuclear plant in Ukraine. Jacob Matadi escaped Liberia's civil war, in which at least 150,000 of his countrymen died.

"It's a mixture of fascination, relief and fear," Dr. Patricia Walker said of these patients and hundreds of other immigrants who come to the Center for International Health in St. Paul for medical care.

A new book, "My Heart it Is Delicious," details the history and growing prominence of the Center for International Health, which has its roots with a small medical team dispatched to the war-torn Thai-Cambodian border in 1979 to tend to sick and starving refugees. One of the volunteer doctors was Neal Holtan, who later founded the Minnesota clinic. Another was Walker, then a third-year student at Mayo Medical School in Rochester.

"The book feels, to me, so much a Minnesota story," said Walker, 52, who was born in Taiwan and lived in Thailand until she was 11. "It reminds me that we really are a global village."

Walker is featured prominently in the book, written by Biloine Young, a St. Paul historian and author who lived for seven years in Guatemala and Colombia.

The Medtronic Foundation paid printing costs for "My Heart it Is Delicious," published by Afton Press, but also has given the Center for International Health grants totaling about $1 million over the past 10 years. David Etzwiler, the foundation's executive director, said the clinic is a "jewel in the crown" of Minnesota health care because of the staff's understanding of language and cultural needs. Etzwiler speaks highly of Walker, one of many people the book features.

"You can't spend a whole lot of time around Pat without understanding she's a pretty amazing individual," he said. "Her purpose in life is truly caring for people, understanding them..

"The Center for International Health, a pioneer in immigrant health in the Twin Cities, is seeing nearly eight times more medical patients than when it opened in 1987. As wave after wave of immigrants arrived -- more than half of the clinic's patients came from Somalia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia -- the need to overcome challenges, from tropical illnesses to language barriers, becomes more urgent. Misunderstandings can lead to misdiagnoses, self-medication and distrust.

"The reality is, demographics are changing Minnesota, and we have to be on the front end of that," said Walker, the clinic's medical director, who also manages a caseload of 1,000 patients, teaches at the University of Minnesota and recently co-edited "Immigrant Medicine," a textbook about immigrant health care.

On any given day, immigrants line the clinic's hallways. Many are recent arrivals unaccustomed to modern medicine. Most doctors and nurses are immigrants themselves, and those who aren't speak at least one foreign language. Walker, for example, speaks Thai, Lao and Cambodian fluently. In addition, the clinic employs several interpreters.

"It's a pretty special clinic, this place is," said Angela Kuria, a registered nurse from Kenya who speaks English and Swahili.

Minnesota has had its share of "really heartwarming and really tragic stories" involving immigrant patients, Walker said.

For example, a Somali patient who once visited another clinic told an interpreter he'd been bitten by a hyena, which turned out to be a euphemism for syphilis. The interpreter, however, misunderstood the patient because of regional differences in language -- one being from north Somalia, the other from the south -- and the patient was treated for rabies.

Immigrant health care, Walker said, once was "just fraught with misinterpretation and errors and unnecessary tests because doctors really didn't understand what's going on." Knowing immigrant health care means understanding why patients think they're sick because of evil spirits or the loss of a loved one, or why they value a tribal treatment over what a doctor recommends, Walker said.

Kuria said she identifies with the confusion. "I was really scared," she said, when she came to the United States in 1996 to attend the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. At the clinic she spends much of her time helping patients navigate newfound bewilderments such as pharmacies.

One of those patients who had to learn what pharmacies do was Matadi, from Liberia, who said there was "no medicine at all" in his native country. When he arrived in the United States he suffered from malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea and other maladies and went into a coma for two weeks.

Now, as Walker's patient, he marvels at the treatment he's getting. "For them to heal me, it's a miracle," said the St. Paul man.

The patient census at the clinic dipped in 2007, a year after the clinic relocated from the Regions Hospital campus to 451 N. Dunlap St., just off University Avenue in St. Paul. That change could have contributed to the decline, said clinic spokeswoman Conni Conner, as could a recent slowing of new immigrant arrivals, more immigrants moving to the suburbs, or the opening of more clinics for specific immigrant groups.

But some CIH patients don't want to change clinics. Ganopolskiy, from Ukraine, has been Walker's patient since 1992. "She's wonderful, as a human being and as a doctor," she said of Walker. "She's very understanding. She listens to the complaints and she's very good with diagnosis."

Kevin Giles • 651-298-1554

Tunc Holding AG: Tendering for projects in Cambodia, Laos and Burundi

ots.CorporateNews transmitted by euro adhoc. The issuer is responsible for the content of this announcement.

Tunc Telekomünikasyon, the Turkish subsidiary of Swiss Tunc Holding AG,announces its participation at the bid invitation of Timeturns Telecom Company(115446, Moscow, Kolomenskiy proezd, Building 14, 4th floor, Office 1, RussianFederation, Moscow Representation Office). Timeturns Telecom Company owns GSMlicenses of Laos, Burundi and Cambodia and was assigned by three GSM operatorsto develop the GSM networks in these countries. In case of an acceptance of thebid the agreement contains a volume of $ US 60 Mio. Within the scope of theseproject Tunc Telekomünikasyon would be responsible for planning and erection ofturnkey GSM networks (Network Implementation).

During a meeting with Bülent Recepoglu, CEO of Tunc Holding AG, and GeorgesMouhaweje Ghassan, General Manager of Timeturns Telecom Company, in Moscow onthe 1st March of 2008 the details of Tunc Telekomunikasyon A.S. bidding offerwere reviewed. Tunc Telekomunikasyon A.S. is planning to build 240 full turnkeystations for each country and to take over GSM stations maintenance-failureworks in Laos, Burundi and Cambodia.

With the participation Tunc Holding AG works on the intended expansion of itsoperational business to the countries of Southeast Asia. Tunc Holding was ableto establish itself already in 12 countries of Asia Minor, Central and WesternAsia as well as in Eastern Europe through its seven subsidiaries and severalprojects. For this reason and for beeing an experienced service provider thereis great confidence to achieve the acceptance of bid.

Tunc Holding AG has been founded in November 2007 and provides through its sevensubsidiaries engineering and support services in the area of telecommunicationssystems. Tunc Telekomünikasyon A.S. as operational nerve centre of the group islocated in Ankara, Turkey. The Turkish subsidiary operates as highly qualifiedprovider in the GSM sector since 1992. The broad range of services includes fromsite survey and infrastructure to the erection and maintenance oftelecommunications systems. Since 1996, the activities have been continuouslyexpanded to include the area of electricity distribution systems with associatedservices, renewable energy and internet technology.

The shares of Tunc Holding AG are traded in the Open Market of Deutsche BörseFrankfurt (ISIN: CH0036270582, WKN: A0M92R).

Thai PM meets with King Sihamoni

Thai PM Samak Sundarvej's meeting with Chea Sim

Gasoline price in Cambodia now at 4,600 riel (US$1.16; euro.76) a liter

A gasoline vendor fills gasoline into bottles at a road-side store on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, March 4, 2008. The current price of gasoline in Cambodia stands now at 4,600 riel (US$1.16; euro.76) per liter.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
A gasoline vendor fills gasoline into bottles at a road-side store on the outskirt of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, March 4, 2008. The current price of gasoline in Cambodia stands now at 4,600 riel (US$1.16; euro.76) per liter.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
A Cambodian family passes by bottles of gasoline at a road-side store on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, March 4, 2008. The current price of gasoline in Cambodia stands now at 4,600 riel (US$1.16; euro.76) a liter.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Canadians film travel series

The Observer
05 March 2008

Best friends Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach spent 10 days travelling across Canada in an RV, a journey highlighted in the premiere episode of "Departures" on OLN.

The two Brantford, Ont., natives "strive to find themselves and new perspectives" in each installment of the 13-part travel series, which kicks off March 17, said OLN.

They travel to places ranging from Ascension Island and India to Japan and New Zealand.

Their adventures include hiking through the ancient ruins of Petra in Jordan, surviving a monsoon in the middle of the Indian Ocean, facing off against a professional kick boxer in Thailand and living off the land in Cambodia.

Thai envoy stresses relaxed regulations for more FDI

Independent Bangladesh
Tuesday, 04 March 2008
Staff Correspondent

The top Thai diplomat in Dhaka felt that Bangladesh should relax its rules and regulations for attracting more investment from Thailand.

‘You’ve the proper environment for foreign direct investment. To get it, the rules and regulations here need to be adjusted,’ Chalermpol Thanchitt, Thai ambassador in Dhaka, said at a conference at the National Press Club Monday.

The conference was organised on occasion of a four-day Thailand Exhibition 2008 starting at the Sheraton Hotel. Referring to the Thai industrial relocation in Vietnam and Cambodia, he said, ‘Vietnam is doing well adjusting its investment climate and get the benefit out of it.’

Addressing the function, Kazi Habib Sattar, president of the Bangladesh-Thai Chamber of Commerce, said Thai businessmen had expressed their intention to relocate their industry in Bangladesh. ‘Textile, garments and food processing Thai industries can be relocated in Bangladesh due to cheap labour available here,’ he added.

Responding to a query about Bangladesh-Thai trade gap, tilting more to Thailand, the envoy said Dhaka should consider initiating talks for striking bilateral free trade agreement. ‘We already have FTA with India and hope to make it with your country soon,’ Thanchitt added.

Touching upon the issue of potential areas of investment in Bangladesh, the ambassador said Italian-Thai, a company of the ASEAN nation company, had already expressed their wellness to build elevated express highway.

Chalermpol Thanchitt said, ‘Also Dusit Thani, a Thai chain hotel, also expressed their willingness to make their outlet in Dhaka and Chittagong. Apart form these, Thai companies are willing to involve in offshore oil and gas exploration in Bangladesh.’

On the issue of making more interaction between the people of the two countries, he said his government was negotiating to increase more air frequency between Bangladesh and Thailand.

Supaporn Wan-a-Loh, commercial counsellor of the embassy, also spoke in the press gathering.

The Thai Embassy and Thai trade centre in Dhaka organise the four-day expo with an ultimate campaign of ‘Explore the finest Thai healthcare, beauty & spa’.

In all, 43 companies having 11 categories of products, including chemicals products, construction materials and hardware and machinery, auto parts and accessories, electrical appliances, food & beverages, garments and textiles and fashion accessories, gift and decorative items, health and beauty, household and kitchenware products, leather products and footwear, textiles and garments during the exhibition, are expected to take part in the expo.

Of the lost and the rediscovered

Dying Young: Malaria killed Mouhot in the Lao wilderness.

Henri Mouhot became famous for discovering Cambodia's 'lost' Angkor, but he travelled widely. That's why his bones are in Laos

Nithinand Yorsaengrat
The Nation
March 5, 2008

Henri Mouhot, the Frenchman whose 19th-century rediscovery of Cambodia's Angkor temple complex sparked a romantic "See Angkor and die" fad in the West, saw Angkor and died - in Laos.

His grave just outside Luang Prabang was all but forgotten until 1990 when tourists stumbled on it. Today any local tour guide can arrange a visit.

Alexandre Henri Mouhot's collection of delightful sketches, "Travels in the Central Parts of Indo-China, Cambodia and Laos During the Years 1858, 1859 and 1860", was published in London following his death in 1861, and his description of Angkor's "exotic abandoned ruins" caused considerable excitement.

Missionaries and traders had been writing about the mediaeval Khmer temples since the 16th century, but Mouhot's evocation truly caught the public imagination.

The catchphrase "See Angkor and die" - presumably happily - that swept the West became the title of a romantic film that Norodom Sihanouk directed in 1993 while he was still Cambodia's king.

Born in 1826 in Montbeliard, France, Mouhot was gifted in languages and the natural sciences. His interests were almost certainly piqued by the 1850s books "The Kingdom and People of Siam" by Britain's Sir James Bowring and "Description of the Siam Kingdom" by French Bishop Jean-Baptiste Pallegoix.

Mouhot mounted an expedition to Southeast Asia with the support of London's Royal Geographical and Zoological societies, and arrived in Bangkok on April 27, 1858.

Over the next three years he made four excursions, two of them within Siam. The second took him into Cambodia to Angkor, the fourth to Luang Prabang in Laos.

He mapped the territory en route, although, as mentioned in his journals, his equipment broke before he finished his map of Siam. In part because of this, France and Britain concluded that Siam extended only as far as the Chao Phya River basin, which appeared to give it the perfect dimensions for "buffer state" between their own neighbouring colonies.

In 1861 Mouhot spent three months crossing dense jungle from Loei to Luang Prabang and planned to follow the Mekong River's current into Cambodia, but on October 19, outside Luang Prabang, he was suddenly struck by malarial fever. His last diary entry was dated October 29, and he died on November 10, age 35.

Mouhot's servants buried the explorer on a bank of Khan River at the spot where he died. All of his journals and specimens were sent to his family in England. It was his brother who published the diaries.

Commander Doudart de Lagree, leader of the French government's Mekong Exploration Commission of 1866-1868, ordered a modest monument erected on a slope with a sandstone panel that read "H Mouhot, May 1867" to commemorate the first Frenchman to visit this part of Laos.

The monument was destroyed when the Khan River flooded and was replaced in 1887 by a more durable structure.

Restoration work was done on the tomb in 1951 by the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient, but after that the site was abandoned to the encroaching jungle.

Only in 1990 did tourists accidentally rediscover it, and the town of Mouhot's birth, Montbeliard, arranged for the grave's restoration.

History regards Henri Mouhot with mixed emotions. He was a scientist, a bold explorer and a cartographer who, in a sense, gave Angkor back to the world.

And yet those same maps he made paved the way for France's expanding colonial empire in Indochina, a foreign presence that remained in control until 1954.

Smooth Dengue Fever, doing it all at once

Tue, Mar. 4, 2008

By Sam Adams
For The Inquirer

A few seconds into Dengue Fever's third CD, Venus on Earth, a two-note organ vamp is blotted out by what sounds like long-distance radio static, squelching and bleeping and eventually resolving itself into song.

Drawing on the Cambodian pop music of the 1960s, itself a hybrid incorporating American surf and garage rock, and infusing it with a dose of 21st-century self-awareness, the L.A. band's music is tuned between stations, with occasional bursts of static.

Dengue Fever's nucleus is guitarist and songwriter Zac Holtzman, whose foot-long beard makes him look like a wayward rabbi, and singer Chhom Nimol, who emigrated from Cambodia in 2000.

On stage Sunday night at the Gild Hall in Arden, Del., the disparity between Chhom and her backing band was almost comical. Dressed in a glittering gold minidress, she might have just stepped out of a Phnom Penh disco, while the five men behind her were garbed for the occasion in flowing robes and thrift-store turbans. It was a little like turning onto a quiet street in suburban Delaware and walking into the cantina from Star Wars.

While most of Chhom's vocals are sung in Khmer, she and Holtzman dueted on "Tiger Phone Card," a tongue-in-cheek tale of cross-continental romance that finds him enjoying Ambien-enhanced dreams of her while she complains, "You only call me when you're drunk." Some things stay the same in any language.

Equally at home with art rock and retro-pop, Dengue Fever's musicians kept the pieces from crashing into each other. Paul Dreux Smith and Senon Gaius Williams on drums and bass, respectively, smoothly worked in elements of funk and swing, while Ethan Holtzman - who traveled to Cambodia in 1997 then introduced his brother, Zac, to its music - added organ lines straight out of the "96 Tears" playbook. David Ralicke played his saxophone through an array of effects pedals so that at times it sounded like he was playing several horns simultaneously - appropriate for a pan-cultural band that never does only one thing at a time.

Thai PM Gives Preah Vihear Support

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
04 March 2008

Khmer audio aired March 4 ( 1.09 MB) - Listen (MP3)

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said Tuesday Thailand will not oppose Cambodia's proposal to include Preah Vihear temple as a Unesco World Heritage Site, a government spokesman said, quelling a debate that has been simmering for months.

"At the last minute of the meeting, Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej reconfirmed that Thailand will not oppose Cambodia's attempt to put Preah Vihear temple onto the World Heritage list, but Samak requested the Cambodian side not affect the border problem," spokesman Khieu Kanharith told reporters, following a 1.5-hour meeting between Samak and Prime Minister Hun Sen Monday. "This is Thailand's official stance."

Thai Embassy First Secretary Chaturong Chaiyakam referred questions over the meeting to Khieu Kanharith.

Preah Vihear temple, on the northern border with Thailand, is built on top of Dang Rek mountain and is a potential tourist attraction. Its position on the Thai border has put its ownership in question in the past, and Cambodian and Thailand have had trouble agreeing on who should submit the temple to Unesco for World Heritage protection.

Hun Sen told Samak that Cambodia would not surround the temple with entertainment or cause a border conflict, Khieu Kanharith said.

"We put the frame of the temple onto the list," he said. "We won't affect the border problem."
Unesco could put the temple into the World Heritage List in Canada in June, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said Monday.

Cambodia Seeks Japanese Investors

By Chiep Mony, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
04 March 2008

Khmer audio aired March 4 ( 1.20 MB) - Listen (MP3)

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong met with a Japanese business delegation Tuesday in an effort to encourage more investment from the Asian neighbor, an official said.

Hor Namhong met with Seiroku Takizawa, a representative of Sapporo city's Industry and Chamber of Commerce Council, and others, said Sin Bunthoeun, chief of the ministry's information department.

Hor Namhong remained hopeful that more Japanese investors would come to Cambodia, Sin Bunthoeun said.

"They will try to urge for more Japanese investors to come here," he said.

Hang Chuonnarong, secretary-general of the Ministry of Finance, estimated the Japanese investment in Cambodia at around $500 million.

"The government policy now is to attract more Japanese investors by creating a special zone near Phnom Penh, managed by a Japanese company, so we hope that we will attract more Japanese investors," he said.

Most Japanese companies in Cambodia are here for road, bridge and other infrastructure construction, he said.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay warned that the government's push for more investment won't work until the it solves issues of corruption and transparency.

Tourism Needs Transparency, Agent Says

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
04 March 2008

Khmer audio aired March 3 ( 6.91 MB) - Listen (MP3)

The Cambodia Association of Travel Agents is committed to creating more transparency and sustainability in the tourism sector, the president of the association said Monday.

Cambodia is experiencing an expansive growth of tourism surrounding the temples of Angkor Wat, and their gateway city, Siem Reap, and the association is quick to remind government officials that the sector must be open, said Ho Vandy, president of the association, as a guest on "Hello VOA."

Siem Reap now has more than 10,000 hotel rooms, he said, but still there is a shortage, with annual tourists reaching 2 million, he said.

"We have to find a way from now through the next ten years to promote the tourism industry services," Ho Vandy said. "Otherwise, we will lack a lot."

A Return From France, 1975: A Decision

By Neou Sarem, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
04 March 2008

Khmer audio aired March 9 ( 2.15 MB) - Listen (MP3)

If you were a Cambodian living abroad as the Khmer Rouge took over the country, would you dare go back? One woman did: VOA Khmer's Neou Sarem. A teacher in France at the onset of Year Zero, Neou Sarem understood the Khmer Rouge were dangerous, but she couldn't bear the separation of her family. VOA Khmer presents "A Return From France, 1975," the story of Neou Sarem's journey back and search of her family. Part one of an occasional oral history series.

When I first heard of the Khmer Rouge evacuation of Phnom Penh, I was so depressed that tears fell on my plate. I heard the voices of my children. I wished a car would hit me, or that I could forget my life. I dreamed I could go far back in time, when I was in high school.

One day, when I was looking at a picture of my family, my three-year-old daughter, the youngest, jumped out to hug me. Appointments to see the gastronomic physician were frequent on my calendar, and I knew that I had to go back to Cambodia, the sooner the better. I applied to return under the National United Front of Kampuchea, the FUNK, in Paris.

I knew about the evacuation of Phnom Penh, and the Khmer Rouge attack on the US merchant ship Mayaguez, and the rumors of killings. I also knew the Khmer Rouge had lied about an American plan to bomb Cambodia.

But I saw my life in France as not worth living, where I was helpless to aid my children. So I spent almost all my savings to buy the necessary things to take back. I bought medicine, vitamins, small knives and flints in the thousands, and a lot of bras, as well as fishing hooks and black material for the uniforms of the Khmer Rouge.

A Return From France, 1975: A Nightmare

By Neou Sarem, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
04 March 2008

If you were a Cambodian living abroad as the Khmer Rouge took over the country, would you dare go back? One woman did: VOA Khmer's Neou Sarem. A teacher in France at the onset of Year Zero, Neou Sarem understood the Khmer Rouge were dangerous, but she couldn't bear the separation of her family. VOA Khmer presents "A Return From France, 1975," the story of Neou Sarem's journey back in search of her family. Part one of an occasional oral history series.

I went back to Cambodia in 1975 because I didn't want to be separated from my family. Before the birth of my daughter in July 1974, in a predawn nightmare, I had seen myself running alone, near my school at Vimeanh Ekkareach, in a deserted Phnom Penh; in the nightmare, the Viet Cong had evacuated Phnom Penh.

My apartment was empty. My mother-in-law's house near Psar Thmei was also empty.

In my dream, I ended up on a big white cruise ship that departed from Cambodian waters and carried me alone except the family of my cousin. She was there with her husband and her four children. I wept miserably, until my husband woke me from my dream.

At the time, my husband's cousin worked for the International Travel Bureau in Geneva. It was earlier than July 1974, the birth month of my second daughter. I didn't tell my husband about the nightmare, because it was a miserable experience. Not long after, I traveled to France.

There, I met my cousin and her husband, who come to visit me in Besançon, in northeastern France, and I began a letter to my husband, asking him to get ready to come to France. I asked him to come because I didn't want anything to happen as in my dream. I also wrote letters to my sister-in-law, asking her to loan my husband money enough to bring my two daughters and join me. I wrote my father-in-law, describing my nightmare, promising to pay back any money I borrowed by working after my scholarship ended.

Miserably, the post workers in France at the time were on strike a lot. I rarely got letters from home.
We had to open a post office box on the border of Switzerland that we checked every two weeks.

Finally, I got a letter from my sister-in-law, whose husband made tons of money as a manager at Tonle Sap Convoy, bringing food supplies into Phnom Penh after all the roads were cut off. She told me she had offered money to my husband, but he had refused it.

When Phnom Penh fell, my family was still there. In order to return, I had to apply for a change of passport, from Khmer Republic to National United Front of Kampuchea. I had to write a letter in support of the FUNK, who had then-Prince Norodom Sihanouk as its head. I didn't have the will to write these letters, so I asked someone to write them for me and I just signed them.

Those wishing to return to Cambodia had to bring their return ticket to the FUNK mission.

Travel was organized in groups, via Air China, with an overnight stay in the Beijing airport.

Those who changed their mind could return to France from Beijing, or they could sightsee for 60 francs a day.

Endangered pangolins rescued from Cambodian bus

The Earth Times
Tue, 04 Mar 2008

Phnom Penh - Cambodian customs officials acting on a tip rescued eight endangered pangolins from a bus in the central province of Pursat, local media reported Tuesday. The rescued animals weighed a total of 22.7 kilograms and included a 5-kilogram female which had just given birth to a healthy baby, the Kampuchea Thmey daily reported.

The paper said the scaly anteaters had been packed in boxes and concealed with paper. The smuggler escaped, it reported, and the animals were handed over to forestry officials for release.

Pangolin blood is believed by some to have strong medicinal qualities and wildlife experts say there is a strong illegal trade in them into neighbouring Vietnam and China for use in traditional medicine.

CAMBODIA: Acid Attacks Leave More Than Scars

By Rithy Heng - Newsmekong

PHNOM PENH, Mar 4 (IPS) - Seconds after his jealous wife threw acid at him, Soum Bunnarith could hear nothing. He could not see it, but his eyes and his right ear had turned a dark, burnt shade.

Meantime, the acid continued to crawl down his neck, arms and upper body, Bunnarith recalled of the incident that happened on Dec. 31, 2005. He was just about to leave his home in Sampov Meas district’s Kbal Hong village, Pursat at 7 a.m., when his wife threw a litre bottle of acid at him.

"Suddenly, I felt extremely hot," Bunnarith said. "The skin on my face, right ear, neck and arms were decaying. My eyes dimmed, and I could not stretch my right arm."

At about this time, he also realised why this was happening. His wife was livid, jealous of the young women who served beer at beer garden where he usually went to a drink with his friends.

What happened to Bunnarith is actually not very rare, Nora Lindstrom, project manager of the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC), said in an interview. Cases of attacks using sulphuric or nitric acid -- commonly used for clearing blocked drains, cleaning gold and for use in car and motorcycle batteries -- usually stem from jealousy, revenge, hate, or land and property disputes.

Since 1999, the CASC and its partner, the Children’s Surgical Centre, had provided treatment and surgery to 114 acid burn survivors in Cambodia. Of this number, 57 percent were women,17 percent were children and the rest of the victims were male, said Lindstrom.

"Alas, many acid burns also occur as a result of accidents, and victims also include unintended targets of acid attacks," Lindstrom said.

More complete statistics on acid violence in Cambodia are unreliable and sparse, she said, but adds that the charity has been receiving more survivors in recent years. CASC now also has a 24-hour hotline, with phone number 092 600031.

A large number of the survivors came from areas around the capital Phnom Penh, and particularly regions with many rubber plantations such as Kampong Cham, where acid is commonly used and is thus available widely and cheaply. It is also not hard to get acid around the country and sellers rarely ask information from people who buy them.

But the troubles of Bunnarith’s family did not end with the treatment of injuries -- and soon affected their livelihood as well because he was the family breadwinner.

Indeed, the acid had also hit his wife’s arm and neck. A few drops landed on the heads of his three children who had been sitting behind him, so there are bald spots where the drops of acid landed. His brother-in-law, who had been standing a metre away from him, got burns on his waist.

"The money that we had saved for 12 years, since we got married, were all spent for the treatment," Bunnarith said. "However, the treatment could not help much. My face, ear, arm and my eyes continue to be not as good as before.

"I was able to stretch my right arm again after I got help from the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, but the skin is still not good," he added.

With Bunnarith sidelined, his immediate and extended family soon had difficulty making ends meet, ensuring enough food, and money to pay electricity, water and other bills.

Looking back, 28-year-old Ear Kimly, Bunnarith’s wife, said she decided to throw acid on her husband a few days after she saw him leave the house of what their neighbour alleged was his mistress. "I got extremely angry, I could not stand it that my husband had a mistress," Kimly said. Bunnarith insisted he did not have a mistress, and just went to the beer garden after work in the evening to unwind with friends.

Kimly now acknowledges that using acid to get back at her husband was the biggest mistake she made in her life. "I thought that acid was like hot water," said Kimly. "I did not know that the effect would be as severe as this."

With her husband not quite his old self, the entire family turned to rely on her for economic support. Nowadays, Kimly sells vegetables at the market in Sampov Meas district.

She had in fact been arrested after the acid attack, but was released a week later after her husband asked the court to let her go. "I called from the hospital to ask that my wife be released because I had become a handicapped person and family members badly needed her around," Bunnarith recalled.

Another survivor of an acid attack is 33-year-old Chhoun Yem, who lives in Korchinleang village in Tram Kak district, Takeo province, and gets assistance from CASC. Four years ago, an assailant -- who she believes was her husband’s mistress -- threw acid on her while she was sleeping with her baby daughter, at the time just a week old.

The acid affected her face, neck and other parts of her upper body, and also severely affected her week-old daughter’s face, neck and backbone and eyes.

Yem said that the attacker was arrested in the afternoon of the day of the attack, and was later sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment by the Takeo provincial court.

There are also quite a number of young survivors of acid attacks. Son Thy, a 14-year-old who lives in the same orphanage, said her face, left eye and neck were burned by acid during an attack while she was sleeping beside her mother in their home in Kilo Leak No. 9 in Russey Keo district, Phnom Penh in October 2006.

Lindstrom says the CASC provides surgical, medical and psychological treatment of victims of acid attacks, vocational training and social reintegration, legal assistance and advocacy for legal reform. It also works on preventing future attacks through awareness raising, research and education.

Lindstrom stresses that legal reform, including standard and mandatory punishment for perpetrators of acid violence, is crucial.

Needless to say, the ease with which acid can be acquired needs to be curtailed and safety standards improved. More generally, the position of women in Cambodian society needs improvement and society needs to turn to more peaceful means of resolving conflict.

As of Kimly, she now says that violence does not resolve anything. "In the end, all the sadness must return to us." And when it comes to using acid as a weapon, she added: "we must face imprisonment."

Stabbing bail plea opposed
March 04, 2008

A PARTYGOER tried to scramble over a fence before being dragged down and fatally stabbed with a Samurai sword, the Adelaide Magistrates Court has heard.

Prosecutors today opposed a bail application by two young men accused of the murder of 21-year old Thea Kheav at a Parafield Gardens party last December.

Chansyna Duong, 20, and an 18-year old man whose name is suppressed were last month arrested and charged with the murder.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Griffith said the suppressed man was involved in a fight with Mr Kheav's brothers at the party on Vartue St.

It is alleged the man later returned with 10 to 15 other people and began assaulting Mr Kheav.

"The victim tried to escape over a gate but was pulled down by two people then attacked with what is believed to be a piece of timber," Ms Griffith said.

"Witnesses saw the deceased on the ground with four people around him hitting him with timber and another stomping on him."

Ms Griffith alleged it was Duong who inflicted the stab wound and said the weapon has never been found.

The court also heard Mr Kheav's blood was found inside the other accused man's car and on his shirt.

Ms Griffith said witnesses who had given statements to police were fearful for their safety, noting that some were in hiding interstate.

The prosecutor said police were worried the accused men would flee the country if released on bail and said a third person of interest had already flown to Cambodia.

She said the homes of the two accused men had molotov cocktails thrown at them in the weeks leading up to their arrests.

The court also heard a group of men had attended various nightspots looking for the accused men.

Duong's lawyer David Edwardson QC said the prosecution case was weak, and based on "speculation, supposition and conjecture."

Deputy Chief Magistrate Dr Andrew Cannon refused Duong bail but granted his co-accused home detention bail.

However the man remains in custody for the time being after both Ms Griffith and Duong's lawyers signalled Supreme Court appeals, to be heard within 72 hours.

Samak relents on temple, Agencies

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said on Tuesday he and the government have agreed that Cambodia should go ahead and apply to have Preah Vihear temple made a UN World Heritage site - but not the surrounding land.

"Cambodia and Thailand are preparing to issue a joint communique, but first I have to inform the Thai people," Mr Samak said, immediately after he returned from a two-day official visit to Phnom Penh.

"Cambodia confirmed that they will propose only the temple site for World Heritage status, not the surrounding area," he told the media.

Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said the communique would also stipulate that Thailand and Cambodia must jointly manage the area surrounding Preah Vihear.

Last year, the UN cultural unit Unesco decided to turn down the Cambodian application for the temple to get Heritage status, mostly because Thai officials were ambivalent.

The temple has been a sore spot in Cambodian-Thai relations for decades. In 1962, the two countries took their disputed ownership of Preah Vihear to the World Court, which decided the temple was owned by Cambodia.

Complicating the nationalist card is the problem that there is no easy access to the temple from Cambodia, because it sits atop a sheer cliff, and can be reached only through Thailand.