Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Remembrance Day ceremony in Choeung Ek

A Cambodian flag is reflected in a glass display as the skulls of the victims of the Khmer Rouge are seen at a memorial stupa during a Remembrance Day ceremony in Choeung Ek, a "Killing Fields" site located 17km (11 miles) south of Phnom Penh, May 20, 2008. Thousands of Cambodians including 500 monks gathered at the site to remember those who perished during the radical communist group's 1975-79 regime.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

A Cambodian villager prays at a memorial stupa filled with the skulls of thousands of victims of the Khmer Rouge on display at Choeung Ek, a "Killing Fields" site located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, during a "Remembrance Day" ceremony May 20, 2008. Thousands of Cambodians including 500 monks gathered at the site to remember those who perished during the radical communist group's 1975-79 regime.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

A Cambodian woman cries during a performance based on the Khmer Rouge regime at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Choeung Ek, a "Killing Fields" site located 17km (11 miles) south of Phnom Penh, May 20, 2008. Thousands of Cambodians including 500 monks gathered at the site to remember those who perished during the radical communist group's 1975-79 regime.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodian villagers light incense at a memorial stupa filled with the skulls of thousands of victims of the Khmer Rouge on display at Choeung Ek, a "Killing Fields" site located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, during a "Remembrance Day" ceremony May 20, 2008. Thousands of Cambodians including 500 monks gathered at the site to remember those who perished during the radical communist group's 1975-79 regime.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodian villagers pray at a memorial stupa filled with the skulls of thousands of victims of the Khmer Rouge on display at Choeung Ek, a "Killing Fields" site located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, during a "Remembrance Day" ceremony May 20, 2008. Thousands of Cambodians including 500 monks gathered at the site to remember those who perished during the radical communist group's 1975-79 regime.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

A wreath is placed in front of a memorial stupa filled with the skulls of thousands of victims of the Khmer Rouge on display at Choeung Ek, a "Killing Fields" site located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, during a "Remembrance Day" ceremony May 20, 2008. Thousands of Cambodians including 500 monks gathered at the site to remember those who perished during the radical communist group's 1975-79 regime.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodian Buddhist monks watch a performance based on the Khmer Rouge regime during a Remembrance Day ceremony in Choeung Ek, a "Killing Fields" site located 17km (11 miles) south of Phnom Penh, May 20, 2008. Thousands of Cambodians including 500 monks gathered at the site to remember those who perished during the radical communist group's 1975-79 regime.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodian Buddhist monks watch a performance based on the Khmer Rouge regime during a Remembrance Day ceremony in Choeung Ek, a "Killing Fields" site located 17km (11 miles) south of Phnom Penh, May 20, 2008. Thousands of Cambodians including 500 monks gathered at the site to remember those who perished during the radical communist group's 1975-79 regime.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra Plans to Make Big Investments in Koh Kong

Posted on 20 May 2008.
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 561

“Phnom Penh: According to news published by Thai Rak Thai on 17 May 2008, the former Thai prime minister Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra plans to make big investments in the province of Koh Kong, Cambodia.

It should be noted that a few days ago, there were many newspapers in Thailand which published the news mentioned above. To make sure whether it is true or not, Thai Rak Thai and other journalists interviewed the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense of Cambodia, Mr. Tea Banh, and he said that the news that the Thai newspapers had published, that the former Thai prime minister, Mr. Thaksin, plans to invest in Koh Kong is true, but it is still being studied. According to this investment plan, Mr. Thaksin is interested to establish casinos and other recreation sites with the guarantee to continue to operate them. Mr. Thaksin plans to invest approximately US$10 billion. [???]

“It should be stressed that, when Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra was the prime minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, he had wanted to run casinos and recreation sites in Thailand for a long time, but his plan was opposed by Thai officials. Thai Rak Thai reported that General Tea Banh had given an interview to journalists during the inauguration of the National Road 48 from Koh Kong to Srae Ambel, which had been presided over by Samdech Hun Sen and had also the attendance of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Mr. Somchai Wongsawat, who is Mr. Thaksin’s brother-in-law.

“The same newspaper stated also that the fact that Mr. Thaksin plans to invest in Koh Kong, creating casinos and other recreation sites is not surprising, because when Mr. Thaksin first had returned to his country [after he had been overthrown by a military coup], he went to play golf with Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen in Siem Reap, and he had already discussed also this plan, because this colossal investment needs also the support from Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“The Cambodian government strongly intends to convert Koh Kong into a special economic zone and to developed the area soon. Kampuchea Thmey tried to ask for a comment from General Tea Banh and from officials of the Council for the Development of Cambodia [CDC] but could not reach anybody.”

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1644, 18-19.5.2008

US pledges 2 million dollars towards Cambodian justice system

M&G , Asia-Pacific News
May 20, 2008

Phnom Penh - The United States will donate 2 million dollars towards a public information board in all Cambodian courts to help both victims and accused criminals understand their legal rights, the US embassy said in a press release Tuesday.

The donation is provided through USAid and managed by East-West Management, will 'help the public gain greater information about the court', the release said.

Cambodia has recently overhauled its penal code, and one of the legacies left from 30 years of civil war and the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge regime is a general public fear and lack of understanding of authorities such as courts and the police.

The Cambodian government itself has also acknowledged that corruption is endemic in the post-war nation, making achieving justice for the millions of Cambodia's poor very difficult.

Southwest border: petrol outflowing, sugar inflowing

Petrol is being carried on this boat to Cambodia


VietNamNet Bridge – The southwest border these days is witnessing petrol outflowing to neighbouring Cambodia and sugar inflowing into Vietnam.

Petrol bleeding through border gate

In An Giang province, tens of petrol shops can be seen along the 2km stretch of river in the area of Khanh Binh border gate. On the river, a lot of lighters, full of petrol cans, wait to go across the river to Prekchray, Kohthom, Kan Dal in Cambodia. A lot of people can be seen queuing in front of filling stations to pump petrol into the plastic cans they will carry across the border gate.

Le Van Cu, a farmer in An Phu district in An Giang province, complained that he could not buy oil to run the pumping machine to water his field. “They (the petrol shops) only want to sell petrol to dealers, who pay higher prices,” he said.

At the Tinh Bien border gate, every truck which carries goods to Vietnam picks up about tens cans of oil on the way back home.

In Kien Luong district in Kien Giang province, filling stations here do not open in the daylight, but the stations are full of people in the afternoon, the suitable time for petrol smugglers. Plastic cans of oil are loaded onto boats, bicycles and motorbikes, which head for Ton Hol, Kampot province in Cambodia.

Kien Giang Market Control Taskforce said that several smuggling cases were discovered last week, including one where the taskforce found 3,440 litres of DO oil gathered in Vinh Dieu commune, ready to be carried to Cambodia.

Along the So Thuong River in Hong Ngu district in Dong Thap province, tens of filling stations are always busy selling petrol to smugglers, who carry the petrol to Prey Veng. DO oil is now selling at riel4,000/litre in Prey Veng, or VND16,500/litre.

Vietnam is the main petrol supply source for Cambodia’s border provinces. It is because the retail price in Vietnam is always lower than in Cambodia. Moreover, the retail network in Cambodia has not developed.

Sugar flocking to Vietnam

While petrol is ‘escaping’ Vietnam, sugar is inflowing into the country. Storehouses in Cambodia are reportedly full of Thai sugar, ready to head to Vietnam. Smuggled sugar always gathers in Chau Doc commune before being carried to provinces and cities in the south of Vietnam.

At Tinh Bien border gate, trucks queue to wait for consignments from Thalot. Tan Chau market in An Giang province, Hong Ngu market in Dong Thap are also places for transiting smuggled sugar. Many markets in the Cuu Long River Delta are selling Thai sugar at VND8,500-9,000/kg, while no domestic product is available at the markets.

According to the Vietnam Sugar and Sugarcane Association, some 300 tonnes of sugar are illegally imported across the southwest border everyday. In Vietnam, Thai sugar is packed as locally made product before it is carried to other localities for distribution.

“Though we know that it is illegal, we cannot seize the product because businessmen show the package of domestic product and bills,” said Giang Lam, Deputy Head of Tinh Bien Customs Agency.

(Source: Tuoi tre)

Cambodians mark 'Day of Anger' with call for speedier KRouge trials

Cambodian students stage re-enactments of Khmer Rouge crimes to mark the country's annual "Day of Anger"

CHOEUNG EK, Cambodia (AFP) — Cambodian students staged a re-enactment of Khmer Rouge crimes at a notorious killing field on Tuesday to mark the country's annual "Day of Anger," in memory of those killed by the regime.

Some 2,000 Cambodians attended the rally to commemorate victims at Choeung Ek, a former Khmer Rouge killing field outside the capital Phnom Penh.

Twenty black-clad students mimed bludgeoning, strangling and eviscerating bound victims in front of a memorial stupa, just metres (yards) from mass graves where Khmer Rouge soldiers murdered thousands of people during the regime's 1975-1979 reign.

Many were moved to tears by the performance as survivors called for the former communist regime leaders to finally face war crimes trials.

"I want the trials of the surviving Khmer Rouge leaders to take place very soon so that justice can be rendered to millions of victims and survivors," said 63-year-old Un Youk Kroy, whose 20 relatives were killed under the brutal regime.

Ly Kim Huon, who lost about 10 relatives, echoed the sentiment.

"The trials must begin soon. I want to know the truth, why the Khmer Rouge committed such crimes," said the 65-year-old woman.

Up to two million people died from overwork, starvation, torture or execution under the Khmer Rouge as it sought to create an agrarian utopia. A joint Cambodia-UN tribunal was established in 2006 after nearly a decade of haggling.

The five top surviving Khmer Rouge leaders were recently detained by the court on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, and trials are expected to begin later this year.

Former Khmer Rouge social affairs minister Ieng Thirith is scheduled to appear before the court on Wednesday to appeal against her detention.

Newspaper to end supplement that led to seizures in Cambodia

M&G , Asia-Pacific News
May 20, 2008

Phnom Penh - A standoff between the Cambodian government and a US newspaper publisher appeared to be over Tuesday after the government seized copies for the second day of The Burma Daily, a supplement inside the English-language Cambodia Daily.

'The Burma Daily will not appear in The Cambodia Daily again,' Bernard Krisher, publisher of both newspapers, said while adding that the supplement would now publish in earnest toward its intended market in Myanmar and be available on the web and by mail.

Krisher said by telephone that the aims of his donor, the Adam Lincoln Steele Foundation, had been achieved and he was satisfied with the exposure the publication had gained.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said the paper was confiscated because it was unlicensed.
'We have issued a formal notice to The Cambodia Daily today, and we will close it Wednesday if it continues to publish,' he said.

That threat appeared to have been averted Tuesday, but Krisher denied any wrongdoing, saying The Burma Daily was a sponsored supplement of The Cambodia Daily and did not require a license.

The Burma Daily, which had appeared since last week as a four-page insert with an identical masthead as its sister publication, 'is designed to introduce to the Burmese people what a free and responsible newspaper looks like,' Krisher said.

The publisher, The Cambodia Daily and the Cambodian government have enjoyed a mixed relationship over the years.

The Daily is seen as a primary news source by many expatriates, and Krisher has raised funds for more than 400 schools and operates or supports a number of aid organizations.

However, Prime Minister Hun Sen has publicly criticized the paper as biased on more than one occasion and it often leans toward the views of opposition parties and against the government.

Myanmar and Cambodia enjoy warm relations despite an international outcry over the Myanmar military junta's appalling human rights record.

Kanharith said that despite a policy of freedom of the press, Cambodia would not be a haven for publications about other governments.

Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia


Cambodia has opened the new goal course near the famous temple of Angkor. The circus ground looks green and beautiful with the Cambodia palm Tree . The Angkor Golf Resort gives a kind of sport tourism and adds more attractive the top destination of Cambodia where is called Siem Reap.

A land of treasure world's heritage provides special features of modern golf facilities and services for the golfer .It could be interesting for the new explorer who aims to test the new experience golf in Siem Reap www.tourismindochina.com/attractionsite.htm#at2 , Cambodia. It is the first time of golf era in the land of Angkor Wat, which known as the foremost building and admirable architectural building in southeast Asia and the worldwide.

Nick Faldo has opened Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap and predicts great things for his company's first course in Cambodia .

'Befitting a golf course designed by a master, Angkor Golf Resort has been built and constructed to the highest standards with every contour painstakingly shaped to meet Faldo's discerning eye. But what is special about this course is that we, with the help of Nick's expertise, have created something that will take golf to a whole new level in this country and the region.', added Adam Robertson, Operations Manager of Angkor Golf Resort. Nick Faldo stated that 'All of my favorite design elements: visibility, definition, strategy, challenge, variety, balance, playability and enjoyment are here at Angkor Golf Resort.'

The Angkor Golf Resort has been designed of 18 holes. The next phase of construction at Angkor Golf Resort will see an integrated resort and luxurious residential community. The resort will offer a relaxed and secluded lifestyle in the heart of Cambodia's most popular tourist destination.

For more information about Travel News in Cambodia:

Austrian gets 10 years for abusing Cambodian boys

Olaf Achleitner of Austria, center, enters the Phnom Penh Municipality Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in this April 28, 2008 photo. Achleitner was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in jail for sexually abusing two Cambodian boys, a judge said.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Olaf Achleitner of Austria, left, stands inside the Phnom Penh Municipality Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in this April 28, 2008 photo. Achleitner was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in jail for sexually abusing two Cambodian boys, a judge said.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Olaf Achleitner, of Austria, stands in the Phnom Penh Municipality Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in this April 28, 2008 photo. Achleitner was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in jail for sexually abusing two Cambodian boys, a judge said.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Tue May 20, 2008

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - A Cambodian court sentenced a 64-year-old Austrian man to ten years in jail on Tuesday for sexually abusing boys aged 13 and 14, the trial judge and lawyer said.

Olaf Achleitner of Salzburg, who was arrested in September, denied the allegations and accused police of framing him.

"They were in my house but I did nothing wrong," he told Reuters outside the courtroom as he was led away in handcuffs.

"This is a death sentence for me as an old man."

Achleitner, who worked as a cook at a western restaurant in Phnom Penh, was also ordered to pay $1,000 in compensation to the two victims.

Cambodia, a deeply impoverished southeast Asian nation, has long-been regarded as a haven for western paedophiles and perverts, although it has stepped up prosecution of foreigners in recent years.


May 20, 2008

A Khmer drug trafficker was caught in an undercover police sting operation, on May 19, 2008, trying to sell 1,000 tabs of Yah Bah, (amphetamine) in Bang Saray. The trafficker was part of a well-established drugs ring with headquarters in Siam Reap, Cambodia and used the border crossing of Baan Laem to get the drugs into Thailand.

The police sting team led by a number of high-ranking officials, including , Pol.Col.Kittiphong Gnao-muk, deputy commander and chief of investigation centre section #2, Pol.Col. Itthiporn Bpo-thong, superintendent section #2, Capt. Chachawan Meesawad, Capt.Siriphan Meelaksan and Capt.Samorabpum Jantho, from the Navy drugs suppression team, along with a military police investigator, set up the Khmer front-man, Mr.Chead, promising to buy the Yah Bah at Bt160 a tablet, with a street retail value of somewhere in the region of Bt160,000. The rendezvous was outside Bangsaray Seafood Restaurant, Moo 4, Bangsaray.

Mr.Chead's controller was an individual by the name of Mr.Li Chea, nicknamed Da (32) from Ji-Klang, Siam Reap province, Cambodia. Following the arrangement to buy the drugs with the undercover police, Mr.Chead contacted Mr.Da to deliver the consignment to the rendezvous.

The police sting team laid in wait for the dealer to arrive and when he did swooped down and arrested him with the incriminating evidence. He later told police that it was a well set up operation where smugglers regularly hid the drugs up their rectums in order to get across the border at Baan Laem, Pong-namron district, Chantaburi province. The six-man trafficking team was subsequently picked up by a blue car and then dropped off individually en route at stipulated drop zones.

Police charged Mr. Da on the double count of smuggling illicit, category 1, drugs, into Thailand to sell and having entered the country illegally.

News Type : CrimeStory : Nattaphumin
Photo : Nattaphumin
Translater : Sirithanon

Secretary-General Ban issues call to eliminate scourge of cluster munitions

UN News Centre

19 May 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appealed for the creation of a new global pact to rid the world of cluster munitions, deadly weapons which he described as “particularly indiscriminate and unreliable.”

The devices are “inherently inaccurate and often malfunction,” and they pose “a very real danger to civilians, both at the time of use and long after conflicts have ended,” Mr. Ban said in a video message to the opening of the two-week Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions, which opened today in Dublin.

More than 100 governments have converged in the Irish capital to hammer out an international treaty to ban the weapons, a process which began last February in Oslo.

The Secretary-General pointed to breakthroughs in efforts to further disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, including the mine ban treaty and the recent protocol on explosive remnants of war.

“But the quest for a safer world continues,” the Secretary-General said.

Curbing cluster munitions could slash deaths, suffering and deprivation that civilians face during conflicts, he noted, while ridding the world of these weapons could also allow refugees and displaced people to return to their homes, while freeing up land to be used productively.

“And we can add a new chapter to international humanitarian law, alongside those on landmines and explosive remnants of war,” Mr. Ban stressed, calling for an international treaty to prohibit the use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions.

The new pact should also require the destruction of existing stockpiles and help to clear the weapons and assist victims, he added.

Also addressing the Conference was Ad Melkert, Associate Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), who emphasized the devastating impact of the devices on development.

“Cluster munitions kill and maim individuals – not only at the time of use but for generations afterwards,” Mr. Melkert, who was speaking on behalf of the UN Mine Action Team, said.

The weapons also contaminate farmland and kill livestock, as well as impede individuals’ rights to adequate living standards, personal safety, health and education.

“In short, in affected countries, unexploded sub-munitions are yet another major obstacle to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs],” Mr. Melkert pointed out, referring to the eight anti-poverty targets which have a collective 2015 deadline.

At least 75 countries have stocks of cluster munitions, he said, noting that the consequences would be devastating if these weapons were to proliferate, including among non-State armed groups, for use in current and future conflicts.

“A strong and comprehensive treaty could stop the proliferation and use of these cluster munitions by prohibiting transfers and ensuring that stockpiles of cluster munitions are subject to prompt and safe destruction,” the Associate Administrator stated.

Stressing the effect cluster munitions have on children, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also called on all countries to conclude a new legal instrument to do away with the devices.

Some 40 per cent of victims of these weapons are children who are injured or killed long after direct hostilities have drawn to a close, the agency highlighted. Children are particularly at risk because they are drawn to the devices, which are often small and shiny.

Used for more than six decades, cluster munitions have contaminated countries such as Laos, Viet Nam and Cambodia for over 30 years, while more recently they have been used in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and in southern Lebanon.

UNICEF estimates that there are billions of these weapons still in existing scattered across over 70 countries.

Bus service takes shortcut to Siem Reap


VietNamNet Bridge - Those who wish to visit the splendid temples of Angkor can now shave an hour off the ride by using a bus service provide by the Saigon Passenger Transportation Company (Sapaco Tourist).

The service, which runs daily between Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodia's Siem Reap, opened on Monday.

The route crosses the border at Xa Mat in the southern province of Tay Ninh and Trapeang Phlong in Cambodia’s Kompong Cham Province.

The previous route went through the border towns of Moc Bai and Bevet. It was about 550km and took about eight hours. The travel distance for the new route is 500km.

The buses depart at 7 a.m. at 309 Pham Ngu Lao Street in District 1 and arrive at the Sapaco office in Siem Reap, home to Ankor. A one-way bus fare is US$24 per passenger, including water and a cool wipe cloth.

(Source: SGGP)

Former Khmer Rouge government minister to appeal her detention by Cambodian tribunal


PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - A former Khmer Rouge government minister facing charges of crimes against humanity will appeal for release from detention during a U.N.-assisted tribunal, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The tribunal, seeks justice for atrocities committed by the ultra-communist group when it ruled Cambodia in 1975-79.Ieng Thirith, who was the Khmer Rouge social affairs minister, is among five suspects facing trial for their alleged roles in the regime's brutality. Its radical policies caused the deaths of about 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.Reach Sambath, a tribunal spokesman, said the 75-year-old Ieng Thirith will appeal at a hearing Wednesday for release from a detention facility during the proceedings.

The lawyer cited lack of evidence for detaining Ieng Thirith and said she «suffers from a number of debilitating and chronic conditions, both mental and physical» that require constant medical treatment.

The suspect is the wife of Ieng Sary, who was the regime's deputy prime minister and foreign minister and is also detained on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Ieng Thirith is also the sister-in-law of to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, who died in 1998.

In a detention orders issued in November, the tribunal's investigating judges said Ieng Thirith is being tried for supporting Khmer Rouge policies and practices that were «characterized by murder, extermination, imprisonment, persecution on political grounds and other inhuman acts.

She has rejected the charges against her as «100 percent false,» according to the detention order.

She has denied responsibility for any criminal acts and said she worked at all times for the benefit of the people, according to an appeal filed in January by her lawyer, Phat Pouv Seang.

Ieng Thirith, who was among the first generation of female Cambodian intellectuals, studied English literature in Paris and worked as a professor after returning to Cambodia in 1957.

Three years later she founded a private English school in the capital, Phnom Penh.

She followed her husband into the jungle to flee government repression in 1965.

Their communist movement later became a guerrilla force that toppled the pro-American government in 1975, putting Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge into power and turning the country in a vast slave labor camp.

Area teen spearheads international effort to build toilets

By Heather J. Carlson
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

DODGE CENTER -- It all started with a Dodge Center teenager's simple goal -- to raise money to build one toilet in a Cambodian village.

Two years later, Naomi Wente's idea has swelled into an international success story. She has helped raise funds to build four toilets and four wells in Cambodia and raised nearly $5,000. She has gained national attention, winning a U.S. State Department award for a Web site about her efforts. She recently traveled to the state Capitol to receive yet another award from the state's Department of Education.

"I didn't really think it would get to this point," said the Triton High School junior.

It all started in December 2005, when the then-14-year-old went to Cambodia with her family and a group of Rochester Community and Technical College students. While there, she began talking with young girls in the village. She soon discovered that many girls end up dropping out of school because of one simple thing -- not having a toilet.

Once girls begin menstruating, they are often too embarrassed to use the primitive public bathroom, which often is a simple hole in the ground. Going to the bathroom in a nearby forest brings with it the risks of landmines or kidnappings. So many girls opt simply to stop going to school.

To help change that, Wente teamed up with Kim Sin, whose family fled Cambodia during the violent Khmer Rouge's reign. Sin works with her mother, RCTC speech instructor Lori Halverson-Wente, to arrange yearly trips to Cambodia for students.

"I believed (Naomi) could do it, and that's why I was very supportive," Sin said.

Over the past two years, "One Toilet at a Time" has garnered major support in Cambodia.
Wente's nonprofit has teamed up with a group called Youth Service Cambodia, comprised of college students in Cambodia. This group helps make sure all donations toward the project go to villages with a desperate need for toilets and wells. They also work with the villages to make sure they have a sense of ownership in the project, requiring them to raise $30 and to help with construction.

"One Toilet at a Time" has also won more local support, with Rochester's Bella Voce Young Women's Choir helping raise money for the project.

Wente's interest in global affairs does not appear to be waning. She plans to spend the first semester of her senior year studying in Mexico. Her advice for other youth who want to make a difference is simple.

"Never put a cap on what you think you can do," she said. "Come up with an idea and go all the way. Don't let anything stop you. Just do what you believe."

Cambodian gov't prepares stockpile of rice against rainy season


PHNOM PENH, May 20 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian government has prepared enough stockpile of rice in case that the price of rice and paddy rice might increase during the just-started rainy season, English-Khmer language newspaper the Mekong Times said Tuesday.

The government has bought around 150,000 tons of rice for stockpile with the 10 million U.S. dollars earmarked in March, in order to fend off any negative influence from the rainy season and the fluctuation in the global rice market, Son Kunthor, general director of the Rural Development Bank of Cambodia (RDBC), was quoted as saying.

"The stockpile is to stabilize the Cambodian rice market, even though price in the global rice market is rising," he said.

Cambodia will not suffer from food shortage, he added.

Top rice now sells 900 U.S. dollars a ton, while rice of ordinary quality 560 U.S. dollars a ton.

In response to the substantial world rice price hike in mid-March, Cambodia imposed a two-month export ban of rice, supplied subsidized rice to the market and later allocated 10 million U.S. dollars to purchase rice for new stockpile.

Editor: Wang Hongjiang

Trip to Vietnam and Cambodia

Photograph at Ankor Wat Cambodia - front left clockwise to right front:
Bobbi Mahlab – Get Up & Go MagazineStu Lloyd – Independent Travel Writer & AuthorCathy Stubbs – Central Coast Advocate, Cumberland Newspaper GroupMadeline Spielman – Vietnam AirlinesMichael Krape – Sun Herald Sun Newspaper & Independent Travel Writer - MelbourneThomas King – Travel Mole & Independent Travel WriterArthur Georgeson – Independent PhotographerDavid Latta – Vacations & Travel Magazine & Independent Travel WriterSarah Price – Sun Herald Newspaper - Sydney

e-Travel Blackboard
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Source = Vietnam Airlines

Madeline Spielman, Sales Executive & Marketing for Vietnam Airlines lead the most recent Australian Media Trip to Vietnam and Cambodia in May.

The trip included Siem Reap, Phu Quoc Island which is a newer tourist destination in Vietnam. The group then weaved there way though the Me Kong Delta region to Chau Doc and Can Tho and ended the tour in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam Airlines has 6 flights per day from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap and 4 flight per day from Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc Island.

Ten parties approved to join parliamentary election of Cambodia

May 20, 2008

Ten out of the 12 political parties applying to join the parliamentary election of Cambodia on July 27 have won approval from the National Election Committee (NEC), English-Khmer language newspaper the Mekong Times said Tuesday.

The approved ones included the major ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP), the co-ruling Funcinpec Party, the royalist Norodom Ranariddh Party, as well as the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) and Human Rights Party, NEC was quoted as saying.

Out of the two disapproved parties, one was asked to submit more documents and the other one was denied, it added.

The approved number is a 50 percent strong decrease over the previous general election in 2003, when 23 political parties vied with each other for the 123 seats in the Cambodian National Assembly.

In that year, CPP led by Prime Minister Hun Sen won 73 seats, Funcinpec 26 seats, and SRP 24 seats.


'Golden Bones,' the Story on an Ambassador

By Nuch Sarita, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
19 May 2008

Khmer audio aired May 17 (1.25MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired May 17 (1.25MB) - Listen (MP3)

Sichan Siv, former US ambassador to the United Nations, is the only official in the US government who was born in Cambodia, and he has held a high ranking position at the White House, in the office of the 41st US president.

He has just released a memoir, “Golden Bones,” the tale of an extraordinary journey from the hell of Cambodia to a new American life. The book, written in English, is being published by a major New York house and is scheduled to be in bookstores in the US in July, and Sichan Siv gave a talk on it at the White House in Washington last week.

“I was at the White House last week to listen to Ambassador Sichan Siv about his new upcoming book ‘Golden Bones,’” Reaksmey Norin, a Cambodian woman, told VOA Khmer. “It make me so proud to be a Cambodian.”

She called him a “role model,” but others see him as golden.

The book’s title comes from the Cambodian adage for someone born very lucky, or who is blessed. Cambodians from the village of Sichan Siv’s father, who know the former ambassador was able to escape the Khmer Rouge and find a life abroad, call him “the man with the golden bones.”

Sichan Siv was working for the CARE organization in Phnom Penh when the country fell to the communists. He escaped in 1976, knowing he was in trouble because of his past.

“I hard worked for the Cambodian airlines and for the US, I had studied at a university, and I wore glasses,” he told VOA Khmer. “So I fled to Thailand.”

On his journey, he remembered the advice of his mother, who told him, “never give up hope.”

“Hope kept me alive for a year under the Khmer Rouge, and I did everything the best way I could,” he said. “It was my mother’s wisdom that helped me move on. The dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.”

Sichan Siv arrived in the US in 1976 and began a new life, picking apples at first in the state of Connecticut and driving a taxi in New York.

By 1989, he was the deputy assistant to the US president, George H.W. Bush, and in 2001 he was appointed by President George W. Bush as a delegate to the UN Commission on Human Rights.

What happened in between is a very good story.

Rotary Clubs Taste Wine for Mine Awareness

By Nuch Sarita, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
19 May 2008

Khmer audio aired May 18 (3.43KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired May 18 (3.43KB) - Listen (MP3)

A crowd of business professionals, students and others in the Washington, DC area gathered last week for an evening of wine, delicacies and Cambodian entertainment—as well as landmine awareness.

The wine tasting event, sponsored by nine Rotary Club branches with partners Halo Trust and the US State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, brought everyone together at the Cambodian Embassy in Washington.

“I hope other people realize the impact that this kind of project will have to help the people in Cambodia,” said Poonam Chhunchha, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, who helped re-start the Rotaract Club at the school, serving as president and vice president. “This is the first time the young professionals and students have ever done an event such as this one, and all the money we raise tonight through silent and live auctions and through ticket sales will go directly to Cambodia.”

Cambodia remains peppered with landmines, despite many years of efforts by deminers such as Halo Trust.

Brendan Adams, the executive director of Rotaract District 7620's project for mine action in Cambodia, said the May 9 event raised more than $13,000. The U.S. State Department is doing a one-to-two matching grant for these funds, which will be donated to Halo Trust for demining efforts in northwestern Cambodia.

Jim Lawrence, an official at the State Department's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, said removing landmines from Cambodia remains an important activity.

“The biggest area of effort is three-fold,” he said. “One, you tackle the problem directly by clearance on the ground, removing landmines, saving lives. At the same time, you know that you can’t clear the whole country overnight, so you try through risk education programs on TV, in print media and puppet shows and cartoons, to educate the population, particularly children, about how to live safely and stay smart in the contaminated areas. And unfortunately, the third part of our program is to treat victims of the accidents who need medical attention and a prosthetic limb and so forth.”

The demining effort was “an extraordinary opportunity to connect the American people with the world at large, outside our borders,” he said, “and get them to think and focus a little more broadly than just their local community.”

Chhunchha said some of the Rotaractors will be going to Cambodia in August and November to see how far the project is coming along.

Commission Calls for Investigation of Farmer Murder

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh
19 May 2008

Khmer audio aired May 18 (854KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired May 18 (854KB) - Listen (MP3)

The Asian Human Rights Commission is calling for proper investigation into the murder of a Takeo province farmer, who was found dead in a canal near his home May 8.

No one has been arrested in the murder of Cheang Som, 56, from Ta O Khang Choeung village, who was killed following an argument with a former police official, the Commission said.

Som Horl, 25, son of the victim, said he and the surviving family were living with horror and intimidation.

The unsolved murder comes ahead of July’s national election and amid election violence, including the deaths of at least two other activists.

Parties Fault NEC for Hard Registration

By Seng Ratana, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh
19 May 2008

Khmer audio aired May 17 (1.31MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired May 17 (1.31MB) - Listen (MP3)

At least four political parties are unhappy with the National Election Committee, saying the government body had made registration for the upcoming election difficult and that commune councils have been ineffective.

The Norodom Ranariddh Party says it will file a complaint against the NEC for the deletion of an official’s name from an election list, and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party has complained of intimidation of one of its candidate.

The SRP candidate, who was serving as a teacher, was threatened he should change his place of work if he wished to stand for election, the Sam Rainsy Party said.

And officials of the Sangkum Khmer Niym have filed a complaint to the Constitutional Council for its rejecting from the process.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha said some commune councils had been inactive implementing their jobs. Of the 12 parties who have registered, the NEC has officially verified six parties, declined one and is reviewing four.

Thailand, Cambodia to discuss disputed temple's World Heritage status in Paris


BANGKOK, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said Sunday he would travel to France on May 22-23 to meet with Cambodian and UNESCO officials to discuss the Cambodian government's plan to register the ancient Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site.

Noppadon said he had met Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An recently and discussed the plan, with the Cambodian official becoming more flexible and wanting to settle the dispute with Thailand amicably, according to state media Thai News Agency.

He emphasized that both countries would receive equal benefits and that the Thai government would not give away overlapping areas claimed by both countries.

Thailand has said it welcomed the Cambodian government's move to register the historic Phreah Vihear temple complex as a UNESCO World Heritage site, but also said the Phnom Penh government must settle a disputed 4.6 square kilometer area surrounding the temple, so that both countries could jointly manage the area.

UNESCO's stance is that the two neighbors must first settle their differences before the registration of the heritage site can take effect.

The issue regarding the ownership of the historic site, dated back to the 9th century, has been long disputed between the two neighbor countries. Previous rulings by the International Court of Justice, commonly known as the World Court, in Hague have recognized the temple as belonging to Cambodia.

It is widely understood by both sides that the Preah Vihear temple building itself stands atop a cliff inside the Cambodian territory, but the only convenient access to the temple lies on the side of Thailand in Kantharalak district of the northeastern Thai province of Si Sa Ket.

Editor: Amber Yao

Cambodia Daily banned

The Cambodian government on Monday confiscated the Cambodia Daily newspaper from newsstands over a supplement called The Burma Daily, the Information Ministry and the newspaper’s publisher said.

The official ministry explanation was that the confiscation was ordered because The Burma Daily, which had appeared since last week as a four-page insert with an identical masthead as its sister publication, was not licensed.

But publisher Bernard Krisher argued that the paper did not need a license because it was a supplement and the decision to confiscate the English- and Khmer-language daily, which has a circulation of about 5,000, reflected badly on the government.

He vowed to continue to print The Burma Daily for several more days as planned even if it were confiscated. After its printing is finished, it is to become an online and mail publication for distribution in Myanmar.

“The Burma Daily has no political agenda,” he said by telephone. “It is designed to introduce to the Myanmarese people what a free and responsible newspaper looks like.”

The speculation is that the government is worried that the Cambodia Daily will, if it hasn’t already, print embarrassing revelations about the Burmese government, thus causing a fast ally to lose face.

It’s hard to imagine a more wickedly craven betrayal of the Burmese people. Tens of thousands are dying needlessly in Burma. The ruling junta is stealing emergency aid meant for their dying citizens. And Hun Sen is afraid to let somebody say something about it? That’s reprehensible.
For Cambodians who sometimes wonder how the world could sit by and do nothing as Pot Pol killed millions, you now have an answer.

In a high-minded ‘Letter from the Publisher’ Krishner said he hopes the paper will be circulated in Myanmar, “as are other international media, like the International Herald Tribune and news weeklies.” [...]

It appears that Krishner perhaps doesn’t have a full grasp of the realities of distributing anything in Myanmar, and the international papers he refers to are often withheld if they contain contentious material about the pariah nation, or sometimes offending pages are simply torn out. Krishner reacted strongly to the emergence of the new Phnom Penh Post, and news of its intention to go head-to-head with the Cambodia daily by becoming daily itself in early July. [...]

Speculation n Phnom Penh is that part of the motivation behind The Burma Daily is simply revenge, a get-back at Ross Dunkley who is publisher of both the Phnom Penh Post and the Myanmar Times, by bating him to the punch to start up a daily on his own patch.

Oh, brother.

UNICEF Highlights Horrific Impact of Cluster Munitions on Children as Governments Meet to Decide on Treaty Banning the Weapon

UNICEF for Children

UNICEF Highlights Horrific Impact of Cluster Munitions on Children as Governments Meet to Decide on Treaty Banning the WeaponNEW YORK, 19 May 2008 - The Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions begins today as over 100 governments negotiate an international treaty to ban the indiscriminate weapon.

Research has shown that roughly 40 per cent of victims of cluster bombs are children who are injured or killed long after direct hostilities end. Children are particularly at risk from cluster munitions as they are small and shiny and attract children’s natural curiosity.

By the very nature of the weapon, cluster munitions spread out littering wide areas and rendering them uninhabitable. Bomblets are frequently found in school yards, fields and other areas where children play and explore.

Cluster munitions have been used for over six decades and have contaminated wide areas of countries like Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia for more than 30 years. More recently, they were deployed in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and in 2006 in Southern Lebanon.

Cluster munitions can remain “active” lying in wait for decades. In Laos, on 17 January 2008, nine children were searching around an old bomb crater for little crabs to eat, about 50 metres from their village. Instead, the children found a cluster bomb dating from the Vietnam War of the 1960s and 1970s. It exploded, killing four boys. Five other children were badly injured.

Some 67 per cent of cluster munition casualties in Kosovo were 19 or younger – making children a majority of the casualties in this area.

These examples demonstrate the ongoing and unacceptable threat of cluster munitions, decades after the end of hostilities. If even a small percentage of the world’s known stockpiled cluster munitions — that range in the billions across more than 70 countries — were to be deployed, we would witness human suffering on a scale way beyond that of the landmine crisis.

The current negotiations to ban cluster munitions began in February 2007 in Oslo. The Dublin conference marks a critical stage in the negotiations and UNICEF urges all governments to conclude an international instrument prohibiting cluster munitions which have a horrendous humanitarian, development and human rights impact.

The international treaty under negotiation would prohibit the use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions; require the destruction of current stockpiles; and provide for clearance, risk reduction and other risk mitigation activities, as well as victim assistance.

With billions of cluster munitions stockpiled around the world, this treaty could help secure the world for generations to come.

is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please contact:Saira Khan, UNICEF Media, Tel +1-212-326-7224, Email

Global move to ban cluster bombs - 19 May 2008

Cluster bombs have killed and maimed thousands of civilians across the world.

Now there's a global move to ban their use. Delegates from more than 100 countries have gathered in Dublin to try to secure an anti-cluster munitions treaty.

However, perhaps more notable are those not attending, including the United States, China and Russia ... the world's biggest producers of cluster bombs.

The US instead wants non-binding guidelines on the use of the weapon, as Anand Naidoo reports.

Low Technology Solutions Find Favor in Developing World

This stove is heated using peat instead of wood

By Cathy Majtenyi Nairobi
19 May 2008

Fuel efficient stoves and ceramic water purifiers are two examples of low-tech innovations that can help people in poor countries improve their quality of life. Because what is known as "appropriate technology" usually requires fewer resources and is easier to maintain than high-tech, development agencies and non-profit groups have promoted its use. In this third in a series on technology in developing countries, Cathy Majtenyi reports from Nairobi on effort to provide low-tech innovations in poor countries, with additional reporting by Rory Byrne in Cambodia, and Cesar Barreto in Peru.

Soldier Leonidas Simbizi boils beans for lunch at Camp Muha army base in Burundi's capital Bujumbura. He works with a stove that uses peat instead of wood to fuel the fire. The government is trying to promote peat as an alternative energy source. Peat is relatively abundant and its use can save trees.

Simbizi seems unconvinced. He says when he uses wood stoves there is not so much smoke, but with peat, there is much smoke. He says he prefers to use a wood stove.

Burundi's army is the main user of peat stoves. But there are plans to market peat stoves for civilians, too.

Meanwhile, in Cambodia, a more successful effort is underway. About 100,000 households are using ceramic water purifiers, which filter out out micro-organisms and other impurities in water, making it safe to drink. The U.S. non-profit group International Development Enterprises is promoting these low-tech purifiers.

Users like Lach Emmaly are very satisfied. She says she finds the water filter useful, because she does not waste time searching for firewood in the forest and cutting it down, nor does she have to spend money to buy charcoal to boil the water. The water cleaned with the filter, she says, saves her time and money and keeps her healthy.

Ceramic water purifiers and peat stoves are two of many examples of appropriate technology.
These low-tech innovations require fewer resources, are less expensive and easier to maintain than conventional technologies. They also have less of an impact on the environment. They are meant to improve the lives of people in poor countries by saving them time, money, and other resources.

Even higher-tech products, like computers, can be modified to suit local conditions. The One Laptop Per Child initiative was created by the U.S. non-profit group of the same name. The green and white laptops are lightweight, durable, and can be hand-cranked or solar-powered.

They use open-source software, which allows children and their teachers to adapt the software to their needs.

Nicholas Negroponte is chairman of the One Laptop Per Child Foundation. He tells VOA the laptop is an example of appropriate technology.

"It is very environmentally sensitive. Its friendliness and its ecological footprint - and all of those things is the lowest by an order of magnitude," says Negroponte. "Just the power consumption of this is 1/20th of the laptop you and I use."

Peru has ordered 400,000 laptops for its schools. The laptops are being used by teachers and students at Apostol Santiago, a school 100 kilometers north of the capital, Lima. Yesenia Borquez, age 8, loves her computer. She says she is very happy because she learns everything on the computer.

However, experts say for appropriate technology to succeed, it must also be commercially viable.

"If there is no market for it, if people do not see it as fulfilling their need or if it is not just quite right for that country, then it will not spread and it will not bring its benefits," says Andrew Burns, senior economist at the World Bank. "And that means that the people doing research and development, the people doing the dissemination efforts really have to be listening and paying as much, or perhaps more, attention to ensuring that these things have commercial success and commercial prospects in order for them to spread "

Teachers and students at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology in Rwanda's capital are working to identify and fulfill market needs. The school has a host of low-tech machines that make nails and other every-day items like candles.

With a candle-making machine and molds, invented in Rwanda, production costs are about two cents per candle. Candles imported from China cost about 10 cents each in Rwanda. So the economic advantages of this low-tech project are clear - and the Institute hopes these candles and other products will easily find a market in Rwanda.

Cambodia Ramping Up Hydro

Energy Tribune
May. 19, 2008
By Neil Hickey

Cambodia is speeding ahead with plans to expand its hydropower sector – spurred on by a voracious demand for electricity, yet seemingly impervious to environmental and agricultural concerns.

Renewed Chinese investment is bankrolling the plan, which has long been stalled due to war, political uncertainty, and the Asian economic crisis more than ten years ago. However, now the time is right, and Cambodia’s Foreign Minister Hor Namhong recently declared that his government plans to turn the country into the “battery of Southeast Asia” – ambitious words indeed for a country that struggles to adequately power even itself.

Cambodia’s power consumption is among the lowest anywhere, and its annual consumption of about 125 million kilowatt-hours is easily the lowest in Southeast Asia – in fact, less than one-sixth of Fiji’s. And that lack of electricity is reflected in Cambodia’s gross domestic product, which ranks 155th in the world, making it one of the world’s poorest countries. However, its economy is picking up and recent growth has been more than 10 percent annually. Now this country – with its rugged beauty and brutal history, smaller than the state of Oklahoma – desperately needs the energy sources to power this continued growth.

Cambodia’s outdated, predominantly diesel-fueled power plants only meet 75 percent of the country’s demand. That has resulted in frequent blackouts, with power costs more than double those of neighboring Thailand and Vietnam.

Just 20 percent of Cambodia’s 14 million citizens have access to cheap and reliable electricity, and demand is growing at about 20 percent a year. To address that demand, the Cambodian government has agreed to construct at least four Chinese-funded hydropower projects as part of a $3 billion scheme to boost power output.