Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Israeli trade delegation to visit Cambodia next week

Mar 9, 2009

An Israeli delegation is set to visit Cambodia on March 16, hoping to forge agreements in agriculture and telecommunications. The move is part of an Israeli effort announced last year to expand economic and political ties with Cambodia.

The Phnom Penh Post said last week that 30 Israeli delegates from the government and private sector would meet up to 40 Cambodian business leaders.

According the Phnom Penh Post Tzahi Selzer, the Israeli economic and trade attaché in Bangkok, said that 15 telecoms companies, as well as agriculture businesses, would be part of the delegation, according to the Post.

Also present would be Israel’s minister of telecommunications and minister of agriculture, along with possibly one other high-ranking official. Israel was ranked the fourth-largest foreign investor in Cambodia last year in terms of value of projects approved, with 2.75 percent of total investment, or 300 million U.S. dollars, according to Cambodian Investment Board figures.

Dhani Jones Remains a Crazy Person

Philadelphia Citypaper

by James Beale
Monday, March 9th, 2009

Dhani Jones, the one time Eagles linebacker remembered around these parts for his colorful personality (he started a high end bow-tie business, has written for ESPN, and used to bike to practices) and decent play (he started on the Super Bowl team but never really stood out on the field) has moved on from professional football to his next career as a reality TV Superstar.

Jones and the Travel Channel have teamed up for a show entitled Dhani Tackles the Globe. In it Dhani travels the world trying his luck at sports that still obscure in America. His trials include Pelota in the Basque region of Spain, Hurling in Ireland, and something called Pradal Serey in Cambodia.

I don’t know how I’ve missed this until now, it combines a nonsensical concept, a local hook, and sports I’m unfamiliar with. Needless to say I’m very excited to catch up.

ADB, Japan Program to Boost Policy Making Skills of Civil Servants in Cambodia


A training program to help senior public servants carry out policy reforms that support the development of market economies has been launched in Cambodia today.

The Public Policy Training Program (PPTP) was established in 2007 by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to build up the capabilities of civil servants in Vietnam, Laos People’s Democratic Republic, and Cambodia who enact and implement government policy. It is funded by the ADB-administered Japan Fund for Public Policy Training which is financed by the Government of Japan. Today’s launch was held in conjunction with the Government of Cambodia’s Economics and Finance Institute.

The Program, which was initially rolled out in Viet Nam, is designed to equip government officials with the skills and knowledge to develop policies that help their economies’ become more market-oriented and integrated with global markets. The training focuses on economics and public finance, leadership, and managing government programs and human resources. It will also help officials become more effective in carry out existing government policy.

"At a time when economic circumstances are much more challenging, we hope that this targeted capacity development which will help improve effective use of public expenditure needed to stimulate growth and reduce poverty for vulnerable groups. We also hope it will help civil servants respond to the demand by domestic and foreign businesses for efficient public service delivery" said Arjun Goswami, ADB's Country Director for Cambodia.

It is expected that about 200 Cambodian civil servants will benefit from the Program over a two-year period. The first week-long training module will be held in Cambodia this month, followed by a session for 25 officials in Nagoya, Japan, at the end of March.

Attending today’s launch at the Economics and Finance Institute were H.E. Hean Sahib, Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Norio Maruyama, Minister of the Embassy of Japan, and Arjun Goswami, ADB’s Country Director for Cambodia.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.

Luxury Travel Company To Launch Best of Vietnam and Cambodia, Two Countries, One Destination.

" Luxury Travel has launched a Creme de la Creme Best of Vietnam and Cambodia 14 days from Hanoi to Saigon and ends in Siem Riep. "

HANOI, VIETNAM, March 09, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Luxury Travel has launched a Creme de la Creme Best of Vietnam and Cambodia 14 days from Hanoi to Saigon and ends in Siem Riep.

Vietnam and Cambodia increasingly are being recognized as a destination for high-end global tourists. With the steady growth of business, Luxury Travel continues to create new niche market tourism products.

Guests will discover the old and new capital of Vietnam and 3 world heritages listed sites: the wonders of Ha Long Bay, Hue, the Imperial City of the 18th and 19th centuries, the picturesque port town of Hoi An, a favorite with many travelers.

Also on tour the lush Mekong Delta, the amazing Cu Chi tunnels network underground and the vibrant Ho Chi Minh City .

Leave Saigon guests fly to Seam reap, Cambodia to discover the marvel of the Angkor Complex including Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat, Bayon, Banteray Srei and countless others masterpieces of Khmer architecture.

The trip concludes with a boat cruise on the Great Lake Tonle Sap and tour ends in Siem Reap..

"We love its destinations, and we do my best to make sure that our customers feel the same way. This is absolutely fabulous trip of 2 countries in ONE SINGLE destination. Our team is there to ensure you a great memorable trip in the luxury in Indochina with our hotels selection with guests choice, we bring guests to most stylish shops, trendy restaurants. We provide discerning guests a personal service with attention to details. Our guides know how to make your travel experience truly special, truly hassle-free, and truly enriching," said Luxury Travel's Product Manager Tony Pham.

Guests enjoy added-value benefits as well: a special Luxury Travel gift, free laundry and complimentary sweets and greeting at the airport by a representative of the company, chocolate and flowers in the room. The Lux's package includes early check-in and late check-out along with upgrade to more luxurious rooms depending upon availability.

These special packages are available until Dec 30th, 2009 and priced from 4344 USD for 14 days from Hanoi to Saigon and ends Siem Riep, based on a twin sharing, daily departure on private basis from 2 people.

To enjoy this special discount with company secret code. Check it out at luxurytravelvietnam.com

About Luxury Travel Vietnam

Luxury Travel Co., Ltd. (Vietnam) is a 100% fully registered and privately-owned Vietnamese company.

It was founded by luxury travel specialists since the 1990s when Vietnam had just opened its doors to worldwide tourism.

The company's depth of experience and large infrastructure enable it to create unique itineraries with the operational confidence to fulfill client expectations.

Luxury Travel has won numerous travel awards.

Cambodian PM to join ASEAN+3 meeting in Thailand


PHNOM PENH, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen confirmed on Monday that he will go to Thailand in April to participate in the ASEAN plus Three (China, Japan and South Korea) Meeting.

"I will leave Cambodia for Thailand from April 10 to 12 for the ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) plus Three Meeting," national television TVK quoted him as telling a pagoda-opening ceremony in Kompong Speu province.

The meeting will be conducted separately from the 14th ASEAN Summit because Thailand has some internal affairs to settle, he said.

"I will come back as early as possible to celebrate the Khmer New Year which falls on April 13 to 16 this year," he added.

The 14th ASEAN Summit was held in Thailand's central resort town Hua Hin during Feb. 27 to March 1.

Editor: Deng Shasha

As Tribunal Nears, Trauma Surfaces

A nurse gives medicine to a woman at Cambodia's largest mental health care facility in Phnom Penh, Cambodia - one of the world's most psychologically traumatized populations due to decades of war, genocide and loss of home and family. (AP Photo)

By Poch Reasey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
09 March 2009

When the trials of former Khmer Rouge leaders start, former victims of the regime will have to relive the nightmare. The proceedings will be aired on televisions nationally and internationally. Already, the proceedings are starting to affect survivors of the regime.

Van Nath lived through incarceration at the infamous Tuol Sleng prison known as S-21. He will be one of the witnesses when Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Kek Iev, also known as Duch, goes on trial March 30. He told VOA Khmer that he felt unsettled as Duch’s trial approached.

“I have waited for this day for 30 years,” he said. “It’s natural that as the end is near, I feel unsettled. I cannot sleep at night. I keep waking up at night. And I ask myself why? I can’t find an answer.”

Thousands of miles away, a Cambodian-American author feels the same. Him Chanrithy lost both her parents and several siblings under the Khmer Rouge. Him Chanrithy, the author of a memoir, “When Broken Glass Floats,” told VOA Khmer she is trying to avoid news of the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

“On Feb. 17 when I heard from my friend in California about the initial hearing on Duch’s upcoming trial, I tried not to read about it, because it reminds me of the hardship under the Pol Pot regime,” she said. “It also brings back the nightmares.”

Kimlong Ung also lives in Oregon. When the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in April 1975, he was only 15 years old. He lost both his parents and a sister. He loses sleep, he said, tribunal or no.

“Whether there is a trial or not, I always have this feeling,” he said. “So when I go to bed, I often have nightmares. Sometimes I only sleep three or four hours.”

Dr. Kar Sunbaunat is the leading psychiatrist in Cambodia and the director of the Natural Program of Mental Health in Cambodia. Kar Sunbaunat said Cambodians suffered mentally starting in the late 1960s, as the Vietnam War spilled into Cambodia. But the most serious damage to their mental health really started during the Khmer Rouge regime.

“The Khmer Rouge tribunal is not the only reason to remind people of their past trauma,” he said in an interview. “Whenever they see images of people being killed anywhere in the world, it will remind them of what happened to them under the Pol Pot regime, and the symptoms will come back.”

Kar Sunbaunat said the Cambodian government anticipated the problems even after the tribunal and has trained about 35 psychiatrists to deal with the need. He said about 150 doctors have been trained on how to deal with mental health patients.

Helen Jarvis, director of public information of the tribunal, said her office is sending workers to remote areas to educate people about the importance of the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

“The court itself is making every effort to deal with people we come into contact with, so anybody who is called as a witness or anybody who is interviewed, we are doing our best to give them support,” she said.

Besides government services, there are a few non-governmental organizations in Cambodia that provide mental health care.

Dr. Chhim Sotheara is the director of the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization, one of the country's few mental health facilities. He said recently his organization has signed an agreement with the tribunal to provide mental health support to witnesses and victims of the Khmer Rouge.

Chhim Sotheara tries to remind people that it’s normal to have nightmares. His center has set up hotlines to consult people who need help.

“As we have predicted before, many Cambodians have come to us for advice on how to deal with the trauma that has started to come back as the tribunal nears,” he said. “A number of people say they have nightmares, that they see their dead relatives calling for justice. So the trauma is coming back.”

Monk Honored in Second-Year Funeral Rite

Venerable Maha Ghosananda

By Nuch Sarita, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
09 March 2009

During the dark period of civil war, a Cambodian monk led a campaign for peace in his nation. For years, the venerable Maha Ghosananda contributed to the cause of peace, and he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times. He died on March 12, 2007, and his passing will be marked in an upcoming second anniversary.

Monks and laymen alike will honor the life of Maha Ghosananda across the United States, with an official second-year funeral ceremony to be held at Trai Ratanaram, a community center for Cambodian monks in North Chelmsford, Mass., March 12 through March 15.

“They changed a new robe for him, and bought a new golden coffin to permanently store his body,” said venerable monk Sao Khon, chairman of the Ratanaram pagoda. Laypeople are busy in their communities preparing to honor him, he said.

In years past, Sao Khon said, he traveled with Maha Ghosananda to the World Peace Council, for the cause of peace in Israel, Palestine, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia and other countries. At the UN, they distributed a book advocating peace.

“The honorable Ghosananda was a Cambodian hero monk when our Cambodia was at war,” Sao Khon said. “Using Buddhist dharma, he brought Khmer suffering the world’s attention.”

Maha Ghosananda was born in a very poor family in Daun Keo village, Takeo province, in 1929. He entered the monkhood in 1943 and was one of supreme patriarch Chuon Nath’s students and a member of delegation led by supreme patriarch Chuon Nath to participate in the 6th International Buddhist Monk Congress to celebrate the 2, 500th anniversary of Lord Buddha's Parinibanna, in 1956 in Rangoon, Burma’s capital.

He studied at Nalanda University in India and received a doctorate in philosophy in Buddhism in 1969. In 1980, he established an inter-religious organization called Mission for Peace. In 1981 he led the Khmer community to build Buddhist pagodas in Cambodia, the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. He led 16 Dhamayatras, walks for peace, in Cambodia, advocating nonviolence within society and human rights.

His fellow monks remember him well.

Venerable monk Treung Ky Chantha, a representative of the Kampuchea Krom monks in the US, told VOA Khmer Maha Ghosananda had preached “truthfulness, forbearance and gratitude” in his efforts to bring peace to Cambodia.

“He always paid attention to helping Cambodian society, within and outside the country,” Treung Ky Chantha said. “He devoted his whole life to his nation and religion. In particular, he always led Dhamayatra [peace marches] in Cambodia, as well as in other places in the world to pray for peace, happiness and prosperity. Although he passed away, his name and reputation are still alive to be a good role model for all Cambodian people.”

Maha Ghosananda contributed to social development through Buddhism. He led the first Dhamayatra in the northern part of Cambodia in 1992, as UNTAC helped prepare the first democratic election in Cambodian history.

Venerable monk Nhem Kim Teng, abbot of Prey Thlork pagaoda, in Svay Rieng province, is currently doing his doctoral studies in Buddhism at Delhi University in India.

“Honorable Maha Ghosananda participated in Dhamayatras in India, Thailand, Sri Lanka and other countries at war,” Nhem Kim Teng said. “He was recognized throughout the world as a person dedicated to the quest of peace not only in Cambodia, but across the world. People knew his name as a Cambodian hero monk who actively advocated peace through Buddhism.”

Venerable monk Chhuon Chhoeun, of Damnak pagoda, Siem Reap province, said that in 1993 and 1998 Maha Ghosananda led Dhamayatra from his pagoda, with 2,000 Buddhist novices, monks, and nuns throughout Siem Reap town.

“The Dhamayatra led by honorable Maha Ghosananda from Damnak pagoda in 1993 was not in the fighting areas because conflicting factions in our country were already united,” he said. “Before, his Dhamayatra went to fighting areas, such as Samlot, where the Khmer Rouge were positioned.”

Men Maya, a Buddhist follower at Dhamikaram pagoda in Rhode Island, met with Maha Ghosananda in 1983. She, like many others, was devoted to him, seeing him again in 2006 and staying with him until the end.

“I served him for five months and a half until his last day,” she said.

Ancient Temple Needs Protected: Expert

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
09 March 2009

The listing of Banteay Chhmar temple, in Banteay Meanchey province, would likely bring an end to the destruction of the temple, a leading tourism operator said Thursday.

The temple near the Thai border was constructed during the 12th and 13th centuries, in the reign of Jayavarman VII, like Angkor Thom in the famous temple complex of Angkor Wat.

The temple’s artifacts are tempting to outside collectors, encouraging looting from those who need money, said Moeung Son, president of the Tourism Association of Cambodia.

“There will be no destruction, and it will be well maintained and renovated if we inscribe the temple as a [Unesco] World Heritage,” he said, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

The World Heritage classification of nearby Preah Vihear temple sparked protests in Bangkok and at the temple and led to a massive armed build-up between Thailand and Cambodia, creating a military deadlock that has continued since July 2008.

However, Moeung Son said similar problems would not arise at Banteay Chhmar temple, which clearly belonged to Cambodia, while the need to protect it was urgent.

“Banteay Chhmar temple is almost destroyed,” he said.

Economy worst since Great Depression, World Bank says

Monday March 9

The world economy is on track to post its worst performance since the Great Depression, with developing countries bearing much of the economic pain, the World Bank said Monday.

Those countries face a credit shortfall of up to $700 billion, the bank said.

"The global economy is likely to shrink this year for the first time since World War II," the bank said, noting that global industrial production, by the middle of 2009, could be as much as 15% lower than in 2008.

Based on those projections, world trade is on track to record its largest decline in 80 years, with the sharpest losses expected in East Asia.

The World Bank, which helps finance the debt of developing nations, says the financial crisis will have long-term implications for them.

"Many institutions that have provided financial intermediation for developing country clients have virtually disappeared. Developing countries that can still access financial markets face higher borrowing costs, and lower capital flows, leading to weaker investment and slower growth in the future," the bank said.

"When this crisis began, people in developing countries, especially those in Africa, were the innocent bystanders in this crisis, yet they have no choice but to bear its harsh consequences," World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in remarks prepared for a development conference in London on Monday.

According to the World Bank: "The most affected sectors are those that were the most dynamic, typically urban-based exporters, construction, mining and manufacturing. Cambodia, for example, has lost 30,000 jobs in the garment industry, its only significant export industry. More than half a million jobs have been lost in the last three months of 2008 in India, including in gems and jewelry, autos and textiles."

The World Bank says stimulus packages for the major economic powers will limit money for the developing world, hindering their economic growth.

"Clearly, fiscal resources do have to be injected in rich countries that are at the epicenter of the crisis. But channeling infrastructure investment to the developing world, where it can release bottlenecks to growth and quickly restore demand, can have an even bigger bang for the buck and should be a key element to recovery," Justin Yifu Lin, World Bank chief economist and senior vice president, said in remarks prepared for Monday's development conference in London.

Yin thinks developed countries will enhance their own recoveries if they spend some of their fiscal stimulus in developing countries.

WWF unveils sustainable rattan production plan

VOV News

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) launched a US$3.1-million programme in Hanoi last week to sustainably manage rattan production in ‘Indochina’.

The project will cover 100 villages in three ‘Indochinese’ countries by 2010, following the successful implementation of a pilot programme in six villages in Laos and Cambodia from 2006 to 2009.

“The project aims to limit the negative impacts of rattan production on humans and the environment by getting stakeholders in these three countries to work together transparently,” said a representative of the European Commission’s delegation in Hanoi.

The project will receive financial support from the international retailer of home-products IKEA and the German development finance institution (DEG).

The global rattan market is worth around US$4 billion with more than 50 species of rattan grown in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Vietnam exports almost 60 percent of all its finished rattan products to the European Union.


Cambodia mulls probe of foundation supporting LTTE


PHNOM PENH, March 9 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian government was considering to investigate the actions of a local foundation which allegedly supported Sri Lanka's separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, said national media on Monday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has sent a letter to Interior Minister Sar Kheng to request him to do so, said English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodia Daily.

The foreign ministry received a diplomatic notice from the U.S. Embassy warning of the existence of the U.S.-based Tamil Foundation, the paper quoted the letter dated Feb. 26 as saying.

"Please, Minister, be informed about the organization and take measures to investigate the actions of this organization," said the letter, while not elaborating whether the Tamil Foundation was known to be active within Cambodia.

In July 2007, international security magazine the Jane's Intelligence Review reported that Cambodia was a significant source of weapons for the Tamil Tigers, but failed to mention its sources.

The Cambodian government denied it at the time, saying that Cambodia had destroyed many of its surplus arms and that the report referred to the situation before 1998.

Editor: Xiong Tong

Cambodia hosts regional seminar on peaceful, sustainable societies


PHNOM PENH, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia on Monday hosted a regional seminar on the role of parliaments in promoting peaceful and sustainable societies in Southeast Asia.

The political stability and the sustainable development would not have been possible, if there was a dearth of responsibility, willingness, and strong commitment of the people in the country for the cause of peace and national reconciliation and to join the support from international communities, said Chea Sim, Cambodian President of Senate, in the opening remark of the two-day long meeting.

After the war ended in the country in 1998, the Cambodian government made an effort to strengthen peace, security, social order and political stability in a bid to stabilize macro-economy and to integrate Cambodia into the regional and international framework, he said.

In the context of the post war society like Cambodia, matters of women, gender equity, human rights as well as education, culture, health and social work needed to receive special attention, he said.

"Even Cambodia is in peace, we have still faced with these matters," he said.

"We cooperate with the government to fulfill the obligations of our state in an extensive regional and international cooperation in the age of globalization especially in the battle against drug, cross border crimes, and terrorism," he added.

Lawmakers, researchers and policy makers from Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Timor Leste, Vietnam, Australia and Switzerland attended the seminar. 

Editor: Fang Yang