Tuesday, 8 March 2011

ASEAN chair proposes Cambodia-Thai border meeting on March 24

via CAAI

English.news.cn
2011-03-08

PHNOM PENH, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia, the rotating ASEAN chair, has proposed meetings of Cambodian-Thai defense ministers and border chiefs on March 24-25 in Bogor, Indonesia, said Koy Kuong, the spokesman for Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on Tuesday.

Koy Kuong said that Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on Monday sent a letter to propose the meetings of Cambodia-Thai General Border Committee (GBC) and Joint Border Committee on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) in Bogor.

"This morning, His Excellency Hor Namhong (Cambodian Foreign Minister) has already replied to the meeting proposal, Cambodia agreed with the proposed schedule," he said.

"In the letter to Marty M. Natalegawa, Hor Namhong wrote that the meetings must be with the presence of ASEAN chair or representative -- at least at the opening of the meetings," said Koy Kuong. "And when the meetings are wrapped up, Cambodia and Thailand have to report to ASEAN chair on the results of the meetings."

"Cambodia hopes that Thailand will also agree with the meeting proposal," he added.

The border between Thailand and Cambodia has never been completely demarcated.

Although the International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the Temple of Preah Vihear belonged to Cambodia, the row over the 4.6-square-km territory around the temple has never been resolved.

The conflict has occurred just a week after Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008. Since then both sides have built up military forces along the border, and periodic clashes happened, resulting in the casualties of troops on both sides.

The latest clashes on Feb. 4-7, unleashed a barrage of artillery shells on both sides of the border, have killed and wounded many soldiers and citizens, and caused tens of thousands of the two countries' villagers near the disputed areas to flee.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Editor: Xiong Tong

Tensions rise anew on Cambodia, Thai border

via CAAI

PHNOM PENH, March 8 (AP) - (Kyodo)—Tensions are again rising on the Cambodian-Thai border near the ancient Preah Vihear Temple as Thai troops began to move heavy construction vehicles into the area and asked five Thai soldiers deployed with five Cambodians in a buffer zone to pull back, a government official told Kyodo News on Tuesday.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said the Thai soldiers moved back to the established Thai zone earlier in the day.

"It is a provocative act," Phay Siphan charged.

A military commanders based near the temple, who asked not to be named, said the area across from the temple is low-lying and crossed by a stream.

"Tanks and armored personnel vehicles cannot access this area because of the small stream, therefore, the Thai troops might want to make it ready for quick access," he suggested.

Indonesia pledged Feb. 22 to dispatch unarmed military observers to Cambodia and Thailand to monitor a cease-fire along the disputed border and the Cambodian source suggested the Thai moves Tuesday may be to consolidate ground before the Indonesians arrive.

Cambodia and Thailand have been at loggerheads since 2008 over 4.6 square kilometers of land along the border near the Cambodian temple.

Since then, several armed clashes have erupted.

In the most recent from Feb. 4 to 7, at least 10 people died, dozens were wounded and more than 25,000 people were displaced.

Tourist boom puts Asia's treasures at risk

 Tourists walk up to the world heritage Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap province, Cambodia

A guide (L) and tourists at the world heritage Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap, some 300 km northwest of Phnom Penh

Fact file on Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple complex

via CAAI

By Michelle Fitzpatrick (AFP)
SIEM REAP, Cambodia — The faded 'No Climbing' signs are no match for the tourists jostling to capture that perfect shot of the sun setting over the temple of Angkor Wat, Cambodia's most famous attraction.

The view is stunning but the chaotic scene at Phnom Bakheng, also known as the sunset temple, is not exactly relaxing and it can be a struggle to even get a picture with no strangers in it.

Visitors to Angkor National Park topped 1.15 million in 2010, up 25 percent on the year before. And at tourist spots across the region it's a similar story.

As the world recovers from the financial crisis and infrastructure in developing countries improves, the number of people drawn to Asia's cultural and natural riches has exploded.

While this brings in much-needed revenue, observers fear that the growth in tourism is putting unprecedented pressure on precious and often fragile World Heritage sites.

At Angkor Wat, the most impressive of the park's many temples, tourists are largely free to wander around the 12th-century complex, ignoring one-way signs and clambering over fallen stones.

Many lean against the ancient walls, while others trace delicate bas reliefs with their fingers.

"You start to notice a little bit of wear and tear and you're not sure if it's from centuries of use or if it's from lots of tourists," said Rona Soranno, 36, from California, after completing a tour of the temple's inner courtyard.

Her 33-year-old partner Marcus Welsh added: "On the one hand it's totally awesome that I am able to step on the stones and be close to so much history, but you have to wonder what it's going to look like years from now."

According to the Global Heritage Fund, a US-based non-profit organisation that works to protect heritage sites in developing countries, "Angkor is highly endangered from this lack of control."

"These ruins are 600-800 years old and need to be protected from tourism using standard routes, coverings, walkways and enforcement. This is not rocket science," said the group's executive director, Jeff Morgan.

The Apsara Authority, which oversees Angkor's upkeep, says it has taken steps to minimise harm to the buildings by roping off the most fragile structures, employing more than 270 tourist guards and diverting people away from the most crowded sites.

And twice a year the authority meets with UNESCO officials and foreign experts to "discuss protection efforts and challenges", said Ngeth Sothy, the group's vice-director of the Department of Angkor Tourist Development.

Further east, the Great Wall of China, one of the world's most magnificent structures, sees some 10 million visitors a year.

It too is feeling the strain from soaring tourism.

Parts of the wall, which was built over centuries and stretches for more than 8,800 kilometres (5,500 miles), are covered in graffiti. People have also been known to camp and hold raves at the wall, often leaving behind litter.

Most of what remains is in bad shape, according to William Lindesay, a Briton who has spent nearly a quarter-century working on wall conservation.

"Only 550 kilometres are in very good condition -- that is, the wall has a structure, with towers still intact," he told AFP late last year.

Measures have been taken to limit the damage and new regulations now forbid any construction within 500 metres of the site. But Lindesay says this is just not good enough.

"It's a story of disappearing history," he said. "Once it's gone, it's gone."

That it is possible to limit the damage to ancient sites while welcoming large numbers of visitors is proved in Indonesia, where some two million people flock to the ninth-century Buddhist temple Borobudur each year, according to the site's head of conservation Marsis Sutopo.

"Tourists are not allowed to smoke in Borobudur temple. They are not allowed to wear hard sole shoes," Sutopo said of the strict measures at the complex.

"We have a routine conservation. This year, we will clean the drainage on the bottom of the temple. Every two years we have to report to UNESCO about our effort," he said.

As a result, the Global Heritage Fund believes Borobudur "is relatively stable".

It is not just the region's oldest structures that have become victims of their own success.

For years, the 17th-century Taj Mahal, India's white-marbled monument to love that attracts some three million tourists annually, was as much at risk from tourism as from pollution before steps were taken in the late 1990s to reduce the impact from vehicle traffic and nearby factories.

The building underwent a major facelift in 2007 but conservationists say it can be fully protected only if the number of visitors is restricted.

"Footfalls are indeed a major pressure on the monument and so access to the white platforms in the main mausoleum should be restricted through the levy of high entry fee," said prominent Agra conservationist Rajan Kishore.

Asia's natural treasures are also struggling to keep up with an ever-growing number of visitors.

Vietnam's Halong Bay with its striking limestone cliffs and emerald waters drew more than 2.3 million tourists in the first 10 months of last year -- up about 114 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Many explore the area by boat and it is a constant struggle to keep them from throwing waste overboard, observers say.

"Halong Bay is in big trouble from solid waste destroying the environment," said Morgan.

Faced with a myriad of problems, the future might seem gloomy for some of Asia's best attractions but according to Morgan, "good management of heritage sites despite millions of visitors is possible".

"The big question is when will we treat our heritage sites with the funding and respect they deserve?"

Cambodian women struggling to meet MDGs


via CAAI

March 8, 2011 12:13:56

Eighteen years since the end of Cambodia's civil war, the lives of many Cambodians are little improved, with many seeking out a living from day to day.

With four years to go before the UN's target date of Millenium Development Goals, it looks like Cambodia still faces the challenge in poverty eradication, education, maternal health and gender rights.

Mrs Thida Khus is the executive director of Silaka, a Cambodian NGO working to promote gender equality and equity in Cambodia.

When Cambodia fell to the Khmer Rouge in 1975, Thida and her husband lived in Thailand where he was teaching mathematics.

They stayed briefly in a Thai refugee camp before Thida and her children went to the United States, her husband joining them later.

Thida Khus has been working in human resource development for the past 18 years.

Presenter: Sen Lam
Speakers: Thida Khus, executive director, Silaka, Phnom Penh

Somaly Mam

via CAAI

Cambodian anti-sex trafficking campaigner and founder of AFESIP, rescuing women from brothels and supporting their recovery

Emine Saner
The Guardian,
Tuesday 8 March 2011
 Article history

Growing up in extreme poverty under the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, Mam was sold into sexual slavery when she was 12, eventually ending up in a Phnom Penh brothel where she endured unimaginable daily torture and rape. After being made to watch as another girl, her best friend, was murdered, Mam escaped and was helped out of Cambodia by a French aid worker.

Activist Somaly Mam attends the US Stop Sex Trafficking Of Children & Young People Campaign kick off event in New York City Photograph: Bennett Raglin/WireImage

Instead of trying to rebuild her life in France, where she married, Mam returned to Cambodia to help girls who hadn't been so lucky. In 1996, she set up her organisation Afesip (Action for Women in Distressing Situations), to rescue girls and women from brothels and support their recovery. She has already helped more than 4,000 women and children, some as young as five, escape sexual slavery in south-east Asia and in 2007 set up the Somaly Mam Foundation, to raise awareness, campaign for change and fund projects to rescue and rehabilitate women and children sold into slavery.

Mam's work has come at a terrible personal cost. Her life has been threatened by pimps and brothel owners, and in 2006, her then 14-year-old daughter was kidnapped and raped by three men, as retaliation for the work her mother does. In an interview in 2005 , Mam admitted to periods of desperation, including more than one suicide attempt. But in more recent years, asked why she continues to fight, she has always responded, "I don't want to go without leaving a trace."

Thai "Yellow Shirt" activist in good health: Cambodian prison chief

via CAAI

March 08, 2011

A Thai high-profile "Yellow Shirt" movement activist Veera Somkwamkid being jailed in Cambodia for the alleged espionage charge is in good health, although he has a cold and insomnia, a Cambodian prison official said Tuesday.

Mong Kimheng, the chief of Prey Sar prison where Veera was jailed, made the remarks following Thai media's report saying that Veera's relatives visited him on March 4 and found he has fallen ill and said the cell where he was being jailed was "in very poor conditions."

"He just caught a cold these days due to climate change, but he is in good health," said Mong Kimheng.

"We have provided him with special care, and our doctor has his health checked up twice every day," he said by telephone.

"Veera told our doctor that he has some headache and insomnia," he said. "It is normal that he has a headache and cannot sleep because he sleeps in prison and has to serve many years in prison. "

Mong Kimheng said the cell is in good condition. "Other cells, we house six inmates, but Veera's cell, we allow only two inmates, " he said.

"And for food, Thai embassy officials have brought him twice every day, he does eat food provided by the prison."

"The information on Veera's illness is just to call for sympathy and to catch special attention from the Thai government in order to seek for royal pardon," he said.

Veera Somkwamkid, one of the leaders of the People's Network against Corruption and a high-profile nationalist activist in the Thai Patriots Network, and his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, were convicted by Cambodian court on Feb. 1 of illegal entry, unlawful entry into military base and espionage and were sentenced to eight years and six years in jail respectively.

The two decided not to appeal a Phnom Penh court's decision that found both of them guilty of illegal entry and espionage, but would seek a royal pardon instead.

Source: Xinhua

Cambodia bans women's day rally: organisers

via CAAI

Published on 8 March 2011

Cambodia has banned a public rally to mark International Women's Day, organisers have said, amid growing concern about a crackdown on freedom of expression in the country.

Phnom Penh municipal authorities rejected a request by trade unions and non-governmental organisations to mark the day's 100th anniversary with a large gathering in the capital, the Cambodian Women's Movement Organisation said.

No reason was given for the refusal, organisers said.

"It's a sad commentary on the current state of human rights in Cambodia," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW).

"It says that the government is not committed to permitting a free exercise of the right to associate and the right to assemble. Women have to organise to assert their rights in countries like Cambodia," he told AFP.

Cambodian Women's Movement Organisation president Meas Morokot said the decision to ban the public event was "regrettable".

"Our planned rally does not serve any political party. We all just want to celebrate women," she said.

Organisers will instead hold a gathering for some 1,800 people on private property on the outskirts of the city, she added.

Phnom Penh governor Kep Chuk Tema, whose signature was on the letter banning the rally, said he was too busy to comment.

The Cambodian government has come under fire from rights groups in recent months for stifling free speech and cracking down on critics.

Late last year the government opened a so-called Freedom Park in the capital, a designated protest area that rights groups said was an attempt to keep protesters out of sight and would be used to deny requests for rallies to be staged elsewhere in the city.

"It's clear that the government has an almost knee-jerk reaction against any sort of rally, for whatever purpose, in central Phnom Penh," Robertson said.

International Women's Day is a public holiday in Cambodia and celebratory banners have been erected in the capital to draw attention to the occasion.

OV association in Cambodia convenes congress

http://english.vovnews.vn/

via CAAI

08/03/2011

A series of ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meetings (SOMs) has been taking place in Indonesia’s Yogyakarta city from March 7-9, discussing what the bloc has to work towards the building of the ASEAN Community in 2015.

The meetings are also a preparation for the 18th ASEAN Summit scheduled for May 7-8.

The Director-General for ASEAN of the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, Djauhari Oratmangun said on March 6 that the SOMs will consider the implementation of each ASEAN member country’s commitments to the master plan on building the ASEAN Community, which is based on three pillars: economics, security-politics and socio-culture.

The meetings will also work on a draft statement to be issued by ASEAN leaders at the 18th ASEAN Summit, he said.

According to Djauhari Oratmangun, the sensitive Thailand-Cambodia border issue will not be put on table during the meetings.

VOVNews/VNA

Thai government seeks medical care to sick inmate in Cambodia

via CAAI

March 08, 2011 

The Thai embassy in Phnom Penh has sought permission from the Cambodian government to provide medical care to a Thai being jailed there for illegal entry and espionage charges.

Thai embassy officials have asked authorities of the Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh to send a doctor to see Veera Somkwamkid in jail or take him outside for treatment, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi was quoted as saying by the English- language Bangkok Post online.

Thani said the request was made in responding to news reports of Thai media that Veera was being ill, but he said Cambodian authorities have not replied to the request yet.

Thai media reported that Veera's relatives visited him on March 4 and found that he has fallen ill.

The relatives also said that Veera and his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon did not appeal a Phnom Penh court's decision that found both of them guilty of illegal entry and espionage, but would be seeking a royal pardon instead.

Veera, a leader of the nationalistic Thai Patriots Network, whose supporters have been protesting against the government for its mishandling of the Thai-Cambodian border dispute, and Ratree and five other Thais were arrested by Cambodian soldiers on Dec. 29 for illegal entry.

On Jan. 21, the five Thais were found guilty by a Phnom Penh court of illegal entry into Cambodia and trespassing into a military area. Each was given nine months of imprisonment and fined one million riels (250 U.S. dollars), but the jail term was suspended.

The five returned to Bangkok the following day after spending almost a month in Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh.

Veera and Ratree were later sentenced to eight and six years of imprisonment respectively without suspension.

Source: Xinhua

Cambodia's treasures among areas at risk of soaring tourist numbers

Locals are concerned about the surge in visitors to Cambodia's Angkor National Park, which topped 1.15 million in 2010, up 25 per cent on the previous year. Source: News Limited

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/

via CAAI

AFP
March 08, 2011

SOME of Asia's most popular, and fragile, attractions are in danger of being overrun, as soaring tourist numbers threaten ancient infrastructure.

The faded 'No Climbing' signs are no match for the tourists jostling to capture that perfect shot of the sun setting over the temple of Angkor Wat, Cambodia's most famous attraction.

The view is stunning but the chaotic scene at Phnom Bakheng, also known as the sunset temple, is not exactly relaxing and it can be a struggle to even get a picture with no strangers in it.

Visitors to Angkor National Park topped 1.15 million in 2010, up 25 per cent on the previous year.

And at tourist spots across the region it's a similar story.

As the world recovers from the financial crisis and infrastructure in developing countries improves, the number of people drawn to Asia's cultural and natural riches has exploded.

While this brings in much-needed revenue, observers fear that the growth in tourism is putting unprecedented pressure on precious and often fragile World Heritage sites.

At Angkor Wat, the most impressive of the park's many temples, tourists are largely free to wander around the 12th-century complex, ignoring one-way signs and clambering over fallen stones.

Many lean against the ancient walls, while others trace delicate bas reliefs with their fingers.

"You start to notice a little bit of wear and tear and you're not sure if it's from centuries of use or if it's from lots of tourists," said Rona Soranno, 36, from California, after completing a tour of the temple's inner courtyard.

Her 33-year-old partner Marcus Welsh added: "On the one hand it's totally awesome that I am able to step on the stones and be close to so much history, but you have to wonder what it's going to look like years from now."

According to the Global Heritage Fund, a US-based non-profit organisation that works to protect heritage sites in developing countries, "Angkor is highly endangered from this lack of control."

"These ruins are 600-800 years old and need to be protected from tourism using standard routes, coverings, walkways and enforcement. This is not rocket science," said the group's executive director, Jeff Morgan.

The Apsara Authority, which oversees Angkor's upkeep, says it has taken steps to minimise harm to the buildings by roping off the most fragile structures, employing more than 270 tourist guards and diverting people away from the most crowded sites.

And twice a year the authority meets with UNESCO officials and foreign experts to "discuss protection efforts and challenges", said Ngeth Sothy, the group's vice-director of the Department of Angkor Tourist Development.

Further east, the Great Wall of China, one of the world's most magnificent structures, sees some 10 million visitors a year.

It too is feeling the strain from soaring tourism.

Parts of the wall, which was built over centuries and stretches for more than 8800km, are covered in graffiti. People have also been known to camp and hold raves at the wall, often leaving behind litter.

Most of what remains is in bad shape, according to William Lindesay, a Briton who has spent nearly a quarter-century working on wall conservation.

"Only 550km are in very good condition - that is, the wall has a structure, with towers still intact," he told AFP late last year.

Measures have been taken to limit the damage and new regulations now forbid any construction within 500 metres of the site. But Lindesay says this is just not good enough.

"It's a story of disappearing history," he said. "Once it's gone, it's gone."

That it is possible to limit the damage to ancient sites while welcoming large numbers of visitors is proved in Indonesia, where some two million people flock to the ninth-century Buddhist temple Borobudur each year, according to the site's head of conservation Marsis Sutopo.

"Tourists are not allowed to smoke in Borobudur temple. They are not allowed to wear hard sole shoes," Sutopo said of the strict measures at the complex.

"We have a routine conservation. This year, we will clean the drainage on the bottom of the temple. Every two years we have to report to UNESCO about our effort," he said.

As a result, the Global Heritage Fund believes Borobudur "is relatively stable".

It is not just the region's oldest structures that have become victims of their own success.

For years, the 17th-century Taj Mahal, India's white-marbled monument to love that attracts some three million tourists annually, was as much at risk from tourism as from pollution before steps were taken in the late 1990s to reduce the impact from vehicle traffic and nearby factories.

The building underwent a major facelift in 2007 but conservationists say it can be fully protected only if the number of visitors is restricted.

"Footfalls are indeed a major pressure on the monument and so access to the white platforms in the main mausoleum should be restricted through the levy of high entry fee," said prominent Agra conservationist Rajan Kishore.

Asia's natural treasures are also struggling to keep up with an ever-growing number of visitors.

Vietnam's Halong Bay with its striking limestone cliffs and emerald waters drew more than 2.3 million tourists in the first 10 months of last year - up about 114 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Many explore the area by boat and it is a constant struggle to keep them from throwing waste overboard, observers say.

"Halong Bay is in big trouble from solid waste destroying the environment," said Morgan.

Faced with a myriad of problems, the future might seem gloomy for some of Asia's best attractions but according to Morgan, "good management of heritage sites despite millions of visitors is possible".

"The big question is when will we treat our heritage sites with the funding and respect they deserve?"

Life in Cambodia on International Women's Day

via CAAI

Sarany Prak lives in Snapmok village in Prek Kaporp commune in Battambang, Cambodia. She is the general manager of Ek Phnom micro credit union


guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 8 March 2011

Sarany Prak

I was married in 1979, but it was not voluntary. Parents on both sides agreed that we should get married. I didn't want to. I was young. I enjoyed going to parties.

When the Khmer Rouge came to power I was 13 or 14. I had to leave school because they said we couldn't go any more. The Khmer Rouge forced me to work. I had to help build a dam and do rice farming. Everyone was treated the same – women weren't treated any differently.

When the Khmer Rouge lost power my parents said I should have a husband and a family and start a new life. At first I didn't like my husband, but I had to adjust so that we could live together and raise children. Now I'm much happier.

I have much more freedom than my mother had. When she was young, women only worked in the house, cooking and taking care of the children, and were dependent on their husbands. But I can do much more, and I can have a job. My husband understands about gender rights, and so do my sons and daughter.

I wouldn't force my daughter to get married, she has her freedom and she's not married yet. She sews, and has her own business – so she can generate her own income. She still lives at home with me.

My daughter has a low level of education. The family fled to the capital, Phnom Penh, around 1992-93 to escape the Khmer Rouge, who were still active in the Battambang area. My children were still small, and because I had my own sewing business I needed my daughter to stay home to help me look after my youngest son. I had no money at that time to pay for more than one child to attend school. My other son didn't know how to look after his brother, so he went to school and my daughter stayed at home. I was sad she couldn't go to school.

I'm content with life now. I have some regrets about the past, having to give up my dreams when I got married. But now, because I'm older, I've calmed down.

Rota volunteers visiting Cambodia

http://www.gulf-times.com/

via CAAI

Students and officials of the Kampot Traditional Music School

Volunteers from five Doha international and independent secondary schools are setting off on a seven-day trip to visit the ‘Reach Out To Asia’ funded music school for orphaned and disabled children in Cambodia.

The aim of the trip is to focus on cultural exchange of music and theatre with the Rota volunteers, participating in daily lessons at Kampot Traditional Music School before taking part in a specially arranged musical performance.

Students from Doha Independent School for Boys, Al Bayan Independent Secondary School for Girls, Qatar Academy, Gulf English School and Al Jazeera Academy will also be visiting Cambodia’s capital city Phnom Penh.

Cultural experiences planned for the Rota volunteers include a thrilling Tuc-Tuc ride around Kampot, touring a Durian fruit farm, visits to the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and Central Market, learning traditional fishing techniques on Kep Beach and exploring Cambodia’s unique salt fields.

AKP - The Agence Kampuchea Press


via CAAI

Combating Violence against Women Is a Priority in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, March 8, 2011 AKP – The Ministry of Women’s Affairs has sent a letter to the editor of The Cambodia Daily stressing the royal government’s efforts and achievements in combating violence against women. The full letter dated Mar. 7 reads as follows:




Forum on Cambodia-Thai Relationship


Sakaeo, Thailand March 8, 2011, AKP—H.E Nouv Sowatharo (left), Secretary of State at Cambodian Ministry of Information was greeted by Mr. Sanit Naksooksee, governor of Sakaeo province at Forum on Cambodia-Thai Relationship at Burapa University in Sakaeo today.

The forum is the follow-up of the 3-day seminar on news media management with the participation of 170 news media people including 124 journalists from Cambodia.

By AKP contributor
______

Lao PM Concludes Visit in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, March 8, 2011 AKP – Prime Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, H.E. Thongsing Thammavong, concluded his two-day official visit in Cambodia on Tuesday.

During his stay in the Kingdom, the Lao premier was received by Senate President Samdech Akka Moha Thamma Pothisal Chea Sim. On the occasion, he expressed his country’s support to Cambodia’s stance in peacefully resolving the border dispute with Thailand.

In a meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, H.E. Thongsing Thammavong recognized that Cambodia is victim of Thailand’s internal crisis, as the Lao government has followed closely Cambodian-Thai situation.

Lao PDR highly evaluated the Royal Government of Cambodia for having taken a just position and respected the international law and norms, which gained international community’s support, he added.

Both sides also expressed their satisfaction with Cambodia-Laos cooperation and they agreed to hold different events to mark the 55th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries, including the opening of a fair, art performances and the inauguration of a border marker at Dom Kralar under the presidency of both prime ministers.

The Lao prime minister was also received in a royal audience by His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, at the Royal Palace. He further paid courtesy call on National Assembly President Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin and visited the National Museum.

H.E. Thongsing Thammavong was appointed as Prime Minister of Laos in late December 2010. –AKP

By SOKMOM Nimul

Radio helps tackle violence against women in villages

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/

via CAAI

Tuesday, 08 March 2011 08:00 Ou Mom

Radio and the internet are being used to combat violence against Cambodian women in a scheme to mark today’s International Women’s Day. The Open Institute Organisation in cooperation with the Ministries of Women’s Affairs and Education and other NGOs has launched a campaign to use information communications technology to reach women through radio shows, cell phones and the internet.

Executive Director of Open Institute Organisation Chim Manavy gave The Phnom Penh Post an exclusive interview revealing how Cambodian women are using new technology to fight an old problem.

What is the current level of violence against Cambodian women?
We haven’t yet got any specific data on the decrease or increase of violence against women because we have not yet been able to carry out any national research yet. Some NGOs have published research but that was mostly focused on domestic violence.

If we talk about rape, violence against women seems not to have improved as we have seen through media reports recently.

Violence against women here is not only about domestic violence, but also about physical violence, spiritual violence, economical violence, and damage to reputation. These are all issues that have not been much talked about.

How can ICT help?
ICT stands for Information Communication Technologies which widely focus on media and forums that we use to communicate and transmit the information. For example, we use old technologies such as radio or television to reach rural women, where radio is their most important source of information. New technologies focus on digital transmitters like cell phones and the internet.

How many Cambodian women can access ICT?
Our organisation conducted research in 2010 which has not yet been published. According to that research, the percentage of Cambodian women employed in NGOs who can access ICT is 44 percent. In the public sector, 15.5 percent have access to ICT. In private companies, 32.5 percent of women had access to the internet, while 33.3 percent of university students have access to the internet. However, compared to the number of people who can use ICT, only 6.9 percent of women can use a computer professionally, while only 33 percent of men can use a computer in their professional jobs.

How is ICT important to combat violence against women?
The importance of ICT depends on how people use it. In Cambodia, people use the radio much more than the internet. The more we use ICT, the more information we can get. There’s a saying that information is power.

When women can access ICT, they’ll have more power because ICT can help women gather useful information and give more women a voice, no matter who they are or where they are from.

Moreover, ICT can let women create their own social networks to combine their human resources and financial resources to support any developing strategy such as education or business. It can also help them find support from health, gender, legal services, and so on that can save them time and money.

In addition, communication between men and women through ICT can let men know about differing needs between men and women that can also help to reduce gender stereotypes.

What has your organisation done for this campaign?
We have our website http://women.open.org.kh where we’ve posted all relevant information about women in Khmer that we’ve collected from our staff and other media institutions. We’ve linked our website to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to share the information among men and women to let them share their comments and suggestions.

During the international 16-day campaign called Take Back The Tech in November last, we also encouraged women who posted the most comments on our website and links by giving them a T-shirt.

Moreover, we’ve also published books, bulletins, and posters that have the contact details of services that are useful for women when they are facing violence issues.

What do you expect from this campaign in the future?
For this year and next year, we are still sharing ICT among more Cambodian women and finding the roots of women’s issues. We will cooperate with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to organise a centre in Cambodia called Gender Observatory to reduce the gender gap in society.

Besides this campaign, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs also organised a forum at Pannhasastra University last Wednesday to discuss women’s rights among about 320 students and lecturers.

One in five suffer from Vitamin A deficiencies

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/

Tuesday, 08 March 2011 08:00  Post Staff

Out of the two billion people who suffer from vitamin deficiencies worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation – the result is 19 million deaths per year – with a million of those being children.

Here in Cambodia, an estimated 3 million people out of a population of 14 million, around 20 percent, suffer from Vitamin A deficiency – resulting in blindness, illness, reduced immune function and stunting.

That’s why Professor Eng Huot, secretary of state for the Ministry of Health, took part in working sessions sponsored by Germany-based global chemical giant BASF and its local partner Dynamic Pharma about how to get food companies, in cooperation with standards set by the government, to enhance their food products with fortification.

With industry and NGO experts last week at Phnom Penh’s Sofitel Hotel – including people from palm oil, instant noodle and nutritional food companies – ways were discussed of how to fortify foods in Cambodia so that people would be healthier.

According to five Nobel Prize-winning scientists from the “Copenhagen Consensus”, the fortification of food is the most cost-effective way for governments to help undernourished people.

Other topics discussed were how to include iodine in salt and how mothers and children in Cambodia could get essential nutrients – especially iron and zinc – both during pregnancy and by sprinkling on a fortified powder onto commonly eaten rice porridge that mothers in Cambodia popularly feed to their babies.

Tom Kimson, CEO of Dynamic Pharma, said he was encouraged by the results of the workshop and expected a lot of nutritional benefits for Cambodia’s population based on the government’s support of private food companies choosing to fortify their products with extra vitamins.

The International Development Council runs a programme called Better Foods for Better Lives in Cambodia, which has produced fortified wheat flour for the first time here.

IRD’s scheme is generating jobs for 313 workers during production and packaging of flour, bread, noodles and soy milk, while indirectly supporting over 2,500 additional jobs involving the distribution, and marketing of IRD’s products.

Local wheat milling capacity has increased by 31 percent, and a noodle factory now operates three shifts 26 to 28 days per month.

Radio helps tackle violence against women in villages

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/

Chim Manavy, executive director of the Open Institute Organisation, discusses ways to tackle gender equality through radio education campaigns.

via CAAI

Tuesday, 08 March 2011 08:00 Ou Mom

Radio and the internet are being used to combat violence against Cambodian women in a scheme to mark today’s International Women’s Day. The Open Institute Organisation in cooperation with the Ministries of Women’s Affairs and Education and other NGOs has launched a campaign to use information communications technology to reach women through radio shows, cell phones and the internet.

Executive Director of Open Institute Organisation Chim Manavy gave The Phnom Penh Post an exclusive interview revealing how Cambodian women are using new technology to fight an old problem.

What is the current level of violence against Cambodian women?
We haven’t yet got any specific data on the decrease or increase of violence against women because we have not yet been able to carry out any national research yet. Some NGOs have published research but that was mostly focused on domestic violence.

If we talk about rape, violence against women seems not to have improved as we have seen through media reports recently.

Violence against women here is not only about domestic violence, but also about physical violence, spiritual violence, economical violence, and damage to reputation. These are all issues that have not been much talked about.

How can ICT help?
ICT stands for Information Communication Technologies which widely focus on media and forums that we use to communicate and transmit the information. For example, we use old technologies such as radio or television to reach rural women, where radio is their most important source of information. New technologies focus on digital transmitters like cell phones and the internet.

How many Cambodian women can access ICT?
Our organisation conducted research in 2010 which has not yet been published. According to that research, the percentage of Cambodian women employed in NGOs who can access ICT is 44 percent. In the public sector, 15.5 percent have access to ICT. In private companies, 32.5 percent of women had access to the internet, while 33.3 percent of university students have access to the internet. However, compared to the number of people who can use ICT, only 6.9 percent of women can use a computer professionally, while only 33 percent of men can use a computer in their professional jobs.

How is ICT important to combat violence against women?
The importance of ICT depends on how people use it. In Cambodia, people use the radio much more than the internet. The more we use ICT, the more information we can get. There’s a saying that information is power.

When women can access ICT, they’ll have more power because ICT can help women gather useful information and give more women a voice, no matter who they are or where they are from.

Moreover, ICT can let women create their own social networks to combine their human resources and financial resources to support any developing strategy such as education or business. It can also help them find support from health, gender, legal services, and so on that can save them time and money.

In addition, communication between men and women through ICT can let men know about differing needs between men and women that can also help to reduce gender stereotypes.

What has your organisation done for this campaign?
We have our website http://women.open.org.kh where we’ve posted all relevant information about women in Khmer that we’ve collected from our staff and other media institutions. We’ve linked our website to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to share the information among men and women to let them share their comments and suggestions.

During the international 16-day campaign called Take Back The Tech in November last, we also encouraged women who posted the most comments on our website and links by giving them a T-shirt.

Moreover, we’ve also published books, bulletins, and posters that have the contact details of services that are useful for women when they are facing violence issues.

What do you expect from this campaign in the future?
For this year and next year, we are still sharing ICT among more Cambodian women and finding the roots of women’s issues. We will cooperate with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to organise a centre in Cambodia called Gender Observatory to reduce the gender gap in society.

Besides this campaign, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs also organised a forum at Pannhasastra University last Wednesday to discuss women’s rights among about 320 students and lecturers.

Women and Sport seminar concludes

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/

Photo by: Yeun Ponlok
Gymnastics coach Pich You attends the Women and Sport seminar at NOCC headquarters.

via CAAI

Tuesday, 08 March 2011 08:00 H S Manjunath

A one-day seminar on Women and Sport held under the joint auspices of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia and the Ministry of Womens Affairs has made a strong case for creating a suitable environment for females to pursue sport as a career rather than mere entertainment.

A call for greater participation of women in sports was the central theme of the key note address to the seminar by Dr Low Beng Choo, a member of the International Olympic Committee’s Women and Sports Commission and vice-chair of the Commonwealth Advisory Board on Sport.

Dr Low Beng Choo, who is also a member of the Olympic Council of Asia’s Women and Sports Committee and President of the Softball Confederation of Asia, contended that countries like Cambodia, where women currently outnumber men, should take the lead in formulating a viable policy which would afford better opportunities for females to excel in the field of sports. She also voiced strong support for proportional representation of women in both the administrative and competitive sides of sport.

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs came up with a thoughtful and informative presentation on the role of women in society, also emphasising sports participation.

International charity organisation Indochina Starfish Foundation, which is championing the cause of women in the Kingdom, was singled out as a great success story following its splendid work in the promotion of grassroots football among boys and girls.

The Secretary General of the NOCC, Vath Chamroeun, said the one-day seminar was an eye-opener for Cambodia. He noted an overwhelming consensus had now emerged to create more opportunities for women.

“Keeping this in mind, we will organise an ASEAN Regional Seminar on Women and Sport in Siem Reap later this year,” said Vath Chamrouen.

“We are yet to fix the dates but probably the first week of December, when the Angkor Wat International Marathon is scheduled, could be ideal.”

Bilateral relations

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/

via CAAI

Tuesday, 08 March 2011 08:06 Heng Chivoan

Cambodia’s Tourism Minister Thong Khon (left) shakes hands with Laos Premier Thongsing Thammavong, upon his arrival in Cambodia yesterday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen also met the new Laos premier at the Council of Ministers, where Thongsing said Cambodia was a victim of Thailand’s internal political problems, according to Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith.

Swing away

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/

via CAAI

Tuesday, 08 March 2011 07:59 Heng Chivoan

A girl flies high on the swings at Wat Botum Park in Phnom Penh last week. A children’s playground there was opened in November last year by Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema and has since become a popular place with local children.

High-fire act

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/

via CAAI

Tuesday, 08 March 2011 08:01 Sovan Philong

Tes Phearun, 26, blows fire from his mouth during a performance at No Problem Park on Street 178 in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district. Tes Phearun’s performance is part of the 2011 Salon for Creators, which will see some 26 artists and performers display their talents in Phnom Penh from March 4 to 13. Tes Phearun is also a professor at the Secondary School of Fine Arts.

Global Dispatch: Temple Politics on the Thai-Cambodia Border


via CAAI

The fighting may have ceased on the Thai-Cambodian border but tensions remain high.

By James Burke
Epoch Times Staff Created: Mar 7, 2011

BANGKOK—Being interested in history, and also keen on open spaces, one of my favorite places in Bangkok is a historical park situated on the outskirts of the city.

Ancient Siam is a sprawling 320-hectare park with accurate recreations (some to scale and some not) of over a hundred ancient and historical Thai structures. It’s clean, quiet, tastefully done and roomy—pretty much the opposite of Bangkok.

Among Ancient Siam’s structures is a downscaled version of the Hindu temple known as Preah Vihear, which was completed in the 11th century by the Khmer people.

The temple remake has been erected on a reconstructed hill over 50 meters (164 feet) high while the real Preah Vihear is situated on a 500-meter plus escarpment on the Thai-Cambodian border.

Over the past several years the real temple has been the focal point of a border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia. The first military clash between the two neighbors over the land surrounding Preah Vihear occurred in 2008—the same year the temple was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Further fighting broke out in April 2009, and the most recent clash was last month, which resulted in at least eight deaths and thousands being displaced. The temple was also damaged in the latest round of fighting. Both sides blame the other for shooting first.

While the clashes ceased on Feb. 15, news reports indicate each side continues to reinforce its position, and at the government level, there is little evidence of any real effort to negotiate a way through the crisis.

As for the reasons why there is fighting over what is less than 4.6 square kilometers of territory around the temple, observers are saying it has more to do with Thai politics than anything else.

A few days after visiting Ancient Siam, I attended a panel discussion at the Foreign Correspondents Club Thailand (FCCT) where two prominent historians agreed with the above sentiments.

Thongchai Winichakul, a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that the border issue “has turned from being a tedious technical thing, into a political thing because of Thai domestic politics.”
Back at Ancient Siam, I was busy chasing my 3-year-old son around the base of the replica temple and this time I didn’t notice the information boards, which I had glanced at during my previous visits to the park. Life is a blur when you have a toddler. All I remember reading on the boards was about a 1962 decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to grant the temple to Cambodia.

Nearly 50 years later, the ICJ findings continue to irk nationalistic elements in Thai society who adhere to the ideology that parts of Cambodia, such as Preah Vihear, really belong to them.

The most intense example of Thai nationalist sentiment—the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) also known as the yellow shirts—has called on the government to send in the Thai military against Cambodia and take back “lost” Thai territory. It has also called on its former ally, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to step down for what it says has been his mishandling of the border dispute.

The PAD is the urban middle-class group that powered the bloodless coup against billionaire Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006, and that two years later occupied Bangkok’s two airports to hamstring a pro-Thaksin government.

It is also supposed to be the archenemy of the pro-Thaksin, anti-government red shirts that last year took to the streets of Bangkok in a failed bid to force Prime Minister Abhisit to call an early election. The red-shirt demonstrations degenerated into street fighting and more than 90 people were killed.

Meanwhile the rumor mills were busy in Bangkok last month about the possibility of another coup.

Currently the biggest fear for the Thai establishment, according to historian Chris Baker who also spoke at the FCCT, is the possibility of another pro-Thaksin party being voted into power in national elections, which are expected by midyear.

Baker said that the saber rattling over Preah Vihear is perhaps the old trick of stirring up nationalism, which could help swing the election in favor of the Abhisit government. He also added that there are groups in the army and in the Thai business community that simply don’t want an election, now or never.

“So perhaps they need a crisis. And so perhaps the only circumstances in which the dream of a ‘national government’ might be acceptable is in a state of war,” said Baker.

Thai government seeks medical care to sick inmate in Cambodia

via CAAI

English.news.cn
2011-03-07

BANGKOK, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The Thai embassy in Phnom Penh has sought permission from the Cambodian government to provide medical care to a Thai being jailed there for illegal entry and espionage charges.

Thai embassy officials have asked authorities of the Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh to send a doctor to see Veera Somkwamkid in jail or take him outside for treatment, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi was quoted as saying by the English- language Bangkok Post online.

Thani said the request was made in responding to news reports of Thai media that Veera was being ill, but he said Cambodian authorities have not replied to the request yet.

Thai media reported that Veera's relatives visited him on March 4 and found that he has fallen ill.

The relatives also said that Veera and his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon did not appeal a Phnom Penh court's decision that found both of them guilty of illegal entry and espionage, but would be seeking a royal pardon instead.

Veera, a leader of the nationalistic Thai Patriots Network, whose supporters have been protesting against the government for its mishandling of the Thai-Cambodian border dispute, and Ratree and five other Thais were arrested by Cambodian soldiers on Dec. 29 for illegal entry.

On Jan. 21, the five Thais were found guilty by a Phnom Penh court of illegal entry into Cambodia and trespassing into a military area. Each was given nine months of imprisonment and fined one million riels (250 U.S. dollars), but the jail term was suspended.

The five returned to Bangkok the following day after spending almost a month in Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh.

Veera and Ratree were later sentenced to eight and six years of imprisonment respectively without suspension.

Editor: Mo Hong'e

Bayon Temple Serenaded with Music, Dance for the 'Masters' (Cambodia news in Khmer)

The Like Me's Strike a Chord With Cambodians (Cambodia news in Khmer)

Parents Mourn Stampede Deaths of Two Daughters with 100 Day Ceremony (Cambodia news in Khmer)

Council Approves Wage Bumps for Factory Workers

Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh Monday, 07 March 2011

via CAAI

Photo: AP
The garment sector employs more than 350,000 workers.

"The increases represent a large total sum for factories, and managers will now be looking for increased productivity from satisfied workers."

Factory workers will earn a small increase in wages beginning in March, labor officials said Monday, following a meeting of representatives from government, factories and unions.

The Labor Advisory Committee, which arbitrates issues in Cambodia’s turbulent factory sector, approved an increase in bonuses from $5 to $7 a month if laborers do not miss a day of work.

It also approved a bump of $0.25 for meals in the case of overtime, and a “seniority” wage increase from $2 to $11 per month.

The increases come amid growing unease from workers, who say their pay has not kept up with the rising cost of living in Cambodia. New workers earn a base salary of $55 per month, while senior workers have typically earned $61 a month.

The committee approved an overall monthly salary increase of $5 in July 2010, but workers said it was not enough and have demanded an increase ever since.

Garment exports are main earner of foreign currency in Cambodia, alongside tourism. The sector employs more than 350,000 workers.

“It’s not at the level that pleases us,” At Thun, president of the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, referring to the wage bumps.

Workers need about $93 per month to live in suitable conditions, he said.

“We are not fully happy,” said Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union of Workers in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Free Trade Union workers have threatened to strike in recent weeks if wage increases were not forthcoming. He said Monday’s decision was made only to stave off the strike.

Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, which represents factories, said Monday’s decision was the outcome of months of negotiations between unions and factories.

“It’s a step going forward,” he said. The increases represent a large total sum for factories, he said, and managers will now be looking for increased productivity from satisfied workers.

City Meets With Lake Residents After Demonstration

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh Monday, 07 March 2011

via CAAI

Photo: by Heng Reaksmey
Children sit on top their inundated homes, where Shukaku, Inc., has been pumping fill into Boeung Kak lake, (File photo).

“It can temporarily ease the situation, but in the end, a violation of their rights is still a violation of their rights.”

Phnom Penh authorities say they have postponed a deadline for lake residents to settle with a development company, temporarily delaying the prospect of eviction for hundreds of families.

Hundreds of demonstrators from villages around Beoung Kak lake gathered outside City Hall Monday to protest a written order issued by Phnom Penh officials last week demanding they settle with the developer, a joint venture of Cambodian and Chinese companies called Shukaku Erdos Hongjun Property Development.

Daun Penh district officials met with 10 lake resident representatives following the demonstration, backing off the seven-day ultimatum they had given last week. In a March 2 letter to resident of the area, district officials said they must settle with the company or face “strong action in conformity with the law.”

The Boeung Kak lake development has been an ongoing issue for residents for nearly four years. Many maintain that a company buyout offer of about $8,000 per family is not enough to start anew. Nor do many of them want to be relocated to a site far outside the city.

As a counter offer, residents say they want 15 hectares of the 133-hectare commercial development, a proposal that has so far been rejected.

Following Monday’s meeting, Keuth Che, deputy administrative director for City Hall, said the city would delay the seven-day settlement ultimatum.

Ly Srey Mom, a lake resident representative, told reporters after the meeting that she welcomed the postponement but that residents are still demanding 15 hectares of the development.

“I want the government and City Hall to think of the people’s interests as a large [factor],” she said.

Keuth Che said he would forward the 15-hectare proposal to Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema on Wednesday and inform residents of his decision through their respective village chiefs.

Ly Srey Mom said residents will wait five days for an answer, or “we will come to meet Kep Chuktema once again next Monday.”

In 2007, the city government issued a $79-million, 99-year lease to Shukaku, Inc., which is owned by ruling party Senator Lao Meng Khim. The deal sparked unrest from residents who said they had legal rights to the land.

In 2008, Shukaku began filling the Boeung Kak lake, ultimately flooding out hundreds of families and sparking continued protests from residents both at the lake and in front of City Hall.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said the postponement of an impending eviction did not constitute a resolution to the underlying problems in the debate.

“It can temporarily ease the situation, but in the end, a violation of their rights is still a violation of their rights,” he said.

Cambodia’s derivative trade ban evokes partial response

http://www.commodityonline.com/

via CAAI

Published on: March 07 2011

PHNOM PENH (Commodity Online) : Cambodia’s decision to stop five companies from trading in derivatives markets evoked positive responses.

The Southeast Asian nation is yet to launch its first commodity exchange.

Five domestic firms trading in derivatives have been ordered to suspend their operations by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia.

The SECC ordered five companies to halt operations. They were named as Gold Financial Global, First State Gold Investment Company, Global Gold and Forex Investment Consultant Company, CMDK Gold Company, and International Gold Market Company.

In a statement, SECC said Cambodian firms offering derivatives trading had operated without the necessary regulatory framework being in place.

The SECC was cooperating with the firms to prepare the necessary regulations, but the emphasis for the regulatory body was currently on launching the Cambodia Securities Exchange, which is slated for July, the statement said.

Some analysts said to allow some companies the opportunity to start trading in derivatives in commodities including gold, metals and oil would have been the financial equivalent of sprinting before learning to walk in Cambodia’s case.

One of the main challenges Cambodia faces with the forthcoming stock exchange is educating the general public to avoid stock trading turning into a sophisticated version of gambling.

The problem with derivatives trading is that it is infinitely more complex than stock trading. By its very nature, you trade in a value derived from an asset and not in an asset itself.

As instruments that allow hedging and speculation, derivatives offer security for companies against foreign exchange volatility and fluctuating commodity prices as well as a lucrative source of revenue for investment banks.

Indeed, big banks were considered the driving force behind deregulation of derivatives markets dating back to the late 1990s in the United States, a move many financial experts consider to be the root cause of the financial crisis.

Financial products that led to the high leverage that sparked the crisis in the US, including subprime mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps, are all derivatives.

No-one is suggesting these five Cambodian companies could cause a similar financial meltdown but recent lessons the world has learned from derivatives trading should be clear.

If regulated appropriately, companies in Cambodia will in the future be able to hedge on insurance, oil prices and foreign exchange, all of which represent considerable and often unpredictable costs here.