Friday, 18 January 2008

Stage set for showdown over Darfur ceremony in Cambodia

The Associated Press
January 18, 2008

Activists in Cambodia vowed Friday to defy a government ban and hold a mock Olympic-torch lighting ceremony featuring American actress Mia Farrow to bring attention to the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region.

The Cambodian government earlier this week said it would prevent the 62-year-old actress from holding the ceremony Sunday at a former Khmer Rouge prison because the group had "a political agenda against China," which is one of Sudan's key donors.

"Our resolve is still the same, which is to go forward" with the event, said Theary Seng, the director of the advocacy group Center of Social Development which is helping organize it.
"It's really difficult how anyone can be against honoring survivors of genocide, particularly as Cambodians," Theary Seng said.

Theary Seng insisted Farrow would attend Sunday's event.

Neither Farrow nor the group she is working with, the U.S.-based Dream for Darfur, could be reached for comment.

Chey Sopheara, the director of the Khmer Rouge's infamous Tuol Sleng torture center where thousands of Khmer Rouge prisoners were tortured, said he expected the government to deploy police to prevent ceremony organizers from entering the compound.

The Dream for Darfur group has called on China to use its influence to press Sudan to end abuses in Darfur.

The group has taken the torch to countries which have suffered genocide and has so far been lit at the Darfur-Chad border, Rwanda, Armenia, Germany and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Cambodia was to be the last stop before it heads to China.

Dream for Darfur claims China, host of the 2008 Olympics, has protected Khartoum at the U.N. Security Council and sold weapons to the Sudanese government, while making Sudanese oil purchases that have helped fund genocide there.

China was also the biggest backer of the Khmer Rouge's communist regime in the 1970s, which led to the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians.

It is now a major donor to Cambodia, where the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen has strongly advocated a one-China policy. Hun Sen has frequently described China as Cambodia's "most trustworthy friend."

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the event's organizers have a political agenda against China, prompting the ban.

"We do not want to see any trouble or confrontation with them," said Touch Naroth, the police chief for Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh. "But we simply cannot let this group breach the law either."

He said Tuol Sleng genocide museum is a government property that must be protected from any unlawful activity but declined to elaborate on what measures the government was preparing ahead of Sunday's ceremony.

Trial Of Khmer Rogue Officials Got Strong Support From The U.S.

January 18, 2008

Annie Simoy - AHN News Writer

Washington, D.C. (AHN) - The trial of Cambodia's Khmer Rogue regime leaders responsible for the atrocities committed got strong support from the United StatesThursday, said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

"The U.S. strongly supports bringing to justice senior leaders responsible for the atrocities committed under the Khmer Rouge regime," McCormack said.

"The department is currently reviewing all the facts about the tribunal and its operations, including whether or not it is capable of meeting international standards of justice prior to making a decision regarding funding," he said.

According to reports, five top officials of Cambodia's Khmer Rogue regime were so far arrested. The first trials are expected to start in mid-2008.

Cambodia's Khmer Rogue rule in 1975-79 resulted to death of millions of people due to starvation, disease and overwork, or being executed.

An argument is currently under fire as to whether the death was genocide or not.

"There is a very strong legal argument to say that genocide is when you kill people because of their ethnicity, whereas the vast majority of the [Khmer Rouge] purges were not for ethnic reasons, but were for political reasons. So genocide may not be possible," U.N. Principal Defender Rupert Skilbeck said

Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia border column unveiled

Friday, January 18, 2008
Thanh Nien News (Hanoi)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Kon Tum People's Committee unveiled the Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia T-junction border column Thursday.

The two-meter high granite border column, which weighs nearly one ton, has been placed at border station 677 in Bo Y Commune, Ngoc Hoi District, Kon Tum Province in the Central Highlands.

The opening ceremony of Bo Y international border gate (Vietnam) which connects with Attapu international border gate (Laos) also took place Thursday.

Sacravatoons: No Room

Courtesy of Sacravatoon :

Sacravatoons: US Funding

Courtesy of Sacravatoon :

U.S. voices support for trial of Khmer Rouge officials

January 18, 2008

The United States supports for the trial of people who are responsible for the atrocities committed under Cambodia's Khmer Rouge regime, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Thursday.

"The U.S. strongly supports bringing to justice senior leaders responsible for the atrocities committed under the Khmer Rouge regime," McCormack told reporters.

"The department is currently reviewing all the facts about the tribunal and its operations, including whether or not it is capable of meeting international standards of justice prior to making a decision regarding funding," the spokesman said.

It was reported that five top officials of Cambodia's former Khmer Rouge regime have been arrested so far, with the first trials expected to begin in mid-2008. Millions of people died of starvation, disease and overwork, or were executed under the 1975-79 rule of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Source: Xinhua

American Movie Star Attempts to Campaign Pushing China to Help to End Violence in Darfur, but Cambodian Authorities Are Likely to Reject the Attempt

18 January 2008.

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 543

“Phnom Penh: The 63-year-old American movie star Mia Farrow, now a UNICEF good-will ambassador wants to come to Cambodia at the end of the campaign, urging the Chinese government to help to end abuses in Darfur in the western part of Sudan, but Cambodia is likely not to allow the event.

“According to a report of Reuters, the American movie star had started a campaign with an Olympic-style torch relay, in order to push China, which has good relations with the government of Sudan, to help to end abuses in this area of conflict, ending the campaign in Cambodia, after she had already carried on the campaign which had started in Chad, near to Darfur.

“The same source said that Cambodia is the sixth country through which the American actress Mia Farrow carried the torch, after starting in Chad, and moving through Rwanda, Armenia, Germany, and Bosnia.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the Minister of Information and the government’s spokesperson, did not answer his telephone; as for Mr. Khieu Sopheak, the Ministry of Interior spokesperson, he did not answer his telephone either on the afternoon of 16 January, but he told the Herald Sun [Australia] that Cambodia does not welcome such a campaign, and Cambodia will also not allow any gathering for such an Olympic-style torch relay.

“He told the same source that whoever conducts the event would face a trial.

“So far, the crisis in Darfur is still the hottest in the world. Violence has killed approximately 200,000 people during five years of war, starvation, and diseases.

“Mia Farrow was born on Monday 9 February 1945. She started making movies in 1964 until now. She is also playing a role as a UNICEF good-will ambassador.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4491, 17.1.2008

A tiny pagoda is a huge reminder of what happened in this "killing field"

Haley Edwards
Seattle Times staff reporter

Editor's note: Seattle Times reporter Haley Edwards is traveling to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Syria and filing dispatches as she goes. For the jaunt around Asia, her 23-year-old friend, Stevie, is her sidekick. ("Or I will be hers; we're still working out the details," Edwards says..) In the Middle East, she'll be meeting three of her friends from college, two of whom are living in Damascus, Syria. See her dispatches below (most recent on top).

CAMBODIA — For those who are, as I was, a bit hazy on recent Cambodian history, here's the quick and dirty: During the Vietnam War, parts of Cambodia were heavily bombed by American forces. Between 1975 and 1979, a genocidal dictator named Pol Pot and his party, the Khmer Rouge, murdered between two million and three million people. In 1980, there was a massive, nationwide famine.

The first day we were in Siem Reap (the first major town you encounter on the aforementioned Dancing Road), Stevie and I visited one of the "killing fields" where Khmer Rouge soldiers murdered and buried civilians.

You think "killing fields" and you think it's going to look like Gettysburg. It doesn't. The killing fields here aren't really fields at all. They're just a few patches of dirt, interspersed with trees, about the size of a soccer field. Houses — three-walled structures made of corrugated metal and cardboard — lean into each other around the outside. Kids play in the trash heaps out in front.

One of the reasons why historians know that Khmer Rouge used this place to torture and murder people was because in 1980, they found 75 maimed and decapitated bodies that had been shoved down a well. When we arrived, there were two boys playing along the rim of that same well, balancing and goofing around. Life goes on, I guess.

The only indication that this ground was once wet with blood is a tiny pagoda, maybe 20-feet tall. It has four little stair cases on each side leading up to a plate-glass window, stretching floor to ceiling. Inside, it's full of skulls. Victims' skulls.

Our guide, Chea Bunat, told us that his father's skull is in there somewhere. He doesn't know which one. All he remembers is that one day, when he was eight years old, a bunch of men with machine guns rolled into his tiny village (Kleang Village, it's called) outside Siem Reap, and started going door to door, hauling anyone who was educated out into the street. They took Bunat's dad, who was a math teacher, but left his mom, who was a housewife. He remembers that the soldiers interrogated his mom about their neighbors. What did they do for a living? Did that guy go to school?

"And you couldn't lie, they knew everything. It was test to see if lying," Bunat says. "If lie? Then, bam." He mimes holding a machine gun, then hits himself in the forehead. "Right there on the street."

Six hours on the Dancing Road: "Terrifying and incredibly fun!"

CAMBODIA — The best way to get from Thailand to Cambodia is to take the Dancing Road, a deeply-cratered one-lane dirt road, stretching from the Thai border into the dusty expanse of northwest Cambodia.

It's named the Dancing Road for the way that people jitterbug around their cars while hurtling at top speed over potholes large enough to hide an entire cow.

It takes roughly six hours to negotiate 150 kilometers, from the border to the next biggest city, Siem Reap. But the potholes, craters, dirt moguls and ATV-style jumps (really, our bus got at least two feet of air over some of these) are hardly the biggest obstacle. Every kilometer or two, the road just ends.

There's a little orange "Detour" sign, written in the elegant Cambodian script, behind which is a 20-foot cliff. Cement drums are piled up on either side of the road at these junctures, indicating that the man-made gorges will, at some point, be filled in as drainage ditches. But, for now, they're just another reason for the bus driver to pull the e-brake, crank into a four-wheel drift and skid around a hairpin turn, all the while narrowly missing the herds of cows, auto-rickshaws ("tuk tuks"), motorcycles ("motos"), stray dogs and throngs of children in impossibly white school uniforms who crowd the sides of the road.

It's part terrifying, part incredibly fun.

Stevie and I first experienced the Dancing Road on a public bus, and, while none of the other passengers really spoke most of the time (it was nearly impossibly to hear over the deafening creaking of our 70s-era school bus), everyone on the bus leaned into the aisle and peered out the front window, just to watch the show. To scream. To pray. Sometimes, the whole bus would break into hysterical laughter after narrowly avoiding broadsiding a cow, or swerving to avoid a man on a bicycle carrying over 400 mangos in a fishing net on his back, or after the driver slammed on the brakes and all of us smushed up against the seat in front of us, our luggage skittering down the center aisles like skipping stones.

But for anyone who's ever ridden in a developing nation — or on the streets of Rome, for that matter — the Dancing Road would be old hat. It's chaotic and death-defying, sure, but it's what's on either side of the road that makes it unique to Cambodia:

Thatch houses balance on stilts (not because of floods, but to keep the home cool) as its occupants sleep in hammocks underneath.

Impossibly green rice paddies unfurl in every direction, the water flashing silver in the bright sunlight, and then end, abruptly, and the landscape turns into the dusty yellow-red of desert. Palm tree forests dot the landscape, looking like something out of Dr. Suess. Kids wear blue surgical masks with their blue-and-white school uniforms, to avoid the dust. Billboards remind children not to touch landmines. Craters from American bombs still pockmark the fields. Men with no arms, no legs and no faces beg at rest stops, their livelihoods stolen by the landmines that, 30 years later, still lie in wait in these rice fields.

"Gas stations" — old 2-liter bottles of Pepsi, filled with petrol — simmer in the sun. Ranch-style gates, the kind you might see in Texas, line the side of the road, leading to temples ("wats"), too far down the dusty paths to see.

Don’t Back US Against ICC, Group Warns

By Mean Veasna,
VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh
17 January 2008

Listen in Khmer

The government should cancel an agreement with the US that prevents prosecution of US citizens at the International Criminal Court, a rights group said Thursday.

The head of the group Adhoc said at an ICC seminar in Phnom Penh that Cambodian support for the US—which is not a signatory to the court—could create national or regional instability.

“We think that if there is any charge with offence or crime against humanity, war crime or genocide, it is a policy that we have to send the criminals to the international criminal court,” said Adhoc President Thun Saray. “But if we have a bilateral agreement, we won’t be able to send the criminals to the ICC.”

The court, established in 2002, prosecutes war crimes, crimes of aggression, genocide and crimes against humanity. US officials have cited a number of deficiencies in the court as reasons it will not join. Cambodia is one of the few court signatories in Southeast Asia.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Cambodia “cannot walk backwards” and will follow its current policy.

Nuon Chea Ready for Pre-Trial 'Struggle'

By Sok Khemara,
VOA Khmer Original report from Washington
17 January 2008

Listen in Khmer

The lawyer for jailed Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea said Thursday he is ready to present his client’s case for pre-trial release at a tribunal hearing next month.

The lawyer, Son Arun, said he will present a strong case on Feb. 4 for Nuon Chea’s release, despite a finding against similar arguments for the jailed prison chief Duch in November.

“As to guaranteeing Nuon Chea getting out of detention, there will be a struggle,” Son Arun told VOA Khmer. “The lawyer’s struggle must be to try. Whether he succeeds or doesn’t succeed, it’s the privilege of the judge and lawyers to find laws, forms, arguments, evidence to release the client. That’s our effort.”

Experts said Thursday Nuon Chea will have to demonstrate he is not a threat to public security, evidence or witnesses and will have to show guarantees he will appear before the courts when called.

“I believe both lawyers of Nuon Chea will raise some of these points in the pre-trial chamber,” said Hisham Moussar, a tribunal monitor for the rights group Adhoc.

Taiwan 'Regrets' Denial of Liaison Office

By Heng Reaksmey,
VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh
17 January 2008

Listen in Khmer

The Taiwanese government said this week it regretted Cambodia’s decision to bar a business liaison office from opening in Phnom Penh, the China Post reported.

Cambodia strictly follows a one-China policy, which categorizes Taiwan as a rogue province, and last week Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong rejected a request by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council to open an office in Phnom Penh.

“We regret Cambodia Foreign Ministry’s stance to make politics take precedence over all other matters,” Phoebe Yeh, a spokeswoman for the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was quoted saying.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Thursday such business offices acted as “unofficial” embassies for Taiwan.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Thursday neighboring countries like Vietnam and Thailand managed to have Chinese embassies along with Taiwanese trade offices, “but that does not affect their one-China policy.”

“They recognize that even if it is just for business purposes, there should be one office to coordinate and settle technical issues,” he said.

Doctor Urges Cambodian Smokers to Quit

By Nuch Sarita,
VOA Khmer Washington
17 January 2008

Listen in Khmer

As many as 60 percent of urban Cambodians and more than 80 percent of rural villagers smoke, putting them at high risk of lung cancer, a doctor said Thursday.

Though the numbers may be decreasing in recent years thanks to anti-smoking campaigns, many people continue to smoke.

The best way to reduce health risks is to quit smoking, said Dr. Taing Tek Hong, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

“Smoking cigarettes can cause bronchitis, heart disease, cancer of the mouth,” he said.

Cambodians can find help quitting smoking by using nicotine gum or patches, or through the use of bupropion, available in the brand-name medication Zyban, Taing Tek Hong said.

Bupropion is a commonly used anti-depressant and should be available in Cambodia, he said.

Cambodians should also consider the healthcare costs of smoking, the doctor said.

For example, a non-smoker and smoker who enter the hospital with similar lung problems will undergo different tests—to greater cost for the smoker.

“The symptoms of tuberculosis and lung cancer are very similar,” Taing Tek Hong said. “But if the smoker ends up in the hospital…his treatment will cost more money, because [the hospital] will do a CAT scan, which is expensive.”

Sam Rainsy meets with victims of land grabbing in Kompong Chhnang

Villagers in Kampong Chhnang province (Ta Ches commune, Kampong Tralach district) met with MP Sam Rainsy to express their sufferings following violent evictions from their lands and the destruction of their homes on 9 January 2008.

Japan, Mekong FMs meet to strengthen ties


TOKYO — Japan began a series of foreign ministerial talks yesterday in Tokyo with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam to strengthen Japan’s co-operation with the Mekong River region.

Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura is expected to pledge a total of 6 billion yen (US$ 56.6 million) in aid to the nations, excluding Myanmar, to fund various projects such as completing the construction of two east-west highways traversing the Indochinese Peninsula to facilitate business activity, government sources have said.

Ahead of the six-way Japan-Mekong foreign ministerial meeting in the evening, Komura held bilateral talks respectively with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, and Laotian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

The Mekong ministers also paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in the afternoon. Fukuda said at the outset, "Japan has always attached great importance to the Mekong region and we would like to work with you to develop the Mekong region’s potentials and make it a basin of hope and development."

In his meeting with Viet Nam’s Khiem, Komura urged more efforts to eradicate corruption to ensure execution of Japan’s official development assistance to Viet Nam. The two also agreed to work toward the early conclusion of a comprehensive bilateral free trade agreement, the Japanese ministry said.

Separately, Komura welcomed the arrest of five former Khmer Rouge leaders for court trials and expressed hope to Hor Namhong that the Cambodian government will exercise its leadership amid financial concerns over prolonged trials. Komura also said Japan will dispatch observers to Cambodia’s National Assembly election in July.

Both the Vietnamese and Cambodian ministers reaffirmed their nations’ support for Japan’s bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, the ministry said.

At the Japan-Mekong meeting, the first such talks, the six ministers are expected to discuss topics in various fields including economic co-operation and cultural exchanges.

As part of its support for integration and narrowing the economic gaps among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan has been especially active in assisting the Mekong region, such as with public works projects.

Japan will also provide 2.2 billion yen to help Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam build schools and power generation facilities for the poor, the sources said.

In addition, 1.7 billion yen will be allocated to support Cambodia’s poverty-reduction efforts, they said.

Komura will hold bilateral talks with Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win and Thai Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram separately today.


Cambodia to double luxury golf courses by 2010: official

A golf pro playing at the Phokeethra Country Club in Siem Reap

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia doubled its number of luxury golf courses last year to four and hopes to have eight by 2010 in a bid to lure more high-end tourism from the fast-growing sport in Asia, officials said Thursday.

Cambodia in 2007 opened its only two PGA-rated courses in the popular tourist town on Siem Reap, in northwest Cambodia near the famed Angkor temples which remain the country's biggest draw for foreign visitors.

A third course backed by South Korean investors is expected to open in Siem Reap in 2009, said Suos Yara, secretary general of Cambodia Golf Association.

Three other multi-million-dollar golf projects are also under construction near the capital Phnom Penh and along the border with Vietnam, with another planned near the seaside resort of Sihanoukville, he told AFP.

"Golf can attract more high-yield tourists. Beside touring our heritage sites, tourists also need entertainment," he said.

"They have different hobbies, but most adults like playing golf as part of their tour package," he added.

Cambodia's profile as a golfing destination got a major boost when the Phokeethra Country Club in Siem Reap hosted the country's first international golfing event in November.

Suos Yara said the golfing industry has also contributed jobs to the local community, adding that the government wanted to eventually see at least seven courses in Siem Reap and about 10 near Sihanoukville.

"We want more golf courses ... When we have more golf course, we have more tourists and prospective investments," Suos Yara added.

Tourist arrivals to impoverished Cambodia topped two million in 2007, bringing in much-needed revenue.

But while most foreigners still flock to the Angkor temples, tourism officials are seeking to create more visitor destinations.

'Celebrating Cambodia': Five-artist exhibit depicts history, landscape of Southeast Asian country

By Rosemary Ford ,
Daily News of Newburyport

There's no special date or anniversary, no timely topic or other reason to host an exhibit about Cambodia at the moment.

The Southeast Asian country is so rich with artistic tradition and beauty, however, that it's always prime time for such an exhibit, says the organizer of "Celebrating Cambodia" at Brooks School.

"The dance, the pottery, the painting, it's very impressive," Marie Costello, head of the Robert Lehman Art Center at the North Andover school, said.

"Celebrating Cambodia," a show of 50 pieces, includes work by five artists with roots in the Southeast Asian country, including two Cambodians living here, two living in Cambodia, and one non-Cambodian who visits the country frequently.

Artwork in the show ranges from paintings to pottery to modern photographs of Cambodia. The exhibit depicts events from Cambodian history, as well as everyday pastoral life.

While Costello didn't have a peg for the show, she did have her reasons for bringing it here.

This area boasts a significant Cambodian immigrant community, many of whom arrived after the Khmer Rouge (which literally means Red Khmer, used to describe a succession of Communist parties) took over the country from 1975 to 1979. Nearly 2 million Cambodians died during this violent period, which aimed its assault at intellectuals, artists and urban dwellers.

In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge imposed a radical form of communism in which the whole population had to work on collective farms or forced labor projects.

"There was an attempt to destroy the culture during the Khmer Rouge," she said. "The refugees are here because of that."

"Celebrating Cambodia" is especially significant, Costello said, in that it demonstrates how Cambodians here and overseas are working to preserve the country's heritage.

She invited two painters from Cambodia to contribute their work - watercolorist Duong Saree and oil painter Chhim Sothy.

Two of the remaining three artists are Cambodian immigrants living in Lowell: Chantha Khem is a watercolor painter who shows history through art; and Yary Livan, a ceramicist and painter, incorporates influences from ancient sites and traditional Cambodian imagery, relief carving and designs into artwork.

Costello rounded out the show with Eleanor Briggs of West Newbury, an environmentalist who has been shooting images of Cambodia for the last decade.

Livan submitted more than a dozen pieces to the show, ranging from flower pots to faces of Cambodian heroes. Through his wife, Nary, the 54-year-old who immigrated here in 2001 said he was very excited about the opportunity to show at Brooks.

"It is rare for Cambodians to have the opportunity to show or exhibit like this," he said.

Livan, who started studying pottery making in 1971, said it is rare to see so many styles of Cambodian art together in one exhibit.

"We're trying to give an opportunity for the public to see some Cambodian art and a lot of it is produced locally in Lowell," Costello said. "I don't think people have a chance to see it that often."

Mission will give teen peek at ancestors' land

Medical aid - Sidney Tan will visit Cambodia with a dental team to provide care to orphans

Thursday, January 17, 2008
The Oregonian Staff

TIGARD -- Sidney Tan, a Tigard High School sophomore, wants to help orphans in need of dental care, see his ancestral land of Cambodia and visit its world renowned Angkor Wat temple.
He will get that chance when he leaves today for Cambodia as part of a dental service mission with Tigard-based Medical Teams International.

"I've heard so much about it from my parents," said Tan, 15, who speaks Khmer. "You can't get the experience until you see it for yourself."

He will join about one dozen other team members from Oregon and Washington on the two-week trip. Dr. Dale Canfield of Lake Oswego started the almost annual missions in 2002 and has delivered dental supplies that he and other dentists, along with local companies, donated. The nonprofit international relief and development agency, originally called Northwest Medical Teams, started in 1979 with its first medical mission to assist Cambodian refugees escaping the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge.

Donations from members of the Cambodian-American Community of Oregon are covering the costs of the trip for Tan and Davin Mao, a junior at Sunset High School in the Beaverton School District.

R.S. Tang, president of the Cambodian group whose members paid for a student to go on the trip last year, said the organization wants Cambodian American youths to maintain a sense of their heritage, culture and identity. He said the teens will get a chance to help others and get a glimpse into a profession they might pursue.

The teens will clean dental utensils, help escort patients and otherwise assist the team of dental professionals in providing care to more than 500 orphans in the region near Pursat.

Tan looks forward to going to the area, where a maternal aunt was held in a camp by the Khmer Rouge: "Maybe to see, 'Here was where my aunt was standing 30 years ago.' "

The trip includes time for sightseeing. Tan hopes to get to know the country on his first visit. He wants to see its rural areas, with the many miles of rice fields. He wants a fuller understanding of its people and the struggles of the poor.

His mother, Koann, was sent at his age to a Khmer Rouge labor camp and later witnessed five executions. She came to the United States after the genocide.

His father, Simsundareth, a colonel in the Oregon Army National Guard who served as a combat adviser in Afghanistan, immigrated to the United States as a teenager with his family. Even today in Cambodia, he advises his son to be careful with minefields.

The teenager said he feels lucky, like other generations who benefit from the suffering and sacrifices of immigrants. He can navigate his world to get involved in school and the community, serving as secretary of Tigard High's sophomore class and also the Tigard Youth Advisory Council. He can pursue interests such as Tien Tae Jitsu, a combination of martial arts.
"But still, I have ties to Cambodia," Tan said.

He is secretary of the Cambodian American organization's youth group and a member of its dance team.

And yet there is still so much to learn. His parents and brother, Andy, 11, hope someday to go to Cambodia as a family.

Understanding Cambodia cannot come in a single trip, Tan said: "It will definitely take more than once."

US seeks role in Cambodian K.Rouge trials: official

Jan 17, 2008

PHNOM PENH - THE United States wants an advisory role in Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal and would consider helping fund the cash-strapped court if given the post, a Cambodian official said on Thursday.

The offer was made during talks with the US State Department's Assistant Secretary of State Scot Marciel, said Kao Kim Huorn, a secretary of state with the foreign ministry.

'The US requested that Cambodia create another post - a special advisor to help the Khmer Rouge tribunal,' Kao Kim Huorn said after meeting with top US officials.

'This is a condition if Cambodia wants the US to provide funds for the tribunal. Cambodia is considering the request,' he added, saying the advisor's role was under discussion.

The United States is a key Cambodian donor but has not pledged funding for the 56.3 million-dollar tribunal established to try senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

'The US is worried about the independence and standards of the court,' Kao Kim Huorn said.
US Embassy spokesman Jeff Daigle could not be reached for comment on the offer. Marciel is in Cambodia through Friday to meet top government officials.

The UN-backed tribunal has come under fire amid allegations of political interference, corruption and fiscal mismanagement.

Sean Visoth, Cambodia's top administrator to the tribunal, declined to comment on the offer, which comes at a crucial time for the court.

Already burdened by a multimillion-dollar shortfall when it opened in 2006, the tribunal is set to run out of funds by March without another cash injection from the international community.

Court officials have said they would embark on a major fund-raising drive early this year as the prosecution of former regime leaders looks set to go forward.

Five top cadre have been arrested so far, with the first trials expected to begin in mid-2008.

Up to two million people died of starvation, disease and overwork, or were executed under the 1975-79 rule of the Khmer Rouge, which emptied Cambodia's cities, exiling millions to vast collective farms in a bid to forge an agrarian utopia.

Schools, religion and currency were outlawed and the educated classes targeted for extermination by the communists. -- AFP

Poignant visit for husband of teacher

17 January 2008
Location: Scarborough
Evening News

THE husband of a muchloved teacher has visited a playground dedicated in her honour.
Former policeman David "Dai" Davies, whose wife Kay was a nursery teacher at Malton Community Primary School for the last 16 years of her career, toured the Foundation Stage playground during a brief Christmas holiday with his daughters.

In retirement Mrs Davies pursued her lifelong dream and moved to live in Cambodia alongside her husband, helping set up a nursery at the Hope International School. She passed away last year, with Mr Davies deciding to remain in the South-East Asian country and carry on her good work.

Governors at Malton CP School decided to dedicate the playground, which was opened in September, in her memory and for all the children she taught throughout her career. Headteacher Paul Scrimshaw said: "Kay was such a wonderful person and has been sadly missed by many parents and children. "We wanted to remember her for all the wonderful years she gave to children at Malton Community Primary School."

Tay Ninh to help Cambodia with roads

TAY NINH — Authorities in Tay Ninh Province on Tuesday signed an agreement to support Cambodian province Kampong Cham with US$450,000 for road construction projects.

The road, which will be 9km long and 5m wide, will be named Kampong Cham - Tay Ninh Friendship Road.

The money for the project will be transferred from the Viet Nam Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development to the ACLEDA Bank of Cambodia.

Can Tho - Cambodia road planned


CAN THO — Authorities in Can Tho City and Long An Province have unveiled plans to build a highway to the Cambodian border.

At a meeting held in Can Tho on Tuesday, they unveiled two routes for the Can Tho-An Giang border road.

The first, to branch off from National Highway No.1A in Can Tho, runs parallel to Highway No. 91 until Chau Doc in An Giang Province, before reaching Tinh Bien District on the border. It will be 110km long.

The second follows a similar route until Chau Doc, before turning north-west to the Khanh Binh border area in An Phu District. This route is 140km long.

Whichever route is chosen, it will be a six-lane, 35-metre wide highway.

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung has signalled the Government’s approval for the project to be undertaken in Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) mode.

The meeting on Tuesday was attended by Dorothy John and Richard Murray, representatives of US firms Global Venture Inc and Pacific Development Group Llc.