Friday, 8 August 2008

Malaysian group gets rights to open Pizza Huts in Cambodia

The Earth Times
Fri, 08 Aug 2008
Author : DPA

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian restaurant operator QSR Brands Bhd has obtained rights to operate outlets of the fast-food chain Pizza Hut in Cambodia, a news report said Friday. The company, which opened the first KFC fast-food chicken outlet in Cambodia on March 2, obtained approval from the international restaurant company Yum Restaurants Asia Pte Ltd to open the Pizza Huts, The Edge Daily, a Malaysian financial newspaper, reported.

KFC is currently being operated via Kampuchea Food Corp Co Ltd, a joint venture of QSR, Royal Group of Companies and Rightlink Corp Ltd, the report said.

The company said a new wholly owned subsidiary would be set up under the joint venture to undertake Pizza Hut operations in Cambodia.

Vietnam jails four Montagnards for political activity

The Earth Times
Fri, 08 Aug 2008
Author : DPA

Hanoi - A court in Vietnam's Central Highlands has sentenced four members of ethnic minorities, known as Montagnards, to prison for encouraging demonstrations and helping others to flee into Cambodia, Vietnamese press reported Friday afternoon. The website of the newspaper "People's Police" reported that on August 5, the People's Court of Dak Nong province convicted Y Ngheng, 34, and Dieu Loai, 25, under Article 87 of Vietnam's Legal Code, "Undermining the unity policy."

The two were said to have encouraged Montagnards in Dak Nong to demonstrate against the Vietnamese government in 2007.

Y Tinh, 22, and Y Wang, 21, were convicted under Article 275, "Organizing and/or coercing other people to flee abroad or to stay abroad illegally." They were said to have helped 35 Montagnards flee Vietnam for Cambodia.

Y Ngheng was sentenced to six years in prison, and Dieu Loai to five years. Both also received three years of restricted movement after their release. Y Tinh and Y Wang received three and two years in prison, respectively.

The government said the four had collaborated with a group called FULRO, a Montagnard guerrilla organization which fought the Vietnamese government in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

A former leader of FULRO, who now runs a US-based advocacy organization called the Montagnard Foundation, said the guerrilla group no longer exists.

"People's Police" called the sentences "a lesson for those considering opposition, separation, or going against the policies of the Party and the laws of the state."

Cambodian prince's supporters cling to hope of royal pardon

M&C Asia-Pacific News
Aug 8, 2008

Phnom Penh - Supporters of self-exiled Prince Norodom Ranariddh said Friday they had not given up hope of a royal pardon over his conviction for breach of trust, which was upheld by his last avenue of appeal, the Supreme Court, last month.

Petitions to his half-brother King Norodom Sihamoni had flooded in from opposition groups and political parties appealing for the king to grant him a pardon, Norodom Ranariddh Party spokesman Muth Chantha said by telephone.

Chantha's comments followed a speech by Prime Minister Hun Sen widely published in local newspapers Friday in which he reiterated the prince must return and serve two thirds of his 18-month sentence.

'The king has the full right to grant amnesty to the prince for his conviction, and we appeal to the king directly,' Chantha said. 'We do not need to ask the government.'

Ranariddh's former Funcinpec party ousted him as president in October 2006 and then sued him, accusing him of embezzling some 3.6 million US dollars from the sale of the party headquarters that year.

He was convicted and sentenced in absentia the following year by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. The highest court in the land upheld the sentence July 30.

Supporters of the prince, including those from the self-named party he subsequently established, claim the charges are politically motivated and he should be allowed home from exile in Malaysia.

However Hun Sen has said he will stand firm, and the prince will have to serve time in one of Cambodia's notoriously stark prisons and will not escape punishment.

The palace has made no comment on the issue.

Going for gold ... or bronze

RICK VALENZUELA; Cambodia’s Olympic hopefuls at Phnom Penh International Airport before their flight to Beijing on Wednesday

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Cheang Sokha
Friday, 08 August 2008

With no real hopes of winning any medals, the Kingdom's athletes are happy just to represent their country at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

DESPITE having no hope of upstaging powerhouse nations like China and the United States at the Beijing Olympics, Cambodia's young contenders set off with a spring in their step on Wednesday, eager to show the world what the Kingdom can achieve.

"I'm very proud as is it my first time to compete at the Olympic Games," said freestyle swimmer Hem Thon Vitiny.

"I've trained in swimming since I was 5 years old," the 16-year-old, who has reached the finals in international competitions such as the SEA Games, told the Post before the team boarded their flight to China where the games are to start today and close August 24.

Cambodia is one of the world's sporting minnows and for a myriad of reasons - political, geographical, financial - native athletic prowess has never really matured.

While host-nation China plans to wipe the board and will not be happy unless it beats the USA in its gold medal tally, Cambodia would be content with just one medal - and a bronze at that. Here, the Kingdom is not alone; more than 80 countries of the 250 competing in Beijing have never before been on the Olympic podium.

"Our country is small, but I'm proud to represent at the Olympic games," Hem Thon, secretary general of the Khmer Amateur Swimming Federation, told the Post as Cambodia's Olympic delegation arrived at Phnom Penh International Airport. "We will at least show the Cambodian flag and its culture to the international community."

Flying the flag
Hem Thon, who was among the delegation accompanying the athletes, said the Cambodian teams do not expect to earn medals during the competitions, in which they will be competing with the top amateur athletes from around the world.

"Of course I'm strong in Cambodia, but other countries are also strong," said Hem Bunting, 25, Cambodia's top marathon runner.

"After finishing the competition we will see how strong or weak we are."

Runner Sou Titlinda, 16, also left Wednesday for the Olympics. Swimmer Hem Thon Ponleu, 18, left Thursday on account of taking exams.

"I will try my best and I think at least we could come into the finals," Hem Bunting said before departing.

Voters lose interest in election

AFP; People crowd the roofs of taxis as they leave Phnom Penh to return to their home provinces on election weekend last month. For many, travel costs were a disincentive to vote.

The Phnom Penh Post

Friday, 08 August 2008

Voter turnout fell to an all-time low in the recent elections, driving observers to puzzle over why people suddenly can't be bothered to go to the polls.

MUCH ink and a little blood have been spilled over the Kingdom's recent elections, the fourth since UN-backed polls in 1993. But voter turnout hit an all-time low, which begs asking: Are Cambodians getting bored of democracy?

"I've gotten lazy and I can't be bothered to go to the polling station to vote, as the results never change anything," said Pen Makara, a 27-year-old student at Build Bright University in Phnom Penh.

An impressive 93.7 percent of eligible Cambodians voted in 1998's national elections, but voter turnout has been steadily dropping. This year 70 to 75 percent of those able to vote did so.

"They are bored of the electoral process," Koul Panha, the executive director of election monitor Comfrel, told the Post.

"We've started interviewing thousands of people who did not have inked fingers. We are wondering why they do not vote. We suspect they were unwilling rather than unable," he said.

Travel deterrent

According to Koul Panha, people might be more motivated to vote if election procedures were as easy as they were in the 1993 election. At that time, anyone who had a valid ID card could vote anywhere they chose.

Bureaucratic hurdles to registration or the time and expense of travelling home to vote were the main deterrent to voting.

Lam Bopha, 25, a student at the Faculty of Pedagogy in Phnom Penh, said that despite being eligible to vote for years, she has not been able to afford to travel to Ratanakkiri in order to register.


"I know I'm eligible to vote and I really wish I had," she said. "It would have cost so much for me to [travel home to] register and vote," she said, adding she regretted her lack of participation as "winning or losing can count on one vote".

The difficulty of travelling home to register and vote was also cited by Yin Dary, 52, a Phnom Penh resident who now works in Siem Reap province.

"I voted in previous elections, but this time, I did not," she told the Post. To get to Phnom Penh - where she is registered to vote - and then back to Siem Reap would have cost her US$15 for the bus tickets, which she felt was too much.

"It doesn't mean I didn't want to vote, but it costs me money and I don't earn very much," she said.

Tep Nytha, secretary general of the National Election Committee, said last week he "did not understand why it is so complicated for those people".

"The registration process of NEC is not difficult to follow, but the voters are busy and they ignore it until the last minute," he said.

He said that allowing people to vote with just an ID card was impossible. "We will be unable to keep a record of registered voters if we do this."

He said that during the UNTAC election in 1993 it was hard to control the number of voters because people were able to vote "anywhere they wanted" rather than their home provinces.

Hun Sen trying to divide and conquer?

HENG CHIVOAN; Funcinpec secretary general Nhek Bun Chhay.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Vong Sokheng and Meas Sokchea
Friday, 08 August 2008

Royalist parties greet possibility of joining ruling coalition with skepticism and accuse CPP of using divide-and-conquer tactics .

OPPOSITION parties Thursday denied jockeying for posts in Cambodia's new government, saying that Prime Minister Hun Sen's suggestion of a broad coalition of political groups was a bid to split his opponents and weaken resistance to his ruling Cambodian People's Party.

Hun Sen, speaking publicly Wednesday for the first time since June, said he would welcome "honest men" into government and that the CPP, which is expected to win 90 of the National Assembly's 123 seats, would again form a government with its old coalition partner Funcinpec.

The royalists could get as many as 30 positions in government, including a ministerial post, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Thursday.

"We are waiting for the draft list of government appointments by Nhek Bun Chhay," Khieu Kanharith said, referring to Funcinpec's secretary general, whose faction inside the party has remained loyal to the CPP.

In an apparent allusion to the Human Rights Party (HRP) and Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP), Hun Sen said that other political groups were also asking for a government partnership.

"I welcome all people...this new government will become bloated but it will not be a problem as long as we all keep working together," Hun Sen said, adding that opposition parties were "going back and forth over positions" in government.

But HRP president Kem Sokha told the Post Thursday that his party never considered an agreement with the CPP, saying his party was instead intent on "finding justice for people who [were disenfranchised]" when thousands of names were left off of voter registration lists, preventing them from casting their ballots.

Senior officials with the NRP and main opposition Sam Rainsy Party also denied asking the CPP for a coalition deal.

"The electoral process is not over, we do not recognise the election results. There is no point discussing coalitions," said Mu Sochua, deputy secretary general of the SRP.

She added that Hun Sen's overtures to other parties was "part of the same pattern - control by splitting."

"We are not falling for this at all," she said Thursday, adding that the opposition's complaints over vote irregularities had to be resolved before the parties could join the National Assembly.

The opposition has threatened to boycott the Assembly's first session, drawing an angry rebuke from Hun Sen, who said their seats - 31 in all - would be given to those parties present.

Justice for Slain Journalist: US Congressman

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
08 August 2008

A US congressman warned this week the killers of opposition journalist Khim Sambor should be brought to justice.

"Whoever killed him needs to be held accountable," said Representative Christopher Smith, a Republican. If those who did the killing were under instruction from an official, "that individual needs to be held accountable as well."

Kim Sambor was gunned down with his son on a Phnom Penh street July 11, two weeks ahead of national elections. No one has been arrested in the murder, which opposition reporters said created a chilling effect on their coverage of the government and the ruling Cambodian People's Party.

The Cambodian people should not have to tolerate such unresolved murders, Smith said, calling on Prime Minister Hun Sen to "do everything to cooperate" and go "wherever" the investigation leads.

The US said earlier this week the FBI had been asked to help investigate the murder.

Smith, who works closely with human rights issues, said public officials should be open to criticism, "because that's how you hold them accountable."

"I don't like it when I am criticized, but I know it's part of a larger and very important principle," he said.

Twelve journalists have been killed in Cambodia since 1994, but no suspects have been arrested in the crimes.

Cambodian PM refuses to approve pardon for Prince Ranariddh

August 08, 2008

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Senannounced that he will not sign any request for King Norodom Sihamoni to pardon his half brother Prince Norodom Ranariddh, whose conviction for breach of trust was upheld by the Supreme Court last month, local media reported Friday.

In an oblique reference to Ranariddh, Hun Sen said he could consider such a request only if the prince has served two-thirds of his jail term, according to the Mekong Times newspaper.

"If (the prince has been sentenced) to 18 months in jail, (he) must first serve two-thirds of the term," Hun Sen was quoted as saying.

On July 30, the Supreme Court upheld the Appeal Court's decision to hand down an 18-month sentence to Prince Ranariddh and ordered him to pay 150,000 U.S. dollars in compensation on charges of breach of trust over the sale of the Funcinpec Party's headquarters during his time as party president.

In a last-ditch effort to repeal the conviction against the prince, who is currently in self-imposed exile, opposition leadersand Mam Sonando, head of Beehive Radio Station, have written to King Sihamoni to consider pardoning the prince.  

Source: Xinhua

Sacravatoons : " The UN's XRAY "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Sacravatoons : " CPP Farming "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Sacravatoons :" BO Y Economic Zone "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Vietnam Net Bridge (Hanoi)

Bo Y International Border Gate Economic Zone in Central Highlands Kon Tum province has so far drawn 24 investment projects with a total registered capital of 282 trillion VND (16.5 billion USD), according to the zone’s Management Board.

The Bo Y economic zone is situated at the T-junction between Vietnam , Laos and Cambodia , core of the economic development triangle that was endorsed by the prime ministers of Vietnam , Laos and Cambodia in Vientiane on November 21, 2004.

Cambodian election results to be announced

M&G Asia-Pacific News
Aug 8, 2008

Phnom Penh - Cambodia's National Election Committee said Friday it would announce temporary results from the July 27 national polls within 24 hours.

The committee said the results would be announced at 8 am (0100 GMT) Saturday on state media and a number of other outlets.

It said the 11 participating parties then had 72 hours to appeal.

The ruling Cambodian People's Party had won 90 of 123 seats in early counts and appeared to be unassailable.

But interest still remains in whether the royalist Funcinpec party, once a driving political force, can salvage more than the two seats it held in early polling - down from 26 in the 2003 election.

Cambodia has so far largely avoided the violence associated with previous elections, although security was expected to remain tight.

International observers, including from monitors the US and EU, concluded after polling that improvements to the electoral process still needed to be made, but overall declared them free, if not entirely fair due to the ruling party's dominance of the media.

Holiday excursion to Cambodia


WHILE most students in the Macleay Valley were enjoying their July school holidays at home, 22 students from Melville High School made the trip of a life time.

On Sunday, July 6, students, staff and friends representing Melville High School flew out of Sydney airport to Cambodia.

Most participants had never travelled overseas before, so there was great excitement and activity as passports and visas were organised and vaccinations completed.

This official school excursion was designed to give all participants a chance to be involved with house building through the Tabitha Foundation, and to see the work of other charitable groups in Cambodia.

It also provided the opportunity to visit the normal Cambodian tourist attractions such as Angkor Wat, Tonle Sap (Lake) the Kings Palace and the Genocide Museum and Killing Fields.

There were two types of jobs for the students while building: nailing down the split bamboo floor and putting tin walls around the houses.

The students handed over the new houses to local families.

Year 11 student Eddie Burrett said the highlight of the trip was handing over the new homes the students had just helped build.

“It made me feel so happy and proud by giving these very poor people a hope in life,” he said.
Students tasted many new food dishes such as fried rice, noodles and curries throughout the two weeks of the trip.

A light, coconut milk-based curry called Amok is Cambodia’s national dish.

The house building part of the excursion was made possible by the generous support of the students and staff of Melville High and various individuals and organisations in the Macleay Community.

Special thanks go to the Kempsey Medical Centre, South West Rocks Country Club, Bob and Betty Wearne, John and Josie Daley, Subway, Country Energy and Lesley and Michael Langer.

During the trip the students visited several markets which had many different and interesting items including clothes, paintings, jewellery and scarves.

Learning to bargain was a real buzz for the students, with everyone trying to get the cheapest price for the things they wanted.

And they were all happy to be home for some familiar food.

Thailand, Cambodia Agree Not to Send Troops to 2ND Temple

Yahoo News
Friday August 8

SURIN, Aug 8 Asia Pulse - Thailand and Cambodia, which have exchanged new claims over a second disputed temple ruin on their mutual border, agreed Tuesday not to dispatch troops into the area in order to ease tensions along the border.

The agreement was reached following a closed-door half-an-hour talk between Maj-Gen. Kanok Netrakawesana, commander of Thailand's Suranaree Task Force, and San Wanna, deputy governor of Cambodia's Uddor Meanchey province, at the Task Force headquarters in Kap Choeng border district of Surin province.

Deputy Governor San Wanna later told journalists that the talks were held in a "positive atmosphere" and there would be no more problem. The Cambodian governor said the two countries agreed not to send troops into the disputed area.

The two neighbours are now locked in new unneighbourliness over the Ta Muen Thom ruins, which Thailand claims sit in the Thai border district of Phanom Dong Rak in the northeastern province of Surin, and Cambodia argues are in Cambodia's Uddor Meanchey province.

Tensions in the area heightened after Gen. Boonsang Niempradit, Thai supreme commander, on Monday asked Cambodia to withdraw its soldiers from the temple environs. The demarcation boundary between the two countries has not yet been settled by the Thailand-Cambodia General Border Committee (GBC).

A Thai foreign ministry spokesman has said the Ta Muen Thom ruin is only one of a number of sites along the unclear boundary between the two countries.

Thailand is trying to conduct its actions under the framework of the GBC, he said, and the temple problem should also be discussed under that mechanism.

Thai Fine Arts officials at Ta Muen Thom ruin said Tuesday that Cambodians frequently visited the ruins, especially during April. The number of tourists visiting the site has now increased following reports of tensions in the area.

Theerawat Sudsook, Phanom Dong Rak district officer, said the overall situation along the common border in the district was still normal and that residents on both sides of the border were still communicating with each other normally.

On Monday last week, foreign ministers of the two countries agreed at a meeting in Cambodia's Siem Reap province to redeploy their troops at Preah Vihear ancient temple and the area surrounding it in an attempt to reduce tensions along the border, but until the Thai Cabinet met Tuesday, neither side showed any sign of making the first move.

The Cabinet agreed "in principle" to reduce the presence of its military in the vicinity of the temple tension point on the border. However, Thai government spokesman Wichianchot Sukchotrat indicated no timetable or the numbers of troops to be pulled back from the frontier.

The International Court of Justice awarded Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia in 1962.

More than one thousand troops from both countries are still at Preah Vihear.


Standoff at border deadlocks

AFP. Buddhist monks file up the stairs at Preah Vihear during a prayer ceremony for peace at the temple last weekend. Although Thailand’s cabinet has approved the withdrawal of some troops, Cambodian commanders say Thai soldiers have crossed the border at several other points since the temple standoff began on July 15.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Sambath Teth
Friday, 08 August 2008

ANOTHER round of crisis talks over the military standoff at Preah Vihear are expected later this month, but Cambodian troops along the de facto frontline near the 11th-century temple say they are hunkering down for a protracted dispute.

"Our soldiers are digging trenches because the Thai soldiers are digging trenches," General Srey Doek, commander of Brigade 12, told the Post on Thursday. "We have to take precautions, this is a frontline," he added.

While Thailand's cabinet has approved the withdrawal of troops from Preah Vihear temple, Srey Doek said that the Thai military appeared to be bringing in reinforcements to strategic Cambodia-controlled positions along the border.

"They are digging more bunkers and building large encampments to settle on the frontline at Preah Vihear temple and Trop mountain," he said, referring to a mountain near the temple that Cambodia claims Thai troops tried to occupy last weekend. "We absolutely have to prevent them getting up ... Trop mountain because it is right in the middle of the disputed area," Srey Doek said.

In Phnom Penh, officials remained optimistic that the Thais would re-deploy, with Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith telling the Post that "some of Thailand's soldiers have withdrawn from the pagoda [in the Preah Vihear temple complex] and they have withdrawn all their troops from Ta Moan Thom temple."

"If they increase their armed forces in their territory along our joint border, it is their business," he said.

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong is scheduled to meet with his Thai counterpart Tej Bunnag in Thailand on August 18 for a second round of talks aimed at defusing the situation at Preah Vihear, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday.

Cyber-nationalists take Preah Vihear dispute to Wikipedia

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Brendan Brady
Friday, 08 August 2008

As the border row drags on between Cambodia and Thailand, competing bloggers from both sides are taking their causes online

THE click of a mouse has become the newest weapon in the nationalistic battle over Preah Vihear temple, with Wikipedia - the popular, user-edited online encyclopedia - being bombarded by entries from Thais and Cambodians waging a propaganda tug-of-war.

Since the July 7 listing of the Preah Vihear temple as a UNESCO World Heritage site, hundreds of contributors have modified its entry, asserting their homeland's sovereignty over the ruins.

Ownership of the temple was given to Cambodia by the World Court in 1962, but many on the Thai side of the border have demanded a re-look at the issue.

Online, temple ownership can switch back-and-forth in a matter of minutes, Wikipedia's history shows.

The debate has focused on the temple's moniker - Prasat Preah Vihear, as transliterated from Khmer, or Prasat Khao Phra Viharn, as transliterated from Thai, giving birth to an entire chapter on the temple's nomenclature.

While the website's overseers are expected to rise above the fray and regulate bickering without censoring content disputes, site administrator Brian McNiel explained that both sides are digging up newspaper articles and government or court documents to bolster their arguments.

"The idealistic hope is that, over time, warring factions will find credible sources to back up their assertions, and the contested article will improve," McNiel told the Post.

Advocates have besieged other online forums as well, including the popular social network, where groups have attempted to mobilise support under banners such as "Prasat (Temple) Preah Vihear Belongs to Cambodia!!!" and "Preah Vihear Thailand's Territory.

"Darts are flying through the blogosphere too, where emotional polemics frequently devolve into name-calling. Posts stray from the border dispute to broader historical grievances - with Cambodians recalling Thailand's harsh treatment of refugees fleeing the Khmer Rouge and Thais describing their neighbour as a long-time basket case.

Thailand welcomes Hun Sen's call for peace

News Desk
The Nation (Thailand)

Thailand on Friday welcomed Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's will to peacefully resolve the border conflict around Preah Vihear temple through existing bilateral mechanisms.

Hun Sen expressed the wishes on Wednesday to end the border disputes with Thailand on bilateral basis and through peaceful means following the military standoff since the middle of last month.

The Thai Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Friday to welcome Hun Sen's stance, saying it also wished to find a solution to the issue of the Temple of Preah Vihear in a peaceful and amicable manner.

The Thai statement said the issue should make full use of the existing bilateral mechanisms, including meetings between the two foreign ministers, the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) and the General Border Committee (GBC).

Foreign ministers of the two countries would hold their second meeting on border dispute in the third week of this month in the resort beach of Hua Hin.

Both countries agreed to redeploy troops around the areas following the fist meeting between Thai foreign minister Tej Bunnag and his Cambodia counterpart Hor Namhong in Siem Reap late last month.

Differences of views on boundary issues between the two neighbouring countries are not unusual, the Thai foreign ministry's statement said.

This issue is just one small part of the overall relations between Thailand and Cambodia. The two countries have a myriad of common interests and wide-ranging cooperation in the economic, political, social and other dimensions, it said.

Cambodia: Thai PM plans to visit Preah Vihear area

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej is scheduled to visit the area near the Preah Vihear Temple in the eponymous Cambodian province, English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodia Daily Friday quoted official as saying.

"He has a plan to visit the Preah Vihear area, not the Preah Vihear Temple," said Cambodian Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith, adding that specifics on the visit are yet unavailable.

"We will welcome (Samak) if he visits there," he said.

Meanwhile, Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Cambodian Council of Ministers, said that Samak needs to inform the Cambodian government before visiting the disputed area near the temple.

He dismissed the possibility of the visit on Saturday, because Samak is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

Cambodia and Thailand will hold the second foreign ministers' meeting in Thailand on Aug. 18 to seek peaceful solution to the 25-day-long military standoff over border dispute.

On July 15, Thai troops went into the border area to fetch three trespassers who had intended to claim Thai sovereignty over the Preah Vihear Temple. The troops stationed there ever since, thus triggering the military stalemate.

In the following days, both sides gradually increased their military personnel to a thousand-strong at the border area to showoff their determination for territorial sovereignty.

During the time, Thai troops occupied one pagoda and one temple that the Cambodian government claimed should belong to its kingdom.

The Preah Vihear Temple straddles the Cambodian-Thai border atop the Dangrek Mountain and was listed as a World Heritage Site on July 7 by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice decided that the 11-century temple and the land around belongs to Cambodia, which rankled the Thais and has led to continuous disputes in late years.

Japan helps Cambodia to fight iodine deficiency.

The salt marshes of Kampot © Nhim Sophal

Cambodge Soir

This morning, the Kampot and Kep salt producers’ committee has received 850 kilograms of iodised potassium from the Japanese Iodine Industry Association. This donation, backed by UNICEF, is the result of a collaboration which lasted more than four years.

Iodised potassium is one of the components used in salt production and allows consumers to compensate their iodine deficiency.

Spectacular progress has been achieved in Cambodia concerning the promotion of this essential food product: not more than 14% of Cambodian households consumed iodised salt in 2000, compared to 72.5% in 2005.

Problems linked to iodine deficiency are the first cause of mental retardation in the world. They are predominantly affecting the learning capacities of children and show up through problems occurring at school. One of the physical symptoms of iodine insufficiency is the appearance of a goitre, caused by the swelling of the thyroid gland in the neck. This syndrome was detected amongst 12% of the Cambodian children in 1997.

The fight against these deficiencies is the result of the improvement of the production and consumption of iodised salt, which owes its success to the joint initiatives of the government, NGO’s and donors like Japan.

Irrigation: a priority for the next government.

Cambodge Soir

The Prime Minister expects the exports of Cambodian rice to exceed the ones in Vietnam.

“In the future, our land will become our white gold. In the past it was rubber, now it is rice”, declared Hun Sen during a trip to Kampong Speu.

On Wednesday 6th of August, journalists and farmers met a farmer-style Hun Sen who talked about agriculture while standing in a rice field. The Prime Minister who welcomed his Kuwaiti counterpart very recently has declared that, after Qatar, his own country had shown interest for Cambodian farmland. “On the 20th of August, a delegation of Kuwaiti representatives has planned to come back in order to talk about an agricultural investment project”, did he say before explaining that he plans to visit Kuwait City early next year.

Hun Sen also gave his point of view concerning the relationship with these nations from the Arab-Persian Golf: “These countries have oil, but no rice. They have to invest in our country, to grow food in our country, which helps the development of our agriculture.”

Bringing up a conversation he had with his guest, who emphasised the fact that Cambodia wasn’t properly using its production potential, Hun Sen said that his answer was: “If we were able to solve the irrigation problem, we could harvest two or three times per year and increase our production to three or four tons per hectare. This is how our export capacity could exceed the one in Vietnam.” At the moment, the Cambodian farmers have to limit themselves to just one harvest per year, with a production of 2.5 tons per hectare.

In front of his audience, Hun Sen stated that: “the development of the irrigation projects and the improvement of the rice field production”, would become one of the priorities of the next government.

Finally, taking the stance of an ecologist, he added that improving the production would allow “to avoid the surface increase of the rice fields”, which happens mostly to the detriment of the forests.

A Frenchman arrested in Cambodia for paedophilia

Cambodge Soir

In 2004, Michel-Roger Blanchard already had run into trouble.

A Frenchman suspected of acts of paedophilia was arrested on Monday 4th of August, states l’Agence France Presse in a dispatch from Thursday 7th of August.

Michel-Roger Blanchard has been accused of having abused four Cambodian boys between 8 and 18 years old.

The approximately forty years old Frenchman was already listed by the website of the NGO “Global Child Protection”. He had already been arrested in 2004 for acts of “debauchery” on two children who had finally withdrawn their complaint.

QSR gets nod to operate Pizza Hut in Cambodia

The Edge Daily

KUALA LUMPUR: QSR Brands Bhd has obtained franchise rights to operate Pizza Hut outlets in Cambodia to capitalise on the fast growing food and beverage market in the country.

In a statement yesterday, the company said it planned to become a major restaurant player in the Indo China region particularly in Cambodia. QSR obtained approval in principle from Yum! Restaurants Asia Pte Ltd to operate the Pizza Hut business.

QSR first ventured into Cambodia after obtaining franchise rights to operate fast food chain, KFC, via a joint - venture company, Kampuchea Food Corp Co Ltd (KFCL). QSR holds 55% in the JV while Royal Group of Companies and Rightlink Corp Ltd has 35% and 10% respectively. The first KFC outlet was opened on March 2 this year.

“With the success in obtaining both the franchise rights for Pizza Hut and KFC, QSR through KFCL is expected to become a dominant force in the food and beverage market in Cambodia,” the company said.

It added a new wholly owned subsidiary will be set up under KFCL to undertake Pizza Hut operations in Cambodia.

Rice Needed To Lift Cambodia Out Of Poverty

PHNOM PENH, Aug 8 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Hun Sen said that global inflation may prove a boon for Cambodian agriculture, predicting the kingdom's rice paddies would yield the "white gold" needed to lift the nation out of poverty.

Cambodia exported 2.5 million tonne of rice last year, Hun Sen said, adding that new irrigation methods will soon quadruple rice exports.

"Before Cambodia's gold was rubber trees, but now it is rice," Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying in a local daily Friday.

Hun Sen said better irrigation would allow 2-3 rice crops each year, with more intensive farming methods increasing yields to 3-4 tons per hectare.

In this respect, Cambodia will not only be able to meet its domestic demands, but also will be able to export more than Vietnam does, he claimed.

Cambodian Co Plans To Produce Organic Fertilizer From Garbage

PHNOM PENH, Aug 8 (Bernama) -- A Cambodian firm, Cintri, who is incharge with a mammoth task of collecting the capital's garbage, will now recycle Phnom Penh's mountains trash into organic fertilizer, Cintri's Deputy Director Seng Chamroeun said Friday.

"People will need to start sorting their garbage into specific categories before this plan can start," China's Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying to a local daily.

Cintri will soon begin combing the refuse piles at Stung Meanchey landfill site for appropriate organic waste, he added.

"We want to make a large quantity of compost to supply farmers. In addition, we can reduce garbage pile ups," Seng Chamroeun said, stressing that cooperation from authorities and citizens is essential to ensure the strategy is a success.

Fertilizer prices peaked this year at three times their cost in 2007, with about half of Cambodia's estimated two million farmers adversely affected by the price rise, according to the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture.

Tourists Arrivals to Cambodia Soared 13 percent, but Thais Expected to Avoid the Country

Travel Blackboard
Thursday, August 07, 2008

Cambodian Ministry of Tourism statistics showed that nearly 1.1 million foreigners, including 67,502 from neighbouring Thailand, entered Cambodia in the first six months of 2008.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon has said that although tourist arrivals have risen 13 percent from the same period last year he expects a significant drop in Thai arrivals.

Thais are expected to avoid the kingdom as a territorial dispute on their joint border over land near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple drags on.

"We don't expect many more Thai tourists to come because they cannot go see the Preah Vihear temple," Thong Khon said.

Cambodia closed the border crossing from Thailand to Preah Vihear in late June.

Three Thai nationalists were arrested on July 15 after they tried to illegally cross into Cambodia to reach the temple, which was listed as a UN World Heritage Site last month.

The incident sparked a military stand-off which resulted in over 1,000 Thai and Cambodian soldiers being stationed on the disputed land near the ruin.

The tourism ministry did not say how many Thais entered Cambodia at the Preah Vihear crossing this year.

More than half of the country’s international visitors flocked to Cambodia's famed Angkor temples in northwestern Siem Reap province, the ministry said.

The World Heritage-listed ruins have been a vital key in reviving Cambodia's tourism sector since 2003, when a regional SARS panic and anti-Thai riots in the country's capital Phnom Penh made visitor figures plummet.

The Cambodian government has also begun planning a broader tourism plan to both keep foreigners in Cambodia longer, and develop some of the country's more impoverished areas.

The tourism sector remains one of the few sources of foreign exchange for Cambodia, were millions still live in poverty.

CAMBODIA: Tuberculosis rates steady but challenges remain

Photo: David Swanson/IRIN
Despite significant economic growth in recent years, TB remains a key challenge for Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, 7 August 2008 (IRIN) - Tuberculosis, which has been on the rise globally, has generally remained steady in Cambodia since 2003, even declining slightly, but detection rates are low.

According to the Cambodia Ministry of Health's 2007 Tuberculosis Report, the number of patients who die after treatment is extremely low, at 3 percent, while the number cured remains high, at 90 percent.

The target cure rate for the World Health Organization (WHO) is 85 percent.

In 2007, the total number of reported TB cases in 2007 was 36,495, up by about 1,000 reported cases from the year before. Cambodia had an incidence rate of 500 per 100,000 people in 2007, unchanged from 2006.

"The situation is definitely getting better," Jamhoih Tansing, a WHO tuberculosis physician, told IRIN. "But case detection rates remain low and Cambodia's TB burden is quite high."

According to a report by Family Health International (FHI), 13,000 Cambodians die annually of tuberculosis out of a population of about 14 million.

Drug-resistant tuberculosis, or MDR-TB, a deadlier strain of the bacterium, has been on the rise slightly in Cambodia, but is not the pressing issue as in Africa and South America, said Song Ngak, deputy country director for FHI.

The main challenge now, she said, was accurate data as current TB numbers rely heavily on estimates. "I would venture to question the validity of the estimates," she said.

"We still need to conduct door-to-door surveys and pin down a closer number to the actual case detection rate."

Photo: Geoffrey Cain/IRIN
A TB patient receives treatment at Cambodia's National Centre for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control

In addition to the challenges in detecting the disease, Tansing cited poor prison conditions, poverty, and lack of a regular system of TB screening for HIV patients as all contributing to TB.

Over half of HIV-positive patients in Cambodia will become infected with TB in their lives. However, HIV is becoming less prevalent, down to 0.8 percent of the population in 2008 from 3.1 percent in 2003, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). "

The HIV component of TB is definitely declining," Ngak said. "But there's still not much decline in the TB incidence rate."

In 2007, the number of TB patients who were HIV-positive in Cambodia declined to 7.8 percent, a sharp fall from a 2003 high of 11.8 percent. But the number of TB cases without HIV has remained steady.

Detecting TB through community action

To more efficiently treat and control the spread of TB, the WHO has implemented a treatment strategy called DOTS (directly observed treatment, short-course), emphasising community-based disease detection over reporting by individuals, as well as directly observing a patient's medication intake for six to eight months.

"The problem was that patients were not taking their TB treatment, so they would get sicker," said Ngak. "Now, we can ensure patients are taking their treatment through the local community, with local doctors watching them."

The strategy also emphasises providing better quality treatment centres, enhancing healthcare legislation to fight TB, and creating better systems of supplying drugs to patients.

"Some groups, like in prisons, are not even receiving correct treatment for TB," Ngak said.

"DOTS will better procure the correct drugs to them." But despite these efforts, challenges remain.

Photo: Geoffrey Cain/IRIN
In the overcrowded slums of Phnom Penh, TB can breed easily

According to specialists, community-based TB detection still does not catch carriers of the disease who show no symptoms. Nearly 60 percent of Cambodians carry the bacterium in their lungs, but have not actually succumbed to TB.

In many cases, carriers could take 10 years or more to show noticeable symptoms, such as excessive coughing, weakness and chills. In the meantime, they can easily spread the disease.

Yet for Chun Ratana, 53, who has TB symptoms from living in cramped conditions in a Phnom Penh slum, community-based detection and treatment still have not arrived.

"I don't know where to get free treatment, because I can't afford drugs," she said.

"No NGO has ever spoken to me about being sick, and when I ask them, they say they can't help."

A free tuberculosis treatment centre is situated near her house, but she fears being hospitalised because she could lose too many months of work.

Hari Krishna leader to appeal Cambodia child sex conviction

M&G Asia-Pacific News
Aug 7, 2008

Phnom Penh - The leader of a Hari Krishna-affiliated aid organization in Cambodia was to appeal a conviction for molesting a 12-year-old girl, a Phnom Penh court said Thursday.

Police said US national Thomas Rapanos Wayne, head of a Hare Krishna aid group, was found naked in the company of two girls, aged 12 and 16, when he was arrested in a guest house in the capital in March. The age of consent in Cambodia is 15.

Wayne, alias Tattva Darshan Das, 55, was sentenced Wednesday to two and a half years in prison for committing indecent acts against minors.

'He was convicted but he said he was innocent and he will appeal,' court clerk Keing Bokhea said by telephone.

Wayne was formerly president of the relatively obscure Bhaktivedanta Eco Village (BEV) Cambodia, an educational aid organization.

He held a copy of the religious text Bhagavad Gita and a portrait of the Hindu god Krishna during his sentencing, the English-language Cambodia Daily said.

Man avoids prison for scheme preying on Cambodia immigrants
August 7, 2008
By Jonathan Saltzman, Globe Staff

A Rhode Island man who pleaded guilty to participating in a pyramid scheme that bilked $27 million from some 500 victims was sentenced today to probation by a federal judge who cited the defendant's ill health and testimony against two others convicted in the scam as mitigating circumstances.

Federal prosecutors had recommended that Christian Rochon, 57, of Warwick, R.I., serve a decade in prison for his role in the scheme that preyed predominantly on Cambodian immigrants.

But US District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns said he had wrestled with the matter and concluded that Rochon deserved a sentence of five years on probation, the first spent in home confinement.

The judge said Rochon had nothing to do with hatching the scheme and was largely "a prop'' who did not even realize he was participating in a massive fraud until the scam began to unravel.

Stearns also credited Rochon for testifying against James Bunchan and Seng Tan, the couple who led the scheme. And the judge said he was convinced that Rochon, who has struggled with a heart condition, cancer, and other illnesses, would not survive prison.

"I'm persuaded ... that any period of incarceration would likely result in a death sentence,'' Stearns said.

Michael K. Loucks, first assistant US attorney in Massachusetts, who attended the sentencing, declined to comment afterward.

Rochon, who stood with apparent difficulty as he faced Stearns before he was sentenced, apologized to the victims, some of whom lost their houses because of the fraud.

"I’m very sorry for what happened to all of these people," he said.

Bunchan and Tan told investors from Long Beach, Calif., to Lowell between October 2000 and November 2005 that their money was put into World Marketing Direct Selling Inc. and an affiliated company, One Universe Online Inc., with several offices in Massachusetts, prosecutors said.

Investors who contributed a minimum of $26,000 were promised monthly payments of $300 for life and a one-time sum of $2,600. But prosecutors presented evidence that the payouts, which were made for a limited time, came from investors’ own principal or from money put up by other investors.

Bunchan and Tan spent more than $3 million of investors’ money on Mississippi riverboat gambling trips and Las Vegas casinos, millions more on a Florida home and fancy cars, $23,000 on hairpieces, and $5,000 for tennis lessons, prosecutors said.

Bunchan and Tan were convicted last year of numerous fraud and conspiracy charges and received long prison sentences from Stearns –- 35 years for Bunchan and 20 years for Tan.

Rochon’s lawyer, James B. Krasnoo, of Andover, said Bunchan originally hired Rochon to repair his computers and then duped him into believing he would be a legitimate president of the enterprise. Only toward the end did he realize it was involved in a monumental fraud, Krasnoo said.

Rochon received a company car and got a free trip to Las Vegas while working for the couple but did not lead a lavish lifestyle, Krasnoo said.

"If my guy were healthy, he would be doing time," Krasnoo said. "But his health is so bad that if he were sentenced to even a short period of time, it is likely he would die."

Thai UN Ambassador reveals that Cambodia has not withdrawn request to UN on Phrea Vihear

Thaindian News
August 6th, 2008
by Amrit Rashmisrisethi

Thai Ambassador to the United Nations Don Pramadwinai revealed to the media that Cambodia’s request concerning Phrea Vihear National Park has not been completely revoked from the UN but has been postponed for the time being. The Thai UN Ambassador said that if Cambodia were to re-enter the issue for consideration by the UN, the process would be simplified as it is still an active agenda.

Further reports also indicated that Cambodia’s Minister of Defense has affirmed that the Ta Muean Thom Ruins are a part of Cambodia and have asked Thailand to remove their troops.

Source : National News Bureau, Public Relations Department of Thailand

Migration from Home Is a Factor That Men Bring AIDS into Their Homes

Posted on 8 August 2008
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 572

“Battambang: AIDS is a fierce disease which kills millions of people every year around the world, whether they are old, young, male, or female - and Cambodia is also attacked by this murderer.

“So far, no scientist has announced publicly that there is medicine to treat it, although there are medicines to delay death.

“A factor for, and a source of having AIDS or being infected with AIDS often result from migration from home.

“Mr. Sum Samnang, 38, who lives in Souphi, Anlong Run, Thma Koul, Battambang, said that he had left his village in 1997 to work as a worker carrying second hand clothing bundles in Poipet.
Because he was far from his wife, after finishing work he sought sex services; sometimes he used condoms, but sometimes not, as he was drunk and forgot.

“In 1999, he returned home to Souphi. Until 2005 he did not know that he contracted AIDS, until he had his blood checked. He decided have his blood checked because his health became weaker, he was often sick, and he frequently had diarrhea. Mr. Samnang is now a moto-taxi driver, and because he takes good care of himself, he looks like a normal person.

“Chhay Sinang, Sum Samnang’s wife, recounted that her former husband had died; she had been infected with AIDS by her husband. She continued to say that her former husband was a construction worker who moved to far away provinces, and he liked to go to drink, and where he went, he always sought sex services.

“Mr. Yin Hieng, 37, who lives also in Souphi, said he frequently went to work at faraway provinces, and when he was far from his wife for a long time, he sought sex services. Since 2004 he knew he has AIDS, but his wife was not infected with AIDS, because he always used condoms.

They have three children, but none of them have this fierce disease - their blood had been checked. Nowadays, as his business, Mr. Yin Hieng feeds ducks for eggs and meat with the help of the program of the Lutheran World Federation [LWF] in Cambodia, which provides loans at very low interest rate of only 1%. First, he borrowed Thai Baht 70,000 [approx. US$2,100] from the LWF, then Baht 100,000 [approx. US$2,300], and then Baht 110,000 [approx. US$330,000]. He has to make repayments every six months. The feeding of ducks operation does not belong to him alone; there are five and sometimes six more members who all have AIDS.

“When journalists of Rasmei Kampuchea asked him how his livelihood was before borrowing money from LWF, Mr. Yin Hieng responded with a happy face that before, he borrowed money from other people, but the interest payments were very high, and so his livelihood was terrible. Because of the LWF loans, he has capital to make his business run continually, and his livelihood is much better.

LWF helps People who have AIDS to have hope in new life.

“Mr. Sy Savuth, the head of the Anlong Run Health Center and the team leader taking care of homes of people who have AIDS, said the Anlong Run Village was created in 1987 and there are 4,722 people.

“There are 21 people who have AIDS in 19 families. His health center and LWF have cooperated with each other since 2002, and LWF concentrates on people who have AIDS. Each month, this organization provides a food package containing 15 kg rice, canned fish, fish sauce, sugar, cooking oil, and noodles, which a worth of US$10 in total, to families that have members with AIDS.

Moreover, LWF provides money for traveling, to go to receive these donations, as well as to get the medicines, and to have meetings at the center of the province.

“Besides support such as money, medicines to delay death, food, and loans with low interest rates to people who have AIDS, LWF also goes directly to provide preventive education, encouraging people who have AIDS to struggle and be strong in their lives, as well as to train people participating in a Friends Educate Friends Network among youth, moto-taxi drivers, police, and soldiers.

“As results, people understand better what AIDS is, discrimination declines, and the livelihood of people who have AIDS in Souphi is improving..

“Mr. Sy Savuth added that many people who have AIDS are those who returned from the Cambodian and Thai border areas; some of them worked as porters [waiting to be hired to carry things] and some worked as taxi drivers from Phnom Penh to Poipet.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4661, 7.8.2008
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:Thursday, 7 August 2008

Lights, Donations Ease Life for Troops

A Cambodian boy stands at the side of his father, a soldier posted at Preah Vihear temple.

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
07 August 2008

As the Preah Vihear military standoff continued Thursday, Cambodian soldiers said they were happy to have at least a few comforts at their posts.

Entrenched high on an escarpment overlooking the Preah Vihear planes, and sometimes just meters away from Thai troops, the soldiers said they were happy for solar-powered lamps sent by Prime Minister Hun Sen, and for donations that have come in from Cambodian celebrities and others.

Cambodia soldiers are happy with the lights, and "we can use them for i-com or to charge mobile phones," said Maj. Gen. Srey Doeuk, commander of the intervention unit of Military Division 12, which is securing Preah Vihear temple.

The lights have made patrols easier as well, he said.

Soldiers received donations every day from the government and NGOs, including fresh water, soy sauce and canned fish. Some people have even donated tents, he said.

The soldiers have enough to eat, he said, and seem to be "strong." No one had a serious illness, though some of the soldiers have headaches and the flu, he said.

Sath Samy, an undersecretary at the Ministry of Mines and Industry, said 30 poles with solar-powered lamps had been installed around Preah Vihear temple, but 50 more were needed.

The foreign ministers of Thailand and Cambodia are scheduled for talks Aug. 18 to help resolve the crisis, which began July 15 after Preah Vihear temple was granted World Heritage status.

Thousands of troops have been posted on the border for the past three weeks, but no violence has been reported.

Two rounds of bilateral talks have so far failed to diffuse the standoff, and Cambodia has a request for discussion of the crisis at the UN Security Council, pending the outcome of this month's talks.

Cambodian Tribunal Staff Unpaid for July

By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
07 August 2008

Khmer audio aired 07 August 2008 (810 KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 07 August 2008 (810 KB) - Listen (MP3)

The UNDP is withholding $300,000 in pay from 250 Cambodian staff of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, UN and tribunal officials said Tuesday.

Funding for the month of July was initially suspended "pending a spending plan from the Cambodian side," the spokeswoman, Aimee Brown, said in an e-mail Thursday. "Following this, new allegations of kickbacks arose. UNDP is reviewing the implications with its donors so we can collectively agree how to move forward following the allegations."

Tribunal spokeswoman Helen Jarvis confirmed Thursday $300,000 in salaries had not been paid to the Cambodian staff of the tribunal courts.

Cambodian staff filed complaints in June over corruption, and a UN oversight committee in New York is now reviewing the allegations.

Tribunal spokesman Peter Foster said the allegations were one of the factors in pay being withheld to staff.

"I believe the UNDP has said that it is one of several factors that have led them to require further review before proceeding," Foster said. "This is an issue under review with donors and UNDP."

UNDP was "taking the matter very seriously," Brown said. "Our aim is to move forward with the work of the tribunal without sacrificing the integrity of the funds supporting it."

Trial Judges Prepare for Duch Atrocity Case

By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
06 August 2008

Khmer audio aired 06 August 2008 (931 KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 06 August 2008 (931 KB) - Listen (MP3)

International jurists for the Trial Chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal have joined their Cambodian counterparts in anticipation of the trial of Duch, whose pre-trial preparations will be completed soon, a tribunal spokesman said Wednesday.

The case of the infamous chief of the Tuol Sleng torture center, who is charged crimes against humanity, will be the first tried of five jailed former leaders of the regime. More than 16,000 Cambodians were tortured and sent to the deaths at the center.

His trial is expected to begin in September or October.

Both French and New Zealand trial judges began working with their Cambodian colleagues last week, and the trial chambers have been equipped and prepared, tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said.

"The courtroom, the seats for participation of victims, are ready," he said. "And the trial judges have already prepared themselves. The famous judge Sylvia Cartwright, a New Zealand national, arrived this Monday."

Co-investigating judge Marcel Lemonde said the proceedings against Duch were entering the period of closure and would be filed soon to the First Trial Chamber.

A source close to the tribunal said Wednesday the co-investigation judges will likely complete the closing order early this week or late next week, and the First Trial Chamber will hold a meeting to decide the set the date for Duch, around Sept. 15.

"We don't see any obstacles regarding the trial of Duch," Adhoc tribunal monitor Hisham Mousar said.

Duch was held by Cambodian military courts from May 1999 until he was handed to the tribunal last year.

Keat Bophal, head of the tribunal's Victims Unit, said Duch is facing 66 civil complaints.

Tension Eases at Ta Moan Temple

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
07 August 2008

Khmer audio aired 07 August 2008 (1.12 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 07 August 2008 (1.12 MB) - Listen (MP3)

Military tension between Cambodian and Thai soldiers around Ta Moan Thom temple has eased, following a decision on both sides to lay common conditions for negotiation.

"The first condition was that both sides have to withdraw from Ta Moan Thom," said Maj. Sim Sokha, a commander from Military Region 4. "The second one, both sides have to allow people to enter the temple."

During the day, Cambodian soldiers can enter the temple, which lays on the border of Oddar Meanchey province, west of Preah Vihear temple, where a standoff continues, Sim Sokha said. But both sides have agreed not to enter the temple at night.

Defense Minister Gen. Tea Banh said Wednesday Thai troops had moved to their original position, 350 meters from the temple, after they occupied and fortified the temple last weekend.

Kuwait to Fund Phnom Penh Islamic Center

By Chiep Mony, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
07 August 2008

Kuwait has pledged $5 million to build an Islamic center at Phnom Penh's most conspicuous mosque, following an official Kuwaiti delegation earlier this week.

The center will be built, via the Cambodian government, on the grounds of Boeung Kak Mosque, in the north of the city.

Construction on the Islamic center will be started this year, said Ahmad Yahya, a government adviser and president of the Cambodian Islamic Development Community.

The Kuwaiti government also agreed to train Cambodian officials in oil exploration and open direct flights to Cambodia, and both sides agreed allow embassies in their respective capitals.

Monitor Faults NEC for Voter Omissions

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
07 August 2008

Khmer audio aired 07 August 2008 (0.99 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 07 August 2008 (0.99 MB) - Listen (MP3)

The Committee for Free and Fair Elections on Thursday sharply criticized the government's top election body and commune-level authorities for the omission of tens of thousands of voters from registries in last month's election.

Comfrel recorded 1,148 cases of name omission in 17 municipalities and provinces, sometimes with as many as 50 or 100 names missing in one case.

An estimated 57,000 names were deleted from voter lists ahead of Election Day, and competing parties have blamed the Cambodian People's Party and the National Election Committee.

The new cases were recorded separately from those deletions, and Comfrel's chief investigator, Mar Sophal said Thursday the NEC and local authorities were to blame.

"The NEC and commune authorities are responsible for the increasing loss of the voters' rights," he said.

Thursday's criticism was the most pointed to date of the national election body, which is comprised of a majority of CPP appointees and has been criticized in the past for political bias.

"There are serious problems affecting the loss of the voting rights, more so than the last election," Mar Sophal said. "The loss of voters' rights is a very serious problem."

NEC officials said Thursday the Comfrel report was not accurate.

"But we welcome what Comfrel has raised," NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha said. "I think Comfrel negatively assessed the NEC election process, and Comfrel cannot look into the main problem."