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Friday, January 05, 2007

Cambodia hotel: It's the One

By Christopher Cox
Travel + Leisure

(Travel + Leisure) -- Ancient Siem Reap, a stone's throw from Angkor Wat, introduces a new way to design a hotel: with just one bedroom. Christopher Cox checks into the One to see if it offers singular service that lives up to its name

THE OVERVIEW Home to the Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor, Amansara, and the up-and-coming Hôtel de la Paix, Siem Reap is no stranger to luxury. But the new One Hotel Angkor is putting a modern spin on the concept with something the town has never seen before -- a one-room hotel. Think of it as your own stylish pied-à-terre. While the row house's wooden jalousies, potted plants and thatched roof are straight out of a Graham Greene novel, the neighborhood itself is of the moment, with art galleries, a day spa and owner Martin Dishman's funky lounge, Linga Bar, just across the street. 415/992-5431 or 855-12/755-311;; $250 a night.

THE PENTHOUSE The second story's shaded breakfast area overlooks the cobblestoned street; an open-air Jacuzzi is screened by yellow palms. There's also a queen-size day (or night) bed. Just mind the low-hanging ceiling fan.

THE SERVICE An alfresco massage? Done. A private car and guide to the ruins? No problem. The best caipirinha in town? Coming right up the stairs. Staff members are shared with the nearby Linga Bar, so there are occasional delays -- but there are four of them to each one of you.

THE MASTER BEDROOM A curvaceous, king-size platform bed, custom-made from phdeak wood, dominates the 320-square-foot space. We love the slide-out night tables built into the base of the bed, and the angled, five-foot-high headboard, which offers ideal support for viewing the 32-inch flat-screen television.

THE BATHROOM Everything is built for two: a doorless, three-foot-wide shower; a seven-foot-long step-in tub; and a vanity (set into the back of the bed) with deep twin sinks. Harnn & Thann's spa-quality lemongrass soap and aromatherapy shampoo are a nice local touch.

THE AMENITIES It's all about you in a one-room hotel. Guests are issued a complimentary mobile phone while in residence; order from any area restaurant (menus are provided), and a staffer will fetch your meal for you. Of course, certain services (such as turndown slippers and morning pastries) are automatic.

THE AREA The One is set on the Passage, a pedestrians-only lane between the souklike Psar Chas (Old Market) and rowdy Pub Street, in the heart of the former Colonial Quarter. For tranquillity, try Amansara; at the One, you're knee-deep in city flavor.

THE DESIGN Accessories are a mix of the international (iPod, egg chairs) and the indigenous (artisan Sopheap Pich's split-bamboo lamp; designer Eric Raisina's hand-loomed silk pillows). A side table-closet cleverly brackets the bed, though the drawers are a bit cramped. And the room's multiple levels could present an after-dark challenge. (T+L Global Hotel Guide) Read more!

Commercial area opens in Vietnam-Laos-Cambodia border

Roads to the Bo Y commercial area are being expanded

Vietnam inaugurated a 2,000 sq. m commercial area Friday in an economic zone at the Bo Y checkpoint with Cambodia and Laos. The Bo Y economic zone was established in 2005 to promote economic exchanges in the Viet Nam-Laos-Cambodia development triangle.
Some 54 investors have registered to invest nearly 11 trillion VND (US$687.5 million) in the zone to build new urban areas, factories, tourism facilities, and bonded warehouses.
Fourteen projects have been allocated land, and construction has started on nine of them.
Source: VNA
Read more!

Embattled Cambodia prince postpones his day in court

Jan 5, 2007, 12:45 GMT

Phnom Penh - Embattled Cambodian politician Prince Norodom Ranariddh skipped a scheduled court appearance Friday after his lawyer applied for a delay to ensure other sacked former royalist Funcinpec Party colleagues could appear with him.

Ranariddh was ousted as president of the governing coalition partner Funcinpec along with a number of prominent loyalists in an October 18 party election result engineered by his bitter rival, Funcinpec secretary-general Nhek Bun Chhay.

The prince has filed a complaint with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court claiming the election was unconstitutional and as such, the royalist Funcinpec Party is illegal and therefore ineligible to compete in the April commune elections under its current leadership.

'Today the prince was in Kampong Cham province. He still plans to go to the court but asked to delay because he wants all sacked Funcinpec leaders to be present and he wants to face Nhek Bun Chhay personally in the court,' the prince's spokesman Ork Socheat said by telephone.

Socheat also confirmed that Ranariddh, who chose to leave Funcinpec rather than accept the title of 'historical president' left to him by the party's new regime, and form his own Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP), had visited US Ambassador to Cambodia Joseph Mussomeli Thursday.

'The prince met with the US ambassador because the NRP will use all means to protect our party because, as you know, on October 18 a group dared to topple Ranariddh from Funcinpec and now we seek any means of support for justice,' Socheat said.

In a speech broadcast on national radio Friday, Prime Minister Hun Sen reiterated previous warnings that anyone plotting a coup against him would be arrested in their homes, but the reference appeared general and not aimed at any party or person in particular.

Ranariddh, whose slide from power began with his resignation as National Assembly chief last year, also faces a barrage of counter lawsuits from Nhek Bun Chhay, including charges that he embezzled millions of dollars from the party earned by the sale of Funcinpec headquarters.
Ranariddh has dismissed the allegations as politically motivated mudslinging. However, his resignation from Funcinpec to form his own party meant he was stripped of his parliamentary seat and therefore political immunity and if convicted he potentially faces jail.

Analysts have given Ranariddh little chance of winning his suit against the legality of the new Funcinpec leadership, which is headed by former Cambodian Ambassador to Germany Keo Puth Rasmei, pointing out that the election results have already been ratified by the Ministry of Interior. Read more!

Roundup: Cambodia cherishes ambition to tap potential of rice production

As its rice production chalked up an harvest again in 2006, Cambodia, a traditional agricultural country with rice as its major crop and staple food, has been fueling its dream to build a rice exporters' coalition in order to share more profits and procure economic power.

The kingdom's rice production rose to six million tons in 2006, five percent higher than 2005, according to the Cambodian Sin Chew Daily on Thursday.

Market also responded positively in 2006 as rice price jumped to a range between 120 U.S. dollars and 135 U.S. dollars per ton, while seeds of top-quality fragrant rice were sold at 180 U.S. dollars per ton, the paper quoted statistics form Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries as saying.

However, Pu Kea, Chairman of the Rice Hulling Mills' Association in Battambang province, told reporters that huge profits went to the exporters from Malaysia, Singapore and African countries, while the farmers and the mill owners could only make limited incomes from simple processing procedures.

"They don't have enough money to run export business," Pu Kea said.
Pu Kea found echo with Prime Minister Hun Sen, in his perception of the kingdom's awkward situation of surrendering profits to foreigners instead of its own planters and processors.

Back to Dec. 20, 2006, as part of his efforts to turn the table, Hun Sen called on Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam to join hands with Cambodia to form an association of rice exporting countries to stabilize rice price and share more profits from rice sales.

An association of the rice exporting countries along the Mekong River could be important for the world market, he said, adding that the association was somewhat like the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The association could have said in rice price adjustment and play a role in balancing OPEC's influence, he said.

"If they want cheaper rice, then they should decrease oil prices," he added.
According to official statistics, Cambodia planned to export 1. 5 million tons of rice in 2006. Annual rice exports in the region of the Mekong River stand at over 10 million tons, almost half of the world's annual rice exports.

Source: Xinhua Read more!

Parties joining Cambodia's commune councils election up to 12

Another party submitted its candidates' registration forms for Cambodia's 2007 commune councils election, bring the number of participating parties up to 12, the National Election Council (NEC) said on Thursday.

The new participant, Cambodian Progress Party, will compete in one commune in one province, according to a press release from NEC.
Before its entry, 11 political parties have submitted their candidates' registration forms, NEC said earlier on Thursday.

These political parties are Cambodian People's Party (CPP), Funcinpec Party, Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), Norodom Ranariddh Party, Khmer Democratic Party, Sangkum Jatiniyum Front Party, League for Democracy Party, Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party, Khmer National Party, Democratic Society Party and United People of Cambodia Party, it said.

CPP is to compete in 1,621 communes in 24 provinces or municipalities, Funcinpec in 763 communes in 23 provinces or municipalities, SRP in 992 communes in 23 provinces or municipalities, Norodom Ranariddh Party in 769 communes in 22 provinces or municipalities, and Khmer Democratic Party in 30 communes in seven provinces or municipalities, it said.

In addition, Sangkum Jatiniyum Front Party in 42 communes in 10 provinces or municipalities, League for Democracy Party in 11 communes in five provinces, Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party in 47 communes in four provinces, Khmer National Party in two communes in one province, Democratic Society Party in one commune, and United People of Cambodia in four communes in three provinces, it added.

The 2007 commune councils election's process started on Sept. 21, 2006, and will end on May 23, 2007. April 1 will be the polling day, ballot counting, and publishing of results at polling stations.

Source: Xinhua Read more!

Cambodia's ex-king regrets continued violence, sex abuse in his country

The Associated Press
Thursday, January 4, 2007

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Cambodia's retired King Norodom Sihanouk bemoaned killings, child sexual abuse and other violent crimes in his country, in a New Year message to his fellow citizens.

Sihanouk, 84, said he has been "very perturbed morally and psychologically" by such acts as jealous husbands killing their wives, women cutting off their partners' penises and jealous women throwing acid at their husbands' mistresses.

The former king, who is being treated for various ailments in Beijing, implored fellow Cambodians to refrain from violence.

"Please stop acid throwing, killings ... pedophilia, rape," he said in his handwritten message dated Monday and seen on his official Web site Friday.
Sihanouk also took aim at the pedophiles, who "maltreat, torture, kill children." The message was written in French.

"All these crimes or acts of cruelty are anti-Buddhist and dishonor our country, nation and race," Sihanouk said. "They are unacceptable."

He did not mention any specific incidents. Sex offenses against minors remain a major problem in the impoverished Southeast Asian country, and many of the abusers are foreigners preying on poor children.
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