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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cambodia opts for ePassport labels

Malaysian ePassport systems supplier IRIS Corporation has signed a contract with Southeastasianet Technologies (SEANET) to supply ePassport labels, ePassport systems and automated border control systems to The Ministry of Interior, Kingdom of Cambodia. SEANET is the prime contractor on the project having been awarded a 15-years concession by the Cambodian Government.

The Cambodian project appears to be the first in Asia to use ePassport labels. According to IRIS, this gives the country the ability to laminate contactless IC chips into existing passport books (either previously issued or stock items). This addresses a challenge faced by countries who have large stockpiles of conventional passport books.

The scope of the project also includes the IRIS’ ePassport system for enrolment, personalization and issuance of ePassports, and IRIS’ automated border control solution. IRIS’ electronic identity management system, IdenCraft, will also be used. This system handles security, inventory, workflow, personalization and lifecycle requirements.

According to the supplier, the deliverables will adhere to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and deliver a multi-level identity management solution combining fingerprints, facial characteristics, biodata and signature capture. Read more!

5 kids injured in Cambodia mine blast

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 21 (Xinhua): The explosion of two mines wounded five children on Saturday in Thmor Pouk district, Battambang province, some 250 km northwest of the capital city, police source told Xinhua by phone.

Two of them were heavily injured, while the other three slightly over the blast in Sre Laor village, said Yort Rai, Deputy Police Chief of the district.

"They found the two mines in a black plastic bag behind their village and thought that it was make-up powder boxes. They hit them with a stick in order to take off the shells and sell them to waste-pickers. They then exploded," he said.

The two injured seriously were sent to a children's hospital in Battambang provincial town, he added.

"The girl suffered from injuries on face, hands and chest. Both children may become blind and lose their hands," he said, adding that the four boys and one girl were from four to seven-years-old.

Earlier on Friday, seven mine cleaners died over the blast of three anti-tank mines in Komrieng district, Battambang province.

According to the Cambodia Mine Action Center, there were more than 400 human casualties over mine and UXO (unexploded ordnance) explosions in 2006 in Cambodia, or 50 per cent decrease over the average number of the previous six years.

Due to 30 years of armed conflicts, Cambodia has become one of the world's most heavily mined countries with an estimated four to six million of such "hidden killers" buried underground in areas as extensive as 2,900 square kilometers.

All the mines and UXO may take another 150 years for the kingdom to clear out, statistics say. Read more!

A retired Hawaii Kai couple uses deposites to help villagers


Cans for Cambodia
By Pat Gee

Sometimes onlookers mistake Florence Doi for a homeless woman looking for food through trash cans at public parks. It doesn't bother her a bit.

For every bottle or can she finds, Doi gets a 5-cent refund, and in Cambodia, that is enough to buy a meal of rice for two children, she said.

Her husband, Takeshi Terada, might grumble a bit about the gas it takes to make their daily scavenging rounds, then take the load to a redemption recycling center. But Terada just likes to "kid her," he said.

The retired, elderly couple from Hawaii Kai admit their charity work has become somewhat of an overwhelming, full-time job with all the collecting, rinsing and sorting of cans and bottles.

"(But) when you think about the value of the outcome, that you can help people in Cambodia, it's very worthwhile. ... One-hundred percent (of the refund) goes to charity," Terada said.
They just returned from their third trip to poverty-stricken Cambodian villages with an outreach group from the University Avenue Baptist Church. The group started going seven years ago and is made up mostly of Cambodian refugees, led by Bible teacher Hongly Khuy.

Khuy, himself a refugee, calls the suburbs outside of Phnom Penh "scavenger villages -- they live on the rubbish (they collect)."

Doi saw "a black and smelly village," emitting the smoke of rubbish fires, and children rummaging through garbage when she first visited Cambodia in 2004. She turned to her husband and said, "Let's be the scavengers for them. Let's go out into the beaches and parks, and go into the rubbish cans."

"I was so touched by what I saw. I couldn't think of anything else."

Although the couple cannot speak to the villagers in their language, "we talk with our eyes," Doi said. "The mothers' eyes -- they are just so full of disbelief that they are getting this rice."
This year, they bought $2,000 worth of rice (equivalent to 20,000 pounds) in Cambodia, along with other items, such as saimin, small toiletry items, medicine, Bibles and reading glasses for 300 villagers.

In addition to their recycling efforts, the couple has weekly garage sales at their Kuliouou Street home to sell items that are dropped off by friends, neighbors and people who have heard of it through word of mouth. The couple also picks up hundreds of bottles weekly from Makiki Christian Church.

Within two days of returning from their trip Jan. 3, the couple got more than 2,000 plastic or glass bottles and cans from people who dropped off the items in their garage.

"We raised $88 in two days. These nickels really add up fast," Doi said. "People are very giving. I don't know who they are. They must come to the garage sale and see pictures of (us) in Cambodia hanging in the garage."

She added, "People started dropping things off because they don't want to see us picking through garbage. ... Japanese people don't want to be seen picking through rubbish, but we think, 'Ooh, this is going to feed two children' (whenever they find a bottle)."

Their evening sojourns to Sandy Beach are made as much to enjoy the natural beauty and peaceful surroundings as they are to go through some 30 rubbish barrels. Park regulars are so friendly and save bottles and cans for them, too, Doi added.

"Once a man asked me, 'Lady, you hungry?' and offered me money. ... Maybe they think we're poor. In Hawaii, people are so kind. ... Their hearts open up very big."

If you have recyclables you want to donate to the couple's cause, call 396-0850.
Read more!