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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cambodia to hold school event for small arms education

The Japan Assistance Team for Small Arms Management in Cambodia (JSAC) and Working Group for Weapons Reduction (WGWR) are co-organizing an educational event on small arms in Phnom Penh on July 27 to 28, a press release said Thursday.

Six high schools will host this event, under the cooperation of the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the JSAC press release said, adding that the students will participate and learn about the small arms problem in Cambodia.

WFWR, JSAC, Ministry of Interior officials and campaign volunteers will teach high school students about the risks and laws relating to weapons, it said.

The event is intended to raise students' awareness on the small arms problem, and contribute in building a culture of non-violence and peace among the youth, it added.

JSAC has implemented its weapons collection and other peace building activities in the northwest areas of Cambodia and is currently focused on Battambang province and Kompong Thom province, it said.

According to the press release, the number of small arms collected through JSAC activities since 2003 is now 28,375.

Source: Xinhua.
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World Bank head to visit Australia, Asia

The new World Bank President Robert Zoellick will next week visit Australia for talks with APEC finance ministers.

Zoellick, a former US chief trade negotiator and deputy secretary of state, indicated he would not shy away from discussing corruption and governance issues during a trip that will also take in Japan, Vietnam and Cambodia.

"I want to try to stress the overall rule of law, good governance, the openness of a society and how it can contribute to development and opportunity," he told reporters.

China and several other states reacted angrily earlier this month at published World Bank governance rankings that gave some authoritarian states low rankings in areas such as democratic accountability.

"It's unfortunate that it's become such a controversial item, in that if you look at most of the work in the development field, having sound institutions and having good governance is a core element," he said, without referring to a particular country.

Zoellick will first meet in Australia with finance ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation grouping who begin a week of talks in Queensland on Sunday.

Talks with the 21-member APEC forum ministers, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Asian financial crisis cover "what's been achieved (and) where are the question marks in the system," he said.

In Cambodia and Vietnam, Zoellick will visit World Bank projects and hold meetings with government officials, business leaders and civic groups.

"One of the challenges here is that even though they've got pretty good growth, the capacity in the country is very thin," he said of Cambodia.

Cambodians remain heavily dependent on textile exports and Zoellick said he hopes the bank can help "broaden their overall economic possibilities."

Vietnam, he said, was "now starting to deal with the second stage of reforms" after an economic boom in its cities, and it needs to spread growth to poorer rural areas.

Japan, the World Bank's second-largest shareholder, is a leading player in international development aid with an annual aid budget of some $9 billion that will host next year's Group of Eight industrialised nations summit, Zoellick said.

"I'm interested in trying to get the sense of priorities that Japan sees in the development area," he said, adding that he would thank Tokyo while encouraging the Japanese to continue their support for international development.
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Cambodia: Peruvian Men, Thai Woman Sentenced For Drug Trafficking In Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA: A Cambodian judge sentenced two Peruvian men and a Thai woman to 20 years in jail Wednesday (July 25th) on charges of trafficking a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cocaine, officials said.

Judge Chhay Kong, of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said he sentenced Heder Martel Rojas, 23, Rodol Foniek Otero Farias, 27, and a 26-year-old Thai woman, whose name he was unable to give.

He said he had convicted them on July 12th on charges of transporting illicit drugs. He also ordered each of them to pay a 50 million riel (US$12,195) fine.

Rojas was arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport on October 6th when an X-ray machine showed he had swallowed 106 small packets of cocaine, Lt. Gen. Lour Ramin, secretary-general of Cambodia's National Authority for Combatting Drugs, said at the time.

Lour Ramin said Rojas led police to Farias and the Thai woman, the partner of Farias, in Siem Reap province. He said the three told police they had planned to take the drugs across the border to Thailand.

Saing Vannak, a Cambodian lawyer for the three defendants, said Rojas admitted wrongdoing in court, but Farias and the woman said they were not involved in trafficking and were merely Rojas' friends. They plan to appeal the verdict and sentences. (AP)
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Woman slain in vicious S.J. attack fought to save family from genocide in Cambodia

By Jessie Mangaliman
Mercury News
San Jose Mercury News
Article Launched:

Sany San survived a modern-day genocide in Cambodia, and after arriving in the United States four years ago, it seemed as if she had finally been delivered from harm's way.

But on a quiet Sunday morning, on her way to catch a bus to her job at a doughnut shop, San's life was cut short in an attack so violent that it has left police, her relatives and many in San Jose's tight-knit Cambodian-American community in shock and disbelief.

"She was supposed to be safe in this country," said Jennifer Chan, vice president of the Cambodian Women's Association in San Jose. "But we couldn't protect her."

Two men, described by police as transients, were arraigned Wednesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court in connection with the crime, charged with murder, robbery and sexual assault.

According to investigators, San's attackers approached her as she neared Knox Avenue on Story Road, shortly after 6 a.m. It was about a mile from where she was staying.

The two men first talked with San, 46, who is 5-feet-2-inches tall and weighed 110 pounds, apparently intending to rob her. They then began to beat her, dragging her behind bushes, where they took turns sexually assaulting her. Then they stabbed her repeatedly, leaving her to die.

Officer Enrique Garcia described it as the "most vicious, violent and monstrous crime" San Jose has witnessed in years.

Wednesday, during a tearful interview at her East San Jose home, San's aunt, Sokhim Sann, said one of the hardest things to accept was that her niece, on a normal day, never would have been walking on the stretch of road where she was killed.

"I usually give her a ride to the bus station near De La Cruz Boulevard" in Santa Clara, Sann said.

San usually caught the bus from that station to an unidentified doughnut shop near Palo Alto where she worked as a janitor.

But Sunday morning, Sann was not feeling well. Without complaint, San, who had only been in San Jose since April, said she would take the bus from Story Road.

"When you look at her, you wouldn't think she's been through all these hardships," said San's cousin, Ratana Kim. "But the lives of many Cambodians are about hardship and sacrifice. And she embodied that."

San was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, the eldest of eight children in a middle-class family. Her father was a university professor who taught Khmer, the Cambodian language, and her mother was a homemaker.

In high school, she studied Khmer and English, said Sann, 52, and she had expressed interest in attending university.

During the genocidal campaign of the Khmer Rouge, the communist organization that ruled and terrorized Cambodia from 1975-79, San's father, Him Kao, was executed by soldiers. An estimated 3 million people died during the Khmer Rouge rule.

San, her mother, Muykeh, 64, and her siblings fled the city for Battambang, in northwest Cambodia. Soon, the family was captured and sent to forced labor camps, where three of her five brothers died. For a time San was with her two sisters at one of the Khmer Rouge's so-called re-education camps, where young people were indoctrinated and forced to dig ditches. Eventually they, too, were separated.

San - showing her quiet, steely will - escaped from her camp and walked for days in search of the camp where her sisters were being held, Sann said. San found one sister. During their flight from the Khmer Rouge camp, San walked across a neck-deep lake, with her sister on her shoulders.

The other sister was killed by the Khmer Rouge.

San was 18 when the Khmer Rouge regime ended. With her father dead, and as the oldest child, she became the head of her household - witness and survivor to one of the century's worst atrocities. As her family's sole breadwinner, she took up work as a market vendor and a seamstress. Once while she was working at the market, a burning gasoline hose struck her legs. She couldn't work for a year.

"She's someone who didn't like to trouble other people," Kim said. "She never thought of herself and she's very, very caring."

San continued to support her family, even after she moved to America, Sann said. She sent most of her wages to Battambang, where her mother, one brother and one sister still live in a small house.

Coming to the United States was a dream San had long nursed, even though she and her family had missed the opportunity to leave Cambodia as refugees during the Khmer Rouge years, Sann said.

"She spent everyday worrying about how to feed her family," Sann said, in tears. "She really wanted to come and she was willing to do anything because she thought she could find a better living."

Four years ago, San arrived in San Jose with a temporary tourist visa. She lived for several months with relatives, then moved to Modesto to join a friend who worked at a doughnut shop. She stayed in Modesto for three years, working to clean the shop.

In April, she returned to San Jose after her friend left the Modesto job. She stayed with her aunt and found another job cleaning a doughnut shop, this one near Palo Alto.

Her temporary visa had long expired, making her an undocumented immigrant.

Three days before she was slain, Sany San told her relatives, "It didn't matter I never married. The important thing was I got here and I'm helping my family."

In Khmer culture, the Cambodian culture, the virtue of Sany San's life was her sacrifice, her aunt said.

Her life, she said, was her family and not herself. That she was not married, was never in a relationship, "made her pure in Khmer tradition."

"Her violation is what disturbs so many of us in the Cambodian community," Kim said. "For her life to end like this is devastating."


IF YOU'RE INTERESTED

Send memorial contributions, which will be used by San's family to pay for funeral services, to the San Jose Police Officers' Association, 1151 N. Fourth St., San Jose, Calif. 95112. For more information, call (408) 298-1133.

Contact Jessie Mangaliman at jmangaliman@mercurynews.com or (408) 920-5794.
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