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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Roundup: Cambodia proud to host ASEAN U17 football championship

Cambodia was very proud to organize the ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Football Federation (AFF) U17 Championship Tournament 2007, which went smoothly until the end, said Kek Ravy, vice-president of the Football Federation of Cambodia, here on Saturday.

He made these remarks after Thailand won Laos 3-2 in the final match in Saturday afternoon to become the champion and Vietnam beat Indonesia 4-3 to took the third place in the morning.

The tournament aimed at developing young players in ASEAN countries with professional skills in the football field. "I hope that someday in the future Asia will win the World Cup of FIFA," he said.

"We attracted thousands of spectators and it was a historical event here," he said.

There will be another match of AFF U16 in October 2007 in Indonesia, he said, adding that six teams, namely Cambodia, Hong Kong of China, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan will join it.

During the final match, Thailand scored all its three goals in the first half of the match, while Laos had two in the second half of the match.

Laotian Coach Soulivanh Xeunvilay said his team was happy to be the runner-up.

"In the second half of the match, my boys presented dominant performance in the field," he said at the press conference held after the match.

Thai coach Prayoung Khunan told reporters that in the second half of the match, as his players were exhausted and had weak power, the Laotian team mounted up its pressure.

"We are very happy and lucky to win the Laotian team for the final match," he said.

The Thai team received the cup from Thong Khon, Cambodian Tourism Minister and president of the Olympic Committee of Cambodia.

All the matches of the tournament were done in order, despite of heavy rain now and then.

The only stain was the small-scale riot on Aug. 25, after Cambodia won Brunei 2-0 but the angry fans thought the team should have been able to score more goals.

During the violence, some 200 spectators smashed windows on four vehicles with wooden sticks and threw rocks at the military police guarding the Olympic Stadium.

Except Philippines, all ASEAN countries sent teams to the match.

The first ASEAN U17 football championship was held in 2005 in Thailand, with Myanmar being the winner, and the second in 2006 in Vietnam, with Vietnam the winner.

Source: Xinhua
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Cambodia mission marks sixth humanitarian mission for Pennsylvania Marine


KAMPONG SOM PROVINCE, Cambodia - It was a long trip from Pennsylvania to Cambodia's remote, southern farmlands. It started in August 2004 for Cpl. Tyson Barnhart, a graduate of Somerset Area High School, when he left his home in Somerset for recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C.

Three years later, the 21-year-old combat engineer, who enlisted in the Marine Corps to get a positive start on life, has spent a great deal of time improving other people's lives during six humanitarian assistance missions.
Barnhart is one of 45 service members deployed to Cambodia's Kampong Som Province with a detachment from the Okinawa-based Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

The Marines and sailors are providing humanitarian assistance to the approximately 500 residents of the Ma'Ahad El-Muhajirin Islamic Center, a school for 15- to 20-year-old students from Cambodia's religious minority Cham, an ethnic group of Islamic peoples in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand that is considered to be descended from the ancient kingdom of Champa, which dates back more than a millennium.

The detachment of mostly Marine combat engineers is completing several renovations at the center during a 10-day engineering civil assistance project that began Aug. 15. A team of 10 Navy medical and dental personnel is also providing medical care and preventive medicine training for the center's approximately 500 residents.

The engineers will make several infrastructure and cosmetic improvements at the center including rewiring and improving electrical equipment that powers the center and installing ceilings in classrooms and ceiling fans in the center's mosque.

Humanitarian assistance missions in the Pacific are common for the III Marine Expeditionary Force, the parent command for 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, and Barnhart is one of two MWSS-172 Marines participating in a civil assistance project in Cambodia for the second time in two years.

“I enjoy this kind of work,” he said. “It's a good opportunity to help less fortunate people and see other cultures and parts of the world I never would have seen otherwise.”

Barnhart's sixth civil assistance project is part of the Cambodia Interoperability Program, which is intended to build on the relationship between the U.S. and Cambodian governments and develop interoperability between U.S. forces and the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

Far removed from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the mission in Cambodia is a reminder for Barnhart that the organization he joined does more than fight battles.

“I never thought I would be doing something like this when I joined,” he said. “I thought I'd be going to Iraq right off the bat, but I've seen how important this kind of mission is, too. “

Barnhart was welcomed by Nasiet Ly, an English teacher at the center, as he spoke to the American humanitarians during a small opening ceremony Aug. 15. “We are very thankful for the help, and we hope to build on the warm relationship between the U.S. and Cambodian people,” he said.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia relayed a message from Chargé d'Affaires Piper A.W. Campbell, praising the Okinawa service members for their role in enhancing the relationship between the two countries as well as the Muslim community.

“Providing assistance to Cambodia's Muslim population is an important part of the United States government's outreach efforts here, and we sincerely appreciate the significant contributions MWSS-172 has made to this ongoing commitment,” Campbell said.

The scope of Barnhart's efforts may pale in comparison to the U.S. government's broader humanitarian relief and support across the globe, but he said it's a gratifying thought knowing that his small contribution here is impacting the lives of people in need.

“When you're used to the simple amenities that we have as Americans - running water, plumbing, constant electricity - you get humbled seeing the way these people live,” he said. “I've done this kind of thing a lot now, and I'm glad every time I help people in need.”
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Cambodia: Finding lost glories

By Dian Plater

It's close on sunset and the trail of tourists walking up the hill is getting longer and longer.

From the top of the 10th century Bakheng temple, Angkor Wat rises above the jungle in the distance.

Some sit on the steep steps after clambering up them. Others look through the telescopes, while below some take an elephant ride.

Angkor, the glory of the Khmer civilisation, which shaped Cambodia from the 9th to the 14th centuries, covers a vast area and has about 100 temples.

Since Angkor Archaeological Park's temples were designated a World Heritage Site and opened to tourism in 1993 - after 30 years of war - the place has boomed. Last year 1.7 million foreign arrivals were recorded , a 20 per cent increase over 2005. It's estimated by 2010 there could be as many as five million visitors.

Most tourists come only for two days to Siem Reap, the town next to Angkor Wat.

Already problems such as hotels pumping underground water for their own use are worrying locals and those working to protect the area. But others would like to see the tourists stay longer.

This is also a suggestion made by Associate Professor of Archaeology at the University of Sydney, Roland Fletcher, who has been working at Angkor since 1998 and is a project director on the Greater Angkor Project and the Living with Heritage Project.

"The Cambodian government would really like people to stay longer for the straightforward reason it would bring more tourist income into Cambodia. But the other side of it is the hotels would be washing all their laundry every two days, which is wasteful and not environmentally desirable at all."

One of the key things archaeologists are discovering about the site, says Fletcher is it's true size. "It's huge. Everybody's used to the idea of Angkor as a group of temples with Angkor Thom in the middle but in fact the Angkor urban area covers nearly 1000sq km instead of the 200sq km of the central temple area."

He says Angkor was a low-density medieval city, spread out with houses surrounded by rice fields, with a huge system of canals and human-built reservoirs known as barays.

"The Angkorian world essentially removed the forest to grow rice so this entire landscape was rice fields with houses surrounded by economic trees like palm trees. After the 16th century the forest took over again.

"It was an urban landscape. The Ta Prohm has a record on its walls of 12,640 people who worked for it on a daily basis - the administrators, cleaners and dancers."

For tourists coming to Cambodia there's much more than Angkor to see. Temples built over four centuries that once formed part of the vast Khmer empire are scattered across the country. These sites are gradually becoming more accessible. But more time is needed to visit - and appreciate - them.

Fletcher hopes tourism can be developed to take visitors on to Tonle Sap lake and up to the hills. "There could be walks through the rice fields and down these giant canals, some of which are 40km long."


As well as seeing the monuments there's great shopping in Siem Reap, restaurants offering international cuisine, accommodation from five star to guest houses, traditional dancers, bars in Pub Street and great local spas.

Archaeological park tickets at the official ticket office: one day, US$20 ($28), three day, US$40 ($57) or one week, US$60 ($85).

Where to stay: La Residence d'Angkor, is a centrally located riverside Khmer-style hotel. Prices are from $192 a room a night for a Royal Deluxe river view room.

* Diane Plater was a guest of Orient-Express Hotels, Trains & Cruises, flying Qantas to Bangkok, then Bangkok Airways to Siem Reap

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