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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Noppadon denies compromise

Obviously this is aggressive and arrogance from the Thai foreign minister and Thailand. The attempt to interfering in the registration of Preah Vihea Temple as World Heritage Site is a violation of Cambodia sovereignty. The Preah Vihea is belong to Cambodia so as the land surounding the Temple. Thailand had moved its borders deep into Cambodia in thousand squar kilometres already and thousand of statues were stolen by Thailand.

Thailand will not compromise with Cambodia in negotiations over land around Preah Vihear temple, which Phnom Penh wants to register as a Unesco World Heritage Site, Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said yesterday. ''I [as foreign minister] will not let this country give up a square inch of territory to Cambodia,'' Mr Noppadon said.

The ancient Khmer temple, which is on the border in Si Sa Ket province, was ruled by the International Court of Justice to belong to Cambodia in 1962.

The area around the temple remains in dispute, with the two countries' claims overlapping.

To register the temple, known as Khao Phra Viharn in Thai, as a World Heritage Site might require Thailand giving up some disputed land to Cambodia.

Mr Noppadon's strong statement came amid rumours Thailand might compromise in exchange for benefits for some politicians, including petroleum concessions in other disputed areas.

The reports follow the minister's recent sudden transfer of Virachai Plasai, director-general of the Treaties and Legal Affairs Department and head of the negotiation team, to an inactive post.

Mr Virachai is seen by senior officials at the ministry as the most capable person for the job.

Mr Noppadon yesterday strongly denied the speculation. He said the issue of Preah Vihear had nothing to do with a petroleum agreement.

The World Heritage issue was sensitive for both countries, he said, and he sympathised with Cambodia, which was due for a general election in July _ the same time the World Heritage Committee is to reconsider Phnom Penh's unilateral request for listing Preah Vihear.

The minister said Thailand and Cambodia would reach an agreement on the exploitation of natural resources in disputed areas. Negotiations were underway and should be finalised soon.

''Thailand and Cambodia have 26,000 square kilometres of disputed areas and this requires a joint agreement because there are oil and natural gas deposits worth about five trillion baht in the areas,'' he said.

''The dispute deserves joint management and government-to-government actions.

''(Negotiations) have made good progress. The issue will be discussed with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An as soon as possible.

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Cambodia: Khemara Keila Get Off To Winning Start

Recently crowned Hun Sen Cup champ Khemara Keila got off to a bright start against Kirivong in the first game of the Cambodia Premier League 2008 while Moha Garuda suffered an unlikely home loss to newly-promoted Intry Kraham

Khemara Keila FC, buoyed by their recent win of the Hun Sen Cup crown, did not seem to flinch even though they fell behind as early as the fourth minute to Lam Thanh Giang strike for Kirivong Sok Sen Chey FC.

But Khemara bid their time well and they were quick to grab the equalizer in the 33rd minute off Sok Phal Odom for both teams to be on par at the break.

A goal at the hour mark from Ty Bun Vichitr and then another from Sok Phal (73rd minute) made sure that Khemara win their first three points of the season.

For Moha Garuda, they just failed to find the momentum after conceding the first goal to Intry Kraham-Post FC when San Sovannak slammed home a 23rd minute lead.

And even though Intry did manage to nail the equalizer off Joshep three minutes later, there was no stopping Sovannak from grabbing his second goal and that off Intry five minutes after the restart.

Em Sovannarith then wrapped up the full points for Intry with the third goal on 65th minute.
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A chance to make a difference overseas

By Victoria Cheng

Four letters may not be a lot, but it's enough to underpin a $20,000 fund-raising effort to build a school in rural Cambodia. Calling itself the Cambridge School for Cambodia (and Camb-Camb for short), the campaign brings together students, businesses, and several groups across the city, some with deep ties to Cambodia and some who have always called Cambridge home.

more stories like thisRachael Harkavy, a fifth-grade student at the King Open School, started learning about Cambodia in January when she and her peers in the school's fifth through eighth grades joined the effort by hosting weekly penny drives. She reels off statistics about the country. "It's about the size of Oklahoma and has the population of Pennsylvania," she began.

Camb-Camb is raising money to send to American Assistance for Cambodia, a nonprofit organization run by former Newsweek journalist Bernie Krisher, that has built more than 400 schools across the country.

"We'll be the 405th school, but it's not enough," Harkavy added. "Massachusetts is about half the size of Cambodia and has about 1,000 schools, so that just brings into perspective how many schools Cambodia needs."

The planned Camb-Camb school will be 40 miles north of Phnom Penh and accommodate between 200 and 400 students. Krisher started the initiative in 1993 and negotiated a memorandum of understanding with the World Bank that called for it to match whatever money he raised. The cost of a school, Krisher said, "is actually about $30,000, and the donor only pays about $13,000." By contributing an extra $7,000, the Cambridge School for Cambodia will be able to equip its school with an English teacher, solar panels for a computer, and Internet access.

Longteine de Monteiro owns the Elephant Walk restaurants, which feature French and Cambodian cuisine at locations in Cambridge, Boston, and Waltham. The Cambodian native explained that outside assistance is sorely needed in the country, which was devastated first by the spillover effects of the Vietnam War and then by genocide during the brutal rule of the communist Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.

"The government now doesn't really do much to help education," she said, "so all the foundations from outside of the country who go there and build whatever the country needs, especially schools and hospitals, are very important."

When Camb-Camb contacted de Monteiro, she agreed to host a benefit dinner at her North Cambridge restaurant early last month.

"We served chicken curry, Salade Cambodgienne, and beef short ribs with green coconut juice," said Monteiro. The event bumped Camb-Camb's funds to the $13,300 mark.

The event also gave de Monteiro an opportunity to showcase a prominent part of Cambodian culture - its cuisine - and the desire to teach Cantabrigians about this small country perched on the southeastern peninsula of Asia.

At the King Open School, Rachael and fellow fifth-grader Eliza Klein have made it their goal to involve younger students.

Before classes one day earlier this month, the girls helped set up an origami table at the school entrance, along with an empty water jug inviting donations of spare change. Sixth-grader Brianna Lavelle patiently guided the younger students through the steps of folding a colorful square of paper into the shape of a crane.

"What is this for?" asked 6-year-old Bianca Byfield, as she handed over her crane to be placed on a large branch of a tree that will eventually hold 400.

"Every crane represents one child who will go to school in Cambodia," said Lavelle's mother, Risa. "And all of Cambridge is helping raise money."

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