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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Preparations for Thai-Cambodian border meet held in Bangkok

BANGKOK, July 21 (TNA) – The preparation meeting for the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee (GBC) was held in Bangkok to prepare for the session set to be held in September, with the venue yet to be decided.

The Joint Secretariat Meeting was co-chaired by Thai Border Affairs Department Director, Lt-Gen Nipat Thonglek, and Cambodian Deputy Defence Minister, Gen. Neang Phat.

The meeting prepared information for the GBC in all aspects to promote good relations and mutual understanding between the two countries’ armed forces.

Thai Defence Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan and his Cambodian counterpart, Gen. Tea Banh, will head the delegates to the upcoming border meeting which will cover three topics comprising 17 issues including survey and demarcation of land boundary; prevention and suppression of drug trafficking, and cooperation on border trade.

The most recent GBC meeting was held in April, at Cambodia’s Siem Reap, where the official name of the ancient temple of Preah Vihear (Phra Viharn in Thai) in the two bordering countries has not been agreed.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia. Clashes have occurred frequently near the 11th-century temple after it was listed as the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)'s World Heritage Site as both countries maintain their claims on the area adjoining the temple. (TNA)
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Help make kids’ smiles a little brighter on i-to-i’s new trip in Cambodia!

i-to-i's new trip in picturesque rural Cambodia sees volunteers making a real difference to the lives of kids by helping them learn how to clean their teeth!


Cambodia is home to plenty of wonderful sights: majestic temples, energetic cities, lush countryside… and classes full of excitable kids splashing around as they learn how to wash their hands and clean their teeth! On i-to-i’s (www.i-to-i.com) new week-long Children’s Health and Sanitation Programme in the picturesque Cambodian countryside, volunteers make a real difference to the health of Cambodian children
as they help them learn about the importance of keeping their teeth and hands squeaky clean.

Due to Western influence, a lot of sweets and other sugary snacks are being introduced into the Cambodian diet, but kids in rural areas are often unaware of the dangers of not looking after their teeth properly. That’s where our volunteers come in – on this project they help kids at a rural primary school understand the importance of good oral hygiene, show them how to clean their teeth properly and dish out toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Those volunteering on the project also help the kids learn about the importance of washing their hands and get stuck in with the soap and water showing them how! Poor hand hygiene is one of the main reasons communicable diseases are spread so quickly through children, so by showing them how to wash their hands properly, volunteers can have a really positive impact on the lives of these kids.

The project is based in the picturesque countryside surrounding Kampong Cham, Cambodia’s third largest city. While the area has seen some improvements since the devastation caused by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, it is still one of Cambodia’s poorest areas. As a result, the work i-to-i volunteers do in the area is welcomed by locals and gives them a chance to gain a privileged insight into the ‘traditional’ way of life in rural Cambodia.

Volunteers stay in a comfy guesthouse in Kampong Cham itself, which is a charismatic city resting on the banks of the mighty Mekong River. An English-speaking guide accompanies the volunteers throughout their trip, meaning they’ll have no problems getting to know the city and some of the locals, who are incredibly friendly. Transport to and from the project in the surrounding countryside is included, so travellers are free to focus on helping the kids on the project, rather than struggling with organising things!

As the project is only a week long, it’s perfect for travellers who only have a limited amount of time to spend away from home. At only £495 for the week, it’s also incredibly good value, with a tour of Phnom Penh at the start of the trip and all transfers included in the price. For those who are planning a longer trip, this project makes it easy to stop off and give something back while exploring this fascinating and beautiful country, which boasts spectacular temples, elegant riverside towns and stunning scenery. Travellers can even combine work on the project with one of i-to-i’s other fantastic volunteer trips in Cambodia – for more details visit www.i-to-i.com/cambodia/ or call our travel experts on 0800 011 1156.

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Thailand to fulfill 5 targets as ASEAN chairmanship

PHUKET, Thailand, As the 2009 chairmanship of the ASEAN, Thailand aims to complete five concrete steps to make the regional grouping move toward the goal of a full ASEAN community in 2015, official from the Thai Foreign Ministry said here on Tuesday.

Director-General of the ASEAN Affairs Department of the ministry Vitavas Srivihok was speaking during his participation in the 42nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Post Ministerial Conferences and 16th ASEAN Regional Forum, which have been organized in a southern province of Phuket on July 17-23.

Vitavas said the first agenda is the implementation of the regional reserve pool, known as Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), as Thailand aims to implement this step at the ASEAN Summit to be held on Oct. 23-25 in Thailand, he said.

In early May, finance ministers of the ASEAN Plus Three nations, China, Japan and Republic of Korea, reached the agreement on all main components of regional reserve pool.

The agreement on the CMIM includes the individual country's contribution, borrowing accessibility, and the surveillance mechanism.

The total size of the CMIM is 120 billion U.S. dollars with the contribution portion between ASEAN and the Plus Three countries at20 percent versus 80 percent.

China and Japan will each contribute 38.4 billion U.S. dollars to the pool, while South Korea will contribute 19.2 billion dollars.

Secondly, Thailand, as agreed by the other ASEAN member countries to be the hub of the antiviral vaccine production, will speed up the vaccine production, he said.

"This is the immediate issue, which is agreed on Tuesday by the ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting that the ASEAN countries will have a joint procurement of medicine," said Vitavas.

Thailand, which is coordinating with the World Health Organization (WHO), will produce enough vaccine with an affordable price for the ASEAN countries, he said.

However, a price of the antiviral vaccine for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, or the CLMV countries, could be lowered than that to be sold to other ASEAN member countries, he said.

Thirdly, it is concerned with the food security as another top agenda among the ASEAN Plus Three countries, he said.

Thailand plans to complete transforming a temporary office of the emergency rice stockpile center into the permanent emergency rice stockpile center in Thailand at the ASEAN Summit in October, he said.

By now China and Japan have pledged that they will contribute their rice to this center, while South Korea is also expected to follow China and Japan's step, he said.

The fourth and fifth concrete steps are concerned with the ASEAN-community building process, including of the ASEAN Human Rights Body and the ASEAN legal personality, he said.

The ASEAN foreign ministers adopted Monday the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the ASEAN human rights body, naming it the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.

The adoption of the final draft of the Terms of Reference of an ASEAN Human Rights Body (AHRB) will pave the way for the inauguration of the body at the 15th ASEAN Summit in October.

Lastly, on Monday the foreign ministers also approved the legal personality of ASEAN and approved a draft agreement on privileges and immunity of ASEAN.

The foreign ministers agreed to extend the mandate of High Level Legal Experts' Group on Follow-up to the ASEAN Charter (HLEG)to finalize dispute settlement mechanisms and other legal issues under the ASEAN Charter for the consideration at the 15th ASEAN Summit in October.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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