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Thursday, August 27, 2009

FAO to donate 12 mln euro to help Cambodia against drought

PHNOM PENH, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations will donate 12 million euro (about 17.16 million U.S. dollars) to Cambodia after the country was hit by drought, the FAO official said on Thursday.

"The budget will be signed with Cambodian partner on Sept. 2, but actually we have already helped in fighting against drought in the country," Seung Soy, program assistant for FAO told Xinhua by phone.

"The budget will focus more on helping the training, rice seeds, fertilizers, planting other agricultural crops for local farmers," he said, adding that the finance is from the European Union (EU).

"We also have concern on the food security after it is being hit with drought this year," he added.
Currently, eight provinces in Cambodia have been hit by drought and 40,000 hectares of rice seedlings have been affected by it.

"But Now, Cambodian government has taken actions to save rice seedlings from dry. We used water pumps to help farmers and we prepared seeds for local framers," Chan Tong Ev, secretary of state for Ministry of Agriculture told Xinhua. However, he said he could not comment about the budget, but waiting.
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Cambodians Still Traumatized

Will the long-awaited trial of Khmer Rouge leaders ease Cambodians' trauma, or stir painful memories?

PHNOM PENH—A Cambodian psychiatrist has testified at the trial of a confessed Khmer Rouge torturer that up to 40 percent of Cambodians suffer psychological trouble as a result of the faction’s brutal four-year rule.

“According to research conducted after the Khmer Rouge period, two out of five Cambodians have [suffered] mental problems and psychosocial crises. This figure is high—up to 40 percent” of the population, Chhim Sotheara said.

Studies this year also found that some 14 percent of Cambodians aged 18 and older have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Chhim Sotheara testified at the trial of Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, who commanded a Khmer Rouge torture center when the group was in power from 1975-79.

During the Khmer Rouge regime, people were trained not to trust each other. This has continued among Cambodians today,” said Chhim Sotheara, of the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization, which promotes community mental health programs,

He added that Duch’s trial offers a chance for Khmer Rouge victims to heal through the administration of justice.

The Journal of the American Medical Association this month published new research by experts at the University of North Carolina that found most Cambodians feared the tribunal would stir up painful memories.

Those who most wanted revenge were also likely to suffer PTSD, they wrote.

Some 87.2 percent of Cambodians 35 or older believed trying Khmer Rouge leaders would stir painful memories, they found, adding, "Now that the trials have begun, longitudinal research is needed to determine the impact of the trials on Cambodians' mental health."

Duch is the first of five senior Khmer Rouge figures scheduled to face long-delayed trials and the only one to acknowledge responsibility for his actions. His trial, which started in March, is expected to finish before the end of the year.

He could face life imprisonment. Cambodia has no death penalty.

Original reporting by Leng Maly for RFA’s Khmer service. Translated by Sothea Thai. Khmer service director: Sos Kem. Executive producer: Susan Lavery. Written and produced in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.
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Genocide moved from Europe to Africa-France's Veil

By Evelyn Leopold


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The lessons of the Holocaust and the mass killings in Cambodia did not end the threat of genocide as mass slaughter continues in Rwanda and Darfur, a survivor of the Auschwitz death camp said on Monday.

Simone Veil, a French politician, addressed the U.N. General Assembly as part of the body’s second commemoration of the Holocaust, timed to the liberation by the Soviet army of Auschwitz, the largest Nazi concentration camp.

"After the massacre in Cambodia, it is Africa that has been paying the price, in Rwanda, in Darfur," she told the audience, which included other survivors and their families.

Veil, who lost several members of her immediate family, recounted her year at Auschwitz when she was 17. "We don’t talk today about our families. We have to laugh so as not to cry," she said.

Veil, Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman and moderator Shashi Tharoor, a U.N. undersecretary-general, used the occasion to rebuff deniers of the Holocaust.

The General Assembly adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution on Friday condemning Holocaust deniers, weeks after a Tehran conference dominated by speakers questioning the extermination of 6 million Jews in World War Two.

"This new negation worries me because it has found a great echo through the new technology, especially among the young," Veil said, referring to the Internet.

Gillerman was more direct. "Today, that same member state tries to rewrite history, denying the Holocaust, denying the Nazi genocide, denying the painful fate of 6 million Jews and others in Europe, denying the value of human life and the very founding principles of this world body," he said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, after coming to power in August 2005, caused an international outcry by terming the Holocaust a "myth" and calling Israel a "tumour" in the Middle East.

General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Al Khalifa of Bahrain called for paying tribute to all victims, and a representative of the disabled reminded listeners that those who had physical defects were the first to die.

"Today’s commemoration is an important reminder of the universal lessons of the Holocaust, a unique evil which cannot simply be consigned to the past and forgotten, " Al Khalifa said. "The Holocaust was a historical event, which cannot be denied. Its consequences still reverberate in the present."

At a news conference following the ceremony, representatives of the Roma and Sinti (gypsies) made clear that a half a million of their numbers at Auschwitz perished and most in central and eastern Europe were still subject to discrimination and the targets of violence.

"Especially in the countries of Eastern Europe, there are millions of members of our minority who live in ghetto-like housing, often cut off from any infrastructure," Romani Rose Chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma said.

He called for the United Nations to appoint a special human rights envoy to promote their rights.
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Cash-rich miner OZ mulling its future

By Sarah-Jane Tasker


OZ Minerals is sitting on $1 billion in cash as it decides how to move forward, and is determined not to repeat past mistakes that forced it to sell most of its assets to China.

New chief executive Terry Burgess said OZ Minerals, which escaped being placed into administration when it sold the bulk of its assets to China Minmetals, was developing a strategy over the next few months that would take the company forward.

He said decisions would be made about what commodities and regions to operate in, The Australian reports.

Its only current assets are the Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia and exploration ground in Cambodia.
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"What we have is a new company in a very unusual position in as much as there is a project that has recently gone through commissioning and is progressing well, but there is no debt and we have $1bn of cash we have to ensure we spend in the most prudent way," he said.

"Importantly for us, we want to make sure we make the right decisions.

"We don't want to make any repeat mistakes made by us or anybody in the past."

Mr Burgess made the comments as the Melbourne-based miner reported a net loss in the first half of fiscal 2009 of $585.6 million, compared to a loss of $500,000 a year earlier.

OZ said the first-half result was affected by lower commodity prices and a one-off loss of $553.9m on the sale of assets to Minmetals.

Revenue was $854.5m, compared with $529.3m in the first half of fiscal 2008, while revenue from its only surviving operation from the asset sale was $89.6m.

The miner had a cash balance at June 30 of $1bn and debt in the form of convertible bonds with a face value of $US105m ($127m).
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