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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cambodia's dengue fever death toll sharply falls this year

PHNOM PENH, (Xinhua) -- The number of reported cases of dengue fever rose in 2009, but fatalities significantly fell from 2008 due to improved public awareness, local media reported on Thursday, citing health officials.

Ngan Chantha, director of dengue control at the Health Ministry, was quoted by the Cambodia Daily as saying that there were 11,625 cases of dengue fever and 36 deaths from the disease this year, compared to 9,245 cases and 65 deaths last year.

"We intervened by disseminating information through the media, spraying mosquito insecticide and training doctors and nurses to help dengue victims properly."

"People understand the disease and how dangerous it is, but they still don't change their behavior," he said, referring to the need to keep homes free of places where mosquitoes can breed.

Most of this year's dengue infections occurred in high-density areas in provinces including Kompong Cham, Kandal, Siem Reap and Kampot, as well as the capital Phnom Penh, Chantha added.

Doung Socheat, director of the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, agreed with Ngan Chantha that this year's decrease in fatalities was due to improved awareness and public health education on how to treat the disease.

Public health authorities will concentrate on decreasing further the number of both dengue infections and fatalities in the coming year, Socheat said.
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Kasit defends record in office

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya has defended his performance over the past 12 months - particularly in dealing with the Thai-Cambodia dispute - insisting he will not resign from his post.

Mr Kasit yesterday responded to public criticism and polls that show he is "a weak link in the government" and that his ministry has performed badly over the past year.

Mr Kasit said he had good relations with all countries around the world - except one country which created problems because "some Thais became spies to undermine him". He was referring to Cambodia.

"I did not yield to the leader of that country because it would have meant losing what is in Thailand's national interest, especially the oil and gas reserves under the Gulf of Thailand," Mr Kasit said.

"It does not belong to any family or any group of people, not Thais or another country. It belongs to the 65 million Thai people. I will not allow one or a few families from any country to occupy this oil and gas reserve, and I will not quit my position.

"What I try to fight for is the right thing and I can explain everything I did. I think this government and I did everything right."

Mr Kasit admitted the weakness of the government and the Foreign Ministry was their poor public relations work.

"It is the responsibility of neighbouring countries, which believe in international rules and regulations and non-interference principles, to not sit idly by but to help orchestrate talks," he said.

The diplomatic row between Thailand and Cambodia flared up after Cambodia appointed ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as its economic adviser and personal adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The Thai government recalled its ambassador from Phnom Penh and Cambodia responded by withdrawing its ambassador from Bangkok.

Cambodia refused to extradite Thaksin when he arrived in the country on Nov10 to take up his post as adviser.

Phnom Penh authorities then arrested a Thai engineer working for Cambodia Air Traffic Services on spying charges for passing on details of Thaksin's flight details to the Thai embassy.

He was later granted a pardon by the Cambodian king.

Mr Kasit said Thailand's image among the international community had improved over the past six months.

"The international media has less comment on the Thai government and understands more about the role of the monarchy," he said.

He said the election scheduled for Burma next year would be another challenge for Asean.

If Burma was successful in its election, it would help strengthen the grouping and improve human rights issues, making the Asean Charter stronger.

"I think progress in Burma is an important [issue] and peace along the Thai-Burmese border [will improve the] solidarity of Asean."

If the election fails, it will be to the detriment of Asean, he said.

The minister said the ministry's core policy next year would be to emphasise cooperation with Africa and Europe as Thailand was seeking closer links with the two continents.

Africa will become an emerging market for Thai consumer goods and food resources and Thailand will help to provide technical assistance in agriculture.

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Preah Vihear resolution overturned

The Administrative Court has ruled against a cabinet resolution approving a Thai-Cambodian memorandum of understanding on the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site.

The court yesterday quashed the June 17, 2008, resolution on the grounds that the government of the day, led by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, had failed to follow procedures required by Section 190 of the constitution.

The section requires all agreements involving issues of sovereignty to be approved by parliament.

The memorandum was not scrutinised by parliament before it was signed by then foreign affairs minister Noppadon Pattama on May 22, 2008.

Thailand pledged in the memo to support Cambodia in nominating the Preah Vihear temple to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) as a World Heritage site.

Attached to the document was a map of the overlapping border area surrounding the temple.

The case was filed by the People's Alliance for Democracy which campaigned against the listing of the Khmer ruins.

PAD lawyer Nitithon Lamlua yesterday said the group would submit the ruling to the National Anti-Corruption Commission which is investigating Mr Noppadon for alleged malfeasance in his handling of the matter.

He said Mr Noppadon had 30 days to appeal against the ruling.

PAD secretary-general Suriyasai Katasila hailed the verdict as a New Year's gift for all Thais.

The government should tell Unesco that Thailand no longer supports Cambodia's bid to list the temple, he said.

"The government must inform Unesco of the court's ruling as quickly as possible to put a halt to any activities which could affect Thai interests," he said.

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S. Korea: Low pathogenic H5N2 in ducks 29 Dec 2009

On a duck farm in South Korea low pathogenic bird flu type H5N2 has been diagnosed.
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The duck farm in Chung Chong-Namdo (Gobuk-myeon, Seo-san city) holds 26,800 duck of which 40 birds were found to be positive for H5N2. The source of the infection could not be established.

As part of the yearly surveillance programme, a member of the Livestock Health Control Association collected samples from a duck raising farm in Seo-san city and requested the test for avian influenza to the Chungchong-namdo Veterinary Research Institute (VRI) on 7 December 2009.

After it was positive by haemagglutination test, the sample was sent to the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service (NVRQS) on 22 December. In the course of the confirmatory test, the isolated virus was confirmed as H5 avian influenza virus on 24 December and finally confirmed as low pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N2) by gene sequencing.

26,800 ducks raised in the affected farm were culled and 176,000 eggs kept in the farm were destroyed.

The whole procedure for burial and burning was completed on 26 December. Traceback investigation of epidemiologically related farms and enhanced surveillance on neighbouring farms are underway.

According to the OIE Animal Health Information Department H5 and H7 avian influenza in its low pathogenic form in poultry is a notifiable disease and the applied control measures have to take place (a.o. stamping out).

H5N1 in Cambodia
In a backyard flock in Cambodia the highly pathogenic influenza strain H5N1 was found.

In a flock of 1,216 birds in Ponhea Kraek 143 chicken were found dead and examined positive for bird flu. The remaining 875 birds were destroyed. Movements of birds in the area is restricted.
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Rachel's mission to help children in Cambodia

By Emma Streatfield



A SWINDON woman will spend three months helping children in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Rachel White, of Harrow Close, Stratton has been accepted as a volunteer for a community project with children in Cambodia for the registered charity Globalteer.

Many of these children are orphaned or living on the streets.

The 25-year-old said: “It’s a completely different world out there and I hope I can make a difference.”

Rachel will head out to Cambodia on January 30 and return on April 12.

She will be working with Cambodia Kids, which is involved in various projects – a day centre for street children, a children’s orphanage and a free education programme for children.

Rachel will be assigned to help out on one of these projects when she arrives.

In recent years, Cambodia has seen decades of upheaval and conflict.

The radical communist Khmer Rouge party, under their leader Pol Pot, seized power in 1975 after years of guerrilla warfare.

Under his regime over the next three years an estimated 1.7m Cambodians died some from exhaustion or starvation, but many from torture and execution.

Today, Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world and relies heavily on international aid.

Rachel said the consequences of this poverty were being felt by the country’s young people.

She said: “Because the parents can’t afford to keep them, their children are put into orphanages so they get a better chance.”

She said she went to Australia on a gap year, but had always wanted to do some humanitarian work abroad.

So when she found out she was starting her new job in April, she decided to take the opportunity to look on the Globalteer website.

Globalteer is a not for profit UK charity that serves to help those in need. It places volunteers overseas to work on projects that need help, but in order to volunteer on the project donation money has to be raised.

This money will be used to help in the building of schools and provide children with meals to allow them to attend school rather than working or begging.

To raise the necessary funding, Rachel will be running or walking 200 miles in 20 days on a treadmill.

She has also organised a quiz for 70 of her family and friends at The GW pub, on Station Road, opposite the railway station on Saturday.

To donate to Rachel’s campaign email rachelwhite84@hotmail.com.
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Thai court cancels cabinet resolution on Preah Vihear temple

BANGKOK, (Xinhua) -- Thailand's Central Administrative Court Wednesday ordered revocation of a resolution passed by the Samak Sundaravej-led government, which approved the Thai-Cambodian joint communique supporting Cambodia's bid to list Preah Vihear temple as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Thai News Agency reported.

The Thai-Cambodian joint communique was issued in May, 2008, and the cabinet under then Prime Minister Samak passed the resolution approving it on June 17.

Nitithorn Lamlua, a lawyer of the People's Alliance for Democracy filed a petition with the court against then Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama for signing the joint communique without a parliamentary approval, which is required by Article 190 of the 2007 constitution.

There were some eight other lawyers, who joined the PAD lawyer, Nitithorn, in filing the petition with the court.

Nitithorn said he will forward the court verdict to the National Anti-Corruption Commission asking it to take legal action against Noppadon for malfeasance.

The two neighbors have also been engaged in a conflict about their undemocratic border area claimed by both sides adjacent to the ancient Preah Vihear temple.

Both countries have historically laid claim to the temple. The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia, but the temple can practicably only be accessed from Thailand.
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FM Kasit urges PM Hun Sen to consider Thai-Cambodian relations as priority

BANGKOK, (TNA) - Thailand's Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasit Piromya on Wednesday urged Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to show concern for better long term relations between the two kingdoms by not getting involved with convicted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Mr Kasit said as long as PM Hun Sen has cordial relations with the fugitive ex-premier and sets this amicable relationship as his standpoint in bilateral relations, Thailand cannot accept the condition.

"Neither I nor Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva have any personal conflict with Mr Hun Sen and Mr Thaksin," said the Thai foreign minister, "I have known Mr Hun Sen for over 20 years and know his style of working very well, so I don't want Mr Hun Sen to get involved with the convicted ex-premier for the sake of good bilateral relations."

Mr Kasit reiterated that Mr Thaksin is a fugitive, wanted by the Thai authorities, and that he has undermined Thai society and continues even now.

Ousted by a bloodless coup d'etat on September 19, 2006, Mr Thaksin fled the country over one year ago before the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions sentenced him to a two-year jail term for malfeasance in regard to the controversial Bangkok Ratchadapisek land purchase case.

The diplomatic row between Thailand and Cambodia flared up after the Cambodian government appointed the fugitive ex-Thai premier as its economic adviser and personal adviser to Mr Hun Sen.

The Thai government recalled its ambassador to Phnom Penh in retaliation, while Cambodia then withdrew its ambassador to Bangkok.

The Cambodian government also refused to extradite Mr Thaksin as requested by Thailand and arrested a Thai engineer working at Thai-owned Cambodia Air Traffic Services (CATS) on charges of passing privileged information on the flight details of Mr Thaksin during his first visit as advisor to Cambodia to a Thai diplomat.

The Thai employee was sentenced to seven years jail and fined Bt100,000 (US$3,000) but later was released following a royal pardon granted by the Cambodian king.

The Cambodian premier was recently quoted in foreign media as saying he is unhappy as long as Thai premier Abhisit and Mr Kasit are still in their posts. (TNA)


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