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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cambodia asks ASEAN to mediate border dispute with Thailand

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua) - The Cambodian government on Saturday asked the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to mediate Cambodia's border dispute with Thailand.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong on Saturday sent a letter to Pham Gia Khiem, deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of Vietnam, who is the current chair of ASEAN.

In his letter, Hor said "until now, Cambodia has exercised utmost restrain and attempted to find a peaceful solution to the problem bilaterally, but to no avail."

"As the current stalemate has extinguished any hope on further bilateral negotiations and in order to avoid any large scale armed conflict..., I earnestly seek Your Excellency's assistance, as chair of ASEAN, to mediate on the matter under the ASEAN framework either as a whole or on an individual basis involving only certain ASEAN members, in line with the Principles of the ASEAN Charter, Article 2 (c) and (d)," Hor said.

Cambodia and Thailand got into border conflict just one week after Cambodia got the Temple of Preah Vihear registered as World Heritage Site in July 2008. The Cambodia-Thai border has never been fully demarcated, and Thailand continues to stake territorial claims of the 4.6 square kilometer area in the vicinity of the Temple of Preah Vihear.

Hor Namhong reiterated that the Temple of Preah Vihear is situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia, citing the adjudication of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on June 15, 1962.

ASEAN groups 10 countries including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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Aurora Travel Releases Seat-in-Coach Tours in Vietnam and Cambodia

Reporting an increase of 150% in profit as compared to the same period last year regardless of the severe aftermath of the global economic crisis, Vietnam’s respected tour operator Aurora Travel just decided to keep on with its ongoing triumph by unveiling carefully tailored Seat-in-Coach Tours highlighting both Vietnam and Cambodia.

Hanoi, Vietnam, August 14, 2010 --(PR.com)-- While most of the other local tour operators and travel agents are still trying to recover from the consequences of the global economic crisis, which has been evidenced by the significant decrease in the number of international travelers the world over, the country’s prestigious tour operator Aurora Travel seems to be an exception. The company’s report saw an increase of 150% in profit in the first half of 2010 as compared to the same period last year. As a reward, it just moved to a new and better equipped office in the capital city of Hanoi in order to meet the increasing workload.

During the last 7 years of operations, the company has earned a solid reputation for organizing private customized tours to all the tourist destinations in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. However, it just released a number of Seat-in-Coach Join-in tours, firstly in Vietnam and Cambodia, as a response to the requirements of a considerable number of travelers who wish to grasp more opportunities to meet up and communicate with other fellow travelers – “It’s the major difference from our traditional private tours,” said Mrs. Mai Anh – Aurora’s General Director, at a press conference held in Hanoi last week.
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"By booking any of our 5 Seat-in-Coach Tours, travelers are expected to do almost nothing but sit back and enjoy the pleasures that the wondrous land of Vietnam and Cambodia has to offer by a fleet of modern, air-conditioned coaches, experience historic and cultural destinations with beautiful sightseeing opportunities; sit back and relax whilst we take you to Halong Bay, Hanoi, Sapa, Hoi An, Hue, Ho Chi Minh city, which are followed by the world renowned wats and landscapes of Cambodia where you can see breathtaking scenery, lakeside retreats, quaint coastal towns and taste a host of varied cuisine to suit all palates. Whatever you're after – whether it's a beach break, city escape or cultural experience – we're sure to have something for you to choose," Ms. Hoai Van – Aurora Travel’s Sales Manager, added.

In addition, these coach tours will also provide travelers with a flexible variety of accommodation options, perfect English speaking guide and impeccable catering service at each and entire length of the trip. Since the number of group members are limited and the tours are set for certain dates every month only, you are advised to contact Aurora Travel at tour@vietnamstay.com for reservations or visit its official website at http://www.vietnamstay.com for more details.
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Suthep: No order 'yet' from PM to discuss temple row with Cambodia

BANGKOK, Aug 14 -- Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said Saturday that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has not yet ordered him to Cambodia to discuss ending the two countries’ disagreement regarding the ancient Preah Vihear.

Mr Suthep said he still had no details of the planned visited of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Cambodia during which the UN chief is expected to discuss the temple issue with Cambodian government leaders.

A report by the Associated Press from Phnom Penh on Thursday said that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will raise the temple issue with Mr Ban during his official visit to Cambodia October 27-28.

Mr Hun Sen on Monday proposed an international conference to discuss the dispute “because the bilateral discussion is at an impasse now.”

The Thai government, however, opposes the idea as unnecessary because the 2000 Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the two governments, provides a sufficient framework for a solution.

Urging the Thai public to not pay much attention to Mr Hun Sen’s criticism of the Thai government, Mr Suthep said both countries are close neighbours and the Cambodian government could “say anything as long as it neither hurts Thai sovereignty nor its image”.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the 11th century temple belongs to Cambodia, and UNESCO named it a World Heritage site in 2008 after Cambodia applied for the status.

The latest problem arose when Thailand objected to Phnom Penh's submitting a management plan for the temple late last month to UNESCO’s World Heritage Commission (WHC). The agency decided on July 29 to defer the decision until it meets next year.

The two countries have been locked in a dispute over a 4.6 sq km patch of land near the cliff-top temple. (MCOT online news)
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Apache Junction man, 61, gets 10 years in child porn case

by Nathan Gonzalez
The Arizona Republic


An Apache Junction man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to transporting and possessing child pornography.

Mark Stephan Freitag, 61, pleaded guilty on April 14 and was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court on one count of transportation of child pornography and possessing child pornography, court documents state.

Freitag was initially arrested in Cambodia on May 18, 2008, after flying there from Arizona, court documents state. Cambodian National Police apprehended Freitag after "citizen complaints and victim reports" surfaced that he was engaging in sexual conduct with Cambodian boys.

"Freitag was interviewed and admitted that he was interested in and collected child pornography," court records state.

Witnesses and fellow tourists reported Freitag to Cambodian authorities after they saw him with four young boys aged 6 to 14 years old. One boy told authorities "Freitag had paid them for sex," which he did not deny, court documents state.

Authorities eventually were able to get Freitag back to the United States.

Freitag also admitted to downloading, collecting and saving child pornography, much of which was found downloaded to a computer inside an Apache Junction storage locker.

Freitag had 65 DVDs of child pornography in his possession when arrested by Cambodian police, court records show. In the storage locker, FBI investigators recovered 2,066 explicit images and 12 additional videos with children as young as 5 years old.
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