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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dentist Miranda preparing for Cambodian trip



Miranda Steeples
 A DENTAL therapist from Old Town is off to Cambodia to help provide orphaned children with dental treatment.

Miranda Steeples, who practices at Meads Village Dental Practice and Southern Dental, in Stone Cross, will be travelling to Cambodia on May 11 for two weeks.

It will be the 33-year-old’s first trip to work at a dental clinic in Phnom Penh but she will be travelling with a friend who has been out to help the clinic before.

The clinic is supported by Cambodia World Family and is run on a daily basis by local girls trained as dental therapists.

Volunteer dentists, dental therapists and nurses from around the world travel out to work there throughout the year treating local orphans and street children.

Miranda said, “Children in this country have access to dental treatment and we can take that for granted.

“It is easy to forget that children in Camodia don’t have access to such treatment.

“The children we will be treating are also orphans too so life is really tough for them.”

Miranda has contacted Oral B and Colegate which have donated toothbrushes and toothpaste for her to take out for the children but she is appealing for local people to bring in other items.

Miranda said, “These children have very little so we are hoping people will drop off good quality, second-hand children’s clothing for youngsters up to the age of 14, small toys, colouring books and crayons.”

There are donation boxes in both the Meads and Stone Cross surgeries. Cash donations are also needed so that Miranda can supplies and materials when out in Cambodia.

The dental surgeries are located at 11 Meads Street, Eastbourne, and on Mimram Road in Stone Cross.
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Heavy losses give Cambodia good reason to cry

Cambodian defence spokesman Chhum Socheat did not shed crocodile tears to win sympathy from the world when he talked to reporters during a recent press conference on the Thai-Cambodia border clashes.

It could be true that heavy losses suffered by Cambodia during the border clashes with Thailand brought him to tears, and not the heart-wrenching drama in the Thai soap opera Dok Som Si Thong, as army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd suggested. Col Sansern earlier said that Lt Gen Chhum Socheat might have been a bit too impressed by Reya, a popular and artificial female character in the Channel 3 soap opera, which can be seen in Cambodia.

A highly placed military source said that when Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon telephoned Gen Tea Banh to discuss the prospects of a ceasefire after the clashes had entered a second day, his Cambodian counterpart turned down the peace overtures.

Gen Tea Banh told Gen Prawit that Cambodian soldiers were met with too much of a ''heavy-handed'' response from Thai troops and that a ceasefire was still not possible, the source said.

''A lot of Cambodian soldiers have died. They suffered heavy losses.

''But they started the fight and Thai soldiers had to retaliate,'' 2nd Army chief Thawatchai Samutsakhon said.

''If they shell us, Thai troops will retaliate by launching even heavier shelling,'' Lt Gen Thawatchai said.

Border military sources have said that if the Cambodian side fires one artillery shell, Thai troops will retaliate with around five shells. ''We launch about 200-300 artillery shells each day [during the fighting],'' a source said.

During the past two months, since the Feb 4-7 clashes with Cambodia in Phu Makhua, near Preah Vihear, Thai troops have amassed plenty of artillery shells, multiple rocket launchers (MRLs), and radars in the area.

Gen Prawit, while on a visit to China this week, will hold talks to buy additional 130mm MRL systems and radars from China at a cost of 1.2 billion baht.

After heavy retaliatory shelling on April 26, a day of few skirmishes, Thai troops spotted Cambodians collecting a number of bodies of their dead colleagues.

Cambodia reported that eight of its soldiers were killed on Tuesday.

Cambodian army deputy commander Hun Manet, son of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, has reportedly moved back from his headquarters at O Smach opposite the Chong Jom border checkpoint in Surin's Kap Choeng district to 20 kilometres inland from the scene of the clashes.

Since the latest spate of fighting erupted, Cambodia suffered its worst losses during a battle near the Kap Choeng border on April 24 and 25, the source said. A deputy commander of Cambodia's Brigade 42, who was the son of a former Khmer Rouge military leader, was among those killed in the clashes, said a Thai intelligence report.

Cambodia and Cambodian soldiers have been dragged into a conflict not of their own choosing. Hun Sen wields complete control over them and he has already made the choice on their behalf, a Thai soldier said.

Thailand and Cambodia yesterday agreed to a ceasefire after one week of border clashes.
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Expert warns of threat from deadly bird flu

A flu expert has warned that the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus strain could re-emerge in the country if stringent measures to prevent the spread of the disease are not taken.

The warning was issued yesterday at a health conference entitled ''The Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases: Situation, Lessons and Management'' held by Mahidol University.

Tawee Chotpitayasunond of the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health told participants at the conference that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had reported 36 bird flu cases in humans over the past four months in four countries _ Cambodia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Egypt.

Of the total, 16 had died and five of them were Cambodian nationals.

According to the WHO report, two of the five who died in February were a 21-year-old woman and her 11-month-old son. They had been sent for medical treatment at a hospital in Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey province, opposite Thailand's Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo province. An investigation found the mother had contracted the virus from an H5N1-infected chicken she had killed and eaten.

When the deaths came to light, Thai health and livestock authorities immediately stepped up measures to prevent the spread of the disease in humans and poultry and to control the trade of eggs and poultry along the Thai-Cambodian border.

The reported number of bird flu cases in humans in the four-month period is higher than the 40 cases worldwide last year. Therefore, the prevalence of bird flu was likely to remain at least as severe as in the previous outbreak when it was at 60-70%, Dr Tawee said.

''If [Thailand] doesn't take stringent measures to prevent the flu spreading, particularly in areas where previous outbreaks have taken place, the virus may return to harm [Thai] people after years of having disappeared,'' he said.

He added the situation could turn into something similar to what was happening in Cambodia and Indonesia where the number of people who have died from bird flu has been rising continuously since the start of this year.

There have been no bird flu cases in humans in Thailand since July 2006 after previous outbreaks between 2004 and 2006. During that time, 27 infections were reported and 17 people died.

In a related matter, WHO Southeast Asia regional director Samlee Plianbangchang also warned there was another strain of the H1N1 influenza virus active in the region.

Dr Samlee said the deadly flu virus might re-emerge in Thailand and other developing countries at any time if these countries lacked effective surveillance.

Yong Puworawan, head of Chulalongkorn University's Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology, said there were now signs that the H1N1 virus had become resistant to the anti-viral drug oseltamivir.

Following monitoring of the three waves of H1N1 flu outbreaks during 2009 and 2010, the drug resistance rate had shown signs of increasing.

Dr Yong said that in the first wave there were no drug-resistant cases, whereas the drug resistance rate of the H1N1 flu virus during the second and third waves was at 0.2% and 0.8% of the 1,200 cases of the H1N1 virus, respectively, he said.

The virologist, however, remained confident that the medicine was still effective in treating influenza because H1N1 had become a seasonal flu and about 40-50% of the Thai population had already been vaccinated.
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Unions Threaten May Day March Despite Ban

A Cambodian garment worker speaks on a loud speaker as she leads a strike in front of a factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Sept. 13, 2010.



Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a circular on Thursday banning workers from assembling on International Labor Day, May 1, but a coalition of unions says it will go ahead with plans.

The missive comes after the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union announced plans to gather some 3,000 laborers in Phnom Penh to mark the day.

Ath Thon, president of the coalition, said he plans to gather the workers in a march nevertheless.

“This circular shows a tightening on the rights to assembly and march, but up to now, our working group will follow the plan without changing,” he said. “Our assembly will not affect security and public order. The authorities have the ability to protect security and public order. I think the government should not worry about this.”

The march is scheduled to start in front of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, near Wat Phnom, and pass by the Royal Palace and National Assembly, where workers will bring a petition for better working rights and conditions.

In the circular, Hun Sen calls for the Ministry of Interior, the national police, military police, city and provincial authorities and other government institutions to “take action” in order to maintain public order.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teacher’s Association, which is under the coalition, called the order a threat to constitutional freedoms.

His union will not hold an assembly due to budget concerns, he added.

“This is a worry and a threat by the government to the freedom of assembly and expression of the Cambodian people,” he said.

The proposed March comes as workers face increasing pressure from food and fuel prices, while salaries remain low.

“We see the rising price of goods in the markets, particularly gasoline, making difficulty in people’s lives,” he said. “So we’re requesting the government provide a resolution for the salary of workers, teachers, government staff, police and soldiers, on balance with the market prices for them.”
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Call for Government to ‘Step Down’ Over Border

A military vehicle with a mounted grenade launcher makes its way during clashes between Thai and Cambodia in Surin province, northeastern Thailand, Thursday, April 28, 2011. Thai and Cambodian military commanders agreed to a cease-fire Thursday after seven days of artillery duels killed at least 15 people, Cambodia said. Thailand did not immediately confirm it, but the contested border was quiet most of the day.



Exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy issued on open letter Wednesday demanding that the administration of Prime Minister Hun Sen step down over his handling of the border conflict with Thailand.

If the government cannot peacefully resolve the border issue, he wrote, “this government must step down to allow Cambodia to avoid wars and losing land to the west and to the east.”

His letter came amid continued fighting on Wednesday and ahead of a reported ceasefire between Thai and Cambodian generals on the border Thursday.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan called the letter a “desire for attention” that ignored positive surveys that say many believe the country is moving in the right direction.

“Even though he does not have the support of the public, who are the Cambodian people, he still confronts [the prime minister],” Phay Siphan said.

The government is pursuing strategies to solve the border conflict with Thailand, he said, and the government is working with Vietnam to shore up border areas peacefully.

Sam Rainsy claims the government is ignoring the Paris peace agreement, which ensures Cambodia’s territorial sovereignty.

Sam Rainsy said his uprooting of markers along the Vietnamese border in 2009 was a victory. He is facing 12 years in prison sentences of a variety of charges stemming from his accusations that Cambodia has ceded land to Vietnam.

Both Vietnam and Thailand claim they have not encroached on Cambodian land.
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