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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cambodian Official Says Border Talks with Thailand Make Significant Progress

Cambodia's border chief said Tuesday that the two-day border talks with Thailand had made remarkable progress, and both sides have agreed to resume the search for remaining border markers from March 5.

"It is a positive step towards solving the border issues between the two countries," said Var Kimhong, senior minister in charge of border affairs, in Tuesday evening before his return from attending the fifth meeting of Thailand-Cambodia Joint Commission on Demarcation of Land Boundary in Thailand.

He said the Cambodia-Thailand border demarcation process has begun in June 2006, but it was stalled since 2008 when the two countries had sporadic border clashes.The issue became thornier as the Thai constitutional laws require that every agreed minutes signed by both sides should go through the Thai Parliament.

"From now on, there will be no more obstacles for border talks as the Thai side dropped the idea that the agreed minutes should receive approval from the Thai Parliament," he said.

The meeting in Bangkok was co-chaired by Var Kimhong and Bandhit Sotipalalit, chairman of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary.

The two neighboring countries share an approximately common border of 805 kilometers. But, the demarcation has never been fully completed.

The two sides have only found 48 border pillars out of the total 73, 33 of the found ones received mutual agreement.

The meeting avoided the border demarcation process at the disputed areas next to the 11th century Preah Vihear temple due to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The two neighbors have had border conflicts over areas near Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple since the UNESCO listed the temple as a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008.

On April 28, 2011, Cambodia submitted a request for interpretation of the judgment given by the ICJ on June 15, 1962 in the case concerning the ancient temple. It was accompanied by an urgent request for provisional measures in which Cambodia demands Thailand immediately and unconditionally withdraw troops from area surrounding the ruins.

On July 18, 2011, the ICJ ordered Cambodia and Thailand to immediately withdraw their military personnel from the Permanent Demilitarized Zone of about 17 kilometers on the disputed border near Preah Vihear temple and allow ASEAN observers access to the zone to monitor ceasefire.

However, so far neither Cambodia nor Thailand has withdrawn its troops from the area.
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Boxing champion Donna Pepper dies in holiday tragedy in Cambodia

Donna Pepper
A family photo of Donna Pepper in the ring.


DONNA Pepper was good at most things. At the rest, she was great.
Nothing proved that more than when female state boxing champion in 2006, she gave up her gold medal to fight an opponent from a heavier weight division, and then gave her a boxing lesson.

The title was the crowning moment of Donna's career, which was tragically cut short on Monday when she was killed in a motorcycle crash in Cambodia.

Donna, 30, died during a tour of the Forbidden Temple while on a five-month Asian holiday.

Her father, David Pepper, said Donna was an outstanding boxer who was as talented out of the ring as in it.

"They gave her the outstanding boxer of the tournament, it was a beautiful fight," he said, recalling the moment she beat the odds.

"She was a champion."

Mr Pepper said Donna had planned to do volunteer work with orphans and at an animal refuge during her trip before spending a month kick boxing.

Born in North Haven, Donna worked mainly in payroll and had just finished work at Clipsal.

"She's just a genius. She had a go at everything and was good at most things and great at some things," Mr Pepper said.

Donna's former boxing coach, Tiny Lennell, said she was a good student of the sport.

"She was a good boxer with a beautiful right hand," he said.

Former Boxing South Australia president Phillip Goodes said Donna was a strong and competitive boxer with a good nature.

Donna leaves behind parents David and Dianne and her brother, David Jnr.
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Cambodia Begins Road Project with China's Loan

Cambodia on Tuesday broke ground to broaden a 40.5 kilometer section of the national road No. 6, which is a major road for tourism and trade activities.

The work began from eastern Phnom Penh's Russei Keo district to Bateay district of Kampong Cham province. The road will be widened from the current 7 meters to 26 meters.

The ground-breaking ceremony was presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Pan Guangxue.

Hun Sen said the project was to keep up with the rapid development of the country's economy and tourism sector.

The road connects Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, to Siem Reap's Angkor, a world heritage site, and Banteay Meanchey province bordering Thailand. "It is quite essential for tourism and trade activities," he said.

The project is made possible with China's soft loan of 70.25 million U.S. dollars and the Shanghai Construction (Group) General Company will undertake the construction, which is expected to complete in 38 months.

"China is the largest donor to Cambodia's road and bridge construction," the premier said. "Every achievement today has come from the very good ties between Cambodian and Chinese leaders, especially between former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk and former Chinese leaders Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi and Zhou Enlai," he said.

"On behalf of the government of Cambodia and Cambodian people, I'd like to express sincere and heartfelt thanks to the Chinese government and people for the technical and financial supports for Cambodia's social and economic development," he said.

Meanwhile, Pan Guangxue said the government of China considered providing soft loans to Cambodia for broadening the remaining 270 kilometers national road 6 from Kampong Cham province to Siem Reap province.

"China sees this road as the artery of Cambodia's economy," he said.

He added that China would continue assisting Cambodia in its effort to develop the economy with the respect of Cambodia's independence and territorial integrity.
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Peace Corps volunteer in Cambodia orders hearts for his family in Loveland

Evan Miller views Reporter-Herald website weekly
By Jessica Benes Reporter-Herald Staff Writer


Evan Miller, 25, visits the Reporter-Herald website every week to remind himself of home. When he saw the notice about ordering painted hearts for Valentine's Day, he ordered two as a surprise for his family.

From Cambodia.

Miller is a Peace Corps volunteer serving as a community health extension agent in Cambodia. His job is to provide health education and awareness to hospitals, schools, marketplaces and pagodas.

The hearts say "Evan M loves his family" and "Peace Corps Cambodia."

He feels blessed that he has a great support system at home in his family and wanted to show his gratitude and love in a special way.

He didn't tell his family that he had ordered the hearts. Instead, he emailed several consecutive riddles a few days before the hearts were scheduled to be posted and his family had to figure outthe surprise.

Miller requested that the hearts be posted near Anthology Book Co. on Fourth Street, because of how much time he spent there.

He said his family includes his grandmother, Mary Louise Krieger; father, John; mother, Moofie; and sister, Ivy, who all live in Loveland. It also extends to his childhood friend Nick Stahlin and the community at Anthology Book Co.

"I think the hearts were real thoughtful, although a little unexpected," laughed his grandmother. "I'm going to have to take a drive down there."

His mother said, "We are very proud of a kid who could remember us from that far away. It pretty much knocked our socks off."

Miller said that sweethearts take on a completely different significance in Cambodia. Marriages are still sometimes arranged and the wives are bought with a bride price.

Dating before age 18 is awkward as public affection is discouraged. The wedding ceremonies are wild and brightly-colored with meals and bottomless rice wine.

"I miss autumn in Colorado when the air is cool and fresh, the aspen trees turn their deep golden color and the mountains receive the first light dusting of snow," Miller said in an email. "However, the Cambodian countryside has left a lasting impression on my heart. I won't soon forget the white cranes in florescent green rice fields before harvest season or the slow, picturesque sunsets."

He is scheduled to return October 2013.


Jessica Benes can be reached at 669-5050, ext. 530, or jbenes@reporter-herald.com.
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