The land of heroes
Our heroes
Our land
Cambodia Kingdom

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cambodia's former Khmer Rouge rebels face malaria epidemic

Phnom Penh - Impoverished former Khmer Rouge fighters in north-western Cambodia have reported a spike in malaria infections, raising fears of a new epidemic along the Thai border, police said Tuesday. A senior police officer in Samlot who declined to be named said by telephone that the Thai border area had recorded 92 new cases of the mosquito-borne disease last month and 93 this month.

"The cause is heavy rain, and we are trying to educate people to go to the hospital as soon as they detect fever and not believe the cause is just a bad spirit or ghost," he said.

Samlot's rebel fighters held out against the outside world until the late 1990s, and most of its almost 14,000-strong population now eke out a living as subsistence farmers.

In October, a World Health Organization report warned that drug-resistant strains of the disease were increasingly being detected along the Thai-Cambodia border.

Experts blamed such infections on inappropriate use of anti-malarial drugs and other factors, including a postwar population boom. Children are particularly vulnerable to malaria.

Cambodia reported around 60,000 cases of the endemic disease last year with 241 deaths.

Police said no malaria fatalities have been reported in Samlot so far but they feared it was only a matter of time if the number of new infections continued to rise with the peak of the monsoon season still months away.
Read more!

Cambodia hoping to lead world rice exports

Cambodia is seeking to become one of the world's leading rice exporters, with the country's agriculture minister, Chan Sarun, saying he hopes to produce enough rice to export some eight million tonnes annually by 2015.

This follows an announcement by Thailand's prime minister that his country, the world's leading rice exporter, will not cut down on exports.

Fears of rice shortages have led to dramatic increases global prices in the price of rice have forced major producers and exporters like India, Vietnam and China to adopt protectionist measures by imposing limits on exports, further exacerbating the problem.

Although Cambodia remains one of Asia's poorest countries, the head of the Cambodian centre for the study and development of Agriculture, Yang Saing Koma, has told Radio Australia's Connect Asia program the prospect of becoming a leading rice exporter is a distinct possibility.

"There is the potential to increase the rice production of Cambodia," he said.

"Of course, we still have big land areas and the rice productivity in Cambodia is still low in those areas, and there is still the potential to expand the cultivated area."

Cambodia's ambitions to increase exports follows Sunday's announcement by Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej that his country, won't cut down on rice exports.

A spokesperson for the International Rice research Institute in the Philippines Duncan Macintosh welcomes the initiatives by both government, and says such moves could help quell the panic that has gripped the international rice market.

"Clearly both ... responses by Thailand and Cambodia to try help stabilise the market - they make good sense and seem to be very good decisions," he said.

"I think most governments in Asia are looking to calm things down, because there's every reason for the markets to be stable."
Read more!

Chinese company completes restoration of Cambodia's National Road No. 7

STUNG TRENG, Cambodia, April 29 (Xinhua) -- National Road No. 7in northeastern Cambodia totally opened Tuesday, after an over-three-year restoration work by the Shanghai Construction Group of China.

The 186.648-km-long road, running through Kratie and Stung Treng provinces and directly leading to Laos, was refurbished brand new, thanks to the interest-free loan provided by the Chinese government and its construction team.

"It is the latest achievement during the 50 years of diplomatic relations between China and Cambodia," Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen told the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday at the end of the road bordering Laos.

The restoration of National Road No. 7 will help improve the economic development of northeastern provinces including Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri, Hun Sen told the ceremony attended by hundreds of officials and local residents.

After it has enough infrastructures, the northeastern provinces of Cambodia will be a region of development from 2015 to 2020, he said, adding there are various mines here, which are a very important factor for investment.

It will also help advance the internal integration of the road network of the neighboring countries, especially the triangle are of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, he said

It is part of the road linkage for the ASEAN countries and also perfects Asian Highway No. 11, he added.

Also at the ceremony, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jinfeng said that the Cambodian-Chinese friendship bore another fruit, as the road is renovated to provide convenience for the local people, upgrade the regional road network and help materialize China's will to consolidate ties with its neighboring country and strive for common development with them.

Later at the ceremony, Hun Sen presented National Construction Medals to Zhang, some Chinese experts and Cambodian government officials.

The restoration of National Road No. 7 started on Nov. 8, 2004.It has 13 bridges, including the 1,057-meter-long Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge over the Sekong River near the border with Laos.

Currently, China is still helping Cambodia build National Road No. 8 and two bridges respectively over the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap River.
Read more!