The land of heroes
Our heroes
Our land
Cambodia Kingdom

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Silk handicrafts sold at Grand Junction Farmers' Market benefit Cambodians

GRAND JUNCTION — Each Thursday at the Grand Junction Farmers’ Market, Douglas Mendel sells silk purses, scarves and tablecloths, as well as other handicrafts from Cambodia. The proceeds fund his Cambodian Relief nonprofit organization.

Mendel, 43, travels to Cambodia twice a year, bringing supplies and equipment to fire stations, national parks and to an organization that helps disadvantaged children.
Mendel first visited Cambodia 11 years ago, during a six-week trip through Asia. He was in Cambodia for the last three days of his journey.

“I fell in love with the food, the culture, people, handicrafts,” Mendel said.

During his third trip to Cambodia, which borders Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, Mandrel visited a fire station in the town of Sihanoukville.

At the time, Mendel lived in Summit County, where he was a volunteer firefighter.

“Fire stations in Cambodia don’t have the money to outfit their departments,” Mendel said. “It’s been my passion to help them.”

Fourteen million people live in Cambodia, where the average person earns about $2 a day, Mendel said. Most people are subsistence farmers.

Approximately 1.7 million Cambodians were killed by starvation, execution and disease during the Khmer Rough regime, from 1975-1979.

“For the past 10 years it’s been safe to visit, and they are on a continual path to rebuilding,” Mendel said.

After returning to his home in Breckenridge, Mendel asked his fire chief there if they could help the firefighters abroad.

“He was able to give me three boxes of station wear clothing — T-shirts, pants and boots,” Mendel said. On his next trip to Cambodia, in 2003, Mendel brought the equipment to the Cambodian firefighters.

Since then, Mandrel has delivered more than three tons of bunker gear, helmets, boots, gloves, nozzles, hose, suspenders, clothing and other items in 11 trips in five years.

Mendel was even able to encourage the Red, White and Blue Fire District in Breckenridge to donate a fire truck in 2005. Mendel raised the necessary $18,000 to ship it there in 2006. Another fire truck was built in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 2007.

Mendel extended his Cambodian relief efforts to providing supplies for two national parks, where he delivers digital cameras, GPS units, cameras for taking pictures of wildlife and clothing for the park rangers.

The cameras enable the rangers to photograph the effects of illegal poaching and logging, which Mendel said is a major problem in Cambodia.

He also collects donations for Mlop Tapang, an organization that helps disadvantaged children with schooling, counseling and health care. Mendel brings clothing, stuffed animals, dental supplies, vitamins and supplements, latex gloves and mannequins for CPR training for the center staff.

Although Mendel now lives in Montrose, fundraisers are still held twice a year at the FoodHedz Restaurant in Summit County, where owners Patty and David Welch donate the entire night’s proceeds to the relief organization that Mendel formed in October 2005. The restaurant’s next fundraiser, the sixth in three years, will be held Sept. 19.

Selling Cambodian handicrafts at the Farmers’ Market and other venues also help fund the nonprofit.

Sixteen-year-old Michael Bou, a student in Palisade High School’s International Baccalaureate program, visited relatives in Cambodia for three weeks earlier this summer. Bou is half Cambodian.

Bou met Mandrel at the Farmers’ Market shortly after his return in June. Bou offered to volunteer at the booth selling Cambodian handicrafts. He works the booth each Thursday with his friend Brittany Osborne.

“It’s a great foundation. It helps a lot of people,” Bou said.

Bou said he liked Cambodia a lot, especially the Buddhist temples, although it was
hard to witness the poverty there.

“The hardest part was to come back and see people — everything they have and how they don’t appreciate it,” Bou said.

Reach Sharon Sullivan at ssullivan@gjfreepress.com.

Read more!

Cambodia gets its very own version of YouTube

Written by Anita SuRewicz

ASPIRING filmmakers and video artists in Cambodia have faced many challenges over the years, including lack of access to equipment and training, lax enforcement of intellectual property rights, and lack of distribution.

CamboTube addresses the latter problem by using the model of YouTube to create an independent media platform for these artists.

"CamboTube is a poor man's broadcasting system," said Jason Rosette, the mastermind behind the video-sharing website and the founder of Camerado, a media company responsible for Cambofest, the only independent film festival in Cambodia.

"The beauty of CamboTube is that people can post virtually anything on it," Rosette said.

Launched in October 2007, CamboTube.com is a dedicated to clips about Cambodia and the region. Users of the website can upload and view film and and video clips, as well as video blogs and amateur short videos.

Rosette describes the site as a "social experiment to see whether people would use it," with current fare ranging from a clip of a fat monkey eating a coconut to early archival footage of Phnom Penh and a documentary about the importance of protecting Tonle Sap.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cambotube is a poor man’s broadcasting system.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Users can upload clips under a wide variety of categories (or channels) including: general interests (nothing too edgy), social affairs affecting Cambodia; clips dealing with the history of Cambodia; i-reporter (showing news and opinions from Cambodia and the region); videos, news and perspectives regarding the Khmer Rouge trials; and videos by and about indigenous groups in Cambodia.

"People are free to use CamboTube to voice their views," Rossette said. "Anyone could ask for assistance to make a video - even a person in Mondulkiri involved in a land dispute."

CamboTube only screens for copyright violations or breaches of legal, moral, or ethical standards, Rosette said, adding that pornographic or revolutionary anti-government material would not make the grade.

"If someone has a strong anti-government sentiment, I would advise them to set up their own portal," he said.

Through private sector media platforms such as CamboTube and CamboFest that encourage independent participation, Rossette said he hoped to undermine the "culture of patronage" in Cambodia.

Free of patronage
Rosette says the site will enable people to get their work seen even though it is not sponsored or patronised by a donor with their own agenda.

"Pluralist perspectives [show] society that they don't have to be led by the hand and that they can operate independently," Rossette said. "People can express themselves independently, not just under the umbrella of an NGO.... NGOs in fact reduce participation in the private sector."

He added, "The culture of participation among Khmers and expats in Cambodia isn't strong. There's not a lot of sharing of resources. The density of NGOs is warping the culture."

Camerado has plans to expand CamboTube once the website receives a certain level of interest, although Rosette acknowledges that, until broadband becomes more robust in the country, CamboTube is unlikely to become a huge phenomenon. But he has long-term plans.

"Once broadband becomes more robust in the country and the site more popular, I am planning to create a weekly walk-in studio for people who don't know how to use the technology but want to voice their opinions," Rosette said.

"I want to show the government that Cambodia can have independent media and that people will not necessarily become radical." Read more!

Ericsson deploys rural, solar-powered site with satellite transmission in Cambodia for Star-Cell

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, Aug 21, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) ----For the first time, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC: 10.73, +0.38, +3.67%) has combined a GSM base station and satellite transmission in a solar-powered site, enabling Cambodian mobile operator Star-Cell to expand its network coverage in remote areas. The solution offers affordable communications for all and is based on Ericsson's energy-optimized main-remote base-station.

The satellite transmission feature provides affordable mobile-network coverage in remote areas where other transmission solutions are unavailable. This is vital for bridging the digital divide, as about 80 percent of the Cambodian population lives outside the main urban centers.

The GSM main-remote solution has a lower environmental impact than standard base stations, consuming up to 50 percent less energy, and helps lower total cost of ownership by reducing operating costs.

Star-Cell has selected Ericsson's solution to expand network coverage and introduce EDGE-based applications to enable mobile health and educational services for rural communities.

Denis Ryabtsev, Chief Marketing Officer at Star-Cell, says: "Ericsson's solar-powered site with satellite transmission will make a significant difference. It enables us to expand cost-effectively into rural areas, connect people for the first time, and offer affordable services that improve quality of life."

Hans Karlsson, President of Ericsson Thailand and Indochina, says: "This marks an important milestone and we are proud to implement the first solar-powered solution in Cambodia. This move highlights our technical leadership, our commitment to sustainable development, and our vision of providing communication for all."

This deployment follows a series of initiatives from Ericsson to optimize the energy efficiency of mobile networks by creating solutions that reduce environmental impacts and lower operator costs. These initiatives include: BTS Power Savings features that put a network in stand-by mode during off-peak hours and saves up to 15 percent of the network access energy consumption; the innovative site concept Ericsson Tower Tube; biofuel-powered telecom sites; a hybrid solution using diesel and batteries that cuts network operating costs by up to 50 percent; and the Solar Village Charger, co-developed with Sony Ericsson. Ericsson delivered its first solar-powered sites in 2000 to Maroc Telecom in Morocco, and has so far provided more than 200 sites in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Americas.

Notes to editors:

Photos are available in the photo library: www.ericsson.com/ericsson/press/photos/alternative_energy.shtml

Ericsson's multimedia content is available at the broadcast room during the day: www.ericsson.com/broadcast_room

Background information on energy efficiency innovation (pdf) www.ericsson.com/press/facts_figures/doc/energy_efficiency.pdf

Ericsson deploys first solar solution in South America for Digicel Suriname www.ericsson.com/ericsson/press/releases/20080702-1232946.shtml

White papers - Sustainable energy use in mobile communications (pdf) www.ericsson.com/technology/whitepapers/sustainable_energy.pdf

Ericsson Corporate Responsibility Report 2007 www.ericsson.com/corporate_responsibility/

Ericsson is the world's leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. The market leader in 2G and 3G mobile technologies, Ericsson supplies communications services and manages networks that serve more than 195 million subscribers. The company's portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure, and broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and developers. The Sony Ericsson joint venture provides consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices.

Ericsson is advancing its vision of 'communication for all' through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. Working in 175 countries, more than 70,000 employees generated revenue of USD 27.9 billion (SEK 188 billion) in 2007. Founded in 1876 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on OMX Nordic Exchange Stockholm and NASDAQ.

For more information, visit www.ericsson.com or www.ericsson.mobi.

About Star-Cell, Cambodia

The Applifone Company, known under the brand name Star-Cell, is a private GSM mobile operator in Cambodia. The company was established in 2006 and commercially launched in 2007.

Since its commercial launch, Star-Cell has extended its services into major areas of Cambodia, such as Phnom Penh, Koki (Kandal province), Siem Reap and Kompong Som (Sihanouk Ville) and has coverage on the National Road No. 6 (Phnom Penh to Siem Reap). As one of the fastest-growing companies in the market, Star-Cell is known for its quality and innovative services, and has ambitious expansion plans for the future.

About Ericsson's RBS 2111

RBS 2111 is a radio base station offering wide area coverage using a main-remote concept that needs no site floor space. Its distributed architecture reduces total site costs and makes rollout significantly easier. It provides the best available voice quality and complete GPRS/EDGE mobile data support.

Copyright Copyright Hugin AS 2008. All rights reserved.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT
Ericsson Media Relations Phone: +46 8 719 69 92 E-mail: Email Contact SOURCE: Ericsson

Read more!

Cambodian gov't mulls foreign ownership of buildings, offices

PHNOM PENH, The Cambodian government is mulling to allow foreigners to own condominiums and office buildings in order to prevent a possible downturn in property values and boost long-term investment, national media said Thursday.

At present in Cambodia, foreigners are prohibited from owning land or fixed assets such as buildings, apartments or office space.

Any government move to allow foreigners to own condominiums or office buildings would need to begin with Ministry of Land Management, a move that the ministry is indeed considering, English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodia Daily quoted a ministry official as saying on condition of anonymity.

"I think the government will de-restrict the property market. Once things start getting more competitive, once things start to slow down, people start to look at other places and the competition starts to get more competitive, they will need to start doing more things to attract more foreigners," said Liam Bailey, head of international research for London-based realtor David Stanley Redfern (DSR), which has real estate business in Phnom Penh.

The real estate business in Phnom Penh and other major Cambodian cities have been booming in the past two or three years, but the market leveled off shortly before the general election in July this year due to the investors' political calculation.

During this period, the price has stayed stable but the demand decreased, which propelled the government, property consultants and retailers to think of the next step to heat up the market.
Read more!