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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

B.C. aid worker left for dead after Cambodia attack

Hun Sen regime is about violence and crimes. Especially, the local authority that people trusted the most are among criminals. Those authorities are the slave of the crimes and the riches. This kind of crime was usually associated with the local police officer and the drug addicts.

A B.C. man is fighting for his life in Cambodia after a violent mugging.

Darcy Wintonyk

Humanitarian worker Jiri Zivney was beaten, robbed and left for death January 9 in Phnom Penh outside a bank machine.

"As he was riding away on his motorbike, they clubbed him in the head and he crashed his bike," family friend Monty Aldoff tells CTV News.

The 46-year-old was transferred by ambulance to a hospital in the capital city, where he is listed in critical condition. Doctors are working to stabilize him so he can be brought back to Canada for treatment.

According to the International Humanitarian Hope Society, the Kamloops resident was in the country delivering medical supplies to orphans on behalf of their agency.

Zivney was on his 24th day of a humanitarian trip to China, Vietnam, Thailand and Burma. Most of the other team members returned to Canada after the Bangkok airport shutdown in November, but Zivney and another team member wanted to carry on by land.

A trust fund has been set up in Zivney's name at Valley First in Kamloops, B.C., Account # 610071571 (transit # 27310-809).

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Cambodia drafts law to regulate internet strictly

PHNOM PENH, The Cambodian Ministry of Information is drafting a law that will extend the libel, defamation and ethics rules currently governing print media to other media platforms, including Internet, national media said on Tuesday.

The law will be used to formalize content management rules so that they can be easily applied by future information ministers, the English-language daily The Phnom Penh Post quoted Information Minister Khieu Kanharith as saying.

"We are drafting the legislation in order to have a proper law to manage radio, television and other platforms," he said.

The recent explosion of media outlets of print media made the law necessary, he said, pointing to the increase in websites in recent years, as well as the growth in radio and television.

It is unknown when the draft law will be finished as much work needs to be done before it can be sent to the Council of Ministers for approval, he added.

Cambodia now has 9 aerial television channels, 60 cable channels, several satellite and Internet channels, and dozens of newspapers and magazines, according to official figures.

The number of websites remains unknown yet.
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Official denies delay of opening Cambodian stock market

PHNOM PENH, A Cambodian official denied media reports that the opening of stock exchange market has been delayed indefinitely due to the worsening global economic slowdown, English-language newspaper the Cambodia Daily said Tuesday.

"We didn't declare postponement of the stock exchange. I am sure it will open in 2009," Mey Vann, director of the Department of Finance Industry of the Ministry of Finance and Economy, was quoted as saying.

"We are working on it and there is no delay," he said, but decline to discuss the exact date.

On Monday, another English-language daily The Phnom Penh Post quoted Mey Vann as saying that "Cambodia has been affected by the global financial crisis, especially in terms of real estate and garment exports. Therefore, the plan to open our own stock market has been postponed, and no specific schedule is set for it."

The launch of the stock exchange market was originally scheduled for last September, with the South Korean Exchange providing funds and technical support.

As Cambodia's economy, one of the region's most vibrant, slowed to single-digit growth last year, the exchange's future was put in doubt, said The Phnom Penh Post.

Cambodia enjoyed consistent double-digit economic growth rate from 2005 to 2007, which fueled the government's ambition to upgrade its financial and capital market, and the establishment of a stock exchange market was just one of its major plans in this regard.
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U.S. to donate $600,000 in military aid for Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, The United States plans to donate more than 600,000 U.S. dollars in "non-lethal" military aid to Cambodia in 2009, national media on Tuesday quoted U.S. Embassy spokesman as saying.

The United States expects to give 635,000 U.S. dollars in aid toward countering transnational criminal activities, including anti-drug trafficking and demining programs, John Johnson told English-language newspaper the Cambodia Daily.

The aid encompasses an estimated 575,000 U.S. dollars in Foreign Military Funding, which is used to buy vehicles, protective gear as well as medical and communication equipment, and about 60,000 U.S. dollars in International Military Education and Training Funding, which is primarily for English-language education, he added.

The U.S. suspended military aid for Cambodia at the end of last century and lifted the restriction two years ago.

In 2008, it donated 1.5 million U.S. dollars in peacekeeper training, 1 million U.S. dollars in demining assistance, and nearly 3 million U.S. dollars in other humanitarian programs in the kingdom, according to the embassy.
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CAMBODIA: Malaria becoming deadlier

PAILIN, 13 January 2009 (IRIN) - A deadly strain of malaria along the Thai-Cambodian border is becoming increasingly immune to treatment, threatening the global effort to end malaria, new evidence shows.

Artemisinin combination therapy (ACT), whereby patients take both a fast-acting and slow-acting drug to kill the parasite, is losing its therapeutic effects as treatment is taking longer.

"We are facing a problem that instead of killing the parasite within 24 to 36 hours as before, ACT now needs up to 120 hours to kill the parasites," Pascal Ringwald, a medical officer at the World Health Organization (WHO), in charge of monitoring anti-malarial drug resistance, told IRIN from Geneva.

The parasite's resistance to Artemisinin, one of two drugs in ACT therapy, is the driving factor behind the deterioration of ACT.

Usually, doctors will prescribe Artemisinin with one of many slower-acting drugs.

Yet the problem is not only resistance to Artemisinin, which has existed since the 1970s, but rather tolerance to ACT, the more advanced therapy consisting of two drugs, Ringwald said. Artemisinin monotherapy refers to taking the drug alone and is not recommended by the WHO.

"Artemisinin resistance appears in parts of Southeast Asia where there has been rampant and uncontrolled use of Artemisinin monotherapy," Sir Richard Feachem, director of the Global Health Group at the University of California at San Francisco, told IRIN.

At one-tenth the price of ACT and without its adverse side-effects, such as vomiting, Artemisinin monotherapy continues to remain a popular choice for many.

However, if the threat is not contained, resistant malaria will spread through the region and hit poor communities in particular, Feachem warned.

Duong Socheat, director of the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control in Phnom Penh, told IRIN that ACTs, outreach and prevention tools like mosquito nets had seen remarkable progress despite a tolerance threat. A total of 100,000 malaria cases were reported in 2006, falling to 59,000 in 2007 and 54,000 in 2008.

The malaria death rate has been halved in only two years – from 396 in 2006 to 241 in 2007 and 184 in 2008.

Containing the threat

At an emergency meeting in October, the WHO recommended a switch to a new ACT therapy called dihydroartemisinin–piperaquine (DHA-PIP) for 2009, which is virtually 100 percent effective according to new trial results in Cambodia.

The previous ACT treatment since 2001, artesunate mefloquine, is still 90 percent effective, but unpopular among at-risk populations that still use monotherapy despite the ban.

Merchants often sell cheap, counterfeit monotherapies in rural areas.

The WHO also recommended wider distribution of mosquito nets, stricter enforcement of the ban on monotherapies, and the rapid deployment of WHO-endorsed drugs.

Drug-resistant history

Yet malaria has been developing resistance to Artemisinin for decades, and ACT tolerance is only a new phase in the parasite's evolution.

Since the 1970s, factors such as gem-mining migrants from all over Southeast Asia mixing malaria strains at the Thai-Cambodia border, an unregulated drug market, and overuse of Artemisinin monotherapy have all caused plasmodium falciparum, a common malaria parasite in Cambodia, to develop resistance to the drug.

The government and WHO responded by endorsing ACT in 2001 and banning Artemisinin-only therapy. But even ACT, despite being more than 90 percent effective against malaria, will need to be adapted soon, Feachem said.

"Ensuring that Artemisinin is always given with another drug, in the form of ACT, is a clever use of a clever drug," Feachem said. "However, parasite resistance will eventually catch up with this, and for this reason the development of new drugs ... is of the utmost importance to the health of people worldwide."

Fake drugs and patients not complying with their treatment schedules are other factors.

"If people don't take their drugs regularly, then they will have problems with resistance," Hou Nirmita, head of the health department at the Ministry of Women's Affairs, told IRIN.

But Feachem, who thinks malaria could be eradicated worldwide by 2050, sees hope. "The challenge of drug resistance, and the fact that we can never prevent the development of resistance in the long term, provides a strong argument for the acceleration of elimination and control efforts now," he said.

"To delay or to implement programmes in a half-hearted manner is both expensive and dangerous,” he explained.

According to the WHO World Malaria report for 2008, half the world's population is at risk, and an estimated 247 million cases led to nearly one million deaths in 2006. Pregnant women and children in Africa are especially threatened, the WHO says.
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Cambodian PM makes first Middle East visit

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has departed for oil-rich Kuwait in his first-ever visit to the Middle East, aimed at expanding business and trade ties.

Hun Sen was accompanied by a number of high-ranking government officials and business people as he left on the four-day trip on a plane provided by Kuwait.

"This visit will lead to the development in the future between Cambodia and Kuwait, and between Cambodia and other countries in the Middle East," Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters.

During the visit, officials are scheduled to sign agreements on Kuwaiti technical aid to build a hydro-power plant, irrigation systems and roads in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation, the minister said.

Officials will also agree to direct flights between the two nations to boost tourism, he said.

Hor Namhong, who is accompanying Hun Sen, said the premier would also hold discussions about rice, trade exchange and investments.

Kuwaiti premier Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmed al-Sabah visited Cambodia and inked trade deals last August, while Phnom Penh is also looking into land-lease agreements with Kuwait.

Kuwait granted Cambodia a 546-million-dollar agricultural loan in August in return for crop production.

Impoverished Cambodia has climbed back from decades of civil unrest to emerge as one of the region's most vibrant economies, attracting increasing foreign investment.

Cambodian officials have also said they hope Middle East governments will help train local experts on the petroleum industry, which is starting to take root after the discovery of offshore deposits.
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