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Friday, March 20, 2009

Cambodian PM meets with governor of Guangxi of China

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen here on Thursday met with Ma Biao, Governor of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China, on beefing up the cooperation between the two sides.

Hun Sen welcomed the Cambodia-Guangxi cooperation and requested Guangxi to focus especially on agriculture, Ieng Sophalet, assistant to the premier, told reporters after the meeting.

In addition, Hun Sen asked Guangxi to consider building a motor-pump factory in Cambodia, said Ieng Sophalet.

The prime minister also expressed his support for opening direct flights from Guilin, Guangxi to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, he added.

During the meeting, Ma highly praised Cambodia for its development, and reiterated his region's commitment to continuing its cooperation with Cambodia, said Ieng Sophalet.

Ma told the premier that his visit aimed to invite Hun Sen to attend the upcoming China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, the provincial capital of Guangxi, and to strengthen the cooperation in the fields of trade, agriculture, culture, infrastructure, construction, imports and exports, as well as information technology.

The visit also aimed at opening direct flights from Guilin to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and bringing more investment from Guangxi to Cambodia, particularly in the field of industry, Ma said.

The governor also told Hun Sen that his province is willing to contribute to human resource development in Cambodia by providing scholarships for Cambodian students

Ma and his delegation arrived here on Wednesday for a three-day visit.

The governor also met with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong on Thursday, Cambodian Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh on Wednesday, and Cambodian Minister of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries Chan Sarun on Thursday.

Cham Prasidh told Ma that he will lead a delegation to join the China-ASEAN Expo to be held in Nanning in October.

On Friday, Ma and Cham Prasidh will sign a memorandum of understanding on economic and commercial cooperation between Cambodia and Guangxi.

According to official figures, the bilateral trade volume between Cambodia and Guangxi reached 12.39 million U.S. dollars in 2008.

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Japan gives "urgent" funds to Cambodia Khmer trial

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA - Japan announced an "urgent" US$200,000 ($302,386) donation to the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal Friday, allowing it to pay Cambodian staff after donations dried up following corruption claims.

A leading judge at the war crimes tribunal said earlier this month that the court did not have enough money to pay local staff after accusations of graft made donors wary.

"In response to the request from the royal government of Cambodia, the government of Japan has made an urgent decision to contribute US$200, finance the Cambodian share of the trial budget," said a press statement by the Japanese embassy.

Under the complicated tribunal agreement, Cambodian and international staff have separate budgets funded by countries including Japan, France, Australia, Germany and the United States.
The court's first trial is under way, but the Cambodian side has been hit by claims of political interference and a scandal in which local staff were allegedly forced to pay kickbacks for their jobs.

Japan said it "places emphasis on progress of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, as it believes this process will promote peace, democracy, the rule of law and good governance in Cambodia."

The long-awaited first Khmer Rouge trial began last month when the regime's notorious prison chief, Kaing Guek Eav, better known by the alias Duch, went before the court.

He is one of five former Khmer Rouge leaders scheduled to be tried by the court.

Up to two million people died of starvation and overwork, or were executed by the Khmer Rouge, which dismantled modern Cambodian society in its effort to forge a radical agrarian utopia. --AFP

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Reproductive Health Group In Cambodia Reports Increase In HIV Testing Among Women

A report released on Monday by the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia found that 40,587 women in the country underwent HIV tests in 2008 -- up from 38,660 who were tested in 2007 -- the Phnom Penh Post reports. Blood tests are offered at no-cost at state and referral hospitals across Cambodia, the Post reports. RHAC said the increase in testing was in part because of an increase in reproductive health awareness campaigns.

Mean Chivoan -- director of the National Centre for HIV and AIDS, Dermatology and STD -- said that the government has distributed information about HIV/AIDS tests since 2001, giving information to community groups and garment factories. He said that the government will continue to promote tests among women -- particularly pregnant women -- because it believes such efforts are "important." Cheat Khemara, senior labor official at the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, said the increase in testing among women is a reflection of a partnership between community groups and garment factories -- where about 300,000 Cambodian women are employed. He called on "all factories to help provide health facilities and services" at no-cost to employees and to "provide care to employees who have HIV/AIDS so that they have the mental strength to continue their work." Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union of Cambodia, reported that most garment factory workers are required to have a health check at the Labor Health Centre. He added, "Usually, women who work for factories do not understand the importance of having blood tests. They only go if they are helped or guided by NGO workers."

Chak Chenda, clinic manager at RHAC, said that the group is planning to publish a "guide book and leaflets on reproductive health to be distributed in communities and also organize a peer group education program" to bring trained volunteers to discuss reproductive health in communities (Leakhana, Phnom Penh Post, 3/18).

Reprinted with kind permission from You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Read more!

Rare Cambodian vultures recuperate from poisoning

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Veterinarians in Cambodia have saved the lives of two vultures from a nearly extinct species, but failed to rescue seven others who feasted on a poisoned water buffalo.

Pech Bunnat of the Wildlife Conservation Society said Friday that the white-rumped vultures were found in December in the northeastern province of Stung Treng.

They had apparently been stricken after eating the carcass of a water buffalo, which itself died after drinking from a poisoned pond. The pond was poisoned in order to catch the fish in it.

The white-rumped vulture — along with three other vulture species — has been listed since 2000 as "critically endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

With a range stretching from Pakistan to Vietnam, the vulture was once considered one of the most abundant large birds of prey in the world. But the bird experienced precipitous population declines beginning in the 1990s largely due to the use of the anti-inflammatory cattle drug diclofenac, according to the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

The drug proved effective in cattle but caused renal failure and mortality in any vulture that fed on the cow corpses that still retained the drug. Populations of white-rumped vultures dropped a staggering 95 percent and have yet to recover.

There are about 282 vultures in Cambodia, most of them in Stung Treng province and officially treated as protected, said Pech Bunnat, who is project manager of the Cambodia Vulture Conservation Project.

He said the Wildlife Conservation Society has built seven feeding stations in the jungle for vultures, which are supplied once or twice a month with slaughtered cows, so that the vulture population can be more closely monitored.
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