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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Anti-Corruption Unit Sworn In as Investigators

Fourteen members of Cambodia's nascent Anti-Corruption Unit were sworn in Tuesday, vowing to use their full legal rights to investigate the country's graft problem.

Members include senior government adviser Om Yientang, who is the head of the unit, and his three deputies, Seang Borath, Chay Svauth and Nuon Phal.

“We have full legal rights to make corruption investigations,” Om Yientang told reporters after the ceremony, which was held at the national Court of Appeals in Phnom Penh. “We can now start to investigate complaints, confidential information and cooperation from various informants.”

The Anti-Corruption Unit was formed under a new anti-graft law, which administration officials have touted as an attack on corruption, but which critics say lacks the teeth to tackle the widespread problem.

All 14 members of the unit swore to uphold their duties or “face miserable damage or destruction and death, separated in the next life from our beloved parents, brothers, sisters and children and facing extreme poverty.”

“We will implement our profession as judicial police with dignity, conscience, loyalty, honest, humanity, independence, with respect for the constitution and the laws of the Kingdom of Cambodia forever,” the unit pledged.

Uk Savuth, who presided over the ceremony as prosecutor-general of the Appeals Court, said the unit was now empowered to arrest lawbreakers. But he warned the unit to “greatly increase” its legal capabilities in order to maintain the laws recently passed by the National Assembly.

But he also said the unit should act with humanity, to deeply interpret a case and act morally, such as delaying the arrest of a serious ill or pregnant offender.

“When we see wrong, we speak of the wrong,” he said. “When we see right, we speak of the right. We do not make decisions with rancor, incitement or hate. We implement the laws to serve justice for all, because a victim needs justice, and an offender also needs justice.”
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Opposition Decries Premier's Response in Land Dispute

Opposition lawmakers and rights groups on Tuesday criticized as unfair a letter from Prime Minister Hun Sen defending a government land concession at the heart of an escalating dispute with villagers.

Hun Sen said in a written response to lawmakers the 9,000-hectare concession in Kampong Speu province had been legally given to the Phnom Penh Sugar Industry, Co.

“The land concession to the company was legally issued by the Ministry of Agriculture,” Hun Sen wrote in July, responding to a March request for information from seven National Assembly lawmakers from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.

Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the Sam Rainsy Party, said the letter was not acceptable. It was not the result of a proper investigation and had been based on a report made by the company itself, he said.

Chheang Kim Sun, a representative for Phnom Penh Sugar, which is owned by Cambodian People's Party lawmaker Ly Yong Phat, said Tuesday she supported Hun Sen's letter, claiming the company had followed the Ministry of Agriculture's land concession and not encroached on the land of the people.

However, villagers at the Kampong Speu concession say they are being pushed off 2,000 hectares of land as the company expands. Villagers have been protesting the concession since March, in demonstrations that have seen company equipment and buildings torched, several protesters jailed, and the blockade of a national road.

About 400 families across nine villages say they are being pushed off the land, and representatives are now saying they want compensation in order to move.

Chan Soveth, an investigator for the rights group Adhoc, said he did not agree with the premier's response.

“This response letter will encourage all land concessions in Cambodia to undertake more abuses of the land of the people,” he said.

Hun Sen in his letter also criticized the opposition and rights groups for encouraging villagers to protest.

Village representative Yu Tho, who was jailed for briefly earlier this year following a protest in Kampong Speu, said no one from the opposition party or local NGOs had incited the demonstrations.

“This is a real abuse of the people's land,” he said. “If the prime minister wants to see clearly, he should come directly to my area to see how this is affecting the land of the people.”
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Cambodian woman admits drowning 6-year-old girl for gold earrings

Phnom Penh - A Cambodian woman has been charged with intentional killing after she admitted drowning a 6-year-old girl to steal her gold earrings worth 45 dollars, national media reported Wednesday.

Police in the central province of Kampong Thom said 19-year-old Rok Rorn was arrested Monday and confessed to the murder.

She later took police to a rice field where she had hidden the girl's body, around a kilometre from where she claimed to have killed her.

'When it was quiet and a good moment, she lured the victim to take her earrings and then pushed her head into the river where she died,' the district's deputy police chief, Ke Kanchana, told the Cambodia Daily newspaper.

He added that Rok Rorn, who faces up to 20 years jail, had shown no remorse when confessing.

'Her face is not sad, and she doesn't feel sorry for the victim,' he said.

A human rights worker at local rights group Licadho said such crimes were not uncommon.

'These crimes happen to young children aged 3-5 every year,' said Am Sam Ath.

He advised parents to ensure they knew where their children were.

'They should not allow their young children to walk alone when they wear jewellery,' he said. 'They are a vulnerable group.'

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Cambodian-Americans protest deportation

Cambodian-American's in Philadelphia are upset with the scheduled deportation of Hov Ly Kol.

When Hov Ly Kol was 19, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in two armed robberies. One ended in murder.

Now, more than two years after being released, Kol is in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and is scheduled to be deported to Cambodia.

ICE spokesman Harold Ort says it's not uncommon for there to be a long lag-time between a prisoner's release and deportation.

Mia-lia Kiernan is a long-time member of the city's Cambodian-American community. She says Kol, and several others, are facing deportation now because ICE is enforcing an old policy change that made deportation for certain crimes mandatory instead of discretionary.

Kiernan says it's wrong to deport people back to a country they have little connection to.

"All they remember of Cambodia is fleeing the country when they were child refugees. In fact, most of them were born in Thai refugee camps and never even set foot in Cambodian soil."

Kiernan says there are 50 Cambodian-Americans across the country that are facing deportation in similar circumstances.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

State President wraps up visit to Cambodia

Hun Sen Regime is forcing Khmer children to stand under the burning sun waiting to welcome his Yuon interloper boss. It is very sad to see Khmer children are under pressure from Communist Yuon, beside those children losing their land to Yuon Minh Triet.

State President Nguyen Minh Triet has wrapped up his official visit to Cambodia to promote the traditional relationship between the two countries.

Over the past days, all of Cambodia was decorated with colourful banners and flowers to welcome Mr. Triet and his delegation.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Doan Viet Trung said the visit was motivation to develop the time-honoured Vietnam-Cambodia relationship.

The visit laid a foundation to bring the relationship to a new height, said Trung.

In a party for the President, Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni said Cambodia people are very happy to have such good friends as the Vietnamese, who have helped them in their struggle against colonialism and imperialism.

In agreement with the king, Cambodian senior officials expressed their great gratitude to Vietnamese volunteer soldiers for their assistance in fighting the regime of genocide.

Great Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong and Great Supreme Patriarch Bou Kry said Vietnam not only helped Cambodia in its struggle but also in its re-construction and the development of Cambodian Buddhism.

Cambodia is now a developing country with industrial parks emerging from the “killing fields.”

In 2010, Cambodia’s economic growth could reach 5 percent and annual per capita income is expected to hit US$1,900. Economic co-operation between the two countries has also increased strongly in recent years. Vietnam has 63 projects in Cambodia with combined investment capital of more than US$900 million. Two-way trade turnover is estimated to be more than US$2 billion and high-quality Vietnamese products are securing a firm foothold in the Cambodian market.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen affirmed that his country’s economic development can be attributed to Vietnam’s contributions through investment and trade exchange. During the visit, President Nguyen Minh Triet and PM Hun Sen agreed to expand co-operation in mining, telecommunications, finance, banking, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transport, culture and information. The two sides also agreed to complete land border demarcation by 2012 to create borders with peace and stability.

Investment between the two countries has been blooming in recent years, said Mr. Trung. Vietnam is one of the leading investors in Cambodia. At its current pace, Vietnam’s investment in Cambodia will reach a minimum of US$6 billion in the next five years, mainly in energy, hydroelectricity, aviation, banking, finance, oil and gas.

Over the ups and downs of history, close ties of solidarity and friendship between the two countries have been forged and developed. Mr. Triet, the Cambodian King and other leaders reaffirmed that those traditional ties are an invaluable asset which should last forever.

Mr. Triet said the two nations have lived together for a long time and they always stand side by side in hard times. Cambodia expressed its deep gratitude for Vietnam’s support, particularly for saving it from genocide, while Vietnam thanks Cambodia for its support during the resistance struggles. History has seen fine relations between the two countries so the current generation has the responsibility to develop the relationship and sustain it in the future.

During his visit to Cambodia, Mr. Triet also cut the ribbon to inaugurate the Radio the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) bureau in Phnom Penh.
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Cambodian girl arrives in TW for operation

A two-year-old Cambodian girl suffering from massive swelling in her right arm arrived in central Taiwan Saturday for an operation.

Reachny Mich is being treated at Taichung Veterans General Hospital for a condition described as an "elephant arm". Doctors from Taiwan said the girl's condition could have a large impact on her mental and physical development if not treated.

The girl's ailment was discovered by a Taiwan medical team when it was in Cambodia in April to provide local residents free medical services. The team assessed that local hospitals didn't have the resources to help the little girl and applied to have her brought to Taiwan for treatment.

The little girl's mother said she was very nervous about the surgery, but she also expressed her deep gratitude to Taiwan for the help.
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

President Triet meets Cambodia’s King Norodom in Phnom Penh

VietNamNet Bridge - President Nguyen Minh Triet and Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihamoni yesterday agreed that the two countries should continue holding high-ranking meetings to further foster the expansion of multi-faceted co-operation.

They also applauded efforts by the two Governments to effectively implement previously signed agreements.

The two leaders met in Phnom Penh during Triet’s official visit to Cambodia which began on Thursday and ends today.

Welcoming Triet and his wife to Cambodia, King Norodom Sihamoni said the visit was an important event that would create strong motivation to bolster traditional ties and comprehensive co-operation between Viet Nam and Cambodia in the coming time.

He expressed his gratitude for the support given by Viet Nam’s leaders and people to Cambodia in the past as well as to the country’s current recovery and development.

The King said he was impressed with Viet Nam’s achievements in building and developing the country and highly valued Viet Nam’s position in the region and in the world.

While affirming that Cambodia would always be a good neighbour to Viet Nam, he asserted his determination to cultivate the fine traditional and comprehensive relations between the two countries.

He also wished that Viet Nam, under the leadership of the Communist Party and State, would continue to gain more achievements in its national construction and development.

President Nguyen Minh Triet thanked the King for his warm welcome, saying that he highly valued the achievements gained by Cambodia under the King’s rule and the leadership of the Royal Government. Triet applauded Cambodia’s increasingly higher position in the region and in the world.

He also expressed his deep gratitude to Cambodia for its support to Viet Nam during the country’s struggle for liberation and unification in the past and construction and defence at present, and for the support the government gives to Vietnamese people who are living in Cambodia.

Triet affirmed Viet Nam’s policy to prioritise building and developing relations with Cambodia and conveyed his greetings to former King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Mother Norodom Moninieth Sihanouk.

Triet donated VND8 billion (US$410,000) and 50 computers to King Norodom Sihamoni for the Cambodian Royal Fund.

Building achievements

Also on the same day, Triet met separately with Samdech Sisowath Chivanmoniral, first vice president of the senate of Cambodia; Ngoun Nhel, acting president of the Cambodian National Assembly; and Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

At the meetings, Triet said Viet Nam was always willing to share its experience and co-operate with Cambodia for mutual interest and benefit. Viet Nam would do its best to ensure the fine co-operation between the two countries could contribute to ASEAN unity.

In the coming period, he said, the two countries needed to strengthen co-operation mechanisms between policy-making and executive bodies, organisations and especially bordering provinces.

Triet suggested the two sides foster ties in specific industries, including national security and defence, trade and commerce, agriculture, forestry and aquaculture, transport, mineral exploitation, oil and gas, education, healthcare, and tourism.

He also said the Royal Government should instruct relevant bodies to foster land border demarcation works to be completed by the end of 2010 as agreed.

Leaders of Cambodian Senate, NA and Royal Government expressed their deep gratitude for Viet Nam’s support, particularly in saving Cambodia from genocide.

Triet also visited Great Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong at Wat Ounalom and Great Supreme Patriarch Bou Kry at Wat Botum.

Source: VNS
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Cambodian girl with swollen arm arrives in Taiwan for operation

Taipei, Aug. 28 (CNA) A two-year-old Cambodian girl suffering from massive swelling in her right arm arrived at Taichung Veterans General Hospital (TVGH) in central Taiwan Saturday for treatment.

Reachny Mich, whose condition has been described as having an "elephant arm, " was discovered by a Taiwanese medical team when it was in Cambodia in April to provide local residents free medical services.

She then obtained the promise of Taiwan government's to treat her after Yu Tsi-hsun, a volunteer on the medical team, made repeated appeals on her behalf.

Following the hospital's initial examination of the girl Saturday, pediatric hematologist Chang Teh-kao said Mich's blood pressure, heartbeat and body temperature all appeared normal, but he feared that her disorder was far more "complicated" than originally thought.

Chang said Mich's right arm appears to be four to five times bigger than her left arm, possibly caused by the abnormal growth of blood vessels or bones.

"It is rare to see such a deformation of blood vessels, " he said.

Earlier in the day after the girl, her mother and Yu arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Yu said Mich's mother was worried about the operation facing her daughter but also trusted Taiwan's doctors and felt grateful for their help.

A special team of pediatricians from different departments convened by Lee San-kang, deputy superintendent of the hospital, has been assembled to perform the surgery. (By Lee Chun-chin, Hau Hsue-chin and Elizabeth Hsu) enditem/ls
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Group including former refugees take part in mission trip to Cambodia

From left, Mary Hensley, Pastor Sam Duong with his son, Calvin, Vanny S. Sap and Docnga Sap talk about their trip to Cambodia.

By Kim Kimzey

Docnga Sap of Wellford fled Cambodia’s “killing fields” more than 30 years ago.

For five months, he sought refuge at a camp in Thailand. Sap noticed that hundreds of children in the camp received meals each morning.

“I ask somebody, ‘Who is the rich man to feed the children every day?’ ”

The person responded “Jesus.”

Sap noticed how some people treated the refugees with kindness. He questioned why they were kind. Someone told him “Jesus.”

Sap converted to Christianity in that refugee camp. He also lived at a camp in the Philippines before he and his wife, Vanny, arrived in the United States in 1980. They lived in California for 16 years before moving here.

Sap had not walked on Cambodian soil in 31 years. And it had been 40 years since he last saw his home village of Pong Tuk. Sap longed to return there, help the villagers and share the gospel.

Sap was able to realize his vision last month. He and Vanny journeyed to Cambodia with a small mission team organized by the Rev. Sam Duong, pastor of the Cambodian Ministry in Spartanburg.

Duong also survived the Khmer Rough regime. He fled Cambodia to Vietnam. He returned to Cambodia, but later left for Thailand and eventually the Philippines. Like Sap, Duong converted to Christianity in a Thai refugee camp.

Duong now lives in Charlotte, N.C., and is pastor of two churches, including a church in Greensboro, N.C., and the Cambodian Ministry sponsored by United Baptist Church in Spartanburg. The Cambodian Ministry is the only Cambodian-language Southern Baptist church in South Carolina.

Both churches collected money and assisted the mission team in their trek to Cambodia.

The team consisted of Duong, Docnga and Vanny Sap, Chenda Mroek, a member of the church in Greensboro, and Mary Hensley of Spartanburg.

They left for Cambodia on July 8 and flew into Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. They spent 14 days in Cambodia, visiting congregations (including a church outside Phnom Penh that Duong helped establish several years ago), and leading worship services, baptizing believers and helping poor villagers.

It took six hours for the mission team to travel from Phnom Penh to Siemreab and another three hours on bumpy, dusty roads from Siemreab to Sap’s home village.

They were overwhelmed by the reception they received. More than 100 villagers gathered to welcome them. Sap was moved to tears and unable to speak.

“The whole town welcomed us,” Sap recalled. “But one lady ask me, ‘What do you bring with you?’ ” He replied, “I bring the good news from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Weeks before the trip, Sap learned his son Putheavy, who lives in Cambodia, had converted to Christianity. Sap considers this a miracle.

Putheavy and six others were baptized during one service while the mission team was in Cambodia. More than 100 people also were baptized at a mass baptism. Because of limited transportation, Duong had to limit the number of baptisms. The converted crowded into beds and atop roofs of pickup trucks before setting out for a lake to be baptized. Hensley counted 27 people on a van for 15 passengers. Duong, with assistance from several other pastors, performed baptisms.

Duong said it was very hard to be separated from his wife and three young children. It brought a greater realization to the sacrifices made by missionaries like those who introduced him to his faith in a Thai refugee camp all those years ago.

The mission team’s days were long. Members were so busy making plans and working that they often fell asleep after midnight and arose at 6 a.m.

Money raised by the team’s churches was used to dig a pond to provide water to villagers in Pong Tuk. Property was donated for a church site, and 15 Bibles and five hymnals were purchased. Pigs and chickens were bought for the village. One Cambodian church received rice to feed hungry families. Gate City Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C., also bought a farm tractor for a Cambodian church.

United Baptist Church members collected vitamins and over-the-counter medications, such as pain relievers, distributed to Cambodians on the mission trip.

Mary Hensley coordinates the Cambodian Ministry at United Baptist Church. She has been involved with the ministry since it began 15 years ago.

“We started by having fellowships once a year where we would invite the people to come,” Hensley said.

In 1999, a lay pastor from Atlanta began coming twice a month to lead the Cambodian congregation in worship. Hensley said they had about 11 members when that pastor left in 2005. Duong became pastor in October 2007. The Cambodian Ministry has grown since Duong’s arrival. Duong baptized about 70 people in less than a year and more are awaiting baptism, Hensley said.

Hensley said the Spartanburg church has more than 70 members. Average attendance was 35 to 40 but declined during their absence on the mission trip.

Members of the mission team hope to return to Cambodia in November 2011.
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Vietnam to release more than 17,000 prisoners

HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam's president has ordered more than 17,000 prisoners freed as part of the country's annual National Day amnesty, officials said Saturday.

Twenty of those to be released have been charged with national security crimes, but no high-profile pro-democracy dissidents were included. Several were ethnic minorities from the restive Central Highlands bordering Cambodia.

Vietnam has been criticized by the United States and European Union for jailing political and religious dissidents. The Communist county does not tolerate any form of protest and often uses national security laws to convict those deemed a threat.

Of the 17,210 inmates being freed, 37 are foreigners from a number of countries, including France, the United States and Canada. The release will begin Sunday to commemorate National Day on Sept. 2. Read more!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cambodian King receives President Triet in Phnom Penh

King Norodom Sihamoni has described President Nguyen Minh Triet’s current visit to Cambodia as an historical event, which he said will help bring fresh impetus to the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

At a reception in Phnom Penh on August 27, King Sihamoni thanked the Vietnamese leaders and people for providing heartfelt support and valuable assistance to Cambodia in the past as well as in its national development at present.

He also thanked them for warmly receiving Father King Norodom Sihanouk and his wife Norodom Moninieth Sihanouk during their visit to Vietnam in June 2010.

The King expressed his admiration for Vietnam’s tremendous achievements in its Renewal process and its rising profile in the region and the world.

Vietnamese people are reliable friends of Cambodian people, said King Sihamoni.

He affirmed that Cambodia will continue to build up the long-lasting and neighbourly friendship and comprehensive cooperation with Vietnam.

President Triet praised Cambodia’s position in the world and expressed his belief that under the reign of King Sihamoni and the leadership from the Royal Government, Cambodia will obtain greater achievements in national construction for the sake of peace, development and prosperity.

He valued Cambodia’s support to Vietnam in the past struggle for national liberation and the current process of Renewal. He thanked the King, the government and people of Cambodia for creating conditions for the Vietnamese community to live and study in the country, contributing to its development and to cementing the friendship between the two nations.

Vietnam attaches great importance to and will do its utmost to strengthen the traditional friendship and all-round cooperation with Cambodia, said Mr Triet.

Both host and guest agreed that Vietnam and Cambodia should maintain high-level visit exchanges to facilitate the expansion of their multifaceted cooperation. They also acknowledged their governments’ effort in implementing signed agreements effectively.
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Grant from UN-run fund enables Cambodian village to reap ecotourism benefits

Funds from a global environment grants scheme implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will enable an indigenous community in one of Cambodia's poorest provinces to build an ecotourism project at a lake recently returned to them from private ownership.


Funds from a global environment grants scheme implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will enable an indigenous community in one of Cambodia's poorest provinces to build an ecotourism project at a lake recently returned to them from private ownership.

The mostly indigenous ethnic Kuoy residents of Romchek village in northeast Preah Vihear province are to receive a share of almost $20,000 in grant money from the Global Environment Facility"s (GEF) Small Grants Programme, according to a press release issued today by UNDP.

They will invest the money in environmentally sensitive visitor sites in the pristine forestland around the Choam Prei lake.

The lake, used by the Kuoy as a cattle-grazing site and as a water and food source, was returned to the 213 families of Romchek from private ownership this year after a process that involved the local, provincial and central Government.

A plan to develop the 70-acre lake into a site for hosting tourists was approved in June by GEF"s Small Grants Programme.

"The site has a lot of potential for the entire village," said Ly Setha, a project officer for a provincial civil society organization, Ponlok Khmer, that will channel funds from the small grant into eco-tourism projects for the area.

"Villagers hope there will be a spill-over from the tourists coming every year that will allow them to earn income by selling local products, and that will help them improve their livelihoods," said Mr. Setha.

The two-year project aims to accommodate tourists to carry out conservation-related research, or to experience the wild animals and plant life around the lake. Activities include production of publicity material, building campsites, and training community members to become tour guides.

Ponlok Khmer was already running a programme that employed villagers to repair the lake"s drainage and water level and to improve it as a fish spawning ground.

Before January, the lake had been part of a fish-farming enterprise run by the family of a local entrepreneur, who was given permission by a village chief in 1998 to use the area for private business.

Villagers accused him of blocking public access to Choam Prei. They collected 86 thumbprints to file a petition through their local government office.

The head of Romney commune took up the case in 2008 and raised its profile through a nationwide local government-association. The association, the National League of Commune/Sangkat, receives technical and financial support from UNDP as part of a project for democratic reforms at the local level.

Source: UN News

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A Runners Quest Comes Full Circle With 10K Raised for Cambodia Students


Journeys Within
CONTACT: Andrea Ross
TEL: 877 454 3672
Click Here for Media Kit

SIEM REAP, Cambodia--Jane Price first traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia in 2007 and participated in the Angkor Wat half marathon. On September 5th 2010 Price will run an ultra marathon and has raised over $10,000 for Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC), the organization in Cambodia that she visited back in 2007.

Jane's history with Cambodia started in 2007 when she stayed at Journeys Within B&B and was introduced to Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC), a non-profit organization founded by Journeys Within tour company owners Brandon and Andrea Ross. To help support the organization she sponsored a JWOC Scholarship Student. This JWOC program gives in-need and deserving students a four year university education in Cambodia. The students in return volunteer 5 to 10 hours a week on various JWOC projects, allowing the projects to run and giving the students valuable experience. After corresponding with her student for three years, Jane returned to Cambodia in 2010 and volunteered for a month at JWOC. Upon returning home she signed up for her first ultra marathon which was a 50k run through the Sierra Nevada foothills. As if this goal wasn't big enough, Price decided to fundraise for JWOC and the Scholarship program.

"I strongly believe in the role of education in making a long term impact to improve the lives of students and their communities. From a personal standpoint I know firsthand the impact a scholarship can have on one's life as I was the beneficiary of scholarships and grants when I was a university student. These generous gifts allowed me to further my education and improve my life in profound ways," said Jane.

Jane sent emails to friends and family and told of her experiences with JWOC. She posted her story and her quest on the JWOC website so others could be inspired by her goal. With the race a week away, Price has reached her goal of raising $10,000 to donate to JWOC, and she can now proudly say that five new students will be able to start attending university in the fall thanks to her efforts.

"We really depend on travelers and guests being inspired by what we're doing. Our hope is that they go home and inspire others,” said Andrea Ross, Journeys Within Tour Company and JWOC founder. "I love that Jane just came to Cambodia for the weekend the first time, to run a marathon no less, and now she's combined her amazing love and ability to run with her passion and enthusiasm for what we're doing in Cambodia. It truly is supporters like this that make our projects possible. The best part is that five students now have a completely different future because of Jane's commitment!"

With the fundraising behind her, Price now has the hurdle of that ultra marathon to get through. The race, Run on the Sly, will be 50 kilometers, and will take place on September 5th in the Sierra Nevada mountain range at an altitude of 3,800 feet, featuring a hilly course covering mountain trails and fire roads.

"I love running for so many reasons: being in nature, setting and achieving goals, stress reduction, and being able to eat pretty much whatever I want and now it also provides me a platform to help others," said Price.

About Journeys Within Our Community
JWOC was founded by Brandon and Andrea Ross, owners of Journeys Within Tour Company in response to guests and travelers desire to give back and make a difference. JWOC believes in its slogan, “See a Problem, Solve a Problem” and has been doing that for the last five years. More information can be found and donations can be made at or you can contact Andrea at
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Diversity spotlight: Thida Kol’s had a real impact on the Cambodian community

By Steph McKenna
JOurnal staff writer

Twenty-two years ago when Thida Kol, 56, began working as a secretary at the Socio Economic Development Center for Southeast Asians in Providence, she had no idea that she would have an enormous impact on the Cambodian community.

But she became the go-to person, the community’s rock who can be counted on in a moment’s notice, in all situations.

“She has a huge heart,” says Anthony Layton, associate director of SEDC. “She is an inspiration to all of us.”

As a Cambodian caseworker, Thida helps elderly clients find housing. In cases where an elderly person is alone, she tries to find another person in similar circumstances so they can share an apartment.

“I find them a place and then find household goods they need,” she says.

“I try to do the best I can to help people in the community who need services.”

Immigrants and refugees need to apply for green cards and talk to immigration lawyers. Thida accompanies them, serves as translator and helps fill out forms.

She takes clients to medical appointments and is the link between doctor and patient.

“SEDC is the only place they trust,” she says, “especially clients who are here alone.”

Thirty years ago, Thida, her husband and three small stepchildren fled Cambodia and the terror of the Khmer Rouge regime.

“They killed my father. My mom died of starvation.”

The family lived for several months in Khao I Dang, a refugee camp along the Cambodian-Thai border, before leaving for Rhode Island where they settled with help from the International Institute of Rhode Island.

Thida enrolled in a program at the Community College of Rhode Island and eventually worked as a licensed practical nurse at St. Joseph Hospital. But when she heard from a friend that SEDC was looking for a Cambodian worker, she applied for the job.

One of the few Cambodian community members who had been educated in Khmer, Thida is often asked to do written translations. “I’m the oldest in this office and they ask me first,” she says. “I went to school and know the Khmer language. Some others who are younger did not have the chance to learn because the Khmer Rouge closed the schools.”

“People who came 20 years ago and still don’t speak English rely on SEDC.” She says some don’t even trust their own children to translate official letters, fearing that they will make a mistake that could result in problems.”

There are Meals on Wheels lunches three times a week at SEDC. Thida says that before the meal clients stop by her office with letters to translate, or to ask her to make phone calls.

“Most of my clients know my cell phone number. They can call me anytime.”

And they do call. It could be an emergency situation or just a lonely person who needs to talk.

“If I’m helping people, I feel good. They treat me like I’m their family. They are like my family.”
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

As Iran sanctions threaten, Iran sees new friend in Cambodia

Leaders from Iran and Cambodia met this month in their most senior exchange to date. Some say it is a sign that Iran sanctions are pushing Tehran to develop new trade partners.

By Stephen Kurczy, Staff writer

Iran seems to have found a new friend in the unlikeliest of places: Cambodia. Tehran hosted a high-level delegation from the Southeast Asian nation earlier this month to discuss bilateral trade and mutual dislike of American "interference."

It's the latest sign that the Islamic republic is seeking out new partners – no matter how small – in the face of increased sanctions.

"There is no doubt that Iran’s growing isolation, resulting from the force of UN sanctions, is behind Iran’s push to improve relations with Cambodia and other willing states," says Alon Ben-Meir of the Center for Global Affairs at New York University. "The sanctions against Iran are having a serious effect. For this reason, Iran at this juncture will trade with any country it may find. Cambodia happened to be an easy target because of its energy vulnerability."

In June, the United Nations, European Union, and United States all passed sanctions in an effort to target Iran's uranium-enrichment program.

"To impose sanctions against Iran is not a solution," Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters Aug. 16 in Phnom Penh, days after his meeting in Tehran with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mr. Hor advised "negotiations and engagement" instead.

Iran offers trade, technology
The two countries established formal relations in 1992 as Cambodia emerged from civil war, but Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith says this is the most senior bilateral exchange to date.

"Iran requested to have a diplomatic relation with Cambodia. We don't see any objection to that," says Mr. Khieu, who is also the minister of Information. "Our policy toward Middle Eastern countries is to sell more of our products, mainly agricultural, and try to get more knowledge on oil management."

The summit touched on trade, investment, tourism, and oil, which is notable in light of Cambodia's hopes to tap recently discovered offshore oil reserves. After years of exploration and speculation – from international firms such as Total and Chevron – oil production is projected to begin in 2012. Then, in mid-August, a top Cambodian official told Nikkei news agency that Cambodia is looking into nuclear technology and hopes to build its first nuclear power plant as early as 2020.

President Ahmadinejad "voiced readiness to share Iran's experiences with Cambodia in various fields of agriculture, science, technology, and research," according to Fars News Agency. The two sides agreed to establish a joint economic commission to explore opportunities, according to The Tehran Times.
Shared dislike of American 'interference'
They also found common ground in rejecting pressure from the US. “My country has always been opposed to the interference of the United States in other countries’ internal affairs," Hor said, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Economic ties remain minimal between Iran and Cambodia. The two countries’ trade value during the past Iranian calendar year (ending March 20, 2010) stood at $539,000, according to The Tehran Times. In the three months prior to June 21, Iran exported $120,000 and imported $66,000 to and from Cambodia.

Even more than a new economic partner, Iran is apparently looking to Cambodia as a conduit to reach greater Southeast Asia through the 10-country Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). "Cambodia can play a key role in connecting Iran and the association," Iran's Accredited Ambassador to Cambodia Seyed Javad Qavam Shahidi told the FARS news agency after Hor's visit.

Web of geopolitics
In the complex web of geopolitics, it makes sense that Iran would warm relations with Cambodia, says British historian Philip Short. China woos Cambodia and Burma as counterweights to regional power India, while also wooing Iran and Pakistan as counterweights to longtime rival Russia, he says.

"So, for Cambodia and Iran – both Beijing’s good friends – to get cozy isn't a surprise at all. In fact, one wonders why it didn’t happen earlier," says Mr. Short, author of the Khmer Rouge history "Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare" and the biography "Mao: A life."

"For Cambodia there’s an obvious economic interest," continues Short. "And for Iran, which is still pretty isolated, the more diplomatic support it can garner the better."

China has invested millions in infrastructure projects in Cambodia. In December 2009, Beijing pledged $1.2 billion in aid and soft loans. That made China a bigger benefactor to Cambodia than all other countries combined. In July, international donors pledged $1.1 billion in annual aid to Cambodia, which was still the most ever from them. "China is Cambodia’s best buddy," says Short.

But Cambodia has also been courted avidly by Washington in recent years. In July, US soldiers participated in a peacekeeping exercise with troops from 23 Asia Pacific nations as part of the US-run 2010 Global Peace Operations Initiative. Washington and Beijing have long competed for influence in the region, with China supporting the Khmer Rouge insurgency against a US-backed government of the 1970s.

No warning from Washington?
Cambodia's business community appears unfazed by the country's newfound friendship with Iran.

"If Iran wishes to offer any material support to Cambodia, why shouldn’t they accept it? Cambodia is a neutral country with a lot of needs, and welcomes all the help it can get," says Douglas Clayton, CEO of the private equity fund Leopard Capital, which has attracted international investors to a $34 million multisector equity fund in Cambodian businesses.

A spokesperson from the US Embassy in Phnom Penh says that Washington urges "all UN Member States, including Cambodia, to fulfill the objectives of UNSCR 1929 (United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929) by meeting not only their mandatory minimum obligations but also by applying accompanying measures." UNSCR 1929 was passed in June to target Iran's nuclear enrichment program.

While Cambodia's government spokesman says that Phnom Penh has not been warned against developing ties with Iran, Professor Ben-Meir of New York University suspects the US may have dropped a hint to Cambodia against getting too close.

"Soon Cambodia itself will begin to feel the pressure from the international community to stop trading with Iran," he says. "Cambodia therefore will continue to play a balancing act, swaying from which side it is getting the greater benefit. For this reason, the United States and the EU will have to come up with some aid to Cambodia if they wish to distance Cambodia from Iran."

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My Semester off: Volunteering in Guatemata and Cambodia

YouthGive contributing writer Nate Parish shares his story from travels in Guatemala and Cambodia

After attending my first semester of college last fall at St. Louis University in Madrid, Spain, I realized that I was not fulfilling the reasons why I wanted to go to college. In fact, I recognized that I wasn't quite sure what those reasons were any more.

College is supposed to be a place where there is a balance between working hard at one's studies and enjoying a fun social life. Unfortunately I could not find the right balance at my school. Everyone around me was always out at a bar and not even worried about school. I got wrapped up in this situation. When I received my transcript and saw that even though I was not working as hard as I could and still getting A's, I decided it was time for a change. I was not going to be paying all this money to just party in Spain for four years, even though that would have been fun.

My parents were worried that I would waste my time off, but there are many ways to make a break from schooling more productive than a semester in college. I decided to combine my love of travel with volunteering.

I started my journey by taking a week-long trip with my mother and a group of two surgeons and three doctors traveling down to Guatemala. I learned that these trips are vital as the largest health care providers in Guatemala are Christian groups from America who come down and offer free or extremely inexpensive medical care. Our group was focused on doing simple surgeries like fixing hernias and cleft lips. It was all fascinating. Not only did this experience give me a passion for medicine, and specifically surgery, but I got to see just how hard these people's lives are, and that my small contribution of time made a huge difference in their lives.

During one surgery, the doctor let me scrub in to assist him with tying the tubes of a forty-five year old woman who already had ten children and didn't want any more. As we finished, the doctor told me to switch places with him and handed me the clamp and needle. As he instructed me, I began sewing up the gaping hole in this woman's stomach. I had never done anything like it in my life, and at that moment I knew I wanted to be a doctor (see photos below).

Even though sewing up the incision was the coolest thing I have ever done, it was nothing compared to the gratitude this woman showed me when she woke up. She didn't speak English or Spanish, but while I sat and fed her soup, she gave me the biggest smile I have ever seen and a huge hug. My mom was watching and her eyes started to tear-up. Luckily I was able to hold myself together.

I returned home to San Francisco for some time to relax, but I missed that sense of accomplishment like I had in Guatemala. When my friend Matt invited me to Cambodia to volunteer with the Cambodian Children's Fund (CCF), I bought my tickets the next day and two weeks later met him in Asia.

CCF is an organization started by Scott Neeson, a former Hollywood executive who dropped his career and moved to Cambodia after witnessing the lives of the children living on the trash dumps in Phnom Penh. To learn more about Scott and the CCF, check out Matt's article or their website.

Our volunteering was focused on teaching English and working in the daycare center with the younger kids. Each day was harder than the one before it, but also more rewarding. We would start teaching by 7:30 a.m. and not get back to our hotel till 8:00 p.m., feeling tired and accomplished. I would teach four hour-long English classes to kids between the ages of 9-16. I played games and taught them the sounds of the alphabet. They absolutely loved any learning activity that involved laughing and high energy.

One day during lunch I was talking with Scott Neeson when one of the girls ran up and jumped into my lap. Scott leaned over to me and quietly said, "This girl was raped by her father." I was stunned and my heart broke for this poor little girl who wasn't more than twelve or thirteen. The pain in this child's life is unimaginable, and I felt so bad for her. I had been teaching her and seen her happily playing with the other girls. If Scott hadn't said anything, I would've thought that this girl had come from a loving family. It was then that I understood the importance of CCF. It takes kids out of their traumatic childhood situations and gives them the support system that every child deserves.

While we got more tired as our volunteer days progressed, the kids got more and more comfortable with us. Each time we arrived at a facility, more kids than the day before would be there to greet us with huge smiles, hugs, and even letters saying, "I want to set you as my brother." These heartfelt signs of affection were the source of energy that Matt and I used to finish the two weeks of volunteering.

We could see that by just showing up everyday we were changing these kids' lives. For the older kids we were two strange but extremely fun and playful teachers, and for the little kids we were two play structures that they could jump all over. But most of all, just showing them a little affection makes all the difference. I have never worked harder than in those two weeks, but I have never felt more fulfilled either.

Volunteering overseas enables you to see the true culture and people of the countries you are visiting. On most vacations, families might travel to developing countries, but they are not able to see how the majority of the country is actually living, and unfortunately might get an unrealistic idea of what the country is really like.

Global volunteering is so important because you really get to experience people in their daily life. You make human connections that can last a lifetime. I am still emailing with students each week so that when I return to Cambodia these wonderful young people will still know me as the fun-loving teacher they had back in 2010.

My service time in Guatemala and Cambodia gave me a learning experience that I never could have imagined getting at college. I can now take the lessons I have learned from these two experiences and implement them into my life as I start my first semester at Colorado College this fall.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cambodian envoy back on Thai soil

Foreign Ministry more confident on relations

Thailand and Cambodia have moved forward in their "normalisation" of diplomatic ties with the reinstatement of You Aye as Cambodian ambassador to Thailand.

The Cambodian envoy arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport at 10.30am yesterday, smiling to an army of reporters and photographers and even stopping to allow the cameramen to take her photograph.

But the ambassador refused to speak to the media and left immediately for the Cambodian embassy in central Bangkok.

You Aye returned to Bangkok one day after Prasas Prasasvinitchai arrived in Phnom Penh to re-assume his posting as Thai ambassador to Cambodia.

Mr Prasas was recalled by the Foreign Affairs Ministry last November in protest against Cambodia's appointment of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as its economic adviser. Phnom Penh responded by recalling its ambassador.

The government decided to send Mr Prapas back to Cambodia following Thaksin's decision to resign his economic adviser's post. The announcement of the resignation was made on Monday in Phnom Penh.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said yesterday dialogue would be a major means for Thailand to resolve border conflicts with Cambodia, which he hoped would not affect relations between the two countries.

In a related development, Surin governor Raphee Phongbuphakit said authorities still had to wait for notification from the governor of Siem Reap before they could pick up three Thais being detained in the Cambodian province after they were arrested last week for entering Cambodia illegally.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered their release after Mr Raphee contacted his counterpart in Siem Reap with an official request. The three detained are Sanong Wongcharoen, Lim Puangpet and Lan Sapsri.

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Research and Markets: Cambodia's Pharmaceutical Market Was Calculated To Be Worth KHR711bn (US$172mn) In 2009 Says 2010 Study

DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Marke( has announced the addition of the "Cambodia Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Report Q3 2010" report to their offering.

The Cambodia Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, pharmaceutical associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on Cambodia's pharmaceuticals and healthcare industry.

Cambodia's pharmaceutical market was calculated to be worth KHR711bn (US$172mn) in 2009. BMI forecasts drug consumption to increase at a rate of 11.6% over the next five years to reach a value of KHR1,232bn (US$302mn) in 2014. Our long range forecast is for the market to reach KHR2,062bn (US$516mn) in 2019, equivalent to annual growth of 11.2% over the 10-year period. In absolute terms, the countrys pharmaceutical market is one of the smallest covered by BMI. However, its high growth potential emphasizes Cambodia as an emerging target for drugmakers in the medium term. In BMIs Pharmaceutical Business Environment Ratings for Q310, Cambodia is ranked the lowest of the 16 Asia Pacific markets surveyed. The countrys medicine market is small in absolute terms and percapita expenditure is low. However, BMI is forecasting double-digit growth over the medium term. Fundamental disincentives to drugmakers include a young and predominantly rural population, a lack of respect for intellectual property, endemic corruption and excessive bureaucracy.

A decade of economic growth and political stability has allowed Cambodia to begin to tackle its underdeveloped healthcare system. Measures such as health equity funds, a new social health insurance system and the use of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) has begun to reduce inequalities in the system. The public health budget has grown in line with economic growth. However, per capita health expenditure remains low and around 60% of healthcare costs are paid out-of-pocket.

Government figures show that the national health budget is increasing. However, contributions from foreign donors exceed government contributions at a rate of around 2:1. This reliance on foreign contributions means that health expenditure levels are exposed to fluctuations in the exchange rate. Counterfeit drugs are a major constraint on legitimate drug market growth. Around 65% of the illegal pharmacies operating in Cambodia have been closed, according to the US Pharmacopeia in May 2010. The development comes as the result of a major anti-counterfeiting operation undertaken by the Cambodian government for over five months. According to figures released by the Cambodian Ministry of Health, the number of illegal pharmacies was reduced from 1,081 to 379 between November 2009 and March 2010.

The domestic pharmaceutical industry comprises seven small manufacturers dealing in basic generic medicines. The bulk of demand is met through imports, both from developed markets (such as France) and nascent markets (such as India, Thailand and Vietnam).

Key Topics Covered:

•SWOT Analysis
•Pharmaceutical Business Environment Ratings
•Table: Asia Pacific Pharmaceutical Business Environment Ratings, Q310
•Cambodia Market Summary
•Historical Data & Forecasts
•Regulatory Regime
•Intellectual Property Environment
•Counterfeit Medicine
•Pricing and Reimbursement
•Industry Trends and Developments
•Industry Forecast Scenario
•Pharmaceutical Market Forecast
•Healthcare Market Forecast
•Pharmaceutical Trade Forecast
•Key Risks to BMIs Forecast Scenario
•Competitive Landscape
•Pharmaceutical Industry
•Recent Pharmaceutical Company Developments
•Company Profiles
•Indigenous Companies
•Country Snapshot: Cambodia Demographic Data
•Table: Demographic Indicators, 2005-2030
•Table: Rural/Urban Breakdown, 2005-2030
•Table: Education, 2002-2005
•Table: Vital Statistics, 2005-2030
•Table: Employment Indicators, 2000-2004
•Table: Consumer Expenditure, 2000-2009 (US$mn)
•Table: Average Annual Manufacturing Wages, 1996-2001
•BMI Methodology
Companies Mentioned:

•PharmaProduct Manufacturing (PPM)
•Cambodia Pharmaceutical Enterprises (CPE)
•Multinational Companies

For more information visit .
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cambodia: Thai ex-PM Thaksin resigns as adviser

Associated Press Writer

(AP:PHNOM PENH, Cambodia) Thailand's former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, on Monday gave up his post as an adviser to the Cambodian government, nine months after his appointment helped fuel a diplomatic brouhaha.

A royal decree signed Monday by Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni said Thaksin had been terminated from his dual positions of personal adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen and economic adviser to the Cambodia government at his own request. A government statement said he tendered his resignation, accepted by Hun Sen, due to his "difficulty to fulfill his duty."

Thaksin was appointed in November last year, and his subsequent visit to Cambodia set off a row in which the two countries recalled their ambassadors.

Bangkok was displeased because Thaksin is a fugitive from justice. In 2008, a Thai court sentenced Thaksin in absentia to two years in prison for violating a conflict of interest law, but he fled into exile before the verdict. He was ousted by a 2006 military coup after being accused of corruption and abuse of power.

Hun Sen said Thaksin had been unfairly convicted for political reasons.

Thaksin lives mainly in Dubai, and has been accused by the current Thai government of seeking to undermine it. His supporters and their allies in March to May this year staged aggressive street protests in the Thai capital Bangkok, with related violence leaving about 90 people dead and more than 1,400 wounded.

Cambodia's relation with Thailand have been contentious for several years, with the focus of tension most recently being a dispute over some land on their common border. Relations have become worse since Abhisit Vejjajiva, a political antagonist of Thaksin, became Thailand's prime minister in December 2008.

Some of Hun Sen's antagonism toward Abhisit's government may be ascribed to the Thai leader appointing as his foreign minister Kasit Piromya, who before taking the post had insulted Hun Sen in public speeches as a gangster and a bum.

Abhisit, questioned about Thaksin's resignation, said he was waiting for confirmation, and that if it were true, would welcome a move for the two countries to send their ambassadors back to their posts, but "we must proceed step-by-step."

The Cambodian government statement said that while Thaksin served as adviser, he contributed vital ideas and drew on his experience "to help Cambodia with competitiveness, especially in the fields of investment, tourism, commerce and agriculture."

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Thaksin resigned for personal reasons, and Cambodia did not receive pressure from any country to terminate him. He also said the matter did not affect Cambodia's stance on its territorial claims.

Cambodia did not elaborate on Thaksin's difficulties in fulfilling his duties. However, Noppadol Pattama, a former Thai foreign minister lawyer in Bangkok who sometimes represents Thaksin's interest, said that lately the former prime minister has been traveling a lot for business and other reasons so "didn't have time to dedicate to the responsibilities that accompanied the position."

Noppadol also said Thaksin did not wish to complicate Thai-Cambodian relations.

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Ranariddh Opposes Alliance of Royalist Parties

Prince Norodom Ranariddh announced his opposition to the formation of a single royalist party on Monday, claiming the Nationalist Party that he formed but no longer leads should remain separate from the traditional Funcinpec.

“A combination would make us lose the voice of supporters and the name and honor of the party,” he said in a statement.

Norodom Ranariddh's statement comes after a Constitutional Council announcement Aug. 4 claiming that any party that merges with another will be removed from the Ministry of Interior's list of political organizations.

Funcinpec and the Nationalist Party have been working for reconciliation, announcing in June they would form an alliance to help move voters back toward the royalist parties following a poor showing in 2008's national polls.

Funcinpec was the leading political party when Cambodia emerged from decades of war, garnering 58 of 120 National Assembly seats in the UN-backed election of 1993. But the party was divided when Norodom Ranariddh left in 2006 under allegations of corruption.

The parties competed against each other in the 2008 election, winning only two seats each. Officials from each party maintained on Monday they would be working together.

“We explained to the prince this morning that the combination will not lead to the loss of the party, as the agreement ensures the sovereignty and identity of each party,” said Pen Sang Ha, spokesman for the Nationalist Party.

Funcinpec President Keo Put Reaksmey said the parties had up until six months ahead of the election to combine. The two parties have already been organizing on a grass roots level in the provinces of Svay Rieng, Prey Veng, Siem Reap and Kampong Thom.

“We will make a common list of candidates for the commune elections in 2012,” he said.

The statement was one of the prince's first steps into a political issue since 2008, when he left the National Party, which was then named after Norodom Ranariddh, and was made a senior adviser to King Norodom Sihamoni.

The prince's cabinet chief, Norannaridh Anandayath, said Monday the statement was “not an intervention in politics.”
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Anti-Corruption Unit Seeks To Reassure Investors

The government's Anti-Corruption Unit is preparing a plan to help ensure businesses and investors are protected from corruption, a senior official said Monday.

The new plan will help businesses register with the Ministry of Commerce and receive business certificates and licenses, said Om Yienteng, head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, during the Cambodia-Korea Transparency International Symposium in Phnom Penh.

“For example,” he said, “The Ministry of Commerce lists a company. What documents does it need? How much does it cost? How long is the wait?”

The new plan will also include birth certificates for Cambodians and efforts to prevent officials from asking more money than is legally required, he said.

The Anti-Corruption Unit is also developing internal oversight for its own investigating officials to ensure they are maintaining proper relationships.

Om Yientang also said it was important that people accused of corruption are sent to court as a deterrent. “If someone dares to make corruption, that man cannot make corruption,” he said.

“I am convinced that Cambodia can achieve greater successes for fighting against corruption by reforming the system in the government ministries and institutions in the future,” Shin-Bom Lee, a former member of South Korea's National Assembly and now a member of the Blue Korea Foundation, said.

Savuth Bora, the head of DNL Global Services Co., Ltd, said that the Anti-Corruption Unit's plan would help investment in Cambodia by preventing the bribes many companies complain of making to government officials.

“The Anti-Corruption Unit can make a clear plan by limiting that all businessmen must pay $100 or $120 for their company license or company listing,” he said.

Van Luy, head of Eurotech Import Export Co., Ltd., said the plan will also help government revenue that is lost to bribes and illegal operations.

“If we issue a strong and clear law, it is very good for Cambodia,” she said. “All walks of people will not dare to violate the law.”
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Monday, August 23, 2010

Intertek Expands Services in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Intertek, the leading provider of quality and safety solutions to a wide range of industries worldwide, has opened a new office in Cambodia. Intertek’s new Cambodia facility provides inspection, testing and certification services to the petroleum, agriculture and minerals industries. The new operation complements the growing network of Intertek service locations in Southeast Asia and the world.

Intertek expertise provides clients with important rapid-turnaround services such as bulk cargo quality and quantity inspections for various high-value commodities, along with analytical laboratory expertise serving local and regional clients.

The new Phnom Penh facility extends Intertek’s existing capabilities for inspection, testing and certification services of other products in Cambodia, including consumer goods, and finished products like textile and garments

Mr. Marc Hoffer, Vice President for Intertek’s Oil, Chemical and Agri division in Asia, said, “Customers in Cambodia and the Asia Pacific region benefit from Intertek’s extensive experience in cargo inspection and laboratory testing services, helping them ensure product quality, safety and custody transfer needs to markets around the world.”

Jay Gutierrez, Executive Vice President of Intertek’s Oil, Chemical and Agri division, said, “The new Cambodia facility is a welcome addition to our global network of service locations, helping Intertek provide key client services to growing markets and industries.”

Learn more at:

About Intertek:

Intertek (ITRK.L) is a leading provider of quality and safety solutions serving a wide range of industries around the world. From auditing and inspection, to testing, quality assurance and certification, Intertek people add value to customers' products and processes, supporting their success in the global marketplace. Intertek has the expertise, resources and global reach to support customers through its network of more than 1,000 laboratories and offices and over 26,000 people in more than 100 countries.
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Thailand, Cambodia resume diplomatic ties


BANGKOK: Thailand said it would resume diplomatic ties with Cambodia from Tuesday, after the Cambodian government announced fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had resigned as Cambodia’s economic adviser.

Thailand and Cambodia recalled their ambassadors from each other’s countries on Nov. 5 after Thaksin, a billionaire on the run from a two-year prison sentence for abuse of power, was appointed economic adviser to Cambodianm Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The appointment riled Thailand’s leaders who accuse Thaksin of organizing and funding a red-shirted, anti-government protest movement whose street demonstrations in central Bangkok turned deadly over April and May.

“They have announced they do not have any more ties with Thaksin so our condition to hold back a diplomat has ended,” Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya told Reuters on Monday.

“Thailand will send our diplomat back tomorrow. Similarly, Cambodia will also send its diplomat back to Thailand.” Thaksin lives mainly in self-imposed exile in Dubai but is still immensely popular among Thailand’s rural poor. His supporters held nine weeks of street protests in Bangkok that turned violent over April and May, sparking clashes with troops in which 91 people were killed and nearly 2,000 wounded.

The diplomatic row started on Oct. 23 when Hun Sen shocked a summit of Southeast Asian leaders in Thailand’s resort city of Hua Hin by announcing the Cambodian leader had offered Thaksin a job as an adviser, a slap in the face to the summit’s Thai hosts.

The row deepened two weeks later, when Cambodia confirmed Thaksin had been made a personal adviser to Hun Sen and an economic adviser to the government, and said it would reject any request to extradite him on the grounds his removal in a 2006 coup and subsequent graft conviction were politically motivated. That brought a rebuke from Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who recalled Thailand’s ambassador and said the Cambodian government had “intervened in Thai justice” and hurt the feelings of the Thai people.

On Monday, Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Thaksin had asked to resign from the role. “We agreed to that,” he said.

A Cambodian government statement said Thaksin had “provided important contributions such as ideas, vision and experience to promote Cambodia’s competitiveness in commerce, agriculture and tourism.” Thaksin had attracted investors to Cambodia, it added.

“Whenever Thailand sends back its ambassador, Cambodia will follow,” Cambodia Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said. But he added that Thaksin was “still a good friend” of Hun Sen’s.
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In Scarred Land, a Haven for Victims of Acid Burns

By Seth Mydans

TRAPAENG VENG, Cambodia — Touch Eap stroked her husband’s scarred and discolored back as she described the night six years ago when she poured a tub of acid over his head, burning off his eyes and ears and lips and leaving him as dependent on her as a child.

“I wanted to kill him,” she said. “I didn’t want to injure him. He said he would kill me, and I thought, better to kill him first so that I can take care of the children.”

She smiled ruefully as she talked; his drunkenness and threats were an old memory. Her husband, Phoeung Phoeur, 45, opened his mouth in what may also have been a smile.

“I’m sorry for him,” said Ms. Touch Eap, 46, who grows vegetables to support her husband and three children, “and I try to take care of him.”

It was a moment of domestic tranquillity here in Cambodia’s only shelter for acid burn victims, where a dozen other mutilated residents napped or sang or hung their heads backward in an exercise to help keep their scarred necks flexible.

Cambodia, along with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, has a history of acid attacks — a rare and extreme form of revenge or punishment.

An increase in the number of reported attacks in Cambodia, with 17 so far this year, has drawn attention to this shelter, the nonprofit Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

The center has been advising the government in drafting a law that is making its way slowly through the legislature. The proposed law would restrict sales of acid — now widely and cheaply available — require warning labels and impose sentences of up to life in prison for the most severe attacks.

The center’s residents, who receive medical and psychological care, physical therapy, and occupational training, are just a few of the more than 280 known victims in Cambodia of a form of revenge that illustrates an undercurrent of violence that courses through this wounded society. Experts say the true number is certainly far higher.

“This is a traumatized culture,” said Pin Domnang, chief of programs and administration at the center, referring to decades of mass killings and civil war. “When something happens, the only response is violence. Violence can solve their problems. Violence can make them feel better.”

Short of murder, advocates say, an acid attack is the most devastating form of aggression, transforming the victim into a figure of horror and an outcast in a society that often sees disfigurement as a form of karmic justice.

That thought is an unexpected comfort to one of the survivors here, Soum Bunnarith, 41, a former salesman whose wife blinded him with acid five years ago in a rage of jealousy. “I ask myself, ‘Why me?’ ” he said. “But then I think maybe I did terrible things in a past life, and that thought helps me to accept this.”

Some, rejected and without family members to care for them, take their lives in despair, Mr. Pin Domnang said. “Their identity changes, their whole life changes,” he said. “It is difficult to control the food in their mouths. Sometimes it spills out.

“Their families don’t want to see them, don’t want to come to visit them,” he said. “The trauma in their spirit is like they are gone. They don’t want to live on this earth any more.”

Others, spurred by anger, try to pursue their attackers in court. Under current laws, acid attacks are generally treated as civil assault cases in which the victim must press charges. In a system governed by power, money and influence, there have been few convictions. Nevertheless, the center’s medical and legal manager, Dr. Horng Lairapo, has been encouraging victims to file new cases and revive old ones.

One of those victims is Mean Sok Reoun, 35, who was attacked and blinded by her husband’s former wife 15 years ago. Until recently, she said, her attacker had lived freely after paying a bribe to the police, while Ms. Mean Sok Reoun endured 40 operations.

“I saw her clearly running away,” said Ms. Mean Sok Reoun, whose eyes moved rapidly behind a curtain of skin as she talked. “But then I saw only shadows. And then I was blind.”

Ziad Samman, the center’s project manager, said, “The attacks are not always the products of jealous rage; some grow out of other personal or business disputes.”

Acid is widely available for uses like maintaining machinery, clearing drains and polishing jewelry. It is used in the processing of rubber, and a high proportion of attacks have come in areas near plantations, according to the center. In rural areas where there is no electricity, acid fuels the car batteries that are used to power television sets.

It was battery acid that Ms. Touch Eap said she poured over her husband’s head as he sat drinking in their home six years ago, a large knife by his side.

“ ‘Do what I say or I’ll kill you’ — those were the last words I said to her,” said Mr. Phoeung Phoeur, joining his wife in the narrative as their 13-year-old daughter, Per Srey Ai, looked on.

If he was going to live, Mr. Phoeung Phoeur said, he realized he needed his wife. As soon as he reached the hospital, he begged a friend to pay the police to set her free. Ms. Touch Eap returned to him, and she has nursed and supported her husband ever since she tried to kill him.

She was with him at the hospital when doctors told him he had only hours left to live, and she walked alongside him as neighbors carried him home in a hammock to die. She lighted incense and prayed beside him as he slipped in and out of consciousness until, defying the doctors’ predictions, he returned to life.

“We called all the family around him,” she said, remembering that dark evening. “We were all waiting around him, waiting for him to die. I was so afraid he was going to die.”
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

UN Chief Offers to Help Thailand and Cambodia Resolve Border Dispute

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today offered to help Cambodia and Thailand resolve their differences over a disputed temple area along their common border.

Tensions escalated between the two neighbouring South-East Asian nations in July 2008 following the build-up of military forces near the Preah Vihear Temple in Cambodia.

The temple, which dates back to the 11th century, was inscribed on the World Heritage List of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization earlier that month.

The row turned deadly in October of that year when two people reportedly died during an exchange of fire between Thai and Cambodian forces near the site.

"The Secretary-General hopes that Cambodia and Thailand will resolve the dispute along their border amicably through dialogue," UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters in New York.

"He stands ready to help the parties," Mr. Haq added.

Source: United Nations
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Painter selling children's art to benefit orphanage in Cambodia

Shortly after high school, Ottawa artist Jaya Krishnan discovered he had a natural gift for painting. Now, he has found a way to put that talent and passion to good use.

Originally from Malaysia, Krishnan made Ottawa his home in 1979. The self-taught artist has been producing fine art for more than 30 years and his works have been in galleries around the world.

Earlier this year, Krishnan travelled to Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. He discovered an orphanage in Cambodia that tugged at his heartstrings and felt a strong desire to help bring joy to the lives of the children and give them an opportunity to express themselves by teaching what he knows best -- art.

"I have been very successful over the years with my career as an artist and I feel that it is time to give back," he said.

By teaching the children, who range in age from five to 16, he hopes to prevent them from getting into trouble on the streets. He also hopes it will help give them the confidence to enjoy a happy and successful life.

"The children are so eager to learn and rarely get a human's touch. A simple thing like a hug means the world to them," says Krishnan.

While in Asia, he not only taught art but also English and took part in other activities, such as soccer and singing.

"Travelling to interesting places around the world for me used to be solely for pleasure, but now I think my travels should have a purpose," says Krishnan.

On his return, he brought back paintings by his students at the Cambodian orphanage, which is near the famous ruins at Angkor Wat. The paintings are mostly watercolours, a handful painted in oil. The paintings are on display until Sunday at Snapdragon Gallery. All money raised from the sale of the paintings will go back to the orphanage.

Krishnan has done his job well. Each painting shows incredible talent and reflects everyday life in Cambodia.

Krishnan plans to keep travelling each year to different parts of Asia to continue teaching art and to help raise funds for underprivileged children and adults.

"I have been fortunate in my life," he says. "Art has found me and I have found art."

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UN chief offers to help Thailand, Cambodia resolve border dispute

UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon on Friday offered to help Cambodia and Thailand resolve their differences over a disputed temple area along their common border.

"The secretary-general hopes that Cambodia and Thailand will resolve the dispute along their border amicably through dialogue," UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters here.

"He stands ready to help the parties," Haq said at a daily news briefing in response to a press question.

Tensions escalated between the two neighboring Southeast Asian nations in July 2008 following the build-up of military forces near the Preah Vihear Temple in Cambodia.

The temple, which dates back to the 11th century, was inscribed on the World Heritage List of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) earlier that month.

The row turned deadly in October of that year when two people reportedly died during an exchange of fire between Thai and Cambodian forces near the site.

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Swiss man arrested in Cambodia on child sex charge

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA (AFP) - A Swiss guesthouse owner has been arrested in Cambodia for allegedly buying sex from a juvenile boy, police said Friday.

Erich Bader was arrested on Thursday at his guesthouse, Prince Mekong Villa, in the northwestern province of Siem Reap, home to the famed Angkor Wat temples, said the town's anti-human trafficking police chief Sun Bunthong.

The 52-year-old will be charged with soliciting sex in 2009 with a 16-year-old boy, Sun Bunthong added.

Cambodia has struggled to shed its reputation as a haven for paedophiles, despite jailing or deporting dozens of foreigners for child sex crimes since 2003.
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Cambodia begins study into nuclear power to meet energy demands

20 August 2010 - Cambodia is looking into nuclear power as a future energy source to meet rising domestic demand, although construction of a plant is still years away, a top government official said on Friday.

Cambodian scientists have begun to study nuclear technology in a bid to keep apace with Southeast Asian neighbours planning to build plants in the next few years, said Ith Praing, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy.

"(Nuclear power) is a possibility because our neighbours are doing it, so we have to study it and see how dangerous it is," Ith Praing told Reuters. "It's still a long way to go, even by 2030, we will not have used all of our resources," he added.

Ith Praing said an assessment of the potential costs on a nuclear energy programme had yet to be made and the government was still focused on hydropower as an electricity source. Cambodia last year said it wanted to attract about $3bn in foreign investment to build six hydropower plants by 2018.

Vietnam, which is currently chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), last month called on members to consider using nuclear power for peaceful purposes as Asia faces rising energy needs to fuel economic growth.

Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation has offered to help ASEAN countries to build nuclear power plants and develop its safe use in a region where energy agencies estimates primary power demands will climb 2.5 per cent annually until 2030.

Cambodia's neighbour, Vietnam, plans to start building its first nuclear power plant in 2014 using Russian technology, a state-run newspaper reported in June.

Thailand is looking to develop nuclear power to reduce its dependence on natural gas and is planning to build four 1000 MW nuclear power plants at a total cost of about $8bn. Two of these plants are expected to feed power into the grid in 2020 and the remaining two in 2021.
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Experts Explain Potential for Joint Criminal Enterprise

In their final submission for the Khmer Rouge tribunal's next case, court prosecutors said four senior leaders of the regime should be tried under Joint Criminal Enterprise.

Joint Criminal Enterprise, better known as JCE, is a complex legal theory that groups suspects together in the planning and execution of crimes, and it could be at the heart of Case 002, which tribunal officials expect to take place early next year.

In the submission, prosecutors recommended that suspects Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith “committed these crimes through a joint criminal enterprise, the purpose of which was to enforce a political revolution in Cambodia and systematically destroy any opposition to the [Communist Party of Kampuchea's] rule.”

Tribunal legal affairs spokesman Lars Olsen explained it this way. JCE alleges that “these charged persons together decided a plan, a criminal plan, on how to run Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime.”

That plan led to atrocity crimes, for which the senior leaders can be tried together, according to prosecutors. Trial Chamber judges will have the final decision in the matter. But JCE will be complicated for a trial.

Anne Heindel, a legal adviser for the Documentation Center of Cambodia, said in an e-mail Friday that JCE is “a mode of individual criminal responsibility. That is, it shows how someone commits a crime.”

Similar “modes” include aiding a crime, planning it, ordering it, or having superior responsibility over it, she said.

And while JCE can take different forms, at its most basic it involves “a common plan among a number of individuals who all share the same intent to commit a crime,” Heindel wrote.

JCE was first applied at the international war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. It was also applied in the tribunal for Rwanda and in a special court for crimes in Sierra Leone.

“JCE is generally used to prosecute international crimes, but variants of it can be used in domestic prosecutions,” Heindel said. “For example, in Cambodian law, there is a similar mode of liability called 'co-perpetration.'”

In Case 002, prosectors have alleged that all four defendants are tied together, she said. “By linking the accused in this way, evidence against one of them my help prove the responsibility of another.”

“The prosecution wants to show that they all share responsibility for crimes committed in furtherance of the common plan,” she said.

JCE is merely a way of thinking of the case. And that will be up to the Trial Chamber to decide, said You Bunleng, the Cambodian investigation judge for the tribunal. Separate from that, court judges will also determine whether the four are tried in one group by other means.

JCE is only being applied for Case 002. The tribunal has two other cases in its hands, nos. 003 and 004. There has been no determination on whether to indict more suspects in those cases.

But JCE will not be used to determine indictments, Heindel said.

Prosecutors did not include torture chief Duch in their submission. Duch was handed a commuted sentence of 19 years last month after a separate trial for crimes committed at Tuol Sleng prison, known to the Khmer Rouge as S-21.

Heindel said the inclusion of Duch in the second case was “unnecessary” and would have prolonged court procedures.

“The JCE alleged against the four charged persons in Case 002 encompasses many crimes in which Duch was not involved,” she said. “The alleged JCE also likely includes S-21, but it is not required that all participants in a JCE be tried in the same case. He can still be brought before the court as a witness.”
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They May Look Alike, But Treat Parasites Differently: Doctor

Tropical areas with poor sanitary conditions can be a hotbed for parasites and other diseases.

That includes amebiasis, whose diagnosis can be tricky, Taing Tek Hong, a Florida-based doctor said Thursday, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

In the United States, amebiasis is often found in travelers to tropical areas, but it can also be found in residents of such areas.

It can be hard to detect because even under a microscope, the parasite looks similar to others, Taing Tek Hong said.

These parasites are found in human or animal stool, infected food, or water, lakes, ponds and streams. The stool of a person with intestinal parasites is contagious as long as infection lasts, possibly for years after symptoms cease, he said.

Amebiasis may cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, or blood in the stool. It also may invade the liver, lung, brain, or other organs.

Taing Tek Hong said the common symptoms of parasites in humans are diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating, mucus after bowel movement, weight loss, pale skin, fatigue, and excessive hunger.

Intestinal parasites are usually successfully treated, but may reoccur if the source of infection still exists.

Amebiasis can be treated with metronidazole for colitis or liver abscesses, or with iodoquinol, paromomycin and diloxanide for asymptomatic carries, he said.

Other parasites (and their cures ) include: giardiasis (metronidazole, nitazoxanide or paromomycin, the latter for pregnant women); cryptosporidosis (nitazoxanide); hookworm (albendazole, mebendazole, pyrantel pamoate); strongyloidiasis (ivermectin, thiobendazole); and schistosomiasis (praziquantel, oxamniquine).

Traveler's diarrhea can be treated with ciprofloxacin, 500 mg twice daily for three days, or xifaxan (rifaximin), 200 mg three times daily for three days.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Experts Suggest Tribunal Complete an Exit Strategy

A Tribunal spokman said the completion strategy is currently underway as a joint project between Cambodian and UN-appionted side of the hybrid court

With little indication from the Khmer Rouge tribunal that it will try more leaders beyond its initial indictments, observers say the UN-backed court should consider designing its completion strategy.

Issues remain unresolved on how the court might wrap up, how convicted suspects should be handed back to the national judiciary—or untried suspects to local courts—and how the tribunal might begin legacy and capacity building.

“It would be feasible and appropriate for the court to begin to plan how it will wind up its activities when those cases are​​​ fully dealt with in the judicial process,” Heathery Ryun, a tribunal monitor for the Open Society Justice Initiative, wrote in an e-mail.

Any completion plan should take into account “the need to complete outstanding cases in accordance with international​​​ standards; the goals of the court to support rule-of-law​​​​ development in Cambodia and a sense of meaningful justice for Cambodians; and residual issues which may arise after the court disbands, such as use of​ investigatory material, archives, and legal issues that may arise in cases following a final judgment.”

The tribunal has so far tried one suspect, the torture chief Duch, and it is preparing for the potential joint trial of four more senior leaders. But tribunal jurists have been at odds over whether to indict still more suspects.

Lat Ky, a court monitor for the rights group Adhoc, told VOA Khmer the court can begin considering what it can contribute to the national judiciary.

“It should be defined from today how long the tribunal should have to wind up and what should remain for the assistance for judicial reform in Cambodia,” he said.

He cited as an example the slow reconciliation process in Rwanda, which had war crimes courts that went on for years at great cost in time and money. Donors may learn from that, he said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a key diplomat for one of the tribunal’s donor countries said this week that some donors will be looking for a completion strategy before they discuss more funding for the court.

“We do not want to see it dragging on forever,” the diplomat said.

A tribunal spokesman said the completion strategy is currently underway as a joint project between the Cambodian and UN-appointed sides of the hybrid court.
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Nursing in Cambodia

LIVE TO TEACH: Metlifecare’s national clinical services manager Kim Brooks, left, and Bev Hopper of Silverdale will be travelling to Cambodia to share their nursing skills

A SILVERDALE woman is heading to Cambodia in October to share her nursing skills.

Bev Hopper, who works at North Shore Hospital, has been selected by the New Zealand Orthopaedic Nurses Association to travel with a team of five.

The association will pay for her flight, insurance and part of her accommodation expenses, worth more than $2000.

It's Ms Hopper's first time to the southeast Asian country but she says she is going "with an open mind" and a passion to pass on "all things orthopaedic".

"I've already got a USB pen crammed full of notes. I'm looking to passing on what I know to the nurses so the quality of care they deliver can be improved."

The association's former president Kim Brooks says Ms Hopper's "flexible and adaptable" personality made her the ideal recipient.

"We need someone who is flexible to changes, because things may not go as planned. You could come fully prepared with your teaching materials but the hospital might have different ideas," she says.

Ms Hopper will be at Sihanouk Hospital Centre of Hope, a non-profit body, in Phnom Penh.

The centre provides 24-hour free medical care for poor and disadvantaged Cambodians.

It also gives further education and clinical training to medical professionals.

Mrs Brooks, who went last year, says there is a demand for orthopaedic care in Sihanouk Hospital.

"People fall off their motorbikes and they're not properly treated for it. It then becomes a deformity," she says.

"And over there, if you're seen as less than perfect you can't get a job, you can't get married – you get nothing."

Ms Hopper says the social stigma surrounding deformities is a problem but the hospital should be able to offer patients correct initial treatment.

"The nurses at Sihanouk Hospital want to be more proficient in orthopaedic nursing skills.

"And they're so grateful for any input from developed countries."

Mrs Brooks says there will be an interpreter at the hospital, but health terminologies sometimes get lost in translation.

"It's a problem there. I remember teaching a group of second year nurses and I had completely lost them."

The team will be spending a fortnight at Sihanouk Hospital before going to Siem Reap for a week to teach basic health care in the villages and orphanages.

Mrs Brooks says the conditions in slums are tragic – "things we have no idea about".

"I met a young woman who had just given birth and she was dehydrated.

"They had no clean water, so they gave her rice wine," she says.

"It's all very easy to tell them to not do it, and say `why don't you just boil water?' but it's just not possible for them.

"Where are they to get the water from?

"If they boil it, it's in a little flimsy cooker. If that tips over, their houses go up in flames."

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