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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Cambodia-flagged ship rescued, arrives in Russia's Far East port

The Cambodia-flagged cargo ship with 24 Russians on board, which had been stranded in the Sea of Japan, arrived in Russia's Far East port of Vladivostok on Sunday, a local sea rescue center official said.

The MV Victor freighter carrying a shipment of Japanese-made cars transmitted a distress signal shortly after leaving the Japanese port of Otaru for Vladivostok on Thursday.

On Friday, two Russian tugboats arrived at Victor's location about 40 nautical miles from the Russian coast to tow the ship in distress to the nearest port.

A Russian coast guard patrol vessel earlier arrived in the area to monitor the ship's condition and to ensure the safety of 19 crew members and five passengers.

A rescue operation was successfully carried out despite high waves and a severe snow storm, which swept over the Sea of Japan.

"On Sunday, at 9:30 a.m. local time (23:30 GMT, Saturday), the Victor arrived in the port of Vladivostok," the spokesman said.
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KIWI could die in Cambodian jail

By PAUL EASTON - The Dominion Post

Supporters of a former Wellington man jailed for rape in Cambodia fear he will die behind bars, as hopes of a fresh appeal fade.

Graham Cleghorn has just spent his ninth New Year in a Cambodian prison – and now faces the prospect of an extra 10 years being added to his sentence because he is unable to pay reparations to his accusers.

He was sentenced to 20 years in 2004 for raping five of his employees, aged 14 to 19, in Siem Reap, about 300 kilometres northwest of Phnom Penh.

The former Angkor temple tour guide maintains he was framed by the Cambodian Women's Crisis Centre. Cleghorn, in his early 60s, says it fabricated the charges to get foreign aid money.

The group and the complainants vehemently deny his claims.

Two years ago, the Cambodian Court of Appeal threw out Cleghorn's second appeal.

A spokeswoman at the Foreign Affairs Ministry said the New Zealand embassy in Bangkok continued to monitor Mr Cleghorn's case and his wellbeing, and was in regular contact with his daughter in Australia.

Cleghorn was last visited by consular staff from the British embassy in Phnom Penh on December 9, the spokeswoman said. "We understand he has lodged a final Supreme Court Appeal."

However, his New Zealand lawyer, Greg King, said the appeal was "a pretty bleak prospect".

It had become bogged down in red tape and demands for tens of thousands of dollars in advance from lawyers. "It's just languishing"

Cleghorn's health was deteriorating, Mr King said. It was also possible that 10 years could be added to his sentence, as he was unable to pay reparations to his five accusers. "They could add two years on for each one."

Based on the evidence, Cleghorn would never have been convicted in a New Zealand court, Mr King said. "Yet he's still stuck in jail over there."

Supporter Brian Robinson said he had not heard from Cleghorn for months. "You can only imagine what he must be going through, what the conditions must be like. The rest of his sentence is probably longer than he is going to live."

Mr Robinson, who runs a website supporting Cleghorn, said he believed the Kiwi was the victim of a corrupt system. "In a country that's desperately poor, you get decisions that are based on bribery."
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Luxury Tour Operator to Promote Vietnam at Berlin Travel Show

Vietnamese luxury travel operator Luxury Travel Company is showcasing its luxury tailor-made tourism services at the annual travel trade show in Berlin from March 10th to 14th, 2010.

The company is presenting its tailored tours to Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to 180,000 visitors at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show.

“We are truly specialized in Mice, special interest tours, golfing, cruises, family travel, romance, wellness and spa, beach vacation, luxury adventures, gourmet, and cooking classes,” said Tony Pham Ha, President and chief executive officer of the Luxury Travel Company.

Vietnam has established its reputation as a unique and genuine Southeast Asian experience. And now, there is ample opportunity to explore it in style and luxury.

“Whatever travel experience you want, we can make it happen,” said Mr Pham Ha. “Luxury Travel Company serves more than 10,000 tourists a year, each of whom spend up to 1000 USD per day”.

The company has recently launched a new luxury tour across Vietnam for German holiday makers, entitled “The Best of the Best in 18 Days” offering an elegant and sophisticated tour of the country. Throughout Vietnam luxury travelers will savor fresh and exotic cuisine, experience the warmth and openness of the Vietnamese people and enjoy abundant shopping.

Award winning luxury travel operator, Luxury Travel Company is attending ITB to promote luxury tourism and its destinations.

For more information, visit
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