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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Cambodia records more cases of malaria and dengue fever in 2009

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia has seen a rise in reported cases of dengue fever and malaria in 2009, local media reported on Tuesday, citing health officials here.

Ngan Chantha, director of dengue control at the Ministry of Health, was quoted by the Cambodia Daily as saying that there were11,652 cases and 37 deaths reported in 2009 compared with 9,456 reported cases and 65 deaths in 2008.

While infections increased 30 percent, deaths were down by half, he said.

When asked if the number is expected to increase in 2010, Chantha said it would depend on how well individuals protect themselves and their families from the mosquito-born virus.

Figures for malaria cases in 2009 are still being tallied, said Ministry of Health and World Health Organization officials, but are already higher than in 2008, when there were 58,887 cases and 209 deaths.

In 2009, 60,157 recorded malaria cases led to 213 deaths from January through September.

"We don't have the full numbers, we're still collecting the totals from the provinces, but yes, in 2009 there were more cases than in 2008," said Duong Socheat, director of the National Center for Parisitology, Entomology and Malaria Control. He blamed more migrant movement and more mobility for more cases of malaria.
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Opposition mounts to Cambodian land law

By Tim Johnston in Bangkok

Cambodian lawyers, human rights activists and opposition politicians are warning that a new law will weaken safeguards against expropriation of land in a country where routine evictions are already stoking widespread discontent.

The law, passed last week, allows the government to seize land for developments that are in the public interest. The government said the law will allow them to fast-track infrastructure and other projects vital to the country’s interest.

But its opponents say the definition of the public interest is too vague and puts too much power into the hands of the government.

“This is a huge step backwards,” said Mu Sochua, a prominent member of the opposition Sam Rainsy party, who failed to stop the passage of the bill through a house where the party of Hun Sen, the prime minister, controls 90 of the 123 seats.

The law takes force against a backdrop of longstanding accusations that powerful members of the government and security forces have exploited the chaotic state of Cambodia’s land title system.

“Our experience is that when the government has a project they always undervalue the land, and those who do not have full title are particularly vulnerable,” says Khoun Son Muchhim, a lawyer who has acted on behalf of clients who believe they have been shortchanged in land deals with the government.

The attempt by the Khmer Rouge regime to create an agrarian utopia in the 1970s involved not just abolishing land title but destroying all records of past land titles. Mrs Mu Sochua says that less than 30 per cent of people have enforceable land deeds.

Under a Cambodian law passed after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, people who have lived on the same piece of land for five years should qualify for title, but petitioners are frequently moved off their land by well-connected developers, particularly in areas around Phnom Penh where land values have shot up as the economy has gathered strength.

“If land is expropriated, this law is not going to protect those without full title, they will not be able to get compensation,” she said.

“This is not just a matter of the poor being affected – although they will inevitably be victims – but it also means that a business opened by a foreign company can be subject to expropriation,” she said.

Cambodia’s opposition parties scent political opportunity in the widespread discontent over land issues. A court recently issued a summons against Sam Rainsy, the opposition leader, who is accused of damaging property and inciting racial hatred for pulling up markers set out by a border commission to demarcate the boundary between Cambodia and Vietnam.

Mr Sam Rainsy, who had his parliamentary immunity revoked for the second time in 2009 so he could stand trial, is currently in Europe. Mrs Mu Sochua said he would only return when two villagers who are being held in prison for similar offences are released.

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Get-together strengthens Vietnam-Cambodia friendship

Since January 7, 1979, the victory was not Cambodian Victory Day, but it had been a Vietnamese Victory Day. Vietnamese invaded Cambodia in January 7, 1979 to put Cambodia under its Colony. After the invasion, Vietnam had stolen natural resources and valuable heritages in Museum. That was an ashame Victory Day that they are celebrating.

A get-together to mark the 31st anniversary of Cambodian Victory Day (January 7) and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association (VCFA) was held in Ho Chi Minh City on January 5.

Both the president of the VCFA, Truong Kim Nhat and the Royal Consulate General of Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh City, Lun Kimkhuon said that January 7, 1979 is an historic day and a concrete reminder of the traditional friendship between the two nations.

Over the past 30 years, the two countries have continuously strengthened their cooperation in educating the youths through practical activities organised by Vietnam and Cambodia.

On behalf of the Royal Family and the people of Cambodia, Consulate General Lun expressed his deep gratitude for the steadfast support of the Communist Party, the State and people of Vietnam in the Cambodian people’s past struggles to overthrow the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime as well as in their current process of national reconstruction. Read more!

Banteay Chhmar: The potential Community Based Tourism Site in Cambodia

Located in the northwestern of Cambodia and in Banteay Meanchey Province, Banteay Chhmar consists a XII century Angkorean Temple Complex. It is now renovated by the Global Heritage Fund...

Jan 04, 2010 – Located in the northwestern of Cambodia and in Banteay Meanchey Provinc(, Banteay Chhmar consists a XII century Angkorean Temple Complex. It is now renovated by the Global Heritage Fund. It is also contains the both Baray- rectangular water reservoirs- from the ancient times and from the Pol Pot era.

Indeed, supporting tourism means supporting economic. As tourism is considered to be a significant tool for poverty mitigation, the site is developed under the theme of Community Based Tourism. Banteay Chhmar is identified as the potential for community based tourism (CBT) in sustainable way that can help enhance local livelihood to a better condition while the three dimensions of social, economical and environmental aspects are taken into account.

Visitors can explore the historical site and enjoy a wide range of community based tourism activities. You can taste the food prepared by the local women, do picnic in the temple compound, spend a night in traditional wooden home stay and visit the Mekong Silk center to experience the process of gaining silk product and consequently be able to purchase the local product. To get deeply exploration, you can also visit the hidden satellite temples around Banteay Chhmar which is the unique experience that not many people have had. Generally, it is possible to access but only by walking. Those satellite temples are:

1. Chenh Choem Trey Temple (Raising Fish): a temple from the 12th century, located on a small hill with a small pond in the wet season.
2. Yeay Korm Temple: a small and much damaged temple where it is estimated that about 80 % is ruined.
3. West Samnang Ta Sok Temple: a temple that lies inside a forest on a mountain.
4. East Samnang Ta Sok Temple: a temple that resembles the main temple.
5. Ta Prum Temple and Balang Temple: Ta Prum temple is a beautifully restored temple that is surrounded by a mote. The ruins of the temple Balang is located nearby.
6. Me Bun Temple: a ruined temple with loose rocks but well visited by the local villagers.
7. Yeay Chour Temple: a much damaged temple that is not very clean and has many people living nearby.
8. Ta Em Temple (Sweet Man): a small temple where people live just besides.

The roads leading to the temples are small ancient roads which are in bad condition and some of the temples do not even have roads connected to them. Both CBT members and tourists wish to improve the access to the satellite temples. Your involvement and participation in the community based tourism will help economically contribute to the community physical infrastructure improvement.

Cambodia Travel, Cambodia Tours, Cambodia Attraction Sites:
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Top 10 luxury hotels in Asia

A view of the Royal Ballroom at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Singapore.
Photograph by: Handout photo, Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

SINGAPORE - Asia has long lured travellers with its fair share of exotic locations and ancient cultures. U.S.-based luxury travel firm Kipling & Clark have issued a list of their favourite hotels in the region.

This list is complied by the firm’s founder and seasoned traveller Randy Lynch.

1. Tied: Tawaraya Ryokan and Hiiragiya ryokan - Kyoto, Japan

Two of the most famous ryokans, or Japanese inns in Kyoto are located directly across the alley way from each other. It’s difficult to distinguish Tawaraya from Hiiragiya -- they both represent the highest levels of service. Both ryokans successfully integrate the finest Japanese traditions and wabi-sabi philosophy, which emphasises simplicity and purity, with contemporary conveniences that seasoned travellers expect. An added once-in-a-lifetime experience is arranging for a private Geiko and Maiko geisha dinner at either ryokan.

2. Four Seasons - Chiang Mai, Thailand

Smaller in scale than the much more expansive Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi in Chiang Mai, the Four Seasons projects a more understated sense of luxury, engendering an intimate, Zen-like feel. Similar to the Mandarin, the Four Seasons staff is truly sincere and kind. With the expansion of the Four Season’s Kid’s Club, the family luxury travel experience here is similar to the Mandarin’s. The spa and cooking class are extraordinary.

3. Tied - Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong & Mandarin Oriental Bangkok

The Mandarin in Hong Kong truly represents understated luxury, a peaceful oasis from the noisy, frenetic city outside. A recent renovation has resulted in the Mandarin’s former balconies being converted to lounge/study area extensions, with stunning Victoria Harbor views.

The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok boasts a 130 year history of tradition and the highest level of service, making it a truly unique luxury property. It’s unpretentious, understated and attentive and may have the largest, most varied breakfast buffet in all of Asia.

4. Gora Kadan Ryokan - Hakone, Japan

A short 45-minute bullet train ride from Tokyo, the Gora Kadan is a quiet, Shinto-Buddhistique oasis from the big city, offering rejuvenating hot mineral springs. Proprietress Mikawako, the third generation of Fujimotos to run Gora Kadan, has blended traditional Japanese ryokan hospitality with modern Western design in creating a luxurious spa experience. The Gora Kadan’s original building dates back to 300 years and was the summer home of the Kan’in-No-Miya imperial family.

5. Tied - Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor & Amansara - Siem Reap, Cambodia

Most hoteliers would describe the Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor as a luxury 5-star hotel/resort, while Amansara, part of the Aman Resorts, fits into the elite category.

The Grand Hotel D’Angkor boasts an early 20th Century French colonial style property while the Amansara is formerly the guesthouse of Cambodia’s King Sihanouk. The friendly, airy Raffles offers guests many opportunities to mingle with others, while the Amansara may be better for couples and high-profile travellers wishing privacy.

6. Peninsula - Tokyo, Japan

The 24-story Peninsula has the best luxury hotel location in Tokyo, directly across from lovely Hibiya Park, Imperial grounds, and adjacent to the Ginza shopping district. Envisioned by architect Kuzukiyo Sato to look like a giant Japanese lantern, the Peninsula combines subtle, Japanese hospitality with the Peninsula tradition of understated luxury.

7. Four Seasons - Shanghai, China

There is no disputing the level of service here -- personal, friendly and focused on individual comfort. The corner executive suites even have an extra room for the kids.

8. Tied - Banyan Tree Lijiang - Yunnan, China & Hotel of Modern Art (HOMA) - Guilin, China

Located just outside the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lijiang, the Banyan Tree Lijiang has created the perfect harmony of the local matriarchal Naxi culture and Banyan Tree’s predictably friendly customer service.

With all 55 of its villas looking out at Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, this place has a spiritual soul-searching feel. The spa offers wonderful massage service from their Thai staff

The Hotel of Modern Art was founded by a Taiwanese business entrepreneur in 1997 and represents a lovely balance of world class sculpture, architecture, and art set against the backdrop of the natural beauty of the lush grounds. Despite the somewhat limited English among the staff, the genuine kindness and warmth delivered here is truly heartwarming.

9. Sofitel Metropole - Hanoi, Vietnam

Conceived in 1901, the Metropole combines wonderful French colonial architecture and history with Vietnam’s cultural traditions of hospitality and service. Although there are really no bad rooms at the Metropole, the Opera Suite is a treat.

10. - Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel - Luang Prabang, Laos

Formerly the residence of Prince Souvannaphouma, the small, Maison Souvannaphoum is a boutique French-colonial inspired property that is the perfect place to immerse oneself in the local Laotian culture. The friendly, intimate service here is like staying with close relatives. An added bonus of staying here is that the Maison is located on the street for the daily early morning Buddhist monks’ rice offerings.

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