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Friday, January 29, 2010

U-M Flint nursing students pledge to help Cambodian orphans receive essential health care

By Beata Mostafavi Flint Journal

FLINT — Doni Warner knew the name of the surgeon leading the open heart surgery on his five-month-old son — but he really got to know the nurses.

They were the ones who offered him and wife Jody blankets on nights they slept in waiting rooms, brought them water and were “translators” when doctor lingo was a little too much.

It’s part of what inspired the former construction business owner to pursue a nursing degree at the University of Michigan-Flint — and why he is joining a trip to Cambodia that will involve medical care for orphans.

“There are numerous diseases that you can get treated for in the United States,” said Warner, 41, who is raising money to pay for the $3,000-plus venture in May. “Kids are dying from things over there that we can get everyday care for here.”

Warner is among a group of about 10 UM-Flint students who are leaving for the 14-day trip. Some students such as Warner also plan to stay longer on their own to continue work in orphanages.

Overseas, they will give children physicals and follow up with those who need medical attention. They will help with IVs and monitor vital signs for malaria patients.

They will help village children who have puncture wounds on their feet from collecting reusable items from a nearby dump barefoot.

Some will also spent time teaching children English and help teach them basic care for themselves — such as washing their face and brushing their teeth.

“It just goes back to wanting to help somebody in the world ... and the people in Cambodia have a desperate need for health care,” said Warner, a father of four.

“It seems a little better calling than building houses,” he added of future plans to work in the health care field, possibly on a global level.

For UM-Flint nursing student Kevin Fitzpatrick, the Cambodia trip adds to a list of service work — including volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, boarding up abandoned homes and traveling to Iowa with his church to help with relief efforts after the massive floods in 2008.

“Just the little bit we can do in the short time we’re there I hope helps brighten their day,” said the Swartz Creek father of two, 35. “We aren’t there to save the world but to make a difference.

We take so much for granted here. Hopefully we will impact them as much as they will impact us.”

The trip is coordinated through UM-Flint’s international nursing program, which earns students three credits.

Students will spend long hours working with people in need but will also get some free time and a chance to visit well known spots such as 7th World Wonder Angkor Wat.

But university officials say this kind of trip draws a special group of students.

“These are for students who don’t mind sleeping on a wooden plank or riding in a rickety bus. It’s not Europe,” said Maureen Tippen, clinical assistant professor who has organized similar trips for nearly 14 years.

“For most of the students, it’s a life-changing experience.”
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British conservationist given prestigious award from the Royal Government of Cambodia

British conservationist Dr Jenny Daltry was today given a Royal award by the Cambodian Government. She has worked for UK-based Fauna & Flora International for 15 years and during that time made a huge impact on Cambodia's wildlife.

Jan 29, 2010 – Phnom Penh, 29 January 2010 – The Royal Government of Cambodia has awarded British conservationist, Dr Jenny Daltry, the title of Officer of the Order of Sahemetrei, given to foreigners for their “distinguished services to the King and to the Nation.”

Dr Daltry was honoured with the award for wildlife conservation activities within the Kingdom of Cambodia. She has worked as Senior Conservation Biologist for British-based international conservation organization Fauna & Flora International (FFI) for 15 years.

Much of her time has been spent in Cambodia, where she led a number of field expeditions that resulted in the increased protection of forested areas covering more than 1,000,000 hectares in the Cardamom Mountains. In 2000, Dr Daltry re-discovered the Siamese crocodile (which was previously thought to be extinct in the wild) and subsequently spearheaded a pioneering community-based programme to conserve this critically endangered reptile.

Impressively, Dr Daltry also led a ground-breaking initiative to establish a new generation of Cambodian scientists. This country has an incredible diversity of wildlife and contains many of the richest habitats remaining in the Mekong Basin. Yet because the Pol Pot regime largely wiped out the educated classes, Cambodia lacks enough qualified practitioners to manage its wildlife and help it to develop sustainably.

Under FFI Cambodia’s University Capacity Building Programme, Dr Daltry created the first permanent Masters of Science programme at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. 147 Cambodians have enrolled on the course so far. She is also the founder and chief editor of the country’s first peer-reviewed scientific journal - the Cambodian Journal of Natural History – to encourage Cambodians to publish and share their knowledge of Cambodian’s wildlife and natural resources. The second issue of the journal has just recently been published.

“I am overwhelmed and grateful.” Dr Daltry said. “For a conservationist to receive this rare honour does, I think, signify the importance that Cambodia places on its wildlife, forests, and protected areas. Cambodia is changing fast, but economic development does not have to mean the loss of its wildlife or priceless environmental services. The achievement I feel most proud of is helping talented Cambodians, from the government ministries to villages, to become leaders in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. I also thank my colleagues and co-workers for their tireless commitment and support for more than a decade. “

The Order was be presented to Dr Daltry by H.E. Ty Sokhun, Head of Forestry Administration during a formal ceremony on January 29th 2010. It was attended by senior Government Officials, international dignitaries such as His Excellency Rafael Dochao Moreno, Head of the EU Delegation, and His Excellency Andrew Mace, British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, and representatives of conservation NGOs including FFI CEO, Mark Rose.
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About Fauna & Flora International (FFI) (
FFI protects threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science and take account of human needs. Operating in more than 40 countries worldwide – mainly in the developing world – FFI saves species from extinction and habitats from destruction, while improving the livelihoods of local people. Founded in 1903, FFI is the world’s longest established international conservation body and a registered charity. FFI has been working in Cambodia since 1996.
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Brookline High launching Brookline Cambodia Partnership

Brookline —
Dan Green, a social studies teacher at Brookline High School, invites the community to a fundraising event that is the official launching of the Brookline Cambodia Partnership, a local effort to build a Brookline High sister school in a rural Cambodian village.

The event takes place at the Elephant Walk, 900 Beacon St., Boston, on Saturday, Jan. 30, from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. The organization hopes to raise $24,000, $13,000 of which will be matched by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

The funds will pay for the building of a six- to eight-room secondary school with computers, Internet connectivity, desks and chairs, books and an English teacher. Following the building of the school, the group (pending School Committee approval) hopes to send BHS students on service learning trips to Cambodia, where students will not only have an opportunity to experience the rich culture of Cambodia, but also visit (and possibly teach in) the BHS sister school. Before and in between visits, BHS and Cambodian students will have the opportunity to build relationships via the Internet.

Green and his colleague, Kate Boynton, presented the program to the School Committee in June and received much encouragement from the members. Up to this point, they have raised more than $6,200 for the construction of the school.

Elephant Walk owners will provide a multi-course meal for more than 100 Brookline community members who will pay $25, of which $20 will benefit the project. A number of community and education leaders, including local politicians, Superintendent Bill Lupini, BHS Headmaster Bob Weintraub, members of the Brookline School Committee and others will be attending the event.

For more information, visit

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Uighurs returned to China 'disappear' says rights group

China must account for the whereabouts of ethnic Uighurs forcibly repatriated from Cambodia, a US-based rights group has said.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said such groups had "disappeared into a black hole" on their return to China.

The Uighurs fled to Cambodia after mass ethnic riots in China in July. Beijing has referred to them as criminals.

In December, a group of 20 Uighurs were put on a plane to China despite opposition from the UN and US.

They said the group were likely to face persecution in China.

"Uighur asylum seekers sent back to China by Cambodia have disappeared into a black hole," said Sophie Richardson of HRW.

"There is no information about their whereabouts, no notification of any legal charges against them, and there are no guarantees they are safe from torture and ill-treatment."

HRW said a number of the group had given detailed accounts of past torture and persecution in China and that threats had been made against their families.

The organisation said China has a history of executing or imposing harsh sentences of Uighurs sent back from abroad and that there were unconfirmed reports some members of a group previously returned had been sentenced to death in western Xinjiang province.

'Fair trials'

Ms Richardson said the Chinese government must say where the group are being held and under what status as well as allowing the UN and family members to see them.

"Family members have the right to know what has happened to their loved ones," she said

"The Chinese government must treat all returnees humanely, ensure fair trials, and not persecute individuals for activities and speech that are protected under international law."

There has been no immediate comment from the Chinese foreign ministry.

The Uighurs fled Xinjiang after July's violent ethnic clashes in the provincial capital Urumqi which left at least 97 people dead.

Most of those killed in the unrest were majority Han Chinese, according to officials, and Urumqi's Han population had demanded swift justice.

At least 25 people have been sentenced to death after the riots.

Tensions between the mainly-Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang and Han have been growing in recent years. Millions of Han have moved to the region in recent decades.

Many Uighurs want more autonomy and rights for their culture and religion than is allowed by Beijing's strict rule.
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Chevron extends Cambodian energy exploration deal

Phnom Penh - US energy giant Chevron Corp has extended its offshore energy exploration deal with the Cambodian government, local media reported Friday, but the company provided no other details citing 'commercial reasons.'

'Chevron welcomes the ongoing opportunity to evaluate the Block A resource,' spokesman Gareth Johnstone told the Phnom Penh Post newspaper.

Block A, an area off Cambodia's coast in the Gulf of Thailand, is thought to be one of the nation's most promising areas for oil and gas exploration in the coming years.

Announcement of the deal after almost a year of negotiations with the Cambodian government puts an end to speculation that Chevron might quit the country.

The newspaper noted that Chevron has spent 125 million dollars and drilled 15 exploratory wells in Block A since 2002. The latest date for production, which has been pushed back several times, is 2013.

Chevron is one of many extractive companies that have been criticized in recent years for their refusal to say what they are paying for the rights to tap Cambodia's natural resources. Corruption is endemic in the impoverished South-East Asian nation, and there are concerns that any windfall from oil and gas revenues will be squandered.
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Bello, Crowe, "Slumdog" Scribe Team at HBO

By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Maria Bello has teamed with Russell Crowe and the Oscar-winning writer of "Slumdog Millionaire" for a series project in the works at HBO.

Bello is set to star in the drama "Emergency Sex," which is being written by Simon Beaufoy. They will executive produce with Russell Crowe.

Inspired by the book "Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story From Hell on Earth," by Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait and Andrew Thomson, the project revolves around the larger-than-life exploits of expatriate nongovernment-organization workers who find their sanity tested in the face of atrocities, loneliness and primal desires.

The book chronicles the real-life experiences of Cain, Postlewait and Thomson, who met in Cambodia during the 1990s as members of a UN peacekeeping mission. Crowe purchased the screen rights to the book.

Bello stars in John Wells' film "The Company Men," which is creating buzz at the Sundance Film Festival. She also has been courted by the broadcast networks this pilot season. Crowe next stars in "Robin Hood." "Emergency" would mark the series debut for Beaufoy, who will reunite with "Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle this year for "127 Hours."

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