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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Climate change doomed Khmer empire

Who is trying to change the Khmer Empire History? Khmer People knew that Angkor Empire was not collapsed by Climate Changed ( drought).

Kalyan Ray, march 30, New Delhi:

A long-held mystery on what contributed to the demise of one of Asia's longest and the most well-known Hindu empires was revealed thanks to advanced research into the region's climatic conditions.

Scientists have now found that long spells of droughts interspersed with intense monsoon have brought curtains over Cambodia’s Khmer empire, which flourished from the ninth to the thirteenth Century.

At the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, researchers said two of the worst droughts—in the middle of the 13th Century and early14th Century—combined with intermittent spells of heavy rain was one of the factors that resulted in the downfall of the empire more known for the majestic Angkor Vat temple.

Though the 13th Century drought stretched on for several decades, the dry spell that hit the region on the early 14th century was found to be the sharpest.

The drought in 1403 was reflective of moisture stress in the soil. “It was an extra-ordinarily dry event,” principal investigator Brendan Buckley from Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York told Deccan Herald.
“Droughts of the magnitude we describe here would have had deleterious effects on the Angkor citizenry,” he said.

Scientists unravelled the weather conditions by reconstructing the monsoon period (March to May) for 759 years (AD1250-2008 ) through extraction of climate information stored inside ancient trees in a Vietnam national park.

Vulnerable infrastructure
The Khmer empire relied on a sprawling water supply system that covered an area of nearly 1000 sq km and connected the main city with its extensive suburbs. By the end of the 12th century, it became a vast and convoluted web of canals, embankments and reservoirs.

The infrastructure was huge by any stretch of imagination. The largest reservoir, West Baray, has an area of 16 sq km.

Such a massive infrastructure is “resistant to change” and “vulnerable to the risk of massive damage,” says the team comprising researchers from the US, Australia, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand.

While successive droughts weakened the water supply, the rain that fell heavily in the intervening years had only extended the damage.

The collapsing infrastructure was hard to bear for an empire that struggled to withstand war and other social factors.

“The climate factor was seldom mentioned among the causes of Angkor collapse. The society was already under stress and had very limited strategy to manage a vast and complicated water system that was impossible to rework. They also found themselves under the climate variability that far exceeded their ability to cope,” explained Buckley.

Scientists believe El Nino, the unusually high sea temperature in the Pacific that disturbs climatic conditions across the world, could have been responsible for Cambodia’s seesawing climate. However, they feel more research is required to ascertain this.
DH News Service .
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Market Hopes Property Law Will Boost Growth

The passage of a new law for the ownership of property by foreigners could give a boost the stagnant real estate market as well as bring in more investment, industry experts say.

The passage of a new law for the ownership of property by foreigners could give a boost the stagnant real estate market as well as bring in more investment, industry experts say.

The much-anticipated Foreign Ownership Property law was passed by the National Assembly last week and must now move through the Senate before being signed by the king.

“This foreign property law will benefit both foreign investors and Cambodians and will increase confidence in the legal framework for foreign property ownership in Cambodia,” Daniel Parkes, Cambodia country manager for CBRE Richard Ellis, told VOA Khmer.

Parkes called the law “a revolution in property investment” and one more step for Cambodia toward becoming a destination for international investors and property developers. “It goes a long way toward improving confidence and improving investment in Cambodia,” he said.

The law, which was drafted in December in a bid to improve ownership rights, allows foreigners to own residential property such as apartments, so long as they are above the ground floor.

Parkes said investors should consider coming in now, to take advantage of an expected upswing in the economy in 2011.

“The next six months is a good time to buy,” he said. “Comparatively, it’s more appealing than Thailand and Vietnam for foreign investors.”

Cambodian law does not allow foreigners to own land. Previously, if a foreign wanted to own any property, he would have to seek out a Cambodian partner, which deterred investment.

“My wife is Cambodian; she owns her own home here,” said Paul Luchtenburg, chief executive officer for Angkor Mikroheranhvatho Kampuchea, a microfinance institution. “But I know a lot of friends who want to find an easier, legal way to buy an apartment in Cambodia.”

With more foreigners able to buy apartments, the demand will increase, which could bring higher prices to property investors, he said.

“It should bring more money into the country,” he said. “So I think that is a very good thing.”

Jeremy Ha, director of Phnom Penh Commercial Bank, said South Korean developers and construction companies were optimistic about the new law.

“So I guess the number of companies [who want to] build apartments or condominiums will steadily increase in the future,” he said. “I am also optimistic as a foreigner, because I can buy an apartment or a villa in my own name.”

Sung Bonna, president of the National Valuers Association, told VOA Khmer in an interview the law will boost the economy.

Overall economic growth in Cambodia ground to a halt in Cambodia during the global economic downturn. The real estate market, which had been experiencing a boom, suffered heavily.

“It’s an opportunity for foreign investors to buy their own houses in Cambodia, for investment and for residence,” he said.

The sub-decrees that implement the law should be easily because the law is clear, he added.

Im Chhun Lim, Minister of Land Management, said the implementation of the law “will be fair and proper for all sides.”
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