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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cambodia Conducts Peace Keeping Military Exercise

PHNOM PENH, The first phase of a large-scale military exercise entitled "Angkor Sentinel 2010" started here on Monday with the participation of more than 1,000 soldiers from 26 countries.

According to Vietnam News Agency (VNA) this is the first time Cambodia has hosted such a multi-national military exercise.

Speaking at the opening of the "Command Post Exercise (CPX)" Gen Moeng Sampham, Secretary of State of Cambodia's National Defence Ministry, said the exercise aimed to enhance capacity for both the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and military from various countries through the process of multi-national operations exercise in order to fulfil the UN standards for peacekeeping operation.

The second phase of the exercise entitled "Field Exercise" will officially take place in Kompong Speu province, about 50 km from Phnom Penh, on July 17 with the presence of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Both of the military exercises are part of the Global Peace Operations Initiatives (GPOI), a UN-US peacekeeping training programme for strengthening peace and security.

Chhum Socheat, spokesman of the Cambodian Ministry of National Defence, said the military exercise will conclude on July 30.

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1,000 year old lion statue unearthed in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, July 13 (Xinhua) -- A statue of lion with a date back about 1,000 years has been unearthed in Cambodia's northwestern province, an official said Tuesday.

Kim Sophoan, chief of heritage office of the provincial culture and fine arts department, said that the statue of stone lion, 78 centimeters tall and about 80 kilograms in weight, was unearthed last weekend. It could be dated back in 11th century or about 1, 000 years old.

He said the statue was discovered on Saturday when the construction workers were using a tractor to renovate national road from Battambang province to Pailin province.

Soon after he was informed with the unearth of the lion statue, he said, he went up to see it and took it to a museum in Battambang province.

Kim Sophoan said it was a nice statue with good shape except both legs were broken.

After several decades of civil war, many statues and pieces of cultural heritage were lost, stolen, trafficked or covered under the ground.

For already many years, many heritage pieces have been returned, discovered or repatriated from foreign countries through bilateral cooperation between Cambodia and those countries.

Located in Southeast Asia, Cambodia is known as a country rich in cultural heritage such as Angko Wat Temple, Preah Vihear Temple, both were registered as Word Heritage Sites, and hundreds of more temples across the country as well as arts, culture and tradition.
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Bt10m put aside to fight Cambodia on Preah Vihear

The Hindu temple near the Thai-Cambodian border was listed in July 2008 as a World Heritage Site, but Thailand has been lobbying member countries to delay Phnom Penh's management plan owing to disputes in areas adjacent to the temple.

The Thai authorities want Cambodia's management plan to be delayed until the border dispute is settled, the government's deputy spokesman Marut Masayawanit said.

The Bt10 million will be spent by a delegation representing Thailand at the meeting, which runs from July 25 to August 3, he said.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti would lead the delegation and present Thailand's stance to the Unesco World Heritage committee.

"We want to delay the plan because we are still in a border dispute with Cambodia and we have not seen any documents for the management plan," Abhisit told reporters.

Thailand is concerned that Cambodia might use the disputed 4.6-square-kilometre area near the temple as a buffer zone for the site.

Abhisit added that the committee's decision would not affect Thailand's boundary with Cambodia, but it was advisable that no decisions were made while the disputes remained.

According to a 1962 verdict from the International Court of Justice, the Preah Vihear temple is located in Cambodia, but Thailand claims that areas adjacent to the temple belong to Thailand. The two countries are still in the process of negotiation for boundary demarcation.
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CAMBODIA: Late wage deal halts garment strikes

Garment workers in Cambodia have halted planned strike action after the government drafted out minimum wage terms.

A nationwide strike of garment workers was due to occur over the next three days, led by the local Free Trade Union (FTU).

However, the Cambodian government and five largely pro-government unions have reached an initial agreement for a minimum monthly wage of US$61.

"The Labor Advisory Committee decided on 8 July to increase the minimum wage from US$50 to US$61," Ken Loo, secretary general of Garment Manufacturer's Association in Cambodia (GMAC), which represents 230 factories employing about 200,000 people, told just-style.

"The existing US$6 cost of living allowance will be abolished at the same time. This increase will be effective 1 October 2010 through to 2014."

The final agreement is still being negotiated though, and the FTU's demands for a US$70 minimum wage has not been satisfied. The union is unhappy with the US$5 increase, and the four-year timeframe from 1 October this year.

The agreement was determined without the FTU, leading to claims it does not represent the majority of workers.

The FTU is requesting further negotiation in a bid to get a US$70 minimum wage, as well as focusing more on food, workplace seniority and overtime.

The garment industry is the backbone of the Cambodian economy, being the third-biggest currency earner behind agriculture and tourism.

In the first quarter of 2010, textile and garment exports reached $671m, representing an increase of 7.18% on last year as a result of strong recovery in exports to all its major markets.
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