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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cambodia Draws Up 'Master Plan' for New Asian Riviera

The Royal Group of Cambodia has embarked on a new plan to transform the island of Koh Rong into the next "Asian Riviera."

After sixth months of studying the environment, the Master Plan was drawn up for one of the last "undiscovered paradises in Southeast Asia" to be transformed into an environmentally planned resort destination.

With a five-year timetable for the first phase, (and an overall timeline of 25 years), the project is stirring buzz throughout the world. The Master Plan has identified locations for a range of three- to five-star properties, although the island will mostly be a luxury destination. An international airport will allow flights by aircraft such as the A320 Airbus operated by Air Asia, Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways.

The plan also includes a working seaport, accessed by ferries, equipment and supply ships. A separate marina will house boats, yachts and cruise ships, with a boardwalk of boutiques, restaurants, bars and guesthouses.

For decades Koh Rong has been left untouched, making it a destination to take in some of the region's most preserved scenery. This will include coral reefs, tropical palms, rainforest, waterfalls and 28 white sand beaches.
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4 hurt in Cambodian acid attack

A jealous factory worker in Cambodia attacked his partner with acid Wednesday, also hurting three onlookers, police said.

The 22-year-old man poured a bottle of acid over his 23-year-old female partner because of problems with their romance, said police Maj. Born Sam Ath. It happened outside the garment factory where they both work on the outskirts of Phnom Penh as she was buying sugar cane juice.

The woman was hospitalized in a critical condition. Two vendors and another woman standing nearby was splashed and suffered minor injuries. Police are hunting for the attacker.

Acid attacks that inflict horrific disfigurement on victims are not uncommon in this Southeast Asian nation. A non-governmental group that assists victims reported 10 such assaults in 2009.

Cambodia's legislature this year began drafting a new law to deal with acid attacks. Perpetrators are currently tried under general criminal law, but it is believed specific legislation with heavy punishments is needed to curb the vicious practice.

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Japan donates 4 mln USD for Cambodia's agriculture

Cambodia's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Wednesday inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to Cambodia to expand the agricultural products for communes around Tonle Sap Lake.

The fund of 4.4 million U.S. dollars from Japan will work on the projects of enlarging the agricultural products for 36 communes in Pusart, Battambang, and Kompong Cham provinces respectively, according to DAP News in its website on Wednesday.

Sean Vuthy, under-secretary of state for Ministry of Agriculture, was quoted as saying that the fund will help local communities and people to reduce poverty and provide the better livelihood.

"The fund will assist to strengthen the bilateral cooperation and friendship between the two countries," the representative of JICA to Phnom Penh said after the signing ceremony of the MoU at the ministry.

Last week, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered local authorities to devastate the illegal reservoirs built on the lake and also release directives to prevent the flooded forests from illegal cutting. Illegal land grabbing at the lake is a big concern for the government.

Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in the Southeast Asia and the natural reservoir of Cambodia which four million Cambodians depend on directly for their livelihoods.

The lake covers about 250,000 hectares during the dry season and expands to about 1.25 million hectares during the rainy season.

It is the habitat for more than 200 species of fish, 42 types of reptiles, 225 species of birds and 46 kinds of mammals.

Tonle Sap Lake also is a hub of rare flocks of birds that attracts the foreign tourists to see.

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Network demands 'Cambodians out'

The yellow-shirt Network of Thai Patriots has demanded the government push Cambodian people out of the disputed area around Preah Vihear temple within 24 hours and immediately revoke the border memorandum of understanding signed in 2000 and the Joint Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary accord signed in 2003.

Chaiwat Sinsuwong and Veera Somkwamkid, co-leaders of the yellow-shirt civil network, led a group of about 50 demonstrators to Government House on Wednesday to submit a complaint to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. The complaint was received by a Government House official.

"The government must quickly revoke all the Thai-Cambodian agreements that put Thailand at a disadvantage, expel the Cambodians from the Thai territory and fulfil former prime minister Sarit Thanarat's desire to retain ownership of Preah Vihear temple," Mr Chaiwat said.

The network had pressed the government to follow its demand on Tuesday, but the government deceived the public by saying it needed more time to solve the border issue, he said.

He said the border demarcation was unclear and at odds with the natural watershed.

"The network now demands the government drive the Cambodians away from the Thai border within 24 hours and cancel all agreements with Cambodia," he said.
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Cambodia, Vietnam boost military exchanges

General Le Van Dung, Director of the General Political Department of the Vietnam People’s Army, is leading a delegation on a four-day visit to Cambodia, which began on August 16.
General Dung met the Secretary of State of Cambodia’s Defence Ministry, General Neang Phat, and the Director of its General Department of Defence Services, General Meas Savan, saying Vietnamese and Cambodian armed forces have regularly exchanged visits and experiences under the cooperation agreements signed between the two countries and two defence ministries.
Vietnam’s General Political Department and Cambodia’s General Department of Defence Services have cooperated in staff training and security protection, he said.

In the future, the General Political Department of the Vietnam People’s Army will help train staff of the Cambodian Royal Armed Force’s gendarmerie, he added.

Meanwhile, General Neang Phat expressed his hope that the traditional friendship and cooperation between the two countries and two armed forces would continue to develop.

General Dung and his entourage have also met with Prime Minister Hun Sen and Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, General Tea Banh.

As planned, the Vietnamese delegation will visit Cambodia’s High Command of Guard and Riem military base in Preah Sihanouk province.
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Army commander ensures peace on Thai-Cambodian border

The Thai army commander said his army is ready to maintain peace and order on the Thai-Cambodian border.
General Anupong Paochinda, Army Commander in Chief, was quoted by the National News Bureau of Thailand as saying that Thai soldiers have been maintaining order along the border in line with the government’s policy. He also dismissed reports that Cambodia has deployed more soldiers in the area, adding that soldiers of both sides have been on good terms in spite of the dispute.

The address follows tense relations between the two countries over the border demarcation issue, which ignited a heated altercation, with each side accusing the other of infringement on its sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on international bodies to help mediate the conflict, whereas Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has urged that the dispute be resolved through bilateral negotiations. Read more!