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Monday, November 08, 2010

Houses destroyed in mud bath

Representatives of about 100 residents staged a protest in the Boeung Kak Lake area after a development company resumed sand pumping that submerged dozens of homes last week.

Development company Shukaku Inc, which is owned by Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin, temporarily halted pumping on Friday and villagers said they were told that they would have three days to collect their belongings before pumping resumed.

According to the rights group Adhoc, roughly 40 homes were submerged last week during three days of pumping by the company, which started filling in the lake with sand in 2008 to make way for a 133-hectare housing and commercial development.

Be Tharom, a representative of the lakeside’s Village 24, said police and military police had helped the company’s security guards disperse residents who gathered yesterday to protest against the resumption of pumping.

“The owner of the Shukaku company has used excavators to destroy our crops and mushroom farms and has pumped the sand in to fill up villagers’ houses illegally, and the authorities did not stop them but threatened to arrest me, a victim,” she said.

Company representatives who visited the protest site yesterday and Duan Penh district deputy governor Sok Penh Vuth, who was also there, declined to comment.

On Sunday, Sok Penh Vuth said the company had “the right to invest” and that he had no authority to intervene in the matter.

He noted that it was “normal” for development projects to affect people and said residents should “take the compensation” offered by the company.
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Hacker hits state Website

A page on the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy shows an image with a message that it had been hacked yesterday

The website of the General Department of Mineral Resources has been periodically defaced by hackers, the latest in a number of similar attacks conducted against government websites since early this year.

A picture claiming “Hacked by Ashiyane” overlaying an image of Iran appeared on the department’s website on Sunday, before the website returned to normal by early afternoon.

Bernard Alphonso, director of ASC Information Security Consulting and Training, said a more aggressive stance by the public and private sectors towards information security would send more “reassuring signals”.

Cambodia is presently conducting consultations on a cyber-crime law, but it would be difficult to prosecute hacking in the Kingdom until a law was in place, National ICT Development Authority secretary general Leewood Phu said.

“Not much can be done yet,” he said. “No law, no crime.”

The latest vandalism follows a number of similar attacks staged against Cambodian government websites earlier this year.

On May 25, the Ministry of Commerce website was hit with a message stating “Panic system take over – one Turk against the world”, while the “Iran Black Hats Team” defaced the Ministry of Environment website earlier this year.
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Torture 'widespread' in Cambodian custody


Torture remains "widespread" in Cambodian police stations and prisons, local rights groups said on Monday ahead of a major United Nations review of the country's progress on the issue.

Shackling, intimidation, beatings and electric shocks are among the most common complaints, a group of 16 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) said in a joint report.

Most abuses occur in police custody, often with the aim of extracting confessions, the report said.
Cambodian police stations are characterised by "an environment in which torture and other forms of ill-treatment are widespread," said the report by NGOs including ADHOC, Licadho and the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee.

Torture is also frequently used to punish transgressions in the country's overcrowded prisons, it added.

The report also accused authorities of denying detainees access to a lawyer during their first 24 hours in custody.

"In Cambodia today, there are still no measures available to effectively prevent acts of torture," said the report.

The strong criticism comes a day before the UN Committee Against Torture is scheduled to hold its second review of the situation in Cambodia, 18 years after the country ratified the Convention Against Torture.

For the first 10 months of this year, human rights group Licadho recorded 101 cases of torture in police stations and prisons.

In 2009, it recorded a total of 108 incidents, most of which took place in police stations. In the same year, rights group ADHOC said nine people died in police detention "apparently as a result of torture".

The abuse goes largely unpunished, the NGOs said.

"We are not aware of any prosecutions of law enforcement officials for torture-related crimes in the past five years," they said.

Their report urged authorities to clarify the definition of torture under Cambodian law and to set up an independent body to investigate complaints.

The report comes less than two weeks after Cambodia threatened to close the UN's human rights office in the capital.

Prime Minister Hun Sen told visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the office should have worked "to help the Cambodian government in human rights issues, not criticise", a government spokesman said.

© 2010 AFP

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Cambodia to host a series of regional summit meetings

Cambodia will host a series of summit meetings next week for regional leaders, according to a statement released Monday by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The statement said Cambodia will host the 6th Cambodia-Laos- Vietnam (CLV) Summit, the 5th Cambodia-Laos, Myanmar-Vietnam ( CLMV) Summit and the 4th Ayeyawady-Chao Praya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Summit on November 16-17, 2010 in Phnom Penh.

The summits will be attended by Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of CLMV and ACMECS countries which include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand.

Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will also participate in the event.

According to the statement, the prime ministers and ASEAN Secretary General will be received in a Royal Audience by His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni in the Royal Palace.

All the summits will be chaired by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen who is also the host of the event.

The summits will review the progress and set out the future direction for CLV, CLMV and ACMECS in all priority areas of cooperation, with a view to further advance these frameworks of cooperation for sustainable development and prosperity in this sub-region.

Source: Xinhua
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National Day of Cambodia

MANILA, Philippines – The Kingdom of Cambodia celebrates its National Day today (Tuesday). On this day in 1953, King Norodom Sihanouk declared the country’s independence from French colonial rule.

Diplomatic relations between the Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Cambodia were formally established in 1957. The Philippines and Cambodia have maintained cordial ties since the resumption of diplomatic relations in 1995 and the reopening of the Cambodian Embassy in Manila in 1999. The two countries have forged agreements on economic and trade relations, agricultural and agribusiness collaboration, and tourism cooperation.

On July 9-10, 2010, the First Philippine Trade and Investment Mission to Cambodia was held in Phnom Penh. The event was jointly organized by the Philippine Embassy in Cambodia, the Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of Export Trade Promotion (BETP), the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Philippines-Cambodia Business Council (PCBC), and the RFM Corporation-Corporate Export Division

The opening ceremony included the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the PCBC and the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce (CCC). The Philippine mission had two components – a trade mission with 21 participating Filipino companies and business establishments and an investment mission with three participating Filipino companies.

We congratulate the people and government of the Kingdom of Cambodia headed by His Majesty, King Norodom Sihamoni, and H.E., Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, and its Embassy in the Philippine led by Ambassador Hos Sereythonh, on the occasion of their National Day. We wish them all the best and success in all their endeavors.
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