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Monday, June 13, 2011

Angelina Jolie Goes Without Makeup, Wears Own Clothes in New Ad

No-frills Angelina!

In a brand-new print ad for Louis Vuitton's "Core Values" campaign, a barefoot, bare-faced Angelina Jolie, wearing her own casual clothes, savors a solo moment of Zen aboard a wooden boat floating in a green marsh in Cambodia's Siem Reap province.

PHOTOS: Goth to earth goddess! Angelina's style transformation over the years

Unveiled Monday morning in Women's Wear Daily, Jolie's stark, beautiful new shot (with a weathered, monogrammed LV Alto bag at her side) was photographed by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz who, according to WWD, had to shoo Jolie's elder four kids out of the picture frame to get her photo.

PHOTOS: Angelina, Brad Pitt and their globe-trotting kids

"People are not used to seeing Angelina in this situation," Vuitton executive vice president Pietro Beccari tells WWD of the chill, makeup-free image. The 36-year-old star first discovered Cambodia in 2000 while filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and is the birthplace of her eldest son Maddox, 10. "I like the fact that it's a real moment," Beccari added. "This travel message we give through personal journeys is a fundamental one for the brand."

PHOTOS: Angelina vs. Jen Aniston -- who's the biggest style icon?

Jolie -- was reportedly paid millions for the ad, which she'll donate to charity -- joins other celebs who've already starred in their own "Core Values" LV campaign like Bono, Sean Connery, Keith Richards and Catherine Deneuve.

PHOTOS: How Angelina and another screen legend led parallel lives

"This campaign is about a very special person and a very special journey," Beccari noted of Oscar-winner Jolie, who remains active in community development and conservation in Cambodia.
Tell Us: What do you think of Jolie's ad?
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Japan investment in Cambodia up

PHNOM PENH — Despite a troubled economic slowdown at home, Japanese investment in Cambodia is growing, with nine companies alone starting businesses in the first five months of the year, a report released Monday said.

According to investment statistics provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, by the end of May nine Japanese companies, mostly manufacturers, had Cambodian approval to invest $142 million.

Another 14 Japanese firms have applied to begin business there.

In 2010, only six Japanese companies applied for and received approval for investments.

Yuji Imamura, a JICA expert who also advises the Cambodian Investment Board/Council for the Development of Cambodia, said Japanese investors find Cambodia as well as Bangladesh, Laos and Myanmar attractive.

He said political stability, low labor costs, labor-intensive export processing and domestic market import substitution are factors attractive to Japanese investors.

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Thai PM rejects Cambodian accusation over spy arrest

JAKARTA, June 13 - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Monday said last week’s arrest of three men--a Thai, a Cambodian and a Vietnamese--on espionage charges was not a set-up as alleged by Phnom Penh, saying Cambodian consular officials have been in contact with the Thai authorities on the matter since the day of the arrest.

The Thai premier, attending the World Economic Forum in the Indonesian capital, made the denial following the Cambodian government accusation that Thailand had fabricated the story of the spies.

Mr Abhisit stated the Thai Foreign Ministry has issued a statement dismissing Phnom Penh’s accusation and that any further information obtained from the investigation would be used in international forums.

“It's impossible that we conspired with any foreigners to make up the case.” Mr Abhisit said. “I have been informed that Cambodian consular officials tried to contact the Thai officials since the day of the arrest of its national.

"Such a response would not have been possible had the story been made up,” the Thai premier stated.

Thai national Suchart Muhammad, 32, Cambodian Ung Kimtai, 43, and Nguyen Tengyang, 37, a Vietnamese, were arrested last Tuesday at a Thai border village in the northeastern province of Si Sa Ket on charges of spying on Thai paramilitary bases and bunkers built to shelter Thai villagers in the event of cross-border attacks or shelling.

Regarding the possibility of an exchange of prisoners, Mr Abhisit said the detainees must face legal action under Thai judicial procedures first and that Cambodia should respect the Thai judicial system.

A Cambodian court ruled on February 1 that Veera Somkwamkid, Thai Patriots Network coordinator, and his secretary Ratree Pipattanapaiboon were guilty of espionage, illegal entry, and trespassing in a military zone. Mr Veera was sentenced to an eight-year jail term and a 1.8 million riel (US$450) fine, while Ms Ratree was handed a six-year jail term and a 1.2 million riel (US$300) fine.

Meanwhile, Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, secretary to the Thai Foreign Minister, asserted Monday that the arrest of the three men was neither politically motivated nor had been set up, and that there were sufficient grounds for the arrest.

Mr Chavanond however did not say whether Thailand would raise the issue in the International Court of Justice or the meeting of the World Heritage Committee which is scheduled to be held next week in Paris.

The foreign ministry's statement released on Monday said the police are investigating the case and will not take legal action if there is no strong evidence. (MCOT online news)
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Tribunal Chamber Suspends Retraction Order for Prosecutor

Andrew Cayley, British co-prosecutor to the U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal, greets the crowd during a meeting with local officials and residents in Pailin, (file photo).

The Pre-Trial Chamber of the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal on Monday delayed an order from investigating judges that the court’s international prosecutor retract public statements about a controversial case at the court.
Chamber judges said the prosecutor’s remarks, which outlined several investigation sites and other details in Case 003, were already public and that a retraction ahead of an appeals decision would not erase them from the public record.

The decision comes amid increased scrutiny of the investigating judges’ office, which has seen a staff exodus since April, when it brought a hasty conclusion to Case 003—a case Prime Minister Hun Sen opposes.

International prosecutor Andrew Cayley said in a public statement last month he would file for further investigation in the case, including further investigation of key crime sites and questioning of the two suspects.

The investigating judges countered with an order for him to retract portions of the statement they said had revealed confidential information, an order Cayley appealed against.

Judge Prak Kimsan, head of the Pre-Trial Chamber, said in the decision Monday that Cayley’s public statements could not be retracted and were already part of the public domain.

The chamber ordered a suspension of the investigating judges’ order ahead of a full decision on Cayley’s appeal. Tribunal spokesman Dim Sovannarom confirmed the decision.

Chhang Youk, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, said the decision bolstered support for the prosecution’s work and exposed the “weakness” of the office of the investigating judges.

Meanwhile, local media reported Monday that a group of UN legal advisers for the office have left it dismayed, following the judges’ April 29 conclusion of Case 003.

Critics of the conclusion order say it signaled an unwillingness of the office to fully pursue the politically sensitive case.

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Shake-up at the polls

Cambodian voters are making themselves heard in Lowell

LOWELL — Sovanna Pouv fondly remembers the 2007 ceremony at Fenway Park in which he became a US citizen. Former President Bush, who appeared via a large monitor, said, “Welcome.’’

Pouv, who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand where his mother fled to escape genocide in her native Cambodia, voted for the first time the following year — something he had long wanted to do.

“It was the best thing I could do, because I can choose my leaders and have a voice,’’ said the 30-year-old, who is an administrator at the United Teen Equality Center, a community group that promotes get-out-the-vote drives.

Cambodians who fled the possibility of death in their native country three decades ago and settled in Lowell make up a quarter of the city’s roughly 106,000 residents and form the second-largest Cambodian community in the United States. In recent years, efforts in Lowell to register, educate, and mobilize this large local voting bloc have increased. Thanks to a combination of these get-out-the-vote efforts and the emergence of more Cambodian-Americans running for office, more people in this group are participating in elections.

Lowell community organizers say they have seen a 40 percent boost in the number of Cambodian-Americans voting since get-out-the-vote efforts began less than a decade ago. In the 2009 municipal election, more than 13,400 voters cast a ballot, compared with more than 12,600 in the 2005 municipal election, said Gail Cenik, manager of the city’s Election and Census Commission, who attributes the jump in part to the increase in Cambodian-American voting.

“The community itself is getting quite politically active,’’ Cenik said.

Organizers say more Cambodian-Americans are at least in part deciding to register to vote because they see more people on the ballot who look like them. Total voter registration climbed to more than 52,300 as of May 1, compared with more than 45,600 in 1999, the year Cambodian-American Rithy Uong became the first elected official of Cambodian descent in the country after winning a City Council seat, according to the city Election and Census Commission.

At least two Cambodian-Americans are expected to run for council seats, hoping to be the first on the panel since Uong resigned in 2005. One of them, Van Pech, has already publicly announced his candidacy. And Cambodian-American Sam Meas ran as a Republican last year to challenge US Representative Niki Tsongas for the Fifth Congressional District, but lost in the primary.

“He really got a lot of people motivated to take part in the election,’’ Cenik said. “Even when he didn’t win in the primary, he got a lot of people to vote.’’
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UN staff quit war crimes court as fallout continues over third case

Phnom Penh - At least five United Nations staff in the investigations office at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal have quit their posts since April, national media reported Monday.

The Cambodia Daily newspaper said four full-time staff and one consultant had left following disagreements over the April 29 decision by the investigating judges to close the tribunal's highly politicized third case without allegedly properly investigating the charges.

On Sunday, the Office of Co-Investigating Judges (OCIJ) - Germany's Siegfried Blunk and Cambodia's You Bunleng - released a statement saying they 'welcomed' the departure of their staff since they had questioned the judges' authority to decide on the case.

'In view of questions by the media regarding recent attempts by certain OCIJ staff members who have obtained new jobs outside of OCIJ, to portray their departure as 'resignation' in protest over the CIJs' decision to close investigations in Case 003, the CIJs emphasize that they welcome the departure of all staff members who ignore the sole responsibility of the CIJs in this issue (...)'

The Cambodia Daily quoted the May 5 resignation email from consultant Stephen Heder, an expert on the Khmer Rouge movement.

Heder said he had quit because the judges had decided to close the case 'effectively without investigating it, which I, like others, believe was unreasonable.'

The Cambodia Daily said three unnamed sources had confirmed that the international legal team wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon prior to the closure of Case Three to express their concerns over the quality of the investigation.

Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky declined to answer questions about that letter.

Case Three reportedly involves two former senior members of the Khmer Rouge military suspected of the deaths of thousands of people.

The Cambodian government has said on many occasions it would not permit Case Three or the court's fourth and final case against another three ex-Khmer Rouge to proceed to trial.

Anne Heindel, a legal adviser at DC-Cam, a genocide research organization, said Monday that news of the resignations showed 'a fundamental lack of confidence' in the work of the court.

'Someone needs to step in and do something drastic,' she said. 'But no matter what might be done, there will now always be disbelief about these cases since they have been so mishandled.'

Last month the international prosecutor Andrew Cayley released a statement saying the investigation in Case Three was deficient.

His comments showed the investigating judges had failed to question the two suspects or visit sites where their alleged crimes had taken place.

In late May the UN rejected allegations it had interfered with investigations at the war crimes tribunal or put any pressure on the investigating judges to scupper the cases.

The court's second case, against four senior surviving leaders of the movement, is scheduled to begin June 27. More than 2 million people are thought to have died during the Khmer Rouge's rule.
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