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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thaksin leaves Japan, denies Cambodian trip plan

By The Nation

Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who ended his six-day visit to Japan yesterday, said he had no immediate plan to visit neighbouring Cambodia, where a business interest of his is in doubt.

 The former premier, who was in the media spotlight last week for his high profile visit, left Japan for Macao after meeting with senior Japanese lawmakers and visiting areas hit by the March earthquake and tsunami.

Thaksin headed for Macao on his way back to Dubai, where he has lived in exile since being toppled by a military coup in 2006.

During an interview with Kyodo news agency, Thaksin denied a report he would visit Cambodia shortly.

He reportedly cancelled his plan to visit Phnom Penh after criticism in Thailand over personal business dealings involving oil and gas concessions in the overlapping area in the Gulf of Thailand claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia.

Thaksin's travelling has been controversial and could pose political implications for the government led by his sister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The opposition Democrat Party last week began an impeachment process to remove Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul from his post for abuse of authority in asking the Japanese to allow Thaksin a special visa to visit their country.

The former PM needed Thai government support as Japanese immigration laws prohibit entry to any foreigner who has been sentenced to more than a year in prison.

Thaksin was given a two-year term on a charge of abuse of power, but fled Thailand before serving his sentence.

The Democrats claimed Surapong, by supporting Thaksin's visa claim, helped fugitive Thaksin to avoid the court's ruling.

Surapong denied the allegation, saying that granting of a visa was the responsibility of Tokyo and his government had nothing to do with Thaksin's travels.
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Cambodian activists attending Climate Change/Social Change conference

By Viv Miley

With less than a month until the 2nd Climate Change/Social Change conference, around the theme “World at a Crossroads”, in Melbourne, the list of confirmed speakers and sponsors is growing.

The conference is being organised by Green Left Weekly, Socialist Alliance and Resistance at the University of Melbourne over September 30-October 3. It aims to promote recognition that in order to solve the global climate crisis, radical social change is required.

To tackle a crisis that threatens to make the Earth uninhabitable for the vast majority of humans and other species, those involved in the campaigns to change society need to unite.

As part of GLW’s coverage of this important conference, it will be profiling some of the activists from around Australia and the globe that will attend.

In this issue, we look at three women from Cambodia from Social Action for Change (SAC).

SAC is an independent team of Cambodians working to build, strengthen and support grassroots movements, workers and women activists in Cambodia by providing technical assistance and advocacy assistance for social, economic and political change.

Sao Sopheap
Sao Sopheap began working at Womyn’s Agenda for Change (WAC) in 2004, as part of the general supporting staff. She continued there until 2009 when the WAC was phased out.

In 2010, Sopheap worked as a technical assistant to support The Messenger Band — a grassroots musical group initiated by WAC made up of women working in the garment industry.

The aim of The Messenger Band is to compose and perform songs that reflect the daily lives and struggles faced by working people — and to advocate for better living and working conditions through their songs and performances.

Using original songs composed by women themselves, the group works with drop-in centres and other community institutions to provoke discussion around problems and issues faced by marginalised communities of women. These include women workers, sex workers, rural farmers, women living with HIV/AIDS and landless female-headed households.

The aim is to unite them and let them know they are not alone in their daily struggles to survive.

Sopheap is now working with SAC — an informal network created to support three community based organisations: Women’s Network for Unity, a sex workers group; the Workers’ Information Center, a garment workers group; and the Messenger Band.

Beside this work, she is also a local consultant for the McKnight Foundation to assist Cambodian grantees, which most of who work on natural resource management and indigenous rights.

Chrek Sophea
A former garment worker, Sophea had been working in a factory until 2005. Then, she began working for the Womyn痴 Agenda for Change (WAC).

In 2009, when WAC was phased out, Sophea began working for SAC.

Sophea痴 main role in the SAC is leading the healthcare campaign called "Pay or Die".

One of the major outcomes of this campaign was a documentary called Pay or Die about the health care system in Cambodia.

Pay or Die has been used to educate Cambodian exploited and poor about health issues, especially farmers, sex workers and garment workers.

Sophea is also a founder and member of the Cambodian Women's Movement for Social Justice (CWMSJ).

CWMSJ is an independent, voluntary initiative raising concern around women痴 issues, especially women's rights, the role of women in politics, the judicial system in Cambodia and demanding freedom of expression.

Sophea will be presenting a workshop on Climate Change & Health in Cambodia at the conference.

Ly Pisey Pisey started working as a young activist with the Womyn’s Agenda for Change in 2004. In 2007, Pisey was selected to participate in a four month Human Rights Advocates Program at Columbia University in New York.

Today, Pisey is passionately working for SAC. Her main role is working with the Women’s Network for Unity (WNU), a sex workers' collective advocating for the right to work and improve their livelihood.

Pisey also volunteers in other areas of civil society, such as land and gay rights networks.

Pisey will be presenting a workshop on on Climate Change and Sex Work at the conference.

[World at a Crossroads, the 2nd Climate Change Social Change conference, is organised by Green Left Weekly, Resistance and the Socialist Alliance and sponsored by the Office of Environmental Programs, Melbourne University.

It is co-sponsored by: Friends of the Earth (Melbourne),, Links International Journal for Socialist Renewal, Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), Sydney University Political Economy Society, Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM -- Philippines), Australia-Asia Worker Links, Left Unity Adelaide, Adelaide Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN), Community Radio 3CR and Action Aid International.

Registration and other information, including the latest list of confirmed speakers, can be found at .]
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1st Chinese animal feed mill launches in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- The first Chinese animal feed mill officially inaugurated here on Sunday, bringing the number of the same kind of factories in the country to five, said Cambodian Minister of Agriculture.

"The factory is a new achievement of good cooperation between the governments and the peoples of Cambodia and China," the minister Chan Sarun said during the inauguration of the Sichuan New Hope Agribusiness (Cambodia), situated in the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, some 18 kilometers west of the central Phnom Penh.

"The mill is very important to boost the development of the country's animal feeding industry," he said.

The minister said that currently the demand of animal feed is about 700,000 tons per year, but the four full-functioning factories can produce only 170,000 tons a year, so the rest is imported.

The Sichuan New Hope Agribusiness (Cambodia) would be capable to produce about 57,000 tons a year, so it would increase the supply of animal food locally and can reduce the reliance on the imports, he added.

Meanwhile, Jin Yuan, Economic and Commercial Counselor of Chinese Embassy to Cambodia, said that the inauguration of the factory reflected closer relation between China and Cambodia on trade and investment.

He added that China is the largest investor in Cambodia with the accumulative investments of more than eight billion U.S. dollars so far.

The Sichuan New Hope Agribusiness (Cambodia) is a joint-venture between China's New Hope Group holding 90 percent stake and Japan' s animal feed Sojitz Corporation owning the remaining stake, Deng Xiaohua, a manager of China's New Hope Group, said at the inauguration ceremony.

China's New Hope Group is one of China's largest animal feed producers.

The construction of the Sichuan New Hope Agribusiness (Cambodia) mill had been started early this year on the land of 33,500 square meters and completed last month, costing six million U.S. dollars.

The factory employs about 100 Cambodian workers.

"The mill has been equipped with sophisticated technologies and is capable to produce a good quality of animal food for pigs and poultry," he said.
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Local acts part of Cambodian celebration in Millersylvania

The fourth annual Cambodian Cultural Celebration will be held Sept. 10 at the Millersylvania State Park near Olympia.

Members of the South Puget Sound Cambodian community perform traditional and contemporary Cambodian music and arts. Traditional food is available for purchase.
Among the artists and performances will be Cambodian Classical and Folks Dance of Tacoma and the Cambodian Heritage Society of Seattle, Somleng Tro Khmer Musical of Tacoma and the Watanakpeap Dontrey band of Olympia.

The festival also offers hands-on Cambodian crafts instruction for kids, face painting, a look into the history of Cambodia, and artifact and costume viewings. Vendor booths feature Cambodian arts and crafts.

The festival runs 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the park’s Environmental Learning Center, 12245 Tilley Road S., Olympia, off Interstate 5 at Exit 99 (Scott Lake).

The Discover Pass is not required for those attending the event.
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Buddhists celebrate new Temple in Elyria

ELYRIA - A community of Buddhists celebrated the opening of a new temple on the city’s north side with food, music, meditation and the joyous “Money Flower” procession Saturday night.

About 100 people from several states, mostly of Cambodian descent, took part in the ceremony as several Buddhist monks dressed in orange or brown robes looked on.

“I feel happy,” said templegoer Yenn Yon as she offered monetary support for the temple.

Families carried offerings of money in flower arrangements as they circled the temple, which is decorated with colorful panels depicting scenes from the life of the Buddha.
Born Nai, a Buddhist monk at the temple, said this is a very big moment for the Cambodian community in Northeast Ohio.

He said the temple was cramped at its smaller facility in Cleveland, so it purchased the former Grace Brethren Church building at 1305 Nash Ave. for $180,000 and sank additional money into renovations.

Temple member Bunrith Leng, a machinist from Middleburg Heights, said the temple members want to be good neighbors.

He said they have told nearby homeowners about their services, which involve music and chanting.

Among those attending the ceremony was Dave Hribar of Avon Lake, who said the new temple is larger and more family-friendly than the group’s former temple in Cleveland.

Today at 9 a.m., the temple will have a ceremony honoring the Triple Gem and observing the Five Precepts.

The Triple Gem consists of the Buddha, the Dhamma, or the teachings of the Buddha, and the community of Buddhists called the Sangha, according to Hribar.

The Five Precepts are to refrain from taking any life, refrain from stealing, refrain from sexual misconduct, refrain from false speech and refrain from taking intoxicants, he said.

The Cambodian Buddhists can be shy, but they are kind and welcoming, Hribar said.

“They’ve been through hell in this life,” Hribar said, referring to the terror wreaked on Cambodia by Pol Pot, leader of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia until his death in 1998.

An estimated 1.7 million to 2.5 million people - or about 21 percent of the Cambodian population - died under the Khmer Rouge.

Nai, the Buddhist monk, said his uncle was a casualty of the terror during the reign of Pol Pot.

One person who is wholeheartedly welcoming the temple to Elyria is David Arredondo, director of international student services at Lorain County Community College.

A number of Buddhists attending LCCC over the years have inquired about nearby temples, and Arredondo said the closest ones were in Cleveland before the Nash Avenue facility opened.

Nai said he will be attending classes at LCCC himself.

This weekend’s dedication is bittersweet. It comes a month after tragedy struck the fledgling temple when a 17-year-old member, Darryl Phoeur of Cleveland, drowned in Lake Erie on July 30 when he was apparently drawn into strong currents.

IF YOU GOWhat: Buddhist ceremony honoring the Triple Gem and observing the Five Precepts.

Where: Watt Buddhavacanarama, the Cambodian-American Buddhist Temple at 305 Nash Ave. in Elyria.

When: 9 a.m. today, followed by a luncheon at noon.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or .
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Brangelina hire a therapist for their son, Pax

Vietkid is still having Vietcong gene to attack American Troops, doesn't matter where he's landing at, bad Gene

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s middle son has aggression issues.

Many of us would happily give a limb (or at least a few fingers) to earn a place in the Jolie-Pitt pack. The glamourous lifestyle, the glorious chateaux, the built-in play group. But it seems that at least one of Brad and Angie’s brood has been rebelling against his famous family, so much so that his parents have hired a therapist.

Pax Jolie-Pitt is couple’s second-oldest child, although he was the third to join the gang because he was adopted from Vietnam when he was three. Generally speaking, he seems to sort of fly under the radar — not as old as Maddox, not as sassy as Zahara, not as jaunty as Shiloh… but if the latest issue of In Touch is to be believed, Pax does have an identity of his own: The bully.

“He picks on Shiloh, and even his big brother, Maddox. He’s having a tough time getting along with his siblings,” a source tells In Touch, adding: “He’s having a difficult time with the constant schedule changes, and with the fact that people stare at him whenever he’s with his parents.”

The In Touch piece also mentions his traumatic early childhood in Vietnam as the possible root of Pax’s agression issues, which sort of makes sense. And then there’s the fact that the kid can’t leave his house without the attack of the killer paparazzi. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of the J-P kids end of with issues of some sort.

Anyway, always the proactive parents, Brange have hired a psychiatrist to join their travelling circus. At the very least I imagine he or she will suggest putting the kibosh on the war-themed b-day parties, and maybe have a word with Shiloh about that weird monkey she's always carrying around.
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