Phuket News – Thais ask: Who owns the jeep?

The Phuket News
Friday, 19th Aug 2011 

The jeeb hand position was inscribed on the wall of the Cambodian ancient temples since the 8th century, long before the Thai kingdom came into being in the 13th century. 
PHUKET: With troops withdrawing as tensions have eased between Thailand and Cambodia over the disputed Preah Vihear temple, a new irritant stirring nationalist sentiments is the ownership of the jeep, a graceful hand position that is part of traditional dance and shadow plays of both countries: Who owns the jeep?The United Nations Educational, Scientific and CulturalOrganisation (UNESCO) is likely to consider the origins of the jeeb – a hand position where the thumb touches the index finger and the three other fingers are fanned out, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

New Thai Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome has made ownership of the jeeb a priority.

In 2008 Cambodia listed Khmer shadow theatre on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, along with the Royal Ballet of Cambodia, also known as Khmer Classical Dance. The list included Khmer hand gestures, including the jeeb.  Read more of this post

Sofitel evokes the memories of Mouhot


Photo by: Michael Sloan Clearance work underway at Preah Ko in this 1932 photograph included as part of the Archaeologists at Angkor exhibition.

Friday, 19 August 2011 
Michael Sloan 
Phnom Penh Post 

More than 150 years since French explorer and naturist Henri Mouhot hacked his way through the dense foliage surrounding Angkor Wat and published a breathless account of uncovering “the ruins of a lost civilisation”, a new exhibition of some of the earliest sketches and photographs of the temples gives visitors the chance to see them through his eyes.

Fifty stunning, black and white photographs and sketches by Mouhot and latergenerations of archaeologists from the École Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), spanning the period between 1860 and 1960, are on display in the ballroom of the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resortuntil December.

The photos are part of an exhibition celebrating the completion of over 60 years ofrestoration work on Baphuon TempleRead more of this post

Hun Sen calls for exam of ‘terrorist’ aircraft

Friday, 19 August 2011 
Kim Yuthana 
Phnom Penh Post 

Pieces of wreckage collected from the crash site. 
Prime Minister Hun Sen requestedassistance from the United States, Australia and other countries with expertise in fighting terrorism yesterday as he called for an investigation into fragments of an alleged “unmanned reconnaissance aircraft” found in Preah Vihear province.

Speaking at a meeting at the Ministry of Interior, Hun Sen said that after Thailand denied that the aircraft was its own, he wanted to investigate terrorism-related possibilities.

“I would focus on terrorist activities because we cannot skip looking for terrorists. They might use this method as a test for the purpose of attacking Cambodia or Thailand or other destinations in other countries,” Hun Sen said, claiming further that terrorists may be inclined to attach bombs on the next aircraft if their test proved successful.  Read more of this post

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

By Derek Ray | Published Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011

Angkor Wat - the main temple

Angkor Wat - the main temple

One hundred and fifty years ago, a French naturalist wandering the jungles of Cambodia stumbled upon an archaeological gold mine.

Hidden in the jungle were several temples built by a succession of rulers of the Khmer Empire between the 9th and 12th centuries. King Jayavarman II laid the foundations for the empire in the 9th century, and Angkor remained the capital of the Khmer Empire in Cambodia for the next 400 years. Read more of this post

Can Yingluck Fix Cambodia Ties?

August 19, 2011
By James O’Toole

The election of Yingluck Shinawatra has raised hopes that Thailand can improve its prickly ties with Cambodia. But will the Thai Army get in the way?

Yingluck Shinawatra spent much of the month following herlandmark victory in Thailand’s national elections in July traveling the country, meeting with adoring supporters and enjoying a well-earned victory lap. But with all the problems that await her now that she has taken over as prime minister – opposition to her populist economic policies, a simmering insurgency in southern Thailand, and above all, the immense task of national reconciliation following the political violence in Bangkok last year – it’s a lap few could blame her for wanting to extend.

Amid all these challenges, though, there’s hope that the charismatic 44-year-old may be well-positioned to address one of the region’s thorniest disputes: the border standoff between Thailand and Cambodia. Read more of this post

Learning how countries develop

August 21, 2011

Why on earth would you go there?’’ That’s the question posed to most people who want to visit Cambodia, says Kristen Paonessa, a senior at Northeastern University majoring in international affairs and economics. Paonessa, who aims to pursue a career in international development, fulfilled an experiential learning requirement by interning in Phnom Penh for the Harpswell Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit that provides housing and education to children and women in Cambodia, with the goal of empowering a new generation of female leaders. She lived in a dormitory with 45 Khmer women from rural provinces as they pursued their studies at their respective universities. She taught them English and leadership skills and fostered critical thinking discussions on current events and also took Khmer language lessons. “I believe it is crucial to expose myself to life in a developing country,’’ Paonessa says. “In order to be able to fix global issues, one must see and feel the problems on the ground.’’

LASTING IMPACT: “The Harpswell Foundation appealed to me because it is striving to give local Cambodian women the opportunity to develop the necessary skills in order to become leaders in their country, region, and perhaps the world. I believe in the empowerment of women worldwide.’’

NEW DAY: “At the Harpswell dormitory the lifestyle is ‘early to rise and late to bed.’ The girls have regular cooking and cleaning duties that must be completed before their university classes begin around 7 or 8 a.m. They typically wake up and begin their duties around 5, even if they went to bed around midnight having stayed up late to do all of their homework assignments. I am not accustomed to a group of people regularly waking up so early in the morning . . . and with so much enthusiasm to start the day.’’ Read more of this post

UN envoy urges Thailand to tackle trafficking

Friday, Aug 19, 2011

BANGKOK – Thailand must do more to combat widespread human trafficking for sexual and labour exploitation, including addressing “deeply-rooted” corruption, a UN envoy said on Friday.

“The implementation of policy and legal framework on human trafficking and the law enforcement are weak and fragmented,” said the United Nations special rapporteur on people trafficking Joy Ngozi Ezeilo. Read more of this post

Memories of relative unease

Jane Sullivan
August 20, 2011

Alice Pung.

Alice Pung struggled to detail her father's experiences in the killing fields of Cambodia. Photo: Rodger Cummins Read more:

ABOUT halfway through Alice Pung’s new memoir, Her Father’s Daughter, comes a section that hits the reader like a sledgehammer. We’re taken from contemporary Melbourne to Cambodia in Year Zero. The people of Phnom Penh, relieved the civil war is over, are smiling and welcoming their Khmer Rouge liberators. ”They were an army of children,” Pung writes. ”They did not smile back.”

The surreal atrocities of Pol Pot’s killing fields are well documented but Pung’s story has all the more impact here because the ”Black Bandits” do dreadful things to a man we have come to know well: her father, Kuan, and his extended family, many of whom were murdered. After reading these chapters, I had trouble sleeping.

Pung had trouble writing this, too, particularly towards the end. Even now she worries how Her Father’s Daughter is going to be received.

”Will the high school students ask: ‘Where’s all the humour and sarcasm’?” she says.

The humour and sarcasm provided the charm and bite in Pung’s best-selling and much-loved first book, Unpolished Gem. Her memoir of a girl high on education and achievement but low on self-esteem, growing up in a Chinese-Cambodian family in Braybrook, won the Australian Book Industry newcomer of the year award and was shortlisted for the Victorian and New South Wales premiers’ literary awards and The Age book of the year. Read more of this post

Cambodian Economist Sees More US Woes Ahead

Thursday, 18 August 2011
Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer | Washington, DC

President Barack Obama arrives at a town hall meeting at Wyffels Hybrids Inc., in Atkinson, Illinois, during his three-day economic bus tour, August 17, 2011

Photo: AP President Barack Obama arrives at a town hall meeting at Wyffels Hybrids Inc., in Atkinson, Illinois, during his three-day economic bus tour.

The US markets have had a turbulent run in the last few weeks, thanks to political wrangling in Washington over the budget and national debt, as well as a downgrade in the country’s credit rating by Standard and Poor’s.

A weak recovery to the global economic crisis in 2008 has not helped. A Cambodian economist in the US says that fear among investors could damage the economy further and may even lead to a double recession.

Duch Darin, a professor at Tallahassee Community College, in Florida, told VOA Khmer last week that the US loss of its AAA rating at S&P, which lowered it to AA+ for the first time ever, could cost consumers in the long run.

The credit rating determines how much interest the US must pay on the debt it uses to finance its government functions. The downgrade comes amid myriad woes for the US, which is struggling with high unemployment and a stagnant economy. Read more of this post

Cambodian ‘Avatars’ rally to save fores

Cambodian villagers rally against the destruction of the Prey Lang forest (AFP, Tang Chhin Sothy)

PHNOM PENH (AFP)— More than one hundred villagers dressed as the forest people from the hit film “Avatar” protested in the Cambodian capital Thursday against the destruction of the country’s Prey Lang forest.

With their faces painted blue and green and donning hats made of leaves, the demonstrators called for an end to the exploitation and deforestation of the largest lowland evergreen forest remaining in Southeast Asia.  Read more of this post

Cambodian authorities criticized for detaining forest advocates

Aug 18, 2011,

Cambodian villager paints the body of another to resemble the forest people from the film”Avatar” during a rally against the destruction of the Prey Lang forest in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh on August 18, 2011. Photo courtesy: AFP 
Phnom Penh – Dozens of rural villagers handing out leaflets that called for forest areas to be preserved were detained Thursday in Phnom Penh in a move condemned by rights groups.

At least 106 villagers were held at a number of locations in the Cambodian capital, three human rights groups said. All were released after agreeing not to distribute more leaflets.

The organizations said in a statement that the villagers had a democratic right to share their concerns and described the detentions as ‘a totally disproportional and shocking response.’  Read more of this post

Producing vegetables for the Kingdom

Thursday, 18 August 2011 
Sim Virinea and Ty Samphors Vicheka 
Phnom Penh Post 


A man handles beans on a farm in Russey Keo district. Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

CAMBODIA does not produce enough vegetables to meet domestic demand, requiring large amounts of imports every day, experts say.

The Kingdom has made a push to boost the agricultureindustry, but cannot viably produce certain types of vegetables.

Cheap imported vegetables hurt domestic farmers, but benefit consumers, Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development inAgriculture, said.

“If the output of Cambodian farmers cannot fulfill the country’s basic needs, then neighbouring countries can export to our country,” he said.

The Kingdom imports about 1000 tonnes of vegetables a day, he said.

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries deputy director general Hean Vanhorn said Cambodia imported vegetables it could not produce.  Read more of this post

Thaksin ‘in Cambodia’ [for oil negotiation with Cambodia?]

Thursday, 18 August 2011 
Vong Sokheng 
Phnom Penh Post 


Photo by: Tracy Shalton Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra

Former Thai Prime MinisterThaksin Shinawatra is set to visit Cambodia this weekend, Thai media reported yesterday.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra reportedly said her brother was going to Cambodia on a personal trip and not on behalf of the Thai government, a quote that fueled media speculation about the nature of the as-yet-unconfirmed visit.

Bangkok media touted the trip as an opportunity for the former Cambodia economic advisor to discuss energy concerns.

State-run Thai news agency MCOT cited an unnamed Pheu Thai party source as saying Thaksin would help the Cambodian government negotiate a plan for the joint development of a petroleum venture in the Gulf of Thailand.  Read more of this post

FM Hor Namhong Meets Head of Australian Secret Intelligence Service

DPM Meets Head of Australian Secret Intelligence Service 

Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Hor Namhong, minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, meets here on August 17 with Mr. Nick Warner, Director General of Australian Secret Intelligence Service.
AKP Phnom PenhAugust 18, 2011 –Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Hor Namhong, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation yesterday met Mr. Nick Warner,Director General of Australian Secret Intelligence Service.  Read more of this post

Our language is evolving, not dying

Thursday, 18 August 2011 
Lim Sovannarith
Phnom Penh Post 

Dear Editor,


Photo by: Sovan Philong

Children learn to write the Khmer language at a school in Kandal province’s Loeuk Dek district.

I am responding to Theary C Seng’s article “A language in crisis”, published in the opinion page of The Phnom Penh Post on August 16.

With great interest and curiosity, I read Ms Seng’s analysis of the Khmer language and her observat-ions on how the language is used.

For one thing, I come from a language-education background, and for another I have come to realise I am not the only one who is concerned about the future of the Khmer language and its
‘‘complicated’’ usage.  Read more of this post

Environmental Group Sounds Alarm for Endangered Dolphins

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 at 11:30 am UT
Source: VOA 

The environmental group World Wildlife Fund is seeking help for the highly endangered freshwater dolphins of the Mekong River, whose numbers have fallen to just 85.

A statement released Wednesday by the group says the Irrawaddy dolphins, who inhabit a 190-kilometer-long stretch of the Mekong from Kratie, Cambodia to the Khone Falls, on the border with Laos, are at increasing risk from pollution and entanglement in fishing nets, as well as the low survival rates of young dolphins. Read more of this post

Silencing Cambodia’s Honest Brokers

By Published: August 17, 2011

WASHINGTON — This year is the 20th anniversary of the Paris peace accords that ended the Cambodian war and any further threat from the murderous Khmer Rouge. It required all the major powers — the United States, leading European countries, the former Soviet Union and China — as well as most Asian nations to come up with an accord, a rare achievement. In a speech last week, Gareth Evans said that during his eight years as the Australian foreign minister “nothing has given me more pleasure and pride than the Paris peace agreement concluded in 1991.” Read more of this post

Investors in Cambodia fear repercussions of bribery law

Updated August 17, 2011 21:29:30
Source: ABC Radio Australia

Earlier this month, the Cambodian government announced it has outlawed so-called “facilitation fees” – paying small sums of cash to civil servants for services such as issuing forms or filing tax returns.

It might not sound like much, but it has sent a bolt through Western businesses in Cambodia.

Presenter: Robert Carmichael
Speaker: Stephen Higgins, CEO ANZ Royal Bank; Matthew Rendall, partner at law firm Sciaroni & Associates.

CARMICHAEL: For 15 years Cambodia’s donors pushed Phnom Penh to do something about corruption, and finally – last year -the government passed an anti-corruption law. Read more of this post

Cambodian Anti-Corruption Drive Creates Headache for Western Firms

August 17, 2011
Robert Carmichael | Phnom Penh

A man working at a money exchange (R) passes 100 Cambodian riel notes to a client  in central Phnom Penh, March 12, 2011 (file photo)

Photo: Reuters A man working at a money exchange (R) passes 100 Cambodian riel notes to a client in central Phnom Penh, March 12, 2011 (file photo)

Earlier this month the Cambodian government announced that as part of its anti-corruption drive, it had outlawed the payment of fees to civil servants.  But the move has opened a new set of problems that worry Western businesses that operate in the country.

To the government, this was expected to be a minor announcement.  As of August 1, all corruption offenses contained in two separate laws were now in force.

For Phnom Penh, this was another step on the road to combating corruption. Read more of this post

A cruel act: Tourists cruelly feed live chickens to crocodiles in Siem Reap

British holidaymakers throw chickens to be eaten alive by crocodiles at sick tourist attraction 

Ghoulish ‘entertainment’ sees live birds thrown to their death by Britons 

By Daily Mail Reporter 
Last updated15th August 2011 
The Daily Mail 
See more pictures here.

Animal rights groups have condemned a ghoulish Cambodian tourist attraction popular with Britons where live birds are ‘ripped apart’ by hungry crocodiles.

The cruel ‘entertainment’ sees crowds of holidaymakers gather round an enclosure before tourists throw live birds down to be eaten alive by the crocodiles below.  Read more of this post

Saddam Hussein vs. Pol Pot – preview clip for Spike TV’s ‘Deadliest Warrior’

By April MacIntyre 
Aug 15, 2011, 
Monsters and critics 

Spike sent M&C a clip of the upcoming episode of “Deadliest Warrior” – where despicable men, Saddam Hussein vs. Pol Pot, are set to go head to head premiering Wednesday, August 17 at 10PM.

Dictator vs. Dictator, Psychopath vs. Psychopath.Read the article here.

Cambodia agrees land deal after World Bank halts loans

The World Bank, which has lent Cambodia up to US$70 million (S$84 million) annually over the past few years, said last week it had halted loans to the country in protest over land seizures around Boeung Kak Lake, where a Chinese developer is building luxury homes. -- PHOTO: AP

Published on Aug 16, 2011 

PHNOM PENH (REUTERS) – Cambodia, under pressure by the World Bank, said on Tuesday it had set aside prime land in the capital Phnom Penh for thousands of people forcibly evicted from their homes to make way for a Chinese development project.

The World Bank, which has lent Cambodia up to US$70 million (S$84 million) annually over the past few years, said last week it had halted loans to the country in protest over land seizures around Boeung Kak Lake, where a Chinese developer is building luxury homes.

About 15,000 people have been evicted from their homes and 3,500 remain in the area.

Land seizures that lead to evictions and homelessness have become one of the most serious human rights issues in Cambodia, where property deeds and other legal documents were destroyed under the Communist Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s

Cambodia inaugurates part of ASEAN highway

Artist's impression of Neak Loeung bridge to be completed in 2015 with $131 million loans from Japan.

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) –– Cambodia on Tuesday inaugurated a 9-kilometer section of the national road No. 1, which is the main road in the ASEAN highway scheme, connecting Phnom Penh and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.

The 9-kilometer section has been built since December 2009 under the Japanese grant aid of 25 million U.S. dollars.

Speaking during the inauguration ceremony in Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the national road No. 1 is an international arterial road in Cambodia connecting Phnom Penh and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, constituting an important part of the SouthernEconomic Corridor and the ASEAN highway connecting Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh andBangkok.

“It plays an important role for the movement of people and the transportation of goods in the region,” he said.  Read more of this post

World’s second tallest building to be constructed on Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich

Official sets start date for 555m building 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011 
Soeun Say 
Phnom Penh Post 

CONSTRUCTION will begin on a 555-metre tall building next year on Diamond Island, the tallest building in Southeast Asia, Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema claimed yesterday.

However, experts have cast doubt on the project’s viability, while officials with the firm setto construct the tower said yesterday there was no concrete plans yet about when to proceed.  Read more of this post

Border troops withdrawn [Cambodia made a third withdrawal, Thailand made a zero withdrawal]

Tuesday, 16 August 2011 
Vong Sokheng 
Phnom Penh Post 


Photo by: Photo Supplied Royal Cambodian Armed Forces soldiers pull back from the Thai-Cambodian border last week in Preah Vihear province.

The 21st Brigade of the RoyalCambodian Armed ForcesDivision 2 became the latest unit to be withdrawn from the Thai-Cambodian border near Preah Vihear temple yesterday, with three more units scheduled to be pulled back within the week.

The unit, which was not based within a newly-created demilitarised zone around the 11th-century temple, has been removed from the border as Thailand and Cambodia prepare for a meeting of the new Regional Border Committee later this month.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries appear to have warmed since the election of Thailand’s Puea Thai party last month, bolstering hopes of a resolution to the ongoing border conflict following deadly clashes earlier this year.

“The withdrawal of Brigade 21 today is the third time that we’ve pulled out troops from the area around the Preah Vihear temple,” said RCAF Deputy Commander Chea Tara in a statement released yesterday.  Read more of this post

‘Special case’ of top bodyguard [Evil eats evil, Hun Sen eats Chea Sim alive]

Tuesday, 16 August 2011 
Tep Nimol 
Phnom Penh Post 

110816_3Photo by: Pha Lina 
Chhoeun Chanthan (centre), former head bodyguard for senate president Chea Sim, arrives at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.
Three members of Senate President Chea Sim’sbodyguard unit who were arrested on Saturday have been released, while their chief, Chhoeun Chanthan, was questioned for six hours atthe Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.

Chhoeun Chanthan, who wasremoved from his post by royal decree on Saturday, shortly after a morning raidby military police on hisPhnom Penh villa, is expected to return to the court for further questioning today.  Read more of this post

Oil deal: Thaksin to visit Cambodia

Published on August 17, 2011

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Cambodia late this week to meet with leaders and investors in Phnom Penh, notably on an oil-and-gas concession in the Gulf of Thailand where claims overlap, a Pheu Thai Party source said yesterday.

Thaksin, who is expected to be in the country for two days from August 19 on Friday and Saturday, will take some foreign investors to meet and play golf with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Defence Minister Tea Banh to make the business deal, the source said.

Many Pheu Thai MPs are preparing to greet Thaksin while he is in Cambodia, the source said. Read more of this post

Continued Flooding Kills Six in Northeast

Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh

Photo: AP Past flooding in Cambodia. Provincial officials said Friday that flooding has inundated thousands of homes in northeast Cambodia, after heavy rains swelled the Mekong River

Flooding along the Mekong River in three provinces has claimed six lives and left hundreds of families homeless, authorities said Monday. Five of the victims were children.

Though the flooding has abated somewhat in the provinces of Kratie and Stung Treng, it has continued farther south, in the populous province of Kampong Cham, Mao Hak, director of the meteorology department of the Ministry of Water Resources said. Read more of this post

Cambodian government decrees land deal for villagers at city site

Aug 16, 2011, 4:00 GMT
Asia-Pacific News

Phnom Penh – The government has ordered that a tract of land at a controversial development site in central Phnom Penh be reserved for thousands of residents under threat of eviction, national media reported Tuesday.

The deal follows pressure from the World Bank, which said last week it would not lend more money until the government properly compensated villagers living around the city’s Boeung Kak lake. Read more of this post

Cambodia inaugurates part of ASEAN highway

( Updated August 16, 2011 11:28 PM 

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua) – Cambodia on Tuesday inaugurated a 9-kilometer section of the national road No. 1, which is the main road in the ASEAN highway scheme, connecting Phnom Penh and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.

The 9-kilometer section has been built since December, 2009 under the Japanese grant aid of $25 million.

Speaking during the inauguration ceremony in Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the national road No. 1 is an international arterial road in Cambodia connecting Phnom Penh and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, constituting an important part of the Southern Economic Corridor and the ASEAN highway connecting Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh and Bangkok. Read more of this post

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