Friday, October 9, 2009

Vietnam-Cambodia trade to pick up in 2010

(Post by Khmer Hot News)
Trade between Vietnam and Cambodia will increase sharply in 2010 and the former will overtake Thailand to become the latter’s key trading partner, according to economic analysts in Phnom Penh.
The analysts say although Vietnam-Cambodia trade has fallen sharply due to the global financial crunch, it is likely to hit US$2 billion when the Cambodian economy picks up next year.
The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry reports that bilateral trade in the first 8 months of this year fell by 29.2 percent to US$848 million. Of the total, Vietnamese exports to Cambodia were valued at US$726 million. Vietnam is Cambodia’s fourth biggest importer of farm products, rubber and wood.
Meanwhile, the Cambodian Development Council (CDC) says over the past 9 months Vietnam’s investment in Cambodia hit US$114 million, 20 percent above last year’s 12-month total. The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) and the Saigon Commercial Bank (Sacombank) have both opened branches in Cambodia.
In the review period, an additional 40 Vietnamese businesses registered to operate in that market, outnumbering all other countries. Last year, 52 Vietnamese businesses registered to operate in Cambodia, ranking third after China (82) and Malaysia (56).
The two countries have opened 9 border gates and built land routes to facilitate exchanges of goods.
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KRouge lawyer demands judge's disqualification in Cambodia

Marcel Lemonde

By Patrick Falby (AFP)
(Post by Khmer Hot News)
PHNOM PENH — The lawyer for a former Khmer Rouge leader on Friday filed a demand that the French investigating judge be disqualified from Cambodia's UN-backed war crimes court for alleged bias.
Michael Karnavas, attorney for ex-Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary, said the motion was based on allegations that Marcel Lemonde told subordinates to favour evidence showing suspects' guilt over evidence of their innocence.
The tribunal was set up to bring to justice the leaders of the genocidal late 1970s Khmer Rouge regime.
Karnavas said Lemonde was "giving instructions to his investigators to game the process. In other words, to look primarily for evidence that supports the prosecution".
The lawyer said he submitted his complaint based on a statement made by the former head of Lemonde's intelligence and analysis team, Wayne Bastin, at an Australian police station on Thursday.
A copy of the statement obtained by AFP said Lemonde shocked subordinates in a meeting at his Phnom Penh home in August when he told them, "I would prefer that we find more inculpatory evidence than exculpatory evidence".
Under the Khmer Rouge court's regulations, investigating judges are required to be impartial while researching allegations made by prosecutors. Defence teams are not permitted to make their own investigations.
"How is it that (Lemonde) can remain in the position in light of what we know now?" Karnavas said, adding that such behaviour was "outrageous".
Speaking on Lemonde's behalf, tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said he had no comment on the issue.
Lemonde is currently investigating the court's second case, against Ieng Sary and his wife, former minister of social affairs Ieng Thirith, as well as Khmer Rouge ideologue Nuon Chea and ex-head of state Khieu Samphan.
Heather Ryan, who monitors the court for the Open Society Justice Initiative, told AFP that the defence would probably need to demonstrate systemic bias for Lemonde to lose his job.
"An off the cuff remark made in private -- like what was quoted -- may not be significant," Ryan said.
Under the court's internal rules, Lemonde's previous work on investigations remains valid even if he is disqualified from the tribunal.
Lemonde also met controversy earlier this week when it was revealed he summoned six top government and legislative officials to testify against Khmer Rouge leaders, a move opposed by Prime Minister Hun Sen's administration.
Final arguments in the court's first trial of prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, known by the alias Duch, are scheduled for late next month.
But the tribunal, created in 2006 after several years of haggling between Cambodia and the UN, has faced accusations of political interference and allegations that local staff were forced to pay kickbacks for their jobs.
Led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge emptied Cambodia's cities in a bid to forge a communist utopia between 1975-79, resulting in the deaths of up to two million people from starvation, overwork and torture.
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Flash floods hit Thai-Cambodian border markets, checkpoints

(Post by Khmer Hot news)
BANGKOK, Oct 9 (TNA) - Flash floods from the hills along Thai-Cambodian border in Thailand’s eastern provinces poured into the market at a checkpoint for border trade between the two neighbouring countries, more than 200 vendors were affected by the inundation which caused damage estimated at over Bt30 million (US$850,000).
Runoff floods from Cambodia’s Phnom Preuk hill in Battambang province and Khao Ta Ngok in Thailand's Sa Kaeo province combined with flash flooding from Khao Soi Dao in Chanthaburi which flowed into the Thai-Cambodian checkpoint for border trade at Ban Sub Taree and at Ban Suan Som in Soi Dao district of Chanthaburi.
The markets at both checkpoints were submerged, with border traders rushing to transfer their goods and products to higher ground as the water level is likely to continue to rise.
Flash floods also hit the 522th Marine Company base near the border.
There were no reports of casualties. (TNA)
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Cambodia's reserves top $2.5 bln: PM

AFP - Friday, October 9
(Post by Khmer Hot News)
PHNOM PENH (AFP) - – Cambodia's foreign currency reserves have topped the 2.5 billion dollar mark despite forecasts that the country's economy will contract this year, the premier said Thursday.
Hun Sen revealed in a speech that the country has increased its international reserves by 21.48 percent since the end of last year, when they stood at just over two billion US dollars.
"Despite receiving the impact of the global economic and financial crisis, we can ensure international reserves will continue increasing remarkably," he said.
"As of the end of August 2009, calculated international reserves had reached 2,522 million US dollars," he added, in the speech marking 30 years since Cambodia rebuilt its national bank that was destroyed under the Khmer Rouge.
After several years of double-digit growth fuelled mainly by tourism and garment exports, Cambodia was buffeted by 2008's global economic downturn.
Last month the International Monetary Fund predicted Cambodia's economy will contract 2.75 percent this year amid the slowdown, but praised the national bank for its supervision of commercial banks hit by non-performing loans.
Cambodia remains a largely cash-only economy and a high degree of mistrust keeps many people hoarding their money at home, but Hun Sen said that confidence was growing and more people were using banks.
Nearly one third of Cambodia's 14 million people survive on only 50 US cents a day or less.
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The Phnom Penh Post News in Brief

(Post by Khmer Hot News)
In Brief: Meeting on recovery
Friday, 09 October 2009 15:00 Steve Finch
ECONOMISTS and government officials are to meet in Siem Reap today for a conference on overcoming the financial and economic crises. The event, which ends Saturday, is to include a keynote address from Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon and will include group discussion sessions as delegates share ideas on the economic fallout that escalated since Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in September 2008. Held annually, this year’s conference will focus on current methods for market governance, an announcement for the event says. Delegates gathered Thursday evening for a welcome reception ahead of the two-day discussions.
In Brief: Oz Minerals legal feud
Friday, 09 October 2009 15:00 POST STAFF
AUSTRALIAN miner OZ Minerals, which operates a gold concession in Mondulkiri province, has announced that a class-action suit has been filed against it at the Federal Court of Australia in Melbourne. The claim, which was launched by shareholders Wednesday, it said in a statement, was filed over allegations it had failed to disclose debts, reports said, which were due last November. The firm said in the statement it “will vigorously defend the claim”. Despite the announcement, the firm’s share price climbed 2.87 percent Thursday in Sydney to A$1.25 (US$1.13).
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TNT in fast lane despite slowdown

(Post by Khmer Hot News)
Friday, 09 October 2009 15:00 Nathan Green
TNT Express Worldwide (Cambodia) Country General Manager Sjaak de Klein talks about the impact of the economic slowdown on the transport sector and TNT’s prospects for growth
CEO Talk
By Nathan Green
The So Nguon Group has reported a 40 percent decline in freight volumes over the first nine months of the year. How is TNT doing?
We are lucky in that we have a diverse portfolio of customers, including mining, oil and telecoms. We also have imports by land and air as well as exports, while So Nguon obviously had a strong focus on connecting with the export shipping lane in Sihanoukville. Our Asia Road Network, which we extended into Cambodia this year, is also really starting to see some success because the crisis is encouraging people to look for a cheaper option than air freight. And it’s much faster than moving goods by sea from Bangkok through Sihanoukville, which can take up to 15 days. We drive overnight, so there is a tremendous opportunity for customers to get their goods shipped quickly. The garment slowdown has affected us because we import accessories and fabrics and export documents and garment samples, but we have not been as adversely affected as the freight forwarders that focus on exports of ready-made garments to the US.
What import sectors are proving resilient?
Consumer goods, especially consumer electronics and computers, are holding up as the middle class is rising and people have more spending power. There is also a lot of imports of baby stuff. The telecoms industry is very dynamic, and they are bringing in a lot of equipment to build towers. We are also seeing a pickup in garments, with many factories receiving new orders and showing interest in bringing in fabrics and accessories.
There was a Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) meeting in Phnom Penh recently where GMS ministers pledged to accelerate economic corridor development. Is enough being done in Cambodia?
Cambodia is lagging behind in GMS development, which is unfortunate as building a strong economic corridor will not only stimulate the economy but also provide jobs in the transport sector and increase economic productivity near those roads. Some countries are picking it up faster than others. For example, Laos realised very quickly that as a landlocked country they had to do something, much like Switzerland did in Europe. They got proper funding to build a bridge across the Mekong and built some extremely good roads across the southern part of Laos. They also have incentives for companies to register trucks there. In Cambodia, the government doesn’t have special incentives for the transport industry, which is a pity.
What incentives are needed?
What the industry most urgently needs is incentives to bring in proper equipment instead of having all these local companies with secondhand trucks that are 10, 15, 20 years old. If you import a truck now, you pay a 40 percent import tariff, including duty, special tax and VAT. We would like to become a showpiece for the transport industry, but at the moment its is expensive to bring in a good fleet.
ASYCUDA (Automated SYstem for CUstoms Data) is being rolled out and TNT has introduced e-invoicing. What impact will electronic data interchange have on the sector?
ASYCUDA is only used at the port in Sihanoukville. They are still trying to roll it out at the international airport, but I have heard nothing about a rollout plan at land border crossings. But in general, we are embracing IT technology and like to exchange data with customs electronically. It will speed up our clearance processes as long as the government starts using electronic data interchange and applies risk management profiling to that data. For our express products, that’s important. Electronic data exchange also benefits our customers, and the bigger customers are definitely interested in that.
The economy is expected to contract this year and begin expanding again next. What’s your growth projection for TNT?
We haven’t really seen that contraction and are still growing year on year. And we are optimistic about the future. There is still an opportunity to develop a domestic network, and I am convinced that special economic zones (SEZs) will be successful in attracting new investments like Ajinomoto, which is setting up in the Phnom Penh SEZ. I’ve been here three years and I fell pretty comfortable about the buzz here. The economy has perhaps not been affected quite so much by the global economic crisis as believed because it is cash-based, and we still predict to grow our revenue by a substantial percentage.
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Forex reserves up to $2.52bn

(Post byKhmer Hot News)
Friday, 09 October 2009 15:01 Nguon Sovan
Prime Minister Hun Sen says National Bank of Cambodia, which celebrated 30 years in operation Thursday, has weathered the global financial crisis
PRIME Minister Hun Sen said Thursday that Cambodia continued to increase its foreign exchange reserves to the end of August reaching a near-record high of US$2.522 billion, while beating analysts’ forecasts of a sharp drop for 2009.
Speaking at the 30th anniversary ceremony for the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), which was re-established after the end of the Khmer Rouge regime, Hun Sen said forex reserves had climbed 21.48 percent so far this year.
“Despite Cambodia suffering from the global financial crisis, we have still been able to ensure international reserves,” the prime minister said during the event at Chaktomuk Theatre in Phnom Penh.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) data shows that reserves reached a record high of $2.594 billion in May after climbing steadily at the beginning of the year from $2.076 billion at the end of 2008, a figure quoted by Hun Sen Thursday.
“Today, the banking industry is growing both in scope and operations, attracting large foreign banks to open, and the amount of deposits and loans have consistently increased – this reflects confidence from the public in this industry,” he said, encouraging banks to list on the long-awaited Cambodian stock exchange.
The IMF’s country representative, John Nelmes, told the Australian Business Association of Cambodia in Phnom Penh last week that the Kingdom in August was allocated $108 million in Special Drawing Rights, an IMF international reserve asset. The NBC used the facility to increase forex reserves, Nelmes added.
The latest figures represent strong growth in forex reserves for 2009 contrary to forecasts made by international analysts, including the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) which as recently as June was predicting a steady decline this year to just over $2 billion by the end of December through to about $1.5 billion by the end of 2010. It based the assessment on falling foreign investment and repeated intervention by the government to strengthen the riel.
However, the EIU has since revised its forecast, predicting in September that forex reserves would reach $2.951 billion by year’s end with a slight decrease to $2.861 billion by the end of 2010. In its October outlook, the London-based organisation said reserves would climb again to $2.983 in 2011.
“But [the NBC’s] international reserves position remains precarious, and the [riel] has … resumed its depreciating trend,” the EIU said in its September outlook, referring to “heavy dollar selling” in August.
Following a consultation with the government last month, the IMF recommended in a statement that the government limit intervention in the riel rate – namely, selling US dollars for local currency, adding that such moves would limit volatility in the exchange rate.
This “would help protect international reserves, deepen the foreign exchange market, and allow the exchange rate to play a greater role in facilitating external adjustment”, the IMF statement said.
Meanwhile, in his speech Thursday, the prime minister rounded on international agencies, including the IMF, for what he termed an overly controlling approach to assistance to the Kingdom.
“It is said I was Vietnam’s puppet, but when Vietnam was in Cambodia, I was more independent,” he said referring to international agencies such as the World Bank and IMF.
“We welcome your assistance, but do not intervene or put pressure on us, or there is no need to help.”
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Lenovo officially launches in Cambodia

(Post by Khmer Hot News)
Friday, 09 October 2009 15:01 JEREMY MULLINS
THE world’s fourth-largest computer manufacturer, China’s Lenovo Group Ltd, officially launched its personal computers in the Kingdom on Thursday, announcing partnerships with two local resellers for its Think and Idea range.
The firm, which took over IBM’s personal computer division in 2005, will retail its desktops and laptops in Cambodia through Anana Computer Co and PTC Computer Technologies, Howie Sin, general manager of Lenovo ASEAN, said at the launch. The companies would offer Lenovo customers sales and support, he added.
“We strongly believe in partnering with local business because they understand the local market, so we can grow that market,” Sin said.
Commenting on Lenovo’s unusual strategy of starting out in the Kingdom with two partners, Sreang Tito of Anana said: “We’re going to compete in the areas of capacity and service.”
“We’ll develop the practice of fair competition. That’ll bring a better opportunity for the customers,” he added.
Tapping into local demand
Though acknowledging the challenges caused by the global financial crisis, Sin said he was taking a positive long-term view on the Cambodian computer market.
“The way we look at it is there’s lots of potential in the market as a whole. There are lots of young people [in Cambodia] who are very proficient with mobile phones and who are drawn to the Internet. What about notebooks?” He said, adding that Lenovo would aim to add Khmer-language solutions in the longer term.
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cambodian refugee among 10 Americans chosen to receive national award

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to present Sonith Peou with the 2009 Community Health Leaders Award for providing health services to the Southeast Asian immigrants
(Post by Khmer Hot News)
PRINCETON, N.J. (October 8, 2009) —
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced its selection of Sonith Peou, program director of the Metta Health Center in Lowell, Mass., to receive a Community Health Leaders Award. He is one of 10 extraordinary Americans who will receive the RWJF honor for 2009 at a ceremony this evening at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Peou is being honored for his work to provide culturally competent services for Southeast Asian immigrants in Lowell, Mass., helping them to become healthy, economically independent citizens. "Sonith Peou has triumphed over tragedy in order to provide health care services to disadvantaged immigrants in the United States, many of whom were persecuted in their home countries," said Janice Ford Griffin, national program director for the award.
Peou helped to establish the Metta Health Center, an initiative of the Lowell Community Health Center, and he designed the facility to look like a clinic in Cambodia. He staffed it with native speakers and incorporated elements of Eastern medicine that are more traditional in Asian countries. Today, the Metta Health Center provides culturally competent health care services to thousands of Cambodians, Laotians and Vietnamese. Like other community clinics, the center focuses on preventive care and tries to keep members of the community out of the emergency room.
"I am very grateful for this award, but it would not have been possible without the strong and supportive leadership of the Lowell Community Health Center, whose leaders believed in this project," said Peou, who emigrated from Cambodia in 1981. "I hope this award will bring attention to the importance of providing quality health care to immigrants, as good health is the cornerstone to healing and making a better life."
The chief executive officer of the Lowell Community Health Center, Dorcas Grigg-Saito, said of Peou that he is a "born leader" who has risen to become one of the most respected Cambodian-American leaders in the Greater Lowell area, as well as nationally. "Throughout his work, Sonith displays a level of loving kindness and compassion (the definition of 'metta' in Khmer) that has created a welcoming atmosphere that engages a truly underserved population in ongoing primary and preventive care and ultimately better health outcomes," Grigg-Saito said.
The Community Health Leaders Award honors exceptional men and women from all over the country who overcome significant obstacles to tackle some of the most challenging health and health care problems facing their communities and the nation. The award elevates the work of the leaders by raising awareness of their extraordinary contributions through national visibility, a $125,000 award and networking opportunities. This year the Foundation received 532 nominations from across the United States and selected 10 outstanding individuals who have worked to improve health conditions in their communities with exceptional creativity, courage and commitment.
There are nine other 2009 Community Health Leaders in addition to Peou. Their work includes oral health services for remote communities; self-directed care for persons with physical disabilities; a marriage between health care and legal aid; a mentoring program to help disadvantaged youth pursue health careers; care for victims of torture; an innovative approach to combat obesity; quality health services for Native American elders; family planning and health services for women, men and teens; and mental health services for the underserved.
Since 1993 the program has honored more than 160 Community Health Leaders in nearly every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Nominations can be submitted for the 2010 Community Health Leaders Award through October 15, 2009. For details on how to submit a nomination, including eligibility requirements and selection criteria, visit
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Japan in storm shutdown

Thursday, October 08, 2009
(Post by Khmer Hot News)
Japanese were bracing last night for a direct hit from one of the strongest typhoons in years as heavy rain and strong winds cut power to thousands of homes and tore roofs from buildings on the country's southern islands.
Melor, which was on course to batter the main island of Honshu today, looks like being the first typhoon to make landfall in Japan since 2007.
"We are issuing storm and high-wave warnings as the typhoon is seen as one of the strongest for the past decade," said Shinichi Nakatsukasa, a weather forecaster at the Meteorological Agency.
The storm was packing gusts of up to 216 kilometers an hour, moving south of Shikoku, one of Japan's four main islands.
It was predicted to make landfall from the west and then roar over densely populated Honshu, the industrial heartland of the world's No2 economy.
Toyota Motor ordered production to be suspended at all 12 of its domestic plants, while operators of railways in western Japan said they would cancel some express trains.
More than 200 flights, four of them international, were grounded due to strong winds in the west, affecting some 15,000 people, while most ferry services were suspended.
"Rain will be very heavy and winds will also be fairly strong on land," another weather agency official said. "It is likely to make landfall with a violent force."
Close to 11,000 households were without electricity on islands in Japan's far south, according to local power companies. Roofs were blown off homes and other buildings while trees and power poles were toppled.
Authorities feared that Melor would rip through the archipelago on a course similar to a 1959 typhoon that left thousands of dead in its wake.
Last month typhoon Ketsana killed more than 400 people in the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia. Tropical storm Parma is still sitting over northern Luzon, where 22 people have been killed in the heavy rains.
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The Phnom Penh Post News in Brief

(Post by Khmer Hot News)
In Brief: IFC investment fund
Thursday, 08 October 2009 15:00 Steve Finch
THE International Finance Corporation has signed a deal in Washington that will see it contribute US$4 million to a Cambodia-Laos investment fund, Cambodia Resident Representative Julia Brickell said Wednesday. The deal, which was signed on September 30, will see Emerging Market Investments (EMI) Pte Ltd manage the overall fund, she added. The Post understands that development partners from Finland and Norway would also contribute; however, EMI’s Cambodia representative Joshua Morris was unavailable for further comment on Wednesday.
In Brief: Mobile tax warning
Thursday, 08 October 2009 15:00 Chun Sophal
FOLLOWING a government circular co-signed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance last week warning mobile-phone firms they would have to pay tax even if profits fall on the back of low tariffs, Minister Keat Chhon has backed up the call, saying there will be a clampdown on the sector. “We will not allow any company to be free from paying tax,” he said Tuesday after a conference on the 2010 budget in Phnom Penh. The matter had been discussed with Minister of Telecoms So Khun, he added, who also signed the letter, dated September 29. It was sent to all mobile firms, the Council of Ministers and Prime Minister Hun Sen.
In Brief: Vimpelcom upgraded
Thursday, 08 October 2009 15:00 POST STAFF
DEUTSCHE Bank has upgraded to “buy” Moscow-based Vimpelcom, parent company of Beeline, following what appears to be the resolution of a dispute between its two main investors, it said Tuesday. Despite having downgraded it to “hold” on September 24, the bank upgraded the telecoms firm after it announced that main shareholders Altimo and Telenor had effectively settled a previous dispute over operations in Russia by agreeing to establish Vimpelcom Ltd, a new firm. Despite Deutsche Bank’s upgrading its price target to US$23.10, the stock fell 2.54 percent Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange to $19.20.
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U16s travel to Thailand for AFC qualifiers

(Post byKhmer Hot News)
Thursday, 08 October 2009 15:00 Ung Chamrouen
THE Cambodian U16 national football team departed for Bangkok, Thailand, on Wednesday morning to compete in qualifiers for the AFC U16 Championship 2010.
Under the leadership of Japanese coach Teshima Atsushi, the Cambodian youngsters will face Thailand, North Korea, South Korea, Vietnam and Myanmar in their intimidating Group G. On the opening day Friday, Cambodia play hosts Thailand before coming up against South Korea two days later. Then, on October 14, 16 and 19, they face Vietnam, Myanmar and North Korea respectively.
The top three teams in the group will qualify for the 2010 finals.
Timor Leste made history Monday, booking their first-ever AFC U16 Championship finals berth with a 3-0 win over Guam October 1 to finish second in group F behind China. Hong Kong grabbed the third qualifying spot ahead of Singapore, Macau and Guam.
With Timor Leste’s success story, Cambodian Football Federation spokesman May Tola showed optimism for the tournament, even with formidable opponents in their group. “They [Cambodian U16 team] trained regularly during the last three weeks,” he said. “They are performing well. I hope they will bring us the best result.”
Prak Mony Phirun, Hoam Vichsambath
Our Sophaon, Suon Rotha, Thai Phalla, Kouk Sokchea, Mean Phally, Sem Panha, Mean Phalla, Soch Makara
Hoy Phallin, Chan Vathanaka, Van Rina
Kong Ponleur, Ly Sarort, Chan Vansimona
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Monday, October 5, 2009

Traditional songs spring from the heart of a family

Post by Khmer Hot News
For most of us, nothing can compare with the generosity, care and guidance offered by our mother.
And it is these priceless gifts that have provided the inspiration for a concert, “Our Mothers”, which will be performed next month in Phnom Penh by the band La Compagnie Bosbapanh.
The concert will also feature songs by legendary Cambodian singers such as Sin Sisamouth, Pen Ron and Ros Sereysothea.
Panh Mengheang, whose 12-year-old daughter Bosba Panh is the main performer in “Our Mothers”, says he was becoming worried by the increased marginalisation of traditional Cambodian art, and that it jolted him into action.
He is well aware that many young Cambodians are gravitating towards modern, rather than traditional, artforms.
“If I turn on the radio, I just hear modern music. If I go to CD shops, most of what I see there is modern as well,” Panh Mengheang said.
“Where is our traditional music? This is when I had the idea of marrying modern and classical music together.”
Access to the arts
To promote and protect his beloved traditional art, Panh Mengheang has taken some incredibly proactive steps.
Most notably, he persuaded a number of experts to train his daughter Bosba Panh, and then put together a band to support her.
His idea is to allow Cambodians greater access to traditional arts.
Bosba Panh’s latest performance makes the concession of being a mixture of both modern and traditional musical instruments.
The orchestra musicians are equally divided between classical and modern instruments, and they also perform traditional songs in a contemporary style.
Bosba Panh, meanwhile, is concentrating on how good a role model her mother has been to her.
She describes how her mother always kept an eye on her and educated her in how to be a woman in the traditional Cambodian sense.
With this in mind, the young musician is quick to dedicate her performance in “Our Mothers” to her own mum.
“Our Mothers”, which Panh Mengheang picked up from a mid-20th century story, follows a mother’s fight to find a new life for her family in Phnom Penh, having been ordered to relocate from the provinces by French colonial rulers.
Bosba Panh will interpret the meaning of “Our Mothers” in her songs, images and dances during a two-hour performance at Chaktomuk Hall, on Friday at 7pm.
The child prodigy will also use material from “Our Mothers” on her planned third CD album, La Vie en Rose.
Organisers are expecting tickets to sell well, with 800 tickets available at three different prices.
The best seats in the house come in at $15 for a special ticket, $10 for premium seats and $5 for general seating.
Tickets are available from Monument Books and T&C restaurants.
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Brewer seeks to tap growth in domestic beer market

Photo by: JACOB GOLD
Asian beers are shown on sale in a Phnom Penh minimart last week. KBL says it will try to position its microbrewed beer at the high end of the Cambodian market.
(Post by Khmer HotNews)
Monday, 05 October 2009 15:01 Jacob Gold and Jeremy Mullins
Following an agreement to lease the premises that will eventually house its brewery, KBL plans to rapidly expand sales of its forthcoming high-end beer
HAVING announced a deal Thursday to set up a brewery in Phnom Penh, Kingdom Breweries Ltd (KBL) plans to tap into growth in the domestic beer market despite an investment slump that has seen other foreign firms shy away from Cambodia, says the company’s CEO.
Peter Brongers said KBL signed a 15-year lease on Hagar International’s 65,000-square-foot factory on the Tonle Sap River, which it plans to transform into a brewery to produce Cambodia’s first microbrewed, upmarket beer.
“The beer market in Cambodia is growing very fast,” Brongers said last week.
“People are looking for diversity, for something different than what’s available right now.... Our mission is simple: to make the best beer in Cambodia.
“If you go into … Metro [an upscale riverside bar in the capital], we want you to pick our beer,” he added.
Alongside a focus on quality, Brongers said KBL’s other major advantage lies in the fundamentals of the Cambodian beer market itself.
“The Cambodian beer market has recently been growing by 20 percent every year,” he said. “This year was harder because of the crisis, but this crisis will also blow over. We have a young population that is also becoming more prosperous.”
According to statistics from the International Centre for Alcohol Policies, in 2007 Cambodia consumed just 11.8 litres of beer per head, much less than its neighbours. Vietnam drank an average of 18.8 litres, with Laotians consuming 19.6 litres per capita and Thailand 31.9 litres.
“Growth is likely to remain at 20 percent because Cambodians are far behind their neighbours when it comes to beer consumption,” Brongers said.
Michael Smiddy, a senior consultant with Emerging Markets Consulting, said Asia’s wealthiest economies were also its highest per-capita beer consumers.
“South Korea consumes about 38 to 40 litres of beer per person every year,” he said.
“China is half that, and Cambodia consumes half as much as China.
“As Cambodia continues to develop, if you look at the long term, the market could be massively larger than it is now,” he added.
Leopard Capital, KBL’s major partner with a 55.5 percent stake in the venture, has made the brewery its fourth major investment in the Kingdom, injecting US$2 million from its more than $28 million in capital raised so far.
Steve Lewis, a managing partner at Leopard Capital, said his firm’s confidence in KBL was inspired by regional brewing success stories.
“We saw what Beer Lao had done and decided that it could be repeated here in Cambodia. We are bringing in a European brewmaster who has spent much of his career in Southeast Asia and is responsible for the success of other major brands in the region,” Lewis said, declining to name the firm’s chief brewer pending finalisation of a contract.
KBL hopes to begin producing its first variety of beer sometime in the middle of next year, Brongers said
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Tourism campaign for Cambodia suspended

Photo by: Steve Finch
Tourists walk around Angkor Wat in Siem Reap last year. The Tourism Ministry has delayed a television ad campaign aimed at promoting travel to the Kingdom, said Minister Thong Khon.
(Post by Khmer Hot News)
Monday, 05 October 2009 15:01 May Kunmakara
Television advertising not ready to go on air, says Ministry of Tourism, as analysts warn travel industry remains sluggish
THE Ministry of Tourism has suspended plans to air television advertising spots in key Asian markets next month, saying it had not given itself enough time to produce the advertisements.
Tourism Minister Thong Khon said the campaign would instead be launched “some time next year”.
“We cannot run them on time this year because we need more time to be well-prepared for the campaign,” he said.
The spots were due to air in China, South Korea and Japan, three of Cambodia’s most important tourist source countries. Arrivals from all three countries have plummeted since late last year in the wake of the global economic slowdown.
The ministry was talking to television networks in all three countries to persuade them to run travel programmes focused on Cambodia in the interim, Thong Khon said.
Arrivals from South Korea, which used to be the top source of visitors to the Kingdom, have fallen 31.23 percent in the first eight months of the year to 123,729, Ministry of Tourism figures released last month showed. Japanese visitors fell 14.05 percent over the same period to 77,305 while arrivals from China fell 10.24 percent to 70,135.
The fall in visitors from these countries was offset by a 43.66 percent rise in arrivals from Vietnam to 172,171 and a 126.29 percent rise in arrivals from Laos, boosting the number of visitors from Cambodia’s northern neighbour from 27,161 to 61,462. Overall visitor numbers rose 9.98 percent to 171,668 as a result during the first eight months compared to last year, the figures showed.
Underlying downturn
However, International Monetary Fund resident representative John Nelmes told a lunch hosted by the Australian Business Association of Cambodia on Friday that the gain in overland arrivals was a poor substitute for a double-digit decline in air arrivals, with tourists from across the frontier usually expected to spend less and stay for a much shorter time.
The ministry’s latest figures showed a 13 percent slide in air arrivals in the first eight months of 2009 year-on-year, whereas land arrivals were up 20.54 percent.
Nelmes’ warning of a near-term contraction in the tourism sector followed the visit last month of an IMF delegation from Washington that predicted a 2.75 percent contraction in the economy this year, dragged down by poor performance in the tourism, garment export and construction sectors.
Ho Vandy, co-chairman of the Government-Private Sector Forum’s tourism working group, said the private sector for a long time had been pushing the government to air the commercials.
“When we promote our tourism industry ... especially if our promotion is in their [local] languages, it means we are doing the right thing for our tourism sector,” he said.
The government should also look at a private-sector proposal to offer visa exemptions and find other ways to facilitate entry into the Kingdom, he added.
Thong Khon declined to say how much the campaign would cost. The ministry spent around US$340,000 in July last year on a series of “Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder” commercials appearing on US-based network CNN.
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Sunday, October 4, 2009

UN Human Rights Rapporteur Mentions the Universal Periodic Review of Cambodia about Human Rights Issues in Cambodia – Saturday, 3.10.2009

Posted on 4 October 2009The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 632
(Post by Khmer Hot News)
“The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia of the UN Human Rights Council, Mr. Surya Subedi, could not avoid to openly speak about some disturbing trends in the human rights situation in Cambodia.
“According to a statement released by the United Nations on Friday, available on the Internet, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia of the UN Human Rights Council, Dr. Surya Subedi, [said that Cambodia has made remarkable progress over the last three decades in promoting human rights and democratizing the system of governance, but he also] clearly criticized the judiciary and the restrictions on the freedom of expression in Cambodia.
“Many practical examples he raised are not different from those in official reports of previous UN human rights envoys to Cambodia.
“Being unable to report against the truth to satisfy Cambodian leaders of the government and of the Cambodian People’s Party, whose rule led to disturbing trends of human rights violations countrywide, Mr. Subedi expressed concerns about the human rights situation in Cambodia.
“According to his report, the rule of law in Cambodia is weak, and the judiciary is not as independent as it should be.
“While giving examples, Mr. Subedi raised the problems of the freedom of expression, the freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly and of demonstrations that the Constitution of the country allows Khmer citizens to exercise, which are sometimes restricted ['although people need by law to seek permission to hold public demonstrations, which is sometimes refused on unspecified security grounds, and arbitrary restrictions on travel or holding meetings have sometimes been imposed'].
“Also, he mentioned the case of a Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian – from the biggest opposition party in Cambodia – Ms. Mu Sochua, who had been sentenced by a court, controlled by the government of the Cambodian People’s Party, to lose her case unjustly, because she had dared to protest against the powerful in Cambodia.
“The cases of two journalists were also cited as examples to indicate that the judiciary in Cambodia is not independent.
“Especially the laws itself, regulating speech, are considered to fall short of the standards permissible [according to international human rights treaties and practice] where the powers in Cambodia use defamation lawsuits to put unjustifiable punishments against critics who are politicians, civil society officials, or free journalists.
“Also, he described that defamation is used, taking a restrictive approach to the freedom of speech, different from international human rights treaties which Cambodia has signed, which require to openly protect the freedom of speech, expression, and assembly etc…
“These are the processes of reality which were reported by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia.
“The special rapporteur of the United Nations noticed that critics against high ranking officials of the government or against the government had been accused and prosecuted for defamation and disinformation.
“As a human rights observer to Cambodia, he found the reality of a deteriorating human rights situation in Cambodia, as seen by Khmer citizens who are victimized, where even the immunity of senior politicians from the opposition party, who are parliamentarians, had been withdrawn.
“It can be assumed that his remarks will not satisfy the government, though there is not yet any immediate reaction. Mr. Subedi mentioned also the Universal Periodic Review of the Cambodian situation by the UN Human Rights Council [due in December 2009].
“In the past, the Prime Minister and high ranking officials of the government had always reacted immediately, being not satisfied with the reports of the UN human rights envoys to Cambodia.
“Now, people are waiting to see the reactions from the Prime Minister, or from high ranking officials, or from the human rights commission of the government over Mr. Subedi’s report and how the UN Human Rights Council can help to improve the human rights situation in Cambodia.
“Mr. Subedi’s remarks were made, while the National Assembly of Cambodia is rushing to adopt a penal code in which at least 43 articles among more than 600 articles are seen with concern by opposition party politicians, especially the Sam Rainsy Party, independent legal people, and civil society officials. This draft is criticized as narrowing the freedom of expression.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #501, 3.10.2009
While the Cambodia related parts of the session of the UN Human Rights Council seemed important enough to be reported in detail, we did not find any other press report – the present one does not do justice to the clearly and rationally considered report of the Rapporteur, and his continued effort to build a relation of mutual trust with the Cambodian government for his duties. In the only report available today, information and political judgment of the writer are mixed, so that the report of the Rapporteur with its specific observations, considerations, and suggestions is not broadly reflected.
We will try to rectify and clarify this through the editorial due tomorrow.
Norbert Klein, Editor
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 3 October 2009
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The second Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Siem Reap province, 230km (143 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh

Cambodia prime minister Hun Sen (R) greets Myanmar's Foreign Minister U Nyan Win (L) during a private meeting at a hotel in Siem Reap province, 230km (143 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, October 2, 2009. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea
Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya (L) ,Vietnam's Deputy Foreign Minister Dao Viet Trung (2nd L) ,cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (2nd R) and Cambodia's Foreign Minister Hor Namhong attend the second Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting at a hotel in Siem Reap province, 230km (143 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, October 3 , 2009. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (Post by Khmer Hot News)

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (R) greets Myanmar's Foreign Minister U Nyan Win (L) during a private meeting at a hotel in Siem Reap province, 230km (143 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, October 2, 2009. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (Post by Khmer Hot News)

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (R) shakes hands with Myanmar's Foreign Minister U Nyan Win (L) during a private meeting at Hotel in Siem Reap province, 230km (143 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, October 2, 2009 . REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (Post by Khmer Hot News)

Japan's Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada (C) leads a delegation attending the second Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' meeting at a hotel in Siem Reap province, 230km (143 miles) nort-west of Phnom Penh, October 3 , 2009 . REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (Post by Khmer Hot News)

Japan's Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada attends the second Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting at a hotel in Siem Reap province, 230km (143 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, October 3, 2009. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (Post by Khmer Hot News)

Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya speaks during the second Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting at a hotel in Siem Reap province, 230km (143 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, October 3 , 2009. REUTERS/Chor Sokunt (Post by Khmer Hot News)

Myanmar's Foreign Minister U Nyan Win attends the second Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting at a hotel in Siem Reap province, 230km (143 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, October 3 , 2009. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (Post by Khmer Hot News)

(L-R) Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, Vietnam's Deputy Foreign Minister Dao Viet Trung, Japan's Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, Cambodia's Foreign Minister Hor Namhong , Laos' Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Myanmar's Foreign Minister U Nyan Win poss for a photo during the second Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting at a hotel in Siem Reap province, 230km (143 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, October 3 , 2009. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (Post by Khmer Hot News)

(L-R) Vietnam's Foreign Minister Dao Viet Trung,Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, Japan's Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Cambodia's Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, Laos' Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Myanmar's Foreign Minister U Nyan Win prepare to take a photo during the second Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting at a hotel in Siem Reap province, 230km (143 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, October 3 , 2009. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (Post byKhmer Hot News)

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Nail Art Makes A Splash In Cambodia

By Ker Yann, VOA Khmer
Video Editor: Manilene Ek
03 October 2009
(Post by Khmer hot news)

The popularity and quality of nail art in Cambodia has been on the increase in recent years. Beautifully painted nails are now an important fashion accessory for Cambodian women looking to stand out from the crowd.
The growing number of professional nail salons, especially in the capital of Phnom Penh, has helped take nail art in Cambodia to a whole new level. Staff in the best nail shops staff undergo years of training to master the necessary techniques. Girls learn by decorating the rounded surfaces of bowls in aesthetics classes. The minute details of their designs are carefully practiced and improved before they can be hired.
Sun Heang - one of Cambodia best known beauticians - is the owner of Christina's Beauty School in Phnom Penh. She says a steady hand and an eye for detail are the important for a successful nail therapist, but creative flair is important too.
Sun Heang:"Customers choose the style they want depending on which occasion they are celebrating. This one for example is popular around Valentine’s Day, because it features love hearts. In hot weather glitter is the most popular because it makes your nails sparkle in the sun."
Most importantly, she says, the manicurists have to have a clear idea of the design and know how to execute it even before the first brush stroke. Sun Heang studied nail art in Thailand, Vietnam and China before returning to Cambodia to open her own beauty salon five years ago. She also owns a beauty school where she passes on her skills and knowledge to more than 300 eager students.
Nail art is especially popular among young Cambodian women attending events like weddings and birthday parties. The bigger the occasion, the more elaborate the design. But it's a time consuming process and it can take more than two hours to complete a full manicure.
Pheak Chan Vorleak is patiently waiting for her manicure. She has picked a pattern with three-dimensional white roses on a sparkling pink background. She says it is important to her that she stands out in the crowd later tonight at her birthday party.
Pheak Chan: "I came here to get my nails done because I'm hosting a big birthday party. Because I'm a Cambodian girl I have to dress up for my guests. It's very important that I have my nails looking good when I greet them."
The culture is such that intricately and carefully decorated nails translate as kudos for their owner. Because each nail must be individually painted by hand, each one is unique.
Nail art fashion changes with the season says Sun Heang, with different patterns becoming popular around major holidays. Each design last about three weeks and typically costs from about $5 dollars for a simple design to more than $45 dollars for something more elaborate.
Information for this report was provided by APTN.
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Ancient temples, present coexist in Cambodia

Sunday, October 4, 2009
It's early on a Sunday morning in Cambodia, and I'm standing at a 12th-century moat. Traces of mist hover above the lotus leaves that dapple...
By John Burgess
The Washington Post
(Post by Khmer Hot News)
It's early on a Sunday morning in Cambodia, and I'm standing at a 12th-century moat. Traces of mist hover above the lotus leaves that dapple the water. Across a causeway, through a tumbled-down gate, lies Banteay Chhmar, one of the largest temples ever built by the ancient Khmer Empire. My friends and I are going to have the place all to ourselves.
We walk in. It turns out that we do end up sharing it, with a local man who brings his cows onto the grounds to graze. And with an affable mason who leads us across acres of fallen stone to see a message from the past, an inscription chiseled into the doorjamb of a holy tower. This kind of company we welcome.
Cambodia's great temples of Angkor, 65 miles away, have long since been rediscovered after a quarter-century of closure by war. They now draw more than a million foreign visitors a year, not a few of whom regret that so many other people had the same idea. At peak hours, human traffic jams can form at temple steps once reserved for kings and priests.
But go beyond Angkor and you can find places that serve up the old solitude and sense of discovery. You can explore at your own pace, to the sounds of birds and the breeze that stirs the leaves overhead.
Banteay Chhmar is among the most spectacular of these places. Getting to it entails hours on very bumpy and dusty dirt roads. Staying the night means making do with primitive accommodations: candlelit rooms in local homes, bath water drawn from a moat.
I stayed the night, and it turned out to really make the visit. The next morning I rose early, as everyone here does, and took a walk in clean country air. I passed mother hens foraging with their chicks, boys tending to a mud oven in which charcoal was being made. I was seeing not only a temple but a way of life.
Today several thousand people — rice farmers, cattle herders, market vendors — make their homes on all four sides of the temple. They grow vegetables on the banks of a series of moats; they pile straw within the walls of lesser ancient buildings that dot their settlement. The ancient and present day coexist.
Banteay Chhmar was created in the Khmer Empire's last great burst of construction, under the 12th-century Buddhist king Jayavarman VII. His engineers were thinking big even by Khmer standards: To contain a great settlement, they built earthworks and moats that formed a square measuring roughly one mile on each side. At its center, within another square moat system half a mile on each side, they built the temple.
More than a century ago, French archaeologist Etienne Aymonier found the temple to be in a state of "indescribable ruin." It still is, despite the efforts of that friendly mason, who is part of a small reconstruction team. But that's part of what makes the site so enticing. Exploring it means climbing over huge piles of large fallen stones, something to be tackled by only the sure-footed. We passed ruined towers, courtyards and ceremonial walkways. Sometimes the stones were so high that we were walking at roof level.
The temple is no longer a formal religious site, but Cambodians believe that it, like all those that their forebears left behind, remains a holy site. In one surviving chamber we found a small contemporary shrine, with a Buddha image wearing a cloth robe, where people made incense offerings. When rain is needed, local people are reported to walk in a procession around the temple, imploring heaven to help.
One of the best parts of this temple is the many hundreds of feet of bas-reliefs on its outer walls. We had to scramble up more stones to get a good view. Before us was a full sample of life 900 years ago: processions of elephants, prominent ladies tended by maids, children roughhousing, villagers in a sampan, servants tending a stove.
There were also many scenes of war with Champa, the long-vanished rival state to the east: The temple is in large part a memorial to four generals who lost their lives in that long conflict. There are also images of the divine, notably the god Vishnu, with 32 arms arrayed like rays of light emanating from the sun.
The carving style is similar to that of the Bayon temple reliefs in Angkor. The difference is there's no need to fight for a view. We did cross paths for a few minutes our first day with a party of about 20 French-speaking tourists. We saw no other visitors that day or the next.
Late in the afternoon, we went for a look at what the ancient Khmers could do with water. Just east of the temple, they created a reservoir that measures roughly a mile by a half-mile. Academics disagree over whether this body, and others like it, did only symbolic duty as earthly stand-ins for the mythic Sea of Creation, or were part of a vast irrigation system, or both. Whatever the truth, I was awed by the scale.
I passed the night at the house of a Cambodian family, friends of a friend. They couldn't have been more gracious. They gave me a room of my own, bottled water, mosquito coils and a big luxury: a car battery hooked to a fluorescent light. I could have light all night if I wanted it.
Other members of our party slept at a formal homestay, the term given to guesthouses as well as family homes that accept paying guests, a few steps from the temple's gate. It had two rooms with large beds covered by mosquito nets. Downstairs there was a basic bathroom with a squat toilet and scoop bath.
Staying the night brought another cultural experience. A festival was going on nearby, and its amplified music carried into my room as I sat reading. Then around 10 p.m., silence. Private generators don't run all night, even for a celebration.
I got up at dawn, scoop-bathed in slightly murky water and walked to the moat from which it had been drawn. I took in the early-morning sights: the mist, dogs prowling around in first light.
I first visited Angkor in 1969. Back then, you could be alone in the big temples even there. I once walked through the largest of them, Angkor Wat, encountering hardly a soul. It's good to know that such an experience can still be had. You just have to work a bit harder for it.
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Picture of the Week: A water commute

While on a trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia, in March, Dave and Jan Steller of San Diego shot several monks traveling to the floating village of Chong Kneas on Tonie Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. The village is made up of houseboats with floating gardens, a floating elementary school and basketball court
Images from afar
October 4, 2009
(Post by Khmer Hot News)
Have a travel photo you’d like to see published in Travel? Send it to Best Shot, The San Diego Union-Tribune, P.O. Box 120191, San Diego, CA 92112. In 200 words or less, tell us how and where you shot the picture and be sure to include your name and a daytime phone number so that we can contact you if we have questions. Photos will not be returned.
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Okada vows support for Mekong

Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009
(Post by Khmer Hot News)
SIEM REAP, Cambodia (Kyodo) Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said Saturday that Tokyo is preparing to boost economic assistance to countries in the Mekong region.
"We would like to make greater contributions than ever to the Mekong region," Okada said during a meeting with his counterparts from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
He also pledged that the new administration led by the Democratic Party of Japan will actively engage in diplomacy with Asian countries by promoting its "long-term vision" to create an "East Asian community."
The Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting being held in Siem Reap, northwestern Cambodia, is also aimed at laying the groundwork for a summit meeting between the leaders of Japan and the five Mekong region countries scheduled for early November in Tokyo.
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