A Change of Guard

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Wednesday, 31 October 2007

King Father Sihanouk Celebrates 85th Birthday

Phnom Penh - It was a low-key celebration in Cambodia Wednesday for the 85th birthday of former king Norodom Sihanouk, who continues to defy his age and health setbacks and remains an icon and an enigma of history. Sihanouk had repeated his pleas of previous years for people not to send gifts and flowers. Indeed, the focus of the week was on the anniversary of the rise to the throne of his son, King Norodom Sihamoni.

The man for whom the adjective mercurial is no cliche abdicated the throne for his son in October 2004 citing age and ill health.

But despite making many less public appearances as he gets older, Sihanouk, still revered as a living god by many Cambodians, is never far from the public eye or its thoughts.

Sihanouk's versatile career has included two periods as king, a long period as sovereign prince when he turned to politics and abdicated in favour of his father, Norodom Suramarit in 1955, just two years after Cambodia gained independence from France. Many credit him as the architect of independence.

His 1955-1970 Sankum Reastr Niyum regime, although authoritarian, is also remembered by many as a golden era in Cambodian architecture and the arts, and a time when the world's stars such as French beauty Catherine Deneuve flocked to the country.

A survivor of a US-backed coup by Lon Nol in 1970 which sent him into exile and, after his return, imprisonment by the Khmer Rouge inside his own palace until 1979 when he fled to China, Sihanouk has seen the best and worst of times of Cambodia.

Despite his age, in recent years he has been called the father of Cambodia's budding blogging scene for his outspoken website, and even critics admit Sihanouk has left an indelible mark on the country's history.

In recent years he has struggled with diabetes and beaten colon cancer twice, but upon his return to the country this year after months in China undergoing treatment the octogenarian royal was described as "spritely as ever" by waiting dignitaries.

Sihanouk was expected to spend his birthday quietly with his family and donating gifts to the poor, according to a palace source.

Although often criticized over his handling of foreign policy in the years leading up to the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge regime which left up to 2 million Cambodians, including much of his own family, dead, Sihanouk has remained unbowed.

"Time will inevitably uncover dishonesty and lies; history has no place for them," he was once quoted as saying.

A Demoralised Sihanouk Quietly Celebrated Birthday

Cambodia's 'demoralised' ex-king celebrates quiet birthday
3 hours ago

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — A seemingly despondent Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia's former monarch, quietly passed his 85th birthday Wednesday amid muted public celebrations, the palace said.

Saying that Sihanouk was "very elderly, very weak, very demoralised," the palace said in a statement that the former king, once known for his vibrant public persona, was increasingly disturbed by "unnecessary" emails, telegrams and faxes from well-wishers.

In a separate statement, the palace pleaded with supporters "to not call on him, to not dispatch to him messages of greetings and congratulations, even on the occasion of his birthday."

Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh was decorated with only one large portrait of Sihanouk, who grandfatherly visage used to be commonplace throughout the city.

Palace officials said Wednesday he had marked his birthday with a low-key Buddhist ceremony, accompanied by family and monks.

Sihanouk, who suffers from a number of serious illnesses, including cancer, is expected to travel to China for medical check-ups during this year's Water Festival, one of the country's largest holidays which begins next month.

Sihanouk, one of Asia's longest-serving monarchs, abruptly quit the throne in October 2004 in favor of his elder son, Norodom Sihamoni, citing old age and health problems.

Despite giving up his role as king, he remains a popular figure, particularly among rural Cambodians.

Hun Sen Disowned His Lesbian Daughter

Dear Readers,

It is hypocritical of Hun Sen to tell others on the one hand not to discriminate against the gay people but on the other hand he is lambasting and lampooning his own lesbian daughter so publicly. Gay people are no different to heterosexual people. It is not a life style by choice but it is caused by hormone malfunction. Gay people love people of the same sex just as heterosexual people love people of the opposite sex. We cannot force heterosexual people to love people of the same sex and likewise we cannot force gay people to love people of the opposite sex. What Hun Sen has done in berating and disowning his daughter so publicly is uncharacteristic of a national leader. While he is discriminating against his own lesbian daughter he has no right to lecture others on this issue. No one will heed his advice. He, as a national leader, has set an example by discriminating against gay people, so his action is likely to be copycatted by others who look up to him as a role model- the people under his rule. It is sad really.

Cambodia PM Dumps Lesbian Daughter
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: October 30, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Phnom Penh) Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced Tuesday that he is severing all ties with his adopted daughter because she is a lesbian and living with another woman.

He made the remark in a speech at graduation ceremonies at a Phnom Penh university.

But Hun Sen, who is usually silent about his family life, told students they should not discriminate against gays.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to appeal to parents and society not to discriminate against them," he told the graduating class, adding that "Most [gays] are good people and are not doing alcohol, drugs or racing vehicles [like many young people]."

He did not say why he felt his suggestion should not apply to his own family.

"My adopted daughter now has a wife. I'm quite disappointed," Hun Sen said.

The Prime Minister said that he intends to go to court to have his daughter, who he did not name, formally disowned so that she could not claim any inheritance.

"We are concerned that she might one day cause us trouble ... and try to stake her claim for a share of our assets," he said.

Cambodia's LGBT community is mostly closeted although former king Norodom Sihanouk has spoken out several times on behalf of gay rights.

In 2004 he said that same-sex couples should be allowed to get married. The king made the comment after watching television news coverage of gay weddings in San Francisco.

"Since the Cambodian government chose in 1993 to be a liberal democracy, it should allow marriage between man and man ... or between woman and woman,” the king said in a signed statement in French posted on his Web site.

He also said that the transgendered should be “accepted and well-treated in our national community.”

©365Gay.com 2007

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Hun Sen Re-Affirms Support for the Monarchy

Hun Sen: I will own the king but I will disown my daughter!

By Leang Delux
Cambodge Soir
Translated from French by Luc Sâr

In a speech held in front of students, the prime minister, after addressing his wishes to King Sihamoni and to King-Father Norodom Sihanouk, underscored the advantages of the constitutional monarchy in Cambodia.

At a speech given during the handing of diplomas to students on Tuesday 30 October, Prime minister Hun Sen underscored the need of the monarchy for Cambodia, and he reminded his listeners about the 1970 coup d’état led by Lon Nol which abolished the monarchy. Hun Sen affirmed that the rebirth of the constitutional monarchy in 1993, was a pledge for a good management of the country because it avoids political crises between the head of state and the government.

“In Cambodia, the King remains above the political parties as a head of state. He is thus not involved in political conflicts. This point is very important. Article 9 of the Constitution stipulates that the king assumes the role of arbitrator to ensure the faithful execution of public powers,” Hun Sen explained.

To Hun Sen, in countries where the president comes from one political party, and the prime minister comes from a different party, these countries are not easy to govern. “In Poland, this (situation) is starting up. In France, Mitterand came from the Socialist Party and Chirac came from the rightwing party, the Rally for the Republic (RPR). And, when Jacques Chirac became president, Lionel Jospin, the Socialist Party leader became prime minister. I was not easy for them. And this situation was not good for their country.”

Source: KI Media

Thomico Tries to Unify Funcinpec and Norodom Ranariddh Party

Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper
Translated from Khmer by Socheata

Prince Sisowath Thomico, who just returned back from joining monkhood, said that he still maintains his meetings with NRP leaders in order to unite the royalists from the Funcinpec and NRP parties. However, the prince revealed that Prince Norodom Sirivudh (King-Father’s half brother) and Princess Norodom Vacheara (King-Father’s half sister) will not present their candidacy for any political party if they are defeated in trying to unite Funcinpec and NRP.

Prince Thomico said that, at this time, Prince Sirivudh and Princess Vacheara agree to remain quiet so that they can negotiate with him (Thomico). The prince and princess push for a unity and reconciliation between Funcinpec and the NRP. Prince Thomico said that if there is no rapprochement and unity (between Funcinpec and the NRP), Princess Vacheara, Prince Sirivudh, and himself (Thomico) will not present their candidacy for neither the Funcinpec nor the NRP during the upcoming 2008 general election, in order to avoid showing their support for one group or another.

Prince Thomico warned that: “If there is no unity and no reconciliation among the royalists, both the NRP and Funcinpec will be rotten.” The prince added that both parties should not hope to win at the 2008 general election, if there is no unity among the royalists, and if the breakup still persists, the royalist movement will be disintegrated.

In his attempt to merge the NRP and Funcinpec, Prince Thomico continues to meet with NRP leaders, however, the prince declined to reveal the names of the NRP leaders whom he met. Nevertheless, the prince indicated that, through these meetings, NRP leaders also want to see the unity, but because Prince Ranariddh was toppled by Nhiek Bun Chhay and Lu Lay Sreng’s clan, Prince Thomico said that Funcinpec leaders must be consulted again to find out about their clear standings, and this issue will be then be presented to the king for his intervention in this unity.

Prince Thomico added that Prince Ranariddh is calling for various parties to unite, therefore, he (Thomico) has difficulties following Prince Ranariddh in the event that there is no possibility of unity with Funcinpec which consists of royalists also.

Muth Chantha, NRP spokesman, said that, recently, Prince Ranariddh called for a unity among the royalists and the democrats, in order to provide a clear (alternative) choice for the upcoming 2008 general election. He also added that Prince Ranariddh did not name any particular political party. Therefore, any political party which supports Prince Ranariddh’s call, can discuss with NRP on this issue. Muth Chantha said that Prince Ranariddh will not abandon the fighters in the Funcinpec party.

Asian Drug Lord Died in Burma

Khun Sa (pictured) was once one of the world's most wanted men
One of Asia's most notorious warlords, Khun Sa, has died in the Burmese city of Rangoon.
He had reportedly been suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure.

After decades of guerrilla warfare against the Burmese government, largely funded by his drugs empire, Khun Sa signed a peace deal in 1996.

He then retired to Rangoon, where he lived under the protection of the military rulers, despite the US offering $2m (£1m) for his capture.

He was once one of the world's most wanted men, with a vast drug-trafficking operation in the so-called Golden Triangle region, spanning the border of Thailand, Laos and Burma.

'Lofty ideals'

With a private army numbering in the hundreds, Khun Sa claimed to be fighting for independence for the Shan people - an ethnic minority group based mainly in Burma.

But he fell out with other Shan leaders in the mid-1990s and surrendered to the Burmese military government.

After his death, a former colleague said few in the Shan separatist movement would be mourning.

"He was a man with lofty ideals. He thought of becoming the liberator of Shan State," former guerrilla Khuensai Jaiyen told Reuters.

"But when the people he was supposed to be leading or liberating didn't accept his leadership, he turned his back on them."

'Prince of death'

Many have said his claims to be a freedom fighter were a ruse designed to give legitimacy to his drugs empire.

Washington reportedly branded him the "prince of death" and placed him on a par with the most notorious mafia dons.

As well as offering a huge reward, the US had requested his extradition to face drug-trafficking charges in a US court.

But it is believed he negotiated a deal with Burma's ruling generals to live out his life in relative luxury in Rangoon.

Family members and former colleagues of Khun Sa, who was in his mid-seventies, said he died within the past week. The cause of death is still unknown.

Princess Bopha Devi's Son Convicted of Polygamy

Phnom Penh - A Cambodian court has made its first conviction under its controversial monogamy law which makes adultery a criminal offense, a court official said Tuesday. Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor Sok Kalyan said Cambodian Football Federation first deputy president and nephew of Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Kek Ravy (pictured) , had pleaded guilty to a charge of infidelity brought by his wife, Nina You.

"This is the first time we have convicted under this law. We just fined him the minimum amount of 1 million riel (250 dollars)," Kalyan said by telephone.

The monogamy law was passed September 2006. Prince-turned-poltician Ranariddh was the first to be charged under the law, which carries maximum penalties of hefty fines and up to a year in jail, but that case has stalled.

Kalyan said the court took into account the fact that Ravy had applied for a divorce 18 months earlier but it had not yet been granted because of wrangling over division of finances. His wife had demanded 500,000 dollars in compensation for his dalliance.

Cambodia-Vietnam Agreed On Border Demarcations

It is nice to see the Cambodian and Vietnamese authorities discussing about border issues. The border issues will be a sticking point in future relations with the non-CPP government in Cambodia, so Vietnam must resolve it before some other non-CPP leaders taking the rein in Cambodia.

But what worries me, and to a lot of my fellow Cambodians, is whether the border demarcations with Vietnam will benefit Cambodia or at least maintain the status quo of our present land size. From past experiences with our neighbours, especially with Vietnam, any land and border settlements always see us concede, or even secede, large portions of our territories. These border demarcations will be no difference.

The border demarcations between the two countries had been established since before the French left Indochina in 1953-54 and during the Sangkum Reastr Niyum and the Khmer Republic, to some extent, Cambodia and Vietnam never had any border disputes with each other. No violations, no encroachments. The villagers live a long side each other a long the borders peacefully and cordially. I hope these border demarcation agreements will not disadvantage Cambodia to the benefits of Vietnam territorially. The Cambodian government must do everything to make sure that we do not concede and secede one centimentre of land to Vietnam.

Any border settlements must be concluded in regard to the Cambodian territorial integrity and sovereignty. They must conform with international laws. And they must be based on the 1968 maps that the Cambodian governments kept in the United Nations. Any other maps used in the settlements would see Cambodia short changed.

Viet Nam, Cambodia boost joint border marking efforts


HA NOI — Viet Nam and Cambodia agreed on more than 50 sites for establishing border demarcations between the two countries at a series of meeting held in Phnom Penh from October 22 to 27.

The two sides also agreed on criteria for determining landmark positions during the third session of the Viet Nam-Cambodia Joint Committee for Land Border Demarcation and Landmark Planting. The criteria will serve as the legal and technical guidelines for border demarcation teams to follow.

The Vietnamese delegation to the meeting was led by Nguyen Hong Thao, vice chairman of the National Border Committee, while the Cambodian delegation was headed by Huon Savang, deputy director of the Secretariat of the Ministers’ Council’s National Agency for Border Issues.

Discussing waterways

Officials from the Vietnamese and Cambodian transport sectors discussed how to increase co-operation in waterway transport, including ship transport from other countries to Cambodia via Viet Nam, during a meeting in Phnom Penh on Thursday.

The two sides agreed to work together in accelerating waterway transport activities, particularly on Cambodia’s Tonle Bassac, a tributary of the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers.

Cambodia and Viet Nam will next discuss the easing of checkpoints on the two countries’ rivers and plans to open more local ports to raise loading capacity.

In 1998, the two countries signed an agreement on waterway transport, however, it has not been fully implemented yet because of late approval by the Cambodian National Assembly. Consequently, waterway transport activities between the two countries are limited to the Mekong River and transport to Cambodia by third-country ships via Viet Nam remains unavailable. — VNS

Sunday, 28 October 2007

A Brief History of Cambodian Currency

If you thought the Riel had always been Cambodia’s official currency, you are completely wrong. Instead, our currency has changed rather significantly throughout time, both in form and name.

According to Global Financial Data, from the ninth to tenth centuries, Cambodia imported Pyu and Mon coins from the Mon kingdom of Dvaravati, whose remnants can still be found in the central part of present-day Thailand. For a fact, coins were not produced in Cambodia until the sixteenth century. In the 1850s HM King Ang Duong of Cambodia (1841-1859) issued the first machine-made coins, known asCambodian Tical. The Tical was divisible into 8 Fuang and 64 Att.

12 years after Cambodia became a part of the French Indochina, the Banque de l’Indochine was established. A branch was set up in Phnom Penh, which became the note-issuing bank for all of Indochina from February 22, 1891 to December 31, 1951. It is in this period that Indochina’s currency, the Piastre, was introduced.

During the Second World War, French Indochina (Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam) and Thailand, though occupied by Japanese troops, did not have Japanese occupation currency; rather, they paid a kind of ransom by creating domestic currency and giving it to Japan to pay for local expenses. The Piastre was divisible into 100 Cents.

After the war, France initially revalued the Piastre to equal 17 French Francs, but the Piastre was devalued back to its old level of 10 French Francs on May 11, 1953. On December 31, 1951 the exclusive privilege of banknote issue was transferred to the Institut d’Émission des États du Cambodge, du Laos et du Viêt-Nam, which also had its headquarters in Phnom Penh. Although separate notes were issued for Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, the notes were legal tender in all three states.

Upon gaining its independence, Cambodia issued the Riel (KHR) on January 1, 1955. The Riel is divisible into 100 Sen, and was issued at par with the Piastre which was completely replaced by September 29, 1955. The Riel was used in Cambodia until 1975 when the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia, eliminated all money, and introduced a barter economy. The Khmer Rouge had contracted for banknotes showing the Khmer Rouge defending the country against Capitalists, but they were never issued.

After the Vietnamese invasion in 1978, the riel was re-established as the Cambodian currency on April 1, 1980, initially at a value of 4 riel = 1 US dollar. It is subdivided into 10 kak or 100 sen. Because there was no money for it to replace and a severely disrupted economy, the central government gave away the new money to the populace in order to encourage its use. In rural areas the riel is used for virtually all purchases, large and small. However, the US dollar is also used, particularly in urban Cambodia and tourist areas. In Battambang and other areas near the Thai border, like Pailin, the Thai baht is also accepted.

By Mongkol at http://mongkol.wordpress.com/

Pol Pot's 1973 Mercedes-Benz is on Sale on eBay

Dear Compatriots,

Imagine owning a car that was once used by a mass murderer this century has ever seen would be a haunting experience. While nearly two million Cambodians have tragically died in the hands of its former owner I can't imagine enjoying the ride of this blood-soaked vintage luxury. But you can add your name to history should your are the the winning bidder. It doesn't come cheap. With the starting bid of $US 71,799 it is sure to stir up the bidding war. The car looks very luxury and has been restored to its original grandeur. To bid or to view the pictures of the car please click the link below of this article...

Item Specifics - Cars & Other Vehicles
Make: Mercedes-Benz Condition: Used
Model: short wheel base stretch Number of Previous Owners: 4
Type: -- Number of Seats: 6
Doors: 4 Engine Size (cc): 3,500 cc
Mileage: 100000 Independent Vehicle Inspection: --
Model Year (YYYY): 1973 Inspection Certificate Expiration Date: Jun 1973
Date of 1st Registration (DD/MM/YYYY): Jun 06, 1973 Right-hand drive/Left-hand drive: Left-hand drive
Color: Black V5 Registration Document: --
Metallic Paint: -- Is Import: Yes
Transmission: Manual In-Car Entertainment Options: --
Safety Features: -- Interior/Comfort Options: Air Conditioning
Fuel: Diesel Exterior Options: --
Particulate Filter: -- Road Tax (Date Format): Jun 1973
Service Plans Available: -- OEM Warranty Expiry Date: --
Length of Seller's Warranty: -- Power (Bhp): --

This translation is provided as a service. eBay cannot guarantee its accuracy. View Item Specifics in original language.

For Sale - one classic 1973 Mercedes Benz Stretch Limousine (short-wheel base stretch) - previously used by one infamous owner - Pol Pot who led the Khmer Rouge during its genocidal regime in Cambodia from 1975 - 1979.

Currently on display at the famous French colonial renakse hotel (Monireth Boulevard) - opposite the Kings' Royal Palace. The car was discovered by a previous editor of the Phnom Penh Post being used to transport water melon's to the Central Market (Psar Thmei). The current owner purchased the car in 2001 and has painstakingly restored it to its current glory. The restoration of the car was filmed by Yorkshire TV for Channel 4 and a clip from this documentary can be viewed at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMkMgXaZMkk (copy and paste to YouTube or search using the words 'Pol Pot' and 'Mercedes') . The full programme can be obtained from the current owner.

The car was also used by Matt Dillon in the making of his cult classic - City of Ghosts - starring Gerard Depardieu and James Caan and the one photo listed here shows the car being lifted on a crane for transporting to Bokhor in Kompot Province, Cambodia.

The car has its original 3.5L diesel engine and air conditioning has subsequently been repaired by the current owner. The car is black and the interior has been reupholstered to a high standard. No wing mirrors exist since it was impossible to find the original ones locally. The Khmer Rouge regime detroyed all official documents during their tenure as the de-facto government in Cambodia during the 1970's (even blowing up the Bank of Lao and destrying all currency) and hence no official papers for the car exist. It enjoys a reputation in Phnom Penh as "Pol Pot's Car or PP1'. Listed are some photo's from the Documentation Centre in Cambodia where the car can be seen at Pochentong Airport. The car in the library photo is an example of the type of car that was used to collect and ferry dignitaries and VIP's. It should not be construed as being the actual car listed on this auction, There can however have been no other use for a car such as this during the Maoist dictatorship where the whole poulation was forced under some bizarre agro-experiment to work in the fields to demonstrate that Cambodia could be self-sufficient.

Interested parties can view the car at its current resting place (The Renakse Hotel). The winning bidder will be responsible for all shipping costs. The current owner will arrange for transportation to any global destination. The car is 'sold as seen' since it is now some 37+ years old and the current owner is not a mechanic. It is however available for any inspection. Whilst it would certainly benefit from some restoration work (there is a limit to the skills available in Cambodia) the car has been used by its current owner for Sunday drives around Phnom Penh and the outskirts. Part of the proceeds of the sale will be given to a Cambodian children's charity. Having since moved to the Lao PDR a decision was made to sell the car. Payment for the car can be arranged either by Letter Of Credit (should this be a preferred method) or cash / PayPal / Bankers Draft / TT

To bid or view the picutres of the car please click the link below:

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Sam Rainsy Party Claims Voters' List Manipulated By The CPP

What was reported by the Sam Rainsy-affiliated Khmer Intelligence below has been backed up by many sources from NGOs and the voters themselves. It is a fact that the CPP had planned to do this sometimes back as a long-term strategic ploy to ensure an easy victory at the 2008 election. It is not a co-incidence that many voters were deleted from the lists and many others were added. It was a thoughtful, calculated plan by the CPP to ensure that the oppositions are deprived of a victory. The deleted names were known opposition voters and the added names were CPP's voters or ghost names which can be used to vote for the CPP. The NEC is not a neutral body, but a CPP's political tool created to whitewash Cambodia's sham democratic process.
Controversial voter lists published today (1)

Today the National Election Committee (NEC) started to publish preliminary voter lists for Cambodia's 1,621 communes, totaling 8,027,706 voters for the whole country, a net increase of 228,335 eligible voters over last year (893,131 names added; 664,796 names deleted). However, the tentative lists which were posted today at all the country's commune offices, are being contested by the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP). According to Sam Rainsy, who held a press conference today in Phnom Penh, the voter register has been manipulated nationwide by the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP), through the NEC, so as to secure election victory for the CPP before even voting day (27 July 2008):

- Tens of thousands of names have been artificially added to inflate voter lists (ghost voters whose names will be fraudulently used by the CPP on voting day, such as the 15,000 names contested by the SRP in Poipet commune alone).

- Tens of thousands of (real) citizens who wanted to register as voters, were not able to do so, especially non-CPP supporters, because of lack of information, administrative harassment and organized confusion.

- CPP-controlled commune councils have arbitrarily deleted 573,981 names (out of the 664,796 names mentioned above) without producing evidence that the concerned persons are really dead or have really and permanently moved away from their commune. A significant portion of the targeted names appear to be those of non-CPP voters, who are therefore unfairly disenfranchised.

- Whereas citizens who are disenfranchised are all Cambodian nationals, tens of thousands of foreign nationals (newly arrived immigrants with no voting right) continue to be included in the voter lists despite countless complaints lodged by the opposition.

Hun Sen's Son to Run for MP

It's not surprised that Hun Sen is trying to groom his son, Hun Manet (pictured), to become his successor should his party and the opposition rejects him after the 2008 election or if something happens to him in the future. A few weeks ago there was a report on the state-run TV that Hun Manet, flanked by his mother and other Hun Sen's sycophants, was out on the campaign trail publicly in Siem Reap for the first time. He generously donated money and food aid to the victims of the natural disaster, traditionally practised by Khmer politicians to win the hearts and minds of the voters. If Hun Manet wins the seat, which he undoubtedly will, then he will be appointed to the most powerful position in the Cambodian cabinet, presumably Defence, as he was a graduate of the West Point Military Academy in America. If this is the case then Hun Sen will probably upset Tea Banh to a certain extent. He has already upset Cham Prasidh for putting his name in the parliamentary seat of Kep, a one seat municipality which can be easily lost to the opposition. Or Hun Manet might be appointed to the Interior Ministry which will be vacated by Sar Kheng when the latter becomes the chairman of the National Assembly, under the deal with Hun Sen when Chea Sim retires from politics due to ill health.

Whatever position Hun Manet will hold after the election, what we see here is that Hun Sen is trying to establish a Hun dynasty in Cambodia. Below is a report from Khmer Intelligence:

Hun Sen's son to run for MP

Hun Sen's son Hun Manet is to run at the July 2008 elections for a Member of Parliament seat in Siem Reap province where the CPP now controls four seats out of six. Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh, currently a prominent MP for Siem Reap, will leave that province to become the CPP candidate for Kep municipality, which is a one-seat constituency.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Cambodia Is The Fifth Largest Garment Exporter to America

Thanks to the American Congressmen who have wisely taken the course of Cambodian salvation. The law that provides a duty-free access to the American market for Cambodia's garment producers would boost jobs for the Cambodian people. Garment export has been a lifeline for Cambodia for the last 13 years or so. It is a single largest industry that provide more than 300,000 jobs to young Cambodians. With the zero tariff on most garments from Cambodia it would act as a magnet to attract more garment investors to Cambodia. This could happen only if the Cambodian authority can cut bureaucratic red tape and corruption. America has paved the way for the influx of foreign investors to Cambodia. Cambodia has to do its part to facilitate that influx by cutting bureaucracy and corruption and make it easy for foreign companies to set up shops in Cambodia. I hope Cambodian leaders will wake up to the fact that Cambodian interests are above all else!!!!

Cambodian garment producers predicted pivotal benefits upon the U.S. Congress' possible approval of a draft law to offer extensive duty-free access for garments produced in the kingdom, local media said on Tuesday.

"I think the bill will put us in a better position to compete with Vietnam and China," Ken Loo, secretary general of the Cambodian Garment Manufacturers Association, was quoted by English- Khmer language newspaper the Cambodian Daily as saying.

The bill, dubbed the New Partnership for Development Act and currently in the house for debate, would eliminate tariffs on trousers, shirts and coats imported at 2007 levels from Cambodian and Bangladesh.

According to an anonymous official at the Cambodian Commerce Ministry, a seven-member ministry delegation in its July visit to the U.S. detected no strong opposition in Washington to providing preferential access to Cambodian garments.

Cambodia, now the fifth largest exporter of garments to the U.S. , has lobbied U.S. lawmakers to reduce tariffs on clothing produced here, fearing that the competition from other countries could reduce Cambodia's U.S. market share.

In the first five months of 2007, Cambodian clothing exports went up by 17.9 percent, generating revenues of 984.9 million U.S. dollars, of which 738.28 million U.S. dollars came from the exports to the U.S., said official figures.

Garment has been the kingdom's largest pillar industry, which used to make up more than 70 percent of its export volumes.

Source: Xinhua

NEC Removed Opposition Voters From The Lists

The clean up of the ineligible voters has been designed in order to ensure an easy victory for the CPP. The NEC is a political tool of the CPP created as a front to legitimise the CPP's sham democracy. The voters' clean up, as expected, has been carried out with the intention of removing opposition voters and illegally enrolling ineligible or ghost voters whom they think will vote for the CPP. It is a CPP's old trick that will be used again and again in order to cling to power. If the NEC clerks can do this in Phnom Penh how many opposition voters did they remove in the rural areas. And how many CPP voters will they add to the lists. The opposition can only expect to lose again in 2008 election.....


NEC Defends Voter List Clean-Up as Registration Ends
Seng Ratana, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
22 October 2007

Seng Ratana reports in Khmer-download(1.03 MB)
Listen Seng Ratana reports in Khmer

Vote counting in 2003 general elections (VOA file photo)
The National Election Committee Monday strongly defended its voter registration clean-up Monday, saying the removal of illegible names from voter lists had been done in accordance to procedure, as voter registration came to a close.

The NEC has come under heavy criticism from opposition parties, which say the clean-up swiped names of legitimate voters with opposition leanings from the lists. This included impeding new voters from registering through the deadline Saturday, party leaders have said.

Regulations allow for the removal of names of those who are ineligible, such as the deceased, those who have changed their addresses, have duplicate names or are prisoners or non-residents.

Opposition officials said Monday they knew of ruling party clerks removing names of opposition supports from lists without proper justification.

"In Phnom Penh, 10,000 people were processed in one hour, and in other places, in 20 villages, they did it in one morning," SRP legislator Ho Van said. "This means there is no thinking." Puthea Hang, director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free Elections in Cambodia, said many district clerks were not heeding the directives of the NEC and were arbitrarily removing names from lists.

A district the clerk removed 9,899 names, keeping only 487 among over 10,000 eligible voters in Phnom Penh's Tonle Bassac district, Phal Sithon, SRP second deputy clerk, said.

But "the people have not protested," he admitted. "Some of them are busy going to make a living. Most of them did not protest. Speaking frankly, they did not protest."

Tonle Bassac district clerk Khat Narith declined comment.

Commune council members adopted the procedures properly, and name removals were done with little difference in each district, NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha said.

The first registration lists will be posted Oct. 25, he said

Sunday, 21 October 2007

The Weekly Review and King Chey Chetha's Mistake Repeated

By Khmerization

The political developments in Cambodia in the last few weeks have been very interesting and worthy of my comments. It started with Ranaridhh's misfortunes. While the Appeal Court upheld his 18 years sentence, he has suffered another political blow. Added to his injury Hun Sen has announced that he will sever all political ties with him by refusing to intervene for his political comeback. The ex-king Sihanouk has refused to get involved also when Ranariddh wrote to him for some sort of intervention. On top of all these misfortunes, Ranariddh had suffered more political punches. Khmer Amatak Newspaper, which is a pro-Ranaridhh newspaper, was ordered suspended after it launched repeated scathing attacks on Nhiek Bunchhay, Ranariddh's nemesis. To add to another insult, Mam Sonando ordered the suspension of a pro-Ranariddh radio program, Voice of the Monarchy, from broadcasting on his Beehive Radio station without any convincing explanation, but Sonando's action was suspected to be resulted from political pressure from Hun Sen after the radio broadcast a program criticising him. Hun Sen seemed to have no mercy on Ranariddh after Ranariddh had been the political force that helped kept him in power from 1993 to present.

On another development, Funcinpec, after an unsuccessful soul searching for its PM candidate has settled on an unlikley choice. After trying to unsuccessfully woo Prince Ranariddh, Prince Sirivudh and Princess Veacheara to accept the post, it has chosen Princess Arunrasmy. The choice of Princess Arunrasmy as its PM candidate has been viewed as a political manoeuvre and a desperate attempt to revive its fledgling popularity and to ensure its survival post-2008 election. But after the 2008 election's dusts have settled, Funcinpec's fate would be no different from the Son Sann Party, Ung Huot, Tuon Chay or the fate of other imminent Cambodian personalities who had chosen to serve Hun Sen. They all have been sent into oblivion and dissappeared into the Cambodian political wilderness.

On another note, King Sihamoni has bestowed three more royal honorary titles to the CPP strongmen. While Hun Sen, Chea Sim and Heng Samrin have already received their royal titles, their new titles will no doubt boost their political standing in their party and in the country as a whole. The granting of the royal titles has some sort of a double-edged sword effect. It has a mutual benefit to both sides. By giving the titles, the king had aimed to maintaining an eternal relationship with the Cambodian People's Party in order to ensure the survival and to preserve the monarchy. On the other hand, with the new royal titles on hand, the CPP has another credential to add to their resume in which they can show to the Cambodian voters that they are the protector of the monarchy and hence is the only force that can lead the country.

On a sad note, Son chhay, a Sam Rainsy Party's MP has claimed in a Radio Free Asia interview that as early as last week the CPP-dominated Cambodian National assembly has passed a law to grant a one hundred thousand(100,000) hectares of land concession to a Vietnamese army-owned company to establish coffee and rubber plantations a long the Cambodian-Vietnamese border. This land concession would have grave ramifications on the issue of Cambodian sovereignity. According to Son Chhay, this business formula had been implemeted in Laos with little benefit to Laos and her people, but on the other hand the Vietnamese presence presented a danger to Laotian soveregnity. The company was army-owned, run and managed by army personnel- ex-soldiers and ex-officers- who invaded Laos in the 1970s. The company staffed the plantation with about 3,500 ex-Vietnamese soldiers per ten thousand hectare. By estimate and by comparison to the land size granted to the Vietnamese company the plantation on the Cambodian granted land concessions (100,000 hectares)would be staffed with at least 35,000 Vietnamese ex-soldiers. The question posed is: if 35,000 ex-Vietnamese soldiers were to be stationed on Cambodian soil, how could we ensure that those parts of our land are not permanently occupied by the Vietnamese. This is reminiscenced of the Chey Chettha's reign, when he granted some sort of a land concession to the Vietnamese settlers to settle on Cambodian land, known today as Kampuchea Krom, temporarily but Vietnam refused to hand it back to Cambodia when the term of the agreement expired. Now Kampuchea Krom has been permanently in Vietnam's possession since the late 17th century. I hope that, if the Cambodian leaders are smart enough they would not go ahead with the granting of these land concessions to the Vietnamese army-owned company on our soil. If Cambodia need investors, first look for local investors and second, we can look for reputable investors from countries that do not share border with us to develop the plantations along our border. In this case, if the Vietnamese company refused to hand the land back to Cambodia after the expiration of the, say 50 or 99 years, lease then this part of Cambodian land will become another Kampuchea Krom. It is sad really.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Princess Arunrasmy to Pull Up Funcinpec

19 October 2007
By Mayarith
Radio Free Asia
Translated from Khmer by Socheata
(photo: Princess Arunrasmy and Keo Putrasmy)

The youngest daughter of former monarch Norodom Sihanouk, who was nominated by the Funcinpec party as its candidate for premiership during the upcoming 2008 general election, said that she will assist in pulling up Funcinpec, and in particular, in supporting the value of women.

Princess Norodom Arunrasmy told RFA that she does not want to be involved in politics because of the ever changing political situation, however, because the decision has already been taken by the Funcinpec party congress, the princess must forced herself to accomplish the work in order to obtain victory.

In the past election, the Funcinpec candidate to the premiership was Prince Norodom Ranariddh. The prince is currently in exile outside the country because the Cambodian tribunal had sentenced him in absentia to 18-month of jail sentence and a fine of $150,000, after he was sued by Funcinpec officials regarding the sale of the party headquarters.

Khmerization ខែ្មរូបនីយកម្ម: Sihanouk Reminisced About The Sangkum Reastr Niyum Regime

Khmerization ខែ្មរូបនីយកម្ម: Sihanouk Reminisced About The Sangkum Reastr Niyum Regime

Friday, 19 October 2007

Sihanouk Reminisced About The Sangkum Reastr Niyum Regime

(Photo: Sihanouk (L), Roland Dumas, Hun Sen in 1987)

King-Father reminisces about the patriotism of the royal crusadeFriday, October 19, 2007Kampuchea Thmey newspaperTranslated from Khmer by Socheata from Ki-Media

Former monarch, King Norodom Sihanouk, reminisced about the royal crusade to reclaim back some of the (Cambodian) lands which were lost, and he also praised the CPP as being the successor of the Sangkum Reastr Niyum (SRN) party.During a gift distribution ceremony to poor people from Preah Vihear province, held inside the royal palace, which was broadcasted on TVK in the evening of 17 October, King-Father talked about the efforts he undertook (to reclaim Cambodia’s lands?) since the age of 18, and that he was (also) able to demand back the land lost in the Preah Vihear temple following the decision in the court case by The Hague International Court of Justice.In 1947, King Norodom Sihanouk was successful in demanding back the province of Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Stung Treng, Ratanakiri after these provinces were lost for several years already. In 1962, then-Prince Norodom Sihanouk won the case at The Hague International Court of Justice, and reclaimed back the Preah Vihear temple also.The Hero-King said: “We had the historical honor to accomplish these feats for our country. I have the extreme honor to historically build for the nation: the national integrity of the kingdom of Cambodia.”The former monarch failed to mention his patriotism in his demand for the national independence of Cambodia from France in 1953.In his royal speech, King-Father also raised about the current national development under the leadership of Samdach Akkak Moha Senapadei Decho Hun Sen and the CPP.King-Father said that under the extremely astute leadership of Samdach Hun Sen – the successor of the Sangkum Reastr Niyum’s regime led by King-Father who protected the nation and the national integrity – the country is at peace and is very developed. King-Father said: We will unite with each other for eternity as a single family.Very often, during various official ceremonies (presided by King-Father), (the name of) Samdach Hun Sen was brought up because of the development of the nation during the Sangkum Reastr Niyum (SRN) under the leadership of Prince Norodom Sihanouk, and (the former monarch) always noted that the current Cambodia government is the successor of the SRN also.

Khmer Amatak Newspaper Suspended

Local newspaper's license suspended [-Details on the suspension of Khmer Amatak newspaper]

The Ministry of Information suspends Khmer Amatak over dispute between the deputy prime minister and an editor Thursday, October 18, 2007

By Debory Li
AsiaMedia Staff Writer

The Cambodian Ministry of Information issued a suspension against Khmer Amatak, a local newspaper, for one month after editor Bun Tha refused to print a correction for an article about the deputy prime minister. According to the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), the article, published on Sept. 24, 2007, alleged that two senior officials of the ruling Funcinpec Party, Deputy Prime Minister Nhiek Bun Chhay and Minister of State Serey Kosal, removed the name of Prince Norodom Ranariddh (pictured), Cambodia's first prime minister and former chairman of the Funcinpec Party, from a school in the Battambang province that he had donated to. The school was renamed, but reports between the Southeast Asian Press Alliance and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) conflict as to whose name it was: Chhay's or Kosal's.Chhay and the Ministry of Information asked the newspaper to print a correction, but Tha refused, saying he had evidence to support the article's claim and was willing to face the deputy prime minister in court to settle the dispute. Instead, the ministry suspended the newspaper on Oct. 8, 2007."If a journalist can prove wrongdoing with hard evidence then it is their duty to report it to the public," said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.The Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ) also expressed its dismay at the ministry's decision."By issuing an order to have this newspaper suspended for a month without the court's consent, the [ministry] has clearly sided with [the deputy prime minister], thus violating…freedom of the press in Cambodia," said CAPJ.Both press rights groups urge the ministry to reverse its decision on the newspaper's suspension and reinstate its license soon.

World Bank Confronts Cambodia Corruption

World Bank Confronts Cambodia Corruption
October 18, 2007The Wall Street Journal (USA)
Far from "Smiling Past Corruption" (Review & Outlook, Oct. 11) in Cambodia, the World Bank is confronting corruption head on in that country. In fact, it was bank staff in Cambodia who first raised concerns about corruption in projects there. Following World Bank investigations, in June 2006 the bank suspended the government's right to draw funds for three projects where we had identified problems.In response, the Cambodian government agreed to new anti-corruption measures for each project, including intensified audits and the hiring of an international procurement agent. In February 2007, after the government completed all the anti-corruption measures and made substantial progress in hiring the agent (who has now been selected), former President Wolfowitz agreed to lift the suspension on the affected projects. The bank cancelled over $2.5 million in project funding, and the government subsequently repaid the World Bank $2.89 million and agreed to incorporate anti-corruption action plans into all existing and future bank legal agreements. The bank's Institutional Integrity office has initiated the process of debarring firms involved in the affected projects, working through the Sanctions Committee.Cambodia, which suffered a genocide, needs help both to strengthen its capacity for good governance as well as to build the foundations for inclusive growth. Today, our projects are helping build roads, bring water to poor communities and enable poor people to secure ownership of their land and homes for the first time.While in Cambodia in August, the new World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, coordinated with the donor community to make the case to the prime minister and other senior officials on the need to stay the course on governance, anti-corruption and strengthening the legal system. The Institutional Integrity office will visit Cambodia this month to follow up.Marwan MuasherSenior Vice PresidentExternal AffairsWorld BankWashington

Funcinpec Hoped a Royal Daughter Will Help Revive Its Popularity

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A pro-CPP F'pec hopes that a royal daughter will bring it back to the top
October 18, 2007Cambodia s co-ruling Funcinpec formally appoints princess as premiership candidate
The co-ruling Funcinpec Party here on Thursday formally appointed Princess Norodom Arun Rasmey, 52, and the youngest daughter of retired king Norodom Sihanouk, as its prime minister candidate for the general election on July 27, 2008."We all approved to appoint her as our prime minister candidate of the party for the general election in 2008 according to the requests from the members at grass-root level and the 128-member steering committee," Nhiek Bun Chhay, party secretary general, told a press conference held after its one-day national congress. "She is wife of party president Keo Puth Rasmey and current Cambodian Ambassador to Malaysia, and we hoped that she will bring the party to victory in the 2008 election because 50 percent of the Cambodian people are women and they will vote for her," he said."(This shows that) We have deeply reformed our party in accordance with the world situation, under which democracy and women are cared," he said."If we win the election, we will still cooperate with the Cambodian People's Party (CPP)," Chhay added.Funcinpec has co-governed the kingdom with the major ruling CPP for years. CPP nominated current Prime Minister Hun Sen for the premiership contest in the next election.Funcinpec was created by Sihanouk in 1981 as a royalist party. In 1993 it won the general election under the leadership of Prince Norodom Ranariddh. Now it has 26 seats at the National Assembly and ranks as the second largest party.Source: Xinhua

Benazir Bhutto Survived Assassination Attempt

108, Wound 150 in Pakistan
By VOA News 18 October 2007
Scene of explosions near Bhutto rally in KarachiAt least 108 people are now confirmed dead and more than 150 others wounded in two explosions in Karachi, Pakistan aimed at returning former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Authorities say the blasts occurred shortly after midnight Thursday local time near an armored truck carrying Ms. Bhutto. They ripped through a huge crowd of people cheering her return Thursday after eight years in self-imposed exile in Dubai and London.
Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto is rescued from her truck after a bomb explosion in Karachi, 18 Oct 2007The authorities say Ms. Bhutto was unhurt in the attack and was evacuated safely to a family residence, Bilawal House.
Islamic militants had threatened suicide bomb attacks against Ms. Bhutto, but she had denounced the threats, saying her return was a risk worth taking.
The bombs were set off just a few meters from the vehicle carrying the 54-year-old former prime minister. Moments earlier she had been standing unprotected atop the truck, waving to the crowd, against the advice of her security detail.
In Washington, the U.S. National Security Council spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, condemned the attack and said the United States mourns "the loss of innocent life" in Karachi.
The NSC spokesman added, "Extremists will not be allowed to stop Pakistanis from selecting their representatives through an open and democratic process."
Ms. Bhutto had landed in Karachi earlier Thursday on what was to be a triumphant return to Pakistan. She wept as she stepped off a plane from Dubai and expressed the hope that she will live up to her supporters' expectations.
President Pervez Musharraf had asked Ms. Bhutto to delay her homecoming until the Supreme Court decides on legal challenges to his recent re-election. The president has introduced an ordinance granting Ms. Bhutto amnesty from charges of corruption, a first step toward a power-sharing deal.
Ms. Bhutto served Pakistan twice as prime minister, but left the country under a cloud of corruption charges in 1999. She is planning to run in parliamentary elections set for early 2008.

A Dutchman to Defend Nuon Chea

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) --
A Dutch war crimes lawyer has joined the defense team of a former Khmer Rouge ideologist who has been detained pending trial by Cambodia's U.N.-backed genocide tribunal, a statement said Thursday.
Nuon Chea, who has denied any guilt, is the highest-ranking Khmer Rouge leader detained by the tribunal aimed at seeking justice for crimes committed by the regime. He is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Nuon Chea's new lawyer, Michiel Pestman, will work alongside his Cambodian lawyer, Son Arun.
"I will do everything that I can to ensure that our client receives a fair trial. It is essential that he has a proper defense," Pestman said in a statement issued by the tribunal.
Pestman, a partner at a law firm in Amsterdam, was a member of a team representing defendants from Bosnia and Herzegovina at the genocide trials at the International Court of Justice from 1993-2001. Since 2003, he has also represented another war crimes defendant before the Special Court for Sierra Leone, according to the statement.
Nuon Chea, 81, was known as "Brother No. 2," reflecting his position as right-hand man to Pol Pot, the late leader of the Khmer Rouge. The group's radical policies caused the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people from starvation, overwork, disease and execution from 1975-1979.
Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, who headed the former Khmer Rouge S-21 torture center, was charged on July 31 with crimes against humanity. Prosecutors have recommended three other suspects be indicted, but have not named them publicly.
Both Duch and Nuon Chea have appealed their pre-trial detention orders.

Prahok: Cambodian Fish Paste Patented

Cambodia seeks special status for fermented fish cheese, pepper
Posted : Thu, 18 Oct 2007 03:11:08 GMT
Author : DPA
Category : Asia (World)
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Phnom Penh - Soon diners around the world may be grinding Kampot pepper on their Siem Reap fermented fish paste and Battambang rice after Cambodia announced it was seeking Geographic Indicator (GI) status for five distinctive regional products. Just as only Nuernberg can boast Nuernberger Lebkuchen - at least under the European Union laws - and only cheese from the Cambalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon may bear the name Roquefort, so Cambodia is seeking GI status for five products it deems regionally unique under World Trade Organization (WTO) guidelines.
The intellectual property rights-related legislation was required to be put in place by the WTO after Cambodia gained membership in 2003. The EU and the French Development Agency (AFD) helped Cambodia draw up the legislation.
The EU provided nearly 1 million dollars and AFD donated about 100,000 dollars to help Cambodia draft the GI law and protect intellectual property rights, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Mao Thora, undersecretary of state for the ministry, said the decision to put forward Kampot pepper, Siem Reap prahok or fish cheese, Battambang rice, Kampong Speu palm sugar and Banteay Meanchey silk - products from five different provinces around the country - was an exciting first step in establishing brands.
"When people can identify these products as from a specific area, it will encourage both producers and tourists," he said.
The first product likely to receive GI status is Kampot pepper, named after the coastal province 150 kilometres south-west of the capital, he said.
"By protecting that name, growers will be encouraged to raise more plants and investment should follow," Thora said by telephone.
Jerome Benezech of the Kampot Pepper Farmers Association (KPFA) said GI status would be a major breakthrough but by no means the end of the work which needs to be done.
"It will take several months to formulate policy, and then GI status is just another marketing tool which we need to utilize," he said. "However it's a great chance to strengthen our growers and improve ... quality even further."
He said KPFA works with about 70 pepper farmers in one district of Kampot and knows of at least another 80 farmers, although there are no official figures. Kampot pepper currently retails at about 4 dollars a kilo in local markets and is a sought-after souvenir for tourists.
Kampot pepper has been famed since French colonial times for its pungency and flavour and is already in demand internationally. Cambodia's fermented fish cheese connoisseurs, however, may have a tougher marketing battle before the world clamours for prahok.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Prince Thomico To Be Ordained Buddhist Monk

Now it appears that Prince Thomico, a failed politician and a family man who is probably disowned by his political allies and family alike, has turned to Buddha for comfort. In his short political life he has changed too many colours. First for being very outspoken against the government and Hun Sen, after that he formed his now defunct party and dissolved it to join the Norodom Ranariddh Party. At the end he betrayed Ranariddh and joined the very people who he claimed to despise. At last they kicked him out unceremoniously. His dicision to seek comfort from the Buddha stemmed from his political failures. His short political adventure has seen him being kicked around and used as a political pawn by Funcinpec and Hun Sen to significantly weaken Ranariddh. But his political life ended with the Buddha. May the Buddha forgive him.

Prince Thomico to be ordained Buddhist monk for one week
Thursday, October 18, 2007Everyday.com.kh Translated from Khmer by Socheata
Prince Sisowath Thomico who just returned back from France recently, has decided to be ordained as a Buddhist monk for a short period of time at a pagoda near Uddong Mountain. The Kampuchea Thmei newspaper reported that Prince Thomico will be ordained on 19 October (tomorrow) at noon, at Wat Ampil Bey pagoda, also known as Wat Slakou pagoda located along the national road near Uddong Mountain. Prince Sisowath Chakreynupol, Prince Thomico’s personal aid, indicated that the prince’s decision was twofold: (1) to pay gratitude to his parents and relatives who died during the Democratic Kampuchea (Khmer Rouge) regime, and (2) to be ordained as a monk while being a royal family member who traditionally takes the vow just like all common citizens, regardless of whether it is for a short period of time or not, in order to pay gratitude to his parents. Prince Thomico will be defrocked on the full moon day of the upcoming month (i.e. in one week).

Sihanouk's Letter to the U.S President

Date: 4th April,1969
Mr. President, I have just received through, His Excellency the Ambassador of Australia to Cambuja, the text of the declaration by which the United States recognizes and respects the present frontiers of the Kingdom of Cambuja. In the name of Khmer people and in my own name, I must express to you, Mr. President, as well as to your government and to the great American people, our sincere gratitude of this act of justice and equity by the United States of America toward Cambuja. The resumption of normal relations between our two countries-a resumption which will follow in the near future the decision of the United States to recognize our frontiers-will open the way, I hope, to mutual understanding and good future relations between Cambuja and the United States of America. I know, moreover, that this is also your desire, and I must thank you especially for the decision that you have just made which will permit this normalization hoped for by both sides. I beg you, Mr. President, to accept my assurances of my very high consideration.
Signed: Norodom Sihanouk

Royalist Voice Silenced By Mam Sonando

Royalist Voice silenced by Mam Sonando's Voice of the People: Unethical Beehive station self-censorship?
Beehive Radio station suspends the broadcasting of the NRP program12 October 2007By Phan Sophat Radio Free AsiaTranslated from Khmer by Socheata
The popular Beehive radio station which has been broadcasting foreign radio stations, NGOs and political parties programs, issued a declaration today indicating the suspension of the broadcasting of the Samleng Reacheaniyum (Royalist Voice) of the NRP. The station indicated that the program could affect the honor of certain individuals.In a letter sent by Mam Sonando, director of the Beehive station – Voice of the people, to the director of the NRP radio program, Mam Sonando indicated that the suspension of the program will take effect between 12 and 14 October 2007.Mam Sonando told RFA that the reason for the suspension was not due to political pressure.Nevertheless, Muth Chantha, NRP spokesman, reacted to this suspension by accusing the station’s decision as being undemocratic, and it is of political nature.Muth Chantha said: “Therefore, his decision to suspend us between 12 to 14 October is an unjust issue, and this is not a democratic radio station as he (Mam Sonando) claimed it to be. We see this meaning, we believe that this issue does not involve the law or anything else, but it is a political pressure. First, he sells broadcasting time, therefore, he is afraid that his radio station could be shut down and he would lose his job. Secondly, it could be that he was under political pressure because of his possible involvement with some political party, who knows?”The suspension of the Royalist Voice program by the NRP which is broadcasted on the Beehive radio station one hour each day, is another ugly affair following last week’s decision by the ministry of information to suspend the Khmer Amatak newspaper which is a paper also supporting the NRP.Human rights organizations indicated that these suspensions constitute a bad sign for the freedom of expression, and they could be construed as an unsavory political design to denigrate Prince Ranaridddh, the NRP president.

Cambodia And Burma Brotherly Love

Mourning of the dead Burmese Prime MinisterTuesday, October 16, 2007Everyday.com.khTranslated from Khmer by Socheata
The Royal Government of Cambodia represented by Hor Nam Hong, the vice-prime minister and minister of information and international cooperation, has led a delegation to the Burmese embassy in Cambodia on Monday, to pay respect to the soul and to mourn the sad death of General Soe Win, prime minister of Burma. The Burmese embassy in Cambodia indicated that General Soe Win died on 12 October 2007 from leukemia. General Soe Win was born on 10 May 2049 on Tungyi, Burma. He is a Buddhist follower and he was a graduate of the Defense Services Academy (12th intake). He rose to the position of prime minister on 19 October 2004 and held this position until his death.

Funcinpec Still Wants Ranariddh As Their PM Candidate

October 16, 2007Funcinpec may name Ranariddh as Cambodian PM candidate
With Funcinpec's party congress just days away, the party is still considering putting forward its ousted leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh, as its candidate for prime minister in 2008, local media reported Tuesday.Over 2,600 party representatives are set to come to Phnom Penh Thursday for the congress, marking exactly one year since the congress ousted Prince Ranariddh from Funcinpec's presidency, the Cambodia Daily newspaper said

Norodom Arunrasmy Chosen As Funcinpec PM Candidate

All in the family: Arunrasmy (pictured) chosen as F’pec PM candidate
Wednesday, October 17, 2007Everyday.com.khTranslated from Khmer by Socheata
Nouv Sovathero, Funcinpec spokesman, indicated that the permanent committee of the Funcinpec party has decided to choose Princess Arunrasmy as Funcinpec candidate for prime minister. Nouv Sovathero said that the princess candidacy will be presented to the decision of the national advisory council on 18 October (tomorrow). Nouv Sovathero explained that the selection of the princess as PM candidate was due to the fact that the party leadership believes in promoting women, and the princess will perform women’s job better. Nouv Sovathera said that this is a first in Cambodia, and Funcinpec is the party which took the initiative. Nouv Sovathero sent a letter to the NRP saying that Funcinpec will stop political dealing with the princess’ brother, Prince Norodom Ranariddh. He added that Prince Ranariddh will no longer have a chance to become a PM candidate for Funcinpec.

Khieu Samphan Wants to Clear His Name Before the Trial

Khieu Samphan Looking to 'Clear Himself' Ahead of Potential Trial, Groups Say
Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh17 October 2007
Heng Reaksmey reports in Khmer-download(1.29 MB) Listen Heng Reaksmey reports in Khmer
Former head of state for the Khmer Rogue Khieu Samphan likely granted a long interview last week in order to clear his name publicly ahead of a potential trial, rights workers said Tuesday.
The reclusive Khieu Samphan spoke at length to VOA Khmer in a rare interview Oct. 11, another indicator that he sees himself as a likely candidate for indictment, they said.
He has already hired a firebrand French attorney, Jacques Verges, who defended in court Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, aka Carlos the Jackal, an infamous leftists terrorist.
Center for Social Development Executive Director Seng Theary said Khieu Samphan likely spoke to mask his faults as head of state for the Khmer Rouge.
"I think it is his strategy. His character is that [of the one] who wants to clear himself of the crimes that occurred in the Khmer Rouge regime," she said. "So he wants to interpret [his acts] for the people."
The aging Khmer Rouge leader was seeking sympathy from Cambodians and journalists ahead of a likely arrest by the Khmer Rouge tribunal, rights workers said.
"He wants to defend himself beforehand," said Hisham Mousar, a legal expert for the rights group Adhoc. "His defense is for people to hear about it beforehand. In his strategy, defending himself beforehand is better than the day that will arrive when he will be temporarily detained" by the tribunal courts.

Khieu Samphan: The Warlords Were The Killers?

Khmer Rouge 'Warlords' Killed, Abused Power, Khieu Samphan Says
Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer Exclusive Interview from Phnom Penh15 October 2007
Heng Reaksmey interview in Khmer-download(3.19 MB) Listen Heng Reaksmey interview in Khmer
[Editor's note: Head of state and spokesman for the Khmer Rouge when it rose to power, Khieu Samphan is widely believed under investigation by the special tribunal courts for trial on atrocity crimes. On Oct. 11, he gave VOA Khmer his longest interview since the indictments of two of his comrades, chief ideologue Nuon Chea and torture center director Duch. This is the final part of a five-part series.]
The Khmer Rouge suffered from "warlords" in different zones, Khieu Samphan said, which may have led to the killing fields. "They were abusing power and did their own arrests and killings. That's why there was confusion, revenge, jealousy, and attempts [by them] to uproot one another."
"They did not follow any rules," he said. "They arrested people they did not like."
Khieu Samphan denied any knowledge about the decision to evacuate everyone from cities and towns on April 17, 1975.
"I did not know when the decision about the evacuation was made," he told VOA Khmer. "It was done very secretly."
The former nominal head of the regime, who could face indictment by the genocide tribunal said he knew nothing of widespread starvation and mass killing under the regime.
"Like I said before, I only stayed in one place, that is at the headquarters of the Democratic Kampuchea" in Phnom Penh, he said. "Don't just believe that the Khmer Rouge starved people. You have to do more research to find the truth."
Khieu Samphan admitted that Pol Pot had agreed "to arrest some people" after consulting with the Standing Committee of the communist regime, "but he did not go to arrest people in the fields."

Khieu Samphan: Why Would The Khmer Rouge Kill Its Own People?

Khieu Samphan: 'Why Would It Kill Its Own People?'
Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer Exclusive Interview from Phnom Penh15 October 2007
Heng Reaksmey interview in Khmer-download{2.47 MB) Listen Heng Reaksmey interview in Khmer
[Editor's note: Head of state and spokesman for the Khmer Rouge when it rose to power, Khieu Samphan is widely believed under investigation by the special tribunal courts for trial on atrocity crimes. On Oct. 11, he gave VOA Khmer his longest interview since the indictments of two of his comrades, chief ideologue Nuon Chea and torture center director Duch. This is part three of a five-part series.]
The Khmer Rouge was formed to fight foreigners, not kill its own, the former public face of the regime said.
"Why would it kill its own people?" Khieu Samphan asked. "For what reason? Who would live in the country then?"
Khieu Samphan, who has already selected a foreign attorney to defend him against possible indictment by Cambodia's hybrid tribunal, said he had not heard of the killing fields, of the starvation suffered by his countrymen, until at least the 1980s.
Cambodians "were hungry and dug up tubers. I didn't know it was like that. I found out at the end of 1989."
Given room to speak, Khieu Samphan raises points that have been raised before, shifting blame from the Khmer Rouge for its autogenocide to foreign powers, often the Vietnamese and the Americans.
The Khmer Rouge "fighting movement experienced plight, hunger, sickness, slept in trenches," Khieu Samphan said. "B-52 bombs were dropped [and] when you were just near them, you became crazy because you were so frightened."
The Khmer Rouge rose out of loyalty to its leaders, he said, as much as the bombing.
"Leaders would ask us to crawl into a crab hole," he said, a common Cambodian expression that describes loyalty.
The Khmer Rouge had loyalty structure where each person had a group, or strand, and every strand spied on the other, he said.
Khieu Samphan said the evacuations in 1975, when the Khmer Rouge took power, were Pol Pot's idea. So too was discipline.
"Those who were good and worked hard, should be encouraged," he said, "and those who opposed, should be dealt with accordingly."
Vietnamese interference might have been the reason so many people began starving once they were forced out of the city and into agricultural work camps, Khieu Samphan said.
"What did the starvation from 1975 to 1976 come from?" he said. "Not from Pol Pot. Could Pol Pot do it alone?"Part 3 of 5 Interview with Khieu Samphan

Khieu Samphan: We Evacuated the City to Save Their Lives

Evacuation 'To Rescue the City Dwellers,' Khieu Samphan Says
Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer Exclusive Interview from Phnom Penh15 October 2007
Heng Reaksmey Interview in Khmer-download(2.34 MB) Listen Heng Reaksmey Interview in Khmer
[Editor's note: Head of state and spokesman for the Khmer Rouge when it rose to power, Khieu Samphan is widely believed under investigation by the special tribunal courts for trial on atrocity crimes. On Oct. 11, he gave VOA Khmer his longest interview since the indictments of two of his comrades, chief ideologue Nuon Chea and torture center director Duch. This is part four of a five-part series.]
When the Khmer Rouge defeated the forces of Lon Nol and marched into the capital, Khieu Samphan was against "evacuating" the cities. But it had to be done for the good of the city dwellers, the aging Khmer Rouge leader said.
"I think the evacuation was wrong, isolating the [Khmer Rouge] from national and international interests," he said. "I talked personally with Pol Pot. The principles of the Khmer Communist Party and Democratic Kampuchea were that if there were some issues to be addressed in the organization, and you talked, they did not punish you. But you should not criticize them from the outside, [which was] called 'attacking the path.'"
"Whatever the party decided was 'the path,'" he said. "Before they decided [it], they thought hard and were responsible. I talked with Pol Pot, and said it was wrong to [evacuate]. We would not have been able to solve things, and we would have been isolated from the nation, the people."
But the people were starving, he said, leaving them no choice. The corruption of the US-backed government of Lon Nol had led to their starvation.
"This is hateful," Khieu Samphan said. "So, in order to rescue the city dwellers, there was evacuation."
There was not enough food in the countryside, either, he said, so people ate bananas mixed with rice, or manioc. A little aid came, but it was not enough.
"China gave some aid but it did not have enough to feed its people either," he said.
"The Khmer Rouge were ignorant," he continued. "They did not know anything about medicine. They ate rat poison and they died. Are we, as Cambodians, happy to hear this? The French brought us civilization for 100 years, and some Cambodians were still this way? Did we know there were such Cambodians like those before? No we did not. Only Pol Pot knew."
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Khieu Samphan: The Truth Becomes My Enemy

'Truth Becomes the Enemy' for Former Public Face of Khmer Rouge
Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer Exclusive Interview from Phnom Penh12 October 2007
Heng Reaksmey's Interview in Khmer-download(3.61 MB) Listen Heng Reaksmey's Interview in Khmer
[Editor's note: Head of state and spokesman for the Khmer Rouge when it rose to power, Khieu Samphan is widely believed under investigation by the special tribunal courts for trial on atrocity crimes. On Oct. 11, he gave VOA Khmer his longest interview since the indictments of two of his comrades, chief ideologue Nuon Chea and torture center director Duch. This is part two of a five-part series.]
Khieu SamphanKhieu Samphan, the former public face of the Khmer Rouge, said this week the truth was being manipulated to become his enemy.
The Khmer Rouge had fought hard to keep Cambodia sovereign, "but in the end we are charged with genocide," Khieu Samphan said during a 90-minute phone interview with VOA Khmer.
In rhetoric peppered with the kind of paranoia that eventually manifested itself in homicidal purges within the regime, Khieu Samphan said Vietnam would have annexed Cambodia into an Indochinese federation had the Khmer Rouge not risen against it.
Vietnamese overtures to the Khmer Rouge to become "like the Viet Minh" were rebuffed, Khieu Samphan said, because Pol Pot wanted to be "independent and self-sufficient."
Khieu Samphan was educated in France. He moved back to Cambodia a math teacher and became progressively political. In 1967 he fled secret police of then-prince Norodom Sihanouk. He joined the communist guerrillas at Oral Mountain and rose through their ranks as they slowly took over the country. By the time the Khmer Rouge took Phnom Penh, he was one of the most-trusted leaders, becoming their spokesman and nominal head of state. He has said was not involved in the policies that led to the mass death and torture of his countrymen.
Khieu Samphan said this week he was an intellectual and did not command troops. "I cannot command my own people to die," he said.
He declined to say whom he thought might be indicted by Cambodia's hybrid genocide tribunal.
"I only want to talk about history, which is the truth, so that the Khmer people know their own history," said the man whose regime dismantled Cambodia's education system and executed its teachers.
"[The Khmer Rouge] fought very hard, we had a hard time, and there were many deaths, but in the end [we were] charged with genocide," he said. "Black becomes white, and the truth becomes the enemy. Do not believe foreigners, and don't be divided."

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Tonle Sap Oil Reserve

Sunrise over the Tonle Sap
Related News
Report: Cambodia forms body to deal with prospect of onshore oil ...International Herald Tribune - Oct 12, 2007
Cambodia forms authority to probe oil reserves in Tonle Sap BasinPeople's Daily Online - Oct 11, 2007
Full coverage »
Cambodia 'set to probe for oil' despite environment worries
1 day ago
PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia is set to begin searching for oil around the vast Tonle Sap lake, reports said Friday, despite concerns about potential environmental damage.
A regulatory body, The Tonle Sap Basin Authority, has been established to coordinate "studies for oil exploration" with private firms, said Tao Seng Hour, who will head up the organisation.
"We will make sure that there is no pollution from exploration," he told the English-language Cambodia Daily.
But some observers have cautioned against the move, saying it could damage the fragile ecosystems found around the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.
No estimates have been released about how much black gold could lie underground in the Tonle basin, a 16,000-square-kilometre (6,200-square-mile) ring surrounding the great lake, but its presence is thought likely.
In 1997 the lake and surrounding floodplain -- home to endangered wildlife -- were designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, although natural resource extraction was still permitted.
But Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has said he opposes designating the area a World Heritage Site, saying such protected status would hinder any fuel exploration there.
The new regulatory body will include ministers, oil officials and members of the Apsara Authority, which manages the Angkor temples.
Cambodia has been gripped by oil fever since the US energy giant Chevron discovered undersea reserves off the country's southern coast in 2005.
Hundreds of millions of barrels of oil are thought to lie off-shore, raising hopes that it could help pull Cambodia out of poverty.
Several foreign oil companies have negotiatied with Cambodia over exploration rights. Production is expected to start by 2010.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Khieu Samphan: Without the Khmer Rouge Vietnam Would Have Annexed Cambodia

Pictures: Khieu Samphan (L), Say Bory (R)
Courtesy of VOANEWS

Khieu SamphanKhieu Samphan, the former public face of the Khmer Rouge, said this week the truth was being manipulated to become his enemy.
The Khmer Rouge had fought hard to keep Cambodia sovereign, "but in the end we are charged with genocide," Khieu Samphan said during a 90-minute phone interview with VOA Khmer.
In rhetoric peppered with the kind of paranoia that eventually manifested itself in homicidal purges within the regime, Khieu Samphan said Vietnam would have annexed Cambodia into an Indochinese federation had the Khmer Rouge not risen against it.
Vietnamese overtures to the Khmer Rouge to become "like the Viet Minh" were rebuffed, Khieu Samphan said, because Pol Pot wanted to be "independent and self-sufficient."
Khieu Samphan was educated in France. He moved back to Cambodia a math teacher and became progressively political. In 1967 he fled secret police of then-prince Norodom Sihanouk. He joined the communist guerrillas at Oral Mountain and rose through their ranks as they slowly took over the country. By the time the Khmer Rouge took Phnom Penh, he was one of the most-trusted leaders, becoming their spokesman and nominal head of state. He has said was not involved in the policies that led to the mass death and torture of his countrymen.
Khieu Samphan said this week he was an intellectual and did not command troops. "I cannot command my own people to die," he said.
He declined to say whom he thought might be indicted by Cambodia's hybrid genocide tribunal.
"I only want to talk about history, which is the truth, so that the Khmer people know their own history," said the man whose regime dismantled Cambodia's education system and executed its teachers.
"[The Khmer Rouge] fought very hard, we had a hard time, and there were many deaths, but in the end [we were] charged with genocide," he said. "Black becomes white, and the truth becomes the enemy. Do not believe foreigners, and don't be divided."

Khieu Samphan: Vietnam Tried to Force Cambodia into an Indochinese Federation

There is a long held view amongst many Cambodians that Vietnam had always wanted to swallow Cambodia through the formation of the Indochinese Federation.The Khmer Rouge regime had always claimed that Vietnam had interfered in its internal affairs as long back as in the 1960s and that Vietnam had strenuously tried to force its regime into joining an Indochinese Federation. Nuon Chea has made this claim not a long ago. Now Khieu Samphan (pictured), the Khmer Rouge head of state, in his interview with VOA Khmer Service, claimed that Vietnam had contributed to the genocide in Cambodia through its interference. Do you think Vietnam had anything to do with the genocide in Cambodia? Please read below:


Courtesy of VOANEWS

A Vietnamese Embassy official on Friday denied charges by former Khmer Rogue cadre Khieu Samphan that Vietnam had contributed to the genocide of Cambodia by interfering in the internal affairs of Cambodia during conflicts of the 1960s and 1970s.
Khieu Samphan said this week that Vietnam tried to press Cambodia into an Indochinese federation, by making overtures to Pol Pot as the Khmer Rouge rose to power.
Former Khmer Rouge leaders continually point to Vietnam's alleged designs on Cambodia as a main reason the regime was necessary.
Both Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, the chief ideologue of the regime arrested by the Khmer Rouge tribunal in September on charges of atrocity crimes, have said Vietnam would have taken over Cambodia if not for the Khmer Rouge.
"Khieu Samphan wants to put the blame on Vietnam, and it is his fabrication to reduce his wrongdoings," Vietnamese Embassy spokesman Trinh Ba Cam said. "The Khmer Rouge leaders are being indicted, and now they can say whatever they want to so that they can find a way out. His words cannot be trusted or believed."