Archive for August 2012
AKP Phnom Penh,31 August 2012 —
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen has asked the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to strengthen its role, along with other relevant actors, in ensuring peace, reducing tensions and promoting peaceful resolutions both at regional and global level, according to a special envoy of the National Television of Cambodia (TVK).
Addressing the 16th NAM Summit yesterday, in his keynote address under the theme: “Lasting Peace through Joint Global Governance”, Samdech Techo Hun Sen called on the NAM member countries, 60 percent of them hold seats at the United Nations, to work together to boost this movement to be more active and to intensify its role and importance to protect the benefits of the developing countries as well as to contribute to seeking solutions to regional and global challenges.
The Cambodian premier further asked the NAM member countries to ratify the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and to closely work together to combat the proliferation of small arms and light weapons use and illicit trafficking.
At this auspicious event, Samdech Techo Hun Sen also congratulated and expressed his warm welcome to the new two members of the movement, Azerbaijan and Fiji, the envoy said.
Samdech Techo Hun Sen also expressed his appreciation to the NAM’s five-decade achievements and raised the current challenges in the region and the world including fragility of the economic recovery of developed countries, debt crisis in Europe, social and political turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, high oil price, food and energy security, climate change, natural disasters, terrorism and transnational crimes.
The NAM summit in Tehran, Republic Islamic of Iran from Aug. 30 to 31, attracted Heads of State/Government and delegates from 120 countries and 17 observer countries.
According to the Islamic Republic News Agency, on the sidelines of the summit, Samdech Techo Hun Sen and President of Iran H.E. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held a bilateral talk, during which both sides shared the same ideas that Cambodia and Iran have high potentials for enhancement of trade transactions and joint investments.
By KHAN Sophirom
YANGON, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) — Myanmar government Thursday published detailed name list of 2,082 out of 6,165 black-listed persons lifted recently in line with the government’s current reform policy.
Of the 2,082 persons, 935 are Myanmar dissidents residing at home and abroad, while 1,147 are foreigners from various countries and regions, both the East and the West, according to the website of the President’s Office.
The Myanmar dissidents include those from anti-previous military government organizations in exile and media persons.
The lifting of the once black-listed Myanmar nationals, some of whom hold foreign citizenship, will encourage and enable them to return to Myanmar in light of Myanmar’s political and economic reform process, the official media said.
Since taking office on March 30, 2011, President U Thein Sein’s new government has, on a number of occasions, urged Myanmar experts residing abroad to come back home to join hands with the government to do their bit for economic prosperity and national development.
There still remains more than 4,000 people once black-listed by the previous military government.
SIEM REAP, Cambodia, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) — Consultations between the ASEAN Economic Ministers and the United States Trade Representative concluded here on Thursday and the two sides agreed to further deepen trade and investment ties.
The dialogue was co-chaired by Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh and Ambassador Ron Kirt, the United States Trade Representative.
“They underscored the opportunities for deepening economic ties and reiterated their commitment to further building the trade and investment relationship between ASEAN and the United States,” said a joint statement after the meeting.
“ASEAN and the United States are considered as engines of global economic activity and growth, and that ever closer economic ties are of crucial importance to ASEAN and the United States, as well as the world,” the statement said.
The ministers expressed their satisfaction with the activities being implemented under the ASEAN U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA) in 2012 and plan to soon endorse a TIFA work plan for 2013.
Among the initiatives under consideration for 2013 are continued cooperation on trade facilitation, the digital economy, trade and the environment, and priority areas for ASEAN integration including small and medium enterprise development and ASEAN connectivity.
They also reaffirmed the necessity of organizing a second ASEAN Ministers Road Show to the United States in 2013, with the aim of further raising awareness of the ASEAN region and promoting ASEAN- U.S. economic relations.
According to the statement, trade between ASEAN and the United States remained strong. Last year, the total trade between ASEAN and the United States showed a 9.2 percent increase, growing from 178 billion U.S. dollars to 194 billion U.S. dollars.
ASEAN imports from the United States increased by 8.6 percent to 76.4 billion U.S. dollars while exports grew 9.8 percent to 118. 2 billion U.S. dollars.
It said that the United States remained the fourth largest trading partner of ASEAN and, collectively, ASEAN is the fifth largest goods trading partner of the United States.
In the investment side, it said that the United States remained the third largest foreign direct investor in ASEAN.
According to the United States’ data, last year, the U.S. foreign direct investment stock in ASEAN countries was 159.6 billion U.S. dollars, up 11.2 percent compared to 2010. ASEAN foreign direct investment stock in the United States demonstrated even stronger growth, increasing 13.1 percent to 24.6 billion U.S. dollars.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Asia News Network , 31 August 2012
THAILAND - Police said Tuandaoh Tuansulong, 58, was driving his pickup from his home in Bannang Sata district early in the morning to Yala Hospital, where he was to receive dialysis treatment.
While he was driving on Talingchan-Sri Sakhon Road, he was ambushed by an unknown number of insurgents who shot him dead.
Police were alerted to the attack at 7am. By the time they arrived at the scene, the victim’s charred vehicle had been left on the road with his headless body, also burnt, in the back of the vehicle.
Police found his head, which had also been burned, on the roadside about five metres from the scene. The victim is believed to have been killed before being beheaded and burned, as police found a bullet wound to his head.
Prasit Meksuwan, president of the Civil Society Council of the Southern Border Provinces, said violence in the area has increased since the end of Ramadan.
Insurgents have resumed distributing pamphlets in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, threatening to kill Buddhists and damage their property if they refuse to move out of the area, Prasit said.
The surge in violence in recent months has left the morale and spirit of local people at its lowest point in a long time. The insurgents know this and have begun distributed pamphlets again – something they have done on previous occasions, the council president said.
Offering a different assessment, Deputy Prime Minister General Yutthasak Sasiprapha claimed that people now feel safer in the South because the government has effectively handled the situation. More people are willing to work in the deep Southern provinces, he said.
He was speaking after chairing a meeting evaluating the government’s performance handling the violence in the South after a year in office. The Yingluck government has not yet decided when it will deliver its reports on the government’s first-year performance in Parliament.
Referring to a recent attack on a train in Narathiwat, Yutthasak said officials had earlier warned that such an attack might happen as insurgents sought to retaliate for recent killings of their men.
Fifteen girls from 9 different countries and regions as world tourism image ambassadors present a plateau fashion show in Hebei Sanhanba National Forest Park, in North China’s Hebei Province on August 17.
The event, organized by the Pacific Asia Travel Association, World Tourism Image Ambassador Organizing Committee, and Hebei Sanhanba National Forest Park, aims to promote tourism in Saihanba.
The park is located north of Heibei Weichang Manzu Mongolia Autonomous Region. Saihanba, means “beautiful high range,” and the town is an important part of the famous imperial hunting garden of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Asia News Network, 31 Aug 31, 2012
THAILAND - Thailand yesterday set a world record when 641 masseurs simultaneously practised holistic head-to-toe Thai massage on 641 people for 12 minutes.
The move is aimed at promoting Thai massage and luring foreign tourists with the promise of traditional medical services.
Guinness World Records certified the record, which was set during an event held as part of the Thailand Medical Hub Expo 2012 at Nonthaburi province’s Impact Muang Thong Thani.
The previous record was set in Australia in 2010, when 263 masseurs kneaded flesh simultaneously for five minutes.
“I was happy that I was able to do it,” 87-year-old female masseur Pornpimol Panyawut said after participating in the record-setting massage.
Pornpimol has practised Thai massage in the southern province of Chumpon for 57 years. Her father taught her the skill when she was young.
“Thai massage is our heritage and we have to pass it on to other generations,” she said.
Thai spa and massage services are world renowned and generate Bt12 billion in revenue per year.
There are about 1,436 spas certified by the Public Health Ministry, which will be classified into three internationally recognised levels: platinum, gold and silver. Now there are certified up to 33 international spas and there are certified 400 hours healthy massage up to 50,000 masseurs.
Reuters ,31 August 2012
BANGKOK - Suspected Muslim separatists launched a wave of bomb attacks in Thailand’s south on Friday in a rare show of coordination in a usually low-level insurgency in the predominantly Buddhist country.
Police say “bomb-like” devices were found in at least 60 locations in Narathiwat and Pattani, two of three mainly Muslim provinces bordering mainly Muslim Malaysia, along with scores of Malaysian flags.
Most of the devices were fake, but at least a dozen exploded and wounded two soldiers.
A shadowy separatist insurgency by ethnic Malays resurfaced in January 2004, after simmering for decades. Since then, 5,206 people have been killed and 9,137 wounded, according to Deep South Watch, an organisation that monitors the violence.
The placing of the flags with the devices was aimed at souring relations between Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, an analyst and a security official said.
“The operation was designed as a show of solidarity with Malaysia, which will have a secondary effect of straining relations between Thailand and Malaysia,” said Anthony Davis, an analyst at IHS-Jane’s, a global security consulting firm.
The coordination and scale of Friday’s action were”extremely rare” and intended as a rebuttal of the government’s
handling of the eight-year conflict, said Srisompop Jitpiromsri of Deep South Watch, who is also a lecturer at Prince of Songkla University in Pattani.
Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat have seen almost daily gun fights and bomb attacks since January 2004.
The three provinces were once part of an independent Malay Muslim sultanate until annexed by Thailand in 1909.
The placing of Malaysian flags was intended to antagonise the Thai government and cause friction with Malaysia, Pramote Prom-in, an official at the Southern Internal Security Operations Command told a news conference in Narathiwat.
He asked authorities to be vigilant and said the attacks would not affect Thai-Malaysian relations.
The attacks came on the anniversary of Malaysia’s independence from British rule.
Leaked television footage of a fatal roadside ambush by militants on four Thai soldiers a month ago triggered widespread public scrutiny of the government’s handling of the long-neglected south.
The government had ruled out peace talks but the government had a change of heart and said this month talks were under way. Successive governments have spent more than 160 billion baht ($5 billion) over the past eight years to quell the violence.
The use of the Malaysian flags should not be taken as signalling the insurgents’ wish to be part of Malaysia, said Davis.
“They’re reiterating their own need for independence,” he said.
AP,30 August 2012
Prosecutors at Cambodia’s war crimes court on Friday conceded that the Khmer Rouge’s former “First Lady” was unlikely to face trial due to ill health and recommended her release.
The move came after experts told the UN-backed tribunal that the mental state of ex-social affairs minister Ieng Thirith, 80, had worsened since appeal judges in December requested medical treatment and further tests.
She now appears almost certain never to answer to charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, unlike three other top leaders — including her husband, former foreign minister Ieng Sary — presently on trial.
“She is not currently able to exercise her fair trial rights and she’s therefore currently unfit to stand trial,” prosecutor Tarik Abdulhak told the tribunal.
“It is therefore unlikely that she will face a trial again in any immediate or foreseeable period of time and therefore the grounds for her continued detention, in our respectful submission, no longer exist,” he said.
Prosecutors recommended a suspension of the legal proceedings against Ieng Thirith but said the indictment would not be withdrawn.
They called for conditions on her release including a requirement to live at a specified address, undergo a weekly security check, surrender her passport and have a twice-yearly medical exam — a request opposed by the defence.
Freeing Ieng Thirith — who was the sister-in-law of regime leader Pol Pot — would dismay many Khmer Rouge survivors still haunted by the horrors of the 1975-1979 regime, blamed for the deaths of up to two million people.
Led by “Brother Number One” Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge wiped out nearly a quarter of the Cambodian population through starvation, overwork and executions in a bid to create an agrarian utopia.
Judges in November ordered the release of Ieng Thirith after medical experts said she suffered from memory loss and most likely had Alzheimer’s disease. But the ruling was overturned on appeal the following month.
In fresh expert testimony following medical treatment, the court heard on Friday that Ieng Thirith’s mental state had since declined.
“We have had no doubts over the time that we have been seeing her that there has been a deterioration in Ieng Thirith’s cognitive function,” said John Campbell, a professor of geriatrics at New Zealand’s University of Otago, one of three-court appointed experts.
“We are quite firm in our opinion that Ieng Thirith has significant dementia. We have tried the treatments that are available, to no effect, and there would be no advantage in trying any other medication or remedy,” he said.
The experts’ conclusion, however, contrasted sharply with the testimony from Ieng Thirith’s treating psychiatrist, Chak Thida, who told the court on Thursday that her patient “did not have symptoms of dementia”.
Thida said Ieng Thirith was a “polite and neat” lady who could read French accurately although she experienced “some loss in memory” due to her age.
By Kham Logue, 29 August 2012
‘The Group good supersedes the Individual good’, is an old adage but it still works timelessly like an old charm. The idealists, and especially the youths are fond of it.
In Cambodia politic, often youths were ignored but Hun Sen politicized them in greater good in volunteerism for the benefits of the society after his border demarcation address.
On 9 August 2012 Hun Sen’s made a grand entrance and grand standing in his 5 hour border demarcation and swapping land with Yuon clarification address before the National Assembly. That had risen both in positive and negative feedbacks. The opposition seemed to think Hun Sen was unable to escape his treacherous acts.
Other hands his officials honored him with extraordinaire title. Before the youths eyes, Hun Sen made a historical event that none of the past regime leaders had achieved. This comparable to how one sees the half empty or half full glass example. At the same time, it appeared Hun Sen won approval on TKO over the opposition political jabs.
Because of the land grab and anarchy under his watch, people were upset and ready to take matter to streets in large scales. Almost coincidently his border demarcation clarification address turned out to be a golden opportunity for him to appeal for help from thousands of secondary schools student.
Donning in military garbs climbing on military organized trucks after the send off ceremonies, the youths went off to survey land and help CPP run government to grant ownership and titles to the rural folks.
Politically this is big deal to kids who have never been recognized officially as the national heroic volunteers. Hun Sen made them felt important and as the problems solvers. They esteem in their newly vested power because the government needed them. Each feels self-worth in such a dramatized skit. So when Hun Sen call upon them to volunteer in public services, they responded in thousands.
This mobilization is supposed to whitewash the K-5 tragedy in grand positive scale because at time the rich KPRP cadres can afford to pay stipends and supplied food to the so called conscripted volunteers. To top that the Government owned media and broadcasting systems blasting such propaganda to the countryside listeners,
“Our leader Hun Sen cares and sends helps to secure your land title and ownership for you, the poor land owner.”
Other hand, the youths failed the calls from the opposition in vilifying Hun Sen treacherous acts.
This may be a fluke in projecting political perception. But really the opposition needed youths more than anything else in time. Although all know youths do not have money, but they do have time, effort and energy.
In grass root politics, not so much about money, but energy, effort and time are vitally important in political campaign.
Take President Obama campaign success in 2008 for example. Because he is effective in communicating his agendas with the youths, millions rallied to his support in making small pledges in cash but spent countless days and hours to bring message to the communities and voters door steps. That was the youths who helped making him the first elected minority to be the President in US 226 year history.
For the opposition, youth is the missing piece of the puzzle that needed prompt attention in fixing it.
Prior to his collusion with Hanoi in 1984 to eliminate the olds, Hun Sen was the designated head of Yuon spearheaded Youth Movement. Connivingly he used his ploy ’submit to resist, divide to conquer’ to grab power all the way to the top. All of his adversaries, the Sihanoukians and Khmer Rouge proletarians were spun off to pieces in merely lesser than 10 years after 1993 election.
For the last two decades, Hun Sen continued to neutralize critics, press and opponents within his party rank. Not only that he keenly played off the oppositions within his party against one another but kept them at bay before each CPP congress assembly.
Although Chea Sim is the party Chair but it is Hun Sen who has control of power switches. He pulls strings on rivals. Subsequently sooner than later all rivals turned to be his accomplices and do-boys for life.
In the other political end, the opposing parties prematurely celebrated the Conjoined heads party birth. Before receiving the official certificate, the Conjoined heads party is exhilarated to celebrate and opportune the vacation tour in abroad to solicit donation.
The conjoined heads party should be more cautious with the loudly thunder in case the rain did not occur. In this we fear for it as when the going gets tough, the tough may get sluggish. It’s déjà vu.
In all for a change, we wish the conjoined heads party well and hope it does walk the one walk and talk the one talk from a big town hall to a small village kitchen, from a person to a group and from a house to a community to clarify the why, what, who, whom, where, when and how on its objectives, so voters can share view and vote for.
We all know the old can’t outdo the young but let us not be complacent and lost head in big dream before bed time. To mobilize youth and old alike altogether to step up the games that had never been played in Cambodia political arena before is the opposition’s key to rule.
In this way and is the only way to make Hun Sen a fool out of his prophetic insult; “Opposition storm is only in the bottle,” unbecoming true.
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