A Parliamentarian Asked the Minister of Labor to Clarify Questions at the National Assembly – Saturday, 7.8.2010

Posted on 7 August 2010. Filed under: Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“Phnom Penh: An opposition party parliamentarian asked the Minister of Labor, Mr. Vong Soth, to clarify questions at the session of the National Assembly on 12 August 2010, regarding the demand for a salary increase of workers and employees.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, Mr. Son Chhay, wrote a letter on 5 August 2010 to the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, and to the president of the National Assembly, Samdech Akkak Moha Ponhea Chakrei, Heng Samrin, to suggest that the Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Vong Soth, clarifies some irregularities at [the next meeting of] the National Assembly about the responsibility of the Ministry and the demands for a salary increase of workers and employees, as well as about the management and protection of workers abroad.

“Mr. Son Chhay’s letter says that the request for Mr. Vong Soth to appear at the National Assembly to clarify questions was made while looking at the actual situation that exists in the country, relating to the demand for a wage increase where the Royal Government has a duty to consider this and should not take any contrasting action.

“Mr. Son Chhay said in his letter that according to the labor law of 1997, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training has the authority to define the minimum wage for work in all sectors, but the limited wage of US$50 which was in force for many years without any increase is against an universal principle, where the minimum wages in the world are increasing by 5.7% each year, and if this figure is applied on the minimum wage of Khmer workers by taking only 5% within 10 years, Khmer workers could have received a minimum wage of at least US$85.50, and this amount is still low, compared with neighboring countries such as Vietnam, where food, electricity, travel, and rents are much cheaper than in our country.

“Mr. Son Chhay went on to say that also a study by the Cambodia Institute of Development Study (CIDS) showed differences between the minimum wage and the income that workers can earn additionally by working overtime, and this can be confusing and it might be the cause for the slow reaction from the Ministry to define the annual minimum wage scale for Khmer workers. He thinks that the demand of a minimum salary of US$93 per month is an appropriate demand, but the Royal Government is slow in organizing the public administration and in applying some legal principles to provide good and trustworthy services. In order to attract foreign investors, the government should coordinate discussions to sett the minimum wage to US$85 from September 2010, and it must carry out a 5% increase every year, starting from January of the coming year.

“Regarding the above request, Kampuchea Thmey could not ask for comments from the Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, Mr. Vong Soth, as he said that he was far away, and then he turned off his phone.

“Relating to a wage increase for workers and employees, the Ministry of Labor had decided during a council meeting on 8 July 2010 to add US$11 to the previous wage [so the minimum wage was raised to US$61].” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2321, 7.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 7 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2321, 7.8.2010

  • A Parliamentarian Asked the Minister of Labor to Clarify Questions at the National Assembly

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7028, 7-8.8.2010

  • The Appeals Court of the Ubon Province of Siam [Thailand] Heard the Case of Sixteen Khmer Citizens [they had been tried already twice to be imprisoned for entering Thai territory to cut down trees illegally]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3952, 7-8.8.2010

  • [Opposition party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Considers the Impounding of More Than Riel 4 Million [approx. US$ 950 per month] of Her Salary to Compensate Her Accuser as a Threat and Force, and She Continues to Demand Court Reforms [she lost in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defamation suit against her]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #24, 7.8.2010

  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Hor Namhong: Cambodia Cannot Wait for Long if Thailand Has No Will to Solve the Dispute over the Preah Vihear Temple of Cambodia
  • Diseased Red Pigs Are Still Imported through the Sampov Loun Border Crossing in Battambang [expert officials said that eating their meat can cause breast or uterus cancer]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5270, 7.8.2010

  • A Delegation of Former Vietnamese Experts in Cambodia [from 1979, after the end of the Khmer Rouge regime] Pay a Visit to Cambodia and Meet with Leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party
  • [Seven] Khmer Kampuchea Krom Associations [jointly] Stated that They Do Not Have Any Intention to Overthrow the Vietnamese Government [it is in response to the Deputy Minister of Security of Vietnam, who recently asked the Royal Government of Cambodia to help prevent Khmer Kampuchea Krom people from various problem actions, including hiring of private and public radios’ air time]
  • Within Four Years [2006 to 2009], the Cambodian Red Cross Was Able to Raise Nearly US$28 Million [donated by generous people and by international partners]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Plans to Construct an Elevated Road near the Lok Song Hospital [Preah Kosamak Hospital] in Late 2010 [at the junction between Road 271 and the Russian Federation Boulevard]

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An Official Said the Visit to Singapore Benefits Cambodia – Wednesday, 28.7.2010

Posted on 29 July 2010. Filed under: Week 675 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, returned to Cambodia in the evening of 27 July 2010, after paying an official visit to the Republic of Singapore for three days.

“At the Phnom Penh International Airport, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong, held a press conference, saying that the visit to Singapore was essential for Cambodia as it benefits Cambodia, since Singapore has a vigorous economic growth. Practically, within the first six months of 2010, Singapore achieved a 17% economic growth. Because Singapore is an important economic partner of Cambodia, both countries’ trade increased within these six months. Trade increased up to 62%, amounting to more than US$1 billion. Also, investments from Singapore are rising.

“During the visit, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen had discussions with the Singaporean prime minister, and both sides agreed to concentrate on mutual economic development and the exchange of their perspective on regional issues.

“The Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, made a speech during a business meal, organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Singapore in the National University of Singapore in the morning of 26 July 2010.

“Samdech Hun Sen invited Singaporean businesspeople, who have never visited Cambodia, to come to study the Cambodian reality, take up investment opportunities, and meet with Cambodian commercial associations to seek partners and to cooperate to contribute to successful results together. He added, ‘You have capital, knowledge, and experience, and with the extensive potential of Cambodia, there are many places and opportunities where both countries’ economies can benefit from each other.’ Samdech Dekchor promised Singaporean investors and businesspeople to facilitate a favorable and friendly business atmosphere, to be widely open for Singaporean investments and businesses.

“Samdech Hun Sen asked Singaporean investors to establish rice milling factories in Cambodia, because Cambodia harvests lots of paddy rice each year, but the export of unprocessed paddy rice makes Cambodia to lose a lot of profits.

“It should be noted that both countries established diplomatic ties in 1965, but severed them in 1975. They were then reestablished in 1992.

“The trade from Singapore to Cambodia in 2009 amounted to more than US$208 million, while the Cambodian export to Singapore was more than US$481 million.

“From 1994 to 2010, the amount of investments from Singapore was more than US$570 million, concentrated in several sectors, such as tourism, industry, agriculture, and infrastructure.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5261, 28.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2312, 28.7.2010

  • According to the Opinion of His Excellency Hor Namhong [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] the Sentence of Duch [the former Tuol Sleng Prison chief] Is Too Light [he was sentenced for 35 years in jail, but considering his prior imprisonment and a reduction of the penalty, he will serve only up to 19 years]
  • Twelve Foreigners and Two Khmers Were Seriously and Lightly Injured after a Bus Hit a Cow and Overturned [Kompong Thom]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7019, 28.7.2010

  • Duch’s Verdict Seems to Be Surprisingly Tolerant [based on the impression of Cambodian citizens; according to The New York Times] while the Cambodian Center for Human Rights Said It Is a Model for the Cambodian Courts
  • Workers of the PCCS Garment Factory Strike and Blocked the Russian Federation Boulevard [to demand the factory to re-employ a worker’s representative], but the Authorities Used Force to Disperse Them [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3943, 28.7.2010

  • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections [COMFREL] ((Note: if an Internet access brings up “http://www.comfrel.org/khm/index.php” – by deleting “khm/index.php” the English version of the COMFREL site should appear)) in Cambodia Criticized the Government for Using the Courts to Push the Opposition Party Away from Competition for the Upcoming Elections
  • A US Senator [Mr. John Kerry] and the Sam Rainsy Party Encouraged that an Independent Court Systems Be Established in Order to Eliminate Impunity in Cambodia

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #15, 28.7.2010

  • [Opposition party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Praised [the head of the Cambodian Red Cross] Her Excellency Bun Rany Hun Sen [for her effort to protect the honor of Khmer women]
  • The Royal Government Invests in the Improvement of National Road 5 [377 km from Phnom Penh to Banteay Meanchey; responsible for this is the Chamroen Industrial Development company of Cambodia to spend US$500 million; and the width of the road will be enlarged to 15 meters]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #224, 28.7.2010

  • Duch Will Appeal against the Sentence [that convicted him to 35 years in prison] while the World [France, Japan, the USA, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights] Welcome the Sentence
  • Ms. Mu Sochua Accepted Money from the Women Movement [collected for her, to compensate Prime Minister Hun Sen, as she lost in a defamation case]
  • The Ministry of Education Warned Dishonest Invigilators [who get bribes from students and allow them to cheat during the Grade 12 exams]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5261, 28.7.2010

  • An Official Said the Visit to Singapore Benefits Cambodia
  • Regarding Duch’s Verdict, Cambodia Says It Is Not Appropriate while a Foreign Country [France] Says It Is Good
  • [About 1,000] Yellow-Shirt Demonstrators [who protested in front of the UNESCO office in Bangkok] Demanded that the Preah Vihear Temple Is Excluded from the World Heritage List [it is related to the unilateral development plan of Cambodia in the Preah Vihear temple region]

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If There Are No National Standards for Food Safety, the Export of Goods Will Be Impossible – Monday, 26.7.2010

Posted on 27 July 2010. Filed under: Week 675 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

“Officials of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy said that technical obstacles against the export of products from Cambodia are a very serious problem. ‘We do not have proper national standards, and we have not any in line with ASEAN. As a member of the World Trade Organization, we need to eliminate such commercial obstacles.’

“The head of the Department of Industrial Standards at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, Mr. Ping Siv Lay, said during a meeting of a technical committee on food and processed food, supported by the Asian Development Bank, held for two days on 22 and 23 July 2010 at the Hotel Cambodiana, that food safety is a sensitive topic, on focus in recent years, and it is a priority for the Royal Government of Cambodia to improve the safety of food and bewerages. Food in Cambodia is a high level problem in the region. Food manufacturers must promote the implementation of measures of general and of personal sanitation. But which standards do they have to take up? Are they recognized as internationally defined standardized in the country or not? At present, there is no answer, when food manufacturers produce food with can carry high hazards: such as chicken, sausages, milk, drinks, etc.

“Mr. Ping Siv Lay added that for private companies to have exports going on with food security, there need to be national standards for the export of products to international markets. The Asian Development Bank office in Cambodia vowed not only to support the development of standards, but also to help to promote food safety testing in the country, which will also facilitates commerce.

“This official went on to say, ‘We have created standards for ten types of products to ensure commerce in the country. But there are yet no quality standards for international markets.’

“According to an official of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, such technical obstacles make it impossible that a larger portion of agricultural products can be exported, even though our trading partners do not charge taxes. As Cambodia does not have standards, no special products have been exported to China. The other side in trade relations demands us to adhere to standards for our products, comparable to their standards, so that export can be carried out.

“During the meeting, many questions were discussed in order to create a draft about food standards to catch up with other countries.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5259, 25-26.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 26 July 2010

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7017, 26.7.2010

  • [About 500] Workers Marched to Demand an Increase of Their Salaries in Front of the National Assembly – They Do Not Accept the Increase Offered by the Labor Council [they demand a minimum salary of US$75 per month, while at present, they are offered US$61]
  • Officials of Seven Embassies [of Australia, Britain, Cuba, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam] Visited the Preah Vihear Temple of Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3941, 26.7.2010

  • [The vice-president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Kong Korm Appealed to the US Administration to Intervene, so that Mr. Sam Rainsy Can Return to Cambodia [who has been convicted for the uprooting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers]
  • The Women’s Movement for Democracy Has Collected Riel 10 Million [approx. US$2,370] to Be Paid as Compensation to [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Instead of [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua [as she lost a defamation case against him; but the collected money needs first to be accepted by Ms. Mu Sochua.]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #12-13, 24-25.7.2010

  • Cambodia Supports (together with ASEAN countries) a Statement [of the UN Security Council] That Condemns North Korea [for sinking a South Korean navy ship, killing 46 navy soldiers]
  • The United Nations Continues to Seek Contributions to Fund the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [additional US$10 million are needed for 2010, and US$39 million for 2011]
  • North Korea Declared to Use Nuclear Threats to Respond to US Military Exercise [with South Korea]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #222, 26.7.2010

  • For the Crimes at the S-21 Center [known as the Tuol Sleng Prison, where more than 15,000 persons were sent to their death]: Will Kaing Kek Eav Get 40 Years Imprisonment or a Release? [the sentence of the former head of the Tuol Sleng Prison will be announced on 26 July 2010]
  • Two Companies [of Cambodia,: Seledamex and Rattana Corporation] Will Receive Land Concession of Nearly 20,000 Hectare for Rubber Plantation in Preah Vihear [with the consent of the Prime Minister, for 99 years]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5259, 25-26.7.2010

  • If There Are No National Standards for Food Safety, the Export of Goods Will Be Impossible
  • The Cambodian-Thai General Border Committee Promised to Guarantee Security along the Border [officials of both sides of the border committee met on 15 and 16 July 2010 in Bangkok]
  • A Government Ambulance Car Hit People, Resulting in Two Deaths and Three Injured [the driver escaped – Takeo]

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New Sub-Decree: Foreigners Can Own 70% of Condominiums – Monday, 19.7.2010

Posted on 21 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

“Construction development companies have received some information about a new sub-decree that allows foreigners to own about 70% of condominium buildings, in order to promote the real estate and the construction sectors in Cambodia.

“The sub-decree adopted by the Council of Ministers states that foreigners in Cambodia can have about 70% of ownership rights of houses.

“This figure is lower than that which had been proposed in the draft of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction which had determined that foreigners can own 80%. Nevertheless, this percentage is still higher than that had been proposed in the first draft about foreign ownership in 2009 which was only 49%.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, Ms. Nun Pheany, said on Sunday, ‘Such a decision is to allow Cambodians to own more real estate in order to prevent too much ownership by foreigners.’

“Though the percentage for the control of real estate by foreigners is now lower, the sub-decree is still a starting point to encourage foreign investors to help develop the real estate market in Cambodia.

“Ms. Pheany believes that to develop that field cannot rely only on local buyers.

“Analysts agreed that the adoption by the government about the ownership rights of foreigners can help to boost the Cambodian economy that is being seriously affected by the global financial crisis.

“Prices of land and houses in Cambodia declined by 40% to 60% compared to 2008 when prices went sky-rocketing.

“A senior partner of the Sciaroni & Associates Company and a legal adviser to the government, Mr. Bretton G. Sciaroni, said on Sunday that the sub-decree will provide a new opportunity for the Cambodian economy. He said, ‘It can help Cambodia in many ways. It helps create not only long term operations, but also attracts new foreign investors. He thinks that the sub-decree will turn Cambodia to be a country with some attraction in the region, as the decree is not too strict compared to neighboring countries.

“He said, ‘We are more open and have a better atmosphere than Thailand.’ In Thailand, foreigners can own houses merely up to 49%.

“Companies constructing satellite cities in the Phnom Penh area welcomed the decision of the government and hope that this will assist the development of the real estate market in Cambodia and increase the selling of houses, when investors can purchase more real estate property.

“The director of the construction project on Koh Pich island, Mr. Touch Samnang, said, ‘This sub-decree is good for the development of the real estate market in Cambodia. We expect that through the provision of ownership rights, more foreign investors will consider investing in Cambodia.’

“His company is constructing 168 houses and villas at Koh Pich island, and this has been achieved already by 40%.

“The executive director of the Bunna Realty Group, Mr. Sung Bunna, thinks that this sub-decree will make Cambodia become an attractive place for foreign investors. But he warned that this sub-decree alone is not sufficient to attract investors to come to Cambodia, adding, ‘Cambodia needs to have other incentives.'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #217, 19.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 19 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2304, 18-19.7.2010

  • Cambodia Will Send Deminers for a Peace Keeping Mission in Lebanon [under the system of the United Nations, said Prime Minister Hun Sen – in September 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7011, 19.7.2010

  • Big Mineral, Oil, and Gas Companies Have to Declare the Amount of Money Paid to the Royal Government [Oxfam praised the US Senate for requiring the declaration by US registered mineral, oil, and gas companies of payments to different governments around the world as a legal obligation]
  • Samdech Dekchor: Cambodia and the United States of America Still Have the Potential to Expand Cooperation [he said so during a meeting with US Under-Secretary of State Mr. William Burns]
  • A Firefighter Association in Japan Donated 20 Firefighter Trucks to the Phnom Penh Municipality

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #7, 18-19.7.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party member] Mu Sochua Called the Legal Institutions Controlled by the King Powerless [when there is no response to a Sam Rainsy Party letter to the King to ask for intervention regarding her defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen; so far there is no reaction yet from officials of the Royal Palace]
  • Cambodia Has a High Potential to Plant Rubber Trees on as Many as 600,000 Hectares [at present rubber trees are planted on 139,210 hectares, and Cambodia can already produce more than 40,000 tonnes of rubber each year for export]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3935, 19.7.2010

  • The Legal System and Corruption Are Priorities for Reforms in Order to Encourage a Good Atmosphere to Attract Investors
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua: The Sam Rainsy Party Asked the United States of America to Guarantee the Return of Sam Rainsy and Free and Fair Elections [during a visit of Mr. William Burns]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #217, 19.7.2010

  • New Sub-Decree: Foreigners Can Own 70% of Condominiums
  • A US Official [Mr. William Burns]: Military Ties between Cambodia and America Are More Than Donations of Materials [but they aim at national defense reforms towards the encouragement of civil and military relations that are crucial for a political system]
  • The United States of America Delivered Seven Artifacts to Cambodia [as part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between both countries]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5253, 18-19.7.2010

  • Seventy Five Guards Are Deployed to Protect Porpoises from Extinction [in Stung Treng]
  • Barai Tuek Thla Reservoir Resort Will Face Drought if There Is No Rain [it was built during the Angkor era – Siem Reap ]

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Germany Is Encouraging Investments in Cambodia – Saturday, 17.7.2010

Posted on 19 July 2010. Filed under: Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

Note:

Apologies again for the delay – I am back in Phnom Penh, but I returned with a defective computer. I hope within one day to be up to date again.

Norbert Klein

“According to the German Embassy, German investments in Cambodia are small, but the Embassy is encouraging more to come while Germany is the biggest buyer of products from Cambodia among the other countries of the European Union.

“The deputy head of Mission of the German Embassy in Cambodia, Mr. Thomas Heilmaier, told Rasmei Kampuchea on 13 July 2010 that, even though Germany is a major commercial partner of Cambodia, the German Embassy wants to see a further increase in this field.

“He said, ‘The Embassy wants to see increasing commercial ties between Cambodia and Germany. I think there is potential in many sectors.’

“According to figures from a European delegation to Cambodia, among all member countries of the European Union that buy products from Cambodia, Germany is the biggest buyer. Germany receives as much as 31% of the products from Cambodia to the European Union, while the products from Germany to Cambodia are only 12% among other countries of the European Union.

“Besides Germany, other countries of the European Union buying from Cambodia are England with 29%, and Spain with 13%. Countries of the European Union exporting products to Cambodia are France with 36%, Belgium with 14%, and Italy with 11%.

“In addition to commercial ties, Mr. Thomas Heilmaier said that at present, Germany is trying to promote investment relations, though there are only a few German investors in Cambodia.

“He said, ‘In our efforts, the Embassy is maintaining good cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce of Cambodia.’

“He added that many German businesspeople and investors had visited Cambodia, but so far, many German companies still use their offices in Bangkok or in Vietnam to watch over the whole region.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5252, 17.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 17 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2303, 17.7.2010

  • The [Phnom Penh] Municipal Court Decided to Temporarily Suspend Detaining [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua, but Will Cut Her Salary [taking the fine and compensation for losing against Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defamation case from her salary at the National Assembly]
  • Cambodia Denied That an [anti-Thai government] Red Shirt Leader Is Hiding in Cambodia [after an accusation by Thai press The Nation]
  • The Ministry of Information Sued Khmer Amatak for Disinformation [after it published, on 5 July 2010, an article with a title “The 13th Anniversary of the Coup in July 1993 Signals that Hun Sen Has Gathered Power”]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7010, 17-18.7.2010

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Is Completely Recovered [from swine flu and his eye problems], and He Presided over a Cabinet Meeting
  • A Gold Seller Was Fatally Shot and [Two] Robbers Took Away 370 Chi of Gold [US$538,350], US$3,000, Baht 5,000 [approx. US$150], and Riel 20 Million [approx. US$4,600 – Preah Vihear]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3934, 17-18.7.2010

  • The World Inter-Parliament Meeting [held in Geneva] Concentrated on the Mistreatment of Parliamentarians by the Ruling Parties in 34 Countries [and asked the Cambodian government to stop suing opposition parliamentarian Ms. Mu Sochua]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5252, 17.7.2010

  • Germany Is Encouraging Investment in Cambodia
  • So Far No Action Has Been Taken by the Authorities against the Champa Manpower Group after Its Irregularities Had Been Discovered [this company forced workers, including underage girls, to live in unhygienic conditions while receiving training before they are sent to work in Malaysia – Phnom Penh]

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Eighty Percent of the 1,621 Communes in the 24 Provinces and Cities Are Rural Areas – Friday, 16.7.2010

Posted on 19 July 2010. Filed under: Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

Note:

Apologies again for the delay – I am back in Phnom Penh, but I returned with a defective computer. I hope within one day to be up to date again.


Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: According to a report of the United Nations for 2010, there are 1,621 communes in the 24 provinces and cities in Cambodia, where 80% is rural areas.

“The report on the outlook of fundamental developments for 2010, recently published by the United Nations, says that Cambodia has 24 provinces and cities, but only 142 communes are considered as [densely] populated or urban, while as many as 1,479 communes remain rural.

“The same source adds that in Phnom Penh, 10 among the 76 communes are considered as rural.

“Besides Phnom Penh, the report divides the rest of the 23 provinces and cities into 4 areas: low lying areas, the Tonle Sap lake area, highlands, and the seashore area.

“In the low lying areas, among the 616 communes, only 27% are considered urban. That means 83% of the total area is rural. The low lying areas cover Kandal, Kompong Cham, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, and Takeo.

“The Tonle Sap lake area consists of 8 provinces: Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kompong Chhnang, Kompong Thom, Oddar Meanchey, Pailin, Pursat, and Siem Reap. In these 8 provinces, among the 491 communes, only 30 are urban, while the other 461 are still rural. To sum up, as much as 85% of the communes are rural.

“The highlands of Cambodia comprises 6 provinces: Kompong Speu, Kratie, Mondolkiri, Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, and Ratanakiri. In total, only 10 communes in these 6 provinces are urban, whereas the rest of 276 are rural. To conclude, only 9% of this area is considered urban.

“In the seashore area, there are 4 provinces, and only 19% of the communes of those provinces are urban. The 4 provinces are Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong, and Sihanoukville, where there are 152 communes, but only 9 are considered as urban.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5251, 16.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 16 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2302, 16.7.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Will Pay an Official Visit to Singapore on 26 and 27 July 2010 [detailed information about this visit has not yet been provided]
  • After the Authorities Checked [two] Companies Sending Workers to Malaysia, They Found Many Underage Girls [between 15 to 16 years old among them – Chamkar Mon district, Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7009, 16.7.2010

  • The Maternity and Child Death Rate Is Still a Concern for Cambodia [according to the Minister of Health, the death rate decreased from 472 among 100,000 live births in 2005 to only 416 deaths in 2008, and this problem needs more attention from the government]
  • Ms. Mu Sochua Stressed Her Position Again that She Would Rather Get Jailed Than Pay Riel 16.5 Million [approx. US$3,930] for Losing a Defamation Case [against Prime Minister Hun Sen – as she considers the verdict not to be just]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3933, 16.7.2010

  • A Visit [from 14 to 22 July] of US Under-Secretary of State [Mr. William J. Burns] to Southeast Asia Is Crucial to Ensure the Respect for Human Rights and Democracy in Cambodia [according to an announcement of the US Department of State]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #216, 16.7.2010

  • A Study [by the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, conducted by interviewing 400 workers who had been sent back from Thailand through the Poipet Border Crossing]: One Fourth of Migrants Were Trafficked
  • Demonstration to Mark the Thai Invasion onto Territory [claimd by Cambodia, close to the Preah Vihear Temple, led by the president of the Cambodian Confederation Union, Mr. Rong Chhun] Was Blocked by the Authorities [Phnom Penh]
  • [Cambodian] Officials Receive Training on the Management of Oil Resources [from oil experts from New Zealand]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5251, 16.7.2010

  • Eighty Percent of the 1,621 Communes in the 24 Provinces and Cities Are Rural Areas
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Said the Ball Is in Phnom Penh’s Court [that means Cambodia should send a Cambodian ambassador to Thailand first] while Phnom Penh Said It Is in Bangkok’s [Thailand should send a Thai ambassador to Cambodia first]
  • Major General [Chim Sok] Ordered [two] Body Guards to Beat a Man Seriously after a Traffic Accident [where that man’s car had hit the General’s Lexus car from behind] and the General Demanded US$10,000 as Compensation [while the man can afford only US$4,000 – Phnom Penh]
  • Two People Were Killed after a Crash between Two Motorbikes [Prey Veng]

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Cambodia Warned UN Officials Not to Interfere in Cambodian Affairs – Friday, 9.7.2010

Posted on 10 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia accused the director of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Christophe Peschoux, claiming that he acted beyond his role when he criticized the deportation of two Thai red-shirt activists on Monday 5 July 2010, and the Ministry warned that such comment from him might make the government reconsider his presence in Cambodia.

“On Wednesday, 7 July 2010, the director of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Christophe Peschoux, spoke to local media, saying that the deportation of the two Thais are ‘political decisions’ which lack appropriate procedure.

“In a letter dated 8 July 2010, the Ministry reminded Mr. Peschoux that he has no right to make such a criticism, as it relates to decisions within the exclusive right of the Cambodian government. The letter ends with the following remark, ‘Any such activities in future will make the Royal Government of Cambodia to decide over his presence in Cambodia.’

“This letter is similar to one sent in March to the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Douglas Broderick, which had warned to expell him from Cambodia for criticizing the process taken by the government for the adoption of the anti-corruption law.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, said on 8 July 2010 that the letter was sent to Mr. Peschoux to alert him to respect a memorandum of understanding, signed on 1 January 2010 with the government. He added, ‘It does not mean that we want to expell him, but we just want to alert him.’

“Mr. Peschoux could not be reached for comment on 8 July 2010.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #211, 9.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 9 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2296, 9.7.2010

  • Workers Will Receive a Minimum Salary of US$61 per Month from 1 October 2010 [before that, the minimum salary is US$50; the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Mony, announced a plan to strike on 13, 14, and 15 July 2010 to demand an increase of the minimum salary to US$70]
  • Because of Jealousy, a Man Killed His Wife by Cutting Her Throat [he was arrested – Pursat]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7003, 9.7.2010

  • Cambodia Is Open for Equity Ownership by Foreign Investments [according to the World Bank, Cambodia will allow foreign investors to take up to 100% of ownership in all sectors, except for electricity and the ports]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3927, 9.7.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Plans to Hold a Press Conference [about the courts and justice in Cambodia on 15 July 2010] a Day Ahead of the Deadline to Pay a Fine [for losing in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defamation case]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #211, 9.7.2010

  • Cambodia Warned UN Officials Not to Interfere in Cambodian Affairs
  • Defense Lawyers [of former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea] Asked [the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] to Investigate Political Interference into the Affairs of the Tribunal [they said that the government is interfering to threaten the right of their client in judicial hearings; the government opposes to question government officials and investigations of other former Khmer Rouge leaders]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Decided to Detain the Second Wife of Oknha Khov Chily over the [failed] Murders [of the wife and a daughter of a Senior Minister of the Cambodian People’s Party, a former FUNCINPEC minister of Public Works and Transportation, Mr. Sun Chanthol – Phnom Penh]
  • The Green Light Is Given for Marriages between Cambodians and South Koreans [the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, said that the ban on marriages is lifted after the Cambodian government has organized a clear monitoring mechanism against fake marriages and human trafficking]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5245, 9.7.2010

  • A Gay Man Was Killed and His Body Was Thrown Away at Kilometer 6 [of National Road 5, in the Russey Keo district of Phnom Penh; perpetrators are not yet identified]
  • Two People Died and Fifty Seven Others Are Having Severe Diarrhea [Svay Rieng]

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Economists: A Cambodia Stock Market Can Use Both the Dollar and the Riel – Thursday, 8.7.2010

Posted on 9 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“Phnom Penh: The stock market of Cambodia scheduled to be established at the end of this year might use both Dollar and Riel.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Mr. Hang Chuonarong, said on 6 July 2010, after a press conference at the office of the Asian Development Bank in Cambodia, that this is a choice being discussed by stock market experts, but so far, no official decision has been made. He added, ‘The government has nothing decided, but experts, highly skilled in stock exchange matters, are thoroughly discussing and studying its advantages and disadvantages.’

“According to the Principal Economist in the Office of Regional Economic Integration of the Asian Development Bank, Mr. Jayant Menon, the choice to use both currencies (Dollar and Riel) is a mechanism that Cambodia must take into consideration, because it is related to the currency polices, and the polices about interest rates, especially the stability of the Riel, the national currency of Cambodia.

“He went on to say that to invest by using the Dollar or the Riel is not a problem for the operation of the stock market in Cambodia, but it depends on where Cambodia wants investments to flow to. He added that the problem is whether Cambodia needs local or needs foreign investment. If Cambodia needs foreign investment, foreign investors might find it somewhat difficult to invest in the stock exchange of Cambodia.

“So far, the Dollar, the US currency, is used for 90% of the transaction value [the Riel is used for 10%] at the markets and for payments in Cambodia, while in Laos, it is used only for 50%, and in Vietnam for merely 20%.

“Regarding this issue, Mr. Narong recognizes this point, but he said that the use of the Dollar has both positive and negative qualities. He explained that the use of the Dollar is good, because its value does not change much, it is easy for settling payments in exports, and it attracts foreign investment for economic growth, but it can cause difficulties for the authorities to manage currency policies and some other problems.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5244, 8.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 8 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2295, 8.7.2010

  • Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam Will Cooperate to Solve Dollarization Problems [to deal with challenges that result from using different currencies in the economy, to allow the three countries to promote efficient currency policies and currency exchange policies]
  • Samdech Hun Sen and His Wife Donated Two Male Elephants to the [South] Korean Government [for breeding]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7002, 8.7.2010

  • Police Intercepted a Twelve-Seater Car Loaded with 110 Pieces of Ebony, and a Person Who Tried to Protect the Wood Claiming that He Is a Military Police Officer [finally police seized the car and arrest the driver – Takeo]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3926, 8.7.2010

  • Cambodia Loses US$20 Million to US$90 Million per Year because of Failures in Its Dollarization Policy [according to studies by the Supreme National Economic Council – (interesting: its web site has also a non-operational button Call for donation) – the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank, the extensive use of dollars in Cambodia, on the one hand, helps attract foreign investment and trade and enables the banking and financial systems to improve quickly through the increase of deposited money, the prevention of market disturbances, and the inflation of the prices of goods – but, on the other hand, it weakens the possibility of the National Bank of Cambodia to create its own currency policies, including for the prevention of financial crisises in the banking system, the control of the inflation rate of currency exchanges, and the printing of currency notes]
  • The Court Will Issue a Warrant to Detain [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua on 16 July 2010 if She Does Not Pay a Fine by the Deadline [for losing a defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #2, 8.7.2010

  • The World Bank: Cambodia Is Very Open for Foreign Investments [compared to other countries in Southeast Asia and in the Pacific, but It Takes Longer [to launch an operation in Cambodia, which takes 86 days on average, while in other countries, it takes only 42 days]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Starts to Construct a Demonstration Compound [at a park near the Canadia Bank’s High Rise Building]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5244, 8.7.2010

  • Economists: A Cambodia Stock Market Can Use Both the Dollar and the Riel
  • Cambodia Denied that Thai Red-Shirt [anti-government] Leaders Take Shelter in Siem Reap [the Thai Prime Minister said that two red-shirt leaders are hiding in Cambodia]
  • More Than 6,000 People Suffered Injuries and Death along the Road [within six months of 2010, there were 3,040 cases of traffic accidents in Cambodia which killed 991 people, seriously injured 2,853, and lightly injured 2,562]

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Officials: Cambodia Organizes Freedom Parks for Assemblies – Tuesday, 6.7.2010

Posted on 8 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“A government official said on Monday that Cambodia is making way to create Freedom Parks for citizens to demonstrate, but local activists are concerned that this would restrict the freedom of expression. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Khieu Sopheak, told Agence France-Presse [AFP], ‘All provinces and cities are organizing places for Freedom Parks.’ He added that the authorities countrywide had been notified accordingly.

“He went on to say that the parks planed to be established to provide safety and to permit people to freely express their opinions from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; it is compulsory to use them according to a law adopted last year that is the subject of controversial discussion.

“The law limits the number of demonstrators to 200 only; opposition party members and activists said that the authorities will use this limit defined in the law to restrict the freedom of expression.

“People from around the country have frequently demonstrated near the residence of Prime Minister Hun Sen about various issues, including about forced evictions, for which the government faces increasing criticism.

“An official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Chan Soveth, said that the new parks might also reduce the level of attention from the general public, if demonstrators are forced to demonstrate far from the Prime Minister’s residence. He added, ‘It is a good idea to provide an opportunity to people to express their ideas, but we are worried that Freedom Parks might force people to demonstrate at places which they do not prefer.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #208, 6.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2293, 6.7.2010

  • [The Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Expressed His Gratitude toward Cambodia [for sending two bomb attack suspects to Thailand]
  • In a Tragic Event, a Whole Family [of six members] Was Killed in a Traffic Accident [after a collision between a car and a truck – Siem Reap]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7000, 6.7.2010

  • An Inhuman Man Raped a Seven-Month Pregnant Woman and Then Killed Her; It Is a Grave Tragedy Where the Mother and the Infant Were Killed [the perpetrator was arrested – Sihanoukville]
  • The US President Announced Investments of US$2 Billion for Solar Energy Projects [to create solar energy plants]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3924, 6.7.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua: The Petition to Ask the United States of America to Help to Monitor Judicial Systems in Cambodia Has Reached the Hands of [US President] Barrack Obama

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #208, 6.7.2010

  • Officials: Cambodia Organizes Freedom Parks for Assemblies
  • The Opposition Newspaper Khmer Machas Srok Suspends Its Publication due to Bankruptcy [after Deum Ampil, another critical paper, was announced on 2 July 2010 to be bankrupt]
  • The Government Encourages the Conservation of Old Constructions to Attract Tourists [like buildings of historical nature or traditional houses]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5242, 6.7.2010

  • Mu Sochua Maintains Her Position Not to Pay a Fine [for losing a defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen – considering the court verdict not to have been just] and Prepares to Get Jailed
  • Two People Were Killed and Four Others Were Wounded after a Truck Loaded with Cows Hit Motorbikes [Takeo]

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The Prime Minister Ordered the Authorities to Collect and Report the Numbers of Disabled People – Tuesday, 22.6.2010

Posted on 24 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

Note:

Apologies – delays of the publication may occur until 17 July 2010 because of my international travel.

Norbert Klein
At present in Brussels/Belgium at the meetings of ICANN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

“Phnom Penh: In the morning of 21 June 2010, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia called on the authorities countrywide of all levels to collect and report the accurate numbers of disabled people, in order to facilitate the creation of policies as well as of procedures to assist the disabled people.

“The speech of the head of the Royal Government was welcomed by officials from the opposition parties and from civil society organizations in Cambodia, but they appealed on the Prime Minister to monitor the implementation by himself – otherwise the implementation by local authorities may not be effective.

“Presiding over the closing convention at the National Institute of Education, and the third anniversary of the creation of the Cambodian Veterans Association, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, said, ‘I call on the municipal and district authorities and other related authorities to check how many veterans live in their localities, and among them, how many are poor so as to set up programs to assist them.’

“An opposition party parliamentarian, Mr. Chea Poch, spoke to Deum Ampil on Monday evening, saying that he strongly supports what the Prime Minister said, adding that Samdech Hun Sen really thinks about the benefits of Cambodia’s disabled people. But he asked Samdech Hun Sen to monitor the situation himself, as some officials do not take up his recommendations.

“Mr. Chea Poch added, ‘Since 1992, and later in 1998 when the war ended, the Prime Minister mentioned this issue, but local authorities do not listen. Therefore, I suggest that Samdech Hun Sen takes practical steps.’

“As an example for a similar situation Mr. Chea Poch pointed to the case of illegal logging, which had led to the removal of the Director of the Forestry Administration in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ty Sokun, but he was not arrested and jailed. On the contrary, he has been promoted.

“A senior investigation official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Chan Soveth, praised the concern of the Royal Government of Cambodia and of the Cambodian Veteran Association, so that there should be only few disabled people found begging or causing trouble in the society.

“However, Mr. Chan Soveth regretted that the government just creates awareness, but does not initiate programs to support the daily lives of disabled people – now they feel disappointed, though they had sacrificed themselves for the country, but assistance should not be provided based on nepotism.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen clearly said that the help for disabled people should be provided without nepotism; that means that all will get help without considering their political orientation.

“Regarding this point, the head of the Royal Government asked to check certain salary lists to prevent the selling or buying and the mortgaging of materials provided to disabled people.

“He said, ‘I ask that those who bought Provisions booklets [to administer the salaries and and material donations] for disabled people to return the booklets to them, either free of charge or by selling them back at appropriate prices.’

“The Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation, Mr. Ith Samheng, said during the convention that all veterans receiving support from the state in 2010 are 90,605 families or 268,082 persons, and the monthly funds spent on them amount to Riel 6,419,834,848 [approx. US$1,503,000].

“Mr. Ith Samheng added that during the convention, additional members of the central committee of the Cambodian Veterans Association were nominated, where there are 66 members, among them additional 10 permanent members, two additional deputy heads, and three more deputy general secretaries. In total, there are 161 members and 17 permanent members in the central committee of the Cambodian Veterans Association.

“It should be noted that Prime Minister Hun Sen is the head of the Cambodian Veterans Association, together with three deputy heads: Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh, Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam On, and Minister Ith Samheng.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #510, 22.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #510, 22.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister Ordered the Authorities to Collect and Report the Numbers of Disabled People
  • The Prime Minister: The Use of the Word “Disappointed” by [the UN Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia] Surya [because he could not meet the Prime Minister who was not well] Is a Big Insult [for the leader of Cambodia; he suggested Mr. Surya should have said instead he “regretted” this; Mr. Hun Sen personally regards this as a serious insult against him as a patient, so that he could not offer to meet with Mr. Surya]
  • Three Siblings Were Attacked by Acid by [two] Unknown Persons [they suffered minor injuries – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2281, 22.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Cambodia Was a Peaceful Island [country with peace and no war] before the Coup on of 18 March 1970 [by Field Marshal Lon Nol] [Though there was internal war with the Khmer Rouge movement, and part of the country was used by North Vietnamese troops which led to the bombing in these areas by the US air force]
  • A Man Who Trafficked [twelve] People to Be Sold in Siam [Thailand] Was Sent for Seven Years to Prison

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #687, 22.6.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Continues to Ask Samdech Euv [the former King] to Discuss Border Issues with Yuon [Vietnamese] Leaders [during his present visit to Vietnam]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6988, 22.6.2010

  • A Woman Was Killed and Her Body Was Cut to Pieces and Thrown Away at the Pich Nel Valley [perpetrators are not yet identified – Kompong Speu]
  • The Internet Service Provider EZECOM Provides Free Internet Access to Universities

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #198, 22.6.2010

  • The State Has Provided More Than 20,000 Hectares of Land to Veterans [countrywide so far]
  • Internet Game Centers Are Opened Again after They Were Considered to Be Legal [before the authorities had closed places operating computer games regarding it as gambling. After the Minister of Information explained the difference between games and gambling, game centers are now allowed to open gain]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5230, 22.6.2010]

  • 3rd July 2010 Is the Deadline for [opposition party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua to Pay Her Fine to the Treasury [for losing a defamation court case with Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • A Mother and Her Son Were Killed in a Store by Fire [allegedly from burning incense sticks]

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