Thursday, October 30, 2008

New military budget twice as big as today

(AFP) Following the deadly firefight at the Cambodia-Thai border, Cambodia will double its military budget next year. Cheam Yeap, head of the parliament's finance commission sais that Cambodia needs soldiers with enough capacity "to protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity", and that the new military budget at about 500 million dollars will be approved by the parliament in early November.

Other blogposts about the conflict.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Top commanders to solve the crisis

Top commanders from the Cambodian and the Thai armies will meet Thursday to discuss the border crisis reports Phnom Penh Post. Cambodian commaders have said that only an increased dialogue can prevent more deadly violence.

Other blogposts about the conflict.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Clashes at the border

Yesterday the border conflict escalated. There where more shooting, and Phnom Penh Post reports about two deaths on the Cambodian side.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gun Fire on the Thai-Cambodian border

Thailand and Cambodia have failed to solve the border dispute near the ancient temple Preah Vihear. On Monday Hun Sen gave Thailand an ultimatum that the thai troops must withdraw within 24 hours reports Phnom Penh Post. Ten days earlier there where some shooting in the area which wounded one Cambodian and two Thai soldiers. The Post further reports that Hun Sen has said that the issue will be brought before the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

AP reports that Thai troops retreaded on Tuesday around one and a half hour before Hun Sen's deadline. According to AP the troops retreated to their camp half a mile from the disputed area. Hun Sen ordered Cambodia's army chiefs to take full responsibility over the area, adding that it is a "life-and-death battle zone". Thailand's Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat on the other hand ordered his army to "take care of the situation so there is no violence".

The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reports today, Wednesday about gun fire. Thai television has today showed images of military vehicles with tanks on their way to the border. The Thai minister of foreign affairs has told all Thai citizens to leave Cambodia immediately, adding that the government is ready to evacuate their citizens if necessary. According to a Cambodian officer it was the Thai army who started todays shooting. A Thai army employee confirms that a fight has broken out according to Dagens Nyheter.

Some facts about the conflict:
*Preah Vihear was built in the 11th och 12th century, and are dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
*A commission settled 1904 that the temples should belong to Siam (Thailand), but on a map published in 1907 they were placed in the French protectorate of Cambodia.
*The temples got occupied by Thai military not long after Cambodian independence in 1954. The conflict was committed to the International Court.
*In 1962 the court found that the temples belonged to Cambodia.
*The temples were the Lon Nol-regime's last stronhold until the Khmer Rouge seized power in 1975.
*It was also in the temple area that the communist guerilla met governments negotiator 1998 for final capitulation in.
(Facts from TT)

Earlier blogposts about the conflict: New temple on the World Heritage list..., Temple talks on hold, Temple talks soon to start again and Temple talks continues today.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Khmer rouge soldiers jailed for murder

Four ex-Khmer Rouge members were jailed for 10-20 years for the 1997 murder of the British mine-clearer Christopher Howes reports BBC News. The trial is seen as a sign Khmer Rouge figures no longer enjoy immunity.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Yash Ghai on human rights in Cambodia

Radio Australia has published one of their radio programmes about UN and Human Rights in Cambodia. It can be read (or listened to) here. Yash Ghai, the recently resigned United Nations Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia sais among other things that: "My deep conviction is that the government has absolutely no interest in the promotion of human rights. The whole state exists on systematic violations of political, economic and social rights."

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cambodia applies for pneumonia vaccine

The Cambodian government has applied for funding for a pneumonia vaccine, reports Phnom Penh Post. The vaccine is expected to prevent 1,200 deaths in Cambodia every year. Some 30,000 children die before their fifth birthday each year in Cambodia, one in five os these deaths is caused by pneumonia reports Phnom Penh Post. Dr Varun Kumar, medical adviser at the Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) in Siem Reap, sais pneumonia is one of the top two diseases of kids admitted into the hospital.

Phnom Penh Post reports that Cambodia has applied to the GAVI Alliance, a public-private organisation, for funding to expand its National Immunisation Program to include a new vaccine against the Hib-bacteria that causes pneumonia, as well as several other infections. The GAVI Alliance was created in 2000 to improve access to immunisation in poor countries. Its partners include national governments, Unicef, WHO, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the vaccine industry, and research and technical health institutions.

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Cambodia gets $35 million in emergency food aid

(AP) The Asian Development Band, ADB, have granted Cambodia $17.5, and will give them as much in a low-interest-rate loan, in emergency food aid for the poorest 500 000 people in the country. The recipients include slum residents in Phnom Penh and around lake Tonle Sap. People who, according to the bank's country director, have suffered a lot from the latest year's rising food prices. Mahfuz Ahmed, the bank official in charge of the food project, said that of Cambodia's 14 million people, about 2.6 million sometimes go hungry and suffer from malnutrition. The program will run through September 2011.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Resumption of food programme for school children

The breakfast programme for schoolchildren which stopped earlier this year due to lack of funds has resumed. The resumption was made possible by donors responding to an WFP appeal, reports AP. The programme costs about $9 million per year, or about $20 per child. Radio Australia reports that Bradley Busetto, acting country director of the World Food Program in Cambodia has said it will continue at least until early next year.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ranariddh retires

Only a few days after his return to Cambodia Prince Norodom Ranariddh quit politics reports the International Herald Tribune. The prince was a key leader in Cambodia during the 80's and 90's. According to IHT, a Norodom Ranariddh Party statement said the party's chief handed in his resignation on October 3rd without giving a reason.

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