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Updated: 2018-03-02T08:37:21.735-08:00

 



Reduced coverage between 07 and 10 August 2010

2010-08-09T03:40:38.849-07:00

(image)
Dear Readers,

Because several of our team members will be traveling to remote areas where Internet access is rather inexistent (read Cambodia’s remote countryside), news updates on KI-Media will be reduced between Saturday 07 August and Tuesday 10 August 2010. A few of us will be back after 10 August and we expect to update the news regularly again by 11 August (Phnom Penh time).

We apologize for this inconvenience and we hope to see you back on Wednesday 11 August 2010.

Thank you again for your constant support!

KI-Media team



PM: Thailand to clarify its stance to UN after Cambodian PM tells UN Thailand threatens force

2010-08-09T03:40:16.503-07:00

BANGKOK, Aug 9 (MCOT)- Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva (pictured) on Monday affirmed the country's peaceful principles and intentions, saying Thailand is sending a letter to the United Nations to clarify its position regarding its border dispute after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen told the world body Thailand is threatening to use force to settle the wrangle.Mr Abhisit said the border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia is not yet settled and Thailand is exploring existing and possible measures to findthe best solution for both sides to stay together peacefully.He said Thailand adheres to peaceful means and is trying to settle bilateral disputes under the law and agreements in place [such as the 2000 Memorandum of Understanding with Cambodia].Thailand will inform the UN how Cambodia encroached upon Thai territory, he said, strongly affirming that Thailand had to protect its national interests.The Thai premier's comment came after Mr Hun Sen sent a letter to the UN General Assembly and Security Council in which he accused Thailand of threatening to use its forces to settle the dispute.Mr Hun Sen's letter, which was also sent to the media, said statements by Mr Abhisit when he addressed the civil society groups on Saturday represented "a clear threat to use military force" to settle the border problem and therefore in violation of UN rules.The Cambodian premier reaffirmed his country's policy not to use military means to settle disputes with its neighbours but that it reserved itslegitimate right to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity in case of deliberate acts of aggression.Thai civil society groups led by the so-called Thailand Patriot Network demanded clarification regarding the government's position on the Preah Vihear disputes.Meanwhile, Deputy Secretary-General to the Prime Minister Panithan Wattanayagorn said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was discussing the matter with experts in international law and related issues. The results are expected to be reported to the premier later today.However, Dr Panithan -- who is also acting government spokesman -- said Thailand's standpoint would not change, that it would cooperate with neighbouring countries for mutual benefit.The government is planning to inform the UN regarding three issues -- the legal aspect that Cambodia questioned, how Thailand's territory was intruded upon and Thailand's affirmation on the use of peaceful means and accepted international law, he said.He said the government is worried that Cambodia was trying to draw a third party into the disputes but affirmed that Thailand would stick to the principle of finding a solution through talks.Dr Panithan added that resolving a border dispute is normally a matter between the two nations themselves to find a solution and believed that the international community would understand and respect.Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban reaffirmed on Monday that the Thai government has not yet ordered the closure of its border despite the verbal spat with Cambodia, but conceded that troops are on standby to protect the country's sovereignty.Mr Suthep, who oversees national security, also commented on Mr Hun Sen's letter to UN that the Thai foreign ministry is now considering the issue, while reiterating that Thailand upholds to live with its neighbour peacefully.The Thai deputy premier said that Thai troops are on alert along the Thai-Cambodian border, but they will not intrude into Cambodian territory.He said the neighbouring country has its right to prepare its armed forces as long as they do not invade Thai soil.Mr Suthep also gave assurances that the ongoing tension will not lead to the closure of the Thai-Cambodian border.Tensions between Thailand and Cambodia arose after the Thai government delegation objected to Cambodia's unilateral management plan for the historic Preah Vihear temple as the neighbours could find no common ground to settle the disputed 4.6 sq km of land adjacent to the temple w[...]



PM Hun Sen complained to UN after Thai PM threatened to use force to settle Preah Vihear dispute

2010-08-09T03:39:51.543-07:00

(image) Click on text to read the letter.

By Khmerization

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has sought UN's help by writing a letter to the UN Security Council after Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva threatened to use force to settle the Preah Vihear dispute if diplomacy does not yield a satisfactory result for Thailand.

In an address to Thai protesters on 7th August, Mr. Abhisit was alleged to have said that Thailand is prepared to use force to take control over a plot of land surrounding the temple complex claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia. "About the land encroachment, we will cancel the MOU if the problem can't be settled. We will use both democratic and military means," Mr. Abhisit was quoted by The Nation newspaper as telling the protesters. The Cambodian Foreign Ministry swiftly issued a strong statement in response to Abhisit's threats.

In the letter, Mr. Hun Sen had drawn the attention of the UNSC to the fact that Preah Vihear temple issue had been settled once and for all by the Franco-Siamese Convention of 1904, the Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 and the verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of 1962 and the 1908 maps which were accepted by the then Siamese king.

Mr. Hun Sen's letter had also drawn the UNSC's attention to the verdict of the ICJ which stated that "...the Temple of Preah Vihear is situated in territory under the sovereignt of Cambodia;"
and that "Thailand is under an obligation to withdraw any military or police forces, or other guards or keepers, stationed by her at the Temple, or in its vicinity within Cambodian territory."

The letter accused Thailand of violating articles 2.3 and 2.4 of the UN Charter. The letter also stressed that Cambodia re-affirms its policy not to use force to settle any disputes, but said it reserves its "legitimate rights" to defend its "sovereignty and territorial integrity" in the face of aggression by Thailand.

Mr. Hun Sen had also requested the UNSC to widely circulate the letter to all members of the UNSC for information.



Sacravatoons no 1800 : " Pen Puthsphea "

2010-08-09T03:39:20.152-07:00


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Khmer duo offer heartfelt thanks to LB supporters

2010-08-09T03:32:15.184-07:00

(image) Phin Ken, and his daughter, Socheat Nha during the the Cambodian New Year Parade in Long Beach, Calif. on April 4, 2010. (Jeff Gritchen / Press-Telegram)

08/06/2010
By Greg Mellen, Staff Writer
Long Beach Press Telegram


LONG BEACH - Socheat Nha and Davik Teng, two Cambodian girls given second chances at normal lives, will be saying their "arkun charans," or "thank you" to residents tonight at Sophy's Restaurant.

Residents will get a chance to see the two girls who underwent successful heart surgeries at one last fundraising dinner.

Although the girls don't depart for Cambodia until Oct.18, this is the last time they will attend public functions.

Socheat, the 3-year-old daughter of a Cambodian farmer, was brought to the U.S. by Long Beach nonprofit Hearts Without Boundaries for surgery not available in her home country.

Las Vegas Childrens Hospital, which had agreed to perform the procedure, backed out when it appeared too risky. However, Hearts Without Boundaries was able to broker a deal with the International Children's Heart Foundation, which performed the surgery in the Dominican Republic.

Dr. Rodrigo Soto performed a tricky four-hour procedure to close a hole in Socheat's heart. The defect, called a ventricular septal defect, was repaired along with part of an artery.

Davik was the first child saved by Hearts Without Boundaries. Dr. Vaughn Starnes at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles repaired a quarter-sized hole in her heart two years ago.

Davik returned to Cambodia but is back in the U.S. for a visit supported by Hearts Without Boundaries.

A fourth patient, Bunlak Song, is scheduled to come to Long Beach later this year.

greg.mellen@presstelegram.com, 562-499-1291
begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 562-499-1291



[Thai] Civil groups start gathering at Thai-Japanese Sports Complex and Government House

2010-08-09T03:31:42.517-07:00

BANGKOK, Aug 7 (MCOT online news) - The yellow-clad People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) movement gathering began at Thai-Japanese Sports Complex in Din Daeng, but activist Veera Sonkwamkid led his 'Thailand Patriot Network' demonstrated at Government House, defying rally prohibition ordered by the the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES).Maj-Gen Chamlong Srimuang, a PAD core leader who led supporters to rally at Keelawes Stadium 1 in the Thai-Japanese Sports Complex in Din Daeng said the people's movement today was not the political gathering but to exercise pubic rights.Gen Chamlong said he would not definitely led people to join the demonstration at the Government House as he wanted to see demonstration run orderly and peacefully.He also invited the people who planned to join the rally at the Government House to join the gathering at the Thai-Japanese Sports Complex instead.Meanwhile, Veera and Chaiwat Sinsuwong led civil society group - 'Thailand Patriot Network' to Gate number 4 of the Government House. They said the gathering at Thai-Japanese Sports Complex was not the network's consensus.The police had closed Phitsanulok Road in front of the Government House but opened way for the demonstrators.The PAD movement on Friday announced it would join a planned gathering of a network of civil groups at Government House on Saturday, their actions designed to seek clarifications from the government over the dispute regarding the ancient Preah Vihear temple.However the PAD have agreed to move their rally from Government House to Keelawes Stadium 1 in the Thai-Japanese Sports Complex in Din Daeng.Prime Minster Abhisit Vejjajiva on Friday had hold talks with representatives, including PAD spokesman Parnthep Wongpuapan and 2nd Lt Samdin Lertbutr, an aide to Maj-Gen Chamlong Srimuang.The premier said the government did not want the groups to rally at Government House, as it could violate the law as the capital is still under an Emergency Decree and risks becoming a disorderly event incited by the thrid party.The premier himself promised to join the rally to listen to the views of the group over Preah Vihear disputes after he finished his engagement at Hua Hin.The premier's move followed the airing of differing views over a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with Cambodia in 2000, the civil groups and the PAD urged the government to revoke the MoU and should push the Cambodians out of the disputed 4.6 sq km overlapping area.The prime minister also pledged to provide channels for the government and the public to express their views, pro and con, regarding the government's actions and plans about the Preah Vihear disputes and the event would be televised on NBT television network on Sunday to let the public to get full information on the matter.The Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) announced on Friday that Thailand's seat of government, the Government House, is an 'off limits' area, and that four roads around the complex were closed from 8pm Friday.Violators could face two years imprisonment and Bt40,000 fines.Metropolitan police chief Pol Lt-Gen Santan Chayanon said that security would be stepped up with six companies of metropolitan police and three companies of army soldiers will be deployed to maintain law and order at and around Government House and roads leading to it.The CRES also resolved to ban PAD's Saturday gathering at the seat of government as the move is considered as violating the Emergency Decree, saying the civil groups and the PAD should send their representatives to discuss the issue with the government.CRES spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd added that some parties also accused the government of what they termed its practice of double standards, which is a vulnerable point.Col Sansern said the authorities will not allow any group to demonstrate while the state of emer[...]



Thai right-wing group protests in capital against temple policy despite government warning

2010-08-09T03:30:37.306-07:00

(image) Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong makes a point during a press conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, Aug. 6, 2010. Namhong on Friday, criticized Thai authorities for continuing to challenge Cambodia's rights to administer a landmark temple on their border. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Saturday, August 07, 2010
By Kinan Suchaovanich (CP)

BANGKOK — About 1,500 members of a right-wing group ignored an emergency decree by demonstrating in the Thai capital Saturday, but heeded a government warning not to rally outside the prime minister's office, police said.

The number of demonstrators at the Thai-Japanese Sports Stadium was expected to swell to 3,000, but no violence was expected, said police Maj. Gen. Piya Uthayo.

The Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation said Friday that the Thailand Patriot Network's plan to protest government policy over a land dispute with neighbouring Cambodia was not allowed under a state of emergency governing Bangkok. It broadcast a specific ban on the action in a statement read over Thai television Friday night.

The state of emergency was declared in April after anti-government protesters broke into the Parliament building to press their demands for early elections. About 90 people died and more than 1,400 were injured during two months of protests, which the army quashed by force on May 19.

The Thailand Patriot Network claims that the government is failing to aggressively pursue Thai claims to disputed land along the border with Cambodia.

Thailand and Cambodia both claim land around the Preah Vihear temple, named a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2008 after Cambodia applied for the status. There have been small and sometimes deadly armed clashes in the area during the past few years.

Last week, Cambodia submitted a management plan for the temple, reviving the issue. The Thailand Patriot Network and other right-wing groups charge that the government should work harder to block the management plan.

In Cambodia Friday, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters that Thai attempts to claim Preah Vihear were pointless. One Thai suggestion is that that the two countries list Preah Vihear as a joint landmark with UNESCO.

"It is too late now to oppose the Preah Vihear temple being listed as a World Heritage site and also too late to ask for a joint listing of the temple," he said. "All of these demands are just dreaming, please, prime minister of Thailand, stop dreaming like this."
___
AP correspondent Sopheng Cheang in Phnom Penh contributed to this report.



Bilateral talk with Cambodia may be held to resolve border conflict: Thai minister

2010-08-02T06:07:37.214-07:00

August 02, 2010
Xinhua

A bilateral talk with Cambodia may be held in a bid to seek solution to the ongoing conflict over the Preah Vihear Temple, Thailand's Natural and Environment Minister Suvit Khunkitti said on Monday.

The Thai News Agency (TNA) reported that the natural and environment minister was speaking in Thailand's capital Bangkok shortly after he returned from Brazil, where he attended the annual 34th meeting of the UNESCO's World Heritage Committee (WHC).

It is expected that next month the WHC panel will present Cambodia's management plan for the 11th century Preah Vihear Temple to Thailand, Suvit said.

After obtaining the Cambodian management plan for Preah Vihear Temple, Thailand will look into details of the plan in a bid to protect the country's sovereignty, he said.

However, the Thai side will keep abiding by international laws to find the solution to the conflict, the Thai minister said.

The Thai people and concerned organizations will be informed of the development to be made on the Preah Vihear Temple, Suvit said.

During the meeting on July 29, the WHC decided to reschedule its discussion on Cambodia's management plan to its annual meeting in Bahrain in 2011.

Prior to the WHC decision to postpone its discussion, Thailand threatened to walk out of the WHC meeting if the panel considered the Cambodian plan since the Thai side had not yet looked into details of the plan, which was handed in by Cambodia to the WHC panel just shortly before the meeting.

Thailand and Cambodia have historically laid claim to the site, which is located on a mountain top on the Thai-Cambodia border. The disputed area of 4.6 square kilometers has not been demarcated.

In 1962 the International Court of Justice ruled that the Preah Vihear temple belonged to Cambodia. But, the 11th-century temple can only be easily accessed from Thailand.



[Thai] Minister Suwit: Thailand may receive Cambodia's temple management plan in September

2010-08-02T06:06:47.182-07:00

BANGKOK, Aug 2 (MCOT online news) - Thailand's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Suwit Khunkitti on Monday said Cambodia will send its management plan for the ancient Preah Vihear temple to Thailand in September and concerned agencies will have to study it thoroughly.

Mr Suwit commented as he and the Thai delegation returned from Brazil and the 34th annual meeting of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Commission (WHC) which ends Tuesday. They were in Brasilia to oppose Cambodia's unilaterally proposed management plan for the historic Hindu temple and its environs.

The World Heritage Commission on Thursday agreed to postpone reviewing the Cambodian plan until next year when the WHC meets in Bahrain after Thailand, led by Mr Suwit, threatened to review its membership. At the same time a number of Thais rallied at the UNESCO regional headquarters in Bangkok last week, calling on the commission to hold off on its consideration of the issue.

Mr Suwit thanked the Thai public for expressing their objection to Cambodia's move, as well as members of his team for their work in Brazil despite pressure and tension, especially when negotiating with the Cambodian representatives.

The Thai delegation head reaffirmed what he termed as that the stance of Thailand on the issue is clear and creative. Thailand is not seen as a villain in the eyes of other countries and many countries have congratulated the kingdom's success at Brazil.

The Thai minister said the officials are now preparing to look through documents of the Cambodian management plan which is expected to be sent to them in September, to see the map details and conditions or attachment which may lead to further conflict.

Preah Vihear was awarded to Cambodia by the International Court of Justice in 1962. UNESCO named the temple a World Heritage site in 2008, after Cambodia applied for the status while dispute over 4.6 sq km contested land between the two countries remains unsolved.

Under the terms of the listing, Cambodia is required to submit a management plan for WHC approval, but Thailand insisted that the matter should not be discussed unless the two neighbours first resolve their dispute over the zone adjacent to the temple.

Meanwhile, the Thailand's First Army Area Commander Lt-Gen Kanit Sapithak said Monday that the army is ready to protect the country's sovereignty but there has been no movement of Cambodian troops.

Gen Kanit however said the military ties between the two neighbours remains good and both agreed at the last month's regional Border Committee (RBC) that they will not use force against each other if any problem arises, but will solve it through talks at a local level first.

The Thai army first area commander said he hoped the good military ties between Thailand and Cambodia will help ease the tensed situation and conflict.



Letter from Gao Hongying on comment posted on KI-Media

2010-08-02T06:06:08.620-07:00

KI-Media Note: Dear Readers, we just received the following email from Gao Hongying regarding a comment posted by a former employee of the Vietnamese company Sacombank. Gao Hongying did not indicate in his email his relationship with Sacombank, only to warn us to pay attention to his email which we have reproduced below. In our opinion, there is no reason for us to revise somebody else's article content or remove it unless a gross error has been made which we do not believe that was the case.
  • Firstly, if the Sacombank feels that it has been slighted by our comment, this bank should have sent us an official letter asking to clarify the situation and we would have gladly obliged.
  • Secondly, Gao Honying did not provide any indication of his relationship to this bank either, furthermore, the email address he uses (webmaster@chasoft.net) to send the email below to us does not provide any clue that Gao Hongying is related in anyway to Sacombank.
  • Thirdly, the anonymous author who posted the original comment did not use the words "illegal and unethical" in his/her statement, we at KI-Media take responsibility for using these words as the header to the comment. Should Gao Hongying himself reads the explanation in that article, then Gao Hongying would be able to understand where, in our mind, these words would come from.
  • Fourthly, we believe that, logically, if we were to remove this article, why then should we make revision to the article as suggested by Gao Hongying (you MUST make a revision on the content of that article and remove it immediately) in the first place?
Sincerely,

KI-Media team

Dear KI-Media TEAM,

Please pay attention to my email because this is really a very serious issue!!!

Two days ago, i read an article on your website with the title "Illegal and unethical employment practive against Khmer employees at the Viet Sacombank in Cambodia?". I think you MUST make a revision on the content of that article and remove it immediately.

In this article, a man who resigned from a company with a reason "the company decrease his salary after probationary period", then he accused the company for Illegal and unethical", more than that, he hurt all vietnamese company in Cambodia, especially all Vietnamese! After probationary period, anything can happen. The company can terminate his contract, increase or decrease this sallary. And any other companies will do the same! So what is "Illegal and unethical" here. If he don't accept the offer, he can resign as he did. But he did accuse the company is completely wrong. And I can see that all readers, they don't pay attention to the core problem of that man, they seem only care about the title only and then there are many unsuitable comments.

I just want the KI-Media TEAM read the article carefully and do the appopriate action. Thank you very much!

Best regards,
hongying



Thomico's Open letter to Thai PM ... But, Prince, where is your open letter to the Viet leaders on Viet encroachments?

2010-08-02T06:05:17.001-07:00

Click on the letters in English and French to zoom inCliquez sur les letters en anglais et français pour aggrandirBeijingAugust 2, 2010His Excellency Mr. Abhisit VejjajivaPrime Minister of the Kingdom of ThailandCare of the Royal Thai EmbassyPhnom PenhKingdom of CambodiaDear Mr. Prime Minister:Please convey to His Majesty the King of Thailand my very respectful homages and my wishes for a long life, good health and a long and prosperous reign.I present to Your Excellency and to the eminent members of the Royal Thai Government as well my compliments.I feel great admiration for the impressive economic, social and cultural development that the Kingdom of Thailand has achieved in recent decades, and particularly for the strong commitment to education that has underpinned the country’s rise. And I feel particularly grateful to the Kingdom of Thailand for the important role it played in the recent past to help Cambodia recover her sovereignty and put an end to two decades of conflict and suffering.The Khmer people have no other desire than to heal the wounds of the past and live peacefully. As a member of the international community, of global and regional organizations, Cambodia wishes to achieve its development in harmony with every country, to nurture and reinforce relationships of friendship and cooperation with every nation, and above all with our direct neighbors.The Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand have a long history together, marked indeed by conflicts but also by periods of peace during which exchanges between the two countries have greatly benefited both. We share a common civilization, culture, and religion. Whatever may separate us is not as strong as that which binds us together.For these reasons it has been especially painful to witness the fast deterioration of relations between our two countries over the last two years. Both our populations are easily stirred by the ultra-nationalistic rhetoric of a minority. But a calm appraisal of history should make it clear that the territorial claims that have so animated the recent popular and political discourse in Thailand have no basis.That history, in fact, is not a pretty one. The borders between our two countries have indeed been imposed on us by colonial powers who respected nothing but their own interests. While the Kingdom of Thailand was not colonized by Western powers, Khmers and Thais both can rightfully consider themselves victims of this colonial past. I understand the feeling of injustice borne by the Thai people against the impositions made on them by foreign powers. As a Cambodian, I cannot forget that the Governor of Cochinchina, Charles Thomson, arrayed guns in front of the Royal Palace to force HM King Norodom to sign the infamous 1884 Convention. Neither do I forget that the 1896 Convention was adopted by the United Kingdom and France in contempt of both Cambodia and Thailand.The current Thai territorial claims, just like the 1954 fait accompli against Preah Vihear, use geographical criteria as justification, and as demonstration of how unjust the 1904 Border Treaty was. Natural features such as streams, watershed boundaries, mountain ridges, and escarpment lines, are indeed used to demarcate borders between countries. Bear in mind, however, that ethnic and linguistic considerations are also important criteria. From this point of view, it is undeniable that the 1904 Border Treaty left millions of Khmers separated from their motherland. Cambodia has been torn apart and left in pieces by foreign powers in full contempt of the aspirations of its people. If our two nations have a claim to historical injustice, it should be clear that Cambodia bears the greater burden.In that era, it must be noted, a people’s right to self-determination was not yet part of internatio[...]



Letter to Unesco on Preah Vihear

2010-08-02T06:04:13.160-07:00

To:
1) Susan Williams, Chief, Media Section: Bureau of Public Info.
Email: s.williams@unesco.org
Tel: 33(0)145 68 17 06

2) Isabelle LE FOURNIS, Press Attache: Bureau of Public Info.
Email: i.le-fournis@unesco.org
Tel: 33(0) 145 68 1748

3) Djibril KEBE, Press Attache:
Bureau of Public Info.
Email: d.kebe@unesco.org
Tele: 33(0) 145 68 1741

Dear Sir/Madams,

I am writing to express my disappointment over Unesco's capitulation to Thai bully over Preah Vihear that lead to the delay of the implementation of the temple's management plans put forward by Cambodia at a meeting in Brazil recently.

Unesco is well aware that Preah Vihear is a Cambodian temple and the temple surrounding areas are Cambodian territories under the 1907 Franco-Siamese Treaty, the 1908 map accepted by the then Thai king and the 1962 judgement of the International Court of Justice. As such Cambodia is well within its right to list the temple as a world heritage site and then to manage the temple as it sees fit. However, Thailand has bullied Unesco to delay the inscription of the temple for at least three times and then now delayed the implementation of the temple's management again.

I am convinced that Unesco is well within its right to approve the temple's listing and the temple's management plans regardless of Thailand's objections by following international laws and the verdict of the International Court of Justice. We Cambodians hope that Unesco would not allow Thailand hold Preah Vihear hostage any longer due to its hegemonic ambitions.

Yours sincerely,
(signed)
Khmerization



Thailand couldn't even properly maintain the Ayutthaya World Heritage site: How can it dream of co-managing Preah Vihear?

2010-08-02T06:03:26.980-07:00

Vendor eyesore imperils heritageSPECIAL REPORT: Government needs to clean things up in ancient city if it is to keep its world standing.2/08/2010Lamphai Intathep and Saritdet Marukatat from AyutthayaBangkok PostThailand has a new world heritage worry, in addition to the Preah Vihear temple.In the old capital of Ayutthaya, which holds world heritage status, unlicensed vendors cause an eyesore and resist attempts by authorities to move them.Officials fear that unless the problem is solved in the next few months, Thailand could end up losing world heritage status over the historic city.The government's management of Ayutthaya will come under scrutiny when the 21-member World Heritage Committee (WHC) meets in Bahrain next year.The panel confers world heritage status - and can take it away if a country fails to take care of a listed site.Thailand has to present a report on how it is managing its five world heritage sites, including Ayutthaya.At stake is millions of baht in tourist earnings and hundreds of local jobs.At the WHC meeting now in progress in Brazil, it postponed a decision last week on Cambodia's management plan for Preah Vihear temple, after furious protests by Thailand.The government was upset that the plan included part of a disputed area on the border between the countries.Thailand hopes to make progress with Cambodia on the disputed 4.6 square kilometre area before the next meeting in Bahrain.However, it will have to face up to another world heritage challenge by then as well.Ayutthaya was awarded world heritage status by the WHC - part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation - in 1991.Every six years each continent has to submit a report to the WHC to show members whether it is taking good care of its world heritage sites.Any site failing to impress the committee will receive a warning. The host country has three to five years to clean up its act.If there is no improvement, the WHC can put the site on its danger list. The final punishment is removing the site from the list.Next time it is Asia's turn to report on world heritage sites under its care.The kingdom's five world heritage sites are Ayutthaya, the Thung Yai-Huay Kha Khaeng wildlife sanctuaries, the Dong Phayayen forest complex, Ban Chiang archaeological site and the Sukhothai, Si Satchanalai and Kamphaeng Phet historical parks.In Ayutthaya, authorities are racing against time to find a solution to illegal vendors. The WHC meets again in 12 months."If the periodic report on Ayutthaya was submitted this year, it would fail," said deputy permanent secretary for culture Somsuda Leyavanija, who sits on the WHC for Thailand."It will be an embarrassment for Thais if Ayutthaya is put on the danger list."The nature of the Ayutthaya site makes the conservation effort difficult as it is the only "living monument" in Thailand where the old compound and town are close to each other.Local authorities and the Fine Arts Department have to make sure any structures which go up will not damage or obstruct the historical sites.But the real problem for Ayutthaya, which puts the old capital in danger of being taken off of the list, is at Wat Mongkol Borpitr.The temple is the Ayutthaya historic park's main tourist attraction, visited by millions a year. It is also a magnet for vendors selling souvenirs.The Fine Arts Department built the area about 300 metres from the temple for 146 licensed souvenir sellers.But about 400 illegal souvenir sellers have set up business about 50 metres from the temple.The ministry and department tried to move the unlicensed sellers out but they refused to do so.The vendors are reluctant to move, partly because the local administrative organisation has built makeshift areas for the sellers [...]



Politiktoons No. 113: General Than Shwe

2010-08-02T06:02:33.573-07:00

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Cartoon by Sacrava (on the web at http://politiktoons.blogspot.com
and also at http://sacrava.blogspot.com)