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In The News

Here Comes The Sunak, Six Killed In West Bank, WhatsApp Outage

👋 Hæ hæ!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Rishi Sunak officially becomes the new British Prime Minister, an Israeli raid leaves at least six dead in the occupied West Bank and WhatsApp is back online after a global outage. Meanwhile, Chinese-language media The Initium’s You Gao reports on how the rise in cyber fraud in Cambodia is linked to China.


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How Cambodia Became The Hub Of Asia's Online Fraud Racket

When China cracked down on cyber crime, many involved in the industry moved to Cambodia. The Southeast Asian country has since become synonymous with online scams and forced labor. But the Cambodian government isn't just turning a blind eye — it is actively benefiting.

Cambodia has been making headlines this year for all the wrong reasons: a rising Asian leader in "internet fraud," "forced labor" and "human trafficking."

But why, in particular, has Cambodia become a hub for online scams? How did international cyber fraud become so widespread in this Southeast Asian nation of 16.7. million? The answers begin with an unlikely source — land.

There is a joke familiar to many Cambodians: only generals with two stars or more can own land in Sihanoukville, a popular beachside destination in the south of the country. That land eventually changes hands and ends up belonging to Chinese investors, who turn it into hotels, casinos and, eventually now: cyber fraud activities.

Cambodia has private ownership of land, but its domestic politics has been turbulent for decades, with property rights still unclear. Large amounts of private land is still concentrated in the hands of the political elite through violent means, such as the forced conversion of private land into state land or the eviction of residents for commercial development.

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For Cambodia Anemia Crisis, The Limits Of A 'Lucky Iron Fish'

They're cute, affordable and simple to use. But upon further review, Lucky Iron Fish aren't, perhaps, a legitimate cure to the widespread health problem of anemia.

PHNOM PENHLucky Iron Fish were once a common sight in many Cambodian cooking pots. Villagers threw the fish-shaped, cast-iron ingots into their food as a way to treat anemia, a condition — characterized by a lack of enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body's tissues — that is frequently caused by iron deficiency.

With rates at 56% among children aged 6–59 months and 45% among women 15–49 years old, according to the 2014 Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey, Cambodia's anemia problem is significant. And this seemingly simple solution (a Lucky Iron Fish can slowly release about 7 mg of iron into whatever is being cooked) was heralded as a way to dramatically reduce incidence of the condition.

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Sick Children, Why The Cambodian Genocide Toll Is Still Rising

Decades after the Khmer Rouge, the legacy of their brutal regime claims a new generation of victims.

SIEM REAP Ros Mom wears socks even on hot days. No one is supposed to see her feet while she is sitting on the bed in her Quonset hut in a small village near Siem Reap, in northwestern Cambodia. Ros Mom lives not far from the ruins of Angkor Wat. But the money brought by 2 million tourists every year has little impact on the economy in the surrounding jungle. The streets around the temple are paved. But the path leading up to Ros Mom's hut is just dirt and sand.

A couple of months ago the mother of four developed an open sore on her left foot because she didn't have enough money to buy insulin to treat her Type-2 diabetes. The monthly prescription of the vital drug costs $25, Ros Mom explains as a squeaky old ventilator churns up the hot air under the corrugated iron of her hut. Only when the ulcer developed did she return to the clinic of the Cambodian Diabetes Society (CDA) to visit her doctor, Lim Keuky.

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Chen Lixiong

It Pays To Learn Chinese, In Cambodia

A mini boom in Chinese-language studies has hit Cambodia, which not only trades with mainland China but also counts many ethnic Chinese among its business leaders.

PHNOM PENH — Speaking over the sounds of a noisy classroom, Tep Raska uses his not-very-standard Mandarin to tel me why he came to this particular school. “I’ d like to do business in trading glass,” says Raska.

Though an ethnic Khmer, his parents sent him to study at the Toun Fa Chinese School, a private Chinese-language school based in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital.

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Kate Bartlett

Cambodia Asks If 'Voluntourism' Aids Or Exploits The Needy

Young do-gooders flock to Cambodian orphanages to volunteer, sometimes paying for the privilege. But child advocates worry if these visitors are more harmful than helpful.

SIEM REAP — Frederick is trying to teach a restless group of Cambodian children the alphabet in English. But the kids are more interested in glitzy decals, a gift from a tourist who visited their orphanage.

"I was here in Siem Reap, came to the orphanage and got this job on the spot," says Frederick, a 24-year-old backpacker. "I wanted work as a volunteer. And I wanted to teach children who otherwise get no education."

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Lan Fang

The Cambodian Brides Of China

A market of matchmaking has sprung up to wed poor Cambodian women and middle-class Chinese men, spurred by both China's newfound wealth and one-child policy. It's not all roses.

HUANGGANG — It is a hot and sticky midsummer day in a small village along the Chang River in the northeast Jiangxi Province. The most popular spot is the pergola in front of the local grocery where a few women are playing mahjong as children chase each other around.

In the corner, sitting separately, are two young women, whispering. With darker complexions, deeper eye sockets and thicker lips, they look distinctly different from the locals. One of them wears a pair of high-heeled shoes, a short T-shirt and tight jeans, out of place with the more traditional local environment. The other woman is pregnant and is playing with her big-screen smartphone.

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Borin Noun

With Military Backing, A Cambodia Resort Burns Down Family Homes

KIRI SAKOR — It was 8 in the morning, and families living in Cambodia"s Kiri Sakor district were desperately fleeing from their homes. Backed by the military, a company called the Union Development Group was systematically burning down people's houses.

Children were crying while their parents fought authorities, who marched on their community with guns. Nearly 2,000 families had been living in the area since the 1980s.

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Ukraine Torture, Calls For Gaza Ceasefire, Hip Hop PhD

Friday, July 11, 2014

NGO Amnesty International says it has gathered evidence of “stomach-turning beatings and torture” committed by pro-Russian and pro-Kiev groups against “activists, protesters and journalists” in Eastern Ukraine. In its report, the organization notes however that pro-Kiev forces have committed “a smaller number of abuses,” and denounces “the escalating number of abductions” by separatists. Meanwhile, the separatists in Donetsk revealed their plans to evacuate “tens of thousands” of residents to Russia ahead of the feared showdown with the Ukrainian army.

The Israeli army continued to strike Gaza for a fourth day, as Palestinian medical sources said that the number of Palestinians killed reached 100, with 750 others wounded,The Palestine Telegraph reports. A rocket fired from Gaza hit a gas station in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod leaving at least one civilian critically injured, according to The Jerusalem Post. The latest events come after U.S President Barack Obama offered to broker a ceasefire, urging “both sides not to escalate the crisis,” a White House statement said.

Buddhist monks chant prayers Thursday in Phnom Penh for the enshrinement of late King-Father Norodom Sihanouk.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Kabul for a hastily arranged visit aimed at mediating Afghanistan’s electoral crisis, after the two presidential candidates claimed victory amid allegations of fraud. According to Reuters, Kerry will meet with both candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghan, a former World Bank official who lead the preliminary results. At a meeting with a UN envoy, Kerry said, "The election legitimacy hangs in the balance, the future potential of the transition hangs in the balance, so we have a lot to do.” One way to do it: threat of a U.S. aid cutoff.

According to a recent poll, a majority of Russians believe a nuclear war is possible today.

An article published in The New York Times shows how 14-year-old and 15-year-old children in China use fake documents to bypass electronic giant Samsung’s ban on child labor to work at a factory during the summer. In a statement, the group said it “will take appropriate measures in accordance with our policies to prevent any cases of child labor in our suppliers.”

As part of Hit It!, our brand-spankin’-new-everything-under-the-sun-global-music blog, we report on a British University that is offering a new course on French protest music. “Ever dreamed of quoting a French protest song in the middle of a heated, high-brow debate? The University of Manchester — in a city that has always been forward-thinking, especially when on the music front — now offers a course called "Protest Music in France". Every week, students will focus on three French artists: songwriter George Brassens, Parisian dandy Serge Gainsbourg and hip hop group NTM.”
Read the full story, Students In Manchester Can Now Study French Hip Hop.

Brazilian police now consider Ray Whelan, the British director of FIFA partner company Match Hospitality, a fugitive after he fled his hotel in Rio de Janeiro before they arrived to arrest him as part of an investigation into a $100 million ticket scam, the BBC reports. A security camera video published by O Globo shows him leaving the Copacabana Palace hotel with his lawyer through a back door.

Indian actress, Zohra Sehgal, known as the “Grand Old Lady of Bollywood” has died at age 102.