Geopolitics

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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CAIXINMEDIA
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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Sources
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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CAIXINMEDIA
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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Geopolitics
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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Geopolitics
Worldcrunch

Ukraine Torture, Calls For Gaza Ceasefire, Hip Hop PhD

Friday, July 11, 2014

NEW EVIDENCE OF EASTERN UKRAINE TORTURE
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.

GAZA DEATH TOLL REACHES 100, CALLS FOR CEASEFIRE
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.

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

KERRY IN AFGHANISTAN AMID ELECTION DISPUTE
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.

64%
According to a recent poll, a majority of Russians believe a nuclear war is possible today.

CHILD LABOR IN SAMSUNG CHINESE FACTORIES
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.”

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
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.

BRITISH SUSPECT IN WORLD CUP TICKET SCAM A “FUGITIVE”
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.

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

MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD

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Geopolitics
Worldcrunch

ISIS Nears Baghdad, Kirchner's Ire, Smell Of A Moon

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

ISIS APPROACHES BAGHDAD
Fighters with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant have gained control of parts of Baquba, a town 37 miles north of Baghdad, as they continue their march towards the capital. Yesterday, U.S. President Barack Obama announced he would send 275 troops “to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad,” USA Today reports. Speaking to The Washington Post, former military commanders said that even carrying airstrikes against ISIS insurgents might be difficult and warned that any mission might draw the country back into the civil war.

VERBATIM
“There is a difference between negotiation and extortion,” Argentina President Cristina Kirchner said during a televised address. She was lashing out at hedge funds that are seeking repayment on bonds, saying that Argentina never had any intention of defaulting on its debt.

CAMBODIANS FLEE THAILAND
Almost 180,000 Cambodians working in Thailand have fled the country amid fears of a crackdown from the new military regime on illegal migrant workers, AFP reports. Thai and Cambodian authorities both denied the allegations. “The reports about shootings, the reports about other abuses are rumors and are not true. It’s been taken out of context,” The Nation quotes the Cambodian ambassador in Bangkok as saying. Last week, a spokesman for Thailand’s army said that the large number of illegal migrants, a workforce on which the country relies, were a “threat.”

344.5 MILLION
A Hong Kong investment fund announced Tuesday it will buy the Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysées for 344.5 million euros.

FRESH CLASHES NEAR UKRAINE BORDER
Fresh fighting erupted near the Russian border as Ukrainian troops tried to regain control of rebel-held areas, Reuters reports. Some 30 Ukrainian fighters were injured today, while Kiev authorities said that 125 soldiers had died since the beginning of what it calls an “anti-terrorist operation” in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry denied accusations that Kiev had used white phosphorus bombs near Sloviansk.

SEARCH CONTINUES FOR MISSING ISRAELI TEENS
Israeli soldiers have arrested another 41 Palestinians in the West Bank as their search for three Israeli students who went missing last week continues. According to AP, more than 200 people have already been arrested, most of them from Hamas, including the Palestinian parliamentary speaker. And a 19-year-old was shot dead. It is still unclear who abducted the young Israelis, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed Hamas. Israel’s daily newspaper Haaretz writes that the scale of the Israeli response and the statements from officials are intended to drive “a wedge between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.”

MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
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MORE VIOLENCE IN KENYA
Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab launched a new attack near the Kenyan town of Mpeketoni, killing at least 10 people, two days after a similar raid that killed 48 people, for which it claimed responsibility, the BBC reports. A spokesman for the group told Reuters, "Our operations in Kenya will continue."
In Nigeria, the army arrested 486 Boko Haram suspects, as the Islamist organization threatened to attack again the town of Chibok, where it abducted over 200 young girls two months ago. Read more from the Nigerian Tribune.

WHERE’S HIS CAR?
Twenty years after 95 million Americans followed O.J. Simpson’s car chase on TV, USA Today went hunting for his white Ford Bronco.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
As La Stampa’s Antonio Salvati writes, the mobsters in Italy’s Camorra crime syndicate take their gang dress code — and tattoos — very seriously. “Tattoos and the mafia date back to the early nineteenth century, when members of the Camorra loved to cover their skin to prove their loyalty and permanency, especially when they were in prison,” the journalist writes. “Two centuries later, a splinter group — drug traffickers from Scampia and Secondigliano — can be identified by their Rolexes. Those who can't afford the real thing have the iconic crown of the Swiss watchmakers inked onto their wrists.”
Read the full article, In Naples, Fashion And Tattoos Mark A Real Mobster.

THE SMELL OF TITAN
NASA recreated the smell of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Find out why here.

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Geopolitics

New Industrial Accident: Shoe Factory Collapses In Cambodia

KAMPONG SPEU – Part of a shoe factory collapsed on Thursday in Cambodia, killing at least three workers, and adding to concerns about industrial safety after last month's disaster in Bangladesh.

The concrete roof of the Wing Star Shoes factory collapsed on Thursday morning, in the Kampong Speu province, west of the capital Phnom Penh. The accident happened at around 7 a.m. local time while 100 employees were working, union member Sum Sokny told AFP.

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Economy
Gabriel Gresillon

Investment Or Imperialism? Tracking China's Big Ambitions In Cambodia

PHNOM PENH - A few years ago this scene would have played out in China. More specifically, it would have played out in a Chinese coastal region to which millions of rural folks had arrived looking for work. A huge hangar, piles of fabrics of all colors at both ends, and some 200 heads lowered over sewing machines set up one behind the other.

The atmosphere is not oppressive, just focused. But the workers here are too dark-skinned to be Chinese – though there are some: the managers of this clothes factory on the outskirts of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

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Geopolitics

Cambodia's Former King Sihanouk Dies At 89, Leaves Mixed Legacy

CAMBODIA DAILY (Cambodia), BBC (UK), NEW YORK TIMES (USA), ABC (Australia)

Worldcrunch

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Geopolitics

Suspected “French Connection” In Bo Xilai Affair Arrested

Worldcrunch

LE FIGARO, LE MONDE, AFP (France)

After weeks of relative silence, the Bo Xilai affair that has shaken China's highest echelons of power has taken a new turn with the arrest of a French architect known to have close connections to the disgraced politician and his jailed wife.

A spokeswoman for the French Embassy in Phnom Penh confirmed Patrick Devillers was arrested on Tuesday, French daily Le Figaro reported. Agence-France Presse later reported that Cambodian police said the arrest was carried out with the cooperation of Chinese authorities, who are seeking Devillers' extradition.

Bo, the former leader of the southwestern Chinese region of Chongqing who'd appeared destined for a top position in the Communist party ranks, is being investigated for corruption allegations, while his wife, Gu Kailai, has been arrested for suspected involvement in last year's murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

Press reports in China had delved into possible connections between Devillers, 52, and the business dealings of Heywood. In an extensive interview last month with Le Monde that took place in a hotel in Phnom Penh, Devillers denied any involvement with corruption or foul play, yet he spoke openly about his many interactions with Bo. The Frenchman worked in the department of architecture and urban affairs of Dalian, the city where Bo had became China's youngest big-city mayor. "In his eyes, I was a sort of artist," Devillers said of the rising politician.

Of the slain Heywood, Devillers said the two had been connected in the 1990s in large part because they were both married to Chinese women. "He had a grand nobility," he recalled, "in the best English tradition of honor."

Geopolitics
Angélique Mounier-Kuhn

Is Cambodia Slipping Back To Rogue State Status?

A new law designed to crack down on NGOs is one of several signs that Cambodia is edging back toward authoritarianism nearly two decades after the UN stepped in following brutal civil wars. The international community, by turning a blind eye to government

Is Cambodia about to become an autocratic and corrupted state like the Arab regimes whose governments have recently faced popular uprisings? The question is suddenly very real in the face of increasing concerns about Cambodia's human rights record.

"The UN's goal was to bring democracy, but the country is now about to become a totalitarian state," says an anonymous representative for a human rights NGO. When the UN organized elections in Cambodia in 1993 after a long and cruel civil war, the experience was described as a historical success. Democracy returned to a country long subjected to a series of dictatorships. A vibrant civilian society was developing in a country that suddenly had a younger look and feel.

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