Around the World (4/22/13)

Let's see what's going on around the world, shall we?
Cambodia & Thailand

Cambodia and Thailand will continue maintaining peace along the border regardless of the forthcoming decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case concerning the hotly-disputed land of 4.6 square kilometers around Cambodia's Preah Vihear Temple, a senior Cambodian official said Monday.

"Let the ICJ make a judgment in the case," deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport upon his arrival from the Hague, the Netherlands, where Cambodia and Thailand last week delivered oral statements to the ICJ in the case of the disputed land.

"In recent past, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen had talked with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and I had talked with Thai foreign minister (Surapong Tovichakchaikul) that whatever the ICJ's decision on the case would be, we agreed to keep calm and comply with the court's decision quietly," he said.

The Hague-based ICJ awarded Cambodia the Preah Vihear Temple, and its vicinity on June 15, 1962, but Thailand, in 2008, claimed the ownership of 4.6 square kilometers of scrub next to the temple.

Sporadic armed clashes between Cambodian and Thai troops had occurred since July 2008 when the UNESCO listed Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site and deadly clashes burst out in large scales in February and April 2011 during the rule of former Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

However, military tensions have eased since August 2011 when ex- Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Pheu Thai Party won a general election and led the current government.

~ Cambodia, Thailand to keep calm over border row regardless of ICJ's decision


The troubadour wielding a stringed instrument and singing praises, dance tunes, love songs, histories or wry comments is a nearly universal figure in traditional music, from Appalachian banjo pickers to Moroccan gnawa musicians to West African griots to Japanese minyo singers. Kong Nay, who performed at the Asia Society on Saturday night, is one of them, playing the Cambodian style called chapei: singing in a hearty voice and playing the chapei dang weng, a long-necked, two-stringed lute.

Chapei is a sparse, open, toe-tapping style. Mr. Kong sang forthright modal melodies, propelled from the downbeat and embellished with quavers and slides. He plucked a steady rhythm, meanwhile, with a repeating note on one string while the other carried a melody line: sharing it with the voice and sometimes answering a vocal line with an instrumental refrain. The modes and inflections were Southeast Asian, but the folky tunes were homey and direct.

The Asia Society projected some of the lyrics overhead; in various songs Mr. Kong invoked Buddhist deities, praised a mother’s sacrifices, celebrated dancing and hoped to find a “new soul mate” on the dance floor; “My old one should not have jilted me,” he sang in “Rom Vong.” Mr. Kong also improvised some verses that drew laughter from Cambodians in the audience.

His upbeat music is an ancient tradition — one endangered by the cultural genocide of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, who starved and executed an estimated 90 percent of Cambodia’s artists and intellectuals. Mr. Kong, who is in his late 60s and has been blind since childhood, is one of the rare survivors among his generation of master musicians. He appeared as part of the citywide Season of Cambodia series, which is celebrating the preservation and progress of Cambodian culture.

~ Cambodian Toe-Tapping Going Global


A five-year, US$7.5 million project to strengthen production capacity of the measles-rubella combined vaccine will be carried out in Viet Nam with co-operation from the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

Beginning next month, JICA will transfer technology and help Vietnamese experts learn advanced vaccine production technology.

Moreover, the vaccine production plant in Viet Nam, aided by the World Health Organisation and assisted with advanced vaccine production technology by JICA, will continue to receive more equipment in order to produce the measles-rubella combined vaccine.

It is expected that Viet Nam will start to provide this vaccine to the national expanded immunization programme soon.

~ Viet Nam to produce measles-rubella vaccine


LOME, Togo (AP) — Over 20,000 school children from primary, secondary and high schools marched on Thursday in the capital of Togo in support of teachers who are on strike to seek better working conditions.

"Education is the key to development," said one of the placards held by the students, who marched toward government offices in Lome, capital of the West African nation.

"I want the government to understand that teachers are playing a key role in the development of our country. So they deserve better working conditions," said Tengue Ahoefa, a student.

On Wednesday, Togolese trade unions started a three-day protest. The unions are under the umbrella of the "Togolese Workers Synergy" or " Synergie des Travailleurs Togolais."

Last week, hundreds of medical workers in the main central hospital of Lomé, the Sylvanus Olympio Hospital, also laid down their tools while the central mortuary of Lomé remained functioning only few hours.

The public service workers are asking for a review of their official general status and the adoption of a new minimum wage.

~ Students in Togo march to support their teachers

(TRAVPR.COM) UNITED KINGDOM - April 19th, 2013 - Swaziland is set to see another first as a new initiative, which combines golf and Safari, is introduced for 2014. The tour which will first run in March next year will be run by operator Sense Africa, a Swaziland specialist with a huge array of experience and knowledge of the country.

The idea behind the tour is to provide excellent and personalised holidays for golfers and non-golfing partners. Designed for those that want to improve their game and is flexible to suit your golf needs and standard, it also caters for those that do not have a burning interest in golf!

During the fortnight holiday in March 2014 guests will visit 3 golf courses in Swaziland – Royal Swazi Sun, Simunye Country Club and Nkonyeni Golf Estate, using the extensive practice grounds as well as playing the courses.

Royal Swazi Sun is a spectacular championship course laid out on the slopes of the Lebombo mountains. The practice facilities are excellent. At Simunye there’s a quirky competition – golf in the dark! Nkonyeni Course is of championship standard, has excellent practice facilities and a challenging 18th hole on an island in the Usuthu river.

~ Hole-in-one for Swaziland*


VENTURES AFRICA – With its exceptional richness of the great work done for more than 10 years by hundreds of experts, scientists, and international environmentalists from Gabon in all areas of sustainable development and Climate Plan, the late President Omar Bongo Ondimba, then, wished to bring the eyes of the international community to Gabon. His vision and commitment for his country was to rejuvenate the image of Gabon and the goal was to show the true face of this country through 3D technology in adapting to global challenges.

What better way for the Gabonese to perform a multimedia interactive 3D project on the Internet to share with the rest of the world these riches, this work, these experiences and vision.

In a world where wilderness, authentic and original cultures are becoming increasingly rare, Gabon is a paradise on earth, unique and remarkably well preserved; thanks to the 11 percent of the territory, more than 30 000 km2, which are dedicated to sustainable management of the ecosystem within the 13 National Parks: Akanda, Birougou, Ivindo, Loango, Mayumba, Lopé, Minkébé, the Cristal Mounts, Moukalaba-Doudou, Mwagna, the Batékés Plateaux, Pongara and Waka.

~ How Gabon Is Using Technology To Boost Tourism
*This one actually makes me raise an eyebrow, but I'll forebear as it will bring revenue to the country.


  1. Can our students march for the improvement of public education? Please? Please protest the billions of dollars being put into the murdering of brown people and put it where the future counts.


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