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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 2007 Year in review

2007 Year in review

January

Prime Minister Hun Sen announces Jan 8 that he won't step down from his position

until he's 90 years old as long as he continues winning the electorate. The PM has

already ruled for 28 years. The pledge would give Hun Sen, 54, another 36 years for

a potential total of 64, far surpassing the current longest-ruling head of government

Fidel Castro's 48 years.

Foreigners working or owning businesses in Cambodia must apply for work permits,

costing $100 per year, and undergo mandatory medical checkups, Ministry of Labor

officials say Jan 9.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy files Jan 10 a complaint against Provincial Election

Committee officials in Ratankkiri province to the National Election Committee. The

complaint alleges irregularities in registering candidates from the ruling CPP.

Software giant Microsoft becomes the first private donor to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Microsoft Singapore donates $100,000 to the United Nations side of the ECCC for its

general operations budget Jan 11.

Rochom P'nhieng, 27, captures the attention of the world when she emerges naked from

the Ratanakkiri jungles Jan 13 after apparently living alone there for 18 years.

Sihanoukville Airport reopens Jan 13 after being closed since the early 1980s.

Rampant illegal logging in their community drives the residents of Kachon village,

in Ratanakkiri's Veun Sai district, to extreme measures. On Jan 17, the Kachon community,

frustrated by a string of broken promises from a series of different logging companies,

blocks access routes to the local sawmill, confiscates sawn timber, and demands that

the current company make good on the promises of its predecessors to build a new

road.

Cambodia's neighbor Vietnam becomes the 150th member of the World Trade Organization

(WTO) Jan 18.

Foreign investment in Cambodia hit $3.97 billion in 2006, nearly quadrupling the

2005 figures, the Council for the Development of Cambodia announces Jan 23.

Some of the international judges in the Khmer Rouge Trial may walk if they feel the

trial is failing to meet international standards, according to a Jan 24 press release

from the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, a coalition of 23 local rights

NGOS.

National Assembly President Heng Samrin asks Russia to cancel the $1.5 billion Cambodian

debt owed since the Cold War period during the annual meeting of the Asia Pacific

Parliament Forum in Russia, which ended Jan 28.

Former children's NGO worker Oeu Yoeum, 55, is handed a 15 year prison sentence Jan

30 for raping four girls in Pursat province. One of the girls was 6 years old when

she was first assaulted.

Khmer-language newspaper Voice of Khmer Youth prints Jan 31 a story alleging that

Cambodian ECCC officials, including judges, are paying 30% of their salaries to government

officials to secure their positions. Recent kick-back allegations highlight the difficulties

of introducing international legal standards to a country widely considered to be

systematically corrupt.

A January audit of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) audit

lashes out at the entire hiring procedure of the court and recommends that "taking

unto account the series of lapses in the recruitment process to-date, all recruitments

of staff made by ECCC to-date should be nullified and a new recruitment process exercise

launched."

The 50,000 members of the Cambodian Labor Confederation threaten to strike if the

government fails to send the anti-corruption law to the National Assembly before

year's end.

The CPP hails the National Election Committee's newly-completed registration process

for the commune council election as a great success, while the opposition Sam Rainsy

Party (SRP) and smaller parties such as Prince Thomico's Sangkum Jatiniyum Front

Party make heated public allegations of misconduct.

February

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema signs Feb 6 a 99-year lease for a 133 hectare area

around and including Boeung Kak Lake to a little-known private firm, creating the

prospect of evictions for thousands of local residents.

Swiss president Calmy-Rey arrives in the Kingdom Feb 6 and meets with King Norodom

Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The number of tourists visiting Cambodia jumped nearly 20% to 1.7 million in 2006,

the Ministry of Tourism says in its Feb 7 Tourism Statistics Annual Report.

The Cambodian government must do more to help the more than 1.4 million children

estimated to be working, many for 50 cents a day or less, the World Bank says in

a Feb 7 report.

Two Chinese companies and the RGC sign agreements Feb 16 to build a $190 million

hydroelectric plant in Battambang province.

The Council of Ministers approves a draft law Feb 16 allowing private companies to

sell bonds, laying the foundation for a long anticipated stock market. After creating

a bond market, the next step toward a stock market would be for firms to begin issuing

stocks.

Pop singer Pov Panhapich, 23, is shot in the neck and waist Feb 23 on her way to

school, leaving her paralyzed and breathing with the aid of a respirator at a hospital.

Free Trade Union President Hy Vuthy is murdered Feb 24 at the Suntex Garment Factory.

Cambodia's foreign currency reserves have exceeded $1 billion - a nine-times increase

since 1994 - because of sustained economic growth, PM Hun Sen says Feb 27.

Prime Minister Hun Sen announces that the ruling CPP and coalition partner Funcinpec

are supporting an initiative put forth by retired King Father Norodom Sihanouk to

keep the Royal family out of politics.

Life gets worse for city's eviction victims. As families at the Andong relocation

area await their promised land, living conditions at the site continue to deteriorate.

In May 2006 thousands of families were evicted from Phnom Penh's Sambok Chab village

near the Tonle Sap and forcibly resettled to this underdeveloped paddy field 22km

outside Phnom Penh.

Local newspapers report that Lon Nol's son, Lon Rithi, currently a resident of Long

Beach, California, announced he would return to the Cambodian political arena.

Government officials report an increase in applications from oil companies to tap

the country's energy reserves. Cambodia's oil reserves are attracting companies from

Japan, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Kuwait, Australia and France.

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) says Cambodia, as a WTO member, needs

to toughen its trademark infringement laws.

The Australian gold and base metals company Southern Gold sign a joint venture agreement

over two exploration areas owned by the Cambodian company Greystroke.

March

The Asian Development Bank grants Mar 5 a $42 million loan to the Cambodian government

for restoration the railway's two main lines: Phnom Penh-Poipet and Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville.

Kem Sokha, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, announces Mar 11 he

will form his own political party to compete in the 2008 national election.

Cambodia's legendary Buddhist peacemaker, Samdech Preah Maha Ghosananda, 81, dies

Mar 13 in a hospital in North Hampton, Massachusetts, USA from complications following

a stroke.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh is sentenced Mar 13 in absentia to 18 months in prison plus

$150,000 in compensation for allegedly pocketing funds during the sale of the former

Funcinpec headquarters while serving as the party's president.

On Mar 16, after a 16-day, 315-km walk from Phnom Penh, about 300 marchers circle

the Bayon at Angkor Thom before performing a ceremony for non-violence, political

tolerance and freedom of expression.

The Pope's Ambassador Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio visits PM Hun Sen in his home

and thanks him for religious tolerance in Cambodia ahead of the opening of a new

children's hospital set up by a US-based Catholic mission in Takeo province.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentences Mar 23 former Phnom Penh Police Chief Heng

Pov to seven years jail for locking a woman in a cage for more than two months. Heng

Pov is already serving an 18-year sentence for the 2003 murder of municipal court

judge Sok Sethamony.

Prince Norodom Chakrapong, the acting president of the Norodom Ranariddh Party, tells

local media he will return to Cambodia from Bangkok and appear in the Phnom Penh

municipal court on Mar 23 to answer charges about the $1.36 million debt owed by

his airline company to the government.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong says Mar 23 Cambodia will sign the protocol

on the prevention of nuclear terrorism initiated by US President George Bush and

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Teachers of bilingual French-Khmer classes across Cambodia halt work Mar 30, after

the government fails to pay them their promised salaries.

More than 150 tourism authorities from the six countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion

- Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Yunnan Province (China) - meet in

Ho Chi Minh City Mar 30 to dis-cuss strategies to develop tourism and encourage investment

in the region.

The first-ever government raid of a large-scale illegal drug laboratory Mar 31 has

narcotics experts concerned that Cambodia may be evolving from a major transit point

of methamphetamines into a manufacturer and regional exporter of the drug.

United States aid to Cambodia is slated to drop 25 percent in fiscal year 2008, with

the cut attributed to a tight budgetary environment in Washington and a realignment

of global development priorities.

April

Commune elections are held on April 1. Voter turnout in the nation's 1,621 communes

is only 65.4 percent, the lowest in any election since 1993. The ruling CPP captured

61 percent of the popular vote and ends up with control of 98.2 percent of the commune

councils.

On Apr 3, the international judges of the ECCC cancel the court's scheduled plenary

session due to the Cambodian Bar Association's insistence that foreign lawyers each

pay $4,900 per year in bar fees.

In the Mekong near Phnom Penh Port, government ministers, foreign ambassadors and

the Mekong River Commission launch Apr 5 the first-ever 24-hour navigational buoy

in Cambodian waters.

In an Apr 9 letter, Ly Tuch, senior minister and member of the permanent committee

of Funcinpec, announces his resignation from his party, writing that he is too busy

with his government job as the second deputy president of the National Committee

for Disaster Management to continue serving Funcinpec.

In Phnom Penh Municipal Court April 12 to respond to libel charges, the editor of

the Sralanh Khmer says he sent a letter to the Royal Palace Apr 7 to apologize to

the King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Mother Monineath Sihanouk for causing

offense by publishing an article that attacked the royal family and PM Hun Sen.

The Appeals Court upholds Apr 12 the prison sentences of two men accused of killing

labor leader Chea Vichea. The decision is met with condemnation from local and international

rights groups, which consider the criminal investigation and trial flawed and politically

biased.

On Apr 17, more than 300 people mark the 32nd anniversary of the Khmer Rouge's march

into Phnom Penh with a memorial service for victims of the regime. Participants in

the event, which was organized by the Sam Rainsy Party, demand an end to the delay

in the start of the UN-backed trials of top KR officials.

More than 20,000 of Cambodia's Muslims and around 200 foreign Muslim scholars gather

for the annual Tablighi conclave in Trea village, Kampong Cham province on April

20.

Police Commander Hok Lundy leads a police delegation to the US to attend an anti-terrorism

conference in Las Vegas on Apr 19 and 20. Human Rights Watch strongly opposes the

decision by the US Statement Department to grant a visa to Lundy, who in 2006 was

denied a visa on the basis of reports concerning his alleged role in human trafficking.

Khmer Krom monk Ly Yut is injured Apr 20 during a fight with Cambodian monks outside

Wat Ounalom. The incident sparks allegations from Khmer Krom organizations that the

dispute was politically motivated.

The so-called "last remaining barrier" to adopting the internal rules of

the ECCC is removed Apr 27 when the Cambodian Bar Association reduces the annual

fees charged to foreign lawyers from $4,900 to $500.

Local media report that KMTL Co Ltd, the company contracted to supply the Cambodian

army with rice, is failing to provide a sufficient supply to military bases through

the country. According to RCAF officials, the company had delivered only 2% of the

7,000 tons stipulated in the contract for the second trimester.

May

Irish rocker Ron Keating performs at Olympic Stadium May 9 in what is billed as the

first performance in Cambodia by an international pop star.

Foreign correspondent Kate Webb, who covered many of the key events that shaped modern

Asia over the last four decades - including the Vietnam War and the escalation of

the conflict in Cambodia - dies May 13 in Sydney at the age of 64.

Wildlife experts near Kratie find May 16 a family of super-sized, soft-shelled turtles

previously believed vanished from Cambodia since 2003.

The National Assembly makes official May 17 the highly-publicized sacking of the

ex-Minister of Tourism Lay Prohas and votes to appoint CPP stalwart Thong Khon, a

one-time Deputy Chairman of the municipal People's Revolutionary Party of Kampuchea,

in his place.

Prince Norodom Charuchak, the son of Prince Norodom Chakrapong and grandson of retired

King Father Norodom Sihanouk, is arrested May 28 along with eight other male suspects

and a young woman in 7 Makara District, Beung Pralet commune for allegedly participating

in organized crime and gang violence.

The visit of UN human rights envoy Yash Ghai ends May 31, with the Kenyan lawyer

unable to gain an audience with his most vociferous Cambodian critic, Hun Sen.

Cambodian lawmakers approve new legislation to combat money laundering amid fears

that the banking sector could be used to fund terror groups. The legislation aims

to tighten bank reporting procedures and staff accountability, and is designed to

attract foreign investors who in the past have been wary of the kingdom's reputation

for lawlessness and corruption.

The New Zealand government pledges to commit $1 million each year for the next five

years in aid to 190,000 people living around Angkor temples.

The US-ASEAN Business Council, which lobbies on behalf of some of the biggest multinational

corporations with interests in Southeast Asia - including Conoco-Phillips, General

Electric Company, Federal Express, ITT Defense and Oracle - sends a delegation to

Cambodia to seek new investment opportunities.

With the ECCC preparing to adopt its internal rules, two experts in international

court procedure, Robin Vincent, the former registrar for the Sierra Leone Court,

and Kevin St Lewis, chief of administration for the Criminal Tribunal of Yugoslavia,

arrive in Phnom Penh to conduct an audit of the administration of the court,.

In Cambodia's first sovereign debt rating, Moody's ranks Cambodia grade B2, on par

with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Venezuela, putting the Kingdom one notch lower than Indonesia

and the Philippines, two lower than Vietnam and seven lower than Thailand. Standard

and Poor's ranks Cambodia B-plus, equivalent to that of Mongolia and Pakistan, but

again lower than Vietnam and Thailand. The ratings function as indicators of risk

for foreign investment.

The UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announces it will support

a new $11.5 million development project in Cambodia - the provinces of Kratie, Preah

Vihear and Ratanakkiri in particular - aimed at helping the rural poor.

June

UK-based NGO Global Witness releases Jun 1 "Cambodia's Family Trees," a

report outlining allegations of extensive involvement by government officials in

illegal logging in Cambodia.

In the fallout of the Global Witness report on involvement by government officials

in illegal logging in Cambodia and subsequent banishment of the NGO by the government,

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith says Jun 7 he government will commission

an investigation into the report's finding, with the former independent forest crime

monitor, Swiss-based Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS), charged with heading

the inquest.

Cambodia's new Criminal Procedural Code, which determines police and judicial protocol,

is approved by a unanimous Jun 7 vote of the National Assembly

Infighting at the ECCC comes to an end Jun 12, when a panel of Cambodia and international

judges approves rules that could clear the way for the court to finally put suspects

on trial.

UN special envoy Yash Ghai releases Jun 12 a damning assessment of the human rights

situation in the Kingdom.

PM Hun Sen begins an official three-day visit to Japan Jun 13 to meet his counterpart

PM Shinzo Abe for bilateral talks focusing on a range of issues, including increased

aid for infrastructural development.

The government announces Jun 24 a decree prohibiting Buddhist monks from participating

in peaceful demonstrations.

Wreckage of PMT Air's Jun 25 flight U4 241, Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, carrying

22 passengers and crew is discovered in the dense jungle on the northeast side of

Kampot province's Bokor Mountain in the early hours of June 27, ending an exhaustive

3-day search that found no survivors.

More than 10,000 CPP faithful gather at party headquarters Jun 28 to celebrate the

ruling party's 56th anniversary and assent as the "center of harmonization"

in Cambodia.

Khmer Krom Tim Sakhorn, Buddhist abbot of Wat Phnom Den, in Takeo Province, is expelled

Jun 30 from the clergy by Great Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong, the Kingdom's highest

religious leader, for allegedly undermining relations between Phnom Penh and Hanoi.

Sakhorn disappears the same day, with some reports claiming he was kidnapped.

July

Turmoil reigns for several days in early July amongst the ranks of garment workers

in Phnom Penh's Dangkor district as word spreads of a black sedan with mirrored windows

that is abducting nighttime workers as they leave their factories.

In early July, lawmakers call for increased regulation, transparency and accountability

in domestic aviation. Meanwhile, an international oversight body, the International

Civil Aviation Organization, announces it is about to undertake a comprehensive audit

of civil aviation in Cambodia.

His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni inaugurates the new $30 million National Assembly

building on July 7.

Mergers within the splintered royalist movement, and a flurry of high-profile party

defections, have left the competitors of the ruling CPP cluttered and divided ahead

of next year's national elections.

The Cambodian Court of Appeal upholds Graham Cleghorn's conviction for rape Jul 10.

The 60-year-old New Zealander was tried and convicted for the rape of five teenage

girls employed at his Siem Reap home in Feb 2004.

The editorial staff and translators of French-language newspaper Cambodge Soir resign

Jul 11 in order to end the ongoing dispute with the paper's directors. The dispute

was allegedly sparked after a reporter was fired for filing a story on the investigation

into illegal logging by NGO Global Witness, which has been banned by the Cambodian

government.

Corporate colossus General Electric launches its new Phnom Penh branch office Jul

23, another indication of growing international business confidence in Cambodian

markets.

English football legend Sir Bobby Charlton and California's skateboard king Tony

Hawk arrive in Cambodia Jul 24 as guests of the Spirit of Soccer program, which aims

to educate children about the dangers of landmines via professional soccer training.

The defrocking and subsequent disappearance of Buddhist abbot Tim Sakhorn ignites

a furious backlash from rights activists, opposition lawmakers and the Kampuchea

Krom community, some of whom blast the government for indifference and use of "big

brother" tactics.

There is an attempted bombing of the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Monument in Phnom

Penh Jul 29.

Kaing Khek Iev, aka Duch, 62, the self-confessed teacher turned torturer who headed

the Khmer Rouge prison S-21, is charged Jul 31 with crimes against humanity by the

co-investigating judges of the ECCC.

Five people are identified as potential suspects in the ECCC's introductory submission,

although their names are not revealed.

August

A surprise Aug 9 Royal Decree appointed ECCC co-investigating judge You Bunleng president

of the Appeals Court. The UN has called his dual-appointment unconstitutional and

requested he stay at the hybrid tribunal until his duties have been discharged.

Thousands of Christian worshippers sang hymns, chanted and waved interlocked hands

Aug 10 in a rally outside Chenla theatre organized by TV evangelist Joyce Meyers,

who warned Cambodia "is in desperate need of a savior."

Cambodia could earn $174 million from oil production in 2011, with the windfall rising

to $1.7 billion after 10 years, according to an Aug 20 International Monetary Fund

study in the wake of recent oil discoveries by Chevron off Cambodia's coast.

On Aug 30, King Father Norodom Sihanouk sent an invitation to KRT spokesman Peter

Foster, asking Foster and anyone else interested at the UN to come to the Royal Palace

for a "conversation" on "the affairs of the Khmer Rouge and Sihanouk."

The invitation came amidst increasing speculation as to whether the King Father would

be called to testify at the ECCC.

At the first ever Cloggers Summit Aug 30 and 31, Khmer bloggers network and discuss

concerns related to blogging in Cambodia, including limited access to internet and

the tendency of Khmer bloggers to write in English.

The death knell sounded for the crumbling Bassac Theatre - an architectural gem of

Cambodia's Golden Era of the '60s. The 315 musicians, dancers and singers who use

the shell of the theatre and who live in the nearby Dey Krahorm squatters community,

were told by the Ministry of Culture officials to leave by the end of the month.

September

Nearly 400 poor families facing eviction from the Dey Krahom community in Tonle Bassac

end their angry protests and take a different approach Sep 1, heading to court with

complaints against the land developer 7NG.

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia raises concerns about the increasing

strength of unions and illegal strikes, which it says disturb the process of garment

production, at the 12th Government-Private Sector Forum Sep 4.

The Sep 5 decision by PM Hun Sen to shuffle his cabinet increased the number of deputy

prime ministers form seven to eight. The new seat went to Ben Chhin, a leading CPP

member and president of the nine-member Constitutional Council.

The Sep 8 re-election and return of Eng Chhay Eang as secretary general of the Sam

Rainsy Party created a rift with party supporters who said the former gambling addict

would not lend the right image to the party leadership.

Nuon Chea, second in line to Pol Pot, was plucked from a quiet retirement near the

former Khmer Rouge stronghold Pailin shortly after 6am on Sep 19 and flown to a special

criminal tribunal center in Phnom Penh.

Faced with mounting pressure, uncontrollable leaks and a growing PR nightmare, the

UNDP and the war crimes tribunal released a series of critical audit reports which

portrayed the Cambodian side of the ECCC as an administrative failure.

Cambodia holds the 145th spot out of a total of 178 countries for the second consecutive

year in the annual "Ease of doing business" World Bank-International Finance

Corporation rankings released Sep 26, which gauge the time and cost to meet government

requirements in running a business.

As plans for a Cambodian stock exchange begin to unfold, big name companies are divided

over the prospect of tapping the new capital market themselves, or waiting and letting

others dip in first.

October

An Oct 2 release of an UNDP audit report of the ECCC finds monthly salaries starting

at $2,300 and as high as $5,300 are being paid to Cambodians working at the war crimes

tribunal. The report cites a translator who has part-time previous experience and

is still studying for his degree being paid $3,500 a month and a press officer receiving

$31,900 in the court's first year.

Cambodia officially established an Intelligence Department on Oct 2 for collecting

information from abroad for purposes of national security.

The Appeals Court on October 3 upheld a Municipal Court Conviction for Prince Norodom

Ranariddh, former president of Funcinpec and the National Assembly, for breach of

trust.

On Oct 11, the AN-12 XU365 cargo plane became the second decades-old Russian made

Antonov plane to crash in Cambodia in four months. According to government officials,

the plane's engines were struck by lighting, downing the plane near Takuch village,

Deum Roeus Commune, in Kandal Steung district of Kandal province. All five crew members

survived.

An Oct 12 Royal Decree elevated the royal title of PM Hun Sen from "Samdech"

to "Samdech Akkak Mahasenapadei Dechor."

Russian businessman Alexander Trofimov, who had plans to develop a resort off the

coast of Sihanoukville, was arrested at his home on Oct 17 and charged with debauchery

(sex crimes with a minor) following a three-month investigation into a complaint

by the parents of 14-year-old Cambodian girl.

The Funcinpec party congress on Oct 18 nominated Princess Norodom Arun Rasmey, 52

- the youngest daughter of the King Father and younger sister of Prince Norodom Ranariddh,

former head of Funcinpec - to be its party's candidate for prime minister in the

national elections.

Cambodia's State Secretariat of Civil Aviation grounded the aging Russian-made fleets

of PMT Air and Imtrec Aviation Ltd on Oct 23 pending results from the investigations

into both airlines recent crashes in Cambodia.

During a speech to graduating students at the National Institute of Education Oct

30, PM Hun Sen says he's legally disowning his adopted daughter since her lesbian

relationship with another woman makes her untrustworthy.

The National Election Committee says it will not extend the voter registration period,

although three voter watchdog groups are complaining about problems with deleting

voters from the lists.

In an about face, senior politicians in Funcinpec say they are looking for a way

to clear the slate with Prince Norodom Ranariddh and with PM Hun Sen so the prince

can return to the party he headed for 14 years.

November

North Korean PM Kim Yung Il arrives in Phnom Penh Nov 1 for a four-day official visit

to Cambodia to sign trade agreements between the long-time Asian allies. Phnom Penh

officials pulled out all the stops for the Yung Il, who was escorted from his jet

to a waiting Mercedes Benz by no less than PM Hun Sen and five deputy PMs. No western

diplomats attend the airport ceremony. Earlier, Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh said

Cambodia will sign an investment agreement with North Korea, adding that the isolated

Communist country is seeking access to world markets through investing in Cambodia.

After a course of physical examinations spanning the last few weeks, Brother Number

2, Nuon Chea, 82, was judged mentally and physically fit to stand trial for Khmer

Rouge war crimes, the tribunal announced on Nov 1.

The adopted son of retired King Norodom Sihanouk, Prince Sisowath Thomico, is expelled

Nov 8 from Funcinpec for expressing his personal opinion against leaders of the party

and the government.

Disappeared Khmer Krom monk Tim Sahkorn is discovered to be incarcerated in Vietnam,

following with the release of a picture of him on trial in an An Giang court Nov

9.

Bauxite in Mondulkiri where exploratory drilling began a few months ago could result

in an investment worth "billion of U.S. dollars," Deputy PM Sok An announces

to 600 business people attending a two-day investment conference Nov 9.

Former KR foreign minister Ieng Sary and his wife Ieng Thirith, the highest ranking

woman in the KR leadership are arrested Nov 12.

Former KR head of state Khieu Samphan, the last remaining of the first-round suspects

in the KRT, allegedly suffers a stroke in his home in Pailin Nov 13 and is brought

by helicopter to Calmette Hospital. PM Hun Sen says the government provided the helicopter

to fly Samphan to Phnom Penh because of the importance of protecting the health of

the aging, potential war crimes defendant and since otherwise "the international

community will hold us responsible."

With the arrest of Khieu Samphan at Calmette hospital Nov 19, the five highest-ranking

Khmer Rouge leaders still alive are reunited as fellow inmates at the jail beside

the war crimes tribunal's chambers.

Kaing Kek Iev, alias Duch, the former head of the Khmer Rouge's S-21 detention and

torture center, sits in the dock on Nov. 20, for a hearing on his case at the Khmer

Rouge Tribunal, marking the first open hearing that the court held.

The USS Essex, a 44,000-ton, 844-foot long multipurpose amphibious assault ship makes

a port call at Sihanoukville on Nov. 26. US Marine and Navy doctors, medics and dentists

treat 4,800 Cambodians in rural areas for various medical problems.

Five Singaporean men drown Nov 23 during the annual Water Festival boat races in

Phnom Penh - which debuted as a all-Asean event this year - when their 22-man dragon

boat capsizes. Police boats save the 17 the boat's 17 other racers. An unidentified

Cambodia racer drowns the same day.

The USS Essex made a port stop in Sihanoukville from Nov 26-Dec 2 bearing 1,000 American

marines to assist in local health programs and engineering projects.

Medco International Petroleum Ltd., of Indonesia, reports it has made a $4.5 million

payment to the Cambodian government in order to obtain its contract for one of the

six oil blocks now licenses for exploration off Sihanoukville.

Since Alexander Trofimov's Oct 16 arrest on charges of debauchery, 10 girls have

come forward with official complaints against the Russian businessman, making it

the biggest debauchery case in Cambodian history,

December

The government unveils a comprehensive draft decentralization plan Dec. 3 at a conference

in Sihanoukville attended by over 400 government officials, NGO representatives and

diplomats.

The municipality blocks off parts of Phnom Penh's riverfront as part of a three-year,

$20 million flood protection and drainage rehabilitation project funded by the Japanese

government.

The World Bank launches the Program to Enhance Capacity in Social Accountability

(PESCA) on Dec. 3 which is designed to enhance the Kingdom's performance in governance.

Transparency International releases the results of its 2007 Global Corruption Barometer

survey on Dec. 6. Seventy-two percent of the 1,016 Cambodians interviewed said they

paid a bribe to receive a service in the previous 12 months. Cambodia finishes second-to-last

out of 60 countries.

Prime Minister Hun Sen visits India Dec. 7-10 where he meets with Indian President

Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Bilateral

agreements were signed dealing with water resources, defense cooperation, technical

assistance and credit.

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