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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 05-July-2002

The Gecko: 05-July-2002


ONE patriotic citizen hoping to join festivities for Canada Day called the embassy to see what the plans were. He was told by the receptionist "There is a party, but only powerful people are invited."

Renovation work at Pochentong International Airport is progressing at full steam. The departure lounge is spiffy, the new elevated, mobile access ramp is state-of-the-art, the Khmer art gracing the walls is splendid, but there's still a few wrinkles to iron out.

One expat. advises travelers to make sure their checked luggage does not contain any valuables. His own bag, after it was checked in, was opened, searched, and around 500 baht in small coins taken out of a jar and stolen.

There's also a bit of a glitch at the walk-through metal detector. When one passenger went through, carrying keys, a tin box, and some other stuff that should have set off the alarm but didn't, he asked "Does this machine work?" The security woman responded "Sometimes work, sometimes not work."

Sergio Vieira de Mello, one of the UN's rising stars who most recently led the UNTAET mission in East Timor, and who old hands will remember as the Head of UNHCR during the UNTAC days, decided to watch the Brazil-Germany World Cup final in, of all places, Phnom Penh. He also used the occasion to have a quiet one hour meeting with Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong on Monday where one can surmise the issue of UN involvement in a trial for the Khmer Rouge was discussed in great detail. Imagine that! The talks continue.

And the scuttlebutt is that a Japanese individual, described as "mysterious" by one journalist, with a UN university connection is playing a key role of mediator between the UN and the RGC on the trial stuff.

The re-invigorated Foreign Journalists Club of Cambodia has a new president. AFP's aging Luke Hunt, who just turned 40, was elected to the post on July 1. One board member said there were "either 7 or 8 votes" cast at the polls. International observers have determined the plebiscite was "mostly free and fair". Hunt ran on the platform "more programs, more panels, more open debate on substantive issues of the day and more booze". Given the exhausting nature of the campaign and his triumphant victory at the polls, Hunt decided to flee the country immediately for a week of surfing in Bali.



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