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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 11 February 2005

The Gecko: 11 February 2005

Aussie soap opera fans will be tickled pink to learn that Home and Away star Bec

Cartwright will be visiting the Kingdom soon. Cartwright, who recently announced

her engagement to Wimbledon and US Open winner Lleyton Hewitt, is planning to

build an orphanage for young AIDS sufferers, according to the Border Mail

published on the banks of the Murray River in the twin cities of

Albury-Wodonga.

The idea arose after Cartwright visited Vietnam with the AIDS

Trust of Australia. "What hurt me the most was the discrimination. Kids with

AIDS weren't allowed in the public swimming pools," Cartwright is quoted as

saying. "After seeing that I knew I could make a difference in other places and

I decided on Cambodia," she said.

** One informed palace watcher says

former King Norodom Sihanouk will leave Beijing for North Korea next week. He

will only return to Cambodia in April and then will go back to China in May for

further medical treatment. The source said Sihanouk's doctors discovered growths

on his stomach back in September, 2004, but that after much consideration it was

decided not to operate.

** At a February 9 seminar on mental health

policy a speaker from the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) said:

"Although there is no uniform nationwide data of how many Cambodians have

suffered and are still suffering from mental health and psychological problems,

the study of TPO Cambodia in its target areas shows that 2 out of 5 Cambodians

(40%) suffer from minor to severe psychological problems. This figure is one of

the highest among post-conflict countries."

** Hugo Restall, the new

editor of the reincarnated Far Eastern Economic Review, is in town this week.

The old weekly Review closed because it lost too much money, in part because of

so many full-time staff on board. Restall indicates the new Review will be a

leaner operation. So far, he and just one other employee are producing the

80-page, ten-times-yearly publication.

** According to an AP news story,

road traffic fatalities rose from 804 in 2003 to 1,042 in 2004, an increase of

26.5 percent. Better roads, in part, were blamed for the increase in deaths as

motorists are whizzing around the country like speed demons. A law making seat

belts and helmets mandatory and banning use of mobile phones while driving is in

the works.

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