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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 21 October, 2005

The Gecko: 21 October, 2005

Reporters

Without Borders released its Worldwide Press Freedom Index for 2005. Of the 167 countries

surveyed, Cambodia is ranked 90th, tied with Burundi, Qatar, Venezuela and Zambia.

According to the ranking, Cambodia has a freer press than many of its neighbors,

including Indonesia (102), Thailand (107), Malaysia (113), the Philippines (139),

Singapore (140), Laos (155), Vietnam (158), and Burma (163).

Denmark is ranked Number 1. For the fourth year in a row, North Korea, described

as "a black hole for news", comes in last.

The list also includes "the United States of America (in Iraq)" ranked

at 137.

** The United Nations is convening a workshop called "The UN's role in peace-building

and the development of democratic governance in Cambodia" to be held in New

York November 1-3. Many senior officials have been invited including former UNTAC

chief Yasushi Akashi, UNDP's Douglas Gardner, Thomas Hammarberg, Peter Leuprecht,

Margo Picken, former UNTAC Human Rights Director Dennis McNamara, Human Rights Watch's

Asia Division Director Brad Adams, and former UNDP Cambodia ResReps Paul Matthews

and Eduard Wattez.

Only one Cambodian has been invited.

** For those who didn't notice, October 23, the day the Paris Peace Accords were

signed in 1991, is no longer an official public holiday. The government decided there

were too many holidays so that one was dropped.

** Andy Pendleton has resurfaced. He now works for UNHCR in Darfur, Sudan. But he

and 11,000 other aid workers working in the region are having a rough time as bandits

are attacking food convoys.

According to a Reuters news story, Andy says "They are punched, beaten-aid workers

have been whipped by these bandits, intimidated. So of course you give them anything

they want."

** Former Cambodge Soir reporter Gregoire Rochigneux has produced a new publication

titled Cambodge Soir: Chroniques socials d'un pays au quotidien that chronicles the

last ten years of Cambodian history. If you can read French, check it out.

** One hotel in Siem Reap is having such a problem with its water supply that it

has had to buy bottled water to use for washing customers' clothes.

** Tourists can be a bit skittish about their diets when visiting the Kingdom. One

recent visitor to Siem Reap panicked when she thought she had been served rat meat.

She bottled the meat and then raced around the city trying to find a clinic that

would test it to make sure it was chicken. It was.

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