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Man About Town: 24 Aug 2012

Man About Town: 24 Aug 2012

The Americans keep coming to town. Hot on the heels of Hillary Clinton’s quick visit comes news from the US Embassy that Trade Representative Ron Kirk, President Obama's Chief Trade Advisor will visit Siem Reap on August 30-31.

Kirk will be here to participate in the 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers' meetings and the ASEAN-US Business Summit. He will also attend a meeting of the ASEAN-US Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement Council, an informal meeting of the East Asia Summit Economic Ministers, and the first ever ASEAN-US Business Summit.

He’ll be a busy dude, because on the sidelines, he’ll also meet Cambodian leaders and other participating ministers to discuss bilateral trade issues and objectives for regional partnerships, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the APEC forum.

The 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting and related meetings will be held in Siem Reap from August 25 to September 1.

It’s fairly official now that the government has in fact earmarked Siem Reap for further casino development. Not only will this be a cash cow, but according to PM Hun Sen’s recent 5-hour marathon speech, a casino will also provide some sort of border protection – without the need to shoot spy planes posing as passenger planes.

You may have read it before, but what Hun Sen said is worth reading again:

“I don’t like casinos, but the biggest goal for giving permission to build casinos is to protect the border. One can remove border markers, but one can’t remove five-storey hotels. Don’t be stupid… This should be a secret strategy to protect the nation.”

The Wall Street Journal blog Southeast Asia Real Time conjectured, “It’s unclear how firmly Mr Hun Sen’s tongue was planted in his cheek.”

Orient-Express’s luxury boutique hotel La Residence d’Angkor is undergoing a makeover and the general manager, Karin van Zyl, is welcoming three new staff members with a private bash on Friday, August 31.

The new staff members are Jacques Varet, resident manager; Richard Bias, executive chef; and Dewa Sunarya, spa manager.

The hotel has also come up with news concepts and names for its restaurants, Ember and Circle, the Martini Lounge, and for health seekers, Kong Kea Spa.

Meanwhile, a new McDermott photo gallery is set to soft open this month at Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor.

Cambodia’s most famous deminer, and one of Siem Reaps favourite sons, Aki Ra has notched up yet another ‘gong.’ On August 12, he was honored by the Manhae Foundation, in Inje, Korea with the 2012 Manhae Foundation Grand Prize for Peace.

According to a statement, the prize was awarded to him “for his continuing efforts to free Cambodia from the ravages of nearly 35 years of warfare.”

Aki Ra responded by saying, “I would like to thank you for this very great honor. The work we do in Cambodia to make our country safe often goes unrecognized and I am grateful whenever the world takes notice of the difficulties we, and other countries, contend with in dealing with the aftermath of wars that ended many years ago.”


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