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Pray and protect: faith saves forests of Cambodia
29 July 2019 - As a Buddhist monk, Khoeum Saray's day is governed by a ritual of prayer, meditation, alms and temple chores. With one big exception -- he also patrols a sprawling Cambodian forest and shows villagers how to protect it. Khoeum Saray is among a dozen or so monks managing a project that is hailed as a model for conservation in a nation with one of the world's fastest rates of deforestation. (more)

Protected status secured for Cambodia's Stung Sen wetlands
30 April 2019 - Under the sweltering Cambodian sun, a Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus wades through the freshwater swamps of the Tonle Sap Great Lake. Within Tonle Sap lies Stung Sen, a unique wetland characterised by old-growth forest that undergoes seasonal flooding. Nearby, low-stature shrubland and natural grassland provide crucial foraging grounds for the Lesser Adjutant. But the site doesn't just benefit wildlife. It also plays an important role in flood mitigation during the rainy season, holding up water that would otherwise inundate nearby settlements. It recharges the area's groundwater and purifies it through its aquatic plants and trees. (more)

Cambodia returns land taken from indigenous people in 'unprecedented' move
27 March 2019 - Cambodia has returned land taken a decade ago from indigenous communities for a Vietnamese company's rubber plantation, a sign that foreign investors are facing greater scrutiny over rights violations, analysts said on Wednesday (27 March). (more)

British architectural firm Squire and Partners and and SAWA build community agriculture school in Cambodia
9 February 2019 - Advanced farming techniques will be taught to 50 students at a time in the Agriculture Technology Centre, designed by Squire and Partners and SAWA in Krong Samraong, Cambodia. The school, which is built from locally sourced materials including mud bricks, cassava render, and bamboo screens, will provide further learning for students from a network of 40 primary schools established by the Green Shoots Foundation. (more)

Masked dance tradition rises from near extinction in Cambodia
3 January 2019 - Cambodia's centuries-old tradition of masked dance (Lakhon Khol) was nearly wiped out by the Khmer Rouge ... but a handful of artists managed to keep it alive and are now working to pass it along to a new generation. Lakhon Khol was recently listed by UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural agency, as an intangible cultural heritage, along with neighboring Thailand's version of the dance, known as Khon. There are different variations in Southeast Asia, all featuring dancers wearing elaborate painted masks depicting the Ramayana. (more)

Rivers turn as dragon boats mark end of Cambodia's monsoon season
2 November 2017 - Thousands of colorfully dressed rowers competed in dragon boat races in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on Thursday (2 November), the first day of the annual Water Festival marking the end of the monsoon season. The races on the Tonle Sap River involved more than 270 wooden dragon boats with rowers and spectators from across the Southeast Asian nation. (more)

Cambodian organic farmers soak up Thai advice
3 August 2017 - Cambodian organic farmers seek to glean advice and experience from the more developed organic agriculture sector in Thailand. For Cambodian organic farmer Por Koung, the journey to Bangkok was more than just a chance to exhibit his products at an international expo, it was an opportunity to glean some experience from fellow organic farmers in Thailand, a country that is spearheading the region's commercialisation of organic agriculture. Thailand's organic agricultural sector is growing at about 7 percent a year. Last year, the country produced $80 million of organic food products, generating about a third of this revenue from exports. (more)

Researchers in Cambodia find nest of rare riverine bird
20 July 2017 - Wildlife researchers in Cambodia have found a breeding location for the masked finfoot bird, one of the world's most endangered, raising hopes of its continuing survival, the researchers announced Thursday, 20 July. The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said its scientists, along with conservationists from Cambodia's Environment Ministry and residents along the Memay River in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, discovered the only confirmed breeding location in Cambodia for the very rare species. (more)

Tourists flock to Cambodia's new world heritage site
17 July 2017 - Tourists flocked to Cambodia's newest world heritage site on the weekend, the 16th and 17th century forest temple of Sambor Prei Kuk after it was recently added to the U.N. cultural organization's heritage list. Cambodia attracts tourists from around the world who often make a beeline for the Angkor Wat temple complex, another world heritage site. On July 8 UNESCO added Sambor Prei Kuk or 'temple in the richness of the forest' in the Khmer language to its heritage list. Located 206 km (128 miles) north of the capital Phnom Penh, it is home to numerous temples, 10 of which are octagonal. (more)

Cambodia sees tourist arrivals rise 5 percent in 2016 - Prime Minister
12 June 2017 - The number of foreign tourists visiting Cambodia in 2016 rose 5 percent to five million, bringing in about $3 billion in revenue, the Prime Minister said on Monday, 12 June. Cambodia has been become a favorite with backpackers and budget travelers over the past decade or so and has more recently begun to establish itself as a luxury destination. Chinese tourists accounted for the biggest group of visitors in the first quarter, data showed. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
Short Summaries of Top Stories

New Study: Group practice of Transcendental Meditation dramatically reduced violence in Cambodia
13 June 2019 - Researchers find group meditation can positively impact society. The group practice of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) and TM-Sidhi programmes in Cambodia between 1993 and 2008 was associated with a 96.2 per cent decline in sociopolitical violence in that war-torn country compared to violence in the preceding three years, according to a new peer-reviewed study published in Studies in Asian Social Science. (more)

Alumni of Maharishi University of Management receive Cambodia's highest civilian honor
18 April 2016 - Maharishi University of Management PhD graduates Lee Fergusson and Anna Bonshek were recently awarded Cambodia's highest civilian honor by royal decree of the King of Cambodia in the King's 2016 honors list, based on the recommendation of the president of the National Assembly of Cambodia. Called the ''Royal order of Sahametrei,'' the honor recognizes their distinguished services to the King and people of Cambodia in establishing Maharishi Vedic University in the 1990s with the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport of the Royal government of Cambodia. The government will be sending a delegate to present the award and medal during the first Regional Conference on Maharishi Vedic Science to be held in Australia at the end of this month. (more)

Cambodia: Maharishi Vedic University graduates give back in Cambodia
30 July 2014 - With the help of Transcendental Meditation teachers from Australia and New Zealand, Maharishi Vedic University was established in Cambodia, bringing the benefits of Consciousness-Based Education to the nation. In their recently released book, Maharishi Vedic University in Cambodia: Educational Reconstruction and Social Renewal, Dr Lee Fergusson and Dr Anna Bonshek offer an in-depth look at the university's application of Consciousness-Based Education developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and its transformational effects on Cambodia. About 4,000 students have graduated from the university in its 20-year history. Graduates have 'gone on to fulfil important roles in society', Dr Fergusson said recently--recruited by the government or local and international businesses. At a press conference in Phnom Penh launching the new book, several graduates spoke of their role in helping the people of Cambodia. (more)

Cambodia: Report details social and economic progress resulting from 20 years of Consciousness-Based Education
30 July 2014 - A quiet transformation has been taking place in Cambodia over the past 20 years through the application of Consciousness-Based Education. Transcendental Meditation teachers from Australia and other countries established Maharishi Vedic University (MVU) in Cambodia in the early 1990s and guided its progress for over two decades. The ensuing educational and social recovery in the nation has been documented in a recently published book, Maharishi Vedic University in Cambodia: Educational Reconstruction and Social Renewal, by Dr Lee Fergusson and Dr Anna Bonshek, founding MVU rectors. At a press conference in Phnom Penh the authors presented research on the many positive changes that took place in a range of social and economic indicators. (more)

Maharishi Vedic University, Cambodia: 20 years of Consciousness-Based Education
30 July 2014 - Nearly all of the students who attended Maharishi Vedic University in Cambodia in the 20 years after its founding in 1993 were new to Consciousness-Based Education, the goal of which is to enliven the full creative potential of each student. In addition to the study of traditional academic subjects, Consciousness-Based Education includes direct experience of the field of consciousness through the practice of Transcendental Meditation. Research has shown that among many other benefits, Transcendental Meditation reduces stress, promotes integrated brain functioning, increases intelligence, and improves academic performance. More than 4,000 graduates of MVU throughout the country are playing an important role in the development of Cambodia. Some have risen to top positions in business, industry, commerce, government, education, and agriculture. (more)

Research documents how Consciousness-Based Education helped improve quality of life in Cambodia
30 July 2014 - Since 1993, students and graduates of Maharishi Vedic University have been quietly exerting a positive influence on many areas of the quality of life in Cambodia. Dr Lee Fergusson and his wife, Dr Anna Bonshek, helped introduce Consciousness-Based Education to Cambodia as founding rectors of Maharishi Vedic University. At a conference last December in Phnom Penh they presented two decades of research described in their groundbreaking new book, Maharishi Vedic University in Cambodia: Educational Reconstruction and Social Renewal, which documents many positive changes both for individual students and for the nation. (more)

Book on Cambodian education documents economic progress, peaceful change
17 August 2013 - One result scientific research has found, when a large enough group of people practises Transcendental Meditation and its advanced programmes together, is reduced social stress and a peaceful, coherent influence created for the nation. Dr Lee Fergusson, one of the founding rectors of Maharishi Vedic University in Cambodia, described more about this effect in that country. When the university opened its doors in 1993, Cambodia was the poorest country in the world. Since that time, with a large group of students meditating together, the country 'has moved up about 60 or 70 places in the world and is no longer considered a poor country', he said. (more)

Cambodia: Book about Maharishi Vedic University celebrates decades of Consciousness-Based Education
17 August 2013 - A book about education in Cambodia, from the time of independence up to present day, was published recently. Written by the founding rectors of Maharishi Vedic University in Cambodia, it looks closely at the achievements of that university, especially in the post-Khmer Rouge era, a time of economic and political uncertainty. The book, Maharishi Vedic University in Cambodia: Educational Reconstruction and Social Renewal, offers an in-depth look at the university's application of the Consciousness-Based system of education founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, including practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique. (more)

Cambodia: Founding of Maharishi Vedic University supported by government, international community
17 August 2013 - Maharishi Vedic University, founded in 1993 in Cambodia, was established with the help of several major organizations. In a recent interview Dr Lee Fergusson, one of the founding rectors of the university, explained that there were invaluable contributions from Maharishi universities that were already well established, from Maharishi Ayur-Veda physicians volunteering their expertise in Cambodia, from the Australian aid community, and also from the Royal Government of Cambodia. (more)

Cambodia: Maharishi Ayur-Veda physicians from India treated thousands in aftermath of Khmer Rouge
17 August 2013 - In 1991, concerned with the progress of Cambodia and noting political and social uncertainties creating 'political clouds veering over the country', Maharishi Mahesh Yogi employed another approach to improve the quality of life of the people. Explained Dr Lee Fergusson, coauthor of a new book about Maharishi Vedic University in Cambodia, 'Maharishi sent a number of delegations to the country, including a number of Vaidyas (Maharishi Ayur-Veda physicians from India) to Phnom Penh', who treated thousands of people. Others came to work with officials to establish the university. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Tiny loans lead to bigger debts, land losses in Cambodia
7 August 2019 - The rapid rise of tiny loans aimed at helping poor Cambodians has led to more debt, with many borrowers forced to sell land, migrate, or put their children to work, human rights groups said on Wednesday [7 August]. ... High interest rates, the use of land titles as collateral, and pressure to repay loans have led to a 'predatory form of lending' by microfinance institutions (MFIs), they said. 'MFIs, as they currently operate, pose a direct threat to the land tenure security of millions of people in Cambodia,' they said in the report. (more)

Cambodian troops in riot gear break up factory strike
2 January 2014 - Cambodian troops armed with batons and rifles broke up a protest on Thursday by textile workers demanding a doubling of wages as part of a nation-wide strike by unions allied with the main opposition party. Witnesses said around 100 soldiers wearing riot gear and carrying assault rifles used force to clear hundreds of workers protesting outside their factory about 20 km (12 miles) west of the capital, Phnom Penh. 'Soldiers beat up everyone,' said labour rights activist Chhorn Sokha of the Community Legal Education Centre. 'They had sticks, electric batons, slingshots, and stones.' At least 10 protesters were detained and it was not known yet how many were hurt, she added. The clashes mark a violent turn after two weeks of relatively peaceful strikes, marches and demonstrations of unprecedented scale in Cambodia. Security forces, which have a reputation for zero-tolerance, have so far exercised restraint. Gap Adidas, Nike, and Puma are among big brands that outsource manufacturing of footwear and apparel to Cambodian factories, in part due to the cheaper labour costs than China. (more)

Cambodia election challenge raises fears
29 July 2013 - Cambodia's opposition leader on Monday rejected the results of a weekend election showing a win for the long-time ruling party, raising fears of post-poll instability and setting the stage for a new showdown with Prime Minister Hun Sen. The challenge by opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who returned from exile last week to campaign for his Cambodia National Rescue Party, comes despite his party's relative success in Sunday's polling, in which the opposition made its biggest gains in years. Provisional results from Sunday's voting showed the opposition capturing 55 of the 123 seats in the National Assembly. Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party won 68 seats, or a majority of 55 per cent. If the opposition party boycotts the assembly, it may be impossible for Hun Sen to legally form a government. Cambodia faced a similar situation most recently after its 2003 election, when Hun Sen's party failed to win enough seats to legally form a government on its own. The deadlock was broken only after 11 months and violence in the streets. Other polls in recent decades have been followed by confrontations and violence. (more)

China gambles on Cambodia's shrinking forests
6 March 2012 - National parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Cambodia, an impoverished country known for its ancient temples and genocidal Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s, could soon vanish entirely as deep-pocketed Chinese investors accelerate a secretive sell-off of protected areas to private companies.Tianjin Union Development Group, a real-estate company from northern China, which is transforming 340 sq km (130 sq miles) of Botum Sakor into a city-sized gambling resort for 'extravagant feasting and revelry,' its website says. A 64-km (40-mile) highway, now almost complete, will cut a four-lane swathe through mostly virgin forest. Last year, the Cambodian government granted so-called economic land concessions to scores of companies to develop 7,631 sq km (2,946 sq miles) of land, most of it in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, according to research by the respected Cambodia Human Rights and Development Organization (ADHOC). The area of concessions granted has risen six-fold between 2010 and 2011, partly a reflection of booming Indochina trade as China's economic influence spreads deeper into Southeast Asia. (more)

Thai, Cambodia clashes continue despite ceasefire
28 April 2011 - A brief ceasefire between Thailand and Cambodia broke down Friday, shattering hopes for a quick end to the border conflict as the two sides exchanged fire for an eighth day and the death toll rose to 16. Field commanders agreed to the truce in a meeting at the disputed border Thursday. But Cambodian Colonel Suos Sothea said the Thai army fired artillery shells into Cambodia again Friday and small arms fire crackled anew around the Ta Krabey temple, which lies in a disputed zone along the frontier. 'We cannot trust the Thais,' he said. 'Yesterday they said they'd stop fighting and now they are attacking us again.' Thai army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd said there had been light clashes late Thursday as well as early Friday. He blamed Cambodia for breaking the deal, saying its 'local units might not agree to the talks as easily as their commanders did'. (more)

Clashes along Thai-Cambodia border spread east
26 April 2011 - The worst fighting in years between Thailand and Cambodia spread Tuesday to a third stone-walled temple, as the neighbours exchanged artillery fire in border clashes that have killed 13 soldiers and displaced 50,000 villagers. The skirmish near the 11th century Hindu temple Preah Vihear followed unsuccessful international attempts to secure a cease-fire in the largely long-distance artillery battles that erupted Friday at two other temples about 100 miles (160 kilometres) to the west. Domestic politics on both sides may also be spurring the conflict, especially in Thailand, where a military that staged its latest of several coups in 2006 could be flexing its muscle ahead of elections due in June or July. Each side has accused the other of starting the battles. (more)

Fighting resumes along Thailand-Cambodia border
22 April 2011 - Fighting between troops from Cambodia and Thailand broke out for the second straight day Saturday, a day after at least six soldiers were killed and thousands of civilians were forced to evacuate the battle zone. Government spokesman Phay Siphan says new fighting broke out at about 6 a.m. Saturday at the same three locations where troops from both countries battled for several hours a day earlier with artillery and small arms. Thousands of civilians were evacuated from the battle zone. The fighting springs from decades-old competing claims over small swaths of land along the border, with nationalistic politics fuelling tensions. Clashes have erupted several times since 2008, when Cambodia's 11th century Preah Vihear temple on the border was given UN World Heritage status over Thai objections. (more)

Cambodia: Heritage site damaged in border fighting
6 February 2011 - The Cambodian government said part of a historic 11th-century stone temple collapsed Sunday due to heavy shelling by the Thai army as the two sides battled across their disputed border for a third day. Both countries accused each other of instigating the clashes, which continued across the darkened mountainous border for more than three hours Sunday. The extent of the damage to the Preah Vihear temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was not immediately clear. A Thai army spokesman said about 10 soldiers were wounded in Sunday night's fighting. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said the clashes Sunday resulted in 'more human casualties and damages' but did not elaborate. (more)

Cambodia stampede kills at least 345 at festival
23 November 2010 - A stampede on a bridge in Cambodia's capital killed at least 345 people and injured nearly as many after thousands panicked on the last day of a water festival, authorities and state media said on Tuesday. Witnesses said the stampede began after several people were electrocuted late on Monday on a small bridge lined with lights connecting Phnom Penh to a nearby island where thousands had gathered to celebrate the water festival and watch a concert. An estimated 5 million of Cambodia's 14 million people visit the capital during the festival each year. (more)

Landmine kills 14 in Cambodia
17 November 2010 - Fourteen Cambodians have been killed by an anti-tank landmine left over from years of war that went off when they were travelling down a remote road, police said Wednesday. A baby girl and nine women were among the dead in the blast which hit their trailer being pulled by a tractor late on Tuesday in Battambang province, in the northwest, said district police chief Bith Sambo. More than 60,000 people have been either killed or wounded by landmines or unexploded ordnance since 1979, according to the aid group Handicap International, and Cambodia remains one of the world's most heavily mined countries. (more)


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