As Cambodia's once-robust press freedom comes under attack, Chinese-linked outlets have found new footing ahead of July elections, pushing the country's media toward an authoritarian model - and bolstering strongman Hun Sen's tight grip on power. Critical coverage is increasingly drowned out by gushing pro-government tirades and pro-Beijing content as China extends its influence beyond business into Cambodia's press. At the forefront of this shift is government-friendly website Fresh News. The owner Lim Chea Vutha, in a crisp suit and flashy ring, welcomes Beijing's support with open arms, namely in the form of sponsored trips to China. "As a Cambodian citizen, I declare that I support China, I support Chinese investment in Cambodia," the 38-year-old told AFP in the company's modern newsroom, as dozens of young reporters huddled over computers nearby. Several of his employees have been treated to reporting trips on Beijing's dime, he said, and he travelled there in early June. In … [Read more...] about With Cambodia’s free press under fire, ‘China model’ makes inroads
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VietNamNet Bridge – Forsaking stable jobs in the big city, three university grads return to their hometown to make a quality rice-noodle product that benefits the village as well as consumers. Getting set: Making bun at the Van Linh Factory. VNS Photo Despite graduating from university and landing big-city jobs, three young men who had been lifelong friends wanted something more than just a big income, expensive clothes and other material signs of success. Their parents, however, had always wanted their sons to have high paying jobs so they could have a better life. But the three men were determined to follow their dream to start their own business and live independently. Much to the chagrin and shock of their families and neighbours, Nguyen Dang Ton Canh, Nguyen Phuoc Anh and Nguyen Huu Vinh, all born in the 90s, decided to … [Read more...] about Friends make a clean break with vermicelli
Website spurs charitable work (04-06-2007) HA NOI — An article that appeared in a local newspaper involving a poor girl who is bringing up three mentally handicapped older brothers moved a young man to tears. He wrote and circulated a letter to the media calling for community support. Then, with two friends who shared and supported his appeal, he set up a website, http://www.nguoitoicuumang.com (People in Need), as an open forum for those who wished to become involved in assisting those who had major problems and challenges or lived in especially difficult circumstances. The three website founders (who wish to remain anonymous because, in their opinion, it’s a charity) work for the State as a pharmaceutical representative, reporter and administrative official. Now, after five months of operation, over 100 people have become members who not only donate money, but also visit houses of needy families to give them practical assistance, listen to their problems, give advice and … [Read more...] about Website spurs charitable work
Mike Boehm is the only man in the Quang Ngai Women's Association in central Vietnam. The American veteran has become a friend of hundreds of woman in the war-devastated province after coming every March for the last 18 years to help poor women start small businesses like cow breeding, making fish sauce, and small eateries by giving them loans. "I hope [it] can help ease the pain of war in Vietnam," Boehm, who arrived in Vietnam one week before the My Lai Massacre of March 1968 in Quang Ngai, said. US troops killed 504 innocent people in the massacre. He chose March to do the small things he could for a more peaceful world, Boehm told news website VnExpress. He started with Vietnam. This year, as usual, he has a full schedule with visits throughout the province to give loans to women. "He's so kind," Nguyen Thi Rac, who now owns three cows worth VND10 million two years after receiving VND5 million from him to buy one cow, says. "He travels all the way from the US to visit us every … [Read more...] about US veteran tries to make amends in Vietnam
Hidden beneath tarpaulins in the backyard of a house in the central Philippine city of Danao, Lito puts the finishing touches on a replica .45-caliber Colt Officer’s Model pistol. It will join the more than 600,000 illegal guns in circulation in a country where the homicide rate outstrips the U.S. The money he makes from guns supplements his income as a farmer and helped Lito, 52, send two children to college. Still, he thinks often of the suffering that may come from a craft he learned from an uncle and older brother. “I worry that the firearms I make may be ending up in the wrong hands,” said Lito, a soft-spoken man dressed in loose jeans and slippers, who asked not to be identified in full given the nature of his work. “If there were other opportunities, I will stop making guns.” Lito, who will sell the pistol that took him a month to make for 6,000 pesos ($133) -- about three-quarters of the monthly minimum wage -- is one of 6,000 illegal gunmakers the … [Read more...] about Farmers copying guns make Philippines deadlier than U.S.