Cambodian Sex Workers Protest (© 2008 AP Photo)

Cambodia: Sex Workers Face Unlawful Arrests and Detention

Officials Should Investigate and Close Government Centers Where Abuses Occur

By: Human Rights Watch, July 20, 2010

For far too long, police and other authorities have unlawfully locked up sex workers, beaten and sexually abused them, and looted their money and other possessions. The Cambodian government should order a prompt and thorough independent investigation into these systematic violations of sex workers’ human rights and shut down the centers where these people have been abused.

Inflation ‘manageable’ in first half of 2010

By: May Kunmakara in Phnom Penh Post, July 20, 2010

INFLATION, recorded at 5.22 percent in the first half of the year, has grown at a “stable” and “manageable” rate according to commentators. According to National Institute of Statistics consumer price index released yesterday, the first six months of 2010 saw inflation reach 5.22 percent compared to the same period last year. Quarter-on-quarter inflation was slight at 0.3 percent.

US envoy defends military relations with Cambodia

By: AFP, June 19, 2010

A senior US diplomat on Sunday defended relations with allegedly abusive Cambodian military units as he concluded a two-day visit to the capital Phnom Penh. William Burns, US Under-Secretary of State for political affairs, said military aid from the United States to Cambodia was intended to boost a civil-military relationship that was essential to a “healthy political system”.

Sochua at ‘war’ with courts

By: Meas Sokchea in Phonm Penh Post, July 16, 2010

OPPOSITION lawmaker Mu Sochua reaffirmed yesterday that she would refuse to pay fines levied after she was convicted of defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen, again daring the government to imprison her for failing to meet a court-ordered payment deadline.

Human rights head ‘seriously concerned’ at pursuit of opposition MP

By: Earth Times, July 16, 2010

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed “serious concern” Tuesday at the Cambodian government’s pursuit of a criminal case against opposition parliamentarian Mu Sochua.

Hundreds of families block land-clearing

By: May Tithara in Phnom Penh Post, July 16, 2010

AROUND 256 families from Kampong Speu province’s Trapaing Chor commune held a sit-down protest in Phlout Leu village yesterday to prevent a sugar firm from clearing their farmland, villagers said. Villager Lot Sovan, who claims to have occupied the land since 2000, said the company began clearing the land at 3:30pm Wednesday. Villagers asked the company to stop, insisting that the dispute over the concession had not been resolved. The villagers then prevented further clearing by protesting yesterday, he said.

Cambodia women see future in sports and big muscles

By: Kounila Keo, Christian Science Monitor, July 16, 2010

Cambodia women are rising fast in the wide world of sports. Pétanque player Duch Sophorn has alone won gold, silver, and bronze medals in international competitions over the past decade.

Photo of Tonle Bassac Commune by Jake SchonEker

Group 78 anniversary rally planned

By: Jake Schoneker and Tang Khyhay in Phnom Peh Post, July 15, 2010

AYEAR ago this week, police and red-shirted demolition workers arrived at dawn on a Friday morning to clear out a tract of land in Tonle Bassac commune known as Group 78. Once a close-knit community of street vendors and civil servants that contained 146 families, the land is now empty, a fenced-in plot of grass and sand. On Saturday, former Group 78 residents plan to reunite and demonstrate at their old home, a year to the day after the last families were forced to abandon the site and scatter to the outskirts of the city.

100,000 Cambodian officials to be required to declare assets as part of anti-corruption fight

By: Canadian Business, July 14, 2010

Some 100,000 government officials in Cambodia will be required to declare their assets this year in an effort to combat corruption, a senior official said Wednesday. Under an anti-corruption law passed in March, any official found guilty of taking bribes could face up to 15 years in prison. Cambodia, a poor country heavily dependent on foreign aid, is routinely listed by independent groups such as Transparency International as one of the most corrupt countries in Asia.


It was another one of those gorgeous, late summer-reminiscent days today and I was laying in the grass in the Blakely Fields in front of The Fletcher School chatting on the phone, trying to get some reading done, and taking in some sun when I got stung by a bee! I had been lying there watching them get in and out of the hundreds of grassy weed flowers around me and must have accidentally swiped one with my hand as I turned to switch sun sides.  I felt that poke/sting and rapid swell spreading, tried to pull the lil stinger out but failed, so I trekked across the field to Health Services to see what they could do for me.

The last time I got stung by a bee I was at the annual boomerang tournament at the Ruhe-Ruhf farm exploring the train tracks with Luna Babes when I stepped into a beehive. And Yikes! Two or three buggers got me on my leg which immediately swelled-up balloon style, and stayed that way, itching and hurting for days, and leaving big red bumps for several weeks!  With an important tennis match tomorrow morning (I have a reigning title to defend) I was determined not to have a swollen hand for the next several days.

Which brings me to running. As one of the sweet doctors at Tufts Health Services took my pulse she asked me, “Are you a runner?”  I immediately blurted out, “Yes!” Surprised to hear myself say that I went on, “Well…” “An Athlete?” she asked? “Yeah…” I said smiling. “Nice and slow and steady,” she said referring to my pulse.

I confess I have never considered myself a runner. In fact I’ve mostly hated running.  I’d throw it into a weekly workout here or there just to change it up a bit, almost always on a treadmill and struggling to pump out more than 20 or 30 minutes at a slow pace. I only started to really like running when I was up at my cabin in August. I wanted to get back in shape and the weather was awesome, our dog Abby would come with me, and we’d run in the sun, the north woods and marshlands of Wisconsin making a great scenic trail, and sounding board, as I tried to sing at the top of my lungs while huffing and a puffing along the dirt road. When we’d get back we’d end at the dock and jump in the lake to cool off and the whole thing just made life feel good.  Here in the Medford-Somerville-Cambridge-Arlington area of Massachusetts we’re lucky to have miles of running-walking-biking trails, and I’ve grown to love the one that starts just behind our house.

Which brings me to today and why I love running.  I set off this evening just before sunset in need of clearing my head and determined to get in a good run. I started fast and with my music LOUD.  It felt so good to get out of my head and into the music and run that I decided to see which would slow me down first: my legs or my lungs.

In the beginning when I ran I’d think about running, or think about not thinking about running.  I run because I like to get a good workout. I feel strong and that feels good. I run because it’s part of my personal mental health plan, because running outdoors takes you places, because, second only to skydiving and bicycling, you really feel like you are flying.  And that’s a pretty amazing feeling.

When I passed the high school where the football and cheerleading practice is usually taking place the woods part and the sky opens up. I caught a glimpse of the sun setting magenta but kept running.  When I got to the end of my loop I had to stop to watch a few pitches of the Somerville little leaguers.  These kids were young, maybe only 8 or 9, but they could throw!

As I turned to make my loop back I started thinking about how my dad used to run track when he was younger (he also used to look a lot like Elivs Presley, but I digress..).  And though I started running to get back in shape, I don’t think I’ll ever stop (well, save for the knees) because “getting in shape” doesn’t have an end.  As my dad would attest, like most things, it’s really a life-long process.

And so it goes, Asi es mi vida corriendo.

While chilling on Ipanema Joah and I spent a lot of time watching these guys and others (including a few women!) play a game combining soccer and volleyball.  At first we thought these four had made the game up, but then stopped to watch several groups of 2v2 and 4v4 up and down the beach., and realized it is practically a national sport.

The soccer moves most frequently employed include heading, “chesting”, and using one’s thigh or foot, and volleyball “side” rules apply – that is the same player cannot touch the ball twice in a row, and the ball can only be touched a total of three times on one side before it has to cross the net.

Their soccer skills were remarkable to watch, and although you might not be able to tell from this minute-long clip, this game is not easy.

Next time I meet up with the girls from my Women of Mass Destruction soccer team in DC I’m going to suggest we try a session along the Potomac!  DESTROOOYYYY! He he.