Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney won the Republican primary in the western state of Arizona Tuesday, while fighting a tough battle in the too-close-to-call race in his native northern state of Michigan.
Romney fought hard in Michigan to fend off main challenger Rick Santorum, who has surged in the polls and had a three-state victory earlier this month in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. The two were virtually tied in opinion polls going into Tuesday’s contest.
Romney once held a commanding lead in Michigan, the state where he was born and where his father was a popular governor. He won Michigan in the state’s 2008 Republican primary.
Romney and Santorum could end up splitting Michigan’s delegates because the state awards them based on the proportion of the vote. Arizona is a winner-take-all contest, and Romney easily won the state.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is having difficulty winning the support of social conservatives, who are rallying behind Santorum.
By May Kunmakara
Investment in Cambodian rubber plantations increased by 255 per cent in 2011 on rising global demand for the commodity.
There were 20 new projects worth US$675 million in the Kingdom last year, according to data from the Council for the Development of Cambodia. There were nine projects worth $190 million in 2010.
Cambodia is one of Southeast Asia’s last rubber-planting destinations.
The majority of the investment came from Asian countries as a result of increased global demand for rubber, in particular demand from the tyre industry.
“I think [investors] see potential for making higher profit with rubber compared to other agricultural products, which don’t have a stable market. Rubber has mainly followed the global trend,” Ly Phalla, director-general of Cambodia’s General Directorate of Rubber, said yesterday.
The jump in 2011 rubber investments surpassed a 2015 government goal on plantation size by about 60,000 hectares, Mak Kim Hong, president of the Association for Rubber Development of Cambodia, said.
By Sen David
Eight fishermen who escaped after more than a year of forced labour aboard a Thai fishing boat recounted tales of abuse and miserable working conditions upon their repatriation to the Kingdom yesterday.
The men said that brokers had promised them salaried jobs in Thai factories, but instead trafficked them onto Thai fishing boats for between 30,000 and 40,000 baht (between approximately US$1,000 and $1,300), where they were forced to work for free and with little rest and food.
Tim Phon, 33, who was told he would earn US$250 per month working in a Thai factory, said that the year he spent aboard the fishing vessel was “the worst in my life”.
“I thought I had died aboard that boat, but now I am back,” he told reporters, after arriving at the Phnom Penh International Airport yesterday.
A partnership between the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIPF) and the Thailand-based Go4 Charity Ride will soon be putting hundreds of helmets on childrens’ heads.