A former soldier tries to atone for the sins of his past, while another just wants to learn to swim. They're both recruits hoping to join what would be the country's first team of underwater de-miners. A radio feature with photos.
Viewing entries in
Southeast Asian foreign ministers have failed to hammer out a joint position summarizing key regional meetings. Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations stumbled over how to describe the simmering dispute in the South Chin Sea. The unprecedented impasse has left some officials pointing a finger at chair Cambodia. It also raises questions about the cohesiveness of ASEAN members, China's growing influence in the region and the possibility of a rift within the 10-member bloc.
As senior ministers in Southeast Asia met for a high-level summit in Cambodia in July, some observers were looking ahead to 2014. That’s when Burma, known as Myanmar, will be taking its place as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
It will be an important year for Burma itself--but also for ASEAN, which has its credibility at stake should Burma's unprecedented reforms stumble. ASEAN is eager for the international community to completely remove sanctions on Burma. But some nations' reluctance to axe sanctions altogether is a point of frustration for the regional bloc.
“ASEAN wants the sanctions against Burma removed, because it discriminates against one of its members," one observer says.
But economic sanctions may be harder to remove than they were to impose in the first place.
Cambodians vote Sunday in elections for their local commune councils. In a country where the prime minister, Hun Sen, maintains a tight grip on power, opposition parties are trying to be realistic about the outcome. A feature on the 2012 Cambodian commune elections for VOA.
Arn Chorn-Pond was only a child when the Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia. Sent to the labor camps, he survived by learning how to play revolutionary songs on his flute. But he watched as those around him were murdered or starved to death. Now in his mid 40s, Arn is sharing his story with a new audience: he’s the main subject of a new American novel for young adults.