- - Sunday, August 8, 2010

CAMBODIA

Cambodia alerts U.N. to Thai border ‘threat’

PHNOM PENH | Cambodia wrote to the United Nations on Sunday in an escalating war of words over a border spat with Thailand, saying it was ready to defend its territory.

Prime Minister Hun Sen accused neighboring Thailand of threatening to use its armed forces to settle the dispute.

Mr. Hun Sen said statements by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, when he addressed royalist “Yellow Shirt” protesters in Bangkok on Saturday, was “a clear threat to use military force” to settle the border problem.

The letter to the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council said the speech was “seriously threatening to use military forces against Cambodia” and therefore was in violation of U.N. rules.

The Cambodian prime minister reaffirmed his country’s “constant policy” not to use military means to settle disputes with its neighbors but “reserves its legitimate rights to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Cambodia and Thailand have been locked in a troop standoff at their disputed border since July 2008, when the ancient Preah Vihear temple was granted World Heritage status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

RUSSIA

Doctors fear firings for heat, smoke illness

MOSCOW | Moscow doctors said they were wary of diagnosing heat- and smoke-related illnesses out of fear that their patients will lose their jobs, hinting at Russia’s long record of covering up the impact of disasters.

Many Russians have criticized the government’s slow response to the peat and forest fires that have engulfed swaths of Russia and left a harmful smoke cloud that has choked the capital for several days.

An unnamed doctor at a Moscow clinic wrote on his site that the bodies of those who had died from heatstroke and smoke ailments over the past few days were piling up in the basement, as the “fridges are full,” leaving a “rotting stench.” He added the situation was similar at hospitals across Moscow.

But “we can’t give that diagnosis — we don’t want to be sacked. We have families to feed,” he said on his blog site, in comments that were carried by several Russian media outlets on Sunday.

He added that if a state of emergency is declared in Moscow as in other regions, doctors will have to be paid double.

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