UNESCO sees time for social action at Cambodian archaeological site of Angkor

The results of the campaign to save the vast archaeological complex of temples, thanks to the efforts of the international community which has invested more than $50 million, the commitment of Cambodia’s authorities and coordination led by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), speak for themselves, UNESCO said in a report today on the conference, held in Paris.The 100 or so restoration and development projects carried out over the past 10 years include the clearing of more than 25,000 anti-personnel mines – some 3,000 of which were found in archaeological sites – and the destruction of 80,000 explosive devices left behind by the civil war; the establishment of a special heritage protection police force; a detailed inventory of cultural goods; and awareness raising campaigns against the sale of stolen objects, have stopped cultural pillaging in the protected area.”What has been learned in this decade, and is still being learned, could serve as a model for the rehabilitation of other ancient sites in post conflict situations – such as Bamiyan in Afghanistan or the Mesopotamian legacy in Iraq – that have suffered from neglect, wanton destruction, and the devastation of war,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura told the meeting, the Second Intergovernmental Conference for the Safeguarding and Sustainable Development of Angkor.Angkor, Cambodia’s main attraction and capital of the Khmer Empire between the 9th and 15th centuries, is a vast archaeological park spread over 401 square kilometres, with an exceptional concentration of monuments of religious, historical, artistic and human value. Apart from the world-renowned temples of Angkor Wat, there are about 40 other edifices representing different periods and styles. All are part of an exceptional natural environment, characterized by rivers, forests and rice paddies.Angkor is also a community made up of tens of thousands of people who are the keepers of popular traditions, with a rich oral heritage, and some of the new projects that the conference supported reflect this, including infrastructure work to install a water supply system for the area’s residential population, improvements in sanitation and the rehabilitation of the bridge close to the Takeo Temple on the Siem Reap River.One of the challenges is the management of the huge number of tourists. More than 300,000 visitors came in 2003 and their number is growing at an annual rate of 30 per cent. The Paris Declaration adopted at the end of the conference recognizes “the need to develop sustainable ethical tourism in the Siem Reap/Angkor region as a tool in the fight against poverty.”The Angkor Programme’s international projects, both past and future, include training to allow Cambodia to build up a body of personnel trained in cultural heritage management and conservation, as all personnel trained in these areas were either killed or fled the country during the time of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Projects are thus helping create a generation of competent architects and archaeologists who will gradually take charge of international actions. read more

Night Tube to start on Piccadilly line on December 16 as final 24hour

first_imgTwo women take a selfie on a platform at Oxford Circus Tube stationCredit:DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (centre) travelling with passengers on a Victoria line tube train during the launch of London's Night Tube August London’s Night Tube service on the Piccadilly line will begin on December 16, it has been announced.Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, said the decision fulfilled his pledge to have five lines running throughout the night on Fridays and Saturdays by the end of the year.All-night services have already begun on the Victoria, Central and Jubilee lines, with the Northern line to begin on November 18.The 24-hour weekend Piccadilly line service will run between Cockfosters and Heathrow Terminal 5. It will mean that late-night revellers will be able to travel home from Christmas parties by the Piccadilly line this year. This could make it easier for passengers catching early morning weekend flights from the west London airport, as well as provide another transport option for people working at or visiting bars, restaurants and music venues in Kensington, Hammersmith and the West End.Mr Khan said: “I pledged to introduce five Night Tube services before the end of the year, and it gives me great pleasure to announce the start date of the fifth of these, the Piccadilly line services.”We’ve seen how enthusiastically Londoners have embraced the Night Tube, and I am delighted that we’ve exceeded expectations with more than one million journeys made already.”The addition of the Piccadilly line will help even more thousands of Londoners every weekend, from those taking in the capital’s cultural landmarks to the many workers who keep London open around the clock.” Julian Bird, chief executive of the Society of London Theatre, said: “The Piccadilly line runs through the heart of theatreland and, once it begins running for 24 hours at the weekend, will give our audiences the flexibility to explore the West End’s vibrant nightlife, making that trip to the theatre even more special.”Moreover, the Night Tube has already proven to be a tremendous asset to the industry, helping our staff and performers get home in the quickest possible way.”The long-awaited Night Tube launched in August – almost a year later than planned. Two women take a selfie on a platform at Oxford Circus Tube station Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (centre) travelling with passengers on a Victoria line tube train during the launch of London’s Night Tube AugustCredit:Yui Mok/PAcenter_img A man sleeps on the floor of a London Underground train at nightCredit:DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP A man sleeps on the floor of a London Underground train at night Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Night Tube map It was due to start on five lines at weekends last September, but was beset by delays amid a campaign of staff strike action.Unions maintained that Transport for London (TfL) could have introduced the Night Tube earlier, but it took 18 months of “tortuous” negotiations before a deal on pay and conditions was agreed.Transport for London said the Night Tube will reduce journeys by an average of 20 minutes and some by more than an hour. It is estimated it will boost London’s night-time economy by £360million.last_img read more