News Summary for 08-09-2016

Checkpoints Ring City Ahead of Sokha Trial

a-razor-wire-barricade-sits-on-the-side-of-national-road-6-in-kandal-provincePolice have countered the CNRP’s plan to gather thousands of supporters in Phnom Penh for Friday’s trial of deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha with a strategy of its own—checkpoints on all highways leading into the city.

City Hall on Wednesday authorized a gathering outside the CNRP’s headquarters. However, Eav Chamroeun, the police chief for Kandal province, which surrounds the capital, said his forces would be monitoring all opposition supporters entering the city.

Police Seek Help Over Grenade Attack

police-and-forensic-experts-go-over-the-scene-of-the-grenade-attackThe Ministry of Interior yesterday released a statement appealing for public cooperation in finding the perpetrators of a grenade attack in Phnom Penh yesterday evening that injured four people, as police reported a separate grenade attack in Kampong Cham province.

“The Interior Ministry condemns this disgusting act which intentionally makes public, national and international misunderstandings about the situation in the whole country, which is maintaining normality and stability very well,” the statement says.–help-over–grenade-attack/

Governor pushes for mosque road, offers consultation

people-enter-the-grounds-of-the-al-serkal-mosque-in-phnom-penh-yesterdayPhnom Penh’s governor yesterday made a prolonged pitch for development to the neighbours of a Boeung Kak mosque site – where a planned road sparked a recent legal feud – offering locals an olive branch in the form of community consultation, while also hinting that the road’s construction was a foregone conclusion.

Governor Pa Socheatvong articulated a four-point plan to install a drainage system, running water and electricity – along with the controversial road – for the broader Boeung Kak area, which has been a powder-keg for protests since the one-time lake was filled with sand and residents were forced from their homes in 2008.

Reading to Learn is Best Way

school-libraries-are-not-as-popular-with-cambodian-students-as-first-thoughtStudents whose parents read to them at home are more likely to see improvement in their literacy skills, according to a survey by international charity World Vision and released today to mark the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day.

The survey examines the “Reading Environments and Habits of Students in Grades 4 to 6” and shows a strong correlation between family support and literacy skills in children – compounding the importance of recreational reading outside the classroom.

UN, CPP Spar on Political Climate

philippine-president-rodrigo-duterteIn an open letter to the leaders of Asean member states and the rest of the world, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) yesterday attacked the opposition for allegedly “undermining democracy, political stability and the image of Cambodia in the international arena.”

On Monday, the government was caught with egg on its face after shutting down a major road in Phnom Penh in advance of a march which never happened.

Phnom Penh residents were stuck for hours and some local news outlets reported sick passengers stuck in endless traffic throughout the morning.–cpp-spar-on-political-climate/

Approved Construction Projects Soar to $7.2 Billion

laborers-work-at-a-construction-site-in-phnom-penh-last-monthThe value of approved commercial construction projects more than doubled to $7.2 billion in the first eight months of the year, driven by a building boom in Phnom Penh and the clearance of an application backlog, an official said.

Weakness in residential projects, specifically the condominium sector, has been a drag on the industry, according to the Finance Min­­istry, but overall growth has continued due to larger multi-use projects in the capital, said Seng Lot, a spokesman for the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.

Lenders come out of the dark

vehicles-pass-a-taca-microfinance-branch-in-the-capitalMore than a year into a government-backed campaign to clamp down on unlicensed lenders, nearly 130 small lenders operating under the radar have come into the fold, officials said yesterday.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) launched a joint campaign in February 2015 to clamp down on unlicensed lenders who often masquerade as do-good NGOs or charities to dupe individuals into borrowing at exorbitant interest rates.

Large Gathering Approved

kem-sokhas-court-case-will-be-heardCity Hall yesterday approved an opposition party request to gather a large number of supporters at its headquarters on Friday, the day the Phnom Penh Municipal Court is scheduled to conduct a hearing on Kem Sokha, who has been charged with refusal to appear in court over his alleged sex scandal, while his lawyers have filed a complaint to the Supreme Court against the hearing.

The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) requested permission to host a big gathering at its headquarters in Chak Angre commune from 9am to 12pm Friday, in an attempt to provide information about the political situation, particularly to enable its supporters to follow up on the court trial of Mr. Sokha, the acting party president.

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