News Summary for (23-09-2016)

PM appeals to taxi, bus firms: Keep lid on prices

people-purchase-tickets-at-a-bus-station-near-phnom-penhs-central-market-last-yearPrime Minister Hun Sen yesterday delivered a familiar, and traditionally futile, annual appeal to the transportation industry not to raise fares over Pchum Ben.

“I firmly hope that during this year’s Pchum Ben Festival, taxis do not increase their prices,” he said at a university graduation ceremony.

In previous years, the premier has made the same appeal but without success.

Civil Society ‘Under Threat’ As Official Sentenced

ny-chakrya-enters-the-phnom-penh-municipal-court-on-thursday-morningThe National Election Committee’s deputy secretary-general was sentenced on Thursday to six months in prison for criticizing court officials during previous work as a human rights campaigner, leaving “no doubt” that civil society is under threat, international observers said.

Ny Chakrya, the former head of monitoring for rights group Adhoc, was found guilty of “malicious denunciation” and “publication of commentaries intended to unlawfully coerce judicial authorities” related to comments critical of a prosecutor and judge at the Siem Reap Provincial Court. He was also fined 6 million riel, or about $1,500.

Lao Defense Minister Here on Goodwill Visit

lao-defense-minister-chansmone-chanyalatLaos’ newly appointed Defense Minister started a four-day visit to the Kingdom yesterday and vowed along with Cambodia’s Ministry of National Defense vowed to enhance cooperation.

Lieutenant General Chansmone Chanyalat, who was appointed by the Lao National Assembly in May, met with his Cambodian counterpart General Tea Banh.

Hun Sen Declares Fragile Political ‘Cease-Fire’ With CNRP

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen gestures as he arrives for a family photo with other leaders during the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit just outside Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Prime Minister Hun Sen, citing a de-escalation in Cambodia’s tense political climate, on Thursday declared a fragile “cease-fire” between the government and the opposition CNRP.

The pronouncement came on the heels of his threats on Monday to “eliminate” any adversaries who dared to demonstrate, a reaction to the CNRP’s vow to hold mass protests after deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha received a five-month jail sentence on charges widely thought to be politically motivated.

Universities in Agricultural Innovation

veng-sokhon-of-the-ministry-of-agriculture-and-us-ambassador-to-cambodia-william-heidt-sign-an-mou-launching-the-center-of-excellenceAs rice farmers struggle to cope with the aftereffects of one of the worst droughts in Cambodia’s recent history and moribund infrastructure makes it difficult to transport and sell their products across the country, universities here and in the United States are joining forces to help farmers improve and look to the future.

In a bid to improve cross-sector collaboration and strengthen institutional capacity building, the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signed an MoU yesterday recognizing the establishment of a new center aimed at spurring innovation and sustainable growth throughout the country’s rapidly developing agricultural sector.

Coastal airport project gets nod

chinas-union-development-group-has-confirmed-its-plans-to-build-a-new-international-airport-in-the-coastal-province-of-koh-kongThe Chinese developer behind a massive $3.8 billion tourism project being built in Koh Kong province has confirmed that it is ready to begin construction on a new international airport to serve the coastal resort and company’s related developments, though declined to reveal the investment capital or project timeline.

A representative of the Chinese-owned firm Tianjin Union Development Group (UDG), which holds a 45,000-hectare land concession in Koh Kong’s Botum Sakor and Kiri Sakor districts, said yesterday that the project plans had been finalised.

Cash Influx a Band-Aid for Failing Rice Sector

CAMBODIA, Koun Sat (Kampot). 7/07/2016: Farmers are transplanting rice next to a sugar cane field.

As the government scrambles to buoy a rice sector suffering from crashing paddy prices and fierce international competition, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday lauded the government officials and “generous businesspeople” who heeded calls for emergency funds.

Falling from about $250 per ton in mid-August to $193 last week, the prices that millers were offering farmers for paddy briefly plunged the sector into disarray. But a potential financial calamity has been prevented, the premier announced on Thursday.

Two 10th Century Sandstone Artifacts Seized in Siem Reap

police-officers-pose-with-two-10th-century-sandstone-statues-seized-in-siem-reap-province-on-tuesday-nightForestry officials in Siem Reap province seized two 10th century sandstone sculptures after chasing a car for several kilometers over unpaved back roads, suspicious that it was carrying illegal timber, officials said.

Mom Bun Lim, chief of the Forestry Administration’s Banteay Srei division, said he attempted to pull over the 1993 Toyota Camry with Phnom Penh plates at about 8 p.m. because the vehicle looked heavy with wood.

Two 10th Century Sandstone Artifacts Seized in Siem Reap

HLH replaces contractor for Sihanoukville project

a-rendering-of-sihanoukvilles-planned-dseaview-developmentSingapore’s HLH Group, the developer of the mixed-use D’Seaview project in Sihanoukville, announced yesterday that it has severed ties with Yanjian Group Co Ltd and has awarded the $35 million project to the Chinese state-owned energy and construction firm Sinohydro Corporation Ltd.

Dylan Ong, business development manager for HLH, said yesterday that company chose Sinohydro as lead contractor because the company “was more price competitive” and that Yanijan could not meet the requirements of the construction agreement.



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