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  1. Electricité du Cambodge yesterday issued a statement saying that due to power shortages, it has reduced the supply of electricity in the Kingdom during the day in order to ensure supply at night. In the statement, EDC said it had contacted neighbouring countries in order to provide more electricity. It said that Thailand agreed to supply 80 megawatts, Laos 10 megawatts, while Vietnam refused due to its own energy supply issues in its southern provinces. “We are still lacking 13 percent of energy,” the statement noted. “Because of this, the EDC has reduced the supply of electricity until the rain season comes.” .“We are alternating locations that receive electricity during the day because people need electricity the most at night,” it added. “We are trying our best to deploy our own generators to supply electricity during the day at industrial areas, hospitals, water facilities, embassies and government institutions.” Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday renewed a call for the public and government institutions to reduce usage, noting that the Kingdom is currently facing a shortage of 400 megawatts of electricity due to a lack of water to power electric dams. “I am appealing for understanding from our people because this issue is related to climate change,” Mr Hun Sen said. “Climate change has caused some areas to lack water and electricity.” read more https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50588110/edc-reduces-daytime-energy-supply-to-offset-shortage/
  2. Bernard Krisher, former publisher of The Cambodia Daily newspaper, died from heart failure in Tokyo on March 5. A Cambodia Daily online post yesterday said Mr Krisher, former chairman of World Assistance for Cambodia, died in a hospital in Tokyo. He was 87. His death from heart failure was disclosed by his family following a private burial in New York. Friends and former colleagues in Cambodia were devastated by the news. Chhorn Chansy, former assignment editor at the Cambodia Daily, yesterday said he was very sad to learn of Mr Krisher’s death. “It is very sad news. Although he has passed away, he will still be in my heart as well as that of Cambodian children who he helped,” he said. “He is a legend.” Mr Chansy noted that Mr Krisher established an independent newspaper to provide news without fear or favour to Cambodian readers, adding that the Cambodia Daily also provided information to the world, was a voice for poor people and a hub to train young journalists. read more https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50588043/daily-publisher-bernard-krisher-dies-at-87/
  3. Siem Reap provincial police on Sunday arrested two Japanese nationals who allegedly robbed and killed a Cambodian taxi driver in Puok district. The murder took place at about 5.30pm on Sunday near National Road 6 in Puok commune. Major Muth Bunsoeun, district deputy police chief, yesterday identified the suspects as Ishida Reimon, 24, and Naka Kuri Ryuji, 24, both tourists, and the victim as Him Chan, 40, who lived in Siem Reap city. He said that on Saturday, the two Japanese traveled to Siem Reap city from Poipet city near the Cambodian-Thai border. Maj Bunsoeun said that on Sunday, they hired the victim to drive them to visit the Angkor Wat Temple and other places in the city. He said that at about 4.30pm, the Japanese told Mr Chan to take them to visit a market in Puok district. read more https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50588042/two-japanese-held-over-murder/
  4. Five former senior officials from Cambodia’s banned opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) applied for political rehabilitation from the government on Monday, while a sixth was approved, bringing to nine the total number who have asked to have their rights reinstated. Former CNRP lawmakers Ou Chanroth, Kang Kimhak and Chiv Kata, and former CNRP board of directors members Tep Sothy and Chan Seyla applied for rehabilitation to the Ministry of Interior, while former CNRP lawmaker Real Camrin’s request was granted by King Norodom Sihamoni on Monday. The six join former CNRP officials Sim Sovanny and Kong Bora, and Kong Bora’s father, former president of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) Kong Koam, who have requested royal pardons. Requests by Kong Bora and Kong Koam were granted in January, while Sim Sovanny was granted a pardon earlier this month. CNRP President Kem Sokha was arrested in September 2017 for alleged acts of “treason” and the Supreme Court ordered the party’s dissolution two months later, which paved the way for Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) to win all 125 seats in parliament in a July 2018 general election. The Supreme Court also slapped a five-year ban on the political activities of 118 CNRP senior officials for the party’s role in an alleged plot to topple the government. In December last year, Hun Sen’s Constitutional Council unanimously approved an amendment to the draft law on political parties, paving the way for the reinstatement of rights to the 118 CNRP officials banned from politics by the Supreme Court’s decision. The legislation does not provide for the reestablishment of the CNRP, and Hun Sen has said the political rights of the officials will only be reinstated on an individual basis if they had “shown respect for the Supreme Court’s ruling,” and provided they each make an individual request. Ou Chanroth on Monday refused to comment on why he decided to appeal for clemency, when questioned by RFA’s Khmer Service. “I will comment when my political rights are fully restored and I will hold a press conference in Phnom Penh on Tuesday,” he said. “I know you can’t understand the decision, but I am trying to make an effort to solve problems.” Former CNRP lawmaker Real Camrin had submitted his request for clemency on March 14, saying he planned to form a new party to compete in Cambodia’s 2022 commune elections and 2023 national ballot, and advised other banned officials to also request rehabilitation as a way to resolve the country’s political crisis. Government-aligned media reported that Real Camrin’s new party will be named the “Khmer People Party.” RFA was unable to reach the former CNRP lawmaker for comment on his reported plans to form a party. Offer of clemency Hun Sen’s offer of clemency is widely seen as part of a bid to ease international pressure on his government in response to a crackdown on the opposition, NGOs and the independent media. Critics have called it a “trap” aimed at fracturing the CNRP, and CNRP activists say those who apply for reinstatement are “opportunists” who are betraying the interests of the public. Acting CNRP President Sam Rainsy, who is living in self-imposed exile to avoid a strong of what he says are politically motivated convictions, has urged the 118 to refrain from appealing for political rehabilitation, and said those who do will be branded “traitors.” Hun Sen last week warned those who have not asked for clemency that he might rescind the offer by Khmer New Year in April. The Phnom Penh Post on Monday cited one of the 118 as saying anonymously that “47 banned CNRP officials were preparing to make rehabilitation requests,” but may do so at different times. Svay Rieng Provincial CNRP President Mao Vibol said Monday that the political lives of CNRP senior officials who request rehabilitation will be “over,” as the people will stop supporting them. “People are boiling for change and they will detest those who request political rehabilitation, as all Cambodians are entitled to take part in politics,” he told RFA. “People hate the present rulers, so those who bow down their heads to the regime and suppress their will become even more hated.” Political analyst Bong Deth echoed Mao Vibol’s suggestion that those who have capitulated to Hun Sen will suffer a backlash in popular opinion. “The CNRP became the victim when it was dissolved by Hun Sen’s regime, but these officials now appear to be joining hands with Hun Sen to finish off the opposition,” he said. “There is nothing to gain, since all power rests with the CPP. More than 5,000 local CNRP councilors, as well as all of the public, are watching them, and they are angry.” Arrest warrants Meanwhile, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Sunday made public its decision to issue arrest warrants for Sam Rainsy, who has said he plans to return to Cambodia in 2019, and seven other top CNRP officials living abroad on charges of “treason and incitement to commit felonies” under articles 453, 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code, both within and outside the country from Jan. 20-27 this year. Also named in the warrant, dated March 12, are CNRP vice presidents Mu Sochua and Eng Chhay Eang, and CNRP lawmakers Ou Chanrith, Tok Vanchan, Long Ry, Ho Vann, and Men Sothavrin. The eight were in attendance at the first “CNRP Permanent Committee” meeting in Lowell, Massachusetts on Jan. 20, when Sam Rainsy was official appointed acting party president while Kem Sokha remained in pre-trial detention facing charges of treason. Kem Sokha is yet to face trial and has been held either in jail or under house arrest despite passing the 18-month maximum allowed by law in pre-trial detention earlier this month. The Khmer Times on Monday cited Brigadier General Y Sok Khy, director of the counter terrorism and cross border crime department at the Interior Ministry, as saying he has evidence that the eight CNRP officials posted on social media calling on the public to stand up against the government. On Sunday, Sam Rainsy held a press conference in Massachusetts to announce the establishment of a new committee charged with organizing his return to Cambodia sometime this year, without providing further details about when he plans to travel back to the country. Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Sovannarith Keo. Written in English by Joshua Lipes. https://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/rehabilitation-03182019152517.html Copyright © 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036
  5. Phnom Penh Municipal Court last week issued multiple arrest warrants against former opposition leader Sam Rainsy and seven other people charged with conspiracy to treason and incitement. In a statement issued by the court on Tuesday and obtained yesterday, Judge Koy Sao issued eight warrants for Mr Rainsy and the seven who fled overseas in the wake of the CNRP being dissolved in 2017. The seven are Eng Chhai Eang, Mu Sochua, Ou Chanrith, Ho Vann, Long Ry, Men Sothavrin and Tok Vanchan. All eight, including Mr Rainsy, were charged with conspiring and inciting to commit crimes in accordance with articles 453, 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code. Mr Rainsy, who is currently in exile in France, is facing a slew of charges, including incitement, over statements made criticising the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Judge Sao said in the court statement that the latest crimes allegedly took place both within and outside of the Kingdom in January. read more https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50587788/ex-cnrp-officials-charged-with-incitement/
  6. Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday said the country is now facing an electricity shortage of about 400 megawatts, leading to power outages, and appealed to people, especially those in the business sector, to understand that this is because of an ongoing dry spell. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 5th River Festival in Kampong Chhnang province, Mr Hun Sen said the power cuts are being caused by natural factors, adding that Southeast Asian countries have been facing drought and water shortages since February. “Climate change is not only affecting Cambodia, but also the whole region. We need water to produce electricity,” he said. “I urge people not to waste water as we will experience a long dry season which will last until June.” Mr Hun Sen appealed to people to understand that there is a need for power cuts during this period and called on those who have generators to use them in their houses, hotels or workplaces to reduce the usage of electricity. “A large amount of our electricity is produced through hydropower dams, but now there is a shortage of water so the dams can only generate a small amount of electricity,” he said. “We currently lack 400 megawatts, and we are seeking solutions to tackle this issue.” Mr Hun Sen noted that the manufacturing sector, especially rice mills, were not affected by the power shortage because they have their own generators. read more https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50587742/dry-spell-causing-power-cuts-pm-2/
  7. A blaze ripped through a community in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district yesterday, levelling more than 30 homes, officials said. No one was injured. Dy Rath Khemrun, deputy governor of Meanchey district, said the fire began at about 3.00pm near the old dump site in Stung Meanchey II commune’s Prek Tol village. “Our forces controlled the situation 100 percent, using 17 fire trucks to put out the fire,” he said, noting that it took firefighters one hour to extinguish the blaze. “There were about 32 houses damaged by the fire, meaning 32 families suffered,” he added. “However, no one was killed or injured in the fire.” Colonel Prum Yorn, chief of the Phnom Penh Municipal Fire Department, said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. “We are working on the case,” he said. read more https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50587739/blaze-razes-more-than-30-homes-in-capital/
  8. Tboung Khmum Provincial Court yesterday charged two Thai engineers for causing the death of a villager during a rock mining operation gone wrong. Major Prum Sopheak, deputy chief of Tboung Khmum district police, said Prirat Mathaworn and Ketseni Bunma, engineers with China Road and Bride Citation Company based in the province, were charged by the court with manslaughter. If convicted, the two Thai nationals could face up to three years in prison with a fine of about $1,500 each. Maj Sopheak said on Friday at about 9am, both men were supervising rock mining operation using explosives in Chup commune. As they detonated explosives, chunks of rock were sent flying, hitting the villager in the head roughly 300 metres away from the worksite. “The victim died immediately near the site,” Maj Sopheak said. “Villagers alerted local police for intervention.” “The two Thai nationals were arrested the next day in Tboung Khmum district,” he added. read more https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50587697/thai-engineers-held-for-manslaughter/
  9. Cambodian film-maker Rithy Panh talks about his latest film, Graves without a name, being shown in Geneva, which explores the lasting effects of the Cambodian genocide. His documentary is competing in the city's 17th International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights. Many of the director’s 22 filmsexternal link have dealt directly with Cambodia’s genocide and its perpetrators, including The Missing Picture (2013), Exil (2016) and his latest, Graves with no name. His new documentary focuses on a 13-year-old boy, representing Panh, who has lost most of his family in the genocide and begins a search for their graves. He travels to Trum, a “village in the middle of nowhere” in Battambang province. This is where Panh and ten of his family members were deported in 1975, along with many other Phnom Penh residents. In moving scenes, Panh, one of only two genocide survivors from his family, carries out funeral rites for his relatives who disappeared. read more https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/culture/graves-without-a-name_rithy-panh-revisits-the-horrors-of-the-khmer-rouge/44827132
  10. A court in Cambodia on Friday concluded its investigation into two former RFA reporters accused of “espionage,” ordering their cases to proceed to trial, and prompting a rights group to call for their charges to be dropped. Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin were taken into custody on Nov. 14, 2017 and charged with “illegally collecting information for a foreign source,” but released on bail nine months later. The two journalists have since been placed under court supervision, which bars them from changing their addresses or traveling abroad, and requires them to check in with their local police station once a month. On Friday, Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge Pech Vicheathor wrapped up his examination of the charges facing the two men and ordered their cases sent to trial. A date for the hearing has not been set. Speaking to RFA’s Khmer Service on Friday, Yeang Sothearin said he was disappointed that the judge did not drop the charges against him and Uon Chhin. “The court has no evidence linking [us] to any actions that could harm national security,” he said. “I’m not worried at all. If the court carries out justice, it will find me innocent.” Sam Chamroeun, the lawyer representing the two reporters, told RFA that Judge Pech Vicheathor had already made his decision to proceed to trial last month, but only issued the order after receiving a court warrant. He said that regardless of when the trial takes place, he is ready to defend his clients. Trial Judge Im Vannak was not available for comment about the cases. RFA closed its nearly 20-year old bureau in Phnom Penh on Sept. 12, 2017 amid a growing crackdown by Prime Minister Hun’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on the political opposition, NGOs and independent media ahead of national elections in July last year, in what was seen as a bid to silence criticism of his government. The CPP handily won the ballot, securing all 125 seats in parliament. Cambodian journalists working for RFA had reported over the years on corruption, illegal logging, and forced evictions, among other stories largely ignored by pro-government media, and authorities had already closed independent radio stations carrying RFA reports, using a pretext of tax and administrative violations. The arrest of Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin came after a warning from Cambodia’s Ministries of Information and Interior that any journalists still working for RFA after its office in the capital closed would be treated as spies. Their release on bail followed condemnation from multiple local and international rights groups over their treatment during detention, and demands that they be freed. Call for release On Friday, Am Sam Ath, senior investigator for local rights group Licadho, told RFA that it is extremely rare for court authorities to drop charges against activists, regardless of whether they have evidence linking them to the crimes they are accused of. He urged the court to speed up the judicial process and bring the case to trial so that the reporters could “receive justice.” “I hope the court will drop the cases against both of the defendants so that they can have their freedom back,” he said. “Even though they are out on bail, they are being watched by the court, meaning they can’t make any long trips and have to regularly report to the police.” In January, more than three dozen journalists in Cambodia published an open letter urging the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to drop all charges against Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin, saying the accusations against the two are too severe. “The charges intimidate other reporters who are trying to do their work and will negatively impact the freedom of the press in Cambodia as well,” the letter said. Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Cambodia 142nd out of 180 countries in its 2018 World Press Freedom Index, down from 132nd in 2017, citing the crackdown on independent media in the lead up to last year’s election. Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Joshua Lipes. https://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/reporters-03152019133905.html Copyright © 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036.
  11. Cambodia tells journalists to present the hive of Chinese investment as ‘a city of miracles’ set to rival a mash-up of Silicon Valley, Las Vegas, and Singapore. PHNOM PENH — Singapore. Las Vegas. Silicon Valley. These are the models the Cambodian government says it is hoping to emulate in the coastal port city of Sihanoukville, now awash in Chinese investment. Government spokesman Phay Siphan on Monday gave a nearly two-hour press conference to drill the message home to reporters from a pulpit at the Council of Ministers building, itself build with Chinese money. Public discontent over massive Chinese investment and associated immigration to Sihanoukville is rising, as billions of dollars pour into the real estate market and casinos spring up seemingly overnight to cater to Chinese tourists. “You know what?” Siphan said at the meeting on Monday. “It has only been eight months since my last visit [to Preah Sihanouk province] and I went there again and I got lost, it changed quite fast from my memory of the [city’s] old landscape.” “I traveled around the city’s streets at night, it was just a picture of Las Vegas,” he added. A Chinese man shops at a supermarket inside Min Hui International Mall, Sihanoukville province, Cambodia, February 13, 2019. (Sun Narin/VOA Khmer) Sooner or later, Siphan says, the region will be transformed into a financial and tech hubs like Silicon Valley or Singapore, he insists, calling on the media to write “positive” articles about the “developmental phenomenon”. Sihanoukville “is a city of development with a desire to be a modern city which I would call a city of miracles that we should be proud of as Khmer,” he said. “I cannot imagine if [Sihanoukville] can be the next Silicon Valley in California as a tech hub, but I think it may be on the way to be one.” Sihanoukville’s rapid transformation comes amid a global push back against China’s Belt and Road Initiative, with growing concern Beijing is practicing “debt-trap diplomacy”. Cambodia has grown closer to China as relations with Europe and the United States continue to sour over Prime Minister Hun Sen’s human rights record and the dissolution of the country’s main opposition party ahead of elections last year. New commercial advertisements are seen posted on a newly-built building in Sihanoukville province, Cambodia, February 13, 2019. (Khan Sokummono/VOA Khmer) Claims were made that China was planning to turn a port being built by one of its state-owned companies in Koh Kong into a naval base have been roundly denied. Siphan called such claims a “smear campaign”. Chinese tourists made up one-third of the 6.2 million visitors to Cambodia last year. In Sihanoukville, some 90 percent of the permanent expatriate community are Chinese, according to officials. The influx of immigrants and finance follows a visit to Cambodia in October 2016 by Xi Jinping, the Chinese president. Meas Ny, a political analyst in Cambodia, said large-scale Chinese investment came with benefits, but also put the country’s independence at risk. “With most development projects run by Chinese, social dialogue usually does not happen. They don’t care to ask about local concerns until huge impacts take place—and they solve it later.” source https://www.voacambodia.com/a/cambodia-to-journalists-let-us-now-praise-sihanoukville/4829091.html
  12. Chum Kiri district, Kampot province – Thousands of soldiers made up of Cambodian and Chinese troops yesterday descended upon a 10,000-hectare training area here to kick off the largest-ever joint military exercise between the two nations. Dubbed the Golden Dragon, the opening ceremony displayed troops in full combat gear against a backdrop of tanks, armoured personnel carriers and attack helicopters. RCAF commander-in-chief General Vong Pisen and China’s Major General Feng Xiang arrived in the morning to inspect weapons, armour and other military equipment before upcoming live-fire drills. In his speech during the opening ceremony, Gen Pisen said Cambodia and China will be stronger together after the exercise, which ends on March 27. “We will closely work together in the exercise,” he said. “This joint exercise was funded by the Chinese government and it is a reflection of our strong ties and cooperation.” Gen Pisen said to his Chinese counterpart that Cambodia has developed into a peaceful country after decades of civil war under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, noting that a lot of support came from China. read more https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50586653/china-and-cambodia-kick-off-golden-dragon-exercise/
  13. Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday urged authorities to connect pipes to Thailand’s Trat province to obtain water for Koh Kong province, which is facing drought. Speaking to about 13,000 garment workers in the province, Mr Hun Sen said that Koh Kong is facing a shortage of water sources. “Koh Kong is running out of drinking water,” he said. “This is our concern.” . . Mr Hun Sen noted that tycoon Ly Yong Phat has a reservoir to supply water in the province, but the water level is going down. “Now water supply from the reservoir may only be enough for one month but today I received information that Thailand’s Trat province has agreed to supply water to us,” he said. “So we have to have pipes connected to Koh Kong.” Mr Hun Sen thanked the Trat provincial authorities for agreeing to supply water to Koh Kong province. read more https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50586652/thai-province-to-supply-water-to-koh-kong/
  14. Hundreds of hectares of forest in Siem Reap and Kampong Thom provinces have been destroyed by a fire that raged on Monday and Tuesday, according to provincial authorities. The blaze, which authorities said was caused by human negligence, destroyed both natural forest and state-administered forest where trees had been planted over a number of years. Oeng Vutheara, head of Siem Reap province’s Banteay Srei Forestry Administration, told The Post on Wednesday that the fire razed over 200ha of forest at Trapaing Thma village in Banteay Srei district’s Khun Ream commune. read more https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/fires-destroy-hundreds-hectares-forest-siem-reap-and-kampong-thom
  15. Officials in Cambodia’s Sihanoukville province have ordered a Chinese casino and hotel accused of ruining the beauty of a local beach by pouring raw sewage into the sea to close following complaints by area residents and inspections by authorities. The Jin Ding Hotel and Casino, which registered to do business on Koh Rong Samloem Island in April 2018 and opened only recently, had become a major cause of concern for island residents, who feared damage to the environment and a drop in tourist business. In a letter seen on Wednesday by RFA’s Khmer Service, provincial authorities said Jin Ding must now shut down, citing multiple violations by the casino of the law, the playing of loud music on the beach, and the promotion of illegal online betting games. On one occasion, the casino’s security chief had also fired gunshots into the air, the letter ordering the casino’s closing said. Speaking to RFA on March 13, Leang Sopheary--a youth volunteer who visited the island in February and posted photos of the polluted water on social media--called on authorities to examine larger areas of beachfront now also under threat. “I want them to come here and prevent the draining of polluted water into the sea before it’s too late, so that the sea remains clean,” she said. Other local businesses and entertainment centers should meanwhile be inspected for violations, environmental activist Thorn Ratha said, also speaking to RFA on Wednesday. And the owner of the Jin Ding Casino should now be brought to court to face charges, he said. “Cambodia is a country with laws and a criminal code, so the authorities must hand down serious punishment for the owner of this club,” Thorn Ratha said, adding, “This would serve as a warning to other business owners who break Cambodian law.” “There should also be an investigation into any government official who might have been involved in these [violations] and allowed them to happen for years,” he said. Sihanoukville provincial governor Yun Min and provincial government spokesman Or Saroeun could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. Zhou Jianhua, owner of the Jin Ding Casino, was also unavailable for comment. Reported by Vanrith Chea for RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Richard Finney. https://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/closed-03132019170125.html Copyright © 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036
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