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Aisha Down


Tuning Out Trouble

Armed only with the tools for musical composition, addicted teens in remote Ratanakkiri create songs—and perhaps a future without drugs

With Waters to Rise, Ministry Tires of Families’ Concerns

Disdain and pain flooded a meeting on Thursday between government officials and families whose villages are set to be submerged by a dam’s reservoir.

As Timber Thins, Kratie Province Turns to Fish

koh khnhe, Kratie Province - Half the houses in this village are deserted. Pale dust from the dirt road coats staircases falling into disrepair. Scraps of wood beneath them weather. Tractors used to cart timber are slowly rusting.

Green Date-Grower in Cambodia Eyes Indonesian Market

There are 700 species of dates in the world, according to Leng Mong Neath, a real estate broker and would-be date farmer. Of these, only about 20 bear edible fruit. And of these 20 edible species, only two can grow in Cambodia.

Seized Ivory to Be Kept for Exhibit, Prime Minister Says

Settling a drawn out, yearlong discussion on what Cambodia should do with its millions of dollars worth of seized trafficked animal parts, Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced the haul will be exhibited and not destroyed.

Beauty Queens to Promote Conservation, Waste Management

The Environment Ministry on Sunday held a press conference to showcase its newest tactic for promoting environmental awareness—beauty queens. “One of the things we enjoy as beauty queens is we are given the opportunity to state our opinions,” said Maya Rotha Gilliss-Chapman, who represented the Philippines in the 2016 Miss Global pageant.

Police Probe Beating of Sugarcane Workers

Police said on Thursday they were investigating allegations that the Chinese managers of a worksite for a sugarcane concession had severely beaten three workers for stealing oil and fertilizer, and that one of them later died of his injuries.

World’s Largest Freshwater Fish Under Threat From Planned Dam

The world’s largest freshwater fish may go extinct as a result of the environmental impact of the newest dam proposed on the Mekong, according to documents released ahead of a consultation that began on Wednesday.

Government Officials Reconsider Amnesty for Parents, Surrogates

When the government announced a ban on surrogacy last year, foreign parents who had hired Cambodian women to carry their babies received assurances from officials that they would be allowed to safely take their children from the country.

Rainsy Sees Role ‘Above Politics’ After Resignation

Following his abrupt departure as the head of Cambodia’s opposition, Sam Rainsy said on Monday that he would fully remove himself from all roles within the party, including fundraising from abroad.

Turf War

The son of the ruling party’s No. 3 man is attempting to make his mark as the environment minister, amid apparent machinations by rivals resisting change

Local Political Opposition Alleges Police Intimidation in Ratanakkiri

lumphat district, Ratanakkiri - Police here are said to have repeatedly attempted to obtain lists of opposition CNRP supporters and election candidates in what local politicians and a rights worker described as veiled threats. Police, however, said it was a means to maintain security.

As Evictions Start Again, Kbal Chhay Holdouts Leave Their Homes

Almost all of more than 100 families still living on disputed land near Sihanoukville’s Kbal Chhay waterfall were finally cleared out from the site on Tuesday morning by state security forces, who proceeded to tear down many of families’ crude houses.

Pig Farmers Struggle Despite Rising Demand

Trucks full of pigs trundled down the streets in the days leading up to Chinese New Year. Demand for honey-roasted pork soared more than tenfold, according to vendors on Monivong Boulevard in Phnom Penh, and average pork prices in the city rose 10 to 15 percent, according to Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon.

Snares Threaten Cambodian Wildlife With ‘Extinction Crisis’

Cambodia—and the rest of Southeast Asia—is facing an “extinction crisis” driven by the large-scale use of cheap snares in commercial hunting, according to an article published last week in the journal Science.

Environment Ministry Now Controls 40 Percent of Cambodia’s Land

Prime Minister Hun Sen Wednesday’signed a sub-decree to create “biodiversity conservation corridors”—patches of land connecting Cambodia’s protected areas—putting an additional 1.4 million hectares under the management of the Environment Ministry.

Carbon-Credit Conservation Deal Reached for Cardamoms

The southern Cardamom Mountains have been targeted for a carbon-credit scheme that would put a monetary value on the rainforests’ potential impact on climate change in an effort to spur and fund their preservation.

No Wood, But Permit in Protected Area Extended

The Agriculture Ministry renewed the license for timber extraction on a land concession in a protected area in September, despite previously concluding that the land within the concession had been completely cleared, according to a conservation group and documents obtained by reporters this month.

China Dam Construction Is Putting Pressure on Mekong River

A cascade of six dams being built in southern China has caused significant changes to water levels in the Mekong River as far downstream as Cambodia, according to a study released by researchers from Finland and Laos.

Ratanakkiri NGOs Are Hit by Series of Major Resignations

The surprise leap of Chhay Thy, a prominent human rights worker in Ratanakkiri province, to the ruling party this month was preceded by two other high-level NGO officials in the province resigning to work in government in the past year, a series of moves seen by some as a growing trend.