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Brendan O’Byrne


Firm Accused of Indigenous Mondolkiri Land Grab

A land dispute in Mondolkiri province has pitted a Malaysian corporation against 128 ethnic Bunong families, a flare-up of a long-running disagreement over land the community claims is communal forest and the company insists was granted as an economic land concession (ELC).

Chevron Could Disprove Defamation Charge, Rainsy Says

A joint stipulation between the lawyers of former opposition leader Sam Rainsy and U.S. oil giant Chevron, filed in a U.S. court on Friday, cites “progress in narrowing...differences” and suggests that further negotiations could “obviate the need for further intervention by the court.”

Southeast Asia Historian Dies in Battambang

Noted historian and Southeast Asia researcher Michael Vickery died on Thursday in Battambang province of a heart attack, according to local police.

Stars on Stage

The Blue Chilli drag show is one of the must-see events that I take visitors to every time someone travels to Phnom Penh.

Case Against Chevron Proceeding, Rainsy Says

Former CNRP President Sam Rainsy said on Thursday that his legal action against Chevron in a U.S. court would continue, despite the oil giant claiming it did not have the security footage from the Phnom Penh Caltex station where political analyst Kem Ley was murdered in July.

Apsara Authority Demolitions Backed by the UN

The government’s decision to remove more than 500 homes it claims were built illegally in the Angkor Archaeological Park was supported by the U.N. on Monday, a blow to homeowners who say the issue was ignored leading up to commune elections.

Winging It

For the past few months, Mr. Long, who owns a car repair shop on the side of the road about 100 km southeast of Phnom Penh, has been building, flying, and crashing his homemade airplane.

Holdouts Remain as Derelict White Building Empties Out

Phnom Penh’s derelict White Building is emptying out. Most homeowners have accepted compensation and boarded up their rooms. But several families remain, insisting they need more help to find new places to live. They are staying put for now.

Under Pressure, NGO Coalition Seeks Closer Ties With Government

An NGO coalition launched a program to collaborate more closely with the government on Wednesday, a week after an Interior Ministry spokesman admitted to threatening several organizations in order to “scare” them ahead of commune elections.

Economists Assail Opposition Proposal to Ditch US Dollars

Economists on Tuesday lambasted the CNRP’s proposal to eliminate the use of U.S. dollars for transactions in the country within one year of a victory in next year’s national elections, saying the policy would be “a disaster” and “impossible.”

CNRP Win Would Mean Switch From Dollar to Riel, Official Says

An opposition spokesman said on Sunday that if the CNRP won next year’s national elections, all transactions in the country would be in Khmer riel within one year—a huge reversal of the current situation, in which 84 percent of transactions use the U.S. dollar, according to National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) statistics.

Rainsy Faces Deadline in Kem Ley Case

A U.S. district judge has set a June 29 deadline for former CNRP President Sam Rainsy to submit further evidence and requests for information in his legal filing against U.S. oil giant Chevron regarding Kem Ley’s July murder.

UN Investigating Report of Threats Against Opposition Candidate

The U.N.’s human rights office is investigating the alleged harassment and threatening of a CNRP commune chief candidate in Kandal province, according to an email from the agency’s Bangkok off

Move-Out Begins at White Building; No Official Deadline Set

As residents began to move out of Phnom Penh’s iconic White Building on Tuesday, government officials were also present, handing out documentation to those leaving while microfinance staff offered their services.

White Building School Closes Its Doors as Tenant Evictions Begin

It’s not a typical last day of school. But then this is not a typical school. Aziza—a free English language and computer school run by the NGO Empowering Youth in Cambodia (EYC)—has been teaching the children of Phnom Penh’s iconic White Building for the past decade.

Ruling Party, Opposition Both Claim Commune Election Win

A lack of official results did not stop both major political parties from claiming victory in Cambodia’s highest-stakes and highest-turnout local elections to date on Sunday, with the CPP citing its dominance in winning commune chief seats and the CNRP boasting of huge opposition gains in a ballot monitors said was largely free of the irregularities that marred past votes.

Minister’s Plea Put to Test as White Building Residents Vote

Land Management Minister Chea Sophara’s multiple pleas over the past months for White Building residents to vote for the ruling party may not have had much sway over homeowner ballot decisions in the commune elections.

Government Faces Accusations of Suppressing Workers’ Votes

Labor rights activists urged the government on Wednesday to help hundreds of thousands of workers who have migrated within the country to vote on Sunday, with a political analyst saying their potential disenfranchisement could swing the elections to the ruling party.

CNRP Cites Poll, Rallies as Reasons for Election Optimism

A poll distributed to major political parties earlier this year emboldened opposition leader Kem Sokha to predict that the CNRP would win 60 percent of the vote in Sunday’s commune elections, a party spokesman has revealed.

Sibling Rivalry

Two Brothers Face Off in Tightly Contested Takeo Province Commune