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Dene-Hern Chen

Associate editor

Laos Hydropower Project Stirs Environmental Fears

Beneath a small wooden house in southern Laos, sits a makeshift laboratory a short walk from the bank of the Mekong River. Small plastic containers were stacked on a table during a recent visit, each individually labeled with the name of the species inside: monotreta fangi, puntius brevis, pangasius.

Labor Minister Proposes Annual Wage Rise

The government is considering raising the minimum wage for the country’s garment workers every year for the next five years, Labor Minister Ith Sam Heng said after a meeting Wednesday with manufacturers and unions on increasing the current monthly salary of $80.

Labor Ministry Says Brands Hold Key to Wages

The minimum wage for garment factory workers can only be raised if international clothing brands sourcing from Cambodia pay more for their products, a Ministry of Labor official said Tuesday.

Government to Meet Over January Minimum Wage Increase

The current government-mandated minimum wage of $80 a month for garment factory workers will be increased in January 2014, though the amount it will be raised by has not been determined, a Labor Ministry official said Monday.

Despite Denials, Levi’s Still Producing at SL Garment Factory

U.S. denim giant Levi Strauss continued to deny this week that its products are linked to the strife-torn SL Garment Factory in Phnom Penh, despite new photographs showing Levi’s trademark jeans stacked on benches at the plant in Meanchey district.

Surfers and Smugglers—and the Truth Behind Two Americans’ Deaths in Tuol Sleng

At the end of 1978, two Americans were captured by the Khmer Rouge while sailing in waters off the coast of Sihanoukville.

Don Sahong Charm Offensive Fails to Sway Skeptics

For three days this week, the Lao government and the Malaysian company behind the 240-MW Don Sahong dam project pulled out all the stops to sell the project to a group of skeptical officials from neighboring Cambodia and Vietnam. But despite the five-star treatment of those who attended the “study tour,” which included environmentalists and aid donors from the U.S. and Switzerland as well as Cambodian and Vietnamese government officials, and several journalists, few were convinced by the company’s pitch.

CPP Lawmaker Says Deforestation Is Good for Economy

CPP lawmaker Chheang Vun on Wednesday lauded the economic and social benefits of the widespread clearing of Cambodia’s forests for development projects.

Cambodia Should Prepare for Climate Change

Cambodia is one of the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change because the majority of its population is engaged in agriculture and there is a lack of infrastructure to combat floods and other effects, the 3rd National Forum on Climate Change was told Tuesday.

H&M Calls for Yearly Minimum Wage Review

The call for a higher minimum wage in Cambodia’s garment industry by Swedish clothing giant H&M, which posted a 2012 profit margin of more than $3.4 billion, should begin with the brand itself as it has the power and means to raise workers’ wages, industry members said Monday.

Zaha Hadid to Design Cambodia’s Genocide Museum

The fluidity of the structures designed by renowned Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid bring to mind the gentle waves of a river —her skyscrapers are...

Six-Year-Old Girl Among Few to Survive Bird Flu Infection

A 6-year-old girl from Battambang province, the 22nd person this year to contract avian influenza, is one of only half to have survived what has been the worst-ever outbreak of the virus in Cambodia.

Critics Say Laos Dam Harm-Mitigation Plan Is Untested, Unproven

The methods proposed to reduce the impact on regional fisheries of a mainstream Mekong dam in Laos are untested and unproven, making the Lao government’s decision to move ahead with the Don Sahong dam a dangerous one, critics of the project said Thursday.

Malaysia Says No Draft Agreement on Maids Yet

Malaysia has not yet received a draft agreement aimed at protecting Cambodian migrant domestic workers from abuse, but the government is pressing Cambodia to lift its two-year moratorium on sending maids, a Malaysian official said Wednesday.

Scientist Disputes Laos’ Claim About Dam

The Lao government believes that the Don Sahong dam, which is to be built on a stretch of the Mekong River just 1 km from the Cam­bodian border, will have no significant consequences for fisheries in downriver countries, according to documents released Wednesday by the Mekong River Commission.

NGOs Say Women Could Help End the Political Impasse

More women should be part of any future high-level negotiations between the ruling CPP and opposition CNRP to resolve the current political deadlock, a coalition of women’s rights NGOs said Tuesday in a statement.

Cambodia, Singapore Sign Energy Agreement

Minister of Industry, Mines and En­ergy Cham Prasidh signed an ag­reement with Singa­pore’s Min­is­try of Trade and Industry on Monday to ex­change information in the energy sector on conservation, electricity regulation and renewable sources, ac­cording to statement from the Sin­gaporean ministry.

Cambodia Misses Deadline to Submit UN Human Rights Report

Cambodia failed Monday to make its deadline to submit a key human rights report—known as the universal period review—to the U.N., said Mak Sambath, deputy chairman of the government’s Human Rights Committee.

Cambodia to Submit Human Rights Report to UN

Cambodia will submit a human rights report to the U.N. today for a universal periodic review, the second time it is participating in the process, according to the Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit.

Government Suspends Logging in Stung Treng Dam Concession

The government has ordered Ang & Associates Lawyer Co. Ltd., a company headed by well-known businessman Kith Meng, to cease logging in an area of Stung Treng province where a hydropower dam will be built.