Tuesday, March 20, 2018
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Colin Meyn

Associate editor

Shaken Diplomacy

A grenade attack on an opposition rally in 1997 rocked Cambodian politics, and left the U.S. ambassador in a precarious position

Twenty Years Later, Remembering a Grenade Attack That Killed 17

Alain Gascuel, the editor of French-language journal Cambodge Nouveau, was perusing the paintings at shop-front galleries across from the National Museum in Phnom Penh on a Sunday morning when he heard the first explosion. His camera was at home, but his motorbike was parked outside and he headed straight to the scene—or at least tried to.

Sok An’s Fiefdom to Be Split Up, Hun Sen Says

Reversing the course of “continuity” laid out by a government spokesman this week, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday declared that the sprawling portfolio of Deputy Prime Minister Sok An would be spread among ministries.

After Bomb, Governor Wants ATMs Moved, More Security

After a makeshift explosive shattered the glass of a Canadia Bank ATM on Russian Boulevard in Phnom Penh on Saturday night, municipal governor Pa Socheatvong on Tuesday said banks should increase security or move their cash machines out of public places.

King Wades Into Politics With Call for Fearless Vote

In a letter that began circulating online Monday, King Norodom Sihamoni calls for Cambodians to head to local polls in June and vote for whomever they please without fear, just days after leaving the signing of highly controversial legal changes to Senate President Say Chhum.

Sok An, Minister of ‘Many Arms,’ Dies at 66

Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, a ruling party stalwart who has been likened to “a Hindu god with 48 arms” for his control over a dizzying array of government bodies, including the Council of Ministers, died in Beijing on Wednesday evening. He was 66.

Deputy Prime Minister Sok An Dies at 66

Sok An, whose path to becoming one of the most powerful men in Cambodia traced the career of Prime Minister Hun Sen, died on Wednesday evening, according to a government spokesman. He was 66.

Feud Between Government, UN Rights Office Continues

While the government agreed at the end of last year to let the U.N.’s human rights office continue operating in the country for two more years, the debate over the body’s role in Cambodia is far from finished, as illustrated by the past few days.

New CNRP Leadership Set to Be Approved at Party Congress

Opposition leader Kem Sokha and his three deputies—Pol Ham, Mu Sochua and Eng

CNRP Names Three New Vice Presidents

With Kem Sokha taking the permanent role of CNRP president, the opposition party on Tuesday named three new vice presidents, lawmakers Mu Sochua, Eng Chhay Eang and Pol Ham, according to party officials.

CNRP Vice Presidency Up for Grabs

There is little doubt among observers that Kem Sokha will be named as president of the CNRP at a snap party congress set for Thursday, but who will replace him as the party’s deputy leader is either a closely guarded secret or remains up in the air.

Australian Blogger Convicted of Defaming Anti-Pedophile NGO

An Australian blogger was found guilty of defaming an anti-pedophile group over accusations that it had manipulated witnesses, paid bribes to influence the courts and knowingly put innocent men behind bars, the organization said in a statement on Wednesday.

Analysts Warn of Violence if Political Status Quo Continues

Unless there are fundamental changes to the dynamics of politics in Cambodia—with the government suppressing dissent and the opposition often relying on racially charged attacks—disenchantment following next year’s election is likely to lead to violence, a think tank warned in a political analysis released on Tuesday.

Fresh News ‘Leaks’ Finally Reach Rainsy

A sexually charged smear campaign against opposition lawmakers reached the top of the CNRP on Monday, when the website that has led the drive posted a recording reportedly of party leader Sam Rainsy “seducing” a waitress during a telephone call.

US Hits Back At Government Over $500 Million Debt, Democracy

The U.S. ambassador said on Friday that Cambodia was in a league with only three other countries—Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe—in being in arrears to the U.S., and said the government should stop dwelling on the past and start planning how to pay back a loan from the 1970s now worth $500 million.

Government Digs Up US Chemical Weapons, Then Debt

Sor Hun and the monks at his pagoda waited for a few days before going near two chemical barrels dropped on their village near the Vietnamese border in 1970 as part of a U.S. aerial assault meant to flush out Viet Cong guerillas believed to be hiding out there. Two other barrels had exploded on impact.

Post-Obama, Hun Sen Faces Uncertain US Policy

If it wasn’t already clear, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday let an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos know how he really felt about former U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration’s “pivot” to Asia.

Cambodia Cancels Exercise With US Military

Weeks after holding its largest-ever joint military exercises with China, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government has canceled Cambodia’s routine joint military exercises with the U.S. for the next two years, officials confirmed on Monday.

Hun Sen, as Journalism Professor, Wines and Dines the Media

It was clear before Prime Minister Hun Sen took the stage on Saturday that his inaugural meeting with local journalists in Phnom Penh was not going to be a confrontational affair.

No Prisoner Talks While Rainsy Bites, CPP Says

The ruling party is refusing to continue negotiations over the release of at least five jailed government critics because opposition leader Sam Rainsy continues to hurl insults at the CPP from exile, the Interior Ministry’s spokesman said on Wednesday.

Latest Headlines

Cambodia Joins China for Military Drills as US Relations Cool

Hundreds of Cambodian and Chinese soldiers began a 15-day joint military exercise in central Cambodia this week, involving live-fire rocket launches from helicopters, mock tank battles, and anti-terrorism and emergency relief training. China will reportedly also donate tanks and armored personnel carriers on the occasion.

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