Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday cancelled a controversial satellite-city development around a wildlife sanctuary and zoo near the capital following growing online appeals to halt the project.
Conservationists and locals began voicing their concerns and objections when the development plan around the Phnom Tamao zoo and wildlife rescue centre came to light several months ago.
Developers last week started razing privatised areas around the more than 2,000-hectare Phnom Tamao forest area, an hour drive from capital Phnom Penh, and home to many rare and endangered wildlife including sambar deer at the zoo.
Officials defended the development saying the area’s land was too sandy for trees and wild pigs destroyed farmers’ crops.
But on Sunday morning, strongman Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the project stopped and thanked compatriots for their “constructive comments” and requests to conserve the forest around the Phnom Tamao zoo.
“I order… all permits for land swap and development be cancelled,” Hun Sen said in a post on his official Facebook page.
He said that the forest around the zoo must be preserved, ordering the companies to replant trees on dozens of hectares of land they have already cleared.
Wildlife Alliance rescue and care programme director Nick Marx, who has been working at Phnom Tamao for some 20 years, said Hun Sen’s decision “demonstrates Cambodia’s desire to conserve wildlife.
” “Phnom Tamao without the forest around is just the zoo.
With the forest around, it is a place for real conservation to take place and this is what’s important to conserve wildlife,” Marx told AFP.
He added that before Hun Sen’s order the forest was “being cleared quite quickly”.
Rampant poaching, habitat loss from logging, agriculture and dam building has stripped much wildlife from Cambodian rainforests.
Taiwan accused the Chinese army of simulating an attack on its main island Saturday, as Beijing continued its retaliation for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Taipei visit.
Relations between the two superpowers were nosedived following Pelosi’s trip to China’s self-ruled neighbour — which it claims as its territory — prompting calls from the UN for urgent de-escalation of tensions.
Beijing maintained some of its largest-ever military drills around Taiwan on Saturday — exercises aimed at practising a blockade and ultimate invasion of the island, analysts say.
Taipei said it observed, “multiple batches” of Chinese planes and ships operating in the Taiwan Strait, some of which crossed a demarcation line that divides the strait, but which Beijing does not recognise.
“They were judged to be conducting a simulation of an attack on Taiwan’s main island,” it said.
The democratic island’s military mobilised air and land patrols and deployed land-based missile systems in response, the defence ministry said in a tweet.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, meeting with his Philippine counterpart on Saturday, said Washington was “determined to act responsibly” to avoid a major global crisis.
The environment became the latest victim of the geopolitical jousting a day earlier, as Beijing said it would withdraw from a series of talks and cooperation agreements with Washington — most notably on climate change and defence cooperation.
China should not hold talks on issues of global concern such as climate change “hostage”, Blinken said, as it “doesn’t punish the United States, it punishes the world”.
In a bid to show just how close China’s forces have been getting to Taiwan’s shores, Beijing’s military overnight released a video of an air force pilot filming the island’s coastline and mountains from his cockpit.
And the Eastern Command of the Chinese army shared a photo it said was taken of a warship patrolling in seas near Taiwan, the island’s shoreline clearly visible in the background.
Taiwan’s army released images on Saturday of one of its frigates monitoring a Chinese ship within touching distance, and soldiers activating its land-based missile systems.
The drills have also seen Beijing fire ballistic missiles over Taiwan’s capital, according to Chinese state media.
Beijing said it would also hold a live-fire drill in a southern part of the Yellow Sea — located between China and the Korean peninsula — from Saturday until August 15.
Taiwan has remained defiant, insisting it will not be cowed by its “evil neighbour”.
– Peace ‘vital‘ –The scale and intensity of China’s drills have triggered outrage in the United States and other democracies, with the White House summoning China’s ambassador to Washington to rebuke him over Beijing’s actions.
Blinken and the foreign ministers of Japan and Australia issued a joint statement calling on China to halt the exercises after meeting on the sidelines of an Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Cambodia.
Beijing’s decision to withdraw from hard-won cooperation on climate change has now sparked wider fears about the future of the planet.
It’s “impossible to address the climate emergency if the world’s number one and number two economies and number one and number two emitters are not taking action”, Alden Meyer, a senior associate at E3G, a climate-focused think tank, told AFP.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Washington the decision was “fundamentally irresponsible”.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the two superpowers must continue to work together — for the world’s sake.
“For the secretary-general, there is no way to solve the most pressing problems of all the world without an effective dialogue and cooperation between the two countries,” his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
– ‘The new normal’ –With tensions over Taiwan having risen to their highest level in nearly 30 years with an elevated risk of military conflict, experts told AFP the latest downturn in relations between the two superpowers could be long-lasting.
The suspension Friday of bilateral military and maritime dialogue while China continues its military exercises was “particularly worrisome”, said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the German Marshall Fund.“We don’t know what else they will do,” she said.
“We just don’t know if this is just a temporary thing.
” John Culver, a former CIA Asia analyst, said in a discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies that Beijing’s main purpose with its military exercises was to change that status quo.
“I think that this is the new normal,” Culver said.
“The Chinese want to show… that a line has been crossed by the speaker’s visit.
The United States continues to lead the Women's World Ranking; Changes to the top three; A record 185 teams listed in the rankings.
July 2022 was a busy month for women's football, with five major tournaments taking place around the world.
In addition to UEFA Women's Euro 2022, continental championships were held in Africa, South America, North America and Oceania, serving as qualifying events for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023™.
Since June 17, 2022, when the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women's World Ranking was last published, no fewer than 221 matches have been played, generating considerable movement up the rankings.
And while the USA (1st, -), recent winners of the CONCACAF Women's Championship, remain the team to catch, the Stars and Stripes have a new challenger in the form of Germany (2nd, plus 3).
The EURO 2022 runners-up overtake Sweden (third, minus 1), whose own European title ambitions came to an end in the semi-finals.
Newly crowned continental champions, England (4th, plus 4) moved up four places ahead of France (5th, minus 2).
The relegations of the Netherlands (6th, minus 2), Canada (7th, minus 1) and Spain (8th, minus 1) are the other significant changes in the Top 10 of this edition.
Like the Lionesses, South Africa (54th, plus 4) also moved up four places thanks to their 2022 CAF Women's Africa Cup of Nations title.
Semi-finalists in that tournament, Zambia (80th, plus 23) are the team that has improved the most in this edition after ascending 23 positions.
Nigeria (46th, minus 7), which surprisingly lost 1-0 to She-polopolo in the match for third place, recorded the biggest decline in terms of points (minus 69.33).
Another notable improvement in this edition is Jamaica, who achieved their highest placement (42, plus 9), after their third place in the Concacaf Championship.
Also enjoying record highs are Iceland (14 plus 3), the Republic of Ireland (26 plus 1), Portugal (27 plus 3) and Zambia.
Four new teams have joined the Ranking since June 2022: Cambodia (120, -), Turkmenistan (137, -) Timor-Leste (152, -) and Guinea-Bissau (169, -), giving the August edition of 2022 a record - breaking 185 FIFA member associations.
Click HERE (https://fifa.fans/3QhktOi) to see the full standings.
The next edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women's World Ranking will be published on 13 October 2022, ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023™ Draw on Saturday 22 October 2022 in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau.
Leader USA (no change) Moves into top 10 None Moves out of top 10 None Total games played 221 Most games played England, Philippines, Senegal (9 each) Most movement by points Zambia (plus 89.78) Most movement by ranks Zambia (23+ places) Biggest Drop by Points Nigeria (minus 69.33)Biggest Drop by Ranks Mexico (10+ places)Newly Qualified Teams Cambodia, Turkmenistan, Timor-Leste, Guinea-BissauTeams No Longer Qualified None
Cambodia and Russia on Friday signed the plan of consultations for 2022-2024, aiming at further strengthening the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
The deal was inked between Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the 55th ASEAN Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings in Phnom Penh.According to a joint statement released after the signing ceremony, the two ministers agreed to promote further the development of long-lasting and time-tested bonds of friendship and mutual support between the two countries.
“Cambodia and Russia will maintain and intensify political dialogue, regular contacts between the governments, parliaments, local authorities and political parties,” the statement said.
The two countries will enhance mutually beneficial cooperation in trade and investment, science and technology, education and culture, defense and security.
The countries agreed to create favorable conditions for activities of organisations and companies in all the areas.
“Cambodia and Russia will continue to respect legitimate interests of each other in bilateral relations and within the framework of regional and international fora,” the statement added.
The ministers also agreed to promote mutual support on key issues on international and regional agenda, with emphasis on strengthening ASEAN centrality in the context of expanding multilateral interaction in Asia-Pacific space.
The Super Falcons of Nigeria have dropped by seven spots in the July FIFA Ranking, to be placed 46th, after ending 4th at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) in Morocco.
In the ranking table published on the website of the world football governing body on Friday, Nigeria garnered 1535.09 points in the month under review and lost 69.33 points, which is the biggest decline in terms of points.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the former African champions surprisingly went down 1-0 to the She-polopolo of Zambia in the match for the third place match of 2022 WAFCON.
At the continental level, the drop in spot however did not displace the Falcons as the 1st placed team in Africa with the current WAFCON winner, South Africa placed 2nd.
Cameroon, Ghana and Ivory Coast are the 3rd, 4th and 5th placed teams, respectively.
South Africa (54th, plus 4) moved up four places on the back of their title triumph at the 2022 CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Semi-finalists at that tournament, Zambia (80th, plus 23) are this edition’s most-improved side after surging 23 places.
At the global scene, July 2022 was a busy month for women’s football, with five major tournaments taking place across the globe.
In addition to the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, continental championships were held in Africa, South America, North America and Oceania, all serving as qualifying events for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™.
Since 17 June 2022, when the -Cola Women’s World Ranking was last published, no fewer than 221 matches have been played, generating considerable movement in the standings.
And while USA (1st), recent winners of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, remain the team to catch, the Stars and Stripes have a new pursuer in the shape of Germany (2nd, plus 3).
The EURO 2022 runners-up move ahead of Sweden (3rd, minus 1), whose own European title ambitions came to an end in the semi-finals.
Freshly crowned continental champions, England (4th, plus 4) moved up four places ahead of France (5th, minus 2).
Drops for the Netherlands (6th, minus 2), Canada (7th, minus 1), and Spain (8th, minus 1) are the other significant changes in this edition’s Top 10. Another notable improver in this edition is Jamaica, who achieved their highest-ever placing (42nd, plus 9), following their third-place at the Concacaf Championship.
Also enjoying all-time highs are Iceland (14th, plus 3), the Republic of Ireland (26th, plus 1), Portugal (27th, plus 3) and Zambia.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that four new teams have joined the Ranking since June 2022 namely Cambodia (120th), Turkmenistan (137th) Timor-Leste (152nd) and Guinea-Bissau (169th), giving the August 2022 edition a record-breaking 185 FIFA member associations.
UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) says journalists are being increasingly subjected to various forms of harassment, pressure, and violence amid growing restrictions on civic space and press freedoms in Cambodia.
OHCHR in a new report published on Wednesday stated that all of the 65 journalists interviewed in the State of Press Freedom in Cambodia said they had faced some form of interference in the course of their work.
According to the report, more than 80 per cent described being put under surveillance, facing disproportionate or unnecessary restrictions, including access to information.
“The findings in this report are very concerning,’’ the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said in a statement.
“I urge the authorities to take on board our recommendations to ensure the media can carry out their vital work fairly and transparently for the benefit of all Cambodians.
’’ In the report, OHCHR in Cambodia outlined the country’s increasing lack of press freedom and freedom of expression, by examining the legal framework; the state of media ownership; and specific challenges faced by women media workers.
For years, Cambodian authorities have actively adopted legislation restricting civic space generally, and press freedom in particular, the report outlined.
Moreover, laws and other instruments have been adopted to empower the authorities to censor and place journalists and others under surveillance and extend the government’s ability to curtail media work and freedom of expression through the courts.
Press freedom is of particular importance in the context of elections, which recently took place, according to the report.
It noted that a free press plays a vital role in ensuring that voters can inform themselves of the issues at stake and allow candidates to convey their messages to the electorate.
“By ensuring that the press can report freely and safely, authorities are helping to create an environment for political participation and debate,” the report stated.
In addition, it noted that state of Press Freedom also shines a light on the plight of women journalists, who it said are hugely under-represented in Cambodia.
According to the Ministry of Information, only 470 women out of approximately 5,000 journalists are female.
This equals less than one in ten journalists.
Numerous women journalists and media workers face gender-based attacks, the report highlights, including physical harassment by male police and authorities, gender-based discrimination and violence rooted in discriminatory practices and social norms.
Since January 2017, the UN Human Rights Office in Cambodia has documented cases involving 23 journalists who have faced criminal charges for disinformation, defamation or incitement as a result of their work.
Open-ended laws such as the law against the spread of COVID-19 and the 2022 Sub-Decree on the Establishment of the National Internet Gateway, give the Government wide-ranging powers to block information and punish unspecific crimes, and should be repealed, it added.
The report makes 15 recommendations aimed at providing a safer and more pluralistic and gender-sensitive operating space for media workers, OHCHR stated, adding that it stands ready to provide the necessary support to the Government in implementing them.
One recommendation urges the number of women journalists be published, and another advocates for adopting proactive measures to increase those numbers, including through university programmes and scholarships.
OHCHR is also calling for cases against journalists and media workers to be dropped, where they are simply exercising their rights to freedom of expression.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described Myanmar as a friendly and long-standing partner as he met the foreign minister of the military government, Wunna Maung Lwin, on Wednesday.
Lavrov’s visit to Myanmar coincided with several days of foreign ministers’ meetings of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Cambodia.
Lwin, however, was not allowed to attend the meetings in Cambodia because of the ongoing violence in his country since the military coup one and a half years ago.
Russia is isolated from most Western countries because of the war in Ukraine, which it had been waging since February, but Moscow continued to pursue contacts in South-East Asia. The military junta in the crisis-ridden country of Myanmar supported Russia’s attack at the beginning of the war.
One addition to describing Myanmar as a friendly and long-standing partner, Lavrov also said that the two countries were linked by decades of cooperation.
Former Burma had been mired in chaos and violence since a military coup in February 2021. (
Russia backs the Myanmar junta’s efforts to “stabilise” the crisis-wracked country and hold elections next year, its foreign minister said in talks with top generals on Wednesday, according to Russian state media.
The Southeast Asian nation has been in turmoil since the putsch last year, with the junta accused by rights groups of committing war crimes as it struggles to crush resistance to its rule.
Isolated internationally and with Western governments imposing sanctions, the military government has sought to deepen ties with major ally and arms supplier Russia — whose invasion of Ukraine it has said was “justified”.
“We are in solidarity with the efforts [by the junta] aimed at stabilising the situation in the country,” Sergei Lavrov said during talks in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw, according to the TASS news agency.
“Next year, you will hold legislative elections and we wish you success,” Lavrov added, referring to proposed August 2023 elections that opponents of the coup have said will be neither free nor fair.
On Monday junta chief Min Aung Hlaing — who travelled to Moscow last month — said polls could only take place when the conflict-wracked country was “stable and peaceful”.
The putsch has sparked renewed fighting with established ethnic rebel groups in border areas, while dozens of civilian “People’s Defence Force” militias have also sprung up to battle the military.
Russia — along with ally China — has been accused by rights groups and a UN expert of arming the military with weapons used to attack civilians.
Lavrov and junta chief Min Aung Hlaing also discussed opening new consulates “to promote an increase in travel” between their two countries, TASS said.
The junta has yet to comment on Lavrov’s visit.
Lavrov is scheduled to travel on to an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers’ meeting in Cambodia from which the junta’s top diplomat has been excluded.
The bloc joined a chorus of international outrage last week after the junta announced it had executed four prisoners, including a former lawmaker and a democracy activist, in the country’s first use of capital punishment in decades.
– ‘Disappointed and disturbed’ –ASEAN has been growing increasingly frustrated at Myanmar’s lack of progress on a five-point peace plan agreed last year.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen — the current ASEAN chair — on Wednesday warned Myanmar against further hangings.
He said the regional bloc was “disappointed and disturbed” by last month’s executions, and that the further use of capital punishment would mean a “rethink” of the five-point peace plan.
Isolated on the international stage, the junta has turned increasingly to allies including China and Russia.
Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing was in Moscow on a “private” visit in July and reportedly met with officials from Moscow’s space agency Roscosmos and nuclear agencies.
In Naypyidaw, Lavrov said Roscosmos would build “new infrastructure” in Myanmar in cooperation with the junta.
The army has justified its power grab by alleging massive fraud during the 2020 elections, in which Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) trounced a military-backed party.
Last year, it cancelled the results of the polls, saying it had uncovered more than 11 million instances of voter fraud.
International observers said the voting was largely free and fair.
More than 2,100 people have been killed in a military crackdown on dissent, according to a local monitor.
The UN General Assembly on Thursday adopted a historic resolution, declaring access to a clean water as well as healthy and sustainable environment a universal human right.
The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria reports that 161 Member States, including Nigeria voted in favour of the resolution while eight abstained from voting.
The Member States who abstained are China, Russian Federation, Belarus, Cambodia, Iran, Syria, Kyrgyzstan and Ethiopia.
The resolution, based on a similar text adopted in 2021 by the Human Rights Council, calls upon States, international organisations, and business enterprises to scale up efforts to ensure a healthy environment for all.
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, welcomed the ‘historic’ decision and said the landmark development demonstrates that Member States can come together in the collective fight against the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
“The resolution will help reduce environmental injustices, close protection gaps and empower people, especially those that are in vulnerable situations.
“Also, it will help environmental human rights defenders, children, youth, women and indigenous peoples,“ Guterres said in a statement.
He added that the decision would also help States accelerate the implementation of their environmental and human rights obligations and commitments.
“The international community has given universal recognition to this right and brought us closer to making it a reality for all,” the UN chief said.
Guterres underscored that however, the adoption of the resolution ‘is only the beginning’ and urged nations to make this newly recognised right ‘a reality for everyone, everywhere’.
In a statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also hailed the Assembly’s decision and echoed the Secretary-General’s call for urgent action to implement it.
“Today is a historic moment, but simply affirming our right to a healthy environment is not enough.
The General Assembly resolution is very clear: States must implement their international commitments and scale up their efforts to realize it.
“We will all suffer much worse effects from environmental crises, if we do not work together to collectively avert them now,” she said.
Bachelet explained that environmental action based on human rights obligations provides vital guardrails for economic policies and business models.
“It emphasizes the underpinning of legal obligations to act, rather than simply of discretionary policy.
It is also more effective, legitimate and sustainable,” she added.
The text, originally presented by Costa Rica, the Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia and Switzerland in June 2021, was co-sponsored by over 100 countries.
It notes that the right to a healthy environment is related to existing international law and affirms that its promotion requires the full implementation of multilateral environmental agreements.
In 1972, the UN Conference on the Environment in Stockholm, which ended with its own historic declaration, was the first one to place environmental issues at the forefront of international concerns.
It marked the start of a dialogue between industrialised and developing countries on the link between economic growth, the pollution of the air, water and the ocean, and the well-being of people around the world.
UN Member States back then, declared that people have a fundamental right to “an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being,” calling for concrete action and the recognition of this right.
Last October, after decades of work by nations at the front lines of climate change, such as the Maldives archipelago, as well as more than 1,000 civil society organisations, the Human Rights Council finally recognised this right and called for the UN General Assembly to do the same.
“From a foothold in the 1972 Stockholm Declaration, the right has been integrated into constitutions, national laws and regional agreements.
“Today’s decision elevates the right to where it belongs: universal recognition”, UN Environment chief, Inger Andersen, explained in a statement.
The recognition of the right to a healthy environment by these UN bodies, although not legally binding— meaning countries don’t have a legal obligation to comply— is expected to be a catalyst for action and to empower ordinary people to hold their governments accountable.
“So, the recognition of this right is a victory we should celebrate.
“My thanks to Member States and to the thousands of civil society organisations and indigenous peoples’ groups, and tens of thousands of young people who advocated relentlessly for this right.
“But now we must build on this victory and implement the right,” Andersen added.
Cambodia’s National Assembly has ratified an agreement between it and China’s Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) government for avoiding double taxation and preventing fiscal evasion concerning the taxes on income.
The pact was gich was ratified on Thursday, was signed between the Southeast Asian country and the Macao SAR government in 2019.
Cambodian Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth said the kingdom had also signed similar agreements with China, China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Turkey.
“The agreement will attract and facilitate international investment and trade as well as prevent fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income,’’ he told the parliament.
Chheang Vun, chairman of the parliament’s committee on economy, finance, banking and audit, said the deal was vital to promoting bilateral investment and trade, capital flow, and sharing of technology and expertise.
“This is a legal instrument that will help attract foreign direct investment to Cambodia through tax incentives,’’ he said.
After a review by the senate, the pact would be submitted to Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni for endorsement.