An island in the Mekong

The Globe's Andrew Haffner hit the water this week, as he waded into an underreported yet potentially huge story taking place on the banks of the Mekong in the Cambodian capital. As we speak, dredgers are shifting tonnes of sand and relocating it to an area set to form Koh Norea, a new island mega-project touted by developers as the next Koh Pich. While billions of dollars are at stake for investors, ecological harmony in the river is the most significant thing on the line – despite this, a publicly available environmental impact assessment remains illusive

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September 28, 2020
An island in the Mekong

Environmental fears as new Mekong island carved out in Phnom Penh

This one came from me, with help from our Cambodian teammates at our sister publication Focus. Here in Phnom Penh, a major new land reclamation project is taking shape in the Mekong River. The infill is called Koh Pich II, the twin of the existing Koh Pich, and much like its older sibling, the new island is built under murky circumstances. 

In Makassar, refugees rally for medical treatment in the shadow of the virus

The Rohingya refugees may be in some of the most dire straits of any refugee population across the world. Now, in Indonesia, they and other refugees once hoping for a home in Australia are languishing, waiting for something to change. Rohingya journalist JN Joniad, himself living in limbo in Indonesia, wrote in to tell us about the community’s recent push for better medical care. An important read from this community.

For Thai protesters, even the dying embers of a regime can be dangerous

For Thailand’s democracy movement, nothing is guaranteed. But protesters may do well to look to countries like Belarus and Ukraine to see what path authoritarian states often follow as they struggle to survive. Academic contributor Mark S. Cogan, of Kansai Gaidai University in Japan, sent us this insightful piece of comparative political analysis.

Dong Tam death sentences dim hopes for land rights reform in Vietnam

Land rights can be tenuous in Vietnam, where all land is officially owned by the state. With that context, a long-running land conflict at Dong Tam, a village outside Hanoi neighbouring a military base, has presented a rare public demonstration of violent dissent against authorities. Villagers there clashed with police earlier this year, resulting in multiple deaths including the alleged killing of three police officers. Now, two village men charged in leading the resistance against police have been sentenced to death for their role in the clash. Contributor Jake Black presents us with this piece of reported analysis on the symbolic weight of Dong Tam.

As Cambodia cracks down, youth must increase their social media activism

If resistance is the theme, then we need to go online to see it in all its forms. Kimkong Heng, visiting senior fellow at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, points to digital mobilisation in Thailand to implore the youth of his country to take to the virtual streets to educate, organise and make positive changes in Cambodia. 

Female-led councils and equity classes as Siem Reap schools target gender gap

Education is power, so there’s ample reason to sit up and notice when it’s denied to members of society. In partnership with educational organisation Caring for Cambodia, Globe reporter Alexi Demetriadi went to Siem Reap to learn more about the work being done to promote girls and women in education.

Pooling resources: Fostering solidarity among Mekong communities

With rural communities along the Mekong living at the mercy of the geopolitical whims of nations controlling the river’s flow and development, attempts are being made to band these disparate people together to regain control over their fate.

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