Copy
View this email in your browser

NEWS DIGEST #227

June 18, 2019

Hunting the elusive rhino-horn cartel of Thailand - GQ
From an outpost in northeastern Thailand, a couple of shadowy men have for years been running the world's most elaborate poaching ring—earning an enormous fortune by destroying some of the planet's most exotic creatures. Now can an enterprising vigilante finally bring down an untouchable smuggling syndicate?

Cambodian farmers battle in landmark lawsuit against Thai sugar firm - Reuters
The lawsuit against Asia’s largest sugar producer, filed on behalf of about 3,000 people, is the first class-action lawsuit filed in a Thai court by plaintiffs from another country against a Thai company operating outside Thailand.
Too little, too late for US ‘recommitment’ to Mekong countries? China’s already there - SCMP
As Beijing floods the Mekong with much-needed cash, the US finds itself pushing back against the tide to retain influence. But some nations in the region think the competition can work to their advantage.
Share
Tweet
Forward

MEKONG DEVELOPMENT

Myanmar and Lao to get infrastructure boost - ASEAN Post
ASEAN unveiled a list of 19 projects in the Initial Rolling Priority Pipeline of Potential ASEAN Infrastructure Projects: five are in Myanmar and four in Lao PDR. Indonesia and Thailand have three projects each, Vietnam has two and Brunei and Cambodia each have one.

Laos to give data to prevent Isan floods - Bangkok Post
Laos has agreed in principle to provide data and information about water resources and management plans involving the Mekong River directly to Thai authorities to assess the water situation and take action to prevent floods in eight northeastern provinces.

CAMBODIA

As Cambodia swelters, climate-change suspicion falls on deforestation - Mongabay
The Cambodian government has denied this connection, but emerging science provides compelling links between the two issues. (See also: Monitoring group blames rise in Cambodia's forest crimes on authorities turning blind eye - Phnom Penh Post)

Cambodia’s islands are under threat. This woman is trying to save them - Christian Science Monitor
A culture of environmental care doesn’t always emerge organically. On the Cambodian island of Koh Sdach, one woman has taken it upon herself to plant the seeds of environmental stewardship.

GDP files petition over Boeng Tamouk lake reclamation - Khmer Times
Boeng Tamouk, also known as Tumnup Kobsrov, is about 15 kilometres away from the city centre. It is one of the last lakes in Phnom Penh relatively unaffected by development.

Worm epidemic destroys 10,000 hectares of corn - Khmer Times
New species of worms are considered to be the main annoying pests which originated from South America. The pests can destroy more than 80 types of crops and plants.

Secret slaughterhouse video reveals brutal treatment of pigs in Cambodia - The Guardian
Campaigners are calling for animal welfare reform in Cambodia after exclusive footage of an open-air slaughterhouse revealed the brutal treatment of pigs.

LAOS

Local government in Laos again falls behind on living allowances for dam collapse survivors - RFA
The government in Laos’ Attapeu province has once again fallen behind on living allowance payments it promised to survivors of the country’s worst flooding in decades.

Chinese media misleads public on Lao hydro impacts - International Rivers
Last month, the New York Times ran a piece of propagandaand misinformation masquerading as news. The piece was entitled “Employment on Hydropower Project in Laos Delivers Better Lives,” and it was created and paid for by the China Daily, the English-language mouthpiece for the People’s Republic of China.

Thailand, Laos sign agreement on 5th friendship bridge - Xinhua
Thailand and Laos on Friday signed an agreement on building the fifth friendship bridge between Thailand's Bueng Kan province and Laos' Bolikhamsai province. (See also: Borikhamxay to serve as key regional land bridge - Vientiane Times)

Lao ministry inspecting banana plantations to ensure sustainable agricultural practices - ANN/Vientiane Times
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is inspecting banana plantations across Laos and directing operators to produce their crops in line with sustainable agricultural practices.

MYANMAR

Myanmar lifts ban on plantation teak exports - The Irrawaddy 
Myanmar has seen the world’s third worst case of deforestation, so government leaders are remain very concerned that timber from natural forests could be mistakenly allowed for export.

Myanmar issues climate change policies as World Bank sounds environment alarm - The Nation
Serious environmental issues are emerging, underlying the importance of transparent and robust environmental impact assessment system the report says.

Debt and misery stalk the delta’s salt farms - Frontier Myanmar
Life’s hard for the salt farming communities in the far south of Ayeyarwady Region, where services are basic, food is scarce and debt is never-ending.

Gems mines in Kachin State ordered to suspend work - Myanmar Eleven
Myanmar Gems Enterprise has issued a directive suspending jade mining in Hpakant and Lonekhin gems fields from July 1 to September 30 as waste pit collapses, landslides, human deaths and property and machinery damage usually occur in the rainy season.

THAILAND

Party threatens to pull out of coalition over environment role - The Nation
Thai Forest Conservation Party head Damrong Phidej said he does not want a Cabinet seat but he wants to work in the ministry so that his party can implement its policies to protect forests. (See also: Green party threatens to pull support - Bangkok Post)

‘Energy cards’ carry 350 times more radiation than humans can bear - The Nation
Thailand's office of Atoms for Peace warned of excessively high levels of radiation from the so-called “energy cards” that their distributors claim can cure illnesses and help relieve aches and pains. (See also: 'Cure-all power cards' could actually be killers - Bangkok Post)

Public discussion on forest fires, PM2.5 - NBT
The Council of Engineers and its network partners have held a public discussion on the causes of forest fires and PM2.5 particles. The event was being held for the fourth time, with the intention of providing further information on policies and the strategies being used to deal with forest fires and PM2.5 particles, for the benefit of the public.

Thailand’s EV dreams facing a setback (opinion) - ASEAN Post
Several environmentalists and analysts have already mentioned that EVs (which include everything from electric boats to electric tuk tuks) will help clean up the country and most observers would likely agree. But if Thailand is serious about its ambition of becoming a production hub for EVs in the region then it must look at how it can make the purchase EVs affordable in the first place.

VIETNAM

Solutions sought for Mekong Delta’s sustainable development - Vietnam+
A conference was held in Ho Chi Minh City on June 18 to review two years since the implementation of Resolution No.120/NQ-CP on sustainable development of the Mekong Delta toward adaptation with climate change. 

Will the Mekong Delta sink by 2100? - VietnamNet
Hydropower reservoirs will increase landslides in the Mekong Delta. These reservoirs prevent sediment from flowing downstream. Sediment has the effect of consolidating the delta and preventing erosion.

BRI could lead Vietnam away from renewable energy, towards coal - SCMP
Chinese energy companies are looking overseas for profits, bringing promises to poorer countries of BRI funding for coal-fired power plants. These countries could account for some 50 percent of global emissions by 2050. (See also: New solar cheaper than coal in Vietnam within three years - PV Magazine)

Innovative methods could transform Vietnam’s robusta farms into carbon sinks - Mongabay
Intercropping and decreased fertilizer use can change robusta farms from carbon sources to carbon sinks. Such practices are present in small specialty coffee industry, but not large-scale commodity producers. (See also: Vietnam's Mekong Delta opts for smart rice farming - Xinhua)

Vietnam to see 1 GW of offshore wind installed by 2021 - Clean Technica
The Global Wind Energy Council expects Vietnam will install 1 gigawatt (GW) of new onshore wind capacity by 2021, which could solidify the country as a regional wind power leader as it considers expanding to 6 GW by 2030. (See also: Conference seeks to unlock Vietnam’s wind energy potential - Vietnam Economic News)

Garbage chokes northern Vietnam mangrove forests - Vietnam Express
Several coastal mangrove forests in Hai Phong City are losing trees to garbage swept in from the sea.

Jailed Vietnamese environmental activists ‘Seriously Ill,’ says wife of group leader - RFA
Thuy said that families of the 22 prisoners began sending appeals to the international community in December last year because authorities have failed to respond to their applications for medical parole.

Vietnam to tender US$5bn motorway project to Mekong Delta - Global Construction Review
The motorway will run through 13 provinces from Nam Dịnh, about 60km south of Hanoi, to the southern province of Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta.

Scorching weather severely disrupts life in central Vietnam - Vietnam Express
Ha Tinh residents have had to drastically change their daily life routine to avoid extremely hot weather.

REGIONAL/GLOBAL CONTEXT

11 million people now have jobs in renewable energy  - Forbes
The greatest growth came from countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, spreading the renewable sector beyond the primary markets in China, Brazil, the U.S., India and the EU.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative criticised for poor standards and ‘wasteful’ spending - Today
A new report cited the case of villagers in Laos who had been forced to leave their homes to make way for the Kunming to Vientiane railway. The report said Chinese project managers had made no effort to win support from locals or ensure they were properly resettled and compensated.

'Giants of the Monsoon Forest' explores the lives of working elephants in Asia (book review) - NPR 
"As I read, I wondered whether tweaking the system of elephant capture and labor still leaves too little good. Is capture and control of wild elephants really the best model we can devise for elephant conservation?"

Results of marine fish survey set to be released - Myanmar Times
Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand were involved in the latest round of Norwegian studies, which involved surveys of fish stocks, measurements of microplastic particles in the water, and microplastic contamination in fish.

Environment reporters facing harassment and murder, study finds - The Guardian
India is one of the most dangerous places to be a journalist – three of the 13 identified as having been killed in the course of their work since 2009 were from the country. Three more were based in the Philippines. The others died in Panama, Colombia, Russia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.

Urbanization, commercial farms threaten Asia's forests, U.N. warns - Reuters
Sprawling urban areas and expanding plantations are placing greater pressure on forests and resources in Asia-Pacific, hurting rural communities and exacerbating the effects of climate change, the United Nations food agency said on today.
The Mekong Eye's weekly News Digest curates news, commentary and resources on development, its environmental and social impacts, and the context affecting the Mekong region. We reach nearly 6000 key development professionals, government officials, business leaders and journalists. Submit stories, press releases, resources or feedback to: editor@mekongeye.com
 
Copyright © 2019, Internews, All rights reserved. Please share this email.