#Cambodia – Firmer prospects as rubber rebounds

Cambodia’s beleaguered rubber industry looks set for a turnaround as international rubber prices continue their strong rebound. Local traders and industry officials said yesterday they were optimistic that rubber prices, which doubled during the course of 2016, would continue to rise as the global economy recovers and demand driven heavily by developing economies catches up with supply.

Pol Sopha, general-director of the rubber department at the Ministry of Agriculture, said local rubber producers exported 148,000 tonnes of natural rubber last year, a 13.5 percent increase on 2015’s output.

However, the average price of these exports last year was just $1,200 per tonne, about $300 lower than in 2015.

Rubber prices dipped to a seven-year low of $1,050 per tonne in March 2016. The latter half of the year, however, saw prices surge to over $2,000 per tonne on China’s improved economic outlook and rising crude oil prices. They have also been buoyed by recent widespread flooding in southern Thailand, a major rubber-producing area.

Locally-produced rubber is currently trading at around $2,170 per tonne, with Sopha confident it still has room to grow.

“It’s a good sign for the rubber sector right now that the price keeps increasing,” he said.

“It’s projected to increase further and could reach $2,500 per tonne this year.”

The automotive industry, which consumes about 70 percent of total rubber production, has remained flat. But rising crude oil prices, which are firming up the price of synthetic rubber, have given natural rubber prices some bounce.

“The price of rubber depends on the price of petrol, so when crude oil prices rise the price of rubber rises as well,” explained Sopha.

He said the improved outlook of rubber was great news for Cambodian farmers, but many did not have the capital to fully exploit the opportunity.

“Currently the price of rubber is good for farmers and profitable, however challenges remain for farmers unable to afford to collect the latex even as prices increase,” he said.

“Most farmers do not have adequate capital to hire workers to tap their trees.”

Men Sopheak, deputy chairman of the Association for Rubber Development of Cambodia, said the ongoing rise in rubber prices has made the cash crop profitable once again. But local producers were not out of the clear just yet.

“We are now satisfied with the price and it has motivated us to continue with rubber farming,” said Sopheak, who also owns a large rubber plantation in Kampong Cham province.

“But it is difficult for us to compete with brokers from neighbouring countries, who buy rubber from local farmers at a higher price.”

He said Cambodian producers could not match these prices because they were bound to paying an export tariff on rubber shipments. A $50 export tax was charged on rubber when the market price was below $2,000 per tonne. Now exporters must pay $150 per tonne.

“The tax payment is still high, and even though we are surviving it is hard to make a profit,” he said.

Thy Sambo, president of the Tbong Khmum Family Rubber Development Association, said most of the association’s members preferred to sell to Vietnamese brokers.

“We are in the free market, and a lot of brokers drive from the border to buy directly from farmers,” he said.

“Since they offer a higher price we are happy to sell to them instead of local buyers.”

Cambodian farmers have planted rubber trees on 431,000 hectares, with 130,000 hectares mature enough for tapping, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Source: PhnomPenhPost

China sees boom in online fiction

Web writers taste fame and fortune, spinning off films and TV series

Tang Xintian packed in her job as a financial analyst in Shanghai eight years ago to pursue freelance writing – strictly online. By 2009 she’d become an Internet sensation.

Tang initially posted her stories on the website Hongxiu Tianxiang, China’s largest online community of fiction lovers. Her first novel ranked among the three most popular on the site and ended up in a print version.

Then, in 2011, her fame ballooned across the country when another of her novels, “Naked Wedding”, served as the basis for a hit TV series.

Tang’s success might have made her a darling of the bookstores, but she still prefers to post her work online. The Internet, she says, is “a very good place to let people know your work, especially publishers and readers”.

You Ting, vice-president of iReader, China’s leading brand for digital reading, says there’s good reason for the appeal of online fiction.

“Not many people who are fond of writing actually end up getting their work published, whether as books or in magazines or newspapers. But the digital platform offers a way for writing enthusiasts to share their work,” he says.

“To share their writing with online |readers on iReader, would-be authors just need to register with one of the literature websites.”

The iReader has 600 million users – 20 million of them using it every day, according to the brand’s founder, Zhang Lingyun.

New technology has accelerated books’ migration to digital arena. In 2015 about 64 per cent of adults read digitally, up nearly 6 per cent from the year previous, according to the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication. Meanwhile the 58.4 per cent of the population reading books in print represented only a 0.4-per-cent increase.

“The Internet has changed the way we read, write and sell books in profound ways,” You says. “It makes it easier for us to buy books, but at the same time it makes it easier to stop reading them. It’s brought the universe of books to our fingertips and transformed the solitary act of reading into something far more social.”

Online literature has spawned movies, TV shows and games. Last year’s hit television series “Medical Examiner Dr Qin” was adapted from doctor-turned-writer Qin Ming’s online detective tale “The 11th Finger”.

Mao Minfeng, deputy editor-in-chief of CS-Booky, which co-produced the TV drama, points out that the source novel was “a mature and complete story” that immediately fit the needs of an industry short on good scripts. Online novels offer TV producers a good source of script material, he says.

Tang Xintian says there’s been a “sea change” among online writers.

“The digital-reading era has changed my writer-friends’ minds. Whereas they used to struggle to make a decent living writing online, they now see it as a lifetime career. They think more about how their writing will influence readers.”

“A growing trend in the publishing business is for online novels to be used as the basis for printed books, movies and even computer games,” You adds. “Popular online novels that have large audiences and broad recognition are seen as a guarantee of market success.”

Source: TheNation

Thailand – 7 SENSATIONAL festival outings

#Thailand - 7 SENSATIONAL festival outings

Music maps the year ahead, with art and food helping draw the throngs

BRACE YOURSELF for plenty of sensorial delights, cool sounds and creative fun as Thailand churns up a series of festivals celebrating music, art and the good life over the next few months.

Calendars ready? Mark these dates.


This Sunday at Root Garden on Thonglor Soi 3

Bangkok’s new green sanctuary on Soi Thonglor gives professional musicians who struggle to make a living a break with this free concert where the fans can chip in donations for whichever acts they like.

Running from 3 to 11pm, it has independent and chronically underrated acts like Poomjit, Ten to Twelve, 23 Street, Plot, the Lowdowns and De Flamingo in the line-up so far.



Saturday, January 28, at the Soy Sauce Bar on Bangkok’s Charoenkrung Soi 24

The third edition of this ear-bending event devoted to indie punk and heavy rock features both homegrown bands and foreign guests, including Vietnamese expat punks James and the Van Der Beeks and Canadian rocker Yeti Jang. More acts are still to be announced. The local talent thus far includes Bomb at Track, Pistols99 and Pretty Punks. The noise starts at 7pm.



Saturday, January 28, at the Udonrat Dam in Khon Kaen

Dubbed “Thailand’s Woodstock”, this outdoor gathering packages the authentic sounds of the Northeast alongside other acts for a real world-music vibe. The roster for the fifth edition hasn’t been announced yet, but it will surely be worth the Bt300 admission fee.



Friday to Tuesday, February 3 to 7, at the Mountain Creek Resort in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima

Edition Bangkok has mounted this EDM (electronic dance music) mass gathering that will occupy a vast green space in the woodland hills. More than 40 local and foreign DJs will keep the engine revving from four state-of-the-art stages, including such hot shots as Andy Moor, Arctic Moon, David Gravell, RAM, Richard Durand, Sven Vath, Phonique and Nakadia. The electronica will run the gamut from trap, trance and house to techno, with food trucks and a day market vying for attention. Camping facilities are free.



Friday and Saturday, February 17 and 18, in Pattaya

The third edition of Thailand’s original EDM festival takes its unique Siamese themes to a new venue in the eastern coastal resort. Having launched with a jaw-dropping Naga theme in 2015 and topping that with a Hanuman stage last year, the event this year is bound to bring more surprises.

Among the mix of local and |overseas acts booked are KSHMR, Far East Movement, Timmy Trumpet, Blasterjaxx and superstar Tiesto. Standard tickets cost Bt4,000, but there are various packages to choose from.


#Thailand - 7 SENSATIONAL festival outings


Wednesday to Sunday, February 16 to 19, at the Siam Country Club in Pattaya

Also in its third year, this elaborate celebration of art, music, gastronomy and wellness is back at the same grounds not far from the seashore. Installation art and fantastic food prepared fresh by renowned chefs will attempt to distract you from the cool, eclectic music, as well the activities on offer, from hikes and crafts to yoga. It can be great fun for children, and pets are also welcome.



Saturday and Sunday, March 18 and 19, at Marchat Wake Park in Pathum Thani

Electronic-music junkies have been looking forward to this splashy outdoor event’s return. For two days there’ll by dozens of acts from around the world sharing three stages, plus after-parties, light shows, a graffiti exhibition, gourmet food and an |arts-and-crafts.


#Thailand - 7 SENSATIONAL festival outings
Source: TheNation

USA Ambassador to SYRIA petition

Aren’t Ambassador positions are reserved for favors, asked a friend?
My friend, as you know, this “Syria” situation is very fluid, NO ONE WANTS IT now!
So my odds of succeeding are very good, this campaign is going to help a lot…
If nothing else the comments and the page is a nice resume…
It is more about that and I would be honored if you could sign and leave a
comment to a friend who values your friendship…
Never mind the Politics of it, I am a Libertarian Ron Paul style…
Well read into the constitution and the importance of the bill of rights.
Syria is in need of my HONEST AMERICAN advice
(I hope to become a contributing observer as they craft the constitution)!

I want to convey the honesty and sincerity of Washington,
the cleverness and Witt of Jeferson!
Did you know that Madison sat on almost every discussion about the constitution?
Did you know that Hamilton loved and respected Washington and he, Washington, treated him like a son?
the intensity of the mission and how well they treated it…
Besides, I know where to build the embassy, how to keep it safe, how to employ everyone growing organic food…
All I have to do is have pilots and ships haul the fruits and vegetables to USA Markets.
I promised USA 100 * times its investment and I plan to GUARANTEE THIS PROMISE…




Full bloom Wild Himalayan cherry blossoms

The pink glory of wild Himalayan cherry blossoms is a sight to behold in Phu Lom Lo, Loei

Seven years ago no one would have ever thought that mountain grasslands without a single tree at Phu Lom Lo in Loei would one day be a popular tourist destination.

Last year, from December to February, about 80,000 visitors traveled to Phu Lom Lo to see the pink flower blossoms of the wild Himalayan cherry trees, known in Thai as phaya suea khrong, which dotted the hills as far as the eyes could see.

“We are ethnic Hmong who grow cabbages for a living. We never imagined that we would open our village to welcome tourists,” said Poh Wachirawongworakul, president of the Community Based Tourism Club of Ban Rong Kla, the gateway to Phu Lom Lo.

Their lives changed after a project to reforest the mountains was initiated by a former chief of Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park. The park covers 191,875 rai (30,700 hectares) in Dan Sai district of Loei and Nakhon Thai district of Phitsanulok where Ban Rong Kla is located.

The now-retired chief chose to grow wild Himalayan cherry trees, like he did in Chiang Mai. “While planting cabbages, we also grew and took care phaya suea khrong trees. We planted about 300,000 seedlings in the total area of 1,200 rai in 2009,” he said.

Read full story > BANGKOKPOST

What are the tourism trends in 2017?

In January begins the general orientation on the next holiday trips. Fairs help choose, trend watchers look in their crystal ball.

Just about any travel magazine and every holiday site sins on their crystal ball look: what destinations are hot in the New Year, the most attention the list of Lonely Planet, which publishes an annual top 10 countries list, cities and regions.

The top 10 countries

1/ Canada. The country exist 150 years. More importantly, it is full of natural beauty and friendly people.

2/ Colombia. Hooray, it is peace and everyone is welcome.

3 / Finland. Another anniversary. The 100th anniversary is celebrated with exhibitions, cooking feasts and, yes, sauna evenings.

4/ Dominica, Go before it’s too late: the ‘last unspoiled Caribbean island’ come in 2018 the first resorts.

5/ Nepal. Earthquakes have quite thrown back the country. Every tourist who comes, indirectly helping in the reconstruction efforts.

6/ Bermuda. Pink beaches appeal to the imagination, like the fact that the America’s Cup sailing race calling the British island in June.

7/ Mongolia. A new airport, better infrastructure and new hotels: Mongolia is gradually Tourism proof.

8/ Oman. Trump Arabia is becoming more accessible thanks to new hotels and attractions. Eye-catcher is the Musandam peninsula, with fjord-like inlets.

9/ Myanmar. The mysterious land of Southeast Asia has more temples than flats. Upcoming travel destination.

10/ Ethiopia. Exotic, overwhelming and now more accessible thanks to new flight connections.


China approved New Panda area in Rhenen Zoo

RHENEN – The future stay for the two giant pandas the getting Ouwehand Zoo in Rhenen, is approved. Wednesday, has a delegation of Chinese panda experts given the green light, the Rhenen Zoo announced.

The approval means that the journey of Wu Xing and Ya Wen now can be arranged. Ouwehands expects the special animals around Easter.

Wu Wen (the female) and Xing Ya (male) remain in Rhenen fifteen years. The zoo is paying a million dollars a year to China, that the money used for panda protection there. Panda comes only in China in the wild and be heavily protected.


Miss Universe Thailand stuns in barong Tagalog

MANILA – The representative of Thailand in the 65th Miss Universe pageant arrived in Manila on Tuesday evening wearing a stylish barong Tagalog outfit, a kind of traditional Filipino clothing.

Chalita Suansane took to social media to share photos of her in a modern barong Tagalog top decorated with a simple black belt, and white bell bottom pants.

“Safe and sound. Sawasdee ka & Mabuhay,” the 22-year-old Thai beauty queen wrote in the caption of one photo.

Suansane also shared a short video greeting of her on Facebook. “”Mabuhay, Philippines. I am Chalita Suansane para sa Miss Universe pageant. Maraming salamat po!” she said.

Two days before her flight to Manila, Suansane posted a photo of her with her 11 suitcases with the caption “Are you ready?”

Suansane is vying for the coveted Miss Universe crown set to be passed on by outgoing titleholder Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines on Jan. 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. YG/CDG

Source: TheNation

Phnom Penh – The Bridge project tops out ahead of schedule

After more than two years under construction, Oxley-WorldBridge’s much-anticipated mixed-use development has achieved the topping out milestone.

The successful topping out of The Bridge project, which involves the structure of the building reaching the highest point, was achieved on December 18, 2016, and was formally celebrated at a ceremony yesterday afternoon.

WorldBridge chairman Sear Rithy proudly said the topping out milestone of the project’s twin towers makes the development the tallest building near the Chaktomuk riverbank in the heart of Phnom Penh city, stretching 160 metres into the sky.

“We have good news to tell customers and the general masses,” Rithy said.

“The Bridge project, the first project for Oxley WorldBridge, was completed up to the forty-fifth storey successfully.”

Rithy added that The Bridge project, a joint venture between Singapore’s Oxley Holdings and WorldBridge Land, was among a select few property projects in Cambodia being developed according to schedule.

It’s expected that the decorating, fit out and equipping of units will begin early this year as planned, in time for ownership handover in “2018 or earlier”, Rithy said.

The Bridge development, which began construction in mid-2014 at a cost of more than $300 million, is a luxury condominium development which also boasts grade A offices and includes a 5-storey shopping mall.

According to Rithy, all the 746 condo units have been sold to buyers.

Living in condominiums is the epitome of modern living and The Bridge achieves just that, incorporating luxury and convenience. Most of the units in The Bridge complex offer river views and spectacular sights of the city.

In Cambodia, some major real estate projects have slowed down construction amid financial setbacks and market concerns. When asked what the joint venture’s key to successes was with The Bridge, Rithy said it was due to a great team of experts.

“My company is a developer company, we are not able to build this ourselves, but we have a team of experts who review and monitor the process to build it properly,” he said.

“In addition, we are grateful to the company Sino Great Wall, a professional and trusted partner, for our achievement on The Bridge project.”

Source: PhnomPenhPost

Football – Transfer Talk

Transfer Talk! The transfer market is open since January 1st.

Everton and Manchester United agree about Schneiderlin

Bramall joins Arsenal

Olympique Lyon angling to Memphis Depay

Sevilla hires Jovetic from Inter Milan

Bayern Munich defender Holger Badstuber (27) on loan to Schalke 04

Chelsea hires Isaiah Brown on Huddersfield Town

Be continued / follow