Cambodia PM leaves for China
CAMBODIAN Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is under pressure from Western donors over a crackdown on his critics ahead of 2018 elections, will seek more aid and investment from China during a visit this week, his aide said.
Hun Sen’s aide, Sry Thamrong, said the prime minister will attend a special summit being held by the Communist Party of China (CPC) through Sunday under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s theme, “Turning the World for the Better and Without Interference”.
Hun Sen will also meet with Xi and Chinese investors to talk about aid and investment with the aim of creating more jobs in Cambodia, Sry Thamrong said. – Reuters FLIGHTS trickled out of Bali a day after its airport reopened but the erupting volcano there shut down air travel to a neighbouring Indonesian island Thursday, showing the continued risk to aircraft from the towering ash clouds.
Mount Agung has been gushing black-gray columns of volcanic dust and steam since the weekend and glowing a dramatic red at night as lava wells in its crater.
Bali’s airport was closed from early Monday until Wednesday afternoon, stranding tens of thousands of travellers on the idyllic resort island famous for its Hindu culture, surf beaches and lush interior.
It reopened after the hazardous ash clouds changed direction, but the threat has now closed the small international airport on Lombok island until at least Thursday evening.
Australia’s Jetstar said it would have 16 flights out of Bali on Thursday, six more than usual, which would take about 3500 Australians home. Two South Korean airlines said they were sending charter flights on Thursday, one to Bali and another to Surabaya on the neighbouring island of Java, which some tourists have reached by ferry and bus, to collect as many as 700 Koreans.
Figures from the airport showed 23 flights, mostly domestic, carried about 1600 passengers out Wednesday. Inbound flights included a Singapore Airlines jet with only two passengers.
The volcano was erupting less furiously Thursday. The Disaster Mitigation Agency said the ash plume was rising about 2000 metres above the crater, about half its previous height. As ash has drifted away from the mountain, it has reached heights of 25,000 feet (7600 metres), posing a threat to aircraft.
Despite the all-clear for Bali’s airport, flights are unlikely to rapidly return to normal levels and a change in the direction of the ash or a new more powerful eruption could force the airport’s closure again.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo ordered ministries and agencies, the military and police to help Bali’s government deal with the disaster, and he has urged anyone inside the mountain’s exclusion zone to get out “for the sake of their safety.”
Authorities have told 100,000 people to leave an area extending up to 10 kilometres from the volcano. About 40,000 people are staying in 225 shelters, the disaster agency said, but tens of thousands more have stayed because they feel safe or don’t want to abandon homes and livestock.
– Associated Press