Jammed into buses and cars, tens of thousands of Cambodians left the capital yesterday to return to their villages for today's general election, which marks another step from the horror of the `Killing Fields.' \nIf they pass peacefully, the polls to elect a new 123-seat National Assembly will be a rare positive achievement for the troubled southeast Asian nation, still struggling with the legacy of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. \nAn estimated 1.7 million people were executed or died of torture, disease or starvation in the vast rural labour camps which would become known as the "Killing Fields." \nElection monitors say the number of political killings in the run-up to the elections is down compared to violent national polls in 1993 and 1998, although voter intimidation -- particularly in the remote jungle-clad provinces -- remains widespread. \nThere was little evidence of fear in the carnival atmosphere which prevailed on the final day of official campaigning on Friday as thousands of supporters of the three main parties paraded their flags and banners through Phnom Penh's streets. \nA cooling off "Day of Silence," yesterday was a chance for thousands in the capital to return to their villages to cast their votes. \nThe ruling party of Prime Minister Hun Sen, a one-eyed former Khmer Rouge soldier, is expected to win the polls comfortably. \nHowever, the royalist FUNCINPEC and opposition Sam Rainsy Party, run by Hun Sen's arch enemy, French-educated former finance minister Sam Rainsy, hope to deny him enough seats for an absolute majority. \nThe National Election Commission (NEC) said heavy rains were hampering efforts to deliver ballot-boxes to some remote jungle outposts.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic