Cambodia criticized on vote
The government says Cambodia’s decision to bar exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy from July elections calls into question the vote’s legitimacy. US Department of State spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Friday that the US was disappointed by the announcement from Cambodia’s election committee that Rainsy has been removed from the official voter list because of criminal convictions that carry 12 years in prison. She said “credible observers” believe the convictions have been politically motivated. Rainsy, who lives in Paris, is widely viewed as the sole Cambodian politician with the charisma and resources to present any real challenge to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has dominated since the mid-1980s. Nuland said the exclusion of a leading opposition figure “calls into question the legitimacy of the whole democratic process in Cambodia.”
Police to charge caretaker
Officials say they are preparing to file criminal charges against a house caretaker who reloaded the pistol of a man who went on a shooting rampage near Manila that left nine people dead. Deputy Cavite provincial police chief Dionicio Borromeo says John Paul Lopez surrendered to authorities late on Friday, hours after the rampage, which left eight victims and the gunman dead. Eleven people were wounded in the incident in Cavite Province’s Kawit Township. Borromeo says Lopez explained that the gunman, Ronald Bae, had threatened to kill him if he did not reload bullets into the magazines of a .45 caliber pistol used in the killing spree.
Housing official probed
A former housing official is under investigation after allegations that his family owned 29 apartments were corroborated by the district government, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday. Prosecutors in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, will investigate Zhai Zhenfeng (翟振), the former director of the housing administration bureau in the city’s Erqi District, Xinhua said. The allegations, from a whistle-blower, were first posted on a microblog last week, the agency said. Similar online revelations in recent months have brought down government officials who maintained extramarital affairs, bought property and luxury items or abused their power.
Work resumes on plant
Construction has resumed on a “fourth-generation” nuclear power plant, suspended after the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster, which will be China’s biggest-ever nuclear facility, state media said yesterday. Construction on the coastal Shidao Bay nuclear power plant in Rongcheng, Shandong Province, resumed last month, the state-run China Internet Information Center reported, adding that the plant is “China’s biggest planned nuclear project.” The plant, which will be cooled by high temperature gas, will become “the world’s first successfully commercialized fourth generation nuclear technology demonstration project,” the report said. It is designed to be safer and cuts down on costs, the report quoted a spokesman from the China Huaneng Group, the biggest investor in the plant, as saying. The plant, expected to begin supplying electricity to the grid by 2017, will have a final generating capacity of 6,600 megawatts, the report said, adding initial investment in the project will be 3 billion yuan (US$480 million).