March 29th, 2013
05:17 PM ET

Khmer Rouge leader cleared for trial

The most senior surviving Khmer Rouge leader, Nuon Chea, has been declared fit for trial by a United Nations-backed court in Cambodia, the U.N. said Friday.

Nuon, the right-hand man to late leader Pol Pot and a former Cambodian prime minister, is reportedly 86 years old and is accused of murder and torture.

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Filed under: Cambodia • Courts • Justice • United Nations • World
March 14th, 2013
01:48 AM ET

Khmer Rouge official dies in Cambodia

It was one of the worst genocides since the Nazi era. The brutal Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1975 and terrorized the population for four years, killing more than one million people, according to Georgetown University.

One of its infamous leaders died Thursday, escaping judgment for war crimes at the hands of a tribunal.

Ieng Sary passed away at a hospital in the capital Phnom Penh at age 87, a United Nations-backed court for Cambodia said. He was the foreign minister under Khmer Rouge dictator Pol Pot, otherwise known as "Brother number 1."

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Filed under: Cambodia • World
July 11th, 2012
01:09 AM ET

Mix of pathogens caused mystery illness in Cambodia, doctors say

The World Health Organization, in conjunction with the Cambodian Ministry of Health, will conclude that a combination of pathogens is to blame for the mysterious illness that has claimed the lives of more than 60 children in Cambodia, medical doctors familiar with the investigation told CNN on Wednesday.

The pathogens include enterovirus 71, streptococcus suis and dengue, the medical sources said. Additionally, the inappropriate use of steroids, which can suppress the immune system, worsened the illness in a majority of the patients, they said.

The sources did not want to be identified because the results of the health organization's investigation have not yet been made public.

Dr. Beat Richner, head of Kantha Bopha Children's Hospitals - which cared for 66 patients affected by the illness, 64 of whom died - said that no new patients had been seen there since last Saturday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is also expected to advise health care workers to refrain from using steroids in patients with signs and symptoms of the infection, which include severe fever, encephalitis, and breathing difficulties.

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Filed under: Cambodia • World
July 8th, 2012
02:53 AM ET

Officials make break in baffling disease killing Cambodian children

Health officials say they have made an important discovery in the mystery surrounding the deaths of more than 60 children in Cambodia.

The Institut Pasteur in Cambodia tested samples taken from 24 patients and found 15 had tested positive for Enterovirus Type 71.

"These results now give a good explanation to this outbreak," Dr. Philippe Buchy, head of the institute's virology unit, said in an e-mail. "We will get more results hopefully by next Tuesday or Wednesday."

In milder cases, EV71 can cause coldlike symptoms, diarrhea and sores on the hands, feet and mouth, according to the journal Genetic Vaccines and Therapy.

But more severe cases can cause fluid to accumulate on the brain, resulting in polio-like paralysis and death.

There is no effective antiviral treatment for severe EV71 infections, and no vaccine is available.

Adults' well-developed immune systems usually can fend off the virus, but children are vulnerable to it, according to the CDC.

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Filed under: Cambodia • World
March 20th, 2012
02:04 AM ET

2nd international judge resigns from court trying Khmer Rouge crimes

An international judge has resigned from the special court set up in Cambodia to try people accused of committing atrocities under the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, saying his Cambodian counterpart was obstructing efforts to investigate cases.

The resignation by Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, announced Monday, is the second departure of an international judge from the court in the past six months amid tensions with local officials.

His predecessor, Siegfried Blunk, resigned as international co-investigating judge in October, complaining that statements by Cambodian government ministers about two of the court's cases threatened to undermine proceedings.

Those same two cases, known as Cases 003 and 004, are at the heart of the dispute between Kasper-Ansermet and You Bunleng, the national co-investigating judge for the court.

"Judge You Bunleng's active opposition to investigations into Cases 003 and 004 has led to a dysfunctional situation," Kasper-Ansermet said in a statement attributed to him on the court's website.

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Filed under: Cambodia • United Nations
October 19th, 2011
07:30 AM ET

More than 700 dead as flooding hits southeast Asian countries

At least 745 people have died in flooding in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines since July, the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific said.

Thailand has been hit the hardest, with 315 people killed in that time frame, officials said.

Monsoon rains across Thailand have affected millions of people in 61 of its provinces, the country's Flood Relief Operation Command reported.

Cambodia, meanwhile, reported 247 dead since July.

- CNN's Kocha Olarn contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Cambodia • Flooding • Laos • Philippines • Thailand • Vietnam • Weather
November 25th, 2010
08:03 AM ET

Government decreases death toll in Cambodian stampede

The Cambodian government has decreased the official death toll from a stampede on a suspension bridge in the capital from 456 to 347, the Phnom Penh Post reported Thursday.

The newspaper cited a letter signed by Ith Sam Heng, minister of social affairs, and released on Thursday. "The total number of dead victims is 347," the letter said, and 221 of those were women.

Government investigators said Wednesday that the bridge swayed as thousands of people attempted to cross it Monday night during the Water Festival. That apparently led to fears it would collapse, triggering the
stampede. Hundreds of others were injured in the incident.

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Filed under: Cambodia
November 23rd, 2010
05:57 PM ET

Death toll in Cambodia stampede now at 375

The death and injury toll from a stampede at a Cambodian festival continued to rise Tuesday as families mourned.

The number of deaths is now at 375 and the number of injured is up to 755, the country's official news agency said Tuesday.

Cambodia has declared Thursday a national day of mourning for those who died Monday in the crush at the annual Water Festival in the capital city of Phnom Penh, the news agency AKP reported.

On Tuesday some victims' families and leaders gathered for a religious ceremony for the dead.

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Filed under: Cambodia • Stampede
November 22nd, 2010
03:37 PM ET

Cambodian minister: 339 dead in stampede

Military police examine the bridge where a stampede took place in Cambodia.

[Updated at 4:25 p.m.] Steve Finch, a Phnom Penh Post reporter, told CNN that the stampede at the water festival in Phnom Penh began around 10 p.m. Monday (10 a.m. ET), when police began firing a water cannon onto a bridge to an island in the center of a river.

The bridge was packed with people, and police fired the water cannon in an effort to get them to move, he said.

"That just caused complete and utter panic," he told CNN in a telephone interview. He said a number of people lost consciousness and fell into the water; some may have died by electric shock, he said.

Watch: "It was chaos," reporter says

Finch cited witnesses as saying that the bridge was festooned with electric lights, which may have played a role in the deaths.

The government denied anyone died by electric shock.

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Filed under: Cambodia
July 27th, 2010
10:41 PM ET

Group: Dams would doom Mekong River's giant catfish

The Mekong giant catfish is the world's third-largest freshwater fish species, the WWF says.


Dams proposed for the Mekong River in Southeast Asia would drive the world’s third-largest freshwater fish species to virtual extinction, according to a World Wildlife Fund report

Any of the 11 hydropower dams planned for the river’s mainstream south of China would prevent the Mekong giant catfish from migrating to its spawning grounds, the WWF said Tuesday in a news release. 

The catfish, with a maximum length and weight of nearly 10 feet and about 770 pounds, are too big to swim across such dams, said Dekila Chungyalpa, director of WWF’s Greater Mekong Program. 

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Filed under: Animals • Cambodia • Laos • Thailand • Vietnam • World