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Friday's News Briefs


Phnom Penh authorities are urging caution for the Norodom Ranariddh Party's planned demonstration, saying the party must get permission from the ministries of Interior and Education before assembling its people. Party officials have said they expect 10,000 members to attend. The gathering has not been scheduled for an exact date, but organizers say it will occur before the April 1 commune elections. The party is protesting allegations that Norodom Ranariddh sold the headquarters of his old party, Funcinpec, when he was its leader. The building reportedly sold for $3.6 million.***

The Committee for Free and Fair Elections says it will train National Election Committee authorities on regulations and the legislative procedures for the commune elections. The two-day course will host about 60 municipal and provincial coordinators, as well as national members and volunteers. Cambodia's elections are often marred by violence and intimidation, especially in rural areas.***

Opposition party officials are calling on the government to protect the rights of Buddhist monks after one monk was found dead following anti-Vietnam demonstrations this week. Eang Sok Thoeun, a 32-year-old monk of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom ethnic group, was discovered in Kandal Province Tuesday, his throat cut, in what police called a suicide. The monk's death coincided with a demonstration near the Vietnam Embassy this week where monks and activists called for more rights of the ethnic group in Vietnam, and rights activists say they suspect he was murdered.***

A rights march that began in Phnom Penh this week and will end in Angkor Wat later this month has reached Kampong Cham province. The march, organized by the Alliance for Free Expression in Cambodia, will cover more than 280 kilometers in order to bring attention to free speech, non-violent elections and an anti-corruption. Organizers Friday issued a statement titled: "My country, my money."***

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