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Water Festival Wraps Up in Capital

Phnom Penh wrapped up its annual Water Festival Tuesday, with at least 18 of nearly 400 racing boats sunk and one Kampong Cham province boatman missing after his craft capsized Monday.

The yearly festival, which features races, a lighted flotilla and millions of spectators, celebrates the defeat of a Cham naval force by an Angkorian fleet.

The festival is also a time when Cambodians give thanks to the waters of the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers, which meet in front of Phnom Penh. It is the most popular of all Cambodia’s annual festivals.

Touch Naroth, chief of Phnom Penh police, said authorities met no big surprises with the crowds this year, although some concerts were suspended because of rain.

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Former Khmer Rouge Head of State in Court for Genocide Hearingi
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Cambodia's former Khmer Rouge president, Khieu Samphan, arrived in court on Wednesday (July 30) for an initial hearing on charges for genocide, crimes against humanity, and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Khieu Samphan was at the apex of power within the Khmer Rouge, a regime responsible for the deaths of around 1.7 million Cambodians during their time in power from 1975-79. The former official, along with regime head Pol Pot's deputy, Nuon Chea, is already on trial for crimes against humanity associated with the forced evacuation of the capital Phnom Penh and the executions of soldiers. This second round of hearings centres around a far broader list of charges, and will likely have a greater significance for many survivors of the regime. (Reuters, Phnom Penh.)

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