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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Group raises $13,000 for school in Cambodia

CLINTON (AP) — Chris Willemsen and a group of friends are giving an unusual holiday gift this year — a new school to a village in the Cambodian province of Kompong Thom.

They raised the money by selling cookies and lost-andfound clothing, organizing a ride along the Erie Canal and asking for donations.

“I didn’t realize just how generous people are,” said Willemsen, a part-time instructor at Hamilton College.

A weekend holiday concert at the community arts center pushed Willemsen’s group over the $13,000 needed to pay for a school through American Assistance for Cambodia, a nonprofit organization that has built nearly 400 schools in rural Cambodia since 1999.

Ultimately, the group wants to raise $30,000 for improvements.

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Protest march urges quick trial of Khmer Rouge leaders

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — About 600 protesters marched in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh on Tuesday to call for speedier trials for the former leaders of Khmer Rouge regime.

A long-delayed, United Nations-backed tribunal is seeking accountability for atrocities during the Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 rule, under which an estimated 1.7 million people died from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.

The marchers, including students and Buddhist monks, walked 3 miles to the tribunal's office on Phnom Penh's outskirts.

"If the process of the trial continues to be too slow, then the aging former Khmer Rouge leaders will be die before facing trial," said Yin Kean, a 72-year-old nun. "I wish to see these leaders taken to court soon so that they will reveal who is responsible for the deaths of Cambodians under their regime."

The genocide trials are scheduled to begin next year. Five high-ranking former leaders are in detention after being charged with crimes against humanity and other charges.

Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath welcomed the marchers.

"Their presence here is a very significant step, showing that this court has received support from the entire Cambodian population," he said.

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