Abuse, discrimination and extortion await refugees who are sent to Cambodia from Nauru under a $35 million deal signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng in September to take Australia’s asylum seekers, according to an investigation by Human Rights Watch.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Friday that the CNRP would attempt to secure the release of detained CNRP official Meach Sovan­nara by promoting him to become a lawmaker so that he can enjoy parliamentary immunity.

Attendees at a CNRP-organized event to mark the anniversary of the 2010 Water Festival stampede receive blessings from monks at the Koh Pich memorial stupa on Friday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Attendees at a CNRP-organized event to mark the anniversary of the 2010 Water Festival stampede receive blessings from monks at the Koh Pich memorial stupa on Friday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Four years ago Saturday, 353 mostly young men and women were killed on the final day of the Water Festival in a stampede on a packed bridge leading to Koh Pich island. The government has said the tragic event was the single largest loss of life since the fall of the Khmer Rouge.

IN BRIEF

A 48-year-old Singaporean man was arrested at the Phnom Penh In­ter­na­tion­al Airport on Thursday afternoon attempting to board a flight to Aus­tra­lia carrying about 85 grams of heroin concealed inside a choc­o­late bar wrapper, an official said.

Two people suspected of dousing a woman with acid as she fed her toddler daughter at Tonlab market in Takeo province’s Kiri Vong district on Wednesday are on the run, according to police.

Hundreds of customers wait outside the Phnom Penh headquarters of mobile phone operator Smart on Monivong Boulevard on Friday morning for the official release of Apple's new iPhone 6. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Hundreds of tech-savvy Cambodians flocked Friday morning to the official sales launch of Apple’s new iPhone 6 in Phnom Penh, but many were left empty-handed due to stock shortages, while some of those who did pick up the gadget feared the Thai packaging meant their phones were inferior to the Singaporean imports they were expecting.

The battered and strangled bodies of a local government official, his wife, and their 6-month-old daughter were found on Friday inside their home in Pailin province, which had been set on fire and burned to the ground in the early hours of the morning, police said.

In a last-ditch effort to force Khieu Samphan’s lawyers to come to court and participate in their client’s genocide trial, judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal issued a ruling Friday reclassifying them as “court-appointed counsel.”

Part of Srey Bandaul's installation, 'Under the Sarong,' at Romeet gallery.

Srey Bandaul’s latest installation at Romeet gallery in Phnom Penh, which opened on Friday, is both a reflection on the ambiguity of life, and a tribute to Cambodia’s poor.

The organization Kdei Karuna Friday launched a new traveling history exhibition on mass evacuations during the Khmer Rouge regime, one of eleven reparations projects approved by judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in August when they handed down a verdict against regime leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.

FROM THE MAGAZINE
An audience watches a show by performers from the Reasmey Angkor Bassac Opera Company in Siem Reap province last year (Charles King)
An audience watches a show by performers from the Reasmey Angkor Bassac Opera Company in Siem Reap province last year (Charles King)

The idea of conducting a survey of performing artists’ salaries and working conditions in Cambodia was born of necessity, said Phloeun Prim, director of Cambodian Living Arts.

A Ferris wheel operator watches on as customers take a ride. (Ben Woods/The Cambodia Daily)

As normalcy resumes after the three days of festivities, carnival workers from across the country who made homes in and around their rides and attractions on Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changva peninsula this past week are preparing to do it all over again.

The Water Festival in 1968 (Darryl Collins archives)

“Today happens to be the third day of the traditional ‘Water Festival,” and at night, when the sun turns copper red, the banks of the great river suddenly come to life…the long racing boats flying by in the frothy swirl of the waves.”

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In the face of growing criticism over the arrests of 15 activists and opposition figures last week, the government has released a statement defending their detention and emphasizing its commitment to “fighting impunity.”

CNRP lawmaker Pol Ham flies over the Areng Valley in Koh Kong province on Monday, in a photo posted to his Facebook page.

Pol Ham, the chairman of the National Assembly’s agriculture commission, flew by helicopter from rural Koh Kong province deep into the Areng Valley on Monday to inspect the site of a controversial proposed dam.

A group of students and nationalist activists trek through a rice field in Svay Rieng province Sunday on their way to inspect demarcation posts on the Cambodian-Vietnamese border. (Alex Willemyns/The Cambodia Daily)

Fanning old embers of animosity over land lost to Vietnam, prominent union leader Rong Chhun on Sunday led two busloads of young students and nationalists from Phnom Penh to this rural frontier district to inspect a series of disputed border posts.

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