Cambodian Troops Found Bunkered in Historic Temple
According to the Associated Press, hundreds of Cambodian soldiers were recently camped at a cliff-top Khmer temple and World Heritage site in the line of fire in deadly border skirmishes with Thailand. Cambodia’s government denies that it deploys soldiers at the millennium-old Preah Vihear temple — seeking to avoid the impression it would deliberately put the site in danger or use it as a shield — and has accused Thailand of seriously damaging the complex in an artillery barrage. However, reporters who have reached the temple have found hundreds of soldiers bunkered there, including Associated Press journalists deployed in and around the sprawling temple compound, which was fortified by sandbagged bunkers. They have seen areas where shrapnel chipped away at some of the sanctuary’s ancient walls, but no signs of large structural damage. The UN culture agency, UNESCO, says it plans to send a team to make its own assessment of the damage. Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “strongly rejects such a slanderous assertion,” reports the Associated Press. “There has never been and there will never be Cambodian soldiers at the temple of Preah Vihear. This has always been a place for worship and tourism,” the statement said, adding that the only security presence at the temple is a small number of policemen with light weapons to ensure safety at the site. But a soldier at the temple said, “We’re here to defend it.” The soldier was inside a sandbagged bunker that was covered with a military tarp. “When the fighting stops, we will go.” The soldier declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to media. He said he and other soldiers were stationed several miles away but moved to the temple when fighting erupted. Preah Vihear temple, built between the 9th and 11th centuries, sits atop a 1,722-foot cliff in the Dangrek Mountains along a disputed border zone between Thailand and Cambodia. It has been a source of tension and fueled nationalist sentiment on both sides of the border for decades.
New Year, New Push: NY Assemblywoman Wants City School Holiday For Lunar New Year
A Queens, New York lawmaker is hoping that the third time’s the charm when it comes to city schools honoring Lunar New Year, reports New York Daily News. Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) was joined by two dozen Queens students to ask city and state officials for the third year in a row to close schools on the most important Asian holiday of the year. “We’re going to do this every year until this becomes a reality,” Meng vowed during at recent rally at Public School 244 in Flushing, New York. “We just want the same right to celebrate our holiday at home, the same as other cultures.” Asians make up about 12 percent of the city’s population and 22 percent in Queens, according to the 2009 American Community Survey. Since 2009, Meng has introduced bills calling for schools to observe the holiday in all cities in the state with more than 1 million residents, at least 7.5 percent of them Asian. She has also written to the mayor’s office and the city Education Department. But her proposal faces an uphill battle. Education officials said the last holiday added to the school calendar was Martin Luther King Jr. Day – California passed the legislation in 1970, the first state to do so. A lot of children in the community question why their Jewish friends get to celebrate Rosh Hashanah at home but they have to go to school, Meng said. “As a kid growing up in New York City, I actually wondered the same thing,” she said.
N. Korea’s Elite Troops Outnumber South’s 10 to 1
North Korea maintains special forces of 60,000 highly specialized troops for complex operations and 140,000 light infantry soldiers with capabilities equivalent to S. Korea’s far small number of special forces, according to Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea. South Korea has only 20,000 special forces — half of whom are in the Army and the other half divided among Navy, Air Force and Marine units reports the Associated Press. If those estimates are accurate, N. Korea’s elite troops capable of infiltration and covert operations outnumber the South by a ratio of 10 to one. The 140,000 N. Korean light infantry troops are trained to infiltrate far behind enemy lines to sabotage and disrupt key operations. The 60,000 who belong to special squads belong to the 11th Storm Corps — air force and naval commandos trained to be parachuted behind enemy lines. Their rigorous training is said to test the limits of human endurance. “One special forces soldier trains more than three hours a day to take on and defeat three to 15 enemies and practices target shooting more than 3,000 times before infiltration,” said Lee Kwang-soo, a North Korean spy captured during the 1996 botched submarine infiltration operation. “North Korea probably learned from watching the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that guerrilla operations using light infantry soldiers could deliver major blows to South Korean and U.S. troops,” a South Korean military source told Chosun Daily. “The U.S. military perceives the strengthened North Korean special operations capability as a serious threat.” On the other hand, N. Korea’s biggest challenge would be to ensure the loyalty of its troops in the event of war. A high proportion of N. Korean soldiers are seen as being at risk for defection if given the opportunity.
Irvine Gamer Gal Sets Guinness World Record in ‘Guitar Hero’
Gamers, meet your dream woman. The fast-fingered Annie Leung of Irvine set the female world record for a single track on Guitar Hero III, racking up 789,349 points on the expert level of “Through the Fire and Flames” by the band DragonForce. For the unfamiliar, Guitar Hero has players “strum” and hit chords on a toy guitar, letting them feel like rock stars on a video game machine. The September 2010 achievement is documented in the Guinness World Records 2011 Gamer’s Edition, which hit store shelves this month. According to OC Weekly, Leung, whose nickname is Ecstacy, grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in environmental economics and policy. Leung began playing video games as a kid but didn’t take the hobby seriously until 2004, when she got hooked on Unreal Tournament, a first-person shooter video game.
Family Awarded $1.7 Million in LAPD Wrongful Death Case
A federal jury in Los Angeles found that a police officer was responsible for the wrongful death of Mohammad Usman Chaudhry in Hollywood in 2008. The Los Angeles Times reports that ex-LAPD officer Joseph Cruz shot and killed Chaudhry in March 2008, when Cruz and his partner encountered the 21 year-old autistic man lying in the bushes alongside a Hollywood apartment building. Cruz has claimed that he fired in self-defense, but a jury found that he had acted in “a reckless, oppressive or malicious manner.” During the trial, lawyers for the Chaudhry family presented evidence aimed at putting doubt in the minds of the jurors over Cruz’s account. Testing on the knife that Cruz said Chaudhry had used, for example, found one person’s DNA profile on the handle and blade but showed that the DNA was not Chaudhry’s. Cruz certainly didn’t help the situation by getting fired by the LAPD for dishonesty in an unrelated case. The victim’s family was awarded $1.7 million.
ABC Family Picks Up “Nine Lives of Chloe King” with Ki Hong Lee
According to the Hollywood Reporter, ABC Family has picked up the hour-long television drama, “The Nine Lives of Chloe King”, based on the popular book series by Celia Thomson. According to ABC Family, the show is a scripted drama in which Chloe King is like any other normal girl, until she starts developing heightened abilities and discovers she’s being pursued by a mysterious figure. Chloe soon learns that she is part of an ancient race, which has been hunted by human assassins for millennia — and that she may be their only hope for ultimate survival. Paul (played by Ki Hong Lee) is one of Chloe’s closest friends. Lee has had a handful of recent minor credits on shows like “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and “Modern Family”. Lee is also known for being included in the cast as “Paul” in ABC Family’s “Greenlights Three Series”.The series “The Nine Lives of Chloe King” has received a nine-episode order in addition to the pilot, and will premiere later this year.