World Newsbits for September 25,2013
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Ruling party lawmakers in Cambodia officially extended Hun Sen’s rule for another five years Tuesday, renaming the longtime strongman prime minister of the Southeast Asian nation in a parliamentary vote boycotted by the opposition. The vote was considered a formality, and Hun Sen, who has ruled virtually unchallenged for nearly three decades, will take the oath of office in front of King Norodom Sihamoni at the Royal Palace later in the day. The opposition stayed away from parliament’s opening session Monday and boycotted the legislature again Tuesday over allegations the country’s disputed July ballot was marred by fraud.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A stone monument of the Ten Commandments that sits on a street behind the US Supreme Court in Washington and was the subject of controversy in the past has been toppled by vandals. The 3-foot-by-3-foot (1 meter by 1 meter) granite monument weighs 850 pounds (385 kilograms) and sits out front of the headquarters of Faith and Action, a Christian outreach ministry. The group installed the tablets in a garden outside its offices in 2006, and the group’s president said the tablets were angled so that justices arriving at the high court would see them. Courts nationwide have wrestled with public displays of the Ten Commandments.
In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on two such cases: In one, the justices upheld a monument on the grounds of the Texas capitol in Austin. In the other, they declared unconstitutional Ten Commandments displays at Kentucky courthouses. Proponents of separation between church and state oppose public displays of religious objects. The Rev. Robert Schenck, who heads the ministry organization, said the damage to the monument happened sometime between Friday night and Saturday night. A minister who works in the area alerted the group to the damage around 9 p.m. Saturday. The monument had been pushed over so that the words of the Ten Commandments are now face down. Vandals bent a steel rod that secures the monument to a thick concrete base to an almost 90 degree angle. The monument itself is not damaged, Schenck said.