PHNOM PENH, Cambodia

Thai, Cambodian troops clash near historic temple

Machine-gun and artillery fire echoed across the frontier between Thailand and Cambodia today  as their troops clashed near an 11th-century stone temple in the fourth day of fighting that has killed at least five people.

The crumbling temple, several hundred feet from Thailand’s eastern border with Cambodia, has fueled nationalism on both sides of the disputed frontier for decades, and conflict over it has sparked sporadic, brief battles in recent years. However, sustained fighting has been rare.

Cambodian officials said Thai artillery collapsed part of a wall Sunday at the Preah Vihear temple, a U.N. World Heritage site, but Thai officials have dismissed that account as propaganda, and the extent of damage is unknown.

Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said skirmishes began again early today after halting around midnight. There was no immediate comment from Thai authorities, but an Associated Press reporter in the area said the sound of gunfire and artillery could be heard.

TUNIS, Tunisia

Interior minister suspends ex-ruling party’s activities

Tunisia’s interior minister Sunday suspended all activities of the country’s former ruling party amid the most serious protests since the country’s autocratic president fled into exile less than a month ago.

Fahrat Rajhi suspended all meetings of the Democratic Constitutional Rally, known as the RCD, and ordered all party offices and meeting places it owns closed – ahead of a demand to dissolve the party, a ministry statement said.

The RCD embodied the policies of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who fled into exile Jan. 14 after a month of  anti-government protests. The party became a key instrument by which Ben Ali maintained power, and by which corruption spread. Should the RCD be dissolve, it would be among the most sweeping moves since Ben Ali’s departure.

The official TAP news agency, which carried the statement, said the measure was taken because of the situation’s “extreme urgency,” a reference to deadly weekend protests around Tunisia, and to “preserve the higher interests of the nation.”

The announcement came hours after crowds pillaged, then burned a police station in the northwestern city of Kef a day after police shot dead at least two demonstrators. It was the worst violence in Tunisia since Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia, ending 23 years in power.


Two men charged in killing at fraternity house party

Two men left an Ohio fraternity house party after a dispute and returned early Sunday, spraying bullets into a crowd and killing a Youngstown State University student who was trying to separate two groups, authorities said. Eleven other people were injured, including a 17-year-old girl with a critical head wound.

The men were arrested and charged later Sunday with aggravated murder, shooting into a house and 11 counts of felonious assault, Youngstown police Chief Jimmy Hughes said. The suspects are in their early 20s and from the Youngstown area, but Hughes withheld their names pending further investigation.

The house party had been bustling with 50 or more people early Sunday, Hughes said.

The Mahoning County coroner’s office identified the dead student as 25-year-old Jamail E. Johnson. He was shot once in the head and multiple times in his hips and legs.