Phnom Penh - once a bustling and vital city - now a keeper of ghosts.

The Streets Of Phnom Penh – Word From Wilmington – Falling Spacecraft – January 24, 1978

Phnom Penh – once a bustling and vital city – now a keeper of ghosts.

CBS World News Roundup – Firstline Report – January 24, 1978 -Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Leading off the day’s news with a report on a recent visit by Diplomats to Cambodia and firsthand accounts at the mass devastation of Phnom Penh, results of the disastrous Pol Pot regime, whose Khmer Rouge forces were in danger of being defeated by the Vietnamese.

Cambodia, or Kapuchea as it was known under Pol Pot was a country taken over, ruled and subjected to a long list of human rights violations, including the worst case of genocide since 1945 when roughly two million citizens were executed on a wide variety of charges.

When the Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia in 1975, they forcibly evacuated the entire population of Phnom Penh and drove its residents into the countryside. The city remained virtually deserted until Vietnamese forces invaded Cambodia and overthrew the Khmer Rouge in 1979. Phnom Penh was gradually repopulated in the following years. Because of the virtual extermination of Cambodia’s educated class by the Khmer Rouge, the city’s educational institutions faced a long and difficult period of recovery.

In other news closer to home, North Carolina Governor James Hunt made his decision regarding the case of the Wilmington 10, who were serving sentences upwards to 28 years for alleged fire-bombings during racial violence in 1971. One of the 10 was a (White) woman who was on parole, while the others, all Black men, were serving long prison terms. Hunt announced the sentences were being reduced, but he refused to pardon the ones currently in prison, although would make them eligible for Parole in less than two years. The announcement wasn’t welcomed with open arms as it was the prevailing opinion all the defendants were innocent. It was widely condemned and Hunt was criticized for being grossly insensitive to violations of human and civil rights.

And the crash of Soviet Satellite Cosmos in North Western Canada was cause for much concern, as it was learned on board the Cosmos spacecraft was a Nuclear reactor. Announcement of the crash was made public by a statement from President Carter’s National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski. He acknowledged not only the crash but the nuclear reactor on board and assured everyone that risk from the reactor was negligible at best.

And aside from the continuing story on Phnom Penh, that’s most of what went on this January 24, 1978 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.

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