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Cremation of Cambodia's King Sihanouk begins

Associated Press
Mourners light incense sticks as offerings to Cambodia's former King Norodom Sihanouk in Phnom Penh, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. Sihanouk's body had been lying in state at the Royal Palace after being flown from Beijing where he died Oct. 15 of a heart attack at the age of 89. The cremation, the climax of seven days of mourning, will take place Monday.  (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — The mourning period for Cambodia's late King Norodom Sihanouk has culminated with an elaborate cremation ceremony led by his widow and his son, the current monarch.

King Norodom Sihamoni and Sihanouk's widow Monique wore traditional white mourning clothes as they knelt to pray Monday evening before the bier of Sihanouk, who dominated his country's politics for half a century after guiding it to independence in 1953.

Live coverage on state television showed a white cloth drawn over the camera lens before the pyre was actually lit, preserving the decorum and royal privacy of the occasion.

The late king's body had been lying in state at the Royal Palace after being flown from Beijing, where he died on Oct. 15 of a heart attack. He was 89.