Nepal says police and soldiers deployed to guard the Olympic torch's ascent of Mt Everest have orders to shoot any anti-Chinese protesters who turn violent. Chinese climbers plan to take the torch to summit in the first few days of May. All other climbers have been banned from going above base camp two (located six-thousand-500 meters above sea level) from May 1 to 10. Meanwhile Australian officials are building huge barricades in the capital, Canberra, to protect the Olympic torch relay from as many as 10-thousand pro-Tibet and pro-China demonstrators. The torch relay is set for Thursday in Canberra.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Baghdad today (Sunday) for a surprise visit and is expected to discuss with Iraqi officials ways to promote political reconciliation. While on the way to the region, Rice called on Arab nations to give more support to Iraq's government to reward its efforts to improve security.
BURMA ARRESTS: The Burmese military government has stepped up propaganda and clamped down on dissidents three weeks before a referendum on a new constitution that it says will lead to multi-party elections. Government run radio and television stations have been broadcasting songs praising the new constitution and calling on people to support it. Opposition activists have criticized the document, saying it has been drafted with no real public input and enshrines the military's role in the country.
Thai police said two of their officers were shot dead and 13 people were wounded in separate attacks in the south of the country which has been the center of Muslim unrest over the past four years. The police were killed when at least five gunmen opened fire at a polling station during local elections today (Sunday). Earlier in the day, a bomb planted by suspected insurgents detonated near a busy market, injuring two police officers and 11 villagers, including a four year old boy.
VIETNAM SATELLITE: Vietnam's first satellite blasted into orbit today (Saturday) promising to deliver television and phone service to rural parts of the country. The satellite, VINASAT-ONE, was built by the United States company Lockheed Martin and carried into orbit aboard a European Space Agency Ariane-five rocket launched from South America. While the satellite's main mission is to deliver communications to rural villages, Vietnam hopes to sell its excess capacity to neighboring countries.
Audio in Lao.