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Afghan Suicide Blast Kills 24


AFGHANISTAN VIOLENCE: Afghan authorities say a suicide attack in the south of the country has killed at least 24 people, including five police. A police chief says the bomber was targeting a police vehicle in a bazaar in the Deh Rawood district of Uruzgan province. More than 30 people were wounded in today's (Sunday's) attack. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The bombing comes less than a week after a suicide bomber killed more than 40 people at the Indian Embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

EU - MEDITERRANEAN: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says a peace accord with the Palestinians has never been so close. He made the comment today (Sunday) in Paris, after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of today's inaugural summit of the Mediterranean Union.
After the talks, Mr. OImert and Mr. Abbas spoke to reporters along with their host, French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The three leaders commented on their willingness to bring peace to the region. Mr. Sarkozy says the formation of the union from countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa marks a turning point for the region. France and Egypt will co-chair the Mediterranean Union for its first two years.

SYRIA - LEBANON: Syria and Lebanon say they have agreed to establish diplomatic relations and to open embassies in each country's capital for the first time. French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the decision following talks Saturday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Lebanese counterpart, Michel Suleiman, in Paris. Mr. Sarkozy called the agreement "historic." Relations between Syria and Lebanon have been strained since the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and the forced withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon a few months later.

ZIMBABWE: Britain is vowing to press for action against Zimbabwe, a day after China and Russia vetoed a U.S.-sponsored resolution that would have imposed U.N. sanctions against the African nation. The office of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Saturday that Mr. Brown will urge European Union action against President Robert Mugabe's government after disputed and violence-marred elections. The United States and Britain criticized China and Russia for vetoing the proposed U.N. sanctions on Friday.
Following the vote, Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United Nations accused U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of being partial towards the United States and Britain. A spokesman for Mr. Ban Saturday called the comments "highly inappropriate and unacceptable."

THAILAND - HMONG: A leading human rights group has accused Thailand of intimidating and forcibly deporting ethnic Hmong to Laos. In a statement Saturday, Human Rights Watch expressed concern for the well-being of about 13-hundred Hmong who have been missing since they left a refugee camp in Thailand's northern Petchabun province on June 20th. They were among about five-thousand ethnic Hmong who left the (Huay Nam Khao) camp to join a march for World Refugee Day in Bangkok, about 350 kilometers away.
Thai soldiers deported 800 of the protesters to neighboring Laos, while thousands more returned to the refugee camp. But aid agency Doctors Without Borders says 13-hundred refugees are missing. The United Nations refugee agency says Thailand repatriated close to 400 more Hmong from the same camp to Laos on Friday. Thailand's foreign minister (Noppadon Pattama) denies the country is forcibly deporting the Hmong.

AUSTRALIA - POPE: Pope Benedict has arrived in Sydney, Australia, where he will presideover one of the biggest celebrations of the Roman Catholic Church, World Youth Day. Benedict's plane touched down this (Sunday) afternoon at a military air base on the outskirts of Sydney, where he was greeted by church and government officials, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. On his flight, the Pope told reporters that he would work during his 10-day pilgrimage to promote healing and reconciliation with the victims of sexual abuse.

KOREAS - TOURIST KILLED: South Korea is demanding that North Korea allow an investigation into the shooting death of a South Korean tourist in the North. Seoul's Unification Ministry released a statement today (Sunday) saying that if the North does not allow a probe into the death, it would have serious consequences for South-North relations.
North Korea expressed regret Saturday over the killing of a female South Korean tourist, but blamed the incident on South Korea and demanded an apology. Pyongyang said it will not allow South Korean officials to visit the resort to investigate.

Listen to our World News for more details in Lao.



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