Iraq's interior minister has confirmed reports that Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been wounded. Interior Minister Bayan Jabor told a news conference in Baghdad today (Thursday) that he received information five days ago about al-Zarqawi's condition, but he did not say where the information came from. The al-Qaida in Iraq militant group had said Tuesday that its leader, al-Zarqawi, had been injured in recent fighting.
The Tham Krabok camp was set up some 30 years ago for the Hmong, a mountain-dwelling ethnic group originally from Laos. Many of the Hmong fought for the United States during the Vietnam War and fled to Thailand after a communist government came to power in their homeland.
The United States has closed its embassy, consulates, and other U.S. government offices in Indonesia because of a security threat. A message posted on the embassy web site notes that the offices will be closed indefinitely starting today (Thursday), but it does not elaborate on the nature of the threat.
A court in Ho Chi Minh City has upheld death sentences for 16 people convicted of drug trafficking. The defendants were among 29 people sentenced in January for charges including trafficking more than 800 kilograms of heroin. The sentences for the others include several years behind bars to life in prison. The court commuted the death sentence for one defendant. Vietnam is often used as a transit point for drugs from the notorious "Golden Triangle" - the area where the borders of Laos, Thailand and Burma meet.
The former head of Vietnam's Communist Party says he was offered bribes while he was in office. Le Kha Phieu says people left envelopes full of cash - five to 10-thousand dollars at a time, along with bouquets of flowers at his office. He said he always returned the money and urged other officials to do the same.
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