U.S. Secretary of State State Condoleezza Rice is on a surprise visit to Iraq, where she is urging Iraqis to reduce sectarian tensions before elections next month. Ms. Rice arrived in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul today (Friday) from Bahrain, where she started a tour of the Middle East earlier Friday. She met with local Iraqi officials and U.S. diplomats and military officers. She later met with officials in Baghdad.
Police in Paris are gearing up for today's (Friday's) Armistice Day holiday following reports that rioters may be planning attacks in downtown areas. Paris police chief Pierre Mutz says Internet and cell phone messages calling for violence have circulated this week as the country prepared for the holiday marking the November 11th, 1918 end of World War One.
A judge in the midwestern U.S. state of Wisconsin this week sentenced a Laotian-born immigrant convicted on six counts of murder to life in prison. Chai Vang, a member of the ethnic Lao Hmong community, had been found guilty of killing six deer hunters and wounding two others after a trespassing dispute in November of 2004.
The 37-year-old Vang had said he shot the hunters in self-defense after one man used racial slurs and profanity while telling him to get off private land and another fired at him. However, survivors of the attack disputed the claim, and prosecutors said Vang had an "explosive temperament." Vang will serve six consecutive life sentences, which the judge said will ensure he is never released from jail.
Vietnam will set up a medical facility for Cambodian bird flu patients near the border between the two countries in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. Health officials said today (Friday) the small ward will be built at a hospital in Kien Luong district, 30 kilometers from the border, so Cambodian patients do not have to travel more deeply into Vietnam for treatment.
Meanwhile, Kuwait has found the deadly H5N1 variety of avian flu in one of two infected birds culled by authorities. The strain was found in a migrating flamingo, while a second, imported bird had the milder H5N2 variant.
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