US - Laos: The United States is calling on Laos to investigate the killing of 26 ethnic Hmong civilians, allegedly by military forces. The U.S. Embassy in Vientiane issued a statement today (Friday) urging the Laos government to investigate what the embassy called "disturbing reports from credible international sources of the alleged April sixth incident. London-based Amnesty International accused Lao soldiers of attacking the mountain-dwelling group of Hmong, killing mainly women and children. Many Hmong fought for the U.S. during the Vietnam War and fled to Thailand for fear of persecution after a communist government came to power in their homeland in Laos.
Iran Nuclear: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she hopes Iran will seriously consider a new package of incentives to suspend its nuclear activities. The world's major powers agreed on the package Thursday in Vienna. It also includes United Nations Security Council action if Iran refuses to halt uranium enrichment and reprocessing.
US - Iran Intel: Meanwhile, U.S. National Intelligence Director John Negro-ponte says Iran could have a nuclear bomb as early as 2010. In an interview with British radio today (Friday), Negroponte said Iran seems determined to develop nuclear weapons. He says it is estimated that Tehran might be in a position to have a nuclear bomb sometime between the beginning and the middle of the next decade.
Indonesia Quake: The World Health Organization says it is concerned about possible disease outbreaks in central Indonesia following last week's devastating earthquake. W.H.O. officials said today (Friday) they are worried about a possible outbreak of tetanus. They say hospital personnel reported shortages of tetanus vaccine earlier in the week, and that overflowing medical facilities and poor sanitation are aggravating the problem.
Thursday night, representatives of more than 40 local and international groups met for the first time to jump-start coordination among health agencies.
VOA Mobile: The Voice of America has introduced a new service to reach an ever more mobile audience. VOA Mobile provides news and other information tailored for cell phones. The new service is currently only available in English, but will expand to include other languages in the next several weeks. Users type www.voamobile.com into their web-accessible cell phone or mobile communication device to receive the service. VOA broadcasts more than one-thousand hours of news, educational and cultural programs every week to an estimated 100-million people around the world. Its programs are produced and broadcast in 44 languages by way of radio, satellite television, the Internet, podcasts - and now mobile phones.
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