Lebanon Aid: Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has appealed to international donors in Stockholm for urgent financial aid to help his country recover from the devastating conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.
Mr. Siniora says Israel's military offensive against Hezbollah caused billions of dollars in direct damage to Lebanon's economy, sending the country from recovery into recession.
Mr. Siniora was addressing senior officials from more than 40 nations at today's (Thursday's) conference, which organizers hope will raise 500 million dollars in short-term aid for Lebanon's reconstruction.The Lebanese prime minister says the war also will cost his country billions of dollars in lost revenue from tourism, agriculture and industry.
Bush – Iraq: President Bush is in (the western state of) Utah to deliver the first of a new series of speeches designed to counter public opposition to the Iraq war.
The White House says Mr. Bush will acknowledge that "these are unsettling times" in Iraq but he will discuss the Iraq war in the broader context of the war on terror today (Thursday) at a convention of the veterans group, the American Legion.
The new series of speeches will continue through the anniversary of the September 11th (2001) terrorist attacks and culminate at the United Nations on September 19th.
It is third such series of addresses in less than a year
On Wednesday, Mr. Bush stressed the speeches, which kick off two months before U.S. congressional elections, are not intended to be political in nature.
Iran Nuclear: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his nation will not back down in the face of intimidation and give up its right to nuclear technology.
Mr. Ahmadinejad made the remark today (Thursday) -- the day the U.N. Security Council has set as a deadline for Iran to stop uranium enrichment or face possible sanctions.
Speaking in northwestern Iran (in Orumiyeh), Mr. Ahmadinejad did not directly mention the deadline, but said Tehran will not accept what he called "bullying, invasion or a violation of its rights."
The U.S. State Department's most senior career diplomat, (Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs) Nicholas Burns, will join counterparts from the other permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany at talks about sanctions on Iran early next week in Europe.
Thailand – Bombs: Thai police say at least 21 bombs have exploded at banks in the restive southern province of Yala, killing at least one person and wounding at least 20 others.
Officials suspect militants set off the bombs today (Thursday) at or near commercial banks in Yala's provincial capital and nearby districts. Many of the explosives were detonated by mobile phones after being hidden in trash bins and book stands.
Separatists insurgents have staged a series of attacks in Yala and two other Muslim-majority provinces in southern Thailand (Narathiwat and Pattani) since January 2004. The provinces were a Malay sultanate until Buddhist Thailand annexed them a century ago.
Thailand – Lao Hmong: The Lao government has dismissed charges of human rights abuses against ethnic Hmong, freshly detailed in a report and film made by a U.S. advocacy group. As Ron Corben reports, the allegations come as six thousand Hmong have fled to Thailand and set up camp in central Petchabun province.
The charges of human rights abuses against ethnic Hmong living in Laos and Thailand are being aired in a documentary made by the Society for Threatened Peoples International, a U.S. rights group.
The film focuses on Hmong hiding in the mountains of central Laos' Xaysomboun Special Zone, and on the Hmong who have fled to Thailand.
The Hmong fought alongside U.S. forces in Laos during the Vietnam War. When the United States withdrew from Vietnam, about 300 thousand were resettled in the U.S., and thousands more fled to Thailand.
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