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Asian Development Bank Issues Loan to Assist Laotian Farmers


LAOS-FARM LOAN: The Asian Development Bank has announced an 18 million dollar loan and grant package designed to help Laotian farmers improve livestock production. In a statement issued Monday, the ADB said the program would benefit about 17 thousand households in 400 impoverished villages. The ADB says the money will provide loans for villagers to invest in livelihood activities, including the marketing of livestock. Livestock provides a significant component of household wealth, being both food and a source of income. An ADB spokesperson said increasing trade and transportation links in the greater Mekong subregion would offer many opportunities for poor rural residents to increase their incomes.

KOREA NUCLEAR TEST: North Korea's neighbors are joining the United

States in a push for harsh sanctions to punish Pyongyang for its announced nuclear test. The Japanese parliament unanimously passed a resolution today (Tuesday) demanding an immediate end to North Korea's nuclear program. Officials in Tokyo said Japan could support military action against Pyongyang. And Japanese government sources tell VOA that a ban on all imports from North Korea is being discussed, as well as additional financial sanctions.

UN LEADERSHIP: The United Nations Security Council has nominated South Korea's Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon as the successor to outgoing Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Ban told reporters in Seoul that, while his nomination should be a moment of joy, his heart is "very heavy," given the situation with North Korea. Ban's bid for the U.N. post was largely uncontested, as all of his competitors dropped out of the race last week.

TAIWAN-POLITICS: Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian appealed for national unity today (Tuesday) as tens of thousands of demonstrators demanded his resignation. The protests were triggered by corruption allegations involving Mr. Chen's wife, son-in-law and senior government officials. Speaking on Taiwan's National Day, Mr. Chen said he has always insisted on clean politics, and suggested he will remain in office.

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