LAOS-HMONG: A US-based group say about 400 ethic Hmong have surrendered to Lao authorities after hiding in the jungle for years. The Fact Finding Commission said the group emerged from the jungle Wednesday in the northern province of Xieng Khouang, About half of them were children. The commission says several hours after their surrender, the Hmong were taken away in military trucks. A Lao government spokesman did not confirm the report today(Thursday) but said many villagers chose to move closer to government development programs for their livelihoods. Many of the Hmong sided with the United States during the Vietnam War and fought against communist forces now ruling Laos. Human rights groups have accused the Lao government of persecuting remaining Hmong guerillas and their families.
IRAQ: Iraqi police say gunmen wearing military uniforms have kidnapped at least 30 people during a raid in central Baghdad. Police say the daylight kidnapping raid targeted merchants in a commercial area of the city. Gunmen driving several vehicles rounded up the victims at gunpoint before driving off.
ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS: Israel's top court has declined to ban the military's practice of carrying out targeted killings of Palestinian militants. But the three -judge panel unanimously ruled the practice is not always legal. The court left it up to the military to evaluate the legality of the tactic on a case-by-case basis, before it decides to carry out a targeted killing.
JAPAN-INDIA: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has urged Japanese lawmakers to strengthen trade and investment with India. In a speech to Japan's parliament in Tokyo today, Mr. Singh said the two countries' economic ties are" well below their potential". He said a strong relationship between India and Japan will be a major factor in advancing peace and stability in Asia.
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