The World Health Organization has confirmed the first human case of bird flu in Laos. In a joint statement issued today (Tuesday), WHO and Laotian officials say a 15-year-old girl who fell ill earlier this month is infected with the bird flu virus. Officials say the girl was hospitalized in Vientiane and later transferred to Thailand, where she is in stable condition. WHO officials have not confirmed whether the virus is the often-fatal H5N1 strain of bird flu. Bird flu broke out among poultry in the girl's village near the capital two weeks ago. The disease first appeared in Laos in 2004. It is known to have killed about 170 people worldwide since 2003, mostly in Asia.
AFGHANISTAN-CHENEY : U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has met
with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, after a suicide bomber killed at least three people outside the U.S. military base where Cheney spent the night. The Taleban is claiming responsibility for the blast. The suicide bomber blew himself up today (Tuesday) at the front gate of the Bagram air base, about 60 kilometers north of Kabul. Cheney's spokeswoman says the vice president was not hurt. He spent the night on the base Monday after bad weather postponed his trip to Kabul.
SRI LANKA-ATTACK: Sri Lanka says Tamil rebels have deliberately targeted foreign ambassadors on a humanitarian mission to the country's east. The rebels acknowledge they fired artillery at the air force base where the diplomats landed in helicopters today (Tuesday). But they say they were unaware the aircraft were carrying foreign envoys and blamed the Sri Lankan government for putting them in harms way.
IRAN-NUCLEAR: Iran's Foreign Minister
says his country will never suspend uranium enrichment as demanded by the West. Speaking at a gathering in Tehran today (Tuesday), Manouchehr Mottaki said demands to halt enriching uranium were "illegitimate" and Iran will never comply. However, he said Iran is prepared for talks to resolve the standoff concerning its nuclear program, but those talks should be held without preconditions.
CHINA-DEMOCRACY: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is ruling out plans to allow more democracy in China's near future because he says the country must focus first on economic development. In a speech published by China's state-run media today (Tuesday), Mr. Wen said that China will remain in the primary state of socialism for a long time. Mr. Wen did say, however, that China would develop its own democratic policies, and that a socialist system is not contradictory to those policies.
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