Lao officials say caves that once sheltered more than 20-thousand people from U.S. bombs are now open for tourists to visit. Tourism officials say the 480 (Viengxay) caves (in Houaphanh province) were the Vietnam War hideout of the communist Pathet Lao. The Pathet Lao fought against the U.S.-backed government in Vientiane, which collapsed in 1975. The cave complex included a hospital, a shop, a school, a print shop, a bakery and a theater. The caves withstood a nine year bombing campaign during which the U.S. dropped more than two-million tons of explosives. The Lao government says it hopes the caves will attract tourists, just as the Cu Chi tunnels near Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam do.
INDONESIA QUAKE : A strong earthquake has hit Indonesia's
Sumatra island, killing at least 70 people and leaving hospitals and other medical facilities overwhelmed with the injured. The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude six-point-three earthquake struck earlier today (Tuesday), 50 kilometers from West Sumatra's provincial capital, Padang. Two hours later, an aftershock of magnitude six-point-one struck the area again.
Envoys from the United States and North Korea will hold a second day of talks in New York today (Tuesday) to work toward normalizing diplomatic relations. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Kye Gwan, began their discussions Monday evening. It was the highest level meeting held in the United States between the two sides since 2000.
CHINA-INTERNET: Chinese state media say no new Internet cafes will be allowed to open this year. The government-run Xinhua news agency says Internet cafes that have already received planning approval must open by June 30th. Xinhua says the directive was jointly released by the Ministry of Culture and 13 other government agencies. The news agency says there are about 113-thousand Internet cafes in China.
THAILAND-ITV: Thailand's military-installed government says it will take over one of the country's few independent television stations because the station has not paid millions of dollars in unpaid broadcasting license fees. (Dhipawadee Meksawan) A minister in the office of Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont told reporters today (Tuesday) ITV will be closed Wednesday. She said broadcasts could resume once legal issues are resolved regarding the station's transition to new ownership.
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