Authorities in (the western U.S. state of) California have arrested ten men and charged them with plotting to overthrow the Laotian communist government. Those charged include former Laotian General Vang Pao, a prominent Hmong leader in the United States. The group also includes former California National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Harrison Ulrich Jack. The rest of the suspects are members of the Hmong ethnic group. The criminal complaint, filed in federal court Monday, says the defendants tried to recruit mercenaries and obtain a variety of weapons, including guns, Stinger missiles, anti-tank missiles and mines. The arrests follow a six-month investigation by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, during which an undercover agent posed as a weapons broker. The defendants face the possibility of life in prison if convicted.
KYRGYZSTAN: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says U.S.
use of an air base in Kyrgyzstan is necessary to support the war in Afghanistan. Gates said it is important for the people of Krygyzstan to understand that use of the Manas air base is part of a larger war against terrorism and makes Kyrgyzstan an ally of many nations. Gates spoke today (Tuesday) in Bishkek following talks with Kyrgyzstan's defense minister, Ismail Isakov. The U.S. official said they discussed opportunities for expanding the military relationship and non-military relations between the two countries.
BUSH EUROPE: U.S. President George Bush says Russia has nothing to fear from a planned U.S. missile defense system in Europe. The president told reporters in Prague that the cold war is over and Russia is not an enemy. He said he will seek to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States and Russia can work together to deal with common threats. Mr. Bush repeated his invitation to Russia to cooperate in developing missile defenses and in efforts to deal with common threats. Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to aim Russian missiles at European targets if the system is built.
THAILAND-POLITICS: Thailand's military-run government has lifted a ban on political party activities, a week after a court disbanded the party of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. A government spokesman (Yongyuth Maiyalarp) says Thailand's Cabinet approved the resolution today (Tuesday). It is effective immediately. The military government banned political activities and imposed temporary controls on the media last September following a bloodless coup. The coup removed Mr. Thaksin following months of demonstrations against his alleged corruption and abuse of power.
CHINA-BIRD FLU: The World Health Organization says a Chinese soldier has died from bird flu. A Beijing-based spokeswoman for the U.N.'s health agency said today (Tuesday) that the 19-year-old male soldier died Sunday. He had been hospitalized May 14th after developing a fever and a cough. The Chinese soldier had been stationed in the southeastern province of Fujian. The WHO says 25 people in China have contracted bird flu, and 16 of them have died.
Listen to our World news for details.