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Grand Jury Indicts Laos Plot Defendants


PALESTINIAN UNREST: Palestinian factional fighting in the Gaza Strip appeared to end today after Hamas fighters completed their takeover of rival Fatah positions. Hamas fighters were seen patrolling outside Palestinian President and Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas' compound in Gaza City after seizing the Fatah stronghold late Thursday. Hamas today said it was granting amnesty to senior Fatah military commanders captured in Gaza More than 110 Palestinians were killed in a week of fighting in the territory. But Fatah remains in control of the West Bank.

GRAND JURY - LAOS PLOT: A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted 10 members of California's Hmong community and a former California National Guard official on charges they plotted to violently overthrow the Communist government of Laos. The indictment came the same day federal agents arrested an 11th suspect in the case, Dang Vang, 48, of Fresno. Prosecutors say Vang drafted elaborate plans to finance and carry out the coup. All 11 were charged with conspiracy to violate the federal Neutrality Act, as well as several other felonies associated with a suspected plot to purchase nearly $10 million in weapons, including AK-47 rifles and Stinger missiles, and to hire mercenaries to carry out the attacks.

INDONESIA - TERRORISM: Police in Indonesia say they have captured the current head of the Southeast Asian terrorist network, Jemaah Islamiyah. Authorities say the man, identified as Zarkasih was arrested in Yogjakarta, central Java, last Saturday, the same day police captured the leader of J.I.'s military wing, Abu Dujana. In a videotaped confession, Zarkasih, says he took over as head of the militant group in 2005. Members of Jemaah Islamiyah have been accused of carrying out deadly bomb attacks on Indonesia's Bali island in 2002 and 2005, and an attack on the Australian Embassy in 2004. The group has links to the al-Qaida terrorist network.

THAILAND - SOUTH: Thai police say at least seven soldiers have been killed by a roadside bomb in the country's restive south. Authorities say the soldiers were on patrol in Yala province today when a bomb exploded near their vehicle. Yala is one of three mainly Muslim provinces in southern Thailand at the center of an anti-government insurgency. Near-daily shootings, bombings and arson attacks have killed around 22-hundred people since 2004. Authorities say much of the unrest has been instigated by Islamist separatists. Corrupt local officials and criminals also have been blamed for some of the violence.

AUSTRALIA - TIBET: Australian Prime Minister John Howard has met Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, despite China's objections. Mr. Howard did not provide details of their conversation when he spoke to reporters today following the meeting. On Thursday, the Dalai Lama had an unplanned conversation with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who New Zealand officials say he met by chance at an airport in Australia. He also met with Australia's opposition leader (Kevin Rudd) earlier in the week.

CHINA - SLAVERY: Police in China say some one thousand people, including many children, may have been sold into slave labor in central China in a brutal human trafficking ring. Chinese news agencies report that more than 35 thousand officers raided 75-hundred brick kilns in Henan province and neighboring Shanxi province during a three-day crackdown. Police say more than 200 people have been freed, and 120 suspects detained. Media reports have described the young workers as having been beaten, starved, and forced to work under appalling conditions.

TURKEY - POL: Turkey's president has called for a referendum on whether the next president should be elected by the people instead of by Parliament. Ahmet Necdet Sezer called for the referendum after parliament voted for a second time to change the constitution to allow popular election of the president. Mr. Sezer, who already vetoed the measure once, had to either approve it or call the referendum.

TUBERCULOSIS: Doctors at a medical center in (the western U.S. city of) Denver, Colorado, say a patient with an extremely drug resistant strain of tuberculosis will undergo lung surgery in July to remove the infected tissue. A medical official at the center said Thursday that Andrew Speaker is an excellent candidate for the surgery. He said the infected part of Speaker's lung is relatively small and well contained and he is otherwise healthy. Doctors treating Speaker said the infected area is about the size of a tennis ball.

NBA FINALS: The San Antonio Spurs have won their fourth National Basketball Association title in nine years, after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 83-82 Thursday night. Manu Ginobili scored 27 points and Tony Parker added 24 as the Spurs completed a four-game sweep of the Cavaliers in the best-of-seven NBA finals. Lebron James had 24 points for the Cavaliers, but also committed six turnovers in Cleveland's first ever appearance in the NBA championship series. The Spurs have joined the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls as the only teams to win at least four NBA titles.

Listen to our World News for details.

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