The new U.S. ambassador to Laos says he hopes U.S. concerns over the Lao government's human rights record will not overshadow opportunities for cooperation. Ravic Huso says the countries can work together to combat narcotics, human trafficking and avian flu. He said trade and investment are areas with growth potential. But, he says Washington is concerned about Vientiane's respect for religious freedoms and its treatment of ethnic minorities. Another sticking point has been the area of military cooperation. Nearly a year ago, the Lao defense minister (Major General Duangchay Phichit) rejected a U.S. proposal to expand military contacts between the countries. He said Laos must first build its own capabilities before it can work with the U.S. military. Ambassador Huso says the U.S. military may be able to help with humanitarian projects, including disaster relief and dealing with bird flu.
ustralian authorities say an eighth suspect wanted in connection with the recent attempted car bombings in London and Glasgow has been arrested in the Australian city of Brisbane. Officials say the 27-year-old Indian national was detained at Brisbane airport late Monday as he tried to leave Australia. Authorities say they are interviewing one other man in connection with the bombing plot. Officials say both men are doctors and had been working in northern England before being recruited by a hospital in Queensland.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan officials say security forces killed 33 Taleban insurgents in southern Afghanistan after a roadside bomb killed at least seven policemen Monday. Provincial governor Asadullah Khalid said the offensive was launched late Monday in Kandahar province hours after the bombing that destroyed a police vehicle. The governor said the operation was carried out by Afghan troops and police backed by NATO-led forces.
IRAQ: Iran has rejected U.S. accusations that Tehran is using the Lebanese-based Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah to arm Shi'ite militants in Iraq. An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman (Mohammad Ali Hosseini) says U.S. officials have been making what he called false and ridiculous statements for political gains without providing evidence. Earlier Monday, the U.S. military said Iran's elite Quds forces and Hezbollah instructors train about "20 to 60 Iraqis at a time" in Iran, then send them back to Iraq for attacks.
NOKOR NUCLEAR: Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has met North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang today (Tuesday). Yang is in North Korea to discuss bilateral issues and the planned dismantling of the country's nuclear program. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman (Qin Gang) says Yang also met his North Korean counterpart (, Pak Ui Chun) and Prime Minister Kim Yong Il. Yang arrived in Pyongyang Monday and is set to leave Wednesday. North Korea has pledged to close its main nuclear facility (Yongbyon) for economic aid and political concessions from the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia.
Listen to our World news for details.