THAILAND-HMONG-LAOS: Thailand's prime minister says his government will continue to send ethnic Hmong refugees back to Laos despite appeals by U.S. lawmakers to let them stay. Surayud Chulanont said Monday that Thailand will ask representatives of a third country to ensure the rights of Hmong refugees are protected after their return to Laos. Mr. Surayud says his government has discussed the idea of involving third-country representatives with Lao officials. Thirteen members of the U.S. Congress wrote to Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej last week asking him to stop Thai authorities from deporting about eight-thousand Hmong refugees. Mr. Surayud says Thailand does not want the burden of caring for Hmong refugees more three decades after the Lao conflict ended.
IRAQ: he U.S. military in Iraq says one American soldier has been killed and another wounded when their vehicle was hit by an armor-piercing roadside bomb. A military statement (issued today / Tuesday) said the attack took place in western Baghdad Monday. U.S. officials have accused Iran of supplying armor-piercing weapons called explosively formed penetrators (EFPs), to Shi'ite militias in Iraq -- a charge Tehran denies.
LEBANON FIGHTING: The Lebanese government says police have killed a top leader of the Islamic militants battling the army at a refugee camp in northern Lebanon. Interior Minister Hassas Sabeh told a cabinet meeting late Monday that Abu Hureira -- the deputy commander of Fatah al-Islam -- was killed in a shootout with police in the city of Tripoli last week. The minister said the Islamic commander's body was later identified through DNA tests and also by family members.
MIDEAST TALKS: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says Israel has promised quick solutions for many of the day-to-day concerns of Palestinians in the occupied areas. Mr. Abbas made the remark (on the Voice of Palestine radio) after Monday's talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the West Bank town of Jericho. He said he believed the Israeli leader is "serious" about making progress in efforts to revitalize the peace process.
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