IRAQ: Tens of thousands of Shi'ite pilgrims are converging on a shrine in Baghdad for a religious event under tight security. Authorities deployed additional police and banned cars from the city streets until Saturday to prevent suicide bombings during the ceremony, which commemorates the death of Imam Moussa Kadhim, one of 12 major Shi'ite imams. The Imam, who died 12 centuries ago, is buried in a tomb in Baghdad's Kazimiyah district.
THAILAND-SOUTH: Police in Thailand say suspected Muslim militants have decapitated two elderly Buddhists in the country's restive south. Authorities say militants attacked the men today (Thursday) in Pattani province, and then burned down a house in which they had been living. Pattani is one of three mainly-Muslim provinces in southern Thailand where violence linked to a separatist movement has killed more than 23-hundred people since 2004.
KOREAS-SUMMIT: South Korea says its summit with North Korea later this month will help international efforts to end Pyongyang's nuclear program. South Korean Unificiation Minister Lee Jae-joung said today (Thursday) the summit will be an important occasion for the leaders of North and South Korea to actively resolve the nuclear issue. He also said South Korea will discuss with the North making use of road or rail links when President Roh Moo-hyun crosses the peninsula's heavily fortified border to attend the summit in Pyongyang
US-SPACE SHUTTLE: The U.S. space shuttle Endeavour has lifted off to take a seven-person crew including a school teacher to the international space station. The shuttle was launched into clear skies Wednesday from Cape Canaveral, Florida. This is the first flight for Endeavour since 2002. The space mission also is the first for 55-year-old school teacher Barbara Morgan, who NASA said would create a "classroom in space."
News in Lao.