ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

Pakistan Launches Air Strikes in Swat; Radical Cleric's Son Killed


PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: Civilians are trying to escape fighting in Pakistan's Swat valley as government troops step up their offensive against Taliban militants after the collapse of a peace deal in the region. Military helicopters and warplanes were pounding suspected Taliban positions in Swat on Thursday. Authorities temporarily relaxed their curfew in the region, and provincial officials were bracing for a flood of tens of thousands of displaced civilians. A spokesman for Sufi Muhammad, the radical Muslim cleric who helped negotiate the short-lived cease-fire, said one of Muhammad's sons was killed Thursday when a bomb or artillery shell hit his house in nearby Dir district.

AFGHANISTAN: A crowd of angry demonstrators threw rocks at government buildings in western Afghanistan Thursday to protest recent civilian deaths they blame on U.S. air strikes. Residents of the town of Farah said there was some gunfire as police faced off against the protesters, but it was not clear where it came from. Local health officials said at least four people were wounded in the chaos, including one demonstrator who was shot. The crowd was protesting against an incident in Farah province earlier this week, in which local Afghan officials say U.S. air strikes and related fighting killed more than 100 people, mainly civilians.

US - CHINA: U.S. President Barack Obama had a wide ranging telephone conversation with China's president on Wednesday, which touched on the global economy and world health issues as well as concerns about Pakistan and North Korea. China's official Xinhua news agency says President Hu Jintao told Mr. Obama that his country wants to cooperate on tackling the financial crisis and other global and regional issues. The White House says that during the discussion, Mr. Obama explained his concerns about recent threats to Pakistan by militant extremists and terrorists.

LAOS - BRITAIN: British and Laotian officials are meeting Thursday in London to discuss the fate of a pregnant woman from Britain who has been jailed on drug smuggling charges in Laos. The woman, 20-year-old Samantha Orobator, will go on trial next week and authorities say they will provide a lawyer for her ahead of her trial. She reportedly became pregnant in December or January while being held at the notorious Phonthong prison. Orobator was allegedly caught trying to board an airplane in the Laos capital with 680 grams of heroin. Laos law imposes a mandatory death sentence for anyone caught with more than 500 grams of heroin.

BURMA: Burmese state media are reporting a U.S. citizen has been arrested after he allegedly swam across a lake and snuck inside the residence of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Reports say the man recently checked into a Rangoon hotel across the lake from Aung San Suu Kyi's residence. They say the man allegedly confessed to swimming across the Inya Lake on Sunday. He was caught trying to swim back to his hotel late Tuesday. The U.S. Embassy in Rangoon says it has seen the reports and was trying to learn more. Official Burmese media say the man was carrying a U.S. passport and his name is John William Yeattaw.

OBAMA - BUDGET: White House officials say the Obama administration is set to unveil a new set of proposed budget cuts totaling about $17 billion. Officials say President Barack Obama on Thursday will release a list of 121 federal programs to be cut or reduced in his "line-by-line" effort to trim the budget for next year. The cuts add up to only a tiny percentage of the $3.5 trillion budget approved by Congress last month, and some lawmakers have resisted past efforts to cut the same programs. House Minority Leader John Boehner said Congressional Republicans "respectfully suggest that we should do far more."

SWINE FLU: A top World Health Organization official says the global health body is still working to understand the influenza A H1N1 virus and called for continued vigilance to fight the spread of the disease. Speaking (by videolink) to Asian officials gathered in Bangkok Thursday for a meeting on the disease, acting WHO director-general Keiji Fukuda said it is critical countries maintain their alertness and monitor the evolution of the disease, commonly known as swine flu, as closely as possible. Fukuda said WHO officials still do not believe they have gotten a handle on the severity of the disease.

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