BRITAIN - LAOS: A pregnant British woman has returned home to serve out the life sentence she received in Laos for drug trafficking. A plane carrying 20-year-old Samantha Orobator landed Friday at London's Heathrow Airport, where she was greeted by police and taken to a nearby prison. The Nigerian- born woman was arrested last year at an airport in the capital of Vientiane, allegedly carrying more than half a kilogram of heroin. The amount was well over the threshold under which she could have been executed. But Laos assured Britain it would not impose the death penalty after Orobator became pregnant while in detention. She was sentenced to life imprisonment in June.
US - AFRICA: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in South Africa, where she
says she will push the country to do more to counter what she called
"the negative effects" of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's rule.
Clinton arrived in Johannesburg Thursday. On Friday, she has a full day
that includes a meeting with former South African President Nelson
Mandela and an address to business leaders. She has also planned
meetings in Pretoria with South Africa's foreign minister before holding talks on Saturday with President Jacob
PAKISTAN: Pakistan's foreign minister says intelligence sources have confirmed
that Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was killed by
Wednesday's missile strike in the South Waziristan tribal region.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi's remarks came Friday during a news conference in Islamabad.
Earlier, intelligence officers said Mehsud was buried in the village of
Nargusai, not far from where the suspected U.S. missile fired from a
drone struck. The area is controlled by the Taliban.
The Associated Press reports that fellow Taliban commander, Kafayat Ullah, confirmed Mehsud had died.
SRI LANKA: The Tamil Tigers, the separatist group defeated earlier this year by
Sri Lanka's military, have confirmed their leader was arrested and is
in Sri Lankan custody. In an e-mailed statement Friday, the Tiger
rebels said Selvarasa
Pathmanathan was taken into custody in Malaysia. Malaysian authorities
say they have no information on the arrest.
Earlier reports said Pathmanathan had been arrested in Thailand, but
the Thai government said the arrest occurred elsewhere. A Sri Lankan
military spokesman says Pathmanathan is
back in Sri Lanka and being interrogated.
TAIWAN - TYPHOON: Authorities in Taiwan have ordered businesses and schools to close as Typhoon Morakot bears down on the island. Forecasters says the storm is carrying maximum sustained winds of 144 kilometers an hour as it passes near the capital Taipei. The island's financial markets closed Friday ahead of Morakot's arrival. Several international and domestic flights have ben canceled, and the island's high-speed rail line has also suspended operations. Typhoons normally strike the Asia-Pacific region between July and September.
US - NORTH KOREA: The White House is characterizing former President Bill Clinton's trip
to North Korea as a "private, humanitarian mission" that will not
change U.S. policy towards the country. White House spokesman Robert
Gibbs says Mr. Clinton's trip was
"separate from North Korea's nuclear policy and provocative actions."
Gibbs told reporters Thursday that Mr. Clinton had briefed National
Security Council members about the visit and is expected to meet with
President Barack Obama soon.
TONGA - FERRY SINKS: Rescuers off the coast of the Pacific island nation of Tonga now say
more than 60 people are missing and presumed dead after a ferry sank
Tongan Police Commander Chris Kelly Friday revised the number of people
aboard the Princess Ashika to at least 117 passengers and crew. Under
the revised figures, at least 62 people are missing and presumed
dead. Two people are confirmed dead, with 53 survivors rescued.
Authorities believe most of the missing passengers are women and
children who were sleeping in cabins below deck and became trapped when
the ferry sank.
SWINE FLU VACCINE: The World Health Organization says five countries are carrying out
clinical trials of a swine flu vaccine which it says should be
available next month.
WHO vaccine research chief Marie-Paule Kieny said Thursday that experts
in Australia, Britain, China, Germany, and the United States are
testing H1N1 vaccines on human volunteers for safety.
She said other countries will begin clinical trials within days and that test results should be known in about four weeks.
Listen to our World News for details.