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US Congressmen Visit Hmong Returnees in Laos


TOGO-ANGOLA-FOOTBALL: Police in Angola have detained two suspects in connection with the ambush of the Togolese football (soccer) team. The attack left three people dead and wounded seven. The suspects were arrested in Angola's oil-rich province of Cabinda, the same area where the Togolese team's bus came under attack Friday. The attack occurred as the bus headed into Cabinda. Gunmen killed the bus driver, Togo's assistant coach, and the team spokesman. A separatist group (the Front of the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda) has claimed responsibility for the attack. The rebels said they were not targeting the Togolese team, but rather Angolan security forces.
Togo's national football team has withdrawn from the African Nations Cup and is back home.
US CONGRESSMEn - HMONG RETURNEES: Vientiane Times reported - Three US congressmen visited Hmong refugees who were deported to Laos from Thailand last month . "There is no indication of discrimination or harassment or mistreatment of the people in Phalak village," Eni Faleomavaega, chairman of the House of Representatives subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, said at a press conference in Vientiane on Saturday. Thailand deported 4,508 Hmong, who had been living in refugee camps since 2004, back to Laos on December 28, in an effort to stem the continuing Hmong migration.
Faleomavaega and congressmen Mike Honda and Anh Joseph Cao were allowed to visit Phalak village, 70 kilometres from Vientiane, where the Lao government has settled about half of the Hmong who were repatriated from Thailand last month.
US-NOKOR: North Korea called Monday for peace talks with the United States and an end to sanctions as conditions for resuming stalled six-party denuclearization talks. The North's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday that the resumption of the multilateral talks depends on a peace treaty with the US. The 1950 through 1953 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.The statement came the same day the new U.S. envoy for North Korean rights issues called Pyongyang's human rights record "appalling," and said the country must improve its record if it wants warmer ties with Washington.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton begins a tour of the Asia-Pacific region Monday, focusing on security, development, the environment and maintaining strong bilateral ties with several countries.
CLINTON-ASIA: Clinton will start the trip in (the Pacific U.S. state of) Hawaii where she will meet (Tuesday) with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada. The United States and Japan are involved in a dispute over the relocation of the U.S. Futenma air base at Okinawa. Under a 2006 agreement, the Marine base is to be moved from a crowded urban area to a coastal region within Okinawa prefecture. But some political factions in Japan say the base should be moved off Okinawa altogether. The top U.S. diplomat will continue on to Papua New Guinea, where the State Department says she will meet with government officials as well as civil society leaders to discuss environmental protection and women's empowerment.
Clinton's 10-day trip will also take her to New Zealand and Australia.
Media reports Monday said troubled Japan Airlines is expected to cut 15,600 jobs, or about a third of its workforce, in three years under a rehabilitation plan.

JAPAN- AIRLINE: Media reports Monday said troubled Japan Airlines is expected to cut 15,600 jobs, or about a third of its workforce in three years under a rehabilitation plan. The layoffs, coupled with cuts in benefits and wages, will be carried out together with the sale of JAL subsidiaries, including JAL Hotels.JAL is expected to file for bankruptcy as early as January 19 as part of the plan.

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