Militants in Iraq linked to wanted terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi say they have killed a second American hostage, and threatened to murder the Briton (Kenneth Bigley) they are holding. The militants announced the killing (of Jack Hensley) on the Internet Tuesday, but did not provide any evidence.
In another development, Iraqi authorities say at least six people were killed and more than 50 others wounded in a suicide car bombing in a commercial district in western Baghdad today (Wednesday). Meanwhile, in eastern Baghdad, fierce fighting erupted between U.S. forces and rebels in the Shi'ite neighborhood of Sadr City. Local hospital officials said at least 10 people were killed.
Indonesian Vice President Hamzah Haz says President Megawati Sukarnoputri is prepared to accept defeat in Monday's presidential election. But Mr. Haz said Ms. Megawati is not ready to concede before the final tally is announced next month. Former Indonesian Security Minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has taken 61 percent of the vote to Megawati's 39 percent in the official tally, with over 90 million votes counted.
The Asian Development Bank says Laos is showing signs of economic growth, but poverty remains a problem. In an update to its Asian Development Outlook, the Manila-based bank said Laos should see its gross domestic product grow by 6.5 percent this year. The bank says the Lao economy is being driven by gold and zinc mining, manufacturing, tourism, construction and electricity production.
The bank also noted progress in restructuring Lao state-owned businesses and banks. But the Asian Development Bank warned that Laos faces a major challenge in reducing poverty, with about one-third of the Lao population living below poverty levels.
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