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Thailand Begins Repatriation to Laos of Hmong Migrants

The Thai government rejects accusations by the international community that thousands of Lao Hmong refugees were being forcibly sent back to Laos.  The Thai military carried out the deportation under tight security.   The deportation of 4,000 Hmong to Laos began in the early hours of Monday with convoys of military trucks and buses ferrying people to the border.   Human rights groups fear the Hmong, who have been held at the Huay Nam Khao refugee camp, will be persecuted once they return to Laos.   The U.S.

Suicide Bomber Strikes Peshawar in Pakistan

A suicide bomb attack has rocked the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing at least five people and wounding more than 20 others. Pakistani officials say a suicide bomber walked up to a security checkpoint Thursday and detonated his explosives after he was stopped by police.

Medvedev: Russia to Develop New Nuclear Missiles

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says his country will develop a new generation of nuclear weaponry, even as it works toward a new strategic arms treaty with the United States. Mr. Medvedev spoke Wednesday in Moscow, in a wide-ranging interview with the editors of three state-controlled television channels. He said new missile technology will be developed in full accordance with any new arms agreements reached with Washington. The current Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty expired earlier this month, and senior U.S.

Thailand Set to Repatriate Lao Hmong Despite Concerns of Political Persecution

Thai military authorities say they will send about 4,000 Hmong living in a Thai refugee camp back to Laos by the end of the year, despite concerns they may face political persecution. A military spokesman on Wednesday confirmed to VOA that Thailand will repatriate the Hmong within about a week. They have been living at the Huay Nam Khao camp in Thailand's northern Petchabun province. Many of the Hmong at the camp fear persecution by Lao authorities if they are sent back and are believed to want political asylum. Thailand says they will be repatriated on a voluntary basis, but has n

US 'Deeply Concerned' About Tensions in Sudan

The United States says it is "deeply concerned" about political developments in Sudan, where new laws have raised tensions between the northern-based government and semi-autonomous south. The State Department said it was responding to reports that the north's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) broke an agreement with the south's dominant SPLM party and changed the language in a key bill. The bill, setting terms for a referendum on southern independence, was passed Tuesday, despite a protest by southern lawmakers who walked out of parliament. A State Department spokesman says the NCP

Missing Governor Found Dead in Colombia

Officials in Colombia say a provincial governor who was kidnapped by suspected leftist rebels has been found dead in southern Caqueta province.   Authorities say the body, which was surrounded by explosives, was discovered Tuesday near the Caqueta's capital, Florencia, one day after Governor Luis Francisco Cuellar was abducted from his home.  The kidnappers had used explosives when raiding the governor's home, killing one police officer. Investigators believe a unit of the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was responsible. President Alvaro Uribe had ordered the mil

Al-Shabab Militants Divided over Tactics, Foreign Control

A rising dispute between militants in Somalia may have split the country's al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab group into two factions.

Maoist-led Protests Intensify in Nepal

In Nepal, Maoists have intensified protests as a 6-month long standoff with the government shows no signs of ending. The political impasse threatens a historic peace pact which ended a violent Maoist-led insurgency, and brought them into the political mainstream 3 years ago. The three-day general strike called by Maoists this week was not what most people in Nepal had expected to witness at the start of the year.

MONUC Ready to Repel Rebel LRA Attack, Says Spokesman

A spokesman for the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) says the group is ready to fend off any possible attack by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels. Kevin Kennedy assured Congolese not to panic after rumors surfaced that LRA rebels are planning to attack villages ahead of the Christmas festivities. “First of all I would have to say we will caution people not to panic.

North Korea Threatens to Open Fire in Disputed Sea Area

North Korea has warned South Korean military and fishing boats to stay clear of a disputed maritime area, or risk being fired on. Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency Monday said the move is a response to what the North calls "frequent intrusions by warmongers in the South Korean military." North Korea has refused for decades to accept a maritime border known as the Northern Limit Line, mandated by the United Nations after a 1953 armistice halted fighting in the Korean War.  North and South Korea fought two deadly naval battles in the area in 1999 and 2002, and the South badly

Madagascar Political Crisis Deepens

The head of Madagascar's transitional authority, Andry Rajoelina, announced a decree Sunday naming retired army Colonel Albert Camille Vital as prime minister. On Friday, Rajoelina dismissed Prime Minister Eugene Mangalaza who had been named two months ago as part of a power-sharing agreement with three opposition groups. He indicated he was withdrawing from the agreement and announced parliamentary elections would be held in March.  The new parliament would choose a prime minister and draft a new constitution. Rajoelina did not mention presidential elections.  Under the current const

Dutch Seek Explanation over Chavez Remarks

The Dutch government says it has asked Venezuela's ambassador to clarify remarks by President Hugo Chavez accusing the Netherlands of planning aggression against Venezuela. The comment Friday comes one day after President Chavez said the Netherlands was allowing the United States to use Dutch islands off Venezuela's Caribbean coast for a possible military attack against his country. The Venezuelan leader provided no evidence to support his allegations, and State Department spokesman Ian Kelly Thursday told the Associated Press the allegations were "baseless." The United States has lon

Cambodia Tribunal Charges Former Khmer Rouge Head of State With Genocide

Cambodia's U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal has charged the Khmer Rouge's former head of state with genocide, the third such charge this week against a former leader of the brutal regime. A court spokesman says Khieu Samphan was brought before investigating judges of the U.N.-assisted tribunal Friday and charged. On Wednesday, the tribunal charged two other defendants with genocide for the first time: Nuon Chea, the group's top ideologist and former foreign minister Ieng Sary. All three have been charged with involvement in the deaths of members of the country's ethnic Cham and Vietnam

Obama: US Close to New Arms Deal with Russia

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and Russia are 'quite close' to agreeing on a new arms control treaty. Mr. Obama discussed the issue with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in a private meeting Friday while both were attending the Copenhagen climate conference. Mr. Medvedev said some work is still needed on the technical details. Delegates from both countries have also been holding negotiations on the treaty in Geneva, Switzerland. U.S.