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Eritrean Official Denies Sponsoring Insurgents to Destabilize Neighbors

Eritrea’s information minister has described as an unfortunate publicity stunt accusations that President Isaias Afeworki’s government is arming insurgents to destabilize both Ethiopia and Sudan ahead of their scheduled elections in 2010. Ali Abdu said the countries are exploiting the recent United Nations arms embargo imposed on Eritrea. “This is simply a political prostitution and it’s meant to exploit the recent UN resolution, and this click is a comic click of liars. I mean they don’t even blink when they lie.

Iranian Conservatives Hold Mass Pro-Government Rallies

Iranian conservatives are taking part in pro-government rallies in several major cities, in a show of strength against Iran's opposition movement. Tens of thousands of Iranians were expected to attend the demonstrations, organized by the government in response to a recent series of opposition protests.  Many conservatives at Wednesday's rallies chanted pro-government slogans and held pictures of Iran's clerical rulers. Iranian conservatives have reacted angrily to opposition groups holding anti-government protests during last Sunday's observance of Ashura, a solemn Shi'ite festival. I

Three Malians to Soon Stand Trial in US Courts for Alleged Narco-Terrorism

Three citizens of the West African country of Mali will soon go on trial here in the United States on charges of conspiracy to commit acts of narco-terrorism and conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Oumar Issa, Harouna Toure, and Idriss Abelrahman were arrested on December 16 in Ghana after they allegedly agreed to transport cocaine through West and North Africa to Europe for al-Qaida, al-Qaida in the Islamic Magreb and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia known as FARC. The three organizations have been designated by the U.S.

UK Flagged MV St. James Park Pirated in the Gulf of Aden

The M/V St James Park, a UK flagged ship, was pirated Dec. 29 while transiting the Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor (IRTC) through the Gulf of Aden. After receiving a signal from the M/V ST James Park's Ship Security Alert System (SSAS), USS Chosin (CG 65), operating as the flagship to Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151), was able to confirm via bridge-to-bridge radio that pirates had taken control of the vessel. The M/V St James Park is the first vessel since July to be pirated in the IRTC.

Hmong News Articles 12/1/09 – 12/28/09

Thailand Moves to Send Hmong Back to Laos

ABC News - 12/28/09

http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=9431563

African Group with Al-Qaida Ties Says it Kidnapped Italian Couple

Italy says it will not negotiate with an al-Qaida group that has claimed responsibility for kidnapping two Italians in Mauritania. The North African al-Qaida branch known as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb said on Sunday that it was behind the recent kidnapping of an Italian couple in Mauritania. In an audio message broadcast on al-Arabiya television on Monday, a spokesman for al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb said the group is behind this month's kidnapping of an Italian couple in Mauritania.

Airline Bombing Suspect Spent Months in Yemen in 2009

Authorities in Yemen say the Nigerian man accused of trying to destroy a U.S. jetliner last week lived in Yemen for months, and was in the country as recently as this month. The Yemeni Foreign Ministry says 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was in Yemen from early August to early December.  The ministry says he was granted a visa to study Arabic at an institute in the capital, Sanaa, where he had previously studied.

Britain Confirms Alleged Airline Bomber was on Watch List

The British government has confirmed that the young Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight on Christmas Day was refused entry into Britain earlier this year and his name was added to a so-called watch list.  Somehow, somewhere, security officials did not pick up on the information at their disposal that allowed an individual on a security watch list onto a plane bound for the U.S.

Nigeria Orders Increased Airport Security after Failed US Plane Bombing

The Nigerian government has enhanced security checks at its airports after a young Nigerian man tried to blow up a U.S.

Iranian Police Arrest 5 Prominent Activists

Iranian opposition groups say authorities have arrested at least five prominent reformists as part of a new crackdown on anti-government protests, following demonstrations in which at least eight people were killed. Opposition Web sites say three advisers to Iran's opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi were detained Monday, including his top aide, Ali Riza Beheshti. They say authorities also arrested human-rights campaigner Emad Baghi and opposition activist Ebrahim Yazdi, who was foreign minister after Iran's Islamic Revolution three decades ago. State-run Press TV says eight people

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.

Father Nguyen Van Ly

Prisoner of conscience Father Nguyen Van Ly was returned to prison from hospital on 11 December: he had not fully recovered from a stroke. He is partially paralyzed on one side. The prison authorities are not providing him with adequate medical care, and his health is in danger. On 11 December Father Nguyen Van Ly was moved back to Ba Sao prison from Prison Hospital 198, administered by the Ministry of Public Security in Ha Noi, where he had been recovering from a stroke he suffered on 14 November.