Briefs, March 3, 2013

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 March, 2013, 6:12am

US probes three citizens missing in Laos

WASHINGTON - The US government is looking into reports that three Laotian-Americans have gone missing in southern Laos. According to relatives, the Minnesota residents went missing in early January in Savannakhet province. Three bodies were recently found in a burned van in the province, and Khammanh Kongdaravong, the wife of one of the missing men, said relatives in Laos have identified her husband, Souli, as one of the dead. AP


Motorbike bomb in Thailand kills two

BANGKOK - Suspected insurgents detonated a motorcycle bomb in southern Thailand, killing two military rangers and wounding 11 people. The blast on a road in Yala province, in which two civilians were among the wounded, followed a similar motorcycle bombing in neighbouring Narathiwat province on Friday that wounded six people. The attacks come two days after a landmark agreement between the Thai government and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) rebel group to start talks aimed at ending the eight-year-old conflict. Reuters


5 students held over murder of blogger

DHAKA - Bangladesh police arrested five students of an elite private university on charges of murdering an anti-Islamist blogger whose death triggered nationwide turmoil. The students allegedly confessed to hacking to death Ahmed Rajib Haider, 35, on February 15 after he helped organise protests against leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami party on trial for war crimes. AFP


'Japanese fleet had lowest whale catch'

SYDNEY - Militant anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd said the Japanese fleet had left the Antarctic whale sanctuary and appeared to be heading home with its smallest catch yet, hailing an "enormously successful" harassment campaign. Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said this year "no more than 75" of the mammals were killed due to the group's efforts. That compares with a catch of 267 last year. AFP