Dissident freed, deported
Vietnam released and deported an American pro-democracy activist detained since April, a move that contrasts with the long prison terms given to Vietnamese activists who are members of the same U.S.-based dissident group. The release Wednesday of Nguyen Quoc Quan, 59, came after U.S. diplomatic pressure and removes an obvious thorn in relations between the former enemies. Both countries are trying to strengthen their ties in large part because of shared concerns over China’s emerging military and economic might, but American concerns over human rights in one-party, authoritarian Vietnam are complicating this.
Satellite launch succeeds
A South Korean satellite was working normally and transmitting data on its orbit, officials said early today after a launch that marked an advance in the country’s space program at a time of high tensions over archrival North Korea’s threat to soon test a third nuclear device. The South Korean rocket blasted off from a launch pad Wednesday in the southwestern coastal village of Goheung.
Monkeys attack villagers
A mob of wild monkeys went on a rampage in a village in eastern Indonesia, entering houses and attacking residents, authorities said Wednesday. Seven people were injured, including one who is in critical condition, in Toddang Pulu village.
Quake sways buildings
A magnitude-6.8 earthquake shook offices, toppled supermarket shelves and broke windows on Wednesday in north-central Chile, where people fled some buildings in panic. A 50-year-old woman in the city of Copiapo died of a heart attack, said Atacama Regional Governor Rafael Prohens, who attributed her death to fear during the quake. Authorities said damage was limited. The quake shook the capital of Santiago, causing office buildings to sway.
Compiled from wire reports.