Foreign tourists navigating Bangkok's temples lamented the taming effect of a military coup on the city's rowdy nightlife but otherwise shrugged off any safety fears despite warnings by foreign governments. As a junta closed its grip on power over the kingdom and soldiers keep watch in the capital, its historic heart was still busy with foreign holiday-makers ambling nonchalantly in Thailand's famed sunshine.
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday he would not press during his term as Boy Scouts of America president for an end to the group's ban on gay adult leaders for fear of causing permanent damage to the century old organization. Gates, who helped end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that barred gays from serving openly in the U.S. military while he was defense secretary, said he strongly supported the Boy Scouts vote last year to lift its ban on gay youth members.
By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican congressman overseeing a U.S. House panel investigation into delays in veterans' treatment demanded on Friday that Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki allow patients to seek emergency private health care. The VA's Inspector General's office is also investigating allegations that long waiting times were covered up at some 26 locations across the United States, including claims by VA doctors in Phoenix that 40 veterans died while waiting months for appointments. Representative Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, asked Shinseki in a letter to allow veterans waiting more than 30 days for an appointment to seek care from private practitioners paid for by the department. "That's why I'm calling on Secretary Shinseki to take emergency steps to ensure veterans who may have fallen victim to appointment wait time schemes or delays in care get the medical treatment they need." A VA spokesman said in a statement that its health care division has redoubled its efforts to ensure that veterans have timely access to care at Shinseki's request.
Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been detained by the military junta that seized power in a coup, a source in her Puea Thai party said on Saturday. "It is confirmed that she was detained by the military since she reported to the junta yesterday," said the source, who was present when Yingluck answered a call by the junta to present herself to the army on Friday.
Holy water fell on Harleys when the Washington National Cathedral for the first time blessed motorcycles converging on the US capital for the 27th annual Rolling Thunder run. Tens of thousands of motorcycles -- many ridden by US military veterans -- will roll Sunday into the National Mall, the nation's symbolic front yard, in a bold show of support for American prisoners of war and those missing in action. More than 50 participating Harley-Davidsons came together Friday outside the neo-Gothic National Cathedral for an inaugural "Blessing of the Bikes" by its Episcopalian dean Gary Hall. And there remains a US prisoner of war from the Afghan conflict -- Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, a 28-year-old Idaho native held by Taliban forces since June 2009.
Brasília (AFP) - Brazil said Friday it is mobilizing 157,000 soldiers and police to ensure security during the World Cup, which opens in 20 days against a backdrop of violent protests and strikes. Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo said he did not believe the recent string of demonstrations and strikes across Brazil would escalate to the level of protests that gripped the country last year during the Confederations Cup, a World Cup dress rehearsal. The protesters are angry over the more than $11 billion being spent to host the World Cup in a country with glaring inequality and pressing needs in education, health care, housing and transport. The security forces will be spread among the 12 host cities and state capitals Vitoria, Aracaju and Maceio, which will all have base camps for teams playing in the tournament.
By Brendan O'Brien (Reuters) - A federal judge ruled on Friday that longtime Detroit-area Democratic U.S. Representative John Conyers should appear on an August primary ballot, saying Michigan registration rules that had disqualified him may violate his constitutional rights. Conyers' bid for re-election had suffered a blow on Friday when state officials said errors in his nominating petitions left the 85-year-old politician without enough valid signatures to appear on the primary ballot. He had been required to submit at least 1,000 valid signatures.