VIENTIANE, Laos

Clinton pledges to rid Laos of unexploded war bombs

Decades after the U.S. gave Laos a horrific distinction as the world’s most heavily bombed nation per person, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged Wednesday to help get rid of millions of unexploded bombs that still pockmark the impoverished country – and still kill.

The U.S. dropped more than 2 million tons of bombs on the North Vietnamese ally during its “secret war” between 1964 and 1973 – about a ton of ordnance for each Laotian man, woman and child. That exceeded the amount per person dropped on Germany and Japan together in World War II.

When the war ended, about a third of some 270 million cluster bombs dropped on Laos had failed to detonate. More than 20,000 people have been killed in Laos since then by ordnance, according to its government, and agricultural development has been stymied.

SAN FRANCISCO

Yoga instructor fired after banning texting during class

Looks may not kill, but they can get you fired. That’s what a northern California yoga instructor found after leading sessions at Facebook’s Menlo Park campus.

The instructor, Alice Van Ness, said she got fired after she glared at a Facebook employee who texted during a class in June.

Van Ness told the Facebook class to turn their phones off after seeing a female employee with a cellphone out. Later, while demonstrating a difficult pose, she caught the same worker typing on her phone. Van Ness said she stayed silent, but shot the woman a disapproving look.

According to a termination letter from Plus One Health Management that was provided to The Associated Press by Van Ness, she was warned prior to the class that she could not enforce a cellphone ban.

NEW YORK

Drop in natural gas prices doesn’t lower electric costs

A plunge in the price of natural gas has made it cheaper for utilities to produce electricity. But the savings aren’t translating to lower rates for customers. Instead, U.S. electricity prices are going up.

Electricity prices are forecast to rise slightly this summer. But any increase is noteworthy because natural gas, which is used to produce nearly a third of the country’s power, is 43 percent cheaper than a year ago. A long-term downward trend in power prices could be starting to reverse, analysts say.

“It’s caused us to scratch our heads,” says Tyler Hodge, an analyst at the Energy Department who studies electricity prices.

The recent heat wave that gripped much of the country increased demand for power as families cranked up their air conditioners. And that may boost some June utility bills. The nationwide rise in electricity prices is attributable to many factors, analysts say, including that in many states, retail electricity rates are set by regulators every few years. As a result, lower power costs haven’t yet made their way to customers.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.

Woman tells of decade of abuse, torture by husband

While her husband returned a rototiller to a West Virginia rental shop, a limping woman sneaked into another part of the building seeking help. Soon, she was at a shelter with a horrifying tale: She had been held hostage for the better part of a decade – beaten, burned and even shackled during childbirth.

Investigators have 45 photographs showing burns on her back and breasts from irons and frying pans, and scars on her wrists and ankles. Now her husband is in jail and authorities are investigating what Jackson County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Tony Boggs called one of the most terrible cases he’s seen.

Peter Lizon, 37, was in jail on $300,000 bond.