• A SIGN OF GRATITUDE: Monitor correspondent Peter Ford says he was a little apprehensive when he went to eat at the Café Signes, a Parisian restaurant run by deaf people. How was he going to make himself understood? Would he make a fool of himself trying to explain things with confusing gestures?
He found that not only did all the waiters lip-read fairly fluently (and Peter says his lips do not betray his foreign origins the way his accent does), but that simple sign language is easy to pick up.
"When I used the gesture for 'thank you' at the end of the meal, the smile on the waiter's face was so broad that I was sorry that I had not made the effort to order the whole thing in sign language."
• CONVICTED IN LAOS: The Associated Press reports that a Laotian court on Monday sentenced two European journalists and an American pastor to 15 years in jail in connection with the slaying of a village security official. The three men were convicted of obstructing police work and illegal possession of a gun and an explosive device, said sources at the trial.
French cameraman Vincent Reynaud, Belgian photojournalist Thierry Falise, and the Rev. Naw Karl Mua, a Hmong-American pastor, were sentenced immediately after being convicted. As reported on June 26, "In parts of Laos, the Vietnam War is still being fought," the three said they had gone to report about Hmong rebel fighters when a firefight broke out with a Laotian Army patrol. They denied any involvement in the guard's death.
In that Monitor story there was an inaccurate statement about the CIA training fighters in Laos during the Vietnam War. Those forces were, in fact, the Vietnamese and Laotian Communists.
David Clark Scott