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【整理】SENEWS-2004-0806-1530

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It is 15:30 Universal time. I'm Steve Ember in Washington.

1. The United States military estimates that it has killed 300 Iraqi fighters who support Shiite Muslim clergyman Moqtada al-Sadr in the past 2 days. Three American soldiers also have died. The United States military attacked militant positions in the city of Najaf Friday. There is fighting in several other Iraqi cities including the Sadr city area of Baghdad. The clashes appear to restart the Shiite rebellion that ended 2 months ago. Assistants to Mr. al-Sadr are calling for a return to the truce. But on Friday, the clergyman declared the United States an enemy.

2. Lebanese government officials say four Lebanese truck drivers are missing in Iraq. A report that they have been kidnapped has not been confirmed. One report says the drivers disappeared near the central Iraqi city of Fallujah. There are conflicting reports about when the men disappeared.

3. In Japan, the mayor of the city of Hiroshima has criticized the United States for its nuclear weapons research. Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba spoke at ceremonies marking 59 years since Hiroshima was destroyed by an atomic bomb at the end of World War 2. 40,000 people gathered for the ceremonies at the peace memorial park Friday. A bell rang to mark the moment when the United States warplane dropped the bomb in 1945. 140,000 people died by the end of that year. Thousands more died later of illness and injuries caused by radiation. Japanese officials say the deaths from the nuclear attack now total more than 237,000.

4. An Indonesian appeals court has cancelled an earlier court decision that found four Indonesians guilty of crimes against humanity in East Timor. The four include three top army officials and a police officer. The ruling means that almost all of the security officers charged with crimes during East Timor's independence efforts are now free. The court also reduced by half the ten-year sentence given an ethnic East Timorese civilian. Eurico Guterres led armed groups in the violence soon after the special vote on independence in 1999. Human rights groups condemned the Indonesian appeals court ruling Friday. One activist said the decision shows that the court efforts are only a show. The Indonesian military praised the court's decision.

5. In the Philippines, fighting between government forces and rebels has killed at least 19 people. The military says 12 rebels died Thursday when troops attacked a guerilla training camp on southern Mindoro Island. Five soldiers also died in the fighting. Two more rebels were killed Friday in a fight with Philippine troops in a northern coastal town. Talks between the government and the rebel New People's Army have been suspended. The communist rebels have been fighting for 35 years in the Philippines.

You are listening to the news in VOA Special English.

6. India and Pakistan say they plan to hold further talks aimed at easing military tensions in Kashmir. The two sides released a joint statement Friday after two days of talks in New Delhi. It says they agreed to continue discussions about the redeployment of troops on the Siachen Glacier. It is 6,000 meters above sea level. It is considered the highest battlefield in the world. Reports say India and Pakistan disagree about moving troops back to positions held before 1972 Simla Agreement.

7. Saudi security forces say they have captured the nation’s most wanted suspect Muslim clergyman Faris Al Zahrani. Officials say he did not resist arrest when he was seized at a public eating-place in Abha province. Someone who was with Mr. Al Zahrani was also arrested. His name was not released. Mr. Al Zahrani is on the Saudi government list of 26 most wanted militants. They are all suspected of having links to Al-Qaeda. Mr. Al Zahrani rejected a Saudi offer two months ago of a pardon if he surrendered.

8. Israeli officials have reopened the Rafa border crossing between Egypt and Gaza. Three weeks ago Israel had closed the crossing because of security issues. The action permits thousands of Palestinians who were in Egypt when the border closed to return to their Gaza homes. The United States had urged Israel to reopen the border crossing. In other news, Israeli soldiers have killed two Palestinians. Israeli forces shot and killed a member of Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Reports say a Palestinian gunman was killed in the West Bank.

9. Federal agents in the United States have searched a doctor's three homes. The search was part of an investigation of attacks with the substance anthrax that killed five people in 2001. The officials searched the homes of Doctor Kenneth Berry in the states of New York and New Jersey. American officials are trying to learn who sent anthrax to two United States senators and media groups three years ago. The incidents took place a few weeks after the September 11th terrorist attacks.

10. And a United States Republican senator has denounced a campaign message recorded for television. The message criticizes the Vietnam War record of Democratic Party presidential candidate John Kerry. Senator John Makin called on President Bush to condemn the political message. He said it was dishonest and without honor. The campaign recording shows soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War accusing Mr. Kerry of lying about his war record. Mr. Kerry was awarded honors for bravery during the Vietnam War. A spokesman for Mr. Bush said his reelection campaign has not questioned Mr. Kerry's service in Vietnam.

And now briefly here again is the major news of the hour in Special English.

The United States military says it estimates that 300 Iraqi fighters have died in the past 2 days. The mayor of Hiroshima has criticized the United States for its nuclear weapons research. The remarks came on the 59th anniversary of the atomic bomb attack on the Japanese city. And an Indonesian appeals court has cancelled a decision that found Indonesian officials guilty of crimes against humanity in East Timor.

That's the news in VOA Special English. From Washington, this has been Steve Ember reporting.
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