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【整理】SENEWS-2004-0807-2330

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And we come now to 23:30 Universal Time.

In the news at this hour:

[1] The United States military says two American soldiers in Afghanistan and their language expert were killed on Saturday. Their vehicle hit a landmine in Ghazni province. Two civilian election workers were killed by suspected Taliban fighters in an attack on Friday night in Uruzgan province. The United Nations has condemned the killing of the workers. The UN statement says a third worker is missing. The civilians were preparing voters for the presidential election planned for October. Parliamentary elections are expected in April. Officials blame fighters loyal to the former Taliban government for the continuing violence.

[2] The temporary Prime Minister of Iraq, Iyad Allawi, has announced a 30-day pardon for resistance fighters in an attempt to end fighting. Mr. Allawi spoke at a news conference in Baghdad. He also invited Shiite clergyman Muqtada al-Sadr to be a candidate in elections planned for January. Supporters of the Shiite clergyman continued to fight American troops in the city of Najaf for a third day on Saturday. A United States soldier was killed in western Baghdad. And explosions were reported near the offices of the temporary Iraqi government and near the United States embassy.

[3] Pakistan officials say an al-Qaeda agent has been arrested in Dubai. The man is wanted for involvement in two attempts to kill Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Officials say the agent is the leader of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami group. Pakistani intelligence officials say he is being sent to Pakistan. Officials say the man met several times with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and with former Taliban leader Mullah Omar of Afghanistan.

[4] In Bangladesh, a bomb explosion near a hotel in the city of Sylhet has injured at least 30 people. Officials say those injured have been taken to the hospital. No group has claimed responsibility. Two days ago, a bomb killed one person and injured seven others in Sylhet.

[5] A Turkish company says it has ended all work in Iraq after the kidnapping and threatened execution of one of its employees. The company said it has stopped operating in Iraq to meet the demands of the kidnappers. Militants had given officials of the Atahan Lojistik International Transportation Company two days to obey the demands. If the officials did not, the kidnappers said they would kill a company truck driver. On Friday, Turkey said at least three of its citizens are being held hostage in Iraq.

You are listening to the news in VOA Special English.

[6] The Arabic television station al-Jazeera says it will continue to report on Iraq even though the government has ordered the station to close its Baghdad offices. An al-Jazeera statement on Saturday said the order to close for one month was not just. Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said the closing was necessary, because al-Jazeera's broadcasts called for violence. The interior minister said the station incites criminals by showing kidnappings and hostages threatened with execution.

[7] Germany is asking the United States to permit two suspected terrorists to give evidence in a German court. A German legal official said the evidence is needed in a case against a man accused in the September 11th terrorist attacks. The official says the case depends on statements from suspects Ramzi bin al-Shaiba and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Both men are being held by the United States. The man on trial in Germany was found guilty of involvement in the September 11th plot against the United States. But the decision was canceled for lack of evidence. The man is to have another trial.

[8] An American man has admitted to putting a false video recording of his own execution on the Internet as a trick. 22-year-old Benjamin Vanderford of San Francisco, California said he wanted to see how quickly the media would report his death. The recording appeared to show the man saying Americans should leave Iraq, then he seemed to be killed. Arab and western news media including VOA reported the recording for several hours before discovering it was false.

[9] In sports news, Japan has won the Asian Cup Soccer championship in Beijing. Japan defeated China three goals to one. Japan took the lead on a disputed goal in the 65th minute of play. Later, the Japanese team added another goal.

[10] And the party that enforced white minority rule in South Africa for about 50 years says it will join the ruling African National Congress. The New National Party, once called the National Party, said it would become part of the African National Congress in 2005. The National Party introduced the system of racial separation called "aparted" to South Africa. The National Party banned the African National Congress for many years. Now the National Party will join the party of President Thabo Mbeki to seek the support of New National Party members.

And so briefly now, here again is the major news of this hour.

The United States military says two American soldiers in Afghanistan and their language expert were killed on Saturday. The temporary Prime Minister of Iraq, Iyad Allawi, has announced a 30-day pardon for resistance fighters in an attempt to end fighting in the nation. And Pakistani officials say an al-Qaeda agent has been arrested in Dubai. The man is wanted for involvement in two attempts to kill Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf .

And so ends the news in VOA Special English.
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