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【整理】SENEWS-2004-0809-1530

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It is 15:30 Universal Time. I’m Phoebe Zimmermann in Washington.

1. American forces and Iraqi resistance fighters have clashed for a fifth day in the city of Najaf. The fighters are loyal to Shiite Muslim clergyman Muqtada al-Sadr. The clergyman says he will not leave the city. Al-Jazeera satellite television has broadcast a recording that reportedly shows Muqtada al-Sadr supporters capturing an Iraqi police official. Gunmen in the recording said Brigadier General Raad Mohamad Khudr would be released when jailed fighters loyal to the clergyman are freed. In other news, seven Iraqi police officers have been killed in a car bombing near Baquba. 17 people were wounded.

2. American and British intelligence officials are said to be examining hundreds of computer discs. The New York Times Newspaper says more than 1000 discs were seized last week during the arrests of 12 terrorism suspects in Britain. The newspaper reports that a top American intelligence official says the Bush administration may announce new terror warnings as a result of information on the discs. The unidentified official says the information suggests al-Qaeda may have been planning to use private helicopters to attack New York.

3. Afghan forces have reportedly captured several Taliban members in separate raids Saturday and Sunday. The governor of Oruzgan province John Jan Mohammed says soldiers arrested at least four Taliban commanders in a raid Saturday. Mr. Mohammed said information gathered in that raid led Afghan forces to raid the Shah Wali Kot area of Kandahar province. The government soldiers captured two Taliban fighters there. Six others were killed.

4. A European military force has taken command of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Afghanistan. Eurocorps has soldiers from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg and Spain. It will command the international security assistance force for the next six months. Canada had been in command of the 7,000 troops. The troops will remain under NATO military supervision.

5. Pakistani police are investigating two bombings in Karachi Sunday. The attack near a Sunni Muslim religious school killed at least eight people including a child. In other news, Pakistan is now holding a top al-Qaeda suspect. The suspect is accused in two murder attempts against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf this year. Pakistani officials also say Mr. Akhtar has been in communication with Osama bin Laden and the leader of the former Taliban government in Afghanistan Mullah Omar. The United Arab Emirates send the suspect to Pakistan after his recent arrest in Dubai.

You are listening to the news in VOA Special English.


6. The African Union is meeting to discuss plans to deploy troops to Darfur in western Sudan. AU ministers will discuss if the current truce observer program will be changed to a full peacekeeping operation. The African Union is deploying 300 troops to Darfur. In Khartoum the Sudanese government has approved a joint plan with the United Nations. The plan includes Sudan is to take to disarm Arab fighters and improve security in Darfur. On July 30th, the UN Security Council had passed a resolution giving Sudan 30 days to disarm Arab fighters or face restrictions. The fighters are accused of attacking black civilians in Darfur. Also Monday the Sudanese Foreign Minister said Sudan would send a delegation to peace talks later this month in Nigeria.

7. Japan says it will hold two days of talks with North Korea this week. Officials from both countries are to meet in the Chinese capital Beijing to discuss what happened to ten Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korean agents. Japanese officials say the ten were kidnapped in the 1970s and 80s. In May, North Korean leader Kim Chong-il agreed to reinvestigate what happened to the ten Japanese. Before that, North Korea had said the ten Japanese were dead.

8. A steam leak at a nuclear power center in western Japan has killed four people. Seven others were injured in the accident in the town of Mihama. However, officials say no radiation was released. They say the nuclear reactor shut itself down. Officials are investigating the accident.

9. The Prime Ministers of Burma and Vietnam have met in Hanoi to try and settle a diplomatic dispute. No details of the meeting have been released. The Association of South East Asian Nations and the European Union planned to hold a joint meeting in October in Vietnam. However, the two organizations disagree about if Burma should attend the gathering. The EU is concerned about Burma’s human rights record and the continued arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. European delegates have threatened to boycott the meeting if Burmese government officials are present.

10. China has released a Japanese man helping North Koreans escape their country. Takayuki Noguchi left a prison in the southern area of Guangxi province. He was jailed after his arrest in December near the Chinese border with Vietnam. A language expert and two North Korean asylum seekers were arrested with the Japanese man. Chinese officials say Takayuki Noguchi worked with a group called the Life Funds for North Korean Refugees based in Tokyo. There is no information about what happened to the language expert and the two North Koreans.

11. The Red Cross in China is appealing for aid for millions of flood victims. The local head of the aid group spoke to reporters in Beijing. Yang Zhisan said there is not enough money to help flood victims although the flood season has not yet reached top levels.

Briefly here again is the major news of the hour:

American forces and Iraqi resistance fighters are clashing for a fifth day in the city of Najaf. Afghan forces have reportedly captured several Taliban members in separate raids Saturday and Sunday. And Pakistani police are investigating two bombings in Karachi on Sunday.

That’s the news in VOA Special English. I’m Phoebe Zimmermann in Washington
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