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【整理】SENEWS-2004-0815-1530

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1. Iraqi delegates at a national political conference say the Iraqi government must restart truce talks with fighters in Najaf. If not, the group of about 30 delegates says it will leave the meeting. About 1,300 religious, political and civic leaders are attending the three-day conference. They are to help elect a 100-member government advisory group. An area near the conference was fired on as the meeting opened. One civilian was killed.

2. In Najaf, American troops and resistance fighters continue to battle. Reports say the fighting restarted shortly after police ordered all members of the media to leave the city. A ceasefire on Friday in Najaf halted a week of fierce fighting between American and Iraqi troops and fighters loyal to Shiite clergyman Muqtada al-Sadr. The Iraqi National Security advisor says the government made every effort to negotiate an end to the crisis. However, resistance fighters say the Iraqi government ordered officials to wreck the talks even thought negotiators were making progress.

3. Kidnappers in Iraq have threatened to punish an Iranian diplomat they are holding if Iran does not release 500 Iraqi prisoners. The Iraqis reportedly were captured during the eight-year war between the two countries in the 1980s. A group calling itself the Islamic Army seized diplomat Fereydun Jahani earlier this month as he traveled to the city of Karbala to begin work. The kidnappers say Iran has 48 hours to free the Iraqi prisoners. However, the demand was made on Friday. It is not clear if the kidnappers considered the time limit to have passed.

4. South Korean demonstrators have clashed with police near the American Embassy in Seoul. About 5,000 people were protesting the presence of South Korean troops in Iraq. They called on / President Roh Moo-hyun to bring the troops home. The protesters also demanded the withdrawal of United States forces from South Korea. Police shot water at protesters. The police also closed streets around the center of the city. Earlier this year, South Korea began a deployment of 3,000 troops to Iraq. The action made South Korea the largest coalition member in Iraq after the United States and Britain.

You are listening to the news in VOA Special English.

5. Police in the Indian state of Assam say a bomb explosion has killed at least 15 people at an Independence Day parade. Reports from the town of Ghemaji say most of the victims were children. Indian officials say Assam separatists are to blame. The separatists had called for a boycott of the Independence Day events. On Saturday, a small bomb exploded in the Assam town of Gauripur. At least 15 people were wounded in that attack. In 1947, Britain lost control of the South Asian area. The former colony became the independence nations of India and Pakistan.

6. In Afghanistan, the effort to officially list citizens for voting purposes has ended. A United Nations spokesman says that almost ten million Afghans are listed to vote in the presidential election on October 9th. He said some voter listing might continue beyond the official time limit in areas far from cities. In other news, Afghan troops have arrived in the western province of Herat where local groups are fighting. And in southern Afghanistan, fighters loyal to the former Taliban government say they are responsible for the killing of six government soldiers on Sunday in Kandahar province.

7. American officials say President Bush is preparing to announce a major reorganization of United States armed forces overseas. The officials say about 100,000 soldiers will be moved from bases in Asia and Europe to new operations for the war on terror. The administration officials say Mr. Bush will announce the plan on Monday.

8. Rwandan soldiers have started to arrive in western Sudan in an operation to protect African Union ceasefire observers. A 12-member preparatory team from Rwanda entered the Darfur area capital of Al Fashir on Sunday. They are the first international troops there. About 150 Rwandan soldiers are to follow. The African Union has approved the deployment of about 300 soldiers. The observers are supervising a ceasefire between the Sudanese government and rebels in Darfur.

9. Finally news from the Summer Olympic Games in Athens, gymnastics, basketball and swimming are the main events on day 2 of the international sporting events in Greece. In swimming, Australian Ian Thorpe finished the 200-meter Free Style qualifying race with the fastest time. In men’s basketball, Spain defeated China with a score of 83 to 58. Later on Sunday, the United States will play Puerto Rico in basketball.

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

Iraqi delegates at a national political conference say the Iraqi government must restart truce talks with fighters in Najaf. Kidnappers in Iraq have threatened to punish an Iranian diplomat they are holding if Iran does not release 500 Iraqi prisoners. And in India, police say a bomb explosion in Assam state has killed at least 15 people during an Independence Day parade.
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