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【整理】SENEWS-2004-0821-2330

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And we come now to 23:30 Universal Time. In the news at this hour:

[1] Shiite supporters of religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr are still controlling a holy center in the city of Najaf. Assistants to senior Shiite religious leader Ali al-Sistani have told Muqtada al-Sadr that his supporters must leave the holy place, lock the door and give the keys to the office of the Ayatollah, but that has not happened. An assitant to Muqtada al-Sadr says the Ayatollah must first send a delegation to confirm that nothing has been damaged or taken from the holy center.

[2] There has been fighting throughout the day between Muqtada al-Sadr's forces and American supported Iraqi troops. Assistants to Muqtada Sadr say militants holding a United States reporter will soon release him. They said they have spoken with a group calling itself "the Martyrs Brigades." The assistants say they expect Micah Garen to be released by Monday. The group claims to have kidnapped Micah Garen last Monday in southern Iraq. Mr. Garen was shown in a video recording on Arab television Friday, he said that his kidnappers are treating him well. In other news, Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni is missing in Iraq. He disappeared Thursday while he was traveling to Najaf. The body of his assistant was found near Najaf. 2 French journalists are also missing. And Nepal's government is investigating reports that 12 of its citizens have been kidnapped. A Polish soldier has been killed and 6 others injured in an explosion south of Baghdad. In southern Baghdad, the United States military says an American soldier was killed and 2 others were injured in an attack on their vehicle.

[3] At least 10 suspects with connections to the al Qeada organization have been arrested in Pakistan. Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed says the men were arrested in several places in Pakistan. The minister says officials are still looking for 4 more suspects. He says the men were planning to attack the home of President Pervez Musharraf, military headquarters and the American embassy. Earlier on Saturday, Pakistani forces attacked places near the Afghan border where they believe al Qeada members are hiding.

[4] In the Summer Olympics in Athens, gold medals were awarded in 14 sports on Saturday. In weightlifting, a woman from China won a super heavy weight event by lifting a total of 305 kilograms. In other events, Indonesia won both the gold and the bronze medals in men's single badminton. In men's gymnastics, the international gymnastic federation ruled that judges made a mistake when they gave a gold medal to American Paul Hamm, but the results of the men's all-around gymnastics competition will not be changed. The judges said a higher number of total points should have been given to South Korean Yang Tae-young. South Korea is appealing the ruling so that Yang Tae-young can receive a gold medal as well.

[5] Officials in Nepal say 2 men on a vehicle shot and killed a police officer near Kathmandu, officials suspect that rebels were responsible. Rebels have stopped traffic into and out of Kathmandu for 4 days. They say they will not open the city until the government releases rebels who are in prison. They also want the government to provide information on rebels who are missing. On Friday, the government did agree to investigate reports of missing activists. On Saturday, the rebels permitted trucks carrying food to enter Kathmandu for the first time.

You are listening to the news in VOA Special English.

[6] Malaysia says it will send a team to the southern Philippines to observe a truce between the government and Muslim rebels. Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak says a team of 60 people will go to the Philippines in September. The Philippines government signed a ceasefire agreement last year with the Model Islamic Liberation Front. The rebels want their own country, they have been fighting in the southern Philippines for about 30 years.

[7] The government of Sudan has signed a agreement with the United Nations, saying it will not force refugees to return home. Aid workers in the Darfur area of western Sudan say the government has been trying to force refugees to go home when they do not want to return. More than one million people have fled their homes because of fighting between Arab forces supported by the government and two rebel groups. Sudan has promised to disarm the Arab fighters. The Arab fighters have been accused of attacking black civilians in Darfur.

[8] And a rare Komodo dragon at the London Zoo has died. The dragon was injured after falling from a high wall where she went to meet a male dragon. The snake like dragon named Nina weight 20 Kilogrammes. Even after falling from wall she was able to chase the male dragon for a short time before dying of her injures.

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

Shiite supporters of religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr are still controlling a holy center in the city of Najaf. Officials in Nepal believe rebels are responsible for killing a policeman near the capital city of Katmandu where rebels continue to block all traffic. And at the Olympics in Athens, Indonesia won gold and bronze medals in men's single's badminton.
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