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【整理】SENEWS-2004-0823-2330

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It is 23:30 Universal Time, I'm Jim Tedder in Washington.

[1] United States forces have fought supporters of Shiite Muslem clergyman Muqtada al-Sadr in the Iraqi city of Najaf. The American troops strengthen their circle around the Imam Ali center. Military airplanes launched attacks on several militant positions in the area. One outer wall of the building reportedly was damaged in the fighting. Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said his government is not supporting Muqtada al-Sadr, he said his government has never supported any group in Iraq.

[2] A United States military court has rejected a request by an American soldier charged in connection with wrongdoing at the Abu Gharib prison in Iraq. Lawyers for Charles Graner had asked the judge to bar, as evidence, pictures from the soldier's computer. They argued that Corporal Graner was too tired to consider his rights when he surrendered the pictures. The pictures show how some soldiers treated prisoners at Abu Gharib. The judge also rejected a proposal that the trial be moved from Baghdad.

[3] Israel has announced plans to build hundreds of homes in 2 Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The announcement follows a reported change in American policy toward Israeli building projects in the occupied territories. In the past, the United States had asked Israel to fully honor the Middle East peace plan called "the road map." The plan calls for a halt to all new homes for settlers in the West Bank and Gaza. The New Youk Times newspaper reported Saturday that the Bush Administration now supports some new housing projects in the settlements. On Monday, an American official said the United States continues to support an end to settlement activities in the occupied territories.

[4] Pakistani President Prevez Musharraf says his country will not permit militants to use its territory to interfere with Afghanistan's elections in October. President Musharraf made the statement in Islamabad during talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Following the talks, the Pakistani leader said the country's army is operating strongly against al Qeada, he said the group is retreating. Mr. Kazai said the 2 countries will work together to fight terrorism and improve economic cooperation. Earlier, Pakistani military officials said troops killed 4 reported terrorists and captured 2 others in the northwestern area of north Waziristan. The mountain area is believed to shelter al Qeada and Taliban fighters.

[5] The United Nations says at least 10 million Afghans will be able to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections. A spokesman for the UN assistance mission to Afghanistan says more than 10 million people placed their names on the official list of voters before the time limit Friday. Afghan refugees living in Pakistan haven't yet to place their names on the voter list. They can begin to do this on October first. Refugees living in Iran have already done so. Taliban militants have attempted to interfere with the presidential election October 9th. They have attacked the buildings in which the people were placing their names on voter lists. Some election workers have been killed.

You are listening to the news in VOA Special English.

[6] The opposition in Bangladesh has called a two-day general strike begining Tuesday. The action is to protest an attack that killed at least 19 people at an opposition gathering last week. The opposition Awami League said The attack Saturday was an attempt to kill party leader Sheikh Hasina. The government has denied any involement and said it will investigate. In Washington, Secretary of States Collion Powell strongly condemned the attack. Reports from Bangladesh say Mr. Powell called sheikh Hasina on Sunday to express his sympathies and his support for a full investigation. Mr. Powell also said that President Bush is concerned about the situation.

[7] Sudan has rejected a Nigerian proposal to have African peacekeepers disarm pro-government military groups. The groups have been accused of extreme violence in the Darfur area. Sudanese govenment negotiator Majdoub Elkhalifa said such a step will not be nessesary. He spoke on the first day of African Union negotiations in Abuja, Nigeria. The negotiators are expected to discuss a political solution to the 18-month-long conflict. The United Nations says the war has killed about 50,000 people, and left more than 1 million others without homes.

[8] United States military officials at Guantanamo naval base in Cuba are preparing to begin trying enemy soldiers captured in the war on terrorism. The say the trials will be open and fair. Australian terror suspects David Hicks and 3 other men are the first of almost 600 prisoners to face charges of war crimes while fighting for the ememy. The 29-year old Australian was captured in Afghanistan in 2001. He is accused of fighting alongside members of the Taliban and helping the Al-Qaida terrorist group. He faces charges of attempting murder, aiding the enemy and plotting war crimes.

[9] At the Olympic Games in Greece, 3 Americans have won first ,second and third place in the men's 400-meter race. Kelly Holmes of Britain won the women's 800-meter race. Meseret Defar of Ethiopia won the women's 5000-meter run. Francoise Mbango Etone of Cameroon became the first women in her country to win an Olympic competition with a first place finish in the triple jump. Robert Fazekas of Hungary won the discus throw. And Athanasia Tsoumeleka of Greece won the women's 20-kilometer walk.

And now briefly, here again is the major news of the hour.
More clashes have been reported in the Iraqi city of Najaf. Israel has announced plans to build hundreds of homes in two Jewish settlements in the West Bank. And Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says his country will not permit militants to use Pakistani territory to interfere with Afghanistan's elections in October.

And that's the news in Voa Special English, from Washington, Jim Tedder reporting.
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