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[BBC] 【整理】 BBC 2008-02-17

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BBC News with Fiona McDonald.

The leader of the main opposition Party in Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari has appealed for calm after a suicide car bombing at a supporters' rally, killed 37 people. The blast happened on the last day of campaigning before Monday's general election. Chris Morris reports from Islamabad.

This election campaign has ended as it began with acts of violence casting a long shadow, a car was driven into a crowd, waiting for food after an election meeting in the town of Parachinar, in the region where Islamist militancy has been on the rise, eye-witnesses say the car blew up, scattering body parts across the street, many of the dead and wounded were supporters of the Pakistan People's Party. The election is supposed to be an important landmark in the transition to civilian democracy, but security concerns remain high.

Thousands of Ethnic Albanians have poured onto the streets of Priština, the capital of the Serbian province of Kosovo, to celebrate its imminent unilateral declaration of independence. In the Serbian capital Belgrade, about a thousand demonstrators protested the loss of territory they considered their heartland. Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said the influence of Belgrade had ended, independence was a done deal and Kosovo must look to the future. From Priština, Helen Fawkes reports.

The countdown to Kosovo's independence is on. Final preparations are being made for the celebrations, but some the Party has already started. On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of Ethnic Albanians are expected on the streets of the capital, many people here are flying the Albanian flag, Kosovo's new flag is yet to be unveiled. There's concern this may spark sporadic violence, 16,000 NATO troops are based in Kosovo, and security is tight.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, has said it's time to start considering the possibility of organizing the voluntary return of some of the millions of Iraqis who fled their homes because of the violence. Mr. Guterres has agreed with the Iraqi government for an assessment of conditions on the ground to take place to see if it's safe for refugees to return.

"Returns can only take place voluntarily in safety and legality, and people must see their basic problems, so, there is a lot of work to be done, and we’ll be working together with the Iraqi government in an assessment, uh, in order to look at future opportunities of return, that we hope will be able to take place in the way that will contribute to national reconciliation and to the reconstruction of the country.

A formal Nazi SS member who was convicted in his absence of war crimes in Italy has started a prison sentence in southern Italy following his extradition from Canada, the man Michael Seifert was found guilty in 2000 of killings committed while he was a comes guard in northern Italy in the last year of the Second World War.

World News from the BBC.

At the start of his tour of Africa, President Bush has urged an end to violence in Kenya, he said his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would underline that message in her forthcoming visit there. The speaking in Benin, the first stop of his tour, Mr. Bush said Africa's many conflicts were not the main focus of his visit, he wanted to highlight success stories.

"It's a lot more work to be done when the regions come on this trip let's say, look at the successes we've had, we've been, by the way, not America's successes, these are joint successes, and look at the work needs to done."

Tens of thousands of Armenians have held a rally in the capital Yerevan, and support one of the main opposition candidates in Tuesday's presidential election. Levon Ter-Petrosian has accused the authorities of preparing to rig the vote. President Robert Kocharian is stepping down after serving the maximum 2 terms, observers say President are likely to transfer to his chosen successor, the Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan.

A major scientific conference in the United States has heard that robots with artificial intelligence could become as clever as humans within 20 years. The inventor and author Dr. Ray Kurzweil told the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, that progress in molecular computing would provide what he called “the hardware” for human-level artificial intelligence by the 2020s. He said there’s already more than 20 regions of the human brain that had been modeled and stimulated.

A Brazilian film about police violence has won the Golden Bear, the top prize of the Berlin Film Festival. The film "The Elite Squad" directed by Jose Padilha, portrays the operations of a paramilitary police unit in Rio de Janeiro. The American filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson won best director for "There Will Be Blood", the Best Actor Award went to the Iranian Reza Naji for his performance in "the Song of Sparrows" as an ostrich farmer who moved to Iran when he loses his job.
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