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[BBC] 【整理】 BBC 2008-02-20

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BBC News with Neil Nunes

The United States, as it says, no prospect of its economic embargo on Cuba being lift soon, in spite of the sudden announcement that Fidel Castro is about to step down. The Cuban leader said he wouldn’t accept another term as president after almost half a century in power. This report is from Paul Keller.

Western reaction to Fidel Castro’s announcement, led by President Bush, has been a chorus of calls for Cuba to begin the transition towards democracy and open elections. Cuba’s old Cold War partner, Russia, praised Mr. Castro as a brave leader. While China, a more recent economic ally, referred to him as an old friend. In Cuba itself, there was a mixed mood of sadness and hope for change as people digested the news that the leader of the Cuban Revolution was stepping down.

Voting is underway in the latest round of primaries in the American presidential election. Most interest centers on the Democratic contest in Wisconsin, with Hillary Clinton seeking to end the recent surge of eight straight wins by Barack Obama. Justin Webb is in Washington.

The strong win for Clinton or Obama could set them on the course to an eventual victory. For Mrs. Clinton, in particular, a good showing might allow her campaign to refine its feat after a string of recent losses. For Barack Obama, success would add to the growing sense that he is now the front-runner. On the Republican side, the race between John McCain and Mike Huckabee continues although it’s virtually inconceivable that Huckabee could win. McCain is well ahead in delegates and has the supporter of the party establishment.

The two main opposition parties in Pakistan have a clear majority after elections to a new parliament. With most of results now in the Muslim League and the Pakistan People’s Party, they have said they are willing to work together to form a coalition in parliament. As Barbara Plett reports now from Lahore.

The Pakistan People’s Party of the late Benazir Bhutto won the most votes, but not the majority. Its members say the president was partly to blame for Ms. Bhutto's assassination. But its leaders have not ruled out working with him, much depends then on the PPP’s coalition partners. It may joint forces with the party that came second, headed by the formal Prime Minister Nawaz Sheriff. That could lead to confrontation, because Mr. Sheriff takes a much tougher line against the president.

Early results in the Armenian presidential election show a big lead for the current Prime Minister, Serzh Sarksyan, a friend and an ally of the outgoing president Robert Kocharian. The electoral commission said that with about a quarter of the votes counted, Mr. Sarksyan has received 42 percent. His main rival, the former president, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, is said had received 11 percent. Mr. Ter-Petrosyan has accused the authorities of major electoral violations including fraud and intimidation. And he has called for mass protests.

World News from the BBC

NATO troops have taken control of and sealed Kosovo’s northern borders after angry Serb protesters torched customs and police posts. The protesters opposed Kosovo’s declaration of independence last Sunday. From Pristina, Nick Thorpe reports.

The NATO decision to close Kosovo’s northern borders, initially for a 24-hour period, cuts the predominately served North off from the country to which its inhabitants insist it still belongs to Serbia. US soldiers blocked the main road crossing with Serbia, Estonian and French troops the main road crossing with Mountain Negro. Both border posts were ransacked earlier by Serb crowds who arrived in convoys of cars and buses in what was clearly a carefully planned and coordinated action.

The United Nations’ mission in Eritrea says that the Eritrean authorities are continuing to block the movement of UN peace-keepers who had been monitoring the security zone along the country’s border with Ethiopia. The UN mission is now trying to move on its personnel and equipment after the capital is marred. The Eritrean authorities refused to allow the peace-keepers to relocate to Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government has written to the UN Security Council demanding fuel as measures against Eritrea.

The Ugandan government and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army have reached an agreement on how to deal with war crimes committed during more than two decades of conflicts in northern Uganda. Under the deal, serious crimes committed by rebels will be trailed by a special division of Uganda’s High Court. The government says there are hopes that a final peace agreement can be reached by the end of a month.

The Arab News newspaper in Saudi Arabia says the country will hold its first official film festival in May. It says the event has been supported by the Saudi government. Public screenings of films were banned in Saudi Arabia in the early 1990s, because they were considered to be against Islamic law.

That's the latest BBC News.
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