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【整理】SENEWS-2004-0802-1530

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It is 15:30 Universal Time. I'm Phoebe Zimmermann in Washington.

1. President Bush is preparing to announce plans for some national security reforms. Officials say Mr. Bush will discuss ideas offered by the committee that investigated the terrorist attacks against the United States 3 years ago. The officials say Mr. Bush will answer the committee's call for a national intelligence director to supervise all of the country's intelligence agencies. But they say he will not place that position as part of his administration. The committee wants the intelligence director to be part of the president's cabinet.

2. American officials have increased security in New York City, Washington D.C. and other areas in answer to a new terrorist warning. Officials said Sunday that they had good intelligence that Al-Qaeda is planning to attack major financial centers. The government identified 5 possible targets including the New York Stock Exchange and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund offices in Washington. New York officials have closed 2 underground roads that lead to the financial area of the city. In Washington security guards are searching large vehicles that come near the World Bank and IMF offices. And in Newark, New Jersey workers have placed fences around the headquarters of a major financial services company.

3. Pakistani officials say their capture of a Al-Qaeda suspect has led to an important intelligence. Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was arrested in eastern Pakistan on July 25th.Pakistani officials would not say if his arrest led to the new security warnings by the United States governments. American officials reportedly said the documents found with him showed that Al-Qaeda has been watching the financial centers named as possible targets. Pakistani officials also say a computer engineer arrested on July 13th also has led them to detailed information about Al-Qaeda. The officials have not release the name of that suspect.

4. Attackers have wounded 4 Afghan soldiers at a guard station on the country's southeast border with Pakistan. United States helicopters helped defend the guard station .An Afghan military commander said that an unknown number of militants were killed in the Gurbuz area of Khost province. He also said one man was captured but refuses to talk.

5. The United Nations Children's Fund has appealed for more than 13 million dollars in aid to save lives in Bangladesh. UNCF says it hopes to save children suffering from diseases carried by water and lung infections connected to recent floods. The agency says the amount of aid requested would be enough to meet the needs of flood victims for the next 6-8 weeks. More than 600 people have died in Bangladesh as a result of the floods. Flood waters have destroyed the homes of 10 millions others.
Rescue workers in Paraguay are still searching for victims of a fire in a large building near the capital Asuncion. 296 people are known to have died in the fire Sunday. Officials say they believe a gas explosion was to blame. Survivors say security guards locked the doors to prevent people from stealing stores as the fire spread. Police have arrested the owner of the building. He says he did not order the doors blocked. The president of Paraguay Nicanor Duarte / has declared 3 days of national mourning.

The top Shiite Muslim clergyman in Iraq has condemned the deadly bomb attacks on Christian religious centers in Baghdad and Mosul. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called the bombings criminal. He also urged Iraqis to honor the rights of Christians and other religious minorities in the country so they could live in peace and security. The 4 bombings on Sunday killed at least 11 people. Many others were wounded. The national security advisor of Iraq says a group led by terror suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is to blame.

Israeli officials say builders can begin work on 600 new houses at a major Jewish settlement in the West Bank. The officials say Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaol Mofaz approved the building plan for the settlement east of the Jerusalem. The settlement currently has a population of about 30,000.The Middle East peace plan known as "the Road Map" bars any new settlement activity in occupied territory.

The Indonesian military says government troops have killed at least 11 separatists in Aceh Province. The clashes reportedly happened Saturday and Sunday. Rebels there have not commented on the government report. In the past separatists and human rights group have said that many of those killed by Indonesian troops are civilians. Rebels have been fighting for an independent homeland in Aceh since 1976.More than 2,000 people have been killed there since May of last year. That was when the Indonesian military launched an offensive and ordered emergency rule in Aceh.

In Indonesia lawyers for a former general have asked the nation's highest court to let him compete in the final part of the presidential election. General Wiranto came in third place in the first part of the election held on July 5th.His lawyers say there were problems with the vote including missing ballots. They say General Wiranto should compete instead of President Megawati Sukarnoputri who finished in second place. She is to face her former security chief Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the Indonesian presidential election next month.

Briefly here again is the major news of the hour.

American officials have increased security in New York City, Washington D.C. and other areas in answer to a new terror warning. In late news, Turkey's main trucking industry group says it will stops transporting goods to United States forces in Iraq. The announcement comes after the release of pictures showing militants killing a Turkish hostage seized in Iraq. And the top Shiite Muslim clergyman has condemned the deadly bomb attacks on Christian religious centers in Baghdad and Mosul.

That's the news in VOA Special English. Reporting from Washington, I'm Phoebe Zimmermann.
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