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【整理】SENEWS-2004-0806-2330

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And we come now to 23: 30 Universal Time.

In the news:
[1] The United States military says it has killed 300 Iraqi fighters who support Shiite Muslim clergyman Muqtada al-Sadr. But an al-Sadr's spokesman said only 36 militants were killed in the last two days of fighting in the city of Najaf. Three United States soldiers also have died. The United States military carried out air attacks on militant positions in Najah on Friday. The city's governor called for the militants to leave. Muqtada al-Sadr said in religious services held on Friday that the United States is the enemy. But some of his spokesmen called for a truce to be observed again.

[2] The United States soldier who first told officials about possible crimes at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has spoken in court. Sergeant Joseph Darby spoke during a special hearing for Private First Class Lynndie England. She is one of the soldiers accused of harming prisoners. Sergeant Darby worked in the prison. He says he received pictures of the reported torture of prisoners from Charles Graner. Mr. Graner is one of the seven soldiers facing a possible military trial. Mr. Darby said he then gave the pictures to army investigators.

[3] More than 1,400 Palestinians have returned from Egypt after Israel reopened the Rafah border crossing to the Gaza Strip. Thousands of Palestinians are expected to return to the Gaza Strip in the coming days. Israel closed the crossing three weeks ago after saying that militants have built an underground passage and planned to destroy the crossing. In other news, Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinians, a member of Islamic Jihad was killed in Gaza and another man was killed in the West Bank.

[4] Pakistan has arrested 18 more suspected al-Qaeda militants. Intelligence officials say the suspects were seized in a raid early Friday in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province. The officials say the raid was based on information from two top al-Qaeda members. They are Tanzanian national Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani and Pakistani national Naeem Noor Khan. Both men were arrested last month in Pakistan.

[5] The United States military says Afghan militants have injured at least eight soldiers in two attacks on American forces. The American-led coalition says the first attack took place early Friday in southern Zabul province. Five soldiers were injured. The second attack took place near Zabul's capital Qalat. Rebels exploded a bomb as a group of American military vehicles passed. Three soldiers suffered injuries. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. But the American military suspects that the fighters are loyal to the former Taliban government of Afghanistan.

You are listening to the news in VOA Special English.

[6] The United Nations says a team of observers will be in Sudan' s western Darfur area soon. The 8 officials will observe the Sudanese government’s progress in disarming Arab militant groups. The militants are accused of extreme violence against black Sudanese civilians in the last 18 moths. The visit is part of an agreement reached on Thursday between Sudan and the UN. The UN Security Council has demanded that Sudan disarm Arab fighters and establish security in Darfur within 30 days. If it does not, Sudan will face restrictions.

[7] A British court has ordered that a British citizen who is suspected by the United States of raising money for terrorists be held. Official charges from the United States say Babar Ahmad raised money over the internet to support militants in Afghanistan and Chechnya. He is also charged with providing information on how to travel to Afghanistan to support the Taliban. American officials say Mr. Ahmad also had detailed military plans of United States navy ships. Mr. Ahmad might be sent to the United States to face trial.

[8] An Iranian prisoner held at the United States military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has refused to appear in court. He is the sixth prisoner to refuse to take part in a court hearing. United States military officials said the 25-year-old man did not say why he would not appear. The man is accused of fighting with the former Taliban government of Afghanistan. But he says he did not take part in fighting. Special court hearings for almost 600 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay began last week.

[9] And American popular musician Rick James has been found dead at his home near Los Angeles, California. Police reported the death late on Friday. He appears to have died of natural causes. Mr. James became famous for a kind of music called Funk. In 1981, he gained popularity with songs including Super Freak, Marry Jane and Fire and Desire. Later he suffered problems with drugs and violence and he spent time in jail. He released his last album in 1998. Rick James was 56 years old.

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

The United States military says it has killed 300 Iraqi fighters who support Shiite Muslim clergyman Muqtada al-Sadr. More than 1, 400 Palestinians have returned from Egypt after Israel reopened the Rafah border crossing to the Gaza Strip. And Pakistan has arrested 18 more suspected al-Qaeda militants.

And so ends the news in VOA Special English.

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