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【整理】SENEWS-2004-0814-1530

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1. The Iraqi government says it will restart military operations in the Shiite Muslim holy city of Najaf. The announcement comes after talks failed between Iraqi forces and Shiite rebels in Najaf. Iraq’s National Security advisor said the government had made every effort to negotiate a political solution to the crisis. But he said the government would now begin another offensive to restore law and order in Najaf. A representative of militant Shiite clergyman Muqtada al-Sadr blamed Prime Minister Iyad Allawi for the failed talks. He said the Iraqi Prime Minister urged government officials to end the talks. Eight days of fighting eased on Friday as the negotiations opened. Thousands of Muqtada al-Sadr’s supporters gathered in Najaf Saturday. In a separate development, American and Iraqi officials said about 90 Iraqi fighters have been killed in air attacks and fighting in the cities of Samara and Hilla.

2. Oil officials in southern Iraq say they have closed the main oil pipeline for security reasons. A spokesman for the southern oil company said the order to close came Friday. The pipeline was closed after intelligence information showed that Iraqi resistance fighters might attack the pipeline. The company stopped oil production on Monday following threats by supporters of Shiite clergyman Muqtada al-Sadr. They threatened to destroy an important oil production center in southern Iraq if the American-led attack on Iraqi fighters in Najaf did not stop.

3. Taiwanese *************

4. The American military in Afghanistan says it appears that the Taliban leadership there is falling apart. American spokesman Major Scott Nelson reported that dissidents had created a separated group named J M or Muslim Army. He said that development suggests the problem in the Taliban leadership. The spokesman says the military is still studying what effect the split could have on Islamist operations against American-led forces in Afghanistan. Taliban militants were ousted in 2001. They have been blamed for killing foreign soldiers, government officials and aid workers.

You are listening to the news in VOA Special English.

5. Officials in Burundi say more than 150 Congolese refugees have been killed at a United Nations camp. Reports say the attackers killed men, women and children in the camp. More than one hundred other people were wounded. The UN camp at C in the Democratic Republic of Congo was home to thousands of ethnic Tutsis who fled ethnic violence in eastern Congo earlier this year. There are unconfirmed reports that a Burundian group called the Hutu Forces for National Liberation carried out the attacks. The group said it attacked the refugee camp after hearing a shot fired. Burundian army officials dismissed the ethnic Hutu rebels' version of the events. Army officials say the attack was aimed at killing ethnic Tutsis.

6. In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez and his political opponent both say they expect victory in the national vote on Sunday. Voters will decide whether the president will finish his second 6-year term in office. The Venezuelan President says the move to force him to leave office will fail. But he says he will honor any decision by the voters. The opposition says it expects to win the national vote. They accuse Mr. Chavez of attempting to establish a kind of Cuban dictatorship. His supporters praise him as a champion of the poor. Public opinion studies show that the vote will be close. Foreign observers are in Venezuela to observe the voting process.

7. Local reports from the southern state of Florida say that officials fear many deaths from the severe ocean storm called / Hurricane Charley. Officials have confirmed two deaths in the state. But local officials in one western Florida county described the storm damage as huge. Hundreds of people are still missing. Emergency crews are searching each house for survivors. The storm has grown weaker as it moves north of the Atlantic coast.

8. And China has won the first two gold medals of the Athens Olympic Games. Wang Yifu won the Men’s Ten-meter Small Air Gun competition. Russians Mikhail Nestruev and Vladimir Isakov took second and third place. Earlier, China’s Du Li won the Women’s Ten-meter Air Rifle competition setting an Olympic record. She won the gold medal on her final shot defeating Russia’s Lioubov Galkina by a half point. Athletes are competing for medals in 13 events during the first full day of Olympic competitions Saturday.

Briefly here again is the major news of the hour.

The Iraqi government says it will restart military operations in the Shiite Muslim holy city of Najaf. The American military in Afghanistan says it appears that the Taliban leadership there is falling apart. And Taiwan *****China to take Taiwan by force.
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