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整理】SENEWS-2004-0816-1530

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It is 23:30 Universal Time, I'm Jim Tedder in Washington.

[1] American defense officials say 2 army devisions in Germany will return to the United States as part of a major movement of military forces announced by President Bush. Mr. Bush said some troops will go to new areas. 60 to 70 thousand soldiers will be brought back to the United States during the next several years. Mr. Bush said the changes will save money and make American forces more ready to meet the threat of terrorism. Troops are also expected to be removed form Asia. More than 230 thousand American soldiers are deployed outside the United States.

[2] A delegation of Iraqi political and religious leaders is expected to arrive in the city of Najaf Tuesday. The group was to leave Baghdad for Najaf Monday. But it was delayed by fighting between American forces and rebels loyal to Shiite religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr. News reports say the group will be making a last effort, appeal for peace, with the rebel Shiite religious leader. Iraqi leaders are meeting in Baghdad to choose a temporary national assembly. They agreed to send a delegation to Najaf. It will give a letter to Mr. al-Sadr urging him to leave the religious center where he has been hiding. It will also ask him to change his troops into a political organization. Mr. al-Sadr has said he will receive the delegation and he welcomes any negotiations that will lead to peace.

[3] One Syrian and 2 Lebanese truck drivers taken hostages in Iraq earlier this month have been freed by their kidnappers. Family members of the men told reporters the 3 were on the border between Syria and Iraq and traveling home. Earlier, 2 more Turkish drivers were kidnapped in Iraq. The drivers were returning to Turkey when the kidnappers attacked them 100 kolimeters south of Mosul. Officials in southern Iraq are investigating the reported kidnapping of a reporter in the city of Nasiriyah. Iraqi officials say 2 armed men kidnapped reporter Micah Garen.

[4] A Pakistani military spokesman has confirmed that an al Qeada agent arrested in Britain earlier this month secretly visited an area of Pakistan near the Afghan border in March. The spokesman said the agent was joined in south Waziristan by a foreign explosive expert. The spokesman denied a publish report saying the agent was in Pakistan for a meeting to plan attacks on the United States. The Pakistani spokesman said his government learned of the trip while questioning an al Qeada linked computer expert arrested in July. Pakistani security officials have arrested 51 Pakistanis and 12 foreigners since that man's arrest.

[5] Sudan has warned that African Union troops from Rwanda have no legal right to protect Sudanese civilians in the western Darfur area. Sudan's State Minister for foreign affairs said the force is to be used to protect African Union ceasefire observers. On Saturday, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said troops from his nation would protect civilians from pro-government Arab military groups. Mr. Kagame said he would not permit a repeat of the murders in Rwanda 10 years ago. 800 thousand Tutsis and Hutus were killed in a 3-month period.

[6] Officials in Venezuela say one person has been shot dead as opponents of President Hugo Chavez gathered to protest his election victory Sunday. 4 others were wounded when a group of motorcyclists shot into a crowd of demonstrators at Altamira square in Caracas. Hours earlier, Venezuela's National Election Council announced that 58% of Venezuelan voters oppose the effort to remove President Chavez from office. The Council announced the results with 94% of the votes counted. Opposition leaders charge election cheating.

[7] Congolese Vice President Azarias Ruberwa has called the murder of 160 Congolese Tutsis at a United Nations refugee camp an attempt to destroy a whole people. He spoke as the mostly women, children and babied were buried near the refugee camp in western Burundi. Mr. Ruberwa also said the attacks threatened peace in the area. Burundi has closed the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and began investigating the killings. The Burundian Hutu rebel group called the Forces for National Liberation has claimed responsibility. The UN and African Union have condemned the attack. Both organizations are investigating.

[8] President Bush has approved more financial aid for the victims of a huge ocean storm that damaged much of the southern state of Florida. The storm killed 16 people. Thousands remain without homes and about one million are without electric power. Experts say the cost of the storm is now more than 15-thousand-million dollars. National Guard Troops have been deployed in Florida to provide water and supplies. The troops are also searching for missing people.

[9] Finally, news from the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Japan has won the team first place gold medal in men's gymnastics. The United States won the second place, silver medal. Romanian took the third place, bronze medal. In swimming, American Aaron Peirsol won the 100-meter backstroke race. Austrian Markus Rogan was second, Tomomi Morita of Japan was third. In men's weight lifting, Shi Zhiyong of China earned a gold medal in the 62-kilogram class, he lifted 325 kilograms to tie the world and Olympic records. His teammate, Le Maosheng won the silver medal. Leonidas Sampanis of Greece won the bronze.

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

American defense officials say 2 army devisions in Germany will return to the United States as part of a major movement of military forces announced by President Bush. A delegation of Iraqi political and religious leaders is expected to arrive in the city of Najaf Tuesday. And kidnappers in Iraq have freed 1 Syrian and 2 Lebanese truck drivers who were taken hostages earlier this month.

And that's the news in VOA Special English, from Washington, this is Jim Tedder reporting.
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