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【整理】SENEWS-2004-0821-1530

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It is 15:30 universal time. I'm Steve Ember in Washington.

1. Shiite militants continue to occupy the Imam Ali shrine in the Iraqi city of Najaf. Assistants to top Shiite clergyman Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani have told supporters of rebel clergyman Muqtada al-Sadr that their fighters must leave the religious center. Shiite officials have ordered that Mr. al-Sadr give over control of the Muslim center to Shiite officials. But a spokesman for Mr. al-Sadr said a group from Ayatollah’s office must come to the Imam Ali shrine. The spokesman said those representatives must count valuable objects in the center, so militants will not be charged with damaging or stealing anything. Fighting continued in Najaf Saturday.

2. Officials say a series of bomb explosions outside the offices of Bangladeshis main opposition party have killed at least 7 people. At least 70 others were wounded in the explosions. The bombs exploded outside the offices of the Awami League Party in the capital Dhaka. Police say the explosions happened when opposition leader Sheikh Hasina was speaking to supporters outside the offices. She was not wounded. No one has taken responsibility for the attack. Opposition supporters destroyed cars nearby to protest the attack.

3. Officials in Nepal say suspected rebels have killed a police officer. The officials say two men shot and killed the police officer outside the city. There were no other details. On Friday, rebels exploded several bombs in Kathmandu wounding a policeman. Four days ago, rebels blocked roads around the capital. The rebels have said they would continue to cut off the city until the government releases jailed rebels and provides information about other rebels being held. On Friday, the government agreed to investigate what happened to missing rebels. On Saturday, the rebels permitted 12 aid drugs to enter Kathmandu. The city has been facing shortages because of road blocks around the area.

4. Pakistani troops have attacked suspected al-Qaeda hiding places near the border with Afghanistan. Military officials say troops supported by artillery and aircraft led the attack in the South Waziristan tribal area near *. Militants are believed to be hiding in that area. Pakistan is an important American ally in the international war on terrorism. It has been searching for members of the al-Qaeda terrorist group and remaining Taliban members in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. The Pakistani army carried out two major operations in March and June against suspected al-Qaeda militants. More than 200 people were killed in the attacks.

You are listening to the news in VOA Special English.

5. The Israeli military says its troops have shot and killed a Palestinian man who entered an area from which Palestinians are banned. The man was shot Friday, but his body was not discovered until Saturday. The military said an explosive device was found next to the man's body. The body was found near a fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip. Palestinian officials confirmed that the man's body was brought to a Gaza hospital, but they have not been able to identify him or say whether he belonged to a militant group.

6. Zimbabwe has published a proposed law that would ban foreign human rights groups from the country. The proposed law requires all non-government organizations working in the country to get special permits from the government before entering. But it says that any foreign group that works to increase human rights or any local group that receives foreign aid will not be given a permit. Zimbabwe’s Parliament is expected to debate the proposed law within the next few months. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has accused human rights groups of trying to incite opposition to his rule.

7. In the United States, supporters of opposition presidential candidate John Kerry say they are taking legal action against a group known as “the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth”. That group has criticized the senator’s record during the Vietnam War. Democratic Party officials say recent political messages the group has broadcast on television about the candidate are false. Officials say the group responsible has illegal ties to President Bush's campaign team. Mr. Kerry was an officer in the navy during the Vietnam War. He received five government awards for his service, but some of his opponents say he did not earn the awards.

8. At the Olympic Games in Athens, China has won gold medals in Men's Doubles Table Tennis and the Women's Doubles Badminton competition. China has won the finals in the table tennis competition for sixteen years. China and the Unite States now both have 17 gold medals each in the games. The United States has won 41 medals so far in the games. China has won 39. Russia has 30 medals and South Korea has 16. Hong Kong won its first medal Saturday with a silver in table tennis.

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

Shiite militants continue to occupy the Imam Ali shrine in the Iraqi city of Najaf. Assistants to top Shiite clergyman Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani have told supporters of rebel clergyman Muqtada al- Sadr that their fighters must leave the religious center. Officials say a series of bomb explosions outside the offices of Bangladeshis main opposition party have killed at least 7 people. And officials in Nepal say suspected rebels have killed a police officer.

That's the news in VOA Special English. From Washington, this has been Steve Ember reporting.
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