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[VOA] 【整理】VOA 2008-02-25

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Stay tune for / Coffee after this news update on VOA Music Mix.

This is the Voice of America.

I'm Susan Yackee from the VOA news center in Washington.

Iraqi police say a suicide bomber has killed at least 40 people in an attack on pilgrims heading to one of Shiite Islam's holiest gatherings.Police say at least 20 other people were wounded in the attack in Iskandhriya today south of Bagdad.Earlier in the day Shiite pilgrims in Bagdad were attacked with explosives and gunfire.At least 3 people were killed and 36 others wounded. Pilgrims were heading south toward Karbala to commemorate Arbaeen,the fortieth day following the anniversary of the martyrdom thirteenth centuries ago of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson. Millions of pilgrims are expected in Karbala this week.

Turkish millitary says 8 of its troops have died in one of its helicopter crashes in the offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.It's unclear whether the eight soldiers were aboard the helicopter that went down near the Turkish-Iraqi borber today. Kurdish PKK rebels earlier claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicoptor in the area.The Turkish military says the latest casualties raises the death toll to 15 since troops launched the ground operation against PKK rebels in Iraq last Thursday.Rebels say they have killed at least 20 Turkish soldiers.The Kirdish regional government of Iraq has warned Turkey not to target civilian areas during its campaign.Daniel Schearf reports from the northern Iraqi city of Irbil.

"The president of Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barzani issued the statement Saturday warning if Turkish forces target civilians or damage any civilian infrastructure,they will face large-scale resistance.Mr.Barzani said his Kurdish security forces,called Peshmerga,would not interfere in Turkey's fight against Kurdish rebels inside Iraq.Media reports over the weekend said the Peshmerga forced some Turkish soldiers to return to their bases after they strayed too far into Iraq.However Peshmerga spokesman Jabar Yawer denies there was any face-off between Kurdish and Turkish troops.Yawer says there has been no communication between the Peshmerga and Turkish troops.He says there are no Peshmerga in the areas of conflict,only Turkish soldiers and PKK fighters,so there are no problems between Turkish and Peshmerga forces.So far there are no reports of civilian casualties,but Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Saturday the Turkish military has destroyed five bridges near the Turkish border despite promises to avoid such damage.Daniel Schearf for VOA news,Irbil."

Cuba's national assembly is meeting today to choose a successor to Fidel Castro who has ruled the Caribbean nation since seizing power in a communist revolution nearly 50 years ago.Illness forced Mr.Castro to hand power over to his younger brother Laua in 2006 and the 81 year old president announced his resignation on Tuesday.

The United Nations is reporting new air strikes in west Darfur as China's special envoy on the Darfur issue begins a visit to Sudan. The joint UN-African Union peace keeping mission in Darfur said today that they have received reports of aerial bombings in the / area.It said it's grimly concern for the safety of thousands of civilians in the area.

The UNHCR says a comprehensive solution has been found that will enable some 218,000 Burundian refugees who fled to Tanzania in 1972 to end their lengthy exile and begin new lives,either in Tanzania or in Burundi.From UNHCR headquarters in Geneva,Lisa Schlein reports.

"Under the new program,Burundian refugees in Tanzania will be given the choice of repatriation or citizenship in Tanzania.The 218,000 refugees have been living in a state of limbo in three settlements in Tanzania for the past 35 years.They could neither lay down permanent roots in Tanzania nor go back to the country they had fled so many years ago.UN refugee spokesman,Andrei Mahecic ,tells VOA a breakthrough to this intractable problem came late last year.He says Tanzania,which has decided to close the "Old settlements," worked with Burundi to find a lasting solution for the refugees.Mahecic says 172,000 refugees have opted to remain in Tanzania and become citizens.This makes sense,he says,since most of these people were born in Tazania and many others have spent most of their lives there.Lisa Schlein for VOA news,Geneva.

Pakistan's Taliban militants say they are willing to talk with parties expected to form the country's new government if only military operations against militants and terrorists end in the tribal regions.Taliban spokesman made the statement during telephone calls with news agencies today.

I'm Susan Yackee,VOA news.Our wedsite is at voanews.com.

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