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[VOA] 【整理】VOA 2008-02-27

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From the VOA news center in Washington, I am Frances Alonzo.

 

 A special Tribunal in Nigeria upheld the April 2007 election of president Umaru Yar'Adua after allegations of widespread rigging. A final judge panel ruled today the challenges from two opposition candidates had failed to prove election irregularities or substantial enough to invalidate the results. Both of the candidates had argued that ballot papers were not numbered correctly and alleged other election irregularities.

 

The head of African Union travels to Kenya today to try to break the deadlock in political crisis talks between the government and opposition. AU chairman and Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete, is expected to meet with Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki, opposition leader Raila Odinga and the head of mediation efforts, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Government officials and opposition leaders resumed the negotiations today after talks' deadlock Monday after just a few hours.

 

A leading human rights group has denounced what it says is a Russia's crack down on freedoms of assembly and expression ahead of Sunday's presidential election. London-based Amnesty International in a report cites recent instances of police using force to break up anti-criminal demonstrations. It also criticizes this new Russian laws restricting activities of none-governmental organizations.

 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has launched a multi-year campaign to end violence against women and girls. From UN headquarters in New York, VOA's Mag Fishier has more details.

 

The UN chief cited ugly statistics on violence against women and girls around the world. "At least one out of every three women is likely to be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her life time." Mr. Ban noted that through practice of prenatal sex selection, countless other females are even denied the right to exist. Others suffere from trafficking, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation, dowry murder and honor killing and female infanticide. UN statistics show more than 100 countries have no specific legal provision against domestic violence. Married rape is not a prosecutable offence in at least 50 countries and only 93 of nearly 200 countries reviewed have some legal provision against human trafficking. The secretary general called for all governments to review their laws and to enact new ones to be sure that violence against women is made a crime. Mag Fishier, VOA news, United Nations.

 

The United States' oldest symphony orchestra performed in North Korea today with both sides saying they hope the concert would help bring more harmony to relations between Washington and Pyongyang. The New York Philharmonic opened with national anthems of North Korea and the United States for packed audience at the east Pyongyang grand theatre. The North Korean leader Kim Jung Il did not attend the concert but other top officials were in the audience.

 

 US defense secretary Robert Gates is in India today, seeking closer military ties with the world's second fastest growing major economy. "We have as broad a range of interactions between American and Indian military as and certainly from our side we have almost anywhere in the world. I am here to look at ways in which we can further expand our relationship." During his two-day trip, Gates will meet with top Indian officials who also have said they hope to expand strategic ties with the United States.

 

Iraqi army officials say a suicide bomber killed at least 9 people traveling on a bus in northern city of Mozo. Officials say the bomber detonated his explosive today after ordering the bus driver to change direction. Meanwhile, US military offered a different explanation, saying the bomber blew himself up after leaving the bus at a routine check point. The American officials said the blast killed 8 people and wounded 8 others.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says a peace agreement with Palestinians will not necessarily be concluded by the end of this year. Speaking during a four-day visit to Tokyo, Olmert says Israel has a desire to reach an agreement with Palestinians this year. But he added he is not sure Israel would be able to meet that goal.

 

 Russian Tennis star Marry S pulled out of Dubai championship tournament in the United Arab Emirates with a viral infection. The world Number 5 S said Tuesday she was disappointed to have to withdraw from the event. but she has been bearing the virus for several days. S was seeded 5th in the Dubai event.

 

You can read details on this and more on our website 24 hours a day at voanews.com. I am Frances Alonzo, VOA news.

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