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[VOA] 【整理】VOA 2008-02-28

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From the VOA News Center in Washington, I am Frances Alonzo

 

US defense secretary Robert Gates say he will tell Turkish leaders they must conclude their military operation in northern Iraq within the next two weeks. Gates is still in Ankara today almost one week after Turkish ground troops launched military incursion into northern Iraq to battle rebels of Kurdish Worker's Party. The US defense chief said he will reiterate Washington's position that Turkey's military operation is to end as quickly as possible. However, A senior Turkish envoy says Ankara will not set a timetable for withdrawing its forces until rebels are dealt with.

 

Meanwhile, millions of pilgrims are streaming into the Iraqi city of Karbala ahead of one of the holiest religious ceremony in the Shiite Muslim calendar. The celebrations are expected to climax on Thursday when pilgrims gather to pay homage at the burial ground of Prophet Muhammad's grandson. Many of the pilgrims made the journey by foot from the capital of Baghdad.

 

US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice says it's very important that North Korea make a full declaration of its nuclear activities and has ordered Washington's chief negotiator to remain in China to continue talks. US assistant secretary of state Chistopher Hill was supposed to accompany Rice to Japan today. But Rice told reporters in Tokyo that discussions in Beijing were going well and it seemed wise to leave Hill to continue them.

 

International Agencies are helping Indonesia prepare for massive countrywide election in 2009 that would include local offices in hundreds of districts. Election officials hope to avoid past mistakes. C Sh reports.

 

Indonesia is getting an  early start as the country prepares for presidential and local elections next year. It will be the second democratic presidential election since president Suhotoo stepped down in 1998. The UN Development Program's Country Director in Indonesia H B says the international community wants Indonesia's elections to be clean and fair. "We predict in 2009 all eyes will be on Indonesia to see if the election system can work in a good way." Indonesia's parliament is considering a bill that will set up a system to certify political parties and schedule elections for April 5the next year. Election officials fear delays in passing the bill could postpone the elections. C Sh for VOA news, Jakarta.

 

US defense secretary Robert Gates on a visit aimed at increasing US-India strategic relations has told officials in New Delhi that Washington's commitment to a deep relationship with India is not  likely to change no matter who the next American president is. Gates also repeated his hope that the current Turkish incursion into northern Iraq is short and nearly focused. VOA's Steve H reports from the Indian capital.

 

The US defense secretary says he told Indian leaders whether a Democrat or a Republican succeeds president Bush in the White House, the next US administration will not change course when it comes to the growing partnership between India and the United States. "The steadily improving relationship with India is one that will continue regardless of who is the next elected president of the United States in November. I think there is a very broad bipartisan support in the United States for continuing to expand this relationship between the world's two biggest democracies." As a sign of Indian changing strategic outlook, New Delhi has moved away from almost exclusive reliance on Moscow for its military hardware. Russia still supplies much of armaments and technology for Indian military, but US and European companies are currently in competition with a Russian manufacturer for the  sale of 126 jet fighters to India. Formal bidding for ten billion dollar fighter contract is scheduled to close next Monday. Steve H, VOA news, New Delhi.

 

Financial experts will be closely watching today's congressional testimony by the chairman of the US Federal Reserve.  Ben Bernanke is expected to signal another cut in prime interest rate during his appearance before the US house of representatives' financial services committee.

 

The European Union has filed Microsoft a record of 1.6 billion dollars for failing to comply with antitrust order. The EU also said the company charged unreasonably high royalties to competing software developers who are trying to make their products compatible with Microsoft.

 

And US stock market indexes declined at today's early trading with Dow Jones Industry Average falling six tenths of a percent to hit 12611. The S and P 500 dropped 7 tenths of a percent at 1372.

 

More details on this and more 24 hours a day at voanews.com. I am Frances Alonzo, VOA news.

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