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[BBC] 【整理】BBC 2011-03-21

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BBS News with Michael Pawles
A Libyan military spokesman says the armed forces have been ordered to implement an immediate ceasefire. It comes on the second day of a military operation launched by international forces to establish a UN-backed no-fly zone over Libya and prevent further attacks against civilians. The spokesman made the announcement to a broadcast on state radio.

“We, the popular social leadership of Libya, recommend to the armed forces to announce an immediate ceasefire to all its military units and to invite all cities, towns and tribes to join in and participate in a the historical march, peaceful march, to start from Tripoli, using all means of transports. Destination: Benghazi.”

Colonel Gaddafi declared a ceasefire on Friday. But soon afterwards his troops attacked rebel positions in Benghazi and Misrata. Qatar has decided to send four warplanes to join the international air campaign, the first Arab country to do so. The Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa who had supported military action, said western attacks on Libyan forces had gone beyond the objective of implementing the no-fly zone, which his organization have called for.

“What happened differed from the no-fly zone objectives. What we want is the protection of civilians-protection, not shelling more civilians.”

In the last few hours, several rounds of anti-aircraft gunfire have been heard above Tripli.

Security forces in Syria have clashed with thousands of anti-government protesters in the southern city of Deraa for a third straight day. Angry protesters are said to have set fire to local offices of the ruling Baath Party and a court building. At least one person was killed and several wounded. The demonstrators are calling for the release of political prisoners. From neighboring Beirut, Owen Bennett Johns reports.

The protesters and the government have very different accounts of what’s happening in Deraa, but both sides agree that violence is continuing and that buildings and cars have been set alight. The official news agency in Syria suggests that it is the work of what it describes as instigators carrying out sabotage. Other reports from Deraa say the protesters are demanding political change in Syria, and in particular, an end to nearly five decades of emergency rule.

The President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has dismissed his government as the pressure grows for his own resignation following big street protests. The president has faced a string of resignations from ministers and officials since the killings of at least 52 people at an anti-government demonstration on Friday. The Yemeni state news agency says Mr Saleh has asked his cabinet to remain in place in a care-taker capacity.

World News from the BBC

Officials in Egypt say voters have approved a referendum, introducing amendments to the constitution and setting the ground for presidential and parliamentary elections later this year. Millions of people turned out to vote on Saturday. Jonathon Head reports from Cairo.

According to the official count, a clear majority of nearly 80% of the voters approved of the nine amendments to the constitution. That opens the way for the military to hand over power to a new civilian government in a matter of months. Parliamentary elections are now expected to take place no later than September, with the presidential election sometime after that. The result will be welcomed by the millions of Egyptians who want life to return to normal as soon as possible. But it will disappoint many of the leaders of the January uprising, who’ve argued that the constitutional changes are not democratic enough, and that the election timetable does not give new parties time to prepare themselves.

Iran has expelled a diplomat from Bahrain in reprisal for the Gulf state’s expulsion of the Iranian charge d’affairs earlier today. Tension has risen between the two countries over the killing of anti-government demonstrators in Bahrain’s capital Manama. Iran, with its Shiia majority, had withdrawn its ambassador in protest of the deaths. It’s also condemned Bahrain’s Sunni rulers for inviting troops from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to help control the protesters who are mostly from Bahrain’s Shiia majority. Last week, Bahrain recalled its ambassador in Tehran in protests of what it called Iran’s interference in its internal affairs.

The number of people confirmed dead in the earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan now stands at nearly 8,500. Almost 13,000 are missing. Police say it’s possible that some of their names will match bodies haven’t yet been identified. More than 350,000 people are living in basic shelters with little food. Japanese television has shown footage of an elderly a woman rescued from her wrecked home. It is said she’d been trapped in her kitchen with her grandson for nine days.

And that’s the BBC News
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