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WORLD NEWS - 00:30 UTC, April 17, 2006

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It is zero hour thirty universal time. I am Jim Tedder in Washington.

The Iraq parliament speaker has postponed a legislative meeting set for Monday. The announcement came after negotiators fail to reach an agreement about who will lead the next government. Sunni and Kurdish leaders want Shiites to replace Ibrahim al-Jaafari as their nominee for prime minister. His critics say he has done little to stop religious violence in Iraq. In other news, police in Baghdad say a bomb explosion at a Shiite region center has killed at least four people and wounded six others. Also Baghdad police say at least 12 were kidnapped Sunday from a business in the city.

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir says his country has no interest in problems in nearby Chad. His comments were published by the official Suna news agency. Mr. al-Bashir blamed Chad for continuing problems on the country’s shared border. He said Chad fail to send representatives to a meeting of security committee concerned with the situation at the border. In Chad, the government says it has withdrawn from talks about Dafur area in Sudan. Chadian president Idriss Deby cut diplomatic ties with Sudan on Friday after what he called a Sudanese supported rebel attack on a capital city in Chad, he also has threatened to expel 200000 refugees in Chad. A spokeswoman for the United Nations Refuge Agency says the Sudanese would have no place to go if they are forced to leave Chad.

In Nepal, people are holding an 11 days of strikes and demonstrations against King Gyanendra. Police in the capital Katmandu fought the protestors with tear gas and rubble baton. Shortages of food and fuel have been reported. Police has seized at least four people in an area of the capital popular with travelers. An alliance of 7 political parties organized the protests. They are urging people to stop paying taxes to pressure the king to return (the) democracy to the country. King Gyanendra dismissed the government and seized total power in Feb of last year. He says the move was necessary to control a rebellion. At least 4 people had been killed and hundreds wounded in the recent protests against him.

In Afghanistan, the US military says 7 civilians were killed in a gun battle between coalition forces and resistance fighters. 3 others were wounded. Military officials say the fighting started in an area of eastern Kunar province where coalition and afghan troops began an operation against militants. The civilian deaths are being in investigated. In other violence, Taliban militants attacked at least two police stations in southern Afghanistan. Afghan official say 14 Taliban were killed but no policemen were victims. The spokesman for the Taliban said at least 7 policemen and 2 Taliban were killed.

Turkish official say 30 people have been wounded in an explosion near the city of Istanbul. Police have not named the cause. Istanbul police chief has inspected parts of Bakirkoy area where the explosion took place. No one has claimed the responsibility.

You are listening to the news in VOA special English.

Iran says it is giving 50 millions dollars to the Hams led Palestinian government to ease the financial crisis caused by international aid cuts. Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki made the announcement during a conference in Teheran. He called on the Islamic countries to help the Palestinians. The new Hamas led Palestinians government has opened emergency talks with other Palestinian groups. PM Ismael Haniya called the meeting in an effort to form a unity convolution and prevent financial crisis. Reports said HMS is again urging the Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigade to join the government.

Pop Benedict has led his first Easter Sunday service in St Peter’s square in Rome. Tens of thousands of people gathered for the ceremony at Vatican. The Pop gave the traditional Easter speech. He called on world leaders to use diplomacy to solve the international conflicts. Thousands of Christians from around the world also gathered to celebrate Easter in Jerusalem. The top Roman Catholic clergyman in the city led a religious service at the Church of Holy Sepulcher. The church was built next to the ancient stone tomb where Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Ester Sunday is the holiest day of the year for Christians.

Chinese president Hu Jingtao is calling for new talks with Taiwan. Mr. Hu told the Taiwanese former opposition leader Lian Chan that two sides should restart talks as soon as possible to keep peace in the area. Mr. Lian is visiting Beijing. Mr. Hu says the talks will take place if Taiwan's government accepts the One China policy reached with the earlier administration. Taiwanese President Chan Shuibian has refused to accept the One China policy as a condition for talks. China and Taiwan separated after the civil war in 1949. China considers the island a rebel province and has threatened military action if Taiwan seeks (to) independence.

The former chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff has criticized the former generals who publicly called for the resignation of the Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. General Richard Miles said it is unacceptable for the former officials to criticize Mr. Rumsfeld. He said it is not the job of the military to judge the work of its civilian leaders. He also said the critical comments should not be expressed by military officers including those who are retired. Several retired generals have recently made public comments about Mr. Rumsfeld. They called him a poor leader. And they accused him of making mistakes in war in Iraq. President Bush has expressed strong support for Mr. Rumsfeld.

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