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WORLD NEWS - 00:30 UTC, April 27, 2006

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Special thanks to Spag Bolo for posting his script of broadcast dictation.

It is zero hours thirty Universal Time. I am Jim Tedder in Washington.

Rebels in Nepal have declared a three-month ceasefire. They announced the ceasefire after the new prime minister promised them that elections would be held for a new assembly. The rebel said the truce is meant to get political parties to write a new constitution. The constitution would limit the king to a ceremonial part in ruling the country. Earlier the rebels ended a closure of roads around Katmandu and major towns. However they warned that they would reestablish the closure if parliament members do not announce plans for elections Friday.

The United States military says its soldiers killed 12 suspected militants and a woman near Baghdad Wednesday. They were killed during a raid on a house in the town of Yusefiyah. Also in Iraq, American Secretary of States Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have made a surprised visit to Baghdad. They met with Iraq's newly appointed Prime Minister Jawad al-Maliki. Later Mr. Rumsfeld said the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq will depends on the effectiveness of the new government.

Two bombers were killed when they exploded two separated bombs in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. The bomb attacks were aimed at a vehicle carrying peacekeeping troops and Egyptian police officers. Spokesmen for the peacekeepers say there were no injuries among the troops. The peacekeepers guard the borders between Egypt and Israel. Little is known about a third attack that reportedly took place in Egypt's Nile Delta. Egyptian officials are denying reports of that attack.

The nuclear chief of Iran has met in Austria with top officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency. In two days the agency is to present a report about Iran's nuclear activities to the United Nations Security Council. The United States and the European Union have accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the accusation. Earlier Wednesday, top Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said American interests around the world would be harmed if the United States attacks his country. On Tuesday, he said Iran is prepared to share nuclear technology with other nations. On Friday the United Nations Security Council is to discuss if Iran is obeying demands to stop uranium production.

Thousands of Sri Lankans are fleeing their homes following government air strikes aimed at Tamil rebel positions. Reports say at least 15 people were killed during the air strikes. The air strikes reportedly were meant to answer a shell attack by rebel fighters. Military officials say shells were fired into government control territory in the Trincomalee area. They said the attack killed 3 civilians and wounded 13 others including 2 sailors. A spokeswoman for European Truce Observers says Sri Lanka will return to war if the violence is not stopped immediately.

You are listening to the news in VOA Special English.

Two United States congressmen have called on the United Nations Security Council to take action against Burma. The request followed reports that Burma's military rulers have displaced more than 11,000 civilians. The people were forced to leave their homes in recent months. An aid group that works inside the country said attacks against the minority Karen community have increased since March. The group, The Free Burma Rangers, said government troops have burned villages and killed civilians in at least two Karen areas. Karen rebels have been fighting for independents from Burma for more than 50 years. The rebels and the government reached a partial truce in 2003 but some fighting continues.

People in Ukraine and Belarus have been remembering the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl power center 20 years ago. Bells rang early Wednesday at the exact time of the explosion that spread radiation across Europe. The explosion is considered the world's worst civilian nuclear accident. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko attended a ceremony at the Chernobyl center. He remembered people who died after working to stop radiation from leaking into the air. In Belarus, at least 7,000 demonstrators called for freedom in the capital Minsk. Opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich took part in the event. Lawyers for the government had warned him not to attend.

In Liberia President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has increased security in the capital Monrovia after violent demonstrations Tuesday. The president told police to arrest the protest organizers. Former government soldiers are protesting to demand back pay. Mr. Sirleaf also banned street sale of gasoline in bottles. The protesters threw rocks and damaged vehicles outside the Defense Ministry building. UN peacekeepers fired into the air to break up the crowd. The former soldiers were demanding to be paid their service in Liberia's long civil war. The war ended in 2003.

The United Nations Security Council has met to discuss a UN peacekeeping force in the trouble Darfur area of Sudan. A UN official presented 2 possible plans for a peacekeeping operation. The plan would replace the African Union force in Darfur. One plan calls for a strong ground force, the other plan depends more on air power. African Union officials have proposed a peace agreement to the Sudanese government and rebel groups from the Darfur area. Negotiators are urging the opposition to end 3 years of fighting and violence.

And now briefly here again is the major news of the hour. Rebels in Nepal have declared a three-month ceasefire. It came after the new prime minister guaranteed that elections would be held for those who will write a new constitution. The United States military says its soldiers killed 12 suspected militants and a woman near Baghdad Wednesday. And two bomb attacks in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt have killed only the two bombers. And that's the news in VOA Special English from Washington. This is Jim Tedder reporting.

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