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UNSV would like say thanks to the member Vanguard for writing down an excellent dication!

It is twenty-two hours thirty Universal Time. I'm Jim Tedder in Washington.

[1] Officials in the Gaza Strip say Palestinian groups have reached an agreement to stop fighting after days of violence. The details of agreement between the ruling Hamas and the opposing Fatah groups haven't yet to be announced. The fighting increased in Gaza following a call for new elections by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Gunmen kidnapped and killed security officials loyal to the Fatah Party of the President. Earlier suspected Hamas' militants fired at pro-Fatah demonstrators in the northern Gaza Strip. They also fired mortars at the President's office in Gaza City. He was not there. Fatah gunmen also seized control of two ministries controlled by Hamas. The Prime Minister called this an attempt to overthrow the government. One civilian was killed. Many others were wounded.

[2] Gunmen in Iraqi army-close have kidnapped at least twenty-four people from the Red Crescent aid group office in Baghdad. Officials say at least six hostages have been released. The attack took place as British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a surprise visit to the Iraqi capital. He spoke at news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. The British leader said the Britain will make sure Iraq's democracy is not destroyed by terrorists. He also said he discussed preparations for British troops in the city of Basra to return security to Iraqi forces in next year.

[3] Also in Iraq representatives of the nation's opposing ethnic and religious groups held a second-day of talks. Delegates tried to find ways to stop violence among their groups. Iraq's Sunni Vice President says more American troops are needed for security in his country. Tariq al-Hashemi spoke to CNN television. He said Iraqi forces do not have the equipment to secure Iraq. He also said that suspected resistance fighters are operating with the force. Mr. al-Hashemi blamed the Bush Administration for dismissing the Iraqi army. The incoming American Senate majority leader spoke on ABC television. Senator Harry Reed said the conflict should be settled politically but that he would support more American troops for a short time.

[4] France says it will withdraw about 200 members of its military special forces from Afghanistan in the next few weeks. The French Defense Minister says troops will leave their positions in eastern Afghanistan. They have been involved in the fight against Taliban and Al-Queda forces there and in the search for Al-Queda's Osama Bin Laden. More than 1,500 other French soldiers are expected to remain in Afghanistan. Taliban fighters have increased their attacks on NATO and Afghan soldiers this year.

[5] The top American diplomat on North Korea's nuclear program is urging that country to get serious about ending the program. Christopher Hill spokes in Beijing where he will talk part in six-nation talks on the subject. The talks are to begin Monday. Mr. Hill says these serious talks represent a major decision time for North Korea. He says it must choose between a diplomatic method for settlement or one that involves restrictions. The six nations - North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States have not met in more than a year.

You are listening to the news in VOA Special English.

[6] Police in Central Pakistan say a fire at a wedding has led to the death of at least twenty-seven people, including the woman who was to be married. Crowds running to escape the fire crushed some people. Others were killed under a wall that fell. Most of victims are women and children who were seeing for the ceremony near the town of Jhok Utra. Officials suspected electrical problem calls the fire.

[7] Nigeria ruling party has chosen Katsina's State Governor "Umaru Yar’ Adua" to be its presidential candidate in elections next year. And an official of ruling People's Democratic Party says the Muslims from northern Nigeria won the support of more than 3,000 of 4,000 party delegates. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is barred by the constitution from seeking a third term.

[8] Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has failed to influence his ruling party to officially extend his presidency until 2010. Presidential elections are to be held in 2008. Mr. Mugabe had argued the election should instead be held in 2010 at the same time as parliamentary elections. Delegates at ZANU-PF yearly conference agreed but they said such a move should not purposely extend Mr. Mugabe's presidency without an election. Mr. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980.

[9] The new king of Bhutan has promised democratic reforms for the small Himalayan mountain country. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck spoke to thousands of supporters in the capital. He talked about plans to surrender total power and change Bhutan into a parliamentary democracy. The 26-year-old king took power earlier this month. He replaced his father who resigned earlier than expected.

[10] United States space officials have extended the visit of the Shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station. Officials say astronauts will use the extra time to repair a device that gathers sonar energy. Discovery astronauts are expected to complete the work outside the station Monday. It will be their fourth space walk this visit. During the first three, the astronauts rewired the space station to connect two new solar panels brought on earlier visits. Discovery now is expected to return to the Earth on Friday one day later than planned.

Briefly here again is the major news.

Officials in the Gaza Strip say Palestinian groups have reached an agreement to stop fighting after days of violence. Gunmen in Iraqi army-close have kidnapped at least twenty-four people from the Red Crescent aid group office in Baghdad. And the top American negotiator to North Korea's nuclear program is urging that country to get serious about ending the program.

That's the news in VOA Special English. This is Jim Tedder reporting.

Next in VOA Special English, the Development Report, then learn all about the state of Vermont.

Visit us at voaspecialenglish.com for MP3 files, program transcripts, podcast and more call our email address is special@voanews.com.

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