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IN THE NEWS - Financial Crisis Puts World Leaders at UN at the Center of the Action

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This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

U.N. General Assembly in New York on Friday
U.N. General Assembly in New York on Friday

Leaders from the one hundred ninety-two members of the United Nations gathered in New York this week for the new General Assembly.

A big subject, not surprisingly, was the financial crisis on Wall Street that has restricted the flow of credit.

Friday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for urgent action to calm financial markets. He also called for new international groups to supervise markets in the future.

President Bush discussed his financial rescue plan in his eighth and final speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday. In that speech, he also urged the world community to unite against terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons.

President Bush said Iran is among the few remaining countries that support terrorism. And he said its nuclear program, along with that of North Korea, demands world attention. In his words: "We must not relent until our people are safe from this threat to civilization."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad spoke a few hours later. He said Iran, like other countries, has a right to peaceful nuclear energy. He said a few world powers were "bullying" Iran through political and economic pressure.

The Security Council has already passed three resolutions on Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons program. The five permanent council members and Germany met privately on Friday and agreed on a new resolution.

The proposal does not include any new restrictions. Instead, it restates support for offering to help Iran if it halts uranium enrichment -- and to take additional steps if Iran refuses.

Also at the United Nations this week, governments and private groups promised sixteen billion dollars to reduce poverty, hunger and disease worldwide. Diplomats said that was more than anyone had expected. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it "all the more remarkable because it comes against a backdrop of financial crisis."

The new money is to meet U.N. goals to reduce poverty and improve education and health care in the developing world by two thousand fifteen. Three billion dollars will go to a new plan to end malaria in Africa by two thousand fifteen.

World leaders also called for action on rising food and fuel prices and climate change.

Among those urging greater action on global warming was the president of Sao Tome and Principe, Fradique Bandera Melo de Menezes. In the last ten years, he said, ocean waves have begun to flood coastal roads in his island nation off the coast of West Africa.

And, on another subject, Iraqi President Jalal Talibani discussed security gains in Iraq. He said his government aims to take over security responsibilities for all of Iraq by the end of this year. He urged other nations to open diplomatic offices in Iraq. And he urged them to drop all sanctions and financial claims remaining from the days of Saddam Hussein.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English -- online at www.unsv.com. I'm Steve Ember.

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