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WORLD NEWS - May 29th, 2011



It is 00:30 universal time, it's Saturday in America. Now, the news in VOA Special English. I'm Christopher Cruise reporting live from Washington.

A suicide bomber has truck a governor's headquarters in northern Afghanistan. The attack killed at least six local officials and NATO soldiers. Nine people were wounded, including the governor. The Takhar province spokesperson said the bomber was wearing police clothing when he carried out the attack Saturday morning. It took place during a meeting in Taloqan city. Officials say the police commander in northern Afghanistan and a local police chief are among the dead. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Germany's defense minister said two German soldiers were killed in the attack, and its NATO commander in Afghanistan was wounded.

Hundreds of Palestinians crossed into Egypt Saturday, after the Egyptian government said it was easing border restrictions with Gaza. The Rafah crossing is the only official entry into Gaza outside of Israel. The new temporary government in Egypt announced Wednesday, it would reopen the border crossing and end its four-year blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory.

An Egyptian court has fined ousted President Hosni Mubarak and two former minsters $90 million for stopping telecommunication services earlier this year. The court ruled Saturday that Mr. Mubarak, former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly were guilty of damaging Egypt's economy. The three had stopped the county's Internet and telephone services in January as thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets. Activists used popular social media, such as Facebook, to organize most of their protests. Former President Mubarak is currently being held in a hospital in the Red Sea town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The Arab League says it will seek full membership in the United Nations for a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. The group made the decision Saturday at a meeting in Doha, Qatar. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas attended the meeting. He again said that he would seek U.N. recognition for a Palestinian state in September, unless Israel begins meaningful peace negotiations. Talks between the Palestinians and Israel have not taken place for months.

A negotiator says Yemen's president and the country's most powerful tribal leader have agreed to end five days of fighting in cities. Observers say the gunbattles threatened to push the country into a civil war. At least 115 people have died in the fighting. Security forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh fought supporters of Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, the leader of a Hashid tribe. He is a former supporter of Mr. Saleh, but the Sheikh has joined those who want the Yemeni president to end his 32-year rule.

Senegal says rebels in Libya may open an office in Senegal's capital, Dakar. Few other countries in Africa or other places have given official recognition to the rebels. Earlier this month, Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade recognized the rebel's National Transitional Council as Libya's official political opposition. The statement from his office Saturday said Mr. Wade now recognizes the council as the representative of the Libyan people.

You are listening to the news in VOA Special English, coming to you live from Washington.

Demonstrators gathered in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi Saturday to protest police actions during a demonstration earlier in the week. More than 3,000 people marched toward the parliament building in the center of the city. The current protest ended peacefully. But on Thursday, police used tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets on protesters who were calling for the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili. Almost 40 people were injured. Officials said cars hit and killed two people. Those cars were carrying protest leaders away from the area. Ninety people were arrested. Human rights groups accused the police of using too much force during the demonstrations on Thursday. But some observers said it appeared that the demonstrators were trying to start a fight with police.

President Obama has ended his trip to Europe in the Polish capital, Warsaw. He praised the country as an example for nations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa that want to become democracies. Mr. Obama spoke next to Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk. The American president praised Poland for building a successful democracy. He also noted the strength of America's security alliance with Poland under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Mr. Obama said the United States will always support Poland. Warsaw was the final stop in the president's six-day trip to Europe.

And finally of this hour. Voters on the Mediterranean island of Malta are deciding if divorce should be legal. Malta is the only European country that does not permit the legal ending of marriage. 300,000 voters were legally able to vote on a measure that would give husbands and wives permission to divorce. They must have been separated for four years. Most of the voters are Roman Catholic. Results will be released Sunday. If the measure is approved, it would go to parliament for a vote. Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi opposes divorce, but his party has only a very small majority in parliament.

Now briefly, here again is the major news of the hour in VOA Special English.

A suicide bomber has struck a governor's headquarters in northern Afghanistan, killing at least six local officials and NATO soldiers. Hundreds of Palestinians crossed into Egypt Saturday, after the Egyptian government eased border restrictions with Gaza. And Senegal says rebels in Libya may open an office in Senegal's capital, Dakar.

There's more news at voanews.com and at voaspecialenglish.com. And that is the news in Special English. I'm Christopher Cruise reporting live from Washington.

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