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WORLD NEWS - December 19th, 2011

发布日期:12-19-2011

Here is the news in VOA Special English. I'm Christopher Cruise reporting from the VOA News Center in Washington.

The last American soldiers have left Iraq, ending an almost nine-year-long war that ousted former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. One hundred American military vehicles crossed the border carrying about 500 troops into Kuwait Sunday morning. About 4,500 Americans were killed in Iraq along with tens of thousands of Iraqis. The war cost the United States hundreds of billions of dollars. The leader of America's armed forces says the military will continue its relationship with Iraq. United States Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey says it will mainly work to continue development of the Iraqi security forces. General Dempsey also warned Iraq not to let Iran influence it politically. But he said the United States expects the two countries to have economic ties because they are neighbors.

Israel has released 550 Palestinian prisoners as part of an agreement with Hamas. Fifty-five of those free were between the age of 14 and 17. The prisoner exchange agreement began in October that is when Israel released 447 Palestinians. In exchange Hamas released Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. He had been kidnapped in 2006 and held in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli prison service says none of the prisoners in this released group have been found guilty of killing Israelis.

In Egypt anti-government activists and security forces have clashed for a third day in Cairo. Protesters are demanding that the country's military rulers immediately surrender power to a civilian government. Anti-government activists threw stones and fire bombs at security forces Sunday on a road that leads to the central government building. Egyptian soldiers placed barriers on the road. And Egyptian security officers in civilian clothing threw stones at the protesters from rooftops. Egyptian state television says 24 police officers were injured. Officials now say ten protesters were killed and at least 500 other people were injured in the first two days of rioting.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has returned home after almost two weeds in Dubai. Mr. Zardari had gone to Dubai for medical treatment. On Sunday, about 30,000 Pakistanis demonstrated in Lahore to show support for the Pakistani military. The crowd condemned the United States and demanded that Pakistan cut ties with the US. The protesters expressed anger about NATO airstrikes late last month that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. American officials have promised a full investigation of the attack, they also expressed regret for the deaths.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned nighttime raids by NATO-led coalition forces. He has called for them to be stopped. Mr. Karzai says such a raid took place Saturday at the home of a top anti-drug official in southeastern Paktia province. A woman related to the official was killed in the raid, four others were wounded. The target was a leader of the Haqqani militant organization. A statement for Mr. Karzai's office says NATO commander General John Allen apologized for the raid.

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

Several Arab leaders say they expect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will sign an Arab League peace plan. The plan is aimed at ending the deadly campaign of the Syrian government against anti-government protesters. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said Sunday that he has information that Mr. Assad will sign the plan. The proposal calls on Syria to permit observers into the country to make sure the government is carrying out its promise to stop attacking demonstrators. It also requires Mr. Assad's government to negotiate political reforms with opposition groups.

In Iran, state television has broadcast video of a man, it says is a spy for the United States. The report identified the man as Amir Mirzai Hekmati. It said he was born in the American state of Arizona to Iranian parents. The report said Mr. Hekmati served at American military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was shown saying he was sent to Iran to enter its spy agency and report about it to the United States Central Intelligence Ageney.

The main opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo has declared himself the country's president. Etienne Tshisekedi spoke to reporters at his home on Sunday. He said he will be sworn into office on Friday. However, Congolese election officials say President Joseph Kabila won re-election in the presidential election last month. They said Mr. Kabila received 49 percent of the vote and Mr. Tshisekedi received 32 percent. Mr. Tshisekedi has repeatedly said that the vote counting was incorrect. International election observers said they saw problems with the voting. Mr. Tshisekedi has urged his supporters to remain calm.

And finally of this hour. In the Philippines rescuers searched for more than 800 people missing Sunday after sudden floods and landslides. More than 600 people were killed in the flooding in the southern part of the country. Philippine Red Cross Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang said Saturday, many bodies were unclaimed after almost 24 hours. She said they suggest that complete families were killed. Government officials say tens of thousands of people are homeless.

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

The last American soldiers have left Iraq ending an almost nine-year-long war that ousted the country's former president Saddam Hussein. Israel has released 550 Palestinian prisoners as part of an agreement with Hamas. And the main opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Etienne Tshisekedi, has declared himself the country's president.

You can find news anytime from around the world at voanews.com. That's the news in Special English. I'm Christopher Cruise reporting from Washington.

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