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WORLD NEWS - Sep 2nd, 2012


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

Officials in central Afghanistan say two suicide bombers have killed 12 people and wounded more than 50 others near a NATO base. The dead includes civilians and Afghan police. A spokesman for the Governor of Wardak Province says the attacks happened Saturday morning in the Sayed Abad area. Officials say a militant on foot carried out the first bombing. An explosion from a bomber in a truck followed. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. Separately, NATO says two American service members died Saturday in a militant attack in Ghazni Province.

President Obama has marked the second anniversary of the end of the military operation in Iraq. During his weekly speech to the nation, he thanked soldiers and their families for their sacrifices.

“The members of our armed forces are patriots in every sense of the word. They met every mission and performed every task that was asked of them with precision, commitment and skill. And now, with no Americans fighting in Iraq, it is my privilege on behalf of a grateful nation to once again congratulate these men and women on a job well-done.” President Obama said progress has been made against the Taliban in Afghanistan. But, he said, there will be more difficult work to do. Mr. Obama said the United States is prepared to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in 2014.

Pakistani police say gunmen have shot and killed seven Shiite Muslims in the southwestern province of Baluchistan near the capital Quetta. A police official says gunmen on motorcycles stopped a bus and shot and killed five of the passengers on Saturday. They then killed two other Shiites in the same area. Separately, an American air strike killed at least four suspected militants in Pakistan’s tribal area near the Afghan border. Security officials say the pilotless airplanes fired at least four missiles at a house in the Degan area of North Waziristan.

Activists say Syrian rebels have seized an air defense center and attacked a military airport in eastern Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attacks happened in the city of al-Bukamal in Deir al-Zor province near the Iraqi border. The group said the rebels raided the military base and captured 16 air defense workers. Opposition fighters have been targeting the government’s air power.

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

A well-known Burmese activist who had been sentenced to life in prison while he was outside the country has returned to Burma. He arrived after his name was removed from a government list. Happy supporters welcomed Moe Thee Zun when he arrived at the Rangoon Airport on Saturday. He had been living in exile in the United States. Moe Thee Zun was a student leader during pro- democracy protests in Burma almost 25 years ago. Those protests were stopped by the government.

1,000s of Philippine villagers who fled after an earthquake struck returned to their home Saturday after a tsunami warning was lifted. The American Geological Survey says Friday’s earthquake was centered east of the Philippines about 96km from the town of Sulangan. It measured 7.6 tense strong and killed one person. It also caused power outages. And it damaged buildings.

America’s top diplomat and leaders of Pacific countries have called for equal treatment of women and men in all of social, economic and political life. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other leaders who attended the Pacific Islands Forum signed and released a joint statement Saturday. The 16-member group met in the Cook Islands. From the Cook Islands, Ms. Clinton will travel to Indonesia, then to China, Brunei, East Timor and Russia.

Islamic extremists have seized a town in Northern Mali close to an area controlled by the government. Witnesses in Douentza say members of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa entered the town early Saturday and disarmed a local militia. No violence was reported. But one Islamist leader told the Associated Press that the group is detaining the militia members.

A top Roman Catholic Church official who at one time was considered a possible candidate to become Pope has died. Cardinal Carlo Martini passed away Friday in Milan, Italy, at the age of 85. He had suffered from Parkinson disease. On Saturday, the Italian newspaper Kuriel Serasera published an interview with the Cardinal who wrote regularly for the newspaper. Cardinal Martini said the Catholic Church is 200 years out of date. He said churches are, in his words, big and empty, while the number of church officials grows. He said the church has not kept up with changes in the world.

And finally at this hour:

A 44-year old man from the Northwestern American state of Michigan has won the third largest power ball lottery ever. Donald Larson is a father of two. He said he retired from his job as a railroad engineer when he found out he had won. The power ball lottery winning was $337million. He decided to take one large payment instead of getting the money over a period of time, so he will receive 3046558,700,000 after taxes are taken away.

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

Two suicide bombers killed 12 people on Saturday in Central Afghanistan near a NATO base. More than 50 others were wounded. Pakistani police say gunmen have shot and killed seven Shiite Muslims in the Southwestern province of Baluchistan near the capital Quetta. And thousands of Philippine villagers returned to their homes Saturday after a tsunami warning was canceled.

And that’s the news at this hour in VOA Special English. I’m Christopher Cruise reporting from Washington.

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