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WORLD NEWS - Oct 30th, 2012


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From Washington, I’m Christopher Cruise.

A major Atlantic Ocean storm is moving closer to the highly populated east coast of the United States. About 50,000,000 people live along the path of the storm. It has forced a closure of airports and other transportation systems. Major cities including washing D.C. and New York have closed their public transport systems and schools. The Federal government and American stock markets are closed through Tuesday. President Obama spoke about the storm earlier Monday. “This is a serious and big storm and my first message is to all people across the Eastern Seaboard mid-Atlantic going north, that you need to take this very seriously and follow the instructions of your state and local officials because they are going to be providing you with the best advice in terms of how to deal with this storm over the coming days.” Winds are blowing up to 150km/h. The storm is now making landfall in Southern New Jersey and Delaware. Officials in nine states and Washington D.C. have declared emergency measures. And at this hour, an estimated 1.5million people are without electricity.

Syrian military airplanes bombed rebel targets near the city of Damascus Monday. Opposition activists and witnesses said it was the fiercest air raid in the capital since the beginning of the Syrian conflict 19 months ago. One activist said more than 100 buildings were destroyed in the bombings Monday. Separately, a Syrian official said a terrorist car bomb killed ten people and wounded more than 40 others.

In Moscow on Monday, UN diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi said the international community must unite to help the Syrian people find a solution to the country’s crisis. He also said the United Nations is not sending a peacekeeping team to Syria.

Afghan officials say at least four Taliban fighters and two civilians are confirmed dead after a joint Afghan and NATO Operation in Eastern Afghanistan. The raid took place Monday in Ghazni Province.

Turkish police used tear gas and water cannon against thousands of protesters at a demonstration Monday in the capital Ankara. The protesters were trying to move past security barriers. After the clashes, police let the protesters continue marching. Officials had earlier denied permission for the Republic Day gathering. The holiday marks the establishment of a Turkish government that is religiously neutral.

Ministers from Pakistan, Britain and the United Arab Emirates have visited a British hospital that is treating a wounded Pakistani girl. Taliban gunmen shot Malala Yousafzai on October ninth in Swat Valley. The girl is an anti-Taliban activist who speaks publicly about the importance of educating girls. She received serious head and neck wounds in the attack. But, now, with help, she can talk and walk. The ministers met with her father and the medical director of the hospital. The Emirate Foreign Minister praised Malala’s bravery. He also said the people of the UAE were horrified by the attack. The British Foreign Minister said his country would do all it can to support education for women and girls in Pakistan.

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

American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Algeria on Monday for talks about fighting terrorism in the Sahel area of Africa. The VOA’s Karen Leggett reports. “Islamist groups took control of Northern Mali after Malian soldiers ousted the government in March. Since then, the militant group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has expanded its operations in Northern Mali. Secretary of State Clinton says the group is working with extremists to prevent democratic reforms in North Africa. She accused al-Qaeda in the Maghreb of being involved in the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans died in that attack. On Monday, Secretary Clinton spoke after her meeting with Algerian President Abdul Aziz Butaflika. She said the United States and Algeria agreed to support West African efforts to fight Islamists in Mali. An official traveling with Secretary Clinton says other countries look to Algeria for leadership because of the strength of its military and its intelligence. The Secretary of State added: ‘I very much appreciated the President’s analysis based on his long experience as to the many complicated factors that have to be addressed to deal with the internal insecurity in Mali and the terrorist and drug trafficking threat that is posed to the region and beyond.’ Africa shares a 2,000 kilometer border with Mali. Algerian officials are concerned that violence in Mali could spread to Southern Algeria or create a refugee problem. The Economic Community of West African States is working with Mali on plans for an international force. That would help the country’s military take back control of the north. A similar force in Somalia receives training, intelligence and other support from the international community. I’m Karen Leggett.”

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych appears to have regained his parliamentary majority in elections held Sunday. About 70% of the ballots have been counted. The president’s Regions Party and his Communist allies have received about 48% of the vote. The party of opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko received about 23% of the vote even though Ms. Timoshenko is in prison. About 3,500 foreign observers watched the vote.

And finally at this hour:

In South Korea, activists launched seven balloons toward North Korea Monday. The balloons were sent floating over the demilitarized zone that divides North and South Korea. They are carrying 50,000 leaflets that criticize North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and his country’s nuclear program. North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency had warned earlier that North Korea would carry out what it called a merciless strike if the balloons were launched. So far, there has not been any military response from the North.

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

A major Atlantic Ocean storm is bringing heavy rain to people living on the east coast of the United States. About 1.5million people have already lost electric power. Syrian planes bombed rebel targets near the capital Damascus Monday in one of the largest air raids in the capital since the conflict began. And in Turkey, police used tear gas and water cannon against thousands of protesters at a demonstration in Ankara.

That’s the news at this hour. I’m Christopher Cruise reporting from Washington.

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