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WORLD NEWS- Dec 12th, 2012


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From Washington, here is the news in VOA Special English.

The United States has declared a Syrian Jihadist force as a terrorist organization. The State Department named Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist group Tuesday. It said Jabhat al-Nusra serves as another name for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The Jihadist force has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Syria. The Treasury Department said it was taking steps against two leaders of the al-Nusra Front because of their work for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The department also announced measures against two armed militia groups that support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Egypt’s top general has called for talks Wednesday between Islamist-supported President Mohamed Morsi and the opposition. The talks are an effort to end the growing political crisis in Egypt. The National Unity Appeal from General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi came as tens of thousands of protesters crowded Central Cairo. The demonstrators are divided between those who support and those who oppose a planned vote on a new national constitution. The document is widely supported by Mr. Morsi’s Islamist backers and strongly opposed by the opposition National Salvation Front. The opposition ignored an earlier army call for talks, but said it would decide Wednesday morning whether to attend.

The temporary Prime Minister of Mali Cheick Modibo Diarra resigned Tuesday hours after soldiers seized him as he was preparing to leave the country. Mr. Diarra apologized to the citizens of Mali during a short statement on television early Tuesday. He said they had been suffering as a result of the leadership crisis. He also said that he and his government were resigning in the interest of peace. The American State Department condemned the action by the military in Mali. A spokeswoman called for the military to stop interfering in Mali’s political affairs. She called Mr. Diarra’s arrest and resignation a setback to Mali’s efforts to restore democracy.

Leaders of Ghana’s main opposition party say they will dispute the results of the presidential election last week. Members of the party of opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo say there were voting irregularities during the election. They said the problems resulted in a narrow win for current President John Dramani Mahama. Mr. Akufo-Addo said Monday that he is not prepared to admit defeat. His New Patriotic Party has been gathering information from election stations.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is in Cuba for a cancer operation. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa said Mr. Chavez would have a very delicate operation on Tuesday. President Correa spoke in Ecuador after visiting President Chavez in Cuba Monday. On Saturday, Mr. Chavez said Vice President Nicolas Maduro would take over if his health should force him from office. Mr. Chavez who was reelected in October urged supporters to vote for Mr. Maduro if an election were held.

You are listening to the news in VOA Special English.

Police in Azerbaijan detained at least 30 protesters Monday in Baku. The group was demanding the right to gather and the suspension of Parliament. The protest took place on International Human Rights Day. Police officers quickly arrested protesters at Baku’s

Fountain Square
as the group called for free elections and for the government to resign. Rights groups and many Western governments have accused President Ilham Aliyev’s government of suppressing freedoms, threatening reporters and cheating in elections.

One of the world’s largest banks HSBC has agreed to pay a record 30759.9billion to settle a case in the United States. Prosecutors announced criminal charges against the British bank on Tuesday. A lawyer with the Criminal Division of the Justice Department told a news conference in New York City that the investigation took place over several years. He said it involved billions of dollars. The money was passed through the United States financial system to Mexican and Colombian drug traders and to countries facing restrictions.

Lawmakers in the central state of Michigan have approved two disputed anti-labor bills. The new laws will limit the influence of the American labor movement in the state. The lawmakers voted Tuesday as more than 10,000 protesters crowded the state capital and marched outside in freezing temperatures. The laws would harm labor unions by preventing them from including all workers as members who must pay union fees. Both measures passed the State Senate last week.

The Tibetan government in exile is criticizing China’s efforts against those who they suspect incite self-immolations. The Tibetan government says innocent Tibetans will likely suffer. State media reported this week that a Buddhist religious worker and his family member were detained for urging eight Tibetan protests. Police said the monk acted under orders from the Dalai Lama and his followers. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader has repeatedly denied such accusations.

Chinese state media say three Muslim Uigurs have been sentenced to death. They were found guilty of trying to hijack a plane earlier this year in the Xinjiang area. Reports say a Chinese court sentenced a fourth man to life-in-prison on Tuesday. The trials came after an attempted hijacking in June. The men were charged with organizing, leading and taking part in a terrorist group and attempting to set off explosives on an airplane. Uygur groups have disputed the government’s version. Xinjiang is home to a large population of Muslim Uyghurs. Many complain about religious and cultural repression by Chinese officials.

And now, briefly, here again is the major news for this hour in Special English.

The United States has declared a Syrian rebel group as terrorists. The Chief of the Egyptian military has called for talks to end the political crisis. And in Mali, the temporary Prime Minister has resigned after soldiers seized him as he prepared to leave the country.

That’s the news in VOA Special English.

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