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WORLD NEWS - Dec 21st, 2012

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我们勤劳的会员“Edward”于2012年12月23日发布了关于这篇文章的精华帖子,全文如下:

From Washington, I’m Christopher Cruise.

All United Nations Security Council members agreed Thursday to deploy foreign troops to Mali. The measure aims to bring peace, protect human rights and remove the threat of terrorism from the country. At the same time, the UN is demanding the country work toward political stability and elections. Mali’s Foreign Minister called the decision historic and said it will help return power to Mali’s official government. The council did not say when the troops would be deployed or how many of them would be deployed. The troops will try to reunite the country after groups linked to al-Qaeda took control of the north in April.

The United Nations Refugee Agency says up to 55 people died when a boat sank off the coast of Somalia on Tuesday. The agency said the boat was carrying Somalis who were fleeing their country. It was going to Yemen. The UN officials said the boat overturned just 15 minutes into the trip. They said 23 bodies have been found. Thirty-two passengers are believed to have drowned. Five young men swam to safety. The men said the boat was too crowded.

The State Department says American officials made mistakes before the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The American ambassador and three other Americans were killed in the attack. Top State Department officials spoke at a Senate hearing on Thursday. They said State Department officials failed to analyze information correctly ahead of the attack. Wednesday, the State Department’s Chief of Security resigned. Three other officials were asked to leave their positions after an investigation found serious problems with the department. Senator John Kerry, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Thursday Congress must take some responsibility for mistakes leading to the attack.

Afghan officials are meeting with the Taliban and other militant groups to discuss the country’s future as NATO forces get ready to withdraw in 2014. The talks are being held in private. They began on Thursday near Paris. The meetings marked the first time that Taliban officials, top leaders of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance and members of the High Peace Council have held direct talks. Afghan President Hamid Karzai established the Peace Council in 2010 to try to start talks with Taliban militants. The talks were aimed at persuading the militants to end violence and join the political peace process.

United Nations human rights investigators have released a new report on Syria. It says thousands have died in the nearly two-year-old crisis. And it says fighting between government forces and rebels has become a religious war that has led foreigners to join in the fighting on each side.

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

South Africa’s president says Nelson Mandela’s health is improving. Mr. Mandela recently had lung problems and surgery to remove gallstones. Mr. Mandela is 94. He became South Africa’s first black president after spending 27 years in prison for opposing racial discrimination. President Jacob Zuma spoke at a conference of the ruling African National Congress on Thursday. He said Mr. Mandela’s condition was serious. But he said the former president is reacting well to treatment. Mr. Zuma called him a fighter who has met all of his challenges with courage and calm.

More funerals and memorial services were held Thursday for victims of the school-shooting in the American community of Newtown, Connecticut. The latest victims to be buried were as young as six years old. They were among the 26 students and adults who died last Friday when a gunman opened fire at the school. The gunman died after shooting himself in the head. Police believe he also killed his mother before he began shooting at the school.

American government agency chiefs have joined to find solutions to gun violence. Vice President Joe Biden is leading the group. It was created in answer to the school killings in the state of Connecticut last week. The group held its first meeting in Washington on Thursday. It included the country’s top law, education and health officials. President Obama has said he will act quickly on the groups’ ideas for how to stop mass-killings by gunmen using military style weapons. The American constitution permits citizens to have guns.

The American economy improved a little faster over the summer than the government expected. But it may be slowing down. The government said Thursday that the economy grew just over 3% from July to September. That was twice as fast as it had grown in the spring. Officials say stronger spending on health care and more exports led to the faster summer growth. But analysts say the economy may have slowed down in autumn. They say it may have suffered from a large storm that hit the east coast in October. And it also struggled because of uncertainty about government tax and spending issues. The American economy is the largest in the world.

And finally at this hour:

South Korea’s president-elect Park Geun-hye promised Thursday to make national security a top concern. She also warned about the dangers of North Korea. In her first major speech since being elected, Ms. Park said North Korea’s recent rocket-launch is an example of the threat facing South Korea. But she also said she would begin a new period in the Korean Peninsula of strong security and diplomacy based on trust. That could signal a desire to improve diplomatic relations with the North. On Wednesday, Ms. Park, a Conservative lawmaker, won 51.6% of the vote becoming the first woman to ever win a presidential election in South Korea.

And now, briefly, here again is the major news of the hour reported to you in VOA Special English. The United Nations Security Council agreed Thursday to deploy foreign troops to Mali. The council did not say when the troops would be deployed or how many of them would be sent to the West African nation. South Africa’s president says former President Nelson Mandela’s health is improving. And American government agency chiefs have joined to try to find solutions to gun violence in the United States.

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

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