NPR 2010-03-29(在线收听

From NPR News in Washington, I’m Lakshmi Singh.


President Obama is rallying American and NATO troops behind what he calls a clear mission in Afghanistan to wipe out al-Qaeda and stabilize Afghanistan.


“We’re gonna deny al-Qaeda safe haven. We’re gonna reverse the Taliban’s momentum. We’re gonna strengthen the capacity of Afghan security forces and the Afghan government so that they can begin taking responsibility and gain confidence of the Afghan people.”


The president speaking to thousands of forces at Bagram air base in Kabul today. He arrived just hours earlier, and NPR’s Scott Horsley was there.


President Obama flew into Afghanistan after dark on Sunday, and he’s scheduled to leave before sunrise Monday morning. In between, he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and got an “on the ground update” from US Commander Stanley McCrystal. US and allied forces are preparing for a major offensive in the city of Kandahar. That’s Taliban refuge in southern Afghanistan. Mr. Obama’s ordered an additional 30,000 US troops to the country, bringing the total to about 100,000 by late summer. Scott Horsley, NPR News, Kabul.


Libya and the European Union are doing away with visa blacklist which jeopardize their economic ties. From Cairo, NPR’s Peter Kenyon reports a dispute began last summer when Swiss police arrested Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s son.


The European Union launched a concerted diplomatic effort to end the visa crisis which was affecting travel by citizens of more than two dozen European countries and Libya. European states at the instigation of Switzerland had barred entry visas for nearly 200 Libyan citizens, including Gadhafi and his top aides. For its part, Libya banned entry visas for large numbers of Europeans, and Gadhafi declared jihad on Switzerland and imposed a trade embargo against the Swiss. Gadhafi’s son Hannibal was arrested in Geneva in July 2008 on charges of abusing domestic workers. Those charges were later dropped. Libya subsequently detained a Swiss businessman and jailed him on charges of violating immigration rules. The businessman’s lawyer said he hopes his client will be released soon after the Arab summit this weekend. Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Cairo.


Arab leaders are apparently no closer to agreeing on whether or not the Palestinians should keep pursuing peace talks with Israel. The conflict was one of the top issues at the Arab League’s annual summit that was held in Libya this weekend.


Several deadly explosions today in Iraq are raising fears about post-election violence in that country. Authorities say one bomb blew up near the house of a Sunni politician who ran in this month’s parliamentary elections that were held March 7th. When people gathered at the scene, four more bombs exploded. At least six people died; more than two dozen were injured. And violence persists as Iraq prepares for a new coalition government. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is appealing the results.


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On Sunday, Mass at the Vatican marking the start of Holy Week for Roman Catholic at St. Peter’s Square. This as Pope Benedict XVI is under fire for his handling of sex abuse cases. The Roman Catholic Church has been rocked by recent wave of allegations of abuse by priests and caused to hold the Vatican accountable.


New York-based Human Rights Watch has urged the United Nations to boost peacekeeping forces in the African countries where the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army operates. NPR’s Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports the appeal comes a day after confirmation that rebels killed more than 300 people late last year in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Human Rights Watch detailed the massacre by Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in a remote part of northeastern Congo in December. It’s reported victims were hacked to death with machetes or had their skulls crushed with axes and tree trunks. Children, who’d been forcibly recruited, were ordered to kill other children who disobeyed the rebels’ rules. Human Rights Watch said poor communications meant the four-day rebel rampage had gone unreported and called on the UN to increase its current 1,000 peacekeepers in impenetrable areas where the rebels mount their attacks. For more than 20 years, the Ugandan militia group has abducted and killed people at home and in neighboring Sudan, Central African Republic and Congo. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Abuja.


The International Red Cross is reporting that a soldier taken hostage nearly a year ago in Columbia has been freed. The humanitarian group says it rescued the 23-year-old private in the jungles of southern Columbia today.


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