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BBC News 2012-02-08

时间:2012-02-09 13:18来源:未知 作者:admin 点击:

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BBC News with David Austin

 

The commander of the Arab League observer mission in Syria, General Mohammed Ahmed al-Dabi, has said that violence in the country has escalated sharply since Tuesday when the observer mission's mandate was renewed for a second month. Activists on the ground have also reported a big upsurge in violence. Jim Muir is monitoring events from Beirut.

 

The latest reports of bloodshed are from across the country. At Aleppo, the second biggest city in the far north, activists said security forces opened fire on protesters after Friday prayers, causing heavy casualties. They reported similar scenes near Deraa in the south at the town of Nawa, where they said the military shot at people in a funeral procession. Heavy bombardment and shooting were reported in the two big cities north of Damascus - Homs and Hama - and also in some of the townships around the capital itself. The local coordinating committees of the uprising said it all added up to a clear escalation against the rebelling people.

 

The United Nations Security Council is discussing a draft resolution urging President Assad to stand down. There will be no vote for procedural and political reasons. The Europeans want the strongest possible appeal from Arab states to avoid another Russian veto. Russia's only naval base in the Middle East is in Syria's Mediterranean port of Tartus.

 

France is speeding up the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan. The French President Nicolas Sarkozy said they'd be home by the end of 2013 - a year earlier than the deadline set for the withdrawal of all Nato-led forces. Christian Fraser reports from Paris.

 

France has 3,600 soldiers in Afghanistan. A thousand will be withdrawn this year. Only a few hundred will remain after 2013 to oversee the transition. The decision has surely been taken with public opinion in mind. In a survey published on Thursday, 84% of French people said they supported the full withdrawal of troops by the end of this year. France spends around 500m a year on its Afghan operations, and the government's commitment in Afghanistan is getting harder to defend.

 

South Sudan says it'll completely shut down its oil production because of a dispute over transit fees with its northern neighbour, Sudan. Talks between the two countries in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa have failed to resolve the disagreement. South Sudan's chief negotiator Pagan Amum told the BBC that all output of oil will be halted within two days.

 

"What we have here is that the government of Sudan is stealing the oil resources of the people of South Sudan. The government of South Sudan decided to shut down the production of oil and to stop pumping oil into the pipeline in north Sudan. That is all what has happened and nothing more. There is no war, no aggression from our side. The aggression is on the side of the government of Sudan." Pagan Amum

 

World News from the BBC

 

An aide to Pervez Musharraf says the former Pakistani president has decided to postpone his return to the country. General Musharraf had previously announced he would end his self-imposed exile and fly back to Pakistan by the end of this month to revive his political career. He's wanted in Pakistan in connection with the murder of the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He denies any wrongdoing.

 

The United States economy expanded at an annual rate of nearly 3% in the final quarter of 2011, showing its strongest growth for more than a year. The growth figures suggest that the United States is in a stronger position to emerge from the economic downturn than Europe. From Washington, Ian Pannell reports.

 

It will be wrong to think that the latest figures are unbridled good news, but they are seen by some as grounds for optimism. They show a small improvement in the US economy, and certainly given the news from Europe, America appears to be in a stronger position. Consumer confidence is up, and Americans blew the cobwebs from their wallets and purses and spent more on cars, trucks and durable goods at the end of last year. Companies stocked their shelves and invested in new equipment, and unemployment, though high, has fallen for six months in a row .

 

The credit ratings agency Fitch has downgraded the status of Spain and Italy. Three other countries - Belgium, Slovenia and Cyprus - were also marked down. Fitch, which is based in the United States, said the countries were vulnerable to monetary and financial shocks, and there was a 50% chance they would suffer further downgrades over the next two years.

 

A host of international authors - including seven Nobel laureates - have come together to condemn attacks on journalists in Mexico. The writers took out a full-page advert in the Mexican newspaper El Universal to call for an end to killing, impunity and intimidation. Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists with more than 60 murdered in the past decade.

 

Those are the latest stories from BBC News.

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