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BBC news with Jonathan Weekley.

The United States Senate has voted in favor of one of President Obama’s key domestic policies, the extension of health care to 30 million uninsured Americans. The bill was passed by 60 votes to 39. Mark Mardell in Washington has the details.
It’s the first time in more than 100 years that the US Senators voted on Christmas Eve and that’s not the only reason that it is a historic moment. Since the beginning of the last century, it’s been the dream of liberal Americans to provide their country with universal health care. That is now a step closer. This bill would give cover to more than 30 million Americans who currently don’t have it, making it compulsory to have insurance and stopping insurance companies from refusing to cover people who are ill or who get sick. But it's not over. This bill has to be merged with another more left-wing one from the House. But the Senators are now on their way home and that will wait for the new year.
While President Obama has expressed his pleasure at the successful Senate vote. He said the bill was the most important piece of social legislation since the 1930s. Mr Obama said he looked forward to working with both Houses of Congress in the coming weeks to complete the legislation, so he could sign it into law.

The authorities in Yemen say their forces have killed more than 30 Al-Qaeda militants in an air raid. Officials said the militants were meeting in a remote mountainous region to plan attacks on Yemeni and foreign oil targets. Peter Bowes reports.
Al-Qaeda is seen as a growing threat in Yemen, where there are a number of ungoverned areas especially in the east. In response, the Yemeni authorities appear to be stepping up their attacks. The latest air raid, targeted at militants, may have killed some senior commanders of Al-Qaeda but this has not been confirmed. Last week, another Yemeni air strike is reported to have killed 34 Al-Qaeda members.

Bomb attacks in Iraq have killed at least 23 people and wounded many others. There were two near-simultaneous explosions at a crowded bus station in the town of Hilla, south of Baghdad. And then a short time later, two further blasts in Baghdad itself. From there, Rob Walker sent this report.
Iraqi police sources say the first explosions took place in the southern town of Hilla. A car bomb exploded at a crowded bus station. Shortly afterwards, an improvised explosive device went off while police were trying to defuse it. The head of the bomb disposal team was killed. Then two further bombs exploded in Baghdad. The police say that one of the devices was aimed at Shiite pilgrims. These attacks come as security forces are on high alert during the Shiite religious commemorations of Ashura.

An Israeli man has been shot dead near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the man’s car came under fire near the settlement of Einav. Israeli forces are searching the area for his attackers. Police said they hadn’t yet determined whether the attack was carried out by Palestinian militants.

World news from the BBC.

Georgia says it has agreed with Russia to reopen their land border. The Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said she expected it to reopen by the beginning of March. The border was closed in 2006. As Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports.
There has been virtually no contact at all between Moscow and Tbilisi since Russia invaded its smaller neighbour in August last year. So the news that they are to reopen their border is a significant step forward, especially for the many Georgian and Russian families separated by the conflict. But the deep hostility between the Russian and Georgian governments remains unabated. Today Russia’s deputy prime minister accused the Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili of behaving like the Taliban after he ordered the demolition of a massive Soviet-era war memorial.

The central bank in Iran says defaced bank notes are to be made invalid following an opposition campaign for people to write anti-government slogans on the money. The bank said people possessing defaced notes should exchange them by the 8th of January. Messages which support opposition leaders and denounce the government have appeared on bank notes since June’s disputed election.

The Ugandan-born Archbishop of York John Sentamu has spoken out against legislation proposed in Uganda that could lead to death sentences for homosexuals. Archbishop Sentamu, the second highest ranking clergyman in the Church of England, desCRIbed the proposed law as victimizing. He said the Anglican Communion was committed to recognizing the gay people were valued by God.

President John Atta Mills of Ghana is refusing to accept Christmas presents from well wishers this year because he says they may be intended to corrupt him. Sending gifts to people in authority is a Christmas tradition in Ghana, but a spokesman for the president said he felt it was better not to accept them as the givers may be seeking something in return.

BBC news.
来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: http://www.tingvoa.com/html/20091228/11103.html
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