A Syrian human rights group says Syrian security forces have arrested at least sixty-eight people. The arrests took place around the coastal city of Baniyas. An employee of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA, Tuesday, that the arrests may be related to the kidnapping of a top-level Syrian officer. Twenty-five women, three children and at least forty men are among those being held. None of those arrested has been charged. The human rights group says they are being held to convince rebel fighters to turn themselves in. The Observatory wants the United Nations General Assembly to call for a ceasefire to help end the unrest.
A bomb explosion Tuesday killed at least seven people in eastern Turkey. Security sources say the device went off along a road in the city of Tunceli as a military vehicle was passing by. At least six soldiers and one civilian were killed. Smoke from the explosion was seen over much of the city. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but officials say they suspect Kurdish rebels. Last week, Kurdish militants killed ten soldiers and wounded at least sixty people in a rocket attack on a group of military vehicles in the southeastern province of Bingol.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says poverty, joblessness and government corruption are making young people in the Middle East angry. Mr. Romney told world leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, Tuesday, that religious extremism is not the whole story. He says that if he is elected president he will try to create jobs overseas. That would include sending aid to developing countries that remove trade barriers and open their markets to American investment. President Obama also spoke at the forum. He announced new plans to fight human trafficking, which he calls modern slavery. Both the President and Mr. Romney will campaign Wednesday in the Midwest state of Ohio. It is one of several states important to winning the election.
You are listening to the news in VOA Special English.
Chinese President Hu Jintao has put the country's first aircraft carrier into service. The act raises new concerns about China's growing military strength. Premier Wen Jiabao and other top officials joined hundreds of navy personnel in the ceremony, Tuesday, at the northeastern port city of Dalian. China bought the three hundred meter Soviet ship in nineteen ninety-eight from Ukraine. It was repaired at Dalian. It has been renamed Liaoning after China's northeastern province where the port is located. The Defense Ministry said the aircraft carrier is important in raising the fighting strength of China's navy.
Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi spoke to members of the Burmese population in the United States, Tuesday. She was hopeful about Burma's move toward democracy. Thousands of supporters came to see her speak in the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Midwestern city is home to one of the nation's largest Burmese communities. It is the fourth stop on Aung San Suu Kyi's seventeen-day tour. She delivered most of her speech in Burmese. But, before she started, the sixty-seven-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner spoke English and called the United States the greatest democracy in the world. She also called on the United States to life trade limits with Burma. The United States has already eased some restrictions on trade with Burma since the country began approving democratic reforms.
The United Nations is expected to consider Mali's request for an international force this week. The country is trying to recapture its northern territory from Islamist militants. The U.N. may consider the issue as early as Wednesday during a high-level meeting in New York on the security situation in Africa's Sahel area. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Mali asked for the force in a letter to the U.N. chief. The Malian government and a group of fifteen nations known as ECOWAS recently agreed on deploying West African troops under a U.N. order. The U.N. is very concerned about al-Qaida-linked militants in northern Mali and the worsening security situation there. The human rights group says Islamist militants who control northern Mali are using hundreds of child soldiers, some as young as eleven. Human Rights Watch says the children are being used both for military purposes and to enforce the militants' severe version of Islamic law called Sharia. Using children as soldiers violates international law. Children between eleven and seventeen years of age are reportedly learning how to use weapons and how to command security stations. Local citizens say young teenagers are guarding the streets for Islamic police and have beaten women for failing to cover their heads. The report was released Tuesday. It also details beatings, the cutting off of body parts and destruction of religious places by the militant groups.
President Obama has called on world leaders to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism. A Syrian human rights group says Syrian security forces have arrested at least sixty-eight people and a bomb explosion Tuesday killed at least seven people in eastern Turkey.
That's the news in VOA Special English from Washington.