By Diane Diaz,2014-04-13 01:26
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Broadcast on 2006-01-25

     Reports from Kuwait say a battle over the succession to rule the Gulf States has come to an end after the ailing Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah agreed to renounce his right to the throne. Sheikh Saad, who is seriously ill, was named the new leader a week ago, following the death of the late emir. The latest move paves the way for the Prime Minister and long-time de facto ruler, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad, to become the country's new emir. Our Gulf correspondent Juliet Wheeler reports.

     The reports that Sheikh Saad is to relinquish the position of emir came less than 12 hours before a parliamentary vote was due to be taken on his fitness to govern. Parliament had been requested by the cabinet to take the vote ahead of Sheikh Saad's official swearing-in ceremony. The political squabbles of the Al-Sabah family have been witnessed by Kuwaitis, other Gulf Arabs and the wide world. But now though, it seems a compromise has been reached within the family, and parliament will not be asked for its opinion on Sheikh Saad's ability to rule. The resignation is likely to be welcomed as a peaceful solution to the worst leadership crisis the country has ever seen.

     The Ford Motor Company has unveiled plans to lay off up to 30,000 workers and shut down 14 plants in North America as part of an attempt to turn around its loss-making operation. The cuts will hit nearly a quarter of Ford's North American workforce. The Chairman Bill Ford has described the restructuring plan as a last resort. Our business correspondent Th.L. said the US car industry is facing huge competition from Asia.

     For years and years, they had everything in their own way. They dominated their home market. They also exported cars around the world. American cars were the best. That simply isn't the case any more. And the Japanese have invested time and money into building cars that people want to buy. And gradually, they've been making inroads into the US market. And what's really sparked the thing off now is that the American car makers were focusing on building big, powerful off-road cars. But then with rising oil prices, the cost running those went up, people became a little less enthusiastic about them. And they've started to find that the products the Japanese offering have more appeal.

     Voting has been taking place across Canada's five time zones in elections that could bring a radical political shift in the country. Polls suggest the opposition conservatives led by Stephen Harper are likely to win, dislodging the governing Liberals for the first time in almost 13 years.

     You are listening to the news from the BBC.

     The African Union has set up a special committee to try to resolve the question of who should take the presidency of the organization. It's due to present its report on Tuesday. Sudan has already indicated that it's prepared to withdraw its controversial bid to lead the AU. A presidential advisor's quoted as saying that Khartoum would cancel the bid if it caused divisions within the organization. Jonah

Fisher reports from Khartoum.

     After five long hours of close-door talks between Africa's leaders, no decision has been reached. African Union officials said a small committee had been set up to resolve the issue and that they would deliver their verdict first seen on Tuesday. Sudan's bid to host the African Union has split the organization along regional alliance. Sudan believes that as host, it has the right to take the chairmanship and has the support of both East and North Africa. Other African states are worried that choosing Sudan while violence in Darfur continues would seriously damage the AU's credibility.

     England's Football Association has said Sven-Goran Eriksson is to step down as the national football coach by mutual consent after the World Cup finals this summer. The announcement follows allegations he's reported to have made about corruption at the highest level of the game. The FA said the announcement was being made now to end months of speculation over Mr. Eriksson's future which could have clouded England's preparations for the World Cup in Germany. On Sunday, a British tabloid newspaper alleged that during a conversation with an undercover reporter in Dubai, Mr. Eriksson and his agent named three premiership clubs which they believed to have involved in making illegal payments during player transfers. Brian Barwick is the Chief Executive of England's Football Association.

     It's been a long day, it's been a fruitful day, and we now look forward to the World Cup. There's some with spending charge and we'd set them free to follow his football future with our best wishes.

     The new Bolivian President Evo Morales has put into practice one of his main election promises by appointing several members of the indigenous Indian community to his cabinet. Mr. Morales, who was inaugurated as Bolivia's first indigenous head of state on Sunday, announced his sixteen-member cabinet on his first day in office. He's appointed ministers from a wide range of Bolivian society including miners, business leaders, trade unions and women. Mr. Morales promised there would be zero corruption and zero bureaucracy.

     BBC News.

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