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VOA Offers Comprehensive Coverage of Madagascar


"Exceptional circumstances need exceptional measures," new president said

Washington, D.C., March 18, 2009 - The Voice of America (www.VOANews.com) is providing round-the-clock, ongoing coverage of political turmoil in Madagascar by a VOA correspondent, stringers and regular telephone interviews with principals including the self-declared president.

Scott Bobb, a VOA correspondent, is filing stories from Antananarivo, the capital of the island nation in the Indian Ocean where Andry Rajoelina says he is the new president. The military handed him power following the resignation of President Marc Ravalomanana.

Rajoelina told VOA's French to Africa Service, in a telephone interview before he took power, that "exceptional circumstances need exceptional measures."

A former disc jockey, Rajoelina, 34, is six years younger than the required age for president under Madagascar's constitution. He has said he will schedule free and fair elections within two years.

Rajoelina, an opposition leader, had led a series of anti-government protests over the past several months, resulting in the deaths of at least 100 people. The African Union has urged Madagascar to respect the constitution, and Washington has warned it could cut off aid to the country.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail askvoa@voanews.com.



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