December 9, 2016
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday said the Syrian government has stopped all active military operations in Aleppo.
The pause in military activity would allow a humanitarianevacuation of wounded people.
Reaction in Washington was to wait and see what actually happens in the city.
Lavrov says a meeting has been scheduled Saturday in Geneva between U.S. and Russian military experts to discuss the situation in the embattled city.
Earlier Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he was hopeful about a potential cease-fire agreement with Russia to end the fighting in Aleppo. But Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said his troops will continue to fight.
Jan Egeland, senior adviser to the United Nations special envoy for Syria, said at a press briefing the Syrian government had given the U.N. access to eastern Aleppo but the organization was helpless to take aid into the city as long as fighting was taking place there. He said aid is ready to roll.
"We need, I would say, 48 hours and then we are able to provide food for 150,000 people. It's there in west Aleppo, it's like crossing from east to west in Geneva." :Jan Egeland.
South Korean lawmakers introduced a motion to impeach President Park Geun-hye over a multimillion dollar corruption scandal.
That motion was introduced Thursday during a session of parliament. Lawmakers will probably take a formal vote Friday.
Rescue workers in Indonesia searched Thursday for people who still might be trapped in rubble caused by an earthquake that struck Aceh province.
The magnitude 6.5 quake has killed about 100 people and injured more than 600.
A 7.8 magnitude quake hit off the coast of the Solomon Islands early Friday. No immediate reports of casualties .
Another earthquake off the coast of northern California in the Pacific.
This is VOA news.
U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump has [picked up a global warming skeptic], I should say, picked a global warming skeptic and staunch ally of the fossil fuel industry to head the country's Environmental Protection Agency.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been a key critic of President Barack Obama's plan to fight climate change by slashing carbon emissions from the nation's power plants.
Trump says he wants the agency to focus on keeping the nation's air and water clean.
Media reports say Trump has picked restaurant executive Andrew Puzder, a critic of minimum wage boosts and other worker protections, to head the Labor Department.
Trump planned several trips Thursday. A visit to Columbus, Ohio, was to meet with survivors of an attack on college students last week by a Somali immigrant.
The president-elect will travel to Des Moines, Iowa, for another Thank You Rally.
On the foreign affairs front, the United Nations Syrian envoy Staffan de Mistura said Thursday that he is planning to meet with Trump's transition team.
Ghana's electoral commission is slowly releasing results from Wednesday's presidential and parliamentary elections.
Meanwhile, political parties have been making claims about the outcome.
Francisca Forson reports.
Ghanaians are eagerly waiting to get official word about the presidential race between incumbent John Mahama and opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo.
But both the ruling NDC party and opposition NPP have been given their own versions of the outcome.
The NPP organized a press conference Thursday morning, declaring victory for its candidate.
Electoral commission officials held a news conference where they said the commission is the only mandator body to declare election results.
Francisca Kakra Forson, Accra.
An anti-corruption group says Afghans paid an estimated $3 billion in bribes in the past year, registering an almost 50 percent increase since 2014.
The findings are part of a biennial corruption survey released Thursday by Integrity Watch Afghanistan.
According to the survey, "Respondents who dealt with the courts reported they were asked for bribes 55 percent of the time." Results were not much better when they dealt with prosecutors or municipal governments.
The survey determined corruption is a major factor in fueling the Taliban insurgency and called for President Asharf Ghani's government to introduce promised reforms.
The head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service says Western nations are facing serious threats to their security and political systems from the hostile propaganda output and cyberattacks by rival states.
MI6 head Alex Younger spoke to reporters in London, warning that risks from cyber threats are profound and represent a threat to national sovereignty.
He singled out Russia for its alleged high-tech subversion.
In Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.