December 8, 2016
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
A coalition of six nations -- the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Britain -- are calling for an immediate cease-fire in Aleppo. They are condemning Russia for interfering with attempts to bring humanitarian aid to civilians trapped in the Syrian city.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held talks with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Germany Wednesday.
The military coalition fighting to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul made an unusual strike Wednesday on militants holed up in a hospital building. The coalition says the building had been taken over by militants who were firing guns and rockets at Iraqi forces.
It is unclear how many casualties resulted from the carefully targeted strike.
Authorities in Indonesia Wednesday declared a two-week state of emergency after an earthquake hit Aceh province. That quake on the northern tip of Sumatra killed at least 97 people and wounded more than 500.
A Pakistani plane crashed while traveling from the northern town of Chitral to Islamabad Wednesday, killing all 48 people on board.
The Pakistan International Airlines plane went down and burst into flames in an isolated mountainous area.
The airlines' chairman said the pilot had informed the control tower that one of the plane's engines had stopped functioning.
What was billed as the last big gathering of survivors of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor took place Wednesday in Hawaii. The observance came 75 years to the day after the surprise attack that took the lives of 2,400 people and brought the United States into World War II.
This is VOA news.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine General John Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security and he says former critic Mitt Romney is still being considered for secretary of state. That's reinforcing reports that Romney remains the leading contender for the position.
Trump selected Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the next U.S. ambassador to China and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt will be nominated to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
Time magazine, meanwhile, has named President-elect Trump as its annual "Person of the Year." Marcus Harton has more.
After the magazine's selection was announced, Mr. Trump called in to NBC's Today Show. he agreed with Time's characterization of a divided nation but rejected the notion that he was partly responsible for the split.
"... it's divided. I'm not president yet. So I didn't do anything to divide."
Mr. Trump defended his frequent use of Twitter, telling Today Show host Matt Lauer it's a way to reach people more honestly, then dealing with what he called "dishonest reporters."
Marcus Harton, Washington.
The British Parliament voted Wednesday to support Prime Minister Theresa May's March 31 deadline to begin the nation's formal exit from the European Union.
The government agreed to reveal some details about its negotiations on Brexit. Ms. May had been reluctant to reveal much, believing that doing so would weaken Britain's hand in the talks.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a meeting in France with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The proposed December meeting in Paris was aimed at restarting long-stalled Middle East peace efforts.
Mr. Netanyahu expressed willingness to meet privately with Abbas, but not at international conferences, such as the France-sponsored summit.
Vote-counting is going on in the West African nation of Ghana, that coming after an election in which Ghanaians chose the next president and parliament.
Incumbent President John Mahama is seeking a second term.
Forces in Somalia's Puntland region have retaken Qandala, the only town in the country that was controlled by fighters allied with the Islamic State group. Puntland troops recaptured the Red Sea coastal town just after 10 a.m. local time Wednesday.
A survey released Wednesday shows that approximately 70 percent of Afghans believe their country is moving in the wrong direction. The annual survey by the San Francisco-based Asia Foundation shows the lowest level of optimism in more than a decade.
According to the survey, the reason for the foul mood is insecurity, corruption and rising unemployment.
On Wall Street, U.S. stock indexes were higher at the close of trade on Wednesday.
In Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.