December 4, 2016
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David Byrd reporting.
Syrian warplanes, artillery and mortars continued to pound rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo on Saturday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least three people were killed. The Syrian Civil Defense forces put the death toll at six.
U.N. special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said in Rome that the humanitarian situation is becoming more desperate, especially because of cold weather.
"I can't imagine President Putin talking to President Trump on the 21st of January and having a discussion but see there with Aleppo destroyed in a massacre there. I don't think that would be a good thing to imagine."
Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow is ready to send military experts and diplomats to Geneva to work with the United States to ensure the pullout of all rebels from eastern Aleppo.
Lavrov will meet with Secretary of State John Kerry next week in Geneva.
In Oakland, California, officials fear a [death] massive fire will cause more than 40 deaths. At least nine people are confirmed dead and 25 are still unaccounted for.
Libby Schaaf is Oakland's mayor: "I spent my morning doing what is our priority and that is focusing on the families of their loved ones that are waiting to hear information and waiting for us to address this very complicated and devastating scene."
Fire broke out in the huge warehouse late Friday night. Officials said they had to shore up the building Saturday because some of the walls were unstable. The warehouse did not have sprinklers which could have helped extinguish the blaze.
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Fallout continued Saturday from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's Friday phone call with Taiwan's leader Tsai Ing-wen. China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi called it a petty trick by Taiwan and re-emphasized that the "one China" policy is the basis of Washington's relationship with Beijing.
Washington ended diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 but still sells the island billions of dollars in defense and other supplies.
China regards Taiwan as a renegade province.
Full military honors and thousands of fans for a tiny stadium in Chapeco, Brazil, on Saturday to honor the Chapecoense football team whose members died in a plane crash on Monday.
Heavy rain fell as grief-stricken fans mourned the loss of the modest club members who nearly reached the pinnacle of Latin American football.
The accident Monday in the Colombian Andes claimed most of the team's players and staff as they headed to the finals of one of Latin America's most important club tournaments. Seventy-one of the 77 people on board died, including 19 players on the team.
The cortege bearing the ashes of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has reached Santiago de Cuba, where an elaborate funeral service is planned for Sunday.
Castro's ashes have traveled 1,000 kilometers across Cuba drawn by a trailer behind a green army jeep.
Thousands of Cubans have lined the route from Havana to Santiago to say their farewells. Castro died last week at the age of 90.
Some high-profile leftist friends of the former Cuban leader are expected to attend his funeral, including Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro, Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega and Evo Morales of Bolivia.
Castro's ashes will be interred near the remains of Cuban independence hero José Marti in Santiago.
Hundreds of people gathered outside Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity Saturday for the traditional lighting of a giant Christmas tree and colorful fireworks marking the beginning of the Christmas season.
Cheers went up as the huge tree was illuminated in Manger Square.
Tony Marcos is the General Director of Bethlehem Municipality: "The message of Bethlehem is a loud cry to the whole international community to do its utmost and to put huge efforts to achieve peace in this holy land."
Bethlehem is revered as the birthplace of Jesus Christ and attracts thousands of tourists and Christian pilgrims to the festive Christmas season.
For more, visit our website voanews.com. I'm David Byrd in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.