December 2, 2016
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pledged Thursday to continue supporting Syrian forces in Aleppo until, in his words, the city is "cleared of terrorists."
Lavrov's comment came after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, who said the two diplomats agreed on the need to reach a cease-fire in Syria.
United Nations officials say civilians in eastern Aleppo are in a state of desperation. They are calling for a humanitarian pause to allow safe passage of the seriously wounded out of the besieged Syrian city. Lisa Schlein reports.
U.N. calls for a humanitarian pause have repeatedly been ignored and as time goes by, conditions for civilians trapped inside east Aleppo continue to deteriorate. U.N. food stocks have run out and the number of wounded unable to receive treatment continues to rise.
East Aleppo's hospitals are no longer functioning because Syrian and Russian forces have repeatedly bombed them.
Russia proposes opening four humanitarian corridors to allow the wounded to leave east Aleppo and aid convoys to enter the city.
Lisa Schlein, Geneva.
French President François Hollande has announced he does not plan to run for a second term.
He announced his intention Thursday in a televised address, saying he does not have sufficient support to win a second term. Hollande has the lowest approval ratings of any French president on record.
Oil prices rose Thursday, building on a momentum from an agreement by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut production.
The OPEC decision sent oil prices up by about 10 percent on Wednesday. Thursday's gains were more modest.
This is VOA news.
The European Union's law enforcement agency, Europol, says it has arrested five people in an online criminal enterprise.
Police agencies spanning the globe and representing 30 countries participated in the effort. The agency says it has closed down a criminal group known as Avalanche that has caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage through online cyberattacks.
The action follows a four-year-long investigation.
According to Europol, the Avalanche network contained around 500,000 infected computers around the world on any given day.
President-elect Donald Trump headed to the U.S. Midwest Thursday.
Trump visited the Carrier air conditioner company in Indiana after he and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Indiana's governor, wooed the manufacturer's executives with $7 million in tax incentives to keep most of their jobs in the state instead of sending them to Mexico.
Trump vowed to keep other companies from leaving the country.
"One of the things we're doing to keep them is we're going to be lowering our business tax from 35 percent, hopefully down to 15 percent, which would take us from the highest tax nation virtually in the world. This is terrible for business."
Later, he will hold a campaign-style rally in Ohio.
U.S. media reports say Trump has picked retired Marine General James Mattis as his defense secretary, but that Mattis will need a change in a federal law to be able to take the job. Trump is expected to officially make the nomination next week.
If Mattis ought to be approved by the U.S. Senate, Congress would have to waive a law requiring defense secretaries to be retired from active military service for at least seven years. Mattis retired in 2013.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that his government is "ready to cooperate" with the administration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
In his annual "state of the nation" address to the Russian parliament and the Federal Council, Mr. Putin said cooperation between Russia and the United States is "in the interest of the whole world."
The U.S. Senate gave final approval to an extension of the American sanctions law against Iran. Lawmakers from both parties said the law is critical to enforcing the international nuclear accord with Tehran.
Thursday's tally in the Senate was 99-0. The bill passed in the House 419-1.
Iranian officials blasted the bill, arguing it violates the nuclear pact.
A congressional committee Wednesday approved a measure that would pour $160 million into a two-year effort to counter foreign online propaganda.
The money is contained in the National Defense Authorization Act. It would expand the ability of the State Department's Global Engagement Center to identify and combat online disinformation. The bill still must be approved by the House and Senate and signed by the president.
In Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.