November 17, 2016
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
At least 32 civilians have been killed in the past 24 hours as Syrian government warplanes and artillery hit rebel-held districts of the city of Aleppo for a second day.
The bombardment has damaged two hospitals, a blood bank, and residential buildings in the city's eastern neighborhoods.
In what is likely to be his last overseas foreign policy speech, U.S. President Barack Obama told an audience in Greece, the cradle of democracy, Wednesday that American democracy is imperfect but, in his words, "better than the alternatives."
"Our trajectory as a country has been to support the efforts of those who believe in self-governance, who believe in those ideas that began here so many years ago."
Reflecting on his time as president, the U.S. leader said his travels show him that people everywhere in the world desire dignity and self-determination.
The Russian Supreme Court has overturned the conviction of opposition figure and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny. The court has sent the case back to a lower court for retrial.
Navalny was convicted in 2013 of embezzling timber and sentenced to five years in prison.
The trial was largely perceived as a vendetta against a rising political star, coming just two months before the Moscow mayoral election, in which Navalny was a candidate.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to take his country out of the International Criminal Court a day after [the United Nations committee] a United Nations committee condemned Russia for human rights abuses in Crimea.
Ukrainian and U.S. officials hailed the committee action but Russia condemned it as politically motivated.
This is VOA news.
Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to ease the minds of those worried that the next U.S. president will destroy the global agreement to deal with climate change.
Kerry spoke in Morocco at the U.N. climate conference.
"I can tell you with confidence that the United States is right now today on our way to meeting all of the international targets that we've set and because of the market decisions that are being made, I do not believe that that can or will be reversed."
President-elect Donald Trump, on the campaign trail, spoke of ripping up the Paris Agreement on reducing greenhouse gasses. Shortly after his surprise victory, Trump appointed climate change skeptic Myron Ebell to lead his Environmental Protection Agency transition team.
Meanwhile, Trump says his transition to the presidency is going smoothly. He rebuffed reports of infighting among his key advisers.
U.S. news media are reporting that Trump's transition team experienced turmoil after his aides ousted two national security advisers.
Senate Democrats and a few Republicans expressed consternation over reports that Trump is considering former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former ambassador John Bolton for secretary of state. Giuliani is thought by some to be too inexperienced in foreign affairs. Bolton is described by one Democrat as scary. However, both men also have their defenders in the Senate.
Three Somali-American men have been sentenced to long prison terms for conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State group.
The men, Mohamed Farah, Abdirahman Daud and Guled Omar, were charged with plotting to join the militant group.
A total of nine men from Minnesota's large Somali community are being sentenced this week.
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Melvin Laird has died. His grandson says he died Wednesday in Florida at the age of 94.
Laird was a congressman from Wisconsin before he became Pentagon chief during the Nixon administration.
The U.S. and South Korea are continuing efforts to prosecute North Korea for alleged human rights violations.
On Wednesday, the United Nations official in charge of North Korean human rights met with South Korea's foreign minister in Seoul. They plan to bring a North Korean human rights resolution before the United Nations Security Council next month. The resolution would refer the North to the International Criminal Court.
A U.S. special envoy was also in Seoul, where he talked about the importance of continuing to pressure North Korea to institute basic civil liberties.
Taking a brief look at markets, on Wall Street, U.S. stock indexes were mixed at the close of trade on Wednesday.
In Washington, I'm David DeForest
That's the latest world news from VOA.