August 12, 2016
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
U.N. senior officials report Russia is willing to discuss the lengthening of its three-hour daily suspension of military action in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo. Lisa Schlein reports.
U.N. special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura says the United Nations was not consulted by Russia about its decision.
"But we have noted today, from the Russian Federation, the availability and willingness to discuss as soon as possible with the U.N. how to improve what has been, in my opinion, an initial idea."
De Mistura says three-hour pause in military action is not enough time to carry out a difficult humanitarian mission into battle-scarred Aleppo.
Lisa Schlein, Geneva.
A rebel spokesman told Reuters the cease-fire had not been upheld. He said there was an escalation of action by Russian warplanes and that government forces had tried to advance on the city.
Russia's U.N. envoy said Thursday the issue of Crimea's annexation, in his words, "will never be revisited."
The U.N. Security Council met at Ukraine's request Thursday in a closed-door session to discuss the tensions over Crimea.
Russia has accused Ukraine of plotting attacks on the peninsula.
Ukrainian officials say the plots of attacks are pure "fantasy," arguing Russia is likely to use the accusations as a pretext for an escalation of the two-year-long conflict in east Ukraine.
American gymnast Simone Biles is now officially the best gymnast in the world.
Biles on Thursday won the women's individual all-around contest at the Olympics in Rio.
This is VOA news.
Republican presidential candidate Donald trump Thursday called President Barack Obama the founder of the Islamic State group and his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton its most valuable player.
"I think we will give Hillary Clinton, you know, if you're on a sports team, most valuable player, MVP, you get the MVP award. ISIS will hand her the most valuable player award."
The Democratic National Committee calls Trump's comments outrageous and unhinged.
For the second time this week, a group of prominent Republicans says it will not support Trump for president.
More than 70 party members, including former congressmen and senior members of the last three Republican administrations, have drafted a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus asking him to stop using Republican money, time, staff and advertising to support Trump.
Trump, meanwhile, spoke to a group of Evangelical Christians in Orlando, Florida, Thursday. He promised to overturn the 1954 amendment to the tax code that makes it illegal for tax exempt organizations, such as churches, to endorse political candidates.
Hillary Clinton was in Warren, Michigan, where she formally unveiled her economic plans.
They included creating 10 million jobs rebuilding crumbling roads, bridges and ports, taking away the tax breaks for U.S. companies that move jobs overseas, and making college and child care more affordable.
"Investments at home that would make us more competitive have been completely blocked in Congress. And American workers and communities have paid the price. But the answer is not to rant and rave or cut ourselves off from the world. That would end up killing even more jobs. The answer is to finally make trade work for us, not against us."
Clinton said the Trump package of tax cuts for the rich and for corporations, as she put it, will push the country back into recession and do nothing, she says, to help most Americans.
Afghan security forces are making efforts to secure the safe release of the crew of a Pakistani helicopter that crashed inside Afghanistan last week.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman says Afghanistan has informed his government that the crew members are safe. He said Afghan officials are making efforts though the elders in the area for the recovery of all crew members.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration [says] said Thursday that marijuana will remain on its list of dangerous drugs. The agency says pot has no medical benefits.
Former governors of California and Rhode Island had requested that the DEA review its classification of the drug, which has been legalized in some form in twenty-five states and the District of Columbia.
The DEA "concluded that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no acceptable medical use" and is, in fact, at a none acceptable level of safety even for medical supervision.
That's the latest world news from VOA.