World News

Russia Pitches Syria Cease-fire; West Skeptical

MUNICH, GERMANY / GAZIANTEP, TURKEY—Russia is proposing talks about a cease-fire in Syria, but European diplomats are skeptical about the offer, which they see as a delaying tactic that would allow intense Russian airstrikes in Aleppo to continue. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow had submitted a “quite specific” proposal. “We will wait for the American response before we take it to the ISSG , Lavrov said in Munich Thursday as he sat down for talks with Secretary of State John Kerry. Western media reports say Russia is proposing a cease-fire to begin March 1 - too late to…
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World News

NATO Responds to Migrant Crisis; Ships on Way

Luis Ramirez LONDON—NATO warships are heading to the Aegean Sea to help Turkey and Greece stop human traffickers, marking the entry of the alliance into efforts to deal with the growing flow of migrants to Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday said three ships under German command were being deployed immediately to help the Turkish and Greek coast guards with reconnaissance and surveillance. For now, the vessels do not have orders to intercept boats carrying migrants. The decision to send the ships came at the end of a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels and…
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World News

Turkish President Threatens to Expel Migrants

VOA News Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeated a threat to banish the million Syrian migrants it is hosting within its borders, saying he could bus them to the borders of the European Union. In a speech to a business forum in Ankara Thursday, Erdogan confirmed comments that were leaked earlier in the week, in which he told EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that he would expel the refugees if Turkey is not given support for its efforts. The comments, made last November, were leaked by a Greek website and published by some opposition newspapers. Erdogan defended his comments…
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World News

Former Nazi Guard Goes on Trial in Germany

VOA News A 94-year-old former guard at Europe's most notorious concentration camp has gone on trial in Germany, where he faces 170,000 counts of accessory to murder. Reinhold Hanning has said he served at Auschwitz as a 20-year-old member of the German SS guard, but insists he served in a part of the camp where no gassings took place. Auschwitz is infamous as the camp where most of the gassings of Jews, gypsies, Poles, homosexuals, and other concentration camp inmates took place. More than one million people are believed to have been murdered at Auschwitz during World War Two. Prisoners…
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World News

Russian Orthodox Patriarch En Route to Cuba for Historic Meeting

VOA News The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has left Moscow on a trip to Cuba in which he will both make a state visit to the Cuban President, Raul Castro, and hold a historic meeting with the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis. Kirill left Moscow on Thursday, ahead of Friday's meeting at Havana's José  Martí International airport with Pope Francis. The meeting is the first of its kind, an effort to heal the 1,000-year-old schism that has divided Christianity between East and West. The pope and Patriarch Kirill plan to hold a "personal…
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US News

US Defense Chief Appeals for More Help in Fighting IS

VOA News defense chief Ash Carter appealed Thursday to his counterparts in the coalition conducting aerial attacks on Islamic State in Iraq and Syria for more military and financial help to carry out the campaign. Carter met with defense ministers from more than two dozen countries in Brussels, talking privately with some officials but also publicly shaming some unnamed countries in the 66-nation coalition for doing "nothing at all." The Netherlands announced last month that it is expanding its role in the fighting from Iraq to Syria, while Saudi Arabia says it might send ground troops into Syria. Concrete plan…
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US News

Report: Remaining Occupiers at Oregon Refuge to Surrender

VOA News The remaining armed protestors occupying a federal wildlife refuge in the northwestern state of Oregon have agreed to turn themselves in Thursday morning, according to media reports. As that development was unfolding, word came that the patriarch of the family at the center of the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge had been arrested Wednesday night. Cliven D. Bundy, a Nevada rancher who in 2014 sparked an armed confrontation with officials over cattle grazing rights on federal land, was apprehended in Portland, Oregon court records show.  Bundy, whose sons were leaders of the Malheur refuge protest, was…
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US News

Toxic Water Supply Plagues US City

Smita Nordwall The government in the northern state of Michigan is scrambling to help resolve the toxic water crisis in the city of Flint, where lead has been found in the bloodstreams of more than 200 children. Here's a look at the who, what, where and why of the public health crisis that has poisoned the Flint water supply for more than a year. What is wrong with the water in Flint? There’s too much lead in it. Lead exposure is dangerous for all people, but can have devastating effects on children, irreversibly harming their brain development, lowering their intelligence,…
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Politics

Obama Decries US Political Polarization

VOA News President Barack Obama took a trip down memory lane Wednesday, recalling more political collegiality in his home state of Illinois where he first held public office and decrying the fractious national political scene in Washington. In a visit to Springfield, Illinois, he told the legislature, where he was a state senator before entering national politics, that he recalled Republicans and Democrats voting "against each other all the time," but that they also “trusted each other.” “We didn’t call each other fascists and idiots,” Obama said, “because then we’d have to explain why we were playing poker with fascists…
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US News

Feds File Lawsuit Against Ferguson Over Police Reform

VOA News The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the central city of Ferguson, Missouri, after it refused to accept a deal that would have reformed its mostly white police department. The Ferguson City Council said the package, which had been negotiated between the federal government and city officials, costs too much. At a news conference Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said while she was sensitive to the city's cost concerns, "There is no price for constitutional policing." Lynch said the residents of Ferguson have been waiting "decades for justice,'' having endured civil rights breaches that established a pattern…
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