World News

Refugees Set to Shiver in Tents as Winter Arrives in Greece

John Owens VOA NEWS A bleak winter beckons for many refugees and migrants trapped in Greece, with thousands left vulnerable to the elements. Aid organizations are offering winter assistance to those stuck in the country since the closure of the Balkan route last spring. The Greek government has largely succeeded in shifting most people from ad-hoc sites into state-run camps, but conditions in the camps vary widely. As one UNHCR spokesman admits, “more speed” is needed in efforts to minimize the impact of the coming cold. Many still have no more than a tent to protect them in the coming…
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Russia’s Extortion Charges Against Economy Minister Seen as Politics

Daniel Schearf VOA NEWS MOSCOW — Russian prosecutors charged Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev with extortion Tuesday and requested he be placed under house arrest in the highest-level corruption case of its kind in decades. Ulyukayev’s lawyer said he denies the charges. Analysts and observers question the charges as politically motivated and say the arrest of Ulyukayev more likely exposes an internal Kremlin battle between those for and against more state control of the dwindling Russian economy. Ulyukayev was detained late Monday after a sting operation carried out by Russia’s Federal Security Services (FSB), according to Russia’s Investigative Committee (SK). The…
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End to Yemen War Could Soon Be Reality

Steve Herman & Nike Ching VOA NEWS ABU DHABI / STATE DEPARTMENT — Secretary of State John Kerry says a cease-fire in Yemen could start as early as November 17, "provided that everybody does their part." Yemen's armed Houthi movement and a Saudi-led military alliance have agreed to support a solution for the conflict in Yemen based on the framework laid out to establish a new Yemeni national unity government by the end of the year. An Omani road map, based on an initiative by Kerry, calls for Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi to hand power to a less…
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Study: Deaths by Firearms Reach Record Highs in Mexico

VOA NEWS MEXICO CITY — Murder by firearms in Mexico have hit record levels under the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto as the death toll from gang violence worsens, a study showed on Tuesday. The months of July to September have seen the highest murder tolls since Pena Nieto took office in December 2012 pledging to curb gang violence that rose sharply under his predecessor. August and September, the latest months for which data are available, were also the worst two months for deaths by firearm ever registered, according to the National Citizen Observatory (ONC), a civil group monitoring justice…
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Peru Asks to Join China-led Trade Deal but Still Hopeful on TPP

VOA NEWS LIMA —Peru has started talks with China about joining a Beijing-backed trade pact for the Asia Pacific region even as it holds out hopes that President-elect Donald Trump might renege on his vow to scrap a rival deal, the government said on Tuesday. Trade Minister Eduardo Ferreyros said he hopes Peru will someday be part of both proposed tariff-slashing deals - the Trans Pacific Partnership with the United States and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with China. Peru, which signed the TPP along with 11 other countries early this year, told Beijing in September that it is…
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Syrian Kurds Face Heavy Fighting in Battle to Retake Raqqa

Kurdish-led Syrian forces, backed by air power and military advisers, captured a number of Islamic State positions amid heavy fighting Monday north of the IS stronghold of Raqqa. But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says there has been "no real progress" so far in the offensive. Islamic State has used as many as five car bombs in defense, Reuters news agency reported. The Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by air support, announced on Sunday the start of an offensive to gain control of Raqqa, the northern Syrian city overrun by Islamic State extremists in 2014 and self-designated as the center…
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Families Reveal IS Trickery As They Slip Out of Mosul

GOGJALI, MOSUL, IRAQ — "They use bullets in the school classrooms," joked Ratima Ahmed. "One bullet plus one bullet equals two bullets." Just hours before, she had fled her home in eastern Mosul, where the Iraqi Army now battles Islamic State militants. She sat in the dust with other women and children on the city's outskirts, waiting for buses to transport them to camps. Men sat in a separate group. They didn’t know exactly where they were going, or what they would find when they got there. This district has become almost uninhabited since the Iraqi Army moved in just days…
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Nicaragua’s Ortega Appears Headed for Re-election – Again

VOA News Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega appeared to have a clear path to a third consecutive term — this time accompanied by his wife as vice president — in Sunday's presidential vote. Opinion polls said the former guerrilla fighter was likely to receive more than 50 percent of the votes and avoid a runoff in a field that included five other lesser-known candidates. He was running with his wife, Rosario Murillo, as his vice presidential candidate. Ninety-two congressional seats were also being contested. Electoral council chief Roberto Rivas said all polling places opened normally and saw a high turnout, although…
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Ukraine Hopes Law to Reveal Lawmakers’ Wealth Will Aid EU Path

Henry Ridgwell A new law in Ukraine forcing senior officials to declare their wealth has revealed the scale of riches held by those in power. Members of the Cabinet alone hold $7 million in cash. Other lawmakers declared luxury cars, expensive watches and artwork. Analysts say the revelations show how far Ukraine still has to go to eradicate corruption. The 2014 uprising and subsequent ouster of then-president Viktor Yanukovich was meant to usher in a new generation of clean politics in Ukraine. But the scale of the wealth revealed to be held by current lawmakers and senior officials has left…
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Putin’s Push for Law on ‘Russian Nation’ Gets Mixed Reviews

Svetlana Cunningham President Vladimir Putin has urged Russia's parliament to develop and implement federal legislation on "the Russian nation" to clarify and further regulate ethnic relations in the country. While the proposal has not been fleshed out, it is receiving mixed reviews. "What we really absolutely can and must work on — what we should think about and start practical work on — is a law on the Russian nation," Putin said at a meeting Monday of Russia's Council for Interethnic Relations in the southern Russian city of Astrakhan. Asked for details about the proposed law, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov,…
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