2016-9-6 16:43




July 31, 2016

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Steve Norman reporting. Syrian state media reports dozens of families have started leaving besieged rebel-held neighborhoods in the northern city of Aleppo.

State television showed dozens of women and children arriving at the Salaheddine neighborhood after the government opened safe corridors for civilians and fighters who want to leave.

The state news agency said civilians later boarded buses and were taken to shelters set up by the government on the western side of Aleppo.

Opposition activists denied reports that Aleppo residents were leaving rebel-held neighborhoods of the city, saying that state media was attempting to falsely suggest that civilians were fleeing the areas in large numbers.

Russia has proposed four humanitarian corridors to be opened up to let civilians leave the besieged city.

Russia's Federal Security Service, the FSB, said that the computer networks of about 20 Russian organizations, government agencies and defense contractors have been infected with malware designed for cyber espionage.

The FSB said in a statement on its website the virus and the way the networks were infected bear similar characteristics to the software used in high-profile cyber espionage cases in Russia and worldwide.

Russia's intelligence agency did not say who is suspected of being behind the attacks, but the announcement came after recent reports of cyber-attacks on the U.S. Democratic National Committee and the fund-raising committee for the Democratic Party candidates for the U.S. Congress.

This is VOA news.

Officials in the U.S. state of Texas say at least 16 people have died. It happened in the crash of a hot air balloon.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the balloon apparently hit power lines, caught fire during its flight and crashed into a pasture, killing all on board.

Erik Grosof is with the National Transportation Safety Board: "It's much like a crime scene. You only get once chance at it, so we want to make sure we do everything correctly. And thanks to the cooperation of all of these agencies standing next to me and behind me, we've been able to start on the right foot with that."

Grosof confirmed that the crash resulted in a significant loss of life. He also said there has been a significant investigation started into the tragedy, involving local, state and federal authorities, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The crash took place in an area of farmland about 50 kilometers south of the city of Austin, the state capital in Texas.

A group of 22 Syrian Christians joined a vigil on the outskirts of the Polish city of Krakow to celebrate World Youth Day in the company of Pope Francis.

In an emotional speech, a 26-year-old Syrian student spoke to hundreds of thousands of Catholics about conditions in Syria and made her doubt of faith in God.

The pope told those gathered that violence and hatred will not solve the world's problems.

He said, "Our response to a world at war has a name: its name is fraternity, its name is brotherhood, its name is communion, its name is family."

The vigil was held on the fourth day of the pope's five-day trip to Poland.

A man in Belgium has been charged with attempting to commit terrorist murders and participating in a terror group while his brother has been released without charge.

Federal prosecutor's office announced a 33-year-old man identified as Noureddine H. and his brother Hamza H. were taken in for questioning on suspicion of plotting a terror attack following police searches on Friday evening of seven houses in the city of Liege and the Mons region.

Belgian prosecutors said late Saturday that Noureddine H. was charged and his brother was set free.

Brussels was hit March 22 by a suicide bombing that killed 32 people at Brussels Airport and in the Brussels subway. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State extremist group and carried out by the same cell that killed 130 people November 13 in Paris.

That's the latest world news from VOA.

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