2016-10-22 16:58




October 21, 2016

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the operation to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group is going much faster than expected.

He spoke in Paris, where foreign ministers from Western and Middle Eastern nations have been meeting to discuss how to restore peace and stability once the Islamic State group is ousted from Mosul.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced that a U.S. service member was killed by an explosion in northern Iraq.

The international community moved Thursday to step up pressure on Syria and its allies to end the bombing in eastern Aleppo.

The U.N. says it has received the green light to evacuate sick and wounded from the city. Lisa Schlein reports.

U.N. special adviser Jan Egeland says he hopes urgent medical evacuations from the besieged city will begin on Friday.

"These will be evacuations of critically wounded or sick people."

Egeland says the U.N. has received assurances from all the warring factions that the medical evacuations can proceed safely. However, he says, the U.N. is still seeking permission to bring food and medical supplies into eastern Aleppo, whose 275,000 inhabitants have received no humanitarian assistance since July.

Lisa Schlein, Geneva.

In what could be a serious setback for the U.S. pivot to Asia, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has announced his country's "separation" from the United States, following high-level talks with Chinese leaders in Beijing.

"I have separated from them so I will be dependent on you for a long time but don't worry we will also help as you help us."

Mr. Duterte told a business forum late Thursday that the separation would be in the military and economic areas.

This is VOA news.

A Mexican federal judge has rejected an appeal by drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán against his extradition to the United States.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry approved the extradition request in May. Guzmán's lawyers have been fighting the decision in a district court.

One the lawyers vowed to seek a Supreme Court hearing.

French President François Hollande said Thursday Britain can expect very tough negotiations if it insists on a so-called "hard Brexit," in which Britain would place limits on immigration and lose access to Europe's single market.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump indicated Thursday he would conditionally accept the result from the November 8 U.S. election.

"... that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win." That coming after the debate yesterday.

Trump and Democratic contender Hillary Clinton are wrapping up for a final stretch of the campaign.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has "strongly condemned" the failed ballistic missile launch in North Korea.

"We're very concerned about the possibility of North Korean provocations. They've conducted them in the past. We're constantly assessing the disposition of their forces."

U.S. and South Korean officials met Wednesday and Thursday in Washington for their annual security and alliance talks. They discussed measures to counter nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.

The Israeli military says troops shot and killed a Palestinian Thursday. The man was suspected of throwing rocks at troops as they patrolled a West Bank road.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir is threatening to personally lead military operations against armed groups in central South Sudan if gunmen continue to attack civilians along a key road.

Human Rights Watch charges that Azerbaijan has renewed a crackdown on critics and independent groups.

Earlier this year, the nation released a number of imprisoned activists but a report released Thursday documents the arrests of political activists, journalists and others that the right group calls false, politically motivated charges.

New research postulates that the so-called Planet Nine could be responsible for the slight tilt of the solar system relative to the sun.

Writing in the Astrophysical Journal, researchers from the California Institute of Technology say the hypothetical planet at the edge of the solar system could be the reason the planets orbit at a six-degree slant relative to the sun.

Planet Nine, which is yet to be seen, could be 10 times the size of Earth and orbit 20 times further away than Neptune.

From the VOA news center in Washington, I'm David DeForest.

That's the latest world news from VOA.

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