2016-10-31 12:02




October 31, 2016

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

Fighting rages on the western edges of the Syrian city of Aleppo. Rebels are trying to split a Russian-backed government force laying siege to the eastern half of the city.

Monitors say at least 41 civilians have been killed in the latest offensive. Syria's state news agency SANA said 35 people were suffering from the effects of "toxic gases."

Authorities say five explosions Sunday left at least 17 people dead and 60 wounded in Baghdad.

A car bomb hit a popular market in Hurriyah, a predominantly Shiite district, killing at least 10 people and wounding more than 30.

Officials, police and hospital authorities said improvised explosive devices killed three people and wounded 10 at a market in Baghdad's Shaab neighborhood.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is promising to rebuild parts of central Italy after Sunday's 6.6 magnitude earthquake.

No one was killed Sunday, but at least 20 minor injuries were reported.

Many people had already fled the area after an August quake killed about 300 people.

Large boulders and rockslides blocked several highways, completely cutting off some villages from the outside.

Saudi Arabia says it foiled a plot to bomb a World Cup 2018 qualifying match earlier this month.

Authorities say a terrorist cell consisting of four foreigners had planned to set off an explosion in Jeddah during an October 11 match with a team from the United Arab Emirates.

Another group had planned an attack on police officers in Shaqraa province.

All the suspects were captured by police before they were able to carry out their attacks.

This is VOA news.

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump remain locked in a tight contest for the U.S. presidency.

Furor continued Sunday over Friday's FBI announcement that it is reviewing new information that could pertain to Hillary Clinton's handling of emails as secretary of state.

The FBI's action less than two weeks before election day set off a political frenzy.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine told ABC's This Week program he thinks the matter is puzzling.

"And so this is a distraction. But look, we're focused on winning this race over the next nine days, talking about the kind of president that Hillary will -- Clinton will be and contrasting her stronger together vision -- with the dark and dangerous vision of Donald Trump."

Republican Donald Trump started his campaign Sunday in Las Vegas.

"Her criminal action was willful, deliberate, intentional and purposeful. Hillary set up an illegal server for the obvious purpose of shielding her criminal conduct from public disclosure and exposure." That's Donald Trump.

Trump also plans stops in Colorado and New Mexico Sunday.

The European Union and Canada signed a long-delayed free trade agreement Sunday in Brussels. The new measure is aimed at boosting economic growth and increasing the number of jobs.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement along with the heads of EU institutions.

Here is EU President Donald Tusk: "In this particular moment in the EU's history, this positive sign means a great deal. And for this I would also like to thank our guests very much indeed."

The signing ceremony had been pushed back from Thursday after the Belgian province of Wallonia vetoed the first agreement.

Turkey has dismissed more than 10,000 civil servants as the government there continues a crackdown following a failed coup in July.

News of the removal of the academics, teachers and health workers [were] was published late Saturday.

Turkey has already ousted more than 80,000 civil servants and arrested more than 30,000 people in connection with the coup.

Australia's parliament is set to vote next week on a plan that would ban any refugees who arrive in the country by boat from ever obtaining a visa to live there, from visiting or from establishing a business.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the lifetime ban is being enacted to deter smugglers who bring the migrants to Australia.

The humanitarian groups have criticized the ban is too harsh on immigrants.

Children would be exempt and the immigration minister would have the ability to make exceptions to the new rules.

In Washington, I'm David DeForest.

That's the latest world news from VOA.

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