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VOA NEWS

August 24, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Jonathan Smith reporting.

President Trump issued an appeal for a more unified nation during a speech Wednesday in Reno, Nevada. He said, "It is time to heal the wounds that divide us."

He spoke to the national convention of the American Legion, a wartime veterans group. He said, "We are not defined by the color of our skin, the figure on our paycheck or the party of our politics."

The remarks come one day after Trump used divisive speech in Phoenix, Arizona, to lash out at the news media again for its coverage of his response to deadly violence at a recent protest organized by neo-Nazis and white , in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A top U.N. committee on racial discrimination has taken an unusual step in calling on the United States to "unequivocally and unconditionally" reject racist hate speech and crimes following the far-right rally in Charlottesville.

Without specifically referring to President Trump, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination pointed to what it called "the failure at the highest political level to unequivocally reject racist violent events" in the U.S.

Yemeni security officials say the Saudi-led coalition has carried out airstrikes, hitting a small hotel near the capital of Sana'a, killing dozens of Shiite Houthi rebels and civilians.

Officials estimate 60 rebels [have] were killed in the strikes on Wednesday morning.

You're listening news from the Voice of America in Washington.

Angolans cast ballots Wednesday in the first election in decades that doesn't include the long-time president. The ruling party is widely projected to maintain power, but some voters have made clear they are casting ballots for change. The VOA's Anita Powell reports from Luanda.

On Wednesday, Angola's retiring president did something he hasn't done in decades: He voted for someone else.

Just after 9 a.m. local time, President Jos Eduardo dos Santos shuffled slowly into a side entrance of Luanda's polling station 1047.

After dos Santos cast his ballot, he and his entourage slowly walked out. He did not speak to the press and ignored VOA's question about whom he voted for.

But dos Santos previously made his choice clear.

"I am here," he told this massive crowd during the final pre-election rally of the ruling People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola, to support our candidate.

And it's likely his chosen successor, Defense Minister Jo o Louren o, will prevail.

Officials have said results are expected the day after the election.

Anita Powell, VOA news, Luanda, Angola.

The rights group, Amnesty International, says thousands of civilians are trapped in the northern Syrian town of Raqqa, in what it calls a "deadly labyrinth" in the line of fire from all sides - coalition forces as well as Islamic State fighters.

Amnesty released a report saying hundreds of civilians have been killed or injured since June, when an offensive began to recapture the ISIS stronghold.

The United Nations said as many as 50,000 displaced persons may be in Raqqa, many sheltering in the city center or other areas controlled by ISIS, where they may be used as human shields by the ISIS fighters.

U.S.-Egypt ties which had been improved under President Trump appeared strained Wednesday after the U.S. withheld some aid to Egypt over human rights concerns.

The U.S. cut nearly a hundred million dollars in economic and military aid and delayed nearly $200 military more in military financing to Egypt, one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid.

And Venezuela's ousted attorney general, Luisa Ortega, said Wednesday she was illegitimately removed from her position. She said top officials in Venezuela were hoping to keep a number of corruption scandals, some related to drug trafficking and terrorism, covered up.

You can find more on these and other stories developing and breaking, from around the world, around the clock, at voanews.com. I'm Jonathan Smith reporting from the VOA world news headquarters in Washington.

That's the latest world news from VOA.

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