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VOA English Newscast: 1500 UTC February 26, 2016


President Barack Obama, center, followed by Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Defense Secretary Ash Carter right, walks to a podium to speak to media after a meeting of his National Security Council (NSC) at the State Department in Washington, Feb.

President Barack Obama, center, followed by Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Defense Secretary Ash Carter right, walks to a podium to speak to media after a meeting of his National Security Council (NSC) at the State Department in Washington, Feb.

From Washington, this is VOA News.

I’m Steve Karesh reporting.

U.S. President Barack Obama says if the conflicting parties in Syria halt all violence as agreed, it could be a first step toward ending the chaos.

VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.

“President Obama said a cessation of hostilities in Syria is scheduled to start Friday at midnight, but acknowledged that even under the best of circumstances, all violence is not expected to end immediately.

‘Everybody knows what needs to happen, and that is all parties that are part of this cessation of activities need to end attacks, including aerial bombardment. Humanitarian aid must be allowed to reach areas under siege. And a lot of that is going to depend on whether the Syrian regime, Russia and their allies live up to their commitments.’

Obama said the fight to destroy Islamic State will take time, but he said concerted coalition efforts have weakened the group substantially in the past year.

Zlatica Hoke, VOA News, Washington.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling for an end to the violence in South Sudan, telling the country's president the government must step in and protect the people.

"My message to the leaders of South Sudan is clear: put peace above politics, pursue compromise, overcome obstacles, establish the transitional government of national unity and do not delay.”

On his fourth trip to Juba on Thursday, Ban also announced the U.N. is allocating $21 million in protection and relief funds for South Sudan.

Rebel leader Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir signed a peace deal in August, agreeing to run a unity government for 30 months before holding elections, although after this fighting still continues in the country.

This is VOA.

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Words in This Newscast

parties – n. sides; individuals or groups involved in some action

chaos – n. disorder

cessation – n. stoppage; a halt in some action

scheduled – v. planned at some time

midnight – n. the middle of the night; 12 o’clock at night

acknowledged – v. admitted; confirmed

circumstances – n. conditions that affect a situation or event

aerial – adj. performed by air

allowed – v. permitted

siege – n. a situation when police or troops surround a building or city as part of efforts to get control of it

regime – n. a form of government

commitment – n. promise

concerted – adj. done in a planned way, usually by several people or groups

substantially – adj. of or involving a large amount, size or number

pursue – v. seek

overcome – v. to defeat someone or something; to successfully deal with something

obstacle – n. something that blocks your progress or path

transitional – adj. of or related to change

allocating – v. dividing and giving out for a special purpose

reliefadj. providing help

funds – n. money used for a special purpose

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