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VOA English Newscast: 1500 UTC March 2, 2016


FILE - Rebel fighters are seen positioning themselves in Ghazila village in the southern countryside of Hasaka, Syria, Feb. 17, 2016.

FILE - Rebel fighters are seen positioning themselves in Ghazila village in the southern countryside of Hasaka, Syria, Feb. 17, 2016.

From Washington, this is VOA News.

I’m Joe Palka reporting.

Syrian ceasefire continues to hold…

The special U.N. Syria envoy says he needs more time before resuming the Syrian peace process. Staffan de Mistura asked for a delay from March 7 to 9 to allow the cessation of hostilities, in effect since Saturday, to take hold.

U.S. spokesman John Kirby says the truce, now in its fifth day, remains effective for the most part.

"Over the last 24 hours, it would appear that there hasn't been any more violations of the cessation of hostilities. Again, it is a very fluid environment. And, we're just going to keep monitoring it as closely as we can."

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Tuesday the cessation of hostilities represents a "glimmer of hope.” He will do his part, he says, to make it work. The opposition says Damascus has breached the ceasefire repeatedly, a charge it denies.

The United Nations Tuesday said more than 131,000 migrants and refugees reached Europea via the Mediterranean so far this year. That's more than the total that made the same dangerous journey in the first five months of 2015.

The European Union website is reporting an emergency action plan to spend upwards of $750 million in humanitarian assistance over a three year period, making this the first time the European Union will be earmarking financial help for the UN crisis. This is the European Commissioner for Humanitarian and Crisis Management for the EU, Christos Stylianades:

“Now more than ever, member states in the EU need to work hand-in-hand to reinforce each other’s actions and, in this way, the European Union can provide a united response to humanitarian suffering.

An estimated 24,000 people, mostly from the Middle East and South Asia, continue to languish at makeshift camps.

This is VOA.

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Words in This Newscast

envoy – n. diplomat; representative

resuming – v. re-starting; to begin again

allow – v. permit; let

cessation – n. stoppage; suspension

fluid – adj. able to move freely, like water

monitoring – v. watching; observing; listening to something

glimmer – n. a weak light; a small amount of something

breached – v. violated

migrants – n. people who move from one place to another for economic reasons

via – prep. by way of; by going through

so far – phrase. up to this time

upwards – adv. toward a higher level or condition

earmark – v. setting aside for a special purpose

hand-in-hand – phrase. working together

reinforce – v. to strengthen with more people or supplies

response – n. something that is done as a reaction to something else

languish – v. to stay in one place for a long time without any activity or progress

makeshiftadj. temporary

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