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VOA English Newscast: 1600 UTC October 20, 2015

Anneliese Burgess, spokesperson for the family of South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, reads a short statement outside the home of Pistorius' uncle Arnold in Pretoria, October 20, 2015. The family said on Tuesday they were "happ
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From Washington, this is VOA News.

I’m Frances Alonzo reporting.

Police in the Republic of Congo fired tear gas Tuesday to break up protests against a constitutional referendum aimed at keeping President Denis Sassou N'guesso in power.

The protesters burned tires and put up barricades on streets of the capital, Brazzaville, while phone and internet services were reported to be out in much of the city.

Congo votes Sunday on proposed reforms that would abolish the constitution's two-term limit for presidents and the age limit of 70 for presidential candidates.

South Africa’s superstar athlete Oscar Pistorius got an early release from prison Monday night, bringing his time behind bars to just over a year.

His family made clear that Pistorius is simply going from one prison to another.

This is the Pistorius family spokesperson, Annaliese Burgeff:

"It is very important for the family to emphasize that Oscar's sentence hasn't been shortened or reduced. He is simply entering the next phase of his sentence now. He will serve this under the strict conditions that govern correctional supervision. The family will support Oscar as he serves out the remainder of the five year sentence handed down by the trial judge and he will strictly adhere to the conditions set by the parole board and community corrections."

You heard more details on this story at

The director-general of the World Health Organization says the Ebola crisis in West Africa should serve as a “wake-up call'' for member states to do more to prevent deadly disease outbreaks before they occur.

Dr. Margaret Chan noted 30 percent of staffers in a WHO preparedness division were cut after the 2008 financial crisis and funding has remained insufficient since then.

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Words in The News

referendum – n. a special election for or against a law or an issue

tire(s) – n. the large piece of rubber that fits around a wheel

barricades – n. barriers

phone – n. short for telephone

abolish – v. to completely do away with something

superstar – n. an extremely famous performer

athlete – n. a person who is trained or skilled at sports

bar(s) – n. straight pieces of metal that block or prevent passage

emphasize – v. to give special attention to

phase – n. a step or part in a process

strict – adj. firm; requiring others to obey rules

handed down – v. to announce or declare

adhere - v. to stick or something

parole – adj. relating to releasing prisoners from jail

outbreak(s) – n. an sudden start of increase of fighting or disease

occur – v. to happen or take place

staffers – n. employees or workers

funding – n. financing

insufficient – adj. not having enough of what is needed

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