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VOA English Newscast: 2000 UTC November 2, 2015

People look at flowers left for the plane crash victims at Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square in St. Petersburg, Russia, Nov. 2, 2015.
People look at flowers left for the plane crash victims at Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square in St. Petersburg, Russia, Nov. 2, 2015.
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From Washington, this is VOA news…I'm Dave DeForest reporting Russian airliner crash in Egypt not due to pilot error. Senior officials at Metrojet have ruled out any technical failure or human error from the airline, blaming "external" reasons for the plane crash that killed all 224 people aboard. Metrojet deputy director for aviation Aleksander Smirnov says the plane was damaged in a way that did not allow it to continue to fly. He said the only way to explain the crash is (what he called) "some kind of external action."

Turkish elections

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the world should respect his Justice and Development Party's victory in a parliamentary election Sunday. He said the people of Turkey have voted for stability. Mr. Erdogan's remarks were an apparent reference to the Western media's often critical coverage of his government's policies, which they say stifled criticism.

Kerry in Kazakhstan

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev Monday that the United States is appreciative of his support for nuclear non-proliferation and the fight against Islamic State insurgents.

The top U.S. diplomat stopped in the Kazakh capital of Astana as part of his four-day tour of former Soviet states in central Asia.

UN Condemns Attack; Praises Somali Army

The United Nations Security Council has condemned Sunday's attack by Somali militant group al-Shabab on a Mogadishu hotel. That attack left at least 12 people dead, including the owner of the hotel, a military commander and two lawmakers.

The council praised the response by Somalia's army, which killed all of the attackers, and stated that "terrorism in all its forms and manifestations" is one of the most serious threats to global peace.

This is VOA News.

US Mission in Syria

The White House says U.S. special operations troops sent to Syria will not be there to engage in raids or combat. White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said the troops are intended to be a force multiplier that will allow for those on the front lines of the fight against ISIL to better their efforts to take the territory back. But he admitted that U.S. troops "may have to engage the enemy."

China on One-Child Policy; New Laws

China's top family planning authority says the country's one-child policy will continue to be implemented until new rules allowing couples to have two children go into effect.

The announcement by the National Health and Family Planning Commission contradicts remarks by officials in Hunan province who told a local newspaper that those currently pregnant with a second child would not be punished.

China has started to implement a new set of revised criminal laws that include punishments for Internet users for what the government calls "starting rumors through the web."

According to the new law effective November 1, when netizens pass on what’s called "false information" via Weibo and other social media outlets, or post messages that (quoting now) "fabricate false danger, disease, disaster, or police information" on forum boards, they can be prosecuted and sentenced to up to 7 years in prison.

Meeting of Asian Leaders

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have agreed to quickly resolve a decades-long dispute over Korean women forced to serve as sex slaves during Japan's occupation of the Korean peninsula in the first half of the 20th century.

The two leaders made the promise during a bilateral summit in Seoul Monday, their first since Abe took office in 2012 and Park in 2013.

New Atarctic Ice Study

A new study of ice formation in Antarctica could challenge conventional wisdom that the continent is losing ice. An article says satellite data shows the ice sheet in Antarctica gained 112 billion tons of ice.

I’m Dave Deforest in Washington.