News Wrap: Russia and Syria halt Aleppo strikes, ahead of short-term pause for aid

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Men carry their belongings from their damaged home near Guzhe village, northern Aleppo countryside, Syria October 17, 2016. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi   - RTX2P88K

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HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news: Iraqi forces slowed their advance on Mosul in its second day, as they reached larger towns on the outskirts. Humanitarian groups warned the city’s one million people could face a disaster. But President Obama said plans are in place to avert a crisis. We will explore the situation in Mosul later in the program.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Next door in Syria, Russian halted strikes on Aleppo today, ahead of their call for a short-term stop to all fighting on Thursday. It’s meant to allow humanitarian aid into that ravaged city.

But in Moscow, the Russian defense minister warned militant groups to evacuate when the fighting stops.

SERGEI SHOIGU, Defense Minister, Russia (through translator): We call on the leadership of countries that have influence over armed groups in Eastern Aleppo to convince their leaders to stop military action and abandon the city. Everyone truly interested in the fastest possible stabilization should take genuine political steps and not continue shuffling political papers.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Thursday’s pause in the fighting is set to last eight hours. A United Nations spokesman complained today that that’s not nearly enough time to get humanitarian convoys in and out of Aleppo.

HARI SREENIVASAN: A temporary halt to the fighting in Yemen is also in the works. The country’s warring factions agreed today to a 72-hour cease-fire, beginning shortly before midnight Wednesday. It’s to allow much-needed humanitarian aid to be delivered.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In Iran, a court has sentenced an Iranian-American businessman and his father to 10 years in prison each. Siamak Namazi was detained a year ago. His 80-year-old father was arrested in February. Today’s announcement says they were sentenced for — quote — “cooperating with the hostile government of America.”

HARI SREENIVASAN: Back in this country, for a fifth straight year, Social Security recipients and federal retirees will get just a tiny bump in benefits. The annual cost-of-living hike announced today is three-tenths of a percent. The average monthly Social Security payment is $1,238. That means the increase for the coming year will be less than $4 a month.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Wall Street moved higher today, thanks to some strong earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 75 points to close near 18162. The Nasdaq rose 44 points, and the S&P 500 added 13.

HARI SREENIVASAN: And the original ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” will get a makeover if the Smithsonian can raise $300,000. It’s asking the public to help on the crowdfunding Web site Kickstarter. The ruby slippers are nearly 80 years old, and showing their age, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington. The institution wants to repair them and build a new display.

Correction: The on-air version of this report incorrectly stated the location of the ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.” They are at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, not the National Museum of Natural History.

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