News Wrap: Skies over Aleppo fall silent amid cease-fire

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Children play along a street in the rebel-held al-Sheikh Said neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria September 1, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail  - RTX2NT94

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JUDY WOODRUFF:  In the day’s other news, the cease-fire in Syria appears to be holding for the most part, despite reports of scattered violations.

In the ravaged city of Aleppo, streets and skies were quiet, and some people ventured out.  The U.N. special envoy for Syria confirmed the change from Geneva.

STAFFAN DE MISTURA, UN Special Envoy for Syria:  Sources on the ground, which do matter, including inside Aleppo city, said the situation has dramatically improved with no airstrikes.  Comparing the bottom line to previous days, there is no doubt a significant drop in violence.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Two groups of aid trucks were able to cross today into Syria from Turkey.  But it’s unclear when they will be allowed into Aleppo.

GWEN IFILL:  Meanwhile, rebels in Eastern Ukraine announced a unilateral cease-fire.  They’re backed by Russia, and it’s the first time they have taken that step.  It came as Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said Parliament will vote soon on granting autonomy to eastern provinces.  The fighting there has killed more than 9,500 people since 2014.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres suffered a stroke today, and was hospitalized outside Tel Aviv.  The hospital director said the 93-year-old suffered extensive bleeding in the brain, and is now sedated and breathing on a respirator.  Peres has held nearly every top office in Israel, serving in 12 separate cabinets.  He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for negotiating interim peace accords with the Palestinians.

GWEN IFILL:  The Philippines’ new leader sent more mixed signals today about his country’s alliance with the United States.  President Rodrigo Duterte called yesterday for American military advisers to leave the Southern Philippines.  But, today, he said there would be no change in ties, while also rejecting joint patrols with the U.S. in the South China Sea.

PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE, Philippines:  We will not join any expedition of patrolling the seas.  I will not allow it, because I do not want my country to be involved in a hostile act.

GWEN IFILL:  That appeared to contradict an agreement for patrols with U.S. forces reached last April.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Back in this country, the governing body for college sports has put new pressure on North Carolina.  Last night, the NCAA said it’s pulling all championship events out of the state.  It cited a state law barring special protections for transgender people and others.

A spokesman for Governor Pat McCrory called the decision — quote — “so absurd, it’s almost comical.”

GWEN IFILL:  Easy come, easy go on Wall Street today.  Yesterday’s gains mostly evaporated after oil prices slumped and took the rest of the market down.  The Dow Jones industrial average lost 258 points to close at 18066.  The Nasdaq fell 56 points, and the S&P 500 gave up 32.

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