Kerry, Lavrov push to finalize Syria deal, evacuees leave besieged Daraya

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov shake hands during a bilateral meeting focused on the Syrian crisis in GenevaBy Lesley Wroughton and Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia's Sergei Lavrov sought on Friday to finalize an agreement on fighting Islamist militants in Syria as the first evacuees left a besieged Damascus surbub under a plan which has aroused the U.N.'s concern. A deal on fighting jihadists in Syria could help lead to an end to fighting between the army and its militia allies on one side and non-jihadist rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad. As Kerry and the Russian foreign minister met at a hotel on Lake Geneva, residents and insurgents began to leave the besieged Damascus suburb of Daraya where civilians have been trapped since 2012, Reuters witnesses said.



First evacuees leave besieged Damascus suburb Daraya

Besieged residents and rebels began leaving the Damascus suburb of Daraya on Friday, Reuters witnesses said, as an evacuation to end one of the longest stand-offs in Syria's five-year war began. Insurgents and government forces agreed a deal on Thursday to evacuate the town, which the Syrian army has surrounded since 2012. A Syrian Army general told reporters in Daraya that around 300 families of fighters would leave the town on Friday, and in total around 700 fighters and 4,000 civilians would be evacuated by Saturday.
Officials: Striking miners kill deputy minister in Bolivia

In this Nov. 26, 2014 photo, released by the government-run Bolivian Information Agency, Bolivia's Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Rodolfo Illanes speaks during a press conference at the government palace in La Paz, Bolivia. Government officials said that the striking miners kidnapped and beat Illanes to death after he traveled to the area to mediate in the bitter conflict over mining laws. Government Minister Carlos Romero called it a "cowardly and brutal killing" and asked that the miners turn over the body of his deputy. (Gonzalo Jallasi/Bolivian Information Agency via AP)LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Striking miners in Bolivia armed with dynamite seized highways in a protest over mining laws and then kidnapped, possibly tortured and beat to death the county's deputy interior minister in a killing President Evo Morales characterized Friday as a "political conspiracy," officials say.



Italy quake death toll hits 267, state funeral planned

The interior of a damaged house is seen following an earthquake at Pescara del TrontoBy Steve Scherer and Gabriele Pileri PESCARA DEL TRONTO, Italy (Reuters) - Hopes of finding more survivors faded on Friday three days after a powerful earthquake hit central Italy, with the death toll rising to 267 and the rescue operation in some of the stricken areas called off. Sniffer dogs and emergency crews continued to scour piles of rubble in Amatrice, a picturesque town popular with tourists which was leveled by Wednesday's quake and where 207 bodies have been retrieved so far. Mayor Sergio Pirozzi said around 15 people, including some children and the local baker, had not been accounted for.



The Latest: French top court overturns burkini ban

Activists protest outside the French embassy, during the "wear what you want beach party" in London, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The protest is against the French authorities clampdown on Muslim women wearing burkinis on the beach. Writing on the sign reads: 'No to Islamophobia, yes to Burkinis.' (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the ruling by France's top administrative court on burkini bans (all times local):





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