June 1, 2016
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting. The U.N. refugee agency has received reports of civilians being killed by heavy shelling in Fallujah as Iraqi forces moved to retake the city from the Islamic State group.
Here is spokesman William Spindler: "UNHCR has received reports of casualties among civilians in the city center of Fallujah due to heavy shelling, including 7 members of one family."
UNHCR says some people have been buried alive under the rubble of their homes.
Jan Egeland of the Norwegian Refugee Council says a human catastrophe is unfolding in Fallujah.
Suspected Russian airstrikes pounded the rebel-held Syrian city of Idlib, killing at least 50 people and leaving dozens more injured or trapped under rubble.
Military jets carried out the bombardment in the early hours of Tuesday, striking civilian areas near a hospital and a mosque.
Russia's Defense Ministry denies carrying out strikes on the city.
The United Nations refugee agency says an estimated 880 migrants and refugees died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea during the past week.
That brings the total number of lives lost in the first five months of 2016 to more than 2,500 people.
The head of the Organization of American States is calling for a special meeting to decide if Venezuela is at hearing to basic democratic principles.
OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro says there has been a grave alteration of Venezuela's democratic order.
The socialist-ruled country could be suspended from the OAS if two-thirds of its member states decide that the country's leadership has gravely undermined democracy.
For more on these stories, check our website. It's voanews.com. This is VOA news.
The World Health Organization is advising couples or women living or returning from Zika-infected areas to wait at least eight weeks before trying to conceive a child. Lisa Schlein reports.
The World Health Organization's revised guidelines reflect greater concern that the sexual transmission of the Zika virus could harm the pregnancy. Its recommendations are based on new evidence showing the Zika virus is staying longer in the blood and other bodily fluids than previously thought.
WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier says the WHO is advising couples to delay pregnancy to make sure any possible Zika infection has cleared.
Lisa Schlein, Geneva.
Gaza's rulers [expected] executed three murderers at dawn Tuesday without the necessary approval of the Palestinian president.
The three were executed after all appeal efforts were exhausted.
According to Palestinian law, all executions must be approved by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Nabil Ali Muhammad Shaath is a senior Palestinian official: "The president has not approved carrying out death sentences. That remained a guarantee to stop the penalty. For Hamas today to carry out these sentences in Gaza is a violation of our constitution."
Despite the law, the prosecutor general proceeded with the execution - a move that could worsen divisions among Palestinians.
Cincinnati police are investigating possible criminal charges in the shooting death of an endangered male gorilla at the local zoo after a 4-year-old boy tumbled into the huge ape's pen.
Police say they are still gathering information that will be passed over to county prosecutors.
Also, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the agency is trying to determine if any federal animal welfare laws were violated.
The consumer spending that powers much of the U.S. economy jumped a strong one percent in April, the biggest gain in about six years.
Tuesday's report from the Commerce Department says the gains are due to increases in the purchases of cars and other expensive, long-lasting goods. PNC Bank Chief Economists Stuart Hoffman called the report "good news" for economic growth in April, May, and June. He also predicts that inflation will rise a bit this year.
Former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton is facing another contentious political fight, this one in California, June 7, as she moves ever closer to winning enough delegates to gain the Democratic presidential nomination.
She faces a stiff challenge in the nation's most populous state from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
From the VOA news center in Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.