March 5, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David Byrd reporting.
The White House has issued no statement so far after President Donald Trump sent a series of tweets Saturday morning, alleging that former President Barack Obama had tapped the phones and [other] used other electronic surveillance in New York City before last year's election.
Trump blasted the former president for alleged wiretapping of Trump Tower during the campaign, likening it to the Watergate scandal and the Red Scare years under Senator Joseph McCarthy.
The president did not cite any source for his claims nor did provide any evidence that electronic surveillance occurred.
Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for former President Obama, said, "Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false."
The president's claims come as the Trump administration faces mounting pressure from multiple FBI and congressional investigations into contacts between members of his campaign team and Russian officials.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Russia has to be stopped from what he called breaking the backbone of democracy. Graham told a rowdy town hall meeting in Clemson, South Carolina, that he is very concerned about possible Russian interference in last year's election.
"It was Russian intelligence services hacked down to Podesta's emails, the DNC. They through a third party, in my view, gave that information to WikiLeaks and it was leaked up beyond the course of the campaign. That, to me, needs to be punished."
Graham is one of several senators who have taken a hard line against Moscow for alleged tampering.
This is VOA news.
Somali government officials have said that more than 110 people, mainly women and children, have died from water-borne diseases in the last two days as a result of the enduring drought in that country.
Somalia's new prime minister, Hassan Ali Khaire, announced the deaths at a news conference Saturday in Mogadishu.
The International Organization for Migration is appealing for millions of dollars to provide life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable victims of Somalia's drought.
Libyan media reports say air force fighter jets loyal to eastern military commander General Khalifa Haftar attacked Islamist militia forces, holding part of the oil port of Sidra and an airfield near Ras Lanouf. Edward Yeranian has details.
Militia forces, calling themselves the "Benghazi Defense Brigades," began the surprise attack on Sidra and Ras Lanouf on Thursday. A militia spokesman, Yasser Jebali, claimed his men were holding their ground.
Mamdouh Salameh, a London-based oil analyst, told Libyan TV that "control of the country's two largest oil ports - Ras Lanouf and Sidra - are always a main interest of the country's militias and of the national unity government because they are the key to the country's economy and ultimate control of Libya."
Edward Yeranian, for VOA news, Cairo.
Police and witnesses in central Pakistan say that suspected Islamic State militants have executed a kidnapped officer of the country's prime intelligence agency and dropped his chained body on a busy road.
Officials identified the slain man as Umar Mobeen Gilani, saying he was kidnapped nearly three years ago by unknown gunmen in Multan, where he was serving in a counterterrorism unit of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI.
Police in the city of Multan say they found his body early Saturday morning and it was dressed like detainees at the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba.
Malaysia has expelled the North Korean ambassador in continued fallout from the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's half-brother at Kuala [port] Lumpur airport last month.
In a statement, Malaysia's Foreign Ministry labeled Ambassador Kang Chol "persona non grata" and gave him 48 hours to leave the country after he criticized Malaysia's investigation of the assassination.
Kim Jong Nam was killed in Kuala Lumpur's airport when two women smeared a substance on his face. It was found to contain a deadly nerve gas.
I'm David Byrd in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.