2016-12-28 11:52




December 28, 2016

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.

Russia's Defense Ministry said Tuesday search teams have found the main [data] flight data recorder from a military passenger jet that crashed over the weekend in the Black Sea.

Russian news agencies said the device would be delivered to Moscow for analysis.

Russia's Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov says it is too early to reach any conclusions about the cause of the crash.

Officials say terrorism has not been ruled out but that it is extremely unlikely.

A leading American senator is telling Baltic state leaders they can count on continued U.S. support from the incoming Donald Trump administration in the event of any Russian aggression.

Senator John McCain also said Tuesday he does not foresee any easing of sanctions imposed on Russia after its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

"At this time when we see things like the cyberattacks that are being conducted by Russia, China and other countries, when we see the continued aggression in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine, and when we see continued threats that are made to Georgia, our relationship is more important than perhaps it's been in a long, long time."

McCain spoke in the Estonian capital, Tallinn.

Russia says a recent U.S. decision to ease restrictions on arming Syrian rebels is a "hostile act" that would jeopardize Russia's forces and its other interests in Syria.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman criticized the policy change Tuesday, telling the Reuters news agency a recently signed U.S. defense measure opens the possibility of the rebels gaining weapons, including mobile anti-aircraft complexes.

This is VOA news.

Israeli officials are set to approve permits Wednesday for the construction of hundreds of new settler homes in East Jerusalem. The move comes despite a United Nations resolution calling for an end to such construction in territories seized by Israel in the 1967 war and claimed by Palestinians.

Israeli news reports say the Jerusalem District Zoning Committee is set to approve construction of 600 housing units as part of a larger plan for nearly 6,000 new homes.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed "sincere and everlasting condolences" to the families of the more than 2,400 Americans killed in Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 75 years ago.

Mr. Abe paid tribute Tuesday to those killed in the attack on December 7, 1941 that triggered America's entry into World War II.

Actress Carrie Fisher died Tuesday at the age of 60. She had suffered a medical emergency aboard a plane last Friday and had been recovering in a hospital.

Fisher was best known for playing the role of Princess Leia in the original "Star Wars" movie.

Fisher [is the daughter] was the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher.

Turkey has begun the trial of 29 police officers accused of helping the failed July coup.

Prosecutors in Istanbul say the accused aided the plot by failing to protect the residence of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison Tuesday. He made a post on Facebook that raised questions about the validity of Cambodia's border with Vietnam.

Taiwan's defense minister warned Tuesday of growing threats from China. Feng Shih-kuan made the remark after a group of Chinese warships sailed south of the island nation in the South China Sea during a routine military exercise.

The exercise was conducted on Monday more than three weeks after President-elect Donald Trump accepted a phone call from Taiwan's president, prompting a diplomatic protest from China.

A China National Space Administration official said Tuesday his nation plans to go for "strength and size" in its space program. China released a white paper Tuesday stating its space strategy for the next five years.

An Indonesian court ruled Tuesday it will move forward with a blasphemy trial against the Christian governor of the capital city of Jakarta. The case is viewed by many as a test of religious freedom in the Muslim-majority country.

From the VOA news center in Washington, I'm David DeForest.

That's the latest world news from VOA.

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