2017-1-23 14:55




January 23, 2017

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

French left-wing voters cast their ballots in a Socialist Party presidential primary Sunday. They are hoping to choose a candidate that will be strong enough to counter conservative and nationalist rivals in the April-May general election.

The top two Socialist primary winners will then move to a runoff which is scheduled for next Sunday.

Troops from a regionwide military force moved Sunday into Gambia's capital, Banjul, where they were greeted by cheering throngs of people.

Gambians are awaiting the return of their new president, Adama Barrow. Mr. Barrow had to take his oath of office in Gambia's Senegal embassy Thursday because the long-time leader, Yahya Jammeh, refused to give up power.

Gambia's coalition spokesman, Halifa Sallah, congratulated the public for the way they reacted to the crisis.

After international pressure and threats of military action from regional nations, Mr. Jammeh flew into exile Saturday night after 22 years in office.

Syrian opposition and government delegates arrived Sunday in Kazakhstan a day before peace talks and an anticipated first face-to-face meeting between the foes in a year.

Russian media reported a trilateral meeting was underway late Sunday between representatives of the talks' organizers, Russia, Iran and Turkey.

Negotiations Monday are expected to focus on cementing a nationwide cease-fire that began in December.

This is VOA news.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem by reaching out to Israel's most important ally, the United States, and its new leader Donald Trump. The two spoke by telephone Sunday.

Mr. Netanyahu later said Mr. Trump invited him to a meeting in Washington next month.

Ahead of the talks, the White House said it was "at the very beginning stages of even discussing" moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Mr. Trump has called for such a move.

Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem would be very controversial in some parts of the world. There are fears that it could spark a new wave of Palestinian violence.

Here is the latest on the new administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Mr. Trump announced a major foreign leader will be visiting Washington.

"We have set up meetings with the prime minister of the United Kingdom and Prime Minister May will be coming over the United States shortly."

Also Mr. Trump took to Twitter Sunday and gave his reaction to the previous day's women's march protesting his becoming president. He said that he watched the protests but that he (quoting now) "was under the impression that we just had an election. Why didn't these people vote?" he asked.

Later, the new president tweeted that "peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy."

Sunday marks the 44th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe versus Wade that legalized abortion in America.

Anti-abortion activists observed the occasion every year, this time with the U.S. president who says he wants the decision overturned.

As a candidate, President Donald Trump promised to appoint an anti-abortion justice to fill a vacancy at the nation's highest court.

He also said he wants to remove government funding from the pro-abortion group, Planned Parenthood.

The research group, the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, released a survey that found the annual number of abortions in the United States has dropped to under one million per year. That's the lowest level since 1974.

Severe weather has killed at least 15 people in the United States. Forecasters warn of more deadly storms to come.

The National Weather Service said Sunday that southern Georgia, northern Florida and the corner of southeastern Alabama could face tornadoes, damaging wind and large hail.

Eleven people were killed and more than 20 injured as violent storms and tornadoes rolled through parts of Georgia over the weekend. Another four people were killed in Mississippi by a tornado on Saturday.

For more on that and other stories, take a look at our website. It's voanews.com.

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

That's the latest world news from VOA.

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