2017-2-4 10:09




January 25, 2017

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

Russia, Turkey and Iran have agreed on a plan to support the partial Syrian cease-fire and find a political solution to the six-year Syrian civil war.

No details were immediately released. But they say the sides should meet again next month in Geneva.

Humanitarian agencies say they fear for the safety of Iraqi civilians in the western part of the embattled city of Mosul. Lisa Schlein reports.

The Iraqi government reportedly has regained full control of eastern Mosul 100 days after military operations to oust Islamic State fighters from the city began. The government is now setting its sights on recapturing the western part of the city and this is causing worry among humanitarian workers.

The United Nations reports nearly half of all casualties from Mosul are civilians.

Lisa Schlein, Geneva.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Tuesday called on world powers to maintain sanctions against Russia.

The United States, the European Union and others imposed sanctions on Russia in early 2014 over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its support for pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine's east.

Mr. Poroshenko is apparently concerned that the new U.S. administration might ease the sanctions.

China is warning the United States it would not retreat from claims that it controls the South China Sea.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said her government has what she called " indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and the adjacent waters." She said the United States is not party to the issue.

Her remarks came in response to a White House [spokesman] spokesman's remarks that the U.S. would "defend international territories."

This is VOA news.

Britain's Supreme Court ruled 8-3 Tuesday that parliament must approve plans to trigger the country's exit from the European Union.

It says the ruling was based on the view that withdrawing from the EU would both cut off a source of British law and change rights enjoyed by British citizens.

Andrew Blick teaches history King's College London. "No question about the constitutional significance. The political significance is a bit more complicated. What political difference will it really make? It seems unlikely that the Commons, the House of Commons, elected chamber of Parliament, will be want to, will want to be seen to be blocking Brexit, to be seen to be resisting the will of the people as expressed in a referendum."

Prime Minister Theresa May's government had wanted to use her executive powers to evoke the article that would begin the withdrawal.

German Social Democrat Sigmar Gabriel said he will not challenge Chancellor Angela Merkel in a national election September 24.

That may lead to a somewhat less predictable election. Currently, Ms. Merkel's party holds a double-digit lead over the Social Democrats.

President Donald Trump moved Tuesday to advance construction of two oil pipelines in the U.S. the action overturns the policies of former President Barack Obama, who objected to the projects on environmental grounds.

Mr. Trump signed executive orders calling for new negotiations to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline

Also, the new president said he would make an appointment next week to the U.S. Supreme Court. "Sometime next week, I'll be making my decision this week, we'll be announcing next week. We have outstanding candidates and we will pick a truly great Supreme Court justice."

A vacancy was opened up on the court last year by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Here is the latest on the U.S. cabinet confirmation process.

U.S. President Donald Trump's choice for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services faced tough questioning Tuesday during a second round of confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill.

Tom Price rejected accusations by Democrats of insider trading. "Reality is that everything that I did was ethical, aboveboard, legal and transparent. The reason that you know about these things is because we have made that information available in real time, as required by the House Ethics Committee. So there is anything that you have divulged here that hasn't been public knowledge."

Nikki Haley's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations moved a step closer to full Senate confirmation Tuesday when the Foreign Relations Committee overwhelmingly approved her nomination.

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

That's the latest world news from VOA.

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