2017-3-24 09:27




March 22, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Tommie McNeil reporting.

Senate Judiciary Committee members questioned U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on the second day of confirmation hearings. VOA's Michael Bowman reporting.

Gorsuch told senators that no Trump administration official ever pressured him to promise how he would vote on hot-button issues that the high court could decide in coming years and that he would have no trouble ruling against any party, including presumably the White House.

"I don't believe in litmus tests for judges. No one in that process asked me for any commitments, any kind of promises about how I'd rule in any kind of case."

Gosuch refused to speculate on how he might rule on many of Trump's controversial campaign promises from a ban on Muslims entering the United States to reinstituting the use of torture techniques on terror suspects.

Britain said Tuesday that it would ban passengers from carrying laptops and other large electronic devices on flights into the country from six Middle Eastern nations. That's following a similar measure announced by the United States.

The new British impacts direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

A spokesman for the prime minister said the steps are necessary and proportionate to allow passengers to travel safely.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Transportation Safety Agency issued a similar ban on passengers flying directly to the United States.

The U.S. State Department confirmed Tuesday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will not attend the NATO summit in Brussels this April.

He will, however, be traveling to Italy and Russia the same month for a meeting of the G7.

More voanews.com. This is VOA news.

The director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey, confirmed to a congressional panel that his agency is looking into allegations of Russian efforts to influence last year's U.S. election.

"I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI as part of our counterintelligence mission is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election."

Comey also said he has no information that supports Mr. Trump's claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his New York headquarters.

The FBI also looking into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to defeat Trump's rival Hillary Clinton.

Sean Spicer is a White House spokesman: "Following this testimony, it's clear that nothing has changed. Senior Obama intelligence officials have gone on record to confirm there is no evidence of a Trump-Russia collusion."

Spicer also said Mr. Trump is not withdrawing his wiretapping allegation, saying that an investigation continues.

President Trump went to Capitol Hill to urge Republicans in the House of Representatives to back a key vote Thursday to repeal the national health care law championed by President Obama.

House Speaker Paul Ryan on the president's visit: "President Trump was here to do what he does best, and that is to close the deal. He is all in and we are all in to end this Obamacare nightmare."

The president wooed lawmakers who have been reluctant to support his plan. Some lawmakers not committed to the bill expressed concern that replacing the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, would lead to many poor people without some type of health insurance.

At least five people were killed in the Somali capital Tuesday when a car bomb exploded outside a security checkpoint near the presidential palace.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but militant group al-Shabaab which has ties with al-Qaeda has carried out numerous bombings and shooting, raids in Mogadishu, usually targeting locations where government officials gather.

The proposal to build a formidable wall along the U.S. border with Mexico could see construction prototype fence and wall designs in June of this year. That's according to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

While CBP officials would not say how many companies have responded to last Friday's formal request for proposed wall designs, published reports say a number of large firms with significant experience in managing large projects have expressed interest. The request for plans covered both a concrete wall and using other materials, like fencing.

A small company thousands of kilometers away is working with some firms that design and build projects in the hope of landing some business.

I'm Tommie McNeil in Washington.

That's the latest world news from VOA.

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