2017-4-24 11:05




April 24, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Jee Abbey Lee reporting.

North Korea has detained another U.S. citizen, a university accounting professor in his 50s.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reports Tony Kim, who also goes by his Korean name Kim Sang-duk, was arrested Friday at Pyongyang International Airport.

Kim taught accounting at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology for about a month. Prior to coming to the North, he taught at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China.

The U.S. State Department said "protection of U.S. citizens is one of its highest priorities." Washington has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, and works with the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang to try to free detained Americans.

The State Department said they have no further comment, citing privacy considerations.

Preliminary results from France's first round of presidential elections confirmed that centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron and nationalist, anti-immigration candidate Marine Le Pen are heading to a runoff in two weeks. Analysts are describing the situation as a political earthquake in France.

It's the first time in the history of the modern French Republic that the presidency will be held by a member of a non-traditional party, highlighting a deep anti-establishment sentiment.

Projected results show Macron garnered 23.8 percent and Le Pen won 21.7 percent. The winner needs an absolute majority and that will be determined on May 7.

An American aircraft carrier headed toward the Korean peninsula has been joined by two Japanese destroyers. The vessels of the two countries began joint exercises Sunday in the Western Pacific.

The USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group, which includes a guided-missile cruiser and a guided-missile destroyer, was diverted from its trip to Australia by U.S. President Donald Trump.

U.S. President Donald Trump made a new push Sunday for construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to thwart illegal immigration. At the forefront of the White House discussion is funding.

Trump wants initial funding for the wall, a key campaign promise in his run to the White House, included in the budget to finance government spending to the end of September, but opposition Democrats remain adamantly against its construction.

The U.S. government runs out of operating funds at midnight Friday, giving the Republican-controlled Congress and minority Democrats just days to reach a compromise with the White House.

This year marks the halfway point in an international campaign to provide children and adults around the globe with access to life-saving vaccines. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the progress and what's at stake in this campaign.

Six years ago, 194 countries signed on to the Global Vaccine Action Plan. The goal is to prevent millions of people from getting vaccine-preventable diseases by the time the program ends in 2020. The plan is to provide universal access to vaccines to protect people of all ages.

Dr. Flavia Bustreo is the assistant director-general for Family, Women's and Children's Health at the World Health Organization.

"Immunization and vaccines are the most powerful public health tools that we have currently. "

Bustreo says 35 years ago, 13 million children lost their lives from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. She says that number has been reduced to 6 million per year

Carol Pearson, VOA news, Washington.

The founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, gave a passionate defense of foreign aid and voiced fears that the political climate in the U.S. and U.K. could see a budgets cut. In a speech in London this week, he warned that withdrawing aid would "create a leadership vacuum that others will fill."

Gates gives $5 billion a year to development aid, making him one of the world's most generous philanthropists. In a speech at London's Royal United Services Institute this week, he voiced concerns that the political tide is turning against foreign aid.

Gates argues many critics of foreign aid don't realize the major progress that's been achieved.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has visited Djibouti, the east African nation that's home to the United States' only military base on the continent. He is on a tour of the Middle East and Horn of Africa.

Mattis called Djibouti an "important geographic crossroads."

I am Jee Abbey Lee in Washington.

That's the latest world news from VOA.

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