2017-5-22 11:37




May 21, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Steve Miller reporting.

Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz and U.S. President Donald Trump signed a nearly $110 billion agreement Saturday to bolster the military capabilities of Saudi Arabia.

The defense deal, which takes place immediately, was one of a series of agreements the two countries signed to enhance their military and economic partnerships. This also includes a second defense pact with options valued of up to $350 billion over the next 10 years.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson commented on the agreements. "This growing partnership is really grounded in trust, trust between our two nations that we are pursuing the same objectives."

The White House said in a statement earlier the defense deals will create new opportunities for U.S. companies in the Middle East and support "tens of thousands" of new jobs in the U.S. defense industry.

Reports from northern Syria say Islamic State extremists have executed 19 civilians, including two children, after kidnapping them from a village thought to be under the control of U.S.-backed anti-jihadist fighters.

There were few details, and there was no comment on the killings Saturday from U.S. officials. But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors warfare in the country, said the killings occurred Friday between Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.

The observatory report said IS fighters also captured three anti-jihadist fighters in the raid. Their fate was unknown on Saturday. But in an unverified photograph, they appeared to show them about to be executed.

The last image of the men show them seated in the desert with their hands tied behind their backs.

This is VOA.

Brazil's President Michel Temer has insisted he will not resign despite a corruption scandal that appears to implicate him through a recorded conversation.

In a speech to the nation on Saturday, Temer said "Brazil will not be derailed" by the corruption case.

"A political crisis would stow unknown proportions."

Temer said he has also filed a petition with the Supreme Federal Tribunal, the country's highest court that he hopes will suspend the corruption investigation into him until experts can analyze the audio that appears to show him endorse the payment of bribes to ex-house speaker Eduardo Cunha for his silence.

It is unlikely the court will do that as it authorized the opening of the investigation and ordered it to be made public.

President Hassan Rohani has been declared the winner of Iran's presidential election.

Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli called the election after 99 percent of the ballots have been counted. Rohani won 57 percent of the vote, beating his closest opponent, hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, who won 38 percent of the votes cast.

Massive voter turnout on Friday prompted election authorities to extend voting hours from 6:00 p.m. until midnight, with some of the voters standing in line for hours to cast their ballots.

At least 141 people have been killed on Friday during an attack at an airbase in southern Libya.

A spokesman for General Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army says most of those killed were soldiers. But those killed also included civilians who worked at the airbase and others who were in the area.

A spokesman told AFP the attack on the airbase was carried out by a militia loyal to the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli. The denied the account.

The 82 Nigerian schoolgirls released from captivity by Boko Haram were reunited with their families for the first time on Saturday in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

The girls are among the 276 Chibok schoolgirls that were abducted from their boarding school by the terrorists in 2014. They were granted freedom as part of a prisoner exchange deal between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government.

Twenty-one others were freed in October, while several others have been let go individually or have escaped.

More than 100 of the girls are still being held and the Nigerian government hopes to negotiate their release.

Boko Haram has killed thousands in its eight-year terrorist campaign to turn northern Nigeria into a staunch Islamic state.

In Washington, I'm Steve Miller.

That's the latest world news from VOA.

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