2017-7-24 09:32




July 22, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Jim Bertel reporting.

There are major changes in the Trump administration.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer has resigned. His resignation came shortly after Anthony Scaramucci was named the administration's new communications director.

At his first briefing with reporters, Scaramucci says there is no friction with Spicer or White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.

"Sean decided that he thought it would be better to go and for me, as it relates to Sean, it speaks volumes to who he is as a human being, who he is as a team player. OK, so, his attitude is, 'If Anthony's coming in, let me clear the slate for Anthony,' and I do appreciate that about Sean, and I love him for it, but I don't have any friction with Sean, I don't have any with Reince."

Scaramucci announced deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would replace Spicer as press secretary.

Meanwhile, according to news reports, U.S. President Donald Trump's aides are scrutinizing special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team as aides explore ways to discredit their Russia inquiry.

The Washington Post and New York Times report the president has asked his advisers about the power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about pardons at today's White House briefing.

"The president maintains pardon powers like any president would. But there are no announcements or planned announcements on that front whatsoever."

Mueller's Russia probe is looking into the president's financial history and examining whether any of his advisers aided the Kremlin's campaign to disrupt last year's presidential election.

For more on this and all the news, visit us at voanews.com. This is VOA news.

Israeli officials say three Israelis have died and one more is wounded after a Palestinian broke into a home in a West Bank settlement and stabbed the inhabitants. The Israeli army says the assailant was shot.

Earlier Friday, three Palestinians died when clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians turned violent.

Clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians broke out after the recent implementation of new Israeli security measures.

Two top U.S. officials are denying claims that the leader of the Islamic State terror group is dead.

There have been multiple reports in recent weeks that the Islamic State's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in Iraq or Syria.

However, both U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and National Counterterrorism Center Director Nick Rasmussen said there is no proof Baghdadi has been killed.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held meetings with in Washington Friday with his counterpart from Oman to discuss, among other issues, the diplomatic standoff between four Arab nations and Qatar.

Last week, Tillerson was in Qatar where he signed a memorandum in which the U.S. and Qatar agreed to address many of the terrorism-related concerns that Qatar's Arab neighbors have expressed.

He talked about progress the country has been making.

"Well, I think as a follow-on to our trip over there last week, there has been some, I think, positive movement. The Qataris have continued to move forward on the MOU that the U.S. and Qatar entered into to address many of the terrorism, terror financing, counterterrorism concerns that people have, and they have been very aggressive in implementing that agreement. So we're - I think we're satisfied with the effort they're putting forth."

Tillerson said he and his Omani counterpart agreed Qatar has made progress.

The U.S. says it will prohibit American citizens from traveling to North Korea. The U.S. State Department cites mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention. This follows a travel warning on May 9 that alerted all Americans not to travel to the country.

The decision comes after the death of U.S. student Otto Warmbier who passed away after falling into a coma into a North Korean prison.

A counterinsurgency strike in southern Afghanistan is reported to have left a number of government forces dead, including senior officers.

The friendly fire incident happened Friday in Helmand province, where fighting has been raging after Taliban insurgents staged a major assault on government outposts a day earlier.

U.S. military officials confirmed that local security personnel aligned with Afghan government forces were killed.

I'm Jim Bertel reporting from Washington.

That's the latest world news from VOA.



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