VOA news for Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
Thanks to http://gandalf.ddo.jp/ for audio and text
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
Afghan officials say two suicide bombings in Kabul Tuesday killed more than 30 people and wounded at least 80.
Witnesses say the bombers targeted a convoy of officials leaving the offices of parliament.
Top security officials and members of parliament are said to be among the victims.
The Taliban claimed responsibility.
In another incident, an explosion in Kandahar Tuesday killed at least 11 people and wounded 18. The provincial governor and the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates are among the victims.
A measure that would increase sanctions on Russia for its alleged interference in the recent U.S. presidential election has been submitted to Congress by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.
The Countering Russian Hostilities Act of 2017 would impose visa bans on some Russian individuals and freeze their assets.
It would codify sanctions already imposed by President Barack Obama and would authorize $100 million to counter Russian propaganda.
The U.S. intelligence community has released a declassified version of a report accusing Russia of meddling in the American election.
The report has countered criticism from the incoming Trump administration.
U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver what the White House describes as "a forward-looking" farewell address tonight to the American people. The speech will recap Mr. Obama's accomplishments over the past eight years in office.
That address is to be delivered at 2 hours Universal Time in Chicago.
It'll be carried on our website voanews.com.
Be sure to tune in. Look at it live voanews.com here on VOA.
This is VOA news.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres laid out his vision Tuesday for re-tuning the organization's work from largely responding to conflicts back to preventing them. Margaret Besheer reports.
Guterres took office on January 1 and has wasted no time in calling on nations to commit to a "surge in diplomacy for peace.”
He has urged a new approach and focus on preventing conflicts that starts with addressing root causes of crises and includes reforming how the U.N. makes decisions.
"Prevention must consistently be seen as a value in itself and it is an essential means of reducing human suffering and enabling people to reach their full potential.”
The United Nations is facing an abundance of conflicts around the globe and the number of displaced persons is the highest it has been since World War II.
Margaret Besheer, the United Nations.
A U.S. federal jury Tuesday handed out a death sentence to the killer of nine people at a black South Carolina church. Twenty-two-year-old Dylann Roof, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, was found guilty last month in the killings.
The panel of 10 women (and) two men reached a decision after about three hours of deliberations.
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for U.S. attorney general, defended his civil rights record on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
"I deeply understand the history of civil rights in our country and the horrendous impact that relentless and systematic discrimination and the denial of voting rights has had on our African-American brothers and sisters. I have witnessed it. We must continue to move forward and never back.”
Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee he opposes banning Muslims from entering the country. He also said he would enforce a 2015 law that outlaws torture techniques such as waterboarding.
President-elect Donald Trump told The New York Times newspaper Tuesday that Congress should act quickly to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's health care law.
After speaking with Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan said repeal of ObamaCare will be done concurrently with the formulation of a replacement measure.
Mr. Obama took some parting shots Tuesday at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He told an Israeli television interviewer that current settlement activity by the Jewish state in territory claimed by Palestinians is making the future Palestinian state impossible.
"Increasingly what you are seeing is that the facts on the ground are making it almost impossible, at least very difficult, and if this trendline continues - impossible, to create a contiguous, functioning Palestinian state.”
Mr. Obama said U.S. support for the Jewish settlements in the West Bank could lead to a worsening situation over time.
From the VOA news center in Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.