September 21, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Jonathan Smith reporting.
The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in over 80 years has knocked out power across the entire island of 3.4 million people.
Hurricane Maria with maximum sustained winds of about 185 kilometers per hour destroyed hundreds of homes and caused heavy flooding after making landfall Wednesday as a category 4 storm.
It was later downgraded to a category 3 hurricane, and despite its downgrade Maria will remain a dangerous major hurricane as it approaches the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas Thursday and Friday.
Maria has left at least nine people dead across the Caribbean. No immediate word of any deaths or serious injuries in Puerto Rico.
Before arriving in the US territories, the hurricane went directly over the island of Dominica while also nearly making landfall in Guadalupe, where at least two people were killed.
Widespread devastation being reported by Dominica's prime minister on Facebook.
Rescue workers searched Wednesday in Mexico City and nearby states in hopes of finding survivors of the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that killed at least 225 people and collapsed dozens of buildings.
The country's interior minister said Mexican armed forces and police will continue working until they exhaust all possibilities of finding more people alive.
Civilians joined search-and-rescue teams shortly after the earthquake struck Tuesday, using heavy machinery and their bare hands to remove piles of rubble.
This is VOA news.
President Trump spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in New York Wednesday. He said achieving peace between the Israelis and Palestinians may be the toughest deal of all.
"I think we have a very, very good chance, and I certainly will devote everything within, within my heart and within my soul to get that deal made."
President Trump said a peace agreement will be the deal of century and a fantastic achievement.
In the United States, special counsel Robert Mueller has asked the White House to release several records and email correspondents related to actions taken by President Trump since assuming office.
Mueller's request appears to indicate a broadening of the investigation to include the possibility that the president himself tried to obstruct an FBI probe of the Russian interference.
Trump's attorneys, Ty Cobb and John Dowd, have said they plan to comply with the request.
Kenya's Supreme Court released a ruling Wednesday explaining why it nullified the August presidential election.
Justices put the blame on members of the electoral commission who they say refused an order by the court to open computer servers and who announced official results before all tally forms had been received.
From Nairobi, VOA's Jill Craig has more.
In Kenya's electoral system, official tally forms were to be sent from all 291 constituencies and 40,883 polling stations to the national tallying center. These paper forms were to back up the electronic tally that was also sent to the center.
In his comments, Chief Justice David Maraga said many of the constituency level forms were incomplete, often lacking required signatures or IEBC features.
"As we have noted, out of 291 forms, 56 from that random sample, no, no, 56 did not have the watermark features, while that one did not bear the serial numbers, and a further five were not signed at all. And the two were only stamped by the returning officers, but not signed. In addition, two forms were not signed by the agents."
Jill Craig, VOA news, Nairobi.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says about 50 refugees now living in two Pacific detention centers will soon be resettled in the United States.
He made the announcement Wednesday during a television interview. He said that an equal number of refugees being held in Papua New Guinea and Nauru are heading to the US within the next several weeks.
You can find more on these and other stories, from around the world, at voanews.com and on the VOA news mobile app. I'm Jonathan Smith reporting from the world headquarters of the Voice of America in Washington.