September 9, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. Hello, I'm Steve Miller.
U.S. President Donald Trump said that Hurricane Irma was "a storm of absolutely historic destructive potential."
He urged everyone to follow government recommendations.
"Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our people. We are doing everything we can to help with disaster preparations and when the time comes we will restore, recover and rebuild together as Americans."
Florida Governor Rick Scott said all 7,000 Florida National Guard members are being deployed and thousands of power workers are standing by ready to go to work.
Irma has killed at least 21 people thus far.
One of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in Mexico struck off the country's southern coast, toppling hundreds of buildings. Robert Raffaele has the details.
At least 60 people were reported dead. The quake that hit minutes before midnight Thursday were strong enough to cause buildings to sway violently in the capital city more than 1,000 kilometers away.
The furious shaking created a second national emergency for Mexican agencies already bracing for Hurricane Katia on the other side of the country.
Former Colombian FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, now the head of a new political party, asked for forgiveness from the visiting Pope Francis on Friday for the pain and suffering the group inflicted over decades of war. As many as 22,000 people were killed and millions displaced during a war that pit the Marxist FARC [against other] and other liberal groups against right-wing paramilitaries and government groups.
The pontiff has urged forgiveness and reconciliation during a five-day trip to Colombia in the hope of healing wounds left by the conflict.
This is VOA news.
Togo's security forces have used tear gas and cut some telecommunications in response to tens of thousands of protesters calling for an end to the Gnassingbe family's 50-year control of the small country. Matthew Larotonda has the story.
Police firing tear gas into demonstrations that have pulled in tens of thousands of people across the small country. There are also widespread reports of Internet and mobile phone outages. Earlier this week, a government minister said the networks were cut intentionally for security reasons.
Now there are fears the country may be heading for a repeat of the crackdowns that hit protesters when President Faure Gnassingbe first took office 12 years ago, succeeding his late father in a contested election. Hundreds died. The president's father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, himself took power in a coup in 1967. Meaning, most Togolese have never known a life without father or son at the top.
President Gnassingbe first tried to appease opponents earlier this week by offering to reintroduce term limits but it wouldn't be retroactive to him. Meaning that he could stay on until 2030 assuming he won reelection.
That's reporter Matthew Larotonda.
A leading humanitarian aid group has accused the European Union of being complicit in the mistreatment of migrants in detention camps in Libya. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Thousands of migrants desperate to get to Europe are being held in detention centers across Libya.
Joanne Liu, international president of (the) aid group Doctors Without Borders, told reporters that militia groups are detaining migrants in horrific conditions where they are subject to torture, rape, starvation and killing.
"Basically, I will describe those detention centers are for me, manufacturers of suffering."
Migrants picked up at sea by Libya's EU-sponsored coast guard are sent back into the country's murky detention system. Dr. Liu describes it as a thriving enterprise of kidnapping, torture and extortion, and accuses Europe of complicity.
The EU is struggling to balance public pressure to end the migration crisis with the bloc's much vaunted human rights values.
Henry Ridgwell, for VOA new, London.
Authorities detained a former Brazilian cabinet minister, Geddel Vieira Lima, three days after police found the equivalent of more than $16 million in cash that allegedly belong to him.
His arrest was part of a corruption investigation into a government-controlled bank.
Tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar's Rakhine state have fled across the border into neighboring Bangladesh.
Analysts warned that the violence there could become a lightning rod for foreign militants if it remains unaddressed and that terrorist groups could use the suffering of the Rohingyas as a recruiting tool.
From the Washington news center, I'm Steve Miller.
That's the latest world news from VOA.