August 16, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. Hello, I'm Steve Miller.
President Donald Trump declared Tuesday "there is blame on both sides" for the deadly violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, appearing once again to acquit the actions of white supremacist groups and those protesting them.
"I think there is blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it, either. And If you reported it accurately, you would say."
The president's comment effectively wiped away the more conventional statement he delivered at the White House a day earlier when he branded members of the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists who take part in violence as "criminals and thugs."
His remarks were welcomed by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who wrote on Twitter: "Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth."
However, Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii said on Twitter: "As a Jew, and as an American, as a human, words cannot express my disgust and disappointment. This is not my president."
U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the United States believes diplomacy deserves a chance to resolve the current tension on the Korean peninsula.
"Kim Jung-Un, we would like to have talks with him when the time is right, when they show that they're serious."
Nauert said North Korea's two nuclear tests last year, the two ICBM tests in July as evidence that North Korea is not serious at this time.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry says it has delivered thousands of meals to Sierra Leone as the West African country recovers from a deadly mudslide.
The nation of Israel is also planning on sending medical aid.
Authorities have said more than 300 people have died.
This is VOA news.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released a state Department's Annual Report on Religious Freedom in 199 countries and territories around the globe.
"Almost 80 percent of the global population live with restrictions on or hostilities to limit their freedom of religion. Where religious freedom is not protected, we know that instability, human rights abuses, and violent extremism have a greater opportunity to take root."
Tillerson singled out seven countries for an array of abuses. They were Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bahrain, China, Pakistan and Sudan.
He laid out his most detailed indictment against Islamic State, saying the group is clearly responsible for genocide against the Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims in areas it controls or has controlled."
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley says Iran should not be allowed to use the nuclear deal to hold the world hostage.
Haley commented Tuesday after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement with the United States and five other world powers could fall apart.
"If they want to repeat previous experiences, Iran will certainly, within a short period, not on a scale of weeks or months, but on a scale of hours and days, will return to a much more advanced position than when the talks started."
Haley added that Iran, under no circumstances, can ever be allowed to have nuclear weapons. Haley said Iran must be held responsible for launching missiles, supporting terrorism, disregarding human rights and violating U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The former number-two leader of al-Shabaab says he has quit the Somalia-based militant group.
Mukhtar Robow said he made the announcement to journalists at a Mogadishu hotel on Tuesday.
He left the group because of differences with other al-Shabaab leaders.
The former al-Shabaab official indicated he is holding talks with the Somali government and said that he is hopeful that they can pave a way for a lasting peace.
A former chief of staff to the United Kingdom's Brexit minister says he will launch a new political party next month with a goal of keeping Britain in the European Union.
James Chapman says he will officially kick off the centrist party called the Democrats at the People's March for Europe rally in London on September 9.
Chapman has called for pro-EU members from both government and opposition parties to join him. However, no lawmakers have publicly heeded his call.
Be sure to point your web browser to voanews.com 24 hours a day for more in-depth coverage. I'm Steve Miller in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.