July 4, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Jonathan Smith reporting.
South Korea's military says North Korea launched another ballistic missile Tuesday morning. It wasn't immediately clear if this was a routine firing of a short-range missile or an attempt to perfect North Korea's longer-range missiles.
North Korea has accelerated its weapons testing program in defiance of United Nations sanctions as it seeks to develop a device that can deliver a nuclear warhead to North America.
It has said it is not far away from test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile with the potential of hitting the U.S. mainland.
President Trump said all options, including military force, are available to combat threats from North Korea.
Once again, South Korea's military says North Korea launched another ballistic missile Tuesday morning.
The Syrian Army has declared a unilateral cease-fire in the south of the country until Thursday ostensibly to support "reconciliation efforts."
The announcement Monday came a day before peace talks set to be held in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana. Hours later, however, the Reuters news agency reported rebels and witnesses in the supposed cease-fire zone said Syrian government [troops] jets, that is, had resumed dropping barrel bombs - drums or cylinders packed with explosives and shrapnel - on rebel-held areas of the city of Daraa in southwestern Syria at the border with Jordan and other nearby areas.
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U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres appointed a French legal expert and former judge to head the U.N. investigative body that will help document and prosecute the most serious violations of international law in Syria, including possible war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Syrian civil war has killed more than 320,000 people, according to UN estimates, and the world body has established a commission of inquiry to document cases of torture, summary killings and other atrocities by all sides in the conflict.
Iranian artillery bombed Kurdish militants in northern Iraq on Monday, injuring at least three people and forcing hundreds to flee their homes, Kurdish officials told VOA.
The cross-border shelling in Iraq(i) Kurdistan's Haji Omaran region targeted positions of Iranian Kurdish rebel groups, the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan and Komala, Kurdish officials said.
One villager and two rebels were injured and many local farmers' livelihoods were destroyed as a result of the shelling.
Italy says the number of migrants arriving on its shores during the first half of this year rose nearly 20 percent above the levels reached by the same date in 2016.
A federal judge south of Chicago has denied bond for an Illinois man suspected of kidnapping Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang.
FBI agents arrested Brendt Christensen last week after they placed him under surveillance. They heard him allegedly boasting to someone that he kidnapped the University of Illinois student.
Investigators say Christensen visited a fetish website for people to fantasize about kidnapping and bondage.
Hundreds of people on Monday stood across the courthouse and in the lobby of the courthouse, demanding justice.
Brendt Christensen said nothing at the brief hearing other than responding "yes" when the judge asked him if he understood his rights.
His attorney reminded reporters that his client is innocent until proven guilty and said "there's a lot the public doesn't know."
Federal authorities say they are certain Zhang is dead, but have not found her body.
Zhang's father is in the United States helping to search for his daughter.
You can find more on these and other developing stories around the world around the clock at voanews.com. I'm Jonathan Smith in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.