June 28, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Steve Miller.
The United States says it has identified "potential preparations" for a chemical attack by Syrian government forces similar to an attack in April in northern Syria that prompted U.S. airstrikes in response.
A statement late Monday from White House press secretary Sean Spicer warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that if government forces do carry out another chemical attack, then "he and his military will pay a heavy price."
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley added, "I believe that the goal is at this point not just to send Assad a message, but to send Russia and Iran a message that if this happens again, we are putting you on notice."
There was no specific information or evidence presented about the alleged preparations.
The United States on Tuesday declared China as among the world's worst offenders in human trafficking and forced labor, placing it alongside countries the U.S. has long disparaged, such as Iran, North Korea and Syria.
In the report, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described human trafficking as "one of the most tragic human rights issues of our time.
U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, was with Tillerson and commented on the report. "This year's report emphasizes the responsibility all governments have to prosecute human traffickers. It also provides an opportunity for countries to see how others are fighting human trafficking."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China strongly opposes the United States "speaking irresponsibly," and China is willing to strengthen cooperation in the fight against human trafficking with all countries.
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This is VOA news.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday gave a partial victory to President Donald Trump, allowing parts of his revised travel ban to take effect until it reviews the issue definitively in October. Zlatica Hoke reports.
While Trump said the ruling will help keep Americans safe, rights groups were quick to criticize it. "The very fact that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear this flies in the face of a record of courts that have decided that this is an unjust and discriminatory Muslim ban."
Activists also are questioning the courts stipulating that nationals of the six affected countries can only travel to the United States if they have a bona fide or authentic verifiable relationship with people or organizations here.
"That's incredibly vague language. Who is going to be making the decision? Presumably, the same government who is trying to bar Muslim individuals from coming into this country."
Betsy Fisher is policy director at the International Refugee Assistance Project. Fisher says the order will go into effect Thursday and many will be confused as to how this will be implemented.
Zlatica Hoke, VOA news, Washington.
European Union antitrust regulators fined Google $2.72 billion Tuesday for unfairly boosting search results for its online shopping service.
EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Google has created many innovative products but in this case abused its place in the market.
"Google has abused its market dominance in its search engine by promoting its own shopping comparison service in its search results and demoting its competitors."
Google said it will review the EU decision as it considers an appeal.
Vestager said Google denied other companies the chance to computer on the merits and denied European customers a genuine choice of service.
In addition to the fine, Google is required to give rival comparison shopping services equal treatment and the company must explain how it will accomplish this.
Ukraine's prime minister called Tuesday's cyberattack "unprecedented."
Since then, the malicious software code has spread to the United States and several other countries in multiple business sectors.
On Twitter, pharmaceutical company Merck confirmed their computer network was compromised as part of the global hack and the other organizations had also been affected.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it is monitoring the attacks and is in contact with international and domestic partners.
IT experts have identified the virus as a type of ransomware, a program that is often used to hold data hostage until a payment is delivered.
For in-depth coverage 24 hours a day, visit voanews.com. From Washington DC, I'm Steve Miller.
That's the latest world news from VOA.
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