June 2, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news.
President Trump says the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate deal. This fulfills a key campaign promise but puts at risk global efforts to deal with the effects of climate change.
"As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the nonbinding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country."
At the White House Thursday, Trump said the accord did little to help the environment and unfairly punished the United States by holding it to tougher standards than other top polluters.
"... and to create the economic regulatory and tax structures that make America the most prosperous and productive country on earth and with the highest standard of living and the highest standard of environmental protection."
The deal was reached in 2015. It set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting the rise in global temperatures. It was signed by 195 countries.
European leaders expressed dismay and anger in equal measure at the decision. They saw it as a rebuke and warned it would make it harder to slow the pace of climate change.
Government officials in several major European capitals said the U.S. withdrawal will further strain a Western alliance that they worry is unraveling. Others said the move will impact America's standing in the world and undermine the country's traditional global leadership role.
You are listening to news from the Voice of America in Washington.
American military officials say American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have pushed within three kilometers of the Islamic State's de facto capital in Syria, and the major battle for control of Raqqa from Islamic State militants "could begin in the coming days."
Speaking to reporters from Baghdad, the U.S.-led counter ISIS coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon said the SDF is "poised around Raqqa" after gaining 350 square kilometers from the Islamic State in Syria in the last week.
The forces, he said, are within three kilometers from Raqqa city to the north and east and about 10 kilometers from the city to the west.
He said, "The fight for the city could begin in the coming days. The encirclement of Raqqa is almost complete."
The Islamic State terrorist group has begun blocking off streets around the Grand al-Nuri mosque in western Mosul as it prepares for what may be its final battle against the Iraqi military.
Residents in the area told reporters that they have seen dozens of ISIS jihadists shutting down streets near the mosque and ordering families in the area to leave their houses.
The al-Nuri mosque in Mosul's Old City holds a symbolic meaning for the ISIS fighters because in 2014 it was the place where the jihadist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his only public appearance declaring an Islamic "caliphate" on land the group controlled in Iraq and Syria.
The prosecutor at the trial of the five men charged with killing Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov in Moscow in 2015 has urged jurors to find them guilty.
Maria Semenenko said their guilt is undisputed. She wrapped up the state's case on Thursday.
She also told the official Itar-Tass news agency that investigators used special equipment during a re-enactment of the crime that placed the defendants' mobile phones at the murder site [when] where Nemtsov was killed.
And, the United States government has put new sanctions on nine companies and three individuals suspected of having connections to North Korea's missile program.
U.S. and Chinese diplomats are expected to ask the U.N. Security Council to impose even more sanctions on people and companies involved with the North's missile program.
Thursday, the Treasury Department said the measures being taken will block the individuals and companies, including two Russian firms, from doing business with American citizens and will freeze the assets they hold in the U.S.
Two of the nine companies that were blacklisted for providing North Korea were accused of providing it with oil and missile supplies.
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