May 3, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Jee Abbey Lee reporting.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone Tuesday, their first such conversation since Russia condemned a U.S. military attack against Syria last month. The White House described the conversation as "a very good one."
The two leaders discussed the civil war in Syria and the escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Kremlin officials, quoted by Russian media, termed the call "businesslike and constructive."
The two leaders agreed to have their top diplomats, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, step up discussions on a cease-fire for the six-year-long conflict in Syria.
House Republican leaders say they are closely replacing major parts of former President Barack Obama's health care law.
But House Speaker Paul Ryan also discussed major parts of a funding bill they'll be discussing this week. He says there is a lot of focus on border security and boosting the military.
"It expands the school choice program - that's something many of us feel very passionately about. It expands the DC school choice Opportunity Scholarship Program. It maintains our pro-life protections. It contains no new money for Obamacare. No insurance company bailouts. It makes major increases in defense spending while holding the line on non-defense. This is something that I think is really important that people are sort of missing in this really important story. I cannot understate how much of a game-changer this is."
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 32 civilians were killed Tuesday in a surprise Islamic State attack near a refugee camp on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq.
Spokesman Rami Abdel said at least five suicide attackers blew themselves up outside and inside the camp for Iraqi refugees.
This is VOA news.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday the government "needs a good 'shutdown' in September" when lawmakers will be debating the 2018 funding plan. Trump failed to win congressional approval for many of his spending and policy priorities for the next five months.
In a Twitter comment, Trump blamed the result of his first fight over federal spending on lawmaking rules in the [state] Senate.
Later during a Rose Garden ceremony, the president lauded the results of the budget negotiations in terms of national defense and border security.
"These long-awaited increases will make America more safe and more secure, and give our amazing service members the tools, equipment, training, and resources they need and they very much deserve. To top that, we achieved the single largest increase in border security funding in 10 years. So we have more money now for the border than we've gotten in 10 years."
U.S. political analysts agreed with Trump that his Democratic opponents won most of the funding disputes in this week's budget negotiations.
Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday President Donald Trump is giving "serious consideration" to moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Pence said Trump is also "personally committed" to becoming the U.S. president who finally ends the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"To be clear, the president has also personally committed to resolving the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. Even now, we're making valuable progress toward the noble goal of peace. Thanks to the president's tireless leadership, momentum is building and goodwill is growing. And that while there will undoubtedly have to be compromises, you can rest assured President Donald Trump will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish State of Israel -- not now, not ever."
Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is a politically charged act that would anger Palestinians who want East Jerusalem as a future capital and part of their sovereign territory. Such a move would also distance the U.S. from most of the international community, including its closest allies in Western Europe and the Arab world.
Failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton blamed FBI Director James Comey and the website WikiLeaks, which published emails hacked from her campaign director, for her loss in the 2016 presidential election.
She was speaking at an event Tuesday with CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour.
I am Jee Abbey Lee in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.
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