April 14, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Jee Abbey Lee reporting.
The U.S. military says it dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal in Afghanistan.
A Pentagon statement said the bomb was dropped Thursday on an Islamic State tunnel complex in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province near the border with Pakistan.
The device called the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb contains 11 tons of explosives. Based on its acronym, the U.S. Air Force calls it "the mother of all bombs."
Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said it was the first use of the bomb in a combat situation.
President Trump said the airstrike in Afghanistan was "another successful event."
"If you look at what's happened over the last eight weeks and compare that, really, to what's happened over the last eight years, you'll see there's a tremendous difference. Tremendous difference. So we have incredible leaders in the military, and we have an incredible military, and we are very proud of them. And this was another very, very successful mission."
He also answered questions about his expectations of Chinese President Xi Jinping's role in curbing North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
"I have really gotten to like and respect, as you know, President Xi. He's a terrific person, we spent a lot of time together in Florida, and he's a very special man. So we'll see how it goes. I think he's going to try very hard." :President Donald Trump.
An errant airstrike by the U.S.-backed coalition killed 18 allied soldiers who were fighting the Islamic State militant group in northern Syria.
U.S. Central Command, which directs U.S. forces in the Middle East, said allied forces members inadvertently carried out the attack Tuesday south of Tabqa.
This is VOA news.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is remaining defiant in the midst of widespread accusations his government carried out a deadly chemical attack last week. Monitoring groups say his forces along with Russia have escalated attacks on civilians in a clear challenge to the international community.
In his first interview since the chemical weapons airstrike on Khan Sheikhoun earlier this month, Assad told AFP the incident was a "fabrication" to justify a U.S. military strike.
Assad argued his impression is that the West, mainly the U.S., is hand in glove with the terrorists, referring to the opposition forces. He added Damascus handed over all of its chemical weapons back in 2013.
Voters in Turkey will consider a constitutional referendum Sunday on whether to transform their government from the current parliamentary system into a powerful executive presidency. The issue has split the nation. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul on the last days of campaign.
Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, accounts for about one-fifth of the electorate, and how it votes will likely prove decisive in Sunday's referendum.
With opinion polls showing the outcome is too close to call, both sides are feverishly campaigning. "Yes" campaigners argue that extending the president's powers will strengthen democracy by ensuring stability.
For the "No" voters, the proposed reforms - extending presidential power over the judiciary and allowing rule by decree - open the door to dictatorship as is no campaigner explains.
She says, "People come and ask us why we should say 'No.' We try to explain to them. To be honest, we say 'No' to one-man regime."
For both opponents and supporters, the referendum has come down to one man: incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Dorian Jones, of VOA news, Istanbul.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un commemorated the opening of a skyscraper-lined district in Pyongyang Thursday amid rapidly escalating tensions between his country and the United States.
Kim cut a ceremonial ribbon to mark the event before a rally attended by more than 100,000 people.
His sprouting project includes a 70-story apartment complex and stretches out of downtown Pyongyang to the palace where the country's past leaders are kept embalmed.
The opening was one of a series of events leading up to national founder Kim Il Sung's 105th birthday Saturday, North Korea's most significant holiday.
I am Jee Abbey Lee in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.
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