April 10, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Tommie McNeil reporting.
Explosions hit two churches in Egypt Sunday, killing nearly 40 people, wounding dozens of others as Coptic Christians celebrated Palm Sunday.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The first blast occurred in the Nile Delta, north of Cairo. At least 27 people were killed there.
Hours later, another explosion occurred at a church in Alexandria, killing at least 11 people.
Pope Francis, the leader of the world's Roman Catholics, is scheduled to visit Cairo this month to express solidarity with Egypt's Christian community.
Christians make up of about 10 percent of Egypt's population. They have been repeatedly harassed by Islamic extremists.
Former officials of U.S. President Barack Obama's administration are responding to criticism of Obama for not retaliating against Syria for a previous chemical weapons attack.
The officials maintain Mr. Obama proposed strikes in 2013 against Syria similar to those ordered by Republican President Donald Trump but were thwarted by a Republican-controlled Congress that refused to agree with Obama's plan.
The push-back to the criticism comes after Mr. Trump ordered the missile strikes against Syria for another chemical weapons attack without getting congressional approval.
The U.S. Navy has sent a strike group toward the Korean Peninsula to bolster the U.S. presence there and send a message to North Korea, which this week conducted a ballistic missile test in spite of U.N. Security Council resolutions banning such launches.
The strike group includes its namesake aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson as well as three guided-missile destroyers.
Pyongyang has repeatedly defied international warnings about conducting missile launches and testing nuclear devices.
This is VOA news.
Former officials of U.S. President Obama again responding to the criticism for not retaliating against Syria and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is traveling to Moscow Wednesday just days after United States launched missile strikes on Russia's ally.
Tillerson told ABC news the U.S. has not changed its military policy toward Syria after firing missiles on a Syrian airbase in response to Syrian chemical weapons attack that killed civilians.
"I think the president was very clear in his message to the American people, that this strike was related solely to the most recent, horrific use of chemical weapons against women, children, and as the president said, even small babies. And we're asking and calling on Bashar al-Assad to cease the use of these weapons. Other than that, there is no change to our military posture."
Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson announced that he canceled his planned Monday visit to Moscow, citing developments in Syria have changed the situation fundamentally.
Johnson said he did consult with Tillerson before calling off his trip to Russia.
The secretary of state heads to Russia after he attends the G7 foreign ministers meeting in Italy.
Police in Venezuela's capital fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disrupt thousands of anti-government protesters Saturday after President Nicolás Maduro's government barred an opposition candidate from holding office.
Henrique Capriles said the ban from holding public office will never have an effect. He said he is campaigning for Venezuela and going to fight to change the country.
Capriles narrowly lost to Maduro in the 2013 presidential election and was expected to challenge him in the next election scheduled for next year.
Afghan officials say nine security personnel have been killed in a Taliban stronghold where U.S. officials say an American soldier was killed while carrying out operations against the Islamic State group.
Local officials said Sunday the Afghan forces were killed late Saturday in the province, several others wounded.
The casualties come just ahead of the spring fighting season when the Taliban steps up its battle against Afghan and coalition forces.
A spokesman for the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan said the American soldier was killed late Saturday during an operation against ISIS.
And the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, told hundreds of World War II Filipino veterans Sunday Manila and Washington should help each other on regional and global threats, recalling the two nations' alliance during the Second World War.
Ties between Manila and Washington have been strained since Duterte started [his president in 2016] his presidency in 2016.
I'm Tommie McNeil in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.
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