March 31, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Jee Abbey Lee reporting.
The White House on Thursday defended a bill recently passed by Congress to repeal Obama-era Internet privacy protections, saying the move is meant to create a fair playing field for telecommunication companies.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer reiterated President Donald Trump's support for the plan to repeal a rule forbidding Internet service providers from collecting personal data on users.
Spicer said the Obama administration's rules reclassified Internet service providers as common carriers, similar to hotels and other retail stores, treating them unfairly compared to edge providers like Google and Facebook.
Repealing the rules, he said, will "allow service providers to be treated fairly and consumer protection and privacy concerns to be reviewed on a level playing field."
Critics of the repeal bill say it could put the Internet browsing histories of private citizens up for sale to the highest bidder.
Russia pulled off an unprecedented and wildly successful campaign to influence America's political conversation during last year's presidential campaign. That's according to experts who testified Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Cybersecurity expert Clinton Watts of the Foreign Policy Research Institute said, "Russia hopes to win the second Cold War through the force of politics, as opposed to the politics of force." He detailed Russia's use of cyberattacks and an elaborate disinformation campaign to confuse U.S. voters and pit Americans against each other.
The testimony confirmed what lawmakers of both parties have been saying for months.
The White House confirmed Thursday that Chinese President Xi Jinping will be visiting the United States.
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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Thursday in Ankara with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as allies examine their next steps in the campaign to defeat Islamic State militants and stabilize the refugee crisis in the region.
"Today's conversation is built on three mutual long-term goals: working together to defeat Daesh, ISIS, building stability in the region and bolstering economic ties between our two nations."
Turkey has been a NATO ally since 1952.
"Over the past 18 months, the U.S. military's ability to operate from Turkish bases has enabled us to increase operations against ISIS by 25 percent without the utilization of any additional aircraft required."
Tillerson is looking to build on progress from last week's meeting of coalition partners in Washington.
Zika is a flavivirus like dengue or West Nile virus. A new study suggests Zika can be much worse for people who have had one of those other flaviviruses. In pregnant women, it may put their babies at higher risk for serious birth defects. VOA's Jessica Berman reports.
The study highlights the potentially deadly effects of a phenomenon called antibody dependent enhancement, or ADE.
In the study, mice were given a dose of antibodies from humans who have been infected with dengue fever and West Nile virus.
What the researchers found was that most of the mice with no human antibodies were able to fight off the illness when they were infected with Zika. But the mice with the antibodies from dengue patients became much sicker when they were infected and in fact only 21 percent survived the illness. Similar results were reported in the mice that received antibodies from West Nile patients.
That was compared to mice that received human antibodies that were not in the family of flaviviruses that include Zika virus, dengue virus and West Nile virus. All of those animals lived.
Virologist Jean Lim, a professor of the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine in New York, is co-author of the study published in the magazine Science. "Our studies may help to explain the severe Zika virus manifestations that we observed in the recent Zika-infected areas such as South America."
Jessica Berman, VOA news, Washington.
Malaysian officials have authorized the release of the body of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
For more news, log on to voanews.com. I am Jee Abbey Lee in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.