March 20, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Jee Abbey Lee reporting.
President Donald Trump's budget director says the proposed government spending plan is the vision on which the president ran and that he actually is following through on his promises to the American people.
Mick Mulvaney told NBC television's Meet the Press Sunday that means "more money for defense, more money to secure the border, more money for law enforcement generally."
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Washington and Beijing feel a sense of urgency about North Korea, which on Sunday tested a high-thrust rocket.
Pyongyang's nuclear ambition dominated discussions during Tillerson's first trip to the region, which included stops in Japan, South Korea and China.
Tillerson said that Trump administration is looking for a new way forward on the issue.
"We've committed ourselves to do everything we can to prevent any type of conflict from breaking out. And we view there are a number of steps that we can take that are in front of us."
Secretary Tillerson met with Chinese President Xi Jinping Sunday.
"President Trump places a very high value on the communications that have already occurred between yourself and President Trump, most particularly the very lengthy telephone conversation, where there were very good exchanges to improve the understanding of China's view of the relationship with the United States, and President Trump's view, as well."
Earlier in Tokyo, Tillerson declared that diplomatic and other efforts over the past 20 years to put an end to North Korea's nuclear program have failed.
In Seoul, he said all options are on the table, including military measures.
This is VOA news.
Two key U.S. officials are set to testify publicly about whether there is any truth behind the explosive, but unsubstantiated, claim by U.S. President Donald Trump that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him in the weeks before last year's presidential election.
Both James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the country's top law enforcement agency, and the National Security Agency chief Admiral Michael Rogers would likely have known about the eavesdropping if it occurred.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited the southeastern U.S. state of Florida Saturday to drum up support for the Republican health care plan meant to replace the Affordable Care Act signed into law by former President Barack Obama.
The vice president said the administration's American Health Care Act will change the way Americans buy health.
The Great Barrier Reef faces localized threats, such as the run-off of pesticides from farms and overfishing, but scientists believe its future depends on immediate efforts to reduce global warming.
They say last year's bleaching of large parts of the reef was the worst on record. There's evidence that a similar event is occurring this year. Corals begin to starve once they bleach, the main cause of which is heat stress resulting from high sea temperatures.
The world heritage body, UNESCO, has threatened to put the Great Barrier Reef on its in danger list because of mounting concerns over its health.
In response, the Queensland state government has released a discussion paper to look at ways to improve water quality on the reef, which is contaminated by fertilizers and pesticides from farms near the coast.
Phil Mercer, for VOA news, Sydney.
Although many members of Mike Pence's Republican Party have expressed their concerns about the plan, which could reach the floor of the House of Representatives during the next coming weeks, Pence was upbeat.
Despite widespread reports to the contrary, Pence said the plan endorsed by President Donald Trump would lower costs by increasing consumers' choices and "create a dynamic marketplace."
He urged dozens of supporters gathered to hear his speech to "stand up and speak out."
The U.S. Secret Service has heightened security efforts after a motorist drove a car up to a White House checkpoint and claimed to have a bomb.
Officials say the driver was immediately arrested and the vehicle was seized.
It was not immediately clear whether there was a bomb in the car.
President Trump was not in the White House.
The incident happened just hours after the Secret Service apprehended a person who jumped over a bicycle rack outside the security perimeter of the White House.
I'm Jee Abbey Lee in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.