March 15, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Tommie McNeil reporting.
Forces led by Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar have recaptured two key oil [points] ports in eastern Libya. That's according to two military spokesmen.
The claims have not been independently verified.
The Libyan National Army has been mobilizing ground forces and carrying out airstrikes before the assaults to recapture the ports from a jihadist group called the Benghazi Defense Brigade.
The Benghazi Defense Brigade held the ports since taking them from the Libyan National Army earlier this month.
U.S. President Donald Trump is planning to host the Chinese President Xi Jinping on a two-day summit next month at his palatial Florida mansion along the Atlantic Ocean. This is the first meeting between the two world leaders.
Neither Washington nor Beijing has confirmed the summit at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, but U.S. news outlets report the meeting between the heads of the world's two largest economies is planned for April 6 and 7.
The reports said that the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to complete plans for the meeting when he visits Beijing later this week.
Somali officials say pirates have hijacked an oil tanker in the Indian Ocean, guided it to the coast of Puntland region.
Sources tell VOA's Somali service that the ship is believed to be a merchanttanker flying a flag from the United Arab Emirates.
Regional officials say they are still assessing the circumstances of the hijack, which took place Monday.
Sources said at least eight suspected pirates were involved in the attack, adding that the ship moved toward the coast of Somalia.
Piracy off the coast has declined in the last three years.
This is VOA news.
A major late-season winter storm has lashed the northeastern coast of the United States, with forecast calling for around 60 centimeters of snow in some areas.
Storm warnings were posted for states like New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Many school districts cancelled classes as the powerful storm, also known as a nor'easter, hit the region and officials in some areas warned residents to stay off the roads altogether.
The storm has caused power outages and massive travel disruptions along the east coast.
A blizzard warning for New York City was later cancelled.
The extreme winter weather wreaked havoc on airports as well, with nearly 6,000 flights cancelled across the eastern seaboard.
The U.S. train system, Amtrak, announced on Twitter it suspended northeastern regional service between Boston and New York until further notice. Amtrak was running on a modified schedule between New York and Washington.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Tuesday at the White House to discuss what the Saudi Press Agency said was "the strengthening of the bilateral relations between the two countries and regional issues of mutual interest."
It was the highest-level visit to Washington by a Saudi royal family member since Trump's November presidential victory.
The White House has not provided details of their meeting, but key issues likely were to have been discussed, including global energy prices, conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, where Saudi-led coalition forces supported by the U.S. has been bombing Iran-supported Shiite rebels for almost two years.
The U.S. Congressional Budget Office says 14 million people will lose their health insurance coverage next year if Congress approves the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
The nonpartisan CBO released its report Monday on the cost of carrying out President Trump's campaign pledge to overhaul the system put in place by his predecessor, Barack Obama. Mr. Trump and other Republicans say that the current system is too expensive and unfairly forces people to buy health insurance.
Democratic leader Chuck Schumer criticized that plan. "Trumpcare would be a nightmare for the American people, causing tens of millions to lose coverage, millions more to see the costs of their health care go way up. Ten years from today, if President Trump and the Republicans have their way, there will be 24 million more Americans without health insurance."
The CBO report says if the Republican plan is adopted, the number of uninsured people would rise by 14 million by 2018.
I'm Tommie McNeil in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.