March 14, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Tommie McNeil reporting.
The 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 Monday released its long-awaited report on the cost of carrying out one of President Donald Trump's favorite campaign promises that's repealing and replacing Obamacare. It says if the Republican plan is adopted, 14 million people will be uninsured in 2018, with that number ballooning to 52 million by 2026.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer responded. "Head of CBO has confirmed what we Democrats have been saying all along."
But Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price criticized the report. "I'm not sure how they're going to get to 14 million people uninsured if that's what they say, with only 8 million people on the exchange. There are individuals I guess that they assume that are on Medicaid who aren't paying anything in the Medicaid system who are going to not take the Medicaid policy just because the mandate ended, or something happened. It's just not believable."
Price also said the CBO did not take into consideration all of the pieces that would be part of the plan, including pending legislation to reform the insurance market.
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway says she has no evidence to support President Donald Trump's claims that former President Barack Obama ordered the phones tapped at the Trump Tower hotel in New York.
In an interview broadcast on ABC early Monday, Conway spoke with George Stephanopoulos: "I have no evidence, but that's why there's an investigation in Congress. That's particularly what investigations are for."
Neither the White House nor senior intelligence officials have offered any information that would indicate any wiretapping took place, and an Obama spokesman says that the allegation is "simply false."
This is VOA news.
U.S. President Donald Trump plans to quiz German Chancellor Angela Merkel about her experience dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin when the chancellor visits the White House later this week.
The meeting, originally scheduled for Tuesday, will instead be held on Friday due to a snowstorm hitting the region.
A senior administration official said Friday that Mr. Trump would be "very interested to get the German chancellor's insights" as he prepares to engage the Kremlin leader.
Democratic Republic of Congo leaders say two U.N. officials - one American, one Swedish - have been kidnapped along with four Congolese in Kasai Central province.
Government officials identified the U.N. officials as Michael Sharp of the United States and Zahida Katalin of Sweden.
They said the kidnappers have not yet been identified.
Scotland's first minister took a step closer Monday to breaking up the United Kingdom by announcing she intends to begin the legal process of holding a new independence referendum for Scots.
At a news conference in Edinburgh, Nicola Sturgeon said that it is the "right thing" to give Scots an opportunity to express their opinion following Brexit, last year's vote by Britain to leave the European Union. In her speech, (Sturgeon, whose) Scottish National Party is the largest party north of the English border, said she wasn't prepared to "do nothing" while Brexit threatened Scotland's economy and its links (with Europe).
A court in Niger has found an exiled opposition leader guilty of baby smuggling and sentenced him to one year in prison.
Hama Amadou, who was the main challenger to the president, Mahamadou (Issoufou) in last year's presidential election, has been living in France and was tried.
Lawyers for Amadou walked out of the court Monday before the verdict was read, saying the goal of the proceedings was to prevent him from running for office again. They have long maintained the charges against him and said that they are politically motivated.
The allegations against him first surfaced in 2014 when he was parliamentary president. Shortly afterwards, his immunity was suspended and he fled to France.
Officials inside the city told VOA that advancing Iraqi forces in western Mosul have captured a textile factory that Islamic State used to jail women.
According to the speaker of the Patriotic Union, in Mosul nearly 300 women that the Islamic State had imprisoned perhaps for nearly three years. Another Kurdish official in Mosul told VOA that the factory [is] was besieged by Iraqi forces last week, but IS mines planted around the building prevented them from further advancing.
Iraqi authorities say their troops have retaken nearly one third of western Mosul in an offensive that began less than a month ago.
I'm Tommie McNeil in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.