March 3, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
The Syrian military said Thursday that it had re-captured the town of Palmyra from Islamic State militants.
A statement from the army said the government is in control of the whole city. The statement said the government was able to take control of the city with the help of Russian air support.
Malaysian authorities are preparing to deport a North Korean man who had been held as a suspect in connection with last month's death of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Forty-five-year-old Ri Jon Chol had been in custody for nearly two weeks following the February 13 attack on Kim at an airport in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia's attorney general said that the period under which Kim can be held without charges is set to run out and that there is not enough evidence to file charges against him.
Leading French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen could face three years in prison and a $79,000 fine over three social media posts she made in 2015 showing images of Islamic State killings.
On Thursday, the European Parliament voted to strip Le Pen of her parliamentaryimmunity, leaving her open to prosecution on charges of "publishing violent images."
Le Pen called the move "political" and said it was meant to damage her presidential campaign.
The European Union Thursday asked Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov to reverse his decision to block the formation of a coalition with ethnic Albanian parties.
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini met with Macedonian authorities Thursday and called for toning down of rhetoric for fear of sparking ethnic conflict.
The president refused to give his backing to the coalition, saying that its pledge to allow wider use of the Albanian language amounted to foreign interference.
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U.S. President Donald Trump Thursday visited a Virginia shipyard to tour the most expensive warship ever built - a high-profile event showcasing his pledge this week to dramatically boost U.S. military spending.
"This warship and all who serve on it should be a source of shared pride for our nation."
The president spoke in Newport News, Virginia, aboard the $13-billion USS Gerald R. Ford.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters Thursday that he did not lie when he testified during his confirmation hearing that he had no interaction with Russian officials during the presidential campaign.
He drew a distinction between that and two conversations he had with the Russian ambassador which he says [was] were only in his capacity as a senator.
"And the idea that I was part of a, quote, 'continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government' is totally false."
Sessions recused himself from a federal investigation into alleged Russian interference in the election.
Federal law enforcement agents have searched three facilities of the American heavy-equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Incorporated in the U.S. Midwest.
A Caterpillar spokeswoman says the company is cooperating with law enforcement, but gave no details about the searches on Thursday. Federal agents with search warrants entered three Caterpillar offices in Peoria, Illinois, and the surrounding area.
Caterpillar has faced a number of investigations in recent years, focusing on its business practices.
A key Syrian opposition figure told reporters Thursday that the main opposition delegation will meet again Friday in U.N.-mediated talks.
Nasr al-Hariri says the delegation has held very positive discussions with U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura. He said the focus of the talks is the issue of political transition in Syria.
Hariri said the talks will take some time and cannot be concluded in just one or two weeks.
Pakistan took a step Thursday to bring its remote northwestern tribal areas under the mainstream judicial and political system in the country.
The cabinet adopted a five-year plan under which the tribal region will unite with a neighboring province and for the first time since 1947 become equal in the eyes of the law.
The tribal regions have been the scene of militant activity.
The SITE intelligence group says three extremist factions in Mali have merged, pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda's leader.
Leaders from Ansar Dine, al-Mourabitoun and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb made the declaration in a video released on Thursday.
From the VOA news center in Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.