March 1, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
Russia and China exercised a double veto Tuesday to block action in the United Nations Security Council aimed at sanctioning the Syrian government for using chemical weapons against its own population.
Matthew Rycroft is the British ambassador to the U.N. :"This is Russia's seventh veto on Syria in five years, and it demonstrates yet again that Russia has prioritized protecting the Assad regime over protecting the Syrian people."
The measure backed by Western nations would have imposed sanctions on 21 Syrian individuals, organizations and companies.
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his first speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening. The White House says the speech will focus on solving problems for real people.
Much of the speech is expected to be taken up with economic and security issues while there will be some foreign policy elements in the address.
Administration officials say they do not expect specific countries to be mentioned.
More than 120 retired U.S. military generals and admirals are urging Congress not to cut spending on diplomacy and foreign aid. Some fear that those two government functions may be targeted in President Trump's first budget proposal.
Malaysia's attorney general says two women arrested in connection with the killing of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be charged Wednesday with murder.
The two suspects, Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, have said they thought they were participating in a television prank show. The charges will carry the death penalty.
Kim Jong Nam died February 13 shortly after the two women smeared what Malaysian authorities say was VX nerve agent on his face at a Kuala Lumpur airport.
This is VOA news.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has declared a state of disaster in his nation as it struggles with a severe drought and food crisis.
Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration warns that many of the millions of people facing famine in three African countries and in the Yemen area risk starving to death without urgent action to help them. Lisa Schlein reports.
More than 20 million people reportedly are suffering from severe food shortages in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and northeast Nigeria. Somalia's problems are largely due to a severe drought, though conflict also plays a part.
In the cases of South Sudan, Yemen and northeast Nigeria, the United Nations says man-made disasters caused by conflict, insecurity, extreme violence and economic degradation are behind the food crises facing these countries.
Lisa Schlein, Geneva.
French authorities say two people were shot Tuesday during an address by French President François Hollande when a gun belonging to a police sniper accidentally discharged.
Early reports described both victims as having minor injuries.
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan says "answers" are needed on reports of improper contacts between President Donald Trump's campaign officials and Russia during the presidential campaign.
Ryan was interviewed Tuesday on NBC's Today show.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Tuesday in Washington with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi. The two affirmed the "the importance of a constructive" relationship between the two countries and regular high-level talks between top officials.
Yang invited Tillerson to visit Beijing.
The United States military has confirmed the killing of a top Taliban leader in a recent airstrike in Afghanistan's Kunduz province.
The strike conducted on Sunday as part of an operation with Afghan security forces killed Mullah Abdul Salam. He is the Taliban commander for Kunduz, as well as four other enemy combatants.
The military says no civilians were hurt or killed in the action.
Officials in Somalia say an explosion from an improvised explosive device planted in a car killed one person in the capital, Mogadishu, early Tuesday.
The car exploded in the Waberi district just north of Mogadishu airport.
No one has claimed responsibility.
The heir to South Korea's Samsung empire has been indicted on bribery, embezzlement and other charges in connection with the political corruption scandal involving President Park Geun-hye.
The company's de facto leader, Lee Jae-yong, was charged Tuesday along with four company executives.
The 48-year-old Lee denies any wrongdoing.
From the VOA news center in Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.