February 27, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says government warplanes struck a rebel-held neighborhood in the center of Homs Sunday. It says at least three people were killed and dozens wounded.
Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad's forces are said to be pushing toward the city of Palmyra, which was overrun by the Islamic State group in December.
Syrian opposition activist Hamza Monzer emerged from a meeting with United Nations Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura to say that the opposition [needs to be] needs to present a united front in upcoming peace talks.
Iraqi forces on Sunday pushed deeper into western Mosul, capturing two more city neighborhoods from Islamic State extremists.
A full week into a renewed government offensive, military commanders say they are focusing on securing bridges across the Tigris River.
Thousands of people were reported fleeing toward government-controlled sectors of the city.
U.S.-led coalition troops officially deployed as trainers and advisers have assisted Iraqi forces.
Malaysian health authorities say Kim Jong Nam, the slain half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, suffered a very painful death. They say he was dead within 20 minutes of being attacked at the Kuala Lumpur airport February 13.
Police say he died in an ambulance after being smeared by VX nerve agent.
Thousands of Russians marched in Moscow to mark the two year anniversary of the death of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was gunned down outside the Kremlin.
Marchers carried Russian flags and signs with quotes from Nemstov.
This is VOA news.
U.S. President Donald Trump mocked the Democrats' election of former Labor Secretary Tom Perez as head of their national committee.
In comments on his Twitter account, Mr. Trump said sarcastically that he would be happy for Perez or for the Republican Party.
The Democrats are trying to regroup from their upset loss to Mr. Trump in November.
Perez is the first Latino to hold the post.
Public opinion polls indicate approval ratings for U.S. President Donald Trump are at a record low for a newly inaugurated president.
In the latest survey, NBC News and The Wall Street Journal said Sunday that just 44 percent of Americans approve of his performance, with 48 percent saying they disapprove. Two other polls in recent days showed similar results.
A national gathering of U.S. state leaders continued Sunday in Washington with a focus on child hunger and infrastructure efforts.
The annual meeting of the National Governors Association follows President Donald Trump's recent order to get tougher on the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
A Taliban leader has issued a statement in four languages calling on Afghans to plant more trees. The rare public announcement comes amid fears of new attacks during springtime.
Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada said Sunday trees have an "important role in environmental protection, economic development and beautification."
The message says the Taliban will continue to be actively engaged in a struggle against what it calls "foreign invaders and their hirelings."
Germany's acceptance of more than a million foreign refugees has led to ethnic tensions and a spike in attacks on migrants.
Police officials say there were more than 3,500 attacks on migrants last year. More than 500 people were injured in the attacks.
The German government said it "strongly condemns" the violence.
Iran's former hardline President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has published an open letter both in English and Farsi to U.S. President Donald Trump. He lauds the American leader for what he said was "truthfully describing the U.S. political system and electoral structure as corrupt."
The lengthy letter published Sunday also criticized Mr. Trump for his planned visa ban on seven countries, including Iran, saying "the contemporary U.S. belongs to all nations."
A vehicle plowed into a crowd watching a parade in New Orleans Saturday. Twenty-eight people were injured. The incident came during one of the busiest nights of Mardi Gras.
Police said a driver inside a pickup truck hit several vehicles including a dump truck and then plowed into a crowd.
From the VOA news center in Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.