February 26, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David Byrd reporting.
At least 42 people were killed in twin suicide attacks Saturday in the western city of Homs, Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said several attackers blew themselves up near the headquarters of both state security and military intelligence.
An al-Qaeda affiliate has claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying five of its militants stormed two heavily guarded districts in the center of Homs.
Meanwhile, a top Syrian envoy at the U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva called on all parties to condemn the latest attack. U.N. ambassador Bashar al-Ja'afari, the head of the Syrian government delegation at the talks, said had asked special envoy to Staffan de Mistura to issue a statement condemning the attacks which he said were carried out by the al-Nusra Front.
He said "We also request the United Nations special envoy to request the [same statement] clear statement condemning these attacks from all the platforms participating in the Geneva process."
The opposition's main delegate to the talks, Nasr al-Hariri, condemned all terrorism but suggested the Syrian government in Damascus was the primary sponsor of terrorism.
Meanwhile, Syrian government planes pounded the last opposition-held neighborhood in Homs as well as areas outside the city.
Iraqi military officials say U.S.-backed forces faced stiffer resistance as soldiers push deeper into the western half of Mosul, the last refuge of the Islamic State.
The advance came one day after counterterrorism troops regained control of the city's airport.
This is VOA news.
Malaysian officials have declared the country's international airport a safe zone Sunday after a sweep of the airport terminal where North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un's half-brother was killed earlier this month.
Selangor Police Chief Commissioner Abdul Samah Bin Mat said the airport is now safe.
"There is no hazardous material found in KLIA2. Number two: KLIA2 is free from any form of contamination of hazardous material. And thirdly KLIA2 is declared a safe zone."
Kim Jong Nam was murdered on February 13 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport by VX nerve agent classified by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction.
Two women - one Indonesian and one Vietnamese - have also been detained in connection with his murder.
Malaysian authorities say four North Korean men provided the women with the poison and have fled the country.
Democrats have a new national party chairman, Tom Perez, who was the labor secretary under former President Barack Obama.
Perez beat out Keith Ellison, a Minnesota congressman, in the second round of voting Saturday by Democratic National Committee members in Atlanta.
Soon after the vote was announced, Perez called for delegates to elect his opponent as deputy chair. The delegates concurred.
Perez said that he and Ellison are united in their values and their love for the country.
"When we communicate our message of inclusion and opportunity for everyone, the big tent that we are. That is our strength, my friends."
Perez and Ellison both said the party must capitalize on widespread opposition to President Donald Trump and must work to reach frustrated working class voters who felt abandoned by Democrats and embraced Trump in last year's election.
Meanwhile, the president used his weekly media address to mark African-American History Month. He said African-American leaders like Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King, Jr. had shaken the world and he repeated his pledge to work to bring what he called good-paying jobs back to the African-American community.
"We've lost a lot of our best jobs to other countries, and this has hurt the African-American community very badly. This week, I met with manufacturing CEOs. We're going to be working to bring back those jobs. And I mean really good-paying jobs."
Mr. Trump addresses the U.S. Congress on Tuesday evening in Washington.
For more, visit our website voanews.com. I'm David Byrd in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.