February 25, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David Byrd reporting.
Two deadly blasts in Syria killed scores of people Friday. At least 65 people were reported killed near the town of al-Bab.
The first explosion struck an opposition security post, killing many civilians along with opposition forces and two Turkish soldiers.
People had gathered at the office, where many of them were seeking permission to return to al-Bab, which had been the scene of heavy fighting for months.
The second attack came as local residents and rescue teams were retrieving bodies of those killed in the earlier bombing.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the first attack which occurred just one day after Turkish forces and their rebel allies took much of the strategic town from Islamic State fighters.
Iraqi troops on the ground continued to push into western Mosul Friday, the last major urban stronghold held by Islamic State.
They took full control of Mosul's international airport and a sprawling military base on the southwestern edge of the city.
The territorial gains marked the first key moves in the battle in its sixth day now to rout Islamic State militants from the western half of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city.
A Yemeni security official says a suicide bomber killed at least eight soldiers Friday at a security base in the southern city of Zinjibar.
The bomber disguised as a driver carrying a load of wood blew up his vehicle at the gate of a Yemeni military base after failing to get inside.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but a military source said that al-Qaeda has carried out similar attacks in the area.
This is VOA news.
U.S. President Donald Trump gave a long campaign-style speech to a conservative convention near Washington Friday, attacking the media, promising better trade deals, safer borders and more jobs.
On the third and final day of the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump spent the first ten minutes of his remark attacking the media.
He later repeated his promises to bring more jobs to the United States and increase U.S. security.
"But we're taking a firm, bold and decisive measure -- we have to -- to turn things around. The era of empty talk is over."
The president also repeated his promises to build a border wall with Mexico and to beef up the U.S. military.
Trump skipped last year's CPAC conference, preferring instead to stay on the campaign trail.
Meanwhile, the White House came under sharp criticism Friday after blocking a number of news organizations from a daily question-and-answer session with press secretary Sean Spicer.
Several news groups that have been critical of President Trump, including CNN and The New York Times, were among those excluded from the briefing.
The White House Correspondents' Association, which represents reporters at the executive mention, sharply rebuked the White House for Friday's move.
The International Organization for Migration reports a surge in the number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean Sea's central route. As Lisa Schlein reports, it's that route that links Libya to Italy and there have been more deaths in the first two months of the year.
The International Organization for Migration estimates 326 migrants and refugees have died this year while transiting by sea from Libya to Italy.
While the numbers are alarming, IOM spokesman Joel Millman says they do not reflect the full scope of the sea tragedies.
"There is a thriving business in kidnapping right now in Libya, where people are being taken off the street, held to paid ransom and then forced into these boats just because the ransom takers are done with them and they do not want to try to pick them up again."
He says smugglers have been stealing engines from the boats and leaving the vessels drifting in the water with people aboard.
Lisa Schlein, for VOA news, Geneva.
Indian officials have expressed shock at the killing of an engineer in a shooting incident in a bar here in the United States.
Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla died of wounds he sustained when a man allegedly opened fire in a crowded bar in suburban Kansas on Wednesday. Another Indian and an American who tried to intervene were injured in the incident.
Adam Purinton, a 51-year-old, was arrested hours after the shooting and has been charged with attempted murder and murder.
I'm David Byrd in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.