February 23, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
Two key U.S. cabinet members are hoping to ease Mexican concern about the Trump administration's policies toward Mexico.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly meet Thursday with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and members of his cabinet.
Sean Spicer is the president's spokesman: "It's significant that the president is sending the secretaries to Mexico so early in his administration. It's symbolic of the meaningful relationship that our two nations have."
President Trump has displeased Mexicans by placing heavy blame on Mexico for America's immigration problems and planning to build a wall along the nation's common border with the U.S.
The United Nations Syria envoy says he is not expecting a breakthrough in upcoming talks but he hopes to build momentum toward peace. He made the remarks just a day before he plans to open the discussions in Geneva. Lisa Schlein has more.
U.N. special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura acknowledges the successful resumption of the upcoming fourth round of negotiations hinges largely on the warring parties abiding by the current cease-fire.
He says Russia, which worked out this agreement with Turkey in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, is using its influence to see that this fragile cease-fire holds.
Lisa Schlein, Geneva.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned Wednesday that 20 million people in four countries face famine unless the international community steps in to prevent it.
The U.N. has declared South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and the northeastern part of Nigeria on the brink of famine in the next six months.
He said $4.4 billion is needed by the end of March - just four weeks away.
This is VOA news.
U.S. President Donald Trump is dismissing protests that have broken out against his plan to dismantle the nation's health care plan and replace it with something he says is better.
Noisy protests have sprouted out recently at meetings within the home districts of Republican members of Congress.
The president said on Twitter late Tuesday that the demonstrations are planned by liberal activists.
The Trump administration moved Wednesday to revoke an Obama administration guideline mandating schools across the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their chosen sex.
The administration says the matter should be left up to the individual states to decide.
Anti-bullying provisions in the guidelines are being retained.
President Trump said Wednesday he plans to make the U.S. government leaner and more accountable. He made the remarks ahead of a meeting with key administration budget officials.
The president said the current budget is a "mess" and said [we have] we have to "do a lot more with less."
"The discovery gives us a hint that finding a second earth is not just a matter of if but when." That was associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen, announcing the discovery of seven planets orbiting a small star in our galaxy.
All seven are believed to be about the size and mass of earth and are situated in such a way as to make water possible on their surfaces.
Scientists believe the planets are the most promising places to search for life outside our solar system.
Hungary is taking its name out of contention to host the  2024 Summer Olympics.
A government spokesman made the announcement Wednesday.
Last week, opponents of holding the Games in Budapest submitted a petition calling for a referendum on the matter.
Los Angeles and Paris are also in the running.
A court in South Africa has ruled against a government plan to withdraw from of the International Criminal Court.
It ruled Wednesday that the plan is unconstitutional because parliament was not consulted before the notice of withdrawal was filed.
The South African court has asked the government to revoke its notice of withdrawal.
Somalia's new president was formally inaugurated Wednesday in a ceremony where he pledged to begin stabilizing the country. He warned that the process will take many years.
Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as "Farmajo," took the oath of office in Mogadishu.
A Hong Kong court has sentenced Donald Tsang, the Chinese territory's former chief executive, to 20 months in prison on charges of official misconduct.
The 72-year-old Tsang was found guilty last week of failing to disclose negotiations to lease an apartment from a major investor in a communications company that was seeking a license from the government.
The conviction sullies a long and otherwise distinguished public service career.
From the VOA news center in Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.