February 18, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David Byrd reporting.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in Munich, Germany, for a security conference as the Trump administration and congressional leaders seek to reassure the world in a time of global uncertainty.
Pence is scheduled to speak to the gathering on Saturday.
On Friday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told European allies that American security is tight to that of Europe, describing NATO's principle of collective defense as a bedrock commitment.
"We're going to adapt the alliance. And now comes the hard part, and that's the -- as prudent dictates, moving forward together, reinforcing deterrence and defense and more directly addressing terrorist threats along NATO's southern flank, from the Mediterranean to Turkey's border."
European leaders have been concerned about the Trump presidency since the U.S. president's repeated expressions of admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump's description of NATO last month as "obsolete."
On Friday, Mattis said the president had now thrown his full weight behind the alliance.
President Donald Trump toured a Boeing aircraft production facility in North Charleston, South Carolina, before speaking to workers and others at the plant about jobs.
Trump arrived at the plant for the rollout of the 787 model 10 Dreamliner aircraft. He told those gathered that his theme of "America First" will define his administration.
"This plane, as you know, was built right here in the great state of South Carolina. Our goal as a nation must be to rely less on imports and more on products made here in the U.S.A."
Trump's visit comes two days after Boeing workers voted overwhelmingly to turn back an effort to unionize the plant.
This is VOA news.
The Senate has confirmed U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Scott Pruitt was approved along party lines on Friday.
"Are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change the vote? If not, the ayes are 52; the nays are 46. The nominations is confirmed."
Pruitt served six years as Oklahoma's attorney general and was closely aligned with the oil and gas companies in his home state, whose executives backed his political campaigns.
He filed 14 lawsuits as attorney general, challenging EPA regulations, including former President Barack Obama's plan to limit planet-warming carbon emissions.
Environmental groups had strongly opposed Pruitt's nomination, saying that he would roll back the EPA's enforcement efforts.
Local Islamic State affiliates attacked and killed at least 18 government soldiers in eastern Afghanistan Friday.
Provincial security sources said that a large group of IS loyalists staged a surprise assault against Afghan National Army outposts from three directions. That triggered heavy fighting that lasted for several hours.
Islamic State's media wing claimed that the group carried out the attack, saying it killed the 18 Afghans.
At least eight Islamic State fighters were also killed and 12 others wounded.
Pakistan's security forces say they have killed more than 100 suspected militants in a massive nationwide security operation.
A Pakistan military spokesman said on Twitter Friday that the killings, along with many arrests, were a result of intelligence-based or combing operations.
The move came in the wake of a deadly suicide bombing on a Sufi shrine that left more than 80 people dead on Thursday night.
The U.S. food giant, Kraft Heinz, says it will continue to pursue the Anglo-Dutch company, Unilever, even after the European company rejected its offer of $143 billion.
Kraft, the maker of Oscar Mayer meats, Jell-O pudding and Philadelphia cream cheese, says it is looking forward to reaching an agreement.
Unilever, which includes brands like Hellmann's mayonnaise, Lipton tea and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, said that Kraft's offer of $50 a share fundamentally undervalued the company.
On Wall Street, the markets closed slightly higher. The Dow Jones Industrials rallied at the close to finish up by 0.02 percent. The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ were slightly higher. European stocks were mixed while Asian markets finished Friday down.
For more, log on to our website. I'm David Byrd in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.
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