February 12, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David Byrd reporting.
At least five people were killed when anti-government protesters clashed with Iraqi authorities in Baghdad on Saturday. Later, two rockets landed in the highly fortified Green Zone on Saturday night, but no one was injured.
We get more from Edward Yeranian in Cairo.
Iraqi security forces fired tear gas at supporters of Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr after reports they were trying to advance in the direction of the iconic "Green Zone," where government institutions, including parliament and the prime minister's office are located.
In later skirmishes, live ammunition reportedly was used although it was not clear who was doing the firing.
Baghdad governor Ali al-Tamimi said in a statement that four people were killed and 320 wounded in the clashes that ensued as protesters dispersed following a call by Sadr to pull back.
Sadr, who has strong ties to Iran's clerical establishment, held numerous protests outside the Green Zone last year demanding the resignation of various government ministers and over-running the Green Zone before withdrawing.
Edward Yeranian, for VOA news, Cairo.
At least seven people were killed and several others wounded in a suicide car bombing Saturday in Afghanistan's Helmand province.
A spokesman for the Taliban insurgency took responsibility for the bombing.
A provincial government spokesman told VOA the attack near a bank in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah was aimed at an Afghan National Army convoy.
The victims were collecting their salaries when the bomber hit a military vehicle with an explosives-laden car outside the bank.
Soldiers and civilians were among those killed and wounded. At least 21 wounded people were sent to area hospitals.
This is VOA news.
Turkish-backed Syrian rebels on Saturday pushed into the Islamic State stronghold town of al-Bab in northern Syria.
Monitors said the rebel force - the mainstay in the Turkish-backed Euphrates Shield campaign - gained control of a hospital as they entered the western edges of the town as part of a multi-sided push to crush the Islamic State militancy.
Witnesses reported fierce fighting at al-Bab, located 40 kilometers south of the Turkish border, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.
Separately, Russia's Foreign Ministry said Syrian government troops backed by Russian airstrikes have "liberated" the nearby town of Tadef, described in a ministry statement as Islamic State's "most reinforced position near the city of al-Bab."
In his weekly media address, U.S. President Donald Trump promised that the country's immigration system will not be used as a "tool" to advance the cause of foreign terrorists. Trump repeated his pledge that his number one priority is keeping America safe.
"My administration is committed to your security, which is why we will continue to fight to take all necessary and legal action to keep terrorists, radical and dangerous extremists from ever entering our country."
Trump's remarks came as his administration considers a new executive order on immigration. That comes after an appeals court unanimously ruled against reinstating his previous executive order barring refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
On Twitter Saturday morning, the president expressed his displeasure with the court, saying it is putting Americans at undue risk.
He also predicted that cost estimates of constructing a wall along the southern border of the United States with Mexico would drop dramatically. That's an apparent response to a Homeland Security report that said the wall could cost as much as $22 billion.
The president and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, mixed business with pleasure on the second day of their multi-day summit, Trump and Abe played golf Saturday at Trump National Golf Course near the president's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
The president and prime minister then had lunch. They are expected to have a state dinner later Saturday.
And, a legend in Japan's comic art of manga, Jiro Taniguchi, has died at the age of 69.
His publisher in France announced the artist's death on Saturday.
Taniguchi achieved an international following with works such as "The Summit of the Gods" and "The Magic Mountain," hailed for exquisite line drawing and intricately constructed landscapes.
For more, visit our website. I'm David Byrd in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.