February 1, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
The United Nations Security Council met Tuesday at the request of the United States to discuss Iran's recent ballistic missile launch.
America's new U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters the launch was absolutely unacceptable.
"We have confirmed that Iran did have a missile launch, a medium-sized missile launch testing on January 29, on Sunday. That is absolutely unacceptable and we want to bring that and manage it urgently."
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif would neither confirm nor deny the ballistic missile launch. He denied that the missiles [are] aren't part of the recent nuclear accords.
The European Union on Tuesday condemned recent fighting in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and government forces, calling the violence a violation of the Minsk truce.
The two sides fought for a third day Tuesday in the industrial city of Avdiivka.
Thousands were left without power when an electric substation was damaged by shelling.
Volodymyr Yelchenko is Ukraine's ambassador to the U.N. "The Ukraine authorities are trying to evacuate people with their children whose schools are closed, older people but the shellings continue so it's not possible for emergency services to go in and to help."
The fighting has escalated significantly during the past several days.
President Donald Trump will announce his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court during a national address on Tuesday. That's about an hour from now.
The president will fill the seat left vacant by the death of Antonin Scalia.
Mr. Trump says he wants to appoint a judge in the mold of the conservative Scalia.
This is VOA news.
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee argued Tuesday about Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions. Sessions is expected to be approved by the committee, paving the way for a full Senate confirmation vote as early as this week.
Also in the Senate, confirmation of the president's picks to lead the Treasury Department and the Department of Health and Human Services were delayed indefinitely after Democrats boycotted a Senate Finance Committee hearing.
Democrats say they want more information about the two nominees, but Republican Senator Orrin Hatch was displeased at Democratic behavior.
"I'm really disappointed that my friends on the other side, Democrats on the other side, are deliberately boycotting this markup. Why that's an important thing for them, I'll never understand, because these two nominees are going to go through, regardless.
The Senate Education Committee, meanwhile, has approved the nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary, clearing the way for a full Senate confirmation vote.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has defended the implementation of the president's executive order restricting immigration, saying we cannot gamble with American lives.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the order is aimed at keeping terrorists out of the country and stressed that the ban is not on Muslims.
"This is not a travel ban. This is a temporary pause that allows us to better review the existing refugee and visa vetting system." :John Kelly.
Congressional Democrats, though, Tuesday declared the new immigration order "unconstitutional." They hailed former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to enforce the ban. Yates was fired for her refusal.
The White House defended the decision to fire Yates, saying the attorney general was "required to execute lawful orders."
The African Union is welcoming Morocco back into the fold after more than three decades. Anita Powell takes a look.
African leaders say in the end, the decision to allow Morocco back into the African Union was a choice between unity and harmony.
Unity won at this year's summit, when 39 of 54 AU members supported the move to welcome back Morocco after it quit in 1984 because the AU recognized independence of the disputed Western Sahara territory. Morocco continues to claim Western Sahara, and Western Sahara remains an AU member.
Their dispute remains unsettled.
Anita Powell, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Leaders attending a summit in Ethiopia Tuesday adopted a plan for collectively withdrawing from the International Criminal Court.
Some Africans complain the court is too focused on African issues.
The plan is non-binding and does not include a [lifetime] timeline, rather, for implementation.
The United Nations said Tuesday Syrian peace talks have been postponed from February 8 to February 20.
Syrian envoy Staffan de Mistura says the focus of the talks when they do take place will be solidifying the current cease-fire.
In Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.