January 29, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Michael Brown reporting.
U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order on travel to the U.S. has triggered protests at a New York airport, one of the locations where people have been detained attempting to leave the country.
New York Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez is urging President Trump to amend his executive order. "... the cooperation and collaboration that we need from Muslim countries to fight terrorism. It is wrong ...."
The executive order went into effect immediately on Friday night, banning citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries and stranding some at airports mid-journey.
President Trump spoke about the intent of his executive order. "We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas."
Meanwhile, Iran is reportedly reacting to President Trump's order by indicating it will restrict issuing visas to American tourists in retaliation for President Trump's suspension of the immigration and visas for nationals from Muslim countries, including Iran.
In addition to barring residents of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days, the Trump executive order put a permanent ban on admission of Syrian refugees and a 120-day ban on all other refugees entering the U.S.
From here in Washington, this is VOA news.
A senior White House official said President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talked Saturday in a scheduled phone call. The official did not provide details about what was discussed, but the two leaders were expected to talk about the future of U.S. sanctions. They were imposed on Russia after its 2014 annexation of Crimea.
Trump has not commented Friday about whether he would consider lifting the sanctions.
The two leaders have said they would like to normalize relations between their two countries.
Trump spoke earlier with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of the five leaders he was to speak with on Saturday.
President Trump issued his first weekly address to the American people since taking office a week ago. In a two and a half minute video issued on YouTube Saturday, Trump listed his administration's accomplishments after a week in office, saying this administration has hit the ground running at a record pace.
"This administration has hit the ground running at a record pace. Everybody is talking about it. We are doing it with speed and we are doing it with intelligence and we will never, ever stop fighting on behalf of the American people."
Trump noted that among his administration's accomplishments over the past week, he has issued an order to prepare for repealing and replacing Obamacare, the broad health care reform package covering millions with health insurance.
Syrian media, that is, and a key monitoring group say government forces outside Damascus have regained control of a fresh-water spring that supplies the capital after reaching a deal that allows rebel fighters dug in at the site to withdraw.
The state-controlled SANA news agency quoted a local government official on Saturday as saying maintenance and repairs at the crippled water facility would begin as soon as the military declares the area secure.
On Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the water crisis, confirmed the rebel pullback and said government forces entered the contested area with ambulances to evacuate wounded rebels.
And four of the five Pakistani rights campaigners and bloggers, who mysteriously disappeared from several cities earlier this month, have returned home safely. Three other missing activists have also been freed and rejoined their families.
It was not immediately known who was behind the kidnappings or what their motives were.
The whereabouts of a fifth missing activist remains unknown.
And Serena Williams defeated her sister Venus Williams in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in the finals of the Australian Open tennis tournament.
From here in Washington, I'm Michael Brown reporting.
That's the latest world news from VOA.