January 24, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
President Donald Trump today withdrew the United States from the proposed 12-nation Pacific Rim trade pact.
Mr. Trump said the action was good for American workers.
"What we want is fair trade, fair trade. And we're gonna treat countries fairly, but they have to treat us fairly."
The Trans-Pacific Partnership was negotiated in 2009 but the U.S. Congress never ratified it.
The president also issued an order reinstating a previous ban on providing government funds to international groups that perform abortions. And Mr. Trump issued a hiring freeze for many government agencies as a way to reduce the cost of government and a rein in its growth.
At the start of a meeting Monday with business leaders, the president warned executives not to move their operations to other countries. He said they would face a hefty tariff if they manufacture products elsewhere and then attempt to bring them back across the border to sell in the U.S.
The president also met with labor union leaders who offered broad praise of Mr. Trump after the meeting.
Officials report no breakthroughs at peace talks in Kazakhstan between the [government] Syrian government and rebel groups. Indications are that Monday's discussions were very contentious.
Opposition spokesman Yahya al Aridi is not giving up. "There is always hope and nobody would come to this area, although it's beautiful but is freezing, without having a goodwill that hopefully cease-fire can be achieved and Syria could go back to life and bloodshed would stop."
Talks will continue Tuesday.
New Gambian President Adama Barrow says he will establish a truth and reconciliation commission to examine allegations of misrule during former President Yahya Jammeh's 22 years in power.
This is VOA news.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is due to vote Monday on President Donald Trump's pick for secretary of state, oil executive Rex Tillerson. His approval is practically assured now that Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who had earlier expressed doubts about Tillerson, has indicated he will support the nomination.
On Sunday, two other influential Republicans, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, threw their support behind Tillerson after earlier expressing concern over his ties with Russia.
Also, Republicans will press for the confirmation of Mike Pompeo for CIA director.
Confirmation votes loom for nominees to lead the departments of Treasury, Energy and Health and Human Services, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency.
A left-leaning group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a lawsuit, charging that President Trump's vast business holdings place him in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Mr. Trump quickly dismissed the move, saying the lawsuit is "totally without merit."
The case is based on the so-called "emoluments clause" of the Constitution, which says foreign powers and governments may not provide payments or gifts to the president without the approval of Congress.
Doctors said Monday that the health of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush is improving. He is suffering from pneumonia.
The 92-year-old former president has been moved out of the intensive care unit at a Houston hospital.
Doctor Amy Mynderse at Houston Methodist Hospital says both Mr. Bush and his wife who is also ailing are doing better.
"Today is a great day, actually. Mrs. Bush has been discharged from the hospital, and President Bush will be moved from the ICU to a regular floor today, so both doing really, really well."
A doctor says Mr. Bush could be released from the hospital in several days if he continues to improve.
Political parties in the Netherlands have begun their campaigns for March 15 parliamentary elections.
Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party are leading in the polls. He has taken a strongly populist position on immigration, the spread of Islam and Dutch participation in the European Union. His message is anti-establishment and anti-immigrant.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte's People's Party for Freedom and Democracy is in second place. It ran a full page advertisement Monday calling for people to (quoting now) "act normal or leave." The message was seen as targeting people of non-European background.
A British regulatory agency is urging consumers to avoid burnt or [well] very well toasted bread and deeply browned potatoes. Instead, the Food Standards Agency says people should cook them to a golden brown.
Why? Because otherwise, they might be in danger of getting cancer.
In Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.