January 20, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
The United Nations Security Council has recognized new Gambian leader Adama Barrow as the country's president despite longtime leader Yahya Jammeh's refusal to give up power.
At least two international news agencies quoted a Senegalese army spokesman as saying troops entered Gambia Thursday afternoon after Mr. Barrow took the oath of office in Senegal.
The president of the Council, Swedish Ambassador Olof Skoog, said he spoke with President Barrow to say the Security Council fully supports him. "It is our strong hope now that the former president Jammeh will now peacefully cede power to the democratically-elected president."
Council members Egypt, Uruguay and Bolivia stressed that the resolution does not authorize military force to install Mr. Barrow as president. However, since he is now president, Mr. Barrow can request military assistance from ECOWAS without Security Council authorization.
U.S. airstrikes killed several dozen Islamic State fighters in two military camps in Libya. Carla Babb reports.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the air assault made Wednesday killed more than 80 Islamic State fighters who had fled there after Libyan forces aligned with the nation's U.N.-backed government pushed the terrorists out of the former Islamic State hotbed city of Sirte.
Carter said some of the fighters in the camps were actively planning operations against European nations.
The strikes came mere hours before President Barack Obama leaves office. "... while the world doesn't rest from the transition here in Washington, neither does the Department of Defense."
Defense officials said the two Islamic State camps were in a very rural area and that no one or children were present.
Carla Babb, the Pentagon.
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Pre-inaugural festivities are underway on the National Mall in Washington DC. On Friday, Donald Trump will be inaugurated, the 45the president of the U.S. Jim Malone takes a look.
Washington is a city in transition as the Barack Obama era draws to a close and the Donald Trump era is set to begin.
Though the divisive presidential campaign is history, Trump's low approval ratings suggest there is much work to be done in uniting the country behind his agenda.
At least 50 congressional Democrats have said they will stay away from the inauguration, ensuring that the polarized politics on display during last year's presidential campaign will extend into the early days of the new administration.
Jim Malone, Washington.
Even as officials prepared for the inauguration, two of Trump's cabinet selections faced confirmation hearings Thursday before Senate panels. They are energy secretary designate Rick Perry, a former Texas governor, and Steven Mnuchin who is in line to become treasury secretary.
With less than one full day left in his term, President Barack Obama made a final call to a foreign leader. Mr. Obama spoke by phone to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom he described as his steadiest, most reliable international partner.
The White House says the president thanked Ms. Merkel for her friendship and leadership.
In his last major act as president, Mr. Obama is cutting short the sentences of 330 federal drug convicts. That brings to 715 the number of prisoners to get their sentences commuted by the president.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon says four detainees from the Guantanamo military prison in Cuba have been sent to other countries - President Obama's final prison transfer.
He is expressing displeasure at congressional actions that have kept him from closing the facility altogether.
The United Nations has been invited to attend Syrian peace talks scheduled to begin Monday in Kazakh.
A U.N. spokeswomen said Thursday the Syrian envoy, Staffan de Mistura, has been asked to attend negotiations.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said the talks will focus on enforcing the cease-fire and allowing the distribution of humanitarian aid across the country.
A high-rise building in Iran's capital, Tehran, collapsed Thursday after being engulfed in flames. Dozens of people were killed or injured.
Tehran's mayor says at least 20 firefighters are missing or dead following the collapse. The fire broke out in the Plasco building. Firefighters battled the blaze for several hours before the structure's collapse.
A Fire Department spokesman would not speculate on the cause of the blaze.
From the VOA news center in Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.