January 19, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
Senegalese and Nigerian forces have gathered at Gambia's border, vowing to take military action if President Yahya Jammeh does not step down when his term in office ends.
The action comes after Gambia's National Assembly extended Mr. Jammeh's term by three months under his newly declared state of emergency.
Thousands of people, including cabinet ministers, are fleeing the country.
The central market in Banjul was deserted Wednesday amid a heavy police presence throughout the downtown area.
Speaking at a news conference, Iraqi General Talib al-Shaghati said his forces have taken over the eastern section of Mosul from the Islamic State group.
Shaghati, who commands Iraq's counterterrorism forces, called the success of the troops "unprecedented," though he said there are still small places in northern Mosul that need to be secured.
The Russian military announced Wednesday that its air force will work with [Turkey] Turkey's air force to conduct joint airstrikes against Islamic State militants in northern Syria.
In televised comments Wednesday, Russia's defense spokesman General Sergei Rudskoi said nine Russian planes and eight Turkish jets have carried out strikes on the town of al-Bab.
Officials say dozens of people were killed in northern Mali Wednesday by a suicide bombing inside a camp housing hundreds of former rebels and pro-government fighters.
Witnesses said the blast happened inside the Joint Operational Mechanism base in the city of Gao just as hundreds of soldiers began to gather for a meeting.
Mali's foreign minister says those who carried out that attack would be found and prosecuted.
This is VOA news.
U.S. President Barack Obama, holding his final news conference as president on Wednesday, explained the reasoning behind his commutation of the prison sentence of an army intelligence analyst who leaked sensitive military documents.
Mr. Obama said Chelsea Manning had served a longer sentence than others convicted for similar crimes, and that Manning had accepted responsibility for the crime.
He criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin's foreign policy. "An approach to global affairs that seem to be premised on the idea that whatever America's trying to do must be bad for Russians, so we want to try to counteract whatever they do. That return to an adversarial spirit that I think existed during the Cold War has made the relationship more difficult."
Mr. Obama said the the transition with the Trump team has been "cordial."
He declined to discuss the boycott of Friday's inauguration ceremonies by more than 20 Democratic lawmakers.
U.S. Senate confirmation hearings Wednesday for several of Donald Trump's nominees for top positions.
Committees heard from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Trump's choice for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Wilbur Ross who was tapped to be commerce secretary, Congressman Tom Price for secretary of Health and Human Services and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Trump's choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
Wilbur Ross criticized China's protectionist policies. "China is the most protectionist country of very large countries. They have both very high tariff barriers and very high non-tariff trade barriers to commerce. So they talk much more about free trade than they actually practice."
A Senate panel Wednesday approved General James Mattis to be the head of the Defense Department.
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush has been moved to an intensive care unit at a Houston, Texas, hospital. A spokesman says he is resting comfortably following a procedure to protect and clear his airways.
The spokesman also said Mr. Bush is stable and will remain in the ICU "for observation."
His wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, was admitted to the same hospital on Wednesday as a precaution after "experiencing fatigue and coughing."
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden warned European nations Wednesday to be ready for Russia to try to influence their elections.
American intelligence agencies say they are certain Russia did make an effort to influence the November U.S. presidential election.
From the VOA news center in Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.