January 16, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
France and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault hosted an international conference Sunday to promote a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Delegates from more than 70 countries met in Paris. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian representatives were there.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the meeting is "futile" and "rigged against Israel."
Delegates to the meeting oppose Israeli settlements in territories claimed by the Palestinians, including East Jerusalem.
Monitors say artillery fire from Syrian government forces hit a crisis shelter Sunday near Damascus, killing or wounding at least 30 civilians.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights called the attack at the Barada Valley town of Deir Qanoon a massacre.
Officials in Afghanistan say at least seven civilians were killed and two were wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in an eastern border region.
The Afghan Interior Ministry says the blast took place in the village of Bargholi in Nangarhar province.
It was not immediately clear who planted the bomb.
The incident happened just hours before Islamic State militants in the same area abducted 13 seminary teachers.
A spokesman for Gambian President-elect Adama Barrow confirmed Sunday his inauguration will take place January 19 despite incumbent President Yahya Jammeh's refusal to step down from office.
Barrow flew to Senegal after the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, failed to persuade Mr. Jammeh to hand over power when his current term ends.
This is VOA news.
U.S. military units Sunday staged a rehearsal for this week's inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Trump takes the oath of office as the 45th U.S. president on Friday at noon.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to crowd into the city's National Mall to witness the swearing-in ceremony. They will hear the new president's inaugural address and see his parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Black Congressman John Lewis set off a political flap when he said Trump is not, in Lewis's words, a "legitimate" president.
The 60s civil rights leader said the election was not legitimate because Russia hacked the emails of Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Trump suggested Lewis spend more time working to improve life in his congressional district than, in Trump's words, "falsely complaining about election results."
The Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus says it will be shutting down in May, closing what has been promoted as "The Greatest Show on Earth" after 146 years.
Executives at Feld Entertainment said the circus is closing for a variety of reasons, declining ticket sales after the circus ended its popular display of elephants, changing entertainment tastes, high operating costs and battles with animal rights groups.
The president of the Philippines is threatening martial law in his country. Speaking to members of the Chamber of Commerce in the southern city of Davao Saturday, Rodrigo Duterte said if the war on drugs descends into something "really, very virulent," then he would declare martial law.
The president has pledged to wipe out illegal drugs. In his first six months of his drug crackdown, nearly 6,000 people have been killed by police and vigilante squads, drawing criticism from human rights groups.
Serbia's president says his government is ready to send troops to Kosovo to protect Serbian nationals, if necessary.
The comment Sunday follows a war of words that erupted between Kosovar and Serbian officials when a train painted with the words "Kosovo is Serbia" was stopped Saturday from entering Kosovo.
Pakistan's military chief tells Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that his troops have eliminated "all safe havens" for terrorists on Pakistani soil. He emphasized the need for security cooperation between the two countries to deter cross-border terrorist infiltration.
In Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.