January 6, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
Top U.S. intelligence officials say they believe high-level Russian authorities were directly responsible for the hacking and leaking of documents from the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was among the officials who testified Thursday before the Senate Arms Services Committee.
"Russia has clearly assumed an even more aggressive cyber posture by increasing cyber espionage operations, leaking data stolen from these operations and targeting critical infrastructure systems."
President-elect Donald Trump, meanwhile, continues to cast doubt on the conclusions drawn by U.S. intelligence officials about Russian hacking. But some prominent Republicans disagree with the president-elect, calling for even tougher sanctions against Russia as we hear from Zlatica Hoke.
The Arms Services Committee hearing is chaired by prominent Republican John McCain, who said Wednesday it is clear that Russia was behind the hacking and must bear consequences.
McCain has not been hesitant in his condemnation for Russia.
"We will work in the Congress to have stronger sanctions in order to prevent further attacks on the United States of America."
McCain also indicated that Congress is prepared to fight Trump on the issue.
Zlatica Hoke, Washington.
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bipartisan measure rejecting the United Nations Security Council vote criticizing Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory.
Representative Steve King: "America and the United States Congress rejects what happened in the United Nations the other day and that decision to abstain from that vote."
Thursday's vote passed 235 to 188 in support of the non-binding measure declaring support for Israel and insisting the U.S. opposes any future such measures.
This is VOA news.
Authorities say suspected Kurdish militants set off a car bomb near a courthouse in Turkey's western city of Izmir Thursday, killing a police officer and a courthouse employee.
The provincial governor says a skirmish broke out when police officers tried to stop a vehicle at a checkpoint in front of Bayrakli Courthouse. He says terrorists detonated the bomb while trying to escape.
Officials say two of the attackers were shot and killed. At least 10 people were wounded.
At least nine people were killed when a car bomb exploded in the Syrian town of Jableh. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts the death toll at 14.
Meanwhile, peace negotiations for Syria are scheduled to be held in Kazakhstan although the rebels indicated they are withdrawing due to what they say is the Syrian government's violation of the current fragile cease-fire.
The talks are being organized by Russia, Iran and Turkey.
The United Nations Security Council has condemned "in the strongest terms" Tuesday's killing of two Moroccan U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic.
The peacekeepers were killed as they accompanied fuel trucks about 60 kilometers west of the town of Obo. They were attacked by unknown assailants who fled into the bush.
News services say President-elect Donald Trump will name former Senator Dan Coats to the top post in the U.S. intelligence community. Coats will head the office of the director of national intelligence, which supervises the CIA, the National Security Agency and 14 other federal agencies that gather intelligence.
If confirmed by the Senate, Coats would succeed James Clapper.
U.S. President-elect Trump is attacking Japan's Toyota automobile company for its plan to build its Corolla model in Mexico and then sell the car in the United States.
"NO WAY!" Trump says in a Twitter message. "Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax."
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is recommending that the upcoming administration should maintain partnerships with NATO and allies in the Asia-Pacific. He also says the new Trump administration should hold Russia accountable for its stated mission of battling terrorists in Syria.
Those recommendations come in an end of term memo from Carter released Thursday, along with a letter from President Obama.
Four black suspects in Chicago have been charged with hate crimes after they allegedly live-streamed video on Facebook of themselves torturing a mentally disabled white teenager.
Prosecutors in Cook County, Illinois, announced hate crime and aggravated kidnapping charges Thursday.
Video of the incident shows four black attackers repeatedly stabbing and punching a tied up white teenager. The video also shows the attackers forcing the mentally disabled teem to drink water out of a toilet.
In Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.