December 17, 2016
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David Byrd reporting.
President Barack Obama says the United States will respond to Russia's hacking of Democratic headquarters and other accounts leading up to November's elections.
At his final news conference of the year, Mr. Obama said Friday his goal is to send a clear message to Russia and other nations that interfering with the U.S. electoral process will not be tolerated.
While he stopped short of saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the computer attacks against the Democratic National Committee and other sites, Mr. Obama said the attack came from the highest level of the Russian government.
"This is a pretty hierarchical operation. Last I checked, there's not a lot of debate and democratic deliberation particularly when it comes to policies directed at the United States."
The president has ordered the intelligence community to repair a report on the cyberattacks before the end of his administration.
Russia has denied making the attacks.
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is blaming Russian interference for her loss in the U.S. presidential election, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin might have wanted to meddle in the race because of a personal beef against her.
Clinton, who has kept a low profile since her defeat in November, made the remarks to campaign donors in New York City Thursday night.
The CIA has concluded that Russian hackers broke into the Democratic Party computers to leak potentially embarrassing emails about the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign with the apparent aim of helping Republican Donald Trump win last month's election.
This is VOA news.
The Syrian government has suspended the evacuation of civilians from eastern Aleppo Friday after blasts and gunfire were heard in parts of the city. Both rebels and government forces accused the other of breaking a fragile cease-fire.
Syria's government says the rebels broke the agreement by trying to smuggle heavy weapons and hostages out of Aleppo. The rebels accused the government of suspending the evacuation as a way to pressure them into releasing civilians from two government-held Shiite villages currently under siege by rebel forces.
Russia's Defense Ministry said the evacuation was "complete" and that "all of the women and children have been moved from the rebel-controlled neighborhoods." The ministry says only "radical and intransigent" militants remain.
Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, is calling on the Syrian government to allow for a resumption of the evacuations from besieged parts of eastern Aleppo.
Power says she is in favor of a French-drafted U.N. resolution calling for independent international monitors to oversee the evacuation of civilians and rebel fighters from the war-torn city.
"We need to get the arrangement that was working for the thousands of people who did get out. We need to get that arrangement up and running again as soon as possible."
Power said that if Russia continues to block action in the U.N. Security Council, some members of the Council will possibly request an emergency special session of the General Assembly.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin opposes the idea. Power said the Security Council could possibly vote this weekend.
The U.S. Defense Department is demanding that China return and underwater drone it seized while it was collecting unclassified scientific data in the South China Sea.
VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb says Thursday's seizure took place in international waters.
"... and there are several areas around here where the Philippines will claim this and China will also claim that specific water, some areas where Vietnam also claims territorial waters. So it is a complex issue through the area. But it is clear that this is an international waterway."
A civilian-manned U.S. navy oceanographic ship was recovering two of the unmanned underwater gliders about 93 kilometers from Subic Bay in the Philippines. A Chinese navy ship approached the U.S. drone and took it out of the water.
There has been no comment from Beijing about the incident.
A down day on Wall Street as losses in bank stocks drove the indexes lower. The Dow was down by 0.4 percent. The S&P fell 0.18 percent. The NASDAQ was off by 0.36 percent. European markets were higher. Asian markets closed mixed.
For more visit our website. I'm David Byrd.
That's the latest world news from VOA.