December 12, 2016
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
Egypt's official news agency says an assailant threw a bomb into a chapel at Cairo's Coptic Orthodox cathedral Sunday, killing at least 25 people and wounding nearly 50.
There has been no claim of responsibility for that attack.
A Kurdish militant group claimed responsibility for the bombings that killed at least 38 people and wounded more than 150 in Istanbul, Turkey.
The claim was made Sunday by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, or the TAK. That's a group believed to be an offshoot of the outlawed PKK.
A Syrian monitor says Islamic State jihadists have recaptured the city of Palmyra.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the IS retook all of Palmyra after the Syrian army withdrew from the city.
IS had been expelled from the ancient city by Syrian forces amid much fanfare just nine months ago.
To the north, monitors reported heavy fighting in the northeastern districts of the city of Aleppo. A two-week offensive by the Russian-backed Syrian army and its Shiite allies has split the city's rebel-held east and has left the rebels in disarray.
Witnesses to Saturday's fighting said rebels were holding their ground in the eastern sector.
In other development, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the deployment of 200 more military personnel to northern Syria.
The defense secretary is in Iraq on a previously unannounced visit. Ash Carter arrived Sunday in Baghdad, where he planned discussions with leaders about plans to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group.
The recapture of Mosul is crucial to the Iraqis' hopes of restoring their sovereignty.
This is VOA news.
U.S. [elect] President-elect Donald Trump is calling "ridiculous" reported conclusions by the Central Intelligence Agency that Russia interfered in last month's U.S. presidential election to boost Trump's chances of winning. Trump called the report "another excuse" by Democrats for his upset over former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Trump told Fox News nobody really knows who is responsible for the cyberattacks.
He was asked about his next secretary of state.
"I just have -- I have someone in mind that I think will be really fabulous. I think we're going to have one of the great cabinets ever put together."
Trump praised Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson, his likely pick as the country's next secretary of state, because of the contacts he has across the world and the oil agreements he has reached with Russia.
Conservatives in the New Zealand parliament have tapped Bill English to be the nation's next president.
Last week, Prime Minister John Key announced that he was stepping down after eight years in office.
English is a former farmer who has college degrees in commerce and literature.
Romanians voted Sunday in a parliamentary election a year after an anti-corruption campaign forced the last Socialist prime minister from power.
[Early returns show] Earlier returns [show] indicate the corruption-tainted Social Democratic Party, or the PSD, has taken a strong lead of 47 percent of the vote, with the Liberals coming in second at 21 percent.
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has announced he will [take a legal challenge] make a legal challenge to the recent election in which he earlier conceded defeat.
Rival Adama Barrow was the winner of the December 1 vote. But Mr. Jammeh now cites errors by election officials as the reason he will challenge the results in the Supreme Court.
In a speech Friday, Mr. Jammeh indicated that he would ask for new elections.
A truck bomb exploded outside Mogadishu's new seaport Sunday morning, killing at least 20 people and wounding dozens. The militant group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility.
Rescue workers searched for survivors Sunday following the collapse of a church roof in northern Nigeria. That collapse killed at least 100 people. Some reports put the death toll as high as 160.
A fuel tanker has collided with several vehicles on a Kenyan highway, killing at least 33 people and injuring scores of others. The death toll is expected to rise.
The accident happened Saturday in west-central Kenya on the Nairobi-Naivasha Highway, about 10 kilometers north of Naivasha.
From the VOA news center in Washington, I'm David DeForest reporting.
That's the latest world news from VOA.