November 18, 2016
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday assured Germans of America's continuing unity and cooperation with Europe. The U.S. leader chose Germany as the main stop in his final overseas tour as president.
Mr. Obama called on his successor, Donald Trump, to "stand up" to Russia, while seeking areas of cooperation.
"... finding areas where we can cooperate with Russia where our values and interest align, but that the president-elect also is willing to stand up to Russia where they are deviating from our values and international norms."
Mr. Obama made his remarks during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump met Thursday with key advisers and candidates for top jobs in his upcoming administration. Trump planned meetings with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Rick Scott.
Trump is meeting with his first foreign visitor, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Before departing Japan, Mr. Abe said he wanted to use the meeting to discuss his vision for the future.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov is quoted as saying his government has initiated contacts with Trump officials to discuss the crisis in Syria. It was not immediately clear to whom he was referring.
Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, could fill an important spot in a new administration. News reports say Kushner, who is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka, would likely serve in a position along the lines of a special counsel or special adviser.
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The head of the U.S. central bank, Janet Yellen, says an improving economy could lead to an interest rate hike.
"... and that such an increase could well become appropriate relatively soon if incoming data provide some further evidence of continued progress toward the committee's objectives."
Yellen spoke to a key congressional committee Thursday, saying any interest rate increases are likely to be gradual.
Many economists say a rate increase might come at the Fed's next meeting in mid-December.
Authorities in Pakistan say they have captured a group of eight people operating a recruitment cell for the Islamic State group.
Counterterrorism forces in an overnight operation arrested the men in Lahore. An official announcement Thursday said authorities also seized mobile phones, laptops and IS propaganda material.
The detainees were allegedly recruiting young men to send them illegally to Syria via Afghanistan and Iran.
After Russia's decision to leave the International Criminal Court, a Philippines withdrawal might follow.
President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to leave the ICC a day after Russia's President Vladimir Putin signed a decree blocking his country from participating in the war crimes court.
Duterte spoke Thursday before leaving for a summit in Peru, calling the ICC "shameless bullies" who only pick on small countries.
Duterte's critics say his real motive may be fear that he could be charged in the court himself because of thousands of people killed in his war on drugs.
Kosovo authorities say they have averted attacks by the Islamic State group. Police say they arrested 19 people in Kosovo and six more in Albania and Macedonia who were planning attacks.
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has named a new prime minister.
Kabila picked opposition lawmaker Badibanga Ntita Samy to lead the unity government until elections are held.
After two elected Hong Kong lawmakers took their oath of office, advocating a retreat from the "one country, two systems" principle that binds them to China, Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed legislators in Beijing, insisting there is only one China.
Mr. Xi said the Chinese people oppose efforts to split the country, and that the government will not allow any part of its territory to break away.
A group of 18 news media advocacy organizations is calling on President-elect Donald Trump to ensure the press is free to inform the public about his activities.
They are asking him to maintain a pool of reporters that cover all of the president's activities.
Concern was raised after Trump went to dinner Tuesday without informing the press.
In Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.