June 26, 2016
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David Byrd reporting. Police in Somalia say the terrorist siege of a Mogadishu hotel has ended but not before at least 15 people were killed.
The militant group al-Shabaab is claiming responsibility, saying the hotel is frequented by what it calls "apostate government members."
Police say the terrorists set off a car bomb outside the Hotel Naso-Hablod on Saturday afternoon. Gunmen then burst into the building, firing their weapons at random and seizing hostages.
Police stormed the hotel and killed the attackers on the building's roof.
Al-Shabaab, that is, has killed thousands since it began its campaign of terrorism 10 years ago in an attempt to turn Somalia into a conservative Islamic state.
Russian and Syrian airplanes have killed at least 45 people, including children, in a town in eastern Syria.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the strikes hit the town of Qourieh in Deir el-Zour province, which borders Iraq and is mostly controlled by the Islamic State militant group.
Meanwhile, U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces clashed with Islamic State inside Manbij, a key stronghold of the extremist group.
Local activists say the loss of the town would be a significant setback for Islamic State.
Afghanistan's Taliban says it will strongly retaliate for resumption of U.S. airstrikes against the insurgent group. It rejected assertions that bombing operations ever paused.
The U.S. military began anti-Taliban air raids in the last week, but it has declined to provide any details.
For more, log on to our website. This is VOA news.
The founding members of the European Union on Saturday urged quick negotiations about Britain's departure from the bloc, saying that 27 other countries in the union need to move ahead and think about the future.
In a display of unity in Berlin, foreign ministers of the six founding members urged quick negotiations to avoid prolonged financial and political insecurity for the continent.
Bert Koenders is the Dutch foreign minister. "People have to see the results of Europe. I think that's key. But we need to turn the page. We don't want vacuum. And it's important now that these negotiations with the United Kingdom start in good faith but as soon as possible."
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that negotiations on a British exit, or Brexit, should begin as soon as possible and added that intensive European discussions were needed.
All of the foreign ministers spoke of the need for a speedy renegotiation in order to avoid instability.
Pope Francis said Saturday that the world should never forget or minimize the Ottoman-era slaughter of Armenians and urged Armenians and Turks to find peace and reconcile with one another.
Francis and the patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church participated in an ecumenical ceremony and prayer for peace attended by thousands of people in Republic Square in Yerevan.
Francis said, "This immense and senseless slaughter, this tragedy that your people experienced in the flesh, remains impressed in our memory and burns in our hearts."
Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks during World War I. The event is widely viewed as the first genocide of the 20th century.
However, Turkey denies the deaths constitute a genocide, saying the toll [has] was the result of civil war and unrest.
U.S. President Barack Obama has named the Stonewall National Monument as the country's first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights.
In his weekly media address, the president said this month's attack in Orlando shows that much remains to be done before all Americans have equal standing.
"There's still work to do. As we saw two weeks ago in Orlando, the LGBT community still faces real discrimination, real violence, real hate."
The monument includes the landmark Stonewall Inn, a tavern where the gay rights movement gained political momentum nearly 50 years ago. The tavern, popular with gays and lesbians, was the focal point of street rioting that broke out in 1969 after a police raid, aimed at harassing the LGBT community took place.
For more, log on to our website voanews.com. I'm David Byrd in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.