August 18, 2016
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting. The South Korean Unification Ministry says the second highest ranking official at North Korea's embassy in London has defected to South Korea.
A ministry spokesman said Thae Yong Ho [was] has arrived with his family in the South Korean capital of Seoul and is under government protection.
Russian warplanes flew from Iran to carry out airstrikes in Syria for a second day Wednesday.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the strikes originated from the Hamedan airbase and were aimed at Islamic State militants.
Turkey is set to release 38,000 prisoners in an apparent move to make space for thousands of people arrested as part of an investigation into last month's failed coup. Dorian Jones reports.
In a tweet Wednesday, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag announced the release of the prisoners sanctioned by a government decree under the current Emergency Rule.
No reason was given for the early release, but in a statement an official said only non-violent prisoners would be freed and they would remain under supervision.
Nearly 20,000 people have been arrested since last month's coup attempt.
Human rights groups in Turkey have claimed the prisons are so overcrowded that detainees are being forced to sleep in shifts.
Dorian Jones, Istanbul.
South Sudan's new First Vice President Taban Deng Gai is asserting his country is "peaceful and quiet" and moving ahead with reforms following fighting in the capital that killed some 300 people last month.
Speaking to reporters in Nairobi, he accused reporters of falsely reporting that fighting continues in Juba and elsewhere.
This is VOA news.
Women's track and field events will occupy most of the Olympic prime time line-up Wednesday night. Medals are being handed out in three high profile events.
Patrick Hickey has decided to "step aside temporarily" as member of the Olympic Committee following his arrest in a ticket probe.
A Brazilian judge has issued a(n) order preventing American swimmers Ryan Lochte and James Feigen from leaving the country, stating that they gave conflicting [testimony] testimonies about being robbed earlier this week.
Lochte's father tells the Associated Press, though, his son has already returned to the U.S.
Brazilian officials are suggesting that the U.S. swimmers may not have told the whole truth.
Vice President Joe Biden warned the Kosovar government of what he called the "cancer" of corruption Wednesday during his first visit to the Balkans since 2009.
Biden called for a reconciliation between Kosovo and Serbia.
"... and starts with pursuing closer cooperation and peaceful negotiations with your neighbors, even your former enemies."
After talks with Kosovar President Hashim Thaçi in Pristina, Biden traveled south and dedicated a road to his son Beau, who died of brain cancer last year.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has made changes to the leadership of his campaign.
Trump hired Stephen Bannon, a senior executive at the website Breitbart, to be campaign chief executive officer and promoted pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager.
The campaign says the shake-up does not affect the role of campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Indonesia observed its independence day Wednesday by scuttling 60 foreign fishing boats that had been confiscated while unlawfully fishing in its territorial waters.
Susi Pudjiastuti is Indonesia's minister of Maritime and Fisheries: "As long as the fish is swimming in our EEZ, the ??? fish is swimming, that Indonesian fish. And someone take it there, it's illegal and we will catch them."
And, the Indonesian government clearly adopting a firm position against illegal fishing in its waters.
Officials are especially worried about China's recent expansion of its fishing fleets and occasional encroachment on the waters of other countries.
Zambia's main opposition, the United Party for National Development, plans to petition the nation's Constitutional Court on Friday challenging the outcome of the August 11 presidential election.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia declared incumbent President Edgar Lungu winner with 50.35 percent of the votes.
The UPND also aims to stop the official installation of Mr. Lungu, which has been scheduled for next Tuesday.
In Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.