June 17, 2016
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Molly Johnson reporting.
"Today, the vice president and I told them, on behalf of the American people, that our hearts are broken, too."
President Barack Obama in Orlando, Florida, today cited a Sunday's mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub that killed 49 people and wounded more than 50.
Mr. Obama met with some of the victims' family members and emergency personnel who responded to the worst mass shooting in the U.S. history.
And he talked about the problem that allowed the situation to happen.
"This debate needs to change. It's outgrown the old political stalemates. The notion that the answer to this tragedy would be to make sure that more people in a nightclub are similarly armed to the killer, defies commonsense. Those who defend the easy accessibility of assault weapons should meet these families and explain why that makes sense."
Mr. Obama called on Congress to take action against the availability of assault weapons in the United States.
Meanwhile, federal agents say the wife of the man who carried out the shooting and was killed in the attack, Omar Mateen, had some knowledge of his plans.
A federal law enforcement official says a federal grand jury will consider whether to bring charges against wife Noor Zahi Salman.
The director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency told Congress Thursday the Islamic State is planning more attacks in Western countries to compensate for U.S.-led military movements against the terror group.
Despite losing ground in Iraq and Syria, CIA Director John Brennan says Islamic State terror group has no intention of fading away, and instead is shifting its focus to ensure it remains the world's top terror organization through lone wolf, or solitary man, attacks.
This is VOA news.
A member of the British parliament is dead after being shot and stabbed in northern England, according to U.K. officials.
Jo Cox, a 41-year-old member of the opposition Labour Parliament and the mother of two, was shot and stabbed near Leeds today.
A 52-year-old male suspect is in custody and West Yorkshire officials say they believe no further arrest will be made.
With one week before the EU referendum, campaigning has been canceled across the country for the day.
British Prime Minister David Cameron talking about the country's loss. "She was a bright star, no doubt about it. A star for her constituents, a star in Parliament and a star right across the House. We've lost a star. But above all, I'm thinking of her husband Brendan, the children, her family, and her constituents who will be feeling this huge sense of loss tonight and I think it's right we stop the campaigning activity, we think of them and think of what they've lost."
A spokesman for a rival group which backs the so-called "Brexit" says its group has also stopped campaigning for the day.
Russia's Defense Ministry has announced a 48-hour regime of silence starting today for the northern Syrian city of Aleppo as it backs the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
The announcement came after Secretary of State John Kerry expressed growing frustration with Syria and Russia over military action that has undermined four-month cessation of hostilities.
Mr. Kerry accused Moscow and Damascus of selectively enforcing the cease-fire while continuing their campaign to retake the city.
He spoke from the Norwegian capital of Oslo on Wednesday. "So we've made it very clear that unless we get a better definition of how this cessation is going to work, how it will be enforced, who it applies to, how it is applied, we are not gonna sit there while Assad continues to offensively assault Aleppo and while Russia continues to support in that effort."
Meantime, United Nations experts and investigators say there has been a systematic campaign of rape, slavery and killing by Islamic State militants against the Yazidis that amounts to a genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria released its report Thursday. Paulo Pinheiro is the chairperson of that commission. "And the transfer of Yazidi children from their own families and placing them with ISIS fighters. The public statements and conduct of ISIS and its fighters clearly demonstrate that ISIS intended to destroy the Yazidis of Sinjar in whole or in part."
Islamic State fighters converged on Sinjar in August, 2014, killing hundreds of Yazidis who refused to convert to Islam.
I'm Molly Johnson reporting from Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.