June 14, 2016
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday there is no clear evidence that the shooter who carried out an attack Sunday at a gay nightclub in Florida was directed by an overseas terrorist group.
The president said the suspected shooter, Omar Seddique Mateen, represented home-grown extremism.
FBI Director James Comey didn't say how Mateen was radicalized. "It is also not entirely clear at this point just what terrorist group he aspired to support, although he made clear his affinity, at the time of the attack, for ISIL, and generally, leading up to the attack, for radical Islamist groups."
The FBI twice in recent years questioned Mateen about possible connections with terrorist groups but found nothing to warrant any charges.
Thousands of refugees are pouring out of the embattled city of Fallujah through a safe exit corridor secured by the Iraqi army. The army is trying to retake the city from the Islamic State group.
According to the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, 3,300 people fled Monday, joining another 4,000 who escaped during the weekend.
Thousands more are expected to make the journey in the coming days.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance will deploy four battalions to Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, countries that feel most threatened by Russia.
"There can be no doubt that what we have done is a response to the actions of Russia in Crimea and in Ukraine."
Speaking ahead of a meeting of alliance defense ministers beginning Tuesday in Brussels, Stoltenberg said the deployment sends a signal that NATO is ready to defend its allies. He said the battalions will work on a rotational basis under the orders of NATO commanders.
This is VOA news.
The sentencing hearing for South African runner Oscar Pistorius began in Johannesburg Monday. The former Olympic athlete faces at least 15 years in jail after an appeals court overturned a lesser judgment and convicted him of murder. Anita Powell reports.
The former icon is now a broken man, Oscar Pistorius' psychologist says, and needs a hospital, not a prison cell.
The athlete was back in the dock Monday after an appeals court convicted him of murder for killing his girlfriend in 2013. Now he faces a minimum sentence of 15 years. The sentencing hearing will continue Tuesday before Judge Thokozile Masipa.
Anita Powell, Johannesburg.
In her first speech since the Florida shooting attack, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton spoke to supporters in Cleveland, Ohio, and laid out a multi-faceted approach to combating terrorism.
"We face a twisted ideology and poisoned psychology that inspires the so-called lone wolves, radicalized individuals who may or may not have contact and direction from any formal organization."
Clinton cited the need for she called the common sense reform of gun ownership laws, including a ban on assault weapons.
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump also addressed the Florida shootings, calling for controls on immigration from radicalized areas.
"When I'm elected, I will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies until we fully understand how to end these threats."
Trump called this a very dark moment in the nation's history.
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to allow Puerto Rico to restructure its debt, leaving the U.S. territory at risk of default unless Congress can pass debt relief legislation.
The court in a 5-2 ruling said Monday federal bankruptcy law does not allow Puerto Rico to enact its own legislation, over creditor objections, to cut billions of dollars in debt.
Officials say border skirmishes have resumed between security forces of Pakistan and Afghanistan after a short-lived ceasefire on Monday.
At least one person was killed, 18 were wounded overnight in the fighting.
Residents on the border of Eritrea and Ethiopia reported hearing sounds of heavy fighting Monday, as each country accused the other of launching an attack. The fighting took place in the area of Tsorona, an Eritrean-controlled town that was the flashpoint during the two countries' border war between 1998 and 2000.
From the VOA news center in Washington, I'm David DeForest.
That's the latest world news from VOA.