VOA NEWS

January 12, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David DeForest reporting.



U.S. President-elect Donald Trump today held his first news conference since winning the presidential election last November. Jim Malone takes a look.

Donald Trump dismissed unsubstantiated intelligence reports that Russia had obtained compromising personal information about him and that members of his staff had colluded with Russia during the presidential campaign.

Trump said it was disgraceful that intelligence information had leaked out and said the claims were fake news.

Trump was at times combative with reporters as he repeated his vow to build a border wall with Mexico, protect U.S. jobs and produce an alternative to President Barack Obama's health care law.

Jim Malone, Washington.



The United Arab Emirates has confirmed the killing of five of its diplomats in a bomb attack Tuesday in the Afghan city of Kandahar.

The blast killed a total of at least 11 people and wounded 16, mostly Afghan government officials. The provincial governor and UAE ambassador to Kabul were among those wounded.

The Taliban insurgency has denied involvement, saying it did not plant the bomb and instead blamed an "internal local rivalry" for the attack.



Gambia's outgoing president has issued a warning to foreign leaders not to interfere with his country's electoral process. The comment comes as several African presidents are scheduled to meet with him on Thursday.

Yahya Jammeh says the country can figure out for itself whether he should give up power.

He has asked the court to overturn the results of December's election in which he lost. He warned [that] against what he called "propaganda and misinformation" aimed at discrediting him.

Several West African leaders are planning to speak with Jammeh.



This is VOA news.



U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state nominee, Rex Tillerson, faced confirmation hearings Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He vowed to streamline the State Department and make it more efficient and achieve "cost savings."

Questioned about U.S. relations with Russia, Tillerson says that country poses a danger to the U.S.

"We need to move Russia from being an adversary always to a partner at times, and on other issues, we're gonna be adversaries."

Tillerson said the U.S. is not likely ever to be friends with Russia, noting the two nations have starkly different values.



U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions faced a second day of confirmation hearings Wednesday as President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general.

In an unusual move, Senator Cory Booker, a black Democrat from New Jersey, testified against his colleague, accusing Sessions of having what he called "deeply troubling views" on the issue of race.

"Senator Sessions has not demonstrated a commitment to a central requisite of the job, to aggressively pursue the congressional mandate of civil rights, equal rights and justice for all of our citizens."

Two black congressmen also testified against Sessions.

Sessions denied charges of racial prejudice during testimony Tuesday.



The U.S. Justice Department has reached a settlement with Volkswagen auto company but officials say the investigation into the company's emissions cheating scandal will continue.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday Volkswagen has agreed to pay several billion dollars in criminal and civil penalties and to take measures to prevent future violations.



The U.S. has imposed sanctions on seven North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong Un's sister, for what it calls the North's "ongoing and serious human rights abuses and censorship activities."

Two North Korean government agencies - the Labor Ministry and the State Planning Commission - also were sanctioned Wednesday.



A senior U.N. official in Iraq says about 750,000 civilians are still trapped in the western part of Mosul, where the Islamic State group is in control.

U.N. humanitarian coordinator Lise Grande says the military offensive against the IS-controlled part of the city could "begin shortly," possibly within "weeks."



Somalia's lower house of parliament re-elected its speaker Wednesday, the first top official chosen in an election process marred by delays and allegations of vote-buying.

Mohamed Osman Jawari won election in the first round with 141 out of 259 votes.



An American citizen arrested in a shooting of a U.S. consular official in Mexico last week has been extradited.

Zia Zafar was brought back Monday one day after his arrest by Mexican authorities.



From the VOA news center in Washington, I'm David DeForest.

That's the latest world news from VOA.