VOA NEWS

May 24, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Steve Miller reporting.



Britain has raised its terrorism alert to critical -- the highest level -- and soldiers are being deployed to assist armed police.

Prime Minister Theresa May called the attack at an Ariana Grande concert that killed 22 people and wounding nearly 60 cowardly.

"All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice."

She said members of the military will be deployed along with the police at what she called "big events," including football or soccer matches and concerts.

The prime minister said the national terror threat (level) is being raised from severe to critical, which means another attack is expected "imminently."

She said it is possible for a "wider group of individuals" that they may be responsible for Monday's Manchester bombing -- something British police are [urging] urgently trying to determine.

Police have identified the suicide bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, but have given no further information about him.



U.S. Congress held hearings on Tuesday on alleged collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia. VOA's Michael Bowman reports.

House and Senate probes of Russian election meddling are continuing while former FBI Director Robert Mueller is getting to work as special counsel in a Justice Department investigation.

(Director of National Intelligence, Dan) Coats pledged to cooperate with the probes, which Trump has labeled a "witch hunt."

Michael Bowman, VOA news, the Capitol.

Various U.S. media outlets have reported that President Trump asked to the country's top intelligence chiefs to publicly disavow possible Russian collusion with his campaign.

The officials responded that they would not.



This is VOA.



China's United Nations ambassador called for the full implementation of existing Security Council resolutions on North Korea. VOA's Andrew Palczewski reports.

China's ambassador called for parties to deescalate tensions on the Korean peninsula and said that China and the United States are discussing possible new sanctions.

The Sunday, May 21 launch, which was North Korea's 10th this year, was strongly condemned by the U.N. Security Council.

The Council released a statement pledging to "take further significant measures, including sanctions in line with the Council's previously expressed determination."



U.S. President Trump on Tuesday declared that both Israel and Palestinian leaders are ready to reach for peace.

"As I have repeatedly said, I am personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peace agreement, and I had a great meeting this morning with President Abbas and can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace. I know you've heard it before. I am telling you that's what I do."



Myanmar's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, will open a new round of peace talks on Wednesday. The talks will include three previously barred rebel groups.

The conference aims to end fighting that has been going since the nation gained its independence from Britain in 1948.

Seven ethnic rebel groups that have yet to sign a cease-fire deal with the government are planning to attend the Union Peace Conference.

Aung San Suu Kyi stated that ending the decades of near-perpetual civil war is her number one priority. She sees achieving this as the key to unlocking the resource-rich country's potential and guaranteeing basic development for its more than 50 million people.



A bus has plunged nearly 150 meters into a river in the mountainous northern Uttarakhand state in India on Tuesday.

Police say the accident killed at least 15 Hindu pilgrims and injured another seven people.

Rescuers have recovered 15 bodies and are searching for another eight people. Seven with injuries were hospitalized.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known. The area is nearly 400 kilometers northeast of New Delhi.

More than 110,000 people are killed annually on India's roads. Most of the crashes are attributed to reckless driving, poorly maintained roads and aging vehicles.



In Jakarta, Indonesia, police arrested 141 gay men on Monday. A coalition of NGOs are criticizing the Jakarta police, saying the officers deliberately humiliated the men by taking them in while naked to the police station, photographing them, and then distributing the nude pictures online. The images went viral and the police denied the allegations.



In Washington, I'm Steve Miller.

That's the latest world news from VOA.