VOA NEWS

June 18, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Michael Brown reporting.



Authorities in London said Saturday dozens of people are presumed dead after the fire erupted inside a high rise apartment building earlier this week.

"Sadly, at this time there are 58 people who [we were told worried] we have been told were in the Grenfell Tower on the night that are missing. And therefore, sadly, I have to assume that they are dead."

The spokesman says police will conduct a criminal investigation of the circumstances of the fire early week.



A judge in the city of Philadelphia here in the U.S. declaring a mistrial in the sexual assault case involving famed comedian Bill Cosby after the jury could not reach a verdict.

Statement was read from Cosby's wife, Camille. "How do I describe the district attorney? Heinously and exploitively ambitious. How do I describe the judge? Overtly arrogant and collaborating with the district attorney. How do I describe the counsels for the accusers? Totally unethical. How do I describe many, but not all, general media? Blatantly vicious entities that continually disseminated intentional omissions of truths for the primary purpose of greedily selling sensationalism at the expense of a human life."

Attorney Gloria Allred's client testified in the trial and she pleads that Cosby's fame may have played a factor in the case. "We can never underestimate the blinding power of celebrity, but justice will come."

The prosecutor said he plans to retry the case.



From here in Washington, this is VOA news.



Search and rescue teams still trying to locate seven American sailors missing after the U.S. navy destroyer they were on collided with a merchant vessel off the coast of Japan.

The USS Fitzgerald has returned to Yokosuka, Japan, on Saturday.

The Navy said two crew members, in addition to the commanding officer, were treated for injuries.

No one on the Philippine flagged container ship was reported injured.

The cause of the collision was not immediately clear.



[Afghan soldier] an Afghan soldier, that is, fired on another Afghan soldier, killing him and wounding three U.S. soldiers and another Afghan soldier in northern Afghanistan. This took place on Saturday.

Spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry said the shooting occurred inside the base and that an investigation is underway.

The spokesman said the attacker was killed.



President Trump has rolled back parts of President Obama's agreements with Cuba.

New measures include tightening the restrictions on tourism travel and prohibiting financial dealings with entities tied to Cuban military and intelligence services, according to a senior Trump official.

Americans will be able to travel to Cuba under approved categories but there will be stricter enforcement to ensure travelers fit those categories.

The U.S. embassy in Havana will remain open.



The International Organization for Migration reporting efforts are ongoing to rescue around 200 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia who have been kidnapped in Libya and are being held for ransom. Lisa Schlein has more of the story.

News of the kidnappings and illegal detentions in Libya first surfaced in a video, which appeared on Facebook on June 9. The International Organization for Migration says families of the missing men and women have received ransom demands based on short video clips depicting scenes of active torture.

IOM spokesman Joel Millman tells VOA the source of the video is not known, but there is little doubt as to its veracity.

The IOM report said it is working with partners to try to locate the migrants. It says IOM staff, in coordination with authorities in Libya, is trying to trace and potentially aid in the rescue of these victims.

Lisa Schlein, for VOA news, Geneva.



Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed disappointment Saturday over possible new sanctions to be levied against his country by the U.S., but said it is too early to speak of "retaliatory actions."

The new sanctions passed Wednesday target Russians involved in serious human rights abuses, supplying weapons to the Syrian government, carrying out malicious cyber activities and doing business with Russian intelligence and defense.



For more news, please join us at voanews.com. I'm Michael Brown reporting here in Washington.

That's the latest world news from VOA.