VOA NEWS

July 2, 2017

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



Military officials say the fight against Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq, is nearing an end. But the losses endured over eight months of fighting, three years of IS rule in Mosul and more than a decade of constant extremist attacks makes the coming milestone more sad than celebratory.

VOA's Heather Murdock.

Any feeling of celebration on the frontlines here is subdued as the gravity of the countless lives lost, lives ruined. And communities ripped apart forever is overwhelming.

Militants continue hiding out in Iraqi-controlled territory, poised to strike again as IS still holds large portions of Iraq.



Chinese President Xi Jinping has sworn in Hong Kong's new leader, Carrie Lam, on the 20th anniversary of the city's handover from British to Chinese rule.

In a speech, Xi said any attempt to endanger China's sovereignty and security or challenging the power of the central government and the authority of the basic law of the Hong Kong special administrative region was impermissible.



U.S. President Donald Trump continued his twitter storm Saturday evening, railing against critics and the media, saying "the FAKE & FRAUDULENT NEWS MEDIA is working hard to convince Republicans and others. I should not use social media - but remember, I won the 2016 election with interviews, speeches and social media. I had to beat #Fake News, and did. We will continue to WIN!"



Trump drew broad condemnation for his tweet on Thursday, calling Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski crazy and saying she was "bleeding badly from a face-lift."

The comment was decried by both Democrats and Republicans.



This is VOA news.



How to respond to North Korea's development of weapons of mass destruction was the top agenda item when President Donald Trump hosted his South Korean counterpart. VOA White House Bureau Chief Correspondent Steve Herman has the story.

President Donald Trump spoke of a threat from what he called the "reckless and brutal" regime in North Korea, adding its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs require a determined response.

"The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed, many years that it's failed and, frankly, that patience is over."

President Moon, who just took office in May, is holding open the door to talks with the North while supporting continued sanctions on Pyongyang.

"The North Korean nuclear issue must be resolved without fail. North Korea should by no means underestimate the firm commitment of Korea and the U.S. in this regard."

Steve Herman, VOA news, at the White House.



Ukraine accused Russian security services Saturday of planning and launching a massive cyberattack that locked up computers across the world. VOA's Bezhan Hamdard reports.

The Ukrainian security agency, known as the SBU, alleged in a statement that similarities between the malicious software and the previous attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure revealed the work of Russian intelligence services.

The SBU added the attackers appeared uninterested in making a profit from the ransomware program and were more focused on sowing chaos in Ukraine.

There was no immediate official response from the Russian government, but Russian lawmaker Igor Morozov told the RIA Novosti news agency that Ukrainian charges were "fiction" and that the attacks were likely the work of the United States.

Two cybersecurity outfits have publicly tied the malware to hacking groups that many other experts believe are linked to Russian intelligence operations.



Qatar says it doesn't fear any military retaliation for refusing to meet a Monday deadline to comply with a list of demands from four Arab states that have imposed a de-facto blockade on the Gulf nation.

During a visit Saturday to Rome, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani rejected the demands as an infringement on Qatar's sovereignty.



Syria's government accused Saturday the international chemical weapons watchdog of relying on testimonies of terrorists in its probe that concluded sarin gas was used in a deadly attack in Syria two months ago.

The U.S., UK and Syrian activists have held the Syrian government responsible for the April 4 attack on Khan Sheikhoun in the opposition-controlled Idlib province.



From Washington DC, I'm Steve Miller.

That's the latest world news from VOA.