July 10, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Jonathan Smith reporting.

Iraq has declared victory over the Islamic State terrorists. It said its army has retaken the city of Mosul.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office said Sunday that he was in the liberated city and congratulated the fighters and people on the victory.

Al-Abadi was seen in a video greeting soldiers as they danced in the streets and waved the Iraqi flag.

Thousands of civilians have been killed and nearly a million displaced in the eight-month-long battle to retake Iraq's second largest city.

A cease-fire has gone into effect in southern Syria. The de-escalation agreement between government forces and rebel groups in the southwest began Sunday at noon local time.

The agreement had been announced Thursday following a meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday morning that the window for a diplomatic solution with North Korea was quickly closing following its test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

She said on a CBS program "Face the Nation" that the U.S. needs to put pressure on North Korea as does China, which she says hasn't done enough to limit trade with the North.

President Trump said Sunday that he "strongly pressed" Russian President Vladimir Putin twice about whether Russia interfered in last year's election. The two men spoke in Germany at the recently concluded G-20 summit.

Mr. Trump said Putin vehemently denied the allegations and Trump said it's time to move on.

His comments came in a series of Twitter messages.

This is VOA news from Washington.

During his first official visit to Kyiv Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the U.S. has told Russia it must take the first steps to de-escalate violence in Eastern Ukraine.

"... the past - I don't know that we will ever come to an agreement, obviously, with our Russian counterparts on that. I think the important thing is how do we assure this doesn't happen again."

Tillerson is seeking to rebuild trust with the Russians but the United States dismissed speculation that it will cut a deal with Moscow over Kyiv.

Tens of thousands of people massed in Istanbul Sunday to protest Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's crackdown on critics of his government in the wake of last year's failed military coup.

It was the biggest protest in several years against Erdoğan, whose government has arrested more than 50,000 people and dismissed at least 100,000 civil servants that he has characterized as supporters of the aborted coup.

The world's largest lithium ion battery will be installed in South Australia under an agreement between the American firm Tesla, the French company Neoen, and the state government. From Sydney, Phil Mercer reports.

The 100-megawatt battery will put South Australia at the forefront of global energy storage technology, according to the authorities. They hope the project will stabilize a shaky electricity network, which suffered a state-wide black-out last September. The system also couldn't cope with huge demand during a summer heatwave, and there were more power cuts.

Jay Weatherill is the South Australian state premier: "What it will do is completely transform the way in which renewable energy is stored, and also stabilize the South Australian network as well as putting downward pressure on prices."

The huge lithium battery is expected to be built by the end of the year.

Phil Mercer, for VOA news, Sydney.

Firefighters are battling wildfires across the U.S. West Coast state of California as the state also experiences record-breaking temperatures.

Saturday's 35-degree Celsius high temperature in Los Angeles in southern California broke a 131-year-old record. It was set in 1886.

The National Weather Service said the heat wave is the result of a strong, upper-level high pressure system centered over the desert southwest.

Officials say a 7,700-hectare wildfire in northern Santa Barbara County is only 10 percent contained.

The high temperatures in the outbreak of the fires follows California's recent recovery from a long drought.

You can find more on these and other stories from around the world around the clock at voanews.com. I'm Jonathan Smith in Washington.

That's the latest world news from VOA.