July 14, 2017

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

China's best-known human rights prisoner, Liu Xiaobo, died Thursday at age 61 following a high-profile battle with liver cancer that made his death as controversial as his life.

Liu was a Nobel Prize laureate who spent his last eight years of his life as a prisoner of conscience. He died at a hospital in Shenyang, China, where he had been moved from his prison cell in the final stage of his illness. The judicial bureau in Shengyang announced the cause of death as "multiple organ failure."

Liu's final days were marked by a public dispute over the quality of his care and China's refusal of a family request that he be transferred for treatment to the United States or Germany.

Liu Xiaobo is survived by a son and his wife of 21 years, a staunch supporter of her husband.

President Trump is making no promises to change his decision about pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, something that made for awkward moments Thursday on the first day of his trip to France.

At the end of meetings Thursday with French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump said, "Something could happen with respect to the Paris accord. We'll see what happens. But we will talk about that over the coming period of time. And if it happens, that will be wonderful. And if it doesn't, that'll be OK, too."

Amid deep disagreements with his host over climate and trade, odds were stacked against a good visit for the U.S. president.

Mr. Trump and the new French president instead focused on finding common ground on areas like Syria and counterterrorism.

Questions about Russia and his campaign followed Trump across the Atlantic.

You're listening to news from the Voice of America in Washington.

The man convicted of killing Kremlin critic and former deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov in 2015 was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Russian court Thursday.

The shooter Saur Dadayev was given the 20-year sentence even though prosecutors had initially asked for longer sentences, including a life sentence for Dadayev.

All five men were ethnic Chechens from Russia's volatile North Caucasus.

Egyptian Coptic and Catholic churches have suspended all outside church activities for the rest of July because of security threats.

This means all church-related travel and conferences will be canceled and youth camps and outings are being cut short.

Church officials gave no information on who recommended the suspensions or if there are any specific threats. But the Islamic State has threatened to continue attacks on Christians in Egypt after it claimed responsibility for killing at least 28 people heading to a monastery in central Egypt in May.

Two separate church bombings on Palm Sunday also blamed on the Islamic State killed 44 people.

Christians make up about 10 percent of the Egyptian population.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson left Qatar Thursday with little apparent progress in his shuttle diplomacy aimed at ending Doha's diplomatic standoff with four Arab countries.

Tillerson spoke with Qatari leaders after spending Wednesday in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah meeting with diplomats from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. The Saudi-led group broke off diplomatic [with ties] ties with Qatar, that is, early last month, accusing Qatar of funding terrorism in the region and being too close to rival Iran. Qatar has rejected the accusations.

The U.S. State Department is now asking all nations to provide extensive data about their citizens who want to travel to the United States. The information would help U.S. officials decide whether those citizens constitute a terrorist threat.

Reuters news service quoted a diplomatic cable Thursday that it says was sent a day earlier to all U.S. diplomatic posts.

The cable outlines a series of requirements for other countries to meet if their citizens are to be permitted to travel to the United States.

And, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is considering a proposal that would require the country's more than 1.4 million international students to reapply for permission to stay in the United States every year.

The Washington Post says the proposal is part of a plan to enhance national security by more closely monitoring the students.

That's news at this hour. There is more from around the world around the clock at voanews.com. I'm Jonathan Smith in Washington.

That's the latest world news from VOA.