VOA NEWS

July 19, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Joe Parker reporting.



Health care wars continue for U.S. government.

When candidate Donald Trump was running for president in 2016, he made a huge promise to his supporters that President Obama's health care law would be repealed and replaced with something better.

"We're going to repeal it, we're going to replace it. We have so many unbelievable alternatives, much less expensive, much less expensive and great health care."

Well, the Republican efforts, a role in the health care planning, collapsed, leaving in place the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

And Mr. Trump: "Disappointed, very disappointed. I don't think it's dead, no. But I'm certainly disappointed. For seven years, I've been hearing 'repeal and replace' from Congress, and I've been hearing it loud and strong. And then when we finally get a chance to repeal and replace, they don't take advantage of it. So that's disappointing."

Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell floated a new idea, scrapping Obamacare with no replacement at all.

"This doesn't have to be the end of the story. Passing the repeal legislation will allow us to accomplish what we need to do on behalf of our people. Our Democratic friends have spoken a lot recently about wanting bipartisan solutions. Passing this legislation will provide the opportunity."

Several Republican senators quickly rejected the idea.

This is the Democratic Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer: "At the very beginning of this Congress, President Trump and Leader McConnell said don't come knocking at our door on health care; we don't need you. Now that they're one-party effort has largely failed, we hope they will change their tune."



This is VOA news.



In Turkey today, workers from one of the world's most respected human rights organizations have been accused of supporting terrorism.

A Turkish court ruled Tuesday that six human rights activists, including Amnesty International's Turkey director, be formally arrested after weeks of detention for having aided a terror group.

Dorian Jones has more for VOA from Istanbul.

An Istanbul court has remanded in custody six human rights activists, including Amnesty International's Turkey director Idil Eser and Helsinki Citizens Assembly representative Özlem Dalkıran.

A German and Swedish national were also jailed.

The activists were among a group of ten arrested while attending a human rights workshop on data protection.

Turkey researcher for Amnesty International Andrew Gardner says the detentions mark a new escalation in attacks on civic society.

"It's nothing less than a travesty of justice."

Dorian Jones, of VOA news, Istanbul.

It was not clear which terror organization they are suspected of helping.



The United States slapped sanctions on 18 Iranian individuals and groups it accused of backing Tehran's ballistic missile program even after the U.S. recertified Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

The State Department sanctioned two groups linked to Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards. It says the groups were involved in ballistic missile research and development and test flights.

The sanctions freeze any assets the targeted Iranians might have in the U.S. and block Americans from doing business with them.

Australian National University analyst Amin Saikal: "There is no question that the Iranian involvement in Iraq and Syria, and off course, through Hezbollah in Lebanon, is a matter of a deep concern for Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia, and off course, the United States and some of its allies. But at the same time, Iran has not done what it has achieved through any direct actions soon, but ??? opportunities which should have been provided to it, particularly, as a result of American policy failures in the past, for example in the case of Afghanistan and the case of Iraq as well as on the Israeli-Palestinian front, where President Obama really could not achieve a major breakthrough."

As it issued the sanctions, the U.S. renewed its call for Tehran to release three Americans Iran is holding on what the U.S. says are "fabricated national-security-related charges" and fulfill its promise to return one man, Robert Levinson, who's been missing in Iran now for more than a decade.



For more on all these stories, visit our website at voanews.com. Joe Parker reporting from Washington.

That's the latest world news from VOA.