VOA NEWS

July 21, 2017

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



Syrian rebels killed at least 28 Syrian regime troops Thursday in an ambush outside Damascus. The attack was reported by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It said the soldiers came under fire from rebels as they tried to advance on the town of Al-Rihan. The observatory said officers were among those killed in the ambush and the death toll is likely to rise.



Oil giant ExxonMobil is suing the U.S. Treasury Department to stop a $2 million fine for violating sanctions against Russia while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the CEO of Exxon.

Exxon said the decision is "fundamentally unfair." The company insists it did nothing wrong. It's challenging the Treasury action in U.S. District Court in Texas.

The Treasury Department said Exxon signed a contract in 2014 with Igor Sechin, the head of Russia's state-owned Rosneft oil company and a longtime business associate of Tillerson.

Sechin was on a list of Russian officials sanctioned because of the Russian annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.



The U.S. has lifted its ban on carry-on laptop computers on foreign flights headed to American airports.

The Department of Homeland Security's ban list originally affected 10 airports and nine airlines, mostly Middle Eastern carriers. The agency announced that the countries where the airports are located were complying with tightened security measures and anyone flying to the U.S. can now bring a computer onto the plane.

The toughened security measures include checking electronic devices for possible explosives.



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



Two Republican senators are working with the White House on a comprehensive immigration bill that reports say will cut legal immigration in half.

An earlier version of the bill proposed in February by Senators David Perdue and Tom Cotton was also expected to cut legal immigration in half from 1 million to 500,000 each year. It called for limiting admission for migrants' family members, ending the diversity visa lottery program and making the process of obtaining "green card" work permits much more difficult.



Two U.S. senators have introduced a bipartisan bill granting amnesty to illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham are co-sponsoring the Dream Act, which would ensure permanent resident status to about a million young people known as "dreamers" who were brought to the U.S. under the age of 17 and lived in the country for at least four years.

Durbin is a leading Democrat. Graham is a leading Republican.



A Las Vegas parole board has granted U.S. football and screen star O.J. Simpson parole after nine years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping.

The decision was a quick one, announced less than an hour after the conclusion of his parole hearing.



The World Health Organization reports a survey of 11 countries finds evidence that HIV drug resistance is growing, posing a potential threat to the prevention and treatment of AIDS. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from WHO headquarters in Geneva.

The World Health Organization reports 36.7 million people are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. More than half that number are on life-saving antiretroviral therapy.

The WHO says more than 10 percent of people starting antiretroviral therapy in six of the 11 countries surveyed were resistant to the drugs.

But, the WHO coordinator for HIV treatment and care, Meg Doherty, tells VOA other parts of the world have some of the highest incidences of drug resistance.

"But, once we have more people on therapy and more people who are potentially taking drugs that could alter the virus, the risk of this resistance can go up."

Lisa Schlein, for VOA news, Geneva.



Ugandan police say they have arrested dozens of political opposition activists this week. The arrests coincide with speculation that President Yoweri Museveni will act to change the constitution to allow himself to run for another term in 2021.

Uganda's constitution says candidates must be younger than 75. Museveni will be 77.



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

That's the latest world news from VOA.