VOA NEWS

July 24, 2017

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



The U.S. Congress is moving toward adoption of new sanctions against Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, but it was unclear Sunday whether President Trump would sign the legislation.

Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, told CNN, "You've got to ask President Trump. My guess is he's going to make that decision soon."

But White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told ABC News "the White House supports where the legislation is now."

Key Republican and Democratic lawmakers reached agreement Saturday on the measure, which does not include changes that the president wanted to make it easier for him to lift penalties against Russia.

The House of Representatives is set to vote Tuesday, while the Senate has overwhelmingly already approved its version, but would have to agree with the House bill before it could be sent to Trump for his signature.

Congress would have at least 30 days to hold hearings and then vote to approve or reject any easing of sanctions by the president.



Police in the southwestern American state of Texas say eight people have been found dead in the back of a large truck in a parking lot of a Walmart store in the city of San Antonio.

Fire chief Charles Hood says at least 28 people including children were pulled out of the truck alive. Seventeen of them are suffering critical heat-related injuries.

He told CNN some of the survivors have suffered irreversible brain damage.

He said the people would not have survived another night in the trailer which was a refrigerated truck, but the air-conditioning was not working.

The driver has been arrested.



This is VOA news.



Heavy fighting is raging in central Afghanistan. Officials say the Taliban has captured two district headquarters and is attacking government outposts in nearby areas.

A government spokesman told VOA that overnight about 700 Taliban insurgents attacked Kohistan and swiftly captured key installations, including the police headquarters, before establishing control over the entire district.

Insurgents are attacking government positions in eight other districts.



At least one person has been killed in a shooting Sunday at Israel's embassy in Jordan.

Jordanian security sources declined to give more information and Israeli officials declined a comment.

An Israeli was seriously wounded in the attack.



Tensions remain high at a disputed Jerusalem holy place that is sacred to Muslims and Jews after Israel imposed new security measures. Robert Berger reports for VOA from Jerusalem.

Palestinians clashed with Israeli police near the Mosque of al-Aqsa in Jerusalem's Old City, the site Jews call the Temple Mount. Palestinian leaders called for a day of rage to protest Israel's installation of metal detectors at the holy place after three Arab gunmen killed two Israeli policemen at the site a week ago.

Fearing riots, Israel banned Muslims under the age of 50 from attending Friday prayers at the mosque, which marks the third holiest place in Islam. Worshippers who were turned away from the holy place were outraged.

"This is crazy and it violates freedom of worship," said an Arab citizen of Israel, adding that the metal detectors are humiliating to Muslims. He described it as a "black Friday."

But Israel says Muslims crossed a red line when they brought firearms into the holy place and the metal detectors are necessary to prevent further acts of terrorism.

Robert Berger, for VOA news, Jerusalem.



Venezuela's opposition announced a two-day national strike this week aimed at pressuring President Nicholás Maduro to cancel a controversial July 30 election for a new congress.

Lawmaker Simón Calzadilla said, "We are calling out the entire people, all groups in society, for a 48-hour strike" on Wednesday and Thursday.

Calzadilla said a protest march on Friday, following the strike, will demand that Maduro officially scrap the vote.

The president, however, remains defiant in the face of the ever-increasing protests and international pressure.



There is more on these and other stories from around the world around the clock at voanews.com. I'm Jonathan Smith reporting from VOA headquarters in Washington.

That's the latest world news from VOA.