VOA NEWS

July 25, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm Philip Alexiou reporting.



President Trump turns up the heat on Republicans over health care.

At the White House this afternoon, President Donald Trump turning up the pressure on Republicans who have said for seven years that they wanted to repeal and replace the nation's health care system, known as Obamacare.

"For Senate Republicans, this is their chance to keep their promise. Over and over again, they said, 'Repeal and replace, repeal and replace.' But they can now keep their promise to the American people to provide emergency relief to those in desperate need of help, and to improve health care for all Americans."

The president said anyone who does not vote to fix the health care system now is a vote for the status quo.

The president also tore into [Trump's], rather, Obama's health care law with fresh intensity, calling it a "government takeover" of health care and a "big, fat, ugly lie" that had "wreaked havoc" on American families.



I have not relied on Russian funds for my business and I have been fully transparent in providing all requested information -- the words of Jared Kushner, President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law.

Kushner telling reporters outside the White House today, he's had no improper contacts with Russians leading up to or after the 2016 election.

"Let me be very clear -- I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so."

Kushner also saying the president won the election because he had a better message and ran a smarter campaign, and that's why he won. Suggesting otherwise he says ridicules those who voted for him.



The worst-ever outbreak of dengue fever in Sri Lanka has killed nearly 300 people, with the number of cases rising rapidly.

The Health Ministry in Sri Lanka saying the number of dengue has climbed to 103,000.



This is VOA news.



A tragedy at a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio, Texas, a horrific situation where eight people inside of a sweltering tractor-trailer were found dead. Two more people died at a hospital. Many more were inside.

The driver of the 18-wheeler used to smuggle all the likely illegal immigrants into the country has been arrested.

One of the more than 30 survivors, Lara Vega speaking from a hospital.

He was saying while he was talking to reporter that "When I woke up, I looked around everywhere and I woke up and wanted to run but I felt kind of faint, so I fell. I fell where I was very weak."

The driver, a 60-year-old man identified as James Bradley Jr. from Florida, could face life in prison or the death penalty for the smuggling charges.

He said he was not aware people were in the trailer.



Three African countries are holding major elections in August: Angola, Kenya and Rwanda.

Now although the three nations are very different, for all of them the stakes are high and the contest will be closely watched.

From Johannesburg, VOA's Anita Powell looks at the upcoming election in Rwanda.

First up is tiny, landlocked Rwanda, which will vote the first week in August. Once again, the undisputed favorite is the longtime president, Paul Kagame, who has ruled Rwanda since the end of the 1994 genocide.

Horn of Africa analyst Murithi Mutiga of the International Crisis Group is expecting no surprises, but says the democratic exercise is an important one for Rwanda and its wealthy aid partners.

"I think it matters to the extent that obviously there have been questions as to whether Rwanda is an authoritarian country, whether it respects the norms and practices of a democratic country, and especially as a major recipient of aid from the West."

Anita Powell, VOA news, Johannesburg.



As the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces continue their advance against the Islamic State in its stronghold Raqqa, the U.S.-led coalition is increasing assistance for a civilian council established to govern the city after its recapture from IS.

British Major General Rupert Jones, deputy commander of the U.S.-led global coalition against ISIS, on Sunday met with members of Raqqa Civilian Council to ensure the council will be able to run [the city affairs] the city's affairs after the IS threat.



The U.S. military says it is preparing to conduct another test of a missile defense system put in place to counter threats from North Korea.

A Pentagon spokesman saying that the test of the military's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense is scheduled to go ahead very "soon," saying that it's a "routine measure."



Philip Alexiou, VOA news.

That's the latest world news from VOA.