VOA NEWS

July 28, 2017

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



Trump administration officials say the president could veto new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea - what have been overwhelmingly approved by the House and just now by the Senate.

Lawmakers from both parties quickly criticized the possibility.

The House of Representatives approved the sanctions bill Tuesday by a vote of 419-3 and moments ago, the Senate approved the bill by a vote of 98-2.

The bill seeks to impose an economic cost on the three countries for an array of activities to which the U.S. objects. It also gives Congress the power to block any presidential decision to suspend or weaken the sanctions.



Powerful political figures in Washington are coming to the defense of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. They are criticizing President Trump, who appointed him, for his days of complaints on Twitter about the attorney general.

Sessions told the Associated Press he will stay in his job for as long as the president wants him to serve.



Israeli police and Palestinian worshipers clashed Thursday outside a revered holy site in the Old City within Jerusalem after Israel removed the final elements of security measures it installed there earlier this months.

Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets as they were stationed at the gates to the site.

Israeli police said the Palestinian Red Crescent said at least a hundred Palestinians were hurt in the confrontation, including some who were hit by rubber bullets or beaten. Several of those injured suffered broken bones.



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



An Iraqi army division trained by the U.S. military allegedly assassinated several dozen prisoners in the final days of battle to recapture Mosul's Old City from the Islamic State. Miller Sega reports.

Human Rights Watch is urging the U.S. to end support for the Iraqi army's 16th Division pending a probe into what it believes are war crimes.

The organization said the alleged executions were witnessed by two international observers. The observers said they saw a group of Iraqi soldiers who identified themselves as members of the 16th Division take four naked men down an alley and then heard gunshots. The observers said the soldiers informed them the prisoners were IS fighters.

IS lost control of the Old City after nine months of fighting with Iraqi forces who are supported by a U.S.-led coalition.

Iraq has vowed to investigate earlier allegations of abuses and take appropriate action against those responsible.

Miller Sega, VOA news.



The top American military official in uniform, Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday there had been no change yet to Pentagon policy on transgender soldiers.

His comments to the military came after President Trump's announcement of his plans to ban transgender people appeared to catch senior officers by surprise.

General Dunford said the U.S. military would, " treat all of its personnel with respect."



The Chief of Staff of the Army, U.S. General Mark Milley, says North Korean missile technology may be advancing faster than expected.

He spoke Thursday in Washington as North Koreans concluded a day of remembrance to mark the anniversary of the end of the Korean War.

Milley said, "North Korea is extremely dangerous, and more dangerous as the weeks go by."



Clashes erupted in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday between anti-government protesters and security forces.

A 48-hour labor strike is under way.

The clashes come just days before Sunday's election of a National Assembly that will rewrite the constitution.

One hundred people have now have died in civil unrest in the past four months in Venezuela.



And the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos, has overtaken Bill Gates of Microsoft and is now the world's richest man based on Thursday's stock prices for the corporations that make up the bulk of their wealth.

Forbes magazine said Bezos' net worth is now a bit over $90.5 billion ahead of Bill Gates', whose wealth was measured just over 90 billion.



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 VOA headquarters in Washington.

That's the latest world news from VOA.