VOA NEWS

August 4, 2017

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



Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is investigating allegations that the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russia, has reportedly seated a grand jury to help him in his investigation. Correspondent Miller Sega has more on the story.

Two sources have Reuters news agency that grand jury subpoenas have been issued in connection with the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., a Russian lawyer and others.

The sources also said Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury in Washington to investigate allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

President Trump has called the investigation "a witch hunt."

Miller Sega, VOA news.

The Wall Street Journal says the grand jury began its work in recent weeks and will likely continue for months.

Mueller's office has not commented on The Wall Street Journal report.



President Trump is expected to increase pressure on China to change its trade practices and do more to stop North Korea's weapons programs.

Reports on Thursday said Trump will sign an order in the coming days to open an investigation of Chinese demands that foreign companies share technology secrets in exchange for access to the massive Chinese market.

The expected investigation could eventually lead to higher tariffs on Chinese-made products headed to the U.S. market, which is the world's largest.

But trade experts are warning that such actions might violate commitments that the United States has made to the World Trade Organization.



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



A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into an Afghan national police outpost in southern Helmand province Thursday, killing two officers and wounding two.

The Gareshk district police chief said the evening attack happened in his district - the scene of heavy fighting in recent weeks between Afghan National Security Forces, aided by American air support, and the Taliban, who control about 80 percent of Helmand province.



A cease-fire in parts of Homs province in central Syria held Thursday, observers say, giving civilians a chance to start putting their lives back together.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported no violations, while reporters on the ground say fruit and vegetable markets reopened and children were back on the streets in the city of Homs.

The quiet will also give humanitarian workers the chance to bring in badly needed aid.



The United States will spend $169 million for humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia and Kenya. The two countries are experiencing a severe and prolonged drought.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert: "With the new funding, we're providing vital emergency food assistance, safe drinking water, and health services to millions of Ethiopians and Kenyans in the worst drought-affected areas.

The additional aid comes at a critical moment for Ethiopia and Kenya as the threat of hunger, malnutrition, and dehydration are reaching alarming levels right now. The drought is especially severe in Ethiopia, where an estimated 7.8 million people now require urgent humanitarian assistance."

Nauert said the United States has already provided nearly $2 billion since October in response to the crises.



Hundreds of people have been gathering at the court yard of the city council in Yaounde to donate blood for Cameroonian soldiers fighting the Boko Haram militants.

Officials say hundreds of people wounded in Boko Haram violence, including soldiers, have died party due to blood shortages, which amounts to at least 400,000 pints of blood every year.



And American security agents have arrested the British hacker known for discovering a "kill switch" that nullified a widespread ransomware attack earlier this year.

Marcus Hutchins is a 23-year-old malware researcher. He was detained by the FBI on Wednesday at the Las Vegas airport, where he was preparing to return to Britain after attending two hacking conferences in the city.

Court documents indicate Hutchins was arrested on hacking charges unrelated to the ransomware attack known as WannaCry.



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

That's the latest world news from VOA.