August 6, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. Hello, I'm Steve Miller.

The United Nations Security Council assembled and unanimously approved a proposal that would increase economic sanctions on North Korea. VOA's Tom ???Terkel.

The resolution would prohibit North Korea from exporting minerals and seafood products worth over $1 billion a year and block countries from granting new guest worker permits to North Koreans.

The resolution also designates nine North Korea individuals and four entities for asset freezes and travel bans.

Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, have reiterated their "grave concerns" over the escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula.

In a statement, the 10-member nations said the recent ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests by North Korea threaten peace, security and stability in the region and the world.

Philippine foreign affairs spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar: "We strongly call upon the DPRK as a participant of the ASEAN Regional Forum to positively contribute to realize the ARF vision to maintain the Asia-Pacific as a region of lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity."

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to arrive in Manila Saturday for meetings beginning Sunday.

The South American trade bloc, Mercosur, suspended Venezuela indefinitely Saturday for failing to uphold democratic norms amid an intensifying crackdown on dissent in the country.

The block previously suspended Venezuela in December for failing to uphold commitments it made when it joined the group in 2012.

The suspension will have little practical effect with no economic sanctions or changes to trade or migration.

This is VOA news.

President Donald Trump is rallying his base supporters even as the probe into possible collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia heats up. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports from Washington.

Back among the faithful, Donald Trump ??? a candid notion that he is presiding over a floundering administration.

"Americans of every kind are coming together with one simple goal: make America great again."

Trump lashed out at the ongoing Russia investigation, dismissing it as a "total fabrication."

"We didn't win because of Russia. We won because of you. That I can tell you."

Trump's rally was held as reports circulated that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has convened a grand jury to hear evidence in the Russia probe.

The president still draws enthusiastic crowds but continues to struggle in national polls. Trump is down to only 33 percent approval in the latest Quinnipiac University survey, a new low.

Jim Malone, VOA news, Washington.

Kenya's Elections Observation Group, or ELOG, plans to deploy about 5,000 observers to monitor Tuesday's vote. ELOG will also use Parallel Vote Tabulation to monitor the presidential election. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.

The Elections Observations Group, ELOG which is made up of civil society and faith-based organizations, met Saturday in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, and said it will deploy about 5,700 election observers. Of those, approximately 1,700 observers also will monitor the elections using Parallel Vote Tabulation, or PVT.

Simon Wanjiru, the PVT Manager at ELOG, says the group is non-partisan, so its election observers will give independent and authentic results.

"We want to increase the confidence of the public process in the elections and also we want to remove any uncertainties on the people, and they need to believe that now the systems have been done right and we will be able to show if they have been done correctly by the commission."

Lenny Ruvaga, for VOA news, Nairobi.

Israel's justice minister says that even if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is indicted on corruption charges he is not compelled to resign.

Netanyahu's former chief of staff and longtime confidante has agreed to turn state witness and testify against his former mentor. This has raised speculation that Netanyahu could be indicted shortly.

Netanyahu denies wrongdoing.

A U.S. military aircraft and boats are searching for three U.S. Marines who are missing after their tilt-rotor aircraft crashed into the sea Saturday off Australia's east coast.

Twenty-three people have been recovered.

I'm Steve Miller.

That's the latest world news from VOA.