August 8, 2017

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

North Korea vowed on Monday to persist in its nuclear weapons development program, rejecting calls from the international community to rein in its aggressive military actions.

North Korea boasted that its latest missile test in late July showed the world that "the entire U.S. mainland is in our firing range."

In the U.S., the White House said President Trump talked with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about North Korea for an hour. Trump has demanded quick implementation of the new sanctions.

Tillerson said Saturday's U.N. Security Council vote unanimously adopting the new sanctions against North Korea for its ballistic missile tests sends a message that the entire international community finds the country's actions unacceptable, and that the clear expectation is a denuclearized Korean peninsula.

Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo say at least 12 people were killed during clashes between police and members of a separatist sect, Bundu dia Mayala, in the capital Kinshasa.

A police spokesman said four of the sect members and eight others were killed by stray bullets.

Witnesses say the clashes followed an attack by members of the sect on Kinshasa's main prison. The group stormed the same prison in May, freeing their leader and scores of others.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged his country's voters [to place] to cast their ballots in peace and make Kenya's founding fathers proud of them.

In one of the most closely watched races on the African continent, Kenyatta is facing off against his longtime rival, opposition leader Raila Odinga, on Tuesday.

This is VOA news.

South Africans have taken to the streets and massed to air their views ahead of Tuesday's highly anticipated no-confidence motion against President Jacob Zuma in parliament.

Monday, thousands of protesters marched on parliament to demand that their legislators vote him out in what will be the first ever secret vote of no-confidence.

Tuesday's vote will be the eighth parliamentary motion that seeks to move the increasingly unpopular and scandal-plagued president.

More from VOA's Anita Powell in Johannesburg.

Unlike the previous votes where the ruling African National Congress used its comfortable majority to publicly support its leader, this vote will be cast in secret.

It took National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete 46 days to decide. "I therefore determine that voting on the motion of no-confidence in the president on the 8th of August 2017, will be by secret ballot."

Opposition parties had asked for the ballot to be held in secret in a bid to embolden critics within the famously disciplined ANC to turn against their leader.

Several high-profile party stalwarts, including the former finance minister whom Zuma fired in March, have publicly called on him to step down. The unpopular decision to fire Pravin Gordhan was immediately followed by a downgrade of South Africa's credit rating to "junk" status.

Meanwhile, thousands of South Africans made no secret of their wishes as they took to the streets to defend or oppose Zuma. On Monday, thousands of Zuma critics marched outside parliament in Cape Town to demand his ouster. A pro-Zuma protest is planned for Tuesday.

Anita Powell, VOA news, Johannesburg.

The United Nations says it is looking into reports that insurgents have massacred dozens of people, mostly civilians, in northern Afghanistan in recent days.

Local officials say the incident took place Saturday after the Taliban attacked and overran Mirza Olang village in the province of Sar-e Pul.

The provincial governor accused the Islamist insurgency of torching houses of civilians and killing more than 40 people, including women and children.

The Australian navy says it has found the missing American aircraft that crashed into the sea Saturday off Australia's east coast.

Three American Marines are presumed to have died in the crash.

And war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte says she is resigning from the Commission of Inquiry on Syria because of a lack of support from the U.N. Security Council.

She'd been a member of the commission for five years.

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 in Washington.

That's the latest world news from VOA.