October 31, 2018

VOA news. I'm Christopher Cruise reporting.

President Trump and his wife Melania visited the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday where a gunman massacred 11 worshippers on Saturday.

Trump shook hands with the synagogue's Rabbi Jeffrey Myers and the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer.

A large crowd of protesters who do not believe the president's visit was appearance marched nearby.

Top congressional leaders from both political parties declined invitations from Trump to join him in visiting, while the family of one of the victims declined to meet with the president.

Associated Press Washington correspondent Sagar Meghani reports.

One man who hid in a closet during the synagogue shooting says the president's visit is aimed at stirring up his base. A woman who lives nearby says the president's giving cover to anti-Semites through his rhetoric.

Spokeswoman Sarah sanders says that's just not true. "The president has denounced racism, hatred and bigotry in all forms on a number of occasions."

Sanders choked up yesterday while pointing out the president has Jewish grandchildren. She says he and the first lady want to show the administration's support for the Jewish community.

Pittsburgh's Democratic mayor, though, says he should not visit while the first victims are being buried today.

President Trump says he wants to deny citizenship to babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants who were born in the U.S.

Such an order would likely face legal challenges.

Myanmar and Bangladesh have agreed to the return of Rohingya refugees.

More than 720,000 of Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya minority fled Rakhine State last August after Rohingya militant attacks prompted a military crackdown by the government.

The refugees have been warned by the U.N. that genocide was being committed against them.

This is VOA news.

Indonesian authorities held out little hope for survivors from Monday's crash of a Lion Air Boeing 737. It vanished from radar shortly after takeoff from Jakarta.

The pilot tried to return to the airport before the plane plunged into the Java Sea.

One hundred eighty-nine people were on board the plane.

The notorious gangster James "Whitey" Bulger has died shortly after arriving at a prison in the eastern state West Virginia.

Associated Press correspondent Ed Donahue reports.

Bulger ruled South Boston. "... people, you know, grown up like Whitey is cool."

But Tommy Donahue had a different view. "He's a scumbag. Actually he's what he is. He's a mass murderer and he's a destroyer of families."

Bulger is alleged to have killed Donahue's father.

"Whitey" Bulger led the mob in South Boston and also became an FBI informant. He was on the run since 1994 but was apprehended 16 years later.

Sean McGonagle recalled at Bulger's sentencing a call he received when he was 12 years old. "He just called my house on Christmas time and said he does not come home and I asked who it was and he said he was Santa Claus."

"Whitey" Bulger had just been transferred to the West Virginia prison and a medical examiner declared him dead shortly after his arrival.

Bulger was 89. He was serving a life sentence after being convicted in 2013 of 11 murders.

The death toll from flooding and gale-force winds battering Italy and much of Europe has risen now to 11.

Associated Press correspondent Charles De Ledesma reports.

The Italian news agency ANSA says the deaths included a woman who was buried by mud when a landslide invaded her home and a firefighter who was struck by a tree while responding to an emergency.

While in the canal city of Venice, high winds on Monday created an exceptional tide and rising flood waters overwhelmed many of its squares and walkways, covering three quarters of the city for the first time in a decade.

Venice's central Saint Mark Square was closed Monday afternoon, with the fourth highest water level ever recorded.

The Vatican will not oppose the exhumation of the remains of the late Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and their removal from a large mausoleum outside Madrid.

Correspondent Sabina Castelfranco reports for VOA from Rome.

Since assuming power this year, the Spanish socialist government has driven the push to exhume the remains of the late military dictator, which have been buried in the Valley of the Fallen near Madrid since his death in 1975. It has now obtained the assurances from the Vatican that the Catholic Church's leadership will not oppose the move, which has been highly controversial in Spain.

The mausoleum holds the remains of about 34,000 people who fought on both sides of the Spanish Civil War.

You can find more on these and other late breaking and developing stories, from around the world, around the clock, at voanews.com and on the VOA news mobile app. I'm Christopher Cruise, VOA news.