December 5, 2018

(VOA) news. I'm Christopher Cruise reporting.

Key U.S. senators said Tuesday there was overwhelming evidence that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the killing of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul. They rejected President Trump's claim that the case against Mohammed bin Salman wasn't convincing.

The prominent Republican lawmaker, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said, "There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw," referring to Saudi agents who used saws to cut up the body of the 59-year-old Khashoggi in early October.

"The crown prince is a wrecking ball. I think he's complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi to the highest level possible. I think his behavior before the Khashoggi murder was beyond disturbing. And I cannot see him being a reliable partner to the United States."

Graham called the crown prince "crazy." He said, "Business as usual has come to an end for me."

Ukraine says Russia has begun allowing some ships to enter Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov. It's a possible sign of easing tensions in the area.

A statement Tuesday from Ukraine's infrastructure minister said two ports have been partially unblocked. He said ships are also moving through the Kerch Strait towards Ukrainian ports. The minister said he hoped the ports would be fully unblocked in the coming days.

President Trump met with executives from three top German carmakers at the White House Tuesday as all sides hope to avoid a European trade war.

The White House in a statement said Trump "shared his vision of all automakers producing in the United States and creating a more friendly business environment."

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday the U.S. will withdraw from a milestone Cold War-era nuclear treaty unless Russia returns to compliance.

He told reporters in Brussels after meeting with NATO foreign ministers "We either bury our head in the sand or we take common-sense action."

He also in Brussels questioned the effectiveness of the current world order and said the U.S. is acting to reform global institutions that form the basis of that order.

He spoke to the German Marshall Fund. He said, "After the Cold War ended, we allowed this liberal order to begin to corrode: It failed us, and it failed you."

The French prime minister has announced a suspension of fuel tax and utility increases in an effort to appease a protest movement that plunged Paris into chaos last weekend and the weekend before.

Associated Press correspondent Charles De Ledesma has the story.

Three weeks ago, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe had insisted the government would not change course on its energy policy. It will remain determined to wean French consumers off polluting fossils fuels. But now the government has announced it will suspend the fuel tax rise, which has led to weeks of violent protests.

However, it's unlikely Philippe's announcement will put an end to the road blockades and demonstrations, with more possible protests this weekend in Paris.

The head of the World Food Program is warning that hundreds of thousands of severely malnourished children in Yemen could die if aid workers are unable to reach them with emergency therapeutic feeding programs.

Correspondent Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from Geneva.

While on a visit to Yemen two weeks ago, World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley met scores of skeletal children in an overcrowded hospital in the capital, Sana'a. He says the children he saw had a chance of survival. He also says he worried about the children he did not see, noting they were sent home to die for lack of space to treat them.

Beasley says one child dies every 10 or 11 minutes because of the humanitarian consequences of this brutal war. He says WFP is able to reach about 1 million of the estimated 2 million acutely malnourished children. He says there is no access to the other 1 million children living in mainly Houthi-controlled areas.

The online English dictionary, dictionary.com, has picked "misinformation" as the word of the year. It describes misinformation as "false information that spreads whether or not there is intent to mislead," different from disinformation which it describes as false information that is spread to mislead.

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.