VOA NEWS

December 9, 2018

This VOA news. I'm David Byrd in Washington.



President Donald Trump continued to change his staff on Saturday announcing the imminent departure of White House chief of staff John Kelly.

Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn, Trump said Kelly would be leaving by the end of the year after serving nearly two years first as Homeland Security secretary and then chief of staff.

"I'll be announcing that over the next day or two, but John will be leaving at the end of the year.

"He's been with me almost two years now, as you know, between two positions."

Kelly had been credited with imposing order on a chaotic West Wing after taking the chief of staff's job in 2017. But his strong management style also alienated some of the president's allies and he grew increasingly isolated and had an increasingly diminished role.

Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, is reported to be Trump's pick to replace Kelly.



The announcement about General Kelly was the latest in a series of changes in the top of the Trump administration.

As AP's Ben Thomas reports, the president has tapped Army General Mark Milley to replace Marine General Joseph Dunford as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Milley is a battle-hardened commander having led troops during several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He serves as the Army's chief of staffs for the last three years, during which time he oversaw the move of women into frontline infantry in combat positions.

In February, 2016, Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee the Army's new standards for armor and infantry would be gender neutral.

"... those are measured against one thing, neither male nor female. They are measured against the requirements of combat."

Milley is known as charismatic, outgoing and unafraid to offer blunt assessments to Congress.

Last year, he scolded the House Armed Services Committee for its inability to approve a defense budget, calling that "professional malpractice."

Ben Thomas, Washington.



For more on these stories and the rest of the day's news, visit our website. This is VOA news.



French authorities deployed nearly 90,000 police across the country, detained hundreds of people and closed major landmarks and museums out of precaution as a fourth week of so-called yellow vest protests took place across the country.

Lisa Bryant has more from Paris.

It's been another tumultuous Saturday here in Paris. Some of the streets around the Champs-Élysées, which Parisians like to call the world's most beautiful avenue, were a battle ground between so-called yellow vest protesters and police.

Protesters spread out to other parts of the city, setting cars, garbage cans and barricades on fire. Police responded with water cannons and tear gas and drove armored vehicles through the city streets.

The yellow vest I talked to said they wanted to protest peacefully. Their demands varied - a higher minimum wage, lower taxes, more equality. It's hard to see how the story will end.

In Paris, I'm Lisa Bryant, for VOA.

Meanwhile, Belgian police detained more than 400 people after yellow vest protesters inspired by the riots in France threw rocks and fire crackers and damaged shops and cars as they tried to reach official buildings in Brussels.



A stampede at a rock concert ended with five teenagers and a woman dead.

As AP's ??? reports 59 other people were injured.

Many of the wounded were being treated in Ancona's main hospital. The bodies of the six people who died were also brought to the same hospital.

Doctors said the most critically injured all aged between 14 and 20 had suffered cranial and chest traumas, while others suffered injuries to limbs.

The incident took place in Corinaldo, a city on the Adriatic coast, at a rock concert in an overcrowded disco.

Rapper Sfera Ebbasta, who's very popular with young teenagers, was set to perform at the venue and organizers had apparently sold too many tickets.

I'm ???.



China has called on Canada to release the chief financial officer of the tech giant Huawei, or face serious consequences.

China's Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Canada's ambassador in Beijing and demanded the release of Meng Wanzhou, who is in a Canadian jail awaiting the result of an extradition hearing.

The United States says that Meng covered up her company's dealings with Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.



The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization, UNICEF and the World Food Program say as many as 20 million Yemenis are food insecure because of the war that has ravaged that country.

In a joint statement issued Saturday by the WFP and UNICEF, the organizations said the conflict has contributed to the world's worst humanitarian crisis.



For more on these stories, be sure to visit our website voanews.com. I'm David Byrd, VOA new.