VOA NEWS

December 15, 2018

David Byrd in Washington.



U.S. President Donald Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen said Friday he believes the president is not being truthful about not knowing about hush money payments made to two women before the 2016 election.

As AP's Sagar Meghani reports, Cohen made the statement in a long television interview on Friday.

Facing three years in federal prison after cooperating with prosecutors, Cohen says he is coming clean.

Telling ABC News's George Stephanopoulos, the president was behind the hush money payments.

Cohen did not give any evidence. The president at first denied even knowing about the payments and then said they were private transactions, not violations of campaign finance law, and denied directing Cohen to break the law.

Cohen says he is "done being loyal" to Trump, who has called him a "liar" that cut a deal to get a shorter prison term and spare his family.

Sagar Meghani, at the White House.



A child in the custody of U.S. Border Patrol agents died after being picked up belong a remote stretch of U.S.-Mexico border.

As AP's Rita Foley reports, the Guatemalan girl was dehydrated when she was found.

The 7-year-old girl from Guatemala was found with her father and dozens of other immigrants near Lordsburg, New Mexico. She suffered seizures, appeared to be in shock and apparently had not had anything to eat or drink in days, according to federal officials. She had a fever of almost 106. U.S. border agents airlifted her to an El Paso, Texas, hospital where she died.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen offered her sympathies and told the Fox News channel's "Fox & Friends" "This is just a very sad example of the dangers of this journey. This family chose to cross illegally."

There's an autopsy to find out exactly what killed the little girl.

I'm Rita Foley.



For more, visit our website voanews.com. This is VOA news.



President Donald Trump has named Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as his acting White House chief of staff.

The president made the announcement on Twitter Friday evening after former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said in a statement that he could not take the job.

The selection process began last week after Trump announced that current chief of staff John Kelly would be leaving by the end of the year.



U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the detention of two Canadian citizens in China is "unlawful" and is calling for them to be released.

China detained the two Canadians this week in an apparently retaliation for the arrest of a top Chinese tech executive in Canada on behalf of the United States.

Speaking Friday at the State Department, Pompeo said Canada's actions against Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou were within its laws and should not affect other negotiations between China and the U.S.

"We have lots of complicated issues going on with China today all around the world and we work on each of those to get good outcomes for the people of the United States of America and respecting the rule of law every step of the way. We'll do that here as well."

Canadian police detained Meng earlier this month in Vancouver on fraud charges and on suspicion of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. She has been freed on bail and is waiting for an extradition hearing.



The U.N. envoy for Yemen is calling for the urgent deployment of U.N. monitors to observe the implementation of a cease-fire in the strategic port city of Hodeidah and the withdrawal of rival forces.

Martin Griffiths told the Security Council Friday that while an agreement was reached this week on the situation in Hodeidah, it is only a "stop gap."

"The temporary ??? governance in Hodeidah intend to set no precedent for the future. They are time bound. They do not confer any new sense of legitimacy or sovereignty."

The four-year-old civil war has brought Yemen to the brink of massive famine.



Johnson & Johnson company is denying a Reuters news report about asbestos in its baby powder.

As AP's Warren Levinson reports, the company's stock helped drive other stock prices lower on Wall Street.

Stock prices skidded 2 percent on Wall Street, with the Standard & Poor's 500 falling to its lowest level in eight months. The Dow Jones Industrials lost 496 points.

Weak economic data from China stoked worries about the health of the world economy. The turmoil over Brexit did not help brighten investors' moods.

Tech companies and the health care issues led the way down. Johnson & Johnson stock fell about 10 percent after a Reuters report that the firm has known since the 1970s its baby powder sometimes contained asbestos.

J & J called the story false and inflammatory.

Warren Levinson, New York.



For more, visit our website voanews.com. I'm David Byrd, VOA news.