December 16, 2018

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

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Saturday that his scandal-plagued Interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, will be the latest person to leave his administration at the end of the year.

We get the details on the story from AP's Ben Thomas.

"It's hard to make decisions unless we know what's there."

The secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, has pushed to develop oil, natural gas and coal beneath public lands, here in May, 2017 announcing he'd ordered a new assessment of oil and gas reserves in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

"... but it also gives the green light for industry" in line with the administration's business-friendly aims.

"This is a partnership."

But the former Republican Congressman from Montana has been dogged by ethics probes, including one centered on a Montana land deal involving a foundation he created and the chairman of an energy services company that does business with the Interior Department.

In his resignation letter to the president, Zinke calls the allegations of wrongdoing "meritless," "false" and "politically motivated attacks."

Ben Thomas, Washington.

President Trump is pushing Congress to come up with a replacement for the Affordable Care Act after a Texas judge ruled that Obamacare was unconstitutional. Nevertheless, the act will remain in place for now.

AP's Julie Walker reports.

Now that a Republican appointed federal judge has ruled Obamacare invalid, President Trump says he is going to get the overhaul he's wanted.

"... and on the assumption that the Supreme Court upholds, we will get great, great health care for our people. We'll have to sit down with the Democrats to do it, but I'm sure they want to do it also."

Democrats were united and condemning the judge's ruling and supporters of Obamacare have vowed to take their fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

Republican leader Paul Ryan says the House was not party to the lawsuit and are reviewing the ruling and its impact.

I'm Julie Walker.

For more on these stories, visit our website. This is VOA news.

Officials from around the world have agreed upon a set of rules to govern the 2015 Paris climate accord after two weeks of U.N. climate talks in Poland.

Michal Kurtyka, a Polish official chairing the talks in Katowice, gaveled the deal on Saturday after diplomats and ministers from almost 200 countries approved.

Kurtyka told the delegates that they still have plenty of work to do.

"We will all have to give in order to gain. We will all have to be courageous to look into the future and make yet another step for the sake of humanity."

The U.N. talks were meant to provide firm guidelines for countries on how to transparently report their greenhouse gas emissions and their efforts to reduce them.

President Donald Trump has said the United States, one of the world's biggest emitters, will pull out of the accord. However, the move cannot take effect before November of 2020.

"Yellow vest" protesters were out in force for a fifth weekend of marches in France on Saturday.

As Reuters correspondent Lauren Anthony reports, the marches happened despite President Emmanuel Macron's backtrack over his contested economic policies.

Police battled another wave of discontent with tear gas and water cannon as scuffles broke out in Paris.

Government cuts, tax hikes and the cost of living continue to ignite tensions across the country and topless activists from feminist group, Femen, also joined the protests facing off with security forces just steps away from the Élysées Palace.

But authorities have noticed a drastic drop in turnouts, with around 33,500 protesters counted in France so far, compared to 77,000 around the same time last week.

Government officials and opposition politicians called for protesters to stay off the streets this week after four people were killed in a gun attack at a Christmas market in Strasbourg earlier this week.

Lauren Anthony of Reuters.

Egypt has announced the discovery of a private tomb belonging to a senior official from the 5th dynasty of the pharaohs.

Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said the tomb in Saqqara is in exquisite condition.

"It's a private tomb. It is exceptionally well preserved and colored, with sculpture inside. It belongs to a high official priest who worked during the fifth dynasty."

In recent years, Egypt has heavily promoted new archaeological finds to international media and diplomats in the hope of attracting more visitors to the country.

And the U.S. Africa Command says it killed eight members of the al-Shabab extremist group in an airstrike south of the Somali capital. It happened Saturday near Gandarhse.

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