VOA NEWS

December 18, 2018

VOA news. I'm Christopher Cruise reporting.



Another day of big losses knocked U.S. stocks to their lowest levels in more than a year on Monday. Investors dumped high-growth technology and retail companies as well as steadier, high-dividend companies. Oil fell below $50 a barrel for the first time since October, 2017.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 507 points. That followed a 496-point drop Friday. Fewer than 40 of the 500 stocks in the S&P 500 finished the day higher.



A Senate report due to be released today says the Russian interference operation discovered after the 2017 election was much bigger than originally thought.

Associated Press Washington correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from the White House.

The report says there are still "active and ongoing" Russian interference operations on social media platforms.

Private researchers used data provided by Facebook, Twitter and Google's parent company in compiling the report.

Combined with another report, it's the first comprehensive look at Russian interference on social media beyond what the companies have said.

Today's report says there are still live accounts tied to a Research agency that was named in the special counsel indictment for a social media operation aimed at influencing the 2016 race.



The U.N. General Assembly on Monday voted nearly unanimously to adopt a framework to strengthen the international response to the global refugee crisis.

The United States and Hungary were the only two nations to vote against the Global Compact on Refugees. One hundred eighty-one countries voted in favor. The Dominican Republic, Eritrea and Libya abstained.

Over the past 18 months, states have been negotiating the non-binding document.



This is VOA news.



Pakistan-organized peace talks involving U.S. and Taliban officials took place in the United Arab Emirates on Monday.

The special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation led the U.S. team in talks that included representatives from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and the host country, Taliban and Pakistani officials confirming the news to VOA.



The White House is denying Turkey's claim that President Trump is thinking about extraditing the wanted Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gülen, to Turkey.

A senior White House official said Sunday that while meeting with the Turkish president, Erdoğan, at the G-20's economic summit in Buenos Aires, the president did not commit to extraditing Fethullah Gülen.



The United States is accusing two former business associates of one-time Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn of illegally carrying out a Turkish lobbying campaign in the United States.

The two men, one an American, the other a Turk, were charged with conspiring to violate U.S. lobbying laws.



Human Rights Watch and the Kenya National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders are alleging that Kenyan authorities have harassed and abused environmental activists protesting the development of a new coal plant.

Correspondent Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA from Nairobi.

Kenyan officials say the plant will help meet the country's growing demand for electric power.

The country's environmental agency has accepted the plans, saying all environmental concerns were considered.

Critics, however, believe such a project will pollute the environment and damage the marine ecosystem.

Human Rights Watch has documented actions against 34 campaigners during the past five months. The group also accuses Kenyan security agencies of breaking up protests and restricting public meetings in Lamu County.



Prime Minister Theresa May says the postponed vote in Parliament on Britain's Brexit agreement will be held the week of January, 14.

May, who is trying to prevent the economic damage of a messy exit from the EU on March 29 with no agreement in place, struggled to convince lawmakers to vote for her unpopular divorce deal in January.

"I know, I know this is not everyone's perfect deal. It is a compromise. But if we let the perfect be the enemy of the good, then we risk leaving the EU with no deal."

A great number of politicians from across the political spectrum believe a new referendum may be the only way to break the political logjam over Brexit.

But May told lawmakers that staging another referendum would not be democratic.

"Another vote which would do irreparable damage to the integrity of our politics ...."

Associated Press correspondent Karen Chammas.



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.