January 2, 2019

VOA news. I'm Christopher Cruise reporting.

No comments so far from the U.S. government on the arrest by Russia's security service of a 48-year-old American man, Paul Whelan. He is a retired U.S. Marine.

Russia says it detained him for spying.

Associated Press correspondent Lynn Berry says his family reports he was in Moscow for a wedding.

Paul Whelan's brother says at the morning of his arrest, he had taken a group of wedding guests on a tour of the Kremlin museums and he had been in touch by texts throughout the afternoon. But the last time anyone heard from him was at about 5 p.m. and then he failed to show up that evening for the wedding and this was quite alarming.

On Twitter, David Whelan said his brother's innocence is undoubted and he trusts his rights will be respected.

Right-wing nationalist Jair Bolsonaro has been sworn in as president of Brazil with promises to tackle corruption, crime and a failing economy.

He is a former army captain. He's been called Brazil's Donald Trump.

He was sworn into office in Brasilia on Tuesday.

Trump congratulated Bolsonaro on Twitter, telling him "The U.S.A. is with you."

The Brazilian leader replied also on Twitter, "..., under God's protection, we shall bring prosperity and progress to our people!"

Bolsonaro is the latest in a string of far-right leaders around the world who have arisen to power on anti-establishment anger.

Officials in Pakistan said Tuesday that at least four security forces were killed when a group of heavily armed militants assaulted a paramilitary training center in southwestern Baluchistan province.

The Pakistani military's media wing said that "terrorists" attempted to storm the residential and administrative blocks of the Frontier Corps facility in the remote town of Loralai but security guards blocked them.

This is VOA news.

The Taliban has killed more than 20 pro-government forces and captured several security outposts in northern Afghanistan. The insurgents staged the deadly offensive to try to take control of oil fields in Sayyad district in Sar-e-Pol province.

A local government spokesman told VOA on Tuesday that Afghan security forces, including police and intelligence operatives, repulsed Monday night's attack by the Taliban.

The Somali military has executed six al-Shabab militants without a trial, according to officials and rights activists. The militants were executed Sunday by firing squad in the town of Bardhere, about 300 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu.

The partial U.S. government shutdown is in its 11th day at the dawn of 2019, with lawmakers and President Trump still at odds over his demand for money to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Associated Press correspondent Ed Donahue reports.

The president's video message on New Year's Day, "It's going to be a great year, complicated but great. People make it overly complicated actually."

The complication the president talked about is the debate over border security. "We have to have a wall as part of border security and we're working on it."

We're now a week and a half into a partial government shutdown. House Democrats released their plan to reopen the government without approving money for President Trump's border wall.

This morning, the president tweeted "The problem is, without a Wall there can be no real Border Security."

The president also tweeted a happy New Year's message to everyone "including the haters and the fake news media."

Later in the day on Tuesday, Trump invited top congressional leaders both Republicans and Democrats to the White House on Wednesday for a briefing on border security. But it's unclear whether that could lead to breaking the stalemate over his wall proposal.

A man in his 20s is in jail after police in Tokyo said he deliberately drove his car into a crowd celebrating the New Year, injuring at least eight people. They charged the man with attempted murder.

The incident happened shortly after midnight Tuesday in the city's popular Harajuku fashion district.

And British police say the stabbing of three people on New Year's Eve in Manchester might have been an active terrorism. A suspect, whose identity hasn't been disclosed, has been detained on suspicion of attempted murder but he is not been charged.

Police said earlier Tuesday the investigation of the stabbing at Manchester's Victoria train station was being conducted by counterterrorist experts and they were unsure if the stabbings were the work of terrorists.

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.