January 11, 2019

VOA news. I'm Christopher Cruise reporting.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Egyptian leaders on Thursday that the United States is pulling out of Syria but remains steadfast in its determination to fight terrorism. In his speech, Pompeo maintained that the U.S. was a "force of good in the region," and "never set out to occupy anyone," unlike Iran.

Correspondent Edward Yeranian reports for VOA from Cairo that Pompeo had harsh words in his speech for former President Barack Obama.

During his speech at the American University of Cairo, Pompeo criticized Obama for standing by and taking little or no action as revolutions convulsed the Arab world and the Iranian government repressed popular protests.

"What did we learn from all of this? We learned that when America retreats, chaos often follows. When we neglect our friends, resentment builds. And when we partner with our enemies, they advance. The good news, the good news is this: the age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering."

Election officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo have sparked surprise and outrage by naming opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the nation's presidential elections after counting delays and a poll marred by irregularities, rampant suspicions and chaos.

The head of the Independent National Election Commission said early Thursday that Tshisekedi had won with more than 7 million votes or 38.5 percent of the votes.

But the man predicted to win by pre-election surveys - the political newcomer and opposition coalition candidate Martin Fayulu - immediately cried foul.

This is VOA news.

Doctors in Zimbabwe have ended a 40-day strike they called to demand better pay and working conditions. The government says the strike resulted in patients "unnecessarily" suffering and some dying.

But patients and health workers were glad to see doctors back on the job Thursday.

Correspondent Columbus Mavhunga reports for VOA from Harare.

Patients began returning to Zimbabwe's largest treatment center after word spread that doctors had called off their 40-day strike on Thursday.

Zimbabwe's doctors went on strike December 1, demanding better equipment and medicine for hospitals and to be paid in U.S. dollars instead of Zimbabwe's currency, the depreciating "bond notes."

Health officials met with doctors and patients at major hospitals and showed reporters medical equipment and medicines provided by the government.

President Trump issued a threat Thursday before he headed to the southern border.

Associated Press Washington correspondent Sagar Meghani reports.

The president has said he has the right to declare a national emergency at the border, which would let him circumvent Congress and get funds for a border wall. Democrats are refusing to pay for it.

As he left for Texas, the president said he'd rather walk out of a deal with them, but if that doesn't happen, he will declare an emergency.

"Probably I will do, I will almost say definitely."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the GOP would likely take issue.

"I think he's going to have to answer to his own party on usurping that much power."

More than 800,000 federal workers will not be paid tomorrow as scheduled as the partial government shutdown approaches its third week.

In his successful run for the presidency in 2016, Trump often called for construction of a concrete wall and said Mexico would pay for it. But with Mexico refusing, Trump has unsuccessfully sought congressional approval for U.S. taxpayer funding of the barrier, which he now says will be steel slats.

Australia's foreign minister says the government is in the process of considering the case of a young Saudi woman who fled from her family to Thailand out of fear for life.

Marise Payne discussed the situation involving Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun with reporters Thursday in Bangkok, where she met with Thai officials on a previously scheduled trip.

The U.N. refugee agency has asked Australia to take in the 18-year-old woman after declaring her a refugee.

Payne said officials are now taking the required steps in assessing the case before they make a final decision.

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.