August 3, 2020

This is VOA news. Via remote, I'm Marissa Melton.

The White House and top congressional Democrats remained at odds on Sunday over the scope of more assistance for 30 million American workers left unemployed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on ABC's "This Week" news show on Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin disagreed on how much new aid the national government should approve to supplement state [employment] unemployment benefits. Four months of extra national benefits expired on Friday.

Pelosi said, "this is about keeping people out of poverty." She called the weekly $600 of federal assistance for unemployed workers "essential."

Mnuchin said "some people were being [made to] being paid more to stay home than to work," and said the continuing benefits "should be tied to some percentage of wages."

Pelosi and other Democrats want to extend the payments through the end of 2020. The White House and some [we...] Republicans want to cut the aid payments by two-thirds while working on a plan to pay workers 70 percent of their former earnings.

Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on the size of an overall coronavirus assistance package. Democrats are calling for $3 trillion in new spending and Republicans want to limit it to 1 trillion.

Reuters is reporting that attackers suspected to be members of the Islamist group, [Boko] Boko Haram, have killed at least 13 people and wounded eight others in a grenade attack in northern Cameroon on Sunday. That's according to a local official and a security source.

The unidentified assailants threw a grenade into a group of people inside a camp for displaced people in the commune of Mozogo near the Nigerian border in the Far North region.

[Boko] Boko Haram has been fighting for a decade to carve out an Islamic caliphate based in Nigeria. The violence has cost lives of 30,000 people and spilled over into the neighboring countries.

From Washington, this is VOA news.

An attack on a jail compound in the Afghan city of Jalalabad killed at least three people and injured dozens, triggering heavy fighting in which scores of prisoners escaped, according to an official. Islamic State [has re...] has claimed responsibility for the attack.

A provincial council member said a huge car bomb explosion was followed by at least two smaller blasts outside the government-run prison. The source added that the police then fought attackers who had taken up positions nearby.

Islamic State's Amaq news agency quoted a military source as saying its fighters had carried out Sunday's attack but gave no further details. There was no independent confirmation that the militant group was responsible.

At least three people were reported dead and 25 injured in the clashes. More than 50 prisoners are believed to have escaped.

The assault happened on the third and final day of a cease-fire between the Afghan government and the Taliban, when hundreds of Taliban prisoners were released in an attempt to make a final push for intra-Afghan peace talks.

Israeli police used force to disperse protesters gathered outside the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Several thousand demonstrators had been rallying at the square in central [deru...] Jerusalem since Saturday evening.

The Jerusalem protest was one of the largest turnouts since the demonstrations began. The protests are calling for Netanyahu to resign. They have been the largest in Israel since 2011. Smaller gatherings took place in the capital, Tel Aviv, and near Netanyahu's beach house in central Israel.

Eventually, police forcefully cleared the square, carrying away protesters who were refusing to leave. There have been no reports of any arrests.

Many Israelis believe [that prime] the prime minister has mishandled the country's coronavirus crisis. Others say Netanyahu should not remain in office while he is on trial for corruption charges.

Indian police have arrested more than two dozen people in connection with the sale of tainted alcohol that has killed scores of people in the northern state of Punjab.

A senior officer told Reuters that police conducted more than 30 raids on Sunday. The raids began last week when the victims started dying.

Media accounts say more than 80 people have died from the illicit alcohol. However, Police Officer Rohan Lal told the Associated Press that 69 people have died from the bootleg liquor.

Two U.S. [astro...] astronauts splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday after a two-month flight to the International Space Station.

Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley lifted off to space from Florida in May. They were on board the SpaceX spacecraft Crew Dragon.

Via remote, I'm Marissa Melton. You're listening to VOA news.