August 16, 2020

This is VOA news. Reporting by remote, I'm David Byrd.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he would move next week to trigger a "snapback" of sanctions on Iran at the United Nations.

The president made the statement one day after the Security Council rejected a U.S. bid to extend a U.N. arms embargo on Iran.

"Well we knew what the vote was going to be but we'll be doing a snapback, you'll be watching it next week. Yeah, you'll be watching it next week."

The United States has threatened to trigger a return of all U.N. sanctions against Iran using a provision in a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers, known as a snapback, even though Trump abandoned the accord in 2018. Diplomats have said the United States would face a tough, messy battle in any such move.

Trump also said that he would "probably not" participate in a five plus one summit with Iran proposed by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Putin called Friday for an online summit of the leaders of the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany and Iran over a possible extension of the international embargo on arms sales in Tehran.

The United States and Poland signed a recently negotiated Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement Saturday in Warsaw. AP's Ben Thomas reports.

At a joint news conference in Warsaw, Poland's Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said through an interpreter as the U.S. draws down its forces in Germany and makes sense to move some of those troops to Poland.

"... because we are closer to the potential source of conflict."

The deal allows U.S. forces to access additional Polish military installations to enhance and modernize existing capabilities.

Pompeo says while troop levels still matter, the world does move on.

"Space, cyber, all the disinformation .... And this defense cooperation agreement we signed will give us the capacity to work on each of these problems ...."

I'm Ben Thomas.

This is VOA news.

Thousands protested outside the Belarusian state television center on Saturday, calling for full and fair coverage of demonstrations against President Alexander Lukashenko's disputed poll victory and police violence.

At least 3,000 people gathered outside the Minsk building housing state channels, complaining that their broadcasts have backed Lukashenko and given a skewed picture of the protests.

Around 100 staff came out of the building to join the demonstrators and said they planned a strike on Monday.

Lukashenko made a comment several hours after a phone call with Putin and after protesters again demanded that he resign.

(Thousands of demonstrators) rallied at the spot where a protester died in clashes with police earlier this week.

It was the seventh consecutive day of large protests against the result of the August 9 presidential election in which election officials say that Lukashenko won a sixth term in office.

Police in Paris are cracking down on those who are not wearing face masks in public. AP's Zaria Shaklee has details.

With cases in Paris rising particularly fast, police can now shut down cafés or any gathering of more than 10 people where distancing and other hygiene measures aren't respected.

Masks are currently required outdoors in hundreds of French towns, but rules vary widely.

France recorded more than 2,800 new cases on Friday, up from a few hundred daily cases a month ago. However, the number of virus patients in French hospitals and intensive care units has not risen so far.

I'm Zaria Shaklee.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech Saturday, said the South Asian nation has three COVID-19 trials underway.

Speaking at Delhi's historic 17th century Red Fort, Modi said India is ready to mass-produce the vaccines when the scientists give the OK.

In addition, the prime minister announced the launching of a National Digital Health Mission that creates a health ID for each of India's more than 1 billion people. It's designed to keep track of every individual's health tests, medications, diagnoses and more.

Japan on Saturday marked the 75th anniversary of its surrender in World War II, with Emperor Naruhito expressing deep remorse over his country's wartime actions at a somber annual ceremony curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Naruhito pledged to reflect on the war's events and expressed hope that the tragedy would never be repeated.

For more, visit voanews.com. Reporting by remote, I'm David Byrd.