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Voice of America

Voice of America is an international news and broadcast organization serving Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia, the Middle East and Balkan countries
  • US Won't Hesitate to Impose Sanctions Over Fuel to N. Korea
    The U.S. State Department said Saturday that Washington would not wait to impose sanctions on any shippers helping to get fuel to North Korea, in an apparent warning to Russia days after the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations accused Moscow of cheating on the measures. North Korea continues to employ tactics to evade U.N. sanctions, Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement, adding that U.N. member states are required to prohibit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum fuel to the country. "The United States will not hesitate to impose sanctions on any individual, entity or vessel supporting North Korea's illicit activities, regardless of nationality," Nauert said. The 15-member U.N. Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. But the United States and Russia have recently shown cracks in the unity of the council over the sanctions. Washington has "evidence of consistent and wide-ranging Russian violations" of the sanctions, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said Monday. Russia was helping North Korea illegally obtain fuel through transfers at sea, had refused to expel a North Korean whom the Security Council blacklisted last year, and had pushed for changes to an independent U.N. report on sanctions violations to cover up breaches by Russians, she said. Russia blames Haley Russia said after Haley's comments that Moscow had not pressured the authors of the U.N. report, and it blamed Haley for heightening tensions. With the warning on fuel shipments, the Trump administration signaled it was keeping pressure on Pyongyang even after saying there has been progress. President Donald Trump this week hailed a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and said there had been "tremendous progress" with North Korea on several fronts, including Pyongyang's denuclearization. Washington has tracked 148 cases this year of tankers delivering fuel to North Korea in breach of a U.N. cap of 500,000 barrels a year. Haley has not said how many of those transfers may have involved Russia. Both Russia and China have suggested the Security Council discuss easing sanctions after Trump and Kim met in June and Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that the United States was working to set up another summit between Trump and Kim after their unprecedented meeting in Singapore, but that there was still work to do.
  • Hundreds Mark Hurricane Anniversary Near Trump Resort
    Dozens of vehicles slowly approached President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Saturday afternoon, blasting reggaeton and salsa as they drove by. They honked their horns and waved Puerto Rican flags draped from their car windows and trunks. They were on their way to a rally a few miles away to mark the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria. Despite the scorching hot sun, hundreds of activists showed up at the Meyer Amphitheater in West Palm Beach. Buses full of protesters came from as far as Miami and Orlando. The crowd was lively. People spread out on the grass and walked around carrying posters that read “Respeta Mi Gente” (Respect My People) and “Justice for Puerto Rico.” To one side of the stage, a giant blowup balloon of Trump depicted as a baby had been inflated. Crowds waited in line to take photographs in which they gave the orange balloon the middle finger. Message: vote Event organizers encouraged those in attendance to vote in the midterm elections in November. Anyone with a microphone was constantly telling people to vote, to register to vote, and to spread awareness about voting. “We’re honoring the lives that were lost,” said Marcos Vilar, the president and executive director of Alianza for Progress, one of the event organizers. “We are recognizing all the people that were displaced and are living here in South Florida, central Florida and throughout the state.” Vilar believes that although Puerto Ricans are citizens, the current administration’s response to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria has proved that Puerto Ricans are not treated equally. Nearly 3,000 people have died as a result of Hurricane Maria, according to a study conducted by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. The president has repeatedly rebuked the death toll. Last week he tweeted that researchers had inflated the numbers “like magic” saying the amount was “FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER -NO WAY!” Trump was not at Mar-a-Lago during the event. ​Florida politics Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who was in attendance, called the current situation in Puerto Rico “inexcusable” and characterized Trump’s comments as offensive. “How much more insults do (Puerto Ricans) have to take after being treated like they have?” he asked. He also criticized the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s relief efforts, saying that their treatment of Puerto Ricans has been “cold-hearted” and that the agency must do more to provide displaced people with temporary housing assistance. Nelson is locked in a tight re-election race with Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who must leave office because of term limits. The large Puerto Rican vote in Florida is seen as a crucial bloc in the state. Scott has visited Puerto Rico numerous times since the hurricane. ​Devastating storm Dayavet Velez, 17, said that her home in Adjuntas, a small municipality tucked away in the mountains of central Puerto Rico, had been destroyed by Hurricane Maria. She and her family have been living in central Florida for nearly a year. “We came here because we lost everything there,” she said. Velez said that when Trump visited Puerto Rico, he didn’t see the full devastation that Maria had caused, he saw only a distorted reality. He didn’t visit the areas that were most affected by the storm. Despite the hardships she and her family have faced, the high school senior remains hopeful. “We’re not going to be torn down,” she said. “We’re going to stand up for ourselves... we’re going to be strong... we’re going to progress here.”
  • Arizona Congressman Blasts Siblings Who Endorsed Opponent
    Six siblings of U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar have urged voters to cast their ballots against the Arizona Republican in November in an unusual political ad sponsored by the rival candidate. The television ad from Democrat David Brill combines video interviews with Gosar-family siblings who ask voters to usher Paul Gosar out of office because he has broken with the family’s values. They do not elaborate. They previously condemned the congressman’s false accusation in 2017 that wealthy Democratic donor George Soros was a Nazi collaborator in World War II. “It’s intervention time,” Tim Gosar says in the ad, endorsing Brill. “And intervention time means that you go to vote, and you go to vote Paul out.” Gosar is a fourth-term congressman for a sprawling district in northwestern and central Arizona.  Congressman: 'Stalin would be proud' He fired back at his brothers and sisters in a series of twitter posts, calling them disgruntled supporters of Hillary Clinton from out of state who put ideology before family. “My siblings who chose to film ads against me are all liberal Democrats who hate President Trump,” Gosar said. “Stalin would be proud.” In a separate video segment, the siblings urge voters to hold the congressman accountable on health care, employment and environmental issues.   Paul Gosar’s comments about Soros came in a television interview with Vice News in which he also suggested a 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, might have been a liberal conspiracy. Why siblings are speaking out In the new ad, the congressman’s siblings describe their decision to speak out as saddening, horrible and ultimately a matter of pride for the family from Wyoming.   “I think my brother has traded a lot of the values we had at our kitchen table,” says Joan Gosar, an engineer.   Pete Gosar, another sibling who ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for governor of Wyoming in 2014, doesn’t appear in the ad, though he has publicly criticized his brother’s views in the past. Wisconsin feud The rift in the Gosar clan is not the only sibling feud to wend its way into campaigning this year for Congress, as Democrats seek to retake majority control of the House and Senate from Republicans. In the race to replace House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Democratic congressional candidate Randy Bryce is confronting an ad in which his brother endorses the Republican candidate. That upset Nancy Bryce, their mother, who has denounced the campaign ad in a letter recently made public.