Featured

US Charges N. Korean Man in Sony Hack, Other Attacks

VOA/Masood Farivar prosecutors on Thursday announced charges against a North Korean computer programmer in connection with a series of cyberattacks in recent years, including the 2014 hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment and a 2016 attack on the Bangladesh central bank. Prosecutors identified the hacker as Park Jin Hyok, an alleged member of a hacking team known as the "Lazarus Group." The group is accused of engaging in a "wide-ranging, multi-year conspiracy" to conduct computer intrusions and wire fraud around the world while operating out of North Korea, China and other countries. The charges against Park were filed June 8 in…
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Gordon Fizzles; Hurricane Florence Waits in the Wings

VOA News Tropical Storm Gordon weakened Wednesday into a tropical depression, while forecasters kept their eyes on a strong storm churning in the Atlantic. Gordon never strengthened into a hurricane but still brought misery along the central Gulf Coast. The storm knocked out power, caused floods and spawned several tornadoes. It was responsible for at least one death, when a large piece of a tree fell on a mobile home in Pensacola, Florida, killing a 10-month-old baby. Flash flood watches were out from the Florida Panhandle west to as far north as Illinois as Gordon moved farther inland. Meanwhile, forecasters…
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LPR News

US Releases Aid to Egypt Amid Human Rights Concerns

VOA/Fatiha Belfakir The Trump administration is justifying the release of hundreds of millions of dollars in additional military aid to Egypt, citing the country's progress over the last year in counterterrorism efforts and some improvements in its human rights record. A State Department official told VOA the United States has worked closely with the Egyptian government over the last year to further strengthen bilateral ties in support of common security and counterterrorism goals. "The secretary signed the national security waiver that allows for the obligation of an additional $195 million in FY 2017 Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Egypt, as…
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Politics

Blackwater Guard’s Case Ends in Mistrial

VOA News The retrial of a Blackwater security guard alleged to have participated in a 2007 massacre of unarmed Iraqi civilians ended Wednesday in a hung jury. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth declared a mistrial after the jury said it remained deadlocked after more than two weeks of deliberations in the case of Nicholas A. Slatten. Slatten was accused of firing the first shots of a one-sided firefight on Sept. 16, 2007, in Baghdad's Nisour Square. Armed Blackwater personnel fired machine guns and threw grenades into traffic, killing or injuring 31 people. Since that time, the Justice Department has been…
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Featured

US Top Court Nominee Kavanaugh Defends His Judicial Independence

VOA/Ken Bredemeier WASHINGTON — After spending 12 hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh returns Thursday for another round of questioning as senators decide whether to support his bid to become the ninth member on the nation’s highest court. President Donald Trump, who nominated Kavanaugh in July, says he is pleased with the way the hearings are going so far. During Wednesday’s session, Kavanaugh pledged judicial independence from Trump. ‘An independent judge’​ “I’m an independent judge,” Kavanaugh said when asked by Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch for assurances that, if confirmed to the high court, he would…
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Politics

Trump Demands NYT Turn Over Anonymous White House Critic

VOA/Steve Herman WHITE HOUSE —  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday he is not the source of an anonymous New York Times opinion piece that said any of the Trump administration's accomplishments have come despite President Donald Trump's "petty and ineffective" leadership style. Speaking during a visit to India, Pompeo called the article "sad" and said he finds "the media's efforts in this regard to undermine this administration incredibly disturbing." Vice President Mike Pence also denied writing the opinion piece, via his deputy chief of staff saying Pence's office is "above such amateur acts." The Times said the author is a senior administration…
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LPR News

US Rallies India to Tackle Pressing Security Issues, Curb Iran Oil Imports

VOA/Nike Ching STATE DEPARTMENT — The United States is rallying India to tackle pressing security issues, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo soon to embark on his first trip to New Delhi as the top diplomat. Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will hold high-level talks with India’s foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, and defense minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, September 6, also known as the 2+2 dialogue. “The 2+2 is a major opportunity to enhance our engagement with India on critical diplomatic and security priorities,” said a senior State Department official, adding the dialogue is “a strong indication of the deepening strategic partnership”…
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Politics

Acting US Environmental Chief to Continue Deregulation

VOA News The acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency plans to keep cutting anti-pollution rules and regulations on industry. Andrew Wheeler held his first meeting with EPA employees Wednesday after taking over the job for Scott Pruitt, who resigned last week amid allegations of ethics violations. Wheeler, like Pruitt and President Donald Trump, believes the nation's air and water can still be protected without what they say are job-killing regulations and pollution standards on industry. Wheeler said the EPA would make cleaning up Superfund industrial waste sites and investing in water infrastructure priorities. He promised to listen to all…
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Politics

Partisan Divide Deepens Over Trump’s Supreme Court Pick

Michael Bowman CAPITOL HILL —A partisan divide over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh deepened Wednesday, with Republican senators extolling his judicial record while Democrats demanded time to thoroughly vet his writings and opinions on matters ranging from environmental regulation to executive authority. "Judge Kavanaugh is the real deal," Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said one day after a closed-door meeting with the nominee. "He has the all-star legal resume, top-flight academic credentials. His extensive judicial record is defined by fairness, thoughtfulness, thoroughness and analytical precision." President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh, 53, on Monday, making his second high court…
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LPR News

Founder of Papa John’s Pizza Franchise Resigns Over Racial Slur

VOA News The founder of the popular pizza delivery franchise Papa John's has resigned as chairman of the company's board after a published report he used a racial slur during a conference call. Forbes magazine published a report Wednesday that John Schnatter was participating in a media training session with a marketing agency on how to respond to race-related questions. When asked how he would separate himself from racist groups, Schnatter reportedly used the N-word when he said Colonel Sanders, the founder of the popular Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, never faced any backlash for using the slur. Schnatter admitted to…
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