VOA NEWS March 19, 2018

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VOA NEWS
March 19, 2018

From Washington, this is VOA news. I’m Jonathan Jones reporting.

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Early results and exit polls in Russia say President Vladimir Putin has won a fourth term in office, winning more than 75 percent of the vote.

Opinion polls showed he had far more support than any of his rivals, who ran the gamut from far-right populist to far-left Communist.

Putin has now been in a position of leadership for 18 years.

He addressed thousands near the Kremlin late Sunday, hailing those who voted for him and adding that “we are bound for success.”

Syrian Kurds are threatening a new stepped-up guerrilla war after Turkish forces and their Syrian allies took control of the northern Syrian town of Afrin, a Kurdish enclave.

Top Syrian Kurd official Othman Sheikh Issa said, “Our forces all over Afrin will become a constant nightmare for them. These forces will strike the positions of the Turkish enemy and its mercenaries at every opportunity.”

Turkish and Syrian allies raised flags in central Afrin early Sunday, declaring they are in full control of the town after meeting no resistance from the People’s Defense Units, the Kurdish militia.

China’s ceremonial legislature voted Sunday to approve Li Keqiang’s appointment as the country’s secondary leader of the ruling Communist party.

The Chinese premier traditionally serves as the country’s top economic official, but President Xi Jinping has stripped the post of its most prominent duties by appointing himself to lead bodies that oversee economic reform and state industry.

This is VOA news.

South Korean media are reporting a senior North Korean diplomat is in Finland to meet with former American diplomats. This week, a North Korean delegation wrapped up three days of talks with Swedish diplomats that could lead to a meeting between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Olof Skoog is Sweden’s ambassador to the U.N. “The security situation on the peninsula is one of the most pressing issues on the world agenda right now, and if Sweden can play a part in de-escalation there, [we’re] this is what we’re trying to do.”

Armed separatists in Cameroon have abducted 40 people, including a government official. The abductions occurred as President Paul Biya dispatched a minister to the troubled English-speaking regions on a peace building mission.

Correspondent Moki Edwin Kindzeka reports from Yaoundé.

Cameroon businessman Angelbert Etoga has returned to his home town, Yaoundé, 24 hours after he was abducted and released by armed separatist groups.

He says he and about 36 others were on a bus traveling to Lebialem in southwestern Cameroon to attend a political rally when armed men attacked and seized the vehicle.

Etoga says they were detained for several hours and some were asked to leave after being told they had to respect the territorial integrity of the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, which the kidnappers said was now a state called Ambazonia.

Etoga says it is very possible there is some cooperation among some of the population, traditional rulers, and separatist groups. He says he is very certain that many people are adhering to separatist ideologies.

Moki Edwin Kindzeka, for VOA news, Yaoundé, Cameroon.

President Trump is assailing special counsel Robert Mueller, accusing him of political bias in his investigation of Trump’s 2016 election campaign links to Russia and whether the president obstructed justice in trying to thwart the probe.

Trump ignored noting that at least [one] at one point Mueller was a registered Republican voter and is generally viewed in Washington as an apolitical prosecutor, whose investigation of the Trump campaign is supported by Democrats and key Republicans.

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. From the world headquarters of the Voice of America in Washington, I’m Jonathan Jones, VOA news.

That’s the latest world news from VOA.

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