VOA news 2019-04-11

VOA news. I’m Christopher Cruise reporting.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is headed for a fifth term in power. His main rival, Benny Gantz, acknowledged he wouldn’t be able to form a coalition government, following a tight parliament election.

Election results indicated that Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party stood about even with the centrist Blue and White party led by Gantz, a former military chief.

Neither have been able to win a majority of the Knesset on its own. A coalition would be necessary and Likud was in the best position to form one.

AP correspondent Ben Thomas reports.

Despite conceding defeat, former army chief Benny Gantz says his Blue and White party has “founded a true alternative” to the ruling Likud party and its soon to be five-time prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

With 97.4 percent of the vote counted, the two parties were deadlocked with a projected 35 seats apiece in the 120-seat parliament. But political analyst Emmanuel Navon says “that is nearly irrelevant because of the deal of a day you do need a majority in order to form a government.”

And with his coalition partners, Netanyahu has it.

“This government is going to be more or less right-wing than the previous one. It’s physically going to be identical with the same coalition partners.”

I’m Ben Thomas.

The party of exiled former Maldives President Mohamad Nasheed has won the country’s first outright majority in parliament in its democratic history, according to officials results on Wednesday.

Nasheed was in exile until five months ago. He has vowed to use his party’s thumping mandate to usher in a new era of stability and democracy in the Maldives.

President Trump was to sign executive orders Wednesday seeking changes to environmental regulations as part of his desire to increase the country’s energy production.

This is VOA news.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr says he is looking into how the investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 Trump presidential campaign began.

He told a House committee on Wednesday that he wants to make sure proper procedures were followed. President Trump has called it a treason.

AP correspondent Sagar Meghani reports.

Attorney General William Barr suggesting the Trump-Russia investigation may have been mishandled when he is looking into how it started.

“I think there is a spying did occur.”

Barr did not tell a Senate panel just what spying may have happened and later said he wasn’t sure there wasn’t a proper surveillance but wants to make sure proper procedures were followed.

“I feel I have an obligation to make sure that government power was not abused.”

His testimony gives a boost to President Trump, who earlier this morning said the FBI unfairly targeted his campaign.

“It was an illegal investigation.”

Sagar Meghani, Washington

Fighting for control of Libya’s capital escalated Wednesday as the United Nations Security Council prepared to meet to discuss the crisis in the North African country.

Eastern forces led by General Khalifa Hafta clashed with U.N. and government-backed troops on the outskirts of Tripoli, forcing thousands of people to flee.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday called on the United Nations to “stand up for democracy” and recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as that country’s legitimate leader.

Pence said the United States is working on a U.N. resolution to recognize the legitimacy of the government of Guaidó and urged the international community to support it.

The risk of being kidnapped or taken hostage is being added to the travel advisories issued by the State Department.

AP correspondent Shelley Adler reports.

The State Department usually warns travelers about things as crime, civil unrest and the potential for terrorism. But now they added something new, a “K” indicator for the potential to be kidnapped. It’s been issued for 35 countries.

The new designation comes days after the release of a California woman who had been held for a week after being kidnapped by gunmen in a national park in Uganda.

Among the countries making the initial list — Afghanistan, Mexico, Lebanon, Venezuela and Uganda.

Shelley Adler, Washington.

U.S. federal agents have smashed a worldwide medical care scheme that defrauded U.S. taxpayers of more than $1 billion.

The Justice Department said 24 people have been charged, including doctors, telemarketers and the heads of companies that provide back, wrist and knee braces.

The extensive and complex scheme stretched from the U.S. to call centers in the Philippines and across Latin America.

You can find more on these and other late breaking and developing stories, from around the world, around the clock, at and on the VOA news mobile app. I’m Christopher Cruise, VOA news.

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