VOA news 2019-05-25

This is VOA news. I’m David Byrd.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he will send about 1,500 American troops to the Middle East mostly as a protective measure amid heightened tensions with Iran.

Trump said the deployment involved relatively small number of troops.

“I don’t think Iran wants to fight and I certainly don’t think they wanna fight with us.”

The forces would help strengthen American defenses in the region. Nine hundred would be new troops while the other 600 are already in the area and are having their deployments extended.

Vice Admiral Michael Gilday, who directs the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, says the extra forces are being sent to defend against Iranian threats.

“We continue to see the planning that’s occurring not only with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps forces, but also, as I mentioned, quite troubling with Iranian proxies in Yemen and in Iraq.”

Earlier this month, the United States moved an aircraft carrier battle group, Patriot anti-missile batteries and other forces in response to what it says were imminent threats from Iran.

Meanwhile, President Trump declared a national emergency due to tensions with Iran and used a loophole in an arms control law to approve sales of $22 billion worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan.

The move goes around Congress which normally has to approve such sales and has angered members of both parties on Capitol Hill.

Congress had blocked sales of offensive military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the UAE for months because of the civilian death toll in the Saudi-led coalition war in Yemen and the death of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that allies in the Middle East need the equipment to help deter Iran.

This is VOA news.

President Donald Trump is on his way to Japan for a four-day state visit heavy on ceremony and sports though a senior White House official promised there would be “some substantive things to announce.”

A focus on photo ops rather than deal-making may be intentional on the part of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has forged a close relationship with President Trump.

The president will attend a banquet with the new Japanese emperor, golf with the prime minister and view the ancient sport of sumo – awarding the “Trump Cup” to a champion wrestler.

One of Abe’s goals during their time together in Tokyo is to ensure that Trump is committed to next month’s Group of 20 leaders summit Japan will host in Osaka.

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation Friday, plunging the country into deep political chaos as it tries to negotiate an exit from the European Union.

As Henry Ridgwell reports, the race is on to replace May at the top post.

Theresa May walked out of the prime minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street Friday to waiting cameras and announced her resignation. Her voice cracking, the prime minister struggled to hide her emotions.

“I do so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.”

More than a dozen conservative members of Parliament are expected to put their names forward to replace May. Most are demanding a tougher line with Brussels.

Henry Ridgwell, the VOA news, London.

Theresa May tried her best to hold it together. But in the end it was all too much. Officially, the Prime Minister resigned Friday morning at 10.05am. Those watching her announcement will have realised that it was actually an eviction that had been set in motion many weeks ago

Afghan officials say a bomb blast ripped through a crowded Kabul mosque during Friday prayers, killing a prominent pro-government cleric along with another worshipper.

The Interior Ministry and residents in the Afghan capital reported that Mawlavi Samiullah Rayhan, the slain cleric, was leading the afternoon prayers when the explosion occurred.

As the United States honors its war dead this Memorial Day, one memorial on the Mall in Washington is in need of repairs.

AP’s Ed Donahue has details.

A large crack is visible on the memorial’s Atlantic arch and a smaller crack is seen on the District of Columbia column.

“That’s sad, you know, because this memorial is only 15 years old.”

???Michael Vanhook is one of the many visitors to the memorial.

The National Park Service says it remains structurally sound and there is no threat to the safety of visitors, people like ???Jeff Genteel.

“I have no doubt we will fix this and get it down as we all do here, right? We get things done.”

The World War II Memorial consists of 56 pillars and a pair of arches surrounding the central fountain. Last year, it had more than four million visitors.

Ed Donahue, Washington.

For more, visit our website I’m David Byrd, VOA news.

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