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VOA news 2019-07-05

This is VOA news. I’m Marissa Melton.

The United States today marks its birth as a nation.

President Trump has added a new feature such as a show of military equipment and a presidential speech at the Lincoln Memorial. He is billing it as a salute to America and “the show of a lifetime.”

On the cost of the show, the president says it will be “very little compared to what it’s worth.”

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence attended the swearing-in of 44 new citizens of the United States.

AP’s Rita Foley has more.

“I’ve pledged allegiance to the flag.”

The 44 new Americans are from 26 nations.

“There’s an electrician among you. A banker. There’s a college counselor, an IT engineer, …”

Vice President Pence greeted the new citizens at the National Archives in Washington, home to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

“You followed the law. You went through the process to immigrate into this great nation.”

The Trump administration has featured a hardline immigration policy, which the president says is meant to keep the country safe.

Rita Foley, Washington.

Three days after the United States and the North Korean leaders held the historic third meeting, North Korea’s U.N. Mission accused the administration of talking about dialogue but being “more and more hell-bent” on hostile acts.

AP correspondent Karen Chammas.

A press statement from the mission pointed a finger at U.S. efforts to exert what it called “overt pressure” and have the world’s nations implement U.N. sanctions.

The United States and 23 other countries accused the DPRK of violating U.N. sanctions by importing far more than the annual limit of 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products, which are key for its economy.

North Korea’s U.N. Mission said the United States and others sent a joint letter to all U.N. member states on the same day that President Trump proposed a North Korea-U.S. summit meeting “calling for repatriation of DPRK workers abroad.”

I’m Karen Chammas.

This is VOA news.

Police in the British territory of Gibraltar have seized an Iranian oil tanker suspected of carrying crude oil to Syria, violating European Union sanctions.

This is the first time an EU nation has taken such a bold move to keep sanctions intact.

Gibraltar authorities, aided by British Royal Marines, intercepted and impounded the Grace 1 early Thursday in Mediterranean waters.

The most powerful earthquake to hit Southern California in 20 years has made this Independence Day a day to remember.

At the epicenter of the quake Ridgecrest, California, gas lines are broken and at least five fires were started. No casualties have been reported.

The 6.6 magnitude quake was felt as far away as Los Angeles to the west and Las Vegas to the east.

It was followed by at least 159 aftershocks.

U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones called the earthquake robust and said there is a 50 percent chance of another strong quake in the next week.

The only Republican in Congress to call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment has left the party.

AP correspondent Tim McGuire reports.

Michigan Congressman Justin Amash drew sharp criticism from fellow Republicans when he said he favored impeaching President Trump so much so that in an op-ed he wrote for The Washington Post, he announced he is leaving the party amid what he calls a frightening hyper-partisan environment.

Amash tells WOOD “I’ve been involved in party politics for a while and I believe very strongly that it’s hurting our country.”

The libertarian leading congressman is now an independent.

President Trump in a twee called Amash “a total loser” and his leaving is “Great news for the Republican Party.”

I’m Tim McGuire.

There is confusion over U.S. census forms that need to be printed and mailed out.

The Trump administration insists the forms must include the question: “Are you a citizen?”

AP’s Jackie Quinn.

A top Justice Department official tells a federal judge the White House hasn’t given up on trying to include this citizenship question even though the Census Bureau said it had already begun the process of printing the 2020 census without it.

Assistant Attorney General Joseph Hunt says “there may be an available path” under last week’s high court decision.

President Trump tweeted that they were absolutely moving forward to try to include the question, which created controversy with concerns that non-citizens wouldn’t answer, skewing the census results.

Jackie Quinn, Washington.

An Australian student held in North Korea for more than a week has been released.

Twenty-nine-year-old Alek Sigley, who was working and studying in Pyongyang, arrived in Beijing this morning on his way to Tokyo, where he is expected to be reunited with his Japanese wife.

I’m Marissa Melton. You’re listening to VOA news.

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