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VOA news 2020-02-06 (audio+transcript)

This is VOA news. I’m David Byrd.

The Senate has voted to acquit President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial. We get more from AP’s Sagar Meghani at the White House.

On both articles of impeachment, the vote tallies were nowhere near the Constitution’s mandate of two-thirds senators needed to convict.

“… and he is hereby, acquitted of the charges in said articles.”

Chief Justice John Roberts’s closing the trial and ending an extraordinary five months that saw the Democratic-led House impeach the president before the Senate’s GOP majority cleared him.

Some Republicans like Lindsey Graham say it shouldn’t have gotten this far. “This is an injustice to President Trump as a person.”

For number two Senate Democratic Dick Durbin, it’s more GOP cover for a president who seems to enjoy blind loyalty. “… there is nothing, nothing, this president can do or say that rises to the level of blush-worthy, let alone impeachable.

Mitt Romney was the only Republican voting for either of the articles.

Sagar Meghani, at the White House.

In reaction, President Trump’s political campaign tweeted videos, statements and a cartoon dance celebrating that he was vindicated.

At a Women for Trump Rally, Vice President Mike Pence said the Democrats had failed in their attempts to overturn the president’s election.

“Senate Republicans came forward. President’s been acquitted. They’ve had their say. Come November, we’re gonna have our say when we re-elect president Donald Trump for four more years in the White House.”

Trump himself tweeted that he would speak from the White House on Thursday about what he called quote “our country’s victory on the impeachment hoax.”

For more on these stories and the rest of the day’s news, be sure to log on to our website voanews.com. You can also follow us on the VOA mobile app. This is VOA news.

Chinese health authorities said Thursday another 73 people on the mainland died Wednesday from the coronavirus outbreak. That came as the World Health Organization is appealing for $675 million to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. Lisa Schlein reports from Geneva.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the small number of cases in deaths circulating around the world provides a window of opportunity to prevent the coronavirus outbreak from becoming a wider global crisis.

“Our message to the international community is invest today or pay more later.”

Tedros says he understands that people are worried about the evolution of this unknown disease. But he notes this is not a time for fear and panic. He says it is a time for evidence-based action to end this outbreak while there is still time.

Lisa Schlein, for VOA news, Geneva.

At least six anti-government protesters were shot dead and 52 were wounded in clashes with followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in southern Iraq Wednesday.

The clashes took place in the holy city of Najaf, where protesters had been staging a sit-in.

According to activists, al-Sadr’s supporters stormed the sit-in site and torched protest tents. Demonstrators attempted to prevent them from entering, using sticks, and were wounded when shots were fired.

The violence comes as new divisions have emerged among protesters and supporters of al-Sadr.

At least 500 demonstrators have been killed by security forces since anti-government protests erupted more than four months ago.

[one per…] Three people were killed, that is, and 159 others were injured Wednesday when an airliner skidded off a runway in Istanbul, Turkey. Reuters’ Francesca Lynagh has more.

Officials said the plane which was carrying 177 passengers from Izmir split into three pieces after what the transport minister described as a rough landing.

Footage on Turkish media showed the plane’s fuselage, as well as a section of it near the tail, had broken off.

A spokeswoman for Pegasus Airlines confirmed the crash but did not provide further details. And Turkish Airlines said it had canceled all flights in and out of the airport.

And the death toll has been updated in that crash [to] to three people and 179 injured.

And Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas, the cleft-chinned movie star, who starred as a gladiator, a cowboy and a boxer on the screen, has died at the age of 103. His son Michael Douglas announced Kirk’s death in a statement on Wednesday.

I’m David Byrd, VOA news.

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