VOA news 2020-02-09 (audio+transcript)

This is VOA news. I’m Jim Bertel.

A Thai security officer was killed early on Sunday in a raid into a shopping mall to try to stop a soldier on a shooting rampage. There brings the death toll to at least 21 and the standoff continues. AP’s Charles De Ledesma has more on how the siege began.

Video taken inside a car catches gunshots fired as one passenger reacts in terror.

Police say the soldier had initially shot dead another soldier and a woman apparently over a land dispute. Then the man took a gun from him military base and drove to the mall where shooting continued.

Video taken outside the mall and shared on social media shows people taking cover in a parking lot as gunshots are fired.

I’m Charles De Ledesma.

Eight people are dead and dozens injured in an outburst of violence in Kazakhstan Saturday.

The country’s interior minister says about 300 people were involved.

Area residents said on social media that it was an ethnic dispute.

The coronavirus has claimed another 86 lives during a one-day period, the biggest single day increase today as the virus continues to take its toll in China and other parts of the world. Reuters’ Lauren Anthony has more.

The death toll from the new coronavirus rose to 700 in mainland China on Saturday, according to authorities.

The number of fatalities are poised to pass the 774 deaths recorded globally during the SARS outbreak in early 2000s.

A 60-year-old American man also died from the infection in the Chinese city of Wuhan – the epicenter of the outbreak – marking the first confirmed non-Chinese death of the illness, U.S. officials said.

While the vast majority of cases have been in China, the virus has spread to some two dozen countries abroad.

That’s Reuters’ Lauren Anthony reporting.

For more on the coronavirus, please go to From Washington, you’re listening to VOA news.

With the spread of the Chinese coronavirus, it’s been rapid Africa has yet to be hit. But there are preparations underway there to deal with it if it comes. Here is Lisa Schlein in Geneva.

This is of little comfort to WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti. She tells VOA watching the virus reach other continents around the world is of great concern.

“We know that there is quite significant travel of people from China to Africa and back.”

Moeti says her team has begun working with member states to help them “get ready for the possible onset of the coronavirus.” She says WHO is providing overall guidance to ministers of health on how to manage possible cases and prevent further spread of the disease.

That was Lisa Schlein reporting for VOA from Geneva.

The U.S. military says American and Afghan military personnel were fired on while conducting an operation in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province.

A U.S. official speaking on the condition of anonymity says several U.S. personnel were either injured or killed.

Elsewhere, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden car Saturday night in front of a police center in southern Afghanistan, killing at least six police officers.

The Taliban is claiming responsibility for the attack.

Syrian state media says Syrian government forces captured new areas from insurgents in the northwest. This is Turkey sent more reinforcements into the war-torn country.

The weeks-long government offensive has created a humanitarian crisis. The U.N. says 600,000 people have fled their homes in Syria’s last rebel stronghold since the beginning of December.

Democrats scrambled to gain an edge with voters on Saturday on the last weekend before the party’s next presidential nominating contest in New Hampshire..

Senator Elizabeth Warren says she is the candidate to beat President Trump.

“There’s still a lot of folks out there who are really starting to get worried – worried that this fight against Donald Trump might not be winnable. You know, the way I look at this: I’ve been winning unwinnable fights pretty much all my life.”

Senator Bernie Sanders says his victory in the New Hampshire primary four years ago shows his ideas are not too radical for voters.

“What New Hampshire showed is our ideas are the ideas that the working families, the middle class of this country, believe in.”

Once the front-runner, Former Vice President Joe Biden is beginning to reframe himself as an underdog.

“I’ve never paid attention to all this front-runner talk since I entered the race. Nothing in my life, like most of you, has come easily. My childhood struggle with stuttering, my tragedies, like many of you have had, in my family.”

I’m Jim Bertel, VOA news.

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