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VOA news for Saturday, June 21st, 2014

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Saturday, June 21st, 2014

From Washington, this is VOA news. The U.N. urges a call for arms embargo on Syria. The U.S. military is preparing [to work] to go to work in Iraq. I’m Vincent Bruce reporting from Washington.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Syria.
“It is irresponsible for foreign powers and groups to give continued military support to parties in Syria that are committing atrocities and flagrantly violating international principles of human rights and international law.”
The U.N. chief spoke Friday at the Asia Society in New York.
Russia has vetoed four previous resolutions on Syria, its ally, protecting it and blocking efforts intended to end the war.
The first of the U.S. military advisers assigned to help the Iraqis in their fight against advancing Sunni militants are all ready in Baghdad. However, they have not begun their work as yet. VOA’s Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
In northern Iraq, Shiites mourned relatives killed in the assault by militants of ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
But despite an announcement by U.S. President Barack Obama, American military advisers all ready in Baghdad have yet to start assessing the situation in how best to help Iraqi security forces fight back.
A U.S. defense official says the wait is due to concerns over legal protections for U.S. forces, including immunity for U.S. military personnel from the Iraqi judicial system.
In the meantime, the U.S. continues to fly 24-hour surveillance over parts of Iraq.
Jeff Seldin, VOA news, the Pentagon.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has declared a week-long cease-fire in his government’s military campaign against pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east.
The Interior Ministry website quoted Poroshenko as saying the order would not prevent Ukrainian forces from fighting back if attacked.
Mr. Poroshenko is also set to unveil a 14-point peace plan — a peace plan designed to end the deadly pro-Russian insurgency.
The reported cease-fire comes as the United States has imposed sanctions on seven pro-Russian separatist leaders in Ukraine. Excuse me, the sanctions imposed on Friday freeze any assets that the seven have in the United States and prohibit any American firms or businesses from dealing with them.
It is a relatively limited slap against the separatists themselves, but shows the U.S. is ready to move forward with more if tensions ratchet back up.
More on these stories at voanews.com.
At the World Cup, Ecuador has defeated Honduras 2-1. [Costa Rica earlier in the day defeated] Costa Rica also won its second round 1-0 win over Italy. And earlier, France defeated Switzerland 5-2.
The United States has downgraded Thailand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Gambia to lowest-level status in its annual report on human trafficking, exposing them to the possibility of sanctions and putting them in the same category as Iran, Syria and North Korea.
U.S. President Barack Obama now has 90 days to decide whether to apply sanctions to the downgraded nations.
Politicians worldwide often vilify their opponents and those in Nigeria are no different. As the 2015 elections approach, Nigeria’s two main political parties are blaming each other for the violent Boko Haram insurgency in the north.
As Heather Murdock reports for VOA from Abuja, analysts say neither party is wholly to blame but individual politicians from both parties could partially be funding the group.
In the past five years, Boko Haram militants have killed thousands of people, and as next year’s elections draw near, the insurgency appears to be growing.
More than 2,000 people have been killed this year alone. In April, the Islamist radical group kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls.
At his home in the Niger Delta, Ovie Joseph, a local leader within the ruling People’s Democratic Party, or PDP, says the opposition funds the violence.
H says “style of trying to destabilize the ruling party and it’s the opposition.”
Heather Murdock, for VOA news, Abuja.
In stocks on Friday, the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 closed at record highs. NASDAQ Composite added 8.71 points.
More at voanews.com. I’m Vincent Bruce reporting from Washington. That’s the latest world news from VOA.

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