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VOA English Newscast: 2000 UTC December 18, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama holds his end of the year news conference at the White House in Washington, Dec. 18, 2015.
U.S. President Barack Obama holds his end of the year news conference at the White House in Washington, Dec. 18, 2015.

From Washington, this is VOA News.

I’m David Byrd reporting.

President Obama has held his final news conference of the year. Speaking at the White House, Mr. Obama said law enforcement and intelligence officials are looking for ways to better monitor public communication of suspected terrorists

However, the president warned there are limits to what law enforcement can do.

Mr. Obama said the government must try to strike the right balance between surveillance and civil liberties as it tries to stop terrorists from planning attacks.

The president will meet with families of the victims and some of those wounded in this month's San Bernardino, California, attack later Friday. Fourteen people died and 22 others were wounded when Syed Rizwan Farook and his Pakistani-born wife Tashfeen Malik opened fire at a holiday party. The couple later died in a gun battle with police.

Senior officials from 20 nations are holding talks in New York on a proposed political transition to end the civil war in Syria.

Diplomats from the United States, Russia, Iran and other countries that participated in previous rounds of Syria crisis talks are meeting in New York City in a hotel.

The officials are meeting for a third time to push forward an earlier agreement to implement a cease-fire in Syria so talks on a political transition could begin in the New Year.

Supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- most notably Russia and Iran -- as well as officials from most of the Western countries that strongly oppose Assad's continued control over the country are taking part in the discussions.

For more on these stories, and on President Obama news conference log on to our website.

This is VOA News


Words in This Newscast

monitor –v. to watch, observe, listen, or check on

surveillance –n. the act of carefully watching someone especially to prevent or detect a crime

implement –v. to put into effect, to make active or effective

transition –n. the change from one state or condition to another

participate –v. to be involved in, to take part in some activity