News

    Bahrain Ratifies Changes to Constitution

    Bahrain's King Hamed bin Isa Al Khalifa (file photo)
    Bahrain's King Hamed bin Isa Al Khalifa (file photo)

    Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Thursday approved changes to the country's constitution aimed at ending a nearly 15-month-old popular revolt in the Gulf state.

    The amendments include giving parliament more powers to question and remove government ministers.

    During a ceremony in Manama, King Hamad said that "the door of dialogue is open and national accord is the goal of all dialogue."  He expressed hope that all forces and groups will assess their actions and join the process of progress and reforms in this important stage.

    But the main opposition party, al-Wefaq, denounced the amendments as inadequate, saying they fall short of demands of protesters from the country's Shi'ite majority, which demands a greater political voice in Bahrain's affairs.

    Shi'ites account for about 70 percent of Bahrain's population of just over 500,000 people, but claim they face widespread discrimination and lack opportunities granted to the Sunni minority.  Some want Sunni rulers to give up their monopoly on power, while others want the ruling al Khalifa family to be ousted completely.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

    Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
    Middle East Voices
    . Follow our Middle East reports on
    Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: hussein abdullah
    May 04, 2012 5:23 AM
    The constitutional amendments are considered another major step towards reform in the Kingdom. HM the king has proven that there is room for a better system in Bahrain, we have once again created history by amending the constitution based on the calls of the people of Bahrain. We hope that these amendments get acknowledged by the opposition and the unrest comes to an end while everyone joins the leadership in a serious dialogue without any conditions.

    by: Jan Ryan
    May 04, 2012 3:50 AM
    These changes won't change the fact that the King still has the final word. This is a dictatorship - and not a benign one. I worked for this government. They are a small, closed group mainly from the one family. They are elitist and priveleged. They have no idea what good government means. They are like naughty children and there is no-one putting them in the corner to teach them a lesson.

    by: Ahmed
    May 03, 2012 8:22 PM
    The most important of reforms include:

    • Parliamentary power to reject four-year plans presented by the Cabinet.
    • Elected MPs right to take a vote of no confidence against the PM
    • The king will have to consult the heads of the elected parliament before dissolving the legislature.
    • MPs will have increased powers to question Ministers, to remove these Ministers and to reject Government bills.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora