World News

    Egyptians Vote in Constitutional Referendum

    Egyptians are voting in a two-day referendum to decide whether to adopt a new constitution supported by the military-backed interim government.

    While Tuesday's vote is officially to approve or reject the constitution, VOA's correspondent in Cairo, Elizabeth Arrott, says the vote is really seen as a referendum on the man likely to run for president if the constitution is approved -- the country's army chief, who ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.



    "Many people are seeing this, really, as an endorsement of General Abdel Fatteh el Sissi, the defense minister who's really the de facto leader here. So it is about this constitution. It's the third in three years that they've gone to the polls for. Nominally. But it's more, it seems to be whether it's going to be an endorsement of the new ruling elite.



    Arrott says the referendum is expected to pass, but the process has been marred by a crackdown on the opposition.



    "It seems by all indications that it will pass. There's never been a referendum that has not passed in Egypt. So it's likely to. The opponents have been so harassed - mainly the Muslim Brotherhood, well they've called for a boycott - they're banned, and most of their leaders are arrested, so it's very hard to organize sort of opposition to it."


    Shortly before the polls opened, a bomb exploded outside a courthouse in Giza. No casualties were reported.

    A group that includes Mr. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood urged Egyptians to boycott the referendum and hold peaceful protests against a process they have called illegitimate.

    Saba Mahmood, associate professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley told VOA she expects the document to be ratified by a "broad referendum."



    "I think this is the result of two things. One is the political repression that the military government has unleased in Egypt so that most people who disagree with the government are not going to really come out in any great numbers because they are afraid of the political repercussions. And secondly, there is a general nationalist fervor that has gripped the country in support of the military."



    The constitutional referendum comes about a year after Mr. Morsi signed the last constitution into law. The new proposed charter would strip out Islamist language in the existing document, give women greater rights and strengthen the power of the military.



    A roadmap set by the military calls for parliamentary and presidential elections to follow later this year.

    In Washington, the U.S. State Department Monday expressed concern about reports that people campaigning for a 'no' vote have been arrested.

    Spokeswoman Marie Harf said the United States is deeply troubled by reports that at least one individual was beaten during his arrest.

    Egyptians living abroad already have voted on the new constitution.

    The military removed Mr. Morsi from power after opposition protests that accused him of trying to monopolize power. Authorities have since spent months cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood, including arresting many of its leaders and declaring it a terrorist group.

    More than 1,000 people, mainly pro-Morsi Islamists, have been killed, while protests continue.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora