World News

France, Mexico Demand Explanation for Latest NSA Allegations

France and Mexico are angrily demanding explanations from the United States following new spying allegations leaked by former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Monday that he had called in the U.S. ambassador to explain an article in Le Monde newspaper about large-scale spying on French citizens by the U.S. National Security Agency.

The article alleged that the NSA had gathered tens of millions French phone records over a one-month period. Fabius called the claims "shocking."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was questioned on the matter when he arrived Monday in Paris for talks on the Middle East. He declined to talk about the specific allegations, but said the United States would discuss the matter privately with French officials and other concerned allies. He said that protecting the security of people in today's world is very complicated and challenging.

"Now I am not going to comment on the specifics. As a matter of policy we don't discuss intelligence matters, and lots of countries are engaged in the activity of trying to protect their citizens and the world. As the President, as President Obama said very clearly in a recent speech that he gave at the United Nations General Assembly just a few weeks ago, he said 'we in the United States are currently reviewing the way that we gather intelligence.' And I think that is appropriate, and our goal is always to try to find the right balance between protecting the security and the privacy of our citizens.''

Meanwhile, Mexico reacted angrily Monday to an article published in the German weekly Der Spiegel, in which Snowden accused the NSA of accessing the e-mail of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Mexico's foreign ministry called the practice "unacceptable, illegal and against Mexican and international law."

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf would not confirm or deny the recent reports of U.S. spying. She told reporters Monday that all countries understand the value of gathering intelligence and said the United States is willing to discuss concerns that any country has about U.S. practices.

The spokeswoman said there is always a balance between security and privacy and said the United States is trying to figure out where that balance lies.

"We're trying to find the right balance here about what we gather and how we gather it. The president has spoken to this at length now. And it's worth keeping in mind as we have a discussion, keep in mind the entire intelligence picture."

Snowden, who has taken refuge in Russia, is wanted in the U.S. for espionage and other charges, after leaking details of the NSA's worldwide spying activities.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs