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    National Day of Service Marks Start of America's Inaugural Weekend

    U.S. President Barack Obama launched America's inaugural weekend in Washington Saturday at a local school, as the capital city made final preparations for the president's public swearing-in on Monday.

    Mr. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama donned work clothes to help spruce up an elementary school, as part of a series of national service events organized by the inaugural committee. The Obamas launched the inaugural weekend practice of a National Day of Service four years ago.

    As the First Couple stained school bookcases and Vice President Joe Biden and wife, Jill, assembled care packages for troops, workers at and near the U.S. Capitol finished constructing inaugural stands and seating stretching toward the National Mall for special guests.

    Officials predict as many as 800,000 people will attend Monday's public ceremonies -- an estimate larger than Washington's population but considerably smaller than the 1.8 million people who packed the city four years ago to mark the start of the president's first term.

    President Obama's second term officially begins with the oath of office taken at noon on January 20, as specified in the U.S. Constitution. Because the 20th falls this year on a Sunday, he will retake the oath on Monday, which coincides with the federal holiday marking the birthday of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.



    At the public event, the president will take the oath of office with his hand placed on two bibles, one owned by 19th-century president Abraham Lincoln, the other by King, who was assassinated in 1968.

    Mr. Obama's inauguration on Monday will be followed by a parade and a series of parties.

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    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
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    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
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    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
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    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
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    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

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    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

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    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
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    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
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    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

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    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

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    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
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    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
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    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
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    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

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    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.