World News

    Obama Cancels Meeting with Putin, Citing Snowden Case

    In a rare diplomatic rebuke, U.S. President Barack Obama says he is canceling next month's planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

    The White House said Mr. Obama still plans to travel to Russia to attend the Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg in the first week of September. He has added a two-day visit to Sweden before heading to the summit.

    The Obama administration was angered by Russia's grant of temporary asylum last week to Edward Snowden, the former U.S. intelligence contractor who leaked details of clandestine surveillance programs being conducted by the United States. Mr. Obama had asked Russia to expel Snowden to face U.S. espionage charges, but Mr. Putin rejected the request.

    In recent weeks, the U.S. and Russia have also disagreed on other fronts, including creation of a missile defense in Europe, human rights and Russia's shipment of arms to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad supporting his fight against rebels seeking his ouster. The U.S. supports the Syrian rebels.

    The White House said it canceled the Obama-Putin meeting because there is "not enough recent progress" on issues dividing the two countries. Washington said it would be "more constructive" to postpone the summit until there is more agreement on a shared agenda.

    The Russian news agency RIA Novosti cited a diplomatic source as saying that the invitation remains open for Mr. Obama to meet with Mr. Putin.



    Mr. Obama, in a U.S. television appearance Tuesday night (NBC-TV's Tonight Show), said he was "disappointed" when Russia granted asylum to Snowden.

    Although there is no U.S.-Russian extradition treaty, Mr. Obama said the U.S. has tried to cooperate with Russia on such cases in the past. He said the Kremlin's handling of this case is an instance of Russia slipping back into "Cold War thinking."

    Separately, in answer to a question about Russia's new law banning what it calls gay propaganda, Mr. Obama said he has "no patience" with foreign laws discriminating against gays and lesbians. He noted that Russia is not unique in passing such laws.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department says Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will meet with their Russian counterparts Friday in Washington.

    A State Department spokeswoman said Tuesday the talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu will include discussions on Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, and the new START arms treaty.

    Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told The New York Times that the Kremlin expects a very intense discussion. He says there are quite a few "sharp, controversial, and difficult questions" facing both countries.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora