World News

    Obama Considering 'Limited' Response to Syria

    U.S. President Barack Obama says he has not made a final decision on a response to the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria, but he says he is considering a "limited, narrow act."

    Hours after Mr. Obama made the comments, a team of U.N. inspectors sent to investigate last week's attacks in Syria left the country Saturday. A U.N. spokesperson says the team will try to expedite an analysis of the samples it collected from the sites of the attacks.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday the U.S. intelligence community had "high confidence" in a report indicating the Syrian government carried out a poison gas attack last week.

    Kerry said the evidence, presented in a declassified version of a report, shows more than 1,400 Syrians were killed in the attack near Damascus, including at least 426 children.

    He said the findings show a Syrian chemical weapons team was in the area of the attacks three days before it occurred. He also said rockets were only fired from regime-controlled areas and only went to opposition controlled or contested neighborhoods.

    Kerry said the intelligence report includes intercepted communications in which a senior Syrian official confirms the poison gas attack.



    Kerry did not indicate when President Obama would make a decision.

    In a possible sign Washington may be preparing to act, a State Department official said Kerry called the foreign ministers of several countries Friday, including those in Britain, Egypt, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the secretary-general of the Arab League.

    Kerry said history would judge the U.S. "extraordinarily harshly" if it "turned a blind eye to a dictator's wanton use of weapons of mass destruction."

    He called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a "thug" and a "murderer," and said his regime was guilty of a crime against humanity.

    U.S. defense officials said Friday a sixth U.S. warship has joined others now operating in the eastern Mediterranean.

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday the United States will continue to seek an international coalition in response to the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons, despite opposition by British lawmakers to any military action.

    He made his comments after Britain's lower house of parliament rejected a motion for British participation in a military strike.

    The non-binding vote is a setback for British Prime Minister David Cameron, who told lawmakers a military strike would be a response to a war crime, not an attempt to topple the Syrian government.

    Mr. Cameron said it is important for Britain to uphold the "international taboo on the use of chemical weapons."

    French President Francois Hollande on Friday said the British vote will not affect his country's position on Syria. In an interview with Le Monde newspaper, he said the "chemical massacre" in Damascus could not go unpunished.

    Germany also appears to be backing away from any military intervention in Syria. Government officials say a military commitment has not been requested and is not being considered.

    Syria denies carrying out a chemical attack and accuses the rebels of using such weapons on Syrian soldiers. The country's Foreign Ministry repeated Friday its accusation that Washington is using "fabrications and lies" as a pretext to attack Syria.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon discussed developments in Syria with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council on Friday.

    Earlier this week, diplomats from Russia and China indicated unwillingness to support a British-draft resolution on possible military action against Syria.

    A spokesman for U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the White House will brief Republican Senators on the Syrian situation in a conference call Saturday, at the request of McConnell.

    ###

    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