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    Obama: I Will 'Take Steps Without' Congress to Boost American Families

    President Barack Obama has warned members of the U.S. Congress that he will act without them to expand opportunities for American families "wherever and whenever" he can.

    Delivering his fifth annual State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday night, President Obama called on lawmakers to make 2014 a "year of action." Noting economic progress -- including a rebounding housing market and the U.S. surpassing China as the number one place to invest -- he said this can be a "breakthrough year" for the United States. But he said the question is whether U.S. officials "are going to help or hinder this progress."

    Mr. Obama said that while corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, average wages have barely budged, inequality has deepened, and too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by.

    On foreign policy, the president warned Congress that he will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to derail talks on Iran's nuclear program. But he said he will be the first to call for more sanctions if Iran's leaders do not seize the opportunity.

    He said negotiations with Iran will be difficult and may not succeed, but if they do, the United States will have resolved a top security challenge without the risks of war.

    The president's approval rating has dropped to less than 50 percent. With voters unhappy with the economy and gridlock in Congress, Mr. Obama is looking to make a fresh start in 2014.



    Problems with the execution of the president's signature health care law last year sparked outrage from lawmakers and the public. But President Obama used his State of the Union speech to appeal to Republicans not to vote again to overturn it.

    He touted the health care program's achievements, saying it gives people peace of mind that they do not have to lose everything if misfortune strikes. He said that because of the new law, no American can be turned down for health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, such as asthma or cancer. And he said a woman will no longer be charged more for health care just because she is a woman.

    Mr. Obama is also trying to bounce back from last year's controversies over National Security Agency spying and the 16-day government shutdown during the budget standoff.

    He focused his speech Tuesday on ways his administration and Congress can make progress together, calling for action to reform the tax code, create jobs, fund innovation and American energy, improve education opportunities and raise the minimum wage.

    He also urged the full Congress Tuesday to approve an immigration reform measure that passed in the Senate last year. The bill stalled in the House of Representatives under intense opposition from conservatives.

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    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
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    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
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    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
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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 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
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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 Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
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    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

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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

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
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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.
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    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
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    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.