World News

    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.

    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