World News

Obama Names New Chief of Staff

President Barack Obama shakes hands with current Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough after he announced he will name McDonough as his next chief of staff, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, January 25, 2013. (AP)President Barack Obama shakes hands with current Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough after he announced he will name McDonough as his next chief of staff, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, January 25, 2013. (AP)
x
President Barack Obama shakes hands with current Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough after he announced he will name McDonough as his next chief of staff, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, January 25, 2013. (AP)
President Barack Obama shakes hands with current Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough after he announced he will name McDonough as his next chief of staff, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, January 25, 2013. (AP)
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama is turning to a long-time aide to fill one of the most influential positions in Washington.

Obama named key adviser Denis McDonough on Friday as his fifth chief of staff.

McDonough previously served as a White House foreign policy advisor. He was one of the aides photographed with Obama as the president watched the U.S. special forces raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

Obama called McDonough indispensable, saying he is "a great friend to me and everybody who works here at the White House."

"He's been one of my closest and most trusted advisers on my presidential campaign, on my transition team, he has been an indispensable member of my national security team, as well, said the president," said the president. "Denis has played a key role in every major national security decision of my presidency, from ending the war in Iraq, to winding down the war in Afghanistan, from our response to natural disasters around the world, like Haiti and the tsunami in Japan, to the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' to countless crises in between, day and night."

McDonough takes over for Jack Lew, who has been nominated to be secretary of the Treasury.

The White House also announced several other staff changes Friday.

Separately, a federal appeals court ruled Friday that three of the president's appointments to a federal board were unconstitutional.

Obama made the appointments to the National Labor Relations Board a year ago while the Senate was not in session.

A White House spokesman called the ruling "novel and unprecedented." Jay Carney said it contradicts 150 years of practice by both Democratic and Republican administrations.

In the past, U.S. presidents have used so-called "recess appointments" to bypass the Senate, as the chamber will sometimes try to block a president's nominees.

In this case, the appeals court ruled the recess appointments were not valid because, although the Senate was not meeting, lawmakers were still available to act on the nominations.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs