World News

    Obama Presses Syria Strike at G20 Summit

    U.S. President Barack Obama is pressing world leaders at the Group of 20 summit in Russia for backing of a possible U.S. strike on Syria.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to add Syria to the agenda shortly after summit participants arrived Thursday in St. Petersburg.

    In an opening session, Mr. Putin said some leaders had asked him to set aside time to discuss "very acute topics of international politics," in particular Syria. He said talks could take place during Thursday's working dinner .

    The Syrian crisis is not on the official agenda for the two-day global economic summit, but Mr. Obama and other leaders have been discussing the issue on the sidelines.

    The president is seeking broader support, both at home and abroad, for military strikes against Syria's government for allegedly using chemical weapons on its civilians.



    Mr. Obama commented on Syria as he headed into a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.



    "I also look forward to having an extensive conversation about the situation in Syria and I think our joint recognition that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is not only a tragedy but a violation of international law that must be addressed."



    After the session, White House advisor Ben Rhodes said the two leaders were in agreement that the Syrian crisis demanded a strong international response.

    On Wednesday, Mr. Putin warned Western strikes without U.N. Security Council approval would be an unacceptable "aggression." But he said he would support a strike if there were "convincing" proof that Damascus used chemical weapons.

    White House adviser Ben Rhodes says there are currently no plans for a bilateral meeting between Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin, but there will be opportunities for "interactions" between the two leaders on the sidelines of the summit.

    Rhodes told reporters on Air Force One enroute to the summit the United States will continue to present evidence to Russia that the Syrian regime was behind the attack, but will not "entertain implausible theories."

    Russia has been a key ally to Syria. Russia says Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem is traveling to Moscow for talks on Monday about the crisis.

    Russia and China have already vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions that would have punished President Assad's government.

    The U.S. hosted a series of briefings at the U.N. Thursday. Afterwards, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said Russia continues to hold the Security Council hostage on Syria, and shirk [avoid] its international responsibility.



    "There is nothing in the pattern of our interactions with our colleagues in the security council, our Russian colleagues, that would give us any reason to be optimistic. And, indeed, we have seen nothing in President Putin's comments that suggests there is an available path forward at the Security Council."



    Speaking before the summit, Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said Thursday any military action against Syria would cause a hike in oil prices and have a "negative impact" on the global economy.

    Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate could begin debate next week on a measure calling for limited military strikes on Syria. On Wednesday, a key Senate panel approved the plan, which also rules out deploying U.S. ground troops to the country.

    U.N. officials continue to look for a political settlement to the conflict.

    Officials say U.N.-Arab League envoy on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi is headed to St. Petersburg to help U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon organize a Syrian peace conference.

    Also, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will discuss Syria's crisis with European Union and Arab League representatives during a visit to Europe next week.

    ###

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora