World News

Obama Pushes for Congressional Support of Syria Strike

U.S. President Barack Obama will again make the case for military action in Syria when he speaks with key lawmakers.

Mr. Obama is scheduled to meet with prominent Senator John McCain at the White House Monday. McCain has long urged the president to take forceful action against Syria, possibly even removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

But many U.S. lawmakers remain skeptical, questioning whether the military should be involved at all.

U.S. officials Sunday briefed some lawmakers on intelligence showing the Syrian military dropped poison gas on civilians outside Damascus last month, killing more than 1,000 people.

International support for military intervention in Syria, despite evidence of a possible chemical weapons attack, has been waning. But NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday something must be done.



"It is my firm position that the international community should react in such a situation, otherwise we would send the very dangerous signal to dictators all over the world that they can use a chemical weapons without any reaction from the international community.''



So far, only France and Turkey have come out strongly in favor of a military response.

Russia, a long-time Syrian ally, questioned Monday the credibility of U.S. evidence the Assad government used chemical weapons.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also cautioned that any military strike will only make it more difficult to find a political solution.



"If the action announced by the U.S. President, to our great disappointment, does take place, then I think, regardless of all words about the Geneva-2, it will delay any prospects for such forum for a long time, if not forever.''



Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby also warned Monday a military option in Syria is "out of the question" though he reiterated those behind the alleged chemical weapons attack must answer for their actions.



"I cannot say that there are two viewpoints (within Arab states), however I can say that there is a general opinion represented by 18 countries, in which what is needed is to take deterring measures against those who committed this crime (using chemical weapons).''



The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons and says the rebels have used poison gas against Syrian troops.

Its state-run SANA news agency said Monday that Syrian ambassador to the U.N. Bashar Ja'afari has sent a letter urging Mr. Ban to "prevent any aggression" against Syria.

Meanwhile, the United Nations refugee agency says much more money is needed to help the ever-growing number of Syrians forced to flee the fighting.

Tarik Kurdi told the Associated Press nearly one-third of Syria's pre-war population has now been forced to flee.



"According to the estimations of the United Nations there are about 7 million people affected by the crisis, of those about five million have been displaced from their cities and villages to somewhere else inside Syria. The majority of them are women and children."



The UNHCR says it has only received about $70 million of the $250 million it needs to help the refugees.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs