World News

Obama Shortens Asia Trip Because of Shutdown

U.S. President Barack Obama is canceling two stops on his upcoming trip to Asia because of the partial U.S. government shutdown that has entered its second day.

The White House said Wednesday that Mr. Obama is cutting his planned visits to Malaysia and the Philippines, but expects to make his first two stops, in Indonesia and Brunei, on the trip that is scheduled to begin Saturday.

U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the cancellation is "another consequence of House Republicans forcing a shutdown of the government."

The shutdown went into effect early Tuesday after lawmakers missed a deadline to extend federal funding. Republicans in the House of Representatives wanted to tie funding to a delay or defunding of President Obama's signature health care law, known as the Affordable Care Act. Each attempt was turned back by the Democratic-controlled Senate, which must also agree to budget legislation.

Some 800,000 U.S. federal workers face a second day of furlough Wednesday as the shutdown keeps national parks and many federal agencies shuttered.

A Quinnipiac University poll indicated some 72 percent of American voters oppose the shutdown.



On Tuesday, the House rejected three separate measures that would have funded parts of the federal government. The Republican-proposed bills to reopen national parks and museums, fund veterans' services and the city of Washington, DC failed to get the required two-thirds support.

Even if they had passed, the White House said it would veto any partial government reopening. Spokesman Jay Carney said attempts to fund some operations while leaving others closed shows an utter lack of seriousness on the part of Republicans.

House Democrats criticized Republicans for worrying about public parks instead of programs to feed children. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi likened it to kidnappers freeing just one hostage at a time.

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act -- nicknamed "Obamacare" by its opponents -- went ahead as scheduled Tuesday

Mr. Obama has said Republicans opposed to the plan want to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans

Republican opponents to Obamacare say it forces people, including small businesses, to buy expensive insurance policies against their will, hurting the economy.

The current government shutdown is not affecting Voice of America broadcasts, but it has closed parks and museums, as well as services such as federal tax offices, help for veterans, and food aid for the poor. Most civilian employees at the Pentagon must stay home, although the U.S. military remains on duty. The U.S. space agency, NASA, is almost entirely shut down, and U.S. military cemeteries overseas are closed. Other federal workers are staying on the job with no guarantee when they will be paid.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs