World News

    Snipers Fire at UN Chemical Weapons Team in Syria

    The United Nations says unidentified snipers have shot at one of the vehicles carrying U.N. chemical weapons inspectors in the Syrian capital.

    The U.N. team is trying to investigate a suspected major chemical weapons attack that took place last week in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta.

    Rebels and activists say government forces used chemical weapons that killed hundreds of people. The government denies the allegations, and has accused the rebels of using such weapons.

    A spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the U.N. team's vehicle was shot at multiple times, rendering it "no longer serviceable." The inspectors returned to a government checkpoint, but planned to continue their work with a new vehicle.

    Mr. Ban said earlier Monday that the mission's success could deter the future use of chemical weapons in Syria and elsewhere.



    "All those in Syria have a stake in finding out the truth. The whole world should be concerned about any threat or sue of chemical weapons, and that is why the world is watching Syria."



    The United States is criticizing Syria for not allowing the inspectors into the site until five days after the attack.



    A senior State Department official said in a statement late Sunday that Secretary of State John Kerry told Mr. Ban and his counterparts in Britain, France, Russia and Canada that Syria should have stopped shelling the area and given access to inspectors immediately after the attack last week.

    Western powers have expressed fears that the delay would enable evidence of a chemical attack to degrade or be removed.

    The official said Kerry told the diplomats there is "little doubt" Syrian forces used chemical weapons against civilians, and that President Barack Obama is studying the incident before deciding on a "responsible way forward."

    Meanwhile, in response to a British newspaper's report that Britain and the United States are planning to use force in Syria, a White House official said Mr. Obama "has not made a decision to undertake military action."

    U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday that U.S. forces are prepared to take action against Syria, if the president approves.

    Russia's foreign ministry said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed "deep concern" about such statements about military readiness when he spoke to Kerry on Sunday.

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad further warned in an interview published Monday in a Russian newspaper that any U.S. military intervention would fail.

    Mr. Assad also reiterated his government's denial of using chemical weapons last week, saying some of his forces were in the Ghouta area and that deploying the weapons at that time would be illogical.

    France and Britain, which have been critical of the Syrian government throughout the more than two-year crisis, are weighing their own responses.

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Monday it may be possible to act without unanimous consent on the U.N. Security Council. Russia and China have used their veto power on the council to block efforts to sanction Syria.

    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said no decisions have been made yet. He noted the challenge of acting without the blessing of the Security Council, but said the only option he is ruling out is not responding at all.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his government is ready to join an international coalition against neighboring Syria, even if the Security Council is not united.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora