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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.