World News

    Syria Activists: Hama Car Bomb Toll at Least 42

    VOA News
    Syrian rights activists said the death toll from a suicide car bombing in the central province of Hama late Monday has risen to at least 42 people.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack targeted a building used by pro-government militiamen in the town of Salamiyah. It said civilians were among the dead.

    Syrian state news agency SANA gave a death toll of 32 people and blamed the bombing on terrorists whom it said are behind a 22-month rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the situation in Syria as a "calamity." Speaking at a Tuesday news conference outlining his 2013 agenda, he said the Syrian civil war is his "main immediate test."

    "The humanitarian situation is dire and getting worse and worse. Millions of people are struggling to survive. More than 650,000 people have fled the country," said the U.N. chief. "Lack of food and denial of access to medical treatment, inadequate shelter and heating during a harsh winter are taking their toll."

    Ban called on U.N. members to send senior delegations to an international donor conference for Syria, to be held in Kuwait on January 30.

    The U.N. chief also said he reviewed the crisis with special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Monday.

    "Our shared assessment is that we are still a long way from getting the Syrians together. The key decisions about the country's future are in the hands of the Syrians," he said. "But, the international community, and in particular the Security Council, has a grave responsibility to act to bring the desperate suffering of the Syrian people to an end."

    In other developments, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported deadly battles between mostly Sunni anti-government rebels and minority Kurdish fighters in the northeastern town of Ras al-Ain, on the border with Turkey.

    It said at least 56 fighters have been killed in a week of fighting in the area. Syria's minority Kurds have largely remained on the sidelines of the majority-Sunni led rebellion, but have long sought greater autonomy from Damascus.

    The Observatory also said pro-Assad troops and rebels engaged in more battles in Damascus province on Tuesday.

    Meanwhile, dozens of Russians boarded buses from Syria to neighboring Lebanon in the first evacuation organized by Moscow since the start of the Syrian uprising in 2011.

    The Russian government had sent two planes to the Lebanese capital Beirut to fly the Russians back home. Syria's main international airport outside Damascus has been largely devoid of traffic in recent weeks due to fighting along the road to the capital.

    Russia is one of the few remaining international allies of Mr. Assad's government. But, it has been distancing itself from the Syrian leader, acknowledging that he may be ousted by the uprising.

    The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, Saud al-Faisal, one of Mr. Assad's strongest regional opponents, expressed support for the Syrian opposition's refusal to negotiate with Damascus.

    "Damascus, which is the oldest remaining city that has been a city for the oldest period of time, is carpet bombed," he said. "How can you conceive of the possibility of negotiated settlement with somebody who does that to his own country, to his own history, to his own people? It is inconceivable to us."

    Addressing a news conference in Riyadh, al-Faisal criticized the U.N. Security Council for failing to agree on how to end the Syrian conflict.

    "We have a call to make to the Security Council to finally show the responsibility that they must show in front of the trust that was put in him, or otherwise I think it is the duty of the General Assembly to censure the Security Council for failing in its duty," he said.

    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