World News

    Syrian Opposition Names Interim Leader

    Syria's opposition coalition named a veteran dissident Monday as its interim leader.

    George Sabra, who was jailed several times for opposing the regimes of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his father, will retain the caretaker position until an opposition group meeting set for May 11.

    Sabra appealed at a news conference in Istanbul for increased global support for the rebel cause. He replaces Mouaz al-Khatib who resigned in March while complaining that the international community has not done enough to help the Syrian people.

    Also Monday, European Union governments agreed to ease sanctions against Syria in order to allow crude oil purchases from opposition forces in hopes of providing a financial lifeline to rebels fighting the Assad government.



    Under Monday's decision, European importers will be allowed to buy oil from facilities in rebel-held Syrian territories and also to export oil production technology and investment cash to the rebel-held areas, if authorized by Syria's opposition National Coalition.

    The EU sanctions were first imposed in 2011 in response to Mr. Assad's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

    Syrian activists and rebel fighters said on Monday that a six-day government offensive on a mostly Sunni area near Damascus has killed at least 100 people and possibly many more. The death toll could be the largest from a single military campaign in almost a year.

    The exact number of dead in the districts of Jdaidet Artouz and Jdaidet al-Fadel could not be confirmed. The two adjacent neighborhoods are about 15 kilometers southwest of Damascus.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said activists had documented 101 dead in Jdaidet al-Fadel, including 10 women and three children. But the Observatory said the actual number killed could be as high as 250.

    Another activist group, The Local Coordination Committees, put the death toll at 483. It said most of the victims were killed in Jdaidet Artouz.

    Activist videos posted on the Internet claimed to show several bodies of those killed covered in bags and laid out on the ground. Some appeared to have been executed with gunshot wounds to the head.

    Syria's state-run SANA news agency said government troops had "inflicted heavy losses upon terrorists in the town of Jdaidet al-Fadel." Syrian authorities refer to those fighting to end President Assad's rule as "terrorists."

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the reports of the massacre underline the urgent need to bring Syria's war to an end.

    Meanwhile, the Syrian army continued its offensive near the Lebanese border around the western rebel stronghold of Qusair, with the help of pro-government militia and Lebanese Hezbollah militants.

    Hezbollah, a key Assad ally, has denied sending its fighters to Syria.

    Human Rights Watch on Monday called on both Syrian government and rebel forces to end "indiscriminate cross-border attacks" on areas in Lebanon, warning they violate international law.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora