World News

    Top US Envoy to Seek Freedom for Citizen Jailed in N. Korea

    The United States is sending a senior envoy to North Korea to seek freedom for an ailing Korean-American Christian missionary who has been sentenced to 15 years at hard labor.

    The State Department says Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues Robert King will ask that Kenneth Bae be freed on humanitarian grounds when he visits Pyongyang on Friday.

    A White House spokesman says the United States is deeply concerned about Bae, who is reported to have been moved from a labor camp to a hospital after losing more than 23 kilograms. The 44-year-old suffers several health problems, including with his liver and kidneys.

    Bae was arrested after entering the country in November as a tour operator. He was later convicted of trying to topple the government.

    North Korea has not publicly responded to the news of King's trip. But the State Department says his visit is being made at the invitation of the Pyongyang government.

    Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Scott Snyder believes an agreement on Mr. Bae's release has already been worked out.





    "Still hard to say it's already been agreed to or not, but I think that it is likely that Ambassador King would not go unless he was able to bring Kenneth Bae back.



    North Korea has detained at least six Americans since 2009. All have been allowed to return home before serving their full sentences. Most were released following visits by prominent Americans, including former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

    Euna Lee, a Korean-American journalist who was freed in 2009 after a special visit to Pyongyang by Mr. Clinton, told VOA's Korean service that she is grateful for those working to bring Mr. Bae home.



    "I am on the verge of crying. I can barely speak. I am so thankful to those who worked on his and his family's behalf," she said.



    In a video earlier this month posted by a pro-North Korea newspaper in Japan, Bae said his health was deteriorating and called on the U.S. to send a high-ranking official to negotiate his release.

    Many analysts have said Pyongyang is using Bae's case as a bargaining chip to try to extract concessions from the U.S. over its nuclear and missile programs. North Korea denies this.

    Bae's arrest came at a time of heightened U.S.-North Korea tension. Just weeks after his arrest, Pyongyang carried out a long-range rocket launch and subsequent nuclear test, both of which were strongly condemned by the United Nations.

    At the height of the crisis, North Korea was threatening to launch nuclear attacks on the United States and South Korea. Tensions have since died down, with Pyongyang taking several steps to improve relations with Seoul.

    The U.S. statements on Tuesday did not mention whether any effort would be made during the trip to advance multi-nation nuclear disarmament talks, which have been stalled since 2009.

    King played a part in negotiating a 2012 deal under which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to freeze his impoverished country's nuclear program in exchange for food aid. Washington later suspended the agreement after North Korea launched a rocket.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    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.
    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.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora