World News

    US CONGRESS SHUTDOWN 1st UPD

    U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and other House Republicans are demanding Democrats sit down and negotiate a solution to a government shutdown, now in its fourth day.



    "This isn't some damn game. The American people don't want their government shut down and neither do I. All we're asking for want is to sit down and have a discussion and to bring fairness. Reopen the government and bring fairness to the American people under Obamacare."



    The government closed Tuesday after the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate could not agree on a budget. The Republicans' desire to change U.S. President Barack Obama's signature health care law has stalled a short-term, normally routine, spending bill.

    The shutdown has furloughed more than 800,000 federal workers, about one third of the federal work force. People classified as essential employees, such as air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and many food inspectors, continue to work, as do U.S. broadcasting services, including VOA.

    President Obama canceled an upcoming trip to Asia because of the partial U.S. government shutdown.

    The White House announced late Thursday the president decided to cancel visits to Indonesia and Brunei in the face of the shutdown and his intent to continue pressuring Republicans to allow a vote on a spending plan that does not include changes to the health care program.





    "There will be no negotiations over this. The American people are not pawns in some political game. You do not get to demand some ransom in exchange for keeping the government running. You do not get to demand ransom in exchange for keeping the economy running. You don't get to demand ransom for doing your most basic job."



    The White House says Secretary of State John Kerry will lead U.S. delegations to Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. Kerry will attend the APEC summit in Bali in place of the president.

    Earlier Thursday, President Obama said a simple bill to fund the government with no other issues attached -- including his signature health care plan, nicknamed "Obamacare" -- would pass the House of Representatives. Mr. Obama accused Republican House Speaker John Boehner of catering to a small group of what he called conservative, Republican extremists who want to defund or delay the health care plan.

    But House Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, blame the president and Democrats for refusing to negotiate or pass any bills to reopen parts of the government while the two sides work out their differences.



    "Now the president continues to refuse to sit down with us Republicans, and sadly, that is a hallmark of his presidency."



    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told CNN television Thursday that it was House Speaker Boehner who reneged on a promise to allow a vote on a clean funding bill, even after Democrats agreed to accept Republican spending levels.

    With the shutdown prompting Mr. Obama to cancel his Asia trip, he will be missing the second APEC summit in a row. VOA White House correspondent Dan Robinson reports this might raise doubts about the U.S. commitment to the Asia Pacific region.



    "As you know, President Obama was not able to go to the APEC summit in Vladivostock last year because of the U.S. presidential election campaign. This is bound to raise further questions in Asia among those who are questioning U.S. commitment not only to the strategic pivot but to the whole regional focus or rebalancing of U.S. economic interests in the region."

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora