World News

US Govt. Shutdown Draws Array of Protests

The partial U.S. government shutdown has forced hundreds of thousands of federal workers to stay home, restricted or shuttered many government services, and sparked an array of protests criticizing lawmakers and calling on them to end the budget impasse.

With no spending plan for a new fiscal year that began October 1, national parks closed, investigators who probe outbreaks of food-borne illnesses stopped going to work, and the government quit issuing reports on the state of the economy.

The shutdown is set to begin its third week on Tuesday, with Americans seeing a personal impact with delays on things like getting home loans and income tax refunds.

The effects have brought out protesters in big cities and small towns, including Sunday in Washington where several hundred people tore down barricades erected at the closed monuments and memorials on the National Mall. They took some of the barricades to the White House along with signs critical of U.S. President Barack Obama.

Congressman Ted Cruz, one of the leading Republicans who refused to fund the government without changes to Mr. Obama's signature healthcare legislation, spoke to the crowd at the National World War 2 Memorial.



"Let me ask a simple question: why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?"



Demonstrators also went to the U.S. Capitol Sunday to voice their criticism of Congress, which has repeatedly failed to agree on a budget and relied on so-called continuing resolutions to fund the government for several years.



Earlier protests brought out federal workers in cities like Chicago, Boston and Atlanta, and citizens in Plano, Texas; Newton, New Jersey and Springettsbury, Pennsylvania.

At Valley Forge National Historic Park near Philadelphia on Sunday, a group of runners turned out to protest park closures and fines that have been levied against those caught running on the grounds since the shutdown went into effect.

More demonstrations are planned for this week. Religious leaders and furloughed workers are set to visit lawmakers' offices in Washington Tuesday. A few blocks away, another group plans to picket outside a Citibank branch, urging banks to use their stature to help the Americans who funded bailouts during the financial crisis and pressure lawmakers to end the shutdown.

Companies have weighed in on the shutdown in a variety of ways, including offering special discounts and free food to federal workers. Coffee chain Starbucks carried out a promotion last week offering customers a free cup of coffee if they paid for someone else's drink. The company's chairman said it was a chance for people to "come together" while waiting for elected officials to do the same.

At least one American is not waiting for lawmakers to act. The shutdown has kept groundskeepers from working on the National Mall, but a South Carolina man showed up last week and began mowing grass, raking leaves and picking up trash around the grounds that hold many monuments and memorials. His actions have also inspired others to join his civic-minded mission to maintain the sites as the federal shutdown drags on.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs