World News

    US Lawmakers Remain Deadlocked on Shutdown Day 4

    Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress remain deadlocked Friday on the fourth day of a partial government shutdown triggered by their failure to agree on a spending bill.

    U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and other House Republicans demanded Friday that Democrats sit down and negotiate a solution to the shutdown.



    "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 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 Democratic-led 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 government workers, about a third of the federal work force.

    Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow told a news conference Friday the shutdown has hurt the ability of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to perform their jobs. She and other Senate Democrats slammed the shutdown, which they blame on Republicans, for hurting Americans' health and safety.

    Stabenow, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, and chairman of the Senate health committee Tom Harkin said the government could re-open immediately if Boehner allows the House to vote on a spending bill that does not include changes to the health care program. All three senators criticized House Republicans' attempts at a "piecemeal" approach to ending the shutdown, saying the entire government needs to be re-opened, not just some agencies in some places.



    Federal workers classified as essential employees, such as air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and many food inspectors continue to work, as do many in the U.S. broadcasting services, including VOA.

    But the partial government shutdown is taking a toll.

    The White House announced late Thursday that President Obama had decided to cancel his upcoming visits to Indonesia and Brunei in the face of the shutdown. He had originally been scheduled for a four-nation, week-long trip to Asia, but canceled visits to Malaysia and the Philippines earlier this week because of the budget standoff with Republicans.

    The White House said the president is determined to continue pressuring Republicans to allow a vote on a clean spending bill.



    "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 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 Vladivostok 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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.