News / USA

Washington Week: Focus on Burma, US Government Scandals

Washington Week: Focus on Burma, US Government Scandalsi
X
May 19, 2013 10:17 PM
A groundbreaking visit by Burma’s president and continuing probes of U.S. government scandals highlight a busy week ahead in Washington. VOA's Michael Bowman reports.

Washington Week: Focus on Burma, US Government Scandals

Michael Bowman
A groundbreaking visit by Burma’s president and continuing probes of U.S. government scandals highlight a busy week ahead in Washington.

Six months after President Barack Obama visited Rangoon, President Thein Sein reciprocates Monday with a visit to the White House.  Last November, Obama hailed democratic reforms in Burma.

“A dictatorship of five decades has loosened its grip.  Under President Thein Sein, the desire for change has been met by an agenda for reform.  A civilian now leads the government, and a parliament is asserting itself," he said.

After decades of estrangement, the United States sees engagement with Burma as a means to encourage further political and economic liberalization.

Should Obama press his Burmese counterpart on the importance of honest and transparent governance, he would be doing so at a time when the U.S. government is under investigation for misdeeds of its own.

Congressional probes of multiple scandals engulfing the Obama administration are continuing.  Last week, Steven Miller, the acting chief of the U.S. tax collecting agency resigned after the Internal Revenue Service admitted to singling out conservative political groups for heightened scrutiny.

“I want to apologize on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service for the mistakes we made and the poor customer service we provided.  The affected organizations and the American public deserve better," he said.

Lawmakers like Republican Kevin Brady want to know exactly what took place at the IRS, and whether those activities were known or even sanctioned by the Obama administration.

"Is this still America?  Is this government so drunk in power that it would turn its full force, its full might to harass and intimidate and threaten an average American who only wants her voice and their voices heard," he said.

White House officials note that the IRS is a politically-independent agency. President Obama says he, too is outraged by the scandal. “It is inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it.  I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency," he said.

Later in the week, the president is expected to speak on America’s counter-terrorism efforts, including his administration’s long-standing promise to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid