News / USA

Washington Week: Focus on Scandals and Tragedies

Brian Padden
U.S. President Barack Obama visits a town devastated by a killer tornado and federal investigations continue into the cause of a major bridge collapse in Washington State and a freight train collision in Missouri.  Congress is not in session this week so investigations into recent scandals continue to dominate the Washington political agenda.

President Obama traveled Sunday to Moore, Oklahoma to meet with and console residents of the midwestern town devastated by a tornado that killed 24 people and injured more than 200 others.  The president has pledged $3.4 million in federal aid to help the town rebuild.

“This is a strong community, with strong character.  There is no doubt they are going to bounce back, but they need help. Just like any of us would need help if we saw the kind of devastation that we are seeing here," he said.

Investigators are looking into the cause of two major transportation accidents in the United States - the collapse of a major road bridge in Washington state and a freight train collision in rural Missouri that caused the collapse of a highway overpass.  Robert Sumwalt is a member of the National Transportation Safety Board.

“Anytime we have something like that, we are very concerned about it.  That is why we are here.  We are here to find out what happened so we can learn from it and keep it from happening again," he said.

The Federal Highway Administration says about a quarter of the country’s 607,000 bridges are structurally deficient.

Secretary of State John Kerry travels from Ethiopia to Jordan for a World Economic Forum that is expected to include talks on Syria.

Speaking Saturday to cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he will work to change the military culture in light of a new Pentagon report showing that as many as 26,000 military service members may have been sexually assaulted last year.

"Sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military are a profound betrayal - a profound betrayal - of sacred oaths and sacred trust.  This scourge must be stamped out.  We are all accountable in ensuring this happens," he said.

And while Congress is not in session this week, calls for investigations into the Internal Revenue Service after learning it targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny, and into the Justice Department’s decision to search the emails of journalists working on stories about national security, continue to dominate the news in Washington.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

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