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Updated: 12 min 43 sec ago

Tunisians Head to Polls for Presidential Election

1 hour 49 min ago
Tunisians go to the polls on Sunday to vote for a new president in just the third free election since the 2011 revolution that ended the regime of autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Nearly 30 candidates are running, but a race has emerged between a veteran ex-Ben Ali official and a rights activist who says the election is a chance to stop the return of old-regime stalwarts. More than three years after the end of Ben Ali's one-party rule, Tunisia has become a model of transition for...

6.8-Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Central Japan

3 hours 8 min ago
A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake shook central Japan on Saturday night, injuring more than 20 and causing several homes to collapse. The quake was centered near Nagano and was felt as far away as Tokyo. No tsunami warnings were issued. Rescuers pulled 21 people out of the debris of their wrecked homes. The quake also temporarily halted high-speed train service, caused several major roads to collapse and shut down others because of landslides. No damage has been reported at the...

US Transfers Saudi Prisoner From Guantanamo Bay Prison

4 hours 48 min ago
The United States has released another inmate from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Muhammed Murdi Issa al-Zahrani, who was transferred to Saudi Arabia, spent 12 years at the prison for allegedly fighting for al-Qaida. The Pentagon said the Saudi inmate was approved for release last month after military, justice and homeland security officials determined he was no longer a threat to the United States. Zahrani will take part in a rehabilitation program in Saudi Arabia. He is...

Russian Foreign Minister: West Wants 'Regime Change' in Moscow

5 hours 3 min ago
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the West of seeking a "regime change" in Russia by imposing sanctions because of the Ukraine conflict. Lavrov said Saturday that prominent figures in Western countries are saying there is a need to impose sanctions that will destroy Russia's economy and incite public protests. His comments came two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country must prevent a "color revolution," referring to...

House Panel: No Wrongdoing by US Military, CIA on Benghazi

5 hours 44 min ago
A new congressional report concludes there was no wrongdoing by the U.S. military and the CIA in the response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. The attack by Islamic extremists killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. President Barack Obama's Republican critics allege the White House and State Department lied about the incident and ordered a CIA rescue team not to go into action. The latest report by the House...

Myanmar Military Chief Denies Presidency Ban Targets Aung San Suu Kyi

6 hours 4 min ago
The military chief of Myanmar, also known as Burma, has told VOA the constitutional clause barring opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming president is not aimed at her in particular. In an exclusive interview with VOA's Burmese Service, General Min Aung Hlaing said the limitation closing off the presidency to anyone with a spouse or children who are foreign citizens is "a national issue." He said it reflects lingering immigration problems in Myanmar due to the...

France Struggles to Understand Converts to Radical Islam

7 hours 53 min ago
In the Normandy town where he grew up, Maxime Hauchard was known as a nice young man who liked movies and tinkering with motorbikes. He converted to Islam, but apart from that, nobody remembers anything remarkable about him. Hauchard's Facebook page tells another story. It shows the 22-year-old Frenchman dressed in combat clothes and posing with a weapon. By this time he's in Syria — a member of the Islamic State group that has carried out a brutal campaign of torture and...

Islamic State Kills at Least 25 Iraqi Tribesmen

8 hours 52 min ago
Islamic State militants reportedly have killed at least 25 members of a Sunni Muslim tribe in a village on the eastern edge of the provincial capital Ramadi, in apparent revenge for tribal opposition to the radical Islamists. Local officials said bodies of Albu Fahd tribemen were discovered by the Iraqi army when it launched a counteroffensive Saturday against Islamic State near Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province. "While they were combing the territories they are liberating,...

Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

9 hours 44 min ago
New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.

Melinda Gates Honored for Humanitarian Work

11 hours 8 min ago
Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been awarded the annual Chatham House Prize for making the most significant contribution to improved international relations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Mali Confirms New Ebola Case

11 hours 28 min ago
Mali has confirmed a new case of the Ebola virus and said two more patients are being tested for the disease. The government said in a statement Saturday that the patient who tested positive for Ebola has been quarantined and is receiving intensive treatment. Mali is monitoring more than 300 people who had contact with Ebola patients, in an effort to limit the spread of the virus. Seven Ebola cases have been confirmed in the West African nation, and all of those patients, except the...

Social Media, Websites Escalate Tension in Ferguson

11 hours 29 min ago
In news accounts and on social media, it looks as if demonstrators are clashing daily with law enforcement officers in Ferguson, Missouri. In reality, demonstrations have been mostly peaceful since the violence immediately following the August 9 shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer. Some local demonstrators have been attending classes in nonviolent action. Leaders have asked their groups to call out anyone they see causing trouble. But some organizations, such as RbG...

Biden, Erdogan Discuss Syrian Regime Change

12 hours 53 min ago
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have discussed a Syrian transition of power away from the Bashar al-Assad regime. Biden described his more than four hours of talks Saturday with Erdogan as frank and direct. Though Washington and Ankara are divided over the strategy to fight Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, with Erdogan calling for a broader war against the militant group, relations between the allies remain strong, Biden stressed at a joint...

Kennedy Assassination Reverberates 51 Years Later

14 hours 2 min ago
Saturday marks the 51st anniversary of the assassination of U.S. President John Kennedy, who brought youth and energy to the White House when he became president in 1961. He and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy brought a unique sense of style and glamour that Washington had not seen before. Kennedy was just 46 and about 1,000 days into his presidency when he was shot dead while riding in an open-top limousine in a motorcade November 22, 1963, in the U.S. southwestern city of Dallas, Texas....

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

14 hours 9 min ago
A prominent activist group monitoring Syria's civil war says U.S.-led airstrikes in the country have killed more than 900 people since the campaign against Islamic State militants began in September. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children. But the group says a majority of those killed, a total of 785, were Islamic State fighters. It says another 72 militants killed in the...

Melinda Gates Honored for Humanitarian Work

14 hours 34 min ago
Melinda Gates and her husband, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, launched their namesake foundation in 2000 with the aim of improving lives through health care and access to education and technology. At a ceremony in London Friday night, Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, awarded her its annual prize for making the most significant contribution to improving international relations in the previous year.   Britain’s Prince William presented the award with...

Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

14 hours 48 min ago
The fate of the Hong Kong protests is at a crossroads. A new public opinion survey indicates 83 percent of people say pro-democracy protesters should end their street demonstrations. Even the movement’s founders have suggested protesters find other ways to press for open elections of Hong Kong’s top leader in 2017. But some, like Christine and high school student Kenny in the Hong Kong district of Mong Kok, say they will stay and fight for their rights. "I think the protest is...

Ukraine Marks First Anniversary of EuroMaidan Protest

15 hours 9 min ago
A year on, the relatives of protesters who died in Ukraine’s EuroMaidan uprising aren’t the only ones angered by the country’s direction since the ouster of pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych. The lack of progress in investigating the slayings of more than 100 protesters caused hecklers to shout, “Where are the killers?” at  President Petro Poroshenko during an anniversary ceremony Friday in Kyiv. Frustrated Maidan activists point to the snail-like pace of reform and say they...

Bahrain Hold Elections

15 hours 19 min ago
Residents of Bahrain are voting Saturday for the first time since a 2011 pro-democracy uprising.   However, opposition groups, including al-Wefaq - the country's most popular Shi'ite group - are urging supporters to boycott the polls. Al-Wefaq has dismissed the electoral process as a "farce" and warned that failure by the kingdom's rulers to loosen their grip on power could trigger a surge in violence. Candidates are running for municipal and parliamentary...

Kerry: 'Serious Gaps' Remain as Iran Nuclear Deadline Looms

15 hours 42 min ago
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says that though negotiators are making "careful progress" in talks on the future of Iran’s nuclear program, "some serious gaps" remain.      It was Kerry’s first comment on the talks since arriving Thursday in Vienna, amid indications that the closely held process was advancing.   "We've been obviously having difficult talks here [on a] complicated topic," said Kerry. "We're working hard....

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