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What Information Led to US Strike on Taliban Leader?

Thu, 2016-05-26 22:35
Days after a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, near the Afghan border, killed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, it remains unclear how the slain leader’s location was discovered. Mansoor was killed in a remote part of Baluchistan, a province that has been thought off limits for U.S. drones, which operate in the northwestern tribal areas. However, U.S. officials say the strike does not signal a change in American strategy or an expansion of the CIA’s decade-long drone campaign...

Trump Brings Energy into the Presidential Election Debate

Thu, 2016-05-26 22:22
Donald Trump on Thursday pledged to cancel the Paris climate agreement and aggressively pursue U.S. fossil fuel development, during a speech at a petroleum conference in North Dakota. He attacked Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton's positions on energy policy, drawing sharp contrasts between the two on an issue that could be a factor in the general election. Trump delivered his remarks in a state where oil and gas production have rocketed up 10-fold over the last...

US National Spelling Bee Holds Final Round

Thu, 2016-05-26 22:03
Washington, D.C. is a city full of celebrities, most of them of the adult variety. However, for several days each year at the end of May, some adolescents get celebrity treatment in the U.S. capital -- at the annual spelling bee. Ten contestants from several U.S. states took the stage in a suburb of Washington Thursday to compete in the final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, a competition that rewards one winner per year with a $40,000 prize and plenty of media attention....

Resumption of World Bank Loans to Cambodia Assailed

Thu, 2016-05-26 21:36
The World Bank’s decision this month to resume lending to Cambodia after a five-year moratorium has drawn criticism from development experts. The global development bank's May 19 announcement that it would issue $130 million in new loans to the Southeast Asian nation to fund poverty reduction projects caught some critics of the Phnom Penh government by surprise. The bank placed a freeze on new loans in August 2011 after coming under fire for its support for a land titling scheme...

More Vietnamese Activists Say They Were Barred from Obama Meetings

Thu, 2016-05-26 21:24
Several activists who had been scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama during his recent visit to Vietnam say they were prevented from doing so, adding to similar reports from earlier in the week that underscore Hanoi's ongoing human rights violations. The White House had requested a meeting with 10 leaders from both government-backed and independent civil society organizations, but all representatives of the independent groups now say they were blocked, including land rights...

Are US Central Bank Officials Signaling Interest Rate Hike Soon?

Thu, 2016-05-26 21:10
A series of back-to-back speeches by members of the U.S. Federal Reserve is raising the possibility that central bank policymakers may be signaling a rate increase soon. This week, Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan said he expected at least two rate hikes in 2016. On Thursday, Fed Governor Jerome Powell said that despite global risks and steady but unremarkable growth in the U.S., the improving employment picture and rising inflation suggested “another rate increase may be...

USCIS Delivers Customer Service in 140 Characters

Thu, 2016-05-26 21:01
Some federal agencies are delivering customer service in 140 characters. On Tuesday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services hosted its Twitter office hours to engage customers and answer questions as quickly as they came. The monthly event targeted anyone with questions about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — an executive order signed by President Barack Obama in 2012 that offers protections to young immigrants, allowing them to work legally for two years. Questions from...

Pilot's Release Seen Unlikely to Aid Russia's Relations With West

Thu, 2016-05-26 20:41
Both the Kremlin and some of its opponents expressed doubt Thursday that the freeing of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko in exchange for two Russian servicemen captured in eastern Ukraine will dramatically improve relations between Russia and Ukraine and its Western allies. "The return of our guys to Moscow and the pardoning of Savchenko and return her to Kyiv can hardly be considered something that can radically change the current atmosphere [in relations between Russia and the...

Poor Immune Function May Play Role in Malnutrition, Researchers Suggest

Thu, 2016-05-26 20:01
Experts say 45 percent of all child deaths in the world are associated with malnutrition and infections. Research in the last several years has begun to look at a possible link between increased risk of infections, caused by poor immune system function, and mortality among undernourished children. In a review paper published in the journal Trends in Immunology, researchers at Queen Mary University of London and the Kenya Medical Research Institute presented evidence that suggests...

Fired US Muslim Workers Lodge Discrimination Complaint

Thu, 2016-05-26 19:58
A federal civil rights complaint against a Wisconsin manufacturing company that allegedly fired 15 Muslim workers for religious reasons is one of four such cases pending with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and one of 68 the agency has resolved over the last 10 years. Since 2006, the EEOC has heard Muslims' allegations of religious discrimination against companies of various sizes and in different sectors, including corporate giants such as McDonald's,...

Diplomat Found Dead in El Salvador

Thu, 2016-05-26 19:33
Panama's honorary consul in El Salvador was found dead found Thursday with a gunshot wound to the head, officials in San Salvador said. El Salvador's attorney general's office and National Civil Police said the body of Carlos Armando Lemus was found in a parked vehicle in Escalon Colony, within the capital. Lemus, a Salvadoran citizen and businessman, had held his diplomatic post for 20 years. Prosecutors said via Twitter that they had no leads. Investigators did not say...

First Antibiotic-resistant Superbug Found in US

Thu, 2016-05-26 19:22
The United States may be treading on a path to a post-antibiotics era, when more people will die from common infections. In a study published Thursday, Defense Department researchers have confirmed the discovery of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the urine of a Pennsylvania woman who visited a military clinic last month. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the discovery could mean that we are at the "end of the road" for the...

Zambia Opposition Party, Patriotic Front Discuss Alliance

Thu, 2016-05-26 19:03
The national secretary of Zambia’s opposition Movement for Multi-Party Democracy said it had begun talks with President Edgar Lungu and his ruling party about forming an alliance ahead of the August 11 general election. Raphael Nakachinda also denied media reports that a dispute within the MMD, the second-biggest opposition group, could derail any possible alliance with the Patriotic Front. He said the move to confer with the PF resulted from a new constitutional provision requiring...

UN Court to Hear Kenya-Somalia Maritime Border Dispute

Thu, 2016-05-26 18:22
The U.N. International Court of Justice said Thursday that it would hold hearings this year on a maritime border dispute between Somalia and Kenya. Somalia has complained that Kenya has wrongly claimed parts of its territorial waters in the Indian Ocean, areas potentially rich in gas and oil reserves. The disputed area stretches over 100,000 square kilometers. Kenya sees the border extending in a straight line from its land border into the Indian Ocean, which would give it the...

Microsoft, Facebook to Build Undersea Data Cable across Atlantic

Thu, 2016-05-26 18:21
Microsoft Corporation and Facebook Inc. have agreed to build an undersea cable across the Atlantic Ocean to meet the growing demand for high-speed online and "cloud" services. Microsoft and Facebook announced the move Thursday, saying the 6,600-kilometer "MAREA" cable, named for the Spanish word for "tide," will stretch from the U.S. East Coast state of Virginia to Bilbao, Spain. From Spain, the cable would link to hubs in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and...

Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

Thu, 2016-05-26 18:04
Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.

Around 20 Feared Dead as Migrant Boat Sinks off Libya's Coast

Thu, 2016-05-26 17:53
Around 20 people are feared dead after a migrant boat capsized Thursday off Libya's coast. Officials say more than 80 people were rescued in the second such incident in two days. The Libyan coast guard reported that four bodies were found floating in the Mediterranean along with two empty boats, suggesting that more people drowned as smugglers take advantage of the warm weather to transport a larger number of migrants to Europe on unsafe vessels. Separately, a Libyan navy spokesman...

Islamic State's Ability to Inspire Violence Worries US Officials

Thu, 2016-05-26 17:43
U.S. officials are warning of Islamic State’s ability to inspire violent deeds around the world, including in the United States, without commanding or having any direct contact with terrorists. “We are in a new phase of the global terrorist threat,” Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told a U.S. Senate panel Thursday. “We have moved from a world of terrorist-directed attacks to a world that increasingly includes the threat of terrorist-inspired attacks, one in which...

Saudi Cleric: Selfies with Cats ‘Prohibited’

Thu, 2016-05-26 16:02
An influential Saudi cleric says taking selfies with cats or other animals is “prohibited" unless completely necessary. Sheikh Saleh Bin Fawzan Al-Fazwan, a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, was told about the trend among Saudis who “want to be like Westerners," during an April 17 televised appearance that was posted by the Middle East Media Research Institute monitoring group. Al-Fazwan replied: “What?! What do you mean pictures with cats? Taking pictures is...

Zimbabwe Frees Thousands of Prisoners Under Amnesty Plan

Thu, 2016-05-26 15:27
Zimbabwe has freed 2,000 inmates as the country's prison system struggles with massive overcrowding and food shortages. The notice of the pardon was announced earlier this week by President Robert Mugabe. It was extended to all male prisoners under the age of 18 and all female inmates, with the exception of two serving life sentences. It included terminally-ill prisoners and some male inmates with sentences of under three years who had served a majority of their time....

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