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Continuing Rain Torments Flooded Areas in Texas

Tue, 2015-05-26 20:33
Large areas of Texas and Oklahoma are struggling to recover from flooding brought on by heavy rains that swept over the southern plains Monday and into Tuesday morning. Some of the most heavily traveled roads to the north and south of downtown Houston turned into rivers of dark, muddy water during the torrential downpours. Dozens of automobiles and trucks were abandoned along some highways, and water flowed into the ground floors of houses and some business buildings in low-lying...

State Department Spokesman Discusses Rezaian Trial

Tue, 2015-05-26 19:39
U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke discusses the Jason Rezaian trial, now underway in Tehran.

Gunfire, Blasts Jar Kabul Neighborhood

Tue, 2015-05-26 19:15
Heavy gunfire and explosions on Tuesday rocked an upscale neighborhood of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. The target of the attack was not immediately clear, but security officials said it appeared to be a guesthouse in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, which is home to several embassies and government buildings. The shooting began late Tuesday and was followed by a series of blasts. The firefight remained intense an hour after it began. No group immediately claimed responsibility...

A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

Tue, 2015-05-26 19:11
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.

Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

Tue, 2015-05-26 18:48
The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.

Libyan PM Thani Unharmed in Assassination Attempt

Tue, 2015-05-26 18:28
Abdullah al-Thani, Libya's internationally recognized prime minister, survived an apparent assassination attempt Tuesday. A government spokesman said unknown gunmen fired at the prime minister's car after he left the parliament building in the eastern city of Tobruk. The prime minister was unharmed, but a bodyguard was wounded. Armed men had tried earlier to storm the parliament while the prime minister was inside, but security forces drove them back. Libya has been in...

Iraq Risks Sinking Into Sectarian War, Analysts Say

Tue, 2015-05-26 18:21
With the fall of Ramadi to the Sunni-led Islamic State extremists and Iraqi Shi'ite militias gearing up to fight them, the fear in Washington, and in the region, is that Iraq once again will sink into all-out sectarian war. Bill Roggio of The Long War Journal said the militias are now eclipsing Iraq’s security forces in the fight against Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS. "The Iraq government’s reliance on the militias to lead the offensive in Ramadi highlights the...

Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

Tue, 2015-05-26 18:08
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul.    On Fridays, the traffic stretches for kilometers.  Groups of young men, couples and families make their way to the lake on cars and motorcycles as street vendors sell their wares. “In the past, business was bad.  Now it is picking up.  I work here every Friday and go to school the rest of the week,” said one vendor.   This...

Information on 100,000 US Taxpayers Stolen, IRS Says

Tue, 2015-05-26 18:08
Thieves used an online service provided by the Internal Revenue Service to gain access to information from more than 100,000 taxpayers, the agency said Tuesday. Officials said the information included tax returns and other tax information on file with the IRS. The IRS said the thieves accessed a system called "Get Transcript.'' In order to access the information, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer, including Social Security...

Study: Plankton Are a Major Oxygen Source on Earth

Tue, 2015-05-26 17:54
Tiny ocean creatures collectively called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals. But a four-year global study has discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. Plankton are animals, algae, bacteria and other microscopic organisms invisible to the naked eye. They inhabit the upper layers of the world’s oceans, seas and freshwater.   In a project called Tara Oceans, led by the French nonprofit...

Cleveland to Overhaul Police Department

Tue, 2015-05-26 17:36
The U.S. city of Cleveland has agreed to overhaul its police department under a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department that addresses a pattern of abuses detailed in a report last year. The settlement, announced Tuesday at a news conference in Cleveland, is aimed at providing a road map for the city's police to change their practices, including minimizing racial bias and excessive force and creating better relations with communities. The settlement, which is contained in a...

Saudi’s 'Shia Problem' Poses Impossible Dilemma

Tue, 2015-05-26 17:27
In recent years, as hopeful Arab Spring uprisings have descended into wars or chaos, protests in Saudi Arabia by the Shia minority have continued under the radar, with deaths and injuries deepening sectarian divides.   Recent Islamic State attacks now threaten to raise sectarian tensions in the world’s biggest oil producer, which is already at risk as the Sunni Saudi government continues to bomb the Shia Houthis in Yemen, according to Dubai-based geopolitical analyst Theodore...

Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tue, 2015-05-26 17:26
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

Tue, 2015-05-26 17:24
There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.

UN-Led Peace Talks for Yemen Postponed

Tue, 2015-05-26 17:19
A United Nations-brokered peace conference for war-torn Yemen has been postponed after Yemen's president said Houthi rebels were not meeting demands for withdrawal. A U.N. statement Tuesday said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked his special envoy to Yemen to postpone the talks planned for Thursday in Geneva, following a request from Yemen's government and other key parties for more time to prepare. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Ban is "disappointed that it has...

Court Refuses to Lift Hold on Obama Immigration Orders

Tue, 2015-05-26 17:10
A U.S. federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected the Justice Department's request to lift a temporary hold on President Barack Obama's executive actions aimed at keeping up to 5 million immigrants living illegally in the United States from being deported. A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled 2-1 in favor of 26 states, led by Texas. The judges ruled that a lawsuit by the states against the federal government should be allowed to play...

UN: 'Significant Challenges’ in Tanzania Cholera Outbreak

Tue, 2015-05-26 16:43
U.N. aid agencies report better sanitation and clean drinking water is containing a cholera epidemic among Burundian refugees in Tanzania, but there are fears that the deadly disease could spread to the local Tanzanian population. The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) reports measures to control cholera in western Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika area appear to be working. More than 4,000 cases of cholera have been reported among newly arrived Burundian refugees there, and the disease has killed 30...

UN Urges 'Comprehensive' Response to Migrant Crisis

Tue, 2015-05-26 15:26
The United Nations is calling on the European Union to shelter more migrants crossing the Mediterranean in pursuit of a better life in EU’s member countries. Speaking at a joint press conference Tuesday with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in Dublin, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged “European leaders to address this issue in a more comprehensive way and a collective way." Any approach, the U.N. chief said, also should look at the "roots" of the problem in...

Cartwheeling Spider, Colorful Sea Slug Among Top New Species

Tue, 2015-05-26 15:06
The Top 10 Species list is compiled annually by the International Institute for Species Exploration, or IISE. It calls attention to discoveries that are made even as species are going extinct faster than they are identified. From among the 18,000 new species named last year, a committee of taxonomists chose the ones that made the 2015 list. They include a bird-like dinosaur, dubbed the “chicken from Hell,” that was 3.5 meters from beak to tail and weighed as much as 300 kilograms; a...

Money Shortage Threatens Ebola Battle, WHO Says

Tue, 2015-05-26 14:42
The numbers of Ebola cases in Sierra Leone and Guinea have been rising and falling since Liberia was declared Ebola-free on May 9. The World Health Organization says that the road to zero will be bumpy, but that for the most part, progress in stopping transmission of the virus has been good. The latest WHO figures put the number of cases in the three West African countries at 27,001, with 11,132 deaths.  Over the past week, WHO reported 12 new cases of the disease — nine in Guinea...

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