Voice of America

Voice of America is an international news and broadcast organization serving Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia, the Middle East and Balkan countries
  • In Germany, Graffiti Activists Turn Nazi Symbols Into Humorous Art
    The Nazi symbol known as the swastika was on display in Charlottesville, Virgina, during a white supremacist rally earlier this month that led to violence and division in the U.S. It sparked a national debate about how to respond. In Germany, where the swastika is banned, a group of graffiti activists have taken it upon themselves to transform that symbol of hate into something beautiful and positive. Faiza Elmasry tells us how. Faith Lapidus narrates.
  • Typhoon Hato Claims at Least 9 Near Hong Kong
    The death toll from Typhoon Hato has risen to at least nine as the most powerful storm to hit the southern China region around Hong Kong in more than half a century barreled west Thursday and was losing strength.    Macau said five people were killed in the gambling enclave, including two men found overnight in a parking garage. Another 153 were listed as injured amid extensive flooding, power outages, and the smashing of doors and windows by the high winds and driving rain.  China’s official Xinhua News Agency said four more people were killed in the neighboring province of Guangdong and one person remains missing. Hato roared into the area Wednesday with winds of up to 160 kilometers (99 miles) per hour. Fast storm, large rainfall  Xinhua said almost 27,000 people were evacuated to emergency shelters, while extensive damage to farmland because of the heavy rain and high tides was also reported. Almost 2 million households lost power temporarily, while fishing boats were called back to port and train services and flights suspended, Xinhua said.   “Compared to other typhoons, Hato moved fast, quickly grew more powerful and caused massive amounts of rainfall,” Wu Zhifang, chief weather forecaster at Guangdong meteorological bureau, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.    By Thursday, a weaker Hato was moving into China’s Guangxi region.   Flooding and injuries were also reported in Hong Kong, which lies across the water 64 kilometers (40 miles) from Macau, but there were no reports of deaths. Hato’s fierce gales blew out windows on skyscrapers in the Asian financial capital, raining shattered glass onto the eerily quiet streets below. Hong Kong’s weather authorities had raised the hurricane signal to the highest level for the first time in five years.   The earlier deaths in Macau were men, aged 30, 45 and 62. One fell from the 11th floor of a building, one was hit by a truck and another was killed when the wind blew down a wall. Details about the deaths in Guangdong weren’t immediately available.  
  • Mexico: Slain Reporter Wasn’t Target of Shooting
    The assailants who killed a crime reporter in the Mexican Gulf coast state of Veracruz appeared to be targeting two other people also slain in the attack, not the journalist, the country’s top human rights official said Wednesday. The Interior Department’s deputy secretary for human rights, Roberto Campa, said the initial investigation suggests Candido Rios Vazquez of the newspaper Diario de Acayucan was not the attackers’ target. He did not provide any additional details. “All indications point toward this being an attack against another person and that person’s bodyguards,” Campa said during a visit to Veracruz’s capital. Colleagues outraged Mexican officials have often been quick to point to motives other than reporting in the killings of journalists, and Campa’s comments outraged Rios Vazquez’s colleagues, who said the journalist had been repeatedly threatened by a former mayor since 2012. “They’re worse than the bullets that killed Candido,” the slain reporter’s editor, Cecilio Perez Cortes, said of Campa’s remarks. Perez said it was irresponsible of Campa to make such a public conclusion less than 24 hours after the crime without any proof.  “Implicitly he’s freeing the killers from blame,” the editor said. Campa oversees the federal government’s so-called mechanism to protect journalists and human rights workers. He confirmed that Rios Vazquez had been enrolled in the program since 2013 because of threats from a municipal official. He said Rios Vazquez’s case had been reviewed in recent months and that his home was outfitted with six surveillance cameras and he had a panic button. ​Threatened for years Hilda Nieves Martinez, Rios Vazquez’s wife, confirmed Wednesday that her husband had been threatened for years by a former mayor of Hueyapan. Men had been sent to beat him up and they had threatened to cut out his tongue and eyes. He had gone to Mexico City to tell authorities about all of it, she said. Perez said that his reporter had just messaged him and was headed home around 3 p.m. He had stopped along the road to speak with a former police inspector he knew when they were attacked. The inspector was also killed along with a third person. The National Human Rights Commission said Rios Vazquez was the ninth journalist slain so far this year in Mexico. It called for a thorough investigation and for officials to provide protection for his family. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson said Wednesday via Twitter that she was dismayed by Rios Vazquez’s murder. “Together we defend and respect freedom of the press,” she wrote. The front page of Wednesday’s Diario de Acayucan featured a large photograph of Rios Vazquez below the headline: “They will not silence us.”