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Driven to (VOA Connect Ep 16)

If you’ve ever felt out of place at a party, you can imagine how professional driver Wendell Scott, an African-American, felt when he began racing stock cars in the American South in the 1950s. He raced against and beat the best, stared down death threats and cheating, and ended up in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

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A Girl and a Sex Sting (VOA Connect Ep 16)

Shadowy websites provide cover for prostitution and sex trafficking that is the target of a police sting in Baltimore, Maryland. We follow undercover officers as they head to the streets to find and save a young girl being sold for sex.

Reporter: Carolyn Presutti
Camera: Mike Burke
Adapted by: Martin Secrest

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Sex Trafficking Victim (VOA Connect Ep 16)

She was like any other 14 year-old freshman in high school when she vanished from her home one ordinary winter night. What followed was a months-long nightmare of sex trafficking and despair, until finally – a rescue.

Reporter: Carolyn Presutti
Camera: Mike Burke, Arash Arabasadi
Adapted by: Martin Secrest

Reporter: Carolyn Presutti
Camera: Mike Burke, Arash Arabasadi
Adapted by: Martin Secrest

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Airport Human Trafficking (VOA Connect Ep 16)

US airlines wanted someone to teach flight crews to recognize human trafficking happening in airports. So, they went right to the source – a flight attendant who herself was sex trafficked when she was young. Now, she works to keep others from the same fate.

Reporter: Carolyn Presutti
Camera: Mike Burke
Adapted by: Martin Secrest

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Dance of Slaves (VOA Connect Ep 16)

It’s “fighting” that hurts no one, a dance that mimics martial arts, developed centuries ago by African slaves in Brazil. In central Africa today, this strange dance of battle is alive and well and helping orphans to think, love and just slow down.

Reporter / Camera: Mayra Fernandes, Karina Choudhury
Adapted by: Zdenko Novacki

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Rohingya Refugees Facing Malnutrition

In refugee camps in Bangladesh, Rohingya refugees from Myanmar face high levels of malnutrition, despite a large presence of aid organizations on the ground for over eight months. Aid workers are providing hot meals and treating malnourished children, but mothers in the camps need more support to keep their children well fed. For VOA, Jason Patinkin reports from malnutrition clinics and refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/rohingya-refugees-facing-malnutrition/4377430.html

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Democratic Gains in Midterms Would Alter Trump’s Presidency

U.S. voters head to the polls in November for a high stakes congressional midterm election in which Republican control of the House of Representatives and the Senate is in jeopardy. The outcome of the elections could have a profound impact on President Donald Trump as well, and the president is starting to take notice. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/democratic-gains-midterms-would-alter-trump-presidency/4377197.html

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Some Parents More Wary of Vaccines Than the Diseases Vaccines Prevent

Vaccines can prevent 23 viruses and two types of cancer, and more vaccines are in the works, including one for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Yet, despite these advances, many people choose to avoid getting these vaccinations for themselves and for their children. VOA’s Carol Pearson has more.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/parents-more-wary-of-vaccines-than-diseases-vaccines-prevent/4377182.html

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Brothers Find Success with Youth Sports Site Mars Reel

A new media channel created by two brothers who are athletes is shining the spotlight on young basketball players and gaining growing attention in the sports world. Mike O’Sullivan spoke with Bradley and Brandon Deyo, the creators of web-based channel Mars Reel.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/brothers-create-mars-reel-youth-sports-site-find-success/4377187.html

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Augmented Reality Film Gives Audiences Power to Accept or Reject Muslim Travelers

Every day, U.S. customs officers have the power to decide which travelers will be allowed into the country and which won’t. But what if you had to make that decision? Attendees at the Tribeca Film Festival had a chance to see for themselves in an augmented reality documentary set in an airport screening room. The 12-minute interactive film, “Terminal 3” by Pakistani filmmaker Asad Malik, conveys what some travelers face when they enter the United States. VOA Reporter Aunshuman Apte has more.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/augmented-reality-film-gives-audiences-power-over-muslim-travelers/4377192.html

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Armenia Protest Leader on Course to Become Prime Minister

The ruling party of Armenia indicated it will support the opposition leader’s bid to become prime minister in a parliamentary vote scheduled for May 8. The decision follows weeks of protests that culminated in blockades and strikes this week. The opposition called a halt to the demonstrations Thursday as all sides negotiated a political solution. The protests erupted last month after the former prime minister was accused of manipulating the constitution to cling to power. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/armenia-protest-leader-on-course-to-become-prime-minister/4377186.html

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National Guard Effect: A Deterrence for Would-Be Crossers?

Nearly a month has passed since President Trump called on the National Guard to beef up security along the US-Mexico border. His order, which came as a caravan of some 1,500 migrants were headed through Mexico toward the border, cited a rise in illegal crossings and called the situation a crisis. VOA’s Ramon Taylor and Arturo Martinez spoke with immigration officials and the National Guard to determine the effects of the deployment on border security and the lives of potential border-crossers.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/national-guard-effect-a-deterrence-for-would-be-border-crossers/4377190.html

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At Film Festival, Virtual Reality Films Merge the Digital and Physical

Virtual reality experiences are becoming more physical and more interactive. No longer just a “lean back” experience, the immersive technology is taking viewers out of the living room and into entirely new worlds. At the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, VOA’s Tina Trinh met with creators who are pushing the boundaries of the digital and physical divide.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/tribeca-film-festival-virtual-reality-films-merge-digital-physical/4375569.html

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Rights Groups Highlight New Threats on World Press Freedom Day

As the world marks Press Freedom Day, journalists around the world face arrests, intimidation or death for doing their jobs. And while the list of the world’s most censored countries is more or less the same, new hostility against media is emerging from previously friendly quarters. Rights organizations say freedom of the press, rather than improving, is increasingly at risk. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/rights-groups-highlight-new-threats-world-press-freedom-day/4375518.html

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Astronomers Given Detailed Map of 1.7 Billion Stars

The European Space Agency has released an updated catalogue of more than 1.7 billion stars in our galaxy, as well as other celestial bodies, such as exoplanets, asteroids and quasars. The new data gives astronomers an unprecedented three-dimensional map for studying the origin of the universe and searching for habitable planets. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/astronomers-given-detailed-map-of-nearly-billions-stars/4375517.html

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Uganda’s #Metoo Moment?

Is the #metoo movement coming to Uganda’s largest university? The school recently suspended a staff member accused of demanding sexual favors from a female student. Meanwhile, trial preparations are underway for a landmark civil suit filed by a former student who says the university failed to protect her from sexual harassment and violated her rights. For VOA, Halima Athumani reports from the university in Kampala.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/ugandas-me-too-moment/4375510.html

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Trump Praises Teachers Amid Wave of US Teacher Strikes

U.S. President Donald Trump met with teachers of the year from several states Wednesday at the White House. Trump conferred the 2018 National Teacher of the Year award, as public teachers in many states protest low pay and criticize the administration for what they see as siphoning education funds from public schools into private alternatives. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke has more.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/trump-praises-teachers-amid-wave-us-teacher-strikes/4375506.html

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Journalists Continue to Risk Their Lives for the Story

The April 30 killings of 10 journalists in Afghanistan highlight the dangers journalists face in covering some parts of the world. On VOA’s Plugged in with Greta Van Susteren, experts discuss why worldwide freedom of the press is more important now than ever. VOA’s Jesusemen Oni has more.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/journalists-continue-risk-their-lived-for-news/4375570.html

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Pompeo Sees Chance to ‘Change the Course of History on the Korean Peninsula’

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says President Donald Trump’s plan to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides “an unprecedented opportunity to change the course of history on the Korean Peninsula.” Pompeo was formally sworn in as the 70th U.S. secretary of state in a ceremony attended by Trump. As VOA’s Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports from the State Department, the secretary has been preparing for the summit and dealing with Iran and other foreign policy challenges.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/pompeo-sees-chance-change-course-of-history-korean-peninsula/4375508.html

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Retreat Ceremony at India-Bangladesh Border

India’s Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) last week held a joint retreat ceremony in Fulbari town of eastern West Bengal state. Held similarly like the ceremony that takes place every day before dusk at Wagah-Attari border involving Indian and Pakistani border guards, joint drills by the BSF and BGB for lowering of flags have been going on for the last few years. Hundreds of spectators were present at the retreat ceremony which was jointly inaugurated by Director Generals of BSF and BGB, Krishan Kumar Sharma and Maj Gen Md Shafeenul Islam. ‘Beating the Retreat’ has emerged as an event of national pride. The ceremony traces its origins to the early 1950s when Major Roberts of the Indian army indigenously developed the unique ceremony of display by the bands. It marks a centuries old military tradition, when the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield and returned to the camps at sunset at the sounding of the Retreat.

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Inter Korean Summit Highlights

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in April 27 in the Demilitarized Zone at Panmunjom. Their discussions centered around the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and a peace settlement.

Key facts:

– This was the first inter-Korean summit in 11 years

– It marked the first visit of a North Korean leader to the South since the Korean War

The Trump administration appears to be satisfied with the results of the meeting, believing it paved the way for the coming U.S.-North Korea summit and leaving room for U.S. President Donald Trump to pursue the specific measures he wants.

Four takeaways from the summit:

1. Inter-Korean ties:

It appeared that inter-Korean reconciliation was not aimed at resuming large-scale economic projects between the two sides, but rather, to focus on reducing military tensions, addressing humanitarian needs in the North, and people-to-people exchanges. This shows that Seoul, at least for now, is trying to reconcile with Pyongyang without undermining international sanctions against the North.

Before the summit, Moon repeatedly said the resolution of the nuclear issue would be key to meaningful progress in Seoul’s relations with Pyongyang. Seoul, however, is likely to embark on ambitious economic projects with Pyongyang once the nuclear issue is resolved and sanctions are lifted.

2. Nuclear issue

The North vowed to work toward “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula. Critics in Washington say that commitment lacks specifics. Some point out that the North’s interpretation of the peninsula’s denuclearization might be different from that of Washington, saying Pyongyang often demanded the United States withdraw its forces from South Korea and remove its nuclear umbrella from the South in return for the North giving up its nuclear weapons.

Moon’s supporters in Seoul maintain that persuading Kim to put his verbal commitment to denuclearization into writing was the goal of the summit, and the goal was achieved. They argued that specific measures of denuclearization need to be worked out between Trump and Kim at the planned summit.

3. Potential Washington-Seoul conflicts:

Whether Moon intended it or not, the outcome of the inter-Korean summit could put a strain on relations between Washington and Seoul. For example, Moon and Kim agreed to “completely cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain,” which could give Pyongyang an excuse to demand the suspension of joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea. Some Washington experts found the agreement too vague and warned that it could result in sweeping consequences.

The inter-Korean agreement also could have some negative implications for the overall future of the U.S.-ROK alliance. For many decades, deterrence against threats from North Korea through combined forces of the U.S. and South Korea has been the cornerstone of the alliance. As the two Koreas move closer to eachother and tension eases, the value of the U.S.-ROK alliance will begin to decrease.

Some in Washington remain skeptical Kim will denuclearize, believing his motivation for the peace offensive is to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul.

4. Kim Jong Un’s strategy:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seen at Peace House of the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, April 27, 2018.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seen at Peace House of the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, April 27, 2018.

Many experts wonder what might have motivated Kim to engage in the peace offensive. There are mainly two theories:

– Kim’s move is a show of confidence in his position on the nuclear issue. In November 2017, he declared the completion of the country’s nuclear force after the successful launch of an ICBM. Experts who believe this theory are highly skeptical of Kim’s pledge to denuclearize.

– Kim has come to grips with the reality that he must denuclearize to survive as his regime is feeling pain from international pressure. Some Washington experts questioned when and how Kim would deliver his peace offensive toward the world to his own citizens. During his meeting with Moon, Pyongyang launched a massive media campaign to get its version of the story out. North Korea’s official newspaper Rodong Sinmun ran a front-page story on the summit headlined, “a historic meeting that opened a new era of national reconciliation, unity, peace, and prosperity.”

What next?

Kim and Moon said they would pursue talks with the U.S. and China to formally end the Korean War, which ended in 1953 with a truce but not total peace.

https://www.voanews.com/a/four-things-you-should-know-about-the-inter-korean-summit/4373903.html

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Spot the Fake News (VOA Connect Ep 15)

How does one avoid confirmation bias and get the real news? You fact check. But how? We go to a school in Arlington, VA where teachers are taking the initiative to help students decipher what’s real news and what’s not. And how healthy debates and critical thinking skills can make spotting fake news a little easier. Deborah Block, Camera: Mike Burke/Adam Greenbaum, producer: Zdenko Novack

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Rohingya Refugees Brace for Rainy Days

May and June bring cyclones and floods to southeastern Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled ethnic cleansing in Myanmar live in low-lying, crowded camps across the border. Aid groups warn of landslides, floods and disease outbreaks. Jason Patinkin was at the camps and spoke to refugees and aid workers frantically preparing for the storms.
Originally published at – https://www.voanews.com/a/rohingya-refugees-brace-rainy-days/4374759.html

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Mike Pompeo Swears In as US Secretary of State

U.S. President Donald Trump made his first visit to the State Department Wednesday for the ceremonial swearing-in of his new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“Mike is a true American patriot,” Trump said as he praised the new top U.S. diplomat.

Pompeo has vowed to bring back the “swagger” to the State Department.

https://www.voanews.com/a/trump-to-make-first-visit-to-state-department/4373767.html

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World Cup Trophy Arrives in Russia

The FIFA World Cup trophy finished its world tour on May 1, arriving back to the host country Russia. The trophy visited 51 countries across six continents. While in Russia, the trophy will go through the cities of Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Saint Petersburg and Moscow. The worldwide football tournament will begin on June 14.

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World Record Drone Light Show

1,374 drones lit up Xi’an, China last week, breaking the record for most unmanned aerial vehicles simultaneously airborne. The drones, courtesy of the Ehang Egret UAV company, flew for 13 minutes in an organized dance of sorts. The drones spelled out political slogans, made shapes and changed colors.

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