December 21, 2014 05:31 UTC


Disagreement Over Mekong River Dam Project

FILE - A man casts a fishing net on the Mekong riverbank in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

A two-day meeting in Laos has left government officials and environmental activists deeply divided. The meeting was called to examine plans for a 260 megawatt dam on the Lower Mekong River. The Lao government is prepared to start work on the project. More

Audio Concerns Raised for Uber, Ride-Sharing Services

Some cities start to ban Uber after one of its drivers was accused of a sexual attack in India. The incident raises questions about companies that use apps to match drivers and passengers. The issue has grown more important with the expansion of what is called the “sharing economy.”

Audio Some Asian Countries Gain from Low Oil Prices

Recently, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to leave production levels unchanged. Oil prices are at their lowest levels in five years and that is helping nations in Asia that are big importers. But some experts say it is a matter of time before prices recover.

Audio Egypt’s Increase in Visitors Not Enough

Officials in Egypt say the country’s tourist industry appears to be recovering after years of unrest. Egypt enjoyed a huge increase in visitors during summer and early autumn. But observers say continued insecurity makes tourism undependable – and not profitable enough to cure the weak economy.

Audio Bangladesh Overcomes Flooding with 'Floating Farms'

In Bangladesh from July to October, rivers rise, but farmers are learning to grow crops and raise animals even when the floods come. If you can create floating schools, why not floating farms? A Bangladeshi non-profit organization brought small floating farms to the villagers.

Audio Falling Oil Prices Affect Nations Differently

Oil prices have dropped 30 percent since June. Increased American oil production is one reason for the drop in world oil prices. Nigeria has announced measures the government would take to increase income. But, in India the lower oil prices have helped ease inflation.

Video Filipino Fishermen Turn to Fiberglass for New Boats

After a typhoon seriously damaged forests, the fishermen needed to find other materials to rebuild their boats. Is fiberglass the answer? They use a sledgehammer to answer that question. The fisherman used it to hit the sides of the fiberglass boats to see if the new boats were as strong.

Video Farm Visitors Increase Farm Profits

In 2012, people spent $700 million on agri-tourism in the United States, a large increase from five years earlier. Fun on the farm is in full swing across the United States, as many farms host festivals and other activities to attract tourists. VOA visited Montpelier Farms in Maryland.

Audio China Opens Shanghai Stock Market to Hong Kong

The trading plan lets investors trade shares in either stock exchange. Some officials called the move a major breakthrough in opening China’s financial markets. Trading in a limited number of shares will be limited to $3.8 billion a day. However, the total value of the trade is relatively small.

Audio Billionaires Grow in Numbers, Influence

Author of new book on the super-rich says billionaires “are shaping the world for the better and sometimes for the worse.” Many support political campaigns, candidates and issues. But another writer claims American billionaires are not as powerful as some people believe. | As It Is

Audio Experts Weigh China's Proposed Development Bank

The Chinese government launched the Asian Infrastructure Bank late last month. The United States and other nations have expressed concern about the bank’s openness. Some observers say the United States should consider joining the new bank instead of ignoring it.

Video Need a Ride? Share a Bike

People can rent many different things today: cars, apartments, party dresses -- even surf boards to ride the waves. People handle these rentals between and among themselves. They do not need to involve any company. This system is called the sharing economy.

Audio Low Prices Cause Kenyan Farmers to Change Tea Crop

Frustrated by the low prices of tea, farmers near Mt. Kenya have started growing a new “purple tea" to try to increase profits. But experts say there might not be any demand for it..yet. One farmer says he may stop growing tea and start growing cabbages if the market does not improve. | As It Is

Video Why are so Many US Lawyers Leaving Law?

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" is a question not just for kids. For more and more lawyers in the US, this is a question they are asking themselves after deciding to walk away from careers in law. VOA spoke with two former lawyers who started new careers -- in writing and baking.

Audio Is Younger Generation Hurting Taiwan’s Competitiveness?

A Taiwanese public official recently voiced concern that young people in Taiwan are more likely to prefer a safe job to starting their own business. This way of thinking is different from that of their parents and modern mainland Chinese. Experts say this could threaten Taiwanese business startups.

Audio Five Illegal Job Interview Questions in the US

Finding a good job is difficult enough. Add to that the fact that employers may ask some very personal questions during a job interview. In the United States, it is illegal for employers to raise some of these issues. See how they compare to job interviews in your country.

Video Ghana's Bamboo Bikes Hit the Streets

Bicycle frames are usually made out of materials like carbon fiber, steel or aluminum. But in rural Ghana, a businessman has developed another way to make bicycles from a natural product -- bamboo. The wooden bike parts are sent Ghana to Germany, the Netherlands and Australia. | As It Is

Audio Wealth, Poverty Are Issues in Hong Kong Protests

The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are mainly about the right to vote without interference from China’s central government. But there are at least two other less talked-about issues. One is concern about the rising cost of living in Hong Kong. Another is the gap between rich and poor.

Audio Luxembourg Set to End Bank Secrecy

European Union finance ministers have reached an agreement that will make it more difficult for tax avoiders to hide their money. The new legislation was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. Countries known as tax havens had blocked the bank secrecy laws.

Audio French Economist Wins Nobel for Studies in Market Rules

Economists have studied how markets work for a long time. Generally, they work well. But markets do not always perform as expected. Jean Tirole of France won the Nobel Prize in Economics for studying why markets are imperfect, or inefficient, and what governments can do to regulate them.

Learn with The News

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and U.S. President Obama participate in a welcome ceremony for President Obama at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

    Audio Is China Starting to Live its Dream?

    Trust in the American dream may be disappearing. But halfway around the world, a new dream has been gaining strength -- the Chinese dream. To be exact: President Xi Jinping’s Chinese dream. But, what is the Chinese dream? And how has President Xi started to make his dream for the country a reality? More

  • Audio I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

    Music fills the air. Colorful lights shine brightly in windows. Children and adults open gifts from loved ones and friends. These are all Christmas traditions. Another tradition is snow. In many places, a blanket of clean white snow covers the ground on Christmas Day, making it a "White Christmas." More

  • FILE - A Muslim woman releases a dove as a symbol of peace during a rally against the Islamic State group in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sept. 5, 2014.

    Audio Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

    Indonesia estimates that more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State militants. That would represent an increase of 50 since last month. Most of the Indonesian fighters do not come directly from their homeland, but from other countries where they may be working More

  • Audio Turkey Rejects Criticism of Raids on Opposition Media

    Turkish officials say recent arrests of more than 20 journalists were made in connection with a plot against the government. But the European Union says Turkey is increasingly becoming more authoritarian. It said the media raids were in conflict with European values. More

  • US Cuba

    Audio Obama Moves to Normalize Relations with Cuba

    President Barack Obama announced a major change in United States’ policy toward Cuba this week. He said he wants Congress to ease more than 50 years of U.S. sanctions against the island nation. And he said the two nations should once again formally recognize one another. More

Featured Stories

  • Video Music Shows in Private Homes Gain Popularity

    Attending a live musical performance, be it in a huge arena or a small cafe, is an exciting experience. But here in the U.S., a very different kind of performance is gaining popularity: house concerts. “There's just a totally unique experience as opposed to playing like a coffee shop or a bar." More

  • Lee Surrenders to Grant at Appomatox

    Audio Southern General Robert E. Lee Surrenders at Appomattox

    General Robert E. Lee’s military skill and intelligence helped extend the war between the states. But even his skill could not save the South from the industrial power of the North and its mighty armies -- armies that were better-fed and better-equipped. On Sunday, August 9, Lee surrendered. More

  • Uganda Playground for Disabled Children

    Audio Helping Uganda’s Disabled Children Play

    You may think that all children have freedom to play. But for children who look differently from others or have physical disabilities, the idea of play can seem far away. An organization in Uganda is seeking to change that. Read on to learn words needed to talk about this sometimes difficult topic. More

  • A microneedle used to inject glaucoma medications into the eye is shown next to a liquid drop from a conventional eye dropper. (Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek

    Audio Tiny Needles Treat Eye Disease

    Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness around the world. In the United States, more than two million people suffer from the disease. Now, researchers are developing very small needles that may offer a more effective and painless treatment for glaucoma and other eye diseases. More

  • The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement in Las Vegas

    Audio Mob Museum Tells About the Mafia in America

    The U.S. government has long used public money to fight organized crime. Now, public money is also paying for a museum in Las Vegas to tell about "The Mob,” and not everyone is happy about that. But some say it helps the local economy by bringing people to a part of Las Vegas that few visit. More

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