December 26, 2014 20:04 UTC


US Politics Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses a news conference after a meeting in Vienna, Austria, Nov. 24, 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he will continue to try to negotiate an end to Iran's nuclear program. New Republican-controlled Senate may not support any agreement negotiated by the Obama administration and may not want to quickly ease sanctions against Iran. More

Video Christian or Not, Most Americans Celebrate Christmas

Christmas is the most widely celebrated religious holiday in the United States. In Christianity, the day honors the birth of Jesus. Peace and harmony is the spiritual message of Christmas. But many Americans will celebrate Christmas as an important, but non-religious, holiday.

Video VOA Staff Presents 'A Visit From St. Nicholas'

​The American idea of Santa Claus largely comes from a poem called "A Visit from St. Nicholas". Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem in 1822, but he did not put his name on it. Some call it the most famous poem ever written by an American. The poem was "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

Audio NY Shooter Had Record of Violence, Mental Illness

A top New York City police official says the man who killed two officers Saturday had a record of violence and mental problems. Ismayyil Brinsley shot officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in their police car in the Brooklyn, New York. He then shot and killed himself at a nearby train station.

Video How the US Deals with its Sexual Assault Problem

A new study shows young women ages 18 to 24 are the most common targets of rape and sexual attack. Many Americans are dealing with the problem. They are hearing and reading about the issue, from awareness and activism at colleges to programs to fight it at the highest levels of government.

Video Helping California’s Homeless

Federal officials believe there are hundreds of thousands of homeless people nationwide on any given day. Each one lacks a permanent place to live. Reasons for homelessness can include the high cost of housing, poverty and unemployment. Other reasons are mental health problems and bad luck.

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.

Video A Los Angeles Christmas

The end of December is a time when many Americans are thinking about snow and cold weather. Yet the city of Los Angeles, California is almost always warm and sunny, even during the winter holiday season. Many people like all the holiday decorations and lights seen in and around Los Angeles.

Audio In US, Support for Death Penalty Is Strong

Public opinion surveys show 60 percent of Americans want judges and juries to be able to sentence criminals to death. But the same studies show that many Americans have concerns about the justice system and the way executions are carried out. | As It Is

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.

Video Have Police Incidents Hurt America’s Image?

African-Americans die after incidents with police, but the officers were not charged with a crime. The decisions by two grand juries caused protests in the US and other countries. We listen to what some students studying in London think about the decisions. | As It Is

Audio US Releases ‘Torture’ Report on Central Intelligence Agency

The report says the CIA used a number of harsh or severe methods against captured al-Qaida and other militants to get information. The methods included ice baths, sexual threats and waterboarding. The report says the CIA failed to take corrective action after the death or injury of some detainees.

Audio Olvera Street: Birthplace of Los Angeles

They stood near the birthplace of Los Angeles, now the second largest city in the United States. They were close to where settlers and a few soldiers from Spain first set up the city in 1781. The settlers had left a nearby Roman Catholic religious center called Mission San Gabriel Arcangel.

Audio US Police Officials Examine Use of Force Rules

Recent grand jury rulings have fueled demonstrations in some American cities. Power over grand juries rests with the 50 individual states, and the rules differ from state to state. The Obama administration has established a federal task force to examine policing policies.

Video US Politicians Busy Planning for 2016 Elections

The Republican Party is preparing to control both houses of the United States Congress in January. The Democratic Party lost its majority in the Senate. Both parties have already begun looking ahead to the 2016 elections. At that time, Americans will elect a new Congress -- and a new president.

Audio US Officials Claim Afghan Operations Unchanged

United States officials say the force level and duties of U.S. and NATO troops remaining in Afghanistan after December have not changed. But media reports say more U.S. troops will be staying than the number announced. The reports also say the troops’ rules for military operations will be expanded.

Audio Americans Can Again Adopt Vietnamese Children

Program was suspended six years ago after an investigation of charges of baby-selling and fraud. But Vietnam is letting only "special needs" children be adopted. The news that the adoptions will restart comes as US, Vietnam seek to increase trade and improve military cooperation. | As It Is

Video US Evangelicals Debate Homosexuality in the Bible

An increasing number of mainline Christian groups are also accepting same-sex unions. But most evangelical Christians say the Bible condemns sexual relations among people of the same sex. Now, a well-known student of evangelicalism is saying that the traditional reading of the Bible is wrong.

Video Thanksgiving, a Traditional American Holiday

Thanksgiving is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November. The month of November comes in autumn, the main season for harvesting crops. Thanksgiving is an autumn harvest festival like those found in many cultures. It is viewed as the most traditional of all American holidays.

Audio New Violence Hits Ferguson, Missouri

An American grand jury ruling has resulted in new violence in the city of Ferguson, Missouri. The jurors decided not to charge a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed African American teenager last August. The decision was announced Monday -- more than three months after the shooting.

Learn with The News

  • Audio Islamic State Changed Syria and Iraq in 2014

    In June, ISIS took control of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. Iraqi soldiers fled. ISIS seized the weapons they left behind and about $400 million. The terrorist group then began calling itself the Islamic State and seized large areas of northern Syria and Iraq. More

  • RFE/RL's Baku bureau staff held as office raided by Azerbaijani prosecutors, Dec. 26, 2014.

    Audio Radio Free Europe Office Raided by Azerbaijan Officials

    Government lawyers said a court had ordered them to close the bureau in the capital Baku; at least ten officials from the state prosecutor’s office entered the bureau along with armed police. Earlier this month, a court in the country ordered an RFE journalist held for two months before trial. More

  • Guardians of the Galaxy

    Video Guardians of Peace and the Galaxy: Movie News of 2014

    The so-called Guardians of Peace hacking of Sony Pictures computer network was the biggest movie news of the year. But there were also major Hollywood money making films and important, smaller productions released in 2014. They were Boyhood and Guardians of the Galaxy. More

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses a news conference after a meeting in Vienna, Austria, Nov. 24, 2014.

    Audio US Politics Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he will continue to try to negotiate an end to Iran's nuclear program. New Republican-controlled Senate may not support any agreement negotiated by the Obama administration and may not want to quickly ease sanctions against Iran. More

  • FILE - Children play below illegally connected electrical wires in Kliptown, Soweto. Eskom generates almost all the electricity in South Africa, and nearly half that produced in the whole the sub-Saharan region,  Nov. 19, 2014.

    Audio South Africa Faces Worsening Power Outages

    South Africa is facing an electricity crisis. South Africans have been experiencing a growing number of electricity “blackouts." State-operated power company provides 95 percent of the country’s electricity. Company officials predict it will lose billions of dollars over the next four years. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Family Makes Friends and Memories on World Trip

    The Rivenbarks are about six months into their year-long trip around the planet. They have floated in kayaks in Italy, flown in hot air balloons in Myanmar, hiked to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal, and gone on safari in South Africa. But, much is still ahead. More

  • A large poster offering reward for the capture of the murderer of President Abraham Lincoln is held to view by Gwendolyn Plate, an employee of Parke-Bernet Galleries in New York, February 15, 1952, where the $250,000 Lincoln collection of the late Oliver

    Audio Actor Shoots Lincoln, Calls Him a Tyrant

    ​On Friday, April 14, 1865, Lincoln was enjoying a play at the Ford's Theater when a man came from behind and shot him. To millions of Americans, Abraham Lincoln's death was a personal loss. They had come to think of him as more than the President of the United States. He was a trusted friend. More

  • dark chocolate

    Chocolate Improves Memory and Heart Health

    Researchers are realizing what chocolate-lovers have known for a long time -- that chocolate is good for you. Their study found that large amounts of flavanols, substances found in cocoa, tea and some vegetables, may help to reverse age-related memory failure and can help prevent strokes. More

  • Nuclear fusion display at the Weiss Energy Hall, Houston Museum of Natural Science

    Audio Is a Fusion Nuclear Reactor Coming Soon?

    The United States technological organization Lockheed Martin says it will produce a working fusion nuclear reactor within five years. Lockheed Martin says it may have an operating prototype by 2017, and a version for sale by 2022. Fusion involves forcing together atomic nuclei. More

  • Obama National Christmas Tree

    Audio The History of Christmas in America

    In the first half of the 19th century, Christmas was a very different kind of holiday than it is today. People did not have a set way of celebrating. Christmas was not even an official holiday yet. More

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