August 04, 2015 09:54 UTC

USA

What’s in a Name?

08/01/2015
The big news comes … you are going to have a baby! Now the work begins – the work of picking the perfect name for your bouncy baby boy or girl. In the US, some parents stick to traditional family names. Some are inspired by pop culture. And others pick qualities they hope their child to have. More

Video Louisiana Using BP Settlement Money to Restore Coast

Five years ago, workers stopped a well that had been leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. This month, the company judged responsible for the disaster, BP, agreed to pay $18.7 billion to states along the Gulf coast. The money will help pay for economic and environmental restoration.

Video Bus Brings Meals to Hungry Children

In the United States, millions of students depend on schools for meals during the school day. That means they eat less when schools are closed over the summer. An aid group has found a way to reach out to some of these children with a former school bus.

Audio Guide to 2016 Campaign: The Republicans

Welcome to the VOA Learning English guide to the presidential candidates. We tell you who is who and what their campaigns are saying. We also provide links to their websites to learn more. This guide centers on the 16 candidates for the Republican nominations.

Audio Guide to 2016 Campaign: the Democrats

This is part of a series of reports from VOA Learning English to guide you through the U.S. presidential campaign in 2016. This report centers on the candidates for the Democratic nomination. We tell you who they are, what their campaigns are saying, and where to go for more information.

Audio US Military Facing Threats from Terrorists, Countries

As extremist groups become more powerful, Russia and China are becoming more aggressive. The American military is struggling to deal with both of these threats at the same time as budget cuts are forcing it to release 40,000 soldiers.

Video Floodwaters Threaten Famous American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwestern state of Illinois is one of the most famous homes in America. Thousands of people visit the house every year. It stands near the river that inspired its design. Now that very placement is threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.

Audio Obama Calls for Changes to Criminal Justice System

The president says the United States jails as many people as the top 35 European nation combined. He also says U.S. law enforcement is treating young African Americans and Latino men differently than white Americans. His comments came a day after he reduced the jail sentences of 46 federal prisoners

Video American Muslims Fight Stereotypes

Muslims in the U.S. and around the world will celebrate the holiday of Eid-al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan, on Friday. Ramadan is a time when Muslims fast and focus on God. For Muslims in the U.S., it is also a time to reflect and fight misconceptions and negative stereotypes of Islam.

Video Photographs Show How US Has Changed

A photography exhibit shows how much the United States changed from the early 1900s to the middle of the 20th century. The exhibit has more than 130 pictures in all. The show is called “American Moments.” It can be seen through the middle of September at The Phillips Collection in Washington.

Audio Women's World Cup Sets Records, Except Money

The Women’s World Cup final match between the U.S. and Japan set all kinds of records over the weekend. It was the most-watched soccer match ever, men’s or women’s, in United States history. Carli Lloyd scored the fast three goals in World Cup history. One record the game did not set? Money.

Audio Average Americans Gave Away Billions in 2014

Last year, Americans again showed they are generous people. A majority of Americans, two-thirds, gave money to charity in 2014. And they gave away more money than ever before. They gave away an estimated total of $358 billion. It is a seven percent increase from 2013.

Audio New York Officials Block Pro-Muslim Advertising

Two Muslims are taking New York City’s public transportation system to court. The Metropolitan Transit Authority had accepted anti-Muslim advertising until last year. But in a sudden change, it is now barring pro-Muslim ads. The two say that violates their rights under the U.S. constitution.

Audio The Changing Face of America

The faces of Americans in the United States are changing rapidly. In a few decades, the minority population will become the majority, as the white population decreases in the U.S. Those are the findings of a new report by the Census Bureau.

Video Oysters Return to New York’s Great South Bay

The Blue Point oyster is returning to the Great South Bay of New York after almost disappearing from the world marketplace. Over-farming, pollution and Hurricane Sandy had severely damaged the Blue Point oyster business. Now, the population is growing in its home on the coast of Long Island.

Audio Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About the 4th of July

Sure, you know Americans celebrate their Independence Day on the fourth day of July. But do you know they have the wrong date? Or where they get all those fireworks? Hint: not from the UK.

Video France's 'Freedom Frigate' to Celebrate 4th of July

A warship from France that came to the United States 235 years ago became a sign of friendship between the two countries. The French ship traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to help defeat the British during the American revolutionary war. Now a full-scale replica has been making that same trip.

Video Japanese-Americans Remember End of World War II

VOA goes to a gathering of old men who served in the American military during the war. They fought against Japan while their families were being detained in internment camps in the US. “I…felt very strongly that we needed to show that we were patriotic Americans.” | As It Is

Video Motorcycle Lovers: We Are Not Criminals

But police say some motorcycle gang members are violent lawbreakers. Some gangs say they have been operating for many years and have never been charged with crimes. “It is no different than a ladies tennis club,” they say. | As It Is

Video Nigerian Immigrant Lives the American Dream

Lookman Afolayan Mashood came to the United States in 1996 and is now a U.S. citizen. About five years ago, he and his girlfriend, Natalie Goldberg, opened their own restaurant in Brooklyn. He says the American dream is still alive. And he says “there’s no food compared to Nigerian food.”

Learn with The News

  • Audio ASEAN Ministers Expected to Discuss South China Sea

    Early versions of working documents received by VOA and Reuters news agency suggest ministers are working toward a “Declaration of Conduct.” In time, such a document would lead to a “Code of Conduct” outlining measures to avoid conflict in the South China Sea. More

  • Video Yazidis of Sinjar Observe Tragic Anniversary

    Islamic State militants attacked Iraq's Yazidi community one year ago. Thousands were killed or forced to flee their homes. Many others starved or died of thirst as they hid on Sinjar Mountain. Those who were rescued are haunted by the memories of the slaughter and loss of their homelands. More

  • Audio Islamic State’s Media Violence May Hurt the Group

    The group calling itself the Islamic State uses videos to publicize its activities. Some of its horrible acts have turned into big news stories. Some observers blame television stations and newspapers for publicizing the violence. Others say the bloody videos are starting to ruin the group’s image. More

  • Audio Digital Solution Helps Shield Online Activists

    The National Democratic Institute, a non-profit group, says a “live” operating system calls “Tails” is helping pro-democracy activists and others hide their online communications and activities from hostile governments. “Tails” is an acronym for The Amnesic Incognito Live System. More

  • Audio Kerry Hears Concerns About Iran Nuclear Agreement

    Also, economic concerns in Greece, China weigh on share prices; Emergency declared in four areas of Myanmar; President Obama releases rules to cut carbon; and, Malaysian official says plane part from same kind of aircraft as MH370. | In the News More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Let’s Go on a Space Trip!

    You do not need to spend $50 million on a ticket to the moon. Just close your eyes and come with us to a trip into outer space! Learn idioms that will help you navigate the world of space. More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar: May, Might, and Must

    May, Might and Must are modal verbs that cause confusion for some learners. The Everyday Grammar team is on the job, explaining how to use these modals to express how certain, or sure, you are of something. You can also use one of them to tell about your wishes for the future. More

  • Video Feathertop by Nathaniel Hawthorne

    This classic American story features a scarecrow that comes to life. Find out what adventures he has as he looks for love and admiration. His only problem is that he has to keep puffing on the pipe the witch gave him. If he stops - something terrible may happen! More

  • Audio Study Shows How Poverty Could Limit Learning

    Studies have shown that children from poor families have more difficulty in school than other boys and girls. Children with higher socioeconomic roots seem better prepared and perform better on school tests. Now, American researchers may have found a biological reason for that difference. More

  • Audio Study: Smoking May Increase Risk of Schizophrenia

    Researchers reviewed 61 studies from around the world; they discovered cigarette smoking is three times more common among those with schizophrenia who were receiving medical care for the illness for the first time compared to people who did not have the mental disorder. More

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