July 04, 2015 17:18 UTC

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

07/03/2015
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. More

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

Quiz - The Changing Face of America

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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.”

Audio More American Fathers Stay Home to Raise Kids

More and more fathers in the United States are trading in the traditional role of breadwinner -- the person earning money -- for the role of stay-at-home dad. Meet two fathers who have been on this road for the past decade. You can also learn some great words such as "clique" and "masculinity."

Video Children in US Help Wild Elephants in Thailand, Kenya

A few months after visiting Africa, Miriam watched “How I Became an Elephant,” a documentary about the mistreatment of elephants in Thailand, and a young girl’s campaign to save them. Miriam decided she wanted to launch her own effort to raise money to save elephants.

Video Gay Marriage Is Legal Across the US

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples have the right to marry anywhere in the country. Many Americans are celebrating the decision. Others, including the chief justice, say the ruling violates the U.S. Constitution and abuses the power of the Supreme Court.

Audio US Congress Gives Obama a Trade Victory

This week, the Senate passed Trade Promotion Authority on a vote of 60 to 38. The House of Representatives had approved TPA earlier. The measure improves chances for approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Video Philanthropist Provides Homes for the Homeless

Doris Buffett has given one million dollars to provide homeless people with houses to live in. The effort has reduced homelessness by more than half in a small city in the state of Virginia. Buffett is extremely happy with this project, and plans to donate even more money in the future.

Audio More Calls for Removal of Confederate Flag

The flag is one of the symbols of Southern, slave-holding states that left the U.S. in 1861 but failed to win a war for independence. Now, after a June 17 shooting in a South Carolina church, some state leaders want the flag removed. They say it has become a symbol of hatred and racism.

Video Indian, Pakistani Immigrants Learn About One Another

Violence has damaged relations between India and Pakistan ever since the two countries gained their independence from Britain almost 70 years ago. This history of conflict follows many Indians and Pakistanis when they come to the United States. But some are learning about one another.

Video Once Again, Americans Debate Gun Violence

After a deadly shooting at a church in South Carolina last week, U.S. politicians are again debating how to deal with gun laws and gun violence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 11,000 people died and 84,000 people suffered injuries from gun violence in 2013.

Audio Doctor Brings Healing to Patients in Their Homes

Ernest Brown is a unique doctor. Unlike most doctors, he does not work in a clinic or hospital. He works out of a black Toyota truck. Patients do not come to him. He comes to their houses. Dr. Ernest Brown is a doctor who makes house calls.

Audio Should We Be Able to Choose Our Sex, Racial Identity?

American Bruce Jenner recently completed a series of treatments to become a woman. Many people supported the former Olympic star’s decision to change sexes. But people reacted differently to a rights activist who said she was black. She was forced to resign after her parents said she is white.

Audio Guide to 2016 Campaign: the Democrats

Welcome to the VOA Learning English guide to the presidential candidates. Today's guide is on the four candidates seeking the Democratic party nominations. We tell you who is who and what their campaigns are saying. We also provide links to their websites to learn more.

Video My Students Know More About US Constitution Than I Do

An international survey shows that teaching students about their country’s political system can improve the government. Some even require citizenship test. But can civic education also make better citizens? One U.S. program is trying. It held its final competition in Washington, DC.

Video Group Seeks to Improve Muslim-Jewish Relations

The AJC, an influential Jewish group, is seeking to improve understanding between Jews and Muslims through discussion and dialogue. Rabbi Noam Marans is the AJC’s director of interreligious relations. He says “Muslim-Jewish relations is the great challenge of the 21st century.”

Video Ramadan Begins Thursday in the U.S.

The exact start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan depends on the cycle of the moon. In the U.S. Muslims will begin fasting, praying and gathering on Thursday. Ramadan lasts a lunar month. Muslims at a Los Angeles mosque describe why the month is special.

Learn with The News

  • 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. More

  • 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. More

  • 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 More

  • Audio Chinese Children Seeking a Happy Ending

    Repeated cases of child abuse in China have shocked the country. They also have led to more protection of children’s rights. But child welfare activists say the government and private groups need to do more to stop neglect and violence against children. More

  • Tunisia Attack

    Audio Tunisia Detains 12 in Connection with Hotel Attacks

    Also in the news today, an Afghan court is canceling death sentences given to four men for a mob killing of a woman; At least 36 dead in Philippines boat accident, and dozens remain missing; and the United States and Japan will face each other again in the Women’s World Cup final this Sunday. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Independence Day

    Independence Day is a huge celebration in the United States. People celebrate by having parades and picnics and usually end the day with fireworks. So what do some of these words mean? More

  • Video The Diamond Lens by Fitz-James O'Brien, Part One

    This story by a little-known American writer tells of a young man with a strong desire. He wants to learn how to use a microscope to see a tiny world. He tries to talk with a ghost to learn a secret from the inventor of the microscope. What will happen when he tries to build his own microscope? More

  • South Korea Film Terminator Genisys

    Video Demons, Male Dancers and Dinosaurs at Theaters Everywhere

    Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the Terminator and Channing Tatum reprises his role as stripper Magic Mike. But there are also scary movies about demon children, comedies with a talking teddy bear and a marijuana-smoking secret agent; and a documentary about the late British singer Amy Winehouse. More

  • Audio Sweet Potatoes as Medicine

    Researchers have helped to reduce a major health problem with a simple food – the orange sweet potato. A program created to help farmers grow the crop has unexpected and healthy results. Some reports say this is the first time an agricultural program has had a major effect on health. More

  • Video Robots Ready to Work in Restaurants

    For many years, machines have been doing work that people once did, including some difficult jobs. Search and rescue operations employ high technology robots. But there is another area that may soon take jobs traditionally held by human beings: the restaurant industry. More

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