Featured

Veterans Feel the Pinch, Weigh the Cost of Government Shutdown

VOA News/Carla Babb FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINA — It is more than three weeks into the partial government shutdown. Among the hundreds of thousands of federal employees affected by the political battle are military veterans. According to the latest government data, veterans make up about a third of the federal government’s civilian workforce. Tyler Holmquist of Fredericksburg, Virginia, is a veteran and an employee of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He’s one of the federal workers furloughed in the government shutdown, unable to work or collect pay. “You just start making adjustments. You start cutting eating out. You try to make less trips…
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Featured

Trump Won’t Declare National Emergency to Build Border Wall

VOA/Ken Bredemeier WASHINGTON —  President Donald Trump said Monday he would not, at least for the moment, declare a national emergency to build a wall at the border, instead demanding that opposition Democrats agree to fund the barrier construction. “This is so simple,” Trump told reporters at the White House as left to speak at a farm convention in New Orleans. “The Democrats are stopping people from getting paid” — 800,000 federal workers furloughed or working without pay during the 24-day partial government shutdown. Trump rejected a call by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of his staunchest congressional supporters, to…
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LPR News

Kremlin Dismisses Claims Detained American Pawn in Diplomatic Game

VOA News/Jamie Dettmer WASHINGTON — Fears are mounting for Paul Whelan, the former Marine seized last month in a Moscow hotel after being accused of espionage. Western intelligence officers and analysts fear he may remain in detention in Russia for a long time and are casting doubt on the likelihood of a spy exchange. Kremlin officials are dismissing the idea he’d be a candidate for a prisoner swap. Their counterparts say there can’t be any kind of exchange, as he’s not a spy. Kremlin officials Wednesday dismissed a claim by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that Russia might use the former…
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Featured

Trump Walks Out of Meeting After Democrats Refuse Border Wall Funding

VOA News/Ken Bredemeier & Michael Bowman WASHINGTON —  President Donald Trump abruptly walked out of a meeting with top Democratic lawmakers at the White House Wednesday after they again refused his demand for funding to build a wall on the border to thwart illegal immigration. Trump on Twitter called his brief discussions with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer "a total waste of time." The president said he asked them whether they would approve a wall or a steel barrier at the border if he agreed to end the 19-day partial government shutdown and while negotiations…
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Local News

Cranston Police Department Charge Driver After Pedestrian Is Struck In Crosswalk And Listed In Critical Condition

The Cranston Police Department’s Traffic Unit and Bureau of Criminal Identification Unit are continuing to investigate a motor vehicle crash that occurred last night where a pedestrian was struck by a motor vehicle on Park Avenue near the intersection of Elmwood Avenue and is listed in critical, but stable condition. Last night, at approximately 10:39pm, a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle travelling on Park Avenue near the intersection of Elmwood Avenue. The preliminary investigation revealed a 2016 Chevrolet Equinox was travelling eastbound on Park Avenue approaching Elmwood Ave. A pedestrian was on the north side of Elmwood Avenue headed southbound crossing Park Avenue towards the…
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Featured

US Counterterror Officials See No Signs of IS, al-Qaida on Southern Border

VOA News/Jeff Seldin counterterrorism officials are sticking by their assessment that terror groups like Islamic State and al-Qaida are not actively trying to sneak operatives into the country from Mexico, despite claims by the White House and Homeland Security officials that "the threat is real." "We do not see any evidence that ISIS or other Sunni terrorist groups are trying to infiltrate the southern border," a senior counterterrorism official first told VOA in November, while acknowledging the existence of "vulnerabilities at both our northern and southern borders." Contacted again ahead of President Donald Trump's prime-time television address Tuesday on what…
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Featured

No Sign of Compromise on Wall at US-Mexico Border

VOA News/Ken Bredemeier & Michael Bowman President Donald Trump and congressional leaders are meeting again Wednesday, but there were no signs they were ready to compromise over Trump's demand for funding for construction of a barrier wall along the border, a dispute that has led to a 19-day partial government shutdown. Trump is having lunch on Capitol Hill with Senate Republicans and later meeting at the White House with both Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, the day after Trump called for construction of the border barrier in a televised address to the nation from the Oval Office, his first during…
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Featured

White House Paints Crisis at Border, Considers Declaring National Emergency

Patsy Widakuswara WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is pushing hard to portray the southern border with Mexico as an imminent "humanitarian and national security crisis" to win support for border wall funding in a fight with lawmakers that has brought the country to a 17-day partial government shutdown. Vice President Mike Pence, in a briefing to reporters Monday, stressed that there is a "bona fide crisis" at the border, and blamed Democrats for "refusing to negotiate" to reopen the government. Pence was joined by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who said that status quo funding and laws are "not able to…
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Featured

US-Backed Forces in Syria Say Five IS Arrested, Five More Deported

WASHINGTON, QAMISHLI — The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Monday confirmed the arrest of five Islamic State foreign fighters and the handover of five more to their governments in efforts to rid eastern Syria of the jihadists. In an interview with VOA, SDF spokesperson Mustafa Bali confirmed the five IS fighters, two Americans, two Pakistanis, and one Irish, were arrested on Dec. 30 during a special operation in eastern Deir el-Zour province. He said the operation saved dozens of displaced civilians from being targeted. "Our special anti-terror forces obtained information that IS thugs were planning an attack against civilians who are fleeing…
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USCIS to Hold Children’s Citizenship Ceremony at the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine

PORTLAND, Maine —  Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will celebrate the citizenship of 29 children during a special citizenship ceremony Friday at the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine.  USCIS Portland Maine Field Office Director Cindy Lembarra will administer a special Oath of Allegiance to the children and will present the children with their certificates of citizenship.  USCIS periodically holds these special ceremonies to recognize and celebrate the citizenship of children who have derived citizenship through their naturalized parent(s) or through adoption.   Those participating in the ceremony range in age from 1-17 years old.  They come from the following 10 countries:…
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