France’s secularism increasingly struggling with schools, integration

MARSEILLE, France — Brought into the international spotlight by the ban on hijabs for French athletes at the upcoming Paris Olympics, France’s unique approach to “laïcité” — loosely translated as “secularism” — has been increasingly stirring controversy across the country. The struggle cuts to the core of how France approaches not only the place of religion in public life, but also the integration of its mostly …

read me leave comment

Italian museum recreates Tanzanian butterfly forest

TRENTO, Italy — In a lush greenhouse high in the Alps, butterflies of various species and colors flutter freely while butterfly pupae are suspended in a structure as they grow into adult insects. This is the Butterfly Forest in the tropical mountain greenhouse in Trento, Italy, a project by the Museo delle Scienze (MUSE), an Italian science museum. It’s modeled on Udzungwa Mountains, a mountain range …

read me leave comment

Allies prepare to mark D-Day’s 80th anniversary in shadow of Ukraine war  

Carentan-les-Marais, France — Agnes Scelle grew up listening to her parents’ stories about life in occupied France, living near the Normandy town of Carentan-les-Marais. She heard of the knife pushed up against her father’s throat for trying to block a strategic river, of how German soldiers held her mother at gunpoint. “They were very afraid,” said Scelle, a former postal worker and village mayor, who still …

read me leave comment

Allies prepare to mark D-Day’s 80th anniversary in shadow of Ukraine war 

Some of the last surviving World War Two veterans gather in Normandy, France, next month to mark the 1944 allied landings that began the country’s liberation from Nazi German control. But another war on Europe’s doorstep — in Ukraine — casts a dark shadow on this 80th anniversary of D-Day. Lisa Bryant reports from the Normandy town of Carentan-les-Marais. …

read me leave comment

Mali, Russia start work on major solar plant 

Dakar, Senegal — Mali and Russia on Friday launched the construction of the largest solar power plant in West Africa, Malian Energy Minister Bintou Camara said on national television.  It comes as the country continues to be plagued by electricity supply problems, with only half of the population having access to electricity.  The power station, “the first [in terms of size] in the country and even …

read me leave comment

Hungary to seek to opt out of NATO efforts to support Ukraine, Orban says

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungary will seek to opt out of any NATO operations aimed at supporting Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Friday, suggesting that the military alliance and the European Union were moving toward a more direct conflict with Russia.  Orban told state radio that Hungary opposes a plan NATO is weighing to provide more predictable military support to Ukraine in coming years to repel …

read me leave comment

Volodymyr Zelenskyy marks 5 years as president of Ukraine

May 20 marked Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s fifth anniversary as Ukraine’s president. By law, the president serves five years, but elections have been postponed while the country remains under martial law. Katerina Besedina examines Zelenskyy’s challenging term so far. Anna Rice narrates. VOA footage by Elena Matusovky. …

read me leave comment

Russian prison population fell by 50,000 last year, media report

LONDON — The number of people held in Russian prisons dropped by 58,000 last year, Russian independent media reported on Friday, continuing a steady fall spurred in part by the recruitment of convicts to fight in Ukraine. In total, some 105,000 prisoners were released between 2022-2023, media reported, citing data published in the official journal of Russia’s prison service. Russia has one of the highest rates …

read me leave comment

Sellers of Arctic land unconcerned by potential Chinese buyers

Private land in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard is being auctioned off by its owner, with strong interest from Chinese buyers, according to a lawyer responsible for the auction. Such a sale would likely cause geopolitical headaches for Norway and NATO because of Svalbard’s strategic location in the Arctic Ocean. Henry Wilkins has more. Camera: Henry Wilkins …

read me leave comment

Russian satellite launch renews concerns about conflict in space

The U.S. assertion this week that Russia has launched a satellite capable of inspecting and destroying other satellites prompted a denial from the Kremlin and concern from U.S. lawmakers. VOA Congressional Correspondent Katherine Gypson reports. Camera: Saqib Ul Islam. …

read me leave comment

UK political leaders hit campaign trail for July 4 election

read me leave comment

UN designates annual day to commemorate Srebrenica genocide

United Nations — The United Nations General Assembly voted Thursday to designate July 11 annually as an international day of reflection and commemoration of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim boys and men by Bosnian Serb forces. Serbia and Bosnian Serbs strongly opposed its adoption. “Perpetrated amidst the Bosnian War, this act of genocide led to the tragic death of the victims …

read me leave comment

Deputy chief of Russian military’s general staff arrested on bribery charges

read me leave comment

Putin signs decree allowing seizure of Americans’ assets if US confiscates Russian holdings

read me leave comment

Russia reports destroying 35 Ukrainian rockets over Belgorod

read me leave comment

French president arrives in New Caledonia to urge calm

read me leave comment

Sweden providing Ukraine with military support totaling $7 billion

read me leave comment

Finland debates measure to block asylum-seekers at border with Russia

read me leave comment

Yacht docked in US port symbolizes struggle to convert seizures into cash for Ukraine

Everett, Washington/Washington, DC — When a superyacht worth $230 million pulled into the port of Everett, Washington, for repairs last month, it made a big splash in the city of 110,000 residents.  The 106-meter luxury behemoth known as the Amadea is currently in possession of the U.S. government, which alleges the yacht belongs to sanctioned Russian oligarch and politician Suleyman Kerimov, an ally of Russian President …

read me leave comment

Video link spanning New York City to Dublin reopens after temporary shutdown

read me leave comment

French president travels to violence-wracked New Caledonia

read me leave comment

Russia denies US charge that it put anti-satellite weapon in space

Washington — Russia’s top arms control diplomat dismissed as “fake news” on Wednesday an assertion by the United States that Russia had launched a weapon into low-Earth orbit that was capable of inspecting and attacking other satellites. The Kremlin has flatly denied assertions by U.S. officials that Moscow is developing a space-based anti-satellite nuclear weapon. U.S. Space Command on Tuesday pointed to the launch earlier this …

read me leave comment

Ireland, Norway and Spain will recognize Palestinian state

read me leave comment

Russia reports downing Ukrainian drones, missiles in western regions

read me leave comment