Thailand this month threatened to deport more than a million migrant workers, most from Burma, if they failed to become documented by December 14th. The deadline came and went without mass deportations, but the pressure underscored flaws in the documentation program, known as nationality verification, and the abuse of migrant labor. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Samutsakhon province.
African and world leaders say they will not let Mali become a terrorist safe haven, a failed state, a so-called "Afghanistan" in the Sahel. The U.N. Security Council has backed a regional military deployment to Mali next year to deal with an ongoing political crisis in the capital and help the Malian army retake the north from Islamist militants. Will 2013 be the year that Mali pulls back from the brink? If so, at what cost? VOA West Africa correspondent Anne Look has this report.
Egypt held the second round of its constitutional referendum Saturday, with about half the country voting. The other half voted last Saturday. The vote was split over two days because thousands of judges refused to help supervise voting to protest the quick adoption of the draft by an Islamist-dominated assembly, after the Islamist president had taken on extraordinary powers. Still, the constitution was approved by 57% of voters last week, leaving liberal opponents with a lot of ground to make up. VOA spoke to voters in Giza's Dokki neighborhood, and to a judge who was supervising a polling station in spite of the boycott by many of his colleagues.
As Burma's government promises reform and change, hundreds of political prisoners still languish behind bars, under terrible conditions - victims of the previous government's iron-fisted rule. Even those who have been freed warn that they still face challenges after leaving prison.
The National Rifle Association (NRA), which promotes gun ownership and the constitutional American right to bear arms, is a powerful voice against gun control in the United States. It successfully opposed efforts to reinstate a ban on assault weapons which expired in 2004 and now faces a new challenge after the Connecticut school shootings. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
An independent panel investigating September's attack on the U.S. mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi says State Department management failures contributed to inadequate security. Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, died in the attack. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports.
President Barack Obama’s expected choice to lead the State Department after Hillary Clinton‘s departure, Democratic Senator John Kerry, has vast experience on the world stage gained through a lifetime of public service. VOA Senate correspondent Michael Bowman has more in this report.
Time Magazine has named President Barack Obama its "Person of the Year" for 2012, following a tumultuous year in U.S. politics. Mr. Obama won re-election after a hard-fought campaign against Republican Mitt Romney. But the president has no shortage of challenges awaiting him in a second term, as we hear from VOA national correspondent Jim Malone.