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Angry Basra Youth Find Outlet in Iraqi Rapper’s Music

A youth-led protest movement in the southern Iraqi port city of Basra, which saw riots last summer over failing services and soaring unemployment, has found an artistic outlet in the words and beats of homegrown rapper Ahmed Chayeb.  The 22-year-old rapper, also known as Mr. Guti, says his generation is fed up with the false …

United Methodists Confront Possible Split Over LGBT Issues

The United Methodist Church’s top legislative assembly convenes Sunday for a high-stakes, three-day meeting likely to determine whether America’s second-largest Protestant denomination will fracture due to divisions over same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay clergy. While other mainline Protestant denominations — such as the Episcopal and Presbyterian (U.S.A.) churches — have embraced gay-friendly practices, …

What Makes for an Oscar-Winning Best PIcture?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has nominated 8 movies in the category of Best Picture. What are the elements that make a movie the best picture of the year? VOA’s Penelope Poulou spoke with award winning playwright and director Murray Horwitz about the chances of some of this year’s nominees making history …

Meghan Markle Spotted in NYC for Rumored Baby Shower

Meghan Markle has been spotted at several swanky venues in New York City, cradling her baby bump as she visited friends for what is rumored to be a baby shower. . Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, was seen Tuesday entering The Mark hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, at a restaurant on the ground floor …

Obama Joined by Curry to Tell Minority Boys ‘You Matter’

Former President Barack Obama and Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry told a roomful of minority boys on Tuesday that they matter and urged them to make the world a better place. Obama was in Oakland, California, to mark the fifth anniversary of My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative he launched after the 2012 shooting death …

Ancient Art of Mongolian Mask Making

When Gankhuyag Natsag makes one of his famous masks, he spends a lot of time thinking. “During that time I am thinking that it’s all based on Buddhist philosophy. It allows for meditation, inspiration and a peaceful life,” he says. The renowned Mongolian mask maker, known as Ganna, makes the elaborate representations of characters that …

Artist Spreads Mongolian Culture Through Masks

Gankhuyag Natsag, also known as Ganna, has dedicated his life to spreading Mongolian culture abroad. The Buddhist ritual dance masks he makes are displayed in museums outside his homeland and he tours with them around the world. VOA’s June Soh caught up with the artist, who is dubbed the Mongolian cultural ambassador, at his home …

Keira Knightley Film Calls for Unity in Divided Times

Keira Knightley said her new film The Aftermath, set in the bombed-out ruins of Hamburg just after the end of World War II, had important lessons on building bridges that were very relevant for today’s divided societies. The romantic drama sees Knightley play Rachael Morgan, who moves to Germany to be with her husband, a …

US Supreme Court Rebuffs Defamation Suit Against Cosby

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday for a second time declined to take up a case related to sexual misconduct allegations against Bill Cosby, refusing to consider reviving a defamation lawsuit against the comedian filed by a woman who said he falsely called her a liar after she accused him of raping her in 1974. …

Future Rabbis Plant With Palestinians, Sow Rift With Israel

Young American rabbinical students are doing more than visiting holy sites, learning Hebrew and poring over religious texts during their year abroad in Israel. In a stark departure from past programs focused on strengthening ties with Israel and Judaism, the new crop of rabbinical students is reaching out to the Palestinians. The change reflects a …