News, issues and important ideas. Daily stories written at the intermediate and upper-beginner level and are read one-third slower than regular VOA English news casts.
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Two black men arrested in an American Starbucks store say they are working with the company to bring about meaningful changes. They hope the changes will prevent other people from going through the same experience. The two men spoke to reporters Thursday for the first time since the April 12 incident at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Police arrested the men, walked them out of the store and took them to jail. The 23-year-old men – Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson – told the Associated Press they did nothing wrong. Part of the incident was captured on video by another person inside the Starbucks. The video was published on Twitter. It has more than 11 million views. The video caused anger on social media. Many people criticized the arrests as an example of racial discrimination and racial profiling. People protested at Starbucks stores across the country. Some groups called for a boycott of the company. Police say a Starbucks manager called them. The manager reported the two men were sitting at a table in the store but were not buying anything. The manager asked them to leave. They refused. They explained to the manager that they were waiting for someone else to arrive to have a business meeting there. Nelson has also said the manager told him he could not use the store's bathroom because he had not bought anything. The two men – who are best friends and business partners – say they were surprised when police showed up. The officers asked them to leave the store, but they again refused. They told the officers they had done nothing wrong. “We were there for a real reason, a real deal that we were working on,” Robinson told the Associated Press of the planned business meeting that never happened. “We put in a lot of time, [...]
United States airline officials have ordered inspections of some jet engines after a passenger airplane suffered a deadly accident this week. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the order late Wednesday. However, the engine's manufacturer and European officials had called for careful inspections several months earlier. The engine on a Southwest Airlines plane blew apart on Tuesday. Debris from the explosion broke a window. A woman sitting next to the window was partially sucked out of the plane. She later died of her injuries. The plane, which was traveling from New York to Dallas, Texas, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Investigators said a blade in the engine broke off during the flight. They said the blade showed signs of metal fatigue — very small cracks that can break apart under stress. In 2016, U.S. officials also blamed metal fatigue on a similar engine failure on another Southwest Airlines plane in Florida. The incident led the manufacturer CFM International to recommend last June that airlines carry out inspections of fan blades in its CFM56-7B engines. CFM International is a joint business of GE Aviation and France's Safran Aircraft Engines. The company says over 8,000 CFM56-7B engines are currently in use on Boeing's 737 airplanes. Robert Sumwalt is chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. He said, “Engine failures like this should not occur.” But he advised it was too soon to question the safety of the engines or the Boeing 737s. The plane is the most popular commercial airplane in the world. On Wednesday, the FAA said it will require inspections of fan blades on CFM56-7B engines after they reach a certain number of takeoffs and landings. Blades that fail inspection would need to be replaced. Southwest Airlines announced its own program for similar inspections of its 700 planes over the next month. I'm Mario Ritter. Hai Do adapted this story [...]
Lawmakers in the United States Senate may now bring their young babies with them to work. The Senate voted Wednesday to permit children under the age of one in the chamber while their parents cast votes. The Senate chamber is where lawmakers discuss and vote on legislation. It has 100 wooden desks -- one for each senator. The reason for the historic change of rules was the birth of Senator Tammy Duckworth's baby. The Illinois Democrat gave birth to her second child, another girl, on April 9. Duckworth, a 50-year-old former Army colonel who lost her legs in the Iraq War, is one of only 10 lawmakers who have given birth while in Congress. And she is the first sitting Senator to do so. Duckworth wants to be able to continue to vote on issues as she takes care of her infant daughter. But the Senate requires voting to be done in person. So, Duckworth proposed that babies be permitted in the chamber. No lawmakers objected to the proposal. Duckworth said the ruling helps “bring the Senate into the 21st century.” Although no one voted against it, senators in both political parties expressed concern about the new rule. They worry that babies might disrupt Senate customs. Senator Pat Roberts, a Republican from Kansas, said, “I'm not going to object to anything like that, not in this day and age.” However, he does not believe it is “necessary” for babies to be on the Senate floor during voting. He suggested that lawmakers with babies could instead cast their votes from a small room near the chamber. “I've done it,” he said. Other senators offered the cloakroom suggestion as a compromise, as well. In answer, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar noted that Duckworth mostly gets around in a wheelchair. The cloakroom is not wheelchair accessible. Some senators then proposed making an [...]
Cuba's National Assembly chose First Vice President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez as the only candidate for president of Cuba. Current President, 86-year-old Raul Castro, is set to resign Thursday. Diaz-Canel would become the first person outside the Castro family to hold the highest government office in almost 60 years. The politician turns 58 on Friday. Raul Castro, however, will remain first secretary of the Communist Party, a position that could be more powerful than president. How much influence Diaz-Canel will have is also an open question. A Cuban President not named Castro? As president, Raul Castro rides in a big, shiny, imported automobile. When he arrives at official events, people rise up from their seats to cheer. However, that behavior was not seen recently as a crowd waited for the arrival of the man who will be Cuba's next president. Recently, voters and provincial officials waited near a voting station in the central city of Santa Clara for Diaz-Canel. An hour passed, then another. Suddenly, people in the crowd began to move. Down the street, a tall man wearing a loose white shirt walked with his wife and a few bodyguards toward the voting station. Shaking hands and showing ease with voters, Diaz-Canel took his place in line. “We're building a relationship between the government and the people here,” he said after voting for members of Cuba's next National Assembly. He added that elected officials must work at listening to the people, investigating their problems and supporting debate. The new Cuban president will face an economy with little or no growth, public services in disrepair and a hostile administration in the United States. There is also widespread unhappiness with parts of Cuba's centrally planned system of government. The Associated Press says most Cubans think of the current first vice president as an average speaker who, at first, rarely appeared in [...]
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Barbara Bush died Tuesday at her home in Texas. She was 92 years old. Her husband of 73 years, former United States President George H.W. Bush, was with her at the time. Barbara Bush reportedly suffered from problems with her heart and lungs. Just two days earlier, her family had announced that her health was getting worse and she had decided to stop receiving medical treatment. Second in history Barbara Pierce Bush was born in 1925 in New York. Her father published magazines for women. Her mother was active in community service. Young Barbara Pierce was admitted as a student at Smith College in Massachusetts. While there, she met George Herbert Walker Bush. They married in 1945. She and George Bush went on to have six children. Their second child died of cancer at age three. Their oldest child, George Walker Bush, went on to become the 43rd president. As such, Barbara Bush is one of two women in U.S. history to be both the wife and mother of a president. The other was Abigail Adams, who died 200 years ago, in 1818. White hair and pearls Bush was known to be a strong supporter of her husband and family. As recently as 2016, she campaigned for her son Jeb, who was competing against Donald Trump and others for the Republican Party's nomination for president. As First Lady, Bush was known for her commitment to literacy. She set up an organization to support reading skills, especially among young children. And Bush was known for her physical appearance and funny way of speaking. Her brown hair began to turn gray when her daughter was sick with cancer. Bush was not yet 30, yet she refused to color her hair to appear younger. In time, her hair became all white. She said it helped people see her as “everybody's grandmother.” Bush was also linked [...]
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, Continue reading at the source