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Turkey Cancels Pearl Mullet Festival Amid Pandemic

Pearl mullets, an endemic fish species found only in Lake Van in the east of Turkey, have once again embarked on their challenging journey against the tide of life, swimming upstream to get to freshwater to spawn their babies. This year, however, due to the novel coronavirus, the big festival where normally thousands of people witness the tough travel of pearl mullet every year and also celebrate and welcome the season could not take place.  Arif Aslan has more from Van, Turkey in this report narrated by Bezhan Hamdard.
Camera: Arif Aslan  Producer: Bezhan Hamdard

Spain’s Nursing Home Nightmare

Spain has had the world’s highest nursing home death rate during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Madrid city government documents show officials set rules preventing nursing homes from transferring some residents to hospitals at the time the infection rate peaked.  Now, some people are demanding answers.  Jonathan Spier narrates this report by Alfonso Beato in Barcelona. Camera: Alfonso Beato, Produced by: Jon Spier 

Russia Votes on Constitutional Changes to Extend Putin’s Rule

In Russia, a second effort is underway to hold a weeklong national vote to change the country's constitution. The Kremlin was forced to scuttle an earlier April vote amid the outbreak of the coronavirus. From Moscow, Charles Maynes reports.VIDEOGRAPHER: Ricardo Marquina  
PRODUCER: Henry Hernandez 

US Lawmakers Call for More Information on Afghanistan Russian Bounties

US lawmakers called for an immediate investigation Monday into news reports that Russia had offered bounties to Taliban-backed militants for the deaths of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The White House denied reports U.S. President Donald Trump had been briefed on those bounties, saying they had not been fully verified by the U.S. intelligence community. VOA’s congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson has more on the fallout in Washington. 

US Troop Withdrawal Plan Overshadows NATO War Games

Thousands of U.S. troops are taking part in NATO military exercises in eastern Europe. Part of the training is taking place in Poland, just 350 kilometers from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, while maritime exercises are also taking place in the Baltic Sea. But the show of force has been overshadowed by Washington's announcement that it plans to withdraw thousands of troops from Germany – where the U.S. has operated permanent bases since the Second World War. Henry Ridgwell reports.Camera: Henry Ridgwell   Produced by: Henry Hernandez 

Spain Grants Few Asylum Requests, Yet Many Arrive Illegally Anyway

During Europe’s migrant crisis of 2015, European Union member states promised to accept 160,000 asylum seekers in two years, of which the Spanish government pledged to receive nearly 18,000.  Five years later, Spain has given asylum to only two thousand people — held back in part by opposition from some Spaniards who say the kingdom already has too many migrants — many of them from Africa. Alfonso Beato filed this report from Barcelona, narrated by Jonathan Spier.Camera: Alfonso BeatoProduced by: Jon Spier 

Oxford ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ Protests Reignited as Racial Tensions Rise in Britain

The ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests that have erupted across the world in recent weeks have reinvigorated demands in Europe for statues of slave traders and colonial figures to be removed. A memorial to Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University is the focal point of protests in Britain. As VOA’s Henry Ridgwell reports from London, racial tensions are resurfacing as counter-protestors also take to the streets.Camera: Henry Ridgwell

Relief, but Also Worry, as Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar Reopens

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s oldest and largest, is open for business after being closed for 70 days as part of Turkey’s COVID lockdown. The reopening early this month is an important symbolic step in what the government calls its normalization efforts, a move that cannot come soon enough for the 30,000 people working at the bazaar. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul.Producer: Rod James. Videographer: Berke Bas.

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