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David Byrd

David Byrd is a journalist, writer, video editor and photographer. He is also the host of VOA's American Cafe, a weekly show covering life and culture in the United States.

Olympic Committee Warns Iran: Keep Hands Off Sports Bodies

An Iranian soccer fan after his country lost 2-0 to Iraq in an Olympic qualifiying match.

The International Olympic Committee has sent Iran a letter warning about government interference in sports bodies. The Olympic body says it is urging the Iranian Olympic Committee to comply with the IOC Charter and act independent of the government. More »

New Film Explores Islamic Art’s Contribution to World Culture

The finery of tapestry and carpets, the grandeur of soaring arches in mosques and palaces, and the beauty of calligraphy are just some of the art forms highlighted in a new film by Unity Productions Foundation, Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World.  The 90-minute documentary explores Islam’s contribution to world art and culture More »

WATCH: Touareg Grammy Winners Tinariwen on World Tour

They won this year’s Grammy for Best World Music album.  The Touareg group Tinariwen is currently on a world tour to promote its Tassili CD. VOA’s David Byrd caught up with the group when they visited Washington, D.C., and reports that the current turmoil in the group’s home country of Mali is never far More »

Passages Podcast: War Crimes – A Murky Search for Justice

This time on Passages, host David Byrd explores the massacre at Houla, Syria, and whether those involved could face war crimes charges.  He talks to three experts on international law and human rights – Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch; Rosa Brooks, Georgetown Law Professor and former White House and State Department adviser, and More »

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad: Guilty of War Crimes?

The images from Houla in Syria had a sickening familiarity:  bodies wrapped in white shrouds, lined up in a large pit in the center of town while grieving relatives cried and wailed.  In all, a reported 108 people, all victims of last week’s Houla massacre, were being buried, 49 of them children. The United Nations More »

Survivors: Fixing the Middle East Through Reality TV, Adventure Travel

The daily news is often filled with stories of conflict in the Middle East – whether it’s Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq, the West Bank, or Yemen. The deluge of ‘bad’ news might give the impression that the region is somehow condemned to turmoil, that understanding and cooperation are so rare, they are almost More »

Jordanian Journalists Jailed for Court Corruption Story

Jordanian journalist Sahar al-Muhtasab and her brother Jamal al Muhtasab were arrested for publishing an article that said King Abdullah intervened in a corruption case involving a former housing minister. Jamal, the publisher of the Gerasa News, remains in jail. Sahar has been released. More »

WATCH: Lebanese-American Swimmer Aims for Olympic Glory in London

Lebanon has not won an Olympic medal since 1980. But Lebanese-American swimmer Katya Bachrouche hopes to change that at this year’s London Games in July, where, as a dual citizen, she plans to compete for her ancestral homeland. Katya has been swimming since she was a child, won All-American honors in high school, and More »

Tensions Rise Ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix

This is our ongoing coverage of the events surrounding this week's Bahrain Grand Prix Formula One race. Team bosses continue to insist the course is safe, but the Force India team skipped the second practice session so its people would not have to travel to their hotel after dark. An open letter declared support for the race and the Bahraini government, but thousands of protesters turned out in a rally against the race and the ruling family. Meanwhile, drivers continue to stay mostly close-mouthed about the political conflict, insisting on focusing on the race only.  More »

Passages Podcast with David Byrd: Religion and Politics

Some people say you shouldn’t talk about religion or politics, but in today’s world, the role of faith in public policy is becoming more important.  This week, I talk with a couple of experts on both: Andrew Preston is a Cambridge University professor who says President Obama’s actions have not matched his rhetoric when More »

Bahrain Grand Prix 2012: Damon Hill Says Formula One Should Reconsider

Bahrain Grand Prix 2012: Damon Hill Says Formula One Should Reconsider

VOA’s Pam Dockins got to speak to Sky Television commentator and former world driving champion Damon Hill about this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.  Hill had previously said that running the race would be good for Bahrain and Formula One, but now says that FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) should reconsider going.  The transcript is More »

Bahrain Formula One: Why It Might Be Cancelled

Formula One racing teams are asking the sport's governing body to skip the Bahrain Grand Prix because of ongoing unrest in the country. One team principal says teams are hoping FIA 'calls it off' because a 'complete military lockdown' is the only way to stage the race. Meanwhile hunger striker Abdulhadi Al Khawaja languishes in a military hospital.  More »

Saudi Women Now Banned From London 2012 Olympics

It appears that Saudi Arabia will not send female athletes to London this year as part of its official Olympic team. But the kingdom doesn’t mind if they go on their own. Earlier reports had said at least one athlete – equestrienne Dalma Rushdi Malhas, a bronze medalist at the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore More »

Passages with David Byrd: Christian in Iran Faces Death

This week on “Passages,” David Byrd looks at the case of an Iranian Christian pastor who could be hanged for his faith.  The White House, the State Department and the UN have weighed in on Youcef Nadarkhani’s case, but so far Iran has not revoked his death sentence.  Also, David talks to Elizabeth Stone More »

Damon Hill: Bahrain GP Could 'Create More Problems'

The Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled for later this month. F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone says it's a go; leading drivers say they feel safe. But protests against the government continue.  More »

Israeli Minnows Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona Take League Football Title

Israeli Minnows Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona Take League Football Title

The club has only existed since industrialist Izzy Sheratzky combined two teams to form Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona in the northern Israeli town of 23,000 residents.  Now, as in the Biblical story of David and Goliath, the tiny club has knocked off traditional powerhouses to win its first Israel league championship and advance to More »

#Dubai World Cup Takes Off with #Females Hoping to Make History

A full field of 14 horses has been entered for Saturday’s running of the Dubai World Cup race, the world’s richest horse race.  Canadian Chantal Sutherland will make history by being the first female jockey to ride in the contest.  Meanwhile, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott is hoping the filly Royal Delta will More »

Lebanese Women Get Ready for London 2012 Olympics

It’s been 32 years since a Lebanese athlete took home an Olympic medal.  Three young women – a swimmer, a table tennis player, and a tae kwon do player – hope to end that drought at this year’s Olympics in London. Katya Bachrouche Katya Bachrouche says she has wanted to represent Lebanon since she was a More »

A New Era? Saudis to Send Women to London 2012

A New Era? Saudis to Send Women to London 2012

After negotiations with the International Olympic Committee, it appears that Saudi Arabia will send its first female competitors to the London 2012 Olympics in July.  Is this the beginning of a new era or just a token response to outside pressure? Saudi Arabia is one of three nations in the Olympic movements that have not More »

I'm Too Skinny for This Job: #Israel Bans Super-thin Models

Israeli lawmakers have banned super-skinny models from catwalks, ads, and billboards in an effort to fight the eating disorders anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Sponsors hope the move will help promote positive body images among both young girls and boys. But will it help? And will other countries follow Israel’s lead? The new law says that More »