Arts & Entertainment/Economy & business

Sikhs of Virginia Celebrate End of Ramadan

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported there was a spike in Islamophobia and a surge in hate crimes against Muslims in the United States last year. The council recommends bringing minority communities together to try to defuse tensions. One such effort is linked to celebrations to mark the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan. VOA’s Saqib Ul Islam reports from a Sikh community in Virginia. Camera:  Saqib Ul Islam    
Produced by: Saqib Ul Islam    

Arts & Entertainment/Economy & business

Soccer’s Governing Body Announces More Bans on Russia

The UEFA Champions League, soccer’s governing body, announced Monday the Russian women’s soccer team will be banned from the Women’s European Championship in July and from participating in qualifying for next year’s World Cup over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian team will be replaced by the Portuguese team for the tournament that will be played from July 6-31 in England.

Russian soccer faced a slew of bans following the invasion.

“Further to its 28 February 2022 decision to suspend all Russian representative teams and clubs from participating in UEFA competition matches until further notice, the UEFA Executive Committee today took a series of decisions relating to the implications of that decision for its upcoming competitions, in order to ensure their smooth staging in a safe and secure environment for all those concerned,” UEFA said in a press release.

UEFA also denied Russia’s bid to host the men’s European championships in 2028 and 2032.

Russian club teams will also be barred from participating in the Champions League, the Europa League and the Europa Conference League next year.

The Russian national men’s team was already banned from the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.

Some information in this report comes from Reuters.

Arts & Entertainment/Economy & business

Freedom on Wheels

Skateboarding tends to be the domain of the young and agile. But as Genia Dulot reports from Los Angeles, Tracie Garacochea finds age and limited mobility are no barriers to the sport or other aspects of her life.
Videographer: Genia Dulot Produced by: Genia Dulot, Jack Lacy

Economy & business/Silicon Valley & Technology

US Company Produces Drones for Ukrainian Armed Forces

BRINC, a company based in Seattle, Washington, is producing special drones to assist Ukraine’s armed forces. The drones are used in search and rescue missions and can provide eyes in places where it’s too dangerous to send people. Khrystyna Shevchenko has the story, narrated by Anna Rice.
Videographer: Khrystyna Shevchenko

Economy & business/Silicon Valley & Technology

EU Says Apple Pay May Violate EU Antitrust Laws

The European Union on Monday accused Apple of abusing its dominant Apple Pay market position to prevent other companies from competing in contactless payment technologies. 

“Apple has built a closed ecosystem around its devices and its operating system, iOS. And Apple controls the gates to this ecosystem, setting the rules of the game for anyone who wants to reach consumers using Apple devices,” EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said. “By excluding others from the game, Apple has unfairly shielded its Apple Pay wallets from competition.” 

The 27-nation bloc’s executive arm, the European Commission, said Apple’s practice “has an exclusionary effect on competitors and leads to less innovation and less choice for consumers for mobile wallets on iPhones.”  

The commission has not disclosed what, if any, fines could be levied against Apple should it be found in violation of antitrust laws. 

In response, Apple said it would cooperate with the Commission. 

The company said it “will continue to engage with the Commission to ensure European consumers have access to the payment option of their choice in a safe and secure environment.”  

The Commission has been investigating several aspects of Apple’s business practices in Europe since 2020, including the possibility the company violates European antitrust laws over music streaming and the app store. 

Some information in this report comes from The Associated Press. 


Arts & Entertainment/Economy & business

The Judds, Ray Charles Join the Country Music Hall of Fame 

Ray Charles and The Judds joined the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday in a ceremony filled with tears, music and laughter, just a day after Naomi Judd died unexpectedly.

The loss of Naomi Judd altered the normally celebratory ceremony, but the music played on, as the genre’s singers and musicians mourned Naomi Judd while also celebrating the four inductees: The Judds, Ray Charles, Eddie Bayers and Pete Drake. Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill and many more performed their hit songs.

Naomi and Wynonna Judd were among the most popular duos of the 1980s, scoring 14 No. 1 hits during their nearly three-decade career. On the eve of her induction, the family said in a statement to The Associated Press that Naomi Judd died at the age of 76 due to “the disease of mental illness.”

Daughters Wynonna and Ashley Judd accepted the induction amid tears, holding onto each other and reciting a Bible verse together.

“I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today,” Ashley Judd said of her mother to the crowd while crying. Wynonna Judd talked about the family gathering as they said goodbye to her and she and Ashley Judd recited Psalm 23.

“Though my heart is broken I will continue to sing,” Wynonna Judd said.

Fans gathered outside the museum, drawn to a white floral bouquet outside the entrance and a small framed photo of Naomi Judd below. A single rose was laid on the ground.

Charles’ induction showcased his genre-defying country releases, which showed the genre’s commercial appeal. The Georgia-born singer and piano player grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry and in 1962 released “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,” which became one of the best-selling country releases of his era.

The piano player, blinded and orphaned at a young age, is best known for R&B, gospel and soul, but his decision to record country music changed the way the world thought about the genre, expanding audiences in the Civil Rights era.

Charles’ version of “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” spent five weeks on top of the Billboard 100 chart and remains one of his most popular songs. He died in 2004.

Brooks sang “Seven Spanish Angels,” one of Charles’ hits with Willie Nelson, while Bettye LaVette performed “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

Country Music Hall of Famer Ronnie Milsap said he met Charles when he was a young singer and that others tried to imitate Charles, but no one could measure up.

“There was one of him and only one,” said Milsap. “He sang country music like it should be sung.”

The Hall of Fame also inducted two recording musicians who were elemental to many country songs and singers: Eddie Bayers and Pete Drake.

Bayers, a drummer in Nashville for decades who worked on 300 platinum records, is a member of the Grand Ole Opry band. He regularly played on records for The Judds, Ricky Skaggs, George Strait, Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney. He is the first drummer to join the institution.

Drake, who died in 1988, was a pedal steel guitar player and a member of Nashville’s A-team of skilled session musicians, played on hits like “Stand By Your Man” by Tammy Wynette and “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones. He is the first pedal steel guitar player to become part of the Hall of Fame.