TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
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January 22, 2018
In 2001, earthquakes devastated El Salvador. Former President George W. Bush implemented a humanitarian program that allowed some Salvadorans to live and work in America temporarily. The Temporary Protected Status has been regularly renewed since then. Last week, the Trump Administration announced it would be ending the program. This affects about 200,000 people who have been living, working, and paying taxes in the United States for 17 years. They will return to a country with few jobs and one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Listen to learn more about the impact of ending this program.
January 19, 2018
A village in India has gotten the reputation for being very clean. Mawlynnong's residents try to make sure their houses and streets are spotless. Now many visitors come to see this sparkling clean village. Listen to this story and think about whether you think cleanliness is hereditary or influenced by surroundings and then debate: Are people born messy or clean?
January 18, 2018
In the many Central and South American traditions, the quinceañera is a celebration of a 15-year old girl’s birthday. It recognizes her journey from childhood to maturity. A new TV documentary series highlights young women celebrating their quinceañeras, and how important this tradition is to the family and heritage. The stories also relate to their life in America right now. Listen to learn about one girl's preparation for her quinceañera.
January 17, 2018
Paleontologists now have proof, as a result of a recent discovery of fossil remains, that giant penguins existed long before whales even entered the ocean. It's an ancient species of penguin that swam off the coast of New Zealand between 55 and 60 million years ago, soon after dinosaurs became extinct. The smaller penguins we know today stem from prehistoric penguins that were once the size of a human. Listen to learn why these animals went extinct and the timeline of their existence.
January 16, 2018
Being homeless means continually wondering what you will eat and where you will sleep at night. In some cases this means homeless people break laws by sleeping in public spaces because there isn’t room at a shelter. In Texas, community courts have been established to help homeless people manage tickets they have gotten for breaking the law. In exchange for waiving the tickets for public sleeping, they take part in community service. Listen to learn what local people are trying to do to help rather than hurt those living on the street.
January 15, 2018
It was recently revealed that the U.S. Pentagon has investigated sightings by the U.S. Military of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs. Through satellites and sensors, the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program would watch videos from pilots to decipher whether the unknown sightings were from another country or perhaps another planet. The head of the program says that scientific research was used to find out if there was a threat to the U.S. but not all of the phenomena could be explained. Listen to learn how a team of analysts worked with pilots to uncover whether UFOs exist in our skies.
January 12, 2018
China has passed a new law that states people who protest its national anthem can face prison time. In places like Hong Kong, this law has sparked outrage. They believe that by singing the anthem, they are giving in to China's rule and lack of free speech. Legislators in Hong Kong are facing the dilemma of how they will enforce the new law, especially when masses of people refuse to sing the anthem, such as at a sports event. Listen to learn how those who oppose the law plan to get around it and then debate: Would you risk arrest for something you believe in?
January 11, 2018
Fake news spreads quickly across the Internet resulting in fictional stories shared by millions of people. Facebook, one of the largest social media networks, is trying to combat fake news by hiring journalists to uncover false stories shared across its platform. One person hired to fact-check flagged posts spends her days filing reports that debunk stories shared across Facebook. However, the communication between Facebook and the journalists lacks transparency and journalists are asking for more help. Listen to learn about what is needed to combat fake news.
January 10, 2018
Refugees are people forced to leave their home country when it is no longer safe. They start new lives in places that usually have different languages, cultures, and practices from where they lived. When refugees arrive in the United States, they need to learn new customs and adapt to their surroundings while trying to find a job and a begin a new life. Some people have never used a refrigerator or cooked some of the food found in American grocery stores. Listen to this story about how some refugees are learning the skills needed to get through everyday life.
January 9, 2018
Wet wipes began as baby products, but now people use them for many things including makeup removal and applying insect repellent. As more people find uses for disposable wet wipes, more of them end up in the toilet. However, even if the company says they are flushable, they aren't always. Wet wipes are causing blockages in sewer systems around the country. Companies that label their wipes as flushable are suing states that have created standards for flushability. Listen to learn where your wet wipes go and how wastewater plants are using a form of forensics to uncover which companies are clogging up the pipes.
January 8, 2018
Prank calls, fake bomb threats, and hoax 911 calls are nothing new. But a new and extremely dangerous prank has put law enforcement on alert. "Swatting" is when someone calls 911 to report a fake shooting, kidnapping, or other dangerous situation so that a SWAT team will show up to a residence. A few weeks ago in Wichita, Kansas, a man was killed by a SWAT team after a hoax 911 call reported that the man was holding his family at gunpoint. Listen to learn about new legislation that members of Congress are proposing to combat these incidents.
January 5, 2018
In the fight against global poverty, there have been a lot of experiments. Organizations have tried to give seeds, job training, or education to help move people out of poverty. In a rural village in Western Zambia, a small but steady stream of cash was given to people who needed it. Giving the people money with no strings attached has resulted in incredible results. Listen to this story and debate: Can giving cash ease poverty?
January 4, 2018
There have always been rumors that Apple purposely slows down the batteries in their phones to get their customers to buy the latest iPhone. Now, Apple is admitting it does slow down old iPhones, but not to sell more products. Despite admitting to slowing down phones, Apple's loyal customer base did not hesitate to purchase Apple products this holiday season. Listen to learn why Apple slows down the batteries in iPhones and how important public relations are to a company's reputation.
January 3, 2018
People communicate in many ways on their cell phones. Twenty-five years ago, cell phones weighed 4 pounds and were only used to make and receive telephone calls. The first text message was transmitted Dec. 3, 1992, changing the way people communicate. Listen to hear more about how phone technology has evolved.
January 2, 2018
Mosul, Iraq is now free from ISIS control, after years of violent occupation. ISIS militants killed or displaced thousands of people. Some stayed in their homes during the siege waiting for the group to be forced out. For some young Iraqi women, education or marriage was not possible until now. Now there is freedom to attend Mosul University and to travel, but there are still some things women in Iraq are not free to do. Listen as two sisters who attend Mosul University talk about their different goals for the future, how they plan to follow their passion, and the obstacles that remain.
December 22, 2017
Many boys and girls have wondered how Santa Claus delivers toys to every child in one night. This story takes a scientific approach to answering that question. Scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how Santa avoids burning up in the atmosphere when going at the speed of light, and how the reindeer might be more technically equipped than we think. Listen to learn about the military program that has been tracking Santa for years and information about Santa that you might not know.
December 21, 2017
The holiday known as Kwanzaa celebrates African heritage and culture and is observed for seven days, ending on January 1. The holiday includes lights, a feast, and gift-giving, and surrounds the holidays of Christmas and Hanukkah. Kwanzaa was created within the last century and has gone through changes in who celebrates it and how it is observed. Now, more religions are celebrating the holiday than initially intended. Listen to learn about how Kwanzaa began and how it has changed.
December 20, 2017
The Santa Ana winds are making it extremely difficult for firefighters to control the range of the wildfires in Southern California. The fires have burned more than 272,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 homes. These wildfires have caused many scientists to revisit the discussions over climate change as the United State’s western coast has continuously been battling floods, earthquakes, and wildfires throughout the entire year. Listen to hear what these fires indicate for future weather patterns.
December 19, 2017
Jerusalem is a holy city for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Religious leaders from all these traditions have strong feelings about this holy land. In an historic move, President Trump has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and is moving the U.S. Embassy there. This issue has long been debated by religious leaders in Palestine, and all around the world. The announcement led to violence between Israel and Palestine and may undermine the peace process. Listen to how religious leaders from various faiths are reacting to the President’s decision.
December 18, 2017
Throughout his election campaign, President Trump promised a more populist approach to taxes. He said that wealthier Americans would pay more and the working class would pay less in taxes. However, the tax bill now debated by Congress goes in the other direction and appears to benefit the highest-earning Americans, according to many analysts. Political commentators have mixed opinions on how Trump’s supporters will respond. Listen to hear how this tax bill is different from what was promised on the campaign trail.
December 15, 2017
Across the country there’s a debate over whether or not out-of-school suspensions are effective in dealing with a student’s disruptive behavior. A city council member in Washington D.C. believes they are not useful and that more money should be put toward in-school activities for disruptive students. This issue concerns teachers since dealing with disruptive behavior can take time out of classroom teaching and affect other students. Listen to hear more about the pros and cons of in-school suspensions and then debate: Should suspension be in school or out of school?
December 14, 2017
Whether you’re on a plane or an astronaut in space, you can see cities around the world lit up at night. The amount of lighting increases every year and has affected wildlife and how we view the night sky. This is known as light pollution, and there’s probably more than we are aware. The way we measure light pollution does not pick up on LED lighting making the light not trackable to scientists. Listen to learn where the most and least light pollution is and why it should be considered a problem.
December 13, 2017
President Obama established the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah in 2016, which is sacred to Native Americans and dense with ancient artifacts. Now, President Trump has dramatically reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Monuments. There is debate whether the vast amount of land protected under the federal government hurts or helps the communities that surround the monument, including local ranchers and Native Americans. Listen to learn how the park reductions will affect different groups and spark a legal battle.
December 12, 2017
North Korea has tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, which has reached further than any previous missile. This puts the United States in range of the missile. However, many wonder if North Korea has the capability to put a nuclear warhead on the missile, which would create a more dangerous situation. President Trump has responded by saying we would take care of the situation. Listen to hear how vital communication between the two countries is in maintaining a stable relationship.
December 11, 2017
The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum recently opened with the help of former Texas Senator, Florence Shapiro. Shaprio is a first-generation American whose family faced tragedy throughout the Holocaust. As she grew up, Shapiro continued to hear more stories about her relatives who lived in Berlin throughout the 1930s. She has made an effort to share this history with her children. Listen to hear how opening the museum carries on her father’s legacy and has allowed Shapiro to educate people of all ages about the Holocaust.
December 8, 2017
Soccer is played by more than 3 million kids in leagues across the United States. Most parents cheer respectfully for their children, but some parents don’t. One volunteer referee for the American Youth Soccer Organization wrote a letter to parents with his thoughts on parents’ behavior. He encourages parents to be civil and be a good example for their kids. Listen to this story and debate: What is a parent’s role on the sidelines of kids' sports?
December 7, 2017
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to remove laws that protect net neutrality. Net neutrality is the result of laws that have been in effect for 2 years that prohibit Internet service providers from speeding up or slowing down any websites you use. Without net neutrality, Internet service providers could go from being neutral gateways to gatekeepers. There are differences in opinion about whether this will be helpful for consumers or the economy. Listen to hear from the former FCC chairman about his thoughts on an open Internet.
December 6, 2017
For people facing issues from stress to self-harm, there is a new way to get support. The Crisis Text Line provides free crisis intervention through text messages. Counselors have exchanged more than 50 million messages with people who are in crisis and need to talk with someone right away, but might not feel comfortable making a phone call to a traditional crisis hotline. In this story you’ll hear one volunteer counselor explain how she intervenes when people are in crisis and text for help.
December 5, 2017
Two longtime business associates who served together on the Trump presidential campaign were recently indicted on charges including conspiracy against the U.S. and conspiracy to launder money. Paul Manafort was a former Trump campaign manager and Rick Gates also worked for the campaign. Although this was discovered during an investigation looking into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, these charges do not include collusion with the Russian government. The charges describe a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. of millions of dollars in taxes. Listen to hear more about these charges.
December 4, 2017
One in five North Texas children live in poverty and more than a quarter million are hungry. A recent report by Children’s Health, a hospital network in Dallas, found that children living in poverty are seven times more likely to be in poor or fair health. High costs can deter some parents from getting health care. There are other obstacles to success for these children in low-income families. Listen to hear more about the struggles and possible solutions for children living in poverty.
December 1, 2017
Doctors faced an ethical dilemma recently in a case of conjoined twins. They had separate heads and torsos, but they were connected at the abdomen and the pelvis. They shared a liver and a bladder and other organs, and had just three legs in all. One of the twins had heart and lung disease so serious that she was likely to die soon, and as a result, her sister would die in the process. Listen to hear how doctors discussed what to do in this situation and then debate: Should doctors separate conjoined twins to save one of them?
November 30, 2017
The gap between rich and poor is one of the great concerns of modern times. It's even leading archaeologists to look more closely at wealth disparities in ancient societies. The rise of agriculture in the ancient world led to an unequal distribution of wealth, due to access to work animals and land. Scientists have discovered that the societies in the Americas were more egalitarian than those in Europe. Listen to hear more about how ancient societies can help us understand issues in society today.
November 29, 2017
When people don't get enough sleep, it can affect attention, reflexes, and communication. Even the reactions of people are different when they are well rested from when they are deprived of sleep. A group of scientists studying epilepsy also studied the effects of sleep deprivation. They learned that when people don’t sleep enough, certain brain cells literally slow down. Listen to hear more about how important sleep is to the way we process information.
November 28, 2017
India's most famous monument, the Taj Mahal, is an example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India's rich history. Now it is at the center of a bitter controversy. Hindu nationalists say the Muslim emperor who built India's iconic monument was a "traitor." The construction of the mausoleum was completed in the 1640s as a mausoleum for Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan’s favorite wife. Listen to hear about how India’s national pride along with religious ideas are contributing to this controversy.
November 27, 2017
China is currently the United States’ biggest source of imports and one of its top export markets. President Trump has promised to enforce U.S. trade laws and agreements and promote free and fair trade with China. President Trump recently met with China’s president, Xi Jinping, to discuss trade practices. But the trade relationship is still shaky. Another focus in the relationship with China is the rapid increase of Chinese investment in U.S. start up companies. Listen to learn about the realities of investments and trade between the U.S. and China.
November 22, 2017
A turkey at the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Maryland is not worried about becoming Thanksgiving dinner. Instead this turkey will be the guest of honor at dinner. Every year hundreds of people who eat only vegan or vegetarian food gather to eat with the turkeys, pigs, sheep, and other farm animals at Thanksgiving time. And they let the animals eat first. With help from charitable donations, this sanctuary has over 200 animals and a full-time caretaker. Listen to hear more about this unusual feast at Thanksgiving.
November 21, 2017
Nearly 4,000 Vermont veterans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. Many veterans are still dealing with the invisible wounds of war. Some of them, however, have begun to find healing through farming. One veteran who is raising pigs and goats is enjoying his days with animals and says it changed the way he sees his life. Listen to hear more about this veteran’s experience and other stories about veterans who have begun farming as a way to recover from the events of war.
November 20, 2017
More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled from their homes in Myanmar, also known as Burma, into Bangladesh since the end of August to escape the violence from the Burmese military. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority in a majority Buddhist country, and the violence has been called “ethnic cleansing” by some. The Burmese government’s stance is that their actions are in response to the attacks by an armed group of Rohingya against the Burmese police. Listen to hear about this crisis and what the Burmese government and United States government are doing to help the Rohingya.
November 17, 2017
Like the United States, Germany is grappling with fake news and hate speech and what to do about it. Offenses are banned under law, but on the Internet what is fake and what is hate speech is not always clear. The German parliament recently passed a controversial law imposing big fines on social media companies that fail to remove illegal, racist or slanderous posts. German ministry officials are anticipating a large volume of complaints about censorship. Listen to this story about social media and offensive posts, and the debate: Should social media sites be fined for not removing fake news and hate speech?
November 16, 2017
The shape of measuring cups hasn’t changed for decades. But how they are shaped affects how accurate they are. That is the reason why a software engineer quit his job to redesign the measuring cup. He named his new company Euclid after a Greek Mathematician and began experimenting with shapes and formulas. Listen to this audio story to learn about the difficult journey to make-over a seemingly simple kitchen tool.