TEACHERS: Current events podcasts for the classroom!
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August 29, 2017
The white supremacist and neo-Nazi protest in Charlottesville, VA killed one woman and injured 19 people. Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke thanked President Trump for criticizing the counter-protesters and Duke then called Black Lives Matter a “leftist terrorist group.” Black Lives Matter is a national organization working to fight against anti-Black racism, spark dialogue and encourage social action and engagement. The violence of Charlottesville brought urgency and attention to addressing attacks against people of color in the United States. Listen to hear from the leaders of Black Lives Matter and the NAACP and their attention to safety concerns.
August 28, 2017
South Sudan is the most recently formalized country in the world. The predominantly Christian south separated from the Arab north in 2011, which was a victory for many southern soldiers and people. Unfortunately, the south’s triumphs did not last long. Civil War and famine have impacted South Sudan’s ability to grow as a country, with nearly 60% of the country on the brink of starvation. Listen to this story to hear about the many struggles the South Sudanese face, and hear from others who still have hope.
August 25, 2017
Illegal immigration has been a topic of political debate in America for generations. Trump’s administration has brought a harsher tone to cracking down on illegal immigrants in the United States, not only at the border, but also arresting non-criminal immigrants. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, arrests of non-criminals have increased sharply across the country. Immigrant advocates claim this is worsening community relations. ICE agents say they are “misunderstood and that they simply want to enforce the law”. Listen to this story to hear from both sides of the issue and then debate: Are ICE agents just doing their jobs or going too far?
August 24, 2017
Recently violence broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia after a rally held by white nationalists became violent when they clashed with counter demonstrators. One woman was killed. The white nationalists were in Charlottesville to protest the city’s plan to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee. The clash has raised tensions around the country about what to do with monuments honoring Confederate figures. One city, Richmond, Virginia has a rich history when it comes to the early development the United States. It had a massive slave marketplace and a strong Confederate Army during the Civil War. Listen to hear a discussion of the history and fate of Confederate statues.
August 23, 2017
The Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that North Korea has developed a miniaturized nuclear warhead. A warhead of that size can sit on a missile and create a serious threat to the United States. Upon hearing this news President Donald Trump has responded forcefully stating, “They [North Korea] will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Listen to learn about Korea’s nuclear warheads, and what is thought to be North Korea’s reasoning for revealing this new information.
August 22, 2017
Paul Kagame has been in power in Rwanda for nearly two decades. Kagame is a national hero, leading a rebel army that ousted the government and put an end to the Rwandan genocide in 1994. While Rwanda boasts a healthy democracy and strong support for Kagame, opposing candidates claim that Rwandans are simply scared of their government. Citing examples of rhetoric used against his political opponents, critics hope to bring light to his authoritarianism. Listen to this story to hear about Kagame’s rise to power, his rival candidates, and the future of Rwanda.
Note: Soon after this story originally aired, Kagame won the presidential election
August 21, 2017
Solar Eclipses are a natural phenomena that occur when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, momentarily blocking the sun’s light from reaching Earth’s surface. For the first time in many years, people in some parts of the United States will get to see a total solar eclipse. Listen to hear from a few self-defined eclipse addicts, who reflect on their eclipse experiences and marvel at its beauty.
August 18, 2017
As more police departments around the country are using body cameras, a new debate is arising about who should have control over the images that they capture. As of now, the police themselves control the video images, which some believe may lead to a potential conflict of interest. This story explores both sides of the issue, and how police departments can work to improve their relationship with the public. Listen to this story and then debate: Who should have access to police body camera footage?
August 17, 2017
The youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize is 20-year old Malala Youzafzai, a Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for going to school, has campaigned tirelessly for girls’ rights to education. Youzafzai recently finished high school in England and is looking forward to not only continuing her own education, but ensuring access to education for girls in regions of the Middle East that are undergoing political and societal chaos. Listen to learn more about her struggle to stay optimistic in the face of overwhelming adversity.
August 16, 2017
Animals employ all sorts of techniques to avoid becoming prey. This is a story about one species of spider that have learned to mimic the movement of ants to avoid detection by predators. Listen to learn more about the life of a professional insect impersonator.
August 15, 2017
With the number of deportations of Mexican-American families increasing, schools across Mexico are struggling to address the unique challenges posed by incoming students who are fluent in English, but not Spanish. One school in Tijuana has seen great success by pairing incoming students with native Spanish speakers in the classroom and offering them one-on-one tutoring. Listen to learn more about how these children have been adjusting to life in the country their parents once called “home”.
August 14, 2017
Health care reform has become a major political issue in the United States. There are high costs for patients as well as the consequences of having millions of uninsured Americans. With many recent legislative votes on health care, the national debate is becoming intense. At the center of this debate is Medicare and Medicaid, which provide health care coverage for about 50 million Americans. Listen to an expert breakdown some of the details that make health care such a complicated subject.
August 7, 2017
A young Dallas couple has decided to open their doors to refugee children in their neighborhood. They don’t run a daycare or an afterschool program, but host refugee children at their home for games, movies, and even homework. Their home has become a popular place for kids in this diverse neighborhood. Listen to this story to hear exactly how this family began helping refugee children and what kind of impact they have on their community.
August 2, 2017
There is a global vanilla crisis. Recently there’s been a global shortage of vanilla that’s affecting bakeries and ice cream shops across the country. The spice is primarily grown in Madagascar, an island off the southeast coast of Africa. Listen to this story to hear what caused this shortage and the dangers and problems faced by vanilla growers.
July 26, 2017
The United States Intelligence Community has concluded that Russia interfered with the U.S. election. The Russian election scandal grows larger with the latest revelation that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer during the campaign. The meeting had eight attendees and Trump Jr. was told he would be given damaging information on Hillary Clinton. The question now is whether or not his meeting broke the law. Listen to this story to hear a law professor’s opinion on the meeting with Russian government officials.
July 19, 2017
Earth’s largest living organism, the Great Barrier Reef, has had record losses of coral in the last few years. A team of scientists estimate that an average of one-third of the corals along the entire Great Barrier Reef died between March and November of 2016. The global rise in greenhouse gas emissions has made ocean temperatures rise and has contributed to the number of coral that is dying, which is devastating for thousands of species that depend on the reef. Listen to hear more details about the loss of coral and the causes.
July 17, 2017
An infestation of bed bugs is horrible, along with being costly to treat. They search for blood, mostly at night when people sleep, and their bites leave red welts and itchy skin. They spread easily and hide during the day, making them difficult to find. Getting rid of bed bugs is expensive and creates difficulties for low-income renters. Many tenants do not realize that their leases have sections that put the responsibility of getting rid of the bed bugs on them and not on their landlords. Listen to hear one family’s story and the options available to you when there is a bed bug infestation.
July 12, 2017
The United States is in the middle of an opioid addiction crisis. Millions of Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers, and thousands are dying from overdoses. The increase in addiction is attributed to doctors overprescribing painkillers. Recently doctors have decreased the amount of opioids prescribed as a response to the crisis, but there are still a high number of prescriptions given for these drugs. Listen to hear more about the trends in opioid prescriptions and what might be done about this crisis.
July 10, 2017
Making ends meet is something that many families in the United States struggle with. As the cost of living, day care, food and other essentials become more expensive, it is much harder for parents to provide for their kids. MIT has created a calculator to determine the living wages for people and families in each state. Working at a job that pays minimum wage often results in pay that is far below what is needed. Listen to the story of how a mother from Dallas pays the family bills, and some of the issues around a living wage.
July 5, 2017
In the mid 1800s our understanding of the brain was radically changed as a result of a freak accident. Phineas Gage survived an accident that drove an iron rod through his head, but he had some changes in his personality. This case highlighted the relationship between the structural parts of the brain and changes in behavior. Listen to hear more about what this case can tell us about the brain and personality.
June 28, 2017
Two teenagers started a relationship in 2012, mainly through texting, which ended tragically. When Conrad Roy became depressed, his girlfriend, Michelle Carter, encouraged him to seek treatment, but then began to encourage him to commit suicide. Roy intentionally filled his truck with carbon monoxide and Carter sent him emails urging him to stay in the truck. For her encouraging texts and failure to act, Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. The judge based his ruling on the words she used, extending the boundaries of criminal law. Listen to hear more about this ruling and what it might mean for future cases.
June 21, 2017
President Trump is being sued by Maryland and the District of Columbia for violating the Constitution's anti-corruption law. The lawsuit was filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a bipartisan group in Washington D.C. The lawsuit says that Trump is accepting money from foreign governments when diplomats and others stay at his hotel. Also, when foreign countries have their officials stay at the Trump hotel in Washington, it harms other local businesses. Listen to hear more about this clause in the Constitution and the lawsuit that was filed.
June 19, 2017
Recently, Uber announced plans to use new technology to create flying cars which will be ready for demonstration by 2020. Rather than picturing a car from a science fiction story, imagine a vehicle that looks more like a helicopter. In fact, Uber is calling them “vertical takeoff and landing aircraft”. Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas were selected as the company’s first United States partner cities. Listen to an aviation engineer from Uber explain this new technology.
June 14, 2017
President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. The accord is an international agreement signed by more than 190 countries who have agreed to address climate change by trying to keep global temperature rise this century below 2 degrees. Trump says that the Paris Agreement would have been bad for U.S. workers and their businesses. The U.S. produces the second highest greenhouse gas emissions and is only topped by China, who remains committed to the agreement. Listen to learn more why Trump decided to leave the agreement and what it might mean for the future.
June 12, 2017
A high-school senior at Duncanville High School in Texas is juggling classes with a part-time job and her role as manager of her school’s softball team. At home, she helps her mother pay the bills and cares for her younger brother. After school, the softball team has become like a second family. She finds encouragement from people in her life and they provide support to help her face her challenges. Listen to hear more about this student’s life and what she wants for her future.
June 9, 2017
A new technology has been developed that could help law enforcement detect if a person has been texting while driving. Typically, in cases of auto accidents, law enforcement has to get an order from a court to look through a person’s phone records to see if they were texting at the wheel. This is a lengthy and difficult process that many believe slows the course of justice. However, the “textalyzer”, if used, would allow police to plug into a driver’s phone and quickly see their last 90 seconds of phone activity to determine if they were texting and driving. Listen to learn more about texting-while-driving bans and debate the benefits and challenges of using the textalyzer to improve safety.
June 8, 2017
A sheer rock face in Spain, called La Rambla, is notoriously difficult to climb. Recently, 19-year-old Margo Hayes became the first woman to climb this route. Hayes was able to complete the climb on her 17th attempt over seven days. She planned her route, remained positive, and was ultimately successful. Listen to learn more about what drove Margo Hayes to complete this successful climb.
June 7, 2017
Chronic stress and lack of sleep seem to be the new normal for American teens. Most teens are not getting the 9-10 hours of sleep a night that their bodies require. As a result, some schools are purchasing nap pods—reclining chairs with a dome that blocks out light. The idea is that students can use the pods for 20-minute periods of rest and relaxation. These naps can boost memory and attention and help students perform throughout the day. Listen to learn more about the challenges facing modern teens and how nap pods can help.
June 6, 2017
Doctors around the world are worried about the threat of the global spread of bird flu, or avian influenza. In Hong Kong, scientists studying the virus are also concerned about how quickly the virus is evolving. The latest mutation of the virus is able to kill chickens in the lab within 24 hours. A leading scientist worries that a future mutation could be transmitted more quickly between humans, leading to a global pandemic. Listen to learn more about this research and the threat of bird flu.
June 5, 2017
General Manuel Noriega, the former dictator of Panama, has died at the age of 83. Noriega’s attacks on American citizens in Panama led to the 1989 U.S. invasion of the country that links Central America to South America. When President George H.W. Bush ordered the invasion, it was the largest U.S. military action since the Vietnam War. Noriega was ultimately ousted and sentenced to 40 years in prison in the U.S. for drug smuggling. Listen to learn more about Noriega’s life, his brutal rule, and his fall from power.
June 2, 2017
The mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana removed four Confederate statues from the city to ease controversy of how the city remembers the Civil War. He made a speech at the fourth and final removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Some saw these statues as symbols of white supremacy and of the systemic oppression of human beings, and some saw them as tributes to Confederate heroes. Listen to learn more about the statue removal in New Orleans and its place in the nationwide debate about the removal of symbols of the Civil War and then debate: Should Confederate statues from the past be removed?
June 1, 2017
After two decades in the major leagues, Red Sox legend David Ortiz has retired, and now he is releasing a memoir about his life and career. Throughout his career, David Ortiz, or “Big Papi”, hit 541 home runs and won three World Series championships with the Boston Red Sox. Listen to learn more about David Ortiz’s journey from his childhood in the Dominican Republic to major league baseball in the United States.
May 31, 2017
China is scheduled to host more than 400 marathons this year as part of the central government’s national campaign to boost tourism and promote exercise. During a period of slowed economic growth, more and more cities in China are signing up to hold marathons. However, the central government has also criticized runners for lack of health awareness and organizers for poor safety practices. Listen to learn more about the growing interest in marathons in China and how organizers are trying to improve the process.
May 30, 2017
Scientists have found a new bacteria in a cave 1,000 feet underground. The bacteria is resistant to 70% of antibiotics used to fight disease in humans. The fact that the bacteria is resistant to these antibiotics, despite never having been exposed to them, tells scientists that antibiotic resistance is genetically hardwired rather than developed as a result of exposure. Scientists are calling the bacteria a “hero bug” because it is not harmful to humans, and they hope that this new knowledge will lead to even more effective antibiotics. Listen to learn more about the “hero bug” and antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
May 29, 2017
On Monday, a suicide bombing took place at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England killing 22 people and injuring 59 others. Many of the victims were young people. The terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing, and British Prime Minister Theresa May says that another terrorist attack may be imminent. Following the attack, thousands of Manchester residents attended a public vigil for victims. Listen to learn more about the victims and how residents of Manchester are coming together after this tragedy.
May 26, 2017
A fidget spinner has two or three paddle-shaped blades attached to a central core. Kids hold it by the core and flick the blades to make it spin. Fidget spinners are popular in elementary and middle schools. They can be an effective calming influence and can help some students concentrate. They can also become airborne and create distractions to others who are trying to focus. Teachers have to decide whether to allow or ban them in their classrooms. Listen and then debate: Should fidget spinners be allowed in classrooms?
May 25, 2017
Some high schools give special recognition to students who can speak and read in two languages. At graduation, these students receive a bi-literacy seal on their diplomas that recognizes not only test scores but also the value of learning two languages. This distinction shows appreciation for cultural perspectives and celebrates diversity, along with making these students ready to succeed in a global environment. Listen to learn more about this new movement to honor fluency in a second language.
May 24, 2017
As the economic crisis deepens and the political climate intensifies in Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro announced he’s creating an assembly of representatives to propose changes to the country’s constitution. While Maduro says it is an attempt to bring peace, opponents see it as a move towards dictatorship. Opponents took to the streets in the capital city of Caracas in protest, adding to other protests that have been going on for months. Listen to hear more about what this means for Venezuela's future.
May 23, 2017
The U.S. Deputy Attorney General appointed a special counsel, former FBI director Robert Mueller, to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The appointment comes after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who was investigating possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. In addition, the President reportedly asked Comey to drop the investigation into his former national security advisor. Listen to learn more about how this special counsel might impact the future of the Russian investigation.
May 22, 2017
A recent unprecedented global cyberattack was responsible for 75,000 different infections in more than 70 countries. The ransomware, which is a type of software that locks files and demands money to unlock them, took advantage of a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The worst of the attack is over, since a security researcher was able to effectively trigger a kill switch to stop the infection from spreading and Microsoft issued an emergency patch for its operating system. Listen to hear more about this cyberattack and what was learned.