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Current Events

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March 3, 2022


Authentic Food Makes Afghan Refugees Feel Welcome

Thousands of refugees from Afghanistan have settled in the U.S. after fleeing their country during the Taliban takeover. Many feel grateful for their new lives but also homesick for the family members, country, and culture they left behind. Break Bread, Break Borders is an organization in Dallas, Texas, that welcomes and comforts refugees by offering authentic, culturally appropriate meals. Listen to newly settled Afghan refugees tell their stories and describe what it means to them to share a familiar meal.

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March 2, 2022


Wordle and Other Puzzle Crazes

People have enjoyed solving different kinds of puzzles for centuries. Wordle, a popular online puzzle, requires players to figure out the word of the day within six tries. Puzzles like Wordle are fun, and they can sharpen people’s language and critical thinking skills. In this story, the author of a book about puzzles discusses historical puzzle crazes and why he believes puzzles can benefit society. Listen to hear about puzzles that have been popular throughout history and why some people have called puzzle crazes dangerous.

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March 1, 2022


Kid News: Cloned Ferret

Endangered animals are at risk of disappearing entirely, but cloning can help prevent that from happening. Cloning means growing the cells of a living thing into an exact copy of the creature. Listen to hear how scientists are using cloning to protect an endangered species of ferret.

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March 1, 2022


The Physics of Ski Jumping

Olympic ski jumpers speed down a big hill and launch themselves off a ramp into the air, hoping to achieve the farthest jump to beat their competitors. In this story, a physicist explains the science behind ski jumpers’ ability to stay in the air so long. She discusses how gravity, air pressure, the skiers’ body position, and their clothing impact their success. Listen to hear more about the physics behind Olympic ski jumpers’ amazing feats.

Note: Amy Pope's article about ski jumping was originally published by The Conversation and was republished by Smithsonian magazine.

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February 28, 2022


Russia Invades Ukraine

After weeks spent amassing troops along the Russia-Ukraine border, Russia has invaded Ukraine, and Russian troops are advancing on the capital city of Kyiv. Ukraine has vowed to fight back, although missile strikes in key cities have forced many Ukrainians to flee their homes in search of safety. Leaders of Western countries view Russia’s aggression as an attempt to redraw the geopolitical map of Europe by bringing Ukraine, a European democracy, under Russian control. Listen to hear Ukrainian citizens describe their experiences and plans during this frightening time.

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February 27, 2022


Weird News: Longest Dog Ears

Listen to hear about the Guinness World Record holder for the longest ears on any living dog.

Vocabulary: extravagantly, issues, compliments

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February 25, 2022


Debate: Should Olympic Figure Skating Rules Be Changed?

A scandal in women’s figure skating at the 2022 Olympics has raised questions about the current state of the competitive sport. After a young Russian skating star was found to have used banned performance-enhancing drugs, she was still allowed to skate but stumbled repeatedly during her routine under the pressure of strong public criticism. Some say the young athletes who excel at the sport are ill equipped to handle its pressures. They want the judging system to change so that older athletes are rewarded for their skills, and coaches are held more accountable. Listen to a former figure skater reflect on the recent games and then debate: Should Olympic figure skating rules be changed?

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February 24, 2022


Student Develops Inclusive Curriculum

A high school student from Virginia is working to include more learning about women, and especially women of color, in the social studies curriculum. She was inspired to start the Women for Education, Advocacy, and Rights organization based on her experiences not seeing women that looked like her in her history education, as well as sexist social media trends and gender inequality in her school. Listen to hear how she is making changes in her school district’s curriculum and to learn about some important, but often unknown, women from American history.

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February 23, 2022


The Oldest Fish in Captivity

Scientists believe an Australian lungfish named Methuselah, who resides at the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco, may be the oldest fish living in any aquarium in the world. Methuselah has lived at the Steinhart Aquarium since 1938 and is capable of jumping out of her tank if she wishes. In this audio story, a curator at her aquarium discusses Methuselah’s personality and favorite foods. Listen to hear how Methuselah is helping the scientific community and find out what lessons humans can learn from her.

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February 22, 2022


Kid News: Invasion of Joro Spiders

Giant Joro spiders have arrived in northern Georgia. They are an invasive species, a creature that found its way to America from another place and liked the climate and living conditions enough to stay. Although they may be scary looking to some, Joro spiders can be helpful to humans. Listen to learn where the creepy crawly visitors came from, how they first arrived, and where they might go next.

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February 22, 2022


Tuskegee Airmen Fought Two Wars

The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of Black military pilots who fought for the U.S. during World War II and endured intense racism at home, even as they defended their country overseas. In this audio story, the life of one Tuskegee pilot, Brigadier General Charles Edward McGee, is remembered. McGee’s goals included not just piloting planes, but also achieving equality for all Americans. Listen to hear the voice of a distinguished Tuskegee airman, and learn about the legacy he hoped to leave.

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February 20, 2022


Weird News: Where is Walrus?

Listen to hear why people are signing up to be detectives on the hunt for walruses.

Vocabulary: task, identify, obtain, distribute, resemble

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February 18, 2022


Debate: Should Olympic Athletes Be Allowed to Protest?

Olympic athletes are banned from publicly expressing their political views during the Olympic games. The restriction, known as Rule 50, was put in place by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over 40 years ago as a way of maintaining neutrality in sports. The IOC argued that Olympic competition should be kept separate from the contentious world of politics. But many athletes say the societal problems they care about are relevant in the sports world, too, and they believe the Olympics are an appropriate place to express their views. Listen to learn about the controversy over Rule 50 and then debate: Should Olympic athletes be allowed to protest?

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February 17, 2022


A Kid's View on the Pandemic

The pandemic has affected kids in many ways. They have endured remote schooling, isolation from their friends, and worries about bringing infection home to family members. While each student’s experience is different, many face common concerns related to their disrupted lives. Listen to hear a sixth-grader describe how the pandemic has affected her and her family, and what she hopes people will learn from experiencing this historic event.

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February 16, 2022


Beetle Larvae Do Olympic Flips

Scientists have discovered that the larvae of bark beetles can perform acrobatic feats. They are only about a quarter of an inch long, and scientists were surprised to see the larvae somersault their tiny bodies through the air. Listen to learn about the physics of the larvae’s ability, and hear a gymnastics podcaster describe and score their Olympic-style skills.

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February 15, 2022


Kid News: Electric Cars

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming popular all around the world. EVs are considered “clean” because they run on electricity rather than gasoline, which spews harmful gasses into the air. It takes precious resources to make EVs, though, and they are more expensive to buy, although that may change soon. Listen to learn more about electric vehicles and why one European country sells an unusually high number of them.

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February 15, 2022


Coach Sues NFL Alleging Racist Hiring

The NFL has struggled to respectfully represent the diverse country. Although the Washington team’s name no longer includes a racial slur, the former head coach for the Miami Dolphins has sued the NFL and three teams alleging racism in their hiring practices. The coach also alleges that he was asked to deliberately lose games in order to position the team for early draft picks. Listen to hear about the coach’s experiences and the NFL’s history of working toward greater diversity among its top leadership.

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February 14, 2022


Justice Breyer's Supreme Court Legacy

Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring from the U.S. Supreme Court. During his 28 years on the Court, Breyer has been involved in some of the most controversial and far-reaching decisions of the day, on abortion, affirmative action, school desegregation, and affordable health care. He is known for his pleasant, optimistic manner, and for using his gifts of persuasion to build consensus around difficult issues among his fellow justices. Breyer views the Constitution as a living document, subject to reinterpretation, which has put him at odds with his more conservative colleagues. Listen to learn about the life and legacy of Justice Stephen Breyer.

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February 13, 2022


Weird News: Teen Solves Rubik's Cubes on Unicycle

Listen to hear how many Rubik’s Cubes one teen was able to solve while riding a unicycle.

Vocabulary: pry, legitimate

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February 11, 2022


Debate: Is U.S. Democracy At Risk?

Healthy, effective democracies depend on educated, engaged citizens and a balance of power among well-functioning branches of government. When these conditions deteriorate, the health of a democracy can backslide. Some say the events of the past few years, including the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and its aftermath, indicate that American democracy is weakening. Citizen engagement in politics is at an all-time high, however, leading others to conclude that U.S. democracy has actually grown stronger. Listen to hear more and then debate: Is U.S. democracy at risk?

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February 10, 2022


First Audio Recordings Enter Public Domain

All sound recordings made before 1923 have entered the public domain. This means that anyone can access and use these recordings free of charge. The audio recordings released to the public include a wide variety of sounds that can inspire creative projects and teach listeners about history. Listen to hear some of the unique audio recordings that are now in the public domain.

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February 9, 2022


Colonial Schoolhouse Educated Black Children

Historians have discovered that a small building in Williamsburg, Virginia, was once the Williamsburg Bray School, a school for Black children in colonial times. In this audio story, a graduate student who acts as a colonial character for visitors to Colonial Williamsburg, the city’s historic district, discusses the schoolhouse’s discovery and purpose. Listen to hear about what makes the Williamsburg Bray School unique, and learn about its impact on the community it served.

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February 8, 2022


Kid News: Tension Between Russia and Ukraine

The huge country of Russia, located partly in Europe and partly in Asia, has moved hundreds of thousands of soldiers to the border of its smaller neighbor, Ukraine. The Ukrainian people, and many others around the world, fear the troops will attack and try to overtake their country. Why would Russia make such a move? One key to the conflict may lie with NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a group of countries that signed an agreement over 70 years ago. Listen to learn more about NATO, and hear a Ukrainian woman describe how it feels to be on the brink of a possible war.

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February 8, 2022


Russian Troops Threaten Ukraine

Russia has sent more than 100,000 troops to the border of its neighbor, Ukraine, surrounding the country on three sides and raising fears that it intends to invade. What prompted Russia’s action? The answer lies partly in the history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a group of Western nations that signed an agreement after World War II to stand together against Soviet aggression. Russia has long felt threatened by the NATO alliance, which has a mission to promote democratic values and has expanded greatly over the past 70 years. Listen to learn about the role of NATO in Russia’s move against Ukraine, and hear a retired army lieutenant general share thoughts on what may happen next.

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February 7, 2022


Beijing Olympics Focus World's Attention on China

In 2008, China hosted a successful Summer Olympics, capturing the world’s attention and asserting its growing power. Fourteen years later, Beijing is again hosting the Olympic games, this time in winter, and their position on the world stage has changed. China’s economic power has continued to rise, and its authoritarian leadership has raised concerns worldwide. Some nations, including the U.S., have refused to send government representatives to the games to protest reported human rights abuses in China. Listen to learn how and why perceptions of China have shifted since it first hosted the Olympics.

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February 6, 2022


Weird News: Mystery Pet

Listen to hear what happened when one family’s new pet was not what they expected it to be.

Vocabulary: presumed, afoul

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February 4, 2022


Debate: Who Should Determine Whether Schools Are Safe?

Deciding how to protect people in group settings, including schools, has been challenging during the pandemic. In many school communities, decisions about safety are made by school boards and school leaders, like superintendents and principals. Parents, too, voice their opinions on safety by attending school board meetings, and teachers work through their unions to express concerns and demand safety measures. Students are deeply affected by policies around COVID-19 safety, but some argue they have the least say in determining safe learning conditions. Listen to a high school junior explain why he helped organize a walkout at his school and then debate: Who should determine whether schools are safe?

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February 3, 2022


Indian American Teen Podcasts About Her Cultural Identity

Kriti Sarav, a 16-year-old from Chicago, won the high school prize for NPR's Student Podcast Challenge in 2021. Her winning podcast, which she created all by herself, discusses her life growing up Indian American. She recalls some of the many messages she has received that she is different and explains their impact on her over time. Listen to hear Sarav tell her story and find out how she helps herself and others feel proud and strong.

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February 2, 2022


Regional African American Cuisine

Sweet Home Cafe, the restaurant at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, offers visitors an opportunity to taste the influence of Black Americans on foods from across the country. The restaurant’s regional serving stations help to correct the common misconception that Southern, soul food dishes represent all of African-American cuisine. Listen to hear guests discuss the foods they enjoy at the restaurant and learn the history of various dishes on the menu.

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February 1, 2022


Remembering Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has died. The South African priest spent much of his life fighting to end apartheid, or the forced separation of the races legislated by South Africa’s all-white minority government. Once the system fell, he served under President Nelson Mandela as head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which examined apartheid-era crimes. Tutu’s fairness, compassion for victims, and dedication to justice earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. Listen to learn more about the life and legacy of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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February 1, 2022


Kid News: Happy Lunar New Year!

Billions of people around the world celebrate the Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year. Celebrations begin on the first new moon of the year, and conclude two weeks later when people release beautiful paper lanterns into the sky. Eating a big meal, exchanging red envelopes of money, and honoring family are all important holiday traditions. Listen to a young reporter describe how her family celebrates the Lunar New Year.

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January 31, 2022


Major Volcanic Eruption in Tonga

An underwater volcano recently erupted in the South Pacific Ocean, sending tons of ash into the air and creating a tsunami that hit the coast of the nearby island of Tonga. Rescuers are struggling to deliver aid to the tiny nation, which sustained tremendous damage. Scientists hope to learn more about the gigantic volcanic eruption, heard hundreds of miles away, to determine how volcanic activity affects the environment. Listen to hear more about the origin and effects of an uncommonly powerful geologic event.

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January 30, 2022


Weird News: Flower with an Appetite for Insects

Listen to hear about a pretty white flower that is also pretty hungry.

Vocabulary: inspection, appetite, digest, secrete

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January 28, 2022


Debate: Should Satellite Missile Testing Be Allowed?

Anti-satellite missiles (ASAT) are defensive weapons, meant to repel attacks launched with nuclear or space-based weapons. Countries that possess ASAT technology, including the U.S., India, and China, occasionally test their weapons by exploding their own satellites in space. The explosions produce thousands of pieces of orbital debris which remain in space, polluting the atmosphere and potentially harming people working on space stations. Some are calling for a ban on all ASAT testing, while others say the tests are a necessary part of a country’s military defense plan. Listen to learn about the consequences of Russia’s recent ASAT test and then debate: Should satellite missile testing be allowed?

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January 27, 2022


Professor Helped Others Escape Nazis

Justus Rosenberg, a beloved literature professor, died at age 100 in October 2021. Rosenberg’s death was an opportunity for his friends to remember and share his life story, which included helping to rescue artists and intellectuals from the Nazis as a teenager during World War II. Rosenberg escaped being sent to a Polish labor camp and fought alongside Americans on D-Day before teaching at Bard College for almost 60 years. Listen to hear what Rosenberg had to say about his work during WWII and to learn how he impacted his many students.

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January 26, 2022


Rediscovering Wild New Guinea Singing Dogs

Scientists have discovered that New Guinea singing dogs, once thought to be extinct in the wild, are indeed still alive. The singing dogs' appearance may be easily confused with other canine species, but their unique howl alerted people to their presence. Listen to hear the New Guinea singing dogs’ distinct howl and find out how scientists confirmed they were still alive in the wild.

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January 25, 2022


Kid News: Maple Syrup Crisis

Pancakes without syrup? That may be what the future holds, now that there is a shortage of maple syrup in Canada. Many people depend on Canada to produce the delicious sticky syrup made from the sap of maple trees. But now the supply of syrup is low, while the demand for syrup during the pandemic has risen. Listen to learn about the causes of the maple syrup shortage and why the price of maple syrup is rising.

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January 25, 2022


MLK's Granddaughter Continues His Work

Activist Yolanda Renee King is carrying on the work of her famous grandfather, Martin Luther King, Jr. The middle school student advocates passionately for key civil rights issues, including voting rights. She urges educators and young people not to just glorify her grandfather’s memory, but to closely study his actions to understand how he accomplished his goals. Listen to hear a committed young activist reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and how it continues to inspire her.

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January 24, 2022


Moving from Pandemic to Endemic

COVID-19 may soon become endemic, thanks to the omicron variant. Endemicity means the virus will exist in the population, coming and going in predictable patterns and becoming less disruptive to everyday life. Diseases that have become endemic, such as the common cold, are often mild, but health experts caution that the COVID-19 virus remains dangerous, and people should continue to take steps to avoid infection. Listen to hear medical experts explain why COVID-19 may be here to stay and what it might look like as it continues to evolve.

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January 23, 2022


Weird News: Smart Dogs

Listen to hear about six super-smart dogs that scientists found, and learn what the dogs are able to do.

Vocabulary: genius, absorb, recognize

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