Current Event August 23, 2016
A Japanese emperor hasn't voluntarily stepped away from the throne in nearly 200 years. In a televised speech, the current Japanese leader, Emperor Akihito, hinted that he may step down. He talked about his failing health and his difficulty in keeping up with his duties. Changing the Japanese law would be a break from tradition, as Japan has the world's longest-running hereditary monarchy: 2,600 years. Listen to hear more about the Japanese monarchy and tradition.
Current Event May 31, 2016
President Obama visited Vietnam recently, making him only the third U.S. President to visit this country. The Vietnam War ended in 1975 when the U.S. withdrew combat forces and the country was united under communism. For the last 50 years the U.S. has banned weapons sales to the communist government. Obama ended that ban in Vietnam because as China becomes aggressive in the Western Pacific, the United States wants to strengthening its ties to Vietnam. China and Vietnam are neighbors and share Communist ideology. Listen to hear more about this new policy.
Current Event November 27, 2015
The biggest test in the life of a South Korean teenager is the college entrance exam. All high school seniors take it on the same day each year, and there are many preparations to make sure students can fully concentrate on the exam. In South Korea, there is a belief that you will fail at everything unless you do well on this exam. However, if you do well, you go to a good school and get a good job. That’s a lot of pressure for students. This exam is much like the SAT or ACT in the United States. Listen to hear about high stakes testing in Korea and then debate: Should one test determine students' academic futures?