Current Event February 26, 2018
A grand jury indicted 13 Russians for carrying out "information warfare" in an elaborate effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential campaign. The indictments describe years of efforts in which hundreds of well-funded and sophisticated Russians accumulated social media followers, spread distrust, and divided Americans against each other. The indictment says Americans who worked with the groups didn’t know they were working with Russian operatives. Listen to hear more about what the indictments mean for these 13 Russians as well as for Americans.
Current Event February 1, 2018
The Winter Olympics are starting soon, and in an historic breakthrough, Communist North Korea will send some athletes and a cheering squad to participate in the games, which are being held in the neighboring country of South Korea. The government of South Korea decided to welcome the North and agreed to walk under one flag and even combine athletes on the women’s ice hockey team. But North and South Korea have a frosty relationship and now people in South Korea are protesting the cooperation for the games. Listen to learn why leaders in South Korea are supporting this alliance and how it looks to the rest of the world.
Current Event 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.
Current Event 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.
Current Event 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.
Current Event 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.
Current Event 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.
Current Event 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.
Current Event 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.
Current Event November 15, 2017
Women will soon be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. For decades the monarchy in Saudi Arabia forbid women from driving and other activities. Now the young crown prince has relaxed many restrictions on women as part of larger reforms in efforts to modernize the Middle Eastern country. There have been protests of the driving ban, including in 1990 when forty women drove the streets of the capital and lost their jobs. Listen to this story to hear more about the changes coming to Saudi Arabia.
Current Event November 13, 2017
Catalonia is a region in northeast Spain that has its own language and customs, and accounts for 20% of Spain’s economic output. This region has had financial disputes with the other regions of Spain and a history of striving for independence. Catalonia recently declared independence from Spain and in response Spanish authorities assumed direct control of the region. A warrant was issued for the arrest of the deposed Catalan leader and several Catalan ministers were arrested. Listen to hear more about the events in Catalonia, and the reactions to their efforts for independence.
Current Event November 9, 2017
There is evidence that Russian campaigns on social media sent out fake news stories and false conspiracies to create divisions among Americans during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Executives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter are being asked about this interference in the first public congressional hearings on Russian propaganda. Listen to hear more about how Russian propaganda affects people’s beliefs and behavior, and how quickly false stories spread.
Current Event November 1, 2017
There is widespread support for infrastructure spending from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Funding roads and bridges is good for the economy. It creates jobs, fuels growth, and helps Americans travel more quickly and safely. President Donald Trump promised a $1 trillion infrastructure spending plan as a part of his campaign as well as his presidency. Trump’s new budget has allocated $200 billion in federal money for infrastructure over 10 years, but also cuts programs he calls wasteful, including water facilities and airports. Listen to hear questions and concerns about where the money is going to come from.
Current Event October 30, 2017
Raqqa is a city in northeastern Syria. ISIS leaders made Raqqa its operations hub and training ground more than three years ago, claiming it as an Islamic caliphate. Recently, after four months of airstrikes, ISIS no longer controls Raqqa. Syrian Democratic Forces, the American-backed militia group made up of Syrian Kurds and Arabs, took control of the city. Many of the people who joined ISIS were attracted by the idea of a physical Islamic state, and without this territory, ISIS may go back to being an underground terrorist organization. Listen to hear more about what might be next for the Islamic State.
Current Event October 27, 2017
Neighborhoods are often chosen by real estate prices and schools, and now they might be chosen by politics. Some people can feel like outsiders if they are living among others who don’t value or believe what they do. One idea is to create conservative Republican enclaves, where everyone shares the same values and feels connected to each other. Others think we should figure out how to exist together with different types of people. Listen to this story and then debate: Should we surround ourselves with people who have the same values and beliefs?
Current Event October 24, 2017
For the first time in 38 years, Angola has a new president. José Eduardo dos Santos had ruled Angola since 1979, soon after its independence from Portugal in 1975. He handpicked his successor, João Lourenço, who was the former Defence Minister. Lourenço won the presidential election and faces the challenge of bringing change to the country. Half of Angola’s citizens live in poverty and the hope is that Lourenço will fight corruption in the country. Listen to hear more about this peaceful transition of power.
Current Event October 13, 2017
The football field has become a field for demonstrations. American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest against racial injustice consisted of kneeling during the national anthem at the start of NFL games. After President Donald Trump attacked NFL players who have knelt during the anthem, other athletes were inspired to kneel as well, while others locked arms and stood during the anthem. One point of view is that those who kneel are disrespecting the flag, veterans, and America and another is that politics should be removed from football games, and another is that Kaepernick is not showing disrespect and he has the right to protest injustice. Listen to this story and then debate: What do the national anthem protests mean?
Current Event September 19, 2017
A message in a bottle washed up on a beach this week in Gaza, a small Palestinian territory. It traveled nearly 500 miles across the Mediterranean Sea, from the Greek island of Rhodes. It floated past Turkey and Cyprus and was found by a 54-year-old Palestinian fisherman. For a decade, the militant group Hamas has controlled the area of Gaza and mail sent there must first pass through Israeli security. The message in the bottle included an email address which provided a connection between the British couple who sent the message and the Palestinian fisherman. Listen to hear more about the extraordinary journey of this message.
Current Event September 11, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months. This program was established by executive action during the Obama administration to grant people under 16 who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents a temporary reprieve from deportation. Immigration officials will stop taking new applications and will decide on renewals on a case by case basis. Listen to hear more about the ending of the DACA program.