Topic: International

Current Event November 8, 2020

Weird News: Teaching Litterbugs a Lesson

Animals International Conservation

Listen to hear how a park in Thailand is sending a message to people who litter.

Vocabulary: authorities, revenge

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Current Event October 29, 2020

Conflict Between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Politics Civil War International Ethnicity

Recently fighting has erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan, two former Soviet republics, in Nagorno-Karabakh, an area in the Caucasus Mountains. The conflict first began over 30 years ago, when Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh, a region within Azerbaijan, sought independence as an ethnic group from the Soviet Union. Armenia eventually took control of much of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as some adjoining areas within Azerbaijan. The region has geopolitical interest for Russia, Turkey, and Iran. Listen to learn what is emboldening Azerbaijan to take action and why one reporter calls this “a very dangerous conflict.”

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Current Event October 9, 2020

Debate: Should TikTok Be Banned in the U.S.?

Technology Culture International

A judge recently blocked President Trump’s order to ban all U.S. downloads of the video sharing app TikTok, which is currently owned by a Chinese company. Trump views the app as a national security threat, saying that the data it collects from American users may be accessible to the Chinese government. Defenders of the app say no evidence exists that the Chinese government could access American TikTok data, which is housed in the U.S. Listen to learn more about the controversy surrounding TikTok and then debate: Should TikTok be banned in the U.S.?

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Current Event September 20, 2020

Weird News: Panda Escape

Animals International

Listen to hear about a panda who escaped from his zoo pen.

Vocabulary: surveillance, skirt, roam

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Current Event August 19, 2020

Teenager Cycles Across India to Take Her Father Home

Sports International Class

A teen in India has become a celebrity after bicycling across the country carrying her dad. Fifteen-year-old Djoti made the trip when she and her father found themselves close to starvation and desperate to return to their home village. Djoti rode roughly 100 miles a day on a bicycle with no gears. Listen to hear the young athlete describe how she felt during the long journey, and learn how sports officials responded to her incredible feat.

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Current Event August 17, 2020

Massive Explosion Leads to Citizen Protests in Lebanon

Politics Violence International Government

A colossal explosion in Beirut, Lebanon has killed at least 200 people and injured 5,000 others. The blast occurred when explosive material stored in a warehouse in the port city caught fire. The catastrophe follows a year of protests against government corruption and mismanagement, and many Lebanese now blame the government for failing to remove the dangerous explosives earlier. Listen to learn more about one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, and hear Lebanese citizens explain why they no longer have faith in their government.

Update: Several days after this story aired, the prime minister of Lebanon, Hassan Diab, resigned.

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Current Event August 9, 2020

Weird News: Social Distancing Shoes

Culture International Community

Listen to hear about special shoes that can help people keep a healthy social distance from others.

Vocabulary: typical, benefit

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Current Event July 19, 2020

Weird News: Space Chess

Technology Culture International

Listen to hear about two astronauts in space playing chess with an expert on Earth.

Vocabulary: versus, draw, anniversary

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Current Event July 6, 2020

World Leadership During the Pandemic

Politics Health International

Leaders throughout the world are working to control the spread of COVID-19 in their nations. Some have managed to keep their country’s illness rates very low or to quickly limit outbreaks. This story examines the qualities and strategies of these successful leaders and the commonalities in their responses to the pandemic that have so effectively addressed the health crisis. Listen to learn what the New Zealand prime minister said to calm her nation, how leaders of several Asian countries mobilized their governments, and what the German Chancellor did for the first time ever to rally her citizens to work together to reduce the threat of the virus.

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Current Event July 5, 2020

Weird News: Coronavirus Hairstyle

Culture International

Listen to hear about how a hairstyle in Kenya has become popular again due to COVID-19.

Vocabulary: era, resemble, resurgence, austere

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Current Event June 11, 2020

Bicycles Bring Freedom for Women in Pakistan

Culture International

There has been a huge increase in bicycling around the world during the pandemic. In Pakistan, women and girls are riding bicycles in larger numbers than ever before. Traditional cultural norms have resulted in frequent harassment of Pakistani women who ride bicycles. The pandemic, however, has brought changes that have opened the door for more women and girls to enjoy the excitement and freedom of traveling by bike. Listen to learn why conditions during the pandemic have made it safer for Pakistani women to ride bikes, and why the cultural change may persist even after the health crisis ends.

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Current Event June 7, 2020

Weird News: Eating French Fries for the Economy

Economics International Food

Listen to hear why people in Belgium are being asked to double the amount of potatoes they eat.

Vocabulary: request, surplus

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Current Event May 8, 2020

Debate: Should Surveillance Technology Be Used for Contact Tracing?

Technology Health Law International

Governments around the world are using surveillance technology to help keep citizens safe from the spread of the coronavirus. Collecting cell phone location data can help officials implement some of the most effective tools for containing the virus, including contact tracing. In some countries, however, the government’s use of personal data to track people’s movements is raising privacy concerns. Listen to learn how three different countries are tracking personal data to fight the pandemic and then debate: Should surveillance technology be used for contact tracing?

This audio story was recorded in late April. The news about COVID-19 is changing rapidly and parts of this story may be dated.

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Current Event May 7, 2020

The Role of the WHO

Politics Health International

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a United Nations agency that oversees public health worldwide. It offers advice and support to its member countries and coordinates scientific research and public health projects across borders. President Trump recently announced that the U.S. will stop funding the WHO, severely reducing the agency’s budget. Listen to learn more about the role of the WHO in protecting global health and how a withdrawal of funding could cripple its efforts.

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Current Event April 17, 2020

Debate: Should the Spanish Language Be Gender Neutral?

Gender Language International

Teens in Argentina are pushing to make Spanish gender-neutral. They say the rules of the language favor men over women and exclude nonbinary people. The Royal Spanish Academy argues that it is important to maintain the purity of a language that has been spoken for hundreds of years. Listen to hear more about the dispute over changing Spanish and then debate: Should the Spanish language be gender-neutral?

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Current Event March 20, 2020

Debate: Should the Dictionary Reflect Offensive Language?

Culture Sports Language International Ethnicity

A new definition was recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary, causing some concern. The word, a racial slur against Jews, has been used for years by fans of an English Premier League soccer team to refer to themselves. Opposing fans, though, often use the word in anti-Semitic chants. Some say adding it to the dictionary makes the offensive word seem more acceptable, but the publisher claims the dictionary is simply reflecting common usage. Listen to hear how English soccer fans feel about their controversial nickname and then debate: Should the dictionary reflect offensive language?

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Current Event March 10, 2020

American Teacher Stuck in China

International Viruses

Authorities have locked down the city of Wuhan, China, where the first cases of the highly contagious coronavirus were found. Wuhan residents need to stay in their homes at all times and receive food and other supplies by delivery. Even foreigners cannot leave, since many airlines have suspended flights to and from China. Listen to hear an American teacher in Wuhan describe her daily routine and how she copes with the isolation of life under quarantine.

This audio story was recorded in late February. The news about COVID-19 is changing rapidly and parts of this story may be dated.

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Current Event March 3, 2020

Crossing the Southern Border for College

Education International

The high cost of college in California is prompting students to cross the Mexican border in search of affordable options. CETYS, a private university with campuses in three Mexican border towns, currently enrolls over 300 California students. Many live at home and make the short commute across the border each day. Listen to hear CETYS students explain what drew them south for college and how their American friends and family reacted.

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Current Event February 26, 2020

Remembering Africa's Favorite Elephant

Animals International Conservation

A beloved elephant in Kenya has died. Tim was one of the few remaining “tuskers,” elephants with big, fully developed tusks. His dramatic good looks and willingness to pose beautifully for wildlife photographers made Tim an international celebrity. He lived a long life and died of natural causes, a surprising fact since many African elephants are poached, or killed illegally, for their tusks when they are young. Listen to learn why local farmers feared Tim and how wildlife scientists helped them learn to appreciate him.

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Current Event February 25, 2020

Connecting Through Art at the Border

International Visual Art

An interactive art installation with giant lights and booming loudspeakers is helping people communicate across the U.S.-Mexico border. Visitors to the exhibit on both sides of the border are invited to send searchlights into the sky and when they intersect, a conversation can begin. Americans and Mexicans are using the opportunity to chat, sing, and even celebrate birthdays together. Listen to hear visitors describe the effect of speaking to neighbors across a border wall and why the artist calls his creation a “bridge.”

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