Current Event June 18, 2018
President Trump recently met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a long-awaited summit. North Korea’s expanding nuclear program and strained foreign relations with the United States have caused growing concern over the last several months. As a result of their meeting, Kim Jong Un signed a vague agreement committing to peace and denuclearization, while President Trump announced a surprising change in American military cooperation with South Korea against their northern neighbors. These outcomes give some hope, but leave others confused and worried. Listen to learn more about this historic summit.
Current Event June 15, 2018
A new Sacramento law makes what the city calls “aggressive panhandling” illegal. It forbids people from begging for food or money within 30 feet of a bank or ATM or outside of restaurants. Those caught breaking this law more than three times face fines and jail time. One homeless man is suing the city because he believes this rule violates his right to free speech. The city argues that it is only trying to prevent the most forceful panhandling and plans to defend the rule. Listen to this story about Sacramento’s new law and then debate: Should panhandling be illegal?
Current Event June 14, 2018
Illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America to the United States is currently a major political issue. Politicians and citizens have strong opinions on both sides. In order to help people better understand what it’s like to attempt crossing the border, a Mexican film director created a virtual reality exhibit that allows users to experience it for themselves. Based on the true stories of immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally, the director hopes this exhibit will foster more compassion and empathy. Listen to learn more about this project and its aims.
Current Event June 12, 2018
Everyone makes mistakes they need to apologize for in order to repair their relationships. Public figures like politicians and celebrities also have to say sorry publicly for inappropriate behavior, as we have seen more often recently. However, not all apologies are created equal. A few key elements make some much more successful than others. An expert in dispute resolution explains what makes for an effective apology in the digital age. He also discusses how cultural differences and other circumstances affect the way you should ask for forgiveness. Listen to learn how to tell a good apology from a bad apology.
Current Event June 11, 2018
A new data protection law in the European Union is designed to preserve citizens’ privacy by fining those who use others’ personal data without their permission. This rule could cause problems for many who take photos in public places and post them online. According to this law, anyone who appears in a photo, even if it’s in the background of a selfie, must agree that the photo can be uploaded to the Internet. This law will likely force photographers to consider their subjects’ consent more carefully. Listen to learn more about this new rule.
Current Event June 6, 2018
In 2016, professional football player Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem before a game in order to protest social inequality and police treatment of minorities. Since then, some football players have continued to kneel during the national anthem, prompting reactions from fans, fellow players, the NFL, team owners, and even President Trump. The NFL recently decided that no players will be allowed to kneel during the national anthem. The football players’ union is unhappy with this decision. Listen to learn more about the NFL’s ruling.
Current Event June 1, 2018
Many police departments already use basic facial recognition software, but more advanced technology in this area is raising new questions about what information law enforcement should or should not be able to instantly access. The latest software can rapidly identify people in all sorts of poses and situations, making it appealing for both businesses and law enforcement. If implemented, experts worry that it could make remaining anonymous in day-to-day life virtually impossible. Listen to this story about real-time facial recognition software and debate: Should police use facial recognition?
Current Event May 15, 2018
The demographic shifts in Texas may preview changes in all of America. More Americans being born and growing up in Texas today are people of color. These populations have experienced economic inequality and lack of opportunities. Making changes and investing in education may help reduce some effects of these inequalities. The growing numbers of Latinos, African Americans and Asians may also change Texas politically as young people become more active in speaking up and voting. Listen to hear about the changes that are seen in Texas demographics and the changes that could help to ensure the success of all Americans.
Current Event May 11, 2018
After recent mass shootings there has been a lot of talk about guns. In this country, it's hard to restrict guns because of the Second Amendment. There is a large divide between people supporting gun rights and people supporting gun control. The current politics in the United States do not support changing our Constitution, even after many mass shootings. But, the Supreme Court has said that the individual right to bear arms may be regulated. Listen to this story and then debate: Should we repeal the Second Amendment?
Current Event May 7, 2018
The leaders of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, and South Korea, Moon Jae-in, have agreed to seek elimination of nuclear weapons from Korea. They met during an historic summit where they discussed a potential peace deal to end the Korean war. During this meeting, they also signed a declaration and made a joint announcement standing side by side. Moon and Kim also had a private conversation with each other, without cameras or their aides. Listen to hear more about these steps toward peace in the Korean peninsula.
Current Event May 1, 2018
The rules for mining on public land, which have been around since the 1870s, were used by miners during the Gold Rush. Since then the mining law has not changed. The law doesn’t require mining companies to pay royalties for mining on federal land. Some lawmakers object to the law and say the government is losing out. They’ve sponsored a new bill, but it hasn’t passed. Meanwhile, President Trump has opened more public land to mining in California and Utah. Listen to hear about mining rights on public land.
Current Event April 27, 2018
Youth organizers want the voting age lowered to 16. There have been some successes and some setbacks in this effort. People who want to keep the voting age at 18 cite issues with maturity and think this might support Democrats only, however 50 percent of millennials self-identify as political independents. Other say that many issues affect 16 and 17 year olds, so they should be allowed to vote on them. Listen to hear from a youth advisory board member for Vote16USA and then debate: Should the voting age be lowered?
Current Event March 27, 2018
The Trump administration imposed new sanctions on 19 Russians over their alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Many were also a part of the indictments issued as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian interference in the election. Also sanctioned was the Internet Research Agency, which created fake news and made up Twitter accounts to look like Americans to spread disinformation during the campaign. Listen to hear more about these sanctions and what they might lead to in the future.
Current Event March 12, 2018
There are double the number of women running for Congress in 2018 than there were in 2016. At latest count, 430 women may run for the U.S. House of Representatives nationwide and about 50 for the Senate. This year is on track to break records, with a very large majority of these women running as Democrats. Along with running for office, women are organizing, volunteering, and being more vocal about what is important to them. Listen to hear more about this trend of more women entering politics.
Current Event March 5, 2018
In China, the president serves two five-year terms, according to its constitution. The Communist Party has now proposed changing the constitution and eliminating the term limits for presidents. China’s current leader, Xi Jinping may not retire after the standard 10 years in power. He also holds two other positions which outrank the presidency. He is the head of China’s Communist Party and the military. Listen to this story about the changes in term limits and discuss what this might mean for China.
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.