Current Event January 2, 2018
Mosul, Iraq is now free from ISIS control, after years of violent occupation. ISIS militants killed or displaced thousands of people. Some stayed in their homes during the siege waiting for the group to be forced out. For some young Iraqi women, education or marriage was not possible until now. Now there is freedom to attend Mosul University and to travel, but there are still some things women in Iraq are not free to do. Listen as two sisters who attend Mosul University talk about their different goals for the future, how they plan to follow their passion, and the obstacles that remain.
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 November 21, 2017
Nearly 4,000 Vermont veterans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. Many veterans are still dealing with the invisible wounds of war. Some of them, however, have begun to find healing through farming. One veteran who is raising pigs and goats is enjoying his days with animals and says it changed the way he sees his life. Listen to hear more about this veteran’s experience and other stories about veterans who have begun farming as a way to recover from the events of war.
Current Event November 6, 2017
The Presidents of the United States honor members of the military who have lost their lives in service to the country. The tradition of offering condolences has varied due to circumstances and are different for each president. From Lincoln to Trump, presidents have written letters, called families of the armed services member, and held ceremonies for the families of the fallen. The First Ladies have also found ways to honor service members. Listen to hear examples of this tradition and how it has changed over time.
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 April 17, 2017
On Thursday, April 6, President Donald Trump authorized airstrikes against Syrian military infrastructure targets in response to an apparent chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad. Now, Congressional leaders are asking Trump to outline his broader strategy for dealing with the Middle East conflict. Among their questions are how Trump plans to defeat the Islamic state, or ISIS, and how he will deal with Assad’s regime in Syria without creating a failed state. Listen to hear more about the challenges of creating a broader Syrian strategy.
Current Event March 13, 2017
South Sudan is currently struggling with both drought and an ongoing civil war. These forces have led to a rising food shortage crisis that the United Nations is now calling a famine. Four million people are without sufficient food, and the U.N. warns that another million people will be affected in the coming months. Unfortunately, the international community has been unable to halt the escalation of famine in South Sudan. Listen to learn more about the crisis in South Sudan, and how the international community monitors and responds to famine.
Current Event November 9, 2016
North Korea has shown it is close to having the scientific ability and political will to launch a nuclear weapon. Recently the Communist nation has conducted a number of nuclear missile tests. Even though these tests weren’t successful, many intelligence officials believe North Korea is close to becoming a nuclear power. There is growing concern among U.S. intelligence experts that their technology is improving as they learn from their failed missile launches. Listen to hear how the experts view the threat of North Korea.
Current Event October 25, 2016
Combat veterans have started long-distance hiking on wilderness trips across the country as a way to transition to civilian life. Having time in nature can help veterans process the war. A non-profit, Warrior Expeditions, sponsors dozens of combat vets each year to walk the Pacific Crest, the Continental Divide and the Appalachian Trail. They hike with other veterans who can support each other since they have been through similar experiences. Listen to hear from veterans who have hiked over 2,000 miles together and their reflections on the journey.
Current Event June 6, 2016
Obama recently visited Hiroshima, Japan, to honor the memory of all who lost their lives in World War II. The city was the first to be hit with an atomic weapon in 1945. Nagasaki was the second. Obama is the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima. He did not apologize for using nuclear weapons on Japan during his visit, but paid respect to the victims. Listen to hear more about this historic visit.
Current Event April 8, 2016
World leaders gathered recently in Washington D.C. to ensure terrorists never get access to a nuclear weapon. Unfortunately, Russia has a large stock of nuclear weapons and is not attending this summit. North Korea and Iran have never been invited. There’s concern nuclear materials will fall into the hands of terrorists, and there is concern about the large stockpiles dedicated to military purposes. The past three Nuclear Security Summits have helped more than a dozen countries get rid of nuclear materials, and began steps toward Obama’s goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. Listen to hear how world leaders are working to prevent nuclear terrorism and debate with your students other ways to prevent this.
Current Event April 5, 2016
A key leader in the Bosnian War was convicted of genocide by a United Nations tribunal. Radovan Karadzic was a former leader of the Serbian Republic during the Bosnian War of the 1990s. Bosnia was one of the ethnically mixed republics in the former country of Yugoslavia. Karadzic managed to escape arrest for twelve years. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison for ethnic cleansing, including killing more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica. His trial was compared to the Nuremberg trials of German Nazi officials. Listen to hear more about this important war crimes trial.
Current Event March 9, 2016
The Syrian government and the opposition have agreed on a cease-fire in Syria, which has resulted in a significant drop in violence. The fighting hasn’t completely stopped since there are reports of some airstrikes that violate the agreement. With this truce, the United Nations hopes to deliver more aid to starving people under siege, which has not been possible until now. Russia and the United States agreed on the cease-fire plan, even though they back opposing sides in this war. There are plans to hold talks to bring the Syrian regime and opposition together, but the situation is still very fragile. Listen to hear more about the cease-fire in Syria.
Current Event December 11, 2015
All ground combat jobs in the U.S. military will be open to women starting next year. The U.S. Defense Secretary said that it made no sense to exclude half the American population from serving in combat. He believes the individual contributions of women will enhance combat effectiveness. There is opposition to this decision from Marines who wanted infantry jobs closed to women. Listen to this story about the pros and cons of this decision. Then debate with your students: Should women hold combat roles?
Current Event November 23, 2015
The United States House of Representatives voted to pause the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program, even though the war in Syria has led to millions of refugees looking for safe haven in Turkey, Europe and the U.S. After the attacks in Paris, Republican lawmakers are afraid that terrorists will enter the U.S. disguised as refugees. The current plan is to settle 10,000 Syrians using a rigorous process including screenings and background checks from the FBI and Homeland Security that take between a year and a half to two years to complete. Republicans say it’s not enough and it’s better to be safe than sorry. This story aired before the House passed the bill to pause the program with a veto-proof majority. The President is opposed to pausing the program, and it's unclear when the Senate will consider the bill. Listen to hear more about this backlash against Syrian refugees.
Alfred Tennyson, better known as Lord Tennyson, was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland for 42 years during the reign of Queen Victoria. His short lyrical poems appealed to the people of the 19th century, many of whom couldn’t read. One of this most famous poems “The Charge of the Light Brigade” describes a real event during the Crimean War. This charge, during the Battle of Balaclava in 1854, became the most well-known action of the war thanks to Tennyson’s poem, even though the poem wasn’t entirely accurate. Listen to learn more about the Crimean War, the real charge and how Tennyson’s words brought this event to life for the British people.
In 'The Scarlet Letter' Nathaniel Hawthorne explores inclusion and exclusion in Puritan Boston. Hester Prynne is exposed to public humiliation and exclusion for breaking societal standards and having a child out of wedlock. Veterans experience similar exclusion and dishonor. When they are discharged with the label of "Other Than Honorable," they are marked with a figurative Scarlet Letter, ashamed and unable to gain veterans' benefits.