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Current Events

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June 27, 2022

3:44

Equity Among Women's and Men's Soccer Teams

Professional women soccer players in the U.S. have won their battle for equal pay. The highly skilled U.S. women’s national team has generated excitement about soccer in the U.S. and brought home four World Cup titles, but for years the players have been paid less than their male counterparts. In 2016, several star players filed an official complaint against U.S. Soccer for wage discrimination. Recently a deal was reached that ensures the women players will enjoy the same pay and benefits as the men. Listen to hear about the historic agreement and what it may mean for the future of soccer.

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June 26, 2022

:26

Weird News: $500,000 Comic Book

Listen to hear about the most expensive comic book ever sold.

Vocabulary: mint, auction, signature

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June 19, 2022

:27

Weird News: Twins With Different Birthdays

Listen to hear how a set of twins were born on different days.

Vocabulary: squabble, guarantee

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June 13, 2022

3:43

President Biden Calls for Action on Gun Safety

In response to several recent mass shootings, President Biden urged Congress to pass stricter gun safety laws. In a speech to the nation, Biden expressed sadness over the many lives lost to gun violence, and frustration with lawmakers for their failure to take stronger action to prevent it. Listen to hear which laws the president recommends to help prevent future shootings and how politicians might respond.

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June 12, 2022

:26

Weird News: 3D-printed Home

Listen to learn how quickly a 3D-Printed home can be built.

Vocabulary: affordable, technology, replacement

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June 10, 2022

3:49

Debate: Can Americans Live Well With Less Energy?

Americans consume a lot of energy. They frequently drive, and use air conditioners, dryers, and other energy-gobbling appliances. Many people say that maintaining a comfortable lifestyle means consuming a lot of energy, and reducing consumption would result in a less satisfying life. However, using energy contributes to climate change, and a recent report suggests that Americans could reduce their energy consumption and still live long, happy lives. Listen to hear what people and governments can do to reduce energy use and then debate: Can Americans live well with less energy?

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June 9, 2022

1:56

White House Hires First ASL Interpreter

The White House’s first American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter provides access to information shared from the government to the deaf and hard of hearing community. In televised White House press conferences, TV viewers can see the ASL interpreter, who is deaf, on the right-hand side of their screens. Listen to hear how interpreting White House press conferences into ASL is a team effort, and learn why many in the deaf community prefer an ASL interpreter rather than captions of spoken words.

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June 8, 2022

3:32

Miniature Golf Alerts Players to Climate Change

Contemplating a future with climate change can be scary and discouraging. In Brooklyn, New York, creators of a mini golf course have integrated education about climate change into a fun, leisurely activity in order to alleviate some of the gloom that surrounds the topic. Listen to learn about a creative way of spreading the word about climate change and the impact it’s having on visitors.

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June 7, 2022

2:11

Kid News: New Coral Reef Found

Marine explorers have found a large coral reef off the coast of Tahiti in the Pacific Ocean. Coral reefs are underwater ecosystems made of the skeletons of marine invertebrates. Listen to hear what makes the coral reef off Tahiti’s coast different from other reefs and find out why its discovery offers hope, despite global warming.

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June 6, 2022

6:50

Teens React to Uvalde Shooting

Recently an 18-year-old gunman shot and killed 19 children and two teachers in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. The horrific incident was a reminder that gun violence has become a frightening reality for many students throughout the country. In this audio story, two Washington, D.C. teens reflect on the impact of gun violence on them and their peers, and suggest what might be done to address it. Listen to hear the voices of young people coping with the reality of violence at school.

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June 5, 2022

:26

Weird News: The Biggest Bug Ever

Listen to hear details about a giant, ancient millipede.

Vocabulary: generally, prehistoric, remains, nightmare

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June 3, 2022

1:40

Debate: Should Heat Waves Be Named Like Hurricanes?

Thousands of people die from extreme heat-related causes each year, and deadly heat waves are expected to become more frequent in the future. Some have suggested a new approach to the problem: giving heat waves names. They say naming heat waves, similar to the way hurricanes are named, would draw more attention to these dangerous weather events, potentially saving lives. Others argue that too many named weather events could become tiresome, and people may tune them out. Listen to hear experts discuss how to raise awareness of heat waves and then debate: Should heat waves be named like hurricanes?

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June 2, 2022

1:40

Navy Ship Named After LGBTQ Leader Harvey Milk

The U.S. Navy has named a supply ship in honor of gay rights activist Harvey Milk. Milk served in the Navy during the Korean war, but he was dishonorably discharged because of his sexuality. Listen to hear the message that the Navy hopes to send by honoring Milk in this way, and learn why Milk’s nephew chose not to reverse his uncle’s dishonorable discharge.

Note: The USNS Harvey Milk is one of several new oilers named after civic and human rights activists. That ship will sail alongside ships named after other activists - Sojourner Truth, Representative John Lewis and Lucy Stone.

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June 1, 2022

4:07

Special Interest in UFOs Among Americans

Recently the Pentagon released a report on sightings of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, in the U.S. UFOs have fascinated Americans for decades. While reports of UFO sightings around the world date back centuries, Americans are more likely than people from other countries to report and publicize their sightings. Listen to learn how various aspects of the culture, including conspiracy theories, help explain America’s special interest in UFOs.

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May 31, 2022

3:04

Kid News: Cat Emotions

A new app uses artificial intelligence technology to help cat owners understand how their pet is feeling. The Tably app can be helpful for cat owners and for veterinary clinics, but some veterinarians don’t believe it is necessary. Listen to learn more about how the app was created and how it works.

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May 29, 2022

:27

Weird News: Basement Rumbling from Surprise Guests

Listen to hear about the surprising guests homeowners found in their basement.

Vocabulary: odd, ignore, hibernating, yearling

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May 27, 2022

4:42

Debate: Is the Supreme Court's Integrity in Question?

The U.S. Supreme Court has long been one of the country’s most respected institutions. Most Americans trust that the court will decide cases fairly, based on law rather than political beliefs, and it is this reputation for integrity that ensures Americans will follow the court’s rulings, even when they are controversial. Recent incidents, however, have started to erode the public’s confidence in the Court, most notably a leaked document revealing that the Court may soon decide to overturn a longstanding ruling that the right to an abortion is protected under the Constitution. Listen to learn about other controversies plaguing the judicial branch of government and then debate: Is the Supreme Court’s integrity in question?

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May 26, 2022

4:37

Ukrainian Students Participate in International Science Fair

High school students from Ukraine recently competed virtually in an international science and engineering fair. In this interview, Ukrainian participants discuss their science research, and share what they experienced on the day Russia invaded Ukraine and in the months that followed. Listen to hear Ukrainian students describe how their lives have changed, and what it means to represent Ukraine at the fair while their country is at war.

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May 25, 2022

2:08

Pig Sounds Signal Emotions

Pet owners often recognize the sounds their dogs or cats make that convey distress, excitement, fear, and other emotions. Researchers in Copenhagen wanted to discover if the sounds pigs make also express emotion. They studied pig vocalizations, including grunts and squeals, to find out what they might mean. Listen to hear why researchers wanted to know more about pig communication, and learn how their findings could help pig farmers and consumers.

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May 24, 2022

3:40

Kid News: Heat Wave in India

Hot temperatures are coming earlier and lasting longer in India. Record high temperatures are challenging for the many people in India because of where they work and the country’s resources. Listen to learn just how hot it gets in India, how people stay cool, and how the country must conserve electricity.

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May 23, 2022

3:55

Shooting in Buffalo Linked to Racist Extremism

Recently a shooter opened fire at a market in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people. The alleged shooter is an 18-year-old white man. A document likely written by the man and posted online before the attack expressed a belief in the replacement conspiracy theory, which is based on fear that minorities and immigrants are “replacing” white people in America. The man's extreme racist views were strongly influenced by online websites. Listen to learn about the role of technology in the deadly attack and why some people want social media sites held accountable.

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May 22, 2022

:26

Weird News: Mountain Climbing Cat

Listen to hear about the accomplishments of a cat and its owner, who both enjoy climbing.

Vocabulary: feline, scaling, duo, task

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May 20, 2022

4:46

Debate: Should Athletes Be Banned to Punish Their Countries?

Wimbledon, a prestigious tennis tournament, has barred Russian and Belarusian players from competing in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Some argue that keeping players from repressive countries out of competition is unfair. These athletes often disagree with their country’s policies and, they argue, should not be held responsible for the actions of its leaders. Others say that allowing athletes from countries with repressive regimes to compete in elite competitions confers status and legitimacy on the home country, and appears to validate its bad acts. Listen to former tennis champion Martina Navritalova share her thoughts on the Wimbledon decision and then debate: Should athletes be banned to punish their countries?

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May 19, 2022

3:52

Rap Music Helps Math Students

A Texas teacher who has made rap songs about math concepts has had great success helping students learn. Many of his students are economically disadvantaged and struggle outside of school, and he believes his music is familiar and inviting. Listen to hear some of the teacher’s songs, and learn how he is helping other teachers and having a lasting impact on his students.

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May 18, 2022

1:17

Kangaroo Rat Rebounds

Around the world, conservationists work hard to protect endangered species from extinction. Their efforts are paying off in California, where an adorable rodent, the kangaroo rat, has moved off the endangered species list. The small, hopping critter plays an important role in the region’s ecosystem, but human encroachment into its habitat has threatened its survival. Listen to learn how the dwindling kangaroo rat population is being restored.

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May 17, 2022

2:38

Kid News: EV Batteries

Researchers are trying to make electric vehicles (EVs) even more environmentally friendly. They have discovered a way to recycle EV batteries that conserves the raw materials in them. Listen to hear about the recycling process researchers from Finland have developed and learn more about electric vehicles.

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May 16, 2022

3:59

Western Drought Most Severe in 1200 Years

The American Southwest is experiencing the driest period in over a thousand years. The drought, affecting Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and other states, has continued for 22 years, and scientists who specialize in megadroughts, or dry periods lasting several decades or more, say it shows no signs of ending. Water levels in rivers, aquifers, and reservoirs have dropped as people continue to use water that is not being replenished fast enough. Listen to learn what a new study says must be done to preserve precious supplies of water.

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May 15, 2022

:26

Weird News: 11-Year-Old Graduates College

Listen to hear about a very young college graduate and his plans for the future.

Vocabulary: degree, prodigy, immortality

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May 13, 2022

3:34

Debate: Should Social Media Platforms Restrict Free Speech?

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is buying Twitter, and he has pledged to make some changes. Musk says he will loosen the rules restricting free speech on the social media platform. Supporters of his plan argue that the First Amendment protects all types of speech, even when it’s hateful. They believe that unrestricted free speech is key to a healthy democracy. Opponents say that unfettered free speech on social media contributes to misinformation, allows dangerous bullying, and promotes deeper divisions among Americans. Listen to learn more about Musk’s future plans and then debate: Should social media platforms restrict free speech?

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May 12, 2022

5:42

Gen Z Rises to the Challenges of the Times

The author of a book about Generation Z – people born in 1997 or later – believes that members of Gen Z have faced more challenges in their young lives than any generation since World War II. In this interview, he describes the defining events of Gen Z’s time and explores how those events impacted the generation’s outlook and attitude. Listen to learn how the author researched his book, and hear members of Gen Z discuss their experiences and perspectives.

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May 11, 2022

3:04

Understanding Why Dinosaurs Went Extinct

The asteroid that hit Earth 66 million years ago caused most of the world’s living things, including dinosaurs, to go extinct. Not every species died out, however, and scientists are trying to figure out why certain animals survived while others perished. Researchers looking at the fossil record are starting to uncover clues. Listen to learn what happened on Earth when the massive asteroid hit and which clues are helping researchers solve the scientific mystery.

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May 10, 2022

4:44

Kid News: Flying with Green Energy

Scientists are working on ways to fuel airplanes using clean energy. There are drawbacks to using batteries, like the ones that power electric cars, in planes, so scientists are experimenting with other sources of clean energy. Listen to learn about efforts to fly planes powered by solar, electric, and hydrogen energy.

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May 9, 2022

4:09

War Worsens Global Food Crisis

The war in Ukraine is threatening to cause a crisis in global hunger. Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest producers of grain, which it exports to Africa, the Middle East, and other places around the world. The war in Ukraine has hampered the country’s ability to grow and harvest this important product, putting millions of people at risk. Listen to hear how Russia’s attack on Ukraine has disrupted food supply chains and caused widespread problems of hunger and displacement.

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May 8, 2022

:27

Weird News: Traveling by Hamster Wheel

Listen to hear what happened when a man attempted to travel by hamster wheel.

Vocabulary: authorities, vessel, crucial, gear, ashore

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May 6, 2022

4:22

Debate: Is College for Everyone?

A rising number of young people are opting to attend trade schools over college. College graduates are likely to earn higher salaries, on average, than those who do not graduate from college, and to have jobs with benefits and security. For many, a college education provides a broad base of knowledge that is useful over a lifetime. Demand for workers in construction, car mechanics, and other trades, is rising, however, and people with these skills may earn as much or more than college graduates. For those who like active, hands-on work, trade school may offer a more appealing path. Listen to learn about the boom in skilled trade programs and then debate: Is college for everyone?

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May 5, 2022

4:11

Ukrainian Decorative Eggs Represent Hope

The Ukrainian springtime tradition of decorating eggs with intricate designs, called pysanky, has additional significance this year because of the war in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Institute of America in New York City is curating an installation of pysanky, and people from all over the world have sent their colorfully decorated eggs to the institute as a symbol of hope against the Russian invasion. Listen to learn more about the ancient art of pysanky and find out where the eggs on display will go when the war is over.

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May 4, 2022

2:26

Pillow Fighting Championship

Many people have fond memories from childhood of playful, silly pillow fights. However, the first-ever pillow fight championship, held recently in Miami, proves that pillow fighting can be serious business. Listen to hear how two brothers came up with the idea of professional pillow fighting, and learn why it can be a physically challenging combat sport.

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May 3, 2022

3:08

Kid News: Endangered Koalas

The Australian government has listed koalas as an endangered species across most of Australia’s east coast. Koalas, tree-dwelling marsupials that are often mistaken for cute bears, have lost a lot of their habitat in recent years. Listen to learn more about koalas and find out how their inclusion on the endangered species list might help them begin to thrive.

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May 2, 2022

5:41

Mask Mandate Lifted on Public Transportation

Recently a judge in Florida ruled that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the national public health agency of the U.S. government, does not have the authority to force Americans to wear masks on public transportation. Some riders of planes, trains, and buses are rejoicing, while others, especially those with certain health conditions, fear the decision could put them at risk. The ruling threatens the power of the U.S. government to make public health decisions for Americans in the future. Listen to a former CDC director discuss the implications of the decision and offer tips on how to stay safe while traveling.

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May 1, 2022

:26

Weird News: Sheep Send a Message of Love

Listen to hear how a rancher in Australia used his sheep to honor a family member.

Vocabulary: released, captured, footage, tribute

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