The World’s music features this week: Piers Faccini, Café Tacvba, Thailand’s prime minister

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Here’s the latest, curated by Marco Werman and director April Peavey. (If you’re looking for all the music you heard on the show, go here.)
Writing songs as history unfolds
For his latest album, British singer-songwriter Piers Faccini wanted to write songs “in real time.” That is, he wanted to write songs as major events took place over that past year. Strongman Pop
Thailand’s strongman leader Prayuth Chan-ocha has penned a song called “Bridges.” It’s actually his fourth release. Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. One song was inspired by a Syrian drone strike. New music from Mexico’s   Café Tacvba
“Futuro” is the latest single from Mexican rock legends Café Tacvba. It’s more about appreciating the present, the here and now. Faccini tells us about the song and how he sees himself as a 21st-century troubadour. In the end, what does it matter if I’m dead while alive, and I survived?” The band says the relationship between life and death has long been a theme for them. “Life said no, I said yes. Each week on The World, we feature a unique selection of music, and every week we put together the highlights for you here. But despite the title, the song is not about the future. “Death said yes, I said no,” goes the singer. Hear more about the song and why The World’s Patrick Winn places it in the genre of adult contemporary propaganda.

Remembering a colleague who is gone too soon

Thank goodness, there are lots of photos that show that. He just about always had a smile on — I’m guessing his charm helped sales quite a bit. He wasn’t. It was pure, authentic Vidal. Written tributes to Vidal Guzman have poured in from friends and colleagues across the US. I remember one night in 1995, sitting around the table in a restaurant, and a bunch of us were telling our families’ stories. If you caught Vidal’s eye and he wasn’t smiling, there was a strong chance he’d light up with one for you anyway. In the 20-plus years we’ve been doing this show, The World has been lucky to lose only a small number of people on our staff.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. From day one, Vidal was a champion for this show in part I believe because he personally saw a borderless world, and felt all of us need to understand how the world works. We’ll miss you, Vidal. None of this was phony. That first time I met Vidal, we hung out together for a week, as he and I and a dozen other radio junkies imagined what “The World” was going to be. Vidal would go on to be the man who’d convince lots of stations across the country to air the show. He just looked and acted young. It’s just very sad,” said Sheila Rue, the program director for WUSF and WSMR. His son survived. I came to this show in 1995 when it first started, and one of the first people I met at the organization that created this hour of radio — Public Radio International — was a guy named Vidal Guzman. The only antidote I can think of is to summon an image of Vidal with that irrepressible smile. Vidal grew up in Texas, but his mom came over from Mexico. But Vidal lost his life. “Vidal was a fine human being, generous, warm — a total professional with a wonderful sense of humor,” said Rupert Allman, executive producer at WAMU’s new show 1A. “You could count on him to greet you with a smile, firm hand and locked-in eye contact,” said Stewart Vanderwilt of KUT Austin. PRI.org

But a death this past week feels like an especially large void. He’s been on my mind all week, and he’s been in the thoughts of many people here in our newsroom and at PRI in Minneapolis, and obviously his family. It’s just very bad. Credit:

Jonathan Kealing/PRI At first I thought he was younger than me. Always did, even last year, the last time I saw him: still looked younger than me. He was 61. And if you ever got him laughing, look out. “I have this kind of darkness in my heart, knowing the brightest smile I know is gone. He was selfless that way. It was infectious. Vidal’s death has touched friends and colleagues across the US. Vidal Guzman jokes around with Tracy Phan, PRI’s senior manager of client relations. And the way he died last weekend only supports that: on vacation in Puerto Rico with his family, trying to rescue his son from a dangerous riptide.

After being apart for years, four prisoners released from Guantanamo are reunited with loved ones in Saudi Arabia

Before Thursday’s transfer, around 20 of the remaining prisoners had been cleared for removal. These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield,” Trump tweeted. In recent months, Obama has authorized a flurry of transfers of prisoners to other countries — prompting outrage from Republicans each time. In the Saudi capital, an AFP reporter saw the four prisoners after they landed at a terminal normally reserved for royals at the Riyadh international airport. But he has run up against Pentagon foot-dragging and stubborn Republican opposition in Congress. Fifteen of the 19 al-Qaeda hijackers who carried out the attacks against the United States on Sept. With Guantanamo’s closure blocked, Obama’s White House has focused on whittling down the number of inmates. The move followed years of negotiations with the Saudi government. “There should be no further releases from Gitmo. Bush released or transferred around 500 inmates before leaving office. Reporters were kept in the terminal and could not see what type of aircraft had transported them. “The United States is grateful to the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing US efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” the Pentagon said. A lone woman waited for one of the inmates. 11, 2001, were Saudi. Outgoing US President Barack Obama’s pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay facility has been met with legal and political hurdles for years, and on Tuesday, his successor jumped into the fray. Hours later, Obama’s spokesman Josh Earnest said he would expect “additional transfers” before the Democrat hands power to Trump on Jan. Four Yemenis released from the US prison at Guantanamo Bay arrived Thursday in Saudi Arabia to a tearful reunion with relatives, after the White House rejected Donald Trump’s call for a freeze on transfers.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. Another, Mohammed Bawazir, said he hoped to move on and forget the past. In April, nine Yemeni inmates were transferred from Guantanamo Bay to Saudi Arabia, the first time the kingdom received any inmates from the facility. But Riyadh denies any ties to the plotters who killed nearly 3,000 people. The bearded ex-prisoners appeared healthy and were all dressed in two-piece Pakistani-style tunics. Prisoners and family members wept as they saw each other for the first time in years. Obama had released or transferred more than 180. Officials identified the other former prisoners as Mohammed Rajab Abu Ghanim and Abdullah Yahya al-Shalabi. Obama’s predecessor George W. “I want to give back to my family the 15 years I lost,” he said. One of the released inmates, Salim Ahmed bin Kanad, told reporters he felt “born again” after seeing his relatives. Many of the others are in legal limbo — not charged but deemed too dangerous to release. One prisoner was welcomed by 21 relatives, including children, but only a handful greeted the others. Saudi King Salman has said the four Yemenis who arrived Thursday will live in the kingdom, where they will take part in a rehabilitation and deradicalization program, the interior ministry said in a statement. 20. Whittling down numbers  
Obama came to office eight years ago vowing to close the Guantanamo facility, arguing that detention without trial did not reflect American values. Only a handful of those who remain have started moving through military tribunals, including the alleged plotters of the 9/11 attacks. But finding countries to take them has often proven time-consuming. PRI.org

The Pentagon confirmed the detainee transfers   and said there are now 55 inmates still being held at the military detention center in Cuba. Yemen’s civil war meant those inmates could not be sent to their home country.

US ambassador to Canada is first to resign after Trump’s demand on diplomats

The paper quoted ambassadors familiar with the plan. The New York Times reported Thursday that the Trump transition team has issued a blanket order requiring politically appointed ambassadors — as opposed to career diplomats holding such posts — to leave their overseas positions by Inauguration Day on Jan. Political appointees are often close to the president who gave them the job. Heyman, on the job in Ottawa since April 2014, used to work at Goldman Sachs and was a major contributor to Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. In the past, they were often allowed to stay in their posts for weeks or months after the president’s term ends, the Times said. PRI.org

“As requested I have resigned as US Ambassador to Canada effective 1/20,” Bruce Heyman wrote on Twitter. 20. Heyman is close to outgoing President Barack Obama. The posts require Senate confirmation. The US ambassador to Canada announced his resignation Friday, becoming the first to yield to a demand by Donald Trump that politically appointed ambassadors quit by Inauguration Day.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. Trump’s move breaks with this precedent. Trump’s decision means the United States could be left without ambassadors in important countries for months.

Marabu charcoal is the first Cuban export to the US in 50 years

Sorry. It’s very hard to get rid of it, but these Cuban cooperatives have found a way to cut the marabu, burn it, and create charcoal that’s prized around the world and has been sold in Europe for years but just not in the US.”
That struck Gilbert as a business opportunity — not only to introduce Americans to the charcoal product, but to help Cuba’s farmers and worker cooperatives. “Marabu charcoal is produced by burning the marabu plant, which is a very invasive weed that basically clogs most of the agricultural fields in Cuba,” Gilbert says. Sorry again. 18, just two days before Donald Trump’s inauguration. “You can’t easily cut it with a machete.   Marabu   is a waist-high weed that farmers call the “witch’s weed” because it quickly renders farm pastures useless. Farmers cut down a prickly brush or “marabu” near Bayamo in Cuba. The business deal doesn’t involve fine Cuban cigars. PRI.org

Artisanal marabu charcoal from Cuba has a reputation for burning long and clean, making it well-suited for fueling ovens to bake pizzas and bread. “Everything I’ve heard this president-elect say about his views on economics and trade and doing deals is consistent with my views in terms of what needs to be done here, so we look forward to working with the new administration to try to help in that regard.”
Marabu charcoal: First Cuban export to the #US in 50 years #CubaUS https://t.co/lpnePgugwN pic.twitter.com/wcnxmGKJGM
— Cuban Embassy in US (@EmbaCubaUS) January 6, 2017
Gilbert hopes the charcoal deal will snowball into something bigger, like a new era of trade between the US and Cuba. Credit:

Courtesy Radio Rebelde Or rum. But it is something that could make a qualitative difference for pizza fans: charcoal.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. But he says the longstanding US-imposed trade embargo on Cuba has been a huge hurdle to get over. Gilbert says he’s confident President-elect Trump’s administration won’t oppose his deal, even though Trump has generally opposed Obama’s actions with Cuba. The first shipment of 40 tons of the stuff produced by worker-owned cooperatives across Cuba should arrive in the US later this month. “In the five years I’ve been going down there, it’s a different place in part because of this exchange with the United States. “The charcoal itself is a very unique product,” says Scott Gilbert, the entrepreneur who cut the charcoal deal. “When you look at what’s happened in the last couple of years and the changes that have occurred on that island like the growth of these private co-ops, the private restaurants that you see opening in Cuba, the travel back and forth, the cultural exchanges, it’s remarkable!” he says. He’s the lawyer who represented Alan Gross, the US government contractor who was jailed by Cuba, and whose release was part of the negotiations leading up to President Barack Obama’s opening to Havana. It is way past time to remove this last relic of the Cold War.”
The first shipment of marabu charcoal is due to arrive in the US on Jan. “There are so many win-win opportunities with Cuba if we can work together,” says Gilbert. It makes all the sense in the world.”
Whatever direction US-Cuba relations take, it’s quite possible that a pie at a pizzeria near you will soon be baked over Cuban charcoal. Credit:

Claudia Daut/Reuters (CUBA)

 
Gilbert is no stranger to Cuba. Since then Gilbert’s been trying to forge better business relations between the US and Cuba. “I’m not a pessimist when it comes to the new administration and its relations with Cuba,” Gilbert says. Workers in Ciego de Avila,   Cuba   prepare shipments of marabu charcoal for export. “The trade restrictions that we have with Cuba at this time are more severe than we have with any other country in the world. Marabu bushes and trees soon take over fields and pastures if they aren’t cut back.

Heading into 2017, remember music trumps melancholy. Pardon the pun.

I have absolutely nothing against my friends who go out and “turn up” on New Year’s Eve. You couldn’t ask for a better combination of spirit and soul, and they touched both of mine. It’s hard not to be inspired on the first day of the new year   when you’re listening to Cecile McLorin Salvant, and the jazz master Wynton Marsalis shows up to sit in with her. I’ve recommitted myself to wringing everything I can, out of every day I have. We have some difficult days ahead, to be sure. Subscribe to Tavis’ podcast

It’s hard not to feel purposeful on the third day of the new year when you’re watching the brilliant Marcus Roberts guide his band through a powerful song called “Tomorrow’s Promise.” It gives you perspective as you reflect on yesterday, and wrestle with how to make today a masterpiece. You will no doubt have to keep your safety belt fastened for the entire, four-year ride. As every flier has heard countless times, you can’t help anyone else, unless you first help yourself. If I took nothing else from 2016, I was reminded time and time again that life is precious, that not a one of us is going to get out of here alive. About anything. My friend Quincy Jones always reminds me that there are really only two kinds — good and bad. And, so, about seven hours after Watch Night service was over, I boarded a flight from my home in Los Angeles to New York City for the one thing that always speaks to my heart. Music. Just sing. 1, 1863. It’s going to be a bit bumpy at takeoff, Friday, January   20. The death angel seemed to hover unceasingly last year. Or those who choose to stay in, avoiding the drunk drivers and the random bullets. It started on New Year’s Eve in 1862, when slaves gathered in churches to await news and confirmation of   the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln, which came out   the next day: Jan. Pardon the pun. Music is more than the soundtrack of our lives, music is life itself. Keep on singing. Get more Tavis Smiley

Each week, Tavis tackles the issues of the day with compelling guests and sharp analysis. They can’t turn you down, they can’t tune you out. But, for me, bringing in the new year on my knees, praying, is the only way I know to express my profound gratitude for another 365 chances to try and get it right. What kind of music? It’s hard to not be uplifted on the second day of the year, when Chris Botti does that thing he does with his horn that gets all up inside of you and makes you feel like you’re soaring along with him. I do not know what you like to listen to, but I do know that music can help you navigate the madness. “Watch Night,” as it’s called, is a long tradition in the Black Church. There’s a difference between freedom and liberation, but that’s another piece for another time. “Artists are the gatekeepers of truth,” said the great Paul Robeson. The New Year’s Eve get-together became a ritual, and it   has held: Black folks   are still meeting in churches on the holiday — staying up past midnight thanking God, although we could debate whether true freedom has actually come. As I write this piece on the long flight back home to Los Angeles, I’m marinating on all that soul-stirring, spirit-lifting, life-affirming music. Nonetheless, like my ancestors, I find it comforting to know (especially right about now) that I’m not alone in the darkness that threatens our democracy. So to quote my grandmother Big Mama, it’s time to “get your mind right.”
In music, there is a freedom that allows us to speak truth to power, and to the powerless, in times like these. Music trumps melancholy. So, let the music get into you. I spent my New Year’s Eve as I always do — at church. The fact that Roberts is blind creates an even deeper sense of appreciation for his gift, and it serves as a reminder to stop before you even start making excuses. Whatever else they roll back, they can’t stop the music. Music is pregnant with a power that can help turn our dark todays into bright tomorrows.

Germany is taking a harder look at child marriage

The couple had two children together. The case is being appealed in federal court. My life is deeply traumatized.”  
But Bedawi’s family pressured her to stay with her husband. And it went on for eight years. But marriage for people under the age of 18 was relatively rare up until a year or two ago, when more than a million migrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the Muslim world arrived as migrants and refugees. But Bedawi says she won’t stop speaking out against child marriage. “I’m branded by this and the world doesn’t understand. She doesn’t want her picture taken. She took her kids with her and they went into hiding at a women’s shelter. If a woman or girl decides she wants to stay in a shelter, “We don’t tell her to go to the shelter straight away, because that would be too dangerous.”  
Bedawi says the locations of the shelters are kept secret, even from police. The difficulties of escaping a violent marriage are well known to Irina Bedawi, which is not her real name. “In reality, it’s not the girl herself, but it is the decision of the family. That’s the decision of each individual and not the decision of a family or of a clan.”  
There is a great of denial at work here, says Bedawi. Bedawi says she is shunned by her family and has been ostracized by the Yazidi minority community in Germany. When she wrote her first article about the issue of child marriage, she says the reaction from her own immigrant community was almost entirely negative. She grew up in Tbilisi, Georgia and moved to Germany with her family when she was 15. “People responded on Facebook by saying that there are no forced marriages in the Yazidi community, and that domestic violence doesn’t exist,” she says. Because it is easy to get forged documents in countries like Syria, the actual number of child marriages in Germany is probably much higher, according to Bedawi. “I’m a mother myself,” she said. They need consent of the father,” Harbarth said. It’s just a bus stop in a city in northern Germany.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. They either call the emergency hotline set up by Bedawi’s group, or often   they are referred by the police, because they say they need shelter. He was violent and abusive. She doesn’t want me to mention the German city where she lives with her children. So, I have to accept that this marriage, this contract, is OK.”  
Read more:   The refugee crisis is turning more girls into child brides
A group of German lawmakers is worried that this court case might open the door to legal underage marriage. A regional court in the city of Bamberg last year decided to recognize the marriage of two Syrian refguees living in Germany, even though the girl was only 14 when she was married to her 20-year-old cousin back in Syria. “The emotional connection to this place is so deep,” says Irina Bedawi, who works with a network of activists helping women in Germany escape abusive situations. The problem is clear, he said, when you look at some of the legal documents from countries like Syria, where the civil war has pushed many young girls into marriage. “The start of a new life and safe existence.”  
The bus stop is one of the places where Bedawi and her colleagues meet women and girls in their moment of need. We [women who are sexually abused at a young age] have injuries inside. PRI.org

But for some of the migrant women who’ve escaped violent and abusive relationships, it’s also a second birthplace. The activists help the women find places to stay in one of the safe houses in this and other cities, known in Germany as “women’s houses.”   When she meets a young woman at a place like the bus stop, Bedawi says it’s often the case that she is there because her life is in danger. And we want to make sure that everyone is entitled to decide whom he or she wants to marry. That’s when she says she finally got the courage to get out. “We meet here, and then take a taxi or walk around the block to make sure no one is following us,” Bedawi says. “This [is] where they start over again,” Bedawi tells me, standing under the bus shelter. Worst of all, he raped her. She says he threatened to take the kids if she tried to leave him. “This marriage is OK,” NaAmni said. She has paid dearly for that freedom. New legislation written by Stephan Harbarth, a member of the German parliament from the Christian Democratic Union, would ban all marriages for people under 18. “They need consent, but not the consent, for example, of their mother. “What could I say to a 31-year-old?” Bedawi says. Now, German authorities say there are about 1,500 registered marriages with one spouse under the age of 18. “This is a pure and long-lasting assault,” Bedawi tells me through tears. Her husband controlled her life completely, she says. “But one small sign of hope is that some younger people are starting to talk about it more openly.”  
Frank Hessenland contributed to this report. In Germany, couples can get married if one spouse is 16 or 17 with special permission from a family court. “Germany is not able, and it’s not possible, to decide about the validity of marriages all over the world, in about 150 countries. Things changed, she says, after he threatened to kill her with a knife. At the age of 16, she was married off by her strict father to a much older man whom she hardly knew. The couple’s lawyer, Birgit NaAmni, told me that she is not in favor of forced marriage. Several years later, Bedawi says some of her fears have subsided and she has learned   how to live freely. But this union between the two young Syrians   must be recognized under German law, in part because it is legal under both Syrian law and international law. It’s a pen name she used to tell her personal story in a new book, “Wenn der Pfau weint,” which translates as, “When the Peacock Starts to Cry.”
Bedawi comes from a Yazidi family, a religious minority from the Middle East. Harbarth told me this should be a simple, straightforward issue.

Ford scraps its factory in Mexico. How much influence did Trump really have?

And, consider what goes into a Mexican-built Ford: that car is loaded up with parts from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and elsewhere in the United States (not to mention parts from Canada, Europe and Asia). The next time you buy a car, any brand, look at the sticker and the percent of parts made in different parts of the world. Second, production of Corollas would be shifting from Canada to Mexico, not from the United States. Translation: The company cares deeply about its image. Ford still has massive operations in the United States: 80 percent of its vehicles sold in the country are actually built in the United States. (Never mind its   Mexican workers on the other side of the border.)
How many Mexican’s lives is ONE american job worth? Instead, the company says it will build its Ford Focus at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. NO WAY! I’m not. Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2017
A quick fact-check of Trump’s tweet. #Ford #gasolinazo #Trump #Hernandez #caricatura #cartoon pic.twitter.com/neC8f6SfGS
— Latino Toons (@LatinoToons) January 4, 2017
Add it all up, and it doesn’t make sense for Ford to relocate its operations from Mexico back to the United States. or pay big border tax. But wait a second. Speaking on CNBC, Ford’s CEO Mark Fields said the move to scrap the plant in Mexico was all   about business —   lower   demand for small cars in the US. Let’s say you’re an American who wants to buy a Ford Focus that’s going to be built in Mexico. So could Trump do it? Now, a president technically could simply withdraw from a treaty, without Congress, but it’s never happened and would certainly be challenged in the courts. Please visit https://t.co/BxLSOPbXV8 for more information pic.twitter.com/d8E8TQnzqc
— Toyota USA (@Toyota) January 5, 2017
As a presidential candidate, Trump also said he’d impose a 35-percent tax on goods coming in from Mexico. Vehicles are globally built efforts. Since 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement has allowed the free passage of goods between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. And then there are the nuts and bolts: NAFTA. But, if automakers change their tune and start building more vehicles in the United States and less in Mexico, who’s to say Trump’s threats didn’t play a role? Trump hasn’t only gone after Ford on Twitter — this week he attacked General Motors and Toyota. This week Ford cancelled its $1.6bn project in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí https://t.co/3At5XNspdt
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) 6 January 2017
Trump and his supporters, of course, see things differently. Statement in response to the President Elect’s recent comment. A cartoon from Costa Rica: A Mexican on the cross of Chevrolet. But labor costs are much higher in the States than in Mexico, so the price of that Michigan-built Ford Focus would have to go up. Credit:

Costa Rica Arcardio Esquivel, Costa Rica All of these impediments make Trump’s threats toward automakers sound somewhat hollow, more like a PR stunt rather than an actual economic policy. Earlier this week, Ford scrapped its plans to build a new $1.6 billion plant south of the border. Also, Ford has already sunk billions of dollars into its operations in Mexico, so it can’t really just walk away from its investments. And Mexico would certainly retaliate against a US tariff and do the same thing to American products coming into Mexico. They’re crediting Trump’s policies for Ford’s change of heart. Exhibit A: He’s been going after automakers, threatening to impose higher taxes if they build cars in Mexico for the US market. If you’re in the market for a small car that’s similarly priced — say a Volkswagen Golf or a Mazda 3 — are you really going to spend an extra $7,000 on a Ford? First, Toyota plans to build its new plant in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, not Baja California. And his strategy — threat by tweet — may be working. That’s worth a lot to the company. And making Trump’s blitzkrieg of negative PR go away? With small vehicles the margins are thinner, so keeping down the price would be tough to do. For simplicity, let’s say that vehicle costs $20,000, not far from the actual cost. — Donald J. We’re two weeks out from Donald Trump’s inauguration, but already the president-elect is having an impact on the US economy. Trump’s thinking is that a tariff would force automakers like Ford to build more cars in the United States again. With Trump’s new “border tax,” that car from Mexico would now cost you $27,000. The idea of an “American-made” car today is a quaint throwback to the 1950s and ’60s. Ford concurrently said it will be investing $700 million, and adding 700 jobs, in a new plant in Flat Rock, Michigan to build electric, hybrid, and autonomous vehicles. Nobody can say for certain if Trump got to Ford, but consider this: Ford spent $2.7 billion on advertising in 2015. It seems that economists are in near-universal agreement: a border tax would be economic folly, wreaking havoc on the US economy (and perhaps global economy) not seen since the Great Depression. Build plant in U.S. What would that look like? A president would need congressional approval to undo that. Then suddenly you have a trade war. So how fair is Trump being to Ford here? Republican party leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are both proponents of more free trade.

How to bring out the wild in zoo animals

Sometimes zoos invite her. But Tresz just thought — ducks need water, right? There is a swimming pool and mud wallow, and scratching posts and feeders. One time, she realized that there were no lakes or ponds for the ducks. It’s the kind of thing you miss unless someone points it out. “I think he just did that to shut me up,” she says. It was an early sign of what she’d do later in life. It’s the same with the animals.”
In 2006, Tresz gave a talk at a conference about her approach to behavioral enrichment. Credit:

Steven Robinson

Some critics might say that no amount of behavioral enrichment makes up for the fact that the animals don’t belong in captivity. Behavioral enrichment is about giving animals in zoos opportunities that bring out natural behaviors, says Hilda Tresz. You feel hopeless, angry, depressed. That’s where she fell in love with animals. Recently when she left a zoo in Sri Lanka, she says the staff told her, “We would have thought you are a Buddhist, because you are following the lord Buddha’s teaching without even knowing that you are doing it.”
Tearing up, she says, “That made me feel … pretty good about my job. “People think that behavioral enrichment is nothing else but entertaining animals, throwing a toy at them.”

Otter with a kong   —   “When you give an enrichment item for an animal, it has a choice to interact with it or even not to interact with it,” says Hilda Tresz. Not long after, she moved to the nearby Phoenix Zoo. She made a pond — well, it was more like a mud puddle. Laughing, she recalls, “I was a young, ignorant child who doesn’t know that [you’re] not just supposed to march into the director’s office and tell him things.” Things like, “Make me a zookeeper.”
Tresz kept at it for a year — and finally, he agreed. There were cows, pigs, geese and ducks. And there, Tresz started a program around an idea that was gaining traction in the zoo world: behavioral enrichment. She ended up at the Primate Foundation of Arizona taking care of 85 chimpanzees. She says it’s something that people often misunderstand. According to Tresz, elephants have two main activities in the wild: walking and eating. Painted dogs tearing apart a carcass. So I think it doesn’t matter how I’m getting brought back to those countries. But Tresz points out that most zoo animals were born in captivity, and “they don’t know how to hunt properly, how to take care of themselves properly, so putting them back in the wild is practically executing them.”
If you go to the Phoenix Zoo today, you probably won’t notice any of the behavioral enrichment efforts. Standing near the elephant exhibit, Tresz greets a 7,200-pound Asian elephant with the love and tone of voice you might associate with greeting a puppy. Working with chimps required an entirely new level of problem-solving and patience, and in the process, Tresz became a chimp expert. Credit:

Courtesy of the Phoenix Zoo

It may not be beautiful to the human eye, but the key word here is functionality. An elephant at the Phoenix Zoo getting a snack from a puzzle feeder. “They really are. In 2007, the Jane Goodall Institute contacted Tresz and today she volunteers with them. And in conjunction with the Phoenix Zoo, Tresz now goes to zoos around the world to help with chimp and animal welfare. Since then Tresz has received awards for her work from the American Association of Zookeepers. When Hilda Tresz was 17, she walked into the office of the director of the Budapest Zoo and demanded a job. Hilda Tresz and lions at the Budapest Zoo

Credit:

Courtesy of Hilda Tresz

She grew up in what she refers to as the “concrete jungle” of Budapest. “So what does a good child do? So the day after she graduated from high school, Tresz started work at the zoo. “It’s a big difference. Other times, someone reports animal abuse and she gets brought in. Credit:

Hilda Tresz

But whether it’s changing the architecture of their exhibit or making animals forage and work for their food, behavioral enrichment is about giving animals items and opportunities that bring out natural behaviors that they’d have in the wild. In those cases, she says zoo staff are not all that happy to have her there, but by the end of the one week she spends with them, sentiments usually change. So they try you in every way”   —   from scheming to pelt her with poop to grooming her when they decided they liked her. At 26, Tresz and her husband packed two suitcases — one filled entirely with books — left Hungary, and came to the US. Because at the end what matters is how I come out.”
And laughing, she adds, “so far, so good.”
Really, she says, it’s just about the animals, making sure they have better lives. So the exhibit has uneven terrain and logs strewn about to make the elephants walk and work their joints. The elephants have to work at the “puzzle feeders” to get the food out. But every summer, she would go to her grandmother’s in the Hungarian countryside. Her grandmother wasn’t exactly excited to see her ducks later struggling under caking brown mud. And she says the experience changed her life. “When you give an enrichment item for an animal, it has a choice to interact with it or even not to interact with it,” Tresz says. The next day, she says, the phone was ringing off the hook, and she had a flood of emails from people wanting to know about the program. Even with humans, if you have no choice, you feel helpless. Digs a big hole … fills it with water,” Tresz explains. “Because they are just like humans,” explains Tresz, who is now 54.

A novel investment exchange in Asia is rewarding entrepreneurs who want to make the world better

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Back in 2013, Shahnaz launched the Impact Investment Exchange Asia. “For once we are seeing what finance should be doing — working very holistically.”
Check out Shahnaz’s full TED Talk on the IIEA below. Listen to the full interview. This social stock exchange is going strong today and has funded a number of projects in places like Bangladesh, Cambodia   and the Philippines. “Now we are at a stage where they come to us because we have had a lot of success.”
In all, the exchange says it has helped 12 million people throughout Asia since its inception. “We also work with them in terms of calculating the social impact that they’re creating. “We initially spent a lot of time trying to find these entities [to invest in] who were out there doing this great work but could be financially viable,” she says. Shahnaz says an entrepreneur with a socially-focused business or organization will approach the exchange and ask for assistance in reaching “the next stage.”
“We spend quite a bit of time getting them what we call ‘investment ready,’” she says. “It is social and it is about doing good and using finance to do good, which is really nice,” she says. And the projects the exchange funds aren’t just helping people, they’re yielding financial returns, too. Durreen Shahnaz calls herself a “defiant optimist.” She’s the first Bangladeshi woman to graduate from the Wharton School of Business and to work on Wall Street, and she’s spending her life coming up with new ways to invest social capital.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. How does it work? The whole financial and the social calculations go hand-in-hand, and then we basically put it up in front of our investors.”
In addition to helping social entrepreneurs and communities in need, Shahnaz says the exchange   is “changing the behavior of investors.” Once an investor sees that an initiative is making an impact, many contribute more, Shahnaz says, who received the Asia Society’s Asia Game Changer Award this fall.

Deadly shooting at Ft. Lauderdale international airport

Everyone is running. Lauderdale Airport. Shots have been fired. BREAKING: Five people killed, eight injured and taken to hospital after Fort Lauderdale airport shooting https://t.co/QuuA19ZoaW
— Mark Berman (@markberman) January 6, 2017
Mayor Barbara Sharief said there was one shooter who was now in custody. The motive of the attack   was not yet known. Terminal 2 is home to Air Canada and Delta Air Lines. One subject in custody,” the Broward County Sheriff’s office said in a tweet. The airport has been shut down, she added. Shots have been fired. A gunman opened fire Friday at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport in Florida, causing multiple fatalities and prompting panicked travelers to flee for safety or huddle on the tarmac. He is in custody, and we are currently investigating,” Sharief told CNN. “There is an ongoing incident in Terminal 2, Baggage Claim,” the airport tweeted. Fort Lauderdale is a major tourist hub and beach resort in the greater Miami area. Governor Rick Scott said he was rushing to the airport to be briefed on the shooting. “Confirmed: Shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport with multiple people dead. Lauderdale Airport. Everyone is running.”
I’m at the Ft. Television footage showed passengers running to safety, and others gathered on the tarmac. — Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) January 6, 2017
In another tweet, he cited police as saying there was one shooter and five victims. Ari Fleischer, a former White House spokesman, tweeted: “I’m at the Ft. “He was a lone shooter, and we have no evidence at this time that he was acting with anyone else.

How a Rex Tillerson oil deal nearly sparked an Iraqi-Kurdish war

“Just as Exxon was ramping up their projects … in southern Iraq with the federal government, Tillerson also green-lighted negotiations with the autonomous Kurdish government in the north,” recalls Van Heuvelen, who is now managing editor of Iraq Oil Report. The Kurds had escaped most of the destruction of the first Gulf War thanks to US protection under   a no-fly zone. Iraqi federal troops and Kurdish soldiers   deployed to strengthen their positions in sensitive areas, including in   places where Exxon   planned to drill.  
A giant American corporation, by cutting a side deal with the Kurds, had undermined the delicate diplomacy that was holding Iraq together. And at one point Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki … issued a very direct threat saying that if Exxon were to put a drill in the ground they would consider it an act of war.”
In time both sides   pulled back their troops   and tensions eased with some American mediation. “And did he put Exxon’s business interests above the US policy toward Iraq and the stability of the country?”
“Tillerson has spent his career making hard-headed decisions based on a single metric: how to maximize value for Exxon’s shareholders,” Van Heuvelen says. “So there were several months where those troops … tanks and artillery crews, [were]   within range of one another’s weapons, just sort of staring at each other. Violence broke out on Nov. PRI.org

Journalist Ben Van Heuvelen was in Baghdad in 2011, covering Iraq’s reconstruction efforts and the renewal of its   oil industry. And the United States, which has long   supported a unified Iraq, wasn’t pleased   either. “In Iraq, this aggressive pursuit of business interests apparently left him blind, or at least indifferent, to the ways in which his actions would worsen the country’s political instability.”
Van Heuvelen, like many who have watched Tillerson conduct business for Exxon, wonders whether the former CEO can shift his focus in the service of his country. A 2011 oil exploration deal, between Exxon Mobil and Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq, could   raise concerns as the US   Senate prepares for   confirmation hearings on President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of state:   Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of the US oil giant.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. When Tillerson appears for confirmation hearings, senators may way want to get his view of   the Kurdish oil deal and its impact on the complex politics of   Iraq. Kurdish leaders were eager to exploit the oil wealth under their feet. 16, 2012, as told by Iraq Oil Report, “when a minor confrontation in the disputed town of Tuz Khurmatu exploded into a shootout between Kurdish and Iraqi security forces that injured several soldiers and left one bystander dead.”  
“But that caused each government to send thousands of troops to that disputed border,” Van Heuvelen   says. But it was a close call. In October 2011, Exxon officials signed a contract — not with Baghdad,   but   with the Kurds — to drill for oil in Iraqi Kurdistan. And he witnessed how close Exxon’s deal in Iraqi Kurdistan   came to causing a violent conflict. ”What was Rex Tillerson’s understanding of US policy in Iraq at the time?”   Van Heuvelen wonders. “The Kurds in the north wanted to have control for themselves, and the federal government in Baghdad thought that this was a national resource that should be managed centrally.”
Many Kurds in 2011 had an eye on their future, possibly independent of Baghdad. “Oil provides almost all of the revenue for the Iraqi government, and whoever controls the oil has an enormous amount of power,”   Van Heuvelen explains. “The tensions escalated to such a point that there was actually a shootout on the disputed border between the Kurdish territory and federally controlled territory,” Van Heuvelen recalls. “The key question going forward is whether he will continue to view foreign policy through the lens of an oil man, or whether he will adopt a more multi-dimensional view of how to define and pursue American interests abroad.” “This became a very controversial move,” says Van Heuvelen, “because it effectively inserted Exxon right into the middle of one of the biggest political fault lines in Iraq, between a majority Arab population and the minority Kurdish population.”
Baghdad authorities were furious. “So the Kurdish government was trying to sign contracts with big companies as a way of solidifying their policy position,”   Van Heuvelen says. By 2011, they had consolidated their hold over a region of northern Iraq that contains, by some estimates, 40 percent   of the nation’s oil reserves.

Watch Michelle Obama give her last speech as first lady

The school counselor event served as   a bookend   to Obama’s work in US   education as first lady. Obama has championed school counselors and encouraged post-secondary education for students across the country,” the White House said. “I’m thinking about [the speech] as a chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you’ve changed this country for the better these past eight years, and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here,” the president wrote on the White House website. President Barack Obama is due to deliver his farewell address on Jan. “Being your first lady has been the greatest honor of my life,” Obama said. NBC News showed   the address live below. Michelle Obama presented the 2017 School Counselor of the Year award at the White House, in what will be her final speech as first lady. “As part of her   Reach Higher   initiative, Mrs. The speech comes just two weeks before Donald Trump is sworn in as president. 10 in Chicago.

Venezuela’s military has turned its food crisis into a ‘racket.’ And it’s profiting from people going hungry.

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That’s according to Hannah Dreier, a correspondent for The Associated Press who is based in the South American country. Venezuela’s failed economy plus political upheaval are largely to blame for the food crisis. President Maduro’s response to that, Dreier said, has been that “‘the congress is trying to attack the Socialist Party and, I’m ignoring this.'”
It’s unclear where things will go from here   given that,   “for now, there aren’t strong independent institutions that can really take on the issue of corruption until the government itself decides it wants to do that,” Dreier said. However, when the price of oil plummeted, a whole host of economic issues came to light. But there is a sense that the authorities don’t care.”
Pacifying the military? “One thing that a lot of people said to me was they feel like the military is getting fat while their children get skinny,” she said, adding, “there are these military guys who are walking all around them who have nice shirts and nice cars, so nobody is missing what’s happening. Starving zoo animals are a ‘metaphor for Venezuelan suffering’
This means that the Venezuelan military is in charge of everything   from food distribution to prices. The military’s role here isn’t lost on the public.  
The country relies on imports for most of its food supply, but its financial difficulties have meant it has tried to get by with less — too little for its   30 million people. “Venezuela has a long history of the military participating in coups, and that’s always the question here: ‘Is the military going to rise up against Maduro, who’s very unpopular?’ And by doing this, by putting the military in charge of food and allowing them to run these corruption scams, a lot of people think Maduro has successfully pacified the military,” she said.    
In terms of digging into the corruption, that’s probably up to Venezuela’s opposition-led congress, according to Dreier.  
“What we found is that the military has turned it into a racket,” said Dreier, adding that “they’re making money on everything from the contracts to when the food gets sold at the market.”  
For example, one businessman   told the AP about how he secured a contract with the food minister, to import corn: “The corn was billed at double the going rate, so Venezuela gave him a contract to import $25 million worth of corn for $50 million,” she said. She contributed to the AP’s recent   investigative report about the state of affairs   and has seen firsthand that many people are on the brink of starvation. Venezuela’s food shortage is closely tied to the collapse of oil prices in 2014. Now, despite widespread unrest among Venezuelans,   “one clever thing that Maduro has done   is, he’s really managed to stifle discontent within the ranks of the military. But it kind of didn’t matter because there was so much oil money, and the price of oil was so high,” Dreier said. Read more: Venezuela’s currency value depends largely on one guy at an Alabama Home Depot  
Many Venezuelans are migrating to Colombia. That has led to some desperate measures: residents barely getting a single meal in a day —   looting and   violence. In an effort to address the crippling shortage, President Nicolás Maduro, who has refused aid from various humanitarian organizations worldwide, put the armed forces in control of the national food system this past July. Listen to the full interview. Thousands of protesters   have taken to the streets to express their outrage about hunger and other problems. In Venezuela, the food shortage has become so dire that some people spend their days picking up grains of rice and corn that fall out of delivery trucks.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. Separately, prosecutors in the US are investigating officials   because   “some of these bribes, we think, went through the US financial system.”​  
This story   first aired as an interview on PRI’s The Takeaway, a public radio program that invites you to be part of the American conversation. It used to be the other way around. Including an inability to pay for imported food. But that’s not the whole story, as the   AP’s in-depth coverage shows: In fact, the Venezuelan military is profiting   from people going hungry. (The socialist administration controls all the other branches of government.) The congress, having seen the overpayments   in the Food Ministry’s annual report,   has already censured the food minister for corruption. However, instead of confronting the hunger problem, the military is trafficking in food — and it has been taking kickbacks at every turn, according to the AP. There were underlying economic problems before that, Dreier said, but “domestic production of food had been drying up for years after the government nationalized farms and factories. The man “was able to get that sweet contract because he gave millions in kickbacks to the food minister.”   
Meanwhile, for most residents, basic staples are hard to come by: People are waiting in food lines, some are even “going [through] the trash every day, looking for any scraps of food,” and children are dying of malnutrition, Dreier said.