Army musicals from World War II brought back to the stage

The musicals are collectively known as “Blueprint Specials.” Most of the songs were written by Frank Loesser between   1944 and 1945   before he found fame with the hit musical “Guys and Dolls.”
Tom Ridgely with the   Waterwell Theater Company   is the director who brought the Specials   back to life. However, “for the people who have served recently, I think they really see their experience reflected in these in a really, really powerful way, and they’ve been really open and candid about sharing that with us, which has been incredible.” The musicals hold up well through time even though   Ridgely says they contain a lot of old-timey language. Player utilitiesPopout
Share
downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. And that just really surprised me and so, I started to try and track it down.”
He found there were “scores and scripts and   instructions about how to do scenery and costumes.” He found   choreography instructions, too. The notes and drawings were “done by a young [man named] José   Limón.” Limón had been drafted into the Army in 1943 and after the war founded the famed   Limón   Dance Company. Listen to the full interview. PRI.org

They were designed for the soldiers themselves to perform in the field. he went to the Army and wrote this musical called ‘Hi Hank!’ … He came across these lost musicals while cooking dinner one night. For the past few days, some of those   shows have been performed for the first time since the war. The stage is not on Broadway, but another venue in New York City: a   former aircraft carrier, now docked on the Hudson River and known as the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. “The opening song for ‘Guys and Dolls’ just kind of popped into my head,” Ridgely says, “so I just googled Frank Loesser and then his Wikipedia page says … During World War II, the US Army came up with an idea to boost soldier morale:   musicals.

Obama is the first president to author an article in Science magazine

The same day the article was published, Secretary of State John Kerry made a similar argument in a speech on climate change and business investment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Never before,” Kerry said, “has the elimination of such a significant threat actually presented such an extraordinary level of opportunity.”
The Science article is the third the president has published in top academic journals in the past week. The Obama administration also launched a number of high-profile scientific initiatives, including those on precision medicine, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. The article, published Monday, argues that the clean-energy revolution is irreversible and highlights the economic benefits of cutting carbon emissions and investing in renewable energy.  
Past high-profile authors in the journal   include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao and Prince Albert of Monaco. He wrote on criminal justice reform   in the Harvard Law Review and defended his Affordable Care Act in the New England Journal of Medicine. Obama writes that “evidence is mounting that any economic strategy that ignores carbon pollution will impose tremendous costs to the global economy and will result in fewer jobs and less economic growth over the long term.”
The article mentions President-elect Donald Trump by name and seems tailor-made to appeal to the business sensibilities of Obama’s White House successor. In an eleventh-hour attempt to cement his legacy on climate change and dissuade his successor from scrapping his policies, President Barack Obama published an article   in a top academic journal, Science, this week.Player utilitiesPopout
Share
downloadListen to the Story. The president’s chief scientific adviser John Holdren, who helped shape Obama’s keystone climate change policies,   is said to have had the ear of the president more than in any other White House in recent history. PRI.org

Science editors say, according to their records, he is the first sitting US president to author an article in the peer-reviewed journal. The publications in peer-reviewed journals highlight Obama’s academic approach to policy.

There’s a small but booming black market near the US-Mexico border … for doughnuts

They make daily cross-border trips from Juarez to the Krispy Kreme store in El Paso, where they buy 40 dozen or so assorted doughnuts, which they sell to their Juarez customers at a modest markup. When the doughnut franchises started coming to Mexico back in 2004, Linthicum says, “People went wild and to this day if you actually get on a flight flying from Mexico City to a more provincial part of the country, you’re likely to see multiple passengers toting boxes of Krispy Kremes for their family back home.” But Mexico does not do doughnuts well. The goods   here are Krispy Kremes. The US-Mexico border area — especially near the cities of El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico — has something of a reputation for crime.Player utilitiesPopout
Share
downloadListen to the Story. “There’s the churro, there’s the sopapilla, there’s the buñuelo, which is this fritter-like delicious goodness. But hold on. Garcia usually sells out. PRI.org

El Paso and Juarez have served as transit points for criminal gangs trafficking in guns and illegal drugs. On any given night in Juarez, you can find Sonia Garcia and her son selling doughnuts out of the trunk of their car.  
“One by one, they fork over fistfuls of cash to Sonia Garcia, who reaches into the trunk of her car and hands over the trafficked goods,” she continues. It’s a family affair, so they’ve been affectionately nicknamed the “Krispy Kreme Familia.”
Sales are brisk. The black market doughnuts of Juarez: Meet the “Krispy Kreme Familia” https://t.co/NwYHdOTE2e pic.twitter.com/WTHD217uB2
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) January 10, 2017
“Mexico does not lack when it comes to fried sugary dough,”   says Linthicum. Sugary, glazed doughnuts. Linthicum isn’t talking about drugs or guns. “The addicts pull up just after nightfall near a sedan parked along a busy street in this border city best known for murder,” writes Los Angeles Times reporter Kate Linthicum, describing a typical scene in Juarez. … They tend to be dry and not up to American doughnut standards.”  
And it seems that residents of Juarez, like many Mexicans, are obsessed with Krispy Kremes.

Worried about its future, this former East German city recruited Syrian refugees

Gabriela Thomas, director of the elementary school in Golzow gives a student a hug between classes in the main hallway. “But they saved our school. People lost their jobs. And that’s thanks in part to two girls from Syria. The documentary film project aired on German television for decades, right up until 2007. And so were some of their new neighbors. They told me, all in all, they feel very lucky. Thomas said that she and the town mayor, Frank Schütz, decided it was clear what they needed to do: go find some refugee families with school-aged kids to move to Golzow. Rasha said she hopes to go back to university and Ahmad plans to get work laying tile. The school, which last year was in danger of not having enough students in some grades to hold classes, played a big role in the series. So really, they have given us more than we have given them.”   Ahmad and Rasha Haimoud are a married couple with four kids. From 1961 until 2007, the filmmaker Winfried Junge created a series of documentaries called “The Children of Golzow,” in which 18 residents of Golzow were filmed at regular intervals from childhood into adulthood. And the population of Golzow had dwindled to the point where it looked like it wouldn’t be able to sustain its only elementary school. That’s because of a TV show. “The big agricultural commune here closed. There was an awkward moment when Rasha realized most of the snacks include pork. Much of the former East Germany has been in economic decline. Thomas said her two Syrian students are doing very well in school. PRI.org

But not Golzow. If you mention Golzow, people all over Germany will know about the elementary school there. Haimoud’s family is one of three Syrian refugee families that moved to the village in the last year. They told me they make the two-hour drive to Berlin twice a week to get halal meat and other foods they’re used to putting on the table. Credit:

Shane McMillan  

The Haimouds moved to Golzow back in February, so this was their first Christmas in their new hometown. It was a lively —   and full —   classroom. The town invited the Muslim families to their annual Christmas concert as a sign of welcome to the rural community on the Polish border. But they were planning to get their children presents. It followed the same group of kids into adulthood, starting at Golzow elementary. And they brought the laughter of children to our village. The Haimouds are one of three Syrian families who relocated to this village in the past year or so. After the performance, Ahmad and Rasha mingled with some of their neighbors. Credit:

Shane McMillan

“We are very thankful to Germany,” Ahmad said in Arabic, as Rasha translated into German. As a Muslim couple, originally from northwestern Syria, it’s unsurprising   that they’d never spent any time in a church before. The night I visited the village with a population of about 800, 5 or so miles from Germany’s far eastern border with Poland, the annual Christmas concert was happening. They’ve been here less than a year and they’re speaking German with ease. Last year, there were barely enough kids for a full first-grade class. Students work on an assignment at the elementary school in Golzow. Schütz says he was happy to accept the families into their community as it allowed the city to fill then-empty apartments, avoid converting a nearby sports-facility into a refugee shelter, and help to   keep the local school open. Credit:

Shane McMillan

Just ahead of the holiday break, I stopped by Thomas’s fourth-grade English class. This was especially important after state authorities raised the prospect of closing the school. But he said they’ve come around. The Syrian families are living in houses that were empty not long ago, and they don’t have to pay rent for now. Ahmad Haimoud speaks with Golzow mayor Frank Schütz following a holiday concert and reception at the village’s small Protestant Church. And together, the refugees are helping to save the one place that makes this small German   village somewhat famous. Mayor Schütz said, at first, some of the locals were against the idea of letting Muslim refugees move in. Every seat in the tiny Lutheran church in the town center was filled. It turns out that Golzow is thankful too. “The problem goes back to the days after the [Berlin] wall came down,” said Gaby Thomas, the director of the elementary school, where she also teaches English. Credit:

Shane McMillan

A total of eight Syrian kids helped fill enough seats to keep up enrollment and maintain class sizes. When someone asked, they said they didn’t have a Christmas tree at home. “We have given the refugees a new home,” Schütz said. A member of Golzow’s Protestant Church greets Rasha Haimoud following a holiday concert. They all have lots of kids. But they said they are settling in well. Thomas says that the children of the refugee families are already fitting into her school very well. For two members of the audience, this was something very new. But all that notoriety could not save the school from a harsh reality. Credit:

Shane McMillan

In 1961 an East German film crew started following a class of first graders. They are both taking German language classes. Many towns in the former East Germany have told the federal government that they would prefer not to be asked to resettle refugees, who’ve entered Germany by the hundreds of thousands in the last couple of years.Player utilitiesPopout
Share
downloadListen to the Story. Younger folks started moving to the cities, and suddenly there were empty houses,” Thomas said. “We came here for the future of our kids,” she added.

Undocumented New Yorkers worry about the future of the city’s ID program

He and immigration advocates say it’s about bringing people out of the shadows. De Blasio promised recently to destroy the records of undocumented immigrants who’ve applied for an ID, people like Araceli and Ana Maria — to protect them from being targeted by the Trump administration’s   immigration officials. This is not something we’re just making up to scare people, this is a legitimate thing. Will the ID in her purse get her deported from the US? In New York, the ID can be used to open a bank account, or get discounts at museums. They pay taxes here. But for years now, cities like San Francisco and   Oakland   and Trenton, New Jersey, have been issuing IDs to residents, regardless of immigration status. “This is our city. Araceli says the ID made her feel safer doing that, too — less worried about having to prove who she was. PRI.org

But she also checks out poetry in Spanish. How many times a day do you show your state ID? It’s helped her develop a closer relationship with teachers — something that, she says, helped save her life: When her ex-husband’s beatings started getting more severe, one teacher said she needed to call the police. The New York City ID was controversial at its inception, and it’s coming under fire again. She’s also undocumented. One of the first things Ana Maria did when she got her New York City ID card was go to the library — to   get books. So, I mean, it’s something serious. The Berlin attacker had 14 different identifications.”
Ana Maria says she’s worried. “If you do a Google search for fake passports, you’ll see countless stories. Information. She’s an undocumented immigrant and she asked me not to use her last name. A lot of people here have been living in New York for 20, 30 years,” he explains. They required an ID to let visitors in — because of terrorism threats and mass shootings. She checks out CDs and magazines, too, to practice her English.Player utilitiesPopout
Share
downloadListen to the Story. And this is our city.”
Documented or not, the ID is about living here like anyone else, Ramirez-Caminatti says. Favio Ramirez-Caminatti runs El Centro NYC, an immigrant rights group in Staten Island. Getting a library card might not be a big deal to most Americans. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio disagrees. But now some immigrants here wonder whether   getting that ID at all   might cause them more trouble in the end. Malliotakis’ opponents accuse her of fearmongering, but she says   this is a real concern that should be taken seriously. But then, think about how much more this ID card gave Ana Maria. If you are undocumented, these small tasks   can cause anxiety. Their children study here. Ana Maria can’t use her ID to drive — but, for her, it’s nice to have access to all those books in the library, just   like other New Yorkers. “They work here. For Araceli, who also didn’t want to be identified by her full name, the ID means a lot more. Did she make a mistake getting it in the first place? Critics say giving people who aren’t authorized to live in the US easier   access to bank accounts and   schools is dangerous. “Our concern is, if you’re giving out government-issued identification cards, if there were to be an investigation, or there were judicial inquiries into a cardholder, then all the records would not be there anymore to satisfy those requests,” she says. Doing that, critics say, threatens cities’ safety. He’s telling immigrants the ID is a good thing, and they should get one. When you use your credit card, get a drink, even go to the movies, depending on your taste   in films. Now, with her New York City   ID, she can come and go freely. That used to mean   she couldn’t go to PTA meetings at her kids’ school. She’s one of the two Republican lawmakers suing to stop the city from destroying the records of people who’ve applied for the ID. Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis represents Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. I met Ana Maria at a church in Staten Island.

Conspiracy theorists aren’t all deranged weirdos. They’re friends, family members and people you meet on the street.

There are a few of those people, but when you think of a conspiracy theorist, you should think of your friends, your family, someone you meet on the street. (After all, President-elect Donald Trump was interviewed by a man who thinks the Sandy Hook shooting was faked).Player utilitiesPopout
Share
downloadListen to the Story. “When something big happens in the world, we look for a proportionally big explanation,” Brotherton says. Rob Brotherton is a psychologist and author of the book   “Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories.” He argues that we’re all a lot more vulnerable to these theories than we think, and he dispels some commonly held beliefs:  
First, the notion that conspiracy theorists are all deranged weirdos. Never mind that there was no evidence that he did this. Pizzagate. The JFK assassination. One of the very first conspiracy theories was the idea that Nero played the lyre as Rome burned. PRI.org

But what type of person believes in conspiracy theories? Still, lots of people at the time believed it to be true. No. Then again, I might just be a lizard person trying to discredit that fear. If someone told you that Nixon sabotaged Vietnam peace talks in order to get elected, that would sound … far-fetched, to say the least. There’s the proportionality bias. And why? And conspiracy theories have been a part of American life since the founding of the country. Brotherton says it’s important to keep one thing in mind: conspiracies are extremely hard to pull off. And these biases have, of course, been with us for a long time.     •      A parent who lost their child at Sandy Hook fights the idea that his son’s death was faked. Lizard people. When we see information that doesn’t confirm what we believe, we subject it to much more scrutiny. Finally, there are actual conspiracies. Conspiracy theories are all around us, and it can seem like they’re becoming more and more a part of our culture. Potentially anyone’s a conspiracy theorist.”
Second, there are psychological reasons why people are prone to believe in conspiracy theories. Here’s some more reading on the subject:
     •     Here’s a   look at 50 years of conspiracy theories from New York Magazine. It’s hard to get away with a conspiracy, especially an elaborate, complex conspiracy resting on a lot of things, involving a lot of people. “We have this stereotype of conspiracy theorists as this handful of people who live in basements and wear tinfoil hats and have strange ideas and make posts in all caps on internet forums, but that’s really not the case.     •      Does the illuminati control hip-hop? The illuminati. That’s not true, according to Brotherton. Ssssssss. Once we have a belief, we seek out information that’s consistent with that. People plot and they do illegal things. This story first aired as an interview on PRI’s Innovation Hub. “When something relatively small and mundane happens, we’re satisfied with a relatively small explanation.”
Third, we’re also all dealing with confirmation bias. (Watergate, too, would have sounded completely implausible to most Americans a year or two before Woodward and Bernstein uncovered it.)
So, if conspiracy theories have been around since ancient history, and we are psychologically vulnerable to them, and there are — from time to time — actual conspiracies … how does someone tell the real from the fake? People just aren’t that good at keeping secrets.”  
So if lizard people were secretly running the world … someone would have blabbed. But here’s how the conspiracy theory developed. But, they’re usually not that good at it. But it appears that that actually happened. “We know that conspiracies happen in the world.

A Syrian family finds sweet success in Canada

Credit:

Courtesy of Tareq Hadhad

“We are Syrian-Canadian,”   says Tareq, “and it’s reflected in our chocolate pieces.”
Tareq’s favorite flavor, though, is a classic. Antigonish is a tiny town in Nova Scotia, Canada, with a population of about 5,000.Player utilitiesPopout
Share
downloadListen to the Story. Their shop even has 10 employees. They sell, for example, Syrian chocolate with maple syrup filling. “I love the most dark chocolate. PRI.org

It’s kind of out-of-the-way. Twelve months later, they say they are completely financially independent. It was one of the largest in Syria, and they exported all over the Middle East and even to Europe. “We feel that we have a huge responsibility, now,”   says Tareq, “to start to give back to the country that welcomed us with open arms.” This is a box from Peace by Chocolate. And now, they mix and combine the two. The Hadhads arrived in Canada last winter, after spending years in refugee camps in Lebanon, with almost nothing except for a few bags of clothing. Eighty-five percent cocoa,”   he says, “so this is very bitter, but there is some sweet with the filling of nuts that makes it perfect.”
Tareq has been talking about chocolate a lot lately. He got another call from his father soon after. “That made the start easier with the support from the Antigonishers.”
The Hadhads had owned a chocolate factory in Damascus. “We brought with us the skills and experiences and everything we got from our past,” he says. Then, they started making and selling Canadian chocolate, too. “He was just saying, ‘Everything has gone. This shop — it’s called Peace by Chocolate — is run by a former refugee family from Syria. But, one afternoon, that factory was bombed. Tareq remembers the call he got from his father. But there’s a chocolate shop here so famous that tour buses line up outside. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even talked about it at the United Nations. His family feels proud and honored by the attention, he says, and also grateful. “‘Everything has gone   can be rebuilt.”
In Antigonish, the Hadhads are doing just that — rebuilding. Tareq Hadhad, the family’s oldest son, says his family was never completely bereft because they always had their recipes. At first, they sold mostly Syrian chocolate in their shop. Everything has gone,”‘   says Tareq. “‘After three days, my father came to me, maybe we lost our factory, but at least the family members are safe,” Tareq says. He’s been interviewed over 200 times.

Watch live: President Obama’s farewell speech

“For Michelle and me, Chicago is where it all started. It’s the city that showed us the power and fundamental goodness of the American people,” Obama said in a Facebook post previewing his remarks. The 2016 election campaign has raised serious questions about the resilience of US democracy. Diehard fans — many African Americans — have braved Chicago’s frigid winter to collect free tickets, which now sell for upwards of $1,000 a piece on Craigslist. “They are all totally different.”
The trip to Chicago about more than nostalgia, Keenan indicated. But speechwriter Keenan sees few obvious templates: “Bush and Clinton did theirs from here (the White House), George H.W. Obama’s last trip on Air Force One will be a pilgrimage to his adoptive hometown, where he will address a sell-out crowd not far from where he delivered his victory speech eight years ago. Bush went to West Point, gave a foreign policy speech,” he told AFP. Trump has smashed conventions, vowed to efface Obama’s legacy and hurled personal insults left and right. After that there will still be a holiday and an autobiography, but Obama could find himself being dragged backed into the political fray if Trump were to enact a Muslim registry or deport adults brought to the United States years ago by their parents. In a virtually unprecedented move, US intelligence has accused the Kremlin of seeking to tip the electoral scales in Trump’s favor. Presidential precedent
Presidents since George Washington have delivered a farewell address of sorts. Having vowed to take a backseat in politics, Obama’s second act could yet be as politically engaged as Jimmy Carter — whose post-presidency has remade his image as an elder statesman. Some 51 percent of Americans polled believe that Trump is doing a bad job as president-elect. Obama’s foundation is already gearing up for a quasi-political role — funneling idealistic youngsters into public life. Obama’s lead speechwriter Cody Keenan said the address will be about a vision for where the country should go. Democrats, cast into the political wilderness with the loss of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives plus a majority of statehouses, are struggling to regroup. “For him, as someone who started as a community organizer, whose campaign was powered by young people, ordinary people, we decided we wanted to go back to Chicago.”
“Chicago is not just his hometown, it’s where his career started.”
And now it is also where Obama’s presidential career will effectively end. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency Tuesday, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump’s shock election. Washington’s final 7,641-word   message — which is still read once a year in the Senate by tradition — contained warnings about factionalism and interference by foreign powers that seem oddly prescient. Obama’s cross-country trek would be a sentimental trip down memory lane, were it not slap-bang in the middle of a tumultuous presidential handover. You can watch the speech live here, starting at 9 p.m. “The thread that has run though his career from his days as community organizer to the Oval Office   is the idea that if you get ordinary people together and get them educated, get them empowered, get them to act on something, that’s when good things happen,” he said. ‘True to him’
With an approval rating hovering around 55 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll, Obama will hope to steel them for new battles ahead. 20. Many Obama aides who had planned to take exotic holidays or launch coffer-replenishing forays into the private sector are also reassessing their future and mulling a return to the political trenches. EST:

Aside from First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden will also come along for the ride. “It will tell a story.”
As Obama put it: “Over the course of my life, I’ve been reminded time and again that change can happen — that ordinary people can come together to achieve extraordinary things.”
“And I’ve seen that truth up close over these last eight years.”
Life after White House
Trump’s unorthodox politics has thrown 55-year-old Obama’s transition and post-presidency plans into flux. Having vowed a smooth handover of power, Obama finds himself being increasingly critical of Trump as he prepares to leave office on Jan. “It’s not going to be like an anti-Trump speech, it’s not going to be a red meat, rabble rousing thing, it will be statesman-like but it will also be true to him,” Keenan told AFP.

Remembering Clare Hollingworth, the journalist who broke the news of World War II

And always, apparently —   the legend is — that she still kept her bag and her shoes ready, in case she had to go run to do a breaking news story.”
In her mid-90s, Hollingworth fell victim to a scammer, a much younger man who managed to persuade her to give him control of her estate. He emptied her accounts. This was her first scoop: “1,000 German tanks massed on Polish border.”
The German invasion of Poland — the beginning of World War II — began just before dawn on Sept. In August 1939, Hollingworth was in Poland as an aid worker, but then switched careers and turned to journalism. She followed conflicts throughout the Middle East, Algeria and Vietnam.  
“It’s a part of her life that not many people know at all,” says Janine di Giovanni. Hollingworth sued and he promised to repay the money. British reporter Clare Hollingworth has a good claim on the title of scoop of the century. Extraordinary life.” It was the start of a long career as a war correspondent   that took Hollingworth through World War II. She was 105. She liked to have a beer for breakfast. There in the fields she saw endless rows of large objects under burlap sacks. Extraordinary woman. But much of it is still outstanding. Hollingworth also played a role in saving many people’s   lives. “[This] really surprised so many people,” says di Giovanni, “because she’d been so savvy and so sharp, and yet at the end of her life, someone had taken such terrible advantage of her.”
Asked what Hollingworth means to her, di Giovanni says: “Resilience, strength, curiosity. Listen to the full interview. Di Giovanni is a former war correspondent herself, and reviewed Hollingworth’s biography for the Spectator. Because it was Hollingworth who broke the story of World War II.Player utilitiesPopout
Share
downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. She landed a job with Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper. The only exception was for diplomats. She called the British Embassy, which at first refused to believe her. For the 20th century, that is. She drove, alone, to the frontier, and crossed into Germany. Before the war, as an aid worker, she helped thousands of people, mostly Jews, obtain British visas. It was the first confirmation of the invasion that the British government received. “She had her own table there,” says di Giovanni. When the wind blew, she saw tanks. She’s currently Middle East editor for Newsweek, and author of “The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria.”
Hollingworth spent her later years living in Hong Kong, where   she was a proud member of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. This allowed them to get out of eastern Europe ahead of the Nazi storm. PRI.org

Hollingworth died Tuesday   in Hong Kong, where she had lived for the last four decades of her life. She said, well, listen to this, and thrust the phone out of the window as German tanks roared past. 1,   1939. Hollingworth followed her instincts and convinced a British diplomat friend to lend her his car. She continued to help refugees and displaced people after she became a reporter. It was her first week on the job. Tensions were mounting with Germany, which had just closed border areas to nonresidents. After the war, she always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, in the words of one colleague. Hollingworth was again close to the frontier. Once again,   thanks to Hollingworth, the Telegraph was first with the story. “She would go there every day, sit there.

How a bigger FIFA World Cup could lead to March Madness-style drama

And many more will have the chance to dream to participate,” Infantino said. But that may not impact the United States much. Compare that to Europe with 56 nations and 13 spots, and South America with 10 countries and six   spots. Critics say that’s what this is all about. FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, has decided to expand the format of its men’s World Cup   from 32 teams to 48. https://t.co/zPRIt5lU0w
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) January 10, 2017
“Sixteen more countries, some of which probably will never have dreamt to participate in a World Cup, will have the chance to participate. But let’s be clear about two big reasons FIFA is choosing to change what is already a very profitable tournament every four years. Then comes the politics. Africa, for example, has 54 national soccer teams, but only got five   spots at the last World Cup. But that’s not entirely fair either. So get ready for the debate over the pros and cons of this expansion to continue for the next nine   years. The new system could result in an extra qualifying spot or two. There were 64 matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Asia has 46 teams and only four   spots. That means more TV rights to sell, more passionate TV viewers in 16 extra nations, and of course more advertising revenue for FIFA. The US men’s national soccer team has been a regular at recent World Cups. The downside? While the expansion will make it easier to qualify for the premier   men’s soccer tournament, it may also make it harder to win. The 2026 edition will feature 80 soccer games. And they are right to complain. The continents whose teams dominated were rewarded with the most qualifying spots. And that could mean more excitement for spectators and viewers at home. Asian and African teams have had fewer opportunities to make soccer history than their European and South American counterparts, simply because they’ve been invited to the dance fewer times. That means fewer opportunities for teams to recover from early stumbles, and more opportunities for surprises and Cinderella stories like the ones you see in US college basketball during March Madness. The new format calls for the World Cup to move more quickly to a do-or-die knockout stage. For years, nations in Asia and Africa have been complaining that they’ve been discriminated against by a World Cup format that favors Europe and South America, the two historical hotbeds of soccer. Certainly, as Infantino suggested, more teams that wouldn’t even be at the tournament under the current format could qualify. Traditionally, the allocation of spots at the World Cup has been decided   based on performances at past tournaments. FIFA Council unanimously decides on expansion of the FIFA World Cup to a 48-team competition as of 2026. Any soccer fan hoping to watch all 80 matches in 32 days in 2026 will face a much steeper challenge than at present. He explained the change at a press conference in Zurich. That’s not a democratic distribution. Money and politics. The United States is considered a front-runner to host that World Cup, either alone or in collaboration with neighbors Mexico and Canada. Expanding the number of teams helps to address that. But the FIFA expansion could have a very tangible impact on American soccer fans when it goes into effect for the 2026 tournament. If that happens, that will mean more World Cup games being played here on US soil in 2026. FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said the move is meant to bring the joy of a World Cup to more nations. First of all, expanding the format means more games per tournament. The change will go into effect with the 2026 edition of the tournament. The change may be less significant for North America and the Caribbean, the region that includes the United States.

The Filipino president has deployed a ‘social media army’ to push his agenda

His post   quickly got the attention of a young woman named Madelyn. In September 2016, he tweeted about the Filipino president’s war on drugs. Listen to the full interview. It turns out, he was onto something: “I learned that it was far from an original thing” — anyone speaking critically of Duterte gets attacked — “and this is pretty much standard going for everyone covering the drug war and anything else in the Philippines right now.”
Furthermore, Duterte’s social media strategy seems to be effective, and it has a lot to do with the island nation’s overall youthfulness: The average age in the Philippines is 23, and nearly half of its 103 million residents use social media, according to Williams. PRI.org

It has also come to light, especially recently, that social media’s global reach   can be used to perpetuate fake news, “troll” dissenters, and, for some politicians — give the impression of widespread support. Williams stumbled upon “a bit of an online tale,” as he put   it,   back when he was   reporting on the violence in the Philippines. And she seemed to tweet about him constantly throughout the day. Player utilitiesPopout
Share
downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. “People do kind of admire him, but, but, yeah, it’s been very much propped up by a lot of this noise online.”  
More broadly, the scenario shows how Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, once seen as belonging to the masses, have been co-opted by these bigger players. So, they just consume this daily diet of highly inflammatory, one-sided information. Read more:   Kids in Macedonia made up and circulated many false news stories in the US election
Germany finds itself in the center of the cyberstorm
What it’s like to be the victim of a Russian online smear campaign
Like in the Philippines. Journalist Sean Williams says he’s been on the receiving end of Duterte’s keyboard army, something that he details in an article titled, “Rodrigo Duterte’s Army of Online Trolls,” which has been published in this month’s issue of The New Republic. There’s no perusing different news sites or anything, “people just keeping scrolling through and scrolling through Facebook, looking at these kind of incendiary headlines, [partisan] websites, but they never click free to any meat. I think that’s where a lot of this comes from.”    Some people are paid to promote Duterte online. US President-elect Donald Trump is a well-known personality   on Twitter — his “unpresidented” tweet is among a plethora that has caused a stir — and one day, he even   blocked a high schooler who called him a “reject Cheeto” — but he’s hardly the first world leader to turn to social media to address the public. because they would incur data charges,” Williams said.    
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. Maybe because he’s a reporter, Williams didn’t just drop the subject and move on. “So, for instance, a huge, huge part of all of this is that people get Facebook free with their phones but they can’t actually click through to anything … She replied to Williams — writing him off as a “troll,” and a   “foreigner who knows nothing bout my country,” he recounts in the magazine piece. Notably, around 20 percent of   Duterte mentions online, here, come just from “bots,” a figure that Williams ascertained with the help of a social media research company: “They were surprised and so was I, that this amount of noise just being put out by fake accounts is so strong around Duterte. But it also is a result of the   way that mobile phone networks and the internet   play out there, funneling only certain content to people. Often, they create   fake accounts on social media and because the government is behind it, “It’s really hard for any opposing voices to get their voices heard,” he said. He asked around to others involved in journalism and human rights in the Philippines about the   back-and-forth on Twitter. So that kind of says a lot about where his messages are coming from.”  
That’s not to say that the Filipino president doesn’t have a real following.    
It wasn’t long before Williams noticed that Madelyn’s Twitter stream was chock-full of adulation for President Duterte. “They’re kind of being used by the people with the most money and the bigger means to get that message across, and that’s kind of a worrying development,” said Williams. President Rodrigo Duterte, who came into power last year, has already proven himself to be a “power user” on Twitter: He has allegedly deployed a sort of “social media army” to not only push out   pro-Duterte propaganda   but   to keep   his critics in check.

China’s making huge economic bets on green energy

“They also see that as part of their energy security strategy,” Geall says. Officials in Beijing are turning the problem of poisonous pollution into a green opportunity for China.Player utilitiesPopout
Share
downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. And low carbon innovation and cleaner technologies are a big part of that.”
According to Geall, who is also a research fellow at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, China is hoping to become the leading global exporter of clean energy technologies. “There is popular pressure to clean up air pollution in China — the Communist Party needs that for its own legitimacy,” says Sam Geall, the executive editor of the bilingual environmental news and policy site Chinadialogue. “I think that they’re realizing that, rather than being exposed to volatile prices for traditional forms of energy supply, they can actually manufacture energy security by investing in renewables, particularly in solar. “But there is a larger, kind of top-down ambition to restructure the Chinese economy away from heavy industry and energy-intensive industries like steel and cement and towards innovation and services. The plan, which is expected to help curb greenhouse gas emissions, will also create an estimated 13 million jobs. PRI.org

On Thursday, China’s National Energy Administration announced that it would invest at least $360 billion in renewable energy. We’ve seen huge deflation in the cost of solar in recent years, largely because of the scale of manufacturing in China.”
Though demand for coal continues to decline around the world, Trump has promised to revive the US   coal industry and is also doubling down on oil and natural gas. With the US   focused elsewhere, Chinese companies feel they can quickly move into the renewable energy space. Listen to the full interview. With this investment, China is positioning itself as a global leader for new renewable technologies at a time when US   President-elect Donald Trump appears to be moving America in the opposite direction. According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, “China made a record $32 billion in overseas [renewable energy] investment deals in 2016 alone, marking a 60 percent year-on-year rise in spending.”
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.

Watch live: Senate grills Trump’s cabinet nominees in confirmation hearings

is so jammed right now that several high, important hearings will fall on the same day,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Monday. I’ll return this letter to @SenateMajLdr with the same requests. “Our constitutional duty is to make a choice about whether this individual will be a champion of constitutional rights and liberties and will be able to stand up to Donald Trump, soon to be president, and say, you cannot do what you need to do, or we’re going to have to indict someone who is a friend of yours, and sometimes there will be conflicts of interest where an independent counsel will have to be appointed,” he said. “I think they’ll all pass,” he predicted. So they have not been appropriately vetted for something like a cabinet post before,” said the New York Democrat. Many of Trump’s nominees pose especially thorny conflict-of-interest challenges, Schumer added. Unlike Sessions, who has faced pushback from Senate Democrats, Kelly by most accounts has been amicably received during several days of private meetings with Democratic and Republican members of the Homeland Security Committee. The US Senate began confirmation hearings for key nominees to Donald Trump’s cabinet Tuesday,   amid concerns many of the president-elect’s picks haven’t been fully vetted over ethics, or made full financial disclosures. “What had been standard practice for the vast majority of nominees — the completion of a preliminary ethics review before their nomination — was skipped over for the vast majority of president-elect Trump’s nominees,” Schumer said. “I’m breaking a pretty long Senate tradition,” Booker told MSNBC, adding that Sessions “has a posture and a positioning that I think represent a real danger to our country.”
Blumenthal said one measure of whether an attorney general nominee is right for the job is whether that person is willing to stand up to the president in the interest of justice. “He has denounced Roe v. Sessions, in particular, has drawn fierce opposition from liberals concerned over his conservative views on everything from abortion rights to civil liberties. “Confirmation is going great,” he told reporters Monday in an unexpected appearance in the lobby of Trump Tower, headquarters for his gilded corporate offices in New York City. Our requests are eminently reasonable, shared by leaders of both parties. Many have vast holdings in stocks and very few have experience in government. Trump, meanwhile, has shown no sign of worry over the reception his nominees will get on Capitol Hill. Ten days before Trump takes the oath of office, lawmakers will hold hearings for Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump’s nominee for US attorney general, and retired Marine general John Kelly, his choice for homeland security secretary. “They come, many of them, from enormous wealth. Watch the hearings live:

Several nominees are scheduled to have hearings this week, with three due to get under way Wednesday, including Rex Tillerson, the wealthy Exxon oilman who Trump has tapped for secretary of state. And on other issues like religious freedoms, torture, where he’s taken positions that I think are out of the mainstream, and of course his staunch and steadfast opposition to any kind of immigration reform,” Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee, told MSNBC late Monday. Wade, which guarantees a woman’s right to choose. pic.twitter.com/IMT7ZtJFjV
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 9, 2017
“The hearing schedule … Another Democratic senator, Cory Booker, has gone so far as to say he’ll testify against Sessions at Tuesday’s hearing — a departure from many decades of Senate protocol. Democrats however are vowing not to allow Congress to rubber stamp Trump’s cabinet picks without a fight. Meanwhile, Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said lawmakers in the Republican-controlled chamber have crammed the schedule full of hearings, making the vetting more challenging than usual.

The outspoken women behind late Iranian President Rafsanjani

His daughter Hashemi   has been out of parliament for more than a decade, but her legacy remains. But during the protests that engulfed Iran after the 2009 vote, Marashi was widely quoted as saying, “If people see that [the government]   has cheated, they should protest on the streets.”
Despite the   allegations of corruption and abuse of power that cloud the Rafsanjani legacy, Fathi, the former correspondent in Tehran, argues his   youngest daughter   Faezah Hashemi could become vocal again. When she won the post in 1996, Iran’s conservative mullahs —   religious leaders — wouldn’t acknowledge that she’d received more votes than any other candidate. After she was released, she sparked outrage when she visited the Baha’i families of friends she made in prison. “It was too embarrassing for the regime to admit that a young woman had won more votes than influential clerics in the country, so her name appeared second,” Fathi says. “We have to wait and see how things are going to unfold,” says Nazila Fathi, a former correspondent for The New York Times. Iranians were not accustomed to hearing from the wives of their leaders. Rafsanjani is credited with saving her from the group’s attempt to assassinate her. “She refused to wear her headscarf the way the regime women wore them, or the coats that the regime required women to wear. Somehow the clerics had thought if women were pedaling around the city they were exposing themselves too much.”
Hashemi spent six months in Iran’s infamous Evin prison after protesting the 2009 presidential election results. “It was important for her that women get out,” Fathi says. The recent death of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani leaves the outspoken women in the reformer’s family in a sort of political limbo. “She did have the popularity to move forward with it.” Likewise, Effat Marashi —   the late Rafsanjani’s wife, and the mother of his five children — pushed the boundaries limiting Iranian women. She later described it as “the best time of my life” that “opened another world” to her. In the days following the revolution, she was reportedly a target of the extremist group Forghan, which is thought to have murdered more than a dozen political and religious figures shortly after clerics took power. The ex-president’s younger daughter, Faezah Hashemi, served in Iran’s parliament. She had a women’s bike path built in Tehran and increased access to sports facilities. “She was a person who believed in change and wanted to see change,” Fathi says. “Biking was one of those sports that had been banned right after the revolution. But in parliament, she was always very vocal. Her cellmates included women activists of the Baha’i faith, a religion that had been banned after the 1979 revolution. That set her apart on the surface. It’s unclear how much clout his once-powerful daughter and wife will retain in an increasingly conservative Iran. She wasn’t afraid to challenge clerics.”
The family’s patriarch, the relatively moderate Rafsanjani, served two terms as Iran’s president, from 1989 to 1997. Although he retained some influence after stepping down, he was largely silenced by more conservative voices in recent years. Iran’s women can thank her for making it possible for them to exercise in public.

Making art helps this refugee create her new life in Austria

She’s also given painting lessons to young children in the refugee center, most of whom are from Afghanistan and Syria. After flying to Turkey, she traveled by “boat, bus and car,” first to Salzburg and then to the Austrian capital. Daboval had previously organized a one-week startup incubator in Vienna, and she was eager to put her experience in the arts and social entrepreneurship to good use. The blue-colored pastels she donated ended up with Parmis   and now characterize her portrait, “Blue.”
When Parmis saw Restart’s call for artists on Facebook, she knew right away she wanted to be a part of it, and Pauschenwein’s donations made it possible. Restart will charge a 30 percent commission, which will be used for reinvestment in the project. This painting titled, “Pain and Hope,” is by Khaled Dahesh, a Syrian artist and art teacher who came   to Austria from Turkey, where he lived for four years after fleeing Damascus. Parmis’ paintings then moved to the nearby Kulturraum Neruda exhibition space for another week. Against her closet rests a cello on loan from a local music school, and around her desk, she’s pinned up various German language study guides. Modeled after ArtLifting, a Boston-based benefit corporation that sells and licenses the work of homeless artists, Restart hopes to be a resource for creative refugees trying to remake their lives and careers in Europe. Austria provides asylum-seekers with some social and financial aid, but they aren’t eligible for many social welfare programs. Austrian army soldiers observe migrants as they wait to cross the border from the village of Sentilj, Slovenia into Spielfeld, Austria, Nov. In the summer of 2016, after she had settled in, a friend saw a call for refugee artists on Facebook and told Parmis about it. “Looking, looking.” In the meantime, he says he plans to paint more, hopefully in order to earn some cash to supplement his limited allowance from the state. Several flights above them, Parmis has decorated several of her walls with their drawings, which she hangs up alongside her own. In the center of the room, Parmis has lithographs of turn-of-the century Vienna. “I wondered,” he remembers thinking, “where are the programs for creative people?”
The demand was there, and after Nipkow founded the organization in early March 2016, word spread quickly. One day, Parmis caught a woman pointing at her on the subway. This is   Parmis’ portrait titled, “Blue,” which she created with donated supplies. The journey took just over three weeks. Since then, politicians on the far right have capitalized on these fears, and the country’s immigration policies have tightened, with heightened border controls and a new cap on refugees and asylum applications in early 2016. Parmis was overjoyed. She took the supplies and got to work. She’s moved up in her hierarchy of needs: Right now she’s focused on her art. The location is “top,” she says. He was struck by the fact that most job opportunities there were in manufacturing and service. As of November 2016, asylum applications had fallen back down to around 40,000, according to the Interior Ministry. “Suchen, suchen,” he says, in German. Parmis was one of almost   90,000   asylum seekers   who came to Austria in 2015. She says she calls her mother once a week, and she hopes that someday she’ll be able   to reunite with her family in Turkey, but   she doesn’t anticipate going back to Iran unless there’s a major regime change. 26, she exhibited her work in a show that drew about 500 people   at the Museumsquartier (MQ), a 645,000-square-foot museum and event complex on the edge of Vienna’s historic city center. Parmis, who came to Austria in November 2015, says she fled her home in Tehran for political reasons. The painting depicts a street in Damascus, empty save for two flocks of doves. That year, the country of about 8.5   million inhabitants played temporary host to many refugees and migrants passing through on their way to other countries in the European Union, mostly Germany. Dahesh   doesn’t have a job in Vienna yet, but he wants work. She joined the project in July, and by the end of August, had a team of volunteers working to recruit artists, gather supplies and plan an exhibit. “It was great to see how excited the artists were, not just to be seen as refugees, but, as talented, creative people,” says Nipkow.  

Credit:

Courtesy of TJ Alshemaree  

Nipkow expanded his organization into Austria after meeting Raffaela Daboval, now the director of Restart Austria, through Impact Hub, a London-based networking organization and business incubator that hosted Restart’s Berlin exhibition. Within just weeks, in early April, Restart launched its first-ever exhibit in Berlin with the works of five refugee artists. “When I’m drawing, when I’m painting, I forget everything in my life, my pain,” she says. Although Parmis had never worked as a professional artist, she had taken some painting classes in Tehran, and she comes from a family of creative people. The seven artists featured in the show included some self-taught, amateur artists, as well as some established artists like Sahf Abdulrahman, who previously worked as a children’s art teacher and art critic for Syrian newspapers, and Ibrahim Barghoud, who previously taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Aleppo and whose work has been shown across Europe. “I just looked at this woman and smiled.”
While the larger challenges of the European refugee crisis remain, Restart focuses on its mission. Creating a network
Parmis says she’s received a mostly warm welcome in Vienna, but acknowledges that not all Austrians are as happy as she is about her arrival. Credit:

Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

Painting and exhibiting her work helped Parmis find meaning and purpose amid the challenges of life as a new refugee. Credit:

Courtesy of   Khaled​ Dahesh

Although the migrants who stayed in Austria make up a small fraction of the country’s population, applications in 2015 were more than triple the number from 2014, giving many Austrians the false impression the country was being overrun. “When you are an artist, it’s very hard to work because it’s not like a normal job market where you send your CV.”
It’s an ambitious plan, but there’s no guarantee it will work. “Every time I see them, I think, yes, I’m here,” she says. “The idea is to create a network for them,” Daboval says. “But I’m OK now.”
She briefly stayed in two different refugee camps before landing a spot in the refugee shelter run by Austria’s Samaritan Union Workers, one of the country’s largest social services organizations. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”
For her part, Parmis has sold two paintings, one for 90 euros ($100) and the other for 120 euros ($134). It’s been a long time since Parmis has felt this calm. “Only birds,” he says. But the question of how Austria will manage its role in the largest refugee crisis since World War II remains a complicated one that won’t be answered with a single art exhibition. Some of the girls from her class are playing handball in the parking lot while we speak, and we can hear them laughing outside her window. “As an art therapist, I learned that it’s important to give people perspective, especially people who might be losing hope,” she says. Some of the supplies used by the artists came from Vienna-based artist Gerlinde Pauschenwein, who was approached by a Restart volunteer while teaching a class at the Siemens complex refugee shelter. Most of those refugees were fleeing Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, according to Austria’s Interior Ministry. Giving people perspective  
Daboval says she was surprised by the high turnout at the exhibit opener at the MQ in October. “Sometimes I can’t sleep just because I think about the way [here],” says Parmis, who agreed to an interview on the condition that her last name and the exact reasons for her departure from Iran not be shared. “Once we met artists, they knew other artists, and we realized there were a lot of artists among newcomers,” says Nipkow. Credit:

Courtesy of   TJ Alshemaree  

  Sitting at her desk in the dormitory room of a refurbished Siemens office complex at the edge of Vienna, the 29-year-old Iranian refugee isn’t thinking about her safety, or where she’ll find food. Many refugees have been unable to find work. Filling a void  
The call for artists came from an organization called Restart, a Berlin-based social enterprise looking to give refugees a creative outlet, connections to fellow artists and access to an online art marketplace in their new European homes. “This is real.”

Parmis’ art, shown here, was featured in Restart’s exhibit   in   Vienna. Credit:

Courtesy of Parmis

On Oct. 2, 2015. The woman then told a young girl she was traveling with that Parmis was bad because of her “black hair.”
“She didn’t know that I could understand what she was saying,” Parmis says. The next step for the organization, both in Berlin and Vienna, is to recruit more artists, gather more resources and ultimately launch an online platform to sell the artists’ work. Pauschenwein is somewhat pessimistic about the viability of the art market for anyone who isn’t a big name, but she’s impressed with what the organization has accomplished so far, particularly in snagging the MQ for its opening. The call also came with an offer of help, in the form of donated paint, canvases and pastels. In the long term, the project won’t be sustainable without commissions, Daboval says. Founder Jonas Nipkow started developing the idea in Berlin after attending a job fair for people he calls “newcomers” — the term he prefers for refugees. This is a snapshot from Restart’s Vienna exhibition opening. Her mother is an amateur artist, one sister is a   painter, a brother is a building designer and a second sister is in school for architecture.

Shocker: Russian intelligence services have a murky history

In more modern times, Russia has frequently attempted to shape events, particularly in its “near abroad,” in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Soviet KGB sent forged FBI letters to newspapers in the United States claiming that Jackson was a homosexual, a closet gay man, implying that he was unfit to be president.”
“That vicious campaign unfortunately is typical of several other types of activities that the Soviet intelligence services engaged in,” says Kramer. PRI.org

“Most of the time,” says Mark Kramer, director of Cold War studies at Harvard, “Russian intelligence focuses on intelligence gathering. “It used cyber warfare — the first major effort in cyber warfare — by the Russian intelligence services came against a former Soviet republic, Estonia, which is now a member of NATO. That was in 2007,”   Kramer says. Listen to the full interview. The Russian intelligence community also inherited many techniques from its Soviet predecessors.Player utilitiesPopout
Share
downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. The Russian Federation inherited a variety of intelligence organizations from the Soviet Union, and has added more. “The Soviet Union on many occasions tried to influence US politics, and even to meddle in presidential elections,” he adds. “And cyber warfare has been used against Ukraine; it has been used against several other countries, including those seeking to oppose Russia’s actions in Syria.”       That’s true of almost every major intelligence service in the world.”
But Kramer adds there have been many occasions when the Russians have tried to shape events and not just monitor them. “In 1968, the Soviet ambassador, Anatoly Dobrynin, was ordered by the Soviet politburo to approach the Democratic candidate, Hubert Humphrey, about providing clandestine funding,” says Kramer. “Dobrynin did this and Humphrey immediately turned it down.”
Then in 1976, the Soviets actively attempted to discredit a hawkish Democratic Senator from Washington state, Henry Jackson, after he won a primary election. “And so there was an effort made to discredit him; a campaign of disinformation.

Fighting Nazis with Scandinavian crime fiction

And for some reason, the villains in the books are often Nazis, neo-Nazis, or people with Nazism in their past. She says it’s more that the crime fiction reflects some of the concerns Scandinavian societies have. But does the message really make a political impact? It covered the sorts of topics the Nazis examined, like the particularly dark study of “racial hygiene.”
So where do the novelists fit into all this? “Sweden, during the Second World War, was neutral. You could argue crime fiction is one of the region’s biggest cultural exports. “And he really thought of himself as being a political messenger.”
Add Jo Nesbo and the late Stieg Larsson to that group of Scandinavian writers with a mission. “So they all have a past relationship with Nazism.”
Rugg says you see the theme   in books by authors like Henning Mankel, where one character sold black-market meat to the Nazis. But Rugg says for some there is more to it. They certainly mine the history. Rugg isn’t all that certain. So what’s happened is that the image that we have of Scandinavia from the outside is produced by a large degree by the crime fiction,” Rugg says. UC Berkeley’s Linda Rugg says that isn’t a coincidence. “Henning Mankel was first published by a radical press,” she says. She also cites the example of Jo Nesbo, who wrote a Norwegian character who served with the German army. “It’s not a total picture of Scandinavia. And I don’t think Scandinavians would see themselves as influenced by the crime fiction.” PRI.org

“Jar City.” “The Snowman.” “The Return of The Dancing Master.” Just about everything by Stieg Larsson. Norway and Denmark were occupied, along with Finland, by the Nazis,” she says. “The fiction has gained international recognition and has spread not only throughout the English speaking world but also been translated into many other languages. “So they are sort of excavating a past that they had buried for a long time,” she says. And that’s influenced perceptions form the outside, perhaps more than events inside Scandinavia. It was a frigid 9 degrees in Boston on Monday, a brutal temp for walking the dog, but a great one for curling up with some classic Scandinavian crime fiction.Player utilitiesPopout
Share
downloadListen to the Story. “And that feeds into today’s neo-Nazi movement, which draws heavily on the past.”
One past skeleton in Sweden’s closet was a eugenics program.

Look back on some of Obama’s most noteworthy speeches

“We’ll spend a couple of days, write a draft, give it to him. which are often tweaked at the last minute anyway. Here’s a look at five key speeches in the career of the 44th president of the United States. Accompanied by his wife Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha, and 50 others, Obama then walked across the infamous bridge over the Alabama River. “We had the lyrics in there twice, in the middle and then at the end,” Keenan said. Boston: Disrupting the political scene
July 27, 2004
“There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America. The speech in Chicago will bookend the political career of a charismatic statesman known for his powerful oratory, with several memorable addresses marking milestones in his White House tenure. “I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage,” he pointed out. It usually takes three or four drafts to arrive at a final product … If he doesn’t like it, he will take out a yellow legal pad and write his thoughts and if he does, he will start outlining the whole thing,” he said. He also gave a nod to the “considerable controversy” generated by his winning the award. After focusing on America’s struggles with race and guns in a sermon-like address, he paused — then began singing “Amazing Grace.” The thousands of mourners joined in. Each address is “a way to tell a story,” Obama chief speechwriter Cody Keenan told AFP, and the balancing act each time is to offer a vision on an issue without getting trapped by the “very real danger of being out of touch.”
“There were arguments internally in the early years of the administration about how optimistic and forward looking you could get in economic speeches when unemployment is still at like 8 or 9 percent,” he said. “All he did there was tell the country’s story and tell his own story and weave them together.”
Cairo: Appealing to the Muslim world
June 4, 2009
“I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect.”
Addressing the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims with the traditional Arabic greeting “Salam alaikum,” Obama called for ending “this cycle of suspicion and discord.”
Oslo: War and peace
December 10, 2009
“To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.”
Less than a year after taking office, Obama delivered his views on the conditions for using force as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. “We will usually sit down with him in the Oval Office and he will just talk and we will type it out and that gives us something to go work with,” Keenan said. “Probably his most successful speech was the one where he introduced himself to the country for the first time,” Keenan said. Charleston: Amazing Grace
June 26, 2015
“For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present.”
Obama made the pronouncement during a rousing eulogy for pastor Clementa Pinckney and eight members of his congregation at the historic “Mother Emanuel” black church, who were killed in a hail of gunfire unleashed by a white supremacist. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.”
At the time unknown on the national scene, a young senator from Illinois named Barack Hussein Obama — the son of a Kenyan father and a white American mother — was the breakout star of the 2004 Democratic convention. For the last time in his presidency, Barack Obama will take the stage Tuesday night to address the American people. Obama, a former law professor, is very involved in drafting his speeches. Selma: The march continues
March 7, 2015
“We just need to open our eyes, and our ears, and our hearts to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us.”  
Speaking at the Edmund Pettus Bridge 50 years after the brutal repression of a peaceful protest there, America’s first black president rallied a new generation to the spirit of the civil rights struggle. “That morning, we were flying on the helicopter to (Joint Base Andrews) and he said, ‘You know, I might sing the second one if it feels right.'”
“I watched from the plane, on the tarmac, and you could tell within about three minutes, with that crowd there and the organ playing while he was speaking, that, of course, he was going to sing it.”

To usher in the Year of the Rooster, a Chinese factory is selling giant inflatable chickens resembling Donald Trump

Wei said he was not aware that the American designer had created the original, but added that “there are some differences in the facial expression. He also angered China by taking a phone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, breaking with decades of US diplomatic practice. “I saw his image on the news and he has a lot of personality, and since Year of the Rooster is coming up I mixed these two elements together to make a Chinese chicken,” factory owner Wei Qing told AFP. Ours is inflatable.”
Trump has captured the Chinese imagination and riled its authorities, threatening to get tough on trade practices he says are unfair after taking office on Jan.   20. The 5-meter fowls sport the distinctive golden mane of the US president-elect and mimic his signature hand gestures with their tiny “wings.”
Cartoon figures of animals from the Chinese zodiac are ubiquitous around Chinese New Year at the end of this month. “It is so funny, so we designed it and tried to sell it and it turned out to be popular.”
The cartoon balloon appeared to be based on a sculpture designed by US artist Casey Latiolais, which was unveiled at a shopping mall last month in Taiyuan, capital of the northern province of Shanxi. And that one is glass. The balloon factory is selling its presidential birds for as much as 14,400 yuan ($2,080) on Chinese shopping site Taobao for a 10-meter version. A Chinese factory is hatching giant inflatable chickens resembling Donald Trump to usher in the Year of the Rooster.

50 years ago, Americans finally got a look across the line of the Vietnam War

William Fulbright, a US senator from Arkansas and longtime war opponent, began holding hearings on the war, and in his inability to get a straight answer from the Johnson administration. Johnson’s position became attenuated because, really, just to take the flak over the main observation that I reported from Vietnam, which was that we were hitting civilian objectives and killing civilians,” Salisbury said in an interview in June 1969. “But it turns out that there are many truths. We’re not going to help you destroy this country knowingly.”McNamara: “Yeah, this is what I’ve done.”
Some concluded that Salisbury was a turncoat working for the communist side, especially since he reported from Moscow for years. … At the beginning of 1967, one place Americans couldn’t go was Hanoi, North Vietnam. If you don’t believe that, try covering the man in the White House. “Mr. He said that there was “a credibility gap between what we know about the war, and what the administration was saying.”
Salisbury’s reports eventually pressured McNamara to commission what would come to be known as the Pentagon Papers in June 1967, which would turn the credibility gap into a chasm. “I’ve heard all the years that I’ve been a reporter, that what a reader wants is the truth, and nothing but the truth,” he said in 1968. Authorities say it is too dangerous to occupy any substantial building. And I don’t care which man it is. Now 50 years later, that gap between what politicians say and what we know has grown so large that it now defines a post-truth world. But in late December 1966, that perspective changed. “Contrary to the impression given by United States communiques, on-the-spot inspection indicates that American bombing has been inflicting considerable civilian casualties in Hanoi and its environs for some time past,” Salisbury wrote. Harrison Salisbury, a reporter for The New York Times who was known as a “journalistic one-man band,” was granted access to North Vietnam, and became the first American to report from the other side of the war. Salisbury’s first article came out on Christmas Day 1966, a Sunday. There’s just no place to go but down.”
Meanwhile, J. “Fear of external communist conquest in many Asian nations is already subsiding — and with this, the spirit of hope is rising,” he said. Most such buildings in the region, they say, have been hit by bombs.”
As the gap grew between what people read and what the government said, Johnson doubled down in his January 10   State of the Union. Well, this is fine up to a point, but once people see that this is not really so you’re really out on a limb, and somebody gives it a little shake and you fall down. “But an irrational position was taken for propaganda purposes, that we were bombing steel and concrete and so forth and so on. And the truth which is presented by a reporter in The New York Times or the Minneapolis Journal may not be the truth of the reader of that particular newspaper. “In the district as a whole, officials said, there have been more than 150 attacks since 1965. Salisbury’s reporting was getting through to Johnson, something that could be heard in a recorded conversation between the president   and McNamara from January 1967:
Johnson: “Now what does The New York Times want?McNamara: “The Times is internally split on the Salisbury articles, and they have some impression that we have some photographs that would support Salisbury, and they’re just bound determined to get those photographs out of us.”Johnson: “You tell ’em to go screw themselves as far as I’m concerned. Just say we don’t owe The New York Times a goddam thing. This was a position which I’m sure Mr. You might think that now there’s no turning back, but don’t tell that to Harrison Salisbury, who might understand our current environment better than any of us. A month later, a CIA cable said that Salisbury’s reporting was “good,” but that he hadn’t described the full extent of the damage. My experiences, peripheral I will admit, have convinced me that there has never been anyone in the White House who liked a newspaper reporter.”
Thanks to the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, which provided some of the archival material in this piece, and to independent producer Steve Atlas, is   working on a radio documentary on LBJ and the Vietnam War that will be released this summer and will be distributed nationally by PRI. Johnson encouraged his propaganda people to take, because it fitted the image which enabled him to go farther with less opposition from the public. A secret CIA memo in December 1966 found that over 75 percent of the casualties in the previous year were civilians. But in reality, the American government knew that Salisbury was onto something. Johnson escalated the Vietnam War, and at home, the narrative of the first televised war was still that of good guys fighting for freedom. It was two years after President Lyndon B. Since the start of the war, Johnson and former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara said that US   bombing in North Vietnam only targeted “concrete and steel, not human life.”
On New Year’s Eve, Johnson had a press conference at his ranch, calling Vietnam “the most careful, self-limited air war in history.”
Salisbury’s reporting continued into the first week of January. The hospital has been dispersed into half a dozen thatched huts around the countryside.