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Public radio for Athens and Northeast Georgia with NPR and local news
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  • At Virtual Summit, World Leaders Pledge $298 Million In Aid To Lebanon

    wuga.org Monday, 10 August 2020 06:10:00

    International leaders at a virtual summit Sunday pledged $298 million in aid to help Lebanon in the aftermath of the catastrophic blast that killed at least 158 people and devastated large swaths of Beirut. In his opening remarks, French President Emmanuel Macron — co-host of the summit along with the U.N. — said "Lebanon's future was at stake" and urged attendees "to come together in support of Lebanon and its people." Among attendees were officials with some 30 international bodies and nations, including President Trump, who had announced his participation on Twitter . Reuters quotes Macron's office as saying the approximately $298 million would not be conditional on governmental reforms in Lebanon, but longer-term support would be. During Sunday's summit, Macron urged Lebanon's leaders to act in the best interest of the country, making apparent allusion to outrage at the country's ruling class following the blast. "It is up to the authorities of the country to act so that the

  • Pandemic Finds Audiences Glued To Mexican Telenovelas

    wuga.org Monday, 10 August 2020 04:26:00

    LEILA FADEL, HOST: We're going to stay in Latin America. The pandemic has also affected how people watch TV there, as it has pretty much all around the world. But we're not just talking about a lot more eyeballs on streaming services. In Mexico, the pandemic has led to a resurgence of the telenovela, the corny TV melodramas that for decades ruled the country's airwaves. Recently, though, ratings were down - way down. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) No. FADEL: Then came the pandemic, and the audience numbers soared again. Natalie Kitroeff wrote about this for The New York Times, and she joins us now from Mexico City. Welcome. NATALIE KITROEFF: Thanks. FADEL: So first, just - I have to ask, why were telenovelas on the? Decline. Aren't they a staple of Mexican television? KITROEFF: Yeah. This is iconic programming. It became one of the nation's most important cultural exports. It was a really big thing. And, you know, it started to decline because it

  • A National Lockdown Could Be The Economy's Best Hope, Says Minneapolis Fed President

    wuga.org Monday, 10 August 2020 04:16:00

    The United States has now surpassed five million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 160,000 deaths from the virus as tens of millions of Americans file for unemployment , causing experts to debate how the nation should respond. Neel Kashkari, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, says the answer should be a return to mandated lockdowns in every state for up to six weeks in an effort to save both lives and the economy. "If we aren't willing to take this action, millions more cases with many more deaths are likely before a vaccine might be available," Kashkari wrote in a New York Times op-ed on Friday alongside Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Kashkari says lockdowns were having a positive effect during the spring. The problem, he told NPR's All Things Considered on Sunday, is that "we threw in the towel before the health officials had actually gotten control of the virus." Giving up

  • Bolivia Twice Delays Elections, Citing Pandemic

    wuga.org Monday, 10 August 2020 03:38:00

    LEILA FADEL, HOST: We're going to stay in Latin America. The pandemic has also affected how people watch TV there, as it has pretty much all around the world. But we're not just talking about a lot more eyeballs on streaming services. In Mexico, the pandemic has led to a resurgence of the telenovela, the corny TV melodramas that for decades ruled the country's airwaves. Recently, though, ratings were down - way down. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) No. FADEL: Then came the pandemic, and the audience numbers soared again. Natalie Kitroeff wrote about this for The New York Times, and she joins us now from Mexico City. Welcome. NATALIE KITROEFF: Thanks. FADEL: So first, just - I have to ask, why were telenovelas on the? Decline. Aren't they a staple of Mexican television? KITROEFF: Yeah. This is iconic programming. It became one of the nation's most important cultural exports. It was a really big thing. And, you know, it started to decline because it

  • JJ Redick On Life Inside An NBA Bubble

    wuga.org Monday, 10 August 2020 03:38:00

    LEILA FADEL, HOST: We're going to stay in Latin America. The pandemic has also affected how people watch TV there, as it has pretty much all around the world. But we're not just talking about a lot more eyeballs on streaming services. In Mexico, the pandemic has led to a resurgence of the telenovela, the corny TV melodramas that for decades ruled the country's airwaves. Recently, though, ratings were down - way down. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) No. FADEL: Then came the pandemic, and the audience numbers soared again. Natalie Kitroeff wrote about this for The New York Times, and she joins us now from Mexico City. Welcome. NATALIE KITROEFF: Thanks. FADEL: So first, just - I have to ask, why were telenovelas on the? Decline. Aren't they a staple of Mexican television? KITROEFF: Yeah. This is iconic programming. It became one of the nation's most important cultural exports. It was a really big thing. And, you know, it started to decline because it

  • Democrats Slam Trump's Executive Actions, Critiquing Both Substance And Legality

    wuga.org Monday, 10 August 2020 01:51:00

    Democrats on Sunday slammed President Trump's executive actions aimed at providing economic relief during the coronavirus pandemic, saying the measures are both ineffective and unconstitutional. Trump signed three memoranda and one executive order at his Bedminster, N.J., golf resort on Saturday amid stalled negotiations with Congress over a new COVID-19 relief package. The measures would extend some federal unemployment benefits, continue the suspension of student loan repayment, defer payroll tax collection for many workers, and task federal officials with reviewing "resources that may be used to prevent evictions and foreclosures." Some lawmakers and experts are voicing concerns about the president's moves to control federal spending, which is a power reserved for Congress. Andrew Rudalevige, chair of the Department of Government and Legal Studies at Bowdoin College, told NPR on Saturday that the unemployment benefits measure is particularly controversial because it is "really using

  • U.S. Hits 5 Million Coronavirus Cases As Debate Lingers Over The Path Forward

    wuga.org Sunday, 9 August 2020 21:31:00

    Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET The U.S. has hit 5 million confirmed coronavirus cases — just 17 days after crossing the 4 million mark — as lawmakers and states continue to grapple with how to chart a path back to normal as the pandemic continues to rage on. The grim milestone was reached on Sunday, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University . It came after President Trump announced Saturday that he would take executive action to extend coronavirus relief efforts that expired after negotiations with Congress stalled out. The last time the country surpassed a million new cases, many states had been seeing record surges of new infections, including California, Florida and Texas. An NPR analysis shows that cases in at least 33 states were on the decline last week. But those figures do not offer a full picture of the crisis. Two hard-hit states that reported declines saw recent interruptions to testing efforts. In California, where COVID-19-related deaths stand at more than 10,000 , state

  • An Atomic Bomb Survivor On Her Journey From Revenge To Peace

    wuga.org Sunday, 9 August 2020 19:25:00

    Koko Kondo was eight months old and with her mother when the first atomic bomb hit her home city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Her father, Methodist minister Rev. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, had left earlier that morning. "Suddenly, the whole house crashed," Kondo remembers. She was trapped beneath the rubble with her mother. "She moved little by little and she made a little hole," Kondo told NPR's Weekend Edition of her mother's attempts to escape. "First, she put me out. Then she got out. She said when she was out from the house, the environment was completely different. Fires all over the place. So, we barely made it." Three days after dropping a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, 75 years ago today, the United States dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki. "With this bomb we have now added a new and revolutionary increase in destruction to supplement the growing power of our armed forces," President Harry Truman said as he addressed the nation after the first attack on Hiroshima. Shortly after the

  • Roads Become Rivers: Nearly 4 Million Chinese Evacuated Or Displaced From Flooding

    wuga.org Sunday, 9 August 2020 18:00:00

    First China was hit by the novel coronavirus. Now it is dealing with the worst flooding in more than 20 years across vast swaths, from its southwestern interior to its east coast. Zeng Hailin is one of an estimated 3.7 million people displaced or evacuated because of floods in China largely since June. He lost his job in a uniform factory in Zhejiang province because of the coronavirus pandemic, so he returned to his hometown a few hours away, in Anhui province. His troubles didn't end there. In July, weeks of torrential rain led the small river near his house to overflow. One night, he woke up in a panic. "The water was suddenly up to my chest," he remembers. "I could not lift my mother out of bed. I could barely walk because the ground turned to slippery mud." Zeng Hailin stands in front of his dilapidated home. During flash flooding in his Anhui village last month, he evacuated his 80-year-old mother by floating her out in a plastic washbasin. Emily Feng / NPR Zeng eventually put

  • COVID-19 May Never Go Away — With Or Without A Vaccine

    wuga.org Sunday, 9 August 2020 17:55:00

    Humans have never been particularly good at eradicating entire viruses, and COVID-19 might not be any different. More than 19 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus globally , and at least 722,000 have died. In the U.S. , nearly 5 million people have tested positive and more than 160,000 have died. While scientists are racing to find a cure for the virus, there's a chance COVID-19 will never fully go away — with or without a vaccine. But that doesn't mean everyone will have to self-isolate forever. Vineet Menachery, a coronavirus researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch, told NPR's Weekend Edition that one of the more likely scenarios is that the spread of COVID-19 will eventually be slowed as a result of herd immunity. He said that he'd be surprised "if we're still wearing masks and 6-feet distancing in two or three years" and that in time, the virus could become no more serious than the common cold. Interview Highlights On why it is so hard to eradicate

  • Meet The Medical Professionals Playing Classical Music Together Online

    wuga.org Sunday, 9 August 2020 17:55:00

    When cases of the coronavirus spiked in March, doctors and nurses across the country found themselves overwhelmed with work. The shutdown also took away an important creative outlet for a special breed of medical professional: classical musicians. That's why John Masko, a symphony conductor in Boston, founded the National Virtual Medical Orchestra, giving those in the medical field a chance to perform and connect with each other. "I kept hearing from musician after musician from our ensemble [about] how much they wish they were playing," Masko says. Medical orchestras are not a new phenomenon. Masko says that the concept has exploded over the last couple decades, but that the sphere's fast growth had led to fragmentation and that few ensembles knew about each other or were in close contact. That's changed now with everyone forced online. "Medical musicians around the country are discovering each other and many are reconnecting with old friends," Masko says. "We've had that happen

  • 'It's Ridiculous': States Struggle To Accommodate COVID-19 Positive Voters

    wuga.org Sunday, 9 August 2020 17:43:00

    With few signs the coronavirus is fading, election officials face an increasingly urgent question: how to accommodate voters who become infected in the days leading up to the election. In Texas — a state that fought expanding mail-in ballot access all the way up to the Supreme Court — COVID-19 positive voters can be put in the position of choosing between their right to vote and the public's health. Vote-by-mail is only available to people who are over 65, who are not present in the state on election day, or who have a disability. Democrats across Texas tried to expand the disability statute to include everyone during the pandemic, but the court ruled that being afraid of catching COVID-19 doesn't qualify. And you have to register almost two weeks before the election to vote by mail. That's how Katya Ehresman came to be in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant, about 40 minutes before the polls for Texas' July 14 primary runoff closed, to meet Linda Harrison. Ehresman — the voting

  • A Global Guide To Binge-worthy TV For The Pandemic

    wuga.org Sunday, 9 August 2020 17:00:00

    What TV are you bingeing these days? It's a question you've probably been asked a lot — and asked others — five months into the pandemic. Movies are shut. Theater is on hold. So there's not much else to do. I myself can't stop watching Korean dramas (just finished Crash Landing On You ) and reruns of Gossip Girl on Netflix. Our blog covers the globe, so we were curious — what shows are people in other countries obsessed about in this pandemic? We asked reporters in nine countries to find out. — Malaka Gharib Argentina: Time travel and missing kids in a German drama YouTube In Argentina, people are pondering existential questions. What is the meaning of life? What is time? And it's not just because of the pandemic. Can it be because nearly everyone is watching the Netflix series Dark ? The suspenseful show from Germany, set in the town of Winden in the present day, explores time travel and the philosophical issues related to it. Members of four families try to discover the reason why

  • How This Conservative Florida County Became A Surprise 2020 Battleground

    wuga.org Sunday, 9 August 2020 17:00:00

    Before COVID-19 and before the death of George Floyd, Monique Sampson said she thought Joe Biden and President Trump were "different wings on the same bird." The 23-year-old American history teacher with dangling earrings that proclaim, "A woman's place is in the struggle," had been hoping for a Bernie Sanders presidency. She still doesn't like plenty of Biden's policies — and she's not thrilled he's the presumptive Democratic nominee. But a summer of chaos has made her reassess her own politics. "For a very long time I wasn't going to vote for [Biden]," Sampson said. "And then COVID happened. And I was like, 'You know what, he sucks,' for lack of a better term. But he's not criminal. His actions aren't criminal in the sense that he wouldn't view 150,000 deaths as progress." Sampson's story is part of a larger shift underway in Florida's Duval County — one that mirrors many of the headwinds facing Trump in large swaths of the country. In a county that for more than four decades has

  • Dear World, You're Not Going To Have The Year You Thought You'd Have

    wuga.org Sunday, 9 August 2020 17:00:00

    "You aren't going to have the year you thought you'd have." That's what a nurse told my wife and me after my wife was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. The cancer news came as a shock, as it often does. There were no warning signs. The tumor was picked up on a routine mammogram. It was hard to take in what the nurse was telling us. We had plans and projects and dreams for the months ahead. Then suddenly — surgery, chemotherapy and radiation were the top items on our agenda. We were mad. How dare cancer interfere? I was reminded of our year of cancer when the pandemic was declared. Like many people around the world, I thought, well, there's an outbreak in China but it won't happen to us. Which is how I always thought about cancer. Now here we are, months into a global pandemic the likes of which virtually no one alive (with the exception of 1918 flu survivors) has experienced. In the U.S., where I live, people are suffering. Many people have lost a loved one to COVID-19. Millions

  • Advocates For Deaf And Blind Laud Netflix's New Playback Features

    wuga.org Sunday, 9 August 2020 03:24:00

    LEILA FADEL, HOST: Finally today, we continue our month-long check-in with athletes who were planning to be in Tokyo this summer competing for Team USA at the Olympics, that is until the games were postponed by a whole year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Today we hear from one competitor who's experienced the effects of the virus firsthand. EMILY REGAN: My name is Emily Regan. I am a member of the U.S. women's rowing team. And I was hoping to be competing in the women's eight in Tokyo 2020 this summer. I previously competed in the 2016 Games in Rio, where I won a gold medal with my teammates in the women's eight. When the games were postponed, my teammates and I found out that we had been exposed to COVID through an employee at USRowing. And so not only were we dealing with the emotions of the Olympics being postponed, but we also had to quarantine on top of the stay-at-home order so that we could find out whether we actually did have the virus or not. I ended up having the virus

  • Shani Silver Moves On From 'Every Single Day' Column

    wuga.org Sunday, 9 August 2020 03:24:00

    LEILA FADEL, HOST: Finally today, we continue our month-long check-in with athletes who were planning to be in Tokyo this summer competing for Team USA at the Olympics, that is until the games were postponed by a whole year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Today we hear from one competitor who's experienced the effects of the virus firsthand. EMILY REGAN: My name is Emily Regan. I am a member of the U.S. women's rowing team. And I was hoping to be competing in the women's eight in Tokyo 2020 this summer. I previously competed in the 2016 Games in Rio, where I won a gold medal with my teammates in the women's eight. When the games were postponed, my teammates and I found out that we had been exposed to COVID through an employee at USRowing. And so not only were we dealing with the emotions of the Olympics being postponed, but we also had to quarantine on top of the stay-at-home order so that we could find out whether we actually did have the virus or not. I ended up having the virus

  • After Contracting COVID-19, Olympic Rower Is Back To Training

    wuga.org Sunday, 9 August 2020 03:24:00

    LEILA FADEL, HOST: Finally today, we continue our month-long check-in with athletes who were planning to be in Tokyo this summer competing for Team USA at the Olympics, that is until the games were postponed by a whole year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Today we hear from one competitor who's experienced the effects of the virus firsthand. EMILY REGAN: My name is Emily Regan. I am a member of the U.S. women's rowing team. And I was hoping to be competing in the women's eight in Tokyo 2020 this summer. I previously competed in the 2016 Games in Rio, where I won a gold medal with my teammates in the women's eight. When the games were postponed, my teammates and I found out that we had been exposed to COVID through an employee at USRowing. And so not only were we dealing with the emotions of the Olympics being postponed, but we also had to quarantine on top of the stay-at-home order so that we could find out whether we actually did have the virus or not. I ended up having the virus

  • In Executive Actions, Trump Extends Some Unemployment Benefits, Defers Payroll Taxes

    wuga.org Sunday, 9 August 2020 03:06:00

    Updated at 10 a.m. ET Sunday At his Bedminster, N.J., golf resort on Saturday, President Trump signed four executive actions to provide economic relief amid the coronavirus pandemic. The actions amount to a stopgap measure, after failing to secure an agreement with Congress. The three memorandums and one executive order call for extending some enhanced unemployment benefits, taking steps to stop evictions, continuing the suspension of student loan repayments and deferring payroll taxes. Trump promised that funds would be "rapidly distributed" to Americans in need, although it remains unclear whether the president has the authority to do certain steps unilaterally, without congressional approval. In any case, legal challenges are expected, which could delay any disbursement of funds. In one memorandum , Trump authorized the federal government to pay $300 per week for people on unemployment. States would be asked to pay an additional $100, for a total of $400 weekly for unemployed

  • Police Fire Tear Gas As Thousands Express Outrage Over Beirut Explosion

    wuga.org Sunday, 9 August 2020 02:13:00

    Thousands of protesters outraged over this week's deadly explosion in Beirut amassed in the Lebanese capital on Saturday, as public anger gave way to clashes with police and the storming of the nation's foreign ministry. Blame for the blast — which killed more than 150 people and injured thousands more — has been widely cast on a culture of corruption and negligence among the nation's ruling class. Demonstrators set up a mock gallows, hanging cardboard cutouts of politicians, including the country's president, Michel Aoun, and Prime Minister Hassan Diab. Skirmishes between protesters began early in the day with protesters hurling rocks and police firing tear gas. Gunfire was heard at the city's Martyrs' Square, according to the BBC, and multiple news organizations reported that protesters had entered the foreign ministry. Once inside the ministry, demonstrators burned a framed photo of Aoun, according to Reuters . The Associated Press reported that protesters were claiming the building

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