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The Dangerous Work Of Babysitting Bombs

Jul 1, 2017
Kaomi Goetz

While growing up, Marissa Brandt rarely thought about her biological South Korean mother.

She was adopted when she was 4 months old by an American couple living in a predominately white suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. Brandt, now 24, says her Korean ethnicity wasn’t something that she dwelled on.

“I felt like I didn’t look different. I wasn’t in any way, shape or form, different. I felt like everybody else,” says Brandt, at her childhood home.

Mark Blinch/Reuters

Canada turns 150 tomorrow, and the government is spending half a billion dollars to throw huge birthday parties all around the country. There’ll be cake, live music — even a giant rubber duck.

But not everyone’s thrilled. Indigenous people have clashed with police and set up a tepee on Parliament Hill to protest what they call a celebration of colonialism. And the hashtag #Resistance150 has spread across social media.

Amy Bracken/PRI

You’ve heard about unaccompanied minors from Central America coming to the US. But many more of those youths fleeing violence and poverty stop short of our border, staying in Mexico. There, many lack any support and are vulnerable to exploitation, including sex trafficking.

In the last decade, Mexico has stepped up efforts to address the problem, busting traffickers and providing services for former victims. But post-trafficking, not everyone is able to move on with their lives.

In Kiev, assassinations are becoming commonplace

Jun 30, 2017

An explosion that killed a top Ukrainian military intelligence official in his car on Tuesday wasn’t the only high-profile assassination that’s struck Kiev lately.

In fact, the killing of Col. Maskym Shapoval wasn’t even the only car bomb attack — nor the only assassination the Ukrainian government has blamed on Russia.

At least five attempted or successful assassinations have targeted Ukrainian officials or other prominent figures in Ukraine in the past year.

The natural sunscreen of the future

Jun 30, 2017
Matej Vakula, NYC/

Whether you fry in the sun or hardly seem to burn at all depends on something you can’t change: the amount of pigment, or melanin, in your skin. But what if you could add melanin to sunscreens for better sun protection?

In the future, we may come close: Researchers reporting in Science have developed a melaninlike substance that can be tuned to dark and light shades, corresponding with different degrees of protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

The partial travel ban and its complex provisions have thrown many potential immigrants and their families into a tailspin. 

Take the case of the Albaiedhani family. 

Mikhail Metzel/Reuters

US President Donald Trump hosts Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday for a first face-to-face meeting, seeking to forge a chemistry that can add new fizz to a flourishing relationship between the world's two largest democracies. They will meet one-on-one for 20 minutes starting at 3:50 p.m. EDT and afterward, will host bilateral discussions. The press conference is scheduled to begin at 5:15 p.m. EDT, according to White House information.  

Carlos Barria/Reuters

US President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart held talks Thursday on how to halt North Korea's nuclear drive, but remained at odds over whether to isolate or engage the Pyongyang regime.

Trump welcomed the newly-elected South Korean President Moon Jae-In to the White House for a formal dinner that preceded the heavier lifting that was to come later in the evening during talks on what to do about their ongoing standoff with the North.

The two were expected to meet the press jointly at 11:15 am ET Friday. Watch their statements below:


What did our ancestors believe?

We can never know for certain, but scientists have just published evidence from what is possibly the world's oldest temple.

That evidence focuses on what anthropologists are calling a "skull cult." Yes, human skulls. This could be the oldest evidence of ritualized behavior or religious belief system known to man.

Shirin Jaafari/PRI

Growing up, Amanda Saab loved watching cooking shows on TV. "Iron Chef" was a favorite. So was "Emeril Live."

In those days, Saab says, recipes on the internet weren't as readily available. So, she would sit in front of the TV, pen and a notebook in hand.

Brian Snyder/Reuters

President Donald Trump's plan to ban people from six mostly Muslim countries from coming to the US will come into force late Thursday, as controversy swirls over who qualifies for an exemption.

The ban goes into effect at 8 p.m. ET Thursday after being delayed by five months of legal challenges before the Supreme Court gave Trump a partial victory. The ban puts tight restrictions on the issuance of visas to travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Yulia Galiamina, a well-respected Russian opposition leader, has been recovering from a concussion at the neurosurgical department of Botkin Hospital, where an ambulance brought her after an opposition rally earlier this month.

A Moscow policeman with the OMON special unit had smashed Galiamina’s face, breaking her teeth and damaging her jaw. But the accident did not break her will and her stamina: Even in a hospital bed with a hellish headache, she continued to organize a new anti-government rally.

Max Rossi/Reuters

Unlike most major European countries, Italy hasn't had a mass terror attack since the 1980s. But why?

Part of the reason is demographics. Second and third-generation immigrants — citizens of countries like France, Germany, and the UK — are considered to be most vulnerable to radicalization. But they don't make up a significant portion of Italy's population, which allows authorities to focus their efforts on surveilling and deporting immigrants they consider to be threats.

Farming while black

Jun 29, 2017

In 1996, Eddie Wise, the son of a sharecropper, purchased a farm with a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Twenty years later, the USDA foreclosed on the property and evicted him. Reveal investigates his claim that he was discriminated against because of his race.

It was 2 in the morning, on Wednesday, April 19 when a small plane took off from Alexandria, Louisiana. On it, were eight Iraqis. Raied Jabou was one of them.

"I was shackled, I was handcuffed all the way until I landed in Baghdad," he says over a WhatsApp conversation from Iraq. "When the plane started landing, then they removed the shackles from my feet and handcuffs around my waist and from my hands."

Finding an Earthly home for the Thirty Meter Telescope

Jun 28, 2017
Courtesy TMT International Observatory

Named for the diameter of its mirror, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT, for short) will some day see 10 to 100 times farther in the sky than existing telescopes — far enough, scientists hope, to glimpse exoplanets and some of the oldest objects in the universe.

Mannie Garcia/Reuters

For the first time in over two decades, there was no Eid celebration at the White House.

"What?!" says humorist Wajahat Ali in mock-surprise. "[Trump has] such enduring loyalty and love towards Muslims and Islam in America. It's been a lovefest for a year and a half!"

Joking aside, Ali says Trump's abandonment of the tradition is in keeping with everything he's seen from this administration.  

Bats are special. But not in a good way.

Jun 28, 2017
Baz Ratner/Reuters

For years, scientists have been asking themselves: Are bats special?

The answer may seem obvious. After all, bats are flying mammals that “see” with their ears. Special for sure.

But, for a decade now, researchers have been debating whether bats have another special ability — the ability to carry viruses that infect humans.

Bats have been suspects in the emergence of outbreaks of Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-Cov).    

Ford Williams/Courtesy US Navy/Handout via Reuters 

The US says it has put Syria "on notice" that it will pay “a heavy price” if it uses chemical weapons against its own people.

The White House says Syria appears to be preparing just such an attack, the latest escalation in a multisided civil war in Syria since 2011.

“A heavy price,” in this context, is widely seen in foreign policy circles as code for military action.

The Trump administration is also warning Syria's allies, Iran and Russia, that they would also be held responsible for any chemical attack.

Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters

Iraqi forces launched a house-to-house search operation Monday in parts of west Mosul after a surprise attack by ISIS militants recently expelled from the area.

Members of the group are putting up fierce resistance as an Iraqi offensive for Mosul's Old City, where a few hundred militants are believed to be holed up, entered its second week.

On Sunday the ISIS forces launched a string of counter-attacks on the Tanak and Yarmuk neighbouhoods of west Mosul from which they had been routed, leaving several people dead, officials said.

Signs of American military life are everywhere in the cramped Tijuana apartment: a US flag hangs on the wall, Army patches cover a camouflaged backpack and photos of uniformed men line a shelf.

"It was very difficult to transition, the first couple months," said Hector Barajas, a former US Army paratrooper, who was deported to Mexico in 2010 and calls the apartment home.

Army veteran Mario Martinez spent six years of his life fighting for the United States.

Now, he's fighting for the right to keep living here.

Martinez, 54, was born in Mexico, but came to the US as a young child and became a legal resident. He joined the Army, served with the 82nd Airborne Division, and earned an honorable discharge. But more than a decade after he left the service, he was convicted of a felony, putting his immigration status in jeopardy.

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

There’s a running joke in the cybersecurity industry that squirrels pose a greater threat to the power grid than hackers. 

But that’s changing. 

Russia has been able to shut off parts of the power grid to cause massive blackouts in Ukraine on two separate occasions. 

And the technology they’ve developed is highly sophisticated and adaptable, which means that any country could be the next target of Russian hackers.

Juan Carlos

When Waldo Martínez left Sensuntepeque in the early '90s, escaping El Salvador's civil war, he never thought he'd be back 25 years later with an American wife and four Las Vegas-born kids.

Sensuntepeque is a picturesque town about two hours from San Salvador. Cobbled streets weave around the mountain; old stone buildings dot the bustling town center. Yet, despite the quaint charm, Sensuntepeque is also fraught with gang rivalries and tensions. 

Kyodo via Reuters

The latest edition of Politico Magazine asks the question: "Who Killed Otto Warmbier?" Warmbier was the American student who died shortly after being released from imprisonment by North Korea, where he'd fallen into a coma after serving 17 months of a 15 year prison sentence on allegations he tried to steal a propaganda poster during a December 2015 trip to the authoritarian nation.

<a href="">John Donaghy</a>/<a href="">CC BY 2.0 (image cropped)</a>

Research by the US Fish and Wildlife Service has found that laundered profits from the illegal drug trade contribute to deforestation along smuggling routes in Central America.

Steven Sesnie, an ecologist and the lead author of the research, says the drug economy is threatening some of the most remote, biodiverse forests in Central America — and the people who have lived there for thousands of years.

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In an ancient forest in Poland, environmental activists are chaining themselves to logging machines to protect the trees from being cut down.

The Białowieża Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage site that straddles the border of Poland and Belarus. It is perhaps the largest remaining primeval forest in Europe.