National Partners

Stories from our program partners, including NPR, APM, and PRI.

Shaina Shealy

Dr. Su Su Yin was doing surgical rounds at Yangon Central Women’s Hospital when a friend came to her with a problem — she was unmarried and pregnant. She asked Dr. Yin for an abortion.

But abortion has long been illegal in Myanmar, except for cases when a woman’s life is at risk. And anyone who assists illegal abortion can face up to three years in prison.  

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

People from Syria, lucky enough to have escaped the civil war alive, then to make it all the way to the United States as refugees, have stepped into a political free-fire zone.

More than half of US governors, all but one of them Republicans, say that Syrian refugees are not welcome in their states.

Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama memorialized the five fallen officers from the Dallas Police Department who were killed in the city last week. During his speech, Obama also acknowledged both the special role and challenges faced by police departments in the US today.

“Your work, and the work of police officers around the country, is like no other," he said. "From the moment you put on that uniform, you have answered a call that at any moment, even in the briefest interaction, may put your life at harm's way.”

How to make lunch at your desk less sad

Jan 12, 2017
Kai Ryssdal

A limp salad thrown into Tupperware. A PB&J served on a paper towel. A stolen slice of breakroom birthday cake.

This is the "Sad Desk Lunch," a familiar, sorry sight for many an office worker. They're often eaten quickly, while hunched over a keyboard.

What now after North Korea's most successful ballistics missile launch?

Jan 12, 2017
KCNA via Reuters

So, should we be worried that North Korea had its most successful ballistic missile launch?

Wednesday's launch violates a UN Security Council resolution that bans North Korea from testing and developing ballistic missile technology. This launch is raising concerns because it elevates North Korea's efforts to target American military bases in the Pacific.

America's homeless community is growing

Jan 12, 2017
Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Housing affordability and availability in big cities like New York and San Francisco are often viewed as issues of the working, middle and upper classes. But there is an entirely separate portion of urban population that gets left out.

report from the US Conference of Mayors shows that homelessness is on the rise in America's biggest cities. Demands for emergency food assistance are going unmet, and housing facilities are turning away the needy.

Venezuela's economic troubles have become a full-blown crisis

Jan 12, 2017

For the last three years, Venezuela has been in the throes of an economic crisis, and things have reached a boiling point. Over the weekend, President Nicolás Maduro declared a 60-day state of emergency, claiming there were plots from within Venezuela and from the United States to undermine his authority.

Observers say the president initiated the state of emergency to thwart calls for a recall referendum.

01/12/2017: D.C. prepares for Inauguration Day

Jan 12, 2017

What the heck is reconciliation? For starters, it's the latest way Congressional Republicans are hoping to get rid of Obamacare. We'll look at how it's used and whether it's a winning tactic. Then: hundreds of thousands are people are due in Washington, D.C. for next week's inauguration, and all the protests and parties that come with it. Local businesses and merch-sellers are preparing for a crush of business, and opening themselves up to criticism in the process. Then: the civil rights divide in charter schools and how to make your desk lunch less sad. 

We'll look at the markets this morning, a day after Trump's first press conference since the summer. Next, we'll preview highlights from our interview with outgoing Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, which includes his thoughts on Wall Street and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Finally, we'll look at the Sundance Film Festival's new climate change category.

Quiz: What do you know about women's rights in Iran?

Jan 12, 2017
Raheb Homavandi/Reuters/TIMA 

The Iran nuclear deal reached last year is expected to revive the economy of the Islamic Republic. However, whether it will lead to improvement in human rights, especially for Iranian women, remains a question.

This quiz will lead you through some of what many Iranian women must endure.

During WWII, European refugees fled to Syria. Here's what the camps were like.

Jan 12, 2017
Courtesy of the Fred K. Hoehler Papers in the Social Welfare History Archives, University of Minnesota

Since civil war erupted in Syria five years ago, millions of refugees have sought safe harbor in Europe by land and by sea, through Turkey and across the Mediterranean.

Refugees crossed these same passageways 70 years ago. But they were not Syrians and they traveled in the opposite direction. At the height of World War II, the Middle East Relief and Refugee Administration (MERRA) operated camps in Syria, Egypt and Palestine where tens of thousands of people from across Europe sought refuge.

<a href="">Jonathan Miano/The Times</a>

A kindergarten teacher in Tennessee says that a Latino child asks every day, “Is the wall here yet?” He was told by classmates that he will be deported and blocked from returning home by the wall proposed by presidential candidate Donald Trump.

That's one of 4,796 comments made in response to a Southern Poverty Law Center survey of teachers across the country. The center, an advocacy group that works on civil rights issues, says the 2,000 K-12 teachers who responded to the survey show that hate has spread into schools, and has inflamed racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom.

Jose Cabezas/Reuters

Like many middle class Salvadorans, Óscar Martínez has a security system in his home. But his goes a step further that most. It has several panic buttons and other features we won’t go into because his life has been very specifically threatened on more than one occasion.

Stephen Lam

Around the world, a human rights group has documented at least 1,634 people who were killed in 2015 after receiving death sentences. That's the highest number of executions recorded by Amnesty International since it started tracking the number in 1989. 

The number, which represents only a percentage of the executions widely believed to have occurred last year, represents a surge of 54 percent, or 573 executions, over 2014. 

Among the 58 countries in the world that still allow the death penalty, the US comes in fifth for the number of executions it carried out last year.

Photo by&nbsp;Christinne Muschi / Reuters.&nbsp;

When it comes to welcoming refugees, Canada just does it better. But the US is taking steps to pick up the pace.

White House officials will be hard-pressed to meet their goal of letting in 10,000 new Syrian refugees by September, according to Becca Heller, the head of the International Refugee Assistance Project. She says the US program to vet Syrians has insufficient resources and isn't considered a top government priority. 

Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl

One of the main purposes of the nuclear deal with Iran is to prevent the Islamic Republic from producing nuclear weapons.

The agreement, officially named, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was agreed on July 14 between Iran and China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and the European Union. It was implemented on Jan. 16.

Andy Wong/Reuters

World military expenditure had been declining since the beginning of this decade until 2015, which saw a 1 percent increase.

Global governments spent a total of $1,676 billion on defense, and more than one-third of that came from the US, the world's top military spender, according to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

How much of your work is unpaid? This calculator may help.

Jan 12, 2017
Larisa Okhtienko

The unbalanced work distribution between genders has long been a major contributor to gender inequality.

According to the 2015 Human Development Report by the United Nations Development Program, three out of every four hours of unpaid work are done by women while men get to do two of every three hours of paid work.

Andy Uhler

This year’s Sundance Film Festival will open with the follow-up to Al Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" (it's called "An Inconvenient Sequel"). The festival will feature a subset of 14 documentaries and special projects specifically about climate change.

Why are the 'Panama Papers' a big deal?

Jan 12, 2017
Kacper Pempel

By now you've probably heard of the “Panama Papers,” the name bestowed on a massive database leaked from a law firm based in Panama. The leaked documents show that the company, Mossack Fonseca, helps its clients set up offshore shell companies, some of which are allegedly linked to crime.

Why is this such a big deal? The size of the release, for one, is staggering; then there's what all these files stand to reveal about offshore banking by global elites and its ties to illegal activities.

Minimum wage hikes may not help the poorest workers

Jan 12, 2017

Nineteen states kicked off 2017 by increasing the minimum wage — some because of cost of living increases, others because of ballot initiatives or legislation. Economists agree that even significant hikes cost minimal job loss, although those generally come at the lowest end of the wage scale. And there’s also little evidence that the minimum wage reduces poverty. 

Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

01/12/2017: The future of working-class families

Jan 12, 2017

Trump says he'll turn over control of his businesses to his two sons, but he won't divest completely. We'll look at whether ethics watchdogs who think he should be held more accountable can do anything. As for those who are still a part of the current administration, outgoing Treasury Secretary Jack Lew joined us to chat about his legacy and where he sees our economy heading.

01/12/16: Meet the real-life R2-D2

Jan 12, 2017

During his first press conference as president-elect, Trump said he's requesting a "major report" from intelligence agencies on Russia and hacking. Computer science professor Matthew Green stopped by to talk about whether the U.S. needs to improve its defenses against cyber threats. Next, we'll check out the startup Knightscope, a company that makes egg-shaped security robots that protect against crime.

Are autonomous robots the future of mall security?

Jan 11, 2017
Bruce Johnson

One of the big tech topics of 2017 is automation — whether and how robots can replace or augment work done by humans. One company leading the way in the security area is Knightscope. The Silicon Valley startup makes egg-shaped robots designed to roll around using sensors and software to help security officers protect against crime. Knightscope has already put its autonomous technology on patrol at Microsoft's and Uber's facilities. 

Donald Trump this, Rex Tillerson that. Russia, Russia, Russia. It's been a week of heavy news about US politics and America's relationship with the world.

Let's catch up now on some news that's been bumped off the front page by all that's going on in Washington.

Let's start with Peru

Quietly, a court in Peru has recognized a same-sex marriage.

Moscow’s long history of gathering ‘kompromat’

Jan 11, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Moscow has a long tradition of gathering and using compromising material. It’s so common it even has a special name: kompromat.

“Kompromat,” says David Filipov, “means 'compromising material' that can be used down the road as leverage over somebody. You can use it to recruit them. You can use it to make them do something you want. You can use it to — if it’s an official — coax out of them positions, policy positions that you want them to have.”

Courtesy of WGBH&nbsp;

Science journalist Miles O’Brien recently returned to Fukushima, Japan, for the sixth time since a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear meltdown there nearly six years ago.

O’Brien thought he would be reporting on the massive clean-up effort at the shuttered nuclear power plant, a decommissioning effort that requires 4,000 workers to suit up in Tyvek suits, three layers of socks, gloves and respirators every day.

Instead, O’Brien found himself chasing a very different story about nuclear power.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is leading an effort to change the national flag. As a vexillological hobbyist, I couldn’t be more excited. New Zealand has one of the most disappointing national flags — even if you don’t confuse it with Australia’s.

I visited New Zealand when I was 16, just before the Lord of the Rings Trilogy hit theaters. It was my first trip off of the North American continent and if I’m being honest, I was more excited for the second leg of the trip to Australia. However, as day broke on my first day there, I was instantly mesmerized.

Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

Since the outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil, many have conveniently blamed inadequate water supplies and poor sanitation facilities especially in poor and rural areas as the major factors behind the crisis.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that large populations of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that spreads the Zika virus, “are often associated with poor water supply and inadequate sanitation and waste disposal services."

Ciara Gillan

In Ireland, it’s not only illegal to have an abortion in cases of rape, incest and fatal fetal abnormalities, it’s unconstitutional.