National Partners

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

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.

We've lost the battle against dengue, is Zika next?

Jan 11, 2017
Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters

Look at the chart below and one can easily reach a conclusion — the world has lost the battle against dengue, a vector-borne disease transmitted by Aedes aegypti, the same mosquito that spreads the Zika virus.

The Aedes aegypti mosquitos can acquire viruses that cause dengue and Zika while feeding on the blood of an infected person, and pass them to another person through their bites.

Quiz: How much do you actually know about the Zika virus?

Jan 11, 2017
Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

Zika virus is no stranger to people. It was first identified in Uganda in 1947 and outbreaks have been recorded in countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.

However, the mosquito-borne virus only caught global attention when the world began seeing images of Brazilian babies with abnormally small heads, a birth defect known as microcephaly — widely attributed, but not conclusively linked, to Zika.

Meredith Nierman/WGBH

The Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary play a key role in every presidential election cycle. Yet these states are remarkable for their comparative lack of diversity.

“The Latino population, for example,” explains Mark Hugo Lopez, Hispanic research director at the Pew Research Center, “in the case of Iowa, about five percent of that state’s population is Hispanic, and in the case of New Hampshire, it’s about three percent. So these are states that have relatively small Hispanic populations. Nationally, Hispanics make up about 18 percent of the population.”

A 'Happy' song in India has a complicated backstory

Jan 11, 2017

According to the last census, India has 500,000 self-declared transgender people. And since April 2014, the Indian government has mandated that forms have a “third gender” box on forms, along with male and female.

But many suspect that there are many more transgender folks living in the shadows in India. And for some, a much older word than transgender applies: Hijra.

Hijras are male-to-female trans, but much more than that: they are a special and ancient group that’s both stigmatized and a real presence in cities like the one where I live, Mumbai.

Guadalupe Rangel scoops up hearty servings of homemade pulled pork, rice and coleslaw for her two teenage sons. 

This simple plate of food is not something Rangel and her sons take for granted. There was a time when she didn’t have enough money to even buy eggs, she says, her eyes welling up with tears. She was devastated to see her children hungry and losing focus in school.

“We were desperate, and it was very difficult,” she says. “I felt a lot of depression just knowing that I couldn’t give them the basics.”

Kai Ryssdal and Robert Garrova

President-elect Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have made it clear that an update to the tax code is on their agenda — corporate tax policy in particular.

Chart: The alarming rise in maternal mortality in the US

Jan 11, 2017

Number 8.

That's the ranking of the US in the latest Human Development report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). But in terms of gender equality, the survey finds, the US is Number 55. And our ranking is slipping, pointing to some underlying trends that are disturbing for women.

Norway comes out as the best place to live in the world, and Niger the worst, according to factors that include life expectancy and income.

Saul Gonzalez

If you want to see how improved US-Iran relations will play out on the ground in America, head to Westwood Boulevard in Los Angeles. There's a stretch there called Little Persia and it’s the commercial heart of LA’s large Iranian-American community—full of Persian restaurants, bakeries and Farsi-language bookstores. 

Google Trends

Search interest for the words Shiite (or Shia) and Sunni on Google saw a huge surge since last week after Saudi Arabia's decision to break off relations with Iran.

The move was later followed by Bahrain, Sudan and Kuwait. It all started when Saudi Arabia, which is predominantly Sunni, one of the two major sects in Islam, executed a prominent cleric from the other, Shiite, sect. Furious Shiite protesters in Iran then ransacked and set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran, prompting the Saudis to retaliate by cutting off diplomatic relations with Iran.

Laura Spero

Bishnu Pande is 21, with a soft, low voice like a cello.

As we talk in the garden near her house, her 18-month-old daughter Ayusha is playing nearby. Bishnu is telling me how she met Ayusha's father. Their story is emblematic of so many changes that are rippling through this traditional culture.

Three years ago, Bishnu was in 11th grade when she texted a wrong number, and a boy in a village about a day away answered. His name was Dirgaraj. They started corresponding.

Lucy Nicholson

Sometimes you can just look around you and tell whether, just maybe, you might put more time than others in unpaid work like housework.

For many of us, hours of toil for no money could be hurting our bottom line, too. For millions around the world, there's little choice in the matter. Use this calculator to see how your time on unpaid work compares with that of the rest of the world. 

Angelenos are preparing for a new neighbor. Darth Vader is coming to town, bringing some high art with him.

Los Angeles has been selected as the future site of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which will include works of visual storytelling ranging from Norman Rockwell paintings to film ephemera, like the original Darth Vader mask.

The city will benefit in a number of different ways from the $1 billion museum project, which Star Wars creator George Lucas and his wife are funding.

The economic threads of Obama's farewell speech

Jan 11, 2017
Kai Ryssdal

There was a lot to think about in the economic threads of President Barack Obama's goodbye last night in Chicago: wages, income, home values, retirement accounts are all rising again, poverty is falling again, the wealthy are paying their fair share of taxes, and the unemployment rate is near a 10 year low — it's all true.

On my trip out to Erie, Pennsylvania last week, though, there are echoes of a different attitude.

Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

A few weeks ago, Kenya’s most popular morning talk show host, a guy called Maina Kageni, asked his listeners why women “push” men into relationships. He was offered a slew of sexist responses — sexism is basically Maina’s bread and butter — but one seemed to surprise even him.

“We have domesticated human pets,” the caller said, referring to women, “and we have domesticated human pests.”

What's next for the Affordable Care Act?

Jan 11, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Crystal Castle

President-elect Donald Trump got a little more specific today on what's next for health care in his press conference. The Senate is already moving forward on plans to repeal Obamacare, but that has always been the easy part. The real challenge will be coming up with something new — the Republicans have not united around a plan yet.

Carlos Jasso/Reuters

Protesters are taking to the streets throughout Mexico to express their outrage over an increase in gas prices, corruption scandals plaguing the country, and the plummeting peso, which hit record lows last week.

Senate Republicans have agreed to delay the confirmation hearings for several Trump Administration cabinet picks to give federal ethics officials and Senators more time to vet the nominees.

Trump’s plan to end conflicts raises questions

Jan 11, 2017
Marketplace

In President-elect Donald Trump’s long-awaited and long-delayed news conference Wednesday, he and his lawyer laid out plans to address concerns about potential conflicts between his presidency and his business interests. Many government ethics experts in both parties are unimpressed, saying the new measures don’t go far enough.

Thanksgiving and Syrian refugees in two ridiculous charts

Jan 11, 2017
Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

How much do you plan to spend in the coming Thanksgiving weekend? According to the latest research from Deloitte, Americans plan to spend $369, almost 25 percent more than last year.

What Obama should know about women in the Philippines

Jan 11, 2017
Erik de Castro

From the aggressive promoter-in-chief of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the defender-in-chief of Syrian refugees to the funny moderator-in-chief in a climate change panel, President Barack Obama has dominated Filipino media coverage during his visit to the archipelago this week.

#WhatObamaShouldKnow about women in Malaysia

Jan 11, 2017
Larry Downing

“Selamat Datang, Mr. President!” As a Malaysian, I would like to welcome President Barack Obama, who is making his second visit to Malaysia in less than seven months. While there, he should notice a few key facts about how the country treats women.

In April, President Obama became the first US president to visit Malaysia in nearly 50 years. On that visit, Obama called for equal opportunities for Malaysia’s non-Muslim minority. This time, his top priority is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive free trade deal with Malaysia and 11 other countries across the region.

Sonia Paul

They were once called Untouchables. There are an estimated 260 million of them across the world and some 100 million women in India.

Sonia Paul

They were once called Untouchables. There are an estimated 260 million of them across the world and some 100 million women in India.

Get out of jail, get deported.

Jan 11, 2017
REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Under a new law, some 6,000 federal prisoners will be freed as part of a plan by President Barack Obama to adjust federal drug penalties and ease prison overcrowding. That should be some good news to many of the families of these prisoners. 

But not all. 

Nearly a third of the 6,000 are foreign inmates who will be placed on a different track, one that may lead to deportation and leaving their families behind in the United States.

Get out of jail, get deported.

Jan 11, 2017
REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Under a new law, some 6,000 federal prisoners will be freed as part of a plan by President Barack Obama to adjust federal drug penalties and ease prison overcrowding. That should be some good news to many of the families of these prisoners. 

But not all. 

Nearly a third of the 6,000 are foreign inmates who will be placed on a different track, one that may lead to deportation and leaving their families behind in the United States.

Tony Wagner

It had to sting a little when the president-elect called BuzzFeed a "failing pile of garbage" this morning, but the digital media outfit turned the insult into a branding opportunity.

Petar Kujundzic

Check the water meter? A river crab? 

China sometimes gets a bad rap for creativity, but few nations can offer up the imaginative array of code phrases that ordinary Chinese have developed to get around the Internet censorship of their ruling Communist Party.

Pages