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A one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe.

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This artist wants to make you smile

Apr 20, 2018

Bren Bataclan is an artist whose goal is to make you smile. Read on to learn exactly how he does that, but here's some background first.

Bataclan was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States with his family in 1981. He was 12 years old when they arrived, and together they all settled in Daly City. That's a section of San Francisco with a large Filipino population. The excitement of their arrival is depicted in Bataclan's painting "Daly City, Our New Home."

The town of Santa María del Mar, Mexico, hasn’t had electricity for more than three years. At night a generator hums in the town plaza, powering a few pale streetlights. 

Santa María, population 800, rests at the end of a skinny peninsula sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and a shallow lagoon that locals call the Dead Sea. Most days tempestuous winds drawn off the hot plains of Mexico’s Oaxaca state billow across the peninsula out toward the cool Pacific. 

Castro steps down as Díaz-Canel assumes Cuban presidency

Apr 19, 2018

A page of history turned yesterday as Raul Castro, Cuban president and brother of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, stepped down from office to make way for a new generation of leadership and an uncertain future for the embattled archipelago.

Puerto Rico's power company said it had restored power to more than 1.1 million homes and businesses by Thursday morning after a transmission line failure cut service to almost all of the island's 3.4 million residents the day before.

The Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority, known as PREPA, was working to restore power to the less than 30 percent of customers in the US territory still without power after Wednesday morning's blackout.

In a small room on a quiet street in the north of Amsterdam, a handful of older women are swaying to a few well-chosen classics, from Nat King Cole to Claude Debussy.

Rie van der Mueren, 93, says she and her husband used to dance professionally and competed in major ballroom competitions. But she stopped when he died 30 years ago. This is her first time at the Music Salon, a neighborhood music and dance club for the elderly. She says she finds the dancing space a bit small compared to what she’s used to.

Up a narrow flight of stairs in northwest Tokyo is a cafe where 10 people sit around a table. For some of them, it's the first time they've been out of the house in weeks.

The neighborhood of "Little LA" doesn't jump out to you at first. It’s located next to a large plaza in Mexico City, in the center of which is a historic arch commemorating the Mexican revolution. In the evening, people often gather in the plaza for outdoor exercise classes while teenagers compete in rap battles.

This week, Russian officials began implementing a planned ban on the popular messaging platform Telegram after the company refused to hand over access to its users’ encrypted messages. But it appears the implementation of the ban is not going as smoothly as Russian authorities had hoped.

Asia Argento was one of the first women to speak out about the alleged sexual assault by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in October 2017.

The Italian actress and activist inspired other women to come forward and tell of their own experiences of sexual crimes done by powerful men in show business, news media, politics, sports and other industries.

Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the post of America’s top diplomat, will have a lot on his plate if he’s confirmed as the next Secretary of State.

Syria. Russia. North Korea.

Dealing with climate change is not likely to be a top priority, and Pompeo’s nomination represents the Trump administration's consolidation of officials whose views on climate clash with those of mainstream scientists.  

Teklit Michael started running with Eritrea’s fastest athletes when he was just 14 years old. His plan: to compete in the 2012 London Olympics. 

Michael burned through a pair of sneakers nearly every month, so he went to work at a government textile factory to foot the bill. One day after hours of labor, he went to collect his earnings. But he says his supervisor, a government employee, refused to pay him. When Michael pushed back, the man threatened him. 

“He told me, 'You are a son of a bitch, and you are talking against the government,'” Michael recalls.

It’s hard to remember a time in which there wasn’t a furious national debate over abortion rights and the future of Planned Parenthood.

The reception area at S and R Compression in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is pretty standard. An assortment of People and National Geographic magazines are neatly placed on tables in a small, dimly lit room. On the walls are large, detailed pictures of the machines the company makes for vapor recovery (for use in the oil and gas industry). 

In Ireland, the unborn are protected by the national constitution. But that could change very soon.              

Abortion has been illegal in Ireland at least since 1861. The British ruled over the Irish isle at the time and had enacted a law that made abortion an offense throughout the United Kingdom, punishable by life in prison.  

Related: Ireland's youngest prime minister is under tough criticism

Every Friday for the past three weeks, thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have taken part in demonstrations at several different locations alongside the Israeli border fence.

Israel’s military says the protests are not just peaceful demonstrations, and its soldiers have responded with deadly force, including rubber bullets and live ammunition. 

Hundreds of Palestinians have been shot and wounded since the end of March. At least 33 have been killed so far. And the demonstrations are expected to continue for several more weeks.  

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