The World on WLRN

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

http://www.theworld.org/

For the last 35 years, movie theaters have been banned in Saudi Arabia. That changed on Monday when Saudi Arabia announced it would allow cinemas to open as early as March.

It's the latest gesture towards modernization by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also behind measures to permit women to drive and to bring back concerts.

When Saudi director Haifaa al-Mansour heard the news, she excitedly took to Twitter:

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Mark Makela/Reuters

Akayed Ullah, 27, is accused of setting off a pipe bomb in New York City on Monday, injuring five people, including himself.

He came to the US from Bangladesh in 2011 on a visa for relatives of a US citizen.

Related: Investigators search for clues in attempted New York subway bombing

When you step inside artist Kalman Aron’s modest apartment in Beverly Hills, a lifetime of creation surrounds you. The walls are covered in paintings and finished canvases are stacked on the floors, a dozen deep. The paintings range from portraits to landscapes to abstract works. They’re just a fraction of the roughly 2,000 pieces Aron says he’s created over the decades.

Alejandra Hilbert is spending a Saturday morning in November applying for CalFresh, the California program that used to be called “food stamps.” She is one of 8,000 students at the University of California, Berkeley who have been notified that they may be eligible for government assistance of up to $192 each month to help pay for groceries.

First-ever bitcoin futures trading is now underway

Dec 11, 2017
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Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The virtual currency bitcoin is now trading on a major global exchange for the first time.

The first-ever bitcoin futures started trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange on Sunday.

The price of the virtual currency has soared in recent weeks. And so far, it appears investors believe bitcoin will continue to rise in value, the BBC reports.

Some also see futures trading as a sign that bitcoin is creeping into the mainstream.

Can kids recognize fake news? Sort of.

Dec 11, 2017
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Thomas White/Reuters

Sometimes a story is so outrageous that it’s easy to recognize as fake news.

But it can also be much more subtle: It can be hard to flag a story with just one incorrect statement or opinion masquerading as a fact.

And if it’s hard for adults to spot fake news, can children do it?

The University of Salford teamed up with the BBC Newsround for one year to study how well children ages 9 to 14 can spot false information.

For most people, the top of the mine shaft at the Prosper-Haniel coal mine in Bottrop, Germany, just looks like a big black hole. But Andre Niemann looked into that hole and saw the future.

  Part 1: No regrets from this soon-to-be-ex-miner

In the late 1970s, Ireland’s economy was struggling. So they decided to cut business taxes dramatically while also increasing individual taxes including on the middle class. The idea was that stronger businesses would benefit everyone.

It worked.

Poland's ruling party has used the term "fake news" to attack its critics in the media. Monday, the government took its attack a step further. It levied a $415,000 fine on TVN24, a US-owned independent Polish news channel, saying the broadcaster's coverage of anti-government street protests had encouraged illegal activities.

Last week, German media reported that some pilots have refused to carry out deportations of Afghan refugees.

"Following an information request from the Left party," reported Deutsche Welle, "the government said that 222 planned expulsions were stopped by pilots."

While it may seem the pilots are refusing to fly Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan out of sympathy, that's not the only reason.

How hate and debate came to a Connecticut mosque

Dec 11, 2017

The night of Nov. 14, 2015, was not the first time Ted Hakey, 50, went into his backyard in Meriden, Connecticut, and fired guns to let off some steam. It was the night after a deadly terror attack in Paris, and Hakey was furious.

So he shot his Springfield Armory M1A .308-caliber rifle into the air. Some of those shots hit the Baitul Aman Mosque next door. Luckily, no one was in the building at the time.

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Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

President Vladimir Putin, during a surprise visit to Russia's Hmeymim air base in Syria, ordered "a significant part" of Russia's military contingent in Syria to start withdrawing.

Putin made the announcement adding that Moscow and Damascus had achieved their mission of destroying ISIS in just over two years.

The Russian president was in Syria to hold talks with President Bashar al-Assad and to address Russian forces.

Listening to the Deep Ocean

Dec 11, 2017

Benoit Pirenne walks down a winding rubble path in a fjord on Canada's Vancouver Island.

He points toward the water, to a sign that reads, "WARNING: CABLE.

"The cable is going underneath here, and it's going out 800 kilometers in a big loop in the ocean," he says.

The cable connects to a network of scientific instruments deep in the Pacific Ocean. The network is called NEPTUNE Canada. (NEPTUNE stands for North East Pacific Time-Series Underwater Networked Experiments.)

How good is H&M’s clothing recycling program?

Dec 8, 2017
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Regis Duvignau/Reuters

The clothes we wear come with their own environmental baggage.

Consider that a cotton T-shirt requires roughly 700 gallons of water to produce. Each year, the production of polyester emits roughly 1.5 trillion pounds of greenhouse gases.

As the fashion industry faces more scrutiny for the environmental impact of its operations, some fashion brands are trying to be more sustainable — and are advertising that to their customers.

Chief among them is global fast-fashion giant H&M, which is aggressively positioning itself as a leader in sustainability.

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Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

You must listen to this: A first-person account by a young woman living under lockdown conditions in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.

Yemenis were in shock on Dec. 4, when they learned that their longtime leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh, had been assassinated. Saleh had been a moderating influence on the Houthi rebels who control Sanaa. Now that Saleh's gone, Yemenis fear for their personal safety, their liberty and their country's future.

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