Month: November 2021

What Is the Omicron Variant?

The story of the Omicron variant began a week ago, when researchers in southern Africa detected a version of the coronavirus that carried 50 mutations.  When scientists look at coronavirus mutations, they worry about three things: Is the new variant more contagious? Is it going to cause people to get sicker? And how will the…

A Prosecutor’s Winning Strategy in the Ahmaud Arbery Case

This episode contains strong language.  Heading into deliberations in the trial of the three white men in Georgia accused of chasing down and killing Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man, it was not clear which way the jurors were leaning.  In the end, the mostly white jury found all three men guilty of murder. We…

The Indian Farmers’ Fight

After a landslide re-election in 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s control over India seemed impossible to challenge. But a yearlong farmers’ protest against agricultural overhauls has done just that, forcing the Indian prime minister to back down. How did the protesters succeed? Guest: Emily Schmall, a South Asia correspondent for The New York Times. Sign…

Righting the Historical Wrong of the Claiborne Highway

In the 1950s and ’60s, the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans, one of the oldest African-American neighborhoods in the United States, was a vibrant community. But the construction of the Claiborne Expressway in the 1960s gutted the area. The Biden administration has said that the trillion-dollar infrastructure package will address such historical wrongs. How might…

The Acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse

This episode contains strong language. On Aug. 25, 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse, a teenager, shot three men, two of them fatally, during street protests in Kenosha, Wis., over the shooting of a Black man by a white police officer. Mr. Rittenhouse’s trial, which began on Nov. 1, revolved around a central question: Did his actions constitute…

The Sunday Read: ‘Did Covid Change How We Dream?’

As the novel coronavirus spread and much of the world moved toward isolation, dream researchers began rushing to design studies and set up surveys that might allow them to access some of the most isolated places of all, the dreamscapes unfolding inside individual brains. The first thing almost everyone noticed was that for many people,…

How Belarus Manufactured a Border Crisis

For three decades, President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus, a former Soviet nation in Eastern Europe, ruled with an iron fist. But pressure has mounted on him in the past year and a half. After a contested election in 2020, the European Union enacted sanctions and refused to recognize his leadership. In the hopes of bringing…

What’s Happening with the American Economy?

The U.S. economy is doing better than many had anticipated. Some 80 percent of jobs lost during the pandemic have been regained, and people are making, and spending, more. But Americans seem to feel terrible about the financial outlook. Why the gap between reality and perception? Guest: Ben Casselman, a reporter covering economics and business…

The School Board Wars, Part 2

This episode contains strong language. In Bucks County, Pa., what started out as a group of frustrated parents pushing for schools to reopen devolved over the course of a year and half into partisan disputes about America’s most divisive cultural issues. But those arguments have caused many to overlook a central role of the Central…

The School Board Wars, Part 1

This episode contains strong language. A new battleground has emerged in American politics: school boards. In these meetings, parents increasingly engage in heated — sometimes violent — fights over hot-button issues such as mask mandates and critical race theory. Suddenly, the question of who sits on a school board has become a question about which…