Archive | Interviews

Military Sexual Assaults Rise, But Solutions Still Elusive

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INTRO: White House representatives and U.S. lawmakers met last night in Washington to discuss the rise in sexual assault in the U.S. Military. Earlier this week, the Pentagon released a report estimating that 26,000 military personnel have been sexually assaulted. Dr. Mic Hunter is the author of “Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America’s Military.” He says it’ll take a lot more than just legislation to stop this problem.

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To Mars And Back? Probably Not.

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INTRO: If you had the chance to go to Mars, would you do it even if you could never come back? The Dutch non-profit Mars One plans to fly four astronauts to the Red Planet in 2023 to start a permanent human settlement. And you don’t have to be a trained scientist to go. Already thousands of people have submitted videos saying why they deserve a one-way ticket. Here’s what they’re saying:

VIDEO: I have been dreaming of a moment like this my entire life.

I would like to go to Mars…

I would like to go to Mars…

…because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

…because I like adventure

I want to go to another planet.

That’s the cowboy side in me.

There’s no doubt- the crew that’s chosen will live and die together on Mars. I spoke with Emily Lakdawalla, Senior Editor of the Planetary Society. She explained why when you go to Mars, you stay there.

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Is New York Mayoral Candidate John Liu’s Campaign Over?

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HOST INTRO: Two of mayoral candidate John Liu’s former associates, Jenny Hou and Oliver Pan, have been found guilty of wire fraud and obstruction of justice. Lance Dixon spoke with Brigid Bergin, WNYC’s City Hall reporter, and she says everybody wants to know if his campaign is over.

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Argentine Dispute a Concern on World Press Freedom Day

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HOST INTRO: Today is World Press Freedom Day. Journalists from South America gathered on the campus of Columbia University today to debate one of the continent’s most heated disputes between a government and journalists. It pits Argentina’s left-wing government against a media conglomerate that opponents say has grown too big and too powerful. Alexandra Hall reports.

[CLARIN LOGO AMBI]

Clarín is Argentina’s biggest and most influential multimedia conglomerate. It has 44% of the market share in Argentina. Argentineans consume more news produced by Clarín than any other media company. Four years ago, the government said that media in the country was too concentrated, making it impossible for smaller broadcasters to compete. So it enacted a law to break down monopolies and increase the number of voices in the media. It requires Clarín to get rid of most of its holdings. But the company says its being unfairly targeted, according to Miguel Winaski, editor of El Clarín newspapers.

MIGUEL WINASKI: They feel fear of our investigations. Freedom of speech is under attack, so and we are under attack as journalists.

But Damian Loreti disagrees. He’s Secretary of the Center of Legal and Social Studies, an Argentine human rights NGO, and he helped draft the law.

DAMIEN LORETI: In Argentina, there is no press restrictions, there is no censorship, there is no journalists killed, there is no journalists imprisoned.

Clarín’s first reaction when the law was enacted four years ago was to take legal action, but it was unsuccessful. It wasn’t until two weeks ago that a federal appeals court granted Clarín’s request saying that clauses of the law, which apply to the company, are unconstitutional violations of private property rights. This was a triumph for supporters of Clarín, who argue that it has been unfairly singled out for political reasons. Columbia University political science professor Victoria Murillo isn’t convinced.

VICTORIA MURILLO: I don’t know to what extent their fear is warranted. Monopolies are not good anywhere, so in that sense, the law is not bad, it’s good.

She thinks that Clarín is a monopoly.

MURILLO: What’s bad is that the enforcement of the law is uneven in the sense that there are other monopolies and the government doesn’t seem to be paying attention to those.

This would have been a rare opportunity for representatives of Clarín and the leftist administration of President Christina Kirchner to talk openly about media reform. But no government representatives were present. Roberto Saba is Dean of Palermo University School of Law in Buenos Aires. He says that’s one reason why the conflict is still ongoing.

ROBERTO SABA: The big media and the government cannot even talk to each other. Which makes things very difficult.

Columbia University will make one more effort to bring the two sides together again this fall.

Alexandra Hall, Columbia Radio News.

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Buzz, Buzz…Where Did All These Cicadas Come From?!

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HOST INTRO: Here comes the buzz. After 17 years in a slumber, hundreds of millions of cicadas are finally emerging across the Mid-Atlantic. Gene Kritsky is a professor of biology at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio. He says to look out for them under your feet.

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Obama Administration Reacts to Syria Crossing ‘Red Line’

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HOST: Yesterday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made what seemed like a dramatic announcement about the civil war in Syria. He said that the US now has evidence the Syrian government used sarin, a powerful chemical weapon. The US has resisted getting deeply involved in the war in Syria. But President Obama has said that if the Syrian regime used chemical weapons, that would cross a “red line” and the US would consider a wider range of options. That could include a military intervention.

Michael Cohen is a fellow at The Century Foundation. He says that despite two years of war and thousands of deaths in Syria, the use of chemical weapons would be a dangerous new development.

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Students at MIT Weather The Boston Lockdown

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One of the first casualties of the manhunt last night was 26 year old Sean Collins. He was an MIT police officer. All college campuses in the area have been closed down. Will Whitney is a fourth-year undergraduate studying computer science at MIT. He’s been in his dorm room since last night when the shooting took place.

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Suspects’ Ethnicity Forces Chechnya Into The Spotlight

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Ever since the two suspects of the Boston Marathon bombing and shootout were identified as Chechen, attention on their ethnic identity. Chechnya is a small region in southwest Russia that was split into two parts after the fall of the Soviet Union. It’s part of an area known as the Caucasus. Lincoln Mitchell is a professor at Columbia University who studies the region.

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Former Counter-Terror Official Talks Police Playbook

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As police in Boston conduct their manhunt for the final suspect in the marathon bombing, I spoke with Nicholas Casale. He’s a former MTA Deputy Director of Counterterrorism. He gives us the behind the scenes perspective from the police on what’s happening right now in Boston.

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Anthony Weiner Makes A Comeback To New York Politics

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HOST INTRO:

On this day six years ago Anthony Weiner was a 6th term congressman and early favorite for the 2013 mayor’s race. But his political career collapsed after he accidentally tweeted a racy photo of himself and act that exposed his history of sexting to women he was not married to. He resigned from congress in June of 2011 and he stayed out of public eye since then. But now he is making his comeback. This week he was featured on the cover of New York Times magazine with Huma Abedin and he admitted he is thinking about getting back into the mayoral race. Max Rosenthal speaks to Colin Campbell from The New York Observer about the story.

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More Than A Million State Department Files Released By WikiLeaks

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HOST INTRO:

WikiLeaks has announced its latest release of information. It’s a collection of more than a million State Department files from the 1970s. WikiLeaks calls it the “Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy,” or Plus D.  Sonia Paul spoke with Jeff Stein. He’s a national security reporter and founder of the blog SpyTalk. He says this new collection of documents marks a new direction for Wikileaks.

SpyTalk Blog: http://spytalkblog.blogspot.com/

WikiLeaks “Plus D” Projecthttp://wikileaks.org/plusd/

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Non-Partisan Elections Might Prevent Political Corruption

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Host Anna Goldenberg talks to Rachael Fauss, the policy and research manager at Citizens Union, a non partisan government research group, about nonpartisan elections and how a change to this system could prevent political corruption in New York.

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U.S. Food Aid Has New Starting Point

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The Obama administration plans to change the way the United States sends food aid internationally. Instead of buying food from U.S. farmers and shipping it overseas, the administration says it will be more efficient to buy and distribute food grown locally in the countries that need it. Those lobbying against the change say this will hurt U.S. farmers. Gawain Kripke is the director of policy and research for Oxfam. He says the the bill brings a necessary change.

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How DOMA Keeps Gay and Lesbian Couples In Exile

HOST INTRO: The Supreme Court heard two big cases this week that will affect the future of same-sex marriage.  The first case dealt with Proposition 8 and whether or not it is legal for California to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.  The second case challenges DOMA, or the Defense of Marriage Act.  

DOMA defines marriage as between a man and a woman on a federal level. This definition excludes same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits that come with marriage.

For couples in which one partner is a U.S. citizen and one is foreign national, the American spouse can’t sponsor his or her same-sex partner for immigration.

Noemi Masliah works at the DOMA project, a same-sex marriage advocacy group.  She says that DOMA has affected bi-national couples ever since it was signed into law in 1996.

MASLIAH

“A straight couple gets married and if one’s a U.S. citizen and the other one is not, that U.S. citizen could petition, thereby having the foreign national be able to immigrate the United States.  That’s the crux of the mission of the immigration law which is family immigration, the unification of families.” (0:20)   

Although, an estimated 30,000 binational, same-sex couples still live in the United States, many couples have decided to live abroad, rather than be separated.  They all stand to benefit if DOMA is repealed.

MASLIAH

“We have many, many couples telling how the impact, the discriminatory impact of DOMA, is on them, they’re bi-national couples, they want to live here together, they’re married and because of DOMA they are unable to have the security of knowing that the laws will allow them to live in the United States.” (0:18)  

Although gay marriage is currently legal in New York, couples will only be eligible for federal benefits if DOMA is overturned.

MASLIAH

“In many jurisdictions, United States citizens are able to marry their same-sex partners, they are not able to procure immigration benefits based on that marriage in the United states because of DOMA.” (0:11)    

The Supreme Court will decision will be announced in June.

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How Threatening is North Korea?

HOST INTRO: Tensions are always high in the Korean peninsula. This week they got worse. Today, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un put rockets aimed at the United States and South Korea on standby. This comes after two US stealth bombers flew over South Korea yesterday during a military exercise.  I spoke with Sung-Yoon Lee, a Korean Studies Professor at Tufts University, to hear what the countries are trying to communicate with this show of force.

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“Joyous” Atmosphere In Rome After Papal Election

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HOST INTRO: Uptown Radio’s religion reporter Jeff Tyson landed in Rome early this morning and went directly to St. Peter’s Square. Lavinia, a young woman from Rome, was among those celebrating.

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Group Says City Shelter Population Reaches New High

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Host Intro: The Coalition for the Homeless released an annual report on Tuesday that showed that a record average of 50,000 people stayed in homeless shelters during the month of January. I spoke with Giselle Routier, who is a policy analyst at the Coalition for the Homeless.

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How Sequester Budget Cuts Will Change Daily Life

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HOST:
Congressional leaders have failed — once again — to reach a last minute agreement to avoid the 85 billion dollar budget cuts, known as the sequester. President Obama said some cuts are still on the table. Here’s what he had to say today.

OBAMA:
I am prepared to take on the problem where it exists on entitlements and do some things that my own party really doesn’t like if it’s part of the broader package of sensible deficit.

HOST:
I spoke with Sam Stein, the Senior Political Correspondent at the Huffington Post, about how this might change life for you and me.

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