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The World and Everything in It - January 19, 2022

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WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It - January 19, 2022

On Washington Wednesday, President Biden’s first year in office; on World Tour, the Tonga volcano eruption; and a family of luthiers in Los Angeles. Plus: commentary from Janie B. Cheaney, and the Wednesday morning news.


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Tomorrow marks one year to the day that President Biden took office. We’ll assess the year through the eyes of a Democrat strategist.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.

Also today, WORLD Tour.

Plus a family business four generations in the making. 

And the way to really win in conversation.

REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, January 19th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.


KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: White House: Russia could invade Ukraine “at any point” » The White House says “We’re now at a stage where Russia could at any point launch an attack in Ukraine.”

Those were the exact words of Press Secretary Jen Psaki Tuesday.

That followed news that Moscow is shifting more Russian troops closer to Ukraine’s border.

Secretary of State Tony Blinken is traveling to Ukraine today. He’ll meet with top Ukrainian and Russian leaders this week.

PSAKI: Our view is this is an extremely dangerous situation, and what Secretary Blinken is going to go do is highlight very clearly, there is a diplomatic path forward. It is the choice of President Putin and the Russians to make whether they are going to suffer severe economic consequences or not.

Russia has begun shifting an unspecified number of troops, along with fighter jets and other equipment, to Belarus supposedly for major war games. And that will put more Russian military assets on Ukraine’s doorstep on top of an estimated 100,000 troops, tanks, and heavy weapons already positioned near the Russia-Ukraine border.

NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said “the risk of conflict is real.”

STOLTENBERG: NATO allies call on Russia to de-escalate, and any further aggression will come with a high cost for Moscow.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry said Tuesday it has received a shipment of anti-tank weapons from the U.K.

AT&T, Verizon delaying some 5G after airlines raise alarms » Also on Tuesday, the White House reacted to news that AT&T and Verizon will delay launching new wireless service near some airports. That after major airlines warned the service would interfere with aircraft technology and cause massive flight disruptions.

Airlines want the new service to be banned within two miles of airport runways.

AT&T said it would delay turning on new 5G cell towers around runways at some airports and work with federal regulators to settle the dispute.

Jen Psaki told reporters…

PSAKI: We certainly understand what’s at stake for both industries. We are actively engaged with the FAA, FCC, wireless carriers, airlines, and aviation equipment manufacturers to reach a solution.

Verizon said it will launch its 5G network but added, “we have voluntarily decided to limit our 5G network around airports." It blamed airlines and the FAA, saying they “have not been able to fully resolve navigating 5G around airports” although it is working in more than 40 countries.

U.S. faces wave of omicron deaths in coming weeks, models say » A rising number of Americans are dying of COVID-19 amid the omicron wave. The U.S. death rate has roughly doubled since late November, and researchers say things could get worse before they get better. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown has more.

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: U.S. COVID-related deaths now stand at roughly 1,800 per day.

That’s still well below the daily peak of 3,300 one year ago. But modelers now forecast that at least 50,000 more Americans could die by the time the omicron wave subsides in mid-March.

Katriona Shea of Pennsylvania State University leads a team that pulls together several pandemic models and projections. She said “Overall, you’re going to see more sick people even if you as an individual have a lower chance of being sick.”

And another new study backs that up. Researchers at Kaiser Permanente and the University of California, Berkeley found patients with omicron had a 53 percent lower risk of hospitalization with respiratory symptoms, a 74 percent lower risk of ICU admission, and a 91 percent lower risk of death.

But what omicron lacks in severity, it makes up for with its remarkable infectiousness. That variant now accounts for 99.5 percent of U.S. cases.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard for nearly $70B » Microsoft is making a very big purchase. The tech giant plans to pay nearly $70 billion for Activision Blizzard. That’s the company behind smartphone games like Candy Crush and the blockbuster video game franchise Call of Duty.

The all-cash deal will turn Microsoft, maker of the Xbox gaming console, into one of the world's largest video game companies. It will also help it compete with tech rivals such as Meta, formerly Facebook, in creating new immersive virtual worlds.

If the deal survives scrutiny from U.S. and European regulators, it would be one of the biggest tech acquisitions in history.

UN chief “gravely concerned” about human rights abuses in Libya » A new UN report is sounding alarms about human rights abuses at detention centers in Libya, including cases of torture and sexual violence against migrants. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he is “gravely concerned” about “violations of the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Libya.”

He said in a new report that those groups face heightened risks of rape, sexual harassment, and trafficking by armed groups,” and even by some Libyan government officials.

The report states that, officially, more than 12,000 people are locked up in detention facilities in Libya. But thousands more are held illegally and often in “inhumane conditions in facilities controlled by armed groups or ‘secret’ facilities.”

The North African country is a major transit point for migrants fleeing Africa or the Middle East for Europe.

Traffickers often pack desperate families into dangerous rubber or wooden boats that stall and founder along the Mediterranean route.

Guterres said many of those rescued or intercepted trying to cross the Mediterranean and returned to Libya wind up in inhumane detention centers.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: evaluating President Biden’s first year in office.

Plus, the right way to have an argument.

This is The World and Everything in It.


MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Wednesday the 19th of January, 2022.

This is The World and Everything in It and we’re glad you’ve joined us today. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Up first, President Biden’s first year in the Oval Office.

Tomorrow will mark one year exactly since the president took the oath of office and it has been a tumultuous 12 months. Biden has faced major challenges beyond his control, as well as some of his own making.

Either way, his sagging poll numbers could spell trouble for his party in an election year. The current Real Clear Politics average of recent polls has President Biden’s approval below 42 percent.

That creates a difficult political climate for Democratic candidates ahead of the midterms.

REICHARD: So what is the White House’s strategy to turn around its political fortunes? And how will Democratic candidates deal with those political headwinds?

We thought it would be helpful to get the perspective of someone whose job it is to help Democrats do that. Kristal Knight is a Democratic political strategist and we will give her her say. By way of background, she has served as political director for a major super PAC and for House and Senate candidates. And back in 2016, she worked on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Krystal, good morning!

KRYSTAL KNIGHT, GUEST: Good morning. Thank you for having me.

REICHARD: Everyone, left or right, will have their own take on how well President Biden performed in his first year. We’re not trying to grade his governance today.

We’re talking about the politics of it … And of course we know that in politics, perception is reality. So through that lens, what do you think was the smartest political move President Biden made in his first 12 months?

KNIGHT: Wow, that’s a really great question and an opening question. I think one of the things the president was able to accomplish in his first year that the Democratic Party really should tout is his handling of the COVID pandemic. We are approaching the anniversary of year three of this pandemic, and it has ravaged across this country in nearly every single sector. And so with the President, you know, rolling out the vaccine, making the booster shots available, increasing the amount of testing sites, also rolling out at home testing kits for many Americans and children who are reentering schools, that is something that needed to be handled immediately. And we have to give the president credit for how he has instituted a taskforce that would immediately begin tackling COVID day one of his administration

REICHARD: And then what do you think was the president’s biggest political misstep?

KNIGHT: Well, I think the Afghanistan pull-out. I don't think anyone has any issues with pointing to that. He is continuing to get hit on that time and time again across a number of different media platforms—not just conservative media, but also liberal media. You know, he stated that he was committed to making sure that American troops were brought back home, but it seems that the actual logistics of the pullout were not squared away. And quite frankly, just for lack of better terms, it was a mess. And that is something that he will have to live with throughout his presidency.

REICHARD: Krystal, suppose you were advising President Biden politically. What would you urge him to do to help put Democratic candidates in purple states or districts in the best position to win?

KNIGHT: Well, I think understanding your district is really important. And you know, it's helpful when the President has federal legislative wins that down-ballot candidates and even federal candidates can campaign on. But also understanding what's happening in the respective districts and where can Democrats move the needle? Where can they move the messaging to make sure that independent voters or voters who lean Republican are able to understand how a Democratic agenda can help them in their respective district. I think that that's the advice that I would give him. A lot of times people vote with their pocketbook. They vote on economic issues, things that they can feel immediately right now. And so if candidates are equipped with legislative wins that have happened federally, and things that they've done in their own respective districts, then we should be able to see some movement in many of these rural or purple or swing counties, districts, states that you're speaking of.

REICHARD: And what would be an example, just concretely speaking now, of a Democratic policy that might attract those rural or otherwise right-leaning areas?

KNIGHT: Sure. So, one of the things is the child tax credits, which expired at the end of last year. That's something that is not a partisan issue. That helps every single American regardless of if you're a Democrat, Independent, Republican. Regardless of where you live. If you have children, and you are given a child tax credit to help with whatever the needs are, that your unique family is faced with, that's something that is a win for all American families. And that's something that Democrats and, quite frankly, Republicans should be talking about to voters in their district.

REICHARD: Four years ago, Democrats looked to tie Republicans to the president. We’re going to see the same thing this year in reverse.

Do Democratic candidates — again in purple states or districtshave to distance themselves a little bit from the president right now? How do you manage when the sitting president is underwater with his approval?

KNIGHT: Yeah, I don't think that the Democratic candidates in purple and swing districts have to distance themselves right now. The President has already had some wins—6.4 million jobs have been created in the first year. Again, child poverty has reduced because of the child tax credits, and people are going back to work. We are in a window right now; we're in a unique legislative window where the President still has time to bring about some wins. Also the infrastructure bill, which was bipartisan. That's something that many of these candidates can campaign on.

REICHARD: Final question, here, Krystal, if you’re advising Democratic candidates in a purple state or district, how do they appeal to both the Democratic base and to moderate and independent voters?

KNIGHT: That's tough, just to be quite honest with you. I don't think that there's an easy manuscript on how do you talk to your base and talk to moderates. I believe that it is a district by district, state by state issue that candidates will have to tackle. You have to understand what is motivating to your base. And how do you speak to some of the fears that your more moderate or undecided voters are thinking about? And what will your candidacy do to help them understand or help them feel that you being in office, you being an elected official is helping their economic situation, it's helping their personal, you know, livelihood, because of elected office. Because plenty of people can affect change. I say this all the time. Plenty of people can affect change without being an elected official. So if you're running for office, and you're trying to convince people who tend not to lean towards you, and continue to keep your base motivated, there's a sweet spot in the middle there, which is the why and the how. And that's what candidates have to really nail down on and understand their districts—knocking on doors, talking to voters, and really understanding how they can implement the change that's needed for the moderates, but also continuing the progress that's needed for their base.

REICHARD: Political strategist Krystal Knight has been our guest today. Krystal, thanks so much!

KNIGHT: Thank you for having me.


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: WORLD Tour, with our reporter in Africa, Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Tonga volcano rattles island nation—We start today in the South Pacific.

AUDIO: [Sound of plane preparing to take off]

Military surveillance planes from Australia and New Zealand flew over the island nation of Tonga on Tuesday. An underwater volcano erupted just off its coast over the weekend, showering the area with rocks and ash.

The surveillance flights found significant infrastructure damage on the archipelago’s main island, Tongatapu. Smaller, outlying islands also suffered widespread property damage.

The Speaker of the Tongan legislative assembly said thick ash now covers much of the islands.

FAKAFANUA: The ash is proving quite problematic, not just for water and sanitation because Tongans collect water from the roofs of the households, but in terms of access for aid from Australia and New Zealand and other flights. They need to clear the runway.

The eruption also severed the one underwater fiber-optic cable that connects the island nation to the rest of the world, further delaying damage reports. Ships carrying aid from Australia and New Zealand will take three to five days to arrive.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimated the eruption caused the equivalent of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake. Waves traveled as far as California and Peru, where they are blamed for causing an oil spill. A sonic boom caused by the eruption could be heard as far away as Alaska.

Indonesia approves new capital—Next to Southeast Asia.

AUDIO: [Man speaking Indonesian]

Indonesia’s parliament has approved a plan to move the country’s capital from Jakarta to the jungle-covered island of Borneo.

President Joko Widodo said the new capital would be a “smart metropolis” and a center for innovation. Conceptual drawings show futuristic-looking buildings flanked by plenty of green space. Widodo said the goal was for workers and residents to be able to bike and walk everywhere.

The new capital will cover more than 200 square miles. The city will be called Nusantara, which means archipelago. Construction was supposed to begin in 2020 but the pandemic delayed those plans.

France adopts vaccine passport—Next to Europe.

AUDIO: [Sound of man speaking French, clapping]

France’s national assembly approved a controversial vaccine passport on Sunday. Under the new law, vaccines will be required to enter all restaurants, sports arenas, and other venues.

AUDIO:  [Man speaking French]

More than 91 percent of people in France are vaccinated, but hundreds still rallied near the Eiffel Tower on Saturday to protest the new restrictions.

The country already had a health pass system, but before Sunday’s vote, a negative COVID test or proof of recovery met the requirement.

French President Emmanuel Macron hopes the new restrictions will limit the spread of the omicron variant and prevent the need for a nationwide lockdown. That could further cripple the country’s economy and hinder his chances of reelection in April.

Djokovic deported from Australia—And finally, we end today in Serbia.

AUDIO: [People cheering, chanting]

Supporters of tennis star Novak Djokovic welcomed him home Monday after his deportation from Australia.

The No. 1 men's tennis player left the country just hours before the Australian Open began after the immigration minister revoked his visa. Djokovic is not vaccinated against COVID-19, a requirement for entering Australia. He initially got an exemption because he tested positive for the virus in December.

But Australian border officials detained him when he arrived earlier this month. They said recovering from the virus did not qualify him for an exemption.

The 10-day legal battle over his visa finally ended Sunday when the government ordered him to leave on public interest grounds.

That’s it for this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.


NICK EICHER, HOST: Sotheby's auction house in Dubai has unveiled a rare diamond that it says is out of this world!

Well, actually, it is from out of this world. That’s what experts believe.

It looks like a volcanic rock, but it’s actually a 555-carat black diamond nicknamed “The Enigma.”

Sophie Stevens is a jewelry specialist at Sotheby’s Dubai. She said scientists believe the diamond formed through meteorites colliding with the Earth and either forming chemical vapor or coming from the meteorites themselves.

The unique space rock is expected to fetch at least somewhere around $7 million at auction.

It’s The World and Everything in It.


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, January 19th. You’re listening to WORLD Radio.

Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

Coming next on The World and Everything in It: a family business legacy. According to 2021 statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are nearly 32 million businesses in America with fewer than 20 employees. That’s 98% of all businesses in this country.

REICHARD: Small businesses not only employ millions of people, they often heavily invest in their communities. WORLD Correspondent Caleb Bailey has the story of a Los Angeles family business that’s making a difference through music.

AUDIO: [CITY SOUNDS]

REPORTER, CALEB BAILEY: The corner of East Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and Saratoga Street is like any other in East LA: loud, confusing, distracting. But if you listen closely, there’s one sound bringing peace to the restless city from behind the doors of an old brick building. It’s the sound of a hand-crafted, classical guitar.

AUDIO: [TOMAS PLAYING]

Candela’s Guitars has been here for more than half a century. But the story of its founders—the Delgado family—goes back much further.

In the 1920s, brothers Porfirio and Candelario Delgado-Flores learned to make stringed instruments. Their work quickly grew in popularity. The luthiers opened their first guitar shop in Juarez, Mexico. Today, Porfirio’s grandson Tomas Delgado Sr. is a third-generation luthier and runs Candelas Guitars.

TOMAS: The way that we build the way that I build and restore and repair guitars, it's, it's become more refined, but it hasn't really changed. It's all done by hand. I still inlay my rosettes by hand, I build my own bridges, I build my guitars from scratch.

Delgado’s craftsmanship has attracted the likes of musicians Jackson Browne, Jose Feliciano, and Santana—artists looking for the best of the best.

TOMAS: By doing it by hand, every, at least for the most part, from what I understand everything is still uniform, everything comes out even even even and they're able to produce a lot of guitars that way. I'm not focused on building a lot of guitars, I'm focused on building the best guitars that I can build.

Delgado's commitment to quality means he only builds one or two guitars at a time. He's a perfectionist.

TOMAS: You hear about people that have been doing something for a long time that that want to, we always want to get better, right? Well, the challenge is to still do everything that I'm supposed to do correctly.

Since the beginning, Candelas has been a family affair. Tomas Candelario Delgado is Tomas Sr.’s 22 year old son, and it looks like he’ll be next in line to run the shop.

TOMAS: I'm the fourth generation. So there's enough pressure as it is, you know, we have clients that come in family, friends are like, you have to take this on, you have to do this.

But that pressure has never come from Tomas Sr.

TOMAS: But my dad was never like, look, you're gonna build guitars, this is something I want for you. He's like, You do what you want. I was always around the shop. I've always liked it. And now that baseball is over, it's sort of cool, because it's transitioning into something that I like, something that I've always been around.

Tomas Jr. will learn the ins and outs of the trade from his father over the next four years. A program his dad and grandfather both did with their fathers.

AUDIO: [COUNTERTALK]

But it’s not just about family. The Delgado’s are eager to give back to the community that has supported them for so long.

TOMAS: Giving out guitars to people on skid row, you know, I've seen countless amounts of people come in, and, you know, they're window shopping, and maybe it's around the holidays, and my pops is like, you know what, here this is for your kids, and, you know, little stuff, here's and there.

Community investment has always been a key principle for the Delgados. Tomas Sr. spent the early part of his career serving Los Angeles through fundraisers with his dad. He’s continuing that mission with The Candelas Music and Arts Foundation.

TOMAS: And so I decided to start a foundation and we raised money for people to take lessons, whether it's young kids, single moms or dads, struggling families that are trying to bring the art into their household, but don't have the means to do it.

Tomas founded the Candelas Music and Arts Foundation in 2018 with the next generation of musicians in mind. The foundation offers lessons and allows students to get their hands on instruments they couldn’t afford elsewhere.

AUDIO: [CUSTOMER INTERACTION]

In Los Angeles, as sure as the 5 freeway stays clogged and vendors shout their products from street corners, the Delgados plan to stay right here—creating beautiful instruments and building a musical community.

CALEB: When you see people's guitars like yours after you sold to them, Do you remember like making it? Each one?
TOMAS: Yeah. I always say when they come back, I get visitation rights. It's hilarious. It's exciting to see, you know, what I was doing, you know, back 10, 20, 30 years ago, and where I'm at now.

AUDIO: [GUITAR PLAYING/STREET SOUNDS]

Reporting for World, I’m Caleb Bailey in Los Angeles, California.


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, January 19th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

Hey, thanks for sending in your prerolls; they’re great. If you haven’t yet, please don’t think you’ve missed your opportunity. Thing is, we use 260 of these per year, so lots of open slots. We want to hear from you—so visit wng.org/preroll. You’ll find all the instructions there. Be bold and remember, even if you’re a little mic shy, you’re among friends!

REICHARD: Unleash your talent! Here’s WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney on hearing the human being behind the simplistic slogans.

JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: Jordan Peterson achieved worldwide fame in 2018 when he debated British journalist Cathy Newman. They began with trans-activism and Peterson’s stand against government-dictated pronouns. They moved on to Western patriarchy, the gender-pay gap, and natural gender disparities. By the end, conservatives were enchanted by the way Peterson had “owned” Ms. Newman. He was both good-natured and articulate, parrying every challenge like Inigo Montoya forcing the reprehensible Count Rugen into a corner.

The video went viral, helping to make Peterson a best-selling author and a hall-packing public speaker. To rootless young men he was like a prophet, or simply a dad telling them to pull up their socks. To Christians, he was an intellectual who respected their faith even if he didn’t share it.

During the pandemic, we didn’t hear much from him, only disturbing reports that he was in rehab for a tranquilizer addition. Now, thankfully, he’s back on the interview and book-promotion circuit, fitter—and wiser.

Bari Weiss is a former New York Times contributor and now author of a blog called “Common Sense.” Late last December, she asked some of her friends how their minds had changed in 2021. Peterson answered, “I’ve learned how to have a discussion.”

One would think he had aced the art of discussion. But behind that courtly facade was a shark circling its prey. By his own account, Peterson didn’t want to have an argument, he wanted to win it. We saw that side of him in the debate with Cathy Newman when she was stymied by one of his questions: “Hah! I gotcha!” he said. With a smile.

That conversation might sound different if they had it now. Not because they would agree. Peterson disagrees with the staunch atheism of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. But recently he’s had long conversations with both and tried to listen to what they were saying. In some cases, it was different than what he’d thought they were saying.

“If I listen, instead of winning, I learn,” Peterson told Bari Weiss. “And that’s better than winning.”

For Christians, it shouldn’t be controversial that even our bitterest political and social enemies are made in God’s image. But what does it mean? At the very least, it means looking behind the placard—that square of pasteboard with the irritating slogan that always makes your blood boil—and seeing the person.

The worst of political ideology, from either side, is that it reduces people to positions. Those who disagree with us about the latest woke piety or Tucker Carlson monologue come to look more like a set of propositions than nuanced individuals. They may have come to their position by ways we can’t imagine. People are complicated under their simplistic slogans. By listening, we may not learn anything useful about their politics, but we’ll learn something about them. And that’s more than useful.

I’m Janie B. Cheaney.


NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: hypersonic missiles. We’ll tell you about North Korea’s latest weapons developments.

And, learning English. We’ll take you to Lincoln, Nebraska, where one church is helping immigrants settle into their new lives in America.

That and more tomorrow.

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

The Psalmist says: It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name…to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.

Go now in grace and peace.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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