The World and Everything in It: January 25, 2023
On Washington Wednesday, an interview with Sam Brownback; on World Tour, the latest international news; and the increase in families keeping backyard chickens. Plus: commentary from Janie B. Cheaney, and the Wednesday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Religious persecution continues around the world. Today, we’ll hear from a man who’s devoted himself to relieving that suffering.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.
Also today, WORLD Tour.
And as egg prices go higher and higher, the lure of keeping chickens makes more and more sense.
And taking the long view of all of our physical stuff.
REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, January 25th. 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: Time for news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Ukraine aid » In what would be a major reversal, the United States is set to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder:
RYDER: The M1 is a very capable battlefield platform. It’s also very complex. And so, like anything we’re providing to Ukraine, we want to make sure that they have the capability to maintain it.
That means it could be many months before Abrams tanks arrive on the actual battlefield in Ukraine.
The move has not been officially announced, but that could happen as early as today. The Pentagon is believed to coordinating with Germany, which is expected to approve Poland’s request to transfer German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
Zelenskyy sacks officials » Several top Ukrainian officials resigned on Tuesday amid a renewed push to root out government corruption.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it was necessary to accept their resignations, both for national defense and for Ukraine’s standing within Europe.
A top Ukrainian adviser, four deputy ministers and five regional governors stepped down.
Andrii Borovyk is executive director for the anticorruption group Transparency International Ukraine.
BOROVYK: It’s positive because people always say the corruption is the number one issue which needs to be solved in Ukraine, so people care about this and people are ready to care as long as it’s needed.
Ukraine has a history of political corruption.
The country is under pressure to demonstrate that international aid money isn’t falling into the wrong hands.
CA shootings latest » More families are grieving in California today after another mass shooting.
A farm worker killed seven people in what San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus called a “workplace violence” incident.
CORPUS: Suspect Chunli Zhao, a 66-year-old male resident is a resident of Half Moon Bay. The semi-automatic handgun was legally purchased and owned.
Zhao allegedly opened fire at two separate mushroom farms. Police say he is in custody and cooperating.
The attacks came just days after a mass shooter killed 11 people at a dance hall near Los Angeles.
Pence documents » Classified documents have now been found at the home of former Vice President Mike Pence. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has that story.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: After investigators found classified documents at President Biden’s personal home, former Vice President Pence ordered a review of documents stored at his house.
That according to Pence’s lawyer Tuesday, who said he hired outside experts to review documents. The experts found a small collection of documents stamped as classified.
Back in August, Pence said he had not knowingly kept any classified documents from his time in office.
The letter claimed Pence immediately locked the sensitive documents in a safe on their discovery before handing them off to the FBI.
For WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
Ticketmaster hearing » On Capitol Hill, senators grilled executives with Ticketmaster and its subsidiary Live Nation.
Some lawmakers are concerned that the event ticket sales giant has a stranglehold on the industry.
Senator Dick Durbin...
DURBIN: The Senate Judiciary Committee has the jurisdictional responsibility to look at the issue of antitrust and competition. This is an example of it, and I'm glad we're having this hearing today.
Ticketmaster came under fresh scrutiny after its site crashed last year as fans tried to buy tickets for Taylor Swift’s tour.
Some in Congress want the Justice Department to reconsider a decade-old decision to allow Live Nation to merge with Ticketmaster.
GA election probe to remain secret for now » A judge in Georgia says the final report of a special grand jury will remain secret for now.
The grand jury was tasked with investigating whether former President Trump and political allies tried to interfere with the results of the 2020 election in the state.
At a hearing Tuesday, a Fulton County judge heard arguments for and against publicly releasing the grand jury’s report. Prosecutor Donald Wakefield urged the court to keep it under wraps for the moment.
WAKEFORD: Records that are part of an ongoing criminal investigation are not subject to public scrutiny.
But Tom Clyde, who represents media outlets, countered…
CLYDE: What the state is pointing to is simply not the kind of information that justifies sealing.
The judge said that he will take some time before issuing his final decision. Until then, the document remains sealed.
Oscar noms » In Hollywood, the Academy has announced this year’s Oscar nominees.
Topping the list with 11 nods is “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” nominated for best picture and best director.
TRAILER: There’s a great evil spreading throughout the many-verses. And you may be our only chance of stopping it.
Blockbusters films like “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” also earned best picture nominations.
The Academy will roll out the red carpet on March 12th in Los Angeles.
I'm Kent Covington. Straight ahead: an interview with Sam Brownback.
Plus, the allure of raising backyard poultry.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s the 25th of January, 2023.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.
First up: religious freedom around the world.
One man in the know is Sam Brownback. He’s served as congressman, senator, governor of Kansas, and as U.S. ambassador for International Religious Freedom. These days, he co-chairs the International Religious Freedom Summit.
REICHARD: WORLD’s Carolina Lumetta spoke with Brownback recently in our Washington studio to talk about religious freedom. Here now is that edited interview.
CAROLINA LUMETTA, REPORTER: Mr. Brownback, thank you so much for joining us today.
SAM BROWNBACK, GUEST: Sure, happy to join you.
LUMETTA: So to start off with let's kind of take a world tour, if you will. It's been almost two years now, since the Taliban took over in Afghanistan. They made a lot of promises about preserving democracy, religious freedoms, what would be your assessment of their leadership so far?
BROWNBACK: Horrible, nearly genocidal. Terrible for women. If you’re a religious minority, you’ve had to flee Afghanistan. Now. Maybe if you’re a Hazara, Shia Hazara, there's enough of you in a certain concentrated area that you haven't fled, but the Sikh community– is gone. If you’re a Christian, you’re in hiding. I’ve worked a lot the last year with kind of a small rump group of people trying to get individuals out. And we’ve gotten a number of them out and found other countries for them to go to. But basically, if you didn’t agree with the Taliban philosophy, and you were a religious person, you’ve been either arrested or killed, family members harassed or detained or you have fled.
LUMETTA: So what needs to happen next?
BROWNBACK: When they say a tiger doesn’t change his stripes, that’s certainly been true of the Taliban, they have not changed their stripes. And we have allowed, really a genocide of religious minorities to take place under our very eyes. And because we get weary in the West, in the west of a topic, it’s like, people are just, “I’m looking the other way, I’m tired.” And yet you just can’t look at it that way in a country like Afghanistan that can be stable with minimal Western presence but it has to have some Western backbone in it or it’s gonna fall back into these horrible tribal ways that are deadly for anybody that don't that don't agree with the majority.
LUMETTA: Well, shifting to a different continent. Explain to me what you've seen going on in Ukraine. Can you clear up reports that the Russian Orthodox Church is under attack amid the war there?
BROWNBACK: This needs some context to it. About five years ago, the Ukrainian people expressing through their government wanted to form a Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Orthodoxy is kind of this franchise type religion. And that’s not appropriate to call it that, but I don't know how else to describe it. But there’s a Bulgarian Orthodox Church, there's a Russian Orthodox Church, there’s a Greek Orthodox Church, but it’s kind of by country. And over history, the Russian government has often used the Russian Orthodox Church as spying and soft power projection and manipulating within a country. So the Ukrainians didn’t want that anymore, particularly after the Russians had invaded the eastern part of Ukraine back in 2014. So they pushed and they got granted what was called autocephaly, to create a Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Well, that took place. And I think that really was something that was incredibly upsetting to Vladimir Putin. Uh, he did not want Ukraine to see themselves as an independent people. He saw them as just merely a part of Russia, they should be a part of the Russian Orthodox Church, and 40% of the membership of the Russian Orthodox Church was in Ukraine. I think it honestly was one of the real match strikes that really upset President Putin that the Ukrainians are peeling away from Russia. They're trying to become their own country. He just saw him as part of Russia, it's time to move in and squash that. And that's what he did.
And so really, I think what you've got going on right now is trying to sort through that civil society development and splitting of orthodoxy within Ukraine, and you're getting a lot of people talking, pushing, shoving back and forth in that in that debate. My hope is, is that that in, at least in the sense of religious freedom, everybody's religious freedom will be guaranteed that if you want to practice, under the auspices of the Russian Orthodox Church, you're allowed to, but if you're not allowed to use that for soft power projection from the Russian government, or something of that nature.
LUMETTA: So looking at the globe as a whole. What would you say, based on your research, are some underlooked areas where religious freedoms might be under attack?
BROWNBACK: Nigeria gets quite a bit of coverage, but I still think it’s underlooked at because that whole Sahel region of West Africa, is the target for the next caliphate for the radical Islamic fundamentalist, they want to destabilize those governments in the region. They want to create a caliphate, it’s weakly governed now. You’ve got a group of people called the Fulani, that are nomadic, that have a number of teenagers that have been armed recently and have often gone in and attacked, mostly Christians, but not exclusively.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. The fault lines in Africa now are no longer tribal, they’re religious, it’s between Christianity and Islam. And I think it's completely under-appreciated for the scale of human suffering and migration that we're going to see if this, if this takes root and starts going.
I don’t think we’re looking at places in Latin America the way we should. Cuba, certainly for one that’s been long standard, but Nicaragua, you’re seeing a lot more persecution of the Catholic Church taking place.
Finally, just the overall issue of religious freedom. We just aren't stout enough on it all together. Because often, religions are the only institution big enough in a country that’s left as a civil society to actually stand up to a government. It’s why the Chinese are at war with faith. And they’re at war with all of them. They’re at war with the Muslim Uyghurs. They're at war with the Tibetan Buddhists. They're at war with the Falun Gong, and they're certainly at war with the Christians. But why are they at war with all of them? Do they just hate all of them? Well, it's because this is the one institution within the country that actually could stand up to or take down the government. And so we as Americans that are freedom-loving people, we should look at that and go, well, then we need to stand for religious freedom.
LUMETTA: You've outlined a lot of stories that are very distressing and involve a lot of suffering of people. Are there any stories of hope, any places where you've really seen things improve over the last year or five years?
BROWNBACK: Why actually, I think it's a matter of hope that there’s more focus on religious freedom now. And there’s a grassroots movement around religious freedom that didn’t exist. I’ve been talking about this for 20 years and 20 years ago, there was four people in a room. At the end of this month, we’ll have a thousand people at the Washington Hilton from all over the world standing for religious freedom. We’re trying to get this movement to go grassroots. And there’s more recognition in the foreign policy community that this is a major foreign policy issue, not just this little kind of side boutique issue. A guy gave me an example one time that was really helpful. And I was kind of lamenting to him, “I don't know, just, I don't know what to do. What, what's happening?” and the guy was Baháʼí. He said, “you know, maybe I give you a different perspective on this, the Iranians know where all the Baháʼí are located. And if you didn't, and the West and other people didn't stand up for religious freedom, they’d go kill them all. As it is, what they do is they persecute them, they don’t let them go to college in certain places, they have difficulties at jobs, but they’re alive. And if you, if the religious freedom movement didn’t exist, they’d be dead.” And, you know, you kind of take some hope that, well okay, I mean, we’re keeping people alive. It's a fundamental human right, it was recognized in the 1948 Convention on Human Rights, every country signed on to it. Just now we got to make that right real for people.
LUMETTA: Absolutely. Well, thank you for sharing your time and your thoughts today.
BROWNBACK: My pleasure.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with WORLD’s Africa reporter, Onize Ohikere.
ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Burkina Faso captives freed — We begin this week’s World Tour in the West African nation of Burkina Faso.
Authorities there have freed 66 people who were abducted earlier this month. The group includes 39 children.
Suspected Islamist insurgents kidnapped them in two attacks near the town of Arbinda in southern Soum province. The state-run broadcaster said the armed forces found the hostages during a military operation in the center-north region.
AUDIO: [Street sound]
Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State’s insurgency has killed thousands of people in Burkina Faso and displaced nearly 2 million others. Military officials seized power in a September coup, but have failed to stem the violence.
Syria building collapse — Next, to Syria, where a building collapse has killed at least 16 people in the city of Aleppo.
AUDIO: [Emergency responders]
Rescue workers used earth movers to scoop up the rubble while others used their bare hands.
Syria’s Interior Ministry says seven families lived in the five-story building. Syria’s 11-year civil war has destroyed or damaged many of the buildings in Aleppo. State media said water leakages weakened the collapsed building’s foundation.
AUDIO: [Rescue work ongoing]
The Syrian conflict has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced about half of the country’s pre-war population of 23 million people. The British-based Syrian Observatory said the victims were displaced people from Afrin, a northern city where Turkey carried out an offensive in 2018.
Belgium protests —We head next to the Belgian capital of Brussels.
AUDIO: [Chanting protesters]
Demonstrators held up signs and chanted as they called on the government to help secure the release of Olivier Vandecasteele.
The aid worker was sentenced last week by Iran’s Revolutionary Court to more than a decade in prison and 74 lashes. His charges include espionage and money laundering. Iran detained Vandecasteele during a visit to Iran last February.
AUDIO: [Speaking French]
His sister says here that he spent 16 days in solitary confinement where prison authorities passed him food through a trapdoor. Vandecasteele’s family, friends, and other humanitarian workers have asked Belgian authorities to find a solution.
Pakistan power outage— We wrap up today in Pakistan.
Several shopkeepers in the largest city of Karachi sat idly on Monday as much of the country was left without power.
The government turned off electricity during low usage hours overnight. But technicians could not reboot the system all at once after daybreak.
The outage also affected the capital of Islamabad and several other key cities.
AUDIO: [Speaking Urdu]
This shop owner says he couldn’t work all day or serve any customers.
Pakistan is grappling with one of the country’s worst economic crises in recent years. Earlier this month. The government ordered shopping malls and markets to close by 8:30 pm to conserve energy.
That’s it for this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.
NICK EICHER, HOST: We are long past Halloween, but there’s a deer roaming this Michigan neighborhood, wearing what almost seems like a costume, a Halloween bucket over its face.
This is actually kind of sad, because this is more common than you might imagine.
An animal recovery team last month freed a deer in similar distress just outside Detroit.
People in this Lansing neighborhood sought help and the team arrived with net and tarps.
AUDIO: [SOUND OF NET FALLING AND SNARING DEER]
This video posted to Facebook shows it didn’t even take three minutes for volunteers to snare the deer, untangle it from the netting, remove the pumpkin shaped container from its head, and then stand back as the deer leapt to freedom.
AUDIO: [SOUND OF CELEBRATION AFTER THE RESCUE]
The team recommends cutting the plastic straps on trick-or-treat buckets before throwing them out as they would rather not have to keep rescuing curious deer from the Halloween headgear.
REICHARD: The deer might prefer it, too.
EICHER: It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, January 25th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: chickens in the backyard! And no wonder. Last January, the average price of a dozen eggs was about $1.50. Now, it’s nearly triple, with some places in California topping $7 a dozen—Hawaii, $9, can you believe it?
REICHARD: Yes, that’s the sticker shock that’s leading many people to consider raising their own egg layers, especially as many towns have cut restrictions on keeping backyard chickens. WORLD’s Paul Butler has our story.
PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: Garrett Luck, his wife Lauren, and their five kids live in north-central rural Illinois. They have a hen house full of chickens…
LUCK: It started with four maybe three years ago we got them for the kids for Easter and then my wife decided we needed more. Next thing I know we got 40…
This morning, Luck is collecting eggs on his own. The rest of the family is gone for the weekend.
LUCK: Let me grab some eggs. I generally grab them once a day. During the spring and summertime you know we get 30-35 eggs a day, but now it's much less. I mean sometimes it's five. Sometimes it's 15. Sometimes it's two.
This morning, it’s a little less than a dozen. The cold air and the freshly laid pine chips effectively mask the smell of chicken manure. As Luck lifts the feed bin lid, a small hen hops into the container. The rest mill around waiting for breakfast.
LUCK: [POURING FEED IN FEEDER] Oh we go through—probably, I don't know—100 pounds a week [of] pellet feed…
Golden comets, speckled Sussex, Rhode Island reds—each breed lays different colored eggs. That’s important to his wife...
LUCK: Some are dark brown. There's tans, there's greens, there's blues, so she wanted them to look pretty…
Luck is a natural gas technician by day…and a hobby egg producer when he’s off the clock. He raises chickens first and foremost to provide eggs for his own family. He likes them hard boiled, Lauren prefers them over easy, and the kids: scrambled.
LUCK: I like having the fresh eggs. We go through a lot. We easily go through a couple dozen a week.
But especially during the warmer months, he has many more eggs than he can use, so he sells them to family and neighbors.
LUCK: We probably got 20 different families or so that get them from us. People from the gym, neighbors down the road, of course mom and dad and then my wife's parents, they get them…
During World War II, keeping backyard chickens was encouraged as a patriotic duty.
VICTORY GARDENS NEWSREEL: Of all the weapons the united nations are using to win this war, food is among the most important…
After the war, chickens slowly disappeared from most of our backyards. But times of uncertainty often cause an uptick in interest. During the first year of the pandemic, hatcheries reported that their orders tripled. The current egg price trend seems poised to cause a similar reality.
PADGETT: I personally have talked to a lot of people that have asked me about keeping backyard birds, you know, to do the fresh eggs because the egg prices have gone crazy.
Norma Padgett is President of the American Poultry Association. She shows birds competitively. Padgett has kept poultry for more than 50 years. She’s seen people become interested in chickens for practical reasons—like a steady supply of eggs—but find unexpected companionship with the birds as well.
PADGETT: You know, you go out there every day on a regular basis, and you let them get out of their pens and graze around the grass and watch them and they've just got this little personality and, and some people even like they become their pet.
Padgett says if you’re interested in keeping backyard poultry, do some research before you begin—the APA provides many online resources.
Finding a group of fellow enthusiasts to learn from is also a good idea.
BELL: My name is Katie Bell and I am a local foods and small farms educator for the University of Illinois Extension…
Bell is leading a beginners poultry class in March…
BELL: We usually do one workshop a year. I think currently we have about 30 signed up for that program. So it seems like there's definitely an interest there right now. And so we're pretty excited.
As an educator Bell is all about people taking control of their own food production. She has some helpful tips for anyone considering chickens.
BELL: Just start with a few and then you know expand slowly. Don't buy 50 of them if you've never had them before. Start small, then you can build up.
And just like any other animal under your care, you’ll need to provide for their basic needs.
BELL: Another thing to keep in mind is that, while yes, the eggs are technically free, you're gonna have to feed those chickens something, you're going to have to house them somewhere. So upfront costs are something that you want to look at.
Bell frequently reminds people that if they’re buying chicks, they won’t start getting eggs for about six months and it’ll be another six months to a year before the birds hit their prime. If you buy mature chickens, both Bell and Padgett encourage you to buy them from reputable sellers—so you don’t end up with unhealthy or old birds. And if you have neighbors that live close by, Katie Bell says you should talk with them before jumping in.
BELL: Hens you know, they make noises. So making sure your neighbors are aware of what's going on. Inevitably they will get out. Maybe in these times, a free dozen eggs every so often goes a long way to making friends.
SOUND OF COMING INTO THE HOUSE/TURNING ON THE FAUCET
Back at the Luck home, Garrett is in the kitchen…rinsing off this morning’s eggs.
LUCK: [WATER RUNNING AS HE’S CLEANING EGGS] This was just kind of a hobby for us. It's a labor of love. There's not a whole lot of profit to be had. The kids, they help out a lot, to give them something to do and teach them a little something.
Even his youngest can do the chores. He says chickens are a great introduction to keeping livestock and building responsibility in his young family. He learned that himself growing up around pigs, but he prefers the hens.
LUCK: Just treat them like you would anything else I guess. Try to take care of them as best you can. And then they give you a little return.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Paul Butler in Arlington, Illinois.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, January 25th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Up next, WORLD Senior Writer Janie B. Cheaney reflects on leaving a home filled with so many memories.
JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: Our lives changed forever last fall when we sold the house that had been our home for almost 25 years: that quirky century-old house with its weird angles, wavy floors, creaky stairs, startling sunrises, with its frustrations and sighs and walls that could speak volumes; where we lived for almost half our marriage and experienced that marriage’s near-deterioration, and argued, and grew apart, and reconciled; where he lost his memory and I lost my complacency; where I faced my greatest fears and greatest disappointments and experienced that peace that passes all understanding; where our children left and our grandchildren arrived; that place, ingrained with the memories of joy and hurt, achievement and failure—
We’ve left many houses—twenty-one, to be exact, most of them rented during our footloose early years. With children came more stability, along with mortgages, longer residencies, and greater nostalgia when turning out the lights for the last time. “There are places I’ll remember,” John Lennon wrote, and they all had their moments. I’m grateful for all those houses and locations I still can recall, but we left them while young and upwardly mobile, headed toward new adventures.
We left this house because we’re on the downhill slope. Instead of accumulating, I’m divesting as fast as I can. Instead of long-term financial planning, I’m calculating expenses on a fixed income. I guess we are officially old.
Paul writes of folding up his earthly tent in I Corinthians 5. He was speaking of his frail physical body, traded in for a vibrant and glorious one. For baby boomers and Gen-Xers who came of age in the late-20th century, the metaphor could also apply to real estate and abundant “stuff.” My sister is getting an early start: she sold her large lake house (where she took in homeless cats and humans for fifteen years), sold or gave away most of her possessions, and now lives in a 23-foot travel trailer. As our generation dies off amid burgeoning estate sales, I suspect overstuffed sofas and china cabinets will glut the market. Maybe even the landfills.
Possessions can’t cross the boundary between flesh and spirit. “You can’t take it with you” implies that you’re going some place your wealth can’t follow. But your memories can.
When I locked the door of our country home for the last time, I took my memories, untidily stored in mental shoeboxes. A song or scent will bring them to mind, trailing regret or nostalgia or gratitude. They are a testimony to the many ways the Lord ordered my steps and shaped my character. I believe, when we reach our permanent home, we’ll be able to look back over the tapestry of our intertwined lives and see his mysterious ways. Those places we remember were always in his mind and will remain in ours.
I’m Janie B. Cheaney.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: a group of Christian students is once again fighting for its right to remain on-campus at a local high school.
Plus, we’ll meet a man whose Christian mission includes making custom surfboards.
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.
A reminder that this year we are following the ESV Bible in a Year reading schedule, same thing as you’ll hear on the ESV podcast. And we’ll pick a portion from each day.
The Bible says: John preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:7-8 ESV)
Go now in grace and peace.
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