MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning! The leader of ISIS is dead, and the United States now has a treasure trove of documents from his compound. What’ll this mean for American counterterrorism? We’ll talk about that on Washington Wednesday.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also today World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere. Plus, a profile of a family of traveling Christian evangelists.
PERFORMANCE: What’s your name bud? Elijah. Can you shuffle cards? That’s your only job. Come on up… give me a big hand.
And Janie B. Cheaney on considering the heavens and our place in them.
BASHAM: It’s Wednesday, October 30th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
BASHAM: Now the news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: House Democrats unveil impeachment inquiry resolution » House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled an updated roadmap for possibly impeaching President Trump.
The eight-page resolution calls for open hearings. It also requires the House Intelligence Committee to submit a report outlining its findings and recommendations. The Judiciary Committee would make the final recommendation on impeachment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the move to formalize the inquiry is designed to counter Republican complaints that the process is unfair. But House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said it changes nothing.
SCALISE: Speaker Pelosi’s resolution confirms that it’s an impeachment inquiry, yet every other impeachment inquiry we’ve had in the history of our country, all three, have allowed both sides to call witnesses, have allowed the White House to participate. That’s not happening right now.
The resolution would allow Republicans to request subpoenas, but such requests have to win a vote by the full committee, which Democrats control.
Lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday from an Army officer serving with President Trump’s National Security Council. Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman served in Iraq and later as a diplomat. He told House investigators behind closed doors that he listened to Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainian president. He said he twice raised concerns over the president’s push to have Ukraine investigate Democrats and Joe Biden.
Boeing CEO faces tough questions over Max jets » Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg faced more tough questions Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers on a Senate panel grilled him about two crashes involving the company’s 737 Max jets.
The hearing took place exactly one year after a Max jet flown by Lion Air crashed off the coast of Indonesia. Muilenburg said the company is “deeply and truly sorry.”
MUILENBURG: We can and must do better. We’ve been challenged and changed by these accidents.
But lawmakers were unmoved by the apology. Texas Senator Ted Cruz pointed to a text exchange between senior technical officials at Boeing back in 2016. During that exchange, they discussed problems with Boeing’s MCAS flight system believed to be at the heart of the Max jet crashes.
Boeing successfully lobbied regulators to keep any explanation of the MCAS system from pilot manuals and training.
The Max jets remain grounded. Boeing hopes to win federal approval by year end to return the planes to the air.
Trump admin extends TPS for El Salvador citizens » More than 200,000 citizens from El Salvador living in the United States will not be deported for at least a year. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Trump administration announced Monday that it will extend temporary protected status—or TPS—for Salvadorans.
TPS offers temporary refuge to foreign nationals from countries facing war or severe natural disasters. The United States granted the status to Salvadorans after a major earthquake struck the country in 2001—killing more than a thousand people and leaving more than a million homeless.
In 2018, the Trump administration announced the end of TPS for people from El Salvador and several other countries. But a federal court blocked the move. The administration is still fighting in court to end TPS, but it has agreed to extend it for Salvadorans at least until January of 2021 and for one year after the court case is resolved.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Another round of blackouts begins in California amid wildfires » Frustration and anger mounted across Northern California as the state’s biggest utility began another round of blackouts. The shut-offs are aimed at keeping windblown electrical equipment from sparking wildfires.
Pacific Gas & Electric Corp said its latest blackout—beginning yesterday—would affect roughly 1.5 million people. The announcement came even before the end of the last blackout, which saw two-and-a-half million people lose power over the weekend.
Meantime, fire crews are still racing to contain two major blazes on opposite ends of the state. The Kincade fire in northern Sonoma County has consumed more than 75,000 acres.
And the Getty fire in Southern California has driven thousands from their homes—including Los Angeles resident Marilyn Levin.
LEVIN: I could smell smoke in the living room. And I looked outside and ashes are falling on my car and I got nervous. And I looked around and finally I saw flames at the top of the hill, so I put a few things in the car and I left.
The fires have forced some 200,000 Californians to evacuate.
U.K. to hold early election in push to break Brexit deadlock » The UK will hold an early general election on December 12th.
The House of Commons on Tuesday backed an early national vote that could break the country’s political deadlock over Brexit.
AUDIO: The ayes to the right, 438; the nos to the left, 20.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed for the vote in hopes that electing a new core of lawmakers will give him the numbers he needs in Parliament to push Brexit across the finish line. Johnson is gambling on recent political polls that suggest his Conservative Party can win a majority in December.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: what’s next in the U.S. fight against terrorism. Plus, a family of evangelists who reveal Jesus in an unusual way. This is The World and Everything in It.
MEGAN BASHAM: It’s Wednesday the 30th of October, 2019. Glad to have you along today. Good morning, I’m Megan Basham.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up today on The World and Everything in It: U.S. counter-terrorism policy.
Today, we’ll talk about the significance of the death of the most-wanted man on earth: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS and the head of its so-called “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq that at one point equaled the size of Britain.
Here to talk about what this means and where U.S. counter-terrorism policy goes from here is Ambassador Alberto Fernandez. He spent three decades with the U.S. State Department and served as the department’s first Coordinator for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications. He’s now president of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.
Ambassador, good morning to you.
FERNANDEZ: Good morning. Happy to be with you.
EICHER: OK, first, let’s start with the basics. Who was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and how did he become so influential in the world of radical Islam?
FERNANDEZ: Well, he was a revolutionary ideologue, an extremist Islamist, Salafi jihadist, an Iraqi who in the turmoil of the post-Saddam Hussein Iraq connected with a rising insurgent terrorist organization in Iraq connected to al-Qaeda and rose through the ranks. The Americans killed the previous leadership and he became the leader of what was the Islamic State of Iraq in 2010.
His revolutionary thing that he did was to take the jihadist movement one step further and announce with great fanfare the reestablishment of the long-lost caliphate and claim universal sovereignty over all Muslims worldwide—something that al-Qaeda had never done.
EICHER: While Baghdadi’s name might not be as recognizable as Osama bin Laden’s, some analysts are saying his death is actually more significant. What do you think?
FERNANDEZ: Well, I mean, it’s kind of apples and oranges. Bin Laden was kind of the founding member of an enterprise which is global jihadism, right? He took it global in a very, very powerful way both before and obviously with 9/11.
What Badhdadi did, he took it to the next level. He took the al-Qaeda brand of terrorism, the al-Qaeda brand of doing this kind of jihad and violence and he brought it into the 21st century in a very real way, taking it far beyond the way al-Qaeda had done.
So he was also, again, it’s hard to say one is more important than the other. One came before the other, but they were both extremely important in the development of the global jihadist movement.
EICHER: It’s so interesting to hear you talk in almost marketing language about the brand of Islamic terrorism. I have understood that Baghdadi was more of a tactician than Bin Laden. And maybe that’s what you mean by apples and oranges?
FERNANDEZ: Actually, I don’t think he was a tactician. Bin Laden was, you know, earlier. But Baghdadi was revolutionary in what he tried to do. He basically took the al-Qaeda brand and introduced a series of new elements to it.
Number one, the declaration of the caliphate.
Number two, the establishment of a state, an actual state. Al-Qaeda had control of territory here and there, but nothing like what ISIS controlled—which controlled cities of—two cities with over a million people in them. So it had the look and the feel of a real state on the ground.
And number three, he and his minions revolutionized the way that jihadists did propaganda.
So a lot more than a tactician, like I said. He took it to the next level, unfortunately, for his victims and for the world.
EICHER: It is striking to me that this big development came so closely on the heels of the remaining American troops pulling out of Syria. Do you see that move as related to then finding and killing Baghdadi?
FERNANDEZ: Some people have tried to kind of force that to try to attack the administration, you know, by saying we got him and we’re leaving. I think that’s a little forced. U.S. interest in what was happening in that part of Syria, of like northwestern Syria, the Idlib area goes back years because it was an al-Qaeda cell there—there was the so-called Khorasan group.
And as far as we know, the raiders, the brave American soldiers who carried out this operation didn’t launch from Syria. They launched from elsewhere. So, of course, there’s a connection to Syria. There’s a connection to the Syrian Kurds, the SDF were very helpful in this operation, as were other players in the region.
And so I kind of reject making that obvious connection of we’re leaving and we couldn’t have done this otherwise. Because this is an area, the whole region is an area we look at and we look at developing relationships, intelligence relationships, and others to be able to extract information to carry out these types of bold strikes. This is something we did before. We did before we were ever in northeastern Syria and we will continue to do that in the future, I’m sure.
EICHER: So, when we killed Osama bin Laden, that was obviously not the end of radical jihadism and so it’s probably not much of a stretch to suggest that with the death of Baghdadi that that won’t be the end of it either.
So what do you think is next for the United States? What’s next for our counter-terrorism policy?
FERNANDEZ: Well, I think there’s two things. There are two dangers—one likely, one less likely. The danger is, of course, that we will kind of declare victory and go home. I don’t mean literally, I mean figuratively.
After the death of Bin Laden, there was a bit of complacency in the Obama administration. You may remember the notorious “JV team” remark, which was about ISIS in February, January-February of 2012, which was, of course, sadly wrong.
So the first temptation is for us to say we killed the world’s number one terrorist, we’re leaving, and we’ve won—kind of mission accomplished. That’s very dangerous because Salafi jihadism as an ideology, global jihadist movement is not going anywhere. So that’s kind of the big danger.
The other one, which is maybe less likely, is that slippery slope that we’ll over-commit and involve ourselves in things that are not the core issue, which is counter-terrorism. That’s where you get involved in things like nation-building and kind of having a large footprint on the ground, which is also not what we want to do.
So the challenge for the United States is to find that happy middle ground where we’re engaged, we’re active, we’re not isolationist, we’re connected with our partners, we’re building all kinds of good relationships. But we’re also not so intrusive, so heavy-handed and heavy on the ground that we become a problem rather than part of the solution.
EICHER: I’m going to ask you to venture into politics for just a minute because I’m curious about the political implications of something like this. We remember back in 2011, the year before an election, U-S troops killed bin Laden, and the slogan on the campaign trail is “Bin Laden is dead, and GM is alive.”
It always makes its way into American politics one way or another, and here we are again, another year before an election, similar situation. Do you think that the death of Baghdadi will be something that will be talked about much on the campaign trail by the president or even his opponent?
FERNANDEZ: Look, I think it was a victory for the United States. It’s something for us to celebrate—a military victory, a defeating of a horrible person, a mass murderer and a rapist who killed Americans and all kinds of innocent people. I think there’s nothing wrong with the United States taking credit for that and the administration should be happy about taking credit for it. Full credit for it.
Now, with any victory, with any success, there’s always the danger of overselling it, of exaggerating it. I think that happened in 2012 with the previous administration. It’s always a danger that this administration will do the same thing.
I think the cautionary note is to remember what happened before, which is that they celebrated, and then ISIS came about. And it may not have affected politics, but it certainly set the stage. You may remember that in the 2016 election, the fact that ISIS was this powerful entity was an issue. And the Democrats’ claim that they had defeated al-Qaeda, defeated ISIS, came back to haunt them.
So you have to be careful. Claim credit, be happy in your success, but don’t overdo it.
EICHER: Ambassador Alberto Fernandez is a former U.S. diplomat and president of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks. Ambassador, thanks for your insights and thank you so much for your time.
FERNANDEZ: Thank you.
NICK EICHER: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with our Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.
ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Protests and fallout in Iraq—We start today in the Middle East.
AUDIO: [Sounds of chanting, police sirens]
Masked gunmen attacked protesters in Iraq’s Shiite holy city of Karbala on Tuesday. Security officials said at least 18 people died and hundreds were wounded. Protesters said they did not know whether the attackers belonged to riot police, special forces, or militias linked to Iran.
The Iraqi government is not above using violence against protesters. It deployed elite counter-terrorism units to the streets on Monday. They had orders to end the protests by any means necessary.
But the threat of violence didn’t deter thousands of protesters from filling the streets of Baghdad for a fifth day.
Students even joined in despite government orders for universities to remain open.
AUDIO: [Man speaking Arabic]
This man says students could be key to the protests’ success. He noted young people have led many revolutions in both the Arab and Western worlds.
The protesters are angry over corruption, economic stagnation, and a lack of basic services in Iraq. And their calls for reform are increasingly aimed at Iranian-backed politicians and militias operating in the country.
Conclusion of pope’s Amazon meeting—Next we go to Europe.
AUDIO: [Sound of singing from mass]
A three-week-long Vatican assembly concluded with recommendations that could radically change the Catholic Church. Bishops from the Amazon had gathered to discuss issues facing their region. It’s an isolated area with very few priests. Some Catholics don’t see a priest for months or even years.
The bishops want to address that shortage by ordaining married men as priests. Right now, only celibate men can enter the priesthood.
Pope Francis said he will review the bishops’ recommendations and make a decision by the end of the year.
FRANCIS: [Pope speaking in Italian]
In his closing remarks, Francis said he felt encouraged to “leave comfortable shores,” and that he wanted to open new roads to proclaim the gospel.
The gathering also discussed the possibility of ordaining women as deacons. Francis said he would reopen a commission to study that question.
Presidential election in Argentina—AUDIO: [Sounds of cheering]
Voters in Argentina celebrated a presidential election victory for Alberto Fernández on Sunday. He beat out conservative incumbent President Mauricio Macri.
Fernandez vowed to rebuild what he called “the egalitarian and supportive Argentina” that voters want.
FERNANDEZ: [Man speaking Spanish]
On the campaign trail Fernandez blasted his opponent’s unpopular austerity measures. He blamed them for the country’s economic woes. But investors fear the center-left policies of the Fernandez government won’t be much better. Stock markets tumbled after Fernandez won his party’s primary election in August.
Sunday’s election victory also sends former President Cristina Fernandez back to power, this time as vice president. She maintains a strong base of support despite still facing a string of corruption investigations from her time as president.
Taliban peace talks—And finally, we end today back in the Middle East, this time in Afghanistan.
AUDIO: [Man speaking Pushto]
The country’s national security adviser called on the Taliban to join a one-month ceasefire amid American attempts to restart peace negotiations. The Afghan government has yet to participate in peace talks with the terror group.
U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan this week to persuade regional players to help end fighting in the war-torn country.
That’s this week’s World Tour. For WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere reporting from Abuja, Nigeria.
MEGAN BASHAM: If you were listening a month ago, maybe you remember that remarkable discovery by an elderly French woman: an old painting hanging in her kitchen. Turned out it was a 13th-century masterpiece.
The painting is by Italian Florentine painter Cimabue. It’s titled “Christ Mocked” and depicts Jesus standing in a crowd.
Well, here’s an update: An anonymous collector has purchased the piece.
AUDIO: [Sound of auction]
Considered by many to be priceless, that auctioneer did of course find a price.
The painting sold for nearly $27 million, four and a half times the expected amount.
Another reminder to look twice at that old “junk” lurking around your house. And don’t make fun of Grandma’s pictures.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: Today is Wednesday, October 30th. So glad you’ve joined us today. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Coming next on The World and Everything in It, a profile of a young family using its unique gifts to share the gospel.
Fifty years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to see churches packed on weeknights when traveling ministers came to town. That’s much less common today.
EICHER: But that hasn’t stopped a new generation of vocational evangelists from seeking to draw a crowd and present the good news. WORLD Radio’s Myrna Brown recently caught up with one such evangelist and his family in Mobile, Alabama.
BRYAN: Hey Hey
MYRNA BROWN, REPORTER: On a Saturday afternoon…
AUDIO: [Sound of coffee percolating]
…in a tiny cul-de-sac of red brick ranch houses the coffee is on…
KARLA DRAKE: This is Ella and the big one is Harper.
And so are the Drake sisters.
KARLA TO HARPER: What else does she sing Harper? (Harper sings chorus of Aladdin song) “A whole new world” (Then Ella repeats in baby language)
The words you can’t quite make out are from 14-month-old Ella. She’s got short, blond hair and round, squeezable cheeks.
HARPER RECITING BIBLE VERSE: So God created mankind in His own image male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27
Big sister Harper is five and on top of her weekly Bible verse. Wearing her favorite polka dot, chiffon skirt, she’s a younger version of her father, Bryan Drake.
BRYAN DRAKE: So, I’m six- foot- five and I figured I wasn’t tall enough, so I decided to add a good four inch Mohawk.
AUDIO: [Ella runs into the wall, squeals, Karla consoles] Well you keep doing it
Busy wiping away tears and kissing scrapes—Karla Drake. Brown-haired, slender and petite, the 33-year-old mom savors these moments because there are few of them.
KARLA DRAKE: So we’re gone from our home probably 180 days of the year.
PERFORMANCE: (Applause) Good Morning. How we’re doing out there?
The Drakes, along with Harper and Ella, travel all over the world sharing the gospel.
BRYAN: Hebrews Chapter 12 verse 1 and 2. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us…
But they aren’t traditional traveling evangelists.
PERFORMANCE: What’s your name bud? Elijah. Can you shuffle cards? That’s your only job. Come on up… give me a big hand.
During a 2017 presentation in Birmingham, Alabama, Bryan invites a young boy to join him on stage.Then, he hands the pre-teen a deck of playing cards.
PERFORMANCE: Mix them around, but don’t let me see them, ok. The idea is very important that I can’t see them.
By the end of the exchange, Bryan successfully identifies every card in the boy’s hand. The audience is impressed, but that isn’t the endgame. Bryan begins to peel back the layers of his illusion.
PERFORMANCE: Your eyes are looking somewhere and I’m doing something else that you don’t even see. But the idea is, I’m getting you to focus your attention in the wrong place. And too many times as believers, Christians and people in general, we have our eyes focused in the wrong place.
The Drakes are illusionists. While Bryan is the mouthpiece, Karla is working behind the scenes.
KARLA: A lot of the things we do looks like it only takes one person, but obviously it’s an illusion. So, a lot of the things that look like he did very, very well and he did a great job, he literally did nothing except talk.
BRYAN: The thing about Karla, I’ll brag on her for a little bit, she comes up with most of our routines and tweaks them, but she’s never one to seek credit or glory.
It’s a partnership that began more than 15 years ago. Both born in Mobile, Alabama, Bryan was a magic-loving nerd, raised in the church.
BRYAN: When I was 15, I realized that there was something missing in me. And I realized that even though I knew all the stuff in my head, that I’d never given my life to Jesus. It was more just like a cultural thing.
Bryan says he surrendered his life to Jesus and began pursuing ministry. He worked part time at a bank to pay for seminary.
BRYAN: I would do tricks and stuff for people every single day in the business group. Then the last time I remember doing it, I looked up and there were literally 50 people watching. I was like, this is a stage!
Karla was pursuing a career in education.
KARLA: I grew up poor. Two bedroom trailer and six people.
She heard the gospel for the first time on the church bus that picked her up every Sunday. She and Bryan met in high school and married while still in college. As a youth pastor, Bryan started getting requests to do more shows. Karla would tag alone.
KARLA: And God was really working on my heart that this was something we were supposed to do as a couple, together. And here we are 10 years later.
BRYAN: Yeah, 10 years later.
The first few years of their ministry they experienced isolation and felt crushed beneath the weight of a mountain of skepticism.
KARLA: Everybody thought we were crazy. They were like, no you shouldn’t do that. You should just be a teacher. You should just be a youth pastor.
After a decade of doing shows in churches, schools, and on college campuses all over the world, the Drakes say today they face new challenges.
BRYAN: Ella is not a great car traveler.
KARLA: Ella hates the car, but airplanes, she’s fine.
And some obstacles are simply recycled.
KARLA: It’s a pretty big church in Texas. We were going to do the show and then a week out a deacon got wind of it and he did not like the idea of an illusionist. So the youth minister had to call us and say we can’t come. We don’t do real magic. And we can say it til we’re blue in the face, but that person probably isn’t going to change their mind.
AUDIO: [Sound of Bryan shuffling cards]
In the family room, Bryan handles a deck of cards and hands them to Harper. With bright, blue eyes she leans over with confidence and says…
HARPER TO MYRNA: Pick a card.
BRYAN: Harper said earlier, when I grow up, I want to tell people about Jesus, Like y’all.
KARLA: Yeah, so I guess that’s kind of being ingrained in her already and that’s our goal. Yeah, that’s our goal.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Myrna Brown reporting from Mobile, Alabama.
MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Wednesday, October 30th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. The Earth is a tiny place when you compare it to the vastness of space. But commentator Janie B. Cheaney notes size does not equal value in the heart of a loving Creator.
JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: Going to the moon in 1969 was, in the words of Neil Armstrong, a giant leap for mankind. But the universe had gotten bigger just in the last 50 years. Compared to the inconceivable size of space, a modern cynic might compare the moon landing to a puddle jump.
From literally the center of the ancient Ptolemaic system, our Earth has shrunk to a small satellite of an insignificant star on the edge of a galaxy that is itself merely one arm of massive spiral that links to other massive spirals.
And put-down words like only, merely, one of many, make us feel like nothing much. To quote Bill Nye the Science Guy, “I’m a speck on a speck orbiting a speck among other specks among still other specks in the middle of specklessness!” Astrophysicists with better credentials express the same sentiment in more elegant terms.
But smallness can be equally overwhelming. Atoms were once considered the bedrock of matter, until protons, neutrons, and electrons gave way to particles and sub-particles and quarks, and we’re still not to the end of it. Weaving it all together is the so-called “God particle,” long speculated, never actually seen. In spite of the nickname, a personal God is not in the picture. It’s all “specks.”
But if God is who He says He is, He made space. And time. Bigness and smallness are works of His hands.
What if, in presenting us with unthinkable size, He’s writing large the message of Scripture? “The last shall be first.” “You must become like a little child.” “God rejects the proud, but exalts the humble.”
Within the massive vault of space stands the only known creature in the entire universe who can observe and think about it. At one point in time, the Creator opened a door in space and walked in, humbling Himself still further to become a particle of dust within his own creation, aiming to redeem it all.
I don’t know what redemption will look like, but here’s my very unscientific picture of the cosmos. We’ve learned that the universe is expanding, like ripples on a pond. What if it’s more like a balloon, so big its curve looks flat? It expands by the breath of God, but He keeps His eye on one speck of dust on the surface of space: our tiny planet with its tiny souls.
One day, there will be no more days. The cosmos may pop, revealing the Holy City with glowing gates, filled with “innumerable angels in festal gathering and the assembly of the firstborn.” Or perhaps it will shrink again, all its glory gathered up, in the blink of an eye, to shine on the new creation.
I know this: size won’t matter. It doesn’t matter now. As you consider the heavens, He is considering you, and it’s not according to your bigness or smallness, but to His vast and abiding love.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Janie B. Cheaney.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: We’ll hear from Dallas-area churches working to repair damage from a tornado that ripped through the city two weeks ago.
And, we’ll introduce you to a man who grows really, really, really big pumpkins.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
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