The World and Everything in It — June 2, 2020

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

The Supreme Court handed down several decisions yesterday—including the case of whether a young man in fear for his safety should be returned to Lebanon.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Also babies born to surrogate mothers in Ukraine are stranded during this time of travel restrictions. But now the plight of these little ones highlights dangers of commercial surrogacy.

Plus our Classic Book of the Month.

REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, June 2nd. 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: Now here’s Kent Covington with the news.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Peaceful and violent protest continue as Trump vows to stop lawlessness » AUDIO: [Sound of protest]

Demonstrators were out in force again on Monday. And once again, in some places, chaos overshadowed peaceful protests.

AUDIO: [Sound of protest]

Police heard there, arresting a protester in Washington D.C., which, like many other cities, imposed a strict curfew last night. 

AUDIO: A citywide curfew is in effect from 7 p.m. tonight till 6 a.m. tomorrow morning. You are currently in violation of the mayor’s curfew.

Just before the 7 p.m. curfew took effect, the National Guard used tear gas to sweep protesters out of a park near the White House. 

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser criticized the use of force by federal authorities to clear Lafayette Square. She noted that protesters there were peaceful and said it will make the job of local police more difficult.

Hours earlier, President Trump addressed the nation from the Rose Garden. He condemned the death of George Floyd while in police custody and said his administration is committed to seeing justice done. But he drew a very hard line on lawlessness amid the unrest. 

TRUMP: I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property. 

Trump urged governors to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers to—quote—“dominate the streets.” 

And with that show of force on display near the White House, the president later walked through an empty Lafayette Square to view a church partially set ablaze by rioters on Sunday.

Chauvin moved to maximum security prison as Floyd family releases independent autopsy » The former police officer charged with murder in Floyd’s death has reportedly been transferred to a maximum security prison. 

Video footage of last week’s arrest showed Derek Chauvin with his knee pressed against Floyd’s neck. Authorities were holding him at the Ramsey County Jail. But due to heightened safety concerns, he’s now at the Minnesota Correctional Facility – Oak Park Heights, the most secure prison in the state.

Meantime, an autopsy commissioned for George Floyd’s family found that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression. 

The family’s autopsy differs from the government’s findings. The official autopsy included the effects of being restrained, along with underlying health issues and potential intoxicants in Floyd’s system. But it also said it found nothing—quote—“to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”

Hong Kong police turn away candlelight vigil marking Tiananmen Square massacre » Hong Kong police rejected an application Monday for a candlelight vigil marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. WORLD’s Anna Johansen has more. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: The yearly vigil commemorates China’s deadly military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. 

This would be the first time in 30 years that the vigil is not held in Hong Kong. 

Police say they denied the application over fears that a crowd could gather without social distancing, triggering another coronavirus outbreak. But activists say authorities are using the virus as an excuse to stifle free speech. 

The decision follows a move by China to impose a sweeping so-called national security law in Hong Kong. Many experts believe the law will strip away the semi-autonomous region’s remaining independence from Beijing. 

Thousands of Hong Kong residents are now applying for passports that could allow them to move to the U.K. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen. 

Atlantic hurricane season off to a busy start » The Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway. It runs from the first of June through November 30th. And the National Hurricane Center says it’s “off to a busy start!” 

So far this year, two tropical storms have already swirled over the Atlantic, Arthur and Bertha. 

An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms. But this year, forecasters are predicting as many as 13 to 19. And they say 6 to 10 of those could become hurricanes. 

U.S. ships millions of Hydroxychloroquine doses to Brazil » The United States has sent more than 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to Brazil as the country battles a worsening coronavirus outbreak. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has that story. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Brazil is already Latin America’s hardest-hit country and COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

The White House said the U.S. government sent the hydroxychloroquine shipment to Brazil as a prophylactic for front-line health workers and as a therapeutic for patients. The United States is also sending a thousand ventilators to Brazil.

Trump revealed in May that he took a two-week course of the drug to protect against the coronavirus. 

Hydroxychloroquine is primarily used as an antimalarial drug. Studies examining its effectiveness against COVID-19, generally paired with an antibiotic, have produced mixed results. 

No large, rigorous studies have proven the drug to be effective for preventing or treating COVID-19.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: five rulings from the Supreme Court.

Plus, Katie Gaultney on prayers for peace in Dallas.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: It’s Tuesday, the 2nd of June, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. The U.S. Supreme Court handed down five decisions yesterday.

First, a 7-2 decision in favor of a Lebanese native caught up in deportation proceedings. 

Nidal Nasrallah came to the United States in 2006. He’d been a teenager when Hezbollah terrorists nearly killed him. 

Later, he became a lawful permanent resident. But authorities began deportation proceedings against Nasrallah after a criminal conviction landed him in prison for a year. 

Fearing he’d face torture back in Lebanon, he argued that the Convention Against Torture treaty protects him from deportation.

But he met a roadblock in federal appeals court. That court held that it lacked authority to review the facts of his case. 

The Supreme Court reversed that and said federal courts do have jurisdiction to review the facts. That gives Nasrallah the chance now to pursue his case.

EICHER: Next, a decision involving Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy. 

President Obama appointed members to the Financial Oversight and Management Board. That panel has power to direct the territory out of its fiscal problems.

The Constitution empowers presidents to nominate and appoint public officials with the advice and consent of the Senate. But that’s not what happened here. So creditors who didn’t like the board’s actions sued.

Unanimously, though, the Supreme Court held that because the board’s authority is both limited and local, presidents don’t need Senate approval for their appointees.

REICHARD: A 7-2 ruling hands victory to a prisoner in Texas. It allows a review of the prisoner’s 30-year sentence for aggravated assault. This highly technical legal question dealt with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the timeliness of filing an appeal.

EICHER: Opinion four is unanimous and it strengthens the power of arbitration as a substitute for litigation. The court ruled that a subsidiary business that wasn’t originally a party to an arbitration agreement can still force arbitration, even when the principal parties that made the agreement try to break the agreement.

All 9 justices said fairness requires those principals abide by their own agreement.

REICHARD: Lastly, a split ruling 5-to-4 involving the federal law ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The Supreme Court says employees who’ve suffered no actual financial harm lack standing to sue under the provisions of ERISA. This effectively ends a now seven-year dispute that accused US Bank of squandering millions in risky investments.

NICK EICHER: Next up on The World and Everything in It: babies stranded in Ukraine.

Last month, a fertility clinic in Kiev released a video that attracted international media attention. It showed rows of babies in a single room, crying in their cribs. Their mothers were nowhere in sight.

MARY REICHARD: That’s because these babies’ mothers were surrogates—women who agreed to carry them but not take them home. But the babies’ biological parents can’t take them home either, because of travel restrictions related to the coronavirus.

The plight of these babies has prompted calls to help get them out of Ukraine. But it’s also renewed criticism of the practice of commercial surrogacy. WORLD correspondent Maria Baer has our story.

MARIA BAER, REPORTER: The video produced by the BioTexCom Centre for Human Reproduction was supposed to reassure adoptive parents.

AUDIO: [BABIES CRYING] Our babysitters take care of your babies 24 hours a day in our baby room.

But the calm, dubbed English and the playful piano music couldn’t drown out the sound of the babies. They wiggled in rows upon rows of tiny isolettes, crying.

Albert Tochilovsky owns BioTexCom. He told me, through an interpreter, that the company has hired extra help.

TRANSLATOR: There are 14 nannies, nurses for one shift.

It’s a temporary measure while the biological parents try to make their way to Kiev from their home countries. Tochilovsky says those include the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, and China.

Many couples simply can’t get a flight to Ukraine because of travel restrictions. Some finally made it but had to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. Before taking the babies home, the parents must take a blood test to prove that at least one of them shares DNA with the baby. Getting those tests is now more complicated. Couples who have already gone through that process are waiting on temporarily-closed government offices to issue passports or travel documents for the babies.

Tochilovsky says he’s glad to have gained international media attention for his clinic’s plight. But BioTexCom’s original video may have backfired.

AUDIO: Every day they spend some time with the children in the open air and bathe them.

Instead of reassuring parents, the video sparked public outrage. Many Western media outlets, including The New York Times and the BBC, have covered the story—focusing on the babies’ plight.

AUDIO: CNN gained access to just one facility in Kiev where tight coronavirus restrictions mean more than 50 babies here can’t be collected by their legal parents.

But no major news outlet has yet mentioned the babies’ surrogate mothers. Foreign commercial surrogacy is banned in several countries, including India and Thailand. Officials there say it exploits low-income women. But it remains a large industry in Ukraine.

Each of the babies stuck in Kiev has a surrogate mother who lives in Ukraine. But Tochilovsky says he would not consider asking them to help care for the babies during the crisis.

TRANSLATOR: No, no, absolutely no, we don’t do this.

He says bringing in the babies’ mothers would be too risky.

TRANSLATOR: I don’t think that the mother, the surrogate mother, should take care of this baby because she will develop the, let’s say emotions to the baby.

But an emotional connection is precisely what newborn babies need, says Jennifer Lahl. She’s a former pediatric nurse who runs the nonprofit Center for Bioethics and Culture. Her organization advocates against surrogacy.

LAHL: It’s trauma. It’s traumatic for the mother and the baby.

Lahl says whether or not a baby shares DNA with his or her mom doesn’t matter when it comes to bonding.

LAHL: There’s one thing a baby knows when they’re born that you don’t have to teach that baby—they know their mother. They know her smell, her sound, her movements…

Lahl says without physical touch, eye contact, and emotional bonding with their mothers, the babies stuck in Kiev could suffer developmental problems including emotional attachment disorders or learning disabilities.

That could create additional problems for BioTexCom. The company has had cases of prospective parents refusing to take babies home once they discover they have special needs. When that happens, the babies remain in BioTexCom’s custody, parentless and stateless. And the women who bear them have no rights either.

TRANSLATOR: But once she gave birth to the baby she sign the paper that the baby is not hers, so she has no rights for the baby.

Jennifer Lahl says not much research has been done on the long-term effects of surrogacy on mothers. So she’s begun researching it herself.

LAHL: PTSD, I do a lot of work with surrogacy and surrogate mothers and PTSD is a common thing they report to me that they have, and they’ve actually been diagnosed by medical doctors.

On the physical side, Lahl says surrogate pregnancies are inherently high-risk.

LAHL: A lot of women suffer really severe preeclampsia, and preeclampsia has long term damage and harm to a women’s health.

Lahl says the Ukraine story has reinvigorated international calls to stop foreign commercial surrogacy. Ukraine’s Commissioner on Children’s Rights, Nikolai Kuleba, has demanded an end to what he calls an “immoral” practice.

But Lahl says political activity surrounding surrogacy here in the United States is more complicated.

LAHL: Especially with this Ukraine story right under our nose, instead of saying let’s work to abolish this, there may be more states like New York that will want to see this as an opportunity to legalize commercial surrogacy within their own borders.

In early April, New York legalized commercial surrogacy. Just a few months earlier, Lahl testified in South Dakota in favor of a bill that would have banned the practice in that state. It failed.

LAHL: But it’s clear to me that people get weak in the knees when somebody can’t have a baby. 

Back in Ukraine, the problem is likely to persist. Despite calls to preserve medical supplies and avoid elective procedures, Albert Tochilovsky says BioTexCom is still hiring surrogate mothers and initiating pregnancies.

TRANSLATOR: Yes we do that because we have the frozen sperm stored in our clinic, so yes we do.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Maria Baer.

NICK EICHER: Maybe you’ve been cooped up lately and could use a change of scenery.

Here’s an idea: rent your own pro baseball stadium! Players aren’t using it.

Seriously. Just head over to Airbnb and you will find the Pensacola Blue Wahoos Stadium is on the rental market.

The deal includes access to the team clubhouse, the field, batting cages, and other amenities for sleeping over.

Now it’s $1,500 a night but it does sleep 10.

And for an additional charge, you can receive instruction from a former big league ballplayer or even have your own fireworks show!

Now we checked this out. And the bad news is there is a waiting list and, sorry to say if this interested you, it’s 100 reservations deep.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: Today is Tuesday, June 2nd. Thank you for starting your day with WORLD Radio! Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. It’s the first Tuesday of the month, and that means it’s time for our Classic Book of the Month with reviewer, Emily Whitten.

Hi, Emily!

It’s time now for our Classic Book of the Month with reviewer, Emily Whitten. Hi, Emily! 


REICHARD: You’re a voracious reader. What have you been reading lately?

WHITTEN: I just got around to the kids’ classic, Charlotte’s Web by Elwyn Brooks White, better known as E. B. White. I don’t know how I missed the book in elementary school. One reviewer who moved around a lot as a kid said she read the book in four different classes. So, I know a lot of people are already familiar with it. But if your kids missed it, or if you haven’t read White’s other classic kids’ books, Stuart Little and Trumpet of the Swan, this summer might be a good time to check him out. 

REICHARD: I remember we talked before about that classic writing guide he wrote, The Elements of Style. E.B. White was a pretty prolific author, wasn’t he?

WHITTEN: That’s right! Yes, among other awards, in 1978 he won a Pulitzer Prize for his body of work, including numerous books and several decades worth of essays for The New Yorker. And because you mentioned The Elements of Style, I would say White definitely applied those principles here. His clear, crisp writing elevates Charlotte’s Web far above most kids’ books. 

REICHARD: What else would you say makes Charlotte’s Web such a classic?

WHITTEN: One answer: loveable characters. It’s a farm tale about a runt of a piglet named Wilbur and his clever friend, Charlotte, who happens to be a spider. Charlotte eventually hatches a plan to keep Wilbur’s owners from turning him into bacon. Now, White didn’t care for organized religion, but his tale definitely echoes themes of self-sacrifice and compassion, themes Christians will recognize from the gospel. So, in other words, he gets a lot right, even if he didn’t mean to..

REICHARD: Shades of common grace. That’s good to hear.

WHITTEN: I thought we could listen to a clip of a 20-19 version of the book. Meryl Streep, the award-winning actress, narrates here along with a cast of other talented actors. Keep in mind that Wilbur the piglet has been playfully boasting of his ability to spin a web just like his spider friend, Charlotte. In this clip, Charlotte indulges his enthusiasm:

CLIP: It must be a lot of fun to spin a web. How do I start?” “Take a deep breath,” said Charlotte, smiling. Wilbur breathed deeply. “Now climb to the highest place you can get to. Like this.” Charlotte raced up to the top of the doorway. Wilbur scrambled to the top of the manure pile. “Very good,” said Charlotte. “Now make an attachment with your spinnerets, hurl yourself into space, and let out a drag line as you go down.” Wilbur hesitated a moment, then jumped out into the air. He glanced hastily behind to see if a piece of rope was following him to check his fall. But nothing seemed to be happening in his rear. And then next thing he knew, he landed with a thump. Umph, he grunted. Charlotte laughed so hard her web began to sway.

Hopefully you can hear some of the humor and vivid storytelling there. I like to imagine a fatherly twinkle in White’s eye as he wrote that passage. The story goes that he began writing kids’ books in the 1930s to entertain his niece, Janice Hart White. And he ended up having one son, two stepsons, and three grandchildren before his death in 19-85. Unlike many writers today, he understood we can’t actually be anything we want to be. A pig can’t become a spider, for instance. But our different gifts allow us to complement each other. 

REICHARD: That’s reminds me of Paul’s comments in 1 Corinthians, how we’re all part of Christ’s body and need each other.

WHITTEN: Exactly.

REICHARD: As an animal lover, I really appreciate the attention White brings to the natural world. This book and Black Beauty, too. 

WHITTEN: You know, author Michael Sims recently teased out White’s connection to the natural world in his book, The Story of Charlotte’s Web, and in this 20-13 THNKR video on YouTube titled A Children’s Classic or Great American Novel?:

CLIP: In 1947, E.B. White was tending a pig and the pig gets sick and the pig dies. He begins imagining a story where the pig does not die. And a few months later, he ends up looking up and there’s a huge spiderweb in the barn. And he watches as the spider carefully lays eggs and puts them in an egg sac. And I love this moment. E. B. White takes that little egg case and puts it in his blazer pocket. So, in his pocket is the inspiration for what will become the most popular children’s book in history.

I should note, the ending probably merits a discussion for Christian families. White seems to put his hope in continuing generations. He portrays one character as living on through children and grandchildren. But of course Christ offers the greater hope of resurrection. Our friends who die in Christ will be there to hug us and sing with us and eat breakfast with us in the New Creation. So, we have an even better ending to look forward to.

REICHARD: Hope and eternity. Now that’s an ending worth discussing! One question I have, as the mother of a formerly rambunctious little boy, who’s now grown up, do you have any suggestions for how to get reluctant readers to give it a try? 

WHITTEN: Hmmm. Well, some people may be skeptical about this, but it can help to let a reluctant reader watch a movie version first. That way they don’t have to create all the images in their head. To my mind, it’s like giving them training wheels to get them going.

REICHARD: I’d think for some people, that method works well. 

WHITTEN: One trick I learned from my father-in-law…try reading a few chapters of a gripping novel out loud. Then set the book down and walk away. Sometimes, a kid will be so compelled to find out what happened, she’ll pick up the book and finish it on her own.

You could check your local library for online Summer Reading prizes. Redeemed is a Christian website that offers some Summer Reading resources. Personally, I like to reward kids while they read. Maybe include a special snack during reading time–a favorite piece of candy or popsicle. It helps make reading time itself the reward. 

REICHARD: Those are really good tips. And for you parents wondering if you’ll ever have kids that read? Don’t give up. I tried about everything to get my kids to read. It didn’t work for years. But I can say now that they are in their 20s, they are book readers. So take heart out there! 

WHITTEN: That’s a good word, Mary. Thanks for saying that. I want parents to feel encouraged, during this time especially. 

REICHARD: I agree. Thanks for today’s book recommendation and that bit of advice, Emily. 

WHITTEN: You’re very welcome, Mary. Happy reading!

REICHARD: For June, Emily recommended Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White. She also mentioned White’s other books, Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan. For more classic book ideas, just search for Classic Book of the Month at

MARY REICHARD: Today is Tuesday, June 2nd. Good morning! You’re listening to The World and Everything in It and we are so glad you are! I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. The unrest that has rippled across the country reached Dallas over the weekend. WORLD’s correspondent Katie Gaultney is based there and decided to offer some help.

KATIE GAULTNEY, COMMENTATOR: Most of the time, when something feels wrong in my day-to-day, I can fix it. Write a sentence that feels clunky? Edit it. Kids are leaving their shoes all over the house? Shoe basket saves the day. Solutions comfort me like a warm, fuzzy blanket.

But last week, my heart was heavy over a problem I couldn’t fix. George Floyd’s death in police custody laid open America’s racial wounds yet again. 

Then Friday night, I watched helplessly from my computer as a peaceful rally in downtown Dallas devolved into flash bangs, rioting, and brick-throwing. I ached over what I saw happening in my hometown.

I woke up Saturday to photos of glass-littered sidewalks in downtown Dallas and the nearby Deep Ellum neighborhood. So much of last week, I thought, “What can I do? What do I have to offer that can help heal these hurts?” 

The answer is nothing, and yet everything, at the same time. Only God can truly heal these wounds, but everything I have should be available for the God-given mandate of Micah 6:8: Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with Him. God has the power to change hearts, but I must act.

So I grabbed my kitchen broom, work gloves, and some trash bags. I put on my work boots and a shirt from my church that says, “Seek the welfare of the city” (Jeremiah 29), and I drove to Deep Ellum.

By the time I got there, people had already cleaned up most of the glass. Plywood covered busted windows. 

The manager of a barber shop whose giant window had been shattered spoke to me through a cloth mask. With clippers in hand, Adelina Martinez said business owners were out all night boarding up windows and trying to stave off looting. She understood the anger that spurred the protest, but she doesn’t understand the tactics: 

ADELINA: Trying to cure violence with violence, it seems like, which isn’t the answer.

My contribution to the clean-up effort was minimal. But I did pray for two police officers—one black, one white—who were spending their morning writing up burglary and criminal mischief reports.

As I walked back to my car, I met David Sullivan. We saw each other and laughed, since he and I were both walking around clutching our kitchen brooms. David is black. He lives in the neighborhood and told me he had been at the protests the night before. The vast majority were peaceful, but he observed a few—quote-unquote—“knuckleheads” who hijacked the event. 

Both of David’s parents are police officers. Like me, he felt helpless. 

DAVID: It’s just such a weird dynamic, it’s hard to—it’s just tough, man. I just hope something comes out of it…

David and I don’t need to have all the answers. Today I resolve to lean into my discomfort. To learn more. To pray more. To continue training my four children in truth—including truth about the grievous sin of racism. I’m asking the Lord to help me stand up for individuals and groups facing injustice. 

And I pray we as believers may fulfill the calling of Romans 12: Let our love be genuine and brotherly, let us abhor evil, cling to good, and outdo one another in showing honor.

I’m Katie Gaultney.

NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: The race for the White House is getting a lot of attention—as is the contest for control of the Senate, with 35 seats up for grabs, two-thirds now held by Republicans.

WORLD national editor Jamie Dean joins us to talk about all that. 

Plus, we’ll visit a couple farms near Nashville, Tennessee, that demonstrate how recent shortages have led to greater interest in farm-to-table supplies. 

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: 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.

Jesus said, the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 

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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