The World and Everything in It — December 22, 2020

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Today we remember notable people who died this year in the fields of business and government.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Plus, the sounds of Christmas around the world. Today, a visit to the capital city of Taiwan.

And scripture readings from listeners—as we prepare to celebrate the incarnation.

REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, December 22nd. 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 the news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Congress approves coronavirus relief, omnibus spending » Lawmakers on Capitol Hill approved a $900 billion dollar coronavirus relief package last night. 

AUDIO: On this vote, the yeas are 359, the nays are 53. The second portion of the divided question is adopted. 

The House passed it along with a massive $1.4 trillion omnibus spending package for the rest of the fiscal year. 

The Senate approved the legislation a short time later on a vote of 91 to 7. 

That sends it to President Trump’s desk, and he is expected to sign it into law very soon. 

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said the legislation includes much needed help for small businesses and the self-employed. 

SCALISE: I talk to restaurants and other businesses every day who are about to—literally teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, and they need this lifeline. This gives a second round of paycheck protection program loans. It  helps those gig workers. 

The bill also revives federal unemployment benefits at $300 per week. It will also provide a $600 direct stimulus payment to most Americans along with $600 per child for qualified taxpayers.

Some Calif. hospitals make plans to ration care » California’s overwhelmed hospitals are setting up makeshift extra beds for coronavirus patients and some facilities are drawing up emergency plans in case they have to ration care. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown reports. 

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: Over the summer, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in California peaked at nearly 9,000 in late July. 

The state surpassed that record high around the first of December. And three weeks later, it has doubled, with more than 18,000 coronavirus patients now filling hospital beds. 

And a state model projects that the total could hit 75,000 patients by mid-January.

The LA Times recently obtained a document circulated among doctors in LA County hospitals. It proposed that instead of trying to save every life, their goal could shift to saving as many patients as possible—meaning those less likely to survive would not get the same kind of care.

Many hospitals in California already have implemented emergency procedures to stretch staff and space.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown. 

Vaccine rollout continues, Biden receives first Pfizer shot » AUDIO: [SOUND OF TRUCKS]

As new COVID-19 cases surge, trucks continue to haul life-saving vaccines to distribution centers across the country. 

UPS driver Todd Elble hauled one of the first shipments of the Moderna vaccine this week after losing his father to COVID-19. 

ELBLE: After many years at UPS, this has been my most important load that I’ve hauled, and to bring this back, I feel dad was in the truck with me.

President-elect Joe Biden received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday. 

BIDEN: I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine. There’s nothing to worry about. 

It is available now to many healthcare workers and nursing home residents. 

And a CDC panel held a vote this week on who should be next in line to get the shots. 

VOTE: Ms. McNally … McNally, yes.

The members decided on a vote of 13-to-1 to recommend that all Americans over the age of 75 should be the next priority. 

Canada among latest countries to restrict U.K. travel as new virus strain spreads » Trucks waiting to get out of Britain backed up for miles and many people were left stranded at airports Monday as dozens of countries slapped heavy travel restrictions on the U.K.  That in response to a new strain of the coronavirus now spreading in England, which appears to be more infectious. 

Canada, India, and Kuwait are among the latest countries to restrict travel from the U.K. 

In the United States, some governors are calling on the Trump administration to follow suit. New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday…

CUOMO: You have many countries that have just restricted flights from the U.K. Many European countries have done it. Why are we doing nothing?

France has banned British trucks for 48 hours while the strain is assessed.

French President Emmanuel Macron said earlier that his country was looking at establishing systematic testing of people for the virus on arrival.

Over the weekend, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed strict lockdown measures in London and neighboring areas where Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the new strain is “out of control.”

College Football Playoff semifinal moved from Rose Bowl to Dallas » For the first time since World War II, an iconic sporting event is being moved from California. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The last time the College Football Playoff semifinal was played outside of Pasadena, California was 1942. After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, officials worried about a possible attack on the West Coast. So they moved the game to Durham, North Carolina. 

Seventy-nine years later, the College Football Playoff committee is again moving the game from the iconic Rose Bowl to AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. That’s the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. 

The committee said it’s moving the game because of a “growing number of COVID-19 cases in Southern California.” Another reason, California’s current ban on spectators at sporting events.

The state refused to grant a waiver to allow a few hundred family members to attend the game. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: notable deaths in politics, government, and business.

Plus, Christmas in Taiwan.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Tuesday, the 22nd of December, 2020.

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 on The World and Everything in It: notable deaths in 2020.

Of course, everyone we lost in 2020 meant something to someone. But by “notable,” in this context, we’re referring to those who had wider renown or influence around the country or the world—whether for good or perhaps not so good.

REICHARD: Today, we begin our recap of notable deaths in government, business, science, and the military. These categories include well-known people like Jack Welch, the lauded CEO of General Electric; Civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis; Oklahoma Senator and doctor, Tom Coburn; and Lee Kun-Hee, the longtime-leader of Samsung Electronics.

EICHER: WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg picks up our coverage of other notable names in these fields and begins with a lawyer who won a case that helped unravel Jim Crow laws.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: We begin today by remembering Bernard Cohen. He was the young lawyer who represented Richard and Mildred Loving in the famous Supreme Court case: Loving vs. the Commonwealth of Virginia

In 1963, Virginia and 23 other states banned interracial marriage. The Lovings were a mixed-race couple fighting for the legality of their marriage. The American Civil Liberties Union and Bernard Cohen took up their case. A four year legal battle commenced. 

Here’s Cohen discussing the case in the 2011 documentary, The Loving Story

COHEN: The laws are simply relics of slavery, and they’re maintained to keep the colored person down and the white person up and that’s the simple truth of the case. And I think if you talked to the average man on the street that marriage is a fundamental right of man. 

Cohen and his co-council, Philip Hirschkop, steered the case all the way to the Supreme Court where the justices unanimously overturned interracial marriage bans.

Today, 1 in 10 Americans have a spouse of a different ethnicity. 

Bernard Cohen died in October at age 86. 

Next we remember Paul Sarbanes, a five-term United States Senator from Maryland. He died this month at the age of 87. 

Sarbanes was a Democratic lawmaker who first served in the House from 1971 to 1977, and then as a Senator until his retirement in 2007. 

He’s best known for spearheading the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The legislation tried to stop the fraudulent accounting practices companies like Enron used to fool investors.

Sarbanes said it did that by beefing up corporate governance and creating a federal oversight board for the accounting industry.

SARBANES: This legislation now requires accounting firms that audit public companies, in other words companies that are listed on the exchanges, which is what we limited the bill to, to register with the accounting board which has broad discretion to investigate and when necessary impose penalties and to set auditing standards. 

The Senate passed the legislation, 97 to 0. President George W. Bush later signed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act into law.

Now a man who helped 11 presidents keep their house in order. The White House that is. 

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman started working as a cleaner under President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1957. When President John F. Kennedy moved in, First Lady Jackie Kennedy promoted him to butler. 

Jerman stayed in that position until 1997 before taking six years off. He returned to the White House in 2003 and permanently retired in 2012. 

Jenna Bush Hager, one of President George W. Bush’s twin daughters, remembered Jerman on the Today Show

HAGER: He was the loveliest. He was always smiling, and you know it’s interesting and people will say how was the White House? Did it feel like home? And the reason why it felt like home was because of people like him. 

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman was 91 when he died this month. 

Now to notable deaths in business. 

First, a man who created a popular grocery store that runs on island time. 

Joseph Coulombe opened the first Trader Joe’s in 1967 in Pasadena, California. In a 2012 interview, Coulombe said his stores targeted a growing number of educated Americans who were becoming interested in international products. 

COULOMBE: This gave us the idea for the name. Trader Joe’s to evoke images of the South Seas. And that is why to this day the employees wear Hawaiian shirts.

When Trader Joe Coulombe retired in 1988, the company had 19 stores in southern California. His successor, John V. Shields Jr. took the chain national. 

COMMERCIAL: Welcome to Trader Joe’s. We are your one-stop shop to feed you and your family. 

Today, it has more than 500 stores across the country. Joseph Coulombe died in February. He was 89 years old. 

Next, we remember a man who declared himself “the biggest toy lover in the world.” Roger Shiffman died in October. He was 67. 

Shiffman worked his way through college at a department store. Part of his job was buying toys. 

He went on to build a highly successful company: Tiger Electronic Toys. The company’s success came from fusing toys and electronics. 

First, by making Disney-themed record players. Then by creating hand-held electronic games. But the product that took the late 90s by storm was the Furby. 

COMMERCIAL: What’s that? It’s my Furby! 

When Tiger Toys first launched Furbies in 1998, it sold 2,500 of them in 5 minutes. Some parents even hunted Shiffman down at his house looking for a Furby for their child. 

The small, bird-like fur ball could talk and speak its own language. 

COMMERCIAL: More Furbies, more fun! Because each one talks to another one.

Shiffman shared his success through the Starlight Children’s Foundation. It provided games and entertainment for children in hospitals. 

Now, a model who became a business woman and lifestyle brand. B. Smith, whose full name was Barbara Elaine Smith, started her career modeling for department stores. 

She went on to appear on the covers of Ebony and Essence, and became only the second Black model to appear on the cover of Mademoiselle.  

As her trailblazing modeling career ended, Smith opened her first restaurant in Manhattan in 1986. It quickly became popular, so she opened two more. 

Smith also wrote books on cooking and entertaining and created homeware and furniture lines. 

SMITH: And now with my at home with B. Smith furniture collection, I am like ecstatic. It’s a dream come true. 

And she hosted “B. Smith with Style” on NBC.

SMITH: Hi! Happy Holidays! Welcome to B. Smith with Style. 

Smith was only in her 50s when doctors diagnosed her with Alzheimers. She decided to make her battle with the illness public. Here she talks with Fox News in 2015. 

SMITH: I think what we need to learn is that it is a problem and that many people have it. It means I want to figure out how I can help. 

In 2016, Smith released a book about her struggle and did numerous interviews about her condition.

Smith died of Alzheimers in February. She was 70 years old.

Next up, the Soviet physicist and human rights activist Yuri Orlov

Orlov was a dedicated member of the Soviet Communist Party until his 30s. That’s when he began having doubts about whether communism really was best for the country.

After he publicly criticized communism in 1956, authorities kicked him out of the party, and his university fired him and stripped his name from all scientific research. 

The persecution didn’t end there. 

In 1976, Yuri Olov founded the Moscow Helsinki Group to report Soviet human rights abuses to Western governments. 

For that, Soviet authorities arrested Orlov in 1977 and sentenced him to seven years in a labor camp and then five more years in Siberian exile. 

During his incarceration, Orlov still managed to provide documented human rights violations to the West. 

In 1986, nine years into his sentence, the Soviet government stripped him of his citizenship and deported him to the United States as part of a hostage trade. 

AUDIO: [Cameras flashing]

The press swarmed as Orlov met then-President Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office upon his arrival.

He went on to teach physics at Cornell University and became a U.S. citizen in 1993. 

Yuri Olov died in October. He was 96 years old. 

Now, Benny Adkins, a veteran who distinguished himself in the Vietnam war. 

In 1966, on his second tour, North Vietnemese soldiers ambushed Adkins’ unit at their remote camp in South Vietnam. Severely outnumbered, Adkins and his fellow soldiers fought off the enemy for nearly four days. 

Adkins personally killed an estimated 175 enemy fighters. He also suffered 18 different wounds and saved numerous American soldiers. 

Still, Adkins went on to serve another tour. 

OBAMA: I have to be honest, in a battle and escape that lasted four days, Benny performed so many acts of bravery, we actually don’t have time to talk about all of them. 

For his extraordinary bravery, President Barack Obama awarded Benny Adkins the Medal of Honor in 2014. 


Benny Adkins was 86 when he died in April. 

MUSIC: [Monuments Men theme]

And finally, we end today remembering the last surviving female member of the Monuments Men and Women. Motoko Fujishiro Huthwaite died in May. She was 92. 

Huthwaite was born in Boston to Japanese immigrant parents. But the United States deported the family back to Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They eventually settled in Tokyo. 

Speaking to a small group in 2017, Huthwaite remembers her relief when the war ended and American soldiers occupied Japan.  

HUTHWAITE: And that was a wonderful time for my family because I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and my family had lived in America and we felt that America was home.  

Soon after, an American working with the Monuments Men recruited Huthwaite to join the international group’s mission in Japan. The small organization worked to recover and preserve valuable works of art lost in the war. 

Huthwaite became one of 27 women who worked with the group. Because she spoke both English and Japanese, she became a valuable clerk writing reports about artwork found in the Pacific Theater. 

Eventually, Huthwaite returned to the land of her birth where she lived the rest of her life. 

In 2015, Congress presented the then six remaining members of the Monuments Men and Women with the Congressional Gold Medal. That of course included Motoko Fujishiro Huthwaite


MUSIC: [Monuments Men theme]

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

NICK EICHER, HOST: You no doubt heard about the major snowstorm that blanketed the northeast last week.

What you may not have heard about…


…was the man trapped overnight when a passing snowplow buried him and his car.

Kevin Kressen drove his Ford Fusion into a ditch and shortly afterward found himself beneath four feet of snow.

He couldn’t get the car out, obviously. Nor could he get out of the car. And he was having a tough time getting a cellphone signal out, too. He was in a rural area near Binghamton with spotty cell service to begin with.

What calls did go through provided enough of a geolocation that authorities could draw a three-mile perimeter.

He spent 10 hours trapped inside. At long last, a state policeman just happened to punch through snow that covered a window of Kressen’s car.

Sergeant Jason Cawley—a 22-year police veteran—dug Kressen out and got him treated right away.

He suffered extreme hypothermia and frostbite and had gotten to the point where he wasn’t even shivering anymore.

Sergeant Cawley estimated Kressen had maybe an hour of life left. 

Almost goes without saying, he was grateful for the rescue.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, December 22nd. You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we’re so glad you are!

Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Christmas around the world. 

Most of our reporters here at WORLD live and work stateside, but we do have a handful spread across the globe. Over the next few days, we’re going to hear from three of them about what Christmas is like where they live. Each vignette will end with a musical selection unique to their country.

EICHER: Today, to Taiwan with WORLD reporter Angela Lu Fulton.


ANGELA LU FULTON, REPORTER. In Taiwan, December twenty-fifth is like any other day of the year. The roads are filled with motor scooters and buses bringing people to work as children in school uniforms head to their classrooms. Christmas is not a national holiday. The majority of Taiwanese believe in a mixture of Buddhism and Taoism. 

Still, shops and department stores play Christmas music and string up lights. 


On a recent Sunday night, crowds gathered at the popular shopping district near the Taipei 101 building to take selfies under a corridor of Christmas lights—some in the shape of boba drinks and soup dumplings. Others took photos in front of a three-story white and gold, tropical-themed Christmas tree.

While Christmas is mainly used as commercial advertising for much of the island, Christians still find ways to celebrate the birth of Jesus—even though they have to work on Christmas Day. Many attend Christmas Eve services in the evening or special Sunday services.

Hsin-Yi Friendship Presbyterian Church has several thousand attendees. At its Christmas Eve service, choirs performed a special program with Christmas hymns. Here they are singing a few verses from two well known Christmas carols: “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Joy to the World.”


Reporting for WORLD, I’m Angela Lu Fulton in Taipei, Taiwan. Merry Christmas.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, December 22nd. 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.

For each of the four weeks leading up to Advent, we’ve featured a hymn to help you reflect on the coming celebration of Christ’s birth. We’ve gathered those together in a Spotify playlist, so you can go back and listen this week as we draw near to Christmas Day. We’ll link to the playlist in today’s transcript.

REICHARD: This week, we will turn to Scripture for reminders of the hope we have in Christ’s first coming and in His return.

Here now are listeners Paul Allen, Kevin Epperson, Chad Miller, Bryan Hyzdu, Katie Nelson, and Betsy Luttmann reading passages from both the Old and New Testaments.

ISAIAH 64:1-9: Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains might quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
and that the nations might tremble at your presence!

When you did awesome things that we did not look for,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From of old no one has heard
or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
who acts for those who wait for him.

You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
those who remember you in your ways.
Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?

We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

There is no one who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.

But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Be not so terribly angry, O LORD,
and remember not iniquity forever.

Behold, please look, we are all your people.

MARK 13:24-37: But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

But concerning that day or that hour, ino one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.

I CORINTHIANS 1:3-9:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: More 2020 remembrances from the fields of religion, music, and sports.

And, Christmas music from Nigeria.

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.

This is WORLD’s December Giving Drive and we’ve not quite reached our goal, so if you’re planning to contribute, would you do it today? Just visit to make your gift of support.

Jesus said, in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. 

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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