The Takeaway

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  • Hosted by John Hockenberry

A daily newsmagazine featuring unique conversations with both news makers and diverse voices.

Tony Gentile/Reuters

Pope Francis announced Tuesday that he will allow Roman Catholic priests to absolve women who have had abortions of their sins, if they seek forgiveness.

It's part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy — a special year for Catholics to receive blessings and pardons from God — which begins on December 8. Every 25 or 50 years since the year 1300 the Catholic church has evoked a jubilee year, as the National Catholic Reporter explains.

Luigi Novi/<a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>

World-renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks's devotion to the humanity of scientific study was perhaps his greatest gift. He could convey the unfathomable complexity of the human brain in ways that everyone could understand.

He also highlighted his own experiences with hallucinations. Sacks once wrote that about 20 minutes after taking LSD, he remembered seeing the color indigo.

“Luminous, numinous, it filled me with rapture: it was the color of heaven,” he wrote.

How do we raise a global nation?

Aug 31, 2015
Monica Campbell

It seems obvious to say that to catch a glimpse of America's future, just head to a public school classroom. And those changes are probably bigger than a lot of us realize.

Do good fences make good neighbors? A history of border walls.

Aug 28, 2015

Hungarian officials say the country is overwhelmed by thousands of migrants hoping to enter Hungary — the gateway to the European Union. In response, they're building a 108-mile border fence designed to keep them out, and they’re racing to finish the project by the end of the month.

Atlantacitizen/<a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>

From the Philadelphia neighborhood of Point Breeze to the corners of Brooklyn, city planners and long-time residents across the country are grappling with urban development. Some call it revitalization; others call it gentrification.

Chris Wattie/Reuters

Last week, a group of hackers released the stolen data of Ashley Madison users, a website used by people who are looking to start an extramarital affair. The user data included names, street addresses, email addresses and data on credit card payments going all the way back to 2007.

After wading through the data, the Associated Press found that at least 1,500 federal employees have been using the site.

By January 2016, all branches of the armed services will fully integrate men and women in combat roles. More than 230,000 women are currently being trained to be combat ready.

“Our purpose is to ensure that our mission is carried out by the best qualified and most capable service members, regardless of gender and regardless of creed and beliefs,” former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said in January 2013.

Gene Blevins/Reuters

Massive wildfires have plagued at least eight states this summer, and more than 80 vast blazes remain active in states like California, Idaho, Washington and Montana. 

More than 25,000 people have been called on to combat the wildfires so far, including 200 active duty soldiers. This is the first time in nearly a decade that the Defense Department has enlisted soldiers to fight fires.

Ahmad Masood/Reuters

In March, an Afghan woman named Farkhunda Malikzada was beaten to death by a mob in Kabul in broad daylight.

Even fewer Americans than before are taking vacation

Aug 19, 2015
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The middle of August often conjures images of books on the beach, road trips, sitting next to the pool and visits to relatives. But as it turns out, only half of us are actually taking those trips.

New research suggests that 56 percent of Americans haven't taken a vacation in the past 12 months. That's 10 million more people than the year before.

Army Signal Corps/<a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>

History tells us that World War II ended with a relentless Allied leap from island-to-island across the Pacific, culminating with the fire-bombing of Tokyo. The atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we are told, delivered the final blow, immediately bringing the Japanese to their knees.

Denis Balibouse/Reuters

ISIS uses the violation of women as a tool to govern, hold territory and fund its operation. Women are captured by the terror group and auctioned off or promised to upcoming recruits. In some rare cases they are rescued by a heroic group of lawyers and activists, but by and large, this system of sex slavery is a gruesome reality for thousands of young women.

M karzarj/<a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>

Iran has been in the throes of a water crisis for the past 16 years. Just two years ago, a study by the World Resources Institute ranked Iran as the world's 24th-most water-stressed nation.

The population of Iran has doubled over the last 40 years, and increased water usage combined with ongoing drought led Iranian scientists to quietly ask the US for help with water resource management.

The number of worldwide refugees last year totaled over 50 million — the highest since World War II. They've come from most corners of the world — but nowhere, perhaps, has more attention than the Mediterranean Sea, where approximately 200,000 people have attempted the journey to Europe from Syria, the Middle East and Africa this year, alone.  

It’s a dangerous, often deadly, passage. So far, more than 2,000 migrants have died on the trip this year.