The coastal lowlands along Malaysia’s side of the Strait of Malacca are a mostly lush place, studded with fat palms and forest canopies dripping with vines. But over the past year and a half, black pillars of smoke have appeared above the treetops. We investigate how plastic waste American municipalities send for recycling, is piling up in illegal dumps thousands of miles away.
Also, tiny plastic pellets, called 'nurdles' are the product of plastics producers, but why are these pellets appearing on the US Gulf Coast?; Americans have few options when it comes to recycled tissue products and that's having a devastating impact on Canada's northern forests; Meal kits are becoming very popular in the US, but are they helping us to reduce waste?
(Plastic waste at an abandoned factory in Jenjarom, a district of Kuala Langat, outside Kuala Lumpur. From grubby packaging engulfing small Southeast Asian communities to waste piling up in plants from the US to Australia, China's ban on accepting the world's used plastic has plunged global recycling into turmoil. Credit: Mohd Rasfan/Getty Images)
Notes from a new world
It wasn’t easy for Elton John to get producers to keep all the scenes in his new fantasy-biopic, “Rocketman.” He was determined that the Paramount film not gloss over his sexuality or past drug use. Despite his efforts, Russia’s version appears to be missing about five minutes-worth of footage. .
Also, we meet the American singer who teaches Italian kids how to sing like Beyoncé; plus the story of how Lucia Lucas became the first transgender person to sing a lead part in a standard operatic work in the US; why Lincoln, Nebraska is a great place to hear traditional Yazidi music; and Filipina-American musician Ruby Ibarra tells her family story with rap.
(Elton John (R) and David Furnish attend the "Rocketman" UK Premiere at Odeon Leicester Square in London, United Kingdom. Credit: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
The US is reported to have plans for a potential cyber attack that would cripple Iran’s cities. Whether such a plan would be implemented is open to question but it would take cyberwarfare to a whole new level. Also, a doctor in Puerto Rico prepares pregnant women for hurricane season; a plan to change the sound New York City; a NASA scientist is caught up in a clampdown on political dissent in Turkey, with severe consequences for his life back in the US; and Latinos in Texas mix a rite of passage with civic duty.
(Image: A man is seen portraying a hacker with binary code symbols on a laptop in this photo illustration on October 15, 2018 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Oath of allegiance
The United States census gets underway next year and the Trump administration wants to ask everyone if they're a US citizen. Critics say the question will discourage some immigrants from participating and lead to an inaccurate census. The Supreme Court will rule on the matter later this month. Also, a same-sex married couple has two sons ; one gets US citizenship while his brother does not; immigrants in New York find it harder to win asylum; a Russian grandmother becomes a US citizen; and a Brazilian-born musician took the oath of allegiance a year ago and now calls Texas home.
(Image: Demonstrators rally at the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on April 23, 2019, to protest a proposal to add a citizenship question in the 2020 Census. (Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
Immigrants and refugees from Syria and Iraq lead tours at Philadelphia’s Penn Museum. They help visitors understand where the museum’s artefacts come from and add historical context to the objects. Also, “voluntourism” is a growing part of the travel industry, but critics say there’s sometimes a human cost for volunteer’s good deeds; we meet Terry Tickhill Terrell, who in 1969 became one of the first women to join a US scientific expedition to Antarctica; a long, lost manuscript and its connection to Christopher Columbus; and a restaurant in Casablanca inspired by the classic Hollywood film.
(Image: Abdulhadi Al-Karfawi, a Global Guide at the Penn Museum, talks about an ornate headdress, which was found with the body of Queen Puabi in the Royal Cemetery at Ur, on a Sunday afternoon tour of the Middle East Galleries in 2018. Photo by Raffi Berberian, Penn Museum.)