Newark officials rescinded a sister city agreement with the United States of Kailasa after finding out it wasn’t actually a real place. Reporter Sushmita Pathak explains how a fugitive cult leader from India created a fake nation that conned everyday people, government officials, and the UN.
How an AI pope pic fooled us
An AI-generated image of Cool Pope in immaculate drip went viral over the weekend and most everyone thought it was real. The Verge’s James Vincent explains how we should navigate our new internet reality.
The Israeli-Israeli conflict
Far-right judicial reforms have inspired what might be the largest protests in the history of Israel. If adopted, the reforms could spell the end of democracy in the world’s only majority-Jewish country.
New Mexico low-key fixes child care
The US has a child care crisis. But New Mexico just figured out a way to fix it (hint: they’re paying for it).
City Limits: Should public transit be free?
Transit agencies nationwide are facing an existential crisis. Washington, DC’s city council has a paradoxical solution: make subways and buses free.
Rep. Frost and David Hogg on what Gen Z wants
Five years after March for Our Lives, one of the historic protest’s organizers and his historic friend explain why it’s easy to forget how much progress has been made. Plus, Rep. Frost breaks some news about his first proper piece of legislation.
A tents standoff at the VA
When the Veterans Administration failed to build the homes it promised, unhoused vets built a tent city across the street — in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. KCRW’s Anna Scott tells their story in “City of Tents: Veterans Row.”
The US is obsessed with China
There’s rare bipartisan consensus in Washington: China is a threat to be countered. Cornell professor Jessica Chen Weiss says the American approach could lock both countries into an escalatory spiral.
The war in Iraq has been declared over by nearly every president since the one who started it 20 years ago today. But it’s still not done. At SXSW in Austin, Texas, Sean Rameswaram explained why it’s important we remember.
City Limits: Beware the Doom Loop
Pandemic restrictions are mostly over, but cities are still struggling to recover. Empty offices threaten to set off a downward spiral of falling tax revenue and declining services. Today, Explained’s Miles Bryan tries to stop the doom loop before it starts.
The “Lean In” era is over
Execs like YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki and Meta’s Sheryl Sandberg paved the way for women in tech. Now they’re leaving the industry — and being replaced by men.
The Republicans breaking up with Tucker Carlson
The Fox News host aired a splashy exclusive this month about the January 6th insurrection. Some Republican senators saw his coverage — and publicly called “b******t.”
The kids defying family court
Two siblings in Utah are defying a court order to reunite with their father, who they allege abused them. ProPublica’s Hannah Dreyfus explains a controversial concept known as “parental alienation.”
Silicon Valley Bank goes bust
SVB’s collapse is the biggest bank failure since 2008. Insider’s Ben Bergman explains why the bank collapsed, why the Biden administration intervened, and what this means for the economy writ large.
Top Fun: Oscars vs. blockbusters
Huge hits like Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water got nominated alongside Tár. In this episode of Into It, which is now available twice a week, Vulture’s Joe Reid explains the on-again, off-again relationship between the Oscars and the box office.
The war on drag
Melissa Brown, a state politics reporter for The Tennessean, spills the tea on Tennessee’s new drag restrictions. And drag performer Bella DuBalle promises the state’s queens have no plans to sashay away.
Congress is daddy
DC is baby.
Congress wants more oversight of how the billions in US aid to Ukraine are being used. But our own military can’t even seem to pass an audit.
How to save a murderer
Should past trauma prevent a convicted killer from being executed? The Marshall Project’s Maurice Chammah reports on “mitigation specialists” who try to save the lives of death row inmates by investigating their histories.
The fight for affordable insulin
Insulin was the poster child of overpriced life saving drugs, but a manufacturer finally capped the cost at $35. Vox’s Dylan Scott explains how pharmaceutical companies for decades managed to overprice drugs Americans desperately needed.
The rockstar maestro
Gustavo Dudamel brought classical music to the masses in Los Angeles. Now he’s announced that he’s taking his talents to New York, which could revive classical music on one of its biggest stages.
Why newspapers fired Dilbert
Newspapers across the country pulled the long-running comic “Dilbert” after its creator uploaded a racist tirade about Rasmussen poll results. Journalist Chris Cillizza explains how providing the fodder for controversy is Rasmussen’s whole deal.
Block the sun, save the earth?
Solar geoengineering — the idea of cooling the planet by deflecting the sun’s rays — is so risky that scientists and policy experts can’t even agree on whether to research it.
Biden’s border orders
President Biden promised a more humane approach to immigration when he entered office. After two years and a flurry of activity on asylum policies, the Washington Post’s Nick Miroff explains whether Biden has delivered.
The shadow war on Russian yachts
Bloomberg's Stephanie Baker and the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos explain the fight to seize (and maintain) billionaire boats.