Today, Explained

Today, Explained is Vox's daily news explainer podcast. Hosts Sean Rameswaram and Noel King will guide you through the most important stories of the day.

Part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Daily News
The Panama Canal is drying up
A drought has dramatically reduced the Panama Canal’s capacity, leading to higher costs and big delays for US-bound goods. Reporter Mie Dahl and economics professor Sharat Ganapati deliver the shipping news.
23 min
What dies with Alexei Navalny?
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, 47, has died in an Arctic prison. The Guardian’s Luke Harding explains the life and death (and afterlife) of Vladimir Putin’s bravest adversary.
24 min
Rafah, the last “safe” zone
Palestinians are trapped in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city, where about 1.5 million people have sought refuge. After bombings this weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is threatening a ground invasion. Palestinian journalist Aseel Mousa takes us inside Rafah, and the Economist’s Anton La Guardia explains why diplomatic efforts to halt the fighting have stalled.
23 min
Why America loves faerie smut
Romantasy is the most popular literary genre in America right now. Vulture’s Kathryn VanArendonk and Circana’s Kristen McLean explain why.
23 min
Forgetful old men
Joe Biden’s age and mental acuity are center stage after a Justice Department prosecutor described him as an “elderly man with a poor memory.” Vox reporter Christian Paz explains why Democrats are stuck with him.
23 min
A Tale of Two Chinatowns
Residents of Philadelphia’s Chinatown have mobilized against plans for a new arena in their backyard. To find out how their concerns might bear out, Today, Explained reporter Miles Bryan heads to DC’s Chinatown, where a similar story played out 30 years ago.
24 min
Why Taylor left TikTok
Her label, Universal Media Group, pulled its entire catalog off TikTok. The Verge’s Nilay Patel explains why, and author Cory Doctorow says the app’s “enshittification” is inevitable.
23 min
When one (airplane) door opens ...
Missing bolts, door panels flying off in midair — and that’s not even on the planes that crashed. The Washington Post’s Ian Duncan and the Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Tangel explain why Boeing is a problem the FAA still hasn’t fixed.
23 min
The border standoff in Eagle Pass
Congress has failed to pass an immigration bill. The House is attempting to impeach Biden’s secretary of homeland security. As Washington flails, a standoff is brewing in Eagle Pass, Texas.
24 min
“The world’s coolest dictator”
That’s how El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele describes himself. Silvia Viñas from the news podcast El hilo explains how his victory this weekend is a blueprint for authoritarians looking to get reelected in a democracy.
24 min
Build Back Biden
New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait wants Joe Biden to win. He explains how his coalition has fallen apart. Former White House staffer Jamal Simmons wants Joe Biden to win. He explains how he might put a coalition back together.
22 min
A new treatment for deafness
A promising gene therapy can help kids born without the ability to hear. A Deaf bioethicist wants you to consider the implications.
23 min
Make the economy Trump’s again?
As president, Donald Trump presided over a good — sometimes great — economy. But his proposals are unnerving business leaders this time around. The Washington Post’s Heather Long and Economist columnist Henry Tricks on the Tariff Man’s Tariff Plans.
23 min
Iran and the Axis of Resistance
Iran-backed militias use drones, missiles, and even TikTok dances to antagonize the United States and Israel. The International Crisis Group’s Ali Vaez explains how the war in Gaza has energized the self-described Axis of Resistance.
22 min
Living in Zyn
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer accidentally started a culture war over Zyn. Semafor’s Dave Weigel explains. And Vox health reporter Keren Landman, MD, compares the nicotine pouch to cigarettes and vapes.
23 min
Israel at the International Court of Justice
South Africa took Israel to court over claims of genocide. Courthouse News reporter Molly Quell and the International Crisis Group’s Robert Blecher explain what happened next.
23 min
Music’s Pitchfork in the road
Pitchfork’s parent company is folding the influential music site into GQ. Vulture’s Craig Jenkins explains how this is the end of an era. Bloomberg’s Ashley Carman says the robots are here to help.
23 min
Prostate of the union
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin drew flak after trying to keep his prostate cancer surgery a secret. Health journalist Howard Wolinsky explains that’s super common among men, who don’t like being probed about their prostates.
22 min
Is the Republican primary already over?
Nikki Haley pinned her presidential hopes on a powerful showing in New Hampshire but still wound up in second place. The Boston Globe’s James Pindell and the Dispatch’s Sarah Isgur examine whether there’s a path forward for anyone but Donald Trump.
22 min
Modi’s temple grandstanding
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a Hindu temple in the once-sleepy city of Ayodhya on Monday. The BBC’s Soutik Biswas and The Caravan’s Hartosh Singh Bal explain how it’s the culmination of his decades-long push to remake India as a Hindu state.
23 min
Frosty the Tesla
New electric vehicle owners have been finding out the hard way that extreme cold weather and their cars don’t mix very well. The Verge’s Andrew J. Hawkins explains why, and Simon Wright from the Economist says China could help.
23 min
Buy me to the moon
NASA has long relied on private companies to build its rockets, but now it’s turning to private companies to own and operate them too. Washington Post space reporter Christian Davenport explains the new commercial space race.
23 min
How the war in Gaza ends
Israel's war against Hamas has now been raging for over 100 days. According to Ian Lustick, professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, history tells us what it will take to end it.
22 min
Cocaine problems
Growing cocaine demand and booming coca leaf cultivation is fueling unrest in Ecuador. The Economist’s Ana Lankes and Will Freeman of the Council on Foreign Relations explain what’s happening in the place that until recently was Latin America’s safest country.
22 min
Iowa caucused
Trump won big. DeSantis came in second, but Vox’s Zack Beauchamp says that won’t be enough to keep his campaign alive.
23 min