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Ashley Westerman

Ashley Westerman is a producer who occasionally directs the show. Since joining the staff in June 2015, she has produced a variety of stories including a coal mine closing near her hometown, the 2016 Republican National Convention, and the Rohingya refugee crisis in southern Bangladesh. She is also an occasional reporter for Morning Edition, and NPR.org, where she has contributed reports on both domestic and international news.

Ashley was a summer intern in 2011 with Morning Edition and pitched a story on her very first day. She went on to work as a reporter and host for member station 89.3 WRKF in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she earned awards covering everything from healthcare to jambalaya.

Ashley is an East-West Center 2018 Jefferson Fellow and a two-time reporting fellow with the International Center for Journalists. Through ICFJ, she has covered labor issues in her home country of the Philippines for NPR and health care in Appalachia for Voice of America.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

On Thursday, Palau and Taiwan launched what is being touted as "Asia's first travel bubble," with an inaugural flight from Taipei landing at Palau International Airport just after 7:30 p.m. local time.

Palau has recorded zero cases of coronavirus infection, and Taiwan has kept the virus largely in check since the start of the pandemic.

Bethany Long Newman says she saw herself in the victims of last week's shooting outside of Atlanta, when a gunman rampaged through three spas and killed eight people. Of the eight victims, six were women of Asian descent.

"When I first heard about it, I was immediately scared," says Newman, 32, of Chicago. "You kind of put yourself in their shoes a bit and think: This would happen to me — or my daughter."

For the first time in over two decades, the Pacific island territory of New Caledonia has a government made up mostly of pro-independence politicians, a historic turnover that analysts say could edge it toward becoming independent from France.

As President Biden pushes to get U.S. schools fully open soon, an art exhibit aims to help people visualize what it means that they're closed.

This month's military coup in Myanmar has made an already dire situation for Rohingya refugees even worse, say human rights activists. Now, prospects are even more unlikely for hundreds of thousands to return to Myanmar from sprawling camps in neighboring Bangladesh.

"The coup is obviously good for no one," says Matthew Smith, cofounder of the human rights advocacy group Fortify Rights. "But for the Rohingya, the risk is heightened. This is the military regime responsible for the atrocities over many, many years."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Myanmar's economy could take a significant hit following this week's military coup, analysts say, as the U.S. mulls fresh sanctions and foreign investors appear rattled — potentially putting billions of dollars' worth of business investments at risk for the Southeast Asian country.

The Black Lives Matter movement became an international phenomenon in 2020. As protesters took to the streets in cities across the U.S. in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, Minn., so did demonstrators in other countries — all with a similar message: Black lives matter.

"There is a George Floyd in every country," South Africa-based journalist Lynsey Chutel tells NPR's David Greene during a recent roundtable interview.

Dr. Amir Khalil is no stranger to helping animals out of really bad situations. The 55-year-old Egyptian-born veterinarian, who works with the Vienna-based animal welfare group Four Paws International, has been rescuing animals from crumbling zoos and conflict zones such as Syria and the Gaza Strip for more than two decades.

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