Taiwan's Navy Accidentally Fires Missile Toward China, Hits A Fishing Boat

Taiwan's Navy Chief of Staff Mei Chia-shu discusses the inadvertent launching of a missile during a news conference in Taipei Friday.

Taiwan’s Navy Chief of Staff Mei Chia-shu discusses the inadvertent launching of a missile during a news conference in Taipei Friday. Taiwan Ministry of National Defense hide caption

toggle caption Taiwan Ministry of National Defense

A fishing boat captain is dead and China is asking for a “responsible explanation,” after an anti-ship missile was launched toward China from a Taiwanese Navy vessel Friday. Navy officials are apologizing for what they call an accident – a mistake made during a simulation drill.

The incident occurred Friday morning, when a 500-ton corvette that was sitting in the Zuoying Military Harbor launched a supersonic missile that streaked nearly 40 nautical miles before hitting a Taiwanese boat that had been trawling for shrimp.

The fishing boat was northwest of the warship — meaning that the missile that was sent speeding toward it this morning was also heading in the direction of mainland China.

The missile flew for more than 2 minutes before hitting the boat. At a briefing today, officers from Taiwan’s navy said they want to figure out why its self-destruct mechanism wasn’t used. Instead of the missile being destroyed, an S-70C helicopter was sent to follow its flight path.

From the Taipei Times comes this description of what happened when the missile struck:

“Fishing boat captain Huang Wen-chung was killed when the supersonic Hsiung Feng III missile penetrated the stern of the vessel. The missile did not explode on impact and sank into the water about 40 nautical miles (74.1km) from its launch site at Zuoying Military Harbor in Kaohsiung.

“The captain’s son, Huang Ming-chuan, as well as a Vietnamese crew member and a Filipino crew member, sustained minor injuries and were treated at a local hospital.”

Navy officials say the missile was designed to explode on impact with a warship’s metal hull — and that the fishing boat’s lighter materials likely kept the missile from exploding.

Saying that the incident could have a “severe impact” on relations between China and Taiwan, the Chinese mainland’s Taiwan affairs chief, Zhang Zhijun, said, “the Taiwan side should offer a responsible explanation of the matter.”

Discussing the situation today, Taiwan’s Navy Chief of Staff Mei Chia-shu said the navy didn’t inform Chinese authorities about the launch because “it does not have contacts with the other side of the Taiwan Strait,” according to the Focus Taiwan news agency, which adds, “The navy instead reported the incident to the higher authorities in Taiwan responsible for national security.”

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Randy Weston At 90

July 1, 20167:24 PM ET

The eminent pianist Randy Weston turned 90 this year, and he enjoyed an early celebration at the 2016 Panama Jazz Festival, where he was the guest of honor. Weston, whose father was born in Panama, has long celebrated his African roots in his life and music. His career spans the better part of 70 years.

Jazz Night in America listens to the Randy Weston quintet at the 2016 Panama Jazz Festival. Host Christian McBride also traveled to Weston’s home to talk about the set in Panama, meeting Thelonious Monk and growing up in Brooklyn.

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The Ray Charles Songbook

July 1, 20167:03 PM ET

At age 21, trumpeter Kenny Rampton (now of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra) launched his touring career with a nine-month stint in Ray Charles’ band. Earlier this year, Rampton honored his former bandleader by presenting the most authentic Ray Charles experience possible. The band was full of Ray Charles alumni (including backing vocalists The Raelettes), the set lists were faithful recreations of actual Ray Charles sets, and the charts were transcribed from the original tour music.

Jazz Night In America checks out Rampton and the band as they present The Ray Charles Songbook, live in concert from Jazz at Lincoln Center.

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Two Women Play For Sonoma Stompers Baseball Team

Kelsie Witmore signs with the Sonoma Stompers.

Kelsie Witmore signs with the Sonoma Stompers. Sonoma Stompers hide caption

toggle caption Sonoma Stompers

The Sonoma Stompers say they are making sports history today. Stacy Piagno and Kelsie Whitmore are in the starting line-up, adding their names to a very short list of women who’ve played for a professional baseball team. In fact, with Piagno on the mound and Whitmore in the outfield, this will mark the first time since the days of the Negro Leagues in the 1950’s that there will be two women on the field in a professional baseball game, according to MLB.com.

Two female baseball players have made history and signed pro deals with the @SonomaStompers https://t.co/ViNUdY4MOx pic.twitter.com/thZutheyoF

— Excelle Sports (@ExcelleSports) June 30, 2016

17-year-old Kelsie Whitmore at batting practice with her new minor league team the Sonoma Stompers.

17-year-old Kelsie Whitmore at batting practice with her new minor league team the Sonoma Stompers. Sonoma Stompers hide caption

toggle caption Sonoma Stompers

Theo Fightmaster (yes, that’s his real name), the vice president and general manager of the Stompers tells NPR this is not a publicity stunt. “They’re gonna be here tomorrow and they’re gonna be here the day after and the day after that.” Fightmaster says the two woman are a part of the team. “They’re gonna get an opportunity to earn playing time based on their performances.” And he adds both women are “really good at baseball.”

Whitmore is just 17 years old and plans to play softball for Cal State Fullerton next year. Piagno is 25 and played on the U.S. women’s national baseball team which won a gold medal in last year’s Pan American Games. Both women will be playing for Team USA in the Women’s Baseball World Cup in South Korea later this year.

Still Piagno says she was surprised when she got the call from the Stompers saying they were interested in her joining the team. “I was just kinda like, ok, yeah, you know, sounds good but probably won’t happen.”

But when she realized this was serious, and this formerly men’s baseball team wanted to sign her, she says she thought well, “why not?”


Just how many women have played in professional baseball falls into the byzantine realm of sports statistics and depends on what you consider professional. SB Nation puts Whitmore’s and Piagno’s debut this way:

“A United States professional baseball team will carry women on its roster for just the third time since the 1950s.”

“They will be the first players on a professional co-ed baseball team since Eri Yoshida pitched in the Golden Baseball League in 2010.”

“Before Yoshida, Ila Borders pitched in a minor league game in 1997, and Toni Stone, Mamie Johnson and Constance Morgan played with the Negro Leagues in the ’50s.”

I got front row seats to @KelsieWhitmore hitting BP for @SonomaStompers. Crazy we are on same pro field! @SRPacifics pic.twitter.com/vTHOaudyJo

— Justine Siegal (@justinebaseball) July 1, 2016

John Thorn is the official historian of Major League Baseball. He draws a line between minor league teams that are affiliated with MLB teams, and puts all other teams in a lesser category. “There’s baseball and there’s baseball,” Thorn tells NPR. And by that standard, he says, there’s only been one woman ever to play on a major-league or minor-league team, and that was in a single minor-league game more than 100 years ago:

July 5, 1898: Lizzie (Stroud) Arlington, with the blessings of Atlantic League president Ed Barrow, later famous as the general manager of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, pitches an inning for Reading against Allentown. She allows two hits but no runs in this first appearance of a woman in Organized Baseball.

That’s an excerpt from Thorn’s pictorial history of women in Baseball which you can see here.


But by whatever definition, the number of women who have played on professional baseball teams is small. And for those who think that’s unfair, Piagno and Whitmore will be swinging their bats against that history of exclusion.

That history has been on the mind of the owner of the Sonoma Stompers, who happens to be the movie director Francis Ford Coppola.

“When watching Major League Baseball, I always wondered why there couldn’t be a co-ed team. It’s the one major sport in which weight and strength come less into play,” Coppola said in a press release. “I had the opportunity to turn this thought into a reality and recruit these amazing women capable of playing alongside men.”

For her part, Whitmore says she’s hoping to learn a lot playing alongside the men. She told NPR in an interview just before her first game, “being surrounded by these guys who have played at higher levels than this is great because I get more feedback and information.” And Whitmore says that will help her to be a better ball player.

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6 New Gun Control Laws Enacted In California, As Gov. Brown Signs Bills

Gov. Jerry Brown signed six new bills into law Friday, nearly seven months after a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. Two of the new laws restrict ammunition. In this photo from last summer, a man enters a gun store in Los Angeles.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed six new bills into law Friday, nearly seven months after a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. Two of the new laws restrict ammunition. In this photo from last summer, a man enters a gun store in Los Angeles. Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed new gun control legislation for California, enacting bills that limit magazine capacity to 10 bullets; require a background check for those purchasing ammunition; and restrict the lending of firearms, among other effects.

In signing the bills, Brown said he wants “to enhance public safety by tightening our existing laws in a responsible and focused manner, while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

Two of the bills close the “bullet button loophole,” as member station KPCC reports:

“The loophole refers to the sale of ‘California legal’ firearms that don’t fall under California’s ban of guns with detachable magazines.

“To get around the law, manufacturers created versions of firearms that feature a button that can be pushed with a small tool — for instance the tip of a bullet — to release an empty magazine and insert a new one.”

Another bill that will now become law tries to limit “straw purchasing,” the practice of a person buying a gun legally with the intent of giving or selling the weapon to someone else. In addition to making it a misdemeanor to file a false report about a gun being lost or stolen, the new law will prohibit the purchaser from buying another gun for 10 years.

As KPCC reminds us, the classification of a gun as an “assault weapon” is a legal designation in California:

“Legislators established the ‘assault weapon’ as a new classification of firearm in 1989. Following a court challenge in 2000, the law was upheld. Gun owners could keep their assault weapons provided they registered with the state before Jan. 23, 2001.”

The legislation was signed almost exactly 7 months after husband-and-wife shooters Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. In April, a relative of the murderers was charged with providing the guns they used.

All of the bills Brown signed were sponsored by Democrats — and so were the five bills that he vetoed, although one of those, which makes it a misdemeanor not to report the loss or theft of a gun, was also sponsored by Republican Rep. Melissa A. Melendez.

In rejecting that bill, Brown said he doesn’t believe that making the measure would help stop gun traffickers — and he added that the bill wouldn’t make irresponsible people become responsible.

A bill that makes it a felony to steal a gun was rejected because, Brown said, a similar measure is already slated to appear as a state ballot issue in November.

Another bill that sought to classify the body of a firearm as a firearm – thus closing a loophole that has allowed unfinished gun frames or receivers to be sold under less scrutiny than a finished gun would require – was deemed to have wording that was too vague.

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Will Brexit Put A Damper On The U.K.'s Global Generosity?

Boxes of aid items are stored at a disaster response center at Cotswold Airport in the United Kingdom.

Boxes of aid items are stored at a disaster response center at Cotswold Airport in the United Kingdom. Stefan Wermuth/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Stefan Wermuth/Getty Images

Did you know the United Kingdom is one of the most generous countries in the world when it comes to aid for global health and development?

The amount given in 2015 was the equivalent of $18.7 billion in U.S. dollars. That’s second only to the $31.08 billion from the United States. It’s an impressive total given the comparative size of the two countries and their economies.

The U.N. has set 0.7 percent of a donor country's gross national income as a goal for its global development aid.

The U.N. has set 0.7 percent of a donor country’s gross national income as a goal for its global development aid. NPR hide caption

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And the U.K. is one of the few countries that have met the 0.7 percent figure. Back in 1970, the U.N. set a goal for donor countries to aspire to: give 0.7 percent of gross national income for development aid. The U.S., by contrast, is at 0.17 percent.

Data for both charts from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

Data for both charts from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

In sum, the U.K. definitely stands out as a global giver. And now comes Brexit – the June 23rd vote to leave the European Union, motivated partly by isolationist and anti-immigrant sentiment. Will Brexit bring about big changes? Before we get to speculation about what might happen, it’s interesting to consider why the U.K. is so benevolent.

The aid often goes to developing countries that were former U.K. colonies. So some global thinkers say it’s a way of staying connected, of atoning for misdeeds during the colonial period, or of influencing politics today. But maybe it’s more than that.

“I think the U.K. has always seen itself as very outward-facing and international in outlook,” says Owen Barder, vice president of the Center for Global Development Europe, “partly because it’s a maritime island nation.” He concedes that many citizens don’t pay much heed to the U.K.’s commitment to aid, but “many are very proud of Britain’s international development program, which is widely regarded as a successful and effective way of projecting Britain’s influence and values.”

Kevin Watkins, executive director of the Overseas Development Institute, adds that the U.K. commitment strengthened because of its leaders in the 2000s: “Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had international development in their DNA. Their vision of Britain was a country out there in the front row in tackling issues like HIV/AIDS.”

But even in the few short weeks since the vote to leave the European Union, there’s already been a dip in the British contribution.

The pound has lost value, dropping by roughly 10 percent against the U.S. dollar. So a pledge made by the U.K. a month ago is now reduced by a tenth. “And that’s not trivial,” says Manoj Mohanan, an assistant professor of public policy and global health at Duke University. He points out that the U.K. allocates around 11 billion pounds, about 14.6 million U.S. dollars, to DFID – its Department for International Development – for efforts to end extreme poverty. The money pays for goods and services for refugee aid, humanitarian aid after a disaster, food supplies and much more. Now that same amount buys a billion pounds less. “That’s a huge hit,” Mohanan says. “Think of the amount of stuff you could do with that money in global health. It’s pretty stunning.”

There’s concern about the chilling effect Brexit could have on potential business investors in the developing world.

The United Kingdom has a tariff-free arrangement with some low- and middle-income countries, including former colonies like Nigeria, explains Owen Barder. For these nations, the preferential trade agreements make the U.K. a valuable market for anything from cut flowers to beans. Now there’s uncertainty about the future of these trade agreements. Even before any changes might occur, the very prospect of a country losing access to the British market “could lead to less investment in those [developing] countries,” he says.

The U.K.’s pending departure from the European Union – and the withdrawal of its contributions — will make a major dent in EU spending on global healthsays Mohanan

Of course, the U.K. could maintain its level of global health spending on its own. Indeed, some of its commitments to global organizations are mandated by U.K. legislation. But with an uncertain economy, “a future government might choose to reverse the legal commitment and not spend that amount of money in aid,” says Barder.

“If you have a significant shift in the House of Commons toward the anti-aid lobby, you could see new legislation introduced that would seek to overturn that 0.7 percent commitment,” says Kevin Watkins. “That would be a consequence that would have very adverse impact on global health financing.”

Click here to subscribe to our weekly global health and development email. NPR hide caption

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“A lot of the anxiety right now is we just don’t know,” says Jacqueline Muna Musiitwa. A lawyer and managing partner at the business-focused Hoja Law Group, she’s based in Nigeria. “If it comes to a point where people feel their taxes are being increased [to provide aid to] others across the world, I think there might be a negative effect on policy.”

The Brexit vote could have an impact beyond aid as well. The idea of seceding from the EU could be an inspiration to countries in Africa, says Musiitwa. There are a number of regional blocs in Africa, like the East African Community and the Economic Community of Central African States. “The precedent that Brexit has set is not good, especially if powerful countries view [secession] as an option,” she says. “The reason regional blocs work is there are a few strong countries that help hold up the rest.” An exit by key players, she fears, would wipe out the benefits for smaller countries when it comes to negotiating trade terms, for example, or collaborating on health issues.

The secession precedent also worries those who look at countries like Nigeria, where the region of Biafra has been making noises about seceding. The hope is that Brexit will not inspire regions to “threaten to secede,” says Musiitwa – and turn to violence if the government says no to secession.

Of course, Brexit could swing things in a positive way. The U.K. will have “more freedom to provide more aid directly to countries it chooses,” says Dapo Oyewole, director of the Policy Development Network and an Aspen fellow, instead of following the EU priorities. Perhaps the fact that residents of EU nations will no longer have easy access to jobs in the U.K. will open up more jobs for residents of countries in the Commonwealth of Nations – whose members include developing nations that were once British colonies and are English-speaking.

“That might be a silver lining,” says Oyewole, who himself is from Nigeria and has lived in both his homeland and the U.K. over the past 20 years.

But he sees a potentially unsettling scenario as well: “If you look at the level of hate crimes in the U.K. since Brexit, there’s been quite a lot. People from developing regions, particularly people of a particular race, don’t know if they may be harassed or intimidated. Like everybody is saying, no one knows what’s going to happen.”

In his view, “more fingers are pointing in a negative direction than a positive direction.” Even the remittances sent home by immigrants are worth less: “The pound was so strong that sending money to any country will make quite an impact. With the value of the pound reducing, it makes it more difficult for immigrants in the U.K. to send the same amount of money they were sending all along.”

And yet Brexit reflects the vote of the people, points out Musiitwa: “We may not like the results, but the people have made this choice.”

And therein lies a lesson for the developing world, she says: “Maybe someday we will get to a point where it’s okay if we disagree, and we may not like the outcome of a vote, but we have strong enough institutions to follow through and execute what the people want.”

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Episode 709: The Quiet Old Lady Who Whispers “Fair Use”

Planet Money's fair use bunny.

Chrissy Lee/NPR

The great green room, the comb, the brush. The kittens, the mittens, the bowl full of mush. The children’s book Goodnight Moon is a classic — maybe too much of a classic. Reporter Keith Romer’s daughter wanted to hear the book every night, and as many parents will tell you, that can get a little boring. So Keith went off script, and wrote his own story in the world of Goodnight Moon.

And, after writing his own Goodnight Moon spinoff, Keith wanted to know: Could he sell it? Is that even legal?

Today on the show, we dive into the world of copyright and fair use. Just where is the line between inspiration and stealing?

Music: “Press Conference” Find us: Twitter / Facebook

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A Rejuvenated Michael Phelps Says Rio Will Be Special

Michael Phelps waves after receiving his gold medal in the men's 200-meter butterfly at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha on Wednesday. He described it as the hardest swim of his career. With the victory, he qualified for his fifth Olympic Games, something no other male American swimmer has ever done.

Michael Phelps waves after receiving his gold medal in the men’s 200-meter butterfly at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha on Wednesday. He described it as the hardest swim of his career. With the victory, he qualified for his fifth Olympic Games, something no other male American swimmer has ever done. Orlin Wagner/AP hide caption

toggle caption Orlin Wagner/AP

Michael Phelps knows he’ll be going to his fifth Olympic Games next month, but he’s hoping to add a couple more events to his schedule by the time the U.S. swimming trials end Sunday in Omaha.

Phelps officially qualified for Rio on Wednesday, by winning the 200-meter butterfly, a race he described as the hardest swim of his career. It had meaning far beyond the pool – a symbolic victory over the personal problems he wrestled while becoming the most decorated Olympian in history.

Smiles And Tears

You could forgive Phelps for feeling ho-hum about medal ceremonies, like the one after Wednesday’s victory. He has smiled and waved through so many in his career. Twenty-two of them at the Olympics alone, 18 of them for gold medals.

But Wednesday night, his toothy grin was toothier than ever. More telling, his coach of two decades, Bob Bowman, stood nearby and did something he’d never done through all the ceremonial trumpet fanfares.

“This is the first time I cried,” says Bowman. “That’s what it means to me.”

No American male swimmer has ever gone to five Olympics. But that accomplishment was only part of the reason for the grinning and crying. While Michael Phelps has always made swimming, and winning, seem easy, getting to this latest win was anything but.

In a joint press conference for Phelps and Bowman after the race, a reporter asked Bowman what coaching a five-time Olympian means to him. Before Bowman could answer, Phelps did.

“It means we’ve been through a helluva lot,” Phelps said with a smile, adding, for emphasis, “a helluva lot together.”

Triumph And Discord

Obviously they’ve been through incredible triumphs. None more so than in 2008. That’s when Phelps won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Summer Games.

Bowman told The New York Times that Phelps probably should have retired after that. But there was pressure — from corporate sponsors, from swimming officials, and fans — to keep going. Phelps did, and for awhile he kept smashing records.

But that post-Beijing period also was a time of controversy and discord. A photo emerged of Phelps smoking pot. Phelps and Bowman often clashed over Phelps’ lack of interest in training as the 2012 Olympics in London approached.

“Going into 2012, it was like pulling teeth,” Phelps said this spring. “It was brutal. You could barely get me to the pool.”

Despite that, Phelps still won six medals in London. He looked happy during the games. But Phelps says that wasn’t the case.

“In 2012, I wanted nothing else to do with the sport. [I was] completely finished and ready to move on and retire. Didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I was just finished. Over it,” he said.

Phelps did retire, but he found life difficult without the structure of swimming. In 2014, he was arrested and pleaded guilty to drunk driving. It was his second DUI arrest. The first was when he was 19. This one, however, convinced him to seek help. He entered a treatment facility in Arizona for six weeks.

It changed his life.

A Relationship With His Father

Among other things, his therapy helped him repair a broken relationship with his dad, Fred. The two became estranged after Phelps’ parents divorced when Phelps was 9.

At an Olympic media gathering this spring in Los Angeles, a relaxed Phelps talked about some of other positive changes in his life. Getting engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Nicole Johnson; the birth of their first child; and the effects of not drinking alcohol for over a year.

“I see a complete change in my body,” Phelps said. “[I have a] completely clear head. [I] don’t have a headache which is really awesome sometimes when you wake up. I’m actually happy every day. I’m actually able to be productive every day. That’s something I’m very proud of.”

Phelps’ recovery culminated this week with the 200 butterfly win in Omaha. Thrilled with the result, he wasn’t happy with the actual race. He says he didn’t feel good and the winning time, 1.54.84, was more than three seconds slower than the world record he set in 2009.

Asked afterwards at the press conference whether those record times are gone for good, Phelps and Bowman disagreed. Certainly it’s not a first in their sometime stormy relationship. Bowman implied he thinks the record-busting days are over.

“You were in your prime of your prime and everything was going right,” Bowman said directly to Phelps. “So it’s kind of, y’know, a different situation.”

“I don’t know,” Phelps responded, talking over Bowman, “I think every record is beatable.”

“Yeah,” Bowman said, “[at] some point.”

Phelps didn’t say anything else, but his eye roll was visible from the back of the room.

One Last Time

The two will work together, of course, over the next month, to get Phelps ready for Rio and, they hope, justify Phelps’ decision to come back for one final Olympics.

Phelps, at the earlier event in Los Angeles, said the decision was motivated in part by what happened at the last Olympics.

“I wanted to do it the way I should’ve done it in 2012,” he said. “I wanted to prepare for an Olympic Games like I should’ve. I’ve said this so many times – I didn’t want to have a ‘what if.’ Twenty years later looking back on London, I think I would’ve been disappointed with myself and I would’ve let myself down for how I prepared myself. And that’s something I never want to live with.”

And so Phelps, with Bowman, will make the effort, to see if the new Michael Phelps can be the old one in the pool.

One last time.

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With 5 Weeks To Go Until The Olympics, How Prepared Is Rio?

Young beachgoers walk near a body part covered in a plastic bag, which was discovered on Rio's Copacabana Beach near the Olympic beach volleyball venue on Wednesday. The Rio 2016 Olympic Games begin August 5.

Young beachgoers walk near a body part covered in a plastic bag, which was discovered on Rio’s Copacabana Beach near the Olympic beach volleyball venue on Wednesday. The Rio 2016 Olympic Games begin August 5. Mario Tama/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Mario Tama/Getty Images

If you Google “Rio Olympics” right now, you won’t see much about the athletes. Instead, you’ll see links to news stories that use the words “horror,” “woes,” “catastrophe,” “pollution” and “perfect storm.”

The latest news hasn’t made things any better. On Thursday, mutilated human body parts were discovered on the beach near an Olympic sport venue. And today, armed robbers stole Olympic transmission equipment from German TV crews along the main highway in Rio.

How bad are things, really?

Bad. Leaving aside the body parts, police officers and firefighters showed up at Rio’s international airport on Monday with a sign that read “Welcome to Hell.” They were striking over back pay and because cops here don’t even have enough gas for their patrol cars.

Robberies are up 43 percent in Rio de Janeiro state because of a security vacuum. Policemen are being killed in large numbers and there are fights between the drug gangs in impoverished communities or favelas, where 40 percent of Rio’s population lives.

Last month, the governor of Rio declared a state of catastrophe, saying there was no money for even basic services like hospitals. And of course, there is the Zika virus. Add to that Brazil’s political crisis, which has suspended president Dilma Rousseff. She will be undergoing an impeachment trial during the Summer Games.

In the run-up to some past Olympics, there was also a lot of bad press — but then everything seemed to work out. Will it be different in Rio?

It depends on what you define as success. The problem for these Olympics is that they are facing unprecedented headwinds. The economy is unraveling and Brazil already has high levels of poverty. Kids are sleeping rough on the streets here. Tens of thousands of people in Rio de Janeiro state are losing their jobs. People who would have been in their families’ first generation to go to university are now trying to find jobs to make ends meet.

Civil police officers in Rio de Janeiro threaten to go on strike during a June 27 demonstration against the government for arrears in their salary payments.

Civil police officers in Rio de Janeiro threaten to go on strike during a June 27 demonstration against the government for arrears in their salary payments. Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images

The Olympics organizers have promised that these will be “legacy” Games and say that Rio de Janeiro will be a better city because it hosted them.

But when you look at who in Brazil will benefit from the Games, who is making money, you see that a lot of new infrastructure has been funneled to already wealthy areas. Thousands of poor people who live in favelas have been displaced to make way for Olympic infrastructure.

We saw what happened after the 2014 World Cup in Rio. The games all went fine. But the country was left with billions of dollars of debt and unused stadiums that are white elephants today.

How are people in Rio handling all of this?

For many, it feels like everything for them is spiraling out of control. This is one of the most unequal countries on earth. Its also one of the most violent. And after years of declines in Rio, now violent crime is up.

Most people are looking forward to the Games because 85,000 security personal will be patrolling the streets, double what London had. So the security situation will get better during the Games.

But what will it be like afterward for the people who live here? I spoke to Pollyana Rabello, a mother who had a baby born with microcephaly linked to Zika. She told me mothers like her haven’t been getting the support they need from the health services. The hospitals aren’t working. She asked why the government is spending all this money on the Olympics when, after the Games go, Zika remains.

“Zika hasn’t gone away. It is here,” she said. “I think the Games shouldn’t happen. I think this money they are investing in the Olympics should be invested in the health and well-being of the Brazilian population. “

What are organizers saying?

That everything is ready. That the Games will be wonderful. And that Rio de Janeiro is a better city because of the Olympics. I sat down with Rio de Janeiro’s mayor last month, and he told me they have improved the city’s transportation and refurbished whole swaths of the city, like the port area. He and others say these Games will be unforgettable — and that Rio’s population will be grateful.

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