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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Coronavirus Emergency, North County Races, DOD Report Says Climate Change A Growing National Threat, Women Fighting Back As Femicide Increases In Mexico, Voices Of Dreamers And Author Pico Iyer Explores Death In ‘Autumn Light’

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Speaker 1: 00:00 More than 300 Americans. Captain coronavirus quarantine on the cruise ship. The diamond princess are now back in the U S but they are now in another quarantine at military bases in Northern California and Texas. The state department says 14 of the transferred passengers have tested positive for the virus here in San Diego. The two week quarantine for the first group of evacuees at Miramar is set to expire this week. And the San Diego County board of supervisors is expected to ratify a public health emergency declared by County health officials in response to the coven 19 virus. And joining me is KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman. Matt, welcome. Hey Maureen, why did County health declare an emergency over covert 19?

Speaker 2: 00:45 Well, to put it simply, they say it's out of an abundance of caution and they say that the risk to the general public is still low and that they're doing this basically to help coordinate efforts, um, help it helps with mutual aid, helps with potentially getting back them, getting back some reimbursements. I'm also part of this to a script's health and sharp health care. They have prepared additional inpatient beds. Um, that kind of coincided with this announcement of this local health emergency. Uh, now you did mention it is going to have to be ratified within seven days by the board of supervisors. Uh, they're planning to vote on that on Wednesday. Now, this all coming after, uh, the CDC director Robert Redfield, he said in a CNN interview last week that he believes that the coronavirus will continue to grow inside the U S

Speaker 3: 01:24 I think this virus is probably with this beyond this season or bond beyond this year. And I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission and uh, you can start to think of it in a sense like a seasonal flu and the only differences that we don't understand this fires

Speaker 2: 01:43 now that community based transmission, that's what health officials are worried about. That's um, people not coming back from Mohan who have the virus and they're spreading it to other people. And now there's no signs of that is happening yet here in San Diego. But health officials are certainly preparing for that. Uh, dr Nick Nicki fan TDS, the county's chief medical officer, he says that that was certainly taken into account as part of their deliberations to declare this public health emergency. The declaration is one of proactive preparation and um, we took multiple factors into consideration. The possibility that, uh, there could be further involvement of the coven virus in our community is certainly part of that deliberation. And so obviously you're seeing the CDC director, he is saying that, Hey, this is going to have community-based transmission within the United States. And then you see the County here, uh, declaring this a public health emergency, kind of getting ready for what might be coming

Speaker 1: 02:38 during the news conference about the public health emergency. We learned about a number of people who may have coronavirus who've been quarantined in their homes here in San Diego. Tell us about that.

Speaker 2: 02:49 That's a, the County handling that they're calling that sort of their community response. I'm in, basically they're monitoring people who have traveled to China or may have been around people who traveled to China, not people who were on these state department evacuation flights from Wu Han. Uh, we're talking just people who may have been, um, they said, uh, so far, this was last week on Friday they said, uh, seven County residents are persons of interests. Uh, many are testing negative, but there's still some tests pending. They're all being monitored at home. Uh, none of these people have interests, haven't had to take into the hospitals. They haven't shown any signs of the coronavirus also being called coven 19. Uh, they're also monitoring some non-residents that just happened to be in San Diego who have ties to try to, but basically they say they get about 20 to 30 people a day referred to them, um, which they consider low risk of having some sort of a tie to China either being from China or being around someone who was from China.

Speaker 2: 03:39 Um, and so far they've gotten over 170 of those people. Now many are being self quarantined. They have to self quarantine for two weeks and the county's continuing to monitor them. How does the County monitor home? Quarantines as far as I understand, it's sort of lax. And when I say lax, I mean they ask people to self report. I mean if they're starting to show some symptoms, they want them to check that or they're asking them to take their temperature while they're at home. But the County also doing some proactive measures, giving them calls, checking in on them. Uh, that's about the extent that I know 'em but it does get more, uh, intensive as the symptoms increase and they are expecting more people to be in that sort of home-based quarantine. I think it's definitely safe to say, I mean the County says they're getting 20 to 30 people a day referred to them.

Speaker 2: 04:20 You've got to think that some of those are going to have to be self quarantine. The first group of people quarantined at Miramar should be released tomorrow. What have we learned about the people who've tested positive? How many are there and how are they doing? Right. So from those evacuation flights, from Mohan China to Miramar, we've had about 230 or so people. And of those 230 people, a number of them have been sent to local hospitals after showing early signs of the virus. Uh, but to have been confirmed here in San Diego, they're both staying at UC San Diego medical center and Hillcrest. Uh, we do know that as a Friday there was an additional five people there who were under observation of, we've been told this morning they have all been cleared and they've been sent back to the military base. Tell us more about the people who are leaving quarantine at Miramar tomorrow, right tomorrow around 160 or so.

Speaker 2: 05:04 Our expected, obviously the one who tested positive is going to have to stay here at least a little bit longer. We don't know what their timetable is, but, um, I talked to somebody in the quarantine this morning who said that they're getting anxious, they're ready to go. Um, 160 or so people the CDC right now, there are some questions if, if the 14 day quarantine is a long enough incubation period, um, the CDC believes that that is right now all the data they've had, they've gotten says that 14 days is enough. If there's no signs, then they should be cleared. And I talked to the CDC this morning. They say right now their main goal is making sure these people get home safe and happy. So they're working to get these people on flights and back home. What advice does County health have for people who are concerned about the virus spreading or who maybe who are concerned that they have symptoms themselves?

Speaker 2: 05:46 Right. Well, the County really rates at the risk to the general public is low. I mean, these people that are in isolation at local hospitals, um, they're taking every precaution necessary to make sure that it doesn't spread anybody else. And this also includes healthcare workers. I mean, the world health organization's saying these people are on the front lines. I mean, we're seeing in China, some healthcare workers are dying after catching the coronavirus. So they're also concerned about that, but they don't want people to worry. Um, they have the situation under control and they want to reiterate that these are just precautions to put these uh, emergency declarations in place. Obviously though preparing for something that could happen that'd be much worse. And you, if you think you may have symptoms, just go to your regular doctor. I haven't heard any direct guidance from the County on that, but obviously I mean especially if someone has been to China or has been around people who have been to China, especially like in the Wu Han area where the coronaviruses widespread, I'm sure the Canon would want to hear from them.

Speaker 2: 06:37 Although they are reaching out to people who is to the best of their knowledge that had been to that area. So they're trying to do proactive reaching out instead of people having to come to them. And what about transmission of this disease? Is it true that you need sustained contact with someone who has Corona virus in order to get it? That's what health officials are telling us. I mean, the CDC and the County basically telling us you have to be within three to six feet of somebody, multiple times having sustained contact with them. And that has to be someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus. So, um, when people say, Oh, I'm afraid of the people at Miramar, it's just not realistic. I mean, they're nowhere near them. They're in a quarantine. I'm a County health officials and federal health officials say they posed no risk to the general public. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman. Matt. Thank you. Thanks, Maureen.

Speaker 1: 00:00 As the 2020 March primary approaches, we want to turn our attention to the North County where there are a number of contests on the ballot, including the 49th congressional district and a County board seat. The democratic party has been eyeing here to walk us through the races is KPBS is Alison st John. Alison, welcome. Having to be irritated. So first, what are the most significant election issues in North County this season?

Speaker 2: 00:24 Well, basically we have quite a number of very important seats, which are, I'm setting themselves up for November as we know. Of course this is the primary. So what we're looking at is who's going to run against the incumbents in November. And then we have of course the measure a and B, which are causing controversy throughout the whole County and we'll really have a big impact on growth and development in the future. Plus we have a couple of local initiatives including one in Oceanside, which really sort of symbolizes growing pains of a of a city that's growing up in North County.

Speaker 1: 00:58 Our incumbents, a Congressman, Mike Levin and County supervisor Kristin gasp, are facing tough races. In November.

Speaker 2: 01:04 Well basically my 11, um, and Kristen gas bar, uh, Mike Levin is a Democrat who won the 49th and he is up against a Republican San Juan Capistrano mayor Brian Marriott, which is likely to be, um, not that hard for him at the moment. He's doing well. He has raised twice as much money as Brian Marriott and the benefits that the democratic registration at San Diego County dump definitely benefit him. There is still a very heavily Republican registration in orange County and that district, they're the 49th congressional stretches between San Diego and orange County. So he does still have a little bit of a challenge. They're facing him in November because if the San Diego voters don't show up, the orange County voters will risk out numbering the Democrats in San Diego. So he has to campaign, um, he is campaigning. We are seeing flyers from those campaigns coming out. And then in the case of the supervisor's race, Kristin Gaspar is the Republican who actually won the third district from a Democrat, um, Dave Roberts and she is facing two democratic challengers. That's really one of the most interesting races in North County because the Democrats are pouring resources to see which of these two Democrats will, uh, face up against Kristin Gaspar. And the registration there is against Christian gas bar. It is predominantly democratic registration, that district. So that's definitely wants to keep an eye on.

Speaker 1: 02:37 Let's talk a bit about who the democratic challengers are in the supervisor's race and who's endorsing Olga Diaz and Terra Lawson Riemer.

Speaker 2: 02:45 Oh, good. This has been endorsed. I know despite the San Diego union Tribune, she is on the city council in Escondido. And one thing that was perhaps a little surprising was that her own mayor, mayor Paul McNamara, changed his endorsement and decided to endorse Terra Lawson reamer instead of his own city council woman. So that was a bit of a surprise. But, um, Tara Lawson, Rema is also endorsed, uh, at the federal level. She's been endorsed by Adam Schiff and I'm thinking that's because she was a mastermind behind the flip, the 40 nines campaign that got Mike Leben put into office. Uh, Adam Schiff was also very instrumental in supporting Mike Levin. So it looks like, you know, the Washington crowd is supporting, uh, Tara and seeing her as an up and coming, uh, good thinker, a good policy thinker, somebody they would like to see moving up the ranks in the democratic party. Uh, all the ideas is credited with changing the culture in Escondido from one that was pretty anti-immigrant to one that is much more tolerant. And so she has some local support.

Speaker 1: 03:49 And let's move on to the state assembly. The 77 state assembly seed is held by Brian Mayne shine, who narrowly won reelection as a Republican in 2018. He has since left the GOP and become a Democrat. Does it appear he'll be able to hold onto his seat with the Dean next to his name on the ballot? Yes, that causes a lot of controversy, but I can change it

Speaker 2: 04:09 party. But he definitely, uh, saw the writing on the wall and last year and got on the winning horse because the registration in that district, the assembly district has definitely switched from being predominantly Republican to predominantly Democrat. He was always a moderate Republican. And, um, I think he's convinced the Democrats that actually he uh, has his heart in their side of the aisle. They are welcoming him. They are not providing anybody to run against him. I guess they don't want to discourage politicians from switching parties over to the democratic side. He does have a Republican challenger June cutter, but she has raised only a few hundred thousand to Brian main shines almost a million at this point.

Speaker 1: 04:51 Meanwhile, ocean side will elect a new mayor in November. Why has the current mayor Pete, why so now I'm just, he's running for a council seat instead of mayor.

Speaker 2: 04:59 Yes. That was a many people might wonder if you're the mayor. He was appointed to the mayor rather after Jim woods had to drop out in the middle of his term due to health reasons. And Peter Weiss said he didn't know if he was going to run or not at that point. Now he's decided to run for city council seat and when you do the math as it were in local politics is all about the vote. There's five people on the council and the mayor has one vote so that that means that he's really no more powerful than any of the district representatives. So he might have split the vote with Rocky Chavez who's running for mayor and other Republican and allowed a Democrat to get in. So I think he's calculating that. It's more likely that he will keep some kind of pro-development vote on the Oceanside city council if he runs for a district seat where he is less likely to be challenged.

Speaker 1: 05:50 There are also two housing development related measures on the ballot measure and measure B. What uh, are people in North saying about these?

Speaker 2: 05:59 These are really crucial measures and I'm hoping that people all over the County are giving them a good look and thinking carefully about them. The first one measure a would mean that you had to put, uh, any kind of new development that did not fit with the general plan in the County to a public vote. And so that one is basically pretty similar in North County in the sense that if you care about more housing, you might decide not to vote for it. If you care about preventing sprawl, you might think it's a good idea. But it's interesting because the North County, uh, North County mayor of Escondido, Paul McNamara has come out saying that he thinks it would be a good idea because Escondido has a similar measure where you have to put it to the vote of the people and it has not deterred development. On the other hand, you look at Encinitas, which has a very similar measure also and it has definitely deterred development.

Speaker 2: 06:55 So much so that the state is currently challenging Encinitas and saying that they cannot meet their housing goals while they still have that on the books. So it is a very important issue. And, um, I think as in everywhere else in the County, it's split in North County. Measure B is about, uh, big developments. Uterine Sierra, just North of San Marcus, North of Escondido. And again, people are, are split on that. There's a sense that if you think that, that we need more housing up the 15, uh, to, to prevent people from moving out to, to, it would be a good idea. But then the people who think 15 is already totally crowded, uh, are probably against it. So it's, it's one that will be of particular importance to North County, and yet the whole County is voting on it. And I think that is one of the questions is whether people in Chula Vista, um, can vote fairly on a development up in the North County.

Speaker 1: 07:56 I've been speaking with KPBS is Alison st John. Alison, thank you very much for joining us. Have to be irritated.

Speaker 3: 08:07 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 Climate change is making wildfires worse around the world, hotter temperatures, dry or conditions. It's a danger not only to communities but on military basis as well, which has led the Pentagon to declare fires and other effects of climate change. A national security problem from KPCC. Here's Jacob Margolis.

Speaker 2: 00:21 September 19th, 2016 we Canyon wildfires burning through the dry rolling Hills of Vandenberg air force base crispy after years of record setting, drought and high temperatures. It's out of control day turns tonight as firefighters are surrounded by smoke and flames, their body cameras catch the sounds of their retreats.

Speaker 3: 00:44 Let's go. Let's go.

Speaker 2: 00:50 The fire started two days earlier in a remote part of the 100,000 acre air force space. Chief Mark various is a 20 year veteran of the Vandenberg fire department.

Speaker 4: 00:59 It's kind of like a military battle, right? You need the ground troops, which we call, let's call them hot shots. You need the tanks, which we'll call the fire trucks and you need air support so that unholy Trinity is what we typically need for almost every fire

Speaker 2: 01:13 fighting fires on military bases can be complicated. There's ordinance and chemical storage and buildings crucial to national security at Vandenberg. At the time, one of the biggest issues was a little over a mile away, a Delta two rocket ready to launch.

Speaker 4: 01:27 Now having a rocket fully loaded on a pad, fully fueled. That's, that's a pucker factor, you know, and having fire all around the area and and threatening the facility.

Speaker 2: 01:37 The department of defense is concerned that wildfires are becoming an increasing threat to many facilities driven by extreme weather conditions that are getting worse as the climate changes. A 2019 DOD report on the effects of a changing climate dedicated a section to the wildfire threat. Wonkily pointing out climatic factors including increased wind and drought can lead to an increased severity of wildfire activity. Maureen Sullivan is the deputy assistant secretary of defense for environment.

Speaker 5: 02:05 No, we just had a huge fire this summer up in Alaska, which was really problematic so it wouldn't think you know of Alaska as a wildfire risk, but that tells you how the wildfire situation is changing.

Speaker 2: 02:17 The Pentagon report looked at 72 basis. It said that half of those could be threatened by wildfire and that number is expected to grow. The report urges, installations to plan ahead.

Speaker 5: 02:28 They have to take into consideration a changing climate, but how do they go about it?

Speaker 2: 02:33 Sullivan said that the defense department is trying to help them. For instance, it developed a tool that can help basis figure out what might burn, where that fire might spread and how they could respond. There's also a new climate adaptation tool that's supposed to help facilities figure out the scope of different kinds of climate threats. Though there are practical things that the bases are doing right now, clearing vegetation is a big one, especially with controlled burns. Though some bases are limited by local. They're also partnering with local, state and national fire agencies. Actually that's what saved chief Pfarius at Vandenberg. When the fire was burning out of control back in 2016 what was the turning point where you guys were able to finally,

Speaker 4: 03:13 uh, getting enough air resources and enough hot shot crews?

Speaker 2: 03:16 The Vandenberg fire burned only 12,500 acres, relatively reasonable for a California fire. But she furious says it shows why his base needs better brush management, more people, and more money,

Speaker 4: 03:28 and we haven't gained resources. Even though our launch tempo is more, even though it's dry or even now, things have gotten worse, we've, we're actually less people, less resourced. And so that has an impact. You know, that means that things are going to get worse before they get better. Something, you know,

Speaker 2: 03:44 like other folks in California and much of the country, he knows that the next big fire could be right around the corner. I'm Jacob Margolis in Los Angeles.

Speaker 3: 03:59 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 The murder rate is rising in Sonora, the Mexican state East of Baja, and with it, the number of women and girls being killed in the state. Now Sonoran women are joining a movement that's spread across Mexico and Latin America. They're demanding justice and action in response to the increased violence and insecurity they face. KJ zzz Kendall blessed reports about femicides in Sonora.

Speaker 2: 00:26 Yeah, it has me as gay. A small group of women and girls hold up thin white candles as night falls on a busy and Maricio Plaza. Their faces a glow in the candlelight. They sing a simple Anthem of unity and peace for Mexican girl Andrea Sanchez leads the group feminist girls collective and MLCO its DNA Muertos or day of the dead and they've set up a small altar of crosses, candles and paper flowers to honor it. The thousands of women and girls murdered in 2019 that is your landlord. [inaudible] Sanchez says she wants the world to know that women and girls are being raped, tortured, and killed in Mexico next to the seen girls, she's strung up dozens of sheets of paper each printed with the picture of a smiling child. Some of the more than 3,800 women and girls killed in Mexico last year on one of the wrestling pages is he thin Norman [inaudible] Morocco. The seven year old from San Luis Rio, Colorado was found murdered near her home on May 30th, 2019 now known as black Thursday in Sonora. Three women were murdered that day. Another survived a brutal beating. You say, I want [inaudible] Sanchez says, femicide is becoming an unwanted tradition in Mexico. Last year, 117 women and girls were killed in Sonora. The state designated 41 of those murders as femicide.

Speaker 2: 02:14 Femicide is the murder of a girl or woman because of her gender. It's a hate crime. Says Sylvia Nunez, head of the Sonoran arm of the national citizens observatory on femicide. We met in a coffee shop late last year to talk about growing violence against women. Official records show more than 1000 cases of femicide in Mexico in 2019 a 10% jump from the previous year, but many believe the real number is much higher. Nunez says, nearly all murders of women should be considered femicides because of the social context. [inaudible] [inaudible] men kill each other, she says, and men kill women. Until women have the same power, access to weapons and involvement in organized crime as their killers. Gender is a factor, but classifying murders as femicides is just one step. Nunez also wants more attention focused on prevention. State attorney Claudia Indira Contrarez agrees, [inaudible] [inaudible] mass [inaudible] [inaudible] says her office is working with other entities to tackle the root causes of violence against women. And she says they're sending the message that femicides won't be tolerated in Sonora by doggedly investigating, tracking, and prosecuting cases. But [inaudible] I can be CBD satellites, but for many, it's not enough. In November, a crowd of friends, colleagues, and supporters marched through the streets of Elmo, CEO calling for justice after well-known Sonoran scholar and activist [inaudible] was brutally murdered by her partner, is willing [inaudible] activists. [inaudible] says, everyone's in shock by the as death as a reminder that all women are vulnerable to femicide. They're terrified and enraged, but that's only made them more determined to keep fighting for change. Kendall blessed in MOC

Speaker 3: 04:37 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 The 25th annual writer's symposium by the sea. We'll get underway later this month at point Loma Nazarene university. Among the featured writers is Pico iron. I is the author of more than a dozen books and he's given four Ted talks that have garnered more than 9 million views. His latest book, autumn lied, finds the author returning to his home in Japan following the sudden death of his father in law. He joins us now from his Hellman Japan Pico. Welcome.

Speaker 2: 00:27 Thank you so much. Delighted to be here.

Speaker 1: 00:29 Outside magazine says you're arguably the greatest living travel writer. Uh, your new book, autumn light. Veers from that a bit and dives into grief. Tell us why you decided to write about that.

Speaker 2: 00:41 Well, I think even living in Japan, as I've been doing for 32 years, it's still a foreign country to me. So I still feel that I'm a traveler here. I walked down the street and I never know what I'm going to see, but at the same time, emotionally, of course Japan is the same as San Diego or anywhere else. And so I think I wanted to remind readers that the surfaces of Japan remained very exotic. But the, the feelings of Japan, when you lose a father or when you're worried about how long your spice spouse will be around, um, uh, just the same as you'd find anywhere else.

Speaker 1: 01:14 Is this the first time you've written about grief, especially of someone so close to you? And, um, did you find the subject particularly challenging?

Speaker 2: 01:22 Uh, I, I think I, what's interesting to me about grief in Japan is that in Japan, happiness and sorrow are seen as aspects of the same thing. People sometimes say here that life is about a joyful participation in a world of sorrow. In other words, we all die. We all get older, things fall away. But that's not a reason to feel unhappy. And I thought that was a very interesting way of approaching grief. I've, I've written a little bit about grief before I lost my house in a forest fire in Southern California and I've been through, you know, the usual kinds of sufferings that people have been through. But I thought Japan is like an wise elder. That's been around for 1400 years thinking about how to deal with grief and loss and that maybe I could learn from, from their approach to it. So when, when my father in law died at the beginning of this book, uh, my wife and her family was sad. Of course they were crying at times, but they also thought we just moved into the next room. It's not as if we've lost him for good. The best parts of him is still alive in us and we don't have to feel only sorrow.

Speaker 1: 02:29 [inaudible] and you've lived in Japan for decades now as you mentioned. And in your book you really paint a picture of the Japan. You've come to know another reason book of yours is called the beginner's guide to Japan. Tell us what you hope the reader takes away from both books when it comes to Japan and what it's like to live there.

Speaker 2: 02:48 Well, it's interesting to two books I wrote at the same time and that almost contradictions of each other. So the book autumn light about my neighborhood is, as I was saying, a reminder that when you live in a family, in a community, as I've done for 32 years, you see the people are very much the same as you'd find anywhere else. The beginner's guide to Japan is almost about how foreign and different than other Japan remains. You go to a ballpark here and the game ends off the 12 innings. If it's a tie, uh, you need to call. And for an emergency here, you don't dial nine one one, you dial one, one nine, uh, you'd get into a plane and the seats are numbered. K J H instead of H J K said everything in an interesting way. It's kind of reversed on the surface in Japan. And so one book is almost about living inside Japan as I have done and the other is aimed at people who just arriving for the first time tomorrow at the airport in Tokyo and seeing how different it is.

Speaker 1: 03:44 Very interesting. You know, when we last spoke to you in 2014, the focus was on how to find balance in the digital age. Um, six years later. How are you doing with that and how do you think society in general is doing?

Speaker 2: 03:58 I think society is really suffering [inaudible] it's suffering from a kind of collapse of consciousness because there's more and more stuff coming in on us and we don't know how to make sense of it. Um, so you're talking to me, as you mentioned in my little apartment in Japan, and we don't have a car here. I don't really have much internet access. I don't have any media and I've never actually used a cell phone. And so in some ways it seems like my days in Japan last for $1,000. I wake up in the morning and I have five hours to write and I go and play ping pong and I take some walks around the neighborhood and I still have six hours left. So for me, coming to Japan with my way to try to get more sanity and balance in my life, I know when I'm visiting my mother in Santa Barbara, I'm racing from place to place and appointment to appointment and it seems like I'm always harried and always rushed. And when I come to Japan I take my watch off and I um, I feel I have all the time in the world.

Speaker 1: 04:53 You know, a theme that runs through your work is the transformative power of travel. Can you explain that to me?

Speaker 2: 05:00 Yes. I travel to become a different person. I think when I'm at home, I'm stuck in my routines. I, I sort of feel I'm on top of the world and suddenly put me in the middle of North Korea or Jerusalem or Tibet and I don't know what's coming next. And I think that's healthy because it, it humbles me and it sends me home a slightly different person from the person who left him. I think sometimes when I'm at home I can be a little complacent and a little shielded from reality. And as soon as I'm traveling, I reminded how everyone else in the world is living. And I think that's a good, um, wake up call.

Speaker 1: 05:37 You appear in all sorts of events having to do with literature. Tell us about what makes the point Loma writer's symposium special.

Speaker 2: 05:44 Well, everybody loves the San Diego area. Of course. It's one of the sunniest in the world. And in fact, when my Japanese wife was celebrating her 60th anniversary, their 60th birthday and I was thinking, where should I take her? I brought her to San Diego and um, I, I think, uh, I like the, I know that the person who invited me to the festival was just visiting Japan three months ago. And so one of the things I'm looking forward to is contrasting his, uh, impressions as I think a first time visitor with mine. Um, so I think a conversation in a sunny place with openhearted people is about as good as it can get.

Speaker 1: 06:22 And, you know, do you ever tire of travel all the time spent in airports and in airplanes and other forms of transportation?

Speaker 2: 06:29 I do a light like everybody. And I think at this point in life, my great luxury is, is staying in one place and now that you're talking to me, when I come back from point lemme I'll be the next five weeks just sitting at my little desk in this quad neighborhood. And that's going to seem really wonderful.

Speaker 1: 06:46 And finally, uh, you know, it's easy to look around today with what's going on politically in the United States and around the world with climate change, the spread of disease and so forth and really become depressed. How do you stay centered and deal with all the bad news the world has to offer?

Speaker 2: 07:01 Well, I think travel is a great way to do that. As you say, when I'm visiting my mother in California as I was last month and I pick up the newspaper and I'm reminded of all the divisions in the world. And then I fly to India, which is where my parents came from. And the lives of 300 million people in India have gotten better in the last 10 years. So I go to Africa or China where more and more people are enjoying opportunities they never had before. And I think if you put the world in a global perspective, um, things are getting better for lots of people. I think climate change, as you said, is a terrifying challenge that we all have to face, but the only way we can address it is globally. And I'm sort of excited that the world is a global neighborhood now in the way it wasn't, um, when I was a young kid. And I think the world in those ways is moving in very positive directions. When I visit a classroom today, a typical student, I think has a much more global sense of responsibility and, and fascination than when I was a kid myself. And so I'm excited about the possibilities of the world.

Speaker 1: 08:06 I've been speaking with author Pico iron. It will be part of the 25th annual writer's symposium by the sea taking place at point Loma Nazarene university later this month. Pico, thank you so much for joining us.

Speaker 2: 08:17 Thank you very much.

San Diego County leaders are trying to stay ahead of the novel coronavirus and declared a local and public health emergency last Friday. The move was a precaution to allow the county to tap into mutual aid assets and state and federal funds as needed. Plus, the March 2020 primary is fast approaching, KPBS looks at the races and issues in North County. Also, in a new report, the Department of Defense says climate change is a growing national security threat. And, violence against women are rising in Sonora and across Mexico. Women there are joining a movement demanding action from the government. In addition, KPBS Only Here podcast takes a look at the mural along the border that is broadcasting voices of “Dreamers,” children who were brought into the U.S. illegally. Finally, travel writer Pico Iyer explores aging and death in new book “Autumn Light.”

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KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.