Ashley Westerman | KUER 90.1

Ashley Westerman

Ashley Westerman is an associate producer who occasionally directs the show. Since joining the staff in June 2015, she has produced coverage of a coal mine closing near her hometown, the 2016 Republican National Convention and the Rohingya refugee crisis in southern Bangladesh. Ages ago (2011), Ashley was a summer intern with Morning Edition and pitched a story on her very first day. She went on to work as reporter and host for member station 89.3 WRKF in Baton Rouge, La., where she earned awards covering everything from healthcare to jambalaya. Ashley is a two-time reporting fellow with the International Center for Journalists. Through its programs, she has covered labor issues in her home country of the Philippines for NPR and health care in Appalachia for Voice of America. She tweets @NPRAshley.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson is no stranger to tough negotiations in global hot spots, but his frustration with Myanmar and its leaders, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, led him to resign Wednesday from an international advisory board tasked with bringing peace and stability to Myanmar's troubled Rakhine state.

On Jan. 6, many Christians around the world will celebrate Epiphany, or Three Kings Day — the day the three kings came to visit baby Jesus.

In parts of Latin America, a big part of the holiday tradition is the rosca de reyes, or Three Kings cake.

The Philippine Congress has extended martial law on the southern island of Mindanao for another year at the request of President Rodrigo Duterte, who says it is needed to continue the fight against armed groups in the region.

The move was overwhelmingly approved by both the Senate and House of Representatives, where Duterte and his allies hold big majorities. Duterte first imposed martial law in the Muslim-dominated south in May, and Wednesday's vote extends it through 2018.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution last week condemning "the ethnic cleansing" of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar by that country's military.

The way people perceive their country's economic conditions plays a big role in whether they view their lives more positively now compared with the past, according to a study released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

One of Cambodia's major English-language newspapers will close this week because it is unable to pay what the government says it owes in back taxes.

A respected English-language newspaper in Cambodia may close because it won't be able to pay an enormous tax bill the government claims it owes by Sept. 4.

The Cambodia Daily was slapped with a $6.3 million tax bill last month, after Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered an investigation into private organizations operating in the country. The paper, founded in 1993, was given the deadline to come up with the millions the government said it owed from back taxes accrued over the last 10 years.

There's a new big man on campus at Louisiana State University — and he's a cat.

It's Mike the Tiger, the LSU Tigers' live mascot.

The 11-month-old Siberian-Bengal mix officially replaced Mike VI late last month — just in time for the start of school and football season. LSU plays its first game against Brigham Young University on Saturday.

A recent string of violent episodes in Southeast Asian countries sheds some light on the challenges facing this region as it grapples with extremism.

In Indonesia last month, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a Jakarta bus station. The attack was linked to an ISIS-affiliated group.

On April 24, 2013, the eight-story Rana Plaza building outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people and injuring thousands of others. At the time, the building housed five garment factories that manufactured goods for major retail companies in Europe and North America.

Can all hope be lost?

I used to think not.

I used to think that no matter how tough life gets for people, they always have hope to cling to – to get them through it.

Then I met some Rohingya refugees on a trip to Bangladesh last month. Reporter Michael Sullivan and I were there to report on the latest wave of the Muslim minority group to flee over the border from Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

The judge presiding over an open records fight between the University of Kentucky and its own student newspaper, The Kentucky Kernel, has sided with the university.

There are a lot of reasons victims of sexual assault choose not to report it. High on that list is fear of retaliation, so many victims won't come forward unless they can stay anonymous.

The criminal justice system cannot guarantee that kind of confidentiality for accusers and the accused. Further, when sexual assault is reported to law enforcement, a majority of cases never make it to trial. In fact, only 3 percent to 18 percent of sexual assaults lead to a conviction, according to research funded by the Justice Department.

As an Asian-American woman, I've had any number of opportunities to see someone who looked like me on the big and small screen.

Since I was a little girl, I've seen Disney's Mulan, Trini Kwan from Fox Kids' Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy, to name a few. And while the portrayal of Asian-American women by Hollywood and television could use some work — too often they're oversexualized or rendered exotic — at least we're present and have some depth.

The number of people who leave their countries to work abroad is soaring, according to the United Nations. More than 200 million people now live outside their country of origin, up from 150 million a decade ago.

And migration isn't just from poor countries to rich countries anymore. There also is significant migration from rich country to rich country — and even from poor country to poor.

Beginning Thursday, the U.N. will hold a high-level meeting on the subject in New York.

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