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AMERICAN MOSAIC - Born of the 9/11 Attacks in New York, a Weekend of World Music

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(MUSIC)

HOST: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English. I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

We hear some songs from artists taking part in a global music festival …

Answer a question about a secret American organization …

And report about the popularity of a new kind of game.

Sudoku

A numbers game that has been enjoyed for years in Japan is now becoming very popular in the United States. Pat Bodnar tells us more about the game Sudoku, and how it is quickly gaining interest throughout the world.

Sudoku game
Sudoku game

PAT BODNAR: The name Sudoku is Japanese, meaning single numbers. But the game is believed to be an American invention, created by a man named Howard Garns. The earliest known examples of the game were published in nineteen seventy-nine.

In the nineteen eighties, the game appeared in Japan under the name Sudoku. In recent years, newspapers in Britain began publishing the game. And last year, its popularity spread back to the United States. Now the games are found in several major American newspapers, in bookstores, and on the Internet. You can even play Sudoku on cellular telephones.

Sudoku is designed to be played by one person. The rules of the game are simple, although completing it can be extremely difficult, especially higher-level Sudoku games.

Although the game uses numbers, you do not have to be good at mathematics to complete Sudoku successfully. Anyone who can count can solve Sudoku.

The game includes a box that contains eighty-one spaces, or smaller boxes. The goal is to fill in each space with a number, one through nine. Some of the spaces are already filled in so the player must complete the rest.

The numbers must be placed in such a way that each number is represented in every line of spaces, going across the box, and up and down. Nine areas within the main box must also contain each number, one through nine. A single mistake in Sudoku makes the whole game wrong. The games are rated, depending on their level of difficulty.

Numbers have been called an international language because they are the same in any language. Sudoku is a good example of this international language of numbers that anyone, in any country, can understand.

Sudoku books are currently among the top sellers in the United States.

Ku Klux Klan

HOST: Our VOA listener question this week comes from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Dang Cam Y asks about an organization known as the Ku Klux Klan, and the meaning of the name.

Klansmen in Virginia in 1922
Klansmen in Virginia in 1922

The Ku Klux Klan was once a secret terrorist organization in the United States. Its members were white men who dressed in white robes with pointed hoods that covered their faces. They threatened or killed members of minority groups. Members of the Klan believed that they were under attack and were acting to protect their way of life.

Experts say the Klan's enemies were always minorities that were in economic competition with its white members. At different times these enemies have been African-Americans, Catholics, Jews, immigrants, homosexuals and others.

Six college students in the southern town of Pulaski, Tennessee started the Klan after the Civil War in eighteen sixty-six. They were former Confederate officers who were on the losing side of the Civil War. The group was at first a social club. Members wore unusual clothes, covered their faces and rode their horses around town after dark.

These appearances frightened people in the area, especially former black slaves. The group expanded to different towns. In eighteen sixty-seven, a meeting was held to officially establish rules.

Members took the name Ku Klux Klan from the Greek word "kuklos" meaning circle. They believed the circle represented white people. The circle is also the oldest symbol of unity. Reports say the name meant "White Racial Brotherhood." Ku Klux was a way of saying "kuklos". "Klan" was added to mean group.

Many white men joined the Klan in its early days because they opposed the federal government's policy of Reconstruction. This policy was aimed at extending the rights of African-Americans. Klan members felt this was taking away their rights.

Strong Klan groups developed in small towns in the South. They attacked former slaves, teachers, judges and government officials. They burned wooden crosses outside the houses of people they wanted to frighten.

Membership in the Klan increased again in the early nineteen hundreds after the release of a movie about Reconstruction called "Birth of a Nation." During this period, the Klan terrorized European immigrants who had moved to the United States. Later, action by the government and law enforcement agencies stopped the growth of the Klan and destroyed it as an organization.

Global Fest

A yearly festival of new world music is taking place this weekend in New York City. Musicians from all over the world will perform Saturday and Sunday at the Public Theater. Steve Ember has more about Global Fest.

Daara J
Daara J

STEVE EMBER: Global Fest was created by three Americans who are world music show producers -- Maure Aronson, Bill Bragin and Isabel Soffer. They began working together after the terrorist attacks against the United States in two thousand one. They wanted to make sure that international music continued to be performed in the United States. Critics say they have succeeded.

Maure Aronson says that for they past two years they had more demand than space at the festival. That is why they have expanded the program this year to two nights.

Thirteen acts will be performing each night. The performers represent many different cultures and music. One is Niyaz, who performs electronic Persian and Indian folk music. Here is a song from her album, "Niyaz." It is called "Nahan."

(MUSIC)

Global Fest has attracted musicians hoping to increase their popularity in North America. Another group performing is the Senegalese hip-hop group Daara J. This song is "Paris Dakar."

(MUSIC)

Critics say the festival has succeeded in bringing new international music groups to more people in the United States. We leave you now with a Global Fest performer from France -- flamenco guitarist Juan Carmona. He is playing a tango called "Cuida Mi Rosa."

(MUSIC)

HOST: I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.

Our show was written by Brianna Blake and Nancy Steinbach. Caty Weaver was the producer.

Send your questions about American life to mosaic@voanews.com. Please include your full name and mailing address. Or write to American Mosaic, VOA Special English, Washington, D.C., two-zero-two-three-seven, U.S.A.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English. 

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