Hana Baba

News Reporter/Host

Hana Baba is a reporter and host of Crosscurrents, KALW's evening newsmagazine. She's also part of KALW's project The Spiritual Edge.

She interviews and reports on ethnic communities, poverty, health, culture, religion, arts, and the global nature of the San Francisco Bay Area.  Her work also appears on NPR programs, PRI's The World, BBC World Service, and New America Media. A Sudanese-American, Hana also reports from and about Sudan and Sudanese.

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Earlier today Governor Jerry Brown announced that he had reached a deal with state lawmakers that would mean sweeping changes for California’s public pensions system, and affect hundreds of thousands of state workers. The new rules would cap pensions while increasing the amount employees pay in; they would also increase the retirement age by up to seven years.

The California Department of Health has issued a scathing report about a board-and-care home for people with disabilities in Sonoma County.

The Sonoma Developmental Center houses about 500 patients in the city of Eldridge. California Watch obtained a copy of the nearly 500 page document which details numerous citations of neglect and abuse by staff, including sexual abuse and violence, as well as lack of action on these cases by on-site law enforcement.

Flickr user Crisis Hopkins

You might remember the TV program “Whose Line Is it Anyway?” where four comics get on stage with no script or plan whatsoever, take suggestions for skits from the audience, and then see what happens. 

New legislation has reached the Governor’s desk that would change the way juveniles are sentenced. Senate Bill SB9, introduced by State Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco introduced the legislation ,which would allow people who are serving life without parole for crimes they committed when they were juveniles, to ask for sentences of 25 years to life instead.

Thousands of Californians spent years working for city governments and are now collectively owed billions of dollars in retiree health care benefits. But a new study by the nonprofit research group California Common Sense finds that many cities, including Oakland and San Francisco, haven’t ever set aside money to pay these costs.

Flickr user D.H. Parks, Under CC License / http://www.flickr.com/photos/parksdh/

Last night’s fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond put city residents in a state of panic. The fire sent up a huge plume of black smoke, stopping traffic, closing bridges, and shutting down BART stations.

The large-scale chemical fire still has local residents concerned for their health and safety. Many say they heard about the fire late, and that the multi-lingual phone system that is supposed to alert the diverse communities of Richmond in case of a disaster didn’t work. 

Courtesy of SETI

If you think back to the 1997 film Contact, you’ll recall a scene where Jodie Foster, playing alien-hunting astronomer Ellie Arroway, lies on her car hood with huge headphones on her ears, in a field of towering white satellite dishes. She’s waiting for something. A signal. She lies still, her eyes closed. And suddenly, she hears something, the sounds of something – someone  – beyond the earth, communicating with her.

The US dominates in many Olympic sports – track and field, swimming, basketball. But, one sport the US has never won a medal for is table tennis.

This year, the US team is hoping to change that. It’s going to be challenging. Only 4 players qualified to compete on the 2012 US Olympic Table Tennis team. Three of those four live and train right here in the Bay Area at an unlikely Olympic training ground – a converted warehouse that’s part of the Indian Community Center in Milpitas (ICC).

Street art has long been at the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District. With its colorful wall murals, it has been called the largest concentration of public painting in the world, embodying culture, passion, and activism. It would be quite a treat if you could see hundreds of the Mission's murals in one place – well, now you can.

The book Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo features over 500 full color photographs, with 30 essays by icons in the San Francisco public art movement. KALW’s Hana Baba sat down with the editor of the book, artist Annice Jacoby.

While The Birds and Vertigo may be some of the more obvious classic films featuring the Bay Area, a new exhibit showing at the Old Mint building in San Francisco is exploring the obvious, the not so obvious, and the downright obscure. The exhibit is entitled "The Stuff that Dreams are made of: San Francisco and the Movies," and it shows scripts, collectibles, artwork and posters from films shot in San Francisco. One room is dedicated to movie posters from classic Noir films related to the City by the Bay.