The World

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  • Hosted by Marco Werman

The World brings international stories home to America. Each weekday, host Marco Werman guides listeners through major issues and stories, linking global events directly to the American agenda.

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Her workplace was not a safe place, and despite being a teenager, Katalina knew this for certain. It didn’t feel OK that her bosses touched her, said sexual things and propositioned her constantly. But she saw it happen to other women, too. Even changing jobs didn’t help. New bosses in new work sites did the same awful things, she said.

Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

Every time there's a mass shooting in the US, the same question comes up. Does the availability of guns lead to such tragedies?

Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Flying insect populations dropped by more than 75 percent during the last three decades in dozens of protected areas across Germany, researchers have found.

A club of mostly amateur entomologists used traps to capture insects and measure their biomass at 63 nature protection areas in Germany since 1989.

Courtesy of Victoria Barrett

Victoria Barrett was really looking forward to her high school’s retreat junior year, but she got there late — right in the middle of the talent show, and in no mood to party.

“I’m in a room full of screaming, dancing girls,” Barrett says, “and I was [thinking], like, ‘Does nobody know what's happening in the world? Like, how is anyone happy right now? How is anyone having a good time?'"

In early September, Hurricane Irma was barreling toward Miami. Veteran meteorologist John Morales was giving his forecast on South Florida’s local NBC affiliate, in front of angry red weather graphics.

“You are about to witness one of the worst hurricanes in the history of this country,” Morales told viewers. But in delivering such serious news, there was no hysteria. No hype. In his pinstripe suit and neat gray hair, Morales calmly told viewers to expect storm surges, heavy winds and the risk of tornadoes.

World Meteorological Organization

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere hit a new record in 2016. The concentration of the heat-trapping gas is higher than it’s been in at least 800,000 years, including all of human history.

That's the word from the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization.

The WMO says last year's CO2 spike was 50 percent greater than the average increase over the past decade, which Petteri Taalas, the organization’s secretary-general, says is very bad news.

Is tourism harming the Galápagos Islands?

5 hours ago
Matt Rogers

Mathías Espinoza has a deeply crinkled brow as he squints at the vast ocean around the Galápagos Islands on a July morning. “Bien brava,” he murmurs softly, meaning, “rough.” He has looked out on the ocean many times over his years in the Galápagos Islands, but it never ceases to intrigue him.

Mattea Mrkusic

From the air, Kiribati's capital island resembles the cross-section of a polished geode. You’ll see a painfully thin crust of land and a glassy lagoon that shifts with rising tides. For years, media outlets have called this equatorial nation “a canary in the coal mine for climate migration.” But what you perceive at a distance may be misleading.

New Zealand could become the first country in the world to recognize climate change as a valid reason to be granted residency, according to an interview with a government minister on Tuesday.

Anne Bailey

The narrow, black tunnel at the bottom of a 70-foot dirt shaft about two hours north of Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, is so small that you can’t stand up. But there are three men down here using headlamps to illuminate a section of rock where they’ve been digging for gold.

In October, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a bold statement in publically positioning his country as the next global leader in combating climate change.

“Taking a driving seat in international cooperation to respond to climate change,” Xi said at the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress last month. “China has become an important participant, contributor, and torch-bearer in the global endeavor for ecological civilization.”

President Donald Trump's press conference on Wednesday recapping his two-week trip to Asia has been getting a lot of attention — and not only for the reasons the Trump administration intended.

During the press conference, Trump picked up and took a sip out of a water bottle with a label familiar to many of us: Fiji Water. A video of his drinking went viral.

Heidi Shin

When the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1975, the regime carried out a genocide that killed over 1.5 million people and specifically targeted nearly all of the country’s artists and musicians. Very few survived.  

After the genocide, thousands of Cambodian Americans were resettled in the US as refugees in the city of Lowell, Massachusetts. Three decades later, the public schools in Lowell are teaching kids how to play traditional Cambodian music — which is an art form that was almost once lost.  

It’s a reversal of yet another Obama administration policy.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday that it will allow the import of heads of elephants killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia, saying the trophies "will enhance the survival of the species in the wild."

Sonia Narang

Elisabeth Holland's office at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji looks like a museum. There are woven palm leaf fans, wooden canoe replicas, a handmade Fijian cloth with a turtle design — all artifacts from her life here in the Pacific Islands.

But she grew up far from here — in New Mexico.

"I came from the desert," Holland says. "I first saw the ocean when I was 16."

Courtesy of Ballets Russes Arts Initiative 

After the Bolsheviks seized control of Russia in 1917, one of the many ways they changed the empire was converting a former imperial porcelain factory in St. Petersburg — then Leningrad — into a propaganda plant. They ordered the factory’s artists to start designing Communist Party porcelain.

Amal Hussein and Hamdi Mohamed have a lot in common. Both were born in Kenya, where their parents had fled as refugees from Somalia’s civil war, and both came to Boston when they were just a few years old. They’re both in their early 20s now, they’re both poets — and both of their grandmothers are poets.

But there’s one crucial difference in the two women's stories.

Courtesy of John Carney/Barrios Unidos

Thirty years ago, Luis Cardona was a Latin Kings gang member serving time for running drugs. Today Cardona, a burly 50-year-old with a gentle voice, is a government bureaucrat.

He spends his days working with community groups in Maryland that try to keep  young people out of trouble. As chief administrator for Montgomery County’s Positive Youth Development Initiative, he decides which groups will get grants and then monitors their work. He pushes paper.

During this year’s Miss Peru pageant, the 23 contestants made a collective decision to take a stand against the violence faced by women in their country, and around the world.

Rather than provide their measurements, as is common in pageants, they decided to share information on gender-based violence.

One by one, they introduced themselves and then voiced some staggering statistics: 2,202 cases of femicide were reported in the last nine years in Peru, while more than 25 percent of girls and teenagers are abused in their schools, they said.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

International trips are a ritual for every White House administration. They're supposed to showcase American leadership and influence, and are meant to reassure our allies that America is engaged with the world.

President Donald Trump's 12-day trip to Asia was no doubt meant to do the same. The president told reporters aboard Air Force One that "we've had a tremendously successful trip" that netted the US "at least $300 billion worth of deals."

No doubt a significant portion of Americans agree with him, says The Economist's David Rennie.

Of all the things Syrian refugees leave behind, one of the most surprising is language. Not the dialect they speak at home, but the Arabic of written and formal speech. It’s the form of Arabic used in school, books, public life and media.

It’s a simplified version of the Arabic of the Quran, and you need it to function in the Arab world. One displaced Syrian, concerned that her daughter becomes literate in Arabic, turned to cartoons for help. 

Just outside of Cologne in western Germany, about 40 miles from where UN climate delegates are meeting this week, the 12,000-year-old Hambach Forest is a vast, leafy cathedral of beech and oak. Except for the rustle of dead leaves underfoot and the occasional burst of birdsong, it's pretty quiet. But it turns out it's a great place to get an earful about Germany's vaunted climate leadership.

“Germany is not the greenest country in the world,” says a climate activist who refers to himself as Tom.

US Department of Defense

President Robert Mugabe is under house arrest after what appears to be a military coup in Zimbabwe. You can never write off Mugabe completely, but it seems possible that his remarkable 37-year hold on power is coming to an end.

Mugabe rose to prominence in the guerrilla struggle against white minority rule in the 1970s, and outmaneuvered his political rivals to become prime minister in 1980 after Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain. Since then he has survived repeated political challenges, economic disaster and international pressure.

Alister Doyle/Reuters

The Trump administration on Monday used its only event at the United Nations climate talks to promote the use of “cleaner” coal and other non-renewable energy sources, prompting an outcry from participants working to reduce the use of fossil fuels and halt climate change’s most catastrophic consequences.

Jamal Saidi/Reuters

A Mashrou' Leila concert in Cairo last month sparked a public outcry against Egypt's LGBTQ community and led to the country's widest anti-gay crackdown.

Fans waving rainbows flags at the concert became targets. Egyptian authorities have arrested at least 57 people in the escalated persecution of LGBTQ communities in Egypt.

The Wabanaki people are taking back their narrative

Nov 15, 2017

Cultural preservation is self-preservation for Native communities. An upcoming film from the Upstander Project, "Dawnland," explains just that.

The documentary, now in post-production, follows the journeys of those involved in a truth and reconciliation process in Maine involving the Wabanaki people. The documentary examines the history and the implications of the removal of Native children from their homes in the US.

Barbara Dane just can't recall any good fascist songs

Nov 15, 2017
Erik Weber

"Can you recall any good fascist songs?" Barbara Dane, the founder of Paredon Records, asks.

Unlike fascist music, Dane recalls protest and struggle songs as having a rallying effect. Songs like "Deutschlandlied," which was chosen as Germany's national anthem in 1922 (today only the third stanza is used in the national anthem), can be pointed out as nationally successful. But fascist songs just don't seem to bring people together the way that protest music from folk culture does. 

Italy's soccer apocalypse is served

Nov 15, 2017
Max Rossi/Reuters

The agony of defeat. That's one way to describe the mood in Italy right now, after the Italian national soccer team failed to qualify for the men's World Cup in Russia next year.

It’s the first time in 60 years that Italy won’t be represented on soccer’s biggest stage. Generations of Italian fans have never experienced this. And they’re taking it hard.

The president of the Italian soccer federation said weeks ago that it would be an “apocalypse” if Italy didn’t qualify. He meant that in a reassuring way. But his choice of words proved prophetic.

Paul Manafort's indictment made headlines in Ukraine too

Nov 15, 2017
James Lawler Duggan/Reuters

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, was indicted last month.

It was a big deal here in the US — the charges against Manafort, which included conspiracy and money laundering, were the first criminal allegations to come from the investigation into Russian meddling in US politics.

But it also made headlines in Ukraine. Manafort made millions of dollars as a political consultant to former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych.

Tasnim News Agency/Reuters

How can I help?

That's usually the first of many questions we have after a natural disaster.

And this is the question many have been grappling with over the past three days, after a devastating earthquake jolted an area near the Iran-Iraq border.

Official estimates put the death toll at more than 500. Most of the victims are Iranian.

Related: Iran hunts for survivors as quake kills more than 300 near Iraq border

This Mumbai lawyer inspired a massive beach cleanup

Nov 15, 2017
Chhavi Sachdev

Mumbai has 72 miles of coastline, some of it covered in mangroves and some of it sandy or rocky — but none of it is clean.

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