The World

News & Music Stations: Mon - Fri, 3 - 4 pm | News & Talk Stations: 8 - 9 pm
  • 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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Frightening stories about climate change seem to come in a never-ending wave these days.

Gaël Faye, rapper and author, readily admits his debut novel is based on his childhood — loosely anyway. Faye grew up in Burundi at a time of turmoil that inspired his book, "Small Country." The book was published to wide acclaim in France two years ago. It was translated into 35 languages and has just been released in English.

As the novel opens, it’s 1992, the eve of a civil war in Burundi and the genocide in Rwanda. For Gabriel, the 10-year-old narrator and main character, a happy childhood is about to be shattered.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending his administration’s policy of separating migrant children and parents at the southern border. Instead, the order says, they will be kept together in detention as their legal cases are resolved.

At 9 years old, my grandfather Lew Din Wing was separated from his family and placed in immigration detention.

In 2002, I went to visit YeYe in his San Francisco apartment and I brought a tape recorder with me. He told me about his experience in detention in the last conversation we had before he died. Now, 16 years later, I can still listen to his voice, his labored breathing, and his life story. Or at least I can listen to the story he wanted to live on.

From the outside, there’s nothing special about the building at 606 South Olive Street in downtown Los Angeles. If anything, the 50-year-old office tower, with vacant retail space on the ground floors, is dingy compared to the newer, swankier buildings being built around it. 

Lisseth has been locked up in family immigration detention for close to 365 days with her 6-year-old and she wants it to be known.

That’s why she joined a hunger strike at Berks County Residential Center in Pennylvania. After 16 days of skipping the three meals offered, Lisseth says she began to feel weak and nauseated. She is from El Salvador and crossed the southern border in Texas to seek asylum in the US. She fears retaliation for speaking to the press, so she asked us not to use her real name.

How far would you go to have a biological child?

Jun 20, 2018

Surrogacy is a multimillion-dollar, global industry. People who face infertility have tough choices when it comes to deciding whether to keep trying to get pregnant via infertility treatments like in vitro fertilization — only to experience disappointment when it doesn’t take — or resort to surrogacy, which can get complicated.

A key battle to capture a seaport in Yemen is entering its second week, as residents and humanitarian workers worry fighting could soon reach civilian neighborhoods.

Yemeni troops, backed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, claim to have captured an airport just south of the city of Hodeidah. And inside the city center, residents can hear explosions from airstrikes, artillery and mortars.

Audio Part One: A divisive national strike in the 1980s stripped the once-dominant UK coal industry of its economic and political influence

Audio Part Two: 30 years after the strike, a ground-breaking climate law meets almost no opposition and leads to an almost total phase-out of coal.

The UK, perhaps more than any other country in the world, was built on coal.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision on asylum seekers is 30 pages long.

Advocates and many judges say that the decision is extraordinary, not only because the attorney general took steps to overrule the court's’ prior rulings, but because the decision that victims of certain kinds of violence can qualify for asylum has been previously reviewed over the course of decades.

Two South Dakota cattle ranchers, two opinions on NAFTA

Jun 19, 2018

This is a story about two ranchers in western South Dakota — Kenny Fox and Eric Jennings.

The two men have both been busy vaccinating and branding their calves, and preparing to get hay ready for winter. Fox is in his 60s; Jennings is in his 50s. Their lives, jobs and outlooks have a lot of overlap. Where the two men differ sharply, however, is on trade.  

“We have people who have lost jobs because of NAFTA,” says Fox.

On the flip side, Jennings says, “We’re very happy with NAFTA. It has opened up our borders tremendously.”

Erika Beras/PRI

To see Bartolo now — happy, healthy, slurping a Go-Gurt in an English language class — you’d never know what he’s been through since he left his town of San Mateo Ixtatán in northern Guatemala four years ago.

He grew up working in the fields alongside his father, occasionally selling items in the market to help support his parents and siblings. But weeks after turning 16, he set out to the US, joining tens of thousands of other undocumented, unaccompanied minors fleeing poverty and violence in Central America.

Tell us your thoughts on nuclear security

Jun 19, 2018

This year has been a worrying and, at times, promising one when it comes to nuclear security.

A Dutch brothel where women work for themselves

Jun 15, 2018

From purple and red walls to safes in every room, just about everything at the My Red Light brothel has been designed with input from the women who work there.

It’s also almost completely run by former or current sex workers, something rare in Amsterdam’s world-famous prostitution district. But the most important thing about My Red Light is that its 14 rooms can only be rented by people who have been thoroughly vetted to ensure they are not being trafficked, pimped or exploited.

It has been almost four years since I came to the United States. The year before I arrived, “A Moonlit Night on the Spring River” (a piece of Chinese traditional music) woke me up every weekend.

It was my mom playing a guzheng, a Chinese plucked-string instrument with more than 2,500 years of history.

My mom was always enchanted by the beauty of Chinese traditional music but, for much of her life, she never had the chance to learn an instrument. In 2009, she got a guzheng from a friend and has been playing and performing ever since.

Voting for the next president of Colombia looks deceivingly festive outside the Colombian consulate in Coral Gables, a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Colombians usually have notoriously low voter participation rates, both in Colombia and in the US, but this election has seen a rise in turnout. About 53 percent of voters participated in the first round of presidential elections, according to the National Civil Registry.

What reporters couldn't see when they toured a Texas shelter for child migrants

Jun 14, 2018

Life for children inside a privately run facility for migrant children at the Southern border is a cross between living in a detention center and temporary shelter.  

That’s according to people who got a brief glimpse inside. This week, a small group of reporters toured Casa Padre, a converted former Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, that houses nearly 1,500 boys ranging in age from 10 to 17 who were caught crossing the border between checkpoints. Most come from Central America.

On a hilltop in eastern Puerto Rico’s Humacao municipality, a handful of women bustled around pans of sizzling oil and fragrant pots of stew. They spooned heaping piles of rice, chicken, chickpeas, fried plantains and salad into Styrofoam containers. At a serving window, one of the women slid the food to waiting customers.

“This is like therapy for us,” said María Laboy.

In September, Hurricane Maria made landfall just south of this community, called Mariana. The storm blew out the power grid, leaving people without electricity and damaging many homes in the region.

Back in 2010, President Vladimir Putin helped secure Russia’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup with guarantees the world would see a Russia both open and welcoming.

This week, the Russian leader said his country had made good on that promise. 

“We’ve done everything to ensure our guests — sportsmen, experts and, of course, fans feel at home in Russia,” said Putin in a video address released by the Kremlin. “We have opened our country and our hearts to the world.” 

Pa’lante, meaning “onwards” or “forward,” was the title of a newspaper published by the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican leftist group advocating for social change in the '70s. Now the newspaper and Pedro Pietri’s poem, "Puerto Rican Obituary," are leading inspirations for a new song by the band Hurray for the Riff Raff — and also for a new music video that captures life in post-storm Puerto Rico.

The Centro Mercado Latino in Phoenix is a giant warehouse filled with vendors peddling everything from cell phone accessories to quinceñera dresses to parakeets. On Sundays, there are lucha libre wrestling matches in the corner.  

But there’s something unexpected tucked next to a kiosk selling alarm systems: a campaign booth promoting a presidential candidate — for Mexico.

Residents of the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah have been anticipating a Saudi-led invasion for weeks. It may have just begun.

Naval warships from the Saudi-led coalition began firing on Hodeidah Tuesday night in what could be the first shots of a battle to drive out Houthi rebels that have held the city since 2014. Early reports indicate that rebels returned fire and that the warships retreated.

The Centro Mercado Latino in Phoenix is a giant warehouse filled with vendors peddling everything from cell phone accessories to quinceñera dresses to parakeets. On Sundays, there are lucha libre wrestling matches in the corner.  

But there’s something unexpected tucked next to a kiosk selling alarm systems: a campaign booth promoting a presidential candidate — for Mexico.

Tomoko Shinkai is on the front lines of Japan’s demographic decline. She works for the small city of Hamada, and it’s her job to get people to move there. It’s hard to imagine a better cheerleader for the place. When you ask her what people should know about her hometown, Shinkai says there are too many wonderful things to name. “Come and see it for yourself!” she laughed.

Ireland is not as Catholic as it used to be. It’s a trend that goes back many years, but recent events have been chipping away at the church’s hold on Irish society. 

In 2015, Irish voters chose to legalize same-sex marriage. Last month, they rebuked the church again by voting overwhelmingly to legalize abortion. 

One part of life where the Catholic Church remains very powerful to this day, though, is in education. Around 90 percent of the schools in Ireland, for example, are overseen by the Catholic Church. And that includes many public schools. 

For many South Koreans, the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un has brought their divided peninsula one step closer to peace. 

Even though the declaration signed by both leaders at the conclusion of their historic meeting in Singapore was high on lofty goals and short on details about how central issues like complete denuclearization would actually be achieved, the most important outcome is that Trump and Kim are no longer threatening mutual annihilation.

I took an interest in Yemen some years ago and began following events there for The World, our Boston-based radio show. Because the US has taken on a major role in the Yemen civil war — supplying weapons, logistical and intelligence support to one side in the conflict — I've become, from a distance, a conflict journalist. 

Michael Brun delivers a message from Haiti — one summer block party at a time

Jun 12, 2018

Michael Brun held his microphone out toward the crowd at Miami’s Little Haiti Cultural Complex as they erupted in cheers and some waved Haitian flags. The venue was packed, the cocktail bar did a roaring trade and the smells of fried pork griot and spiced pickled cabbage, or pikliz, and fried plantains were in the air.

At 3 a.m. in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, a crew of four young Palestinian men sang, chanted and drummed in a chorus. The traditional Ramadan musical procession is called musahar. And they're musaharatis, or volunteers tasked with waking Muslim worshippers for their pre-dawn meal and prayer before the day’s fast.

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