The World

Monday-Friday, 7pm
  • Hosted by Marco Werman

The World is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe, hosted by Marco Werman.

For these activists, oil and art just don't mix

May 25, 2018

On a recent cold night in Trafalgar Square, a group of 30 or so people rehearsed a new piece of musical theater in front of Britain’s National Gallery of Art. But if the venue was highbrow, the production — including sinister characters and lyrics such as “A gallery of art-wash ... to benefit the oil boss” — definitely was not.

Even for a country used to flooding, this has been something beyond pretty much anyone's experience.

Roughly 175,000 people displaced, widespread destruction of staple crops like maize, and a looming public health crisis following what observers say is the worst flooding in Malawi in half a century.

You could say the people living along the banks of the Thondwe River in southern Malawi were lucky. At least they’d been warned of the flash flood in early January that would burst through an earthen dike, wash away their homes and crops, and leave more than 4,000 of them homeless.

Amazingly, no one in the dense cluster of villages called Makawa died in the flood. But they’ve been living in pretty desperate conditions here since.

Imagine a Hawaiian island rising up out of a huge lake and you’ve got something like Nicaragua’s Ometepe. It’s the largest island in Central America’s largest lake, Lake Nicaragua. It’s where Luvys and Dayton Guzman grow plantains in the dark soil nutured by the volcano Concepción and water their cows on a black sand beach.

It’s a pretty sleepy place, which is why Luvys Guzman was surprised when a team of surveyors showed up a few months ago.

“They measured everything,” she says, “including our water tanks, laundry, houses and sheds.”

Chris Chang says the weeds outside his chemistry lab at UC Berkeley are doing something incredible, something we humans still haven’t figured out how to do.

They use sunlight, carbon dioxide from the air, and water, to make energy and grow leaves and stems.

Just off the coast of tiny Guindacpan island in the central Philippines, a half dozen men in torn T-shirts and homemade flippers hold their breath and dive off a wooden boat to the sea floor 20 feet below.

The Sundarbans — a collection of densely populated islands in India’s sprawling Ganges delta — are so remote that the only way to get there is by boat. But human traffickers still manage to get in, and that's left many families with missing daughters.

Being 'endlessly sorry' may not put an end to VW's emissions scam troubles

May 25, 2018

Volkswagen’s CEO Martin Winterkorn has said he's ‘endlessly sorry’ that his company rigged the pollution control systems of millions of its diesel cars to show bogus emission levels during tests.

The company's US business chief, Michael Horn, admits VW "totally screwed up" and dramatically mislead the public and regulators. “Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board and with all of you," Horn said at an auto industry event in New York.

From his very first comments on the White House lawn, it was clear: Pope Francis's visit to the United States would be as much about politics as religion. 

With President Barack Obama sitting at his side, Francis began his speech by invoking the topic of immigration. "As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families,” the pope said. It was a quick move by the pontiff into some contentious political territory not only in the United States, but in Europe as well. 

After years of planning, billions of dollars invested, pitched battles with environmentalists and a crucial green light from the Obama administration, the news Monday from the energy giant Shell was unexpected, to say the least.

Flaming, frothing lakes in India's Silicon Valley

May 25, 2018

The Indian city of Bangalore is known not only as the IT hub of India but also the City of Lakes. But recently, residents were shocked when one of those lakes caught fire.

Over the last year the surface of two city lakes, Vathura and Bellandur, has become covered in froth. When it rains, white foam runs through streets as if a giant washing machine had exploded in the city.

Rashidy Kazeuka says a forest cleared for charcoal is a silent and desolate place. No birds or other wildlife, just a barren, dried out landscape.

It’s something Kazeuka knows well. He’s a charcoal producer himself, in central Tanzania’s Kilosa district, and in the past he says he never paid attention to things like wildlife or watersheds. He just went into the forest and cut every tree he could find, no matter the size.

'Global bleaching event' threatens corals around the world

May 25, 2018

A quarter of the world’s marine species depend on coral reefs for habitat. A half-billion people rely on them for their livelihoods or sustenance.

Researchers say we’re now in the midst of the third global coral bleaching event in less than 20 years. And that by the time it’s all played out, the world may have lost another 5 percent of its corals, with a murky future ahead for the rest.

For a group of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia, the first few days of the holy month of Ramadan have not brought forgiveness and compassion. On the contrary, they have been a time of silencing and intimidation.

The activists were taken away from their homes and placed in detention for campaigning against the driving ban and demanding an end to the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia — the system that requires the consent of a male relative for major decisions such as getting a passport or traveling outside the Kingdom.

'I can't control my gender'

May 25, 2018

Stephanie Labbé played on the biggest stage in the soccer world: the Olympics.

She won a bronze medal two years ago in Rio as the starting goalie for Canada's national women's team. Now, she wants to add to her list of accomplishments by planning for the Calgary Foothills men's soccer team.

Despite qualifying, the Premier Development League, which oversees the Foothills won't allow Labbé to play because of her gender. Labbé recently told The World's Marco Werman about her disappointment.  

After days of growing uncertainty, President Donald Trump on Thursday canceled a much-hyped summit with North Korea, writing in a letter to its leader, Kim Jong-un, that the world “has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace.”

But in televised remarks shortly afterward, Trump said “it’s possible” the meeting, which was scheduled to take place June 12 in Singapore, “could take place, or a summit at some later date."

“Nobody should be anxious,” he added. “We have to get it right.”

It’s never been a tough question for her.

Irish podcaster Ciara O’Connor Walsh, 37, says she has always been a supporter of abortion rights. But as she was parking her car one day, O’Connor Walsh was suddenly confronted by one of her own prejudices.

There was a bumper sticker on the car next to hers with a picture of a smiling fetus on it saying, “When I grow up, I’m going to play for Ireland.” The sticker also said, “Love both,” a motto used by anti-abortion activists in Ireland.

Cypress Creek Renewables builds and manages large-scale solar farms across the US, which supply power to utilities. The company’s CEO Matt McGovern said “it’s very difficult, if not impossible” to find all of the solar equipment it needs from US manufacturers.

So, McGovern says he has to turn to Asia to import equipment: “Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea, some out of China.”

Rollin Virgile walks through his store amid dozens of weddings dresses, white floral crowns, men’s tuxedo vests and baptism gowns. He greets customers in Creole: "Bonswa, koman nou ye?" (Good afternoon, how are you all?) Virgile has been in the same location, at Northeast 82nd street and Second Avenue — the heart of Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood — for 32 years. His store, Virgile's Tuxedo & Formal Wear, is a go-to for Miami's Haitian community, where customers can rent a tuxedo, robe bridesmaids or find first communion accoutrements.

Update: New reports released by CNN suggest that the North Korean waitresses profiled in this story were, in fact, deceived into traveling to Seoul with the aid of South Korea’s foreign intelligence bureau. This lends credence to North Korean claims that the women were victims of an “abduction."

There are perhaps no two nations more desperately in need of peace talks than North and South Korea.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg left some European Parliament lawmakers and observers feeling displeased Tuesday after he failed to answer several questions during a Brussels meeting called in the wake of a user data privacy scandal involving his company and British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica.

Mohammed al-Khatib was just was 6 months old when his parents carried him across the border to Lebanon. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians like them were fleeing their homes and villages, taking only what they could carry.

On May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence. The next day, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Syria declared war on Israel. Many Palestinians fled, believing they would return within days or week.

Most still haven't returned, 70 years later.

This month is the holy month of Ramadan and for many Muslims, that means fasting between sunrise and sunset. If you are a Muslim living with an eating disorder, however, Ramadan can pose a whole set of challenges. Adeline Hocine wrote about her experience with battling the illness during the holy month for Teen Vogue.

The date is set for June 12. And there’s already an advance team on the ground in Singapore making final preparations for a historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. That is, if the meeting actually takes place. The World spoke on Monday with Victor Cha, a former top adviser on North Korea to President George W. Bush, about some of the difficulties ahead of next month’s planned summit. 

It was the middle of April when they showed up at the border, covered in mud. Ana, eight months pregnant, accompanied by her 4-year-old daughter, had just crossed the Rio Grande into Texas.

“We didn’t have shoes on, we stood there in our socks,” she says.

There are 28 other monarchies in the world

May 18, 2018

The world has been consumed by royal wedding fever, as is customary when the British royals do, well, anything. Prince Harry, sixth in line to the throne, is set to marry American actress Meghan Markle on Saturday in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle. 

With so much attention on them, one could be forgiven for not realizing there are actually many other royal families around the world. They’re in charge of 28 monarchies overseeing 29 countries, from absolute monarchies, such as Vatican City and Brunei, to constitutional democracies like those in most of Europe.  

Is the e-bike revolution ready to come to America?

May 17, 2018

I bike to work ... sometimes. I have a series of big hills — in each direction — that just kill me. So when I heard about a new, shiny red wheel born in the labs of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I was intrigued.

“Everything is contained within the red hub: the battery, the motor, all the sensors,” says Megan Morrow, with the company Superpedestrian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the maker of the “Copenhagen Wheel.”

The wheel is named for a challenge by the mayor of the Danish capital to get more people biking.

During their historic summit last month inside the demilitarized zone, Korean leaders Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in grasped hands over the demarcation line that divides their countries.

Inspired by this gesture and the promise of long-awaited peace with their northern neighbor, some South Koreans are now reenacting that handshake at a replica of the Joint Security Area (JSA).

When an anti-LGBTQ candidate won the first round of presidential elections in Costa Rica, Vincenzo Bruno took to Facebook to denounce him.

“We are completely against Fabricio Alvarado, He doesn’t represent us, he doesn’t represent anyone in the LGBTQ community,” Bruno told his followers in Spanish. “No! No more abuse, no more hate, we reject him!”

Curly hair is beautiful. That may not sound like an especially revolutionary or bold statement but it is for many women in Egypt. That's because they've been told all their lives to straighten their naturally curly hair, sometimes by perfect strangers. But that societal stigma against curly hair seems to be easing up now. The World's host, Marco Werman, caught up with the BBC's Dina Aboughazala, who is Egyptian and curly-haired herself.

Marco Werman: Why have Egyptian women been pressured for so long to straighten their hair? 

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