The World

Monday through Friday from 7pm to 8pm
  • 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.

Follow along: Forms, fees and an interview for a US Diversity Lottery Program 'winner'

Feb 13, 2018

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From PRI's The World ©2017 PRI

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From PRI's The World ©2017 PRI

The flu season this year is bad. How bad? With the high number of people getting sick, many are comparing this year to the swine flu epidemic nine years ago. Last Friday, the CDC predicted that as many as 56,000 Americans will die of flu this year.

So, why is it so bad this year?

The quest for coffee from a war zone

Feb 12, 2018

Five years ago, Mokhtar Alkhanshali was a student and a doorman in San Francisco at a luxury high-rise, when a friend told him about a bronze statue. It was just across the street from the lobby where he worked.

“I’d never seen it before and I had worked there for over a year,” Alkhanshali says. “I walked in and I see this statue, this beautiful Arab man, holding this cup of coffee into the sky.”

The nine-foot bronze statue was once the logo for the Hills Brothers Coffee company, which had offices in the plaza.

Leading Pakistani human rights lawyer and social activist Asma Jahangir died on Sunday in Lahore. She was 66.

A champion of democracy, Jahangir raised the voices of the marginalized. From movements to law, she inspired many to speak up — and loudly. 

Bustle's politics editor, Mehreen Kasana, says that Asma Jahangir's influence shaped so much of what she's become today. And it started with parliamentary debate.

Marco Werman: So, growing up, what were your impressions of Asma Jahangir?

In December, three months after Puerto Rico was pummeled by Hurricane Maria, a spokesman for the island's tourism industry declared it was open for business. But much of Puerto Rico is still struggling to get back on its feet. So, what's an island-lover to do for spring break? Embrace the devastated destinations or give them space to breathe?

Half of Team USA's figure skaters are Asian American, a record for the event. They include Karen Chen, Nathan Chen, Madison Chock, Mirai Nagasu, Alex Shibutani, Maia Shibutani and Vincent Zhou.

Contrast that to 1992 at the winter games in Albertville, France, when Kristi Yamaguchi became the first Asian American to win the gold in the figure skating event. You could say it was Yamaguchi's win that paved the way for today's increasing number of Asian Americans on ice.   

There’s a moment in the middle of “Magic Mike Live” when a spotlight shines offstage to a reveal a dapper man sitting on the railing of the balcony. He’s dressed in a velvety-red, sleeveless suit and holding a single red rose, which he begins to suggestively stroke, before giving a playful wink and respectfully distributing the rest of his flowers to women in the audience.

If you’ve been following the plunges in the world’s stock markets, you know what many pundits say triggered the recent turmoil: Wages of American workers are finally starting to tick upward. (This led to fears that a cascade of events could end in rising interest rates and inflation.)

Lakshmi Ramgopal, known as Lykanthea, nestles comfortably in the electronic-ambient genre. But much more recently her projects have incorporated greater influences from her South Indian-Tamil culture. The historian and musician is revitalizing her childhood education in Carnatic singing to breathe new ideas into her music.

I didn’t know I was being sexually harassed. I definitely felt uncomfortable when I traveled with my boss to Shanghai during a college internship. He stayed in the same hotel as me and knocked on my room door in the middle of the night.

In China, millions of Catholics go to church every week. And when they do, around half of them are breaking the law. 

That’s because many Catholic churches in the People’s Republic of China operate in a legal gray area. These so-called underground churches are not registered with the official Chinese government bureau that oversees religious affairs, and neither are the Catholic bishops and the priests who preside over them. 

Why 'Arirang' is the perfect song for a divided Korea

Feb 8, 2018

If Won Hyung-joon’s dream of forming an inter-Korean orchestra is ever realized, "Arirang" is an obvious choice for the playlist. It’s a traditional Korean folk song.

“It just touches our soul,” the South Korean violinist says. “It’s very sorrowful and feels like pain."

"Arirang" will be played as athletes from the North and South walk together during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Feb. 9. And in lieu of both countries’ national anthems, the folk song will also be played at the start of ice hockey games involving the unified Korean women’s team.

Syria's war enters a dangerous new phase

Feb 7, 2018

Civilians in Syria are bearing the brunt of a new onslaught by Russian and government forces against the last rebel-held areas of the country.

The humanitarian situation has become so severe that the United Nations issued an urgent call for a ceasefire, with one official saying he was “running out of words” to describe the scale of suffering.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Tuesday suggested that young immigrants who have not applied for legal status are either afraid or "too lazy to get off their asses." 

Mana Yegani, an immigration lawyer in Houston, says there are many reasons young immigrants have not applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), but none have to do with laziness.

Fear, however, is one of them, Yegani says. 

More than 4,000 migrants have already arrived on the shores of Italy so far this year, and more than 300 have drowned en route to Europe from North Africa.

The numbers are high, but they’re lower than this time last year. In fact, arrivals to Europe by sea fell by more than a third in 2017.

Trafficking in ivory and rhino horn is a scourge of Kenya's tourism-based economy. 

This week that economy took a big hit. 

Esmond Bradley Martin, the American conservationist and leading ivory trade investigator was found stabbed to death in his Nairobi home Monday. Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder.

Treason is no joke

Feb 6, 2018

Treason is the crime of betraying one's country. Sounds simple. But is it?

In a speech Monday, President Donald Trump agreed with the suggestion that Democratic congressmen committed treason for failing to applaud key parts of his State of the Union address last week. 

A White House spokesman says he was "joking." But even conservative commentators like Bill Kristol have said Trump's use of the term is "a disgrace."

The name of Haiti’s most prominent LGBT rights organization is Kouraj (Haitian Creole for courage) — with good reason. The group’s headquarters have moved three times after attacks.

The current office is on a side street, unmarked, with a plainclothes security guard out front. But inside there’s no question where you are. The reception area is decorated with a rainbow flag and a rainbow clock.

When Pat's father died and her family didn't have enough money to survive in Nigeria, friends told her about a job taking care of children in Florence. She signed up and traveled there in 2000. But there was no job. She was sold to a sex trafficking ring.

Pat, who preferred that her last name not be used to protect her identity, escaped owing thousands of dollars and her traffickers sought revenge. Back in Nigeria, they found Pat's sister and beat her so badly she died from her injuries. 

Maybe you expect Moscow to be snowy.

But even for Muscovites, the amount of snow that they experienced over the weekend was exceptional.

On Saturday, seven inches of snow fell on Moscow, breaking a record set in 1957 for heaviest daily accumulation.

Related: As the US freezes, Russia's still waiting for winter to start

Then it just kept snowing.

Feminism isn't warmly received these days in Nigeria, laments playwright Ifeoma Fafunwa.

But that hasn't always been the case, she's quick to add.

"The word 'feminist' in Nigeria conjures up this unattractive thing," Fafunwa says. "That's because Nigerians are looking at the way the West presents feminism. ... African women have always been feminists. Colonialism, the evangelical movement, Christianity and corruption have made Nigerian women forget the strong women in their history."

Canada's national anthem gets an inclusive update

Feb 2, 2018

Canada has taken steps to make its national anthem “O Canada” more inclusive.

Lawmakers passed a bill this week changing the line “true patriot love in all thy sons command,” to “true patriot love in all of us command.”

“It’s a kind of inclusive, embracing turn of phrase,” says former Prime Minister Kim Campbell. She’s one of several famous Canadian women who started a campaign to change the lyrics in 2013.

The International Criminal Court is considering whether to authorize an official war crimes inquiry for Afghanistan.

Judges from the ICC in The Hague will consider written submissions from victims.

The suspected perpetrators include not only the Taliban and ISIS, but also Afghan government forces and even the US CIA. 

Submissions have been collected by the non-profit group “Reprieve,” and given to the ICC on behalf of Afghans who accuse the US of mistreatment. 

On a cold December day, she did something drastic.

The woman went to one of Tehran's busiest streets and climbed onto a utility box. She then removed her headscarf and hung it at the end of a stick. She stood in silence, waving the stick back and forth. She was protesting the compulsory hijab in Iran that has been in place since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

A couple of the passers-by looked surprised. Some took out their cellphones and snapped pictures and video.

President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is cruising toward an easy re-election victory next month. Nobody who’s been paying any attention to Egyptian politics doubts that. 

But Sisi’s four-year term in office also coincides with the worst deterioration of human rights in Egypt over the last several decades, according to a veteran human rights activist. 

For immigrant Republicans, Trump’s turn to limit legal immigration creates divisions

Feb 2, 2018

There were no surprises in President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech around immigration. His administration already released its framework for immigration reform and Trump emphasized those same points Tuesday night.

One by one, in recent months the Trump administration has announced the end to Temporary Protected Status first for Nicaraguans, then Haitians and then Salvadorans.

This caused considerable anxiety for some of the nearly 7,000 Syrians who for several years have also been able to live and work in the US legally.

Amr Sinna is a young software engineer and resident of Watertown, Massachusetts. He says he has been glued to CNN, waiting for word on whether or not the Trump administration will extend TPS for Syrians like himself before it expires in March.

For Bingjie Turner and Abigail Anderson, returning to China has been bittersweet.

Both wanted to go back since leaving their orphanage, the Xining Children's Home, 14 years ago. Turner wished to visit her father's grave. Anderson wished to reconnect with her surrogate grandmother before she died.

At first, they were giddy with excitement when they found out they would get to fulfill their initial wishes. Even more poignant was the chance to meet many of their friends who were not adopted and find out how they were getting along as adults. 

Remembering the ghosts of the 'Tet Offensive'

Feb 1, 2018

For most of us, war is, thankfully, an abstract thing. Something for the history books. But for those who lived it, war remains a reality every day.

"The memories are so strong with me,” says Vietnamese American journalist Nguyen Qui Duc. “I think of the ghosts living in the trees. I think of the temples and the graves. And I can't go there, because the spirit is there, that whole sadness is there with me."

On Jan. 30, 1968, Nguyen and his entire family were swept into the vortex of war.