The World | KERA News

The World

Weekdays at 2 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM
  • 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. It airs at 2 p.m. weekdays on KERA 90.1 FM. 

Scroll down to read and listen to stories featured on The World.

The origins of the Second Amendment

12 hours ago
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Wiki Commons

The Second Amendment to the Constitution states simply: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." That language and that idea were clearly important to the Founding Fathers.

But why?

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Lidia Jean Kott

Lydia Emmanouilidou's older sister has been begging her to go to the gun range with her for years. 

But Lydia has always said no. 

“One year, she even asked me to go with her as her birthday present,” says Lydia. “I refused.”

Growing up, guns just weren’t part of their lives.   

Lydia’s family immigrated from Greece — a country where it's uncommon to own a firearm unless you’re a police officer or in the military — when she was about 12, and her sister about 15.

As the 60-day mark since Hurricane Maria destroyed infrastructure and buildings in Puerto Rico approaches, there's a mix of hope and dread about economic recovery for businesses on the island. Business owners have to cope with the loss of revenue, employees, customers and power.

The story of recovery after Hurricane Maria is mixed. While the local government touted that power output had reached 50 percent of capacity, distribution is another story.

News about the mass shooting at a Texas church in early November hit Pardeep Kaleka particularly hard.

Kaleka is a member of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek. Back in 2012, a white supremacist went into the temple on a Sunday morning and fatally shot six people, including Kaleka’s father.

When he heard about the deadly attack at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Kaleka says he started reliving that horrible day five years ago, once again.

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.

When Devin Kelley entered the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Nov. 5 and shot and killed 26 people, it became the 308th mass shooting of 2017 in the United States. It came four weeks after the Las Vegas shooting, when Stephen Paddock killed 59 people from a 32nd-floor hotel room above an open-air country music concert.

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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.

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.

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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?

19 hours ago
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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.

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

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.

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."

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.

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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.  

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."

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

Barbara Dane just can't recall any good fascist songs

Nov 15, 2017
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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. 

Paul Manafort's indictment made headlines in Ukraine too

Nov 15, 2017
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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.

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Courtesy of Spike TV

For the first time in his career, Desmond Chiam, an Australian actor of Chinese-Singaporean descent, is playing a villain. And he’s having a blast.

In a recent episode of “The Shannara Chronicles,” a Spike TV drama, Chiam’s General Riga has captured two heroes. He’s torturing one of them into cooperating by sticking a thick, unhygienic-looking needle in his neck and blood is pumped through a tube into a gigantic rectangular glass container.

Italy's soccer apocalypse is served

Nov 14, 2017
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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.

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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.

From "Silent Spring" to "An Inconvenient Truth," the environment beat has changed the way we understand our relationship to the world around us, and often changed the way we live in it.

We can’t make sense of where we are as a global community — and where we might be going — without exploring how people are changing the natural systems we rely on, and how those changes often come back to haunt us. That’s why PRI’s The World established its environment desk in 2008: To bring a dedicated focus on this crucial beat to a program that takes a daily pulse of the world.

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Alister Doyle/Reuters

The official US delegation to the United Nations’ climate talks this year in Bonn, Germany, cuts a confusing profile.

It’s small and nearly invisible, delegates refuse to talk on the record and the team’s office door is often closed.

More than halfway through the two-week meeting, the only official US event has promoted fossil fuels as a solution to climate change, including a big push for so-called clean coal.

Wilmot Collins thought he was running for mayor of a small city with challenges he had a plan to address. What he didn't realize is that by actually winning the election he would also become an overnight symbol of what refugees can achieve in America.

Collins, who arrived in the US with his wife as refugee of the Liberian civil war, was elected the first black mayor in the history of Helena, Montana, on Nov. 7, unseating James E. Smith, a 16-year incumbent. Since then, Collins and his family have given dozens of interviews to new media.

This Mumbai lawyer inspired a massive beach cleanup

Nov 14, 2017
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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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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

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