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.

Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

ISIS has suffered losses in recent months as large swathes of their territory in Iraq and Syria have been retaken.

And it’s not just on the ground — ISIS’s once robust online presence and propaganda efforts have also slowed dramatically.

That may be due a growing number of cyberattacks on its “virtual caliphate.”

"May you live in interesting times."

You may have heard that saying. And depending on your point of view, the times we're currently living in are either a blessing or a curse. Maybe a little bit of both.

That's how British musician Nick Mulvey feels. His new album, "Wake Up Now," is a "response to these crazy times" we're living in. 

Gilles Soubeyran

On Monday, France marked the second anniversary of the attacks that killed 130 people in and around Paris two years ago. French president Emmanuel Macron and Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, stopped at commemorative plaques in the places that were hit — a stadium, cafés and the Bataclan theater — where victims' names were read aloud.

But for some families across the country, more personal tributes were called for. And in the past year, a number of creative projects to honor the dead have emerged. 

Fiji is on the front lines of climate change, one of many tiny island nations that could be wiped out by rising seas and more intense storms. And to draw attention to the urgency of their plight, the country is presiding over this year’s global climate summit in Bonn, Germany.

We asked half a dozen Fijians about the threats to their country and their moment in the international spotlight.

Maria Nailevu:

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.

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.

Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

For more than a week, the Lebanese people have been consumed with one question. In shops, in bars, over balconies and online, they have been asking: Is our prime minister a prisoner?

Saad Hariri, who became prime minister less than a year ago, sparked a national crisis when he resigned on Nov. 4 in a televised address from Saudi Arabia.

 Alejandro Bringas/Reuters

Outside, the heat was finally tired of beating on the suburbs. Sore and spent, it let the evening go. My brother-in-law and I were seated at the dinner table in a tiny vacation rental, going at a plate of grocery store fried chicken and a two-liter bottle of Country Time lemonade. It had been a quiet couple of days in El Paso, Texas, waiting to cross into Ciudad Juárez the next morning for his visa interview.

“Mano, esta es tu última cena de mojado,” I said. Bro, this is your last meal as a wetback.

Antonio Ramirez let out a hearty laugh, his eyes twinkling.

Reuters/Tasnim News Agency

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake rocked a border area 20 miles southwest of Halabja near the Iran-Iraq border. The massive quake, which has killed more 300 people and injured thousands, struck at around 9:20 p.m. on Sunday.

The worst affected areas were in Iran's western province of Kermanshah, where the coroner's office told state television that at least 336 people were dead and 3,950 injured.

Across the border in Iraq, in more sparsely populated areas, the health ministry said eight people had died and several hundred were injured.

The military history behind the Star Wars costumes

Nov 10, 2017
© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. 

The costume designer for Star Wars, John Mollo, died recently, at the age of 86.

Even though he didn’t have any previous costume design experience, he was hired by director George Lucas to design the costumes for the 1977 Star Wars film because of expertise in military history.

“Since he was a little kid, he watched movies and fell in love with costumes," says Laela French, the director of archives for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, “And military costumes really grabbed his attention."

"Think you can get HIV from food?  Bite me." 

That was just one of the slogans on aprons worn by 14 chefs at Canada's first and only pop-up HIV eatery, held earlier this month in Toronto.  

For two days, Nov. 7 and 8, every dish served at the pop-up — called June's HIV+Eatery — was prepared by cooks who are HIV-positive.    

For $125, diners were treated to a menu of northern Thai potato leek soup, roasted heirloom salad, a "surf and turf" main course and a gingerbread tiramisu. 

Both nights were sold out.  

Maya Shiroyama and her husband pull up to a ranch-style tract home in San Jose, California.  An older man waits for them at the screen door.

Tom Kitazawa, 87, is the last surviving son of the founder of Kitazawa Seed Company, a business that opened its doors 100 years ago.

Tom’s father, Gijiu, was a Japanese immigrant who sold vegetable seeds to Japanese Americans hungry for the taste of home, things like Japanese eggplant, shiso leaves and daikon. 

<a href="">Angel Boligán</a>, Cuba/Mexico

Cuban cartoonist Angel Boligán doesn’t draw to make hit-you-over-the-head political points. He draws to make you think.

There are no speech balloons or furrowed brows. In fact, you can barely make out the facial expressions of anyone in his cartoons. It’s their action (or lack of it) that he wants you to ponder. “For all the topics I like to draw, for me the most important thing is to be honest," says Boligán. "All my cartoons come from my heart and my soul. I want them to be authentic.”

Matthew Emmons/USA Today&nbsp;Sports

It should have been a triumphant moment for the Houston Astros.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel, continuing a great season, had just hit a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game three of the World Series.

After he rounded the bases and triumphantly returned to the dugout, cameras captured Gurriel lifting the corner of his eyes with his fingers — a “slanted eyes” gesture mocking Asians — and said “chinito,” a term that roughly translates to “little Chinese boy.”

When Wilmot Collins and his wife Maddie arrived in Ghana after escaping the Liberian civil war in September 1990, he weighed just 90 pounds. Maddie was about 87 pounds. They were starving, dehydrated and sick. Both had to be rushed to the hospital.

Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

Lawrence Davidson, a veteran of the Iraq War, and Yaroub Al-Obaidi, admitted to the United States as a refugee, both left Iraq in 2007 and today, both live in greater Philadelphia. The two took part in a project earlier this year that invited members of both communities to share their memories of Iraq.

Murad Sezer/Reuters

In Istanbul, shoppers at the popular retailer, Zara, were recently in for a shocking surprise. Attached to some of the clothing were tags that read, "I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn't get paid for it."

China Daily/Reuters

Take George Orwell’s "1984." Now sprinkle in that episode of "Black Mirror" where characters live in a world in which every aspect of their lives is dominated by ratings.

That’s one way to think about the Social Credit System, a plan that the Chinese government will make mandatory for all its citizens by 2020.

&nbsp;Eduardo Munoz/ Reuters

President Donald Trump has said he’s pulling the US out of the Paris climate agreement. But UN rules don’t allow the country to exit the agreement until 2020.

US President Donald Trump promised last month he'd discuss with Chinese President Xi Jinping how to stop the “flood of cheap and deadly” fentanyl “manufactured in China." 

Standing alongside Xi on Thursday during a press conference after the two leaders wrapped up formal talks in Beijing, Trump said he and the Chinese president would focus “very strongly” on curbing the drug trade and stopping “the lethal flow of poisonous drugs into our countries and into our communities."

In the days leading up to Tung Nguyen’s check-in with immigration officials in October, he couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep and couldn’t concentrate at work.

In case he got detained, he cleaned the house and made sure his wife knew where to find important financial information so she can take over paying the bills.

“It’s traumatizing,” says Nguyen. “All I think about is that ... this time, I might not come back and see my wife and kid.”

Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

At 93, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is the oldest head of state in the world. But he's not letting age slow him down. He is running again in next year’s elections. But his wife, Grace, 52, is positioning herself to succeed him in the event of his death.

Mugabe has run the country since it won independence from Great Britain in 1980. Before that, he led a long and bloody guerrilla war against the country’s white settler regime.

Venetia Rainey/PRI

It's just after 2 p.m. on a sunny day in September, and a motley group of people are standing outside Amsterdam's main courthouse. Among them is a worried-looking couple: a young Arab man with dyed hair, a diamond earring and a tight T-shirt, holding the hand of an older white man in a more nondescript outfit.

An independence movement may seem to be the perfect trigger for a great song.

It's bound to be energetic and optimistic, and ought to have all sorts of emblems of identity of the people seeking independence.

Take a band called Txarango, from Catalonia. It's pure Catalan rock music in the Catalan language.

Like many people with roots in the rural parts of Montana, Drew Taylor didn’t like the idea of Muslim Syrian refugees settling in Missoula. And so, when a pro-refugee group held a demonstration downtown, Taylor joined the counter-demonstration and held up a sign that said “Americans first.”

“I personally thought they wanted to bring radical jihad Muslims to Missoula. That’s the original impression I got from things I was reading. That upsets me,” she says.

Kim Hong-ji/Reuters&nbsp;

Donald Trump is the first US president in 25 years to go to South Korea on a state visit. In honor of the occasion, South Korea went all out to welcome Trump at Tuesday's state dinner.

During these lavish events, there are certain protocols. Like, don't do anything that is politically insensitive.

For example, don't invite guests whose mere presence highlights a potentially contentious issue. But that's exactly what happened.

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.”

Travel to Cuba by American citizens just got harder with the Trump administration's release of new regulations governing relations with the island nation. While the rules are largely a formalization of what Donald Trump promised earlier this year, they include a long list of entities that are now off-limits to US travelers including an elegant new downtown hotel and favored shops in Old Havana.

After every mass shooting — like the one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday — the satirical news website The Onion publishes the same article: 'No Way to Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.

But epidemiologist Gary Slutkin says there is a way. 

Mohammad Othman watched through a hole in the wall as the last ISIS fighters filed out of the Syrian city of Raqqa in a convoy of trucks and cars.

Exhausted, beaten and bedraggled, like the city itself, their departure marked a symbolic end to the self-declared caliphate — the fall of ISIS’ de facto capital was complete.