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.

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.

South Yemen's separatists speak through a Michigan mom

Feb 1, 2018

Summer Ahmed's day job is as a lab technician. But late at night and before dawn, while her husband and young daughter are still asleep, she's a spokesperson for a separatist group that has taken over Yemen's second largest city. And she does it from her home in Dearborn, Michigan.

In May 2016, Russell Low crossed the Pacific from his San Diego home and trekked to two remote villages connected to his great grandparents' families in southern China's Guangdong Province. For the 64-year-old Low, this was a quest that has lasted a quarter century.

Once in China, Low had no doubt he’d found a part of the family tree where he belongs.

“My whole life I was told I don’t look like other Chinese. But over there, everybody looks like me. This is where from I came from,” says Low about the visit to his ancestral home.

When Simin reached Europe, she thought the hardest part of her journey was behind her.

She left her native Iran, where she had lived all of her 44 years, because she feared being arrested for her work as a journalist.

It took her three months to travel from Iran to Serbia, much of it by foot across mountains and borders.

But it was when she was crossing into Croatia that the worst happened. She was raped by two smugglers, themselves migrants, from Afghanistan.

Alex Sanchez was listening carefully when President Donald Trump spoke about the gang MS-13 during the State of Union Address Wednesday night. 

For Sanchez, it hits home. 

He's a former MS-13 member who founded the US chapter of Homies Unidos, a group that helps get young people out of gangs and into productive roles in their communities. 

Related: Criminals? Immigrants are more law-abiding than native-born Americans

Chief Wahoo’s days as a mascot are coming to an end.

The Cleveland Indians have used the logo since 1947, and have faced charges that it’s a racist caricature of Native Americans for nearly as long.

Now Major League Baseball says the logo is no longer appropriate for the field, and it will be removed from players’ uniforms next year — although merchandise will still carry the image of Chief Wahoo.

January has been a particularly deadly month in Kabul. Terrorist attacks have taken the lives of hundreds of people in the Afghan capital.

One of the deadliest was when the Taliban laid siege to the InterContinental Hotel for about 15 hours and killed 22 people.

Related: Afghan officials search for answers to deadly hotel attack

Jason Reeves knows what a good cut of steak looks like before it hits your dinner plate. Standing in the middle of a 50-foot-wide cooler, he points out different parts of a freshly slaughtered cow hanging from the hooks while a fan roars in the background. 

"That's the kidney heart. Fat on the inside. You're probably looking at a 2.0 [on a meat-grading scale between 1 and 5, with 1 being the best]. ... You can tell it’s good cattle."

A few months ago, the Olympics weren’t anywhere on Ryan Donato’s radar. The college junior expected to spend February attending classes at Harvard University and skating for his school.

Four months of food aid in Puerto Rico brought too much salt and sugar, say some recipients

Jan 31, 2018

When the power first went out in Puerto Rico, some Puerto Ricans who opened food relief boxes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) found chocolate bars, cookies and potato chips.

“I mean, at one point they were giving them dehydrated, expired military meals or, like, powdered mashed potatoes,” says Pao Lebrón Guzmán, whose family in Puerto Rico received these types of meals. “None of it is real food and none of it comes from actual real vegetables or anything that you know has been freshly harvested.”

Kim Hoegh-Dam has seen the impact of climate change firsthand.

He’s a fisherman in Greenland and he’s literally observed the ice in the mountains above his hometown of Narsaq melt away.  

“When I was a child, I remember where the edge was,” he says. “And now we [have to] walk, not meters now, [but] kilometers, to find the same edge of the ice.’’

Greenland is warming up, and it’s happening fast. Temperatures there have risen 1.5 degrees Celsius, or more than 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit, since the 1950s. That’s roughly double the increase worldwide.

Russia reacts to the 'oligarch list'

Jan 30, 2018

Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, poured scorn over the United States’ publication of the so-called “oligarchs list” — a US Treasury-issued registry of 210 Russians identified as close to Putin under a new sanctions law that resulted from allegations of Kremlin interference in the 2016 US presidential elections.

Soul captured James Hunter's heart at a young age

Jan 30, 2018

James Hunter has released his second album on the Daptone record label. That's the same label that helped make Sharon Jones a star and whose house band, the Dap-Kings, provided the beat behind Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" album.

Hunter says he and his band, The James Hunter Six, hooked up with Daptone "because their output seemed to be in line with the feel that we were going along with." That vibe is retro-soul and it's oh-so-sweet.  

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson resigned last week from a panel looking into solutions to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. And on his way out he blasted Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, for lacking "moral leadership" on the issue.

Richardson said he didn't want to be part of a "whitewash" set up to hide the real causes behind the violence that sparked the crisis. More than half a million Rohingya Muslims have fled their homes in Myanmar's Rakhine state after what they described as a systematic campaign by the Burmese military to destroy their communities.

In 2010, Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District, largely comprising the western suburbs of Denver, was radically redrawn. And Republican Congressman Mike Coffman found himself no longer representing a deeply conservative district, but a liberal-leaning one with many immigrants from Asia, Africa and — especially — Latin America. 

So, Coffman got a tutor to study Spanish.    

When I first met a janitor named Georgina Hernández, she was timid and teary-eyed. She had worked at a hotel where she cleaned the lobby and, in a lawsuit, said she was raped on the job by her supervisor. She was a single mom, supporting her children.

“When you need the job, you become a victim by not having the courage to say no,” she told me in her native Spanish. “And if you say no, you are going to lose the job. I didn’t have someone to tell or anyone I could trust.”

On Wednesday, an appeals court ruled Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2011, guilty of corruption and money laundering charges, increasing his previous prison sentence on those charges from 9 1/2 to just over 12 years. On Thursday, Lula’s Workers Party confirmed he will be their candidate for this October’s presidential election.

Four things to know about Trump’s latest immigration proposal

Jan 26, 2018

Talks between Congress and the White House around immigration in the past few weeks have been nothing short of tumultuous.

The building located at 800 Traction Avenue in Los Angeles’ Arts District is five stories, made of brick and concrete. Built in 1918 and designed by the same architect who created LA's City Hall, it was a warehouse for coffee and spices for decades. 

Then, in the 1980s and 1990s, artists looking for big work spaces and cheap rents discovered the building and started moving in. One of them was photographer Jamie Itigaki, who moved to 800 Traction in 1996 when the surrounding neighborhood was still considered too sketchy for many Angelenos. 

It's known as the first genocide of the 20th century.

In 1904, the Herero people of South West Africa rose up against German colonial rule. The German response was devastating. Some of the victims' remains ended up in New York's Museum of Natural History.

Forty years after it started submitting films to the Oscars, Lebanon got its first nomination for best foreign language film. “The Insult,” which is playing in US theaters, is about a small incident between two people that spins way out of control. The drama is set in modern-day Lebanon, but the film is also about the country’s troubled past. Ziad Doueiri is the filmmaker, based in Paris.

He spoke with The World’s Marco Werman about what inspired his film and what makes it so provocative. 

All of us try to fit in at some point in our lives.

It's something musician Cedric Watson has thought a lot about, at least since the 6th grade, he says. He was in San Felipe, Texas at the time. "Growing up, I'm not really into hip-hop culture so much. So, I was kind of like a different person. Kind of seen as weird, or things like that." 

In an attempt to fit in, at least musically, Cedric Watson moved from Texas to Lafayette, Louisiana.

That was several years ago and since then Watson's become an incredible Cajun, Creole and zydeco violinist. 

To the untrained eye, the camel might not be the most attractive of animals.

It might not rank alongside the more majestic beasts of the animal kingdom like the lion or the elephant. In the popular imagination, it struggles to compete with the cuteness of other national emblems like the panda or the koala bear.

But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and such is the camel’s importance in Saudi Arabia’s history and culture that it is the subject of a beauty contest every year.

Phil Yu still remembers reading “Keep Out, Claudia,” from the “The Baby-Sitter’s Club” book series. The story is about a client who did not want Claudia Kishi, a Japanese American member of the club, to babysit her kids. After some investigation, Kishi and her friends discover that the family, which also rejected another non-white babysitter, is racist.

The impact of the story on Korean American Yu, who grew up in Northern California, was lasting. It was one of the rare times he remembers reading about everyday racism as a kid.

“I just signed your death warrant.”

That's what a Michigan judge said on Wednesday, when Larry Nassar, the former doctor for the USA Gymnastics team, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing more than 160 girls and women over the past two decades, including a number of prominent Olympic athletes who came forward in recent months.

Amid a barrage of harrowing testimonies, the inevitable question was, how could this happen?

Blockchain seems to be all the hype these days.

Not that long ago, doors were firmly shut to women who aspired to be international diplomats. 

A woman wasn't permitted to join the US diplomatic corps until 1922. 

In Britain, the appointment of female diplomats was forbidden until 1946 because the UK Foreign Office feared endangering British prestige abroad. 

Listening to some of the world's leading diplomats today, one wonders what conflicts might have been avoided. 

Combating climate change by storing CO2 underground

Jan 25, 2018

In the past year Iceland has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. First the banks collapsed, then the economy, and then the government. But here’s something that survived -- a research project aimed at removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it beneath the earth’s surface. CO2 emissions contribute to climate change and rising sea levels and many countries, including the US, are investing millions to develop so-called CO2 sequestration technology. The project in Iceland is especially promising.