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.

Greg Savoy/Reuters 

First, it rained bullets. In a town, somewhere in Texas.

Ann is describing her husband’s final fit of rage. “My kids' father shot my house up. Tried to kill us,” she says. 

Ann didn't want to use her last name or other identifying details — she’s still in danger. But, she was lucky. “[None] of us ... not one bullet touched us.”   

How to help Puerto Rico after Maria

Sep 27, 2017
Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

It’s been a week since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, damaging homes and roads and destroying the island's power grid.

The official count puts the number of people killed at 16, but hundreds of people are still missing, and families are desperate to hear news of their whereabouts.

What’s the best way to help?  The United States Agency for International Development suggests donating money, instead of goods, after natural disasters.

Monica Campbell

Mexico City and surrounding states are just recovering from the 7.1 magnitude earthquake on Sept. 19. The official death toll is now 333, and could rise still.

What happened a week ago changed the lives of many people in Mexico, including The World’s Monica Campbell, who is based in Mexico City — although leaving shortly for the San Francisco Bay Area, a plan accelerated by the quake. Her apartment building in the Colonia Condesa, one of the harder hit areas, has put her in the ranks of thousands of others in the country, staying with family, friends or shelters.

Laura López never actually saw the ad for herself.

She's lived in the US since she was a child and has built her family, business and life in Provo, Utah. And she uses Facebook a lot to engage with her community. An ad recently posted on social media by her town's mayor, John Curtis, came to her attention secondhand. 

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington is red hot these days.  

But when President Donald Trump was asked about the turmoil at a press conference Tuesday, he shifted responsibility to previous administrations. 

"North Korea is a situation that should have been handled 25 years ago, 20 years ago, 15 years ago, 10 years ago and five years ago, and it could have been handled much more easily," Trump says. "You have various administrations, many administrations, which left me a mess."

Wesley Bocxe got his break in photojournalism covering a devastating 1985 earthquake in Mexico, which killed an estimated 10,000 people.

Exactly 32 years later, on Sept. 19, another massive earthquake struck Mexico. And this time, it toppled his home, leaving Bocxe seriously injured and killing his wife, Elizabeth Esguerra Rosas.

Twitter says it won't take down Trump's tweet to North Korea

Sep 26, 2017

Like many diplomatic flare-ups under the Trump administration, this one began with a tweet.

Following weeks of escalating tensions and hostile statements between the US and North Korea, over the weekend, President Donald Trump warned North Korean leaders that they “won’t be around much longer” if they continue to threaten the US.

How Facebook saved a dying mill town

Sep 26, 2017

Everything people post on Facebook actually lives somewhere in real life — like a small town in central Oregon that was once decimated by the loss of manufacturing industries. 

The people of Prineville live deep in a valley surrounded by dense forests. In the 1800s, it was the first place in central Oregon where white settlers drove out Native Americans to start a city.

Steve Forrester’s grandparents got here in 1902. When he was growing up in the 1970s, Prineville was idyllic.   

How the Vietnam War shaped my life and my career

Sep 26, 2017

Vietnam loomed large in my early childhood. Images of choppers and rice fields, guns and body bags, filled the television screen each night. One year, my mother jumped every time the phone rang at an odd hour.

It was 1968, the most deadly year for Americans in Vietnam, and my mom’s youngest brother was stationed within a couple of miles of the demilitarized zone, as an adviser to a South Vietnamese unit. 

When US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Sept. 5 that DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — would be rescinded, Laura López felt it in a physical way. The temporary relief that DACA offered was gone.

“I’ve just been really disappointed; I’ve been really sad, and I have been really stressed,” López says. “It’s been showing up in my body.”

Reuters/Mike Blake

President Donald Trump didn't let his travel ban expire on Sunday. Instead, he beefed it up and made it open-ended. Travel Ban 3.0, as some are calling it, bars people from six Muslim-majority countries, plus Venezuela and North Korea, from entering the US.

Pablo Esparza 

In the mid-'60s, Mexican mariachi music ruled the airwaves in Yugoslavia. Singers sported charro suits and sombreros, typical mariachi garb, with typically Slavic names.

The style was known as Yu-Mex, a mix of Mexican sounds with Serbo-Croatian lyrics and performers.

But how did this rather unlikely mixture of sounds and cultures happen? The origin of the genre is mixed up in the geopolitics of the Cold War.

In 1948, Yugoslavia, a socialist country under the command of Marshal Josip Broz Tito, broke with the USSR and its leader, Josef Stalin.

Courtesy of Ahmad Wali Temory

On Sunday, Germans re-elected Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of the most powerful women in the world. But, for the first time in decades, they also voted a far-right political party into Germany's parliament, the Bundestag.

The Alternative for Germany party, known by its German initials AfD, campaigned aggressively against immigration policies that welcomed more than a million refugees to Germany in recent years.

It’s been five days since Hurricane Maria tore through the island of Puerto Rico, killing at least 16 people, damaging homes, roads and fields and leaving millions without power.

The Trump administration says it will "continue to do everything it can" to provide assistance.

But Frances Robles, who has been reporting from Puerto Rico for The New York Times, says help has been slow in coming.

“I went to [the town of] Arecibo on Saturday,” says Robles, “and there was definitely the start of what looked like a humanitarian crisis.”

Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Angela Merkel has won her fourth term as chancellor of Germany, as expected. But things are likely to be different this time around.

Germany continues to grapple with a refugee crisis, and the nationalist sentiment that’s come to the forefront in recent months has finally resulted in concrete political consequences.

Related: Merkel's party wants to deport thousands to Afghanistan, but this refugee says it's unsafe

Iraqi Kurds go to the polls on Monday to take part in a historic referendum on their future. Should the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region remain part of Iraq, or become an independent country?

Thousands have died fighting for an independent Kurdistan, and tens of thousands of civilians were killed by Saddam Hussein’s army.

This is a nonbinding vote but Kurdish leaders hope it will be a major step toward nationhood. That would be the realization of a long-held dream for many. 

Lesego Legobane on Twitter

It was around 11 at night, and Lesego Legobane was getting ready to go to bed. A friend asked if she had seen the tweet about her, which had been circulating on the internet.

It was posted by a Twitter user named Leyton Mokgerepi, and it showed two pictures side by side, one of a thin model, and one of a plus-size model. 

The caption read: "Girls that I like vs Girls that like me."

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday announced the company would be taking several steps “to protect election integrity and make sure that Facebook is a force for good in democracy.”

Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

¿Estás bien? (Are you okay?)” my brother asked, a whisper in the darkness. Then he pointed his flashlight at me: “Alfredo?”

We were just a couple of hours into Hurricane Maria’s reign of terror as it made its way through Puerto Rico. Unlike many, we were in our mother’s two-story concrete home in a comfortable, middle-class suburb of San Juan. One town over, our mother was keeping busy taking care of her own mother and ailing uncle. 

North Korea's leader is believed to be 33 years-old, which makes Kim Jong-un a millennial. 

Donald Trump is 71, meaning he was born two full years before Kim's grandfather founded the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1948.

In addition to being "supreme leader," Kim is the living relic of a mostly bygone Communist era. His official title is chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea. 

Trump, of course, is the president of the United States, a businessman and a reality television star. 

Ricardo Rojas/Reuters

With so much destruction from this season's hurricanes in the Caribbean, there are going to be a lot of people on the move — looking to start their lives in new places. We’ve already seen mass movements of people from areas plagued by drought, floods or storms. Many casually refer to these people as “climate refugees.”

But the problem with the term climate refugee starts with the word “refugee.”  

Hua Qu has not seen her husband, Xiyue Wang, since April 2016, when Wang left for Iran. He was doing research in Iranian archives for his dissertation. Wang, 36, is a PhD candidate at Princeton studying Eurasian history.

On the day before he was scheduled to return home to New Jersey, authorities in Tehran asked him to turn over his laptop and passport. Qu says he was interrogated but allowed to move freely. Three weeks later, Wang called and told his wife he’d been ordered to leave Iran immediately.

Paola Mardo/PRI

It’s a warm summer evening and a crowd gathers in a small, divey bar on Sunset Boulevard just east of Hollywood. The place is packed and every inch is decorated with bright strings of light, tapa cloth and tropical knickknacks. Folks new to the bar and longtime patrons, some wearing Hawaiian shirts and holding their own unique mugs, sip strong cocktails.

Welcome to the Tiki-Ti, the oldest family-owned Tiki bar in Los Angeles, the birthplace of the Polynesian-inspired rum palaces that were all the rage in the 1940s through the 1960s.

Olivier Boitet/The Associated Press 

When Vincent Lancisi and his wife were traveling in the south of France earlier this year, they began chatting with their driver. And he told them a story about his former employer.

“He said, ‘I was a driver for a famous man,’” Lancisi said. “‘You probably don’t know his name but there’s a movie about him made with Jeremy Irons called 'M. Butterfly.'"

“My wife looked at me, her jaw dropped.”

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will not be going home anytime soon. His opinion piece in The Washington Post has drawn fire in the Saudi press, all because he dared write about a crackdown on free speech in the kingdom.

Aliou Touré told me not too long ago, "When you write a song about racism, it's a big deal." Touré is lead singer of Songhoy Blues, a band from Mali.

He said this in the context of the band's new song "One Colour," off their new album, "Résistance."

The song was recorded with a school children's choir in London. Touré says recording with kids made him optimistic about the future, especially if adults take the moment to learn from them.

Morne Hardenberg/Shark Explorers 

When Alison Kock was a little girl, her father would take her out fishing for lobster. That was when she started to foster her passion for the ocean — and sharks.

While fishing, shysharks would sometimes get caught in the crawfish nets. Kock watched as the sharks would wrap their tails around their heads and cover their eyes.

“I was really concerned," Kock says. "My dad said to me, ‘Listen, they'll be fine. Just pick them up, kiss them on the nose and release them back into the water.’”

Driving up to a trailhead just a few miles from the US-Mexico border in Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, biologist Rosemary Schiano’s first advice is to cover our spare water gallons.

“People will break into your car if they see water, especially in this heat,” she says.

It’s just past 8 a.m. and the temperature in this part of the Sonoran Desert is already climbing above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Arroyos slice into a mountainous expanse laden with Organ Pipe’s namesake cactus.

Charles Maynes


Stanislav Petrov, a Russian hero of the Cold War, died in May at his home outside of Moscow. However, his death went unmarked until this month. 

Petrov, 77, was largely unheralded in his own country, despite an act of bravery that likely prevented nuclear armaggedon and kept the world in course.

To understand his choice, first dial the clock back to the summer of 1983.

Russia puts Kalashnikov on a pedestal

Sep 20, 2017

Russia is putting Kalashnikov on a pedestal, literally and metaphorically.

Literally, a statue of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the iconic AK-47 rifle, was unveiled in downtown Moscow on Tuesday. Metaphorically, the Kremlin is pushing his rifle as “a true cultural brand of Russia.”

The Kalashnikov rifle, in all its forms, is the most popular weapon ever made. It's killed more people than any other single weapon, including the atomic bomb. And yet, now you can buy Kalashnikov tchotchkes at a special souvenir shop at the Moscow International Airport.