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 visuals were stark: On Monday, as US officials opened the new US embassy in Jerusalem, thousands of Palestinians were injured at the Israel-Gaza border fence as dark smoke filled the sky.

Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians on Monday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, and injured more than 2,200 by gunfire or tear gas. The violence continued Tuesday as Israeli forces killed one man, while thousands of Palestinians turned out for funerals.

On Nov. 20, 1975, Mari Carmen Egurrola Totorica, gathered her six children around the TV in the living room of their suburban Idaho home to watch the evening news. Longtime Spanish dictator Francisco Franco was finally dead.

“Drink this. I want you to remember this night,” she told her kids as she handed them coffee mugs filled with shots of champagne.

It’s Groundhog Day again on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Last summer was rough for restaurants, hotels and other tourist shops that couldn’t find enough seasonal workers.

Most businesses there rely on foreign workers who come to the US on H-2B visas — those are temporary, non-immigrant visas given to seasonal employees. The US government issues 33,000 such visas each year for summertime workers and 33,000 for the winter months. With record demand, it’s proving to be not nearly enough.

A Mother's Day to end all wars

May 11, 2018

If you haven’t heard, Mother’s Day is this weekend.

And at this point, maybe you’re panicking and trying to find same-day delivery for decadent chocolates and fragrant flowers. Or maybe you’re steeped in the semi-patriotic proclamation of the holiday's origin.

In some ways, it was a relief for Hua Qu when President Donald Trump announced the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. She had been closely watching the news.

“To wait for his speech, to wait for that uncertainty to fall down on the ground, to be settled so that I can think through what I can do going forward,” Qu says.

Lisa Kum has an endless list of tasks every day. The 41-year-old from Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, has a 19-month-old daughter and a high school-aged son. She’s also tending to her health after undergoing elbow surgery earlier this year.

Arab governments are in conflict over an island paradise in the Indian Ocean that few people have ever seen. Socotra, the largest island in the Middle East, is one of the most isolated places on Earth, home to an ancient culture and some of the world's strangest-looking plants.

About 700,000 Rohingya refugees to date have fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar.

They're an ethnic minority in the country, and since last year, there have been reports of hundreds of Rohingya villages being burned, and widespread rape and murder.

Twenty Egyptian policemen in plainclothes broke into the home of a young satirist on Sunday morning in the suburbs of Cairo. Authorities whisked away vlogger Shadi Abu Zeid and confiscated his computers, cash and electronics. But he was neither taken to a local police department nor charged in a civilian court. His whereabouts remained unknown for more than a day, until Monday evening, when his sister posted online that he had appeared at a state security prosecutor’s hearing in Cairo. 

The American labor movement is in trouble.

Halfway through the flight, the officers took off Omar Blas Olvera’s handcuffs. He asked why. They had entered Mexican territory, an immigration agent told him. It was July 26, 2017. After they landed in Mexico City, he looked out the window and saw the airport’s signs in Spanish.

Jack Wang remembers an odd new rule written at the bottom of the his high school writing exam in China: no Internet words.

"It's just natural right when we use it," he said. "It's the youth way of expressing ourselves."

What may seem like the petty irritation of an old-fashioned teacher might actually be something bigger. More than 500 million people are online in China. They are microblogging, instant messaging and texting.

And the Chinese language is changing as a result, says David Moser, an American linguist who lives in Beijing.

The mass exodus of the Rohingyas from Myanmar became international news in August of 2017.

But the military’s campaign against the Rohingyas, a Muslim minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, actually began years earlier — and since 2012, a small network of citizen activists have been risking their lives to secretly film its impact.

The tiny kingdom of Bhutan, tucked away in the Himalayas between China and India, is known for its innovative Gross National Happiness Index, a measurement tool used to incentivize policies that increase the well-being of its people. When Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy 10 years ago, the index was written into the new constitution as a guiding principle of governance, one deeply rooted in Buddhism.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was sworn in to a fourth term in office on Monday, extending his 18-year rule amid promises of continuity in foreign policy and renewed efforts toward building prosperity at home.

In a swearing-in ceremony in the gilded Andreyevsky Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, Putin assured Russians that his rule had “revived pride” in the country. "As head of state I will do all I can to multiply the strength and prosperity of Russia,” said the Russian leader.

Search and rescue workers in Syria say civilian lives are at risk after being hit by a freeze in US funding for their organization.

The US is currently reviewing its support for the Syrian Civil Defense, known as the White Helmets, and other Syrian assistance programs worth around $200 million.

A State Department official told PRI that the review came at the request of President Donald Trump. They added that the US has provided more than $33 million in financial support to the group since 2013.

Khalida Popal was at the top of her game in Afghanistan. She became the captain of Afghanistan's women's national team and was competing on the international field.

Jorge Ramos has been called "the most influential news anchor in the Americas."

He's the face of Univision's flagship Spanish-language news broadcast. He was front and center during some of the most compelling moments of the last presidential campaign — like a press event in Iowa in 2015 where he sparred with then-candidate Donald Trump over Trump's proposal to use mass deportations to rid the US of criminals.

Boston artist Bren Bataclan often gives away his paintings with a note asking people to "smile at random people more often." He gave us two to give to PRI listeners and readers. Bataclan selected two people who commented on PRI The World’s Facebook page about the random acts of kindness they did for others or someone had done for them.

It's been a rough ride for the State Department since President Donald Trump took office. Under Secretary Rex Tillerson, who was ousted in March, many seasoned diplomats left. Key posts the world over went unfilled and are still unfilled.

Little wonder, then, that the new man at the helm of America's diplomatic corps is trying to rally his charges. Mike Pompeo was sworn in on Wednesday as Trump's new secretary of state and said it's time to reinvigorate US diplomacy.

The population of High Point, North Carolina, is about 110,000. Each spring and fall, though, it nearly doubles in size as furniture buyers arrive to scout the latest and greatest chairs, tables and light fixtures on display at the world’s largest home furnishings trade show, the High Point Market. 

Buyers began coming to North Carolina more than a century ago because much of the nation’s furniture was made in the area.  

Hooker Furniture has been around since 1924, selling wooden furniture for the home — sofas, bed frames, dressers, you name it. Like many American furniture makers, Hooker located its factories in southern Virginia and North Carolina because of nearby supplies of Appalachian hardwood and cheap labor.

For more than a century, the area was the furniture-making center of America. By the late 1990s though, the model was crumbling.

“Increasingly, our customers weren't willing to buy domestically-produced furniture,” said Hooker’s Chairman and CEO Paul Toms.

Somewhere between “bad hombre” and “nasty woman,” Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made another statement Wednesday night that turned heads.

"So I just left some high representatives of India,” he said. “They're growing at 8 percent. China is growing at 7 percent. And that for them is a catastrophically low number.”

He was nominally making a point about US economic growth, but many debate-watchers were wondering: Who exactly were these Indian representatives?

How does seeking asylum work at the US border?

May 1, 2018

Under US and international law, people have the right to seek asylum in another country. So the 150 or so Central Americans who traveled north through Mexico in a migrant caravan are perfectly within their rights in waiting to do so at the southern US border.   

For the past few days, they’ve been camping on the ground in Tijuana, Mexico, just outside the San Ysidro port of entry.

This British company is turning food waste into beer

May 1, 2018

It’s a Wednesday night in central London and the trendy Temple Brew House pub is packed with people out for after-work beers and burgers.

A crowd in one corner is sipping intently from half-pint tasting glasses, savoring a beer they helped brew about a month earlier using an unusual ingredient: leftover bread.

“We got a lesson in brewing as well as a lesson in using the bread for it,” says Michael Mulcahy, who helped tear up about 200 loaves of bread into chunks to make the amber ale he’s sipping. “Today, we get to taste what came out of it.”

US and British scientific agencies announced their biggest joint Antarctic research effort in more than a generation on Monday.

The focus is Thwaites Glacier, which is roughly the size of Florida and sits on the western edge of Antarctica.

Ice melting on Thwaites accounts for 4 percent of global sea level rise, an amount that’s nearly doubled since the 1990s. Scientists in the new five-year research collaboration hope to determine how much more, and how fast, the glacier will melt as the world continues to warm.

At the US-Mexico border, migrants face an uncertain wait

Apr 30, 2018

After weeks of travel across Mexico by bus, freight train and foot, more than 150 migrants from Central America — part of a caravan that has gained international attention — confronted an uncertain wait at the US-Mexico border.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials informed them that they did not have the capacity to process their requests to seek asylum in the United States. 

If you get a robocall in Mandarin, just hang up

Apr 30, 2018

If you live in New York, Los Angeles or Boston, chances are good you've received a robocall in Mandarin.

"I get them also, in the NYPD building," says Donald McCaffrey, an officer with the New York Police Department’s Grand Larceny Division in Queens. "I have an NYPD department cell phone and I get them on the cell phone also. It is out of control."

McCaffrey, who is investigating the calls in New York, says they first came to his attention in December when a 65-year-old Chinese woman alerted the NYPD that she had been scammed out of $1.3 million.

Last month, when violent mobs attacked members of a Muslim minority group in Sri Lanka, the government responded by shutting down access to social messaging networks. At least one person was killed.

The government's contention at the time is a fairly familiar criticism at this point — through services like Facebook, inflammatory hate speech and propaganda spread uncontrolled and fed violence.

But as Mark Zuckerberg defends his social media network, activists in Sri Lanka say they've been warning about this for years.

Now that the two Koreas have made history, it’s Donald Trump’s turn. 

If Trump sits down to meet Kim Jong-un as expected, he will be the first American president to hold a face-to-face meeting with a leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

But if a Trump-Kim summit has a chance of going down in the history books as anything like a success, both sides have some big decisions to make. 

Denuclearization is priority No. 1. 

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