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.

Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Belarus has a plan to build a nuclear power plant funded by the Russian government. Twelve miles across the border, Lithuania has serious concerns about what they think is a growing nuclear threat.

Lithuania is a tiny country that still relies on Russia’s power grid for electricity, and the memory of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster also looms large in the region.

Besides questions about the environmental and safety standards, says reporter Reid Standish, Lithuania fears the possible geopolitical impact of the Ostrovets power plant.

How does fake news spread?

Nov 8, 2017
Max Massey/ KSAT 12/via Reuters

He has been misidentified as the lone gunman in the shootings in San Bernardino, in Kalamazoo, in Baton Rouge, in Orlando and, now, in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

His name is Sam Hyde. And he's actually a comedian.

But somehow, his name has become an internet meme, resurfacing after nearly every mass shooting in the past few years.

What the missile strike on Riyadh means

Nov 7, 2017

Saudi Arabia has been dropping bombs on Yemen's capital city for 32 months. On Saturday, Yemen fired back.

The missile, identified by Yemeni rebels as a domestically built Burkan II ballistic missile, also known as a Volcano, was blown out of the sky above King Khalid International Airport by an American-made anti-missile defense system. No injuries were reported, but this was a significant event in the ongoing Yemen war. 

Marco Werman/PRI

On the first anniversary of the revolution that brought him to power, Captain Thomas Sankara rejected the colonial name of his country — Upper Volta — and by presidential mandate declared the country would be known as Burkina Faso, the land of people of integrity.

It was one of many attention-grabbing things Sankara did. But many of his fellow Burkinabe were OK with that because it was the first time the world paid attention to this impoverished, landlocked country.

A century after the October Revolution, Moscow shrugs

Nov 7, 2017

The diorama showing how Ulyanovsk looked when Vladimir Lenin was born here in 1870 is noticeably full of Orthodox churches.

Their gleaming onion domes are positioned overlooking the Volga River in the model Ulyanovsk, which was renamed for its most famous son. He was born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, and then changed his name to Lenin before spearheading the Bolshevik Revolution that led to the creation of the atheist Soviet Union superpower 100 years ago.

Ahmet Ustunel remembers his daily commute to high school well. He'd wake up at home, on the Asian side of Istanbul, Turkey, a city that straddles two continents. Then he would take a ferry across the Bosphorus Strait to the European side of the city.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

High-profile arrests of prominent Saudis over the weekend indicate that the kingdom's crown prince is consolidating his power. And that may be just fine with the White House.

Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

In the days since Tuesday’s terror attack in New York, the alleged attacker’s country of origin has received a lot of media attention.

Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek national, is suspected of killing eight people and seriously injuring 12 others when he barreled down a busy Manhattan bike path in a pickup truck on Tuesday.

Several terror attacks in recent years have been carried out by individuals with ties to the country and broader Central Asia region, leading to media narratives that experts who study and know the region say are troubling.

Grassroots efforts in Tunisia to advance women’s rights

Nov 7, 2017
Danielle Villasana/PRI 

In a building tucked away on a dusty street in Tunis’s Lafayette neighborhood, a classroom full of a dozen young Tunisian women listen to lectures amid bursts of laughter on a spring day earlier this year. The group is a diverse mix of women sporting smartly tucked headscarves, brightly colored blazers and fitted jeans. One by one, they stand in front of the classroom and explain to their peers why they want to pursue politics.

I cannot recall a year of my life when talk of invading North Korea has not been part of the news cycle.

Even before President George W. Bush’s Axis of Evil speech, in which he declared Iran, Iraq and North Korea enemies, the specter of the unresolved war in Korea had always haunted my life.

Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook have been testifying before Congress over the past few weeks about how their platforms were used by Russian agents to interfere in the 2016 US election.

Remember the Panama Papers — that huge trove of more than 11 million documents leaked in 2015 detailing financial data on more than 200,000 offshore entities? 

Now, there's a sequel.

It's called the Paradise Papers, and it's brought to you via the same two German journalists who received the earlier data dump. 

"Here we are again with another leak and new revelations," says Süddeutsche Zeitung correspondent Frederik Obermaier, one of the two reporters who received the Paradise Papers from an anonymous source.

Of all the things Syrian refugees leave behind, one of the most surprising is language. Not the dialect they speak at home, but the Arabic of written and formal speech. It’s the form of Arabic used in school, books, public life and media.

It’s a simplified version of the Arabic of the Quran, and you need it to function in the Arab world. One displaced Syrian, concerned that her daughter becomes literate in Arabic, turned to cartoons for help. 

Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

Woo Seung-yep keeps a camouflage backpack loaded with supplies just in case he needs to grab it and go.

Inside are things like a flashlight, canned food and a pair of socks.

Woo runs an online forum with 20,000 members called Survival 21 and consults with local governments on how to prep for disasters. The 44-year-old consultant says he’s trying to help people prepare for war, but most South Koreans don’t take North Korea’s threats seriously.

Stephanie Keith/Reuters

Allahu akbar made headlines again this week.

The suspect in the New York City terrorist attack reportedly shouted the Arabic phrase meaning “God is greatest” after driving his truck down a bike path on Tuesday, killing eight people.

What it is like to win the green card lottery

Nov 6, 2017

Since this week’s terror attack in New York, attention has focused on how Sayfullo Saipov came to be in the US. Saipov was admitted under the US diversity visa lottery — better known as the green card lottery — a scheme which lets around 50,000 people every year into the country, selected at random and vetted for police records. 

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that he would be taking action to cancel the lottery — although he initially called it the "diversary" lottery. 

Anne Bailey

The narrow, black tunnel at the bottom of a 70-foot dirt shaft about two hours north of Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, is so small that you can’t stand up. But there are three men down here using headlamps to illuminate a section of rock where they’ve been digging for gold.

There is a sound so prevalent on the streets of Beirut that locals hardly even hear it anymore: the two-tap beep on the horn by a taxi driver looking for business.

Unlike in New York or London, where a passenger might have to crane their neck looking for a cab, residents in Lebanon’s capital practically have to fight them off with a stick.

“When passengers walk, sometimes they don’t notice the taxi behind them. So we make the horn to get his attention,” says Gabriel Saad, who has been driving a taxi in the city for 15 years.

Mattea Mrkusic

From the air, Kiribati's capital island resembles the cross-section of a polished geode. You’ll see a painfully thin crust of land and a glassy lagoon that shifts with rising tides. For years, media outlets have called this equatorial nation “a canary in the coal mine for climate migration.” But what you perceive at a distance may be misleading.

New Zealand could become the first country in the world to recognize climate change as a valid reason to be granted residency, according to an interview with a government minister on Tuesday.

Jason Lee/Reuters

He’s known as Uncle Xi. But Xi Jinping has a long list of official titles and Chinese president isn’t even the most consequential of them. President Xi is the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. He is the chairman of the Central Military Commission. Xi has been formally recognized by the party as a “core leader,” and sometimes he’s referred to as the “Paramount Leader” of the People’s Republic.  

Christian Hartmann/Reuters

The Harvey Weinstein scandal has sparked conversations about sexual harassment around the globe — including in European Parliament.

Several women spoke up during a debate Wednesday about sexual harassment in the European Union, taking the opportunity to call in to question the European Parliament’s workplace policies and culture.

Victoria Barrett was really looking forward to her high school’s retreat junior year, but she got there late — right in the middle of the talent show, and in no mood to party.

“I’m in a room full of screaming, dancing girls,” Barrett says, “and I was [thinking], like, ‘Does nobody know what's happening in the world? Like, how is anyone happy right now? How is anyone having a good time?'"

Vladimir Putin's grudge with Hillary Clinton

Oct 25, 2017
Yuri Kochetkov/Reuters

While investigators dig into reports about Russian hacking of the 2016 US presidential election, filmmaker Michael Kirk profiles the Russian leader who may have had the motive and opportunity to pull it off.

Kirk's new, two-part Frontline documentary Putin’s Revenge centers on Vladimir Putin's clash with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011 over her condemnation of Russia’s parliamentary elections.

Last year, more than half a million people who visited the US overstayed their visas, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Overall, it's a small percentage, just a bit over 1 percent of the millions of visitors who arrive annually. Yet, it is a group of people, often entering legal limbo the day their permission expires, who are increasingly nervous about deportation as the Trump administration's broad immigration crackdown continues.

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, nearly 80 percent of the island remains without power.

Typically, power companies rely on “mutual aid” agreements with other utilities following natural disasters — both Texas and Florida recently activated those agreements to help residents get power back.

But the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, has opted out and hired a tiny contracting firm from Montana instead.

Every federal employee knows the rule: You don't keep any valuable item given to you by a foreign government official. When my former boss, Mike Mullen, retired as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his French counterpart brought a thoughtful gift: an 18th century engraving of the British surrender at Yorktown that he and his wife found on a weekend in Normandy.

It, and dozens of other presents Mullen received that day, are property of the United States. Unless Congress expressly approved, or he bought it back at market value, Mullen could not keep any of them.

Jason Margolis/PRI

Steve Lorch is a surgical nurse by profession. His other job, is running a tea farm.

When you think of the world’s great tea-growing regions, you might think of parts of India, Sri Lanka, China or Kenya. Odds are, though, you don’t think of Lorch’s adopted hometown of Pickens, South Carolina — a small, economically-depressed place in Appalachia. But Lorch is on a mission to change that.

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

When Micah White, the co-creator of the Occupy Wall Street movement, received an email from a freelance reporter requesting an interview for the website BlackMattersUS, he didn’t think much of it.

On its website, BlackMattersUS describes itself as a “nonprofit news outlet that delivers raw and original information on the most urgent issues important to the African-American community in America.”

Why people stay friends with their rapists

Oct 13, 2017

Since The New York Times reported about how Harvey Weinstein has been paying off accusations of sexual harassment for decades, more and more women have been coming forward to report abuse, in some cases from years ago.

Writer, journalist and playwright, Natalia Antonova, thinks she understands why some have kept silent for so long.

Acid attack victims reverse expectations on the runway

Oct 13, 2017

It's a fashion show to make a difference.