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.

Rescue teams are frantically working to save people trapped by rubble after a powerful earthquake hit Mexico Tuesday.

The 7.1 magnitude quake was centered about 100 miles from Mexico City, but caused about 45 buildings in the capital to collapse.

Courtesy of Jericho Road Community Health Center

Beginning life in a new country as a refugee is not easy. Culture shock can kick in over food, languages — or health care.

For some women from conservative Muslim families, US health care practices can clash with what they’re used to. Reporter Sarah Varney went to Buffalo, New York, a city that is increasingly accepting refugees from countries such as Somalia, Syria and Iraq, to speak to some women who are in that position. 

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

It's been over a week since Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean and southern Florida, but the recovery has been slow.

In Miami, some neighborhoods didn't have electricity for 10 days. 

WLRN reporter Nadege Green lives in one of those areas, and before the power returned, she noticed that a sense of community was forming as people were forced to cook outside on charcoal grills.  

Trump's Twitter storms have a parallel in India

Sep 20, 2017

Social media is shaping politics across the world, and perhaps nowhere more so than in India. And, as in the US, the head of government's Twitter has become a key factor in political debates.

According to journalist Swati Chaturvedi, author of "I Am A Troll," India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi also uses Twitter as his preferred means of communication.

Earlier this summer, the first Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week featured the creations of 25 designers from First Nations communities across Canada. Joleen Mitton, a former model who has Plains Cree and Blackfoot ancestry, launched the four-day event, held at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, Canada.

Jason Margolis

Forty years ago, Alaska had a near monopoly on supplying the world with salmon. But then Norwegian fishermen began experimenting with salmon farming — raising fish in enclosed ocean pens. By the 1990s, international salmon farming had taken off, not just in Norway, but also in Canada, Scotland and Chile.

As global supplies skyrocketed, Alaskan salmon prices plummeted.

Wiki Commons

Donald Trump loves the military. He claims "our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been." And now he’s touting an idea for celebrating the US armed forces: a massive military parade in Washington, for the Fourth of July, perhaps as soon as next year.

He was inspired by the Bastille Day parade he witnessed in Paris in July.

Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

It’s been more than a month since members of a Rohingya militant group attacked police outposts in northern Myanmar, killing 12 people.

The attack led to a massive Myanmar military crackdown on the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority that is denied equal rights and widely despised by the Buddhist majority.

Kacper Pempel/Reuters

The government of Russian President Vladimir Putin is widely believed to be behind social media disinformation campaigns aimed at influencing the 2016 US presidential election. As Germany’s general elections approach, many worry that a similar scenario could play out in that country.

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Questions continue to swirl around President Trump's beleaguered former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. 

Will he eventually cut a deal with federal investigators? Will he face an indictment and then enjoy a presidential pardon? Or will he be accused of a crime in the State of New York, and be beyond the reach of Oval Office mercy? 

Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa says none of those possibilities can be ruled out, now that it's clear a federal judge approved two Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants — or FISA warrants — allowing wiretaps.

When a massive luxury cruise ship docked outside the tiny Inuit town of Cambridge Bay this summer, it doubled the population of the town for a day.

“It was just jaw-dropping to think that the same amount of people that are in Cambridge Bay could fit onto that ship,” said Mia Otokiak, 21, a lifelong resident of the small, largely Inuit town in the Canadian province of Nunavut. 

United States Army 

The founding father of modern Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh. He led Vietnam's communist revolution against French colonial rule and then took on the US. But it seems he long had an admiration for the US and repeatedly sought the country's help in the decades before the Vietnam War.

What people might find most surprising is that he once lived in the United States: in Boston and in New York City.

Devi Lockwood

If you walk along the Chicago River behind the Lyric Opera House between now and Oct. 1, you’ll hear a low groan, a twinkling sound — a distinctive hum that is not-quite-urban.  

Passersby have compared the noises to an airplane passing overhead, a whale’s vocalization or a penguin singing. This noise, an addition to the echoing urban soundscape, comes from four waterproof speakers affixed to the top of 2 North Riverside Plaza.

Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is one of the most powerful women in the world.

For 12 years, she has been a role model to many women and is expected to win a fourth term during the national elections on Sept. 24.

But it might be a surprise to some that progress for German women, as a whole, has been slow.

Women in Germany make 21 percent less than men — a higher pay gap than the European average of 16 percent. And despite Merkel holding the highest office in the country, very few women fill leadership positions in other industries.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

US President Donald Trump attends his first United Nations General Assembly this week.

The annual summit brings together thousands of world leaders, diplomats and advocates. This year, a long list of issues — including North Korea's nuclear program, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Paris climate accord — are expected to come up during talks and debates.

How will the president fare during a week full of diplomatic talks?

The World’s Marco Werman checked in with Colum Lynch, who reports on the UN for Foreign Policy magazine.

A Jewish folk song is preserved in a Japanese video game

Sep 18, 2017

In the world of video games, the journey ahead might last days or it might last just a few hours, but the soundtracks to those passing hours are often so integral to the game — and steeped in the intensity of a quest — that the music is timeless. 

In 1996, Konami released the video game “Sexy Parodius” and the soundtrack is everything you’d want from an anthropomorphic world inhabited by scantily dressed women, flying pigs, kissing penguins, dragons and mythical humanlike beings. The soundtrack is fun, bright and delves into 8-bit wonders.

However you want to label the sound of Kronos Quartet, it's led them to some surprising and extraordinary collaborators.

Their new collaboration is with Trio Da Kali, three traditional griot musicians from Mali. Together they've released one of my favorites this year. It's called "Ladilikan."

Farewell, Cassini

Sep 15, 2017
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Applause for the demise of a ship. Not your usual reaction, but this was not your usual voyage.

It was a 20-year voyage from Earth to Saturn, and it finally ended early this morning — Earth time — when the Cassini spaceship burned up in the atmosphere of the giant planet.

“The signal from the spacecraft is gone,” announced a NASA flight controller from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “I’m going to call this the end of [the] mission.”

Wikimedia/<a href="" target="_blank">CC BY-SA 4.0</a>

Chelsea Manning is in the news again.

The 29-year-old former military whistleblower is at the center of a dustup at Harvard University's prestigious John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The school invited her to speak to students and faculty and, as is often the case with such guests, dignified her with the title of visiting fellow. That outraged many military and intelligence veterans.

So, early Friday morning, the Kennedy School backed down.


It’s no secret that in recent years, North Korea has stepped up efforts to expand its nuclear weapons stockpile.

More quietly, though, it’s been stashing another commodity: bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

According to a report by the security firm FireEye Inc., North Korean hackers have been targeting South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges.

Jason Lee/Reuters

There are perhaps no two nations more desperately in need of peace talks than North and South Korea.

Distant as this hope may seem, South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has staked his reputation on it. This son of North Korean refugees has spoken glowingly of a nuclear weapons-free peninsula, reunited as a single nation — its two halves fused just as East and West Germany became one.

Ximena Cortez, a 22-year-old software test engineer, clutches two manila folders as she sits across from a lawyer. They contain her and her brother’s renewal applications for a federal program that grants two-year reprieves from deportation for undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, like them.


North Korea’s young dictator Kim Jong-un is often described as unpredictable. But that’s a little misleading. 

Judging by his actions since he assumed the role of supreme leader in late 2011, Kim’s intentions are pretty clear to North Korea watchers. The grandson of the country’s late founder and eternal president, Kim Il-sung, wants to develop the capability to hit the United States with a nuclear-tipped long-range missile. 

The US-Mexico border wall as an interactive art museum? That’s what French artist JR had in mind when he created a 65-foot-tall image of a baby looking over the wall in Tecate, California.

JR is known for pasting larger-than-life photographs of people on large public walls around the world, from Havana to Tunisia. The idea for creating this installation at the US-Mexico border came to him in a dream.

Photo released by North Korea&#39;s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang

President Donald Trump has been doing a lot of tough talk on North Korea. North Korea's nuclear ambitions have been a growing concern to the United States. The country tested missiles three times during Trump's short time in office. 

Trump says that "China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don't it won't be good for anyone."

"If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will."

Andy Wong/Reuters

Thousands of workers, government officials and aviation enthusiasts gathered to cheer as China's C919 passenger plane touched down at Shanghai's international airport Friday after its maiden trip to the sky.

State media broadcast the test flight all across the country, and Chinese officials heralded it as the start of a new era.

Chairman Mao Zedong tried and failed to build a commercially viable passenger plane in the 1970s, but the dream persisted. The government created the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) in 2008 with this specific goal in mind.

Eat, pray, admit you're from an empire

Sep 14, 2017
Murad Sezer/Reuters

Author Suzy Hansen's journey to faraway lands in the post-9-11 world wouldn't work as a big-studio, rom-com.

Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh was really looking forward to his campaign event last week in Brampton, Ontario — a "JagMeet & Greet."

"This event was going to be in the city where my political career began. And it was a room filled with friends and supporters who have been with me since the beginning. So it was an atmosphere of celebration,"​ says the New Democratic Party leadership candidate.

But the atmosphere soon turned sour.

Joseph Flaherty/Phoenix New Times

Hotel chain Motel 6 has come under fire this week, after it was reported that staff at two of its locations in Phoenix have been handing over guest information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

According to the Phoenix New Times, which first reported the story, at least 20 undocumented immigrants have been arrested as a result of information provided by the hotel. 

One of the more memorable times when someone openly talked about assassinating North Korea’s leader, it was a joke.

In the 2014 comedy, "The Interview," Seth Rogen and James Franco play journalists who are recruited by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong-un instead of interviewing him.

North Korea was not happy about it — Pyongyang even threated military action against the US.

Now, it looks like South Korea is stepping into the fray.