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.

Ethnomusicologist Sidney Robertson Cowell first started lugging her Presto instantaneous recording machine around Fresno, California, in 1938. There, she recorded Armenian dances at community picnics, hymns at the Armenian cathedral and songs at musicians' homes.

And then, on Oct. 30, 1939, Vartan Shapazian in nearby Fowler, California, sang a mournful song for Cowell called "Groong Jan" or "Dear Crane." It laments the 1915 Armenian genocide.

Hours before North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced their intention to denuclearize and formally end the Korean War, demonstrators camped out in Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square wearing the unity symbol and praying for peace.

Ana Raquel Minian grew up in Mexico City where, at home, “politics was discussed at the dinner table pretty much every day,” she says.

But to learn more about her own country, she decided to study its ties to the US. She started digging, studying history in the United States, earning her doctorate at Yale University. Now, after a decade of research, she's published her new book, “Undocumented Lives: The Untold Story of Mexican Migration.”

It’s hard to imagine a better time for her work to come out.

The global reach of 'Our Bodies, Ourselves'

Apr 26, 2018

"Our Bodies, Ourselves" has long been called the bible for women's health, but it didn't start out that way.

A Saudi Arabian diplomat said last weekend that 19 oil tankers were seized by rebel forces off the coast of Yemen. Then, the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC, repeated the story. But based on interviews and research conducted by PRI, there is no hostage situation at all. 

A majority of US Supreme Court justices on Wednesday seemed to agree with the government’s contention that President Donald Trump had the authority to ban travelers from several Muslim-majority countries in the name of national security.

Societies often change slowly. Shifts in values and allegiances can be so subtle you might miss them. A smart politician knows that.

Consider how fascist leader Benito Mussolini consolidated power in Italy in the 1920s. He likened the process to carefully preparing a chicken for slaughter.

“If you pluck a chicken one feather at a time people don’t notice it,” says former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. “So I’m concerned about the feather-plucking.”

President Obama created DACA. Why won't courts let President Trump end it?

Apr 25, 2018

In 2012, the Barack Obama administration created the DACA program with a memo. Janet Napolitano, then-secretary of homeland security, directed the agency not to deport some of the undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children — and enrolled the in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, instead.

The great catfish war rages on

Apr 25, 2018

Townsend Kyser is a third-generation catfish farmer in the city of Greensboro — population 2,365 — the catfish capital of Alabama.

“I don’t know how it got the designation, but we’re proud to have a catfish industry in Greensboro, as well as in this area of Alabama,” says Kyser. “It’s one of the biggest economic drivers in our area and it creates a lot of jobs in what would be considered a pretty poor area in the state.”

President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state took a big step closer to confirmation on Monday night. In a surprise vote, a key Senate committee approved the nomination of CIA director Mike Pompeo for the job. Pompeo is expected to face a vote in the full Senate later this week. One lawmaker who voted "no" is Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Menendez spoke with The World’s Marco Werman and the following is a transcript of the full interview.

When the US Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday in a legal challenge to President Donald Trump’s travel ban, the justices may think back to an infamous decision from 1944.

When President Donald Trump talks about Mexico taking advantage of NAFTA to rip off the US — and he brings this up a lot — people like Fernando Turner can’t believe what they’re hearing.

“We appreciate his tremendous confidence in Mexicans’ ability to cheat US people, no? But that’s totally the contrary. History tells you that it has been the other way,” says Turner, the secretary of economic development and labor for the northern Mexican state of Nuevo León.

I’m thinking about getting a hurricane tattooed on my left shoulder.  

Unintentionally, all my tattoos are a reminder of something: Something that I want to forget, something that I tend to forget, something that I can’t forget. My tattoo would be white, grey and turquoise. The eye of the hurricane in the center of my shoulder, three-dimensional, so if you look right into it you would feel as if my skin could suck you in. 

Every day, nearly half a million workers stream into the white stone banks and office buildings in the City of London, a single square mile at the historic core of greater London.

It’s the financial capital of Europe, but it’s not all business.

Hidden behind courtyard walls and through narrow passageways are roughly 200 open spaces designed to provide the workers of the city some respite from its hustle and bustle.

The French may soon have to accept 'le doggy bag'

Apr 23, 2018

At a sunny cafe terrace in the Paris neighborhood of Aligre, I am trying to finish a giant croque-monsieur — a typical French ham and grilled cheese sandwich   but it’s just atypically too big. So I get up to ask the manager if I can have a doggy bag for my leftovers.

“Un doggy bag?” he says. “No we don’t have any containers.”

I moved to Minneapolis for Prince

Apr 22, 2018

I moved to Minneapolis, sight unseen and without a friend in the city, in the fall of 2012. When people asked me why, the running joke was: "For Prince."

Except, it wasn't a joke.

This artist wants to make you smile

Apr 20, 2018

Bren Bataclan is an artist whose goal is to make you smile. Read on to learn exactly how he does that, but here's some background first.

Bataclan was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States with his family in 1981. He was 12 years old when they arrived, and together they all settled in Daly City. That's a section of San Francisco with a large Filipino population. The excitement of their arrival is depicted in Bataclan's painting "Daly City, Our New Home."

The town of Santa María del Mar, Mexico, hasn’t had electricity for more than three years. At night a generator hums in the town plaza, powering a few pale streetlights. 

Santa María, population 800, rests at the end of a skinny peninsula sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and a shallow lagoon that locals call the Dead Sea. Most days tempestuous winds drawn off the hot plains of Mexico’s Oaxaca state billow across the peninsula out toward the cool Pacific. 

Castro steps down as Díaz-Canel assumes Cuban presidency

Apr 19, 2018

A page of history turned yesterday as Raul Castro, Cuban president and brother of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, stepped down from office to make way for a new generation of leadership and an uncertain future for the embattled archipelago.

Puerto Rico's power company said it had restored power to more than 1.1 million homes and businesses by Thursday morning after a transmission line failure cut service to almost all of the island's 3.4 million residents the day before.

The Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority, known as PREPA, was working to restore power to the less than 30 percent of customers in the US territory still without power after Wednesday morning's blackout.

In a small room on a quiet street in the north of Amsterdam, a handful of older women are swaying to a few well-chosen classics, from Nat King Cole to Claude Debussy.

Rie van der Mueren, 93, says she and her husband used to dance professionally and competed in major ballroom competitions. But she stopped when he died 30 years ago. This is her first time at the Music Salon, a neighborhood music and dance club for the elderly. She says she finds the dancing space a bit small compared to what she’s used to.

Up a narrow flight of stairs in northwest Tokyo is a cafe where 10 people sit around a table. For some of them, it's the first time they've been out of the house in weeks.

Bassem Youssef likes to swear.

In his new book, "Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring," he uses the F-word as any number of parts of speech: noun, verb, adjective, even a command.

A terror attack in Paris nearly on the eve of France's presidential election has political prognosticators even more flummoxed than before.

Could it propel extreme right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen to victory? Or will it mobilize disaffected voters to get to the polls for Sunday's first round of voting to keep an anti-immigrant, anti-EU candidate in check?

Cartoonists from across Europe have already weighed in. Here's our selection of their best work.

This is what a complete lack of freedom looks like

Apr 18, 2018

How do you capture the loneliness of being kept in a locked room? The shades are pulled. You have no books, TV or smartphone, and you're handcuffed to a radiator. Oh yeah — it's also been months, and you have no idea if you'll ever be released.

The neighborhood of "Little LA" doesn't jump out to you at first. It’s located next to a large plaza in Mexico City, in the center of which is a historic arch commemorating the Mexican revolution. In the evening, people often gather in the plaza for outdoor exercise classes while teenagers compete in rap battles.

This week, Russian officials began implementing a planned ban on the popular messaging platform Telegram after the company refused to hand over access to its users’ encrypted messages. But it appears the implementation of the ban is not going as smoothly as Russian authorities had hoped.

Asia Argento was one of the first women to speak out about the alleged sexual assault by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in October 2017.

The Italian actress and activist inspired other women to come forward and tell of their own experiences of sexual crimes done by powerful men in show business, news media, politics, sports and other industries.

Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the post of America’s top diplomat, will have a lot on his plate if he’s confirmed as the next Secretary of State.

Syria. Russia. North Korea.

Dealing with climate change is not likely to be a top priority, and Pompeo’s nomination represents the Trump administration's consolidation of officials whose views on climate clash with those of mainstream scientists.  

Teklit Michael started running with Eritrea’s fastest athletes when he was just 14 years old. His plan: to compete in the 2012 London Olympics. 

Michael burned through a pair of sneakers nearly every month, so he went to work at a government textile factory to foot the bill. One day after hours of labor, he went to collect his earnings. But he says his supervisor, a government employee, refused to pay him. When Michael pushed back, the man threatened him. 

“He told me, 'You are a son of a bitch, and you are talking against the government,'” Michael recalls.

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