The World

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A one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe.

Feisal Omar/Reuters

Ninety-two Somali immigrants, set to be deported from the US, found themselves shackled at the hands and feet and kept aboard a plane for two days earlier this month. That part of the story is not in dispute.

The Somalis left Louisiana on Dec. 7. Their flight, chartered by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was bound for Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. But the plane never arrived.

After landing in Dakar, Senegal, on Africa's west coast, the one-way flight became a round trip, back to the US. Why that happened, though, remains subject to dispute. 

Reuters/AAP/Lukas Coch 

“A national tragedy.”

That’s how the Australian prime minister characterized the findings, released Friday, of a five-year investigation into child sexual abuse.

Malcolm Turnbull on Friday extended his gratitude to thousands of survivors who were brave enough to tell their stories. “It’s been very tough, often harrowing work,"  he said, "but above all I want to thank and honor the courage of the survivors and their families who’ve told, often for the first time, the dreadful stories of abuse that they received from people who actually owed them love and protection."

Regis Duvignau/Reuters

On Across Women's Lives' recent reporting trip to Bangladesh, we interviewed several women about work conditions in the garment factories.

MC Afrikan Boy's 'Wot It Do?' is a call to action

Dec 15, 2017
Derrick Kakembo 

MC Afrikan Boy, Olushola Ajose, returns with his latest track, "Wot it Do?" It’s a danceable, club-ready track that aims to bring people to the dance floor.

The Southeast London Afrogrime musician bursts with energy, pairing neatly woven references to childhood nursery rhymes with a range of influences within grime, early afrobeat and Nigerian juju.

It was just before three o’clock on the afternoon of Oct. 16 when Malta’s most famous, outspoken blogger got into her car for what was to be the last time.

Minutes later, a bomb planted under the driver’s seat flung the vehicle into a field beside the road. Daphne Caruana Galizia, who’d relentlessly attacked corruption in the tiny island nation, was dead.

Courtesy of Orquesta El Macabeo

Months after Puerto Rico was hit by back-to-back hurricanes, the island’s artistic community faces considerable challenges in its path toward recovery. Hurricane María — the second and more devastating storm — dealt a crippling blow to an already weakened power grid, resulting in a protracted blackout.

When Aaron Anaya arrived in Puerto Rico in November to help restore the San Juan electric grid, he realized he’d have to start with the maps. Anaya, an electrical engineer with Con Edison in New York, spends most of his 16-hour days translating work requests from Puerto Rico’s power authority, PREPA, into assignments for crews from New York. But PREPA's maps didn’t have the detail the workers needed.

“You have to be able to relate what’s on the map with what’s in the field, and it’s very different,” Anaya said. “It looks nothing like flat little lines. Things are everywhere.”

Alejandra Hilbert is spending a Saturday morning in November applying for CalFresh, the California program that used to be called “food stamps.” She is one of 8,000 students at the University of California, Berkeley who have been notified that they may be eligible for government assistance of up to $192 each month to help pay for groceries.

For most people, the top of the mine shaft at the Prosper-Haniel coal mine in Bottrop, Germany, just looks like a big black hole. But Andre Niemann looked into that hole and saw the future.

Part 1: No regrets from this soon-to-be-ex-miner

George Lampman is a veteran of the Korean War, but he didn't get through it alone.

George first arrived in Seoul as a 21-year-old Marine, part of a security detachment at the US Embassy. It was 1949.

He vividly remembers meeting Lee Sook Ei, a switchboard operator at the embassy.

“She was a beautiful girl [and] very, very intelligent,” George says.

He tried to ask Sook Ei out more than once, but he struck out.  

My family's ties to the global garment industry

Dec 15, 2017
Al Ravenna/World Telegram &amp; Sun/<a href="">CC BY 2.0 (image cropped)</a>

My lineage is wrapped up in the garment industry. My grandfather on my dad’s side was in the garment business. My aunties on my mom’s side were also in the industry.

My dad was a doctor, and when I was 6, my family moved from the center of the garment industry, New York City, to North Carolina, America's garment manufacturing state. The first time I got an inkling as to what the clothing industry was all about was when my little sister Claudia took a sewing class at the Singer store at the mall in Raleigh. I joined her on an outing to buy material at a fabric outlet store.

Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

Vladimir Putin always has a lot to say at his end-of-year press conferences.

And Thursday in Moscow, the Russian president returned to the podium once again for a nearly four-hour session with reporters.

Although the annual event is — for the most part — predictable and heavily scripted, dissonant voices somehow manage to pipe up. 

Russia’s influence in the Middle East is growing

Dec 14, 2017
Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool/Reuters

Vladimir Putin conducted a whirlwind tour of the greater Middle East region this week. For some observers, it was a showcase for Russia’s growing influence in the region. According to Ishaan Tharoor, “he exhibited the kind of clever strategic policymaking that the US is simply not doing in the region.”

Tharoor is a foreign affairs writer with the Washington Post and recently wrote “Putin is outplaying Trump in the Middle East.” 

Here's a fantasy: A world where you never had to wait in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Save for the driving test, you could do almost everything online — from changing your address to renewing your license.

Other things in life — like voting and going to the doctor — would work just as efficiently. Any doctor you'd visit would already have access to your digitally stored medical records, and you’d never have to fill out one of those medical history forms in the waiting room.

Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

In the late 1970s, Ireland’s economy was struggling. So they decided to cut business taxes dramatically while also increasing individual taxes including on the middle class. The idea was that stronger businesses would benefit everyone.

It worked.

Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

Last week, German media reported that some pilots have refused to carry out deportations of Afghan refugees.

"Following an information request from the Left party," reported Deutsche Welle, "the government said that 222 planned expulsions were stopped by pilots."

While it may seem the pilots are refusing to fly Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan out of sympathy, that's not the only reason.

Jonathan Bachman

Climate change fueled some of the record rainfall Hurricane Harvey dumped on the Houston area in August.

Two new scientific studies find warmer temperatures caused by global warming likely increased the amount of rain that fell over the Gulf region during the storm by between 15 and 38 percent.

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

The vote tally in yesterday's Alabama Senate election offers a snapshot of racial polarization in today's America. 

Nearly two-thirds of white women voted for GOP contender Roy Moore, the candidate backed by President Donald Trump. At the same time, 98 percent of black women cast their ballots for Democratic candidate Doug Jones. 

The difference for men was almost as stark: About 93 percent of black men supported Jones, compared to 26 percent of white men. 

Keeping the peace on the Israel-Lebanon border

Dec 13, 2017
Richard Hall/PRI

On a ridge above a shallow valley in southernmost Lebanon, Lt. Alejandro Colado Corzo looks out across the troublesome border that he is supposed to monitor. 

“Everything behind that little hill is Israel,” says the Spanish UN peacekeeper during a brief stop on an armed patrol. “We will wait and see if we can watch some strange movements.”

His job is made all the more difficult by the fact that the border doesn’t really exist. 

Fahad Shadeed/Reuters

For the last 35 years, movie theaters have been banned in Saudi Arabia. That changed on Monday when Saudi Arabia announced it would allow cinemas to open as early as March.

It's the latest gesture towards modernization by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also behind measures to permit women to drive and to bring back concerts.

When Saudi director Haifaa al-Mansour heard the news, she excitedly took to Twitter:

Mark Makela/Reuters

Akayed Ullah, 27, is accused of setting off a pipe bomb in New York City on Monday, injuring five people, including himself.

He came to the US from Bangladesh in 2011 on a visa for relatives of a US citizen.

Related: Investigators search for clues in attempted New York subway bombing

When you step inside artist Kalman Aron’s modest apartment in Beverly Hills, a lifetime of creation surrounds you. The walls are covered in paintings and finished canvases are stacked on the floors, a dozen deep. The paintings range from portraits to landscapes to abstract works. They’re just a fraction of the roughly 2,000 pieces Aron says he’s created over the decades.

How a sweatshop raid in an LA suburb changed the American garment industry

Dec 12, 2017
Rick Meyer/Los Angeles Times

When Rotchana Sussman arrived in Los Angeles in 1994, she thought she was about to start a new, well-paying job as a garment worker.

She had worked in a factory in her native country, Thailand. She’d heard that work in Los Angeles paid three times as much. But when Sussman, then 24, arrived at Los Angeles International airport in early 1994, she was taken directly to the small suburb of El Monte. It’s a low-income community about 22 miles from the Hollywood Hills. The housing complex where Sussman was taken was encircled by barbed wire.

And it had 24-hour armed security.

Agencja Gazeta/Franciszek Mazur/Reuters

Poland's ruling party has used the term "fake news" to attack its critics in the media. Monday, the government took its attack a step further. It levied a $415,000 fine on TVN24, a US-owned independent Polish news channel, saying the broadcaster's coverage of anti-government street protests had encouraged illegal activities.

How hate and debate came to a Connecticut mosque

Dec 11, 2017

The night of Nov. 14, 2015, was not the first time Ted Hakey, 50, went into his backyard in Meriden, Connecticut, and fired guns to let off some steam. It was the night after a deadly terror attack in Paris, and Hakey was furious.

So he shot his Springfield Armory M1A .308-caliber rifle into the air. Some of those shots hit the Baitul Aman Mosque next door. Luckily, no one was in the building at the time.

First-ever bitcoin futures trading is now underway

Dec 11, 2017
Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The virtual currency bitcoin is now trading on a major global exchange for the first time.

The first-ever bitcoin futures started trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange on Sunday.

The price of the virtual currency has soared in recent weeks. And so far, it appears investors believe bitcoin will continue to rise in value, the BBC reports.

Some also see futures trading as a sign that bitcoin is creeping into the mainstream.

Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

President Vladimir Putin, during a surprise visit to Russia's Hmeymim air base in Syria, ordered "a significant part" of Russia's military contingent in Syria to start withdrawing.

Putin made the announcement adding that Moscow and Damascus had achieved their mission of destroying ISIS in just over two years.

The Russian president was in Syria to hold talks with President Bashar al-Assad and to address Russian forces.

Can kids recognize fake news? Sort of.

Dec 11, 2017
Thomas White/Reuters

Sometimes a story is so outrageous that it’s easy to recognize as fake news.

But it can also be much more subtle: It can be hard to flag a story with just one incorrect statement or opinion masquerading as a fact.

And if it’s hard for adults to spot fake news, can children do it?

The University of Salford teamed up with the BBC Newsround for one year to study how well children ages 9 to 14 can spot false information.

How good is H&M’s clothing recycling program?

Dec 11, 2017
Regis Duvignau/Reuters

The clothes we wear come with their own environmental baggage.

Consider that a cotton T-shirt requires roughly 700 gallons of water to produce. Each year, the production of polyester emits roughly 1.5 trillion pounds of greenhouse gases.

As the fashion industry faces more scrutiny for the environmental impact of its operations, some fashion brands are trying to be more sustainable — and are advertising that to their customers.

Chief among them is global fast-fashion giant H&M, which is aggressively positioning itself as a leader in sustainability.

A-side B-side: Björk, Lullabies and in-between feelings

Dec 11, 2017

A-side B-side is a reoccurring segment on The World as part of a partnership with Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The series compares the sounds and ideas of two songs, albums or artists. On the A-side: a folk or traditional selection; on the B-side: a contemporary selection.

This week’s A-side B-side is a little bit more complicated. 

If there isn't a word for the moments before you forget your nightmare or the pain of a heartbreak, there’s a sound.